Friday, December 24, 2010

Great is Thy Faithfulness

I don't really know what to say. My friends and I have been here several times before. Our hearts have been broken time and time again by death. Why our friends? I don't know. So, I write tonight with a heavy heart, consumed by this all-too-familiar feeling of helplessness and brokenness. 1 Corinthians 15:26 says that "The last enemy to be destroyed is death." Death is our ultimate enemy... separation from those we love. There can be no greater pain. No, surely, nothing else can compare.

I am praying peace tonight over the Riggan family. Anthony Riggan was a blessing to all, and his life was a testament to his faith in Jesus Christ. While selfishly, we wish we had him longer, we know that God's timing is not our timing.

1 Corinthians goes on to say, "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" While we may feel it's sting for a time, death has no victory. Our victory is found in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not ready for 23

I am not ready to turn 23. Evidence from my last days as a 22 year old:

- Worked on a puzzle that I've done every Christmas since I was a child
- Ate lunch at Great Wraps where there is a self-serve soda machine... seriously considered making a "suicide"
- Spent multiple hours in Barnes & Noble, like I was still in high school
- Drank coffee in the children's section of B & N
- Showed my friends the Dicken's Village that I spent hours setting up. Mom later explained that she thought it was like "Johanna's version of playing 'house'." Which it absolutely is.
- Watched the Polar Express and sang along to the "Hot Chocolate" song
- Cried at the end of Polar Express
- Ate a bowl of ice cream with peaches grown by my granddad
- My 23rd birthday will be spent the exact same way it has since I turned 16... Holiday/birthday get together at my house.

However, let it be known that I am blogging from my beautiful new MacBook! "Happy birthday/Merry Christmas/ congratulations on graduating in May/ Merry Christmas next year " to me!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Valley of Tomorrow

Needtobreathe - "Valley of Tomorrow" acoustic set. All in all, this was an incredible show and a great way to celebrate the end of the semester. As Becca put it (ever so eloquently), Needtobreathe is her "Soul Band"... Meaning (I think) that Needtobreathe encompasses everything she loves about music. That being the case, I have to agree. The lead singer has some major pipes (and great hair), the band plays all the instruments I love, and they love Jesus. Three keys to a great band, if you ask me!

Monday, December 6, 2010

At least we're not trying to win this thing

6:45 am: Dallas, TX... Excitement rising. Obviously delirious.

7:00 - 7:25 am: Standstill traffic. Excitement over. We were still 8 miles away from the starting line. Keeping in mind that the race starts at 8:00 am and that we had moved 1/4 of a mile in 20 minutes, Carla and I took matters into our own hands. Rather than staying in this mess of cars and going East, we took the interstate going West and got off on the first exit. I'd also like to take this moment to point out that we saw a man get out of a car on the interstate and begin jogging to the race while we were still 8 miles away... I hope he had fun with that. All I have to say is God bless the iphone navigation system and the ability to see the little blue dot moving toward your destination. We essentially weaved our way through Dallas back roads and trusted that this dot was moving in the right direction. It was.

7:55 am: We made it to the race and parked the car. We were still about half a mile away from the starting line, so we broke into a jog. I looked at Carla and exclaimed, "well, lucky for the other runners, we are late." To which she replied, "yeah, at least we're not trying to win this thing." We were trying to ignore the fact that we are now running more like 14 miles, rather than just the required 13.1.

8:00 am: We hear the National Anthem end and the gun shot to start the race as we arrived at our respective corral... warm from our unnecessary half-mile jog, but un-stretched and still in a state of panic and shock that we actually made it. Fortunately, about 15 minutes passed before our corral reached the start line, so we had time to stretch and get a grip.

And the rest is history. We finished the race in 2 hours and 10 minutes, crushing our time from our first race. Other than struggling to walk today, I feel pretty good about it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thank you... yes, you.

Thank you, Starbucks, for being open today.

Thank you, Punch Brothers, for making my drive home quite delightful.

Thank you, students, for making me thankful that I'm no longer in high school but for always making me laugh at things you do.

Thank you, Papaw, for not allowing me to be the only one to fall asleep during the 6:00 News last night.

Thank you, rain, for cutting our morning run a little short today.

Thank you, bowl cuts, for going out of style shortly after my childhood so no child today has to suffer as we, the select few, did.

