525,600 minutes

Well, I am (unfortunately?) back in Texas. It’s nice to be back with regular access to cell service and computers, but the time away in the mountains had its perks: quiet, relaxation, family, friends, mountains, cool weather, etc.

Going back to the Y was weird. It was really good, but really weird. I haven’t been back there since August 7, 2010 — almost a year ago. Although it was all familiar and comfortable, it was also different. I belonged there, sort of. All the buildings were in the same place, but some of the furniture in the Admin has been rearranged. The mountains looked the same and the air had the same familiar smell, but the people there were different. While there were some familiar faces, there were also a bunch of new ones.

Like when I ate in the Spruce and Katy Welch didn’t greet me at the door. And the guy replacing the food on the line was not Barclay Bell. And the girl at the front desk wasn’t Alexandria Miller. The guy driving around in the B&G truck wasn’t Matt Beach. Allen Rivera wasn’t giving me ice cream at the Rustic, and Blanche Jacobson didn’t check out my stuff at the Craft Center. It was just weird.

Although LT 2010 seems like it just happened, in reality it’s been a year. 12 months. 365 days. And so much has happened in theat amount of time. As I sat in the Admin thinking back on all the conversations with various people I had there, I couldn’t help but think about how far I’ve come since the end of last summer.

This time last year…

  • I didn’t know where I’d be going to grad school.
  • I hadn’t planned a fall retreat. Or made enough food to feed 100 people at a Super Bowl party.
  • I didn’t know Amanda, Ben and Breezy as well as I do now.
  • I didn’t even know Katie, Michelle, Sam, Elaine and Allie existed.
  • I couldn’t tell Jason and Kyle apart.
  • I wasn’t as comfortable with sharing the gospel as I am now (though I’m still working on boldness for sure.)
  • I actually had never flat-out shared the gospel.
  • I hadn’t done canvas group follow-up.
  • In fact, I hadn’t been a canvas group equipper.
  • I had never led worship in canvas group.
  • I hadn’t missed a Mizzou football game.
  • I didn’t have a guitar.
  • I hadn’t admitted several things to myself.
  • I didn’t really think God could speak to me outside of reading the Bible and circumstances that just worked out a certain way.
  • I hadn’t explored the idea or read about spiritual warfare.
  • I didn’t really “get” the Holy Spirit. (Still working on understanding, but He’s making it clearer each day.)
  • No one I was close to was married or had children.
  • I didn’t have a degree in journalism.
  • I thought I’d be going back to LT this summer.
  • I had never seen more than a few inches of snow at once.
  • I had never been to Ohio (in my cognizant memory.)
  • I had never been on a mission trip.
  • I had never been to Tennessee.
  • I had never had a class with Jen Rowe.
  • I had never lived in my own apartment.
  • I had never carved a jack-o-lantern.

And of course those are just some of the random things I thought of at the time. So much more has happened, and all I can say is praise God!

A few weeks ago I was reading back through some old journals from the summer and last fall. There were several fears I was facing at the time, and it is amazing to see how God has worked through those fears and freed me of them!

So despite the fact that last summer seems like only moments ago, God has DONE WORK in the past twelve months. PTL.

And here are some photos. Because God made Colorado amazingly beautiful.

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Dangit, Target.

You know, parts of this summer have been long. For example, the 12 Freshmen and three Transfer New Student Conferences I’ve worked.

I’ve given the same 2-minute parent check-in spiel approximately 1500 times (actually a pretty accurate estimate) this summer.*

I’ve also answered the same questions a bazillion times (imaginative estimate).**

That being said, I don’t mean to complain at all. My job is pretty much the best thing I could have ever asked for. There are just parts of my summer job description that are a little… repetitive (i.e. counting and double T-shirts every day).

So as the summer’s winding down, I’m pretty dang excited to take a few days off and head up to Colorado for a long weekend. In preparation for the trip, I went to Target today with a mission: buy new earbuds.

My 4-year-old iPod’s earbuds have been in sad shape for a while. I bought new ones last spring, only to loose the smaller cushions that actually fit my ears properly before I could change them for the cushions that came on the earbuds. So they were constantly falling out of my ears, but I made do. Until I lost an ear cushion. So then I would listen through one bud. All in all, it was a janky mess. So with a few plane and car rides ahead of my, I decided to finally suck it up and spend the $20 for new earbuds that fit properly.

But of course, you really can’t go into Target and only buy one thing. In the words of my e-migos:

Gwen's not actually an e-migo because we went to Mizzou together, but we've mostly interacted online.

Kate, however, is the paragon of an e-migo.

