I’ve been found out!!!

December 17, 2008 at 11:55 pm (Uncategorized)

I never realized until today that the last things you do each night and the first things you do in the morning say A LOT about a person… the last things I do are: reply to any messages, phone calls, emails, texts, etc. then I fall asleep every night next to my Bible and my BlackBerry because I love the Lord and I take work very seriously (as well as the ability for friends and family to reach me in the event of an emergency). Isn’t that funny? I woke up this morning and looked to the other side of my queen bed and thought how telling it was that I sleep with a Bible and a blackberry every night – haha. I’m almost too predictable. 

My morning routine consists of: pouring a glass of Very Vanilla soy milk and drinking it while I plug in my straightening iron, check my messages from the night and pick out clothes for work. I’m a creature of habit and I prefer to wake up early enough not to be rushed in the mornings.

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Wall Art

December 16, 2008 at 4:09 am (Uncategorized)

 

Any Oldie but a Goodie from the wall of fame!

This is tops on my “wall of fame”. Sarah, please don’t hurt me for posting it! 😉 

Sarah’s list of ‘100 Things… ‘ inspired me to start writing again. Also, I haven’t been able to get much sleep in last few days, and I HAVE to write to get my thoughts out. Mostly I write in a prayer journal, but I forget that I don’t see (or talk) to most of you guys as much as I would like – so maybe I’ll be better about keeping this up.

I’m being blog stalked I think, because they keep metrics about your sight, and people LOVE to view mine via Facebook. So, enjoy!?! My life is not that interesting.

Recently I’ve made my apartment more home-y, since I decided Waco is definitely where I will be for a while. Anyway, that requires furniture that doesn’t inflate (I lived on an air mattress for like 10 months – in all fairness, 2 of those months were in DC and I had a real bed). Anyway, I’m down to the last “little” thing. The wall I see every night before I go to sleep. It is just this giant (nothing here is really giant, but it seems that way when it is blank) empty space. It was just sort of blah, so I decided it needed something… so I opened all my boxes of memories: photos, ticket stubs, wedding invitations (’cause you know I have like 574305473025 gazillion – and no I will not be hanging any of the infamous bridesmaid’s dresses up!) and then I headed to IKEA… I got tons of frames in various sizes. When I say tons, I mean something in the ballpark of 45. Anyway, I painted them all black and filled them with these memories. The project started off being something to make me smile, or perhaps recall a friend I haven’t seen in a while (Sarah!), family I can’t live near, places I’ve traveled, things I’ve done (there is an FFA section – haha), but it turned into something much more… 

First, I should say that just going through the boxes was great. However, the real reward was looking at it all together… sure it is an amazing work of art, and you KNOW I took hours with a laser level and mapped out the perfect pattern on the wall, but what’s really amazing… is how full it made me feel. It made me, for the first time in a really long time, see how God has worked in my life. I have seen countless blessings from Him, and continue too, and honestly I never cease to be amazed by this part, but my God is the master of turning bad things into HUGE blessings. One of my favorite things about the Lord is that He always works things out in a manner that leaves no question about whose plan it really was. I didn’t just hang happy pictures… I even hung pictures of people who aren’t in my life (like my grandmother who I *think* is still alive, and know is very estranged) and events that may have been less than pleasant (the car accident that changed my life for many reasons, but was the first time I knew God, the day I became a believer). When I sat on my bed and stared at the wall for a while I realized something… this “collage” is the exact roadmap God has been looking at all along. My life feels so full! There were so many things I dreamed about as a child of a single mother, in a low income house, in rural Missouri, that I never thought would happen, and they did! I’ve been to Europe, I’ve seen 42 states, I’ve loved someone with all of my being, I’ve felt love, I’m made mistakes, I’ve done things right (even when it wasn’t easy), I’ve done things wrong (even when it would have been easy not to- silly humans), I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve made a bucket list (and started marking things off of it!), I’ve taught at a college level, I’ve hurt others, I’ve been hurt by others, I’ve learned to forgive (everyone but myself really), I’ve learned to let go, I’ve learned to hold on, I got a master’s degree, a job that I enjoy, friends I love, a family where we can enjoy each other, I’ve completed a triathlon (and I’m the least naturally athletic person you will ever meet), I’ve laughed until I’ve cried, I’ve witnessed some of the most important events in the lives of those I love, I’ve found the Lord, I’ve pulled away from the Lord, the Lord has always pulled me back, and perhaps the biggest accomplishment came yesterday… as I sat laughing (and maybe a tear or two hear and there) starring at those memories (CBC, random missions, Nibs- Sarah? AF days Emily? Cows! USDA. FFA. Cornell. Baylor. Europe (multiple times!). Montana. Buddy the dog. TexasLife. Honorary Kendrick.) I realized that for the first time in my life the Lord has brought me to a place I always thought I had been and never knew I hadn’t reached until I arrived… the place where I was finally comfortable in my own skin. In my identity in Christ.

