Posts filed under "live well emotionally"

A Three-Things Wife

Lysa TerKeurst is seriously one of my favorite people ever. I only know her through her books, but I think that we'd be friends if we met. I've quoted her multiple times from her book Made to Crave, but today, I'm going to pull an excerpt from on of her latest books, Unglued.

I seriously think every woman, man, boy, and girl should read Unglued. For women, it's so helpful in identifying how you handle frustration, anger, conflict, etc., and for men, it helps you understand all that we're going through in that great big brain of ours!

In honor of being a wife for almost a full 365 days, I wanted to post this story Lysa writes about in Unglued. I can totally relate to wanting to be an overachieving wife who can do EVERYTHING for her husband, while also being a well-rounded, put-together, Christian woman in every other aspect of life. For me, it just doesn't happen. What Lysa says here comforts me in knowing that I'm not the only woman who don't got it all together all the time most of the time, but it also gives such a practical way to deal with this.

The Three-Things Wife

an excerpt from Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst

When I first got married, I was desperate to be a “good wife” and determined to figure out how to do it well. So, I took note in my head of what a “good wife” does:
  • She cooks meatloaf.
  • She vacuums every day so there are lines in the carpet indicating its cleanliness.
  • She sticks love notes in his briefcase.
  • She buys and wears lingerie.
  • She likes wearing lingerie and wears it a couple of times a week.
  •  She gives him his space when he gets home.
  • She hangs up the phone when he walks in the door.
  • She learns facts about football and watches games with him.
  •  She prays for him every day.
And the list grew and grew. 

Eventually the list in my head of what a good wife does so completely overwhelmed me that I cried. I felt inadequate. I started to shut down. I constantly felt unglued. 

I assumed the list in my head was in my husband’s head too. 

I grew bitter. And in a moment of complete exhaustion, I yelled, “Your expectations are ridiculous!” 

To which he replied, “What expectations?”

“The list … the list of hundreds of things I need to do to be a good wife,” I sobbed through the snot and the tears. 

His blank stare dumbfounded me. He had no such list. 

It was a perception. These were idle thoughts allowed to run rampant in my mind for so long I confused them with truth. The truth in 1 Corinthians 13 reminds me love is patient, kind, not proud, and keeps no record of wrongs. I had so broadened my scope of things to do that I had diminished my vision of simply loving my husband. 

Do less. Be more. Clear out the clutter of idle words. Find that white space. Honor God. 

If I would have been practicing regular Sabbaths, at which times I sought God on this issue, I suspect I could have saved myself years of coming unglued in my marriage. Years. Finally, I went to my husband. “Honey,” I said, feeling the entanglements of expectations loosening their grip on me, “I can’t do everything good wives seem to do. But I can do three things. So, tell me your top three things, and I will do those well.”

After all, I could spend a whole marriage doing a hundred things halfway with a bitter attitude and an overwhelmed spirit. Or, I could do three things wholeheartedly with a smile on my face and love in my heart.

His three things were simple: Be an emotionally and spiritually invested mom with our kids, take good care of your body and soul, and keep the house tidy. (Notice he said “tidy”— not perfectly clean.) That’s it.

He could care less about home-cooked meals. He is fine with me hiring someone else to vacuum the carpet. And he’s totally okay if I watch 48 Hours while he watches man-cub events on a different TV.

Now, he didn’t say anything about lingerie. But, he could argue that it is a subplot of my taking good care of my body. The problem is, I’m much more of a sweatpants kind of girl. Yes, Victoria has a little secret, and I haven’t a clue what it is.

But that’s a topic for another day entirely.

For today, I’ve narrowed my scope to three things, and this narrowing has broadened my vision for a great marriage.

I am a three-things wife. It’s simple. But simple is good. And, more importantly, I stopped sabotaging my marriage by stopping the idle thoughts.

How might this help you? How might this improve some of your relationships?


To check out Lysa's blog, click here.
To check out the books she has written, click here.

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With a Heavy Heart

Today's post is one that I write with a lump in my throat and a little moisture in my eyes.

