Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rabbit and the broken Pony

The Rabbit and the broken Pony

Rabbit came home from school with his owner, Lucy, after farm day at school. 

Rabbit had seen all types of other toys that looked all torn up, but he kept hearing over and over about 'real' rabbits and 'real' puppies, but he couldn't find anything that looked as nice as he did. 

Disgruntled, and mildly confused, Rabbit asked the Broken Pony when  Lucy brought him back home. 

"What does it mean to be real? Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" 

Pony laughed at him.

''Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you," he said. "When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real."

Rabbit wondered how he was ever going to figure his 'real' mystery out if he kept asking this Pony. 

So he tried again, using a different method. He was the new model after all, and Pony was terribly outdated. 

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked. "Or bit by bit?''

The Pony thought for a minute about it, and just when Rabbit had given up he said, "It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time."

"So, what kind of time are we talking here?" Rabbit asked. "I only have a shelf life of about 1 year; only a few months before the new model comes out. Is there any way to speed this process up?"

"Not without it hurting, things like this take time," Pony said. "You don't get to have everything your way."

"But why?" Rabbit demanded, growing more and more impatient with this Pony's crazy ideas.

"Because it isn't about you," Pony said as he started to limp away.

"Then who is it about?" Rabbit asked.

"It's about your relationship with Lucy. It's not about the rules, or the color of your fur," he said.

"Then how am I ever supposed to be real?" Rabbit asked, somewhat dejected at this thought. "I've never been taught anything but cute and fluffy." 

Pony stopped, turned around and smirked at the Rabbit. He saw the vigor of his youth and desire to become this 'real' he had seen at school. 

"It doesn't happen often to toys who break easily, or have sharp edges. You know, those toys who have to be carefully kept," he said. "Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose joints and look very shabby."

Rabbit was stunned. He had never considered Pony as anything but broken before. His limpy leg was all taped and held together with a half Popsicle stick that was still half purple from Lucy's snack the other day. 

"Are you telling me I have to look like YOU to be real?" Rabbit asked. 

"Rabbit," Pony said, looking at his broken body. "These things don't matter at all, because once you are real you can't be ugly, except to the people who don't understand."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Choice. (2011)

How much does He love us?

So much.

Enough to die,
To fight for us
To take the fall

But most all, he gave us freedom

Freedom to turn our lives around
Freedom to fall and run into walls
Freedom to make mistakes, to learn

Or not.

He gave us the freedom to choose.

Can you imagine someone saying, "I let my innocent son die tragically after being tortured for you, but you don't have to love me?"

Of course we can't.
Of course we take that for granted.

When we as Christians, or wanna be Christians run into trouble from our past, we can only hope and pray that those who are immediately impacted will see past our sin and see who we are trying to be.

We can only speak our sorrow, ask for forgiveness, and hand the situation over to God to handle.

Unfortunately sometimes as Christians we have to back off and let God do His thing. It is never fun knowing we aren't the superheroes we lead ourselves to believe we are.

I can only imagine Jesus being ridiculed in his final hours, thinking, "I don't wanna be the one to say goodbye, but I will. 'Cause in the future, you're gonna come back around."

It's hard to see people turn their backs on you, but just imagine the pain God felt watching his son. Actually, he couldn't bear the sight, the ultimate sacrifice.

Sometimes the only way to really know God's strength is to let go of what holds you back from seeking out.

Maybe it's losing someone you've cared about for a long time. Maybe it's losing a lot of people you thought had your best interest at heart.

We may be saying, "I don't wanna be the first to let it go." But we need to teach our hearts to say, "But I know, if you, my God, have the last hands that I want to hold. Then I know I've got to let them go."

It is one of the hardest things I've had to do. I've had nights where I cried and ached for people, where just one more of anything would cure all my wrongs. It's a really weak and humbling place to be.

But my promise is to do my best to wash away everything, each and every day until God comes home to collect me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Seasons & Society

Soft, gentle, without a cause.
I run toward a light that moves.
Pain like this gives me pause.
I failed a lesson I thought I knew.

In my past I've struggled to speak. So God has called me to express. Satan tries every way to show me that I'm weak.

Not safe.

Trapped within a wall. I let this affect me, my lack of faith.

Kind words are lost on today's society. More and more people are hurt by the absence of kindness and love in our churches. Our lack of forgiveness speaks volumes more than our false praises.

It dries a heart that was ones filled with love for others.

Where does it lead? To dust and dust alone; the grave.

Caring for one another has been put aside. It is replaced with anger and deceit. Our words say, "violence is the only answer." It opens painful doors which should be kept shut and closes doors that should be open to opportunity.

We all have walls built up. Our most challenging task is to reveal ourselves, flaws and all, so one by one, the bricks will fall.

Society tells us our wall keeps us safe from the world outside. The choice is who to let in and who to keep out.

So many people so little trust; yet each has a spiritual gift; each we are called to love. We live our lives with opened eyes closed mouths.

All we can see is a fading life, from color to grey, not black or white. Slowly but surely life fades away, home is where I’m headed; don't waste today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I was reading an article earlier on friendships and relationships and how some people struggle with anxiety and depression, especially during Christmas and the holiday season.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. What you want to do, is try to figure out which category your friend fits into. When you do, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. You are experiencing some sort of difficulty and they are there to assist you, to provide you with guidance and support. Reason friends are able to help you physically, emotionally or spiritually, depending on your need. For those of religious beliefs, they may be considered a miracle, or a godsend. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Reason friends are only meant to be temporary. They will, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Whether this be death, or an argument in which one of you walks away. They may disrupt your comfort level by forcing you to take a stand.

What we must remember is that our need has been met, our desire has been fulfilled and their work is done. Your question has been answered, and now it is time to move on.

Now some people come into your life for a season, because in certain times in life we are required to share, grow or learn. Friends will often come into your life and bring you peace or make you laugh. They may educate you in things you have never done before, and they usually leave you with a feeling of happiness and joy. It isn’t fake, it’s real, but it is only temporary - for a season.

