Monday, October 31, 2005
See...I even had a thing for goatees back then! ;)
Note: Yes, that is a picture of me (as well as my older brother) that I just posted on my blog. I normally choose not to post pictures of myself on my blog, but I figure in this case, there is no way so crazed client could identify me from that picture. Let's be for real....though I might still be that tall and wear guy's clothing, I've shaved my goatee and I don't look that cute anymore!
I would honestly LOVE to see those missing person's people try to age me about 20 years from that picture to see if they would even get CLOSE to what I look like today! HA!
By the way, that is a picture of me from I'm not exactly sure when, on a Halloween night (contrary to popular belief, I don't normally dress up and grow-out my goatee for the heck of it all the time!) ;)
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
In the voice of Leonardo DiCaprio, "Do you trust me?" ;)
--I must know you personally. Sorry, random people who read this that I've never met before; you won't work for this experiment, but do keep reading anyways...HA!
--You do NOT have to have a blog to participate as a volunteer in this experiment.
--You must promise to read my blog for the rest of your life (okay, just kidding...HA!)
Really that's all the requirements I can think of right now. And honestly, this experiment is still under construction, but I'm pretty sure it will take place and I'm pretty sure no one will be harmed during this experiment. ;)
Also, for those out there who are researchers, I can tell you that though this is sounding like a human subject experiment, I don't believe I need to get IRB approval for it to take place! ;) [that's some research humor, for all my fellow researchers out there...come on admit it, you KNOW some of you like research like me! HA!]
If you are willing to risk the unknown and volunteer to be a part of this experiment (come on now, trust a pal! HA!), simply comment to this blog. Hopefully I'll know who you are by the name you comment with. If I'm unsure I might have to comment back to you and tell you I have no clue who you are, even though I probably should...HA!
NOTE: This experiment is more beneficial for the subjects than for me, and actually your participation in it is VERY minimal. I have a feeling you'll be glad you volunteered should you make that choice!
In that light, I suppose it COULD make a difference! Aww...now isn't THAT cool how that works....
Kinda like how myself and probably around a hundred other girls I know will never hear the REAL lyrics ever again whenever we hear the song, "I'm With You" by Avril Lavigne. I KNOW I left those dang forceps on the ground! ;) [Inside joke for those who are now confused...HA!]
Funny how reading or hearing something once can change how you think about that specific topic in the future, whether you ACT on it or not! ;)
This is an article I saw online in the Star-Telegram (a Dallas/Fort Worth newspaper). It pertains to an issue I really care about:
[Note: Tarrant County is the county in which Fort Worth and Arlington, and other neighboring "cities" reside in; however, it does not include the Dallas side of the Metroplex]
Survey: Mentally ill need more help
By JAN JARVIS
Star-Telegram staff writer
Without health insurance, someone who makes minimum wage stands little chance of getting treated for a mental illness.
"They can barely put gas in their car, much less afford a psychiatrist," said Lauralee Harris, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Tarrant County. "And medications are expensive."
A lack of insurance coverage is only one of the many barriers that the mentally ill face. Counselors who work with adolescent boys are in especially short supply. There is a lack of federal and state dollars to pay for costly, long-term treatment.
At the same time, the number of people who need help keeps growing. Last year about 21,500 households went without needed mental health care services, according to the 2005 United Way Assessment of Tarrant County Health and Human Service Needs.
Community leaders call the scarcity of mental health services the 10th most serious problem facing Tarrant County during the next three years, the assessment found.
Texas has consistently ranked in the bottom 10 percent of states per capita in mental health spending in all program areas except for research, according to the Mental Health Association of Texas. In 2003, the state's mental health agency budget was cut by $50 million.
The stigma associated with mental illness has also kept some people from getting help, often until they spiral into a crisis that demands long-term treatment. "People often don't realize the value of treatment for mental health," Harris said. "They realize the value of treatment for the flu, a cold, certainly any kind of injury, but often think mental health issues will go away on their own."
Much has been done in the area to provide services to adults and children with mental illnesses, but the demands are great. On any given month, MHMR of Tarrant County serves 5,200 adults and 800 children, all with serious mental illnesses.
Medication, rehabilitation and counseling are among the services that are needed for serious conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.
"We provide the kind of services that are intended to keep people functioning in the community," said Susan Garnett, chief operating officer MHMR Tarrant County.
But those services are intended for the most seriously ill, and many who need help do not qualify.
Harris described one man who suffers from depression but goes without treatment because he does not have insurance and cannot pay to see a psychiatrist. "Prozac is effective, but he does not have access to it; so he turns to alcohol or street drugs, both of which get him in a lot of trouble," she said.
Left untreated, a mental illness can lead to greater despair for the individual and ultimately become more costly for everyone, she said.
Harris said the region needs an integrated system to address the growing demand for treatment among those with chronic mental illnesses.
"We're going to have to have a dramatic overhaul of the system," she said.
She did it AGAIN, with the help of others...
Oprah has helped to capture a THIRD accused child molester, since airing her show on October 4th! They haven't announced who the newest captured individual is, but I will flip a lid if it turns out to be Mr. Richard Steve Goldberg, simply because he is the individual that I had seen previously to the Oprah showing. I had seen him on the FBI's top ten most wanted for a LONG time. If the FBI has been struggling with finding this fellow for this long, totally props to Oprah's viewers! I LOVE IT!
WATCH OR RECORD TOMORROW'S OPRAH....THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2005!!
[they are revealing the details on the most recently captured individual, and Leonardo DiCaprio is going to be on too, if the child molester captured isn't intriguing enough for you...HA!]
Also, I saw or heard somewhere the other day, and for the life of me I can't remember where I saw or heard it, that there is a group of Oprah fans who are working on trying to get her nominated for a Nobel Prize. Interesting.
Today I saw it on the internet that WNBA sensation, Sheryl Swoopes, who has played her career for the Houston Comets announced today that she is a lesbian. I found this interesting, and I'm curious if her time for "coming out" is in any way related to the Proposition that is about to go up for public vote here in Texas in a couple weeks. See my previous blog entry about this Proposition if you don't know what I'm talking about.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Over the past 1.5 years I’ve taken on a new area of study in my life. I’ve set aside my psychology textbooks and have paid boo-koos of dollars on books that say “social work” on the front. I will be honest and say it was and still is hard for me to not be treading along my psychology path any longer. Psychology is SO me! And if I thought I could handle school long enough to go all the way for a doctorate right now, I’d still be in psychology, but since I was, and still pretty much am so burnt out on school right now, I’m traveling the way of a social worker, simply because a masters in social work opens up a lot more downs than a masters in psychology, plus, I can eventually go into practice on my own with only a masters in social work, unlike having a masters in psychology. Enough with that though…
So, while I’m still yet to be really “sold” on social work, I can tell you I’ve recently found myself complaining about all the stuff I don’t like about the social work discipline in comparison to the psychology discipline to some fellow psychology undergraduate friends of mine who are also “stuck” in this social work program….HA! One thing that I probably should keep hush-hush about, but I don’t really care, is the fact that I don’t know how much I like our social work code of ethics….HA! Without going into a lot of detail on that specifically, let me give you a scenario I’m working with right now on this topic…
Many of you Texans who are big political follows I’m sure already know about this, as many of you other Texans who might have gotten some of the circulating emails. And apparently, there is even an automotive phone calling service going around about it…HA! Whatever the case, there is going to be a proposition on the November ballot, here in Texas which is to write into the Bill of Rights of the Texas Constitution an amendment which would be banning marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples.
Now here is where I stand…
I don’t know where I stand on the issue, but let’s say I went along with my Church of Christ family background and valued the sanctity of marriage and its definition of being between a male and a female. Having said all of that, that would mean I would totally for this proposition. I would want it to be in place to keep gay couples from taking part in the unity of marriage which I believed is only to be for a male and a female couple. Obviously this would represent a personal value of my own, even religiously based I suppose.
Now, as a social worker, based on our code of ethics, I’m supposed to always put the best interests of my clients first. Realizing I will have gay clients, I am supposed to treat them justly. Let’s face it, social work is ALL about the treating everyone the same thing, which is cool you know, I’m not dogging it. So, as a social worker, I’m being asked to set aside my value of marriage being between a man and a woman; I’m being asked to set aside my religious beliefs; and stretching it even further, as the good ol’ Church of Christ ways are, the belief that homosexuality is a sin—that means I would be being asked to encourage a sinful lifestyle when I’m allowing for gay marriage to exist.
