Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Fail Whale

I was just reading this article from CNN about the Twitter fail whale, and I think there is a serious life lesson to be learned from the reaction of people to Twitter's growing popularity and the fact that there are so many people on the site it isn't operating smoothly.

I found myself reading this thinking, when I mess up I want people to just forgive and forget because there's something cute associated with my mistakes. It's incredible to see that for the most part the people CNN talked to were fine with the fact that Twitter can't keep up with them. Tons of people follow the fail whale's twitter, and if you read the article you'll see the guy with his new fail whale tattoo. This demonstrates that we as humans do have the capacity to be forgiving. It's almost like we're seeing the softer, more forgiving side of people many consider self-centered for the simple fact that they send quick, frequent answers to the narcissist-attracting question What are you doing? Maybe if people let us down we can start imagining the fail whale showing up and chalk it up to that person being human, recognizing our own failure as well.

This might be a little bit of a stretch, but when I think about this in terms of God and his relationship to people, myself in particular, I see the fail whale has been around for years. Instead of leaving me to deal with my own failures (a feat of which I'm incapable), God waits out the fail whale and keeps coming back. He knows it will happen again, but it doesn't deter him. Who knew Twitter could teach us something about true grace?! Being more like Jesus means waiting out the fail whale in my relationships. Like Twitter, the overall relationship is worth hanging onto, even when there are bumps in the road.

And on a less profound but still Twitter-related note, your plants can now twitter. You know you talk to them when you're alone with them, and now they can answer.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Photo Update on My Life

There aren't enough pictures on here, and I've gotten into the weird habit of taking pictures of everything I find interesting or exciting with my cell phone and immediately emailing them to myself (some day I'll have a phone that will allow me to blog as soon as I take the picture, but it's probably better for my GPA that I don't for now). Anyway, here's what's new.

Last weekend, I got to hang out with these kids at home. I had a blast, and I miss them.

I went to see Leslie at the Curb Cafe, and she was awesome. She's super talented, and she really believes in using it to bring glory to God. She's pretty great.

In the world of all things edible, I've made some fantastic discoveries lately. If you didn't know salsa is sold in individual servings like pudding, now you do. I didn't buy any, but I was still impressed. Also, if you buy enough at Sonic, they have huge shopping-type bags to put the food in. (This bag had 4 people's food in it; it's not all mine.) So if you have a hankering (yes, hankering) for Sonic but are afraid to get too much because you don't know how you'll carry it, never fear!

I really want to take this class, and I won't be honors anymore so it might fit into my schedule and requirements. It would be my first online class and my first 8 week class. I hope it works out.

And finally, this is a small portion of what my weekend looks like. It's gonna be a blast.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blessed is the Man Whose Quiver is Full of [Children]

I read a book I received from my church right before I came to college called How to Stay Christian in College. I thought it had some valid points and practical advice, but I couldn't help questioning the author on one point. The author talked about dating and said it was important to date a person who you would consider marrying; this is something I agree with whole-heartedly. He went on to say that you should also look for someone who would make a good parent because what God wants is for us to be fruitful and multiply. He went from talking about dating to telling me that if I'm able to have children, God expects me to do so. He didn't come right out and say it, but the implication was birth control shouldn't come into the mix.

I struggled with this because I've never been really big on the kids, and I have also never felt that God expects all Christians to have children and especially not as many as they turn up with without using birth control. This also opens the door to the question, when is it alright to stop having kids? If God will provide children for the people he wants to have children, doesn't it follow that we would just have children until God quit giving them? Well these people think so. This Quiverfull movement is made up of people who think birth control is the wrong way to go. While I understand where they're coming from, I still can't believe God would want us to be irresponsible and have more children than we can handle; that is not to say that they're being irresponsible, but I could see the problem there. The truth is, economic times are hard, and it doesn't seem like the best time to start bringing unknown numbers of babies into the world. I could see where people would offer the argument that God would not give them more children than he would provide for, and I may be limiting God here, but I struggle with this idea. The alternative to using some sort of birth control would be abstinence, and I don't think that's what God wants within a marriage either.

