Tuesday, March 27, 2012

here's something I really and truly believe in.

"I just want to thank you for being here."  He came up and looked me right in the eye when he said it.  I smiled and was about to thank him for his encouragement when he continued.  "Yeah, thanks for being on campus, because I want you to know that you have made everyone hate you."

"Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man." Luke 6:22

That was just one of the many, many reactions I got during the last week in Florida.  You see, I wasn't just taking a general family vacation for my spring break to hang out at the beach and such (though I definitely hit the beach once--wasn't missing that one).  I went with the pro-life group Created Equal on the Justice Ride to do outreach on college campuses around the state and raise awareness for the injustice being done to the unborn.

I am pro-life.  I've always been pro-life.  But I never knew why.  I have honestly learned so much this week--I can now defend my belief.  I can tell you why.  I can explain to you how it is now biologically proven that life begins at conception.  I can describe why a baby inside the womb is still a human being.  I can walk you through why there should be absolutely no exceptions.  I can tell you where our President stands on the issue and give you real stats that are sometimes blown way out of proportion.  I can look you in the eye and tell you straight-up that abortion is murder.  Murder of an innocent, alive human being.  That we should never justify that act because of convenience.  That it's basically just age-discrimination against the very young, justifying their killing simply because they're smaller than us.

It makes me sick to think that many people are honestly ignorant to the truth.  When we went onto college campuses, we set up scores of graphic signs, depicting the--yes--gruesome reality of abortions.  I talked to numerous people who said, "I have never seen pictures like this."  People don't know what's going on.

The great thing is that for every person that had the guts to come up in our faces and tell us we were hated, or simply to shout a bunch of obscenities at us across campus, there were several who would walk by and say, "Thank you for being here.  This is the most radical thing that has ever happened to our campus, and we need it.  Thanks for being brave enough to tell the truth."

Of course, most people were no where near either of those extremes.  Nearly every day, we had pro-abortion demonstrators or Planned Parenthood representatives set up camp across from us trying to counteract what we were doing.  People would try to ignore us (seriously, you want me to believe that you generally walk around campus with your laptop open?), some would simply make snide remarks, and others would eagerly engage in a discussion.

I talked to a lady from Planned Parenthood one day, and even though we did not see eye-to-eye, I think she was actually surprised at how convincing my argument was.
I talked to a man who drilled me on all the major issues, and then afterward said, "Hey, I'm pro-life.  I just wanted to see if you knew your stuff.  You're good."
I talked to several people who thought our pictures were fake.  Nope, we have a signed affidavit from the photographer.  This stuff is real.
I talked to a guy who didn't have a clue what an abortion really was, and when we described to him what really happens, he couldn't get over how sick it was.
I talked to a woman who honestly just had questions about certain times when an abortion may be acceptable, and by the end she was nodding her head when I said that nothing could justify taking the life of another human.
I talked to a man who went all weirdly philosophical on me, and we kinda had to agree to disagree.
I talked to a man that had almost decided to abort his twins that are now 17, and all he could say was, "I pray for forgiveness every day for thinking that thought.  I would have been a murderer."

There was a woman 9 weeks pregnant considering an abortion, men who thought they shouldn't have a say in the issue (hello, I don't have to be African American to tell you slavery is wrong), post-abortive women filled with either anger or regret, people who thought we were just religious bigots intent on jumping down people's throats and telling them they were going to hell--and then were seriously surprised when we were kind, calm, and respectful.

Our very last day on campus was kind of an odd day for me--I didn't feel as if I got into many good discussions with people, and it was harder to hand out the literature and information we had.  But I got into one conversation with a man who stopped to talk to me, and when I asked him his opinion on abortion, he rather uncertainly told me he thought it should be a woman's right to choose since it's her own body.  So I walked him through the facts and arguments--how and why a baby in the womb is separate and alive and human, how and why no exceptions were justifiable, so on and so forth.  By the end he looked at me and said, "Actually, you totally just changed my mind right now."

It was the first time someone had said that to me in so many words.  And it made me realize--this is what I'm here for.  Even if I had only talked to that one man, that's one more person who sees the light, knows the truth, agrees that abortion should be unthinkable.  That's the kind of change we need.

On our way out of Florida, we stopped at the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, which was good.  Depressing, because honestly sometimes the way America handles itself is sad, but good.  At the end there was a small section of movements that were inspired by the Civil Rights movement in the US--in China, South Africa, and so on.  I got so excited thinking: Someday the fight against abortion is going to be here.  Someday the things we've said, the pictures we've shot, the videos we've taken, the demonstrating we've done, the lives we've changed, the babies we've saved--those are going to be here.  I'm a part of that history in the making.

 Our country is built on the principle that all men are created equal and are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Did you hear what the first item in that list is?  Life.  Yes, life.  So abortion really is just another form of discrimination--taking away the right to life of the unborn.  Who are we to do that?

