It’s Jou Life has moved // New site address: itsjoulife.com

It’s Jou Life has moved! New site address:

http://www.itsjoulife.com

It’s Jou Life | a DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

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New It's Jou Life site // https://itsjoulife.com/

Go to our newly remodeled site // itsjoulife.com

 

Friends of Ours.

Hello, and welcome to It’s Jou Life! We’re Wayne and Jennifer, a (relatively) newly wed couple who found love in the most unexpecting place. This is our DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

We started this blog because our family and friends always ask us how we grow our own organic vegetables, what is Wayne woodworking on now, to send over our miso black cod recipe, what snacks stock our pantry, a tutorial on that cute zippered pouch, tips for marathon running, where do we worship, what to bring for a camping trip, what’s Jennifer’s skincare regimen… you get the idea. This is our way to share life’s loves.

Wayne of all trades is an engineer by day and a woodworker/gardener/chef by night. Jennifer is an activist, artist, actress, and an alliterations addict. You would often find us dancing to our own beat, exploring the great outdoors, at home watching Netflix, and hand crafting everything we own. We find the beauty in our every day, with each other, and in the Lord our Savior.

We both live to create with purpose and hopes to inspire. Thank you for joining us as we try to do all things with love. Here is a glimpse into our quirky lives.

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We’ve refreshed and re-launched our It’s Jou Life blog to streamline and create more content that is relevant in our lives.

It’s Jou Life has moved! New site address:

http://www.itsjoulife.com

mourning // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/a-whirlwind-week-racism-love-cancer-weekly-thought

a whirlwind week // racism, love, cancer // weekly thought

mourning // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/a-whirlwind-week-racism-love-cancer-weekly-thought

Last week has been an ever changing rush of feelings–a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts and confusion in response to the chain of events that has happened in our nation. As I try to make sense of it all, tears fill my eyes when I think of those who are suffering  and those who are mourning.

Hatred and racism breeds from places of fear and insecurity. And it’s clear as ever to be reminded we must practice love, empathy, patience and understanding with one another. We must continue to stand with those who are marginalized and oppressed and raise our voices to be heard.


Over the weekend Wayne and I celebrated the marriage union of our good friends, Kelsey and Dave, at an elegant outdoor ceremony in Newport Coast. Their officiant, Pastor Kim, gave a beautiful speech. What resonated with me is his wish for them to keep Christ at the center of their marriage and hearts. That is the perfect advice for a long-lasting marriage. When you have true Union with Christ, that is when you understand what it’s like to have Christ in you and you in Christ that you start asking WWJD and He guides you in life’s decisions with confidence. Just as long as the intense love for Jesus and the gospel is hearts center, the marriage will be just as everlasting. Because God is love.


My heart broke again hearing the shocking news of my high school friend, Chelsey, pass away from breast cancer. She was diagnosed just two months ago and left this world too soon. She was a kind soul with a spark inside her. She is my symbol of hope and strength as she never once questioned her circumstance and was always the foundation for her family. She has a strong community behind her. The outpouring of love and support for her is beautiful. Chelsey–you are dearly missed and your spirit lives on in our hearts. Our thoughts, hearts and prayers are with your family. Please keep her husband and 9-month old daughter in your prayers.

If you know Chelsey from Cerritos High and/or want to help in any way, feel free to donate to her GiveForward page, here. Anything helps.


It’s always difficult to find comfort when we’ve been rattled by violence and tragedy, but it sure is comforting that it’s our community who comes together, looking for hope and healing.

My Transformation Process // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/how-i-deal-with-struggle-weekly-thought

Through my transformation, I excel // Weekly Thought

My Transformation Process // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/how-i-deal-with-struggle-weekly-thought

When I think I am content with life, my earth shakes. I struggle. I fight. I learn. I adapt. I change. Through my transformation, I excel.

Life is never certain, but what I know for sure is that I’ll never have life figured out. It’s ever changing and I’ll continue to adapt and evolve with my experiences. Life is a series of lessons learned and struggle isn’t always a curse. Struggles, whether they’re physical, emotional or intellectual, build character and determine my success and make me uniquely strong.

