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I’m not sure what is more awkward to explain at parties – that I have a double first name or that I am an accountant at a cardboard box factory in the Northeast of England.
But my favorite things to share are that I married my high school sweetheart, Robbie, and that we have three intense, outspoken and lovely boys. I’ll also shamelessly promote my blog called Busy at War and Love.
What is the best beauty/fashion tip that anyone ever gave you?
My mom and dad always told me to stand up straight.
“Jane-Ellis, you’re slumping.”
“Jane-Ellis, stand up tall and be proud to be an American.”
“Jane-Ellis, shoulders back, chest out, neck tall, chin back.”
It was really annoying at the time, but it is true that good posture makes people appear more attractive and confident. I still catch myself slumping and inwardly groan and try to fix it. Also, when I am work and I walk down the hall or walk into a meeting I make an effort to straighten myself up to my full height, which in my work heels is about 6’2”. I put my shoulders back and smile and remember to be proud to be an American.
What has God taught you about trusting him?
One night at about 3 am, I crawled into bed with one of my boys because he had been terrified by a nightmare. He was a chronic bed wetter at the time, and I had done my best in my stupor to find a dry place on the mattress for him and for me. I was lying there and I was holding my little child as he cried. The bed smelled like pee. It was pretty gross. I remember it well because God chose that moment to teach me something. He wanted to show me that it was a picture of his care for me.
I can trust my God because I have a God who enters in. He enters in to the pain and disappointment and sin and filth in our lives and he holds us tightly. Our brokenness doesn’t keep him away. He just wades through it and comes closer. He does it because we are his and he loves us so.
What is the best homemaking tip someone ever gave you?
Several women I admire have taught me that good hospitality is more about being warm and present with people than it is about the perfection of your home, food or table. This was really encouraging to hear, because I am a bit of a mess.
My mother told me that once she was helping a friend get ready for a party. Her friend had at least 4 little children and her house was a wreck. My mom asked her friend if she thought they should try to clean the house up a bit. Her friend answered, “Nah. We are serving them shrimp and a meal and we have plenty of liquor. If they don’t have fun it’s their own fault.” I am sure it was a great party.
It is still hard for me to remember, but if you wait for your home to be perfect before you are willing to open it up to people you may not open it up very often.
What is a lie that you believed as a younger woman that you don’t believe now?
That 40 is old.
What fictional character inspires you as a woman and why?
I recently read Gone With the Wind and fell in love with Melanie Hamilton. Physically she is weak and small, but inwardly she is a mighty tower. She is generous, loving, self-sacrificing and loyal. She judges no one, yet she will not compromise her principles. Throughout the book, Scarlett thinks Melanie is weak and wishy-washy, but Melanie repeatedly surprises her. There is a scene where the kitchen of Tara is on fire and Scarlett is frantically trying to put it out with blankets. Melanie rushes into the kitchen and even though she is sickly she takes up blankets and beats the fire with Scarlett. When the two women have put out the fire and saved Tara from burning to the ground, Scarlett thinks to herself that as much as Melanie’s angelic demeanor annoys her, Melanie is certainly a good person have with you in a crisis. Scarlett doesn’t realize it at the time, but I know that this is because real love enters in.
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