31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 26

Mmmmm, this question comes at just the right time.

Today it was raining off and on over the already frozen ground that is Idaho in the winter. Freezing rain, y’all.

But you know what’s best during freezing rain? Soup.

Today’s prompt asks, “What is your favorite food?”

And today I’ll tell you my favorite food is the meal I make for my husband and I while we curl up on the couch and watch A Young Doctor’s Notebook and wait out this dreadful weather.

The only thing on tonight’s menu was soup, but it was a delicious one.

Tomato Basil Soup with Three Cheese Tortellini.

I forgot to take a picture of it before my husband so kindly put it all away for our lunches tomorrow. But the original recipe I started using is from Rachel Schultz on A Household Almanac.

Photo found on A Household Almanac

I, of course, have modified it. Not to make it any better, but to satisfy my laziness. I didn’t measure anything. I made a giant pot of this to make sure we’d have lots of leftovers.

Here’s how I did it:

2 packages of Bertolli Tortellini cooked al dente.

2 16oz cans of tomato sauce
About 4 cups of vegetable broth
Heavy Cream – a splash? Just enough to make it the color I wanted.
A BUNCH of pepper and Basil
Approximately 1 TSP of Garlic Salt

Hubby approved and so did my tummy. I’m in love with this meal almost as I am in love with him ❤

What’s your favorite food?
What’s your favorite thing to cook on a cold day?

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 25

Today’s prompt is actually a perfect way for me to give you a little update on what my life is like.

“Describe your location.”

On Christmas day, my husband and I got on a plane and flew to northern Minnesota to meet up with his parents and little brother to visit his grandparents. His aunt, uncle, and cousins also live here in Grand Rapids.

So at the moment, 5 whole days later I am sitting in the giant library in town and typing this post. To my left I can see the river with steam rising up from it, snowy banks with golden weeds sticking up, and gnarled trees with street lamps in between.

In front of me is a magazine rack where I can see Bradley Cooper’s shoulder, Sienna Miller’s glowing face, and plenty of popular science and housekeeping covers.

The ceiling is tall with uncovered beams of yellowish wood, and a far right wall of dark, purple-like bricks.

Today I feel productive, unbothered, and at home.

I am on this weird little adventure in Tiny Town, MN with my wonderful husband and his family that loves me. I am not home, but I am looking forward to mine.

I’m surrounded by books that I’ve never heard of, pointing me toward a future I’m unfamiliar with; old books that contain my dearest friends, literary classics that house the framework for society, and non-fiction by some of the worlds greatest teachers.

I have the world at my fingertips.
I am both small and large.
I am filling up this space and looking for more.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 24

Well look at this….I’m back again and only within a matter of days. I didn’t wait an entire week or more. Crazy right? I definitely haven’t solidified any of my goals for the New Year yet but I’d really love to be true to my word and write a new post at least once a week. Not just for any of you who read my posts, but just to prove to myself that I can build a habit that is creative and takes work. Maybe one day I’ll be reminding myself to watch Netflix instead of writing a blog post.

Now today I just want to keep this post light. My husband and I are visiting his family in northern Minnesota right now for the holidays and all the running around and visiting has got me a little worn down. So keeping the topic light will help ensure that I actually get this post finished.

You probably won’t see any poignant New Year’s posts from me this year. It would probably be a smart move on my part, but right now my focus is on progress and not perfection.

So my prompt today (nearing the end of my challenge finally) is “what is your most embarrassing moment?”

Well, I surely don’t know about most embarrassing. I’ve put my foot in my mouth lots and lots of times and been completely mortified, but usually it comes along with me having said something rude and the feeling of embarrassment is accompanied with feeling guilty and shameful. But I do have an embarrassing moment relating to…dun dun dun…a boy.

As I’ve mentioned before, I went to a bible college. There’s a saying around most bible colleges that is some form of “Ring by Spring.” It is almost a hobby to hunt for a spouse. I fell into this trap more than a few times at the beginning of my college career and was all about trying to be as cute as possible so that a potential husband would see me and want to make me his bride. At this particular point, I had my eye set on one of the most wanted bachelors at school? Why? I have no idea. I definitely wasn’t even close to his type at all. BUT he was the nicest guy and actually pretended to pay me some attention. He even drove me home a few times when I loudly cleared my throat and said, “my, it’s cold outside and pretty dark. Walking home alone would suuuuure be scary!”

