Tuesday, May 21, 2013

AtZ loves Oklahoma

I always pictured myself living in Texas for the rest of my life. I thought I'd go to college in Texas, get a job in Texas, get married in Texas, raise my kids in Texas, retire to Texas. I never imagined myself ending up in Oklahoma for any amount of time. You know how people talk about Arkansas like it's this incestuous, hillbilly, crazy-filled state? Texans kinda feel that way about Oklahoma, also, if they haven't lived there; haven't met the people there. And then I did both of those things. And it has changed me.

Oklahoma is where I learned to appreciate life. It's where I decided to live zealously and pursue happiness in all things. Oklahomans became my family. I relied on them when I was sad, happy, broken, homesick, needed to share my life with someone. Oklahoma was my home for the past 4 years of my life. This state and its people have forever ingrained itself into me; it's a part of who I am.

A part of who I am was torn apart yesterday. It is leveled. It is littered. It is dead. I know there are people who are grieving, feeling like there can be no reason to continue pursuing life. It would be easy to give up on trying to find joy in all of the destruction.

But, part of my thoughts on being zealous includes the pursuit to feel fully. It can be terrible, and it can be destructive if there is a lack of a support system, but fully feeling this grief and this hurt is what is going to make me remember to fully feel and experience the joy that life has to offer. I will remember the lives lost, and honor that by living my life as hard as I can; by being passionate and zealous to continue experiencing all that this beautiful life have to offer.

A part of who I am was brought together yesterday, as it has had to do far too many times in the past. This state knows pain, but it also knows support, love, and faith. If there was ever a state who could handle trauma, it's Oklahoma. It is strong. It is healing. It is alive.

All my love, prayers, and support go to my home away from home. Thanks for letting me be one of you for the past four years. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Prayers are Liquid Luck

"Don't forget that you are not going through your sorrow alone. God is there. He hears you. He knows what you are facing day in and day out. He WILL bring you joy and you will rejoice! NO ONE can rob you of the pure joy that God can and will bring. Amen!"

A friend of mine on facebook posted this this morning after posting this verse:

     "So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy."

John 16:22

and I immediately felt like I needed to say something about it.

I am of the persuasion that God doesn't interact with us on a day-to-day basis. Don't get me wrong, I believe He hears our prayers and does something about them if it's necessary, but I feel like God is a sort of mama bird who has taught us how to fly, and for the most part, He let's us figure things out on our own. Prayers are a sort of self fulfilling prophecy in a way that we pray for what we want, or feel like we need, and then praying gives us the confidence that God is going to do something about it, when in reality, we make it happen ourselves.

It's like Ron Weasley and the Liquid Luck in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Harry tricks Ron into thinking he's had some of the potion, so Ron feels like he can do anything and wins the Quidditch match for Gryffindor, when in actuality, Ron makes that happen all with his own skills.

Prayers are Liquid Luck.

Now, back to the verse and the comment my friend made about it.

We are not going through our sorrow alone. . . because God has provided friends for us to lean on.
God is there; He does hear you.
He is omnipresent, so yeah, He knows what you face daily.
This is where we disagree, though. I don't believe that God reaches down and removes you from the hard situation; nor does He come down and whisper encouragement in your ear. But, God did come down as a human and subsequently die for us. Remembering that someone so powerful loves me so much is what gives me the strength to get through tough times (strength=confidence, God's love [and praying to Him because we believe in that love]=Liquid Luck). And it's what keeps me joyous always. Like this verse, "and no one can rob you of that joy," no situation or person can rob me of the joy I feel because of His love for me. Therefore, it is my daily intention to show God's love and light to others by being joyful in all things; to me, that is how God is with us and supports us on a daily basis - by giving us other people to experience life and share joy with. So that's what I try to do. 

Pray for joy, and it will be "given," and then go and zealously seek out others to share that joy with.

Monday, March 18, 2013

How not to check the mail six times a day

Take a break! In beautiful spring weather!

In my last post I discussed all the waiting I'm doing right now and how stressful that can be. And how hard it can be to look on the bright side of it, as I so often try to do. A couple days ago, though, my sister brought in the mail and I realized that I don't have to worry about it. For a whole week I don't have to worry about what I'm going to find in my mailbox! It was such a relief when I figured this out.

