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.

  • 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
  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.


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 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!