Wow.  Okay, off my pulpit.  This has seriously been such an incredible, meaningful, life-changing week for me.  I'm planning on doing more outreach here on my own campus, and for many years to come until I see a time when abortion truly is unthinkable.  It's impossible for me to just go back to my normal, everyday routine after having learned so much, actually working to make a difference, and seeing the change.  This is something I believe in, and it's something I believe in hard.  I'm not going to stand by and do nothing about it.

If you have any questions about abortion--whether you agree with me or not, whether you count yourself as pro-life or pro-choice, whether you simply want to know how to defend your beliefs better or get involved or ask about exceptions or stats or whatever--email me.  I've learned so much and I'd love to share some of it.

Hope your week is going fantastically, friends.  Let me know your thoughts, or if you've ever done anything similar, or what you are doing/have done on your break.  Also, Florida was incredible.  I'll show you photos soon.

xo, Jenn

Thursday, March 22, 2012

it is frightful not to live.

These purple flowers are the first to spring up every year when the weather starts getting warmer.  They tell me that spring is actually here at last.  I love that they’re constant like that.

Speaking of constant, that’s what I love about the stars.  I feel as if Orion is my constant—even if he’s only around for half the year (and even though my Jesus really is...go listen to this song).  But there’s something so beautiful and heartwarming about being able to look up into the night sky and see him there, along with the Big Dipper (the only other constellation I can seem to find) and the myriads of other stars.  Have I ever mentioned that I love the sky?  I love the sky, period.

That reminds me of those lyrics:

in your multitudes
scarce to be counted
filling the darkness
with order and light
you are the sentinels
silent and sure
keeping watch in the night
keeping watch in the night
you know your place in the sky
you hold your course and your aim
and each in your season
returns and returns
and is always the same

Yes, it’s Les Misérables.  Yes, it’s incredible.  Yes, you should go listen to the song ("Stars").  No, I can't seem to find the link right now.

shiny new pennies make me happy.

While we’re on the topic of musicals, let’s just say that I’ve been listening to a lot lately.  Though I’m not Catholic, I gave up listening to secular (mostly pop) music for Lent, so all of my obscure Christian artists have been reloaded on my iPod (House of Heroes, anyone?).  And since I don’t really consider Les Misérables or Lion King or anything else of that sort to be “secular music,” soundtracks and I have again become best friends.

Not that we ever broke up or anything.  Musicals and I have been going steady for a loonnggg time.

I stink at basketball (the curse of being short) but I love playing it with my brother.

Though I’ve definitely been glad for the break (let’s face it—pop music can be really obnoxious sometimes), it’s been tough because during this time I’ve faced a 20-hour roadtrip with no Coldplay or Jason Mraz or Josh Groban to comfort me—just to name a few of the artists I’ve missed.  I’m dealing with it though.

Oh, that 20-hour car ride?  I happen to be in Florida right now.  Pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself.  It’s the first time I’ve been, which makes me ever so excited.  I’ll tell you all about it upon my return, kapeesh?

Gee, I was so ready for spring break.  What have you been up to?


Friday, March 16, 2012

as of late

You could alternately title this post: "In which I try to join the instagram trend without having instagram."  Or even more bluntly: "I'm going to throw a bunch of random crummy cell phone pics at you."  Nonetheless, while I remain iPhone-less and thus instagram-less, this is the best you or I shall get of the random snapshots of my life.  C'est la vie.  (I've been doing a lot of French homework...that may or may not be affecting my mood.)

Guess what, folks?  I'm on spring break!  Yippee, hoorah, woohoo, and all those other celebratory phrases.  It's been a crazy few weeks leading up to the end of this quarter, which explains and hopefully excuses my longer-than-usual absence.  My life has recently consisted of studying the extensive notes I always end up taking (and doodling of course), organizing the gazillions of college emails that keep making their way to my inbox (I don't think I've read one), driving downtown again and again (and again), and talking to more people on campus than I usually do (or at least I feel that way...hmm).

With our pathetic excuse of a winter, I always foretold a blizzard in March.  We usually seem to get a bunch of awful weather this month anyway.  Well I'm more than happy to say that I think (and hope) I'm wrong.  It has been gloriously warm and sunny and breezy...I wish it would stay like this through the summer, because humidity doesn't do much for me, or my hair.  Hah.  I'm going to a wedding tomorrow though (on St. Patrick's Day!), and I'm planning on it being fantastically beautiful outdoors.

Belle's hair came off! hahhaha oh my.  she isn't nearly as attractive bald, is she? 

Like I said, I'm forever driving downtown, and not only to campus.  Last weekend, Cassie and I told Brooke and Tess that we were going to have a spontaneous photo shoot (...the the dark...without my camera...downtown...) so they had better get dressed up.  We were literally on the sidewalk of the theatre before Brooke read the sign and and started yelling, "Ballet!  It says ballet!"  (She pronounces it bal-let literally, not the "fancy French way" bal-lay...it was so cute.)

