Actually Ben just sent me this video. We are hoping to gather some items and put together some boxes to send to women that have been rescued from human trafficking. This is an issue close to both Ben's heart and my own-- we feel strongly about being a part of the solution to the extreme issue of human trafficking. So strongly that both of us are working toward careers to be a part of the lives of victims to this painful and damaging crime. I've been slowly familiarizing myself with organizations in our area, and both fortunately and unfortunately there are a number to choose from. IJM, A21, RJI, World Hope, VA coalition against trafficking, Polaris Project, the list continues. A21 is not as local as the others but Ben's church supports their shelter efforts in Greece. This is a video they recently released. Please Watch. Educate yourself in this issue.. it is not a distant, over-seas problem. Women from all over the world fall victim to this disgusting trade. Including our own literal backyard. Women in the United States are kidnapped, forced, coerced, and manipulated into trafficking every day. Young, poor, wealthy, educated, loved, neglected, tall, thick, skinny, living, breathing women. There is no stereotype of the victims. It truly can be anyone, anywhere.
Robert L. Leahy, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in NYC points out: "Animals don't have the capacity to worry about anything that might happen more than 30 seconds from now. 'Consider that cat' he says. 'No cat has ever wondered, Did I offend that other cat? or Is my cat ass getting fat?'" I'm pretty sure I literally pictured a cat looking in the mirror thinking is my ass fat? ha!
The main thing I took from the article is the real importance of relaxation. I'm talking about relaxation beyond sleeping or napping. Taking time for yourself to decompress and not feel pressed by life's worries. Reading, doing nothing, listening to music, doing art, working out, whatever releases tension. I've been working myself to bits lately, and while my body functions best at high intensity, my sanity has been suffering. I'm happy the holidays are approaching so I have some time to get away, sleep in, and just do nothing! I'm not sure how well that will work out, but I'm looking forward to it none the less. I'm especially looking forward to my flights. Being on a plane gives me an excuse to zone out to my ipod or read about the Kardashians without knowing there is something far more productive I could be doing. If only I were flying over seas...
All of this to say, I related to some of the side effects this woman was having. I have been feeling almost ill the last couple of weeks and it's because I'm not taking the time to focus on my diet and health like I normally do. So in my goal re-evaluation that was the #1 thing I need to get back on track with. I am tired of feeling like I'm not with it and have zero energy.
If anyone ever asked me "Do you think alcohol has any control in your life?" I would respond "no" with zero hesitation.
[John 3:30] "He must become Greater, I must become less."
*What would it look like in your life for Jesus to become greater and you to become less?
Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man
If you don't listen to them, you must. You must, you must, you must. They are amazing.
Their lyrics are so passionate, bold, and emotional. You won't be able to get enough.
Their newest album is "sign no more" and every song is brilliant. Worth every penny.
But I am learning a lot about family. The Brooks are amazing. So full of love and hospitality. They are taking care of me and want so much to give me a safe place to call 'home' and I am forever indebted to them because of it. I live in an environment that is so completely foreign to me. People come over all the time, sometimes just walk in the door, rummage through the fridge. Someone at the house always has something to give another in need, it's the body truly working together. It's wonderful. I am blessed just to witness it, much less be a part of it!! I miss my friends still. I have yet to make an actual friend here. I've interacted with a few girls, had coffee, a couple good conversations. But I still feel on the outside. I feel unaccepted, misunderstood.
So this is what I cling to:
"Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. For this is God's will for you in Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies w/contempt. Test everything. Hold onto the good. Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thess. 5:16-24
sidenote: today marks 6 very amazing and blessing months for Ben and I <3
Jan. (move to...) Grand Rapids, MI from Nashville, TN (9 hours)
Feb. Cincinnati, OH (6 hours)
Mar. Washington, D.C./VA (I flew this one.. I guess it doesn't really count as a road trip)
April. Chicago, IL (3 hours)
May. Virginia Beach, VA (15 hours)
May. (move to..) Virginia Beach, VA (15 hours)
June. Grand Rapids, MI (15 hours)
June. Indianapolis, IN (12 hours)
aaaaaand to come before summer is done:
Aug. Long Beach, NC (8 hours) and Sept. Nashville, TN (10 hours)
Needless to say I may not be visiting the hottest destinations on earth, but each of these locations hold the dearest people to my heart. As much as I wish at times that my friends and family lived in CA and OR and NY... I'm glad for the sake of my bank account and my car that they are a bit closer. I also love road trips (or..traveling in general) and I've been lucky enough to have Ben accompanying me on the majority of these drive so they've been lovely and adventurous.
