November 24, 2009

sticky notes

i recently watched a very compelling movie about a mental institution in Israel built for Holocaust survivors.  The main character, Adam, is a very charismatic, intelligent man who is loved by all at the institution.  Before the war he was a circus ring leader and among many other talents, he is able to somehow read people's minds.  Like most Holocaust movies, this one is graphic and tragic, but there was one specific scene that I cannot seem to shake from my mind.  

In this scene an oblong, sweet-faced woman who adores Adam approaches him and goes on about how she has seen angels in her room again!  She tells Adam that this is a sign that God has not forsaken the Jews after all, that He does care and has sent His guardian angels to watch over the people at the institution.  As she is saying this she is flailing her arms wildly in front of Adam, beaming with sheer joy and expectation that he will be pleased as well.  Adam quickly responds "No, you are see God is not at his desk.  He has left a note that He is out and not returning calls right now."  He grabs the woman's flailing arm and points to the number tattooed on her forearm, "You see.....THIS is God's note that He's not in, He's not interested and He's not accepting calls right now.  There were NO guardian angels in your room!"

The scene gripped me in such a way that for a week I couldn't shake Adam's response.  I'm not Jewish nor do I have any relatives who are Holocaust survivors.  But it gripped my heart so intensely that I began to wonder what the Jewish people really believed about God at that point in history.  And naturally I began to ponder what I think about God, why did so many of HIS people have to die so horrifically?  I don't understand.  

After a few days my mind took a downward spiral as I also got to thinking about all the unresolved dramas, crucial circumstances, relationship fall-outs, health problems, monumental disappointments, failures and disasters that have occurred in my life and in the lives of those I love dearly.  I began picturing each one of them as a little sticky note from God explaining that He was out of the office or busy or not accepting my calls.  All sticky notes tacked to the walls of my heart, my mind, my hands, my life.  Things that I know I've prayed for a million times or more.  Pouring my blood, my sweat and my tears into and there's still absolutely NO change, NO response, NO answer; at least none that I can see with my human eyes.  In some of these cases, the situation has gotten WORSE over time.  The more I have prayed for it, the worse it seems to have gotten?  Some situations have even appeared to go backwards!  Progressed well for a season and then taken a 180 and never come back around.  Sticky note.

Hear me out though.  I do trust the Lord.  I do trust that His timing is not my timing and there's much I may not ever understand concerning His ways.  And be it known, that I won't stop praying for these things.  I won't stop believing.  I love the Lord and honestly with all my heart do believe that He is good and faithful to all generations.  But I'm also not afraid to ask.  I'm not afraid to be honest.  These are very legitimate questions I have.  Perhaps they sound like an immature Christian or like I have some obvious holes in my basic theology that I should have under my belt by now....perhaps.  But they're my questions and I'm not afraid to ask them.  I am learning to work through each one whether I get a response from the Lord or not.  I know He loves me.  I know He cares.  I know His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts.  I know that the plans He has for me are to prosper me and give me hope for a future.  But sometimes I just really wish He'd drop me a REAL note!  I even said recently to a friend.  "I don't even care if I'm the one who has a dream.....just give someone a dream!  Give us something to show you care about this situation!" 

Recently my husband was out of the country on a surf trip for his 30th Birthday and I was having some difficulty falling asleep one night.  I heard the Lord speak to me here.  "Hey, Jessie, instead of wallpapering your mind with stickies of all the things you feel like I have let you down on, why don't you make a list of all the times in your life that if I hadn't come through for you, there would have been no miracle."  


So, in lieu of Thanksgiving, I am going to sit down and make a list of the miracles in my life and in the lives of those I love that would not have come about if it weren't for the everlasting faithfulness and goodness of the Lord and His son, Jesus.  I choose to enter His gates with Thanksgiving in my heart.  And I challenge any of you who feel  you've been left a sticky note from God saying that He's "out", to make a miracle list of your own.  He IS faithful to all generations.  I will set my mind on the things the Lord has done for me that are excellent and praiseworthy.  Come Lord, be enthroned in my thankful heart. 

