Sunday, February 27, 2011

oh, the Wondrous Cross.

There are many things I'm passionate about, and many things that frustrate me.
The worst combination is when I get frustrated about things I love.

As sad as it is, we are people that are often consumed by image.
Whether we like to admit or not, and as hard as we try not to be... it happens.

Who has the most Northface jackets?
Who has the newest TOMS?
Who has the latest Apple product?

In this blog last month, I mentioned how as followers, we should carry the name of Jesus everywhere. I thought about that, carrying His name, last night as I saw a table full of girls that had bedazzled, decorated, colored, fancy crosses on their shirts, jewelry, and bags.

What I really thought about, was their relationship with Christ. Not in a judgmental way, but in a curious way - if they know what the crosses they're wearing stand for and represent. I sadly think that some people think of the cross like they do hearts and flowers: decorative. I'm not saying that wearing the cross or having it anywhere on your stuff is wrong - I have necklaces, NOTW shirts are cool, there's nothing bad in and of itself with wearing the cross. I just wish more people would respect it and acknowledge it's meaning.

I fear that the cross has lost it's meaning, it's sacredness and value. The cross (and the word "Christian") means nothing to a lot of people these days. It's seen as just another ordinary symbol or picture. We don't look at the cross as a place of love, redemption and grace. The cross has or is becoming another status symbol and label.

It's frustrating to me when people who in one way or another wear a cross, and shame or blaspheme it by their words and actions - and I've been guilty of this. The cross carries a heavy meaning; it and the call it has on our lives should not be taken lightly.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I saw a quote this morning that said,

Having a religion will not save you, having a relationship with Him will.

I honestly can't picture life without my relationship with Christ. Which is funny, kinda, because for a long, long time, I was one of those Christians that just knew it as a religion, not a relationship.

Christianity is not easy, it's not always fun, and it's definitely not always safe. Marriages fall apart sometimes because people stop trying, they stop caring, and things get hard. Our society likes things easy. If things get too complicated or difficult, we cop out. Having a relationship with Christ is the same way. You have to work at it.

And believe it or not, that is much more than going to church and Bible study every week, and having a quiet time every day. It's active communication, a fight, putting forth effort.

Psalm 63 says, You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
Do we really cherish and get more satisfaction from Him than food? sleep? people?

In my Bible, I wrote "the only way to have a consistent walk with Him and reach the fullness of joy!" by verse one...  I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you, my whole body longs for you...

There is fullness of joy in Him.
There is no greater satisfaction than in Him.

Even in the midst of busyness and college life, we (I) should be earnestly seeking Him. Things have to change, I can't continue feeling this way. My heart broke this morning as I thought about and prayed for every person in my life (whether I am aware of their hurt or not) that may be feeling empty, lonely, lost, frustrated... and don't have a relationship with Christ, that don't feel like they can turn to Christ and pour our their heart and their troubles to Him.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fast-Paced Life.

I lead a busy life. I've decided maybe my mind thrives on it? My body and it's lack of sleep don't necessarily like it, but I look at my life the last five years and see how often I overload myself. I think it goes back to my hatred of boredom and the thrill of completing a challenge.

Two days during the week, I have a roughly 15-hour class/work-day. My days are spent running from one thing to the next, prioritizing what task needs completed next, which one's can be pushed off a little longer... just trying to keep myself afloat.

For some reason, I started having foot problems Saturday. A shot of pain goes up my foot with every step I take, doesn't matter what shoes I'm wearing - all I can do is walk slower and limp in attempt to lessen the pain. It doesn't take much to get me to go to a doctor, so that's what I did today.

The doctor wasn't sure if it's tendinitis, but gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine regardless. As I was driving home, I thought to myself, "I really hope this medicine works and this goes away... I don't have time to 'take it easy' or have surgery..."

And then I just felt like the Lord said,

slow down.

Life may get busy, but it does not have to be stressful. I am one of those people that struggles with telling people no, and just keeps adding things onto the pile. But some things, even good things, can become distractions. 

No matter what age I am, what stage of life I'm in, I have to and want to keep the Lord first. Sometimes that means slowing down and saying no. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine (pt. 2)

So, I did get a little crafty for valentine's day this year. 

This was my first year to do valentine's day gifts that reached beyond mini candy bars and cartoon scratch-'n-sniff cards.

Aaron and I share a mutual love of Chinese food. I'm not sure if I remember how many times we ate at Panda Express this summer... plus all the times I ate there without him. So, what better gift than felt fortune cookies?

Sorry, Martha Stewart... your idea did not work out very well. Luckily, my 4-H sewing skills have not disappeared and that high school graduation gift could be used! 

