Wednesday, May 13, 2009

these summer nights. (blim blam)

i really enjoy the summer, but not for its days, for its nights. this summer, is a little different. i spend a lot of the nights alone, but thats okay... sometimes. but, i just love em. i love driving at night with my windows down while listening to slow music, as the lights pass, and the smell of wet grass engulfs my car. i love the sound of walking, while crickets play their consistent symphonies anonymously hidden behind the shadows. i love the never ending twinkle of the city lights, and the cool breeze that occasionally blows giving you the chills. i miss the days where summer nights seemed so cool, and you were lucky if you got to stay out after the street lights went out. i miss the nights where camping in your back yard was cool. i miss sitting on the roof and gazing at the few stars the las vegas sky brought in. i like that summer nights always bring you back to summer before, or the summer before that. i love the memories it brings, i miss how life used to be. i miss the late nights when no body seemed to stir and it felt like we were the only ones awake. i love the quietness of night, and the peace it brings. sometimes, i wish it would last forever.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

oh my,

Jesus I love you.

such a lover, a giver, a listener, and a healer.

my everything.

my all in all.

not to mention God of the whole universe.

i just can't get enough.

now, i know he wrote this as a letter but just imagine Paul saying this out loud to the people of Ephesus:
This is why it says: "when he ascended he took many captives and gave gifts to his people" (what does "he acended mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?! He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe!! Ephesians 4:8-10

*I added the exclamation points : P

Our God is so big, bigger than all the worries in the world times two!

like i said, Jesus I love you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jesus ONLY

I was just brushing my teeth and a kind of random idea popped into my head...

a challenge really.

today, and for as long as I can I want to challenge myself to limit the time I spend on the computer, or watching TV.

it's not a very uncommon thing, I'm sure people try this every day.

but I would really like to spend more time on more important things (like my soul).

i have been a reck lately, up and down like a roller coaster, but i believe some real Jesus time will help. (duhh..)

i want to honestly and whole heartedly seek out the heart of Jesus with everything I've got, and things like blogging, facebook, and myspace have become some of my own distractions, and I don't think I ever considered them to be until now.

I almost negotiated with myself by doing this after school ended, but starting now is even better.

I NEED Jesus. not a social network.

I NEED to show the world the real Jesus through my actions, not my time spent watching TV.

and don't get me wrong these aren't bad things, just things I need to put away for a while.

so here it goes...

and honest to goodness i have know idea how long this might last, and nor do I need to blog about it, but it never hurts to have people who can keep you accountable.

nonetheless, I am really excited for the outcome.

Jesus here I come!


36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

    39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."

    40 Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." 
       "Tell me, teacher," he said.

    41 "Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,a]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

    43 Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven." 
       "You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

    44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little."

    48 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

    49 The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"

    50 Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades.

 From the inside out Lord, my soul cries out. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

ears and the sunrise.

okay, so i used to think surgery was cool. like everything the media fed you and more. but i've come to find out that i am dead wrong (almost literally). 

my ear hurts. 

 it more than hurts. it throbs. it makes weird noises, and feels like there is a sharp rock on the side of my head. its the reason i am now addicted to pain pills. also the reason why i am up at 5am. its the reason i cant wash my hair until sunday! its the reason for my bad moods, and angry blog too. 

i tried taking a picture, but decided not to post it. but if you can imagine some one ripping your ear off and gluing it back together, you'd get the picture. 

i had what is called a Mastoidectomy/T-Plasty which pretty much means they cut open my ear and removed all the built up scar tissue and icky stuff from years and years of previous ear infections. 

it sucks. 

but, don't get me wrong. i am so thankful that i was even able to have the operation. also i know that people suffer much worse from stuff i cant even begin to imagine. which makes me the least credible in writing a whinny blog. but even a small annoying ear operation shows me that Jesus never intended for us to experience pain. but we do. and i believe its one thing that allows us to question our faith almost every day. but, He too, suffered. He felt the pain of all pain. and like Him, we must pick up our crosses and carry them to the top of the mountain everyday. 

and the cool thing is.... we are not alone.

i cant wait until the healing process is over, but i wouldn't miss it if it meant realizing over again what Christ has done for me in His pain and suffering. 

here is some scripture that goes along with my self-meddling:

23Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  -Luke 9:23

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
-Philippians 3:10-12   (got this one from Tanita's blog today)  : )

but hey!  at least i get to see the sunrise! : D

and like most pain, i know it will all be worth it in the end. 

