What do you do?

What do you do when someone so young is taken from you so suddenly?

What do you do when the news is too hard to bear?

What do you do when one you loved so dearly is gone?

What do you do when they were just so young?

What do you do when life is so unfair?

What do you do when God’s plan is so different from your own?

What do you do when you have questions that just can’t be answered?

What do you do when your family is so broken?

What do you do?

These are questions that I wish no one has to ask, but many do. Including myself. Today, my 24 year old cousin passed away. Suddenly. With no warning. One I loved dearly. One I had so much fun with. One I can’t imagine Christmas and family reunion without. He was such a joy. A kind heart. A loving son. A great brother. A doting uncle. And so much more.

Jason,

I sit in shock, still unable to absorb the news. I can’t believe I’ll never hear your voice again or see your smile. We had so many good times together; I am so blessed to have known you so well and have spent so much time with you. I only wish we could have had many more years together. Remember how we used to put on plays for the grownups? Ok, so I MAY have made you… And remember playing Pretty Pretty Princess? And going through all those giant toy catalogues? And crawling behind the couch during hide and seek? Remember when Lauren broke the window and tried to blame it on you and Jordan? Remember setting up those Hot Wheel tracks in the basement? And the first year we had a water balloon launcher? And playing with all of grandma’s Beanie Babies? Remember all those great times? I will hold them dearly in my heart. I love you so much. I miss you so much.

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2013

2012 is over and 2013 has begun! Once again, I’d like to do some resolutions, so after much thought and prayer, here is what I’ve come up with!

Resolution #1: Join a gym! Even though some gyms are extremely expensive, there are cheaper ones out there! And, I’ll be more likely to go during cold weather. You see, I’m not really a fan of the cold. Or snow. So going for a run in it just isn’t going to happen.

Resolution #2: No tech night! One day a week will be dedicated to being technology free! Now, I’ll be able to use a camera to capture those nights and I can call someone, but I won’t be on Facebook, Instagram, watching TV, ect.

Resolution #3: Pay off more debt! Student loans are killer, and the sooner I get them paid off, the better! This also means that I’ll likely be taking up a second job somewhere. Part time, on evenings and weekends. Which means my social life will suffer, but as Dave Ramsey says, “Live today like no one else, so later you can live like no one else!”

Resolution #4: Smile more! I think smiling and saying “hi” to people makes for a pretty good quality of life. Plus, you might just meet someone new, make someone’s day, or make them smile too! “Smiling’s my favorite!” – Buddy, the elf.

There you have it! My 2013 resolutions! Obviously, I didn’t keep some of my 2012 ones, but I think these ones are reasonable, and totally doable! So, bring on 2013!

The Hardest Part

Do you know what the hardest part about being a 26 year old who has no idea what they want to do? It’s the not knowing what you want to do part. Let’s face it, everything comes back to that. Where should you live? Depends on where you job is. Where is your job? Depends on what you want to do. What do you want to do? Oh yeah… You have no clue.

Maybe I’m just thinking too much. Maybe I’m not thinking about it enough. It’s a tough market out there, and not knowing what you want makes it even tougher. Or perhaps easier as you tend to be more flexible. I personally think it’s harder. Sure, you can do lots of jobs, but they all tend to be rather liner on the same level. Whereas if you know what you want, you can set yourself on an upward liner path towards it.

But perhaps in order to figure out what you want, you need to try lots of things. Or, at least, for some it is probably this way. Others are born knowing. Not sure who is more lucky. I mean, the ones who have always known are never stuck guessing and taking risks. However, those who get to try a bunch of things learn more than they could have imagined.

I’m glad I’ve never known for sure what I’m going to do. I mean, at times I’ve thought I knew. Turns out, I didn’t. Even now, I still think back on past desires and desire them again. Marine biology? Still awesome. I would love to be a marine biologist. Archeology? Still sweet. I would love to dig in the dirt all day. Teach? Still incredible. I would love to teach children in a reformed setting (i.e. not how schools are currently being run in the US). Be a princess? Does any girl ever outgrow this one? The only problem is, I don’t know that any of these have a strong enough pull on me to actually want to do them forever. Well, except for being a princess, but let’s face it. That’ll never happen.

So for now, I wait. I wonder. I pray. I seek advice. I continue learning. That’s the only way I’ll end up where I need to be doing what I was made to do. When I learn it, I know my journey was well worth it and that it made me into a better person.