It will always be my hope that God continues to lead me, and teach me to grow, but that He keeps me close enough (because He knows I can’t do it alone!) to always look back at the memories and see His hand prints throughout my life.

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Goodbye Washington

July 12, 2008 at 1:06 am (Uncategorized)

It is that time… time to close some chapters in my life… actually what feels like a lot at once…

I didn’t get out of “school mode” after I graduated because I had so many time constraints in DC. I will have evenings and weekends back now. For the first time in 7 years. 

I didn’t “love” my internship because I don’t see the value outside of fulfilling self interests and that is SO not my thing. HOWEVER, living in DC, learning to really be an economist (although I have a long way to go!), and the opportunities that arose are endless and amazing! I made a few good friends, ate a lot of good food, learned a lot about myself, and grew immeasurably closer to the Lord in these few months. In short, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world. I am sad it is over, not the job, but joyful to move forward. 

I’m one of the few people who likes the town I live in, and I’ll be excited to get back! It’s my home now. =)

The coming months hold exciting adventures: Liz’s wedding, Natalie’s wedding, Rebecca’s wedding, Joni’s baby (and new house), triathlons with Marsha, visiting old friends, then the holidays and probably a trip to Montana to see my Mom. I can’t imagine a better way to round out ’08. Oh and there is a Salsa & Margarita Festival in there, featuring a one Pat Green, as a bonus. Haha =)

So to re-cap: awesome experience, great personal growth, good introspection, promising future, happy Haley. Thanks for your emails, love, support, phone calls (most of which I never returned- I really hate the phone), encouragement, and prayers!!!

I’m keeping up the blog and pictures because I’m on the go so much and it is a good way to keep a “journal” of your own life.

~Haley~ =D

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The Feeling of Home

July 12, 2008 at 12:54 am (Uncategorized)

It is no secret that God communicates with each of us in different ways. For me, it is sometimes through my dreams, but always through a “peaceful” feeling. I don’t know how to describe it except to say (and this is a quote from The Preacher’s Wife) “it’s like going home, only to no home you’ve ever known before”. There have been times in my life when I’ve had the feeling often and others when it had been so long I almost forgot it existed. The last time I remember having this feeling was last fall…

I was sitting in my boss’ office (Poppa Bear, if you will) and I was telling him something that troubled me and he got a look on his face that I had never seen before. I’m a self blamer. Most of the time I assume if something is wrong it is my fault, I try to step back look at the situation see what I could have done differently. If I can fix it or change it I try and other times I know it’s not my place or my action that is the problem. Well, when he got this “look” I immediately thought “oh no, I did _(insert questionable action/scenerio here)_ wrong!” and I said to him ” (Poppa Bear), am I wrong? Did I misinterpret the situation? It was me wasn’t it?” and I could feel the tears rush to the back of my eyes and a knot in my throat. By this time he had moved from behind his desk to a chair by mine. He looked up troubled and said “No. No Haley, I am just in shock from what you told me. It is so, so, alarmingly self centered that I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t be able to see that” and that’s when it happened… the tears ran back inside, the knot cleared, and that peaceful feeling came… it’s like a warm, tingly, calm feeling… it’s like feeling an ocean breeze come over your soul. I love it. I dare say I live for it. I do live for it, because it is the feeling of the presence of the Lord for me, and I will gladly live for that. 

