Oh forgetful heart

You know, your heart will forget things if you let it. Time may heal a broken one, to some extent, but it also may make the good times a bit foggy. Or make you forget why it wasn't right in the first place. Love forgotten is never good, no matter how it turned out in the end.

But as I have learned, forgetting is a whole lot easier than letting go. That part takes more strength than I have yet to know. To let go but not forget. That is so important if you ever want to learn from this. At the same time, love is not some evil thing put in this world to teach you a lesson. You are better because of it. And it is good to let go and not forget; love taught you that.

Because love, at least in the small way that I have known it, does not refuse to do good. And while love does not guarantee a happy heart, it does guarantee a good one.

Let's at least remember that.


Engagement Pics!

Yeah not mine :)

I had the honor of shooting an Engagement Session for my good friends Erin and Jonathan. Aren't they cute?!? Here are some of my faves:

Congratulations Jonathan and Erin! To see the full shoot, click here.


Choice and Fate

The debate on choice versus fate is as old as time. I hate making decisions and so the two have really meant the same thing to me - you can choose whatever you want, but what is meant to be will be. That's the safe answer, the easy answer, but is it truth? Or can our choices change our fate? What is fate anyway?

What about phrases like "I was meant to do this" or "They were meant to be together"? If that person had chosen differently then they would have been meant to do something else or be with someone else. So whatever we choose, that is what we were meant for?

That terrifies me.

Like I said, I hate making decisions. I avoid them at all costs. I don't make plans until the day of. I commit to nothing. Can we say issues?

So much seems to ride on every choice that we make. Our lifestyle, our career choice, our soulmate - we must make those decisions. And those are freakin big decisions.

I think this recent freak out moment comes due to my recent birthday. The big 2-5. Quarter of a freakin century. My choices really mean something now. I guess they always have, but they seem to have so much more weight now. Turns out growing up is tough junk.

So how do I know if I am making the right decision? How do I know that the right choice is still yet to come? What if I want this now, but it's only a want, and not right? How do I know what's really truly right? I want to trust that the Lord has my junk under control. But sweet mercy, He still makes me make the choice.

My analytical skills obviously get in my way sometimes. I should just go where my heart takes me right? Because if my heart is in God's heart, then my wants are His wants. Right?!?

This is too much to think about at midnight. I just want to make good choices. And I want to know that I've made good choices.

A very good friend told me that sometimes you just have to make a choice and then own it. Maybe that's the key. You make a choice and own that choice and it will be blessed. I believe that God is big enough to bless the choices that we make even if we don't make great ones. I do believe that. At least I believe that.


it is time to let go of fear.

here is what i read today. maybe it will help you too.

If you make the Most High your dwelling - even the Lord, who is my refuge - then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

'Because he loves me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.'

-Psalm 91:9-16

as surely as i know thee...

thou art good.


where babies come from.

according to Sadie on Knocked up:

Sadie: Where do babies come from?
Debbie: Where do you think they come from?
Sadie: Well. I think a stork, he umm, he drops it down and then, and then, a hole goes in your body and there's blood everywhere, coming out of your head and then you push your belly button and then your butt falls off and then you hold your butt and you have to dig and you find the little baby.
Debbie: That's exactly right.



are powerful.

the things you say mean something to someone, no matter how much importance you put on them. words can hurt people. i guarantee that someone out there remembers something you said to them long ago. words stick around.

words can hurt yourself too. i have come to find that the more i call myself "socially awkward" the more socially awkward i become. or how about "i am a selfish beast". i probably shouldn't have said that. next thing i'll be selling my kid for cuter ikea furniture or something.

anyway, all i really wanted to say is, well, be careful what you say. you never know who's gonna remember it. so let's make sure what we say is good, something we want remembered.


and p.s. an interesting oversight on words that i look at nearly every day: my blog title should be "to grow to learn to love to live" i'll fix it later.


i am a selfish beast

sadly, i think i've had that post title before. will i ever learn? why is it so hard for me to let go of myself and my selfish ways? i love people, i do, but when their wants and needs get in the way of my single-minded desires for myself and for what i think is the "greater good" (but is more often my own kinda-good-but-only-in-this-moment-good), i do not care or see to care about anything else.


