Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Step outside

My blogging habit (or lack thereof) needs some serious work. This is basically a guilt post, because I really have nothing specific to blog about today.

My semester has been off and running for a few weeks now. By mid-September the time doesn't feel as though it's flying by or dragging along...just kinda strolling, taking in the scenery. But a month into my last semester, I wish life would slow down. Half the time I'm trying to wake myself up, and the other half I'm trying to stay on top of everything...homework (mostly Strat-related), meetings (again, mostly Strat-related), Oracle and exercise...somewhere in there I manage to find time to eat and sleep. Oh yeah, and breathe.

All the while, I'm like, "God? Um, mercy?"

And my friends wonder if they should send out a search party.

Once things slow down...I'll be done. Sorry guys, outta here.

Bummer.

Yesterday I kinda zoned out (don't worry, it didn't last long) while I was walking to class and -- this will sound crazy but just play along -- I felt like someone else. I know that's really weird, but I don't know how else to describe it. My head felt like a balloon that escaped a child's grasp and slipped into the sky (which was clear blue and cloud free at the time, by the way). I started wondering, "What if the last 12 months have been nothing more than a really trippy dream? What if I wake up any minute and I'm laying in bed in Frances 107, smelling coffee brewing next door and hearing my neighbors arguing in the bathroom?"

Maybe I'm still asleep. But more than likely, I really did lose two friends and my cat -- who was "only" a cat but just as much of a friend. I walked the streets of a broken neighborhood, past little rooms full of hungry, angry, lonely humanity, clutching the grubby hand of a child who "nobody" wants. I survived the summer of "the flood," a ride in an old plane, a maze of gravel roads in a forgotten county. I caught glimpses of better days gone by in my grandma's clouded eyes...glimpses of better days to come as I wandered familiar streets with a brother I once thought I'd never see again.

I put my heart on the line and it got bruised, but certainly not trampled.

The way I see it, we've never really lived until we've stepped outside...whether "outside" is North Tulsa, another continent or the front step, it doesn't matter. Wherever you go, I hope you step outside yourself.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Baby steps


I don't have many words of wisdom this week, no startling insights or revelations. (Not that I usually do.) I've seen, done, said and heard things since I last posted that served as painful or reassuring reminders that I am still alive.

Splashing through a slip 'n slide and always landing where it hurts, sitting alone in my dorm room with tears in my eyes as another country song reminds me how torn I am, laughing so hard I can barely breathe as my friends hone their skills of song improvisation.

And I revel in the small accomplishments. Not losing my temper with, er, boisterous people. Going to bed well before 2 a.m. (my favorite bedtime, but not conducive to a schedule full of 8:50 classes). Doing laundry before I run out of clothes. Praying, in my own quiet way. Letting go. Letting God.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. -Edward Everett Hale

Friday, August 15, 2008

Planes, trains and cardboard boxes

Geez, has it been two months already since the last time I updated? Well, pardon me, I've been working full-time all summer and had neither time nor inspiration enough to think of any reason to blog.

I'm back at school now; day two of the first day of my last semester is complete. Still with me? Good.

Oddly enough, I'm actually a bit excited about some of the classes I'm taking this fall. It's only day two though, so whether or not I come home bald at Christmas after ripping out all my hair in frustration remains to be seen. I'm working with a stellar team in Mass Comm Strat (which is pretty much the make-or-break senior communications class). The team selection process yesterday was extremely scary, I won't go into detail because it's hard to explain, but I think I handled the pressure of helping choose my team pretty well. I felt like I was on a reality show the whole time, though. Or in the middle of a human trafficking sting. We were paying with fake money to outbid each other and get the teammates we wanted. It was a bit disturbing. Seriously. I kept waiting for Donald Trump or somebody from "48 Hours" to walk in with a camera crew.

I'm also working with another small-but-mighty team in PR workshop to boost readership and community support for the University Oracle. I'm also taking Interviewing, Principles of Advertising and Volleyball.

And speaking of the Oracle, I've willingly been demoted from section editor to staff writer. It's not like I'll have a whole bunch of free time this fall, right?

