Say YES Project… Take 2!

So a while back I wrote about this awesome project led by my internet pal Amber… I said YES to leading a retreat with my mom’s best friend at the beginning of October. And I hoped to get a post about it up before the end of the October link-up… But when I got back, I was just SO tired. So, here it is… One month late.

AND the prompt for today’s thankful project is AN EXPERIENCE! So I get to combine TWO blog posts! WIN.

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The retreat started several days before we actually stepped onto the grounds of Camp Kirkwood. We had a coach’s meeting on Monday, and a prayer vigil on Thursday to go over plans for the weekend and pray that the Lord would be present throughout the weekend.

We listened to talks from various speakers throughout the weekend on topics ranging from dating to life purpose. There were small group discussions and activities to help us reflect on what we had listened to. I had a great group of girls ranging in age from 13 to 18.

While we did not have the greatest weekend in terms of weather (Tricia and I got stuck sitting in a canoe in the middle of the lake while it poured down rain), I could really feel the Lord’s presence all weekend. My role there was really just to be a facilitator, but I ended up learning more than I could have anticipated. And to think I hesitated to say YES.

Something strange and freaky happened to me on the last night/morning. Somehow during my fitful night of sleep, I managed to have a dream that a lion was chasing me. I woke up, shrugged it off as a bizarre dream, and got ready for the day. I stopped by the prayer tent on my way to breakfast to just have someone pray over me.

I sat down and asked them to pray for some guidance in my life. They sat for a moment of reflection, and then one of them spoke. He said that he kept seeing a lion running. Chills went down my spine as I recalled the dream from the night before. I thought about the lion for the rest of the day. And when I got home, I searched online for what it meant to see a lion in your dream.

To see a lion in your dream symbolizes great strength, courage, aggression and power. You will overcome some of your emotional difficulties. As king of the jungle, the lion also represents dignity, royalty, leadership, pride and domination. You have much influence over others. You also need to exercise some restraint in your own personal and social life. Alternatively, a lion represents your need for control over others. You have to be in charge.

To dream that you are attacked by a lion suggests that a force may be driving you to self-destruction. You need to overcome these challenges and obstacles.

So for the last month, I’ve been reflecting on courage, and any emotional difficulties I may face. I’ve been trying to be less critical of myself, and I’m finding myself the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I’m re-learning my likes and dislikes. I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone bit by bit and seeing what else is out there. And to think I hesitated to say YES.

-Jess

My Happy Place

Day 3 of The Thankful Project! I tried so hard to get posts written ahead of time, and here I am, writing three posts in one day (days 2, 3, and 4).

Anyway, today I’m being thankful for a place!

thankful project titleThis one wasn’t too difficult to figure out. I am in love with my beach. Edisto.

Edisto

This has been my family’s vacation spot since before I can remember. As a child, I remember playing in the sand and making castles with my sisters. Floating on a raft in the water, what felt like miles from the shore with my uncles and my grandpa. Jumping in the waves with my cousin. As an adult, going to this place just re-charges me. Even if only for a weekend, coming here always brings me back to center (so to speak). The hustle and bustle of life falls away as I drive over the bridge and onto the island.

So, today I am thankful for all of the memories from this place. The walks to the piggly wiggly. The time I caught a baby shark. All of the margaritas and card games and family dinners. This place will always be a home away from home. The kind of vacation I will always need.

EdistoEaster Morning sunrise church service.

family 1994So there ya have it. My Happy Place. Tell me about yours in the comments! :)

-Jess

The Greatest Role. (Day 2!)

Day 2 of The Thankful Project was yesterday… oops! And yesterday I was supposed to express my gratitude for a role that I’ve played. Check back later for day 3. This blog should just be called ob-mess-ed, because that’s how my life is most of the time!

Anyway, I digress.

The Thankful Project: 28 days of blogging with intentional gratitude

I’ve been in many roles. I’ve been a friend, a sister, a confidant. A student, an employee, a gymnast, a dancer, and most recently, A BLOGGER.

But. There is one role I have played since I was born. Before I was born. I am a daughter. And not in just the sense that I have parents and I am their child that is female. Although I do love being a daughter to my parents, (I even wrote them a love letter) I am talking in a greater sense.

I am the daughter of a KING. 

The grace of God, which surpasses all understanding, has flooded over me. I am a sinner. I make mistakes. I fall short EVERY. DAY. I forget about God’s relentless pursuit of me and I succumb to temptation. But Jesus always meets me where I am. Like those times when I was afraid and lost. In times of doubt. The times in my life where I have questioned my faith and asked Him “Why me?” or “Why now?” He was always pursuing me. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Even when I’m drenched in my sins, rough and ragged from life in this crazy world, God is still working in my heart and relentlessly pursuing me. He will lead my wandering heart where it needs to go… even in times of doubt and insecurity.

