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))

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?!)

The 4 stages of Nashville.*

Unmitigated Awe. You develop almost instinctively a respect for the variety of people, style choices, and coffee preferences; a respect that causes you to defend strangers on the street to your tourist relatives.


Unfortunate Prejudice. You suddenly know with great conviction that the coffee shop (or coffee parlor, if you will) that you frequent is far superior to that other one around the corner half a block up in that abandoned gas station, and God help you if you actually drink the stuff they call coffee at the one where you sit on high stools and communicate your order to the barista using only your eyes.

Ubiquitous Cynicism. Somewhere along the way (and transition into this stage is almost imperceptible), your first response starts to become “yeah, ok”. You doubt that anyone is doing anything just because they like it; you doubt that anything can change; you doubt that anything can stay the same; you question all things and all people.

Unfaltering Pride. You’ve seen it, heard it, felt it, and now this is your city. Weird or not, elite or not, ridiculous or not, you love the people, the sights, the sounds, and heaven knows you’ll throw serious shade on anyone who dares to question anything about it.

*These stages are mostly sarcastic, developed mainly for entertainment purposes only, and represent the opinions of the author solely, not all of Nashville. (so calm down, Nashvillians.)


i really hate new year resolutions. i mostly hate that people misuse the apostrophe in “New Year’s Resolutions” and the plurality of the resolution[s], but i also just don’t like the idea of only deciding to grow at the beginning of a year. however, if i haaaaad to speak out a list, this would be it:

be obedient and fully present in each moment. each one.

be consistent.

live with integrity.

and the list will be the same every january. and it would be the same if you asked me again in march. and in september. because i’m not to that point where i can toss away mastered resolutions every january; i have to remember the same things all the time. what’s a resolution you have?


I have been alive 22 years now. That seems like a long time, but it doesn’t sound like all that much. Whatevs, I think I’m going to love this year. I don’t want to begin this birth-year by trying to impress you, so instead of trying to be deep and meaningful*, I’m just going to share 22 things with you.

*All of the following things are crucial in the construction and existence of my personality, so I guess as such, they unintentionally give meaning to this post. Furthermore, the mere fact that I pointed out this fact with the use of asterisks and shrunken type, I think, adds a certain depth to the post. …Carry on.

6 Things I never get tired of:
1. Hugs. Side ones, bear ones, surprise ones… I love them all.
2. Volleyball. I love a lot of sports, but that is the only one I would play until my body gave up.
3. Silence. It scares some people; it comforts me.
4. Pride and Prejudice. Call me cliche. It’s so good, every. single. time.
5. Yoga. People always say “that sounds so boring,” but it isn’t at all.
6. Ingrid Michaelson. She’s always so fun to join in with, and her voice makes me smile.
4 Foods that compose the bulk of my diet:
1. Organic Peanut Butter (because it tastes best) and Unsalted Almonds
2. Goldfish
3. Popcorn (without butter)
4. Cereal (oatmeal squares, wheat squares, cheerios)
3 Things I would never willingly be a part of:
1. A Lady Antebellum concert
2. Mud Riding
3. Broccoli
2 Things I really want to be a part of:
1. South by SouthWest / Austin, TX in general
2. Fashion Week in Paris
4 Words/Phrases I probably couldn’t live without:
1. Rude
2. Dear ______,
3. Oh no
4. I know right?!
3 Important Lessons I learned when I was 21:
1. It’s not at all the big deal you think it is.
I always thought it was so extremely important to make the best grades and be liked by everyone. It’s not. Last Fall I had some amazing teachers and some amazing classes, but one day I was reading comments on a paper, and I thought, there are more important things than strengthening that point in my argument and finding a better adjective for that thought, which I realize sounds simple, but it was new to me. Maybe some of it was senioritis, but I think the bulk of it was God reminding me that the purpose he created me for was not to rearrange words and impress people, but to serve Him whole-heartedly. Remembering that makes those “big deal, big problem” situations seem a lot more unnecessary.
2. “God is sovereign” really means that God is sovereign.
Knowledge and understanding are not the same thing. I know God’s sovereign, but oddly enough I find myself needing Him to remind me all the time. And He does, and then I’m amazed and awed and grateful. I don’t know why I need to be shown things before I can rightly assign emotions to situations, but God really is sovereign whether I act like it or not.
3. You should never take people for granted.
I have so many wonderful people that God has blessed me with, and as I learned this summer, I don’t realize just how supportive and kind and loving and considerate and thoughtful they are. The people God has brought into my life are such a tremendous encouragement and blessing and I can’t say I honestly don’t know what I would do without them because I do know, but I can say that it isn’t pretty. So thanks friends, for caring and loving me, even though I’m weird and difficult. You made 21 special, and I can’t wait to share 22 with you.

