Tag Archives: Home

Cupid Q & A

February is typically known as “Love Month”. Of course this celebration of love and romance hits its peak on February 14, Valentine’s Day, the day you are supposed to feel all the feelings, gift all the gifts, and eat yourself into a state of bliss and oblivion, which, if not done correctly, could destroy a night of good romance.

Jessica’s PRO TIP  for “Love Month” and any other ecstasy filled holidays: Even if it’s a supposed aphrodisiac (IE chocolate), especially if you’re in a long term relationship where all guards and barriers surrounding your holiday eating habits have long since been removed,  kiss all your kisses and get cozy before you eat so you can embrace the comforts of long term love and sweat pants for the rest of the day/evening without fear of physical side effects.

In honor of this love holiday, I want to tell you a little about my relationship in case you were curious. If you are not curious, that is OK. At least this post will jog my memory when I’m 118 and I forget details about the man laying next to me.

  1. Who’s oldest?Me by 18 months. I was a cougar before I knew what one was.
  2. How did you meet? We met in college when Jonathan was on a spring break drama tour for his college that came through my town for a performance. His thespian skills riveted me and I’ve been in his audience ever since.
  3. Who was interested first?Technically he was putting the moves on me first the night we met and was chatting me up, however, I was the first to AOL Instant Message him a day or 2 later.  It was the infancy of such technology and my dial up didn’t know what was about to hit it.
  4. Same high school? I’m a public school casualty and he was a homeschooling hermit on the other side of the world.
  5. Most sensitive? This is difficult. Depends on how you define sensitive. While Jonathan is very empathetic, I would say that I tend to get emotionally involved in things at a greater rate than he does.
  6. Worst temper? Unfortunately, me. I have grown enormously in this area though and the fruits of the spirit are ripening. If Jonathan is having an impatient day or moment though, he can get highly annoyed very quickly and be sure to let those closest to him aware of his annoyances.
  7. More social? I am definitely more classically social. I don’t know a stranger and I love to network. I’m a sucker for gabbing. We both have very social occupations and callings though, so you will find us with people and groups all the time. In our personal and friendship lives,  we enjoy spending time with the right people.
  8. Hardest working?Again, another tough one. I would like to say that we both bat 1,000 in this area. We are both highly driven and goal oriented in our professional world, marathon runners as a hobby, and extremely present, hands on parents.
  9. More sarcastic?Definitely me. I’m the joker with a sassy comeback for most anything.
  10. Who makes the most mess? Jonathan It’s not like he “makes a mess”, but I’m definitely the one always picking things up and putting them back where they belong. I don’t have too many complaints in this area though as he is way more cognizant of the trails he leaves behind than 99.9% of men.
  11. Wakes up first?Me most mornings, but only by necessity. I have to get up at Dark O’ Clock to get in my workouts before the day begins. He is, however, the naturally inclined morning person of the two of us and wakes up early even if it’s a day off and even if we are on a vacation. Therefore, I am a hostage to mornings. Even if I want to sleep in, either my schedule won’t let me or I’m awakened inadvertently, or sometimes overtly, by Jonathan.
  12. Bigger family?We both have exactly 1 brother and both of them have 1 wife and 2 sons. We are tied. However, my father is already deceased, so he has one living father up on me.
  13. Who cooks the most? No meals would occur without my planning, shopping, prep, and litany of instructions. He does do spaghetti and eggs, as well as put meat on the grill in the summer if I’ve prepped it all and planned in advance for it. He forgets the planning, shopping, and shelf stocking part and I hate to send him to the store anyway as he always pays way more for everything than needed. My brain is a calculator at the store after years of practice.
  14. Who cries the most?Neither of us. We both are dry as a bone most of the time. I think we need to work through our issues so we can stinking cry.
  15. Better singer?While he can harmonize and sing on key, I’m the singer of the pair.
  16. Hogs the remote?Our kids.
  17. Better driver? He’d say it’s him.

Most patient? We are both tied as works in progress on this, although, he is a faithful, diligent plodder and extremely sweet, kind and caring to me and our sons so I really have no complaints. We are pretty patient with people and circumstances. We have experienced a lot of life, both really good and tragically bad, so the patience virtue has been slammed into us and I’m thankful for it.

Life is a journey and people are work’s in progress. The sooner those tenants are embraced, the happier your life will be.

So that’s that for now. Happy Valentine’s Week all!

funny-akron-marathon-2016This is a tragically bad and yet terrifically accurate photo of our marriage. I look like I’ve gone to the nut farm. Here  I am, tired, sweaty, worn out, and yet still crazy , acting funny, and ready to party. Jonathan, looking ever so neat and polished like a politician, by my side, ignoring my insanity, intensely focused, and keeping his eye on the goal. This was captured at the Akron Marathon September 2016 at the finish line.

