Friday, December 17, 2010


I don't know about you but for some reason homeless people have always interested me. My thoughts about the homeless were completely different until I read a book called The Noticer. My friend Amanda gave it to me to read and I would encourage all of you to read it. The link takes you to the author, Andy Andrews, page and you can purchase the book from there and read more about him. That book changed my outlook on the homeless and for the first time I was actually interested in how people are helping the homeless. I know that sounds selfish that it actualy took me 24 years to even care, but God can change our hearts and he changed mine.

That leads me to talk about a little organization called Church on the Street.

There are over 12,000 homeless men, women and children in Atlanta. Now hear this- over 2000 are known as long-term or chronically homeless. Church on the Street isn't a homeless shelter that these people have to try to get into at night. They go out into the streets where these homeless people wander and live and build relationships with them. That is what Jesus called us to do- build relationships. The first part of what Church on the Street does is their outreach ministries. Before they even attempt to help these homeless get into shelters and get their life turned around, they begin by just trying to talk to them and minister to them. I'm stealing a quote from their website...

 The type of service that is needed by this group is not only basic sustenance, but also, and primarily, due to their engrained isolation, hopelessness and skepticism, consistent relationships with persons who care for their well-being unconditionally, are willing to be with them, and will speak honestly to them.

We don't know much about homeless people. We understand they need food, clothing, shelter, etc. Unfortunately, when it gets past that we are somewhat confused and don't let our mind go there. They are often in dangerous places. They are often what make places dangerous in our minds. They are not always easy to approach and friendly. They have been very isolated and don't have the social skills you or I might have. But, what Jesus taught us through his actions was to go out to the LEAST and the LOST. I'm pretty sure the homeless population fit that description.

The second part of what Church on the Street does is education. We all need to be educated about the homeless. I'm sitting here writing this blog and I know SO LITTLE. What I realize now though is that I do want to learn. I want to figure out what I can do to help to get them out of these situations. In addition to teaching people about the homeless population, they teach people how to reach out to the homeless population. Go check out their website and learn more and figure out how you can help!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I told you yesterday that today I wanted to talk about an organization that is in the middle of West Montgomery called Common Ground. It was started by a couple in Montgomery and they felt God's calling on their life to move to this neighborhood and transform it. It couldn't have been easy, it must have been scary. This was a type of neighborhood that many of us won't even drive through; yet, they were moving their life and their kids into this neighborhood. I copied in their mission because my words couldn't do it justice...

The Mission of Common Ground Montgomery is two-fold:

We seek to create a "safe haven" of love and grace along with structure and discipline for the children of our community when they are most vulnerable to the destructive influences of our streets.
We also concentrate on investing in our urban youth by focusing on "holistic development". We do this in three main ways.
First, our staff, with assistance from godly neighbors, is devoted to "life on life" training of the youth. We accomplish this by living in the community that we serve in; opening up our homes to the neighborhood kids and training them through biblically based "discipleship" relationships.
Second, we provide relationship-based programs that focus on character, social, and life skills development in various areas like academics, arts, sports, and entrepreneurship.
Third, we connect kids with loving Christian mentors from across our city. These enduring relationships begin in the 4th grade and carry on through the child’s high-school graduation.

I think this is so meaningful because they aren't just writing a check. Writing a check is sometimes so easy. Don't get me wrong, giving money to groups like this is very important and they appreciate every dime. What amazes me the most is how the founders and their staff changed their whole lifestyle and spend everyday building relationships with these kids and their families. Our church had a mission day the last weekend in October and our "mission field" for the day was Common Ground. We went in and some men did some construction work and everyone else just spent time playing with those kids. What a blessing it was. The smiles on their faces just to be hanging out were incredible. They don't forget your smiling face either. There were some kids from our youth group out there and they go out there to tutor and spend time with the kids during the week. They knew those youth and they knew about Saint James and were excited to see familiar faces. Chris and I can't wait for our next visit!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Reloaded...

This year our church has done a series over Christmas that is focusing on giving back and spending less on ourselves. As we have talked about this in church and in our small group I keep loving on this verse.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere--in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

I wanted to do a short little blog series about what this has meant to our church lately...

Jerusalem- this is like our family, our church, and our city. For Chris and me, this is our home, Saint James, and Montgomery. Right now our church has adopted three homes through a ministry in Montgomery called Common Ground. To learn a little bit more about them go to Common Ground Montgomery. Saint James will use volunteers to help renovate these houses and then build relationships with the people who move into them. A project I'm super excited about and looking forward to going out there and working some! Then of course, being with those precious kids!

