A Mean Mac and Cheese

I just finished getting ready for the day, I water washed my face and put on relatively clean clothes.

In the background the tv is on and I start hearing, “my mom…my mom… my mom…”

 

And at first I smile, moms are super heros and that was the premise of the commercial, or so I thought.

 

As I kept listening not a single thing had anything to do with being a mom, and everything to do with a highly successful career. It was an ode to the working woman, not mother.

 

I started thinking about what it means to be a mom. My mom never missed a big event, be it a game a dance a competition a practice. Heck, my mom never missed an emotion. My mom is the reigning queen of “the jessi game” (a game where I lay in bed next to her and she tells me all the things she loves about me…others have played, she has always won, and no it’s not conceit. Its feeding a weary daughter’s soul, sometimes we all need to hear reasons we are treasured). My mom has the softest skin and best smelling sock drawer. My mom knows all my favorite everythings and indulges my funfetti fetish whenever she can. And these things matter too.

 

My mom can help me on a moments notice. She has no higher obligation than me and my siblings.

 

And I pray my accolades echo hers. We may not be an aerodynamic wizard, but we can make paper airplanes soar. We may not know squat about engineering, but we can run on 2 hours of sleep and coffee.We may not be a biologist, but we can find the worm hideouts like it’s nobody’s business. And we know the looks of distress with a shift of a foot, and how hugs heal and sometimes we need to throw a fit and have ice cream before dinner.

 

my-momI set my degree aside and chose this career, this unglorified path of mom. And GE got it wrong, it’s not the brains or the degree or the outside accomplishments that make women superheros. It’s the small moments and the consistent presence in the good and the distress.

 

Society says we can have it all, be it all. Pure logistics says that isn’t so. You cant be the best at everything, something has to give.

 

But I can change the world by being a mom. Stay at home moms get a bad rap. We are “blessed,” “we don’t know how lucky we are…”

 

I respectfully say that’s crap. We sacrifice, we made choices to make this life work. And its just as hard and just as rewarding and just as important as the 9-5 mom. And sometimes superheros don’t have time for showers and pant suits. Sometimes superheros just make a mean mac n cheese.

-J

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Magical Women

The world is crazy and full of evil. Evil that in many ways we can let control our day to day, especially as moms protecting little ones.

As a mom, our day to day is riddled with too high expectations placed on us by ourselves, but also by others. I am no exception, maybe one of the worst culprits of high standards.

But being a mom has taught me magic.

You get hurt, magic kisses heal.

You have a bad dream, mommas arms chase it away.

You’re hungry, she provides.

You’re sad, she wipes your eyes.

The dinosaurs are scary; she makes them do a dance.

The dragons breathe fire; she teaches you to ride them.

You can’t sleep (ever) and she is right beside you.

The world’s injustices can be undone by a mother’s love. A mother’s magic.

Too many kids face evil everyday. Life has attacked the parents and the kids taste the backfire.

magic womenAs a mom, as a woman, I can undo that evil, not just for my own kids. My arms contain magic far outside these walls we call home.

It’s a scary world and as women we hold a lot power. A lot of magic.

How wide and how deep we choose to spread it is up to us.

It doesn’t take a delivery room to become a mom, it doesn’t take foster papers, or adoption papers, it takes love.

It’s giving a child extra time, extra attention, extra arms, a space they can vent and be themselves.

Mothers Day has come and gone, but the need for moms has not. The need for strong, powerful, compassionate, magical women is more pressing than ever. Be that woman.

  • J

Baby Blue Mary

Mary responded, “ I am the Lords servant, may everything you have said about me come true”

Luke 1:38

It never really occurred to me that maybe her life of fame and pain wasn’t what Mary had planned or wanted for herself or her family.

baby blueYes, it had its rewards and blessings, but she most likely had a plan. Probably a very well thought out, big plan. She was a strong smart woman. Strong, smart women don’t passively wait for their lives to unfold. They make plans.

And yet she wholly committed to God’s plan.

She chooses to set her life, her plan, her thoughts at God’s feet and say yes.

He asked; she answered. She gave a huge faith yes with no real idea of what was to come, except that it’d be hard and life changing. She would give birth to the messiah…how do you fathom all that would entail? You can’t.