Thank you, friends who send mass holiday text messages, for including me. No matter how much I question your sincerity, I secretly love it.

Thank you, parents, for giving me a name that never allows people to ask the question, "Johanna, who?"

Thank you, mom, for always having 4 cartons of ice cream in the freezer.

Thank you, family, for the following Thanksgiving table conversations:

- An intense argument over the outcome of Dancing with the Stars.
Gammy (former professional opera singer) is convinced it truly is a talent contest and couldn't figure out why Brandy (singer/performer) didn't make it into the top 3. Someone chimes in with the idea that it's just a popularity contest, which only adds fuel to the fire.

- Gammy (While looking at Jay, Carla, and me):
"I was kind of hoping one of you would have an announcement for an upcoming wedding or something." To which we replied with complete and total silence... until Uncle Chuck reminded everyone of Prince William's upcoming wedding. Thanks for easing the tension and then abruptly leaving the table, Chuck.

- Jay randomly revels his plans to go duck hunting with the Zac Brown Band. Mind you, the only gun Jay has ever held is a BB gun.
Jay: "I've only used it to wound a coyote and shoot a squirrel.... which I killed and then felt really bad about. I also think I used to shoot turtles."
Papaw: (1st and only words of the night) "Well, Jay, I think the ducks are going to be moving a little faster than the turtles."

- Family discussion about traveling full-time in an RV
Jay: "Man, you must really have to like your wife."
Carla: "Well, I think that's the point of marriage... finding a wife that you kinda like."
Chuck: "You know, Jay, you have a point....... That does sound awfully confining."

And this, people, is what Thanksgiving is all about. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Punch Brothers on Vinyl

The Punch Brothers were FINALLY in Fayetteville, and it is safe to say that my life is forever altered. Hands down the best concert I have ever been to. All of the band members are RIDICULOUS at playing their instruments. I've never seen anything like it. I love how they each play really traditional instruments (mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar, bass) but play super contemporary music. The perfect night with the perfect people. PLUS, they had their album on vinyl... welcome to my record collection, Punch Brothers.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Oh My God" - Jars of Clay

Listening to "Oh My God" by Jars of Clay. This song just caused me to tear up in the middle of Arsaga's. I love songs that powerfully communicate the beauty and presence of our Lord. I encourage you to listen to this song and dwell on the lyrics. I believe that it communicates that at some point in everyone's life, no matter who you are, where you are, or what you believe, everyone encounters God.... whether it is in desperation, deep doubt, or overwhelming joy, everyone cries out to God.

"Oh My God" - Jars of Clay

Oh my God, look around this place
Your fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain
All fools say, "Oh my God"

Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don't bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase, and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
Oh my God.

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away, and a mother cries

Liars and fools; sons and failures
Thieves will always say
Lost and found; ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems
Leavers always say
Broken-hearted; separated
Orphans always say
War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers; fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
Saviors always say

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we're better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children - this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers - this is our greatest offense

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What we get for thinking

I got an email the other day, and it's the best thing I've read in a long time. I've made a highlight reel below:

"Random thoughts of people our age"

  • I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
  • More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.
  • Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
  • Do you remember when you were a kid playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.
  • I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.
  • I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
  • LOL has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say"
  • Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.
  • How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?
  • While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.
  • MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  • I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
  • Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....
  • You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.
  • Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.
  • There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to fall after leaning your chair back a little too far.
  • I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
  • I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'
  • I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
  • I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.
  • As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
  • Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
  • I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
  • Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.


October. I don't know whether it's the changing of the seasons, my attendance at high school football games, the anticipation of Thanksgiving spent with my family, the memories of my dad that tend to come this time of year, or the fact that I watched Dead Poets Society a few nights ago, but nostalgia has set in. I blame Dead Poets Society. There are some lines in that movie that get to me every time and overwhelm me with an appreciation for life.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." - Thoreau

I love that. Live deliberately.

"...that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse." - Whitman

Carpe diem, people.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

They call me Ms. S

I won't be blogging much about my new life as a semi-professional (I use "semi" because I believe I am somewhere in between the life of a college student and a working woman and have no intentions of distinguishing between the two)... However, I do plan to keep a log of the particularly interesting and/or hilarious moments in the classroom.

