Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Natural Human Instinct

My dad was white.
My mom was black.
But I didn't know it.

I was young, maybe 6 or 7. I remember being in a store with Mom, and seeing 2 men talking. We were close enough to hear them talking. I couldn't tell you the exact conversation that was had between them. I remember the look on my mom's face. It was not her normal happy and ambitious face. She had a look of disappointment and a little sadness. I didn't know why. She wouldn't tell me.

Later that night sitting around the dinner table, my parents were talking. Ian ate happily, but I couldn't help but try to listen. I looked back and forth at their lips, trying to catch what they were talking about. I don't remember the exact conversation, but I do remember knowing she was talking about the two men. My mother said something about how one man was "black." I was confused.

Mom, what does a "black man" mean? 

They looked at me, then each other. My daddy simply said, "It just means his skin is darker. That's all."

Oh. 

Then he said, "Mom is black, too!"

I was confused. I looked at my mom, then back at my dad. "She is?" I looked at my mom again. All I could see was who she was: my mom. The person who did my hair in the morning. The one who took me to school. The one who made this dinner.
Then she said, "Yup, and Dad is white. His skin is lighter." I looked at my dad. "He is?" My dad: my protector, the one who fixes teeth, the one who makes me laugh, the one read me stories before I went to bed.

They were different.
But that didn't stop them from loving each other.

...

In my family, there is a variety of diversity. We have members who are white, black, Kurdish, and Filipino. We have members who are adopted. My mother's mother is white, her father is black. Her siblings are half. Some married people who are white. One uncle married a beautiful woman who is Vietnamese.  

Yet there is still love.

Differences doesn't cause hate.
Fear, ego, and pride causes hate.

As a child, I didn't see a difference between my parents skin color. I just loved them for who they were: my parents.

Love is the human natural instinct. Hatred is fed. We don't naturally hate differences. We are attracted to them.

Hatred happens when it is said that different is bad.
Love happens when it is said that different is okay.

Hatred happens when it is said, "I am better!"
Love happens when it is said, "We are the same."

Hatred happens when it is said, "What's in it for me?"
Love happens when it is said, "How can I help you?"

With everything happening right now, where diversity is feared, where race fight against each other, when human fight against human, where fear fight love, where pride and ego fight humility and patience, it can be hard to find peace.

Perhaps, we just need to start where it's easiest: in the home.
Love your family. Love your friends. Love them for their insecurities. Love them for their imperfections. Love them for their strengths. Love them for their influence. Love yourself for your flaws and strengths.

Love is not a verb. It is a noun. It is something we do. It is something we practice.

Christ said, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, with all thy mind... and love thy neighbor as thyself" (Luke 10:27).

There are 3 relationships mentioned in this verse:
1. The Lord
2. Your neighbor
3. Yourself

Your neighbor is your family. Your neighbor your brother and sister, your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins. Your neighbor is the Black, the White, the Kurdish, the Filipino, the Asian, the Muslim. Your neighbor is the guy who wasn't paying attention and put a dent in your car. Your neighbor is the person that made you feel absolutely worthless today. You neighbor is your teacher. Your neighbor is the one that's the same as you. Your neighbor is the one that's different from you. You are expected to love them as you love yourself.

So how do you love yourself? Do you really love yourself? How you view yourself is how you're going to view your neighbor.

I think Heavenly Father knew that we needed support from each other. I think Heavenly Father allows specific people to be families together, friends to find each other, strangers to cross paths, because he knows that the love we can have for each other can support us through fear and tribulations. I think he knew there would be differences. I think he knew we have the ability to look pass differences, and look for the similarities.

If we really looked, we'd find more similarities.
Differences simply enhances our uniqueness.
We are different.
But we can still love one another.


They were different. 
                                            But that didn't stop them from loving each other.


We are a result of love. 


If we really looked, we'd find more similarities. 
Differences simply enhances our uniqueness. 


Power within Insecurities

It was late.
My husband was sound asleep, and knowing that he would be waking up in just a couple of hours for work, I didn't want to wake him. My heart was pounding, my breathing was shallow, and my body would not calm down. My panic attack was taking over my mind, it started imagining the worse. 

