Staying Creative..

While I haven’t blogged in a while… I’ve still been trying to keep with up with the creativity. I have found that the less time I spend being creative at night, before bed…. the more likely I am to get in trouble. We won’t go into depth on that, but creativity can save me from a lot of things if I allow it to.

Anyways, I wanted to post a picture of something I worked on tonight.. It’s late, so I’m not going to write much…. I’ll let the picture speak for itself!

photo

It’s nothing fancy… and to me for some reason it looks like a chicken… but whatevs. It’s obviously missing a second eye… I’m just too tired and I suck at making things look even.. maybe tomorrow! ūüôā

Also, I was challenged today to do something that goes right along with my Be Creative¬†theme these days. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do it or not.. it’s a pretty big commitment. So we’ll see…

Sleeping At Last is making me sleepy.. so to bed I go! ūüôā

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God Be In My Head..

I’m doing a weekly bible study every Monday night after work. The study is called “Jesus, The One and Only” by Beth Moore. It’s been a great time of studying who Jesus was. How He interacted with His people. How He loved, celebrated and disciplined His children.

We meet tonight to talk about Part 8. I didn’t allow for much reading time this weekend, so with some downtime at work I started reading… the last chapter in this part was reflecting on Christ’s return and how we can know when that time is coming. As I was reading, I could sense Beth’s excitement about this subject. I could hear how she is so anticipating Christ’s return. She speaks about how we can see signs of end times even now.

And I found myself…… not excited. More than that, I felt worried, and… (can I even say it?) dreading that time.¬†Thank you Lord that You are not offended by the things that I say. When I finished the chapter I took a break and walked to the bathroom (can we all admit to the fact that we do the most thinking in the bathroom, please? Anyone?) And I started to process it with God.

Jess- “God, I’m sorry… but it’s true. I’m worried.”
-God: “Well, Jess, why are you worried?”
Jess: “Cause I like my life. I want to live my life. I want to get married and have kids and grow old. I want to experience life.”
God: “Don’t you think that eternity with me sounds much better than all of that?”

And that’s where my problem is. I tend to process a lot in the bathroom. haha. And this time was no different. I walked out of there realizing something about myself. I think it’s something that I’ve always known. But it’s time I start walking in that realization and surrendering everything that is not God TO God.

Here it is: I think too much. I allow my brain to take over way more often than not. My brain says “You want to get married, and have kids, you want to experience all the things that everyone else is experiencing.” And it’s battling my heart. My hearts says, “OK brain, now think of this. Think of those moments when we were 10 and 11 years old. Sitting at the altar at Downey Ave. without words after a Sunday evening service. Think about how that night you were so enthralled with God’s presence. Remember how you would just sit there, not wanting to move out of fear of falling out of His presence. Now think about that time that you led worship at Lifegate…and you stood on stage and you read scripture out loud and God’s presence was so thick and heavy that tears began to flow at the very sound of God’s word. Think of all the moments that you have truly spent in God’s presence. That you have stood amongst the most Holy presence…. Are those moments less enticing than getting married and having kids? Because when Christ comes, you get to spend ETERNITY in His presence. You get to worship Him all day, everyday, forever. Forever. Life… isn’t forever. That husband and kids will end. You will die. Life is fleeting. But God. God is forever. He is never-ending. Stop allowing your brain to dominate. Listen to the Christ that lives within the walls of your heart. Let him take over all things.”

And, of course, because my life revolves around music, God put a song in my head. “God Be In My Head” By Jared Anderson. I remember first hearing this song and laughing with others about how simple and kid like it was. This song speaks so much of what my prayer life should be right now.

“God be in my head and in my understanding¬†
God be in my eyes God be in my looking 
God be in my mouth God be in my speaking 
God be in my heart God be in my thinking 
God be in my step God be in my breath 

God be in my head 
God be in my eyes 
God be in my heart 
God be in my life 
God be in my mouth 
God be in my hands 
God be all I want 
Beginning and the end 

God be in my hands God be in my reaching 
God be in my soul God be in my seeking 
God be in my days God be in my wanderings 
God be in my mind God be all consuming 
God be all around God be here and now 

God be in my step God be in my breath 
God be all around God be here and now”

Music=Magic

I was driving to work this morning listening to music.

