Where I am – 2017 Solar Eclipse

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When I came into work this morning there was an old news article sitting on the table. “Eclipse plays peek-a-boo” written by Times staff reporters on February 26th, 1979. The day the last solar eclipse took place in North America. 38 years ago.

My boss brought this in and said it was an article from the paper her family got when she was a kid. She remembered exactly where she was and what she was doing the day of the last eclipse. She told me the story as if she was watching it unfold herself all over again. She will be in her 80s when one of the next eclipse happens in the US, and she remembers thinking 38 years ago that that sounded so old and wondered if she would even be alive to see it that many times. As I was sitting at my desk listening to her ponder in her memories, I couldn’t help thinking about me.

Where will I be the next time the eclipse happens? Will I be married? Have kids? Be an author? Reporter? Actress? Will I still be living in Colorado? Wyoming? Australia? The skies the limit, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me.

No matter where I am or who I am the next time I see the eclipse, I want to be able to look back and remember where I was and who I am today. August 21st, 2017.

So, here I am. 20 years old, heading into what is hopefully my last year of college at UW. Sitting at my desk at Peace With Christ Christ Christian Church working on my internship. I leave back for Laramie in 2 days to move into my new apartment with my new roommates, Ashton and Jory, and I can’t help but feel bummed as I know I am not in Wyoming on this historic day of the eclipse. The path of totality crosses through Casper, and even in towns like Laramie and Cheyenne they will see a magnificent show. I have my special glasses sitting here next to me that I stood in line for at Grease Monkey praying they wouldn’t run out before I got to the front. At the time of the eclipse passing by I will go outside with the kids and witness history.  I never want to forget this day. I want to be able to look back at this exact moment and see how far I have come.

I saw an ABC News clip from 38 years ago regarding the events of today. The anchor said something that has stuck with me, and that I can only wish for, for the next time the eclipse happens in the US.

“So that’s it, the last solar eclipse to be seen on this continent in this century, and, as I said, not until August 21st, 2017 will another eclipse be visible from North America. That’s 38 years from now. May the shadow of the moon fall on a world of peace.”

Unfortunately, this time around, the shadow of the moon is not falling on a world of peace. How you deem the current world is up to the individual, but today, August 21st, 2017, the world is far from at peace. We did not live up to the hopes and expectations of 1979.

After today, the next solar eclipse visible from the US will be just 7 years away on April 8th, 2024. Though not as long of a wait, a lot will change in those 7 years. And on that day, 7 years from now, April 8th, 2024, “may the shadow of the moon [finally] fall on a world of peace”.


 

The aftermath:

The peak of the eclipse has now passed and our lives may resume to normality. The event itself was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I sat outside of the building on the grass by myself and watched the show. Every once and a while a teacher would come out and take a peak. It didn’t get as dark as I thought it would, but the environment definitely looked different. Creepy in a way. Not dark like in the evening time right before the sun sets, but dark in an eery way. Even sitting in my office the light seems creepily strange. Not totally dark, but a different kind of dim. The most dramatic change I noticed was the temperature. I sat outside for about 20-25 minutes and I noticed a huge drop in temperature. The air felt cooler in a blink of an eye and that’s when I knew it was at it’s peak. I thought I may go enjoy the event with the kids at the school but instead I chose to watch on my own. To reflect and remember by myself. The next time we see this, who knows where I will be and what I will be doing. I just hope that I can look back on this day and be able to say, “I was there. I took it all in”.

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College Distance

Let’s talk about something scary.

Distance.

Whether that may be from your friends, family, significant other, or dog…distance can be a truly unsettling thing to think about in the world of university.

I wouldn’t consider myself an expert college student by any means, but I will say that I have had my fair share of times of distance in my years as a student. So I can say with confidence that you can take it from me if you are an upcoming or current college student worried or struggling about the distance that is hitting you in the face as of now. Not to brag or anything, but I do tend to give some great advice.

So, here’s what I have to say about distance…

It’s awesome.