Judea, Samaria- These are surrounding regions. For us this is our state and the surrounding states. Another ministry our church is working with is Church on the Street. Church on the Street is a ministry in Atlanta, Georgia working with the homeless population and ministering to them. There are over 12,000 homeless men, women, and children living in Atlanta. To learn more about their mission you can go to Church on the Street

Ends of the Earth- This is exactly where it says it is. Saint James is doing this in multiple ways. A few of which are adopting a Compassion International child, digging wells in Zambia, and helping with the rebuilding effort in Haiti to name a few. If you are interested in sponsoring a child definitely go to Compassion International. You can write letters back and forth with the child you sponsor and makes an enormous impact in the lives of those children.

A little extra thing I will talk about on my last post during this series is adoption. Two of my DEAREST friends are adopting from Uganda and it has become such a passion for me going through this process with them. They have started an adoption ministry at our church where parents who are interested in adopting or have adopted or in the process of adopting can all come together and help and serve one another.

Well enjoy your hump day.. my first post will be tomorrow on my Jerusalem and we're gonna talk a little bit about Common Ground!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why do we do this...

Why are we as people so quick to 1- assume the worst and 2- find joy when the worst turns out to be true and 3- find joy out of tearing people down and 4- only enjoy tearing people down when they are on top...

My heart breaks for Cam Newton right now, and surprisingly, not because I'm an Auburn fan. Two years ago barely anyone in this country knew his name. Now you would be hard pressed to find someone that didn't know his name. I am the first to admit I missed most of this football season due to wedding stuff; however, I know in July I had no idea who Cam Newton was and now I know exactly who he is. Let me go back to my points about why this is so hard for me to wrap my head around.

1- Every story in the book has come out about why he isn't eligible to play and why he is a bad person and immoral and has no ethics and he was bad in school, etc. We have all made mistakes. Not every mistake in his past has the opportunity to make him ineligible to play NCAA football; yet, people are talking about them anyway as if every single story is true. We as a people automatically assume the worst.

2- Deep down for some and for some you don't have to dig that deep, a lot of people want these stories to be true. For different reasons that they hide under a matter of "fairness." Why do people find joy in destroying a 21 year old's name, reputation, college experience, and possible career? Whether this was all true or all false, this should be somethting that we all sat down and hoped and prayed that it wasn't true because we should build eachother up and not tear eachother down. It is just football, it is just a game, and there is always another season. Sadly, some people want this to be true just because they don't want Auburn to be good or win the SEC or win the NCAA title. Putting all of my Auburn ties aside, that is incredibly sad.

3- Explained in point #2

4- Remember these people are all talking about things that a year and two years ago... If Cam Newton hadn't been a good quarterback at Auburn and just been a mediocre player and we had a mediocre season, would we still be hearing all this talk? NO! We wait until someone is at the top, leading a team towards the NCAA Title, front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, at what I would guess is one of the happiest moments in his life, truly living on top of that Ivory tower and then (not a moment before) we jump in and are ready to watch that tower crumble.

Overall, it breaks my heart to watch people around find such joy in the possibility that this college kid's life could tumble down around him. What happened to seeing the best in people, what happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Just my thoughts on the matter...
But at the end of the day as an Auburn fan I will quote words straight from Cam Newton's mouth...

"When God be blessin', the Devil be messin'" - Cam Newton

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hands and Feet...

As Christians we're called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Serving has been thrown at me constantly since we returned from Hawaii. We got back and Saturday morning our church had a Mission Day where about 350 volunteers went out and served in different areas of our community. Chris and I went out to Common Ground- speechless is the word. I had heard about the Ministry, met the founders before and heard them talk, heard about tons of people going out there. I had never actually gone out there myself until Sunday. It was incredible, the ministry is awesome, the kids are incredible, and it has been on my heart ever since. I urge you to go to their website and then check out the links that take you to some of the staff member's blogs- they are truly incredible!
Common Ground Montgomery

Then, Sunday our Pastor Lester preached on a book by a local well-known Pastor John Ed Mathison. John Ed's book is entitled Treasures of the Transformed Life and this week the topic was on "Giving a Drink to Others." Lester spoke about the different opportunities we have to serve and remembering that we are called to serve. He had people in our church who had passions in different missions come up and talk about their missions and how to get involved. I heard ya God- we need to be servants. We need to be your hands and feet.