Okay, so do you see my struggle here?
Let me bring it more home with this…
Over the past two weeks I have gotten two emails about this Proposition from two friends of mine. One email was from one stance on the issue and the other from the other stance. One of the emails was written on October 11th, which was official “coming out day,” and it was written by a lesbian friend I have. Her email was written from a personal standpoint and really made me think.
The other email, though not to discredit it, or the person it came from, was the typical “let’s circulate this form email as quickly as we can to EVERYONE we know before November 8th gets here.” If this email did anything for me, it really just made me think how judgmental “Christians” can be. I don’t say to in reference to any specific Christians I know, I say it in reference to the “Christians” that the email was so frequently referring too.
Let me share the two emails with you here and let you judge for yourself. And let me end with this…
Like I mentioned in the beginning, I don’t know where I stand on the topic of gay marriages. I even wrote a paper over it last semester for a class where I had to debate both sides of the issue and I STILL couldn’t pick a side, but I will say this, if anyone out there, Christian or not Christian wants to shoot me a comment or an email defending the reasoning for voting “Yes” to this proposition (which means saying, yes, gay marriages should be banned), I’d love to hear a less “form email” explanation for that defense. Not saying I’m leaning one way or another…I just love hearing both sides! HA!
Happy National Coming Out Day!
Today is National Coming Out Day--a day that some people choose to let people who are close to them (or not) know that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, queer, etc. It is also the day that I am asking you to "come out" in support of human rights for everyone in Texas.
In the upcoming November elections in Texas, there will be a measure on the ballot--Proposition 2-- which seeks to write unequal treatment for gay and lesbian Texans into the Bill of Rights of the Texas Constitution by banning marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples.
I have thought long and hard about this amendment and why I care about it. It's not just because I am in a same-sex relationship; it's not just because it will affect me and my partner significantly in ways beyond state recognition of our relationship--like our home ownership, our ability to visit eachother in the hospital, our ability to name eachother as emergency contacts with hospitals and other agencies, our ability to name eachother in our wills; it's not just because it will affect the family we build. All of those are great reasons to vote against this measure.
But most of you receiving this email, while you may care about me and my partner, won't be affected similarly. I will be voting against this amendment, and I am asking you to do the same, because it sets a standard for entrenching the denial of freedom and liberty to an entire group of people based on culture, lifestyle, personal choice, and biology. Please consider the impact of this movement on something that you care about and something that you take for granted every day--it might be your freedom, it might be your family, it might be the security that you draw from living in a society that purports to grant us all the same civil rights.
As I have said before, if you are unsure of how you feel about this issue--I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about it. Not because I want to "sell" you on my ideas, but because I think we will be a more cohesive and tolerant community if we understand and listen to views that are different from our own.
When I sent out the last email like this, I didn't hear from a whole lot of people, and thankfully, most of the people who did reply did so to let me know of their wholehearted support of human rights for all people in our state. But much later, I did hear from someone who originally disagreed with me and thought that same-sex marriage should be banned. She told me that after meeting me, knowing me and reading my letter, she thought about it for awhile and had changed her mind. Talking about it, "coming out" if you will, REALLY DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. So not only am I asking you to vote against Proposition 2, I am asking you to talk with other people about it. Let them know how you feel. Forward my email on to them.
Please "come out" with me--
P.S.--If you want more information about this proposed amendment or what you can do to defeat it, you can visit http://www.nononsenseinnovember.com/ or http://www.lgrl.org
If you get this and you are not a Texan-please forward it on to people who ARE Texans and encourage them to go to the polls and VOTE on Nov. 8. And other states need to watch for this. This is how Roe v. Wade got voted in; Christians were complacent and didn't realize what was going on, and being voted on. SO PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS-and go vote on NOV. 8!!!
Proposition 2 - on the November 8, 2005 Ballot
Please forward this email to every Christian that you know. It is important that the Christian voters of Texas speak loud and clear in November, by SUPPORTING and voting YES to Prop.2.
You may be wondering why you have not heard of this proposed amendment before? The answer is simple. There is a grassroots effort in our Texas gay communities to keep conservatives in the dark. Since there will not be any big elections this November, the probability of people getting out to vote are slim. The gay community is planning to use our complacency against us. While we are not voting, they will be!
PRAY!!! that the believers in Texas will rise up to vote in support of this resolution.
ACT!!! We are in need of Christians to educate the community of Prop. 2
The proposition currently reads as follows:
A Joint Resolution Proposing a constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman.
Be it resolved by the legislature of the State of Texas:
Section 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows:
Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b)This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
Section 2. This state recognizes that through the designation of guardians, the appointment of agents, and the use of private contracts,persons may adequately and properly appoint guardians and arrange rights relating to hospital visitation, property, and the entitlement to proceeds of life insurance policies without the existence of any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
Section 3. This proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at an election to be held November 8, 2005. The ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition:
"The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or BR recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage."
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Let’s face it, lawyers have a stereotype, as do most professions. Unfortunately though, lawyers are typically stereotyped in a negative light (note: not all stereotypes are negative, nor are all stereotypes true or false). Many times a lawyer is stereotyped in the same sort of fashion as a politician [Sorry, Julie, two areas of interest for you, but I know you know both those stereotypes exist, and you also know that an individual doesn’t have to live up to those stereotypes. That is the important part!]
So, for an individual like myself, who really hasn’t known any lawyers, or even politicians for that matter, personally, it’s easy to fall under the stereotypical view, especially when all you have to go by is what people tell you: “Those politicians are all lying, cheating, rich people, who will say just whatever they have to say to get your vote.” Uhh, okay…whatever you say…
Yes, I realize that is a dangerous way to live life, but if we want to discuss the topic of believing something based on what is said, versus what we have experienced personally, let’s talk religion! HA HA! Okay, that’s for another blog! HA!
So, somewhat accepting the idea that a lot of lawyers are rich jerks, I’ve just lived kind of like, “Okay, whatever. I don’t know (nor do I really care, since I didn’t know any lawyers).”
Still to this day, I think the only lawyer I’ve known very well at all was Charles Trevathan, but honestly, I never really viewed him as a lawyer, since I never knew him in his law days. He just never took on that role in my life to me. So…I was still going with this negative view, I suppose…
Well about a month or so ago I saw the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose. A good movie, which I probably wouldn’t pay to go see again, BUT I would recommend it to everyone. It is one of those movies that you don’t really have to see more than once, but everyone should see it once, especially if you like movies that will make you think.
In all honesty, after leaving that movie, I had a totally new respect for lawyers. Having had an ignorant view of lawyers, that movie opened me up to the intelligence that is necessary for a lawyer to be a GREAT lawyer. Note that I did say for them to be a GREAT lawyer, I’m not saying every lawyer is brilliant, but those that are really good, I believe are highly intelligent.
In efforts to not give away anything crucial about the movie, I will only make a couple points. First, the lawyer defending the Catholic priest who was under attack by the state for performing Emily’s exorcism was BRILLIANT! I think the quick response a good lawyer must have in order to turn things around on witnesses they are cross-examining is where their true intelligence can shine! The priest’s lawyer in this film appeared to be the underdog throughout the film because she always had leery material from her client to go on, but the way she was able to come up with concrete material to use for attack just amazed me! This lady was brilliant!
It wasn’t until the last few minutes of the movie that I found myself repeating to myself, “BRILLIANT! JUST BRILLIANT!” in reference to her comments made in the courtroom. I literally think I whispered it aloud to myself while sitting in the theatre!
Those who know me, know the value I place on intelligence, so the way this film was able to bring out the intelligence needed for doing a superb job in a career in law to me, truly did redefine my views on lawyers.
Of course, though, an individual CAN be highly intelligent, and I’ll admire that, but they can also be a jerk at the same time…HA!
I say all of this under my current situation…
Tomorrow morning I will be sitting in a room with six individuals and myself. One will be a court reporter, two will be lawyers, two will be relatives, and one will be an ex-relative.
Tomorrow morning is my deposition in my uncle and ex-aunt’s child custody “battle.” And “battle” is putting it nicely. It is QUITE the ordeal.
