December 31, 2011

A Change in a Girl

Hello Friends

It's done.  I can't believe it.  I can truly say that I'm a graduate of Purdue University!!! :D  God has blessed me as a first-generation graduate for my family, and I am so thankful for this journey.   It's been a long, hard 5 and a half years at Purdue.  Yes, 5 and a half.  That's like 11 semesters!!  (I'll explain in a moment. )  I have been waiting for this moment since Spring 2010 with such anticipation that I've nearly fallen off my seat 8 or 9 times (metaphorically speaking).  Let's go back and look at the timeline.

December 30, 2011

January 2009: Galveston, Texas

For the 3-year anniversary of God forever changing my life, here is an entry is from before I began my blog.  It was important to add.  Please, enjoy.

The Trip

The trip itself was a blur to me.  16 hours in a 2 15-passenger vans with those same 20 people whose names I couldn't remember, some taco bell stops later we arrived in Dallas.  We stayed with one of the guy's parents in their beautiful home.  It was 70 degrees, beautiful night out with a star-filled sky above us.  We drove the 4 hours the next day to Galveston Island.  Hurricane Ike had taken its toll on the state.  It was in just as bad a state as Louisiana & Mississippi after Katrina.  We lived in the same guy's grandparents' beach houses.  The houses had filled with water but survived the terror of the storm.  The furniture replaced, we stayed in a sometimes-hot, sometimes-freezing beach house, but it was beautiful waking up to the sunrise every day and walking the beach at night in the sunset.  Never thought a mission trip could be so much fun!  

December 27, 2011

A New Chapter

In honor of my new, post-grad freedom, I am picking up new hobbies!! The goal is to use my free-time wisely.  No watching tv or napping for me! (well, I'll probably still nap)  Here is a list of everything that I want to do from now on!!


Last fall I learned how to knit! Some friends and I had a knitting party, and after that most of us gave it up!  I was overwhelmed that 20 stitches and very thin yarn was getting me nowhere.  Almost a year later, I picked up thicker needles and thicker yarn.  In a month, I knitted 3 beautiful scarves; red, purple and green.  I gave them to 2 good friends and a mentor.  I found that it was more meaningful to give someone a gift that took me 8 hours to make than purchasing something.  I also found out that I'm a giver!

November 11, 2011

A Short While

Hello friends,

I am leaving for a short while.  Only awhile.  I am in the last few weeks of my college career, and although I am so excited and thankful for reaching this moment, it's bittersweet.  I will miss Purdue and my Campus House community so much, that I hope to stick around for one more semester and work.  We'll see...

In the meantime, I have to concentrate on my studies, as well as truly appreciating the people in my life.  So I will return to blog about life and God's story for me around Christmas time. (sooner than you think). Have a wonderful fall and I will blog with you again this winter.


October 4, 2011

Back to work?

So I realize that it's been a long time.  As July came to an end, I had to complete an online class, move back to Purdue, unpack my life, exterminate my apartment of icky-crawlies, and begin the last semester of my college career. Whew! Out of all of this, the most exciting thing was returning to my awesome God-sent community of Jesus followers and my favorite college church, Purdue Christian Campus House.

In all of this, I found no good time to blog.  Sadly, it's true.  And it's been an amazing semester so far.  We are in Week 7 out of 16.  And why, do you ask, am I blogging today?  I called off work with a cold.  I just couldn't work with food and a snotty nose! It's just wrong.  But I KNOW God will provide. My bills will get paid :)

Now, enough formalities.  Let me tell you about my life these past 3 months!  August 4th, Jasmine & I drove to Chicago to see Beauty & the Beast on Broadway! Amaziiiiing!!!!

(insert pic)

August 3, 2011

Thoughts like Wildfire [Inspiration #2]

I love the idea of letting thoughts wander and grow.  You find so much about yourself if you wrote down a strain of thoughts, letting them weave in and out of possibility and taking form in reality.  I once heard someone say "think of the impossible and then try to do it."  The point is to try.  Where would society be today if no one ever tried to impossible?  And who's to say what's impossible? No man can make your boundaries, only you can, right?

Today's thought of inspiration comes from a friend of mine, Emily.  She told me about this artist named Ryan Woodward.  He's worked for major motion studios, storyboarding for some great features.  In 2010, he created an amazing animated short film that took me by surprise.  Titled Thought of You, it's a simple animated drawing of two dancers.  Not to say it's impossible to draw & animate life-like dancers, but I'm all-the-more inspired.