After one or two brushes with awkwardness and some really ridiculous reunion scenes, I'm hanging out with my friends as much as possible before Strat consumes my life. They've reminded me just how much I miss being here, but is it silly of me to want to put down roots in Tulsa because of them? Because most of them are moving away after graduation and scattering to the four winds. And I'll kind of need to get a job and eventually move out of my parents' basement into something that is not a cardboard box. The nice thing about a cardboard box, though, is I can pick it up with surprising ease and carry it a remarkable distance. I could get some job that would allow me to work from anywhere in the world, but then I'd need a wireless connection and some way to charge my laptop battery. The cardboard box's electrical and wireless capabilities have not yet been perfected, I'm afraid. Also, it's terribly drafty and not at all weatherproof.

I could try strapping myself to a lawnchair propelled by helium-filled balloons, like that guy in Idaho or Oregon or wherever. Then again, a priest in Brazil tried the same thing and they found his body in the ocean several months later.

Too bad I can't be some rich jetsetter and fly somewhere different every weekend to spend time with all of them. Like I just wake up one morning and say, "I'm going to see Aandra in California." Bam. I'm there. Then I'll go see Rhema in action at her newspaper job in Colorado. After some hiking and taking pictures of mountains and whatever else is in Colorado, I'll fly back to Tulsa.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I need to marry a wealthy pilot.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama "rules"

I found this online and got a kick out of it...

Obama Rules
It is forbidden to distract people with the following Obama facts:
-His connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright
-His connection to Tony Rezko
-His connection to William Ayers
-His connection to Rashid Khalidi
-His connection to Hatem El-Hady
-Hamas' endorsement of his candidacy
-His appeasement policy towards America's enemies
-His father's Communist ideology
-His childhood Muslim ideology
-His liberal ideology
-His Chicago background
-Bitter-gate
-His "sweetie" gaffe
-His "57 states" gaffe
-His middle name
-Anything his wife has said in a press conference
-Anything his wife has said at an Obama rally
-Anything he has said at a press conference
-Anything he has said at an Obama rally

Monday, June 16, 2008

S.O.S.

We're starting to drown out here in the Midwest.

Steamboat Days in Burlington ended Thursday night as floodwaters began seeping into the parking lot at Memorial Auditorium, and when I went home last night, Front Street was underwater and water was creeping up Main Street. Fort Madison is a mess, too, and the Keokuk-Hamilton bridge is closed.

It's predicted that river stages will surpass the records set in the flood of '93, and in some places it already has. Levees are breaking. Communities can hardly sandbag fast enough to keep up with the rising water.

Drivers are gawking at the damage, being careless on the roads, or they are getting out of their cars and standing in the way of emergency crews. Yesterday in the newsroom I heard a request for crowd control at the Burlington riverfront on the police scanner. In a town of 27,000, that isn't usually a problem. And as always you have people using flood water for swimming and boating, exposing themselves to dangerous debris and chemicals.

Homes and businesses are disappearing underwater; even many buildings at the University of Iowa in Iowa City are flooding. People are being forced to evacuate in parts of northeast Missouri and in several towns throughout The Hawk Eye's coverage area. Not everyone is leaving their homes so willingly, especially the elderly. Law enforcement have had to threaten to arrest some who don't want to leave.

I guarantee you that all of us are being affected in some way, shape or form, even if the flood waters don't reach our homes. Roads are closing, people are without running water and/or electricity, the postal service is at a loss, and I'm sure that's not all. I also heard yesterday that flooding here in the Midwest will jack up food prices. So even if you don't live anywhere near a flooded area, this can affect you too in a small way.

I want to ask everyone reading this to please pray and consider donating to the Red Cross or another relief organization, if you aren't doing so already. I can't believe this is the second major flood I've seen in my lifetime...and they (whoever "they" are) call this a "500-year flood." Ridiculous.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"How could it be any better than this?"

It was three months ago yesterday that Rachel D. and Gloria were called heavenward. I used to think about it with every breath, every gust of wind that hit my face, every morning that I woke up and realized all over again that the room next door was empty. Now when I remember, I remember in bits and pieces. In the strange and not-so-strange details of everyday life. Everytime I'm exhausted at the end of a day and my knees feel like Jell-O, I remember that moment of revelation when I fell into Rachel McG's arms and my legs nearly gave way. When I hear someone at church speak with passion about what God has done for them, I remember Rachel D's unswaying faith.


