Tag Archives: love

And it was good

The beauty of Connecticut fall catches my breath.  The firestorm on the the tree beneath my bedroom makes me smile.  So does the quiet hope that wells up in my soul.

For every exasperated sigh I swallow in my carrel and long hour with an un-exhilarating paper are a dozen moments of sweet smiles.  Ideas excite me.  Despite the realization that most people don’t care, I am incapable of saying anything about my research without getting all bright eyed and smily.

And when the brillant professor I fumble my ideas to says that my argument sounds great, the fire burns brighter.  Likewise, I gladly give my time to the teaching that forces my thoughts deep into the recluses of my mind for reevaluation.  Ideas are like that.

In the last 72 hours, a friend and I hosted a make-your-own gourmet personal pizza night, complete with fancy cheese, fresh sausage, jalepenos, and eight of my closest-don’t-talk-to-often-enough friends.  Saturday, I drove to Providence for an ISI conference on the American University.  I’ve never wanted to read Plato so badly in my life.  I figure something like The Republic or The Odyssey ought to count as an appropriate beginning of the Western Cannon : )

Today was simply beautiful, and a few friends and I will be driving  up the Connecticut coastline in the morning as we run away with every last remaining precious bit of fall break.

This overcast night hides the moon from my bedroom window, but with a monstrously soft brown blanket draped over my shoulders and the quiet beat of my fingers, keeping time with the Bublé in the background, I just can’t help but feel at peace as the dreams and reflections that can’t quite make their way out dance on my heart.

Providence, Rhode Island



Things I email my mother

Homework complaints, work schedules, $3 off at Dominos because the pizza guy thought I was cute, time-wasting websites, 4am no-one-is-going-to-come-in-at-work-and-I’m-tired panics, caffeine, and bad dinners…I might live in Connecticut, but still tell my mom about everything.

…In honor of the day (click on the image to read it)

I less-than-three-semicolon-close parentheses-you—always

code: ❤ 😉


Dancing to the first number

I couldn’t have been more than ten-years-old when, somewhere in the hour and half stretch between Ohio and Indiana, my father directly broached a subject that probably never would have otherwise come up, at least for awhile.

He took me out on dates a lot, and we always called them dates.  It usually meant lunch, sometimes it meant a day in the city (the city being Fort Wayne, which always seemed exotic and far away.)

In the car, we sang loudly along with the music, or to no music at all.  He always held my hand and stopped to tell me that he loved me.  He said, I was intelligent and that was going to do things he never could do and that I was pretty.

I couldn’t wear anything I knew my dad didn’t think I looked pretty in.  I still can’t.  I care what he thinks.

Arriving at our destination meant nothing, he would keep singing, and being that he didn’t have to focus on the road anymore, he would dance.  In big, loud, exaggerated motions he would take my hand and hold my waist, and with his bellowing voice drawing the eyes of everyone within earshot, we’d dance to White Christmas with the summer sun beating down in the waiting area at Bob Evans (back when we liked Bob Evans).

I never cared that everybody watched, because  I was dancing with my Daddy, and if anybody ever had any problem with that, they would have to take it up with him.

I knew that I was special, because of how he treated me.  I knew that there was a very important difference in how my father honored me and how the whole class got certificates and stickers for doing our homework. I knew that in my father’s eyes, I truly was something really special.  His words were never hallow, because I never doubted them in his actions.

So as I sat in the car on that day, as a little third grader, his words sunk like a branding press on my heart.  He said, “Tori, see how I love you.  See how I treat your mother.”  We talked about Galatians 3:28 and how God loves me.  He talked about the gifts I had and my responsibility to use them to further the Kingdom.  He explained the fall in the garden of Eden and how God created men and women to interact with each other and with Him.

He said that I was young, but that I was a talented leader.  He said that there would be people in the church who would tell me that I can’t lead and that a very loving, God-fearing man, might interpret Scriptures differently.  He urged me to be continually mindful and wise.

He said I needed to step into the fullness of the Word and of the talents God has given me and to never let “you’re a woman” stop me.

