Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A budding photographer


Fashion prodigy. Aspiring Broadway star. Budding photographer. 
I know. I'm bragging. But I can't help myself. I'm not made of stone.


Mothers and daughters.

Monday, April 27, 2015

#MondayMuse (Iris Apfel)



Designer. Businesswoman. Fashion icon. Rare bird. 

I see Iris Apfel and I imagine what my daughter might be like in 88 years. :) The late Albert Maysles' new documentary, "IRIS," hits theaters on Wednesday. I cannnot wait to see this!


Iris Apfel, style icon.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Quote for Friday





Thursday, April 23, 2015

Everyone has a story (Alice Barker)



Everyone has a story to tell.

Alice Barker was a chorus line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance. Throughout the 1930s and 40s she performed in venues like The Apollo and the Cotton Club alongside music legends Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and more.

Though she danced in countless movies, commercials and TV shows Alice never had an opportunity to see any of her work. Until her friends got their hands on three Soundies with the help of jazz archivist Mark Cantor at Celluloid Impressions.    

Alice watching herself perform all those years ago (she recently celebrated her 102nd birthday!) is the most precious thing ever. Uploaded only three days ago, the video's gone viral and has already been viewed more than four million times -- making Alice an instant YouTube sensation.   
     
"How did it feel seeing yourself?" someone in the room asks her. 

"Making me wish I could get out of this bed and do it all over again," Alice says. "I used to often say to myself, 'I am being paid to do something I enjoy doing and I would do it for free, because it just felt so good doing it.' Because that music, you know, I just get carried away in it."

I noticed in the YouTube notes an address where fans can send Alice cards and words of encouragement. What a wonderful idea: 

Alice Barker
c/o Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Nursing Home
835 Herkimer Street
Brooklyn, New York 11233

We love you, Alice!!


Harlem Renaissance painter William Henry Johnson.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#EarthDay facts



Each one of us has a responsibility to take care of the planet. We've been given the most beautiful one. Take a look at this photograph of Earth from space. Breathtaking, right?

But the planet is under a lot of stress, largely due to humanity's own footprint. Consider the following facts: carbon dioxide gas has risen to the highest levels in 800,000 years; we dump 19.4 billion pounds of plastic into the ocean every year; 18 million acres of forest disappear each year; the planet faces a 40 percent shortage in water supply by 2030.

The statistics are startling. So I do what I can to help "Save the Planet" by recycling, turning off the faucet when I brush my teeth, going vegetarian once a week, and teaching my kids why it's important to reduce and reuse.

In honor of Earth Day (which honestly should be every day), check out the following eye-opening resources below.

love, -j.

***

7 facts about the current state of our planet. (Mashable)

Sail to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a Texas-sized island made entirely of our trash. (VICE) 

Simple ideas (50 of them!) to help the planet. (50 Ways to Help)

The history of Earth Day. (Earth Day Network)

A gorgeous collection of images of our planet. (Instagram)


Photo via Veromenin (Instagram).
More than a billion people do this every day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 things you'll never find in my closet


I like to think that my closet is pretty democratic. 

There's a good representation in my wardrobe: feminine (floral blouses, maxi dresses), eclectic/artsy (lots of chunky statement jewelry, thrift store finds, my favorite Carin Wester drop waist dress), boyish (button-up vests, suspenders, wingtip Oxfords), conservative (a black pantsuit from Banana Republic), preppy (anything from J.Crew), naughty (a black lace LBD) and even political (my treasured Obama 2008 pin and a favorite t-shirt that reads, "A wise man once said, 'I don't know, ask a girl.'"). 

However, there are certain items that will never get my vote. There's nothing you can say to change my mind. The following five items look good on NO ONE.