I wanted to go to Auburn since I was 7 years old because my favorite teacher went there and after i made up my mind, there was no turning back. could I afford college? No. Could my parents? No. So did i go to the college that offered the best scholarships? Of course not.

And then, when i was bored of Auburn and needed an adventure, did i take a weekend road trip to Disney World? Well yes, but before that I moved to New Zealand. Could I afford to move and go to school in New Zealand for a semester? No. I used up every penny of savings I had that I was supposed to use for paying off my student loans. Of course, Auburn and New Zealand both ended up being an excellent experience for me, but am i still paying off my $30,000 in student loans? Yes.


so forget about money. what about people? what about when I decide on exactly how I want to fall in love and who I want to fall in love with? or when I decide what career makes me most happy? where does selfishness cross the line? I cannot hold on to everything. I cannot decide everything.

And honestly, there are some things that I don't want to decide on because I suck at knowing what is best for me.

I just wish I knew how to let go of that overwhelming desire to control what I get to do and how I get to do it. I wish I was strong enough to let myself go.


dumper's remorse

is an evil thing. maybe this is too soon, but what the hay, i'm trying to let go of my pride.

here is what i have learned over the last few weeks. being the dumper in a serious relationship sucks for the obvious reasons - you have to break someone's heart, yada yada. but what people never seem to talk about is the real hurt - the part where he gets over you.

now, as the dumper that's really all you want in the beginning. you want him to move on, date someone else - STOP CALLING YOU for pete's sake. it's over, it's been over, it's done.

but then it's a few months later, and he's dating someone else. and she's pretty.

who said she could be pretty?
and wait, why haven't you called me today?

i mean really, no one ever told me that the dumper has to go through it all over again when the dumpee moves on. no one. so that is why i am here today my friends. GET READY. it blows.

now i'm thinking that surely it is normal for a dumper to have doubts about the dump when the dumpee decides to move on. because when a dumpee moves on, they pretty much die in the dumper's eyes. i mean literally, it feels like he died or something. you think you hate the way he still looks at you, the way he hugs you, the way he calls you and compliments you. just wait until he stops. if i had nads, this is probably what it would feel like to get kicked in them.

ugh, how incredibly selfish i am. are all dumpers like this? was there this strange upheaval in your world when your ex got over you?

of course, considering my ex is probably the only person who reads my blog i may never know. no wait - does he even read my blog anymore?!?

but you know, i am so glad to feel something. even if it feels like my guts are being sucked through a crazy straw, it is so good to know that i'm not a total heartless female dog. and so good to know that he is ok. and that i am going to be ok. because this is the way it was supposed to be all along. we needed this. as it turns out, i needed this more than he did.

and finally, there's closure.


you don't always get what you want

Why is it that when you think you know what you want and then you get it you just aren't so sure you want it anymore, but you don't want to go back to what you had either so you're just kinda stuck in this place where nothing is quite right?

you know what i mean?


this is why i haven't been blogging.

i don't even know what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks i'm talking about.

i just feel like i had to say something.


what a man can endure

I just finished reading the book The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz. It's this incredible true story of a Polish officer who was taken prisoner by the Russians during World War II. He was accused of being a spy and put through unbelievable tortures before finally being sentenced to 25 yrs hard labor in a camp in southern Siberia. A camp he and 6,000 other prisoners had to march some hundreds of miles through Siberian winter to get to. And that isn't even the Long Walk he is referring to in his title.

I don't want to give to much of the book away, but suffice it to say that he marched thousands of more miles and endured unimaginable hardships before the book's end.

He was 25 when he did this. My age.