It only continues and this is what got me the most. My small group at church is reading a book called Radical by David Platt who pastors a church in Birmingham, Alabama. Incredible book that pushes you and makes you look at things in a completely different light. The chapter I read last night was also about Serving. It took on an interesting debate about whether people all over the world who have never heard the Gospel go to Hell since they do not have faith in Christ. He went at it from every different answer and left you with the call to go. There are 1.5 billion people in this world who haven't heard the Gospel and don't know the love of Christ. Wow. Most people reading this heard the Gospel sometime between 1 and 5 years old and then who knows how many times after that. It just left me thinking, what can I do? How can I make a difference? What can I sacrifice for someone's SALVATION? What is bigger than that? A better question, what can I NOT sacrifice for someone's salvation?

I don't have the book next to me at the moment to quote this exactly; however, one of the most interesting points to me was this... God is above all, he is the ultimate healer, giver, he is powerful, he is strong, he can do all. So he could put the words of the Gospel written across the sky. That isn't what he chose to do though. Instead, he called us to share His word and share His love. What good are we as Christians if all we do is sit around with other Christians and learn more about our Faith when there are so many who know nothing about it?

I know that was all serious, but at the same time it is just some interesting thoughts.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Well hello! Sorry I have been such a bad blogger lately! Finishing up the wedding details and getting married have kept me quite busy! Here is a picture...

I can without any doubt say, IT WAS PERFECT! I have my groom, my husband, my love and we are thrilled to finally be The Whatley's! It was a perfect day and everything went off without a hitch and at the end of the day we were married which is all I ever wanted! We are truly just enjoying our happiness right now and look forward to what God has to offer us! We begin our real "honeymonth" tomorrow as my friend April likes to call it and so I will be out of the blogging for a little bit but will post with more wedding and honeymoon details when we return!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My new best friend...

Meet my new best friend, her name is Melatonin. So you obviously know that my complaint has been that I'm tired pretty much all the time. Last night I got it in my head that I would take some Melatonin before bedtime because its been known to help your sleep cycle. TAH-DAH, I woke up this morning feeling the best after an 8 hour sleep shift that I've felt in months! I may not be all cured because I still needed my daily dose of Diet Coke to keep me running but as of now I have a new best friend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Lord, I need time where there is no time. I pray you turn my minutes into hours that I can get everything done that is set out in front of me. I pray you turn my exhaustion into energy that I do not skip things because I am sleepy but that I keep going and get more done than ever expected! I pray you remind me of those moments that I need to be seeking you as opposed to doing what it is that I want at that moment. Lord I pray that you open my eyes to capture and enjoy every minute of this process. I thank you Lord for my wonderful life you have given me, I thank you for Chris and his kindness and love, I thank you that you gave me someone who loves you, I thank you for our families and their help in making October 9th happen, I thank you for the love you have given us that allows us to love other people, I thank you for our church family and their support in this time, I thank you for all of those surrounding us and pouring out their love and support on us. You are so good and I pray with confidence that you can do all and you will give me the time when I need the time to get things done. You will take my exhaustion away and replace it with extreme energy. Lord I love you with all of my heart. Thank you for this special moment and time and thank you for the future you have planned out for Chris and me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Less than 3 weeks...

As of today the countdown is at 19 days! Wow, literally only 19 days until I am Mrs. Chris Whatley! It has a pretty ring to it doesn't it? Well 19 days makes us pretty busy! I devoted my entire Saturday to my Mom and helping her to complete wedding stuff! We had LOTS to do! We went and had bows made, we bought things to wrap things in, we went to the rental place, we bought almost every ivory candle that Hobby Lobby had and plenty more!! Although we were super busy it was so much fun!! She has been amazing throughout the whole time and I am so thankful for her!

Then on Sunday Chris and I both went over (he's so helpful) and helped my Mom do some things to put together programs! Even she said when she got this grand idea about making these programs she never knew how much work it would be! I will say, they are BEAUTIFUL! The picture below is kinda what they look like but not really! They don't have the vellum cover and they have a little flap that goes down where the ribbon is and then the ribbon comes through that flap! All in all, they are very labor intensive! Chris and I only helped a little so all the credit goes to my wonderful Mom who not only thought up the grand idea but has pretty much put them all together single handedly! Not to mention she did all the creating and printing! Wow- I'm a lucky girl/Bride!!

That is the wedding update of the week! On another note which I will give you all the details of tomorrow, Chris and I are going to see Kings of Leon tonight in Birmingham! This is so much fun for multiple reasons...
1- Chris is so musical but this is the first concert we've been to that is music that I introduced him to!
2- We missed seeing them in concert last year because we were out of town at a family wedding and so this has been a long time coming!
3- They are my favorite favorite current music!! (For all music prior to now I'm obsessed with Van Morrison)

If you don't know who Kings of Leon are grab a song on ITunes and check them out!! I will fill you in on how incredibly wonderful it is tomorrow! Yay :)

Friday, September 17, 2010


Since meeting Chris and beginning our relationship together I have made some amazing friends, and one of them happens to be one of the people I admire most in this world. Our friends Brad and Rachel are just normal people to the outside world, she's an accountant and he is a Pastor at Saint James. To us, they are two people with the biggest hearts and love for God we know!