July 30, 2011

The Story of Acrylic & Gouache

Once upon a time, a young girl wished to learn how to paint. Tried as she might, she could find no paint friendly enough for her talents. She tried watercolor, but this 6th-grader could not get it right. She tried Acrylic, it was fun but still wasn't as joyful. Finally one day, her 'advanced drawing' Teaching Assistant told her about Gouache paint, a paint that so happened to be in her art kit already. "Oh!" she exclaimed, as she attempted the feat of mastering this wondering paint. She created a beautiful sunset and got an A! The End!!

If only it were like a fairytale....

July 24, 2011

The Definition of Strange [Inspiration #1]

You know who's so unique to me, and of course people call him strange? Adam Young of Owl City. He's an inspiration to me for being so "strange". I mean his lyrics are unbelievable, beautiful, metaphoric, confusing and inspirational all at once. To me, this insomniac and dreamer is an inspiration to this insomniac and dreamer. Yeah, I can relate. Here's an excerpt from Alligator Sky:

June 18, 2011

Resharpening My Craft

Is this what it feels like to fall in love again? After a very, very long time?

I'm designing again! Starting to. Don't worry, this love story's about my love for graphic design, not a soap opera. [although I have felt like I've been living one] After semesters of frumpy electives, I have designed virtually nothing and feel like I've lost my touch.

I have been so worried about what my portfolio should look like that I hadn't even been working on it. But now I'm back!!! Let me tell you about what I've been doing!

May 19, 2011

God bless Guatemala

In the beautiful mountains of Quetzaltenango is a little school, full of bright young minds. For 9 days, 14 students and 2 leaders from Purdue Christian Campus House went to teach in Colegio Mark, a private K-9 school in the mountains of Guatemala. For 5 days, we taught drama, music, watch movies, and had recess but the main focus of the week was teaching English. This unique school gets many visitors a year; some bring new fascinating subjects for the school to try. Our subject was simple yet very difficult: teaching English to all students K-9 and giving teachers methods to teach with afterwards as well.

April 12, 2011

The One Percent

At some point this year, I came to the realization that every brand and product that Corporate America & the rest of the Corporate world make....are for the 1%.

Last semester I attended Campus House' week of critical Christian information [name has escaped me for the moment]. Jason Tennenhouse, Director of Campus House, talked about the 1%. Get ready for this: Less than 1% of the world's population is NOT stricken with poverty. That means that we college students, middle-class, normal job Americans are the richest people in the world. Those of us who own cars, buy shampoo on a regular basis, and frequent at IHOP and McDonalds have got it made.

Think about this: we may be working in a campus bookstore or the dining court and have $12 to our names, but we are rich. Filthy rich. So rich it's disgusting. Frankly, this upsets me. Because on those days that I overslept and didn't have time to make lunch [in my fully-stocked kitchen] I grab a sandwich from Subway and go on my way. To college students, when you really look at it, $5 for a footlong sandwich is a "great deal". While we're feasting, there are people who literally are drinking out of the same muddy ravine their cows drink in. This upsets me. My $3 frappe from McDonalds can feed a family, longer than it would feed my American stomach. I came to this revelation last semester and I can't let this go.

What upset me most recently, however, is when I look at products. I don't have cable right now, because my roomate and I don't want to pay for it. But I want you to turn on the tv and watch your sitcoms and commercials. Everything on the television is literally for the 1%. No one else in the world can afford both Herbal Essence shampoo, a 12-pack of toilet paper, buy a couple songs off iTunes and hit up Burger King on the way home. No one else can buy concert tickets, buy iPods, buy apps for iPods, and buy Halloween costumes that you're never going to wear again. Who else hits up Redbox, goes to the movies, eats 5lb of popcorn and still has money left over to buy Christmas decorations for your 1st college apartment?

Satan has been telling us this aweful lie that EVERYONE believes: "I can't help, I'm just one person, I don't have money to spare."

As the last of my college refund check is drained into my gas tank, I realized this was a lie. We are not without. Even when my friends and I have only a loaf of bread and some milk left in our tiny kitchens, we are still blessed. So much more blessed than we realize. Think about it this way: everything on this earth and in this universe belongs to God. Everything, including your bank account and your time. If God asked us to transfer some of HIS funds from our hands to someone else or give some time for the widow and orphan in your town, how can we not?