Advertisements

“Ceilings, Values, and How to be anything you want to be”

I am nothing if not a personal growth and development junkie. Even as a child, I asked for books on topics that even some hard working professionals have to force themselves to read.  For whatever reason, I distinctly remember in 1998 waiting with baited breath for the latest John Maxwell title “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” to be published so I could get my hands on it. It still, to this day, rocks my world. I definitely recommend that if you have not yet read the book, you owe it to yourself and everyone around you to do so.

The memory of receiving that specific book at that time is so vivid to me because my dad was a member of Maxwell’s VHS and cassette tape club much of my childhood and to me there was no one smarter, determined, or loved by others than my dad was. I know those words expose my age even though my youthful glow does not.

VHS and Cassettes! What excuse do we have now with the capabilities of all the audio files and knowledge in the world in the palm of our hands?

All of that being said, the principal that stands out most to me is

Law #1: The Law of the Lid – Leadership Ability Determines a Person’s Level of Effectiveness. To reach the highest level of effectiveness, you have to raise your leadership lid.

Essentially, you are your own worst enemy or biggest asset.

What are you doing right now, today, at this very moment, at this very hour (outside of reading my amazing words of inspiration and gleaning from my deep wells of knowledge) to improve upon yourself so that you can go further?

We love to think that the things that hold us back are outside of ourselves. This way we can blame people, places, and things for our inability to produce rather than take a cold hard look in the mirror.

Like children, sometimes we can’t move beyond the slight discomforts of action and execution to gain the bigger prize of accomplishment and achievement.

My sons would often rather lose a privilege and be disciplined then to admit their mistakes. They have more invested in the arguments, nitpicking, and faultfinding than they do in just getting their rear in gear and just do what I have asked them. “I can’t put the leg of the recliner down. I’m not the one who put it up.” “I can’t take the dog to the bathroom. I did it last time.” “It’s ______ fault I have poop on my shoe. He didn’t scoop it off the ground.” (Never mind the fact that you could have just watched where you were walking, especially since you already knew that he didn’t clean it up! Instead of letting me know it needs cleaned up, or just cleaning it up himself, it is much more fun to drag poop into the house to prove some epic point and tattle.)

I have amazing sons, but this competitive and argumentative list of excuses  could go on for eternity when all of the disagreements and conflicts just boil down to the fact that no one wants to accept responsibility and just move forward. Even when I say, “You aren’t in trouble. I just need to know”, the human experience dictates that self-preservation is preferable to self-awareness.

At the end of the day what does this mean to you and me?

We need to:

  • Immediately stop telling ourselves false narratives. While other people, places, situations, scenarios, and things inform our daily life and decisions, they are not in control of them and they do not hold the keys to our success and destiny.
  • Identify where the ceiling is. What is truly holding you down? Once you identify your ceiling, the things that you once thought were ceilings will become floors to your next level of personal growth and development.
  • Establish personal responsibility and growth as a core value from which you make all of your decisions. Core values are constant. They are not descriptions of the work we do or the strategies we employ, they are just simply the basic elements of every day of our lives.

In 2010 when I started my fitness and weight loss journey, physical health and being in shape started to become a core value of who I am.

  • I don’t run. I am a runner.
  • I don’t just fit in exercise. I am a physically fit person.

See how that wording shifts the conversation?

If you just say, “I run”, you can easily dismiss the act of running if you don’t fit into your day. However, if “I am a runner”, it is the essence of who I am and I make it happen. I don’t just “mother” my children. I am their mother. There is actually a big difference. Anyone can “mother/nurture” them in a pinch or for a moment in time (School teachers. Babysitters. Grandparents.), but nobody else in this world can be their mother. It flows from my essence.

To begin exploring your own values and begin taking the limits off what you are capable of, think about your life and all of its components and begin rating them.

  1. Things I value very much: These are the things that are your very ESSENCE. An example for me is my physical fitness. Most people don’t value this as much as I do and therefore make excuses about why they can’t or won’t engage in daily exercise.
  2. Things I value: An example of this for me is financial gain. I do value financial gain and I want to be a wise steward of my family’s income and spend with frugality, however, money is not a top priority for me. I don’t value it enough to chase it over something I value very much.
  3. Things I don’t value very much: An example of this for me is a jam packed extracurricular social schedule. Every aspect of my daily life and work is to be surrounded by people and in relational and social settings, as well as run like wild, dragging kids between sporting events, hangouts, and practices full of even more people to socialize with. Because of this, I oftentimes neglect getting into social settings that aren’t work/ministry/leadership/parenting related because I value a little silence here and there. This can be a slippery slope because I know I need my relational cup filled instead of always being the one pouring, so I’m working on balance, but the point is, you most likely won’t find me at a RAVE until 2-3AM every Friday and Saturday craving a party.

