Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jackie - Showing My True Colors

Goal 3:: Define Me

I'm dreading this goal -- writing about it, thinking about it, doing it -- all of it. And still yet, I'm excited about it.

It's two-fold.

On the one hand this goal is for me. For figuring out me. For making me into the me I want me to be. It's kind of like I said in my initial post,  I want to make the external me to be a reflection of the internal me.

Of course, that takes sometime to figure out what I actually care about and want to be about. And prioritizing about which of those things get to stay on the top of my list. I'm working on that -- maybe I'll post on things as they come together, or maybe they'll just be reflected in everything else I'm doing. We'll see...

On the other hand, this goal is for you. [Really? Yes! ... sort of.] It's an opportunity for me to put myself out there... to put my real self out there. Let's go back to my initial post when I explained how I feel a bit like a late bloomer. Well, that included figuring out who I am. I've done quite a bit of soul searching the past few years and I feel like I'm finally figuring out what I'm like and what I like. I still feel like I'm at the tip of the ice berg, but I kind of like this person I'm discovering.

One of the hard parts to figuring out who I am has been becoming that person. It's difficult to suddenly become a different person -- both for me and for everyone else. I feel like very few people actually know me; it's like I keep getting put into boxes and everything inside of me wants to shout, "I don't belong in here!" I feel misunderstood. It's been this way for much of my life. I've been defined by things I don't want to be and don't represent me. The qualities I like about myself don't get seen. And I wish people could know and appreciate who I am.

Typing those words makes me feel like I'm placing the blame on everyone else. But really, I don't think blame is even an issue. I've been working hard to establish who I am and now I need a way to communicate that with those around me. Having a venue to display my real self is one of the reasons I chose to be a part of this blog. I've wanted to share my soul and spill my guts on [proverbial] paper for awhile, so I'm taking the opportunity this year to show you what I'm really made of.

Or maybe all of this is just the process of getting older ... *sigh*

I'm sure everyone's felt misunderstood during different stages of life. Since I'm in the midst of figuring all this out, I'd love to hear your story if you're willing to share!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sarah's Attempt to Court Herself- Harder Than it Seems

{photo found here}

I am creatively blocked.  This fact has been quite clear to me for some time now- years, in fact.  To try to combat said "blockage" I started up a program called The Artists Way- a 12 week, in depth program full of readings and exercises meant to kick your inner critic to the curb and get you back to the creative genius you were when you were five.  I never finished the program- finishing things is obviously not my forte.  Despite that, I did take away a few key principles.  One of those was the concept of an artist's date.

An artist's date consists of taking yourself out on, well, a date.  It can be anything.  There are no rules- no way you can do it wrong.  And that's important.  It's about allowing yourself to be free with yourself and enjoying the wonderful company that lives upstairs.

Artists dates intrigue me.  First of all, any excuse I can find to hang out with myself, one on one, sounds fantastic.  Second of all, despite the fact that I love alone time, artist's dates are super difficult for me to commit to.  Whenever I plan them there is always always something more important that needs to be done.  And I am not one of those people that puts off time alone.  Put the "artist date" label on it though, and there are a million things to be done that are far more important.  The irony baffles me.

I have my theories as to why this is.  The most formidable one being that the moment I deem "alone time" an artist's date, it becomes connected with my writing.  And in an effort of full disclosure, I suppose I should tell you that I simply don't write any more (this blog excepted).  Somewhere along the line I've convinced myself it's safer to just not try, that not humiliating myself is better than actually acting on my passion.  So I play the part- read constantly, wear dark rimmed glasses, and type away on my mac in coffee shops.  But I can't remember the last time I actually created something worth mentioning, or at least saving to my desktop.

So, if my hypothesis is correct, this tension with artist's dates and this fear of writing are connected.  Somewhere along the line, my synapses started to figure out that if I actually start taking responsibility for my creativity and writing process, I might actually have to start writing again; that will inevitably lead to the perpetual and viscous cycle of self loathing and insecurities.  Being right brained isn't all it's cracked up to be, no?

