Friday, December 25, 2015

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree!

Christmas day was lovely. The morning was spent opening gifts and relaxing with family. I was blessed this year to receive a lot of really thoughtful gifts. Most exciting is a pair of black and white Nike shoes that I've been wanting for a long time. I also got a lot of books and some jewelry. Most fun though, was watching my family open up what I had given them. Especially Ruby, as she tore open the paper to discover a new frisbee toy as her other one had just broken. That dog is very spoiled :)

After our family gift time, we ate breakfast (I made chocolate chip pancakes), laid around and then got ready for the day. My Grandma and aunt came over and we exchanged gifts and then my favorite aunt and uncle stopped by just before we all were to leave for my other uncles house.

Once there, we ate appetizers and talked and chilled until dinner was ready. The atmosphere was so much more welcoming and comfortable than the night before. That side of the family really knows and appreciates me! Before we ate, we opened our gifts for each other and I got the cutest shirt from my aunt. Another notable gift was the tin of baked goods my grandma always gives us, yum!

Dinner was great, we had lasagna (even the one E dropped, though we didn't actually end up needing it but my cousin ate a piece just to make her feel better), potatoes, a brussell sprout dish and more. It was delicious. Afterward, I got to ride the hoverboard that my cousin B had received for Christmas. B is my age and he has autism so he always gets really cool gifts because he loves things that move, lights and anything interactive. He was a whiz at the board already but I was pretty shaky when I started out. My other cousins assured me that I would soon get the hang of it.

We played a trivia game for a little while my aunt and some other various family members were engrossed in the NBA game. I won trivia! Then M and I talked with my cousin C for a long time. He's applying to med school right now and is such a funny and unique guy.

Finally, it was time for our homemade gift exchange and I got a really awesome picture that my aunt had drawn. She used black marker to draw these big flowers with zen tangles in the middle. Super cool. And, my cookies went off really well! They looked super professional in the box I'd bought for them.

After the exchange, we all played the trivia game at the dining room table. I did a round and then before game number two got underway I bowed out in the interest of going on the hover board again. This was my third try and I really had gotten comfortable on it. Let me just say, it was some of the most fun I've ever had!!

Whizzing around on the hardwood floor, doing spins, going backward. Man, those things are great. I really want one now! I was definitely sad to part with it when it was time to go.

All in all, the fun of Christmas day overshadowed the not so fun on Christmas Eve. It really was a great holiday!
-G-

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2 Turtle Doves

Ahh Christmas Eve...hmm what to say about this year.

Let me start by saying that December 24th used to be my favorite day. I loved it more than my birthday, Halloween, Easter and Christmas Day itself. Why? Because we would spend the long evening at my grandparents cozy, festive house. Family would be bustling about, we would eat a lovely meal, open gifts in the tiny living room and then be banished to go and played while the adults held their exchange. It was all so wonderful and magical.

And it is no more.
But that comes later.

In the morning, I showered and then we watched Titanic. It's a new tradition of ours since we always associate it with Christmas when we first watched it during that season. I made the customary cinnamon roles and we relaxed for the 3 hour duration of the movie.

After it was over, I had to spend a looooong time in the kitchen baking my last cookie batches. E was in there too as she'd been put in charge of making two lasagna trays for the next day. Music was playing and festive-ness was all around when sadly, E's one tray folded and uncooked lasagna went pouring all over the floor. It was very sad but while my dad was cleaning up the mess and E was sobbing in the other room, I really had to continue baking. I kept looking at the clock and thinking, "If I can just be done at 3, I can relax in my room for awhile before having to get ready for church." As I was rolling cookie dough into dozens of little balls and setting timers and washing pans I had a blissful image of myself laying atop my covers with my space heater going, hands behind my head as I contemplated the holiday and just rested.

Sadly, it never came to be. For one thing, E left right after the lasagna incident to primp for over two hours and she left the kitchen a mess. Dad cleaned some of it, but I knew if I didn't do the rest, it wouldn't get done (my mom had to work until 4 so she wasn't around to help either). So I worked on cleaning the kitchen for a long time, I had to deal with E's sauce spatters on the oven and covering and storing her dish. When I was done with that, I naturally had to straighten the family room which was quite a project in itself. You see, the last thing I wanted was a messy house as we headed out for the night and then to have it all disorganized, cluttered and dirty on Christmas morning. I cannot enjoy a holiday in disarray. So I vacuumed and  folded blankets and tidied up that room as well.

Before I knew it, three o'clock had come and gone and it was time to get dressed for church. I was super excited to wear my new red dress and get to church on time but we walked in late and I even forgot to grab a candle.

I've talked about it in years passed but the whole congregation sings Silent Night by candle light at the end of the service and I look forward to it so much. Not having a candle, and the whole stress of the day almost made me burst into tears as we sang the opening carols. I prayed and calmed myself and my mom ended up giving me her candle which was really sweet and made me feel like a toddler :).

Service was beautiful as always and afterward I got to fellowship a bit and hand out gifts we'd gotten for some of our friends. I just love my church and celebrating the holiday with people who truly know and accept the real reason.

From there we went to my cousins house. There is this big drama because our family gathering used to start in the evening, around 6 or so but for some strange reason, certain family members wanted to make it an earlier all day thing. So now it starts at 3...in years prior we had gone for an hour or so, and then left for church and came back. But it was pointless and silly so now we just go after church (about 4 hours late...) and that's that.

Sort of.

You see, they'd already eaten and there was hardly any food for us. Yes, they saved us no food really. I was actually not angry, but just sad. In general, I feel sort of distant from that side of the family and it only seems to be getting worse. Then some people were mean to my mom and us for setting up a Secret Santa instead of the very boring and very lame gift exchange that usually happens. Whatever, I'm really just over it.

The highlight was the peppermint cheesecake that my friend from church made and we brought over to share. Oh it was delicious!

We left around 10:30/11 and looked at some Christmas lights before heading home and turning in to bed.

So the day didn't go off perfectly but all was well in the end.
Stay tuned for Christmas Day (a much merrier time indeed!)
-G-

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

3 French Hens

In the morning I made my final dough as well as cookie batch and then while watching Saving Mr. Banks, I chocolate covered pretzels which is SO MUCH more time consuming than I ever realized. But it was nice multitasking with the movie on. After it ended we all just laid low and that evening I did some more wrapping for my parents.

And it was very peaceful wrapping alone in the family room with the music playing and my dad cooking in the kitchen. But I had to then get ready to go to the Christmas party for my young adult small group at church. I wasn't really looking forward to it because I was just tired but it ended up being a blast.

We ate food and played games and generally had a lot of fun. I say it a lot but I'm just so thankful for all of the people involved.

-G-

Monday, December 21, 2015

4 Calling Birds

Today we "saw Santa" and I mean that very literally.

M and I were watching our cousins daughter El (who she nannies in the summertime) and we headed to our local mall so she could visit with ole St. Nick. Sadly, she had seen him the day before and was nervous that "double dipping" would be a bad idea and put her on the naughty list. SO, we looked at him as we passed by and then again when we were the level above and peering over the railing. So yeah, we saw Santa and it was nice.

-G-

Sunday, December 20, 2015

5 Golden Rings!!

Today we made a Christmas visit to my grandparents house and then I got home and finished wrapping!

I actually started yesterday but had to stop early because of movie night. I love to wrap and always look forward to it. I was especially excited to use our new paper this year. Oh and we watched Balto as we worked, an added bonus.

The gifts under the tree:
Note: None of these gifts are for my parents, sisters or myself. They're for family and friends that we'll be seeing on Christmas Eve/Day. We don't put out gifts for each other until Christmas Eve night to be opened the next day. I definitely love giving more than receiving now!
-G-

6 Geese a'Laying

Ahhh, today was the much awaited Christmas movie night. My family and my favorite aunt and uncle for two years now and it all started with a Christmas movie night! So, what we do during the monthly events is rotate through the seven of us so that we each get a pick. But for Christmas, we all chose one together. Last year we did Saving Mr. Banks and this year we did...............

It's a Wonderful Life! A total classic and M's favorite. It may have took an hour to get it all set up (my dad has a giant projector screen and we had to figure out how to stream it though the bluray, we are NEVER ready...) it was well worth it.



Friday, December 18, 2015

7 Swans a'Swimming

Today I finished my Christmas shopping! Yay! It wasn't without some drama though as there was a big car situation where I had no way to get to where I needed to go but I used the time at home to make my first batch of cookie dough.