Like the fact that hardly any of the kids can pronounce/ care to pronounce my name correctly and have thus designated me with the name "Ms. S". Some of them get it right, some abbreviate, and some just call me "Miss". Early on, I attempted to explain the phonetic qualities of my name, but it's a lost cause at this point.

Or like the time I overslept on the first day of school, and thus made my first impression without having taken a shower, wearing only the make-up I could put on in the car, and lacking the necessary morning dose of caffine. Hello first day of school.

Or the time that I accidentally got observed by the principal during my first week at the school. To explain further... One day, my mentor teacher had a really cool activity planned for Spanish I. It was a project where they were divided into various sized groups and were told to create a name for their "country". Each group is given various "resources" and had to trade with each other in order to modernize their country. So, my mentor teacher taught the first class, and I quickly realized how complex of a project it really was... I was looking forward to observing it again during the second Spanish I class, when he got a call into a meeting with the Arkansas Board of Education... causing him to have to leave the room for the entire period, leaving me to get the kids started on this incredibly complex project. After a few minutes, I finally got them started and working and trading. When all of the sudden, the PRINCIPAL walked in! Kids were up out of their seats, trading with each other, declaring war, etc. Absolute CHAOS. Apparently, my mentor teacher had told the principal that he should come watch him teach this really cool lesson today.. And so he did... but my teacher wasn't in there. So, the principal stayed and watched me facilitate the lesson. Seven days at Har-Ber, and I've already been observed. Sweet.

Or like the time that I debated for at least 30 minutes if it was appropriate to wear anything but teacher-clothes to the school's football game on a Friday night. Mostly for fear of looking more like a student than a teacher.

In other news, grading papers has become a new involuntary hobby. I just finished grading the first Spanish I tests of the semester. I made a key by taking the test myself in roughly 3 minutes. At first, it was pretty black and white, simply marking incorrect answers on the test. However, the open-response proved to be a little more difficult. I had a general idea of what I would accept as correct and what I would not. However, about 3o minutes into grading, I could hardly control my laughter at some of the short answer responses. Rather than marking ridiculous answers incorrect, I found myself writing smiley faces and "haha" next to the questions and awarding them points for making me laugh. (Disclaimer: they had to have at least a hint of logic in their answers to receive full credit.) However, in my class, a sense of humor is a necessity... a life-skill, if you will. And that's what I'm all about... molding better citizens.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Punch Brothers

Attention ALL:
It has been brought to my attention that The Punch Brothers are playing at George's in November. Words cannot express how excited I am. All I know is that Chris Thile and his mandolin will be in Fayetteville, and I could not be happier about it. Let it also be known that Chris Thile has been my biggest musical crush since I first heard him play with Nickel Creek. I'll just leave it at that.

Punch Brothers - Reptilia

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Drain

A mere 3 weeks ago, Becca and I were out of the use of our kitchen sink. Water would not drain, but rather, it would shoot from one side of the sink to the other. Reluctantly, we drove to Harps and bought the largest bottle of Drano in stock, assuming we would have to use it again. Two hours and the entire gallon of Drano later, our sink was still clogged. But no... we would not be defeated by this. We unscrewed the pipes below our sink and let the water drain into a bucket. We then straightened out a metal hanger and poked around in our pipes, desperately searching for the clog. It was all in vain.

Naturally, the day that this happened, Becca's mom had her phone stolen in Las Vegas and my mom was overseas in Trinidad & Tobago. We already felt like the couple on the Lowe's commercial that constantly calls their parents when everything goes wrong in their house. But this time, we were on our own. So, I called my uncle Chuck. There is literally nothing that Chuck cannot fix, so I knew he would have some ideas. He reluctantly informed us that the clog was more than likely down in the pipes under the house and that we would need to call a plumber. $150 for a plumber that our landlady would not pay for... NO THANKS! Becca and I persisted. We would not rest until we fixed this ourselves.

So we got creative. We boiled 3 large pots of water, hoping that the boiling water would scorch off some of the grease in the clog. All that water managed to do was fill our sinks back up with steaming water. Then we turned to Google. "How to unclog a kitchen sink." After watching a completely uninformative youtube video about how to plunge a sink, we gave it a go. Becca held a wet towel over the garbage disposal while I rigorously plunged the other side. We switched off and on for at least 15 minutes. My arms hurt and I was already on the verge of tears from laughing so hard.

