[[my semester in ninety-something nouns/phrases]]

Apartment 6 | homelessness | Obama | cupcakes | New York City | cooking | Allie | ermahgerd | Little Syd | squirrels | Kelsey | #prettygirlswag | Amelia | Dan Stevens | ice skating | Museum Sundays | family night dinners | walking | Jefe | Syracuse | Kristina | Taylor Swift | Matchbox Twenty | twenty-one | Jane | raw chicken | Street Sense | Abby | Shakespeare | rooftop sunsets | Hurricane Sandy | Charity | engagements | Georgetown | kayaking | art | Wizards vs. Heat | Michael Phelps | Denzel Washington | late night Capitol runs | Sojourners | D6 | Metro Center | Union Station | Potbelly’s | Con te partiro | Costco cake | Perks of Being a Wallflower | Baltimore | John Boehner | WARD’S COOKIES | poop | going down | thirty-minute showers | networking | Star Spangled Banner | National Community Church | mentorship | Polaroid | kiki | ballstothewall | Explosions in the Sky | lace | California | twenty seconds | children’s Halloween party | average | Downton Abbey | Robin | Washington Journalism Center | Megabus | Lebron James | WordPress.com | folders | tours | Capitol Bikeshare | debates | social media | Lincoln Park | bus days | toilets | South Lawn | interviews | Pennsylvania Avenue | Boston | journalism | Four Models | jazz | opera | lawyers | keys | Geneva dreams

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Capitol City

Listen close, the monuments are whispering your name. I’m standing strong, knowing that we’ll never be the same. It’s getting hard to fake. But as you go your own way, remember do not be afraid. Because you’re right where you should be in Capitol City.

Two days remain of my college semester in Washington, D.C. Just two days. At best, it’s bittersweet. As I said in my first post, without the semester serving as a buffer between last spring and this upcoming semester in January, I wouldn’t have survived. And you would think that studying abroad is equivalent to a vacation…five months were you explore the world, be crazy and irresponsible. For the 40 of us here in Washington, we lived in the real world. I don’t know how much more real it gets than to be working in the capitol of the United States. I’ve nearly survived. I’m coming home and back to Milligan with some serious street cred, I would say, having experienced the things that we have experienced here. But I will tell you, I am tired. I am done in.

I’m not sure what the next two days hold as far as memories or packing problems or further frustrations with classes, but I am trying to see it as my preparation period. I have two days to prepare myself for goodbye. I am preparing myself for a time of rest and reflection. Yes, it’s Christmas so there really won’t be THAT much time for those things. But still. I am yearning to know how I will feel looking back on my time in D.C. Will I be proud? Will I have regrets? Will I be sad? Will I be satisfied? 

At the end of the day, it is what it is. I have done and I have seen. I have gone and I am spent. I’m confused and a little beaten down, but something is holding me up. Something is reminding me to keep fighting. Keep dreaming. Go harder. Do more. Be more.

This may be too much to think about at 1:00 a.m. And if I’m not making much sense, it’s obvious why. But I wanted to point out that the lyrics to this song signify to me what’s been going on this semester in my world.

I was to be nowhere but here. If that’s not reason enough to believe in my success, all else was worthless. My success was determined by the relationships I made with these people and with this city. 

And through these crazy times, all the up’s and down’s, I always knew that D.C. was here for me this semester. It was my time. I was not afraid. 

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The Final Stretch.

Oh how I wish I had time to stretch. Gotta save that for home I suppose.

So, in one week exactly I will be in Louisville, at my house and probably in my bed. Here’s to one last week full of frustrating classes, intense stress packing, yelling/crying/laughing with friends, dancing like Starlight with Jane, eating Christmas cookies, celebrating birthdays and holidays and victories, taking pictures of monumental monuments, visiting the last few must-see-in-DC items on my list and dreaming so big that my head might explode, as usual.

I’m not saying that I can’t do all of those things in other places… but this is the last time I will do all of them here.

Wish us luck. Count us down. For we are tired, ready, excited, accomplished, sad, scared and most of all: crazy.

Try me. Just try and ask me (when I get home) how my semester was and I will tell you: crazy.

You want further explanation? Read this blog or check my Instagram. And if you MUST know details through me personally, be prepared to listen.

This life made possible to me by my supportive professors, my perfect college, my unrelentingly friends, my gracious family, my loving God and most of all, my mom. Don’t know why… it’s just true.

merci. gracias. bye-bye. adieu.


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We worship a God who builds and runs universes for a living. He didn’t create the heavens and the earth and then retire and go into full time Christian ministry. He wants it all.

-Howard Ahmanson

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I’ve Had Enough!

Neither you, nor I ever thought I would say it… but I think I have had enough of the cupcake.

All we eat, talk about, or export in this city are cupcakes. There is a specialty cupcake shop in every neighborhood… not to mention the nationally renown Georgetown Cupcake. Shoot me now.

Friends and family: For the next Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Fourth Of July and probably birthday, I don’t want a batch of cupcakes… especially if they are store bought.

So sorry but it’s the hard truth. I will always and forever love red velvet, but it’s time for a break. And bad timing it is considering it’s the holiday season. Oh well, must not become complacent!

Most likely I will give in when desperate times call for desperate measures. After all, I can’t resist. If anything, portion is key.

