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Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: A Year In Review

2009 marked my entrance into a university; no longer was I attending a community college. I was scared senseless my first day. I remember leaving a good two hours before my class was supposed to begin, despite the fact I only live 45 minutes away, and park in the parking garage farthest away. I got used to my classes pretty quickly and thus fell into a slight depression. My classes were all mixed-mode, and therefore most of the classtime was spent on the internet. It gave me little interaction with my peers and a lot of time by myself on the computer. I realized how much I desire being around other people. Even if we're not doing much, it beats being alone. I did some observation in a special education classroom and fell in love with an autistic boy. I now have the hopes of getting my masters degree in exceptional education, working with the more severe children.  Other than that, my first semester was nothing too exciting. I commuted an hour, went to class, and came back home. The fall semester was much more enjoyable. I loved each of my classes and I know I'm in the right major. Working with young children brings me such joy, and I hope that one day I'm the one who inspires them and makes their lives a little easier.

Summertime brought many fun experiences. May marked the closing of my job as a hostess and the beginning of my job as a babysitter. Five days a week for five hours a day I babysat twin eight-year-olds. Halfway through the summer their four-year-old sister was added to my arms. As difficult as these kids were some days, I loved spending my summer with them. They were crazy and hyper and at times I wanted to lock them away, but they were so much fun to be with. I miss them so much. In July I was a crew leader at Vacation Bible School at my church. So after five hours of babysitting three overly active kids, I went to church and hung out with eight overly active kids. Still, I had so much fun. During that week, I really felt my calling as a teacher.

In April I went to an Invisible Children rally called The Rescue of Joseph Kony's Child Soldiers. This event really pushed me into becoming more dedicated with IC; it was an awesome experience. I left with my heart full of joy and inspired. Then in June, three friends and I went to Washington, DC for Invisible Children lobby days. It was one of the most incredible experiences in my life. I laughed, I loved, and I was inspired. While in DC, I got the opportunity to meet two REAL heroes of mine, Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer and Jason Russell, co-founder of IC. My heart was impacted on a whole new level that weekend, and I made a promise with myself that one day, who knows when, I will go to Uganda and meet the children that have changed my life in such a drastic way.

August marked one of the biggest steps I've taken in my life- moving away from my home. Granted, I only live 45 minutes away, but still.. it's a big step to take. I fell into a slight depression about halfway through the semester. I hadn't made any friends, and still haven't made many, and I was having a difficult time adjusting. I found myself going to numerous different club meetings, in an attempt to make friends. I've met friendly people, but still haven't made any FRIENDS. Since getting a job at Kohl's I've calmed down. I don't have as much free time. I get interaction with a number of friendly people. If there's one thing that I hope is better about next year, it's this aspect of my life.  Overall, however, my move away from home has benefited me. I am now closer to my family, as the little annoyances that originally drove me up the wall no longer bother me as much, since I'm not constantly around them.

My job at Kohl's was an interesting time. I started off completely despising it and dreading going into work. I felt my managers were too pushy and more than once did I come home in tears. Eventually I got over it. If the managers were pushy, I ignored them. I did my job, so there's no reason why they should make me feel like crap. A few months into it I almost started almost enjoying working, because I like almost everyone I work with. But, the job is close to an end, and while I'm happy about that, I don't want to find a new job. 

In the relationship department, I have remained single for the entity of the year. And my life. It's hard to explain how I feel about this; some days I could care less, but other days I would like to have someone. As I grow older, I realize more and more why I'm like this. My father left my family. You could say I was abandoned. He emotionally abused my mother. I was scared of him when I was younger because he spanked my brother and I a lot, and hard. I'm not trusting of many males and I have a difficult time talking to them, letting them get to know me. Unlike many girls who grew up fatherless, I have not had as many boyfriends as possible, trying to fill the void in my life. Instead, I run. Afraid of being hurt like my mother. Afraid of being abandoned. One day, I'm sure someone will come into my life. Someone who I will trust and not be afraid of. But until then, I will wait. Trusting that the Lord is selecting the exact right person for me, who won't mind me being wary in the beginning. Taking child development classes is what has really opened my eyes to this situation. How I act to certain things and situation. It's almost like therapy. (This was very personal, I normally shy away from this aspect of my life.) 

In the course of the year I do think I've grown as a person. I've become more compassionate and inspired. I've become dedicated to my future and Invisible Children. I've made a promise to myself that one day I will go to Uganda. I've realized how much I truly want to change the world, and how I will try my hardest to make this dream a reality.

