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.


Dry January?

Alright y’all. I didn’t know that “Dry January” was a thing until a few days ago. I had unknowingly participated. Let me tell you about it…..

Today marks a month of no alcohol for me. My decision to stop drinking didn’t stem (wine…you see what I did there) from a “problem” per se. At least I didn’t think so at first. Just like everyone else, my personality would change when I would drink. But I was in denial. I didn’t want to hear that I was aggressive and inflammatory. Those aren’t exactly personality traits anyone would want to posses. Well, maybe some of y’all but no judgement!

When I would drink, I would wake up the next day with a tremendous feeling of guilt. It was like my soul was wired to reject alcohol. Even if I didn’t do anything worthy of that feeling, it happened nonetheless. This next statement might sound contradictory, but a lot of times I would forget things I said. I was a binge-drinker. I couldn’t enjoy just a drink or two. It was always shot after shot, usually Fireball or Jameson, followed by PBR or Miller Lite. No apologies. I’m a redneck deep down!

Drinking would always cause my emotions to go to the extreme. If I was happy, I was giddy. If I was sad, I was sobbing. If I was angry, I was aggressive. Insecure? Yes, you guessed it. It was terrible. I was terrible. So I decided to do some soul-searching. It was time to lay my relationship with alcohol to rest.

I’m happy to report, that it’s only been a positive outcome from it. No more feelings of guilt. I’ve saved money. Lost weight. My skin is clear and glowing. I’m just happier in general. However, one thing I wasn’t prepared for was having to face my emotions dead-on, without a crutch or something to mask them. That has been the hardest part. January has been one of the most challenging months of my life, mentally. Doing a competition prep, fresh off a breakup, school…it has been overwhelming at times. But now I’m in control of me. I’ve had to do a lot of deep breathing and most of the time it doesn’t work but I’m trying! Growth in 2019. That’s my goal. Like Cher said in Clueless “I needed a makeover…but this time I would makeover my soul.”

Am I saying I won’t ever have a beer again? No. Let’s be real. Braves. Beer. Some things just belong together. But now, I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. Being the drunken messy girl is not something I ever want to be again.

And to the person that forced me to see this reality, thank you. Hard truth isn’t something I’ve always been good at accepting, but thank you for loving me enough to hurt my feelings.


Let them eat, cookie dough!

Last night, while making cookies with my kids, they mention to me they’ve never tried cookie dough. Real cookie dough. Growing up, I want allowed to eat it because of the raw eggs. “Salmonella!!”, my mom would say to us. So much that it became an actual fear. Irrational c yes, but there nonetheless.

When my kids said this, it triggered something in me that made me do something I’ve never done before. Let me give you a little background. I’ll start with a simple, yet profound statement. 

Sometimes it takes losing everything to make you appreciate what you have. 

As most of you already know, my ex-husband spent some time in prison. I’m not here to sling mud. He’s done his time. But it still happened. That left me to try and pick up the pieces and try to keep my family from unraveling. Well guess what? I failed. I was on the brink of losing my home (for the 2nd time). I was working 2 jobs and that still wasn’t enough to keep up with everything. So after taking to my then-husband, we both decided and agreed it would be best for our kids to stay with their grandparents in Tennessee while I tried to salvage what was left of my sanity and my dignity, and he went back to jail to finish out his sentence. Trust me when I say this, it was the last thing I wanted. It showed weakness. It showed failure. It showed that I wasn’t enough. That I couldn’t handle it. Insert whatever statement you want here. I promise you I’ve already beaten myself up for it at least a hundred times. But sometimes, as a mom, it means making hard decisions. I’ll never forget the day they left. I was devastated. I kept telling myself “it’s only for a short time.” The pain was unbearable. I closed myself off. I rarely talked to them on the phone because all it did was tear my heart out more each time. And theirs too. This went on for (roughly) 6 months, maybe 8. 

Side note, this isn’t something I’ve shared with many people. If you were apart of my life during this time, you knew. But I don’t go shouting it from the rooftops. Until today. 

Being a mom is hard. You’re responsible for teaching and raising kids, to grow into successful adults. There is so much pressure to be “perfect”. Have them in the best school. Sports. Dance. Church. Good grades. Before their father was arrested, I was the worst kind of helicopter mom. I gave them freedom, but not too much. Looking back I now see it wasn’t very much at all. Them being away from me for that long taught me a lot of things. One of the most important things it taught me was to LET GO. I was trying to control their every move and every outcome. I couldn’t just let them be kids. But now?! Now, on the weekends, they can have ice cream for breakfast (sometimes). They can walk in the grass barefoot. They can hang their arm out the window in the backseat. They spent all day yesterday in their pajamas. We had pizza delivered twice in a week! The little things in life that are meant to be enjoyed, are being enjoyed. I’ve learned to take a deep breath and a step back. Yes, it was awful while they were gone. I hated every single moment of it. But it made me better. Better for them and better for me. 

