Friday, April 11, 2014

I Don't Really Know How to Be an Adult Yet

Seriously, there are so many things about being an adult that I just don't know how to deal with or do yet, or that my school has basically handled for me in the time I've been a student here. Sometimes I wonder if people still feel like they're not sure about adulthood when they're like 35, or if eventually you figure out how to deal with everything you have to deal with. For example, I am not really sure how to "do my taxes" because I have never made enough money to have to file taxes. I am also planning my move to the city right now, and I'm having to think about all kinds of things like getting renter's insurance, what kinds of questions I need to ask potential landlords, whether to use a moving company, and so on. (One thing is for certain, I am NOT driving a U-Haul up there by myself! That's just asking for trouble).

I also want to buy a house within three years or so, and I have no idea how to go about doing that either. Then there's things like getting started with a new health insurance plan, setting up retirement savings, establishing residency in this state (including getting a new driver's license and license plate), becoming a member of the state bar, etc., that all need to be handled in the next few months. I need to do financial aid exit counseling and decide whether to consolidate my student loans and I am, of course, in the process of planning a major trip abroad. And just in general, there is a lot going on in this last month of law school and in the summer to come. It's all exciting changes, but I'll freely admit that I have no idea how to handle many of these things and am just taking it as it comes.

It will be a big shift from being a student to being a "young professional," but I'm happy about what I'm doing and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Haiti Update!

Meagan and I are SO excited about going to Haiti with Mission of Hope! We leave on May 14th, four days after my graduation, and will return on the 21st, just in time for my bar exam prep course to begin. I want to do this trip for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is because I kind of feel like my time in law school has been all about ME and MY goals and what I want to do with MY life, and I'm ready to give back and focus on everyone but me for a little while. I don't want to make law school sound like a totally self-absorbed place or anything, because it's not, and it's of course not like I haven't been caring for others during my time here, but I think you may understand what I mean. I feel like most people in graduate or professional school can relate--you're there in the first place to pursue your own goals and build your career and the life you want, and at least in law school, there's the added competition to get good grades, which come at the expense of your classmates' grades because of the mandatory grading curve . . . you can't all win. And when one person does well in something or takes an opportunity, in general, that's one less opportunity for everybody else. This is just the nature of the beast and the way it is. And everything is always geared toward what YOU want with your life and where YOU eventually want to live and what type of law YOU want to practice, and being totally immersed for three years in one goal to better yourself can make you feel self-absorbed after awhile, even if you are not.

So that's the environment I have been in since 2011, and I am so glad to have very nearly achieved my goal of graduation from law school, but what better way to celebrate that than to step outside myself for a little while and give something back? Because before I know it, I will be immersed in preparing for the bar exam and then in working long hours as a brand-new attorney, and it will once again be all too easy to forget the world around me that needs Jesus and needs hope and to only focus on me, since this is everyone's natural tendency. So this is how I want to celebrate this milestone, because the country of Haiti needs the love of Jesus, and as I have been blessed, I want to bless others.

Meagan and I had a very slow start to our fundraising efforts for the trip. We created a website and told our friends about it, but several weeks went by before any donations came in, and we were really uncertain about whether God was really leading us to go. In the past couple of weeks, we have been able to raise just more than half of what we need, which was great but still left both of us nervous about where to scrape up the other $500 apiece, plus money for incidental expenses and vaccinations and anti-malaria medications and so forth that we will need (especially because I am in school and do not earn much money right now). But yesterday--in just one day--we received a very unexpected and very generous gift of $1,000, plus $200 from another donor, and we are now basically fully funded for the trip itself and only need a few small funds to cover a couple of the expenses I mentioned above. This was such a huge blessing, and I couldn't believe it when I found out. God is so good! And now I am sure that we are supposed to go, even though I have sensed for a long time that we are, but have also known that I can't be irresponsible financially and go even if we have a major shortfall of funding. Well, we certainly do not come up short anymore!

More updates to come soon as we continue to prepare for the trip!



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Getting It Done

As of today, I am officially done with law school Moot Court!! And with my advanced legal writing program!! That warrants a blog post all by itself. I am just done, done, done and am so excited about it. And over the next few weeks, I will be getting more and more things just DONE--final papers, my last exam ever, my final trial, final litigation drafting projects, and, of course, law school as a whole. I have worked my butt off for three years and am so ready to have that diploma in hand, y'all, but I know that time will be here soon enough! (I have been in school for twenty years--TWENTY. I know I will probably be having an identity crisis when I am done--as in, how do I live my life not as a student but as a professional instead--but that's part of why I'm waiting for May 10th with bated breath.)

