Thursday, December 30, 2010

I love my Dad

It's true! I do!

Now, I would pretend like this blog post isn't just about satisfying my Dad's need to see that I'm keeping up with this, but there's just no point. You know Dad.

But for those of you who aren't Walter Thomas, I'd just like you to know that he's a really cool guy.

He always knows how to explain things in terms that you can understand. When I was a child I remember him explaining things to Kyle and I in ways that we could relate to. No matter how difficult the subject he always knew how to bring it down to our level, and I have seen him do the same thing with Joshua.

He is very affectionate. He's not one of those overbearing parents that suffocates you or anything like that, but he knows how to show you he loves you. And he has been the best example of what a husband and father should be that I could ever ask for.

He is turning 50 soon.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas and Red Headed Realism

It's been some time since my last post, and for that I am sorry. It's just that I thought no one was reading so I felt it wasn't worth keeping up. I have since learned that there are a few faithful readers out there, and to them I earnestly express my apologies.

Christmas is coming, and I've never been less excited. It's not to say that I'm no longer looking forward to it, I am. It's just not as special this year. I can't honestly say I am all that happy right now and I don't think that Christmas Day can fix that. I'm not sure there's anything that can fix that right now. Life is just hard. There isn't all that much to be happy about. I'm certainly grateful for the things I do have, but I'm also seriously struggling with the things I don't have.

And here's the dose of Red Headed Realism:

In the past two years I've been more mixed up about my life and future than I've ever been before. In that two years I've experienced more failure than ever before... in my finances, spiritual life, emotional life, academics, and aspirations.

That real enough for everyone?

Sorry for the tone of the post. Please know that it was cathartic for me.

Merry Christmas.

Nicole

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saving Case Chapel



This is the video my Class saw yesterday in Class Chapel. I think it went well overall.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Case Matthew Hogan

There is a child I know who means the world to me.
I think of him all the time.
I know in my heart that God works all things for the good of those who love him... but my mind can't seem to comprehend how a little boy having a disease that will make him suffer until he dies prematurely benefits anyone. I don't understand. I wish I did, but I don't.

The doctors have told Melissa that there won't be a cure found in Case's lifetime. I choose to hope otherwise. Because hope is a good thing. One of the best things. And no good thing ever dies.

Here's to the Hogans, and to that sweet baby Case.

I love you guys.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lydia Dawn Steele

You know those special people who don't know how special they are?

Lydia is one of those people.

Lydia Dawn Steele is the only person I know who has dealt with so much in under 20 years and still managed to make something of her life. She has lived abroad twice and is in college, an RA, she has been on SGA, she's a straight A student and she works two jobs. She's responsible and loving, and she isn't naive, which is rare in such a sheltered environment as Bryan.

She is lovely and a perfect balance for me. She keeps me sharp, motivated, and content. I am so thankful for my roommate.

If you happen to cross paths with this wonderful woman, tell her how amazing she is.

PS- Sarah Jo Wood is awesome too. I miss our room. 420!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stephen McGee

I already miss you, and you haven't even left yet.

Stephen McGee is a superstar in the making. He is truly an inspiration because when he sets his sights on something he doesn't give up. I wish I had the courage to do some of the things he's done. I wish I had the strength to go through what he has and keep going.

Stephen, you bring light into my life even when you're not around. I hope you know how much you are loved. I don't know how much you feel it in New York, but there are people here who absolutely love you and won't stop.

Thanks for being you.

Because you are amazing.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SSTOP

SSTOP stands for Students Stopping the Trafficking of People.

This weekend Bryan held a conference all about this terrible issue that is plaguing our world today. Some estimates claim that 27 million people are being trafficked worldwide. It is modern day slavery and people aren't talking about it.

I just thought I would share one of the stories from the Trafficking in Persons Report for 2010.

