Saturday, December 31, 2011

And Now, the Post You Have All Been Waiting For....

...my Christmas post!!

I know you are all just itching with curiosity and excitement to hear all about how my Christmas went. ;-D

Well, here you go!

I think I can honestly say this was the best Christmas I've ever had. It all started on December 24th....

Christmas Eve started out pretty crazy. My dad's family was coming over at 11 am for a brunch and gift exchange. BUT my mom woke up with a migraine...so the morning began with moving brunch to 12 and making a trip to Grandma's house to pick up some medicine. And then we had to clean the house and cook....and my aunt forgot she was supposed to pick up my grandma...so it was even later...haha, but, eventually we got everyone in the same place and were able to sit down for a wonderful meal and open presents.

My cousins got me Tangled on DVD, which is pretty awesome because that was actually something I wanted but never asked for. (Tangled is an awesome movie, btw). I also got a bracelet and a giftcard to Kohl's.

After they left I went into baking mode...I had a chocolate mousse pie to make for the following day, and chocolate chip cookies for my friend. AND I did some last minute stocking stuffer shopping....

That evening, Christopher's family came over because they had a Christmas present for me. A Christmas present that couldn't be brought to church....

 This picture was incredibly dark, so I tried to fix it. However, I suck at photoshop, in
case you thought it looked kinda weird.

Isn't he cute?? His name is Nemo. I've always wanted a bunny, and they have a couple to spare...so, now he's mine!! 

Anyway, after that we went to a movie (We Bought a Zoo) and then went home so I could finish making all the Christmas presents I hadn't finished making yet...haha.

The next day was CHRISTMAS!! Yay. My family opened presents early, since we had church at 11:30. Here I added to my possession a GPS. Which everyone finds extremely funny. Because I'm kind of terrible with directions. I personally just think Google Maps gives faulty directions half the time, but everyone else has a different opinion.

Also, my mom made me a beautiful quilt that she was apparently working on every time I left the house. haha Here's a picture:

It's so pretty!

This quilt basically combines three of my favorite things: the combination of purple and green, daisies, and blankets! It's awesome.

Then we went to church where we had an awesome Christmas service. I loved it, minus the candlelighting ceremony...because that always makes me nervous with the fire and the small children....

Also, I gave my friends their Christmas presents here. I made Ellen a...thing...I don't know what to call it...a poster? It's small though...I don't know, but it has pictures of us on it. :-) haha I bought Meagan a really cute picture frame and put a really cute picture of us in it. And for Christopher I made a calendar with pictures of friends for every month (which so does not compare to a bunny at all...but he's hard to shop for). As far as I know, they all liked their presents, which made me happy. 

Oh, Ellen bought me a scarf and Meagan got some really awesome smelling lotion and an iTunes giftcard.

And Jonathan (my illegitimate little brother) enjoyed his chocolate chip cookies.

THEN (it goes on...) several families got together after church for lunch and games. That's what my pie was for. That was fun. We played a giant game of Kingdoms, which was kind of ridiculous because I hadn't heard of half of the names. I didn't last long. lol

My family had to leave early to go have our last Christmas (for this year) with my mom's family. We had dinner and opened presents at my grandparents' house. My grandma had a fun little drawing for the girls where we each took two numbers and got to open the corresponding presents. It was just random stuff that she didn't want anymore, but I enjoyed what I got: a really good smelling candle and a GIANT tub of strawberry lemonade mix.

I also got some money and a really pretty bracelet from my grandma. 

Then I went home and cleaned my room...haha, I needed room for all my new possessions! But all in all, I had a really fantastic Christmas. I had a lot of fun putting together the presents for all my friends, and I got some things I've wanted for a really long time (a bunny, a GPS...lol).

God is awesome. 2011 started out pretty rough, but turned into one of the best years of my life. I'm going to miss this year...but can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for me. I know I will make plenty of memories as I go into 2012. I know one thing's for sure....

I'M GRADUATING!!!

I felt that that deserved a really big font. :-)

Anyway, I hope everyone had as great of a Christmas as I did, and a happy new year, too. Don't party too hard tonight!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Reunited At Last.

Is it just me, or does that sound like the title to some corny love song?? For some reason I picture Rick Astley singing it...I have noooo idea why. I just do.

Anyway, regardless of what the title may sound like, this post is NOT a sappy love story. Promise.

It is, however, the story of two best friends who were separated (by, like, thousands of miles...) when they were seven and then FINALLY, for the first time in several years, got to meet up due to the fortunate scheduling of a wedding in Kansas.

Yeah, I took a picture of a picture...so sorry about the poor quality....
 
This picture was taken when I was like, hmm...probably about 6. I am the one in the blue. The one in the pink was my best friend, Abby. We were pretty much the coolest kids around.

Abby's family is originally from Kansas. They moved down here for a few years so that Abby's dad could attend seminary. Once he graduated, they moved. To CANADA.

By the way, Canada is REALLY FAR AWAY. I know it's only like one country north of us, but trust me, it's quite a few miles. And it seems like even more when you're best friend is living there.

So, because Canada is super far away, I rarely got to see Abby after she moved. Sad, I know.

About 4 years ago, their family happened to be passing through town and stopped by. Here's a picture:

Us, the Conners, and the Myers. Remember this was 4 years ago...we don't still look like that...
 
That was the last time I saw her, up until last weekend.

Last weekend, Abby's older sister Sarah got married. And, because we were such good friends with the family, we decided to go to the wedding. (All the kids have graduated and moved back to Kansas now, which is where the wedding took place.) So, we packed up and went to Kansas.

And I got to see my best friend for the first time in 4 years.

Here's a picture of us today:

Me and my beautiful best friend.

Last weekend was a great one.

Please enjoy these other fun pictures from Abby's and my childhood:

Look how awesome we are.

I'm telling you. Coolest kids around.

Probably my favorite picture. Ever.

Okay, so I may have gone a little crazy with the pictures...but it was hard to choose!

Also, this weekend was also pretty fabulous. But I will post about that later (I'm not specifying a day this time since that didn't work out last time...).

So stay tuned if you want to hear all about the best Christmas EVER.

(Now you have to come back. I practically ended on a cliffhanger.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ever Wonder What It's Like To Be Me?

Probably not, but I'll tell you anyway.

I kid you not, all of these things have happened to me within the past week.
_____________________________________________________________

At my church Christmas party last Wednesday night, we had a gift exchange. There were about 50 of us there and we all drew numbers to see what order we would go in. I was number 29. After the gift exchange, there was a pinata. The person in charge of the party (Stephen) told us to hold onto our numbers, as he would be calling them out randomly to determine who would get to hit the pinata. At this point, the following dialogue took place:

Me: (to Christopher) "I am totally okay with not getting to hit the pinata. I'm terrible at pinatas. I always miss or hit someone...or myself."

Stephen: "TWENTY-NINE!"

Me: "You have got to be kidding me."

Of all the numbers between 1 and 50. I totally missed the pinata, too.
_____________________________________________________________

Thursday, I had gotten home from work and was working on some school work (yes I'm out of school...I still have school work), when I decided that I was hungry. So I made myself a nice bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with milk. When I had finished, I set the bowl (that still had some milk in it) on the table behind me as I didn't feel like getting up at the moment and rinsing the bowl.

About ten minutes later, I start playing with my hair. It's wet.

"Why is my hair wet...?" I say. Then I turn around. "Oh, because there's a bowl of milk behind me." Everyone started laughing at me as I ran to the kitchen to rinse my hair.
_____________________________________________________________

That same night, I am getting ready to leave for my senior class Christmas party when I had this conversation with my mom:

Mom: "What are they feeding you for dinner?"

Me: "I have no idea."

Mom: "I hope it's something you like. What if it's lasagna?"