I’ve taken the stand once already in this trial, but that was only for a few short questions from my uncle’s lawyer, which of course allowed for a few from the cross-examining lawyer. While my uncle’s lawyer has changed since that time, my ex-aunt’s hasn’t, and I’ll have to admit, he isn’t a fun cookie to deal with. While I won’t say my testifying that first time helped my ex-aunt’s side in anyway, I will say I think the “battle” between her lawyer and me while I was in the stand would have gone to him in the end. So tomorrow I plan to gain my respect back. I had never been in a court room before, or questioned by a lawyer, so in an anxious state, I struggled to be “on-the-top-of-my-game,” but tomorrow I hope to be able to keep myself calm enough to be able to let my intelligence lead my responses to his questions and not my nerves!
Yes, when under oath you must answer questions with the truth, and only the truth; however, the truth can be answered in MANY different ways, and many times it comes down to interpreting the question correctly.
Here is an example…
On Friday I had to go to an attorney for prepping for tomorrow’s deposition. My cousin went with me, as she is being deposed tomorrow too. As we were all talking, out of no where the attorney goes, “Do you have the time?” to my cousin. She kind of hesitated, as the question was out of no where and we were in the middle of talking about something else, but she ended up saying, “Uhh, about 10:05.” Then he looked to me, and said, “Do you have the time?” Granted I wasn’t thinking it was a trick, but I hesitated and said, “Uhh, yeah, I have a watch.”
The attorney said I answered with the better answer. While we both answered with the truth (the time WAS 10:05, and I DID have a watch on), I answered the ACTUAL question that was asked, while my cousin answered what she thought was being asked. This is EXACTLY what a good cross-examining attorney is looking for! He wants to be able to ask one thing, but get you to admit to something else. The way my cousin answered it would be what the cross-examining attorney would be wanting. I on the other-hand answered the question he had asked, but not in the way he would have wanted me to answer it.
Tomorrow I MUST be sure to be focused on WHAT is asked and answer it EXACTLY as it is asked.
Tomorrow I MUST realize that irrelevant questions are going to be asked. The attorney on Friday warned us that that would be coming. Depositions allow for that apparently. He’ll start with where was I born and what high school did I go too. How that relates to my cousins custody situation is beyond me, but “my” attorney told me it is allowed in depositions, and he explained that normally the continual questioning about things that have no purpose in the trial are normally just to see if they can get to the person being questioned. This is where I MUST remain in control in this situation and not let him get to me. Here is one of my mottos for tomorrow: I love to talk about myself, so bring it on! HA!
So, in all honesty, I’m viewing my deposition tomorrow as a battle of intelligence. Will my ex-aunt’s attorney be able to question me in a way that will produce answers that go the way he wants them to, or will I be able to out smart his questions and frustrate HIM! Granted, he has had a lot more training in “questioning” than I have had in “answering,” but reminding myself of my ability to answer the “practice question” with “my” attorney correctly as well as the idea that I do consider myself to be a fairly intelligent individual in controlled situations, I have all the faith in myself that I won’t lose my place of lodging following tomorrow’s deposition! HA! [That meaning, I DO live with my uncle right now, and I don’t want to make their side look bad tomorrow, or I might be coming to my blog community looking for housing…HA!]
I’ll end with this…
My final motto for tomorrow: I WILL be a smartass tomorrow! Make that a HONEST smartass tomorrow! (Hey, a smartass can be completely honest, while being annoying to those questioning them at the same time! HA!)
This is hilarious!
Before you do this, know that the "I'm Feeling Lucky button on Google is intended to take you to the most relevant website for your search term without you having to browse sites. For instance, putting in "cancer" will automatically take you to the American Cancer Society website. Putting in "apples" will take you to the website for the Washington State Apples Commission. Now try "failure."
1.) go to www.google.com
2.) type in "failure" without the quotes
3.) press the I'm feeling lucky button (instead of the google search one)
Thursday, October 20, 2005
1. I really recommend my "Worth Your Read" right now. It was Mike Cope's blog entry from today. When I read it I was like, "yeah, that's true." I like strong Christians admitting to the importance and humanly state of doubt.
Another quick point on my "Worth Your Read"...if you DO check that from time to time, I'll have to admit, it hasn't changed a lot lately, partly because I've been busy, but honestly because I think a lot of other folks have been busy too, I am particular on what makes it to my "Worth Your Read"...HA!
2. Please go vote on my current poll I just posted on my side bar. This question was instigated by a conversation in my night class tonight. I thought about blogging about it, but then I don't know how many honest responses I would get, even if I asked for people to respond anonymously. It was an interesting conversation in my class tonight. So, go vote on the poll and be honest.
3. Go post your location on my Guestmap. Just click on the Guestmap icon my sidebar (it's at the bottom of the sidebar) and let me know where you're reading from...I KNOW more of you are reading than I have posted on there....Heck, more of you comment on my post than I have posted on my guestmap, so it isn't like you are trying to not be known that you read my blog! ;)
It was then that I just thought to myself, “Wow. Do you realize you LIVE in Dallas, Texas?!” Like I LIVE here. Not that Dallas is any more special than a lot of other places, just that I’m in Dallas, Texas, living my life on my own pretty much. You know, it isn’t like I grew up anywhere around here. It isn’t really that Dallas, or even Texas for that matter is my home, but it is though, you know?
It’s like I just had one of those, “I’m a big kid now,” [sung to the tune of the Pull-ups jingle, of course!] moments.
I just smiled and felt so cool. You know, it’s cool to think, though I don’t really think it all the time, I’m an adult, pretty much all on my own now, you know? Yes, I live with relatives, but even they would tell you, I act almost as if this is a business relationship between them and I as I live here, rather than a family situation…HA! But I mean, I don’t rely on my parents for anything anymore. I’m truly my own person now (well, in a since have been for a while).
I honestly don’t even converse with my immediate family all that often. I want to say the last time I talked in person with my mom was in August when I was in St. Louis for a wedding, my dad about a month ago as he called me really quick for about 3 minutes to give me his phone number, my older brother, uhhh….not real sure….does email count? And my sister just last weekend because we were in town together.
So while I obviously don’t rely on my family for financial support, I suppose you could even say I don’t use them for emotional or even other forms of support really. I truly do consider myself independent in most senses of the word.
But then I thought some more on the ride home….
You know, though I don’t rely on my family for forms of support, I am not as independent as I might be easily persuaded to think tonight…
I think where many folks, as well as many of y’all reading this, get support from blood related family, I get from my family of friends.
I know many of my friends that talk to their mom’s on a daily basis, whether they live with their mom, live within 10 miles of their mom, or even live within 200 miles of their mom. Many women my age turn to their mother’s when they need to “talk” or when they want advice, or just when times are tough. But for me, that is when I turn to friends.
I don’t think I could ever consider myself as truly independent, almost as I don’t think most people could, because I think in a way, we almost always all need someone.
But, for being as independent as we possibly can be, I do see myself “moving right along” (as sung by Fozzie Bear on “The Muppet Movie”…HA!).
I’ll be honest. Tonight on my car ride home I was thinking of two things: 1.) If there is one thing I’m truly learning from my internship experience this semester it is how to weave in and out of traffic like a PRO (VERY safely, mind you…I ALWAYS use my blinker, as well as check my blind spots!) in order to get to my internship as close to “on-time” as possible these past couple weeks…HA!, and 2.) I just like life a whole bunch! It is good, my friends!
Life truly makes me smile; as I found myself just smiling because of it tonight when driving home alone (I’m sure many folks driving by me might have thought I was high on something, but little did they know it was just on life).
But, honestly, can you say you truly do love life? I have to admit, I view myself as a lot happier of a person than most people (sorry, I do…HA!), but I thinking tonight, and I want to give credit to one other person that just jumped into my head tonight as being someone that truly seems happy as often as myself. And this person will know that I’m talking about them when I say this: I truly believe happiness is infectious and because of that, I’ve ALWAYS thought myself and this person take some of my most fun and down-right HAPPY pictures! I love taking pictures with Miss Jennifer Ellison. Though she might have some high(er) standards in life sometimes (tee hee hee…sorry, Ellison, I had to put that), she always seems happy with life.
Blessings on those who are able to find the happiness in life! It’s a GREAT feeling my friends!
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
With shear excitement, I left the DFW area early on Friday morning, in order to make it to Abilene in time to attend chapel! This was a good time to visit with my sister and sit with her in chapel as well as take her to lunch at one of our favorite places to eat in Abilene, Rick and Carolyns! I knew, with my weekend filled with plans of spending time with my college friends, my time with my sister would be limited, so I was sure to spend the time I had unscheduled with her.
