Monday, November 25, 2013

21 things.

1. i take 2 gummy multivitamins daily. i never forget because i get too excited about them. they taste like gummy bears. even if they secretly had no nutritional value they would probably still enhance my life greatly because of the joy i get in eating them.

2. i just scrubbed my bedroom floor on hands and knees, then i sprayed the carpet with febreeze and lit a candle.... its feeling heavenly in here.

3. i am so thankful that this week is short. its been crazy. we need some rest. i'm also super excited to eat turkey and go Christmas shopping.

4. Shaunny is out of his cast and into a boot. He is still on crutches, but only for two more weeks. He is so great.

5. i LOVE being 25. i don't think i've told you that yet, but i seriously love it. i feel like i've been 25 since i was 17, but now i actually make sense. i loved being 8 and i loved being 19... and 25 is the newest favorite.

6. i am deeply grateful for the friendships i have. friends near and friends far away... they are like family  for us and i am realizing lately what a special gift that is.

7. I eat a lot of carrots and hummus. I think because it's easy and yummy and healthy. I might actually eat too much of it. I'm not really sure how to tell...

8. I eat dairy. I eat gluten. I eat bread. I eat meat. Just in case you were wondering.
((Living in LA I often feel like a minority in those departments.))

9. my mom and I both love to give lavish gifts.

10. Meredith is spending Christmas in Canada with David and his family.

11. I'll be spending Christmas in Michigan with Shaunny and the fam.

12. i love white Volkswagen Cabrio's.

13. i'm thinking about making some Christmas stockings. my friend Melanie did one over the weekend and it is adorable. Anthropologie was her inspiration for the design.

14. I really do believe that the success of my future is largely dependent on the friends I choose and the books I read. My newest book is called "God loves ugly". It came highly recommended from several trustworthy pals.

15. i would love to be fluent in Spanish. and German. and French. :)

16. gifts and words of affirmation are my love languages.

17. You are more valuable than you realize.

18. You are also wayyyyy more beautiful than you know.

19. Me too.

20. sometimes i get scared that i'll fail my life and i find myself trying to prove that i am enough. lately God has been teaching me that He chose me BEFORE He made me. He chose me before i had the ability to succeed or fail or anything at all. He created me in joy and loves me regardless of how "good" i do. i don't need to please people because people are broken and their perception of me is going to be flawed no matter what they think. i am far worse than most people know, and far better than some others would believe. God has the final say on my life and He is pleased. End of story.
(phew.... huge sigh of relief)

21. I started this new thing where i treat everyday like it is super important. I begin by figuring out the date. (today is the 25th of November) Then i pray and thank God for filling my lungs with air. (because He wouldn't have me here if it weren't important) Then I go through my day with a sense of purpose, looking for opportunities to receive His love and ways to share it with others. It has been wonderful. (I knew today was important right away though, because it begins the one month count down til Christmas! hohoho!)

Thanks for stopping by!
(PS. I took a selfie while typing this post. Now you can feel like you are here with me!) 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

a prayer for Hillary.

on the day of her daddy's memorial. 

Lord Jesus, 

Thank you for Hillary and the incredible family you have given her. Thank you for her Daddy and his faithfulness to the Grant family. Thank you for times when you prolonged his life and kept him here longer than doctors anticipated... and thank you Jesus that even though this feels too soon, you will carry the family through. Thank you Lord for the truth that Rick is healthy now, he is at peace in your presence. Thank you for eternal life, that Hillary will see her Daddy again one day. Thank you for filling Hillary with a heart of gratitude... Even when she is shattered, her words are still rich with love and thankfulness for this life you have given her. Your grace is so obvious in her.

Im asking you now, as our Heavenly Daddy, that you would strengthen my sister. Hold her heart steady as she goes through this day remembering all that her Dad and has been for her, and for so many other people. 

May your comfort pour out on her like the freshly fallen snow... 
You know how she loves snow. 

Give Chris the grace and strength as her husband to know how to best love her today. Thank you for what an amazing man he is for her. Comfort her through him and please draw their hearts even closer together as they grieve. Thank you for Abel. This little man is a gift straight from your hand Lord and I praise you for bringing him here this year. Thank you for his name and the reminder to "breathe". Hillary will even need help just breathing sometimes Lord, please use her precious baby boy to help her with that. Thank you for the joy he brings and the way he, and his beautiful new cousin Arrow, are lighting up this family in the midst of such a dark time. 

Please bring comfort and hope to the entire Grant family. Thank you for the wife that Kathryn has been for Rick all these years. Thank you for her faithfulness and strength to face hard times. Renew her strength today Lord and remind her that you will be "her husband" and you can meet her needs. Please surround her with close friends and family to remind her of how close you are to her right now. 