Here are a few of my miracles:
  • I have been saved by the blood of the lamb, a miracle
  • I am so wealthy in friendships it's unbelievable
  • I didn't die during Noah's birth (seriously a miracle)
  • Noah didn't die during his birth, another miracle
  • Noah himself is a miracle every single day
  • I was told I wouldn't walk for 6 months after childbirth but I was walking after 3!  miraculous
  • The Lord SAVED my dying marriage last year and has restored what the locusts had eaten
  • The Lord saved/is saving so many of my friend's marriages
  • Kaison Joseph, my nephew is a miracle
  • Mark having a well-paying job right now is a miracle
  • Meeting the Holy Spirit and having a relationship with Him is a miracle
  • Our music touching anyone, anywhere is a miracle
  • A friend of ours survived a drunk driver hitting him a month ago; miracle
  • I have several pregnant friends right now: ALL Miracles!
  • I graduated from college: miracle....for real
  • Lasik eye surgery - changed my life
  • When I was two years old I fell off a 2 story balcony without even a scrape or bruise
  • In college I encouraged a friend to not have an abortion; miracle
  • I have beautiful friendships with my parents, my brother & sister-in-law; such a gift
  • I am the Mother of Princes (the first prophetic word I ever received - now actually true)
  • I have the most talented, intelligent, witty, fun, good-looking husband on the planet!  My love and respect grows for him daily.  I am truly a blessed wife.
  • Our health, a blessing
  • Several young friends with cancer: ALL are in remission!  Praise God!
  • My friend's short film winning at Sundance Film Festival last year  - a miracle
  • Getting deliverance in my sleep
  • An encouraging, life-altering dream involving my deceased grandfather
  • Meeting my son's angel named "Protection" when I thought I was going into pre-term labor
  • Not going into pre-term labor when I passed a kidney stone at 7 months
  • Passing a kidney stone while pregnant and not dying - a miracle
  • Never receiving a hospital bill for the 2 night's stay kidney episode in Chicago
  • Getting $19,000 worth of hospital bills from labor and delivery knocked down to $3,500!!!
  • Not having to pay for anything involving my paralyzed legs: 3 different doctors and an MRI
  • My Dad biking the Muscular Dystrophy Bike ride every year after knee and hip replacements, a miracle
  • The fact that the Lord's mercies are new every morning is a miracle

As I write this list I am already encouraged.  Already inspired.  Already filled with Thanksgiving.  The Lord is good.....ALL the time.  Yes, I have a lot of questions.  I may never get answers to them, true.  But I am choosing to set my mind on the miracles.  To take a photograph of the slew of sticky notes that permanently wallpaper my heart, my head, my hands, my life.  All of the reminders that the Lord DOES care about me.  That He has NOT forsaken or forgotten me.  That He is involved.  He is interested.  He is present and concerned with my life and the lives of those I love.  

I have a timeline of the Lord's goodness throughout these 28 years of my life and I must cling to these sticky notes; these landmarks of the Lord's presence.  When I begin to think about the Jewish people and their Holocaust tattoos or the 3 am texts saying that a friend's husband is in the ER for the third time this month, or why my gorgeous 14 year old cousin has Muscular Dystrophy.  Yea I think everyone asks WTF?  

But I have to continually bring myself back to this ongoing timeline of sticky note miracles.    

Happy Thanksgiving

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.  Colossians 2:6-8

 Know that the LORD is God. 
       It is he who made us, and we are his; 
       we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving 
       and his courts with praise; 
       give thanks to him and praise his name.

 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; 
       his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100:3-5

{The movie mentioned earlier is called 'Adam Resurrected' and is graphic and heavy.  There is redemption in the film, though.  Not a movie for the faint-hearted.}

The photo is me on the Mount of Olives with Jerusalem in the background.  And there's a tiny, little Noah in my womb.  June 2008


November 10, 2009

thelostandfound on Etsy

With the coming of Christmas and winterness, I have finally completed my online store where you can find handmade treasures with a vintage flair.

Please pass my site along to others and shop till you drop.  Check back often for new listings, I am always working on new pieces.

September 29, 2009


i have recently found myself saying to people "In the past 8 months I feel like I have done nothing with my life".  An overstatement, yes; but in comparison to the past 3 years, it's easy to understand why I might say something like this.  Since having a baby, I have been no where.  I have done nothing.  (or at least it feels that way).  Prior to becoming knocked up my insatiable wanderlust has taken me all over the world from Costa Rica to Cologne to Jerusalem to L.A. to New York City to Tel Aviv to Tuscany, Chicago, Regensburg, Puerto Rico and yes, even Paris.  Perhaps I just have a really bad case of wanderlust....or perhaps the Lord is trying to teach me something.  It has been 8 months and I feel stuck.

A few weeks ago a friend and I were talking and she brought up feeling "stuck" as well.  She said she always hears that song by U2 in her head "You got stuck in a moment and you can't get out of it".  I hear it too, playing over and over again in the unconscious parts of my mind, but somehow I know; I have to believe I can "get out of it", even if I'm not traveling somewhere exotic.  There's just this part of me that never planned on being a stay-at-home-mom, and I am struggling everyday to not only keep my sanity, but also keep myself from falling into the quicksand death trap of feeling sorry for myself.  