I will continue to write about personal development, growth, and life changing transformation, as it is my sweet spot, I have experience in and with it, and I think it is fun to be encouraged and challenged. That said, Are there any particular topics or avenues in this space you would want me to cover?

Celebration Thursday

Running is a funeral for your fat. Let sweat and tears flow freely!

Today is Thursday and there has been a lot of celebrating going on. Thursday is an oft underrated day of the week.

First, last night was a milestone. I had ice cream for the first time since Mother’s Day. My  3 whole days of strength and will power are to be commemorated.

Secondly, we tried a brand new pizza place specializing in “healthy” pizza and it was amazing. It is called Pizza BOGO and their whole business model is around hormone free, antibiotic free, and organic ingredients. They have a flax seed miracle crust and were running a special for as many large unlimited topping pizzas you want just $5. I was in vegetarian, clean eating heaven. Anytime you tell me pizza is healthy, I’m going to make you proud with the vast amounts I consume. I will definitely be revisiting Pizza BOGO frequently.

The third and final celebration related directly to me is that I ran 6 hot miles thinking I was going slow, but realized I was going quite fast and had an epic run, seemingly without effort. Day 549 of the runstreak was completed well. I also had an epiphany regarding self-image during this run. I realized I don’t care what people who look at me and watch me run think. I used to only run in the metro park because you rarely encountered cars or people. I thought others were judging my pace, sweat, or stride. Today I’ll gladly galavant anywhere soaked in sweat and salt crystals. I earned my stride. I’ve fought for my pace. I’ve also realized that most people just stare because they are truly amazed you would run so much with no one chasing you. I smell admiration off them. (On a side note I passed a PTA mom on my run with her hair perfectly coiffed, fully made up, and a cute yoga outfit on doing a little perfume scented jog in the neighborhood. I did not let that deter my salt infused, hair soaking wet, BO scented self-esteem from running proud.)

20130516-175604.jpg Gentry celebrated yet another trip to the grocery store with mom. He gets free cookies when we go to Giant Eagle and gets to drive the car. We were also celebrating my very healthy choice to take advantage of the 4 (12 packs) for $11 coke zero sale. In all honesty, my soda consumption is significantly lower than it was a year ago. I’m baby stepping away from drinking it all together. I’m not even drinking a can a day, however I do dream of it often so that is why I write about it so much.

20130516-175611.jpgToday we are celebrating Reese’s amazing participation in our LifeGroup Bible Study last night. Of his own volition, he took out a notebook and pencil and wrote down scriptures, memory verses, and took notes on the lesson. He also participated like a champ. That boy is hiding God’s word in His heart.

20130516-175623.jpgWe are celebrating Reese running faster than any other kid at the Forest Elementary School Family Fitness night.

20130516-175631.jpgWe are celebrating how much fun we had at Gentry’s end of the year picnic at his pre-school with all of his friends and the fact that I ate no desserts at the potluck and stuck with fresh fruit and salad. I really am better behaved than I let on, but it’s not as much fun to share all of my good choices. Bad choices are more intriguing.

20130516-175648.jpgAnd the biggest celebration of the week is that Gentry graduated from Pre-K like a champ. He is now a certificate holding finisher of John Knox Presbyterian pre-K and armed with all the knowledge he needs to take Kindergarten by storm.

20130516-175700.jpgCelebrating family: Mimi with her boys at Gentry’s graduation

20130516-175716.jpgCelebrating Gentry’s stellar performance skills. This kid has no fear of public speaking, singing, dancing, and poem reciting. Be on the look out for him on the front page of your favorite news website someday. This beats his former no fear of removing his pants in public. Thankfully he grew out of that stage so you aren’t reading about him for less than savory reasons.

What is worth celebrating in your life this week?– I am celebrating that tree pollen seems to be climaxing. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. (As I look through watery, red, itchy eyes glazed over by springs finest torture makers)

What is one of your favorite new “healthy” food discoveries? Seriously check out Pizza BOGO

Citizen of the Year

20130426-115106.jpg

WARNING: Daily Bible Reading, Renewing of the Mind, Fresh Air, and Exercise Induced Endorphins will lead to Joy, a continuous state of happiness, and overall contentment regardless of the circumstances!

So I weighed today (and truthfully everyday)….I’m happy to report I am only up 2 lbs from all of the festivities and at least 1 of those 2 lbs can be attributed to the much higher than average sodium I’ve been consuming. I normally really do eat clean and at home. I’m not making that up, and because of that, eating out and eating salty/processed food really reeks havoc on me.