The Letter

Well, I have been MIA for a while… But it feels good to be back. 🙂

Last weekend, I went to an amazing conference with some great friends. It was the Real Marriage Tour with Mark Driscoll. Yeah… Four unmarried friends went to a marriage thing together. Good thing it was for singles as well! Plus, it’s never too early to prepare for your marriage! It was a blast. I learned so much and was challenged in many ways. Namely, that I was still struggling with my divorce. I was still very bitter, mad, confused, and hurt by it. So I decided to let all that go and move on.

Then, a few days later, I got a letter in the mail. I never get letters unless it’s from a credit card company trying to get me to get their card or from my bank trying to talk me into a home mortgage loan. Neither of which I need… So I was very surprised to see a plain envelope on my desk when I got home from work. Then I saw the handwriting and the return address… It was from my ex-husband. I didn’t even know what to do, so I started crying. I was so mad. I was so confused. I was so hurt. I was so… Curious. So I opened the envelope and inside was a check from DirecTV made out to me and a note. The note was short. Simple. He said that he had gotten that check from when he closed the DirecTV account, and since I was the name on the account, they sent me the check. Naturally, I was relieved that it wasn’t some, “I hate you and I hope you die a sudden and terrible death” letter. I don’t know why I thought it would be that, but I did.

Well, that sure had some funny timing. If it had come before the Real Marriage Tour, I would have probably just been all mad about him contacting me out of the blue, even if it was to give me money. Haha! But I stopped and really thought about it. I prayed about it. I sought advice about it. And I came to realize that I was still holding onto bitterness and unforgivneness. So I decided to do something about it. First, I asked God to forgive me of my sins during that time in my life. And I asked God to help me forgive myself. Lastly, I asked God to forgive my ex-husband. Then, I sat down and wrote a letter back. I asked him to forgive me and told him that I forgave him. I could have just told myself that I forgave him and he never really needed to actually hear/read it… But I knew that wasn’t what I needed to do. So I wrote. And I know now that I can move on. There is nothing holding me back. I am free from the burden of bitterness, anger, confusion, hurt, sadness, and unforgiveness.

It feels good. Being free. It’s a light, joyful feeling. It’s a secure feeling. It’s a feeling rooted in God. And I hope I never lose this feeling. I know I will carry other burdens, but I pray that through them, God will be with me and will carry me when I need it. I rest assured knowing God will always get me through.

Thank you, God.

The Sunshine State

I know it’s been a while, and I promised more posts, but to be honest, nothing too exciting is happening. But this week, I have been in Florida, and it has been a great week! It stormed a few times, and those were spectacular. And it was sunny other times, and that was also incredible. And it was cool and cloudy other times, and those times were also great. But, enough about the weather…

The trip was great! We left late Friday night and drove through the night. We stopped a few times so dad could nap. Then, mom took over, I was moved up front, and dad sat in the back so he could nap even more… Not that he did… Mom’s driving scares him! We took a “scenic” route through Florida… And by “scenic”, I mean it was full of dilapidated buildings and yard sales and a heavy machinery graveyard… We did see a sign that said, “We sell dead people’s things”… That was… Interesting… Took a picture of it! I would post it, but I dropped my phone in the ocean and had to reboot from my last backup… Which was the day before I dropped it, but my phone and computer thinks it was back in September…

When we got to the beach house, we were all VERY pleased! It was gorgeous! The pool and hot tub in the back made up for it being a little far from the beach. And I got my own room! On my own floor! With my own bathroom! That was great! I got all unpacked and took a good long nap… Until dad started playing with the speakers and the TV downstairs and ended up BLASTING them… Then, Liz, Royce, and the girls showed up. After the girls went to bed, we got to test the hot tub… And it was AMAZING!

The next couple of days consisted of a few storms and some trips into St. Augustine to do some shopping and get some good food. We found this amazing little jewelry shop called I Need Everything J.R. Benet, and after 4 trips, I finally decided on what to get! A bracelet I had been coveting for a while. Then, I came across a new display of Firefly jewelry… And I was mesmerized! All the pieces were BEAUTIFUL! I ended up getting an adorable pair of earrings as well. I’m very happy with that purchase. We also stopped at the outlet mall and I was able to get two pairs of Sperrys’! A pink leopard print pair and a red, white, and blue plaid pair of flip-flops. Finally! Fashion that I can wear while it’s still in style everywhere (and not just Ohio)!

The beach was great as well! We got to tan and boogie board! I may have had to tell mom and Liz when to catch the waves, but it was still a lot of fun! Everyone wiped out at least once, but it didn’t matter, everyone loved it. Annelise warmed up to the ocean after she watched Liz and Royce boogie boarding. She ran all over gathering shells and jumping in the waves that came ashore. She was SUCH a happy camper! Maribelle loved eating the sand. It was just about the best thing that has ever happened to her!