I don't have the scripture to justify my wariness of this idea. It may be that God expects me to have as many children as he gives me and be happy about it someday when I'm married; however, until he communicates that idea to me, I can only see the terrifying side of living this way.

And the part that scares me most about that article is the idea that:

We look across the Islamic world and we see that they are outnumbering us
in their family size, and they are in many places and many countries taking
over those nations, without a jihad, just by multiplication.

and then there's this one:

If everyone starts having eight children or 12 children, imagine in three
generations what we'll be able to do,' " Joyce says. " 'We'll be able to take
over both halls of Congress, we'll be able to reclaim sinful cities like San
Francisco for the faithful, and we'll be able to wage very effective massive
boycotts against companies that are going against God's will.

Oh, dear. It's very scary to me that they are worried about outnumbering the Muslims. They want a little army to take down the devil. We've all heard about super-conservative families where the kids go bad, and if they have umpteen siblings also vying for Mom and Dad's attention it's likely at least some of these kids will rebel in a big way. Then your army is not only full of defecting soldiers, but they're also leaving with a vendetta and spreading the news that you're crazy. If you aren't a Christian, please understand that statement is not wholly representative of Christian ideas, and we aren't trying to create our own army of fanatics.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Except for Monday Which Was Never Good Anyway

I'm in the weirdest funk ever, and I'm not sure what to do with myself. Somehow I find myself completely at peace on so many levels but only because I'm using the peaceful feeling as a defense mechanism to stave off the chaos in my life. I'm not sure how it happened or why, but it's weird.

Figuring out whether or not I'm going to stay in the honors program is proving to be a difficult task. My leaning is to leave, but I don't want to make that decision without having carefully considered all my other options. I don't think I want to put the stress of studying abroad this upcoming fall on myself, and I think it would be healthier to wait until the spring. But if I've done 2 years of honors, why not finish? And then there's the fact that nobody cares if I graduated honors. We'll see.

In the weirdness, I feel like I'm a little detached from everything. So to those of you who I feel like I'm not connecting to, I apologize. I don't know what's up really, but I'm working on it. I still love you all and appreciate you.

Maybe it's a peaceful feeling, and maybe it's a numb feeling. Either way I'm finding it helpful as well as distancing, and I want to figure it out. Sorry for the rambling craziness; I wish it wasn't so representative of my mind right now.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How I Wish You Could See the Potential

the potential of you and me
it's like a book elegantly bound but
in a language that you can't read

Adding "I will possess your heart" is a little more than I think I could wish for, but I'm learning I haven't moved away from the hope that it might happen. Maybe it's just curiosity. It might just be the fact that it seems so logical. Maybe it's just because it seems like it would be fun or comfortable. I don't understand it, but I obviously haven't escaped it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Parenting: What Not to Do

There are moments in life when I think I'm so glad those aren't my parents. The most recent for me was when I read about this guy who threw his five children off a bridge. Apparently he was on crack, but I still don't understand how that happens. I don't know how old the kids were, but I can imagine that they had to watch their siblings go over first. The man was convicted, and now the question is whether or not he should get the death penalty.

My dilemma in this situation is that I don't think we have the right to decide to kill someone, even if they have killed someone else; however, I think horrible things should happen to this guy. What could possibly be done to him that could bring justice?

And how does a father, even on crack, systematically throw 5 human beings, his own children, off a bridge?! No matter how much my dad might irritate me sometimes, I'm so glad he never threw me off a bridge.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Better Record This In Case It All Ends with the Rain

The last 48 hours have been some of the best of my life. Yesterday, the weather was gorgeous and I was inspired to skip two of my three classes; I used this time to go grocery shopping. While I was at the store, I bought nothing but things that were substantial and good for me. I didn't even crave any junk food, which is really weird for me. After the grocery extravaganza, I got back to the dorm, and I felt like I needed to clean. I cleaned everything, and it looks really great. Plus, there's just something wonderful about a freshly cleaned bathroom and having everything in its place. After this crazy day of cleaning, I was slightly behind on all the school work I had intended to finish, but my stress level was way down. Today, I was still running on this organized high. I went to all my classes (two of which were held outside!), and it was great. I ate well because I have so much good food, and after work I went to a group fitness class where I had a workout that nearly killed me but feels so good now that it's finished. After that, I walked to SATCO with the lovely and wonderful Amanda, and I had a chance to actually hang out with her since it's been a while.

