Monday, July 31, 2017

Until Then

I thought of a dozen ways to write this post and along with it many a phrase to spin my decision in a clever way, but I think I want to land with something simple:

Starting today, I am going offline and 
do not plan to return until 2018. 

This has been a long time coming. I'm honestly not sure when I first felt the nudge from the Lord to let it go, but it was long enough ago that the final decision to release this place came with a sigh of relief. My spirit knew it was necessary, but my stubbornness held on. God knows what I need but sometimes it takes my heart a while to catch up and hand over the reigns.

Image credit: @nataliefranke 

Now, don't get me wrong, the internet and social media are not bad things. My dependence upon them, addiction to them, and the pride I take from them are. They have reigned supreme for far too long, and it is time to let go.

After eight years in the blog-o-sphere, I have been taking more of my identity and security in the numbers and the name than in being a disciple of Jesus. Even my most well-intentioned encouragements, efforts toward personal/spiritual growth, and the everyday have become something I need to document "just so" and in "just the right light" to please the feed.

It's exhausting. It has become empty. And it's time to say goodbye for a while. 

So today I am putting an away message on my blog, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages in order to disconnect to better connect with my own heart, my Savior, and my local community. I debated whether to go for simply a month or two, but in the end I felt the call to take this full stretch to the end of the year to live offline and to reevaluate my priorities.

If I feel the okay to return with the New Year, I will.
If I don't, I won't.
And I think I'm going to be okay with that.

This place has brought about some of my most treasured friends and spoken encouragement into my life in really dry times, so it is hard to step away. I also reach for my phone 193847 times a day. But I'm praying and believing this retreat will the the catalyst for breakthrough that I've been praying for for quite some time. Will you pray that along with me?

If you need/want to get in contact during this time, feel free to send me an e-mail at I can't promise to respond immediately, but I do plan to give it a look from time to time.

Sending blessings and grace your way!
Bailey Jean

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bailey Jean Reads: The Captain's Daughter

* I received a copy of The Captain's Daughter from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own. 
*This post also includes affiliate links. They won't cost you a penny more, but I'll get a small commission. Sonic Happy Hour, here I come! 

I'm back on track with my reading goal for 2017, hitting book 28 out of 75 with The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere. I first fell in love with reading in elementary school thanks to a Christian historical fiction series, and I've been deeply attached to the genre ever since. This one was an easy choice for me for a number of reasons, but first I'll give you a glimpse of the back cover:
"When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.  
 A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he's glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can't wait to leave behind. "
Can anyone guess why I was excited about this one? ;) Historical fiction + theatre?! You betcha! Therefore you could say that I went in with high expectations and they were met. Mostly.  I'd give The Captain's Daughter ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5) stars over all, and I'd recommend it and read it again pretty easily, too.

Please ignore the title though.... honestly that bumped off the half star because I'm kind of irked that they labeled Rosalyn "the captain's daughter" when that's relevant for around 2.5 seconds in the book.  Yes, her father was a sea captain, but he is out of the picture, and that is left unresolved and a very small factor in the series of events that unfold. 😑 It is the first of three novels about the three Bernay sisters, so I could see it being a factor in book three with Cara's story, but still. I'd have called this one "In the Limelight" or something more theatrical.

Over all I really enjoyed it. In fact, I started and finished it on the same day; it was perfect for a slow recovery Sunday after my wild week in California.  I selected it for the theatre and stayed for the characters. A quick read, and, like I said the first of three though I think each book will follow one of the sisters individually rather than keep this particular plot line going. 👌🏻 Either way, I can definitely see myself picking up the next two volumes when they're released!

Pick up your copy of The Captain's Daughter here
It's a great summer read, and I'd love to know what you think!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Simplify to Thrive: Summer Goals

Ooooh y'all. Are you feeling that summer heat yet? We certainly are in Texas! It has been in the upper 90's, and it's just going to keep on climbing. Maybe that's why I'm headed for the coast on Friday ;) The escape is about to be much needed.

In this half year (or so) of sporadic blogging, the most consistent thing I've done is shared my goals for 2017 --and by most consistent I mean sometimes it's the only blog post I manage to get up in a month! Eek! What I'm excited to share with you today is the summer goal refresh I've done to set myself up for success in the next few months.

One of my favorite pages in the 2017 PowerSheets!