I took a nice little nap at 8pm and woke up at 10:30pm because I knew I was going to need to be editing manuscripts for most of the night, and now thankfully, I'm wide awake for the task at hand, though I can't say I'm particularly motivated. But I am about to finish one project that has been on my desk for a month and a half, and I cannot wait to turn it in tomorrow and get that off my plate too, once and for all.

I have so much more that I want to write about and blog posts I have in mind, but I guess you'll just have to wait until I actually have time to write them. :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

In the Home Stretch!

This is one of my very last Mondays of law school! We only have four weeks of class left before graduation, so we are officially in the home stretch. Oh, and only one more Moot Court practice EVER. Can you tell I'm excited? I'm just burned out on it--we've been doing it since November and I am so ready to be done. But my school will send our team of 3 to compete next week in Chicago, so we are all still meeting regularly to help them get ready.

I am also about to be done with my writing portfolio (due tomorrow at 3pm), which means I'm about to be done entirely with my advanced legal writing program! (Also very exciting). I will then have one paper, one exam, a divorce mediation "notebook," and a few advanced litigation drafting assignments left to do. I still have about 30 law review assignments to do, and our work on that is expected to extend far past graduation, but I'm doing those assignments literally at a rate of one per day right now just to get them to publication faster and minimize the work we have to do after graduation, because I will need to be studying a bare minimum of 55-60 hours a week for the bar exam all summer as it is. Anyway, I am so ready to be done with school. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely loved my time here and would say without hesitation that law school has been a great experience for me, but I am just ready to wrap it up and see the reward for my efforts already! Also, between weddings, admissions recruiting events, client counseling practices, travel, Moot Court elections, and so forth, I haven't been able to take a Saturday or Sunday off in weeks, so I've been going for at least three weeks without a single real day off. This past Saturday night was my first evening to even be at home in almost two weeks, so I'm seriously craving a couple days where I have nothing to do and nowhere to be. But I am going to visit my parents for a long weekend in NC this weekend, and I am planning to leave all my books and manuscripts and other stuff here and just not even worry about it from Thursday night to Monday morning, because I just need to get away, and nothing is going to fall to pieces if I am not here working for three and a half days.

In other news, I've been making smoothies obsessively over the past few days with all kinds of fruit, yogurt, and vegetables and am considering going on a smoothie detox/ juice fast for a couple of days. My favorite combinations so far:
1) frozen raspberries, flax, fresh pineapple, banana, a squeeze of real maple syrup (which I happened to have on hand for another recipe I was trying), Greek yogurt, and milk--this was delicious and every bit as good as any smoothie you'd pay $5 for at a coffee shop.
2) bananas, natural peanut butter, and milk--at first, I put Greek yogurt in this one too, but I realized that Greek yogurt and peanut butter don't taste good to me when they are together. So I'd just go with the peanut butter next time.
3) frozen raspberries, a Clementine orange, fresh mint, lots of lettuce, a squeeze of lemon and lime juice, honey, and water--this one has a very intense flavor but is also very refreshing. If you put way too much lemon juice in at first like I did, you can fix it by adding a bit more honey. This is also SO nutritious and proved to be a good option to drink after my workout today.

I also had a huge, unexplainable craving for buffalo chicken dip today, so I whipped up a single-serving version of this recipe and it was so good. I also found salmon on sale and am planning to do maple-glazed salmon with brussel sprouts later this week based on a recipe in Women's Health (hence the maple syrup), so I'll have to let you know how that turns out.

Anyway, I'm off to go wash my dishes and clean my apartment a little and work on law review and then I am putting on my pajamas, watching a movie, and going to BED. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Procrastination At Its Finest

I KNOW that I'm supposed to be working on editing about 200 pages of law review stuff right now because it's "due tomorrow." Well actually, it was kind of due last week, but that's beside the point . . . and if I'm not working on that, I should be working on at least one of the following activities:

  • GOING TO THE GYM (this is kind of a dire need right now. The half-marathon is less than a month away).
  • preparing to teach my family law class on Thursday on my research paper topic. Each student has to teach one class this semester on the subject they've spent the semester researching, so that's what this is about. No big deal. Just, you know, teaching my first law school class. 
  • preparing opening statements for trial practice tomorrow night
  • sending fundraising letters for Haiti
  • sending graduation announcements to family and friends
  • working on my family law paper
  • working on my writing portfolio
  • catching up on emails
  • cleaning the bathroom and doing dishes and laundry and getting groceries
But no, I'm not doing any of that, I'm just going to do a blog post with the rest of my pictures from Oklahoma instead . . . 