Me: "Eww...I hope not!" (For anyone who doesn't know...I hate lasagna. With a passion.)

I arrive at the party. 

Meagan: "Where's Ben? Isn't he supposed to bring the lasagna?"

I didn't eat dinner that night.
_____________________________________________________________

Last one, I promise.

We all know that technology hates me.

This past Friday and Saturday I was in Kansas (I'll post about that later). I brought my laptop with me so that I wouldn't be bored if I had any random down time in the hotel. It's a good thing I didn't.

They gave me a code to access the wifi. Well, I start up my computer, try to connect to the internet, and it never asks for a code. So of course, it won't connect. After a few tries my mom calls the front desk to find out why.

After a loooooong time on hold and  lot of complicated questions from tech support, we figured out that the room we were in (of course, just our room) had an invalid IP address and we couldn't get the wifi. They were never able to fix it.

On top of all that, we should have still been able to use the wifi on our phones. My mom could. She connected, entered the code, and everything worked just peachy on her phone. But for me, did it ask for the code? No. Did it work anyway? No. I used sooo much data at that hotel...
_____________________________________________________________

The good thing about all this stuff happening to me, is that it entertains everyone else. Which is the point of this post. So I hope you enjoyed it. haha

[Update:] So, apparently, there is a part two to this post from Christopher's point of view. Don't believe anything it says--it's all lies.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Forgot How Much I Love Christmastime.

I knew I loved Christmas, but I honestly forgot how fun it can be.

Actually, surprisingly, I'm having the most fun giving gifts this year. Maybe it's because I'm making most of them this year, as opposed to the usual giftcard. But putting thought into gifts and making something that you think your friends and family will love adds so much more joy to the gift giving ritual.

I would tell you what I'm making, but I'll have to save that for after Christmas. Wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone... :-)

There's just a couple people left that I have NO IDEA what to get for them. And Christmas is in less than two weeks...I'm starting to get nervous about it. AAAH! Hopefully I will come up with something.

Last year I made about 100 cookies and gave them to about 20 of my closest friends. haha, I'm debating whether or not to do that this year...my best friends are getting actual gifts, but I feel like I should do something for everyone else too...hmm, we'll see! 

What's your favorite part of Christmas? I honestly don't think I can pick just one thing...I love it all. :-)

Merry Christmas (a couple weeks early)!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Timeline of My Day.

A day in the life of me...please enjoy, and then thank the good Lord that you are not me. :-)

7:15 am: Get up.

7:35 am: Leave for work.

8 am: Arrive at work.

10:30 am: Power goes out and fire alarm sounds.

10:35 am: PANIC!

10:40 am: Firemen arrive.

10:45 am: The girls decide to evacuate.

10:52 am: We discover that a transformer exploded and all the power in the area is out.

10:55 am: Employees are sent to work at home.

11:15 am: Arrive at home.

11:30 am: Begin work at home.

11:40 am: Receive call from supervisor. Power is back up.

11:45 am: Leave for work.

12 pm: Arrive at work. Discover that power is on, but Internet is down.

12:37 pm: Internet is back up. Happy day.

12:38 pm: Resume work.

1:30 pm: Computer begins going slow.

1:35 pm: Computer is still going slow. I think I'll reboot.

1:36 pm: Computer is rebooted but won't let me log in.

1:38 pm: Reboot #2.

1:39 pm: No success.

1:45 pm: Let's try this again.

1:46 pm: Nope.

1:50 pm: Inform tech guys that my computer has once again failed me. Find out that others are having this problem as well.

2:40 pm: Computer still down. I'm bored. Decided to try out the Blogger app on my phone. It works.

To be continued...
----------------------------------

[Update:] My computer never did start working. I got off work at 4, having only completed about three hours of work (I was working 8 hours). Thankfully, nothing else went wrong the rest of the day. I was prepared for the worst at this point. lol

Also, please take note that I was not the cause of the computer malfunctions. I DID NOT DO ANYTHING WRONG. This proves my theory: I am not technology challenged. Rather, technology is Kayla challenged. It just doesn't know how to handle me. I'm too cool for it. Yeah, that's it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Am Thankful.

(Note: I realize that in my post last week I said I would post about Thanksgiving "tomorrow or Sunday." Well, in my defense, I never did specify which Sunday...so the way I see it, I'm early. In case you were going to get on to me or something...you can't! Ha!)

My Thanksgiving was really great. It started out disappointing, because we had plans earlier in the year to travel to Alabama for Thanksgiving. However, that ended up changing, and instead of going to Alabama to celebrate with my family, we stayed here and celebrated with 20 of our closest friends! No joke...here we all are:

Back row, L-R: Cody, Dad, Mr. and Mrs. Simmons, Josh, Mr. and Mrs. Myers
Middle row, R-L: Me, Meagan, Kayli, Melissa, Mrs. Sanders, Cassia, Luke, 
Jessica, Mr. Sanders, Kaitlin, Mr. and Mrs. Nuckolls
Front row, L-R: Tyler and Jake. They were late for the picture, so we stuck them in front.
And this is what happened.
 
And can I just say that that is the longest caption I've ever written for a photo? That was the longest caption I've ever written for a photo.

Yeah, so funny story. It originally was not going to be this many people. It started out with 3 families, then 4, then 5. It was going to be a progressive dinner...but it got too big so the entire thing ended up at my house. 

 Our delicious food! And I do not know the girl in the pink tank top...

We ate lunch around 1, and everyone brought a dish that's a tradition in their families. Our contribution was 2 apple pies (which I got to make, and they turned out really good!) and buttermilk pies (which sound really gross but apparently aren't--tradition in my family).

 Eating. We specifically left one chair open on the girls side to see who would take it.
Tyler did. No one was surprised. And also, Luke looks like a creeper in the background.

The food was awesome. Afterward, all of us "kids" (ranging from 6th grade to college senior) played with an app on my iPhone that turns everything you say into a song. Haha, that was entertaining. Then we watched a play that several of us were in last spring called Is He Dead? Hilarious.

Watching Is He Dead? Tyler and I are not texting, I swear. We were playing Words With Friends.
With each other. (I won).

After we took the family picture, we played a giant game of Kingdoms. If you don't know, Kingdoms is a really fun game where everyone picks a name different from their own. One person compiles a list of all the names, but no one else knows what your name is. That person then reads off the list of names twice, and you then have to try to remember all the names and figure out who is who. If you guess right, that person joins your kingdom and you become a team. It's really fun. The funny thing is, the youngest person there was the winner. 

So all in all, Thanksgiving was really fun this year. I would take the time to list everything that I'm grateful for, but I think it's pretty obvious that I have a lot to be thankful for, plus I have somewhere to be in 20 minutes...and the list would for sure take longer than that. :-)

Best thing about Thanksgiving is that once it's over, it's officially Christmas time! And I love Christmas...I hate Christmas before Thanksgiving, but after Thanksgiving I love it. :-) I am listening to Christmas music as we speak. I can't wait to decorate and buy presents for everyone. Yay!

 I look awful in this picture, but I'm licking Meagan's face so it's all worth it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Texting Mannequin.

Soooo....I don't know if anyone's noticed, but I've been kind of MIA recently. The last couple weeks have been CRAZY. Reason being, the week before Thanksgiving is the week that all the teachers decide to make big projects/tests due. And due to my play being the week before, I was already behind. And then I've actually been surprisingly busy this week preparing for Thanksgiving. But now Thanksgiving is over and I actually have some time to accomplish some of the things on my "To Do Over Thanksgiving Break" list that has been slowly gathering dust...

Anyway, Thanksgiving yesterday was AWESOME. But I'll post about that tomorrow or Sunday, because I have another story I want to tell right now, and I like my blog to be in chronological order.


