Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sweet Olivia

Most days I can find more than a few reasons to be excited about life.

Today is not one of those days.

I got some awful news this weekend that is finally starting to register. My dear cousin Olivia was hit by a car and killed crossing the street to her bus stop Friday morning. She was just 14 years old.

I keep thinking about what an awkward, unsure little thing I was when I was 14. About how much of my life hadn't even begun yet. About the experiences I'd have missed if I hadn't lived to see 15 or 16 or 18 or 20.

There are just no words for something like this. I know that God is good and that his plan is perfect. But even his word tells us that there is a season for everything. And this season is for heartbreak. There's no way around it.

I'm headed to Tampa Tuesday night to be with my family and attend the funeral. With it being 50 degrees and still rainy in Seattle, a surprise trip to Florida would be a welcome escape under any other circumstances. But this is never the kind of thing you want to go home for.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this week. We'll need all the love we can get.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Oregon Trail : A Preview

Got back yesterday from my whirlwind tour of Oregon and I must admit: no matter how scenic the roads may be, 1,300 miles in 7 days will wear a lady out.

Needless to say, I'm a bit too exhausted to post much about the trip just yet.

But to keep you entertained in the meantime, here's a little taste of our PacNW adventure, video blog style! Enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Next Stop: Oregon!

Ever since last summer, I haven't quite been able to shake the road trip bug. But now that I finally have a few weeks off, I'm happy to report that I'm hitting the road again. Tomorrow, my friend Antoinette and I embark on a week-long trip down to Oregon!

Here's what we've got planned:

Saturday, May 22: Portland
Since Portland is a pretty easy day/weekend trip from Seattle, we're not spending a ton of time here. We actually won't arrive until late afternoon on Saturday. Just in time to take on a brewery crawl (we'll take the downtown route) through the neighborhoods near our hostel. Holler.

Sunday, May 23: Mt Hood/Bend
From Portland, we'll head east to Mt Hood by way of the Columbia River gorge (Oregon Trail, anyone???) following this brilliant route from National Geographic Traveler then head south to beautiful Bend just in time for dinner and a soak in the soaking pool at McMenamins.

Monday, May 24: Bend to Ashland via Crater Lake National Park
National Parks Rock. And this is the only one in Oregon. Enough Said.

Tuesday, May 25: Ashland/Oregon Shakespeare Festival
It pays to know people. Or to know people who know people. Either way, we've got two tickets to a 2 pm matinee Pride and Prejudice at OSF. Though I've never read the book (I know, I know), I watched the whole 6 hour BBC version this year and swooned the whole time.

Wednesday, May 26: Grants Pass to Newport
After taking our time driving up the west coast (my first visit to the Pacific!!), we're crashing at this adorable (or maybe slightly terrifying, the jury is still out with some) seaside hotel in Newport. Rooms named after famous authors and free breakfast for 70 bucks a night?? yes, please!

Thursday, May 27: Seaside
We'll continue on the 101, stopping, of course, in Tilamook for cheese and ice cream, and generally just enjoying the ocean views and little towns until we finally arrive at our final destination for the day: my grandmother's friend's cottage.

Friday, May 28: Home, via the Bainbridge ferry.
I have been living next to the Puget sound for 9 months now and I've yet to ride on a ferry. Seems like the perfect end to a great trip, to me.

All told, it should look something like this:

View Larger Map

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I'm in Indiana this weekend finally visiting the best friend who had a baby this November.

I must confess. This baby is cute. Really cute. So cute I don't even know what to say right now.

So I'll just show you a few pictures.

But please be advised. The cuteness in these pictures may overwhelm some viewers.


Oliver and his Mama

Cue the Lion King theme song, please.

Please note: he does have a wee wee. I just don't think it's a great idea to put pictures of said wee wee up on the internet for all to see-- thus the blurring of the crotchal region.

A blurry picture, but it pretty well sums up how much auntie rock loves this boy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!

I love this beautiful lady so very much and have made so many memories with her in the past few years.