And now, onto a new decade... I hope everyone has a happy and SAFE new year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How is tomorrow already Christmas?! This year has gone by in a flash. Within the next week, I plan on writing a summary of 2009. Hopefully it'll be semi-good. :)

I've worked every day the past eight days, with the exception of Sunday. Oh goodness, retail, you're going to be the death of me! I work again Saturday, which is supposed to be just as bad as Black Friday. Hooray.

I feel like the spring semester is just around the corner... winter break is seriously going by way too quickly. I've worked way too much and haven't seen enough of my friends. Luckily next week I only have 15 hours and three days off in a row. One of those days I'm going to see Avatar! I've heard such great things about it; I'm excited to see it for myself.

I woke up this morning at 7:30 and, though it took some pushing to get out of bed, I really enjoyed it. Mornings are so peaceful, with most people still asleep. I like how the light the sun shines in on the living room, with the sun just rising. I'm one of the few people who is a morning person. I'd rather wake up early than sleep in. I very rarely, aka never, get up past 9am. If I sleep in too late I feel gross. Like my day has been wasted. Even if I'm up late, I make an attempt at waking up early. I can always take a nap later in the day.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful day with your friends and family!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

end of semester joy

As the end of the semester draws near, I am more than ready for this break. This semester has been a whirlwind, with writing two-three papers a week and getting a job I absolutely despise. Things with the job have been going better. I don't stress about it anymore, I just dread going into work. I've decided that if they offer to extend my job past seasonal, I will accept. Until I can find something less terrible. I want to work at a daycare. To get experience. And to enjoy working. But I don't have any qualifications yet, in the process, and daycare's normally don't hire people who aren't qualified, but it does happen.  I can hope.

My classes this semester were all great; I'm happy to finally have gotten into my core classes.  Learning so many different techniques and theories get me excited to get into a classroom myself.  At the same time, though, it scares me. I'm set to graduate two years from this month. While that still is a while away, and a lot can happen in two years, I don't think I'm ready to be a teacher in two years. I'll only be 22! I'll have gone through Internship I & II, but there is going to be another more experienced teacher in the class with me. Guiding and directing me. Once I'm graduated I'm supposed to teach on my own. Six-year-olds, eighteen of them. That sounds scary! I think I need some maturing to do before that day comes.

Now, I must get back to attempting to write paperspaperspapers and reading textbooks. Christmas break, get here faster!

I need to blog more!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

give thanks

Today is a day of reflection and giving thanks, however we should not limit giving thanks to just one day- we should to it all year long.

I have so much to be thankful for...

My savior, Jesus Christ- Without His grace, I would not be half the person I am today. I give my Lord my all.

My mother- She is a single parent raising two children on one salary, without any child support. She has done an excellent job, if I say so myself, even though she doesn't believe it at times. Thank your mommies today.

My grandparents- Without the help of my mom's parents, I don't think we would have made it. They both assisted in raising us, since our father isn't around. My grandpa fixes anything that needs to be fixed and helps mom keep her finances on track... and he's really awesome.  My grandma was our primary babysitter when Jace and I were younger.She taught me how to cook and I get my cleanliness from her.

Sage- My puppy brings me so much joy. On my worst day, she can wag her tail at me, and I am instantly cheered.

My beautiful friends- They lift me up when I'm down, can put a smile on my face on the darkest of days, and are overall fantastic. I love each and every one of you. <3

The chance to earn a college education- I do have taken out loans, and I'm probably going to be in debt a while after I graduate, but at least I'm getting a degree. At least I have the resources and am getting the opportunity. I get to choose my future, and I am so grateful for that.

Passions and dreams to live out- There is so much I want to do with my future. So many passions and dreams I want to pursue. Some of them may not come true, but I'm able to dream. I have the opportunity to dream and wish.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

my "Things I Look Forward to Every Week" list

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.
e e cummings

Here is my "Things I Look Forward to Every Week" list... what a title.

-How I Met Your Mother Monday nights
-Hanging out with Erin for five hours Monday
-SVU marathon Tuesday and Thursday's
-EEC 4661 on Tuesdays because my professor is AWESOME. She always makes us treats or we do arts & crafts! 
-Days I don't have to work
-Friday afternoons... as long as I don't have to work
-Payday. I feel so greedy and terrible about putting this, but it's the truth. 

