Tuesday, November 6, 2012

College Media Convention

By now, it's no secret that I really freaking love cities. This weekend I got to go back to Chicago with this wonderful group of people. 

Photo credit: David Wheeler

Being there refreshed my love for all things urban. I had forgotten how much I love the busyness of cities. I love walking instead of driving. I love the streets bustling with people. I love the buzz of creative energy. I love the perpetual newness and sense of possibility.

We were in town for the College Media Association's National College Media Convention. They'd heard about a little redesign we did last year, and asked us to share about our experiences and give tips to other newspapers looking to do a similar thing.

Photo credit: David Wheeler

Speaking at the conference was a thrill, and the weekend reminded me why I'm so blessed to be in Asbury's award-winning journalism department. I can't believe everything that happened last year. I got to work with a brilliant team and establish a new personality for The Collegian. Then I got to go with the very same journalism department to report on the Olympics in London. I'd never have guessed when I took my first journalism class sophomore year that it would lead to all of this and set me on a completely new career path.

I'm simultaneously excited for and terrified of life after college, but as I look ahead to grad school, I'm holding on to moments like this and reminding myself that the Lord is the one who guides my steps.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rest for the Weary, Water for my Soul

As I type this, hymns from Asbury's bell tower drift softly over campus, a warm light covers the lawn outside my window, and a mason jar full of fresh flowers from a friend sits beside me.
As I type this, I am hunched over my computer, clinging to a cup of coffee, and wondering how I'm going to get all of my work done. I am exhausted, unshowered, and unrested, having stayed up until 1:30 working on a paper.

The bits of good and bad in life run together strangely. I love school and my friends and my majors. I love taking on writing, design and acting projects. I'm so glad to have the hope of going to graduate school next year. And yet, some days I wish I could throw my hands up in the air, leave it all behind, and take a long nap.

There's a bit of irony in all of this. I'm designing posters on the need for a Sabbath, but I haven't taken one in who-knows-how-many years. I'm writing a Christian Theology paper, but I haven't had taken quiet time with God in the last three days. I consider my friends a relief from schoolwork, but taking the time to invest in those relationships often makes school harder.

And there's no easy answer for this busyness. It's not mere overcommitment. Yes, I need to say no when people ask me to take on new projects, and I often do. But my current predicament is the result of overlapping due dates in my courses, something I couldn't have predicted or prevented. Over the next week and a half, I have two papers, three tests, and two college fairs on my plate, and when those are over, I'll be able to sleep again.

I believe that life moves through rhythms. The present is not an absolute indicator of the future. My worry is not an indicator of reality. And my performance (Oh my soul, rejoice!) is not an indicator of my value. I believe that I am God's, that He has ordained a path for me and that He will not let me fall although He may let me fail.

In chapel yesterday we sang a song that references Isaiah 40:31: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

I wanted to cry as we sang because I so need my strength to be renewed. I want to run and not grow weary. I want to walk and not be faint. But then I realized this—the verse does not say, “Those who hope in performance will renew their strength” or “those who try really hard” or “those who are great at time management.” No, those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. And I'm not sure that I've been doing that. It's like trying to run a race without water or fly an airplane without fuel.

Oh Lord, let me hope in You. I am imperfect and foolish and selfish, but let me hope in You and You alone.

I believe that He will renew my strength, will let me walk and not be faint, and will let me love Him more than I love my schoolwork. I will finish these tests, I will finish these papers, and the clouds of busyness will part. But none of these things are ultimate. I need a different kind of peace, and so, I am holding on these words from Josh Ritter, an agnostic who often captures the beliefs of Christianity more fully and more beautifully than those of us who have grown up in church:

I am assured, yes. I am assured, yes.
I am assured that peace will come to me
A peace that can, yes, surpass the speed, yes
Of my understanding and my need.

Father, as it is your nature always to be merciful, grant me a peace that passes understanding. Grant me access to Your love and to Your light. Grant me Yourself.


