Writing Exercise, Sentence Stealing. Pt. 1

Here is the first part of a short story I started. The prompt came from Poets & Writers.com:

Sentence Stealing:

In Writers Recommend, author Alix Ohlin writes: “When I’m in direst need of inspiration, I do what I call ‘sentence stealing.’ I find a sentence from a writer I admire and write it down. ‘In the beginning I left messages in the street.’ Or, ‘Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.’ Then I write my own version of the sentence, focusing only on its rhythms: by which I mean, replacing a noun with a noun, a verb with a verb. What’s left is a ghostly echo of the original sentence with no relationship to its actual content. And I follow that new sentence wherever it takes me, down the road to an unfolding story.” Using Ohlin’s method, write a story of your own.

Taken from Rebecca Stead’s “When You Reach Me,”: (P.1): “So Mom got the postcard today.”

Well, we finally got the bill yesterday. It all happened one week a few months ago. I had just finished my last day of work, and it would be two weeks until I started my new job. I would also be starting school again, for the first time in years, that fall. Sean had finished his Bachelor’s degree, and he had given his two weeks notice with a month off before he started his new job. We didn’t have anything planned for that week, we just figured we would lay around – maybe take a couple of day trips. But, when his cousin offered to watch our dog, we figured we could go out of town. And with the extra money we had been saving, plus (I’m not proud to say) but the room we had on my credit card – we figured we could take an impromptu vacation.

We made a list of nearby places we could go for a couple days – spending a reasonable amount of money. Then that night, I lay awake all night. All I could think of was the amount of responsibilities we were about to encounter in our lives. We were both starting new, more time consuming jobs – really it was going to the be the beginning of his career. I would be busy practically for the next three years after I started school again. And at some point, we would probably eventually buy a house and start a family. When would we have a week to just be irresponsible and doing something crazy again?

So the next morning I threw some things together in our big suitcase. I grabbed everything from sweaters to swimsuits. There was no plan. I grabbed all of our toiletries and even our towels and sleeping bags - because I had no idea where we would be staying that night. I rolled everything up, and somehow managed to fit all of the necessities into our suitcase. I woke Sean up, telling him just to get dressed and that I had a surprise for him. While he was in the shower, I called the taxi. There was no use leaving our car parked in a garage for a week, and I wasn’t telling anybody we were leaving town – so a taxi was the best option. He got out of the shower, the taxi showed up, I grabbed our bag and out we went.

“To the airport,” I told the driver after Sean and I had both gotten in. As we rode, Sean said, “Did you get us tickets to somewhere while I was sleeping or something?”

“Not exactly.”

“You booked us a room somewhere and we are on standby for the tickets?”

“Wrong again.” My cheeks began to flush. I wasn’t sure if he would be thrilled about my crazy plan.

“Okay, so why don’t you tell me what’s going on?”

“We are going to the airport. I packed everything we could possibly need. I did the math, and have an idea in my head of about how much we can spend over the next five days. We are going to the flight attendant and going the first place they have two tickets to in the US.”

“Oh, okay. That’s all.” Sean laughed maniacally. “I thought maybe you had gone and done something crazy.”

“It’s not crazy. We have both always wanted to travel more around the United States. We have smart phones, we can book a room, or a hostel, or even a campground wherever we go. You and I both have friends and family around the country. We will be fine.”

“Okay,” Sean said sounding like he was trying not to lose it. “You take the lead on this one. It’s your plan, you make it work.”

The taxi pulled in front of the curb at the Mccarren airport. Sean grabbed our giant, heavy suitcase – I’m not even sure why he was being that gracious towards me. And we went in. I went up to the first airline I saw and got in line. Sean stood just behind me, probably hoping I would back out. My heart beat quickly, and I tried to swallow but my mouth was too dry. Where were we going to end up? Alaska? Hawaii? New York? Nebraska? What if we wound up in the middle of nowhere, with no place to stay? Just as I was about to back out, the woman at the airline desk called the next in line.

“Hello. Name please?” she asked.

