Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Thorns of Life

Some days are really hard to get out of bed. You've worked hard all week long and when the weekend finally gets here, it almost seems impossible to round up enough energy to fully wake up. Today was one of those days. This week at work has been a bit tough, to say the least. I've learned so much over the past three months at my new job. I've been through so much-the joy of seeing my first byline, my first front page spread, the feeling of accomplishment after a week of tears working by's been an emotional roller coaster. 

This week I had some unexpected changes occur that basically gave me no time to think, only a call to action to get done what I knew had to be done for the sake of a community of readers who would be very disappointed without their newspapers. I'm proud to say I made it over another hurdle and once again, proved to myself that God will never give me more than I can handle. 

So although it was difficult to brush the sleep from my eyes this morning, I was blessed with a wonderful message at church about the "thorns" every present in each of our lives. So what exactly are thorns? Thorns can be anything, person, event, reoccurring thought that puts negativity into our minds and may pull us further away from God. 

When I took a moment to think about that, I realized I have several thorns in my life that are brought to the surface for me each and every day. Those thorns are perfectionism, worry, anxiety, and criticism. They all kind of walk hand in hand with each other to be honest. With a job as a journalist, I am constantly criticized; by my editor, by my co-workers, by the community. It always seems like those around me are waiting for the moment that I make a mistake to jump at the chance to tell me what I've done wrong or could have done better. Despite that, my biggest critic is actually myself. That's where the other thorns come into play. I constantly worry about what I'm writing, how I'm interviewing, or just how I do my job in general. I've caught myself saying, "You're just not good enough Elyssa," or "You could have done that better..why did you do that?" 

These kinds of doubts pull me further away from God and what I know he gave me the gift to do. I've been writing since before I even knew how. I would sit in the floor with my mother (or anyone that would listen for that matter), and tell them exactly what I wanted to say and have them write it for me. I wanted to document events such as USC football games (and I did), or just what I had felt at a particular time. When other children were playing outside, I was at my Little Tikes desk stapling and coloring a book that I had written. I know that this is where God wants me to be, and I couldn't be more thankful for this gift that he's given me. It opens me up to new worlds of confidence, expression, and just a niche that I can come to whenever I feel the urge or need to do so. 

That's what I was reminded of this morning..that what I sometimes consider a curse of trying to make everything "perfect," is actually a blessing of God using me to shine. I just have to let Him do it. The verses we read from this morning came from 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. I enjoyed The Message version the best which reads: 

"At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, 'My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.'" 

Although what may seem like a huge weakness to me, God uses each and every day to shine and to make me better person and to help be grow in my faith because of it. This week I'm going to make a conscience effort to appreciate this gift that God has given me and let him shine through my work. I sure am glad that I made the effort to get out of bed this morning :) 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Job Bliss's been 11 months since I used this thing...sooo much has changed since then.  I feel like a totally different person, with different wants, needs, and just aspirations in general. I'm not sure where to begin, but it may be best to just ramble forward. 

Although I of course didn't want to graduate from college, we all know I couldn't postpone the inevitable so 2 weeks after my last post, I indeed graduated from college, Magna Cum Laude (.3 away from Suma)..grrrr...but anyways, I really thought at that point that college was the best time of my life. I was happy and just wasn't ready to let that go.  Boy has God shown me just how wrong I was. College was great, and I'll always think about it fondly, but I've most definitely grown since that point. 

I began with a free lance job..I was told it would turn into something more, but 8 months into it, it was pretty obvious that that was all it would ever be.  In one "normal" weekend, I received news of 3 job openings which seemed to catch my attention.  Because I was comfortable and hating change as usual, I ignored them. 

Two of those said opportunities faded and just kind of got erased, but one in particular nagged me constantly and I always felt sick to my stomach when I thought about it.  An opening at the local newspaper was there and although that's always something I thought I wanted to do, I was "comfortable" with my current job..I enjoyed my freedom of making my own hours and coming/going as I pleased.  I was able to spend time with friends and family without the stress of planning around a typical work schedule.  Little did I know God was about to change my life forever.  

I kept receiving calls from family friends informing me of the newspaper job because everyone knew I needed something full-time, and that it was right in my field of study from college.  Finally after talking things through with my best friend, I decided to apply..I mean, what could it hurt? 