Here's a beautiful Oklahoma sunrise: 


On Sunday we went to brunch at this little place called Syrup. They donate 100% of the profits to humanitarian projects in Africa and other parts of the world. Eating pancakes for a good cause? Now that's something I can get behind! 



I promise I did not eat ALL of the food pictured below!




But seriously, those pancakes were GOOD. I hope y'all don't judge me for eating them with bacon and chocolate chips--whatever, it was spring break, and I normally eat pretty healthy. I feel like I'm becoming a connoisseur of some of the best hole-in-the-wall brunch places, and this was one of them.  


We also went over to see the Oklahoma City bombing memorial. A very somber place indeed, but the memorial was also very well-designed and hopefully offers some comfort and encouragement to those who lost loved ones that day. 



These are some tiles painted by elementary school children after the attacks. This one, with the broken heart superimposed on the state of Oklahoma, is haunting.



And a nice view of downtown Oklahoma City: 


And in other exciting news for today, I officially accepted the job offer this morning! And Reason #1,896 why I love this law firm so much: I've received emails all day long from everyone from the firm's office manager to the young associates to the partners telling me how excited they are to work with me and how they want to answer any questions I have about anything and how I should tell them next time I'm in town so we can have lunch together and so they can help me decide on some good places to live. They are the BEST. (My favorite email from the office manager: "Lauren, I just heard the fantastic news!! We are so excited!") So, I'm so excited about that. I'm glad that it is all 100% official now, and I can just breathe and relax and enjoy the rest of 3L year.

And finally, I've wanted to share these two songs with you all for a long time but I keep forgetting to do it, so here they are:

Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes

Song of Moses by Aaron Keyes

I have been listening to Aaron Keyes in general, and especially these two songs, nonstop for the past two or three weeks. The lyrics are just so powerful and encouraging, and have spoken to the exact places I've been in my life in this month of March. My favorite line from the first song is this: "Even what the enemy means for evil, you turn it for our good." This could not BE more true, and I've seen it in my own life and I will testify to that all day long. It really is true that God takes bad things that happen in our lives and transforms them for His glory and our good, because He is so good. He is SO good. I hope you can experience this in your life too. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Updates from Oklahoma

This week has just been AMAZING all around! Catherine and I, plus Jessy our student coach/ 3L classmate and friend, are outside of Oklahoma City right now after having spent the weekend competing in the national client counseling competition. We're happy to have made it to semifinals and finished 5th in the nation out of 118 total teams who participated in this year's competition! We've also had wonderful news of success for our law school in several of the other moot court competitions that our classmates were competing in around the country this weekend, and to be honest with you, I could not be more proud of my school right now. This has been an amazing place to get a legal education, and I will be so proud to call myself an alumna of this school in just a few short weeks. 

So the competition went great, and we've had a lot of fun hanging out here in Oklahoma. Yesterday we had the afternoon free, so we went to an art museum, explored downtown, and went to this little hole-in-the-wall burger place called The Garage for dinner (delicious!) Then we went to one of the casinos on the Chickasaw reservation with strict rules that we were all only going to play a maximum of $10 and when it was gone, it was gone (we law students can't afford to get lured in and spend more than that . . . ) So I bet $1 on the slot machines, and I started winning, and kept playing my winnings, and winning more, and after an hour I had $21 and my friends made me cash it in and leave because they said (correctly, I'm sure) that if I kept trying to win more I was just going to lose it. The trick is to stop while you're ahead! So I was pretty pleased to be able to get $20 out of an evening of fun (made back the money I spent on dinner, that's for sure). Then we went back to the hotel, which has a really nice gym with volleyball courts and such, and played volleyball and basketball and Frisbee and then sat on the gym floor talking for a couple hours. We are now plotting to have a late-night capture the flag game on the football field with our classmates when we get back to school, because we were talking about how fun it was to just forget about law school and play games for a little while. We are also going to host a reunion get-together of our 1L section group, because we were all in section 1 and we had every class our first year with fellow section 1 folks, but we've not all been together since. The time runs short, and thinking about leaving the law school, all my friends, and the place I've lived for 2 1/2 years is very bittersweet. But I do anticipate staying there for the summer to study for the bar exam, and not moving until the beginning of August, so I have time. I have the best friends in the world, and I'll be sad to leave, but I know I'm moving to go on to bigger and better things, and I could not be more excited about what lies ahead. You know that quote that says something like, "There are better things that lie ahead than any we leave behind"? I feel like that's pretty true for life in general. The best is yet to come. I'm going to finally be an attorney in the big city, after being interested in practicing law since high school, and I am SO excited about it. 

