The Stones Roll into Year Four

On this day, three years ago, I woke up in a quaint bed and breakfast on my wedding day. Many girls dream of that fairy tale wedding, and I certainly lived it. The day started with breakfast with six of my closest girlfriends, then it was off to hair and makeup. Mimosas anyone?

We took MANY ‘getting ready’ photos before actually getting ready. Then it was time for a first look with my dad. (Definitely recommend!) Priceless. Next, I waited for my bridesmaids to finish getting ready (yes, I said it) so we could go take bridal party pictures. I didn’t do a first look with Cason, so it was just us girls and the family. Then we waited some more while the guys took pictures.


Before I knew it, it was wedding time. I rode in a car down to the barn and waited with the bridesmaids and my dad for the processional to begin. I also remember that across the street a car had swerved into the ditch–thankfully they were okay, and it wasn’t anyone who was attending the wedding. When my dad and I walked to the end of the aisle, I remember feeling overwhelmed at how many people had come to see us get married.  Then about a third of the way down the aisle, my veil got stuck on the newly installed hardwood plank floor, tugging my head back. I stopped in the middle of the aisle, and my dad urgently whispered “Where are you going?” Honestly the funniest memory from that day, especially considering I’d always said growing up that I didn’t want to wear a veil on my wedding day. (I don’t regret it. It was beautiful, and worth the hang up.) After the wedding coordinator unhooked my veil from the floor, I walked down to Cason, and the rest is history! I only remember bits and pieces of what Cason’s dad said as he officiated the ceremony, but I remember how I felt–the prayers were beautiful and sincere, and the love was palpable. (Random side-note: the heaters were on and kept blowing my veil and hair.)


We kissed. People cheered. And I can’t believe it’s been three years. And honestly, I know this sounds cheesy, but believe me when I say that I felt like Cason was the only person I saw clearly that day. While I certainly remember talking with everyone and dancing, it was like I was seeing Cason with 20/20 vision and everything else blurred in the periphery. What a lovely way to feel on your wedding day.

Another thing I remember is that my bouquet was the most gorgeous arrangement of flowers I’ve ever seen. I LOVED them. Still do. At some point between the post-ceremony pictures and the reception, my bouquet was placed in a vase as the centerpiece for our table, unbeknownst to me. I remember saying that they were beautiful too! And someone gently informed me that they were in fact my bridal bouquet. (I did not toss that bouquet. Sorry bridesmaids, but I think I stole one of yours. Haha)



Well, if you’ve made it this far in my recap of one of the most beautiful days ever, you may as well keep reading about the things that have happened since then. Cason and I have lived in 3 cities in 3 years, got a puppy, got a rabbit, and that’s about it.  Kidding! But sitting here and sharing wisdom from three years of marriage sounds a little silly. I mean three years is more than one (duh), but it’s not 5 or 10 or 30. So how about I say this…with everything that we’ve experienced and learned in three years, I cannot even begin to imagine what the Lord has in store for us for the rest of our marriage. We’re just getting started, and I’m thankful for this stage of our marriage.


Thank you to everyone who believed and had faith in God’s plan for our relationship and marriage from the beginning. Thank you to those who have come along side us and stood by us to support us emotionally and otherwise. Thank you to my friends who insisted I leave Target and go home to my husband when I was upset. Thank you to the couples who intentionally give grace and mercy in their marriages and remind me to do the same. Thanks be to God, who has a bigger plan than I can even begin to fathom. And of course thanks to my husband who is still here after 3 years that included some of the toughest battles of my life. The Lord knew exactly what he was doing when he denied my heart’s desire to go to China and gave me you on a spring day in 2013. Here’s to year number four and all the growth, joy, and grace it may bring. I love you today, still.