The rest of Friday I would consider my day of dedication to my friends. I dedicated the afternoon to important parts of my friends life’s which I had missed out on because of my time away from Abilene. I visited the apartments of two my friends. Cheryl and Lindsey had each moved into new apartments for the fall semester and nothing makes someone feel more important than getting to show off their new places. Now only have I had these two friends get new homes since I’ve been in Abilene, I also have friends who have new job positions or careers since I was last in Abilene, and I wanted to allow them to show off their pride and joy of accomplishments well deserved! I got to see Hollie at one of her Habitat for Humanity houses, as she took me on a tour of the framed project, as well as got to be escorted by Janaye on a YMCA tour and shown her new office as the Children’s Site Director. It’s a blessing to see my friends pursuing jobs in areas for which they have such passions, not to mention to see them excelling at the same time!
Through the whole day on Friday, I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my friend Lindsey Miller. Not only did she show me her cute apartment, but she went with me to see Hollie, Cheryl, and Janaye! It was great to spend some quality time with a friend who I’ve just recently formed a closer friendship with via AIM. We even went and ate dinner together with Holly at Betty Roses, another of my favorite places in Abilene!
Friday night ended with a night hanging out at Janaye’s house with Naye, Lindsey, Holly, Becca, Cheryl, and me. We had a good time, goofing around, and even went out looking for the GATAs and flames at their float site and then up to Teague. Good times!
Saturday was pretty much the only day that reminded me of the fact that I was in town for Homecoming. First, it started with GATA breakfast super early (earlier than I like having to get up, especially after a late night the night before…HA!) While Homecoming Breakfast is usually a nerve-racking time for me, seeing all sorts of people, who I might not have seen for a while, it still comes as a fun and important time of the weekend for me.
This year’s breakfast reminded me of how old I am getting to me. I was honored to sit at a table of ladies who I pledged with, but still hold in high esteem. It was an honor to get to sit with so many ladies who I pledged with and don’t get to see all that much anymore. I was reminded by a comment I had over-heard from another GATA how important it is to have so many friends still at the breakfast. I heard one girl go up to another girl and say, “I’m so glad to see you! You are the first person I’ve seen from our pledge class.” It’s sad to think, that maybe even next year the number of breakfast attendees from my pledge class could really dwindle.
Breakfast also represented a time I was able to see two ladies I have grown to love and appreciate and respect in a new way over the past six months or so because of the blogging community. It’s amazing how blogging can truly influence friendships! It was great to get to see y’all, Julie and Laura!
Then it was parade time! I love watching the parade (though last year and this year were my first two years to get to watch it…HA!) AND, I’m working on a trend. Both years I have yelled so much during the parade that it has messed up my voice…HA! Even today at work I still sounded kind of funny from messing up my voice on Sat…HA!
Once again, chapel time! Good times! I love singing, especially with so many people!
Then I went to lunch with some more friends at yet another place I love in Abilene, Joe’s Italian! This time it was with Holly, Cheryl, Leah, and myself.
It was obvious that this weekend was more dedicated to rekindling friendships and spending quality time with people I’d missed, rather than focusing on the events of the weekend, because I sure was in no rush to get out to the Homecoming football game…HA! It started at 2 PM and we sure didn’t get there until 3ish, however, we did stay till about 7 minutes left in the game, which was a lot later than most…HA! And yes, we lost, 40-24...HA!
But the one event I was mostly looking forward too, but excitedly as well as anxiously was the Saturday night get together at Ellison’s house that I’d planned. Though I’ve never had an issue with laid back events, I still worry about how it will turn out with others in that I know how others can expect more than a laid back atmosphere with friends from an event. But overall, I think it went pretty well. I honestly think everyone was just so glad to get to see one another again that it truly didn’t matter WHAT we did!
The first hour or so people just mingled around and played “catch-up” with one another! It was great to see how people who maybe weren’t all that close while in club were sitting around asking how things were going for one another since graduation and stuff. I was honored to get to spend the night with so many people who have played a role of some sort in my undergraduate career! If my numbers are correct, I think 21 people ended up attending.
I truly think the highlight of the evening was probably the prank played on Ellison, as well as the MASSIVE game of Pit (no, sorry Misty, it wasn’t the karaoke you and I did…HA!)
It’s funny how Ellison wrote SUCH a great blog entry about the weekend, and I’d have to totally agree with her about most of it, but she SURE left out the details of the prank we played on her at her house! HA! While I won’t go into much detail either, I will say this, I’ve honestly never seen Ellison SOOO embarrassed! While it was classic, I SOOO felt for the kid! I mean as soon as it was played, she was literally STUCK in the midst of about 15 girls, so there was no running away from it! And when she got so speechless and bright red and hid her head in her shirt, I felt for my friend! While I was laughing so hard like everyone else, I was crying, literally! Not just from laughter, but from “feeling” for my friend! Bless your heart, Ellison; people shouldn’t be put on the spot like that! HA! But those 15 minutes or so of laughter honestly made the night for I think all the ladies there! Thanks for letting us have a good laugh and being such a good sport about it!
But besides, that, I was honored to get to introduce the game of Pit to so many friends, especially when I knew it would become a new-found-favorite of so many folks! It was a first for me to play it with such a big group, but it was honestly a BLAST! You’d never had guessed that a bright orange bell and some Home Depot looking cards could keep people so entertained for hours! And I honestly do think it is a GREAT stress reliever!
The night ended with a small group of four of my best buds and myself enjoying the crisp night air and reminiscing about times of the past together out on Ellison’s back porch from about midnight till 1 AM. Sometimes you can forget how much you love just being with some of your favorite people!
Sunday was more a time for myself. I slept in till about 9:30 (which is getting to be late sleep-in for me…how sad is that!?!?) and then went to get yet again, another of my Abilene favorites, Chicken & Cheese burritos from the classic Lantrips gas station out on Treadway! This has been a classic weekend breakfast for myself, my buddy Brandi and Cheryl for years now. I TOTALLY recommend them (even though they sound gross being from a gas station! HA!). We even introduced Holly to them this year (I’m pretty sure she liked them too!). Then it was off to take my sister for a Wal-Mart run and then to meet some friends for one last get together! I went to lunch (though I didn’t eat since I’d had burritos only about an hour before) at Johnny Carinos with Ellison, Kripner, Reagan, Misty, Slagle, and Brandi Jo. I was honored yet again to be invited to spend one last get together with people who mean so much to me!
This weekend had the presence of Homecoming, but that was really the underlying theme of the weekend for me. It was dedicated to treasuring the friendships I have. Remembering the importance of having quality friendships, rather than the quantity of friendships. I was reminded that even though I can go months without seeing some of my dearest friends, I can still hold them just as closely to my heart the next time we get to see each other.
I got to see many people I loved this weekend! I even hit up Chucky T’s grave before leaving town on Sunday. But whatever the case, there will be one thing that will stick out the most about this weekend to me. That’s the idea that no matter how old I’m starting to feel, and how long times might go between times I get to see some of my friends, friendships are only what we make of them. Those in which we let fall to the way-side will dwindle, but those in which we dedicate love to will flourish for years to come!
Blessings on all who have meant so much to me! Keep touching the lives in which you come in contact!
Monday, October 17, 2005
This week I'm changing Monday's Picture Blog. Whether the caption contest will ever exist again in it's original form, only time will tell. But this week I wanted to post a picture I have found interesting for many months now, especially after my wonderful time spend this past weekend at ACU...
This is a picture looking at ACU from the front entrance way, for those of you who aren't familiar with ACU. It is the picture I have as my background on my laptop (minus the purple circle, however). Matter of fact, my backgrounds for both my sign-on settings on my laptop, as well as the background on my desktop are pictures taken of the ACU campus. My desktop background is actually a picture of myself sitting on the entrance way sign infront of ACU. I love my alma mater, what can I say.
With the above picture however, it didn't take me very long to notice something interesting on that picture as it was stretched across my laptop background. If you look closely in the purple circle that I've added, I truly believe the leaves of that tree form an image that is similar to the "typical depiction" of Jesus.
I like this picture and I relate it to the thought that Jesus is constantly looking over ACU. An interesting thought, huh? Especially if you can see the image that stands out to me among the leaves.
