Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Ripple Effects Study Questions: Chapter Six

Ripple Effects by Pam Tebow

Chapter Six

  1. Truth is: I hate reading directions! And devoting the required time, in the midst of a busy life, to reading a comprehensive book providing detailed operating instructions goes against my human nature. But then, there’s not much at stake with a toaster oven or clock radio. There is a lot at stake for a wife, mother, student, friend, employee, or neighbor – in short, for all of us. We need the directions to life! Is there a manual for that?” – Pam Tebow, page 82
    1. Can you relate to P“am’s dislike of reading instruction manuals for various appliances? For things that feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things?
    2. What is your personal threshold for sitting down to read instructions?
  2. “The Bible has since become the Manual for my life. And my goal is to study the directions, in order to learn and to have eternal influence on the people in my sphere.” – Pam Tebow, page 83
    1. What do you think Pam means by “eternal influence?”
  3. Pam refers again and again to verses “that became mine.” (pp. 75, 90)
    1. What do you think she means by that?
    2. Have you ever found a verse or passage to internalize and make your own?
      • If you want to, please share what it is and one of the ways it helped you.
  4. “Our goal as parents was to weave God’s Word into the fabric of our children’s lives through discussing it during the routine of ordinary days.” – Pam Tebow, page 84
    1. In the prior paragraph, Pam shared how her daughter, Christy, was grateful for training Bob and Pam gave her from childhood in “engrafting the Word of God, because it gave her a grid to filter everything through.” (p. 84)
      • What is a benefit of having a grid to filter life through?
      • What did your childhood grid look like and how did growing up require you to rewire that grid?
        • How did coming to faith further cause that grid to need to reworking?
    2. What did you think of Bob and Pam’s creative way of “encouraging” their children to memorize Scripture through the Daddy’s Dollars? 😉 (p. 85)
    3. Have you ever listened to Scripture set to music? Or, set Scripture to music yourself?
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Ripple Effects Study Questions: Chapter Five

Ripple Effects by Pam Tebow

Chapter Five

  1. What rose up in you when you read about Pam’s pregnancy, first obstetric visit, and bleeding issues? (p.65)
    1. “Bob and I were convinced that our only choice was to leave my life and the life of our child in God’s hands, so I made the conscious choice to trust God.” -Pam Tebow, page 65
      • Most of us have likely never had to have this level of trust (overseas on bedrest without an abundance of available medical or communication options) in God’s perfect plan, but what about other situations?
  2. When Pam was living the circumstances we read about in the first part of the chapter, she had no idea that someday her story would be broadcast around the world on ESPN.
    1. “Only God writes stories like this! . . .God uses the most unlikely people for influence – in my case, an anonymous missionary, home-school mom.” – Pam Tebow, page 69
      • Do you ever get caught up in looking around at what everyone else is doing and get discouraged by your own circumstances?
      • Does hearing Pam’s story help you see that God could be in the process of writing an amazing faith story in your family?
    2. “People need the hope that can only come from our big God, and life-impacting influence takes place when we share our hope with those who are desperate to know its source.” (p. 69)
      • Think back to a low point in your life. Who helped point you back to a place of hope? Do you think that person was intentionally trying to lift you up or were they speaking a truth to you that your circumstances had temporarily blinded you to?
      • Do you know anyone in a low spot? Is there a way you can speak hope and truth to that person?
  3. “The Lord uses hard things to bring us to a point of need and dependence. As He meets our needs, we learn to trust Him.” – Pam Tebow, page 70
    1. Why do you think He uses increasingly hard things to grow us? If God is our perfect Heavenly Father, what does that say about His parenting style?
      • Pam tells us that “At this point in my life, I stake my faith in a very big, faithful God. And through time and experience, He has proven Himself trustworthy.” (p. 70)
      • “An ordinary woman is made extraordinary by her faith.” – Pam Tebow, page 72
        • Our Heavenly Father is seeking to make us extraordinary. Isn’t that amazing?
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Ripple Effects Study Questions: Chapter Four

