Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

There are some nights that I stay up thinking about life. About the things that have affected me, about the people that have effected who I am and what I will be. Tonight is one of those nights. As I lay in my twin sized bed in my dorm room the size of my parent’s bathroom at home I’m reminded why I’m even here--in college.

About fifteen years ago my mom woke up in the morning after feeling that The Lord placed on her heart to adopt me, Lindsey Marie Olsen. At the time I didn’t know where I was going or I wasn’t even aware that she and my dad had been praying about adopting. But, because she listened to God at the right time I ended up finding myself in the happiest home in the world with a loving family who loves me to the moon and back.
Over the years we may have fought, screamed, and we have been angry at one another. Sometimes, it seems that the things that made us most angry were the things we disliked about ourselves and saw in each other. I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter whether or not I was her biological child or not, the bond of a mother and a daughter doesn’t have to be written in our DNA.

The funny thing about being adopted is that I never knew anything different. To me it’s weird to think about living with the same family for your whole life. To me, my family is the people who love you and will support me through thick and thin. Whether that be staying in touch with my foster family or having a real family that shares my same last name, the bond of family is what brings us together and that bond is unbreakable.
When I was younger I always looked up to my mom, my adoptive mom that is. To me she was the apple of my eye—as I was to her’s. I wanted to be like her. I still want to be like her. She’s strong, a leader, has faith in our God that reaches beyond what I’ve seen even the strongest Christians possess, and she’s loved me and my dad every single day that we’ve been a family. My mom is the ideal role model for me, and I’m lucky to have had her as a constant mentor in my life every step of the way.

You know, when I was younger, my attachment to my mom wasn’t like the other kids’ attachment. The other kids would run to their mom’s after day care because they needed their moms to be with them every step of the way. My attachment was different. As I learned to cope with changing circumstances and family situations I learned that your love and attachment for one another doesn’t have to be shown outward. On the inside I knew that whenever I wasn’t with my mom that she was still with me. There was even some sort of my conscience that was a “mom voice” that would guide me to do the right thing even when other people weren’t making the right choices. Perhaps I should have shown more outward love and affection towards her, but I hope she realizes now that the love I have for her and the care for her is beyond measurable hugs and kisses.

That mom voice has seemed pretty important in my life. Seriously. All of the nagging and the annoying calls, texts, notes, etc. throughout my life has proved to be great for me in the long haul. From hearing the “mom-isms” nearly every day like-- “You should think about cleaning your room,” to “Did you take your allergy medicine?” to “You should really see a doctor,” to “Get your grades up or we are going to pull you out of dance class!”—these are the things that helped me make good decisions and stay a “good kid” throughout K-12 school and in college despite all of the other kids making wrong decisions.

Though I may have taken my mom’s advice on some instances, I have neglected it on others. One thing my mom and I share in common is our bull-headedness at times to see that another person other than ourselves is right about something. For instance, I put up the biggest fight with my mom about attending Missouri State University for college. It turns out that Missouri State was one of the best decisions I made in my entire life. This is just one example of how my mom knew what was best for me, even when I didn’t think it was so.

Not only did my mom give sound advice but she supported me in my endeavors. Whether it be skipping a meeting to come see me play in the marching band at a competition in high school, to making brownies for all my friends who came over for a movie night, to contacting my teachers to make sure I was behaving in class and that my grades were up—these were the things that made me know that my mom was supportive.

Sometimes the best support that my mom has ever given me is her ability to listen. Sometimes I get frustrated in life, as she does. Sometimes I need someone to talk to and I eventually break down and let it all out. This past couple of years with our move to Lebanon proved to be a time where my mom and me had some serious talks. Whether it be having a heart to heart about whether or not I should break up with my boyfriend of nearly a year and a half, to talking about how mean the girls were at school, to talking about stress of applying for colleges and scholarships, or even the never-ending battle with my grade in Mrs. Hicks’ AP English class that gave me the biggest headache of my life—she was there through it all. Even if she was sick, off work, or having problems of her own—she always took time to talk to me. Not only did she talk to me or give me sound advice but she listened to me and she told me to follow my heart and she supported me in my decisions. I felt like she knew that whatever decision I made would in the end effect my life, but she wanted me to gain enough independence so whenever I went out in the world on my own that I would understand the power of making the right decisions.

 I’ve learned my lessons, and I think that I am still making the right decisions.
After moving to college and freaking out over picking a political campaign to work on and how to spend my time in college, you know who was the only person I wanted to talk to about my trivial woes? My mom. You know why? Because she has never ever not been there for me. Because I trust her. Because she’s my mom and I love her to death. Sometimes in life we find out that even when we think we are the most independent of people that don’t need anyone else’s help—that having a great community of people that love and support us no matter what is one of the most important things that we can have. I know my mom is there for me, to the moon and back, no matter what.

After my first semester in college I returned home for the break, expecting it to be a boring break filled with lots of working at the Lebanon Family YMCA and many homemade meals made by my mom. But something happened. My mom ended up having to go to the Emergency Room because of a condition caused by a steroid shot to her knee. We spent nearly four days in and out of the hospital—my dad and I taking turns staying with her in Springfield as the neurologists tried to figure out what was wrong with my mom. It was the scariest time of my life. But you know what? I got to spend one on one time with my mom. For once, I got to feel like I was supporting her and was there for her—just like she was there for me all of those years. I stayed with her, held her hand, and I got to tell her that it was going to be okay and that God was going to make a way for her to be healed and get better.

It turns out that on Christmas Eve, my mom surprised me with coming home from the hospital without telling me. Never have I been so happy to have my mom with me. You know how I wrote earlier about not being that little kid that “needed” my mom to give me a hug after picking me up from daycare everyday? Well, this was different. I embraced my mom and gave her the longest hug I’ve ever given her with tears streaming down my eyes of utter joy. I hope she felt the same joy that I felt of her finally being home and of us feeling like a complete family again for our annual “Kolb Family Christmas” celebration.

