Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why Becoming a Better Writer Stinks

Why Becoming a Better Writer Stinks
(written with a bit of sarcasm)
by Jenna Lupo

I remember writing a paper about Jack Nickolas, the golfer. This was in fifth grade. I remember doing my research in the elementary school library. The World Book. It contained everything I needed. Read it, then write it. That's how it worked. I had never even heard the work "rhetoric." Oh--for those days.

I recall the semester my sophmore year in high school that I had English II Honors. Mrs. Schlager. She found my narative essay to be quite funny. She liked it a lot. "Ice in the Floor, Suds in the Kitchen, and Other Mishaps." I got an A. I was quite fond of that paper. I think I used it again another year for something else. It was simple. It was funny. It was practically effortless. Who needed research? It all came from within. Oh--for those days.

I remember my junior year. English III Honors with Mrs. Lemons. The year of the research paper. My favorite American author. Caroline B. Cooney. I had read dozens of her books. This would be a breeze; I wouldn't even have to read any extra books. Look up some info online when we had time in the computer lab. Procrastination. I wrote that 12 page paper the day before. I rememeber seriously regreting my procrastination that Sunday evening. Yet, I pulled it off. Another successful assignment. Oh--for those days.

It used to be so simple.

Then I got to college.

At first, I was able to play by the high school rules. I was even in Great Books, but I was good. Procrastination pushed me-- I could still pull it off. Oh--those were the days.

And then came Advanced Composition class. I now stare the word rhetoric in the face everyday when my eyes meet the cover of my textbook. I now have to listen to examples upon examples of good or bad logic, persuassive or pointless arguements, etc, etc, etc. I now need to spend hours in the library researching, which leads to days in front of my computer. I can't settle. I must meet the standards that I have been taught.

Now I find myself with 11 papers to write before the end of the semester. Do I need to repeat that? No, it wasn't a misprint. ELEVEN papers. Some 3-5 pages long, others 4-8, a couple 10 pagers, and a 20 page research paper. I have 5 weeks. Not enough days....

This is why becoming a better writer stinks.

Monday, March 20, 2006

So I took a personality test...

(Not really a of those dinky quizzes online..) This is what is said...

Your view on yourself:
You are down-to-earth and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties.

The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for:
You are a true romantic. When you are in love, you will do anything and everything to keep your love true.

Your readiness to commit to a relationship:
You are ready to commit as soon as you meet the right person. And you believe you will pretty much know as soon as you might that person.

The seriousness of your love:
Your have very sensible tactics when approaching the opposite sex. In many ways people find your straightforwardness attractive, so you will find yourself with plenty of dates.

Your views on education
Education is very important in life. You want to study hard and learn as much as you can.

The right job for you:
You're a practical person and will choose a secure job with a steady income. Knowing what you like to do is important. Find a regular job doing just that and you'll be set for life.

How do you view success:
You are afraid of failure and scared to have a go at the career you would like to have in case you don't succeed. Don't give up when you haven't yet even started! Be courageous.

What are you most afraid of:
You are afraid of things that you cannot control. Sometimes you show your anger to cover up how you feel.

Who is your true self:
You are full of energy and confidence. You are unpredictable, with moods changing as quickly as an ocean. You might occasionally be calm and still, but never for long. - Try it yourself if you want... I never know what to think about these things....

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Calm of the Storm

Last night was pretty crazy. The wind was blowing; the power kept going out. The weather wasn't the only thing that went crazy. I felt like there was a storm brewing in my mind.
Maybe due to the stress of the day. Maybe it's because I couldn't help but think about all of the things I really need to do this weekend- there's a lot so it is an overwhelming thought. Maybe it's because I have obsessive complusive tendencies when it comes to my living space (currently the apartement).

(Let me briefly explain what stresses me out about the apartment. I kinda consider my home to be my sanctuary- a place for me to escape the madness of everyday life. I can remember being in high school and just locking myself in my room for hours. I'd do my homework (first thing I listed, but definitely not the first thing I'd think to do), I'd... I'd come up with all sorts of things to do, even if it was simply listening to music or looking at pictures. If my room got too disorderly, I would clean it. Not for the simple reason that I wanted it clean- I cleaned it because the disorder would get to the point that it was disrupting my sanctuary.

