Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Isaiah & updates

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” – Isaiah 6:5-7

I started reading Isaiah last week on a whim. I had planned to read a New Testament book actually, but I felt drawn to Isaiah. And it’s quite revealing.

This particular Scripture has stuck with me since I read it a few days ago. Isaiah was in the presence of the Lord, and he immediately recognized his filth, his sin. He was a man on unclean lips, he said. And he mourned.

Then the angel comes to take away his sin so that Isaiah could worship and converse with God. But what struck me was how the angel did this: with a hot coal.


Frankly, if someone – even an angel – came at me with a hot coal, I would run for the hills. I would be terrified. Petrified. And then run far, far away.

I don’t know what Isaiah was thinking when all of this occurred; I don’t claim to have further insight on this than what the Bible says. However, here’s what happened afterward:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8

Cleansing ourselves of some sin or some bad habit is never easy. It’s a hard, lengthy process, and that’s what I read into this. It’s painful. There may be tears. There may be hard days. But it’s a process that, in order to worship God more fully, to fulfill His will…we’ve got to endure this hell on earth.

I heard Mark Driscoll say something I’ve heard before by other pastors but something that has stuck with me recently: “Earth is the closest some people will ever get to hell. And it’s also the closest some people will ever get to heaven.”

This is the closest I will ever get to hell. This is not a peaceful world, this is not an easy life. But I’m not here for my comfort, either.

I’m here to serve. I’m here to love. I’m not here to judge or to sit comfortably in my home or try to blend in with the crowd. I have a purpose in life, and I need to be doing it. I certainly don't serve and love all the time, as God, naturally, knows, but He also knows that I am trying.

And, if the cleansing process is hard, the way on the other side is more beautiful. I think of the trials I’ve gone through in life – some of them were quite difficult – and I think about the tears, the pain, and the crying out to God that occurred…and then I remember what came as a result of those trials:

Peace. Clarity. And, as Calvin’s (from Calvin and Hobbes) father would say, character.

And, as scary as it undoubtedly was to have a hot coal against Isaiah’s lips, perhaps the greater challenge came afterward:

“Here am I. Send me.”

We go through cleansing for a purpose. It’s not just for our benefit – it’s so we can be more like Christ to those among us.

Here am I. Send me.

-- Univ. No. 4 is still ridiculous and can’t find my transcripts that apparently are at the undergrad office. However, Super Duper University said my maiden name on the transcript is no problem.  Yea!

-- Speaking of Super Duper, I have my dissertation chair!!!

-- Aunt Betty will have scans done tomorrow to determine if the chemo and radiation are working. Please pray for her. Also, if you would like to send a card, I know she and our family would greatly appreciate it. She’s been sick for a long time now. E-mail me at if you would like her address.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The saga continues…

Good news
I faxed over my waiver to University Health Services, who immediately cleared me. Well, not technically immediately, because…

Bad news
…turns out I’m not in the system correctly. But that’s my fault from nine years ago (just wait).

So I’m not in the system as Penny Rogers. I’m also not in the system as my correct name. Despite the fact that a) I turned in my grad school application under my correct name and b) I have been married five and a half years, I am listed as being under my maiden name.

E-mail from me to admissions:
By the way, I just talked to health services, who got my immunization cleared, and she said I was in the system under Penny Oldlastname, which is my maiden name.

From admissions:
Please see 2010-11 Graduate Catalog page 26:
A student who wishes to change a name for any reason must present an original Social Security card bearing the desired name, in addition to completing a “Name Change” form, to the Registrar’s Office.  Copies are not acceptable.

From me:
I don't understand, though -- I sent in my application as Penny Newlastname. That's my name. I dropped Oldlastname six years ago when I got married.

From admissions:
If you ever applied, sent a score, attended, etc. in the system some way, it will stay that way until officially changed as indicated on previous e-mail.  That is a Registrar Office requirement.

Nine years ago, when I was a senior in high school, I applied to three universities – my alma mater, a private university, and this university – Univ. No. 4. Due to that application nine years ago and despite the fact that I sent in my application under my married name, they cannot correct this change.

Are. You. KIDDING??!!

What’s really funny is all the trouble everyone seems to have in finding me in the system. The health services office had issues…admissions has issues…the cashier can never find my application payment…undergraduate admissions has issues (yep, they’re involved, too, go figure)…Maybe, just maybe, if they had put me in under the name I filed in my March 2011 application fee, we wouldn’t have all this trouble.

That’s just my two cents, though.

Monday, March 28, 2011

No, I am NOT happy about that…

...and, yes, I realize that’s technically a double negative. Deal with it.

