Sunday, August 28, 2011

Come on Irene!

This morning I was woken up by the strong winds of Tropical Storm Irene sprinting by my window as if the start gun has just gone off! I walked out into the living room to sit and watch the rain and the wind compete for attention by destroying anything that would let them. Mostly leaves and some small branches have been strewn about on my street at this point.

I've been watching the coverage at,, and the Projo to see what Rhode Island can actually expect for the worst. The mayor called for a parking ban all across the city, and I think they even shut up the hurricane barriers last night.

Down in Narragansett the waves have already crashed onto shore and covered the road. 

All flights out of T.F. Green have been cancelled. 

Over 100,000 people across Rhode Island are without power, thanks to this handy real time assessment from National Grid. Thankfully, we still have it.

Here are some photos of Irene taken my rhodey locals, updated frequently.

There is also a real time news update that I've been watching from Channel 12 WPRI

Later this afternoon, some friends are coming over for a continued hurricane party and we are making brunch and hunkering down while it hits the hardest around 2pm. (if you want to brave the elements, feel free to stop by).

Until then, I will be reading some Valley of Vision, and my new book from Mike McKinley. I'll let you know if anything crazy happens.

Over and out.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Many a transition has occurred in the past two weeks/months. That might help explain why I have been off the grid for a bit.

I've gone from messy room to clean room:

From hanging out with friends in Buffalo to hanging out with friends in Providence:

Bye's Popcorn in Olcott w/ Kt, Linds, and Jan
The Attic performing in Buffalo. Bryan, Casey, and co.
Grace Harbor afternoon at the Beach. Jake, Niki, and Adam.

From working in the University Info Center to training in the Auto Roadside Assistance call center.

From being a full time student/intern/part time/club president to having one job.

From having 4 roommates, to 5 roommates, to 2 roommates, to 3 roommates. 

From jeans and a T-shirt to business casual.

From flip flops to high heels.

From planning CSF to sending the new CSF leaders a text of encouragement as they are at their planning retreat as I ride the bus to work.

From a one hour daily round trip commute to a two hour daily round trip commute.

From staying up all hours of the night to kicking people out by eleven.

From having all the time in my life to check facebook, read blogs, text friends, play games, watch movies to actually having to do work at work.

From a dumb phone to a smart phone.

From getting paid biweekly to getting paid every week (what a joy). 
...And until my first paycheck: From small amounts of cash flowing to not even enough nickels in my piggy bank to buy a cup of coffee.

From being a student, along with all of my best friends, to being at totally different places in life as my best friends.

From growing my garden to slowly watching it die as I get home from training exhausted and want to fall into bed, like the cucumber flowers are falling into their bed.

From Providence to Maine to Providence to San Diego to Providence to Buffalo to Providence.

All while keeping my identity in check, and thanking God that HE does not change. 

As you can see, it has been a busy summer, especially the past two weeks as I have traveled home and then came back and started training at my new job. The training has been going great, but I am fighting the urge to grow up and get to bed early. That makes me pretty sleepy this week. 

My desire to write has not died down, in fact I have about 5-10 blog posts in the works that I am DYING to write, and they include multiple book reviews, travel editorials, funny thoughts, theological pondering, and life contemplations.

I hope you understand and will be checking back often in the next few weeks!

What transitions have you been going through lately? 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Day in the UIC!

Today is my last day in the University Information Center at Johnson & Wales, better known as the UIC. I've worked here for 2.5 years, and it's always been a great time. The above picture is a little slice of my cube. 

Many an artistic thing have taken place in my little cubical, as well as much reading, writing, thinking, doodling,    studying, and of course, working. 

I will miss the ability to just basically do anything while Im not on the phone, and the flexibility of everyone.

I will miss the people through the years, Donna, Patty, Sharon, Cathy, Carly, Randall, Chloe, Scott, Meagan.. etc.  

Today they had a little send off and brought in the most epic, sugar crashing kind of cake, as well as some awesome gifts!

