Long Days

March 7, 2014

My alarm went off at 5:10 am. I reluctantly got myself out of bed at 5:30. From 6 am-5:30 pm I hopped from work to my internship to class.

Today was long.

I think it's interesting how we usually use the word "long" as a negative thing in reference to time. That lecture was long. What a long day. Church ran long!

Really, I think I'm saying my day was too short. By the time I was done with all of my scheduled responsibilities, it was dinnertime and I still had homework and other things to take care of. Wouldn't it be amazing to have a really long day?! To have the time to do all the things I need to do, to talk to the people I've been shuffling to the side, to sit in silence. Actually, I wish today was long!

I guess that by putting in the work now, I'll have less to do over my spring break so I can spend time with some friends I haven't seen in a while. I'm hoping I have many wonderfully loooooooooong days awaiting! I'll need to remember to appreciate them.

Ash Wednesday

March 6, 2014

Tonight, I went to a small Ash Wednesday service held at my local congregation in D.C. We sat in a circle, sang, prayed, reflected, shared, and laughed. The main activity was to envision what our Lenten journey would look like, write it down, and then to burn the paper in a communal bowl of ashes. I'd thought about what I'd be doing prior to the service: giving up ice cream and fasting on Saturdays, but I also realized I needed to plan to do something in addition to abstaining. As a college student, there are so many things that I have to do that it's so easy to not do seemingly less pertinent things, especially when my schedule has me in about six places at once. So, I decided I'd plan to write, since it's something I haven't committed myself to in a while. Maybe a little each day, maybe a lot, but ( hopefully ) beneficial.

Something that stuck out to me tonight was when someone mentioned that by turning off the TV, their mind had time to rest from stimulation, and thoughts arose that they never would have had otherwise. I thought about this in the context of my current position, since I've continually felt the academic world telling me I need to be constantly reading, writing, and critically thinking. It feels like they're telling you your brain always needs to be on, or what you're doing isn't really worthwhile. We ( maybe just I ) try to escape this by turning to the internet, TV, or phone to try to relax after a long day, but really that's just keeping me stimulated in a different way. I don't know how to come down. I don't know how to just stop. There's always something that needs to be done and being completely idle seems entirely impossible. It truly is an addiction. I know it's unhealthy, but everything around me is perpetuating it.

Just calling it how I see it.

While I can't commit to withdrawing from the academic and professional world ( this would be really awful to do in my final semester ), I'm hoping that these things that I have chosen will help remind me amidst the busyness of what is really important. I take comfort in the fact that there are those around me who are trying to break through the cycle as well. My plan is to:

Abstain - No ice cream!
Empathize - I know it's not enough to feel what hunger is really like, but by fasting on Saturdays, I hope to eliminate frivolous weekend meals and empathize with those who have experienced hunger.
Reflect - Writing every day of the journey to go deeper.

2013: A review

January 1, 2014

/// Bldg 25
The years are growing shorter, and 2013 seemed like it happened in the blink of an eye. It was full of growing up and priorities and ache and surprises and joy. I can't say that 2013 was my favorite, but it certainly was a necessary chapter connecting what was before to whatever comes ahead. 

The year started on the tail end of the most complete and fulfilling experience of my life thus far. Durban was a high like I've never felt before, and coming off it wasn't easy. In mid-January I returned to the ordinary life of a D.C. college student. With occasional peaks of excitement, such as the presidential inauguration, life seemed mostly dull and stressful compared to the carefree self that I had come to know while abroad. My classes didn't interest me much, and I was crushed by a rejection for a position that I had coveted for my entire college career. However, I quickly found myself guided into filling the shoes of a different role and was challenged for the better.

The end of the semester brought adventure as I landed two internships. The first was by complete chance and took me to the African continent again. In June, I traveled to Tanzania with African Community Exchange to work in an elementary school, and I was overjoyed that my friend Jill joined me. I exhaled a long-awaited sigh of relief and relished in the slower lifestyle and relationships I was able to embark on within two short weeks. I delighted at the forgotten joy of tasting a new language and worked hard to share my native vocabulary with the Bethel students. I was inspired by the story of the school and the local pastor who made it possible. I'm still carrying those quickly-built relationships in my heart, and I can only hope for a chance to return someday.

Immediately after returning from Tanzania, I began interning in Bethesda Magazine's web department. I fell in love with the atmosphere of a community-based publication and even found myself working - again, by chance - with the art department. I found my niche, gained valuable experience, and was invited to come back for the upcoming spring semester. 

Despite the new opportunities and experiences I was given on the east coast and abroad, I also missed out on regular summer events back home in Iowa, such as our mission center reunion camp at Guthrie Grove. I love my church family in Iowa deeply, and it was difficult knowing I was missing an event that has been the highlight of my summer for over ten years and a necessary opportunity to refresh myself. Nevertheless, I was able to finish my summer at the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center's reunion in August and was unexpectedly filled with the familiar peace I'd been looking for. Yet again, new relationships were forged, and I was blessed.

