Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pool Chatter

I'm starting to become a pool bum! Which is hilarious if you know me, because I have never been that big into the whole laying out thing. But if you typically turned into a lobster after being out in the sun for any amount of time- then you wouldn't be into that much either.

But being inside all day for work almost makes me crave some rays. I've been pretty good about running and just getting out and hiking around some hills by my condo- but there is just something nice about sitting next to the pool and reading a good book listening to my iPod. Another ironic point being that I'm actually becoming a slight book-worm. Maybe a book-larvae is a more accurate term, but I have almost made all my money back on my Barnes and Noble membership- so that's something I suppose.

Anyways, I have met some fun and interesting people at the pool. On Saturday I met a mom and her 7 year old daughter. I was walking in the pool at the same time as the girl and asked her what her name was.
"Anica," she said.
Beautiful name for a cute little girl.
Her next words to me without any hesitation were, "Do you have any kids?"
I laughed at it and said no, I'm too young to have a kid. Which in reality I suppose I'm not too young, but in my reality, I am most definitely too young! And then finished off my response by saying, "I'm just a kid myself." To which her mother praised me for a good answer.
Anica is just learning to swim on her own and took an immediate trust with me. She would swim out to me about 5 feet from the steps and then hold my hands and kick as we went across the pool. Her mom was amazed and said that is the best that she has every done. Then said that I would make a great mom someday. I stuck around and played with Anica and talked with her mom Rachel who is a hair-stylist at a local salon, so when I need my trim coming up in about a month, I know where to go! Hopefully I'll see them around some more.

Then today, I went later this evening after my run. It was HOT outside and I thought it would be a good idea to stretch out some in the water before my 4 hour car ride to Modesto, California tomorrow. A lady about the age of my parents was laying out and waved at me as I came in and as I crept my way into the cold water, she made a comment about the pool not being heated and I told her that I just got back from a run, so it felt pretty good, but it was still cold. You just gotta jump in and get it over with which is what I did and I swam over to where she was laying and started up a conversation. She told me about some neat trails just through a neighborhood across the street that I'm going to check out next time I run. And the conversation meandered from faith, the end times, to horses, to my job, her life, my life and eventually us finally and properly introducing ourselves. Ruth is a sweet lady and I enjoyed our conversation very much, someone else I will hopefully see around the water this summer.

I can't wait to check out those trails that she told me about. Running along the same road gets to be a little boring. I've pushed myself up to 3 miles now, and feeling stronger every time. But these new trails will have to wait until Tuesday night when I get back from my second dealer visit! I'm hoping it goes well tomorrow and the dealer is receptive, some are and some aren't. But I'm excited to get out of the office and then I'm off for the 4th of July weekend on Thursday!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Unknown and Knowns

I feel like I'm back in Chemistry trying to determine the unknowns in my AP Chemistry Chemical Analysis 2-week final! Not only has work been full of unknowns as far as what exactly I'm suppose to be doing, how to get there and what determines success, I got word today from home that at the Indiana Annual Conference (United Methodist Church), funding for all the connection ministries got cut except for camping.

This means my dearly loved Wesley Foundation will be receiving no funding from the Conference! And it sounded like we didn't even get to really stand up for ourselves because of the 'rules of order' that were put into place. And I have a feeling that some of the people there could have cared less what is happening on on the college campuses across the state! ARE YOU SERIOUS? They blatantly stated that the average age of an Indiana United Methodist Church is 59, and that they need to target the 18 to 35 age range!!!!! Where are you going to find those new, energized people and in essence the new life of the church who are educated leaders to help the church continue to thrive- college ministries!

I get so frustrated trying to weave my way through church politics and different dominations for that matter. When I was in Texas, the Wesley Foundation that I was involved with was a very mixed population as far as dominations are concerned. The very core of that Wesley was unique with their merger of the Chi Alpha (Assembly of God student ministry- Pentecostal) and the United Methodist Wesley Foundation. Two pretty extreme opposites, but still had the passion and desire to form as one to worship the same God! Several of the students came from Baptist backgrounds being from the South as well. Traditional Methodists + Radical Pentecostals + Conservative Baptist = an extremely interesting crowd! But I loved it! I still veered towards the kids without their hands in the air because that was what I was comfortable with, but seeing their passion for their faith taught me a lot and there was never judgment passed within the group. It was usually a topic of discussion during our Thursday night bible studies and we all learned from one another.