I did go on an artist's date this week, though.  I checked out a small used bookstore on Broadway called The Book Keep that I've been eyeing for some time.  I came out with three books, one of which is the complete anthology of Emily Dickinson poems.  One of the peices I started writing last year heavily involves Emily Dickinson, so I suppose I'm off to a solid start- ready to research and maybe even write again.

Baby steps.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Human Connection for Genevieve

I think people are the single most amazing gift God has placed in my life. I have friends from the earliest part of my childhood that I still get excited to chat with on the phone. They understand that deeper part of my heart, of my personality, that most don't. For some reason, it's that human connection that gets me through the day sometimes.

I recently took a personality test at work. Our CFO wanted to see how each of us on staff related to one another. I classified as a "Guardian", which means I'm socially adept, love to care for others and am a leader in group situations. Many guardians are presidents of the local community board, leaders in their churches, on their sports teams and in the school PTA. They love to organize functions and be in the lime light. This definitely describes me... In college I was president of my campuses music business club, ridiculously talkative in a cappella ensemble (or any class for that matter), constantly organizing parties, working a job and internship simultaneously or talking on the phone with someone across the country I couldn't readily grab a drink with. But the description in the personality test booklet also reveals a downside of the ever sociable nurturer. It states, "sometimes may be sociable to their detriment".

Towards the end of my college career I was so connected, constantly networking and always a part of some sort of social function... I started to feel worn thin. I always had to be with someone. I, secretly, didn't know who I was without people. And then I moved to LA... where I lived with my brother who worked odd hours at a hospital and my close friends from a previous internship lived 45 minutes away. I was suddenly forced to be alone. It was scary yet invigorating. I learned to be ok with praying for hours on end, connecting deeply to my soul and even going out on dates by myself. When I decided to move back to Denver I made it a conscious effort to reconnect with those people I felt truly cared about me as a person... not people I randomly had classes with, would sip a beer with at a party or run into at a show. I wanted to focus my energy on relationships that truly meant something.

Since then I've had some great reconnections, made deep loving relationships and have had wonderful new people enter into my life. But at the same time, I've maintained that connection with myself which is the most important part. Because how can I maintain all of these relationships and give the way I should if I don't know who I am to begin with? I want this wonderful path to continue throughout 2010, all with a focus and commitment to who I am and who I need to be in others lives.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jackie - To Connect or Reconnect?

Last week I connected with a friend. I mean really connected.

The two of us have planned to get together for awhile, but it always seemed to fall though the cracks. As a fellow musician, she is constantly working on promote her music, book shows and teaching lessons on the side. And, well, I've already mentioned at least once that my schedule's a bit ridiculous these days. [Pondering this got me thinking about the difference between busyness and working hard, but that's beside the point.]

We had a long lunch last week at the Bangkok Cafe and I got a glimpse into the inner workings of someone I've only been able to respect from afar. And it was nice. I've always respected her musically, in fact, her music continues to be a inspiration for me to pursue my own. She is remarkably true to herself. And she is perpetually kind. All qualities I'd like to see in myself more.

Our lunch showed me how genuine those traits are.

It was one of the first warm days this spring, so my car smelled faintly of sunshine; and I as I drove away I replayed our conversation in my head which felt more like an intertwined journey through both of our lives. 

It wasn't one of those earth shattering conversations where we both open up about the deepest, darkest parts of our hearts, but it was profound because it was the first meaningful conversation I've had in quite a while. We talked about a recent situation in her life, our experiences with religion and spirituality, expectations for life and a little bit about the day-to-day.

It was real... honest... and I walked away looking at life a little bit different.

Our conversation was a nice reminder about living intentionally -- filling my life with the people I want to be a part of my world, getting to know people for what makes them tick, focusing in on what I really want my life to be about --  and shaping each day to reflect those things.

So often I get together with someone the conversation gets stuck on the menial, thoughts on current events and complaints against the world. And I hope to change that in the future.

Here's to future conversations with those in my world about what makes them tick, what experiences in their life have shaped who they are and what they're trying to do to leave their mark on this world.

[PS... I know the goal was to "reconnect" with someone from my past and I realize my third post is a little soon to start fudging the rules of the blog, but this particular conversation struck a chord. So, here's to March's Goal 3:: [Re]connect.]