This is a totally random story from Tuesday but I want to share it because it's kind of hilarious. It was really awkward/frightening/embarrassing at the time, but now it's just funny. :-) haha, I will try to do it justice.

So, Tuesday my friend and I were shopping at Forever 21. We were trying on some clothes in the dressing room, but I got done first. So I was looking at the clothes right outside the dressing room while waiting for her.

I knew there was a mannequin nearby and as I was looking at a dress on one of the racks, I saw it out of the corner of my eye. I sort of did a double-take, because I noticed something I didn't notice before. The mannequin was looking at something in its hands.

Was the mannequin texting? It sure looked like it. Wow, I thought. They really have our generation nailed. I wasn't quite sure how a texting mannequin would help sell clothes, but hey, I'm not their marketer. What do I know?

Then I looked again. Was that a real cell phone the mannequin had? It sure looked like it. That's weird that they would actually buy a real cell phone for a fake person...

So I got a little closer. And closer, and closer, and closer...until I was right up next to it, just staring at the cell phone.

And then it turned and looked at me.

OH MY GOSH. Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh. It was a real person! Holy crap, it was a real person. A real person that I was standing about 2 inches away from. Staring at their cell phone. I wanted to die.

As soon as she looked at me, my reflexes kicked in. I have never turned around and pretended to be interested in an ugly piece of clothing so fast in my life. Seriously. It was almost ninja-like.

I was so mortified, and the girl gave me weird looks the rest of the time I was in the store. But I don't really blame her. I would have done the same thing.

Like that one time, when I was in the girls' bathroom at a restaurant washing my hands and a man walked in. (Yes, you read right, a MAN.) I gave him weird looks every time I saw him, too. Well, actually, I just cracked up laughing. But same difference.

Anyway, that story was probably A LOT funnier in person. And to me. But I thought I'd share it anyway. :-) And look out in a few days for stories from Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Fell For A Prince...Literally.

As some of you may know, yesterday I was in a play, The Princess and the Pea. I played the part of the princess, and it went really well! And there were like, over 200 people there, which was frightening slash awesome! haha

When I say it went well, I really mean it. Because even the mistakes we made turned out to be pretty hilarious.

Example 1: One of the characters accidentally knocked over part of the set, a gate, during one of the scenes. To cover, he said "That sure is a flimsy gate you've got there!" It totally worked with his character and the audience roared with laughter.

Example 2: If you know the story of the Princess and the Pea, then you know there is a bed with like 26 mattresses involved. We didn't have that...but we had a giant box made to look like 26 mattresses and one real mattress on top. There was a little ladder to get up on the bed. I was wearing a big poofy dress and am kind of clumsy (I trip a lot). Rehearsals went totally fine--no problems with getting on and off the bed. Last night, however, I totally tripped and fell. On stage with the lights on.

But don't worry guys. I totally handled it.

In the next scene, I was supposed to come back on and talk about how I didn't get any sleep because I couldn't ever get comfortable. So, in the 45 seconds I had to recover, run to the other side of backstage, assure everyone that I was totally fine, put my shoes on, and get back on stage for the last scene, I came up with a line to add.

"And this morning, I fell off the bed." To my great relief, it totally worked and everyone laughed. (I was really nervous about saying it, because it would've been suuuuuper embarrassing if no one laughed. haha)

If you know me, you know that I typically panic under pressure. Whenever things like this go wrong in plays, I'm the one to freak out and not know what to do. Like in last year's Christmas play:

We were toys in a toy shop. I was a doll, and another character was a singing soldier (one of those toys with a string on the back, and when you pull it, he sings). In the play I see his string, I pull it, but before I let go there's like 2 minutes of dialogue. Weeelll....yeah. The string broke in the middle of the dialogue. So what did I do? I pretended like nothing had happened and hoped that no one noticed.

Yeah. EVERYONE noticed. Thankfully, the other characters were able to recover nicely from that one, no thanks to me.

I'm still super impressed with myself for coming up with, according to one of my friends, the second funniest line of the night (second only to "That sure is a flimsy gate you've got there!"--the other ad lib).

I'm fine, by the way. It hurt and I have an awesome bruise on my leg, but hey, I didn't die. I was embarrassed for like, 3 seconds, but then I realized how funny it was and was trying SO HARD not to laugh the rest of the play. And it helped that I came up with that extra line to add. It puts everyone at ease when you show that you can joke about stuff like that.

I can't wait to watch the video...I want to see my face when I fell. haha

P.S. Apparently "mattress" has two "t"s...I kept spelling it with one and Firefox was FREAKING out at me with the squiggly red lines and I was like "What is your problem?" and then I right clicked and it was like "two t's!" and I felt really dumb.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

With No Regrets.

This is the story of a girl who let one negative critique rule her life. A girl who failed to recognized her own talent. A girl who lost faith in herself.

This little girl grew up in a show-business family. Her parents were both fantastic actors and her dad could even sing. Her mom could paint almost as well as Picasso, and both parents had an ear for music. The little girl was pretty much destined to succeed at anything in the fine arts genre.

Pretty much ever since she uttered her first word, she was on stage in plays. She did plays, skits, and musicals for both church and school.

When she was about 9, her church started doing children's musicals. Of course, she auditioned. She loved acting, and was hoping to get a lead part.

Everyone was required to not only do an acting audition, however, but a singing audition as well. So, naturally, she auditioned for that, too. She had never really sung before, so she wasn't sure how things were going to go.

They went extremely well.

Her mom was the director for the musical, and therefore had inside information. Her mom found out that her daughter had one of the best singing auditions out of everybody.

The little girl was given a lead role and two solos. This was the first time she had ever sung in front of an audience.

And the last, for many years.

The next year, it came time for another musical. The little girl was 10 now, and thought she had the lead role in the bag. She received a callback on her acting audition. She did not, however receive a callback for singing.

She was not cast in a lead role. She was not given a solo.

She found out later, from her mother's inside information, that she was not even considered for having a solo. The judges apparently had not liked her audition. They didn't like her voice.

The little girl believed this critique. She began thinking that they were right and that she had no talent. She had no intention of ever singing again.

Well, that didn't last long, of course. She loved singing too much. Her mother enrolled her in voice lessons to improve, but that still didn't stop her from believing that she was talentless. The only people she ever let hear her sing were her mom and her voice teacher. They said she was good, but they had to. Their opinions didn't count in her mind.

This went on for about 5 years.

One day, her school decided to have a musical. Anyone with musical talent was asked to audition for a singing role. Under normal circumstances, the now 15-year-old girl would have done what she always does: fade into the background, and pretend to have no talent. Unfortunately, she didn't have that option. Her mom was, to her dismay, the director. She was, quite literally, forced to audition.

And she got the lead role, with two solos.

But that still wasn't enough to convince her that she could sing. Despite all the comments she got after the play, she didn't believe them. Not one.

In fact, it still took her 2 years after that to start regaining confidence in her ability.

After this musical where everyone realized that, hey, she can sing, many opportunities arose for the girl to sing more. And she was expected to take them.

Her mom wanted her to sing in the school talent show. She didn't.

Her parents and friends wanted her to join the worship band for the youth group. She didn't.

Her mom wanted her to audition for a recording as part of the elementary school girls' curriculum at her church. That one she did, but she regretted it. She didn't get the recording--because she sounded too mature. Not a bad critique, just not right for the part. But that didn't matter.

The judges' opinion about her voice from 5 years earlier still resonated in the back of her head. She still believed it.

Then the next school musical rolled around. Again, she was forced to audition. Again she got the lead part with solos. Again, she lacked confidence.

She put on a small concert for family and a few friends (her new voice teacher's idea, of course). This one was even worse than the musicals.