Check it out though. See if you can see the same image I think I see in the picture. Should you have trouble seeing it when viewing the picture from this blog website, save the picture to your computer and reopen it there and when it is made larger when you reopen it, you can see the image better I believe.
Whatever the case...
Blessings on you, as well as ACU, whether from spirits looking out over us or from friends with whom we share this space on earth with!
P.S....let me know if you're interested in me emailing you the original copy of this picture, which doesn't have the purple circle added.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Had that been the only case of change noted this weekend, I could have called this past weekend just like my times from 2000-2004 that I spent living in Abilene, but that for sure wasn’t the case. And while those four years were great and I wouldn’t change then in any form or fashion if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing about this weekend either. But things were different as I returned to Abilene for my second Homecoming season as an alumni…
Changes this weekend…
--I saw how I really am getting to be old.
--I saw how easily it is to lose contact with people.
--I saw and hugged friends this weekend that I had never hugged before.
--I saw friends who now have a man to stand beside them where in the past there was none.
--I saw stronger friendships due to the blogging communities.
--I saw friends who are no longer fellow students, but rather professionals.
--I saw people who I know have changed how they see me since they last time they saw me.
--I saw people who I have changed how I see them since the last time I saw them.
Things that will always be…
--I will always be an ACU alumnus, whether I graduated 2 years ago or 52 years ago.
--I will always be an En Fuego 46, whether I am the only En Fuego 46 at the Homecoming breakfast or not.
--I will always have GATA sisters.
--I will always have friends who are making new friends and keeping old friends.
--I will always be able to base friendships on the level of closeness I can get to an individual.
--I will always have individuals who where students during the same years at ACU that I was.
--I will always have opportunities to change myself in efforts of changing others’ views of me.
--I will always be able to reevaluate my thoughts on my friendships.
When changes seem so overwhelming and times begin to feel strained, it helps to think of situations that will always be, whether they are specific or more general. Whatever the case may be, it was obvious that this weekend’s Homecoming was different from years in the past, but I still was able to appreciate it for all the changes that it brought with it!
Though a change can be temporary,
Change its self is unavoidable…
And with that being the case,
It will always be…
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
That's one game closer to the World Series two years in a row! ;)
That's my boys, Cards!
Tell that one to your class, Becca! ;) You can now be SURE to let them know you talked to your St. Louis friend! ;)
No, I personally wasn’t dying, though a part of me did. And yes, my old blog died that day too, but that had the least significance of October 12, 2004.
It began around 5:50 PM as I was walking up the stairs inside the social work building at UTA. My phone rang and since I still had ten minutes before class would begin, I figured, why not answer it, especially when I saw it was my buddy Becca. So I answered it and she had a serious tone to her voice and said she just wanted to let me know that she had just talked to someone who had been at up at ACU and that there was an ambulance at the administration building and that apparently Dr. Charles Trevathan had had another heart attack and that they were taking him to the hospital and that was all she knew at the time. So, being the optimistic person that I am, I was like, oh okay, thanks for calling to let me know. I went ahead and went on to class under the impression that this was just going to be another incident as in March when he had had a heart attack—some hospitalization time and then back to teaching in a week. So at about 6:10 sitting in class and my phone began to vibrate again, I noticed it was Laura, who I forgot to mention earlier was already with Becca, so I knew she wasn’t calling to tell me the news about the heart attack, as she knew I already knew. So I silenced the vibration figuring she would leave me a voicemail and I could check it at the break. No, no voicemail, just two more repeated calls back. As I quickly silenced the vibrations I knew the news she had wasn’t what she was going to leave on a voicemail.
I excused myself from class and walked down the hallway a little and called Laura back. She then broke the news to me of Charles’ passing. It was funny though, I was just like, “oh okay” on the phone. Didn’t really say much, didn’t really have any expression, just was like, “okay.” Laura could tell I was acting weird as I was really quiet…just kept saying “okay” to everything she said, “I’m really sorry, Kim,” “I know how much he meant to you,” and then “are you okay?” I just said, “yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Thanks for letting me know.” DENIAL. I think I ended the conversation with something like, “well I should probably get back to class now.” I’m not sure, but I am sure that I didn’t go back to class following that phone call, and I am sure that that wasn’t the last time I was on the phone that evening…
I went to my car. I didn’t know where else to go. I got in my car in the middle of the parking lot, still daylight and just sat there for a couple minutes. I needed to talk to someone. I wasn’t exactly sure who, but I needed to talk. However, I knew I might not be able to keep my composer, so I honestly can remember thinking, “who can I call so if I do start to cry I won’t feel ALL that embarrassed?” I called Misty…(I love ya, dear! You know I do!)
That call was really short lived. I couldn’t really talk (why the heck I felt like I could call someone at that point and talk I’m not sure), so I quickly came up with an excuse to get off the phone. Said some crap to the extent that I was just calling to see if she could keep me filling in on any funeral arrangements that were taking place. HA! Who the heck starts pursuing funeral arrangements and wanting to know times and places only minutes after hearing about the passing of a friend?!?! And as if I wasn’t going to be able to find them out myself. Like I really needed to call Misty to just ask if she could find out about the arrangements and let me know. HA!
From then until about 7:30 PM when I went back to my classroom to sneak in during break and get my belongings so I could leave I ended up talking on the phone to four others, besides the three I’d already talked to. That was all in a period of 1.5 hours! Not to mention the fact that only two of those people had I called: Misty and Holly. Then, the drive home was filled with phone calls as well. Before the night was through I had spoke to 11 different people on the phone (only 3 did I call): Becca Osborn, Laura Singleton, Holly Herr, Misty Willcox, Janaye Batiste, Hollie Inwood, Val Jolly, Cheryl Leland, Jennifer Ellison, Jayme Smith, and Jeremy Smith.
But I got home to find no one at home, EXACTLY as I wanted it for my arrival. I went straight to my room and just broke down. I ain’t going to lie…I can remember distinctly, I fell down on my knees at the foot of my bed and just cried like a I was a baby. I didn’t cry, I take that back…I sobbed, friends. I mean I know lately I’ve had people say, “gosh, you really cry for anything nowadays,” but when I say I cried over Oprah or about the hurricane stuff, I just mean tears ran down my cheeks. Unless you saw the tears, you would have had no idea I was “crying,” but on October 12th last year, I sobbed. You could have put a baby monitor in my room and listened to me cry folks. ANGER.
So a while later the “fam” showed up home and I had no plans of revealing the events of my evening, but my aunt had come in my room for some reason or another, I honestly don’t remember why, but she had asked me something and I mumbled out something and for some reason or another I told her about how my friend had passed away and I think I got a little choked up while I was saying it, so she did the whole come give me a hug thingy and then was like, I’m sorry, and that stuff, and I think she knew I just wanted to be left alone, so she went back to the kitchen. It was only moments later that she reappeared in my room, didn’t say a word, just walked over to my desk and sat a cold Smirnoff Twisted Apple on my desk and then walked out without saying a word. Yes, that is obviously one of my favorite drinks of choice, and yes, it was mine that was leftover from I don’t know when in the fridge, but I was in no mood to drink. That’s the difference between my drinking side and some people’s drinking sides. If I drink it is in small portions and never for the purpose of getting drunk, or even with the intent of getting some sort of pleasure out of drinking it or using it as a form of “treatment.” From the gesture in its self, it was obvious that my aunt had given me the beverage with the intent that I could use it to make myself feel better, I suppose. In a sense it was like it was expected to take away my troubles from the day. BARGAINING.
I can tell you I didn’t open that bottle all night. Nor did I open it ever if I remember correctly. I think I ended up giving it to my aunt and uncle at some point, not real sure WHO ever ended up consuming that bottle, but I can tell you this, I remember I didn’t have another sip of alcohol for quite some time after Charles’ passing. I had no desire. In a sense I had given it up, for him almost. Yes, I’ve had some since then now, but I can honestly say I went months before I had another drink.
So the rest of the night, I fell into a depressed state. DEPRESSION. I ended up with a severe migraine by the night’s end, which I will admit to giving into alcohol for that one: Nyquil. I went to bed a little after midnight.
It was at 2:45 AM that I found myself awake again, however this time free from the migraine and I honestly remember feeling so refreshed. It was like it was honestly time to get up, so I did…HA! I went to my computer and whipped out what would become my tribute and farewell address to my mentor and friend, Charles, which would end up being published in the ACU school paper. I felt good writing it and getting it out. I can remember going (back) to bed feeling a sense of closer and feeling at peace almost, having had written and expressed what I did in that article. ACCEPTANCE.