So yes. I ended up getting much more than earbuds. But you know what? It’s okay because everything I got is either very functional, fills a need I had or is a little treat for me surviving the repetitive parts of the past nine weeks.

my Target spoils

1. a cross-body bag
I adore cross-body bags. I’m not a huge purse-girl, but I do like to have something to stick my keys, wallet and phone in on occasion. I just like to have my hands free, and cross-body bags are perfect for this! I have an adorable teal cross-body bag just big enough for my phone, wallet and keys, but when I have a book (like when I don’t want to play laser tag) (or my Bible and journal for church), my only alternative is a brown Jansport bag. Although it’s the perfect size for stashing books, it’s not very fancy or grown-up looking. It’s pretty much a mini backpack. So when I saw this cross-body bag the minute I walked into Target, I knew I had to have it. It’s the perfect size and look for my new semi-professional life. Love.

2. earbuds
What I came in for, and they fit like a dream!

3. affordable nail polish in the summer’s hottest color.

Catherine is a fellow Mizzou J-School alum and an editorial assistant at Allure Magazine. I trust her beauty knowledge. And although my polish isn't Essie, it's the same color at half the price.

4. a tiny cosmetic bag
I have been pining after a tiny bag for hair accessories when I travel. This one’s the perfect size. Check!

So dangit, Target. You got me this time, but I forgive you. It’s the little things.

And with that, I’m off to Colorado and leaving my laptop behind. I’m pretty excited to be in the mountains, see my sister, hang out with my family, catch up with my friends and spend some time reading for fun!

See you later next week!

*“Howdy! I have a few things for you today. First off, this is a family calendar. It lists important dates such as when classes start, when breaks begin and other important dates like that that you might want to know. Next, I have our conference schedule. If you open up to the inside, we have our Day 1 and Day 2 schedule. Anything with a black dot next to it is mandatory for students. And then here on the back is a check list of some important things you might want to take care of before you leave tomorrow. Next, I have a sign up sheet for our Family Member Listserv. This is a monthly email newsletter, so if you’d like to receive that, you can fill it out and return it to the Help Desk. And then this is a flier for our New Family Welcome Weekend. It’s the weekend of the Baylor football game, so if you’d like to come back and visit your student that weekend, you can read over the flier and register for our social events online or at the Help Desk. If you need tickets to tonight’s Family Dinner or tomorrow’s Howdy Lunch, you can get those in the lines to the right or at the doors of the event. We also have parent name tags by the elevators on the way out. Any questions?”

** The Questions:

  • Where is the Rudder Theater? (Go around the corner to your left. Go up the stairs, and it will be on your left.)
  • Where is the Rudder Auditorium? (On your right.)
  • Where is the help desk? (In the middle of the Zone and also in Rudder.)
  • Where can I buy lunch tickets? (I just told you you could buy them in the lines to your right or at the doors of the events. Ok, I don’t actually say, “I already told you…” I’m polite and cheerful!)
  • Where is 601 Rudder? (Take the elevator to the sixth floor.)
  • Where is the financial aid office? (It’s in the Pavilion, right next to the SCC.)
  • How do I get to the Student Computing Services? (Go out the doors and take a left. Follow the street as it curves to the left and to the right. This building here is a greenhouse. Turn left there and it should be on your right.)
  • How mandatory are these programs exactly? (Well, you will be held responsible for knowing all the information given in the mandatory sessions, so you should go.)

First friend-dates

If I’m being completely objective, I’d have to say my move to College Station has been one of the easiest transitions I could have imagined. That’s not to say parts of it haven’t been hard or challenging, or that I don’t miss my Mizzou folks more than words can express. It just means that when you take in everything that could have gone wrong or how hard it could have been, this transition has been relatively easy.

It was a huge blessing from God to come here with a few close friends and at least a bunch of other friend-ish acquaintances . It was a great base for me to start rebuilding my support system and a great resource for meeting new friends. But the thing about moving somewhere and starting over is that you have to start over.

Not many people here really know me. I’d say maybe three people do, so far. (Which isn’t half bad, considering I’ve been here a month.)

In order to combat this, I’ve taken it upon myself to ask several friends and acquaintances out on first friend-dates. I just this term because it’s the best metaphor I can think of to represent what I’m doing. Essentially I find people I’d like to get to know better (as friends) and asked them to get lunch/dinner/coffee/ice cream/froyo/snow cones with me. And then we basically have a first date, if we’re being honest.

How many siblings do you have? Where are you from? What’s your major? How’d you get to A&M? How’d you find Fellowship Church? What’s God been doing in your life lately? Share your testimony. How’d you get involved in student affairs? What was your undergrad experience like? What do you like to do for fun?

