Thursday, August 3, 2017

this time last week


This time last week I was turning 22. 

I was in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, on a wildlife preserve with two friends and three strangers. We saw a golden eagle up close, a few from afar. We cast lines and tried to catch fish. I was unsuccessful.

I took zero pictures. I did record some of the audio though. It might be one of my most treasured audio recordings to date. In the recording, you can hear the lapping of water against the boat, the chirping of birds, and the random conversation of four experienced fishermen contemplating life in all its forms. At one point, you can hear me snort while laughing, then say “gross,” when one of them dares another to eat a fly for twenty-five bucks. Someone mentions eating guinea pigs, fishing with Velveeta, some crazy dude he met hunting. Someone’s bubble butt.

The water was smooth and fast, the grass along the banks long and soft. The sky was bright and crisp and the sunlight was golden.

It was not somewhere I would typically spend a birthday, or any day, but it was perfect. I want another and another. As I cast my line again and again and again, hearing critiques every time, I loved it more and more.

Gummy! Pause! Why didn’t you pause? Try again. Gummy. Pull back harder. Gummy. Go again. Again. Try again.

I had a moment the other day when I remembered what I wanted my life to look like when I was 22. I am so, so glad my life looks nothing like I pictured. No rings on fingers, no ‘perfect job' (lol what even is that), no apartment all to myself and no simple Sydney-lead life.

The picture at the top of this post was taken the day I officially graduated from college. This was four months post-grad, after I'd been working at Starbucks, contemplating my 'failed' life and wondering how I had gotten so far off the track I had set for myself. This picture was taken by my friend Kristen, who somehow captured the perfect joy and hope I felt in that moment... for some stupid reason I didn't feel like a failure as I turned that tassel. I felt like I'd be alright, and that maybe my story could help people, that maybe I could enjoy the whirlwind as it whipped me around and around.

My 22nd was still, in spite of everything, so happy, so adventurous, so new and gone so fast.

Here I go into my 23rd year, more excited than I’ve ever been and I have zero plans. I cannot emphasize how little I’ve planned my life from this moment forward and how unlike me that is. I spend my working days planning for my business, scheming there, but in my own life, for the first time in I’m pretty sure forever, I’m not making my own plans. Yeah, I still have goals. They’re lofty and maybe unattainable, and their tucked into my heart, but in terms of set plans… baby, I got nothin’. For the first time, I’m going with the flow.

I’m riding down the Green River with two friends and three strangers, casting my line to the tune of “try again.”

I absolutely love it. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Snow


The snow 
It casts an ethereal, shimmery blue across everything 
The sun sets, it still illuminates light 
Glimmering in the sun, it blinds drivers and passer-bys 
So peaceful, so messy, so pretty 

I'm not meant to write poetry, but glancing out my window at the snow last night brought all the feelings I could imagine, so I mustered up a poem. Not too shabby, eh? 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

welcome to 2017


Supposedly, to become a better writer it is highly encouraged to write every single day.

I fight daily with myself to achieve this goal. It's not that I don't want to write, but some days I feel uninspired or bored, realizing more and more that those dreaded essay prompts from high school are actually very welcoming when all your brain can think about is how cold its toes are and would you put on warmer socks, please.

I am not going to make banal promises about blogging more frequently this year. I have lied to myself too many times about that and, quite frankly, I'm tired of myself being so silly. This way, the blog posts will be as much of a surprise to me as they are to you, and then I can start setting deadlines for myself again. Say we start this in February or March?

SO. 


If I haven't come here to write or tell you about how I will write, why did I come back at all?


Who knows! Your guess is as good as mine.

All I know is that after graduating college this December, I felt such a weight lift off my shoulders I felt like I could finally stand up straight again. I didn't realize how much college wore me out and how often I stuck my nose in a book instead of standing up, stretching a bit and enjoying a thing or two. I feel ready to read fun books again.

Since graduating I've been feeling very relieved for a moment to not think about deadlines or stress immensely about getting a job. This has, by far, been most challenging for me. I really want a job. I really want a job. I know most grads probably say that (who doesn't?). I have worked since I was 14 years old, and not having a job has nearly caused me to break out in hives every morning, but I know that my brain and weary shoulders need a break.

Graduating early was great and all, but I'm wore-out. And that's okay to admit, isn't it? I'm no good to an employer, dead or alive, if I'm a walking zombie with a diploma.

Happy January, friends. May your year be merry, your hearts be happy and your mouth ready to say "no!" when you're sacrificing your sanity for the American Dream.