I made eight, because we have an odd re-occurrence of the number eight in our relationship. The cookies did not contain fortunes, but cute, mushy quotes and whatnot. :) He also got a customized picture frame and handmade card. 

You get cute gifts when your girlfriend is a designer/artist. Just saying.


Dear Boyfriend,

You basically just provided the best weekend I've had since this summer.

The fact that the first and last thing we did on this trip was eat Taco Bell makes me laugh - though not as hard as when you tickled me.

Friday included antique shops, chocolate and spending time with you. Three of my favorite things.

Lunch at the Crimson Moon was delish, even if their speakers were hung with carabiners, and the fonts were horrible on the menu. I also love that your family trusted their stomachs to me (okay, mostly you) to cook valentine's day dinner. I love even more that we did not care to change out of our shirts that held the evidence of a flour fight. It adds some finesse to the picture, I think. Friday was full of food, nom nom nom... oh, and me beating everyone at Wii bowling.

Making me sneak onto the old car at Underground Atlanta on Saturday... priceless. My adventurous spirit doesn't get out too much, so I think I met my quota for the week. I know you wanted to get in the choo-choo, but the crazy security guy with dreads was too scary to try and push out. Next time?

Do you remember the crazy, toothless, homeless lady telling us we were cute? I agree. :)

As if the park wasn't amazing enough in itself, you remembered I wrote down a picnic on my 101 to-do list. Best. picnic. ever. I'm sorry you didn't like saltines and cucumbers, but I knew you wouldn't! I hope we don't get a fine for littering cucumber. I also don't know many people that would take me to Hobby Lobby just for the heck of it. And be willing to take a mirror picture with me. Little stuff like this we miss out on being 1200 miles apart. :)

You also remembered my love of Italian food. Yummmmmmmmmmm. Even though you didn't like my mushroom manicotti, and confused the waitress with your order.... it was relaxing to sit in that too-dark corner with no candles and paper tablecloths to color on. Losing Hand and Foot afterwards wasn't the greatest though, we should work on that.

"I don't want you to leave!" ...this was one of the cutest moments of the weekend.
We sure do know how to make each other laugh - one of my favorite things about us. 

I sure did hate saying good-bye to you. I think the Lord is reminding me to be content wherever I am, whether it's dancing with you in the car in Atlanta or sitting in my quiet apartment alone. 

Love, jess

p.s. - I'm sorry I assumed (this summer, I might add) you had no creativity. Seven months later, you prove me wrong. You out-did yourself with the poem and scrapbook. I'm glad the Lord gave both of us some creativity. :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day Thirty! Done!

Where do you think you’ll be in 5 years?

This question should not be allowed. The closer I get to graduating, and the more I think about it, the more I think about where I'm going next. 

Part of me thinks Dallas would be fun, maybe a good "first step" after college. 
But, Nashville would be awesome, and the only adventurous spirit I have in me is set aside for moving. Plus, I know people (okay, like three) there. And, hello... awesome concerts and famous people?
Florida would be even greater. I'm tired of this cold, snowy, icy, windy business. I could handle Florida. 

But really, things could change in a year. A year ago, I never even considered Nashville or Florida. It was me and Dallas, maybe Austin. 

Ultimately, I don't have the last say. It makes me kind of laugh when I think about the fact that God already knows where I'll be two years from this exact day. He knows the day I will move, the job I will work, the place I will live. He sees me having all these ideas, and I wonder how off or on track I am according to His plan. I wonder if God ever giggles at me.

I'm probably like His afternoon sitcom.

p.s. - I'm glad this is done.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day Twenty-nine.

Write about any particular habits/mannerisms that you have.

This is a hard one... I think it's hard to pick out habits I have, because they seem so normal. Ha. 

First of all, I do the same thing every morning. Not always in a precise order, but if you were to video me every morning in the kitchen... you would be bored by day three. Eggs, cheese, skillet. Coffee. Bible. Proceed in getting ready. 

I play with my hair a lot. Not in the girly-twirly way, but I comb thru it with my fingers or pull it up into what would be a ponytail and let it fall. 

I know I have more. Somebody point them out to me.... what habits do you see of mine?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just came across this...

Day Twenty-eight.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?

1. That Aaron and I lived closer together. I can do long-distance. But, the 1200-miles-apart-only-see-each-other-every-few-months sucks, majorly. I have to remind myself almost daily there is a season for everything, and it is beautiful in it's own way. I hope when I look back that I see the beauty in it. :) 

2. That I could fly anywhere I wanted for free, as many times as I wanted. I would fly to KC and see my sister, to Cali to see Kelli, to Georgia, to Houston, to D.C., to Oxford... oh my gosh. There would be so many places I would go!! Not that I think about it every minute of every day, and not that it pushes me into depression, but I really hate how many of the people I love dearly live so far away. 

