Prayer

I attended a worship service this morning at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church. The sermon was on Colossians 1:15-20 entitled “The Colossal Christ.” What struck me more than the sermon was this excerpt on the cover. I hope it gets you thinking, asking questions, and praying.

“Prayer is not about getting what we want, or even what we oftentimes are sure is right for us and those around us. Prayer is about unleashing the frightening, unstable, uncontrollable power of God. (Jesus showed us how in Gethsemane, and tried to teach his disciples when they confronted the demon possessing that father’s son.)
Accept no substitutes. Kneel down and cry out the real thing. You gonna pray, pray. None of this namby-pamby, decently and in order, maybe God answers maybe God doesn’t, God answers in God’s own good time, God always answers, it’s just that sometimes the answer is no, God doesn’t give you what you want but what you need, this frozen-chosen, politically affirming, no hackles raising stuff.
You gonna pray, you get up in God’s face and call God out. You fire prayer out like the metaphysical explosive that it is and you let God take it from there.”

– Dr. Brian Blount, President, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

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Are You Ready To Jump?

image courtesy likeawarmcupofcoffee.com

How do you know what is right and good in your life? Thanks to great friends and an even greater God I have come to know Him better over the last year and to come to God in prayer. But it’s hard to find the answers all the time. How do you know when to jump in and throw your all into something? Whether it be a job, a travel adventure, or a new found love.

If a job stays open is it yours for the taking? Or is there a reason it wasn’t right at first?

If your faced with great generosity do you accept or humbly pass on the offer?

When do you throw up your hands and give it to God and how do you know when and how He responds?

As I encourage myself, I encourage you to talk to Him. He just might have some good insight on the plan he has for you and for me.

Are you ready to jump?

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Concrete Jungle

“These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York”

-Frank Sinatra

There is something about New York City that keeps me coming back. I am fortunate enough to go to New York City at least once a year since the time I was five. I grew up in Philadelphia so we were only a short train ride away to celebrate Christmas in The City. When I went to boarding school in Northeast Connecticut many of my friends lived in The City (that is what we call it, even before Whitney Port and MTV came along.) Last summer I was awarded the opportunity to work for CNN in their New York bureau. Not only was I able to work under the Senior U.N. Correspondent Richard Roth, but I was also able to experience The City as a resident (in an NYU dorm, I’ll admit,) rather than as a tourist.

There is an energy about The City that is contagious! There is always something new to see or do but if you ever get to go (and then subsequently come back,) you’ll always be able to find your old stomping grounds (i.e. Macy’s still has wooden escalators!) The people are alive in New York. They know how to work hard and play harder. There is a great quote by an unknown author that says “life is too short to be anything but happy.” I wouldn’t necessarily call New Yorkers happy but they definitely know that life is too short not to enjoy it. New York allows us to dream and to make dreams come true.

“New York… Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do, Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new,
the lights will inspire you, Let’s hear it for New York”

By Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys

I’ve seen New York in a different light. I was able to explore new neighborhoods (including my own, Greenwich Village, for the summer) and lay out in Washington Square Park on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Not only did I experience amazing neighborhoods and see beautiful old buildings (and mega-fashion stores) but I also learned about the people I interacted with on an every day basis. I became friends with a stylist from Michigan (who would have thought stylist and Michigan could go in the same sentence) and a designer from Alabama. I reconnected with old sorority sisters and friends from the past. I became friends with a pizza-maker (at my favorite pizza shop, Ben’s Pizzeria). Everyone I encountered that summer is unique. They each have quirks (cough cough hiding liquor in the ice chest at Ben’s) and they each brought a smile to my face.

Without the experiences I shared with new-found and old friends I would not be the person I am today. They inspired me to be who I want to be, do what I want to do and not let anyone stop me from pursuing my dreams. I got to catch up with a few friends currently living in NYC last weekend on a quick trip up North. They are making their dreams a reality working as a photographer, a designer for RL, and working at a magazine. I am lucky to have so many people in The City that I care about that keep me coming back to a city I love to be with people I care about.

“After all, seasons change. so do cities. people come into your life and people go. but it’s comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart. and if you’re very lucky, only a plane ride away.”-Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

Editor’s note: I’ve never liked the Yankees and I never will.

