Saturday, April 7, 2012

This week...

I had a pretty crazy week, and I recorded it here. So, if you wanna catch up, feel free.

Love, Jess

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weekend 2 at Mayo

We spent this Saturday up in Minneapolis visiting the Mall of America. We thought we would visit the aquarium and then see where the day went. Well, the aquarium was slightly disappointing...I guess, after the Georgia Aquarium, our expectations were a bit high. 

And guess who else was at the Mall of America this weekend? The Girl Scouts--that's who. They were having their 100th anniversary celebration up there, so there were little girls EVERYWHERE. The whole mall was overrun with them.

Legoland was kind of cool (Kristi--I thought of Asher when I saw it) and the roller coasters were fun to watch. The elevators were extremely slow and it took us most of the day to just amble around and see things. It was nice to go and say we've been there...It probably won't ever be a scheduled vacation spot for me in the future.

On the way back to Rochester, we stopped at the temple in St. Paul and took a couple of pictures.

Then we spent Sunday recovering from our big day. :)

Weekend 1 at Mayo

I was so grateful to get a chance to drive down to Madison, WI this weekend to visit some good friends, the Spackmans. :) 

Hugh and Kristi went to BYU when I did and now they're living up here. They have a beautiful family: 2  small boys and a daughter on the way. 

We didn't do much--just visited and hung out, but I enjoyed it. 

It was a nice visit. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Wow. Young Women are so dynamic! One day they're smiling and happy, then the next, they're shooting you daggers with their eyes. Then the next time you see them, they're smiling again. Ha! I guess I had forgotten what it's like to be a teenager.

It's with a bit of trepidation that I am endeavoring to open up to the girls a little. I'm going to take pictures of my life and let them get to know me a little, ending with a lesson on faith blended with the story of my illness. This is something very personal to me...y'all should know, since only my friends read my blog and I haven't even gone into an in-depth explanation here.

I have been slightly anxious about this for several weeks now, but I can't shake the feeling that I need to do it. I hope that the girls will see what a big step of faith this is for me--just to open up to them about something so personal. The scripture comes to mind about casting pearls before swine...and my girls are definitely NOT swine, but as teenagers, they don't always understand tender topics. I just hope I can convey how sacred some of these things that I plan to share with them are to me...and I hope that at least one of them will be touched--will somehow have their faith strengthened.

They strengthen my faith a little every time I talk with one of them--compared to what I remember about being a youth, they are so sweet (most of the time) and I yearn to strongly for them to make good decisions and have incredible lives. figure out how to get the message across in a way that they'll understand and maybe relate to...

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I spent an hour or so visiting with a good friend today--we don't have any easily accessible mountains down here, but there is a beautiful lake surrounded by amazing trees where I sometimes go to think and ponder. Jana and I just talked about life for a while and it was good to regain some perspective. I am grateful for beauty in nature and for good friends.

"Good Timber" by Douglas Malloch

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light
But stood out in the open plain
And always had it's share of rain, 
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing. 

The man who never had to fight,
who never had to win his share of sun
and sky and air and light, 
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began. 

Good timber does not grow with ease, 
The stronger the wind, 
The tougher the trees. 

Monday, January 23, 2012


For a long time, I've felt uninspired to actively participate in the world of blogging...I'm not sure where this endeavor will lead--possibly nowhere. Possibly somewhere. 

I received a new calling this past weekend--I was asked to serve as the Ozark 1st Ward Young Women's President. I was really excited and anxious for the first few days, then I passed through a period of not-so-mild-trepidation, but after the rest of the presidency was called and sustained yesterday, I am back to being very excited. 

I do admit, however, to being aware of and wary of the responsibility I feel--we have 21 girls on our rolls. Mostly, though, I'm excited. :) I have a whole powerhouse of women serving with me and once we get going, I think things will come together nicely.

Back in November at stake conference, I was being released from serving in the stake, and I remember turning to Brother Hanni (he was a member of our bishopric) who was sitting across the aisle and talking about feeling a little lost and needing to find a new direction. Now, here we are just 2 short months later and Brother Hanni is bishop, I'm the ward YW president...we have a new RS presidency and a new EQ presidency. Wow. But it's good. I feel really good about all the changes--and that includes the new stake YW presidency. It was tough at the time to let go of serving there, but now, this feel right and i know that Sister Cain is amazing. Amazing. And she has great counselors...I just have a good feeling about all of this. It's marvelous how the Lord orchestrates our lives so we end up being where He wants us whether we realize it's happening or not. 

Sorry about the rambling--just kind of tumbled out. The reason for explaining this was to say that I think I'm going to resurrect my other blog, I stopped writing there some time ago, because it's mainly a place to write about my health and I didn't want others to feel like I was always complaining or looking for sympathy.

However, things are different now. I live in a military ward with a huge turnover in families each year and so most everyone that is in the ward now wasn't here when my health took a rough turn. They don't know that I had a marvelous time hiking all over the Philippines and I love rock climbing and scuba diving and water-skiing and horseback riding...  they just see the sick girl who has to use a cane because she struggles to walk even a few feet and looks awful all the time. A lot of the time, I just want to scream "I wasn't always like this...I used to be normal, too." But I don't. I just smile. 

Since I can't succinctly explain my situation in a short get-to-know-you-conversation in the hallway at church, even when people ask me about my health; all I really say is that nobody knows what's wrong with me. So my point is that I think the best I can do is record some of my daily struggles with my health on my blog and allow anyone that wants to read it some insight. I'm sure there are still those that think if I would just exhibit a little mental strength, I could get back to normal. To those people, I just offer an "if you say so" smile and go on because anyone who's been around for the long haul knows this is infinitely more complicated than that. 

Anyway, I'm excited to serve in the Young Women organization, especially with our theme this year of Arise and Shine Forth (D&C 115:5). And, in an effort to stem some curiosity, will be writing a little more regularly on my other blog. 

Remember Pres. Hinckley said "You can be smart and happy, or stupid and's your choice." :)