These are people that later on will become acquaintances. When you meet in passing later on, you’ll smile and wave, possibly make small talk and catch up for a few minutes.

Lifetime relationships teach you lessons that will impact you forever. These relationships are very special, and are things you must build upon. These relationships are the hardest, but, when successful, leave you with a solid emotional foundation. Your responsibility is to accept the lesson, love the person, and utilize all of the other lessons that reason and seasonal friends have taught you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Checklist


I want to be involved in an inviting church.

I want friends who will hold me spiritually accountable.

I need to have conversations about Jesus and spirituality.

I need to be challenged

I want to feel needed.

I need & want to help in any way I can.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dr. Pepper (2011)

Have you ever been walking and taken a sip of Dr. Pepper only to simultaneously have to sneeze?

So you inhale in preparation for said sneeze, only to choke on your mouthful of Dr. Pepper?

Then proceed to shoot it out every possible facial opening, till you're crying sticky Dr. Pepper tears?

...because I did that today...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Good day (2011)

It's a rare occurrence when just the sight if something leaves me speechless.

Last Saturday I found the market an hour before it closed, whizzed my car into a spot and was in a mighty hurry to snatch vegetables and yummy snacks.

I was covering a story for the paper and Zach wanted to go to get food for the week, so we made a date out of it.

So we arrived and we were having casual conservation, but as we get close enough to get the feel for the crowd something changed.

I took one look and stopped still.

The weather was perfect, children played in the lot,  musicians tried out songs for tips. Booths piled high with bins full of homegrown vegetables met my eyes. Freshly baked bread lined tables,  and that fresh, growing smell of countless green things tumbled together greeted my nose.  I walked slowly in, amidst tables of seedlings and cheese stands. Hunkered next to stands of fresh, local beef were fresh flower and craft stands.

I wanted to stop, right there in the entrance, to take all the toppling beauty in, for that market jolted my soul. Some sleeping part of my heart that once lived, and loved, much closer to the earth was awakened.

Even though I am thoroughly immersed in technology and the university atmosphere presently, I did spend my last few years in Kentucky. My grandparents and aunt had acres of land where I spent many summers. There were three ponds and a garden that bore bright vegetables, which we fought daily battles with ferocious bugs to cull a few, ruby-sheened tomatoes. But all of it was my delight, all of it a new world for my taking and my just-wakened little soul was keenly aware of every whisper and scent of the earth as it sidled up to greet me. The musty damp of a barn corner, the heady green scent of fresh-mown grass, the fragile perch of a butterfly in my hand.

I couldn’t have said it out right, but some hushed corner of my heart knew that my outdoor world was rife with wonder, with growth that never ceased, colors that waxed and waned, scents that came to me as if from another world.

I hunger for that in my modern, streamlined life. Sometimes, amidst a day of cars and phone calls, social networking and computers, I yearn for earthiness with something akin to homesickness.

One step though, in the Farmer's Market, and I was back in the tumbled, gorgeous world of my childhood, where every corner of creation whispered a secret I yearned to know.

That afternoon, I shook myself back to reality and grilled all kinds of tasty treats. The meal was perfection.

 I was sad to leave this small world of a place in which the wonder of my childhood greeted me at the entrance. The sight compounded all the old mystery I felt, all the remembered savor of earthy things into a few words of wonder.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today (2011)

Could it be that it's genetic?
Or perhaps it's just my fear. 

Could be, maybe, I’m wishing

I was somewhere other than here.

Maybe it's my chemicals

Or it is nothing at all

Regardless, it doesn't matter

When my emotions take their fall

Could be, it runs in my family

Maybe it runs in my small town

Perhaps it comes just from me

Whenever I feel down

I'm probably just dramatic

It appears that I'm just weak

It’s only because there is far too much

That I hope for, long and seek

It could be I need to sleep

It's possible this, too, will pass

It could be, very soon, I’ll get better

Perhaps this madness won't last

Or maybe I'll go crazy

Perhaps I'll lose it all

It's possible I'll be fine

I'm just so conditioned to fall.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ropes. (2011)

My elephant cycle

I read about a man who was in Africa. I'm not sure if it was leisure or work, but it isn't relevant.

What is relevant were the elephants he saw. Huge elephants being transported in a group from one place to another by a trainer.

The elephants were bound by a small rope tied around their leg. These huge elephants, large & majestic creatures, could have easily broken free from these flimsy constraints. But they did not.

The man was confused by this, so he asked the trainer, "why do these beautiful animals just stand there when they could so easily break away?"

The trainer said, "well, when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them, and at that age, it's enough to hold them.  As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never  try to break free." The man was amazed. These animals could break free at any moment from their bonds, but because they believed they couldn't, they were stuck right where they were. The powerful and gigantic creature has limited its present abilities by the limitations of its past.

Like the elephant, how many of us go through life holding onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before? How many of us refuse to attempt something new and challenging  because of our so called mindset?

Your attempt may fail, but never fail to make an attempt. Choose not to accept the false boundaries and limitations created by the past.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Love, Love, Love (2011)

This is my favorite song in the whole world. It has helped me and healed me so much. I just wanted to share it.

Andrew Peterson - "Love is a Good Thing"
Here is the video if you'd like to listen :)

It knocked me down, 
it dragged me out, 
it left me there for dead. 

It took all the freedom I wanted and gave me something else instead. 

It blew my mind, 
it bled me dry, 
it hit me like a long goodbye, 

and nobody here knows better than I that it’s a good thing.

Love is a good thing. 

It’ll fall like rain on your parade,
laugh at the plans that you tried to make, 

it’ll wear you down till your heart just breaks and it’s a good thing. 

Love is a good thing.

It’ll wake you up in the middle of the night, 
it’ll take just a little too much. 
It’ll burn you like a cinder till you’re tender to the touch. 

