Category: Faith

Best Kids Christmas Books

I LOVE Christmas time! I love making it special for the kids, and just think it’s the most wonderful holiday of the year! For the past four years I’ve bought a book from this author. Originally I had wanted to buy them all at once, but only one wasn’t sold out; now that I’ve done one a year, I kind of love the tradition. I basically cry at the end of reading them because they so simply all point back to Jesus and the incredible gift that we celebrate at Christmas! I’ve linked them each at the bottom, and as of now, all but “J is for Jesus” are still available (and on Prime)!
Merry Christmas!

ALSO threw in a little bonus picture at the end there for ya, caught in real life, Hudson knocking my jaw out of place; my favorite part is how care-free he is about the whole thing.




Paige Benton Brown

Man, get ready for a treat today!
I have sent the links to these teachings to basically every female I know. Paige Brown is by far my most favorite female teacher, and she has this incredible way of  sharing the deepest, most convicting truth, making you laugh, and making you cry, all in like 45 minutes. I have listened to her messages over and over again, and rather than continuing to text them to everyone I know, I’m just going to leave them right here for you all. These first four are her older ones that I have on repeat, and below that I linked some newer teachings of hers; I highly recommend listening to them in order.

The Desperate Heart
The Rejective Heart
The Reflective Heart
The Responsive Heart

Additional Teachings




Lately I’ve been thinking so much about “feeling” God. Probably because I’m in a season where I don’t FEEL Him much, He is here, there is no doubt. Whether it’s emotions or some spiritual experience that have been absent, I’m not totally sure; but I know He promises He’s here, and I know it’s true.

The feeling part is this weird thing that God allows us at times and in seasons, but is by no means the most primary aspect of our relationship with Him. A good friend encouraged me with this, “feelings are real but not always Truth.” Process that a second.

I think about the people who’s faith we admire so much in the Word, there were times when we know they experienced God so tangibly, but others where they were in such desperate situations and nothing but His promises to cling to. Moses and the burning bush, feeling God, in probably one of the most real ways possible, but then acting out of his flesh, hitting the stone, and being kept out of entering the promise land. Paul on the road to Damascus HEARING audibly from God, but then being locked in prison and beaten. David experiencing the strength of God, as his victory, as he watched the stone hit Goliath’s head knowing only the power of God could defeat the giant, but then pleading for forgiveness and asking God to be near to him after committing murder and adultery. These men are heroes of our faith, but have experienced such drastically different experiences throughout different points in their walk with Jesus. I admire them so much, but I function as if I’m expecting a different path, an easier path.

I’m currently clinging to the Truth of His Word, thankful for hope beyond this world, and a reality beyond what is felt here (and listening to this song on repeat). If you’re in a similar place, keep pressing on, cry out to God, this is the part of the running the race and fighting the good fight that takes the most out of us, but the mountains make the victories that much sweeter. He tells us to cast EVERY care on Him, obey. This is me preaching to myself as much as it is to anyone else. I’m right there with you.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:16-18

Praying for you friends.

Dear Twenty-Something Girl,

Dear Twenty-Something Girl,

Just about a month ago I said good-bye to my twenties. Milestones always make me nostalgic, and force me to reflect on where I’ve been, and where God has brought me. So far, thirty has been pretty much typical of life; there are highs and lows and everything in between. As I’ve been reflecting I keep thinking about a few things I learned that I wish I would have known along the way, nothing too profound, just a few simple truths.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    There were so many times that I made big things out of tiny things; things with friends, things with family, things with guys, all the things. Looking back, so many of them didn’t matter at all, they weren’t worth my energy, weren’t worth being sad about; the people matter, the drama doesn’t.
  2. Look up more than you look down.
    Things get rough. Sometimes they really suck. My twenties were harder than I could have ever imagined ten years ago, but the truth is, the best things in my life came out of these past ten years too. Wherever you start and end your twenties, know you’ll be a stronger person than you began, and the key is to always look up. Even on the darkest days we have something to be thankful for, always.
  3. Trust your gut.
    I doubted myself more times than I should have. Being a mom has forced me to learn this in a whole new way. I know that I know my kids, and 9 times out of 10 I really do know in my gut what is going to be best for them. But the truth is my gut was just as good back then as it is now. When you feel torn, trust yourself, you know.

They all ended up being kitschy, cliche phrases, but there’s a lot of truth to each of them. I wish I would have believed them more for the past ten years, and I pray that I practice them more in the next ten years. Twenty-something or not, I think these things apply to all of us.

Keep pressing on, you’re doing a phenomenal job!