So... after long discussions with my pastor, current Wesley President and my mom we're trying to make something good out of the bad. Lots of people realized the mistreatment that we received at conference, so we're hoping to take all of that attention and make it into something, well, profitable. I feel so useless on the opposite side of the country though right now. I would have been right up there with Grant (current President) presenting our case and talking with people on how important this ministry is. So I'll be praying and discerning what I can do from here and then when I'm even farther away in Ireland. I just have this calling and passion to leave Wesley sound for the next generation of Boilermakers or for that fact all college kids on any Indiana campus to have a safe place to grow spiritually and not worry if that particular Wesley will have enough money to turn the heat on. There is even some radical, very radical talk about the Purdue Wesley trying to dig up the old Wesley at Indiana University and igniting that ministry again! If that happens, I'll be sure to wear my black and gold every time we go down to Bloomington!

So I had a lot on my mind when I went for my run this evening. I even pushed right at an extra mile, which is tough in the hills of Reno. David Crowder Band helped keep me sane as I ran and kept me focused on what really matters in my life right now and what I can control- my relationship with God. God's love is a definite KNOWN in my life. There is no denying that. About a mile into the run, there it was- my sign that put my mind at ease and a new joy in my heart- my black and yellow butterfly.

Butterflies have always been special to me. I've always thought they were pretty and enchanting, and put me in a good mood whenever I saw one. But it was after my freshmen year mission trip (with Wesley) to Lake Charles, Louisiana that I really realized the true meaning of them in my life. The whole life-stage of a butterfly from an ugly caterpillar going into a stage of transformation into a beautiful butterfly is a direct reflection of our lives as Christians. We're ugly, hairy, slow and vulnerable prey for many other animals as a caterpillar. But when we find Christ and invite Him into our lives- we go through the most beautiful transformation into a creature of grace and majesty and we bring joy into so many people's lives by just simply being that beautiful new creature.

There is a butterfly painted in the back of the Great Hall of the Wesley Foundation. When Pastor Glen gave me my first tour of the building during orientation week my freshman year, I saw that butterfly with this scripture from 2 Corinthians 5:17:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
I knew then that this was the place for me, I knew it was my home away from home and has it ever been!

I busted out the good ol' B-I-B-L-E (yes that's the book for me) and came across another scripture from 2 Corinthians as well that goes along perfectly with this whole butterfly analogy, 2 Corinthians 3:18:
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit"

Those two scriptures just fill me with such joy that God has so much love for us that He would give us His amazing gift of grace and transform us into a total new creation and we have the opportunity and privilege to continue to grow in that new-found glory!
Seeing that butterfly tonight did me a lot of good! It's 2,095 miles from my doorstep in Anderson, Indiana to my doorstep here in Reno; I'm missing my friends and family and still not going to be with them for another 6 months; I'm trying to figure out my future unknowns- job, husband, where I want to live. But that butterfly gave me the one, true Known that I need- God's love! And that my friends, is a great feeling that washes away all other cares, concerns and worries.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

50/50 and a Random Ponder

Tonight I sold 50/50 tickets at the Reno Rodeo. I've been enjoying the benefits of working for a company that sponsors the event and having friends who know friends to get VIP tickets to the different events and great seats. Now it's time to pay my dues and it was actually pretty fun and I got somewhat of a work-out climbing up and down those stairs!

For those of you that don't know what a 50/50 is- you buy a raffle ticket and half the money goes to the person with the winning number at the end of the night and the other half goes to a cause. In this case, the Reno Rodeo Flag Girls. They lost their sponsorship and they also help with the Reno Rodeo Foundation, which is very active in the local community by granting scholarships.
Some effective sales tactics I developed:

1- Have a great smile and don't be afraid to say hello or ask a person directly if they've boughten their ticket yet.
2- Let them know the minimum commitment first- "It only takes a $1 to win!"
3- Entice- "Winners have been walking out of here with almost $2,000 in their pockets the past five nights."
4- Talk investments- "$1 could turn into $2,000- pretty good investment" (especially in this economy.)
5- Be personable and excited- you could get one more dollar out of them!
With these tactics, I sold approximately 120 tickets in about an hour and half! My roommate really ramped it up and sold over 200!

