Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It is...

EXAM WEEK

And 11 days until Christmas! My my, how time has flown.

I'm really tired because this week has been super busy and will continue to be until tomorrow when I have most of the day off and only work 7-11pm.

I'm slightly blue because I think I'm getting a cold. If I do, it *should* be gone by Christmas. And if it fails to fade in due time, I am going to get meds for a sinus infection. I will not be sick for three weeks again. No way.

In other news, I'm using my Mom's laptop which I hate but I'm making due. The jury is still out as to whether I'll get a new computer for Christmas. Yesterday my mom and I had our annual day where she comes with my to shop for other people. I got most everything done so it was a great success! I'm really excited to give away all of these gifts. I'm also going to be baking a lot to save some money but it shouldn't be as intense as last year as I'll probably only make 3 types of cookies instead of 6.

Back soon with more holiday fun!
-G-

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Farewell to Lars

Lars
December 25th 2010-December 1st 2016

On the evening of November 30th, I logged onto Lars and wrote some of my religion paper. I surfed the web for a few minutes and then closed him fondly. The next morning, he had stopped working. thankfully my dad was able to recover my files.

You might be reading this and feeling weirded out that I have such strong feelings for a computer. What you need to know is that Lars was a constant companion to me. I received him for Christmas when I was 16, a Junior in high school. He saw me through Senior year, one of the best of all, I worked on college applications, dorm profiles and scholarship forms with Lars.

We spent two very solitary years together in my dorm room. I probably spent at least three hours using Lars every day. Writing, reading, blogging, watching TV. He came with me to North Carolina, a vacation I'll never forget. He went to Canada.

Lars was there when I transferred schools, both times. These past few months, Lars has gone with me to campus nearly every day while I work on papers. Lars has been there for long hot summers, cold bleak winters, nights on my favorite couch while I watched Netflix, in my cozy room. Lars has been with me in sickness and health. I loved that laptop, I loved it as a friend and as a prized possession.

Most importantly, the best gift Lars gave to me was the platform in which to write. I wrote 4.5 books, numerous short stories, dozens of papers and countless school assignments on that keyboard. Oh the joy of the hours I would spent writing my books! I can't express hw much happiness it brought me to sit at the kitchen table with Lars and write for hours on a summer morning. I typed so much that many letters on the keyboard rubbed off.

I knew Lars was getting old and might not last much longer. He had been through a keyboard transplant and two new batteries already. 6 years is pretty old for a laptop. I just didn't know the end would be so sudden.

Lars, thank you for being with me through literally everything from the time I was 16 all the way to age 22. You have been a friend and comfort, I never felt alone with you. You were not the fanciest computer but you were the best. The very beset.

I will miss you so much.
-G-

Monday, November 28, 2016

My First Sinus Infection

I know I've said I've had a sinus infection before but I'm certain I was mistaken. I now know what a sinus infection feels like and it was a shocker.

First, I get a cold THREE WEEKS AGO. Then, I start to feel better for literally half a day. From there, it was another decent into illness but the runny nose and watery eyes never returned. Instead, I congestion that wouldn't expel itself, pressure in my face, a hoarse voice and fatigue oh and a nasty sinus headache. It sucked. What sucked even more was that it happened over Thanksgiving (which maybe was a good thing because I didn't have to go to school). I forced myself to enjoy the holiday to the fullest, still made my pies, doorbusted on Black Friday, hung out with C etc.

The nights were the worst. I would wake up every few hours just feeling miserable. I tried propping myself up to no avail, I tried steaming myself. It was awful

Finally, finally I feel better last night but today it was back to school. All of those mornings over break when I could have been sleeping in but couldn't, wasted! At least there are only two and a half weeks until Christmas break. I pray I don't get sick again for that.

-G-

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Series Finales: The Decent and Abysmal

Well, I finished HIMYM on Thanksgiving night. I know the ending is highly debated and generally disliked. I felt on the fence about a few things and I wish the writers had omitted a few lines but overall, it was a good enough ending for a great show. Especially considering what was to come...

The following night, M and I settled in to watch the Gilmore Girls revival. Now, if you remember, GG was a show that I found fun and entertaining but I didn't necessarily love. Still, I was very excited to see what would happen in the revival, namely, who Rory would end up with.

Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.

Honestly, I have never hated an ending more in my life. It SUCKED. The writers screwed up Rory's character beyond belief and through logic and characterization by the wayside in favor of their preferred ending that DID NOT FIT AT ALL. Even more devastating, they completely screwed over my beloved Jess.

The show, revival and original, is now dead to me.

Ugh.

-G-

Thanksgiving 2016

Highlights:
  • Our pies came out good for the most part. Well...except for the chocolate one that I botched and had to throw out. My aunt's pumpkin chocolate cheesecake blew everything out of the water anyway :D
  • Food. was. so. good. Especially the stuffing which is my favorite dish of all. And since we hosted at our house, we had all of the leftovers. Meaning, I had four thanksgiving meals total. 
  • We played three games that were quite fun. First, that game with the mouth spreader where you have to try and pronounce words, quite comical. Second, Seven Wonders, a game of strategy. Third, a game I can't remember the name of where everyone answers a question and then we guess which answer was whose. Highly amusing. 
  • Family, everyone came! My dad's whole side of the family made it. I love having everyone together. 
Lowlight
  • I felt real sick. I haven't felt well in almost three weeks. I'm pretty sure I have the first sinus infection of my life but I don't want to pay and go to the doctor so here's to hoping it goes away soon. 
Overall, despite not feeling well, I have so much to not just be thankful for, but to be thankful in! I can be thankful in ANYTHING with God on my side.

-G-

Monday, November 21, 2016

I'm Ted Mosby

As I've mentioned before, I'm watching How I Met Your Mother for the first time on Netflix. I didn't love it at first but now I do. I'm currently on season nine and excited to see how everything will play out.

The character of Ted is a hopeless romantic who believes in big moments and destiny and is waiting (not so) patiently for the woman he is meant to marry. At the end of season eight he confesses to another character that he tired of waiting around and tired of believing and hoping that each girl he meets might be the one. He's grown cynical and so have I.

I know I"m still young but there was a time when I truly wondered if each new guy I met would be "the one". I would go so far as imagining myself married to people I barely knew to see if they made a good fit. I envisioned bit moments, sparks flying, the whole thing. Now I don't do that anymore. I don't let my mind wander, I don't even daydream much anymore. That part makes me sad.

I used to have an elaborate daydream, basically a mind palace, of my future home, my future kids, my future husband, my wedding. Now it makes me to sad to visit those figments because I'm so worried and doubtful that they'll ever even come true.

So I'm like Ted. But let's not forget, he does meet "the mother" and he does get married and have kids. It happens for him when he's given up, when he least expects it.

And that's the hope I have for myself. Maybe someday this blog will be my own version of "How I Met Your Father"

-G-

Friday, November 18, 2016

In Which I Get Very Excited About Putting on Flannel Sheets

I don't know, there is always something wonderful about crawling into bed with freshly laundered sheets. I know I'm not alone in that.

Even better, when the sheets are soft flannel that you haven't felt in months and months. I quite love taking off my flannels in favor of cotton come the end of March too but once the weather turns cold, I'm delighted to put them back on.

Flannels=cold weather=CHRISTMAS is coming!

I had been using the same blue and white snowman flannels for probably about 8 years before I finally caved and bought a red and white checked set at Target last year. Big mistake. It may have looked nice on the box but the red was just TOO MUCH. It offended my eyes and seemed out of season come January.

TOO MUCH I tell you!

This year I bought a subtle but cute set with happy snowmen and a single red stripe by the top of the flat sheet.

Just right.
I've held out on putting them on until my weather forecast shows that it will be in the 40's or below indefinitely. Though today is unseasonably warm, the weekend comes with promise of snow so it's time.

So now you all know what I'll be doing tomorrow :)
-G-

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Fifth Anniversary of Midnovember Musings

Here we are once more! It's hard to believe it's already that time. Honestly and truly, I feel like Christmas will be hwere before we know it!! After all, Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!!

I'm excited for the holiday season. I'm especially looking forward to buying both of Jackie Evancho's Christmas albums on itunes and playing them on repeat whilst driving and writing papers and wrapping presents and such. I love Christmas music.

But as I said, before that is Thanksgiving! I love that holiday too. I'll be making pies and watching Thanksgiving TV episodes and black Friday shopping the next day. Ahhh can't wait.

I think I mentioned it once but I'm watching How I Met Your Mother after much urging from my mom and sister. It took me about half a season to warm up to it but I'm on season 8 now and totally hooked. I really love how everything is coming together, props to the writers for that one! I started the show in late August and I imagine I'll be done in no more than a week or two. From that point on, I'll watch Christmas TV/movies and then come 2017, I think I'll go back to rewatching old shows for awhile. I had a year of new TV (Gilmore Girls, Friday Night Lights, HIMYM) and it was great but there's really nothing like revisiting old favorites.

