My Stuff Story

Ever since I was laid off in November 2009, stuff has become less important to me. During my lay off, I soon began to realize what truly makes me happy in life. I found out my happiness comes from my experiences in life with family and friends, the thrill of learning new things, and the accomplishment of a job well done. I began to realize stuff just doesn’t make me happy.

I don’t catch Oprah very often but when I do, her show seems to resonate with me. She did a show about happiness and had an expert on the show explain how the happiness or thrill from stuff wears off in 3 months. However, experiences last a lifetime. So for my Mom Debbie’s birthday in March I gave her tickets to the play, “An Evening with Lucille Ball.” My Mom had her picture taken with Lucie Arnez and also got her autograph. The memory of our exciting day will last a lifetime whereas if I had given her stuff it could possibly wind up in the corner collecting dust.

I have recently had discussions with friends and family about how we all have too much stuff. I am glad I am not one of those people who have to buy the latest and greatest stuff. Don’t get me wrong; I love those people who buy the latest and greatest stuff because they usually get rid of their old stuff, which becomes my new stuff. I would love a flat screen TV but I already own 5 TVs. How many TVs does one person need? (Two TVs were previously other people’s stuff). Besides, I am cancelling my cable soon so I don’t really need any TVs.

I am bored with the décor in my house. I didn’t do much painting when I moved in 6 years ago because I was about 70lbs heavier and it would have been extremely hard. But now that I am working out more and losing weight I feel energized to re-do areas in my house. So my house is going through what I like to call Extreme Home Makeover – Green Edition. My brother calls “being green” the “new cheap,” but I beg to differ. Frankly I think people have too much stuff, so I am willing to take the old stuff off their hands. That being said, here is my wish list (PS. I also believe in positive energy and if I put it out there I want something, it will happen).

My Wish List

  • Bathroom – Asian décor (black, red or orange) with an Earth, Wind, Fire, Water theme inspired by my friend Diane.
  • Kitchen – Cherry décor.
  • Living Room – Neutral sectional, pictures/artwork of trees, TV antennae (getting rid of the cable), or Sage couch covers.
  • Office – White Table Desk (preferably with glass top), and Black picture frames.

I am already well on my way with some of my décor thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who are moving. I am helping them organize, pack, and sell their stuff. My perks have been free stuff from them. I am so excited about my black/red dishes for my soon to be cherry kitchen. BTW- I love to organize people’s stuff, pack, and do garage sales. I swear I should open a business called Less Mess with Jess. Feel free to call me to help organize especially if it involves free stuff!

Why Second Hand Stuff?

1. It allows me to be creative and use old pieces as new fresh artistic pieces. (Besides, I don’t want someone to throw me out when I am old).
2. It helps with the environment. If I am buying less stuff, then companies are making less stuff. Plus, I am taking stuff people would put in landfills.  I enjoy helping out with my carbon footprint.
3. It creates good Karma. If I give away stuff I don’t need to others, I may get new stuff I need in return. This principle is already working for me today. Just ask my Cousin Sammy about all the stuff I just gave her.
4. It is economical for an unemployed girl with student loans.
5. It is fun to hunt down stuff and figure out a way to use it. For my friends who know about my Strengths finder class, strategy is my number one strength so it delights me to find a new strategy for old stuff. (That was for you Kim and Matt!).
6. Most importantly, old stuff has a story and I love a good story. As I work on my house, I will share some of the fascinating stories with you.

Send your stuff my way if it fits my décor for my stuff story! Also, if you want to know the story of stuff in our economy, check out this 20-minute video called, “The Story of Stuff.


Jess AKA The Stuff-anater

Trees are the Storytellers of Mother Nature

Trees are an important symbol in my life. I feel so connected to these strong tall forces of nature. My family makes fun of me because I put up 5-6 Christmas trees every year (fake ones of course). My favorite restaurant is TreeHugger’s Café (which I am sitting in right now writing this blog and enjoying a vanilla bean tea). And ever since I was little I would see certain trees and dream about sitting underneath those trees and pouring out my soul through the magic of pen and paper.

I have not focused on writing in my life but I have known it always was a gift. I am not sure if I didn’t have the confidence in my strength or didn’t realize I could have a career with writing. However, for the first time in my life I understand my gift of word more than ever. I understand because of an amazing journey I took in my Senior Leadership class under the wise instruction of my professor, Julie Miller. She opened a window into my strengths and helped me define them. By the way, we all have strengths and I celebrate people who focus on their strengths not their weaknesses. Today, I can go out to the world and define what makes me special, which will help with the job interviews.

I am special because I am a collector of information about people, places, and things. I connect the dots between this information and help people see these connections. I am essentially a storyteller. Each person I meet in my life adds another page to my story. When I see a connection between people, places, things, experiences, or anything I am energized. These connections are so strong I can actually feel people’s sorrow, joy, and anger. These connections help me see a person’s story.

Being the oldest student in my Senior Leadership class I assumed the wise Owl hat. Yesterday, I gave these words of advice to my fellow students who are the future game changers of the world.

“I don’t know if you remember from my vision board but I love trees. I love the tree of life, the tree of knowledge, and family trees. Trees represent strength to me. I love how trees grow, bud and blossom just like each one of us will in our lives. If you look at the rings of the tree you see the history of the world, trees are the storytellers of Mother Nature. Not a day goes by that a tree has not impacted our world and each of us from the oxygen they give off and we breathe in, to the trees that shade us when we walk on campus through the pages of the textbooks where we have learned so much.

In honor of the stories you have shared with me in this class and the fact that I believe each of you will make a great impact on this world, I have purchased a tree in honor of each of your 5 strengths. Arbor Day Foundation will plant 95 trees in celebration of our strengths and us. You have already impacted my world by just being you. Thank you for being a part of my story. And Best wishes on your story.”