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sarah's Lack of Vitamin D is Bringin Her Down

I am easily distracted and a wonderful excuse maker.

I could pretty much leave this post at that one sentence.  You'd know all you need to know about my progress and what I've accomplished this week.  For someone with ADD, multiple obligations, and a general case of the "hum drums" that come with the end of Winter, I'm having a hard time finding the inspiration needed to leave the city once a week, go on artists dates, decorate our apartment, and write the great American novel- on top of school, work, two other blogs, and the opposite sex (well, not "on top of the opposite sex" ... you catch my drift).

But again, those are just excuses, and I am wonderful at making them.  From here on out, I'll be setting some small goals, week by week, to keep me on track.  This week I'll be focusing on artists dates and the Art from Ashes internship.  I am so easily distracted I keep forgetting I actually need to apply before I can start working for them. 

Don't worry, my posts are bound to become more interesting at some point.  I promise.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sing with your head up, With your eyes closed, Genevieve, Not because you love the song, Because you love to sing

I've always believed that music can change lives. I want to be a steward of this belief until the day I die. Lately, I've been truly touched by the genuine heartfelt emotion that I've witnessed from musicians and their music. It makes me remember why I decided to pursue my career path in the first place.

I was thinking back to my college days (even though it's only been a bit over a year since I graduated, it seems like ages) and how young and idealistic I was. If only we could all play and listen and make and be involved inmusic and evoke social change through it, we'd all live happily ever after. I've since learned otherwise. Being in the real world and working within the industry has slightly hardened me, yet at the same time there's still that soft glowing spot in my soul that knows music, musicians and the industry that ties it all together, could be so much more.

A few months back, I ran into a friend from music school at a local show. We chatted and caught up. He talked about how passionate he was for the Max Fund, a no kill animal shelter and that he wanted to do something for them. That little voice in my heart started screaming! DO SOMETHING... so I stepped out on a ledge... I offered to book the show and work out details to use the music venue, Swallow Hill, which I work at. He was ecstatic. We continued to coordinate a night with friends and alum from our alma mater. We all were able to play songs, talk about the pets we had and loved and ultimately raise money for a great cause.

Even just last week at Swallow Hill, we had a benefit to raise money fo Amurt, a non-profit that is currently helping in the relief effort in Haiti. It was on a much bigger scale than the benefit I arranged... involving musicians form The Flobots, Devotchka and The Boulder Acoustic Society. The event raised over $2,500 in one night full of music, empathy and hope. As I printed out run of show schedules in my office with Katie Glassman, the coordinator and also one of the performers for the benefit, we talked about how excited we were for the evening. She then began to talk, with tears in her eyes, about how every time Haiti came to mind, she hurt for the people and the disaster they are living in. She said she had to do something for it and that's what inspired the, Give Your Heart To Haiti Benefit. I was deeply touched.
Needless to say with all of these interactions, the jaded ora that had begun to place itself over my heart has now dissipated. I've been inspired! The non-profit that I've been threatening to start, Hear Us Loud!, is back in production and I am making connections with the right musicians and business people to start hosting shows at my house. I don't want to let this dream die... I won't let this dream die.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jackie - Digging Out of a Hole

I have debt.

I hate admitting that. It's like admitting that I'm not intelligent enough to keep track of my money or savvy enough to know how to make good financial choices. It's embarrassing. But here's the reality: school is expensive, I work for a non-profit [read: I don't make a lot of money], I have far too many things on my mind and yes, I have made some bad choices.

I've been trying to pay down my debt for a couple years now, but the amount I owe isn't decreasing nearly as fast as I'd like it to. I know the principles behind making the good decisions, but I haven't ever had a good way to keep track of everything. I tried Quicken, a cash budget, I've put myself on a super strict budget, I've tried winging it, I've, I've, I've ... I've gotten tired of trying to figure this out on my own.

I stuffed down a little pride and asked my best friend for help. She's a financial guru and all-around amazing person, so I asked if she'd be help me set up a good budget and figure out how to pay off my debt this year. She was delighted to help me and invited me over for dinner [see previous statement about being an all-around amazing person].

