Dog Days Are Over

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Today is officially my last day of classes for the Spring 2011 semester and it hasn’t quite sunk in  yet.

After this, I have a full summer working not-quite full-time and taking two online classes. It’s pretty exciting, but it starts to get scary when I realize that in the fall I have only one class and then I graduate. I have always heard people talking about how time passes so quickly and before you know it things are over. Well, that’s not really the case with me.

I have been a senior at UofL for three years now and I have to say, graduation is taking it’s time getting here. One thing I have learned though is that time is relative. I could have finished my original degree in Biology and graduated in 2010, but I don’t think I would have had any clue what to do with it. 

I started out believing that I wanted to end up in medical school. While my motives were the right ones, wanting to help people make the best of their lives, my method did not hold true. Science is a subject I enjoy when I can leisurely explore different topics at my own pace. The pressure of learning it quickly and being tested over such vast amounts wasn’t for me. It may have taken me four years to pinpoint this, but once I did it changed everything.

After a few trips to the University Career Development Center, I found out a lot about myself and decided to switch the focus of my undergraduate career. I was minoring in communication and loved it, so I made that my major.

At that point I decided it no longer mattered that I graduate in the standard four years (which I have since heard is more like six). I have decided that I have years to work ahead of me, so I should take my time figuring out a career field that I will actually enjoy.

It seems like so long ago that all this started. I can’t help but thinking back to how not-ready I was to graduate a few years ago and how much more prepared I am now, even if I am a little nervous about facing the big-wide world after college.


Relay for Life 2011

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It’s 4:30AM on a beautiful night. Music is blasting, frisbees are flying. This is Relay for Life at the University of Louisville. 38 teams comprised of over 500 people gather to celebrate life and to raise money to fight cancer.
We walk all night to represent the fight cancer patients go through as they fight for their lives. At this point in the night we are all exhausted and count down the hours until this is all over. Knowing that we get to go home and relax in just a few hours if a relief. As I walk I think that if only cancer patients had it so ready. They don’t get to tag team someone else to fight for them. That don’t get to decide they’ve had enough and go home or fall asleep in a tent for a few hours break.
My walking had left me with a blister that may take a day or two to heal. That’s two days of hobbling around in pain, but then it’s over and done -a short-lived reminder of my own fight against cancer- if only cancer followed the same schedule.

Headed to California…

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How many songs to do you know that have something to do with running off to California?? As I write a multitude of songs run through my head. Pink, Sara Bareillis, Jo Dee Messina… the list goes on and on. Just for kicks and giggles, I Googled “songs about California” and I must say, I was surprised at how many showed up on a list on wikipedia. So many songs singing about the ups and downs of that state. Listening to any one of them makes me wish I could take a vacation.

Something about a steady, predictable weather pattern is vastly appealing right now. In my small corner of the world it has flip-flopped from freezing temperatures to balmy breezes from one day to the next. Some may call it global warming. Others call it Kentucky.

Even without the unpredictable weather,  I am so ready to pack a suitcase and be off. Don’t get me wrong, I love all that I’ve gotten myself into, but sometimes enough is enough. It has been years since my last vacation – and I’m taking a real vacation here- not a working trip or a visit to friends and family – as much as I love those trips. Yet, I have to imagine a real vacation being more about relaxing and unwinding than worrying about being somewhere on a deadline or dividing my time between wanting to see everyone in a short span of time.

I was being interviewed for a class project once and although I do not remember the specific question, the topic of vacations came up. At the time I said I could never be happy on a vacation where I had nothing to do. I told my classmate that I would get to antsy and not be able to relax. That was back in January. Four months later I’m saying “bring on the lounge chair.”

Graduation is my first priority right now. I’ve still got a bit of work to do and I have  decided to plan a great vacation for my post-graduation celebration. I have not decided where I want to go or what I want to do, but I am almost positive the highlight of my time will be doing nothing. It may be a year away but already I’m selecting a playlist of vacation tunes and the Beach Boys are high on my list. 