Ripple Effects by Pam Tebow

Chapter Four

  1. After sharing with us about when God told her that she and and her family needed to move to the Philippines, Pam asks us, “How would you process an outrageous and unexpected prompting from the Lord?” (p. 49)
    1. “I felt as if I were in a tug-of-war with God that night, asking questions, but receiving no answers.” – Pam Tebow, page 50
      • Have you ever felt like you’ve been in a tug-of-war with God? Who won? How did that work out?
    2. She may not have gotten immediate answers to her practical questions, but she did have two verses from Jeremiah come to mind that gave her “much-needed courage for that moment and for months to come.” (p. 50)
      • Have you ever practiced the spiritual discipline of Scripture memorization?
        • If so, has it ever blessed you the way it did Pam?
        • If not, are you willing to give it a try?
        • What do you imagine that might look like in your day-to-day life?
  2. “Put simply, faith is trusting God, even when we don’t have a clue how his plan will unfold. And a trust relationship grows only one way: by making the choice to trust.” – Pam Tebow, page 50
    1. Have you decided to trust God against the external odds? What did that look like in your life and in the actions and reactions of the people around you?
    2. “Faith is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the bigger it becomes.” Bob Tebow, p. 50
      • Have you experienced this growth of faith through an exercise of trust?
      • If not with faith, how about love? Have you ever chosen to trust in someone’s declaration of love for you when your feelings told you otherwise?
  3. “During this huge transition in our lives,” Pam says of their move to the Philippines, “I realized that my attitude would directly impact my children’s attitudes, so I determined to exercise my faith muscles and be positive.” She continues on to explain that “Mothers do not need to search for someone to influence. We have an audience who will mimic us, whether we want them to or not.” (pp. 53-54)
    1. Think of a time one of your kids copied something you said or did and you found it highly embarrassing. Or, if your child(ren) aren’t old enough, try to remember back to a time you embarrassed one of your parents by copying them.
      • Have you ever heard or found yourself saying something to the effect of “Do as I say, not as I do?”
      • How has that worked out?
  4. “The enemy knows our weaknesses, fears, and doubts. He appeals to our desire to know how our story ends before we finish the first chapter. Should we put down the challenging book we are living out and try to write our own version?” – Pam Tebow, page 55
    1. What do you think Pam is saying here?
    2. “Don’t give the enemy access to your pen or computer to finish your story. Remember that even challenges can be moments of influence. People in your sphere are watching you. They need to see if you can trust your God when your world falls apart.” (p. 56)
      • Think back in your own life to where you saw someone trust or not trust God during a crisis.
        • What did their faith (or lack thereof) do to you?
        • Did it build your faith or not? Perhaps, it inspired you to do the exact opposite?
        • Now, think about your current circumstances. Do you need to spend some time unearthing any lies you’ve taken for fact and asking God to replace those lies with His truth? (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
  5. “When we remember that God is our Master, we can trust Him to guide our every step. And when we do, our children and others who watch us will be encouraged to trust Him too.” – Pam Tebow, page 59
    1. Don’t answer out loud. Just take a few minutes to read and re-read the quotes above. Then ask yourself if you really, truly believe it. If not, ask God to help you get there. He’s faithful and He loves you.


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Ripple Effects Study Questions: Chapter Three