I’ve never resonated much with Mary. Virgin mother scarved in blue, calm and holy, ready to go.

baby blue maryI don’t buy it. Yes, virgin mother, but fierce and strong and brave. Bold and willing. A baby blue scarf may be good for Easter and Precious Moment sales. But its not fooling me, my Mary is clothed in vibrant hues.

There is nothing passive about her life, her “yes.”

And some would argue bold garments weren’t in her means, her time period, her life…

Then again neither were virgin babies.

-J

Lobsters Mate for Life

Some people believe in soul mates.lobsters

Some people have best friends.

Even more people have a sister.

However, very few people are as blessed as I am. I have all three wrapped up in one.

And even fewer people have the privilege of living with them.

And I am the only one who gets the honor (and perks) of the boundless kindness and generosity and wisdom that is the essence of Shauna.

Our regular followers know this spring has been an array of chaotic transitions. Confusing and dirty and sprinkled with the holy goodness of worms and marshmallows at all the right moments. Full of Bear and Bug and love.

lobsters 1And also full of a holy sister fierce enough to withstand every blow and gentle enough to know when to strike back and how.

This is my thank you, my public acknowledgement of all that she is and all that I’m not, and all that she teaches me and gives without thought.

It’s critical for all females to have fellow godly women to lean on, and pray with and laugh with and life with.

And I thank the Lord daily for mine, for you Shauna. I don’t know how people have children without TiTi’s!

-J

Ps. Also thank you to Chris who has always understood and welcomed us a package deal!

5 Things I’ve Learned (and am Still Learning) from My Mom

My mom, sister, and I  Dec. 2014
My mom, sister, and I
Dec. 2014

My boundaries are (practically) limitless.

This is incredibly powerful.  I am a highly confident, professional woman and this is in part due to the fact that I was told repeatedly that I was capable of doing whatever I wanted.  Well, almost, my parents also believe in a healthy dose of reality,but that’s what made me know it was true.  If I worked hard enough and wanted something, I could be/do whatever I wanted.  Every time the self-conscious, insecure teenage girl questioned herself, I received confident affirmation.  I’ve carried that into my adult life.  I know I can get things done.  So, I make goals, plans, and carry those out with the confidence that I am able because of who God has made me at my core.  That’s not to say I don’t have doubts, but, when those come out, my mom is still quick to tell me not to undercut myself or God.  Follow God’s will and He will make the things happen that should happen.  As I’ve found the last few years, this is often different, bigger, and more amazing than I ever could imagine.

My mom and I  November 2014
My mom and I
November 2014

The greatest gift we can give to others is compassion.

There is a lot of need in this world.  The greatest need is potentially compassion.  My mom is really good at listening to others without judging.  We are talking we go through the drive thru and the worker at the window for some reason is sharing all about their day to my mom.   People just tell her things and she listens.  At the core of our humanity, isn’t that what we all want and need?  To know we are seen and heard as fellow human beings?

The best way to make frosting is just to add another stick of butter.

Not joking, just buy canned frosting and add a stick of butter.  It will change your life (and potentially your cholesterol level).  You can thank me later.

My mom, sister, and I  Around 1993
My mom, sister, and I
Around 1993

It is okay to be exactly who I am.

I think this is potentially the most empowering understanding I’ve come to as an adult.  It seems obvious.  There is a huge difference between knowing this and understanding/embracing it.  My mom has always told me to let go of others’ expectations of myself.  If I’m living what God is calling me to do, then everything is as it should be.  I don’t have to be or do what people/society expect of me.  I just have to be me and live true to the woman and lifestyle to which God has called me.  With this acceptance, there came such a huge release of weight.  Now, this is not to say that I never worry about what others think, but this is a passing thought for the most part.  I can live content and happy as the work in progress that I am.

The Strong Women of our Family (and Nici) March 2015
The Strong Women of our Family (and Nici)
March 2015

The world requires strong women.

I’m not saying men are off the hook, but the worlds of so many seem to rest on the shoulders of strong women.  Alternately, the worlds of so many are off kilter, waiting for a strong woman to come balance them.  Women who are stronger than their past; women who are stronger than their circumstances; women who carry their burdens and the burdens of others with grace.