Happy Good Friday everyone.

love, Jill

Monday, March 16, 2009

i love the spring.

here in Vegas the beginning signs of spring are showing and its wonderful. 
yesterday, i went for a run and different smells of spring when i was younger flowed in and out of my lungs, it made running so much more refreshing than usual. 

i am so spoiled. i wake up to this every morning: 

now it may not look that beautiful, but when the sun pokes through it is, and i love it. its so much better than your neighbors window. 

and i go to bed shortly after seeing this:

and now that its spring, i fully plan on doing this: (a lot)

i love the spring.
it brings everyone out.
people start smiling more. 
and it brings back memories of the springs before this one. 

don't get me wrong i love the winter... well vegas winter. especially cause it brings the season of  spring. it always gives nature one more chance to grow again. its amazing how God reveals Himself in the seasons too. like the winter, God always gives us one more chance to come back to life. 

13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

 14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 

Genesis 1:13-17

i just love it. 

and i love Jesus.

and i love you. 

i leave for Biola tomorrow to attend their Mission Conference and I am all too excited about it.
also, i haven't been to California in a while and i'm excited to see everything again, and especially my sister, and marianna, and Biola. i'm sure i'll be blogging about the trip when i get back. 

p.s i got my car back, ptl, at a costly price, but i have it back, and thats what is important.

enjoy the weather.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

i would walk 500 miles, and i would walk 500 more....

with mixed feelings, i took a walk today. 

there are days i throughly enjoy a good walk, but today was one i didn't want to embark on. 

but i took it anyways.

 partly because i was forced, and partly because my emotions were boiling up inside of me and i needed the fresh air. 

this week has not been a good one. half of me thinks i was due for a melt down and the other half says it just isn't fair, regardless the week proved itself more than once that it was not gonna be a good one. but its hard to say that, because there have been many good things about this week as well. 

but as i walked, i realized how most of all people who own cars do not realize what people who don't have them do every day. i believe we definitely take our transportation for granted every time we step on the gas pedal. 

a couple days ago my check engine light went on. since i got my car, it has gone on and off sporadically. plus i just got my oil checked, so i thought nothing of it. but it wasn't nothing. it started to lose power as i would press on the gas pedal and it would jerk back and forth like the indiana jones ride in disney land. and although that is my favorite ride in the whole world, i was not a fan of this one. it scared me half to death, because i didn't know when it might stop and start again. i found myself pulling off to the side of the road multiple times. and utterly frustrated with the whole situation. midterms have been going on in the past few weeks, and i am desperately trying to get straight A's this semester. stressed out, tired, and frustrated i had no patience to deal with my car let alone all the things that would come along with fixing it. 

ask anyone, i am not a fan of asking people for rides. i hate it. if there is one thing in the world i do not like its asking people for rides. im a people pleaser and because driving is already an inconvenience at times, i dont want to add to anyone else's. so i called my dad (who now lives in texas because of a job change) and told him my situation, but because i was not in the best mood i wasnt the nicest to him. and because i woke him up (time change) he wasnt the nicest to me either. he was telling me that i needed to ask my friends for help, because i would do the same exact thing for them, but its not the answer i wanted to hear. somehow i wanted him to magically fix my car while being thousands of miles away. 

i cried, i yelled, i apologized and hung up. i cried some more and jerked the steering wheel back and forth. and screamed some more. i made it home, thankfully. determined the next day would be better.

i stayed up until 3am that morning. i studied for a test, finished two papers, and finished 12 page midterm. i woke up late the next day and rushing to work. barely missing my roommate as she left the house, i quickly asked her for a ride to work. she agreed, and i sat red eyed and tired at work. i then asked Shady to take me to school. she agreed, and we rushed to school in hopes of finding a parking space, and if you know anything about UNLV parking, you know it is horrid. well on this day, TWO of the lots were closed, forcing Shady to park in a spot that wasnt even a real parking spot, but what could she do? 

we quickly made it towards the computer lab where i had to print everything out, 2 assignments made it through the printer, but the 12 page midterm was giving me trouble, the computer told me about an error or something, i was getting more frustrated by the minute. after some troubleshooting it finally printed. because Shady drove me to school, and because i was craving it, i promised her some starbucks, but like always the line was extremely long. thinking it would go by quickly i stood, waited, ordered, and waited some more. it took long enough to make us both late to our classes. 

i sat in french dozing off, anxiously waiting for the class to end. we took our midterm the week before and got our scores back that day. if you know me pretty well, i have been working my butt off in that class. on every quiz and test i always mange to get 88s or 89s but never and A. i studied so hard for the midterm that i was speaking french in my dreams (literally). so drowsy, and unsatisfied with my starbucks i looked at my test score. 