My list is kind of boring, but that's beside the point. The point is I must not discouraged, because there are things I have to look forward to.  The point is there is more than good grades and getting a paycheck.

Monday, November 16, 2009

“ I don’t believe in forgive and forget. We’re not wired to forget but wired to remember so we’ll be challenged to keep loving and forgiving. Wired to remember how we’ve been forgiven…"

Bryce Avary, The Rocket Summer

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

just love.

Love God, Love others.

Loving unconditionally is something I will struggle with all of my life, but I believe it's what I'm called to do, as a follower of Jesus Christ.

It's particularly hard for me, because if someone doesn't see eye-to-eye with me, I get so frustrated. I want everyone to see things my way.  While I realize that is completely unrealistic, I can't seem to shake myself of this terrible habit.

I have a lot of questions and struggles with loving unconditionally. Should I love the people purposely who hurt others? People who knowingly commit wrongs day in and out? People who don't respect themselves or others? Abusive people? Greedy people? Should I love people who murder?  What about my father? Should I love him? But he abandoned me.

While I know the answer to each of these questions is "yes," it brings me so many struggles. Even heartache on some days. I know these struggles of mine will never go away, because unconditionally loving everyone is not something I believe I'm capable of as a human, but only something to strive for.

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, It is between you and God;
It never was between you and them anyway."

—Mother Teresa

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A new month...

I'm more than ready for a break.  Thanksgiving couldn't come any sooner.  I'm falling behind in my reading and I have five observations to do in the next month.  I have one paper due a week, and most weeks I have multiple papers due.  On top of that, I'm scheduled 20 hours a week at Kohl's, along with occasional babysitting- but that's still tentative.  I'm beginning to despise my job at Kohl's and I regret taking it.  They are really big into credit- having people open charge cards. I've worked three weeks and have yet to open one.  I'm asked multiple times each shift I work (it averages 3-5) and each time my answer is "no."  It makes me feel awful.  I stress out more over stupid credit than I do over my school.  That should not be the case.  I have two months left of working there.  I hope I can push through it.

It's hard to believe it's already November... and the weather is still too warm! I'm ready to wear sweaters and cardigans and hoodies. I'm ready to wake up cold and drink hot chocolate.  To drive with my windows down without sweating. Central Florida is not really the place for me, but neither is the north. I think Northern Florida/Georgia is the place for me.  There are seasons and it gets a little cool, but there won't be five months of cold feet for me to suffer through.

I adore going to church over here.  It's nothing incredible or anything, but the sense of community and WORSHIP is so... awesome, for lack of a better word.  Worship occupies most of the service, and the praise band is on the talented side.  While I miss my church at home, church here is a nice replacement.

Time changes mess me up... it's only 6pm and it's already dark out. I woke up this morning at 6:30 thinking it was time to get up. Once I'm used to this, it will be time to change the clocks once again.

Here's some good reading:
(click the title to be taken to the link :)

Goodness precedes Greatness
Find your core

Until next time. <3

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I think I have a problem. I crave human interaction, friendships, conversation, community- but I'm shy. I don't think I have the capability to spark a conversation with a stranger. On the other hand, I easily open up if a stranger begins a conversation with me.

Today at church, we were told to begin a conversation with someone we didn't know following the service. That should have been easy for me, because I don't know anyone there. Instead of doing what was asked of us, I walked quickly out of the building, avoiding eye contact with everyone. I regretted it as soon as I pulled away from the church. Why don't I have the capability to make friends? I can't always leave it up to someone else.

I've been going to club meetings that interest me, and I've met a few friendly people, along with people in my classes. I've yet to make a friend, though. And I hate it. Currently I'm regretting my decision of going to BCC, then UCF. Sure, it saved me a ton of money and I have an unusually high GPA, but I feel like it put me behind in the making friendships area. Last semester was fine and dandy, because I commuted. I drove to campus, went to class, and left. Back to the place where I had friends. Now, I feel as though everyone already has their circle of friends, and I don't fit in anywhere.

I feel really awful right now. My stomach is churning and I just want to go to bed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I want to do so much in my future, I don't know how I'm going to accomplish it all. I want to go to Africa, I want to live in Ireland, I want to go on missions, I want to build houses for the homeless, I want to love everyone. I want to be a teacher, eventually. Teaching IS something I want to do, but it's started to become secondary in my future plans. I keep hearing about overseas opportunities, and I want to partake in ALL of them! I want to meet the children of Uganda, I want to build houses for the homeless in Haiti, I want to go into the Peace Corps or Ameri-Corps. I want to teach young children, I want to get my Master's degree in Special Education. I want to work for a non-profit organization. I want to live in a big city. I want to get married and have a family of my own, while living in a small, quaint town.  How is all of this going to get done?!  

