20 Questions with ACM Team Member Jacey Blue Renner

Hi, hello! My name is Jacey Blue Renner.

Hi. Hello. It’s nice to see you.
What is one thing you are learning now or learned recently?

After a VERY long hiatus so I could stay home with my sweet boy clams, I have recently started working traditionally again. I’m learning how to balance family time with work and intellectual time, my coaching and boys’ extracurricular lives, and personal and professional growth. And oh my whoa. If it isn’t hard! Every day is a new challenge, a new victory, and a new lesson on how to grow differently.

What are you reading right now?

I tend to read a couple of books at once, to cater to my different interests. I’ve FINALLY started reading President Obama’s A Promised Land. I love it. I read it to feel inspired and leave it nearby while I am working, to help me feel grounded. I mean, it’s hard to feel overwhelmed when I think about what President Obama (or any President) has to navigate daily.

I’m also reading Brave, Not Perfect, by Reshma Saujani, the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. What I love most about her book is the idea that women should shed their preconceptions that they must continually be perfect in every facet of their daily lives. Instead, she encourages taking risks and living with boldness in all women do, assuming the risk that we might fail. Without failure, how can we grow?

What’s your favorite story to tell about your past?

When I was 16, my parents and I went to the UK for a month during my summer break. As I flew out of London Gatwick at the end of our trip, crying my eyes out, I made it my life goal to come back to the island, and homeland of all my ancestors, and live there as long as I could. Twenty years later, my family and I moved to Lakenheath, England, and I was able to take my oldest son to so many of the places I’d fallen in love with all those years ago with my parents. Living in England for four years was the most amazing full-circle dream realized.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I love to eat meringues. In England and France, you can buy them at shops and they are just massive and beautiful, sometimes glittery. Traditionally in England, they turn them into a dessert called Eton Mess, filled with berries and cream, but I just eat them as they are—spun sugar dreaminess.

What’s your favorite place to eat in San Antonio?

Brunch is my love language. I can’t choose one, as it is ever-evolving. I love La Panaderia, Snooze, Commonwealth Coffee, and Box Street Social. I’m forever on a search for the most delicious latte and compote and a sun-filled patio. (Scroll to the end to see my absolute FAVORITE restaurant!)

Box Street Social just gets me.
What’s one topic you could give an hour-long presentation on with little to no preparation?

After 14 years as a military spouse, I feel confident I could host a multi-day symposium on the Air Force/military community. Spouse culture, aviation, deployments, transitions, resource-building, war and the poetic perspective, and how to make the most of each new location—all daily components of our family life.

What is one song you have completely memorized?

Bastille’s “Overjoyedand “Get Homeare pretty much handwritten on my actual heartstrings. Those two are at the top of my go-to British ballad playlist.

What part of parenting drains you? What part of parenting energizes you?

I love to lead with the parenting moments that energize me, because those moments are what I most identify with and carry with me on my most tired days. I’m energized when I can experience new adventures and activities with my boys that I know they love, like trying a new paleta shop on a random Tuesday on a whim, after a great day at school. Or spending our summer days living in the moment, unscheduled, and heading where the days carry us. I love deciding on a moment’s notice to drive to a new state park or museum or spend all day at the pool. Those are the days I love most because they are unscripted and full of everything.

The moments that are most draining are ones that are overscheduled, where we’re in too much traffic, for too long, with too many nightly obligations. Our family gets fatigued and drained, and that drain takes away from what’s most important. I am really trying to build our lives in ways that keep us present and joyful as much as I can.

I love experiencing all the “new” with my crew in SATX.
Is there any experience you think everyone should be required to have? What is it?

Everyone should consider living somewhere new, at least once in their lifetime. I was born and raised in New Mexico. I also went to college there because I loved living near my parents (and scholarships!). But the best choice I ever made, just for me, was moving to the northeast for graduate school in New York. Living somewhere completely different from where I grew up, I gained cultural and academic experiences, friendships, and life perspectives I never would have, had I stayed in the same town and state.

What’s one hobby you’d love to get into?

I’ve always wanted to be a musician and lyricist, but specifically, I’ve always wanted to play the fiddle and guitar. My great-grandfather was an amazing fiddle player and because of him, and my love of its incredibly emotional range, it’s at the top of my bucket list.

What’s one item you can’t leave home without or is always in your bag?