Well, on one of these rides home when I asked him what he liked to do for fun he told me he loved playing hockey. Me, hating hockey said, “Oh my gosh, I LOVE hockey.” He took the bait and invited me to come to a game with him…someday. When he could get a group of people to go with him. I went home and thought I might actually have a chance with this guy and my roommate helped me pick an outfit for the next day when I would be handing him an invitation to our Christmas party. I went to bed with butterflies and pipe dreams.

The next day during one of my breaks between classes, I didn’t waste any time. I went right up to him in front of his friends and leaned up against the wall all calm, cool, and collected style. I said,

“hey, do you have any plans this weekend?”

and he said, “Oh HEY Jess! Nice mustard sweater!”

And then I said, which cheeks burning at the food related compliment, “Oh hey. Well, um..have a nice day. See ya!”

I was so embarrassed that I had spent time so carefully curating my outfit to please him and the first thing he though what that my sweater reminded him of a condiment, that I didn’t even invite him to my party!

My roommates and I all had a good laugh about it later and decided our sense of style was just too fashion forward for the simpleminded people at our bible college.

An update about the party: He ended up coming anyway at the invitation of one of our very boy crazy and emotionally unstable roommates that we are no longer in contact with. She actually used the words “man hunt” at one point in regards to her reasoning for inviting who she named “the most eligible bachelors in Christianity”. Ugh.

So glad I managed to hook myself a man somehow.


31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 20

Good morning sweet things! I hope your Friday went smoothly and you are ready to embrace the rest of your weekend. I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me but I’m still hoping to squeeze in some Netflix and web time.

Before I move on to writing about today’s prompt, I’d like to ask a question.

Do any of you have experience with blog scheduling? If so, what are some calendars or methods you use? I’d love to be able to use an app or a digital form of some sort because I know I’ll lose a print out. Let me know in the comments. I’d love all the advice you have.

Now. Day 20…just a little late in the day…What do you collect?

I guess I unintentionally collect mugs. I didn’t set out to collect them, I just love them and there are so many good ones in the world that I just have to keep owning them. Here are a few of my favorites:

aaaaand a throwback of me and my cute husband with our cute mugs and our cute sweaters at a super cute hot cocoa party that my best friend hosted last Christmas.

What do you collect? Is it sentimental or just coincidental? Anything embarrassing?


31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 19

Hi lovelies! I’m in a wonderful mood today. I got to sleep in a bit, had a meeting cancelled, got to do some work at home, had some free time to play with my dog, and now I’m sitting in my local Starbucks with a red cup in hand and preparing to drop a little note to all of you.

So, I’m a little over half-way on this challenge. I’m excited to be finished with it, to be honest. At the same time though, I know that means I’ll have to start thinking up my own topics which I am a little nervous for. I’ve got some ideas about doing some fashion posts, some posts about my wedding including the budget, lifestyle stuff…but I’ve just never written about any of those things on the internet. I really want to be successful and I just don’t like to have to practice at anything. Hmph!

Credit to fabulousfindsbytiffany.com found via optimisticmommy.com
Credit to fabulousfindsbytiffany.com found via optimisticmommy.com

I know one of the best ways to get better at blogging though, is to read lots of other blogs that write about the things you want to write about. Which brings me to day 19 in this challenge.

5 Blogs you read on a regular basis:

1. Danielle LaPorte: She is the author of The Desire Map and The Firestarter Sessions. She is all about self-love, freedom, total goddess power, community between women and living up to your fullest self that exists but might need some drawing out. She preaches hard work, desire, gratitude, and affirmations. You can read my favorite post of hers here.

2. Chatting At The Sky: Emily Freeman is the author. She also contributes to {in}courage. She is a beautiful writer, a lover of authenticity, and calls out the artist in everyone. Not just the painter or the writer, but the living and breathing art that is in each person. She wrote a great book called Million Little Ways that is a must read for anyone wondering if they have anything that matters to offer the world. Every weekend so gives a refreshing post called “For Your Weekend” that always leaves me feeling a little lighter.

