Showing posts from 2014

December - Finishing Semester 1

Arms folded and leaning across the counter, I handed her my card. People were flocking in, the warm space an inviting place as December rain began falling at the close of the parade. A white noise hush amid the outside chill ushered in a sense of the holidays. The Christmas parade in 50 degree weather drew our attention to twinkly lights adorning tree lined streets against a backdrop of dark sky. Inside, the walls lined with tall wooden booths bore the skeletons of holiday stories to be made and shared.

Handed my card back, I warmed my hands around the milk steamer and headed to my booth. Around me people gathered with friends for coffee, tea, wine. The Baylor game was on, spirits high.

We sat and laughed, planned a last minute white elephant/Christmas movie party, and began laying out preparations to build a homemade dining room table. Sitting there I felt a strange sense of doneness - classes had finished two days prior, flying home in two weeks.

 And yet, a sense, or rather a remind…

Not Your Average Joe

It was pouring, pellets raided my windshield that night as I drove home. Less than a mile away, the corner that holds coffee shops, grocery stores, and restaurants reminded me of where I was after trailing through the neighborhoods lost. In the dark. In the rain.

It was a relief. At the corner I saw a man waving, his bike resting on the slope behind him. His shoulders hunched forward and chin tucked down as if to stop the rain from splattering his face. I drove past, my gut and my head battling whether to stop. Reason and instinct bickering inside. Running inside my house I grabbed some things into a bag for him and against my rational wishes headed back down the street. But he was not to be found.

At least I least that's what I told myself.

Deciding to be prepared, I left the bag in my car. Then there would be no excuses to pass up an opportunity the next time.

I met Joe the next day.

"Hi" he said, extending his hand.

"My name's Joe." Taking his …

The Silence Has Sound

Yesterday I sat in the coffee shop studying some of the social and behavioral determinants in public health while nibbling/stuffing my face with a dark chocolate brownie. The hum of the machines and those coming and going became more and more distracting. Adjusting, I pulled out my aids, plugged in my headphones, and began listening to music. But the words were tiring. Changed to classical. There, that would work.

When I was three years old I got my first pair of hearing aids, obviously the most adorable child ever to wear those tiny little instruments behind both years. At the same time I began school and started speech lessons that would continue for the next five years.

I never quite understood how people could "forget" to put hearing aids in or would lose them. Seriously, how do you forget that step in your morning routine? Heck, it's not even in the routine-it's before I get out from under the covers! I just never understood that. How do you forget the differenc…

Square Tables and Threads

Perhaps prayer is also in those conversations with good friends, where our lips utter the Goodness of God, forgetting that He's overhearing every word. Could this be? 
Sitting around the pine square table last night, we ate our roasted salmon with kale salad and farmer's market challah. It's been over two years since I've seen this girl, the last time being for three hours in Memphis as I drove through the city. It's funny, she's been one of my best friends since 2007 and we can count on our hands the number of times we have been together in person.  Taiwan as 15 year olds, Wisconsin as 16 year olds, Charlotte as 18 year olds, Portugal as 19-20 year olds, Memphis as 20 year olds, and now Georgia as 22 and 23 year olds. And now I'm in grad school and she's in med school, only two hours apart. Yet somehow our six encounters seem surreal. This girl is like my other sister and when we get together it's as if no time has passed at all.
As the Athens sun …

Five Lines

Purple ink. Scratchy writing. Five lines. 
Aug 14, 2012: Mom and I took Cat to Waco for her 1st year at Baylor. Crazy!  Lord, please be with her and her roommate. Guide them.  Talked with mom on way home about what love should look like for  all Christians and then about the bakery. Only You can pull her through. Thank you for your protection, love, and provision.
Aug 14, 2013: Ran 60 minutes today. It felt good. But, I locked my  keys out-Mrs. W happened to be walking by so we met and she  gave me a ride home. Met with S before church and visited, H too. Deciding to be intentional with some friendships, even though I don't want to right now.
Aug 14, 2014: Got a cleaning job. Trusting that they're safe people to work for. Spent the rest of the day baking, finalizing details. Slowly things are working out. Idea of prayer has been on my mind.  Why don't I desire that all the time? I want to be seeking after Your  heart.
Just after publishing a post, my dad got ahold of me. My mom was in the…

Praying in Circles

I look up at my ceiling. The lights are off; the fan hums but I don't hear it; only my bedside lamp glows dimly as it waits for me to finish my five lines. 

Just five lines. A whole day of events, thoughts, and emotions to be crammed into five short lines. Some days those lines are lists of things done, one after each comma. Some days, though, a thought from the day takes a line and then a plead fills the next four, a prayer gets scribbled into the margins. 

Each day above the five lines are sets of five more lines from the same day the previous year. Some in pencil, some in black ink, but most in purple ink. Has it really been two years, starting the third? It's funny how the things the year before that consumed my day are still working their ways out. Or sometimes, with a year later to look back on them, they were insignificant.