Not really a different thing for me. The¬†only¬†reason that I don’t run my car off the road on a daily basis driving to and from work everyday is because I know that I can spend 30 minutes (read: 60 mins) listening to music and singing my heart out. It’s literally my only saving grace. And if I’m being really honest, the “singing my heart out” is usually paired with my mind going crazy and thinking. The drive to and from work are usually where I process and think through/out things. It really is one of my favorite times. The traffic sucks. I don’t love that. But the time I get to either pray/talk to God/talk to myself/walk down memory lane/plan/dream about the future is really something that I don’t take for granted. I’m not sure many people allow for that kind of stuff to happen in their daily lives.

Sometimes I laugh at myself (as I’m sure that other drivers think I’m totally nuts), sometimes I make myself cry as I relive certain times of my life. Some songs come through the speakers and automatically bring up stuff. I was thinking about that today. I was wondering if a majority of people experience this. I tend to pair songs with certain times of my life.

Madonna – This Used To Be My Playground. It’s weird. This is probably the first memory I have of music affecting my emotions. I was 10 years old. Geena Davis and Tom Hanks’s movie “A League of Their Own” had been out for about 5 years and I was in LOVE. Along with music, movies played a pretty big part in my childhood. I was always watching them! Usually the same ones over and over, until I broke the VHS tape. “A League of Their Own” was no exception. But there was one time when I was 10, that I watched this movie and something was different. See, my dad moved out of our house and left our family when I was 10. I’m not exactly sure where in the timeline this story falls, but the transition in our family was definietely something that was fresh in our minds. I was sitting in one of the bedrooms in my grandmas house. The house I was brought to right after I was born. A League of Their Own had just finished and as the ending credits and montage of old pictures moved across the screen, this song began to play.

This used to be my playground 
This used to be my childhood dream
This used to be the place I ran to
Whenever I was in need
Of a friend
Why did it have to end
And why do they always say

Don’t look back
Keep your head held high
Don’t ask them why
Because life is short
And before you know
You’re feeling old
And your heart is breaking
Don’t hold on to the past
Well that’s too much to ask

And as she began to sing, tears began to spill from my eyes. I remember looking at a picture of me and my dad and feeling so much emotion: Sadness, pain, anger, rage. And as the song played, as I looked at that picture, I found myself taking a pen and scratching his face out. I think about this now, and it makes me so sad that a 10 year old was capable of feeling such emotions. I’m not entirely sure a 10 year should have to know what anger and rage and pain feels like. I’m sure more 10 year olds feel these things than I will ever want to know. I know that I was already angry and hurt, but this song…this song brought it out of me. I’m not convinced that 10 year old Jessica knew what the lyrics meant. I’m sure there are many theories as to the meaning, but at 10 years old, I didn’t care. All I knew was that it struck a chord with me. It made my heart contract.
And still to this day, that song brings back those same memories. I’m not filled with rage and I don’t scratch out people’s faces when the lyrics start, but I cannot sit through that song without balling my eyes out.

Music has this amazing ability to penetrate the heart and head. For me, lyrics are everything. They will absolutely bring me to tears. And the memory of that lasts forever, so every time I hear that song it brings back those memories and feelings. I know some people might hate that. I actually love it. So many people think that I hate emotions. I mean, I do. I don’t like feeling stuff. Not even happy stuff. I just don’t know what to do with all of it. But more than anything, I don’t like showing my emotions. Happy, sad, scared, hurt, excited. Nothing. But feeling them? It reminds me that I’m human. We were made to feel. It what makes us different than any other creatures on this planet. The ability and privilege to feel. Music makes me feel. No matter how much I don’t want to, it does. It brings out emotions and helps me process through difficult, or challenging season in my life. It urges me to dance and laugh and celebrate the happy and exciting moments. It’s like magic. Music=Magic.

That about sums it up!

2014 Book Challenge

In March of this year I challenged myself to read 50 books in the year 2014. Let’s not talk about the fact that I made a challenge for a full year, 3 months into said year. ūüėź I’ve been a book reader since I was a kid. I would spend my saturday wrapped in my bed with chapter books, not leaving the room till the book was done. When I was grounded for doing something I would sit in my room and not being allowed to do anything else I would sit and read. It took a while but my mom finally realized that I was actually enjoying my punishment and took my books away. I would LOVE school days when we would sit in the library. Most of the kids would sit at the computers playing The Oregon Trail, I would read books. Book fair days? Don’t even get me started. My mom was really great about feeding my love of books. She couldn’t always buy much, but I always got at least 1. And then one year… Oh man. One year, I was able to purchase my membership into the Baby Sitter’s Club. Quite possible, the best day of childhood. Another thing that my mom fueled was my collection of books. I don’t have nearly as much as I want, but I’m only 27. I have a long lifetime to collect. But my mom always told me that you¬†never throw books away. Give them away, share them with others, but books are never trash. They are always something to be learned from. But more than that, for me, books were an escape. I didn’t have such a terrible childhood that I need to escape, but it was my way of traveling worlds, making friends, and going on adventures. Which is also why The Neverending Story is one of my favorite movies. That was my childhood.

