chelsea bohannon; equality

Chelsea was the president of my sorority my first semester at college and has an incredibly unique way of capturing an audience and commanding the attention of everyone in the room. She’s taken The Passion Project to a new level tonight by addressing a very important issue, equality. I agree 100% with everything in her post and it is so great to have it broadcasted on the blog. I hope it makes everyone think and really want to make a difference. You can continue to follow Chelsea on her blog http://cmbohannon.tumblr.com

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A native of Georgia, many of my beliefs early on in life were shaped from circumstance and demographics, unfortunately. I’ve always been proud to be from Georgia; to be Southern, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized many of my views contradict those of my predominantly conservative state. It’s funny that I came to this realization when I moved farther south to Auburn, Ala., and questionably even more right-winged than my neighbor home to the east. Believing in women’s rights, marriage equality and civil rights is sometimes shoved under the rug to collect dust. But as my Nana always taught me—a clean house is a reflection of a woman and family, so ridding of the dust, I must.

While studying at Auburn University, I decided to take a course on women’s studies. At the time, I needed an extra elective and thought the course would be a breeze, even though I was fearful that the professor might make me take off my bra, whirl it in the air and yell that I was a feminist. That part scared me and of course, reflected my ignorance. To my delight, it wasn’t anything like I had expected. Funny most things in life end up that way, huh? So, freshman Chelsea dove headfirst into learning about stereotypes, the Red Queen Syndrome, breaking the glass ceiling and understanding the value I have as a person, as a woman. It was a memorable semester that sparked my interest to continue on the following year in a women and leadership course where I immersed myself deeper in the rights and equality of women. After reading Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In,” it was even more clear to me the issues that lit my fire. It also became clear to me that God granted me a mind to seek knowledge and solve problems, a voice to speak of these issues and two feet to hit the ground running to figure it all out.

However, my interest in equality didn’t stop there and is by no means limited to just the rights of women. It saddens me that in some parts of the world unbeknownst to me,  “civil rights” is just synonymous to humanity. What a poor society we live in that we have to discuss the freedoms of God’s people because they are diverse.  Although some people deny this is the case, much of our nation, specifically the South, still sees the world in black and white. A discussion recently with an African-American man about racial slurs he still experiences as a respected, educated and profitable businessman made me furious. Are we that ignorant that we can discriminate against someone based on the color of his or her skin— white against black, and black against white? This is 2014, not the 1960s. Men, women, black, white, purple, blue and yellow— we deserve equality and yet again, the dust is still settling under the rug.

The best, most contradicting and hypocritical part of this all, you should ask? Racism, as I’ve experienced it, is still predominantly catered to in the South, yet this part of the country consists of some of the most God loving and fearing of them all. For years this has baffled me. How is it that the same people who profess to live a life in the name of the Lord also spit evil at those different? It makes me wonder if their beliefs are even that true to begin with. I hope it makes you ask yourself the same question.

In the same regard, prejudices against those seeking marriage equality rocked the boat quite hard recently. As a heterosexual woman believing that my marriage will consist one man and one woman, it makes no difference to me if two people of the same sex are granted marriage. It doesn’t inflict harm upon me and for those basing their arguments on same-sex marriage setting a “bad” example for their children— remembering that it is up to parents to teach their children the “right” ways of the world should eliminate this all together. Two people of the same sex being granted to share a life together and live in happiness just like I am granted doesn’t affect me in the slightest bit. People are afraid of change and unwilling to see past the diversity.

Equality, for me, as you can see is one thing I’m passionate about. From women receiving the same opportunities as their male counterparts; to color of skin not being considered in any aspect of life; to marriage equality for all. As much as I want to believe that we are taking steps forward, I can feel us gravitate backwards because of selfish, ill-informed, hypocritical idiots of the world. My hope is that each of us gains the power and courage to make proclamations of our own— to not settle for beliefs based on our parents, circumstance and what’s popular amongst the majority. I know my generation has the ability to stare prejudice in the face and let it know it is no longer welcome, and if you feel the same, I encourage you to make a stand too.

“Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds; to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.”
– Ellison S. Onizuka

Chelsea Bohannon
22 years old
Newnan, GA
January 26, 2014 

Kahlil Gibran; On Reason and Passion

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing; And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows — then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”
And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky — then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.
And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

christy key; traveling

 
It’s been incredible to have Christy’s support throughout The Passion Project and I am excited to finally post her entry to the blog. Her determination to pursue her career is admirable and she’s got a great spirit that you just can’t help but laugh with her. 
 
