good days. bad days.

right now, my face is long and there’s a frown taking up most of the bottom half.  why? I had a bad day. why? everything. you know, those days where every little thing, every little email, every single voice around you makes you want to hit someone. it was one of those. but, honestly, i’ve gotten pretty good at owning my emotions without losing sight of the bigger picture: it was just one day. it happens. there’ll be more of them (the sucky ones, that is), but there will be way more of the awesome ones—yeah, like they say, the good really does come with some bad—and trust me, it's worth it. keep reading and you'll understand why...

i thought sharing this moment would be perfect for my first blog post of 2018 because, as i made my way through the day, i constantly had to remind myself that all of these things that irritate the hell out of me right now are merely annoying means to a very sweet end.  and whether you think of them as laying a foundation for your future, paying your dues, or whatever else makes you feel better about those less-than-ideal parts of your present situation, [they're really important]. they blend together to create a special learning period, one that presents a test of patience, faith and gratitude. as i rode the train home, i actually chuckled at one point and just thanked God for my life, even in moments like this, because (1) they remind me to really enjoy the good days, but more importantly, (2) they make me want to work. work and fight. fight my ass off for all of these dreams that are floating around in my mind. the dreams that deserve the front seat in my mind, not the back. and the dreams that'll let me leave the 9-to-5 in the rearview.

so i write all this to say, on those rough days that challenge your confidence, your comfort and your temperament, keep pushing through. keep your end game in mind—think about it every time you want to scream—and be passionate about what’s in front of you right now so you can get to the place you’re running toward. here's to a better day tomorrow. -j


the shack: movie review and a talk about faith.

Let me start by saying that I know blogging about God and religion is taboo nowadays, but, frankly, I’m not concerned with that. Over the past two years, my faith has really been transformed, and it’s never been something I’ve been afraid to speak about openly—as some of you know from my old bible study posts on Tumblr. With all that said, consider this a [disclaimer] for those of you easily offended by Christianity.

I just finished watching The Shack, a new film based on the NYT-best-selling book of the same name, and I’ve never cried so many times in one movie. It was such a beautiful experience that I couldn’t help but share my thoughts about it. I watched the trailer earlier this year (you can find it below) and was instantly excited as I recalled all of the amazing things my mother told me about the novel. I knew I’d see it as soon as it came out and I’m so happy I did. It’s not very often that films of this nature get major releases or feature stars like Octavia Spencer who can help bring it to the forefront, so it was amazing to sit in a theater as a proud Christian and watch a film that speaks to the things that I’ve chosen to build my life on.

The plot centers around a grieving father as he struggles to move on from the terrible loss of his baby girl. After receiving a letter from God, he returns to the place where his life paused and has a life-changing encounter with Papa, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We get to watch as he comes to grips with his past and his own humanity, as well as the power, wisdom and mighty love of God. This beautifully written tale speaks to some of the most important principles of Christian life—principles that can be easily forgotten in the midst of hardships and can sometimes be rarely seen in those who call themselves followers of God. I sat in my seat with flashback feelings from the day that I first accepted Jesus as my savior, like consciously and on my own terms. And as I reflect on some big steps that I’ve made in my life to get closer to Him this past year, the film made even more of an impact. I promise you, if you see past mere religion and truly consider yourself to have a faith-based [relationship] with God, you will be happy you saw it.

Writing this post is really important to me, especially given where I’m at in my journey and a few things I’ve seen around me these past few months. I've sat in my office and listened to people talk about and ostracize "crazy Christians" and how people are so strange for having things like “Jesus lover” in their bios, yet praise people who do far crazier things across their social media platforms and in their daily lives. Somewhere along the lines, the word Christian got lost in translation and became something else. Something freakish. Something inappropriate. And the timing is funny, because I’m honestly at a point where I’ve never felt more alive or more excited to live the life God’s created for me. I challenge anyone who doesn’t know much about Christianity or is turned off by the public perception popular culture has assigned us to watch this film. Not so you can become "a mindless Jesus Freak" too, but just so you can get a glimpse of what our faith—not our religion—is really all about. It’s a beautiful thing. Thanks for reading. -J

i was. i am. i always will be.