We are LITERALLY God's hands and feet. We need to move. We can skip out on one action movie this month to send food or supplies to Japan. We can put one shirt back on the rack at the mall and send aid to Haiti, who is STILL in ruins, even if the news stopped talking about them.

an orphan in Japan

destruction after the tsunami & earthquake

Haiti, one year after the earthquake

Hope 61, an organization created to help trafficking victims

God's been convicting me of sending what I DO HAVE, time. I volunteer at a transitional housing center, where the homeless come for food and resources. I have money, $3 to my name and He's still providing everything I need. Connections, I am blessed to live in America. I already own a passport, if God told me to GO, what should stop me? What should stop us from running to rescue children in the darkest places on Earth? Or women and children trapped in sex trafficking? Or Haiti, New Orleans, Japan and every other natural disaster. We are the ONE PERCENT. We are it; if we don't bring the name of Jesus to them, who will?

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥

P.S. Michael Jackson's 'Man in the Mirror'

Photos borrowed from the websites of CNN, Huffington Post, Charity Water & Hope 61.

April 4, 2011

My 1st WinterJam

And hopefully not my last!

I had such an amazing night with 4 of my Sisters in Christ. Earlier on Saturday March 26th, I had a 6-hour meeting with my Guatemala team. Around 4pm, I was invited to join my girls for a roadtrip to Champaign, IN for Winter Jam 2011! We didn't get on the road until 5:30 and danced our way into the city at 7:30. We were half an hour late but we found awesome seats to the left of the stage. I feel so blessed to have a chance to worship with some awesome people of God.

We got to worship with Francesca Battistelli!

And Kutless!

As well as Sidewalk Prophets and Newsboys! [Favorite S.P. song is definitely "Love You Anyway"!] It was such an amazing night. We missed some great artists, like RED and Newsong, but it's ok! My sister decided to support a sweet little baby boy named Tuan through Hope International. [I'll post his pic soon]

Our amazing night ended at this shady-looking IHOP (and their incredibly large receipts).

We got back to Purdue at 3am! God bless Arika for driving us and Jazmyn for staying awake with her. :) If you ever get a chance to go to WinterJam (they're touring all over right now) GO! GO GO GO! It's only $10 and it's truly a blessing.

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥

March 29, 2011

Introducing the Birdcage: A New Era of Art

The Birdcage is my latest obsession, figuratively speaking. As it relates to faith, the birdcage may seem like an obvious metaphor. But the birdcage itself, when you look at it, has something so beautiful about it. As well as a sense of imprisonment. The sin that God has saved me from and the healing He is doing now, that is my birdcage. The process is beautiful, although the sin was not. My story is beautiful, even though I didn't think so when I was still inside the cage. It's amazing to see how God uses our little stories to bring His Story together.

With that said, I told you I'd be uploading some artwork from this year. Here's the final product from my Design II class. We were to create a 3D object out of one 28x40 sheet of bristol (cardstock) paper; no glue, no cutting away from it. Here the final product:

For another project, titled Inside the Box, we were to build a white box with a 1.5-inch depth and imply at least 1 foot of space within it. Here's what I did:

Then, my real passion is creating things on my own.

However, I don't have as much time as I'd like to do things on my own. But I'll be working more on that these next few months.

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥

March 21, 2011

Not My Hair

That's what I was saying as I looked in the mirror, 10 years of my hair being the same length. Chopped. Off.

Ever since I was little, my mother had been relaxing my hair. I had beautiful shoulder-length hair for years. And that's where it stayed. I didn't get it trimmed much, it just didn't grow.

In college, I learned how bad relaxing chemicals can be for a Black woman's hair. It's crazy to think that I'd been robbing my hair of full health all these years. Relaxer chemicals straighten my fro into long, "white" hair. I'm not trying to offend anyone but it's the truth. For decades, Black women have been told that afros were a sight for sore eyes, when in truth, God made us this way. He gave us high-wearing, grease-sucking, afros and what do we do with them? We straighten them to look like a Caucasian woman. I don't think it's right, not anymore. I used to wonder "God, why can't my hair stay straight like I want?" When I should've been asking what I should REALLY be doing with my hair. I found out just yesterday that the more we chemically-straighten or apply heat to our 4A or 4B-type hair, the weaker it gets. Until it breaks off.

All these years, I thought I had weak hair that shed and was supposed to stay this length.

So I decided to cut it. I cut out the hair that was still straightened (permanently) and kept my new growth. I haven't told my parents and I'm not sure what they'll say. But I know that in time, my hair will grow again. I want to take better care of it, God willing.