Monday, June 6, 2016

AN ESSAY ON GREECE

Recently, I had the immense privilege to spend two weeks in Athens, Greece. This, this blog post that seems to go on and on is my attempt to swim through my thoughts and share my experiences with you.

Photo courtesy of Zach Miles
Let me tell you a little about Greece. The country is in economic turmoil, and has been since 2010. If you want to get acquainted with that THIS ARTICLE does a good job of explaining that. Driving through the streets in Athens we saw store after store after store sitting empty, the glass windows fogged over or marked by graffiti. Every day there was some sort of strike or riot in the city because citizens are angry and frustrated with their country. While we were there, the Metro went on strike, leaving countless Greeks out of transportation and clogging the streets with pollution and cars.

The second thing you need to know about Greece is this: they are currently hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees they cannot afford. (SIDE NOTE: there are currently talks about sending refugees back to Turkey. THIS ARTICLE talks about that in detail.)

The most startling thing about my trip to Greece was this: refugees are not terrorists.

Honestly, I’m a ashamed to say that. I’m ashamed to say I thought that way. I’m ashamed I allowed the attacks in Brussels and France and Boston snake their way into my head and make me think there was something to fear.

Photo courtesy of Zach Miles
But walking through the refugee camp at Elliniko, where thousands of Afghans, Iranians and a few Syrians live in the crumbling remains of the Olympic Stadiums, I felt sick to my stomach. Their homes were nothing more than sheets or blankets strung across string or rope. Some were lucky enough to have received tents; some had no privacy at all. To many, “home” was an unrolled rug or corner bordered by shoes and ratty boxes. Their laundry hung in what seemed like never-ending rows along the fence lines, barbed wire rested on the ground beneath them. They had six outhouses to share, only six showers with cold water, and one hose for water.

Most of the children hadn’t been to school in two years or more. Their education was halted abruptly when the Taliban, or another terrorist group, threatened their homeland, and their only option was to run. A few escaped before violence broke out.

Most of these people were smart, educated. They were not poor. I met engineers who had PhD’s, teachers and doctors whose children had seen family members beheaded and felt bombs dropping around their home for weeks on end.

These people, these brothers and sisters from the Middle East were shaken in their faith – betrayed by their religion.

One man told me to thank an American soldier if I knew one because they were fighting the Taliban for them: they were trying to keep them safe. One child drew a picture of a boat on open water with blobs of hot, violent red all around the page. Many children kicked, pinched and slapped one another, yet they also showed kindness and teamwork when they witnessed grace.

Because of Greece, I began to wonder at the state of my crooked heart. Who was I to judge a man? Who was I label millions of people based on the actions of a few? Who was I to attempt to show the love of Jesus to these people?

I believe it is easy for us to step into fear and anchor our feet there. But would I pay thousands of US dollars to cross the sea in a rubber raft, risk the lives of my children (who don’t know how to swim) then live in poverty just to make a political statement?

No. I don’t think I would.

Thank God he forgives us. Thank God he redeems even our worst, nastiest thoughts. Thank God he allows us to see people the way he sees them: as all the same. To God, people are people. They are not refugees, or terrorists, or Americans, or Greeks. Just people. And all people need to feel loved. They need to know why they were created.

Photo courtesy of Zach Miles
To be honest, I’m not 100 percent sure why I wrote this; to reflect on my trip to Greece and share it with everyone? Partially. Perhaps I wrote it to parse out my own thoughts and figure out exactly what changed my heart in Greece.

I suppose my real goal, my true intent was to remind myself and all my readers that it’s alright to admit you have a crooked heart at times. We all struggle with stuff, and we all become upset. I read the news all the time, but having names and faces to this information upset my whole apple cart. These statistics have names and families and stories and they just want to go home. I thought I knew what was going on. In reality, I had no idea.

I suppose my other intent was to remind myself that everyone needs a shot and no one is beyond redemption. No one is too far-gone to be a decent human being. No one is the devil in disguise.


In a way, I’m grateful that I knew nothing about the Greeks, Afghans and Iranian’s backgrounds. They were a clean slate: people with a story waiting to be shared who thought me worthy enough to be welcomed into their hearts and homes and taught a valuable lesson.

Friday, November 6, 2015

it's been far too long

 Walking with my roommate to a meeting in the rain and lightning because if I have one fear in life it's lightning. Praise the Lord for amazing friends!

Sunset picnics in the park at sunset.

Aerial views of ORU are oh-so-stunning.

Floor initiation with the best girls anyone could know.