Tevas

Much to my chagrin, the "ugly-chic" footwear trend continues. Confirmation that the world is going bonkers: the rise of the Teva sandal. Once considered the ultimate fashion faux pas, Tevas are now hailed as the "It" sandal among designers like Marc Jacobs, Prada and Balenciaga. I don't care what the fashion magazines say. I will never wear Tevas. Ever. (p.s. Crocs come in a close second.)  

Blingy jeans



Because I never want that much bling on my butt.


Ripped up, super-short jean shorts with pockets showing


I once made the mistake of purchasing a pair of said shorts for a visit back to California. I thought the embroidered pockets were cute. Of course that was before my mother took one look at me and said, "Oh my goodness! Are you planning to go outside in that?!" I always value her fashion acumen. Thanks for saving me, Mom. 


Sky-high platform pumps


Also known as extreme platforms, hooker heels and f*ck me pumps, let's leave these puppies to the drag queens.  


Harem pants


Because no one should look like they're wearing a saggy diaper.


Photos via Urban Outfitters and Pinterest.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why is your millennial crying?


The brilliant and hilarious Gemma Correll has done it again. This time with a handy guide for parents who want to know why their millennial is crying (Skinny pants too tight? Crushing student loan debt? A hurtful comment on his latest selfie?).  


Illustration by Gemma Correll via Laughing Squid.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Week in review


What are you up to this weekend? I've been wanting a bubble tea all week so I'm gonna head downtown to Koko Bakery (one of the few places in Cleveland to get good boba) and fulfill my craving.

Have a beautiful weekend!

love, -j.

***

Afghan girls love to skateboard. This is absolutely awesome! (Colossal)

The moral bucket list. (The New York Times)

Favorite Hillary reactions. (A Cup of Jo)

White lace shorts. Do or don't? (Cupcakes & Cashmere)

Newspaper reporter and photojournalist make the list of worst jobs of 2015. Really? (Time)

Are you selfish if you don't want children? (The Atlantic)

My new favorite font: Hillvetica. (Kottke)

The perfect roast beef sandwich. (Melissa Clark/NYT)

It's Anna Kendrick's Booty vs. John Kransinski's Proud Mary. (Lip Sync Battle)

You've been sleeping under a rock for the past 24 hours if you haven't yet seen the new Star Wars trailer.

[In and around Cleveland:]

Jewelry designer Liza Michelle has some sage advice: sometimes the end is actually just the beginning. (Design*Sponge)

Johnny Manziel apologizes (again) to his fans. (The Plain Dealer)


Photo by Jessica Fulford-Dobson via Colossal.

How to tie a scarf (22 ways)



I had no idea you could wear a scarf like a gazillion different ways! Watch this video. It will blow your mind.  


The belted scarf.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Best zit zapper


I know a thing or two about fighting acne. I got my first zit in the sixth grade. Fast forward 28 years and I'm STILL waging war against them.

This awesome spot treatment from Mario Badescu is my latest secret weapon. When I feel a zit coming on, I dip a cotton swab in the magic pink sediment (calamine, camphor, sulfur and salicylic acid) and leave it on overnight. The next morning that red bump has shrunk like a raisin in the sun.

Ka-pow!     


Face oil can help with your breakouts, too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kids and money

Teaching your kids about money can empower them with valuable life skills.
(Illustrations by Phoebe Thomas for love, -j.)

On tax day, I couldn't think of a better story than reposting this article on teaching kids about money. As parents, it's our duty to instill in our children good habits, how to treat others, why it's important to have manners, how to take care of the planet, to dream big and work hard, to love others and show kindness... the list goes on and on and on.

Why wouldn't we add "money management" to that list?

Here are four ways you can help your kids to be wise with their money. After all, in his or her mind an interaction with the man in the ice cream truck could be a crucial financial decision! 

Here's to empowering your child.

love, -j.

***

(Post originally published on 4/15/14)

Benjamin Franklin, in his letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789, wrote, "Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Sardonic as this proverb may be, it's probably on everyone's mind. Especially today.

