Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Little Nonsense Once in a While...

While I was job shadowing at the capitol, it was fantastic to see the legislatures as real people. They laughed and joked amongst each other (at least... the Republicans did. We all know that Democrats are just a bunch of old, heartless cronies ;) [note for those of you with no sense of humor: THAT WAS A JOKE!]).

Haha.. aaanyway..

Watching and listening to these men and women interact with each other (and me..) a lot of hilarious things were said. So today, I present to you:

Quotes from the Capitol!

I think the Democrats are responsible for the raccoon attacks.
Random Staffer

I like you people over here on the R side. 
You're nicer... your water tastes better...
Previously mentioned Random Staffer

The Democrats have raided us for our cups!!

Rep. DeBolt: Rep. Parker, if you're swiping snacks again, I'm going to kick you out of this office!!
Rep. Parker: Who says I'm swiping snacks??
Rep. DeBolt: I saw you slipping one in your pocket yesterday!
Rep. Parker: I needed one for the floor!!

Rep. Hinkle: (introducing me to someone) This is my shadow!
Security Guard: Hi, Shadow!

Rep. Hinkle: (once again, introducing me to someone) This is Rose Johnson, she's my shadow for the next couple of days.
Another Rep: Funny, I always thought you would cast a longer shadow..

Backstory: I had run back to grab Rep. Hinkle's iPad. 
When I'm about three feet away from catching up to him, I hear this: 
Random Rep.: Where's your shadow? Aren't shadows supposed to right next to you?
Rep. Hinkle: This one runs errands for me. 

Don't let him corrupt you!!
Republican Caucus

I say we pass some legislation that says that all staffers should have cute accents. 
Head of Ways and Means Committee

Oh good, he hasn't scared you away yet!
Random Republican Representative 

The Speaker is about to lock the roll-call machine. ::long pause:: 
The Speaker is reaaaallly close to locking the roll-call machine. ::another long pause:: 
Speaker of the House 
(the Rep. in question wasn't paying attention)

And then there was that time it took all the will-power I had not to "slug-bug" my representative..
But... we're not discussing that..
(note: I was [miraculously] able to resist)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's No Longer a Game

The silent sweep of an opening door.
The click of heels on the marble.
The smell of politics.

Officials everywhere.
Some on their smart phones.
Others talking in groups.
All carrying bags and briefcases.
Dressed in suits.
Ready for another day.

Contrary to popular belief, my comfort zone does have limits.

I'm already a person small in stature, but being among all of these important people and walking closely behind my representative--a man who stands well above six feet tall--I felt so tiny. So unimportant and insignificant. For a moment, I felt so unsure of myself. What was I doing here? All of these people dealt with the lawmaking process. Seasoned politicians, taking time out of their lives to create laws that will dictate our Washingtonians live their lives.

I asked myself again:
What was I doing here?

I had felt so comfortable in the modular buildings. My representative made me feel comfortable and got me excited to tackle the day. But walking into the capitol building instantly overwhelmed me. True, I had been in there with TeenPact, but that was different. Among people I knew, I felt confident walking through the building.

But now, I was a complete stranger. The constituents who had had an appointment with my rep had been so kind and welcoming to me. But they were just like me: merely constituents.

As I stepped into the room full of the leaders of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, I didn't know what to expect. But I learned very quickly that my fears were for nothing. Every representative in that room was excited to see me and happy that a young person was interested in state government.

I must have shaken a hundred hands during those two days. Everywhere I went, I met new people, learned new things, and stepped way out of my comfort zone. But starting from my introduction to the House Republicans, I felt very welcome at this place of high importance.

I watched as Republican leaders discussed strategy, the Republican representatives discussed votes on bills, and the House debated and voted on legislation after legislation. I brushed shoulders with important people, almost bumped into hardworking assistants running to accomplish another task, and got stared at by pages.

While standing in the wings of the House floor my second morning, watching the debates and the voting, I realized something. When at TeenPact we discuss, write, and pass bills. We'll write silly bills, add ridiculous amendments and pass nearly every bill that crosses the table. To us, it's like a game. The laws we "pass" don't make it into actual law. But when these men and women pass laws, that's exactly what they become.