They know me so well, I mean come on- Trader Joes, Russia, and gardening. YES!
Aww, this is so sad!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It Takes a Family [Day Three & Four]

See ITAF Recap Days 1-2 HERE
Day Three
Day Three had four more lectures, and would be our last day to absorb all that we possibly could from such knowledgeable resources.

Bill Duncan gave a lecture on “The Law of Marriage and Parenthood.” We learned about the legal transformation of parenthood, the default definitions and how the norm was being questioned and challenged. Bill did a great job of showing us some court cases that sought to redefine what it means to be a parent and how it belittles the needs of children, often putting them in harmful situations. We looked at cases in which abusers ended up with custody, and how children were treated more like consumer goods than blessed biological responsibilities.

Brad Wilcox spoke on “Marriage, The Gold Standard for Children: An International Perspective from the Social Sciences.” It was eye opening to see how cultures around the world are doing with this redefinition of family and marriage. Most of them are not excelling with such ideology, and he pointed out that it is the “elite wisdom” of the rich and famous that ends up trickling down and mostly affecting the poorer, lower classes with the most tragedy.  He showed us statistics from Europe to South America of how children in “broken” homes are more likely to experience negative outcomes such as depression, failure to complete education, and feeling distressed.  Through the information and research provided, it is clear that we must support traditional marriage if for no other reason than the hope of our children.

The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Key Issues,” presented by Robert Gagnon was a refreshing and challenging take on what how the bible holistically discusses homosexuality.  Going through the Bible from beginning to end, he touched on three main arguments including Paul’s ignorance, and fear of upsetting male dominance- which after discussing we see there are no historical possibilities of these being true arguments.

Our last lecture came from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, speaking on “It Takes A Family to Raise a Village.” She was very straightforward in describing what we are going against in this fight for marriage. Mostly, the “Condomists” and their disregard of biology in favor of poor ideology, pushing contraception as the ideal method of promoting recreational, sterile, amoral sex (an impossible way to view sex in reality). She showed us how this viewpoint is neither sustainable nor economical. Her last challenge to us for the weekend was for us to 1. Keep the Faith, 2. Inform ourselves, 3. Speak Out, and 4. Show up (KISS). We need to get past differences and work towards intelligently understanding and educating on this issue.

At the end of the night, we had a time of hearing from other students and discussing issues on identifying and addressing the needs in order to win this battle for our families. It was a very encouraging hearing from other students and the movements (big or small) on their campuses and in their communities. Some of them showed tremendous amounts of courage and fought for what is right.

“Frightened hearts have perfect skin, courageous hearts are wounded.” –Cambodian proverb.

We dismissed for the evening, which was a sad moment. We had become a sort of family ourselves, and when you go through such intense training with a like minded group of people, the camaraderie becomes deep. You see that while you might be alone in your part of the country or campus, on a grand scheme, there are others in the same boat as you. This feeling of being together with people who understand, it is priceless.

The next day, Sunday, Dr J invited students to come hang out at a boat club on Mission Bay while we wait for our planes. It was such a great afternoon, and I couldnt grasp the wonderful hospitality! I loved it.

That night I spent at a hostel in downtown San Diego, which was pretty cool, and pretty small. The roommate that I met was this crazy German girl who was fired from her au paire job, which is awkward, but ok. She had crazy hair. 

Monday morning, I hopped on the bus and headed to the airport. Long flight later to Boston, and early morning drive to Providence, and I was back.  

Before this weekend, I would have balked at common arguments against the purpose of one man and one woman coming together in marriage for procreation and protection. I would have been hesitant to join in certain conversations. Now after sitting under such good teaching, I feel prepared and equipped to dive right in as someone intelligently informed. I have met people who have challenged and encouraged, exhorted, and admonished me towards understanding and truth.

