"Words without poetry lack passion; words without passion lack persuasion; words without persuasion lack power."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Live Intently Through Difficulty and Delight

It's been quite some time since I last posted, but I have great news: I plan on blogging at least once a week starting August 1. I will also be revamping the look and functionality of my blog and I can't wait to share it with you!

Many, many changes have taken place in my life recently and I will be sharing them with you over the next several posts. One change is the ending of my position at Patriot Talon upon my graduation in May. I left the school and the newspaper with some final thoughts and I would love to share them with you.
It’s not that I don’t like change. In fact, change excites me, but letting go of certain experiences in my life can be extraordinarily tough.

I’ve been like this since my childhood, actually. As silly as it may seem, I would get upset when my baseball season would end or my choir play was finished. During the event, though, I was alive. It always felt like the best moment of my life.

I think it’s because I exert every ounce of myself into my current circumstance. This characteristic ensures I truly commit and enjoy circumstances like jobs, college and relationships, but it definitely doesn’t make transitions easier.

In a few days, I’ll be graduating and also completing a two-year run at the Patriot Talon, the last of which I served as Editor in Chief. My time at the Talon has provided some of the toughest challenges I’ve ever faced. I’ve been a part of difficult circumstances I probably can’t accurately express, served on committees to hire a new adviser, built pages well into the early morning and even lost hope in journalism at certain points.

In retrospect I’ve learned irreplaceable skills, like building a newspaper and running the staff — but that’s only the beginning.

There really is nothing greater than the smell of coffee in the newsroom, watching the editors perfect their dart skills and attempting to outwit each other with sassy remarks.

The absolute best part of my time at the Talon was the people I was privileged to meet. It was seeing a writer excited about their first byline. It was the delirious late-night moments in the newsroom. It was knowing the staff inside and out, disappointed and elated, at the point of giving up and thriving.

I’ve met some of my best friends while working at the Talon, and perhaps that is why this goodbye is particularly hard. Despite this sadness, it was completely worth living in the moment.

So, I challenge you to immerse yourself in your current circumstance in order to gain the most character, cultivate the truest friendships and experience blissful interactions. It’s so important to chase after what you’re pursuing with full abandon, even if by doing so it hurts to let it go. I believe this is what it means to live life to its fullest.

French poet, journalist and author Anatole France explained it best when he wrote: “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

I know my journalism professors would advise me to end here, but I can’t finish without saying thank you.

Bonnie Davis, your joy is infectious. Thank you so much for your encouragement and optimism through last year.

To Kevin Dilley, there is not a doubt in my mind that you care about students and want them to succeed. You helped me believe my writing can still change people’s lives. Thank you so much for everything.

Andy “Lieutenant Dandy” Taylor, I can’t believe we got through this past year. I’ll always remember your two a.m. newsroom pep talks. Thank you. I have no doubt that you will do even greater things with the Talon.

To Kamren Thompson, thank you for being my design sensei, but more importantly thank you for being an incredible friend and listening when there was no one else.

To my staff this past year, there honestly aren’t words for me to appropriately thank you. I could not have imagined a more committed and talented group of people to work alongside.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives.

Click here to find the original article. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Adventures, Reflections, and Lessons Learned

As I reflect on the past year of my life, I can't help but arrive at the same bit of wisdom I began with in my first post of 2011.
"The ability to see the beauty within the ashes is the fuel for our joy, and the foundations of our hope."
Please join me as I attempt to recap my last 365 days and illustrate what I have learned along the way.

If we were to use the analogy of mountains and valleys, I would describe this past year undoubtedly as a valley. A beautiful valley, but a valley for certain. However, I found hope in the beauties seen.

In 2011, I served as the Web Managing Editor for my school newspaper in the spring, won Best in Show at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association conference in Fort Worth, became elected as Editor in Chief of the newspaper for the fall semester, and wrote a series on religion.

I also got to be a Young Life leader, travel to Colorado, travel to Arkansas, build and nurture beautiful relationships, see a best friend become engaged, be a part of her wedding, move into a house with two amazing roommates, nanny for the sweetest autistic child, and register for my last semester of my undergraduate degree.

Truly though, no matter how big my travels may or may not be, and no matter how large or small my accomplishments seem, the time I spent investing in people and cultivating relationships and community surpass any highlight I could report. I'm so thankful for the people who have listened and supported me in a year of challenges, and for the people who allowed me to do so for them. I would never trade these moments whether they were characterized by tears or immeasurable joy.

Now, I implied earlier that I have faced a more difficult year. Please consider the use of the word "difficult" lightly, because I regard difficulty highly if it is learned from, and applied to life with wisdom.
"I believe I grow most through times of trial. whether the trial is self-inflicted or environmental. I hope never to find myself lacking in trials simply because I shelter myself from potential hurting.
 However, I do not wish to encounter difficulty as an extremist, believing I cannot grow otherwise...Instead may I find myself taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow from the lesser beauties in my life."
 For a further explanation, I invite you to read a blog I posted earlier this year concerning pride.

Through various choices made and life altering decisions that needed to be made, my life changed so much in 2011 and this is what I have learned:

  • Blessed are the choices taken in faith, no matter how scary the unknown outcome may be.
  • God provides monetarily even if the way He provides hurts our pride. 
  • Community is both vital and beautiful. He will continue to deepen our understanding of community throughout life.
  • God answers. Although, most often in a way that greatly differs than what we think we are asking for. 
  • Deeply immerse yourself in the present will of God. It may be painful when it is time for change, but it is life to its fullest. 
  • You really are NEVER alone. 
  • Be proactive about change you wish to see, of course while you seek Him, His word, and council.
  • While making decisions remember He stands outside of time. He is sovereign.  
  • Sometimes the greatest blessings are given when they are truly least expected. 
  • When you find your identity in Christ, you are able to stand firm even when waves crash down. 

      I greatly anticipate 2012. This year I will graduate college, hike the continental divide with some of my closest high school friends, and finish my last semester as Editor in Chief of the Patriot Talon. There will be so much change, but I am so excited to experience and learn what God has for me this year.

      Won't you join me in pursing life to its fullest?
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