My gift to my fellow classmates was a celebration of their strengths. Ninety-Five trees will stand tall like each one of them. Hopefully, if they are ever in doubt of their strengths, they will remember this girl bought them trees because she believed in their strengths so much.

Let me ask you this…Do you celebrate your strengths? Do you know why you are special? If not, I think you should start. We have a world filled with amazing people and I love to hear their stories. Be strong. Be special.

“A nation’s growth from sea to sea stirs in the heart of a tree.” — Henry Bunner

Inspire, Aspire and Motivate My Fire

I AM = Inspire, Aspire and Motivate My Fire

Over a year and half ago one chapter in my life closed. My career with my former employer ended after 15 years of dedication. I didn’t crumble up and die from this experience; I blossomed.

In two weeks another chapter in my life will close. I will walk down the isle for my commencement ceremony and receive a diploma for all my hard work over the last 8 years. I will be sad. I will miss the smell of my new textbooks. I will miss the engaging conservations. I will miss the new discoveries. I will miss the challenges. I will miss the people.

In another month another chapter in my life will close. My roommate, who has become one of my very best friends and has taught me so much, will move to Seattle to follow her dreams. I will be sad. I will miss our engaging conversations. I will miss game nights. I will even miss her cats. I will miss her.

Even though my life is changing again significantly in the upcoming months I will be just fine. This last year and half has been absolutely so amazing as I have been on a path of self-discovery which will continue for the rest of my life. I am absolutely my best self and on the very best path in life for me.

My hope is for everyone I know to live his or her best life and be happy. Happiness doesn’t come from new clothes, a liquor bottle, a cake, or another person. Happiness comes from inside you.

I truly believe we are connected through our humanity. Each and every person I meet in my life, I take a piece of them with me everywhere I go. I admire everyone for their strengths and their struggles. I learn to become a stronger person through you. Each and every person I meet teaches me a little more about life. Yes, you reading this have taught me something. If you want to know what, just ask.

So, thank you my dear friends and family. I enjoy everyday on this journey of life and am glad you are here with me. You help inspire me to aspire and motivate my fire.

I am me because I know you. Thank you for the influence you have had on my life.



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Check out my blog entry I wrote for my f

Check out my blog entry I wrote for my friend Nicolle’s blog.

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Latest Fighting Fat Blog Entry!

My Not So New Mantra, I Will Survive

One year ago this week my life changed.  After 15 years seniority, I was laid off. I had worked for my company (well if you can call it that through buy outs and mergers) since I was 18 years old.  I never had to look for a job before. I grieved because a part of my life was now gone.  I felt rejected and hurt but never any hatred.  It was probably one of the best experiences in my life. It taught me to be a survivor.  Those that have been laid off may understand this, surviving a lay off is a new type of badge of honor.   We survived!  Don’t worry I won’t break out into song, “I Will Survive!

I love to study, observe and learn from people and my own life’s experiences.  Here are some of the things that I have learned about myself and being unemployed.

1.        It’s not me it’s them.   The layoff was not personal.  If I had not been a remote employee, I imagine someone else would have been laid off.

2.       Don’t stay in a job that under utilizes your strengths. 

3.       Material possessions are so over-rated.  Have you seen the movie Keeping Up with the Joneses?  This is my point exactly.  I don’t have to have so much stuff in life.  I need my laptop, IPod, Treadmill, bed, TV and a few essentials.  It was funny, right before I was laid off I was researching new cars. I thought of it as a status symbol, now I think about it as the mode of transportation to get me from point A to point B.  Also, have you seen the newest Volkswagen Jetta commercial where a guy works so many jobs to own 2 cars?  I rather enjoy life then own so much.

4.       Network! Network! Network! I have learned to tell everyone my story and I have met so many fabulous people in the last year.  I still have to meet Susie Sharp and Dave Van Horn yet, and then my life may be complete.

5.       Don’t burn bridges. I was actually commended on my professional manner I handled the acceptance of my lay off.  Maybe my subconscious knew this would become an absolute amazing year in my life.

6.       Manage Stress – Unfortunately, this is one I am still learning. It seems that over the past couple months I have been eating and sleeping more.  But now I have incorporated deep breathing relaxation techniques, exercise and eating right. I am back on track with my healthy lifestyle.

7.       Surround yourself with a support system. I could not have made it through this without my friends, family and new friends. Thank you!

8.       Never stop dreaming; hoping and wishing for the life you want.

9.       I can’t believe how much the job search and dating have in common. I think I could write a book about that.

10.   Love yourself no matter what.  Don’t let a job define you. Define yourself.

I think I have accomplished a lot in my year of unemployment (besides looking for a job).  I write two blogs, although school has been consuming most of my writing time as of late. I was on the Robin Swoboda show. I learned about CrossFit and loved it. I have spent time with family and friends. I have started my book; the idea came to me last February after watching The Soloist. 

And most importantly, I have participated in 3 full-time semesters in school. In January, I will only have 3 classes until I have my degree.  I have been working on my Bachelor’s part-time since 2003.  In May, I will have my Bachelor’s in Public Relations with a minor Communication studies. So, I will be sad to leave Baldwin-Wallace in the spring but as I have come to learn about myself, I will survive.

Here is a favorite quote from one of my favorite guys in the world, Albert Einstein, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” Man, if he was single, alive and on I would wink at him!



PS. Here is my first blog I wrote after my lay off, Less Jess A Whole New World.

Latest Fighting Fat Blog.

Latest Fighting Fat Blog.

Latest Fighting Fat Blog.

Latest Fighting Fat Blog.

The Light is back on at the end of the Tunnel!

The Light is back on at the end of the Tunnel!

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