Yes, the best really is yet to come. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Blog Post :)

I originally posted this last night but have decided that I need to remove a lot of the details for the sake of anonymity, but here's the gist!

I've been duly informed by my mother that my last blog post was just a little depressing and I need to write something happy . . . and I totally agree with that! I am so excited about what I get to write about tonight, readers. SO excited. I have waited for a long, long time to tell you all about this, because I had to wait until all the details were fully in place. I've made some cryptic and vague references to this situation in posts over the last few weeks, but haven't been able to share it outright.

I am praising the Lord right now because I just got my dream job!! I have waited SO long for this and worked SO hard for this (and that's exactly what that last blog post was really about). I have really struggled in law school to find good jobs in the summers, and have often struck out completely in that pursuit and been stuck in positions that either weren't related to my law degree at all or in positions with bosses who don't treat their staff with respect. And this is the first time in my life that a truly GOOD job has come through for me. Because I struggled all through college and law school to find good summer jobs and internships, and because in law school I never got the summer associate jobs at nice law firms where they take you out to lunch every day and pay you a very handsome salary. I've also experienced firsthand just how competitive the legal job market is, and all in all in my law school journey, I would guess that I've interviewed about 20 times for jobs that I didn't get. And that is a lot. And it was incredibly discouraging.

But then. Last fall, I wrote a lot in my journal about the kind of job I wanted to get. I wanted to do family law litigation in a small firm in the city I worked in last summer, I wanted to work with great people and to have at least some Christian coworkers, I wanted to be in court a lot, and perhaps most of all, I was hoping and praying that for once--for once--finding a permanent job could just fall into place and be EASY and not like pulling teeth and not full of disappointments and rejection letters. Because let me tell you, I was really tired of getting rejection letters! So anyway, I wrote and wrote on those pages of my journal about the kind of job I wanted, and I prayed and prayed about it too.

In late January, I submitted a resume to a wonderful law firm in the city with a very well-respected family law practice group. The firm has less than 20 attorneys (perfect size for me!) and their family law practice group is considered one of the best in the whole region. So I emailed them my resume and a letter of interest in joining the family law group, not really expecting to even hear anything back. But I did hear back--two hours later. They invited me to come up for an initial interview and lunch with two partners in the family law group. That night, I started researching the firm more online, and I realized that several of the firm's attorneys went to my undergrad . . . and I started realizing that probably played a big part in why they had gotten back to me so fast.

The first interview went so well, and the two partners were wonderful and friendly and put me at ease so much. I had such a good feeling about everyone and everything, and it didn't even feel like an interview because they were so nice, and we just talked and laughed for a couple hours over lunch. So they were wonderful and I had SUCH a great feeling about the firm, and I also loved everything I had learned about the practice group, the type of work, the lifestyle, the culture, and so forth. And it was the biggest breath of fresh air in the world to be in a law firm where people were kind, professional, polite, and respectful. I know this sounds so dramatic, but I think you'll know what I mean when I say my heart instantly ached to be a part of this firm. I just wanted it so badly. It was SO good for me to be around attorneys like those two partners I met with. They were so genuine, and talked to me about how they love their families and their churches and their community activities and so on. (Oh, and the church thing? I know that being highly involved in church is of course not dispositive of the issue of being Christian, but just based on that alone, my educated guess would be that at least 10 of the attorneys in this firm are Christian. Check that off the list too of things I really, really wanted in a job).