We have some friends who are going through a tough time right now. In fact, "tough time" really doesn't even begin to describe it. They're living a nightmare.

Their 4-month-old son was life flighted a hospital one week ago today, due to trouble breathing, among other things. Honestly, I don't know a lot of details and I don't want to invade their privacy at all, so I won't go into anything very specific. But their baby is sick...he's very very sick. Doctors think it may be something with his heart, but they're running all sorts of tests.

I cannot imagine what our friends are going through as parents. I have cried my own tears for them just thinking about a fraction of the worry/hurt/anxiety/fear that they're experiencing.

In reading the latest update that they posted, I was reminded of Psalm 73:

"Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

I am reminded that we all have a heart condition - we all need God to come into our lives, invade our mind, bodies, and spirit, and heal us of our sinful heart. When I think about a 4-month-old baby, I am just astounded by the innocence that he possesses. Of course we know that we are all born sinful humans into a broken world, but this baby does not yet know of the horrific sinfulness that has plagued our planet. He knows the love of his mom, his dad, his siblings, and his Creator. He is truly loved and oh so innocent.

In a time when this sweet family needs prayer, please lift them up. Please go before the Lord and beg for His will to be done in the life, healing, and family of this small child. But let us also remember our hearts; heavy, sinful, deceitful, selfish, and uncaring. May we also pray that God would cover us with the innocence of His blood, that we may know and experience His love. 

May God, our Lord, our King, and our Creator receive glory now and forever for the work His is doing, the healing He is bringing, and the love He is sharing among us all.

Posted on September 5, 2013 and filed under "live well emotionally", "live well spiritually".

Big Blessings from Left Field

If you follow me on any sort of social media, you probably have heard our news.

We're buying a house!!!

Next week at this time I will have woken up in a new zip code, driven a short little drive to work, and I will leave at the end of the day and head home to Crestwood. Jason and I could not be more excited to move, and more importantly, we give all of the glory to God. He truly has given us this house...for us, it came out of left field.

On September 22nd, we will celebrate our first wedding anniversary! Since January, we've been planning to begin our house hunt after our anniversary. We've been saving like crazy since before we got married for this ambiguous "something", and back in January we realized that "something" would probably be our first home. Jason and I have never picked out a place to live together since when we got married, he moved into the apartment that I already lived in, so that has made this whole process even more exciting.

Obviously, thing did not go as we planned. By September 22nd, we will have been in our house for 3 yeah...good job planning Morales'! But as always, we know that God has a bigger plan for us than we can even fathom, and that has never been more true than in buying our house.

Here's how this happened - 

A few months back, I started to get an email each morning that showed me new listings or listing that had been reduced in price in the areas we wanted to look at buying a house. I figured that it'd be good to get a feel for what's out there before we actually start looking, and also, it's just really fun to look at houses and dream. 

Also a few months ago, we randomly drove by an open house on a Sunday afternoon in Homewood. The house was way too small and way too expensive, but we really liked the realtor who was showing it. We got his card and information, and we decided we'd call him when we were ready to start looking in late September.

On Jason's birthday, July 24th, I got an email with this cute little 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house as a new listing. So I did some investiaging. I looked at the pictures, looked where it was on Google Maps, and ran the numbers for our budget. After I decided that it had some potential, I sent it to Jason. That night after we went to dinner for his birthday, we decided to drive by it just to see if we liked the neighborhood and the outside in real life. We did. We really really liked it.

The next day, which was a Thursday, we decided to contact the realtor we met at the open house to see if we could go see the house on Friday. So Friday after work, we headed out to Crestwood to look at our first house together.

We loved it.

Jason was a little concerned about the size of the bedrooms, and our realtor assured us that the size is pretty standard for all of the houses in the area. Our realtor said that he wished we'd already looked at a few homes already because if we had, we'd probably love this house even more (which I didn't even think was possible).

We had a lot to think about. Jason and I spent the rest of the evening in the Crestwood area. We ate dinner there, we hung out with friends there, and we kind of just pretended that we lived there. That night when we got home, we decided that we needed to do our due diligence and look at comparable houses, but we were probably going to make an offer on that house.