But then, she went on a mission trip. On this trip, she stepped out, and joined the worship band. She, along with her friends, led many in worship during this time. And she had a great time doing it. She actually found herself more confident than ever before, and realized that this was what she was supposed to be doing.

And finally, after three years of hiding behind the crowd, she joined her youth group's worship band.

With no regrets.

----------------
In case you didn't figure this out, this is a true story. The little girl is me. Not to say that I'm like the new Celine Dion or anything, but I am starting to think that I'm not as tone-deaf as I thought I was for so many years. I share this story for a couple reasons: One, for anyone who doesn't get why I was so coy about my singing for so long. Now you know. 

Two, to show how I wasted so many years hiding my gift and feeling discouraged just because I had one bad singing day when I was 10. I chose to listen to the opinion of three people who happened to hear me on a bad day, over the opinion of hundreds who have heard me on more than one occasion.

Third, for some reason this story has been on my mind a lot lately, and writing helps me clear my thoughts. What better place to write it than here?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My New...Uh, Hobby?

Several months ago, it finally hit me that I am a senior. That virtually everything I do this year will be my last time ever doing it. And then, upon pondering this thought some more, I realized that this meant that once volleyball season ended, I would never play another sport again, or have any way at all of staying in shape.

Well, I decided that this was unacceptable. I must have some way to burn calories, or I will get fat. And I'm not changing the way I eat. I love sugar too much. No, I needed something that would simply balance out the effects of my bad eating habits.

I considered my different options. I wanted something that wouldn't cost me any money, and something that I could do on my own time and at my own pace. I came to the conclusion that running was my best option.

Seems like a very logical solution, right? Ha! You're forgetting one very, very important thing about me: 

I DON'T RUN.

More than that, I don't like running. In fact, I don't normally like exercising in general. I'm not athletic. I'm more of an arts person. The only reason I stuck with volleyball all these years was because I actually (most of the time) enjoyed it, and it was a way of working off all those chocolate milkshakes I eat (drink?).

Seriously, almost everyone (okay...everyone) who knows me was really shocked when I told them I was going to start running, and super impressed that I haven't given up yet.

Of course, if you're expecting me to give up, then you're forgetting another very important thing about me: 

I'M NOT A QUITTER.

So, I'm going to stick with it. Volleyball ended last week, and so far, I've run 4 days. The third day I ran my maximum: 2.5 miles. I discovered I can run a mile in about 10 minutes, which I never knew. I also discovered that I can run (at least) 25 minutes without stopping. Next time I think I'll go for 3 miles in 30 minutes. I'm seriously surprising myself. If you'd asked me two weeks ago, I would have thought I'd be dead WAY before I got to this point.

Oh, yeah. And the great thing about running is I can drink (eat?) chocolate milkshakes now totally guilt-free. I often reward myself with one after my runs.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Just Like Christmas.

I'm waiting.

I'm trying to be patient, but sometimes it's just really hard.

In fact, it's hard just about all the time.

Not just hard. Difficult.

It doesn't seem fair. I didn't do anything wrong. Why do I have to wait? This feels like punishment.

Sometimes, I want to give in. Stop waiting around. Move on with my life, and not have to constantly be dwelling on the pain caused by the lingering pace at which the thing I want comes to me.

But then I remember...it's worth waiting for.

I remember...God has a plan.

I remember...there's a reason I have to wait.

It must not be ready for me yet.

Who wants to eat a half-cooked meal? Who wants to live in a half-built house? All the same, who wants to open a gift that's only half-ready?

Not me.

I feel like the gift is perfect as it is. Yet it hasn't been given to me. I am not the giver; therefore, I cannot know when the gift is ready.

I hate waiting.

But I know there's a reason I must.

Trusting in You, Lord.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Once Beating Heart.

 (This is a poem I wrote today. I'm not the best poet, but I wanted to share it anyway.)
 -----
There's a hole in my heart needs mending
It longs for a love unending
But a wound this deep is hard to heal
For it bears all the weight of its rending

The incomparable pain my heart feels
The sensation is so surreal
My heart carries the burden which
My outward disguise won't reveal

There's only one remedy for heartache like this
Only One with love deep enough for the stitch
His love is enough for my poor, broken heart
Lord, my heart is now yours to fix

He fills what was empty, a Master of art
He pieces together what was torn apart
When He is finished, the beat does impart
At last, I'm refreshed, ready for a new start

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tick Tock, On the Clock...

(Don't worry, this is not a post about Ke$ha. I just stole her lyrics.)

I LOVED my pastor's sermon today. It was everything I needed to hear.

The lesson today was on time management. "When you run out of time, you die," my pastor said. (On a side note, it made me think of that new movie coming out, In Time.)

Anyway, one of the points he made, and the one that stuck out to me the most, was that we have time--we just waste it early on. Then, when it comes time to get the really important things done, we have only a small amount of time left...and feel rushed and stressed.

Our problem isn't that we don't have enough time. We waste it. That's all there is to it.

I definitely have a problem with wasting time. I always feel like I don't have enough time to get things done. It's true, I really don't have a lot of free time....but it's also true that I don't exactly spend every spare second I have getting things done. I definitely waste time. I would guess I waste at least a couple hours in every day.

Can you imagine all the things you could get done if you were given all the time you've wasted in your life back? Let's see...we'll say I've wasted about 3 hours every day for the past 18 years. Obviously this is an inaccurate figure, but it's an estimated average, so bear with me.

People, that 19,710 hours I have wasted in my life. More if you take leap years into consideration, which I totally didn't because that math was too complicated for me. 19,710!! That's crazy! I could get SO MUCH DONE in that amount of time.

I could write a book...
I could make a movie...
I could spend a week in every country in the world...
I could build a time machine...
I could come up with the cure for cancer.

Okay, maybe not all that. But 19,710 hours is over 800 days. I could get a lot of things accomplished in 800 days.

800 days of my life...wasted. That's about 2 and a half years.

Wow. That's incredible.

This has definitely opened my eyes to how I spend my time, and from now on I am definitely going to try to get the important things done first, and then "waste" the leftover time. The sermon this morning was exactly what I needed, because my life has been CRAZY busy lately.

It's not that we don't have time...it's that we waste it early on. Those words have been ringing in my head all day. Truly a great reminder.

P.S. I hope I didn't hurt your head with all the math. Because I definitely hurt mine.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This Is My Prayer.

Dear Lord,

Give me strength. Give me hope. Give me peace. Give me an understanding of why things must be this way, or at least give me faith in You and Your plan.

Help me be happier. Help me not feel so helpless, so empty. Help me trust you.

Fill me with Your spirit, Lord. Fill me with Your light. Let me shine for you. Let me believe in you. Let me know that everything will work out, that everything happens for a reason.

There is so much going on now, Lord, that might seem small to others, but is extremely hard for me. I hate feeling like this. I miss the way things used to be. I miss the innocence and ignorance I had when I was a child. I miss how simple things used to be. I don't understand now, but I pray that You'll make it clear to me when the time is right.

Teach me, Lord. Teach me to be humble. Teach me to be grateful. Teach me to be appreciative. Teach me to give to others that which I do not have. Teach me whatever lesson You are trying to teach me. I am eager and ready to learn.

Give me courage. Give me wisdom. Give me a desire to honor You.

I hope this isn't asking too much. All I want is to learn, to understand, to trust, and to do what is right. But to do that, I need fearlessness. I need selflessness. I need humility. I need You.

I will never get anywhere without You.

Amen.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Surprise! (Sort Of)

Yesterday was my 18th birthday.

Saturday, three of my best friends (along with my parents) threw me a "surprise" birthday party. I put surprise in quotes because I knew about it. I did not, however, know what was going to happen.

It was great!

