• 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…

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    Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most

    Reading Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker felt a little like watching someone pan for gold, getting wet and messy in a river, sifting through a lot of rocks, silt and dirt to find the nuggets of gold that can appear unexpectedly. It feels a lot like experiences in mothering- trying, failing, feeling desperate, feeling joyful, worrying whether it’s ok to do things differently than my mother or other mothers we see. She has a lot of questions- questions about herself, God, her children, her marriage, her ambitions….I could relate. And it’s in these questions she makes some amazing discoveries. Small Talk is a collection of stories in the mundane experiences of…

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    Overcoming January Defeat

    Many of you have probably made resolutions or goals to be more awesome this year. To lose weight and get to the rec center, to read more instead of watching Netflix, to quit smoking or stop biting your nails. It’s also likely that you’re already starting to hear the mean voice of January Defeat. January Defeat loves to whisper, “It’s January 13 . . . and you haven’t changed any of the things you said you would. You’re a loser and you’ll never change.” To keep reading this post, click on over to the rest of the blog I wrote at Intervarsity.org

  • jesus,  kids,  marriage,  mom blogs

    The hap-hap-happiest Christmas!!!! (or not)

    There are times I love my kids so much I think that my heart is going to explode. Kissing their round little cheeks, hearing Reuben tell corny knock-knock jokes, having Ozzy wildly cackle when he wins Candy Land. I marvel at the gifts they are to me and how full my life is with them. There are other times where I think my heart is going to explode with the frustration, drudgery and battle of wills with my kids. Seeing the sassy look on Ozzy’s face when he refuses to pick up the toys I’ve told him to pick up 8 times, the moody slump of Reuben when he overreacts…

  • 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…

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    Hold- five minute friday

    That moment in a workout where you’ve been doing squats or plank for what seems like forever and then the instructor tells you- “great! now hold it for a minute!” is excruciating. Waiting is difficult- no matter if you’re holding a squat and your quads are burning, your mind spins with worry waiting to hear back about a job, or your stomach knots up when you take a risk and send the text to the person you’re interested in. Being on hold is difficult because you have moved past the beginning but haven’t yet reached closure. There are a lot of things in my life that feel on hold right…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,  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…

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    What the Duck?

    As if your newsfeed isn’t already cluttered enough with Duck Dynasty rants one way or another (Christian’s are hate mongers!! Liberals are taking away free speech! Make him cut his beard off as punishment!!!) here is a post that expresses my thoughts on the whole matter. Since I’m on vacation busy drinking egg nog and eating way too many cookies I didn’t want to take the time to ramble through my thoughts on the whole thing. Instead here is Jen Hatmaker’s grace and love filled post  sums up my thoughts pretty well.  I don’t want to be known for what I’m against as a Jesus follower. I want to be known…

  • friendship,  kids,  marriage,  mom blogs,  parenting,  spiritual conversations,  spirituality,  work

    Care, Questions, & Creativity- sharing Jesus after college

    Jesus tells us to go into the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), but some days it feels like a lot just to make dinner. Now that you’re navigating traffic on your morning commute, toting young kids to soccer practice, or traveling 20 days a month for work,how do you talk to neighbors, friends, and colleagues about Jesus without sounding like a robotic salesperson? One of the best ways to do so is to be present to others and express interest in their lives…. To continue reading my post, click on over to InterVarsity’s evangelism blog….thanks-a-rooney neighbor! What have been ways you’ve reached out to colleges, neighbors, friends or other people in…

  • inner world,  jesus,  social media,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    cigarettes and carrot sticks- my facebook fast

    I decided to go on a facebook vacation recently.  And then I felt this huge void in my soul. Well, that might be a little dramatic but I definitely felt like a smoker who reaches for a cigarette only to remember that tough decision to quit.  Those addictive little puffs of affirmation, feedback and likes feel like they’ve begun to turn my insides into black goo and distract me from pursuing what I really want from life. So on my facebook vacation I decided like a smoker that it isn’t enough just to get rid of what I keep coming back to- I need some carrot sticks to replace my…

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    I see him everywhere

    I had been composing a blog in my mind while pruning the branches of my weeping cherry tree, a blog about white privilege  and all the cross-cutural training I’ve received through the years from Universities, scripture, the organization I work withInterVarsity Christian Fellowship or being willing to engage in difficult conversations about ethnicity with friends who look different than me. It was a blog that was going to explore the privileges I have simply because I’m white- even something simple like coming from a family of plant loving gardeners who have passed along their knowledge of dividing hostas, putting in sod and what kinds of berries are poisonous….   To keep reading this…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Tell me about your friend

    “You talk differently about God now.” Curious, I asked him what he meant- “you used to talk about Jesus, now you just say “the LORD” like you have to use his professional name now that you’re a campus minister.  My husband Dave made this comment about six months into my ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We laughed about it but it also made me wonder what had changed.  I had been learning all kinds of cool things about the Bible, theology, relationships and prayer but I realized that it made me think about God in a professional way rather than as a friend.  God had become knowledge to attain rather…

  • inner world,  jesus,  marriage,  mom blogs,  parenting,  prayer,  spirituality

    Marriage is Just Too Loud for Me

    I could hear him throwing up in the bathroom though I was at the end of the hallway, at least 30 feet from the disgusting retching sounds.  Dave had food poisoning from a late night Denny’s run with some friends at a weekend retreat. We were there with his parents  a few months before he proposed to me in 2001 so I could experience one of his family traditions.  I stood with his mom in the musty church basement, a worried look crossing her face as she listed to her heaving son. Mom Fick, seeing my grossed out face which she must have interpreted as worry as well commented “Ohhhhh.…

  • art,  jesus,  kids,  mom blogs,  parenting,  Uncategorized

    Care for the Little

    “Will you read that poem to me mom?” This literally came out of my son’s mouth recently. No, I am not living in some sort of utopian world where my children request poetry instead of watching another episode of Superhero Squad- and now Thomas the Tank engine has made his dreaded return now that Oswald is almost 2 and is allured by a smiling, talking train. But yes, my son Reuben did as me to read him this poem we have posted at the bottom of our staircase. In time of Silver Rain by Langston Hughes In time of silver rain The earth puts forth new life again, Green grasses…

  • jesus,  spiritual conversations,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    You Don’t Look like a Christian

    It’s Ash Wednesday. And likely that you’ve seen some folks around town who appear unhygienic but in reality have had ashes imposed on their foreheads to signify the beginning of Lent- the 40 days leading up to Easter.   A friend recently commented to me- “If I saw you in a crowded restaurant I wouldn’t guess you were a Christian. You don’t look like a Christian.”  This gave me pause to wonder- “what do people think a Christian looks like anyways?”  On Ash Wednesday it might seem a little more apparent than usual. A Christian- Catholic or Protestant could look like this:   Or this: Possibly this: And yeah, this…

  • art,  inner world,  jesus

    Technicolor Jesus

    “I just want to hear God. To know how he’s speaking to me” she said tearfully, looking at the ground her shoulders slumped in defeat and frustration….. Check out the rest of my guest post at Gabbing with Grace….I’m psyched to be posting there today!