So here I am once again without having accomplished near the amount of homework I would have liked. However, it feels great. I feel so much more centered than I have in a really long time, and I'm not experiencing the typical stress. I love this feeling, and I'm hoping it can continue (I will be continuing eating healthy and exercising to insure that it does even if the homework takes a small hit). Those people who tell you taking care of yourself is important aren't kidding. Listen to them and you'll appreciate their advice.

I realize the weather is probably a huge factor in this, but it's been a learning experience. Tomorrow, if and when it is cold and rainy, I will hopefully remember that sometimes my mental health needs to be put above my GPA. That hurts a little to think about, but it feels so good to practice.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This Is Your Brain on Coffee

Spring break is over, I'm not done with my homework, I'm wired on coffee, and I'm addicted to Twitter. I just got TweetDeck, and I love it. I think Twitter is unhealthy, but I can't stop, and I think my Twitter and coffee habits are linked.

In an attempt to study, I've been to Panera for dinner and have now shifted to Starbucks where the plugs are free and I can steal Panera's internet until they close at 9. What I have noticed in my hyper-sensitive coffee world is that Vandy kids are a strange bunch. It's weird after being at Belmont for a while to see so many people near my age dressed like they live at a country club. They're so clean, and they're clothes are utterly wrinkle-free. While I don't look ultra-Belmont (although I do have on a v-neck today . . . oh no! I'm conforming!), I don't think I will ever come near the Vanderbilt style. But whatever.

And since I'm only rambling because I'm as addicted to blogging as I am to Twitter and the coffee has me going crazy: you should check out The Family Tree. Nate told me about them tonight, and I approve.

If there is any sort of lesson in this post, I think it would be stay away from coffee. My friends have been bombarded with facebook wall posts and @replies on twitter. I need to stop, but I just can't!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quiet Time, Coffee, Cupcakes, Spring Break!

I had almost forgotten the perks of living so far away from everything. While it’s nothing I want to go back to permanently, I really enjoy the chance to get away from everything almost daily and have time to myself. It takes an average of about 30 minutes to get anywhere from my house, and I’m typically traveling alone. This is a hassle if you ever need to do anything in a hurry, but it’s a wonderful way to have some forced quiet time. I feel like my mental state is better because I have so much time to think; I also feel like the quiet time coupled with the few things going on leave me with nothing to blog about. It's beautiful to have time to listen to an entire cd without interruption (and I've been seriously bonding with Death Cab), and it's nice to have time to process everything that's been going on for the first half of this spring semester. I've not come to any big conclusions, but I've been alone and in silence for the first time in a while, and I like it.

And on another note, one of the lovely Cookeville Starbucks employees has opened her own coffee shop, and I think you should go if you're ever in Cookeville. It's called Sweet Sallie's, and it's a bakery coupled with a coffee shop. The cupcakes are phenomenal, the coffee is great too, and it's a wonderful wonderful place to study (or blog like I'm doing right now from Sweet Sallie's). If you're not going to be in or near Cookeville any time soon, make a special trip! Bring a book and spend some time there. It's worth it. I've been mourning the fact that I can't come here on a regular basis to do homework, so I'm spending my hardcore homework day of spring break here. I'm a little shaky from the high caffeine intake, but I'll survive.

Oh, spring break.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Podcamp Nashville

I just got back from what could be one of the coolest events ever, Podcamp Nashville. It was an all-day, completely free, really cool "un-conference" where Erin and I went to sessions about podcasting, blogging, twittering, etc. I feel like I learned a lot, and it reinforced all the love I have for the internet and its limitless possibilities. I'm not sure where I fit into the wonderful world of new media, but I enjoy hanging out. It was great to see the other members of the Nashville Internet community in person and to see the different ways people are using online methods of communication. Podcamp was the perfect, if nerdy, kick-off to what is going to be (I hope) a successful spring break.
And as for podcasts, the third installment of Noise and Nuance has been recorded, and you can look forward to it being up later this week. Prepare for some really good music this month along with an exotic locale in honor of spring break.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