A recent random pondering I would like to share:
The snow on Mt. Rose, the ski slopes that can be seen from my condo, is almost all melted. This saddened me in a way, but it's just the normal turn of the seasons and the mountain is becoming beautiful in its new shades of green. It saddened me because the snow is just beautiful and it seemed odd to me that I'm in the middle of the desert in Nevada and I can look up and see snow. The mystery/ fascination of it was intriguing to me I suppose.

But it reminded of a book that I did a story on with Quarter Horse. It hasn't been published yet, so I suppose I'm giving you a sneak peek of an upcoming article in "America's Horse." Lucky you! But the book is titled, "Snow Melts in the Spring," and it was a Christian Romance Fiction novel. Broken relationships were mended, hearts healed and new love bloomed in the Spring time of the Kansas Flint Hills. Great book! Horses, football, rodeos, ranches and a young female vet falling in love- my kind of book for sure! It hits the shelves in July and is by Deborah Voghts.

The changes in the seasons, while predictable and normal, they fascinate me while I ponder the design behind them. Mt. Rose just put that stark contrast right to my face. What an amazing Creator we have to have put this all in place- I give up trying to understand and assume a state of wonder.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


22 years ago- the world was lucky enough to have been blessed with the addition of my presence! Haha, just kidding. But seriously today is my birthday! 22 years old- I hear even numbers are good ages, so we'll see ;)

But, I'm not sure actually when is the precise time I can say "Happy Birthday to Me." I was born in Eastern time, but started my day in Central time, had a layover in Mountain time, but now back in Reno I'm on Pacific time! My mom called me at midnight Eastern time and justified that that was the time-zone that I was born in- but I only have 15 minutes left to make it official in the time-zone that I'm in, so I'll go with that.

I was at the Reno Rodeo tonight for Xtreme Bulls! Saw some pretty sweet bull-riding and got some cowboys' autographs. But funny thing- there was a man there that was celebrating his 95th birthday on the 19th as well! Digger is what he goes by and he has put a lot of money into the Rodeo, so they made a pretty big hoop-la about it. He was in a box seat about two over from us (that's right, as a John Deere employee and sponsor of this event, we had sweet box seats straight across from the bucking shoots.) I went over and wished him a happy birthday and thanked him for his service and shared a special bday moment with him. Such a sweet man, literally- he gave me the rest of his cake! lol! So I'm carrying this cake while getting autographs- good icebreaker my roommate told me. Haha- definitely a great memory though and there is still tomorrow night at the rodeo:)

So funny travel story I have to share. There was a kid on my Denver to Moline flight on Monday and ends up he was on my flight from Moline to Denver this morning. He stayed at my same hotel, so he was on the same airport shuttle along with the United flight crew that flew our plane. Anyways, we start talking and we're waiting at our gate and he pulls out three juggling balls. I had flashbacks from 8th grade PE where we HAD to juggle for a grade! Thank you Mrs. Gustin! Well, it's like riding a bike for me and I asked if I could give a go. He obliged, nice Canadian boy, and I started juggling. He then grabbed the balls one at a time from the air while I was juggling, then told me to do the same when he had his rhythm going. It took me a couple of goes, but I got it and we were essentially juggling back and forth- with everyone in the terminal staring at us. I even had a random guy comment on our skills on the flight! So I can now check off juggling with a Canadian in the Moline, Illinois airport off my bucket list! Score!

According to my phone- it's 12 am = my bday! I'm looking forward to another great year and thank God for all the blessings in my life- wonderful family and friends being at the top of that list :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bob Lane's Bow Tie

I have been at the intern conference these past two days in Moline, IL. Almost all of the 292 Deere interns gather upon the Quad Cities- stay in a creepy hotel (literally looks and feels like the tower of terror)- sit through presentations and learn more about the company. Just a few random notes of this week....

