If you were to make a list of the people in your life that you needed to forgive, could you be honest? Would your list have two names? 20? None? How many of those people are family members?

The family dynamics in Colossians 3:18-21 is God’s perfect plan. You can call me old-fashioned, sexist, barefoot and pregnant…I don’t care. It’s what I believe. Our family is supposed to be our first line of defense. Our parents to protect us. Our siblings to build and learn about friendships with, along with conflict resolution (even if that involves these hands! Right Lyss? You were so mean!). But instead we have strife. Jealousy. Bitterness. Anger. A house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25). And no, I’m not referring to the SEC…at least not today haha!! Go Dawgs!

If there is division, it can destroy the family structure, causing us to “wander” solo. No one by our side to hold us accountable…yes we have friends, but we can talk about that later….that’s how Eve was able to be tempted. She was alone. When a sheep wanders away from the herd and it’s shepherd, it’s more vulnerable to its predators.

The funny thing about this blog post is that I don’t have an answer or resolve to what I just talked about. Which brings me to my next topic.

Today was my first counseling session at Elevate. I had one major issue in my life that was causing me a tremendous amount of stress. That’s what caused me to make an appointment in the first place. I wanted some healthy coping mechanisms for when I felt anxious. God had bigger plans, y’all. I wasn’t ready!! My first session and I’ve already learned that I’m dealing with un-forgiveness. I didn’t even know!!! It was so profound that I’ve decided I’m going to make this journey public. I’m going to blog after each one of my sessions. I will share my revelations, my heartaches, my joy and my victories. My darkest places. I really hope that my transparency will help you to see that you’re not alone. No, I won’t be sharing names if anyone, in case you were wondering! This is for my exposure, no anyone else’s.

I thought I knew how to forgive someone, but today I found out that I don’t. I’m excited to learn and share as I go. My hope is that it will inspire you to seek it out for you and your family too.


A Time to Heal

Usually, I write these on paper and edit them before I post. But today, I was inspired and while stuck in traffic, it got all jarbled  (I just made that word up. Don’t act like you’re not impressed. Oh and that was a quote from Anchorman if you didn’t catch it. If you didn’t, go watch it immediately.) So. Here we go.

This time last year, I weighed in at 108 pounds. We’ve been over this so I’m not going to dwell on it. Now I’m 145. Yay!! I had a gym partner that contributed to all of my gains. He was a body builder and I basically did exactly what he did. The results have been so amazing that it inspired me to become a personal trainer. I finally pulled the trigger and started my classes yesterday. It’s been SO MUCH INFORMATION. It’s definitely not as easy as I, or some people, think. Myology. Anatomy. Biomechanics. Kinesiology. Nutrition. I thought my brain was going to ooze out of my head yesterday. But it didn’t and I woke up this morning feeling even more motivated.

Before I talk about what’s next, first let me say, Body Design University has been incredible. Doug Blake is the single-most engaging instructor I’ve ever had. He is a wealth of knowledge and will answer every single question you have, even if it’s off-track from what we’re talking about. Talk about a mentor!!!!! Oh and he’s funny too. No boring conversations in that classroom! If you’re considering a career as a personal trainer, look nowhere else but Body Design.

So. Here we go. Today we took a field trip to the Bodies Exhibit today in Atlantic Station. It was mind-blowing. And a little creepy and very informative. But it made me feel (just a little) sorry for guys because I learned that one, women have bigger brains than men (duh, ladies, am I right?) and two, their junk is exposed and hanging out the outside. You think they’re not cute alive, try seeing it on a cadaver!! Be right back. I have to go laugh.

I’m back. Hahahha!!

One of the exhibits that stood out the most to me, was that of the liver. It has about 500 different functions in the body. So cool. But what got me was when he was talking about having a fatty liver and what can cause it. Diabetes. Alcoholism. Junk food. But then he said something I was expecting, and it was that people that struggle with anorexia and/or bulimia can also have a fatty liver. If you’ve ever read any of my posts before, you know that I’ve struggled with anxiety. It’s managed much better now because of exercise, but at that moment, I felt overwhelmed with it. I started to cry, just a little bit, because I didn’t want anyone to see. The damage is repairable, another awesome thing about our liver. Once you change the thing that contributes to the damage, it can start to repair itself. I wasn’t upset over the fact that I was damaging my liver. I was crying because I am GRATEFUL. I am grateful that I’ve been in recovery and now have a healthy relationship with food. I am grateful that I was able to come back from it because so many people cannot. Now don’t get me wrong. I still battle negative thoughts. But it gets easier.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because whether you don’t eat at all, or eat too much, there is hope for you. We are all stronger than we think. It’s mind over matter. But sometimes, we need help. Sometimes, we need to talk to someone to help us not to feel isolated. If you struggle with this and you feel stuck, please reach out. I’m posting the number to the National Eating Disorders Association Information and Referral Helpline below.