I took my laptop to her house but made her promise not to judge me when she saw all my debt. Which of course, she didn't [again, see previous statement about being amazing]. She crunched numbers, cutting here, merging there, being realistic here ... and I went home with a budget and a list of tasks to do to help me get on the right direction. My budget is pretty scaled down, but reasonable. And she's so amazing she even budgeted money aside so I will be able to take the trips that are a part of my goals.

The other main part of paying down my debt has been acquiring a second job. My company offered to let me work up to 10 extra hours as a fill-in for someone who left recently. It's a good way to make extra cash and they've been super flexible with my full schedule, allowing me to coming in on Saturdays and working evenings. It started out great, but as the weeks have dragged on, I'm growing tired of working away my evenings and Saturdays. But, I'm trying to persevere.

Here are other ways I've scaled back.
  • Parking for free off-campus. This means parking a good 1/2 mile from campus and walking. Things are working out well, it's a nice walk ... except when I'm running late.
  • I don't waste food. Like most people, I have quite a bit of food in my pantry and freezer that needed to be eaten. I'm whittling away at that food and buying groceries as sparingly as possible. 
  • I used almost my entire student loan check to pay off debt now instead of slowly using it throughout the semester for living expenses like I usually do.
  • I don't eat out alone. I save that treat for when I'm with friends.
  • I don't get to upgrade my laptop ... I'm going to nurse the one I bought back in 2005 until it absolutely poops out on me.
Those are the basics for now, maybe I'll share in more detail sometime.

Here's the vulnerable part. I'm just gonna put it all out there... so far this year I've paid off $1,900 and have $3,300 to go. [Not including the $1,100 worth of medical bills that just came in the mail... ugh.] There it is. All my financial mistakes, out in the open.

I don't want debt tying me down any longer. I want to go on more trips, treat people to dinner, take my car in for maintenance, build up some savings, support causes I believe in and start a career as a musician without the burden of money owed to credit card companies.

Here's to paying it off in 2010!

PS ... If anyone else is in similar shoes, I'd love to know I'm not the only one out there!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sarah Will Not Stop Believing

To get some background on me, there's two things you should know:  In high school I was a cheerleader, and I have some mad ADD.

My senior year I decided I wanted some semblance of a normal life.  So I quit cheers and threw out my medication.  However, without cheerleading, I was left without any real, daily exercise.  And without Ritalin, I was left with an appetite for the first time in four years.  You do the math.

The next year I was faced with my first year of college and the notorious Freshman "oh my gawd when did these pants shrink?" 15.  I had a hard time meeting friends and spent the better half of my first semester alone in my dorm room, eating tortillas and butter because my ankle was broken and I couldn't get to the dining hall or grocery store.

Excuses, excuses.  They've all led me here, to a place where I've decided there's simply too much of Sarah.  I know I'm great and all, but this is too much of a good thing.

So what to do?  Recently I've taken up running.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I hate to run.  Pure and simple.  I have shin splints, my knees hurt, my lungs resist every step of the way, and I am incapable of running in a straight line.  But I love the endorphins that come after 3 miles.  And I love what running is teaching me.  Like I said last week, I've never been one to set goals for myself and actually achieve them.  But with running I'm all of the sudden telling myself "don't stop believing Sarah, you can get to three miles without stopping.  Don't stop believing!"  I actually doing it too!  (And yes it's true, my running mantra is inspired by a Journey song.  If you know me, that shouldn't surprise you.)

Exercising, losing weight, avoiding all things trans-fat-ilicious has been a bumpy and inconsistent road so far.  Every time I get close to realizing a short term goal I've set for myself, somebody mentions root beer floats and cheese fries and I'm all in and back to the drawing board.

So I need you to keep me accountable, kids.   And remember: Don't Stop Believing

PS- If and when I can fit back into that cheer uniform, you'd better believe I'll post pictures.  Maybe even a video.  If that's not motivation to keep me accountable, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Freeing Genevieve From Toxicity

I stated previously under my personal goals that I want to, "Learn, grow and love in my personal relationships and friendships... Most importantly escape from toxic relationships I've been trapped in.".