What are the worse possible things that could happen with this new job? The worse thing could be that no one will like me. Maybe I won't be good enough. Maybe I won't be able to keep up with all the responsibilities that I am going to be putting on my shoulders. 

What some people may not realize about panic attacks, especially those attacks that accompany PTSD, is that expecting the worse is not always pessimism. It's not easy to just "flip the switch." It just is. It's how the mind is processing information. It's not accurate, it's biased, and it perceives the bias as truth. And so at this moment, I felt like every possible thing that could go wrong would go wrong, and that was just how it was going to be.  

During these attacks, it's like there are 2 versions of myself: Logical Jensen that knows that this is ridiculous and Emotional Jensen who can't process anything at the moment. They were arguing with each other. It was something like this:

LJ: Jensen, seriously? You can't expect to be perfect the first time.
EJ: You don't get it! If I don't, I'll get fired!
LJ: Yes, but Jensen, you were picked to do this job, which is saying something.
EJ: BUT WHAT IF I FAIL!?
LJ: Then it's not the end of the world. You've been through worse. BELIEVE ME.
EJ: (Not processing what LJ says) I need to know everything before August 22... I need to do (start making unrealistic list..) 
LJ: ...
EJ: THE WORLD IS ENDING!!! 

And hence the 2 Jensens argued with each other, and I just listened to the thoughts. That's normally how it goes. 

But this time was different. As I thought of all the worse things that could possibly happen, as I thought of all my fears, as I listed every insecurity that I have, a thought came into my head. This thought definitely did not come from the 2 Jensens. It was as if it interrupted the argument. It was clear and distinct. It said,

"Your biggest insecurities and fears are hidden strengths the Adversary does not want you to remember. Your insecurities are blocks that prevent you from understanding the power that you have."  

...

What if our insecurities and fears about ourselves are hidden strengths we once had, and we have to remember them? 

What if we took our insecurities and instead of being afraid of them, we conquered them? 

What if our insecurities are blocking us from the greatest thing that we can do for ourselves? 

Everyone has talents and gifts that they are supposed to use to accomplish amazing things. The Adversary knows that. So, he tells us, "You can't do it. You're definitely not good enough. And seriously, look at yourself. What could you possibly contribute?" The funny thing is, he makes it seem so true. So, instead of pushing ourselves, we listen. He uses fear to limit us.

Or worse.

He uses apathy and laziness. 

Why develop hidden talents when there's Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or even Pokemon Go? (Humor... it's ok to laugh!) Looking at these take time away from you. Instead of developing talents or conquering insecurities, we watch other people live their lives through their photos. We play mindless games. 
These things are not bad. 
But how much time do we spend?

If he can get us to not care, if he can get us to be apathetic, if he can get us to become clueless about the power that we have within ourselves, then he has won. 

In a world where so much negativity is happening, where there is so much hatred, be a light. 
...  

Think about your insecurities. What makes you view them as insecurities? Is it how you look? Is it that you don't feel like you are capable?
Change that. Try thinking the opposite.

Think about your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Is it to develop talents? Is it to accomplish a dream? Is it even just to be a little bit better everyday?
What are you going to do to get there? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to gain? 

Change the way you think. 

It's so easy to just give in. It's so easy to give up. It's so easy to do nothing. Sometimes, we may feel like we need some huge change to happen to help us develop and grow. Sometimes, we may think that we need obstacles and challenges. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Turn a weakness into a strength. Change an insecurity into a power.  

  


http://favim.com/image/3760873/



Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Strength of a Sea Turtle

H O L A from Puerto Vallarta!

***

As my husband and I were walking along the beach, I looked down and saw what looked like a black rock. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a baby sea turtle! At first, it appeared that it wasn't moving. I believed it was dead, having been sitting in the sand for who knows how long. But then I realized that it moved its head ever so slightly. It was alive!

Those who know me know that I am a sucker for animals. I picked it up and kept staring and staring. A boat watcher who had noticed us came up. He asked if it was a turtle, and we said yes. He took the turtle from my hands and inspected it, then shook his head, and said, "He will probably die."

I asked if we could just put it in the ocean. He proceeded to explain to us that the turtle had to find the sea on its own. The mother turtle makes its nest, then leaves. The baby turtles hatch and they use their flippers to find the waves of the ocean, which does two things for them:

1. The turtles have a sort of "built-in compass," which leads them to the ocean. They have to learn how to use that "compass," not only to find the ocean, but also to know how to find the land again once they reach the ocean.