40 in 365

A few years ago I tried this concept of 101 goals in 1001 days, which amounts to just under 3 years. While I accomplished many awesome goals in those 3 years, I was mostly unsuccessful at trying the new things that I added to the list. So this year I want to try to do just 40 specific things in one calendar year. I prefer this concept to having a new year’s resolution, as it enables me to do many different things in a year. I’m gonna need y’all to help keep me accountable & maybe even join in on some things. So here we go with the list:

  1. Make a list of 40 things
  2. Write a letter to my future self
  3. Read letter to my future self at the end of the year
  4. Participate in a Bible study at home daily for 2 weeks
  5. Save at least $100 a month for at least a year and leave it untouched (1/12)
  6. Cleanse and organize our new home
  7. Update my home binder
  8. Read 40 books
  9. Write 50 letters to friends and family
  10. Read one news article a day for 12 of 14 consecutive days
  11. Take a calligraphy class
  12. Join another book club
  13. Go on a trip for our 3rd anniversary Chicago 12/30/2017-1/1/2018
  14. Take Case to a brewery
  15. Write a letter to my sponsored child every month for a year
  16. Cut out soda
  17. Drink 64 oz. of water a day for a week
  18. Drink 64 oz. of water a day for 2+ weeks
  19. Lose 20+ pounds
  20. Work out 2 times a week for 2 weeks
  21. Work out 3 times a week for 3+ weeks
  22. Make and follow a weekly meal plan for at least 2 weeks
  23. Make and follow a weekly meal plan for a month
  24. Attend a yoga class
  25. Do yoga 3 nights a week for a month
  26. Do yoga 5 nights a week for a month

Is there one thing on this list that really stands out to you? If you were to make a list today, what would be your top three things to try for this new year?

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winter break happenings

I work in the school system so I get the same holiday breaks as teachers (1 week at Thanksgiving, 2 at Christmas, 1 billion in the summer). It’s glorious. BUT every time a break rolls around, I am faced with the same dilemma: finally sit down and do NOTHING…OR…finally get around to doing ALL THE THINGS I’ve been unable to do during the school year. So, in true Jess fashion, I’ve made a list. What gets done gets done. What doesn’t gets put off until spring break.


  • Organize office/guest room
  • Organize laundry room
  • Set up winter indoor bunny cage
  • Put up shelves in the kitchen
  • Rearrange everything on the kitchen counters (ugh)
  • Reorganize family binder
  • Clean car



  • Hair Cut
  • Mani/Pedi
  • Massage
  • Set up bullet journal

This post was delayed due to Christmas and actually accomplishing items on this list.

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seek first…

This may be a somewhat controversial and difficult post, but try to bear with me until the end.

C and I have been married for 887 days, 19 hours, and some odd minutes and seconds by the time I submit this post. That translates into almost two and a half years. So basically no time at all. We’re still figuring things out. We strive to put the Lord first and use his Word as guidance for our daily lives together…but it’s always tempting (and not always wrong) to look to other earthly examples for guidance.

In the year leading up to our marriage and the one immediately following it, though, I played the comparison game. You may know how it goes, but let me explain. As a young married couple, you join in activities with other young, married couples. When you first start hanging out with this new crowd, it’s kinda like dating–you fail to see imperfections. All you see is all these couples who have everything together. They’ve been on mission trips together and traveled the world. They are graduated and have bought a home. They are planning for their first child. Perfect. Comparison ensues. It’s tough being a newly-wed couple and not playing the comparison game. It’s human nature–but what it really does is elevate the lives and choices of others above God’s divine plan for your own relationship (idolatry).


So needless to say, the comparison game never really got me anywhere in my marriage, and it certainly didn’t help me make friends all that much.

Now let’s jump to the other extreme–when couples around you are struggling. This is a new one for us, as we got married right before/around most of our friends. We have a few friends who’ve been married for years, but most are happy, honeymooning newlyweds like us (ha).
Sure, you know of people who have gone through difficulties in their marriage, but until you’re actually married, you never think that can happen to you. And it’s heartbreaking when it’s your friends–your family. All you want to do is whatever you can to help fix it…but then you realize that, hey, my relationship isn’t perfect. I really should be working on myself.
But isn’t this just a different kind of idolatry? Wanting to work on your marriage just so you don’t lose what you have?