Tax Day got me thinking about the concept of money. How hard it is to make. How we spend it. How important it is to save. In our house, we make it a point to be open with our children about money. All questions ("How much money do you make?") and issues ("Why should we give our money away?") are on the table.

But how do you start those conversations? I sought the advice of local expert Rodney Drake, VP of Consumer Segment Strategy at Cleveland-based KeyBank, and he offered these super simple, super helpful financial tips. 



Even as early as age 3, children can start thinking about how money is used to pay for things. And don't be surprised if your child displays his or her inner-bookkeeper. "Accountants are born, not made," says Drake. 

tip: Next time you're at the grocery store with your child, invite her to compare prices with you. Take fun items (like cereal or her favorite snacks) and ask which products are most expensive, least expensive, etc.



Sort change with your child so he can learn the difference between pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

tip: Use small mason jars (like these) and have your child make labels for each type of coin. Hearing the plink, plink of the coins as he sorts change is sure to be an exciting activity! 



Consider providing an allowance at ages 5, 6 and 7. "This is a good time to help children set priorities and to reinforce personal family values," says Drake. "Encourage them to allocate their allowance to savings, spending and other -- such as charity or sharing."

tip: A $2 weekly allowance could be divided as follows: 80 cents for personal spending; 20 cents for charity/sharing; $1 for savings. "Parents can support savings by offering an incentive," Drake recommends. "[Have your child] set a savings goal and agree to match it when the goal is met." 



School-aged children can start learning the difference between spending money on something they want versus something they might need.

tip: Parents can reinforce wants vs. needs by watching TV/Internet commercials or looking through print advertisements with their children and talking about the products, how much they cost, how long it would take to save for that product, etc. 


Love your kids. Hug and kiss and hold 'em. Pray for them. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

K-Pop til you drop


My ears perked up when I listened to this NPR report last night about the growing influence of Korean pop on American culture. Nickelodeon is the latest US company jumping on the K-Pop bandwagon with the debut of its new tween sitcom Make It Pop.

For the full story click here

If you need to brush up on your K-Pop knowledge, here are a few music videos for your perusal.

This one, from Girls' Generation, already has 6.8 million views and was uploaded only five days ago:



This one, from 2NE1, is a little bit Missy Elliott, a little bit Nicki Minaj:



Boy band EXO is kinda like a Korean wannabe Backstreet Boys:



And of course, the K-Pop granddaddy of them all:




Photo of Girls Generation via Pinterest.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Women and clothes: Dominique Lee


My friend Dominique radiates warmth and positivity. It's like she was born with an extra dose of sunshine. She's fun-loving, makes me laugh whenever I spend time with her and is kindred with my sassy, fashion-loving 5-year-old ("We are two peas in a pod!" she exclaims whenever she sees my daughter).

And the girl knows clothes.

When Dom was a personal stylist at Anthropologie her customers flocked to her for advice. She has an instinct for what looks good. She can throw outfits together like a fashion ninja. Women trust her.

When she's not working as a marketing coordinator at Huntington Bank, the native Ohioan loves to vintage shop, cuddle with her beloved pup Gizmo and spend time in the great outdoors.    

***


Jennifer Cho Salaff (JCS): Is fashion important?
Dominique Lee (DL): There are many different views on fashion and its importance. The infamous Coco Chanel once pointed out, "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening..." So to answer the question, "Is fashion important?" Absolutely. Fashion is about personal style, confidence, as well as what feels good to you.


JCS: Is there a difference between fashion and style?
DL: Of course! Fashion is an ever-changing trend, while style is an exterior manifestation of our interior self.

JCS: Should one keep up with fashion?
DL: The mutability of fashion can make it difficult to keep up with fashion and its trends. But with the right practices and effort I think everyone should keep up with fashion. It's another way to express yourself. It's a work of art.

JCS: Is there an article of clothing or accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
DL: I'm a sucker for a great handbag! I feel like a good handbag ties an entire outfit together. Without it my look feels incomplete.