So yes, I went through the five stages of dying all in that night: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. But I honestly wasn’t aware of it until I thought about it just last night. And while all that took place in that one night, I can tell you one thing, the thing that sticks with me the most about that night isn’t the crying I did, isn’t the Nyquil I took, or even the article I was so proud of writing. It was the friends I had through it all.
As if the 11 phone calls weren’t enough, I also spoke online with 13 different folks that night as well. It’s amazing how caring and thoughtful folks can be!
So, in honor of a dear friend who I lost a year ago today, I want to honor those friends who were there for me when I needed them the most! Thanks y’all and blessings on you! Maybe some day, I’ll be able to be there for you just as you were for me!
Brandi Jo Magee
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
This is a cool way to check out where your reading audience is coming from and I got the idea from Steve’s blog.
Sooo…..go give me a shout-out on my guestmap by leaving me a note with a cute little character in your position on my world map! You KNOW you want to! ;)
P.S….do me another favor…WATCH OPRAH TODAY (or tape it)!
Monday, October 10, 2005
[Give this picture it's best caption! Come up with a unique/fun caption for this picture and tomorrow I'll pick the best response! If you can't come up with a good caption, leave me a message anyways telling me which caption thus far you like the best (or better yet, come back around the evening time and judge from all the captions that had been left throughout the day)! Have fun!]
Sunday, October 09, 2005
So I went last season having watched I think 95% of the season’s shows. Those that I couldn’t watch when they aired, because I had other plans, I would record and watch at other times. While I’ll be the first to admit that occasionally I don’t agree with her on some things, I do think her show does a superb job of exposing people to things that they might not other wise know are going on. I love how her shows are normally centered on topics, rather than always simply having celebrities come on. I could care less about the celebrities in most cases, which was exactly why I was bummed to hear about the season opener for her 20th season this fall.
I remember thinking all summer long how I couldn’t wait to see how she would begin her 20th season! Let’s face it, how do you out do giving away all those free cars!?!? So when I found out the season opener was going to be a show on Jennifer Aniston, I was like, “you’ve GOT to be kidding me!?!?” I’m sorry, but the Brad and Jennifer break-up is old news, and not only that, but I could honestly careless about it. So, due to that season opener disappointment, I didn’t watch or record a single episode the first or second weeks of the new season (plus I was really busy too…HA!)
So when the third week rolled around I decided to check out her website to see if there were going to be any shows worth taping. I decided two of the shows that week would be worth a recording, and boy was I glad I got that October 4th showing!
Oprah’s October 4th episode was a show on Child Predators. She had the father of Shasta on (the little girl that this year was found living in the woods with her child molester, and eventually was gotten back once the molester took her in town to a Denny’s and was caught). She also had another gentleman on who was the father of a little girl who was kidnapped, raped, and buried alive by her child molester. It was a touching episode.
Oprah started off the show with a dialogue about how she was fed up with child molestation and child predators going into homes and kidnapping kids and brutally raping and killing kids all over America. She then mentioned how she wasn’t going to just sit around and let this continue to go on. She then said how this season she is going to post each Friday on her website the profiles of more and more child molesters who are out on the loose that need to be caught. She said that for anybody who gives tips toward the capture of any of the molesters she has posted on her website she will give $100,000 to them.
So throughout the show she stopped and did short segments on eight high-profile child molesters that have been on the run from police. Many of whom have been on the run for quite some time. One of the faces was actually of a gentleman I had seen listed on the FBI Most Wanted List for QUITE some time (what? I can’t help it I like to check the FBI Most Wanted List from time to time…HA!) I thought it was cool that she was putting forth this effort, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up; I mean let’s face it, it isn’t like the FBI and cops haven’t been looking for these guys all along. What is Oprah and her show really going to do?!?!
It was the caption I saw on her website when I visited it on Friday. I couldn’t believe my eyes! On October 5th, one of the gentlemen Oprah had posted his profile on her show was caught in Belize (that’s the VERY next day after showing it!) Not only that, but on October 6th, another one of the profiled men was caught! Are you kiddin’ me!?!?
I’m sorry, but I found that just so unbelievable! Talk about the power of one woman! She was able to reach so many people that she out did the police if you ask me! Now if you don’t think Oprah’s show is watched my millions, you’re only kidding yourself!
Now, with this GREAT breaking news, this Tuesday’s Oprah episode is going to be the follow-up show to the original Child Predators show. She is going to cover the news of the two captures! I can’t tell you how much I am anticipating this show (already got the VCR set to record…HA!) I TOTALLY recommend everyone trying to watch this Tuesday’s episode (record it if you are busy during your local airing time).
So maybe Oprah didn’t start off her 20th season with a season premiere that blew me away, but after this Child Predator episode and the captures of two highly dangerous men that it lead too, I can honestly say her 20th season is where it belongs! Once again, among my favorite shows on television!
Note: Though it was a GREAT episode on October 4th, I still think there was this one segment during it where Oprah got on a soapbox and it was so weird because as I watched her it SOOO just hit me that I felt like she was saying what she was saying as a publicity stunt that totally seemed like a rant a politician would do trying to run for office! Maybe she really IS considering running for president after all. Stopping a show after 20 seasons sounds like a nice mark to stop at for me! ;)
I am teaching a 9-week computer skills course to some of my homeless clients and last week was our review week for what they learned on Microsoft Word over the past three weeks, so to review the students had to write a formal letter to the instructor (that’s me…HA!) and tell her what they have enjoyed the most about the class thus far. Here are three examples of letters I got this past week from some of my computer class students:
It has been my distinctued, and distinguished pleasure, learning from, sharing with and sometimes teaching this most enjoyable class. Your skills as a teacher do not over shadow your ability to learn and respect the skills and shortcomings of your students. It has been a distiquintct pleasure and I hope to share many more intellectual endeavors with you and instructors of your caliber.
With warmest regrets & most sincere appreciations
Computers have become something of a necessity in the world we live in today. To have the opportunity to learn about them without cost is a blessing. To have an instructor with patience, kindness, and such knowledge makes this a double blessing. Thank you for your time in teaching me. My learning has already been very useful in other areas. The more I learn the more useful it will become.
I have longed to learn something about computers, so when the social worker offered this opportunity I could not pass it up. I am happy to try and fail and learn all I can at this time. I suppose what I like most is the fact that the teacher makes our mistakes fun.
I have a BLAST teaching my two classes, as well as one private lesson to a handicapped individual who can’t get upstairs to the computer lab for the regular class. Anyways, that second letter is actually from one of my favorite clients out of the whole internship! That client is schizophrenic and SOOOO brilliant! Her intelligence just blows me away! I often find myself in complete awe just listening to her.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Me: we got into a GOOD discussion…that Heather chick is one of those people that I don't like to discuss religion with though…she just makes comments that are so close-minded and disrespectful
Friend: really? interesting. Like what does she say?
Me: she said something like...a person is stupid if they can read the bible and not be overwhelmed with the fact that God is so real
Me: I just had a good time though because I kept questioning everything she was saying...which was why Tiffany started laughing and was like...didn't you go to ACU?!?!
Me: HA HA
Me: then the more i questioned....Tiffany laughed again and was like...dang, it's like you're going to write a paper on it or something
Me: but it was fun because....Tiffany and I both seemed to be coming from somewhat of the same side on a lot of the topics...and Heather kept saying stuff like...well people just can't interpret the bible however they want...it is straight forward....and then she would say something else...that was SOOOO obviously how she interpreted it...and Tiffany or I would be like....well that is how you are interpreting it....and we would laugh...and she would be like...no...that is what it means…and we were like...what makes you think YOU know exactly how it is interpreted
Friend: yeah, right. It is sooooo straight forward. The more I read that thing the more skeptical I become. Which I know is bad. it's all so subjective why the heck does she think there are hundreds of denominations out there
Friend: it's Christianity's own self-destructiveness
Me: i know right…she was so one of those people that is like...my religion is the correct one…she even said something that i can't remember right now that was basically saying that...lol
Friend: Heather is right in her own subjective reality
Me: she is right to her…as i suppose we all are, i guess
Friend: i guess it's not really a question of who's right or who's wrong as much as it is a question of being open-minded
Friend: did you tell her you are agnostic?