A musical tribute to the songs of Shel Silverstein: "Twistable Turnable Man" with covers by Andrew Bird, Dr. Dog, some of the Pixies, My Morning Jacket, John Prine (one of my favs), and others. Here is the list:
Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein Tracklist:
01. Lullabys, Legends and Lies – My Morning Jacket
02. The Twistable, Turnable Man Returns – Andrew Bird
03. This Guitar is for Sale – John Prine
04. The Unicorn – Dr. Dog
05. The Winner – Kris Kristofferson
06. Queen of the Silver Dollar – Sarah Jarosz w/ Black Prairie
07. Daddy What if – Bobby Bare, Jr. w/ Isabella Bare
08. The Cover of the Rolling Stone – Black Francis w/ Joey Santiago
09. Sylvia’s Mother – The Boxmasters
10. Me and Jimmy Rodgers – Ray Price
11. A Boy Named Sue – Todd Snider
12. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan – Lucinda Williams
13. The Living Legend – Bobby Bare, Sr.
14. The Giving Tree – Nanci Griffith
15. 26 Second Song – My Morning Jacket
Buy it. Listen to it. LOVE IT. It's amazing :)
As of May 31st we can change that to 13 times within 2 countries, 4 states and 11 houses.
I got the job with the American Cancer Society.... I'm moving to Virginia Beach, VA.
This is quite a leap of faith. I'm trusting God all the way. He brought me to GR which has been amazing and honestly it will be hard to leave... but I have to trust Him in this the same way. This is the word He gave me to ease my fear and unease:
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
#1 The Sartorialist. I've been loving on this blog for almost 2 years now. I love looking at it as a photographer, artist, and a girl longing for the ability to own designer gear. *sigh*
#2 Garance Dore. Amazing artist and fashionista... dating the sartorialist. Thank you Stef for introducing this to me!
#3 The Cut.. New York's Magazine's fashion blog. more high fashion but sometimes have some really cool things!
#4 Of course, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie and J.Crew. No one can go wrong with these.
#5 Apartment Therapy. Like decorating and design?? Check this out.
#6 Lomography for all of my creative and abstract photographic inspiration and needs
#7 NPR music. LOVE THIS SO MUCH! I have always loved npr. But last year I discovered NPR music, where they have songs from new albums and interviews with musicians. It's amazing.
#8 Pitchfork. This is nothing new, any music enthusiast is obviously in the know with pitchfork. I'm not a hipster, I can enjoy things that are mainstream.
I could do this all day, I have a list about 50 websites long of wonderful inspiration and information. but I'll spare you and just supply these few for now :)
Happy Internet Surfing.
Apparently it's more accurate that you walk through the tunnel again and again and again.
I'm currently reading the book "redeeming love". This book was recommended to me 3 years ago and I never picked it up because I've always been REALLY against girly christian novels. (cheeeeeeeezy.) Then I had a stirring in my heart. Suddenly it was a book I just had to read. I pick it up every day and cry at least once, if not many times, at the words on each page.
Quick synopsis: The main character of the book is struggling with some serious hurt. She was an illegitimate child unwanted by her wealthy father. Her mother passed and she was sold into a brothel at 8, had part of her ripped out - literally - so she could never bear children, fled to safety only to be picked up and cast into another brothel (because of her amazing beauty). She lived for years as the highest priced prostitute before Michael Hosea (making a connection?) was instructed by God to go after her and marry her. Sounds crazy... but he did and the rest of the book describes her aches of accepting, recieving, and giving love. This character is a woman that never let anyone in emotionally. She is hard. She has walls around her 4 feet thick and hundreds of miles tall that no one can climb- much less tear down.