There are times that I’ve been shoved, stressed and slammed against immovable forces too strong to fight, yet through endurance and the Lord’s strength and His belief in me, I push harder and stand taller every time. It’s about learning to adapt in whatever circumstance I’m in and having the courage to seek opportunity, embrace change and be my best.

Looking back I’m always in wonder how I struggled, fought, learned, adapted and changed. It reminds me I can do anything in life if I put my mind, heart and strength in the Lord. He is the creator of all great things in my life and I owe it to Him for my transformation.

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Image: Jennifer Jou // Half Dome, Yosemite // July 2015

why i write // weekly thought

I have a friend who once asked me why I find my writing so important to me. Why I get the urge to write a letter to myself. Why I have post-it notes with phrases on the back of my phone. Why I analyze and interpret a song, book or movie.

On why I write: I write as my authentic form of creative, self-expression. Reminding me of how I felt at that moment. It immortalizes and serves as my time capsule into my thoughts, my loves, my beliefs, my hopes, my feelings. It’s how I learn from life. It’s an intimate relationship. Feeling my most vulnerable is when I’m most creative. It’s to be understood. I’d liked to look back to what I’ve expressed and be reminded of the fire within me, the obstacles I’ve overcome, the growth I’ve experienced and relenting to the fact that I’m still learning and will never stop changing.

I want to capture all the feels.

2016 // new year… new strengths

2016

This year is already feeling like a momentous year, even more so than 2015. Last year were moments filled with exhilaration, inspiration, discovery and transformation.

Cheers to 2016 – A new year filled with setting daily intentions, welcoming challenges, creating opportunities, a purposeful mindset, developing new strengths, all the while feeling grateful for my every day.

Join me in creating this community cultivating continual growth and happiness!

2015 recap // my transformation

2015

2015 has been a transformative year. I’ve been on a personal and spiritual journey since my epiphany in March. I’m learning what it means to be a follower of Christ and discovering the path to true happiness and contentment. I’ve been challenged physically, intellectually and spiritually. The Lord has opened my eyes to the beauty around me, the fears that have enslaved me and the hunger for life within me.

Throughout 2015 I’ve composed phrases that have sparked compelling thoughts within me, about me.

When I think I am content with life, my earth shakes. I struggle. I fight. I learn. I adapt. I change. Through my transformation, I excel.

Embrace change. I hope I never stop learning and changing.

Happiness isn’t something you capture, it is something you create.

You are far more lost than you ever imagined and you are far more loved than you ever dare hoped.

Stop sleepwalking through life. Do great things with God’s gifts given to you.

 Live and Love with Purpose, Passion and Perseverance.

Pain is mental. Struggles build character. Challenge yourself to be the best you.

Fear is a friend who is misunderstood.

Work hard. Everyday is a new opportunity to be better.

Everything I have and everything that is good in my life is because of Him.

I’m thinking of starting a Weekly Thought to be published every Wednesday. Topics will range from growing up to body image to life’s lessons to passion and everything in between. Hope you stick around to hear what goes on in my brain!

My recap of 2014.

// 2015 photos

Hipster Bentley with homemade mustache cookie

Yosemite view at Cathedral Lakes hike

LACMA Lamps

Seattle city view

Yosemite

Oregon coast at sunset

Kauai

Succulents at Terranea

Wildlife Deer at Yosemite Valley

Merry Christmas // the greatest gift

 

As 2015 winds down to an end, I can’t believe what blessings this year has brought to us. I love this time of year and spending time with loved ones. Aside from giving and receiving presents, the greatest gift of all is the birth of Christ. He’s brought renewal to my life and I’ve been changed for the better.

Wayne and I wish you and your families a joyful holiday wrapped with warmth, touched with blessings and filled with love. Hope to see you all sometime soon in the near year!

Merry Christmas!

PCC_Choir

My church, Pacific Crossroads Church in downtown LA

norwegian wood, a novel by haruki murakami // reads

norwegian wood

It was natural for me to be drawn to this book – Beatles song title + vintage printed cover. Just like the opening line of the song, “I once had a girl / Or should I say, she once had me,” is the premise of a serious boy who falls in love with an introspective girl and are both changed forever.