Rachel D. and I, August 2007

Last night as I was driving home I had my iPod on shuffle as usual. I can never decide what music I'm in the mood for so I let my iPod decide. As I wound my way through Fort Madison, I heard the low, familiar strains of a string section and Jason Wade's husky voice pleading: "Find me here, and speak to me. I want to feel you, I need to hear you. You are the light that's leading me to the place where I find peace again."

Gloria's roommate put together a slideshow of photos for a candlelight memorial held in the Prayer Garden, and the song she used was "Everything" by Lifehouse. I've always loved "Everything" but it took on a whole new meaning after losing the girls. The lyrics totally reflect how Gloria and Rachel D. lived their lives, and anyone who's ever heard the song knows it has a stirring quality...

find me here
and speak to me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
you are the light
that's leading me
to the place
where I find peace again

you are the strength
that keeps me walking
you are the hope
that keeps me trusting
you are the life
to my soul
you are my purpose
you're everything

and how can I
stand here with you
and not be moved by you
would you tell me
how could it be
any better than this yeah

you calm the storms
and you give me rest
you hold me in your hands
you won't let me fall
you still my heart
and you take my breath away
would you take me in
take me deeper now

and how can I
stand here with you
and not be moved by you
would you tell me
how could it be
any better than this

and how can I
stand here with you
and not be moved by you
would you tell me
how could it be
any better than this

cause you're all I want
you're all I need
you're everything
everything

you're all I want
you're all I need
you're everything
everything

you're all I want
you're all I need
you're everything
everything

you're all I want
you're all I need
you're everything
everything

and how can I
stand here with you
and not be moved by you
would you tell me
how could it be
any better than this

and how can I
stand here with you
and not be moved by you
would you tell me
how could it be
any better than this
would you tell me
how could it be
any better than this

When I join Rachel D., Gloria and all those who have passed into eternity, perhaps I will find myself wondering, "And how can I stand here with you, and not be moved by you? Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Just another manic Monday

This was one of those days that gives Mondays a bad rap.

As usual, I have little time to blog so I will make this quick. In a nutshell, my dad woke up this morning showing symptoms of what could be Lyme disease. I wrote my first city council meeting story (even though Mondays are one of my days off, it couldn't be helped). I got an assignment for tomorrow that took about an hour for me to prepare for (it helps if you know where you're supposed to be going to actually COVER the story). I went to the vet and browsed through a catalog of pet urns, trying to pick one out for P.J.'s ashes. (Another sure sign that I'm on my way to becoming a cat lady.)

I guess this day hasn't been as stressful as it has been just downright weird.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The long-awaited update

Two weeks without an update? For shame!

With almost two weeks of my summer job at The Hawk Eye behind me, I'd say it's gone pretty well thus far. It didn't take me long to get back in the game, and I'm feeling much more comfortable there now than I did about halfway through my internship last summer.

I've written probably a dozen or so stories since I got back, and in this morning's paper is one that I'm pretty pleased with. Three guys from California Baptist University are kayaking down the Mississippi this summer and yesterday they stopped in Burlington for a break. They're raising awareness and money for the International Justice Mission, an organization that rescues victims of human sex trafficking. They want to raise at least $20,000 by the time they reach New Orleans in July, and so far they've already raised about $12,000. Check out their blog, it's pretty sweet.

On a sad note, last weekend I said goodbye to a very dear friend. My cat P.J. was almost 15 years old and very sick. It was with a heavy heart that I watched "Princess Jasmine" close her wide green eyes for the last time as our vet put her to sleep last Sunday. I stood as close by as I possibly could and kept my eyes on hers. I wanted to be the last person she saw before she left. More than once last weekend, I cried harder than I had cried in a long time. But after P.J. had passed, I cried mostly because I was so relieved that she was no longer in any pain. It hurts sometimes to go to sleep without her curled up beside me, purring loudly and rubbing her head against my hand...but I know I did what was best for her.


1993


2005

Monday, May 19, 2008

Workin' it

Somewhere close overhead, Daddy is walking around on the roof of our house with a leaf blower, blasting "whirlygigs" (maple tree seeds) from the gutters. We got a double whammy of whirlygigs this spring because the maple trees didn't produce them last year.

