• books,  Uncategorized,  writing

    Why I’m Changing my Name

    In a little over a month my book, Beautiful Feet: Unleashing Women to Everyday Witness will be released with InterVarsity Press.  Though I’d like to be all like “aw, shucks, no big deal, it’s just something I did on the side,” I’m not really that kind of person.  I’m SUPER PSYCHED my book is about to drop! I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life! I’m even putting together some awesome giveaways to do next month around the time of book release for all ya’ll because of all the ways AMAZING you women and men have inspired me to share my faith. So, the name change thing. I found a…

  • books,  Uncategorized

    Getting “Beyond Awkward” + Giveaway!

    It can feel really awkward talking about Jesus. We don’t want to sound forced, come off as one of “those Christians” or break trust with people we care about. So how do we get beyond awkward and get to the point where sharing Jesus feels comfortable, even normal? My buddy Beau has a few ideas of how to do this. Beau and I both serve on staff with InterVarsity Christian fellowship and did an M.A. in Evangelism and Leadership a couple years ago at Wheaton College. Beau is one of those guys you love to hate- because he’s got so much going for him; he’s talented, self-assured (some might say…

  • art,  books,  inner world,  Uncategorized,  writing

    I Hit Send

    Two years ago I sat on a grassy hill listening to the roar of jets above me.  Dave and I had taken our boys to the Cleveland air show and along with other frugal Clevelanders, we had parked ourselves on a grassy slope across from there all the other fools were paying admission to listen to the same jets. Oswald would cry when one would suddenly zoom overhead, the noise too much for my baby. Watching Reuben roll down the hill with other kids who were enjoying a day off from school on Labor day, I sat feeling anxious, pent up and like I needed to let go of whatever…

  • books,  Uncategorized,  writing

    Bird by Bird? More like Turd by Turd

    As I’ve been getting up early to work on my book Beautiful Feet, I was reflecting on Anne Lamott’s book- Bird by Bird, which, if you’re a writer or an aspiring writer, it’s a great place to get some practical and inspiring tips.  The title of the book comes from a project her brother was working on about birds while he was in middle school. He had waited until the night before to write a report about various kinds and birds and was freaking out that he wouldn’t be able to get it done in time.  Their dad, encouraged him-” just take it bird by bird, buddy.” A little bit at…

  • books,  friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  parenting,  self-awareness,  writing

    Coming off a bender

    Let me give you a glimpse into my life recently. I have eaten a total of: Three big Macs, two bars of chocolate, 5 scones, one bag of doritos (the big size) Drank a total of: 1 milkshake, two bottles of wine (shared with friends…mostly) and 57 cups of coffee. This has been washed down with gallons of water because it’s so cold and dry in Cleveland right now that I need to stay hydrated so I don’t shrivel up. Obsessed about: How the stretch marks on my thighs look like tributaries of the Mississippi delta That my six year old seems to be “discovering” his private parts and the girls at…

  • books,  inner world,  jesus,  spirituality,  writing

    Dreams Come True

    Right before Christmas I received this amazing email from Al, an editor at InterVarsity Press: Jessica – I’m thrilled to tell you that our publishing committee officially approved publication of your book proposal! The team was impressed with what you have done to develop both the proposal and your platform, and folks really appreciate your motivation and creative energy. The sense was that the time is right for you and the book. Congratulations! I’m still grinning ear to ear that this is for real happening- I get to write Beautiful Feet! It’s all I can do to keep myself from yelling in excitement right now lest I wake up my…

  • books

    15 authors in 15 minutes

    Following the nerd trail of this meme making it’s way around facebook, I decided to think about my favorite authors/the ones who have influenced me the most in the past and in recent years. 1. John Steinbeck. Growing up I couldn’t get enough- I loved the vivid stories he shared about life for people in California in the 1930’s and 40’s- a place and time far away from Michigan’s upper penninsula. Tortilla Flat was my favorite- a collection of short stories. 2. The New and Old Testament of Scripture. In the Old Testament, I love 1 and 2nd Samuel- such dramatic stories of King Saul and David, their choices, leadership…

  • art,  books,  fashion,  grad school,  jesus,  Uncategorized

    peacock progress- burning man preparations!

    Only 4 days to go until Dave and I arrive at the Burning Man festival.  Costume prep has been going well so I thought I’d post a few pics of our progress. I would be considered remedial at best when it comes to sewing. As I’ve been working on my costumes I sorely wished that my crafty friends Sarah, April and Jackie lived closer to lend a skilled hand. However, I have been pleased with how things are turning out so far. I found a couple of cheap sundresses at thrift stores & decided to adorn them peacock-style.  Since the weather in the day will be over 100 degrees I…

  • books,  church,  jesus

    your church is too small: a review

    Last year I enjoyed taking an apologetics class with John Armstrong through the M.A. program I’m in at Wheaton.  Though the content of the class was good it was an unplanned experience that caused me to see John’s commitment to unity and peace.  A classmate was feeling attacked in a discussion we were having. We could all feel the emotional temperature in the room shift and wondered if things were going to move from a simmer to boiling. The discussion got more heated resulting in my classmate yelling at John and storming out of class.  Needless to say this was a shock to all of us and a disturbance to…

  • books,  fashion,  grad school,  inner world,  jesus,  spirituality

    you know you’re depressed when….

    you have an irrationally sad reaction to reading that Kevin Smith has been booted off a plane for being too fat. I’m a fan of Smith’s work- my faves being Dogma & Mallrats, but really- getting sad for a day knowing that he was publicly shamed and embarrassed about having to buy two seats on a plane and then having a tweet-fest about it is a little odd even for me. I started to think about the other reasons I’ve been sad lately and how I’ve responded besides feeling ridiculous amounts of uncharacteristic empathy for Kevin Smith- things like: eating 1/2 a bag of Doritos (my go-to junk food of…

  • books,  work

    what does your strongest life look like?