“Well, here are our id’s. We actually don’t have a reservation yet.”

“Okay. I can make you a reservation, where are you trying to get to today?”

“Um… actually, we just want to fly to the first place you have two available tickets to,” I answered. My hands were shaking. I felt like a complete idiot.

“Okay,” the woman eyed me suspiciously. She probably thought we were two criminals running from the law or something.

“Let’s see. It looks like we have two available seats on the noon flight to three different places.” She paused as she focused in on the computer.

“Do we want to pick out of three places or just have her pick randomly?” I asked Sean.

He thought for a second. “Well, this is your crazy plan, so you can choose overall, but I would say that this has been crazy and spontaneous enough and that we should be able to at least pick between three places.”

Well, if I let her pick we might end up somewhere expensive or just lame. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to hear the three options and pick the best one.

“Alright, here we go. Are you ready for your choices?” she asked amused at our situations.

“Yeah, go for it.”

“Okay, we have a twelve o’clock flight to…,”she paused for effect, “Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Atlanta, Georgia.”

“Well, it looks like we are going to Atlanta, Georgia then,” I said.

“Okay. I will just need a credit or debit card for the payment.”

Keep On Keeping On… Whatever that means

So bloggees… it’s been awhile. After my last post, I decided to focus on a short story I was preparing for a writing contest. I felt good about the story, but was not one of the winners. Since then, I’ve ran a half marathon, gotten a dog, and continued to work on planning our wedding :-P.

I found the writing contest on the Poets & Writers website, and it seemed pretty competitive. The winners were all older than me, and I’m sure had more education as well. I’d like to enter a less competitive writing contest before the year is over or submit my work to a local publication, but I haven’t done much research on local publications yet. If anybody has suggestions for either.. I’m open to hearing them. I’ve done a little research looking for less competitive or local writing competitions, and didn’t have any luck.

I’ve been feeling a little discouraged about things lately – Sean & I are 4 months away from our wedding with lots still to do. It seems like the list is never-ending. No matter how much we work, or how tight we are on our budget – there’s still more to save and more to plan. I’m not really sure why I thought a year long engagement was a good idea, but I’m sort of ready to just get hitched and move onto the next part of our adventure. I’m excited to see our wedding plans come to life, and for all the fun stuff the next few months will include – but I’m just going to be very ready for my ‘event planning’ days to come to an end after that. Anybody else wish they had had a shorter or longer engagement? Why? A bigger or smaller wedding? What would you change if you could go back and do it over?

On a positive note, my fiance is one semester closer to getting his degree! It’s been stressful though trying to plan the wedding, have a full-time job, having Sean work full-time and be a full-time student. But through all the stress (and fights that come with the stress) – it’s been worth seeing Sean excel in school and begin to see his own potential. We are both probably going to end up being life-long learners – one of us will probably always be in school or at least for the next ten years, but it’s cool to see him begin to dream about what graduate school could look like. We both have big dreams for the future, I want to continue writing and would eventually like to go back to school for writing or to become a professor, and Sean (among wanting to do other things) would like to be a history professor. He works so hard (and gets way better grades than I did) and is dreaming about going to some of the best schools. I’m a little more jaded and cynical about thinking I’ll actually get into the right program for me one day or get my writing published – but I guess that’s why we go well together. I dream big, but don’t think I’ll ever make it. Sean dreams big for both of us, and then says – ok, now let’s go do it!

We’ve been working really hard. I know it’ll all pay off in the end – for the wedding, for school, for future jobs, for writing, for our future family… but sometimes I could just use a little payoff and encouragement now. I need like an advance pay-day in encouragement ;). So, that’s it for us. Sorry – no actual writing or writing example today, but hopefully soon. We are just chip-chipping away at life, and keep on keeping on. I go between wanting to savor where we are at, because I know I’ll be nostalgic for it in like 6 months already, and just wanting to get through it. Being grateful and savoring the moment is definitely I should be working on. I’ll take any advice or any comments today, I’m open to it all!