3. Babe Vibes. They are still new and don’t have a ton of content yet but everything that has been shared there has sent me off into the world ready to kick the ass of anything that tells me I’m not good enough. THIS POST is basically a peek into the very center of my heart and all things spiritual that I’m going through at the moment.

4. The Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce. The author is Leslie Spencer and she is freaking amazing. Singer, artist, go get em, fierce, tell you off to your face, real babe right there. Not only is her story amazing, but she’s a great (soon to be published) writer. She and I have even written back and forth and I owe her a lot of my mental well being right now. Plus she curses, which always wins you points in my book.

5. Apartment Therapy. Here is something about me: I LOOOOOOOOVE little living spaces. But they are a struggle. And it really is a thing of beauty to be able to make your home the way you want, with all the things you want/need. I could browse on this site for hours. I’ve already used several ideas from this site to spruce up our tiny apartment. One of them being one of their posts about contact paper.

I hope you each take a little time out of your day to check out one or all of these amazing blogs.

What are some blogs similar to these that you read?
I’m always open for suggestions. And while you’re at it, send me the link of your own blog in the comments! I always check out my readers. 🙂


31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 18

Woah! I just skipped another day. Holy cow. It’s really not that big deal, because I already wrote on Day 17’s topic, “Why and When did you start blogging?”. You can read my post about that here.

But, today? Oh, today 🙂

Where are you happiest?
Let me tell you all the places:

Art print by Leah Flores
  • On a blanket in the park on a summer’s day
  • By the rope swing at the canal bank in my hometown
  • On my couch in the afternoon on a day I have no plans
  • Dancing in the kitchen with Connor
  • Car dancing with Chelsea to our favorite songs
  • In the car on a back road past the mint fields with the windows down
  • The Tabernacle in Turner, OR
  • The East Coast
  • Washington D.C. and any presidential monument
  • Java in the window seat, the best coffee shop in downtown Boise
  • wrapped up in Connor’s arms when we fall asleep
  • Seattle, WA
  • #fireworkpeople

What are some of your happiest places?


Remember to stop by and read what my friends are writing about for their 31 Day Challenge! If you want to be featured in my link up, just leave a comment on this post with the link to your 31 Day Blog Challenge post (no matter where you’re at on your challenge) and I’ll add a link to you and maybe a really flattering photo of you from your blog.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 16

What is my biggest accomplishment?

Sometimes I think answering this question just comes down to this:

I stayed alive.

You need to know that being alive is a great and terribly difficult thing to do sometimes. And if you have managed to be alive this long, you are a hero. You deserve all the praise in the world. 547e0f548841c9cb610e5a3d

I see you opening your mouth to stop me and give your “buts” and to that I hold my hand up to your face and say, “No, it’s hard. So good job.”

You might get stressed out and snap at people.
You might not pay your bills on time all the time because you forget.
Redbox movies might still be sitting on your coffee table because you don’t like leaving the house.
Plans with friends may have been cancelled because you’d rather sleep or watch Netflix.
You might have had to stop going to college even.
Or you might have left a job and moved in with your parents because you just couldn’t deal.

I see you. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. It feels as though you are the worst living human and you have no business being allowed to be an adult.


You ARE alive. And you can’t NOT be an adult. Whatever is an adult anyway beside just someone of legal age? Why are so many things “adult things” and why do they have to make us feel so awful when we don’t get all of them right all the time?

I’m not good with numbers. I will never be good with numbers. But my husband is. And we are both adults. He just does other “adult things” than me. And we are both alive together.

Sometimes I feel like my aliveness is stretched very thin.

But let me tell you something else. To be able to be stretched to the point of breaking, and NOT breaking is a feat of greatness.

You are great because you have found the ability to stay alive.

I have stayed alive because something in me is stronger than the stretching.547e10088841c9cb610e5a43




Check out these other amazing ladies that are blogging through the 31 Day Blog Challenge.

Madi – Her Wandering Path
Chelsea – Grace Marked Heart
Charlotte – Inside Charlotte’s Mind
Suzanna – One Hoolie Mama
Brittani – Bringing Life to Truth

If you want to be part of the link up for the 31 Day Blog Challenge just share your link in the comments below. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started or if you’re ahead of me. It would be so great to add some more bloggers to the link up. I love reading everyone’s answers to these great challenge questions.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 14

Good morning, darlings! I hope your Friday meets you with excitement and a hope filled weekend. I’ll be working most of the weekend :/ But I may not have to work weekends for long because I just got a new job!