I've talked about it before but here it is again: on Christmas day we go to my Dad's side of the family and do a homemade gift exchange. Most of my family is super artistic so the things they come up with look like they could be sold in stores, no questions asked. I always have a lot of trouble coming up with an idea so this year I'm just going for it and making a ton of different types of cookies. Can't get anymore "homemade" than baking, right? I'm excited though because I love baking and it will be fun to package them up all cute.

-G-

Thursday, December 17, 2015

8 Maids a'Milking

Today I added the new wrapping paper we bought yesterday to our bin and let me tell you, I'm OBSESSED with a few of those patterns, see for yourself:
I usually steer more toward red and green paper but that polished blue and gold with the animals on it is to die for and the silver with the bows! LOVE. There is also a super cute one that's hidden with green and white peppermint candies on it. I love wrapping paper, I really do.

Well, I'm off to work in 3 hours or so and when I return at 7:30, my sisters and I are going to watch Jack Frost. It's pretty heartbreaking at the beginning, just ask my fifth grade class when they played it for us at our Christmas party (everyone was crying), but it ends hopeful and heartwarming. I can't wait to watch!

-G-

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

9 Ladies Dancing

Today I Christmas shopped with my mom. We left at 10 in the morning (ish) and arrived back at 5:30, it was a very full day but I still have some stuff to get! Overall, I was pretty pleased to find everything I was looking for. My original idea for M was way to pricey so I had to settle for something similar, oh well.

The highlight of the day was getting lunch, I didn't listen to my own advice last year and bring a snack so I was mighty hungry by the time we sat down to eat! Here are my purchases so far:

I still need to get the second part to my secret santa gift for the exchange on my mom's side of the family, find something for my favorite aunt and uncle, another aunt and the third child in MFF. I also have to get my mom and dad's gift but I know what I'm giving them so that's pretty easy. On Friday M and I are to finish everything up.

Oh and I also went to E's Christmas band concert tonight, my favorite song was Silent Night, so beautiful.

-G-

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ten Lords a-Leaping

it was the day I've been waiting for!! Time to organize the wrapping paper bin! Last year I did a step by step how to so I don't need to explain again that again. Since I had worked pretty hard to keep things neat last year, cleaning and organizing was pretty easy this year and took me about 40 minutes.

We still have to buy some new paper but for now, here is the finished product:

The boxes and bags look a little messy but it is what it is. On Friday I shall wrap!

-G-

Monday, December 14, 2015

11 Piper's Piping

Well, after finally getting my TB test at work (holy cow, it took months to coordinate times) and going to the bookstore with my dad, I came home and tidied up my room.

Part of that tidying was switching out the book sin my corner bookshelf. This month, red and green it is! And this is my Christmas-y deed for the day!

Ps. Caroling was awesome yesterday! A night I'll always remember :)

-G-

Sunday, December 13, 2015

12 Drummers Drumming

For my "12 Days of Christmas" this year, I will be highlighting a Christmas activity that I partake in each day leading up to Christmas!

Today, I'm doing perhaps the most Christmas-y thing of all, going caroling!

My church has been doing this for years and I've always wanted to go along but it's never worked out until now and I'm super excited. The great thing is that the weather is so unseasonably mild so I won't be cold, that's a huge blessing. And I baked some delicious white chocolate chip cocoa cookies to bring to share. It shall be a great time indeed!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Under The Weather

Since Tuesday, just generally feeling sort of bad in the stomach region. Not much appetite and punishment when I do eat.

So that's no fun but at least I'm done with school now, three cheers for that!

And today I'm going to meet C's new boyfriend because that's what best friends do. The bad news is that we're going out to lunch and I really don't want to eat anything

We'll see how that goes.

Our house is pretty much completely Christmas now and I love it! I helped my mom decorate everything and as usual, got stuck putting up our Christmas village. I used to loathe it but now I have it down to a quick and easy science. It came out looking pretty nice if I do say so myself.

And Christmas shopping will take place this very Wednesday. My mom and I always go together and spend the whole day out and about. I actually have a very good handle on what I'm going to get everyone so hopefully that means no ambling around and waiting for an idea to strike.

-G-

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Last Day and Vocal Rest

Irony of all Ironies:

Saturday was our big extended family Christmas party. It was a grand time with tasty food and a big turnout. It was also VERY LOUD. And so I had to shout to be heard in nearly every conversation. This resulted in a strained voice. Now, my voice is actually pretty easily strained. In fact, after shouting ans cheering on camera during GMA in NYC my voice wasn't back to normal for weeks, if not longer. But this time, it simply can't take weeks...because...

I'm performing in church choir this Saturday AND caroling on Sunday.

Now for the even more ironic part:

My final assignment is to do a READING in my nonfiction class. Yep, I have to read something I've written, out loud for about 7 minutes. So much for resting my voice.

But here is something happy: today is my last day of the semester! And though I have to go to a (3 hour!) class at work right from school and then directly to Bible study and choir practice, I'm just so happy to be done!

-G-

Monday, November 30, 2015

Finally FInals

Woo, this semester went quickly but it still feels like I'm about to finish a very long, and sometimes trying, race. Happily, I will officially be done with this semester a week from Wednesday! So soon!

Yes, there are many things that are stressing me out. Namely a paper for the teacher who ruined my day (not my life) a few months ago, a two hour reading that I really don't want to attend for various reasons, and numerous other assignments that I'm just over.

But, I will prevail. I have, in fact, finished a pretty complete draft of paper for said professor and my nonfiction final essay is finally going where I want it to. Additionally, two of my exams are take home so yay for that!

And, there is plenty of Christmas cheer to get me through it. This weekend is my dad's side of the family's annual party and the Saturday after that is my church's Christmas dinner where I will be performing with my young adult group in choir! I'm so excited! There will also be fun days of hanging with C and El and my much anticipated Christmas shopping day with my mama.

And I will be doing 12 Days of Christmas again, just a little differently! So much to anticipate! I just need to get through the next 9 days!
-G-

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Black Friday

I need to start thinking of clever titles again, huh?

Yesterday my sisters and I left the house at 6:45 and didn't return for nearly 12 hours! It was a looooong day but a good day. We doorbusted, where E won a $50 gift card, which was lot better than in years past because it wasn't cold out. Then we went to breakfast and I got chocolate chip pancakes so it was clearly a great time.

After we ate we went to the mall where I got a super cool aqua colored three quarter zip up from PINK for just 30 bucks. It is so me. We stopped by American Eagle and saw an employee advertising a blanket that you get free for spending a certain amount of money. I really wanted it but didn't want to spend that much or wait in line so we moved on.

After shopping, we went to the movies. Our plan was to see Love the Coopers but they'd switched around the movie times on us. We had to quickly pick another movie and ended up going to Secret in Their Eyes. It was good for sure but not as feel good as our original pick!

From there we dropped off E and got our mom from work because we were going back to the mall to buy something for E at American Eagle and guess what? I bought a sweater and in addition to my mom's purchases, I got that blanket! Win win.

When we finally got home, I had to work on some blasted paper and then E and I watched Anastasia which she has been begging me to do for years. I saw it only once when I was pretty young and this time I really liked it a lot.

More fun tonight as we're going to see Catching Fire Part 2 at last!
-G-

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

It was a good one!

After a really, and let me stress that word "really", rough morning in which I almost got into a car accident and cried* for the first time in a year (2 unrelated incidents believe it or not), the day turned around.

Because I went right from school to work on Wednesday, there was no time to make pies the night before the holiday. Since we knew this was going to happen we bremade the apple pie on Tuesday and then made all the others on Thanksgiving morning. We made three pumpkin and two chocolate. Honestly, it sounds like a lot but they're easy to make and don't take long at all. We just watched the Friends Thanksgiving episodes on Netflix and baked away. It was fairly stress free.

Once the pumpkin pies were in the oven, it was time to get ready. I had this great mustardy colored shirt that I wore with my staple black skirt and it was super Thanksgiving-y. Around 2:15, we loaded all of our pies up and headed to my uncle and aunt's house. They had all of our side of the family in addition to a some people from my aunt's (by marriage) side. I knew everyone though and it was nice to talk and relax. I did not indulge in any appetizers though because other than a single bowl of mini wheats that morning, I was saving my appetite for the big meal of the day.

And great it was!

I didn't clean my plate because I gave myself too big of portions but I thoroughly enjoyed all of the food. Then I forced down a piece of our apple pie before anyone else so to make sure it was edible,  after the disaster that was last year's pies. The verdict: the pie was great but slightly undercooked. Sigh. At least all the flavor was there.

After I almost vomited from overeating and there was a big drama when someone lost the diamond on their engagement ring, we played a really fun game where we connected our phones to this game on my cousin's playstation and did pictionary type challenges and some trivia.

