Friday, January 27, 2012 0 comments

Separation of Church and State

In school, we were to memorize the First Ten Amendments. The first amendment stating,

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Our nation was not founded upon Christianity. Although there were leaders who were religious, this simple fact does not meant our nation was founded on religious beliefs. In fact, it was just the opposite. Our ancestors migrated to America to gain freedom from royal oppression. Our Founding Fathers created freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of religion to build an intellectual, self-governing democracy. We were meant to use our reason and intellect to come up with ways to govern a society with morals, ambitions and equality. 

So where have we gone wrong? 
  • Too many Americans think it is OK to use religious bigotry to gain votes or simply to "have their way." 
  • People ignore the First Amendment and forget that our Founding Fathers created freedom of religion for all citizens. 
So here is the story I wanted to present: 

Jessica Ahlquist is a 16-year-old girl from Cranston, Rhode Island. Jessica and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing Cranston West High School over an 8-foot prayer located in the School's gym. 

The school is violating the first amendment in that it is addressing a heavenly Father (stated in the Bible) and is praying to a heavenly Father. If you completely remove yourself from your own religion and look at the supreme law of our land, you can see that this is a clear violation of separation of church and state. I respect Jessica Ahlquist's  active voice in the secular community and it has raised my attention to the fact that this violation is everywhere. 

Please join Jessica's and the rest of the youth of this nation in their fight for their freedom and their right to exercise reason and intellect into their lives. 
Sunday, November 13, 2011 2 comments

Want: UO Navajo Prints

-I won't ever call myself an artist or a designer because I'm not. But I can appreciate it. And as a consumer/viewer of design, I find that having a wholeness/conceptual idea is so important because it enhances my experience with the product.

-I am loving UO's Navajo Print Collection right now. Now, all I want to wear is native american print. It reminds me of a few interviews I am doing at work. And the bulky sweaters they have for fall and the bright colors + dimensions create this new autumn feel. Chai, a good book and one of these sweaters are definitely in store for me.

-Recently at work I've been typing interviews of local award-winning Native American Artists and it has inspired me to look into Native American art and design. One of the reasons why I think it is so fantastic is because they refer to their traditional beliefs and ceremonies, like the peyote ceremony or the story of the white buffalo.

Whenever art and design has significant spiritual meaning, it creates this spirituality to the concept of the piece.

Victoria Leigh
Sunday, November 6, 2011 0 comments


I do not consider myself religious. In fact, I have not declared a religion, nor do I plan to unless I truly find one that I agree with. Not that I am opposed to religion but when I came to college, my eyes and ears were opened to being myself without set rules.

Have you imagined life without rules? Don't get me wrong. I do not think it is okay to physically or emotionally harm another living thing and I do not believe it is okay to lie, cheat or steal. But can only think, as humans, those rules are already ingrained in us. In other words, I believe we are naturally good. We know right from wrong because we experience love when we are born. Theoretically/hopefully we were conceived out of our parents love and adoration for each other, thus we were born and welcomed into the world with love and adoration. 

What I am talking about here are the rules society/popular culture has set on us as we grow into who we are. If you are too fat, you are not attractive. If you are a woman, you are paid 75 percent what a man gets paid. If you are black, you are stereotyped. All of these rules and guidelines society puts on us to make us act in a way that is not ourselves but is the vision of the social norm. 

I grew up in a Christian family. Generations of working to middle class Christian people that never experienced life. Nearly 100 percent of my relatives have not traveled, have not seen the world and experienced what it has to offer. 

I am vowing and committing my life to learning new things, experiencing places and people I would never have dreamed of five years ago. I want to love immensely, without any rules.

That is my new life goal. 
Sunday, October 30, 2011 0 comments

Right Now

It is officially Fall. Every leaf is turning its amber red, maturing and dying before I get a chance to admire. Trees are rapidly losing their volume, turning the campus into a scene out of a Tim Burton film.

With the change in the atmosphere on campus, I am feeling a change in myself. Not just because it dropped 40 degrees in the last 24 hours but more because I have a new outlook on life. I recently ended a relationship, my semester GPA hit an all time low and my grandfather died. This is starting to sound a little morbid, right? WRONG.

To be completely honest, if I were to look at my future self a year ago, I would have been scared out of my mind. I have always been an A and B student (mostly A's, mind you) and my relationship was great but guess what happened? Life.

Life usually happens at the worst times. But honestly, what did it think I would do in response to throwing all of these curve balls? Just wrap myself in a blanket and suck on my thumb until it all went away? Absolutely not. My great grandfather was held at gunpoint by an Oklahoma senator and lived to tell the tale. I have an image to uphold.

All jokes aside, life has been a little rough this semester. I have learned more about myself in the last four weeks than I have in the last four years. I have learned that I am independent and I have to make my happiness a priority before I try to make anyone else happy. I will never be sure why things happen the way they do but reality does not exist without life's mishaps and unfortunate events. It is what makes us real and human in the first place.