It’ll chase you down, 
swallow you whole, 
it’ll make your blood run hot and cold. 

Like a thief in the night, it’ll steal your soul, and that’s a good thing. 

Love is a good thing. 

It’ll follow you down to the ruin of your great divide, 
and open the wounds that you tried to hide. 

And there in the rubble of the heart that died you’ll find a good thing. 

Love is a good thing. 

Take cover, the end is near. 
Take cover, but do not fear. 

It’ll break your will, 
it’ll change your mind, 

it’ll loose all the chains of the ties that bind. 

If you’re lucky you’ll never make it out alive, and that’s a good thing. 

Love is a good thing. 

It can hurt like a blast from a hand grenade, 
When all that used to matter is blown away. 

There in the middle of the mess it made - you’ll find a good thing.

Yes, it’s worth every penny of the price you paid - It’s a good thing. 

Love is a good thing, - do not fear.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wedding Bells (2011)

Weddings, a ceremony where two individuals who love each other commit to spending the rest of their lives together. A father meets his future son, he doesn't like him at first because no one is worthy of his precious daughter. A mother is worried whether or not she is ready, but teaches the daughter how to survive without losing her own identity when she joins herself with another. The importance of the bond lies in the balance of trust and survival, communication and interaction, emotional and sexual interaction. The man is in charge of being a leader in maintaining the balance between these things. They are all pieces in the Jenga game called marriage.

Life is your opponent. Life will try to take you down. Life will take away pieces necessary in holding the rest of your pieces together. You have choices to make constantly, and the balance that you and your partner share directly impacts decisions. Your past, life, impacts your decisions as well. Do you choose to rise against, or succumb?

Moisture (2011)

It's raining out, it's pouring in
My emotions are trapped within.

I need to talk, let's take a walk.
I cleared my desk, my head's a mess.

The coffee's there, scent wafts the air.
But there's no cup, no fill-me-up. 

There's no family, only silence.
There's no cooking, only booking,

Place to place, meeting to meeting.
Push away everything, it's only fleeting.

But I won't ask, I won't plead.
I smile and wish I didn't need.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dream. (2011)

If I had heaven's embroidered clothes,
Woven tight with gold and silver light;
Both blue, black and dark shewn bright.
The dark, the light and the half night.
I'd spread these garments under your feet.

Lowly am I that I cannot afford such a treat.
I, now poor, have only my dreams.
But I'll spread my dreams beneath your feet.
So tread softly, my dear, for you'll tread on my dreams.

