Writing Samples

Column Writing

God Bless the VMAs: Pop Culture matters to American society

“Can we please turn off the VMAs and watch something that actually matters?”

The MTV VMAs aired Sunday night and, as expected, was filled with many jaw-dropping moments. While scrolling through Twitter, I came across a few complaining about the over-glorification society puts on celebrities these days.

But is this really such a recent phenomenon? People have been fascinated with celebrities for ages. Mozart couldn’t walk across stage without women frantically trying to gain his attention in not-so-appropriate ways. Don’t even get me started on the Beatles. From Beethoven to Brad Pitt, there have always been people “fangirling” over the famous.

But in the big scheme of things, is it that big of a deal if Miley Cyrus danced on stage half-naked? Probably not, but maybe it is.

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News Feature Article

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Local nursery to be featured on next season of ‘Fixer Upper’

Soon, Waco natives won’t be the only ones to mosey down the pothole-infested gravel road to Bonnie’s Greenhouse. HGTV’s Fixer Upper will feature the backyard business in this upcoming season, and with that owners Sandra and Johnny Killough said they are excited to see an increase in their already growing business.

“[Joanna Gaines] has shopped here for years,” Johnny said. “Even before they got their show, she has always shopped here.”

It’s easy to see why. Whether a visitor is strolling through the rose garden amongst the chattering guinea hens or stopping by to catch up with an old friend that works there, Bonnie’s has the kind of charm that makes it easy to lose track of time.

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Blog Writing

Adding New Songs To A Set List

So, you’ve been playing the same songs over and over again and there comes a point when even the songs that your congregation loves are starting to feel over-played. The words have come out of your mouth so many times that they’ve started to lose their meaning – for both the worship leaders and those in the congregation. You know when it’s happening. You look out at the congregation and their lips are moving but their eyes are glazed over. You’re strumming chords and singing, but it’s all just muscle memory.

Think about the first time you listen to any song – that’s the time you’re most aware of the lyrics. You’re intently listening to see what the song is about (and to see if you like it). Then you start to hear it more and more and soon enough you’re singing along to every word when it comes on the radio. Flash forward and those words have lost their meaning again. So you listen to a new song. And that’s what it’s like with worship music as well. Contrarily, the congregation usually needs to hear the song a couple times before they can fully sing along and mean the words that are coming out of their mouths.

But how do you make that jump?

1. Know your audience: You need to know what (or who) you’re working with. Pay attention to how they may respond to a new tune, or if a song may be overused and is losing its connection. If it’s a younger crowd, they may already be hip enough to know those new songs you’re adding to the set list. But the more diverse and/or older an audience, the more you may need to spoon feed them the new material.

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ACL Weekend One: That Good Ole College Try

Call me a diva, but if I’m going to fork out a couple hundred dollars to see a live performance, there better be a guaranteed, designated, good seat in the arena (preferably air-conditioned). But at a festival, that’s just not the case — so I’ve steered clear. In the past, I have wanted to go to Austin City Limits, but the logistics of travel and the price of tickets always seemed to outweigh the benefits.

Then I saw the set list, and I couldn’t resist: Drake, The Weeknd, Vance Joy, Walk The Moon, G-Eazy, Foo Fighters, The Strokes. I bought a ticket for weekend one. After class on Friday, my friend and I headed south in my navy convertible blasting our ACL playlist. “I could go at least one time to see what it was like,” I thought.

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3 Ideas for Your Indoor Garden

Whether it’s still too chilly to start planting or you just want some more greenery in your house, here’s some fun tips and ideas for indoor gardening.

  1. Self-Watering Indoor Plants

Up for a challenge? This project may take a bit more effort, but in the end it will make your life a little easier. We all love our plants, but sometimes we forget to water them! This helps to solve the problem so you can get back to working on the more pressing things in your life.

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April Fool’s Day Pranks for Little Kids

While pranking co-workers in the office might be a popular April Fool’s tradition, here are three easy and fun pranks that are perfect for little kids.

  1. Add googly eyes to everything — salt and pepper shakers, toothbrushes, appliances, doors, you name it! If you have little ones, this is sure to win over a giggle or two.
  2. Fill their Oreo cookies with toothpaste. This is a classic prank that’s still appropriate for children. After they take that first bite, their face will be priceless and you can make sure they don’t eat the toothpaste. Plus, it’s a trick they can take with them to summer camp for their friends to have fun should a pranking war arise.
  3. Fill their fruit can with candy! This is a more delightful prank because the children will be plenty happy to have this sweet surprise.

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6 Ways to Get the Most of a Rainy Day

When April rolls around, so do the rain clouds. Don’t let the weather put a damper on your fun, here are six things to do when it rains — both indoors and out!

1. Slip and slide.

Who says it has to be sunny outside for you to enjoy a slip and slide? Lay down a tarp, grab some swimsuit-clad friends and slide away! With all the rain, the tarp will get naturally slippery, but you can add some soap or oil for extra slickness. This is a great activity for both adults and children alike and is sure to create happy memories.

2. Make mud pies.

If you are watching little kids, this one goes without saying. It’s a classic activity for a reason. It helps children get their creative wheels spinning, their hands messy, and have fun in the process.

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3 Spring Recipes

When the clouds part, everyone looks for a reason to go outside in the warm sunshine. Here are perfect recipes that make it easy to take with you to your next picnic in the park, day at the beach or other outdoor activity.

  1. Picnic Salami Sandwiches

This recipe makes four sandwiches that are perfect to pack, carry and eat with your hands.

Ingredients:

•1 french baguette, cut into 4 pieces and halved

•1 lb hard salami

•1 8oz container cream cheese, softened

•1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

•2 cups baby arugula

Directions:

1. Mix cream cheese and sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Spread the cream cheese evenly on half of each sandwich.

2. Evenly distribute the salami.

3. Put about 1/2 cup baby arugula on each sandwich and then place the top on.

How easy was that?

Tip: To make them a bit fancy, just add a little parchment paper and twine! This will actually make them even easier to carry since they won’t be falling apart.

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