Monday, September 29, 2008

Hello from NYC!

I am writing from the Hilton's computer in the Executive lounge. I only have 15 minutes, so I'll do my best to give you an update of the past two days! We made it to NY safely (thank you, Jesus)! The flight was fine. I am so happy to be back in The City (miss you SO much sis!). Yesterday we arrived in our hotel and then went to Ben Benson's steakhouse, then walked around a bit and went to the room and slept. We were on NY time right away last night because we woke up so early to catch the plane (3:30am for me!). Today Dad worked and Mom and I played in The City. Here is what we have done so far (in order):
- visited St. Thomas Episcopal Church where we unintentionally "attended" (aka eavesdropped) the memorial service of Tad Mosel (thanks to Google here is his obituary:,0,1513137.story).
- then walked around Rockafeller Center
- visited the American Girl Store
- has lunch at SAKS (so yummy! And the best part about sitting at the restaurant is the views of gardens on top of buildings, they are so beautiful).
- attended part of 12:30 Mass at St. Patrick's
- went to the GAP (of course)
- bought yummy chocolate at the Lindt store
- bought pictures from sidewalk sellers by the Park
- sat in Central Park (pictures to come)
- visited the newly re-opened Plaza hotel
- went to a local drug store and bought somethings we needed
Now we are back at the hotel and will go out tonight for dinner when Dad gets off work. We are exhausted but having a nice time and in love with NYC.

I'll write more later. Hope all is well in Cali!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New York, New York

“I’m a New Yorker, fear’s my life.” ~ “Rent”

“Don’t you just love New York in the fall?” ~ “You’ve Got Mail”

“New York. He’s on his way to New York.” ~ “Sleepless in Seattle”

“New York, New York what a wonderful town!” ~ “On the Town”

Goodbye for two weeks, friends! I am leaving for New York City on Sunday morning. I am so excited! New York is one of my favorite cities. I love it. I even have a dream of living there for at least a year someday, but we’ll see what God’s plans are.

I could definitely use your prayers because I HATE to travel, especially fly. It is so hard for me and takes a lot of prayer and courage. I know that once I land in NYC I will be okay. I’ve been reading my bible for comfort this week and praying a lot specifically about the trip. The verse that continues to bring me comfort is Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In addition to that verse, I found a relating quote in Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies (read it!). It says, “(Marge) said, ‘You just give it all to God. You just give it all to the Boss. We used to say in the South, if you pray, don’t worry, and if you worry, don’t pray.” So, every time I worry I stop myself and remember that I can’t pray and worry, I can only worry or pray, and I would be crazy not to choose prayer. The Lord has never let me down and my life is His, not my own, no matter how much I try to ignore that fact.

The first time I ever went to The City was October 2003. I was a senior and was so excited but didn’t know what to expect. Would it be like it is in the movies? Would be too overwhelming? Would I get lost? Would it be too intimidating? Yes was the answer to all of the above questions, well, surprisingly, not really the lost question. I find my way around The City pretty well (thank goodness for the number grid layout). The taxi ride was crazy, but as soon as we drove out of the massive tunnel between JFK airport and Manhattan I looked up and saw the Empire State Building so welcoming with its lights shining from the night sky. When I saw it, and took it all in, I cried. That is when NYC and I literally fell in love. And that was it. No matter how many people there are, or how many blocks I have to walk in a hurry, or how many intimidating vendors there are, or how sometimes walking back at night can be a bit worrisome, The City has my heart. I heart NY.

“New York City. New York absorbs everything and nothing. In New York time stands still yet moves so fast you can barely keep up with it. In New York you’re young, but you’re old too, you’re reckless and wise, you’re innocent and you’re knowing. Every time I step outside in this city I feel the same excitement I did when I first got here. New York City, it assumes nothing, yet demands everything that you can possibly give. Living in New York – it’s like falling in love.” ~ “The Bedford Diaries”

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Danger and Bonding

This postcard from Post Secret ( reminded me of what I was thinking about last night. My sister and roommates and I all went to the Santa Monica Pier last night. It sounds like a great and fun time, but I was a bit of a complainer and a “fun sucker.” I just always think about the things that could go wrong, rather than just live in the here and now. Some would say my heightened sense of danger is a good thing. It keeps me out of trouble, keeps things safe, and keeps me aware of my surroundings. However, it can also be a bad thing when enjoying a night with loved ones on what was supposed to be an adventure becomes a time of fear and anxiousness. The best part of the night was the van ride there. I love riding in the car with friends blasting music and laughing. I just wish I could embrace adventure a bit more and ignore the fear that tends to creep up at the most unfortunate times.