Well, I shall end my musings here as it's going to take me a hot minute to link up to all of the past musings. I wonder where my 2017 musings will find me.... :)

2011 Musings
2012 Musings
2013 Musings
2014 Musings 
2015 Musings

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Well...

New president and stuff.

Yeah.

But in bigger news, I'm getting a cold :(. Truly, I should not complain! Remember how I was literally sick every month last year? From September-April? April was my last illness! So I had a 7 month run of health which is pretty darn good.

Since I started working in a daycare a few weeks ago, I knew it wouldn't be long until something got to me. The kids just cough, straight at you because they're toddlers and don't know any better. I still love them :)

I do wish I didn't have so much work (school and actual) to do this week as it's hard to find motivation when you aren't feeling well. But, I know I'll get through it and be better for it.

Can you believe it's almost time for another musings post? Holy cow, it's November already!

God bless America.
-G-

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I Voted and I'm Not Crying About It

Ok, so this title is not meant to be an insult to those who were crying about their votes. From what I read on social media, there were a lot of people who felt so torn up about the candidate they ultimately felt they had to vote for that they were very emotional. I totally get that. I get that people feel backed into a corner for this election, I get that people feel like they have to vote for a certain person or another. All I'm saying is, I am at peace with my vote.

I don't see it as a wasted vote, or even a protest vote. It was my vote to do whatever I wanted to with and I can honestly say that I could not have lived with myself if I'd voted any other way. I did my research, I know that my candidate was far from perfect. I did not agree with everything this candidate stood for but on the whole, I see my vote as hopefully leading to future political reform so that no one is every stuck in this same situation again.

No one should have to cry about their vote!
I hope in 2020 that no one does.
-G-

Monday, October 24, 2016

Being an Adult Sometimes Requires Going to the Pediatrician

Like today when I needed a physical for my new (2nd) job.

That's right. I did the adult thing of getting another job to save more money and thus, I needed a physical. I've been meaning to get around to finding an adult physician but well, never did. So when I needed this appointment as soon as possible, I knew there would be no time for searching around and trying to schedule so I reverted back to the rainbow tiled floor at the Pediatricians.

Yeah, it was embarrassing but not terribly. I went from there to the DMV to get fingerprinted and then to the bookstore to get Huckleberry Fin for my Lit class. Being self sufficient makes me feel happy and independent. I feel like an adult today, even if I do have an animal print band aid on my left arm.

Monday, October 17, 2016

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"

What I want is not always what I need. Not always what is intended for me.

I've been thinking lately that it's actually sinful for me to think things such as,

'I should be engaged by now."
"He's the one that got away."
"Why am I always single? I'm no worse than anyone!"

Because, ok, my plans are not His plans! I shouldn't be anything that I am not because that is clearly not God's plan for me. There really isn't such a thing as the one that got away because, he was supposed to get away. And I must be always single because perhaps I need to grow more before a relationship, perhaps the right person just hasn't come into my life yet.

If I'm living according to scripture, if I'm seeking to glorify God in all that I do, then I am right where He intends me to be.

Simple. The end.

Sure, it can be hard to accept but you know what?

"If you try sometimes, you get what you need"

Sunday, October 9, 2016

He Needs to Be Enough

I wrote last week about feeling undesirable and lame and sad about the fact that all of my friends are in relationships and I am not.

Unfortunately, I've been dwelling on this a lot in the past seven days. It's hard to have such a strong desire for something and watch everyone around you have that desire fulfilled. The bottom line is that comparison is the work of the devil.

I'm serious. It makes you doubt not only yourself, but the plans God has for you. The truth is that God needs to be enough for me to be happy. If I was imprisoned in a cinder block cell with nothing at all, He would need to be enough. God is so much more awesome than anything this world has to offer. It isn't wrong to long for marriage and a family and a good job etc. but I cannot let my happiness depend on it.

If I'm constantly thinking, "I"ll be happy when..." I'm not focusing on the present and all of the things that are going well and good. People who are always waiting for that next thing are never really content in the season of life that God has them in.

This is a challenging season of life for sure. But it doesn't have to be bad. I don't have to let longing and envy consume me because it will make me bitter. And as my pastor put it today, bitterness is an imprisonment of the heart.

God needs to be enough. Because, well, He IS enough!
-G-

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

All Things For Good

I wrote this post a year ago about a certain professor who deeply hurt my feelings and ruined my day (but not my life).

Basically, above mentioned professor (occasionally referred to as "that idiot ______) was critical to the point of hostility over a ROUGH draft I had written. She humiliated me in earshot of the whole class and basically crushed my spirit.

Said professor had RIDICULOUSLY high standards for papers, like she was a stickler for EVERYTHING. It was terrifying to submit an assignment for her to judge and write all over and pick apart, especially after what had happened between us. After a crap ton of revisions, I did manage to get a good grade on my last paper though, which was though nice, did not change my opinion on "that idiot _______).

My opinion still remains the same. The women was tactless and rude and insensitive but she taught me a lot about how to write a scholarly paper.

I used the tools I'd learned in her class and continued to get better and better. I've always been good in English, but on a college level, it's mostly been high B's and the occasional A. Academic writing on a high level doesn't come as naturally to me as creative writing but it's been a work in progress.

This professor taught me that it is possible to make someone feel so small that they wish to disappear. She also taught me that using "by contrast" and "to the contrary" are excellent transition phrases. This professor taught me that it is possible to completely humiliate someone without even realizing it, while seeming to actually enjoy it. She also taught me that flowery language and excess detail have no place in an academic paper. This professor taught me that perhaps being so smart may leave you devoid of empathy and emotional cues. She also taught not to refer to a character without putting them in possession of the author first.

To quote myself, "She ruined my day but not my life."

Now that I look back, she actually improved my life.

Funny how that worked out.

You see, I'm currently in a class with a really awesome professor Dr. G. My sister M had Dr. G and warned me he's a very tough grader and it's near impossible to get an A on papers.

Guess what? I got an A on a paper. A 98% to be exact. And some super complimentary feedback from Professor G, the tough grader.

Because of "That idiot _______". Yep. The hardest times can lead to the best.

I'm super proud of myself. But I'm also not arrogant to think that all credit goes to myself.

It goes to God too, you know for being awesome and giving me the ability to begin with.
And yes, it goes her, that blasted professor who hurt my feelings so badly. Who would have thought? Certainly not me a year ago. But hey, life is funny that way.

-G-

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Why Not Me

I cried today. Let's see, I'd say it's been months and months since that happened for a reason other than, say, the series finale of Friday Night Lights.

Why did I cry? Technically it was because E said something unkind to me but the subsequent flood of tears once I was alone in my bedroom came from a different place.

You see, I've made a lot of new friends this year. Friends that I am really thankful for and blessed by. I just found out yesterday that the only single one left is entering a relationship. And I'm so happy for her, I really am. I like to see people find their matches. But yeah, I want to find mine too. And I know how it goes, once people are in relationships they want to spend time with their boyfriend/girlfriend and they do things with other couples. It's perfectly natural. It just that, very quickly, single friends tend to get left behind a bit. It's not out of malice, it's just how it goes.

And of course, with everyone else pairing off, I am again plagued with insecurities. Why not me? Two of my friends have literally lived in this state for less than six months and they have found people. Of course I wonder why no one ever looks my way. Of course.

Am I ugly?
Am I boring?
Annoying?
Too short?
Unintelligent?
Is it my hair?
My smile?
My skin?
My stupid hips?
What?

I hate feeling this way. I hate feeling so insecure and low and bad. It sucks. But here I am.

I know I have to be patient. I know I have to be still. I know I have to trust. But it's really, really hard.

I'll feel better tomorrow.
-G-

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Book(s) Reveiw: The Family Tree Series by Ann M Martin

I am a longtime fan of Ann M Martin. Looooong time. I was obsessed with the Babysitters Club books until I was far too old (I have them all) and hey, I still enjoy the occasional reread. After that I discovered the Main Street book series that Martin penned as well. Those books are wonderful too.

A few years back, M started reading The Family Tree series when the first two were out. I joined her and am forever happy that I did. Yes, these are "kids books" probably aimed at the 10-13 age group. But kids books are not exclusively for kids! They have so much merit for all ages.

The Family Tree series is a quartet. They follow four generations of girls/women as they grow up in various time periods during the 20th century. Each girl is unique. Thoughtful, determined Abby from book one. Dana, Abby's daughter, stubborn and driven in book two. Dana's daughter Francie is earnest and kind in book three. Finally, there is Francie's daughter Georgia who is inquisitive and headstrong. And yet, despite their differences, they share the same blood, the same bond. They are all creative, be it art or writing or music. They are all connected with secrets and memories shared between them.

