Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Grace of April
Kissing Tulips

All things seem to be in bloom - but not the rich, pungent ripeness of midsummer abundance. Bushes, trees, daffodils, tulips all shimmer softly in the cool air, relinquishing fresh colors to an ever-brightening sky. The shade of new leaves tentatively spreads across cold pavement and young grass. Colors are pure and radiant in the sun's golden light. All the earth is waking, stretching, sighing, smiling

and all the college students are running around like crazy people.

This is the traditional time in the cycle of semester when all deadlines coming stampeding in and all sanity falls by the wayside. Stress is tangible, so thick you might choke on it. The common refrain, echoing across campus, is simply "IS IT OVER? are we done yet?". (I am well-versed in these feelings, having been dreaming of summer sun since about February. )

The grace of April, however, is perspective. Two things ring true, slipping through the cacophony of academia with the soft, clear tones of spring:

1. I was made by this God
2. I am entirely irrelevant


by Susanna Childress

For those who follow me cozily our the door, for the one
so close in line last night I felt his hard-on, the ones

who say hello, looking at your breasts, how are you,
the puffy-lipped polo shirt wearers who discuss my

classes on days my skirts are thigh-high and my legs
must be making a sound only they can hear.

for those who say God is not even one-quarter She.

for the pokes at ribs and claps on the ass given with
a smile, the knuckles against the neck when I'm pulling

at the doorhandle, the heavy beerish pocket of a mouth,
the pinches while asking what my shirt says, sweet thang

for the white vans whose drviers honk honkhonk,
the doorbells I cannot answer because it could or could not

or could or could not be just Jehovah's Witness men,
the poorly lit parking lots reminding me they found

drops of Trisha's urine behind the swimming pool but
never found Trisha, for the hot damns pelted out rolled-down

windows, the Spanish they don't think I understand one aisle over.

the middle-aged men pushing their children in carts and taking full
bodied looks in frozen food section, the trucker on I-65,

the condom on his fingers pointing at me.

for the dialogue of cottage cheese thighs, the raw popping
laughs when virgins walk by or

butch girls or acned girls or flat girls,
the jokes about bumpy nipples packed-tuna pussy the ugliest

fucks you'd ever seen can't buh
lieve they lettem live that ugly.

for them you do a service, quiet-hearted man, your
fingers on my forehead, your face like rain.

landing anywhere, something clean of your eyes
when you say fair one, when you listen to me,

and for them you oil the humbling of age, you redeem
mankind, you hold out the pearl you found in your chest,

the one each man has, and it speaks to the softest,
scaredest parts of me, the part naked and artless

as a woman's open body, for all of them you
make me think I could unravel into the imperfect,

the sweat, the gingered cadence
of humanity with one of you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

all the birds of this day sing a song, sing a song...

a celebratory haiku:

you are twenty now
two glorious decades old
love, this day is yours

We're the sort of girls that will stoop to kiss a tulip.

We're the kind of people who sit and pray in magnolia trees.

We're the small group leaders that think that spending the hour of 1opm reading scriptures & poetry, drawing with sidewalk chalk, kissing flowers, and hugging trees is feasible (and needed) way to meet.


It is that time in the semester...constantly feeling on edge; on the verge of a complete melt down; panic attacks lurking around every corner. Academia is a beastly monster breathing down our necks. His vile, acidic saliva now slips down our spines. Hence during occasional phases of hysteria, people skills tend to go awol.

Ok, so maybe it's not that bad, but it is pretty close at times. This is just a forewarning, an advanced apology for if we happen to bite your head off in the near future. For the most part, try not take it personally (though this may prove difficult considering it is your head). Instead, take our outbursts/verbal assaults with a grain (or block) of salt and mayhaps we can all try a little more mutual grace this last weeks knowing that this monster can get to even the most resilient of us.

