Friday, December 28, 2012

JUST BREATHE!


 
I first heard the song “Breathe” by Anna Nalick while watching the Grey’s Anatomy episode where Meredith Grey is holding an undetonated bomb steady in someones chest cavity. Naturally, I downloaded the song, learned the words, and mentally played it anytime I’m holding or carrying anything fragile. After hearing it a few million times, I finally decided to really listen to the words. My conclusion? PANIC. This song is panic inducing. I mean, let me break down some of the lyrics for you:

“Life’s like an hourglass glued to the table. No one can find the rewind button, girl.” OH.MY.GOSH. I haven’t felt this much anxiety from a song since “100 Years” by Five for Fighting. I get the mental image of Princess Jasmine getting drowned in the hourglass in Aladdin. STOP IT! I just want to listen to music. I’m not trying to think deeply about my mortality and time on this earth. And DUH the song is called “Breathe” because she knew when she wrote it that it was gonna make people like me anxious, so she had to write in a reminder to keep breathing. But then I think, maybe Ms. Nalick was ahead of her time. Maybe this is just an early version of YOLO. “Hey guys, time’s running out in your life’s hourglass. You better YOLO it up!”

You win, Anna Nalick. You win. When I calm down, stop hyperventilating, and crawl out of fetal position I will go live it up. But never fear, because in the back of my mind I will now always be thinking about my lifes hourglass dripping away as my time here on earth quickly runs out.

I think I need a therapist now.


*source*

 

Les Mis was Les Great!

So, I saw Les Miserables. And I was going to write a wonderfully poetic movie review…but I think those use words like “harrowingly” and I don’t even really know what that means. So I’m still gonna write a review. But it probs won’t be very poetic or wonderful. Just honest.

The cinematography was to die for. Hahahahahaah. JK! I don’t know what cinematography is, although it probably was pretty great in this movie. But the scenery and lighting was for real amazing. The music was a whole other level. I’m sure you’ve heard that the actors did all of their singing live, meaning not prerecorded. This allowed the actors to really get into the moment and sing with emotion. The results were amazing and beautiful and haunting and perfect. I especially loved that the vocals weren’t “pretty”. Yes, everyone had amazing voices, but they weren’t afraid to let the emotion overtake the beauty of the song, and that’s honestly what made it so raw and great.
Anne Hathaway. Marry me. Her voice was raw and pure and gorgeously full of emotion. Her storyline was my favorite and her acting was “to die for” (which is a pun, cause she dies. Duh!) Although her 25 pound weight loss was definitely not healthy, I can appreciate that she committed fully to the role. And I even more appreciate that she refuses to discuss how she lost the weight, stating “I get nervous talking about it because I find that I don’t want to be seen as glamorizing it, and there’s a lot of talk, a lot of pressure, especially among young girls, to lose weight, and what I did was, I didn’t do it to get hot, like, I did it to look like I was dying …”. She is perfect. Everything she is in is amazing. I mean, Love & Other Drugs, Rachel Getting Married, Devil Wears Prada, Becoming Jane, Brokeback Mountain. It doesn’t get much better.
Next is Hugh Jackman. Um, hello, where did he come from? I mean, I know he’s famous but since I don’t care at all about X Men, I never knew who he was. And now I do and I’ll never ever ever forget. Ever. He can sing. He can act. And he can have my babies, please.
Amanda Seyfried was great as Cosette! Usually I don’t love her roles, because she almost always comes off as a ditzy blonde. But I was really impressed to see her do something more serious. I hope she does more like this. And also, I want to know the highest note she can hit, because she kind of sounds like a canary, in a good way.
Samantha Barks is a newbie and plays Eponine. I couldn’t really focus on her acting or her singing because I was too busy staring at her lack of waist. She’s not a particularly skinny girl, but her waist is probably a size -2.
The little Cosette and the little boy, Gavroche, were amazing and gorgeous and talented and I want them to date in real life, which is weird because they’re like 9.
And last but not least, Russell Crowe’s character was a doucher, and I don’t really care about Eddie Redmayne at all.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this movie and want to see it 20 more times, at least.
I also want to have a beautiful singing voice, save all of the poor prostitutes, and adopt the little revolution boy.
This is this little girls first movie. And now she's the face of Les Mis. She is the definition of winning.

OMG OMG OMG. Little Cosette and little Gavroche together.

She cries, I cry.

Excuse me miss, where's your waist?

Hugh Jackman with a child. dead.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

Do you remember me? I sat upon your knee. I wrote to you with childhood fantasies. Well, I'm all grown up now and still need help somehow. I'm not a child, but my heart still can dream.So here's my lifelong wish, my grown up christmas list. Not for myself but for a world in need.
-No more lives torn apart
-That wars would never start
-And time would heal all hearts
-And everyone would have a friend
-And right would always win
-And love would never end

As children we believed the grandest sight to see was something lovely wrapped beneath our tree. But heaven only knows
that packages and bows can never heal a hurting human soul.
This is my grown up christmas list. This is my only life long wish. This is my grown up christmas list.

