Hello sweet angel,

Wow! It’s already the end of November. That’s crazy, that’s kinda scary, and that’s also very exciting! It’s time again to sit down, make myself pause, and bask in what the last month held in one of my most favorite practices, writing to you!

I’m currently in a car on our way to Portland, Oregon, where Cory, Kaitlin, and I will spend the next few days delivering your special JoyJars to new kiddos and encouraging them to Never Ever Give Up. I still am in awe I’m even here. This month flew by because it’s been busy planning, focusing, and getting lots of hard work done in the light of this tour, and my most favorite holiday season approaching.

This season, and this month especially, have pushed me to understand grace more than I ever have had to before. Managing the coordination and planning of our holiday tour, with school work, and other travel/personal plans, I had to start seeing that seeking perfection isn’t realistic, no matter how much I want it to be.

I’ve constantly sought perfection, and it’s hurt and hindered me in various areas over the last 20 years. And even though I’ve experienced that I’ve still continued to try attaining it. There is this invisible mark I continue to hold myself up to, which nobody placed there, except myself.

Taking on more responsibility for your legacy, your dream, and your mission also meant that there were new pressures I put upon myself. I never want to let you down sweet girl. I want to make you the proudest little sister because I can’t even put into words how proud I am of you. I never want to let you down.

I’m learning though that just because I don’t accomplish something in a day, or something by the deadline, doesn’t mean I’ve failed. I’m trying my best to manage everything and I’m learning that grace is beautiful.

I don’t easily accept grace or help, but I need to and I’ve been put into situations where I HAD to. Where I physically and mentally and emotionally cannot do this all on my own and that is OK. We are working so hard to create a team and a family in the JoyFactory more than ever, and that team is in place to lift one another up, support one another, and encourage one another through some of the hardest work I know.

And it’s beautiful to realize that grace is freely given by the Lord. It feels so crazy to me and funny now that I’ve had such a hard time accepting it before! And I’m still struggling to!  But, I realize more, now, when I try to push it away because I’m not as happy, not nearly as joyful.

I really pushed through these last three weeks of November. Cramming as much work as I could into each day and trying to be as productive as possible. It’s been great, it’s been tiring, but it’s been so worth it because I’ve seen myself grow like crazy and because of all that hard work, here I am! In Portland, two finals turned in, three to go, getting to travel and be present in these hospital visits because I pushed so hard before I left!

I worked hard, and all I can think of was being joyful through it! It took all my energy and focus to not let stress get the best of me, to sit and problem solve when things went differently than planned, and to accept grace and my best. Because my best is truly enough!!

So that’s been my mind for the last few weeks it seems! I started the month off in the most refreshing way, visiting Kylie and escaping the hectic-ness that life at home can bring when everything is around! That trip was incredible. Sometimes I wish I could just live with Kylie!! It’s so fun taking time to pour into relationships and experience life that I don’t get to at home! The people I meet whenever I go to Alabama make me feel so loved, known, and accepted. It’s incredible.

But I also can’t wait to get home and start December!! We’ll be getting a big tree again so it can feel like you’re here! Daddy wasn’t all for it and was measuring with a tape measure how tall 12’ is. Its pretty tall but we kindaly reminded him that we had a 12 to 13′ tree last year so he has no reason to doubt!  And he has to go with it because “the taller the tree, the closer to you”!

Love you so incredibly much Jessica Joy.

From here to heaven and back,

your big sis