The apartment is my home. I share this home with 2 other people. Our rooms are our own. We keep them how we like them. The living room/kitchen we share. We do our best to keep things orderly. We take turns doing the dishes (even if none of the dishes in the sink are our own), we take turns taking out the trash, and we try to straighten up after ourselfs. Doesn't seem that that should be too difficult of a task. Yeah, if only 3 people lived here... it gets harder when about 7 other people consider our apartment their 2nd home. With the increase of people comes an increase of disorder. Note: I love all of you guys SOOO much, and I'm glad we can all hang out in the apartment. Please keep that in mind!!! I just get a little overwhelmed when I enter my apartment and there is more chaos inside than in the world I escaped.)

Okay. Enough of that. I'm sure you were all get the feel for why my mind was as crazy as the weather outside. Which leads me to the real reason I am writing this blog.

I needed to escape. I needed a resting place. Nowhere was calm. Even my room was messy- not calm enough to relieve me. So I went to the one calm place I could think of... the extra bedroom. I brought my big, puffy, white, goose-feather comforter and curled up on the "window seat." I opened the window a bit and listened to the rain. I watched the clouds that were quickly moving across the sky. I just stayed there. And I found rest. I felt as if I had escaped the chaos of my day by running away to this quiet place, but I didn't feel alone. There was another in my presence- or should I say, I was in His presence. I was comforted by His presence. I was calmed by His presence. The storm outside became a lullaby. The to-list didn't seem nearly as important as just sitting there. He calmed the storm that had disturbed my peace of mind, and I fell asleep in the arms of my Comforter.

So I may be crazy. My life may get crazy. And my apartment may become the definition of crazy sometimes... but I know who brings peace. He is my sanctuary.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A decision has been made...

Ladies and gentlemen... boys and girls...

A decision has been made. After a couple stressful conversations, a few headaches, several helpful listening ears, and quite a many prayers there is peace. Well, at least a basic answer.
I am not going to London to study abroad this summer. (and I'm not near as heartbroken as one might think...I'm actually relieved!)

Instead I am going to take my classes during Faulkner's 1st summer class session, then I am going on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa for 2 weeks, and then I will return to Montgomery to continue working and writing my thesis. (This is the basic skeleton of the plan... details will follow in time.)

I am really excited about this new plan and how God is going to work through it. There has got to be a reason why He thought it would be a good idea to shake everything up here at crunch-time, and I am looking forward to watching the Lord work! So there we have it... everyone can sleep a little bit better now.

I'd like to take a moment to thank the people that helped me out through this insanity: The girls of the APT (those that live here, and those that practically live here ;), Kyle (we could probably group him in that 1st category as well...), my mom and dad (nothing like advice from the rents...good stuff!), Jason Bybee (the best mentor ever) and Corey Trevathan (I miss these two youth ministers!), Wes Gunn & Nathan Capps (Wes for letting me join the Malawi team this late in the game, and Nathan for advising me to get a loan ;), Sarah Beth (I never got around to actually filling you in on everything, but I know you were praying), and finally my adopted parents at Landmark- David and Susan Clark (they listened/talked to me and Brittany for about two hours and helped to guide us to our decisions.. plus the banana pudding was amazing!). I am so blessed to have so many amazing people in my life, and there were so many more I could have called. I love being a part of the family of God! There is no greater security, that's for sure!!

Now all I have to do is break the news to Dr. Hicks... (I'm kinda afraid... please be praying about that!)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

This is harder than I thought...

This day has been a rollercoaster- that or the spinning teacups- and now I am left feeling incredibly dizzy. Do you ever have a plan, then find yourself revising that plan, then realizing that the new plan is not quite as perfect as you thought? You are left without all the details, confused, frustrated, stressed, and completely drained. It's like you run around trying to get things in order, only to find that you have been running in circles, and you haven't accomplished anything. There. That is how I feel right now. And the sad part is- most of you have no idea what in the world is going on.

In the long run, what I do this summer is not that big of a deal... but in a way it is. And I have no idea what will be decided, and no idea what I want to happen. Please be praying about this for me. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed about it all. If it just involved me, I could make a decision, but there is more that plays into it... so please pray that the best choice will be obvious. This really is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Something on my mind...

So I've had this plan for the summer. I mean, these plans were carefully sketched out and molded to where they are exactly what I want and need, right? So I thought. However, today (and many other connected things that have led my thoughts to where I find myself today) has presented another option... more options even.

What was this plan? To go to London to study abroad (taking 2 classes there) and then taking a class at school while working on my thesis. This extends onto my Sr. year plans... etc...etc... It fit perfectly. It sounds great, doesn't it?

Well I am here to tell you that my plans could be changing. And I am really excited about that possibility. Because I don't know anything definite, that is all I am going to write. Please be praying that I will make the best choice for myself and for all the others involved. God is at work. I just have to follow Him.