About a week later it was time for me to go back to college. But of course, not without a great college-send-off from my mom and dad with tons of groceries and necessities for dorm living. Never would I have known what a blessing it was to have free food and groceries until I moved out on my own to college to have a taste of the real world where we actually have to pay for everything ourselves. This wonderful gift—even just of groceries—made the biggest difference in my life. I drove away with tears in my eyes because I felt like the most blessed little girl in the world. I am loved. I am cherished. I’m the apple of my mom and dad’s eyes. And lastly, I’m a Kolb. I’m part of a family that shares a bond that is unbreakable, and it all started with one woman-- following what God’s plan for her life as well as her husband’s life—and that was to adopt me. And I owe everything to her.

And now, it’s her Mother’s Day. Though I don’t have all the money in the world to buy her a new car or a new house to show my appreciation for her, I hope she knows that I love her to the moon and back and that I will do anything for her because I love her eternally. She’s my mom, forever and always, no matter how old she gets or how many times she makes lumpy mashed potatoes, she’s mine.

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in the world, I love you to the moon and back.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Rational Conservative View on Gay Marriage

"Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you have to agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate."
-Rick Warren

This past week has been a disaster on social media. It's been a disaster in real life, but if you are on Facebook and Twitter then you've seen the hullabaloo about the "gay marriage debate" online. First, for this post, I'd like to clarify about what what being decided on with California's Proposition 8 that was sent to the courts this week by sharing a comment from one of my Conservative friends, Ken Gardner, on the issue: "Despite what you may have read or been told, the Supreme Court is not deciding today whether gay marriage is a good or bad idea. Instead, it is deciding who gets to decide: the federal government (through Congress or the courts) or the states under their 10th Amendment powers."  However, the bigger picture of what people seemed to be arguing about in the last week was about "equal/gay rights." You may have seen the red equal signs all over Facebook and Twitter from the supporters of these rights.  

This debate is probably one of the most frustrating to take a part in because if you're on the opposite side of the people promoting homosexual marriage then you are officially shunned by them and labeled a "gay hater" or a "religious bigot." This reaction is absurd. The left wants to have all of these rights and to have their opinions respected but if someone else speaks out against what they believe then they won't respect those on the opposite side. The respect never seems to be returned.

I made a post on Facebook simply stating that I was for a traditional marriage and that I didn't want to fight with anyone else about the issue. I felt it was necessary to post--I'm usually pretty outspoken about my beliefs in person and online, and this was nothing out of the ordinary to voice my beliefs.  What really got me fired up was all of these random people who usually refuse to engage in conversations on political or religious issues who were extremely vocal about homosexual rights this last week. It seems that whenever it's convenient  people develop and opinion to keep up with the rest of the world's hype and opinions. I saw about 100 red equal signs on my Facebook newsfeed, I would have never guessed so many people were interested in court cases. It seems that everyone has an opinion and we are all competing with one another to be the most heard. Probably the most frustrating part of the online social media gay marriage frenzy this week were the trolls on Facebook and Twitter--those who deliberately had to go out of their way to comment on everyone's status or picture telling them why their beliefs are wrong. I never once engaged in a conversation telling someone they were wrong for believing what they believed in, I simply aired my opinion of non-discrimination and pro-traditional marriage (see below the rest of my view).

Everyone kept asking me what I thought about the gay marriage debate, and I gave an answer that they didn't really expect. Just because I'm a Conservative Republican doesn't mean that I'm a gay hater, or that I'm going to go crazy about issues like gay marriage like the Westboro Baptist Church. Conservatives are not all "crazy," just like not all liberals are extremely radical and progressive. Take time and listen to another person's view before you assume they are crazy and radical and you tune them out. I'm breaking my thoughts into two parts: my religious views and political policy. Here's my opinions for those of you who care:

My Religious views:

I am a Christian. My Christian moral values come from what I was taught and what is written in the bible which clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. The bible states: "A man shall not lie with another man as one lies with a women. They have both done a detestable thing; they shall be put to death," (Leviticus 18:22) In other parts of the Bible it clarifies homosexuality as a sin. Just because it is common now in society doesn't mean it's acceptable. God called us to be above the world--to live in the world, not of the world. However, the Bible also tells us not to judge others, but to love others. How are we as Christians supposed to share the love of Christ to our fellow sinners if we are judging them and shunning them of our sinful lifestyles? When we accept Christ into our life he takes away our sins and makes us whole and righteous in Him. However, we are still sinners. That's why we hypothetically can go to the foot of the cross and relate with other people because of our sins. It's like saying, "Oh, you struggle with lying? Me too." "You struggle with living an impure life? Me too." The foot of the cross where we give everything to Christ is where we can relate to the other sinners, and not judge them. 

When Jesus was on Earth he hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other bad people that society probably wouldn't deem as "good people to hang out with." However, he remained around them and showed them compassion. He showed them an everlasting unconditional love. Some of them even gave up their sin and followed him. We're called to be like Christ, so shouldn't we show that same compassion to people in today's age even if they are different than us--like homosexual people? Yes. Like the quote at the beginning of my post said, we don't have to compromise our convictions to be compassionate. 

My Political views on Gay Marriage:

I feel that there is and should be a clear separation between church and state, just as our Constitution states. As much as I'd love for the government to be run by all-Christian people, it's not. The United States is essentially being run by a document--the Constitution. And that clarifies that there is a separation between church and state. (Amendment 1 in the Constitution claims that: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...") If you read the Bible, you will see that marriage is a union of a man and a woman under God's eyes--it's sacred. That's why I clearly want to state that the "gay mariage" debate shouldn't even be a political issue that the government should have to decide on. If LGBTQ people want to have the same tax rights and benefits as legally married man and woman couples have, let them have them. But make them have some sort of paper to prove that they are together. They can call it a civil union or something else. If they want to advocate for the allowance of being "married" they would need to take it up with the church to allow them to have a marriage ceremony. And, since most churches believe in the same Bible I believe in, most of them won't allow same-sex religious marriage ceremonies because it's clearly a sin as stated earlier in this post.