The Deluge


A few weeks ago I was chatting with a good friend about the tough seasons. Her family is in one, and we were just talking through how hard those times can be. I always learn so much from the ocean. It teaches me so much about God. It is so strong, but somehow still so peaceful; what’s going on above the surface is nothing compared to the world that exists below it, there’s more depth (literally and figuratively) than we can ever comprehend.

There are seasons in life where I feel like the trials, the struggles, the hard stuff is so much more abundant than the easy, enjoyable, “blissful” stuff. Not that you don’t have moments of joy even in those seasons. Some of the greatest and most tangible experiences of God’s hand over our life have been experienced in those hard times.
It’s just that there are times when it feels like you are literally being hit by crashing wave after crashing wave. It’s not just the big waves that everyone sees, the car accidents, the sick family members, the lost job, it’s the repetitive little waves that no one sees that really keep you from being able to catch your breath. Those ones when you think you can take a deep breath before another big hit, only to be knocked down again; those are the ones that ultimately leave you feeling like you’re drowning. The deluge of “hard” can be so debilitating, but dare I say, these times can be so deeply life giving. When that deep breath is finally caught, it is far sweeter than the breaths that came before the deluge of trials.

I say all this for a few reasons: to preach to myself, and to encourage any of you in a season of hard, or a season of sweet. We spend so much of every season wishing for something different, and I want to encourage you – and myself – to be HERE. Live in the right now. Whatever it is, if it’s a heavier load than you feel you can carry or a sweeter relief than you thought possible, be there. Cast your load on Jesus, His shoulders carried the weight of our sin, He can carry the weight of our struggles; His strength is made PERFECT in weakness. How has my perfectionist self never soaked that in more before?
As you’re grasping for something to hold to, something to pull you up out of the waves, cling to Jesus, cling so tight, focus your eyes so deeply on Him that you do not even see the waves. He is our hope, He is our strength, He is our victory assured.

so much love.

Fiery Souls


The other night I had a few moments to be still. Just me and God, these times are rare in my home. As I sat and pulled out this little journal that, for some reason, I resent lately, nonetheless, I began to write out my prayer. I was taught at a young age to always begin prayer in thanks, and I am eternally grateful for this. Taking time to thank God before I petition Him, realigns my heart, at least a little bit.

So I sat and thanked God for the most foundational aspects of who He is, because, honestly, at this point, it’s what I need to be reminded of: He is good, He is sovereign, He is God, He is with us… As I continued, I began to pray for myself as a mom, and mine and Jake’s children; I really felt compelled to pray this for every child He ever entrusts us with. And I had this beautiful realization. As Christians we are called to be lights in the darkness, a city on a hill. As moms we have the opportunity to be used by God to ignite that fiery light it tiny souls. So my prayer as a mom has been shaped to look something like this…

Lord, I want to be a light, but more than a light to anyone else, I want to light up my children. That you would use me to ignite a fire so deep within their beautiful souls that no darkness could ever squelch it; there is no greater privilege I have as a mama.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Here is a great, short sermon about being a parent – so so encouraging!




Sometimes {OFTEN} what I need is a solid dose of conviction paired with a little perspective. And as God often seems to do, He delivered exactly what He knew I needed at the exact moment I needed it.

A few weeks ago I started having pretty consistent regular cramping, went to the Doctor, checked it all out, baby is doing great, my body just seems to be freaking out. So the Doctor put me on, “moderate” bed rest.” Which apparently means, slowing down, only doing what I need to, and stopping as soon as there’s any pain, preferably beforehand. My idea of what I need to do, and my body’s idea of what I need to do have turned out to be pretty different. I would feel like I was doing nothing, and would still be in consistent pain – doing nothing with a 2 year old is pretty relative. Regardless, I was left frustrated, a little worried, and walking down a road of bitterness. As bitterness often does my walk quickly became a sprint, and I was in a full on bitterness-pitty-party-rut. It was honestly just ugly.

Sunday one of our pastor’s taught on entitlement, well … God so gently corrected me and completely just changed my whole perspective. I don’t deserve to have an easy pregnancy, the reality is, I don’t deserve to be able to be pregnant at all. If I were to focus on what I truly deserve, I’d remember that everything I have, all of it, is just God’s immeasurable grace; because even the hardest things are nothing compared to what I deserve.

So in place of the busy advent calendar of ice skating in Pershing Square, endless Christmas light searches, and “perfect” this or that I had created, we will be laying low, doing what my body allows, and soaking up time at home together. Truly, I love all the celebrations that go along with Christmas, but being forced to be at home and getting to focus more on what this holiday is actually all about, is a sweeter and more necessary gift than I could have known to ask for.