When I FINALLY end up graduating with my Ph.D., I will have attended not one…not two…not even three…but FOUR schools. One for my undergrad (in-state), one for master’s (in-state), one for Ph.D. (out of state), and two for transfer credits for in-state tuition (the one I got my master’s at and another in-state school).

Four schools.

For my undergraduate degree, yes, I had to show proof that I had a tetanus shot and the MMR shot. And I remember hating both. I don’t do needles. It’s a phobia, and it’s one that I’m not planning on getting over any time soon by immersion therapy (sorry, hubby). But I had to go to college, and, to go to college, I had to have two shots.

None of this proof of needle-poking was needed for my master’s. Nor my Ph.D.

HOWEVER, I have one dang class to take at University No. 4 this summer. And THEY require MMR, tetanus, AND some other shot that I can't remember (Does it really even matter what it is? It’s a needle poking me). AND, just to make things so much more swell, turns out, my undergrad health services department tells me that my tetanus shot is out of date. I haven’t been out of high school 10 years. How the heck is that thing out of date?

So, yes, I did send the following e-mail to University No. 4 graduate admission representative:

“Last question -- hopefully!! I noticed that it had something about health immunization forms. I am going to take one online class. Do I still need to meet those requirements?”

I don’t think she’s going to cut me any slack due to a previous smart aleck e-mail I sent last week. Here’s the problem: I turned in my forms to attend Univ. 4 and received an e-mail saying they had not received my transcripts, my application fee, nor my health immunization form (shocker on that last one…). To which I showed her the e-mails saying that Univ. 4 HAD received the information. She responded something about they had no transcripts under the name of Penny Rogers. Well, no kidding, as Rogers is not my last name. And I said something similar to that in my e-mail.

Notice that my last e-mail about the shots, though, was very friendly… =D

Monday, March 21, 2011

One down, three to go

My “trial run” for this week’s regional conference presentation went excellent. No, it was better than that. It was LEGEND – wait for it, and, yes, I’m still on this kick – DARY.

Me and my co-conspirators, I mean, co-authors =)
I was pleasantly surprised Friday morning by my two other co-writers for our project, which dealt with how mass communication/journalism students view social media and multimedia in relation to their careers and education. Yeah, riveting stuff.

Two of my professors actually attended the presentation, and Dr. S, who oversaw the project, actually came up to me afterward and said, “Oh, Penny, you did so good!” She also sent me an e-mail and commented via Facebook with similar praises. Big head? No, I don’t have one; why do you ask? ;)

Since what I presented at Super Duper University was basically half of what I’m presenting at Little Rock later this week, I was thrilled that it went so well. Hopefully it’ll go just as well at this regional conference.

My main professor, me, and other Ph.D. mass com students at the symposium luncheon
In more fun-related news, several friends and I were in Baton Rouge this weekend for this lovely lady’s lingerie shower. The shower itself was pretty stinking fantastic, and we also attended the St. Patty’s Day parade that morning. Who knew that B.R. has Mardi Gras No. 2?

No, I do not have a tutu on...but I wanted one, lol!!

We got beads!!

Happy Monday to you all!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A St. Patty's Day Celebration -- A random assortment of quotes

The first one is in honor of this holiday:
Co-worker: "I have green on even when I'm naked."
Question: Did Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow?
Student: Yes. (As she hands in her paper, she tells me, “He always does.”)
(Not this year…That’s why you’ve got to watch the news, kids. It changes every day…)

Question: Did our college’s women’s basketball team win or lose Saturday’s game?
Student: Yes.

Student, discussing whether or not a professor was gay: “Maybe he likes the rainbow, but he stays away from the rainbow.”

“I love your hair! It looks like a caramel waterfall.”

Student: “It’s okay if I miss a Spanish lecture. I’ll just watch ‘Dora the Explorer’ before the next class and catch up.”

Same student: “I order in Spanish at the Mexican restaurants. Numero uno, por favor. Uno margarita. Adios, amigos.”

Me: “I gotta say, this paper was really impressive.”
Student: “Really?”
Me: “Yeah. Impressively bad.”

Student: “Well, engineering is similar to information technology, right? They both work at a computer.”
Me: “So do you, but that doesn’t make you an engineer.”

“So if I walk into the office and scream, ‘Go to Hades,’ you think that would be burning a bridge?”

“Are you having dinner with me?”
“Great!  I haven't decided what we're having yet, but you'll like it. Or at least pretend you do.”

