week two: me versus cows


Summer on a ranch usually has a surprisingly small amount of interactions with cattle. It’s one of my favorite ironies. This past week, however, I was able to take many breaks from driving in circles (or, more precisely, disking the fields) to working with the contrary animals. The job ended with me covered in dust, dung, and deadlifting a four-wheeler out of a ditch. I only managed to wash all of the dirt from my hair this evening. Needless to say, I love working with cattle. 

week one: restart

summer 2018

As of right now, I have not had a cup of coffee in four days.

For a large number of people, this wouldn’t mean much. “Congrats, you’ve not had a cup of bitter dark brown liquid known for being caffeinated. Yay, you.” But I’ve been more or less addicted to coffee since the summer before my junior year when my grandmother gave me my first iced mocha (thanks Grandma!). Within a space of about two-and-a-half months, I went from drinking only the frilliest of coffee drinks to downing, without flinching, black coffee. The affair has continued without any real break ever since.



I very much enjoy blogging. There’s a certain rhythm to posting weekly, and the audience interacts in the blogosphere far more than they do with an art form like books. The problem is that I don’t do much. I have another blog that I use while traveling, and that’s easier. I know what to talk about there: the world and my opinion of it as a first-time visitor. As a student, I’m not so sure. Is my latest choir concert an interesting subject? Does my audience want to hear about how little sleep I’ve been getting? (I know my mother doesn’t.) So while blogging is a good outlet for the words that occasionally well up in the recesses of my mind, my struggle is against… a form of writer’s block.

See, some days the issue is that I don’t know what to write. And some days the problem is that I don’t know how much to write. There’s a fine line between journal entry and authenticity, and I don’t want to be the blog equivalent of the drunk Facebook aunt. The challenge, like almost every other issue in my life, is about balance. Can I share enough to be relevant without completely dumping my emotional garbage at the readership’s feet?


I would like to continue blogging. I value stories but sometimes discredit my own. Blogging is an exercise, not only in the discipline of writing and publishing two pieces twice a week but in looking within myself to find something to share. Every week I am forced to step back from the chaos that I live in and inspect myself.

I’m not going to continue this blog, but I may start a new blog in the weeks to come–one that doesn’t have the phrase “WordPress” in the title…



There is an SNL sketch from last year called “A Thanksgiving Miracle”. In it, a family meets around the table for Thanksgiving and immediately begins talking about politics. Chaos ensues. Words are spoken. Yet every time it almost comes to blows, the little girl of the family turns on Adele’s “Hello”. The screen turns sepia. The wind begins to blow. Everyone sings along. The spell of her song is cast. By the end of the sketch, the song ends, and the family sits down to a meal in which they, miraculously, all get along.

This is one of my all-time favorite SNL sketches of all time; it’s just the right amount of cringe to be both entertaining while still being relatable. And, though it was posted a year ago, it reflects the current political climate disturbingly well.

I was thinking about that sketch as I walked to my uncle’s for Thanksgiving. I usually enjoy political discussions–I am minoring in politics–but with the current polarized political climate, even I cringe. (If politics came up, I planned to steer the debate towards philosophy. Insisting on one black-and-white answer practically goes against the point of philosophy, so I figured it should be safe.)

Yet it was a non-issue. For one, I ended sitting with my siblings instead of the adults, so the largest problem we faced was whether or not to get more cranberries or more stuffing. (Or both. We went with both.) And then, later, we played card games as a family. And we laughed. And it was fun. By the end of the evening, I had come to a simple conclusion:

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for King and Scum.

waking up


There’s a moment right after I finish a novel that feels a little like waking up–drowsily disoriented but suddenly reminded of just how real the world is. For a while after that moment, the words keep coming, even though the book is closed. But it’s my story in those words, and in those first few minutes, I see my world through the eyes of the author. I hear the narration of my own movements, the turns of phrase, the descriptions of those around me: a boy, mousy but sharp, a girl with long hair and tired eyes, a woman whose smile ends at the point of her nose.

be thou


I think that most Christian music lovers have a song that anchors their soul. For some people, it’s an old hymn; for others, “Good, Good Father” is the instigator of peace. My song, as I was reminded this past weekend at Hymnfest–an hour-long concert of hymns–is “Be Thou My Vision.” While other worship songs have had varying meaning in my life–”Worn” by Tenth Avenue North was integral during my freshman year of high school–this hymn has been my favorite for as long as I can remember.