...... 90%

yes, I know its an A. but it made me laugh out loud a little that what i got was one point above what i have been getting all along. regardless i am very thankful. and know that a 90% isnt too shabby when it comes to learning a foreign language, especially french.

my classes are about 15 min a part, and it takes about 10 min to get to each one, i left french in hopes of having just enough time to grab a scantron for my film midterm and make it to english on time. i walked up to the counter with a nice big sign on it saying:


the frustration really started to build, politely, I asked the lady at the desk when they might get more scantrons in. she said, probably the next day but that i could purchase them at the student store, but i didn't have time to go to the store. so i walked quickly to my English class hoping that some one might have one, and thankfully they did. but then i got a text from my friend in film who needed one too, so some how i ended up with two without having to ask the same person. thank you jesus. 

my film midterm was cake. and i was ecstatic about that. and ryan gave me a ride home. the day was over, i was soo happy. i immediately took a shower, and went to sleep. 

this morning was nice, i woke up late, had a dream about being in London and filming a movie some how with an awesome camera. i called the dealership to see if i could bring my car in, but i called the wrong one, and had to call the right one. when I did they told me I could bring it in right away. praying the whole way there i made it in one piece. the nice man at the counter named James took my information and made a comment about the elephant on my key chain. he put me at ease. i waited there for almost two hours before James called me up again...

he said the crank sensor was broken....????
and the belt had to be replace...?????

he also said that the part they needed had to be sent for, meaning they would have to keep my car for the next few days (at least.) 

leaving me with a bill of about $650.

my day was okay until then.

I didn't know what to think everything bottled up inside was ready to explode. Shady came to my rescue, and picked me up from the dealership. I called my Dad right before she arrived to tell him the news. I felt bad, because he felt bad about not being able to help. I told him i could pay half the bill, I didnt want him to pay for all of it, but the sadness in his voice hit me really hard. I started to tear up, but I said goodbye without him noticing. 

After I hung up, I started to bawling....

Everything hit me, I don't even know what, or how but I just broke in half.

Poor Shady had to listen to me cry, but I am so thankful it was her that was there to just listen, and be my friend.

I made her cake the evening before and we ate tid bits here and there, but mostly talked about crazy people who give stupid parking tickets (she got one that day) and how yummy cake is, and my ride situation.

Like always, she made me laugh which helped more than she knows. 

I am going to Biola next week to attend their Mission Conference and so one of my friends (Connie McComb one of the best ever) is lending me an air mattress to sleep on in the dorms while I'm there. So the plan was to go pick up at the Church today. I don't have a car. So I decided to stick to the plans and walk there. The Church is only a few miles away and I thought a walk might be a good thing. 

Which brings me back to walking, I started my walk with some music. And for some reason when I find a song I like, I like to play it over and over again. As I was doing that, I watched the sun fall into the mountains and I actually smelled some flowers for the first time in a long time. It was an extremely nice picture. 

But as I was almost to the church, I felt something hit me on my arm. I turned around, and back again and saw that some guy threw something out his window with intentions of hitting me.

I couldn't believe it. 

Just as I was starting to be okay with things. Just as I was re-opening up to God about all the things that had happened this week. My first instinct was to grab a huge rock and throw it at their window, but I didn't I just stared. I couldn't imagine if I was the person who saw this happen to someone else and had time to do something about it. I would of screamed. 

But lets just say that it pretty much threw off my groove. 

But going on the walk I realized one thing. Not talking to God was kind of inevitable, and I avoided it for that very reason. 

If you noticed, I rarely went to God in all the situations I faced in the last few days. And if I did go to Him, it was in anger. Lately, I haven't felt "moved" by anything. I just go about my day, trying to cross things off my to-do list as fast as I can. I'm selfish. I don't listen,  I'm a hypocrite, and I cuss when im angry. I've been upset with myself, and God because I haven't felt like He has helped me much. But only if there was a word to describe how truly wrong I am. 

Just about a week ago, I listened to a sermon from my favorite church up in Colorado called Flatirons Church Community. And it was all about troubles, and pain, and how even hard times will come when you have a relationship with Christ. Oblivious, I put it off, thinking that doesn't apply to me right now, my life is awesome. Granted, these problems I just ranted about are miniscule to the many hardships people face every day and for that I must be extremely grateful. But internally these tiny things can really mess me up. Physically, I have never had very hard troubles in my life. My parents are still alive, I'm healthy,  I have food on the table and a roof over my head. But emotionally, I have suffered greatly. My parents divorce wrecked a lot of things and distorted the true meaning of love. My Mom's emotional abuse and own depression only sunk me lower into the ground. My Dads alcoholism effected me in many ways growing up. My anxiety has had me in ups and downs since my Freshman year of High School, and I am still lost about what to do about it. Internally I hurt. And I think we all do. But thankfully, we have Christ to save us. 