Ripple Effects by Pam Tebow

Chapter Three

  1. On page 32, Pam shares about falling prey to Superwoman Syndrome: “If you just stick to your plan, work harder, get up earlier or stay up later, and do everything you are supposed to do in the way you are supposed to do it – then you will be successful!” Later, she shares that she’s “since learned that real life offers plenty of opportunities to remind us that no matter how sparkly our capes or how strong our capabilities, certain days, or even seasons, will leave us overwhelmed and drowning in responsibilities, without energy to spare.”
    1. Have you ever struggled with Superwoman Syndrome? If so, what did it take to wake you up to the shackles of those unrealistic expectations? Do you still struggle with it?
    2. Do you remember where you first encountered the expression, “God helps those who help themselves?”
      • What emotions does this expression raise up in you? Pride? Fear? Something else?
  2. Pam talks about how hard it was when she and Bob began homeschooling their kids. Bob didn’t have any issues with people talking behind their backs or weird looks, but Pam told us, “it would sure be easier with a few more people on my team.” (p. 35)
    1. Have you ever felt this way?
    2. “And then I discovered these verses: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV (p. 35)
      • Although Pam quotes this passage in reference to homeschooling, Jesus was talking about all areas of our lives. What area(s) do you need to surrender to Him? If you’re having trouble thinking of something, think through your life and relationships – what feels like it is crushing you? Your schedule? Your finances or marriage? Your relationship to your parents or siblings? Take anyone or thing that came to mind and tell God about it and how it’s making your feel. Ask Him to help you carry and find rest in these areas.
  3. *



*Hi, there! I wasn’t able to finish the questions for this chapter and haven’t gotten back to them yet. However, I have the next several chapters done and ready to publish. So…I’m going to go ahead and publish this so that I can keep the posts in order – with the understanding that I will get back to this and finish it up.

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Ripple Effects Study Questions: Chapter Two

Ripple Effects by Pam Tebow

Chapter Two

  1. On page 18, Pam talks about walking to church with her sister, hearing the salvation message for the first time, and accepting Christ.
    1. Do you have a story like Pam’s? If so, how did you meet Jesus the first time?
    2. If you feel comfortable sharing, please do.
  2. “My worth was centered on who I could impress and what I could achieve in my sphere of influence.” – Pam Tebow, page 20
    1. Has this ever been true of you? Did you understand your motives for desiring influence or did you, like Pam, require an awakening?
    2. Compare and contrast popularity to the type of influence Pam is encouraging us to wield.
  3. “But every woman’s story can be better than a Disney or Hallmark movie when we allow the Lord to be our Master director.” – Pam Tebow, page 27
    1. Have you seen some unexpected twists or turns when you’ve intentionally ask God to take the reins?
    2. Are there some situations in your life right now that could really benefit from a Master director’s intervention? What are they and how can we pray with and for you?
  4. What did you think about Pam’s choice “to make each child’s spiritual birthday a big deal?” (p. 28)
    1. “A spiritual birthday celebrated every year recalls the details, etching a significant decision with a permanent marker in the mind of each child.” – Pam Tebow, page 29
      • What are the ways your family celebrates birthdays?
      • Do your kids love to hear the stories of their birth?
      • What do you think celebrating spiritual birthdays could look like in your family?
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Ripple Effects Study Questions: Chapter One