My resume received a call back, and from there I proceeded to drive an hour away to an interview which seemed like a lot of work for a job I wasn't even really sure I wanted, but I went anyways.  The worst thing that could happen was that I didn't get the job and that I would stay just where I was currently which I was comfortable with.  There goes that word again.."comfortable." I feel as though God hates that word, especially in our faith.  If we're comfortable, and never willing to take a risk, then how can we ever do what He wants us to do?  

I'm sure you can all see where this story seems to be heading. I was offered the newspaper reporter position.  I happily accepted the job. It was full-time, with a normal pay schedule (unlike my free lance work), and I felt like I had nothing to lose. I started this week, and boy is everything NOTHING like I expected.  My communications professors could tell me every hour in college that the journalism world was fast-paced and crazy, but until you actually live it like I am now, you have no idea how much that statement is correct.  

My job is not a normal 8:30-5 job. Some days I have to go in super early to meet a deadline, while other days I must stay hours after the other employees have left in order to make edits, write articles, etc. And that's just been my experience this week! My lunch hour is never planned (that is if I even have time for one) and I have no sort of schedule other than the council meetings I'm in charge of covering. 

I've been a planner all my life.  I like order.  I hate spontaneity. I want things just so, and I want them done ahead of time. God certainly has a sense of humor. He gave me the gift, and the passion to be a writer, a reporter, a journalist- basically, the one job that doesn't give me a scheduled ANYTHING. Ironic, huh? And even though I've already worked over my allotted hours for this week and it's Thursday, I could not be more happy.  Each night when I get home, exhausted, and sometimes grumpy, I still go to sleep with a smile on my face because tomorrow brings a whole new day of surprises and opportunities.  My days are never the same, and never will be. And I love that. I couldn't be happier.  I guess God was able to get through my thick skull after all.  Well, until then..this has been Elyssa Parnell, signing off ;) 

"Choose a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life." - Confucius   

(I couldn't agree more) :) 

Friday, April 20, 2012


I can't believe it's been almost 4 weeks since my last post - my apologies.  What's worse is that 2 weeks from tomorrow, I'll offcially be a college graduate.  Wow, that's scary.  It feels like only yesterday my parents were dropping me off at my dorm room, waving goodbye, tears in my mom's eyes. 

I'm not at all ready for graduation, although if I knew where my future was headed I think I might be a little more excited.  I can't lie to myself and say that I haven't been excited at some points recently.  I mean, it is exciting to know that all your hard work - the late nights, the stressful papers, and assignments, that it's all been worthwhile.  I just know that no amount of excitement can compare to the emptiness I already feel in my heart from leaving this place.  I've made some incredible friends, whom without, this journey would not have been near this exciting.  I have also had some wonderful experiences in my field of study. 

As I look around my dorm room, things slowly disappearing off the walls as my roommate and I prepare to go home for the summer, I can't help but get teary-eyed that I can never have this again.  I try not to get into the mode that no one understands how I feel, but a lot of times I really don't think they do.  I pray that God will soon show me His plans for me so that I can start to focus on my future so that my past doesn't become a painful memory of something I can't return to.  I 'd much rather look back on these days with fondness and smiles.

Sorry for the rambling..I'm sure I'll have more to say in 2 weeks, and I'll try to make it more organized :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Sands of Time

So, today I was told I don't use this blog very much anymore.  I apologize because that's not my intention at all.  I write constantly, but somtimes don't know the right moment to share things with "the world." But, this is for you. Hope you enjoy.  I wrote it a while back. 

The Sands of Time

Cross-legged on the floor,
Covered in mommy’s make-up;
“Do I look pretty mom?”
When will I grow up?

All dolled up with ribbons and curls,
Heading out on stage;
Lipstick on, tap shoes laced tightly,
The confidence of a young woman in a child’s body.

Ten and two – hands on the wheel,
Finally, a driver’s license.
Seeing freedom through a rear-view mirror;
A time all my own.

“As I call your name,
You may be presented with your diploma.”
The world ahead of me was calling,
College, just around the corner.

Leaving family life behind,
The comfortable life I’d always known.
New life and new friends,
A chance to find myself.

 Like sand, slipping through an hour glass-
My four years have come and gone,
Teaching me about life,
But as well as about myself.

As the open road of life
Lays in front of my eyes,
Memories of love, laughter, and friendships
Will forever be engrained on my heart.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Love, Me.