Thank you for letting me share this with you


Jess the Haute Mess

You can also follow me on my new fitness journey on Instagram, @PurdyHauteMess. Make sure you say hi!

Chili. It’s what’s for dinner.

Hey y’all! Its been a long time. But now I’m back. And I have something special for you!

A few years ago, I had a thought. Let me warn you in advance. I can be a pretty deep-thinker. You ready for it??

What if you could have chili with the cornbread baked into it? :::drops microphone, exits stage:::

I know, right? I tried to warn you!

I love eating cornbread with my chili. It brings a little bit of sweetness to the savory chili. But I’m lazy. And I don’t like making a mess. You would think having 3 kids and another on the way, messes wouldn’t bother me. THEY DO. So I became a “problem-solver”. It’s kind of a dramatic title for such a miniscule problem (is it even really a problem?) What can I say. I’m a deep-thinking, problem-solver who has a flair for the dramatic! Wow that was a lot of hyphens. Moving on…….

Out of all the meals I’ve made for people over the years, my chili is one of the most requested and most loved. Now I’m going to share my recipe with you. Reluctantly, I might add. But giving is better than receiving. So take good care of it and use it wisely. By the way, you’re going to be SHOCKED at how easy it is. I’m almost embarassed by it. Ok not really. But it does taste like it’s been simmering all day, when in fact, I just threw it together. There, My secret is out!! I hope you enjoy!

Jessica’s Lazy Chili

2 cans tomato sauce (I use organic)

2 cans dark red kidney beans (again, I use organic)

2 cans chili beans in mild sauce (if you like hot, go for it, you crazy person!)

1 pound grass fed ground beef

1 1/2 Tablespoon chili seasoning (recipe to follow)

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix

Chili Seasoning

3 Tablespoons chili powder

3 teaspoons cumin

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

3 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all together in a airtight container. I use a mason jar.

For every pound of ground beef, use 1 1/2 Tablespoons of chili seasoning


*Disclaimer* I tried to make this once with homemade cornbread from scratch. It never made it to the execution stage. My husband said “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. So I didn’t! But if your little sweet heart desires to make it with homemade cornbread, go for it. And let me know how it turns out!

Preheat  your oven to 400 degrees

Brown the ground beef in a dutch oven. This beauty is one my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas several years ago. It gets used more than any other pan in my kitchen. I love it!!


While this is browning and making your kitchen smell amazing, go ahead and make your cornbread according to the box instructions.

After your beef is mostly brown (don’t worry about getting it all done. It will go into the oven later), add your 2 cans of tomato sauce.


Now for the chili seasoning. If you ask me, this is the star of the show. But you might think it’s the cornbread. That’s fair.


Let this simmer for about 5 minutes. There’s no real logic here. I’m just giving you time to complete your next task. Which is an important one. RINSE YOUR KIDNEY BEANS. See all the bubbles? Those end up in your belly, causing you-know-what. Rinsing your beans will cut down on the oligosaccharides (oligo is a prefix meaning “a few” and saccharides is just a fancy name for sugar. Don’t you feel smarter??), which cause the music that escapes your butt. Don’t skip this part. You’re family will love you for it!


Add them to your beef and tomato sauce mixture. Now add your chili beans. Stir well to incorporate.

This is the part where we get a little crazy. Remember your cornbread that you already mixed? Now you want to spoon it onto the top of your chili. Don’t be scared. Just go for it!


It should look similar to this when you’re done. Or if you’re the creative type, you can do a heart or something else. No judgement here. You’re in a safe place.