I've never been the type of woman who feels whole or complete staying at home, cooking, cleaning, organizing, baking and raising children.  There are many women who do feel a full satisfaction from spending their life doing these things, and I seriously applaud you.  Being a home-maker is a beautiful thing, I am just having a very difficult time adjusting to this being my full-time and ONLY role.  It only feels like half of my life is being lived right now.  Like I'm not living to my -nth degree.  But when I do have an hour of time to myself when Noah is napping, I am so exhausted that I just drink hot tea, curl up on the couch with a blanket and read a mindless book.  By the time 6:00 rolls around I stand back and assess my day, and always come up empty-handed.  What did I even DO today?  Everyday has become the same routine, the same scary, monotonous routine: dishes, laundry, groceries, change diapers, go for a walk, drink a ridiculous amount of coffee, feed my boy, check facebook, send some emails and make dinner.  Did I really sign up for this?  How do so many women make this their life?  

Enter Holy Spirit.  

Yesterday I woke up, fed the little prince, played with him, then put him down for his morning nap.  As I sat on the couch and began writing my "To Do" list for the week, I shuddered at my complete lack of motivation to do ANYTHING.  I was totally content to just drink coffee all day, (or even all week) in my pajamas and leave the growing mound of dishes in the sink, the rancid trash over-flowing, the baskets of laundry stinking and everything else in my life unkempt....and stinking.  As I lay lifeless on the couch, digging for purpose and vision I found a tiny bit of determination somewhere under a couch cushion to at least start on the dishes.  Slumped over the sink I began scrubbing and cussing a little.  It was in that moment I heard the H.S.  

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men..."  

Oh boy.  It repeated over and over in my mind through every dish and every diaper and every grocery that day.  Each time I heard it my saddened heart became softer, sweeter and more forgiving of my own disgusting selfishness.  By the end of the day I came to the conclusion that seasons are seasons and I won't be in this one forever (please God).  I won't be "stuck in a moment and can't get out of it".  I already am out of it.  I realize I must stop focusing on myself and what I think I'm supposed to be doing with my life right now.  I am Mom.  I am needed here.  I have work to do - however tedious, absolutely mind-numbing and utterly annoying it can be.  My conviction is clear: to do whatever I do in the name of the Lord Jesus.  I should be giving thanks as I do it.  Working with ALL my heart, as if I was scrubbing these dishes for Jesus himself and changing my son's stinky bottom so Jesus can hold him without passing out.  I won't be in this place for the rest of my life (please God), but I am learning and growing and being taught patience among many other things.  Thank you H.S. - you never fail me.

September 23, 2009


this is a story i wrote like 2 years ago.  public radio was on a mini-tour down the south eastern coast.  i always meant to blog it.  better late than never.....right?

He was a simple man, short in stature and easily overlooked.  Dressed to kill as a street urchin in a dark and faded track jacket, some stone washed jeans dated 1988 and tilted backwards on his round little head was an old ball cap that read Penske in washed out letters.  He came in and out of the kitschy, southern coffee shop briskly kindly telling everyone he saw to "be safe tonight, you hear?"  he spoke to me and i smiled.  he smiled back with a crooked, toothless grin and said "i've missed you".  as he wandered back out into the cold night it was hard not to notice his glasses.  they were well worn and forced to stay together with large pieces of masking tape, leaving little room for his dark, beady eyes to peer out from behind them.  Just enough of each lense was left un-taped to see that he did indeed have a sparkle in his eye.  

We set up our gear, ate some delicious vegetarian food, drank some fresh-squeezed limeade and began playing the set to a mostly empty room.  A quiet chess game of three men; two, young shop keepers were busy behind the counter making lattes and quesadillas, and one other headphone clad man at his laptop became our audience.  During the middle of our second song, the beady eyes behind the masking tape came in and stood cheering so loudly that the headphones came off and the chess game took a pause.  As he rooted through his 1988 stone washed pockets he yelled:  "You guys are gonna make it BIG!  You hear me?  You're gonna hit it!  Hit it BIG!  You're gonna be Big.  You're gonna make it.  And I got yer back, you hear?  I ain't gonna let anyone do anything to stop it.  The big times!"  He got close to me on stage and motioned for me to open my hands.  He dropped a crumpled dollar bill and some coins into my hand as he said "Here's my beer money, hunny".  I smiled and asked him his name.  We dedicated our next song to him.