Forbidden Love Letter

Here’s a silly writing exercise I just did from Poets & Writers prompts: http://www.pw.org/writing-prompts-exercises

Creative Nonfiction Prompts

Writing exercises to help you generate well-crafted narratives.

Love Letter

posted 2.14.13

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To celebrate Valentine’s Day, write a love letter to an inanimate object that explores why you appreciate what you’re writing about, what its special qualities are. Title it as you would address the letter: Dear Subway, Dear Keychain, Dear Gloves…

Here’s my love letter:

Dear Sean’s Mac Laptop,

I just want to confess my secret love to you for Valentine’s Day. I know you belong to my fiancé, but I can’t help but want you all for myself. You are so easy to use, and you making writing a joy.

My old laptop and I have had some good times together, I’ll give you that, but it’s just time to move on. Honestly, I’ve outgrown this old Vaio. Five years together, and it thinks it can just be slow and lazy all the time. It doesn’t give me the new and exciting adventure you can offer.

I shouldn’t be saying all of this. I’m actually writing you this letter from my Vaio right now.

I guess I should cut it short, Mac, before Vaio realizes what’s going on – but I just wanted you to know how much I miss you. Only a day apart and I already can’t wait to get close to you again.

Yours,

Regan

Write one & send it to me! I’d love to see what you come up with   :)

Lisa’s Writing Exercise

My friend Lisa shared this writing exercise with me last week. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to do it. You take ten lines from a book, sort of randomly. I chose Flannery O’Connor’s: The Complete Stories. I turned to pages randomly and then found one sentence from each page that I liked:

1.) She allowed herself to be guided by his mother to the car and put in the back seat without seeming to know who the rescuer was.
2.) He reached into his pocket and withdrew his pipe and a sack of tobacco.
3.) She wanted to get up and go to him but she could not move.
4.)Parker, still barefooted, burst silently in on him at a little after three in the afternoon.
5.) She’d stood stiff up and said they lived where they could afford to live and made the best of it.
6.) The umbrella was one his landlady had stopped using fifteen years before (which was the only reason she had lent it to him) and as soon as the rain touched the top of it, it came down with a shriek and stabbed him in the back of the neck.
7.)His eyes were as blue and intense as the parrots in his shirt and he remained perfectly still.
8.) The old woman clamped her gums together.
9.) There’s about ten million billion more just like them and I know what Mrs. McIntyre said.
10.)She didn’t take anything to eat, forgetting that food is usually taken on a picnic.

Next I picked the best three:

1.) She wanted to get up and go to him but she could not move.
2.)His eyes were as blue and intense as the parrots in his shirt and he remained perfectly still.
3.) The old woman clamped her gums together.

Next, write a poem or story using those sentences. I used them as an introduction paragraph, but you can do whatever you want. Here’s the story I got:

Last Words

She wanted to get up and go to him but she could not move. His eyes were as blue and intense as the parrots in his shirt and he remained perfectly still. The old woman clamped her gums together.

She lay in a hospital bed, tied down with tubes. Even if she were free of these restrictions, she would not have had the strength to walk to her grandson. He had come to see her on her deathbed, in the last of her days. How many things she had wanted to tell him over the years. Now she lay in bed, not able to think of one of them. Marcos stood across the room unable to ward off his fears of sickness, hospitals, and death even as he stared those things in the face.

She wanted to go to him, to let him know that it was still her. Regardless of the circumstances, it was her – he didn’t have to be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. They were silent: she constrained by weakness, he constrained by fear.

Suddenly, her nurse Edline walked in the room. “Hey, sweetie. How’re you doing?” she asked, walking to her bedside. She rythmically took her temperature, blood pressure, and checked her I.V. “Are you in any pain?”

“I’m okay,” the older woman grabbed the nurse’s hand. “My grandson Marcos here came to see me.”

“Hi there, Marcos. How’re you doing?” Edline asked.

“Doing good,” he said in a low reserved grumble.

“Well, baby, come on over her and give your grandma a kiss. You can’t hurt her any.”