I think about the future too much.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Since I heard about the release of one of my favorite childhood books, Where the Wild Things Are, I have been eagerly anticipating the opening day.  Now, it's less than a week since it opens and I'm so excited.  Everytime I see the trailer, I squeal.  The cinematography looks so well done; the monsters illustrated in the book look nearly identical to the ones in the movie. The song chose for the trailer, Wake Up by The Aracde Fire, was an excellent choice. It's absolutely beautiful and full of emotion. I find myself humming it quite often. Unfortunately I won't get to see it opening night (I work D: ), but I will be at the theater Saturday night, wearing my "I Love Wild Things" t-shirt, excited to see what Spike Jonze has created.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

life update

I'm considering dropping my English Writing minor. I don't want to, but I noticed that I've started dedicating more time on my stories and memoirs compared to my assignments that I really need to be focusing on. The ones that are dedicated toward my understanding of how to develop the minds of young children. That's sort of scary and I decided that it's not worth it. I'm going to speak with my advisor Wednesday about another minor I could pursue, because I want to get a minor. There's a non-profit minor, but it requires an internship and I already have two internships for education. There's an international studies minor that I've considered, because I would like to work with children internationally, specifically Africa. This minor dilemma has started making me feel anxious. Once I speak with my advisor, hopefully I will feel more at ease.

I have orientation at Kohl's on Wednesday. I've been looking for a job since July, and it's such a relief to (possibly) have one again. It's a seasonal job and there's probably not much chance of them keeping me on after the holidays are over. I'm worried about keeping up with my schoolwork along with working fifteen to twenty hours a week. I don't have class on Tuesday or Thursday's, but that's when I get most of my schoolwork done. I guess that's going to change. I want to start volunteering, as well. I want to get more involved. It's about time I start sleeping less and being completely overwhelmed with everything, hah. :(

There's this thing called "Alternative Spring Break" that I'm considering doing. During spring break, I will be sent to one of five or six locations around the south- Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, etc- and spend the week doing volunteer work. It sounds like a really nice time.  I like dedicating my time to help others, but I honestly don't make enough attempt to do it more often.

I need to make friends here in Orlando. Both Lauryn and Michelle went home last week and I had a pretty awful Saturday night. I don't like being alone. I like humans. I like interaction. Even if it's sitting around doing nothing. Even if it's with people I don't know. I need community.

I started going to a church called Anthem, and even though I go by myself, I feel at home. Everyone is so kind and warm. They have a "college group" Tuesday nights and I'd like to go to that one night, but other activities keep getting in my way.

Okay, this was another attempt at procrastination. I have an assignment and powerpoint to work on.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

there's more to living than being alive

I went to another Invisible Children screening the other night. Every time I watch one of those films or go to a rally, I come out the other side a little more changed. A little more aware of the horrors I can hardly fathom being apart of, a little more driven to change the world.

If there's one passion I have, it's changing the world; yes, I know it's cliche. Changing lives, showing EVERYONE they are loved, leaving the world a better place than when I arrived- I'm going to make it happen. I've had that mindset for as long as I can remember, but it really wasn't until I saw Invisible Children: Rough Cut, almost three years ago, did I actually believe I have that power and capability. The fact that three young men my age uncovered such a tragic story is inspiring. What makes it all the more incredible is the progress this movement has gone through.

Thoughts of Africa keep invading my heart and mind. I would love the chance to travel there and work with the hurting first hand, but could I handle it? IC has a six-week Teacher Exchange Program, but they look for teachers of older children, not younger. There's also a much longer four-month internship. Should I make the attempt to become apart of one of these privileged groups? I want to pack up and leave tomorrow, but I don't trust myself taking a semester break from school. Would I return back to my schooling? Could I return? I'll just have to wait it out, but that's okay. If I want this bad enough, it will happen.

"If I go to America, will they love me?"

Those words were spoken by Roseline, an invisible child. I need to show each and every single one of these children that they ARE loved. It all starts with love. It always starts with love.

You get one life, one chance, so why not make the most of it? Do what you love, pursue your passions by whatever means it takes.