This one goes out to Benny.  (it was Miss America)

He loved it.  The man with the headphones kept them off and made a phone call to a friend to come see the rest of our show.  The girls behind the counter came out from working  for a bit, and another girl who had been biking came in for a hot tea.  Benny loved the rest of the show and cheered incessantly after each song.  More people came in and by the end of the show, we actually sold some cd's and made some friends.  As we all packed up our gear, Luke had a talk with Benny and asked him what he thought heaven was like.  With a glimmer in his eye he answered sharp as a knife "It's a whole lot better than this place. Trust me, man".  

Later we sat outside and talked a bit more with Benny.  He informed us that he used to live in the Bronx and was apart of the Bloods gang.  But that now he just wants to help people out and keep the streets of Savannah safe.  "But I tell you guys, if anyone were to mess with you.  I got yer back, you hear me?  I'd mess up anyone that tried to mess with you the name of the Bloods."

He didn't fool me.....I knew exactly what he meat....the blood of the Lamb that is.  My dear friends, Benny is one of the many guardian angels sent to this earth to be safety patrols and prophets to those who choose to do the work of the Lord, and see His kingdom come.  

Benny's got our back.  He'll take on anyone in the name of the Blood.

August 9, 2009

how to talk to a woman

Women are God's greatest mystery.  We are more difficult to navigate than the Bermuda Triangle.  More complex than a DNA molecule.  More ambiguous than a platypus.  Yet, believe it or not....we are apart of His crowning glory.  I have been a female for 28 years and frequently am stumped not only by my fellow females and why they do what they do, but am stumped by my own strange girly behaviors.  I'm not kidding.  Men, you couldn't be more right when you say that women are confusing.  It is so true, I cannot tell a lie.   

So I am going to step out on a limb here and try to make some "general" statements about women and what we want/need.  By no means do I think that these apply to ALL women (no that would be unheard of), nor do they apply at ALL times - again ridiculous.  If you're asking yourself why not?  Reread paragraph 1.  Since we all come from different upbringings, and we all have our own issues and fears, garbage and strengths....this little list won't fit every woman.  I am compiling this based on myself and the women I am closest to, who share their hearts frequently.

1)  Speak her language

One of the most basic ways to start understanding a woman is to learn her language.  I don't necessarily mean improving your grammar skills, but to a degree I think that analogy could work - I'll come back to this.  You've probably heard of the 5 Love Languages, a book by Dr. Gary Chapman.  To be honest, I've never actually read the book, but I do know what the 5 Love Languages are.  I know what MY love languages are and now.....after many years of marriage, I know my husband's......and I have learned that our languages are NOT the same.  As soon as I made this discovery, I realized that this is a BIG problem.  Why?  Because it meant that I couldn't express love to my husband in the same way that I wanted love expressed to me....the way that came naturally to me.  

My languages are:
1.  Gifts   
2.  Words of Affirmation
3.  Quality Time

These are the ways I receive love and give love.  These come naturally to me.  I get a high expressing love to friends and family when I execute these well and the receiver is blessed.  Let's say that I speak French.

My husband's languages are:
1.  Physical Touch
2.  Quality Time
3.  Acts of Service

Mark speaks German.  Here's where we so often miss each other.  

Example:  Mark will pet and cuddle and caress me while I'm frantic making him the "perfect dinner" (a gift), and I will get so frustrated that he won't just leave me alone so I can finish his gift and show him how much I love him.  Meanwhile, he's super miffed that I'm not returning his kisses and I'm not embracing him with the enthusiasm he was hoping for, and suddenly in the midst of trying to exchange love - the way we individually know how to exchange it - we get in a stupid fight.  What in the world?  Innocently, we both really were trying to show love to our spouse.  But we missed it; we missed each other.  I was blabbing away in French and Mark was going on in German and we didn't meet in the middle because at the time we were completely ignorant of how to talk to each other.

SOLUTION!!!  Learn another language.

