Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

My 2012 Reading List

In the interests of accountability and after being inspired by Crystal of Money Saving Mom‘s success with her 2011 list, I decided that I’m going to follow suit.  😀

In addition to my desire to read through the whole of the Bible this year using this plan, each month I also want to read at least 1 non-fiction, 1 fiction and 1 of the Sitepoint books that I’ve been acquiring over the last several years. I may read more, but I don’t want to read less.  🙂

So, without further ado, I present….the list!

Nonfiction: Finish up Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
Fun/Fiction: Freckles by Gene Stratton (This is being loaned to me and I need to read so I can return!)  🙂
Tech: HTML Utopia: Designing without Tables Using CSS by Rachel Andrew & Dan Schafer

The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year by Crystal Paine
Fun/Fiction: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Another loaner that I need to read to be able to return.)
Tech: The Principles of Beautiful Web Design, 2nd Ed. by Jason Beaird

March:  So…as I’m having a baby at the end of February, I’m giving myself a pass here. As long as I keep up with my Bible reading, I’ll be a happy camper.

Nonfiction: Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend
Fun/Fiction: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
Tech: Build Your Own Database Driven Website with PHP and MySQL by Kevin Baird

Nonfiction: Seven Secrets Women Want to Know by P.B. Wilson (I’ve read this before, but it’s been a long time, so I’d like to re-read it. Her book “Liberated Through Submission” is amazing, too!)
Fun/Fiction: Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom – I love, Love, LOVE her book “The Hiding Place” – she’s such an inspiration.
Tech: Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes by Allan Cole, Raena Jackson Armitage, Brandon R. Jones and Jeffrey Way

Nonfiction: Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis
Fiction: The Emily Trilogy by L.M. Montgomery (Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, Emily’s Quest)
Tech: The Principles of Project Management by Meri Williams

Nonfiction: Prophetic Worship by Vivian Hibbert
Fun/Fiction: A Foreign Devil in China: The Story of Dr. L. Nelson Bell by John Pollock
Tech:  Online Marketing Inside Out by Brandon Eley & Shayne Tilley

Nonfiction: Good to Great by Jim Collins (I absolutely loved this the first time I read it…back in 2005. Time to re-read!)
Fun/Fiction: Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman
Tech: The Art & Science of CSS by Jonathan Snook, Steve Smith, Jina Bolton, Cameron Adams, and David Johnson

Nonfiction: The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose and Sanity by Dr. Meg Meeker
Fun/Fiction: Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel  – Yes…this sounds like a fun read to me – laugh all you like.  ;D
Tech: HTML5 and CSS3 for the Real World by Alexis Goldstein, Louis Lazaris & Estelle Weyl

Nonfiction: One Thousand Gifts by Anne VosKamp (After buying it twice and giving it away both times, I’m finally going to read it! Anne’s blog is amazing and oozes with the grace and poetry of communion with Christ – I just had to share it.)
Fun/Fiction: Letters from the Land of Cancer by Walter Wangerin Jr. (If you’ve never read his book Ragman and Other Cries of Faith – do yourself a favor and read it. Ah-mazing!)
Tech: The CSS Anthology by Rachel Andrew – I’m not sure if this is the same edition as the one that I have…we’ll see.

Nonfiction: Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products by Sophia Uliano (Just in time to be able to make some Christmas presents, eh? 😉
Fun/Fiction: Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
Tech: Create Stunning HTML email that Just Works by Matthew Patterson

Nonfiction: Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George
Fun/Fiction: The Kingdom Agenda by Tony Evans
Tech: Sexy Web Design by Elliot Jay Stocks  (Uh…yeah. This is about developing well-designed user interfaces. Really.)

Want to make your own reading list? Here’s a link to the printout I downloaded from the Money Saving Mom website.


To everything there is a time, to everything there is a season (Or: Life is short. Heaven is long.)

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV)

This was brought home to me the other day. Not so much the full passage, but the first verse – definitely.

You see, I was in the hospital a few weeks ago.

The last day of 2011, our scheduled Christmas festivities with my in-laws, ended with my husband driving me back over the mountain to our local hospital. I was a little over 30 weeks pregnant at the time and experiencing some pelvic pain and bleeding. Uh…scary? You better believe it! Especially after being on bed rest for 2 1/2 weeks with my last child...especially after seeing our son hooked up to feeding tubes and wires and breathing apparatus when his scheduled delivery didn’t go exactly as planned. I was a mess on the inside – “Lord, I don’t think I can bear to watch another one of my children go to the NICU.” and “Lord, I’m scared. Why am I bleeding? Is it all going to happen again?” as well as other internal incoherent prayers offered up as I struggled to trust in His grace and His sovereignty. My in-laws kept all three of our children at their house for the night, so that we knew they would be okay. My husband held my hand as he drove.

After five or six hours hooked up to the machines, and only 1-2 real contractions during that whole time, I got to come home. However, the pelvic pain occasionally starts back up and – and – to see me walking right now is an exercise in absurdity. I’m 33, yet to watch me walk right now would bring to mind 90 year old ladies and people learning to walk again. Halting. With obvious difficulty. With pain.

I’m not upset about this. And, I’m not posting this to make anyone feel sorry for me. It’s okay. It’s a season. It’s a painful season, but still…just a season. And, hey – I get a baby out of it. That helps make it all worth it.   😀

Which brings me to the point of this post:

This life, this time that we spend on this planet – it’s a season.