Saturday Jason went to work and I spent the day on the phone with a mortgage broker to get our financing in order. He got all of my information and basically said that we were good to look at anything under a certain amount. That was good enough for me, so that night we looked at 4 other houses, and then went back to the first house. We still loved it most.

We spent Saturday night in our realtor's office writing up our offer.

It took until Tuesday or Wednesday for us to hear that we had the house. It was ours if we wanted it. It's taken a couple of weeks, a lot of signing, proving our incomes, and a lot of other stuff, but in 5 days, we will close on our house!

I can't help but dream about where we'll put our furniture, how I'll decorate, what we'll change, and what we'll leave the same...but even more than that, I can't help but dream about all of the memories we'll create there. It's a perfect home for us in so many ways, but most of all, it's the perfect home for us because this is where God has placed us.

Stay tuned for updates about moving, decorating, and some DIY projects that I'll be doing over the next couple of weeks and months!


Afterthoughts was as Claire's-like store and one of my favorite stores as a tween. Since I was tall for my age (yeah, I was the tallest girl in my 5th grade class...hard to believe seeing me stand an even 5 feet now...I know), I didn't like shopping for clothes with my friends who were still little and "dainty". But I loved shopping for accessories. I guess that hasn't changed much in 15 years.

I was recently reminded of how, many times, things we think hold of a lot of importance to us come as an after thought. In reality, we put our own desires, or our own agenda ahead of the people/things we claim take priority in our lives.

This week, I've been given the opportunity of time. Jason works into each evening this week, and I've set a goal to make things that are usually "after thoughts" happen. For example, last night I went to the gym. So many nights I say that I'm going to go, I might even pack a bag to go straight from work, but at the end of the work day, I am tired and I head home for some quality time with my husband. If I do make it to the gym, I take it easy, tell myself that I'm tired and just a short, easy workout will do. But not last night. Last night I went to my first spin class since college...and let me tell you...I felt the two year long break.

Another thing that has been an after thought in my life, is seeking out time with people. I'm good as spending quality time with people who are built into my everyday life, but I'm admittedly bad at keep up with people that it takes effort to see. I realize that this has to change for those friendships to function. So this week, I'm trying my hardest to reach out to people I haven't spent quality time with in a while; people I miss.

Who, or what, are the after thoughts in your life? Is it reading the bible, spending time in prayer, or taking care of yourself by exercising or eating well? I've made all of those after thoughts at some point in my life, and it's tough to face the reality that we put such important things on the back burner. But our lives are complex, and we cannot ignore or overlook such things are relationships, time in the word, time in prayer, and keeping ourselves healthy. At some point, we're going to realize the missing link(s).

In other news, I had a dinner fail last night. Since we've been married, I've only made 2 big dinner whoopsies, including last night. Thankfully, I was only cooking for myself last Mr. Picky (a.k.a my husband) didn't have to relive the vanilla yogurt fail of 2012.

Actually, the recipe was really good. But as you'll see in the recipe below, after everything is done cooking, you're supposed to put everything in the blender or food processor. Well, when I got home from spinning, I was SO HUNGRY, so I didn't want to spend a lot of time on this step. I poured everything into the blender and turned it on (I should have just used the "pulse" mode a few times). After about 20 seconds of going through the blender, the recipe was the consistency of baby food. I don't usually get caught up on the texture of food, but this was just more than I can handle. I may try it again in the future and figure out a way to not turn the soup into baby food.

Fortunately, the flavor of the soup was really good...and it even had some kick to it.

Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup

(Recipe from this blog)
  • 2 huge sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed. Measured this is about 6 cups of cubes
  • One 12 oz. jar of roasted red peppers in water (drained)
  • One 14 oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1 c. of chicken stock.
  • 1 small red onion, large diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. You dump everything into your slow cooker.
  2. You let it cook for 4 to 6 hours.
  3. You blend it with an immersion blender, food processor, or blender (this is where I went wrong).
  4. Garnish it with red pepper flakes or chipotle flakes if you are fancy.

So you can see, it's really an easy recipe. Maybe I'll try it again this fall.

