Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Not to Worry...

... I wish I knew.

I could enjoy life so much more if I could learn how to not worry.

When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was grow up. I wanted to be an adult and do adult things. I couldn't wait until I got older.

Well now I'm older and all of a sudden I have all these things to worry about. I have to find a job to take care of myself and pay my rent and cell phone bill. I have to find a job so I can buy food and wash my dishes and drive to the store.

And since I don't have a job, I have plenty of time to sit around and be worried. Worried about what will happen if I can't find a job, what I'll do next.

The funny thing is, I know I shouldn't be worried. Trust God, that's what I've preached for the past four years. God provides, God guides, He works out the little details.

So why can't I practice what I've preached? Why can't I really trust God to work out the details? Why is something I thought was so easy, something I did every day, suddenly so hard?

I know God has a plan. I just have to wait to see what that will be.

Wait, pray, trust... And try not to worry.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can I Get a Refund for These Plans?

As sold out as I was for this whole moving thing... I sure hope I was sold out correctly. Some moments I'm not entirely sure I was, but others, I'm glad I got here.

The thing with life is, we want it all to go "just right" all of the time. We want it to work, for everything to come together, for there to be no seams, no cracks, no second-guessing. We want our idea of how life should go and we want it to happen now.

I am the walking example of the fact that life, at least for me, has NOT gone how I wanted it to go at all. I can trace this reality back to when I was 2ish, maybe 3. It's be a recurring theme since then.

I didn't get to date the guy I had a crush on since 7th grade, even though I had been planning on us going out when he turned 18 ever since I was 12.

I didn't get to grow up in the city I loved with my best friends. I got to move to Flint--aka, the Armpit of Michigan--instead.

High school was a complete screw-up, a nightmare that was definitely NOT "the best years of my life." Sometimes I think I'd like to do it over, other times, I'm just glad I made it out of there alive.

College did not go at all how I'd planned. A combination of me messing things up for myself and guys being... well Moody boys, contributed to that one. I wasn't planning on turning cynical either, though I'm glad I'm getting some feeling in my heart once again.

I never planned on living in Clinton, with all the memories I couldn't escape from.

And I never planned on moving to Colorado, though this is a welcomed unexpectancy. Now I just have to figure out, or wait and see, what's going to happen next. I shouldn't try to plan anything out though, because it probably won't happen.

So what am I doing here? Is there a job waiting, a future, a plan, or am I passing through again on my way to someplace else?

I know we're not supposed to really settle down as believers. This isn't our home, "we're just passing through." But I can't help but wish for a little place to belong. No, I won't be here for long, but a place to rest and breathe and be would certainly be nice.

Can I ask for that? Or is that selfish? Or silly?

One day I suppose everything will make sense. And all the little pieces of life will suddenly come together into an undeniable whole.

Until then, I need some direction.

old post connection

Friday, April 17, 2009

Definition of a Journalist

Good old newspapers, they used to be the staple source of news. Granted, in some homes their place has not changed. Our table still bears the morning paper each day. In others, the paper has become extinct, replaced by news gathered from the Internet.

Wherever the news source, there are a few standards that people look for when reading articles. I may be wrong in this, but I think most people want the facts. They want the truth, reality.

When I read an article, that's what I look for. I want it to tell me the hard facts, the evidence, the event. When I read an article, I don't want to read the journalist's opinion. The opinion of the writer belongs in the opinion column, not in the news article, or the feature.

I have been very disappointed over the years when I come across the opinion-bearing news piece. Usually it's very subtle, but it's there. There's a sentence, a statement, that doesn't bear fact. It bears an opinion, an impression, a presumption. It's one thing to tell what the general public's opinion is, or the source that one is quoting. It's another to insert the opinion of the writer.

It would seem as though this practice is becoming more and more accepted. If you read a story on politics, you usually get an opinion. If you read an article on same-sex marriage, you usually get an opinion. It may take on subtle forms, a trace of the writer's stance, but it is still there.

If I detect the author's opinion in a news piece, I'm automatically turned-off, and usually stop reading. If I'm looking for news, there is no way I'm going to read through an article bearing the writer's opinion and take it as fact.

Again, if I want your opinion, I'll read your opinion column. Otherwise, just give me the facts and keep your opinion to yourself. If only journalists would do their job...

* * * * *

On a more personal note (since most of these posts don't seem to get too personal), this week has been crazy.

I think the one thing I've walked away with is a greater understanding of the fact that what we do with our lives impacts those around us. The big local stories of the week, here and here, show just how much one person's actions can touch others, even those they don't personally know.

Everyone in quiet little Clinton has in some way been affected by two men's choices. But even more so, two families are feeling the aftermath of their destructive decisions.

I hope that I, along with everyone else, comes away with the knowledge that our decisions will have some affect on the people around us. Thus, as selfish as we want to be in life, we shouldn't make a decision without considering those who will be impacted by it.

Remember those who love you, know you, and live in your town, as you choose how to live your life.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cell Phone Etiquette

I really like my cell phone. I have a Samsung Gravity, which comes complete with a slide-out Qwerty keyboard. It makes texting really quick and easy. No more need for T9, or predictive text, it's just one letter per button.

