Messy Jessy

enjoying the beautiful mess that is life

20 Things My 20’s Have Taught Me August 8, 2013

Filed under: family,life,reflections — Jess @ 9:11 pm
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Ever since I turned 25 almost 5 years ago, I’ve dreaded turning thirty. Some how being in my late 20’s felt like death march to 30. Within the last few months, that’s changed. I”m not dreading turning 30, In fact, I’m embracing it and slightly excited. And it’s not just because I’m having an awesome 80’s-themed birthday party Saturday night.

As I have been thinking over the past few weeks, I’ve done a lot of reflecting as I close the chapter on the decade of my 20’s.

Here’s 20 Things My 20’s Have Taught Me:

  1. Grandparents are a treasure. Having lost all three of my grandparents in my 20’s, I treasure every minute and memory with them. Get to know them as more than just your “grandparents”. Know how they first fell in love over a bottle of Coca-Cola  or that funny story about the time a drunk guy rode a horse into the bar.
  2. Work hard but not too hard. It’s great to be driven and have goals, but don’t get lost in the rat-race to “success”. I’ve lost my self a few times, but having people in your life to remind you what really matters is important. I am a human BEing not a Human DOing.
  3. Friends come and go, but hold tight to those who stick around. Some friendships are a matter of a convenience and circumstances (same major in college, same team at work), but those who love you no matter what and chose to do life with you are rare treasures!  You need a close friend or two who will you call you out  on your crap and be there to listen to the deepest wanderings of your heart.
  4. Deal with it. Life happens and you’re figuring out who the “real” you is. If you are “stuck” with yourself or you need help dealing with things, don’t be embarrassed to see a counselor and work through whatever it is.
  5. Your faith is will be tested and stretched, but it will grow. God is big enough to handle your doubts, your questioning, and your wanderings. Don’t give up – keep searching and you’ll find a stronger and purer faith on the other side of the desert.
  6. Pursue your dreams. The only person standing in the way of your dreams is you. Don’t be scared – go for it! You can do anything you set your mind to.
  7. It’s a really awesome thing when your parents become your friends. They’re smart – way smarter than you realize. And better yet, it’s a beautiful thing when they can become your “friends” and you enjoy hanging out with each other.
  8. Life isn’t always fair and every day is a gift. It sounds cliche but it’s true. There will be people taken from your life suddenly and you too soon, but always look for the beauty and signs of hope in each day. Don’t take people for granted and always let them know how much they’re loved!
  9. Give back. Learn how to live generously on whatever you have to give – not just money, but your time, energy, talents!
  10. Learn how to let go and forgive. People will hurt you. People will disappoint you. They’re human after all! The quicker you can forgive and move on – the better things can be.
  11. Out of our deepest pains, beauty and growth emerges. Not easy to swallow or see in the moment, Some of the toughest situation offer you the opportunity to grow, if you allow it.
  12. Forget the 5 year plan. It’s great to have a game plan and goals, but don’t get so caught up  in the “what’s next” you forget the “what’s now”. Enjoy whatever season of life you’re in and be open to the “life lessons” you’re learning.
  13. Your spouse is an introvert. It took me a few years to realize this as an off the charts extrovert. Give him his space and “me time” to re-charge and don’t be insecure or think something is wrong.
  14. Social media is awesome, but be conscious of your social-foot print. It’s more permanent than a tattoo. Don’t post or say anything you’d be ashamed of for a future employer or grandchild to see.
  15. Be quick to say “I was wrong” when you really were. You’re not always right and don’t know everything. When you’re wrong – own it and learn from it!
  16. Babies are easier for some people to have than others. I always thought (see #12) I’d be done having kids by 30, but things just haven’t worked out that way!
  17. Love is more than a feeling; it’s a choice and a commitment. Some days you don’t “feel in love”, but in the end you can always choose to find your way back together. Don’t buy into a Hollywood notion of love and romance. A real love story is way more messier, but also so much deeper and beautiful.
  18. Life isn’t all about you. Invest in others and their success. When you want what’s best for others, it brings out the best in you
  19. Learn to love yourself. Find out who you really are and embrace it. Put away the negative self-talk and embrace every aspect of you. If you’re not good to yourself, how can you expect anyone else to be good to you? If there are characteristics and habits you really don’t like, decide to change them.
  20. It’s more about your perspective and attitude than your circumstances.  You can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your attitude. This makes the difference in life!

And with that my friends… I’ll toast to the next decade of my 30’s! Grateful for every bit of life and lesson I’ve learned.


How Social Media (Almost) Ruined My Life April 14, 2013

Filed under: family,life,reflections — Jess @ 7:50 pm
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I wrote a draft of this post a few weeks ago after taking a break for a week from all forms of social media to spend more time in contemplation. After spending this past weekend “unplugged” in the mountains with my family, I decided now would be a great time to post and end my long blog silence. 