I’ve had these first friend-dates with about 5-7 girls so far. (I’ve really only done it with girls so far, but I definitely want to get to know my homegroup brothers, too, so they’re next!) A lot of my conversations have been really blessed by encouragement and testimonies and being able to see God working in other people’s lives. It’s also been a blessing to get to know my coworkers and understand their background and education. But I’ve also gotten to share a lot about myself, where I came from and who I am during these conversations. People are picking up on my quirks already! (i.e. love of proper English, my Mizzou pride, my height, my ginger citizenship, my love of Gilmore Girls, how I got to A&M, bits of my testimony, my journalistic background, what student affairs is, etc.)

It’s been a cool opportunity to lay the groundwork for some really awesome friendships I can see forming in my future, and I’m excited for more first dates and more follow-up dates!

Journalism is not my passion; freshmen are

So I’ve been cheating the system and have been listening to the LT 2011 talks on my iPod. It’s been interesting because so far I’ve only listened to sermons from pastors from The Rock, so I’ve been familiar with a few of their illustrations, or in Ed’s case, his sermon, since I’ve heard some of it before. Plus this summer everyone is reading Chazown, which is a great book (I recommend it to all college students!), but I have already read it! So basically this is all refresher information so far.

But today I listened to a sermon that started off with a “My Story.” “My Story” is a time for LTers to share what God has been doing in their life related to whatever you’ve been talking about at LT. For this particular sermon, a girl named Alecia from Texas A&M spoke about figuring out her passions. Now, I’ve never met Alecia, but after listening to her story, I definitely identified with a lot of what she said, and it’d be pretty sweet if we got to meet once she gets back from Colorado because she seems really cool.

The two main things Alecia stressed were that opportunities given to you and your interests do not necessarily indicate your passions. I couldn’t agree more! Back when I read Chazown in the spring semester of my junior year of college, I was trying to figure out what I was passionate about. I was nearing the end of my undergraduate degree in journalism, and though I liked certain parts of journalism (grammar, design), I just didn’t feel passionate about it. I was interested in journalism, but I didn’t have a God-given desire to pursue it and change the world through it.

Chazown helped me realize that I am passionate about freshmen. Here’s what I wrote in my career statement for my application for grad school here at A&M (if there are any of my former Twain residents reading this, I might have talked about you without using your name… heh):

I adore freshman. I love every little thing about them. I love the way they roll their eyes when their parents ask all the right questions on a school tour. I love the way they email you before they’ve picked a college and ask if it’s possible to be in a sorority and get good grades at your school. I love they way they email you a week before move-in and ask if they should bring their own milk from home, seven hours away, or if there’s somewhere near the dorm they can buy it. I love the way they put up a safe, false front upon first meeting their peers on move-in day in order to get along with as many people as possible. I love the way these false fronts slowly crumble as freshmen realize who they are and what they want to become, as they embrace their personalities and quirks and learn to love their newfound identities.

The first year of college can make or break students, and after working in Residential Life for three years, I have seen both sides of the coin. I’ve seen happy-go-lucky-blondes diminished to teary messes after their first break up. I’ve seen curly-haired brunettes embrace the challenges of the Missouri School of Journalism and succeed with flying colors. I’ve seen quiet, reserved boys fall off the radar and fade into oblivion. I’ve seen others embrace their inner nerd and conquer the dreams they set out to accomplish. I have made it my mission to help as many freshmen as possible to have a good freshman year, conquering goals and living out dreams rather fading off the radar of college.

What I’ve realized is that while freshmen will learn a lot by trial an error, they also don’t mind a little guidance from someone who is older and wiser, and I have loved being that older-and-wiser person through my jobs as a peer advisor and as one of MU’s Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) student coordinators. As a peer advisor, I was able to interact and form relationships with hundreds of freshmen over the course of two years. I was there for them when they blew a fuse while microwaving macaroni and cheese and blow-drying their hair; I was there for them when they weren’t sure what classes they needed to take the next semester; I was there for them when they fought with their roommates; and I was there for them when they cried over boys, girls and D- papers. I was able to help them process through these experiences and make the best of them. I was there to give advice, listen and be a shoulder to lean on. By pursuing a Master’s degree in the field of Student Affairs, I hope to be that older-and-wiser person for the rest of my career, moving from simple things like blown fuses to larger issues such as leadership development and academic retention.

As I repeatedly tell people who ask why I’m going to grad school, “I like a lot of things about journalism, but I’m not passionate about it. I’m passionate about the freshman transition to college.”

But what’s cool is that even though journalism is not my passion, God is still allowing me to use my interests in specific aspects of journalism to pursue my passion! I get to design posters and handbooks and newsletters as part of my student affairs job! It’s a pretty freaking awesome set-up. God is good like that!

