the side effects of being over-caffeinated

How do you know when you have a crush on someone? Sometimes it’s hard for me to gauge my emotions. (don’t worry; my therapist says that being aware is a big, good step forward. cool.) Ridiculous or no, though, I have a hard time with things that aren’t logical. If it doesn’t make sense, I’m going to struggle; I can promise you that. I know what you’re all thinking “But Jenna, how do you even live in a world where bologna is spelled “b-o-l-o-g-n-a” with an attitude like that?” I’ll tell you how. I stopped eating meat. Take that, inconsistencies!*

Feelings do not make sense. The only consistent thing about them is that they are always changing. (This is where my most favorite English Professor would say “…mutability” in this slow, almost creepy way to ingrain in our minds the inevitability of change and its significant impact on all good literature, but none of you were there, so it’s not funny to you like it is me–why am I still writing about this?!) Where were we? Right, FEELINGS. They are the worst. So in working with something so impossibly challenging, I of course see a personal challenge. How do you master feelings? You create a framework for them to function within, then you pretend like they naturally make sense (and ignore the fact that they only make sense because you’ve now manipulated the system and shaped everything to your liking).

I realize that the only convincing I’ve done so far is to assure you that I am indeed a hot mess, mentally (and otherwise if we’re being real, but come on you guys we can’t follow every rabbit trail), so now let me attempt to convince us that feelings can be logical.

A quick poll of some people I know ( I mean, people on the streets because we’re all about objectivity here)** revealed that there are a few consistencies present in the emergence of a developing “crush”. (At this point I would like to be commended for avoiding the rabbit trail of discussion regarding why “being minimally attracted to without pressure or excessive expectation of someone” is referred to as having a “crush on someone”. I want to OED this business so bad, but I won’t. For your sake, and actually more so because I don’t think I have access to that database anymore and because I don’t want to put you to sleep with my fondness of semantics.) (LONGEST PARENTHETICAL ASIDES EVER; I FEEL SO DICKENSIAN RIGHT NOW) Apparently one begins the process of recognizing one is beginning the process of “crushing” by noting the evidence of the following things:

1. You become a stalker (albeit a socially accepted one).
Two words. Social. Media. It starts simply enough, “Oh, I’ll just scroll through their twitter feed.” You think it’s innocent enough; you feel like you’re just getting a feel for their sense of humor, but before you know it you’re pages deep and you’ve decided you know with complete accuracy their driving motivations, (potential) favorite Girl Scout cookie type, and (theoretically) who they voted for 2 elections ago. This is the point where you should exercise restraint. But you don’t, not if you’re crushing. No, no, if you’re crushing, this is the part where you start clicking on @replies and reading complete conversations between PEOPLE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW. This is how you learn that they love Garth Brooks or went to the Bahamas last year or have 4 siblings and are pseudo-dating a girl named Carla. This can be a turning point for you because these things, that you’re not even supposed to know yet, will either solidify your commitment to stalk or end your PI days before they ever stand a chance. Should you choose to continue down this slippery slope, you move towards the next apparent signifier.

2. You become a good stalker (and probably not as socially acceptable as you are with stage one).
You’ve decided that their weird infatuations and *surely* innocent connections with all the other people they talk to are not a threat, so now you’re safe to move on to, let’s say, Instagram. Apparently being really curious about what they’re seeing and doing is important to you if you have a crush on someone. Sometimes it gets weird here, because as I discovered (in that completely objective poll I mentioned earlier) good media stalking goes hand in hand with real-life-someone-could-probably-press-charges-against-you stalking. One minute you’re scrolling through scores of sunsets, the next you’re accidentally cooing over a picture you found (probably by perusing their “tagged pictures”) of them giving butterfly kisses to a kitten they saved from the top of an oak tree and the next minute you’re accidentally ‘heart-ing’ a photo of them at a coffee shop that you’re going to just-so-happen to appear at 20 minutes later, and friends, that’s the end for you.

But maybe you’re not convinced yet. Maybe you need more hard-hitting evidence (It’s me. I’m the choir I’m preaching to here). Good thing for me you I always over-do it with the research.