"The more I live I see- this life's not about me."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Kind strangers

This morning, after glumly noticing that I was out of coffee, I decided to stop by Starbucks on my way home for Labor Day. At the last minute, I decided instead to go to Dunkin Donuts, because it's right next door and I wouldn't have to back track. Upon driving into the plaza, I was second guessing my last minute choice of Dunkin Donuts, but proceeded in anyway. As I approached the counter, I was greeted with "Hello! What would you like this morning?" and a humongous smile. "Um... a medium coffee" was my timid reply. We exhanged a few polite words while he was getting everything together. Upon taking my receipet, he gave me another face-eating smile and said, "Here you are and have a blessed day!" I was completely taken aback by the sincerity in his parting comment. I could truly tell that he wanted me to have a blessed day. As I was exiting the Dunkin Donuts, I, too, had a big smile across my face. His happiness and sincerity was contagious, and all day long I've been in a wonderful mood.

I want to be that kind of person. I make a feeble attempt to be that kind of person. I want to improve someone's day with just a smile and a few kind, meaningful words. You don't have to say a lot, but you have to truly mean what you say. This Dunkin Donuts boy inspired me. He inspired me to spread my happiness to others, to people who might be having a difficult day.

Thank you, kind stranger. You've made my day wonderful and full of smiles. I plan on meeting again.

Monday, August 31, 2009

There's no place like home.

My goal is to go home every other weekend. To see my family and to go to my church. This past weekend was my first scheduled weekend home.

Saturday night my brother, a friend of his, and a friend of mine saw the latest Quentin Tarantino film, "Inglorious Basterds." I was really shocked at how much really I enjoyed this movie. I don't like blood, gore, or war movies in general- you can ask any of my friends or family. However, Tarantino's depiction of blood and gore in this movie were both done artistically not grotesquely, so I wasn't as bothered as I could have been. It also helps that, as devastating and horrifying as it was, I've always found the story of the Holocaust to be interesting. Also, the plot was AMAZING. I was hanging onto every word. It was a rather long movie and I had to force myself to leave the theater to use the restroom. There were some subtitles, and at times, I think they can get pretty annyoing, but they didn't bother me once in this movie. So, overall I really enjoyed this movie, and I can see myself watching it many more times in the future.

Sunday's church service was a dreary affair. Normally my young pastor, he's 26, is very energetic, entertaining, and humorous. But this Sunday, as he got up to welcome us, I could tell something was wrong. He delievered a few announcments then we had worship. As he was beginning his sermon, he mentioned that he had a really difficult week. His son, who's only seven months old, was hospitalized early in the weekend and he was having serious family issues. As he was speaking about his family, he just broke down and started sobbing. His mother went to the front of the church and they were hugging and crying. It was one of the saddest things I've ever witnessed in my entire life. My pastor has done so much for our church and he's so appreciated, and seeing him in such pain was almost unbearable. Most of the congregation was crying, mourning for our pastor. It was a somber service, much different than what I'm used to.

Tomorrow promises to be a busy day: another job search, completing my small pile of homework, grocery shopping, a meeting with Outlanders, aka CAMPING CLUB- so excited!, and ice cream with my roommates!

Goodnight, moon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summer of 2009, you were one to remember.

I went to St. Augustine on Memorial Day.

I helped bake some cakes for the LOST season 4 finale.

I celebrated my 20th birthday by going to Disney with two of my best friends.

I went camping and failed at setting up tents.

I went to Washington, DC and participated in an event I will never forget.

I was even blessed to have the opportunity to meet a hero while in DC.

I went to a Wizard Rock concert. :)

I celebrated free Slurpee day.

I celebrated the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. <3

I played a lot of Fluffy Bunny.

I went to a few game nights. I love Risk now.

I celebrated Christmas in July.

I even went to the beach a few times!

So long, sweet summer...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

lazy day

I spent almost the entire summer going non-stop, with babysitting, various church activities, and spending a lot of time with friends and family. Today was quite the opposite. I can recall only a few other days out of this entire summer that was as laid-back as today was. I woke up before eight, even though I went to bed a little late last night. Probably because it was my first night on my own (whoa!). I did a lot of nothing today. I watched a lot of television, which I hardly ever do, got some school stuff taken care of, ran some errands and went on a crazy search for ink cartridges- can you believe there isn't a Wal-Mart near by?!-then watched some more television. I've felt rather unproductive. I could've continued my quest for a job, but I just wasn't motivated. Tomorrow it has to get done. My checking account misses those deposit's. Even though I'm not very tired yet, I think I might hit the sack soon. I don't like this feeling of not doing much...

