Words, and Why I Write Them (and an announcement)

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Well. I’ve been quiet for a couple weeks.

And the truth is, I have things to say. I’ve got more to say than I’ve been letting on, and I’ve been listening too much to the gurus who give tips on

  • how to write clickable headlines and
  • how to curate your own message and
  • why to build a “tribe”
  • and all these really smart-sounding things

Those aren’t (all) bad things. And the truth is, I want clickable headlines, because I want to have my words read. I spent a lot of my early days of motherhood scouring for anyone who would share wisdom with me. I listened to words, watched the choices people made, and tried to learn any and everything I could. And now I try to share the words that have most helped me, or are most helping me in the here and now.

My goal in writing, since before the people came along telling us all how to do it, has been to communicate ideas that are helping/have helped me, in order to spur women toward godly, purposeful living.

From the beginning of the world, God spoke in words when He wanted to change things. Words are what He used to record His message to mankind.

Words are powerful things– just a few words can make the razor’s-edge difference between getting an overall point, and walking away with a precise, actionable message.

So I’m back to writing regularly. I’m back on purpose. I’m back and I’ll be trying to:

  • spur you on to love and good deeds
  • say what I really think, not what I think won’t offend people (gulp, this is harder than I think, and I pull back from it more than I wish I did)
  • put precise words to the perspectives, approaches, and truths that enable me to walk as a fierce, well-rested, God confident woman

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The other night, I hadn’t eaten much dinner, so after the kids were in bed, I grabbed a ziplock of almonds and brought it to the couch where Doug and I were sitting. After a few minutes, I grabbed the second (small) portion, looked at him, and told him, “I’m not going to eat anymore.” I’ve learned that saying it out loud, to him, ensures that I’ll be more self-controlled to do the thing I want to do than if I just think it. And sure enough, I enjoyed those last almonds and was done after that.

So, now, when I really mean to do something, I try to speak my intentions.

In the same vein, I want to share an announcement: in addition to writing, I’m going to be starting a podcast. The gear is in the mail right now. Lord willing, and assuming everything works, it’ll probably take two months or so to put out my first podcast.

I’m regularly adding names to my long list of dream interviews, and I’m going to go after it. And some of them will probably turn me down, cause they’ve not heard of me, and it’s a new podcast without “street cred.” And that’s OK. Having confidence in God’s sovereignty tells me that exactly the right gals will say “yes,” and exactly the right people will tune in to hear it and grow.

SO PLEASE TELL ME 2 THINGS IN THE COMMENTS:

  1. Who would you love for me to interview?
  2. What challenge/problem is most pressing in your life right now? 

(If you’d prefer keep it private, please e-mail me with your answer to #2.)

P.S. I’ll meet you back here on Monday, like normal, and we’ll get back to discussing meaty topics that meet you in the “Mondays” of your marriage and motherhood.

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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43 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    Woohoo! A podcast! That is super exciting and I’ll totally be tuning in :) The thing I’m working on the hardest right now, is being consistent, firm and loving in the discipline of my kids. Any insight on that would be helpful. Also, thinking a lot lately about God being with us in our pain/why He allows pain and suffering/when He seems quiet and unreachable. That kind of stuff I’d love to hear encouragement on. As far as who I’d love for you to interview? Hmm… Sally Clarkson, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Mary Kassian… Jim Gaffigan (ahaha!), Tim Keller, Scott Sauls. This is going to be so fun. I hope the people you most want say yes to you when you ask!

  2. Ruby says:

    My most pressing challenge is really follow through. I know what I should be doing, but I have the hardest time doing it. I’m great at making routines, making plans, making budgets, making lists, & terrible at sticking to them! I can’t seem to figure out how to be self-disciplined enough to MAKE myself do what I should do when I should do it, rather than getting distracted & letting things get out of control & stressful. I feel like if I could overcome this it would be life-changing for my entire family. Got a pill for that, Jess? 😉

    • Jess Connell says:

      Haha! Well, not a magic pill, that’s for sure. It’s more like a bitter pill.

      Actually, just the other day, Jon Acuff shared that one of his kids had memorized a definition of “self-discipline” that was, if I’m remembering rightly, “choosing to do what you know you should do, rather than the thing you want to do.”