Ripple Effects by Pam Tebow

Chapter One

  1. “If your life in any way connects with other people, you are an influencer.” – John Maxwell, page 1
    1. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
    2. Does this apply to everyone you come into contact with or just ongoing relationships? How does your answer make you feel?
  1. “When we know in our minds and believe in our hearts that God created us for a significant purpose, we are inspired to live differently.” Pam Tebow, page 4
    1. Have you ever experienced this in your life? If you feel comfortable sharing, share an instance where your knowledge and belief caused you to change something about your life with the group.
  1. “We need a purpose bigger than ourselves, one that gives meaning to the mundane tasks of life. A purpose so big that it is worth all the effort required to love and train one or many kids, work on our marriages, get to know neighbors, give our best to the job, prioritize our education, invest in grandchildren, serve at church, or volunteer time and give generously to worthwhile causes.” – Pam Tebow, page 4
    1. The first sentence – AMEN! I don’t know about y’all, but my plan for the day is running off the rails and it’s not even 10 a.m., I get super discouraged and have to fight to not give into despair. Can you empathize?
    2. The second sentence – which of the items listed come easily for you? Which ones would require a God-sized vision for you to engage in?
  1. “’A job’s meaningfulness – a sense that the work has a broader purpose – is consistently and overwhelmingly ranked by employees as one of the most important factors driving job satisfaction. It’s the linchpin of qualities that make for a valuable employee: motivation, job performance and a desire to show up and stay.’” – reprinted from Chicago Tribune, page 6
    1. Did this surprise you or have you had a work experience that mirrored this finding?
    2. If the latter, were your employers careful to keep the meaningfulness of the work before you or did you have to work up the emotion to continue fueling the effort?
  1. “Purpose makes a difference not just in a job but in all of life’s activities. It prevents us from slowing down, giving up, or opting out, even when we face daunting challenges. Purpose rearranges our goals, mindsets, countenances, to-do lists, speech, and more.” Pam Tebow, page 6
    1. What are some specific times in your life (finishing school, planning a wedding, preparing for a new baby, etc.) that you have found your purpose rearranging your priorities and to-do lists?
    2. What daunting challenges are you currently facing that make you want to give up? Has reading this chapter helped you regain perspective and a renewed sense of purpose? If not, make a note of it, so we can be praying with and for you.
  1. “’I want to use every last bit of my story for His glory!’” – Cristin, founder of Dare to Dream, page 11
    1. Don’t answer out loud, but take a moment to think through some of the less savory aspects of your life story. How does it make you feel that God may want to use some of your past pain to help others in pain find freedom through Jesus?
  1. “One of my favorite Scripture prayers is Deuteronomy 30:6: ‘The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendents, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.’” – Pam Tebow, page 13
    1. Have you ever heard or read this passage before?
    2. What do you think it means?
    3. Prior to quoting Deut. 30:6, Pam talks about passing onto our children the “values, beliefs, standards, morals, and ethics we hope they will pass on to theirs.” Have you ever thought about your potential future grandchildren before? Does thinking of them fill your heart with glee or fear? Why?
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Book Study: Ripple Effects, Introduction

Ripple Effects by Pam Tebow

Questions regarding the Introduction:

  1. “Over time, through challenges and setbacks, stretches of monotony and anonymity, we each have the opportunity to positively influence others. Even when we don’t realize it.” P. Tebow, page xiii
    1. Who are some of the people, parents or otherwise, who positively influenced you as a child or young adult?
    2. Do you think they know about the impact they had on you?
  2. “I have the tendency to be a people pleaser, and my heart ached to think that my people-pleasing ripples might negatively influence my boys. – P. Tebow, page xv
    1. You don’t need to answer out loud, but do you see any of your particular weaknesses manifesting in your children? How does that make you feel?
  3. “God will use your story to powerfully tell His story.” – P. Tebow, page xvi
    1. Have you ever heard someone tell about their life or read a biography of someone who has trusted God to write his/her life story?
    2. If so, how did you feel afterward? Did it give you hope that you could change your story too?
  4. “Like this woman, we all need to know that we are part of a bigger plan. There is more to life than the daily routine; we are created to have an impact that echoes into eternity.” – P. Tebow, page xvii
    1. Do you ever feel like you are nothing more than a robot nursemaid? Are there certain things that happen that ricochet you into that state (overly full schedule, not getting enough sleep, perfectionist expectations, etc.)?
  5. “Our influence is not about whether we are adequate. It’s about allowing God to use us and our experiences to leave an eternal imprint on the people we encounter in our lives.” – P. Tebow, page xvii
    1. What does this mean or say to you?
  6. “I want to continually learn, so that I can be a fresh, flowing stream rather than a stagnant pool.” Dr. Howard Hendricks, page xx
    1. How do you move from feeling stagnant to forward motion? Do you think it’s possible in your current season of motherhood? Why or why not?
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Yes, Carrot Soup is a Thing.

Welp, our Whole30/60/whatever progresses and our recipe reservoir deepens.