I loved journeying through time with Abby, Dana, Francie and Georgia. Martin captures each decade and historical event without cliches. She beautifully crafts scenic landscapes and small quiet moments. There is nothing "kiddish" about these books. The writing is elevated and the content should appeal to all.

Like in Martin's other series, she tackles a variety of hard topics over the course of these four generations. There is bigotry, disability, suicide, death, poverty, illness, crime...all of it. And yet, nothing is overestimated. Each topic is handled with originality and care.

Above all, these books contain a heavy theme of family unity and bond. It isn't until the end that all four of these women are together and mend fences and share secrets that have been causing rifts in certain relationships. These books remind you that the bonds of mothers and daughters is stronger than any outside force. It's really quite beautiful. 

Bravo Ann M Martin, on another job well done.
-G-

Friday, September 23, 2016

Work work work work

School work that is.

Ah yes, it is that time of the semester where everything is due at once. Thankfully, I've got the bulk of the work behind me for now. I have completed my Political Science and Religion paper, gotten over half way in my lit paper and more than that with my Journalism proposal.

Much work, much stress. But I've made it through.

I'm looking forward to this weekend that will be full of sports! Tonight is the homecoming game at my alma mater and Saturday M, my parents and I are going with my favorite aunt and uncle to a baseball game. Should be exciting stuff.

In TV news, I'm currently watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix (unsure how to feel about it) and started two new shoes this week on TV, This is Us and Speechless. Both are really good and it's been very nice to see the beautiful actor who played Jess on Gilmore Girls back for TIU. Swoon.

Signing off for now, gotta eat my lunch before class.
-G-

Friday, September 16, 2016

Summer Goals Revisited

1. Buy a car (x)
I did this at last! I'm so happy and proud but also kind of scared because, hello, responsibility.

2. Thoroughly enjoy the Rio Olympics (x)
I did enjoy them but I wish I had followed more sports like I was planning to. I was happy with all of the gymnastics success but well, dare I say it was just too predictable? For whatever reason, it didn't have the epic quality that London did.

3. Cultivate new friendships (x)
Yes, oh my gosh, at last! I have made three really good new friends and I'm so happy. I had to put myself out there a bit but mostly, it was very natural. Sometimes you can just tell that you're going to be compatible with certain people.

4. Read the Bible every day ()
I've been so undisciplined. It's honestly really disappointing how I haven't made this a priority. I need to be better, I know this.

5. Spend as much time outside, swimming/biking/running/reading as possible (x)
I absolutely did this! Though, I did not bike/run that much, I really made a point to enjoy the outdoors and warm weather. Ellie and I were always walking to the park, the pool or just hanging out in the yard. I spent a LOT of time floating and reading in the pool or on lawn chairs. If it was sunny, I made it a point get outside :)

6. Drink (even more) water (x)
I don't know if it's cheating to count this one because I sort of went on and off on this one. I mean, I already drink a lot of water (my exclusive drink) but there were days when I would have my bottle around all the time and really make a point to drink more. There were also days when I made a point not to drink like when traveling but those probably don't count.

7. Do one thing crazy (x)
Wading through mud and going down a highly scary slide for the race I ran.

8. Have a perfect day (x)
The first day of the Olympic Trials, hands down. M snapped a picture of me on our way back to the hotel and I'm fairly sure I've never looked happier!

9. Finish writing my book series (x)
Yes! I finally did it! And I started an epilogue book.

10. Review three books I've reread ()
I only did two, but I plan to remedy that soon.

11. Read three new books additionally ()
Nope. I straight up didn't feel like it. Ha.

12. Run a race (x)
Same one as last year and I had a pretty awful time but I will explain that later.

13. Eat healthier/work out more ()
....

14. Blog more regularly ()
Um...

15. Enjoy it! (x)
This summer felt sort of strange, good but strange. It feels like I did SO MUCH and that made it seem both long and short. It was a good summer though, I got to travel to California and have the time of my life. I got to be an octopus in my second VBS skit and go to Cedar Point and my cousins island. I had memorable days with Ellie and enjoyed the weather to the fullest. 

Goals accomplished : 10/15
Not bad!
-G-

What Happened During My Blogging Break?

Lots!

I didn't plan on taking a month long break but after not posting for over a week, I decided to just hold off and give myself some reprieve. I love having this blog but I definitely don't always love the process of writing in it. Especially when I have other things to deal with, such as SCHOOL.

So yeah, I started my new private university and it's been good. Being able to drive myself has been a blessing and a curse! Like on the first day when I hit a pole at the gas station, but we won't talk about that. I guess it just took a little bit to get used to the drive but now I feel mostly comfortable. My classes are pretty dull, I can't lie but that's ok. I don't mind some dull classes that are easy, ha. It is coming to that point in the semester when work begins to pile up. I have a really big assignment for Journalism coming up as well as my first paper for my lit class. I'm hoping to put a dent in both this weekend.

Other then that I've been enjoying some new friendships that I made through church. Just having friends that love Jesus and actually want to hang out with me has been such a blessing. It's been a long time since I've been excited about getting to know people and fostering relationships. This weekend I'll be hanging out with them.

I have several posts that I've been wanting to write, such as:
-Finishing Friday Night Lights and rewatching Avatar the Last Airbender
-August/September book review
-Summer goals
-The day I ran a race

Stay tuned!
-G-

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years Ago

Here's a repost of what I wrote 5 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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rio Reflections


I hate to say this, I really do, but Rio was a tiny bit of a let down to me. Part of the reason was that I had really built it up in my mind these four years and partly because it was just so predictable. I wanted that epic moment when you realize who is going to win after the score is flashed, not when you go in knowing without a doubt what the majority of the podiums will look like. I wanted to root for a team that felt united and that I had been hoping for. The Final Five competed really well but I don't know, I just didn't feel their team chemistry like the Fierce Five and the team selection was so corrupted that I just felt bitter.

Still, Rio had it's merits! Here are my high points:
  1. Simone's four gold medals. Yes, she made the Games predictable but that's not to say I didn't appreciate what she accomplished. It was so nice to see someone finally living up to their hype. I know the chances of this are near impossible, but can you imagine the downfall if she'd failed to deliver the performances we all knew her to be capable of?
  2. Aly winning silver in the AA and floor. I've always felt fond to Aly because we're the same age and she just seems like a very genuine person. She sold me with that floor routine in London that I still watch occasionally. Her gymnastics aren't my favorite but I love that her hard work has been rewarded. Her comeback was real, earned and even better than before. I wish she would have decided to retire after Rio though. I think it would have been great for her to go out on such a high note and make room for the newcomers.
  3. Sanne Weivers winning gold on beam! Sad that Simone fell but Sanne had the routine of her life and it was simply lovely. I'm on the fence as to how I feel about actually replacing tumbling with dance on floor but I don't mind it on beam because I do think it's equally as difficult.
  4. Aliya's repeat bar title. She also makes me "lows" list but that bar routine was spot on and I'm glad she was rewarded after being worked to the ground these last four years. I was also happy with Maddie winning silver, she did her job.
  5. USA's leotards. Oh my gosh, we finally pulled it together. I kind of hated the V neck one worn for event finals but the qualification and team finals were absolutely gorgeous and patriotic.
  6. The arena. Love the green.
Lows:
  1. Our team not being who it should have been.
  2. Shang getting robbed in the AA. I've rewatched routines and there is no way Aliya should have scored ahead of her with that beam, I  mean geez.
  3. Lackluster floor routines. Where was the epic music? Where was the emotion even? I wanted Kyla's opera, the urgency of Aliya and Jordyn's London music.
  4. Vault finals were disappointing. I really don't care how difficult a vault you can execute if you can't land it. Sorry. I love Chuso as much as everyone else but don't attempt something you aren't consistent at. It's not even safe.
  5. The Chinese getting screwed for bar finals. In favor of a certain American among others. I mean come on, the CHINESE AND BARS! It's like peanut butter and jelly.
  6. Predictability as stated above. Oh and NO EMOTIONAL THEME SONG? I want Phillip Phillips back.
Overall, I don't think I'll rewatch Rio nearly as much as I have London, here's to Tokyo being twice as awesome.

August Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book was super hyped when I read it. I'm having trouble remembering if I read it before or after the movie came out which is bugging me. At any rate, I *think* I read it after (I actually enjoy seeing the movie first sometimes). But I'd heard a ton about it so my old college roommate lent it to me and I read it in a few days.

I was underwhelmed.

Let me say this: the book is very engaging a fun read. But upon my first experience with it, it just felt more like a teen love story that pulled out all of the old tricks to get the reader to feel something. I thought it was a good book but not a great one and certain aspects of Green's characters bugged me to no end.