My mom’s name, Kelly, means warrior princess.  She hates this, but I think it’s beautiful.  That is what she is.   She has always been a warrior for our family as a whole and for each of us individually.  She is a faith warrior, a prayer warrior.  She is a warrior to her core, fighting to make the world better for those she loves.  She is the epitome of a strong woman, a living example of what I try to be day in and day out.

Happy Mother’s Day!

-S

Stay Strong Mommas!

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees…

Hebrew 12:11-12

no disciplineSometimes a verse finds you at exactly the right time.

When your son is adjusting to daddy leaving for work by no longer sleeping…making him cranky all day – plus teething and the glorious diapers that come with it.

Ya, this momma has tired hands and weak knees.

And sometimes (no, a lot of the time) giving in would be so much easier.

That’s the thing with being a momma though; there is no such thing as short term. It’s a lifetime commitment.

Yes I’m raising a little boy right now; while simultaneously raising a man.

The choices I make today directly affect the character of the man he’ll be tomorrow (because we all know in a blink of an eye he will be too old for my liking).

Don’t get me wrong- by all means, please choose your battles!

They grow too fast and the hard parts of life come too qiuickly! Let them be little and fiercly guard their innocence as long as you can.

discipline is not enjoyableBut stand firm on shaky feet and take a new grip with your tired hands. You are their momma first and their friend second.

It is our job to enforce manners, make them share, follow the rules, choose healthy foods over dessert (most days), show compassion…etc.

It is our job to discipline – not because it is fun or easy; because more than anything I desire a peaceful harvest of right living for my babies.

And it is my job to teach him how to harness his unending passion into the glorious path God has for him….

With great love comes great responsibilities.

Stay Strong Mommas!

-J

Women of Strength

1099a49ced90d4601208341f98f75d7cDear women who show the daily strength of grace, courage, and mercy,

Dear women who carry not only themselves, but all those around them,

Dear young women with your eyes looking forward, pushing towards your destiny,

Dear girls fighting to maintain innocence,

Dear self,

The world is not always kind to us.  In this crazy, critical, fast paced world, there are some things you need to know.  They are some things you need to embrace.  There are some things you need to believe.

You are valuable.  Just you.  Just the way you are.  God made you the way He did for a reason.  You have something unique to offer the world.  If you don’t, no one else can because there is no other you.

You are just as important as anyone and everyone else.  Love yourself as much as you do others.  Those things that make you feel awkward, those things that make you feel like you just don’t fit in?  Those are the things that make you special.  Those are the things that tell you have to just be you and let go of the anxiety and pressure.  Those are the things that will influence the unique contribution you have for the world.

Your voice is relevant.  Don’t let anyone write off your ideas or your emotions.  They are both valid.

il_570xN.418501039_q52hYou are smart.  Speak up, speak out.  Speak for what is right.  Speak for how the world should be and not how it is.  You are more powerful than you realize.  You have the ability to influence people and the world through love, mercy, and strength.

Your body is a gift.  Be thankful for all it does and can do for you.  Ignore the negative messages that inundate you and know that you are beautiful.  Take care of it, but don’t obsess.  You are so much more than your outer layer.

You are not what has happened to you.  You are not the choices you have made.  You are the woman you choose to be each day.  You have the power to change your context.  To change your direction.  Be a person you respect.  Be proud of who you are, what you’ve done, what you will do.

Keep the innocence where you can for as long as you can.  Life can be hard and long.  Take time to be silly.  Take time for what makes you happy and keeps you going.  Remember, that it is not selfish, but necessary, to take time for yourself.

Be kind to each other.  The world is too harsh on us for us to be cruel, condemning, or critical of each other.  Instead, we need to be a band of sisters, a band of warriors, a ring of compassion.

Photographs of Charmion, Strong Woman, 1904. Popular on the vaudeville stage and in the circus as a trapeze artist and a strong woman.
Photographs of Charmion, Strong Woman, 1904. Popular on the vaudeville stage and in the circus as a trapeze artist and a strong woman.

Mostly, let your spirit soar.  Let all that you are fill the world with goodness.  Let God’s love and mercy pour out of you.  Be a strong woman.

-S