I recently had the fortunate “joy” to attend a 2.5 day orientation. And if you’re already puzzled by the 2.5, join the club…we were too.

I have been to quite a few orientations for college students, but this one in particular (that happened to take place in the “star” city of Illinois, Peoria) took the cake.

We were kept busy from the moment the clock chimed and the flag waved for the ignition of our task to Orientate.

Why? And why so long?

1. They want you to “experience” the college’s vibe.

I’m not an expert, but I have found that the best experience is the kind where you live it. Day-to-day situations and circumstances in an college environment, where students can witness the hectic life of college.

Not a simulation of corny plays (though they were nice) and soliloquy of calling home and missing home and wanting to go home…maybe that is important…

2. Download of information…is it useful?

Depends. If you come to orientation as a parent, you typically want to know about safety, expense, and transport.

If you’re more of the enthuse parent, deeply involve in your kids everyday life (we won’t say the “helicopter” word) then you might find the one-on-one sessions with faculty and staff meaningful.

But for those of you, who have suffered through many orientation, you just want to know about what you need to pay, how will my child get home on breaks, and who do I need to report if my child’s roommate just sucks… and that’s okay.

3. They want you to want to be there.

Be invested. Trust your child with us. Leave them to our devices and influences. And while some parents in my orientation were literally ready to through their kid out the door (fully vested), others not so much.

I understand, I’ve been there. Empty nesting isn’t fun, especially if your kid hung out with you all the time. But, it’s good for you both. Separating your identity from your child is never easy and truly does not ever fully happen…but let’s face it…you won’t be able to protect them forever.

So other than petty parents throwing shade at breakfast (we are healthy hearty eaters…celery and egg whites? Thanks, but no thanks); sitting through speeches asking us to through them our money; seeing your kid walk pass you to another orientation without you (they kept us pretty separated through the whole thing); and skipping…some sessions because frankly you’re just tired.

It’s all good. If you have more than one child, you can relive the torture…I mean educational experience all over again.

But on the positive more important side, it allows the student to acclimate and get a feel of the tide, if you will, of the new environment they are about to enter.

It’s scary, but sometimes necessary.

So be sure to orientated, all you who are preparing to step into the realms of higher education. It just may do you and your well-being some good.

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One evening, my friends brought up the conversation of family and community. I’m no spring chicken, but I’m not up the hill yet either, so I feel I can say that it’s probably more common now than in the past ten years for young adults to have some kind of conflict with their parents…and there I saw for many, their mother.

Why? Is it because adults between the age of 21 – 35 are still at home versus those who venture out a decade earlier? Or have our concept of family changed so much that we no longer value the things of old?

Should We?

Depression among young adults and teens is the highest we have ever seen them. Some researchers have found that

Stress in College Students. According to a 2008 mental health study by the Associated Press and mtvU, 8 in 10 college students say they have sometimes or frequently experienced stress in their daily lives over the past three months. This is an increase of 20% from a survey five years ago.

And even more so in high school students.

As a counselor, a lot of my teen clients (13-18 years old) often have complaints in stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts. In a Facebook group with over 2500 responses, approximately 1500 separate individuals express having depression, low self-esteem, high level of stress and isolation, and suicidal thoughts.

What’s the cause? Every situation is certainly different, but from my experience it’s usually either lack of communication or lack of genuine contact.

We’re in a period of time where “communication,” in the broadest sense of the word, is everywhere and accessible by almost everyone.

The problem is the geniuness of the communication and contact with other people. Techbology advances yet barbs coping ability developed at a young age by person to person or contact to contact communication.

While we all want to be a Instagram or YouTube celebrity, without some form of real contact, the lights of glory begins to fade and life dims down every so slowly (or quickly for some).

While there isn’t a definite answer to how to “fix” this, going back to the basic and really engaging people without trying to conform to fit an image, may be a good start.

This topic isn’t new to many of us. If you’ve taken an art history class or attended some form of art appreciation conference, fundraiser, auction, convention and the list goes on…you’ve probably seen or at least heard the topic flutter pass your ears.

But I’m not here to talk about how art enhances poetry (which it does). Or how we should see more of it in our college criteria in the way that it’s relatable to the present generation (which we should). But rather I want to give a short blurb on the curious effect of art and poetry.

I love photography. my Instagram bares testament to that. I love poetry just as much as I love photography which we know goes in many ways hand and hand. Oddly enough, I’ve only recently combined the two…and I am please to say that my paradigm has shifted entirely.