2. By making their way to the ocean, they strengthen their flippers, which enables them to be able to swim in the ocean for the rest of their lives.

"If we were to put the turtle into the ocean for it," the man concluded, "it will die, because it has to learn to do use its strength on its own."

I looked up to the sky. There were seagulls flying everywhere. If we left it, the sea turtle was dinner for sure. I resolved to stay with the turtle until one of two things happened: it truly did die, or it began to move. It wouldn't take THAT long, right?

WRONG.

Jacob and I sat with that turtle for HOURS. For a majority of that time, the turtle barely did anything. When we would feel that it was a goner, it would move its head, as if to say, "I'm still here. Don't leave."

We tried to think of ways to help it. The turtle just had to do a downward slope away from the beating waves. It was SO CLOSE. We used our goggles as a bucket to pour some water on it as an incentive for the turtle. It seemed to work. The more we poured, the more it moved, even if it was slowly.

It killed me a little, knowing the ocean was so close and the turtle was so tired. All it needed to do was move its flippers. All it needed to do was move just a little bit further. I found myself trying to cheer it on, even though it didn't understand me, nor did I know if it really was aware that we were there, rooting for it. It seemed to me that all it could notice was how far away the ocean seemed with its limited experience.

At one point, Jacob picked up the turtle and took it into the ocean to let it see what it was missing. In the water, the turtle moved its flippers constantly. He held it in his hand, allowing it to move its muscles before returning back to the land and said, "Now you know! You've been there! Now come on and move!"

I won't lie and say that at that moment, the turtle started flipping his way ceremoniously and flawlessly into the water. It took a while longer, perhaps an hour or so. But being in the water did something to that turtle. Maybe it realized his flippers were mobile, maybe the magic touch of the water gave him life, or maybe he was just tired of being on the land, I don't know. But it began to MOVE! And not just its bobbing head. It moved all of its flippers, pushing its way to the waves, being washed up into the ocean.

Sometimes life seems so daunting. Unfigureoutable. We strive and survive on goals. When we don't have goals, we don't have a purpose, and when we don't have a purpose, we are stagnant. When we are stagnant, sometimes we can feel stuck or lost.

Sometimes, we have a goal and a purpose, and we get started, like the little sea turtle, but then we get beat down and tired. We are surrounded by a variety of things that may try to stop us or beat us. Sometimes it's outside sources, things that are beyond our control, and sometimes, it's ourselves and our inability to see the big picture.

When my parents and brothers died, a lot of doubt and struggles developed. Suddenly, the life that I had pictured in my head and the goals that I had set to achieve were completely changed. They were taken out of the life that I had planned, and suddenly I had to change my way of thinking. Days when I beat myself up because I don't feel that I am doing good enough or days when the doubts and struggles began to cloud my mind would overtake me, and when I would try to look towards my goal or make new goals seemed impossible and too out of reach, like the ocean for the sea turtle.

Sometimes I wonder who is watching me, who is cheering me on? Who is saying, "You know! You've been there! Now come on and move!"? Sometimes I find that I am so caught in the hardship of trials that I forget that there are others, both here and on the other side, rooting for me. Trials are the exercises required to strengthen our faith. Muscles cannot be developed if they don't experience resistance. Faith cannot be strengthened without our trials.

I think Heavenly Father knows that. It would be so easy for him to pick us up and put us where we are supposed to be. But without the trials that push us in that direction, we don't develop the abilities or the gifts to do what we are meant to do. Instead of succeeding, we would crumble. Challenges motivates us. The easiness of the way does nothing for us. He gives us a taste of the best that is to come, motivating us to keep trudging along. As we endure. we get closer and closer to our goals that appear to be so out of reach.

The real strength does not come from the TRIAL, but rather, from our REACTION to the trial. We strengthen ourselves through our endurance. Doubt and anger keep us stagnant, while pressing forward with dignity, understanding, and purpose moves us forward. The way is vast, but the end is sweet, and the journey is for us to make.

Put one foot in front of the other.



Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Letter for a Mother- A Mother's Day post


Dear Mom,

I cried a little this morning when I woke up. I wasn't sure why I was at first. Then I realized it's Mother's Day. It's like my body and brain automatically respond to these things.

It's not that Mother's Day makes it any harder. I don't miss you any more than I missed you yesterday, last week, or 2 years ago. It's just more of an emphasis of just how much I miss you. Mother's Day is here, and I can't physically tell you how much I appreciate you.

Everywhere, people are posting pictures of their moms. I never did that when you were alive. Selfies weren't as popular. Now the only pictures that I can use are old ones from 5 years ago, because you never liked having your picture taken. You didn't think you looked good in pictures, which was ridiculous, because you were so beautiful.

People post their pictures and statuses. But I feel that me doing that wouldn't do justice. Posting statuses about how much I miss you is not going to bring you back, nor will posting pictures. No amount of likes will bring you back. And that's hard.

I'm jealous of those who get to hug their mom today and give them flowers and candies. I'm jealous of those who will sit around the dinner table with their mom. I'm jealous of those who will talk to their mom face to face, or even over the phone. Even a text to and from you would be awesome.

I wonder why you had to leave, Mom. Why you had to go so soon. I think it's because you were too lovely for this world. Or at least, that's what I choose to believe. You were too wonderful and lovely for this world, and so you were able to return early. I see those pictures and memes that say, "I'll be lucky to be half as great as my mother is." I feel like I have a lot to measure up to.

I don't get to tell you face to face how much I love you, but I feel like I feel it more. Every day that I don't see you, every day I learn something new as a new wife, every time I think about the future, I gain a little more appreciation for you that I wouldn't have had otherwise, nor what most people my age will understand. You see, because I don't see you, my heart learns a little bit more what love is. It's hope. Hope for the future, hope to be able to see you again. It's the anticipation of seeing you, Dad, and the boys again. It's understanding that love is more than Facebook posts and pictures. It's holding one close to the heart, remembering and appreciating even the little things, like your hugs and kisses and voice.

I don't get to see you today, nor will I see you for a while. In the meantime, I will hold you in my heart and love you the best I can.

Love,

Your Daughter


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Our Saturdays- An Easter Message

Though I have always loved it, the meaning of Easter just never hit home for me until the Easter of 2014, just a month and a half after they died. I remember being in church, listening to all the lessons and testimonies of the Savior and his Atonement, tears streaming down my eyes, trying to hide my sniffles and still my shoulders. I was broken. I was still in pieces. But those testimonies lifted my soul that day, reminding me that there was still a hope to come.

That day I realized Easter is my new favorite holiday, because it is more than just a holiday. It is what I believe to be the most important event that ever happened in the history of the world; when every bad thing that had ever happened or ever would happen was made up for, when every mistake became forgivable, when every soul had the ability to hope.

Like everyone else, I’ve been reflecting a lot about the Atonement this week. Last night, I could not sleep. My mind was running, I was tossing and turning, walking about the house, trying to make myself tired. It wasn’t working, so I decided to listen to the scriptures. I read in Matthew and read about the institution of the first sacrament, the suffering in Gethsemane, the mocking and scourging, the crown of thorns on his head, the purple robe upon his shoulders, the whipping scars on his back, the nails in his wrists, hands, and feet, his final utterance. Friday.

I read about the women at the sepulcher, the angels guarding it, the apostles seeing Christ, His last few days on Earth before he ascended to Heaven. Sunday.

But what about Saturday? What happened Saturday?

I searched and read. I read all the 4 gospels. I couldn’t find anything about Saturday except for the fact that the chief priest demanded that guards be set about the tomb to ensure that nobody steal Christ’s body and claim he was risen. Nothing much is said about the disciples, what they did or what they thought.

I think when we think about the Atonement, it’s easy to remember the Friday because things that needed to happen were still so awful. We think about all the Savior went through for us. We are in awe that he would suffer so much for us because he loves us so much. Sunday is easy to talk about because that’s when the glorious resurrection happened, when He overcame death and His work was finished, and we know that we will also resurrect.

But what about Saturday??