JCS: Did your parents or other family members teach you things about clothing? What lessons do you remember?
DL: I knew I loved fashion at a very young age. I always wanted my shoes to match my dresses and I never left the house without an accessory. I first discovered fashion when I was seven years old. My mother bought me my first Louis Vuitton monogram mini sac. I cherished this bag and instantly fell in love with not only fashion, but also everything about fashion -- the designers, the collections and the stories behind the work. Fashion was the one subject I just couldn't get enough of.  






JCS: Who is your favorite designer?
DL: Alexander McQueen's work is just something out of a fantasy. It's a collection for the wild girl but it's detail and crazy designs make it perfect! No one can ever duplicate his designs nor can come close to being the amazing artist that he was.  

JCS: Who is your fashion muse?
DL: I would have to say Audrey Hepburn. She's known for her classic, chic style and she also starred in one of my favorite movies, "Breakfast at Tiffany's." The golden rule we can learn from Audrey is to always be a lady. 



JCS: What is "you" and what is "not you?"
DL: "Me" is effortless, chic and my own. "Not me" is trends and what others like. It's about being unique and finding your own style.

JCS: Most ridiculous trend in fashion (past or present)?
DL: Haha, I would have to say extreme platform shoes. You've seen them on the runway with Alexander McQueen, as well as Chanel. These shoes look gorgeous but are not practical to walk in!

JCS: Tell me about something in your closet that you keep but never wear. What is it, why don't you wear it and why do you keep it?
DL: I have a beautiful fur coat that is real mink that was passed down to me from my great-grandmother. It's a swing style coat and it fits beautifully, but it's one of those items that I cherish and only wear on special occasions. It also has its own little space in my closet. It's truly a beauty. I also envision having a winter wedding someday and I'll wear it for that special day!

JCS: One of my favorite fashion statements of all time comes from you! Your trademark phrase, "Pop a red lip." Where did that come from?
DL: My great-grandmother (the same woman who gave me the mink coat) was one sassy woman. She always told me that a complete outfit is always accompanied by a colored lip, preferably red. The "pop a red lip" came from my lovely gals at Anthropologie -- they know that a pretty red pout is a great way to glam up an outfit. I even have customers living by this golden rule! (Advice: the best lipstick to pop a red lip is MAC Russian Red. This color looks good on everyone!)


JCS: If you were building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
DL: Honestly, my style evolves each year and I'm usually the one to always go for the glam look first. If I had to start again, I would probably start with the basics. Great classic heels in nude and black. Just all classic pieces that will last for a lifetime and never go out of style.

JCS: Describe your figure.
DL: I'm an extremely curvy girl with an hourglass shape. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love my curves and embrace them in all of fashion and its trends!   


JCS: If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
DL:  Oh this is such a tough question! I really value every item of clothing that I buy and love each and every piece. But to keep only one? It would be my fox fur vest. It's such a classic piece that I love each fall and winter.

JCS: Do you address anything political in the way you dress?
DL: Never. I dress how I feel. And I love what I love.


JCS: When do you feel most sexy?
DL: I feel most sexy that moment before I get dressed up. Great lingerie, freshly curled hair and a spritz of perfume. How can a girl not feel sexy? 


JCS: Do you have any shopping rules?
DL: Yes. Never think twice. Just buy the damn thing!  


Photos courtesy Dominique Lee.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Week in review


I see no more evidence of winter. All the rain this week has washed away the snow. Hooray! Pretty spring flowers are starting to burst through the earth and soon the trees will be wearing gorgeous coats of green.

Have a wonderful weekend!

love, -j.