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I used to think I had multiple passions. I love dancing, writing, reading, art, medicine, a good drink on a Friday night and meeting new people. All of those things bring happiness to my life, but it wasn’t until I began college that I realized my real passion is traveling. I guess that sounds common. Most people like to go new places and get away from their normal routine. However, traveling has never been an escape for me, rather it’s what I always want to be doing. I go to bed each night dreaming of places. New York and Taiwan, New Zealand and Morocco, Boston and Barbados. I remember the fun I had in Amsterdam and try to find my way back there as I doze off. I thank my parents for taking my siblings and I on vacation anywhere they could, even if it wasn’t far away, and giving us new experiences that taught me more about life then I knew at the time. 
Realizing how happy I am living out of a suitcase in a different city actually helped me pick my major, which is journalism. In the end I knew I would never thrive in a career that didn’t keep me moving and interested. One of my dear friends said to me, prior to knowing I was choosing journalism, that I was her friend that she knew would be late to her rehearsal dinner because I would be on a plane back from Barcelona. I loved it. That’s exactly the person I want to be, spinning a globe and seeing the contours of the country where my finger landed. I can’t imagine a life that would be more exciting. 
Traveling is my passion, the one thing I always crave to do, and I hope as I explore each corner of the universe I meet some of you pursuing your very own passion. 
 
Christy Key
Eustis, Florida
January 22, 2014
 

tommy hibbs; listening

Tommy has a such a caring heart and it is so evident in his post. His kindness and positivity radiate and help touch everyone he meets. I really enjoyed reading this and I think it has a very important lesson in it that everyone can take something away from.  

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I have a lot of passions. Jesus, Coca-Cola, Harry Potter, Tennis, Roger Federer, Nike, Outback Steakhouse, the color orange, the list goes on and on. One thing I am really passionate about though is being there for others by listening. Sounds random and peculiar but those two words define my life and it’s what I enjoy doing . Everybody has a story, a past, something that makes them who they are today. You can learn something from everyone you meet; everybody is different, no two people are programmed identically. The thing about listening though is not many people want to do it. So often we find ourselves talking about our own lives, experiences, and journeys. It’s in our own selfish nature to build ourselves up and crave attention from friends and family; but, it takes patience and a genuine love for people to listen to what others have to say about their own lives. Before Jesus Christ saved me and became The Lord over my life I felt I had no one to talk to, no one to pour out to and tell how I was really feeling on the inside. I bottled up my sadness and acted like nothing phased me. Depressed and on the verge of suicide is when Jesus intervened with His saving grace. In reality Jesus was listening to me the whole time. Jesus was a tremendous teacher but I believe He listened just as well as He taught. No one should ever feel like they have no one to go to and open up to. I try to be the best Jesus I can be to those who don’t know Him and even to those who do know Him; everyone needs a sounding board. My goal as a friend is to have that ear to listen or that shoulder to cry on. I want people to feel comfortable enough with me to open up to with their struggles, their joys, their likes/dislikes or anything else that is on their mind. Bottling up thoughts, feelings, and expressions is harmful and dangerous. Just because you’re willing to listen however, doesn’t mean one will be willing to talk. But just knowing that a friend or family member is simply there to listen to you is a beautiful comfort. There are people in my life and probably yours who just need someone to talk to and be listened to. I am not the best listener nor the most patient friend (im working on it!) but by humbling myself and stepping back and just listening to what someone has to and wants to say allows me to show love in a unique way. No judging, no scolding, no distraction: pure listening. That simple head nod or piece of encouraging advice you may give to someone you’re listening to can make their day or even change their life. Listen more, speak less. Love by listening? Has a nice ring to it. 

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..” James 1:19

Tommy Hibbs
Odenton, Maryland
January 17, 2013

megan powell; reaching people in the middle of their mess

Megan has an incredible way of helping people that touches not only the people she works with but all those around her. I’ve been in her life as she has made changes that scare most people because she knew it was the right decision and I am lucky to call her a friend and role model. 