I came out a little burned on the backs of my arms and the sides of my legs, but not too bad. Not bad enough that it hurts. Although the burn on the top of my head (blonde hair is NOT a very good sun shield) hurts quite a bit… Oh well! I got a good tan as well!

And now, I’m here in the Orlando airport, waiting to go home. Only 3.5 more hours of waiting. Luckily, a family from Ireland has sat next to me and the little boy is very entertaining. He is loving watching the planes take off and land! There’s a spa place in this area I might visit… Get my nails done… But then again, it’ll probably cost an arm and a leg… It IS in the airport after all… Ah well. That’s it for my adventures for now. I’ll update again soon to post some pictures from my trip!

Statement of Purpose, Take Two

So, here is a revised draft of my statement of purpose… In case you’re interested. This is what it looks like after much help from my mom and my best friend, Janine… And… The power is going out… Weird… Anyways, feel free to check out what I look like as a slightly more “professional” writer.

“Choosing a career path has been regarded by most as an intense, and on-going process, myself included. As a child, I knew that a future as a princess or a cowgirl would suit me. In high school, my focus shifted and I thought I was going to swim for the USA in the Olympics; then I thought I would enjoy marine biology or archeology. More recently, I thought my future consisted of teaching. Then, as if designed by fate, I found myself immersed in student affairs; I absolutely loved it. I found it challenging, exciting, creative, dynamic, and so rewarding. I excelled in it. Suddenly, the blinders were off.

“For two and a half years, I worked as a resident advisor at The University of Toledo in a first year student residence hall. I was constantly on the lookout for different ways to get my residents involved, including taking them to football games, eating dinner with them, and introducing several of them to a couple of organizations I participated in. I even led a few of them to become resident advisors themselves!

“After a few years working away from residence life, I have come to realize how much it, and student affairs, means to me. I catch myself yearning to go back to school, to obtain a Master’s degree, and to find a career that will change and grow with me. I want to work with students in a non-academic setting. More specifically, I want to work with international students. Welcoming them, helping them settle and get connected, and supporting them throughout their stay, however long it may be. I am fortunate enough to have a few years of Japanese language learning under my belt, and hope to eventually be a recruiter or liaison between sister universities in Japan and the US. The thought of organizing exchange programs, trips, and increasing general awareness of the importance of students broadening their horizons excites me. I believe that the experience and education from The University of Toledo will help me achieve these dreams.

“No one would argue that the university’s first goal is to provide an education, however, there is a reason they offer so much more. I want to help students make the most of everything and have a complete university adventure. I want students to succeed in their studies, their social lives, and encourage them to learn and grow on their own and with the help of their peers. I want to see students excited about campus events and programs, explore, change their minds, try new things, and discover who they are meant to be. I want students to get, and stay, involved. I want to help these students achieve their dreams. I want to be student affairs.”

So there you have it. What I want to do. There will be a final draft, and I’ll upload that one too. Just because I’m boring like that. Haha! Then it will be back to my regular, boring, blogging self. 🙂

Personal Statement

I always find writing professional papers difficult; my writing style is more suited for a blog. My one-take first attempts always look like I’m having a conversation. Does that make me a bad writer? Of course not. It just makes it more difficult for someone who has more power than I do to take me seriously. Take, for example my first shot at writing a personal statement about what I want to do in graduate school and why. I’m applying at The University of Toledo for fall semester to get my Master’s in Higher Education with a focus on Student Affairs. Here it is, in it’s entirety.

 

“Thus far in my life, I have had many career desires. When I was a child, I knew I was going to be a cowgirl or a princess. Then, I knew I was going to be an Olympic swimmer. Then I knew I was going to be a marine biologist or an archeologist.  More recently, I knew I was going to be a teacher. That was, until I found myself immersed in student affairs, and loving it. I found it challenging, exciting, creative, and so much fun. I excelled in it.

 

“I was a resident advisor at The University of Toledo, in an all first-year student residence hall. I constantly looked forward to figuring out different ways to get my residents involved, and actually lead to a few of them becoming resident advisors themselves! I was far from a perfect resident advisor, and sometimes would let the stress of the job get to me. I was lucky enough, however, to have the support of the other resident advisors and the hall director and graduate assistant hall director to get me through those times.

