All posts by Jessica

What I’ve Been Reading – August 2017

What I've Been Reading August 2017

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I’ve been on a roll again the past few months. Our book club took a break for the summer, as did the mom group that I lead, which freed up quite a bit of time in the evenings. I had several books that I received last year for my birthday that I still hadn’t read, so I made it a point to finish some of them.

I’m actually going to pass my Reading Challenge on GoodReads this year! I figured picking 35 was crazy-sauce, but as of right now I’m at 31! I even managed to read a healthy mix of fiction and non-fiction.What I've Been Reading August 2017

Favorite Fiction Book

I want to say The Nightingale, but I’m not sure if that’s because I just finished it. And yes, I read a lot of WW2 fiction. I have to say though, that The Nightingale was the one that moved me the most emotionally. The Secret Keeper was very good, but it didn’t have me crying at the end.

I had also never read anything before about France during WW2, which was eye opening, even if it was fiction. I’ve had Suite Francaise on my list for a while, and just watched it on Amazon a few weeks ago. I think that will be getting bumped to my list soon.

Favorite Non-Fiction Book

Again, so hard to choose! All of the non-fiction that I read were ones that have been sitting in my pile for a while. They were all pertinent to some area of my life. I’d have to say it was a tie between Different and Life Creative. Different was so fantastic for this momma’s heart.

I loved reading about Sally Clarkson and her son, Nathan’s struggle with his being an out of the box child. While I’m not dealing with anything as extreme as they do, it was such a hope-filled book about being the mom that YOUR child needs, regardless of what other’s think your child needs.

Life Creative was another side of my momma-heart, with being creative. So often people will make disparaging comments about how moms’ should put aside themselves and their creative BECAUSE they’re a mom. Kelli and Wendy show you why it’s important that you don’t do that, but also that you invite your children INTO your creative.

The Book I Didn’t like

I’m going to say Give Your Child the World, and not because it wasn’t a good book. It was a good book, but I think I was looking for something more than a reference book with lists of suggestions. It’s a fantastic resource, but I was hoping it was going to go more into how to use the books to explore the world with your children. Granted, I think I can figure that out on my own, but still it would’ve been nice to have some suggestions.  I will say, that we’ve gotten a slew of books from the library that were suggested in this one and they were all top notch!

What have you been reading?

(I’m trying something new: I’ve notated books I’ve read for my book club * and F or NF for Fiction and Non-Fiction).

Some Birthday Fun

​This isn’t going to be just a list of my favorites or fun-facts about me or goals, but a compilation of all of those things, all the pieces of who I am, was, and hope to be in the future.

1. ​Less fear
2. Travel more
3. Get my motorcycle license
4. Get that tattoo (or two) that I’ve been thinking about
5. Love more freely
6. Kiss more passionately
7. Less time worrying that I’ve somehow offended someone
8. Less energy worrying what people will think of me, what I say, or what I do
9. More time spent speaking my mind
10. Life is just a dream, you get to the end, and wonder what happened when you blinked…live
11. Some people wish to feel more deeply, I already feel deeply, but I’d love to not internalize other people’s stuff
12. More stolen kisses in the dark
13. More starlit dances
14. Less iPhone, more life
15. More fun, less facts
16. Go out on a limb more, it’s always turned out well
17. 20 seconds of insane courage: Do more scared.
18. My life now is so much different, but better, than the one I had planned
19. Moonlit kisses on a ferris wheel–still waiting on that one
20. Concerts I’ve been to: Korn, Rob Zombie, Lit, Everclear, Garbage, Eric Clapton, Amy Grant, Josh Groban, and Michael Buble. GO TO MORE CONCERTS!
21. I honestly LOVE travelling on my own
22. More weekend trips to Europe
23. I love driving, and would love to take a driving class on a race track to REALLY learn how to drive
24. I’d love to rent an expensive, fast car!
25. Once someone gets to know me, I’m nothing like they expect
26. I transferred college 5 times and had 5 different majors…still managed to graduate in only 7 semesters
27. When I was growing up I wanted to be a pastor, a Photojournalist for National Geographic, an architect, a veterinarian, or a interior decorator…now, mysteriously, I do all of them.
28. I love books and hope to write one or two…someday
29. I miss painting and drawing and hope to get back to it someday
30. I want to own a bed and breakfast
31. I miss horseback riding and horses, I still hope to have a horse someday
32. I love the beach, but I love my mountains the most
33. My most favorite country in the world is Ireland, and someday I will have a cottage there
​34. ​I spent a summer semester at University College Cork in Ireland and LOVED IT!
35. Through it all I’ve always been able to see God’s hand looking back

The Year I Found Me

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

My birthday is this week, Friday to be precise. I turn 35. Goodness that sounds so old, 35. I remember when my mom was 35, I was 13…I think I planned a birthday party for her. I was always planning parties for people, still do. It’s taken me a few years to be OK with this new age…fortunately, it’s just in time. I feel like at 35 I’m finally willing to live my life on my terms, that I’ve finally found myself.

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

So much, too much, of my life has been lived in fear. I never really lived my teens or early 20s, I was too responsible. Too scared of pissing off my parents. And I did nothing. Now, I sit and think about all the things I didn’t do, all the things I wish I had done. The girl I wish I would’ve been, rather than the girl who was too scared to do anything.