Think about when a bill in Washington state passed that made it illegal for driving minors to use even bluetooth to talk on their cell phones while driving. That bill instantly pushed my plans to buy a headset right out the window. That effected how I run my life. A small part of it, but my life nonetheless.

What these people do everyday is life-changing. Whenever a new bill passes, someone's way of living or doing things changes. It's not a game anymore. This is the big kid's sandbox. And they're not fooling around.

It was rather startling to realize this. Here I was, on the sidelines, watching as nearly a hundred men and women made decisions that would affect the future of Washington. When I sat through Ways and Means committee, I watched in awe at all the hard work it takes just to decide a budget. I definitely have a new respect for these citizen legislatures. They do what most people aren't brave enough to do.

These two days shadowing my representative at the capitol were amazing. I learned so much and I feel stronger than ever towards someday running for a position in the House. Watching the House in session, I could see myself at one of the desks: voting, debating, doing my best to pass laws that will help my constituents.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the House Republicans in caucus. Seeing that they were able to laugh and joke among themselves made them so much more like real people to me. Sometimes it seems like we view legislatures as grouchy old men clothed in wrinkled, ugly suits crouched over their desks, barking at each other and pushing bills through the system. But they're quite the opposite. These people are men and women of many ages, all dressed well and they all have a sense of humor. It was fantastic seeing them as real people.

On top of all that, I had a really neat opportunity to do something I really hadn't done before. These entire two days were "something I've never done before". But this really put the icing on the cake. Watch the video and you'll see just what I mean.

And for the record: you know short jokes? Yeah, I can promise you I've heard them all.

Getting home from the capitol was really crazy. But, then again, that's a whole other blog post.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh Wondrous Love!

Today is Valentine's Day. The day dedicated to love. Normally, this day is targeted towards those who are married, engaged, or have a boyfriend or girlfriend.

But as a single person, where does that leave me and the millions of other single people? Feeling left out and possibly depressed. But what if I said that this day can be for us too? You heard me. Valentine's Day is for couples and singles alike. Why? Because we all have Someone who loves us unconditionally. Someone who will never stop loving us no matter what we do.

His name is Jesus.
He loves you so much, He died so that you could live.

There is not greater love than His love for us.

As a single, I can celebrate and fully delight in His love for me and the knowledge that He has a plan for me and my life. Even in the area of marriage. Would I like to be in love with a special guy right now? Of course! I think every girl dreams of her special guy, her wedding, and all the children she'll have.

But right now, my special man is Jesus. He's my best friend. Someday, there will be another man too. My true love. The one who I will spend the rest of my life with.

I really like Greek mythology. There's something about the stories that have been passed down for so long that fascinates me. Maybe it's the romantic quality about all of them. There's one particular story that has been my favorite ever since I heard it:

When [God] first created humans, they all had four legs, four arms, four eyes, two mouths, two noses, etc. But [God] decided these people were too strong; too powerful. So He split them all in half. And now, we run about the earth searching for our other half: our soul-mate.

While obviously I don't believe Greek mythology, I love this story because it really gives a simple, yet in-depth description of what love is. What marrying someone and spending the rest of your life with that person is: finding your soul-mate.

Singles, think about this: at this very, exact moment, the person who are going to marry is living and breathing on this earth. He or she has a life, friends, and family. This person exists. He or she is right here, on earth, right now; waiting for you. Think about that for a moment.

God knows where this person is, what's going on in their life, and when you will meet them.

Something that many Christian singles are encouraged to do is pray for their future spouse. This helps this unknown person become more real to them. I recently made a decision that takes this even further. I purchased a special journal, and today, I will begin to write letters to my future husband. On our wedding night, I will present him with this journal, having filled it with letters written especially for him.

For me, this makes him, whoever he may be, that much more real. It makes me realize that only one man is going to become my husband and will help me protect my heart and keep it pure.

So today, on Valentine's Day, when most singles take time to wallow in sorrow, take time to rejoice! Singleness is sacred, and something you will have only for a short time. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad for this time you have to reach out and immerse yourself in as much as you want! Become content with your singleness. Your special someone will come in God's timing.

Happy Valentine's Day. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Moment In Time

It's mind-blowing just how much life can change in a single moment. Last summer, this truth became all too real for a young man in my town.

