I would win every time.

Well hello again.  A lot has happened since my last post (which is the reason for the delay).  I have been up to my neck in schoolwork lately, so all of my time with fast internet has been spent doing actual work, rather than getting to blog, which is unfortunate.

So!  When I last left off I was planning on running a 5k last Sunday.  Well, that happened, and it was pretty great.  There were a lot of people there-I think there were at least a hundred who participated, not to mention folks who came to cheer on their loved ones.  I ran it with Nason, and I saw my dad at three points: In the beginning, at the end, and when he was finishing a loop of the course that I had just started.  My dad is pretty in shape, so I wasn’t surprised.  The biggest shocker was the story he told me after the race-apparently, when he was in view of the finish line, one of my middle school students who was right behind him decided to pick up the pace and sprinted past him at the last minute!  It was pretty funny, to think that an 8th grade girl beat my dad, who is still active duty with the Air Force.

Meanwhile, Nason and I were about 5 minutes behind.  We both claimed injury on Sunday-Nason woke up with bad knees, and I developed a sore back throughout the day.  It put us on an even keel, and we finished with decent times.  I finished at 30:06 and Nason finished at 30:50.  The 5k was pretty non-competitive, so all three of us ended up in second place for our age group!

Overall, the 5k was a success.  The guy coordinating it raised about $3500 for Rapha House, and there were no injuries or anything negative.  It ended up being a really cool day, and I was happy to participate in it.

This week has otherwise been a blur of midterms, work, and shooting guns.  I found a handgun that I’ll be picking up this weekend (more on that later), and I will be done with my midterm exams after tomorrow morning (I had three this week-yikes!).  Life is busy right now, but oh so good.

First of all, I’m back!  I have almost completed my first round of chaos.  The research proposal is in, as is the homework, and the test I was supposed to take today was moved to Thursday.  I have already studied for it, so anything beyond what I have done will be less pressured, which is nice. 

Now, in my last post, I mentioned an internship I am applying for.  After the class I am currently sitting in, I am going to print out my updated resume and hand in my application, which means that I am done considering applying for this internship and now I am really doing it.  There’s something scarily final about turning in an application; it means that it is actually in writing somewhere that I have decided to pursue the path the application takes me.

So what is this path, you may ask?  Well, I am currently applying for the Arizona State Legislative Internship Program.  For an entire semester, I would work with state representatives, committees, and maybe even the Supreme Court or the Governor.  I would not be getting coffee or running errands.  I could work as a liaison, or present information to different groups in legislature.  I would be expected to research and write.  And, I would even get paid; not only is my tuition waived for the semester, but I am paid $4,200 for my work.  While this may not be a lot of money for four months, quite a bit of it could just be saved.  Plus, I would still receive federal aid in the form of grants, which could also be squirreled away.

So what’s the catch?  Well…it’s…in Phoenix.  And I can not commute from Tucson every day.  That means that I would have to live for a semester in Phoenix.  Since the internship is full-time, I could not transfer to another store, so I would have to either take a leave of absence or quit my job, and I am not sure if I can take a leave of absence due to the $4,200 I am being paid. 

I would have to move away from my husband, my immediate family and most of my friends (I have extended family and a few friends who are going to school in Phoenix, so I wouldn’t be completely alone).  It would also mean temporarily leaving youth ministry, and leaving my awesome, brave, smart, sweet students for four months.  Four months!  That may not seem like a lot of time, but so much can happen in that period of time.  I would miss everyone terribly, especially Nason.  I would miss our late night drinks and conversations.  I would miss hiking and gardening with him.  It’s a scary thought, to leave everything behind for a semester, but the opportunities and adventures that this internship  would provide are too good to pass up.

I’m getting ahead of myself here.  After all, I still have to make it through two rounds of interviews.  However, I can not help but think that it’s actually happening.

So…this week is pretty much my first week af madness this semester.  Here are the things I have to do in the next few days:

  • Write a research project proposal, including a literature review
  • Finish my homework for my english class
  • Study for an exam in Criminal Justice
  • Turn in my application for an internship next semester (along with letters of recommendation, an unofficial transcript, and a personal statement)
  • Read, read, and read some more

And this is just for school.  This week I am working a day more than I normally do, still have to get my lesson together for tomorrow night’s Bible study, pull together a band for this Sunday, and have to grocery shop.  Whew!

Needless to say, I am swamped.  Please forgive me for not writing until sometime next week, when my exam is finished and my homework is done!

Last Tuesday was the first day of my senior year.  It’s a funny feeling, being almost done with such a major part of my schooling.  I don’t feel like a senior-it’s hard to believe that my undergraduate journey is almost at an end.  I think I learned quite a bit, although perhaps not as much as I would have liked.  This is the first semester I am not taking nay Psychology classes, and that feels pretty odd.  Instead, three of my classes are for my minor, Sociology, and two are ‘filler classes’ (that being classes I am taking to maintain my full time status).  Anyway, here are my thoughts on the semester after my first week of classes:

All of my instructors actually know what they are doing!  This is wonderful, since I have had many instructors in the past who, while they may be experts in their field, should not have been teaching.  I have had teachers who were terribly disorganized, or did not kow how to interact with students, or it was difficult to get hold of them.  At any rate, this semester should be one that is free of lost emails, date changes for tests, and misinformation.  A few of my professors even have extensive personal experience in the area they tech, like my Criminal Justice Administration professor, who used to be a police officer. 