I had forgotten about this until Wednesday (my last day at the USDA) when an older gentleman I work with, and think very highly of, came to say good-bye. For some reason when he was talking to me, about nothing particularly moving to ones’ soul, I felt the rush all over again. I’m not sure if it was God’s way of communicating something about that person, their impact on my life, or perhaps to remind me that I could still feel that (I’ve been focusing solely on my relationship with Christ lately), but it was good. It made me think about that day in Poppa Bear’s office. It made me smile. It made me feel at peace…

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Walking

July 12, 2008 at 12:39 am (Uncategorized)

I love it. I could walk all day and all night- sometimes at what seem to be super human paces. I think walking is a natural human ability, and one most of us grasp at an early age. I am not kidding when I say people comment on how much I walk, and often the speed, all the time. I have never gotten tired of walking. Tired of running- YES! Tired of standing- YES! Tired of walking- NEVER! 

What does this have to do with anything you ask… well, imagine my surprise when I found out that a group of people (the Tigua Indians to be precise) have walked from California to Washington, DC. I love this idea. I am, obviously, not from this tribe or its lineage, so I’m not invited to do the walk. HOWEVER, you are crazy if you don’t think I will be emailing someone somewhere to see if I can participate next year… it’s for a good cause… environmental awareness… enjoy:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25484434/

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The 4th of July, DC style

July 12, 2008 at 12:33 am (Uncategorized)

IT WAS AWESOME. Let me back up- on the evening of the 3rd I walked the Mall with a friend who was in town visiting and it was amazing. The monuments are even more beautiful at night. This entire city is almost too much for a set of eyes. It is overwhelming! Anyway, lots of good pictures, I will post shortly!!! Probably tonight actually. 

So on the 4th – Mt Vernon in the morning. I have to pause to say this, I am not a history or language scholar. Math and Science and things of this nature, physics, engineering, computers, etc. these are things I am good at, the “humanities” not as much. There are a few things I have always wanted God to just bless me with (you know the magic kind of blessing where you just wake up and it is and you didn’t have to work for it??? haha) and two of them are 1. The soul (and thus writing abilities) of a poet and 2. a singing voice that didn’t make me (and anyone else) cringe. I am a terrible singer- really- I don’t ever sing in front of anyone because I don’t want them to have to hear it, but in my car or the shower, I can make some JOYFUL noise unto the Lord!!! =) 

Anyway, I like history, but it certainly hasn’t been an area that I have devoted any real study to. I read A LOT in museums, on tours, etc. I like to really get the feel of a place. So Mt. Vernon was wonderful for me because George Washington is so interesting… and there was a History Channel presentation on that morning while I was getting ready. It was like Founding Fathers 101 if you will. Anyway, Mt. Vernon- cool, George Washington- AWESOME.

So, it was hot outside that day and there was a lot of walking, which can only mean one thing: Disco Nap. So that’s what happened, Disco nap before the fireworks. BIG fireworks in the city, lots of sparkly things being shot behind monuments- beautiful!!! I would like to give better descriptions, but I’m sure this one of those cases where words can’t do it justice but a picture is worth a thousand of them…

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Riley Ross and James McEvoy

July 3, 2008 at 2:55 pm (Uncategorized)

I thoroughly enjoy reading Riley’s blog- not as much as I enjoy being his friend- but I enjoy it a lot. Recently Riley made a post about what turns up when you Google “Riley Ross”. This was probably enough to make me curious about my own name, but then… I saw Wanted, the new Angelina Jolie-Morgan Freeman- James (women drool over you) McEvoy movie… and when the main character Google’s his name (while contimplating how meaningless his life is) Google pops up the following message “No results found” and a blank screen. Funny stuff. We all have those days- especially at work.