As if yesterday's post did not prove to you and me both that I lack self-control, I have had that thought reinforced today. This time the problem is slightly healthier than a milkshake at least; I try to run too much. I used to hate running, but I went from one extreme to the other when my love for it developed. I ran a 10-mile race last November after which I developed a ridiculous injury that kept me from running for about 6 weeks (and made me gain a significant amount of weight). I recovered, and I was trying to take it easy, but here I am injured again because I got a little too confident last week. My mom said, "It makes you wonder if running is worth it," and this felt a little like blasphemy to me. I haven't had to stop completely (yet), but I have cut back and started some new stretches, all the while doing other cardio to retain endurance. It's just frustrating that something could seem so healthy and yet be so dangerous. It also leads me to wonder if I am eternally going to be a victim of my own compulsive behavior. Why can't I understand the concept of temperance?

The positive side of all of this: when I stopped running last time, I wanted to hit other runners with my car because they looked so happy. I didn't have that urge last night when everybody and his/her mom was running as I drove to my friend's apartment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Tonight was an adventure to Cheeseburger Charley's followed by a movie. I really enjoyed both of these things, but my favorite part of the night (besides Jessica and Andrew of course) might also have put a damper on the fun. The wonderful ladies at the Cheeseburger Charley's in Green Hills told me I could mix milkshake flavors; this was exciting information that I quickly put into use. I had a peanut butter/banana/oreo milkshake, and it was possibly the best concoction I've ever tasted; my only complaint is that peanut butter makes it hard to drink through a straw. This brings me to the bad part: since the straw was ineffective, I drank most of the milkshake like a person would drink any other liquid. I also felt compelled to finish it because it was so good. You have to remember I also ate a cheeseburger and onion rings before this trifecta milkshake, so by the time I finished I wasn't feeling so great. To make matters worse, we decided to rent Pan's Labyrinth. While the movie was pretty cool (and in Spanish which wins me over every time) the violent parts didn't go well with the milkshake, cheeseburger, and onion rings.

I hesitate to share this information online because I feel like it merely exposes my poor judgement and lack of self-control. There are a couple of reasons I posted this anyway: first, I think you need to try a peanut butter/banana/oreo milkshake. It will change your life. Second, I recommend watching Pan's Labyrinth, but do it on an empty stomach. And finally, the sum total of all lessons I learned tonight--enjoy life, but don't let one really great thing subtract from simultaneous experiences. Take it all in, but in moderation.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fox's Donut Den

Apparently Fox's Donut Den has a pretty good reputation here in Nashville. I went there tonight, and I was impressed. I don't feel like I got the full experience because it was 7 o'clock and the choices were limited. I'm sure there were more donuts to choose from, but the two I had were really good. Since I've been blogging like a mad-woman lately, I thought I'd share.

Is This It? At Least It's a Possibility

This morning was the first time in a while that I left church satisfied. It feels like I've been looking forever, and I think I just might have found the new place for me. I haven't checked out the Sunday school yet, but I'm hopeful. It's funny that this morning I told God I was weary of this. I hate knowing that I need to be somewhere else but being unable to find that place, and I'm so tired of leaving every week knowing I still haven't found it. I'm so thankful that he gave me some hope this morning. I won't officially say the wait is over, but there is a bright spot in all of this.

When I Said Wrap It Up, I Didn't Really Mean It

It's not really anticlimactic, but I feel there is something of a letdown at the end of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. The entire book, I was waiting for the heroine to end up with the man for whom (because this novel is like the others of its time) she was destined. I couldn't go to sleep. I wouldn't get up to use the bathroom. I felt the torture of their separation to the depths of my sould. Although I love the detail, Gaskell is wordy; I was plowing through page after page waiting for the moment these two characters would finally step away from their egos and admit to each other they both wanted to be together. The problem is this: of 425 pages, only the last 1 and 1/2 tell this part of the story. I was built up for 400+ pages, and because it was written in 1855 all I got was a brief hug and some witty comments to express a love that has been developing for years in the book and hundreds of pages in my mind. The descriptions had been so vivid, and now I'm left to use my own (inadequate) imagination to flesh out the details of the ending. I'm unfulfilled.