"You will have troubles." Whether you know they are coming, or unexpectedly , you could be walking and have them thrown right at you. But they will exist. 

And I am not perfect, I don't always cling to God when I need Him most. And I don't always trust that He is going to follow through. But because of His great love, and grace He will always catch us when we fall. He will always follow through. He will always love us. 

And what could be better than that?

I would have no idea where I would be today if Christ didn't love me the way that He does. 
I would not be forgiven for all the eff bombs I laid today thats for sure..... totally just kidding.....kinda.

But over and over Christ continues to prove to me how amazing He is, and no words can describe how grateful I am. I just hope and pray that I will always be a light that shines in the darkness, one that doesn't throw stones but throws love until my arm is sore. I also pray that things that wrap around my head and distract me from my one and only goal: Love. run away in fear. Its not easy, but it is possible. 

I also pray that I pray more. For you, for me, for kids who throw things out car windows. For every one. 

I love this life Christ has given me, and I hope you love yours too. 
I don't know much, but I do know this:
You are loved, and that is all that matters. 

Thank you for reading this novel...  :D
In His great love,

P.S As I turned around to walk home, Shady called me telling me that she had to drop her brother off at the church and was wondering if I wanted her to pick up the air mattress, I laughed, and said no. She turned my way and saved me once again, and drove me home. 

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 
Romans 5: 6-8

Sunday, February 22, 2009

the shadow proves the sunshine.

i have put off blogging so long i have way too much to say but i'll keep it short.

i caught the awful cold that seems to be going around and felt like i was going to die yesterday but overnight my stuffy nose went away and i could breathe which is the best feeling ever. but last night i couldn't sleep so i took some melatonin which put me right out, but i had the weirdest dreams ever. the sun started to poke through my blinds and in my head i came to the conclusion that the sunlight was the reason why i could breathe again.. i know weird right?

lately, ive been really down and out. i haven't been motivated to do anything. ive felt stuck in many different ways. and like always Jesus stuck with me through it. He is good. today was good. and the fire is rekindling in my heart. i watched the academy awards and re-realized my passion to make a good movie. not just a good movie but also work with an amazing team of people to make that movie. and no matter if it makes it to the oscars or not, i will one day make a movie that in some way glorifies Christ and His amazing love. . i dont want to be famous, i just want Jesus to be.

soo... this might be a frog on a hot plate thing, hopefully not, but I really want to go to Biola University. and for now i'm making it my goal. for the last week ive been thinking and praying about it and starting to believe it might be a big possibility. they have an awesome film program and ive been longing for a community that they just might provide. i want to visit 
all is said and done but im excited to see what happens with it. but who know we shall see. the money part is difficult, and student loans will be hard to attain because both of my parents have bad credit. but in the least cliche' way God always provides and He will find a way if that is where i am supposed to be, and if not then so be it. just as long as I have Jesus. (which is way easier said then done... but im human and im trying)

what Christ has done for us,  who He is, and what He will do is truly beautiful. and i forget that 
much of the time. i need to be reminded constantly that He is my rock and that He is what fills me. nothing else will provide like He does, through it all, He is my everything.

we sang this song in church today, i really enjoy it, and you might like it too. 
here are the lyrics: 

i pray that  your blessings are as abundant as mine even in the toughest of times. 
just remember to Him you are everything.

                                                      Devotion By Hillsong

I've been running, trying to be one who sees
I've been working salvation out on my knees
There is nothing better than knowing
that we are redeemed
I'm believing, trusting in creative hands,
I am praying for our world to bow to your plan
And this one thought is unmistakable:
I take up my cross and follow you Lord

When you stand the tall trees and mountains bow
When you speak the fiercest of oceans is still
And I see the sinner seek devotion
The lost become chosen, and I fall to my knees

I'm forgiven; my Savior who did not deserve death
He was blameless and I was lost in shamefulness
I'm delivered, but it doesn't seem right
unless I keep my eyes focused on the savior who gave his life
In the middle of a world that denies it believes
It is breaking apart at the very seams
There is one thing to be alive for
And it's to take up my cross and follow you Lord

I will take up my cross and follow Lord where you lead me
And I will take up my cross and follow wherever you go

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

upside down ceiling.