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥

March 20, 2011

Head for the Hills 2011

My last Spring Break in undergrad college. Even though I have been on two spring break trips with Campus House, I wasn't sure what to expect from this one.

First off, the roadtrip worried me. I decided to drive this year and knew that I needed some energetic friends to accompany me and keep me awake for 7-8 hours. But I never anticipated how awesome my car would be. God truly blessed me with the best car. My sister Jasmine, an awesome girl named Julia and a sweet girl named Rita accompanied me to Pigeon Forge, TN on Saturday March 13th. We blasted Lecrae and had a dance party the whole way there (minus a nap or two for the passengers).

I was also worried about what bedroom we'd get (I worried over a whole lot of dumb things). I knew God had our back. Jasmine & I wanted to share a bed and snuggle the whole week, but we also hoped to have some awesome girls to share a room with.

The mountains were so beautiful, it was hard for me to be distracted about what room I'd get while being so surrounded by God's creation. We took so many pics!! After getting lost a few times on the road, we caught up with some of our caravan and made it there on time! In fact, we got there right before 6:30 and the goal was 7. We walked through the beautiful cabin and found an empty room in the corner with a giant king and a bunkbed. Jasmine and I dropped our things and went to explore the rest of the cabin. We played some pingpong and joined the others outside who were waiting for more cars to arrive. Eventually, two more sisters joined us, Liz & Lauren, both sweethearts. [By the 2nd day Jazmyn & Michelle, 2 of our closest friends, made their way to our room to stay! Sleepover!!]

I was so excited about the week and I knew that it would so amazing. All I had to do was wait for it all to unfold.

A week on Spring Break with Campus House consists of good food, awesome God-filled conversations, morning devotionals, evening worship and late-night hangouts. Every day was a new adventure, with people that knew me well and people I'd never met. I have been on Spring Break with Campus House 3 times now and I've never experienced community like this.

My fellow brothers & sisters were so open to share their struggles and their stories with everyone, no walls or strings attached. My community group of 7 random people (only 2 of which I knew before) were so open from the beginning, that we each shared our full testimony, one night at a time. One person at a time. It was so amazing to see how God was moving in people's lives, and knowing that you're not alone in your struggle.

No matter what your sin is, beit hypocrisy, sexual sin, or whatever, we are all beautiful in God's eyes. We are all loved by Him, and it tears Him up to know what we're going through. But if we surrender it to Him, and go running to Him for comfort, we will find the freedom that all of humanity craves.

Let me just say that my sin is just as dirty and horrible as yours or your neighbor's but God loves us regardless. He has the freedom from sin that we all need. It's so amazing to see that.

[ Someday soon I hope to give my testimony here on my blog. Just a sidenote! ^_^ ]

One thing that made Spring Break truly awesome for me was that my sister Jasmine asked me to baptize her Wednesday night. It was so beautiful and she shares this new-born birthday with 6 other amazing people.

But on a less serious note, Spring Break was full of some awesome adventure as well. My hilarious Sisters-in-Christ and I have started a step that we're practicing. [for those of you that don't know anything about stepping, check out the trailer for the movie Stomp the Yard. Normally it's a greek thing and I'm the only greek! But we just like to dance! ]

Also, having awesome dance parties in the parking lot in front of your cabin in the Smoky Mountains is great.........until you kill your car battery. Yep, we did that. It was so old that when I got back to Purdue I had to buy a new one. [Praise God for getting us back safely!!]

We also explored a place called MagiQuest, a high-time adventure palace full of magic and wands [it was the corniest thing ever but pretty hilarious]. Here's a link to the corniest trailer you'll ever see: prepare to be amazed...or not.

In my opinion, the only thing worth paying for at this goofy thing was the mirror maze, which had a room of mirrors and lights in the middle (where we proceeded to have a dance party). The amount of dance parties on this trip makes me smile every time I think about it (and makes me want to have another!!)

This was truly an amazing trip. I feel so blessed that God allowed me to go, and to spend time with such beautiful people. :) I can already feel the long-lasting relationships that God has blessed us with through another Campus House Spring Break trip!

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥

March 8, 2011

Volunteer Volunteer Coordinator

It began with a phone call...

I had applied to be a Volunteer Coordinator at the Lafayette Transitional Housing Center. It's a place for the homeless to go to get resources to get back on their feet, including a clothing donation room, food pantry, computers, phone & mail service, showers & day sleeping rooms. The job of volunteer coordinator consisted of becoming the new contact for free-will volunteers at LTHC (as opposed to community service volunteers, which is court-ordered).