***

Madonna, stand-up comedian. (The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon)

Twenty great writers on writing, no matter what. (Flavorwire)

These 3D-printed, wearable mini flower vases and planters are just about the cutest thing ever. (Colossal)

The future is now: a doorbell that allows you to see and speak with your visitors. (Laughing Squid)

Be careful what you google. (The Atlantic)

A brief history of eyebrow grooming. (Mental Floss)

The guys who brought you Freakonomics have a new book out. (Kottke)

Do you really have to give your kids "everything?" (The Cut)

In sickness and in mental health. (Death, Sex + Money)

It's true, folks. Hillary is running for president. (The New York Times)

[In and around Cleveland:]

It's opening day for the Indians. (The Plain Dealer)

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, this organization really exists) votes hot dogs at Progressive Field as the best in MLB. Who knew? (Cleveland Scene)


Photo by Jeffrey Goodman.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Do it well



Emotionally intelligent people do this well. (Forbes)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Yellow fringe heels (me likey)



Love at first sight. 

Some women have a weakness for chocolate or handbags or expensive face creams. For me, it's shoes. I saw these and I can't wait to put them on my feet.  


Me and my sneakers.
Helen Kim swears by brightly-colored heels.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Kids are silly (I'm a veggie burger)

video


Fashion prodigy.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Got my hair did


If you're a fly gal, then get your nails done.
Get a pedicure, get your hair did."
-Missy Elliot, "Work It"

Well Missy, got one of 'em crossed off my list. (Thank you Emily at Laura Lee Salon for making this gal feel pretty fly.)


Spring cleaning your makeup.

Friday, April 3, 2015

#WhatWouldJesusDo?

Coffee talk with my friend and fellow blogger, Erika.
(Illustrations by Sunha Yoon Salaff for love, -j.)

Human beings crave a triumphant ending. We want to believe in goodness and purity and light. That good will defeat evil. That love will conquer all. For me, Jesus' victory over death is proof that triumphant endings are indeed real.

It's Easter weekend and I thought it fitting to repost this piece. It's a conversation I had last year with my friend, fellow blogger and Grown Ass Women podcast host, Erika Abdelatif. What started out as an online chat about American Christian culture, sex, art and politics turned into the blog post you're about to read below.

Happy Easter.

love, -j.    


***

(Post first published on 4/18/14)

Why is Jesus important, one thousand nine hundred and eighty one years after he changed the course of human history? I recently ruminated this and other topics (including American Christian culture, sex, art and the benefits of dirty language) with my dear friend and fellow blogger, Erika Abdelatif (The Trees Will Clap).

“You know why Jesus is relevant today?” Erika offered. “Because he brought all kinds of people to one table to teach us that it isn’t about who is right and who is wrong (which is one way Christians miss it all the time).”

Amen.

With Easter fast approaching, I’ve been thinking about why, as a Christ follower, Jesus’ death and resurrection is important to me. His victory over death (and not just physical death but death in the metaphorical sense: fear, hopelessness, pain, suffering, strife) becomes my victory. And my freedom from death (again, both physical and metaphorical) gives me the power to act on the things that really matter: love, generosity, righteousness, humility, forgiveness.

Frankly, these are things I wish I saw more in the Christian community. Rather than wasting energy on the divide and conquer method, we ought to spend our time engaging and uniting the world (after all, it's not about winning the argument, it’s about winning the person). And the more genuine conversations we share (like the one below, for example), the more we will grow in our understanding (and hopefully, compassion) for one another. 

“Let me tell you why you are here,” Jesus says in the Book of Matthew. “You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.”



Easter 2014: A conversation between two Christians
By Erika Abdelatif and Jennifer Cho Salaff

Erika Abdelatif: The Church is a funny thing to me right now. I feel like Christians are generally afraid to have hard conversations or sit in tension, which is ironic. If Jesus is our truth, why are we so afraid?
                 
Jennifer Cho Salaff: I totally know what you mean. I think it’s American Christian culture. It offers a very safe, very predictable, very sanitized version of Christianity.









