Reader Survey 2016

Hey Y'all!

2016 is, terrifyingly, right around the corner, but it is just another chance at a new beginning!  Because of that I created a Reader Survey to help me see where this blog might be headed and where it needs to be pushed in the New Year.

Please take a minute and fill the embedded survey out, if you'd be so kind.  You don't have to be a follower or even a regular reader (yet!), I'd still like your opinion.

Thank you!

None of the questions are required, so if you don't want to / can't answer all the questions, you can still submit your answers.


Christmas Here We Come!

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving!

   Or, otherwise known as Let-Christmas-Officially-Begin!  I was going to wait until after Thanksgiving to start celebrating Christmas, but I did decorate a Christmas tree at the library and listen to Christmas music.  But now Thanksgiving is out of the way, so let the music be played openly and the lights hung.

Besides all the well-known Christmas songs; like Joy To The World and Rocking Around The Christmas Tree, there are some lesser-known Christmas songs that I absolutely love.

I will try to add more as time goes on.

Are there any lesser-known Christmas songs that you like?

Happy Almost-December!


Bigger Than The Problems

The world is a mess.

So many people, since the very beginning, have had terrible lives.  Have lost loved ones.  Have experienced heartbreak.  Have been angry, and hurt, and wanted to die.  Been hurt by our fellow humans, no better than we are.

As you should know, the world was turned upside down with a serious terrorist attack in Paris this past weekend.  The same day several other countries also experienced national tragedies.  Millions upon millions of refugees are fleeing for their lives with absolutely no possessions or security.  Death in the south, closed borders and freezing cold in the North.  Trapped between ISIS and scrambling government leaders wanting them out.  Children in my own county sit in foster care with no family or love.  Orphans live homeless on streets all over the world.

And the internet is worried about the color of coffee cups and minimum wage.

It can be so hard for me to look at the world.  I feel a knot in the pit of my stomach; my heart physically aches.  There is so much pain in the world.  And I can't fix it.

I'm a fixer.  I want to handle the situation, smooth everything out, and keep everyone from getting hurt.  But I can't.  I can't keep other people's relationships together.  I can't comfort every child, or heal every broken heart.  I can't feed every starving, cold parent.  I can't.  But I know someone who can.

I was thinking about the Bible accounts of Christ feeding thousands of people.  (John 6:1-14)  There were 5,000 men, not including women or children.  If you assume there were as many woman and children as men, that is a minimum of 10,000 people.  That is a lot of people.  Think of a place where you know about how many people are there.  At my church on a typical Sunday there are 120 people.  That means the crowd that Christ fed was over 83 times that size.  That is crazy!

Take a minute and actually imagine standing in the middle of that crowd.  You are lost in the middle of thousands of people.  You hear babies crying and mothers comforting children complaining of hunger.  Men start grumbling about how they are supposed to get food so far out in the middle of nowhere.  Then you look down at your hands and see your lunch: a couple loaves of bread and some fish.  You look up helplessly.  There are so many hungry people; and you might have enough to share with one other person, but who do you offer it to?  How could you possibly make a difference with these thousands of people?  But, despite the odds, you decide to try anyway.  You zigzag and push your way to the front of the crowd, calling the attention of the disciples.  You hold up your small basket and ask that it be shown to Jesus.  He should know what to do with it.  He smiles warmly at you, draws the attention of the crowd, and prays over your meal.  You step back and mingle back with the crowd.  The disciples might eat a little, at least.  But instead, before long, the man in front of you hands you a loaf and part of a fish.  You take it in shock, tear the loaf in half, and pass it to the person beside you.  Later, after most everyone has left, you look and see baskets, including yours, filled over with pieces of bread and fish.

This is a true account, and this actually happened to a boy probably younger than most of us.  It was a miracle; not humanly possible.  But because one boy knew he couldn't do anything on his own, and went to Christ, 10,000 people were fed that day. 

I can get overwhelmed with the problems of the world.  There is too much pain.  Too much hurt.  Too many problems.  I can't solve them.  I'm sitting in a crowd with one load of bread surrounded by millions of hungry people.  But I have to take it to the One who can do something.  The One who isn't intimated by sin and pain.  The One that overcame all of this.  The One that can comfort every child, and heal every broken heart.  I don't need to know how God will solve the problem.  I just need to give my all to Him.  The boy didn't perform the miracle.  And Jesus would have brought Glory to God some other way if that boy hadn't stood up.  But he did.  And he spent his time and gave his possessions for Christ's use. 