Monday, August 17, 2009

the day is finally here

Well, today is the day. I begin moving out. Mom took three days off work to help me get settled, so my last night at home isn't until Tuesday night.

I'm excited about moving, but I'm starting to feel anxious and nervous. I think if my mom wasn't as upset, it would be easier for me. I'm the oldest child, so this is the first time she's had to go through something like this and it's taking a toll on her. I keep reminding her that I'm less than an hour away and I'll be home every other weekend, but it doesn't help any.

I've let Sage, my pup, sleep in my room the past few nights. It's going to be so hard not seeing her everyday, as well.

But... I really am excited! I painted my bedroom a few weeks ago, so it's no longer a bland beige-ish color, now it's white and teal! Yesterday I sanded down and painted my great-grandmother's old desk and it looks a million times better. I have an old dresser from the thrift store my grandpa so kindly fixed up. I think it's all going to look really good. The most exciting part of this move is re-decorating my bedroom! I've done it on a relatively cheap budget, which makes it all the better.

Once everything is in, I'll post a picture or two. But for now I bid you adieu.

Monday, August 10, 2009

And my babysitting duties have ended

Friday was my last day babysitting the three kids I've been hanging out with all summer long. At the start of summer I was only watching the twins, and halfway through the summer I also started watching their younger sister- she's four. She was quite the handful, but so much fun to be around. She was your average four-year-old, barbies and coloring were her favorite activities and she never wanted to leave the pool, but there was also a sad quality about her. She always yearned for her mother and talked about her daddy constantly, but unfortunately these kids are court-ordered to stay away from their parents, and it's definitely for the better, no matter how much it's hurting them now. Friday was a sad occasion, for me at least. During my last week with them the youngest cried almost every day I left while clinging onto my leg, but when my last day with them arrived, there wasn't a tear shed. I got a little choked up when I was telling them to have a good school year, to behave, etc etc etc, and they just gave me hugs and sent me on my way. I'm really going to miss those crazy kids, no matter how crazy they drove me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

secret letters

Earlier this evening my mom called me into her bedroom. She handed me an envelope and said "I found something of yours." I looked down at the envelope and written in crooked handwriting I recognized all too well were the words "A Note to Nicole. to be kept for her to read in later years."

I opened the envelope and inside was a simple and elegant card- white with three pink roses in the center. Written inside was this note:

"Darling little girl,
Welcome to our family tree. A new blossom is always welcome.
Our prayer for you is that you grow up knowing God and all the wonders He has provided for us to enjoy.
May your generation leave this world a better place for your being here.
May you enjoy good health as you grow to maturity.
Remember the very best things in life are free- Love, Faith, Hope, and a dream for the future.
You will always be in our prayers-
Love forever,
Great-Grandmother Duitsmann

When I finished reading this card I was blinking back tears. My great-grandma wrote this note the year I was born, when she was 80. Receiving this letter twenty years after it was written
was such a heartwarming experience.

My favorite line is "Remember the very best things in life are free- Love, Faith, Hope, and a dream for the future." Now, 20 years after this was written, I do believe love, faith, hope, and dreams are some of the most important things in life, just as she wished.

My great-grandma died three years ago this month. She was 97 and lived a full life. I don't think I can describe how much getting this letter meant to me. I'm sad she isn't alive with us to know how much she touched my heart, even after her death on Earth.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vacation Bible School!

It was Vacation Bible School week, more commonly known as VBS, this week at church! That means, on top of babysitting for five hours a day and completing nine observation hours for my summer class (I have the tendency to procrastinate :), I was at church from 5:15-9:00pm every night- dancing, singing, laughing, cheering, praying, learning, loving, and definitely scolding... It was a wonderful week, filled with awesome kids. :)

This was my first year leading a crew for VBS. Last year I was in the nursery caring for infants and years before that I helped out wherever my mom or grandmother happened to be helping. In the group I was in there were some of the sweetest and funniest kids I've ever met, some go to our church, others are just vistors. Nevertheless, I love everyone I got to share this week with. The ages ranged far and wide- six to eleven, so that was pretty difficult. I remember on the first night an older kid sat next to an adorable little boy who is five and goes to my church. He turned around and said to me with such an exasperated look on his face, "Ms. Cole, he's TEN!" He seemed so shocked by their age difference; it was hilarious.