Marcos hesitated, but walked closer to his grandmother’s bed.

“Now, do me a favor and sit down right here,” Edline motioned to the foot of the hospital bed. “Now take your grandma’s foot and give it a little rub over those sheets there.”

Sitting down, he placed his hand on her foot, but made no other movement.

“We have to keep her muscles as lose as we can. They get stiff laying in this bed all day.”

Edline moved around the older woman’s hospital tray and busied herself tidying up the room. She looked over and saw Marcos massaging his grandmother’s feet.

“Does that hurt?” he asked.

She grimaced, unable to hide the pain. “A little, but I know it’s good for me. You know when you were a little boy, I tried and tried and tried to get you to drink medicine. I explained to you over and over again that even though it was painful at the time, it was going to make you all better.”

“Yeah, I had ear infections all the time,” Marcos answered.

“I want you to remember that,” she paused until he looked at her face. She looked into his blue eyes and said, “Sometimes what is the easiest and feels the best at the moment is the worst thing for you. Sometimes the best thing for you, is the thing that is the hardest to push through and deal with. But, if you just keep taking the medicine – you’ll get better. It’ll get easier. you can’t let the sickness rule your life.”

Silence fell between them.

“Isn’t that what this is now?” he asked, his voice unsteady.

“No, this is just the natural end to a long life. I put in a lot of years fighting through sickness and pain, and pushing through anything that stood in my way to do what was best for me, your mom, and you guys.”

Marcos sighed. “I know, Grandma.”

“No, you don’t know,” she said sternly. He looked up at her abruptness. “You have to fight, you don’t have your whole life to let the demons that rule your life win. You have to fight everyday, one day at a time. And sometimes you’ll lose, but if you keep fighting – you’ll beat those demons.”

All Marcos could do was nod silently.

“I love you. I just want what’s best for you. I won’t be here forever to tell you these things, just promise me you’ll do the best you can.”

“I promise,” a tear slid down his cheek. “I love you, Grandma.”

1,2,3,4: A Reflection on 9/11

Time and Place


In Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction authors Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd describe how in “The White Album,” an autobiographical essay by Joan Didion about the 1960s, Didion “uses her own responses to the times as a means of trying to capture a broad truth about events.” Choose a period in your life, and write an essay about loosely related events you experienced that together offer insight into a certain time or place.

-This prompt was taken from Poets & Writers website (http://www.pw.org/writing-prompts-exercises)

One:
We were on the way to school, on a normal September morning. Normal for being a Freshman in highschool. We listened to the radio, which was unusual because we usually listened to my brother’s cd’s when the announcer told us about 9/11. My sister and I had never heard of the twin towers, but my brother had been to New York a couple of summers before so he knew what they were. His expression alone told us, that the World Trade Center being hit by planes was a big deal. We got to school and I went to my PE class, but we were running a couple of minutes late. I could tell nobody really knew what was going on yet, but me not even knowing what the twin towers were – I didn’t really know what to say or how to say it. I remember I was wearing a light blue t-shirt with polar bears from a Christian ska band (Five Iron Frenzy) that my brother had gotten for me.
Later that day I watched the news, because I felt like I probably should. They showed the same footage of the planes hitting the towers, the firemen going in after people, and people posting missing signs of their family over and over again. The only thing I remember thinking was that it might ruin my birthday, which was nine days away; then thinking immediately after that I was a selfish horrible person for thinking that.

Two:
Every Tuesday (or one day of the week) was ‘America’ day. I thought it was adequate to show my support by wearing blue dickey pants, and a tank top with American flags all over it. I don’t remember anybody else wearing clothes that were particularly American. I still didn’t understand the magnitude of what was happening in our country, but every Tuesday I wore my American shirt and prayed for the country.