( i thought the frog was appropriate)
today was a weird day. i didn't do much, except i kept catching myself staring into space. i woke up and stared at my alarm clock. then i stared into the capsizing abyss of the fridge. after coming home from a run  i laid flat on my floor staring into the ceiling fan for more than 15 min. it was really bad when i was driving too. it has been a very catatonic day. but throughout all that staring  i thought about a lot of things. its always bittersweet when you spend a day with yourself. it's nice to relax, but eventually you become lonely. and honestly, lately i have felt very lonely. and my thoughts just eat me up inside but you know what is absolutely beautiful about that?

1 O LORD, you have searched me 
       and you know me.

 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; 
       you perceive my thoughts from afar.

 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; 
       you are familiar with all my ways.

 4 Before a word is on my tongue 
       you know it completely, O LORD.

 5 You hem me in—behind and before; 
       you have laid your hand upon me.

 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 
       too lofty for me to attain.

 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? 
       Where can I flee from your presence?

 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; 
       if I make my bed in the depths,  you are there.

 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, 
       if I settle on the far side of the sea,

 10 even there your hand will guide me, 
       your right hand will hold me fast.

 11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me 
       and the light become night around me,"

 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; 
       the night will shine like the day, 
       for darkness is as light to you.

 13 For you created my inmost being; 
       you knit me together in my mother's womb.

 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
       your works are wonderful, 
       I know that full well.
Psalm 139: 1-14

just as long as i have Jesus.

i pray that when days like today spring up from the ground, like a weed in spring, that you remain still and know full well the love of Christ that is constantly pouring out all around you.

 P.S i did get to watch The Dark Knight tonight (not very happy go lucky movie) nonetheless it was a very big plus, not only that, I get to write a 5 page paper on it, AND we get to watch Citizen Kane tomorrow in film, doesn't get any better than this. 

blog bout' the WORD coming soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

i'm such a frogggah!

Frog: The frog is an amphibian in the order Anura (meaning "tail-less", from Greek an-, without + oura, tail), formerly referred to as Salientia (Latin saltare, to jump).

Hot Plate: A hot plate is a small electric stove often used in food preparation, generally for small dishes in places where a full kitchen stove would not be convenient. 

Frog on a hot plate: Me

Why is it that I can never settle with what I am doing, or with what I have?
Since I was a kid I jumped from thing to thing wanting one right after the other. It's not necessarily a bad thing, I just wish I could settle sometimes. I'm not always up and down, there are some very stable qualities about me. I'm just trying to figure out the thing in me that makes me want to hop.  And the funny thing is, I don't even really like frogs, we just happen have similar personalities. 

Current Prospect Hot Plates:

-I want a dog
-I want to be a flight attendant
-I want to move to New York
-I want to eat healthier and lose weight
-I want to live on a farm 
-I want to live in Colorado
-I want to be a Film Major (most of the time)
-I want be pregnant (weird phase)
-I want to remember things better
-I want butterflies in my room (real ones)
-I want to live in a perfect community
-I want to feed the poor
-I want to adopt the abandoned 
-I want to live in Africa
-I want to read 4 books at a time
-I want to make feature films, and small documentaries
-I want to go to Europe this summer
-I want to transfer colleges
-I want to go to NY this summer
-I want to work at fresh n easy, be a nanny, and work at a restaurant 
-I want to be a teacher

-I want to not want things

I want to get out of this phase of being so worried about myself. It's hard. Being human is hard. The selfishness  bursts from my insides and wraps itself around me like a bubble. I feel trapped. Caught up in what the world tells me, and what I tell myself. But, what about what God tells me?

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; 
       let my cry for help come to you.

 2 Do not hide your face from me 
       when I am in distress. 
       Turn your ear to me; 
       when I call, answer me quickly.

 3 For my days vanish like smoke; 
       my bones burn like glowing embers.

 4 My heart is blighted and withered like grass; 
       I forget to eat my food.

 5 Because of my loud groaning 
       I am reduced to skin and bones.

 6 I am like a desert owl, 
       like an owl among the ruins.

 7 I lie awake; I have become 
       like a bird alone on a roof.

 8 All day long my enemies taunt me; 
       those who rail against me use my name as a curse.

 9 For I eat ashes as my food 
       and mingle my drink with tears

 10 because of your great wrath, 
       for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.

 11 My days are like the evening shadow; 
       I wither away like grass.

 12 But you, O LORD, sit enthroned forever,

your renown endures through all generations. 

Psalm 102: 1-12

If you reign Lord, reign over me. Take my life and use it to glorify you, not by the things I want but by the things you want for me. 

to New York and back...