My parents, Keegan, and Liam were all buried on a Friday. It was one of the hardest things I have ever experience, and I daresay ever will experience. Friday was packed with so many events, so many people, and though it is nothing compared to Christ’s last Friday, it was my own “last Friday,” the hardest Friday I ever had to live through. From closing their caskets for the final time, to the military gunshot blown at the cemetery, my body was there but my mind was elsewhere. It was all surreal.

The following Saturday was the strangest Saturday. I did not know why things happened, where I was going to go, what we as a family were going to do. Saturday, I realized that the hard part was over, and there were no more schedules, no more things to do. Now, I had to start getting on my feet. Once again, I felt I was in limbo.

I can only speak for myself, but I wonder if it was similar for Christ’s disciples; those thoughts of “What do we do now?” “Where do we go?” “How do we go on?”

I heard someone say recently something that really stuck my heart. It was a woman at a conference that I was blessed to speak at and be a part of. She quoted her son, “Everyone has a 10 to overcome.” Sometimes, we get hit with a “Friday,” where we hit a 10 on our level of hardship and the trial is unbearable, when the struggle is so unreal it becomes an out-of-body- experience. And then, when the event is over, our life transition into a “Saturday.”

I am still in the “Saturday” of my life.

Life is more often than not like those “Saturdays.” When something hard happens, after we have reached our 10, and we can’t go on, and we don’t know how to go on even though we know we are supposed to. Sometimes, between the trial and the triumph, we are in limbo, and it is during those “Saturdays” that is where our true nature is put to the test; do we doubt, or do we go forward with faith? Some days are more hopeful than other days, and some are more doubtful. Sometimes we go along our way fine, and sometimes we fall and cry.

But the beautiful things about Fridays and Saturdays is that they are always followed by Sundays. Christ appeared to those who loved him most as a glorious being that following Sunday. He showed them that “[he had] overcome the world” (John 16:33). He showed he completed his work, and that this Sunday was the reason he had to experience his Friday and Saturday. “Sundays” are meant to overcome the hardships and mistakes of “Fridays” and “Saturdays.” We get to start over. We get to look forward to a new beginning.  

I quote Jeffery R. Holland, a leader of the LDS church, where he says, “Easter Sunday always come after crucifixion Friday, never the other way around… Good things happen even after very, very difficult hours. You are evidence that happiness happens. The answer is through some suffering and some tears, but finally a victorious ending.”

Our “Fridays” will be hard, and our “Saturdays” may be filled with questions. And the beautiful thing about our “Sundays” is that everything will make sense. We will understand why everything happened the way they did, and the “Sundays” will make up for everything terrible that ever happened.  


Easter is more than a holiday. It’s a life changing event. It is the reason we can get through our hard “Fridays,” our limbo “Saturdays,” and the reason to look forward to our blessed “Sundays.” 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Through the Deaf's Eyes

Question: What does it mean to be deaf or hard-of-hearing?

Answer: Simple. It means you can’t hear.

Question: What it is like being deaf or hard-of-hearing?


Answer: Simple. It’s like being a goldfish. It’s like being a goldfish in a bowl. It’s watching everything and feeling like being in a different dimension, always having to watch, always needing to be aware. It’s knowing that lips are moving, and hearing gibberish. It’s tired eyes and headaches. It’s being denied repeated answers with “Neverminds” and “Don’t worry about its.” It’s being on an island among foreigners. It’s laughing at the old jokes with a five to ten second delay. It’s wondering if they are whispering about you. It’s when the first thing you notice about a person is their lips, then the crookedness of their teeth. It’s training your brain to recognize the shape of the lips and the placement of the tongue. It’s a strategy. It’s repetition. It’s keeping your eyes closely engaged in the conversation, watching back and forth between people, like a tennis ball in the court, the words being tossed from mouth to mouth, then laughter. It’s forcing a laugh when you realize they are laughing. It’s nodding as if you understand what is going on when nothing makes sense. It’s feeling like a fool when you nod at the wrong thing. It’s shaking your head quickly when you realize you nodded at the wrong thing. It’s preferring quiet to loud, light to dark, simple to complex. It’s finding contentment within your own realm. It’s normal. It’s simple, really.   

Monday, February 15, 2016

Logged-In

Dear Social Media,

I was caught into your trap before I realized it. In fact, my mind was sucked into your world back when I was young. I won't forget.