Monday, February 21, 2011

American Grace review

         American Grace, written by Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, found in recent poll a dramatic decrease in the number of Americans who self-identify as having a religious faith. A group referred to as the “nones” – those who have no religious faith, secular, went from 7% to 17% in the last few years.  
The numbers in the polls suggest that the more fundamentally religious a person becomes, the less trusting they also become. With those who are secular, the polls found they trust and are more tolerant in general of different groups of people.
             Are these findings cause for religious organizations to throw in their philosophical towel? Do Americans have to worry about a future of secularization? Maybe not, American Grace delves into a variety of topic areas. They explain the roles religion has played in the past in areas such as ethnicity, and gender, and how those same areas are affected by religion today.  If “American Grace” does anything, it gives thorough explanations for why demographic and religious groups feel a certain way in their variety of polls and vignettes.
            In this review I will show the changes in mindset, what predictions the book had, and a few of my own. Overall, I found the information on the nones informative, as well as the conclusions Putnam and Campbell found in regards to trust, pluralism and freedom of choice. The rest of the book, while also informative, seemed over-the-top and lacking a concise point in regards to the topic of religion and its dealings with politics.
Bill J. Leonard is a professor of church history at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. In his review of American Grace he questioned the idea of the nones in more detail. Asking who they are and what their identity might suggest for the church. From my reading I have discerned that Putnam and Campbell credit the level of trust to the radical change in numbers.
Leonard suggests that the increase in the level of nones is evidence of America’s turn towards pluralism, an ideal he said that religious communities across the theological spectrum have accepted and implemented in other countries. Leonard defines new pluralism in regards to politics as, “a religious and non-religious diversity, so extensive, so widespread, that those who challenge it sound more like bigots than faithful dissenters.” In other words, religious rights and secular lefts have caused people to cease religious activity altogether.
Putnam and Campbell said, “because the rise of the new nones was so abrupt, this increase seems unlikely to reflect secularization in any ordinary sense, since theories of secularization refer to developments that transpire over decades or even centuries, not just a few years” (pg. 127). They were unable to conclude with certainty that the increase of nones is at least in part evidence of a “backlash against conservatism.”
Dr. Robert Cornwall- Senior Pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church- said a persons’ view of God will dramatically impact how the relate with other people. “We seem to have found consistent expectations about other people’s behavior and God’s behavior. If God loves us, then we love and trust others, but if God sternly judges us, then we sternly judge and distrust others.” (American Grace, p. 468-471).
Cornwall also said American Grace presents an overly optimistic of the American people. He said angry groups of people lead movements like the Tea Party, which have come to represent the majority. He said the problem is trust and it’s a serious issue, which he said gives religious liberals with progressive mindsets serious ammunition. 
            Another survey conducted by Gallup News, an international research publication, said in a study on American opinion on religion and its importance to people. The poll found 54% of Americans say religion is very important in their lives, whereas 70% of the same people said religion is losing its influence in American life. The summary of past polling shows that this is one of the highest fluctuations in Gallup history.  In 2000, 59% of Americans said religion was very important, where only 36% of people polled thought religion was losing its influence in American life. 
            Looking at the numbers from American Grace and Gallup News, a reader could deduct that the increase in secular lifestyle has caused a downward cycle in religious importance in the American day-to-day life. Putnam and Campbell say nones fall left-of-center politically and/or religiously, and parallel the increase of the religious and/or political right. The authors suggest that younger generations see religion “as judgmental, homophobic, hypocritical and too political.” (American Grace p. 121).
Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Relations Research Institute (PRRI), conducted several surveys of various Americans with questions that revolved around politics in the theological spectrum. His findings showed mixed beliefs towards Leonard’s idea of pluralism. 
Jones found that 57% of Americans are opposed to allowing New York Muslims to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks from ground zero, but 76% say they would support Muslims building a mosque in their local community if they followed the same regulations as other religious groups. 45% of Americans say the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life, while a plurality, 49 %, disagree. Another finding, the least pluralistic, said nearly 6-in-10 Americans affirm American exceptionalism, that God has granted America a special role in human history. Those affirming this view are more likely to support military interventions and to say torture is sometimes justified, a far cry from the findings in American Grace.
Thomas E. Rutheford, author of "Heaven Help the Single Christian," said the American persona, it seems, isn't worth much without the American obligation:  choice. This country was founded on democracy, even if the ways democracy was gained promoted violence, death and destruction. It seems ingrained into the American psyche that freedoms such as choice are owed, not earned. This belief plays into both politics and religion.  (Rutheford).
America was also founded on religion, like other countries, but unlike other countries it has held on to the ideals of morality.  In American Grace,  Putnam and Campbell found that in Western Europe and Japan, the favored non-choice in reference to religion, and were generally disinterested, where 30 to 40 % of the American population still attends a weekly worship service. Although there has been a steady decline in church interest, the findings in American Grace find that it would take a couple of centuries before America became as secularized as Great Britain, where only 5-8 % are regular service-goers. (American Grace and Rutheford).
 Sheena Iyengar cited in her book "The Art of Choosing," that people in strict religions are actually happier than those in liberal ones. She interviewed fundamentalist  religions (Calvinism, Islam and Orthodox Judaism), conservative (Catholicism, Lutheranism, Methodism and Conservative Judaism), and liberal (Unitarianism and Reform Judaism).“The presence of so many rules didn’t debilitate people; instead it seemed to empower them. Many of their choices were taken away, and yet they experienced a sense of control over their lives.” (Sheena Iyengar, The Art of Choosing, New York: Twelve, 2010, p. 28) (Rutheford). 
Robert Wright, in his October 2010 article titled "Religious Persuasion" in the New York Times, said that Putnam and Campbell had bad timing in writing their book at first glance. "Between the completion of their manuscript and its publication, the dispute over the Islamic center in Lower Manhattan erupted, followed by the ­Koran-burning controversy, and somewhere along the way a New York cabdriver was stabbed, apparently for being a Muslim." (Wright).
Wright made this assumption from the first chapter of American Grace, which states “America peacefully combines a high degree of religious devotion with tremendous religious diversity.” And it seems to render moot one of their main goals: to illuminate the source of this inter­faith ­tolerance. He said the book brings to light the struggles in interfaith tension that Americans face. (Wright).
Wright calls to attention that America has a history rich in religious strife. In his article, Wright compares American Protestants in their relationship with with Roman Catholics in the past as peaceful as present day Pentecostals in Florida to Muslims. Another example given was a Massachusetts convent that anti-Catholic rioters destroyed. Catholics caused a huge civil uproar in Philadelphia with rumors that they wanted to take Bibles out of public schools. Violence from these rumors alone led to approximately two dozen deaths and two churches were demolished. (Wright).
Putnam and Campbell go into detail about how each generation worked to smooth the religious and political tensions. In the '60s former president John F. Kennedy had to let Protestants know if was okay to vote for a Catholic candidate. The authors went on to say that in current times, Catholics and Protestants often belong to the same team, and,  "by the 2000s, how religious a person is, had become more important as a political dividing line than which denomination he or she belonged to." (American Grace) (Wright).
So where should Americans go from here? Are churches ready to join hands with others in a kumbayah ceremony with music and incense offerings? Should politics excuse itself out of the church? Putnam and Campbell discuss a variety of questions in the final chapter of American Grace. Overall, the book finds that people who practice religious activities are more willing to bend their doctrine to suit their more secular and religious-tolerant needs. Putnam and Campbell say, "most Americans are intimately acquainted with people of other faiths.” (American Grace). (Wright).
Along the same lines, Wright said that people who have evangelical friend have a more tolerant idea of evangelicals, and gaining a non­religious friend brings more tolerance toward the nonreligious. Wright said, "Muslims suffer from an additional problem. If most Americans don’t personally know any Muslims, they’ve seen some on TV, Osama Bin Laden, for starters. That may help explain why, though 54 percent of evangelicals say non-Christians can go to heaven, only 35 percent say Muslims can." (Wright).
Wright said there are two basic schools of thought on religious strife- essentialists and optimists. "Essentialists believe that religions have a firm character, grounded in Scripture and theology and doctrine, and that religious conflicts are thus deep-seated and enduring. The more optimistic view is that clashing beliefs aren’t the big problem; underlying the conflict, and driving it, are less ethereal and in some cases more pliable issues: economic grievances or insecurities, resentment of perceived arrogance, fears of domination." (Wright).
Putnam and Campbell fall under the optimist category. With their focus on communication and how it impacts the social and political context. Wright says, in that sense, the American Grace subtitle is subtly misleading.  "This intellectually powerful book suggests that religion per se is often not the thing that actually divides us." (Wright).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Floral Ramblings (2011).

So I had some wine and wrote a poem the other day. It slipped my mind until I ran across it Thursday. 

Being perfect artists and ingenuous poets, flowers have survived their decadence. 
And since they had to be distinguished from each other, they have symbolic meanings.
Pure and passionate names that harmonize in our minds an inspired and gentle calm.
They challenge the mind with violent intoxication with which they inspire us.  
So it is that certain flowers, a favorite bloom, are saluted by the receiver.
They take on form and color, by these delicious names, which deserve a poem, a novel.