In November (fingers crossed :) they will travel to Uganda to bring home their new baby girl Amelia! She is the sweetest thing you have ever seen! They already have one daughter Caroline who Chris and I would truly take away from them if that wasn't looked down upon. You would want to take her too wouldn't you?

Through being her friend and supporting her through their adoption process I have learned SO MUCH! Ignorance is not so much bliss these days. Ignorance is turning your head so you don't see the things that are truly supposed to make your heart cry. Ignorance makes you forget about all those who are hurting so you can sit back in your comfortable lifestyle. Ignorance makes you continue your past beliefs that are incorrect and judgmental. While I am still very ignorant about so many things I have learned so much and learned to be accepting of things that the world calls us to look down upon or see as a stigma. Rachel has a blog about their adoption process called Heirs with Christ that you must read! Go back a few and read this series she posted about HIV and it will rock your world. I might have forgotten to mention how incredibly SMART they both are! Like I said, we think ignorance is bliss but turning your head to look at the world and truly taking it all in can completely change the way you serve, love, and glorify God's kingdom. So go read, let it change your opinions and mindset about the children of this world. It changed mine :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Home Sweet Home

No fear! The only reason I have been MIA for the past few days is because I have been out of town! Friday I left to go on my last hoorah as Jessica Seagraves and had my Bachelorette party! Thank you to all my wonderful friends and bridesmaids who made it such an incredible weekend for me- you all rock my world! Then Sunday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn to go to a work conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome. I got back yesterday and was relieved to be home!

It is amazing the little things in life that you just miss when you're away! I slept better last night, couldn't have had a bigger smile on my face to see Chris, enjoyed sitting at my desk at work today, felt back in my place at church last night- I love my routine!

Now onto wedding plan, FREAKING OUT! I mean like really, Chris and I are getting married in 24 days ~ Do you realize how soon that is? I DO! Monday while I was out of town Chris went and picked up my wedding band! :) No bigger smile could express how I felt when he let me wear it last night. Okay I will admit that I pretty much refused to take it off so he had to let me wear it for a lot longer. Sadly, he has put it away in hiding until the big day!

I know this post is such a ramble but I just had to get you back on track with my world! Now for the health update of the week! Good news, the EKG, 24 hour holter, and bloodwork came back NORMAL! So nothing is wrong there! More tests are to come but keep the prayers coming!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wires and Doctors and Tests Oh My!

First of all, HAPPY FRIDAY and WAR EAGLE!

It was a close call but a Win is a Win! Don't make us so nervous next time Auburn!

This afternoon I am headed off to my last hoorah before I become Mrs. Whatley with almost all of my bridesmaids for my Bachelorette Party in Atlanta! Soooo fun! I cannot wait!

Let me give you a little update about what has been going on in my life the last few days. I have been oddly tired most of the time for the last 8 or so months. We have pretty much just brushed it off and then on Monday I had a strange incident at the lake. I fell asleep on the swing at the lake and then when Chris tried to wake me up it was abnormally difficult to wake me up. It took him 4 or so minutes of shaking me, patting me on the back, talking to me before I would come to, etc. Then, when I did come to I was very disoriented, dizzy, had a horrible headache, my memory was hazy, and more. It took about 45 minutes before I was my normal self again and then I still had a headache. Then, a similar incident happened on Wednesday morning. This is when the doctors came into play. My three sets of caretakers- Chris, my parents, and Chris' parents made sure I went to a doctor. Wednesday afternoon I went to the doctor and first they checked my blood sugar which was low. (Background info- I'm hypoglycemic) Then Chris started talking to him about everything that happened and other symptons those around me have noticed and thats when I became overwhelmed. My wonderful doctor who I have seen for 20 years (yes that is all the life I can even remember) started pulling out forms and listing the tests I have to go through.

