Making It Hard To Go Hungry

Making It Hard To Go Hungry from Jim and Jess Baker on Vimeo.

Jess and I and our friend April just returned from a trip out to Sydney Ohio to meet with John Geissler and tour Agape Distribution.

Agape Distribution hosts one of the largest Free Grocery Stores in the state of Ohio. They serve about 85 families daily, each receiving about 75 lbs. of groceries of their choosing at no charge.

I met John in Honolulu in 2015 and when I heard about his ministry I was instantly intrigued and inspired.  It was a honor to sit with him again and be able to see first hand their operation.

Is this model replicable in our own local communities?

If you’d like to hear a full interview with John check out

Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world.” – James 1:27  

Does your local community have a food pantry?

Friends Friday! – Christopher Bell | Cellist/Audio Engineer


I started out this series calling it inspiring mondays but I like friends friday better.

Anyway, this week we are joined by the amazing Christopher Bell.

Christopher Bell is a cellist/audio engineer based out of Upstate NY. When not traveling around playing music he enjoys cross country skiing and hanging out with his neighbor’s cats.

I met Chris in the late 90’s at a summer camp in Western NY.  I have a vivid memory of him having a shirt that said POLSKA.  And If I’m remembering correctly we played a chevelle tune at the camp talent show that year.

Since then Chris has done some amazing stuff and is a person that really inspires me.  Things like using the cello as his main instrument, going on tour in a canoe, and incorporating other ethnic sounds into his music.  Chris I’ve seen you really push yourself and achieve some amazing dreams.  I really appreciate our chats, I always leave inspired.  I’m gonna let people check out this video of a cover you did that makes me smile and then I’ll let you tell us a little about you.


What do you do?  
Musician, Audio Engineer
How’d you get started in that?  
I wanted my band to have a recording, so i started with Windows Sound Recorded.
What is the most amazing thing you’ve seen?
Landscape of New Mexico and Arizona
What is the most heart warming thing you’ve seen?
Looking back and seeing the sacrifices my father made while my mother was dying as well as his raising me as a single parent for 6 or so years.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?  

I once stayed at a place on tour where the house was so dirty there was a line of ants eating a dead cockroach.

What is the most encouraging thing anyone has ever said/done to you?  

Not one thing, but connecting with people and learning i’m not as strange or a black sheep as i initially thought. That was encouraging to know that maybe I didn’t have bad ideas, and it was ok to march to the beat of my own drum.

What’s your biggest mistake?  
Not pushing myself more as a child. Being cocky and
What’s your biggest struggle and how did you overcome it?  
my biggest struggle was putting in the work to get where I wanted to go, and to overcome that, i just needed to canoe from Buffalo to NYC.
What keeps you inspired to keep going/creating/working?  
reading, learning new things.
Who or what resource has been inspiring you lately?  
David Byrne’s book How Music Works
What disciplines in life do you depend on to be consistent? 
I have a set schedule of working out 6 days a week, house cleaning/groceries on sundays. Studying, reading, and at least 1 movie a week.
What does your average day look like?  
I wake up between 8 and 9:30 depending on if I have class. If a class day, then its college, home, nap, work, practice cello, exercise. On no class days its work, practice, exercise.
If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?  
Most to savings, some to pick up a few things
What’s your most recent go to favorite food/restaurant? 
Indian Food
Whats music have you been listening to lately?  
I’ve been studying carnatic music, a south indian style of music, and listening to that a lot lately.
What tv show have you been watching?  
Black Mirror
What’s the latest movie that inspired you?  
World’s Fastest Indian
Share with us something most people don’t know about you?  
too much an open book for that.
What have you been doing for fun?  A current hobby?  
Cross Country Skiing.
Chris thanks so much for being an inspiring friend and for doing this interview!  If you’d like to hear more of Chris’ music or connect with him do so here.

Inspired?  Leave a comment and let us know what you think, and let us know who we should interview next!

Linky Wednesday 07.06.16

jimjessbaker.comIf you are having problems viewing this please click on this link to see it in your web browser.


Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 10.25.55 AM

Check out our friends new app: Taskmaster Daily 5

I’ve really benefited from putting 5 main things on my to do list instead of the overwhelming million that have to get done.

The app is free for a little while.  If nothing else, go check out their BEAUTIFUL website.



The Nomad Barber?!

My friend Clayton was hanging out at my house recently and we were talking about video story telling.He just finished barber school and showed me this video series.

I cut my own hair and could care less about barbers BUT that’s whats so amazing about visual story telling.  I watched these videos and totally got sucked in!  I wanted to know more.

It’s like Donald Miller’s quote from Blue Like Jazz.

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.”



We bought this hydroflask for our missionary friend in the Philippines.  These water bottles are amazing, they are vacuum insulated, and I got impressed with them in Hawaii when a staff member was cleaning out a van from the previous days beach trip and a student left their water bottle in there and the next day there was still ice in it.


A Decade Later: My Top 10 Insights On Burnout – Carey Nieuwhof



Becoming a Powerful Person: Part Two. Spotting Powerless Relational Dynamics



Did you find something in this week’s Linky Wednesday useful?  Please click the LIKE and SHARE button below!  

Happy 4th Of July – Lets Read The Constitution!

HappyHappy July 4th!

I hope you’re going to eat some epic grilled food and spend some time with family.

Let’s take a couple of seconds to remember what July 4th is all about.

Wikipedia says:

Independence Day of the United States, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth in the U.S., is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.

A couple of years ago my friend Johnny and I thought we should read the constitution on July 4th, we didn’t end up doing it on the 4th but we did do it.  I hadn’t read it since high school.  Now it’s time to do it again.

Let’s take some time and read the constitution and the amendments and see what all this celebrating is all about!


Click HERE to read the Constitution and the amendments.


Did you read it?  Comment and let us know what stood out to you.  And share with us what your favorite 4th of July grilled food was.  :)

Linky Wednesday 06.22.16

jimjessbaker.comIf you are having problems viewing this please click on this link to see it in your web browser.


I wonder if i could make one of these for my car?:)I like seeing new inventions.  Why do they keep the cap on?


Best headphones under $10?  Bought these headphones since Karl got ahold of my other pair.  Cheap, but not cheap sounding.


Did you see the new linky wednesday graphic I made.  Let me know what you think.  I used  which is a pretty amazing FREE online tool for making graphics with text.  Bryan Switalski from told me about it.


Canva also ran this blog about composition.  I originally saw Joesph Avakian post it.


A Different Take on Reaching Millennials – Carey Nieuwhof


7 Warning Signs Your Heart is Growing Hard in Leadership – Carey Nieuwhof



Did you find something in this week’s Linky Wednesday useful?  Please click the LIKE and SHARE button below!  

Day After Fathers Day Thoughts

Good dad

I’m not a father, but I have a father.

Yesterday I pondered how I could honor my dad and I ended up writing this on facebook.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 9.04.31 AM


As the day went on I thought about the characteristics of a good dad and this thought came to mind.

Good dads are not born.  Good dads are forged through daily choice of selflessness.  (Read: opposite of selfishness) And the conscious choice to pursue their children.

I recently saw a video of a friend dancing with his daughter at a father daughter ball.  I know this guy, and I know that he LOVES his daughter, and I know that under no other circumstance would he dance.  But for his daughter he would.

I don’t know if it’s the older I get the more selfish I become, or if it’s my self awareness that is growing, but I have the capacity to be real selfish.  And it gets more and more apparent that I have to make conscious choices to to not live that way.

I don’t like dancing either.  Probably because I’m self conscious.  I don’t like doing things I’m not good at.  I don’t like making a spectacle of myself.  But if it mattered to my child, would I make the sacrifice to do something that I deemed foolish or outside of my comfort zone for them?

I talked with a friend recently about his relationship with his dad.  He said that he and his dad got along great until about middle school.  And thats when my friend got interested in sports, his dad wasn’t interested and they stopped connecting.

Good dads make a choice to pursue their children.

We have to make sacrifices to connect.  It’s pride and fear that stands in the way. If I don’t know about something my child is interested in will I take the time and energy to learn it along side of them?