Fast forward three years and I decided to give it another go. For one thing, M absolutely loves this book and I wanted to try and find the  magic that she had. For another, as I said above, it was a good read. I liked reading it the first time, I just thought it was overrated.

So I went into it the second time with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. Sure, I still dislike the robust dialogue (I don't care if there are teenagers that actually talk like that, it's just annoying) and think the character of Augustus could use some refining but I appreciate it now for what it is.

This book is Hazel's. The main character who is terminal, falls in love with Augustus who is remission and goes through the stages of romance and grief. Green is very authentic in his portrayal of a teenage girl, one battling illness at that. Her inner thoughts and interactions with her family are wonderful and realistic and all of that.

The sub plot is this whole bitter Dutch author thing that I guess is necessary but adds a touch of fantasy to the story. There is this whole commentary on life and death and oblivion that is important, it is, but ok, maybe takes away from the simple and beautiful story that Green has crafted. Deep stuff is good but it doesn't always integrate well.

I did find one blaring issue the second time around that I missed the first, I can't really explain it without a spoiler but Hazel basically turns the whole plot on it's head with one musing on how her and Augustus would never last. Realistic, yes. But that form of realism just straight up doesn't belong in this story and pretty much denies the unconditional love that they supposedly had for each other.

So yeah, I'm still conflicted as you can tell. But my opinion went way up so that has to count for something.

-G-

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Carlotta and Me

I've done it! I got a car! Fully paid for and owned by me!!
My dad found it for me and it was an incredibly good deal. It needs a bit of work but really, once a few minor aesthetic things are taken care of, she'll be good as new. As far as the technical car stuff that I don't really understand, there is nothing wrong with her mechanics and she has a brand new engine!

My first thought when I bough the car was fear. I know, right? All of this time that I've been saving and waiting for a car and I'm literally afraid of it. Not of driving it, but of owning it. It just felt like such a responsibility. Knowing that this car was mine and mine alone, it just seemed really adult. Now, I'm used to the idea and I'm very excited to see what adventures Carlotta and I go on together.

Carlotta is the cars name, if you haven't guessed. ;D
-G-

Friday, August 5, 2016

5 Years

Wow! I started this blog five years ago, with my first post being mainly about my favorite book of all time. In a way, I feel like that moment, as I wrote that post at the dining room table with my still fairly new laptop, could e just five minutes ago. Or five days, five months.

But in other ways it feels like even more than five years. I'm realizing that I'm starting to feel old. Not old like elderly, but just old like I've living through a lot of different stages. Elementary schools feels like a lifetime ago, sometimes even middle school too. There are moments when I stop and think of a memory and go, was that really me? Did that really happen in my lifetime? It's weird, and maybe I'm the only one that feels that way. I guess I just used to feel so close to every moment and memory in my life, no matter how long ago it happened. Now, as I age, things are different. I still have an incredible memory with many vivid moments but they just feel like they happened in a distant time and place.

When I started this blog, I wanted to "post daily" ha! And I think I imagined it as more of a place to both daily log and weight in on certain subjects. I think I still do both of those things but now i mostly just write for myself. Like, I'm not trying to be funny of appealing to anyone else. Because let's be real, nobody really reads this! And if you are, thanks for sticking around. This blog is a journal of my life and I keep it up because I absolutely love having my thoughts during different seasons of life being preserved.

I think I started this blog at just the right time. If I'd been writing throughout high school, I know it would have been whiny and full of angst. Also fun to read...but still. Writing from my senior year, to my first two years living away from home, to coming back home, to switching majors and now schools again, it's just seen me through a lot. And it's been a constant. So much has changed but so much has stayed the same.

I'm still very much like the seventeen year old writing on her new laptop at the dining room table during the last vestiges of summer. She is not a distant memory. I imagine that five years from now, she might be. I have no idea where I'll be at age 27. I couldn't have predicted what I'd be doing at age 22 back then. If I had, I would have been wrong. I'm learning to just go with the flow of life. Trying to be content in every season. It isn't easy for someone who used to have their future rigidly planned, bu it is the only way to avoid being let down and disappointed. I have goals and aspirations but I'm taking them step by step and my only expectation is to try my best.

I'm still figuring things out, but I'd like to think that I'm both older and wiser than when I first started writing here. And this blog has seen me through it all. For that, I am thankful.

Here's to five more years!
-G-

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer Blogging Slump

As I near the five (!!!!) year anniversary of starting up this blog, I have to be honest and say that I have not felt much like writing on here lately.

The thing is, summer is supposed to be free of homework type things to do. This blog feels a bit like homework and additionally, I'm doing a daily fiction journal and trying to finish writing my last book. Plus, I'm rereading old favorite books, sometimes two or three at a time. I love all of the above mentioned things, including this blog, but sometimes things you love feel like work.

But I'm committed to the blog and I don't think I could ever stop it now that I've started. It would drive me crazy. But, I am thinking seriously about taking a month or so off once school starts, just to not have to worry about one extra thing as I get into the routine.

I'll be back soon for the big bloggiversary!
-G-

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July Book Review: Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

I believe there is a post from a few years back, where I declare my love for the movie adaption of this book. I don't know why it took me so long to read this book but I didn't pick it up until last year.

The strength of this novel is it's characters, each one unique and different and poignant. The narrator, seventeen year old pregnant Novalee Nation is dumped at a Wal-Mart by her boyfriend Willie Jack. Th story follows both characters (mostly Novalee with Willie Jack chapters here and there) through the years as they travel down very different roads. Novalee is taken in by a town she grow to call home and it's people who she grows to love. Willie Jack flirts with the law and success.

Letts' writing is also quite nice. It's not amazing but as I've said, not every book's high point has to be the writing. Letts' has some beautiful, poetic moments here and there but there are also a few bits that seem to tow the line of too abstract and trying a bit too hard.

Don't be deterred though, this book is absolutely worth reading. It's a powerful story that is told well and you, as I have, will fall in love with Novalee and the cast of characters that she is surrounded by.

Also, the movie is top notch! Not a perfect book-to-movie adaptation and although I do miss a few things that were lost from page to screen, it's a great movie. Young Natalie Portman plays the lead role PERFECTLY.

-G-

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer Lovin'

Boy do I love summer. I've been soaking up the warm (hot!) weather we've been experiencing this last week. We went to the beach and I spent day after day in the pool. There is nothing more peaceful than floating on a raft with a good book.

And speaking of, my July book review will be up shortly as I just finished the book yesterday, and it's a good one. As they all have been. Oh the beauty of only reading books you know you already like. It's been an immense pleasure!

I have the week off from watching El and I'm only working for four hours on Friday so I"m very excited to spend that time relaxing and writing which is what I'm in the midst right now. I minimized my Microsoft Word browser in order to check in on the 'ole blog.

Another bit of news is that this blog turns FIVE in just over a week. That is simply CRAZY to me. I'll write more on it on the actually anniversary but holy cow, five years? And E is now the age I was when I started this up!

Ok, I'm off to organize my room and prepare to go to my grandma's house for dinner. Nothing like home-cooked food on a Sunday :)

I love summer.
-G-

Thursday, July 14, 2016

NoCal 2016

What a trip!

I'm not going to detail everything because that is what my travel journal is for and I HATE writing in that enough as it is haha. And, my experience at the Olympic Trials will be chronicled on my gymnastics blog (see sidebar).

So here, is a bulleted snapshot of my thoughts for ontrip:

  • San Francisco, on the whole, was not very impressive to me. It wasn't didn't have the old architecture or bustling charm like New York and I didn't feel very safe there. It was like you could turn the corner and suddenly end up in a very bad part of town! And it was very dirty, and cold. I did like seeing the painted ladies, Lombard street and Pier 39. 
  • Alcatraz is amazing, everyone should experience that once! The audio tour was one of my favorite parts of the vacation. 
  • Sotto Mare in Little Italy (SF) has the most amazing pasta sauce, SO GOOD. In fact, the best part about any vacation is getting to eat out all the time. I had so many good meals, also notable was the pizza at Bar Bocce on Sausalito. 
  • Speaking of, Sausalito was great. Super charming, much safer and prettier than SF and just a cute place to visit. 
  • In-n-Out Burger lived up tot the hype, I loved it. I did however, hate the first come, first serve seating. For a place that is always crowded, it was just annoying. Who wants to stand in front of a table and wait for people to finish eating so you can claim it? Furthermore, who wants to be stared at and rushed while they eat??
  • Carmel by the sea was beautiful, totally reminded me of Manhattan beach. 
  • The Olympic Trials, one word, amazing. 
  • Airplanes put me to sleep. Honestly, the second each plane took off, it was like someone had put me under a spell!
All in all, it was a really great trip with awesome experiences. Now I feel like I've seen a good deal of California but still there is more to discover someday!
-G-

Saturday, July 2, 2016

It's Finally Here

Leaving for our trip to California is right around the corner. It's hard to believe that I bought those Trials tickets about 18 months ago and now it's time to go.

