Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornadoes in Tuscaloosa

Last fall I had the pleasure of spending time in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for my graduate school orientation. It was a beautiful town, friendly in its greenness and in the open, easy smiles of its people. Lazy Southern electricity, inspired by the humid heat and the newly born, wide-eyed ambitions of thousands of fresh-faced college students, buzzed through the heavy air, humming with a grace and charm as old as Alabama.

Last night, a tornado tore it to pieces. Hundreds are dead, and even more are injured, their homes demolished. Many are still missing.

My thoughts and prayers go out to my colleagues, friends, and the faculty and staff of UA, as well as all those impacted by the tornado.

For ways to help, check out my classmate Brittany's blog here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

seasons? sure.

I'm excited for fall. I've always loved fall (or autumn, for you sophisticated folks). There's something beautiful in the crisp edge that makes its way into the air, an exciting tingle that bubbles up inside me at the sound of crackling leaves and a cool breeze. In childhood fall was freedom from sweltering summer heat, a promise of black cats and jack-o-lanterns, crappy home-made Halloween costumes, and tables full of food at Thanksgiving. Fall was a returning to school books, pencils, and a new pair of shoes.

Now, as an adult (and I use the word loosely--I don't think I'll ever grow up), fall is still freedom from heat, Halloween, and turkey. It is football and corn mazes, popcorn and carnivals. I don't know why I associate these with fall, but I do. But for the past few years it wasn't school, only a continuation of the work that was summer. Those were the times I enjoyed fall the least, perhaps.

I was thinking of this the yesterday as I was traipsing across campus at the University of Alabama (beautiful campus, by the way!), where I've been participating in a weekend-long orientation for the graduate program I'm starting this fall. I'm excited to be starting this new program, though I was undoubtedly hesitant and intimidated until the moment I arrived (I'm still intimidated a bit). I'd forgotten how great it feels to be presented with the prospect of learning, of progress, of change.


Then I thought, that's really the reason that I love fall. Change.

Because I don't only love the fall. I love the Spring. Every year, I love the flowers, the explosion of azalea pinks, the floral-scented air and the welcome warmth after a frigid winter. I love the brightly colored skirts and sandals, and I love the way the marsh of the Carolina lowcountry seems to finally wake up, how the putrid smell of marsh-mud sweeps across the rivers as the spartina grass finally turns that perfect shade of green.

And I love the summer. I love that first day when the heat finally settles in, when it's so hot that people gravitate towards the water and its breezes and stay, still, too hot to move. I love the roar of waves, their steady report and hot sand under my feet. I love the thought of snowcones, their juices overflowing their flimsy paper cups; the anticipation of boats and jet skis and sliding across pluff mud while angry hermit crabs do their worst.

And I love the winter (at first--this gets old the fastest). I like pulling out my long, soft jacket and wearing it for the first time, wrapping up in blankets and drinking hot chocolate with friends. Sometimes, if we're lucky here in South Carolina (and last year we definitely were!), we might get to see a snowflake or two.

I love all these things about each season, but what I love most is the change. I love the change of seasons. That is what I look forward to more than anything else. After a while each season becomes dull, and tiresome, tedious and at times unbearable. Too much heat, too much cold, too much pollen. The fact that seasons are constantly changing, with a reliability as old as earth, is, I think, tremendous. And, as I walked across the humid campus here in Tuscaloosa, I had the thought that pattern of change God laid out on this earth ought to be a pattern for my life.

I am a firm believer that ours is a world made 'on purpose,' though the means in which it was created is up for debate. I don't know how God did it. Everything has a pattern, everything fits together in a sweeping, natural rhythm. Things are the way they are for a reason, and I should learn from them. I should embrace changes, and welcome new seasons of my life. I have always been a person reluctant to let go of good things, which is not inherently a bad trait. I try to cling to what was, afraid and unspeakably saddened at the prospect of good things fading away. However, there comes a time for summer to end, for fall to begin. In the world the most beautiful times of year are those times of change. Though for the plants and actual earth going through these transitions the change of seasons is most likely a difficult, strenuous, time-demanding process, from our perspective, we can see the beauty of it all.

I don't know where I'm going with this. I'm just thinking as I type, alone here in my giant hotel room (free upgrade to a suite? Yes, thank you!). Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that this new direction my life is taking, school and career-wise, is good. Maybe I'm just realizing something that I've theoretically known my whole life.

Also, fancy hotel suites are boring by yourself. And lonely, too. I'll be glad to head home on Sunday. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dear World,

I just want to say thank you for spinning so steadily. I really hate today, and it's nice to know exactly how much longer I have to put up with it.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Sometimes, when neither I nor anyone else is paying any particular attention, I see flashes of people as they used to be. It sounds strange, but it’s true. Something in their walk, their smile, the simplicity of an expression without worry, flashes for the smallest of moments, and I see them as they used to be—young, happy, carefree—or, for some, young, ambitious, determined—some hopeful, some sad, some very tired.

