Do it Scared: Choosing to Not Live Life in Fear

This past summer I claimed the saying, “Do it scared!” because I realized I have allowed myself to NOT do many things, because I was scared. Scared of what people would say or think, scared of whether I would succeed or fail.

It is infinitely easier to live in the dream of “someday” than it is to step out and do the thing you fear.

I turned 35 this past summer. I’ve realized something over the last few years…that I’ve lived most of my life in fear, or should I say I’ve existed in fear, because not doing things you want to do because you’re afraid isn’t living. The biggest thing I did was I finally got a tattoo.

For the past 20 years I’ve talked about it, but I finally did it. Believe me, all that day, waiting for my appointment, I kept telling myself this was the stupidest thing to do and more than once I picked up my phone to cancel the appointment, but I didn’t. I did it scared.

I did it knowing that I may regret it or that people may look down on me for it, but I did it. I didn’t let all my fears of “if” and “maybe” keep me from doing something.

You see, the thing about our fears are that they’re usually unfounded. Of course, there are those fears that are healthy fears, that keep us safe, but by and large they’re non-existent.

Fears are things we’ve put in place to keep ourselves in our comfort zone.  It’s an excuse we use to give ourselves permission to not even try.

This fall, I brandished my perfectionism as an excuse to not do something. I realized it was actually my fear of failing, of not meeting expectations (mine and other’s). It’s ridiculous! I had a vision in my head of what I wanted my Halloween costume to look like, but I was scared of messing it up.

I’ve never considered myself much of a perfectionist. Yes, I like things to be just-so, but for the most part I can let things slide, but I’ve realized something, my perfectionism manifests itself in fear. I let me fear of things not being just-so, keep me from even trying.  After 6 weeks of procrastinating I did it scared.  I made the first cut, stitched the first seam, and it came out awesome!

Fear is not from God. We are not meant to live in a constant state of fear. We are meant to live in the knowledge that we are marked as Christ’s own, that we are to live our lives to His glory, and if we are living in fear, we’re not doing that.

When I was younger I would always tell myself, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives me strength”, and it always helped me to move forward in spite of fear. Did I always use it the way the verse was meant to be used, no probably not, but it certainly helped me to act even when I was afraid.

Do not let fear keep you from living your life to it’s fullest. You will mess up. You will be disappointed at how things turn out.  But those mess ups and disappointments will be nothing compared to the regret you will feel when you have lived your life and, at the end, think of all the “I should haves…” that you never did.

Live the life God has given you. Trust in Him and who He created you to be, the life He planned for you to live. Don’t let fear keep you from being who you are. Don’t let what other people might think or say keep you from living your one and only life. Be BRAVE (my word for 2018).

***And FYI getting my tattoo was awesome, and yes I will be getting another ;-)

Peter Turns 2 {and a half}

He’s almost a preschooler….it’s going too fast.

  • Weighing in at 32lbs
  • Standing tall at 37.5″
  • The 2t/24 months are FINALLY getting too small for him. He’s wearing more and more 3T.
  • Wearing size 9 in shoes
  • For the first 2.5 years of his life Peter was an extraordinarily easy baby….these past 6 months, he’s making up for it. He has very strong opinions on things and he will be sure to tell them to you.
  • Loves Paw Patrol and Cars
  • Bound and determined to keep up with the big kids
  • So many words! He reminds me a lot of Avie when she was this age. Not as clear, but pretty good.
  • Sometimes asks to go potty. We’ve had lots of #1, but no #2s (that I can remember).
  • Can count to 10
  • Favorite breakfast is scrambled eggs with cheese, avocados, and salsa
  • No more bottle (we did away with that in October)
  • Still sleeping through the night (or I don’t hear him)
  • He’s taking one nap a day. I miss the morning nap, it made school so much easier. But he does still take one really good nap in the afternoon; sometimes it’s 2 hours, sometimes its 4. He’s always content to just sit in his bed when he wakes up.
  • Loves his Goki (blanket) and won’t go anywhere without it.
  • He’s an absolute goof sometimes
  • Definitely a man’s man….he loves his mama, but he’ll choose Matthew or a friend of mine, every time, over me.

To teach is to touch a life forever.

I found out this morning that one of my professors from college passed away last Friday. Most of the time, and for most professors, this would have just been sad news, but not for this professor. Mr. Hennessy was no ordinary college writing professor, not to me or any number of other students.

I went to SUNY Oneonta originally for Broadcast Journalism, which morphed and changed many times over 4 years, but twice I was fortunate to have Mr. Hennessy as a teacher, Composition 100 and Composition 200 (the red folder with my essays and notes still sits right above my desk).

His was my favorite class, he was my favorite teacher. 

I’ve often said that I didn’t learn how to write properly until I was in college, until I was in his class. He took so much time to go over drafts with us, to work out kinks, explain how things could be better, and question you and what you were trying to say and why. His door was always open, and he was only a phone call away.

There was so much to love about him. He was witty and had quite the sense of humor. But the best part was that he was also of Irish lineage.