So, knowing how sentimental I get about random things, this prompted a series of floral ramblings (i.e. the title - clever, I know). I also read through it again before I posted it and labeled things, which amused me for 10 whole minutes. 

I think they are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.  (<- girly)
My tattoo says the earth laughs in flowers, Thanks Ralph Waldo :) (<- personal)
I like flowers better than diamonds. (<- hinting)

Aliens from planets without flowers must think we skip with joy every spring. :) (<- awkward)

I don't have a preference for type so long as they are wild, free and spontaneous. (<- politically correct)I will be the gladdest girl that ever lived if I could smell a hundred flowers and not pick one. (<- old fashioned)
When the music stops and the dancers walk away the smell of roses still linger. (<- artsy)
Take me to battle, I'll fight a war. Surround me with flowers, I fall to the floor. (<- again, artsy)

The flowers at my desk remind me that there's more to life than the metaphysics of books. (<- big kid words)
I have faith that flowers enjoy the air they breathe, which is why they blossom so lovely. (<- Hallmark)
Flowers at funerals go against their meaning, 
hope is tomorrow and funerals have none. (<- cynical)

If flowers had feelings they would show themselves in perfumes. (<- girly)
If the earth and the sun made love, they would bring to life a flower. (<- awkward)
Plucking a flower from a vine sends tingles down my spine. (<- awkward)

Flowers seem intended for the comforts of ordinary humanity. (<- philosophical)

Flowers sleep all winter, approach near death, and reappear to bring comfort and laughter. (<-magical)
Please don't pluck a roadside flower, they bring me joy when I drive down yonder. (<- Kentucky)
When I have two dollars left in the world, I'll buy bread with one, and a lily with the other. (<-irresponsible romantic)
If you've never been ecstatic to see a flower in bloom in spring, your soul has never bloomed. (<- challenge)

Flowers are just as expressive as men or animals - some smile, some have a sad expression. (<- philosophical)
Give me a sunrise and a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed. (<- truth)
The flower is the poetry of reproduction, an example life's eternal seductiveness. (<- sexual)

Flowers really do intoxicate me. (<- environmental lush)
Flowers offer themselves and eloquently speak of Gods in the language of rainbows. (<- artistic)
If a daffodil is a footnote for the spring, a purple aster must be the asterisk for autumn. (<-grammar pun)
A flower is a poet's darling inspiration. (<- girly)
Food nourishes my body, flowers nourish my soul. (<- philosophical)

The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy a special place in my heart. (<-truth)
What would our world be like, how would our people act, if there were no flowers? (<- scary thought)
I really love that it's perfectly acceptable to dance around in the sun wearing wild flowers in my hair (<- girly)
Sometimes I think a fallen flower is simply the effect of an angel skipping around. (<- religious)

A rose bending in the rain reminds me of all the gentleness and its enduring. (<- artistic)
Flowers are loved by all people for the beauty of their character and mysterious meanings. (<- philosophical)
Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  (<- truth)
You can't be suspicious of a tree or challenge the ideology of a violet. (<- philosophical)
God loved the flowers and invented soil.  Man loved the flowers and invented vases.  (<- strange humor)

Fear and Friends (2011).

Ever since I was little I was scared of the dark. Not of the physical lack of light, but the fear was more what I couldn't see.

I would wake up in the middle of the night a lot. Most of the time I had to use the bathroom. So I would get up, walk calmly to the bathroom. After I would look in the mirror quickly to make sure there were no axe murderers behind me. Then I would turn off the lights and run as fast as I could from the bathroom back into my bedroom,  jumping 2 feet in the air, and I'd make the landing. I would pull the covers up to my chin, glance around the room again to make sure I was safe, then I would relax and nuzzle back into my pillow.

This is all really detailed and strange, but it reminds me of the way people take solace in stable things, like the safety of a bed. If I didn't trust in it I wouldn't run to it. I wouldn't dread leaving it in the morning and I wouldn't look forward to it for naps or at night when I'm wiped out. I'm the type of person that needs to see things, to feel and touch things, to know for sure they exist. But there are some things I question that I shouldn't, like friendships and relationships.

I get really concerned that people aren't who they say they are, and I know it falls back to a history of doing the same thing myself. It's something I've worked at and, I believe, have made drastic improvements. I always worry whether or not people like who I've become. The funny thing is, there have been people who have outright told me they didn't approve of my changes in mindset and it's done nothing but empower me. It's the people who don't tell me one way or the other, the fence sitters, and people who agree with me totally all the time, that keep me worried.

I'm sarcastic, cynical (when necessary). Once I know someone well enough to see potential I'm going to keep challenging them to reach it, and I'm abrasive and opinionated about it oftentimes. But I think it's important for my friends to know that I'm scared a lot of the time, and my biggest fear is not accomplishing what I've set out to do and disappointing you.

So all the times that I'm standoffish, or I'm busy, or I'm incommunicado, it isn't that I'm not thinking about you, it's not that I love you any less than someone who talks to you all the time, it's that I'm working as hard as I know how to in order to make you proud of me.

I come off as independent, but I'm really not, but I'm okay at putting on a facade. I am able to laugh when being teased and I can joke back without taking it to heart most of the time. I struggle because I feel guilty for not being more involved in people's lives. For not thinking to call and text and talk to people more often. I'm so goal oriented, but the goals that I have set for myself were set with you in mind.

I want to make a difference so you have a better quality of life. Most of my friends in Illinois live in Carbondale, so it was important to me to interview the mayoral candidates so you would know what they felt on important issues that relate to Carbondale.

My mom works in Pre-K and my dad works with the mining industry. Both of these fields are extremely affected by political agendas, and I wanted to understand it better. I wanted to help them continue to work and be prosperous.

My sister is a musician, an artist, and loves everyone she meets. She is very supportive of human rights and it is my goal, my main goal, to see that she is able to help people freely in any way she sees fit.