So in honor of her day today, here's a little "greatest hits" photo album of the lovely lady and her babies.

Happy Mother's Day, Leslie! If i were in VA today, It would look like this:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


On May 3, 2008, I donned a purple robe, walked onto a stage in Bridgeforth Stadium, and said goodbye to four years of friends and memories.

In the two years and two days that have passed since, I have grown up more than I can even believe. I've lived in four states, worked at three different theatres, and figured out how to be an adult (sort of). But no matter how old I get, I'll always remember my four years in Harrisonburg with incredible joy. I won't say they were "the best years of my life" because I'm sure there are wonderful years yet to come.. but they were special, that's for sure.

This year, I have only a few friends left at JMU, but for them, I want to share the same words of wisdom I gave my fellow graduates 732 days ago, when I was blessed with the amazing opportunity to be the senior speaker at graduation.

Congratulations to the JMU class of 2010! I'm proud of you all!


Ardent desire for rank, fame, or power, desire to achieve a particular end, desire for activity or exertion.”

As I look out on the sea of purple that makes up my graduating class, JMU’s Centennial Class, It’s all I see.

I see it in fellow theatre majors who’ve spent hours in an old turkey hatchery directing and designing, building and rehearsing their shows. In tour guides who will walk backwards through driving rain just so that one prospective student can have the best possible visit to JMU.

I see it a nursing major who spent more of her senior year driving to and from a hospital in Charlottesville than she did in her own apartment. In roommates who stayed in on weekends to write lesson plans, case studies, and theses. In friends who’ve poured their last year of college into fundraising and planning, working together to build a school in Uganda.

You are ambitious people. Not only dreamers, but movers and shakers too. If I can be really cliché for a moment, I’ll even say that you “are the change.”

However, as I’ve pondered what the future might hold for us ambitious folks, I’ve found a surprising new definition.

Since, next to a cheesy dictionary definition, every graduation speech needs an inspirational quote, bear with me as I read you a bit of wisdom I recently stumbled upon. A mantra, if you will.

“Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, so that your daily life will win the respect of outsiders”

You who know me are already laughing. The last word anyone would use to describe me is “quiet.” If you don’t know me… You’ve probably heard me. Whether screaming the fight song at football games or standing by Chip’s, harassing cars to “honk for Choices” … I can get a bit loud. I was barely allowed to walk at my last graduation after a suspension for “inciting a riot” And yes, I was that girl dressed like Britney Spears on the commons a few months ago asking random strangers, “Y’all seen Sean Preston??”

A “quiet life” has never really been my goal.

Yet this quote says it should be my Ambition.

“Desire for rank, fame, power.” The original Greek used here is Philotimeomai. Love of Honor.

This we pursue with quietness? Is anyone else confused?

I recently finished a book called Velvet Elvis, weird title, I know, but an inspiring work nonetheless. Anyway, after recalling the story of a woman who moved into the inner city & bit by bit fed and clothed her new neighbors, the author, Rob Bell, makes a great point:

“It is the quiet, humble, stealth acts that change things,” he says, “The kinds of people who change the world… they improvise & adapt & innovate… they don’t make a lot of noise and they don’t draw attention to themselves”

Class of 2008. I challenge you. Be these kind of people. Let’s stop talking about change and live it with “quiet lives” of great significance.

Some of you are going on to graduate programs, some have jobs lined up, others plan to travel, see the world. If you’re a theatre major like me, you have no idea what’s next. I leave you all with a word of caution: as you set off with your huge dreams and plans, your high hopes for worldwide change, don’t forget about the smaller world around you.

You may never get out of suburban America.

That’s O.K.

Wherever you end up: whether it’s New York or London; Uganda, Africa, or Harrisonburg, Virginia. Change your world.

Love your neighbors. Your co-workers. Your family. Work hard at whatever you do and look for opportunities to quietly fight injustice whenever you see it. Live a quiet life. A life of humility, service, and love, and you will see change.

Thank you. And go get ‘em, Dukes!