I hold my religious and moral beliefs very close to me. I won't let anyone's choices affect my own. Personally, I don't identify with the homosexual crowd, nor will I ever. However, I understand that other people don't hold the same beliefs as me and that they would like to have equality and justice to have the legal benefits that married people have. I have a non-discrimination policy in mind when I talk about political policy--let's not discriminate but respect other people's beliefs and lifestyles.  In my mind, what the LGBTQ community is doing in their personal, moral, and private lives in sinful and wrong. But they should be given the same chance at equality and happiness as I have, no matter how wrong it is. God gives us free will to chose whether we are with him or against him. If someone places a bunch of drugs in front of me and tells me that I have the choice to use them or don't use them, I'm not going to use them. But they still exist--they're still there. Just like the choice to live a homosexual lifestyle. If the courts or the government ever pass a law that allows for homosexuals to be in a civil union then it doesn't mean that the rest of us will have to choose the same lifestyle, or that the rest of us are going to hell. It's just going with the US Constitution and giving them equality and the ability for them to pursue their own happiness, no matter how different and wrong we think they're choice of happiness is.

I'm sure some of my Conservative friends think that I'm now a Liberal, and my Liberal friends still think I'm a crazy Conservative. But these are my thoughts on the matter. It all boils down to the term "marriage." Call it something else that isn't a religious term and the LGBTQ people can have the same government rights.

Hopefully I didn't offend anyone. Chances are, I did. I don't really want to argue anymore, I'm just sharing a completely rational and respectful view. I hope some of you can identify with me. Let's learn to be tolerant and respectful of one another, and not jump to conclusions just because someone is of a specific religious or political group.

And that was Lindsey's thought of the day, where Lindsey shares an Everyday Thought.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

CPAC 2013

"If 'Believe in America' is more than just a catchy campaign slogan, then we have to believe in America's exceptionalism and her greatest achievement: that no one is guaranteed success, but everyone is guaranteed an equal opportunity at success."
-Governor Sarah Palin, CPAC 2013

This last week, I attended CPAC 2013 in Washington D.C. For those of you who aren't familiar with CPAC, CPAC stands for Conservative Policial Action Conference. There were hundreds of top-rated Conservative speakers, the top conservative media were there along with the liberal media, ranging from FOX News, to CNN, to Politico, and menial bloggers, like myself. I went as a CPAC attendee with the Missouri College Republicans as well as having press privileges.

You know, I figured CPAC was going to be a bunch of Republicans crying over the presidential election loss of 2012. But it wasn't. I haven't experienced a more hopeful crowd of thousands of people, attendees, and media quite like the crowd at CPAC. Even Mitt Romney commented on the his loss of the 2012 presidential election when he said, "I'm sorry I can't be your president, but I will be your co-worker and work shoulder to shoulder beside you." Then he gave this advise to any future presidents, "Do whatever you can to make America strong, prosperous, free, and the best country on earth." I was expecting some sort of a speech where he blamed the Republican party for not doing their job to elect him as president. However, he took full responsibility and was hopeful for a change in the future--even if he wouldn't become our president.

Me and Congressman Allen West
You know, it's funny seeing the people you admire so much in person--when you hear their own voice ringing in a room rather than hearing on the television on some news program. That's what CPAC is about. Giving you the opportunity to hear from the greatest conservative leaders of our time, and giving us that first-hand point of view of witnessing history in the making. I was also able to meet some great conservative leaders for the first time in person, including former congressman Allen West, the Co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and the famous talk-radio-host, Dana Loesh.

Many of the speakers that were at CPAC are the up and coming leaders of our party--including Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Bobby Jindal,  Governor Jeb Bush, Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Sarah Palin, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Scott Walker, and Senator Rand Paul. Now, I'm not going to give you a list of every speaker that spoke at CPAC, nor will I give you a play-by-play of everything that happened, because all of the speeches are can be found on the internet and you can get all the media's stories and soundbites by a simple google search.

But rather than reporting what happened, I'd like to tell you my experience and what I overall learned from CPAC--not just from listening to the speakers, but from conversing with the attendees of CPAC, fellow College Republicans, and even from the people who were working the booths at the convention center for different organizations.

Fellow College Republicans and me and CPAC
We may have all came from different places, have different accents, and we even may have difference views of how the government should operate. But we did have one thing in common, we were Conservatives and we all believe and hope for a better, prosperous America. I never really realized all the different kinds of conservatives there were. When someone says, "I'm Republican," or "I'm Conservative," we all jump to conclusions with our presumptions about what that means. We all have an idea in our mind that we all believe in the same principles about economics, religion, social issues, and about politics. But the truth is, that just like Skittles, there are different flavors even though we all can come in the same "package." There are the fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, pro-choice conservatives, pro-war conservatives, etc. The list and the combinations can go on and on.

Even though we may all be conservatives that went to CPAC, we all value different issues over the other. Some may be passionate about social issues like abortion and gun control, and they will dedicate their entire life to working for the National Right to Life organization of the National Rifle Association. It doesn't mean that one issue is better than the other, it's just that the conservative movement is made up of all of these different organizations and people that are passionate about what they believe in--and not just passionate about one political candidate.

That's what I observed at CPAC--that it seems that the people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 were passionate about their candidate and not their political affiliation/movement. We can't simply put all of our faith and credit into one person and vote for them blindly because we like them, we have to truly believe and understand the principles that they advocate. I think that's something conservatives will always have over liberals--we don't just jump ship when times change or we like a political candiate because they seem "cool" or "popular." We stick to our principles of less government, American exceptionalism, lower taxes, a better middle class, and hard work to achieve success. After experiencing CPAC and hearing some of the inspiring speakers, like Governor Sarah Palin in particular, speak about putting away partisanship and trying to work together to have less government and to secure our personal liberties and the make America the best country on the earth, I'm encouraged that we will continue to work together towards making a better America.

One of my favorite moments at CPAC was when Congressman Paul Ryan encouraged us to work together with our communities to achieve a goal to make America better in his speech. He said, "We belong to one country. But we also belong to thousands of communities--each of them rich in tradition. And these communities don't obstruct our personal growth--they encourage it. They are where we live our lives. So the duty of government isn't to displace these communities, but to support them. It isn't to blunt their differences or to flatten their character--to mash them together into some dull conformity. It's to secure our individual rights and to protect that diversity." It doesn't take a conservative to understand that concept and agree with it. We need to, as conservatives, to stop being painted as the "crazies." The name in and of itself--conservative--means that we aren't progressive, that we're sticking to the old ideals that our country was founded on. Since when does that deem us the crazies? Shouldn't the liberals be considered the "crazies" for radically wanting to change our constitution and our ways of life? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves.