Child of God| via pinterest |

-Jess

Thankful Project: Day 1

HERE WE ARE, FOLKS! It’s November, and that means it’s time to be thankful! We’re blogging every day until Thanksgiving about different things we are thankful for in order to have an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE this season!

Day 1: A person

The Thankful Project: 28 days of blogging with intentional gratitude

So, little back story… I’m getting a jump start on these posts and writing a few days early. So as I write this, on Friday October 25, I am sitting in Panera. Normally, I love going to Panera and having lunch and working or writing. But today is different. First, there are some grandparents and their very loud grandchildren, running all over the place, shouting I’M DONE, I HAVE TO GO POTTY, etc. There is a homeless man sitting three tables away from me eating McDonalds and stinking up the place with his body odor. These people are making it nearly impossible to focus on A PERSON I am thankful for.

But none of these characters compare to the married (formerly married?) couple having a VERY loud argument about their impending divorce, the process of getting a divorce, how difficult the other person is being, etc, etc, etc. I understand that they probably had to have this conversation in a public place, Away from their two children.

I’m sitting here trying so hard not to stare at them and picture what their wedding day was like… And how so much must have changed to get them from so happily in love, to screaming at each other in Panera, while everyone stares. How over the course of 7 years (yah, I like to eavesdrop, sue me.) they have gone from being in love, to proclaiming to the world their hatred for one another.

And so, right now, on October 25th, the person I am so thankful for is my future husband, whoever and wherever he may be. I’m thankful that I will never be that woman sitting in panera while her (ex?) husband yells at her. I’m thankful that my future husband will be a patient man. A humble man who will put our family over everything. Who will guard and protect us and value our marriage.

I’m not the easiest person to live with, and I know there will be fights. There will be nights where one of us will sleep on the couch. There may even be a public fight in Panera someday. But I am so thankful that my future husband will not be the kind of man to give up on me, and our marriage. There won’t be a long, drawn out for 7 months, messy, expensive divorce that will leave us both angry and exhausted and praying for the end. I obviously can’t predict the future (except for the one psychic dream I had in college). I don’t know for sure that my future marriage won’t end with a fight over lunch in Panera.

But I hope, and I pray that my future husband will be my best friend. We will walk through life together. The Bible has so much to say about marriage, and if those moments of anger or doubt ever come across my marriage, looking to God and to the Bible will get me and my future husband through it.

Love| via pinterest |

I mean, I’m really really single (and I really like it that way), So I will wait patiently for my future husband to come into my life. Because I know he is the kind of man that won’t yell at me in Panera. And that’s why I’m SO thankful for him.

Song of Solomon 2:16 My Beloved is mine and I am His - Bible Verse Scripture Vinyl Wall Art| via pinterest |

Who are you thankful for today?

-Jess

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The Thankful Project!

I love the idea of blog challenges… Remember blogtember? September was a GREAT blogging month for me, because I was told what to write, and when to write it. I loved it.

Now, October has been much more difficult. Because I don’t know what to blog, and when to blog, and my creative juices have just NOT been flowing.

But November will be different… Because starting next Friday, I’m linking up with CHASING HAPPY for The Thankful Project!

The Thankful Project: 28 days of blogging with intentional gratitude

Now, I wanted to do something like this on my own. Just writing about what I’m thankful for for the month of November. But I like this idea SO MUCH better than coming up with my own topics (because we all know I don’t like that).

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday.. And not just because my grandma makes THE. BEST. thanksgiving dinner. I love the thankful spirit that flows through her house on Thanksgiving. And this year, I’m extending that thankful spirit through the whole month. I have so much to be thankful for. So I’m writing about how GRATEFUL I am for these things next month:

The Thankful Project: 28 days of gratitude prompts for blogging, journaling, and reflecting. Come join the linkup!

And some of those are going to be really hard. I already know I’m going to struggle to think of things to write about for some of the topics, and how to put the words together to accurately express my gratitude. But I will do it anyway.

wisdom!| via pinterest |

So… Will you join me? Even if you don’t blog… Journal or just reflect with us! Let’s GIVE THANKS this year.

-Jess

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Things That Make Me Smile.

Blogtember is almost over, you guys. I’m getting sad. And really scared of coming up with my own blogging topics. Anyone else?

Day 18 prompt: Go to a coffee shop. Order a favorite drink. Write about what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Or write about anything you’d like! 