This new job seems like a dream come true. Once I have my foot solidly in the door I will give an update. For now, just know that I will no longer be working in retail/be a cashier.

Today’s prompt for the 31 Day Blog Challenge is: What’s on your iPod?

I have only three things in my iTunes on my iPhone right now.

1. Sins are Stones by John Mark McMillan

2. “Wilde Woman” full album by Lucius.

source: Consequence of Sound

3. #GETITRIGHT by Miley Cyrus


Miley is a queen. But, use your discretion 😉

So what I’d like to know is this:

If you had to delete all our iTunes to be able to update your phone, which  three songs would you keep?


Check out these other amazing ladies that are blogging through the 31 Day Blog Challenge.

Madi – Her Wandering Path
Chelsea – Grace Marked Heart







Charlotte – Inside Charlotte’s Mind
Suzanna – One Hoolie Mama











Brittani – Bringing Life to Truth

If you want to be part of the link up for the 31 Day Blog Challenge just share your link in the comments below. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started or if you’re ahead of me. It would be so great to add some more bloggers to the link up. I love reading everyone’s answers to these great challenge questions.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 13

You may have noticed that I skipped day 12. I did have a post written and I was about to publish it when I accidentally went “back” and the post didn’t autosave.

I was really excited to have a good quality post with a little more seriousness to it. But it took me quite a long time to figure out how to articulate it in such a way that made me feel good about it. I don’t think I’ll be pleased with a rewrite and I’m not even sure if I would be able to remember how to put it back. So, I’m skipping day 12 and moving on. I don’t want to think about it anymore and I don’t want to delay any more posts on this challenge.

While I love doing this challenge, I’m really excited to get on with posts of my choosing. And also getting started on writing about some of the topics that were requested on my “About” page.

Day 13’s prompt is a question that a lot of people seem to have the same answer for.

Do you have regrets?

I feel like there are two answers.

“Yes, I regret that one horrible thing that is embarrassing or that relationship that really hurt me because that guy/girl was soooo stupid and your loss!”


“No, I never regret anything because everything happens for a reason and I am the person I am now because of everything I’ve done so I don’t regret anything that got me here.”


Just because you regret something doesn’t mean you wish you were a different person. And yes, there are lots of things I wouldn’t want to change about my life. If things had been done differently in the past, life might not be the way it is right now in some ways.

I would never want to be without my husband, and it’s sad to think about what life would be like if I hadn’t met him. But let’s be real here. If you look back on your life and realize that you did something or let something else happen that caused you to be miserable for too long, regret is a pretty reasonable feeling.

I regret staying in college as long as I did.

I came back to start my junior year after a horrrrrrrrible break up. I was such a mess and had convinced myself that I needed to proceed as normal. I didn’t take a break (yet) and I didn’t seek any help (yet).  I went back expecting to have this amazingly warm and welcoming community to walk alongside me and fix my problems. But the summer had let us drift apart as well as my focus on my then long distance relationship. I hadn’t spoken to any of my friends during the summer about any relationship problems, so when I got back for the fall semester and told people we had broken up they were all surprised because they hadn’t heard anything before about us having problems. So a lot of people didn’t think it was as big of a deal as it really was.

And because I had just lost the biggest thing in my life, I also lost myself. My goals changed because now I was single again. My plans didn’t involved following another person, and I hadn’t the slightest clue what I wanted to do. Besides sleep and take a break from homework.

I still pursued my major, even though I had no plans to continue on with it once I was done with school. I still worked a job, sometimes two, even though they were not fulfilling and also low paying. And I stayed at a school that didn’t really care a whole lot about how much as I was hurting as much as they did policing my poor attitude in class, lack of on-campus participation, dropping grades, and what on earth I was going to do with myself for the rest of my life. And let me tell you, it definitely wasn’t being a pastor’s wife or a children’s minister or a missionary. I wanted to do something secular but I had invested so much time and money into this place that it was, as I was told, “a waste and poor stewardship of the very clear calling God had placed on my life to be in full time ministry.” But not preaching, because you’re a woman. And certainly not a woman choosing to be childless for life, because don’t you remember the commandment about having children being a requirement?