First things first, I need to get rid of relational toxicity in my life. Of course, the first person to come to mind was David, my most recent ex. We had a good relationship while it lasted, but he broke things off rather unexpectedly a good six months ago, which ultimately left me reeling in self-doubt. I begged him for some closure, a brief meeting where we could discuss things, he denied me... several times. I finally wrote him a letter pouring out my emotions to which I got no response for a month and a half.

Then late one night I received a text message simply saying, "I think you're a great person and we should still be friends." I kept that in my inbox for several days and hesitantly responded. We've hung out a few times since then, but the communication drastically increased after he broke up with, "the girl after me". It has confused my heart every time. We get along so well, but for some reason he didn't choose me.

One of our hang out sessions, he came over to my apartment and we chatted over tea for three hours. He spilled some very personal information, some of it relating to his break up with "her". I listened and tried to be the bigger person, all the midst choking down my pain. He left and for some reason I felt so burdened for him that I sent a text saying I would be there for him as a friend, because seeing him hurt truly hurt me to watch. He thanked me and apologized for off loading all that he did. I said it wasn't easy, but that I am an adult after all. And then it all came pouring out,
                             "I'm sorry if I ever made you feel even 
remotely like I have been feeling."

I started to cry... alone in my room... under the covers.

He continued,
"I don't understand why I love her or any of the other people I've fallen in love with. I've been wrong every time. I am sorry I hurt you. I hope one day I have the opportunity to be as good to you as you are to me. And I want to be there if you ever need me."

There it was, the closure I had been seeking for the past six months. I felt relieved, a sense of peace came over me. I can't say that realizing we won't work was easy, but at least I know. I'm not holding onto a false sense of hope anymore. I have been able to move on to friendship with David and it's been nothing but freedom and a new gain of self worth. I am beyond what our relationship used to define me as and that is beautiful to me. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jackie - Unlearning the Ways of a Wallflower

I've been doing a lot of thinking this week.

I've been thinking about what it would be like if I actually accomplished all my goals, if things actually worked out, if I got the life I've always wanted. Honestly, it freaks me out a little. The thing is - I'm really good at status quo. I'm good at hiding behind mediocre. It's comfortable here.

But the whole point of this year, of this blog, is to get out of comfortable and into a reality where I'm an active part of writing my own story. It's putting my whole self on the line.

It feels strange to think that things may actually go the way I want them to.

I think it's going to take some more getting used to.

In the meantime, I'll give you a brief update of this past week. Spoiler alert: Nothing major happened. That's not to say I haven't done anything, but laying the ground work hasn't exactly been exciting. And honestly, it's a little frustrating because it doesn't feel like I've accomplished anything. But don't worry, I'm hanging in there.

Goal 1:: Teach: I made contact with a potential student starting later this spring! Which means ... I have some work to do. This is my first attempt at teaching and I want to make sure I do a good job. Hopefully I can find some information online and get together with a friend who teaches to pick her brain and get a suggestion on a book to teach from.

Goal 6:: Redefine spirituality: In a nutshell, my plan is this: compile my questions about spiritual things, ask them all to a list of people I respect, compare answers, then report back. [I'm trying not to disillusion myself into thinking it will be this simple.] I got the process started this week by asking a few people if I can pick their brains. I also asked a trusted friend to be the person I bounce ideas off of, and re-discuss conversations with. Thankfully, they've all agreed.

I spent sometime this week trying to define exactly what my questions are and I realized that I have a smattering of ideas, a few vague questions and some fragments of thoughts to work with. I decided to ask my re-discuss-friend if we could get together soon in hopes that she can help me take all my jumbled up thoughts and make them into coherent questions. And again, she agreed. I'll let you know how that goes.

Goal 10:: Post photos: I love photos; I can't help myself. I sat down this weekend to work on sifting through photos of my last trip [a romp around Italy] to get ready to post. But instead, I found myself reminiscing to myself about the good memories. It wasn't exactly a productive hour, but it was motivation to share them with you all.

