NEW BOOK! I’ll Be There (But I’ll be Wearing Sweatpants)

***Friends, I’m so excited to announce my first book! I’ll Be There (But I’ll Be Wearing Sweatpants) is about finding un-filtered, real-life friendships. There is a special pre-order deal right now which includes: A sneak peek of chapters 1-2, a preview of the companion workbook (which is amazing!), AND a downloadable “Let’s Get Together” girls night party pack that we put together just for you. Click here to preorder! https://www.thomasnelson.com/p/ill-be-there-but-ill-be-wearing-sweatpants/?fbclid=IwAR2EMSX3Fe1ME4uCiAAvqAYV_hLxQ9Sai3bbVoEfV_u7hqrtIGxdBed3bOE***

The highest honor of friendship isn’t getting invited to “that party” or out on a girls weekend. It’s not clinking champagne glasses at fancy brunches or wearing matching shirts on a beach in Florida. That all is nice and fun and good and special, but it’s not what it’s about, not at all.

The real honor of friendship is being invited into someone’s REAL. It’s getting an invitation into the nitty gritty, the not-so-pretty, the hard stuff, the vulnerable stuff, the weird stuff, the unpolished stuff. It’s being welcomed into a home where the sink is full of dishes and the laundry is covering the couch. It’s entering the places of heart ache and pain. It’s being invited to the hospital room when your friend is still in her mesh underwear from birth. It’s sitting crosslegged in old sweats on the floor and laughing till you cry. It’s carrying around secrets that you’ve been trusted to keep. It’s listening and hearing. It’s holding space for each other. It’s answering phone calls just to talk something through.

The highest honor of friendship isn’t found in beautifully planned events or brightly filtered photos. The highest honor of friendship is messy and dingy and real. It’s in unfiltered photos of laughing so hard your double chin is showing. It’s loving each other’s babies and holding each other while you ugly cry. I can’t stress this enough:If you’ve been invited into even one person’s real, you are blessed.Cherish it.

If you love this, I just know you will love my new book. Love, Jess

The Answers to 10 Common Questions About Racism

As a black woman influencer in America, my inbox has been flooded with questions about racism in the last weeks. My heart is heavy from current events, but the people waking up, asking questions, and fighting for change gives my family and I hope.

I’ve made a list of the most commonly asked questions and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. In no way can I speak for black people everywhere, and I won’t try to. I’m a mother, I’m a wife, and I’m a friend. I’m a business owner, an entrepreneur, and a social media influencer, and these are my thoughts:

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Dear Kids, Please slow down

Dear Kids, Please slow down…

I looked at you in the kitchen this morning and I caught my breath. You’re growing up.

I’m not sure when it happened.

Just yesterday I was rocking you in my arms and smelling your milk kissed skin.

Just yesterday I was swaddling you in my favorite blanket and you were wiggling free.

Just yesterday you were fighting your nap and throwing your binky and blankets on the floor.

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If ever there was a time to stop pretending…it’s now.

If ever there was a time to stop pretending, it’s now.

I mean we’re all growing eyebrows like Johnny Rose anyway, might as well let everything else hang out too. Bring on the love handles, the grey hairs sprouting like invasive species along my part, and the buzz cut my husband keeps swearing he’s going to give himself (prayers pls).

I don’t know, but I think at the same time we’re letting our outsides be al’ natural we might as well release our hearts too be al’ natural too. It’s a great time to embrace real in ourselves and others like never before. Might as well toss all filters and let our crazy out, because pretending was always exhausting anyway.

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They Call You Daddy

They call you Daddy.

You are their wrestle partner, their safe place, their protector, their adventure guide, and their identity giver. You are their chore teacher, their constant encourager, their “I believe in you”, and their “come here I’ll keep you safe”.

You are the voice that says “you can do it”, “push hard”, and “try again”. You are the voice that says, “I’m proud of you”, “you did your best”, and “I love you”.

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We can’t be lazy friends.

Can I be blunt? We’ve gotten really lazy with friendship.

We’ve put friendship right at the bottom of our laundry pile along with the pants we haven’t seen since December. We’re almost always too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed, too behind, and too scheduled for anything else (and I get it, believe me, I do). Adult life feels like trying run on a slip and slide…until now.

Now we are in this gigantic pause. There are people who are still working their butts of at essential jobs, but the extras are canceled. Sports, meetings, parties, “busyness”: canceled.

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I want to be a come-as-you-are friend.

I want to be a come-as-you-are-friend.

I want my friends to come as they are when we’re together. Rough day? Haven’t showered in a week? Going through something hard? Not feeling yourself? Perfect. Come as you are.

I want my friends to know they don’t ever have to censor themselves around me. You don’t ever have to say, “I hope this doesn’t sound bad, but…” Sound bad. It’s okay to sound bad around me. Come as you are.

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Dear Kids, When I’m not myself…

Dear Kids,

I haven’t been myself this week. I’ve been more uptight and snappy than I should be. I asked you to be quieter when you were just laughing and having a good time. I sent you to the other room to wrestle even though I usually love it when you play.  I got mad and yelled when you got in a fight instead of paying attention to what you needed and listening to your side of the story. .

I haven’t been myself, and I’m sorry.  It’s been a weird week and it doesn’t have anything to do with you. Not a single bit of it is your fault. I let my stress get the best of me, and that’s the truth. I’m sorry.

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To the moms with anxiety: I see you.

To the moms with anxiety right now: I see you.

Hang in there my friend. I know you feel like you should be strong, but it’s okay if you’re not.

Deep breaths Mama, you’re not alone.

This anxiety will not consume you, I know it feels like it will sometimes, but it won’t.

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Confessions of Someone with Holiday Anxiety

Does anyone else get “holiday” anxiety? (This includes holidays, family days, birthdays, and anytime there is an expectation that the day is going to be important).

I don’t always get it, but when I do, I’m probably going to have to apologize later.

Symptoms include:

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