Once in a while I come across a book that gives me all the #feels. Insert: Norwegian Wood, a dark romantic coming-of-age novel. I felt it all: tragedy, hope, eroticism, laughs and love. Marukami is a master at introspective #mood. His words come easily, yet his thoughts are profoundly complex and ignite perspectives.

This novel touched my hearts in many places. It evoked memories of past loves, love lost and love found. I empathized with the character’s feelings of unbearable sadness, sexual desires and thirst for love. It provoked thoughts that genuinely honest friendships are just as special as romantic relationships. Love comes in various forms of relationships in life. We all yearn for the sweet embrace of another. It’s the emotional connection, the human touch that we long for in relationships. The special relationships that Toru has formed with Naoko and Midori may be unconventional, but make perfect sense. They’ve played a pivotal role in each other’s lives and changed it for the better.

I’m officially addicted and Norwegian Wood is the gateway book to all things-Murakami.

Memorable Moments

Hurting someone you love. “No, we weren’t lovers, but in a way we had opened ourselves to each other even more deeply than lovers do. The thought caused me a good deal of grief. What a terrible thing is it to wound someone you really care for – and to do it so unconsciously.”

Being remembered. “I want you to remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?”

Love leaving a mark. “I’ll never forget you. I could never forget you.”

“I never met a girl who thinks like you.”

Being vulnerable with love. “When you fall in love, the natural thing is to give yourself to it. That’s what I think. It’s just a form of sincerity.”

When love heals. “What happens to people when they open their hearts? They get better.”

Connecting with that special person. “I have left a wound inside you, it is not just your wound but mine as well.”

On trying to relate and understand another. “So what’s wrong if there happens to be one guy in the world who enjoys trying to understand you?”

On being a gentleman. “A gentleman is someone who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do.”

Don’t feel sorry. “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.”

Missing that special person. “I have a million things to talk to you about. All I want in this world is you. I want to see you and talk. I want the two of us to begin everything from the beginning.”

On reading. “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

Why some kids lack the tenacity to excel in life. “They can’t take it any further. And why not? Because they won’t put in the effort. Because they haven’t had the discipline pounded into them. They’ve been spoiled. They have just enough talent so they’ve been able to play things well without any effort and they’ve had people telling them how great they are from the time they’re little, so hard work looks stupid on them…The trick to teaching children like that is not to praise them too much. They’re so used to praise it doesn’t mean anything to them. You’ve got to dole it out wisely. And you can’t force anything on them. You have to let them choose for themselves. And you don’t let them rush ahead from one thing to the next: you make them stop and think. But that’s about it. If you do those things, you’ll get good results.”

Being busy. “I really couldn’t blame Midori for being mad. What with all the moving and fixing up and working for extra cash, I had never given her a second thought. Not even Naoko had crossed my mind the whole time. This was nothing new for me. Whenever I got involved in something, I shut out everything else.”

Being perfectly lonely. “Nobody likes being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment.”

I can’t wait until I get my next Murakami fix. Any recommendations?

Pets // Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Happy Adoption Anniversary, Bentley! Now, how old are you, REALLY?

Crazy to believe it’s already been over a year since we rescued our furkid through Wags and Walk’s pop-up event at The Grove. Read that post here. Wayne and I were both first-time dog owners and weren’t exactly sure what to expect, except that we both share the love of furry friends, wanted to adopt and were ready to be responsible dog owners.

Who Rescued Who? When we thought we were rescuing Bentley through adoption, it turns out it is he who rescued us.

Be social and meet new friends: Bentley has a social life worthy of a Kardashian (minus the drama + selfies). We are normally reserved individuals and keep to ourselves, but we are now more social with others in the community because Bentley insists on saying hello to every person and dog we pass by. He encouraged us to talk to other dog owners and (surprise!) we’ve met a handful of people that we genuinely like and hang out with.

He’s Just Like Us! Some say dogs take after their owners and Bentley’s personality mirrors ours. He’s calm, yet alluring. Friendly, yet selective. Brilliant and Behaved. Loyal and Lovable. Helps others and believes in the best in people. He’s the type of dog that if you tell once to not jump on the bed or couch, he won’t do it again. When the 6am alarm goes off, he quietly walks over and waits for us to wake up for his sunrise walk. There are times he’s already wide awake before 6am, just staring at us, waiting patiently for us to wake up.