What? Not what you were expecting? Well of course not! It’s been engraved in our heads our entire lives that distance is usually associated with bad things. As much as we would probably like to think that the distance from our normality is going to be good for us (that’s the point of college anyway, right?), the thought of it always tends to hit us like it did with this kid when asked if he is going to miss his mom in kindergarten…

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What am I going to do without my parents there? What if my car breaks down? What if I can’t cook spaghetti by myself? What if I have this weird rash on my arm and my mom can’t diagnose it by just a text picture? What do you mean I won’t see my boyfriend for months at a time? GROCERY SHOPPING??

Here’s what you’re going to do…

You’re going to figure it out.

News flash! 18 year old recent high school graduates don’t actually know everything. Hell, 22 year old senior college students don’t even know everything! But you know what they’ve done these past years to get through life without knowing it all? They just figure it out as they go. And they realize it’s actually quite awesome living that way.

Here’s where I’ll finally start talking about myself (I know you were wondering when that was bound to happen).

When I was dropped off at college in a completely new state with not one friend but my blankie that I’ve had since birth, I was terrified. I tried so hard to be strong when giving my parents a hug goodbye. I held back my tears until I couldn’t see their car driving away anymore and then that’s when the distance really hit me. Up until this point the thought of being away from home was merely a fantasy, and now, here it is. It’s just me.

I’m now entering my third and final year of college (yes, it is possible to do it in less than 4 years and I highly recommend it), and being in the middle of it all is how I can say that the distance from home has been awesome.

Not everything about my experience has been a walk in the park, but I can proudly say that what I have learned about myself and the world has been what’s made the distance so cool.

Just two years ago I knew nothing about living on my own. I knew how to cook some things and wash my clothes, but I didn’t know what it was like having all of the responsibility on solely myself. I didn’t know what it was like to pay rent. I had never made appointments and went to the doctor and meetings by myself. I even had to go through a surgery without my mom there! Can you even imagine??

While going through these experiences was the most challenging and confusing times of my life up to this point, look at me now. I’m alive! Broke as hell, but living. I can now easily meal prep for an entire week with nothing but $10 and some noodles. I can call anyone and schedule anything without having to rehearse what I will say 50 times and then stutter when it’s my turn to talk. I even know how to call insurance companies and schedule claims for doctor visits and surgeries and go through the entire procedure all alone. If that does scream “adult” I don’t know what else does.

The point is, being distant from home and from your parents is terrifying in the moment. I won’t sugar coat that. You will make more phone calls home to your mom and dad than you ever have in your entire life. There will be nights when you cry and cry because all you can think about is how good your home smells when the laundry is going. How it feels like home on a Sunday afternoon when football is on the TV and everyone is in a different chair taking a nap. You will miss these things. It will be hard. But you will come out of it a much more independent, strong, and knowledgeable individual because of it. I truly believe that you do the most growing up between the end of your senior year of high school and the end of freshman year of college. And it’s all thanks to the distance.


Now, distance in a relationship.

This may not be relevant to everyone, so if you aren’t in a distance relationship then feel free to stop here. (Thanks for reading!)

But, if you are someone who is soon going to, or are currently in some kind of distant relationship in college, listen up.

This shit, is hard.

I’ve been with my current boyfriend for almost four years now, and for three of those years, it’s been at a distance. 7 hour distance to be exact. Different states if you want to get really technical.

I remember so clearly the night that we said goodbye to each other when he was going to college for his freshman year. That was one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever had to go through. Not knowing the next time we’ll be together, and knowing that he was off to much bigger and better things for his life while I was stuck in the same town at the same school doing the same old things for another year. That first year away from each other was the hardest. There was fighting and jealousy, yet more love than I’ve ever experienced in my life. You couldn’t give me all the money in the world to relive that year.

The second year was better. For me. Now it was my turn to go somewhere new. Now it was my turn to make new friends and go to parties for the first time and discover who I am as a young, irresponsible kid in the real world. There were more fights and more jealousy and more love. But this time, we were both in the same crowd.

This past year was the best for us. Now that we’ve both gotten past the newness of college and have started to settle into a more mature college student, we’ve done better. Though this year was the easiest for us, it also proved to be somewhat the most difficult. The freshness of college and being alone had worn off and now we both are getting to be sick of the distance. Not just because we miss each other, but because we know that the end is near and it’s time to start thinking together. Yes, there were still some fights and jealousy, but this year as a whole was the best. And now that it’s over, I’m realizing the benefits of being apart.

