Book Review: Of Mess and Moxie

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

This is the third book by Jen Hatmaker I’ve purchased, but the first one I’ve finished. I also own Seven and For the Love (also on the dreaded TBR pile). The others are not unread because lack of interest, only lack of time and focus. I have enjoyed following Jen on Facebook and Instagram for several years, so I know I love her writing and storytelling. As I did with Girl, Wash Your Face, I enjoyed this on audiobook, even though I also own a hardback copy. There is truly something wonderful about hearing an author read her own words – it just brings more to the telling and enjoyment. Here are my thoughts:


Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life

Amazon Description:  In this highly anticipated new book, beloved author Jen Hatmaker parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere. Whether it’s the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip (“Why are we in San Antonio?”) or the way she learned to forgive (God was super clear: Pray for this person every day, which was the meanest thing He ever said to me. I was furious.), she offers a reminder to those of us who sometimes hide in the car eating crackers that we do have the moxie to get back up and get back out. We can choose to live undaunted “in the moment” no matter what the moments hold, and lead vibrant, courageous, grace-filled lives.


Things I love about the Book

1. Hilarity. Literally laughing out loud in my car.

2. Lists! [this is becoming a problem] You may have started to notice a trend. I ASSURE YOU, it is unintentional. I promise I did not know that there were lists in this book. How to wake your children up peacefully from nap time. How to shop at Target [I know, who needs instructions on this one?!? Trust me.] How to get in Bible study time [plot twist in this one]. And, How to get a good night’s sleep with young children.

3. Independent Essays. This book is a collection of essays and I love that. Each essay can stand completely on its own. I loved that each chapter was wrapped up in a nice little bow and we could move on to the next topic. The layout of these chapters was well done, in my opinion – lighter, funnier topics were mingled with the weightier, deeper topics and kept the flow moving along nicely. Early in the book, I did worry that, as most of the first chapters are funny, that we would be left with a second half that was all serious. This was not the case.

Favorite Line

Reweaving Jen Hatmaker

Grace and peace and mercy to you in the beautiful reweaving.  (pg. 250)

This is my favorite purely for the timing I read/heard it. I am in the midst of starting a project that is going to be hard. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to definitely have the pain of ripping off a scab, but the healing with be SO worth it. I will hold on to these words and remember that in so many times, “God rewove what was torn into a stronger version than the first.” (pg. 248)

Favorite Chapter

Chapter 21 – We Were Sort of Medium

This chapter is written as a letter to Jen’s own parents. The balance between gratitude for all they sacrificed and did for her and her siblings is well matched with instances of hilarious truth-telling (for example – “As the sole dependent who hasn’t seen the inside of a cell, I confess I have lied to you about a bunch of other stuff, so let’s just call it even and leave you to bask in the glow of now longer raising us.”) While, obviously, I am not a member of her family, I found myself nodding my head and relating to so many parts of this chapter.

For example: “You believed in us irrationally, which made us accidentally confident. We were solidly in our twenties before realizing we were just sort of medium….”

Side note: this chapter DID make me want to call my parents.

Bonus Favorite Chapter

Chapter 4 – Grocery Store Theology

This one is here purely for entertainment. There are many points when you may find yourself agreeing, while laughing crazily. The reality of the drudgery of weekly grocery shopping for a family of seven makes for excellent comedy fodder.

Super bonus is the Grocery Store Super Sandwich recipe in this chapter. I have made this sandwich for our family 3 times since reading this chapter and it is a HUGE hit with even the 6-year-old.

Extra Resources

Of Mess and Moxie at Thomas Nelson

Interview with Jen Hatmaker on Crumbs + Coffee

Dais Podcast interview with Jen Hatmaker


Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

I had a fairly good idea of what I was getting into with this book. I had heard Rachael on one of the podcasts I listen to. This wasn’t the first time I had heard Rachel being interviewed, but it WAS the first time I heard/my brain worked and I realized she had her OWN podcast. Hi, my name is Sandy and I am a podcast junkie. So, I subscribed to the Dais Podcast and caught up as quickly as I could. I really enjoy the podcast, so, yes, I pre-ordered this book as soon as I could. THEN release day came and went and no shipping notice. A week and a half later I finally received my book. I was so excited! Then I had some serious trouble finding time to actually read the darn thing. I caved. I purchased the audiobook, too.