That's all for this week. Next week, I'll get a little into Goal 5:: Be frugal... it should be fun. 

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Name is Sarah and I'm an Underachiever

So now it's my turn.

In our group I’m not exactly the "driven" or "goal oriented" one.  I think Jackie and Genny definitely wear those hats a bit better than I do.   I'm more of the flighty, random, attention deficit friend.  I've been called a "free spirit," but really the way I act is usually due to fear- mostly fear of failing and sometimes fear of actually doing something constructive for once (can't set the bar too high you know).  But it's like Anais Nin said- "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
Most all of the goals I set for myself end up being forgotten or not followed through on. And after many many let downs, I just stopped setting goals for myself all together; and the drifting began.
It’s time to get past that, though.  It’s time to get past a lot of things, actually.  People, places, bad attitudes, and maybe even a broken heart.  A new decade has just begun and with it bringing  another chance to make something of myself, to live and tell a good story.
I’m not sure what I’m going to learn along the way.  The mystery’s part of the fun I guess.  But I know this kind of personal challenge and discourse with the world will end in anything but complacency.  I do know that going through this with two of my very closest friends is one of the best things about it.  There is certainly a sense of sisterhood that arises out of something like this- when women band together to experience the world in a very real and challenging way.
Some of my goals are silly short things, some are seriously terrifying and will take some time.  I’m putting it all out there for you to see.  There’s sure to be some exciting victories and times when I don’t measure up.  I hope you’ll ride it all out with me.  It certainly feels good to have you along.  
Drum roll please...

Sarah's Goals for 2010

  1. Lose as much weight as possible.  But, you know, like in a good way- Oh jeeze.  I can't believe I'm blogging about this.
  2. Get all A’s at least one semester- School and I don’t exactly jive, never have.  But this year, that’s changing.
  3. Incorporate Artist Dates once a week- Ah Artist Dates.  So fun in theory and yet so difficult to commit to.
  4. Finish one of my two writing projects- I’ll be honest, I avoid them out of fear.
  5. Get something published- This one makes me want to throw up, which means it must be a good one.  Right?
  6. Get out of the city once a week, out of the state once a month, out of the country once a year- I forgot who first came up with this formula for a balanced and well-traversed life but I’d like to start living it.  If anyone has some awesome destinations around the state and country I need to visit, I’m compiling a list and would love your input!
  7. Read through all of Austen- What can Dear Jane teach me?  Unreal expectation about love?  Who cares.  
  8. Discover 10 new things/places/people in Denver- Because you should really appreciate where you live.
  9. Make our Apt our home- We have lived here far too long to have this little evidence of it.
  10. Art from Ashes Internship- My first jump into journal therapy
  11. Learn Creole/French- See number 12 for relevance.  This is where shiz gets real.
  12. Go to Haiti and do journal therapy- Not so much scary as a bit dodgy.  Not sure it’s possible, for various reasons you’ll hear about later, but I’ll do everything I can to get back there and help where I’m called.
  13. Embrace my crafty side.  Learn to sew, crochet, paste, and spread glitter around on construction paper- Glitter: The Herpes of the Craft World.  

                              Thursday, March 4, 2010

                              Why Hello There, It's Genevieve

                              "You'll sit alone forever,
                              If you wait for the right time,
                              What are you hoping for?
                              I'm here, I'm now, I'm ready,
                              Holding on tight,
                              Don't give away the end,
                              The one thing that stays mine."

                              I've hit 2010 running and don't want to loose this new found sense of drive. I can't say that I never slack or procrastinate, but for the most part I'm very goal oriented and am definitely a perfectionist. This becomes a problem when you combine it with the fact that I'm a relentless socialite and people pleaser. I do what I want, but more often than not, I do what I think is expected of me. I hate it. So now I'm saying, "F*ck it!", I want to live my life, I vote for the dance party... no regrets, no over analyzing, no gimmicks, just giving, receiving and loving.

                              I want to live life and always be true.
                              I want to fly and never come down.