 All too often the culture informs us: “Do this and you’ll live a prosperous life. Go to church on Sunday, check it off the to-do list and you’re set.” A lot of rules and A plus B equals C. But life doesn’t always work out that way. I mean, it does if you live in a bubble. But I think it's important for Christians to be in touch with the real world. To want to see things and experience things that are uncomfortable, messy-- how the real world is. And to not be afraid to engage it.

EA: No, that is exactly my frustration. I feel like my faith expands when I'm in the world, interacting with culture, wrestling with big questions. But the Church seems to look so negatively on that and when you try to suggest, "Let's talk about this!" it's not welcomed. That's a very big challenge for me.











For instance, I had this awesome work meeting recently about an idea for a book. My colleague told me he presented a manuscript about the LGBT community and one of the head people said, "This is an interesting proposal, but what is LGBT?"









 I was like, WHAT?! How can you live in this day and age and not know that?!

JCS: Oh my. See what I mean??!!










                 
EA: Which is why Christians make terrible art when we should be making the BEST. We are afraid of EVERYTHING.










                 
JCS: We talk about that ALL THE TIME!!

 OK, don't mean to be a hater, but I agree: Christians make the WORST art ever!!




 I remember going to a Christian conference in San Diego and walking through a convention hall filled with all these booths hawking merchandise. I just about died. It was like walking through a time machine to 1985. They were awful. The graphic design was terrible. Out of touch. And CHEESY!!  
                 
EAOMG. I know.








 I will never forget a particular booth that was selling a CD with one song (for children!) that said, "Stop, drop and roll... To quench the fires of hell."




 What?!
                 
JCS: Ah!!!! OMG. I'm dying.




                 
EA: Speaking of being afraid of everything, I recently had a conversation with a friend where I got "in trouble" for saying, "That's f*cked up" when I found out friends of ours broke off their two-year engagement over something really sh*tty.




 To which I told my friend, LANGUAGE IS A TOOL. Right now, F*CKED UP is the only thing that adequately describes this situation.





                 
JCS: For the record: I love that word. It's one of the best words ever invented. But it is powerful and should be used with responsibility.

EA: Seriously. If it's overused it loses its power. If it's underused it's given too much power. But in the right moments, it needs to be said.




 But that's just the thing. We shouldn't be afraid of language. Ugh. I've rolled my eyes so much during this talk that my eyes hurt.











JCS: Don't injure yourself.











EAHa!












JCS: Your experience about using the F word reminds me how so many Christians are spending their energy on all the wrong things. We are fighting against gays, we get all worked up over words like f*ck, we protest and picket and say awful things about people. And the worst part is, these horrible things are done in the name of Jesus.   
                 
EA: When we should using our energy to make a difference in the world.




 And make good art, for Christ's sake!






                 
JCS: Yes! The church used to commission the world's best art. Michelangelo, for instance.










                 
EA: I was just thinking about that yesterday!! 

And don't get me started on how Christians treat the gay community.









 I always laugh about being in the closet about my support of marriage equality.




 It's pretty much open news now that I'm a supporter, though. Many hard conversations with people who didn't like that. I've got some gray opinions about homosexuality as a sin, to be honest. But I'm just a big heretic.










                 
JCS: I’m totally out of the closet about marriage equality, too. I say, “Equal rights for all!” I still wrestle with whether or not homosexuality is a "sin." I mean, we all know what it says in Leviticus, but I really doubt Jesus would approve of his followers quoting Leviticus 18 as a reason to spew hate. 

What I have a problem with, regarding sex, is promiscuity. And that goes both ways-- in the gay AND straight communities. Promiscuity is dangerous and destructive and harms the soul.










                 
EA: EXACTLY!!!


 Girl, you're speaking my language right now.










                 
JCS: OK, since we're on the topic of sex and sin, etc. Let’s talk about another topic that gets Christians hot and bothered (pun intended): pre-marital sex. Full disclosure: I don't think sex before marriage is a sin. I mean, where in the Bible does it say that? I've met so many Christians who quote that as Scripture and I'm like, "What?"