Traveling last minute, isn’t necessarily a foreign thing to me. Frankly, I enjoy it. The thought of shoving what you can into a small suitcase, and knowing you will be in the air in less than a few hours is just exhilarating to me. I love to travel, and because I’ve been doing it since I was a kid it has almost become routine.

 On Thursday, January 22, 2009 I found out that my Great-Grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of 92. Her death was becoming more and more anticipated by my family as the time passed. My Grandpa, who lives in California, held his mothers hand as she breathed her last breath on Monday. Soon after her death, they flew her to NY, where she was from originally and soon to be her final resting place. So, today January 24, 2009, me, my mom, my aunt, and Grandma all boarded a plane to join my mourning Grandfather and attend the funeral of Gertrude McBride-Boat.


As I packed my things,  I thought about my Great-Grandma and how I have very few recollections of her. Although, there is one very vivid memory I do have. Since I was young she suffered from a very bad case of dementia. When I was around the age of seven or eight my Grandpa (a.k.a Papa Boat) took us up to New York to visit her. After the death of her husband, she moved into a small house along side a very small lake. While we visited, Papa Boat decided he would take us fishing. But, we could only fish on one condition, and that was that we had to dig our own live bait out of the ground. Immediately my brother and I rushed to the backyard to start digging. We dug those holes for an hour finding at least twenty slimy worms. Tired and covered in dirt we returned to the house, but as we entered, the room went from uneasiness to anger . My great-grandma and Papa Boat were arguing about something, and soon talking turned into yelling. Unfortunately that wasn’t a foreign thing to us either, so Tony and I retreated to our room to look over our worm catching. As we walked away, their yelling got louder, something about the holes in the backyard. Suddenly my great-grandma grabbed a knife from the kitchen counter and wrapped her arm around my grandpa’s neck threatening to stab him to death. Caught by surprise, Tony and I didn’t have a clue about what to do, except all we really could do; scream. We cried until the tears were streaming down our faces, luckily she clamed down and Papa Boat put away the knife. To my demise, that is the only memory I have of my Great-Grandma, and now I sit on the plane that heads toward the last memory I will ever make of her.

        The Airport:

The airport is like a second home to me, and I like it that way. But I’ve watched it evolve over the years and I believe it has become one of the biggest centers of materialism in the world. Mind you there are many more places that are huge on materialism, the airport is just definitely one of them. We went from peanuts and candy bars, to Ipods and Bose headphones in the vending machines, I even saw a Rosetta Stone “vending machine” spitting up the bright yellow boxes after you coughed up at least $250. And, well for a while now, food has been extremely expensive because they know you’re trapped and almost forced to buy their food if you’re looking for a decent meal. There are more than enough convenient stores placed on every corner, next to the $5 dollars-for-a –tall-mocha Starbucks “coffee” shops. The “latest” item that is absolutely necessary for flying is always displayed in the center of the store intentionally and successfully distracting the passersby. 

There is a cornucopia of magazines layering the wall with the latest gossip and fashion tips screaming “its only cool to look like this!” Like the many people who walk into airports, I too gave in to buying something. I was craving a book so I made my way to a store that surprisingly had more books than magazines. I scoured in and out of the book shelves most of which held books that held no interest to me, I wanted a book by Obama to learn more about our new president but they seemed to be sold out. I settled with a book called Rainbow’s End a memoir about a young girl who grew up in South Africa and she loved horses. Perfect, right? And so far so good, I am learning a lot about the war in Rhodesia in the seventies which rocks my socks so… We met my Aunt and Grandma at the Houston airport and shortly after boarded our plane to LaGuardia (which happens to be the airport where the plane landed in the Hudson because of the birds) Of course  The three stooges (my grandma, aunt and mom) made a bigger deal of it than they should of, asking every five minutes “see any birds?” Regardless it made me laugh, and I enjoyed watching them be worry warts. P.S We arrived safe and birdless.

 The Three Stooges

I couldn’t have traveled with a more entertaining group of women. If you don’t know my mom, she is a loud Itailian with a joyful spirit when she wants to be, very sarcastic, humorous, loves cemeteries, and LOVES being in control. My grandma is a close replica except for the cemetery part, and my aunt is timid, worries more than she should, very set in her ways, and also loves control (they get it from their dad). So we grabbed our bags and headed towards the rental car center. When we walked outside the doors our ears almost froze off and triggered a line of loud gasps and mumbles from all of our mouths. We picked out a van, the sisters in the front, grandma in the middle and me in the way back. I became tired of the black scenery nightfall displayed as we made our way to Beacon, so I laid down to take a nap while my aunt read the directions and Grandma played back seat driver. Just like her mother, my Grandma loves reading each sign with familiarity as we passed by, when we got closer to our destination she started recognizing more signs and would yell out “ohh turn!”, my mom and aunt would then yell back with disapproval. Then a confusing two way fork came our way, Lori (my aunt) looked down for a second, and my grandma yelled “right!” and Lori was too late to stop my Mom from turning. Anyways, we landed ourselves in the wrong direction, but later found a detour and made it to where we were staying. I just sat in the back laughing up a storm while re-realizing that they are actually my family! Definitely a “you had to be there moment” but I wanted to share it nonetheless.