Well kids, these last couple of weeks spent loafing around the house have been fun, but now it's time for me to join the ranks of the gainfully employed. I'll be working at The Hawk Eye (the newspaper, not the restaurant!) in Burlington for the next eight weeks. Today's my first day back in the newsroom, so I'll be leaving for B-town in a couple of hours. I'm a bit nervous, but at least it's a familiar environment; I did my internship there last summer. The big difference this time is that I'll be on the payroll as a full-time employee--though I'll still hold the title of "news intern"--so more will be expected of me.

No pressure, right?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fungus, and other guilty pleasures

Pardon the lack of recent updates...I've had plenty of time to write but not much to write about during my first week of summer vacation.

My first full day back home, last Sunday, I went mushroom hunting with Daddy after church. As a first-time collector of this aromatic, rich, and delectable fungi, I'd say I did pretty well. Between the two of us, Daddy and I brought home about 60 mushrooms. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the strange traditions of us Midwesterners...these mushrooms are no joke. You can bake 'em, fry 'em, freeze 'em, or dry 'em. They are absolutely delicious but you need a lot of patience and several hours of free time to find a decent amount of them.

I've had plenty of time this week to read for enjoyment. I'm wrapping up the complete works of Jane Austen. I finally finished reading Emma, completed Northanger Abbey, and tonight I read the first two chapters of Persuasion. I've resolved to read everything on my bookshelf that I haven't yet finished before buying or checking out any more books. And if I can't willingly finish one, it's getting booted from the shelf.

I'm not an avid TV fan. It's not because I hate it, I'm just very picky about what I watch. The most recently-made sitcom I enjoy watching is Home Improvement, a show that ended its 8-season (or 9-season?) run nearly a decade ago. Call me out of the loop, but I don't like most of what the general public considers "funny" these days. I've only enjoyed a couple of shows that have been on the air in about the last 10 years, and both were cancelled after one or two seasons.

Fortunately, my mom has recently overcome her previous dislike for Home Improvement. Nick at Nite has been showing several episodes of it every night, so it's become part of our evening routine. I loved it as a kid until the storyline got a bit too heavy and dramatic. I appreciate the later seasons more now that I'm older, and I'm glad I don't have to watch it by myself anymore when Daddy's on the road.

In all honesty, my favorite episodes of Home Improvement will probably always be the ones featuring Jonathan Taylor Thomas. The last season was a bit empty without him. I guess it's true that you never forget your "first love."



And on that slightly self-deprecating note...I will now review this entry and wonder why I can't think of anything more deep and profound to write about. Perhaps later I'll embark on an Indiana Jones-style quest to recover my small but mighty collection of JTT posters.

I seem to be digging myself deeper. This is getting embarrassing.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tagged.

Because of finals, packing, and the move back home, I haven't had much time for blogging in the past week. I got home on Saturday night and it has been wonderful thus far to be back.

Audrey tagged me quite some time ago and I've just now gotten around to posting my own response. Here it is:

I am: the apple of God's eye.
I think: a bit abstractly.
I know: this summer will be even more rewarding than the last.
I want: to be part of that mission trip to the Czech Republic in June. I look forward to the point in my career when I will earn vacation days from work.
I hate: mosquito bites on my ankles.
I miss: my friends from school.
I fear: for certain circumstances in my future. But I try not to, because I know God is taking care of those things.
I feel: thrilled to be home.
I hear: the ticking of the kitchen clock, the clicking of my dog's toenails as he paces around the house, the lawn mower in the front yard, and cars rumbling up and down the street.
I smell: nothing right now...the scent of last night's fried mushrooms has finally faded.
I crave: another hike in the woods like I had yesterday. It was glorious.
I search: in the wrong places sometimes for the things that are right under my nose.
I regret: a somewhat painful decision I had to make during the school year...even though it was for the best. Growing up really sucks sometimes.
I love: how God has been working lately.
I ache: sometimes when I think about Rachel and Gloria. But I know they aren't hurting...far from it...and all the pain will be forgotten when I see them again.
I care: so much that it hurts sometimes.
I always: find myself thinking way too much about things that are of little importance.
I am not: perfect.
I believe: that God has a sense of humor.
I sing: slightly off-key. I neglected that skill long ago.
I cry: less than I used to.
I fight: to be heard, a bit too much sometimes.
I write: constantly.
I win: ...at...life? Um, OK...next one...
I lose: perspective when I try to do everything my way
I never: thought I would grow to love country music, or the prospect of living in Iowa by choice.
I confuse: friendship with simply trying to "love as Jesus loves" at times.
I listen: better than I used to.
I can usually be found: somewhere on campus, or safely tucked away at home.
I am scared: that I will never have an answer to this one...?
I need: to finish unpacking.
I am happy about: life in general.
I hope: to have my own place within the next year or so.
I am tagging: Rachel W. and Rhema