Those few risks I took, the limbs I went out on, all turned out pretty good…and yes, Matthew was one of them.

A couple of years ago I realized something: That while I am a wife and mother, I am first myself.

I existed as Me, long before any of those other titles came to be. I was created as a Daughter of the King; Only to Him do I owe any explanation. That moment, that realization, has set me on the course of living my life with less fear. I had to STOP ignoring who I was or in 20 years I was going to wake up to an empty house and wonder what I was supposed to do with my life now.

The only title I have had for all eternity is Daughter of the King, and it is only to Him and for Him, that I am bound to live my life.

Can I tell you what a freeing concept that is?! That I don’t have to sacrifice who I am for what other people think I should be. God created me just as He wanted and needed me to be; the talents, the interests, all of it. All that is me was created solely for the purpose of bring Him glory.

What does that even mean?! It means I can stop stuffing down who I am and what I like and what my interests are. It means that I am free to be WHO I AM in my roles as a wife and mother. It means that I am not JUST A MOM, but an individual, created uniquely to live this life for him.

A friend was recently chided for writing a book, that somehow as a wife and mother it was not “good” for her to take time away from her husband and children to write a book, and I loved her response:

I smiled and told them that way back when, God reached in and tugged at my heart. I chose to live my life for Jesus and not for my children. Any legacy left here for them, is because He has my heart and gives me my focus. My children are just living in my surrender. Wholly and completely given to God.
When my children leave, God is still my first love.September McC.

Before I belonged to anyone, I belonged to Him. When everyone is gone, I will still belong to Him.

God is the only one who has the final word on who and what I am. No one else in this world has any right to tell me that they think my energies are better spent a certain way, that I’m not permitted to be who He created me to be. If I am right with God, that is all that matters. If I am following His lead, that is all that matters.

That weekend trip to Dublin…it was something I desperately wanted (and needed). It was crazy, I knew people would think I was crazy, irresponsible even, but I knew it was a GOOD THING. I knew it was something that God had put together just for me, to learn that I was His, and the He had freed me to live the life that He planned for me.

So, these next few years, I’m hoping you don’t think I’ve gone off the deep-end or that I must’ve lost my mind. I haven’t. I am just living the life God has for me, pursuing the interests and paths He has laid out, and BOY! do I have a lot of time to make up for.

The Turquoise Table {a Review}

*The following contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here. 

This book! All the love for it! I remember when this movement started, of painting tables turquoise and inviting the world into our lives, even if just for a few minutes. I painted my own turquoise table several years ago and haven’t looked back!

From Amazon 

A simple way to connect your neighborhood, your community and build friendships.

Are you consumed with a busy life but unsure how to slow down? Do you desire connection within your community and think, “Absolutely, but I don’t have time for that” or “I can’t create that”? What if there was another way through it all, a way to find those moments of peace and to create a time for honest, comfortable connection? What if meeting neighbors and connecting with friends was as simple as showing up and being available?

Desperate for a way to slow down and connect, Kristin Schell put an ordinary picnic table in her front yard, painted it turquoise, and began inviting friends and neighbors to join her. Life changed in her community and it can change in yours, too. Alongside personal and heartwarming stories, Kristin gives you:

  • Stress-free ideas for kick-starting your own Turquoise Table
  • Simple recipes to take outside and share with others
  • Stories from people using Turquoise Tables in their neighborhoods
  • Encouragement to overcome barriers that keep you from connecting
  • New ways to view hospitality

Today, Turquoise Tables are inviting individuals to connect with each other in nearly all fifty states and seven countries. Ordinary people like you wanting to make a difference right where they live.

Community and friendship are waiting just outside your front door.

First off, the pictures and paper, the cover and book as a physical thing is gorgeous, exquisite! Turquoise is my favorite color, throw in beautiful photography and delicious sounding recipes and it’s a guaranteed success! Best of all is Schell’s story and heart for inviting the world into her home, through the simplicity of a picnic table.

Her writing is captivating and draws you in to community with her, as you follow along with her search for community. The pages fly by quickly, filled with stories of other Turquoise Tables and how a step in faith led to incredible blessing; not just for the one person, but for a whole community.

Kristin’s book is everything wrapped up all in one place, that will give you the tools and the motivation you need to become “Front Yard People” who seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus right in their own neighborhoods.

*I received this book for free from BookLookBloggers.com in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

Peter – TWO YEARS OLD!

The “baby” is no longer a baby; he’s officially a toddler now! Peter, we wouldn’t change you for the world, and we couldn’t imagine our family without you! Daddy and I are so incredibly thankful that God heard our prayers for just one more.

  • He’s weighing 30 lbs
  • Measuring 35 inches (no growth spurt in the past month-we had hoped he’d shoot up a few inches)
  • Most of the details from last month are still the same
  • The rest of his two year molars are in
  • Had his first dentist visit and HATED IT! Screamed the entire time and refused to let anyone look in his mouth
  • Just in the last few days is words have EXPLODED…so many, it’s crazy!
  • If Daddy’s around he wants NOTHING to do with Mommy…he wouldn’t even take a nap for me the other day, because Daddy was home and hadn’t put him to bed.

From now on I’ll only be posting about him every 6 months, until he’s 5.