All in all, and despite the rocky start, it was a fabulous year! I am thankful every day for my family, my health and for Jesus sacrifice.

Onto to Christmas!

-G-

*simply tearing up from books/movies/TV does not count

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Living, Dying and Understanding

Last week, posts began to pop up on facebook that a boy I had went to school with had died. At first I assumed that maybe it was drugs because I wasn't sure what type of path he'd went on but then it became known that it was something else that was not preventable and not his fault. Regardless of how he died, it really upset me.

We were in the same math class in sixth grade and sat in the same table grouping. He was a bit of a troublemaker but super nice and so so funny. I remember he had this running joke going that he had a pet squirrel named "Squirrelly" who had died in the Tsunami the year before. It sounds stupid and probably a little insensitive to all of the people who had died but I'm telling you....it was so funny. Sometimes he would randomly pretend to cry about Squirelly and once he drew a little picture of him getting sucked up by a tornado (yeah, not a Tsunami that time I guess!). I thought he was hilarious and had a little crush on him and his "badboy" image. I remember him goofing off in chorus and the teacher having to sing out his name to get him to pay attention.

I didn't see him much after middle school but from time to time he would pop up and I still thought he was cute and funny. And now he's gone.

It's weird, because outside of that one year in math class, we weren't really friends and so many people knew him a ton better than I did. But I knew him as a 12 year old who liked to make jokes and draw funny pictures.

And he only made it to age 22.

He's the first person I graduated with that died and he won't be the last. It's a reminder that life is fleeting, it truly is. On Friday I had a professor say that life is very, very long. It was such an ignorant thing to say, because even if you life 99 years, it's not long in comparison to eternity. 22 years isn't long at all, but that's all this boy got. His life is over and I'm still going on living. Why me? I don't know.

God could choose to take any of us at any time and this is why we have to make the most of every minute of our life. It's the blink of an eye.

Rest in Peace N, I hope you're reunited with Squirelly ;)

-G-

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Shining His Light

On Tuesday, I went into work and was sent back to Antepartum. This is where they put mom's who are having issues during pregnancy, need to be on monitored bedrest etc. I don't love working back there because it can either be super hectic or super boring.

As soon as I got back to the nurses station one of the nurses was saying, "Did you guys see the patient's daughter with Down Syndrome in room ***? She is the cutest thing!" I didn't think much of it and then went to all the rooms to say hello and see if anyone needed anything. When I got to the above mentioned room I said, "Hi I'm Grace, I'll be you nurse assistant this evening."

The mom responded, "I know you, you were here when we got our older daughters diagnosis. You said you'd pray for us."

I realized then that she did look familiar and slowly the memory came back to me. It had been over a year and a half ago and right as my shift was about to end I had come into this mother's room to find her crying. I didn't exactly know why but I do remember saying I'd pray for her and I had.

"This is our daughter," she said and pointed to the cutest little girl sitting in a stroller next to the bed. I totally almost started to cry because she remembered me and her daughter is doing great and God is so faithful and He used ME to bring some peace to this mother.

Sometimes I get nervous to tell people at work that I'll pray for them...I think maybe because I don't know if they'll be offended or something but every time I do, I'm received with warmth. There was a little micro preemie baby that I prayed for for over a year and once I passed her parents in the hospital hallway, right before she was to be released from the NICU but I didn't recognize them until too late. I wanted to tell them how I'd been praying and was really disappointed not to get the chance. But then I realized that it's not about a big thankful payoff for me, sometimes that happens like on Tuesday, but other times I just get to sit back and watch the power of mine and other people's prayers. And on the very same day that that mother recognized me, I saw a local Yahoo news story about this miracle micro preemie baby who was about to spend her firs Thanksgiving at home and is doing great.

Now that's not a coincidence.
-G-

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Midnovember Musings, Again

Guys, I'm sure I say this every year but this year, man time has gone by fast. I cannot believe it is that time again. Seriously! I have a feeling that Christmas is really going come quickly this year.

Anyway, only less than two weeks until Thanksgiving. We're going over to my aunt and uncles and it should be a good time. Sad thing is, I have to work the evening before so M and I have to figure out a way to still make our pies. Most likely we'll do the apple on Tuesday and then the pumpkin and chocolate on the actual holiday. Hopefully they come out better than last year. Black Friday will find my sisters and I doorbusting again but this year we're going to take it to the next level and also go out to breakfast and to the movies. I'm excited.

I can't wait until Christmas too. Last night for movie night we watched When Harry Met Sally and just the few little Christmas scenes were enough to really make me pine for the season. Soon, soon. 

You know, I think it's crazy that this is my fifth year of musing. I love it though.

Here are my past musings:
2014
2013
2012
2011

And can I get props for writing this on the actual "midpoint" this year??
-G-

Friday, November 6, 2015

M's Birthday

I was happy for M's birthday because I skipped school to go to the mall with her and my mom!

Kidding. Yes, I was happy about that but more happy because it was my big sister's special day!

I love M, she is my best friend and we always have so much fun together. I think it's safe to say that we share hundreds of inside jokes and thousands of memories together.

We shopped, went to lunch and then had some family over for cake. It was a great day and I got to put my decorating skills to use and color coordinate the balloons, the presents and the table setting. It came out rather nice for someone who was putting it all together at 11:30 at night after working 8 hours ;)

All in all, it was a great day. I wish M the best 25th year!!
-G-

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween 2015

It was a grand time!

So, this year my sisters and I hosted El, her mom and grandma (my dad's cousins), her little friend and some other family. We were in charge of the whole event because my parents went out for their anniversary that night. We cleaned and cleaned Saturday morning and then went out shopping for food before coming home to prepare some more.

People came over around 5 and our house was quickly buzzing with people. I was so happy to see my Ellie again, I love that child so much! She was an adorable little black cat and got such a kick out of Ruby dressed up as super dog. After everyone ate, it was time to go out trick or treating. The night was cool but dry for once! A big group of us accompanied El and her friend as they went from house to house. I loved trick or treating so much when I was younger, it was so fun to share in their excitement. Sadly, El was getting over being sick so she didn't have as much stamina or fun as she could have.

When we got home, people didn't stay too much longer because they had other plans and so did we! The leaders of our young adult Bible study were hosing a masquerade party at their house that night as well. We got to dress up and I was so stoked to have an excuse to wear my prom dress again. I love that dress so much! And it still fits 3 1/2 years later, score! We also wore masks (of course!) and E lent me her beautiful white dress coat. I felt like a princess.

The part was so much fun. Just a great time with great people. There was delicious food, a murder mystery type game where we each got to play a character and various other activities. I love that I can hang around with these people, who are all around my age, and not have to listen to swearing or talk about lewd things. I love that we can have a good time without getting drunk or high, I love that we all love the Lord and I am so, so thankful.

All in all, it was a Halloween for the books!
-G-

Election Day

Well, I voted for the first time today. This actually should have been my fourth time voting...but I've avoided my civic duty for three years because I really didn't see much point in voting in the yearly elections and for presidential, I had a moral crisis over who to vote for so I just didn't. I feel differently now, and I understand that it is my right and responsibility to cast my vote, there was also an issue that I felt very strongly against so I wanted to make sure and vote a big fat NO on that.

My experience was easy and just as I expected it to be. Voting was at my church so I felt very at home and comfortable. I'd only just registered in the spring when I renewed my license so I was a little scared that they wouldn't have me down but they did (because spring was actually like 6 months ago and I fail to realize that so much time has passed).

Anyway, I took my ballot, went to my cubical and bubbled in that scantron sheet like only a millennial can. I turned it in, got my sticker and was done. It was quick and painless. And happily, the issue I was against did not pass.

Next November...well we all know what that will be. Right now there is a candidate that I believe in and one that I can feel comfortable voting for but it's all a matter of him getting on the ticket so we'll see.

You all know I loathe politics so this is a big step for me. ;)
-G-

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stress stress stress stress STRESS

Oy! I have something coming up today at work that I'm so very nervous and stressed about. I'm not going to share what it is until everything is resolved but I hate this feeling of anxiety and dread. I had a terrible restless sleep filled with weird Dateline-inspired dreams. I want today to be over with so everything can be worked out!

I keep praying and trusting that God will give me peace and wisdom to say the right things, and that those who are listening would be open and receptive. I need to calm down and just know that it will be ok.

It will be ok.

-G-

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

That Time of the Year

For colorful fall leaves and Halloween decorations. For midterms and papers and plenty of reading.

And for...

Gymnastics World Championships!

Which is why I have been a bad blogger here on my personal blog, I've been posting a lot on my gym blog. But never fear, I'll be back to a more regular posting schedule soon enough. Until then I'll be in sports fan  heaven.