3. You get really intentional.
You’re introverted? You’ve never said one word to AH single friend in their group, ever before? Those days are gone. Now you are so super into ALL the different things ol’ Margret can knit in under 5 minutes and you’ve at least heard of InDesign, so duh you’ll totally make some posters for their friends in that one up-and-coming band. What’s that? Your group is going bowling? Sure, bowling is gross and unsanitary and only minimally entertaining, but if their friends love it, SO. DO. YOU. and you will be there. with bells on, and maybe one of everyone’s favorite kind of cookie in hand too. “Tell me again about that one time he/she got really embarrassed over that one thing…” you’ll request. “Oh how funny”, you’ll say as you make a mental note to never ever suggest sushi or anything with rooftop seating. Can’t be too careful.

The next piece of evidence I’ll submit for review was apparently inevitable and present in 110% of all cases of “crushing”.

4. You get weird.
Word on the street is that no matter how hard you try to be cool, you will end up being an idiot. Examples may include, but are not strictly limited to:

Crush: Did you see that funny thing on Fallon last night?
You: Duh. So hilarious.
sidenote: you didn’t.
Crush: ((yeah.))
You: ((Gasp for air because you’re like wheeze-laughing to prove you really did see it and you thought it was so super funny.))

Crush:You know sometimes I dip my fries in ranch.
You: OMG. Sometimes I go an entire week without showering.
sidenote: you do not at all understand the rules of this game
Crush: ((yikes))
You: ((hippies are coooooooooool shoulder shrug))

Crush: Hey do you want to grab a strawberry smoothie?
You: Of course! They’re my favorite
sidenote: you’re actually really allergic to strawberries
Crush: ((Cool, things in common))
You: ((YAYY THINGS IN COMMON. LACK OF BREATHING CAPABILITIES. DEATH))

5.You find yourself saying “Who am I?” a lot. (and you mean it. you’re legitimately confused about it).
I think once you find this particular phenomenon beginning to happen you’re more than likely also saying “He [she] smells good” and you’re having a hard time looking them in the eyes and you’re completely unable to fathom why your hair suddenly “NEVER works the way it should” (actual quote from research). And the butterflies. Let’s include them here.*** Those things are multiplying like freshman girls at a Leagues show, and somehow you don’t find the feeling of imminent potential vomit enough of a deterrent to alter any of your current life choices. Having a crush is maybe the boldest thing you can do.

My mom says “You know when you smile if you think of them”. Which whatever, because by that same logic I’m crushing on multiple burritos, nail polishes, and dead poets. but yeah, she’s probably right.

Or, maybe none of this is true. And maybe you just “know when you know”. Nah, that’s dumb. Look for the signs, and be sure to over-analyze things that way if you do end up having a crush you can realize it before you commit too many social faux pas-es (uhhh, French plurals, SOS). Or just do you. Either way, good luck and God speed.

*Although I am in fact a vegetarian, it has absolutely nothing to do with the spelling of a fake sandwich meat.
**This is also not true; I am being just the biggest liar in this post.
***Did you know that caterpillars literally DIGEST THEMSELVES to become butterflies? (Did I just get weird on you?) (DO I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU?!)
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2011, the recap.

I was reflecting the other day (before 2012 actually began) about 2011, and I thought that since it’s time for a new one, it might be fun to share some of my favorite moments of the year. I learned an awful lot in 2011, and the Lord was very gracious to teach me some very important things about Himself. I think I can say with confidence that I experienced lifechange, and I’m really just not sure what more I could ever ask for. So here they are, [A FEW OF] my most favorite moments of last year (in chronological order).

  • Meeting these people. This trip is another story in itself (eg a, b, c, d), but these people were such a blessing and this video still makes me tear up.
  • Seeing my mom at the airport after what felt like a forever’s worth of traveling back from Brazil. The older I get, the more I realize how unusual a mom like mine is. For someone to love you no matter what you say, and point you to Christ no matter when or where they or you are is unbelievable. She believes in me, and yes, 17 year old Jenna, she trusts you.
  • Being a part of this girl’s wedding. Holy cow, what an amazing time. It’s always joyful when a best friend gets married, but this wedding was a complete reflection of this couple and the legacy they’re already creating. These two have really taught me a lot, and being a part of their wedding really changed my life.

we love a good game of signs.

  • Meeting these people. I’ve never met such a large group of people so wholly devoted to God and loving people. They do life well, and I could call anyone of them at this moment and pick up where we left off with a hug and laughter. (also my site babies: here, here, here, etc.)
  • Creating my first Google Doc. It might sound trite, but it was one of the first things I got to create during my internship here at RHCC, and it was fun. I love learning new things, and in that moment when I got to learn something new and create something meaningful, it was affirmation. Plus, there are like a million bajillion cools things you can do with a Google Doc!