Learning Never Ceases

Lately my life has been full of:

Post-It notes
Foreign Languages
Mix CDs
It’s been lovely, really it has. When I first got back from camp I really had a tough time with the whole “rest” thing. When you go from having 16hrs of your day planned and full of activities to having 16min of activity planned in your day, it’s kind of crippling. I didn’t know what to do- with myself, with my time, with the hundreds and thousands of thoughts running through my mind… and that was only week one! However, a very wise woman [Lesley DeVaughn] spoke wisdom and encouragement into my life, and I feel like God’s really been showing me how sweet resting in Him truly is.
I don’t mean that I’ve become okay with just laying in bed all day with cucumbers on my eyes and Mozart playing in the background, but I have become increasingly aware of God’s presence just by being okay in the silence and solitude. This summer one of the lessons I taught was about Jonah, and pretty much every week I focused on God’s love and compassion and the importance of making missions a lifestyle. Lately, however, I’ve been a little sad that I didn’t spend more time focusing on the silence and solitude that allowed for the Spirit to move Jonah to repentance and cause him to actually obey in going to Ninevah.
It’s funny how so often we know things, but never act like we do. I know that the very spirit of God dwells in me, guiding me in order to bring Himself glory, but I wonder whether or not I will ever fully comprehend how powerful this is. By trying to rest more and surrender my restlessness to the Lord, I feel like He’s blessing me with a sensitivity to His spirit-a stronger desire to seek what brings Him glory in every area of my life (whether by what I eat, who I encourage, or how I react) and a better consciousness of the opportunities He gives me to witness the work He’s doing around me.
My prayer partner, and one of my most favorite people this summer, Kaycee, is always so diligent to “practice His presence” and I think that a big part of that coincides with resting in His presence. In the book Practicing His Presence, Lawrence writes, “this year I have started out to live all my waking moments in conscious listening to the inner voice, asking without ceasing, ‘What, Father, do you desire said? What, Father, do you desire this minute?'”
This is what I want as well, and I feel so blessed to have been given a season where I can focus solely on the Father’s desire for my minute to minute life. I’m learning to embrace the beauty of the unknown and the enchantment of the unintentional. I’m learning that God is good, faithful, and more than enough which is wonderful because I do, after all, love to learn.

week one. deuces.

So sometimes I just like to share things I love. Because Love is fun. Well, it can be. If you hate this stuff, it won’t be fun for you. Today I am wishing that I could draw, because I absolutely cannot. I can communicate fairly well with my words, but I really want to be able to do so with pictures. I also wish that I was a better illustrator. And by that I mean one who utilizes Adobe Illustrator to its full potential. If I had those skills, here’s some fun things I would be inspired by.

Ok, so maybe the second one was stamps/paint and the last one was Photoshop. I just wish I was more artsy and talented. Maybe I should get a degree in fine arts. It could be fun. You’re right, I don’t mean that at all, but while we’re putting on our “Serious Faces” let’s talk about Week Uno of Camp.
This week the kids weren’t out of school, so instead of children’s ministry I did painting, construction, and yardwork. I won’t lie; this girl was not excited. I’ve never been trained in how to lead or teach service in that track, but of course the Lord was faithful. I really struggled the day before they came because I had been studying how Jesus taught and what a big responsibility the Bible says it is, and thinking about how I had selfishly let myself get caught up in, … well, me. Again, not worried about the Fall, but finding myself devoting my thoughts to speculation rather than the tasks at hand that God has sovereignly placed in my path, and I kept thinking how am I going to teach those kids starting tomorrow when I can’t even do right in my own life. The answer? I can’t, The Holy Spirit had to teach through me, and everything that happened last week just made that so evident.
Pray that God will make you humble and use you to glorify Himself, and He will certainly do so. I had all but like 2 junior high kids with Bible study material infinitely deep and wide, PCY with no concept of the sites or time management, and the silliest sort of weather. That’s what I had, and I felt afraid. Oh, and I started off on a terrible foot by messing up during the very first thing I was responsible for at camp (Placing kids in track groups [PIT], essential for starting any week of camp). However, God gave me, the most flexible kids, the most loving and patient adults, and unplanned examples to relate Biblical truths to kids that they understood.
Be careful what you pray for, because humility is a scary thing, and being vulnerable is most terrifying, but be careful who you trust in, because independence is deceitful, and being prideful ends painfully. This week was hard, but it was so rewarding.