-G-

Thursday, October 8, 2015

God's Grace

I'm in a young adult group at my church, we've been meeting since early summer and plan on continuing indefinitely. This group has been a tremendous blessing to me. The leaders are people who care about all of us so much and the teachings are always so Bible centered and applicable.

I've also met so many wonderful people who I look forward to seeing every week, people who love the Lord and strive to be more like Him in all they do. People who aren't centered around themselves and who can give me good, sound advice. I had so many friends in high school that I really loved and cared about, friends that I made awesome memories with. But they were not friends that could lead me down the righteous path. They were good people but they were not Godly people.

As I get older, I'm learning that I can always have friends who aren't Christians and that's ok, but I also need to have friends that are. I need to have people holding me accountable and lifting me up. When I was younger and in Sunday School, there were a lot of girls my age who I thought seemed really nice but I was so intimidated by them that we never really became friends. I thought they all seemed like the perfect Christians, infinitely better than me. Now I know that everyone has their own stumbling blocks and things to deal with, no one is perfect. I have learned to cast my insecurities aside and just talk to people without worrying if I'm inferior. God loves us all!!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.;" 
Jeremiah 29:11

-G-

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Productivity

It's where it's at.

My mom has to get a whole new certification for her job at work. She has one year to take two giant tests and pass them both. Needless to say, she's been studying a lot. Which means she likes to hang out at the new library I hate. Today I tagged along because I had a crapton of work to do and what better place to do it than a peaceful quiet room. Turns out, my clackity typing is really loud in the quiet room so I'm perpetually worried that I'm bugging people. Oh well. I finished a paper and did some revisions on a portfolio for another class. My fingers are begging for me to stop typing.

I should probably oblige.

Hears some happy news: I'm off of work this week and on Friday is my cousins wedding! I still need to find a dress but I'm really excited. I love weddings and I really love to dance. Fun fun.

-G-

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Back in the Chair

Many years ago, when I was 15, I won musical chairs at my mom's family reunion. I knocked a cousin (who is much bigger than me) clear off of the last chair. It was pretty amazing. I love that game, and I'm quite good at it. Sadly, the last two times we've played, my mom's cheating aunt has taken the fun right out of it and I haven't won since.

Today, we accompanied my favorite aunt and uncle to their car club clam bake and after I was done eating large amounts of food and wining races across the soccer field, guess what game was played? Musical chairs. There were a few men, another cheater, my sisters and some random ladies. Guess who won???

ME. And I won a big bag of Twizzlers.

I'm back folks.

-G-

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

She Ruined My Day, But Not My Life

I had an English professor be totally mean and unprofessional to me today. I nearly cried and it was bad. Really bad. I felt stupid, belittled, humiliated and at a loss. I don't know how I'll ever please this woman, seriously, I don't know. But everyone else in the class seems to be doing alright so I feel even more stupid.

It's just hard. And it's easy to feel like everything has gone downhill and I'll end up living in a box and yada yada ya. But it will be ok, even if it doesn't feel like it right now. I'll figure it out, somehow. And I know that this isn't the end of the world even if it felt like it. I know that I'm a better writer than she was giving me credit for. I know that I belong in my major even if she made me feel otherwise.

I know, but it sure as heck still hurt. Bad.

Perspective folks, perspective. I gotta get some.

For now I can say that yes, she ruined my day. But no, she did not ruin my life.

Yet.

Just kidding.

-G-

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Post About a Library

Today, as my dad and I parked in the lot of the town library, he instructed me to "take a deep breathe, walk around and try to find something you like about it." I tried but failed. Why, you ask, does my disdain for the library run so deep? Well, you may remember my post about the grand opening where I publicly apologized for my rude behavior in the shuttle line. Anyway...the reason I was so on edge that day was perhaps because I was so angry about the new library.

You see, the old library was situated right on the campus of my old high school. I had been going three ever since I was a little girl, it was the end destination of countless family bike trips, the place where I spent many evenings in late elementary school while my mom studied. A place where my love for reading was fed and fostered, where I would roam around the children's section, picking out Henry and Mudge and Amanda Pig books. Where I turned the tall movie rung around and around in search of just the right Mary Kate and Ashley movie. It was the place where I took my first creative writing classes, spending hours each week poised over a yellow legal pad, excited beyond reason to share my work with the class.

It was at that old library where I found my haven during those high school years. I never had to fear if my parents were late to pick me up or if I stayed after school for help. I never had to have that nagging worry that plagued me my whole life, that I would have to stand alone in front of the school and fret about kidnappers. I always had the safety of that library, right next door. And every single day I would get picked up there. Certain days, right at three o'clock or just shortly after, it was then that I would wait in the little antechamber that the librarians were always telling kids to keep it down in. Other times, I'd stay there until four or five if I had to wait for my mom to get off work. I would get science tutoring or peruse the fiction section, sitting in the incredibly comfortable yellow chairs. I always felt safe there, surrounded by books and the same librarians I'd known since I was a little girl, asking if they had a certain Bernstein Bear book.

I loved that library.

When they announced that they were planning on building a whole new building, in a whole new spot, I was a Senior. At first I panicked, how in the world could I handle not having my library there for me? I rushed inside it that day and asked a librarian of the timeline for the move and she assured me that it would be well into 2013. I was immensity but still distraught that the library was moving.

Then the day came when it finally happened and I was dismayed to see the end result. One large open space, glass rooms and giant windows. Exposed shelves of books, a cafe with just vending machines. Gone were the cozy nooks and crannies, gone were the hidden magazine shelves that I used to love to go on archaeological digs through. Gone were the cubicles I had once studied for exams in, gone were the gall bookshelves I'd had to use a stool to reach. I was left with a big open expanse of space where the main focus appeared to be nature (the theme) instead of reading. I was dismayed and I still am.

I miss my old library.
And I'll  never like this new one.

-G-

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Great Bridal Shower of 2015

Sadly it was not for me...but it was for my cousin who has been waited so long to find the right guy so yay for her!!! Really, I'm not being sarcastic, I am super happy for her. And as God would have it, her husband to be lives in England so she will soon too.

My mom sort of nominated herself to throw the bridal shower and we had a mere two and a half weeks to get it together. All things considered, it went great.

There was a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time. M did most of the decorations and the favors, I was in charge of the cake sand desert (I took that job VERY seriously), E pitched in wherever it was needed and my dad's duty was to get Ruby out of the house for the evening. And my mom did all the food and cleaning. It was a lot but we banded together and threw a great party.

Oh, there were hiccups, like M getting a raging migraine on the day of the shower and several people being unable to attend last minute but through it all, we stayed calm. I even managed to basically create my own recipe for some pretty delicious raspberry tarts. I thinks I'll post the recipe sometimes this week.

Once all the guests came, we ate and chatted and Ruby wasn't around to jump on everyone and lick them to death, it was peacefully chaotic. We did a little Q&A with my cousin and then we cut the cake. I was a bit disappointed with the taste...but the decorations came out perfect.

I can't wait for the wedding in a few weeks!!
-G-

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Trudging Through

Guess what? I've come down with influenza. Early in the season, yay me!

It started Saturday evening before movie night. My throat felt sort of off and I feared a cold was coming. The next morning I woke up just feeling plain bad so I stayed home from church. I came upstairs, tried to eat breakfast but found no appetite and started to get the chills. I was also congested only on the left side of my face and I had a nasty pain in my left uppper quadrent when I inhaled. It was not fun.

By the time my family returned, I was huddled up on the couch in a blanket, still very cold despite the fact that it wasn't actually cold in the house. My mom confirmed a fever and I spent the day watching House (I'm nearly done with the show now, hooray for binge watching during illness!) and E True Hollywood stories. It would have been nice if I didn't feel so poor.

The next morning I decided I'd better just go to school. I didn't want to miss class and I felt somewhat ok so I forged ahead. The day was alright, though I still felt bad but I managed. It was only later that night, during the premiere of DWTS that I felt feverish again and the thermometer confirmed that my body was right. Boo!

The next day I had to call of work because, hello, I work around babies and new moms and who wants a sick person taking care of them?? I still had to go to ta surgery follow up appointment at the eye doctor though which was NOT fun. I checked out great but I felt awful the whole time. Sadly, at this point, on top of the fever and overall sick feeling, I also had all of the lovely cold symptoms. The worst.

The rest of the day was spent watching more House but this time on TV because a miracle happened and USA network was running a marathon of the exact episodes I was on on Netflix, it was perfect! And I got to watch in my comfy bed instead of the coach, I felt slightly better later that day and did some schoolwork.