I feel like mothering comes more naturally to women.  I’m not so sure that fathering is natural to men.

Everyone instinctively knows the characteristics of a good dad.  But I’m not sure that everyone could point to a man with those characteristics.

I wrote about how my dad chose to give me the nicer cars growing up.  That’s a selfless act.  I don’t even know why he did that, it doesn’t make sense.

My dad lost his job when I was 4 and went to work for mcdonalds.  At four years old you don’t know any different.  Now in hindsight, that had to have been a serious blow to his pride, but he did what had to be done.

I’ve written about this before but on my 18th birthday my parents took me to TGIFridays for a birthday meal.  My dad looked across the table and asked me what I wanted to do with my life.  I told him I wanted to be a rock star and he responded “lets make it happen.”

He allowed and encouraged me to pursue that path.  A sacrifice.  My dad was the first person in his family to get a college education.  And none of his children did.  The pursuit of rock star didn’t last to long, but led me to another non traditional “career.”  A missionary.

It seems a lot of men have big dreams for their kids.  Big dreams that might not actually their kids dreams.  My dad championed me in mine, and he still does today.

The pursuit part is the hard part.  Connecting.

Whenever my dad and I see one another we spend time just the two of us going on a walk and talking.  Sometimes I iniaite the hey lets go for walk, and sometimes he does.

Maybe that’s our role as adult children.  Whether your dad pursued you or not, you can now pursue relationship with him.  What do we need to sacrifice to find ways to connect with our parents?

The last thing about dads thats coming to mind as I write this is them as a protector.  I remember one summer being elementary school age at a public pool.  A kid I didn’t know decided he was going to pick on me, he was climbing on me and rough housing.  I was doing my best to hold my own but this kid had the upper hand.  Then out of no where my dad is standing on the side of the pool yelling at this kid.  Dads are our protectors too.

I’m not a dad yet, but not much changes without self assessment and tangible goals.  Here are some questions we can ask ourselves.

Am I living selflessly towards my family?

How can I better live more selflessly towards my family?

Am I pursing my wife and children?

How can I better pursue my wife and children?

Am I protecting my family?

How can I better protect my family?

I appreciate that my dad choses to live selflessly, and still pursues me today.  I look forward to our next walk dad. :)

Thoughts? Share em in the comments.

Russ BakerJune 20, 2016 - 6:59 am

I am humbled by your affirmations. Love you, son

Russ BakerJune 20, 2016 - 7:03 am

I am humbled by your affirmations. Love you, son

Russ BakerJune 20, 2016 - 7:05 am

I am humbled by your affirmations. Love you, son

Russ BakerJune 20, 2016 - 2:05 pm

I am humbled by your affirmations. Love you, son

Russ BakerJune 20, 2016 - 2:07 pm

I am humbled by your affirmations. Love you, son

Russ BakerJune 20, 2016 - 2:07 pm

I am humbled by your affirmations. Love you, son

Linky Wednesday 06.01.16

linkywedIf you are having problems viewing this please click on this link to see it in your web browser.

Woah!  It’s JUNE!  Is it starting to heat up in your area?  It’s a beautiful morning here in the mid 60’s.  It will heat up quick though.

My friend Clayton who I recently met and got to know better through our Bible Study posted this video and I find this music quite amazing. Check it out.


I got my library card! Cause FREE BOOKS! This book is huge but so far I’m enjoying it, I just finished up the Smithsonian’s documentary on WWII on Netflix so it feels good to already be in the context of this story.  Click on the photo above to see the book on Amazon.



In other news on memorial day Jess and I cooked up some burgers.  I really love burgers but have struggled to make a homemade burger that was awesome.

I crowdsourced burger recipes on facebook and my amazing home chef friends came out with tons of great ideas.

We tried 3 different burger recipes at lunch, making a burger each and splitting them.
1. garlic powder, onion powder, fish sauce, salt and pepper
2. montreal seasoning
3. onion soup mix and a splash of milk

I heated up my cast iron in the stove up to 500 then put it on high and seared each side for about a minute, then threw it in the oven for a couple of minutes. The results… (besides my smoke alarm going off?)