Finally, we stopped and we prayed. "Lord, please let us unclog this drain because we cannot afford a plumber." Minutes later, I had an idea... might I say that this was definitely a divinely inspired idea. I said to Becca, "I wonder what would happen if we turned on the garbage disposal and held the towel over the other side of the drain so that water couldn't shoot up into this side of the sink and it had to drain down the pipe." An interesting idea....

Well, we got into our respective positions and turned on the garbage disposal, and lo and behold, the water was draining! It was actually draining. And there we were.... screaming and crying and laughing at our success... a scene that I am glad no one was there to witness.

So, if you're ever in need of a good plumber, just give me or Becca a call. We'll have Jesus unclog your sink, too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Turn Table

My latest project has been going through my dad's old record collection. I packed roughly 1/16th of the collection and the record player, and took them to Fayetteville. I have conquered 1 box of records so far, but it could take some serious time to go through the entire collection... a task that I am more than willing to take due to the fact that my dad had awesome taste in music. All this to say, I wake up every morning, dancing around to "Second Hand News" by Fleetwood Mac on the original vinyl. It starts my day off right. On that note, I'd like to share the highlight reel of my vinyl discoveries:

"Second Hand News" - Fleetwood Mac
As stated before, it is impossible to sit still while listening to this tune.

"Landslide" - Fleetwood Mac
I know this sounds cliche, but it's cliche for a reason... because it's the best song of all time.

"Oh mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?"

"3 o'clock Blues" - BB King
The song that made BB King known... and it's obvious why. He may very well have the best voice in the entire world.

"Sweet Sixteen" - BB King

"The Boxer" - Simon & Garfunkel
A classic. Love the "lie-la-lie" tune.

"The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" - Simon & Garfunkel
This song sums up why I love Simon & Garfunkel.
"Slow down, you move too fast"

The entire record of Simon & Garfunkel's The Concert in Central Park
It's acoustic. It's live. It's Simon & Garfunkel reunited. Need I say more?

"Miles from Nowhere" - Cat Stevens

"The Wind" - Cat Stevens

"A Change is Gonna Come" - Sam Cooke
Possibly the best song ever written.

"It Ain't Me Babe" - Bob Dylan
Also performed by Johnny Cash and June Carter... but give the original a try.

"The Times They are a Changing" - Bob Dylan
Loving the harmonica in this song.

"Georgia on my Mind" - Ray Charles

As you can see, I have covered all of the Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and Fleetwood Mac albums. Stand by for my thoughts on Elton John, Billie Joel, Don McLean, Sha na na, and more.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

We need a man around here

Having a house has its perks. I do everything that grown ups do, which I guess makes me a grown up in a sense... a reality that I continually try to ignore. On the other hand, having a house takes some getting used to. I continually lose my phone because there are so many places to set it down. I still don't know what to do with all the space. I lock myself out (see previous blog) and don't have 95 other girls to let me back in. I cook, and I clean. But let's be honest, there are just some things that girls were not designed to do. And while I must admit that Becca and I have become quite handy around the house when it comes to hanging things on the walls and re-covering kitchen chairs, there are certain household tasks that just take a little more muscle.

Exhibit A: Mowing the lawn

Who knew that you have to mow the lawn every week in the Summer? I didn't, and I certainly don't like having to be the one to do it. But while I was looking at the neighbor's yard the other day, my pride kicked in, and I just couldn't have their yard look better than ours. As a result, Becca and I took matters into our own hands. I say 'Becca and I', because it took the both of us to get the job done. Becca held the bar of the lawnmower down while I gripped the chord and pulled as hard as I could. 18 attempts later, I gave it one last pull while running in the opposite direction. Finally, it started! In the midst of our excitement, Becca and I double high-fived, resulting in Becca letting go of the bar and the lawnmower simultaneously shutting off. I immediately regretted that high-five. My upper back was hurting by the time we got the mower started for the 2nd time. Becca mowed the back yard in a circular pattern, while I opted for the corn-row effect in the front yard. Neither looked terrible... especially for rookies.

