Saturday, January 12, 2008


While I like to think of myself as a caring and compassionate person for the most part, I generally am not very bothered by things unless they directly effect me or the people that I know and love. When I hear about something bad that has happened to someone I don't know, I think to myself "oh that's terrible" but then I go on about my life. Which leads me to wonder that maybe I'm not that caring and compassionate after all but that's another post for another day. However I have been quite bothered over the disappearances and eventual discoveries of the two missing women, Meredith Emerson and Cayle Bywater. I cannot even put into words all of the emotions that I feel when I think of these two individuals and their families and other loved ones who have been living a nightmare. I can't imagine being torn between holding onto every ounce of hope while knowing deep down that you must prepare yourself for the worst. And then it's the worst that prevails in the end. I cannot buy the "everything happens for a reason" logic in instances such as this. There is no reason why that terrible man should have carried out those heinous acts towards Meredith. I know that I should not wish bad things for him because that's not WJWD, but I'm human and I do. My heart has just been so burdened as I watch the news and read the headlines.

Perhaps this hits especially close to home for me because I'm young (in comparison to a 50 year old) and I live alone. And I happen to live in the same town as one of the women, Cayle. And I happen to have red curly hair like she does. And when I was at work the other day, an instructor walked past my workspace and said "you know, for a little bit you resemble that missing girl...anyone ever try to flag you down and rescue you?" I could have made it just fine without anyone ever verbalizing that.

Maybe I'm the only person who ever does things like this but when I hear about cases such as these two and if it instills a sense of fear, I start thinking of all the reasons why something like that would never happen to me. Like I think to myself, "well, I would've never gone hiking or to that park alone like they did so as long as I don't put myself into those types of situations, then I don't have to worry." Well that's my first mistake. Just last Sunday afternoon I was thrown from my "that will never happen to me" high horse. Picture it: Athens, GA. Beautiful Sunday afternoon. I had just gotten back from meeting my sweet friend and her girls at the Mall of Georgia and I'm in my apartment getting ready to head out to the gym. I'm in the kitchen getting my water when I hear a knock on the door. (Side notes: I live in a gated community and while I give the gate code to my visitors, no one has committed it to memory or anything so if someone was coming to see me, I would know it. I don't know any of my neighbors well enough for them to just drop in for a visit.) So I go over to the door and look through the peephole and I'm not exactly sure what my thought processes were over the next few seconds but they must have been something like this: "Oh look, there's a male that I don't recognize at all knocking on my door, I'll open the door to see what he wants." (Idiot!) So I open my door (only slightly and I'm standing behind the door with both hands on the door in case I need to push it closed, but still...what was I thinking? If he had wanted in, he would've done it.) and he proceeds to ask me if I wanted to subscribe to the AJC. This dude was empty-handed. I don't know much about door-to-door selling so maybe that's normal...or maybe it's not. Fortunately I had the sense to say "oh no, we wouldn't be interested at this time." He doesn't need to know that "we" consists of myself, the devil sitting on my left shoulder and the angel sitting on my right. So I shut the door, but only long enough to gather up the rest of my things that I'm taking to the gym with me and then I head out. (Moron!!) I hadn't given him enough time to leave. He was knocking on my neighbor's door. Sure, he was probably a legit paper salesman just trying to make a buck, and yes, I'm safe and sound, but there is definitely a lesson in this little incident. Obviously, I'm not as cautious and aware as I claim to be, but hopefully I am a more so now after this experience. I was lucky that the guy was harmless. So all this to say, please be careful and please be aware. I don't believe that we should live our lives in a constant state of fear because that just gives the sick-o's of the world more power and they win. However before putting yourselves into vulnerable situations, take that extra second to think before acting. You're all too precious and valuable not to!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Another Year Over...

...and a new one begun.

Happy New Year, everybody!

I just love a new year. This should come as no surprise considering I love new calendars, notebooks for the first day of school, journals, shoes, jars of peanut butter, etc... I love these things when they are new because they have nothing on them. No markings, no wear. However I love even more making marks on these new things (well, except for the shoes). Admit it, there's something fun about being the first person to mess up a fresh jar of peanut butter. Or maybe I'm just a little "unique". So in thinking about this new year ahead, I began to think about what kind of mark I am going to make on it. I don't make resolutions. However I have been known to make a "life improvement" or two around January 1. Last year, I decided to take a vitamin everyday. About 4 years ago, I cut out french fries...which has proven to be a wise choice as it's opened up more room in my diet for cookies and ice cream. This year I've got nothing. Perhaps I'll just practice maintenance on the improvements I've previously made.

Whenever a new year begins, I also like to look back on the prior year and think about the things that happened that I would have never anticipated. For instance, if anyone had told me on January 2, 2007 that on January 2, 2008 I would be living in Athens and in grad school at UGA, I would have laughed in that person's face. Loudly. Alas, here I sit. Last year wasn't my best year yet and as a result, I did more taking than giving. I do hope to reverse that trend in 2008. So many friends and relatives did so much for me that it's time I return a little of that kindness in the year ahead.

Back to my thoughts about making a mark on 2008... I challenge you all to make your mark in some way. When I was thinking about making my mark, I started to get a little anxiety and I thought..."oh gosh, what if I make the wrong mark?" (Of course I would think of a way to incorporate worry into this activity) But then I thought about when an artist has a clean canvas in front of them before painting a picture. If he or she messes up on that very first stroke, then there are two options: throw the canvas away or figure out how to use that wrong mark to paint another picture. Sure, it may not be the original plan for that canvas, but that's not to say the picture won't be as beautiful. Chances are, it will be even better than the artist could have imagined. This is my hope for you all...that 2008 will be even better than you can begin to imagine.