1. This burger reminded me of how i grew up eating burgers, my dad always seasoned with garlic salt and lawrys. good flavor.
2. The least desirable. I love my steak with just montreal and cooked in this manner but it didn’t make for a good burger.
3. The best. The most flavor and the the best texture (slightly less crumbly)

So for dinner we made the #3 burgers.  I put honey bbq sauce on the burger, followed by diced red onion, jalapeño and shredded dubliner cheese.  The bottom of the pretzel bun got a slice of tomato after I took the photo.  A fried egg and bacon and mayo on the top bun.  Delicious.

Jess had artichoke hearts, mushrooms, goat cheese, and tomato on hers.

Fun and delicious.

If you’re looking for a cool food documentary check out COOKED on Netflix.  Thanks to my buddy Eddie for the recommendation on that.


Did you find something in this week’s Linky Wednesday useful?  Please click the LIKE and SHARE button below!  

Would You Consider Helping Us Out On Our Trip To The Philippines?

If you want to know more about our upcoming trip click here.

If you’d like to help out with any of the needs/wants we’ve listed in the video above you can donate online with the link below.  All giving is tax deductible.

OR if you’d prefer to write a check, you can write the check to “The Bakers Ministry”
And send it to:

The Bakers Ministry
c / o Jim and Jess Baker
PO Box 3441
Clarksville TN 37043

Thank you so much!

Jim and Jess:) 

Linky Wednesday 05.04.16

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Sorry for the lack of blog posts. Spring is BEAUTIFUL in Tennessee and with a dog and a new home I’d much rather be outside than sitting on my computer writing. But nonetheless here’s a new linky Wednesday:)

Have I posted a video of this guy before? He’s crazy, but I feel like I learn things every time I watch his videos. I watched it at 1.5 speed since its an hour long.  I’ve seen one other of his videos and he does things that I would have never thought of that make a lot of sense.


I recently discovered  I’ve seen it a bunch of times and never really understood it.  But I finally made an account and am really enjoying it.


This dog harness is called the gentle leader.  A few people had recommended it to us so we decided since Karl is about 50 lbs now that we needed to stop him from pulling when walking.  This thing is a miracle worker.  Totally worth it if you’re having trouble walking your dog.  The front part goes around the dogs snout, and the back part goes around his neck and back of his head so when he pulls his head gets pulled as well which the dog doesn’t like thus keeping him walking like a good boy:)

Buy one or anything from our affiliate link:


Other tidbits… Karl went on his first camping trip last weekend.  He did great.  We discovered anything below 60 degrees at night is cold.  It doesn’t seem like it would be, but it is, pack out a good sleeping bag.  Karl always brings his sleeping bag with him (fur) but my friend Mark who only brought a fleece was cold.


Did you find something in this week’s Linky Wednesday useful?  Please click the LIKE and SHARE button below!  

The Bakers Favorite New Game

If you’ve spent any time with us you know we enjoy games.

Matt and Lisa Stanton introduced us to Catan in 2010 and since then that has been our go to game with friends.

We’ve tried other games along the way that were fun, like munchkin, dominion, and bang.

But Catan still was our go to game.  Until…

We discovered


I was looking at the top posts of all time on reddit and came across this youtube video of people playing it.


The game is played by one person having the bomb which is on the computer and the other player(s) have the bomb manual.  The two (or more) have to communicate to disarm the various modules.

It’s a ton of fun and each round is only around 5 minutes.  It can be nerve wracking working against the clock if you’re playing with someone who is really into it.

I enjoy showing new people the game and throwing them into it without any help to see how they handle the stress and problem solving of the game.

Jess and I decided that this will be a go to for any more pre-marital counseling we do for couples.  :)

The game is $15 and I’d say it’s totally worth it!

Whats your favorite game?  Let us know in the comments.

Colleen CookApril 12, 2016 - 7:27 am

Excited to play with you guys!

Colleen CookApril 12, 2016 - 5:27 pm

Excited to play with you guys!

Colleen CookApril 13, 2016 - 8:46 am

Excited to play with you guys!