35 Things About Me


Hi y’all!  I’m Jessica!  Welcome to my brand spankin’ new little corner of the internet!

Today is Friday, which on Instagram is when folks do #FridayIntroductions.  It’s also Launch Day here on The Indecisive Mama blog!  To celebrate those two facts, and because tomorrow is my THIRTY-FIFTH birthday, here are:

35 Things About ME

  1. I was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma and lived there for the first 21 years of my life.
  2. As a child I was a bookworm. Mostly figuratively, as in, the worst punishment I could receive was to be grounded from books. But once, literally. During a summer internship at the library when I was about 15, I dressed up as Buddy the Bookworm, the library mascot, for Summer Reading Program Awards Day.
  3. I was terrible as Buddy the Bookworm! Because, as it turns out, being an ACTUAL bookworm doesn’t translate into being a good MASCOT. Even with the giant bug head concealing my identity, I was too shy to jump around and be silly like any self-respecting mascot should. Needless to say, I was never asked to do that again…

    jess and jenn porch
    Hangin’ on the porch with my gap teeth and my little sister Jenn.
  4. Over the years I’ve come to embrace the fact that I am basically a big nerd. I love words, and grammar, and talking about the difference between homonyms and homophones. Some of my favorite humor devices are truly terrible puns. I make no apologies for this.
  5. In middle/high school I played clarinet in the band, competed on the Academic Team, and was a member of the yearbook staff. (I did not play sports or even take PE after the 6th grade because, blessedly, it wasn’t required.)
  6. I am a 4th generation Apostolic Pentecostal. I was baptized in Jesus’ name when I was 9, and I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost when I was 12.  I am so thankful for the heritage that has been passed down to me, but even more thankful for the personal experience and relationship I have with Jesus. He is my everything.

    jess and jenn dressed up
    Clearly, we were destined to be fashion icons.
  7. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a teacher. My rationale was that I loved school.  I’m thankful every day that I realized how ill-suited I would be for such a career BEFORE I went to college.
  8. I’ve always loved to write, but the only career path I associated with writing was Journalism. After two semesters on my college newspaper staff, I realized that wasn’t a good fit either.  This blog is a way for me to tap back into a passion that’s lain mostly dormant in me for a long time.
  9. I say “mostly dormant” because I have written occasionally over the years. I’ve had articles published in Reflections Magazine and I’ve been a freelance writer of Sunday School curriculum for Word Aflame Press.
  10. I did finally settle on a college major. I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in Interpretation: ASL/English.
  11. Interpreting was a fantastic fit for me, because it requires that you have a little bit of knowledge on a wide range of subjects. As a trivia junkie, this is my jam.  And if I ever get bored with one type of interpreting, there’s a plethora of other options to choose from.
  12. Still, the actual practice of signing and interpreting didn’t come naturally. When I started American Sign Language classes, my instructors thought I would never last. Their first goal was to get me to look up from the floor and make eye contact.
  13. By the grace of God alone, I have worked as an American Sign Language interpreter for 11 years (8 years full time, and the rest part time and volunteer.) It is an irony to end all irony that the girl who failed as a library mascot because she despised drawing attention to herself pursued a career where she stands in front of people, waving her arms and making faces. Let it never be said that the Lord doesn’t have a sense of humor.
  14. I’ve had the opportunity to interpret for several celebrities: author Temple Grandin; Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee; entertainers Barbara Walters, Abigail Breslin, and Matthew Modine; and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia! (Not all at once…)

    The only time I’ve ever had to introduce myself to the Secret Service.  A bit surreal.
  15. While those experiences were really cool, the bulk of my work, and the part I have enjoyed the most, has been interpreting for “regular” people in their daily lives: doctor’s appointments and hospitalizations; funerals and baptisms; college courses and graduations; job training and conferences; and one memorable week of guide-dog training for a person who is Deaf-Blind.
  16. After college, my career led me to Long Island, New York for an internship. I only knew one person.  This is something I look back on, and sometimes can’t quite believe I actually did, because…
  17. I’ve never considered myself to be “adventurous.” Actually, quite the opposite.  (“Chicken” is something I was called with regularity as a child.)
  18. All through childhood I was a “picky” eater. I always ordered my cheeseburgers “plain and dry” and tacos without lettuce, tomato, or onion.  After I moved to New York, I started being more open to trying new foods and discovered that I like almost all seafood, Asian food (even sushi) and basically everything besides lettuce, and uncooked tomatoes and onions.  (I still eat my cheeseburgers and tacos plain.)
  19. The other thing I learned about myself in New York: my love language is Physical Touch. I had always known I loved hugs, but I had never gone so long WITHOUT one. The first few months there were pretty tough.  (I finally found My People, and then I just hugged them whenever I needed to.)