For the whole past week, I've been complaining to Boyfriend about how awful my spring break was going to be. His was the week before mine - as were the spring breaks of all my friends from high school. I literally had 43 hours to spend with my best friends and Boyfriend before they had to leave to go back to school. It is really nice to know that I'm out of school right now, and other people had to go back after their break, but I would much rather have been able to make beach plans with all my friends than be able to brag that I'm not in school, but they are, and when I go back, I have 5 weeks and then finals before I graduate. They have a bit more than that. At least a week more.

I was complaining, both inwardly and outwardly, about this, until Saturday. And now I am thrilled to have a week where I can not do anything, not have to try to make sure that everyone around me is entertained, and best of all, NOT CHECK THE MAIL SIX TIMES A DAY!!!!

I have a feeling that all three of my letters from grad schools will be waiting for me when I arrive back in Stillwater, USA, but for now, I'm not going to worry about it at all. I can enjoy the last spring break of my undergrad relaxing and having some me time without angsting out about what I'm going to be doing in 6 weeks. Or in the fall. Even if most of the day is spent hearing screaming babies. I can handle that.

Here's to #SB2K13! I hope you had, are having, or will have a great one! :]

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On optimism and waiting

By the beginning of February, I had finished and submitted all of my graduate school applications. I was pretty pleased with myself for getting it done, but now came the time of waiting.

I literally check the mail upwards of three times a day. I open the mailbox frequently to see an empty, metal box. Sometimes I open it to retrieve one envelope - a bill most times. It is never an acceptance (or rejection) letter.

I just want to knoooowww!

I am trying to remain optimistic. I remind myself that I only have a little bit of time left in my undergrad so that I am conscious of making memories in the last two months.

And then I think "only 53 days until I graduate?!" I can't believe that these past four years are coming to an end. It's crazy. I feel like I haven't even been here for a year. I could swear my parents left me here at school only last September. And I want more time in this place.

At the same time, though, I'm ready to be done with this chapter of my life. I'm ready to start studying only things pertaining to my future career and be with like-minded people. I'm ready to learn how to do what I want to do with my life and start applying that knowledge to clients.

I'm ready to start showing people I care about them, and seeking them out with zeal, by helping them communicate. As one of the most important things we, as humans, can do, the ability to share ideas has to be in each of us, and I feel so passionately about giving someone the power that words can hold. I'm just ready to get started.

But for now, I must wait. And see that this part of my life is happening for a reason, too - without it, I wouldn't be able to move on to the next part.

As much as I hate all this waiting, I try to enjoy the fact that not knowing, means not stressing about my future if I don't get in anywhere. It means another day of looking forward to a bright future. Less time spent worried about the student loans that I'm going to have to take out.

And I enjoy thinking for just a moment that I am not going to have to leave this place that I've begun to think of as home. That I won't have to leave my friends behind, just wishing them luck with their senior, junior, and sophomore years of college.

I am going to cry like a baby come May 4. At least I can have people telling me "may the fourth (force) be with you" to keep me strong come graduation.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I am a student leader for Freshman Family Groups at the Wesley Foundation at OSU. This small group of freshman, 3 student leaders, and 2 Wesley staffpeople get together every week to have a small "lesson" or discussion, play a game, and just enjoy each others' company.

This semester, we decided to have a theme (for at least a little while). It is not officially "wonderment," but it's the same idea of seeing beauty and awe in both small and large things. Last week started with one of the staff, we'll call him A, telling a story of something that happened at the Passion conference in Atlanta last month. This conference is no small feat in general (more than 60,000 18-25 year olds were in attendance at the Georgia Dome), but what Jimmy John's did one day was close to magnificent: sandwiches for all 60,000 people delivered to each person in just 26 minutes. Everyone was amazed. When A mentioned this story, I immediately imagined the feeding of the 5000.

The next day, Jimmy John's was there and completed the task in incredible time again. This day, though, no one seemed amazed anymore. It wasn't new and shiny - it had already become "normal." Our goal with the freshman (and ourselves, to be honest) is to notice these moments of wonder and continue finding them, well, wonderful.

