parents

     I discovered this song today on someones video that I was watching. I fell in love with it. I had heard of All Sons and Daughters, but hadn’t listened to many of their songs. After I heard this one, I went and looked all of them up on Spotify. The truth is, they’re all amazing.
     But honestly, I wanted to share today how grateful I am for my parents. I was walking to class today, and the thought dashed through my head, “some people didn’t get into ASU.” Then from there on, it was a domino effect that went something like this:

I’m so thankful I got into school here….
I’m so thankful my parents gave me a wonderful education…
I’m so thankful my parents encouraged me to go to college….
I’m so thankful my parents raised me with known, unconditional love….
I’m so thankful they support me in all my dreams….
I’m so thankful they are my parents.

     And now, this is all I’ve been thinking about all day. So mom and dad, thank you. Thank you for caring for me and for loving me. Thank you for providing for me. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for the example you both are. 
For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” proverbs 9:11
xo. jessie

faithful

“But you, LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” psalm 86:15. 

     I was supposed to go home right after class today and go to a UNC basketball game with my mom, which we all know was going to be incredibly exciting for me (tarheel born and tarheel bred…), however, the Lord had other plans, because I had car trouble instead. So, here I am, in Boone. With two purchased UNC tickets. I’m sure mom won’t have a hard time finding someone to go with her. Regardless, I’m still sad about missing the game, and of course getting to see my mom. There will be other games.
    Moral of the story, I landed here in Panera, with my bible and journal. (Also, since I had planned on being gone, I went ahead and got all my homework done yesterday). Now I have lots of free time, for the next 24-hours at least. I guess this is a good time to get some journaling and pondering done. I love finding a passage, and focusing on it. Looking up words, reading and re-reading it, praying about it, writing down thoughts, listening to songs about it. Or, picking a word and doing all those things with it. So faithfulness was the winner. This song is what really provoked my thinking. (Beautifully written and performed by the sweet Jon and Kelley Owens). But really, what a great word. Those last few words that I italicized in that verse, are incredible. Go read them again. Read them in your bible. Underline them. Highlight them. Think about them.
     I picked a few words I wanted to look up, abounding and faithful. Before I did, I wrote down my initial thoughts on those words. Here’s what I got:

abounding:
over abundance
never ending
forgiving
gracious
faithful:
constant
never ending
never changing
loving
Then I looked up what they actually mean:
abounding:
exist in large numbers or amounts
faithful:
loyal, constant and steadfast
     I’m not going to lie, I was hoping the “abounding” definition was going to be more profound or deep. Maybe something along the lines of, “a bountiful plenty.” Oh well, my definitions don’t always win. So I don’t really have much to say about that one. But faithful. faithful. faithful. This is a sweet definition. This is one I was excited to see. loyal, constant and steadfast. Abounding does have to deal with large numbers, so if you could have large numbers of loyalty, consistency, or steadfast (plural?), then that is who the Lord is. He is absolutely loyal. That has been evident in my own life. He has certainly been constant. Psalm 100:5 says, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Forever, I’m deciding right now that that is the equivalent of constant, same idea at least. And steadfast, also a similar term for consistency and forever.  I could go on and define the words found in the definitions too, but I’ll let you look that up yourself. Go on and be amazed more by the bible. It happens to me every time I open it.  
    Remember the Lord’s faithfulness. It’s so easy to forget. But I am positive that he has not failed you up to this very point, because you’re alive, and you’re reading this, and maybe you went and cracked open your bible to look at these verses on your own. Maybe you listened to the song. Maybe you were encouraged. In the end, the Lord is faithful. He has faithful brought you to this day. What a blessing to rejoice about! Remember his faithfulness, even when it doesn’t seem evident. 
[I took this the other night during my quiet time. I’m so in love with these mountains.]
     

snow, finally.

[since we couldn’t get out much on thursday, we got a bit of homework done. this picture makes my time look more productive than it really was.]

[thursday night before I went to bed]

[friday morning when I woke up. the first sun I’d seen since being back in Boone]

[trying, and failing miserably, to get the snow/ice off of Mary Margaret’s car. Thankful for her bf who saved the day :)]

     Since I got back to Boone last Sunday, it has been cold, and wet, and gross, until Thursday night. No lie, it rained for four straight days. Not just a little rain, full on, winter ski jacket, soak through your rain boots, keep you freezing all the time, downpour. It was…depressing. And then finally, Thursday night it started falling. The beautiful, white, magical flurries decided to drop from the sky. I normally don’t like snow, and definitely don’t wis for it. But after all the rain, I had decided it was time. I was ready for the snow. Really, I was ready for anything but the rain. And boy did the snow come. It fell and fell and it fell fast. I was doing homework, and I looked up at one point-still rain. Then no joke, an hour later, it was like a blizzard. It was coming down at a rapid pace, and sideways. I’ll always think sideways snow/rain is funny. It must be the kid in me. I woke up the next morning, and it was a beautiful, icy mess. Walking down our steps to the bus stop was an adventure in itself. But it has been gorgeous. The roads are mostly cleared off now (except like every parking lot, ever) so we can now venture out of the house, and we absolutely did yesterday. Blowing Rock was incredible. It is such a magical town. So I’ve decided, snow isn’t all bad. As long as I can make it out of the house, I love it. It’s nice to look at.

grace

     I’m halfway writing this because it’s on my heart, and halfway because I don’t want to write this resume that’s due tomorrow. More so because it’s on my heart though.