Three:
The following year, I was in Sociology. On a regular basis, we discussed incredibly controversial topics. One week we discussed whether or not the US should go to war with Iraq. We had not been in war for my entire lifetime. Were potential ‘nuclear weapons of mass destruction’ a good enough reason to go to war with Iraq? Was Bush a trustworthy judge of why to go to war or why not to go to war? For some reason, as a new Christian I trusted his judgement as a fellow believer in Christ. I had faith in who God had put in charge of our nation. And how did this all relate to 9/11 anyways?

Four:
The following summer we went to camp with my youth group in New York. I’m from Las Vegas, so this was a very big (expensive) trip for us to take. It was such a big trip, that we were only able to get ten of us to camp. We had the chance, in our short time there, to visit where the twin towers had been. It was essentially a big, dirty construction site when I saw it. There was a big, wire fence surrounding the area. Solicitors, as I have realized is the case with every historically significant site, were attempting to use the tragedy for their own advantage by making money selling American memorabilia. I prayed again for the families who had been affected by the tragedy, but otherwise had no way of responding to what had happened to the World Trade Center.

My Hometown

I decided to post on another writing exercise from Poets & Writers magazine. Here is the website:

http://www.pw.org/writing-prompts-exercises

My Hometown

Some of the best stories and essays revolve around the author’s hometown. Spend fifteen minutes freewriting about the town or city in which you grew up. Focus on the people, the places, the landscape, and the memories surrounding them. Where was your favorite place to eat? Who were the most interesting characters? What did you do with your family and friends? What did the school look like? Where did you go when you wanted to run away?

My hometown is about as unique as hometowns come. I grew up in a bright city that people from all over the world travel too. We have some of the best entertainment, food, and wedding chapels around. Not to mention the best gambling. Yep, that’s right. My hometown is Las Vegas.

I actually grew up just outside of Vegas, in Henderson. My family lived in a two story house, that was regularly being remodeled because my family is in the construction business. My twin sister, big brother, and I went to a brand new school that was supposed to be one of the best in the area. Our mascot was the bighorn sheep.

Being the social butterfly that my older brother is, we were constantly surrounded by his friends. They were the prime examples of what was and wasn’t cool and what it meant to be a fifth grader when we were in second grade. He and his friends were either giving us concerts of their favorite music (boyz ii men), wrestling for the heavyweight title, or tying us up (literally) to get us out of their hair.

My twin sister and I pretty much always hung out with the same few friends. We would play teenagers, make music videos, and just run around like crazy outside with our closest friend, Dyana. With our other friends we would play Ouji, do strange witch craft related things, or sit around in the hot tub.

One of the most interesting characters surrounding my childhood was my good friend Kristen’s mom. She would always be offering us food left and right, no matter how many times we refused. I also remember if we were upstairs in her room playing video games, she would come up and tell us to quit jumping on the bed. We were never jumping on your bed, Lori! But, the strangest thing of all about my friend’s mom is that my sister, our friend, and I would all fall asleep in our friend’s queen sized bed. And my sister would wake up a few hours later, only to realize she was no longer where she fell asleep. That’s right, our friend’s mom was a sleep-mover. Don’t fall asleep around her, or she will move you! My sister would always wake up on the twin sized bed in the playroom. I don’t think I was ever a victim of the sleep-mover, but if it was just my friend and I asleep in the queen bed it would never fail that when I woke up my friend would be gone. Moved to the playroom.

When I wanted to run away from home, I would ride my bike to the back of the neighborhood. There was a little concrete path back there with a big tree that backed up to the golf course in the neighborhood next door. I would climb the tree when I wanted to run away, feeling just like Vada from the movie “My Girl”.

My childhood was all in all fairly normal, except for the sleep-mover.

Mountain Top Experience

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated anything about my life. But today I just wanted to do a writing exercise. I found a prompt on Poets & Writers webiste:

Taking a Trip

posted 12.28.12

Write an essay about a trip that you’ve taken during which you were in search of something. What were you in search of—family connection, relaxation, adventure? What did you find? Was it what you expected?

I’ve taken many memorable trips in my lifetime. I would maybe even go so far as to say that on almost every trip, I’ve been in search of something (a different perspective, an experience with God, an adventure). Trips are for experiencing life. Traveling keeps your eyes fresh and your perspective new. That’s one reason I never want to quit traveling to new places.