                              Genevieve's 2010 Goals

                              Let's be honest, I drew my goals out on some graph paper with various colored pens and eventually had it laminated. I can't help myself sometimes, I'm organized to the point of slight OCD. Here they are categorized, ordered by importance and thought through thoroughly. 
                              Personal Goals
                              1. Exercise on a semi-regular basis.
                              - I used to be really good about thsi in college, but then my body miraculously found a fast metabolism in the past year and have gotten lazy. I really want to be dedicated to my health again. Some options may include...
                                      - Running 2 times a week
                                      - Taking Mr. Keith Moon for walks
                                      - Biking ( I need to buy a bike once the wather warms up)

                              2. Get published in Relevant Magazine for a CD review.
                                      - I had an internship writing publicity and media relases for a local music promoter my junior year and had too much fun. I am absolutely in love with Relevant Magazine. Put the two together and you get a CD review. 

                              3. Travel to the Pacific Northwest
                                      - It seems to be the mecca for iconic indie musicians, so obviously I have to see it for myself. PLUS Donald Miller lives in Portland...

                              4. Go to Australia
                                     - I got back from Europe last May and had an international traveling itch. Australia is the next destination on my list. 

                              5. Be a good owner to Mr. Keith Moon
                                     - He is my best friend and companion. I want to care for him as much as he cares for me.

                              Church/Spiritual Goals
                               1. Lead worship reflective of God's heart
                                   - I've been playing and leading worship at churches since I was 15. I don't want it to become a fact of life, but instead a journey and pure emotive experience every time I step foot on that stage.

                              2. Participate in local community outreach and serve more williningly.
                                  - I can talk the talk, but can I walk the walk?

                              3. Learn, grow and love in my personal relationships and friendships.
                                  - I am a social person, sometimes to my detriment. I want to make my interactions, conversations and love intentional. Most importantly I need to escape from toxic relationships I've been trapped in and seek genuine people in return.

                              Musical Goals
                               1. Play our first show :) and hopefully have many to follow!
                                 - I'm in the beginnings of a band and am excited for what is to come. 

                              2. Record an EP
                                  -  I've always been kind of shy with sharing my music, but I'm not afraid anymore.

                              Educational Goals
                              1. Apply to grad school
                                 - I've been out of college for over a year now. I'm ready to pursue higher reaches in my academic career. 

                              Career Goals
                              1. Push myself at my current job and ultimately learn deeper facets of the industry.
                                  - I want to be an irreplaceable asset for my company, not a commodity.

                              2. Always keep my options open for networking, going on tour, working internationally or landing my dream job

                              Entrepreneurial Goals
                              1. Make Hear Us Loud! happen
                                   - I've been threatening to start a social justice company for a while.

                              2. Put on benefit concerts and a few house shows.
                                  - Not only do I love to perform, I love producing and booking.

                              Wednesday, March 3, 2010

                              Jackie - How I'm Shaking the Dust

                              [If you're just tuning in, I posted yesterday with an explanation of why I'm involved with this blog, but forgot to include my goals. You can find the link to the first post on the lower right hand side.]

                              Let's get to the goals...

                              I've decided to make this a year of "me" ... in the least egotistical way possible. All I mean is that I don't feel like I'm the person I want to be; I don't get involved with the things I want to most, I don't invest in relationships like I want to, I don't follow dreams. But I do get distracted and waste my time and energies. So, it's a year of me, of redefining me.

                              I am confident there will be years ahead where I feel I need to do this all over again, but here's to 2010.