Before I focused on lightening, ambience and the potential to relay a story without words when selecting a potential subject for my daily shoots. I now subscribe myself to three questions before closing the shutter.

1. Does the image create poetry?  I don’t simple want to look at the image and think, ‘great photo!’ I need to hear riveting words trickle through my brain as if life was flowing to me.

2. Is it relatable?  I’m a pretty eccentric person. So as much as I would like think that every person should understand me…I know that’s not true. Thus I do a few test reads before posting online. It helps though we know everyone is a critic and some allowance must be given. 

3. Is it enjoyable?  There’s nothing more dismal than a boring poem that is accompany by a boring picture. Sad really. But I have found that by joining poetry with still life art…the process itself has become more invigorating. Exciting, right? There’s nothing more devastating to an artist than to lose its muse…so if it works, it works.

Yes I know…you’ve heard this before. I hope you don’t mind hearing it again.

image

How wondrous you are, o fair Moon
Your shining light woos me near
The star lights warn me of eminent doom
But they see not, the flames within me sears

Though my eyes see evidence of your ill will charms
My heart flutters without reason or calm
and has brought my peers to great alarm
But you, o Moon are my soothing psalm

Free me o’ lovely Moon from your luminous gaze
Though my friends proclaim your light insidious and fake
It is worthy of all my love and praise
Even if my heart be poisoned or staked

Time drifts as I come nearer
Your light fades, my mind clearer
The darkness surrounds you is far queerer
As the shade around seems a mirror

My family calls and I look away
The rosy illusion has become ashen gray
I watch in envy as they drift away
The rumors of love becomes foul play

Your face becomes clear as does your light
Simply reflecting, holding your blight
My time has ended, your rocks draw near
As the last of my love becomes a solitary tear
———-

I hope you enjoy this poem. I wrote it as a illusive translation of some riveting events that’s recently occurred in and around my life.

Sometime you just never know which light is real and which is fake.

(shooting star photo and prompt from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai)

When reality doesn't match your dreams

When reality doesn’t match your dreams

So lately, I’ve determined that I like so many others in my shoes and in the age bracket of 25-35 are at a place in their life where a dawning realization comes to the front of all things conscious and forces you to really take inventory of life’s events.

I am normally a “live by the day,” type of person, but for whatever reason unbeknownst to me, my inner man has decided to remind me that I am not in the place I visually imagined for myself. When confronting such things, I often visualized a man in his fifties who suddenly decides to leave his family, quit his job and move to another country (yes, I am being very dramatic.) But there you have that’s what I imagine so that which solid reasoning I am able to successfully push down that ever confronting thought that my ideals are actually not apart of my reality.

It’s quite depressing. Perhaps I am alone in this concept, but I have this strong assumption that I have a purpose on this earth that is uniquely suited to me and for me only to perform. I am not just a normal 9-5 office worker going through the same mundane conundrums of everyday life that I circle around continually.  Surely I will one day strike up a million dollar company (though money has never been a major concern) and feature in a magazine as a first time…”insert amazing feat here!” …Right?

I pray I am not the ONLY person looking around themselves wondering if this is all I will surmount to…are there no valuable things in me? The more I ponder, the more I panic, the more I sink into a solemn depression. Until one day, I decide that my reality doesn’t have to match my dreams. Life isn’t so bad after all. I travel, I write, I work, I take out times with my dogs, I paint, I socialize, I write blogs like this with hopes someone will read them and give me a virtual high five…and life still isn’t so bad.

I’m not making six figures yet, but I’m not homeless or in poverty. I decided the best way to avoid these personal hiccups that everyone have a tendency of calling restlessness is by first praying and appreciating what’s before me.

If I always look to the sky for a spectacular future then I risk missing the present and all the key factors and moments that could eventually lead to that future.

I can’t say I’m happy where I am. Happiness is temporal thing. But I can say I am joyfully content. Oxymoron? Contradicting? Maybe, but I never said this would be simple.

image

One evening after work, I made way to the downtown fresh market to prepare for a dinner party I was having the next day.

I went in armed with my list to keep me from going astray and a small tote to carry my spoils back to my cute little chevy.

As someone that likes to think of themselves as a helpful person, I have often asked God to give me an opportunity to be an extention of His kindness…and yet often times when it came I’m usually lost in the throngs of my own worries and problems.