One meaningful trip I’ve taken was a month long assignment serving at a summer camp. I went to this camp in search of an experience with God, and maybe more specifically direction for my life. I found an experience with God in the way that you always find it when you are coming to Him looking for answers. I found Him in a much more meaningful way. He busted through my broken faith and redefined it, taking all the questions about my future and where I was going and making them absolutely irrelevant.

It began on the flight from Las Vegas into San Diego. I remember being absolutely upfront and real with God. “Okay, God. I know my relationship with you is not what it used to be. I’m not really sure who you are or who I am anymore. I just pray that you would do something in me and through me in my time serving.” Thus the battle began.

Spiritual growth comes in a lot of different ways. Sometimes it comes peacefully on a summer night, reminding you that God is the point of everything. Sometimes it comes through an outward circumstance, a tragedy or taking the step to go off to college. This was neither of those things. Camp was an opportunity to focus on what I had been struggling through spiritually and to attempt to put it into words to some older Christians who might be able to make sense of it. At the time, I had no idea what I was even struggling with. I knew I had hit a wall, but I had no idea what that wall signified.

Some of the girls I bunked with at camp used to say, “They couldn’t pay people to work as hard as we do.” I was the only lifeguard. I sat out in the sun, day after day, kept the pool clean, kept the chemicals in balance, and set up other games and activities for campers. In addition to all that, you try sleeping in a room full of 12 other girls and see how you sleep. I was exhausted all the time, and one-hundred percent out of my comfort zone. I went to camp knowing absolutely no one, and I am not the social outgoing person who makes friends immediately.

I did, however, end up getting close to a couple of other girls at camp and to a woman who was working there for the month. I spilled out my spiritual distresses to this woman, and she tried to help me sort through the mess that had become my walk with Christ. She was all about staying in “the tension”. One of the first messages I heard at camp was about Jacob wrestling with God and getting his hip torn up from it. That’s where I felt like I needed to be. I had questions about God and about this Christianity thing I’d been walking in for so long. My ideas of who God was, was not what it used to be and I had to confront God with that and see what His response was.

I felt like I kept seeking and seeking and seeking. I poured out my heart every day in a pink journal that I had brought with me, filling it with my exhaustion from camp, my frustration with campers and other staff, and with my questions for God. This is when I learned for the first time in my life that it’s okay to be mad. Emotions are human, so it’s okay to have feelings and not to be the perfect Christian who doesn’t get upset about anything. I felt like I had spent so long not being okay with getting upset about things that once I gave myself permission to, I got upset about anything and everything. And I was okay with that. I had spent twenty years being a push-over and a nice girl, and I wasn’t going to do that anymore. If I was mad, I was going to be mad.

This is still something I’m trying to find the balance to – being real, but also being considerate and keeping your-self in check.

Then after about half the trip of just wrestling and praying and not even knowing what I was fighting, I finally had a breakthrough. We were worshipping God one night by singing some praise songs, and I just decided that instead of trying to get to God I was just going to let God come to me. So I closed my eyes and just was and let God just come to me. It was then that everything just fell into place. I had a vision in my mind of Jesus hanging on the cross and dying for my sin. I poured out to Him that I wasn’t good enough. That no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t solve all the social justice problems that I kept hearing about at my college. I couldn’t ever be the crazy, outgoing evangelical person who shared Christ with anyone and everyone. I couldn’t even figure out what I wanted to do with my life – and whatever I did decide to do would probably end up being selfish, because it would be: a missionary, going into ministry, or being a social worker. I couldn’t be all these things that I felt like I should be for Christ. But, then I saw the cross of Christ and realized that I didn’t have to be any of these things. Jesus died on the cross so that God could meet me where I was. I didn’t have to be any of these other things to be good enough for God – because that wasn’t the point of being a Christian. The point of being a Christian is that we aren’t good enough. God’s grace alone is what allows us to have a relationship with Him. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and if I’m still living my life in the law… trying to be good enough for God, than I am not living by God’s grace.