Anyway, I Googled me… I get a 6th grader who wants to save trees, a Facebook person (which sucks because she has the EXACT SAME NAME and lives in Springfield, MO (essentially my home town) and I’m sure people think I’m her, I don’t know her but I don’t want to be confused with her either), and finally the 4th one down is me… and my blog! haha. Then there’s an article from the Baylor Lariat (also the real me) and then stuff no one cares about (because it’s not about me -haha).

However, both things made me start to think about a question that plagues us all “What is my purpose? What makes me “important” or “unimportant”? What in the heck am I doing here?” I think God has great plans for all of us. For some people your great plan is to save a nation, for others it is to raise godly children- all equally important in His eyes. I think the point is more about doing as much as you can for as long as you can… which is why I think your purpose (if you want to call it that) changes like the seasons (Eccl 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven”).

By nature I’m an encourager, it’s been more difficult the last few years (I’ve just been spiritually tired) but I’m getting back and with more fervency than before. My purpose is to help other people make their dreams come true or fulfill their purpose, God always puts you where you probably struggle to accept your place (like I’m in the background and I’m more of a foreground person- or so I think, but who am I to argue with God). I saw a Beth Moore study the other day and she pointed out something very interesting… the context: Beth is discussing when Mary (the mother) tells Jesus that they are out of wine…

Beth “So she goes to him and she says this “They have no more wine.” “They have no more wine.” Just need you to know, they’re out of wine. I love her approach and I’d like to suggest that you and I would be a lot better off if we try it. What she did not do is go, “Here are the following four ways you can meet my need that I can live with.” Aren’t you tempted to do that? When you need something from God, don’t you also want to tell him the ways that he could meet that need that you could live with and the ways that you cannot. “Lord, I don’t need you to do this — I need you to do this. This is the way I need you to answer this because I can’t live with this particular way of you meeting that need.” No, she didn’t say any of that. She didn’t tell him how to do his job, she just stated the need — she just stated the need. And the need was that there needed to be more where there was no more. I love that. I love that that was the context of the first miracle.”

It’s good stuff. I’m always tempted to do that, and by tempted I mean I do… I say “I need You to stop making me come to this job every day because it is making me unhappy and I have to bribe myself to get out of bed every morning because I’m so miserable there. Please make the internship end sooner” See that last part, that part where I told Jesus how to do His job? Funny huh? Well, only kind of. As long as we realize our human-ness and stop doing it.

So maybe today your prayer will be “Jesus, please make something wholesome appear when I Google my name”

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THE Bain of my Existence

July 3, 2008 at 2:02 pm (Work)

I would like to say it’s Satan, and on a better day it probably would be… HOWEVER, allow me to wallow in self pity and tell you about a woman I actually like, but currently she holds this title. She’s smart, tall, thin, cute, happy but not in an anooying way… actually we are sort of alike (not meant in a vain way)… but she does this thing where since she is smart but not super-smart, she assumes everyone else is at that level as well. So, she and I work together, OF COURSE. Like I said I like her, I really do, except for this whole assuming people aren’t that bright thing…

So she’s got a deadline for a project that my supervisor is also working on… so guess who gets to do all the grunt work for it… you guessed it “Haley the Intern” or “Haley the ___ worker” (it’s like madlibs and you can fill in your own word there). Anyway, my supervisor, Mike says this to me, “Lady1 (that’s her name for this story) doesn’t need all the information you put into the last spreadsheets (already sounds fun doesn’t it???) like contact information and data formats, just a few costs estimates from some counties in the given states.” I say yes and go to work… I’m given some states, lets say MI, MN, and WI, because that’s what they were. So I do all the research, blabbity blah and I send her this email…