It started off with a kidnapping. My church, every year, does a freshman kidnap in order to welcome the freshmen into the high school. My freshman year, however, I had a volleyball tournament the weekend of the kidnapping and had to come late. Therefore, I never got to be kidnapped. Having kidnapped other freshmen the past three years, I was really disappointed I missed out on all the fun of being kidnapped. So, my friends came up with the idea of giving me the kidnapping I never got to kick off my party.

There was a bounce house (yes, I know, not your typical 18th birthday part event...but hey, it's still fun). That thing was DANGEROUS. People were, like, dying in there. Not literally, but kind of. Oh, and the bounce house had DOLPHINS. Coolest thing ever.

There was lots of good food, including a beautiful cake:

 Decorated by Christopher's mom, Denise. Didn't she do a great job??

There was a fabulous program that started with a live performance of my favorite song. There was a skit, which basically just made fun of me, but it was all true. haha, I'm easy to make fun of. :-) One of my favorite things, though, was the song that Christopher rewrote to be about me. I loved it.

Oh, I almost forgot. I now have a shiny new toy named Flynn Rider:

Vandalism compliments of Meagan.

Disclaimer: This was not exactly a present considering that I paid for it. However, it was fun that I got it at my birthday party and was able to drive it around on my birthday.

This is me with the wonderful people who love me so much that they put in a ton of time to make the day, literally, the best day ever.

My best friends, aka "The Schemers". L-R: Meagan, Ellen, Me, and Christopher.

I am so blessed to have such amazing friends, and I pray everyday that I will be fortunate enough to keep these friendships for a long time.

My party was perfect. I don't care what any of these three say about how things could have gone better. They're wrong. I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out. They truly did give me the best birthday I've ever had.

And, thanks to them, I can now cross numbers 17 and 42 off of my bucket list!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy International Red Panda Day!


This adorable little creature is a red panda, also known as a firefox. But don't be fooled; hes not a panda or a fox. He's a member of the raccoon family.

I am a tad bit (VERY) obsessed with red pandas. I think they are the cutest creatures to walk the planet.

Tomorrow is International Red Panda Day. Aka my new favorite holiday.

Just wanted to share that so that no one forgets to celebrate. :-)

P.S. Sad story: red pandas are endangered. Click here to read more about that.

P.P.S. There are adorable videos of red pandas on YouTube. Find one. You'll love them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Binder Dilemma.

Over the years, there has been one school item that I have spent more money on than any other school supply. Paper, pencils, you name it. None can compare to the unfathomable amount of money I have invested in binders.

Typically people buy one binder a year, right? Not me. No, I have to buy at least two. My freshman year I had to buy three.

Why? Well, for one thing, binders break on me ALL THE TIME. Almost every binder I have ever owned has in some way deteriorated. I've had covers fall off, rings refuse to close, rings refuse to open, rips and tears, zippers falling off...you name it, it's happened. Not just to the cheap plastic ones, either. My horrible experience with binders includes those fancy, expensive, "durable" cloth zipper binders.

And when my binders don't break, something else happens to them. They tend to vanish.

Not kidding. Last year, around November, I put my backpack and my binder in my trunk before my last class. Apparently, my backpack had gotten caught in the door and the trunk didn't close all the way. I didn't know that, however, so after my last class, I got into my car and drove off. Somewhere along the way I noticed my door ajar light was on. Immediately I wondered if it was my trunk, because I remembered it may not have shut all the way. Sure enough, that was it.

The trunk was still mostly closed, so I was going to wait until my destination to shut it. Well, on the way, I hit a huge bump in the road and the trunk flew open, at which point I pulled over and shut the trunk.

The next day, I couldn't find my binder anywhere. I looked EVERYWHERE. It was gone. Then I remembered the trunk incident, and decided that my binder was not coming back. So I bought a new one.

Well, this new one has now lasted almost a year. Which, I should know, is always a bad sign. My binders NEVER go this long without breaking or disappearing.

Today, it was gone.

I had no idea where it went.

I woke up this morning, and it was sitting right where it should be, next to my backpack. I went downstairs with my backpack and (I thought) my binder. Got in the car. Went to school. Put my books in my classroom. No binder.

Naturally, I assume I left it in the car. So I go check. No binder.

Okay...I must have left it at home then. So during my break I go home. I check the living room. No binder.

I check my bedroom. No binder.

I check the bathroom, under my bed, the car once more.

No binder.


Really??? Again? How does a binder just vanish?

The funny thing is, it's actually the same binder that fell out of the trunk. Well, not exactly the same. But the same type. I was lucky enough to find the exact same binder--on clearance, and the last one in stock at that--when I went to go buy a new one last year.

I was about to give up on binders, when miraculously my binder reappeared...under the passenger seat in the car...where I had already looked...TWICE.

Seriously though, I'm never buying another binder again. Maybe I'll have better luck with folders.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

You Have to Poke a Hole Before You Can Sew a Stitch.

You don't have to be a seamstress to understand that in order to sew your first stitch, you must first poke your needle through the fabric.

I work with elementary school girls at my church. Today, as I was sitting in the large group with my girls, listening to the lesson, something really stuck out to me. The teacher compared this concept of sewing to correcting people. The lesson was on friendship, and how sometimes, to be a good friend, you have to "inflict truthful wounds."

I thought the analogy was so cool. (Seriously, I wish I'd come up with it.) You have to poke a hole before you can sew a stitch. Sometimes, in order to help your friends further grow in their walk, you have to hurt them first. You have to call them out if you see them doing something they probably shouldn't be doing.

Of course, you should do so lovingly, because a friend also loves at all times (Prov. 17:17). Still, it probably won't be easy on them or you, but ultimately, it is the right thing to do.

Just wanted to share that thought for the day. I thought it was a great way of putting things in perspective and a good reminder for everyone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Little Things.

Almost two years ago now, I was having one of the worst months of my life. Nothing seemed to be going right. I hated school. I hated volleyball. I didn't even enjoy going to church, and I felt as if none of my friends wanted to be around me anymore. I was seriously considering quitting all of it: volleyball, church, everything. I couldn't take it anymore. The pressure was too much, and I was too depressed to deal with it.

A small box changed all of that.

It was about a week before my 16th birthday, and I received a package in the mail. I opened it up, and inside was a birthday card from an anonymous sender and a bag of my favorite candy.

Instantly, I had hope. Hope for tomorrow. Hope that things would get better. And guess what? They did--all because of an anonymous birthday gift. It brightened not just my day, but my whole life. I was ready to give things a second chance.

I've taken away two things from this experience. One, God put amazing people in my life who truly do love and care about me. Before receiving this package, I felt like I had no friends. After receiving the package, I knew that I did.

The other thing this experience taught me is that my problems are NOT too big for God. This is blatantly proven whenever He sends us happiness in small packages. Two years ago, I felt like no one could understand me and that nothing would solve my problems. I'm pretty sure God just laughed at me, because He turned around and sent me a package of Jolly Ranchers and instantly made me forget everything. Believe me, if something as small and simple as candy can solve my problems, then God definitely can.

I never would have imagined I would learn all that from a bag of candy.

So, I encourage you to never take the little things for granted. Because sometimes, it's the little things in life that teach us our most valuable lessons.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To Do Before Death.

The title says it all, folks. Behold: a list of all the things I want to do before I die. Also commonly called a bucket list. Therefore, I present to you: my bucket list. And now you're bored and want to read the list so without further ado, here it is.

(Side note: This list is ALWAYS in progress, so be sure to check back every once in awhile for new additions!)

(Another side note: I am fully aware that some (most) of these things will probably never happen. I'm really not crazy. I promise.)

(Last side note, I promise: Some of the ones that have been completed have a link you can click on to read about the experience. In case you're curious.) 