20130426-115114.jpg

This morning I woke up pretty pumped so I decided to throw an immediate party with several of my best friends. I invited Claritin, Chobani, Mrs. Banana, an entire pot of coffee, sunshine, my Garmin Watch, a hug from all 3 of my men, and a sunny outdoor 8 mile run/1.5 mile walk into my life and started the party early. The extreme pleasure evident from the above photograph has less to do with my pot of coffee, and infinitely more to do with the fact that I was able to run outside today. My 8 mile run today felt easier and was done at a faster pace than my miserable 4 mile run yesterday. While I only averaged 9:28/mile, I am in taper mode, which means taking it easy and no speed work, so I deemed the run a great success. My favorite part was the walk at the end of the 8 miles though. It gave me ample time to breathe pollen deep into my lungs and enjoy the side effects of a freshly mowed lawn on my eyes and nose.

20130426-115322.jpg20130426-140729.jpgGreek Village Cuties

Below: Peace, Love, and Donuts (Sounds like very good philosophical advice)

20130426-140735.jpg20130426-140742.jpg

My clean eating is going super well. Between last night’s community event (more on that below) and my post run work lunch dates, I am managing to keep my calorie consumption well below the 9,000 calorie a day mark. I count this a great success on a birthday week.  The best Gyro you will ever eat is at a little hole in the wall in Lakewood, Ohio called the Greek Village. Their Chicken Gyro and Fries will definitely change your life. I definitely need to make a stop there this week in order to celebrate God’s goodness and another year of life. (At what point does the week long birthday celebration turn into gluttonous excess? I really don’t know the answer to this. I am trying hard to find out though and I will report my progress back to you.)

We made a pit stop on the way back at a place we’ve wanted to try at  Kamm’s Corner  called “Peace, Love, and Donuts”. This was a very unique spot with INSANE donuts. Gentry had a dirty worm. Jonathan had a M&M donut, and I couldn’t decide, so I just chose a basic powdered donut. These donuts were amazing. They are made right there on location and are consistently rated best donuts by Cleveland magazine. Everyone that lives in the Cleveland Metro Area should also spend their birthday week exploring local places. It doesn’t take long, and you are completely justified because it is your birthday. Also, be sure to sign up for all the free birthday coupons at all of these places. All of my celebrating has cost me very little $. Don’t let me fool you. I explore and have fun on like $1 a day.

In the middle of all of this goodness and partying and play, I have been doing lots of seeding and leading today. For example, we don’t just visit these places to eat and explore, but we plants seeds of the gospel and invite people to church with us. Today the lady at the Greek Village told me that I was a ray of sunshine and how she was energized by our encounter and how I uplifted her soul. We have invited them to church, in fact, my husband even preached about the amazingness of their Gyro’s, so we are believing that at some point the Seeding, Eating, and Repeating will result in harvest.

20130426-115518.jpg20130426-115547.jpg

So last night was super fun. We took the boys to karate, watched them name names and take prisoners, and my mom picked them up there from us so that we could network, lead, seed, eat, and repeat. We went to the Citizen of the Year Banquet with 400 or so of our closest friends. The food was predictable banquet style high sodium, high fat, medium taste, maximum bang for your buck, and maximum caloric content. I also ate a bacon wrapped water chestnut ( or 12). This was a first for me. I like water chestnuts and anything involving bacon is always a hit, so I figured it couldn’t really fail as an appetizer item.

In all honesty, it is an honor to live and serve in our community and God did some amazing things at the Citizen of the year Banquet last night. We went to represent the Bridge Church and continue to network with the officials and friends that we have made and be the “Johnny Appleseed’s” of the gospel that we are called to be. You wouldn’t even believe the doors that were opened and the conversations that we had. Great things are in store and God keeps laying bricks onto our foundation: Line upon line….precept upon precept…here a little, there a little. Serving God and living for him is the best. One person said “Every day is a holiday and every meal is a banquet.”We sat next to and dined with the Director of Law and the Director of Finance for the city, as well as with a former citizen of the year. I’m pretty sure that was divine strategy. I also saw my friend, Reese’s best school friend’s mom, who serves on City Council and is up for re-election (friends in high places), the president of the women’s charitable league that I have been serving in, and hung out with the mayor again.

In addition, we dined with Andrew Bernard (Ed Helms) from the Office. We are bonafide celebrities now. His company was very enjoyable and he removed his face tattoo and black tooth to be in our presence.

How involved are you with your community?

Do you see value in investing in people even when you have no guaranteed return?

How much weight do you usually gain the week of your birthday?

I am voting for myself as Citizen of the Year next year. I deserve it because I keep trash out of my front yard and the lawn stays in a moderately pleasing state.