On Belonging + Belief...

"I believe in Dark Chocolate... Anything less than 80% cacao is practically a sin."

Someone asked me what I believe in the other day, and I flippantly let the previous statement come tumbling out of my mouth...

Not because I meant to make light of the topic (spirituality + sweets are both quite important to me, actually), but because the question they were REALLY asking is so hard to sum up in one bite-sized little chunk.

Here's the honest truth, though: 

My faith is swirled throughout my life like something I've never known could be more deliciously real.  

Ribbons of the richest love you'd ever taste, generously drizzled on every single thing that my heart touches. Important to note that I would never dream of taking credit for such a decadent gift, but the moment it melts in my mouth? I can hardly keep from sharing those big hunks of holy with everyone I know.

It doesn't come up here nearly as often as I'd like, because I want to create a space where Pepper Girls of any faith (or none at all) feel just as much at home as a true sister would... 

My eyes instantly well up as I type those very words, and I always hope you can feel the earnestness of my heart beating right through the screen.  

Setting chocolatey-goodness and getting choked-up to the side -- the next time someone asks, I know just what I'll say:



I believe that everything belongs. 

People. Breath. Bodies.
Spaces. Stories. Prayers. 
Creatures. Paths. Cries.
Laughter. Flames. Words. Waves.
Moves. Kisses. Babies.
Shared meals. Bitter-sweet songs.
Hurt. Mistakes.
Bravery.


I believe that everything belongs,
because He is in everything.

[Click to share.]


One of my favorite writers recently touched the molten-lava-cake core of my heart with his book by the same name, and the idea has stuck with me ever since I got the chance to savor every page.  (Highly recommend the read!)

I know this is all a little (lottle?) outside the norm of my usual note to you here, but I'm feeling a bit brave and this lovely Spring has me ready to explore a new space. :)

Before you click along to your next digital blip, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the very same thing...

If someone asked you this morning, "What do you believe?" -- Which would be the very first words to slip out of your mouth? 

Hit reply to share your heart with me here, and you know that our chats are always the brightest part of my week!

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - Almost forgot the VERY IMPORTANT *quick* follow-up question... Are we thinking WITH sea salted pistachios or without?! ;)

On Tenderness Amidst Trip-ups...

“HOW COULD YOU BE SO STUPID?!"

"I'm never buying you anything. EVER. AGAIN."

Watching yelly parents in action is something that makes me squirm under NORMAL circumstances, but when I’m seat-belted less than two feet away (within the tiny confines of an airplane cabin)…  You can go ahead and count it as one of my least favorite ways to watch a budding spirit get crushed.

To clarify — This wasn’t some little brat who was kicking the back of my seat or screaming for "MORE JUUUUUUUIIIIIIIICCCCCE!”  

This little guy could not have been more than three years old, and hadn't gotten even a single sip of his soda before accidentally spilling the entire cup on the iPad in front of him. (Ironically eliciting a huge commotion from the parent who shoved it in his hands to keep him quiet in the first place.)

I held my breath while watching the crocodile tears ROLL down those ruddy little cheeks, and did everything I could to keep from wrapping my arms around him in a hug.

He was visibly shaken to his tiny three-year old core, and I could immediately relate to the mix of emotions that follow a big spill.  

(Probably because it’s a weekly occurrence for me, and I don’t have to think back very far.)

That sad little kiddie-cocktail was made up of equal parts devastation and embarrassment, then combined with a dash of bitterness from the loss of one very special bubbly drink. 

I get it, Little Dude... What’s the point of a Bob the Builder Marathon without your Ginger Ale!

The toothpick that really pierced my martini-olive-heart?  His mama continued to berate him for “treating their stuff like shit,” (Earmuffs!) but it didn't really seem like she was treating him very well at all.

Parenting expert I AM NOT, but any adult bystander could be sure that the wrong person was having the temper-tantrum in this situation.
 
Plus, I know that very few problems are fixed by hurling insults at the person who has disappointed us, no?

It got me thinking about the last several times that I had witnessed such unwarranted criticism, and I’m sad to say that I often see women treat themselves with this very same toxic tone again and again. 

Including me.

We all spill. We blurt.
We trip. We cry.
We fall. We curse.
We make mistakes.
We have bad days.

We are not perfect, but still deserve to be treated as the dazzling creatures we were designed to be. 

Just wanted to be today's little reminder that tending to that precious heart of yours is going to mean plenty of grace and rest along the way. ;) 

With Tenderness & A Life-time Supply of Tide Pens,

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

We are not perfect, but still deserve to be treated as the dazzling creatures we were designed to be.

MORNING REFRESH  //  Looking for some fun healthy breakfast ideas? Check out Part II of my fun video series with Plum Vida and get inspired to start your day off right. ;) 

ASK JESSIE PEPPER: How to know if you're on the right track...

I’m back! And I come bearing gifts!