Then I went to Seattle for the Moot Court competition, and had a great time with my teammates up there but admittedly was distracted the entire time, wondering if I'd get good news back from the firm and daydreaming about how much I wanted to work there and how it was everything I wanted and would fulfill ALL the criteria I wrote down in my journal last fall--because I'd be doing family law, and in the courtroom all the time, and working with wonderful people, in the city I love. I got on the plane to fly back home on Monday morning after the trip, and I prayed about the job thing once more. I sensed very deeply that there would be a rejection letter waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home, even though I thought the interview had gone very well. I wasn't trying to be negative at all, but it was honestly very hard for me to expect anything else when that is how essentially every other interview I have had in law school, regardless of how well or poorly it's gone, has ended. I wanted to believe that this was the year that God would do a new thing, but oh, readers, it was hard to believe that. That's what I was also dealing with when I wrote that last post--it's the feeling of wanting to believe that THIS TIME it will be different and God will give you the thing that has become a very deep and heartfelt desire, but not having any basis for believing it will be different because it's always, always gone the same way before. But that morning on the plane from Seattle, I prayed about it one more time, and I instantly felt a deep, enveloping sense of peace come over me. I was truly overcome by peace, and I just knew that no matter what happened, it would be ok. I got back that night and checked my mail and there wasn't a letter. So I hadn't been rejected yet!

As it turns out, the week I got back from Seattle, I was invited for a callback interview after finding out that two people at my law school made calls to the firm on my behalf without me having to ask. So I had the callbacks this past Friday, and again, they went so well. I absolutely loved everyone I met, and they were all every bit as nice as the two attorneys I met in the first interview. At dinner, for example, we were acting like we had all known each other for years--laughing, joking around, recommending wines, and just having a good time. Normally I wouldn't let down my guard at all during an interview situation like that, but they put me so much at ease that I knew it was ok to just relax, laugh, and enjoy myself. And I fell in love with this law firm all that much more.

Then the waiting game began, and that's why this past weekend was tough. I knew that you don't get the answer right away, but I was driving myself crazy waiting for news, and it was like, "You need to call me NOW." The partner had told me they were having a shareholders' meeting on Tuesday and would probably have an answer for me after that. And sure enough, Tuesday night at about 6:30 pm, she called me and told me the firm would like to extend an offer to me! I could not be happier right now. God has had His hand in this SO much. This is what I've been waiting for. It is not an exaggeration to say that I have worked and waited for years for this opportunity, even though until about eight weeks ago, I didn't know what, exactly, I was working for, but only the type of job I wanted. But this is what I came to law school for, and it is exactly what I have wanted to do for so long.

I just can't get over how incredibly redemptive this whole thing is. This is one of those very rare moments where God gives you a bird's-eye view of your life and you can SEE why some things happened in the way that they did. If I hadn't been totally determined to go to my undergrad and nowhere else for college, I would never have had that strong alumni connection with several of the people at this firm. If I hadn't had the job I had last summer, even though it wasn't a pleasant experience, I wouldn't have acquired nearly enough practical experience in family law to get my resume noticed by this firm. If I hadn't had the job I had my 1L summer, one of those calls would never have been made on my behalf--because it was my supervisor that called for me and was able to vouch for my work ethic.

And on and on. I have seen God redeem those tough work experiences and all those rejection letters and all that waiting and turn it into something good. Something so, so good! Because like I said earlier, this is truly my dream job. God is just so good, y'all. He is so wonderfully good. He is truly able to do far more than anything we could ever ask or imagine, and like I wrote about a few weeks ago, THIS is the year of the Lord's favor and the year that God is doing a new thing in my life. A brand new thing. An offer instead of rejection, the opportunity I've worked for after a long, long wait, and the chance to do what I love in the city I love for the Lord I love. I'm pondering anew what the Almighty can do--and what He has already done. With God, all things are possible, and He is unstoppable. And it's worth the wait.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sovereign

Readers, I'm just going to be totally honest with you about my doubt and the fact that I am spiritually exhausted, because I am so tired of waiting on the Lord's timing. So, so tired of it. To be even more honest, I'm even tired of hearing about the Lord's timing and how perfect it is. I know that probably sounds terrible but it's totally true in my life right now and I'm guessing it's also true for some of you, so I'm going to write about it anyway. (Saying something like that will probably earn me a spot in the Bad Christian Club, but whatever--we've all been there at one time or another).