I chose politics because I love my family and I love my friends and I want to see them happy. I want them to continue to have all the freedoms they desire, and hope they continue to learn and to grow. I chose this to educate, and I don't understand everything, and I hope I never do. I want to encourage communications with people of different mindsets, peaceful communication.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A mild moment in history (2011).

"You know, I never intended on living in Carbondale. I was going to get my degree, leave here and do something real with my life. Then I got a job. My job allowed me to help people, which I loved doing, and then my entire outlook changed." - Don Monty

I just interviewed Mr. Monty and his outlook on things interested me. He talked about change, and how people don't like it, and it's not always fun, but it's always necessary for progression.

I always try to look at my life, and while some of my moves have been due to running, my last move wasn't. I really didn't feel "right," and that's the best way I know how to put it. Ever since I was young I felt like I needed to do more. That I wouldn't necessarily live in the same place, and I loved to travel and experience new things.

I think that some people are meant to be temporary, and in my life so far, I've been a temporary person. I typically have shown up when someone was in need of change, I helped facilitate their need, but then I left. Most of the time there was drama involved, but later on both parties were able to see the value in the lessons they both learned.

My first move (3 months)
I gained tolerance, which was something I was desperately lacking when I left Harrisburg in 2006. When I came back after a few months I was able to communicate better with some, but I still had a long way to go.

I entered into a serious relationship and became engaged which lead to..

My second move (seven months) I thought it was for love, but it was for re-instilling self confidence that I had lost. This time I had a roommate who was my best friend. My insecurities became entirely exposed and self destructed both my friendship and my engagement within the first couple months. I had my first full time job, and later I became a youth minister.

When I came back late in 2007 I intended on going back to school and to make amends with the trailblazing I had done in my personal relationships in 2006. I stayed for awhile, started dating again and some of my old problems started rearing their heads. Instead of trying to solve my problems I ended by relationship and jumped into another one. I ended up becoming engaged for a second time, which ended sourly. To say I didn't respond well is the understatement of the century; I left at the beginning of 2009.

My third move (14 months) The first 10 months I continued to struggle and grieve. I had to learn to pick myself back up, to be able to operate as a single entity, and to move on with my life. Although I was involved in a relationship the last 4 months, that helped me realize I was worth trying to change, but was not strong enough to last through the changing process.  I learned so much about myself during this move. I met many people who had a huge impact on my life; whether the situation was positive or negative. There is always a lesson, there's always something to take away from an interaction.

I don't hold on to hatred
I don't feel the need to lose my sobriety.
If I don't understand you, I ask questions.
If something upsets me, I confront it, I don't ignore it.
I try to inspire people to reach their true potential.
I work hard to be an emotionally stable person.
I work hard to be reliable and trustworthy.

Now with that being said, I'm not perfect. I'd love to be perfect, it'd be awesome, but I'm not. It upsets me when I fail at my list. I feel like I've failed people, which makes me feel like I'm a bad person. I can say that I've struggled with being naive to situations, that I trusted too far in certain situations, and I have messed up many times. I've owned up to it, many long and painful conversation, which has taught me another lesson.

Honesty is the absolute best policy.

It's something I can't stress enough, especially this week. It's been rough, what I'm most upset about is that it was something I'd already addressed, we were making progress. So when it was brought up again, I had to re-live it again. I had to re-question myself and my character, so my blogs are sort of reflective of that. I was angry, which sped up the process. I was upset that it had to come to that. As horrible as this past week has been, I wouldn't trade it. As bad as I feel now, this won't last forever, and everyone involved will grow in some way.

Until then, there will be more hard talks, and a lot of re-hashing of the same conversations. I can get back up, this isn't the worst thing that has ever happened in my history by a long shot. It's mild, actually.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Desire (2011).

This was sparked by Jael listing her wants and Sam teasing her about wanting a list. So, Zach, here you go :)

I am so ready to curl up in bed.
I want you to be with me right now.
I want to turn on a movie and fall asleep.

I want to hug you and bury my face in your neck.
I want you to play with my hair while we talk, again.
I kind of just want you to touch me in general, I enjoy it.

I want to relax without worrying about missing breaking news.

I want to cook delicious meals.
I want to read my school books.

I want to hang out with my sister.
I don't want to be "so" about my job.

I want to focus.
I want to take pictures.
I want to have real friends.
I want butter pecan ice cream.

I want the 80's look to come back into style.

I want an entire day where I don't worry about things.
I want to have friends (real or not) that want to spend time with me.

After looking at my list, I also want to give up on my OCD tendencies that required that I order each want by length.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Just a couple thoughts on my day off (2011).

I was reading through some of my old notes from high school the other day. I had an assignment to write down 100 quotes that meant something to me. I really really liked this one.

The clock is running. 
Make the most of today. 
Time waits for no man.

Yesterday is history. 
Tomorrow is a mystery. 
Today is a gift. 

That's why it is called the present.

"Sun Dials and Roses of Yesterday: Garden Delights" by Alice Morse Earle

This lead me to write a series of short little rhymes that are all kind of along the same line.

No matter where you've gone
No matter who you've been
You can always begin, again.

I am who I choose to be;
But that's not what I need.
We should always search
And consider who we are made to be.
Life may not be easy.
I may not make you proud.
Tribulation helps me see,
So I don't float among the clouds.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

:) (2011).

Today has been awesome; I really feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest. My classes all went well, the subject matter is really interesting and I'm enjoying the banter I have with my fellow classmates. I am so glad that I got my generals out of the way first, now that I'm in my core classes everyone is so like minded. It's a great feeling.

My article today was stressful, but in a good way. I'm really getting comfortable in the field and I'm learning more everyday. I had a situation with NeuroRestorative, a group home in Carbondale. They tried to get city council to grant them a "special use permit" which allows more than one group home to exist on the same lot, which violates the existing ordinance which states that there must be 800 feet (1 street block) distance between one group home and another.