I can't lie, I'm slightly nervous about soaking up the entire experience. I don't want to miss A THING. And I really want to get some autographs so there is that. I'm just going to attempt to relax and not rush things or stress about what I can't control.

I'm very pumped to see San Francisco, go to Alcatraz and Santa Cruz and more. I think it will shape up to be a very good trip. My goal is not to buy a bunch of crappy souvenirs but to let the experience be my souvenir.

I am not bringing my laptop with me in fear that he (Lars) will get lost with my luggage and I will literally have a mental breakdown. I have three and a half books written on here and countless other writing pieces. What the heck would I do if they were lost forever????

SO there will be no updates from the trip while I'm there, unless I decide to attempt to post from my ipad. It's not my favorite thing to type on but I might make an effort, we shall see.

Other than that, I'll be back in a little while!
-G-

Thursday, June 30, 2016

THE FEELS

Oh my gosh. Friday Night Lights seriously gives me so many feelings. The brotherhood, the father-son/coach-athlete relationship. My heart. And poor Jason Street. I can't take the emotions!

It almost reminds me of The Outsiders, with all of the sensitive men. I love it.

I did not love having an episode inspired dream where I was being held captive in a tree. Don't ask how the episode inspired it, but I'm certain that it did. Don't worry, it won't deter me. It feels good to be excited about TV again. I loved Gilmore Girls but only certain story arcs would really get me looking forward to watching.

Can't wait to see what's in store for tonight's episode!

-G-

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

TV Endings and Beginnings

For whatever reason, I don't think I blogged about the fact that I started watching Gilmore Girls in February. My one grandmother was a longtime fan of the show so I'd heard about it from her as being wonderful but C and her sister always mocked the fast dialogue. I was torn, and a little confused as to what type of show this was. I really had it in my head that it was a half an hour comedy. Ironically, it was another blogger that inspired me to go ahead and give the show a try. The way she described it intrigued me and her deep love for it lead her to name her own daughter after one of the main characters.

So, back in the cold bleak winter, right before valentines day, I began my journey into Stars Hollow. M decided to watch too so we made a plan that we would watch each season at our own pace but meet back up for the finales. As soon as I started the first episode and heard the song "There She Goes", I knew I would love the show. However, it took a little bit. While M was hooked right away, I wasn't completely warmed up for a few episodes. Don't get me wrong, I loved the town and characters but I didn't feel very engaged during a lot of the first season. Season two really hooked me though (hello to the beautiful Jess Mariano) and from that point on, I was a fan.

I went though so much with Lorelai and Rory, so much happened over those seven seasons. I watched Dean break Rory's heart on Valentine's day. I watched the fateful dance marathon before leaving for Florida. I watched Chris break Lorelai's heart in Florida. Rory graduated from Chilton around my birthday and she started college while I was finishing up my semester. While Rory went through her life crisis, I was beginning my summer and when she prepared to go off and start her career,I was preparing to leave for my vacation again. I watched the final episode with my new friends from Church and M. Had I been alone, the tears would have flown.

Anytime a show ends, it feels so final and sad to me. BUT, the silver lining is that Gilmore Girls will be back! "A Year in the Life" will be premiering some time this year and I can't wait. The timing of me finally watching this series and the revival is perfect.

After finishing GG, I was at a loss for what to watch during my nightly TV time. I've been watching gymnastics for preparation of Rio but I want a regular show too. I started episode one of Friday Night Lights about a year ago but abandoned it. A blogger inspired me to watch that show too so I decided to try it again. I know it's super beloved and I figured it might take some time to get hoked like it did with GG. And, guess what? All it took was the end of that very Pilot episode! I can't wait to see what this series hods for me. I think I can have it done by September as it's much shorter than GG.

I can only imagine what will happen to the Panthers as I go through my summer!
-G-

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June Book Review: The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares


I bought this book about five years ago because, hello, Ann is a genius who came up with my favorite books ever, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

For her debut "adult novel" Brashares crafts a beautifully written, lyrical, character study. Ahh, I can remember delving into this book on Memorial Day weekend of 2011. I was at my grandpa's house after the traditional parade, seeking air conditioning inside his house while the rest of the party went on outside. I reclined in his old green chair and read in solitude. I finished the book at home on the couch that night.

I can't remember exactly how I felt about it back then, I know I liked it but a lot of the specific plot details had been lost over time so when I reread the book earlier this month, it felt almost new to me.

The main character is Alice, an unsure 21 year old who yearns for the approval of Paul, her sister Riley's best friend and who she has been infatuated with for her whole life. Unknown to her is the fact that Paul feels the same way. The three of them meet up yearly at the island on which their families own homes. In one pivotal summer, the relationship is finally addressed and a health emergency turns everything on its head.

I love that this book gives a pondering, quiet look into the bond of both sisters and friends. There is something so valuable about literature that is not plot driven, but instead is slowly paced, well thought out and lead by the characters. Paul, Riley and Alice all have a voice uniquely their own but the stand out to me is Riley. In fact, my one complaint is that I wanted more of her. She is such an interesting character, with a makeup of traits that I honestly have never seen done before. Certainly I've read book with a more sensitive and yet stubborn character like Alice or a free, noncomformative man such as Paul. Of course, that's not to say they are cliche, they aren't. Alice's insecurity and wittiness set her apart from any stock character before her and Paul's troubled past and emotional instability give him an edge.

But Riley, who seems stuck in the past and yet most in touch with the present, is an anomaly. Brashares describes her as someone who excelled at being a kid but whose qualities of merit no longer hold stock in adulthood. I almost feel as though the ever mentioned "ice berg theory" is in play here. That Brashares had only revealed to the reader the tip of the iceberg as far as Riley is concerned and that she as the creator of her character, knows her even more fully. It is clear from the writing that Ann knew exactly what she was doing with Riley. But as I said above, if I could change one thing, I would want more of her, specifically more of her and Paul to illustrate their close friendship.

Let me end by saying that this is not a necessarily happy book. As the title suggests, there is loss and melancholy but don't let that deter you from reading it. It's a fabulous piece of writing that will leave you with an ache of pain and as well as a smile of triumph.

-G-

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summertime

Boy do I love this season. I LOVE IT.

Nothing like walking out of the house into warmth. I love the feeling of being comfortable outside without layers and layers. I love the sun, the soft breeze and the fresh way the air smells.

I've been doing a lot of outdoor activities. Swimming, reading outside, chalking with Ellie. Today we wen the public pool which would have been fun had some kid not vomited right in the pathway between the kiddie pool and the big pool. Yeah, I'm still quite nervous that I'll catch whatever they had. Here's to hoping not!

Anyhow, I have come to the realization that I really may need to live somewhere warm when I'm older and married and such. Not anywhere super far but somewhere where I don't freeze to death for five months of the year. I'm a person who far prefers being hot over cold. I hate being cold, hate it!

For now I'll just enjoy this time of the year. With smells like freshly cut grass, flowers, chlorine (can't lie, I've never minded it) and suntan lotion. The hum of the air conditioner and pool motor and some neighbor's weed whacker. I'll relish sleeping without a ton of blankets on top of me and having to layer socks and deal with boots and coats. I'll appreciate trailing pool water in the house instead of melted snow.


After all, summer only comes once a year!
-G-

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Part Time Octopus

That was me this past week! The theme for my church's VBS was ocean and for the second year, I was in the morning skit. This year was so much fun because I got to be a villainous Octopus that I assigned a New York accent. My coutnerpart, a cannibalistic shark, had this deep version of my accent and together we were quite the pair. I had such a good time in my tailored to fit, stuffed tentacle costume and being on stage in front of all of the kids.

When I wasn't being an octopus, I was in charge of the Kindergarten games, concepts and all. We had some simple days with themed version of duck, duck goose and red light green light but I also made up some activities with pool noodle rings, water balls and a parachute. It was neat to be able to lead the kids alone and see how they enjoyed the games I'd come up with. Besides one chaotic day, it was a success and I hope to be in the same position next year!

Also, this week I started watching my cousin Ella. In the past, my sister has been the one in charge and I'd just tag along, this year M is working full time so I took on the job. Between nannying and working at the hospital, I'm basically doing full time hours which is a first. It's a bit of an adjustment but saving money is key and I'm hoping to get a car in the coming week!

Sorry for the lack of posts, I'll be back soon!
-G-

Thursday, June 9, 2016

June Weather Confusion

Ever since I was little, the weather had directly affected my moods. I don't know why, but I absolutely HATE it when the sun is out with snow on the ground or when it's sunny and old in general. It just bugs me and makes me feel gross for being inside.

I also dislike the in-between temperatures where it's to cold to go out in shorts but too warm to wear any real layers. The house is cold and so am I!. I hate being cold and as the weather has been only in the mid 60's for the last few days, I have been chilly because the house is cold and outside is windy and just blah. I want shorts and warm sun back.