"In 1991, a 6-year-old boy was working part-time as a house boy for a fisheries officer. The officer was reassigned to a different region and promised the boy an education if he accompanied him. But instead of being enrolled in school, the boy was forced to tend cattle and serve as the homestead's security guard. The officer changed the boy's name to Charles and over time,the boy forgot his native language. Charles, now 26, still works for the fisheries officer but has never received payment and relies on the officer for everything. When Charles requested a piece of land to build a house so he could marry, the man instead forced him to work as a fisherman and turn over the profits. With the help of a local anti-trafficking committee, Charles moved into a rented room in a nearby town but continues to abused by his trafficker. Charles does not know who or where his family is." 
This is a story out of Kenya, Africa. There are many more like it from places all over the world. 

Pray for these victims, because what is happening to them is a tragedy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Real Blog- Most Memorable Memories of Last Month

Life is full of rich experiences. I struggle to remember this myself. No matter how dull the day to day seems at the time, when I take a step back I begin to realize life is anything but dull.

So I decided to look back over the month of October. What did I do with myself? Well...


Saturday, October 2- The first weekend of October my older brother Kyle came to Bryan to visit me. He arrived Saturday night and left Monday morning. We enjoyed a bonfire, Bimbo's, Calvary Chapel (my church here in Chattanooga), lunch at Olive Garden, tennis, and Twister (the movie). We had planned on going to see the movie Devil, but it just wasn't worth it in the end. But we had a lot of fun. What more can you ask for in a weekend?

Friday, October 8- I had breakfast with Amanda Lauren Young, a good friend that I have not gotten to spend a lot of time with. It was something we did on a whim, but it turned out to be totally worth it. We had a great time. This Friday also marked the beginning of Fall Break.

Thursday, October 14- I went to Case's infusion with Melissa. He was really happy that I came to his treatment, and so was I. We watched The Princess Bride until he fell asleep, and I had a great talk with Melissa. It was good to catch up with such a good friend that I don't get to see as much as I used to. I miss the Hogans and their boys. 

(For those who don't know about Case and his condition, please check it out here at: http://www.savingcase.com)

Saturday, October 23- I went to Oktoberfest in Chattanooga with Micah and Erika. It was glorious. There was a bounty of awesome food, including brauts and sauerkraut and pretzels. I also had some of the best lemonade I've ever had there. Then there was a free concert sponsored by 96.5 The Mountain- the bands included Ready Set, Runner Runner, and Shontelle. Shontelle was definitely the highlight. We were right at the front. She sang right into my camera and touched Micah's hand! Celebrity encounter of epic proportions!! 


Sunday, October 24- I tried to go to the first Chamber's concert up on Dayton Mountain. Oh how Google Maps betrayed me! I was lost for an hour. Never made it to the church. It was a nice drive though, the fall colors were beautiful and if I hadn't been so stressed about never finding my way I would have really enjoyed it. 
Wednesday, October 27- Day of Prayer. Bryan College gives students one day off a semester to just pray. Usually we end up spending that time doing something awesome like hiking or going to see a movie. This year I organized for 16 people to go see my favorite movie in the dollar theater: Inception. (I am going to have to blog about this movie at some point, I just love it so much.) 


Sunday, October 31- Halloween. It was a fun packed day from start to finish. We (Me, Micah, Erika, Erin, Lydia, Vincent, Sammy and EB) went to Calvary as usual and then went to Genghis Grill in Chattanooga afterward for EB's birthday. I had never been, and at first the task of basically preparing my own meal was daunting, but I loved it! Then we walked around Chatty and took pictures and got ice cream. Then Erika and Micah and I went on to Target to get me some fingerless gloves for my costume (I was the Black Widow). That night I went to my first Halloween party. Good times all around.

Not a bad month over all. We'll see how November goes.

What if?

Okay, here it goes.

I don't know if I can sustain this habit. I don't know if I have anything worth saying that should go into this blog. I haven't really worked out exactly how I want this to work, but I know for a fact that the internet is a great forum for grand scale communication. So here I am, blogging.

Today Shaun Groves spoke in my Interpersonal Communication class. He is a good speaker and had some interesting things to say about the internet and, yes, blogging. He is really into blogging himself and it seems to be going pretty well for him. I got to thinking as he was talking about what he does with it about how much time I waist on the internet accomplishing nothing whatsoever. I mean, as fun as it is to watch random YouTube videos for hours... let's be real, it doesn't really enrich my life.

