• art,  creativity,  inner world,  self-awareness

    Mourning and Making: Creativity in a Time of Lament

      How do we deal with the losses of everyday life during quarantine?  Take a page out of Carrie Fischer’s book and take your broken heart and turn it into art. In this episode of Beautiful Things, I explore ways to mourn and grieve what we’ve lost by making things. Click on the link below to listen. Beautiful Things: Making and Mourning; creativity in a time of lament You might have jumped on the bandwagon of breadmaking like I have (holla challah!), or making furniture (I’m looking at you Keegan Michael Key), or making videos of yourself in a prom dress with your family. Below are a couple links to…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Please. Christmas. Now.

    Joy feels urgent to me as we enter into this Christmas season. It’s the season of Advent which is all about waiting- finding hope in the midst of darkness that never seems to end. My friend Alex Kuykendall released a book recently, Loving My Actual Christmas and it was a hopeful reminder that we can choose to experience joy this season. I read it in September & it’s helped me to be mindful entering into the holidays with my time, budget and relationships. This year I saw people posting on Facebook that they put up their Christmas trees the day after Halloween. That they had started watching Hallmark Holiday movies before…

  • friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  mom blogs

    Friendship What Ifs

    When it comes to making new friends, what holds you back? Here are a couple things I’ve been learning as I face my friendship fears in a new city. I recently moved to a new city and I am plagued by doubts in building new relationships: What if I reach out and she doesn’t respond? What if I share something vulnerable and I’m judged? What if we hang out and it’s really awkward? What if I show up to an event and feel out of place? ​Building relationships takes initiative, time and energy. Do you know many women who have an excess of those commodities? Yeah, me neither. But I’m…

  • friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  justice,  Uncategorized

    To become fearless you need friends

    I met Krista for the first time in person when I was bunking up at her expansive lake home in Northern Idaho. A group of writers had bonded together to support rather than compete with one another because we all realize that writing makes us crazy and jealous. Not a good combo when you’re trying to put good things out in the world.  Thus, The Open Door was created. Krista as our hostess made us immediately feel welcomed- even from our first phone call. Her life motto is “live rooted.” For a perpetual Peter Pan like myself I was drawn in by her rooted vibe and wanted to figure out how to…

  • friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  spiritual conversations

    40 Days of Fearless

    Can you imagine if you lived without fear for even one day? What if you gave up fear for Lent? Yes. I realize that probably means you won’t lose any weight like you would if you gave up chocolate or French fries. But don’t you think life could be different if you spent 40 days with a community of women asking Jesus to fill you with his perfect love instead of fear? Lent is a season of preparation to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Typically people go without something as a way to foster deeper dependance on Jesus and be reminded of their need for his presence in their lives. While some…

  • friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  self-awareness,  spirituality

    The Gift of Pain

    “Pain is God’s megaphone to us” C.S. Lewis, author of the Narnia series once said.  I love and hate this quote because so much of it depends on the person’s willingness to listen to what is being said through the megaphone.  At times I have clamped my hands over my ears, closing my eyes and been unwilling to look at or hear what the cries were from gaping wounds in my life or the lives of other. I’ve turned up the music to drown out the presence of pain that was howling for my attention relishing a good beat instead but then slowly realizing that the howl could sing along…

  • fashion,  femininity,  inner world,  jesus,  self-awareness,  Uncategorized

    Afraid of Pink

    For a long time I didn’t wear pink, red or any other color that seemed distinctly feminine. Pink seemed too girly. I didn’t want to be lumped in with Barbie or women that liked devotional books with flowers and hearts on them or sappy love songs that made women cry. Red seemed too tempting. What color is the devil always portrayed as? Red. What color do temptresses wear? According to Nathaniel Hawthorne in sophomore year english class, she wears a scarlet ‘A’. Red is supposed to signify desire, love, passion. If I wore red myself was I making a target out of my body which people already noticed? How was…

  • inner world,  money

    Conflicted- or Money Makes People Funny

    I have a weird relationship with stuff. For the past 4 years I’ve been adamantly denying myself of things I want rather than things I need. In part it was out of necessity- when we moved to Cleveland we weren’t able to sell our house in Michigan and were some of the millions of Americans who ended up having to foreclose on our home. I was pregnant with Oswald in 2010/2011, the same year we had to declare bankruptcy which is essentially what you do when you foreclose on a home. The only picture I had ever had of bankruptcy was of the Nationwide ad with M.C. Hammer sitting on…

  • inner world,  kids,  mom blogs,  parenting,  Uncategorized

    Five Minute Friday: Whisper

    In a hushed voice he says “moooom, I got a secret to tell you!” With his little face pressed against my ear he whispers the piece of information that he wants to share with me- sometimes about marbles, his favorite toy, sometimes it’s a nonsensical knock-knock joke which has become increasingly a favorite in our house. Other times he forgets what he wants to tell me and says….”ummm, I forgot.” It doesn’t really matter what he has to tell me because I love hearing that raspy little whisper. The feel of Ozzy’s soft cheeks, the urgency of the thing he wants to share with me, just me, simply because I’m…

  • fashion,  inner world,  jesus,  simplicity,  spirituality,  thrift store shopping,  Uncategorized

    Thrifty Thursday: On the outside and the Inside

    Warning- this is about to get a little philosophical up in my wardrobe on this Thrifty Thursday. I was thinking recently about reasons why I love thrift store shopping which include: 1. saving money. 2. caring for the planet by reducing my demand for new items. 3. finding the needle in the haystack in the form of fabulous clothes. 4. The unexpected delight of finding something I’m looking for. 5. Enjoying the secret that most of my wardrobe comes from thrift or consignment stores yet I look fab-ooo! Though, I guess it’s not so secret since I’m blogging about it. But it also goes deeper than that- for me thrifting…