I received a phone call, which turned into an interview, which became a job! :D Praise God!! I didn't know what to expect of this job, but on the interview I told them that I would help them recreate their volunteer system and anything else they needed me to do. That was so crazy to me, but I do believe that God wanted me to have this job. What I wanted was to work in non-profit AND a paycheck!

Little did I know that God had other plans for me. The last week of winter break consisted of many phone calls, some to Purdue's financial aid office for both work-study funds and to verify my parent's tuition loan. God's plan came into view when the tuition loan went through before the work-study funds did. Inadvertently, because I had tuition fully paid for, I was no longer eligible for work-study. So my position as Volunteer Coordinator immediately became Volunteer Volunteer Coordinator (as my boss would put it with a laugh).

At first, I was a little bummed (no paycheck) but I haven't volunteered to do anything in years. I'd been putting it off for so long that God had me volunteer unknowingly.

It's definitely a learning experience. Here I have been using my time as if it were my own! Ha! It definitely should belong to God so now I'm giving back.

My first day was the hardest but silently beautiful at the same time.

A man came in, said he was hurting and needed to get some food from the pantry. My supervisor told him that the pantry was closed for the day but would let him in this time. Since I'm learning what each volunteer position is about, my supervisor asked me to help him. I helped him shop for food for his family, as well as bagged his groceries. It broke my heart the whole time and I just wanted to help so much more. I understand now how it feels to volunteer and want to give your everything to one person, again and again. Because it happened again. And it would happen again. I wanted every person that walked in there to know that they're loved, by a God who knows their struggles, even if they don't understand the struggle. I wanted to give the little money I have to help.

God reveals Himself in so many people in so many ways. I'm blessed to have this volunteer job and I can't wait to share with you as I learn new things along the way.

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥

February 23, 2011

Finally, A Focus

I haven't found my calling in life...yet but I have discovered how to make these 2 art classes I'm taking more bearable AND get back into designing. For my last semester at Purdue, I am taking Drawing II and Design II. They can both be headaches if I let them, Design being the worst, but I gave myself a challenge this semester: I'm going to focus my artwork on God. Not just my artwork but much of my portfolio will be. I have been plagued with lack of "trying very hard to finish this darn thing" for a long time and I'm tired of it. I've avoided the creativity He gifted me with for far too long.

For my art classes, I have been incorporating Jesus into everything I can get my hands on. I have created a piece that shows my inner beauty in a world full of darkness and a birdcage piece [I'll explain later in another post]. Both have a connection to my faith. I'll be posting these soon so you can have a look!

And as for my graphic design writer's block? Here's how it started!

My main issue was....the design part. I've so afraid of even starting a design that if it was not good enough I won't get a job anywhere. Then it hit me. It doesn't matter how awesome or crappy my website looks, or how awesome or crappy my artwork looks. I will LITERALLY go wherever God leads me, be that Arkansas, New Mexico, or downtown Lafayette! Whatever the case, it's not possible for me to screw that up. I can't screw up His plan! So I woke up Sunday morning and thought "The Birdcage Unhinged" would be the new name of my blog! After years of my friends telling me that I was awesome at design & drawing, I let it get to my head, to the point where I was afraid to disappoint. Truth be told? Nobody cares what I make, except God, and I hope to glorify Him. Not glorify myself.

So most likely I will be using this birdcage idea for my portfolio and connecting it to my blog somehow. I hope to have my portfolio up and running by April (shooting for a high goal but we'll see!)

DESIGN SIDENOTE: Obviously I have not designed the blog yet, but fear not! I have a great design that will be up soon!

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥

February 20, 2011

Father's Love Letter

My friend Jazmyn sent me this amazing poem the other day. I thought I'd share it here, because it's the most amazing thing I have ever read. I'd been struggling with understanding accepting God's love lately, more than I have in a long time. I remembered back to a year ago, when I felt His love and had so much joy in my life. But with some troubling situations having come up, I felt distant from my Creator and wasn't sure why. He's been showing me more and more about myself than I ever knew, as of late.

