• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • friendship,  jesus,  marriage

    Visit

    Whether it is planned or unexpected I love to host people in my home, particularly if people need a place to stay for the night or a couple of days. Dave and I decided early on that we wanted to have the kind of home where we would always have a bed for someone if they needed it.  Over the years we have enjoyed friends crashing for the night, family staying for a couple days, students who lived with us for a few months and strangers we’ve never met.  Yes, I said we let strangers stay in our home. Working for InterVarsity is like being connected to a big global family-…

  • 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…

  • inner world,  jesus,  mom blogs,  MOPS,  spirituality

    Getting on God’s “Nice List”

    We try to do Christmas “right” – bake cookies for exchanges, host amazing parties, pick out (and ship on time) gifts to loved ones, sing carols with heartfelt adoration of baby Jesus. We may do all of these things because they are on our mental list of what a proper Christmas is supposed to be. God is never impressed by our lists of what we think is right…. To continue reading this post, check it out at FullFill’s site. They have an awesome line-up of webinars this winter and send out free weekly email’s like mine to subscribers. I get no compensation for plugging this btw- other than your lovely comments,…

  • awkward stories,  friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  marriage,  mom blogs,  parenting,  prayer

    Blog roundup

    I’ve been loving some of the posts I’ve been reading lately from brave and thoughtful folks- check out some of their goodness that involves gaping wounds, hot wives, and scandalous women. The one that made me thankful for men who love on their wives publicly: From Adam Jeske: Don’t Stop Bragging about Your Smokin Hot Wife….but please don’t stop there. The one that made me think about stupid things I’ve done and the stupid things I will do: From my girl Grace Biskie: That Little Warrior Girl The one that made me think about scripture in a new way: From Jenny Rae Armstrong: Scandalous, Loving, Woman The one that made me nod my head…

  • friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  kids,  mom blogs,  MOPS,  parenting,  spirituality,  Uncategorized,  working moms

    MOMcon 2013- Amazing happens here

    This past month I flew to Kansas City to attend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) MOMcon. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, or at least picturing….something like this…. Frumpy Mom- who has gone un-showered, forgotten that she is a woman and is still wearing her clothes from high school because, well, her kids wipe their ranch dressing covered fingers on her sleeves and there is spit up on her shoulders from carrying the baby around. Why buy new clothes when that Alanis Morrisette t-shirt from 1997 still fits? or you picture this….. Perfectly coiffed moms who look like they bounced back postpartum like 2 hours after giving birth… like the ones from…

  • jesus,  justice

    Be lazy, free a slave

    This next month, New York City will be changed forever by students through the Price of Life campaign with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I could appeal to your altruistic nature—it’s horrible picturing the lives of people like the ones described in this article by International Justice Mission—but instead I’m going to appeal to your lazy side. Why? Because I know that, like me, you’d rather be on Pinterest than reading sad stories about child sex slaves or families forced into slave labor…. to continue reading my post, hop over to The Price of Life NYC’s blog to see the cool things happening to fight modern day slavery….    

  • 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…

  • 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…