But on this particular day, my mind was clear and set for the upcoming event.

Unfortunately, after getting the bulk of my goods, I began to browse around and it was at that time I met a woman whose husband had hurt his back and was unable to accompany her to buy groceries.

Since they were relatively new to town and starting over they had no transportation. She told me she had asked 6 different people for help and 6 people denied her.

By the time she reached me she was almost desperate. I agreed to her. I didn’t get any bad feeling and she seemed genuine. I know a lot of you right now are thinking, “Yeah they always seem genuine at first.” Well she was!

When we approached the counter she turned around and bought all of my grocery as a thank you for my kindness. I was floored!

We exchanged contact and I saw her safely home.

My point in this is that not everyone is a thief or murderer or have evil intention. At one point in time, this nation was about helping not getting; giving not obtaining. Wicked people usually are those who at some point were hurt or misguided in life.

My goal is to be a blessing and a positive encounter to people regardless of what I may be going through.

What about you? Have you extended kindness today? 🙂

I wanted to start a poetic series but I wasn’t sure how and what topic. Ironically while debating on the genre, this poem began to formulate in my mind. So while this isn’t part one of a serious (Though it has the potential to become a series), I hope you all enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

 

Down to the darkest abyss
Here’s a tale you’ll never forget
Unless you fall into the pit
The one that brings out your worst fears

There is a secret you’re sure to know
A source that’s more than any gold
Wipe that sneer, you’ve been told
There’s a hell you may come to know

Arrogant, gallant, high in the air
Watch your pride go and bring a standstill
Fight for what you want
Believe in what you believe

Your light of glory will surely fail
At the wondrous sight you’ll see
Shall I say you are grand?
No, that would be deceit

This magnificent glow is fair you see
It spreads and strikes with fear
But h how it pulls you in
and how it burns and sears

This is the end my fellow friends
But here’s a word to the wise
Keep wide your heart and strong your mind
As life pulls you around

Whether up or down, good or bad
Time will surely state
Will you fall into Heaven’s grace
Or burn in Hell’s embrace 

How you torment me o false star!
Making empty promises and lethal threats
You shine so bright, but oh how you are cold
The heat that follows you gives you no warmth
A cold hallow fire that makes false light
Yet you dare fake star to make yourself bright
Using plight souls as your inner shine
How wicked you are, dim star
Using words that bares you no resemblance
Yet you are determine to wreck me of sleep and peace
Hear me o’ lost star, I pity you
For no love comes to you
Forever frozen, love spares you no peace

As the new year begins, I would like to encourage and wish all a happy new year.

As the new year begins, it is my greatest hope to inspire and share likeness in taste, literature, and opinion once again and dare I say – with greater attention than before.  While I cannot say that I entered my new year with a bang or with much noise and excitement, but I did enter it with much joy and careful thought.

I have nothing further to say, but I can’t wait to see what other posts others have to share

Happy New Years My Friends

 

You might read that opening title and think, ‘is this person a dare devil or an adrenaline junkie?”

I am neither.

What is this about then? Other people who stare death in the face without realizing it.  The idea came from while I was driving to Jackson, TN for a weekend intensive conference (which is still ongoing, by the way), I watched as car after car after SUV after truck after eighteen wheelers (really!?) perform near miss as they weaved in and out of traffic. 

Let me tell you, the speed limit is 70 mph going along I-40 once you reach Madison County and I was going 80 (which wasn’t fast enough, apparently).  I’m driving and it just seemed like someone let loose some kind of toxic fog, because one minute I’m driving with the flow of traffic and suddenly people are on a mad spree barely missing other vehicles as they attempt to reach mach one in speed.

The scariest moment for me was when I was 15 miles outside of Jackson.  This black Mazda was speeding along pass me.  He barely (and I do mean barely) had room to merge to the Left lane without clipping the front of his vehicle and possibly ending in a disastrous out of control spiral.  

I’m thinking, this guy isn’t that crazy. He was. He sped up and cut in front of me, leaving one inch between himself and the back end of an eighteen wheeler. My heart dropped as I saw this. I couldn’t help think that if he had sped up a little too much he would have hit the eighteen wheeler and either swung into a ravine on his right, or into my car to his left possibly resulting in a pile up and a spot light on the 5′ o clock news.

Thankfully, none of the two happened.

So I suppose in a sense, I (consciously) stared death in the face, while they just kind of missed it as they swung passed his welcoming arms.