April 26, 2011


James A. Pearson. Entrepreneur. 29 years old. San Diego, CA.

Where have you lived in your life?


I grew up in a little community east of San Diego called Jamul (which won national fame a few years back for being more or less completely on fire). Behind my house was a streambed and a hill covered in boulders and trees. It was every boy’s dream - bb-guns, rock forts, tree forts, bush forts - lots of forts.
I spent four and a half years in Los Angeles during college. While there I interned for a mediocre producer, wrote a bad screenplay with a good friend, and was an extra in a failed David E. Kelley pilot. I also got a degree in Business Economics and traveled to Nepal, Ukraine, Romania, and Texas, where I almost died.
Later I moved to Gulu, Uganda for 2 years, where my number of black friends sky-rocketed. In Gulu I worked with Invisible Children, learned to ride motorcycles and drive stick (on the wrong side of the car, no less), and met a good number of the best people I know.

What do you do?

I run a fair trade jewelry company called Ember Arts. We partner with (currently) 27 women in Uganda to upcycle discarded paper and plastic bags into beautiful jewelry, which is sold in retail stores all over the US of A. Outside of work I often find new and creative ways to do more work–for instance I’m currently writing a book, brainstorming a documentary, and helping build a new company called Moniker, which defies all attempts at description. Recently I aspire to be a runner, and even got a pair of those weird shoes that contour to your toes and make you look either like a Navy SEAL, or like you forgot to remove part of your Ninja Turtles costume.

What’s a song you really love? 

"Do You Realize??" by The Flaming Lips. It captures the ambivalence of life–beauty meets mortality, science gives way to wonder. It’s tremendous.

What do all people have in common? 

We’re all stardust.

.

What message do you want your life to reflect?

One message I’d like to get across is to encourage people to dream good dreams, to work hard at them, and to support their friends as they do the same. Today’s dreams are tomorrow’s realities, but only if you build them.

What makes you come alive? 

Mountains. Mountainous ideas. The book Mountains Beyond Mountains. The Clock of the Long Now, which will be embedded in a mountain. Also, the impossible quest to answer the big question: What are we all doing here?

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica

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March 29, 2011


Leslie Speikes. Business Associate. 34 years old. Bryan, TX.

Where have you lived in your life?

Bryan, Texas. 

What do you do?

I am a Business Associate II in the business office of the Cyclotron Institute. That means i do payroll, HR, process travel (payments, reimbursements, etc), and administrate our summer intern program called REU. I love my job and tell everyone that i work at the Stargate because no one understands what a Cyclotron is.
I am also the proud Advisor of TAMU student organization, Fade to Black Dance Ensemble, Aggieland’s number one dance troupe, and we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary this year!
i host murder mystery dinners at Messina Hof - come see me during Harvest this summer!
i also cook, write and occasionally perform poetry, knit and other various random crafts, read, read, read, talk to my cat, roadtrip when i can, hang out with friends, and i spend a lot of time in downtown Bryan.

What’s a song you really love? 

Right now I am obsessed with “My Boy Builds Coffins” Florence & The Machine. Why? it’s a little dark but so lovely. he makes an art of the necessary, and she loves him for it.

What do all people have in common? 

All people have birth, death, a desire to be loved and needed, we all have a fear that we’re alone, and Jesus loves every single one of us. We all have the right to be respected and have a quality life whether or not you believe any of the above.

What message do you want your life to reflect?

I’m still trying to figure out what i want my life to reflect. When I die, i hope that people that i care about say “I knew she loved me.” I hope that no one feels the need to say they miss me or mourn me if they really don’t. i suppose that means that above all, i want my life to reflect freedom and security as those are the two values i seek most of all. i’m not there yet, but i’m on the road to better.

What makes you come alive? 

I am at my fiercest when I’m defending a loved one or weaker than me. I am at my most contented when i near water especially if i’m surrounded by loved ones. i feel vibrant when surrounded by live art - live theatre, music, dancing, poetry..even painting, sculpting, and handcrafts are thrilling to watch in person! i feel most fulfilled when i’ve put my shoulder to someone else’s good work and helped them to achieve a goal or dream. i am passionate in arguements about the freedom to pursue art and the value of it.