“… Mike said you only needed some cost estimates so here they are for the counties in each state:

MI – $.36 per parcel

        $50

        $108.40, or $100 when tax exemption is proved

So she frantically emails me several NUMEROUS times to find out “what do  those numbers mean???” and I explain, using the EXACT SAME SENTENCE in the first email- literally copy/paste to the new one and she gets it. I know why too, because people do this all the time, they don’t READ their email anymore than they LISTEN to what you are saying… sure people hear you or they skim the email, but very few people LISTEN or READ. I think most people would chalk it up to the “ME Generation” but that’s not the case because she isn’t in this generation, and don’t fool yourselves, just because someone isn’t advanced in years doesn’t mean they are immature or self centered- it’s always a case by case basis.

Oh and I am venting because this isn’t the first or even second time she’s done this- she does it all the time. One or two, and you think “must be stress” or “maybe I wasn’t clear” but after several times it is pretty safe to assume she isn’t READING.

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The Bucket List

June 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s not just a movie (and a darn good one at that) it’s sort of a phenomenon these days… everyone is creating a list. I think it’s great. I think the message of the movie is great – which isn’t about a list at all but more about “find the joy in your life”. So in the spirit of “whimsical” economics (think light hearted pieces like Freakonomics, etc.) I’ve “signed on” to do a research project about bucket lists and joy… I want your help, so please do. It’s totally anonymous and all you have to do is tell me the following things (vie email haley.wester@gmail.com, get other people to send me theirs too):

1. your bucket list (list of things you want to do/see/etc before you “kick the bucket”)

2. Have you found the joy in your life? If so, what is it.

Thanks guys- I started officially collecting data today and I already have interesting answers… one guy actually told me “money” was the joy in his life and I said “well more power to you, at least your honest” 🙂

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Titanic

June 15, 2008 at 2:10 am (Uncategorized)

On Tuesday when the subway was running late- there was a 1 hour wait just to stand in the metro line- I decided to “wait” up the street at Borders for a while. This is my new favorite bookstore. Mostly because it is only one block from my office. I love bookstores. I love reading. I have read more in the month since I have been here than I have in ages. I don’t just like a particular type of book either, I like all books. That’s not true actually, nonfiction are ok, but I rarely read them. I like books that teach me something- about humans, their emotions, history, math, science, etc. Most of the books on my summer reading list were about God, math, or economics. On this particular day there was a large clearance section. I had over an hour to kill so I thought this would be a good time to dig through it all… and that’s where I found it. A large heavy beautiful book, you know the kind no one can ever afford so you just look at it in the store, Adventures in Ocean Exploration by Robert D. Ballard. You know, Bob Ballard?

Well for those of you who don’t, this is how I came to know him… I was in Gifted Education when I was growing up. I had the best teacher, and one of the most influential role models in my life, Mrs. H. She always took us to new, interesting, and sometimes strange places… imagine Ms. Frizzle (The Magic School Bus) but with the looks of Julia Roberts. She still hasn’t aged a day- inside or out. She really is one of the most beautiful human beings I have ever known. Anyway, in our neighboring metropolis of Springfield we had a Discovery Center Museum (which I recently read Brad Pitt donated $100,000 to “anonymously” but it didn’t stay a secret long- and yes it is his home town). Well, one day we had a field trip and the location du jour was this particular Discovery Center to watch, and possibly interact with (they let a few remote locations steer the robot for a few feet) The Jason Project (http://www.jason.org/Public/AboutUS/aboutUS.aspx?pos=6). Back then we were on Jason IV an exploration off the coast of Baja, California (which is also how I learned Baja existed), today they are on Jason XV. Anyway, Jason (named for the Greek explorer) was an unmanned, camera laden, tech-bot that could do and see everything! This was before the days of widespread internet, think more like Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego, and 5.25 floppy disks. Bob Ballard is the leader of these expeditions… he’s also the discoverer of the Titanic. At the end of my new book (I had to purchase it, it was marked down to $3.99) Bob looks back over his years of exploration and talks about what sticks with him… he recalls his final voyage to Titanic in 1986 (he’s been back since but we’ll get to that) as the pod began to float away and he could see the erie hull being left in the depths of the ocean. Bob always talks about how he viewed Titanic as a grave, only took a single piece to claim it as a “find” and left the remains untouched. 