On the last day of CPAC they announced the straw poll results for the future presidential campaign nominee of 2016 for the Republican party. If you haven't heard the results, Senator Rand Paul won the straw poll narrowly ahead of Senator Marco Rubio. Now, if you ask me, it's because he did a publicity stunt by having a filibuster the week before CPAC and by riling up all the young voters prior to coming to CPAC, just like his dad, Ron Paul, was known for doing--gathering the youth vote. Now I won't go into details about my views on Rand Paul or my overall predictions for 2016, but I don't believe he will be our nominee in 2016. His fame and hype that came with the fillibuster will end and a more electable candidate will win. Also, if you do look at the statistics of the CPAC straw poll you will note that 52% of the vote came from people ages 18-25. If that doesn't tell you that our youth care and want to be involved in politics at young ages, then I don't know what does. CPAC 2013 had the most youth attendees than ever before. Like I always say, get them involved in politics while they are young and they will remain loyal for a lifetime.

Here's the full video of the CPAC 2013 straw poll results/analysis:

At the end of CPAC, I concluded that I'm blessed to live in a country where we are able to express of beliefs--whether they be religious, poltitical, or social issue beliefs.  America is the best country on the earth because we have the choice to have different beliefs. Because of America I can have the ability to be a proud conservative and to be able to speak and write on a regular basis about my beliefs. 

I love America.

And that was Lindsey's thought of the day, where Lindsey shares an Everyday Thought.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Political Conversations

"People truly reaching across boundaries--be they religious or race, political or geographic. A state that is sincerely civil and respectful of each individual's pathway toward life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will be our goal."
-Jon Huntsman Jr.

On a daily basis people come up to me and they try to pick a fight with me because they know that I'm an adamant Republican. Or, once people find out that my major in college (Socio-Political-Communication) has something to do with politics and that I've worked in the political spectrum before, they think that it's necessary to try to entice me to have a fight with them. It baffles me at the amount of people that just like to "troll" those of us who take politics seriously.

These "trolls" usually come up with some statement like, "Explain to me why you're Republican and  why you hate Barack Obama...Explain why you hate abortion and why I should have guns that kill people...etc." They try to entice the most politically charged arguments that can spiral out of hands into yelling matches--and I don't want to be a part of these. It does nothing to further my cause and it doesn't make my political party look any better for me to come off as a crazed lunatic. I know that I may be very very political, and that I don't mind speaking out about my political beliefs on Facebook/Twitter/and my blog, but I never start talking about political policy with someone that I don't know and I don't try to sway people's thinking without them asking for the conversation to start.

Political issues are one of those topics, like religion, that people stray away from talking about. However, with my involvement with the Republican Party, campaigning, and with College Republicans (which I am the new state secretary for Missouri College Republicans) it's hard to avoid these confrontations with people that don't believe in the same things I believe in. It also makes it even harder being a young person that is a Republican going to college with a slate of people that are all so liberally minded. To my knowledge, mostly people are liberal as they are younger and then when they become older they become more conservative--unless they have been brought up in a conservative household. This is why I don't aim to convince anyone to "become a Republican" at this age. People have already made up their minds about how they think the country should be run or they just don't care about politics enough to make up their minds. That's why I advocate for not getting into arguments with these people because all they want to do is to see someone get all worked up about something that they could care less about. People are rude.

I feel that if I made the career decision that I want to have a political career in the future that it's a perfectly acceptable career choice, just as being a doctor, lawyer, or journalist are acceptable carrer choices. Working in politics is a public service, and it doesn't require you to be a lying/cheating/scumbag like the rest of the world views politicians.

Like I said earlier, whenever I talk to people in person, I rarely bring up political issues and political policy. You may catch me talking about my future aspirations or my jobs within College Republicans, but talking about your future/current jobs and what you are advocating for while you are in those positions are totally different things. A policeman can talk about how his work is exhausting and how he has to work with unruly criminals but you won't hear him talk about the details of his job that don't concern other people--especially people that don't agree with him. The same theory goes for me. However, on Facebook/Twitter/my blog I feel like I am free to express my political beliefs with whoever decides to friend/follow me on these websites. I've said from the start, if someone doesn't agree with what I have to say or they don't want to see the content that I post about politics from time to time, I don't have a problem with them unfollowing/unfriending me. That's the nature of politics, and I'm not changing who I am so people will like me.

Whether someone else and I have the same or different political beliefs or moral ideologies, I still want to hear what the other person has to say. Despite what people may believe since I am so adamantly Republican, I'm still very open to listening to what other people have to say and what they believe. How am I supposed to make a difference if I want to go into politics unless I listen to what both sides have to say? Some of the best politicians--and some of the best people--have been the best listeners. I want to have conversations with people of different beliefs than my own--in fact, I seek out these conversations. No, I don't want to have a full-fledged argument or have someone screaming at me that I'm wrong. But, I want to try to understand the other person's point of view and perhaps have a more open mind. I enjoy having conversations with people that know what they beleive in, even if it may be a different beleif stance than my own. I especially love when young people become civically engaged and know what's going on around them in politics, the media, and around them in their communities. I will respect other people's beliefs no matter how different than my own, but it doesn't mean I have to agree with them on issues.

Hopefully, to those of you who are reading this, you will eventually have a conversation with me about what matters to you. I'm always up for having a good conversation.

And that was Lindsey's thought of the day, where Lindsey shares an Everyday Thought.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Cheese Stands Alone

"Writing is an antidote for loneliness."
-Stephen Berkoff

Everyone knows that old children's song, "The Farmer and the Dell." One of the lines in the song that always have stuck with me has been, "The cheese stands alone, the cheese stands alone, hi-ho the dairy-o, the cheese stands alone."