In other news, I had a GREAT time with my sister this weekend!

“[With my sister], our relationship has grown and is changing. When we were growing up, I didn’t really have a choice … I lived four feet away from her, so love her or hate her — she was there. But when you get older, it’s your decision how many times you pick up the phone, and that’s what’s a little scary about growing up, is that your relationships, especially with your family, become less defined and it’s more up to you to define them.”
~ America Ferrera in “Seventeen Magazine” Oct. 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Demonizing the Polls

I am so tired of the demonization in politics. I am tired of the right and the left and the mudslinging and the over-reacting and the misinterpreting and the lies and the empty promises. Thank the Lord this only happens every four years, because it is awful and depressing! It is bad enough that the economy is in shambles and that hurricanes keep striking, but to have spent the last 500 days listening to debates is making everything worse.
What really bothers is me is how much both sides demonize and belittle the other. It is not just one type of group either; it is everyone from the politicians themselves, to the journalists, to my neighbor or co-worker or friend, or my sister’s friend’s uncle’s cousin. It is EVERYBODY. The irony is that if the members of the feuding sides actually sat down and talked over coffee they would see much they have in common and how similar the themes of their lives have been. We can all learn something from the person who is yelling at us loudest in the opposite direction. Every member of society has a good side and a bad side. We are not stereotypes or caricatures, we are human beings. We have stories.
One of my best friends is the complete opposite of me religiously and politically and yet one of the things that keep us connected is our differences and our respect for our differences. We can sit down and discuss and debate the liberalness of her ideas and the conservativeness of my religion and the best part is that we both come away from the conversation smarter and more open than before. We learn so much from the other because there is honesty and trust there to be open. We have this because we respect and love one another. We are sharing ideas and beliefs and stories not to convince the other that we are more right, but to show and explain more about ourselves and why we are the way we are. She and I have learned how to ask one another tough questions about the stereotypes the media, critics, and politicians have placed on our race, religion, and political party. We have come to learn a lot from each other in seeing that stereotypes are not always the whole story and we are more open-minded and patient with that which we don’t agree because of our talks. She (and her dad) has shown me such kindness and respect and openness that they have become my favorite people to discuss politics, social issues, and religion with. They make me feel validated because of my beliefs even though they don’t agree with most of them at all. This is what I love about going to their home. I love how they are open minded enough to accept me for my different opinions and actually listen to me in a way that allows us to discuss my opinions without debating them.
The world needs relationships like the one Kiigan and I have together. We all need to remember that there are people behind those blanketed stereotypes and that if we really knew one another we wouldn’t be so harsh or seem so opposite. We may not agree or vote the same way or attend the same church or live in the same neighbor, but we respect one another for the reasons and experiences behind our given label.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wedding Gowns and Laundry Detergent

Oh how life changes and passes so quickly. I spoke with a friend recently and they mentioned how fast life went before they were twenty and then how much faster it went from 20 to 40, and I think I’m (relatively) slowing starting to see what my friend meant. Sometimes I am just so surprised by how surreal my life seems. I don’t know, maybe it sounds stupid or na├»ve to some because they wonder what is really so different about my life than it was a couple of years ago and maybe others just think “grow up and move on,” but I am surprised. There are days when I am in my kitchen or making my bed or doing laundry or driving to work in my car or sitting at work or walking to my class when the status of my life just hits me. It can seem so surreal to me at times that I don’t live at home, or even in the same city. It hits me that my name is on the lease of my apartment…and my car. It hits me that I can load the dishwasher a new way (dependent on my roomies) and that I have to decide what kind of Tide to use in my laundry. It hits me that my weekends are full of quick trips to my family’s house or peaceful – sometimes very boring – weekends at my apartment where I can literally spend the whole weekend reading and watching movies. I am just taken by surprise at my “adult” status in life sometimes. Does that ever happen to you? Does it ever happen that you are surprised by the contents and routines of your own life?
I reflect on the above a lot, but it all hit again in a big way this past weekend at Amy’s wedding reception. Driving to the reception at the church I attended during some pivotal years in high school brought back so many memories of church camps, sleepovers on Saturday nights before church, poolside baptisms, asking deep questions about faith, and always saying hello and goodbye to Peter, our BLESSING of a youth pastor. On the way home from the reception I drove past my high school and more memories sprang to mind. Memories of winter formal, birthday celebrations, tears shed at some of our worst moments, laughing in classes, embarrassing moments during school plays, having lunch on the bathroom ramp, and graduation. Seeing such a good friend, who has been a part of my life longer than most, in her wedding gown and glowing with happiness reminded me how great we all had it growing up and what a blessing that time was. The friendships I had during high school were such a blessing and I have been reminded lately how hard those bonds are to find…and, especially, to keep.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Seven Years Later

