Posted in Being real, self-care, Thoughts

The land of the living


Been awhile, I know. One way to lose all your readers is to casually disappear. Good thing I’m not blogging “for the views”.  🙂

It’s been a summer, y’all. Actually, to be real honest, it’s been a heck of a year. But for the first time in awhile, I’m beginning to have a little hope things could change over here at the Brookes’ homestead. We’ve jumped over a couple really scary-looking what-if fences, and are on the other side with scraped legs…but we’re okay.

Nayt is now doing contract work at Code42 in downtown Minneapolis, which has many perks: proximity to home cuts his cycling commute WAY down, he has a fantastic view from his cubicle and access (once again) to a myriad of free snacks. It’s like tech companies know IT staff are super food-motivated or something.  😉  Nayt has access to all the iced tea and gummy bears he could ever long for. And after 1pm, Code42 actually lets you drink beer on the job. Yeah. Jealous much?

I’m still plugging away at Half Price Books in Roseville. We’re amping up for the Holiday season. For those of you not hip to the retail-scene, thinking “what!? it’s AUGUST!” yeah, we get ready for Holiday* in August. We already have Christmas cards in stock. And get this, people have actually bought some. This week, I imagined an alternate reality where I didn’t work in retail during Holiday. There were 15 seconds where my brain’s tires spun out. I’ve done retail for the past 4 years and the concept of experiencing the Christmas season when it actually starts was like, “wait…what?”

Otherwise, summer feels like it ended about two weeks ago. Minneapolis has been having a very balmy August. It’s been rainy and chilly…so…wonderful. Case end point: I started wearing sweaters. This Fall-baby is in love. I’m drinking my Novembre Te from Sweden, so it’s official, I declare Fall is here**.  I fully expect leaves to turn and pumpkins to magic their way to my front stoop at any moment. #AccioAutumn

As I type this, I have sleeping kitties on my lap and the back of my chair, Hem’s album “Rabbit Songs” is quietly making Nayt’s office into a calm oasis of sound and I am content. I can just be. Moments of utter freedom to be who you are becoming; truly the definition of home.

To be frank, these past 60+ days, I haven’t really felt like I wanted to live my life. I’ve been coasting, just going through the motions and escaping reality. For a long chapter, I’ve disengaged to protect myself; a friend even labeled me “poky”, like a hedgehog all rolled up. Because I’m a mature adult, I had been giving God the silent treatment. But last week, the prayers of all the saints in my life broke through the wall I had wrapped around myself. And God gave me some completely undeserved and real, actual, tangible happiness. So I started talking to Him again…because I’m a toddler and need to be reminded 1500 times/day that my Papa still loves me and is taking care of me.

Naturally, being on speaking terms with the author of my personhood & life has made a radical change in my daily experiences. Circumstances aren’t much different, but I feel like I am willing to take up my cross. Just last week, I was focused on the weight of it on my back and the splinters on my hands. But miraculously, I had a moment where I looked ahead on the path. I saw Jesus standing there with outstretched arms and a smile on His face. I can see Him now and He’s beckoning me to come after Him. What’s crazy is I really believe He means it when He tells me it’ll be worth it.

Faith makes no sense.

So, I am back in the land of the living, all. I’m sorry I forgot to rely on the God I love. I’m sorry I forgot to trust Him with the deepest needs of my heart. I had been looking for those to be met in the wrong places. It wasn’t working. Putting Him first is working. (Imagine that!) CLEARLY, I have the attention span of a 3-year-old. I want to be obedient to Him and just am not so often. To my prayer warriors, thank you and please keep praying for me!

Much love,





*”Holiday” is the hip merchandize-y word for the season during which customers request and are supplied with a myriad of choices to celebrate American commercial Christmas. Other lesser known holidays sometimes get small sections of merch as well: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christianity’s version of Christmas and if the store is REALLY niche, the Winter Solstace.

**Outside of the Twin Cities, Fall may not be currently available. Please check with your local stores to see if Autumn is “in stock”.


Posted in Being real, self-care, Thoughts

Back to being me

Hello all,

I didn’t intend to be missing in action. Sometimes these things just happen…

In late February, I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and rode my bicycle downtown to Core Power Yoga. Due to some absent-minded route choices, I ended up on a street choked with traffic and construction. I’m still a beginner road-cyclist; sharing lanes with cars makes me very nervous. So, I attempted to merge onto the sidewalk from a less than smooth lane. Needless to say, that attempt ended poorly (i.e. my right knee and the sidewalk became very intimate). First bike ride of 2017? First bike wreck of 2017!

The body is a miraculous thing. It can weather so much. But when I whacked the exact same spot the following week with a metal hand truck at work, my knee gave up its fighting spirit. And for the past 2 weeks I’ve been recouping from a knee sprain, contusion and strain. Crutches and knee braces and PT, oh my!

I am happy to report my knee is recovering well. Under orders from my physical therapists, I went back to yoga today. (Huzzah!) Other than some soreness that are no match for ice, medical tape and ibuprofin, I am able to move around with slightly limited function. Work has been…interesting.

To be frank, I’ve never broken or injured myself quite like this before. I know how to read the signs of fatigue when I am ill. I’m not so great at that with injury. The past 2 weeks have been more emotional and mental work than physical. Pretty sure we can call a spade a spade and just admit that I don’t do well at life when I can’t actively serve or participate. I didn’t know that by injuring my knee, I would be signed up for lessons in humility as well as banishing illusions that I can perform to earn love. I like to serve. Not being able to serve my husband, coworkers, house church family, relatives and friends in the way I am accustomed was frustrating.

But guess what? God is teaching me that I really don’t earn His love by doing stuff. I am loved. Period. Nothing I do affects that for better or worse. I don’t earn extra bonus points with God by doing good things. I am loved because He loves me. End of story. Why is that so hard for me to understand? Seriously.

Today, for the first time in awhile, I felt like I had energy to do some “Jes” things. I read some books, I went to yoga, I created with paper. My whole routine had been thrown off. My whole way of being was thrown off. And now, I feel challenged to carry forward these identity lessons as my knee gains more strength and healing.

Who is Jes? Loved.

I may need to remind myself of that a few more million times to really believe it with my soul and act accordingly! Happy God is so patient with me. And happy He is healing my weaknesses, both physical and otherwise. 🙂

Thanks for being witnesses to this crazy journey I’m on, friends,



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…