Thursday, April 24, 2008

False alarms

I don't think I mentioned this in my last entry, but on Monday I got a call back from The Hawk Eye. They offered me a full-time, paid internship for the summer!

Nothing else is new, really. Except there's been fire drills on campus every night this week and last night was the first one in Frances. I was just starting to fall sound asleep at around 3:15 when the head RA who lives on my floor came into my room and told me to get up because the fire alarm had been set off. I wouldn't have minded it so much if I hadn't already gotten in bed. Part of the reason I went to bed so late was because I was afraid I'd just be rudely awakened by alarms...and what do you know, it happened.

People from Claudius and EMR were running wild when their alarms went off around 1:30...I heard them screaming and running around in the rain, mud wrestling, boogey-boarding in the trench in front of Towers. Security was chasing them all over the place. Some guy slipped and fell into the landing outside Chick-Fil-A and the Internet Cafe...not down the stairs. He literally fell over the side. He spent the rest of the night in the hospital. I haven't heard much more about what happened to him.

The alarms went off in Michael as well...twice. By 3:15, when our alarms went off, it was no longer pouring down rain. But most of us stayed in the Fishbowl lobby. The Fishbowl roof was leaking big-time and there were huge puddles in the hall. Some of us slipped and almost fell, myself included. After about 10 minutes they let us come back down the hall and then stopped us around the Susie elevators and a security guard spent about 10 or 15 minutes more yelling at us. This guy is a retired firefighter and so you can imagine all the horror stories and scenarios he used to try to scare us. He barked at us to hang up and turn off our cell phones and warned us of the consequences of pulling a fire alarm...begged us to turn in whoever was responsible if we knew who's been behind all of this. He was so angry, I thought he'd never let up.

Trust me, if I knew who was behind all of this, I'd have no reservations about snitching on them. Because this is ridiculous. Rumor has it that this will continue every night until the end of the semester, and that they'll do it half an hour later each time. It's a darn good thing for me that I only have one final and a final sketch left. I feel sorry for those who still have a ton of finals and papers; this fire alarm business is really disruptive and immature. It was funny the first night, but not anymore. RAs in Claudius got word of last night's alarms, knew what time it was gonna happen and everything.

The alarms have been tripped in Susie and Wesley as well this week but they didn't get set off last night. Gabby hasn't had any issues yet, but that's not surprising.

You would think security would have been more vigilant after the first night...it happened almost simultaneously in Claudius and EMR. I doubt that whoever is doing it will ever get caught...supposedly they're not even pulling the alarms, just setting off smoke alarms in their rooms. So this could go on for awhile. Meantime, the rest of us will keep getting yelled at and treated like criminals.

I guess I'll be sleeping with one eye open tonight.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How sad. I can't even think of a title.

I've been slightly bored this evening. It's nice though, considering that I haven't had time to be bored in months.

The pile of assignments and tests has dwindled to an sketch in acting due on Monday and a comm theory final next Thursday. Also, I need to start packing. I'll be heading home a week from Saturday.

The remainder of this week and the weekend ahead should be pretty fun and relaxing. I'll be watching Juno, my new favorite movie, with Aandra and Heathyr tomorrow...visiting the Philbrook Gardens and Museum, er, sometime hopefully...going to a student publications staff barbeque on Saturday...Rachel T's birthday party on Sunday. Stump and Richard were talking about a trip to Lake Skiatook at some point.

I apologize if this entry is a bit dull, but I'm tired and will probably hit the hay in the next half hour or so.

I'll leave you with some photos I took yesterday in the midst of studying.