  • 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…

  • fashion,  inner world,  jesus,  justice,  thrift store shopping

    Thrifty Thursday: Eww, that smell and other reasons NOT to thrift shop

    People believe that shopping at thrift stores is some sort of super-natural gift- that God himself has bestowed special vision to certain lucky shoppers to find the diamond in the rough that makes them look fabulous and save a ton of money. This is not true. ANYONE can find great deals at thrift stores but it isn’t just about finding great clothing or household items- it’s about overcoming the mental barriers associated with thrift store shopping. Picture yourself walking into Macy’s- you see shoppers trying on the latest styles of shoes, holding armfuls of new clothing on hangers, artfully arranged displays of jewlery.  Now imagine what you smell when you…

  • fashion,  inner world,  self-awareness,  sheer vanity,  Uncategorized,  women

    Thrifty Thursday: Determine your style icons

    Shopping can be overwhelming. Thrift store shopping even more so. You have to wade through a lot of junk. But if you have an idea of your own personal style it can make shopping at thrift stores or anywhere else a lot easier.  Below are three questions to help you figure out who your style icons are. An icon is a symbol or thing regarded as a representative of  something.  In the Christian faith people often have icons of certain saints to remind them of qualities they want to emulate. One of my friends has an icon of the Holy Trinity sitting at a table that reminds him that he is always invited…

  • fashion,  inner world,  Uncategorized

    Thrifty Thursday- shop the trends for less

    This week’s Thrifty Thursday is all about finding the current trends for a fraction of the price. A lot of people think that if they shop at thrift stores they’ll end up looking like this:   But you can actually shop the latest trends at thrift stores for a heck of a lot less.  Think about how often you buy a shirt and then decide it just doesn’t fit you right, the color isn’t flattering to you or you should have bought a different size. What do people do with those items? That’s right. They send them to the thrift store, often times with the tags still on. And that’s…

  • inner world,  jesus,  justice,  prayer,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    This is How We Fight

    This is How We Fight  We dance because we believe in the one who makes all things new We sing because our voices cannot be silenced amidst the screams of terror around the world We bake bread to nourish our bodies because just like Elijah- the angels around remind us; “get up and eat. the journey is far too much for you.” We go to sleep because the one who made the day and night holds us in his powerful hands. We love. And keep loving. And then love some more. To the porn-addicted man in his clean oxford shirt at church on a Sunday morning. To the gay teenager…

  • art,  exercise,  inner world,  parenting,  pop culture

    Surprised by Small

    “Less is more” architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe once stated when he described his minimalist yet profoundly beautiful design style.  His Barcelona chair remains an icon in the world of design though it debuted in 1929.  And a coveted item amongst those of us who wish we had the thousands of dollars to plunk down for of those chairs. Design Within Reach my ass. I am often surprised by small. Small things that end up being profoundly huge in my life- teaching me about myself, my kids, God, my body, friendship and life.   Often I’m so distracted (more self-imposed than not) that I miss the small.  In find myself…

  • fashion,  friendship,  inner world,  kids,  leadership,  mom blogs,  parenting,  women,  working moms

    This is My Life

    A couple years ago someone made the comment about a fashion blogger they read regularly- “why does she post about her kids? If I wanted to know about toddlers I’d read mom blogs, which I’m totally not interested in. I just want to know how to tie a scarf 27 ways or what flats are in style for the spring. Who cares that her toddler says the f-word when he asks for his truck! ”  As a blogger who writes about lots of different things this struck fear into my heart and raised all kinds of questions like: “Am I seen as dorky or out of touch if I post…

  • 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…

  • inner world,  leadership,  self-awareness

    God grant me the serenity to accept the ideas I cannot execute

    Recently I led a seminar with my colleague Doug at InterVarsity‘s national staff conference. When we were debriefing how it went he told me frankly “your creativity stresses me out.” This is something coming from one of the most creative people in our movement who has literally helped create a program called “start something new.” Then my friend Adam posted this blog that I totally stole the title, idea and the picture from. I left such a long comment on his post I thought, “what the heck, I should just post this on my own blog!” This is an area of growth for me. I have so many ideas that I can…

  • friendship,  inner world,  kids,  parenting

    Fatherly Encouragement

    I sent my dad a thank you card recently. My mom is in Liberia for three weeks chaperoning a trip for Calvin College students. My dad is usually the one traveling around the world.  In part because I knew he would be a little lonely, in part because at InterVarsity’s recent national staff conference we were invited to write thank you’d. Thank you’s to people who have helped us to become a world changer. I love and appreciate my dad but I realize how seldom I tell that to him. Somehow texts, emails and even words spoken don’t have the punch of seeing something scrawled in a familiar script on…

  • inner world,  jesus,  justice,  parenting,  Uncategorized,  women

    When a man loves a woman- he will be an advocate

    In the immortal words of singer Percy Sledge “when a man loves a woman….he’d change the world for the good thing he’s found.” My friend Rob from California loves women- and is changing the world because of it. He loves women so much that he has dedicated a significant part of his life and leadership to being an advocate for women and girls in his life.  Today, he graciously agreed to share his thoughts to use his power as an advocate for women. Check out his blog and leave him a nice comment. We bloggers are a comment hungry bunch. Show us some love! ADVOCACY: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME Over the…

  • 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…