baking,  inner world,  jesus,  working moms,  writing


Don’t Do It Yourself. This is my motto for December. Amongst the amazing Pinterest ideas floating around about making your own DIY decorative Christmas trees out of recycled materials, cookie baking, and connecting with people whether through our work of year end fund development or holiday get-togethers and the the pressure of working on my book I just. can’t. do. it. this year.  After a helpful conversation with our respective supervisors about the tricky dynamics and scheduling of both serving on staff with InterVarsity Christian fellowship I realized I was still stressed about the stuff I felt like I should be doing this Christmas.

yeah, this isn’t going to happen this year.

Our plans changed for the holiday so we’ll be home instead of traveling. Though this should equate to having a more restful season- especially since we depart as a family to the Urbana Missions Conference on December 26th, this has somehow caused a void in my head. In this void crazy ideas float around like making not one but three kinds of Christmas cookies, revising the first chapter of my book to resubmit it, painting my bedroom, and finishing work for my last grad school class at Wheaton this January.  And hosting a fabulous Christmas eve meal for family and friends, with my good china and a gingersnap pear cheesecake that I make from scratch. Some of these things I need to do- like reading thousands of pages for grad school. Most of them I do not.

I do commit to eating milk duds this holiday season. and macaroons, my absolute favorite.

So, I am cutting myself some slack this holiday. I’m going to order sugar cookie dough from the Market Days program at Reuben’s school instead of making my own. For those of you who know how much I love to bake this is a big deal. I’m going to be thankful for the warm bed I sleep in rather than plotting when I can get a few spare hours (I realize how crazy I am when I see this in writing) to paint my bedroom and perhaps construct an art deco headboard for under $100. (yes, crazy sauce people). I’m not going to work on my book because I want to give attention to my kids, my home and what God wants to do in my life during this Advent season of waiting and preparation.  Instead of adding more, I’m going to take away from my schedule, the expectations I have for myself and expect God to do something in the spaces that are created.

advent candles. I love participating in this tradition.

One thing I am doing for my book is learning more about how to build a platform (DIY style! ha 🙂 One of the things that is recommended is gaining followers on your blog so you seem awesome to publishers. In the next few months I’m hoping to grow my following to 500 people (right now I have like 17. that doesn’t even include my mom) by June 1st.  Bloggy friends, please, if you have ever read this blog please click the little “follow me” button to help me out with this goal. You’ll get poppin’ fresh post notifications each time I infrequently write them delivered right to your inbox. Thanks!


  • April

    I was just thinking about you this week, wondering about your “baby” and if you’ve had it yet. 😉 I am officially a follower now. Even though I read your blog anyway. Without being official. ha.

    LOVE your “things I’m NOT going to do this Christmas” list. Great idea.

  • stevenkopp

    I started “officially” following your blog earlier this week (though I read it before). Any chance I could get a follow-back on my new “Slasher Pastor” blog? 🙂

    Also, good post. My mentor, the other pastor at our church has a phrase for this; “choose where you’re going to fail.” It sounds more harsh than it is, but the basic idea behind it is to realize you can’t do everything, so do the most important, and admit “failure” in the other areas. It’s freeing to say “I just can’t do these things right now, and that is OK.”

    • Jessica

      Thanks Steve! And for the facebook shout out too! I will totally follow your blog- looking forward to reading about your sermons about horror movies. that’s what it’s about right? It has been really helpful to give myself permission to say no to things even if they are good things.

  • Jessica

    thanks April! Nope- book baby ricky bobby is still gestating 🙂 I think advent will be good for me to wait and pray through how God wants to speak to me even though I feel pressure to get r’ done.

  • Grace Biskie (@gabwithgrace)

    great idea, Jess! I love it, I should come up with my own “do not do list,” as a matter of fact. Though I have decided to scale back on my personal blog in favor of giving my book a little much needed attention. The funny thing is, for me, adding a few baking things or DIY things is what I need to do b/c that’s what I often throw easily to the side. The kids absolutely love helping me make cookies or do crafts and I’m usually all like “hey kids wanna watch another movie instead?” So for me, some of what I need to do is engage a little bit more in some good old susy homemaking. Anyway, all ready following and excited to help you meet your goals. Did you pull up any of those books I sent via Kindle?

    • Jessica

      It’s all about rhythms! I’m not going to cut out all baking- it is Christmas after all! It just that I’m going to only make macaroons instead of four other different things. So great you’re spending time in the kitchen with the boys- those are precious memories. I have looked at a few of the books you sent- I also found another one I downloaded called “get known before the book deal” about building platforms. It’s been really helpful so far!

    • Jessica

      Elizabeth- glad my blog can be a highlight for you! Thanks for being excited with me about creating a platform! I know it will be a lot of hard work but I’m praying it pays off in the form of a book contract!

  • sonika

    I like this idea…it’s so easy to get sucked into the idea of a Pinterest-perfect Christmas. (Although the gingersnap pear cheesecake sounds like something worth pursuing :P)

    • Jessica

      thanks Katie! It really did relieve a lot of stress! Every time I find myself thinking….”I should…” I stop and think “nope, I committed not to do that this December!” It’s been especially helpful to let myself not go crazy with feeling like I need to do everything I’ve done in the past for Christmas.

Leave a Reply