1. Travel Europe.
2. Visit every continent except Antarctica.
3. Ride the world's scariest roller coaster.
4. Ride a camel.
5. Drive around with my windows down and the radio turned all the way up on some hardcore rap song, just to see the weird looks I'd get.
6. Go to a Taylor Swift concert.
7. Ride a motorcycle.
8. Call the phone number written on the back of a car for sale and try to sell them their own car.
9. See Les Miserables (the musical, not the movie, and not the student version).
10. Play the role of Eponine in Les Miserables.
11. Become an elementary school teacher.
12. Publish a novel.
13. Swim with dolphins.
14. Own a Golden Retriever named Finnick.
15. Go on Survivor and/or The Amazing Race.
16. Fall in love and get married.
17. Have one of those "most memorable" birthdays.
18. Drive a convertible, preferably a Porsche.
19. Sleep on a water bed.
20. Have kids.
21. Pull a really great prank on someone.
22. Jump off Chimney Rock. The big one.
23. Visit every state.
24. Go scuba diving.
25. Become fluent in German.
26. Stand on the Four Corners Monument (aka be in four places at once).
27. Go skiing.
28. Go water skiing.
29. Wash my hair in the rain.
30. Find a four-leaf clover.
31. Win concert tickets on the radio.
32. Bring home a homeless chihuahua and nickname him Jorge.
33. Visit the current residents of the hospital room I was born in, and tell them the story of my birth.
34. Receive a Hogwarts acceptance letter.
35. Have a mailbox like Carl and Ellie's in UP.
36. Meet Colin O'Donohue. Liam and/or Chris Hemsworth is also acceptable.
37. Go to college. 
38. Learn how to dance.
39. Learn how to juggle.
40. Win a game show.
41. Make homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch. (I have the recipe...they look SO good! But they take forever to make...)
42. Have a surprise birthday party.
43. Watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy...maybe even read the books.
44. Go white water rafting.
45. Pet a squirrel.
46. Become a YouTube sensation.
47. Read all of Jane Austen's novels.
48. Be an extra in a movie.
49. Own an iPhone.
50. Experience an earthquake.
51. Go on a cruise.
52. See the 7 wonders of the world.
53. Hold a penguin.
54. Go bungee jumping.
55. Go skydiving.
56. Learn how to decorate cakes.
57. Make creme brulee.
58. Make up my own dessert recipe.
59. Eat at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken.
60. Bring someone to Christ.
61. See the Grand Canyon.
62. Ride a donkey down the Grand Canyon.
63. Catch the bouquet at a wedding.
64. Go to the library dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
65. Go to New York City.
66. See a Broadway show.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fact: Life is Unfair.

"But that's not fair."
"Life isn't fair. Get over it."

Sound familiar? Chances are, every time you've complained about something being unfair in your life, someone has responded by saying "life isn't fair."

But I can't get over it that easily.

Sure, life isn't fair. But that doesn't make it okay to treat people unfairly.

One of my top five strengths is consistency, which means I like everyone to be treated equal. Fairness is a huge issue for me. I'm also a high J, meaning I like justice and order. I cannot stand it when things aren't fair.

Some examples of unfairness that everyone faces:
  • Working hard for something, then having it taken away from you for no reason.
  • Being good at something, and not being recognized for it.
  • Having someone not as good as you at something receive more recognition for it (or even the same amount).
  • People having things handed to them while you are stuck working for what you want.
  • Suffering the consequences of someone else's mistake.
  • Having people less deserving than you receive the same privilege as you.
  • Listening to people who have it way easier than you complain about how tough their life is.

Honestly, there's a lot going on in my life right now that just doesn't seem fair or right to me. And it's not. It's not just me feeling sorry for myself. It's truly wrong.

But, the truth is, it may not be right, but there's really nothing I can do about it. Every single unfair situation that I'm facing at the moment is completely out of my hands. I just have to trust God and my leaders that everything will work out right in the end.

I keep having to tell myself to keep holding on. That I'm not a quitter. Because sometimes, when you're being treated beyond unfairly, you want to do just that: quit. But the important thing is to stick it out and keep a positive attitude. Hope for the best. Support the other people involved. Pray for the strength and courage to move on. Because we're not in control of how we're treated, but we are in control of how we respond.

And if we choose to respond rightly, we will be rewarded in Heaven.

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." ~Hebrews 10:36

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let's Try This Cooking Blog Thing.

So...a lot of people have cooking blogs, right? Right. Well, I love baking. And according to everyone who's ever had one of my cookies, I'm pretty good at it. (Not that it's a special skill I have or anything. I find recipes on the internet and then follow them. Sometimes I change an ingredient here and there. Pretty basic.)

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to post a recipe on here every once in awhile and share my not-so-secrets with the world. For example, tonight I made snickerdoodles. Apparently, they were really good. (I thought they were okay, but my mom like FREAKED OUT over how good they were...she's now convinced I should open a bakery.)

And without further ado, a snickerdoodle recipe. It's super simple.

People with cooking blogs post pictures of their food a lot.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the 1 cup shortening, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and 2 eggs until it is creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt.
  4. Mix the two together. It is easier to gradually add the flour mix while stirring the creamy mix instead of pouring it all in at once, fyi. :-)
  5. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl.
  6. Form dough into small balls and then roll in the cinnamon mixture.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 6-8 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon mixture on the baked cookies while still hot. Most likely, the cookies will be cracked, and the cracks will not be covered in cinnamon. This will help to fill in those cracks, as well as add some extra flavor. If you do it while they are still hot, it will help to absorb the cinnamon.
  9. Let cool, pour a glass of milk, and enjoy!
A Note: Use the cinnamon to your taste. Adjust the measurement given or simply add more/less cinnamon after the cookies are done. Half the fun of baking is experimenting. These are your creation! Have fun with it.

Another Note: This recipe makes about 2 dozen, give or take a few dozen depending on the size of your cookies.

One Last Note: The picture above is of my cookies. Do not panic if yours do not look like this. No two cookies are exactly alike. And if they taste good, no one really cares what they look like anyway.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Go Until You Can't. Then Keep Going.

Perseverance.

So many things come to mind when I hear that word.

Enduring. Sticking with it, even when it's hard. Running until you can no longer walk. Pressing on, no matter how tough the situation. Trusting in God, even when your life is completely and utterly falling apart.

I play volleyball. I love volleyball. I'm not serious about volleyball. I play it for fun. I play it simply to play. I have no intention of being the next Misty May-Treanor. I have no intention of playing in college. Honestly, I don't even care if we lose every game in the season. I love playing, and nothing is going to take that love away from me.

However, the downside to not being competitive with a sport is that it makes quitting that much easier. If you take it seriously, you won't quit for anything. In fact, you might even overwork yourself to get better. When you play for fun, you typically only do the bare minimum of work required, because the sport means nothing to you. As long as you're playing, you're happy. Even if you suck.

So, when someone, such as a coach, pushes you really hard to make you a better player, it's hard to endure. Why should you exert yourself to get better at something you don't even care about? Sometimes, it's easier to just say "I quit."

We are supposed to do everything with excellence. Even if we don't like it. Even if we don't care about it. In everything, we are called to do the best we can. If you hold that as a value in your life, then it is pretty obvious that perseverance is more important than comfort.

This isn't to say you should be perfect every time. Am I a perfect volleyball player? Far from it. The truth is, everyone is going to have their days. All you can do is try your best. Some days, your best may not be as good as other days. That's okay. The most important thing is that you try. You give it your all, no matter what. You work to become a stronger player. You may not invest as much time as others, and that's okay, too. But giving up should never be an option.

I hate quitters. Okay, hate is a strong word. But I can't stand it when people quit. Seriously, get a little perseverance, people! Do you know how many times I've wanted to quit volleyball because it got too hard for uncompetitive me? Like, 132,098,876. At least. Yet I never have. And I've never regretted it. And I continue to play every year. In fact, I'm going into my seventh (and final) year now.