  • Seeing this girl graduate. It was the end of an age. We’ve been together since 5th grade, thick and oh so very thin, and yet there we both stood, done with a defining chapter in life. To see where the Lord has brought us and how He’s honored our obedience is just awe inspiring.

the girl.

so here’s what happened. every summer our sweet bosses at the Lifeway treat us to a semi-fancy dinner for working 8 million hours and week and loving it; this year we mixed things up a bit and the boys drew names and then had to creatively invite that girl to the dinner. Mine was absolutely the best one (we all agreed) and because it was so awesome i wanted to share.

this is precious, or dingus, or matt, whatever you feel like calling him really. he’s our video producer guy and he’s incredibly sweet and funny and talented. after we had finished our team meetings and things i was going to bed and my suite mate and another girl came into my room and literally dragged me out and into our completely black auditorium then led me to the front row and left me. this video is what happened next, and after that i got flowers and chocolate and twizzlers and apple juice. clearly the best ever.

where are you going?

So last summer I met two A-mazing girls and this past week I thought about them A-lot. This post is dedicated to them.

Sometimes I talk about my feelings toward creativity, you know like I did here, and always I like to ponder its existence. I feel like everyone is creative in their own way, and I think it’s most evident in children because they are so willing to try new things and ask questions. One time I watched this video about how schools kill creativity, and the main thing he points out is that we begin to discourage questions as children grow up; questions begin to bother us. I hate that, but I see it in myself sometimes.

Last summer there was a girl on my staff who asked a million questions. always. Like her questions-per-minute were probably much higher than a seasoned court stenographer’s words-per-minute. At first I almost felt inconvenienced by it, but then I realized it was awesome. She said what she felt; she was honest; she was vulnerable. And she was constantly learning. Being her friend and keeping up with her this last year has been so encouraging for me. Because of her I feel like I lost my fear to ask questions and rediscovered my curiosity.

Another girl from last summer, whose friendship I am endlessly grateful for, also loved a good question. She is one of the most intentional people I’ve ever met, and when she asked questions she asked for 2 reasons, because she wanted to praise the Lord for what He was doing in other’s lives, and because she wanted to encourage others. Because of her I learned the important role questions play in having healthy community.

All of this to say that I think we underestimate the power simple questions have- the power to empower someone- which is just the coolest thing I think. With a simple question you can remind someone that their ideas are valuable, that their character is impressive, that their lives are meaningful. I like questions, and I’m so grateful to work a job that requires them.

Starry Eyed Charlie.

so recently i found this blog here and it’s so very lovely i felt the need to share. i don’t even remember how i got to it, but i’m already so glad i did. isn’t serendipity wonderful?! and now you need to check out her blog and this wonderful project i’m going to be a part of (sign up in the comments of this post)and the fabulous things she makes.

swoon worthy? absolutely.

i'm in love.

isn't she precious?

you. are. welcome.

equipe.

these posts are going to be a little out of order/confusing, so if there’s something you don’t understand or think you’re missing, wait a post or two and then ask. i think by the end i will have covered all the information. i decided the best way to begin would be by introducing you to my team, not only because they are my favorite part of the trip, but also because they are essential to every other part of the story.

originally i thought that i would be on a team with two girls that i know from Vitoria, so we traveled to Porto Alegre where we met up with 2 other girls (Verônica, and Rebeca) that my friend Raquel had been doing missions with for the last year, and then the next day we traveled to Pelotas, where we learned that the  missionaries there had divided up all the teams. I was with neither Paula nor Raquel, but i was with my very new friend, Verônica. so let’s start there.

(Group 1)

Verônica

this girl is so awesome. she, like me , can understand more than she can speak, so we improvised and communicated pretty well, all things considered. she was so calm and kind and helpful.

André

he was the other half of this first group, and he also speaks english fairly well, PTL for that. he wouldn’t smile for a picture though, so that’s why this one is crazy, hope you’re happy André.

Ítalo e Raquel (group 2) 

these two were both precious. thanks to Raquel i got to email my mom a few times because, as sketchy as it was, she had an internet connection. and Ítalo was funny because he always tried to say stuff in english and everyone joked that he was like Dori from Fingind Nemo when she “spoke whale.” it was kind of the funniest hot mess.