Do you ever get to a point with a situation where you are just DONE waiting on the Lord and all you want to do is just take matters into your own hands? I have waited and waited and waited, and waiting is the most exhausting thing ever. I read an article once where someone asked why that was the case--because doesn't Scripture clearly say that those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, not wait themselves into total exhaustion? So where is the disconnect? The writer speculated that waiting is usually an exhausting endeavor because we think we're waiting on the Lord, but what we're really waiting on is for our need or desire to get fulfilled, whatever it may be. We're not waiting on God, we're waiting on that thing. I know that's exactly what I'm doing now, but I don't know how to stop. Because I've waited and worked and prayed for my "thing" for so long, and I am so, so sick of waiting and wondering if I will ever get it. I have prayed hundreds of prayers for this over several years, both in general and specific terms, and those prayers haven't been answered yet and every day I catch myself wondering if they ever will be answered, or if this is an area of my life where God will not acknowledge my prayers--even though I have seen him faithfully answer prayers in other areas of my life. Even though I have reason to believe I'm closer than I have ever been before to having my desire finally fulfilled, I'm terrified that this is just like all the times before when it's fallen apart at the last minute, afraid to believe that this time it could be different, afraid of intense disappointment, and most of all, tired of walking around Jericho. I've walked around my personal Jericho a whole lot more than seven times, and the walls still stand as firm as ever, and I want to just turn around and leave. To forget about claiming the promised land. I have reason to believe I'm in mile 26 of my spiritual marathon, but all I want to do is stop running because I'm not even sure if the finish line is really out there.

And while we're waiting, what are we to do with the desires of our hearts--those things that we want so deeply, that we just can't stop thinking about, that keep us awake at night, tossing and turning with the utter nagging discomfort of an unfulfilled longing? Do we acknowledge these desires? Or do we push them away and try to pretend we're detached from them because we're A) terrified that they won't be fulfilled, and if you don't expect anything, you won't be disappointed, and/ or B) terrified that even to call something a desire of the heart is to want it too badly, and that wanting something too badly is idolatry, and that the most suitable "punishment" for this is for God to never let us have that thing and thus show us that we didn't really need it all that badly in the first place? And I think we all want to be able to say, "Even if God never gives me this thing I desperately need and want, I'll still believe that He is sovereign and does what is best for me," even though we know we'll really be crushed, angry, and having a faith crisis if that's what happens. Because we're human, and we can't trust perfectly because we are imperfect people. So then my prayer becomes, honestly, "Lord, I don't believe. Help my unbelief!"

The more you allow yourself to acknowledge that you want something, the more you open yourself up to getting your heart broken. To want is to be vulnerable. And this is scary. But then there are things we simply want so much we're just not willing to act like we don't care about the outcome. Because we do care--so, so much. And we also know it's wrong to want anything more than we want to serve, follow, and obey our Savior, but what about if we're pretty certain that we want something that will enable us to do all of the above? And we think it's wrong to have so much hope and desire vested in something that we know we'd be devastated if it didn't work out, because then we're not really believing that Jesus is enough, but only that Jesus + our fulfilled desire is enough, and there is a difference. Oh yes, there is a difference.

But I have waited so long for this. So, so long. And I'm just not willing to let it go right now, because I know it's not just something I want--it's also something I really, really need. So I'm taking one day at a time in this season of sheer exhaustion. I desperately need my strength to be renewed, but for now, I can walk around Jericho at least once more. And maybe, just maybe, one more time will be enough.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Is It Really Ignorance?

Do you want to know something that drives me really, really crazy?  When people automatically assume that those who disagree with their opinions on hot-button social and political issues are ignorant and just need to "educate" themselves. Some typical examples are people who are absolutely convinced that anyone who disagrees with their political views, for any reason at all, not matter how deeply reasoned, is ignorant, and also people who believe that anyone who supports the death penalty just needs to "educate themselves on the realities" of capital punishment instead of "just blindly supporting it." Other examples are people who believe that anyone who thinks climate change is a real thing/ is not a real thing is "crazy" or those who send you endless links to websites or throw articles at you before a big election because you don't agree with their political views, and of course we know that all cases of disagreement are easily solved with a little education.