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica


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March 22, 2011


Cody Marx Bailey. Entrepreneur. 29 years old. Bryan, TX.

Where have you lived in your life?

I was born on the King Ranch, in deep South Texas. This will always be my true “home town”, though I went to high school just outside of San Antonio. I’ve lived in many places across the United States, and have most closely identified with an odd mixture of Texas and California. I wish there was a happy medium for myself.

What do you do?

This has always been the hardest question for me to answer. I do a lot of things and I’ve always been scared of being pigeon-holed into one area or another. It also seems that just as I begin to get the hang of something, another interest catches my eye. I’m an autodidact that has quickly learned to give into the callings of new ideas, rather than exercise the discipline that most have.
I guess if I had to put a single word on what I do, it would have to be… learn.

What’s a song you really love? 

Golden Brown - The Stranglers

What do all people have in common? 

23 Chromosomes, more or less. We’re all the same biology. We have variants in the way it’s done but we’re all the product of chemistry mixed with fortune. In the end, that’s all we are and all we will ever be. Our experiences may have value to us personally, but when it’s all said and done…

What message do you want your life to reflect?

Not sure what this means exactly… I mean, I lead a pretty rational life, so thinking about external interpretation is sorta beyond me. I guess I just try to do my best and do as much good as I can while still enjoying the time I’m around.

What makes you come alive? 

Challenge. I don’t feel challenged most of the time. Most of the objectives in my life are done without much problem. It’s when I’m challenged do I rise to the occasion. I need some grit in my life to make things interesting, which is sorta why I have chosen to live in Bryan, TX. This place isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t be happy living here if it were.

Check out some of Cody’s work at:  http://codymarxbailey.com/

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica


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February 25, 2011


Marco Lopez. Student. 24 years old. College Station, TX.

Where have you lived in your life?

Well I was born in Monterrey, Mexico. When I turned 2, my father thought that he could offer us a better life if we went Norte, so he contacted some people and fixed our statuses and we moved up the United States. We first lived in Michigan because since my parents couldn’t speak English, they had to make ends meet. I think they paid my dad and my mom 5 cents per bucket they filled up. They were tough times, but my parents were strong. Then, we lived through most states between Michigan and Texas in our van. We didn’t have any money, but parents figure out how to feed their children during desperate times. We finally arrived in Texas where from age 5 until I graduated high school I resided. Then, after being annoyed into going to college, I ended up in College Station, Tx.

What do you do?

I love to write poetry, songs, and short stories. I love to play music. I love to learn new things. I love meeting new people, because everyone has a story. I like making up stories. I love to read, sew, and cook. Love to listen to punk rock or anything that pushes a left political ideology. I LOVE to protest! I love to paint, sketch, and sculpt, too.

What’s a song you really love? 

I think it would have to be Baby, I’m An Anarchist, by Against Me! . A lot of people think that because I have leftist ideologies, I might be a Democrat. It is sad to know that people only stand by two political party lines here in the US. This song just felt like it was written for me. “I’m a Molotov cocktail, you’re Dom Perignon!” 

What do all people have in common? 

I think that all people bleed red, hate war, and secretly want peace. 

What message do you want your life to reflect?

I would like it to reflect “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” (Ghandi), but it seems more like don’t let anyone say you can’t do something even though the stakes are high, you just have to face the consequences, good or bad.

What makes you come alive? 

What lights my fire you say??? Learning! Every time I learn something new, I feel that much more ignorant because there are so many things to learn. People protesting on the street showing that the path to a better world is possible, dropping their swords and picking up their hammers to build it makes me come to life.

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica


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February 21, 2011


Cameron Crake. International Development Director for Sseko Sandals. 22 years old. Kampala, Uganda.

Where have you lived in your life?

I was born in Dallas, TX and my young childhood years took place there in a little house on Liptonshire Drive. My family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and I lived there until graduating high school. I then fled the east coast and lived in College Station, Texas for four years while attending Texas A&M University. Ten days after graduation, I fled the States for Africa and am living in Kampala, Uganda. 

What do you do?

I am the International Development Director for a not-just-for-profit company called Sseko Designs. We sell hand-made leather sandals, and in the process employ Ugandan women who have just graduated from secondary school so they can earn money to attend university. My role involves a smattering of things…. from book-keeping to human resources to product development to running staff meetings. Every day is different. 