    hugging denelle
    My best friend and roommate, Denelle. She was the Top Person of My New York People. I know she loves me because she lets me hug her.
  20. Even though I told myself, and everyone else, that I was only moving to New York for a year, I ended up living there for five years (and I would probably still be there if it wasn’t for…)
  21. I met and married my husband Dave, and promptly moved to Alabama where he attended flight school for the US Army.

    grad ball.jpg
    All ready for Dave’s Flight School Graduation Ball.  (You can’t tell, but I was sick as a dog!)
  22. The main reason I went out with him the first time was because he walked up to me and ASKED. This was an answer to a prayer I had prayed just two months before: I told God I wasn’t even looking for someone to be husband-material, I just wanted someone to come up and ASK ME OUT without any ambiguity.  (Moral of the story: if you’re single, open yourself up to going out with someone unexpected.)
  23. We got married on the 4th of July, because it was the one day we were sure Dave would have off from flight school. (But we didn’t get definite confirmation that he could travel to Oklahoma for the wedding until 2 weeks before the big day. That was a stressful time.)

    Sparklers for the Fourth of July.  Smoke, because it doesn’t get dark in Oklahoma in July until after 9:00 pm.
  24. Being married to Dave has done more to break me out of my non-adventurous shell than any other experience in my life. With him by my side I’ve been on hikes, stood under a waterfall, climbed KoKo Head, jet skied and swam in the ocean, flew in a tiny 10-seater airplane, ran a 5K, and traveled out of the country for the first time.  (And if you don’t think those things sound too adventurous…well…tell that to 13-year-old me.)

    This was so not dangerous, and yet so scary at the same time.
  25. After flight school, Dave was stationed in Hawaii, where we lived for 3 years. One of my favorite things about Hawaii was the gorgeous mountain ranges. (Everyone talks about the beaches, but ya’ll, those mountains…!!)
  26. Living in Hawaii, I decided it was time to learn to swim. So, at 30 years old, I finally took lessons.  (I’m still not very good.)
  27. I also learned how to drive stick shift while we were there. Between parking on the steep hills and Honolulu traffic, I’m much better at that!
  28. We brought back the best souvenir EVER: our gorgeous Abby Grace!

    Photo by Quest Creative
  29. When I was a teenager, I always said I wanted to have kids before I turned 30. I have no idea why this was a thing I wanted, but it’s a little amusing that I became a mom for the first time at 31. (That is to say, this is amusing now.  When I was 25 and single, I definitely wasn’t laughing.)
  30. Being a mom has challenged me in ways I never dreamed, and don’t have the space to detail here. (Many more posts to come on this topic!) But one of my biggest challenges at the moment: being the introverted mother of an extroverted daughter. (Did I mention God’s sense of humor?)
  31. Two things that have preserved my sanity over the last three years: encouraging podcasts and MOPS. (I had such great experiences with MOPS the first two years, I started a group at my church!)
  32. Also, coffee. I was die-hard tea-drinker, even after marrying into one of the most hardcore coffee families on the planet. (Seriously…when my husband’s family is all together, they consume SO MUCH coffee.) But motherhood has converted me.  I like to say that giving birth to a Tanderup finally turned me into one.abby ottoman
  33. My daughter makes me crazy on a regular basis, but she also makes me laugh every single day. I’m so humbled and honored to have the opportunity and responsibility of raising her into the powerhouse for Jesus I know she was created to be.
  34. I am the composer of two songs: Abby Grace I Love Your Face and You Are My Snugglyupagus. They aren’t recorded anywhere but they’re #1 Hits at our house. (I mean, not to brag…)

    Photo by Hankalily Photography
  35. I can’t believe that anyone would be interested enough in me to keep reading through this entire post, but if you did: THANK YOU!! I hope you read on, and enjoy my (hopefully shorter) other ramblings here on The Indecisive Mama.



7 thoughts on “35 Things About Me”

  1. You are amazing. I laughed and cried reading this. So blessed to know you and your family. You all are a blessing to me. Can’t wait to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jessica,
    I loved reading your blog! You have a talent and it shows. I look forward to many more blogs from you! ❤️❤️


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s