I went to school today, felt awful for the first half but then perked up a bit. Upon arriving home I felt a lot better, cleaned the kitchen and now have to take care of E who is in the beginning stages of getting sick herself. The cycle continues.

-G-

Friday, September 11, 2015

14 Years Ago

Here's a repost of what I wrote 4 years ago, let's never forget: 

I was 7 years old. Sitting innocently in my 2nd grade classroom when the first tower was hit. The teachers did not want to scare us so they didn't tell us what was going on. Strange things happened that day though and it's amazing what a kid can pick up on. A lot of my classmates were getting taken out of school, one was pulled right from our line on our way to music class. The teachers held hushed conversations. I knew something was going on.

I just didn't know what.

When my sister and I got home my mom met us at the front door and we sat outside on the front steps. She told us a simplified version of what had happened that day. I did not understand, I don't even think I cared. It was like hearing about a story or movie where a bunch of people I didn't know died. I didn't get the magnitude of it, not for years did it hit me emotionally.

September 11th 2001 was the first major historical event that I lived through. It will be a memory that I will never forget. It's weird to think that the kids that weren't born or were babies at the time (like my little sister) never knew a world without the fear of terrorists or the war. I'm thankful that our country was somewhat peaceful for the first 7 years of my life.

For the past 5 school years in my history classes when the anniversary of the attacks comes around we watch a documentary or a TV special on the subject. When I watch these people talking about their loved ones that died or when I hear these phone conversations, actually recordings of people saying goodbye, it just gets to me. I can't imagine what was going through their minds when the realized that they had no chance, that they were going to die. The fear, the terror, the panic. I'm not brave or strong enough to even think about how I would handle that. I know that I would be praying madly and I know that the fact that I have God watching over me would help but I don't know...it's just so unimaginable.

When I think about those brave passengers that overpowered the terrorists, I'm overcome with pride for the citizens of our country. That we have people that are so willing to sacrifice themselves to save more lives. Their bravery will never be forgotten.

Lets remember, today and always. September 11th 2001.

Blog Roots

I recently went back and reread my entire blog up until this point. I cringed at some points but for the most part, it was really fun! I think I need to go back to my roots a little bit and just write about life...not always day to day events but what I'm feeling, what I'm up to at that moment.

It was so much easier to blog when I was living in a dorm alone! It was quiet and peaceful and no one interrupted to ask, "Whatcha typing?" (which gets so very annoying). I was less distracted and more focused on writing and self discovery. I guess I've discovered a lot of myself for the time being but some self examination would be nice.

You know what's funny? I can't remember the last time I cried. I mean, that's not entirely true, I cry during movies and TV and books often enough but I haven't cried for myself in forever. I guess that's ok, since I've had nothing major to be upset about but sometimes it just feels good to let it all out. Back in June I slammed my fingers in my bedroom door and was totally about to lose it but then M called me for something so I stifled it and went on my way. But for those few seconds where I really did cry a little, it felt so good.

Anyway, I don't think this post has a specific purpose, just a musing like the old days :). I'm very excited about the weekend despite the fact that I have a lot of work to do. But movie night is tomorrow which should be a lot of fun!

-G-

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labor Day Weekend

The weather was so nice this past weekend! HOT, but very nice. I got to spend the three days outstide in the water and sun, the way I like it!

On Saturday, I pretty much spent the whole day in the pool. I finished another book and then my family and I went out to dinner. Our old faithful favorite Italian restaurant was closed for a late summer break so we went to a different one closer to home. Everyone had a good meal except for my dad who had a very bad experience with a fish sandwich (gross). We came home and watched a movie.

On Sunday, we went to church and then I came home and spent more time in the pool. We had burgers for lunch and later on, E and I broke out the old Mario Party on gamecube and I won!

For Labor Day, I spent the morning in the pool again and then we went to the beach. The water was so nice and it was way too hot to stay out of it for long! We looked for rocks and beach glass and ate and had a nice time. We got ice cream on the way home to cap off the day!

All in all, it was a fabulous long weekend full of end of summer fun.
-G-

Monday, August 31, 2015

School Days

I've been back to school for one week now and it's been going pretty well. I like the majority of my classes which is a huge blessing. I have a good deal of work to get to get done (including my first workshop story) so I'm slightly stressed but I have something hopefully good in the works.

That's pretty much all I've got! Ha. I had a great weekend though!! On Saturday I got to work out and then I babysat MFF that night. On Sunday we had church and then a Sunday school meeting. Later on we had a worship night at a family from churchs' house.

Let me tell you, these worship nights are such a blessing to me. Pretty much, we eat and fellowship and then sing for about half an hour, have a devotional and then an extended time of prayer. It's really an awesome time that has really helped me to grow.

Happy Monday all!
-G-

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer Goals Revisited

How is it already that time again??? Summer went fast and slow at the same time but here I am on the eve of my first day of school. So, it's time to evaluate who I fared this year with my goals. 
Summer Goals 2015
Accomplish at Least Half
1. Read at least 7 books (X)
I'm so happy to have accomplished this since I've been only doing five the past few summers. This year, I read some good ones!
           1. What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
           2. A Wrinkle in Time
           3. Cutting for Stone
           4. A Wind in the Door
           5. A Swiftly Tilting Planet
           6. The History of Love
           7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  

2. Run/Bike/Swim as much as possible (X)
I didn't run much after May so i didn't completely accomplish this goal but two thirds works right? I biked to Bible Study each week as well as to VBS practice and it was so enjoyable. I also swam pretty much whenever the weather permitted. 

3. Run a race (X)
I did it! I ran a 5K earlier this month. The experience was great and I can't wait to do more next year. 

4. Develop a healthy eating plan ()
Nope. I ate SO BAD this summer. I mean just terribly. I ate good wholesome meals but I had so much desert and just felt the need to always have something sweet. I also had many days where I would skip meals entirely and just have junk. It's so bad but it's been fun haha. Now that school is starting, I'm saying adios to that way of eating and really buckling down. 

5. Eat one meal outside each day if weather permits ()
The weather never permitted the whole month of June so I sort of gave up. 

6. Organize my bedroom ()
I SHOULD have done this during those rainy June days but I didn't and once the weather turned nicer I never wanted to spend much time indoors. I will do this soon though. 

7. Finish writing my book series ()After writing so much for school this year I sort of had a lackluster approach to it this summer despite how awesome I was about it last year. I only made a bit of progress on my 3rd book sadly. Of course, I know I will finish them, it's just a little slower going. 

8. Make dinner for my family once a week ()
I started out strong but only did this about 4-5 times so I can't take credit.


9. Get closer to buying a car (X)
I spent more money than I would have liked to but I did pack a bit away in savings so that I can hopefully buy a car by the end of the year.


10. Develop a new friendship/relationship (X)
Happy to report that I have done this through my Bible Study! It's been such a blessing to get to know people who love the Lord.


11. Do one thing crazy (X)
I did a lot of crazy this year! I went up 107 stories on the Skydeck in Chicago's Willis tower, I drudged through a big mud pit, I jumped off a rope into a large body of water among other things! I'm actually really glad I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone.


12. Have a perfect day (X)
I had one lovely day of swimming that was quite near perfect and I also just spent part of my weekend on an island that was just beautiful and amazing.


13. Start doing art again ()
I wish I had but I didn't make the effort, hopefully soon.


14. Be better each day and enjoy every moment! (X)
I really did make an effort to savor and enjoy every bit of this summer and I tried to be better each day even if I didn't always succeed.


Goals Accomplished: 8/14

You know what's funny? That's the least amount that I've done in a long time and yet this has been one of the best summer's of my life! I did so many fun things and just enjoyed myself so much. I love you Summer 2015 and I'm sad to say goodbye!
Here's to a great semester! 
-G-

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Letting Go is the Hardest Part

My aunt's family owns an island. I know, right??

And her and my uncle have been asking and inviting us to go out there for a weekend for practically my whole life. For whatever reason, my parents weren't super into it so we never went until this weekend.

M had been wanting to go for awhile so she finally convinced the to set a date. It was hard finding a time with all of the end of summer events and we only got to stay one night but we made it out at last!

And it was grand.

Picture a lovely little island, with lush grass and shady trees and calm waters and golf carts to ride around even though you can actually walk very easily.

There was an actual cove as well with a rope to swing off of high rocks and into the water. At first I was super intimidated by the height and not going to do it. But then I saw E do it and it seemed like so much fun and I'm a all about trying new things. So I strapped on a kids life jacket (I'm a very weak swimmer) and started toward the edge. M had gone before me and failed to get onto the rope correctly and ended up skidding on the water.  I wanted to do it right.