Thank you for Taylor and what a wonderful older sister she has always been to Hillary and the other three siblings. Such a beautiful role model. Reveal more of your love to her now Jesus and show her that you see her. Not just that you see everyone, but please show her that you see her, and that your hand is upon her life. Fill her with hope for the future in a way that only you can. 

Bless Ashton and Grant and sweet little Arrow. Thank you for bringing them together in marriage and giving them the gift of a daughter. Please protect their family and speak to them about your tender love for them. Thank you for all of the incredible gifts you have put within Ashton and I pray for continued opportunities for her to use those gifts. Please fulfill her heart and satisfy her with your presence. As Grant and Ash love on their little girl, show them your own love for them as your children. Take care of all of their needs please Lord. 

Thank you for Tristan and Kieran. What amazing men they are. Lord as the youngest in the family they have gotten the least amount of time with their Daddy. Please redeem that somehow. Please heal their broken hearts and keep the memories of their Dad so alive in their minds, that they can continue to learn from Rick's example of how to be men. Give them strength to finish high school and enable them to feel your love and presence in their lives, even in times when no one around them acknowledges you. Fill them with joy and with dreams for their future. Thank you for their humor and positive attitudes, use those to bless people, just like you did through their Dad. 

Jesus you so often use broken times to reveal yourself to the world. I pray that you would do that in Hillary's life. I know you already have been, but I'm asking for even more. 

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach... And these will be the first big holidays that Rick will be spending in Heaven with you Jesus... Please fill the void in Hillary's heart with a sense of deep love and peace. Comfort the family like never before, and teach them how to grieve. 

May joy not bring them guilt, but may joy bring healing. 
Rick would want joy for them too. 

Thank you for this family in my life. 
Thank you for the gift of friendship with Hillary. 
Thank you for the way Rick loved me. 

Please carry them today. 

And one day here soon please bring me back to Colorado so I can encourage them and love on them in person. 

I trust to you do even more than I can ask for or imagine in their lives. 

You are faithful. 
In Jesus' name. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My favorite podcast.

Or one of them.

Her name is Christine Caine and her message is called "Embrace your place".
She shared it at Elevation Church during their "Get Back" series, and I have listened to it over and over and over and over.....
and over again.

This morning I felt like some of you might be in need of encouragement,
so I am sharing the podcast link with you.
I personally like to listen to it while I walk, or while driving.

I think you'll enjoy it.

I love you friends. 

PS. This gorgeous photo was taken by a Norwegian friend. 

When she posted it on Instagram a long while ago I took a screenshot because I loved it so much. 

Follow her at @siljeaxelsen 
for some of life's most lovely moments. 
She is a gem.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Peace, be still.

"Peace, be still."

He said it to the storm. 
The wind and waves ceased. 

Most days I need Him to say it to me. 

Jesus has the power to do a lot of things. The epitome of His power was shown when He literally defeated death and was raised from the dead three days after being crucified. 

One of the most powerful things He has been doing in me lately is simply reminding me to slow down. 

Peace, be still.

Life is short. We don't know how long we will have with the ones we love. Life is more than work. More than reputation. More than making money. More than fashion. So much more than anything temporary. Embrace right now. Today will be gone soon. Soak it up. Be okay with making mistakes. Everyone does it. It's all going to be okay. You won't feel happy every moment of everyday. That's alright. You aren't crazy. You're actually doing quite well considering everything you have faced. Your God loves you. Not a vague love that you can't know. He loves you dearly. Intimately. Personally. He knows your name. He knows the very number of hairs on your head. He gave Himself for you when you were nothing. You hated Him and He still fought for you. What makes you think that after all that He has done for you He is going to give up on you now? He is not going anywhere. He is ready to carry you through this. Trust Him with your life. Trust Him with your heart. Trust Him with your worries. Trust Him with your story. He is faithful. 

Remind your heart today. 

"Peace, be still."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A thankful heart.

It looks good on pinterest. It sounds sweet as an instagram caption. It even reads quite nicely when painted in cute font on a random piece of weathered wood, or written on a cozy coffee mug. 
But its slightly harder to live out.

And by slightly harder.... I mean WAY harder to live out. 

Well actually I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t assume you are as ungrateful as I am. I have plenty of people in my life that are heroes when it comes to appreciating the simple things in life, and I praise them for their hearts of gold. So if you are in that category of Grateful-Shiny-Golden-Hearts then know that this blog post is not for you.... and you are cordially invited to pray for the rest of our selfish souls. 
(PS. I’m smiling as I type this. And I really do need your prayers.) 