I am a die-hard fan and faithful user of Lara Casey's PowerSheets, and I have been since the summer of 2013. They were a great tool to launch my first post-grad dreams, and they have been a consistent help and encouragement to make what matters happen in life no matter how my seasons have changed over the years. They've just sold out of the 2017 PowerSheets, but have no fear! Next year's workbooks will release in the fall!

Now for the summer refresh! I took a look at my 2017 goals and my spring refresh, simplifying (hey-o word of the year!) to five goals for the summer.

Summer Simplified: A Goal Refresh

1. In the Word daily! This is a habit and love I want to cultivate in every season, and I know it's one that can easily fly out the window when my schedule varies from day-to-day with travels and events (and the occasional snooze until noon...). I also don't want to over-complicate this; if I do it will make this less likely to happen on a regular basis. For my travels I am planning to use the Illustrated Faith "I Am" devotional and some basic Bible journaling supplies. You can find the devotional and follow along HERE.

2. Heart healthy habits! This one may be the most challenging to implement with so much traveling, but I plan to at least attempt it! I want to get my steps in every day and cut down on carbs and sugars as much as I can, making healthier choices when eating out is our only option. We are also AirBnB-ing quite a bit, so I'm hoping we can pick up some breakfast foods and snacks that will set us up for success.

3. Build a budget! Mmmmm.... money matters are not my favorite, but I have some specific savings and debt-releated goals that I want to work toward, so why not start this summer? I am working up a budget for each of my trips and accounting for monthly expenses to stay on top of those while I'm gone. I also have a certain amount I want in my savings account before the end of August, and I'm moving into a house the first of that month which will bring rent down immensely! If you are looking for a good budgeting resource, I am using the worksheets by Ruth Soukup she offers through her blog.

4. Read, rest, refuel! Summer is a glorious thing, and I certainly needed it after my first year of teaching! While making things happen is important and planning ahead is not bad either, I want to make time to do those things that fill me up and refuel my tank before starting year two in the fall. I'm on track to read 75 books this year (see my reads so far HERE!), and thanks to the Modern Mrs. Darcy's daily kindle deals I've prepped my e-book collection for the month ahead! I am also looking to implement downtime in the midst of my travels. This introvert heart of mine can only be so on for so long.

5. Simplify social media! Anyone else addicted to their smartphone? I got the Moment app and oof! Was that an eye-opener! Anywho, now that I am incredibly overwhelmed and embarrassed by the amount of time I spend on social media, my goal is to simplify for the summer. I plan to take plenty of pictures as I travel, but I plan to only post one or two during the day instead of 92472920 so I can stay more present in the moment with my friends. Plus, you'll have more to read about here when I share the trip on the blog! Also, I want to go back through my various feeds and clean them out again. The comparison game has been going strong for quite some time, and it's time to hit the mute button.

Exclamation points and stickers just make everything so much more exciting, don't they? ;) You can also see a peek at how I used the rest of the goal refresh sheets in the picture above. I've decided to color code these goals to help implement them on my tending lists, so I used the blank spaces to brainstorm possible action steps for each of the goals. I will then mark them off as they are completed over the next few months!

Now it's time to soak up the summer and sign off for a bit.
What are you planning to make happen this summer?!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Dear June | The Little Letter Link Up

I was looking for a fun way to jump back in this month, and Kristin's Little Letter Link Up sounded like the perfect fit! Let's see how June has been treating me so far ;) 

Dear June, how did you get here so fast? This first year teacher --now second year!-- is oh so thankful, but it's still pretty startling. One minute I'm writing finals and submitting grades, then the next I'm in the thick of summer. This feels pretty fantastic.

Dear Love Bailey Jean, I'm still trying to figure out what to do with you. I love and miss blogging, but I have not had the energy or made the time to do much beyond Instagram this year. I'm looking to change that this summer, so stay tuned! Today is the first step on the next leg of our eight year (?!?!?) journey.

Dear faithful readers,  hello, it's me.... *insert more Adele lyrics here*. Thank you for hanging around and dropping in from time to time! It's been so fun to connect on social media while this space has taken a bit of a nap, but I promise I'm coming back with some fun new content and more consistent posts as the summer goes on.