What’s a song you really love? 

My song of choice changes ever two weeks or so…. when I find a song I love, I play it until I can sing it forwards and backwards and would recognize it by just five seconds of it playing. That being said, my current favorite is “I Don’t Know” by Lisa Hannigan. I love the song’s description of what it looks like to get to know someone for the first time.

What do all people have in common? 

Love. The ability to give and receive love. The longing for love. Disappointments of love lost. Love is a thread that runs through all our lives. 

What message do you want your life to reflect?

We are all broken, but can be mended. I want my life to reflect the message that even though this world is a broken place, and can get quite ugly at times, there is hope. And that hope comes from knowing God. I want my life to reflect the idea of redemption and its beauty.

What makes you come alive? 

Walking through markets on winding streets. Laughing so hard your face hurts for the next half hour. Finding a better way to do something. Listening to live music. Reading a good book. Feeling the wind on my face while riding on the back of a boda boda. Cooking a meal from scratch. Hearing people speak different languages. Being reunited with old friends.

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica

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February 17, 2011


Nikki LeDoux. Free Spirit. 20 years old. Los Angeles, California.

Where have you lived in your life?

Where have you lived in your life? I have lived all over Los Angeles, when I was 19 I was able to be a free spirit and work towards peace in Congo while living in Venice Beach, then I lived in a R.V. found the beauties of the United States and did community service projects, then I lived in Orange County empowering women in Northern Uganda to rise above poverty and now I am living at home taking care of my Grandma who just got knee surgery and my Aunt and Uncle who have Down Syndrome. After this who knows! 

What do you do?

Right now I don’t have a job I am exploring, making money when I need to and volunteering my time to beautiful people and projects. I love cooking, knitting, photography, rock climbing, hiking, bicycle riding and painting. If you’re ever in Los Angeles and need a good meal I’m your girl! 

What’s a song you really love? 

The song I really love is Diggin up Bones by Randy Travis. It’s a fun song and reminds me of spending time with my dad when I was little

What do all people have in common? 

Food, Laughter, and the want to explore and community.

What message do you want your life to reflect?

In the words of Dr. Seuss “ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

What makes you come alive? 

humans, different cultures, chow, a great photo, museums, my camera, paint, inspiration, helping others, laughing and being barefoot. My purpose in life is still unclear, I just want to inspire, be inspired and go to every corner of the world while helping and I never want to stop learning and growing. 

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica

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December 13, 2010


Yoojin Grace Wuertz. Writer. New Jersey.

Where have you lived in your life?

I was born in South Korea and have lived in New Jersey, New Haven Connecticut, Oakland California, and New York City. I am proudest of having lived in Oakland because it was the first time I was completely on my own. I made a lot of mistakes but I also found my seed of confidence. That’s probably related— I guess I’m the type of person who needs to live through mistakes to really get to know myself! 

What do you do?

I’m a fiction writer, wife, daughter, sister, dog person, gardener, knitter and friend. I also teach a class of first and second graders at church called the Dolphins. They make me laugh even when I’m in a terrible mood. 

What’s a song you really love? 

I love Handel’s Messiah. (sorry for cheating—this is a bunch of songs, not just one.) If I had to pick one, I would have to pick the Hallelujah Chorus, which is probably the most majestic music ever written. I love the tradition that audiences stand up when it’s being sung. That’s respect. I also think it’s incredibly moving that it needs to be sung by a group to really make its mark.

What do all people have in common? 

Unless they’ve really given up, I think all people want to be told “good job.” Whatever it is that people really love—whether it’s their family or their friends or their hobby or passion or job—when people put their heart and soul and true hard work into something, they want to be told by someone who means it: good job

What message do you want your life to reflect?

peace. honesty. community. and, if i’m totally honest (which i have to be, right?), a dash of individual flair.

What makes you come alive? 

What makes me come alive? Beauty. Generosity. When people make true sacrifices for other people, it takes my breath away. Also, injustice and cruelty makes me come alive. I’m not the biggest activist in the world, but I am motivated to do what I can when I see something that is undeniably cruel and unjust. And to not have this end on such an ugly word, I have always loved a good story.

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica


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December 7, 2010


Joe Marshall. Geologist. 26 years old. Perth, Australia.

