Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

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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Daffodil Joy

During a rare trip out alone, the sight of yellow faces dancing atop slender green spears filled my eyes and my heart with wonder.


Mine eyes enlarge my soul
When they take in
The green and gold
Of daffodils
Bursting forth from Georgia clay
Captive no longer

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Goals Update #1

On Saturday, January 18, I typed up the following list of goals for 2014:

  • Read through the entire Bible. (Already started this and using this plan:
  • Participate in the T-Tapp 60 Day Challenge, starting January 25 and running through March 25.
  • Incorporate regular guitar practice into my week.
  • Complete the Couch to 5K program. (Yup, trying this one again.)
  • Organize our house and downsize our stuff, one room at a time. (I’m currently working on our great room and it looks GREAT! heh…you see what I did there, yes?)
  • Get the hang of and follow the Trim Healthy Mama program while working with my food sensitivities.
  • Keep in touch with my NC friends via letters, cards, and postcards.
  • Start and maintain a home management system such as the one outlined here: Motivated Moms Chore Planner.
  • Continue to home school our children and interface with our home school support group on a regular basis.
  • Participate in the Scripture Memory Project for this year.

I just wanted to give an update and hold myself to a quasi-form of accountability. (Even if no one else reads this, at least the process of putting together a post helps refresh the goals in my brain!) 🙂

I’ve gotten a little behind, but I’m still plugging away.

Due to some rules that I don’t have time/energy to accomplish, I am unofficially participating in this. I did the Instructional 1 workout last night and plan to continue for the next 13 days, for a full 14 day boot camp. At the end of the 14 days, I will determine whether or not to continue on every day or every other day.

  • Incorporate regular guitar practice into my week.

This one I still need to work on. I had a guitar lesson yesterday which involved more talking than playing. I hadn’t been able to find any of my music that I was supposed to be working on and assumed that the kids had been rifling through my case. I found them last night in a pile of papers. /sigh

I have been walking on the treadmill four times in the last ten days. Not awesome, but it beats zero! hehe…and I still need to print the treadmill program out and tape it to the whiteboard where N and I are currently engaged in a friendly walking competition. I reactivated my NikePlus account and have been uploading my walks there.

  • Organize our house and downsize our stuff, one room at a time. (I’m currently working on our great room and it looks GREAT! heh…you see what I did there, yes?)

I’m still working on the Great Room. I’ve been able to move a lot of stuff out of there – but now I need to organize it where it is. (And seriously…I would LOVE to finally, 12 years later, get a wedding album done!)

  • Get the hang of and follow the Trim Healthy Mama program while working with my food sensitivities.

This has been a work in progress. I’ve been following the program to the best of my understanding, but I’ve been including some different grains and dairy products that are affecting me in negative ways. My right foot is swelling again on a semi-regular basis and my digestion is not exactly awesome. Must do more research!

  • Keep in touch with my NC friends via letters, cards, and postcards.

I’ve got about ten different postcards started. I need to finish and address them.

I purchased this last week and printed out the month of January. It’s been great to read through for ideas, but I’ve absolutely not fully implemented it yet.

I’ve started printing out daily To Do lists for our oldest two children. This has been a huge help to me as I can continually refer them back to the list instead of having to try to figure things out on the fly. I’m all for some spontaneity, but this was starting to choke me a bit. Due to illness, we had to cancel a playdate on Monday, miss Clover Buds (a Jr. 4-H program) on Tuesday, and were unable to attend the regularly scheduled co-op on Thursday.

I have memorized the first two verses for this, but have not yet connected with either of my Facebook ladies via Skype to recite them to each other.

Oh! And a goal that didn’t make it on to the list was to participate in Jon Acuff‘s Empty Shelf Challenge. I’ve already read my first book for it, “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” by Andy Andrews. It was, without a doubt, a book that I think *everyone* should read.

One more thing: I’m going to set a goal of finding a local mentor. I’ve been struggling emotionally in some areas and I know that is not where God has for me to stay. I also know that God moved us for a reason and that I need to find contentment in the knowledge that He is good and that His plans are good – even when I can’t see it. I need to look to the future instead of grieving for the past. It’s hard. Some days, it’s really, really hard. I need someone here who can look me in my tear-stained eyes and tell me, in love, to get over it.

So, there we are. I imagine that I’ll be using this as a template for the rest of the updates. You know…those updates that I’ll be writing into my new Motivated Moms Planner so I don’t forget them like I did last year. 😉

Instead of a “Peace out!”, let’s shoot for this:

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, NIV)

Have a great week, y’all!


Meal Planning, 10/21 – 10/27

Monday, October 21

Breakfast: Oatmeal for hubby and kids, 2 eggs for mom
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Catfish nuggets with grain-free breading, steamed broccoli

Today’s To Do: Make a double batch of bread. Check on tartar sauce and make some, if needed.

Tuesday, October 22

Breakfast: Peaches and Cream French Toast for hubby and kids, eggs and kefir smoothie for mom
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:  Eggroll in a Bowl

Today’s To Do: Thaw out eggroll wrappers and ground beef. Boil eggs.

Wednesday, October 23 – Birthday!!! Birthday girl is picking out the meals, y’all. 😀 (And…Daddy’s working from home today. Yeah!)

Breakfast: Maple cinnamon blender pancakes
Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Dinner: Cheese, onion, and salami pizza (We use the uncured salami for pepperoni at our house…it works for us. 😉 )

Today’s To Do: Hunt out some real food carrot cake recipes for yonder birthday girl.

Thursday, October 24 – Life Skills in the a.m., Fight Night! in the p.m.

Breakfast: Cherry and blueberry (same recipe as cherry, but using blueberries) and lemon poppyseed muffins – MUST add enough lemon juice or they taste icky. :/
Lunch: Sandwiches or eating out
Dinner:  Taco salads for kids, Nathan and I will be eating out.

Today’s To Do: Thaw out pinto beans. Pack up some muffins for both of us during the lectures. (They’re providing snacks, but it’s unlikely we’ll be able to eat them.)

Friday, October 25

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sausage, toast
Lunch: Tuna salad sandwiches
Dinner: Quiche with Butternut Squash Crust, hashbrowns

Today’s To Do:

Saturday, October 26– Violin lesson, mid-afternoon, birthday party afterwards

Breakfast: Pancakes or Waffles, Chef’s Choice
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Birthday party stuff – Cassie wants a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Today’s To Do: Make all of the stuff for the birthday party. If it’s not at the park, make sure the house is clean.

Sunday, October 27 – Serving at the 6 p.m. service

Breakfast: Leftover breakfast items
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Leftovers

Today’s To Do: Make next week’s meal plan.

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I’m so thankful…

…that God’s so faithful!

Even when I’m sad and sighing, God is gracious, loving, and patient with me.

Dear North Carolina peeps,

I miss you!


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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.