                              Focuses for the next 12 months:
                              1. Teach. A year and a half a go I decided to sign up for 4 more years of school in hopes of following my dreams. But I made a promise to myself that by the end of 2010, I would be doing something to start following that passion. And I decided to teach. So by the end of the year, my goal is to have at least a couple students I'm working with regularly.
                              2. Write Songs. It's not the ensemble that's the pinnacle, but I want to have written enough good songs to be able to audition for Songwriting Ensemble in the Fall. This is probably going to be the hardest goal for me to wrangle. I'll explain, but we can wait for another day to get into it.
                              3. Reconnect. There are a lot of people I need to spend more time with ... that I want to spend more time with. My goal is to connect with one person per month, but I'm hoping to fit in a few more.
                              4. Engage globally. In some way, somehow, interact globally. I'm not sure how this will look, but I'm beginning to explore possibilities.
                              5. Take 2 of 4 trips. I have 4 friends who've moved away that I'd like to visit: Joe & Leah in Tennessee, Brett & Sarah in Dallas, Marcus in NYC and Kati in Portland. In this coming year, I'd like to visit at least 2 of those places.
                              6. Redefine spirituality. My own spirituality has become somewhat of a mystery to myself. I have thoughts and opinions, sure, but more than that questions. At the top of the list: Why? It's not that I don't care or don't think it's important, but why do I care? And why do I think it's important? All these questions have been floating around in my head for several years now, but I want to have some intentional conversations, ask hard questions and reflect. If I'm going to be a spiritual person, I want to do it right.
                              7. Define Me. I'll keep you updated on how this turns out.
                              8. Be frugal. I want to pay off all credit card debt and put some money into savings. I don't make very much, so this just might kill me. But, darn it, I'm sick of paying interest! 
                              9. Clean out my 'box' and keep it clean. We all have a pile for junk. The place where all the stuff goes that we're not sure what to do with. Mine happens to be in the relatively small box that my graduation announcements came in over a year ago. I hate that I have a box. And I hate that every time I open it, it's a reminder of all the things I didn't do. So, I want to be done with said box.
                              10. Post photos. It's necessary. And it will be hard. But, oh, so good.

                              Tuesday, March 2, 2010

                              Jackie - I'm Shaking the Dust

                              I'm busier or more over-committed than I have ever been and that's why I decided to be a part of this blog. I'll explain.

                              I'm what some people might call a little bit of a late bloomer. It's not that I've been totally lost all this time, it's just that I've been having a hard time figuring out which is the right path and then staying on that path. Much to my chagrin, I have what you might call a little bit of a meandering problem. And this all started long ago.

                              As a kid, when people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up I used to have a lot of answers - a doctor, an artist, a teacher, a nurse and a musician - and I meant to do them all at the same time. I couldn't figure out then and I still have a hard time comprehending why I can't do all those things. Honestly, I think I'd be pretty good at all of them. [Well, the artist part might be a little bit of a stretch.]

                              When it came down to it and I had to pick a major, I saw two choices: medicine or music. I chose music. Then there was a series of unfortunate events, [I can get into that another day.] and the whole thing got a little convoluted, confusing and cloudy. I lost track of what I wanted and where I was going. And the years flew by much faster than I could keep up with. So here I am, what feels late in the game, trying to follow my dream.

                              And that's why I'm a part of this blog.

                              Because life seems like it's screaming past me faster than I can even see. Because years keep coming and going. Because less and less seems to be keeping me going toward my goals. Because my age is catching up with me. Because I get distracted easily.

                              It's not that I've never had goals or dreams, but it seems like everyone else is better about reaching their goals and staying focused. So I've made some decisions recently about being more intentional about what I want to do and I'm putting in the hard work to pursue those goals. And it is hard work. I'm working two jobs, going to school full-time, being a good auntie, taking piano lessons and keeping up with all of my other commitments. So yes, in this craziest seasons of life, I added one more thing. I decided to make my journey public. And I did so in hopes that it would help me be more conscious about life and intentional about each day; in hopes that someone would resonate with my journey; in hopes that I might inspire someone else to stick to stay on their path, even when it would be nice to stop awhile and look around because stopping to smell the flowers is nice, but sometimes it's nice to get where we're going.

                              And this year in particular, I feel open. I feel open to new people, to redefining, to changing pace. The timing seems perfect.

                              Thanks for joining me.


                              Shake the Dust

                              The phrase shake the dust can meet many different things to many different people; for us it's about living intentionally.  It's about taking this one life we've been given and going further with it.  We'd like to thank you all for taking this journey with us.

                              This video is our meaning behind shake the dust.  It's been our inspiration and fuel for this entire undertaking.  We hope it inspires you as well.

                              Anis Mojgani performs Shake the Dust at HEAVY AND LIGHT. from To Write Love on Her Arms. on Vimeo.