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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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 ♥