The final year of my college career commenced, and I was confronted with senior-level journalism classes that repeatedly took their toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. I realized I was spread thin through my many responsibilities, but, stubborn as I am, worked through them. Throughout the course of the semester, short retreats at a church campground in Pennsylvania and the friendships I found there blessed me in incredible ways and probably kept me sane, quite literally. 

At the end of the semester, I boarded a plane headed "home." It's true that I've returned to my parents and sister who I love more than anything, but I'm beginning to feel the pull of something new driven by the confidence and support that I've found in so many unexpected places this past year. Looking back over 2013, I see moments of disorientation regularly met with new doors to open and opportunities to explore parts of myself that I hadn't before. Sitting here typing, I'm awe of these blessings and feeling guilty for ever having a moment of doubt.

2013 was a year of stretching and twisting and back-bending, but I think I came out on the other side a more confident woman than I would have been otherwise. To 2014, and a continuing faith that the answer will always come someway, somehow. 

Here we go. 

Confessions of a DC Summer

July 17, 2013


Remember when summer was a time for sleeping in, pining after a Razor scooter (blue, obviously), endless trips down the water slide at the city pool, and ignoring your mother's constant request that you do something productive with your time and clean your room?

Now I'm having to make do with finding fun in sitting in my swivel chair at my indoor job for adults ( no scooter enthusiasts here ) and actually not having time to clean my room. Well, ok, I probably have time, but I need time for mind-numbing activities too, like browsing Facebook where an increasing number of my friends are posting pictures of rings, wedding dresses, and little people. (Lions and tigers and bears? Ok, just kidding. )

Last night, my housemates and I had to deal with a uniquely adult situation - our basement flooded due to old architecture and an incompetent washing machine. Although sweeping the inch-deep water towards the one tiny drain in the corner may seem like a child's dream, it's infinitely ruined by the realization that you still have to leave for work at 5 am because even the bus drivers don't get up early enough to take you to your 6 am job.

So, summer in the District isn't everything I dreamed it would be. ( Does it really get this hot in the Midwest?! ) I still need to find a placement that fulfills the expectations of my required religious studies internship ( when I really want to just do web publication and read and discuss religion ) and my frustratingly vague advisor. I also need to figure out a way to not show up at work like a sweaty mess because it's already 90 degrees out at 6 am.

But, I have had many, many wonderful moments this summer, and I'm way behind at sharing them. Summer has always meant adventure. This one is just a journey of a different sort. Hopefully I'll have the time to elaborate soon!

tuesday quote / F. Scott Fitzgerald

February 26, 2013

/// via my instagram
"I'm not sure what I'll do, but - well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale." F. Scott Fitzgerald

( quote via cheynesaw )

Lady Lindy

February 20, 2013

This week, I was tasked with a reporting project on an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. "One Life: Amelia Earhart" presents a visual timeline of pictures and memorobilia from Earhart's relatively short, yet exciting, life.

First of all, can we all just stop to look at how gorgeous this lady was? I can't help but admire how she could rock both the leather jacket and pants for flying ( which others deemed "unladylike" ) as well as the latest feminine trends for her many appearances.

Earhart is best known as an aviator and a symbol of feminine empowerment. She achieved many firsts during her lifetime, including being the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane. However, she suddenly disappeared during a flight over the Pacific in 1937 and has never been found.

In addition to the expected pictures and artifacts, the exhibit contains some interesting looks into Earhart's personality. Her free-spiritedness and independence never wavered. She definitely had a strong sense of self and knew exactly where her passion was: up in the air. She refused marriage proposals from George Putnam six times before finally agreeing to wed him. ( Seventh time's the charm? ) Even then, she was completely up-front and honest about her feelings, drafting this pre-marital letter in 1931:

All I can say is that George Putnam must have been one patient man. But really, could those requests have been drafted any more beautifully? I wish we still took as much time with our words as Amelia clearly did here. I especially love the line "I may have to keep some place where I can go to be myself, now and then, for I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinement of even an attractive cage." I think we can all resonate with that statement at times.

This exhibit is just one example of her legacy still being celebrated today. Three other Smithsonian museums also feature items related to Amelia Earhart. The National Air and Space Museum features the red Lockheed Vega in which Earhart set two of her aviation records and one of her leather flying coats. The American Art Museum houses a portrait miniature of Earhart, and stamps commemorating her flights can be found at the National Postal Museum.

“One Life: Amelia Earhart” will be featured at the National Portrait Gallery through May 27. The gallery is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and admission is free.

I had such a lovely time at the gallery today. I got to interview an FAA employee as well as a sweet old lady all the way from Melbourne, Australia. 

Oh, the people you find when you say hello. They never cease to surprise me.