Now pop this bad boy into the oven for 35 minutes and walk away. Feel free to marvel at your amazingness for making such a delicious meal that everyone will be wowed by. :::Miss America wave:::

After 35 minutes is up, take it out of the oven and insert a butter knife through the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, put it back in the oven for 5 minutes at a time and recheck. The cornbread can be a little sneaky (as you can see here). It looks “done” at the top but it can still be runny underneath. No one likes runny, undone cornbread.


You’re done! Congratulations! Feel free to top your chili with shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapeños or anything else you like. See! I can be flexible!

I hope this warms you belly and your heart on this cold and rainy day. Cheers!

This is why I don’t eat foods containing MSG



First off, let me say, I’m not a doctor. Just a girl who is taking charge of her health. Knowledge is power. I get all my information from trusted websites and books. I encourage you not to just take my word for it. Do your own research as well. This is my disclaimer.

Now then. Let’s talk about MSG. Did you know it has over 40 different names? Want to hear them? I was hoping you would ask.

  1. Glutamic Acid
  2. Glutamate
  3. Monosodium Glutamate
  4. Monopotassium Glutamate
  5. Calcium Glutamate
  6. Magnesium Glutamate
  7. Monoammonium Glutamate
  8. Natrium Glutamate
  9. Yeast Extract
  10. Anything “hydrolyzed”
  11. Calcium Caseinate
  12. Sodium Caseinate
  13. Yeast Food
  14. Yeast Nutrient
  15. Autolyzed Yeast Gelatin
  16. Textured protein
  17. Soy protein
  18. Soy concentrate
  19. Whey protein
  20. Whey concentrate
  21. Whey protein isolate

This is just some of the names our food companies are hiding MSG behind. 

Ok. Now that we’ve cleared that up, take 2 minutes and go through your refrigerator/pantry. Check the labels on any of your sauces, lunch meats and/or meal “helpers”. Go ahead. I’ll wait. 

Shocked? I was too. 

Now for the science-y stuff. I’m not a scientist. Just a girl with access to the internet. 

MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate, has been used for over 100 years. It used to be derived from seaweed. Now, it’s made from starch, corn sugar, molasses from sugar cane or sugar beets. Yummy, right? It was deemed safe by the F.D.A. (which, I’m sorry, does NOT make me feel any better about it) “when eaten at customary levels”. I’m not buyin’ it. The average American consumes 1.92 pounds a year. If it’s safe, then why is there such a rise in obesity, ADD, ADHD…I could go on and on but instead I’ll post a few links before we go on.

Some of the side effects of this excitotoxin (excitotoxin is a chemical that causes a brain cell to become overexcited) are as follows:

Headache, nausea, heart palpitations, chest pain, vomiting, sweating, facial numbness, wheezing, rapid heartbeat, intense cravings for the same foods, drowsiness, weakness…plus more!! Have you ever felt any of these symptoms after eating at a fast food restaurant? How about the following places?

Burger King



Taco Bell



Yep. Even my beloved Chick-Fil-A. These are just a portion of the fast food chains that use MSG. How about an all-you-can-eat buffet or chinese food? That’s why you leave Golden Corral and go home to take a nap. MSG-overload!!!!

Some of the items in your kitchen that contain MSG are:

Beef jerky, ranch dressing, Doritos, Cheetos, cold cuts, soy sauce, Hamburger Helper, Morningstar frozen vegetarian products, breakfast sausage, gravy/taco seasonings and ramen noodles. 

If you’re anything like me, at first I was overwhelmed, thinking, “what am I going to eat?!” I have some alternatives to share with you, including a delicious taco/chili seasoning recipe that blows those nasty seasoning packets of of the water. Ready?

Swap Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage links with Applegate Farms chicken and sage breakfast sausage links

Swap Perdue Chicken nuggets with Ian’s gluten-free chicken nuggets

Gorton’s fish sticks with Dr. Praegers Kids gluten-free fishies

Taco Bell taco seasoning packet and McCormicks Chili seasoning packet, with 2 tablespoons per pound of ground beef, of the following:

4 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper (I add white pepper as well, I just prefer the taste)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano


These are the reasons I cut MSG out of my diet. I’m not perfect. I slip up from time to time. But let me tell you, I surely suffer when I do. I. Feel. Awful. When you stop consuming MSG, you feel better. A lot better. Like a new person!! At least I did. Give it a try y’all. You won’t regret it.

I would love to hear your feedback, questions or comments. What products were you most shocked by? 

In the meantime, eat clean people! 🙂