I confess that I forgot that I write on a blog. I also confess that I became discouraged by the lack of feedback I had been getting about my blog. I needed to realize that I didn’t start a blog to get feedback. I started a blog years ago so that I had a way to write out my thoughts, feelings, and goings on. That being said: here are some of my thoughts on life and summer.

First off, I am still reeling from the fact that this is the last summer of my college career. I typed that and just (internally) shook my head a million times. This cannot be happening already. However, I am excited about all the possibilities open to me. As my mom once said “you are ready to take on the world”. I just wish I knew which section of the world I will be taking on. As of now, I have absolutely no idea what I will be doing a year from now. Does that scare me? To death. Do I know God will take care of me? You bet.

The second part of what my mom said to me was “I just don’t know if your body is ready for you to take on the world”. She may speak a bit of truth but I am ever the optimist. Why yes, I have gone to more doctors/specialists than is exactly normal for one 21 year old in the span of a summer. Why yes, I go to physical therapy twice a week. Yes, I do push through an anxiety disorder every other day.

Even with all of those yes’s of negativity, I am optimistic. I am 21 years old and I have my senior year ahead of me at an awesome college. I love my job, some of the classes I will take I have been looking forward to for years, I love my roommates, I love my friends, and I love the possibilities ahead of me.

I sit & watch the Olympics and see all of these young adults who have made their dream a reality. They have pushed through injury, more pain than I probably have experienced, nervousness, missing their families, and so much more. Yet, they have been able to follow that dream and do what they always wanted. I want to look back on my life and say that I did the same. I don’t want to regret things that I did not do, I would rather enjoy the memories of all the things I did & the people I did them with. I don’t think God made us to sit idly by, I think he wanted us participating in life (well, not the getting drunk, carousing, sinful part but everything else yes) and sharing His love while we are at it.

Summer and All Its Possibilities

And so another school year ends…

I can’t believe that I have finished my junior year of college.  That’s a surreal sentence to write. I realize that it is a much bigger deal to be actually graduating from college. I have no idea what will be going through my head next year when that will happen. My head might just have shut down by that point and refuse to go on. I have spent my entire life just getting to this point. Sadly, I hadn’t quite thought through what would happen once I left college. Flaw in my life plan I know but hindsight is 20/20, right?

I am excited for what this summer will bring. I am intimidated because a lot of it will be me getting ready for my future but excited for possibilities. I have the opportunity to tutor someone which is what I love doing. Plus I get to tutor them in reading, my passion! I will also be taking a couple tests to get ready for the future: my Praxis II (to make sure I am competent in all things English) and the GRE (for whenever I decide to go back to school and get my Master’s). This summer I will be reading novels and preparing lessons for when I student teach Spring 2013. I will be teaching 7th, 10th, and 12th grade. I am intimidated but excited! I will be working hard to practice driving and the goal is getting a license by the end of the summer. At 21 years of age, I will (hopefully) be able to drive myself places. I will be spending as much time as I can with my family and enjoying their company (and enjoying access to our huge kitchen and grill). It will be good to be home. I am planning on spending time with one of my best friends (and no phobia of flying will get in the way (hopefully))!

I’m excited about the start of a new season and what that will bring. I’ve been apprehensive about things and events in my life the past few years (thank you anxiety disorder). This summer I am choosing the optimistic route. I am ready for whatever will happen and the fun that will come from that.

Here we go summer.

P.S. You should watch this video/hear this song. It’s a good, ready-for-anything, summer song!

Life of a Military Child

So this is an article that was published in my school newspaper this past week. I wrote it because my editor was interested in hearing about military life and I just wanted to share it with everyone…enjoy (:

Is the sound of helicopters flying overhead familiar? When the house shakes, do you automatically assume it’s just mortars going off rather than an earthquake.  Do you keep a military ID handy for everything?  Do you know what “down range”, “commissary”, “NCO”, or “exercise” mean?

If those spark a memory or two then chances are, you are in the military or come from a military family.