It is really fun hearing the author read her own book – I highly recommend it. And, I’m going to go this route for next month’s book, too. I admit, this was the first audiobook I’ve purchased. I have no grievance with those who would use them, my thought was just, “but, I love to read.” The reason I listen to several podcasts is that I have roughly 2 hours of commuting every day – something needs to help pass the time. Why not use this time to also whittle down my TBR list? #slowgenius

Oh, well. On to the book.

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be


Amazon Description:  With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have….Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.

Things I love about the Book

1. Vulnerability. Personally, the reason I pick up books like this is to hear the author’s story. Their life story. How much are we drawn to the stories of how they did something, how they made it through, how they are human – just like us? Rachel writes some amazing essays in this book that I loved hearing about because, while my story may be vastly different, there are still threads of sameness throughout. How often do we each thing, “oh, I thought it was just me?”

2. Lists! – yes, again As I said last month with February’s book review, “I am a girl who loves her lists. I love the way things can be broken down in to smaller doable/manageable/digestible parts.” Each chapter is summed up in a list of “Things that Helped Me.” These snippets are not the cliffs notes version of the chapter, they provide additional support and ideas based on the theme of the essay, and I loved them all.

3. Laughing Out Loud. The good thing about listening to an audiobook is that I do it alone in my truck on my commutes. I am sure there are other drivers next to me who glance over at a stop light and just see me dying with laughter. It’s not really any different than when someone catches you fully committing to singing along to the radio. There are several parts in this book that literally had me laughing out loud. Much as if you were sitting down with a girlfriend and sharing stories. I ALSO often spoke to the radio as if Rachel could hear me. #noshame


Things I didn’t love about the Book

1. Lack of chronological order. The book is composed essay-style. Each chapter can stand on its own. This is very nice if you want to pick and choose what you want to read/hear about. I found myself getting distracted trying to figure out where we were in the timeline of Rachel’s life/story. Wait – does she have 2 kids at this point or three? Is this still when they were dating? Is this before or after she had to deal with that other thing?

2. Cliché. By the time I got to the last few chapters, I found myself rolling my eyes a bit. Having heard Rachel’s story about being on a bus with Jen Hatmaker in Ethiopia and discussing her plans for this book I know the basis of this book (hell, the title of this book) is to provide pearls of wisdom to the reader and offer a helping hand or a kick in the butt depending on the situation. Even being prepared for this, I got to the point where I was thinking – damn, I can guess what her Pinterest Inspiration board looks like. “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.” “Nobody will ever care about your dreams as much as you do.” Yes, these are all true and valuable know. If you haven’t had someone tell you something like this before, this book is perfect for you.


Favorite Line

Because I don’t deserve to be treated like this.  (pg. 52)

This is cliché.

This is something EVERYONE needs to hear OFTEN.

And I cheer every time I read about or hear about someone who has come to this realization.

I have had to tell myself this MANY time in my life, and I’m sure I’ll need to remind myself many more times to come.

If you need to hear it today: You Do Not Deserve To Be Treated This.

:: hugs ::


Greatest Personal Take-away

As an artist or a creator, you have to decide. You have to choose a path or live the rest of your life slowly killing your ability to great work for fear of what others will think. You have to decide that you care more about creating your magic and pushing it out into the world than you do about how it will be received. (pg. 148)

This is not new information. I am aware – especially in light of what I wrote just a few paragraphs above. BUT, it’s the timing that I came across this one that makes it special for me. I am afraid of success. I know this about myself. What if I DO launch that business and it takes off viraly? How will my family adjust? Will I be able to keep the job I enjoy? Will I have to travel? How will I handle having employees?

More than failure sometimes, the fear of how big something can grow drastically slows me down. For roughly 5 years I have had 3 major projects/passions clawing at me for attention. 2018 is the year they are going to come to life or die. I can’t keep them all inside anymore. This quote from Rachel is just one of several that have come across my path in the past 3 months. I am choosing to see things like this as signs that I am moving in the right direction.

We all need a little reassurance we are heading in the right direction, don’t we?


Extra Resources

Interview on For the Love Podcast with Jen Hatmaker

The Dais Podcast


Happy Reading