When I think about what a man can truly endure I am amazed. If we needed to, we could go days without food or water. If we really needed to, we could walk 20 miles a day every day for days without food or water. It makes me wonder what I can really endure. I mean I complain a lot. It's too hot, its too cold, I'm starving, I think I'm dying. I have never starved a day in my life.

Weeks at a time without food, without water, cracked and blistered feet, lice, stink, and thousands of miles of desert, mountains and icy rivers ahead of him before he reached freedom.
All Slav needed was hope, and of course the friends who kept him hopeful. That finish line is what got him there. The hope of reaching the end, the hope for freedom.

The fuel for endurance is hope.

I can endure this.

Whatever I am going through right now I can endure it.

Whether it's a broken heart, a broken spirit, a broken faith - the worst of all things - I can endure it, if only there is hope.


To you, O LORD, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:

"What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help


um, what did you just say?

So I listening to NPR this morning (I know, right? I am my father's daughter) and this guy was announcing the morning's headlines. It went something like this.

Yesterday Afghanistan began its second ever vote for president. There were scattered reports of violence and the Taliban was threatening to cut off the hands of anyone who showed up at the polls. The Dow went down three point yesterday...BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Are you kidding me? Did you just say that PEOPLE WERE GETTING THEIR HANDS CUT OFF for voting for a new president and you did not even muster up a pause, a hesitation, or maybe, I dunno, an inflection of some sort insinuating the fact that HOLY CRAP PEOPLE ARE GETTING THEIR HANDS CUT OFF FOR VOTING?!?

Sweet Mother of Jehovah. I was a little ticked. I mean come on guys. Who was scared to vote for Obama, or McCain for that matter? (I mean besides the fear of the Antichrist as President vs. facing another 40 year war?) How about I VOTED FOR RON PAUL.

Come and get me.


the human species' greatest talent?

For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.

-John Steinbeck, The Pearl

John Steinbeck is by far one of my favorite American authors. His characters make me think about life unlike many can. But how do I feel about this statement? I typically see a man's lust for more as something ugly and meaningless. But then what is passion for your work, what is motivation to do better, what is growing up? Is it good to want something more for yourself? Or is it selfish? Is there a line somewhere we must be oh so careful not to cross?

What is that line?


I'm just a introverted, sensing, feeling, judging kind of gal...

Otherwise known as ISFJ (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judgment).

You are quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. You are committed and steady in meeting your obligations. You are thorough, painstaking, and accurate. You are loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to you, and concerned with how others feel. You strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home. Famous people with your same ISFJ personality include: Former US First Lady Barbara Bush, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, Mother Theresa, General Robert E. Lee, and actor Michael Caine.

So yeah, I took the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type facebook app quiz (quite a title, huh?) and this is what they gave me. I feel like it was pretty right on - especially the "remember specifics about people who are important to you." I mean I have a terrible memory in general, but I literally make mental notes in my head when someone I care about mentions a like or a dislike. For example, Allison mentions to me that The Jonas Brothers are the worst band ever. I make a mental note not to get her their CD for her birthday. (And then continue to debate the merits of this adorably talented trio)

I am incredibly honored to be put in the same category as Mother Theresa. And Michael Caine. I'll take that.

Any other ISFJ's out there?

p.s. The Bake Sale is still going on. Order your bread, cookies or brownies today and benefit a worthy cause.


I want to bake you something.

mmmm......i mean who wouldn't love some freshly baked cookies, or a freshly baked loaf of bread...or maybe some delicious peanut butter chocolate chip brownies?!?

So here's the deal. As most of you know, I work with this amazing organization called Bedouins International. We help other non-profits and humanitarian causes share what they do by giving them media. We go to them, give them photos, videos, a new website - whatever they need to tell their stories.

The next story we are helping to tell is of KISI, or the Kiini Sustainable Initiative. They are this amazing NGO that works to eliminate poverty and empower youth and women in the marginalized communities in Kenya. We want to tell their story.