I'm proud of myself for sticking with it. It's been hard. Almost too hard, at some times. (For me at least...I'm pretty weak and don't have a high level of endurance, so things get hard for me pretty quick). But the truth is, I love volleyball. Nothing, not even an hour of those horrifyingly painful ab workouts or having to run for 10 minutes straight with a pulled calf muscle, can change that. Perseverance is part of the sport, and if you can master that part, you won't regret it. You'll have fun and be made a better player. Double win.

But don't get me wrong, that may be a double win, but winning is definitely not the most important thing. It's fun, yes. It's preferable, yes. But losing is not the end of the world. I promise.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24 

P.S. I use the example of volleyball here, but this post applies to everything in life. School work. Your job. Your chores. Life in general. Everything. 

P.P.S. We had our first volleyball game tonight, and won! All the girls did awesome--they definitely played with excellence. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season! :-)

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Decision Was Final...Until I Changed It.

I didn't want to do it.

I wasn't going to do it.

No one could make me do it.

And nothing was going to change my mind.

This used to be my attitude toward being on the worship team in my youth group. With as much as I loved singing, I hated being on stage in front of people and there was no way I was going to do it. Even though, every year for the past three years, I slowly warmed up to the idea, each year I continued to reject the opportunity because my stubborn nature refused to let me do otherwise.

Well, this year, my senior year, I'm finally going to join the team. And I'm super excited about it.

Why? Well, after being on the band for the Canada mission trip, I realized that singing in front of a bunch of people isn't as bad as I was expecting. It's still not my favorite thing to do. I definitely prefer singing in the shower or in my bedroom where no one can hear me. However, I love singing. And after I got over the anxiety of singing in front of a bunch of people, I actually enjoyed myself. A lot.

And then, I got to thinking. And I came to three conclusions:
  1. I love singing. Seriously. It might be my favorite thing to do. Like, ever. 
  2. The people that are on the worship band is a great group of kids. Way better than some of the friends I've had in the past. And, as I discovered hanging out with this group in Canada, they're a ton of fun. Definitely a bonus. :-)
  3. This is what God wants me to do. He gave me a gift that for years I've been hiding. This is how I can best serve him.
I guess, somewhere deep down inside of me, I've always known all this. But, I'd made such a big deal out of NOT doing the band, I could never bring myself to admit that I should.  But, that doesn't matter to me anymore, because seriously...how can I not do it after realizing all this? It's a win-win-win situation.

Seriously, I wish I'd thought of this three years ago!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This Is What I Call Success.

Finding the perfect name for a bunny.

A difficult, but rewarding, task.

I mean, seriously, I have spent second after second, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day searching for the perfect bunny name. I went through umpteen-million endless lists of bunny names. I battled computer viruses, pop-up ads, and even DRAGONS to find a name suited for a black Netherland Dwarf bunny.

Okay, so maybe I didn't battle dragons. And maybe it did only take me about 15 minutes. And maybe it really wasn't that difficult a task. But hey, I got your attention, right??

Now, behold! I introduce you to:

 
Avellana the Bunny! 
Lana for short. :-)

Is that not the best bunny name you've ever heard?!

Disclaimer: This is not my bunny, unfortunately. This bunny is property of Google Images.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Welcome Home.

Day after day, time after time
Nothing seemed to be going right
I'd try to be happy but always would fail
The happiness always was just a thin veil

I searched and searched but never could find
The missing piece to my peace of mind
So once again, I'd wear my mask
And lie through my smile if anyone asked

I needed help, so finally, I cried
And when I did, You opened my eyes
You showed me exactly where I went wrong
And where my happiness had gone

So I'm making some long-needed changes, at last
I'm setting a fire to the bridge of my past
And I'm burning the ashes--there's no turning back
To the haunting ghost of the life I now lack

I'm letting You in as I should have before
I never meant to lock the door
And I'm giving You complete control
Over my mind, my heart, and my soul

I'm ready to follow wherever you go
So, come on in, Lord! Welcome home.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Most Amusing Things On the Planet:

Little kids.

Or, more specifically, little boys.

Little girls are hilarious, too. But there's just something about boys that makes everything more hysterical. Maybe I think that simply because I'm a girl. But check out this conversation between two little boys I was babysitting the other day, one three and one five.

(Note: I missed what started this conversation. We were eating popcorn and I wasn't 100% sure what exactly was going on. But, it doesn't really matter. The conversation is still extremely entertaining.) 

3-year-old: Are you tricking me? 

5-year-old: Maybe. 

3-year-old: If you ever do that again, I'm going to pull my sharp knife out of my pocket! 

5-year-old: I'm going to pull out my sharp sword and cut off your head! And I'm going to put poison in your popcorn and then throw it in your mouth!

(pause) 

3-year-old: I already have poison in my mouth. 

5-year-old: Then you're gonna die!

Did I mention they were laughing the whole time? I mean, it was seriously the cutest/most hilarious/slightly shocking thing I've ever seen in my life. Is it not?

Babysitters live for these moments. This is why we do what we do. It makes every moment worth it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Things I Never Thought I Would Be Grateful For.

For the past 16 days, I have been all over Canada with my youth group on a mission trip. It was fantastic. I worked hard, slept little, sang a lot, and most importantly, grew way closer to the Lord. Though it was a priceless experience (and by "priceless", I don't mean literally. I did have to pay to go.), I am VERY glad to be home. I'm glad to be going back to work tomorrow and to sleep in my comfy bed and to be able to eat a cheeseburger just the way I like it (plain and dry).

On this trip, God taught me to look at things with a different perspective. I'm generally a negative person, and lately I've been working on that. This trip really challenged me to take something that would be so easy to complain about and see it in a more positive light. And through this process, I discovered so many things that most people, including myself, take for granted. Which not only helped me get through the trip, it also gave me a new perspective on things now that I'm home, as well.

And now, without further ado, a list of things I never thought I'd be thankful for:

1. Darkness. If you've never been to Canada, then you should know that in Canada, "nighttime" doesn't start until around 11 o'clock at night and ends at 4:30 am. That means about 5 hours of dark. So like, it could be 10 pm and you think it's only 8 because it's still light outside. And then you wake up at 4:30 thinking it's 7 because the sun is out. It totally throws you off and you completely lose sleep. Therefore, I am thankful for the 10ish hours of darkness we have here in Texas .

2. Cooking. This may sound really horrible, but on the hardest day of the entire mission trip (and by hard, I mean walking a mile through mud carrying heavy lumber back and forth and then helping build a campsite), I was chosen to help prepare lunch. Which meant I got to walk a mile back to where the food was and cook lunch for everyone instead of doing the hard labor. Cooking may be less stretching for me, but it's definitely more my preferred line of work. I am therefore thankful for cooking.

3. Music. This goes with the cooking. Because I was in the band, occasionally I was unable to participate in other projects because I had to practice or perform. Again, singing is definitely something I would prefer doing over some of the other projects, so I am also thankful for music. (Disclaimer: I also did have to sacrifice a lot for the band as well. I wasn't able to play with little kids, which I love, and I had to sacrifice a lot of time before and during the trip for practice. However, overall I am very glad I was on the band as I feel that that is exactly where God wanted me to serve on this team and that that was the best place for me. I enjoyed it more than I anticipated and would love to do it again.)

4. Fast food. I realize that we ate McDonald's three or four times on the trip. But even then I didn't get to order exactly what I wanted (and it was never what I wanted). For the most part, though, it was all cooking and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The first thing I did when I came home, I kid you not, was go through a drive through and get a huge bacon cheeseburger (plain and dry) and a chocolate milkshake. Best. Food. Ever.