Student 1: “What is Joe Biden the Speaker of?”
Student 2: “House of Representatives?”
Student 1: “No, it’s the other one.”
Student 2: “What other one?”
(proceeds to give the following answers as to what “the other one” is.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


My new iPad2. Even though my husband probably loves it more than I do. =)

Early morning walks and late evening runs. Not necessarily on the same day.

PJ’s Coffee. Yum….

Speaking of coffee, the new Keurig coffee maker my husband bought me as a surprise!! He rocks my socks. It’s my new obsession.

Celebrating St. Patty’s Day and a close friend’s upcoming wedding in Baton Rouge.

Food that tastes better homemade than it does in restaurants.


My church family. I <3 them.

Knowing that my aunt is doing so much better now.

Blankets, my hubby, and my dog. Together.

Having IT guys at work who can help me with my IT homework.

Daylight in the evening. I never wake up to sunshine on work days anyway, so the time difference didn’t bother me in that aspect.

Running FAST (I ran four miles at a consistent 9:30 pace Monday. UPHILL.).

Being almost finished with Romans. That’s a deep book to get through.

Running for fun, not for race training.

Cuddling with my puppy in the morning while I drink coffee and read. It’s our morning ritual.

Strawberries. And pineapples.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Run through History 10k

I feel kind of guilty for not posting about this weekend’s 10k. Frankly, between being off for Mardi Gras, trying to get lecture notes together, working on two research projects (plus some side ones that Must. Get. Done.), and dealing with this IT project in which I’m sure my husband thought (thinks?) I lost my mind…yeah, it feels like it’s been longer than just a few days.

Kelsey and I ran the Run through History 10k in Vicksburg, Mississippi. If you’re not familiar with the area, let me warn you: there are hills (or small mountains, depending on your point of view). We knew this, and, thankfully, our home town is flooded with rolling hills, so we got ample practice.

My husband and dad also decided to walk the 5k route (it was specifically in the rules that you could only WALK the 5k; no running allowed). So we woke up before dawn last Saturday and drove to Vicksburg for this fun but problem-plagued race.

Problem No. 1: Injury
Our biggest challenge was Kelsey’s knee. Kelsey has had three (yes, THREE) ACL surgeries on her knees. And, yes, she ran a half-marathon. She’s completely hard core. However, after the half-marathon, she began having some serious knee pains. She was naturally and rightfully nervous about her knee, which started giving her trouble before we hit Mile 1. Yep, more than 5 to go. But she pushed through, and we ran the majority of the race with a time of 1:10:07, which is pretty awesome, considering…

Problem No. 2: Rain
You know, at times all you can say is, “At least it’s not raining cats and dogs.” That’s about as good as it got for us. It started raining around Mile 2 and stayed til a little after Mile 3. Sadly, I didn’t even notice when it stopped raining. I was drenched (oh, and yes, I did go shopping afterward. Got a ton of new stuff, haha!!). As long as it’s not cold, I don’t mind running in the rain, and it was a comfortable temperature. The only major problem the rain caused was making it hard for my contacts.

Problem 3: Registration
I am the anti-procrastinator. I really am. I hate putting stuff off to the last minute. HATE it. My idea of something being late is, for example, having a paper done three days before it’s due. That makes me nervous.

So I signed up for this March race in January. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the YMCA (who hosted the event) hosts lots of events – such as a race in January that was held five days after they received my check. So guess which race they signed me up for? Yep.

I talked with the race director and explained my situation, and he was very accommodating. He fixed my registration problem…or so I thought.

First off, on the day of the race, we had to sign my dad up. My dad, who completed this rainy walk in jeans because that’s what he walks in. Jeans. Even in the summer (and usually with Puddin’!). Thankfully, one of Dad’s co-workers signed him up about 10 minutes before we arrived, so we didn’t have to worry about him.

Unfortunately, no one could seem to find mine and Kyle's registration forms.

I was a bit frustrated by this point because I felt like we were late (it was 30 minutes before the race, see five graphs above), but, thankfully, the YMCA workers said it wasn’t a problem and handed me and Kyle a race shirt, bib number, and timing chip. In other words, they rock.

Overall, this was a great race. I actually LIKED the hills (to which Kelsey said I had a problem), and running through the Civil War Park was fun.

I actually don’t have any other races lined up right now. Shocking, isn’t it? I’m not sure what to do. I feel kind of at a loss, but it’s nice at the same time. Like, for instance, on Tuesday, I was supposed to run six miles. After 3, I was tired, I was cranky, and I felt like I was running behind (I wasn’t – I finished 3 miles in 31 mins), so I stopped. I just did 3. Why? Because I got to thinking, “What am I training for?”

However, don’t get deluded into thinking running is going away. I’m running five today, six tomorrow. Maybe some on Sunday.