#neighborhoodwatch: Bentley walks at least three miles a day—sunrise, afternoon and night. We’re more aware of our surroundings in the community and alert security if anything is out of the ordinary. We joke that we’re the unofficial neighborhood watch, but it’s true. We also appreciate the beautiful weather that Southern California offers. Love our city.

Patience + Trust + Faith: Bentley taught us about life and basic human interactions–patience, trust, faith. When we first got Bentley, he was reactive to other dogs and may have been traumatized. After weeks of reading about shelter dogs and YouTubing the Dog Whisperer dog-training videos, we implemented what we learned. But what worked most was having pure patience and truly trusting him. With time he realized we’re his home and won’t abandon him. Trust and Faith go hand in hand. In order to trust, you have to have faith he’ll do the right thing. In order to have faith, you have to trust in the unseen and let go. Not knowing what to expect he’d do without a watchful eye, the first week we crated him while we were at work. We soon realized this dog is special–he’s understanding, obedient and smart. We took that leap of faith, trusted in him  and let him roam freely around (without supervision!) Guess what, he didn’t destroy our home! To this day, he remains crate-free in our home.

Responsibility: Caring for Bentley is a big commitment. Beyond his 3-mile a day walks and feeding him on time, we brush his teeth + fur, wash him weekly, doctor visits, bake him healthy treats, plan our events and travels around his care and carve out time in our day to play fetch and have cuddle time. It’s because we want him to live a fulfilled and comfortable life. He’s our four-legged kid. Despite all the responsibilities that come with pet ownership, he also brings us immense joy.

Unconditional Love: No matter how long the workday is or challenges faced it’s always wonderful to come home to this delightful ball of fur. Just look at his smile and expressive eyes. He is always happy to see us and I’m surprised his tail hasn’t fallen off from wagging it so furiously. He always runs to us when we come through the door, follows us around from room to room, falls asleep everywhere wherever we are, waits patiently as we cook in the kitchen, senses our emotions and pleases in every way he can.

Bentley’s Purpose in Life: We’re convinced his purpose in life is to be a therapy dog and volunteer at children’s hospitals and convalescent homes. His has a calming demeanor, smart, uses his barks wisely and brings joy to all those who meet him.

He captured our hearts.

We’ve been truly lucky to have met this gentle creature through adoption. Much like humans, every animal has a story and just wants to love and be loved. Although we don’t know Bentley’s history, how old he is (vet thinks he’s six) or what he’s been through, we love him. What’s the secret? To have faith, patience, good intention, love and trust on your side.

It was love at first sight. We followed our hearts to want to save this pup and turns out he’s the one that saved us.

Cheers to many more years of learning, living and loving.

About Wags & Walks

Wags and Walks is a non-profit animal rescue organization based in Los Angeles. We’ve gotten to know founder, Lesley, and her team, and Wags and Walk is a wonderful organization serving with a purpose. Lesley’s passion for animals is undeniable and as a daughter of a vet, she left a comfortable, successful career to start this organization because so many animals are euthanized due to overpopulation in the shelters. Their mission and core values: choosing good, family-friendly dogs based on temperament rather than breed. Get involved. Adopt, foster, or donate. Together we can change the world, one dog at a time…

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

meet lesley + bentley

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Who Rescued Who? One-Year Recap of Dog Adoption // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jq

Thank You for My Every Day

Thank You for My Every Day // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jg

Yosemite // July 2015

Thank you for my Every Day.

Thank you for my first breath this morning.

Thank you for giving me my two legs to do the things that I love.

As easy as it is to get caught up in the busyness of life and its demands, I always start out my day with this daily prayer. It’s my breath of fresh air. My morning coffee. My Me Time.

It not only calms my heart, opens my mind and sets my day for what lies ahead, but a constant reminder of the fragility of life. It’s being thankful for the simple daily pleasures as waking up to another beautiful day, loving and being loved and physically able to live life.

The Lord has truly blessed me with an eventful 2015 year filled with new adventures, new loves, new friendships, new happiness, new chances and new challenges. It is He who gives me the strength, the power, the courage to push myself beyond my limits.

Thank You, Lord, for my Every Day.