Tomorrow will be warmer and until then I'll just keep on whining :P
-G-

Thursday, June 2, 2016

On This Day in History

Four years ago I graduated high school! It feels like it was yesterday in some ways but in others, it does seem like four years.

I can remember many details perfectly. Like the feeling of the padded carpet in the theater beneath my tall wedge sandals and the velvety seat that I sat in wait of lining up to walk the stage. I remember holding a bright smile during my plight, trying to make the most of my moment. And then afterward, pure joy! Finding my family in the crowded lobby and taking dozens of pictures with them and my friends. I was so happy for so many reasons. It was a great day.

Like the passage of time, in some ways I feel the same as I did then but also, I know I am different. Four years isn't an eternity or anything but it is a big enough passage of time for many things to happen. No matter how old you are, I think time and experience will always keep you growing up in some way. We're always changing.

-G-

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Are My Fears my Strength?

I have a lot of fears and I'm not sue where they came from. I had a really secure, loving childhood and no bad experience that I can think of that would make me nervous about so many things. Lately, it's come up a few times how myself and my sister never got involved in risky behavior like partying, drinking, promiscuity etc. And if I'm being really real here, I have to say that a big reason I stayed away from that stuff is because of my fears, not my own morality.

I'm afraid of getting drunk because I don't want to get sick. I'm afraid of wild parties because I don't want to be taken advantage of. There have been a lot of times in my life where I had wanted to do things that aren't right but it was straight up fear that held me back, fear and not much else. That's really hard to admit because I am a Christian and I do have a moral compass. Sometimes, the power to go with the crowd and with my own earthly desires would simply be stronger than that compass. But, fear held me back.

So, are my fears my strength? Did God give me so many fears because He knew that they would stop me from getting into trouble? I've wrestled with that idea for a long time. I don't know if it's correct because we are called not to fear, and not to be anxious in anything. BUT, we also know that God uses everything for good if we have faith in Him. Does this mean that my fears, sinful as they may be, were indeed used for good? Maybe, on the same token, did my phobia of being kidnapped as a child and the precautions I enacted stop something bad from happening? I don't know.

What I do know is that I'm working on examining my motives more, and getting to the real root of why I do or don't do things. The goal is that I do the right thing because it's what God expects from me, not because I'm acting out of fear.

Just food for thought on this Wednesday morning!
-G-

Monday, May 30, 2016

May Book Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio

 

The first time I read this book was almost exactly three years ago. M had found out about it from somewhere and bought it. I think it took me less than two days to finish.

The bare bones synopsis of the book is as follows:

Auggie, a ten year old boy with severe facial deformations, is about to go to school for the first time in his life. The book follows him through the whole nine month period of his fifth grade year. There are five other narrators that have smaller sections in the book, people affected by Auggie so to speak.

Ok so going off of that last bit, Palacio does an amazing job of crafting a unique voice for each character as well as a personal writing style. Let me just go on and say it outright: this book is fantastic. It's wonderfully written and so captivating. It's technically a kids book, a middle grade level but don't be deterred, this book is for everyone. I adore the writing style and the dialogue is simply fantastic.

This book will make you laugh, it will surely make you cry and let me tell you, when you are finished-you'll want to go right back to page one and start over.

Apparently, they're making it into a movie so I wanted to quickly get this review done before people start thinking that maybe they could just skip the book and see the film instead-don't! Please read it!

Great book. Great message. Great writing. Great characters. Just a great book! Ha. I'm sorry this review is so fanatic and not at all academic but I don't have one single bad thing to say about this book. Not one.

-G-

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sometimes Being a Loner is Easier

This is the grand truth of my life. I'm naturally a person that gravitates toward being alone. I'd much rather sit in and read before class starts then make an effort to converse with other students. I'm happier observing parties than I am participating in them. Unless I'm with close family or very select friends, I get nervous in social settings, trying to be liked and making sure I come across the way I intend to.

For the past few years, I haven't had friends that I've hung out with. I still have Claire as my best friend but she lives out of state now. And my one good friend from high school and I just aren't able to coordinate much. I spent weekends alone or with my family, watching TV, movies, writing, reading, hanging out. And I'm happy that way. I'm am so happy to write for hours, or float in the pool with a book. I love having the house to myself.

But I had felt as if I'd been missing something. The need for socialization, I've never been able to fully realize where it comes form...internal pressure? External? Do I want friends because I ought to have them? Do I want to hang out with people just to say that I did? Am I more worried about how others view me than anything else?  I'm not sure. I don't know if friends make me happy because I genuinely want them or because I genuinely feel that I'm required to have them. Either way, the idea of having a good group of friends does please me.

Through the young adult group that I'm involved with at church, I've gotten to meet some great potential lifelong friends. Unfortunately, some drama has gone down recently that puts some of these people on the outs with me and my sister. I don't even fully understand the situation or how we're involved but there is a certain rift now. Additionally, I'm peeved at the way a few people have treated myself and M who really put herself out there but was ignored and rudely mistreated. Both of us tried to get in this friend group and were pretty obviously rejected. After that went down, I really began to think that life was just easier when I didn't have to worry about people liking me, or wanting to hang out with me etc. Being a loner IS easier. But life isn't about easy.

After the rejection, M and I started realizing that perhaps we are more compatible with some other girls and lo and behold, I think we were right. Yesterday we got to hang out with another pair of sisters and it was a good time. And next month we have a Gilmore Girls series finale watch party with another girl who I think is super fun.

What I want is for friendships to be easy like it is with Claire. I want to be able to act stupid and have inside jokes. I don't want awkward silences, I want to have friends that I'm comfortable with. I know it could take a long time to get there but I'm willing to put in the effort.

-G-

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer Goals 2016

Summer Goals 2016
Accomplish at Least Half

  1. Buy a car
  2. Thoroughly enjoy the Rio Olympics 
  3. Cultivate new friendships
  4. Read the Bible everyday
  5. Spend as much time outside, swimming/biking/running/reading as possible
  6. Drink (even) more water
  7. Do one thing crazy
  8. Have a perfect day
  9. Finish writing my book series
  10. Review 3 books I've reread
  11. Read 3 new books additionally 
  12. Run a race
  13. Eat healthier/work out more
  14. Blog more regularily
  15. Enjoy it!
I can't wait to see what these next 3 months hold!
-G-

The Car Project

I need a car. Plain and simple. If I'd been smart and saved more these past few years, I could have easily bought a car by now. But alas, life is all about learning.

So the deal is that I need to get a car before or soon after I start nannying for my cousin Ellie. I need a way to get her places, you know? I don't want to simply be confined to the places we can walk. Besides that, I need a car for school in the fall.

So basically, I'm trying to pick up as many hours as possible at work. I'm praying that everything works out. I'll let you know :)

-G-

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It's Always A Little Weird

That's how I feel about the beginning of "summer" ever since I started college. It's not really even summer at all when school ends in early May, so the weather feels a little too cold for any "summer activities". It takes time to get used to no school and get into working and all that jazz. I always feel a little lost in May until I find my rhythm.

One thing that's been great is that I'm back to writing for pleasure again. I'm about half way through my fourth (and last) book of the series I've been writing for two years. It's really been one of the most fun things I've ever done. I've enjoyed these characters so much, I don't know what I'll do when I'm done!

And here is some big news: I'm transferring schools again. I know, right? I couldn't take another year at the school I've been at for the last two. It sucked, honestly. I tried not to be critical at first but it became too much. The English program pretty much sucked, though I did have good experience in my creative writing classes. The literature professors, a whole other story. I'm glad to be rid of them.

So I'm going to a private university, a more prestigious one (my grades are pretty great these days if I do say so myself) and it' s where M graduated from in 2013. I'm so excited because it's the school I was supposed to go to two years ago but I had a different major back then and they didn't offer it there. But God's plan is so cool, because now it's actually happening and I'm pumped. No more going to school in a city (which I hated) and no more unorganized, impersonal public college.

So that's what's up right  now! Back soon!
-G-

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Tenth Anniversary: What I Would Tell Myself

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry that you just turned twelve and your life is about to be turned upside down. I'm sorry that you don't fully understand what is happening to you. I'm sorry that no one is really giving you the full story. I'm sorry that you would probably refuse to believe it if they did.

I know you feel out of control and you're going to feel like someone other than yourself for a good month. Don't forget that this too shall pass. Don't forget that healing takes time. Don't forget that you are you no matter what your physical state is.

You will develop resentment for those you love most. It will buried for awhile and then surface level before you finally learn to overcome it. People you love betrayed your trust when you were most vulnerable and that hurts, don't feel bad about feeling bad but deal with your feelings in a healthy way. Anger is something you've never been good at dealing with but don't take it out on people who don't even know where it is coming from.