Anyway, I just thought I would share my God-given passion and explain a little more why I’m going to grad school. It’s been a beautiful journey with God figuring out what I want to do with my life, and I’m excited to see where else his plans take me!

Sleepwalking through sentences

Last week, I read a really cool essay about reading and writing fiction for my art class. I’m not 100 percent sure why it’s relevant to my art class, but it was an amazing essay regardless, and I think it’s relevant beyond the world of fiction reading/writing. Here is one of my favorite parts:

“With a cliché, you have pandered to a shared understanding, you have taken a short-cut, you have re-presented what was pleasing and familiar rather than risked what was true and strange. It is an aesthetic and an ethical failure: to put it very simply, you have not told the truth. When writers admit to failures, they like to admit to the smallest ones – for example, in each of my novels, somebody ‘rummages through their purse’ for something because I was too lazy and thoughtless and unawake to separate ‘purse’ from its old, persistent friend ‘rummage.’ To rummage through a purse is to sleepwalk through a sentence.”

“Fail Better” by Zadie Smith

I’ve always known you shouldn’t use clichés, but I’ve never understood it as well as I do now, thanks to Miss Zadie.

There were also really cool parts about authors’ personalities coming through in their work, the qualifications of a “good” novel being one that is thought-provoking and challenging, and even an argument on how a good novel requires a good reader. All in all, a really outstanding reading, especially for a class reading! I recommend it to anyone who reads or writes.

READ “FAIL BETTER” HERE.

Sunday Grammar Gems with Barclay Bell, Vol. 1 (Cameo by Jen Rowe)

Today I had a text message conversation with my friend Barclay that went a little like this:

Barclay: Knock knock
Lindsay: Who’s there?
B: To
L: To who?
B: To whom!!

The guy knows my nerdy self too well. I have to admit I laughed.

L: Baha. That was actually pretty good. I’m visiting my sister and she says you’re a huge dork.
B: I got it from a 3-year-old. So cute.

A 3-year-old?! What kind of 3-year-old understands who vs. whom?!

L: How did a 3-year-old know that?? Haha maybe it’s my future child who has time traveled back to entertain you!
B: Or Jen Rowes child.

So. hilarious!

Is it really sad that I talk about grammar/Magazine Editing/Jen Rowe so much that my friends 800 miles away know her by name?

Yes. But I don’t care.

My last piece of journalism… ever?

Hi friends. Sorry I’ve been seriously amiss in blogging lately. Spring break and a week of hellish school work have kept me away, and I’m only here now for a brief shameless plug.

My time at Mizzou and the journalism school grows shorter. Only…

  • 33 days until I’m done with exams
  • 36 days until graduation
  • 47 days until I move to College Station.

That being said, my days of journalism are also drawing to a close. While I hope to use my journalism degree in my future career as a student affairs professional, I don’t necessarily foresee myself publishing many more stories. But I could be wrong; who knows?

Anyway, the point of this is that I wrote a story for Vox Magazine last semester that didn’t quite make it in to be considered timely. It was about slacklining, and by the time I finished the story, it was winter and too cold to slackline or have people read about slacklining. (Man this sounds awesome! I want to do this! I can’t wait to stand outside barefoot in the below-freezing temps during one of the five snow storms we’ll encounter in the next few months!)

Fast forward 5-6 months, and it finally went online a few days ago. It’s weird to think this might be my last ever piece of journalism, but I’m pretty happy with the story.

READ THE SLACKLINING STORY HERE!

And now I shall return to my 6-to-8-page poli sci paper on FDR, my 3-to-4 page paper on journalism and consumerism and my 2-to-3-page paper on art of some sort. Kill me now. Or just pray for me.

Sublease my apartment!

So over the past few weeks, I have had many inquiries into living in my apartment building next year. This is mostly because Dumas is SO CONVENIENT and not very expensive.

Well, the time has come for me to find my subleaser/next year’s leaser!

If you are interested in living in my one-bedroom apartment starting right after I graduate (May 14ish) for the summer, please let me know!

Priority will be given to those who can stay for the fall and spring semesters! (This means you would be guaranteed a Dumas one-bedroom apartment before anyone else gets to look at it! Perk!)

Details:
-One bedroom
-One bathroom
-Kitchen/living/”dining” combo
-FURNISHED
-$350 a month rent
-Utilities/electricity/gas/internet included (my apartment is one of the only ones with that feature)

Location:
-On the corner of Hitt St. and University
-Across the street from the Fine Arts Building and the Corner Playhouse/Fine Arts Annex
-Backs up to Hitt St. Garage
-Walking distance to campus and downtown

This apartment would be especially perfect for a out-of-state journalism student looking to become a Missouri resident, or someone reporting at the Missourian this summer.