Thursday, September 13, 2012


Last Christmas, my friend Casey directed and my friend Adam wrote this short film that I got to act in. It took a while to get edited, but I think the final product turned out great!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Smart Paper

One of the best parts of starting my senior year at Asbury is that I get to share an apartment with my best friends.

(Aren't they cute? All thanks to Riah Lawry for the photoshoot!)

But the downside to having an apartment for just one year is that you can't make many substantial changes. That's why I was so excited to find cute contact paper at TJ Maxx!

For just $6, it was an easy update our kitchen. Check the before and after below.

And here's the fully redone kitchen:

London Nights

This is for our summer nights in the foggy city. Miss you, London!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

London 2012 Recap

So . . . I kinda dropped the ball on blogging in London. We just had so many things going on! I did get back to the states safely, and it's hard to believe that just a month ago, I was halfway through my time in London.

Among the highlights of the last week were:

1)  filming a segment with some adorable British schoolchildren

2) seeing former Olympics rivals from the 1948 London games meet again
    for the first time in 64 years

3) visiting the Olympic Village to interview the events manager of the US track

4) getting to visit the Queen's private box at Epsom Downs

and 5) saying goodbye to the city on our final night.

Okay, so that last one was more like a lowlight than a highlight, but even when I was sad about leaving, I couldn't help but love my last few moments. 

I miss that city. I miss it in my chest. I miss it in my bones. And yes, I'm romanticizing things and glossing over details, but until I go back, I plan to indulge in every bit of unabashed sentimentalism. I'm hanging on to my passport, sleeping under a painting of Big Ben, and practicing my accent.

London, I'll be seeing you again someday.



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Poor Little Londoners

Today, Cassie and I discovered a tragedy.

Pretty Little Liars, our fav guilty pleasure, does not stream through Hulu in London.

We're lost without you, Liars.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Man on the Street

Today, Cameron, Amy, Cassie, and I wandered the streets of London doing Man on the Street interviews for an upcoming segment about the differences between British and American vernacular.

Photo credit: Cameron Hassler
And I'm not sure if I've ever been more jealous of Britons' accents.

I'm also not entirely sure if I'm dreaming or not. This city is so beautiful. How is it possible that I get to spend two weeks here doing a job that I love with people that I love?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Leicester Square

Today we filmed in Leicester Square (pronounced les-ter) in the heart of London

We spent the afternoon asking Brits to attempt saying American phrases (video to come soon), and the guy on the left has the silliest American impression I've ever heard.

Photo credit: Cameron Hassler

The closest thing I have to compare Leicester to is Times Square in New York City, but the mood of Leicester Square is way different from that of Times Square. The people are calmer, and the storefronts less neon.

When I visited New York, I enjoyed the city, but I didn't feel at ease. Everything seemed so fast-paced and high-pressured, and the beauty was tempered with grime. London's different. Its people are friendly, its subway system is clear, and its streets feel bright.

I'm not sure if I'm tough enough to live in a big city long-term, but if I had to, I'd say my best bet would be London. Maybe I'm romanticizing it, but this city seems incredible. I'm still trying to put my finger on what it is I love so much about this place. I'll get back to you when I have the right words for it.

So I'm gonna go ahead and brag just a little bit.

In the words of Julian Smith, I made this for you.

Check it:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Settling In

Another day in England has passed. I finally got my official Olympics press pass, and I'm proudly wearing it around London. I love feeling official!

I'm losing track of the time and falling more and more in love with this place. It's calm, peaceful, and historic but somehow still modern and metropolitan. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to leave. 

Today Hillary and I went to the Olympic fencing match, where Lexingtonian Lee Kiefer competed. She made it through the first three rounds, but lost in the third. I was excited to see someone from my area go so far! I wore patriotic colors on purpose to support Team U.S.A.

I don't usually think of myself as a particularly patriotic person, but something about the Olympics brings out that national pride. I find myself wanting to wear red, white and blue and chant, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" like these guys:

And I'm not the only one who's feeling patriotic these days:
What is it about the Olympics that brings out this impulse in us? Is it our competitive spirit? Do we want to beat the other nations?