Exhibit B: Hanging a hammock

I have a hammock to hang. It has remained in our garage because I neither own a post-digger nor possess the general know-how of how to use one. And so, in our garage it remains until someone (possibly an avid reader of this blog) volunteers to dig a hole for the post and hang the hammock.

One last thing: for any potential volunteers, Becca and I will pay you with dinner, drinks, and cookies of your choice. And you can enjoy them all while laying in the hammock.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rookie Mistake: Home Edition

It's not often that I find myself in a situation where all I can do is just sit and wonder "how. did. this. happen?" But on very special occasions, such as yesterday, even I surprise myself.

Here's the setting: It was a sunny Monday afternoon... no work... no worries... nothing to do all the live-long day. And so, I decided to lay out in my back yard and soak up some rays. I went out on my back porch in my swim suit, carrying nothing more than a towel, a glass of water, and my cell phone. The perfect setting for a 2 hour nap. After my nap, I woke up and decided that I didn't want to get baked by the sun and should probably head indoors. I drowsily stood up and walked over to the sliding door and pulled. Much to my dismay, the door didn't budge. Befuddled, I attempted to slide the door again, this time with a little more bicep. Nothing. 3 minutes later, my arms and upper back were beginning to hurt from pulling that door to no avail. So there I was... Swimsuit, towel, empty glass of water, cell phone... standing outside my empty house.

I call my roommate Becca, who currently works a big-girl job at JB Hunt and therefore, obviously could not commute home to let her idiot-roommate back inside. But I was in desperate need to let someone know my whereabouts. It was looking like I could be out there for quite some time. Meanwhile, I was expecting another friend to stop by and deliver my dresser that he had graciously loaded in his truck and transported from Little Rock. For fear of humiliation and with no access to my own house, I text him and told him that I was "out running errands." Confession: Tripp, I lied. I was not out running errands. I was out in my back yard.

Thirty minutes go by. I have checked every window on my house, and all were locked... which I suppose is a good thing in every circumstance except for this one. I go back to the door and tug one last time. Putting all pride aside, I call my sister, who is also at work. She gives me her roommate's number to call to at least bring me a t-shirt. My plan was to get some clothes, call AAA to open my car, and use my garage door opener to get into my house. The plan was genius.

After leaving 2 missed calls on my sister's roommate's phone, I moved on to other friends who live in the surrounding area who wouldn't make fun of me too much. After 3 consecutive failures, I went ahead and called AAA. They told me it would take between 30 minutes and an hour and a half. So, what they were telling me was that I had some time to sit and think about my hopeless situation. Wrapped in a towel and sitting Indian-style on my back porch, I vowed to myself to never leave my house without my keys... ever.

If all this hadn't been enough, I realized that I would have to get out of the backyard and to the front to stand by my car. Unfortunately, you cannot open our gate from the inside (which now considering it, makes absolutely no sense... wouldn't it make more sense to make it where you cannot unlock it from the outside?). But at this point, my head hurt from running various scenarios in my head. So I just went with it.

I was in survival-mode, and I knew what I had to do. And since my pride had already been crushed, I scaled that 6 foot wooden fence... barefooted, in a swimsuit, with a towel draped over my shoulders. I hoisted myself to the top of the fence and looked at the ground below me. Taking in a deep breath, I jumped. I landed like a slightly-less graceful version of a cat. FREEDOM. I looked at the fence and scoffed. Then, I looked around to make sure that none of the neighbors had been outside to see the great escape. For their sakes, I'm glad that they were indoors.

Several minutes went by, and the AAA man pulled into my driveway. The sweetest old man got out of the truck while I explained to him my desperate situation. After he had popped the lock to my car, he told me that he only lived 5 minutes away so if this were ever to happen again, I wouldn't have to wait very long. I explained my hopes of this never having to happen again. I opened my garage and told him that I was going inside to get my AAA card. He told me that it wasn't necessary. So, I got into my house and AAA didn't have to hear anything about it. God bless good people.

This is one of several stories to come covering my rookie mistakes of living on my own.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Within a single week, I have become an alum of virtually every activity I formerly participated in. University of Arkansas alum. Kappa Kappa Gamma alum. Razorback Diamond Doll alum. You get the picture.