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Louisiana’s Best

The people I’ve met at the Louisiana Youth Seminar over the years truly are “Louisiana’s Best!” The Louisiana Youth Seminar is a leadership “camp” for high school juniors and seniors (and mature sophomores) held the third week of July each year at LSU in Baton Rouge. The mission of the Louisiana Youth Seminar is to “help our students to develop their core leadership skills such as effective communication, setting and achieving goals, team building, understanding and accepting others, developing self confidence, conducting effective meetings, and problem solving skills.”

LYS has served more than 8,000 youth since it’s founding in 1971. My mom, Pattie Morrison Kitchen, went to LYS as a delegate in 1973 and went on to serve as a junior counselor, counselor, and eventually on to the board of directors. Both of my older brothers, Crawford and Ben, attended LYS as a delegate and served on staff. My experience as a delegate at LYS was a unique experience. My mom was a current board member and both of my brothers were on staff. I was fortunate to have my family there as we celebrated Crawford’s five-year ceremony. Even more so, I was honored to join the staff of LYS in 2006 and I just completed my fifth year on staff, my sixth year at LYS.

At LYS, delegates don’t simply learn to be leaders. They learn to be themselves, to come out of their shells, and to treat others with utmost respect. LYS taught me so much more than that. It gave me a chance to show people who I was, what I loved, and how I could learn from others as they could learn from me. This blog is a small attempt to show my gratitude for a program that gave so much to me over the years.

I have to talk about the 2010 Louisiana Youth Seminar: We Believe in Leadership. The 2010 seminar was unlike any I had ever experienced. From the minute I stepped foot off the plane in Baton Rouge I knew this year was going to be different. Some would say there was something in the air. The 2010 staff were prime examples of leadership in action. We weren’t individuals- we were a team- to serve the delegates and to teach them about leadership while having a blast. A blast is what we had! We laughed, we cried, we danced, we sang, we cheered, we lost our voices, we hugged, and we laughed some more. It was the best week of my life.

But it wasn’t about us. LYS is about the delegates. They were enthusiastic from the moment staff enthusiastically greeted them at their cars until long after the last delegate left seminar. They made friends that quickly became family. They cheered their hearts out to the point of losing their voices. They danced. They laughed. They learned. They grew. The delegates were truly amazing. They kept traveling even when the walks turned into hikes. They kept cheering when they couldn’t speak anymore. They made friends to last a lifetime. And they learned how to truly be leaders.

Each staff member attended LYS as a delegate before joining staff. Staff members often recollect the moment he or she got “the call” and how grateful he or she is to be on staff. But what staff members often don’t realize is how grateful we are- as staff, alums, delegates, and parents- that they are a part of something great. Each year we have a five- year ceremony (as mentioned before) to honor those who have given five years of service to LYS- the first year as a delegate and then four years on staff. In 2010 we inducted four outstanding leaders to the Five-Year Club: Michael Amy, Callie Romero, CJ Thomas, and Afton Zaunbrecher.

As Head Table (Program Director, Assistant Program Directors, and Staff Assistants) we gave this video to the five-years to thank them for their service. It was a lot of fun making so I hope you enjoy it and get a glimpse into The Louisiana Youth Seminar.

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Support Our Troops

It’s been almost two months since my first encounter with a flight escorting a fallen soldier home and it has been a tough subject to write about, talk about, and think about.

It’s a tough subject not only because we are fighting on two fronts, McChrystal stepped down, and overall it is a controversial war, but also because it is often hard to watch a casket taken away or a wife morn the death of her husband.

Let me give you some background on this post. On June 9, 2010 I was waiting at my gate in Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport for my flight home to Denver. The gate attendant informed us a soldier would be escorting her fallen soldier husband home from the Middle East. We stood as she was escorted onto the plane and remained standing until the USO volunteers came off. I was already touched by that simple display of honor and respect to a fallen soldier and his wife, who is also serving our country. One passenger honored the woman soldier by asking the passengers to sing The Star Spangled Banner. As we arrived at DIA we were told to remain seated until we were told it was okay to de-plane. The woman was escorted onto the tarmac where other soldiers awaited her. We watched through the windows as the fallen soldier was taken off the plane and put into a car.

The flight from the moment we were asked to stand at DFW till the car door was closed and we were allowed to de-plane at DIA was intense and emotional. I have never been privileged to witness a ceremony like that. It got me thinking: what do we do to thank our trips or send them well wishes as they go off to fight for our freedom?

So this post, in part, is to educate you, and myself, on how we can show our support for the troops.

