Sunday, March 14, 2010

i feel...affected

I made my bucket list this last week. Jenn Porter made it an assignment and we all know I am too darn anal about getting assignments done. Now granted she gave the assignment like two months ago, but me and procrastination spend way too much time together so that is where we will direct the blame.

Why did Jenn give this assignment to me you may ask…well here is the story. (If you just want to look through my bucket list then skip to the bottom)

High School was Cari, Jess, Jenn and Erin. Four of the coolest, most talented, deepest thinking, forgiving and beautiful girls you have ever met in your entire life. They knew my heart and my soul better than I even knew it myself. They challenged my ideals, standards and spirituality in a way that made me grow instead of retreat. They loved me for who I was and not what I was. We all had different passions, different talents and different Christian denominations as our foundations…but none of that mattered to them or to me. In fact it made us the women we are today - the strong, independent thinking, communicators that we have become. Oh the memories we share. When graduation day came and we said our good-byes as we all headed off to different parts of the country to study different things and gain new and different experiences and perspectives, we told each other that we would be friends forever. And we have been…in what has been of forever so far.

Jenn has graduated and is now pouring out her passion for people while working with Non-Profits all over the country. She spent time in Costa Rica which opened her eyes to the finer points of Communisim and therefore led her to search out the aspects of her faith that were real and deep. Jenn is tall and confident but sometimes naïve. She has realized that her sweetness, love for adventure, and willingness to serve are attractive to the boys around her. She has become more careful in a way that shows her maturity and concern for her brothers in Christ.

Cari is pure genius. Grad school has kept her busy for a few years now. Intelligent, beautiful and quirky are the perfect words to describe Cari. She made us watch classic Hitchcock at sleepovers, taught us how to play every game ever and showed us that being a woman of character includes having a mind that thinks deeply. Her time in Croatia took her to new experiences that stretched her. She is also tall with curly brown hair and wit that catches you off guard and instantly has you laughing. Logical, honest, kind…with a perspective on the world that sends you deep into thought.

Jess is a music teacher now in a small town in Iowa. She found the small town atmosphere confining at first but has learned to see it for what it does have and not for what it doesn’t. This is Jess’ way…she accepts and moves on taking one step at a time instead of getting overwhelmed with what she can’t control. Music has always been her passion…she sang in madrigals, toured Europe with her college choir and has always been the musical library that we turn to. Jess loves teaching and loves her kids. She has found her passion and a way to serve too. She told me once that she can now understand exactly why God disciplines His children…it is because He loves them. Beauty and brains is a stellar combo and Jess has both in spades.

Erin has a heart for service. The mission field has her number. She is the only one married and the only one with kids too. We all knew she would be the first one to take that plunge. She is an adorable mother and adds a really interesting perspective to the mix. Erin is tiny…petite but energetic with a heart of gold and a mind that is always thinking. Sometimes Erin gets stressed but that is when her smile is the biggest and her laughter is the most contagious. Determination has always been part of Erin. One summer she painted a whole barn all by herself. I have watched that spirit grow into something that has a palpable purpose. She now heads straight into situations that would have made her uncomfortable before and has a Faith in God that inspires me. Soon she will be half way around the world doing good things and expanding her skill set even further.

These ladies have helped me become the woman I am today. They have been my friends, my confidants and my soul sisters. They inspire me to be more, to do more, to live more deeply and more fulfilling. We laugh, we discuss and we play. And we want to continue to be part of each others lives even though miles and miles separate us. That is why we send around the journal. We receive an assignment, we tell what is up in our lives and then we send an assignment on to the next friend. Assignments not to stress out, but to encourage, inspire, or relax each other. This is a rockin way to keep in touch. Really fun. Really rewarding. Really meaningful.

Jenn sent me the assignment to climb to the top of something and write my bucket list. We share similar dreams and passions and she knows how busy life gets and how dreams and passions often get put on the back burner while everyday life takes up time and energy. She wanted me to stop for a moment and reprioritize. To dream for a second and write it down so I can remember. Thanks Jenn…

Now I want to share it with other to help me stay accountable to myself.

Jessi's Bucketlist…in no particular order of course

  • Work with a socially responsible company
  • Pet a cheetah
  • Adopt children from around the world
  • Recycle
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Learn to cook…well
  • Help someone…do aid work
  • Play Bridge with old men in a nursing home
  • Learn to pack light
  • Travel the world with a purpose
  • Own a manual car
  • Go to grad school for something I am passionate about
  • Practice true religion daily…care for orphans and widows
  • Grow basil – make my own pesto
  • Flourish on my own!
  • Prioritize volunteering into my life
  • Fight for ethical advertising
  • Work with microfinancing in a 3rd world country
  • Be kind when it is most difficult
  • Live in the center of God’s will

Picking good friends is so important. These high school girl as well as the college friends I have chosen to spend time with have changed my life in good ways. I have grown and that is excellent. This bucket list would not be what it is without the influences of others who have inspired. Now hopefully I can inspire myself to make this bucket list more than just words. Action is now required.

Get Going Jessi.

Friday, March 5, 2010

i feel...Blake

I recently had a memorization due in my Haluska 19th Century British Literature class. I chose Blake.

19th century literature defines the feelings that society was going through at the time. Rigid religious structure was frustrating and the people wanted something real, something they could identify with. Nature became the picture of holiness, the noble savage – the everyday man became the hero, and innocence became more valuable than experience. Romantic principles that defined the time period have become our norm. We call mountains majestic and deny their Creator even a second thought. Our own thoughts on any given subject are practically truth because we think that highly of ourselves and our own intellect. We are romantics…not the write me a song/candle-lit dinner/stare lovingly into each other’s eyes version, but the romantic thinkers. We have bitten their hook and swallowed it completely. And we all thought modernism was our idea..hah!

Anyways…I digress just a bit from the point I wanted to make. Raising awareness by preaching the social gospel was also something that the 19th century fed us. The plight of the everyday man became extra ordinary and something to talk about. This attracted me to William Blake. He writes about little chimney sweep boys and orphans who need a better life. The poem I chose to memorize is called Holy Thursday. According to my lit book, Holy Thursday was a day during the Easter season when the poor and orphaned children would be marched in a procession to a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. William Blake…speaking for those who couldn’t…inspiring.

Holy Thursday

Is this a holy thing to see,
In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reduced to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?

Is that trembling cry a song?

Can it be a song of joy?
And so many children poor?
It is a land of poverty!

And their sun does never shine,
And their fields are bleak and bare,
And their ways are fill’d with thorns;
It is eternal winter there.

For where-e’er the sun does shine,

And where-e’er the rain does fall,
Babe can never hunger there,
Nor poverty the mind appall.

Now read it again…