Not super interesting, right? That's what I thought until I went to the meeting. Apparently this business has caused many issues in the subdivision in which it is currently located. So much that the entire group of 25 households came, with a signed petition, and handed it to the mayor. Then they all spoke during the public hearing on it.

It was really interesting to see the Neuro rep give her presentation, because it was so eloquent and well prepared. I was shocked to see all the neighbors turn up to protest it.

Anyways, so the issue with today's article was that Neuro refused to do a follow up interview with me after hearing the complaints of the neighbors in the subdivision. Bad news bears, I was on deadline.

Luckily I still had the city council meeting recorded from my re-cap article, so I was able to quote their statements. (Yay for audible hoarding!)

Now my article is being edited now, I'm ready to go to Zach's house and have dinner. 10pm is late enough :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Frappuccinos and Facebook (2011).

As a student we know what college life is about. We deal with homework, deadlines, professors, other students, relationships, parents and that second job to pay for the apartment we are never in because we are always at the library/lab/studio/practice/meetings/classes - none of which are climate controlled. Basically, we are paying to be malnourished workaholics addicted to frappuccinos and Facebook, all in hope of a better life (complete with a paycheck) after graduation; the only thing that gets us through is more caffeine, friends, or that distant mythical place called Saturdays (Yeah, we've heard those exist).

This is my reprieve. 

Finally, a place that appeals to the little things in my life that need to be unleashed. There is no hard news, no negative reports or depressing headlines. Within these entries, I can find relief from the daily stresses that occasionally weigh me down. No one was injured in a car crash, it's always sunny and there is always enough parking for everyone. So hopefully, whoever is reading this, will have a chance to understand my lifestyle. Everything is written by me (unless otherwise noted), and is built on the stories, artwork and experiences of my life.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thoughts in Passing (2011).

I didn't end up going to Kentucky for the wedding because I had interviews that I had to do for the paper early today, and I wanted to be able to spend longer visiting with my friends. Instead I went to the movies, shopping for cardigans, groceries for a football party. I also took a bunch of pictures which pleased me greatly. I miss everyone in Kentucky, but I really needed a quiet day. I was able to do a lot of relaxing things that helped me before school started. I haven't really written any poetry lately, and this one isn't very good but I thought I'd post it anyways.

I read things all the time. 
I browse the net; peruse online.
I try to keep my mind occupied.
I hope these emotions get easier with time.

It's hard knowing I'm the one to blame.
That I'm the cause of all your pain.
If I could fix it I would be your savior.
Sometimes I wish life would grant me the favor.

January is coming to an end.
My memories are starting to blend.
I'm piecing things back together with glue.
I wish you knew it's hard for me too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oh weddings

I'm really happy that my friend is getting married to someone he loves. Weddings are a time of celebration, the joining of two souls into one. Namely, getting your super powers. If one person can be good, two people combined can be great. The key, is being great for good and not evil.

I'm headed to Kentucky to go to this wedding tomorrow. I haven't been since Christmas and I'm hoping I can catch up with some people while I'm there. I definitely want to see my family, I got my SLR camera working again (thanks to Zach), and I'm hoping to take a lot of pictures. It's a great stress reliever for me, and this is the last day that I'll get off until the end of the semester.

I have four 400 level classes that are all paper rich, I also was promoted from writing one article a week to five. So this just became a crazy-stress-filled-oh-my-god-my-head-may-kerplode-before-its-over semester. I told my parents the other day to have all my mail forwarded to the school, because I'll likely never see them again. I may, in fact, disappear.

So, before that happens, I want to go to Kentucky and see some people. Not all, because it isn't possible to do so in less than one day unfortunately. Zach's coming with me, so I'm really excited that he can meet my family. This is our first extended road trip together, I'm most excited about that.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Day three of training, all the excitement and adrenaline of writing is starting to catch up with me. That and a series of bad dreams last night, along with the week before of not being able to sleep at all, are trying to kick my butt. It's the most lonely feeling ever when you can't sleep. You look around and your friends and family are having no problem. I get up, walk around, and nobody notices. If I wasn't sad before, I always end up being extremely depressed after letting my mind run, unoccupied, for hours on end like that.

Last night I had a series of bad dreams where I was abandoned, broken up with, hated, called boring and unimportant. All things that I worry about on a day to day basis. I am terrified of losing people without preparation. It's always easier for me to be the one who is leaving, who is cutting off communication, etc, because I'm controlling my own pain. At that point, I have no one but myself to blame for it, and I blame myself plenty.

I hide myself in work and projects, school being included in this. I'm comfortable there. I'm less comfortable when there is physical contact with people, and that's a fear aspect, which derives from past relationships (dating and non). I don't want to let someone in like that, because I'm afraid they'll hurt me, which inevitably happens, because we're human. I know that people are human, but it doesn't make it any easier for me to forgive without holding an emotional/physical grudge.

I have to get over this, or I'm never going to be happy, overall. That's not to say that I'm not pleased with people, or that I'm not proud of my friends and family, even though I don't or can't speak to them for some reason or another. This is my depression speaking, which is the sad part, because it makes people feel bad to see me write this way, even though it isn't anyone's fault but my own.

This really isn't helping me much today, the more I write the more upset I get. I'm going to space out and read legislation like the super boring person I am.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Edited Article

I had a few necessary changes, more paraphrasing needed, a few things of importance to move around, but overall I did well. *whew*


Kayla Kearns
Daily Egyptian
Head:  Former governor Edgar ‘outraged’ by Illinois’ deficit

Illinois faces a budget deficit that could reach $15 billion this year. Jim Edgar, former Illinois  governor, came to the Student Center Tuesday night for the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute to discuss his ‘outrage’ at the states’ financial decline.  

Edgar was elected governor in 1990. He was the last governor elect to leave the state without deficit, and was also the last governor not convicted of corruption.