I really do love to read and write

^This is something I’m thinking about today. Also the blog it came from is super fun (in a completely nerdtastic sort of way). It’s here in case you’re feeling adventurous, and it’s also where I found a link to this something (below) on this blog by Lisa Shearin. I kind of love it…especially the one about characters who interrupt conversations with real people…this happens to me a lot. Also I have a favorite punctuation; (I’ve worked out a way it can be a metaphor for life, but I won’t share lest I reveal too much of my inner nerd.)

    You know you’re a writer when:

  • You sleep with pen and paper next to your bed — and the stove and the couch and the dining table and the shower and the toilet and the. . .
  • You have a favorite punctuation mark. My editor’s trying to wean me off of em dashes — good luck with that.
  • You have a favorite pen. Uniball Signo 207 with the comfi-grip in black ink. Uh, what do you mean there are other colors?
  • You get caught up in plotting your next scene and put the cereal in the fridge, and the milk in the pantry.
  • The stacks of your old manuscripts and rejection letters officially constitutes a fire hazard
  • You desperately want Crayola tub markers so you can write down all that great dialog that comes to you in the shower.
  • You love restaurants that put a big sheet of paper over the table cloth and leave you with a handful of crayons.
  • You’re talking to a real, living, breathing person and suddenly stop and listen because one of your characters interrupted you.
  • You think sleep is way overrated. Who needs more than three hours anyway?
  • Your novels are backed up on your laptop, your husband’s laptop, two thumb drives, and you’re seriously toying with the idea of getting a safe deposit box.
  • And finally, you know your a writer if you look at yourself and see a writer. Everyone else looks at you and sees an obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive insomniac with a pen fetish.


Secret Saturday. Hurray. I love this day. Try to guess before I tell you…

This week I will divulge that, My favorite color is blue, but rarely do I love a blue-eyed boy. I say rarely because Gerard Butler is quite possibly the most beautiful man on this planet. Mostly though I am not attracted to blue-eyed boys. Can’t help it. Sorry Boutcha.

Say What?

Let me just say first of all, I am not Catholic. Also, I’ve already related to you in previous posts the impracticality of me giving up anything. (You’ll recall, I’m just far too lazy and unmotivated). 40 days is a LONG time! However, there are a few things I wouldn’t mind giving up for Lent. They are as follows:

-Brocolli (not that I actually eat it now)

-Make up (not that I’ve been wearing it recently)

-Washing Clothes (…I can go about 41 days before running out of essentials, I’m on 15 or so now)

-Reality TV ( not that I have time for tv, but I do love Ace of Cakes)
[Sensing a pattern yet?]

That being said, I did actually contemplate and com up with a list of things that I’m realistically considering a fast from.

-The words “rude,” “like” and “uh.”
Normally, you’d hear something like this coming from me:
“Ruuudeeee!” or (for “like” see the previous sentence^) or “I’ll look, uhhh, ok here it is.”

For Lent, I will replace these words with:
“Scurrilous or incorrigible,” “almost as if,” and “weellllllll.”

e.g. : “He certainly was scurrilous; I mean, what he did was absolutely incorrigible.”
“I it’s almost as if chocolate milk.”
“Sure I’ll get it, wellllllllllllllllll, where is it again?”

I also considered giving up at least one of my “Jenna faces,” but the impossibility of choosing between the “underbite of disapproval” and the “touche smirk” ended that endeavor before it advanced any distance at all really. So clearly, I will not be giving up any facial animation or verbal confabulations; therefore, my practical choice for Lent is,

The serif on the “J” in Jenna. I’m really quite fond of that serif, so this is going to be rather difficult, but I think I can do it. It is after all only 40 days.