There will be times when you feel nothingness and wonder if this is what depression feels like. Times when you feel so out of touch with the girl you were just weeks ago. When you really just want to go to school (imagine that) and run around outside and do cartwheels and just laugh like you mean it. But you can't. Instead you lay on the couch for most of the day or sit for maddening evening hours with your inept tutor.

But Grace, there are positive aspects to this time. It will be so hard to understand now, but someday, you will yearn for those quiet hours, you will. You will come to look forward to waking up in the morning and watching the lineup of talk shows. Good Morning America, Regis and Kelly, The Martha Stuart Show and sometimes The View. You will learn about pop culture like never before and how to make blood orange cocktails. You will depend on certain movies for comfort like Cheaper By the Dozen 2 and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

One day, you will realize the most amazing thing: that you can just sit for hours and think. You will daydream about your future home, your future family, your future ice skating career. It will bring you a sense of joy that had been lost. It will bring you immeasurable happiness and contentment.

There will come a time when you realize, that without noticing, you are starting to feel better. You will go back to your goofy antics and returning to your favorite activities. You will stop needing pain medication and start sleeping all the way through the night. You will begin to feel comfortable in your own skin at last and stop freaking out if you stumble or fall. You will find your new normal.

So Grace, newly 12, tiny, smart, precocious, funny, frustrating, stubborn, spirited, you can do this. You will do this.

And someday, when you're 22 and still small and smart, funny, frustrating, stubborn and spirited, you'll be able to look back and smile because no part of life is all bad. Sometimes, it just takes time to find the good.

-G-

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Finals Again

It's that time of the year, finals! Well not technically yet, it's really next week but I've been working on my final papers for awhile now. I'm really excited to be done with this semester. It's been a weird one, I feel like I never got comfortable with both my classes and my classrooms. It's weird because I usually get to some point where everything feels familiar but that didn't happen for some reason. Oh well. I'll be happy to bid these classes farewell, I've not really enjoyed them too much but they weren't terrible. Even poetry wasn't terrible, imagine that.

Speaking of, I have to get working on my poetry paper. It's the only one I'm sort of stressed about but I know I can get it done.
-G-

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Something That Stays

I think everyone has that one thing that they know will always be a comforting constant in their life. Whether it be a beach house in Vermont or a love for painting, a something that they know will never cease to bring them peace amidst the chaos of life.

Writing is that something for me. No matter if I'm stressed about my future or worried about my social life or just feeling down, I know I can log onto Microsoft Word or simply grab a pen and paper and there lies my escape. I've been working on my book series for almost two years now and it has brought me immeasurable joy. I'm not able to write much of it during school but whenever I get back to it, I'm reminded that this is my passion in life. I will always have the blessing and the ability to create something special with words, to weave a story, to build a character. Oh how I love it.

You can strip away all of the perishable things in life: money, school, material possessions, even people and I will still have writing. It's there for me like an old friend, it's there for me in a way that feels like coming home.

-G-

Friday, April 29, 2016

I'm Feeling 22!!!

Yesterday was my birthday folks.

The day was pretty nice, if the weather hadn't been so dreary maybe I wouldn't have been so tired and our shopping experience at an outdoor mall more pleasant. It was what it was. In the evening some family came over and we had some pulled pork and cupcakes. Very delicious. This past Sunday I had a joint birthday bonfire with one of my pastor's daughters who moved here recently and I've become friends with.. It was honestly the most fun I've had in so long. I love having people to laugh with and just be myself around.

Anyway, overall, it was a nice birthday. I can't believe I'm this old! I mean, I know I'm not old old but I'm a true adult. It feels scary and weird sometimes but exciting too. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in story for me this year, I really do think it's going to be a good one.

Oh and among my birthday presents was a BEAUTIFUL, typography picture of Robert Frost's poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay" this is very appropriate considering the post I just wrote about The Outsiders! When I hang it up I will post a picture, it's so lovely.

Here's to my 22nd year! May it be golden!

-G-

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April Book Review: The Outsiders

This book. It was the first piece of literature that made me think about it for weeks after I finished. The first book that I was able to read in a single afternoon. The book I've reread probably ten times. The book that I plugged in my very first blog post. It means a lot to me.

I first read S.E. Hinton's, The Outsiders, when I was 12 years old, the summer before 7th grade. My sister, C and I were obsessed with it. We talked about it constantly and even tried to come up with our own copycat story. Almost ten years later, I love this book even more and I get something new out of it each time I reread.

The fact that Hinton wrote this when she was 15 astounds me. She does an excellent job of establishing the authentic narrative voice of Ponyboy Curtis, a 14 year old orphaned greaser being raised by his older brothers. What starts out as a night at the drive in movies turns into a chain reaction that will change his, and his group of friends, lives forever.

This story has so many beautiful themes, friendship, brotherhood, universal hardship and the general struggle to find the person you are meant to be among less than desirable circumstance. Each character is unique and has their own voice and presence. Character descriptions are vivid and crisp. This book is funny, it's engaging and heartbreakingly raw and sad.

If someone had told me, "Hey Grace, read this book about a bunch of teenage boy greasers on the wrong side of town, you'll love it!", I would have laughed. The back synopsis or even a spoken one can not do this book justice. It is so much more than the above description and absolutely anyone will enjoy it. From boys and girls in middle school all the way up to the elderly, this is a story for the ages.

What I love best though, is the ending. It leaves you aching from it's beauty and it's pain. It's hopeful but there is no ignoring the tragedy that brought the story to this point. Each time I finish it, I feel the same sense of loss and awe.

So yes, I highly recommend this book. I will be telling people about it forever because everyone deserves to have the pleasure of reading it. And the movie is worth it too, only if you get the extended edition though because one they played in theaters cut a ton out and is basically a waste of time.

Go, read The Outsiders, I dare you to tell me you didn't like it!
-G-

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Perfect Day

The weather was a beautiful sunny and 73. I got to wear shorts for the first time since September.

First we went to Church and then I got to talk to friends for awhile afterward. Once home, I ate lunch outside and then E and I helped my dad get our picnic table out of storage and cleaned off. Then we set up our umbrella in the middle and played Yahtzee (our favorite game).

I decided that such a nice day warranted the first cookout of the season so while my mom and M were at the library, I went grocery shopping and made a special hamburger recipe from my aunt. There was also salad, potato salad and lemonade. I painted my nails outside before getting the grill fired up and making dinner for everyone.

Let me tell you, it was so peaceful manning that grill while listening to the new Lumineers album (which I love).

Just an overall glorious day.

And soon summer and sun will be here to stay.
-G-

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sunshine

Ahhh the weather is nice at last! Looks like the whole week is going to be mostly sunny and warm! I have work and school but I'm going to attempt to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.

I'm feeling a little better, still tired and my throat just hurts on and off. I need to shake this bug before my birthday!

Today is fun because M and I are going to see the Jungle Book with friends. Hopefully we can go outdoors after that because it's too beautiful not to. Right now I'm stuck in the library doing school work. Blech. But if I get it done little by little, the stress of the end of the year will be greatly diminished. Good news is that I'll be done in less than a month :). I'm pleased as punch about that!

Ok, I have to work on poetry now. And I hate poetry but somehow I manage to do well on the exams. Thank goodness for that!
-G-

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Two Steps Forward...

Yikes. My throat is super sore again and I feel so tired all of the time. I have so much to do for school and work and just life. If I felt well, I'm certain I would be ready to tackle everything head on but I just feel so blah.

I got somewhat of a concerning result on a chest x-ray so I need to get that figured out though I'm not sure if it's the result of the lingering sickness. We'll see.

I have decided that I need to feel well by my birthday which is two weeks from today, I hope I can manage that.

Also tomorrow I have to do a presentation/impersonation of an author in one of my lit classes and I'm really dreading it. I was going to go with an alternative assignment but I just don't have time to write a four page paper in two days. I just can't do it. Here's to hoping I don't humiliate myself.
-G-

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Feeling Blue

I'm at the library doing school work and feeling blue. My throat started hurting again last night and today I feel like I'm getting sick again. I'm so tired of this. It's ridiculous! I haven't felt completely well in three weeks!

And I'm stressed with a bunch of school work coming up plus I'm working a lot this week. I just want to feel well again and then I'll be able to tackle stuff head on. Feeling crummy and having so much to do just sucks.

Big time.

Here's to hoping I feel better real soon.
-G-

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Let the Germs Die!

Holy crap.

The last 6 months have not been kind to me.

Here's a recap:

September-got the flue, fever, aches, lingering cold symptoms etc.
October-got a nasty cold
December-got a sinus infection
February-had some sort of 48 fever virus
March-bad cold
April-conjunctivitis and sinus infection

Yeah.