Being a T-Mobile user, I also have the My Faves plan, unlimited calling to any five people, and I can change the numbers every month. It makes it handy to keep in touch with my closest friends. I can talk any time.

I would definitely say that living without a cell phone now would be hard. However, I didn't used to think so. I got my first phone two summers ago. Up until then I made the most out of living without one. I decided that it was nice to not always be reachable. If I went out, I was out and people couldn't bother me. I wouldn't feel compelled to answer my phone when I was out with friends and I wasn't constantly texting.

But now that I have a phone, cell phone etiquette is something I definitely think about. When is it okay to flip it open and jabber away, and when should I screen calls? There really isn't any standard that has been accepted across the board, so I decided to create my own standards of cell phone etiquette. These are based on personal experiences and generally good manners.

1) Never answer your cell phone when you're in a one-on-one situation (a date, appointment, or other organized outing). This includes lunch dates with friends or dinner dates with your significant other. If you're taking time out of your day to go out with someone, you shouldn't interrupt their time with you by talking on the phone to someone else. This just tells your friend that they're not the most important thing. Your cell phone's obnoxious ringtone and the caller on the line are more important.

When I'm out with a friend (who either I asked to hang out, or they invited me) and they answer their phone, I immediately feel unimportant. I sit their semi-awkwardly, waiting for them to stop talking. I usually feel the need to look busy so that I'm not just sitting there, watching them blab. So I pull out my phone and pretend to be doing something equally as urgent.

Unless it's an emergency, screen all calls while you're spending quality time with someone else. This will show the other person how valuable you are to them. Your callers can respect you for your commitment of time to your friends and can get a call back from you later... which they should screen if they're out. :)

2) Never have important conversations in a public place where strangers can hear you. No one wants to hear about your endoscopy or your recent break up. Extremely personal conversations should be saved for a private place. Talking about sensitive topics on a bus, at the bank, or at the grocery store can make those subjected to your candor feel uncomfortable.

It's good to plan to have important, private, and personal conversations in a place where you can be alone. If your best friend unexpectedly calls you, save the secrets until you can get to a place out of ear shot of others.

3) Never text or answer your phone in a movie theatre. This one should be a no-brainer, especially if you've been to a movie theatre recently and seen the signs or pre-flick commercials that tell you, "No texting!" However, it is still easy to unconsciously whip out your phone and start texting during the movie.

While it's usually not a loud activity, the light from your phone can shine up on the people behind you. It's distracting and annoying to see little lights shining during the most intense scene of your favorite sequel. Spare those around you and text when the movie is over. You can wait two hours.

4) Never text while driving. This is a safety issue more than anything else. Texting while driving is far worse than talking while driving. It's all too easy to look at the keys or read a text a little too long and before you know it, you've drifted over into the path of an oncoming car. No text message is worth risking your life or others. Be safe, don't text and drive.

* * * *

Those are the big four. The basic rule to remember is to have consideration of others. Sure, your callers and your need to communicate are important, but so are the people around you. Don't subject them to the tortures of your loud gabbing. And if they're important to you, don't ignore them for the random friend whose comments can wait until later.

If you're not sure if you're in a situation where it's safe to answer your phone, err on the side of caution and just don't answer. Voicemail is a wonderful tool that anyone can use. Let your callers use it and save your dignity and our ears.

Try to remember back to the days before cell phones were a common place (if you lived during that era). Remember how people used to function? When you said you were going to do something, you did it, without constant interruption. You got things done, spent time with people, and still had time to talk on the phone. People used to leave you a message if they couldn't reach you, knowing you would call back. Well, people can still leave messages, and you can still call back, it's that simple.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Writing on Writing

As a journalist, I feel like it's my duty to know about the things I write about, at least as much as I can. So before I sit down to do an interview or write an article, I like to do a little background research. This usually involves Googling the topic at hand, or company, etc.

For example, one of my upcoming assignments is to write about the Clinton County Sweetheart Pageant. Not knowing much about pageants as I have never been in one, I decided to Google, "How to prepare for a pageant." I got a lot of different sources, including what appeared to be random blog posts.

Now as most people know, blogging is the new, cool, "in" thing to do. Anyone and everyone can have their own blog and write about whatever, and I think that's great. Writing is a good way to express yourself and exercise your mind.

But, what really surprised me is how often and how terribly Americans butcher common, simple English. I tried to read a lady's blog post and almost had to decode what she was trying to say. The sentence structure was mixed up, the grammar was atrocious, and there were missing letters on lots of words.

I don't want to sound harsh, but if your native tongue is English, you should know how to use it. How can you effectively communicate with other people if you can't properly use English? The key is to write simple, clear sentences that make sense and aren't confusing to the reader. And above all, everyone should proof-read. After you're done writing, go back and read over (try doing it out loud) what you wrote, looking for spelling and blaring grammar errors.

Trust me, editing saves even the best writers from embarrassing errors. And, your readers will love you for it.
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