I will however, settle for chocolate chip cookies. Please and thank you.

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Screw It.

And so, this is precisely what I am about. Read on.

What Happens To Our Dreams As We Get Older

Someday, sooner rather than later since tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, we should say screw it. We should risk the harshest of consequences. We should grab that crayon and color wherever we please, without any regard for what seems like the most fathomable, realistic outcome. These chances we take could end in a fiery smash, bang explosion that takes months – maybe even years to recuperate from. But then again, what if it doesn’t? It wouldn’t matter if we gracefully glided or stumbled and fell atop the mountain, it’d just be awesome to get there.

I know it’s different. Little kid you was playing with house money whereas now it’s coming straight out of pocket — but bank on yourself. Little kid you would put all the eggs in one basket. Little kid you had an imagination. Little kid you didn’t have rent due next week, but little kid you also didn’t have full control of his/her life. Unless we want to look back resenting our twenty/thirty-something self for our risk-free ways, we should be the little kid version of ourselves and sloppily color purple mountains with blue and yellow snow at the top… That sounds like code for doing some type of drugs, but it’s meant to say just go for it. Whatever “it” is for youTC Mark

Thank you sir for that.

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Trying to Stay Out of the Box

I don’t want this. Try as I might, I have to take the harder road. Working in a Christian circle is good for some people, but for others it might be constricting, too easy, potential-pressing even. I highly applaud those who try to take their skills into the real world, out of the Christian box. But are my skills fitting for that kind of work? In other words, will my skills be fitting for that kind of work in the future?

Let’s hope so.

This article from the American Journalism Review is outdated. That’s obvious. But, it does hold some pressing truths about Christians working in media. And it’s scary.

I for one, desire almost more than anything (at least it’s at the top of my list) to be a faithful Christian in mainstream secular media, working alongside people from all sorts of backgrounds, and being challenged every second of every day with what the world says, versus what I believe. Sounds hard. I’ll prefer it.

I know that I’ve said time and time again that I don’t eventually want to work hard news (general assignment reporting). But it could definitely be an eye-opening experience to learn new things every single day. And I know that my ultimate goals are narrow and focused…arts and culture, arts and culture, arts and culture until the day I die. Well, hopefully that’s a long time from now. So maybe it would be worth while to try my hand at a few different things until my big break comes.

At any rate, I will be working in the world, someday and somehow. And this article makes me really question what it means for a Christian to be in the world, but not of it. Author of the article Mark Fischer highlighted the story of one Mark O’Keefe, alum of Regent University (the 700 Club’s Pat Robertson’s J-School). Here is where this single student took his career, but was chastised for his dedication to truth.

Mark O’Keefe, a Regent alumnus who is often cited by the school’s faculty as the shining example of what a Christian journalist can be, says the problem lies in part with Regent’s program. O’Keefe, who covers religion and social issues for the Oregonian in Portland, says Regent simply does not provide the practical training available at major J-schools.

“The program was big on theory and weak on practical training,” says O’Keefe, 37, who got his master’s at Regent after working for UPI for two years. “They envisioned this as a program for people like me, who understood the basics and came back for the Christian perspective. That’s not who they got. I loved the theory, but a lot of those students needed Journalism I.”

While at Regent, O’Keefe landed a part time spot covering high school sports at the Virginian-Pilot, then parlayed that into a full time job as an education reporter. Eventually, Editor Sandra Mims Rowe approved O’Keefe’s proposal to create a religion beat, noting that “I know there’s going to be some raised eyebrows.”

Any skepticism in the newsroom quickly evaporated and reemerged over on the CBN/Regent campus, where Robertson went ballistic over O’Keefe’s stories chronicling CBN’s expenditure of $2.8 million on a vitamin and cosmetics company in which Robertson owned half the stock. A CBN employee told O’Keefe he’d “turned from good to evil,” Robertson’s Christian Coalition threatened to ban the reporter from covering its events, and Robertson publicly denounced one of his own alumni.

Robertson is still steaming. “That particular reporter was so biased,” he says. “It’s like he was on a vendetta to destroy us.”

O’Keefe had warned the founder not to expect any favoritism. “He didn’t quite seem to understand that,” O’Keefe says. “I really felt I was fulfilling the purpose of Christian journalism, which was to be a truth-teller, no matter what the cost.”

In Oregon, where O’Keefe followed Editor Rowe, he finds himself playing the role of the Great Contrarian, advising editors not to link the Oklahoma City bombing with Muslims, or offering an alternative view on coverage and play decisions. O’Keefe says he’s been accepted by his newsroom peers, even if some still apologize if they notice he’s around when they’re cursing.

Last year, O’Keefe was a finalist for a religion writer job at the New York Times. At the Times, “there seemed to be a fascination about my background,” O’Keefe says. “Far from being suspicious of me, I think it ended up being a positive.” 

O’Keefe is an anomaly at Regent, where administrators are hard-pressed to come up with other examples of alumni in the secular press. In the Christian media, where Regent alumni are more common, the rules are quite different.

Slightly ridiculous, don’t you think? Seems to me like this man was simply doing his job as a journalist and Christian to the best of his ability.

Honestly, what is expected of us? What is expected of us as Christians? As journalists? As doctors? As lawyers? As parents?

How do we make it work in the real world?

I don’t know. But here is what I do know:

I sure as hell am going to try.

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