The biggest organization that celebrates, supports and honors U.S. troops is the USO (United Service Organizations.) The USO has locations in more than 130 different cities, including war zones. The USO makes care packages, organizes welcome homes and send-offs and offers many more programs to U.S. soldiers. If you want to volunteer with the USO, to put together care packages or welcome home troops, visit the locations page to contact your local USO. If you have other questions about volunteering visit their FAQ page.

At Buildasign.com you can create a 2 x 4 banner to welcome home troops. The banners are free, you only have to pay for shipping. If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and you’re interested in welcoming home troops please visit this page.

No matter if you support and agree with the war or not it is important to support the troops. Men and women who become soldiers become them for many different reasons. Some need a stable paycheck, others believe America is the best country to live in and want to fight for it, others are paying off jail time by serving in the military. Unless you know a soldier and his/her story personally, you’ll never fully know why a soldier is serving our country. So let us be grateful for the soldiers. They are putting their lives on the line every day to fight for our freedom, our country, and our honor.

To all American soldiers: thank you.

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OWN YOUR NAME

The Radio Television Digital News Association Annual Conference is kind of like a right of passage for SMU Journalism Seniors. Natalie, Alan, Mackenzie, Nicole, and I were ready to go Vegas, baby! Not only because we wanted to experience the shows but we truly were excited to network, make friends, make memories, and learn a ton while we were at it.

A great thing about the RTDNA conference is the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life that are in the media business in some form or another. They are presenters at sessions, fellow participants in a session, and simply other conference goers at RTDNA (or NAB since NAB hosts RTDNA each year.)

On one of our last nights in town we met up with our friend Chris Jarosz, a performer for Cirque de Soleil’s Viva Elvis. Viva Elvis is simply amazing, I recommend anyone and everyone to see it if and when they come to Vegas. Viva Elvis is in the brand new Aria at City Center. We met for a drink but soon after Chris had to go home. He still had four more performances that week and he was starting to feel sick.

The whole point of the introduction to Chris and the Aria is what happened next. Well really it leads to the man we met next. We’ll call him Mr. San Francisco. Mr. San Fran grabbed a seat at the bar soon after Chris left. After making small chat we discovered he was a fellow NAB convention goer. We talked for a while over a bottle of champagne (thank you again Mr. San Fran.) The conversation covered the gamut: social media, websites, the convention, school, journalism, ethics, etc. The snippet that stuck with me the most was our discussion on websites.

Three words Mr. San Fran repeated to us: “own your name, own your name, own your name.” What he means is that everyone should go online (to godaddy.com or another site) and buy your name as a domain. Mr. San Fran stressed it so much he went as far as to threaten me. He said that if I didn’t purchase my domain name by Friday (it was Monday night) that he would buy my name and would only sell it to me for $2000. Two thousand dollars?? Are you kidding me?! He was serious and so was I.

In between RTDNA sessions I logged onto Godaddy.com on Safari on my Iphone and purchased my domain name. You might ask why I didn’t use my Macbook where I could have read the font easier or typed easier. Not only was I a little nervous he was actually going to buy my domain but I also hadn’t paid the $13.95 a day for internet in the hotel. Thus my Iphone became the tool of choice.

Owning a domain name requires a bit more than simply paying the $8.95 a year or whatever it may be for the name. It requires making choices (dot-com, dot-net, etc.) as well as the option of paying more to protect your contact information, pay for someone to build your site, and many other choices.

This blog is, in part, to notify you that I not only officially own my domain name (which I purchased April 11) but it is also an active domain where I am able to promote the work I’ve done and hopefully show you what I can do.

I am more hopeful than ever for the future…the future of news, of my life, of the changing news landscape. It is an exciting time to be a journalist and I am adapting everyday and trying new things.

Get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

-Elisabeth

Side note: If you want to learn more about Chris Jarosz and his journey you can view a video produced by myself and written by Courtney O’Callaghan and Emily Kogan here. Chris’s piece begins around 5:25.

Other note: Once you purchase your domain name you might think you’re in the clear getting away with paying a measly $8.95 or so a year. If you already have a website (WordPress, Blogger, etc.) be prepared to pay extra each year to route your site to the new domain name. Happy ownership!

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Updated Production Page!

I’ve finally dug in and updated the Production page (formally rundowns). I’ve added in a blurb about the Daily Update as well as links to the videos from the shows.

Also, my about me page now includes CONTACT info. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments, and critiques!

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

-Elisabeth

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