"Don't Let Me Be Understood" -The Animals

Baby, do you understand me now
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don't you know that no one alive
Can always be an angel
When things go wrong I seem to be bad
But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Baby, sometimes I'm so carefree
With a joy that's hard to hide
And sometimes it seems that all I have do is worry
Then you're bound to see my other side
But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

If I seem edgy I want you to know
That I never mean to take it out on you
Life has it's problems and I get my share
And that's one thing I never meant to do
Because I love you
Oh, Oh baby don't you know I'm human
Have thoughts like any other one
Sometimes I find myself long regretting
Some foolish thing some little simple thing I've done
But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
Yes, I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
Yes, I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


A product of The Five of Us gathering in the reading room in Van Zoren to do homework:

The Ya-Ya Sisterhood's (+God) List of Male Douche-Baggery
  1. Wine-ing about whether or not...
  2. " " math
  3. Creepers
  4. Cheez-its > boys*
*Kyle=exception; God=exception; Kyle=God?

J's Theological quote of the week: "God is not a douche bag."
So man was created in God's image. The theme this week has sadly been that the majority of "men" (guys, boys, man-babies really) we encounter and/or interact with have been acting like douche-bags (excuse my french). This does not correlate that that is the image of God--cause God is NOT a douche bag, in fact, quite the opposite.

Please note that these are sweeping generalizations. We do have the pleasure of being acquainted with many non-douche bag males. It has just been the sad misfortune that many ladies have been meeting males of the other variety this week.
So if you are one of the non--thank you, please continue to make your presence(s) evident. If you are of the other variety--please, grow up.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


"O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above."
-Come Thou Fount

This fickle heart of mine has a case of extreme A.D.D.. It is distracted by every sparkling, shiny object. The most popular object often being me. Utterly fixated on myself, like some narcissistically preening bird (*sighs and shakes head*). God's goodness is so good, so great. When His light, the true light, shines on me it immediately catches and grabs my attention and focus. When I focus on that, His ultimate goodness and grace, all else fades and pales in comparison. All those earthly things, primarily relationships, that I put my hope and heart into are put into proper perspective.

His goodness is the only good thing; "apart from [Him] I have no good thing" (from my life chapter--Psalm 16). I know this for I have experienced, lived, and reveled in His goodness. Yet, please recall, my heart is a fickle thing and humans are a giddy thing ("Much Ado" and Mumford). I am unbridled and unfettered. I'm learning that all I can do is let go and let God; raise up and surrender this mess that I am; this jumble of a heart's longings, wounded affections, and tangled emotions.

I long to be daily infatuated with Him and His goodness; not me, myself, and all that revolves around me--but enthralled with GOD. "YHWH, take this mess for I don't know what to do with it, with all it's brokenness and preciousness." And gladly He will take what is offered: this precious, beautiful mess of me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


So we, being Jessalyn and Jillian, aka the dynamic duo J-Team!, began this blog months ago...but being both overachievers and procrastinators (yes those two go seamlessly hand in hand) have yet to actually introduce it. As I am supposed to be writing a paper for cultural heritage (while resisting the urge to go play in the rain and jump in puddles) I decide, 'HEY, perfect time to blog.' This will not be our originally intended formal introduction, filled with flourishes and fanfare. Instead, this will be more like one of those nice lil' "HELLO my name is:____" stickers which are impossible to adhere to your post-puberty body in a non-awkward fashion. Anywho...

HELLO, this is the Just Friends: J-Team's Hope College Field Guide Blog by Jillian and Jessalyn. Partially inspired by the book "The Spotter's Guide to the Male Species", the future book "Palatable Phelps: Creative Cures for College Cafeteria Chow", the United Flaming Liberals of Right-Winged Hope College Society, future collaborations of books on the topics spanning theology, hygiene&grooming, relationships, knitting, etc., and finally pretty much every conversation that occurs in Phelps 312.

J-team--we've got a lot to say...on pretty much everything. We've got opinions, warranted or otherwise, that we are willing to share. If anything we at least find our selves, our conversations, and our interactions pretty entertaining. If you're not laughing with us you'll
probably end up laughing at us. So hardy-har-har away.

J-Team Skillz
Jillian: Possesses soapboxes galore.
Jessalyn: Possess not only wisdom but also the ability to phrase everything, even nothing, eloquently.

More in-depth bios to come...