I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday!

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Your Everyday Addict

Someone very close to me this week pointed out that I'm an addict; a media addict. They didn't use those exact words or that exact phrasing, but that was the point.

Being on the receiving end of any sort of criticism makes me really uncomfortable. I know that I'm my own worst critic, so if anyone ever brings up anything to me that could be taken as a critique, I'm usually not okay with it. I guess, in my mind, I figure that I am hard enough on myself...therefore I don't need anyone else to tell me what's wrong with me.

Thankfully, this particular time, I kept my cool. Maybe it was because I knew they were right, or maybe I was just too tired to fight back, but regardless, I sat, listened, and agreed.

My name is Jessica, and I am a media addict.

Until recently, I couldn't ride in the car without some sort of sound. I've gotten better about it now, but it still bugs me if all I can hear is the sound of the car engine. I read an average of 5 blogs a day. It's rare that I don't turn on the TV at night...or in the morning. There was a [not-so-distance] point in my life where I considered about 20 TV shows my "favorite shows" and kept up with them almost religiously. I subscribe to 4 podcasts, and a week doesn't go by that I don't listen to all of them. I listen to audiobooks regularly. I usually am reading at least two books at once. I've seen every movie out that I want to see that is in theaters right now. Out of all of the new music that is out, I have everything I want.

There's probably more media in my life than that...but I'll stop there so that this doesn't get embarrassing or anything :)

To be clear, I don't think that media is bad.

I love music. To me, it's one of the most tangible ways of expression and I love to listen to this audible art form. I don't listen to crappy bad music either, I listen to a lot of very inspirational music, a lot of worship music, and a lot of just plain good stuff.

I have really enjoyed getting into blogs over the last few years. I've learned a TON, and even started my own (obviously). I read blogs that are encouraging that that teach me things.

I really like TV. TV shows are probably my biggest downfall, but I try to be careful about what I watch. I have my "guilty pleasure" shows like the Bachelor/Bachelorette, and yes, I do keep up with the Kardashians, but the thing that brought me to watching those shows was community. When Jason was traveling a lot, my Monday nights were awesome because I always knew I'd be able to hang out with friends for a Bachelor/Bachelorette viewing party. And honestly, I'd never heard of Kim Kardashian until I started watching her show with a few of my sorority sisters after our chapter meetings on Sunday nights. Maybe those aren't real justifications anymore because I now watch these shows either alone or with my enthusiastic sweet husband, but regardless, my original intentions were good.

Podcasts are awesome. When I get up at 5:00 a.m. to walk, podcasts are part of the reason that I'm able to get out of bed. I listen to a lot of sermons and a lot of just really good content. I've learned A TON about the bible through podcasts, I've learned about new authors that I now really like and have learned from, and I always finish a podcast encouraged.

Audiobooks and regular books have made a suprising comeback in my life over the last year or so. I used to love reading fiction, and I still do, but I've really come to love nonfiction books too. Lately I've been reading a lot of books that have helped me grow into this new stage of life - being a working wife. I've learned a lot about biblical womanhood, marriage that is grounded in the gospel, and how to really dwell where God has me.

So, as you can see, the media that I'm absorbing is not bad. But when I put it all together and think of the hours and hours I spend sitting in front of the TV or sitting and reading a blog or a book, I can't help but thing that media has become an idol in my life.

My life has come to revolve around these things. When I think of my life without cable or without podcasts at my fingertips, I get really sad - and I almost start to feel anxiety. That's how I know this isn't healthy.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10, "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up." Even though I'm not doing anything wrong by watching TV, reading a blog, or listening to music, it's important for me to recognize that it's also not always helpful either. Since I'm taking in so many messages and so much content on a day to day basis, I realize that it leaves little time for me to either think for myself or just spend time resting in God. 

What is something in your life that your addicted to? 

We all have idols, so let's take action against them.

Tomorrow I'm going to spend a day in silence. I'm not going to be silent, but going to silence my media. I'm going to challenge myself and not listen to a podcast on my walk. I'm not going to listen to music in my car. I'm not going to turn on the TV. I'm just going to be. I'm going to be with myself and those around me without an distractions and see how God uses that time. The goal is to be more conscience of what I'm missing because my brain is always engaged in something else.

