Posted in Kitten dramas

Rudicat -satellite & clown

Over here at the Brookes’ homestead, we have one sad little furry. Last week, we discovered a sore on Rudi’s hind leg. After some advice from our fantastic veterinarian’s office and a few jokes that this cat will bleed our bank account dry, we purchased a soft e-collar for him.

My friend Sara says “e-collar” is short for Elizabethan Collar, as it resembles the costumes worn during that time period. Elizabethan cats. So regal! So ridiculous! And so smelly!

It’s amazing how quickly cats turn into big smelly greaseballs when they aren’t consistently grooming themselves. We have been giving him 10-15 minute respites from his “cone of shame” so he can take a daily bath. But his leg would be healing faster if he didn’t keep ripping the scab off this sore every time we do so. Punk cat!

Meanwhile, Rudi has made a reluctant peace with his e-collar. On his own, he figured out how to get it from “satellite” mode into “clown” mode. We now have a couple more nicknames for this crazy furry of ours: “radio cat”, “circus cat”, etc.

Thought I’d share some silly pics so you can laugh too…


Poor Rudi.
I could not stop laughing the first night we put this on him. He kept bumping into walls and leaping to try to escape the cone.
If he can’t reach his fur, he’ll settle for the next best thing…
Rudi is annoyed but easily pacified by rubs to the head.
Posted in Media Mondays, Thoughts, Word Study: "Joy"

The Red Balloon

Hello all,

I truly love one of the perks of my job at Half Price Books. Similar to a public library, we are allowed to check out merchandise to enjoy at home then bring back (or buy). Over the past 3 years at HPB, I have be able to enjoy a plethora of movies and CDs for free. This has been awesome.

So, when a double feature of The Red Balloon/White Mane came in, my child-at-heart self grabbed it right up. I was actually unsure if I’d even seen The Red Balloon in its entirety. It’s definitely a staple resource of the American education system, so I had faint recollections from my school years. But it was time to revisit the movie.

Awww, it’s so sweet; the little boy and his personality-filled balloon. But you know me, Jes’ brain is always chewing on something. At all times, the part of my brain that compelled me to study English Literature in college is working hard to find metaphor, to find the deeper meaning behind what is being presented. I’m unsure if this ever gets switched off! 🙂

The Red Balloon is exactly the type of movie you can throw a few metaphors at. And since I have been meditating on the word Joy in 2017, I saw it through that lens (as well as a few others). Follow my train of thought here…

Imagine the red balloon is a metaphor for the boy’s joy. He is comfortable with it. His mother, the principal at his school, the trolley driver and his peers do not understand it. He wants it to come with him everywhere, but has to be content to leave it behind at times to please others. (How sad!) And then the ending…when people don’t understand something precious to you and you don’t have the strength to defend yourself, they can do all kinds of things. But then the boy reaps an unexpected amount of joy. His little joy is replaced with something he could have never dreamed of. Man, that is a good metaphor right there!

Thanks, brain! Thanks, dusty old English degree! You make entertainment so much more valuable to me. 🙂


Has it been awhile since you’ve seen The Red Balloon? YouTube is here to help! Enjoy!

The Red Balloon (last 10 minutes) or The Red Balloon (full movie)




*photo courtesy of


Posted in Media Mondays

Twice as good

This “Media Monday”, I want to share a song by Sara Groves about deep friendship. She obviously wrote it about her band and I’m sure for Sara, certain memories come to mind that are dear to her as she sings this song to them and with them.

Check out the music video here.

Some lyrics stand out to me: “Every burden I have carried, every joy it’s understood, life with you is half as hard and twice as good.” What a beautiful thing to say. And the heartfelt gratitude behind it makes the words that much more meaningful.

Let’s get personal, shall we? I have been blessed with a beautiful string of big sisters, each given to me at just the right time. The love they have gifted me with feels like something I don’t deserve. I did nothing to earn it. They gave it freely. I can never NEVER repay what they have bestowed on me. All I can really do is mumble my thanks and accept their love, which continues to this day.

So, this one is for you, Lo – my first big sister, ushering me into the Kingdom with your relentless zeal and your beautiful pursuit of my friendship; your laughter, love and blatant disregard for convention still impress me. This one is for you, Bekka – you fiery, justice-oriented warrior queen, who loved me well when I was navigating what would become my marriage; you have made my life so much richer and you hold fast in ways I respect more than I say. This is also for you, Sarah – my worshipping, laughing, culinary-genius, hungry for adventure, never superficial sister; every time I talk to you I remember distance doesn’t matter. And you, my friend Amanda – your love of the Lord, your contagious pursuit of Him, your steadfastness, your hunger for truth and life; you have been an unexpected joy in my life here in the tundra. I’m so glad we moved here so I could meet you!