Okay so moving on. November has been good for me. As I approach Thanksgiving this month, I am faced with the realization that I need some extra help in the thankfulness department. 

I first noticed it last week when I was in my room, feeling pretty sorry for myself as I was cleaning up Shaun’s mess, and it was like God tapped me on the shoulder and very bluntly said, 


In that moment I felt immediately convicted that I had been thinking about a whole bunch of nonsense, and I was actually perpetuating my own feelings of negativity by focusing on everything that was wrong with my world.

Right away I asked the Lord for forgiveness. Because I've learned an awesome thing about God; when He highlights our sins to us, it is so that we can turn from them and receive His freedom. (In the Bible it says "Repentance brings refreshment.") So I knew that if He was faithful enough to show me where I was blowing it, He would be faithful to forgive me and help me overcome it.

Anyway, thanks to November & the glorious Thanksgiving celebrations just around the corner, my solution from Heaven was obvious... it was time again for Jessica to work on having a thankful heart. ((See, I really want to be in the Grateful-Shiny-Golden-Hearts club that I invented for my friends a few paragraphs ago.))

Here is what I'm figuring out- even though there will always be troubles in our lives, God's grace comes to us when we choose to focus our thoughts on all we have to be thankful for. This does NOT suggest that we are supposed live as if we are oblivious to the things that are going wrong, its just that rather than being consumed by fear and worry, we are to pray about our issues and put our trust in the Lord to sort them out.  

In Philippians 4:6-8 (The Message version) it says, 
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

Our joy doesn't need to be smothered under the weight of negative thoughts & anxiety. We all have so much to be thankful for. 

So let's do it together.
Focus on the gifts, pray about the struggles, and enjoy this wonderful season of Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for you! 

(Ps. I'm also thankful for Manhattan Beach in the evenings. 
I mean really, look how gorgeous this is... And my iPhone hardly even does it justice. It's unreal.)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Montana. Here and there with the fam.

My Dad is Steve Wilson.
I love him like crazy and feel honored to be his daughter. He is loving, responsible, generous and goes out of his way to make my sister and I feel important to him. 

My big brother is also Steve Wilson. 
He has always been someone I admire and look up to. He is a great husband to his wife, Alana, and an amazing dad to his girls, Rose & Sasha. He is almost 20 years older than me and yet my whole life he has done what he can to show me that I matter. That's a gift in a brother.

With that said, it was perfectly fitting that my Dad (Steve) and my brother (also Steve) would take us girls to a cafe in Helena called "Steve's Cafe". 

So I'll start my photo adventure there... with my yummy pumpkin pecan pancakes. 

And down a little ways you'll catch a glimpse of Meredith's (partially eaten) huckleberry stuffed french toast. Sooooo yummy.

This blog-photo-adventure also includes shots from our "girls day with Grandpa" at the makeup store, an evening with the whole fam at the Helena carousel, Halloween, and our times at the house with princess nail polish... Oh! and I can't forget snuggles with Bruce the friendly pitbull. 
(PS. Friendly Bruce helped me overcome a fear of dogs that I've had for most of my life. Yessssss.)

I also hope you enjoy the moment where I found my dad pretending to blow dry his granddaughter's hair with a toy vacuum cleaner. So cute.

This month, like most of you, I've been trying to pay extra attention to all that I have to be thankful for. I'm seriously grateful for my family and so blessed that God is giving me opportunities to have deeper relationships with them as we get older. It's an answer to my prayers. 

Anyway I hope you are having a great weekend friends and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share my life with you. Thanks for stopping by!
With love, Jess

Friday, November 8, 2013

Montana. Fishing with the Wilson's.

So I went to Montana last week!
The land of fishing, hunting, beautiful big sky, and the state where I lived the first 5 years of my life!

Meredith and I were EXTRA excited for the opportunity to have a "sisters' trip" to visit my Dad, who was on vacation from Korea, and our big brother's family, who are currently living in Helena. It was sooo good to spend time with my sweet nieces and to witness my Dad in Grandpa-mode, which I had not yet seen first-hand. This was also the first time in lots of years that all of us Wilsons were together under one roof, and it was so good that I'm already planning our next family trip to Montana. 

(PS. Yes, I know I'm a Hover now, but I still love to claim my Wilson-ness too. You understand.) 

Anyway I have LOTS of pictures to share with you because my week happened to be extremely  photogenic, but for now I'll start with some of our fishing adventures with Dad and the girls. :) 

Oh! And the first photo of that fairy-tale, cotton candy, sunrise.... it is NOT filtered. 
That is actually how Montana wakes up in the morning! 
My Dad took the photo on his Nikon, and I am delighted to share it with you. 

Thanks for enjoying these with me! See you soon!