I’m not condoning premarital sex. I've just always been puzzled as to why the church is so preoccupied with this issue. Why are we not appalled by greed? Apathy? Jealousy? Wrath? Instead of talking about the “sinfulness” of sex before marriage, why are we not talking about the body as a temple of God? Why are we not having honest discussions about sex and relationships?

EA: Not to mention these are all things (language, sex, homosexuality) Jesus didn't explicitly talk about. 




And yet things that he did talk about--money, the poor, the marginalized—we tend to avoid.
                 
JCS: It's much easier to judge others and tell them what they are doing wrong than to look in the mirror and say, "You know, I should help people more. I should go and talk to that person over there and LISTEN to him; I should share my money and my resources; I should fight for peace and not start a war.”
                 
EA: Mmm, preach girl. Preach.










                 
JCS: These things are HARD to do. Many times I ask God, "Really? You want me to love my enemy? You want me to put others before myself?" S







ometimes, I think I am not fit to be called a Christian. Because when I think about what it REALLY means to be a Christ follower, I feel totally overwhelmed and unequipped.










                 
EA: It totally is hard. But you're not doing this all alone and you're not doing it over night. The whole point of walking with Christ is to constantly become more aware of yourself and others and to do something about it.









 And nine times out of ten, you might choose to be selfish. But on the tenth time, Jesus is like, “YEAH! You did it! Let's talk about THAT.” That's growth.










                 
JCS: Totally. Jesus gives us the power to do that. The goal isn’t perfection. It never was. Why live an existence where you’re constantly setting yourself up for failure? I love that Jesus takes that burden from us, so we can live free. Free from fear, free from hate, free from hopelessness. Love is the goal, right?

EA: BOOM!










                 
JCS: Bada bing!












EA: Well, we just solved all of Christianity's problems. I think we should blog this transcript and 
title it, "Read this, and shut the f*ck up."

JCS: Haaaa!!! Ok, stop it. I'm dying!!! Seriously, we should post our conversation on our blog.

EA: HAHA, really? I think people will lose their sh*t.

JCS: AWESOME!! People need to lose their sh*t. No, but seriously, bringing it back to Jesus. What
are you meditating this Easter?

EA: Honestly, for me, it keeps going back to delving into relationships with people who are 
different from me -- theologically, socially, etc. Realizing that Jesus unifies people, and
that I always have something to learn from those who are most different than me -- even
though it's tempting to push them away. I mean, that's resurrection in a sense?

JCS: Oh I love that. It's totally resurrection. Bringing back to life the relationships you might have 
"put to death" because of differences (like the ones you mentioned: social, theological, etc.).

EA: I mean, you think about the followers of Jesus all huddled and hiding together in the house after
his death. Imagine that gathering! Such diversity unified under one roof and one cause.

JCS: And then those followers leaving the "safety" of that roof to tell others -- people from all 
walks of life -- about Jesus' resurrection.

EA: Boom.

JCS: For me, this Easter is a meditation on faith. The kind of faith where you trust that even the
impossible can be possible.

I survived a cold, brutal, oppressive winter here in Cleveland. At times, it crushed my soul. I would
wake up and look out my window and it would be another day of snow, another day of gray skies,
another day of gloom. It was hard to trust that the sun would shine again. It was such a metaphor.
Sometimes, life is a dark season. Sometimes things feel impossible.

But today the skies are blue and the birds are singing. The spring flowers are fighting for their spot 
in the sun. And I know, deep in my heart, things are going to be OK. Human beings live for a 
triumphant ending. We want to believe in purity and goodness and light. And Jesus' victory over
death is proof that triumphant endings are indeed real.

EA: Aw, I love that. Hope. Take heart, because Jesus has overcome the world.

JCS: Yes, he is risen!


Easter and Passover -- seeking common ground. (The Baltimore Sun)