Me: no...i didn't come out and say that....i don't like to just throw that word out there to people that don't know me very well because of the connotation that comes with it...and the misinterpretation of it....but i did say something at one point that was that I don't say i believe one way or the other...we were talking about creation vs. evolution
Friend: question -- in what ways do you think throwing it out there brings negative connotations? Is it b/c many people are Christian?
Me: because a lot of Christians have the view that if you're not Christian you are different, or bad, or weird, or something like that…plus... a lot of people, Christian or not, don't know what an agnostic is
Friend: Would that make you a victim of their closed-mindedness if you kept quiet about it? Or would it more help to avoid conflict?
Me: it very well could make me a victim of their closed-mindedness....but i think....i kind of like playing the game to see what all they will say when they are ignorant to my stance on the issue....it's funny to see what people will say about people who aren't Christian....especially when a lot of people assume people are....ESPECIALLY when they know I'm from ACU…it just makes for some fun…HA! they try to cover their closed-mindedness if they find out i'm not Christian…so i like to get their real opinions first
Friend: true -- and especially about the assuming part based of your ACU education
Me: Tiffany...perfect example...with her, "didn't you go to ACU” comment
Friend: it's a nice way to analyze them
Me: we are all so easily influenced...i like to try to take out that third variable
Friend: Do you think it would help to change their view of agnostics, perhaps in a more positive light, if you revealed that you were?
Me: that depends on my relationship with the person…in that discussion group…nah, none of them knew me very well as a person
Me: if it would have brought anything from that group...it probably would have just changed their impression of me as a person, not of agnostism
Friend: sometimes it's just a matter of exposing people to something in order for them to change their faulty views of it
Me: that's true, but it is important to make the exposure in the right context
Me: there was NO way I could have explained agnostism to them in a right light in the limited time we had…that's just one example of having the right context
Friend: it's about weighing it all -- Can I influence their closed-mindedness or will I only contribute to it?
Friend: I've thought about that a lot...it takes a lot of personal awareness...b/c...some people think it's best that they just throw themselves out there to anyone, anywhere, anytime...but really it is important, i think, to make sure it's the right time/place. To make sure that it won't make them think superficially of you/label you -- even if it doesn't matter what they think of you. Sometimes to reach a lot of people I guess, it has to be done tactfully.
Me: i think it comes down to first understanding the person with whom you're sharing information with
Friend: yes, it does
Me: once you know enough about them, such as how they think and how they react to things....you'll know the "right context" to telling them something, or choosing NOT to tell them something
Me: some people are really sensitive....so that is important to take into consideration....some people don't understand psychological things, so that is important to take into consideration...some people hold grudges...that's important....etc.
Friend: you have to judge how they might judge and how that might effect you and your goals in the long run
Friend: Suppose I asked you why would it matter to you what Heather thought about you, what would you say?
Me: i don't like anyone to think negatively of me, if I can avoid it
Friend: exactly, and i think that's what i was tying to get at earlier but didn't...we don't want people to think negatively of us and that, depending on the circumstances, it has the potential to hurt us too.
Me: it is important to note though that i have NO problem with someone not agreeing with me....i just don't want them to think negatively of me because of that disagreement...which is why it is important that i understand a person first to know whether or not they are going to disagree with me or not before i let my opinion out or not
Friend: True -- I agree we should try to know them first
Friday, October 07, 2005
Soo...here are some of my thoughts on this matter of discussion:
So in a sense, does someone have to have a “knowledge” stance and a “belief” stance? Can someone not be just “agnostic?” Because in my cause, I just identify with the agnostic sense in that I don’t know whether a god (or God) exists or not, so I can’t convince myself to belief one way or the other.
But then what about those folks that are fully sold on their religion. Those gung-ho Bible beaters. They obviously are theistic in their belief, but what is their “knowledge” stance? What is the other levels on the knowledge spectrum besides agnostism? I suppose what you get from most firmly religious individuals is the term “faith.” Though I guess they can’t prove God’s existence, they don’t have a “knowledge” stance, just their reliance on their faith. Right?
In one of your writings you spoke of such things as passive disbelief and active disbelief. In response to Mark’s comment: “an Agnostic acts very much like an Atheist - not taking part in the religious rituals of any particular faith,” I would also use the terms “passive” and “active” when describing different lifestyles taken from agnostism.
I would consider an active agnostic as one that does attend religious services and/or rituals, because he/she is actively pursuing his/her questioning knowledge; his/her struggle with wanting to know whether there is a god (or God) or not. This individual might view agnostism as a temporary stage in his/her life while they search for “answers,” so to say.
However, I also believe there are passive agnostics, who though this will come off as sounding like they are characterized as just being lazy, I would describe them as individuals who choose not to attend religious services and/or rituals based on the idea that they are completely content with their view of not knowing. They may have come to peace with the idea that they don’t think the existence or non-existence of a god (or God) can be proven, therefore, they are satisfied in the state of not “picking a side” so to say. And though this might have been described rather poorly, I think that is okay for them if they are okay with it them self.
I however, would consider myself to be an active agnostic. Though I don’t attend church regularly, nor read the Bible on a regular basis, I do catch a service now and then and I do lend a careful ear to listen for lessons in which I might be able to gain a knowledge of God that will “convert me” so to say. I’m still looking for that next “wise man.” And as for the atheist end of the spectrum, I constantly get a reminder of that possibility through many experiences in everyday life.
So don’t think I’m not constantly debating the two ends within myself. I’ve gone through times when I wanted so badly to belief IN God, and I’ve also had times when I’m fully in belief that the whole religion idea is the greatest form of therapy created (meaning I don’t think any of it is real; AKA God does not exist).
Okay, so if an atheist isn’t someone who says God doesn’t exist, then what DO you call someone that says God doesn’t exist? If it is a “misunderstanding” that many believe that atheists think God doesn’t exist, then I think it is important to make the distinction between what an atheist truly believes (as you’ve pointed out now for us), and you call someone who does in fact state that God does not exist.
I will apologize for any offense you took from my original statement of “Honestly, I think atheists are just individuals who aren’t willing to give religion much in-depth thought.” However, I am under the impression that my statement was misinterpreted, but I take the blame for that in that it was stated rather vaguely, not to mention coming off rather boldly as a statement to make. Let me try to explain more of what I meant…
I don’t see how someone can choose to not belief in a god or God, if they can’t answer the question of whether a god or God exists or not. I suppose what I guess it comes down to is, while I can understand your explanation of theism and atheism being the two choices for a person’s stance on belief and your explanation that agnostism refers to knowledge of whether God can exist or not, I struggle with the idea of a person being able to belief one way or another (theism vs. atheism) if the person isn’t sure of God’s existence because of their knowledge.
This has always been my struggle, in that I’m a thinker and I base just about everything off knowledge or experience and though many theists can say “I can so feel God in my daily life” I don’t get that “feel” I suppose you can say. Just because something good happens to me, or I see love, I don’t associate that with a higher being or God, as they do. I just associate it with a good feeling.
So back to my original statement: “I don’t see how someone can choose to not belief in a god or God, if they can’t answer the question of whether a god or God exists or not.” The statement I’ve had before used to be “I don’t see how someone can choose to belief in a god or God, if they can’t answer the question of whether a god or God exists or not.” But with this one, which I’ve addressed to many theist friends of mine I’ve always gotten the same response, it’s a faith thing. And though I still don’t fully understand how faith can really justify that “knowledge” part, I have accepted that as “their” answer. But I’ve yet to get the other side of the story.
How is it that one can choose to have an absence of belief of a god or God if there is the potential for the existence of God? This is where I see my stance of not being able to choose a stance for beliefs, either being a theist or an atheist if I can’t say without a doubt that God exists and without a doubt that God doesn’t exist, I stand in the middle, which is what I view agnosticism.