So, now, getting back to my 50 Book Challenge. I love reading books, but sometimes it’s hard to get engulfed in a book. Sometimes it takes a little longer to really get into it. So, my challenge is not doing so well. And for some reason the other day I got the itch. I got the reading itch. I searched through my library and nothing was jumping out at me, so I knew that I needed a book buying trip. I could have gone to the dollar bookstore (which I LOVE doing, and do all the time) but for some reason this trip needed to be brand spanking new. And Amazon just wasn’t going to cut it. I need to feel the books, I needed to sit and read it a little, feel the pages. Books just aren’t the same on a kindle, on an iPad or iPhone. I’m sorry, but no. Books always.

So, hopefully the 4 new books will be added to my very small list of books that I’ve completed. I have a TON of books waiting on my “to-read” list on Goodreads so maybe they will make their way to the “read” list.

Here is my list so far:

1. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
2. Divergent – Veronica Roth
3. Insugent – Veronica Roth
4. Allegiant – Veronica Roth
5. The Maze Runner – James Dashner
6. Attachments – Rainbow Rowell
7. Eleanor & Park* – Rainbow Rowell
8. If I Stay – Gale Forman
9. Children of the City – Tiffany Pastor
10. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
11. The Giver – Lois Lowry
12. Landline – Rainbow Rowell
13. Love Letter to the Dead – Ava Dellaira
14. Gone Girl* – Gillian Flynn
15. Delirium – Lauren Oliver
16. Finding Alaska – John Green
17. One For The Money –¬†Janet Evanovich**

* My Favorite So Far
** Currently Reading

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes: I wholeheartedly feel this way.

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Be Creative Part 2.

So in an attempt to¬†Do Something,¬†I’m here, writing. I picked up the guitar…. but it didn’t sound good, I got kind of irritated, and my fingers are bloody hurting. I mean, I did give it a few songs, which is why my fingers hurt.

I’m always looking to step out of my comfort zone with my creativity. (of course, I’m comfortable doing it in this controlled environment, where no one knows I post.) So for today, I think I want to attempt to write. Even if it’s just a small short story. Just write something.. anything!

Ok. Easier said than done.

The challenge: If you could write a letter and send it to yourself when you were younger, what would you say?

Dear 15 year old Jess:
Hi. You don’t know me yet. But I know you. I know you so well. I know what your thoughts are consumed by, what makes your stomach do flip flops, what sends your heart racing in panic. I know the condition of your heart. These last two years have been the absolute hardest. Living without your brother, adjusting to life with your mom. It hasn’t been easy, right? Maybe I can help with a ¬†few things… Please, just trust me. Listen to my words… Keep this in that box of letters you keep and pull out every once in awhile ūüôā

– Give your mom a little patience. I know it’s had to understand right now. You feel like she doesn’t love you like she loved him. But I promise you, she does. She loves you more than you will ever know. Believe it or not, you two will become so close. You’ll come to see all of the similarities you share. The great personality traits your inherited from her. A lot of the stubbornness. You’ll go shopping together, you’ll laugh with each other, you’ll cry on her shoulder, and you’ll even find yourself giving her advice about things. Don’t worry. It will come in time. Just be patient with her.¬†

-Living without your brother… it will get easier. But it will also get harder. You’ll find yourself forgetting him. And on those nights, it will hurt like it just happened. Believe it or not, God will give you dreams about him. He’ll remind you of him. He’ll allow you to see his face and hear his laugh… Your brother will¬†always be apart of you. You’ll learn to find him in the little things. You’ll think about what he would have thought of your life. You’ll hurt when your friends brother gets married and you watch the enjoyment of her welcoming a sister-in-law, it will hurt even more when she welcomes a niece into her life. Trust that God is going to give you all that you need and want. He’s going to allow you to become great friends with people who have children, who become your adopted nieces and nephews. God know what you need and what your heart desires. Trust Him. Trust Him.¬†