“The state of Illinois faces the worst fiscal crisis in its history,” Edgar said in his speech. “Depending on how you slice the numbers, Illinois’ financial state is the worst, second-worst, or third-worst in the nation,” said Edgar.

David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, said it was good to get the former governor’s insight into the state’s financial crisis.

Democratic lawmakers pushed an income tax increase through the legislature Tuesday that it would raise the state’s personal income tax 66 percent. The tax rate will go from 3 percent to 5 percent since Gov. Pat Quinn has signed the bill into law and has supported a tax increase.

Quinn, a Democrat, who served as lieutenant governor until Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office, tried to get a tax increase through the legislature previously, but could not get support from his own party.

Yepsen said polls have shown Illinois voters are willing to pay higher taxes to solve the problem, but are not willing to pay higher taxes and have the situation stay the same. They want to see progression, he said.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, a former SIUC law professor, said she admired Edgar for his combined fiscal conservatism and concern for education and other social issues. She said that Edgar played down the effects to the recession of the state, but she agreed with him on most matters.

Simon said that she and Quinn are focused on improving the quality of life for Illinois residents.

“We will get the state’s payments up to date, improve the public education, and make sure the social safety net does not disappear,” she said.

Yepsen said incumbent legislators enjoy a great advantage in Illinois elections.

“They can safely assume they will be re-elected barring unforeseen circumstances or events. But no one likes to say, ‘Hey, I raised your taxes. Vote for me,’” he said.

Edgar said it was an outrage that the state’s leaders had allowed the situation to get so bad.

Edgar said the Republican party is not without fault for the financial deficit.

“The free-spending days of George Ryan set the stage for this problem,” he said. “The administration of Governor Blagojevich made things exponentially worse.”

Not all representatives are in favor of the changes that will take place since the bill passed, said Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, who voted against the tax increase, and was among those who attended the speech.

Edgar said the tax increase, which is supposed to be temporary, might be necessary but would not begin to bring in more revenue for months. In the meantime, he said, it was likely the state would look to borrow money to pay its bills.

“Borrow and spend; it’s an old tune we all know by heart,” he said. “The harsh fiscal reality might well be that we have no choice but to raise taxes and borrow money to pay our bills, but the way we got into this mess deserves examination.”

Day Two

I really really like sun dried tomato hummus with pita chips when I'm writing. Especially in the office, because they are SUPER healthy, not messy, and I have to keep my desk neat and tidy, so that's important to me. I'm drinking red grape juice (again) because it's the only thing in my refrigerator (again). 

But that's not important, what's important is that it's day numero two of Daily Egyptian boot came/training week and I'm trying to post each day about what's up in the office. 

So, I'm creating story ideas for City desk; I have been all morning. Our expectations (as laid out by my boss, Nick) are as follows

"City reporters are to 'walk your beats,' always have a plan B. If there's going to be a hold in the paper, it better not be because your story dropped. Stay on top of major stories, I.E. elections, police cases, fires, demonstrations and protests, community meetings, housing - all of these are stories that should make it into the paper at least once a week. But, most importantly, meeting deadline, unless you intend on lasting as long as the Saints did against the Seahawks last week." - Nick Johnson, Chief of Staff, Daily Egyptian.

If you don't know, the Seahawks are a horrible football team, and the Saints won the Superbowl last year. The Seahawks sold their soul to Satan and beat the Saints last week, ending their chances at entering the next level of the playoffs. 

So, since my passionate reporting lies in political rhetoric, legislation, and things of that nature, I've been looking at the State of Illinois event list so that I can report on each individual, state funded, program that Illinois has. 

I.E. if Illinois is in the hole, I feel that I'm required to report it. I can let local opinions from Carbondale city council, and I fully intend on doing so. My articles should primarily be on hot topic issues, and in our area, that includes money, housing, race, human rights.. all things I'm super interested in. 

This morning I listened to Emery, and it's one of my favorite bands ever. In the past, it was the only "screamer" band I could tolerate. The only reason I chose them was because I'd listened to their acoustic set and heard the screaming part, but they sang it instead, so I actually knew what they were screaming. 

I guess I figure that if I'm broadening my political views, that I should broaden my viewpoints in other areas of my life.

Which brings me to simplicity, I'm trying to simplify everything in my life. I've hauled out 7+ garbage bags of various things that I've held on to for various reasons. It seems that I have hoarding tendencies, primarily with sentimental objects (pictures, letters, cd's, greeting cards, old notes and papers).

I think I love keeping these things because it reminds me that people care, which is important to me because I struggle with depression. I had every letter that I've ever received.. ever, in my bedroom. (That's a lot, btw).

I've been brainstorming creative ways to organize this instead of just trashing it. I've been going through letters and reading them all. I've started cutting out the phrases and lines that were meaningful to me and putting them in a box. I'm trying to stick to positive and loving statements, not "i'm sorry" or other negative parts.

Anyways, so I'm taking these clip outs and putting them in a shoe box that I emptied out. Since I have many pictures, I also have many frames. I've emptied them all out and I decided that rather than trash these clippings that have meant so much to me at times, that I would turn it into matting for my frames. I'm painting my room two shades of yellow (because I love a yellow room) and I'm going to do a square of yellow paint in the middle with all the black frames.  It's really simple, so I'm going to add a burnt sienna or green (not sure) stenciling in the middle.

I am really excited about this, because I'm a romantic, and I love the idea of always being able to see what people who love me have written to me. I think it will help me heal, to remember the positives in my relationships instead of the negatives, and it's also going to look super cool. 

Reading through the letters is also helping me see some of my shortcomings in various relationships (not just love, but also friendship, and family stuff). I can see that I have some habits that need to be worked on, and have realized others that, before I began this project, I didn't know that I had.

Once I finish this, I'll come up with something creative to do with my pictures, if you have any ideas, let me know :)

2011 is looking to be a very reflective year for me.