I’m just going to say, I did not want to go to a coffee shop. I have a belly full of sushi, and I would have been completely content writing this from the bed in my hotel room. But. I remembered my challenge. I’m saying yes. So, I climbed into the monstrosity that Hertz gave me this week (any HIMYM fans out there watch this weeks episode?) and drove down the street to Starbucks (the only coffee shop in Greeley, Colorado). Ordered my SECOND pumpkin spice latte of the day (decaf, because it’s 7pm). Bought a reusable cup. Helped out the environment. Good deed of the day complete… And now, I write.

I’m only going to write about things that make me happy. Because right now, I’m in a great mood, and it’s hard to think of what makes you sad when you’re not sad. So, in no particular order…

My Family. I talked about it in my love letter to my parents, but it applies to my sisters, grandparents cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. too. I am so blessed to have family that is always lifting me up and making me laugh. I hope that I make them as happy as they make me.

My Friends. These people really understand the concept of WORK HARD. PLAY HARD. I’m friends with the kind of people that bust their asses all week long, then unwind over the weekend. My heart is happy knowing that I have a group of selfless friends that laugh at my weird jokes and move chairs from ikea and celebrate my birthday over the course of two weekends instead of one and have snapchat conversations instead of text messages. (I could go on…) These people are great. Thanks for being you ;)

My Dogs

Cheesecake (any kind of cheese for that matter)

Fall Weather (scarves, sweaters, boots, etc.)

Pumpkin Spice Lattes (goes with fall weather)

Stepping on crunchy leaves

Freshly made beds

Long, tight hugs

Taking in Earth’s beauty (like the mountains in Colorado I got to see this week)

RAK (Random Acts of Kindness)

Harry Potter

Pictures of Elephants or seeing an elephant at the zoo

The first warm breeze that smells like spring and means winter is over

The first cool breeze that smells like fall and means summer is over

Disney Movies, or anything from the 90s

Anything related to Christmas or Christmas season

A clean apartment (pretty rare for me)

Knowing the answer to a question on Jeopardy

Candles

Home-cooked meals

Driving with the windows down and the music up

Stopping at the mall on my way home

Getting mail (not bills)

Sleeping in

When I wake up in the middle of the night and realize I still have several hours left to sleep

YouTube videos of babies laughing and soldiers coming home

Sitting on the beach without technology to distract me

Airports (when I’m not being held there against my will)

Outer-Space

Music

Buying things on sale

Diet Coke

Dancing

Getting blog comments (so leave one with what makes YOU happy)

-Jess

P.S. This post really sucked in the picture department… so here ya go:

Objessions

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I Make Aggressive Mistakes

Blogtember Day #17: Write about a time you screwed up – a mistake you made.

I’ve been thinking about this prompt since day 1 of blogtember. I’ve made lots of mistakes, surely one will come to me over the course of a month and I can write about it. But, I’m still drawing a blank.

ICEDpssssst, Jess… You’re probably going to regret that in the morning!

A few weeks ago, my best friend and I went to church at Crossroads here in Cincinnati. The main message of the day was fear. (which was oddly timed, because it was the week after I wrote this post on FEAR) But something that the preacher said really struck a chord with me… He said “Don’t make passive mistakes.” Meaning, if you’re going to make a mistake, MAKE it. Don’t leave a situation wishing you had said or done something.

I figured out that THIS is why I can’t think of any mistakes that I’ve made. I make aggressive mistakes. If I’m doing something, chances are I’m not passively participating. I’m not scared of making a mistake. Maybe it’s my personality, but I’m much more likely to regret something I didn’t do, rather than something I did do (except that time I drunk dialed my parents when I was trying to call my voicemail.)

Sure, there are mornings when I wake up and really regret that last drink. One time, I made the mistake of lighting a candle and then falling asleep. My room smelled like lavender when I woke up. I drove the wrong way down a one way street. I went out of town one week and forgot to lock my apartment. I painted my nails right before I went to bed and woke up with them stuck to my blanket. I took Benedryl in the morning thinking it was Zyrtec. There was that time my mom asked me to watch a pot of boiling spaghetti while she went to pick my sisters up… Naturally, I forgot, and it caught on fire. One time, I made banana bread, but put it in a loaf pan that was too small, so it overflowed and created a huge mess in my oven. Or remember the time I made cheesecake in the middle of the night and added 1000x the amount of cinnamon (click here for that story)…  If you’re making mistakes, it means you’re out there doing something, right?

I don’t really regret any of the mistakes I’ve made. Even the “BIG” ones (that I still can’t think of right now). I’m certainly not perfect, but any mistakes I’ve made have molded me into who I am today. And I don’t think if I had or hadn’t done something, that I would be any better or worse off than I am now.

i love this.