Eventually I'll stop thumbing through and reading the weeks ahead, spoiling the leasure-look-back for the next night. But tonight I'm reading. …

Tell Me, Know Me

Mentorship comes in many forms. A parent, a teacher, a coach, an older sibling. The more I reflect on the mentor figures throughout my life the more I realize I've kind of been drawn to those relationships as long as I can remember. There are countless grandparent figures; parent figures; big brother/big sister figures; dear friends; and trusted, wise sources of counsel in my life. In the last four years several people have once again taken me under their wings.

One such person was one of my professors, I'll call him Steve (his name is Steve). He and his wife are an interesting couple with accents from the deep deep south that make it seem like their words are stretched from here to Mississippi. From the get go they were inherently interested in the students who would be a part of their life for the next couple of years. And somewhere over the course of my four years I heard him say this:

"Tell me how much you know of the suffering of another man and I'll tell you how …

Titled: Unveiling

This blog has existed for three years and 100 posts now. In the beginning I didn't have a title. Actually, nothing I've had to title have had titles. Instead, some obscure name that alludes to my perceived inability to title things takes the bolded, large-fonted, centered space. 

And all the while, I'm using words like "Unable to Conjure a Crafty Title", "Insert Cleverness Here", "Randoms", and "Untitled But Satisfied" to label my drawings, art pieces, and shared creative spaces that mean the most to me. Fooled by the guise of creativity and cleverness I am leaving these precious pieces nameless. 

And for what reason? You're probably thinking, "so what, Jess? This is pretty creative and there's no need to get your panties in a bunch over naming things". That's true. It is. But in a culture where labels are slapped on everything there's a rising opinion that we shouldn't be so quick to label everything. Bel…

Decisions, Decisions

A most beautiful and mighty storm rages outside my window. It started a few hours ago as the winds picked up and provided respite from the long hours of heat. As could be expected, the sun crept down shooting rays of color along the skyline. Darkness replaced the skies and with a flash, literally, the storm began. Lightning crackled like strobe lights and danced as if to Chopin scherzo no.1. As could be expected, no rain followed, even as the winds increased and thunder joined the show. But finally, it came down. A steady blowing of rain (but really) and our dry hard ground finally gets a taste. It's long long that I'm not sure the ground can even absorb it like it needs to. 

Yesterday I sat my last final and in less than three days, four years of undergraduate study come to an official close. It hasn't fully sunk in yet. For the last couple of months though, I have been trying to draft something to post. In the works is a Guide to Grad Schools: Applying, Apply…

Applying to Graduate School: A Change in Plans

The grad school process will be most efficient if I no longer go to grad school and instead create a mega-million dollar application system to be used by every graduate program.

It is here that we will streamline data, references, transcripts, scholarship and financial aid info, and all that jazz into one place where poor students specialize it for each program but no longer have to worry about a dozen login codes, registrar offices, conflicting deadlines, and mix-matched emails between graduate schools and then the specific departments at the school. 

Yes, this may indeed be my higher calling. For now I'll dub it "Weedenator Systems: Weeding through the field of dreams that many call graduate school" 

Now taking applications for computer programing geeks.

Own It

There is absolutely nothing that you haveto do today. Nothing.
With each generation we are approaching maturity, in terms of adulthood and responsibility, much later.  Whatever the reasons for this may be are, it really does not matter. The fact is that as cohort of college-age-somethings (and I would argue this applies across ages) our words and actions do not convey responsibility and commitment.

Consider this: We preach "live in the moment" and YOLO as if it's something worthy of attaining.

...And yet in the moment with friends we are found texting someone else

 We are pursuing degrees to advance world peace and we stay up all night to finish the assignment only to lay down for a nap and sleep through the class for which it was due.

Or in the case of myself this morning, we sleep through three alarms and miss work. 
What exactly does this say?
To the friend you are with? To the professor who's time you are disrespecting? To the kids who depend on me? It sounds a…

Momma Says

It was a a cool summer morning when she handed me the book. Inside the cover she'd written a sweet birthday wish. I turned the pages to find the story of a dance.

While that book sits on my bookshelf back home, alongside another one she gave me a few years later Something Worth Leaving Behind,  I remember the line she closed with, "my Jess, I hope you always choose to dance. Luv, Mom".

That birthday eleven years ago, Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance became our song. I hadn't thought of it really until the lyrics began playing over and over in my mind this week.

My mom used to paint. The mayor's portrait (Townsville, AUS way back in the day of big hair and high waisted jeans) hangs in Townsville's city offices bearing her strokes. Robert Redford adorned a giant canvas screen tucked along a wall in my house as a child. I used to sit and go through her sketchbook that sports drawings of a foot, bridesmaids, and flowers. Those images still in my memory.

But …