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05.08.2015

This week’s books could not be any more opposite, but I love them equally. Both are nonfiction, my favorite genre, and while their topics are nothing alike, they both have such profound lessons that they are well worth your time and money. I recommend buying your own copies because you will want to highlight and underline something on every page!Without further adieu, this week’s selections.Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life by Michele Cushatt.Click here to purchase from Amazon.This book had me at the subtitle. I saw it recommended on social media, which is where I hear about a lot of what I choose to read, and from the minute the Amazon Prime fairy placed it in my mailbox, I was enamored. Both the story and the writing style are beautiful, and Cushatt will make you cry and silently whisper “Amen.” The back cover says, “She never expected a devastating divorce and single motherhood. Or a second marriage marred by the challenges of a blended family. Undaunted, Michele worked hard to put her upside-down life back in order. Until, at the age of thirty-nine, she received a cancer diagnosis. And eight months later, she opened her near...

04.08.2015

Each week, I'll be writing about my takeaway from Sunday's sermon at 4 Points Church. Some weeks I will summarize, and some weeks I will focus on one main idea. This week, it's all about the pit and the palace. To view the sermon, visit this link.There's a difference between believing in God and believing God. A huge difference, and for much of my life, I was stuck there.Yes, I believed that God existed. I knew it and never doubted it. But I did - and sometimes still do - doubt Him. The Words He said and the Words He gave often feel like they're contradicting my life. Believing in God? I'm good. Believing all He says and all He promises? That's where I struggle. Does it make me unspiritual to say so? Oh well. Then I am. His Word says, "...

03.08.2015

So, teacher. You're feeling anxious. And excited. And overwhelmed.I get that.Any minute now, you'll be facing a room of expectant young faces, and you're probably not sure if you can meet all the expectations. Let's get this out of the way up front - you can't.You can't meet all of their expectations, or their parents', or your administrators'.Most importantly, you won't be able to meet all of your own.You just can't. You are one person, and one person can only do so much.I know you. I know that this summer, you've seen ideas on Pinterest you've thought might be amazing in your room. I know you saw that sale at Office Max and stocked up on colored pencils and colored copy paper. As you were reading on the beach, you dog-eared passages that you want to share as beautiful examples of prose. The teacher in you might have slept later and might not have graded papers this summer, but you didn't stop being a teacher. You thought of what didn't work last year and what might be better this year, and you imagined what you could do to make a bigger difference.In other words, you continued to build the mountain...

30.07.2015

She looked beautiful, and I resented her for it.The picture posted on social media twisted my heart in such a vise that at first I couldn't identify why I was suddenly angry and simultaneously needing to cry. Everything in the picture screamed out at me, "Look at what she has! Look at all you're not." Her outfit was form-flattering (and clearly not from Target), her gorgeous hair looked like she had just come from the salon, and even her house in the background looked like part of a photo shoot.Meanwhile, I had just seen in my own bathroom mirror the stretch marks on my hips, the distribution of pounds that gravity clearly was having its way with, and the gray hair that grows with reckless abandon.I felt like an old hag, truth be told, and her beauty pointed its finger in my face."You're ugly," it whispered. "Why do you even bother? It'll never be enough. You'll never be enough. You're old, you're past your prime, and her type of beauty is what people want to see." I don't even know her well, this beauty whose picture mocked me. Yet in that moment I allowed Satan's whispers of my perceived inadequacy...