This post is not about these hot-button issues, and I believe people have the right to have their own opinions on these things, whatever they may be. But here's my thing. It is wrong to assume that because someone disagrees with your opinion on something that they disagree just because they haven't thought about the issues, or don't know about the issues, or don't know how to reason it out, or just need to get educated. I can't think of much in life that is more conceited than to believe that everyone who disagrees with you ONLY disagrees with you because they're ignorant, uneducated, or unable to reason--instead of considering the possibilities that they disagree with you because you're wrong, or because there are two or more very valid ways to look at the issue, or because they've thought about it even more than you have and still come down on the other side of the line because you don't have a monopoly on the "right" opinion. This is literally like saying to the world that everything you think is perfect and correct, and the only reason the whole world doesn't think so too is because they're not as smart as you or their analytical abilities aren't as good as yours. I mean, I know it's incredibly convenient to believe that the only thing standing between you and an entire world of people who see things exactly the way you do is a little education, a little more literature, and a few more debates--but it's flat-out wrong. And when phrased that way, doesn't it seem utterly ridiculous to act like education alone will do the trick, to act like everyone who doesn't see eye-to-eye with you is just ignorant (a politically correct term for stupid)? If it seems ridiculous, it's because it is. And I frankly don't want to debate with someone who thinks I'm stupid or who is too haughty to accept that my different opinion maybe--just maybe--is just as well-thought-out as their opinion.

We live in a culture that celebrates diversity more than we ever have before, and that is awesome, because people of all walks of life, races, and backgrounds are valuable and can teach us more about the world. But why is it that we can so easily celebrate diversity in people themselves, but not in their opinions? Wouldn't a true celebration of diversity necessarily include a celebration of diversity of opinion? But no, the more politically correct our world gets, the more we aggressively push out any opinions that differ from what we believe is the accepted majority and the so-called "right" opinion. And I, for one, am over it.

Here's my simple request. Quit hiding your opinion behind the guise of educational superiority, start assuming that there's a level playing field (because there almost always is), and dare to let your opinion out in the world on its own merits and not resting solely on your presumed superiority of reasoning. If it gets struck down, then it gets struck down. But I automatically distrust your opinion if you have to hide it behind claims that anyone who doesn't adhere to it just needs to study up on the issues and, well, stop being stupid. I mean, are you afraid to throw your opinion out in the ring with another well-thought-out opinion because you know it's going to lose? If so, maybe you need to re-think your viewpoint anyway. But that's not even the real problem I have. The real problem I have is that it seems like most people today believe that "another well-thought-out opinion" is something that, by definition, cannot exist--because, if it were well-reasoned and informed, it would be the same as theirs. Or so they think.

And while we're at it, maybe we should stop being so politically correct about this. If people really think that poor reasoning and ignorance lies behind anyone's disagreement with them, maybe they should just start calling a spade a spade and see how well that goes over. "I'm so conceited that I automatically assume that you don't agree with me just because you're stupid. Here's an article to read that might help." I would imagine that this sort of transparency might start eliminating this problem.

There's nothing wrong with thinking other people's opinions are wrong (or even with telling them so, if you can back it up and are polite about it). This is the essence of healthy debate. But give other people some CREDIT, y'all. They read too. They watch the news too. They know about the issues too. And maybe--gasp!--they still disagree with you. And the solution to that isn't education. It's respect.

Pictures from the Last Two Months

So, as the title of this post suggests, this is pretty much my life in pictures since January!

Beautiful flowers that Jennifer and Carl gave me!


Lots of fun times in Seattle! My team didn't do incredibly well in the Moot Court competition itself, but the other team from my law school did great and is going to nationals in Chicago in April, so we are cheering them on! Because basically we're all on the same team anyway. And even though I can't take any credit for it because I'm not on the winning sub-team of 3, this is the first time in my law school's history to ever make it to nationals in this particular competition. So we all kind of felt like we were making history. We stayed in downtown Seattle and toured Pike Place Market, the original Starbucks store, the bay area, and a whole lot more. 

This is the iconic Seattle "Space Needle":


The courthouse where we gave oral arguments, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. This was my first time ever arguing in a federal court. And even though this was bittersweet because it was my last time to ever do Moot Court, the next time I argue in a federal courthouse, it's going to be for a real client. Which is kind of awesome too. 













This is exactly what it looks like . . . that wall is covered in GUM. As in, people's previously chewed gum. Kind of nasty, but also a definite Seattle landmark!



The beautiful downtown skyline:





Weekend DIY project: painting an old and boring white dresser blue, complete with before and after pictures






Pictures from Barrister's Ball 2014 held last night, aka "law school prom"! (Maybe the best part of this is that I got that dress yesterday at a consignment store for $12).