      Ouch, yes?

      • Ruby Johnson says:

        Um, yeah BIG ouch! I really need to grow in this area. I’m seeing that my older kids struggle with this, too…I hate that I’ve passed this on to them! Trying to work on it myself, & help them learn with me at the same time. Of course, so much of being a mom has been me learning lessons as I teach them to my children!

  3. Kristina says:

    Anne Graham Lots, Ted Cruz’s wife, Bernie Sanders or wife, Tim Elmore. How about Dan Cathy or Allistair Begg.
    One I am very interested in hearing from is Buck Brannaman. He is the subject of the movie “Buck”. He is a horse trainer. His teaching is similar to the article you posted from the woman relating training her horses to authority with children.

  4. Do you think your first podcast could be with Dr. Ben Carson? I don’t think he has much going on.

  5. Melissa says:

    Glad to have you back! My biggest challenge right now is most definitely finding joy in mothering. I feel like I’m being worn down by constant tantrums, teething, sleepless nights, refusal to nap, etc. I know objectively that there are many sweet and wonderful moments, but I don’t FEEL any of them. All I feel is exhaustion and frustration. My husband comes home from work and can look at our daughter with fresh eyes, and laugh at her funny questions, adore her silly faces, and soak up the cuddles…and I have so much trouble appreciating those same things because I’m letting all of the negatives of the day weigh on me. I know it’s a mindset thing, but I just can’t seem to get myself to the right place.

  6. Charisa says:

    I would love for you to interview Elisabeth Elliot, but since she has passed on to glory, I’m going to have to come up with another suggestion! :)

    How about Rachel Jankovic? Or Gloria Furman?

    Any tips on how to keep your household running, keep homeschool going, even just maintain some semblance of routine while you recover postpartum, would be appreciated. Baby #5 is due end of March, and this is the first time we’ve had a new baby since we really started homeschooling and keeping a routine. (Or do you just let it go for a season?)

    • Jess Connell says:

      Yes. I actually recorded one episode of a podcast 7-8 years ago. I am pretty sure Elisabeth Elliot was on my list back then. Too bad, now. I’ll have to wait until Heaven on that one.

      Thanks for adding your question to the pot.

      Quick reply about postpartum- I *do* take time off of homeschooling in the early postpartum weeks. And homemaking…. I put off as much as I can, and delegate as much as I can, while I’m healing. When we lived overseas and had no one to bring meals, I’d often strive for 25-40 meals put away in the freezer that I (or more often, Doug) could pull from (heat & eat) in those first 4-6 weeks. LOTS of laying low, LOTS of letting life skills be the thing we learn in those early weeks, and LOTS of snuggling and read-alouds once we reenter school life.

      Hope this helps. :) Congratulations! I hope your time this go-round goes well.

  7. Debbie Coleman says:

    oh! I am so excited. You will do an amazing job, and I can’t wait to hear it! I think a good person for you to interview would be Dr. Andy Westmoreland. He has been an influence in your life, and is a wonderful Christian man and leader. I also think that anyone who has been an inspiration to you along your journey would be a great choice. The thing that I’m working on right now is a healthy weight for me, not to be gorgeous or beautiful, but to be healthy. I am also writing things down or saying things out loud, as you mentioned and that really has helped. God has also helped me to think of other things to have within arm’s reach that I love to do as much as eating, such as coloring or working on projects, so I have those things handy now, so that I can dive into that, rather than a bag of chips, and I am seeing results, and it is helping. So that is what my big challenge is at the moment.

  8. shannon bradbury says:

    Yey!!! Glad your back! Can’t wait to hear the podcast! I have learned so much from you about mothering,homeschool, being a wife, and a godly woman. Can’t wait for the podcast too !!

  9. Brittany says:

    I’m excited for your podcast…even if you don’t get big names because you’re “new.” I really appreciate the wisdom you already share.
    Any words of wisdom for preparing for birth and adding a new little one to the family? I know you’ve shared a lot about the postpartum days (which is also helpful), but how does your family prepare on the front end? Even at baby #6, I still feel scattered and somewhat anxious.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Ha! Your question is almost identical to Charisa’s. So definitely hop up to see my response to her. I’ll put together more thoughts and maybe do a post, video, or a podcast, about it, hopefully soon.