Being in the military means that you have a whole other vocabulary and life experiences that make you unique from the “civilians”.

You know that when helicopters fly over it is just a part of living near a post with an air assault unit.  You know that the when mortars go off it is just a part of the exercise, which is a way to train.  You know that flashing your ID to allow you into the commissary or Post Exchange (PX) to buy groceries is just a way of life.

My dad is a chaplain in the US Army.  My family has moved five or six times in the past four years.  I would not give up this lifestyle for anything, even though I have moved over twenty times in my life and went to three different high schools.  As I reflect on my life I am thankful for the experiences I have had with the military.

I’ve been able to live in Korea for years, travel to Japan for free several times, and visit China for a senior trip.  My family and I have traveled across the states numerous times as a part of the various moves.  I have seen sights that few have the opportunity to see and that has given me an appreciation for the world and different cultures that I might not have been to able to have with another life.

I go home and have to show my ID to get on the army post and get to my house.  I enter my house and immediately enter “army culture”.  My parents and their friends start talking about going “down range”, another term for deployment, when the soldiers go to Iraq or Afghanistan for a period of time.  There is a sense of community and support as they talk about this real possibility.

Military members and dependents can feel that community here at Grace College. This is through the Student Veteran Organization.  They come together for meetings, activities, competitions, and sharing of experiences.  They have worked together to put on both the Scavenger Bingo game on campus and the community activity Nocturnal II: Military Edition.

Joy Graham, the president of SVO, greatly appreciates what the organization does on campus.  Graham says “this group has given me a place where I feel at home. The people I have been able to meet and get to know have really helped me adjust to the ‘civilian’ life.”

As wars are waged and soldiers defend our country, remember how important they (and their families) are and how much they value that support.

Dorothy and the Yellow Brick Road

I have come to the realization that life (life in college especially) is all about choices. You are constantly having to choose something and then that choice will cause a reaction which will cause another choice. It’s a never-ending cycle in which you are constantly praying that you make the “right” choice. I picture Dorothy standing in the middle of Munchkin Land faced with the yellow brick road and a wizard ahead of her. She makes a choice to follow the yellow brick road which causes her to meet Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion which causes her to make choices regarding them.

You see? Never-ending cycle. Sadly, in my life, the choices I face aren’t accompanied to fun, upbeat music and aided by the Good Witch of the North. Dorothy is concerned with her choices leading to finding her way back to Kansas.

Do my choices lead to one goal? No. I have several potential outcomes. One choice of mine is the difference between getting an assignment done and not and therefore getting a low grade. The balance of which meeting or responsibility deserves more of my time and attention. The best place for me to live next year as I complete my senior year (and student teaching). The loss of sleep vs. the good conversations to be had with friends. The feelings of loneliness and of being single vs. the concern of “is he the one?”

Now the question is: “should I have one outcome?”. The answer is yes.

This past week, there was a speaker in chapel who talked about some different aspects of what following God looks like. There were many good lessons to take away from his messages. The one that pertains to that of choices is something he said at the very end of his last message. He said that he prays at night and asks God “were you proud of me today?”.  He knows that God loves him unconditionally but wonders if God is proud of him that day.

That struck me. That struck me deep. Are the choices that I make everyday making God proud of me? Do the things that I am doing bring glory to him or are they just things that bring glory to my accomplishments or just allow me to survive? I know that I have started asking myself that question more often since I heard the message. I said at the beginning that I am not like Dorothy and I do not have a Good Witch of the North to point me to which road. Actually that was a lie. I have God and the Holy Spirit within me pointing me. Sometimes it’s not as clear as a bright yellow road (I wish it were) but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. I can still be Dorothy setting out on a “mission” and I have learned that I always have my friends by my side.

So here is to a life of (often very hard) choices but working on trusting in God’s road and what would make him proud.

Who am I?