5. My own washer and dryer. If you've ever been to a Laundromat, you understand. Not only does it cost a ridiculous amount of quarters just to wash your clothes, it takes forever and you're sitting around with nothing to do. And sometimes, you have friends who think they're helping you out by inserting two more quarters into your washer but are really just paying for you to receive the extended cycle which is 20 minutes longer. And then it takes even longer. (But hey, at least your clothes are extra clean, right?)

6. Bed. This is pretty self-explanatory. After camping for three nights and sleeping on floors for almost the entire trip (minus when we were in Calgary and had the fantastic privilege of sleeping in beds), your bed becomes that much more welcoming. I think I missed this the most.

7. Showers. You know you're deprived when you shout for joy at receiving a 5 minute shower every other day. Seriously, after being yelled at from the other side of the bathroom door that my two-minute shower was half over and I wasn't even in the shower yet, 5 minutes was like I had died and gone to heaven.

8. Earplugs. One night, I woke up around 2 am to someone snoring in the next tent over sooo loudly and obnoxiously that I seriously thought they were dying. (No offense to whoever it was; I really did feel bad for them as I'm sure they could not breathe at all). And when you have a clan of noisy seagulls screaming all night long on top of that, it's even worse. I would start crying because it was soooo noisy and I couldn't sleep. Whenever I was smart enough to remember to put in my earplugs, however, I heard nothing and slept the night through. I don't normally wear earplugs, but I now have a new appreciation for them.

(Those are my top 8. I'm sure there are way more, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind.)

"To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old."
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Computers Should Fear Me.

I swear I am not technologically challenged.

I'm normally pretty good with computers and the like. I'm good at figuring out how electronics work. But lately, I've been having MAJOR issues.

It all started on Monday. Oh, don't you just love Mondays that start out with nothing going right? Those are the best, no?

Yeah...no. I come into work Monday morning and attempt to log on to my computer. I enter my username. Fine. I enter my password. Okay. It says what it always says: Verifying password, please wait...

Normally this "verifying" takes about 5 seconds tops, and then I'm logged on. Yeah...I waited about 5 minutes. Then I entered my password again. Still nothing. Then, about 2 minutes later, the screen went black. Finally something is happening.

Then: No, wait, nevermind. It's making me log in again. Okay, not a big deal. So I enter my username. Fine. I enter my password. Verifying password, please wait...

FIVE MORE MINUTES.

Forget this. I'm rebooting. So I turn off my computer. I turn it back on. It starts up. And then it just stops. It gives me some error message. I don't understand, because I don't read computer. But it tells me to press F1 to retry boot. So I press F1. Nothing. I press it again. Nothing. I press it about 50 more times. Nothing.

Okay...let's try this again, shall we? Turn off computer. Turn on computer. Error message. F1. Nothing.

I literally had like 3 people trying to fix the problem. I have no idea what happened, but my computer just did not want to let me on.

Finally they decided to have me log onto another computer to see if I could get on that one. So, my friend and coworker logged off and I logged into hers. BAM. It let me in. Success. So I log out. And then her screen goes black. AND NOTHING IS WORKING ON HER COMPUTER ANYMORE.

Seriously??? Does everything I touch break? Like some sort of twisted version of King Midas? 

Thankfully, her computer started back up just fine. And then, magically, so did mine. I was very glad that my computer was working again, albeit I had lost an hour of work.

And I thought that was the end of my computer problems. But then yesterday, I was trying to log onto another computer (not at work--this was at church), and everything froze.

It's highly possible that it locked me out for entering too many wrong passwords. I didn't know the password so I kept guessing...I had no idea it would just stop letting me guess...I mean, I would have gotten it eventually.

I felt like the computer was taunting me. It was probably all "Haha, you don't know the password and you suck at guessing...and I'm a cool computer and have the power to just freeze on you and make you panic and think that you've broken yet another computer..."

Yeah. It was so laughing at me.

In conclusion. If you are or have a computer, be very afraid if I am near. Bad things happen when I touch computers. Horrible, terrible, awful things.

No wonder my laptop has so many issues...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bittersweet Goodbyes.

Saying goodbye sucks.

And I am truly horrible at it. I never know what to say, so I'm always just like "bye!" Then, after it's too late, I realize how much I'm going to miss the person and feel terrible because the last thing I said to them was "bye."

Seriously? "Bye?" That's the best I can come up with? Yeah, I sure care a lot...I care sooooo much that I gave you a whole syllable! Aren't you special.

Today was full of goodbyes. Actually, this whole month has been full of goodbyes. Most of them bittersweet. But the bad thing about bittersweet, is that you're too focused on the bitter to think about the sweet.

Have you ever taken a bite of bittersweet chocolate? It's extremely disappointing. Chocolate is a wonderful, rich treat that few people dislike. I, personally, am a huge chocoholic. One time, I found a huge bar of chocolate in my pantry. I gasped in excitement. I unwrapped it, anxiously awaiting taking my first bite. Then I took my bite. And I immediately spit it out.

It was bittersweet chocolate. I was expecting to taste the same sort of heavenly goodness that chocolate normally has. But instead, I got something bland and quite flavorless. I have not eaten bittersweet chocolate since. (Unless you count dark chocolate, in which case, yes, I have.)

That's how goodbyes are for me. Usually when I have to say goodbye, it's because people are going on to bigger and better things. For example, graduation was last week. And for the most part, it was a happy event. But at the same time, it was the closest I've ever been to crying at a graduation. Even though I only had two friends in the graduating class, this was the closest I've ever been to a senior class. I realized how much I was going to miss going to school next year with those two friends. I realized I was going to have to say goodbye.

Today, I had to say goodbye to a lot of people. Well, two, to be exact. But there would have been a lot more, had I seen them. Almost every guy in my youth group is leaving town in the morning to go to a summer training program at a ranch at some undisclosed location. Well, I don't think the location is actually undisclosed...but I don't know where it is and it sounds cooler to say that. Anyway, they're going to be gone for three weeks. I will not see any of them for THREE WEEKS. That's like an eternity, people.

Ok, so three weeks doesn't feel like an eternity when it's three weeks until school starts. It flies by. But it feels like an eternity when it's three weeks until Christmas, three weeks until your birthday, or three weeks without seeing a good 50% of your friends.

I only saw two of my friends today. Therefore I only got to say goodbye to two of them. But honestly, I can't handle another goodbye. I hate saying goodbye. I just don't think I could do it three times in one day.

It's bittersweet because I know they're going to have a great time and ultimately it's going to have a lasting impact on their lives. It's going to help shape them and help them grow spiritually, mentally, and physically. It's going to test them. It's going to challenge them. They're going to learn so much.

But it's hard to focus on that when some of my best friends are leaving me. For three weeks. And the worst part is, all I said was "bye."

I had so many things planned out that I could have said. But I couldn't do it. It's like the growing excitement of eating a chocolate bar, only to take your first bite and discover that it has no flavor. I had expectations of giving these "flavorful" goodbyes. Then I said them, and they were bland and boring.

I'm writing this in case any of my friends who are leaving in the morning decide to stop by before they go. I doubt they will, but just in case, I wanted to say goodbye. The right way. I can say way more through writing than I have ever been able to say in words. This is just easier.

I hope you guys have a fantastic time at SWEAT. I know y'all will learn and grow so much during your time there. It probably won't seem like it now, but you won't regret it. It will definitely not be the same around here without the guys. :-) I think I speak for all of us staying at home when I say that you will for sure be missed. But, we'll see you all in three weeks. And I can't speak for everyone on this point, but I personally want to hear every detail of the trip when you guys get back. And by every detail...I mean every detail. You know, except the secret guy stuff that I wouldn't understand. That you can keep to yourself. ;-)

Have a fantastic three weeks, boys.