If you are able to, I strongly recommend doing a distance relationship in college. These years have been the best of my life, and even though I think it would’ve been awesome to spend them with my boyfriend, I know that it’s been more beneficial to me, and him, that they were not spent together.

No matter how long you’ve been with someone, I believe in the importance of spending time apart. I believe it is crucial to have your time “single living” (while together, of course), because that gives you the opportunity to grow into who you really are. With these years apart from my boyfriend we were both able to live our separate lives for a while and in a sense, get it out of our system. Don’t get me wrong, there was no cheating or “hall passes”  during this time, that’s not what I’m suggesting, but what I mean is that we got the time to have our own friends, own hobbies, own schedules, own lives…while still together. It was like being single, but committed. It made us both value our relationship and time together even more, and it gave us even more to look forward to when this is all over.

Though the distance sucks the most when in a relationship, this is the time that the distance proves to  be on your side. Consider it, embrace it, don’t be scared of it. If your relationship is really meant to be, the distance won’t make you crack.


If it sounds like I just rambled on about nothing it’s probably because I just did, and I’m sorry. But if there is one thing that I think all readers should take away from this, it’s this:

Distance is awesome. From parents, home, familiarity, and even significant others, it’s worth it. This opportunity gives you the best chance to learn about who you are and help shape you into the person you will be. Embrace this distance, know it is temporary if you want it to be, and remember that your mom is just a phone call away.


I’d love to hear about your experience with distance in college! What was your time like? Any advice for me for my final year, or for others about to enter this stage of their lives? Did distance help or hurt you?

Through your eyes

This morning whilst going through my typical morning routine of coffee, muffins, and the TODAY Show, I got sucked into an interesting conversation that my parents were having.

If blind, would you rather have lost your eyesight overtime, or have never had it at all?

Dad said he’d never want to have had it at all. It would be too devastating to know what you once had and then to lose it.

Mom said she would want to have had it, but then lose it. She would want to know what people are talking about when describing things to her. She would want to have an idea of the world around her.

Mom’s opinion got me thinking.

What if I had a friend who was blind (from birth) and I were to try to describe the world around us to them. What would I say? How would I even start?

How do you explain something so great as the mountains?

How would you describe what colors are?

The ocean?

A puppy?

A tree?

How do you even begin?

Here’s what I think I would say:


The best part about living in Colorado is that no matter where you are, when you turn your eyes to the west, you can see the mountains. All across the horizon are these monstrous humps that seem to stand over the rest of the state demonstrating their beauty and power. The sun sets behind them and casts a shadow that radiates their glory across the sky through the clouds. As you get closer to them their details start to show. It’s as if the ground gets taller and taller and steeper and steeper until the earth meets at a point in the sky. Perspective on life changes as you get deeper into the mountains. Your life doesn’t seem so big anymore as you look up at the landscape before you. Your bubble that you live in daily opens up into something far greater than ever imagined, and you don’t even need to see it to feel it. The air feels bigger, the sounds are further away but yet hit you closer. The wind blowing through the trees, the clear sounds of birds and bugs as they sing their songs with no interruptions. Flowing water that cascades through the earth, free of obstructions. The feeling of the cool earth beneath your feet, and the mixture of warmth and shade as you walk through the ever-changing scenes. You don’t experience the same thing twice. No mountain is the same. It’s something unlike any other place in the world. And the best part is that feeling it is even better than seeing it.

 

The ocean is bigger than anything ever imagined. It’s the one part of Earth that seems endless. Standing on a beach and looking out onto the sea there is nothing but water until it meets the sky. Just by hearing it you can feel its endless wonder. Even while looking at it it’s a mystery. No one has seen every part of the ocean, and even the creatures that live underneath the surface live in the wonder. Being submerged in the middle of the sea is like entering another world. Everything becomes still yet the life below you is busy. The fish and plants move in such mystical movements that you find yourself swaying to the rhythm of the water without thought. You hear nothing but silence when you are in the water and you feel weightless. Blind it may feel as if you’ve just being launched into space and theres nothing around you. No feel, no sound, no sensation. But with sight it’s a world unimagined. More colors and life than you’ve ever experienced before. Creatures that can only be described as alien but they’re yet the most beautiful life you’ve ever witnessed. And when you pop your head above the surface of the water it all disappears. The ocean is a silent world that lives loud all around us.