Leaving San Diego was a sad time, but it comes with much hope. We can win this. If we fight for truth, we can save our families.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mini Expeditions : Little Links

There are some weeks where I stumble upon (literally, not via stumbleupon- though you should totally hook up with that site and be my friend) really great articles that I just want to write about like a beast. But having not much spare time lately has caused a back-up of such articles, and I need to put them somewhere!

So here we go, I'm just going to pile them maybe once a week or so in here so I can come back to them at another point in time. They are just too good to pass up.

End Marathon Mania by Beth Comery
I just wanted to go to the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, and you wouldn't think it was that hard. But there was a marathon going on in Providence that closed half the roads. It took 45 minutes to drive less than 10 miles. This is a typical situation. It sucks.

God and Nexus by Darryl Dash
"But every time I use my NEXUS card, I'm going to think about how God runs a tighter ship than NEXUS, but how grace has made a way for my approval."

Caring for your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch
Extroverts: please read.

The Bossy Pants Guide For Getting Ready on Sunday by Mike Cosper
"Sometimes the best thing a pastor can do is discourage creativity, calling people to simply focus on the ministries of Word and prayer."//Amen

Monday, August 8, 2011

It Takes a Family [Day One & Two]

Last weekend I got on a plane (after a crazy 4am drive to Boston) and hit the air to San Diego California.

I hardly knew what exactly I was getting myself into. All I knew was that I was going to a conference that had something to do with marriage.

Little did I know that I would learn so much from nationally known speakers, make some great friends from across the country, and become equipped to fully enter the discussion on the importance of one man and one woman marrying for life.

Here is a brief overview of my experiences.

The Ruth Institute is a sub-organization, or project, of the National Organization for Marriage. It promotes "marriage between one man and one woman as the ideal for family and childbearing" and mostly works on educating, informing, and discussing on all topics related, such as family law, redefining marriage, same sex marriage, etc. It is supported by proponents of such ideals, including those from various "faith traditions." The student conference "
It Takes a Family to Raise a Village" is for further educating and connecting young adult leaders who are passionate about leading the way in the fight for the "gold standard" of marriage.

This conference was a place to learn how to defend marriage from a political, economical, social, biological standpoint.

Arriving at 11am Thursday morning, a few of us hopped in a cab to Point Loma Nazarene University (situated ohh... five seconds from the Pacific). Being early, we decided to take a walk and find lunch. We stumbled upon seafood counter right on the water called Point Loma Seafood, serving up everything fresh and delicious. Heading back to the university we settled in our dorms (or shall I say ocean view suite's), got changed, and then went to the opening reception to mingle.

Hearing from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder of 
The Ruth Institute, we were challenged "Defending Marriage: Three Problems that Can't Be Solved With a Political Campaign." We also heard some student leaders from around the country who are making an impact on their campuses, sometimes in an uphill battle against universities trying to quell free speech.. It was awesome. The Ruth Institute is also putting on a contest called "The Reel Love Challenge" for students to make a video about what makes "life long married love possible."

Day Two consisted of four lectures throughout the day. We started off the day reminding ourselves that we were in sunny and beautiful San Diego! The sessions were lead by an intellectual group of nationally known professionals in their respected fields.

Bill Duncan, President of The Marriage Law Foundation, spoke on "Defining Marriage and the Law." He explained how the laws of marriage and parenthood interact with each other. We learned that:

·         marriage is easier to get out of than a cell phone contract
·         the political history of marriage law 
·         including the 1970's protest movement
·         the court case in Hawaii in the 1900's
·         and the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996

 He also discussed the legal arguments and political framing surrounding the issue, and that the real essential for marriage is simply a public recognition of a couple to join together for the protection of children.

Brad Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, gave a lecture entitled "What Goes Into a Successful Courtship and Marriage." He brought up information about the pitfalls of cohabitation, points about the need for society to encourage healthy dating and relating so that marriages will be healthy, and that oftentimes young people are encouraged toward career and education, but not family life. I thought it was interesting because, well, I totally agree! He also said that "Marriage is the institution that virtually every culture has used to ensure that children get the material, emotional, social, and spiritual support of their mother and father, and that marriage is essential for men and women to order their desires for emotion."