My dear friend,

This might be one of the most difficult things I've ever had to write.  As we approach thanksgiving, as well as the upcoming December month, I know a lot of hearts are continuing to break as we miss you from our lives; However, although brief, I'm thankful for the time that I did get to spend with you.  You were one of my first crushes...the "bad boy" if you will..we were nothing alike, yet I "worshiped" you from afar.  I'm not sure how many people I've ever admitted that to.  Although we were very different, you were someone I could talk to, could share experiences with, laugh with.  We grew apart some as we grew older, our families did as well; I always regretted that.  We were just different, but somehow the two of us managed to keep in touch.  Two summers ago, the last time I saw you, I can still remember the conversations we had together and I probably always will.  I'm thankful that although our families all miss your presence sometimes too much to bear, that we have all reconnected and are able to strengthen our "family bond" once again.  Your presence is always there, I can always feel you near.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate every sign and blessing you have sent my way.  I pray to you that you still continue to send them to myself and as well as those who truly need them.  I ask you to keep an eye on all of us here and to keep us sane until we can finally see you again.  I love you so much.. <3

Love always,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I'm not big on change, never have been.  My mother will back me up on this.  I don't like any type of change really, it's just not something I handle well at all.  That's probably why this year, my senior year of college, has been so terribly difficult for me.  When I can't really handle the seasons changing, the time changing (because I'm blind), and small issues like that, how can I be expected to handle a huge change in my life such as graduating from college, in say, oh, 6 months? 

Lately we've had even bigger changes in our small college community.  Our president, that we haven't even had more than a year and a half has resigned.  He shook my hand and hugged me at our awards service, then I find out the very same afternoon that he's resigned?  Somethings not right.  Some say they're happy with his absence, but I can't say I agree.  He always spoke to students on campus, asked us our opinions, and genuinely seemed to care about what we wanted to see happen within our small community of students and faculty.  I've also been told it's not important per say for me to personally know the person handing me my college diploma, but I disagree.  In a small community such as this, I find it's very important to have a personal relationship with the "higher-ups," so in an effort to try to be positive about the situation, I plan on getting to know our "acting" president, because it's highly doubtful our college will see a new president within the next 6 months.  Today I was finally given closure on the issue when someone finally decided to tell me a little more of the truth when it came to everything that happened.  I respect that, because all of us here are adults and should be treated as such when it comes to the place we spend the majority of our time. 

Walking back from class today, as I'm headed to my room, I hear the usual chimes in the distance that play on the hour for our campus.  Whether we have a president now or not, whether or not I'm here in 6 months, none of those things will effect the bells significance to our community.  The chimes will play on, as should I. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Slipping Through My Fingers..

First of all, I know before even writing this that I'll probably be crying before it's finished.  I got the title from this blog from a song from "Mamma Mia," Which coincidentally I watched twice last week.  The whole movie is amazing, and not just because I love musicals.  I don't believe there's a song that I don't like in that movie.  Anyways, I'm getting off topic.  There's a song that applies particularly to my life right now, and some of the lyrics go as follows:

"Slipping through my fingers all the time

I try to capture every minute

The feeling in it"

Although this is referring to marriage, it still applies to me right now.  I started off my senior year of college with high expectations.  I wanted another possible internship, I wanted to head the school paper, I wanted to be more productive, I wanted to make each and every moment count.  So far, I've had no luck finding a paid internship (which I desperately need for it to be paid).  I'm not the head of the paper, but I am one of the senior correspondents which only one other person, aside from myself, can say.  I haven't been very productive and as for making each moment count...?  Well, I should have known this would happen.  Instead of relishing in the fact that I should be making this the year of my life, I've become melancholy.  Example..."This is my last (fill in blank)."  It's really depressing.  I'm trying so hard not to let it get me down, but the feeling just keeps returning.  I'm the oldest of my group of friends, so unfortunately I'm having to share these feelings alone.  They keep telling me I should be thrilled to finally be done with school and to do what I want, but I don't feel that way.  These past 3 years (not counting my freshman year) have been amazing.  I've made such great friendships, and learned so much about myself, although some things I could have lived without knowing.  I just pray for the guidance to help me make the best of this before it's over...considering one semester has almost already come & gone.  Anybody got a tissue?