Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

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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Disordered Destruction

Disordered Destruction

So. Much. Pain.
I want to run away.
I want to hide my face

Your words are poison darts,
Finding purchase in our hearts.
You have pushed us all apart

You hurt yourself to hurt us too.
You know something’s broken inside of you,
Yet you blame everyone else when you come unglued

Oh, my Jesus,
Will you pick up these pieces?
Bind up these broken places

Help me love despite the pain.
Help me not run away.
Help me not hide my face.
Help me love, truly love, again.


Friends that are still here,
Please pray for Casey.* Pray that God will take back every bit of her heart that she’s ceded to the enemy of her soul. Pray that she will choose to make wise decisions, take ownership of her choices, and walk in the love of Jesus.

Thank you.



*Not her real name.

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Whoa, Nelly! Heads up.

Hi, Friends!

I haven’t been regularly posting for a LONG time. That’s about to change. This post is a chance to unsubscribe before I begin contributing to your Inbox overwhelm.

If you choose to unsubscribe, you will not be hurting my feelings. You will only be safeguarding your precious mental energy – something I understand all too well.

If you choose to hang around, that’s cool. I’ll be in touch soon.



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This Christmas (Work in Progress)

This Christmas (A work in progress)

This year,
The only tree we’ll assemble
Will be the one comprised
Of flesh, bone,
And shared DNA.

The only bark
Will be formed of laughter
(Although, there may be the chocolate kind,
And I wonder
What it’s like —
To see the love of 40 years,
The fruit of 40 years,
Gathered together once more.
Not just their fruit, but
The fruit of their fruit.
For their fruit fell far from the tree indeed,
Taking flight on the winds of change
And desire for more.
Finding solace in youthful hopes and dreams,
Sinking roots in unknown orchards.
Then, oh then,
They were grafted into new trees.
Produced new fruit.
And there was wonder —
And mystery.
“Oh, fruit of my fruit,
Will you relate to me
In my far away orchard?
I see pieces of me in you.
Will you come to see them too?

“You, oh fruit of my fruit,
Flesh of my flesh,

Bone of my bone,
And wonder,
I have so much to tell you,
To teach you.
Will you see me as I see you?
With wonder?
So much wonder.”
As noted in the title, this is a work in progress. I wrote it in the wee sma’s and, after reading it to Nathan this morning, decided to release it here in the hopes that someone would have mercy on me and report in with some feedback. That someone is you, Dear Reader. Please fill me in. Does the imagery ring true? Does it evoke an emotion (other than disgust at free-style poetry?) Do you have an idea for an alternate title? (I’ve never really been good at those…) Thanks, in advance, for your time and your feedback!
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Random morning mental musings

to my base elements
burning out
like an overheated filament
spinning round
lifting off the firmament
wondering how
I’m going to find a place again,
going to find a place again
place again
place again
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