 

“Now that I have had a few years off, I have come to realize how much I miss everything about student affairs and housing. I catch myself yearning to go back to school, to get into student affairs, and to finally find a career that will be my last. No more job-hopping, no more changing my mind. I’ve grown up, matured, and know what I want. I want to work with college students in a non-academic setting. More specifically, I have a desire to work with international students. Bringing them in, helping them settle, helping them get connected, and being there for them throughout their stay, however long it may be. Eventually, I hope to be an overseas recruiter or liaison between sister universities; organizing exchange programs, trips. I also hope to increase general awareness of how important it is to help students broaden their horizons and give them the chance to explore and travel.

 

“There is so much more to a student’s university experience than just the classes they take. I want to help students make the most of everything else and have a complete university adventure. I want students to be excited about campus events and programs. I want students to explore, change their minds, try new things, and discover who they are. I want students to get involved and stay involved. I want to be student affairs. I will be student affairs.”

 

Good right? Just not quite… Up to snuff. That’s why I have my support system to back me up and help me out. I know what I want to convey, I just don’t know how to word it all the time. Oh well. I’ll get better. I’ll start writing more eloquently, and I’ll just keep my “conversation” style to my blog. It’d be kind of like having two different identities… Kind of like schizophrenia… (And I just spelled that correctly in one shot. Sweet!) So stay tuned and I’ll post the personal statement that I end up turning into the University and you can see how different my style is!

Inspiration

I know I’ve said I would be updating this more often this year… But I just don’t have any inspiration right now. I’m working on a post, but I kind of want to wait on it for a little while. You’ll know why when I post it. It’s a very special post. A very exciting one. So for now, this post will at least let you know that I have not abandoned this blog or forgotten or anything. I’m just feeling a little worn out, run down, and uninspired to post. Maybe I need to start running more… Probably… Yeah. I gotta get back into running. It’s hard when it is dark by the time you get home and you don’t have a gym to go to… Or you do have a gym, but it’s a bit of an pain to get to because it is clear across town. And I really just want to run outside. I love running outside. Just… Not in the dark! Haha!

So yeah, I’m around, I’m just… Tired. I need a breather. A change up. And I think running will do just that.

You know what’s crazy? I feel more run down at this job working 40 hours a week in an office than at the airport where I worked 50 plus hours a week walking around, and was outside a lot. Crazy… I guess I really am a mover and a shaker. Probably why I want to work in Student Affairs. So many good opportunities everyday to get up, go out, and move!

Living Out of a Suitcase

So, since I’ve started this new job, I’ve decided to stay at my grandma’s during the week and come back to Circleville during the weekend. Saves a ton of money on gas and saves me tons of time driving to and from work. Unfortunately, that means I’m living out of a suitcase right now. Not the most glamorous thing, but I’ll figure things out along the way. Things like buying extra shampoo and conditioner to keep at grandma’s so I don’t have to constantly haul those back and forth (I use the 1 liter bottles so they make my bag very heavy). Every little bit helps! I’m also quickly learning that sleeping on another bed during the week makes me appreciate my bed all that much more! Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful that my grandma is letting me stay with her during the week! It’s been great really! I’ve gotten to know her even more, we watch HGTV together, and I have a life again! I just miss my bed. Haha! And it does get difficult constantly being in “packing and unpacking” mode. Oh well. I still like this more than the alternative!

I got to hang out with my cousins and their friends the other day! We went to dinner at The Pub (I got the fish and chips… So good!), then headed over to COSI. It was packed and kind of hard to enjoy anything, but it was free! Can’t beat that! Then we got Cold Stone. It has been great being able to catch up with them. We live less than an hour apart, but we don’t get to see each other often enough. I plan to change that now that I’m staying in Columbus during the week. 🙂

Last week I was able to spend time with my friend Sam, who I hadn’t seen in at least 2 years. We grabbed lunch, headed to the Zoo, got rained on, and then grabbed sushi for dinner. It was an excellent time! He’s going to be leaving tomorrow or Tuesday for The World Race, so I won’t be able to see him for at least another year… But I know he’s doing God’s work and this is going to be an amazing opportunity for him… In fact, to learn more about what he’s doing, you should go check out his blog! http://samwalter.theworldrace.org/ He talks a lot about what it is and the prep that has gone into it. He’ll be posting every now and then (when he can) during the next 11 months to keep us updated!

My first “real” week at work was… Interesting. I talked to some very angry people, some not-so-angry people, some people who were not in their right mind, and many, many, many voicemails. Nothing too exciting there.

I watched The Muppets Movie! It was incredible! So much fun! So funny! So great! I have always loved the Muppets. They have always been good, many times great. But this movie… It was the best movie I’ve seen in a very long time! And I watch a lot of movies! I would recommend it to everyone. There were a lot of great “special appearances” by several celebrities, including Whoppi Goldberg and Jim Parsons and John Krasinski. Loved it.