I am reminded of this message every time I take out the telescope I received as a Christmas present from Boyfriend. I could look through it every day and still be completely enthralled with looking at stars, the moon, and planets. Yes, planets! Tonight was the first night that I was awake late enough to see Saturn! Even the simplest of telescopes (and even some really good binoculars) will show you Saturn, its rings, and some of its moons. It was so awesome. I can't wait to do it again. The universe is full of wonder. It's important to remember that.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Love and Other Drugs

Today, I stumbled upon an article that I found to be really interesting. Though the headline is a little harsh ("There's no such thing as everlasting love..."), the premise of the research the article is relaying is completely understandable and valid. Scientific love is a "micro-moment of positivity resonance" rather than long lasting emotions. I was just yesterday explaining the neurotransmitter oxytocin to my boyfriend in a similar manner - that it's the "love and cuddle" hormone and is released when you have an emotional connection to someone; anyone.

I think the best part of the article is the fact that this research is being done to dispel the current cultural "love myth." From the article,
"Part of Frederickson's project is to lower cultural expectations about love--expectations that are so misguidedly high today that they have inflated love into something that it isn't, and into something that no sane person could actually experience"
This research is doing something wonderful by showing us that love doesn't have to be romantic, familial, or even friendly; you can love any person you pass on the sidewalk going to class or sit next to on the bus. Making an emotional connection with someone through something as simple as saying "bless you" when a stranger sneezes or just making eye contact with someone can cause the oxytocin levels in both of you to raise in sync and in turn make your body better at having more of these little moments, which helps your long-term health!

Ah! It's just awesome that there's real research to prove that my goals of sharing life with everyone and loving people all the time are valid goals that most people should set for their own health benefits. I'm not saying to go love on someone for your own selfish gain, but it's nice to know that you're getting something out of it too. And to know that I am legitimately helping other people experience love is a wonderful reward!
I think the author of the article put it best when she writes,
"Lonely people who are looking for love are making a mistake if they are sitting around and waiting for love in the form of the 'love myth' to take hold of them. If they instead sought out love in little moments of connection that we all experience many times a day, perhaps their loneliness would begin to subside."
I just think it's a beautiful sentiment and a great reminder to take advantage of those moments; to seek them out zealously and make someone's day by doing so - and lower both participants' "risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke!"

Take the time to make the little things count in this season of love.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Um, Wow!

Guys. I'm a second-semester senior. In college. When in the world did this happen?! Yesterday, I drove down to Edmond for a Silent Breakfast at a Panera Bread there. One of the middle schools in the city has a pretty new ASL Club whose teacher/sponsor/leader is a friend from OSU ASL, and she brought her students to breakfast as their first ever Silent Event. Talking to them made me remember what I was like as a 6th, 7th, and 8th grader. One of the 6th grade girls was half as old as I am-literally. She's 11! I just am amazed at how far I've come and how far they still have to go in their lives. It's humbling and absolutely incredible.

Remembering that I was once very similar to those young girls, taking everything personally and trying so hard to fit in, I wished that I had always thought the way that I do now - that every day should be filled with joy, and love, and not taken for granted; that you shouldn't sweat the small stuff; that it does get better, and the things that seem like big things now will be miniscule hilarities to look back on when you get older. I have truly reread note passed between friends and I form when I was 13 and 14 and shook my head and laughed at how utterly ridiculous we are as teenagers.

But you don't feel ridiculous when it's happening. And I guess that's part of the growing up process is going through that time of feeling like all eyes are constantly on you; working to fit in and then realizing as you get older that it just doesn't matter that much - that you're a good person, and people should get to know you in order to see that instead of judging based off of your clothes, or hair, or interests. I kind of feel bad for what these girls will soon be going through as high schoolers, learning the tough lessons of finding true friendship, heartache, anxiety for getting into college, knowing what they want to do with their lives, and pleasing their friends, teachers, and parents with all of those choices. It's making my heart beat faster just typing about it, and I've already lived through it!

It just reminds me to be thankful that I never experienced anything incredibly terrible while I was a teenager, and makes me want to think of them and pray for them to learn what I have in the easiest way possible, rather than a tough and painful way. And maybe share through actions that life is best served with a smile, shared with a friend, and never taken for granted.