So what then, is our calling as a married couple? Believe me, if I had it all figured out, I probably wouldn’t be rambling away on this blog post. But here’s what I think…we are called to seek Christ above all else. When that’s happening in marriage, it shouldn’t matter if your with couples who seem to have everything together, seem to be struggling daily, or are a mix of both. If Christ is the focus, then marriage is less likely to be distracted by trying to achieve marital bliss or avoiding the pitfalls of relationships. It’s focused on service–to one another and to others in the name of Jesus.


Oh, how I pray for this for my marriage. (And no, after 2.5 years, we don’t have this all figured out.) I pray for a heart that seeks God’s will and timeline for our marriage instead of the world’s plan. I pray for God’s wisdom to guide my husband’s leadership in our marriage. Even when my actions and words don’t show it, I pray that my heart will be softened to the Lord’s will and my words and actions will follow.


I know we aren’t perfect–but that’s really not our goal is it? I hope that we can be an example of how two imperfect people can choose to forgive and extend grace time and again and continue to love one another as Christ loved the church. I hope we continue to grow. I hope people look at the evolution of our relationship and see God’s hand in teaching us how to love daily.


As I wrap up this post, there are so many things that the enemy is trying to tell me to convince me not to post this….but I hope and pray that this post is something that at least one person needed to hear today. (Perhaps that one person is me!) Thanks for reading.


Here’s the bulleted version of everything that’s been happening lately–just gotta get it out of my head.

  • Finishing 1st full year as a school psychologist–bet you can tell how busy I’ve been by the lack of posting.
  • Besides text messages, I’ve almost completely lost touch with friends, and that stinks! I know it’s been one of my goals to stay in touch better, so I’m hoping to reach out over the summer and visit some friends!
  • This year back home was extremely rough at first, though I’m not sure why. However, it seems like C and I are getting into a good routine lately with each other, family, and friends. We don’t have the whole balance thing figured out yet, but we are working and growing. That’s always the goal!
  • I’ve been working on my personal/mental health more diligently lately, more out of necessity than desire. Here are some things I do on a daily/weekly basis:
    • Reading nightly
    • Knitting (& actually completing projects!)IMG_2536
    • Bubble baths
    • Going to bed at a decent hour (trying to get into a better routine on the weekends)
    • Counseling
    • Physical therapy for my back/neck (tried dry needling last week & I’m not sure how I feel about that yet)
    • Got an Apple watch to help track my activity. Right now I’m trying to get a baseline for steps and hopefully that will lead to motivation for increased activity. It also reminds me to breathe and stand up often, which are two things my counselor and PT encourage.
  • We had a yard sale a couple of weeks ago and cleansed the house! There’s more to be done, but it was a good start to spring cleaning.
  • We changed a light fixture in the kitchen and added a new window treatment, and I love how it brightens the room.


  • We’ve been doing Blue Apron meals, and I am a huge fan. I never thought I would enjoy cooking so much!


  • I’ve been decorating the house more & I brought the Pyrex back out, which is a happy thing.
  • I also finally have my great grandmother’s old bedroom suite in our room. It’s totally different from the rest of the MCM house. Then again, the random vintage things are also different. I guess there’s just an odd, eclectic mix going on in this casa right now. C mostly just rolls with it as long as the TVs are big and the sound system is good. ha!


I think that’s all I have for now, but hopefully I’ll be back soon. I know this isn’t super entertaining, but at least you got a few pics out of this post and a quick update.

spring cleaning

The other night I had a dream that CK and I were moving into a new house, and we decided to get rid of most of the things that we currently own. In my dream I was anxious at first. Then I felt…relieved. free. weightless.

I woke up the next morning and couldn’t shake that feeling of weightlessness. It’s a feeling I haven’t experienced in my waking life in quite some time. and it made me wonder–are all these things weighing me down?

So since the first day of spring was this week, and our home could really use the spring cleaning, I think I’m gonna combine this year’s cleaning with a de-cluttering.

Questions to ask myself:

  • Do I NEED this item?
  • Would someone else enjoy this item more than I do? (Donate!)
  • Have I even used/worn this item since we moved in?
  • Do I need 10 of these?
  • Does this item have a place?