How can someone truly choose the belief that there is no god (or God)? This is SO where I want to throw in a reference to “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” which was why I asked you if you’d seen it, not to try to use it to define atheism as you assumed I was wanting to use it for. Let me try this…
I view choosing the belief that there is no God as finding an individual guilty in a court of law. We all know the whole policy in the American judicial system that for an individual to be found guilty it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Well I take that whole stance with the God thing. I feel that unless I can prove beyond reasonable doubt that God does not exist, I can’t accept an atheistic belief. I’m sure the theists would say that is a God thing that is keeping that sense of “hope” in there with me that I can’t say it until it is proven without reasonable doubt. ;)
Okay, you know what I just realized? I’m sure where I used “atheistic” in that last paragraph, you’re going to say once again that I used it under the misunderstanding that atheism is the belief in the non-existence of God, but honestly, I’m truly starting to think that though you very possibly could be right, in that by the original, dictionary definition, atheism is NOT the belief in God’s non-existence, it IS however the worldly defined meaning of an atheist, which over time I believe BECOMES the dictionary definition. I honestly think many others than myself would define an atheist as one who believes God does not exist, as I also honestly believe there are many people who don’t believe in God’s existence and call themselves atheists because of that belief; therefore making them a self-proclaimed atheist who doesn’t believe in God’s existence (AKA someone who can’t be blamed on the theists or agnostics or anyone other than an atheist for mis-defining an atheist).
Crap, real quick, back to my original trying to explain what I meant by “Honestly, I think atheists are just individuals who aren’t willing to give religion much in-depth thought.” This goes back to my idea mentioned earlier that I feel that if an atheist was to truly do any deep thought about whether a god or God exists or not they wouldn’t be able to choose a belief versus an absence of belief (theism vs. atheism) because they wouldn’t be able to prove one way or another beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, I would think atheists need to drop the “atheist” label and stay with the view of agnostism of not picking theism or atheism.
I’m sorry…I still see agnostism as the middle ground between theism and atheism….maybe I’m stuck with the much acknowledged worldly definitions of the words….
Maybe it would be easier for me if I knew what the ends of the spectrum were that incorporate agnostism, since you say it isn’t on the spectrum with theism and atheism.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
It’s a weird feeling. Let me tell you. It can hurt, be relieving, be frustrating, be a shock, be right, or be wrong. It can be many things, but whatever it may be, it is something to definitely make you think.
I suppose when it comes down to the first question, someone telling you that you aren’t who you think you are, or so to say that you aren’t the way you think you are, that could all go back to something I referenced in a previous blog about how sometimes maybe we don’t really know how we come off to people and the world since we are always viewing our self from the inside out, versus how the they get to see us, from the outside in.
But when it comes to someone telling you that you aren’t who you claim to be, that one can really catch you off guard, especially if you’ve just always taken it for granted that when you claimed an identity for yourself, you expected people to believe it.
This weekend I found myself shocked when a friend of mine told me she didn’t truly believe that I was agnostic. Wow. I was thinking, “that’s weird.” I mean, I say I’m agnostic, so shouldn’t you believe me when I say I am? Well she didn’t (apparently).
Being as I am, I immediately questioned it. Out of shock really; “why would you think I’m not agnostic?”
She explained herself as this…
She said she didn’t see how someone could spend so much time talking about religion and God and not believe it. Or she said something to that extent.
I think I probably came off as defensive, but I disagreed with her and said I don’t think one has to be a believer in God to be intrigued by the topic and thoughts revolving around religion. I also mentioned that if she was referring to my references in my blogs to religion and God, that that was because I think one important part of being a smart writer is to understand your reading audience. I’m fully aware that probably 80-85% of my blog reading audience is made up of many God-fearing, faith-devoted individuals, who are dedicated to their religious beliefs. A smart writer writes in a manner that will appeal to his/her audience. Not only that, but a smart BLOGGER knows to write in a manner that will promote discussion, AKA comments.
Let’s face it, many of us know there are people out there that will read 10 or 20 blogs a day, but won’t leave a comment for the life of them, BUT we know how religious discussions can get the best of them, and then, they are most tempted to hit that “post a comment” button….HA!
No, I don’t blog about religion solely for my reading audience’s pleasure. I am being completely genuine when I say religion intrigues me. I honestly can tell you that if that wasn’t the case, I might lean more toward atheism rather than agnostism. Honestly, I think atheists are just individuals who aren’t willing to give religion much in-depth thought. I truly believe that any deep thinker can’t be satisfied with atheism due to the idea that how can they truly prove God’s non-existence for a fact? That’s where agnostism comes into play. As an agnostic I struggle with the belief that He does exist, in other words I can’t convince myself of it, but at the same time, I can’t deny it because I don’t have the facts to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, so to say, that He does NOT exist either.
Yes, the topic of religion can get me into great discussion! I can honestly say some of my most memorable talks with some of my dear friends revolved around the topic of religion. Some people I can remember getting into big discussion about religion include:
Laura S. (our friendship began because of this. Seriously! We spent HOURS upon HOURS talking about religion, and she is now easily one of my 5 closest friends)
And while I know there have been more, those are just some that quickly come to mind. But I’ll admit, I’ve always got more to learn, as we all do, so I don’t plan to stop my religious discussions simply due to the fact that I claim agnosticism. Heck, if anything, ever since my publicizing of my beliefs, it has invited for more discussion (which I think COULD be another part of the reasoning why that someone doesn’t truly think I am agnostic. I think she might think I just say it to be different in a sense, or to just instigate discussion, but once again, I deny those thoughts also).
To this day I still have been keeping a mental list of people I’ve, in a sense, “always” wanted to have a discussion with them about religion. These people are usually either people whose religious status intrigues me, or someone I’ve heard is fun to talk to about religion, or just someone that I totally respect (and in some cases, many of those reasons all in one). And though I won’t ever get my religious discussion here on earth with my friend Charles, I still have time for some of the others…
ACU35 (you and I both know your true identity, so that is all that matters…HA!)
So maybe I’m agnostic. Maybe I’m not. Maybe none of us are ever completely sure what we are, but I can say this much, it doesn’t matter to me what I claim to be, or what others think me to be, I’ll always be intrigued by thought-provoking topics of discussion and brilliant takes on the matters, so don’t expect my religious blog entries to end here!
Monday, October 03, 2005
[Give this picture it's best caption! Come up with a unique/fun caption for this picture and tomorrow I'll pick the best response! If you can't come up with a good caption, leave me a message anyways telling me which caption thus far you like the best (or better yet, come back around the evening time and judge from all the captions that had been left throughout the day)! Have fun!]
Sunday, October 02, 2005
10 years ago I was:
--13 years old...dang, like I can really remember that far back!
--Living in St. Louis
--In the 8th grade
--Probably anxiously anticipating the beginning of basketball season
--Not allowed to wear my hat in school, so I had to keep it in my locker….sad day.
5 years ago I was:
--18 years old
--In my first semester of college
--Playing my first intramural sport—Flag Football!
--Majoring in the BEST subject area EVER--Psychology
--Making friendships that would last a lifetime!
1 year ago I was:
--22 years old
--In my first semester of graduate school
--Hating social work
--Enjoying my first few months of having my first car
--Missing my friends I had left behind at ACU
--Went to a birthday party for a 59 year old gentleman
--Went to my 6 year old cousin’s first ever t-ball game
--Watched one of my favorite movies, Life as a House, and took notes on it so I could write a paper over it
--Wrote a blog
--Had a late night discussion via AIM with JWalk about religion
5 things I would do with $10 million:
--Get a place of my own to live in
--Pay off my college loans
--Get my parents a new place to live, get them each a new car, and get my sister a car
--Pay back my uncle and aunt for letting me live with them
--Give to the Charles Trevathan scholarship fund at ACU
5 places I would run away to:
--(basically any friend’s place) Laura’s
--I suppose maybe my older brother's, but he has been living in Ennis for over a year now and I’ve still yet to go out there and see where he is at…HA!
5 things I would never wear:
--A bra on the outside of my shirt (oh wait…already did that in a talent show)
--PJs to school (oh wait….already did that one too)
--A necktie (oh wait…did that at ACU)
--a Rolex…WAY TOO much to spend on a watch in my opinion
--a KKK hood
5 favorite TV shows:
5 bad habits:
--Not doing my readings for classes
--Staying up later than I probably should
--Speeding on Hwy. 183/121 (I SWEAR that is the ONLY highway I FLY on…it is like EVERYONE does, so you don’t realize it)
--Staying up late to blog or chat on AIM
5 biggest joys:
--Being with friends
--Writing a good blog
--Having completed a big paper for a class
5 fictional characters I would date:
--Dr. Gregory House on the television show “House”
--Dr. Foreman on the television show “House”
--George (John Travolta’s character) off the movie Phenomenon
--Matt Damon’s character on Good Will Hunting
--I just like brilliant men….give me a brilliant guy! ;)