I think I always felt some sort of empathy for the cheese. The type of loneliness I'm talking about is not about lacking a romantic relationship or a significant other in your life, but it's of something completely different. One of the worst feelings in life is having relationships around you--family, friends, maybe even a significant other--and still feeling like you're so different than everyone else that no one will truly ever understand you. I think that we all go through phases in our life when we just feel plain alone. However, some of us may go through our whole lives feeling a bit like an outsider at all times, and always feeling alone.

I feel like I'm part of this group. This group of thinkers. This group of weirdos. This group of outsiders. However, I think sometimes it takes someone who can think differently than everyone else to point out the aspects of life that we all need to see and understand. I think a vast majority of these people have been writers, or should write. If you look back in history at some of the great people who are writers you'll see a common trend of weirdness, or disgust with commonality of the people. Read Thoreau, Woolf, Dickens, Kerouac, Hemingway  Sarton, Eliot, Twain, Mannes, DeFoe--do you think these  people lived normal lives? Do you think they wanted to just fit in like the rest of everyone? No. They knew they were different. They took a step back and observed life and either wrote a new world fictionally, or they commented about life in a non-fiction way. Either way they wrote, and it helped them deal with life and give new perspective to others.

The people that I was describing earlier may notice that they are different. They may notice that they have aspirations and motives that are much different than their peers'. But they do what they do because they either think what they're doing is right, or it "feels" right. They're intuitive people. They're thinkers. Or should I say "we."

Even though we writers all would like to think of ourselves as unbiased people, maybe some of us are the most judgmental and opinionated of them all. We have the some of the most judgmental views of everything because we see everything from a different point of view. We are constantly looking at the world with a different outlook because everything we see could perhaps become a writing. Maybe that's why people judge us so critically, because we judge others. Or maybe it's because we judge ourselves so much that we judge others and the world around us more critically. Either way, there's a lot of judgement going on.

Writing is a very selfish profession. Not that I'm a professional. But it's a selfish "hobby." Writers write for many reasons. I write to keep a record of my thoughts. I write because I want people to hear what I have to say. I write because, like the cheese, I feel like I'm standing alone. Writing gives me the opportunity to share what I have to say with others when they otherwise wouldn't take me seriously.

This, I can be sure of: I, Lindsey Kolb, am selfish. I write for me. I write to hopefully change others' view of me. I write so you may side with me or at least have an accurate understanding of my side.

Maybe if you too feel the same way as me, maybe we're not so alone in our feeling of loneliness. You never know, there could always be more people that are going through the same thing as you. You just have to have the ability to look around your surroundings and spot them.

If this doesn't make sense to you then perhaps you can try one of my other posts that are less about me and more about the things around me. I'm hard to understand, personally. At least I've realized this.

And that was Lindsey's thought of the day, where Lindsey shares an Everyday Thought.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jo Ann Emerson's Resignation from Congress

On Monday, Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson from the 8th congressional district (Southeastern Missouri) announced that she will be leaving the United States House of Representatives in February to assume her new role as the CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. This has sparked a huge uproar across the state about the hopeful candidates to fill her vacant position and people are upset about her being reelected in November to Congress then retiring a couple of months later. I'd like to take some time to explain to you my opinion about the situation.

Firstly, some information about the NRECA and my experience with the NRECA: The NRECA is a fantastic organization that Jo Ann has been helpful in helping bring rural electricity to rural areas not only just in MO, but in other states as well. The NRECA is non-profit organization that not only helps rural areas but has fantastic youth and leadership programs. Without the NRECA created in the 1930s there would be no rural electricity--that's right, no electricity to farms. The NRECA gives back the money that they don't use each year to its members--those who use it's electric services. It's truly a fantastic organization that I was a part of and was the NRECA National Youth Leadership Council Representative for Missouri last year. I know the company, and just because they donated to Jo Ann--that's not bad. She's been one of the best advocates for rural electric cooperatives in the U.S. for many years. Glenn English the current CEO announced last year that he was going to resign. It's unfortunate that he is retiring, but he decided that it was his time to retire.

Secondly, some problems people may have with Jo Ann resigning:
One problem people have with Jo Ann resigning to work for the NRECA is because she just won the election in November and spent over one million dollars on her campaign where she nearly won 75% of the vote in her district for her reelection in November.  Another problem that seems to be arising is that people believe the NRECA bought out Emerson when she was in congress because they were the biggest donators to Emerson's campaign over the years--giving over $80,000 in donations. 
However, the NRECA is not just another lobbying firm trying to buy votes, the NRECA was supporting Jo Ann because she was one of the biggest supporters of the NRECA and rural problems in the Untied States. Of course they were going to donate money to her campaign to make sure she was elected so she could advocate not just for NRECA issues, but for rural issues that are effecting the entire country that most congressmen and senators seem to overlook. Emerson said she was approached after the election with the opportunity, and her decision to take the job “happened very, very quickly.” With Emerson taking over as CEO she will continue on the mission to help rural areas across the United States and will help NRECA International in other countries to better other countries. Emerson also stated in an interview that she will not run for office again.
Potential Candidates

The third main issue when looking at this issue is that someone will have to fill the vacant seat of Emerson's in congress:
Several people have announced their interest in the vacant seat of Jo Ann Emerson. Lt. Governor Peter Kinder released a press release on Monday afternoon that he would be interested in filling the vacant position. His press release was as follows: 