An energy drink that actually tastes good...Amp Overdrive. Like Code Red, but with an extra kick of caffeine.


My room was pretty tidy until I got back from spring break...


Post-it notes, postcards, movie and concert tickets. Life's little scraps.


I think I was using the aperture priority setting, with no flash of course. It was around 7:30 or so. My favorite time of day during spring...




Sweet nectar from heaven


This is why I don't have a roommate...dumb stuff like this. Just kidding, sort of.


Ugh, so nice out...and I was stuck inside.


I miss Rachel. Whoever was in her room last left the blinds up. Whenever I look outside I still find myself looking into her window--even though she's no longer there to smile back at me. I can't believe it's been about seven weeks already since she and Gloria went "home."

*Yawn* Alright...lights out now.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Of earthquakes and infidels

Early this morning an earthquake rocked the Midwest. It was measured as a 5.2 on the Richter scale. The first time my hometown has ever experienced an earthquake in my lifetime--it was the first one in the Midwest in forty years--and I was sound asleep in Oklahoma. I must admit I'm a bit jealous, although I doubt I would have even felt it. I'm a pretty sound sleeper.

I just remembered the earthquake practice drills we did in daycare when I was a kid. I think that's what we were practicing for anyway...would hiding under a table protect you from an earthquake? Hmmm. Unless someone thought we were still in the midst of the Cold War ;)

What's strange is that the famous San Francisco earthquake happened 102 years ago today. Also, I was just on the phone with Mom and she was speculating on the significance of this morning's earthquake in light of recent events in our country. Take, for example, Jimmy Carter's defiance of the U.S. and Israeli governments in meeting with the chief of the Hamas militant group. OK, let's just call them what they are. Terrorists. I think it's pretty obvious but I'm gonna say it anyway: Jimmy is 1. incompetent and 2. a traitor.

News flash: Hamas leaders and their cronies are not a peace-loving crowd. Furthermore, we will never achieve world peace. Try telling that to Jimmy "Give Peace a Chance" Carter. I think we need another earthquake to start right under Jimmy's feet. That might knock some sense into him.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Birdbrain

I'm taking a quick break from writing.

To write.

It's something I always find myself doing at the busiest times of the semester. My head is cluttered, a ball of twine unraveled and twisted in hopeless knots. Then I try to break in through the noise with obligations. With deadlines. With papers and articles that must be written.

Lately I feel a bit like a baby bird. Teetering on the edge of the nest, flapping my wings to no avail. For now they are pinned. My feathers rustle in the breeze, and I feel something new in the air. It's on its way, but there are still preparations to be made in the nest before I can make it on my own two wings. When I am free, I want to soar without a fear of falling. The winds and seasons will change, but God's direction will keep me in flight.

Meanwhile, here in the nest, conditions seem favorable for an all-nighter. I'm going to get back to work before I start picking apart what I just wrote.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Take time to dance alone, with one hand waving free..."

And from the ballroom floor we are in celebration
One good stretch before our hibernation
Our dreams assured, and we all will sleep well
Sleep well
-Dashboard Confessional, "Stolen"


Suits, ties, and frilly dresses...

Glitter, glamor, thumping bass...

Friday night was awesome. A bunch of my friends live on Susie 6 and Wesley 6 (Alpha Omega and Goodfellas) and Jeremy invited me.

Here's a few of my favorite pics from the evening.




Jeremy and I



Aandra and I...ow ow!!!



The 'Fellas singing a song for their sister wing


video



When the last song was played, this was pretty much all that was left of the banquet crowd


And now the roses sit across the room next to a borrowed sweater, still lovely even as they fade. The dress is hanging from the top of my closet door. Another evening captured and frozen and tucked away to be treasured...augmented by nervous compliments, awkward dancefloor encounters--face to face but he turned away, side by side but he shuffled across the floor, lost in the music.

And I smile and laugh.

Because we're cool...we know how this goes, how it ends.

It's okay.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Shut up, you're contributing to global warming.

"Well!" I think to myself. "Here we are again. Caught in the rain."

I should have kept my eyes to the sidewalk as it collects small puddles and turns a deep shade of greyish-brown. Instead I look up at you, still biting my lip, hands shoved in my pockets. And in return you give me one of your assorted odd looks. This one is perhaps a look of surprise, both brows raised, blue eyes wide. As if to say, "She looked at me. Sigh." Whatever it is that I see in your eyes, it always makes me want to run.