The theme is "Growing Green" and had a huge focus on renewable energies. We learned about what a simple manual pump called the "Money Maker" is doing for poor African farmers and how John Deere is helping this great program/ product. We were updated on the key role that John Deere plays with the ever growing new power source, if you're thinking ethanol- think again, wind! Did you know that some of those wind turbins have a diameter larger than a football field!?!?!?!?!
Then our keynote speaker was a college dropout who founded the Living Land and Waters organization because he wanted to clean up the river. This had been a passion for him since he was 17 and it has now grown into a multi-million dollar operation! Incredible! We got to trade our 'buisness casual attire' for jeans and t-shirts, grabbed some shovels and had the opportunity to help his organization plant trees in the same town where Harvester works is at (where those big green combines are made.) That was a lot of fun- hotter than all get out and my hair did not like the trip back into the midwestern humidity- that's for sure!

Just a few more random notes of interest from the conference:
- I made a great friend, my roomie, a master's student from Texas A & M!
- Ran into Bob Lane (current, almost former CEO of John Deere) in a stairwell. He had a bright red bowtie on and a navy suit- thought that was pretty funny!
- The soon to be new CEO, Sam Allen, is a PURDUE GRAD!!!! Boiler Up!

I fly back to Reno in about 7 hours, so I really should get some sleep! Excited to see my roommate Sarah and we're going to the opening night of the RENO RODEO tomorrow night! Which is exactly what we're doing on Friday to celebrate my 22nd birthday! :) And I think my hair will appreciate the lack of humidity again ;)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Barnes and Noble Member

I'm officially a Barnes and Noble card-carrying member! My card is my wallet right next to my "American Eagle All Access Pass." After taking some advice from a co-worker I went in to buy "Strength Finder 2.0" and came out with 3 more books and a membership. Now I see why people have library cards- so much cheaper! If money hadn't been an issue, I had about 5 more books picked out, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

I found all of this slightly amusing and ironic considering I wasn't the bookworm growing up like my brother and my mom. I would occasionally get whisked away into some fantasy or a random book that just caught my eye, but it seemed as if there was a star-trek/star-wars/ Orsen Scott Card book or a comic book, excuse me, graphic novel, practically glued to my brother's hand. I didn't get it- the Colts were playing on TV- and he's reading.

But how time changes people, or how people change over time? Now my brother is a Colts fan (not quite a fanatic) and I'm the one that just dumped $90 at the bookstore and sat and read a book cover to cover in one sitting? Heck, I even didn't go to the movie that was the original motivation to get me out of the condo because I had spent too much money already and I was excited about the books I bought- that's just strange. I still consider myself more of a football/ sports fan than him, but I could get used to this bookworm thing. And I have a little ways to go to make this membership thing pay off from a financial standpoint.

The picture is of my brother, Ben, and me at a Purdue football game my freshman year. I look perfectly happy and well suited to my surroundings. I have my Purdue shirt on and a great smile :), where you see Ben "trying" to belong. Maybe a slight grimace on his face? Actually, to give him some credit, I'm pretty sure the sun was in his eyes! I remember it being a great time with him- I really do love him, despite the hard time I give him occasionally.

Back to the present. I took the assessment test from the strength finder book and it calculated my five strengths, but my brain was so fried from the 177 paired personality questions that you had to answer, each within 20 seconds, that I set it aside and picked up one the books I bought and read it. Instead of trying to figure out what these strengths mean and how they reveal themselves in my life I decided I had thought about myself enough for one day and I didn't want to run the risk of becoming narcissistic.

That leads me to some good blogging material for future posts I suppose (insert the 'dun-dun-dun' cliff-hanger music).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 12th

June 12th marks a very special day, as it is my mom's birthday and also a close friend of mine who is no longer with us.

My mom is undoubtedly my best friend! We don't always see eye to eye or understand each other, but at the same time somehow I grow a few more inches so we can see eye to eye and we perfectly understand each other because of the love we share! She always tells me I just won't get it until I have one of my own- well mom, I've had a wonderful role model and I can only hope that I can do half as well as you have with me and Ben. Happy Birthday, wish I could be there!