  10. Christy says:

    Yay – you’re back! I’m so glad.

    I’d love to hear you interview Tedd Tripp or Paul David Tripp on parenting. Their books have had a profound influence on me and my parenting. And frankly, I’d love to have you interview my good friend Debbie whose parenting is inspiring, but she’s not a “name” that anyone would recognize. I’d also love to hear you interview Connie Dever (Mark Dever’s wife) on being a pastor’s wife.

    I’ll second Sally Clarkson and Rachel Jankovic, and I’d add Jen Wilkin.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Wonderful ideas, thank you! I have been so blessed by many of the people you mentioned.

      I’ve never heard (or even seen, that I remember) Connie Dever at all. Thanks for weighing in.

      • Christy says:

        I don’t know that Connie Dever does any speaking outside of ministry to pastoral interns’ wives at CHBC. She’s also written a curriculum for children’s ministry called Praise Factory. She’s very much the quiet support for Mark.

  11. Julie says:

    1. Rosaria Butterfield :)
    2. Time management / self control!

    • Jess Connell says:

      I was so blessed by Rosaria when I heard her teach this last October at a conference. I would love to speak with her.

      Here is where I should ask that– if anyone “out there” reading this has any connections with these lovely people we’ve listed out here, I would sure be delighted to have an introduction. :)

  12. Diana says:

    I look forward to listening to your podcasts!

    For big names, perhaps Melanie Young? I love their stuff.

    Oh, and I’d love to hear you talk to your husband’s co-pastor’s wife! I enjoy her blog and would love to hear her in person!! Maybe you could talk to her about morning sickness!!

    And seriously, you could even just talk to godly women in your own life. Even if we don’t know them, you would know if they have something to offer listeners.

    Struggling most with… Irritability. I find myself doing 90% of my talking in terms of reminding, scolding, expressing disappointment, etc. How to stay positive.

    I love your blog primarily because you are willing to tell hard truths, rather than sugar-coat them (or not say them at all) like many women’s blogs. I really struggle with that myself. In fact, I almost NEVER address hard truths on my own blog because I am so afraid of the pushback. So keep up the good work – it inspires me, and it is a blessing to all of your readers!

    Cheers!!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Katie agreed, tonight, to do an episode with me. We’ll center it on being a pastor’s wife, I think… or ministry life… that kind of thing, but maybe we can sneak in a bit about morning sickness. Your blog name still cracks us up. :)

      Yes, I actually have been thinking that there are a number of “unknown” women in my life who have been willing to pour themselves out over the years so that I could learn from them. I hope to feature many of them (pray that they’ll be willing to speak).

      Thanks for all the specific ideas. This is really helpful.

  13. Kristie says:

    My biggest challenge right now is making and keeping boundaries in regards to technology (mainly my smartphone). My kids are both young and I know I need to set an example and model balance. I’m afraid I too often stare at my phone (for good and not so good reasons) instead of interacting with them. I would love to hear from pastor’s wives- well known or not- about how they love their husbands and children well and deal with the unique challenges that come with having husbands in ministry. Jen Wilkin is one I’d love to hear from.

    • Jess Connell says:

      I am confident you are not alone in the making and keeping of smartphone boundaries. Great topic idea.

      Let’s all hope that Jen Wilkin is willing to be my guest! I would sure love to speak with her and learn anything she has to offer us.

  14. Kendra says:

    I am so excited to listen to your podcast! What a cool new way to communicate the things important to you.

  15. Daniella says:

    I am surprised though I shouldn’t be. So many times I have turned to your site for encouragement as a wife and mother, you are one of my Titus 2 mentors, and the Lord has used you many times in my life through your posts right when I needed them. Just the other day I was wondering if you had any podcasts to recommend so that I could listen while doing housework. And now, here you are about to start your own :) I look forward to hearing them.
    I would love to hear interviews with your Titus 2 mentors whether they be authors, friends, church family, etc., whomever has influenced and blessed you.
    Right now I struggle (though it changes day to day, week to week) with being still. Soaking in the beautiful moments of life without trying to cram in as much as possible in the free time I have. Making room in my mind for God to speak to me and the quietness to listen. And yes, even in the possible quiet moments not filling them with useless information by being on my phone.
    I missed reading your posts but understood you needed some time off. I hope your daughter is doing well.