 

A puppy is the most selfless soul on Earth. Imagine the stuffed animal you’re holding filled with life and curiosity. No matter what they are doing, they seem to do it with a smile. I like to describe all dogs as the only creatures on Earth who are always ready for a party. Puppies never stay in one place for longer than a few seconds when awake. They are always wondering around looking for something new. They get distracted easily by the wind. Simple sound like a toilet flushing or a phone ringing are strange to them and startle them. They put everything in their mouths similar to a human baby. They want nothing but to love and be loved and it’s the most innocent and precious thing one could witness. When they sleep they like to be close. They want to feel someone or something they love close by. The way their little tummies hover up and down is the softesst movement witnessed by man. Their eyes light up the world around them as everyone, no matter who you are, stop to swoon at the new life. Puppies are a true gift from God, and a joy in life that we don’t even deserve.

 

A tree is a symbol of life. They stand tall and give life to those around it. They start at the ground as a hard wooden trunk. Some small, others big. Some house creatures, others just there for their simple beauty. At the top flow out branches and leaves of all shapes and sizes. They sway in the wind and shine in the sun, and throughout the year if you’re lucky enough to live in a place of seasons, their character changes. Though it’s their time of death, they give life to the world around them. Yellows and oranges and reds of all shades signaling the approaching end to a year and a start to another. Though lifeless in the winter, the spring proves their resilience. Life flows back through their roots and sprouts of green and flowers and fruits lay before us. When you’re walking down a road and all of a sudden no longer feel the intense heat of the sun on your skin, you can look up and thank the trees for the cool shade it provides. Trees seem to know just the right time for everything. They know when to shade, they know when to blow, they know when to be still and covered in snow.


We all take our sight for granted. It took a lot of creativity and reflection to choose my words wisely on how to describe life’s greatest treasures to those who aren’t as lucky to see them.

Take a moment and think about how you would describe the world around you to someone who can’t see it. Doing so provides a perfect opportunity to appreciate what we take for granted and send a thank you to the One above for the blessings we can see around us.

To the Career-Minded Girls like Me

 

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To the Career-Minded girls like me,

I know how hard it is when the realization hits you that adventure may not be in your blood after all.

I know how heartbreaking it may be when you come to the conclusion that there are more important things for you than taking trips to Mexico for spring break and “making memories” that you won’t even remember.

I know the feeling when you wake up Monday morning before the sun to get ready for your 40 hour workweek and think to yourself, “is this it?”, while you send the text to your friend telling them you can’t go to the movie tonight because you have to work.

I know.

But I also know the fire you have in your heart and the eagerness to get stuff done. I have that fire and eagerness, too.

I know the finish line that you have in your head that keeps you going to your multiple jobs everyday instead of to the lake with your friends to kick back with a beer. I have that finish line too.

I know the endless amount of work you’ve put into your multiple jobs since you were freshly 16-years-old, and haven’t stopped since. I’ve put in that work too.

I know the feeling of emptiness you feel when you look outside your office window at the summer sunshine knowing you won’t ever feel it today except for in the car on your drive to your second job. I feel that emptiness too.

I know.

But I will also know how you’regoing to feel a year from now when you have your diploma in hand and a job lined up right away.

I will know the feeling you will have when you wake up before the sun to get ready for the career you love and have the eagerness to get there and get started.

I too, will know the feeling of satisfaction when you get to drive your new car that you bought yourself and park it in the driveway of the house you own.

We will know.

And we will know thesefeelings because of the hard work we put in now, and didn’t put off until it was too late.

We will know because instead of “living while we’re young” we will get to live for the rest of our lives, exactly how we want it.

We will know the feeling of pride when we look back at our youth and not feel bad about the missed opportunities to adventure, but look back with a smile because now we can have an adventure whenever we want.

There will be no regrets at our hard work that we put in now.

We will succeed. We will conquer. We will go places.

Keep grinding, Career-Minded Girl. The best is yet to come.