So, we quit worshipping and I felt all light-headed and floaty like I do when I’m having a spiritual experience. I ran into the dorm and threw on my running shoes and went up a path onto a dark mountain to just be with God. I repented for trying to be good enough in my own merit for God, and thanked Him for his precious son dying on the cross to be my Savior. And then I finally felt like that wall had been broken. I felt the beautiful presence of God and swam in it. I prayed with the lady who had been mentoring me, and just felt myself beaming like the disciples who saw Moses when they climbed the mountain with Jesus.

After the trip, I did not want to return down the mountain to my normal life. But, as we all know, life has to return to normal. In my day to day life, I felt more freedom than I ever had with Christ. I allowed myself to be more open to things I’d been closed off to before, and to make mistakes if I needed to make them. I stopped living in fear of making the wrong choice. I learned that I was called “Redeemed”. Christ died on the cross for me to redeem me, and that took on a whole new meaning. And of course all the newness of the lesson eventually faded away. Back in normal life (6 years later) I still don’t feel the presence of God very regularly. I haven’t had a positive experience of growth like that since then. But, I’ve been a Christian for 12 years now. I know God. I know that whether I feel His love, or not, whether I’m reading my Bible every day and attending church or not, that God still loves me. I’m not trying to meet a church quota, or Bible reading quota. I’m just living my everyday life with the Lord. I know I have a lot of things I still need to work on and grow in (which I always will), but I know that God’s love is not conditional on those things.

And… even if I never experience Christ in that way again until I die, I know that He’s there and loves me, but I do believe that in another 6 years or 10 years or 20 years, I will have another mountain top experience with God. My faith is not dependent on those feelings, but it’s still such a high to have them.

Less Is More

Alright, so the couple of weeks of working out and changing jobs and doing out chapter of “Seven” did get overwhelming (as some predicted). My boyfriend did a great job of reminding me to not go completely nuts of the “Seven” thing. I followed it for two weeks as planned, but after that I quit (as planned). At a couple of points during the two weeks, I felt like I should just give everything away. I got a little caught up in it all. In the end, I did give away some things that were meaningful to me – which I felt like was a good thing. My aunt has given me several of the books I own throughout my lifetime, her saying was always that books are meant to be given away. So.. I’ve held onto many of the books she gave to me – but I gave away the Nancy Drew series she gave to me when I was younger. A large percentage of my children’s books are from her. So it was hard to say goodbye, but I knew they would find a good home where they would be cherished – hopefully with someone who doesn’t have a lot of their own books.

So… the next chapter we are going to attempt (after taking a couple of weeks off) is the Stress chapter. This involves stopping to pause and pray 7 times a day and honoring the Sabbath. This is good for me at this point in my life because I am so busy. It’ll be good to refocus each day on what’s really important – and to find time to pause so maybe I won’t feel so overwhelmed as the day goes on. I’m excited about this chapter. And… my nice friend who is doing this book with me let me pick it to do now.

Superhuman Seven

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. Sorry about that, I tend to not be very consistent over the summer. I guess to catch you up on the basics, before I get to my post I’ll let you know what’ s going on in my life. I decided not to go back to UNLV this semester. I’m not sure if teaching is really what I want to do, so I figured I may as well not waste my money. Friday is my last day at the bookstore. I’ll be sad to leave, but am excited to be starting at my new/old job again. I’ll be working full-time, Monday through Friday, normal hours. Plus eventually be able to get benefits. And even though I’m leaving an amazing group of people that I love working with, I’ll be working with some other people that I really enjoy too. Monday is my first day.

And on to my post. For some reason lately I’ve decided it’s time to attempt to be superhuman.

Superhuman definition: Someone who gets up at 5:30 AM to work out before they start their day, in an attempt to both get in shape and win a work-out challenge, while simultaneously taking on another project in the midst of an already crazy time.