For practicality purposes, I always have my military ID. For more fun practicality purposes, I always have my Airpods.

What’s one thing you wish you’d known when becoming a mom, or what advice would you give to a new mom?

I wish I truly knew the physical toll that pregnancy and birth would take on my body. During pregnancy, postpartum, and during other pregnancies, I had no real idea how much my body would change, weaken, strengthen, weaken, and shift into essentially a new body space that I’d never had before. Every pregnancy affects every person so very differently. I would’ve loved to know more about what that journey really looked like so I could’ve possibly been even more prepared.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How’d that work out? What do you do now that fills your days with ‘work’?

For the bulk of my childhood, and even into my sophomore year of college, I wanted to be a large animal veterinarian (and a professional soccer player). Unfortunately, my aversion to math and physics negated my eventual vet dreams, and my realistic soccer skills prevented the U.S. National Team from calling me up. Instead, I’ve capitalized on my strengths: writing and love of people. Freelance writer, poet, and now working within public relations, my “work-life” revolves around writing as a professional vessel. As for soccer, I now coach my boys and their classmates and am so thankful to share my love of soccer with them.

What one ‘life hack’ changed how you do something?

Ha! The biggest “life-hack” for me was having children. Absolutely. This reformed night-owl gets up before 6:00 a.m. most days to get ahead of the daily schedule deluge. I never thought I’d be a morning runner—a morning anything, really—but running at sunrise is my actual favorite if I can because it is the quietest moment of my day.

Running early in the morning keeps me grounded.
What’s your ideal way to spend your weekends?

In my dreams, we’re back in England at an estate, taking the boys to play in the tall grasses or to some of the all-day car shows hosted at the estates. We’d get Scottish vanilla ice cream and rose lemonade and walk through the aisles of vintage Astin Martins and Daimlers.

But now, back in the U.S., I love our quiet weekends, where we have the time to go on a hike or do nothing at all (and be outside without passing out), before grilling something delicious. We love being outside, anytime, any place.

England is ever on our minds.
What is something you’re doing as a mom/parent you never anticipated doing?

I never thought I would have the opportunity to coach soccer, much less my own boys at the same time, and in the state of Texas. It’s all been an awesome turn of events!

If you grew up in San Antonio, what’s one thing that you loved about your childhood here? One thing you love that your children are getting to know? If you didn’t, tell me where you grew up, how you got to SAT, and one thing you love that your children get to do/see/experience here?

I grew up in the Albuquerque area of New Mexico, so it’s fun to experience everything new with my boys. We are a military family, which takes us many places, and we’ve been lucky enough to find our home currently in SATX. I love all the cultural elements that San Antonio celebrates. I love that my boys get to experience Fiesta and everything that is celebrated in tandem. In many ways, San Antonio is familiar and reminds me of where I grew up, but in so many ways I love it so much more.

What is your favorite place in San Antonio?

Alamo Heights is my adopted love. From the architecture to the vibe to Merit Coffee to all my favorite local shops, it is my lovely go-to area!

Nowhere Bookshop in Alamo Heights is my fave for books. And gifts. And joy.
What is your favorite restaurant?

La Fonda on Main is my absolute favorite, especially if we can sit outside. Delicious and romantic, it’s the first place my husband and I ate together here.

What is something near San Antonio, but technically out of the city limits, that you love being close to or enjoy going to or WANT to go explore?

I can’t wait to explore some of the other nearby state parks, like Lost Maples, once it truly cools down. Our family is always looking for new outdoor spaces to enjoy, so I have a big wishlist to explore once it gets chilly.

Another thing I love about San Antonio is…

Everyone seems so accepting of individuals as they are. The kindness and open-mindedness we’ve experienced here have been so refreshing. It feels like a community you really want to be part of and grow with.

Thanks for being so welcoming and kind to us, SA! We heart you! XO

Jacey Blue Renner is a freelance writer & poet who holds an MFA from Lesley University. Most recently you can find her work in San Antonio Magazine. As a USAF spouse, she has moved extensively with her family, but would've stayed in the UK (the island love of her life), forever. She uses words & running to keep her grounded. Her boy crew is an inspiration on how to live fully. Currently stationed in SATX, her family is her complete heart. Favorite Restaurant: La Fonda on Main. Favorite Landmark: The Pearl. Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Battle of FlowersParade.