I honestly love social media (Twitter,Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc) for several reasons. It’s definitely a great avenue to keep up with friends that you’re not able to see on a regular basis and share life moments together that may otherwise go missed. With all of the glory of social media, there’s definitely a down side. I remember this Fall I was back home in my small hometown in Georgia at a Friday night high school football game when one of my parents’ friends told me how beautiful my new house was. It struck me a little strange because my first question was, “How did they see my house in Charlotte?”  when it dawned on me — Facebook.

In so many ways I feel like Facebook gives us a false sense of community and closeness. There’s definitely something to be said for posting your life through status updates, pictures, and check-ins to the world in a pretty and filtered fashion. Doing real life together is not near as glamorous as the cutest and craftiest creation on pinterest that puts Martha Stewart to shame or having random people post on your wall once a year for your birthday. In several ways Facebook is not only a time suck, but a creativity suck. How can I express and impress “friends” in a few letters to show how cool/fabulous/smart/fill in the blank? I feel in some ways, social media takes “keeping up with Jones’ ” to a whole new level.

I worry about how freely we share the most intimate details of our lives for the world to see. In browsing facebook, you can find out personal information that would have taken a Private Investigator a while to figure out pre-Facebook world. In 2 minutes,  you know can find out where Meredith went on vacation this week (even with the location stamp!- scary!), pictures of that scandalous Halloween party, and update on that old acquaintance from college (She’s currently 4 cm dilated and should be having her baby very shortly — with pictures to soon follow!)

I’m not trying to be negative or overdramatic. I read someone I follow on twitter the other day state that we’re the first generation to be able to leave a “digital foot-print” and wondering out loud what our Grandkids will think of us when they go through all of our old Facebook status updates and tweets. This was the first time I’d thought about a digital legacy of short for my someday kids and their kids to follow and see.

For me social media became a coping mechanism of sorts. When things were crazy at work and I needed a stress break – I’d find myself making a trip to the handicap stall to read people’s Facebook posts since the last time I’d checked (probably a few hours ago before I’d left my house for work). When I was bored and “vegging” out at the end of the day – I’d distractedly watch TV and  surf Facebook and Twitter from on the couch. This was a great way to escape a meaningful conversation with my husband and drift in and out of surface level thoughts.

I always strive to live an authentic and open life. There’s definitely a level a trust that comes in real community that has to be earned.  I want to know my friends and be known more beyond just my facebook posts and thoughts/musings tweeted in 140 characters or less. I want to be known as the girl who eats a protein shake (on a “good day) or fast food (on a “bad day”) for dinner out of exhaustion and isn’t making a yummy, photo-worthy meal from pinterest to be shared on Facebook or Instagram. I need people who check in with me and don’t just assume everything is great based on my statuses or pictures of life. And I need people who need me to do the same things for things. Hold honest heartfelt conversations. Sit with during dark nights of the souls. All the while enjoying the beauty and awesome times that life brings too.

If you haven’t seen the 15 Things White Girls Do on Facebook (or even if you have) check it out for some much needed humor!


July 1, 2012

Filed under: Backyard Garden,life,reflections — Jess @ 11:53 am
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Little by little, inch by inch
We built a yard with a garden in the middle of it
And it ain’t much, but it’s a start
You got me swaying right along to the song in your heart

– “A Face to Call Home” – John Mayer


My Little Garden (Week 12?) June 5, 2012

Filed under: Backyard Garden,life — Jess @ 4:59 pm
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I’ve not done a stellar job lately in updating my blog with weekly pictures of my backyard garden’s process. My dad visited over Memorial weekend and gave me compliments on how good everything looked. I tried not to be offended when he told me he was just surprised that everything was still alive – ha! My dad knows me well and my normal lack of a green-thumb. I may have forgotten to take and post pictures of the garden – but I haven’t forgotten to water it.


Things are really progressing nicely. Last week I “harvested” my broccoli. I’m not sure next year if I’ll plant that again. It takes up a lot of space in my bed and is ready all at the same time. I like broccoli but to eat four heads in a short window is a lot!  I replaced the broccoli with a cucumber plant and two tomato plants. I’m really excited about the German Johnson variety I planted. I was chatting garden talk with my uncle this past weekend. He said last year, he was able to make ELEVEN BLTs from just ONE tomato! I love the old, heirloom style tomatoes!
I also relocated my strawberries to a planter on the patio. The rabbits kept eating my berries, so hopefully in just a week or so I’ll be able to finally enjoy some!



This past weekend I picked my first squash, zucchini, and cherry tomato. I’m seeing grilled veggie shish kabobs in my near future (this weekend!)


The Gift of the Sea May 13, 2012

Filed under: family,life,reflections — Jess @ 8:26 pm

“We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, and relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb … Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now”

— Anne Marrow Lindbergh – The Gift of the Sea


Tonight February 12, 2012

Filed under: life,messy jessy cooks — Jess @ 10:24 pm

Trying a new drink recipe


Making the World’s Best Lasagna to enjoy on Tuesday night with my Valentine


watching the Grammy’s


the perfect Sunday evening


Ode to Texas January 23, 2012

Filed under: family,life,Travel — Jess @ 8:01 pm
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Oh Texas! I had to breakup with you and move on to be able to fully appreciate you!