(Group 3) Aline

first: don’t judge because while some people, like Aline here, can look good after walking 5 hours in the scorching heat, i am not one of them. this sweet girl reminded me of my sister in her spirit and actions. she was so funny and tender-hearted and we bonded over our love of this song the first day and she taught me how to play it which is awesome because it’s the first song i’ve learned where i had to pick instead of strum. sweetest girl.

Juão

Juão was our team leader. he was quiet, but fun. no english here.

(Group 4) Érica

this girl was really funny because she was constantly pinching my cheeks and calling me cute and saying things to me that i didn’t understand because she didn’t know any english and she liked to speak portuguese in a german accent. everyone joked that she was like the girl from Pinky and the Brain (how about that crazy obscure reference). i wrote a song for her to the tune of Phoebe’s Smelly Cat, and everyone sang it all week. she cried when i left, and i really loved her a lot.

Marcos e Cynthia

these two were precious. they had only been married for like 10 days when this trip started and they were really funny. Marcos sang every other minute of every day, and Cynthia (sidenote: her name is pronounced “seen-chuh” which i thought must be incredibly Latino until i saw it written out. rediculous.) is from Paraguay, so she spoke a lot of Spanish for us.

(Group MINE!) Vanéssa

God is good. this girl is an english teacher in rio. she is the only reason i only cried at the end of the day instead of all day every day.

Eduardo my teammate from sao paulo with the most tender of hearts. he was always the most reasonable member on our team, and he always put everyone else before himself. he has the cutest son and daughter and even though he missed them, he put every bit of energy into the task at hand. he cried when i left too, and it pretty much broke my heart.

Pr. Marcos e Adriané

they live in são lourenço and are going to be there for the next four years which concludes this post and brings us to the next topic: locale.

activity update.

since i updated you friday about what’s happening inside of me (in my brain, not my kidneys or lungs), i think i should tell you what happened externally this weekend.

Friday: b.f.f. tori came home earlier this week and she, being the partying gal that she is, planned a pie party. everyone made/brought a pie and we hung out and sampled. i decided to be clever so Shay and I made this:

you will note that they didn’t say what kind of pie to bring, so it totally counted. i was just looking out for everyone’s health! 8 whole pies is a lot; thanks for the push towards obesity, friends. we went with the tacky christmas theme and played a lot of intense catchphrase. friday was also my friend clay’s birthday! he’s 22 now, what a baby. and he’s also a college graduate now, which brings us to…

Saturday: clay graduated from my alma mater (ha!) AUM that morning at 10. read here if you want to see what he had to say about it. he was so excited, bless him, that i didn’t have the heart to tell him (yet again) that growing up is for the birds and people who say graduating is awesome are only right for about 2 weeks. not that i don’t love my life right now, but college is pretty much where it’s at–my heart that is. 

and that night, toralt as i like to call Tori and her significant, Walter (mostly in my head because it’s a little ridiculous) threw the annual Cmas dinner party. jon,amanda,walt,EVERYONE ELSE someone decided not to have a tacky theme this year, so people had to look Christmas casual (which is clearly not as fun as wearing bells in your hair and 3 snowmen on the front pocket of your denim button up) but no worries, i didn’t have to worry about missing out on the tacky because instead i missed out on the party all together. i had to babysit 5 adorable girls, and their parents didn’t get home until wayyyyy too late. i did get to join the night owls for  about an hour of small talk, but i have no pictures :(

Sunday: so here we are at sunday, where i felt the most weird since i leave in one week, and …well that’s pretty much the only reason. we had another game night (with less angry games) and it was such a blessing to be with friends. i hope your weekend was spectacular too!

Skeptical

Last summer I met some super amazing people. It was a hard summer. I cried, I hurt, I wanted to die at least once, but it was so rewarding, and if I could relive it, I would. It is for this reason that I am torn about working camp again this summer. I know I’m going to love my new staff and have just as much fun, but I don’t know how that’s even possible. I’m not going to dwell on it because then I’ll start missing my FUGE09, but I am curious about a few things.
Will they completely love an awkward family photo like we did?

Will they think Flarp is the funniest like we did?

Will they be able to rock a fro, rollar blades, and American flag shorts in one photo like this?

Or even just love America like we did? Live the dream.

Will they think Wild Sweet Orange is the best like Miss Alice and I did?

Will they think paper party is the worst like Baby Nick and I did?

Will they be okay with me speaking “site baby” English like Jakobi and I did?

Will they think a crazy praise is the weirdest like we did?

Get ready FUGE 2010. You’ve got big shoes to fill.