I don't think so.

I think it's that basic human drive to connect, to be a part of something bigger than yourself. The Olympics bring us together. They don't pull us apart. 

Call me sentimental if you like, but I'm drinking it all in. We all make the Olympics, and together we can inspire a generation.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Bit of the Brits

It's our second full day in London, and I'm still getting used to things on the other side of the pond. I hit a new low yesterday when I Google-searched "how to turn on a British shower." Turns out there's an overhead pulley beside the light fixture. Who knew?

We spent yesterday roaming London to gather b-roll footage - that is, all-purpose footage for filler in our news spots. Along the way, we learned that finding black coffee in London is nearly impossible and that personal bubbles are irrelevant in the tubes.

Finally, we wrapped things up with a shoot at King's College, Hampstead Campus. (Get it?) It was a nice change from the congestion of downtown London. I could really get used to life in this country.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Day Jitters

We're pumped.

Jet Lag and London Swag

After a harrowing journey from Lexington to O'Hare to Heathrow, I'm finally in the UK! Our group almost didn't make it thanks to some thunderstorms in Chicago, but eventually we got on the plane.

By the time we got off, we were significantly less chipper.

But after a good sleep last night, we're ready to start pounding the pavement. For those of you who don't know, I'm here with a group from Asbury University's journalism department. We'll be reporting on the Olympics for WLEX18 and Kentucky Monthly, and I'll be blogging as I go.

I can't believe this is my home for the next two weeks!

Keep up with my adventures here at Jane Loves Words, on Twitter @janeloveswords, on Asbury's London 2012 blog, or at the WLEX18 and Kentucky Monthly websites.

Monday, July 23, 2012

This is GSP.

For the last several months, any time someone asked me what I was going to be doing this summer, I'd pause for a second, unsure what to say.

"I'm working with GSP," I'd answer. "You know... the Governor's Scholars Program." Then I'd wait for the question: "Uh ... so what's GSP?"

And what is GSP, after all? It's the Governor's Scholars Program. It's five weeks. It's high schoolers from all across Kentucky. But those descriptions don't really explain GSP. It's not a summer camp, but it's not an academic camp. It's not high school, but it's not college. I've done it twice now, once as a scholar and once as an RA, and they were the hardest and best summers of my life.

GSP gives high-achieving high schoolers the opportunity to meet other high-achieving high schoolers and realize that they aren't alone. The scholars discover their passion and potential, and they learn that their talents are also their burdensthat those who can do, must. The confident ones discover that the world doesn't revolve around them, and the shy ones realize that their intellect doesn't have to alienate them. 

All of that might sound a bit dry, but on the individual level, it's life-changing. As a scholar, I discovered people who loved me. I learned that I could make friends and that I wasn't hopelessly awkward in all social settings. As an RA, I learned to love people and invest in them and give back what I'd been given.

So what is GSP? It's five weeks of magic. And somehow in those five weeks across three campuses, a thousand high schoolers form one community. There's nothing else like it. It's the lanyard hanging on my doorknob and the ugly green t-shirt in my closet. It's the bags under my eyes and the dirt on my feet. It's the warmth in my chest and the ache in my heart. It's GSP.

Video by scholar Katie Paxton.

Monday, July 2, 2012

In case you were wondering,

this happened.

BSB has nothing on GSP.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Paradox

At the beginning of the summer, I didn't post because too little was going on. Now, I'm not posting because too much is going on.

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, do here's a quick catch-up:

Last week, I started my rockin' summer job as an RA at GSP!

For those of you who don't know, GSP is a summer program for gifted high school students. I'll be here for five weeks - working with scholars and doing awesome work.

I'm so looking forward to the next four weeks!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ruby Red Slippers

Summer's here, and I've got five weeks off before I start my awesome summer job at the Governor's Scholars Program.

Guess what that means? It's full-on craft time. I finally get the chance to put all my Pinspiration into action.