But I want, very much, to send this song out into the void for my friend Michele.

My dear dear friend, you have stood beside me for ten years, despite much distance and circumstance. You never fail to pray for me. You never fail to offer the right word at the right time. You have been my friend in every possible sense of the word. My little life has been so much less painful because you have chosen to be in it. And the joy I possess is more than double…because of your presence. I count myself so lucky to know you. Thank you, especially for this past week. I hope to be even one tenth of the blessing that you have been to me.


Let’s raise a glass to friendship and to knowing, we don’t have to go alone. To all my big sisters, life with you has been half as hard, and twice as good.




*image courtesy of

Posted in New-to-me, self-care

Yogahhhhhhh – a love letter

Let’s take a journey, shall we? Imagine you are an extroverted, externally-processing, people-pleasing, retail worker. It’s December. Life is…well, “busy” doesn’t quite cover it. You have yet to discover you have boundaries issues and stink at self-care. You are juggling about a hundred emotional plates. You are simultaneously trying to be realistic with your expectations: what can you reasonably do this holiday season? You want to do it all. That pull is strong.

Are you feeling exhausted yet?  🙂

This is where I was before we went to Ohio for Christmas. Now add the legit joys of family time and what that might mean for the above described person: another 50 plates.

It became too much. I know you might be thinking, “yeah, DUH!”  🙂

In the Fall, a friend of mine from my house church community invited me to visit her yoga studio for a free week of classes. Nothing like “free” to enable me to try out a new thing! And post-Christmas, post-self-care-revelations, we agreed to meet for my first class.

There is nothing sweeter than a right thing at the right time.

When I was a “young & fresh” college student, I had the privilege to be part of a community that used ballet as a tool to worship Jesus. I had no previous dance experience, just a general affinity for dance as many young girls do. I remember my ballet teacher, Michele, told me after my first class she assumed I was an ex-dancer. Dance fit my body like a glove; there were things about the movements I intuitively understood. Ballet was also very good for me. It disciplined me in a way that encouraged me. I wanted to work hard because I wanted to be able to move better. Taking ballet, using it as a tool for strength and expression, felt like coming home. It was the right thing at the right time.

So when novice-yogi Jes stepped into the Core Power Yoga studio in Northeast Minneapolis, aspects of the space felt like my ballet home. This put me at ease. I knew my first yoga class would be difficult physically; I haven’t “worked out” in probably 3 years! For the first time in awhile, I gave myself grace to try. While sitting in the unheated studio space, beside my beautiful hippie friend whom I love to bits, I opened a dialogue with my friend Jesus, thanking Him for the free class and the space in my schedule to try this. I felt like He responded, “Yeah, you and yoga are gonna be buds.” I laughed and class began.

Dudes, He was SO RIGHT.

My body understood what yoga was asking it to do. And it challenged me to work hard without judgment. I felt free, able to focus on just my breath and my body, to cultivate stillness & peace while stretching and twisting and working hard. Sweat was pouring off me.  🙂  And then, mid-class, the teacher said, “Whoever said you have to do cardio to sweat was never a dancer.” I chuckled, mid-pose, and thought, “My people!”

After the main body of the class was over and we were laying in “corpse pose” (morbid but profound), I felt no ounce of stress. It was as if the plates I’d been juggling had evaporated into the puddles of sweat around me. I was so grateful for the peace. I dialogued with Jesus again, and felt like He responded, telling me He’d make a way for this to become a new tool for me. And I took Him at His word.

So, with little expertise and much faith, I am stepping forward into the practice of yoga. For those of you outside traditional western religions, who already understand the benefits of deliberate slowness, meditation, holistic care of the self and intentionality, thank you for sharing what you know with me. I am broken and you are teaching me how to do life better. For those of you in the Church who fear eastern traditions corrupting me, I see your hearts. I know what you are worried about. Please be assured I am using this as a tool to cultivate the relationship I have with the God we love. And pray for me!

I began working for Core Power Yoga last week so as to reap the benefits of their generous discount/perks. In exchange for 6 hours of studio cleaning/month, I basically get to take unlimited yoga classes for the foreseeable future. (That is QUITE the deal.) For now, I am practicing once/week. My lazy muscles are sore and unhappy with me. I will tune out their protests, and drown their lactic acid in water and epsom salt.  🙂

Me and yoga are gonna be buds.


Meanwhile, the cats are intrigued with “their” new toy…