My brain is constantly going.
It's like a little hamster on a wheel running and running and constantly going to the next thing. I frequently topple into bed well after midnight amazed at what I did during the day and slightly terrified because I feel like I didn't accomplish anything.
This semester I took on a LOT of responsibility. And, despite what I thought going into it all, sometimes I wonder how in the world I can balance all this nonsense on my shoulders. I literally walk around with my phone in hand so I don't forget what I have in my schedule. I wear a WATCH now, for heaven's sake! It's ridiculous.
But at the same time, I have to sit back and look at my life and realize I have a lovely thing going here. It's chaotic, but it's also kind of beautiful... in a weird, twisted sort of way.
Oh, is that a pimple on my nose from lack of sanity? It's totally cool. We can rock that pimple. 
These are the things I tell myself anyway.
Really though, it's okay to feel like life is hectic sometimes. College is this rare time where I can still be a kid yet dip my toes into adulthood just enough. At the same time, I can also realize what I want and don't want when I officially become an "adult." Which, by the way, is the weirdest concept to me. Becoming an adult. When does this actually happen? When you turn 21? When you get married? When you get a raise? How does someone become an adult? I swear I'm still eight years old sometimes.
I'm going to do my best to slow my brain down a little next semester. I've tried out the whole hamster on the wheel thing and I'm willing to hang it up for a semester to enjoy life. To enjoy the opportunities college gives me to MEET people instead of meet jobs. If we're always looking towards work, what are we really living for anyway?
Work is a means to an end, after all. But people and relationships with them are priceless. That's never something worth sacrificing for a couple lines on my resume.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

cult classics and bikes


My friend Megs and I heard rumors that the weather was going to be absolutely amazing this weekend, so we decided we'd go on a bike ride.
Once the rumors turned out to be true, we scooted (<-- is that an actual word?) ourselves out of bed Saturday morning and cruised around the city. No agenda. No time frame. No trail. We were just rollin around on our bikes that had squeaky chains and clicking gears and had a great old time.


I might have said this before, but I really love bike riding. It's faster than walking, yet not as limiting as a car. You can see so much on a bike! And you can get exercise! And, if you like to show off, you can ride your bike with no handle bars and pretend you're meditating or something...

It was probably the nicest bike ride I've been on in a while. As I said in my last post, the last week was a bit of a doozy. It was one thing after another; my schedule was packed. And really, I was pretty fed up with this whole "be an adult but also a student and child at the same time" thing by the end of it. But this bike ride (and a crazy dance party/movie night) reminded me of how awesome I have it. What an amazing life I live!

^ We rode through an old neighborhood and it was beautiful. I think I drooled a few times over the architecture.
^ Also this robin egg blue house... which I took while still riding my bike. DO NOT RECOMMEND, I repeat: DO NOT RECOMMEND!

Speaking of said dance party/movie night. We watched The Sandlot, which is easily one of my all-time favorite cult classics. Right up there with Princess Bride and Friend Green Tomatoes. And probably You've Got Mail. Which I don't think constitutes as a cult classic... but I sure do love that movie.

I also realized I have probably watched The Sandlot one too many times because I quoted almost every line... oops? But I'm not actually sorry?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

the story of long legs

I'm going to tell you a story... it's about a girl, a pair of incredibly long legs and some chestnut colored shoes. (I'm starting to feel like Rebecca from Confessions of a Shopaholic. Oh geez.) High heels to be exact. Wedges.

First, we'll talk about the legs, because they're a really essential part of the story. These legs were given to her by her... father, I suppose. We'll blame it on him. It's not his fault though, that he has legs making him over six feet tall.

But anyway.
These legs.

They went on for miles it seemed and always seemed to make her taller than her close girlfriends and most men.
Which is super awkward. Having a guy come up to you and say, "wow you're tall" is just awkward. How does one respond? "Yeah? Well you're short."


So she had these super long legs and didn't feel quite right wearing high heels unless she was around super tall men or friends who were wearing super high heels to make up for their shortness.
She owned two pair of heels, black patent pumps, and nude pumps. Barely a two inch heel. Perfectly sensible.
And then... she found a pair of wedges.


At first she laughed because they looked stupid in the store. All strappy and not at all "classy lady" (a style she preferred very much) But with a foot in them... well, it was an entirely different story!
They looked... they looked refined! They looked posh! She looked like she could clomp through Paris Fashion Week!


Jk, I'm getting ahead of myself.
But. Really. These things were beauties. And, added bonus, they were only $15. (Confetti popped out of the ceiling when she bought them, I kid you not)

So... that's how this darling lady came to own a pair of the coolest wedges in town. She still towered over everyone and their cousin, but she did it with style.

Now when men come up to her and say, "wow, you're tall" she raises with greater poise, throws her shoulders back, and responds, "aren't I though?"