*ahem*

Heh. I guess from time to time I like to share a brief glimpse of my life at its most awkward.

Rain has a strange effect on me. And here in Tulsa, we've been getting plenty of it lately.

Oh, my mom told me last night she came across my blog after seeing a comment I'd left on Audrey's. A few years ago, that information would have mortified me...scratch that. It DID mortify me, and for good reason. But I'm an adult now. I write about useful, productive, and overall mother-approved topics. I have nothing to hide...which doesn't mean that "nothing is sacred," of course...

Oh. My. Goodness. The rambling needs to stop.

In a nutshell: Mom, if you're reading this, I hope you're enjoying it.

This post seemed a lot more interesting when I was coming up with it in my head, on the way back from class. That seems to happen a lot. I often don't recognize my own thoughts once they're out of my head and on paper or on my monitor.

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure out how to write my editorial. Among other assignments. It's hard to believe that this time next week, all I will have on my plate for the rest of the semester are two final exams.

I'm slowly learning how to multitask. Tonight I'm having dinner with the bestie, after which I will work on my editorial, another Oracle assignment, a PR assignment, and two Comm Theory papers. I'll be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow for the OCPA conference in Stillwater. With the stud pub crew in tow, it's bound to be a good time even if we don't bring home any awards.

In my newfound desire to be more aware of the world outside "the bubble," I've been reading/listening to all the buzz about plans to withdraw our troops from Iraq. I hate talking about politics and such until I'm blue in the face, so for once you can be sure that I won't ramble.

So here's where I stand: I really don't know.

On the one hand, it seems like we're wasting a lot of money and human life. I'm still uncertain as to whether or not the Iraqis want our help. I'm also not sure that if we should have gone in the first place.

I try my darndest to avoid being negative and whiney about how much it's going to cost me, how much it's going to hurt me, but how it's going to improve or impede the common good. There are an awful lot of pansies running around these days, and a lot of them have decided they're going to become leaders. It seems like the anti-war sentiment in our country comes not from the fact that we are hurting innocent people--whether or not we are is something I need to research, yes I'm ignorant--but because "waaaah, I'm tired of this war, it's taking too long. I might need to make some sacrifices, boo-freaking-hoo."

My grandparents are part of what our country calls "the greatest generation," and they earned that name because they fought and sacrificed for what they believed in and held dear.

Yet we think we have it soooo tough. We've hardly had to sacrifice anything.

They say the war is all because of oil? There are secrets, locked in laboratories, that could decrease or even do away with our dependence on foreign oil. But there are people in our government who want us to think that the environment is screwed and that the ozone layer is turning to swiss cheese, so we have to buy organic bread and organic shoes and organic everything else and then we go put in down payments on gas-guzzling SUVs.

I lied. I rambled. And now I'm not really sure how to wrap this up in a coherent manner. I got on a tangent and then I kind of lost it.

Maybe that's a good thing though...I need to conserve some energy for all the work I have yet to do.

Alright, well, I'm off to use the bathroom, not flush the toilet, walk to dinner in my biodegradable shoes with my hands dripping wet because I didn't use paper towels, then I'll stuff my face with tofu and later insist that skylights be installed as a substitute for fluorescent lighting in Saga.

'Cause green is just so hot right now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

And (social) justice for all?

Random fact: Few things satisfy me more than the smell of rain and the sound of thunder.

This week for the Oracle (last issue of the year!) I have the rare opportunity to write an editorial. I've only written one once before and it wasn't very good; it was for Feature Writing class last year. So now I'm wondering if I've gotten in over my head on this assignment, but it's something I'm passionate about and if I have a bit of guidance I'm sure I'll be fine.

The topic of this editorial is the recent social justice movement and how organizations like TOMS Shoes and To Write Love On Her Arms are becoming a "trend," a fashion statement for college students and twentysomethings. If you think that's controversial, it gets dirtier. I've noticed this year that ORU missions teams are struggling more than usual to raise money. Part of the problem could be that ORU has lost funding from those who support Oral Roberts Ministries. But take a look around campus and it's easy to spot those cute TOMS Shoes slip-ons, Love Alliance tote bags, TWLOHA t-shirts...