 Newburgh is the city where my Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, Great Grandma, and Great-Great Grandma all grew up. Half my roots lay in the ground of Newburgh. It had been 10 years since I went there, and I have no recollection of it. But this time I learned much more than I bargained for. Gertrude was my Great-Grandma, her mom's name was Christine. Christine was an illegitimate child born in Germany that her mother's husband wanted out of the house, so he shipped her to America at the age of 10. The family that was supposed to pick her up at Ellis Island failed to do so. She then tried making it on her own, becoming a Nanny at the age of 11. She eventually married Mr. McBride, whom which she had 4 children with, one being my Great-Grandmother. Christine’s husband turned out to be a drunk, and after four children she seemed to have suffered from post-partum depression. As a child Gertrude longed for piano lessons, and when her Dad denied them, she ran away at age 14, he eventually agreed to pay for the lessons, and it was then that she came back home. Piano became her life. She played the organ for the church her whole life, and that was one of the many things she is remembered by. Gertrude eventually moved in with some family friends, she lived in the attic, and a man by the name of Mr. Boat lived in the house as well. People began to say that it looked bad that two unmarried people were living in the same house, so they got married (even though she was substantially younger, and not interested in each other). They had one son, Wesley Boat, my grandfather. Her husband died in 86’ at age 81 and twenty-three years later Gertrude died at age 92.

The Wake

The wake was peaceful. I surprised Papa Boat when I arrived, he wasn’t informed I was coming, so he was very happy to see me. As I hugged him he was shaking and tearing up, which was touching because all my life he has always been very stoic and stern about his emotions.

Gertrude looked so comfortable in her auburn casket. It immediately reminded me of Olivia Hyten’s wake, although Oivia’s death was very unexpected, she too looked very peaceful. Almost looking as if she was saying, “its okay now, my life was good, but hard times are over, and now its even better”. Many people who knew Gertrude throughout her life attended the wake, I reunited with so much family I hadn’t seen in a really long time and some I never met until that moment, although the circumstances weren’t the best it was still very nice to see them all.

5 minutes before the funeral

As I was getting out of the van, due to ice, I cautiously turned around but apparently not cautiously enough. I slipped, dropped my camera, smacked my face on the car door and braced my self with my arms, almost slipping a second time when I attempted to get back up. I still have a bump, and a bruise on my nose, its lovely.

The Funeral

The funeral was the next day, A minster went up and said a few words, about my Great-Grandmother, we sang Amazing Grace (Gertrude’s favorite song) and closed in prayer. We then, followed the hurse to the cemetery and layed Gertrude in her final resting place. It was beautiful and I was very thankful to be able to witness it.

The Minister

I’m not going to lie, I thought he was a little weird. He kept smiling at me and trying to talk to me but not in the normal kind of way. He gets really close to your face when he talks to you, and from the start I didn’t take a liking to him. During the service for the funeral he talked about Gertrude like he knew her, and even teared up at one point. But I didn’t feel like it was genuine, it was more for show than anything. But heres the funny part, as we shook hands to say good-bye, he leans in to hug me and says a prayer in my ear. And this is what he said, “God bless her and this baby, through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bless Jill and her baby!” I walked away with a half a grin on my face, trying not to laugh in his face, I mean c’om  I was at a funeral! What the heck? He thought I was pregnant! Unknowingly we went to a resturant and he came with us all, and then we said our final goodbyes he said “take care of the baby now!” I laughed and said, "heh thanks?”. And this time my grandma heard it. I mean I know I have a little food belly but sheesh, I was wearing a black dress but my belly didn’t go passed my boobs for goodness sake. You just dont say that to people.  We got in the van and I blurted out what he said and we laughed the whole trip home.