I cleaned out my closet and found these tired old flats. But instead of throwing them out, I got a can of spray paint and some old fabric, and easy as pie, I took them from this to that.

Here's how I did it:

So cute, right? I can't wait to wear them!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Harder Every Year

The campus is almost empty. Most underclassmen have moved out, and the seniors are preparing for their final hours - greeting family members, trying on caps and gowns, and saying goodbyes.

I'm one of few juniors still here. As I type this, I sit in a nearly-abandoned dorm. We've emptied our drawers, moved our furniture back, and taken down our posters. The ghostly footfall of those who remain echoes through the hall.

Leaving Asbury is always hard. This place is home. These people are family. You don't just leave your best friends for three months without shedding a few tears. But it's harder this year than last. And it was harder then than freshman year. It's harder every year because every year I get closer to the big goodbye: graduation.

It hurts just thinking about it. It's a physical ache. My mother has always said we feel that way because we weren't made for goodbyes. We were made for eternal lives and for heaven, where nobody leaves or moves away or graduates. And I know I sound sentimental and ridiculous right now, but that's because I feel sentimental and ridiculous.

You guys, I'm graduating in a year. And guess what? I don't want to. I want to hold on to one of campus lampposts and kick and scream and refuse to leave. I know it's not healthy to stay a college student forever, and I know good things are coming after I graduate. I'll grow up. I'll be more independent. I'll get to put all of these things I'm learning into practice. I'll get a job and make new friends, and life will be exciting in a new way.

But man, we weren't made for goodbyes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Last Late Night

Well, folks, it's a wrap.

It's hard to believe it's been a year, but I just finished up my last production night at The Asbury Collegian. And while I certainly won't miss working into the wee hours of Wednesday morning every week, the end was bittersweet.

Working on The Collegian has helped make junior year my favorite so far. From the marathon redesign week to the exhausting production nights to that glorious moment each Thursday when the new issue hits the stands, I have loved being on staff. I've learned about everything from design to writing to photography, and I've been blessed to build friendships with my fellow staff members along the way.

I wanted to throw in the towel at so many points throughout the year. Early on, I wasn't sure I was up to the job, and even after we launched the redesign, I didn't know if we'd be able to carry it on. But I've become emotionally invested in the paper, and I'm so proud of the work we've all done this year.

Though I won't be on staff next year, I'll be following The Collegian closely. I expect great things to come for this program.

Monday, April 16, 2012


You guys... I just bought my first plane ticket.

That's right, this girl is London-bound.

Oh, and it'll be during a little event called the Olympics. And oh yeah, I'll be reporting while I'm there. Like a real journalist. One who knows how to use fragments effectively.

Nbd (except ... kind of a big d.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SB12 Day 3:

Today was Philadelphia. We did the whole tourist thing--walked around, saw the Liberty Bell, took bajillions of pictures.

And it's cool, you know? In the history of the world, America's history so far has just been a blip. We're not that old as countries go. I think it's hard to put together an essay. How in the heck did a group of colonists put together a country?

They called us "The Great Experiment." And while we certainly can't say we got things right at first--or even that we've got them right now--democracy hasn't completely failed. We have freedom, education, social mobility. So much of who I am, of what I think, of what I hope for in the future exists because of decisions made 200 years ago.

It's cool, you know? And I'm grateful.

Monday, March 12, 2012

SB12 Day 2: Working It

It's day two at the Dobbs' house.

Yesterday, we did lots of this:

Today? Well, lots of this:

And even though I don't love having homework over break, I've got to say, I'd rather be doing homework with my friends than doing fun things without them. Love these folks.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

SB12 Day 1: Four-Wheeling and Scene-Stealing

Spring break is finally here! After our raging success last year, my friends and I are off another whirlwind adventure through the northeast U.S.

We left Wilmore at early yesterday morning, and after a harrowing journey that took more than 14 hours and included an unplanned rendezvous in Washington, D.C., we finally arrived at sweet Cassie's house at 12:15 this morning.

