inspiration monday

today we celebrate jess–at least i do and i hope you do too. today marks the beginning of her birthday week so that makes her even more inspiring.

jess is one of the first people i met in rva when i first visited last march and has continued to be a constant in my life since i’ve moved here.

i was pretty wrecked emotionally when i first moved here, but jess (among others) has been a gentle refreshment.

my times with jess have been cozy and easy. she just became my friend. there was never a weird “pre-friendship” hangout phase. jess simply became my friend. and i treasure her.

i don’t think there’s a lot to unpack. she’s just the bomb. she also likes dips a lot. and i like that about her–among other things.

here’s a photo of her holding a baby and a bear. what a woman.

the beegees said it best in their hit, “more than a woman:”

more than a woman

more than a woman to me

more than a woman

more than a woman to me

and a picture of us at her bee-day partee.

eat rva

there are 900 restaurants in the richmond area. it has been my goal to never eat at the same restaurant twice. unfortunately, that dream will never come to fruition because i have now been to the secret sandwich society twice.

sometimes plans don’t work out and you have to roll with the punches. my uncle used to tell me that circumstances change, convictions don’t.

while my goal was to never eat at the same place twice, my conviction is to try new things. in order to maintain that conviction, i have to change my tactic. in an effort to try new things, i’m revising my goal: i would like to eat as a many new places as possible in rva, and in the event that i have to revisit a restaurant, i will have an item off the menu that i did not try during the previous visit.

so here’s a list of all the restaurants that i’ve visited thus far:

  • max’s
  • perly’s
  • secret sandwich society
  • wong gonzalez
  • dinamo
  • lunch.supper!
  • tarrant’s
  • kuba kuba
  • fighting fish
  • kohlmann’s market

and here’s a list of new foods that i have tried since my arrival

  • oysters
  • mussels
  • squid
  • cuban cuisine
  • turkish cuisine

below you can find photo evidence of my first oyster, my first cuban sandwich, and the lunch that forced me to adapt my goal.


how jeans are made

“guess what i want, but i’m not gonna like beg for it…. a nickname.” – marcelle the shell

this is rachel and rachel–we live together, work together, are both on the art team and the communications team, we eat together–so you can imagine the consistent confusion as to which rachel our coworkers are talking to. nicknames would have happened eventually but two rachels provided an urgency.IMG_0064

to address this need, johnny asked me what my grandmothers’ names were. i told him they’re named amanda and jeanne. he didn’t say anything, turned back to his desk in silence, 53 seconds or so went by, he turned back to me, and said, “can i call you ‘jean?'” i said he could only if he committed to it fully. and he did.

a few days later, kris asked us what we were going to do about our names, and i told him about my new name from johnny and he pondered it for a second. katelin also jumped in and said that we could add an “s” to the end since that is endearing for some names. i also wear an inordinate amount of denim that i am now acutely aware of. but the name was approved.

it’s a small thing. but it’s comfortable. so far there have been a collection of small interactions and little kindnesses that make this place feel familiar. a nickname is not the most important thing that i will invest in or learn over the next nine months, but it matters.

hello, i’m jeans.

tearing up tuesdays

(i hope you enjoy the punny title)

(unless you didn’t get it)

(in that case, i’m sorry)

tuesdays, i will cover things that made me cry during the last week. all of my emotions tend to manifest themselves as tears, so these posts may range from touching moments to turbulent grievances. or someone could have said hello to me. who knows?

i have cried everyday this week–actually everyday for the last two months–so i have plenty to choose from. that sounds super dramatic, but the moments that i find my tears flowing most easily are times that i have felt the most creative, most loved, and closest to my Good Father. the six months have been tumultuous. it has been a time for many goodbyes and endings. big changes have not usually been a problem for me. big changes have usually been fun times of expectancy and eagerness, but this was different. it feels like i have physically torn myself up and spread it all over the country as i leave bits of heart with dear friends and then uproot my entire life to move to rva (hip lingo for richmond, va). i have never felt such loneliness because i love and am loved so well and so deeply by so many. but i understand that the depth and value of my relationships are not contingent on whether or not i am physically present with people who are dear to me. and so i arrived here. in a strange place. with new people. and started over.

but my roommates are all in the same situation, and so we all long to be known deeply by each other, that just takes time. last week, during orientation, kris mentioned that to increase in love for each other is to frequently pray for each other, so today in our morning devotional each intern prayed for another. tears came quite easily as we fought for unity together this morning. we have barely known each other a week and we are seeing the birth of deep bonds due to our shared faith, circumstance, and decision to love together.

to temper the tears, here are some photos of a sculpture showing a king rinding a dead horse upside down found in Prague. (

inspiration station

welcome, internet.

mondays are always in desperate need of a little something more. so i will be kicking off each week with something that inspires me.

this weekend i went to the vmfa (virginia museum of fine arts) with one of the girls from the office to do homework. while we were working in the cafe, i kept turning from my computer to look at a piece in the sculpture garden. her name is ‘chloe’ and she is haunting. after we finished working we went outside to look at the sculpture up close.

as i approached chloe, i noticed that something is a little off about her, but i couldn’t put my finger on it right away. she looks as a sculpture of a woman’s head should, but somehow weightless. it wasn’t until we took a turn about chloe that i noticed it. she is nearly flat! looking from one perspective she looks as a sculpture in the round should, but as you move around her, her depth is compressed. i love chloe’s simple, clean, meditative expression combined with the distorted perspective. she is a little haunting. but she is beautiful.

also, my cousin set me this video last week as a bit of encouragement:

let it also inspire your monday as you consider beautiful (and possibly unsettling) works of art.