Death is weird thing. Now I've only been to three funerals but every time I've gone to one the idea of death completely puzzles me. I get all tangled inside, like a spider in her own web. Open caskets kind of freak me out, not in a childish way, its just kind of erie seeing a lifeless body caked with make-up and showered with flowers. Don't get me wrong I think as humans we do a very good job in honoring our loved ones and their lives when they do indeed pass way. Although that isn't the case for everyone. It's just crazy to think about, I mean we weren't created to experience death. Many problems around the world occur because of oppositions over the idea of death and life after it. To me its obvious we weren't meant for it and the extreme amount of grief that comes with it. I can't even imagine the kind death people experience all over the world, some of which don't even get a nicely decorated casket or a memorial service. Death is crazy, and I don't get it. In spite of the fact, I do know the wages of sin are death, and Jesus died on the cross to spare us from the worst death of all (separation of God) but what does that really mean? Life after death is one thing all humans know very little about but the bible does tell us.....

 54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled  “Death is swallowed up in victory.55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.            1 Corinthians 15:54-57

The death that we experience now is nothing compared to what we would have experienced had Jesus not come, but because He did, I am so thankful. Now, the death we experience here on Earth becomes our second chance at real life with God, and what could be better than that?

Home Again...

I am currently riding the plane back to Vegas reminiscing over the good memories of the weekend and although my Great-Grandmother has passed I know she lived a good life and is dancing with Jesus in heaven. I hope and pray I will live a long and happy life like her, and watch the future generations of my family grow up. I pray that I don't ever forget truth that my life, like yours, will  always be important. Important enough to be saved by death, now that is a life to celebrate!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a big carbon footprint, but an even bigger heart.

Since I was a little girl, there was something about Africa that always caught my eye. I specifically remember reading a book in 5th grade called Zink the Zebra which told a story about a girl who met a Zebra in her dreams and he took her to Africa to show her how he lived etc. I loved it, but I wasn't always vocal about my liking of Africa, I just really liked learning about it. 
As I got older my interest doubled, we stared to read more books in school about the country, and more and more awareness about the problems of Africa were being raised. As my junior year came around I was convinced I would some day set foot on African land. 
And I did.

On December 2nd, 2008 I traveled to Burkina Faso, West Africa. According to an update from The UN it is the 2nd poorest nation in the world, next to Sierra Leone which is the 1st. South Hills Community Church took their third team this past December and I was lucky enough to be a part of it. We spent 12 days in West Africa, and before you say anything I am not one to support short term mission trips that make huge carbon footprints, but after arriving back home I think every American, South American, European, Asian, etc. should take a trip out to any third world county in the world. Not only was it a privilege to be there, it was an honor. I learned so much, only to realize how little I really know. 

It's one thing to watch the infomercials about the starving children and simply change the channel, and another to hold their hand knowing their kidneys are failing and they wont live to age 10. Little girls and boys, like the picture above would swarm the work site just looking for a little fun, luckily we were able to provide some.  Every day the same kids from the surrounding villages would gather around us, and because of the strong language barrier we did the only thing we could do; use the universal language of love. There were days were we played games like duck, duck, goose, and the hokey pokey. And there would be times where we would just sit down with them as they compared skin color, hair and teeth, naming everything in their language as we named ours. One of the most rewarding occasions was when we sat them down to watch a skit that we had prepared the previous evening. We showed them the differences between a God of love and a god of hate and distrust(the god of the religion that is strongly influenced in the country). Afterwards we handed out bananas, just as God promised exactly enough food to feed 5,000, He provided exactly enough to feed each and every one of those kids on the site that day. 

This little girl's name is Asseta, I don't know her age although I would guess around 9 or 10. She was on site every day that we were. Definitely a leader amongst the others and what seemed to me a pretty good sense of humor. She was always making the kids laugh even if it was about me. Like most girls in Burkina Asseta probably didn't attend school, when I asked the children to write their names down on a piece of paper, she had to ask another to write it. On our last day, I packed up most of what I had brought into my back pack; skirts, a bar of new soap, 2,000 cfa (about 4 american dollars) which is a lot to a young village girl, and other things. Praying she would be there on our last day, and she was, I gave her my back pack. While saying goodbye to all the children she played with my earrings, so I took those off and placed them in her hands. Of course she was delighted, and immediately placed them in her ears. I don't look for much recognition when I tell this story, I just know that it's things like that  that Jesus wants us to do every day of our lives. I miss Asseta every day knowing that there is the slightest chance that I might see her again, but from the abundance of things I learned in Africa I know that anything is possible. 

With plans of one day returning to Burkina Faso, I am more than excited to see what God has planned for His people there and all over the world. God extremely blessed our team, and I pray He continues to build and prepare more teams to seek out and help the poor, but more importantly to love His people.
 If you want to know more about what the Christian and Missionary Alliance is doing in Burkina go to:
If you want to know more about what South Hills is doing in Burkina just send me a message and I will fill you in with all the details.