I do like to run.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Back down south

Betty is back home!!! She arrived at her home late Saturday evening and will be there for two weeks. My mom, dad, and grandmother are heading to Texas this weekend to visit her, so keep them in your prayers as they make the long drive over there. Kyle and I are actually dog-sitting one of their dogs, Che-che, who is almost 17 years old, and needs some TLC -- and being left alone, haha!! (FYI, Che-che will turn 17 March 26, yea!) The other one, an active five-year-old mutt (that my dad is crazy about -- yes, this is the infamous Puddin'), is staying with a neighbor.

Betty heads back to Chicago in two weeks, March 21, and my mom's other sister is going there with her. She'll be up there until the 26th for scans and chemo, which will continue every three weeks (but, I believe, possibly not in Chicago after this round). We should know on this next trip how well the past weeks of chemo and radiation have gone. We believe it's helped, and we believe that God will provide a miracle for Betty and for our family.

And, to brighten up this post, pics of everyone (plus some) mentioned!!!

Betty, Charlie, and their dog, Elmo

Aunt J holding Joshua
Dad and his spoiled dog
Mom, me, Kyle, and my mother-in-law
My grandmother
Che-che and Vicki

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sorry, Charlie...

First, a follow-up to my half-marathon stories. We have official pics – AND videos!
I'm the one wearing pink shorts (and dark blue capris underneath), a gray shirt and a light blue undershirt (makes it easier to find me). Kelsey is wearing a gray shirt with a black undershirt and yellow shorts.

In the videos (there are two -- I'm obviously not in the marathon finish) we are at this time:

5k: We cross the finish line near the left side at 11 seconds.
Half-marathon: Right at 2 seconds. It's early on then.

Back to your not-so-regularly scheduled blog…

HaHA…Oh, Charlie…

I played this game on Facebook earlier this week: Name your favorite Charlie Sheen quote. Responses included…

“They picked a fight with a warlock.”

“Yeah, I'm on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen.”

“I was bangin' 7 gram rocks, cuz that's just how I roll!”

“You can't process me with a normal brain!”

“I closed my eyes and healed myself with my brain.”

“I’m tired of pretending I’m not special.”

“I have tiger’s blood and Adonis DNA.”

“Come Wednesday morning, they’re going to rename it Charlie Bros. and not Warner Bros.”

“Duh, winning!!”

“AA is a broken down fool who was a plagiarist.”

“(Overdosing) is for amateurs. Come on.”

“Drug tests don’t like. Scoreboards don’t lie.”

“Everybody’s like, ‘Did they expect it to be normal interview? Did they expect to be conventional and boring and everything else?’ No, man, we’re shaking the tree.”

“I’m grandiose, because I’m living a grandiose life.”

Thanks, Chuck. Your antics have entertained me and millions others all week.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras!

Oh, it’s that time of the year again…the time Tara hates with a passion, because of the ridiculous influx of traffic. The time I’m sure Misti does her best to head down south to spend time with family and catch some beads. The time of the year when Kelsey hates the north Louisiana school system for putting up decorations but not letting them out for the holiday.

Yes, my friends, Mardi Gras season is upon us.

Truth be told, I have never been to a “real” Mardi Gras parade. I’d like to go to a few down South, simply for the experience, but it’s never been in the cards apparently. I hear the Metairie parades are the ones to hit up on Monday and Tuesday. Maybe next year.

Because this year, see, I will probably be working on my floor.

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, my kitchen flooded. Again (I feel the need to add the “again” part as this seems to be a bi-annually occurrence at our house.). So, for the third (fourth? I lose track.) time, we will be putting down new floor.

HOWEVER. No more laminate flooring. We learned our lesson last time.

(HAHA! Side note: My husband is rolling his eyes, I’m sure, at this part, as I did little more than pick the flooring out last time. He, my dad, and several awesome friends spent the better part of three days laying laminate flooring down in our kitchen. It was a bigger job than we realized.)

So I’m getting ceramic tile floor in the kitchen, which I’m really excited about. The original “New Floor Day” was supposed to be Friday, but that is not going to work out, so (at publication date) it’s going down Monday. Happy Mardi Gras to me!!

Since it will be Mardi Gras, I have some ideas how I can help my dad and husband get into the holiday spirit while they (we?) put down the tile:

1. Throw beads at them as a reward when they put down a line of tile.

2. Buy a king cake. And maybe share it.

3. Brew the rest of PJ’s King Cake coffee. Yum….

4. Do this to the dog.

5.Green, gold, and purple grout? No, too much, even for me…

Any other suggestions?