At one point in the story she interacts with a family that interacts and exists as a healthy family should and as she sits and observes she is completely blown away at how the family functions. These people reach out to her, to know her, and she has no idea what to do with it because she was an outcast for 10 of her 18 years of life.
Sometimes I cry because it makes me ache to read the thoughts of this fictional character's mind. Sometimes I cry because I know exactly how she feels.
My scars are not as deep nor as many as this character. But they are there and they affect me, on a smaller scale, the same as her. But to see it from the outside.. I wonder if people saw through me the way they see through her. See her hurt written all over her. It makes me wonder what I was like.. what I'm still like. How am I perceived? Do I look cold and dead at the times I feel that? Do I look like I'm fighting myself in my head at the moments that I am? Or can I play it off like I've always thought I could...
I've processed my past of abuse many times. Every time it's a little different. Sometimes it's with a counselor, a friend, a mentor. Most of the time its alone. I always feel like I come to the end, a resting point in the journey. But eventually something tells me I have to get up and keep walking. Every time I walk I'm dragging myself through thorns and mud and nastiness.
I'm wondering what will end up coming of my life. What will it look like as these aches and pains are used for Him? How will I help people? What are these "big" things I'm destined to do? I'm excited and full of anticipation. I finally feel like I have something to give, rather than feeling like everything has been sucked out of me. Thats gotta be a good step right?
This is part of what I read today.
Psalm 37 v 3-6
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Verse 3 was especially encouraging. Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture... PLEASE!
Safety... I still struggle to feel safe. Not that I think I'm going to get attacked when I walk down the street, but I never feel safe to be completely myself. That is what a lot of safety is in my mind. Me being free to be me. The me I am without the abuse, the hurt, the anger, the walls. There are two places I have felt that I was that person. Grand Haven and Virginia Beach. Both beach towns... ironic. In grand haven, I felt that for a couple of months. In Virginia only for a week. It was enough that I think about certain moments from those two places a lot. People noticed something different about me. Sometime softer maybe? Something free, relaxed, joyful.
I am now trusting the Lord... hoping for provision and a chance to dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture, to receive the desires of my heart.
I will make no attempt to catch you up to speed. "You" being whoever it is that reads this thing. So Jamee and Ben :) haha. I feel this sense of guilt when I come back from a hiatus and don't have a synopsis of the time lapse. Strange. I feel like I owe something to the world wide web.
I am very sore... My chiropractor has been hurting/helping me. I'm not sure what to do better... but I'm hoping that this begins to make me feel right again. At least physically.
Today was actually a wonderful day. I went to the UICA (Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts) where my amazing internship is and ate some cake for a co-worker's birthday. Pretended I had lots to do as the Arts Administration Intern (although I was quite bored...) and then left to go babysit and sat outside reading and spending time with God most of the 3 hours I was there. I left feeling well, had an encouraging conversation with Ben and I went grocery shopping and came home and prepared food for the week. Seems normal.
Then suddenly I just felt heavy. Sore. Annoyed. Angry. Frustrated. Everything all at once. My room mate came home and I was flooded with negativity. Flooded. I didn't know what to do about it, I tried to fight it off. I cleaned. I did laundry. I read. nothing... So I ran (literally.) I went running at 11pm. It seemed like the smartest idea, and all in all it was. I felt somewhat better when I got back. But while I ran, I felt myself wishing I could run from the place I am now. Which, mind you, is not even a bad place. Literally OR figuratively. I feel at peace with where I am, but at that moment of running all I could do was cry and wish I could run anywhere else.
I feel lonely. Too many transitions. Someday I will stay in one place... and on top of that I really enjoyed living with my sister. It was crazy there, kind of stressful 98% of the time, but nice. I miss living with her, and kind of feel sad things played out how they did with living situations. Leave it to a legitimately crazy guy to complicate her/our lives.
I don't really have a lot to say right now... I guess I just felt that I needed to write and see if anything helpful came out of it. Writing is therapeutic. It feels good most of the time. So much has been going on the last few months... it's a whirlwind. I hope to get back into the swing of things and write more about nothing and also about everything.