     GRACE. grace. grace. grace.
     I woke up this morning, with a lot on my mind. But mostly, the feeling of grace. Not that I’m graceful, or that I’m full of grace. But more so why am I not full of grace. It’s because I’m sinful by nature. But as a follower of Christ, I’m called to rise above that sinful nature. Thankfully, I somehow don’t have Tuesday classes for the first half of the semester, so it leaves me with lots of time to do whatever I want, but hopefully to have longer quiet times. So that’s what I did today. As as soon as I picked up my bible, it was opened to Proverbs 6:16-19 
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes, 
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies 
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

Okay. Well that’s a wake up call. 
     My first reaction when I read something like this is normally “well that’s pretty straight forward, I hope I can remember all seven of those while I go about my day.” But these words kept hitting me deep. I had read them yesterday, and they were already underlined in my bible, so this was clearly not the first time I had read this passage. But oh. my. gosh. It hit me. I wanted to really, really understand what all this meant. Since I don’t have the worlds largest vocabulary, there were a lot of big words in this. I chose one word from each “hate” and looked it up. Here’s what I found:
-detestable: deserving intense dislike.
haughty: arrogantly superior and disdainful.
lying: intentionally speaking a false statement.
-innocent: not guilty of a crime or offense.
wicked: evil or morally wrong.
rush: move with urgent haste.
-false: not according with truth or fact.
dissension: disagreement that leads to discord. 

     I know, “really, Jessie, you didn’t know what lying, or false or innocent meant?” I did too know, thank you very much. But sometimes I think it’s important to read the actual definition of something. When I wrote those down (twice now), they hit my heart like a wrecking ball. Now, put each of those definitions into the verse. It doesn’t exactly sound grammatically correct, but the message is much more clear. 
     I realized, I do all of these things. It’s who I am. It’s who we are. But like I said earlier, as a believer, we are called to rise above that. It made me wonder, why do I do all these things against the will of my Father whom I love so much? Again, it’s who I am. But most importantly, and my favorite part of all of this, is that the Lord is full of so much grace he can look beyond it. And he pours that grace over me day after day after day. What a blessing! How loved we really are!
     So I decided that not as a new years resolution, but as a life resolution, I want to have more grace. And I want all my words to be filled with love and life. I don’t want to speak just to be heard, I want to speak to better the people around me. I want to speak words of truth. I want to say words that my Father would say. I want to show grace to the people who I don’t think should get it. But then again, I shouldn’t get it. But I do. 
grace, grace, grace, grace, grace. again and again. over and over. 
it’s shed on me every day. Lord let it overflow. 
I hope your words are full of life, truth, and grace today. I hope mine are too. 

travels

     I finally made it back up the mountain and to school, but I have had the most wonderful christmas break. I was so sad to see it come to an end. I spend five days in Jackson, Mississippi with Kaylee and Mary Margaret, which was a blast! It was so fun to see where Mary Margaret comes from, to meet her friends, to spend time with her family, and to shop-of course. It took us 9.5 hours to drive down there from Boone, which made for lots of memories and laughs. The one thing I keep thinking of every time I look back on that drive, is the fact that we missed Birmingham all together. How does that even happen? That’s like driving through Atlanta, or New York City, and just not even knowing it. So we may have had to call California Pizza Kitchen and tell them we would not be picking up our order because we had passed them about an hour earlier-whoops. All in all, it was a memorable trip, and the best part was that I got to fly home. Road trips are fun, but they’er more fun when you know you don’t have to drive back. No tickets, no accidents, and lots of good food and laughs.

(dinner at p.f. changs in Jackson)

     Then it was back home to Pittsboro to spend Christmas with my family. Well, part of my family. Now that all my siblings are married (or just about), holidays are not exactly traditional anymore. We did christmas with my brother and sister-in-law 3 days early, christmas day with my brother, christmas evening with the grandparents. On the bright side, lots of christmas’. It was great to spend some time with all of them. My mom loves holidays. So she thoroughly enjoyed watching us open presents, cookings, taking naps, entertaining, the whole nine-yards. My mom is a champ.

(my parents taking a christmas snuggle after presents.)

     But to keep on with the traveling, I was off to Seattle just a few days later to spend a week with my sister and brother-in-law. I had never been to Seattle, and oh my gosh. I completely fell in love. I did not want to come home, which is not like me. I do love being home, and normally after a vacation I’m even really enjoying, I’m about ready by the last time to get back to normal life, and my bed. But air mattress and all, I was obsessed. I would have happily slept on that air mattress for months if it meant I could have stayed out there. My sister (Abby) and brother-in-law (Dave) were amazing hosts. They were so welcoming, and they had a whole itinerary of things to do with me. Each day involved at least two coffee shops, so I was perfectly happy with whatever else we were doing. But everything was fun. We took lots of walks, ate lots of sweets, drank a ton of coffee, cross country skied, went to cross-fit (ouch!), visited Dave’s family up in Anacortes, drank more coffee, watched some movies, shopped, visited with their friends, the list goes on and on. I enjoyed every minute of being there. I’m already scheming my summer 2014 out there. I miss it already.

(abby and I taking a little hike, photo cred. dave)

    One of the highlights of my break though was easily spending so much time with my dad. Since he works out of town, it’s not often that he’s home for longer than a weekend. He was home for 2.5 weeks this time, which was amazing. Even though I was out of town for part of it, I loved knowing that him and my mom were getting to be together in their home. There is almost nothing they love more, unless of course they were in Italy together. Those two love birds are the cutest. 

     But alas, I’m back in Boone, on campus, in the coffee shop. Two classes down, two to go. I am very thankful though for routine. Sometimes I like to think that I’m a super go-with-the-flow, spontaneous kind of person, which I certainly can be, but ultimately, I get way more done when my life is a little scheduled. Thankful for the little things, you know? This semester is going to busy I can tell already, but I’m excited for the challenge. I’m excited for the chance to start over (especially after I got grades back from last semester, yikes!) I know this semester is going to be good. What are you looking forward to in the next few months?