He was driving down Snoqualmie Pass. It was a normal summer afternoon and he was going to meet his dad. But he never made it there. His truck careened out of control and went off the road. Because he wasn't wearing his seat belt, he was ejected out. He landed in a divet with the truck on top of him. Yes, he survived. But now, he's paralyzed from the waist down due to spinal damage. He spent months in Seattle Children's Hospital. He's home again, but in a wheelchair.

I don't know him too well, but we were in the same driver's ed class, and his brother is in my art class. He was very active: hunting, fishing, rodeo, 4-H, and everything in-between. But all because of one single moment in time, he can't do a lot of that stuff anymore. I've heard he's gone duck hunting, but he couldn't go hunting with his dad and brother once because they were going in a boat and it would've been just too dangerous. His accident was a few weeks before the county fair--someone else had to show and sell his steer for him. If you log onto his CaringBridge site, there's photos of him hiking, fishing, and boating with his family.

But now he can't do a lot of that. Because of one moment in time.

I'm sure you're probably wondering why I'm writing about this now. His accident was last summer. Today, when his brother's grandmother came to pick his brother up from art class, he was in the car. As I pulled away, I saw him sitting in the front seat, his wheelchair in the back. For a moment, I felt kind of guilty. We were in the same driver's ed class. Here I was driving myself everywhere, being the independent person I can be because I have my license.

And working legs.

For him, there's no use asking to do the driving. He can't. I know it's rather ridiculous to feel guilty about something that happened to someone else that you had no control over, but for one moment, I did. I guess in some ways, his story and the stories of many others makes me realize something.

It doesn't have to take a long drawn out process to change your life. All there needs to be is a moment.

God has a plan for this young man's life. He has a purpose in the accident, and in the end, everything will work out for God's glory. But it will never make me stop thinking.

A moment like that could come at any time.

No one is ever ready for their life to change; whether it takes a while or it takes a moment.

But God never needs more than a moment to change a life.

Monday, February 7, 2011

That Crazy Little Thing Called Love

In light of the fact that Valentine's Day is only a week away, I thought I would share some snippets of random thoughts and quotes. I have something planned for a post on the actual day, but I thought it'd be fun to share these. Enjoy!

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.  ~Mother Teresa

For you see, each day I love you more
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
~Rosemonde Gerard

Love is a symbol of eternity.  It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.  ~Author Unknown

I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day.  When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.  ~Author Unknown

Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart.  ~Author Unknown

We loved with a love that was more than love.  ~Edgar Allan Poe (one of my favorite poems by him <3)

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.  ~Henry Van Dyke

It is not that love is blind.  It is that love sees with a painter's eye, finding the essence that renders all else background.  ~Robert Brault

Love is a choice. It's something you have to choose everyday. Sometimes, people are so unlovable. But God showed the greatest love when He died for us. And truthfully, everyday we are least lovable. Everyday we disappoint God. But He still loves us. "Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 

Jesus laid down His life for us. The least we could do is love those who we don't always want to love. Unconditional love should be the mindset of our entire life. God loves us without condition, so why shouldn't we love others just the same? 

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, 
and hath given himself for us an offering 
and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 
Ephesians 5:1

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Today, I feel beautiful. 

Maybe it was the way that, despite the fact I layered two shirts today, they both fit better. 

Or maybe it was the way my jeans slipped on just a little easier than before. 

Or that fedora. With the bright, red rose clipped into the hatband.

Or the gray and black scarf.


It was none of that. 

Clothes don't make a person beautiful. They only work to enhance what was already there. 

When I came downstairs, my mom said, "Well you look nice."

Without missing a beat, I smiled and said, "I know I do."

That was the first time in... a long time I've been able to respond in that way. 

And guess what world?!




"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Psalm 139:14

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

God knew long before I was even conceived that I would sin. 
He knew I would disappoint and fail Him over and over and over again. 
 But despite all that, He made me. 

And not only did He make me, He made me in His image. 
 He created me just as I am. 
And God doesn't make ugly people. 

And guess what? 
He loves me. 
Despite everything I've done and ever will do.
And guess what else? 
He loves you too. 
Despite everything you've done and ever will do. 

And guess what else? 



Please believe it.

It's true.