However randomly out of place that conversation felt at the time, it wasn’t anything I ever forgot, and as I got older, I investigated my father’s claims.

At my request, he dug out notes from his college classes and gave me all his books on the subject.  I remember trying to understand a technical exegesis on women in ministry in middle school.  The book was least four years ahead of my analytical comprehension skills, but I wanted to know so bad.

I now know what the Bible has to say about the roles of women and not simply what my father taught me it said. But until today, I never realized how incredibly free I have always been because of how my father loved me and taught me.

I’m by no means “there,” wherever “there” is, but from self-led trips in Morocco to speeches in front of massive, emotional crowds and the most pro-active, aggressive career research/networking path I’m capable of pursuing, I’ve clinched to the boldness in who I am because of this freedom.

I cherish this, because as any student in Prof. Grimmer-Solem’s CSS Post-Imperial history tutorial could tell you, freedom’s no end goal.  It is what we strive for, but it’s what we do with it that counts.

A love letter to Papa

I don’t really remember when it was that you first told me that you read my blog, but it meant the world to me that it meant something to you.  Your comments are my favorite.

It was like when we first got you a facebook, and you went crazy.  You were connected to your kids and your grandkids in a way that you never had before, because even though we were spread all over the country (and at times, the world), you were in our lives.

I chuckled and told my mom about that one time when you emailed me because you saw a facebook photo of a guy with his arm around me.  You just wanted to know who he was.  I smiled because it was just an old friend on graduation day, but I loved how much you cared.  And trust me, when there finally is a guy who’s putting his arm around me, you’ll be one of the first to know.

Remember when we went to the Father/Daughter Ball together?  Dad took Mychelle, and I had the pleasure of being escorted by lovely grandfather.  I wore my red prom dress.  We danced, even though it made you really uncomfortable.  I always felt a little bad because I thought I pushed you too much to do it.  But you danced wonderfully, and I was proud to have you as my partner.

When I was a little kid, I always liked listening to you talk at holiday gatherings.  I actually preferred it to playing with the other kids, unless you were talking insurance.  That conversation always bored me, but other than that, I liked what you said.

I didn’t say much when I would listen, because I was mostly just learning and didn’t feel like I had much to contribute.  But as I got older, I started talking too.  I took so much pride in the fact that you actually listened to what I had to say and considered it valuable information.  You can always tell when people listen and don’t really care, but you did.  And even more than that, you listened like you thought what I had to say was intelligent.

I feel like that was a transitioning phase.  When I was really young, you always played board games with Andrew and me.  I schemed 4 way trades in Monopoly, inevitably taking advantage of Oma who always seemed willing to trade 2 railroads for something like Baltic Ave to please her placating granddaughter.  We played Flinch and Clue and Junior Bridge too.  You and Andrew always won the games, but they were fun.

So when I was little, we played games.  When I got older, I listened to you talk.  Then we talked together.

When I heard you were sick today, I was very scared.  But the truth is, almost more than any hurt you were going through at the time, I was thinking about the day (whenever that day is) that you will go and literally hang out with Jesus for the first time.  It didn’t mask any pain or concern about you at the hospital or how Oma was doing, but it was a transcending peace.

I’m by no means ready for you to leave me.  I don’t think I’ll ever will be either, but it was still a really cool and powerful thought.

I’ve had the great pleasure of being born into a family where I’ve had two relational grandfathers.  I remember talking to my mom about what kind of pastor you are.  She always emphasized how good you are with visitation and showing your love to people.

I see that in how you take care of Oma, always putting her first.  Whoever I marry is going to be a lot like you.

I love you Papa. Please get well soon.

Metaphoric showdown: chin-up > pull up

With the ability to do what I want when I want to, the Paris white board pressure’s (nearly) dissipated, which has been not in the least assisted by that fact that I’m back in Indiana.

I have enough proof to indeed verify that there are folks here who could properly deliver their props to Dolores Umbridge herself.  However, this is the real exception in this community.

Honest to goodness, I’ve known hundreds of truly kindred folk from all kinds of places, but generally speaking, people are more friendly in the midwest than anyplace I’ve ever been in the world.