It’s happened to me on occasion, but today, in particular, I saw it in my father. He strolled carelessly towards the car from the Krispy Kreme on Highway 17, the same swinging gait and lolling stride I’d seen a hundred times, his brow smooth and blissfully pensive—his mind doubtlessly filled with the peace that the freedom of random thought sometimes invites—and I saw him as he must have been years ago. I saw that he was still the teenage boy who drove his motorcycle through the high school just before graduation, the quiet boy with a laugh that can send a whole room into hysterics. I saw the youth and promise in his face, then the wisdom that grew as he became a father, and fatigue and disappointment in the world and, unwarranted, in himself. I saw contentment with the world as it was, happiness with a sunny Saturday morning and a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I saw all those things at once, but the flash of who he was resonated most with me.

I wanted to cry when I saw it, because in that moment I felt a kind of love for him that is almost too powerful for my body to contain. I loved him for everything he was and everything he had ever been, for the kindness in his eyes and the generosity in his spirit. I loved him for the sound of his voice and the tireless hours he has spent working for me, for my family, so that we may laugh and eat and complain about not having enough. I loved him for the way he walked and even for the way he squinted in the sunlight, and I loved him for every memory of him brushing my long hair before school each morning and purchasing us hotdog-breakfasts from the gas station on the way out to Mrs. Renee’s, our babysitter, in the summertime. I loved him, and I hated that I could never know those parts of him that disappeared as he grew older, into a graceful maturity that I was blessed to have the opportunity to pattern my personality and life after.

Nothing troubles me more in this life than the concept of time and the fact that so much is constantly changing and fading away into memory. It breaks my heart in ways that I cannot now and will not ever be able to put into words.

I saw the flash once in my mother, years ago, on a day when she didn’t have to make the hour commute to work, had no worries, and for once was not tired. I also saw the youthful flash once on my granny’s face, as I strolled through her backyard and spied her sitting at the kitchen table along with her older brother, his wife, and my aunt. She raised herself slightly up from where she sat and grinned widely as she waved at me, and I saw it then. She was sixteen, laughing on the beach, carefree and full of rambunctious life. I saw it there, still in her, and I know she will always be that lady, even if she is now much more.

I know that time exists only for this life, for earthly purposes, and my only solace from its resultant heartbreak stems from my knowledge that in eternity there will be no time. Everyone will once again be everything they ever were, in a good sense, and so much more.

**I wrote this a few weeks ago, but thought I'd post it in honor of Father's Day...I know, I'm late, and I know, it's not all about fathers. But it's my blog and I'll post what I want. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


So, I'm not great at posting, and I'm not great at taking pictures, either. It's a combination that makes for a pretty pathetic blogger, but hey, what can you do?

I suppose it's time for an update (I feel like the guy at the end of Unsolved Mysteries: Update! After our broadcast Sally's long lost grandfather made contact with our operators, with all the information regarding Sally's missing mother and siblings!). Anyways, here's the update: I'm still living in beautiful South Carolina and loving it. It's azalea season, so it's hard not to be cheerful while surrounded by thousands of bright flowers of various shades of pink everywhere I turn.

I'm still working for the ophthalmologist, and it's still paying the bills. :)

I'm currently obsessed with this song. Can't stop listening to it. It almost makes me cry every time.

My sister Tori is graduating law school tomorrow! Three cheers for Tori! I suppose that's really her update, not mine--but I don't have anything exciting happening in my life, so I'll steal from hers.

This past Saturday was the Regional Southeastern Day of Service (I probably got that title wrong), and our little branch joined in by helping clean up a little place called Wide Awake Plantation in Hollywood, SC. Here are some pictures that I stole from someone else's facebook (I already mentioned that I'm horrible when it comes to taking pictures).

Hard at work clearing out some stubborn plants.

Still working, with Sis. Peterson & Brad. Well, Brad said he was working... :)

At the end of the day the mayor of Hollywood made us a delicious lunch (so nice!), including this lovely chicken and the most wonderful shrimp & grits I've ever tasted! Oh, and the baked beans were spectacular. Yeah, spectacular.

After we were done, we of course had to climb a tree. (See my cute boyfriend, standing up like a crazy person?)

The view from where I was working all day--not too shabby.

Tadaaa! I'm going to try to start taking pictures of my own, but I'm not making any promises.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snowmen of a Snowless Town

What happens when snow falls in a place with no snow? Well, Charleston natives knew (from television and hearsay, of course) that when it snows you build a snowman. For some, however, execution of the enterprise proved more difficult than anticipated, especially in the creativity department. Here is a brief photo-essay displaying these inept snow sculptors' creations in all their pathetic glory.

Snowmen of a Snowless Town:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Love Snow When It's a Novelty

All day long the weather-people were telling us that it was going to snow in Charleston, and all day long I rolled my eyes at them. Yeah, right. The last time it snowed on the coast of South Carolina and actually stuck I was four years old. That's twenty years ago, folks--and it was a freak occurrence even then.

But joke's on me--when I walked outside last night I was shocked to see SNOW piled on the ground and on cars, in tree branches and all over the roads. For a split second it was as if I'd gone back in time to Provo, but there's no mistaking the lowcountry oaks even when hidden beneath the snowflakes.

Now I've been up since 7:30 AM taking pictures and running around in the snow like a little kid. Gotta love the unexpected. :)

By the Citadel campus

Our backyard! CRAZY!

Jillian's super hot snow-woman. I like her colorful hair.

A little tree in our front yard

See how many inches there are!

Down by the battery with some excellent hot chocolate.

Next entry: Snowmen of a Snowless Town--a photo essay on what happens when snow falls in a place with no snow.