My aunt coached me on how to get the best thrill and then I was just standing there, holding the rope and sweating with nervousness. They urged me to go for it but it was hard making my feet let go of that solid rock and plunge into the unknown. I finally psyched myself up and jumped.

And I ended up just like M, scared to put my whole body onto the rope and just swing. I knew I had to go again. It was just the slightest bit easier jumping off that time but I managed to sit right on top of the big knot on the rope and swing way out there. Then I heard my aunt's command to "JUMP!"  and I let go.

There was a long free fall, so long that I was surprised when I finally hit the water that I didn't plug my nose and water jetting so far I thought my brain would be damaged. I coughed and spluttered on my way to the shore but I'd done it!

I messed up one other time, swinging all the way back and nearly giving my mom a heart attach that I'd hit the rocks (I didn't even come close :) after that I told myself I had to make the jump more times than I missed it. So I succeeded three more times!

It was triumphant. And all I had to do was let go.

-G-

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


I've had the book on my shelf for almost two years, having "borrowed" it from my cousin :). M actually read it during that time and urged me to do the same, for whatever reason, it took me until just last week.

I picked it up and immediately became engrossed. Francie's world was so beautifully crafted and written. Simple daily happenings gave me feeling of wonderment, I lived in that world for the four days it took me to read it. Each character was so real, their gestures, their dialogue and the descriptions were just lovely.

I cried more during this book than I ever have in any book before. I cried for Johny, for Francie, for Katie and Neeley and Laurie and all of them. The feelings from the book were so real, not contrived or brought on by cheap tricks that authors rely so heavily on these days.

Betty Smith is a true literary genius, this book is my favorite of all time. The careful writing and poetic language and the coming of age story is something I can only dream to produce someday. This is writing in it's purest form.

Reading that last page, the last two lines...I honestly just dissolved in tears. Tears because I didn't want it to be over, tears because it was breathtakingly beautiful and tears because I knew these characters and what they were feeling.

Please, if you have not read this book-do! It's a treasure.
-G-

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Beach

There is a beach about 30 minutes from my house that my family and I have frequented ever since I was a little girl. Once, M and I tried to meet up with some friends there and my parents had given us faulty directions so we got lost. Since then, I've been weary to venture there alone again.

But today, Claire and her sister were home from school together for a total of 3 days this whole summer and they asked to meet up at the beach. Our parents were at work so it was just M and I to go. I began feeling nervous right away.

You need to understand that I have a terrible fear of being lost, especially while driving and navigating freeways where it can be so easy to fall off track. M is a great driver though and she goes all over the place so my fears were actually very irrational.

As it neared time for us to leave, I was feeling greatly fearful. I pushed myself to go, directions in hand. And guess what? We made it all in one piece, no problems, no fuss. We walked together though the sand dune path, marveling at how this was the first time we'd made the trek alone. We do so many things by ourselves but the beach hadn't been one of them. When we reached the water, I felt so free and relaxed and happy. We'd made it!

For a little while we sat on a long piece of driftwood and waited for our friends. It was so peaceful.
-G-

Monday, August 10, 2015

Diary of a Fit Girl: August-My First Race!

Above is my elbow, sporting a painful scrape. How did I get that scrape you ask? Answer: THE DAILY DOUBLE. Just kidding, I am not and will never be Alex Trebec. But I digress...

I had my first race! My mom, dad, sister, and Aunt C and myself all ran a race with obstacles and a lot of mud on Saturday. To say I "ran it" would be a big fat lie because I only jogged for about a third of the time. Since my dad and M and I stuck together, we couldn't really run much because my dad's knee kept messing up on him. I would have preferred to run the whole darn thing but I'm not sure I would have been able to so I'm sort of glad I had an excuse not to.

The obstacles were my favorite part, they were like adult playground. Climbing, crawling, hanging, jumping-it was such a blast and I love that kind of stuff. I sped through all of it, not even afraid of the great 12 foot wall I had to climb! Heck, if I can't be a good runner at least this girl can climb with the best of them.

At the end of the race (after jumping over some fire...) there was a big giant slide that threw you into a giant water pit. Sliding down was so fast and I got bucked off at the end! I went under water a bit and then my eyes got wet and I was afraid to open them because I didn't want my contacts to get dried out and gross so I called for M and she led me in.

The actual last obstacle was a long trench of straight up mucky mud that you had to crawl through. You could chose to walk around it and at first we did. But then my mom (who'd finished long ago, bless her), encouraged us to go for it. M refused because she hates mud but my dad and I went back in and got it done! It was gross and sloppy and I ended up getting coated in mud so that I actually looked nude but then I hosed off so all was well.

Overall, it was a lot of fun and a goal of mine so I'm really glad I went for it and it can only go up from here as I build endurance and strength. I can't wait to "run" it next year!
-G-

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Great Summer Book Swap of 2015

M and I both love to read and usually, our interests in books heavily overlap. Most of the books I've read and loved, she's read and loved and vise verses. Still, there are a few books and series that are our own personal favorites that the other had no interest in. But in order to share our love of them and see if the other agrees, decided to have a book swap.

I was to read the Wrinkle in Time books, M was to read The Sisterhood of the Traveling pants. We each only had to read three books out of each quartet because M had already read the first Sisterhood and she advised that I didn't need to read the fourth Wrinkle because it wasn't very good.

And so, on the first of June we embarked. I really only wanted it to take a month but because I had a hard time getting into the books and had other things to read, it took two. I ended up enjoying the first book, hating the second and enjoying the third. Overall, I'm just not a science fiction fan and I really have a hard time appreciating that genre. For the most part, I think (with the exception of the third book), I failed to find the same magic in the books that M had.

On the flip side, M did seem to enjoy the Sisterhood books and even decided to go right into ready the fifth and final epilogue book Sisterhood Everlasting. She definitely didn't love them as much as me and hates one of the major characters but I do think she had fun reading them.

To conclude, I'm glad that I was pushed out of my book comfort zone and read something I normally wouldn't have and I'm glad that M will finally understand my many references to Ann Brashares masterpieces.
:)

-G-

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

4 Year Blogiversary!

Wow! Four years, that's pretty crazy. Four years ago I was sitting at my dining room table with my trusty laptop Lars and the idea popped into my head that I should start a blog. I was so excited as I wrote my first post (and then as I wrote it all over again after accidentally deleting it) and my bio and designed the layout. I was just 17 then and about to begin my senior year, so much has changed since that day but I feel much like the same person, older and wiser sure but my sense of self has stayed much the same.

I think my purpose for writing this blog has changed slightly since then. At first I think I wanted to take each post to tackle a subject and give my thoughts and opinions, after awhile it became a place for me to document my life. My struggles, my triumphs and the everyday. I have never been able to keep a written journal for more than a week so I wasn't sure how long I'd keep with it but it has stuck! I love having this blog as a record of my life, I'm so happy I've kept it up.

I was considering doing a "Blog Awards" for different posts I've written but I think I'll wait until the big 5 year anniversary next year. Who knows what will happen between now and then!
-G-

Monday, August 3, 2015

On Comparison

Yesterday I went to a party at my mom's best friend's house. My mom has three girls, she has three boys. They are all incredibly attractive, one of them, insanely so.

Every time I'm around them or other people who I think are quite blessed in the looks department, I start to wonder how I measure up. I don't think I'm ugly but I also don't think that people go home after hanging out with me and marvel at my beauty.

There are those girls with perfect hair, perfect makeup and perfect clothes. I'm not one of them. My hair will never be pin straight or without a hint of frizz. My skin, though much improved, is not completely clear and without imperfection. I'm short, I don't have a desired hour glass figure. I don't have patience or desire to cover myself in makeup other than cover up because, yeah the skin issues. And honestly, I feel like I could really go out of my way to try and look like those "perfect girls" and still not achieve that look. It's just not me.

And then I get to thinking, if there are so many prettier, more put together girls than me, why would a guy ever chose me as a girlfriend or wife? I struggle a lot with that insecurity. I really don't see why anyone would desire to be with me because well, there are a lot of more attractive options. I know this is a terrible thing to say or think. I've been told I'm being insecure and ridiculous. And I know it's not all about looks. But hey, they are the first thing someone notices, right?

I do console myself with the fact that pretty people aren't the only ones who get married. I know that you don't have to be a super model to be datable but I guess i still have this issue where I feel like no one would ever want to be with me over someone else.

I do pray about it but mostly I just pray that someone would love me, that I'm ready for that commitment. Perhaps I should start with my own issues and then work my way up. Maybe I need to fix my self image before I worry about my image to others. But gosh, don't they go hand in hand? Isn't self image, let's be honest, heavily based on what others think of you? But I guess it doesn't have to be.