One time I walked to the J-school, back to my apartment, and back to the J-school in 10 minutes.

Please send me a Facebook message if you are interested!

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#100: Ohio reflections

I just realized this will be my 100th post on this blog!

Dang, when I started this thing back in January, I didn’t really have a huge plan for it; I just knew I wanted to be open in sharing what God has been doing in my life. I never expected to be so blessed by friends and acquaintances’ comments and encouraging responses to my writings or even the personal reflection this blog has been able to give me. I look forward to sharing my one year anniversary with Lindsay in Progress in about a month!

Meanwhile, it’s my last full day in Ohio. Sitting on Kristen’s futon and watching the snow fall gently outside, I’ve been reflecting back on the past few weeks since Thanksgiving break. Here are some things I’ve been thinking about.

#1. I miss my family.
I mean I’ve always missed my family since I left for school in August of 2007, but in the past 6-ish months I have begun to miss them all the more. I absolutely adore my siblings and love spending time with them; Thanksgiving definitely reminded me of that. I can’t wait to go home and see them in a week! I also wish Blair wasn’t going to school in Arkansas because, God willing, I’ll be back within reasonable driving distance of our home base next year and can actually come home for junior high band concerts or high school graduations. I wish our whole family could be close again.

#2. I don’t have a college best friend.
Don’t get me wrong, I have several incredibly close friends at school without whom I couldn’t survive sometimes, but I don’t have one stand-out “I tell her everything, and she knows everything about me” best friend here. My life has been a weird cycle of new friends every few years. Unlike my sister who has had the same best friends since kindergarten, my core group of friends has changed with the seasons in my life. There were my elementary school friends, then junior high friends, then early high school friends, late high school friends, orchestra high school friends, early college friends, journalism college friends Rock college friends, LT friends… I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing necessarily; it’s just something I’ve noticed.

#3. I am so incredibly excited for LT 2011 regardless of if I get to go or not.
LT 2011 and I have been going back and forth all semester. There are days I just can’t even wait to be back in the mountains, but there are also days that the idea of working housekeeping 40 hours a week for 12 weeks just really turns me off. I’d say I swing back and forth between 95% for sure going to LT and 60% for sure going, but the past few weeks I’ve been more and more excited about it.

I know of at least three to five Twain girls are considering going, and they are what I am most excited about. I want to see them grow in God and develop their leadership skills. I want to watch them lead Life Groups so badly. If I were asked to lead a Life Group again, I would say yes, but with the caveat that if there were a younger girl in my Project who had some leadership potential that they be asked first. I want so badly to be in a Life Group with Sam or Michelle or Katie or Mariah and watch them grow into even more beautiful women of God as they lead.

In the same hand, I think I’d really like to try to lead a Project Group. If I’m not asked, I won’t be upset at all; in fact it would be a good summer or rest before I start the next chapter in my life. But if I were asked, I think it could definitely be an awesome learning experience and challenge for myself this summer.

As for the me possibly not going, I mean it is a possibility. I’m going to apply and get ready as if I were going, but if a get a graduate assistantship that starts during the summer, I’ll be taking that.

Overall, I’m not really worried about any of this; I know God will put me where I need to be this summer, whether that be at school or in Colorado, leading a Life Group or a Project or just relaxing with Him.

#5. Christmas Break is taking FOREVER to get here.
I had a week and a half of class after Thanksgiving where I had maybe two big things. Now I’m in Ohio with another two big things due next week. So that’s like four things spread out ever-so-slowly over three weeks. It’s like home is slowly inching its way toward me, and it’s driving me crazy. I just want to be done and homeward bound. At least I only have one more week of slow agony left!

Lastly, I’d like to ask for some prayers.

  • First of all, I’m a bit worried about my flight back to Missouri tomorrow. It’s supposed to “snow squall,” and I really don’t wat my flight delayed. Also pray for my friends who are driving an hour to Cleveland and back to take me to the airport.
  • Secondly, I have a lot to get done in this next week, namely some SC organization stuff, a magazine editing test, a 10-page paper and two grad school apps. Pray I get this all done so I can GO HOME.
  • Thirdly, prayers for a productive break. I have a lot of things I want to do and accomplish this break, but I’ll need discipline to stay off Facebook and make good use of my time. Pray that I have the desire to accomplish my goals and that I can grow closer to God even when I’m away from my community for four weeks.

Good luck to everyone with finals this week. Safe travels to you all, as well!