And what a pleasure it is to serve Jesus Christ.

~Jessica Joy



A flash of color,
A gray sky.
A twirl,
A tear.

A childish giggle,
A choking sob.
A victor,
A fighter.

A heart ne'er broken,
A heart that healed.
A foot ne'er stumbled,
Legs that stood up again.

Unrealistic dreams,
Goals within reach.
Childhood friends,
Lifelong companions.

The whole world,
Or having a place in it.
The lover,
The forgiver.

The one who never failed.
The one who survived and stood back up.

Which do you think you are? 
Who would you rather be?

I seem to be transitioning into a "mostly-poetry" blog.  I've got some other posts planned, but what is your opinion of all the poems.  Yay or Nay?



What You Are to Me {A Poem}

You are autumn to me, my dear.
The wind in the trees,
The color in the leaves,
You are autumn to me, my dear.

You are winter to me, my love.
The bright Christmas lights,
The shadow of the night,
You are winter to me, my love.

You are spring to me, my friend.
You are new beginings,
Fresh flowers blooming,
You are spring to me, my friend.

You are summer to me, my darling.
The clear, starry sky,
The want to fly,
You are summer to me, my darling.

You are all these things,
The song I must sing,
That is what you are to me.


Dear "Perfect" Me [A Letter To My Other Self]

Dear "Perfect" Me,

     I know you think you are living the high life.  You got a boyfriend, and a best friend that lives next door; you go to school and live so close to town that you can ride your bike.  You have a group of friends you take to the mall, an Iphone, and a walk-in closet filled with the newest fashions.  You'd probably sneer if you saw me in my last-year's-trend clothes and dirty sneakers.  While you're posting pictures to Instagram of your prom date, I'm at home taking pictures of a dying rose because I can use it in a blog post.  You'd laugh at me giggling with my sister about that one 12-year-old that flirted with me, when you have boys looking at you all the time.  You'd want to gasp in horror at my nail-polish-covered cracked phone case and my lumpy, old comforter that I refuse to throw away.  You don't know what it feels like to sit alone at lunch, or to be the last one picked for any sport.  You'd have a fit about my fast-food-wrapper-filled car, with missing knobs and only one working window.  You never have to worry about hiding your tears from the world.

But, despite all this, I know I got the better end of the deal.

Because, you see, you don't realize how hard your heart will break when your boyfriend leaves.  You don't realize how much you are going to regret what you gave him.  You won't know how happy I'll be on my wedding day knowing I saved my heart and love-filled-glances for my husband.  As tough as homeschooling can be, I know I won't have the same spiritual struggles and temptations that you go through.  Living close to town is pretty cool, but not as cool as being able to race across open land and explore woods.  You may think that you have a better relationship with your best friends, but I know who my true friends are.  The hugs are a lot tighter, the laughs a lot deeper and the smiles a lot sweeter when a love stands the test of time and distance.  A lot of clothes and expensive stuff is nice, but closet space is a small price to pay for a relationship with siblings.  My sneakers might be dirty, but they tell a story of everywhere I've been.  I know it feels good when boys look at you, but that isn't the kind of attention you want, darling.  You don't know what it feels like to be depressed and lonely, but you also don't know what it is like to have your wall covered in "I love Jessica" notes from 8-year-olds.  You don't know what it feels like to be the worst at soccer, but you also don't know what it is like to be the first-choice-toddler-watcher at church.  You've never sat alone, but you've never struck up a conversation with someone who needed a friend.  You don't know what it is like to drive a hand-me-down car, or how much fun it is driving that car across-country or singing to the radio.  You don't know pain, but you don't know victory.  You don't know the joy of spinning words into poems, or the fun of always having a little sister tag along.  You don't know the excitement of dropping coins into a pasta jar saving for a dream trip, or the smiles that Bible verses on sticky-notes produce.

So you see, dear, you really don't have that much.  Your hair will always curl, and your handwriting is perfect, but you miss a lot of little joys along the way.  It's the rough spots and the little things that grow us, not our possessions.

In the end, I'm so thankful I get to me instead of you.

Love, the Real Jessica Joy.