I don't think it really has hit me that I am officially through with college. I suppose that it is because I will be starting grad school in July. But nonetheless, I will never trek across campus to Kimpel at 8:00am only to give it all that I have to keep my eyes open during Dr. Pritchett's Monuments of Spanish Literature class with the lights off and the projector on. The thought of never returning to Kimpel probably shouldn't make me sad, but it kind of does.

Speaking of things being sad... Let's just talk for a second about my graduation ceremony. Picture this: 8th to last person to graduate among the 1,000 graduating seniors in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences... 3 hours into the ceremony, my name was called... incorrectly pronounced, obviously. I didn't expect them to get it right even though I had written out the phonetic pronunciation and, supposedly, an educated person was to read it aloud. I was correct in my assumptions, but sadly, this person chose to ignore my phonetic pronunciation and just go with what she thought sounded best. Well, "Jo Hannah" did not sound best. But thanks anyways.

Shortly before this picture was taken, my mom suggested that I borrow someone's chords for the picture. Then, my sister suggested that I just pin my GPA to the back of my robe so that everyone would know that I'm not just your average student.

Amid all of this change, I have only managed to cry once. I cried my way out of my empty room at the Kappa house. As I picked up my last bag and walked out of my room, I began to hum "Turn Turn Turn" by The Byrds and inevitably burst into tears. "A time to laugh. A time to cry." And that, my friends, was a time to cry.

My final moments as a Diamond Doll were not quite as sentimental. My mom and brother were so great to drive up from Little Rock for Senior Night at Baum Stadium. Little did I know that Jay Sawatski being my brother would be a bigger deal than me serving 4 years as a Diamond Doll. I walked onto the field as they announced "Jo Hannah" Sawatski (really, people?) and my plans for the future. Next, the announcer noted that I was accompanied by my "mother and brother, former Razorback baseball player, Jay Sawatski"... And the crowd went wild... WILD, I say... Talk about stealing a sister's thunder. But hey, I'm just glad they got his name right.

Now that school is over and I don't have baseball games or Kappa activities to keep me busy, I find myself alone in my house wondering... what do I do now? I have spent most of the day (which I believe to be Monday, but am not entirely sure) running errands, painting furniture, catching up on all of my TV shows, sifting through and listening to my dad's record collection, and everything else I said that I would do this semester but never had time to do. Let me just say that Simon and Garfunkel The Concert at Central Park has seriously brightened my day, my summer, and my life.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Intermediate High

I had my Oral Proficiency Interview last week and got my score back... I scored Intermediate High! I was supposed to score Intermediate High/Advanced Low. So, I just want to thank everyone who prayed for me... and I would also like to thank Starbucks for putting twice as much caffeine in their drip coffee, thus affecting the consumer like crack cocaine and causing even me, a fairly easy-going person and devout coffee drinker, to speak 90-to-nothing in a phone interview in Spanish. Yes, I just used prayer and crack cocaine in the same sentence. I hope that never has to happen again.

At one point in my interview, my interviewer asked me to play a part in a scenario. We had been discussing sports earlier in the interview, so my scenario was: "You get hurt in a basketball game. Call the doctor to tell him what happened, when it happened, and make an appointment."

When he asked me what happened, I believe that my reply literally translated to: "I broken my foot. I was running, and I fell. And now I can't walk." I just tell it like it is. You can't be counted off for being a straight-forward person, right?

Anyways, despite my bluntness, the rest of the interview went really well. I understood all the questions asked and was able to answer them fairly completely. If anything, this interview has given me a new confidence with my Spanish. Truth be told, I love speaking Spanish. My heart is totally consumed by Latin American culture and the Spanish language. The Lord has blessed me tremendously over this past year. My time in Guatemala stretched me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and I know that the Lord used that time in my life to set up everything that he has for me in the future. Looking forward to seeing what He has in store!

"In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps." - Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Last night, we made an impulsive decision to drive to Tulsa for the Needtobreathe concert. I love how impulsive decisions often turn out to be the best ones. We arrived roughly an hour late due to the 2 hour drive increased by a slight detour... just in time to catch the end of the opening act... Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. (Look them up, they were awesome.) We pushed our way to the front of the crowd. Several glares and rude remarks later, we made it to the very front of the stage. So close that I could reach out and strum Bo Reinhart's banjo myself. Guard a heart.