Happy advent, Merry Christmas!


You can listen to the message from Sunday here

He Chose It

When things get hard, I retreat and close up. Having Jake has taught me a lot in this, not closing him out, not closing God out. But the truth is stuff has been hard. I really want to use this space to remember what God has brought us through and what He’s taught us. Even tonight reading posts from over a year ago and just remembering and thanking Him for all He has done. So it seems the best way to get myself back in to this space, back in to sharing my heart, letting even myself see what’s deep inside there, is by sharing someone else’s words. Baby steps, you know.

A precious friend txted this to me and my mama last week. God is so good to remind us of Himself through each other. Anyways, I hope it encourages you as much as it did me.

“No woman ever cherished for her babe visions half so fair as your God has for you… What then is the cause? Is it that He has made a mistake in your life? You think so. If instead of being a poor man you had been rich, if instead of being a lone woman you had had one to call you wife and little children to clutch your dress and call you mother, if instead of being tied to the office stool you had been a minister or missionary, you think that you would have been a better, sweeter character. But I want you to understand that God chose for you your lot in life out of myriads that were open to Him, because just where you are you might realize your noblest possibilities. Otherwise, God would have made you different from what you are. But your soul, born into His Kingdom, was a matter of care and thought to Him, how best He might nurture you; and He chose your lot with its irritations, its trials, its difficulties, all the agony that eats out your nature. Though men and women do not guess it, He chose it just as it is…”

FB Meyer

Lessons from a fork I don’t typically think of silverware as a way that God teaches me, but if He can use a donkey to speak, He can clearly use a fork to teach. I’ve been meaning to get this down for a while now because it’s been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since having Hudson.

I had been struggling with being discontent, wanting things that had been taken away, and just kinda throwing a little fit, and low and behold God chose lunch time to gently correct me.

It was a few months in to introducing Hudson to solid foods, and I just feed him with our regular silverware. I was feeding him a beet (one of his favorite foods, go figure) and he decided he wanted to feed himself. He grabbed the fork out of my hand and almost poked himself in the face. I quickly took it away, and he quickly threw a temper tantrum.

I’ve always talked to him as if he understands everything so as I was trying to comfort him I explained why I took it away. It went something like this, “Hudson, Mommy loves you so much. I don’t want you to hurt yourself. You don’t know how to use the fork, and that’s why Mommy had to take it away. The fork isn’t bad, it’s just not good for you to use right now…” I couldn’t even keep talking because I was so busy crying.

This is just a tiny, flawed, glimpse in to the heart of God. He gives, He takes away, He. Is. Good. And that’s why He does everything He does, out of His heart of love for His people. Love isn’t giving us whatever we want, love is giving us what’s best for us.

img via

Someday I’ll Remember


People are sometimes surprised to find out I graduated from Film School, I guess I don’t fit the stereotype. I worked in the industry for a while, and it was great, but truth be told, one major thing I gained from my education is this ridiculous tendency to imagine the voiceover commentary of my life. If any of you have seen The Holiday and remember Cameron Diaz’s character you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I wish I could tell you it was always these super important and valuable things I think about. And that this “someday I’ll remember” title is the story of me reflecting on the beauty of my baby boy and how much I’ll miss this time when he’s grown up, but it’s far less important than any of that. Last night I was giving Hudson a bath, looking at my chipped nails, and thought “someday I’ll post a photo of myself getting a manicure and imagined the voiceover reminding me of the days when I would look at my chipped nails and dream about getting my nails done again.” True story, I love having my nails done, it brings me more happiness than it should, and I was just kinda lusting after the days of regularly scheduled manicures. I’m ridiculous I know.

And then I had this epiphany. It’s a reoccurring epiphany these days, I don’t want to live in what I hope will someday be. From the tiny things to the giant things – I don’t want to live in the someday. We are dreamers, Jake and I. People ask what we’d like to do, and I feel like I should ask how much time they have. Seriously, SO MANY IDEAS, so many hopes, so many dreams, so many plans. And it’s so easy for me to just focus on what will come of this, and what will come of that, and someday when we do this this thing will look like this. But in that, I miss all of the right now. I miss appreciating my Husband, I miss enjoying watching Hudson grow and change and develop his own feisty personality, I miss all that God wants to teach me right now.That balance of dreaming and living in the moment has never been my strength; so for now I’m waking up each day and praying for the ability to be present, to live for right now, to soak it all in, to someday remember the really important things, because tomorrow it’ll be gone, and nothing will get it back.

Our life is a blink, breathe in the day friends; the good, the bad, the hard, the exciting, all of it!

So much love! xoxo, Jac