Robert Gagnon, Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, spoke on "Jesus and Marriage," bringing forth truths and wisdom from a Biblical perspective, and how Jesus always brought things back to a "Creation Model," emphasizing the twoness of a sexual bond which prohibits a revolving door of divorce. The conference was not explicitly religious, but most there were from a "faith background."

Dr. Freda Bush, senior partner with East Lakeland OB-GYN Associates in Jackson, Mississippi, and a Clinical Instructor in the Department of OB-GYN and Department of Family Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, spoke on "Frogs, Frags, and Friends: The Hormonal, Emotional, and Physical Impacts of Casual Sex." This was super interested because she literally went through different hormones in the brain such as Dopamine, Oxytocin, Vasopressin, Pheromones, Serotonin and how the brain releases them, connects to certain behaviors, and trigger "trust" circuits. She presented things from a very fascinating medical viewpoint, which often is not  considered.


We then had a faculty panel discussing "Campus Sexuality, Relationships, and Changing Culture." I was so encouraged by hearing from the faculty (listed above), and from fellow young adult leaders. There are some crazy shenanigans going on college campuses all over the world, but I am challenged to know there are others in the fight.

That night, after battling jetlag, most of us passed out early, but with full brains. 

*It Takes A Family [Day Three & Four] Here

Friday, August 5, 2011

Love Letter to RIPTA

Dear Rhode Island Public Transportation (lovingly referred to as RIPTA),

When our relationship started, it was pretty shaky. I didn’t know what I wanted, and you knew all too well. I was just using you, and you saw through it and let me off at the end of the route, on a dead end, I was 18 and didn’t know how to navigate such waters yet. But soon enough we reconnected and I was smarter this time… respecting your power and embracing everything about you, even if it brought us into a bind here or there.

Things were good, and we spent many hours together. I got to know your crazy side, the 99. Every ten minutes a bipolar mess, home, class, work. We made it through. After a year of that it was time for a change. The 56 and 57 are the multiple personalities that remind me of two comedians who like to taunt the audience. I learned how to take the jokes, and I loved you more. Sometimes when things were stressful, you would show me your quiet, tender, compassionate sides- the 30 and the 22, and late into the night we would spend thinking things through as we went on trips to Warwick- just you and me as we escaped.

Remember that summer we spent wandering through Cranston in the early morn? You would pick me up from internship and bring me right to my job back in Providence. So kind of you to carry my books. Sometimes we would take day trips down to Newport and explore the beaches and mansions. How we would dream of our future together.

You know, even when you were late to our dates, or went on vacation for Victory Over Japan day without telling me (how am I supposed to know? Im not a native!), I forgave you and we moved on. Through 4 years of loving you, I only cheated twice. Once was that time on my study abroad (what happens in Russia stays in Russia), but I knew what I had with you was too special to just give up. The second time was when I thought having a car would be for the best. But the car dumped me and you took me back. You even loved me when I would take extended phone calls while we were together. What a love.

Why are things strained between us now? I thought we had a good thing going. Last night when you wanted us to “define the relationship,” it really caught me off guard. Why did you announce it over the news? Couldn’t we work things out differently? I can’t afford to lose you, any of you, I don’t want you to hold back.

RIPTA listen to my plea! Without you how will I get to work, class, the grocery store, my friends house, on vacation, to the airport, to the train station, to the Greyhound Bus, to the DMV, to the park, to the mall, late at night, early in the morning, during the afternoon, at rush hour. You have been good to me, spoiled me. I know I don’t have a lot of experience in this kind of relationship, but it’s better than what I had before back home. I know you are poor, but I'll do anything, we can figure out something out.

Please don’t leave me high and dry. I admit it, I am codependent on you, I use you, I need you. Think of me when deciding what kind of “life change” you need. Please, think of me.

Much Love,