I am a girl who wears sweatpants and cardigans which are three sizes too big when I want to be comfortable. I wear ridiculously thick glasses because of my love for reading (I mostly attribute the thickness  to late nights reading by a flashlight when I was growing up). I spend most evenings studying and wouldn’t recognize a social life if it stood in front of me holding games and fun movies.  I worry about the future almost every day (I still haven’t reconciled to the fact that I will be 21 years old in less than two months). I cry often, although I would not say that I wear my emotions on my sleeves, I simply deal with life through tears. I love the fact that I have been all over the world/states because I have been able to see so much of God (and man)’s creation. I have also been able to develop friendships from what seems like everywhere and that has been amazing. I love all of the relationships I have been able to build with so many people because of my moving (even if I’m horrible at staying in contact). I adore literature and reading and hope to one day share that adoration with others (through teaching students about it or in the librarian context). I love the college I attend. I often miss my family dearly. I pray that my hard work will be worth it someday and I won’t mess up a student with my teaching or say the wrong thing and turn a person from a good book in my capacity as a librarian. I have low points in life but so does everyone. I am learning to push through the low points and that they can teach you something about life and yourself (didn’t that sound terribly philosophical of me? (;  I strive to follow my God. I fail more often than I succeed but He’s there picking me up and encouraging me to keep trying.

I was thinking about life and who I am and my future and I thought I would ruminate on my blog (this may or may not have been helped by drugs (the legal kind) and the fuzzy feeling resulting from a cold/headache/tears). I am definitely a work in progress and have definite character flaws but this is me now and I’m starting to accept that.

Reflection & the New Year

I love reflecting.  A major part of my major is spent on reflection.  We are expected, as teachers, to spend a large portion of our time reflecting on how we will perform in the classroom.  When we are actually in the classroom we will need to be constantly reflecting on our performance.  The end of a year is an excellent time to be reflecting.  I find myself reflecting on how much life changes for me.  Also, how there are fundamental things in my life that do not and will not change.  Being in college is a huge time in which life changes by the day, by the hour sometimes.  Even in the past few months my life has been much different than my school life at the beginning of 2011.  I started at a new job, I joined Senate, I started leading a committee, I became a Junior, I became single again, and I applied for student teaching.

2011 was a rollercoaster of a year, that’s for sure.  It was a relief for me to have the friends and family that I did to keep me grounded during the rollercoaster moments.

I know that 2012 will be just as much of a rollercoaster.  I mean I am in college so that is a guaranteed.  I’m picking up a new responsibility with my job, have new classes, and am continuing in my new responsibilities.  I’m not going to even think about the end of 2012 when I will be (if all continues as planned) preparing for student teaching. (Scary scary thought)

I will think about how I will have my family and friends to keep me grounded for yet another year.  I will remember that I will (hopefully) have determination to push through what the next year will hold me.  I will have a God who will love me no matter what mistakes I happen to make and whom I can trust in. I will keep working on becoming sure of myself and overall improvement.  I love how fresh a new year feels.  I’m looking forward to hopefully finding that freshness when January 1st rolls around.  I hope those of you reading this can experience that freshness and that there is always someone in your life who will support you through the coming year.

and tonight I am thankful for…

Tis the season to be thankful. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I’m so glad for that fact. It has been a long haul between my last break and now. I’m trying to remember the point of the holiday (besides real food and decorating for Christmas…both of which are valid, good things). I’m thinking of tonight and knowing that I should be thankful for things (even when it’s not Thanksgiving). So in a little advance of Thanksgiving I want to say that I’m thankful for:

  • Yarn and needles so I can knit (even if I yank where I shouldn’t and can’t feel my thumb most days…I’m working on it)
  • A cell phone so I can stay in contact with my friends and family. I would go crazy (well more than I already am) without them.
  • Netflix/Hulu (or an empty lobby and tv) so cheesy movies and football games can be watched.
  • An anonymous note reminding me that God “made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

I hope everyone who reads this has an enjoyable holiday. While you are doing whatever it is you do on this holiday, remember to think of a couple things you are thankful. It really helps your whole outlook on life (trust me, I’ve gotten to be a pro on trying to improve life outlook).