The biggest thing I am worried about is all of the reading.  All of my classes require at least a chapter a week, and several of them want two chapters, plus supplementary reading.  My course in Women’s Studies is the worst.  The instructor expects us to read no more than two articles for every class meeting (typically the articles are 30+ pages long).  While I am an excellent reader, and I enjoy it, I am still worried about getting behind due to the sheer amount of it all.

Overall, I think this will be an exciting semester.  I know that it will be difficult , especially since this is my first semester taking Sociology courses, but I know I’ll make it through, and will be a better student and a more informed person for it.  I’ll keep posting about school throughout the semester!

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write.

I have had so many ideas flying around in my head, ideas about relationships and blogging and current events, ways to make the world a better place and thoughts on the future and parenting and everything in between.  I have wanted to write.  I have just been out in the ‘real world,’ living life, away from the computer.  Sort of.

On Wednesday Nason and I went hiking as a celebration of our last Wednesday off together.  We left our house on foot and hiked into the Cienega Creek Preserve, then later on to his mom’s house, where we ate lunch and caught a ride home again.  It was a beautiful day to hike, and we did roughly 7 miles, which I was pretty happy about.  Thursday I worked, and Friday I had a good friend (who is moving to England soon) over for carne asada.  We didn’t even realize the time until her friend called her wondering where she was (we sat there talking for 4 1/2 hours!).  That night Nason and I went over to his mom’s place again, and spent some time talking and watching a movie.

Now, I’m getting ready to go camping overnight on Mt. Lemmon.  It’s an annual tradition with our church to drive up to Mt. Lemmon, camp, and hold a service on the mountain the next morning.  It’ll be an afternoon of hiking, followed by an evening of running around with our friends and teaching Egyptian Ratscrew to our students.  In all, a successful day ahead of us.

To be honest, I’m a little nervous about what is going to happen to this blog when I start school.  I mean, if I have a hard time finding the time to write now, how will I do when I am back in school full-time, working, and leading middle schoolers?  I think that if I can pull it off, then this space can become something really awesome, but if not, then it will flop.  I want to write.  I love it and think it is a great thing, but I am scared that I will not make the time during the semester.

Don’t think I won’t try, though.

PS. Forgive me if this post seems a little ADD.

Yesterday, I took a CPR/First Aid certification course at the Red Cross.  It was about eight hours, and I learned how to perform CPR, manipulate a person into a ‘rescue position,’ make a sling, and use an AED.  I learned how to check for signs of life and what to look for when determining if somebody is having heat stroke or if they are going into shock.  I like being prepared for difficult situations.  I have taken First Aid, defensive driving courses, and hopefully in the future I will take the classes to obtain a concealed weapons permit.

However, I sincerely hope I never have to use the training I pursue.  I do not want to have to give somebody chest compressions.  I don’t want to have to save a choking infant.  I really hope that the only time I shoot a gun is on the range.  And, I don’t want to have to pull myself out of a skid on a slippery road.

But I am happy that if something were ever to go wrong, and myself or somebody else was in danger, I have the knowledge and resources available to do something about it.  I do not want to be a bystander who does not know what to do and is useless because of it.  I want to be able to help myself, or my loved ones, or even complete strangers, and I can’t do that if I lack the skills necessary for the situation.

P. S. About the concealed weapons permit…I know that concealed weapons are controversial, and I understand why that is the case.  But something I heard lately from a father stuck with me.  1 in 3 women will be assaulted at one point or another, and it is a huge fear of his because he has three daughters.  As a woman, it is a fear of mine as well.  I know that terrible things can happen in this world, and if I ever find myself in a threatening situation, I refuse to go down without a fight.  I will use whatever resources are available to me, and I would feel much better if one of those resources was a revolver that I could carry in my bag.  That is why I want to obtain the permit to carry.

I was afraid on my first day of college.  I was not nervous about finding my friends, grades, or getting lost.  I was nervous about the things I would be taught.  See, a lot of people told me that my faith would be challenged in college.  I had heard the statistics about Christian college students turning away from their faith, I was aware of the fact that many students and faculty did not share my belief in Christ, and I knew that the things I would be taught may not line up with the way I was raised.  So, I was very nervous when I entered my first class on my first day.

Now, three years later, I can honestly say that all the things I feared about my faith being challenged came true.  But, instead of letting those things get in the way of my relationship with God, I used them to strengthen it.  In my Psychology classes especially, I came to appreciate God’s design more than ever before. 

 

Neurons in the brain (Image property of Gustavus Adolphus College)

One of those moments was in Cognitive Development last semester, when we watched a film about the development of the prenatal brain.  Although there are 100 billion neurons in the brain, each neuron has a specific area and a specific function, and that is where it always ends up.  It was as though it is programmed, and it was truly amazing.

I have learned so much about just how incredibly brilliant God is, and I have found more and more that science does point to a design.  But, mostly, I have learned that challenges to faith are not a bad thing, because they sharpen and refine just what it is that you believe.  Challenges force you to take a critical look at the God you worship.  And, that’s not bad.  I think that some of the best growth comes from doubt and struggle.  When it happened for me, I found a God who is loving, and beautiful, and so incredibly intelligent and powerful.  I used the challenges to my beliefs to strengthen them, and I am a better follower of Christ for it.