I was leaving LifeWay the other night after helping pull a publication together. I shuffled myself out to the van, opened the door and carefully lifted myself in to the driver’s seat. I was feeling a bit exasperated about the whole walking thing and I was talking to myself (I’m sure no one else ever does that, right?). “Okay, Jess. It’s going to be okay. This is just a season. Yes, it hurts, but it’s just for a season.”

Out of the blue, a couple of thoughts bubbled up inside of me:

  • This life? It’s just a season.
  • Yes, it hurts. Life does that sometimes. But, it’s just for a season.

I was reminded of a C.S. Lewis quote that I saw someone post recently on Facebook: “If you think of this world as a place simply intended for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place for training and correction and it’s not so bad.” (Another Source for the quote.)

As Christians, Heaven is our home. Earth is the way station…the training grounds…the place where we are born in flesh and blood and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, reborn through spirit, water and truth, granting us an eternity with our Master and Maker. Pain is but part of the birthing process. It’s part of the natural birthing process and part of the spiritual birthing process. Jesus, the almighty and amazing Son of God, endured suffering – the author of Hebrews said that it was “for the joy set before him”. (Heb. 12:2, NIV) May it be the same for us.

My current season of pain will (Lord willing!) end with a baby born and another healing C-section scar. There will be more pain after that. It’s a given. It’s part of living in a fallen, sin-filled world. (John 16:33, NIV) But…take heart! We’re only here for a season.

My prayer is that I, too, walk joyfully through the pain, looking at it as part of the labor pains of being slowly, surely formed into a new creation – one fit for heaven.

Let’s walk joyfully together.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Heb. 3:13, NIV).

Shuffling forward in joy,

Jessica  🙂

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FB Food for Thought: Why we *need* to read to feed

heh…alliterate much, Jess?

A young lady that I know was asking why we need to know God’s word, why we need to read the Bible daily, why we need to pray, why we need to learn all about God to have/walk in relationship with him…basically, she was curious as to the basics of growing as a Christian.

I took a little time (and it took a bit of time as there were babies running around and screaming, etc. , hehe…  🙂  ) and responded to her post. Another lady read my response and said I needed to print it out and post it. I’m not sure about the printing, but, as I have my own little corner of the internet here, I figured I could handle the posting part.  ;D

So…here goes:

Her post:

“why do we need to know God word? Why do we need to read Gods word every day? why do we need to need to pray every day?why do we need to know everything about God to have a realtionship woth me????? just wondering!?!??!?!?!!??!???!”

My response:

“How often do you need to eat? How often do you need to sleep?

As a Christian, you are made up of 3 parts: spirit (the part of you that was born when you accepted Jesus), soul (your mind, your will, and your emotions), and body (uh…yeah, pretty self-explanatory).

You feed your body 2-3 times a day, usually. You rest your body 1 or 2 times a day/night, usually.

You need to feed your spirit, too. The food of the spirit is the bread of life – aka Jesus. Jesus is also called the Word. By taking time to daily read the Bible (God’s word), you are feeding your spirit what it needs to both survive and thrive. It’s the spiritual equivalent of eating our fruits and vegetables. We can get by without it, but that’s all we’re going to do – get by. We won’t walk in the vibrant spiritual health that God desires for us. Instead, we will wither up and barely make it and “Oh, woe is me! God must not care about me.” Or, because we don’t know God’s word (because we haven’t been reading and studying it!), anyone that comes along and sounds spiritual will turn our heads and we’ll fall away from God’s ways and follow someone else. The Bible specifically warns us about this happening to people who are more interested in making themselves feel good than they are about following God. 😦

You also need to rest your spirit. We rest our spirits when we take moments to pause and reflect on spiritual things – God, his plans and purposes for our lives, and his word. We rest our spirits when we worship him, when we recognize that he’s in charge and we are not, when we let the weight of the world fall off of our shoulders and into his capable hands.

Your soul, however, is a bit different. How do you feel your mind, your will and your emotions? Well…it’s in the same basic way that you feed the other parts of yourself – by what you put into it. Except, that instead of using your mouth (used to feed your body), you’re using your other senses. What are you allowing your eyes to watch? What are you letting your ears hear?

When you become a Christian, there are years of well…garbage, generally, that have been fed into our minds and our hearts. Self-esteem issues and bad habits, faulty thought processes and unrealistic romantic ideas, etc. that we have nurtured within us for years. And, now, Christ has come in and made us new! Old things have passed away – HOORAY!

So…now that the initial buzz has worn off, why am I still struggling? Why do I still want to fight with my mom or call my brother names or do this, that or the other thing? It’s because of the state of our soul. In order for our souls to walk in the passion and the purpose that Jesus died and rose again for, we have got to re-build our souls.

How do we do that? By feeding and nurturing our spirits every day, as many times a day as we need to. By learning his word, so that when the same old situations arise, we can cling to what he says instead of what we used to think. This is what allows us to win at life.

Jesus talked about this when he told the parable of the Good Shepherd. He said that his sheep know his voice and follow him. When we spend time in the Bible and prayer everyday, we are training ourselves to be able to recognize His voice. He describes his voice as being still, small…something that we have to be still to hear. There are lots of other voices that we have to be able to sift through…ours, our parents, our friends, our culture, our coworkers, etc. Daily time in the word helps us to train our ears to hear.

Hope that helps, dear. 😀 ♥”

It blessed me to write this for her. Hopefully, it will bless (and encourage!) you, too.