Anyway, without sharing too many more stories that could be their own stories, I will just say that I was absolutely miserable for far too long and now that I’ve taken 4 year to finish only an Associate’s Degree because college was actually killing me, the money I spent STILL wasn’t worth it. And the time I spent was STILL wasted in a way.

The experience wasn’t worth it for me, looking back on it all now.
However, my experience is not everyone’s and sometimes sticking it out is totally worth it. EVEN if you don’t know what you want to do, finishing college is important if you think it will do more good for you in the long run than negative.

That’s not true for me right now.

I’ll probably never go back. And every time I say that, I feel a little more free. I wish I had quit earlier because life without that place has been heaps easier.

Easy isn’t my ultimate goal, but sometimes you need life to be easier for a while.

I regret not quitting college sooner. Because I was miserable and I didn’t need to be.

original artist unknown found on rockstarronan
original artist unknown found on rockstarronan

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 11

Good day to you all! I’m currently enjoying the last of my white chocolate almond mocha and sitting next to my husband as he plays some sort of game on his computer. I feel…good today. I feel in the right place at the right time. I woke up early and left with my husband at 7:30 this morning and went grocery shopping. Bright and early. If that’s not productivity at it’s best then I don’t know what is.

Now I’ve finally gotten through my morning “to read” list and I have managed to clear my mind enough to begin my post for you. I have a secret though, I’m not really excited about today’s challenge.

What was the last book you read?

I don’t like writing about the books I read because it really just makes me feel like I’m in school and doing a homework assignment. Ugh, annotated bibliographies and book reviews can suck it.

I really do not like school and do not consider myself to be a very good student. Since I’ve been out of school since May 2013, I’ve just recently begun to read for pleasure again. I think I stopped reading for pleasure right around the same time that I started college. Using my brain is hard sometimes when school makes me so tired.

The first book I read for myself was called The Desire Map. I tell you this because reading this book led to my most recent reading and self-exploration and just a whole mess of great things for my life.

I had heard of The Desire Map a long time ago on Pinterest and had just a vague idea about it. Then I got an invitation on Facebook to join a virtual book club covering the book. So I joined in not really knowing much about it. I ordered the book right away and started digging in. I was part of this virtual community that met over a video conference website and we did the reading assignments and chatted for 2 hours every week.

The book is really a lot to explain in just the one post. It seriously needs its own discussion for which I am not prepared to start at this point in time. But let me tell you, this book changed my life. Not only did it unlock the doors of self-love for me, but it also provided me with the friends I needed at the perfect time. The girls I met through the “book club” are all over the United States, and I’ve only gotten to meet one of them in person, but they are my kindred spirits. We talk almost daily and continue to have book club meetings. We read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown this summer and then started on Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist shortly after that.

So, the book I’m currently reading is Bittersweet but I’m not done with it so I’ll let you know later what I thought. For now, I think The Desire Map may have saved my life. If not, it at least saved my sanity.

I was daily beating myself up for choices I made in an attempt to protect my mental health. I was trapped in the land of “should” and wanted so much to be happy just do things because I WANTED to but had no idea how to just let go.

The Desire Map helped.546a3a408841c9cb610e34c8For the first time in years, I recognize the strength in me to have desire.
Desire is giving me life again.
And my book club girls are some the greatest people I could ask for the live it with.

Books really do bring people together.

When I met Haley from my book club while on my honeymoon
When I met Haley from my book club while on my honeymoon


I’m curious to know about a book that has changed your life? Are you involved in any book clubs? What is the most recent book you’ve read?

Stay classy,

xoxo Jess


Check out these other amazing ladies that are blogging through the 31 Day Blog Challenge.

Madi – Her Wandering Path
Chelsea – Grace Marked Heart







Charlotte – Inside Charlotte’s Mind
Suzanna – One Hoolie Mama











Brittani – Bringing Life to Truth

If you want to be part of the link up for the 31 Day Blog Challenge just share your link in the comments below. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started or if you’re ahead of me. It would be so great to add some more bloggers to the link up. I love reading everyone’s answers to these great challenge questions.