Today is the seventh year anniversary of September 11, 2001. Every year on this day I try to remember it and pray for the survivors and the loved ones of those who did not. Since all day people on the radio have been sharing where they were and what they remember, here is my version…
I was in tenth grade and was up getting ready for school. It was really early and I was walking into the living room when the second plane hit the second tower. My Dad was standing in the living room watching it happen too. I can’t really remember the mood of my parents, but it must have been serious because that was how I understood the severity of the morning and what I had seen. I remember we all felt strange about going to work and school that day but we did. Everyone did. I remember being at school that morning and my friends and I were all comparing note on what we had seen on TV. I remember my first class was with Mrs. Yucas for English. Everyone wanted to turn on the radio and listen to the news, but Mrs. Yucas said no. She was all business as usual and I remember it was one of the only times I didn’t understand or respect her, but looking back, I completely understand – and really respect – that she tried to bring focus to all of us. She must have been scared too, but still, she remained professional. In fact, as a military wife, she totally understood what was happening that morning and that probably made her even more nervous and upset, but she did her job and she did it well. She, just like all of the firefighters and police officers, she honored her country and respected the situation, by remaining calm and focused and doing her job to the best of her ability.
The other main memories I have is watching all of the 24/7 coverage and that it was literally on every channel including MTV and CMT. It was so surreal and seemed to last for what felt like weeks. I also remember Peter Jennings on ABC getting choked up when he talked about calling his kids to make sure they were all okay and to tell them he loved them. Then he told the viewers to do the same.
I hope September 11, 2001 is a day I never forget and that we as a nation never forget, simply so we remember how united we were for a few months afterward.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More About Women in Power…

I spent most of today upset with all of the anti-feminist comments I read on many news websites and blogs. Even some of my favorite writers – who claim to be pro-female equality – have disappointed me of late, simply because the female candidate of their party is no longer in power. However, there have been some nice words about the many capabilities of working mothers and women in general, and they have come from some surprising sources. Here is a snippet of an article that best expressed how I feel and wanted to articulate but didn’t have the right words:
It is written by Jodi Enda in her article “Pit Bull Palin” on (a decidedly pro-Obama website)…
“So where are the feminists?
The very people who have done the most to make Americans aware of sexism and its dangers – defenders of women like Anita Hill, Lilly Ledbetter and Clinton – have remained mum where Palin is concerned.
True, they stand in staunch opposition to Palin's ultra-right-wing positions. True, too, that Palin was not the least bit sympathetic to what she called Clinton's "perceived whine about excess criticism" during the Democratic primaries. And her selection, given her short tenure as governor, certainly raises questions.
But while it is fair to scrutinize her experience, preparedness and political views, it is decidedly off-limits to question whether Palin should have turned down the vice presidential nomination because of her family. It is not fair to suggest that because she has five children, a baby with special needs and a grandchild on the way, that she should not take on the burden of the federal government. It is not fair because it is not a standard to which men are held. And no one knows that better than feminists…
Consistency demands that even though she may offend every political bone in their body, feminist leaders should stand firm on Palin's right to seek any job she desires. How she runs her family and divides her time between work and home is her business. Not ours.”
(to read the whole article click here:
Sorry to harp on this feminist, double standard issue for two days in a row.
You know what, I take that back. I’m not sorry. What I am sorry about is the fact that I have almost deleted this post five times because I am afraid it makes me sounds like an angry feminist who hates men and I really want to shed that image of me. What is most disappointing about the whole thing is that people really do think feminists hate men and that they are incredibly liberal and believe they are better than the rest of the population – particularly the Christian population, of which I am a proud member.
Feminism to me means equality for all women, and I know most would say that women in America already have that, but I say we don’t. I think the comments toward Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin prove that as fact. Yes, American women have many more rights than most of the women in the world, but we reside in a country where women are still expected to do most of the child raising and house work on their own. Women do not make as much money as their male counterparts in the same job. Women are still objectified in every possible way by the media from magazine covers to films to commercials and everything in between. For example, have you ever seen a commercial about a cleaning product that did not star a female cleaning up after her husband and kids? You never see a man doing the same thing in a commercial.
I don’t hate men. I repeat: I don’t hate men! I am not one of those feminists. I am also not one of the feminists who support the choice of abortion. I am not a “womanist” feminist. I am, however, a feminist who wants legal equal rights, workplaces that support working mothers with longer maternity leave and more working from home options, and I am a feminist who wants to foster an understanding between women to not argue with one another all the time. We need solidarity. If men see women lash out against one another over issues that only involve women, what do we expect them to think of us other than what they already do (as a society), that we are catty, emotional, fickle, and angry.
Women of America - Republicans, Democrats, and Independents - we need to support the ability of Sarah Palin to be Vice-President as a huge step for women’s rights. We need to be impressed, proud, and happy that a woman can have that option and we need to stop believing that being a mother is the only job for a woman.
However, women, you don’t have to or need to vote for her.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