"I am certainly giving careful thought and consideration to this opportunity to represent the 8th District in Congress. I have long been engaged in federal issues, from the beginning of my career in my hometown of Cape Girardeau heading the first two campaigns for Bill Emerson and working on his staff in Washington to leading the fight against ObamaCare. It would be an honor to serve in Congress.
While I weigh this decision, I am mindful of the fact I was just re-elected Lieutenant Governor and must consider the people's trust in me to serve in that capacity for the State of Missouri.
While it would be an honor to serve, this is a committee decision, and over the coming weeks I will be communicating directly to the members to gauge support for my potential candidacy. It is important to let the committee process take its course, and only after talking to committee members will I make a decision on whether to seek the nomination."--Lt. Governor, Peter Kinder
Another seemingly interested person in her vacant seat is Missouri State Senator, Jason Crowell, from the southeast Missouri district. His press release is as follows: 
"The news that Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson will be leaving United States Congress and that a special election will most likely take place in early 2013 caught me by surprise today.  My phone has been ringing non-stop since early this morning.  I have been called by constituents, activists, colleagues, voters and friends from all over Southern Missouri urging me to enter this race.  I have not had a chance to discuss this most recent of developments over with my wife and family.  At this time I have no idea about my future plans, but I am humbled and honored by the confidence so many have shown me.  I am very concerned with the direction of our country and feel we must cut spending and shrink the size of our federal government.  On the state level I fiercely defended conservative values shared by Southern Missourians leading efforts to reform tax credits, state pensions and Medicaid, while doing all I could to oppose special interest give-a-ways like China Hub.  While I am a loyal Republican many times I found myself at odds with what the special interests and particular party leaders expected me to do and always chose my constituents over politics.  I will continue to discuss how I might best help advance a common sense conservative agenda with my wife and family and Republicans in Southern Missouri.  Several other fine individuals have been mentioned for this developing race; to me the most important thing for our party is to ensure that Southern Missouri sends a true common sense conservative to Washington D.C. to represent our values and help once and for all solve the politician-inflicted fiscal situation we find ourselves as Americans confronting.” --Senator, Jason Crowell

There are also other potential candidates as in former Missouri Treasurer, Sarah Steelman; former state Senator Kevin Engler, and the Missouri Republican Party Executive Director, Lloyd Smith.

Most news organizations and the reports on this vacant position pin Peter Kinder as the leader in the candidates of the vacant spots. However, there will have to be a special election held to fill her position so the Missouri Republican 8th congressional district will have to nominate a candidate. The main concern of people in Missouri with the current (and newly reelected) Lt. Governor is that it seems unclear about who would become the new Lt. Governor if Peter Kinder steps down from his post as Lt. Governor and becomes the new congressman for the 8th district. It seems that the main question is whether the Governor has the authority to appoint a new Lt. Governor should Lt. Governor Peter Kinder resign after being sworn in for a 3rd term in January 2013. It seems that it will be a legal battle about whether or not Governor Jay Nixon has the authority to appoint a new Lt. Governor (possibly the democratic nominee from the 2012 election, former state auditor, Susan Montee (D) ) or if a special election would need to be held to fill the vacant position should Kinder decide to resign as Lt. Governor. 

As of right now, everything is up in the air. We must wait and see who the 8th district chooses as their nominee for their congressman and then move on from there. 

I hope this little bit of research about the current situation in Missouri helped clarify some problems. Personally, I am thrilled to have Congresswoman Emerson become the new CEO of the NRECA. Despite the problems it seems to have caused with her vacant position in congress, she will do great things as the new CEO.

And that was Lindsey's thought of the day, where Lindsey shares an everyday thought.

Monday, December 3, 2012

College College College!

"Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable."
-Wendy Wasserstein

I assume all of you thought that I fell off the face of the earth during the last few months---I swear I haven't. I'm still here.

Finally, the election is over with. Even though the results were upsetting, I'm just glad the campaigning from all the attack ads and trash-talking is over with. After the primary I started working on a new campaign for the Lt. Governor of Missouri. So, I was truly extremely busy on top of being a new college student and keeping up with my studies and campaigning nearly every day after class and on the weekends--hence the no blogging. However, as of two and a half weeks ago my candidate won his election (only Republican state-wide to win) and my life will continue to go on.

I'm enjoying attending Missouri State University very much. I've gotten involved on campus with Student Government Association, Civic Advancement Committee, College Republicans, and the Pro-Life club on campus. It's great to feel independent and grown up for once. College is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Classes are coming to a close as finals week is inherently getting closer and closer--with my first final starting in three days. I can finally almost say that I'm done with the worst class ever--Psychology and move on with my life.

College has taught me many lessons since I've been here. Here's a quick list of what I've learned since August:

1. Be yourself--you will find people that will like you to you. There are thousands of people on your campus that are all individuals, but we can find similarities easily (unlike at small high schools) that can help distinguish ourselves and our friend groups. Don't try to be fake like we all tried to be in high school to fit in--college is the place where we are encouraged to branch out and be ourselves.

2. Stop worrying--I've stressed myself out enough over the past few months about keeping my grades up and trying to maintain a perfect GPA. It was easy in high school to try to be the best at everything, but in college it's a different story. You have to accept the fact that you're not the best at everything, you won't always have a perfect GPA, you won't always be the professor's favorite student. Try your best and it will all turn out alright.

3. College is a breeding ground for sickness--Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and use hand sanitizer as much as possible. I've been sick nearly the whole time I've been in college--I'm finally better. But living in a new situation and community of people makes it easy to get sick and stay sick. Visit the doctor ASAP if you start feeling ill.

4. Lean on your family when you need help--This is probably the most important thing I've learned. Even though I'm off on my own in college and I'm a "big kid" there are just some times that I need to talk to my mom and dad for advice. Many times I've been upset about school or stress and I just have to call home and ball my eyes out and talk to my parents. Your parents are there to help you out in times of trouble. My parents have been there for my every step of the way and I'm so grateful that they've helped me through my college transitional process during the last few months.

5. Procrastination will catch up with you--College makes senioritis during high seem like nothing. You will stay up later studying, hanging out with your new best friends, dealing with sickness, and avoiding your morning classes all for the sake of surviving college to the best of your ability. Make sure to get your homework in on time, to attend class, to only skip class when absolutely neccessary, and to be the best student you can be (granted, you will procrastinate on homework and studying for as long as possibly).

And that's it for my recent update! Finals are in a couple days so I better get to studying--you should too!!

And that was Lindsey's everyday thought of the day, where Lindsey shares an Everyday Thought.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Live Deliberately

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." -Thoreau

In 11th grade I was forced to read a book called, "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau. Throughout my protesting, I made it through the book begrudgingly. But, two years later, I finally understand it. Walden was a story about Thoreau's experience going off into the woods and living deliberately and trying to find the meaning of life and what makes people tick. Now, I'm not going to give you a book report, but I'd like to draw some conclusions about my own life.