Ready? Set? Go! Let’s live with less and live more!

but first pray

This morning the hubs offered to make my coffee, as he often does. This time, I let him. Many times I don’t. He can be a little heavy-handed with the creamer, but the truth of the matter is that I’m often a nutty control freak. I’m working on letting that go. (It’s probably going to be a lifelong process.)

Anywho…then on my way to work, husband-made coffee in hand, NPRers talking on the radio, I felt an urging to call coffee-making, sleepy-eyed hubs and pray with him on my way to work. How long did I fight this urge? One long stop sign and a red lights worth of driving time. Then I realized it was probably an urging of the Holy Spirit, and I definitely shouldn’t let my sinful flesh get in the way. 

So I called. And I prayed. I prayed for our day apart. For his car in the shop. For patience and wisdom at my job today. For my students and their families. For our marriage. And when I was done, my Amen was met with a resounding silence. Had he fallen back asleep? Was my prayer that bad? No, we’d simply been disconnected (by Satan). But really, doesn’t the enemy just try to tear down all that is holy and good? 

Needless to say, hubs called back and I did my best to repeat what I had prayed. We said I love yous and I went back to my NPR (a depressing segment on retirement savings and social security). And the rest of the day was perfect! Just kidding. But I did feel a peace surrounding my day, and many of the conversations I had with hubs were peace-filled. Where misunderstandings typically became mountains, today they felt like surmountable mole-hills. 

While I’m sure that not all days that start with coffee and prayer always turn out as positive as this one did, it certainly was encouraging to see fruit come from intentionality and obedience to the Holy Spirits promptings. 

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september goals

Y’all, I went to a crisis and bereavement training for 3 hours at work today, and let me tell you, that was depressing. Good information? Yes, but depressing nonetheless. Out of 3 hours of training, I’d say at least 2 of those were spent telling depressing, yet oddly informative anecdotes. How does one finish up the workday after that?  Perseverance? Anyway…

One thing they always tell you in these trainings is to practice good self care. How can you help others if you don’t help yourself, they ask. Well, let me tell you, I’m exhausted. Self care has been minimal at best since work started…how many weeks ago? 636015464188562535-699650045_b6de7bdf008b1da8767d69d0daee9717And so resume the monthly goals…

End of September Goals

  1. Travel-Free Saturdays
    Y’all know I love college football as much as anyone, but after two weeks on the road, it’s time to watch the pigskin fly from the comfort of my own couch. I need less travel and more rest.
  2. Nap Replacements
    Everybody knows about meal replacements, but do you know about nap replacements? I’ve been late-day napping a lot lately, so for myself I’m proposing nap replacements. Maybe take a walk around the block. Do some yoga. Play with Cooper. Anything to avoid the late afternoon nap and stay awake until bedtime.
  3. Sunday Mornings
    Hello church, where have you been? Oh, same place, same time? Great, I’ll be there this week. (My bad.)
  4. 10-Minute Mindfulness
    Have you tried the Headspace app? Do it. 10 minutes of mindfulness daily. Let’s try it together and see how we grow!



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the perfect place to be

Sometimes no matter the path you take, you find yourself longing for the path that leads back home. Initially, I was nervous about moving home after being away for so long, but so far it’s good. Traveling familiar roads. Running into familiar people. Relaxing with family. I couldn’t be more thankful for those things.


The hubs is working out regularly with his brother. I went back-to-school shopping with my cousin. I’ve done lunch with my parents. Hubs picked up his cousin from band camp. We’ll actually be in town for our nephew’s 2nd birthday party. I think I can speak for both of us when I say we are enjoying spending time with our families day-to-day.

I also drive to a very familiar place for work. I work in a school district that I’m familiar with. I know the locations of schools and demographics, and that’s comforting. In a job that can be busy and chaotic, it’s nice to have a solid footing in a familiar environment.

It’s been a long time since we’ve been home. It’s been a long time coming.


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Confucius quote for purchase here.
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