You may have noticed that Pepper Letters took a bit of a breather since the first of the year, but after Twenty Fourteen's 52 love notes in a row, I had a feeling you’d forgive me. ;)

The good (GREAT!) news is that I’ve got a little something that I’ve been excited to send your way for weeks, and I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement and permission from a few of YOU, my sweet Pepper Girls...

A few months ago, I curiously tossed this question at you in the close of a letter: “If you could sit down with a mentor, older sister or trusted friend right this very instant, what would you ask her?"

The heartfelt replies that I received were honest, scary and beautiful all at once.

Even though it gave me a glimpse at how vast our oceans of hurt can be, just knowing that you are comfortable enough to share some of your stormiest struggles was a total gift, in my eyes.

It felt so important to respond with more than just a few clickety-clacks on the keyboard, so I decided to record special videos messages to each one of you who reached out with a personal prompt. The earnest chats that followed have been confirmation that we are more than just ships passing in the night… Many of us fill our sails with the same spirit, experience the same title waves of emotion and like to enjoy the same bouts of swimming and splashing whenever we can.

When we share both the bleak and bright parts of our lives in community (alongside women we trust), it can truly wash up some of the most glittery treasures this magpie has ever seen.

Today, I’m sharing (with express permission!) one of the special videos that I recorded, and my hope is that you’ll continue to share your heart with me here so that I can do my best to be the sister I was created to be.

A quick recap:

What does YOUR version of the right life look like? I'm guessing that you're seeing glittery glimpses in the stories of those around you, but I'm here to say that YOU, my Dear, are destined to shine your own kind of bright. [Click to tweet.]

Set your timer for 25 minutes. (Extra points if you've got a hot cup of tea handy.) On a crisp-clean piece of paper, write down what the daydream version of your brightest life looks like.

+ Whose hearts will you touch?
+ How will you make a difference?
+ What will you create?
+ What does the perfect day look like?
+ How do you go about feeling healthy & happy?

The best version of yourself will start to surface, and knowing what this looks like can be so handy in guiding you toward the actionable items needed to follow that "right track" that you're seeking. (Which is only spot-on because you've drawn it on the map yourself.)

Have faith, listen to your heart, and I can't wait to hear about your incredible adventure of getting there. :) 

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

(Looking for extra help with navigation? You know I'm always standing by when you need me!)

Vulnerability allows us to start the work of shining light into dark places, and I am infinitely blessed by this bright little garden of growth we’ve created... Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, and let's see what might flourish by exploring life with new friends! 

On Finding Joy in the Journey...

I think eating sushi must make me smarter.

The last few times I’ve had light-bulb moments have been between dunks of a shitake roll into wasabi-laced soy sauce…

I know there's a theory about hand-and-mouth activity being good for cognition, but my hunch is that the spice is really what kick-starts my brain.

A few weeks ago, I was at an incredible Japanese restaurant with some new friends in Austin, and someone asked that we go around the table and answer the question:

“What is the one big thing that you learned from 2014?”

As I listened to everyone share their insight and accomplishments (which were both blindingly bright and equally inspiring) - I began to panic while my turn inched closer.

Was I distracted by the blistered shishito peppers and braised eggplant, or my frosty glass of perfectly chilled sake? 

Yes! Obviously, YUM! 

Was I enthralled by the table-full of such brilliant minds and cozy-warm hearts?

Of course! Right from the start.

Was I so overwhelmed by all of the good snippets to share that I froze to keep from sounding blurt-y or boastful?

Humility always seems to have a much greater return.

When I finally made myself work up the chops[ticks] to just say what came to mind first, I was relieved by the feelings of content that I found in such a loaded moment.
 
I wish I could say that I’m writing to share some profoundly original or encouraging soundbite, but my answer for the table was starkly sincere. (Yet, it satiates my heart just the same.)

Twenty Fourteen has taught me that achieving a lofty goal is NOT always the greatest reward… Some of our most treasured moments are made by simply enjoying the road along an ambitious adventure. [click to tweet]

I don’t think that goal-setting and dream-catching are intrinsically wrong (otherwise I’d be in trouble with a Capital T), but I DO know that having a "why" rooted in the right reasons can keep us from being distracted by the final outcome or derailed by fear

If these big dreams are truly driven by our heart’s desires, we can trust co-pilots Patience & Peace to help us appreciate the scenery along the way. When I realized that taking joy in the journey is WAY more fun than stressing over the view that flies by my window, I decided to crank up the music, grab my favorite snack, and invite your sweet road-tripping selves to do the same. :)

Hoping that your 2015 has mountains of blessings on the horizon, and I’ll see you right back here next year!

Countdown to Confetti Kisses,

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - Care to tell me what your own heart has learned in the past twelve months? You KNOW that I’m truly dying to hear... If it feels funny at first, just pretend that we’re sharing something sweet and singing along in the backseat!


PARTY-WORTHY STYLE // I can hardly believe that my cherry on top of 2014 was a national TV segment & partnership with Pinterest a little earlier this week!  Go here to take a peek at my Good Morning America debut, and please promise me you'll partake in something shimmery tonight. (Even if it's just these!)