Here's the thing. I still have to buy a ticket, visas, shots, film, gear etc which comes to an exciting total of $4,200. We are leaving in October.

So here is what I would like to do. I would like to help raise the money for what I think is a very important project. I am good at baking. Hence, I would like to have a Bake Sale. So inventive, I know.

Here is what I can bake (all freshly made from scratch):

Whole Wheat Marble Loaf Bread
Dozen Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dozen Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

I will make something fresh for you, and in return I am asking for a $25 donation to Bedouins International. All proceeds go towards telling this story!

Unfortunately this only applies to Bham peeps, as mailing perishables/meltables does not work so well. I will hand deliver though!!

Comment if you would like to buy, help, donate and feel free to pass along. And for my baker friends - feel free to have your own Bake Sale to benefit this worthy cause!!!

Love you all, Jessi


A Banquala to Empower You

What is media and why do i care? Media is a force that shapes your understanding of the world around you. Media has the ability to open our eyes to global politics, global injustice, global peace and global celebrations. All around us is media. Call it Fox News, CNN, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or even mass text messages. Media is everywhere. And guess what? You, my friend, have the power to shape the stories that are told. You're an artist. A storyteller. People listen to you. People are inspired by you. You want to carry influence. You want to change the world. You want to shape the way stories are told. Be the storyteller you desire to be. Come to Woodrow Hall in Birmingham, Ala. on August 1st at 6:30 p.m. and hear how Bedouins International can empower you to be a great storyteller, media shaper and world changer. Go to www.bedouinsinternational.org/banquala/ to find out more.

This was written by the Chairman of the Board for Bedouins. And he really hit the nail on the head with this blog. Each and every person out there has the potential and the power to change something. All it takes is an e-mail, or a blog, or a tweet. I don't want to repeat everything that Jonathan said, but suffice it to say that I agree, and I hope to see you at the Banquala this Saturday. There are so many worthy stories left to be told - Bedouins International can't tell them all. So come learn about the amazing people in this world who are trying to make a difference, and find out how you can help them.



oh you have an amazing idea do you?

Well, how much money do you have?


One thing that has become quite clear in my years (count 'em - 2) in the "real world" is this simple little fact:

Good ideas = Mo monies

It kinda goes like this:

Me: Hello amazing idea! I am so glad I ran into you! Let's hang out and be best friends!
Idea: Oh, hey Jess...yeah I would love to! So how much are you banking right now?
Me: Um, well, not much, I was hoping, you know, that maybe we could be friends for free?
Idea: Oh, yeah I don't really work that way. [fake smile] Sorry!

Once again, Idea breaks my little heart into a million pieces.



I was reading this morning in Hosea and I came across this verse:

"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings."

And then I stopped reading. You know how you can read something a million times, but never really see it. Well, this time I saw it, and I became very intrigued with this thing called mercy. This thing that God wants us to do so very much.

I realized that I didn't really know what exactly mercy was. I kept thinking of other words like forgiveness and grace to try and define it, but I didn't think that was right, so I looked it up. The number 1 definition:

Compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power.

The most interesting part to me was the end of the definition - not only is mercy compassion, it is also showing compassion to those against you and those beneath you. 

I also found it interesting that when I googled for mercy images the image that most often came up was an image of Jesus. How funny that "Christians" are still using Him as an excuse to kill and condemn. He is the ultimate symbol of compassionate forbearance to those against you and those in your power.

So how about if we truly follow his example, and show some mercy? That is , I believe, what he really wants us to do.

Love, Jessi


media is powerful

Media is Powerful from Bedouins International on Vimeo.

The first of five promotional teasers for the Bedouins International first annual Banquala, a forum for media production focused on humanitarian programs wordwide.

Join us August 1st for more discussion on media and its worldwide impact, plus good food and live music...check it out HERE


i suck at words.

did you ever say something so perfectly in your head, but then when it came to saying it out loud it came out a jumbled confusing stuttering mess and you just sounded like a complete jerk?

i hate it when that happens.