My self image, as a Christian, should be based on what God thinks of me. Frankly, I know he doesn't give much care to what I look like but that he wouldn't want me putting myself down because I am created by Him. It must be insulting for God to have all of these humans hating the way they look and thinking that other people are more beautiful. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, we are all beautiful in His eyes.

I should focus on that, and let the rest fall into place.
-G-

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Perfect Summer Days

I promise to blog about my Chicago trip but for now I want to say that today and yesterday have been marvelous. The weather has been hot and sunny and we took full advantage!

Yesterday, M and I took El to the local pool and had the best time! We stayed for over three hours and just swam away. The only hiccup was a group of rowdy camp boys taking our table but I taught them a firm lesson ;). El is such a little swimmer now! It is great to be able to go into the deep end with her and swim about.

And today, my dad and sisters and I headed to a local water park that we haven't been to in 7 years. It's absolutely crazy to me that I was just 14 last time we went, it hardly seems like that long ago. We went down some great slides and swam in the lazy river and wave pool. I'm getting quite tan indeed!

I am loving these summer days and just soaking them up. I think a Dairy Queen ice cream cone is in my near future!
-G-

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Blogging Slump

What is causing it? I'm not entirely sure. I think it's that I rarely even sit down at Lars (my trusty laptop) unless I'm writing my book. I'm on my ipad most of the time I need the internet. I feel bad because this has really been a great summer and I wish I'd documented it more. On the flip side, when blogging feels like a chore, I don't usually force it. I mean I am on break from school so this time should be stress free and relaxing. still though, I want to blog sometimes I just don't like to if that makes any sense.

What have I been up to?? Long walks through various parks, working more than I'd like but still not all that much :), swimming at last, hanging out with El, watching a lot of House and generally having tons of fun.

We are headed to Chicago very soon to see C, the city and the Secret Classic, I cannot wait! I will blog about the trip for sure.
-G-

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Happy Place

Confession: Up until this point, I've hardly written at all this summer. Not talking about on this blog, but my books that I'm writing.

I'm not sure why I lagged so badly, perhaps it was because I'd written so much during the school year and wanted a break, maybe I was just being lazy :). Anyway, I finally returned to writing this week and I'm so happy I did. I forgot just how much I enjoy writing, how much I missed the characters I created and the simple feeling of putting fingers to keyboard. I love it and it makes me happier than I can explain. I feel like this just affirms that I am going down the right path in my life. Even if I don't use it right away, I've benefited so much from going for a degree in Creative Writing.

Now, if I can just get better at updating the 'ole blog I'd be set! I will make a huge push to write more!
-G=

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What Summer is Made of


At last, we had some beautiful weather and right over the 4th of July weekend. Finally, I got to spend a whole day outside, swimming in the pool and reading on lounge chairs. Though the rain returned today, I'm really thankful for the reprieve and hoping for more sun soon. Because summer is made of swimming and tanning, fireworks, cookouts, cornhole, picnics, parks, ice cream, mosquito bites...all of it!

In other news, I've been doing pretty well as far as reading books this summer goes. I think I just finished #5! My other summer goals...eh not sure how well I'm doing but I still have time!
-G-

Monday, June 29, 2015

Diary of Fit Girl: June

Well, let me start by saying that my summer workouts have been hard to fit in and I've missed weeks at a time which is pitiful. Still though, my progress is steady and I have actual defined abs :D. As far as my running goes, I am able to do 2.5 without stopping or slowing so I'm confident that I can get passed 3 very soon!

Here are some things I realized during my fitness journey:
-I still can't figure out if I prefer push-ups to sit-ups...one one hand, situps are a bit more difficult for me because my back can't curl. BUT, it's deadly to stay in a plank position when doing wide plank, to diamond, to dive bomber...ugh
-Not looking at the clock during the 15 minute warm-up is very effective. Nothing makes time go by slower than me constantly glancing at how much time has gone by...and finding out it's been a total of 10 seconds since the last time I checked.
-Upper-cuts are my favorite punch.
-Running CAN be fun!

-G-

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cookies

Despite the sad weather this weekend, and the fact that it made our towns festival a bust, the weather was good for indoor activities such as...making cookies.

I had planned on making my cousins (who both just graduated college) each a batch as a little gift. One of them, my cousin K, is a vegan so I made my first vegan cookies. I used a chocolate almond recipe and they came out pretty good! For my non-vegan cousin I used this tried and true recipe for chocolate chip cookies with rolled oats. Then I bought some bakery boxes and packaged them up really cute.

The final batch was made today, for my grandma's birthday which is Tuesday. I would make them tomorrow so they'd be more fresh but I don't think I'll have time with work and working out. At any rate, they came out well despite me having to substitute the oats for flax seed. I can't wait to get them all wrapped up and give them to her!

Since the weather has been abysmal (cold, rainy, stormy, cloudy) for over a week now, I am praying that the streak ends and some real summer weather comes. I so badly want sun and warmth for this fourth of July parade that E is marching in this weekend!
-G-

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Fun

VBS was awesome! And this week has also been full of summer fun. I had to work Monday but on Tuesday we headed to Cedar Point. I've ridden most of the coasters in the park at one point or another but they terrify me and I get motion sickness so now I mostly just go along for the fun of it. My sisters ride everything so my parents and I follow them around and find our own fun. I still managed to ride a good deal such as: the ferris wheel, monorail, bumper cars, antique cars, Cedar Creek Mine Cars and the Raptor. I had Dippin' Dots (twice!) and generally had a great time. I just love Cedar Point, everything about it really. I even won a stuffed turtle I named Regis after the lady at the guessing game failed to guess my weight correctly.

Wednesday, we went to a major league baseball game. The weather was beautiful and the game was very exciting. Later that evening was Bible study and I ended the night with over an hour of reading.

Today, we went to breakfast a cute little town nearby and shopped around for a bit. Then we went bowling! I love to bowl, despite the fact that I'm pretty terrible at it. I came in 3rd place the first game but last in the second. For whatever reason, the longer I play, the worse I get! I still had fun though :). We got home and I just read for another hour or so, I'm in a book club now and the first book is very long but I'm determined to finish early.

Well, tomorrow is work again but then a bonfire and carnival this weekend! Summer is the best.
-G-

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Heading on Safari

Not actually...but this week is VBS and the theme is African safari. I am in daily skit this year, something that I've been wanting to do for so long! I have  big part and a lot of lines but I think I have them down. I have a fabulous costume that I've put together and I'm so excited to get started!

It hasn't come without work though, today was busy as it gets. First we had church until 11:30 and then we had to stay after to set up until 1. As soon as I got home, I had to make two dozen muffins for donations, put the iron on on my shirt, put the finishing touches on my costume and oh, bake a second batch of muffins because the first one burned. Then it was BACK up to church for our final rehearsal! Wooo, I'm tired!

It should be a great week!. Oh and GO CAVS!!!!
-G-

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thursday Recipe

This summer, my family has a weekly rotation going so that each night (minus weekends) one of us makes dinner. My night is Thursday so I thought it would be fun if I shared the recipes I used. I really like to cook so I've been having a lot of fun with it. Today was only my second week (I'll try and post what I made the first week sometime soon) and I went with this:

Quick Chickpea and Summer Vegetable Stew (from myrecipes.com)
Cook Time: 26 Minutes
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped 
2 small carrots, cut into coins 
1 qt. reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed
2 small zucchini, cut into coins
1 small yellow squash, cut into coins
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 bunch (6 oz.) thin asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-in. pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves 

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook onion until translucent but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add carrots and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Stir in broth, chickpeas, squashes, corn, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes, then stir in tomatoes and asparagus and cook until squashes are tender but not mushy, about 3 minutes more. Ladle into bowls and garnish with basil.

It came out pretty good and despite the title, I didn't end up using any chickpeas. I like them but my family finds them a bit heavy and filling so I skipped them and made the main focus the vegetables. If you don't like a lot of salty flavor (I don't) definitely take the recipe's advice and use low sodium broth. Also, be prepared to spend about 30 minutes chopping! I also doubled it because I wanted left overs for myself and my parents to take to work tomorrow and I was left with A LOT. The serving sizes are generous.

And without further ado, a picture of my finished product!
I would highly recommend this recipe if you are looking for an easy, wholesome, healthy meal!
Find the whole recipe here.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Busy Summer and Exciting News!

I feel like I went from being soooo bored and not at all busy to being very busy and not at all bored! I like being busy better I think but it has been an adjustment. Right now I have work (3 days a week, maybe two if I'm lucky ;), boxing (3 days a week), Bible study starting Wednesday nights, weekly practices for the VBS drama, I'm reading 3 books and in a monthly book club, I'm still trying to finish writing the book series I started last year (3/4 done with book 3/$!), helping nanny my cousin El with M and...well going watching House MD beginning to end (on season 3, best show ever).