– Boys. Oh boy. I don’t want to tell you too much. The things you will learn when it comes to boys. Unfortunately, girl. You like to learn the hard way. You like to figure things out on your own. Here’s the thing. I know life seems like its all or nothing right now. I know you think that what’s in front of you know is…everything. But your life… is long. There will be so many things, so many opportunities. My best advice is to not settle. You have dreams. Follow them. You have ideas, write them out. Don’t let anyone tell you that your thoughts don’t matter. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re worth is small. Be strong. Speak your mind. Speak up when someone is treating you wrongly. Create great friendships and trust in those people. You’ll find your family in them. The boys will come. You’ll learn from your relationships. They will make you laugh, they’ll make your heart flutter, they’ll make you cry. But with each one, you will learn. And you will grow. Don’t take them for granted and don’t write them off.¬†

There are so many things that I want to tell you. So many stories that I could share. Just. Live. Live your life. Do what makes you happy. Don’t be afraid of what makes you happy. Chase your dreams. Don’t be afraid. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Make spontaneous decisions. Travel a lot! Stop and just be. Take moments to enjoy what is around you. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid of being different. Sing lots. Dance more. Smile often. Be silly.¬†

I’m talking to myself here. I am you. You are me. We are Jessica. Be proud of who we become. Because we’re pretty dang awesome.¬†

Love, Me. 

Be Creative

“Do something creative everyday.” Do that. Do something creative everyday, even if you work in a cubicle, even if you have a newborn, even if someone told you a long time ago that you’re not an artist, or you can’t sing, or you have nothing to say. Those people are bad people, and liars, and we hope they develop adult-onset acne really bad. Everyone has something to say. Everyone. Because everyone, every person was made by God, in the image of God. If He is a creator, and in fact He is, then we are creators, and no one, not a bad seventh-grade English teacher or a harsh critic or jealous competitor, can take that away from you.” – “Cold Tangerines” by Shauna Niequist.

Someone I follow on Instagram posted a screen shot of this paragraph from Shauna’s book. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list of books to buy on my Barnes & Noble trip this weekend. I read it, and then re-read it. And then re-read it again. I just couldn’t help it. Something struck me with this…

I’ve always known that I’m creative. To a certain extent. I mean, I have many creative talents. I enjoy doing creative things. Singing, music, photography, baking, drawing, painting… Seriously. I have lots of interests. But I’m not great at one. I’d like to think that music and singing is my first love. It’s what I’m the best at. But all the other things, I’m not great at them. And so, as much as I hate to admit it, when it gets a bit hard, or when the outcome isn’t what I wanted, I move on to something else.

And then I go through phases of just not doing anything. And I mean nothing. And here’s the trouble. I LOVE doing nothing. It’s probably what I’m best at. Call me lazy, I don’t care. But the best part of my day is when I lay in my bed and binge watch Netflix. (don’t you dare judge me) ¬†So when I slip into my lazy phase, it’s a bit hard to get out.

Enter Shauna and her kick-in-the-ass paragraph.¬†DO SOMETHING.¬†Do something creative everyday. Even if it’s not good. Even if you don’t feel like it. So that’s the challenge that I’ve made for myself. Or maybe, Shauna challenged me (I¬†really¬†need to get that book!) Do just one creative thing everyday. What does that look like?

Ha. Let’s see.

Music – Playing piano, playing guitar, singing, recording, writing. Even if it doesn’t sound good. Even if I suck. Just do it.
Photography – Shooting people, shooting inanimate objects, shooting food, editing. Practice makes perfect, right? Just do it.
Baking – Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, muffins. Following a recipe. Make it up on my own. Just do it.
Drawing/Painting – Lately I’ve been getting into Typography and calligraphy. Drawing pictures, writing in different fonts, painting different things. Just do it.

So to summarize? Just DO It. (Thanks Nike)

I’ve always struggled with what makes me happy. Well, how did I think I was going to figure that out unless I actually pursued different outlets? The only way that I can truly figure out what makes me happy, what gets me up in the morning, what drives to, just be me, is to do something.

So, I’m hoping that this blog will fall under something creative. I hope to do this more.

What was my creative thing today? Well, this. This writing. And it’s 1:27am. So I guess this counts for tomorrow. Dangit. Let’s see… I worked. I worked out. I took a bath. I read. I watched tv. Welp, first day was a fail. BUT tomorrow! Tomorrow. Something creative. Just one thing. Be creative. Just do it.

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