After the annual Spring Outreach event, which is coming up this Saturday, there will be a "Style Your Sole" after-party. I'm not sure how many students actually forked over the money, but for $43, outreach participants have been given the opportunity to buy a pair of TOMS Shoes to decorate at the after-party.

All the while, missions teams face the prospect of staying home because they didn't raise enough money to reach "the ends of the earth." TOMS Shoes, TWLOHA and other social justice organizations that sell products to raise money are great causes, no doubt about it. But what about that mandate on ORU that the deans and chapel speakers are always drilling into our heads? Doesn't it start with us? Shouldn't we be supporting our own student body as they go out on the mission field?

Am I just a bit radical and a bit poor, or is there something wrong with this picture?

That, in a nutshell, is what I will address in my editorial.

Heads may roll. Ah well, it's another notch in my journalist belt.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Startin' out for God knows where...

I chose to start a new blog today in celebration of completing my senior paper.

The topic of my senior paper?

*clears throat and continues in dramatic tone*

The Blogosphere and its Role in the News Media.

All 46 glorious pages are printed, bound, and laying on Freudenrich's desk, just waiting to be devoured.

I guess I've never been consistent in blog updating, because frankly I never thought I had much to say that was of any importance. I'm still not sure that I do. But I have to start somewhere, so here it is. I, Megan the budding journalist, the super-senior who just submitted her senior paper, do solemnly swear to nurture and feed this blog.

Heck, I even tried really hard this time to come up with a cool URL and blog name. The name is a bit long, but it's borrowed from one of my favorite songs ("Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Simon & Garfunkel) and it perfectly describes my current situation in life.

I'll explain my URL as well. Hwy61revisited should be recognizable though to just about anyone who likes Bob Dylan. It's also the title of this really cool book that I got last fall at Border's.

For those of you who don't know, I have fallen in love with my native soil now that I'm no longer confined to the smelly, dilapidated town where I spent the first 19 and a half years of my life. I plan on going back to Iowa...just not back "home."

I blame it first of all on the movie "Elizabethtown." If you don't know what I'm talking about, just...watch it. There are no words that can sufficiently describe how much that film inspired me.

The beauty of eastern Iowa really took hold of my spirit during summer vacation last year. I was a news intern at
The Hawk Eye and I had an hour-long commute from my house to the newsroom. It was always a treat to get an assignment that required extra travel--although I got lost a few times. Note to self: Mapquest lies. My dad apparently slipped from the womb fully equipped with a built-in GPS system. I, on the other hand, cannot find my way out of a paper bag.

Again, I digress.

I have a lot of those moments when the beauty of the world around me leaves me speechless. The things I find beautiful are often homely on the surface. Last summer, I observed and interacted with a world I took for granted most of my life. I went to a kennel, run by a Christian family, and talked with them about what it was like to lose several of their dogs in a horrible fire. It was out in the sticks, I was sweltering in nearly 100-degree weather. The dogs were laying in the shade, ears twitching as they dozed in front of fans. Inside the birthing house, an expectant mother pug gazed at me from sleepy eyes, her tongue drooping from her mouth.

I sat on a screened-in front porch, enveloped in cigarette smoke, with a gangly teenage boy named Dusty Trail. (Yes, Dusty Trail.) He mumbled in a deep country accent about his love for go-kart racing, spurred on by his proud mother who sat nearby and did most of the talking.

I followed a group of girls around the Des Moines County fairgrounds, scribbling down my observations on a soggy notepad as they engaged in hydro-warfare. The faintly sweet scent of hay and the pungent stench of manure returns every time I remember those county fair assignments.

I used to think I was too good for all of that. I wanted the big city life. Quirky coffee shops...a concert every weekend...metal monstrosities that stretched beyond the clouds.

Then I went home last summer, and I rediscovered what made me hate to move to the city limits of my hometown. Tall rows of corn glistening in the afternoon sun...trails of dust rising from gravel roads...acre upon acre of untamed wilderness.

Somewhere in Iowa there's a job and a little house waiting for me...hopefully not far from the banks of the Mississippi River, in some po-dunk town off Highway 61.
 

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