Heart Gallery Exhibit tonight!

Come see and find out more about Alabama's waiting children. They need a permanent, loving family to call their own!

Opening reception is tonight (June 25th) at 5:45pm at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (520 16th St N in Birmingham). The portrait exhibit of the children will be in the Woolfolk Gallery and their will be a short program on fostering and adopting in Alabama. And if that doesn't inspire you, there will be free food and wine!

Find out more at Heart Gallery's website.

Hope to see you there!




my other blog template was too busy for my taste. so i simplified.

and june seems to be wedding month. i'll be working my 5th wedding this month with Stephen DeVries Weddings. woot.

Once I rest I shall be back with a profound thought.

p.s. I gave in to twitter...follow me HERE.



New wedding site!

Stephen just made his new wedding blog live! Check it out here.

p.s. know anyone who's getting married? cause if so you should forward this to them!!!




My Wedding Photos!

not of my wedding of course...these are some shots that I took in the last few months I've worked with Stephen DeVries Photo. hope you like them!



I finally get to see my bestest gal and her husband and her beautiful babies!!!!!! The Davis-Boozers will be in Ft. Lauderdale the first weekend in May and I just booked my tickets to go see them. It may have been slightly impulsive, but I love them so dearly. Plus, I really need a vacation, even if just for a weekend.

Yay for joy!



This is some film that I finally got developed from LAST summer/fall at the park...


Lala and TayTay



To see all of them click HERE


i want to go to iceland.

i don't understand a word this guy writes, but i think icelandic horses might be my new favorite animal. stephen, thanks again for showing me something i will never have.



this is my friend megan.

and i love her. (isn't she hott?!?)

ok but her beauty is not the only reason i love her. she is crazy (in the most important ways) and she makes want to sing and play when i am with her, and she can write a blog like no other (i mean, check THIS OUT) i love to hear her talk, and i love to read what she writes, and i LOVE to hear her sing. her thoughts are important to me, and i think they should be important to you too. so go say hello to her.

and don't worry, she loves people even when they are stupid, so feel free to be yourself around her.

and that is a little bit of megan. isn't she great?

love love and more love,




So I woke up this morning to what i thought was a very foggy morning. Then I walked to the window and realized that is was snowing! Birmingham became a beautiful winter wonderland, something quite rare for the southeast. It was so great. We went and played in the park and it was blissful.


unexpected tragedy, unexpectedly ok.

So. My parents house burned down. The house I grew up in, spent my "formative" years in. It is gone. The few things we could salvage fit in a plastic tub. I am with my parents now, helping them clean up and move to their new temporary home.

This kind of thing really takes you by surprise. I saw the house for the first time yesterday, and from the outside everything really looks fine for the most part. But then you walk in and everything you remember is either black, broken or gone all together.

As completely unexpected as it was though, what is even more strange is the fact that I am not falling to pieces. And neither are my parents. It is just stuff really. The hardest part is losing Rudy and Miss Kitty.

Rudy Toot
Miss Kitty (Should have gone by Princess Kitty)

We are going to be ok. We have insurance. We are going to rebuild. It will look different, but it will be home again. And hey, if the insurance comes through like it should, we may even be able to pay off the mortage and be debt free. That would truly be a blessing to my parents.

Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying. We needed a miracle, and I think one is coming.

Love you all so much,


I wish I was good at sports.

Many of you can probably relate (then again a lot of you won't) but it makes me so jealous to see those cute little girls with their cute little stretchy shirts and shorts, goin out for a nice little jog, bein all outdoorsy and such. I wish I was more like that sometimes.

I'll even put on some little shorts and a little shirt and have my go around the block. I mean it looks so fun when those other girls are doing it. And then I start wheezing about four steps into it and wonder how in the world I thought this would be fun.