I got bacterial pink eye, came down with it Sunday and by Monday morning my eyes were crusted shut in the morning Sorry for that picture. Ok, writing that just reminded me that I needed to put in my thrice daily eye drops so that's done. Anyhow, I'm on the mend at last, after feeling bad for 2 weeks. I still have sinus going on but let's hope that clears up soon.

I need to be on the up and up because this month is a busy one. I have multiple papers to write, three presentations and work of course. But, by April 28th the bulk should be done. Which is good because that's my birthday, get it?

Until Tomorrow....

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Home and Sick

Ahh Florida was quite the experience but that will  need to be another post for another time. Because why? Because I got sick over a week ago, felt better and am not relapsing into yet another cold.

That's just life I guess

I will post more upon recovery.

-G-

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Book Review: Gymnast Memoirs Reposted

Just a repost for March because I didn't have time to read anything with vacation and being sick for weeks!

1. Grace, Gold and Glory (my leap of faith) by Gabrielle Douglas


If I'm being honest, this is probably the book I enjoyed the least. I love Gabby and I love her faith and her focus but I wish the book would have been more about her time leading up to the Olympics and her personal thoughts and less about her childhood. Now, I totally get that she would want to include her whole life into her book and not just he past few years but I think I would have liked it more had she went more in depth about her Olympic journey. I loved reading about her relationship with her host family and her troubles with being away from home. The inside cover of the book folds out into a neat poster and there are color pictures in the middle of the text.

2. Winning Balance by Shawn Johnson
I really loved this book! I think it had a great balance of life in the gym and outside. I didn't know that Shawn was a woman of faith until reading this and that really made me smile. This book takes you from her childhood to her present and you get to follow her through switching gyms to the Olympics and to Hollywood. Her Olympic experience was really well chronicled, she definitely wrote about it the best. I really was able to picture her there and understand her thoughts and feelings. I thought that the portion after the Olympics would be dull but it actually wasn't, even though she struggled to find her place outside the gym at first, she ends up feeling "balanced" once again. This book also includes pictures, which I love!

3. Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu
This book was different from the other two in that it was much more raw and Dominique's life had a lot more turmoil. This was an awesome read. I was given a look into her family history and taken all the way to her life now as a wife and mother. It was so enchanting to read about Dominique's life as a tiny 14 year old in the Olympics and yet to know that her life behind closed doors was much less glamorous. I really enjoyed the honesty in this book, I had no idea how political the sport of gymnastics was and how this became clear to Dominique when she was trying to make her comeback. Even with all the drama, there is still plenty of gymnastics in here. The Olympic portions were vivid and I liked reading about her relationships with the other girls. And, the book had pictures in it too!


4. Letters to a Young Gymnast by Nadia Comaneci
I have to be really honest, I didn't love this book. I'm not even sure if I liked it. The first half was hard to get though and to be frank, Nadia rubbed me the wrong way. It was as if she had never done anything wrong in her life and she was perfect in every way. Sometimes it even felt as though she was being rude to the reader. There wasn't a whole lot of gymnastics talk in here, there was some of course but a lot of the book was about her life in Romania. The second half or last quarter was much better than the first it was intriguing to read about Nadia's escape from her home country and a more human side of her was exposed as she wrote of her hard transition to America. I liked that we did get some history and background in this book but I had a really hard time warming up to Nada and so the book itself wasn't very enjoyable. There were no pictures!

5. Chalked Up by Jennifer Sey

This book was everything I wanted the other four to be and more. Jennifer tells her story of being an elite gymnast in the 80's with honesty and great detail. She doesn't sugar coat over anything-or anyone. I appreciated her telling the absolute truth about her experience because that is what people expect when they buy a memoir. Sey's story is beautiful, heartbreaking and tragic all at once. She doesn't place blame on any one person and clearly has a great sense of self. Above all, this was not written by Sey and some ghost writer, this was written by her alone and it showed her talent as a writer. It wasn't just facts, cut and dry, she told her story in such vivid detail that at times I truly knew what it felt like to be standing on a balance beam or flying on the bars. I have to say it once more, I LOVED THIS BOOK.

6. It's Not About Perfect by Shannon Miller
It's really no secret that I LOVE Shannon Miller. She is my favorite gymnast of all time so naturally, I was psyched when I found out she was writing a book about her life. I was not disappointed. I will admit, that at the beginning it was a little bit slow as I waited for all of the action to happen but I was pleased that Shannon took the time to explain certain aspects of the sport that non-gymnasts may not have known about otherwise. Quickly, I got really into the book and had a hard time putting it down. I love the way Shannon detailed her training and her perfect partnership with her coaches. Her competitions were well covered and I liked how she talked about her friendship with her teammates. I do wish she might have went a bit more into some of the hard stuff but it is absolutely her right to keep certain things private. Her cancer battle was chronicled beautifully and continued to show what a graceful and strong person of faith she is. I came away from reading this book with more even more admiration and respect for Shannon than I had before!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ready and Excited

I won't be taking my laptop on vacation with me so this will probably be my last post for awhile. I'm all packed for the most part and so excited!

Here is what I'm most looking forward to:
  • Swimming and my new bathing suits
  • The theme rides at Disney World, especially the ones that take you through the whole movie
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-all of it!!
  • Warmer weather
  • Wearing my summer clothes
  • Getting tan and lightening my hair a bit
I can't wait!
-G-

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spring Breaker

Spring Break, though glorious for not having school, is a bit dull at the moment. Of course, come the weekend when we head off for vacation, it will surely be spiced up. For now, it's too early to really pack or anything of that nature and it hasn't been super pleasant weather. So it's been an indoor activity type of thing. That's ok, I like indoor stuff too. You all know how I love TV...and writing and reading of course.

I did have a great day on Saturday though. I got to hang out with some new friends at the mall and then back at one of the girls house. The older I get, the more I appreciate my church family. There are so many adults there that have known me since I was little and love and care about me so much. I feel like they are more invested in me than a lot of my extended family. Feeling loved is amazing!

Ok, I'm off to post on my gym blog. Back soon!
Oh and happy pi day!
-G-

Friday, March 11, 2016

I'm blogging from school which is different and nice. I don't have one of the classes in the middle of my day so I have plenty of extra time. It's quite lovely.

Happy news, today is my day before break and I won't be back to this place for a nice long two and a half weeks. All I have to do is my poetry midterm over the weekend and then other than keeping up with readings, I'll coast right on to leaving for Florida! I'm so pumped. I'm just in need of a small backpack to take with me to the theme parks, other than that I just have to get some little travel stuff and I'll be good.

On a different note, check out the amount of time I've been at church lately and will continue to be for the coming week:

Last Wednesday: Small group in the evening
Yesterday: Helped out with the babies during our moms program in the morning
Saturday: Helping out in the morning during our annual Easter egg hunt
Sunday: Morning service
Tuesday: Helping out in the afternoon with a community event
Wednesday: Back for growth group

It's a great place/way to spend time if you ask me :)
-G-


Monday, March 7, 2016

Where the Streets Have No Name

You may remember that last year, in the spring, I began my journey increase my long distance running. It went pretty well for awhile there but i didn't reach my goal of being able to run over three miles without stopping. I did learn to enjoy running though which was a huge plus.

Now that the weather is looking up, I finally got to go back to the track today. I knew I'd regressed a ton over the winter and fall months but that's ok, i have plenty of time to work up my endurance again. It felt good to be running again, even though a stitch in my side stopped me from going as long as I'd like. I know I'll get there :)

-G-

Thursday, March 3, 2016

It can be Hard to be Happy, Except When it's Easy

Often, I allow my happiness to depend on the next good thing that's coming up. If I have to work (like I do later today), I feel sort of down but then tomorrow, because it's Friday and I have fun things planned for the weekend, I'll be feeling happy indeed. But I think there is a problem with that way of thinking. I need to learn to be content and happy in everything I do. So work can be a drag sometimes, so school can be annoying, I shouldn't have to put my happiness "on hold" while I get through it.

God calls us to find glorify Him in all that we do, and consider everything, trials and suffering included, a joy. If people can be happy despite living in horrible conditions or while battling a debilitating disease, I can certainly be happy during my eight hour work shift! Certainly!

I have been praying for contentment during this season of life that I'm in and I can feel myself growing in that area. I've even begun to feel excited at the prospect of my future career that I'm working towards. I'm learning to appreciate where I'm at now even if I am waiting for my ultimate goal which is to get married and have a family.

Every part of life is important, that's what I'm realizing. There is no time that I should wish away and no situation that is pointless. Everything is for a purpose and when I look at it that way, it's really not hard to find joy at all!

Right now I can hear a bird chirping outside, a sign that spring is coming! And later on I get to take care of new mothers and their little infants, that is a blessing! Even by the end of shift when my feet hurt and I'm exhausted, I will find joy in my tasks because God is good and so is life.