Well, that’s all for now… This was a pretty rambly post. Sorry. Haha. I’ll try to make my future ones a little more exciting and to-the-point.

Updates and a New Year!

Wow… It’s been a while… I guess I’ll just jump right into things!

First of all, I finished my half-marathon! Yay! I ran it a full 24 minutes faster than I thought I would! And I felt great at the end! I am totally planning on running the Cap City Half-Marathon in the spring! I can’t wait!

Secondly, I am an auntie again! My sister, Liz, had Maribelle Joy Baker on September 11. She’s SUCH a cutie! She has blonde hair and looks just like Liz! And sometimes… She looks just like dad! It’s crazy! But she is a chunk! She’ll be bigger than Annelise in no time! Haha!

Thirdly, I have a new job! Though I do miss some things about working at the airport, like constantly begin around lots of people and the friends I have made, I am so glad I have a new one! Actually being able to work inside all day every day is pretty awesome! Haha! Wow… I have been using a lot of exclamation points… Oh well! I like them! 😉

And fourthly, it’s now 2012! Wow! I can’t believe everything that happened in 2011! A lot of changes, both good and bad… And I must say, I don’t regret any of it! Even the mistakes or the bad times. It’s all shaped me into who I am today. And who I will be. So what’s in store for 2012? Well… I hope a lot!

I have made a list of resolutions and I’m quite proud of my list. It includes silly things and really big, cool things. So, without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2012!

– I want to will to blog more often! I am going to try to blog at least once a week. I will have more time on my hands now, so that should be a possibility!

– I want to will floss every day! Not just once a week like I am currently doing… I know… Gross… But seriously, I need to get into this habit!

– I want to will make my bed every day! I spend a lot of time in my room, so it only makes sense that when I’m in here, I’m not constantly looking at my unmade bed. I like my room looking nice (which it usually gets cleaned once a week anyways), and having a made bed is a part of that.

– I want to will run at least 3 times a week. Obviously when I am in training, it will be more often, but I won’t always be in training. But I don’t want to not run when I’m not training, so I’m going to make myself go at least 3 times a week!

– I want to will move out of mom and dad’s! If all goes well, that is. Since I’ve started Financial Peace University, I might change my mind so I can debt snowball… But I don’t know… I think moving out on my own will be better for me in the long run. Maybe not. I’ll keep you posted.

– I want to will take better care of my skin and hair! Now that I’ve found something for my skin that doesn’t irritate it (gotta love sensitive skin), I need to get in the habit of washing it twice a day, not once and then splashing water on it at night. And I need to take more pride in my hair and style it and have fun with it and treat it well. I’ve never really had an issue with damaged hair, but it’s still a good reminder.

– I want to will drink at least one cup of green tea a day! Green tea is SO good for you and it is SO yummy! There is NO reason why I shouldn’t be able to do this one!

– I want to will read at least ten pages or one chapter a day. I love reading, but sometimes get so caught up in everything else, that I don’t pick up a book for weeks. Since I want to read more often, and I know it tends to help me settle down at night, I want to read at least a little bit a day. Now, we all know that some chapters are a billion pages long (I’m just starting the second Lord of the Rings book… Can I get an “amen”? Haha!) and so reading a chapter would take about an hour. That’s not something I always look forward to. But giving myself the option to read at least ten pages is much more appealing, so I think I’ll be able to do this one, no problem!

– I want to will pay off all of my credit card debt! Yes… I have credit card debt… But it’s not much (compared to some people), so this should be accomplished by December 31st. I will still have my student loans to pay off, but since that’s a bit more hefty, that will take me a little longer to pay off. But I have no doubt in my mind that in five years or less, I will be debt free! Unless I buy a house… Then I will probably have a mortgage… But other than that, I plan on never having another credit card again. Ever. They’re a little too easy to use… You know… In case of an “emergency”. Which most of the time isn’t actually an emergency.

– And lastly… I want to will stay positive! I am usually pretty positive anyways, but sometimes I just get so negative. And I hate feeling like this! So if I ever start to feel myself heading in that direction, I will try to remind myself to find something positive about my situation. Even if it’s just something like, “At least I can still put food on the table” or, “At least I still have family that loves me”. Anything to remind me of how lucky I am and that will pull me out of a pit of despair.

That’s it! Those are my resolutions and a short update on what has been happening lately! I hope you all have been well! Here’s to a fabulous 2012! Bring it on! 😀

P.S. Did anyone notice I’m already staying positive by saying that I will do this instead of I want to do this? Yeah… I’m off to a great start! Haha! 🙂

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