3. Okay, now usually I say that I wouldn't wish it away, but if wishes really did exist... I don't know that I would be able to pass it up. I would wish for a healthy pancreas. Not that I don't value the things I have learned from diabetes, the people I've met because of my diabetes (Ellie and Lora), or how much smarter it's probably made me (even though I suck at math, still)... but it would really un-complicate my life. Just saying.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day Twenty-seven.

Where is somewhere you would want to visit?

New York.

oh, and Georgia.
But I'm going there Thursday. :) 

p.s. - it's aaron and I's six month anniversary today :))

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day Twenty-six.

Write about something you once loved, but now despise.

There are more things I can think of that I used to despise, but now love. Most of them being food... but also running, and some music. I'm sure there's more, that seems like too short of a list. 

I know there's something that I just can't think of right now... something bigger or more significant. But honestly, the only thing I can think of is....

cottage cheese. 

Obviously my brain doesn't want to cooperate right now. Hopefully you enjoyed this short and sweet little tidbit.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day Twenty-five.

Write a letter to someone you miss.

Dear Grandpa,
I wish I had known you when I was older and could remember you more. I feel like we have a very similar personality from the tidbits I do remember.

Dear Ellie,
I wish we lived closer. For once in my life.

Dear Kelli,
I miss our morning notes and long hugs. Waking up to nothing on my mirror and no one to giggle with is boring. You also can tell when I'm lying through my teeth, which helps keep me in line.

Dear Stephen,
I miss our bike rides and heart to hearts.

Dear S,
I miss you. The End.

There is a time and purpose for every season and situation. There is a wonderful reason that so many people I love are so far away from me - hopefully in ten years I can look back and see why. I would say that that's something I'll ask when I go to heaven... but I know by then I won't even care. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day Twenty-four.

How has your week been?

My week has been... crazy.

Beach Reach training.
Snow and negative windchill temps.
New projects in class.
Glorieta recruitment.
Bible study.
Work two jobs.
Freelance stuff.
Laundry, dishes, cleaning.
Scholarship applications (last semester of this!)

Not to mention everything I need to do today.

I really try to get all of my "tasks" done before Sunday, so that I can fully and truly enjoy my Sabbath. I think it's important no matter what stage of life you're in, but this semester, I can tell that I will really need a day to relax, de-stress and just be. So, with that being said....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day Twenty-three.

Describe what you spend most of your time on.


School: four studio classes, one art history class.
Work: two design jobs.
Free-time: doing homework or freelance. 

That's how I know it's a God-given talent and skill. I so badly want a job after I graduate that furthers His kingdom, in one way or another.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day Twenty-two.

What made you smile the most today?

Today was a very rough day. I hate when one person can affect your day so much, sometimes it's good... sometimes it's bad. But what I love, is that for every bad egg there are eleven good ones out there. (cliche, I know. don't judge me.)

I had some encouragement from friends and co-workers. I called my daddy to vent. After the mishap happened, it was nothing but encouragement for the rest of the day from everyone I talked to or saw. Even though I loved and needed the words of comfort, what made me smile the most was two very small things. 

Eden and Salem. 

I went through phases; I loved kids for a long time, and then I did not love kids for awhile, and now I'm back to loving kids. They amaze me. The way kids giggle warms my heart, it is truly one of my favorite things in the world. Especially the giggle that happens when you tickle them. 

Tonight, I went over to my church-adoptive parents house for laundry and dinner. Every time I go over to their house, the kids are more and more used to me - and today they ran up to me and gave me huge hugs without mommy even telling them to do so. 

I love that the Creator of the universe cares about the smallest details like bad days and hugs.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day Twenty-one.

How has your life changed over the past year?


How has life changed? How has life not changed? 

I think my relationship with Christ has grown and changed, which has in turn changed many things. Certain things and people are no longer in my life - most of which I'm okay with, but wish was different. My heart has been opened to missions. I'm so aware of Christ's love and beauty, I see it everywhere. I sponsor a little Bolivian girl. I met one of the most amazing, Christ-like men I've ever known. I've experienced joy, freedom and peace like never before. 

Then there's other stuff like, I moved out of the dorm. I live by myself. I got a new job. My idea of what I want to do after I graduate has changed. I now know the gloriousness of Gungor music. I've actually eaten at one of the Thai restaurants in Canyon. I have a legit camera now. My pump now has a name.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day Twenty.

What did you eat today?

Egg with bread.
Boston Creme Pie sugar-free pudding.
Half-turkey sandwich.
Austin PB snack crackers.
Small orange. 
Hamburger Helper. 

Not the most exciting day...