Cut yourself some slack, y’all. Parenting is hard. Parenting with an ex-spouse is even harder. Do the best you can with every day you’re with them, even on the days when you want to run and cry in a closet. 

I guess I’ll address the cookie dough thing. We are cookie dough last night. A lot of it. And they said it was the best thing they had ever tasted. Something as simple as cookie dough!! They danced around the kitchen and laughed with delight. Such a small moment but such a huge impact. There will be many more cookie dough dates in our future. Oh and by the way, no one got sick 😉

xoxo,                                                                                     Jess the Haute Mess

Is your husband better off on the roof?

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately. A lot, ok? What I’m about to talk about is a direct reference to myself. However, I don’t think that this will be in vain because I know that I’m not alone here. Hopefully you will be mature enough, ladies, to receive this.

Crabby. Argumentative. Thin-skinned. Bad-tempered. Huffy. Snappy. What do these words have in common? They’re all synonyms for the word “quarrelsome”.

Did you know that in Proverbs, it mentions a “quarrelsome wife” four times?! Four!! And not even in the same chapter. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s kind of a big deal. (I said that in my Ron Burgundy voice, by the way. If you don’t know who that is, stop what you’re doing and go watch Anchorman. Wait, finish reading this first and then go watch it.)

Sorry. Back to the topic at hand. Go read these scriptures yourself.

Proverbs 19:13, 21:9, 25:24, 27:15

It even goes as far as to say your husband is better off living on the corner of the ROOF than putting up with and listening to our crap!!

Are you a quarrelsome wife?

I know I was. Not in a way that I liked to fight, per se, but I certainly wasn’t happy a lot. Which is totally out of character for me. I’ll save that for some other time.

Men and women are totally different. But you already know that. I’m going to give you a personal example of how different me and my husband are. I’m a very energetic, like-to-get-it-done-now person. My hubby, on the other hand, not so much. He likes to take his time. We are equal in that we like to get things done, but toooooootally different on how we approach things. For instance:

I walk into the kitchen and see that the trash needs to go out. But I don’t say anything to him, because I assume he will see it and take it out. Now, I could ask him and he would do it immediately, but I don’t ask him because I don’t want to be a “nag”. You feel me? So instead of asking him to do it, I walk around ticked that he hasn’t done it. I just want him to want to take the trash out, ya know?! But realistically, who wants to take the dang trash out? Freaks. That’s who.  I know what you’re thinking. I’m the freak for not asking, for getting ,mad because he’s not a mind-reader. Yes! Did you know that neither men nor women were mind-readers? Sheesh!! Marriage is like one big freak show.

One of the things I love the most about my husband is his huge…heart. His heart, y’all. Get your mind out of the gutter!!! And what comes with his huge heart, is how much he enjoys making me happy. I’m really blessed y’all. Let me give you an example.

Used to, I would take a shower, get myself ready, get the kids ready. You know how those things go. A nightmare, usually. I would get out of the shower and see that my huge-hearted husband would be sitting in the chair and the kids would still be in their jammies. I would go so frustrated because I felt like he should read my mind and get the kids ready. Or at least see them and think, “hey! they need to be dressed!” Well, I finally got tired of his inability to read my mind and just told him much it would help me and how much easier it would make our mornings if he could have them dressed by the time I got out. Well, guess what happened? He did it, happily. In turn I was happy, he was happy, everyone was happy!!! Ok, I’ll stop. But seriously. That was all it took. Now I can bank on it, every time I’m in the shower, he’s getting the kids dressed. Harmony. Communication is a beautiful thing. You should try it with your spouse tonight!! Right now!! I promise the end result will be better than your hubby living on the roof. Don’t put him through that!

So what does this have to do with being quarrelsome? Well, are you silently resenting your husband (or wife) for the things they’re not doing? Is your husband happy to come home to you after work? Or does he dread it? I’m not saying life is always peachy and we should walk around with a perma-grin. But try it. Go ahead! Take a selfie with your perma-grin and post it on Instagram. I wanna see it. @jnicholson08. Tag me.

God showed me many ways that I needed to change the way I treated my husband. It was right when I was trying to fall asleep too. He always gets me then! I joke a lot, but this is a very serious thing. I know that I don’t sound like the modern woman, but I really don’t care. I’m very capable. I just know the order of the family. Which, by the way, is my next blog. really focusing on how wives should submit to their husbands. If you don’t like me now, you certainly won’t like me when you read that one!!

Let’s answer our hubbies in gentleness. It turns away wrath! I’m a work-in-progress. I’m still learning. But the cool thing is that God showed me. He will show you too. And then work on you. Watch your hunnie’s jaw drop. He’ll think you were abducted and replaced with an alien wife. It’s kind of fun, really. Heeheehee. Keeps them on their toes!!