So yes, we surprised the little sisters and took them to see the Sleeping Beauty ballet, which we all enjoyed immensely.  Seriously, every time I go to that theatre I am reminded why it is one of my favorite places in the world--my happy place.  And it's funny for me, since I've been to several ballets there--I recognize many of the dancers from the company.

me + Tess at the lovely, marvelous theatre               me + Brooke randomly in my living room

Now that I'm posting awful cell phone pictures *ahem* I think I might as well update you about my legit camera's name.  Bert beat out Courfeyrac solidly in the polls (probably because no one can pronounce it...hehe), and that's definitely what I was leaning towards anyway.  So, Bert it is!  Or as my sister would call him: Bert-bert-bert--"because there must be three syllables."  (It's really funny if you say it out loud...)

These are my adorable new shoes.  They're only rip-offs of Sperrys, but I love them a lot.  I...may or may not have gotten seven new pairs of shoes last week.  *cheesy grin*  I never do that.  In my defense, there were good sales, plus my mom had a substantial coupon, plus I really did need some new shoes.  I will show you a photo sometime, but I also got a pair of--guess what?--red heels!  That's an item off the bucket list.  They are epic.

So since I've been sporadically gone for awhile, I think I'm entitled to interrogate you all.  Yes?  Yes.
Do you like the downtown area of wherever you live?
Have you worn/bought any splendid shoes lately?
Do you have any glorious plans for spring break?
Do you have a favorite place in the world/a happy spot? (you should get one.)
Isn't spring the best season ever?

I'm sorry, but if you answer no to that last one, you and I probably can't be friends.  I was meant for spring. I mean, I have my half-birthday during this season, so that counts for something, right?  So...just don't tell me  if you disagree and thus break my little heart, okay?  Okay good.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

crazy life

So.  Life has been crazy good and crazy bad, but mostly just crazy.  Especially this past week, with preparation for exams, completing final projects, the above spontaneous mini photo shoot with my friend Aubrey, and two surprise parties in one weekend.  I realize I went on an impromptu blogging leave of absence, but sometimes sacrifices must be made for my education (and, uhm, social life).

Honestly, it's been good to have a short break.  I've been sorely lacking in...I'm not going to say inspiration.  Rather, I've been lacking in time to pay attention to inspiration.  And in the meantime, I've been living life.  I've actually had a pretty fantastic week (this may or may not be because I got 8 new pairs of shoes...most of which I will sadly have to return...).  But some highlights:

+01.  My little brother turned 16.  SIXTEEN.  Gee whiz, folks, how did that happen?  I was just 16!  Of course we threw a surprise party for him.  We stuffed a bunch of boys in his room, so when he opened the door after coming home--heart attack moment.  The look on his face was priceless.

So, funny thing...Grant has commented on my blog all of three times in its existence, and only then when I force him to (though he insists he looks at it alllll the time.  ha.).  To give you an idea of his sense of humor, here are those three comments:

Yeah.  I love that kid.

+02.  Last weekend, I discovered something.  Namely, that I want a gibbon.  I want a gibbon a lot.  I was almost crying over how adorable they are (speaking of which, has anyone ever seen the video of Kristen Bell freak out over that sloth?).  I have no idea where this came from because I really don't like monkeys all that much, but...it's true love, guys.  I think they are officially the cutest thing on the planet.  Proof: here and here and here and here and here and here.  <squeal!>  Oh my, I'm obsessed with them.

+03.  Several of the boys at Grant's party kept asking to use my camera.  My reaction to that was something along the lines of "in your dreams."  No way a romping set of boys gets to handle my baby.

My baby, by the way, remains nameless, sadly...I just can't settle for anything less than perfection.  I'm actually trying to decide between two different ones: Bert (like Mary Poppins' Bert), and Courfeyrac (obscure-ish Les Mis character).  I know!  I shall put up a poll on the sidebar, and you all must vote.  I'm not going to tell you which way I'm leaning until you do.

+04.  I have so many plans for the spring--things I want to do, places I want to go...I hope it all falls into place.  For now, I'm just really looking forward to spring break, which comes with the conclusion of my last final next Thursday, a week from today.  can. not. wait.

Speaking of spring...I mean, forgive me for asking, but what happened to winter?  It seems wrong to be seeing and feeling and talking of spring when we hardly had a winter at all.  But hey--I'm not complaining.  Sure, it's raining now, but I've seen the first flowers sprouting up in the yard, and while that seems a bit premature, it makes me very, very happy.

+05.  Happiness = spring.  Happiness = coffee dates with friends.  Happiness = knowing the first day of shooting for the Les Mis film started.  Happiness = running into friends on campus.  Happiness = sunshine, and rain too.  Happiness = crazy, crazy life.

Alright, enough of my ramblings.  Have a lovely weekend.  :)

ps--I'm a finalist in this photo challenge if you want to click over and vote for me.  my name is incorrectly spelled "Jenoelle" on the sidebar poll...grrr.  heheh but that'd be fantastic!