I remember how excited he was when I asked him to write my letter of recommendation to study at University College Cork in Ireland. Of course, they had to be sealed, so I never did know what that letter said. But I do know how thrilled he was that I was going to get to visit our beloved Ireland.

There was one times, as a freshman, that I ended up having to take my 8 year old sister with me to class. He was more than welcoming to have her there. Ten minutes into the lecture he stopped everything, because something that had never happened in class had happened, was happening…there was a student who was actually paying attention, my sister.

I’m so glad that I saw him in Hannaford this past summer, that I was able to tell him about the past 14 years and how much he meant to me.

The part that has stuck with me over the past 14 years, since I last had Mr. Hennessy, was that he was the first person (besides my mother) to really believe in me and tell me I was a writer. He was the person who brought me alongside him, showing me how to wield my words in the best way: “Jessica, I can see your name in the by-line someday”.

Other than this little place online, it hasn’t happened yet, but someday and you can bet Denis Hennessy’s name will be in the acknowledgments. Thank you Mr. Hennessy, for being such a wonderful teacher, a friend, and an upstanding Irishman.

 

 

Our Favorite Books for Thanksgiving

Last year I posted about our favorite Autumn books, with the caveat that I was also going to share our favorite Thanksgiving books, very soon. Well…a year later I’m doing just that. Sorry: Life happens.

I heavily ordered from the library last year, with the recommendations of ReadAloudRevival.com; It was wonderful! Next to Christmas books, Thanksgiving books are my very close second. The librarians were even impressed with the books that I had found, and always wonder how I manage to find such fantastic books!

I tried to keep this list separate from those that we enjoy about Autumn, because while the two are very similar, this list of books is those books that point us to God, being thankful, and the history behind Thanksgiving.

*This post does contain affiliate links: Please read my Disclosure Policy here.

Bold-Italic—Loved for Illustrations and Words
Bold—Loved for Illustrations
Italic—Loved for Words

Our favorite books for Thanksgiving…

 

History and Faith

Thank You, Sarah: The Woman that Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson  (Author),‎ Matt Faulkner  (Illustrator)

Thanksgiving – A Harvest Celebration by Julia Stiegemeyer

The Pilgrims First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern

God Gave Us Thankful Hearts by Lisa Tawn-Bergren

Give Thanks to the Lord by Karma Wilson

Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving by Katherine Paterson

Our Favorite Books for Thanksgiving

Funny

Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin

Sharing the Bread – An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson

Thanksgiving is Here by Diane Goode

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting

Our Favorite Books for Thanksgiving

Seasonal Changes

In November by Cynthia Rylant

Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle (Author),‎ Becca Stadtlander (Illustrator)

Traditions

Thanksgiving in the Woods by Phyllis Alsdurf

Berenstain Bears Give Thanks

Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings

 

DO YOU HAVE SOME THANKSGIVING FAVORITES?
WHAT BOOKS DO YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN ENJOY READing in the weeks and days leading up to Thanksgiving?

What I’ve Been Reading – November 2017

What I've Been Reading November 2017

I have had some seriously varied reading the past few months! I’ve ready deep, meaningful non-fiction about motherhood, to fluff fiction about old Hollywood; and I have to say I’ve pretty much loved it all! While I haven’t read nearly as many books these past 3 months, I have managed to read something. Either way I’m still way ahead of my Reading Challenge for the year.

What I've Been Reading November 2017

 

FAVORITE FICTION BOOK

This is a tough one! It’s a really close toss-up between A Table by the Window and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. They were both really fast, enjoyable reads. ATW was great because it was the first book in a series I finished last year, and I love how the author ties in recipes to family history (not to mention the recipes are delicious). TSHEH was great too, it was old Hollywood, it was emotional and gritty, but still light enough to not leave you depressed. Both books had fantastic words that stuck with me.

FAVORITE NON-FICTION BOOK

Oh this one….near and dear to my heart, and written by a friend, {Why} Motherhood Matters was, without a doubt, my favorite non-fiction. More than likely it will be my most favorite non-fiction for the entire year. I’m not going to wax poetic about it, I already did that HERE, but read it.

THE BOOK I DIDN’T LIKE

The Notebook was HORRIBLE! I don’t feel that I had too high hopes for it, I knew what it was before reading it. I had just hoped that it was going to be BETTER than the movie (I love the movie), but it wasn’t. It left me wanting in every single way. The characters were boring, the love story was bland, there was just NOTHING to make the book worth reading. Sure, there were a few pleasant turn of words, but that was about it.

I was sad to say, A Game of Thrones didn’t thrill me either.  Again, I had such high hopes for it as I have LOVED the TV series. I seriously had to SLOG through it, I skipped pages, I glanced over things. I’m thinking that if I watched the film version of something, that I seriously won’t like the book as well…and it KILLS me to say that. That said, I did just start the second book.

 

What have you been reading?
Keep up with what I’ve been reading on GoodReads or Instagram 

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

*This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.