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I gave my life to Christ when I was 17 years old. This act also felt like it came along with jumping from age 17 to age 30. I played varsity tennis and lacrosse in high school, was so excited to be going to Clemson University in the fall, and had a great group of friends. While remaining surrounded by the old lifestyle was challenging – being around things that could deter my faith – it ultimately came to be where the Lord showed me just how great He is. 

People need help. They need someone to listen. They need someone to meet them right where they are standing – right now. My best friend has a huge heart for missions, namely in Kenya. (If you are interested, check this out: http://www.uchild.com) However, my passion is in reaching people in the middle of their mess right here. I don’t have a lot of Christian friends in Raleigh because we aren’t called to surround ourselves in a bubble of people just like us. Living like that brings no struggle, no challenge, no culture. Sure it is trying and testing but what is a passion if it’s not something you’d do no matter the cost?

God has truly blessed me in the people he has surrounded me with here in Raleigh. I am coaching at a boarding high school for girls in the fall and spring seasons in an effort to show them that there is a different way to live. And hopefully win as well, but most importantly show them that you don’t have to pick one way or the other. You can love Jesus and still live with or be friends with people who don’t share that same passion. Part of loving Jesus is listening to the people’s messes you’re around and showing them grace and integrity and humility in the way you answer. I have become the person my friends come to talk to when they need something deeper than alcohol as a temporary remedy, they’ve told me they see things in me that they want to emulate (hopefully not everything, I’ve got a terribly competitive side along with quite a few other faults), and there are lessons I have learned in spending my life with these people I’m not sure I could’ve learned any other way. Praise God for that.  

I’m so grateful to those who listened to me in the middle of my mess. The person who comes to mind as I write this is even in this blog. When my something small seemed like the biggest wrench in my plan, she slowed me down and gave me a change in perspective. That’s something I couldn’t do on my own. 

Someone needs to be honest with the people you’re surrounded with every day. Meet them right where they are and just listen. Most people aren’t looking for advice; they’re looking for consolation. Listen. Try it. Listen to what people are saying, not what you want to hear. Listen to what’s really bothering them – not just what they’re talking about on the surface. Put yourself away for a minute and listen. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young; but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Do it. Weave grace into your everyday conversations. Someone notices. I promise. 

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Megan Powell
21 years old
Raleigh, NC
December 2013

 

josie bayless; chasing dreams

Josie is one of my very close friends and I am so excited to help her to achieve her goal of being a television host. She’s so driven and I unique in all aspects of her life and this endeavor is no different. You can follow her blog as she works toward her dream at josiebbb.wordpress.com

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What do you think when you hear about at 19 year old girl that dropped out of college? That she’s lazy, a loser, stupid, spoiled or maybe even pregnant, right? What if I told you that I am the 19-year-old college dropout? You would probably jump to conclusions and start to think of a plethora of reasons why I decided to not spend four years at a university getting a degree. Well don’t worry, I’ll tell you the REAL reason why.

My name is Josie Bayless and if you met me you may be even more perplexed as to why I would make this decision, because the people who know me, know that I am an independent, smart and driven young woman. The truth of the matter is, those are the exact reasons why I decided to leave a university. I left East Carolina University at the end of the fall 2012 semester. It took a semester of being at home for me to decide that it was time to do what I REALLY wanted to do.

So in July of 2013 I began going to the Connecticut School of broadcasting where I will graduate from in January of 2014. At CTSB I am in the full-time six month program which I will receive a certificate of completion for on my graduation day. It’s nothing like getting a college degree, but in the four months that I have been at the school I have learned WAY more than I ever learned being at a University.

Going into the program at CTSB I KNEW that I wanted to be a TV show host. It’s been something that I have always dreamt of, and something that my mom always, always, always told me that I would be good at doing and could do. When I started school I finally started to believe in myself as much as she believed in me, which helped me see how true the quote “do what you love and love what you do” is. I have finally found what I am PASSIONATE about in life, CHASING AFTER MY DREAMS. 

On Sunday, November 24th 2013 I decided that I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough after watching “The Drama Queen” on the E! network. “The Drama Queen” is a show starring Marki Costello, who is the #1 talent agent in the industry and in Hollywood. She has worked with all of the people who I love to watch on E! News, like Jason Kennedy, Ceelo Green, Whitney Cummings and more! On the show they talked about Hosting Boot Camp and I knew that I had to sign up, IMMEDIATELY.