    A few weeks ago I invited women to join me in the challenge of reading “Find Your Strongest Life” by Marcus Buckingham.  Did anyone take me up on the challenge?  Perhaps you’ve been too busy living your life to stop, read & find out about how to strengthen it :). If you are intrigued by this book, but only have like, 5 minutes to spare, take the quiz to see if this book is something that you may want to read when you have a little more time. I am always eager to take quizzes in my perpetual quest of self-discovery and am always slightly disappointed that I don’t learn…

  • books,  cooking,  food,  grad school

    january good reads

    During my sabbatical I’ve been in uber-nerd mode reading like crazy. I am on a study sabbatical, so it’s what I am supposed to do & I’ve really been enjoying it. If you’re looking for something good to read during these long winter months here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed: Books for class: Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson While most biographers take a fairly negative view on this woman who paved the way for modern evangelism, Epstein treats her well without glossing over the negative areas in her life and ministry. It was fascinating and inspiring to read about this prominent female evangelist! It was…

  • books

    new challenges! will you join me?

    I just updated the “cool people doing cool things” page for the next few months of challenge to live an integrated life of focusing on spiritual, mental and physical growth.  I’m pretty excited about these, so check them out! As always, you don’t really need to do much prep work, just let me know if you want to participate & comment on the blog about how you’ve been impacted. This months challenge is to join “The Strongest Life Discussion” I just finished reading this book “Find Your Strongest Life: what the happiest and most successful women do differently.” I  found it to be very helpful in thinking through the best…

  • books,  grad school,  mom blogs,  travel

    the sweet escape

    Stopping to fuel up my jetta with diesel fuel on 1-96 and grabbing a ginormous box of good n’ plenty’s for the road, I drove through the darkened farmland of Michigan to Wheaton, IL where I’ll spend the week in class learning about the history of evangelicalism and the theology of the gospel for the M.A. I’m working on. I have so been waiting for this week. When I arrived at my friend Annie’s apartment, I could see the glow of the Billy Graham center steeple in the background where I’ll spend all week in class. When I took my job as regional coordinator for evangelism two years ago, I…

  • baking,  books,  friendship,  Uncategorized

    top five thankful list

    In preparation for the inevitable “what are you thankful for this year?” question that most of us get asked on Thursday, I thought I would be a little more thoughtful than rattling off the standard, “family, friends, pumpkin pie” answers.  Since this is my last post for this month’s challenge to practice thankfulness, I thought I’d encourage all of us not just to be thankful, but to be specific in your thanksgiving. What do I mean by this? Example A: I am thankful for clothes so I don’t have to be naked and cold. Specific modification: I am thankful for this pair of jeans and this amazingly stylish sweater from…

  • books,  inner world

    become less of a jerk….i double-dog-dare you.

    It’s November! It’s dark when I wake up and dark when I’m eating dinner! The weather is colder and the brilliant yellow leaves are now mushy wet piles on the ground! I need to buy Christmas presents soon even though I have no money! I need….this sucks…..he’s such a ……if I only could….if she only would….wah, wah, wah. Sound familiar? Stop it. Right now. There are so many things in our lives that we can complain about and the complaints just seem to roll out of our brain & out from our mouths like a fountain that spits water. Except it isn’t pretty. Even if I’m not verbalizing complaints, I’m…

  • books,  friendship,  work

    we are the champions, my friends

    This past week I met with a national staff team of InterVarsity “outreach champions” from across the country. It’s one of my favorite meetings of the year both because I get to connect with brilliant, funny and deep colleagues, but also because we have fun together over delicious meals or going out to see a movie. This time we went and saw the Matt Damon movie- “The Informant!” hil-arious! I love a good dark comedy. The fun part about this team is that these people dream BIG. They have incredible ideas about how to help shape the faith of college students across the country & invite people to think about…

  • books,  jesus,  pets and animals,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    stray cats

    As I was sitting & reading in our backyard I had a knot of anxiety in my stomach that I was trying to ignore. We had just received a letter informing us that an annual grant we receive of $4,000 wouldn’t be given to us any longer. I was trying to calm down and let my mind stop spinning with questions like: how are we going to replace those funds in this crappy economy? and the questions went on and on like this until and long after I ate a raspberry cream cheese muffin and washed it down with a mug of decaf vanilla coffee. I hate when I emotionally eat…

  • books,  food,  friendship,  Uncategorized

    am I getting stupider?

    When I was about to graduate from Michigan State University I was afraid of my brain turning to mush in the 9-5 world so I asked one of my professors “what can I do to make sure I don’t get stupider after college?”  Dr. Kotzin, a wizened Jewish woman whom I had taken an intro to philosophy class & a class on Aristotle would wheel her briefcase down the busy sidewalk to her office as I asked her questions about class and feminist theory. When I asked her the question, she looked at me intently and with a little chuckle said “keep reading, don’t ever stop reading!” About two years ago I…