This poem was written by Barry Adams and is a paraphrase of over 50 Scriptures. Please read this awesome love letter from God:

My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child?
John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

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© 1999-2010

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥

February 15, 2011

Forgotten Freedom

Is it possible to forget that you're free? That you are free to walk/drive to the store and buy gummi bears just because you feel like it? Free to watch movies with friends and complain about being out of popcorn? We are such blessed individuals in the US, all over the world too. But what gets me is that I forget. I really forget. I forget that there's a war being fought right now, that there's a roof over my head and by God's grace I have more than I need. I forget about my Black ancestors and their struggles. I forget that people, right now, aren't just starving and searching for food, but being beaten, tortured, raped and demeaned as human beings. I even forget that Jesus died to give me freedom from death by sin.

This weekend students from Campus House visited the Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH. Although I knew this would be a serious trip, learning in depth about slavery, I never expected this.

When we arrived, our tour guide brought us to the section called "From Slavery to Freedom" and we found out that enslaving Africans began in the 1500s. Millions more slaves were killed than I had ever imagined. I knew many of the facts from grade school. What I didn't know is what did me in. The slave ships that brought us from our homes in chains were named things like Freedom, Grace, and the list goes on. It was unbelievable, that something so sinister could have such names for ships. I learned that every single original 13 colonies had slaves, not just the Southern states later on.

Now my family is from New Orleans and I truly believe that my ancestors were slaves. The farthest back we know of our ancestry is that my great-great-great Grandmother came Elis Island from France. She was white, but she's all we know of. It's sad to think we may never know where our families came from. But for 500 years of slavery, God saved us. It was a part of His plan as a people to go through something that would lead so many Africans to God. Later our group debriefed about the experience and one of my friends said "The slave ship names really got to me, but maybe it was foreshadowing the future." It just came to show the world how God is truly in control. And ship names like Freedom and Grace meant that Black people were receiving grace and would receive freedom through God.

Something I also learned was that a couple thousand Black people held office when slavery was first abolished. This was followed by the rise of hate groups and laws that discontinued African-Americans from running for office (such as "can't read or write, can't run in an election). The list goes on, of unbelievable things that we don't learn in school about slavery. Truthfully, minorities love talking about race, while white people are either afraid or intimidated or something that they won't speak of it. Most of my friends on this trip were White and a few of us were Black. I didn't realize until later that it was mostly the Black people and the few White people that spend most of their time with us Black people that spoke about their experience. The ones who regularly hang with us, listening to us talk about our families and our Black heritage and our hair stories, they spoke, including the pastors and church interns. The rest didn't say a word.

For me, it was an eye-opener that I need to love my heritage more than I do. I need to be more aware of being Black, while at the same time NOT taking in the pride that our Black community is used to displaying. God says to boast in nothing but Him. I love that I was born Black, even if I didn't grow up around Black people. I was born as I am for a reason and I will no longer feel like a victim but a daughter of God with a purpose.


Today, slavery has taken a major turn for the worse, if such a thing could get worse. Today, millions are secretly enslaved by means of kidnapping, parents sending their kids away, child labor and the sex industry. Men, women and children are being enslaved all over the world by people who crave control. It's such a sad thing, and truthfully it's not something we can just burst through the door and rescue everyone with. As the media talks about it, it gets worse. And its so secretive and surrounds us but we don't even know its there. How many items do you own that may have been made by a child slave somewhere in the world? Consumers and Corporate America are just as responsible as the slave drivers, for purchasing blindly. I hope that we at Purdue can start something to help God's people. I could not imagine living everyday of my life, working past exhaustion, being raped or cleaning someone's how for nothing. Nothing. We must do something.


God wants us to come back to Him. When we leave death in exchange for life, we can one day be able to fight temptation whether it be sex or control or both. Jesus wants us to take Him over everything else we want. Then, and only then, will there be no more slavery. When sin is gone, so will slavery be. And if that means the world ends before it arrives, then I just pray that we can all be a part of His kingdom, where sin & pain will be no more.

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥

January 26, 2011

What a Year It Will Be

Drama, Art, Lights & Traveling. Didn't I make my life sound so interesting? It is, but not what you're thinking. As my walk with Christ continues through a beautiful, broken road, weaving through thorns and thickets, I find I am a [super] Senior at Purdue University, taking one last computer graphics class, 2 overly artsy art classes, raising support for my 2nd mission trip, starting my almost-paid-but now volunteering volunteer job and trying to keep my relationships from sinking to the depths below. The most important one is the one I've been stumbling over -- my relationship with God.

This semester has taught me so much, in just 6 weeks my life has changed. I can't imagine what else God will place within me within the next 48 weeks of 2011. I hope you'll enjoy this journey with me!

Until we meet again!
Jess ♥