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!)

On Finding Your Golden Comb...

Sweet Rubi chops my hair like a champ, and I’m convinced it’s because she’s got a magic wand up that stylish little sleeve of hers.

Since my last several styles have been the product of her own artful handiwork, I’ve sworn that no one else should ever come near my head with a set of scissors ever again.  She always seems to turn my untamed mane into something that punctuates the way that I express my personal style, and can't we all just agree that a good hair cut is like the silky smooth icing on a perfectly frosted cake? 

While I know that her brilliant aesthetic and extensive experience play a major part in such dazzling work, I have a hunch that the shiny golden comb she uses as her signature tool doesn’t hurt.

Besides that magic wand, though...

>  She knows how to use JUST the right fringe to compliment any face.
>  Her creative projects inspire me to push forward in my own pursuits.
>  She listens to a LOT of ladies each week, but those wise chocolate eyes always make me feel like she holds my words amidst a special place in her tender heart. (Quite possibly the best skill of them all, no?)

I truly believe that she sees nothing but beauty beneath layers of locks, and when you combine all these things with a comb that literally glints in the light with every swipe? It makes sitting in her chair feel less about looking good and more about watching a dear friend do what she loves best.

(In my world, we call this a trip to Beauty Parlor Heaven.)

Her flair for what she does, that extra-special something that is added to every encounter... It is far beyond what I see most people infuse into their everyday work.  This lady is truly in love with her craft, and I love letting her sprinkle that passion into my pixie whenever I can.

Not only has her signature skill inspired me to find an actual golden comb to keep in mybeauty cabinet at home (maybe it holds a little magic of it’s own?), but now I'm convinced that having a trademark tool is a great way to symbolize the special brilliance that spreads throughout whatever you do.

I’m in a brainstorm-y mood (look-out universe!), so play along by telling me what you do each day and I’d love to help you come up with a magic wand of your very own.  You know I love chit-chatting with you here, sweet sisters...  Just hit reply and we’ll come up with something special together!

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

Ps. - Your responses to last week’s question are SO precious and I’ve been working on an individual (video!) response to every single one. How fun is that?! Stay tuned if you're still waiting for yours, and as always - hearing what is on your heart feels like SUCH a big blessing every week. :)

P.Ps. - More of a hairbrush kind of gal? I'd never leave you behind! Happy detangling!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT // This sneaky sweater set will blow your mind, never thought I'd be eating apples three ways at once, little old me on Taxi TV, and Broadway's latest musical: Jessie and the Amazing Monochromatic Dreamcoat.

On Sharing Your Sweet Hearts...

Each time I get a rung higher on the ladder of years, the view expands and my perspective of beauty and adventure seems to grow.  

I look around at the world through lenses of love, and can see that pouring into others is a true expression of the person that God created me to be.  Writing these love notes to you each week is the closest I have ever come to having a band of sisters to be a part of, and while it feels like SUCH an amazing gift - I know that eventually, it could morph into something quite different from how it looks now.

(Not going anywhere just yet, but you know I love to dream about the next best things!) 

Trying to make sure that my head and heart are on the same page because they deserve to be prepared for whatever else is next in store.  Instead of sharing buckets of words with you today, I’m going to request one BIG favor as a leeeeetle birthday gift:
If you could ask a big sister or mama or mentor just one thing today… What would it be?

(Please play along -- I’d love to get to know your own sweet heart a little more!)
I may not know exactly how you feel, but I know what it’s like to have emotions like tidal waves.

I may not have the most poised answers, but I know that holding out for the heartfelt can deliver big blessings.

I may not be a fairy godmother, but will happily pile generous helpings of grace on that pretty little plate of yours.

I may not be the bravest soul, but I’m a big fan of flooring it past fear.

I’m certainly nowhere NEAR perfect, but I believe that confidence comes from truth, and I know with all my heart that you were created to go out into the world and do great things. ;)

From Swirling Golden Leaves & Gusty Days,

XOXO - Jessie Pepper