Loved the red boots.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fireside Chats

Ah, the great outdoors. Last weekend, my friends and I needed a break from school and so we decided to finally make a camping trip happen. After days (weeks, really, if we're being honest) of trying to find a group of guys that were able to go and that were capable of both setting up the tents and building a campfire, we finally made this little trip happen.

I love camping for many reasons:
  • For starters, I love being outside and reveling in God's awesomeness.
  • I love the hour long drive down dirt roads into the middle of nowhere and just being thankful that we didn't attempt to drive my car to the campsite. And by 1 hour, I mean, we left 5:00 and arrived at 8:00. Who knew there so many gravel roads we weren't supposed to turn down?
  • Camping makes me feel as though I'm outdoorsy. But for that to be true, I probably need to stop using words like "outdoorsy."... And probably need to purchase a pair of Chacos.
  • I love s'mores. But even more than that, I love quoting The Sandlot while I'm making my s'more. "Hey you want a s'more?... Some more of what?... You're killing me Smalls! First you take the graham..." Anyways, you know how it goes... maybe. It gets a laugh like 50% of the time.
  • I don't know what it is, but something about a campfire makes everyone instant best friends, even if that night is the first time you meet. You tell embarrassing stories about your childhood and sing along with the guitar with absolutely no shame... at least I do.
  • Speaking of the campfire. Mystery: why can you not look away from the flames? It's like a trance, but not.
  • Camping forsakes all sense of time. "Oh, it's 5:30 a.m... who cares? I'm in the middle of making up a song line-by-line with everyone else around the campfire." Time is of no consequence... that is until around noon the next day when you desperately need a nap but have to work at the baseball game all afternoon and thus, cannot.
  • On the subject of time, when it's 5:00 a.m. and the boys decide that it's a great idea to "shotgun" a Mountain Dew... don't do it. It's really not that good of an good idea.
  • I love waking up after 3 hours of sleep to the sun streaming in through the tent and to a paralyzing crick in my neck.
  • I love walking out of the tent in the morning, looking at the campfire, and realizing that there is a snake coiled up awfully close to where you were sitting the night before.
  • I love cramming 5 girls and all of our bags, sleeping bags, and snacks into a 2 door Honda on the return journey to Fayetteville and having a claustrophobia attack in the backseat of the car.
Most of all, I love still smelling like campfire 3 days later, having enough material to make s'mores for the next 3 weeks, and having 8 new best friends. Guess we'll just have to go back.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm just sayin

I've been thinking a lot lately. Amid the hustle and bustle of my final semester of college, nostalgia has been flooding over me in waves and the excitement for the future keeps my brain running 90 to nothing. So in case you are wondering, these are the things I think about almost daily now.

  • I'm graduating in 26 days. I don't know about you, but the thought of becoming an alumni makes me feel old.
  • In a few short months, I will be living in a house. Not a dorm. Not the Kappa house. An actual house. I will pay rent with money I don't have, buy groceries, and have a room to myself.
  • Looking back at facebook pictures from this winter... How did I let myself get so pale? God bless the Funship Triumph and the equatorial sun.
  • For never having taken a dance lesson in my life, I am a far more coordinated dancer than I thought. Ballroom dancing class = success.
  • I was officially accepted into the MAT program. Though, I have not taken the Praxis II or my Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI).
  • As a result of the OPI looming over my head, I find myself constantly listening to Spanish Hillsong and talking to myself in Spanish on my way to and from class. The skeptical stares from others no longer bother me.
  • Never will I ever wear black tennis shoes of any form. I saw it on campus last week and had a nightmare in which I was sporting a really unfortunate pair of black Nike shocks.
  • I am more convinced than ever that Fayetteville is the most beautiful place in the continental U.S. Hidden oasis.
  • I find myself hearing something funny and wishing I could tell my dad.
  • The Lord's timing never ceases to amaze me. It is so cool to watch how He works in each of our lives.
  • Chris Thile playing the mandolin seriously does not guard my heart.
  • The Spanish children in my Sunday school class are the most precious kids in the world.
  • Love the Spring. Hate mosquitoes. Catch 22.
  • Wondering how the final season of Lost is going to end. But honestly, just glad that Desmond is back.
  • Thankful to be in the United States, but missing Latin America.
  • The retirement of all closed-toed shoes and jeans until Fall.
  • Timing how long it takes my internet to come up on my computer. Just set a record of 2 minutes and 10 seconds today. I try not to think about what would happen if I pulled up more than one program at a time.
  • Talking myself into getting a haircut, only to talk myself back out of it.
  • Loving getting to be in weddings, without them being my own.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Men Users