For some reason, I’m subjecting myself to the book “Seven” by Jennifer Hatmaker while simultaneously taking on my sister’s work-out challenge. And.. me and my friend Lisa thought it’d be a good time to start working out in the mornings before work. “Seven” is a book that’s broken up to chapters on fasting from different things… this 2 weeks we are giving 7 things away a day. Other chapters are: eating seven foods for 2 weeks (it was originally a month, but we changed all of them to two weeks), wearing 7 items of clothing only for 2 weeks (not including underwear or shoes), giving up social media :-(    , stuff like that.

So… here’s what’s on my schedule today

6am: work-out

9am-5: work

7:30: Bible study/game night

10:30 and on: Karaoke with coworkers
It’s going to be a long day. So, I thought I’d put up a little survey of your opinions:

1.)  My day’s schedule is:

A. Just your average day

B. Crazy, but it’s your funeral

C. Please stop posting about your life, you’re really not that interesting

D. Other

 

2.) Taking all of this on means:

A. Self-destruct inevitable in t-minus… (fill in the blank)

B. Yawn… I could do that in my sleep

C. Where’s Regan and who took over her life and blog?

D. A good challenge

 

 

Inspired: The Dream Act

This week I completed a group project on immigration and the Dream Act for on of my education classes. Our class discussed the project yesterday, and it seems like everyone got fired up about the Dream Act from their experiences. We surveyed some undergraduate students who were either had immigrated into the United States or were children of immigrants, and interviewed some people here locally about it. One of my group members is still asking undergrad students at our university if they know about the Dream Act, even though we’re finished with the project.

So, for all of you who don’t know, the Dream Act is an act that is aimed towards people who have pretty much grown up here in the United States but are undocumented residents. Many came to the United States at a young age, and can’t even remember the country their family comes from. These students basically grow up as Americans. They grow up in our school systems, learn to speak English, but when they graduate high school they are unable to further their education and have limited opportunities. My group focused mainly on the education aspect of it. The Dream Act would allow people who have gone to a school in the US for at least 5 years, are ‘good’ citizens, and are in a certain age-range to have a route to become permanent residents. It would give them a conditional residency, then in the following six years they would have to complete either two years of higher-education or complete two years in military service leaving on honorable discharge. They would then be allowed to become permanent residents here.

The Dream Act would allow people who are already in the United States a way to better themselves, and bring in a lot more revenue for the country. Basically, if these people got deported they would be returning to a country they don’t even know – some of them may not even know the language of the country their family has immigrated from.

Through doing this project, we were able to interview a high school principal in the area. After answering our questions, he let us interview a student who was currently dealing with these immigration issues. She came into the country at just months old, has grown up here, goes to a good school here, and wants to make something of herself. Because she is undocumented, she is facing many barriers to going to college. It’s difficult to find funding as an undocumented resident, because all federal grants and scholarships require a social security number. There are some private scholarships and funding out there, and private universities have their own rules for who they give financial aid to – so there are ways to get an education without documentation, but it’s difficult. This was especially touching to me and the other people in my group, because she was a sweet girl who I could’ve gone to school with. Nobody would have ever guessed that she was facing these issues.

I understand why some people are against this act. It will not solve immigration issues here in the United States. Some people say it’s rewarding people for illegally entering into our country. I understand all of that, but this 18 year old girl did nothing wrong. She came into the country as an infant. When she looked into a way to get her citizenship here, she was told that there is no way for her to do that since she entered the country illegally. Basically, the only way she could receive it is by marrying an American citizen. Right now there are almost no options for her. The Dream Act would give her and many people like her opportunities to contribute to our country in a way that they otherwise will not be able to.

I never knew much about immigration, and I had never even heard of the Dream Act before this project. But, I think it’s something people should know about. Whether you agree with me or not about the Dream Act, it is important that we know the issues in our country that effect so many people. I’m not the best on keeping up with current events, but this really showed me why it’s important.

What are your thoughts on immigration and the Dream Act? Do a little research, and let me know what you think!

 

Me and some friends at our college graduation