Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Making a list...and checking it thrice

This past weekend as I communed with other Risley brethren for the Thanksgiving holiday, we started making our Christmas wish lists. Like usual, Dad didn't know what he wanted or needed. If you're like me, you don't like just passing out impersonal gift cards or cheap fishing lures that he probably won't use anyway. Instead, I like to search out great gifts for everyone because I'm convinced that even if they don't know what they want, there's something for everyone and that I should be able to find something worth writing home about.

A big part of this process, I think, is really paying attention to those you're shopping for. Think about their hobbies: is there something related to their hobby they could use that they maybe wouldn't buy themselves? Are they taking a family vacation next summer to somewhere they've never been? Why not let them get started on planning by giving them
a great guide book or handy carry-on? For the sports fan, look online early to find your loved one some tickets to see an upcoming game, or if you know they have tickets, try to see if you can upgrade them. Concert tickets are a hit for that friend of yours who's been dying to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, or why not offer to take your mom on a shopping trip for a weekend?

Still, even with my stellar ideas, you're bound to run into the inevitable of "but what do I get for ______?" Faced with my own dilemmas, I've found some fun websites willing to assist me in my giving woes. If you can't find anything on Google, eBay or Amazon, try out a couple more sites that encourage creativity. My favorites this year are Spilsbury, Gifts and Gadgets. I've found some semi-random things on here that are fun and sure to be one-of-a-kind gifts for some of my pals.

And, if all else fails, perhaps you'd be interested in buying a polar bear (at the discounted 20% off rate!) at Last Minute.

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rolling Stones - Angie

Here's the actual YouTube video, which I had to include. I think the hat and eyeliner really add a little something...

Rolling my Stones...

I can't explain it, but there's just something about the way Mick Jagger sings (and whispers) my name...
Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good pie!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Epiphany vs. "I'm a phony"

I've got it.

I know why I was struggling in my decision to go to either Japan or Portland: I'm not meant for either one. Well, at least for right now.

When I was 7-years-old, I saw some documentary on New York City and decided then that I wanted to live there. That decision later escalated to me wanting to travel everywhere (yes, everywhere) and to see and do and learn and experience all I could during my life. Once I learned what humanitarianism was, my next decision revolved around me wanting to do all the good I could during all the marvelous travels I'd planned. In college I majored in Journalism; all good journalists write about what they know and their own experiences. I planned on having plenty of them, so what better way to take advantage of my obsession with writing?

Now, three years past college, I've been trying to make decisions that would be leading me down different paths. Sure, teaching English to Japanese children or starting a good career in Journalism are great options for me, but I'm missing the crux of the matter: helping people. For the past four months I've been so keenly interested in helping Angie Risley that I've forgotten that I want to help those I can. Instead of looking to my own desires, why haven't I realized that I want to aid with something greater than myself? If I go through my whole life without doing that, what have I gained? What have I bettered? There's no use in me becoming a famous author or proficient linguist if I lose the essence of Christianity along the way.

Therefore, I've decided that neither Japan nor Portland will be in my immediate future. (I'd still love to do both opportunities, but I feel the need to make a bigger difference in the meantime.) Instead, I'm contemplating doing some work with under-privileged children, perhaps in Ghana, Africa. There is such a need there in orphanages and schools, and I am all too aware of how important it is that each child have a chance...or second chance, as it may be. Shouldn't I be using my experiences to lighten the loads of others? (An emphatic "Yes" is the answer.)

I'm excited. For the first time in months, I see a need for hope (coincidentally in a village called Hope) and I feel absolutely stricken with a desire to meet some needs. Shame on me for my blogging procrastination lately, but it's been a long road and I finally feel like I'm making some correct turns. Join me on my journey, won't you? I always need someone to man the radio.