“Though we may know Him by a thousand names, He is one and the same to us all.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Today I share something deeply personal in an effort to bring an understanding to a shift that you’ll be witnessing soon.
Jennifer Ann Parlin
Jennifer Ann Lohn
Jennifer Ann Johnson
Jennifer Ann Brentano
Four seemingly different names, yet they have all belonged to me. Even though I’ve lived all four of those names and they’ve belonged to me, I never fully released myself to them. They’ve absolutely served their purpose and I have no regrets in having the names and the lessons and gifts I’ve been given with them. For me, however, it’s time to move forward and in so doing, that means embracing fully a name that I resonate and connect with, a name that I feel drawn and called to take as my own, a name that so deeply embraces me and we are connected as one.
I’m guessing that many of us have never even considered our name or the connection to it, or lack thereof. I think, for the most part, it’s just not something we consider. For me, as I’m diving into myself deeper and deeper and then sharing that with you more and more, I’m realizing that the truth of who I am is the totality of me and if my name isn’t a reflection of that self, especially due to a last name given through a marriage I’m no longer a part of, then I want to have something I can call my own.
Growing up, I’ve always felt a deep connection to my Uncle Jimmy. When I close my eyes and think about the Christmas song “Silent Night”, I can still hear his voice. He was the only man I knew to sing it the way he did and I learned how to harmonize naturally through listening to him. When I was young, at all of our holiday gatherings, you could find me snoodled next to Uncle Jimmy on the couch. As a child I knew there was something special about him. I always felt safe, loved, and understood when I was with him.
I realize now, nearly 7 years after his untimely too early transition, that although I wasn’t in a space to receive it yet, he always believed in me and saw me as who I’d become. Every now and then he would encourage me to look at a situation from another viewpoint or push me to choose a different response. I didn’t realize that he saw the light and potential in me that I never saw in myself. Looking back, I can see through his words and actions, his encouragement was from a knowing there was something more.
My Uncle Jimmy passed away 2 1/2 years before I would have my “lightbulb moment” and realization of the truth of who I am. And even though he’s gone physically, I can feel him with me often. As I’m writing to you now, I can feel his warmth and see his gentle yet wide grin as he lights up the room. He never demanded your attention but when he walked into a room, he had a way about him that commanded it. He was a deeply fascinating and inspiring man. The best part about my Uncle…he wasn’t perfect and he not only knew it, but admitted it and he loved himself and his life anyway. He had his share of mistakes and mess ups…some bigger than others…yet he knew to learn from them, let them go, move on and embrace what life has to offer.
In the few years before his transition, he feel deeply in love with his life, was focused on the things that mattered most, and fell in love with an amazing woman. He lived simply, yet abundantly and enjoyed each moment as they came to him. He knew how to build relationships and always enjoyed connecting with others. He knew how to share his wisdom in a non-assuming and non-threatening way. When you were with him, you knew you were the one that mattered most.
It is because of all of these reasons and many more that I’ve decided to take his middle name, Grant, as my last name. It was officially changed through the courts last year and now I am in the process of changing my personal records and various accounts. You will start seeing this transition take place and because of that, I wanted to share with you. This was a deeply personal and lengthy decision for me. As you can imagine changing something like this isn’t taken lightly – especially for a speaker and writer. I’ve built my entire business using Brentano as my last name. All of that changes now as I move forward. For me, this signifies the belief I have in myself, for the first time. I am now standing on my feet, doing what I love, confident in the voice and the message that I share. And with that, I have a last name I feel excited and proud to call my own!
What this means going forward…nothing. The only thing that changes is my name. My message, my love, my gifts and service to others all remains the same. Of course if you aren’t sure or have questions, please reach out to me. I’m here to serve you and love you and I always look forward to connecting!!
Sending you so much love!!!
Make a Difference . . . Lead with Love