On Feeling Grateful for my Pepper Girls...

Tupperware (and tummies!) loaded with leftovers.  

Inboxes stuffed to the BRIM with bargains.

Anyone else feeling full of so many things today?

My own love-tank is overflowing from lots of quality time and cuddles over the past few days, and our cozy home is being decked for the holidays as we speak... 

But before I get back to the twinkle lights and tinsel, here's what I REALLY popped in to tell you today:

I could not have done this year without you, Darling.

The chance to write from my heart and share hugs through the screen has continued to bless me, week after week.

I'm very thankful for so many things, but the fact that you open these notes and read my words is something that makes my heart skip two beats.

Watching this tribe grow from just one little sister to a full fledged family is something that still feels so especially surreal, and I can't wait to uncover the best bits waiting for us up ahead!

Until then -- I'll trust that you can feel the the warmth of this thank you from the bottom of my very-full heart, and I pray that you know how much the gift of your presence truly means to me!

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

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

On A Love That Lights Up the Sky...

Quick story:  There was an evening last Summer when I was feeling particularly down in the dumps (happens from time to time, yes?) and became so exasperated that I began writing out a list of things that were bumming me out.  

As I glanced back over what I had written, I realized that it was mostly comprised of things that I don’t like about myself (which is putting it mildly) and it was beginning to look like the makings of an EPIC pity party.  Nothing like a shameful shin-dig to bring your health issues, physical shortcomings and mental weaknesses together so that they can laugh about you behind your back (while they drink all your wine and knock over the fancy vase of flowers on your nightstand).

Get out of my room, you jerks!

I immediately wished I hadn’t wasted time on such a useless task!  Ripping up the pages made me feel a leeeettle better, but what really made a difference was the bright little thought that floated into my brain and softened my heart:  

“You are fully, fiercely & faithfully loved.” 

Though I felt (and often still feel) quite unworthy of such a weighty claim… It’s something that I believe with my whole heart to be true for each one of us.  Whether that love comes from your soul mate or your parents or your BFF or your children or your God...

You are worthy of every last speck of that sizzling shine. 

(And how blessed are you if it’s all of the above?!)

As my own shimmering thought faded, I suddenly felt challenged to start a new kind of list: One filled with a collection of things that I know to be true, and ways I try to add meaning and merit to the world around me.  It is not something that I’ve revisited more than two or three times since then, but knowing that it is in my notebook and ready to light up my sky has kept me from finishing the plans for the original pity party.

If anything, today’s Pepper Letter is to make sure you know that someone, somewhere is sending you love in a major way right this very moment... I hope you can feel my hugs from here, and please feel free to share this sentiment with anyone in need of a little extra love this week! :)

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

P.S. - Have you ever seen a little baby love a Mama so much?  Thanks to my right-hand-gal (Haile!), for sending this along and brightening my day.

P.P.S. - Any crazy Valentine’s Day plans I need to know about?  Did anyone else choose TOMORROW as a day to move across the country for 6 weeks and still happen to not becompletely packed?  NO?!  Ok - Just us then. 

On Loving That Lady in the Mirror...

Does anyone else find all of the hubbub around Valentine’s Day a bit amusing (to say the least)?  I’ll be the first one to tell you how much I LOVE love, but then I come across things like this, and I just can’t help but laugh hysterically at the honest truth.

Whether you are feeling smitten or standoffish at this time of year…  I’d like to chat a bit about the importance of loving YOURSELF amidst a month typically focused on glittery cards, cheap roses and tiny, yet expensive dinners.  (Why are the dang portions so small, anyway?)

By giving ourselves generous helpings of grace, regular affirmations, and treating ourselves with the same tenderness that we'd treat a soul mate or a child can make a massively positive difference in the way that we perceive our own worth.  Sounds just a smidge selfish until you realize that women with high-levels of confidence are known for accomplishing great things, and I just KNOW you've got big dreams for this life, my sweet friend.

Truthfully, I hadn’t ever thought much about the impact that active self-care can have on the people around me until I picked up The Happiness Project by Grechen Rubin this past Fall (it was one of the best things I laid eyes on in 2013!).  There were SO many reasons why I loved the book, and reading about all of the ways that she sought to add joy to her life was truly contagious.  

She tested and observed the different ways in which increasing her own happiness affected every area of her existence, and the following observation seemed to continually pierce my heart like cupid’s arrow:  Loving yourself is quite possibly the best way to emphasize and grow your capacity to love others.

You might be thinking, “Sure, Sure - It SOUNDS nice, but most days my brain keeps a running list of ways that I could work more or be a better friend or look differently from the way that I do now.  How do I love the lady in the mirror despite such a nagging, dragging list?” 

I’ve written a bit about my struggle with the very same concept before, but also love how it’s phrased in this little snippet below:

The practice of loving myself has been filled with ups and downs- and that is ok- because it is a “practice” and I am still learning to get good at it. The practice of loving myself has brought miracles into my life. As Louise Hay says so beautifully “You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens.”
— Serena Dyer

B-Money happens to agree with me on this point... YOU are a treasure, and I think we can all admit that treasures deserve to be treated with resounding love and precious care.

Will you give it a go for me this week?  If it feels too daunting, I’d be curious to hear more about whether there is something specific that might be standing in your way… Let me know by replying below, and I always look forward to hearing what's on your heart, my sweet Pepper Girls.

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

P.S. - If you live in NYC, I’d love to see you at the Self-Love Celebration I’m co-hosting with a few fabulous ladies tomorrow night… Tickets are available right here, and I’m so excited that I’ll get a chance to hug some of you there!

MAJOR FAVE:  Dark chocolate, you guyzzzz!  It’s popping up in all shapes and sizes this month, but I’m partial to this organic & fair-trade variety... I go through a bar every week!  It rations out perfectly as a little after-dinner morsel, and I can’t help but tell myself that treasres deserve a special treat at the end of the night. :)