Shortly after signing up for Boot Camp, I got an e-mail from Marki Costello herself, that challenged me and a bunch of others interested in taking her classes and watching “The Drama Queen” to SPREAD THE WORD about the show. She is going to choose the top 4 people who can impress her with how they get the word out about “The Drama Queen”. So of course, I got right on it by tweeting and text messaging all of my friends about the show and telling them the opportunities that could come from all of this for me, and this is just where my future starts!

I guess what I want you to know is that no matter what your dream is, CHASE IT. The more it scares you, the better the dream is. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cant do in your life, it’s your life, live it the way that you want. Be passionate in everything you dream to do, because “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.” -Richard Bach

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Josie Bayless
19 years old
Davidson, NC
November 27, 2013

KNOW THE VALUE

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of articles, as they get shared on Facebook or posted on twitter titles like 25 things every woman needs to know  or 6 things happy people never do capture my attention. Each titles intrigues me as I strive for the information to lead a better life. I’ve realized that it’s my turn to weigh in on something I think is important, KNOWING THE VALUE of things. Too often we place too much emphasis on unimportant things and not enough emphasis on the good stuff, or the stuff we don’t even realize is the good stuff. 

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know the value of ALONE TIME; quiet moments of meditation, inner reflection, prayer, these things should happen daily but they too easily get pushed aside by more pressing matters. Getting to know yourself in these quiet moments of solitude help you stand your ground in moments of uncertainty and can help you collect yourself when the world seems like too much.

know the value of SELFLESS ACTS; not for good karma, not because you feel bad for passing the homeless man without so much as a glance in his direction, but because the world needs people who will selflessly give and expect nothing in return.

know the value of READING; whether it be the newspaper or a romance novel, reading can help you get lost in something else, it’s an often overlooked hobby with essentially no downsides.

know the value of CAPTURING BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS through pictures rather than planning picture perfect moments; instagram can wait and yes if you didn’t insta it it did still happen.

know the value of EYE CONTACT; people spend so much time with their heads down they forget to really look at people and appreciate them for who they are.

know the value of a SMILE; not a smirk, a full tooth, bright eyed smile at a total stranger.

know the value of SETTING GOALS and accomplishing them; goals are great to set and even better to actually complete. Go small with daily goals, go big with long term plans, be manageable or outlandish, but don’t neglect to set them.

know the value of FEAR; it’s normal, we all have it, embrace the feeling and acknowledge what it is that’s scaring you and just as important as embracing it is disregarding it when the moment calls for it.

know the value of a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE rather than weight loss; no one has ever said “I wish I hadn’t worked out this morning” or “Thank goodness I chose the cheeseburger over those vegetables.” Do it because it makes you feel better and live a longer, happier life, not because you want to look like someone else.

know the value of MAKING THINGS HAPPEN instead of waiting for them to happen to you; there is so much value in grabbing life by the horns and steering it in the direction you want it to go.

know the value of a BIKE RIDE or a walk through your city; there’s something so exhilarating about a bike ride as the sun comes up that can’t be felt through the bulk of a car.

know the value of POSITIVITY; what you put out in the world will ultimately come back to you. Bypass the self criticism and judgement and choose compassion and a positive outlook on life. By choosing happiness and kindness you are choosing a better life.

know the value of PASSION; your life is gonna be pretty dull if you don’t love what you do, who is in it and how you live it. When you’re passionate about something, the rest just kind of falls into place.

As I wrap this up you should know that there are days when I take all of these for granted too. The point isn’t to make you feel bad for forgetting the little stuff, it’s to remind you to conscientiously make the effort to find the value in each moment. Be present in each aspect of your life and embrace and appreciate it as it happens. You can choose one thing on the list that resonates with you or ten, but each day vow to find the value in something you overlooked before. Make your own list, share it with friends, hide it under your pillow, but KNOW THE VALUE every single day. Reward yourself when it’s resulted in a positive lifestyle change and reflect when it’s done the opposite. But NEVER be complacent with your life, there is always room for improvement and always a moment to be valued. 

“THE SO CALLED ORDINARINESS OF EVERY DAY LIVING HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY PRECIOUS TO ME. IT’S WHERE OUR HAPPINESS IS LOST OR FOUND.”

-Stephanie Dowrick