    • Jess Connell says:

      WOW, what an encouragement. Thank you for all the input.

      And yes, my daughter is healing and feeling so well that last week she asked, “if I wear a helmet and go slow, can I go rollerblading?” (the answer was no.) She’s doing amazing, and we’re all (including her, now) working to keep her content with the activity restrictions. :) Thanks for asking!

  16. Melanie says:

    I don’t usually comment on blogs, but I wanted to tell you that I’m so glad you will continue writing. Since your last writing hiatus I have really enjoyed almost every single one of your posts. I’m looking forward to continuing to read them!

  17. Jessica Burke says:

    I’m excited! Yes to Jen Wilkin! She is so wise and I’m positive it is because of her biblical knowledge. Connie Dever, Bridget Baucham (and Jasmine Baucham Holmes) and Lauren Chandler and any of the Mahaney ladies are also some more known names I’d love to hear from.
    I’d also love to hear from wives whose names we don’t know but who have been faithfully loving Jesus in how they love their families.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Wonderful!

      And your last sentence is something I’m planning for, too. The challenge will be… (so pray for this, please, with me)… having those women be willing to open up and share to an internet “audience.” :)

  18. HL says:

    I would love to hear an interview of YOU! 😀 Also, a few that I think would be great are Jami Balmet, Lisa Jacobson(she’s in WA), Mrs Bowes (cannot remember her first name,from onlyonedayliketoday.blogspot.com-she has such an amazing testimony having had quadruplets, adopted, etc.-just an amazing woman and family-in WA too!) Keri Lamar(from ahappyhomemedia has an amazing story of faith! Also in WA!)..just to name a few!😀 Can’t wait Jess! I will be praying for you because I know there’s an enemy who would love to discourage you. Deut. 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’

  19. Jess H says:

    Jess,
    Like others have mentioned, I am so thankful for your willingness to address the hard subjects with truth and love. When I come to your site, I know I am going to read something to sink my teeth into and something that clearly proclaims the gospel. So keep doing what you’re doing!

    I would love for you to interview April Cassidy – she has also just released her first book ( http://peacefulwife.com/2016/01/27/my-book-releases-today-celebrate-with-me/ ) so I’m sure she would be delighted to do an interview with you!

    I resonate with many of the other mums above who shared struggles with time management, finding the joy in motherhood, etc.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Great encouragement, thank you!

      WHAT AMAZING LADIES YOU GUYS ARE! WOW, I’m overwhelmed at all the encouragement and the lengthening list of guests to invite. You’re the best. Thank you!!

  20. Jess says:

    Jess,
    I’ve been a faithful reader now for 8 years, and while we don’t have the homeschooling in common, most everything else is. You’ve helped me try to grow my oils business, answered nursing questions with my biological children, and helped work through sleeping issues with a in-utero-drug-exposed foster child. Not to mention loving and serving Jesus, my husband, children, family, church, etc. All of that to say-SO GLAD YOU’RE BACK! Woot!
    Ok, having trouble now with managing housework as well as discipline/authority issues with my older kids (8,6,5).
    You’ve already been given so many wonderful women’s names to interview…the only two I can think of to add (that I didn’t see already) are Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. Oh, JD Greear’s wife, Veronica, and Aimee Patrick.
    Happy Monday!

  21. Catherine says:

    Jess, you are one of the few in the blogging world that I really listen to. I have been reading your blog for 6-7 years now? You are always so thoughtful, so biblical and so encouraging! Thank you for sharing what God is teaching you and therefore helping the rest of us grow as well. A podcast! How wonderful! I rarely have time to read these days, but I have a bit more time to listen to podcasts while folding unceasing loads of laundry or washing dishes. I look forward to hearing your voice! Thanks again!

  22. Ruby Johnson says:

    So Jess, I just finished watching a vlog from FFT, & Kami mentioned doing a podcast…is that with you? Looking forward to listening in on some great conversations!

    • Jess Connell says:

      YES! Kami & I just recorded our convo last week. Can’t wait to share these with you all. :) It’s slow in starting, but once it gets going I’ll release subsequent episodes on a regular & reliable schedule.

      :)

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