You worked hard last month to woo me back, but I’m afraid you weren’t successful. You reminded me of quite a few things I miss about the Lone Star state. Bonus points for visiting in December and not August!

the best Tex-Mex food

Boots and Trucks

Feeder roads

Texas Beer – Shiner an old favorite and a new find – Southern Star

Texas Country Music – If you don’t know what I’m talking about check out Randy Rogers Band or Cody Canada and The Departed for a quick primer.

Donuts and kolaches

Big open skies


Dosey Doe Coffee

towns named Cut ‘n Shoot

Texas-based Grocery Store: H-E-B


Confessions of a Chunky Butt January 12, 2012

Filed under: life,random,reflections — Jess @ 2:45 pm
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Writer’s Note: This is a completely un-filtered, un-edited rant. I had these thoughts while soaking in the tub after realizing I’ve lost ten pounds in the past two days due to having pneumonia. 

  • I am convinced that the average “fat” person knows at least twice as much as the average “thin” person when it comes to nutrition.
  • I love how “plus size” models have flat stomachs in magazine ads and are actually the size of an average woman (size 10-12).
  • If only it was as simple and yet complicated as “eat less, move more”.
  • My heart literally breaks when I think about how women are portrayed in the media the majority of the time. I wonder when we’ll defend ourselves and daughters and say “Enough!” to hyper-sexualization and the exploitation of women. Thankful for organizations like The Women’s Media Center that are sounding the alarms.
  • I wonder why doctors don’t understand that the reason fat people hate coming to you is they’re afraid you’re going to only address them as an overweight patient.
  • I love the fact I grew up in the South, but hate how much I love old-fashioned Southern comfort food.
  • I laugh a little on the inside when I see someone eating a 400+ calorie frozen meal and think they’re making a good choice.
  • I am eternally grateful for a Mom that told me I could do anything I set my mind to. I wish every girl no matter what their shape or size has/had that growing up.

A Few Fall Faves October 12, 2011

Filed under: life,random — Jess @ 10:32 pm
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  1. Kentucky Basketball Midnight Madness
    It’s a tradition that started almost thirty years ago! Fans fill Rupp Arena to watch the boys of Kentucky with their first scrimmage and showcase of the season. Forget football — I can’t wait for basketball!
  2. Ben Rector ~ Something Like This 
    If you enjoy fun and smart pop music, this album is for you! It’s an awesome accompaniment for a road trip, singing in the shower, or pretty much anywhere. It’s $5 on Amazon – you won’t regret it!
    Billboard online recently featured an article on his tunes and the ever-changing music industry. In addition to a talented singer-songwriter, he’s pretty funny too.
  3. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake Mix
    My facebook feed has been filled with everyone raving about the Pumpkin Spice Latte’  back for Fall at Starbucks. I say forget $5 on an overpriced latte’ and spend less than $5 on this yummy Fall goodness. There’s really nothing pumpkin that I don’t love and Trader Joe’s is starting to  stock the shelves with all things pumpkin — pancake mix, flavored cream cheese, bread, I could go on!
  4. Packing Fun!!
    I swear the boxes were empty when we started all though I could probably use a drink about now! If you didn’t know, liquor boxes really do make the best packing boxes – they’re free and really sturdy. Next week, we’ll be closing!














What are some of your Fall Faves?


Meet my BFF – Shellee Coley July 21, 2011

Filed under: family,life — Jess @ 4:28 pm
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I think the only appropriate way to follow up my “Dreams” post is to follow up with a shout out to my friend Shellee Coley.

Shellee is not only one of my dearest friends in the whole wide world (yes – that includes Texas), but is an amazing singer/songwriter. When we started our friendship, I thought Shellee was this super cool girl from the music scene in Nashville that relocated back home to Texas and was way too hip to be my friend! Little did I know over the next few years we’d spend hours together laughing until we almost pee in our pants (and did in some cases!), hours on road trips, “therapy” sessions on a leather couch in a certain lakeside cantina, and finding out how to let each other in to the imperfect mess that’s the real us!

I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of my “Mommy friends” struggle to not get lost in mommy-hood and lose focus of their own dreams and identities  outside of being a Mom. There’s quite a few things I admire and love about Shellee, but one of the things I respect the most about her is her relentless pursuit of her dreams in music while balancing family life. She can write a song during the day in the studio and still make a mean beef stew for dinner!

Shellee has launched an ambitious campaign to create her latest (and I’m sure greatest) record. If you’re a music lover and local artist supporter like me – please help make Shellee’s dream come true, support her, and get some cool music and stuff in return. You can click here to read and hear more directly from Shellee.

You don’t have to take my word, but can visit her website and steam music from her earlier EP – “The Girl the Stencil Drew”. I promise you will NOT be disappointed or ask for your money back!

So to my faithful blog readers – all tens [of thousands] of you – I proudly introduce … Shellee Coley EVERYBODY!


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