John Mark Romine passed away December 5th, 2008 after dealing with cancer for over a year. This was his second round of cancer, as he beat it once as a freshman in college. He would be turning 23 today. We were chemistry lab partners and you grow quite close to your lab group in that class if you want to pass!

John's outlook on life after his freshman year blew me away- he truly loved every moment he had on Earth. It made me wake up and make some hard choices on where I was going with my life and John was the catalyst (good chemistry term there) for that. He continued to encourage me and look on the bright side of life when things started turning bad for him- an absolutely selfless person and an old soul for being a college kid. He is one reason why I live my life by the title and quote of this blog, "Every step you take, you go somewhere." I'm trying to choose those steps carefully and wisely to not only live them to their fullest, but hopefully make an impact like John did.

It's been six months and I still wear his memorial bracelet in proud Boilermaker gold! I'll even let it slide that he drove red tractors, because he still loved the John Deere green! Thanks John, I miss those blue eyes of yours as I know many of us do- keep watch over us as we keep stepping through our lives.

Personal Development Diet

So, I'm writing a blog for work too. It's on the internal internet so unless you're a Deere employee, you can't see it. In that blog, I talk about my internship experience, my Reno and traveling stories and then anything I can throw in there for advice or food for thought. But, I'll be sharing a lot of the same thoughts on both blogs, only on here I get to be a little more personal :)

The meat and potatoes of my last couple of posts on my work blog have been to be prepared with agendas and being flexible; feedback is good and we grow through construction zones and try something new! Now to fill out the rest of the menu and give you some background on all of that.

1- Agendas and being flexible
Let's just say that my project has not been laid out and outlined as thoroughly as I had hoped for. The objectives have changed, which means less traveling. While I was kind of bummed about not traveling as much, I'm still going to get to see all the territories in the branch and I have already checked off four new states since May 27th! So, needless to say, I've had to be flexible.

2- Feedback is good
I pitched the idea of these events to the first dealership earlier this week. I got a lot of really good feedback, not all positive about these events, but we learn and grow through feedback so we can "construct" whatever we're working on into the best that it can be. I came across the whole construction analogy while stuck in construction on I-80 coming back to Reno. Kind of a cool thing to apply to our lives as well- taking constructive criticism and growing through construction zones.

3- Try Something New
My roommate took me to her kick boxing class- definitely a new experience, the Taebo dvd's that I've done, just didn't measure up. After I went in with an open mind and tried my hardest, I learned a few new things and had a great workout that I'm still feeling 24 hours later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why Not?

Why not say hello to a stranger in passing? Why not stop and enjoy a moment of God's wonderful creation?

These are questions that I asked myself today and I did both. As part of my internship, there is going to be some considerable traveling as I call on different dealers based out of the Reno branch, which expands most of Western United States. Being a Hoosier (by birth only) I'm just taking this whole opportunity in. I stopped at a "scenic overlook", literally that's what the sign said, and while there I said hello to an older gentleman sitting on a bench and he seemed somewhat surprised that I even looked his way. Maybe he's used to California attitudes, I'm not sure? I was just being polite and following the advice of a wonderful man from Iowa that I did a story on while working with the American Quarter Horse Association last semester.

This scenic stop had a little trail that went out to an overlook that looked out over the Yuba River in Northern California and it talked about how some people from Indiana were the firsts to travel out here and settle in 1849, the gold rush hence the 49'ers. Slightly frustrated from a long day of traveling the walk was nice, but I just took a moment and prayed, and thanked God for everything and was once again blown away at His wonderful creation.

These past couple of months I have seen the Palo Duro Canyon in Canyon, Texas, the Rocky Mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado and now the Sierra Nevada Mountains of the Nevada/California border, the Salt Lake of Salt Lake City, Utah, and the "dry" (we've had a lot of rain in Nevada recently) desert of Nevada as well. I also got to re-visit one of my favorite sights that nature has to offer, the Kansas Flint Hills over Memorial Day weekend. Again, a lot to take in for a small-town Indiana girl, but how AMAZING!

I've been wanting a way to keep everyone at home informed of what's going on and just a place to express myself I suppose too as well. I think working in the publications department at AQHA I was bit by this little bug- the writing bug.

Why not start a blog? So I did- hope you enjoy!