Jennifer Kay Smith

in love with creativity & its source

Saturday brain spillage


dayton art museum

Two of our very dear friends from California, Justin & Lauren, visited last week and we had a blast. Played frisbee golf, tons of games, laser tag, went shopping, out to eat, watched movies and visited family for new years. Thanks for coming guys! We’re planning an August vacation out their way next.

Things I’m thinking about:

  • How important it is to be intentional about everything in the church. Do things just get thrown together without a clear purpose? I’m all about moving quickly when someone’s been convicted and inspired. But how much damage do we cause in the long run because their isn’t a sense of intentionality behind it?
  • Still thinking about how important it is to be 100% in the moment. Such a gift to people.
  • Why I believe church marketing is important but is often the substitute/excuse for building real relationships and inviting someone because something indescribable is happening.

Things I’m excited about:

  • Going to Jacksonville for the Living the United Methodist Way Quadrennial Training event later this month. Will get to hang out with lots of great leaders, see my dad (!!), and enjoy Florida weather.
  • Co-leading a Digital Media workshop with my husband. Our segment will be on the Expecations of 20 Somethings regarding digital media in worship. If you’re on Facebook, answer some research questions for us here.
  • VERY excited the 13 people┬ásigned up to journey with me the next 12 weeks through Living Simply. CANNOT WAIT to see how God works in us as a group!!
  • Really excited to take Sue Nilson Kibbey’s Leadership for Ministry class starting in February.
  • Some great things stirring in the Young Clergy department. Lots of people getting excited about a national young clergy gathering of some kind. We’re focused on what kind of measureable outcome there would be. We don’t want to waste money and time just to gather and say we did it. How will it actually make a difference?
  • Wedding planning with my sister – well she’s doing most of the planning but I get lots of consulting phone calls. ­čÖé
  • My husband turning 27 this month!!

New layout!

Time for a new look and feel for the blog. Still some bugs to work out. Enjoy!

the F word

Seth Godin from Tribes:

I’ve encountered thousands (it might be tens of thousands) of people walking around with great ideas. Some of the ideas really are great; some are merely pretty good. There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of ideas. Ordinary folks can dream up remarkable stuff fairly easily.

What’s missing is the will to make the ideas happen.

The difference are people who actively talk themselves out of the fear. The fear is still there, but it’s drowned out by a different story. It’s the story of success, of drive, of doing something that matters.

Are you hiding from the fear of leading?

Ideas the spread, win. Boring ideas don’t spread.


What people are afraid of isn’t failure. It’s blame. Criticism.

We choose not to be remarkable because we’re worried about criticism. Watch a few people get criticized for being innovative, and it’s pretty easy to convince yourself that the very same thing will happen to you if you’re not careful.

But if you get criticized, it means you did something worth remarking on.


I’m fascinated when some ideas thrive and others crash and burn. I often analyze them to figure out the factor that made the difference. I agree with Seth’s observations about our fear of criticism. How many of us have ideas that would create significant positive change? Something that excites us beyond belief?

Why aren’t we working on them?

We’re afraid. Terrified. Mortified that we’ll fail.

At some point, something clicks inside our soul that won’t allow the excuses anymore. I love that moment.

Are you present in the moment?

I was thinking yesterday as I spent quality time with my husband and two of our very best friends, how important it is to be present in the moment. I’m willing to bet it’s actually one of the most important things we do.

When we are with our children, spouse, at work or at play, what good are we if our minds are somewhere else? It’s so easy to take the most important people in our lives for granted.

I want to be a person who’s with my husband and completely focused on him and our conversation. I want to be with friends and not think about other things. Just simply enjoy their friendship. I want to be at school or church and focused entirely on how I can best serve and learn.

It’s really hard though. I’m amazed at how easily we blame things on our “ADD personalities.” I have trouble sitting through a 3 hour class without surfing the internet. I love to dream about the future and that distracts me from being present in the moment. When I’m hanging out with friends, I tend to think about what we’ll do next instead of enjoying the moment. I’m robbing others around me of the real me.

No one gets all of my attention.

I’m so far from the person I want to be.

And isn’t that the tension of life? The unfathomable distance between what we are and what we want.

I’m thankful that God makes a way between those two points. Otherwise, I’d be screwed.

desires change

This year I really only asked for alternative gifts. Money donated to things that really matter. And sometimes we do that in life to impress people or to feel better about all the things we waste during the year. But it’s great to watch the things we desire change. Several years ago, if I asked for that, it would have been a sacrifice. I would have missed all the things for me. But this year, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy at the simplicity of gifts. It meant so much that people around me tried to think about Christmas differently.

Some of the highlights:

  • Gratitude Box from my parents, husband & siblings (we all wrote things we appreciated about each other)
  • World Vision chickens from Kerri (she put tons of feathers in a box, I thought there was a dead chicken in the shoe box!)
  • HIV/AIDS Caregiver Kit from Jason & Brooke
  • Sister necklace from my siblings
  • UMCOR gift donated by my parents
  • My new amazingly comfortable recliner (my husband went WAY over our agreed upon spending limit but I LOVE it!)
  • Year subscription to Rev Magazine (love this magazine!)
  • Lots of gift cards to shop with!!
  • Spending time with my aunt, uncle & cousins, my husband’s family and seeing my family open some of their presents on webcam in Alaska (jealous of all their snow!)

I hope your Christmas & New Years are filled with moments that catch you off guard. Moments you internalize how much love, family and faith matter in our lives.

christmas eve

I’m not sure I can adequately describe what happened tonight. I hosted at the 3pm Frederick Pike service. Then stopped by my office to check email before the 5pm service. I wrote my dad an email, as he was preparing for 5 services at his church in Anchorage. I closed it by saying,

“I hope you’re surprised by joy tonight.”

It struck me how we try to manufacture the perfect Christmas moments. If we get the perfect gift, the best food, the right people around the table, then Christmas will be meaningful. We’re blind to a million moments that could fill us with joy because we’re too busy creating moments.

Are you too busy to be surprised by joy?

So we start the 5pm service and everytime I looked at the Jesus figurine on the altar, tears stream down my face. I can’t believe we get to do this. I can’t believe Jesus loves me that much that he would leave heaven and choose to get involved in our mess. I’ve never felt so close to God. Singing David Crowder’s O Praise Him rocked!

After worship, I hopped in my car to get to the YMCA service at 7pm and worshipped along with the radio all the way there. It’s been a great evening!

For those of us that work in the church, we’re often in danger of missing the point. We’re around everything so much that we get used to it.

I’m so thankful for moments I’m surprised and amazed all over again. Merry Christmas!!

our christmas newsletter

For the last two years, we’ve decided to put our Christmas newsletter online. Glad we can cut some costs and show a lot more pictures than we could fit on paper. Enjoy!