Tonight, as all of the leaders were having our nightly "huddle", my pastor was saying how much it means to the church that we all gave up our evenings to be with these children, to love them and to show them that they are cared for, and that all felt backwards to me. I feel like the blessed one, for being able to share this wonderful experience with all of those children.

VBS this week really showed me that I'm meant to be a teacher. I had so much fun with everyone in our group, but especially the younger ones, which is the age I'm going to school for. My crew had three older boys and they were quite a handful. I'd much rather be with the six-year-olds. :) Some of the most joyful things I've ever experienced happened this week- being asked to hold hands, being asked for my help specifically when making crafts, being told I was to sit by them, being asked if they could sit on my lap. One boy, the cute five-year-old I mentioned earlier, invitied me to his birthday party and he made me the invitation during the closing finale on an offering envelope. They're all so sweet, and I can't imagine a better career than being surrounded by small children- blessings from God.

Friday, July 17, 2009

one month

One month from today I will be beginning to move out of my home and into a townhouse with two roommates. For the first time in my life I'm going to be on my own. As much as I'm excited, I'm also nervous. I'm not moving far, only an hour away to be closer to school, and I'm planning on coming home every other weekend to see my family and attend the church I've been going to for thirteen years. But I won't see my mom daily, I won't be annoyed by my brother daily, and I won't see my dog, Sage, daily. It's certainly going to be a bittersweet occasion.

We went up there last night and I cleaned the kitchen up a bit- it was really grimy before and now it's only a little grimy. Every time we go up there, I get really excited. I'm so anxious to paint and move in- to make it mine. I want this upcoming month to speed by, but at the same time I don't. My feelings are becoming quite complicated.

Last night my mom said she's going to be working a lot after I move out, so she won't be home as much, because then she'll "cry her eyes out," because I'm her "baby girl." It was a heartbreaking moment.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

something wicked this way comes

Harry Potter has been on my mind and consuming my life for the past week. Even as I write this, I'm halfway watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I've been attempting to watch a movie a day, but it hasn't really worked out so well- I'm 1 1/2 behind- and I'm re-reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince(for the sixth time, I believe) all in preparation for tomorrow night at 11:59pm, when the movie is released.

It all started when my mom bought me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone waaaay back in 1998. I was a young eleven-years-old and had no idea what this series would mean to me as I grew older. As more and more books were released, I fell more and more in love with the characters of Harry Potter. I saw the movies, I read the books multiple times, I read theories, I cried, I laughed, I even took a class specializing in Harry Potter- Special Themes in Literature. My finishing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (14 hours) was a bittersweet occasion, on the one hand I had been waiting nine years for the result of the book, and on the other hand I had been waiting NINE YEARS, my childhood. After I finished the book I was at a loss, I didn't know what to do. I grew up alongside the characters and they all meant so much to me, it was hard to believe that I could no longer look forward to reading about their latest journeys.

As the release of the final seventh film(s) loom nearer, I'm kind of worried. Harry Potter was my childhood, and it has been a major part of my life for an extreme 11 years. The release of these movies are going to be the end of my childhood, even though I'll probably be 22 and my childhood would have ended many years ago. I will have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios to look forward to, but it's nothing like the excitement and anticipation that the books and movies have brought me, especially after I go there a few dozen times. Still, I believe the magical world of Harry Potter will continue to be a major part of my life for many years to come.

Friday, July 10, 2009


This afternoon as I returned home from babysitting, happy that it's Friday and excited about the Game Night I would be attending later, I learned something extremely disappointing about my younger brother, who is seventeen. He betrayed my trust and I don't even want to speak to him until I calm down. To make me even more upset, my mother wasn't as distressed as you'd have thought, or at least as I'd have thought, she would have been. Everyone else probably finds me to be overreacting, but with our past and family history, what he did was unacceptable in my eyes. I always seem to believe the best of people, especially my family, and when I get let down, it's agonizing. My brother is generally a good person, he may be hyperactive, a little immature, and annoying, but he truly has good intentions. I just never expected this from him.

It's hard when I'm around people who don't see eye-to-eye with me, namely my family. That is one huge flaw about myself that I need to get straightened out, but it will take some dedicated work. Maybe one day I won't care how people act or what they say... I doubt it.