This place is so peaceful. We're chilling here for a few days, then taking day trips to some other major cities. We'll visit Philly, NYC, Ocean City, and Washington D.C. I'm looking forward to the shopping, to the sight-seeing, to the time off from school. But most of all, I'm looking forward to spending a week with these lovely people:

I seriously have the best friends in the world.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Packing Problems

I always do this thing where I pack way too much and then don't use half of what I pack and then promise myself that I won't do it again and then do the same thing the next time I go on a trip.

This ends today. I'm packing for spring break '12 (New Jersey, baby!), and I'm going to be ruthlessly stingy about the things I allow in my suitcase. Efficiency, order, planning. I got this.

Here's a bit of packing inspiration from the ever-adorable Girls with Glasses.

As a sidenote: I basically want to be these two. How are they so cute?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Survivor's Log

An epidemic has taken over Asbury's campus. No, not the swine flu. This is something far, far worse. This something terrible, horrible. I'm not sure how much longer I'll survive.

This is Last Man Standing.

Graphic courtesy of Zach Whelchel

Last Man Standing is a Nerf gun war modeled after the popular game Humans vs. Zombies. The first tagger was infected Saturday night, and since then, 71 more students have fallen.

The campus has an eerie chill. Taggers roam from building to building, searching for students to devour. The sound of Nerf guns and shouting fills the air.

I am still a survivor, but I fear for my life. After a close encounter at lunch today, I have decided that the cafeteria is no longer safe for my kind. I made it to Wilmore's only grocery store this afternoon and stocked up on sandwich provisions, but I will have to venture outside the dorm tomorrow for classes. I can only hope that I will live to blog again.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

How to Save a Life

I recently got the chance to act in some promo videos for Multiply Life, a non-profit that encourages pro-lifers to get more actively involved in the fight against abortion.

The cause is important, and the need is great for people like you to get involved.

Check out the videos below, then visit Multiply Life to see what you can do to help.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I recently discovered a loop-hole in my college's no-pets-in-the-dorm rule. Turns out fish-bowl clause applies any pets that can be kept in self-contained terrariums. Awesome, right?

I told my roommate about it, and when I woke up on my birthday, she and my friend Janah had bought me this little fellow:
Isn't he precious?!

I really want to buy him a bow-tie, but I don't think they actually make those for frogs. For now, we'll just pretend.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Last month, a clerk asked me how old I was.

Eightee-,” I started and then paused. “Twenty. I mean, twenty.”

Needless to say, even after I reassured her that I really was a duogenarian, the clerk was skeptical.

And so was I. I turn twenty-one today, and just saying that is surreal. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around all that twenty-one means.Twenty-one years has taken me from Ambridge to Sewickley to Versailles to Wilmore. I've wanted to be a teacher, a lawyer, a judge, the first lady, a journalist, a politician, a novelist, a professor, and an editor. I've been to six different schools, and I've held four different jobs.

In twenty-one years, I've been through bad hairstyles and ridiculous outfits. My favorite color changed at least five times. I learned that sparkly jeans are not the pinnacle of high fashion and that neon green corduroy jackets should never be permitted to see the light of day. I got rid of my bangs and my braces. I had my first celebrity crush. I got a cell phone. I read Pride and Prejudice. I started writing poetry. I learned to drive. I went to prom.

In twenty-one years, I've grown taller (well, a little), wiser (or at least I hope I have), and happier (inexplicably so). I'm more able to say what I mean. My dreams are more specific, and my faith is less naive. I know now that I'm more sinful than I ever thought and that God is bigger than I ever thought.

Twenty-one. The years all flowed together when I was in the middle of them, but now as I look back, I see how much has changed. And there's this strange longing when I think about all the scenery and the people that used to define my days and that are now inaccessible.

Twenty-one years is a long time, but it's also not a very long time. Lord-willing, I'll have another sixty to eighty years on earth, and that's way longer than twenty-one.

Someday I'll look back on this girl:

the same way I look back on this girl:
And wonder, How did I go from there all the way to where I am now?