So, on this day that was 31 days until I get married he began to tell me before the wedding I need to have ....
1- Blood/Lab Work
2- Wear a holter (heart monitor) for 24 hours (Image of what that looks like below)
3- EEG
4- EKG
5- MRI of the Head
6- Carotid Ultrasound
7- Glucose Tolerance Test
8- Sleep Study

Hmmm- I think that might be it! So I wore my heart monitor for 24 hours with wires all over me looking as if I was a test subject- thank you for not making me wear that during my Bachelorette party! So whew thats a lot. Please keep me in your prayers as they do all of these tests that they figure out what is making these strange things happen!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Think back, do you remember those feelings when something happens and you just know that God did that for you and you were taken care of? This morning we had our 3rd of 4 Pre-Marital counseling sessions with our Senior Pastor Lester Spencer and his wife who is another one of our pastors, Janeese. These sessions were just meant to be, I leave them completely filled with joy and encouraged about the life Chris and I have ahead of us.

Any couple could go to Pre-marital counseling with Lester and Janeese and I'm sure have a wonderful experience and learn a great deal because they are two very very wise and Godly people. However, I'm not sure any two people could have the experience that Chris and I have. Lester and Janeese have characteristics about their relationship that run very parallel to Chris and I and they have been such a blessing and encouragement to us throughout our engagement period.

As the divorce rate continues to rise I think it is so important that couples go through this. Saint James is adding a new program for couples that are about to get married that is a Mentoring Program. Very cool program especially since one of my Role Models in life is heading it up (I love you Lil!)! Couples will be matched up with an older married couple and will meet with them throughout their engagement period and then follow up and meet with them after the wedding. Now, we didn't go through this program since it is just getting started but I can promise you we have PLENTY of couples at STJ that we feel are our mentors. I could spend a whole blog just listing those people who have watched us throughout our whole relationship and we love each and every one of you more than you know. I think that program will be so cool though because who can help you out more in preparing for marriage than those that have stuck it out through the thick and thin and learned from it. Very cool! I pray that this new mentoring program will be a blessing for both mentors and young couples involved in it and hope that one day Chris and I will be that older couple mentoring a young couple who is standing where we are today.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Splish Splash!!

Bath time for a soon to be 8 month old!! I wish I had a picture to capture the moment Chris and I had last night. First let me reintroduce ourselves, I'm Aunt Jess and he is Uncle Chris. I am truly an Aunt Jess to my brother's sweet little daughter Cadence but last night we were Aunt Jess and Uncle Chris to one of our onofficial nieces, Amy Kate Damato! Our friends April and Matt had a sweet little girl back on January 21st! Well being new parents they don't get many "date nights" so I just went right along and offered Chris and my babysitting services up and on we ventured to the land of Amy Kate Damato! What a ball we had! Well I knew because I'm such a good listener that her bedtime is between 7:30 and 8:00 and you could tell this little girl was getting sleepy. She started getting a little fussy and even me who has no Mommy experience could tell that it was just a sleepy cry. Well I knew that she normally gets a bath before bedtime so I ingeniously decided that Chris and I should give her a bath!!

Hmmm, smartest decision I've ever made- probably not! Good thing she can sit up and could sit in the bath or else I would have been LoSt! She cried a little at first but then once I started splashing my feet around her she got all excited and I think there were a few smiles as Chris held her slippery self while I soaped her up and washed her off!

After bath time I knew it was sleepy time but couldn't bear the thought of just putting her down and listening to her cry so I just walked around and rocked her a little bit and it melted my heart to watch her head just fall down and sleep as I held her. I'm not ready for Chris and I to venture into the road of parenthood just now; however, holding that sweet little girl in my arms as she slept was a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Title...

Hello all!

Before starting to write to you and wanting you to believe the words that you're reading, I must admit I started with a lie. Our oh so cute title, "A Whatley World" isn't completely true for me YET! We have 32 days left until we make it official so I cannot officially be a Whatley until then. However, the title was too cute to change the name to "The Soon to be Whatley World." Chris is convinced that our title is way too cheesy, fortunately for me I am the one writing it so it doesn't matter!

A little introduction to "The Whatley's"...

This is us a week ago at a shower our wonderful friends threw for us!
We are so blessed!

Chris is 29 and a Fleet Manager with a pharmaceutical company. While the rest of us probably see dealing with accident management and other car issues a complete pain, he is a total car guy! So breath easy, while I would rather work 60 hour weeks than deal with car stuff all day long, he loves his job! In his spare time he's playing guitar at church or parties around town and being a typical guy. He loves to ski more than anything and just learned how to scuba dive!

Jessica- Well I'm 24 and just started a new job with the Family Sunshine Center as a Prevention Educator. Hmmm, you may ask what it is I'm trying to prevent! Well we are a non-profit agency working to break the cycle of family violence and sexual assault. This includes domestic violence, child abuse, etc. In my spare time I'm reading, with friends, or at Saint James doing something!

This is us, there will be more to come but I thought an introduction would settle for our first post!