I had this really happy post about Harry Potter planned, but that fell through the roof.... perhaps tomorrow.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day and summer class woes

Tonight myself and some friends continued with our Independence Day festivities by eating leftover cheesecake and dancing around with sparklers and water balloons, hoping to make this a monthly activity. My real 4th of July was a nice day. I cleaned my room that morning (I even dusted and I truly despise dusting), ate a nice family lunch, no grandparent's this year-they're in Hawaii and I reek of jealousy, went to a friend's house and played Hearts, Upwords, and Cheater (I like BS more) for a few hours, then headed to watch a local fireworks display and listen to an awful arrangement of 1812 Overture. After Titusville's version of a fireworks show, we went back to said friend's house where her father put on his own mini-fireworks show. All in all, it was a pretty nice day.

I have so much trouble getting motivated to complete assignments for my summer class. It doesn't help that it's probably one of the most boring classes in the world- Children in Schools: Legal, Ethical, and Safety Concerns. It's an online class, which makes it so much worse for me. I find the internet to be such a distraction. It doesn't help that my teacher always seems to be late in telling us our assignments for the week and posts the articles we're supposed to read in three different folders. I started working on my assignment at 6:30pm tonight and didn't finish until 9pm. It wasn't anything hard, I just had to read two articles and write about three paragraphs for each article. Why did such a simple assignment take me 2.5 hours?? This class was only offered for Summer C, which means it lasts from May through July and it's eating up my summertime fun. I never want to take another summer class again. Wishful thinking. :(

Tomorrow my plans for the day include mowing the lawn, dusting and mopping the house, reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in preparation for next Tuesday!!!, technically Wednesday, and doing my regular babysitting duties....

goodnight moon

Friday, July 3, 2009

A new beginning

After much thought, I finally decided to make the switch from LiveJournal, who I was with since eighth grade. My username was outdated, as was everything I wrote about- complaints mostly, there was nothing of substance. I'm trying to become more serious with my writing, so I figured a fresh start is just what I need.

I've been thinking about my future a lot lately, as much as it makes me excited, it also makes me nervous and unsure. For as long as I can remember, I've had the popular "change the world" mindset. I want to impact lives and make a difference in our world, by whatever means I can. I'm getting a degree in Early Childhood Education because I love working with children and I want to influence students as much as my first and second grade teacher did. Since traveling to Ireland two years ago, I've wanted to move to Dublin for about a year after getting my Bachelor's doing whatever work I can find, be it working in a pub or cafe. For the past year or so I've entertained the thought of going into the Peace Corps once I get my Bachelor's and teaching wherever I would be sent. After going to How It Ends ( last week, I've thought about going to Uganda, or Africa in general, for the teacher exchange program, going there on a mission trip, or even touring with IC around the States- if they're still doing that in 2+ years. At the rate I'm going at, it'll be another 2 years before I graduate, and I've even been thinking about getting a second minor, which would push my graduation date even farther up. I want to get my Master's Degree in Special Education after settling down in my career, however long that takes me. I have so many expectations for my future and I'm worried they're all going to fall through and nothing will happen. That I'll end up working a lousy minimum wage job, dreaming of what my life could have been like. As often as I tell myself I will have an accomplished life, there's always that possibility that something will get in the way and it will all go downhill.

This summer I've been making my money babysitting twin nine-year-olds, a boy and a girl. Most of the time they are so much fun to be around, but there are times when they drive me absolutely insane. Let me provide a wonderful example: Wednesday we decided to play the board game Sorry! I'm sure you all understand the basic rules behind this game: Each player has four pawns, and deciding on which cards are drawn you either move forward or backward, or if you're lucky you take an opponenets place on the board. So we were playing Sorry! and the girl got the replacement card and she switches spots with her brother, who then starts yelling and crying because he has to go back to start. I explain to him that that's simply the point of the game, but he doesn't take it and continues with his crying. His sister chimes in, "Yeah, it's the point of the game! Don't be a crybaby!" I decide that his sister and I will continue in the game and he can join back in when he's decided to stop crying. Eventually we are all playing again and I get the coveted replacement card. Looking at the board, I see I can only trade with the girl. Once I make my move, she starts crying and yelling that it's not fair and she doesn't want to go back to start. Really?
I suppose this is practice for my future career.

It's now past 1am and I told myself I'd be in bed by midnight in an attempt to fix my sleep schedule. Unfortunately my brother decided 1am is the perfect time to clean his bedroom.