Being as it’s near the end of January and we’re out of grocery money for a couple days, the answer to this afternoon’s “What’s for dinner?” came out of left field. Knowing that there was a quart of stock left from last night’s jarring and most of a 5 lb. bag of carrots in the fridge, I began wondering if carrot soup was a thing. Not bright, crunchy carrot soup…no, I wanted a smooth, creamy concoction that would taste amazing, fill bellies, and still satisfy our Whole30 requirements.

Enter the What Great Grandma Ate blog. Using her Creamy Paleo Carrot Soup with Bacon recipe, I added a couple of cups of shredded chicken after blending. It was good, but still not quite what I was after. I added about a tsp. of ground ginger and about an 1/8 c. (2 T.) of dried parsley and then her recommended amount of coconut milk.

That did it. Ahhhhh.

I am pleased to report that all six of us enjoyed this thoroughly – this will show up in our future meal planning on purpose. 🙂


Whole 30 Shrimp Feast

Whole 30 Shrimp Feast

This recipe is a combination of 4 different recipes. I’m posting it here because it was well-received by almost everyone in our family and I know we’ll want to make it again. It was quickly devoured and I didn’t think about snapping a picture beforehand. Thankfully, two of the four recipes below are from other blogs and they are quite good at documenting.

The base recipe is here: Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi – we used two 12 oz bags of thawed shrimp instead of just one pound, lime juice from a whole lime instead of half a lemon, avocado oil instead of olive, and added a few ingredients noted below. Because there was more than the prescribed amount of shrimp, I added a little extra ghee and an extra dab of avocado oil.

I started with this, but wanted to be able to serve over either zoodles or spaghetti squash noodles. I’ve been wanting to try Lauren’s method of cooking spaghetti squash, so I used that. Y’all, cutting a spaghetti squash is hard – even with a good knife. Be careful and don’t try to do this in a hurry.

The third recipe was for the zoodles. It’s in the Whole30 cookbook, contained in their Shrimp with Romesco Sauce recipe. Basically, spiralize the zucchini and steam in a collander over boiling water for 2-3 minutes. (I’m actually not sure how long ours steamed. I was turning back to the stove and caught sight of my youngest fiddling with one of the temperature knobs. She’s almost seven, y’all. She had turned the oven eye that the shrimp was on waaaaaaaay up – thankfully, I caught it almost immediately, but at the expense of forgetting to set a timer for the zoodles. They were fine.)

The fourth recipe addition is from one of our FAVORITE EVER Indian cookbooks: 5 Spices, 50 Dishes*. The Spicy Seared Shrimp is a long time favorite – although, everything that we’ve tried from this cookbook has been a win. From this recipe, I added to the shrimp and sauce in the skillet, a healthy dose of dried cilantro (although the recipe calls from fresh, we were out) and maybe a teaspoon of turmeric. The other ingredients are mostly echoed in the scampi recipe, but the scampi adds some other herbs that sounded like a neat combination.


This was absolutely delicious and very filling. Three of us used zoodles as a base, two of us used spaghetti squash as a base, and one of us had a little of each. That one quickly decided he liked the zoodles better. My youngest thought the shrimp was too spicy – which I’d been a little concerned about. Thankfully, she loves spaghetti squash and was content to eat that by itself.

Next time, I think I would use less red pepper flakes. Although really, I should probably double all of the sauce ingredients, leave the red pepper at 1/2 tsp., and see how that works. The sauce was good by itself and could be a great base for some kind of cauli-rice side dish with nuts and raisins.


*This is not an affiliate link. This is my attempt, should you decide you’d like to find this cookbook, to save you some time. When I was trying to find it for a friend, I kept typing out the number names instead of the actual numbers. Oops.

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Wrestling Match

I was flipping through one my many, many legal pads the other day and re-encountered this jotting. I don’t know if anyone else can relate or not, but here it is anyway. 🙂


The ghosts
of former to lists
glide through my brain
Their shadowy partial existence
Attempting to desecrate
My time of peace and
Quiet and
Re-application of the truth of God.
(Apply to affected areas as often as needed.)




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