If I do not feel pain, sorrow, nostalgia at some points in my life, then I would never consider myself living.
Sunday, October 23, 2011 0 comments

Why My Step Dad Hates Me

All right, my title might be a little bit dramatic. My stepdad does not hate me. We are "frenemies." He loves me one minute and the next, we are at each other's throats.
It really has always been like this ever since him and my mom got married in 1999 after 6 months of dating. I am actually not really sure if they dated that long.

Here's the scoop:

My stepdad used to be a volunteer football coach at Bethany High School. My brother played for him at Bethany and that is how my mom and stepdad got introduced. Then, after they both got divorced from their first marriages, they started dating and eloped. Cool, right? NO.

As much as I love my step siblings/family, it has not been the easiest journey in the world. First, my step sibling that is closest in age (about 11 months older) is also named Victoria (Tori, for short). So we were always called Tori one and Tori two. Do you think I really want to be named Tori two? I mean, I know that it means that I am younger in age, but seriously, take the Tori out of it and what do you think of when you say "one" and "two?" Bodily functions, right? It was cool for about five months and then I was over it.

 Then came the complexity of who could parent who and how we all really felt toward each other. Did I really think of Rich as my new father since my biological father abandoned us when I was eight? My Mom asked me once if I would call Rich "dad." I felt extremely pressured and just told her "no" out of frustration/embarrassment. No, I wanted my real dad to step up his game. But, he didn't. And he never would for the next 12 years.

Back to why my stepdad and I are frenemies. We laugh at eachother's jokes ALL OF THE TIME. Sometimes we will get on this complete laughing streak, just making one joke after the other and laughing for an hour straight. Then, the enemy part comes in when we are talking about something as simple as a reality TV show and have differing opinions. Sometimes he'll try to shove his opinion clear down my throat, while I am just trying to have a simple, intellectual debate about population issues (No, I'm serious.)

But I really do love the guy. Rich and his family took my family in when we were young and struggling. He is like a big, opinionated teddy bear. You can't help but want to laugh at his jokes...

even when they're just downright silly.
Sunday, October 16, 2011 0 comments

Live Your Dream

When I think about where my life is headed,  there are two dominant themes in my mind:

1. graduation (hopefully).
2. moving.

I am inspired by certain, but more or less a random array of people, but the the commonalities among them all are they all dropped everything to go find and live their dream.

For instance, Barack Obama, maybe not so random that I admire him, but come on, he is the first black president.

Obama attended high school in Hawaii and was the valedictorian of his class. After graduation, he attended Occidental College in California but decided to transfer to Columbia University to pursue a degree in Political Science/International Affairs. After graduation, he move to Chicago to work in community development. After a few years doing that job, he attended Harvard Law School. After a couple of years of work at one of Chicago's top law firms, he ran for Senate and won. In 2007, he announced his plans to run for the United States Presidency in 2008.

Obama, being an African American man knew it would be a tough feat to persuade voters to change their prior behavior of electing purely white males as their president. But Obama went after his dream to be president and no matter what anyone says, he has worked so hard to fix and balance our country.

Example deux, Kristin Wiig is a the co-screenwriter of Bridesmaid and a cast member of Saturday Night Live.  I have to say, this is possibly my all-time favorite show. In an interview, Wiig said when she graduated from the University of Arizona, she got a job working as a graphic designer for a plastic surgeon and would digitally reconstruct a patient's face to show them what they would look like if they got plastic surgery, but two days before she started, Wiig decided that she wanted to pursue a career in acting. She picked up her stuff and moved to L.A. and joined the cast of The Groundlings, an improvisational theater in L.A. She was then recruited by Lorne Michaels, the creator of SNL.

Wiig is someone that had no prior training before she decided she wanted to be an actress. She had a dream and she followed it and I find that incredibly inspiring and I can only hope I will do that for myself.

Sunday, October 9, 2011 0 comments

The Distant Hours

I have never taken myself for a big reader. Often times, my hopes are crushed because I have always loved a specific type of novel. Though, I never knew what genre of novels I love most.

I am guilty of judging a book by its cover. When I saw this book, I was immediately intrigued. It is dark, mysterious and strongly attracted my attention. So I hurried home and bought it off Amazon for a few dollars. I started the book a couple of months ago but for some reason only read until Page 150 and never thought of it again.

I recently went on a road trip where I was required to spend 12 hours each way in the car. I saw it lying in my box of books before I left and decided to give it a try.

I fell in love.

The book is about Edie Burchill, an assistant editor at a small publishing house in London, England whose inspiration to become an avid reader came from the classic novel, The Mud Man. She finds the castle at which the author, Raymond Blythe and his three daughters lived and finds that she is able to take a private tour of the castle. She is surprised at the dark and shadowy atmosphere of the house.

I cannot present too much information from the book because I want you, dear reader, to read the book. It has re-established my love for novels and stories that are not often of this world. The Distant Hours takes the reader on a ride into Edwardian Society and into a love story that rivets your soul. It has sparked my interest in the Gothic Fiction genre of books and I do not think it will stop any time soon.