Last week, 6 of my friends and I planned to venture to New Orleans to catch our cruise ship for SB10. We met up at 4:00am to start the journey. Coffee in hand, I volunteered to navigate while Mary Grace took the wheel. Just the 7 of us and the open road. The drive was free and easy. We made up several games to play along the way. Rules for when we crossed state borders, saw double semi-trucks, and saw trucks pulling boats behind them. We sang "Wagon Wheel" on the hour, every hour (until about hour 4, and then we were over it). I peg hour 4 to be about the time our trip turned drastically wrong. Were approaching our first state border into Louisiana... or so I (the navigator) thought. It was then that I picked up the GPS and noticed that our car was heading West along the southern border of Arkansas. Rather than saying anything in an attempt to prevent panic, I casually grabbed the Atlas beside me and attempted to resolve this problem. After we had driven 30 minutes in the wrong direction, I decided we needed to turn around. And so we did... we drove 30 minutes back to our starting point, putting us an hour behind schedule.

Good thing we left at 4:00am, right? Sort of.

Our hour disadvantage added a little stress to the already stressful situation of Molly's flight delay in Kansas City. Everything that I had joked about happening in worst-case-scenario was actually happening. I began to regret voicing my hypothetical scenarios earlier that morning.

sidenote: for those of you keeping score... at this point, I believe that I am 2 for 2 for making everything go wrong on this trip.

Check in for our cruise is between 12:30 and 2:30.
We arrive in New Orleans at 2:15.
Stress level builds.

With Julie behind the wheel, we speed our way into New Orleans and follow the Carnival fin in the air in order to find our ship. At last, we find our ship. We also find 4 full parking decks, all of which have a 6 foot clearance. Which means, that if Sarah Scott had heels on, she would not be able to walk under that clearance. No less, our car be able to drive under it. You see, in order to have more space in our car, we had strapped a luggage Turtle to the top, making it reach a height well over 6 feet.

We were late. Parking decks were full. We had a Turtle on top of our car preventing us from parking. Molly was still on a plane. Panic ensues...

After several U-turns, Julie pulls into the Hilton Hotel for valet parking. Though, we did not intend to use the valet parking.... just the male valet parking attendants. We pile out of the car and hurriedly grab luggage out of the Turtle. Two valet attendants walk over and ask if we are staying here. We reply, "no." Then, they ask us if we need help. We reply, "yes... and if you are here on Thursday, we will need you to put this Turtle back on."

At this point, luggage is everywhere, the Turtle is being unstrapped and dismounted by two Hilton parking attendants, Grace is on the phone with Molly who is still en route, Sarah and I have to use the bathroom and do so in the Hilton Hotel, our car is still not parked, and check-in for our cruise is well-past over, and I am closer to a panic attack than I ever have been in my life.

After being called "men users" by the Hilton Hotel manager, Sarah, Callie, Katie, and I strap everyone's luggage to us and speed-walk to our cruise ship. I think the Lord knew that this very moment was coming and that training for the half-marathon would definitely be put to practical use. This is the moment we had been training for.

We cross the train-tracks (clearly not the correct way to get to the Cruise ship) and people begin to cheer us on and point us in the right direction. We are running at this point. It was either adrenalin or the realization that we were running parallel to the train tracks in downtown New Orleans. Either way, we made it to the ship. The line was still out the door, and people were still checking in. A luggage attendant came over to us to take our luggage from us. It was all I could do to keep from hugging him for taking the 3 suitcases strapped to me away.

After stretching my legs and my back and wiping the sweat off of my face, we got in line for check-in. A few short-moments later, we see Mary Grace and Julie casually walking over to us in the line. They had parked the car successfully... in a parking deck... connected to the cruise port... 75 yards away.... with a clearance tall enough for the Turtle to still be strapped on our car.

I laughed to keep myself from crying. All we could say was "That is so unfortunate."