Where have you lived in your life?

Ive lived most of my life in Auckland New Zealand, where I grew up, went to school and to the beach. Also the home of my best friends in the world. Ive lived in a few other towns in NZ. Noteably Queenstown where I worked as a gardener in one of the most beautiful parts of the Aotearoa (New Zealand). Ive spent two short periods living and working in England, once on a farm and once in London as a builder and a short time living in Mongolia where I worked with some crazy Mongol guys, not actually knowing what I was doing (but meant to be working). My current hometown is Perth in Australia. A hot, dry and kind of relaxed place. They call it the biggest small town in the world. 

What do you do?

 I work as a Geologist in Perth and fly in and out to the desert where i look at rocks for an iron ore mine. Its okay work with great people. My number one hobby is playing music. I played in a band in NZ and miss that now so recently ive been buying guitars with aspirations to start a new band and attemp to rock the house, or any house! I also like to swim in the sea, attempt to catch fish, read books, and hang out with people, whilst drinking beers.

What’s a song you really love? 

I really love the song Hope by the New Zealand band Fat Freddys Drop. Its reminds me of home and of electric good times driving around the countryside with my pals. 

What do all people have in common? 

 I like to and try to think along the lines that everyone is pretty decent. I went to see the Dalai Lama talk once and he said that all humans are essentially good, right in the heart. A nice idea. All people also like to laugh. Even if it hard to get them too. 

What message do you want your life to reflect?

The message I want my life to reflect is to not regret things and I guess forget about today until tomorrow (like Bob). Not always easy but a good thing to attempt. I guess.

What makes you come alive? 

My goal is to live near the sea, close to the people I love and with some quality music and food available. And thats about it really. 

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica


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December 2, 2010


Holland Greig. Missionary. 23 years old. Plano, Texas.


Where have you lived in your life?

Born in Texas, toddler years in California, third grade in Massachusetts, back to Texas until today (other than a short stint where I lived in Colorado for 40 days). 

What do you do? 

I work with an organization called I am Second (http://iamsecond.com/) in Plano. When I am not doing that, I like to pray and sing songs and talk to people about God. When I am not doing that, I like to play outside with my friends (especially in mountains).  

What’s a song you really love? 

"Are You Waking Up?" by: Michael B. Allen (Wake Up The Giant! Album)

What do all people have in common? 

All people are imperfect. We have fallen short of God’s expectations. Miraculously though, God loves us anyway. Instead of valuing us according to our imperfections, God values us according to His perfect love. So although we are sinners, we are also infinitely precious to Him, and dearly loved by Him.

What message do you want your life to reflect?

Look to Jesus. 

What makes you come alive?

A few years ago, I realized that I was in a dreadful state, dead in my sins before God. I looked to Jesus, and asked God to forgive me, and I have been alive ever since. All I want to do now is love people the way God loves me, with the hope that they might also come alive.

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica


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November 22, 2010


Gage Jung. Pastor and Musician. 37 years old. Brooklyn, New York.


Where have you lived in your life?

Brooklyn-grew up, PA-college, LA-grad school, Brooklyn-youth ministry, NJ-college ministry, Brooklyn-lead pastor at United Generation Church.

What do you do?

I’m the lead pastor at United Generation Church, riding motorcycles, surfing, playing basketball, playing the guitar, drums, rapping, DJing, following tattoo culture.

What’s a song you really love? 

Halftime by rapper NAS, it was THE song that got me dreaming about a rap career. 

What do all people have in common? 

All people long to have purpose and want to be appreciated. It explains a lot about why we do what we do and why all people desire similar things. Its what I call a God void. Everybody tries to fill it with all sorts of things but there is only one thing that can fill it and its God. 

What message do you want your life to reflect?

Gage saw Jesus in homeless people. He showed people how to have a relationship with Jesus and protected people from becoming religious.

What makes you come alive?

 Encouraging people is something that I was created to do. Everyone that I talk to, tells me how encouraged they were after talking to me. Knowing that I have a gift that helps others, really gets me excited. Part of pastoring is to build people up and thats why I love what I do. It took me awhile, to realize my purpose. But now, I am certain that I was created to build people up for a greater purpose, and nothing gets be more excited.

People are Perfect. 

-Jessica

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