Jammin’ in the ‘Ville – Winter Jam 2011

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I’m driving home listening to the radio and I hear an announcement for a concert starting in just a few hours. “What?!? That’s tonight?!?!” I yell to my stereo. Of course, the announcer didn’t hear me, so he continued to exclaim about the tickets (only $10 at the door, he shouts) and to re-list all the bands featured at the event.

Chris Sligh, Chris August, Red, New Song… the list goes on and on. So many great bands in one place. What was I to do?? Now, if you’re like my younger brother you’re scratching your head and going “who are these people? I’ve never heard of them before.”

New Song at Winter Jam 2011 in Louisville

I suppose I should explain a few things. These bands are amazing – if you like Christian music. I listen to just about everything.  I love music and a concert for $10 is just too much for me to pass up, especially when I had no other plans for the night.

The concert took place at Freedom Hall. Officially the show started at 7:30, but the place was rocking as soon as we walked in. That would be the pre-jam party, that I didn’t know about. It was nice. Chris Sligh was performing as we came in, then Chris August did a few numbers.

The tour made its 17th stop in Louisville. They will make a total of 43 (or 42??) stops before the end of the tour. The cool thing is that a friend of mine saw the show in Jacksonville, which I did not know until I was uploading photos on Facebook.

My favorite song, I must admit, was Candy Wrap. According to Chris August that is “such an embarrassing song,” but I loved it and laughed the whole time at the sheer silliness of it. It reminded me of being a five year-old and the best thing you could possibly have is candy for as far as you can see.

Fire effects during Red's performance. Amazing!

Red is a new favorite of mine as of tonight as well.  This band shows off the rock side of Christian music. I couldn’t get enough and this was before they lit up the stage with a fantastic display of pyrotechnics. Picture me scrambling for my camera in the dark and pushing the shutter button desperately to catch as much as I could of the band and their set. It presents an amusing picture.

New Song is another band I heard of tonight. I asked my sister who they were, because as usual my memory lapsed. She told me “Newsboys.” I looked at her and said “No way…. really??” Ok, I know who the Newsboys are, and granted they were there but not until later in the concert (as in, the end) but I still went with it. Of course, I know better now.

Tony Nolan at Winter Jam 2011 in Louisville

Band after band, the music went on. Tony Nolan, the guest speaker of the tour got up and told us a bit about himself and his history. He is such an interesting and dynamic speaker. He has a book out that sounded pretty interesting, but I didn’t end up getting it.

Of all people to send a message, Tony Nolan is a great choice. His history shocked me to my core. I never would have guessed half of the things he told us. He struggled from day one and now gets up and tells everyone about it. I’m sitting in my seat listening to him talk about being adopted into an abusive family in a bad neighborhood (very near where I grew up) and getting into drugs and alcohol. As I sit, I am thinking, all those people out there who have no idea how to find the good in themselves, just need to look at Tony here to see that the floor doesn’t keep dropping out from under you.

It seems like sentimental nonsense when I write it here, but being there was very powerful. Everyone can take a message away from it, even if it’s as simple as “don’t be so hard on yourself, everyone is human.”

David Crowder and band put on a "hoe down" while playing in Louisville.


David Crowder talking to the crowd at Winter Jam 2011

Great music, a fantastic speaker and stunning effects – all before intermission. There was a talk about helping orphans with Holt International. The stories were moving and if I were anything other than a broke college student, I would have considered sponsoring a child. Alas, I am not. Instead I applauded the people who lined up to do so.

KJ-52, a hip/hop Christian band pumped everyone up for the second act. Kutless made their appearance with a slow start, but got around to playing some songs I loved.

My sister and I decided to go out and check out the merchandise tables. I bought some CDs and looked around. Chris Sligh was the only artist I noticed out at the tables greeting fans. I thought about stopping to say hello, but even with the concert going on there was quite a crowd around his table. We passed.

Multiply this by eight or so. One of the reasons we left a bit early... we did not want to fight traffic to get home.

Always in an attempt to avoid traffic we leave early. I must admit, after viewing my friend’s pictures I am kind of disappointed that I missed Newsboys. From what I can see they had the drummer’s platform rigged so it lifted up, tilted and spun while he was playing. I really, really wish I hadn’t missed that. Next year, I am sticking around ’till the bitter end.