I haven't blogged since June. I regret not being able to blog as much as I wanted to this summer but I did accomplish a lot that I'm proud of. I'm now in college, finally, making friends, studying for exams, and stressing about everything on top of working my dream job. However, today I took some time to sit back and think about life. Here's a few of my Thoreau-esque ponderings:

1. "How vain is it to sit down and write, when we have not stood up and lived?"
--During the past few months I've taken time to invest in my future--my college/education and job--and making friendships that will last a lifetime. I know in high school I spent a lot of time writing and keeping to myself, but I'm ready to branch out and live life a little. 

2. "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
---Sometimes I feel as if I'm all on my own--looking toward the future always and preparing my life for a professional career by maintaining composure and sense in a society (and college) filled with spontaneousness and nonsense at every turn. Sometimes I wish that others could understand my mental process and logical style. But, this shouldn't discourage me. Maybe I'm just an old soul. I'm okay with that. I think old souls have wisdom.

3. "Simplify, simplify, simplify."
Life is too complicated to worry about everything--clothes, houses, cars, and material possessions. Worry about the things that actually matter to your life that affect you in big ways. Coming from a person that is easily stressed and likes to take on many challenges and opportunities, sometimes cutting unnecessary "stuff" from your life can make your life much better, and will let you focus on the important tasks at hand. 

4. "Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something."
---Many times (especially when I'm so politically and religiously involved) people ask me why I won't partake in certain behavior that contradicts my morals. I always can revert back to every action that I take will either glorify God's Kingdom or glorify something else. Even though I'm in college and most people think that "College kids should be able to let loose and have a good time and make mistakes and do stupid things," I've still stayed true to what I believe to be morally and ethically important even though sometimes it seems that the world is going a completely opposite direction.

Remember that the choices you make not only affect you, but others. The choices you make will not only make up your temporary reputation, but they will make up the reputation that is built up to your name all the way to the end of your life. Going off of the first quote that introduced this post--live deliberately. If something doesn't need to be in your life, cut it. If something causes you problems or grief get rid of it. Also, have some alone time to ponder. Get away from the people, stress, work, school--like Thoreau did when he went to the woods--take some time to ponder, figure yourself out, and then maybe you can start to figure others out.

Make good choices, and as Thoreau said--live deliberately. 

A few other good quotes:

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest. 

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. 

And that was Lindsey's thought of the day, where Lindsey shares an Everyday Thought.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


About a year ago I promised to you, my readers, that I would eventually post my Youth Leadership Council Speech that I had to give in D.C. and all over Missouri during my time in the 2011-2012 NRECA Youth Leadership Council. My time has finally come to pass the torch to the new Missouri Representative of the YLC, so I am going to fulfill my promise and share with you my speech:
The great American sportscaster Ernie Harwell once asked, "Baseball?  It's just a game - as simple as a ball and a bat.  Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes.  It's a sport, business - and sometimes even religion. "Baseball is indeed the great American pastime and can even represent the American Spirit at its best. I believe that the essence of the American existence is like a huge baseball game. We all make up different parts of the game, whether it be the players who represent the entertainers, the coaches who are the leaders, the umpires who make the tough calls, the fans who are the patriots, or the people working the concession stands who represent those working their way up the ladder of success to achieve the American dream. It’s our job to find out where we fit in. As life throws us curve-balls we must try our best to deal with the struggles and come out stronger than ever before. We must take these curve-balls and discover where they fit into the master plan of our lives.
                  After winning an essay contest this past summer, I was given the opportunity to go to Washington DC on a trip with 83 other essay contest winners, to join 1,500 other students to tour Washington DC and learn about how to be leaders to our generation, it was simply called Youth Tour. Soon enough, after touring around the capitol city, viewing many memorials and walking through amazing museums, I learned a lesson about life and how to be a better American. I learned that we all have a duty to our country and a way to contribute.
                  No matter what profession — soldier, doctor, or teacher — we all help our country be the best that it can be. Part of our duty to our country is uniting together as Americans and setting aside our differences, and having pride in our nation, a sense of American Spirit. On my trip to DC, I discovered what the American Spirit is all about .What may be surprising to you is this revelation did not come from standing in front of a monument or memorial; but rather, by attending the greatest American pastime – a major league baseball game.
       There were 83 Missouri delegates sent to Youth Tour this past summer. If you think about it, that’s 83 different personalities, 83 different passions, 83 educational backgrounds and 83 political beliefs thrown into the mix. The question was how to bring us all together. Well, Mike Marsh, our Youth Tour director, had an idea up his sleeve. What would bring 83 students together more than a good ole baseball game while we were at Youth Tour? If you know anything about the great state of Missouri, you should know that just about everyone—especially those living in the rural areas—loves baseball, and our favorite team is of course the St. Louis Cardinals. Luckily, the Cardinals were playing in DC when we were there. So, added to the itinerary was the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Washington Nationals game. If Mike only knew what he was getting into when he bought those tickets.
There we were, nearly a hundred Cardinal fans from Missouri amidst a crowd of 20,000 National fans. We finally arrived to our destination, the big game in DC. We sat and watched the game half-heartedly for a while until the Cards starting losing in the 6th inning. They were being thrown curve balls they just couldn’t hit. Then our group decided we had to do something about it. So, in an effort to rally up our favorite team, we all stood up together and screamed at the top of our lungs, “GO CARDS GO! GO CARDS GO!” for the next hour and a half till the game was over. You see, when you get a bunch of rowdy teenagers together who are hyped up on DC mania, things tend to happen. Our spirit was insane. However, the Nationals' fans didn’t seem to "appreciate" our spirit too much. After about 10 minutes of Cardinal cheering, the Nationals fans started booing us. Yes, all 20,000 people joined together to boo our spirited group. 
         Despite the dirty looks, hand gestures, and spiteful comments from some of the well, intoxicated Nationals fans, we, the sober high school students from Missouri stuck to our guns and cheered for our team even though they lost the game. We even made TV 6 times and it was rumored the star player for the Cardinals, Albert Pujols, mentioned our group in an interview afterword. The spirit for our team was evident from the number of lost voices the next day. But we didn’t care, we had fun and we were ready to take on the world.
                  After the game, there was not one long face in the crowd. The Nationals were glad they won, and Cardinal fans were so enthused about cheering during the game, we were just happy that they didn’t get beaten too badly. As a result of our extreme excitement we decided to try to get everyone in the stadium to join us in a cheer. The only thing that could unite every person together in the audience was not baseball but the love of our country.  Now, how could that happen? Our group started screaming the cheer “USA USA USA” and the entire stadium was filled with Patriotism and everyone joined in. It was a moment that I will never forget.
           After going to the baseball game in DC and seeing some people have amazing American Spirit and patriotism in Washington, I learned that America is lacking in the American Spirit department everywhere else in the country.  I also learned that the country isn't as United as it's supposed to be Americans need to reform the way we view America in two different ways. 

