Book Review: The Artist’s Daughter


I’ve recently discovered that there really is no type of book I’d rather read than a well-written memoir. There is something truly special about the glimpse one gets into another’s life that moves and inspires a soul, my soul. Alexandra Kuykendall’s new release, The Artist’s Daughter is no exception.

Kuykendall has presented us with a stirring book that delves into the heart of what true belonging, acceptance, and healing mean to the soul of a woman. While in many ways my story doesn’t share the same details,  many of the heart issues she wrote about could have been penned from my very own hand.  Raised by a working single mother, the daughter of an absent father, and a girl with a drive to be perfect, Alexandra and I could likely share coffee and tears reminiscing about our similar triumphs and trials.

Serving as the MOPS International theme book for 2013, The Artist’s Daughter is spot on when speaking to many of the key heartaches, joys, and challenges for a mother like me. However, the overarching theme of God’s beautiful plan and workings in humanity and in Alexandra’s life bring a sense of true healing and grace to a tender heart. Seeing His gentle care for her has only reminded me of His gentle care for me. What an encouraging book it is when, after reading the final chapter, you can sigh and whisper, “Thank you God for being so good.”

You can purchase The Artist’s Daughter at MOPSAmazon or request it at your local bookseller. If you’d like to win my copy, head over to my personal blog and enter!

(Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review)


Beautiful friends!

What an amazing meeting we had last Wednesday. Thank you again, Marshelle, for sharing your beautiful story!

Easter really is all about Jesus. I want to encourage you to participate in one of the many opportunities to celebrate Easter. Here are just a few ideas:

Read the story here in Matthew 26-28.

Stop by Crossroads for the Journey of the Cross:

Sorry, had some technical difficulties, be sure to check out the video here:

Check out the community Good Friday service at the Bigfork Chapel, March 29th, 3:30 PM.

Attend one of the services at the Majestic put on by Fresh Life Church.



Or, visit any of the wonderful churches in the area. You may find some familiar faces at these ones: 

Crossroads Christian Fellowship

Bethany Lutheran

New Covenant

Fresh Life

Cornerstone Community Church

He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said! – Matthew 28:6

Happy Easter!!!!

Who is the bully?

What a wonderful morning we had with Barbi Webber last week.

I think each one of us has been bullied and/or been the bully at one time or another.

We women often find ourselves in the grips of judgment, comparison, and just plain self-preservation by whatever means necessary.  At times another bullies us, but most often don’t we bully ourselves?

We endure as our own worst enemies as we dwell on what we don’t do right, why our kids don’t act like “her” kids, where our bodies are squishy, and why we aren’t the embodiment of our pinterest boards or why our meals and crafts are far from Martha’s.


Maybe it is time to apply Barbi’s advice to ourselves.


  • Firmly tell yourself what you know to be true – “I am a good mom.”
  • Fairly assess the situation – “Right now is not my best mothering moment, but we sure had a lot of fun this morning and more to look forward to this evening.” “ I can handle the next time better”
  • Be friendly. Would you say the same thing to your dearest friend that you are saying to yourself? No WAY! You wouldn’t have any friends if you spoke to them the way you speak to yourself. Encourage your heart – “God knows I am the BEST mom for MY kids.” Believe it!


I’ll try not to be a bully, if you’ll try, too.  Starting with ourselves!

“Love as if your life depended on it” –  1 Peter 4:8

Just in case you missed Barbi’s information and would like to be in touch with her you can reach her at the Hope Line: 212-0478 (completely confidential) or by e-mail:








Wise Women of the Web …


Having this extra week in between meetings is giving me withdrawals! I hope you all gleaned some helpful tips listening to Dr. Bury share some of his wisdom with the group on the 16th. I can’t wait to see everyone on February 6th.

In the meantime, I just wanted to share some quick reading that might encourage you this week. Check out some of my favorite bloggers:

Happy reading! I hope it tides you over until we meet again.

Oh, that is right, we have a blog. P.S. We love you.

Wow! Can you tell that I kind of forgot about this blog? Good thing you ladies are such gracious, forgiving lovelies!

timthumb.phpI can’t tell you what a refreshing time each MOPS meeting is for me. I hope it has been that for you as well. In case you missed a meeting, let’s just review.

Cat sharing her journey from student to wife to mom to author really resonated with me. Do you wonder if what you are doing is really what you are meant to do? Do you wonder if there is MORE to this than just mommydom? I sure do. I love feeling like I am not “the only one”.

I was bummed to miss Jeffrey Scogin, since he is one of my favorite speakers. I hope that many of you found encouragement, hope, and a path to healing. Depression is real, it hurts, and you don’t have to overcome it alone.

When Denise spoke on leaving a legacy, it helped me focus on the vitals for my family. If I let everything else go, what do I want my children to know? Did you write a family mission statement?

imagesFinally, Kiersten spoke. What an incredible story of grace, forgiveness, and healing. Marriage IS hard. We are all just broken people trying to love another broken person. How can I change my marriage for the better? How can those of you who have been through or are going through the pain of seperation or divorce find peace and healing? Remember, you are not alone.

It has been a crazy, rough, heartbreaking fall/winter for many of us. For others, it has been so joyful we almost feel ashamed that things are going so fantastic. I always try to remember that there is a season for everything – for mourning, for rejoicing. It seems lately my seasons are changing every hour! I don’t think I have cried as much as I have in the last two months, maybe ever!

As our Steering Team met yesterday we shed even more tears. I am not sure what you think we do at our meetings, but let me tell you something – we are thinking of each of you. We are praying for each of you. We are seeking our great big God for wisdom on how to encourage you. And, I know the Mentor Moms and DGL’s are doing the same thing.  We have been overwhelmed with the difficult paths that some of you are walking. We want to help you persevere. We want to be the friends you need. Yes, sometimes we fail. Actually, we fail often. Sometimes we are so busy “getting things done” that we miss the moistness in your eyes from crying, or the mound of breakfast on your plate because you have been skipping meals to feed your kids. We might miss that you aren’t wearing your wedding ring anymore or that you missed a meeting, not because you were sick, but because you couldn’t afford the gas to drive to the church. This is where you have to do something. If you are that person, going at it alone, putting on a brave face, here is your invitation. Here is where I call you out. Help us stop. Help us see you. Help us to know your needs. Help us to be your friend. Let someone in. Let someone at MOPS in. Because, though we may have missed the symptoms, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to help carry that burden. You are truly loved, by us and by God.

If you need further proof that we love you, here I am putting my information out there for all the internet crazies to see. E-mail me: jesica_swanson(at) yahoo (dot) com . (I wrote it that way to keep some of those spammers away, but you get the hint) Or call me at (four zero six) 270 – one 9 zero 6 ,if you need anything. I know any member of the leadership team feels the same, but I didn’t get their permission to advertise their personal information on the internet. 🙂


For those of you that are in a simple season of joy, don’t be ashamed. Revel in your joy, that others might catch it, too!

I look forward to seeing you next week!