Oh my goodness, Sarah Palin was awe inspiring! I don’t care about your politics, because if you consider yourself a feminist or any kind, you have to admit that seeing a FEMALE Vice-Presidential candidate speaking on stage is incredible! If you disagree, I have to question your stance on feminism, and beg you to be open-minded enough to separate political alignment with a history-making night for female equality. It is about time that a woman be considered as a VP, I only wish a woman could be the Presidential candidate (although, thank God that Clinton is not that woman), rather than “second to the President” because women have been filling that role in offices around the world for decades.
Regardless of politics, I thought Palin was strong, concise, brave, clear, assertive, humble, and completely confident. This is what a woman looks like. Women like this exist all over the world and Palin is simply a reminder of that fact, just as Hillary Clinton was as well. Both Palin and Clinton prove that women can be assertive, powerful, and business-minded, while being nurtures, mothers, and feminine. Juggling all of these aspects of personality and responsibility is why a woman should be president. We know how to multitask and can balance many things with equal dedication and energy. Women are use to carrying many burdens on their back and why should the responsibility of the nation not be one of those?
I respect Obama’s campaign camp so much for stating that the attacks against Palin as a mother are un-called for, unnecessary, and un-professional. It is just one more aspect of Obama that shows how respectful and kind he can be. As for the attacks on Palin’s parenting skills, it is just more proof in the case of the Mommy Wars and gender discrimination in this country. In a political campaign we should be focusing – even criticizing – Palin’s politics and her professional choices. The fact that the media is focusing on her family shows that American media still believe in the lie that women are only mothers, that it is their only role and purpose. We would NEVER hear about McCain or Obama’s parenting skills, only about Palin’s and, when running, Clinton’s. Hopefully, this negative media attention will bring into focus the sexism of this country that has been around since the day we were founded.
Two more notes…One, I hope having Palin as a running mate forces McCain to re-evaluate not voting for a law to assure equal pay to women. Two, people need to remember that “kids”, specifically 17-year-olds (who I believe are young adults and not kids at all), are still individuals; individuals who make their own decisions about their lives, no matter how they have been raised. I have been thinking a lot this week about that fact that no matter how a person was raised or what environment they spent most of their time in, they are still ultimately going to do whatever they want and make their own decisions no matter who tells them not too. This is the story with Bristol Palin. Her mother was not bad or immoral or hypocritical, Bristol is simply becoming the woman she is meant to be and having pre-marital sex was one of the decisions she made – right or wrong – along that journey. Maybe she regrets it, maybe she doesn’t, but the decision was her own, just like all of the rest of us made decisions our environment and the people in our lives would never expect or agree with.


"And among the many things I owe them is one simple lesson: that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity. " ~ Sarah Palin, speech at the RNC