1) The first is that we need to put our differences aside and come together as Americans. Just like in my story at the baseball game, we were all rooting for different teams and considered "rivals" but we all came together to celebrate our love of our country. In this day and age it's hard not to let our differences separate us, whether it be our age, gender, political party, or religion.  It's too easy for us to separate ourselves from one another. For example, the older generation looks down toward my generation and has these preconceived notions that all we care about is Facebook, texting, and MTV. They think we are so much worse off than they were which is in-part is true. However, I believe that no matter how different the generation gap between people may be, the difference in race, religion, and political views, and how much money we have, we are all, in the end, Americans. We represent the same amazing country and we need to come together to help build one another up, not tear each other down. We are all lucky enough to live in a country where we have millions of opportunities, tons of second chances, where we are protected from harm, and where we can receive a free education and some form of financial help if we need it. There's over 300 million people living in America. We all need to stop letting our differences divide our nation and find the similarities between us and Unite our nation to what it used to be.
   2) The second thing I learned from my trip is that we need to have American Spirit. My trip to DC did just that for me as well as 1,500 other students. It ignited a passion that could be seen in every student, a passion of Patriotism and American Spirit that we took home with us. Going to DC was like hitting a home run in baseball. It was unforgettable and it sent adrenaline flowing through our veins with patriotism for our country. Whether it be our love of baseball at the game or the love of our country as any American feels when hearing that Star Spangled Banner play, we need to remember that pride that we feel deep within our hearts because we are Americans and together we can help change the world, make a difference, do something right in an era of corruption.
3) The third thing I learned from my trip is that we need to never give up, despite the odds against us. Flashback to Spring 2011 baseball season--the Cardinals weren't doing too hot. They kept losing and losing games and it didn't seem like they had a chance at even advancing to the World Series. But their losing streak didn't get them down. They eventually overcame their obstacles, learned from their failures and became World Series champions. However, back to my trip. On the trip we were reminded that the leaders who came before us were thrown some curve balls too – wars, stock market crashes, or bringing light to rural America— but they never gave up.  In an era where it seems like the government, Mother Nature, Wall Street, the recession, and unemployment are throwing us nothing but curve balls, we must remember our roots and just keep cheering. The passion to remember how we got to the place where we are now can help us overcome even the greatest difficulties. You see, it doesn’t matter what team you root for…as long as it's not the Cubs… what race, gender, political party or religion you are affiliated with, we all come together as Americans to celebrate our freedoms every day.
                  As the great baseball player Yogi Berra once commented, "If you don't know where you're going, chances are you will end up somewhere else." From my trip to our nation’s capital, I learned where my generation is going. I learned that we are going to be the future of America, and I learned that the future is bright.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer Internship

"Not only does an internship allow you to work hard and gain experience, but it also allows an employer to experience how hard of a worker you are."
-R.J. Calvo, Health Educator, City of Lubbock Health Department

For the past few weeks I've been living the dream--spending every waking minute working, talking, and living politics. As most of you may know 80% of my time is spent talking, tweeting, blogging, vlogging to discuss politics. I'm a politics junkie, and I'm only 18 years old.

Shane hard at work
At any rate, a couple months ago I was asked if I'd like to be an intern for a campaign for Representative Shane Schoeller who is running for Secretary of State for the state of Missouri (He is the current Speaker Pro-Temp of the Missouri House of Representatives.) I immediately jumped on the opportunity to help out in any way I could and now, two months later, I'm totally immersed into this campaign. After working for Shane I truly believe that he is the right candidate for the job. He's even been endorsed by John Ashcroft, who served as Attorney General under George W. Bush.

Whether it be doing little things for the campaign like making phone calls to check for people who will RSVP to a fundraising event, putting up signs all over Missouri, helping navigate the field representative for Southwest MO to the events that we have to be at, knocking on doors to tell people to vote for Shane, or even walking in parades and passing out literature about Shane--these are the things that I have been working on for the last few weeks. 

This is definitely a resume builder that I'm sure will help me in the long run. I've already gotten to meet some fantastic people and politicians from across the state, I've been able to attend many events all over the state, and I've been able to--most importantly--learn more about the way that government and politics work. Never would I have thought that it takes as much work as it does to work on a campaign, even just a state-wide campaign. There are hundreds of volunteers that are helping with this campaign coming from all over the state to help us every single day. Every day there is at least, guaranteed, five to ten events that are happening roughly around the same time and yes, someone has to be at all of them even if Shane cannot. 

A glimpse of some of Shane's tweets
On top of working the campaign it's become common knowledge throughout the people who are running this campaign that I am very "social-media-savvy." The first time I ever met Shane he immediately recognized me because I had tweeted about him a few times. Just this week it got around to some other people in the campaign that I'd like to help out with the social media aspect of the campaign and I've started giving advice to them whenever need-be.

While I'm talking about social media I'll give you a couple links so you can see more about Shane Schoeller and our campaign: Facebook, Twitter, and his website (click on the links.)
I feel honored to be working on this campaign and have this opportunity. I think Shane will win the primary most certainly, and who knows, maybe he will be sitting in the Missouri Secretary of State's office at this time next year? I pray he will be.

Oh just a quick reminder, remember to vote this August 7th--and remember to vote for Shane Schoeller for Secretary of State of Missouri. 

And that was Lindsey's thought of the day, where Lindsey shares an Everyday Thought.

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