I've decided this kind of endurance surely starts at a young age. I remember when I was 10 or 11 I could run around all afternoon and it felt great. But then towards 8th grade year things begin to change. I actually remember when it happened for me.

It was 7th grade, I was playing soccer at school during P.E. And I was a total beast. I mean I even had the great Alisha Hamrick scared of me. I so wanted to try out for soccer; I thought I could actually be good at this sport (I had failed miserably at most others). So I asked my friends which if them were trying out. None of them were. Not one. So neither did I.

I stayed in concert band. For the next 6 years. I loved it, but I still regret not trying out for soccer.

FYI Alisha Hamrick was voted MVP for women's soccer when we were in High School. I kept playing my clarinet. I'm pretty sure she got a scholarship of some sort. I haven't touched my clarinet in 7 years.

Let that be a lesson to us all. If you want to try something out, DO IT, or else you may regret it for the rest of your life.


I am ashamed of many things.

I am ashamed of the way I talked to a homeless man outside of my solid, warm doorway
and cut short not only his words, but his dignity.

I am ashamed of my apparent inability to love outside the lines of my head,
the place that "knows" those who deserve a love given to me for free.

I am ashamed of my brothers who take my baby sisters
and turn them into prostitutes, control freaks and liars.

I am ashamed of my fathers who feel the right to persecute and even hate
the red, yellow, black and brown side of my big beautiful family.

I am ashamed of my co-workers who claim to shout to God,
but rather whisper secrets of so-called truths in the ears of strangers.

I am ashamed of so many things.

But I am not ashamed of You.

I am not ashamed of You who said "Get up! Pick up your mat and WALK!"

So now how do I reconcile this discrepancy between my sorrowful shame and my unabashed love for You?

I will tell you what I will do.

I will give you my shame.

I will give you my brothers' shame and my sisters' shame and my fathers', co-workers', husbands' and daughters' shame.

I will give it all to you. Because you are not like me.

Because with you all things are possible.

With You, the broken are healed, the chained set free, and the dead are resurrected.

And with my shame you will purify, sanctify, rectify and nullify.

So that this thing called shame I once gave to you - well, I can take it back now under a new name.

It shall be called grace.

I tell you the truth -
From this day, I walk not in shame. From this day, I walk in GRACE.

Bedouins T-shirt Drive

Hello friends. I thought you would like to know that Bedouins International is having t-shirt drive - meaning, for every 5 shirts you send them, they will send you one back screened with the Bedouins logo. Super cool idea, I know.

The other 4 shirts will be sold to raise money for upcoming projects in Kenya, Honduras, Bolivia, and Gauatemala.

You can get the shirts from the thrift store or wherever you want, just make sure thy are in your size.

Send them to 1710 2nd Ave N #501 Birmingham, AL 35203

For more info e-mail me at jessi@bedouinsinternational.org and be sure to keep up with the Bedouins Blog for fun pics and stories!



i am such a perfectionist

ok after reading back over that last blog i realize yet again what a perfectionist i am.

yes, we are called to love, but i also know that there is grace when we mess up.

man i need to stop being so serious all of the time.


"and you'll know we are Christians by our love"

Well, you should. But I mean really, how often do you hear someone say,"Wow that guy was so loving to that homeless person. He must be a Christian!"

Yeah that never happens. I so rarely see Christians acting out in selfless love it's scary. I see judgment and selfishness all the time though. And I am so sick of it. If Christians are followers of Christ, why don't they look like it 99% of the time?

Now there are those few out there that get it, but they are so few.

It is so hard to love like Him. It is so hard to be patient, kind, humble, selfless, understanding, forgiving, protective, trusting, hopeful, and persevering in every action I take and with every person I meet.

But that is how Christians are supposed to love. That is how we are supposed to love everyone.

And how do we know if we are loving the way we are supposed to? Because it never falls short. It never comes to nothing. It never founders or goes amiss. It never breaks down or disappoints.