If you're someone who makes any sort of media (or maybe social media?) an idol in your life, won't you join me in a day of silence?
I just searched through my Facebook photos to see if there was a picture of me with
headphones in or something. I found this...from our honeymoon. I'm seriously kicking
myself for not taking advantage of all of the quality time with Jason!
Also, how awesome is the attire of the lady walking behind me? Just sayin'...

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Flashback Friday - Community Among Us

This post was originally posted on April 22, 2013 onto mrsblogbacktome

Verse of the Day: "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." - Hebrews 10:24-25

This weekend was full of wonderful community. 

Friday we literally did nothing. I fell asleep on the couch at about 6:30 and woke up about two hours later to Jason bringing me dinner. I really have the best husband ever. 

Saturday Jason had to work so I got my hair cut, met my sister for lunch, got my car washed at the Phi Mu car wash, and then Jason and I met up with our friends Mandi and Bill for a photoshoot. Mandi plays a lot of coffee shops and venues in Birmingham and she needed some updated photos for posters and promo materials. We had a great time in Helena just hanging out with them and taking pictures.

After we finished up, we headed downtown for dinner at Surin - one of our all time favorites!

Yesterday we took it slow in the morning, spent some time in the sunshine, and went to church. After church we spent some time with friends at dinner - the perfect end to our social weekend.
All roads lead to Target these days.
Jason and I spent the first few months of our marriage questioning whether or not God wanted us to be in Birmingham. He'd be looking for a full-time videography job or something in music, and nothing had really come to fruition. Sometimes it's hard to have contentment after you go through a whirlwind of a year with all the traveling Jason did, our engagement, and our wedding. Over and over again God just confirmed to us that we were right where we were called to be.

Since then, we've made a decision to be intentional about nurturing the friendships we have in Birmingham. Weekends like the past one are so sweet because we know that we're being obedient to what and where God has called us to be. It's allowed us to be settled and peaceful. We even enjoy our little ole apartment :) 
A peaceful end to our weekend at home.

Lovin' our new candles.
How was your weekend? Were you busy or was it laid back? Did you spend it getting some r&r or were you a social butterfly? 

P.S. If you ever have any need for a photographer or videographer, visit the A Morales Production Website here.
Posted on August 2, 2013 and filed under "live well emotionally", "throwback".

A Newlywed First: My Husband's Birthday


I woke him up this morning with some birthday pancakes and a "Birthday Boy" pin for him to wear today. I'm pretty sure that I'm more excited about his birthday that I was my own. But that's kind of normal, right?

Birthday chocolate chip pancakes
Over the past 10 months, Jason and I have shared a lot of "newlywed firsts". First trip, first Christmas, etc. Since we're only 2 months away from celebrating our 1 year anniversary, we've already celebrated a lot of those "firsts", so it almost seems like we've become immune to them. But yesterday as I was strolling around Target and I wandered into the card section, I realized that this would be the first time that I get to buy a card for my husband.

I already had Jason's gifts bought and plans made for dinner tonight, but I decided right then and there in the card section that I was going to try to make this birthday as special as I possibly could for my man.

Jason and I met a week before I turned 21 and he was 23, almost 24. It's crazy to think that there were 23 years of his life that I did not know him. It's also crazy to think that in the span of 3 or so years, we could become best friends, date, get engaged, and get married - but that's our reality and I think it's completely awesome!

I am thankful for July 24, 1986. That's the day my husband was born. That's the day that he cried his first cry and opened is eyes to this big, crazy world for the first time; it's the day he began all of his "firsts". I'm thankful that God guided his steps for 23 years, and then finally brought us together. I'm thankful for the way we've grown through stages of friendship, love, and marriage.

Happy birthday to Jason, and may we spend many more years celebrating him, his life, and how he infectiously loves everyone and everything around him!

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Posted on July 24, 2013 and filed under "birthday", "live well emotionally", "newlywed".