Sunday, December 23, 2012

I'm 20!!

    So yesterday was my 20th birthday. It was pretty cool because I got to spend it with my best friend Jenna, see The Hobbit again, and she gave me lots of cool gifts including the first 2 seasons of Downton Abbey!!! I can catch up! My parents also gave me some lovely gifts too, and I got my first Tiffany's jewelry from them. It's a heart necklace that we are going to have my name engraved onto.

   I'm so blessed by all the gifts I have received from everyone!! Deon stayed up till midnight and Skyped with me to tell me Happy Birthday, although he waited till 1am to write on my wall because he's an hour behind me and insisted that I was born in North Dakota which is in his time zone so therefore, it wasn't REALLY my birthday yet. He's too funny. I was sad he couldn't have magically apparated in for the day to spend it with me (not to mention meeting Jenna because that has GOT to happen soon), but I'll be seeing him in a little over a week. :) Which is good cuz I miss him like crazy.

    I had been freaking out for a few weeks about being 20. I didn't like the idea of now actually being an adult. I certainly don't feel like one!! And as the giggling over some *ahem* interesting topics with Jenna and Katie last night showed, I don't always act like one either, but I think that a little bit of silliness is good. Especially late at night. It took me back to when the three of us were inseparable and did everything together. We got the giggles all the time. A lot has changed since then, but I'm glad we can still do that from time to time.

     As I thought more about it, I realized I AM glad to be 20. Aside from the ages of 18-20, my teenage years sucked. Not as bad as some peoples I'm sure but for the majority of them I wasn't very happy, and I didn't have very many friends. Since going to college, I have gained so many friends that have shown me without even trying what true friendship and loyalty is. Aside from one or two of my childhood friends, most of mine were judgemental and really messed up my views of God and the world. They didn't do it intentionally, it's just how they were raised, but I'm still trying to find my way back. Around when I turned 18 I realized I didn't give a crap what they all thought and from now on I was going to just try to figure out what I wanted and what God REALLY wanted from me.  I also quit trying to please other people and tell them what they wanted to hear. I'd never been very good at it anyways since I am fairly blunt. ;) What a freeing feeling that was!!! I felt like a burden I didn't know I'd even been carrying was lifted. Sure there are still times where I am tempted to put aside my convictions and give in to the peer pressure, but most of the time, I'm able to say no and I'm a lot better off and a lot happier. I figured if they didn't like me for me than why would I want to be around them anyway? When I showed up at Lee, I expected the same old crap, but what I got instead was unconditional love, no judgement, loyalty, and lots of hugs! As I shared different parts of my life and story with different friends all from different backgrounds, they all understood and said they loved me anyways! If I'm struggling with something I only have to tell them and they pray for me. They have all been through so much too and it amazes me that we are all from so many different backgrounds and can identify to each other like we do.

    Of course, none of us are perfect and we let each other down every now and then, but a quick apology and a hug is all it takes to get us back on the right track.

   After experiencing this life as I entered adulthood and really coming into my own as a person and finding what God wants me to do with my life, (plus a ton of amazing choral singing), I've concluded I won't miss my teenage years. They taught me a lot about what NOT to do which was good, but now I'm ready to look ahead at the future God has planned for me. :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Now the pain we all feel at this dreadful loss reminds me, and, reminds us, that though we may come from different countries and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one."

I'd just like to take a minute to address the Sandy Hook shooting. As a person, and as a future educator I am devastated by this. There have been many shootings and tragedies that have happened in my 20 years on this earth, but few have affected me like this. I don't know if it's because now that I have been accepted into TEP it's making me realize that whoa, I actually AM about to be a teacher and that could have been MY classroom, and MY kids. What if I am put in a situation like that one day? Would I be brave enough to put my life in jeopardy for my kids even if I knew I was going to die? I'd like to think God would give me the courage...but I don't know for sure. 

However, what I do know is that I am going to do my utmost to make my classroom the safest and happiest environment it can be. I'm going to love those kids like there may be no tomorrow and make sure they always know I care about them. I pray that I can always protect them and not have to break the news to a parent that their child is gone. 

I pray for peace.

Right now, I know it feels like the world is spinning out of control, but God is in control. He is the rock to which I am clinging and I pray those families are too. 

Pray for peace, pray for Sandy Hook, and realize what amazing lives we have been given and cherish your loved ones and thank God for protecting you. 

RIP - All the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.
Charlotte Bacon, age 6.
Daniel Barden, 7.
Olivia Engel, 6.
Josephine Gay, 7.
Ana M Marquez-Greene, 6.
Dylan Hockley, 6.
Madeleine F Hsu, 6.
Catherine V Hubbard, 6.
Chase Kowalski , 7.
Jesse Lewis, 6.
James Mattioli, 6.
Grace McDonnell, 7.
Emilie Parker, 6.
Jack Pinto, 6.
Noah Pozner, 6.
Caroline Previdi, 6.
Jessica Rekos, 6.
Avielle Richman, 6.
Benjamin Wheeler, 6.
Allison N Wyatt, 6.
Rachel Davino, 29.
Dawn Hochsprung, 47.
Anne Marie Murphy, 52.
Lauren Rousseau, 30.
Mary Sherlach, 56.
Victoria Soto, 27.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Day in New Orleans

  After an exhausting, rewarding, but horrific first semester of my sophomore year, my father flew me to stay with him for three days in New Orleans. Saturday I will (finally) fly home and be with my mother. 
 Before you ask, because this has been a question I've gotten a lot lately, my parents are not divorced. The job that my Dad started over a year ago has him traveling a lot and so during the week he is in New Orleans where he's been stationed since April and then he comes home weekends. It's been quite a while since my Dad and I have spent any one on one time together so I thought this trip would be fun. 

 Today, I got to explore the French Quarter by myself which was lovely. Don't get me wrong, I miss my friends and my wonderful boyfriend (his names Deon and you will probably be reading more about him than you will like if you decide to keep up with this blog fyi), but me being the antisocial creature I am if I am going to be exploring and shopping I very much like to do so at my own pace with no inane conversation. It was lovely to run on no ones schedule but my own today. I ate lunch with Dad and then he left to work and I walked to the St. Louis Cathedral. I thought of my good friend Frank as I walked in...he would def love it there! I sat for a while and did some praying. God and I haven't had any long talks's mostly been hurried prayers that consisted of: "please don't let me bomb this test" "please help me not to bite so and so's head off" "please help me get everything done I need to" and most often: "Please help me not to cry." 
St. Louis Cathedral
Ahhh the joys of college finals. 

It was so relaxing to pray and then just sit and listen to the music (Victimae Pascali Laudes if you really want to know. Told you I like Gregorian chant), and let God talk for a change. I talk at Him a lot but don't listen back very well. I've been working on listening better to everyone around me. I have a bad habit of interrupting and turning conversations to be about me. No one's pointed out to me that I have this habit or anything but it's something I've come to realize more and more. As I sat in silence with my eyes shut I just felt a lovely sense of peace wash over me. I could feel God telling me that everything in my life is going just the way it should be and to continue to open up to Him and take every new opportunity offered to me. I had many this semester and am looking forward to more. 

  Next, I headed across the street to Cafe Du Monde which my dear roommate Lexi recommended. I had cafe au lait and these French donuts which basically taste to me like sopapillas with powdered sugar on top. YUMMMMM. They were just right not too sweet and didn't fill me up too much. I loved sitting and people watching. I def want to go back tomorrow. 

After that I did some Christmas shopping and promptly got lost and used my iphone map app to make it back to the hotel. Go me. 

It wouldn't be a day of adventure without me being directionally challenged! ;)