So I started wondering what would happen if I really applied myself to an enriching online experience- one with actual purpose. I have done a truly poor job of maintaining my YouTube channel, and I don't really involve myself on Facebook in an effective way either. So what if when I got on the internet I actually contributed? What if I started blogging twice a week about things that matter to me and might even matter to others? What if I decided I would actually make at least one video a week?

What if?

So here is the start of my "What if?" experiment. Maybe this will go somewhere, maybe it won't. But this is day one of a new experience that I'm hoping I can share with a lot of people. Hopefully people from all different walks of life.

Will you join me on this journey?

I will be blogging on Tuesdays and Thursdays for as long as I can keep it up. I'll maybe even throw in Saturday blogging on occasion.

Well, all my love. See you Thursday.


PS- here's a link to Shawn Groves blog: http://www.shaungroves.com/

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Heavenly Perspective

So... in reading The Lovely Bones I've been considering the way the author chooses to describe heaven and what I actually know of heaven (which for a Christian who goes to a Christian college isn't as much as I should). The book is really good... but the heaven stuff is weird. I suppose there is something appealing about it from a pagan standpoint, but even when I tried to separate myself from my values and belief system I have trouble with it. In case you haven't read the book (and that's assuming that anyone besides Garrett actually reads this blog ever...) here's a little sample of what Susie's heaven is like:

When I first entered heaven I thought everyone saw what I saw. That in everyone's heaven there were soccer goalposts in the distance and lumbering women throwing shot put and javelin... After a few days in heaven, I realized that the javelin-throwers and the shot-putters and the boys who played basketball on the cracked blacktop were all in their own version of heaven. Theirs just fit with mine--didn't duplicate it precisely, but had a lot of the same things going on inside.
~Alice Sebold

So... in the book, basically whatever you desire shows up in your heaven. Anything you want you can have right when you want it. Except for people. Not that there aren't other people in heaven, but you can't wish for specific people that you want to be in your heaven, like your family and people you loved back on earth. Susie finds herself separated from them, but she can still watch them (and eventually she finds that she can kind of interact/effect them). But she isn't really happy with heaven because she can't really have what she wants most, which is to be alive again and with her family (and for her murderer to be dead instead). The more I think about it, the more I think Alice Sebold's heaven sucks. I get that it serves the story, but still... call it something else if you're just going to make it this kind of after-life void that can't really support you. That's kind of lame.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition that I think defines it best and I can agree with is this: the dwelling place of the Deity and the blessed dead; a spiritual state of everlasting communion with God

That's kind of general, but it sums up the idea that, hello, GOD is there. I think it's kind of weird to have a heaven and leave God out of it. At least have some sort of spiritual deity or something... I don't know. The book's view of it is just so... existential.

None of this means that I'm not enjoying the book thoroughly, I am, I just had some thoughts about the heaven stuff and thought I might as well share them here. Who knows, maybe I'll get farther in the book and she'll run into God on a stroll through her garden full of lollipops that she created. ;)

Totally psyched for the movie! Peter Jackson is a visionary.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010... new year, new ideas, new stories!

Oh, new year that cometh... what dost thou bring?


...ummm.... yeah, I don't know what that was.

Thus far the new decade isn't all that promising. But who knows, right?

Oh! I was hit with this really cool idea for a story the other day in church. My pastor was starting a sermon on Corinthians, and his intro had something to do with the fact that it was a letter and writing letters and stuff and then BAM just like that this story just hit me. And I don't mean just like, an idea for a story, I mean like, beginning, middle, end, main characters, main plot points... just everything. Like, I have never had a story develop so quickly in my mind. This is why I am convinced that this story is gold and I need to figure it out and write it soon before I lose it. Of course, It is Well in the Wastelands would be put on hold... which sucks because that's a good one too, but I haven't had inspiration for it for a while.

...anyway. In other news, I am reading The Lovely Bones before the movie comes out. So far it's good. It's depressing... but good.

Well, wish me luck on my writing. This is a good story. A really good one. I can feel it. I'm going to call it Letters from the Sky. Yeah, I know that's a song by Civil Twilight. I love that song.



Later.