What is one “mistake” that you DON’T regret making?

-Jess

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Satin Lips: A Review!

Day X (?) of blogtember. And the prompt is: Review a book, place, or product.

So I’m here to write about my FAVORITE new product!

I went to a Mary Kay party at the beginning of the summer. Not really sure if I was going to buy anything, but just wanted to hang with some of my friends from work. But I discovered THE BEST treatment for dry, chapped lips. SATIN LIPS by Mary Kay!

And I don’t know about you, but my lips are always dry (ESPECIALLY in the winter). It seems that I could put Chapstick on for days, and an hour later, they’re dry and cracked again. Ouch. (Probably because I’m always licking the Chapstick off my lips… I’m weird)

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Proof via Instagram circa summer 2011

So the consultant brings out this lip mask. You put in on your lips, and it exfoliates all the dead skin off (like when you exfoliate your face). Leave it on for 1-2 minutes, then wipe off. Because the mask is white, wiping off is KEY here… Otherwise, you look like this:

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Follow up with the lip balm, and your lips will be silky smooth for HOURS. AND HOURS. The lip balm is not tinted, but it always makes my lips look super pink… Proof:

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You can reapply the balm as often as you’d like, but the mask should only be used once or twice a week. Neither of them are scented, and I usually put the balm on under my lip gloss (although in the photo above, I only have the balm on!)

It’s a little on the expensive side, as far as lip products go. But it’s one of those things little things that just WORKS. I can justify the expense because 1- it lasts relatively long (I’ve used it 1-2 times a week since May, and still have at least half the bottle left). and 2- it works SO much better than everything else I’ve ever tried.

So, THAT is my new favorite product. And now, everyone knows what they’re getting for Christmas this year… Sorry.

I also really like the Satin Hands… Same concept, but for you hands. Obviously.

What is your favorite beauty secret? Also, this was my first “beauty-related” post… Thoughts?

-Jess :)

Life Lately / My Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday! (Said no one ever.)

Today’s blogtember prompt is a life lately kind of post.

I basically have the best friends ever. For my/Seth’s birthday, they planned a “surprise” trip on the pedal wagon! I say “surprise” because it wasn’t really a surprise after several people spilled the beans. It rained, but we had SO much fun!

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After bar hopping around, we had dinner at a sushi restaurant (and my phone stayed a little longer on the pedal wagon, so I have no pictures from dinner). Pretty sure everyone there wanted to kill us. Because we were not sober and not quiet. Oops.

Saturday, something extraordinary happened. GOD himself texted me.

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(was really my friend logged into Find my iPhone from the night before, but hungover/dead Jess had no idea what was going on.)

We all went down to Oktoberfest in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon. We actually didn’t spend a ton of time at Oktoberfest before heading to a bar to watch some college football! When walking home, I managed to stub my toe on some kind of cement block. Pretty sure it’s broken. NBD.

And finally, on Sunday we watched the bengals beat the packers from my friends patio. A bee was killed in the buffalo chicken dip… It was an exciting day.

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Well. I watched all but the last 10 minutes before I had to leave to catch a flight. Arguably the best 10 minutes of the game. And I had to listen on the radio. Awful.

So that’s Jess’ life lately. What’s up with you guys??

-Jess

Comfortable.

Sorry for not playing along in blogtember yesterday, I am not a creative writer. So skipping that prompt just made sense.

Day 14. React to this term: comfort

In general, I try to stay in my own comfort bubble. I’ve built this little world for myself that doesn’t really challenge me to step outside my comfort zone too often. And there’s nothing wrong with that really. But what’s that saying … life begins at the end of your comfort zone?

Angels of Mercy - Storypeople

I like comfortable things. Comfy pants, comfy beds, comfy chairs. And I generally won’t stay somewhere too long if it’s making me uncomfortable. I was at a client in San Francisco earlier this year, and our project room had folding chairs. And if you’ve ever sat in a folding chair for an extended period of time, you know it is NOT COMFORTABLE. By the end of the week, I felt like an old lady, and went searching for a chair that was … you guessed it … more comfortable.

Because being uncomfortable isn’t natural. It’s even uncomfortable to write or talk about things that are uncomfortable. (some words make people uncomfortable… i’m not really that way though. a lot of people hate the word moist. just sayin’)

So, my new goal is to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. To SAY YES to more things that I would normally avoid. And to live more from intention and less from habit.

Purpose.

So, Will you do something this weekend that you normally wouldn’t do? Will you step out of your comfort zone and say YES? (see how I tied those two posts together?!)


-Jess

P.S. I realize this is kind of about “uncomfortable” … Oh, well.