I have been married over 6 years now and have survived several minor heart attacks trying to communicate my love languages to my husband.  It sounds simple....but trust me this is such a difficult thing to learn and execute well.  But when it sets in, when it becomes second nature, the glorious melody that starts beaming from your marriage makes it SO worth all the trouble.  
Example:  I love flowers.  Seriously, a bouquet of flowers in a room will literally cause joy and happiness to well up inside my heart.  I think it's because I appreciate color so much.  I dunno.  Anyways I can remember (not too long ago) physically begging my husband to buy me flowers (gifts).  He'd forget and forget and not care and then forget again.  He'd also ask me what the point was "You spend too much money on them because they're shipped all the way from effing California, then in 3 days they're dead!".  This went on for years; heartache.  I felt ignored, neglected.  Every time we'd have dinner at a friend's house I'd overly admire their bouquets of fresh cut flowers and then cry a little bit in the bathroom after my friend would romanticize about how her husband brought them home from work for her.  -gag-  I didn't think I was asking for much, really.  I wasn't begging for diamonds or expensive clothes or grandiose dinner engagements....I just wanted some flowers dammit!  Well, for whatever reason, when I got pregnant a light switch turned on for my husband and my love languages became clear as day.  It is still a complete mystery to me what happened and how....but I am surely not complaining because from then on my house has more flowers than I know what to do with.  It took a long time, but he got it.  I have been learned.  I know I am loved.

For my single friends - here's a little section on how to talk to a woman.  It's no different for you.  You still must learn her love languages.  It's so much easier to win a girl's heart if you know what her heart is longing for; what language she speaks.  She may not even know - this is where you can become an investigator.  Private Eye.... heh heh heh.  Take time to talk at length with her and discover what lights her up.  What brings out her personality the most.  

*Try something new to you.  If quality time is her thing, and (true story) she loves coffee shops and long talks by moonlight, but you're not a coffee drinker - try it anyways!  You never know, it may become something you love as well.  Or this for the ladies - if your man loves hiking or fishing and you're not out-doorsy, give it a shot anyways!  Put on a good attitude and choose to have a good time even if it's not your thing.  Again, you never know what memory you might make because you ventured into something you'd never do with your friends.  I see too many couples who don't spend time together because they're not willing to try what their partner loves.  My husband loves skateboarding, when we were dating he bought me a board and I learned how to skate (not well).  My Dad loves biking.  Out of anyone in the world to bike with him, he'd choose my Mom.  What did he do?  He bought her a bike and she bikes with him.  It doesn't have to become your "thing".  Just be willing to try something new.  I love to dance.  Mark didn't grow up dancing so he didn't feel confident to dance with me.  What did he do?  He bought us ballroom lessons for Valentine's Day one year.  It was fabulous and he was adorable.  Now he dances with me at Weddings - which was really all I ever wanted.  

I will conclude this first chapter by saying that patience is truly a virtue.  You HAVE to have grace, people.  I really never thought we'd learn each other's languages.....but we have and we still are learning everyday.  We all have a deep desire to be known.  In being known we feel loved.  Since we're only human we must have grace on our partners or spouses that we will surely love each other imperfectly.  Only the Lord knows us inside and out, and only the Lord can speak our languages flawlessly.  Don't assume because your spouse got it right once or even twice, that he's fluent.  Keep practicing.  Have grace.

Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on women, marriage, love and life.

March 17, 2009

being helpless

so...i had a baby.  he's pretty much the coolest thing i have ever experienced.  labor and delivery were an utter nightmare and i would prefer not to write that whole story today.  so i won't.  but i do want to express a profound thing the Lord has shown me through my sweet, little Noah Fox.

mark got a job, so i have been home alone, running errands alone, and unfortunately Noah does not enjoy car rides - alone.  he is fine right up until i close his door and get in the driver's seat where he can no longer see my face.  he cries and cries no matter how much i try and soothe him with my voice.  eventually he cries himself into a frenzy of sorts and then if i'm lucky....falls asleep.  it tears me to pieces not being able to calm him....even if it's just a 10 minute drive to the grocery store.  once we arrive at our destination and he sees my face again, he's totally fine.

i realized that i am not so different from Noah in this situation.  the Lord puts me in the back seat and i am strapped down to a chair, for my "safety".  i can hear His voice occasionally, but still i cry and scream because i feel as though i've been abandoned.   since i can't see Him or feel Him holding me, i instantly lose trust in Him.  i no longer believe that i am being taken care of.  and by the time He does come to me in an intimate way, i have spit up all over myself and am usually sitting in my own poo.  He cleans me up, holds me and reassures me that He was always there.  He never really left.  

all the while it was breaking His heart not being able to calm me with just His words.  all He wants is for me to trust that He has not left me, and trust that He is taking me to my next destination.  that He is in control of my future. that i am strapped to a chair for my own good, so the transition doesn't kill me.  He knows best, and is always looking out for my well-being.  jeremiah 29:11

aren't we all a mess?  i believe we are so much more helpless than we even realize.  my sweet Noah is showing me so much about myself.  may He learn early on to not only trust me, but also to trust the Lord.