This brings us to the title of today’s piece… so I got curious about all of his explorations (and the amazing pictures I was certain Google could help me find) because Bob has also seen the Lucitania and is working in the Black Sea right now on some ruins they hope/think are from “Noah’s” flood (I say “Noah” because it is actually God’s flood). As I’m reading his National Geographic site, I find an article titled “Why is Titanic Vanishing” (you can’t read the whole article online so I didn’t include the link- sorry!) So I think to myself, wait? what? hasn’t it been sitting there since 1912 and NOW it’s vanishing??? So I press on, I do more research and this is what I find… brace yourselves…

Bob Ballard: “It had been 19 years since I’d discovered Titanic as part of a French-American team. I’d come back to see how she’d changed. I knew that a private salvage company, RMS Titanic, Inc., had dived on her many times, legally removing thousands of objects from what I consider a sacred grave. Russian submarines had taken Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron and others to the wreck, also breaking no laws but reportedly colliding with the hull. Cruise ships had circled the site while RMS Titanic, Inc. tried to raise a 20-ton piece of the ship. A beer company had sponsored sweepstakes to watch the salvagers recover bottles of ale. And a New York couple had even plunked down onTitanic’s bow in a submersible to be married. It was all such a comedy—exactly what I had hoped would not happen. I’d urged others to treatTitanic’s remains with dignity, like that shown the battleship Arizona in Pearl Harbor. Instead they’d turned her into a freak show at the county fair.

Did you read the part where Cameron’s crew hit the hull? OR someone decided it was ok to get married there? Ok, so for the sake of Kate & Leo I’ll give you the fact that Cameron accidentally bumped it– BUT the other people knew what they were doing. Would you have gotten married in a cemetery?? No! Well this is no different. I certainly understand the curiosity surrounding the shipwrecks- I’m curious! I understand wanting to see it- I googled the pictures! I understand finding the artifacts and learning from them -those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it, right??? (Although saying “not even God Himself could sink it” might have done it in without an ice burg). What I don’t understand is the lack of respect, and here’s why…

Bob Ballard: “The debris field hit me hardest. Here in that ghostly expanse of seafloor 350 miles (560 kilometers) off Newfoundland, the people who died during the frigid early hours of April 15, 1912, spoke to me again. A case of champagne lay on the bottom, its bottles still corked—a reminder of Titanic’s role as a floating palace of the rich and powerful. The box holding the bottles had long ago disappeared, consumed by wood-eating mollusks. Next to them were tiles decorated with a red-and-white design, possibly from a public room. Suddenly my eye was drawn to a woman’s shoe, lying on its side. Nearby were three large combs and a pair of smaller shoes that may have belonged to a child. And beside them was a hand mirror. How did these objects find themselves together on the bottom? Did the larger shoe belong to a mother, who combed her daughter’s beautiful long hair? What did the girl’s face look like that may once have been reflected in this mirror? A short distance away were more shoes, a pair from a young girl, and another pair near what looked to me like a sailor’s black slicker. A pair of shoes cannot fall 12,500 feet (3,800 meters) by themselves and land like this. Their journey was together.

Those shoes belonged to humans, living persons who died in a horrible manner… thus making it a less than suitable wedding locale… so next time you or someone you know suggests getting married at a grave site, try to talk them out of it. 

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