So yeah, it's a lot and if I don't do a little of everything each day then I fall behind and get stressed but being busy is good! Being productive is good! And I have some super exciting news that I just posted on my other blog! I am going to the Secret Classic again this year with my whole family! So though i initially thought we wouldn't be going on any vacation this year, I somehow made a trip to Chicago happen and I am PUMPED. Not only do I get a fun little break, I will also get to see Claire and attend a live gymnastics meet again. I don't think I can describe my excitement. I just feel so thankful and blessed that my family has the means and the desire to make this trip happen.

See you in July Chicago!!
-G-

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Flashback Series: Senior Banquet/The Last Assmebly

Was probably one of my favorite memories ever. It was kind of like what I hoped prom would be. It was held at a hotel and we got to watch our senior video, receive our senior books and eat and dance. Toward the end, everyone was on the dance floor and (I know it sounds cheesy) but we all put our arms around each other and swayed. It was the same thing we'd done at our middle school farewell dance and it just felt so perfect.

The next day we were back at the high school for our final assembly where they give out scholarships. We had to wear our cap and gowns and meet in the gym where we practiced lining up in alphabetical order. We filed in the auditorium with the graduation song playing and of the Junior class and teachers watching. Sadly for me, I ended up at a seat that was broken and had to physical keep myself from falling down with it for the whole 2 hour duration. And I didn't win a scholarship, go figure! Still, it was a nice time to see other students get recognized. And the real graduation was just two days away!
-G-

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Flashback Series: Prom

I always said that I'd only go to prom if I had a date...and then Spring of my senior year rolled in and I did not have a date but still wanted to go. So I did. I went alone with two friends and their dates, was it a bit depressing? Maybe but I didn't want to miss out on any of the fun just because I was (am) single!

I'm still in love with the dress I wore. It was this bright peach color, strapless (much to my chagrin, I hate strapless but oh well) and embellished with beautiful rhinestones. Oh and it was long, I hate all of these short prom dresses girls are sporting more and more, why not take advantage of the one time besides your wedding when you can wear a fun long dress?? Anyway...I digress. It was tailored just to fit me and it did like a glove.

I have to say, for all of the hype that prom receives, it didn't quite live up to it. It was fun and felt special but it was also slightly dull and anticlimactic. The high point was my best friend L getting voted onto prom court and being paired with a guy she'd had a crush on for years. I did get to dance a lot, which I love, and was lifted high up in the air by L's date who was probably high, no one is sure ;). L and I took photos in the booth and I took many pictures with other friends.

After Prom was great though! It was held at school and decorated beautifully for the carnival theme. Both of my parents were there helping out and I just had the best time. I played poker and ate cotton candy, rode in a tricycle race, took more pictures, ate more food, "bought" prizes with the fake money I won. And we didn't get home until 5 am!
-G-

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Such a lovely Holiday weekend and summer send off!

The fun started on Friday when M and I got to hang out with El (our cousin who we watch in the summertime) for the day. She'd just had the same eye surgery I had done in March so we bonded over that! El will be turning 5 in July and just gets smarter and funnier every time we see her. First we headed back to our house and watched Snow White and then we headed to this huge luxury playground that we've been wanting to take her to for years. The weather was a little cooler than it had been but it was actually a blessing as we ran around and climbed and swung, we ended our visit with a trip over to the sandbox.

From there, we headed to a mall a few cities over because M was hunting for sun glasses and me for some t-shirts. Mission accomplished for us both! We also took some great pictures together in a photo booth and ate Chick-fil-a, what could be better?? On our way home and to pick up E from school, I got a call from the mom of my MFF and she had an urgent babysitting request. I accepted and went directly to their house for about an hour. The day was busy bu so much fun!

Saturday we worked out in the morning and then headed downtown to visit a family friend who has been in the hospital for three weeks. From there we had to rush home so M and I could go to our favorite aunt and uncles house. This Saturday they are hosting a big birthday party for my grandma and M and I volunteered to help create a slideshow. We'd went through pictures to bring over. The best part of the visit was that I got to polish off my Uncle's steak-ilovesteak.

After taking pictures of pictures and uploading them to my aunts computer, we left and went to a different mall so M could exchange her sunglasses because they were scratched when she bought them. It was a bit of a hassle but we got it done and rewarded ourselves with s'mores frappecinos from Starbucks. That night, M finally indulged me and watched Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, E joined in too!

Sunday, M and I taught Sunday school and then hurried to the grocery store to get supplies for the parties we had that day and the next. I'd been wanting to make this tasty scoop cake for awhile with M but ended up doing it myself. I was a little worried about how it would come out but would have to wait until the next day to find out. As soon as I was finished we went to my mom's brother's house for a barbeque. The crowd was a lot smaller this year for whatever reason so there was no cornhole tournament. Still, there was tasty food and volleyball and good conversation. We got home before dark.

Monday was the yearly Memorial Day parade that I've been going to for as long as I remember. I love that parade! It goes through my grandparents neighborhood and throws out a ton of candy. My three girl cousins were in the parade and the little ones got a lot of candy. When we got back to my grandpas house we had a delicious breakfast and then hung out. My family and I did head to a grocery store nearby to pick up the chicken for lunch. My cousin S came with us and waited in line with me while I bought the ribs they were selling outside. Alas, they were not good...I am still searching for tasty ribs that are actually in this state (I've only had luck in Chicago and Florida!).

We ate lunch, enjoyed my scoop cake (it got rave reviews!) and took some pictures before playing a customary game of red rover with my cousins. They're 11, 12 and 13 now and my sisters and I are 16, 21 and 24 but we all still played like we were little! I think I'll always be a kid at heart.

It was a weekend to remember! And sidenote: I've been going through the House MD series again and let me tell you-I love it even more than I thought I did! I've been watching 2-3 episodes a day!
-G-

Friday, May 22, 2015

Flashback Series: The First Graduation

Looking back now, I'm glad I got to "graduate" twice. The first was a separate ceremony for my post secondary program that was held a week before the whole class graduation.

The day had actually been highly stressful. I had my big orientation at my college and my parents and I were late. I was very intimidated and nervous the whole day as I was quickly assigned to a group full of strangers (to be expected but still). To top it off, we had to rush home as soon as it was over because I had to be at the high school very soon. As soon as we arrived back at the house I changed into my dress and hurried off. My family would meet me later.

There were a number of other programs that were all graduating together so the parking lot was very full. I met up with L right away and we walked together to the auditorium where we had to sit in our line up. My chair was sadly broken so I stood instead. Waiting to be called into the gym was fun and exciting. I was having a great time with my friends but I was ready for the next step. At last we filed in, there was a sea of white chairs for us to sit in.

The ceremony was loooong but my friends and I were quiet and respectful, we didn't want to give our program a bad name. Sadly, a few girls who I wasn't fond of were loud and rude repeatedly. Finally we got up to make a line by the stage. My name was called and I walked across the stage to receive my diploma from the Doctor who had taught our class. It was so meaningful.

Afterward, the culinary program had made an awesome spread of food for the family and graduates. I ate, hung with L and took pictures with my family. It was a great night!
-G-

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Weighing In on Josh Duggar (and the whole family)

I'm a long time watcher of "19 Kids and Counting". Yes, I saw that wholesome Christian family at first. I saw the big smiles and teamwork. And then I did some research via message boards and the like. In lieu of these allegations against Josh Duggar turning out to be true, all I have to say is: I'm not surprised.

Not only has the abuse been a rumor for YEARS, I know that there is a lot more going on in this family than meets the eye. For instance, Jim Bob and Michelle heavily endorsed a horrific book called "To Train Up a Child" by Michael and Debi Pearl. This is a book that advocates hitting a 4 month old baby, holding a child under a faucet and spanking a child into submissions. There have been parents who follow these teachings that have killed their kids with these methods. Sick.

The Duggars are also big into the ATI or Advanced Training Institute which is a homeschool group formed by convicted child predator, Bill Gothard. Gothard has since resigned but thousands still follow his teachings, Duggars included.

And don't even get me started on the fact that the girls can't even leave the house without a chaperone, are taught to give in to their husbands every demand and how none of the kids are encouraged to pursue any higher education. 

And so, when you watch the show, when you think about how "wholesome" this family is, consider what those older girls have been through. Consider who Jim Bob and Michelle are really following. I hope it's God, but I don't think you can truly have God in your heart and abuse your kids.

I pray that I'm wrong but there is a lot of evidence to the contrary. Where there is smoke...
-G-