The security guards at the federal courthouse here in town acted just like what you’d think your grandpa would be like if he was hanging out with his old college buddies, the lady sitting next to me in the lobby at the pizza shop told me all about what her Fridays are like at work, and some stranger (noting that I was sitting alone, not drinking my coffee, had no work in front of me, made eye-contact with everyone walking into Starbucks, and was dressed in a non-dressy, but clearly showing that I really care Saturday morning outfit) took to openly teasing me about my job interview.

People do that kind of thing here, and I love that.

I haven’t the slightest idea where I’ll live after I graduate, but it is nice to be comfortable here now.  And somehow comfortable has led to clarity, and six informational interviews, a couple phone calls, a fistful of emails, and all the thank you cards my mom had in the house.  I still don’t know where it’s all going, but it’s nice to know it’s going somewhere.

Something else amazing emerged out this whole process, a flexible plan, one that builds on my month-by-month LSAT study schedule from last summer by adjusting some dates, re-prioritizing, and finally integrating a concrete long-term goal.  I didn’t throw anything out the window.  I just learned, added, adjusted.

So for now, looking at work and career plans seems to be a lot less like a dark mass and a lot more like freedom, and much needed peace.

And a huge part of that is the recognition that I could never pull myself up to where I want to go.  It’s all just been seeing who’s around and willing to lend a hand.  Can’t do that with your chin down or trying to pick yourself up off the ground.

See cause for someone to lend a hand, you gotta look up let go to grab it.


It’s a good thing I never ended up booking that trip to Barcelona, because I’ve spent the last two days more or less locked up in the house fighting off sickness.

But, then again, after the last two weeks, maybe slowing down isn’t such a bad idea regardless.

Despite not being able to go out this evening and look at the Christmas lights like I had originally planned, the night turned out rather nicely.

I dug up a few old episodes of Gilmore Girls and started packing, just like I did in my stuffy bedroom four months ago in New York.  Except this time, instead of dreaming of foreign lands and actually being able to speak Spanish, I was just thinking about home.



Wikipedia xoxo

My dearest wiki,

I would like to credit you for all the childhood injuries you stopped when I was 11 and those that you are still lovingly preventing at 21.

Instead of reaching up high shelves for the most recent edition of the Children’s World Book that our elementary schools saw fit to purchase, we turned to yahoo (back in those pregoogle days).

Our first hits always turned up a wealth of information on our research topics, written by our middle school peers and their teachers.  Nothing quite cleared up what exactly the estates-general were like a 7th grader’s analysis of the French Revolution.  We grew to love geocities.

But our fascination would fade.  Once we learned what bibliographies were, our teacher’s taught us the difference between credible and non-credible sources, meaning no more personal websites.

But that quiet 6th grade year, something else happened.  You walked into our lives, keeping us from returning to dusty shelves where those heavy, outdated encyclopedias lie.   With all your subjects and embedded links to topics within the article, we looked to the future with newfound hope.

Sure enough, one day, our teachers told us that you too weren’t credible, but we knew not to believe them this time.   As high school masters of the MLA bibliography, we were smart enough to figure out to use the websites at the bottom of each page to find the “so-called” credible sources we were taught to use.

And our relationship grew and prospered.  I thought we could get no closer after you became a primary text in my college sophomore government tutorial, but then, wiki, I came to Spain.

And here, I wiki all subjects discussed in every one of my classes– in English and Spanish.  Here, it’s just you and me, spending long nights chasing new links, trying to figure out how the Habsburgs fell from power and when the Korean War started.

So wiki, as I preceed to finals, stick close by.  We still have many a-hour to get through together.


Yours truly,




In the spirit of full disclosure, wiki, just so you don’t get the wrong idea, please know I’m not ready to get serious.  See, I graduate in a year in a half, and then I’ll be free to choose whatever books I want to read without repercussions of not having learned whatever prescribed texts my professors saw fit to throw my way.

It will be a lot less “When did the Spanish-American War start?” and a lot more ” What was the long term economic effect of foreign policy at the turn of the twentieth century in relation to President McKinley?” So let’s just make the most of the time we have left, ok?