It started with a movie. "The Parent Trap," the one with Lindsey Lohan. I remember thinking the evil woman who wanted to marry the dad for his money was beautiful.

Ironic, right? But it was true. She had blonde hair and deep blue eyes. She was tall, and had a perfect figure. I looked at her, then I looked at myself. I was brown-all-around: brown eyes, brown hair, brown skin. For some reason, seeing this movie caused me to notice myself more. It was just a start. It didn't consume my mind, but it opened my eyes.

In middle school, self-consciousness became more apparent. Braces+new glasses= double whammy. My best friend wore cute flats and fun tops and short skirts. I wore T-shirts and jeans and tennis shoes. Her hair was long and straight. My hair was above the shoulders and tight curly. She had blue-green eyes. I had brown eyes. She had boyfriends. I did not.
My best friend introduced me to the world known as SHOPPING. That's when I discovered the magazines. I flipped pages. I noticed clothes. I noticed advertisements. I noticed the "Ins" and the "Outs." I was introduced to mascara and foundation.
You made me feel like I needed these things to be beautiful.
I bought into it.

High School came along. Technology began to develop more efficiently, and with that, your influence. Now there was more texting, and more online entertainment. Facebook developed to keep in contact with people. YouTube developed for entertainment and learning. I was hooked to both.
I got on because you convinced me.

Then, it was pictures. So many pictures. So many perfections. So many things to catch up on, so many things to become equal to.
Pictures.
Challenges.
Quizzes.
Advertisements.
Selfies.
Haircuts.
Weight loss.
Weight gain.
Makeup.
Sexiness.
Beauty.
Ins.
Outs.
Development.
Memes.
Politics.
Comparisons.
So many comparisons.

And the more I looked, the more I wanted. The more I wanted, the less I loved what I had. The less I loved what I had, the less I lived in my world. The less I lived in my world, the more I was sucked into your world of unrealistic, un-achievable, perfect world. The more I was sucked into your world, the less I loved my own world. My real world. My beautiful world.
I was never enough. Not tall enough. Not shaped-up enough. Not angular enough. Not bold enough. Not quiet enough. Not white enough. Not brown enough. Not talented enough. Not brave enough. Not enough.
It consumed me.

Dear Social Media,

No matter where I am at or who I am with, I suppose I'm supposed to take a picture.
No. I'm not expected to. I just feel inclined to.
I snap a selfie and expose myself to millions of people all around the world, where anyone and everyone can judge me.
I take pictures of my husband, and say #besthusbandever as if the world needs to know, as if the world is the source of approval, as if a LIKE is code for "I APPROVE OF THIS PICTURE." And if no one LIKES my picture, there is something wrong.
I take a picture, and you say, "Let everyone know your location!" No privacy anymore. And I became okay with that.
I take picture of food now. FOOD!
For approval??  


Dear Social Media,

The first thing I do when I wake up is get on my phone and log myself into your world. My husband lay next to me, waiting for me to get off, and checks his own phone.
Throughout the day, when I am tired of my world, I log into an unrealistic world to make sure I haven't missed anything.
I am on autopilot. I am logged in before I realize that I am logging in.
My husband is talking to me, and my eyes on looking at your world. My ears hear him, but my mind is on you.
I am talking to my husband, and his eyes are on his phone. While he's doing that, I decide I might as well log-in again.
I'm with my best friends, and we sit on the couch next to each other, individual screens up close in our faces, texting friends who are not with us, checking Facebook statuses of friends who are not with us, not fully allowing us to enjoy the company that is in the same room.
I'm with family members. We watch YouTube videos for fun and entertainment, instead of going outside to enjoy the sun and converse with each other.
You are everywhere.

And it's ridiculous.
I don't want to keep up with it anymore. I don't want to be logged-in.

It was never about me, about how I feel, about making me feel good. It was about your growth and expansion, all the while tearing into me, changing me, adjusting me to what you believe is good, what you believe in appropriate, what you believe is perfect.

You're always changing, and becoming so far from realism that it is impossible for me to catch up.

 
Dear Social Media,

It's time for a break. I will not waste my time anymore.

You'll keep growing and progressing rapidly. You'll continue to be updated.

I'll keep growing and progressing at my own pace. I'll discover my own life and beauty.

Sincerely,
Jens