Dear purple polkadot suitcase, thank you to the moon and back for holding all the things on all the trips I've taken (and will take) this summer. In New York City you packed plenty of options for some seriously bipolar weather, and on the way back from Seattle you landed at 50lbs on the dot to safely carry all the books and clothes I bought back home. Now, mom and I may disagree on your color (you are a shade of PURPLE not pink, I tell you!) but we can probably both agree that you have been a truly faithful companion over the last four years. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Dear Wonder Woman, you were just as amazing and inspiring as I hoped you would be! Talk about some motivation to get up, get active, get into shape, and get moving on some big dreams and schemes! Seeing you in XD (not 3D) was definitely a great choice, and I do plan to see you again so soon!

Dear Chris Pine, thank you for being just as wonderful as ever. I fell head over heels during Princess Diaries 2 and have swooned ever since.

Dear Seattle, it was lovely to see you again. You really showed off your summer sun and colors -your best kept secret!- in full force while I was in town. Thanks a million! I loved exploring the market with friends who had never been and meeting up with old friends and favorites from years gone by. How has it been three years since I moved away from you?!

Dear BCS, it's creeping up on the one year mark (this August) since I moved here, and it feels like I've already lived a lifetime in this tiny college town. Actually, I wouldn't say you're tiny, especially in comparison to the last tiny college town I lived in for grad school. Thank you for having all the things I need: Target, Chick-fil-a, Cracker Barrel, Hobby Lobby... you know, the basics. ;)

Dear friend, thanks for dropping by. You mean the world to me.
Bailey Jean

Jump on in over at Taz & Belly for The Little Letter Link Up. You can find her post (and others) HERE!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Simplify: May 2017 Goals

Is it any wonder that the May goal update is coming in the final days? Y'all should know me all enough to understand it's a miracle that they're up at all! May meant the wrapping up of my first year of teaching, and OH MY STARS it feels so good to be finished! I haven't truly had time to process it all, but my oh my I'm so relieved to have that first year under my belt.

Plenty of other things were on the agenda for this month, so let's take a look at what the goals were to begin with and how I did as things went along!

Monthly Goals:
1. Go to NYC with RHS Choir & Theatre. What a trip! If you were following along on instagram, you'll have seen our wild airport adventures as well as the pizza tour that was AH-mazing. We had such a good time and the students handled it all so well. We also saw three amazing shows: Wicked, School of Rock, and A Bronx Tale. Honestly it was such a blast that it deserves its own post in the very near future.

2. Go to Seattle for the Illustrated Faith Retreat. I have been on the Illustrated Faith creative team for around two years now, and these woman mean oh so much to me. I joked about having a team retreat probably on week one, and this last weekend we finally had it! I'm currently in Seattle, basking in the beauty of our time together, as I write this. The retreat was more than anything I could have asked for! It also deserves its own post, so stay tuned.

3. Finish the school year strongEveryone says that their first year of teaching was the most difficult, so I have a feeling my year at RHS will fall into that category. The good certainly outweighed the difficult, but there were more than a few struggles along the way. However, I will say that I finished the year strong as planned! We had a lovely theatre banquet (even though I totally dropped the ball on student directed shows) and celebrations in our classes at the end of the year. I'll see a handful of my upperclassmen next week to see a musical together, so the goodbyes weren't too hard.

4. Take and pass my teaching exam. Done and done! I was a bit more worried about this exam since I did not study any of the topics in college, but with a few practice tests and online modules, I was good to go! I have passed and I am ALMOST finished with my certification program.

5. Post DaySpring Gift Guides. I had two gift guide collaborations with DaySpring that were oh so fun. The first was for Mother's Day and you can find it HERE. The second was for Graduation which can be found HERE.

6. Read 5+ books. This did not quite happen... I started several books, but only completed one, A Court of Thorns & Roses. I'm definitely hoping to pick back up on this one next month!

Weekly Goals:
1. Active 3x's per week. Eh. Not so much.
2. Finish a book. Only once.
3. Sold a Young Living Kit. Twice!
4. Essay for Savor Your Season. Once!

Daily Goals:
In the Word + Active + No $ spent + YoungLiving 
 + Up @ 6:00 + Ketogenic + Top 3 Done

Overall May was a bit of a mess, but I'm covering it all with grace! May was full and busy and delightful even though not every box got checked off, and I have a feeling that June will be much the same.

How did your May turn out?
What goal are you working on this week?

*Please note, this post contains some affiliate links. They won't cost you a penny more, but they might help this first year teacher to an extra Sonic run after rehearsal ;)
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