Love,
Brooke (age 23)
My first Christmas


just hanging out with Santa

Christmas morning was so magical and unwrapping gifts was the best!

celebrating with Emily

Christmas dance recital

dancing with Dad on Christmas morning

look at all those presents!

Christmas with Iza was one of my favorites!

Christmas 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 in review.


Life is beautiful and tragic and magical and terrifying and wonderful. And I'm still learning how to embrace the beautiful and heart-wrenching ache of being human.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Loss of Innocence

2 days ago the unthinkable happened. 20 beautiful innocents were taken from this world. 7 heroic adults lost their lives. A nation, a town, and entire families were changed forever. Yes, I am talking about the Newtown, CT elementary school massacre. Those are two things that should never be in the same sentence. Elementary school and massacre. Honestly, I don’t have much to say about the topic. Debating gun control and mental health care cannot change the events of that day. It can’t bring those 20 children home to their families. It won’t erase the terror and memories that the surviving children will have to learn to live with. It won’t erase the parents heartache from hearing that their children won’t be home for the holidays. It won’t bring back the heroic teachers and adults who died to save children. When such a tragedy occurs, there are often many questions. Why did this happen? What was the motive? What could have been done differently? What do we do next? Some things we may never know the answer to. But before we divide as a nation over politics, let’s throw details aside and come together as a nation to support Newtown and mourn the great losses. Let’s take time, this holiday season, to acknowledge how fortunate we are, and to help out those less fortunate. Because what we all need right now is a little hope. Hope that there is still good in the world. Hope for the present. Hope for the future. Hope for humanity. So I challenge you all to spread some holiday hope this season, and in light of recent events, and perform a random act of kindness. Buy someones coffee. Bake cookies for the mailman. Donate to a favorite charity. Find some way to give back and bring some light back into this holiday season. Do it for the Innocents.


May angels lead you in...
 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Best Decision

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" -2 Corinthians 5:17

5 years ago. December 9th/10th, 2007. A lot had changed that year. I graduated high school, started college, moved away from home… Little did I know that the most important change of my life would come in the middle of the night in the midst of finals in December. I was always a “good girl” growing up. I never drank or really broke the rules. I didn’t go to church though either. So I had no plans to begin attending church when I went away to college. However, on one of the first nights at school, a girl named Amy knocked on my dorm door. Amy was the womens coordinator for Campus Outreach at Elon and seemed really sweet. It did seem a little strange to me that this girl wasn’t a student at Elon and that she was being so nice to me after just meeting me. But at this point I was desperate for friends, so I accepted the offer to hang out with Amy some more. Through Amy I met other girls from Campus Outreach and started hanging out with them. I didn’t drink or party, so it seemed only right that I would hang out with a group of people who had seemingly similar interests. After hanging out with these people I realized that there was something different about them, although I couldn’t specifically pinpoint what it was. After going on the beach getaway and hanging out with these girls more and having conversations with them, I realized that the thing that was “different” was God. After going to church with these girls and hanging out I became embarrassed by my lack of knowledge. As an 18 year old girl, I knew absolutely nothing about Jesus. Everyone was really nice and I was beginning to understand the gospel, but I didn’t think I was ready to make a decision. I knew that accepting Christ into my life would mean giving up control, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that. But after some discussions with Paige and Steph, I thought about this issue of control in a different light. I could give up control to a perfect and holy being and take the pressure off of myself. So I thought “this is cool. But not right now. Let me give it some time.” I didn’t have a lot of head knowledge and I didn’t think I was quite good enough yet. When I told Steph this she read me Isaiah 55 which basically talks about “all who are thirsty come drink…” It basically gave me the message of “come as you are” which was such an exciting and foreign concept to me. I didn’t have to clean myself up or be perfect. That was what Christ was for. I still wasn’t sure about what accepting Christ into my life would look like so I was thinking “not now”. Steph challenged me by saying “you saying not saying yes is you saying no. saying not now is saying no.” I hadn’t thought about it in that way and I really didn’t want to be saying no. So on December 10, 2007 I decided to my Christ the Lord of my life. I was half expecting to start floating or flying or something, but that didn’t happen. Things did change though. I did realize what God was doing in my life and how He affected all of my decisions. Since then, I have still struggled with control issues and surrender but my favorite verse- Philippians 1:6- says that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. This promise has been so important to me because it reminds me that I am not perfect and I am not expected to me, but that Christ will continue to work in me and through me. I love looking back at that day 5 years ago. God has changed my life completely and brought me through some hard things, that ultimately have made me stronger. He has been there every step of the way through and continues to grow me in faith and strength. And even on the days when I am tired and things are hard, I know that my God will always be the same God who came into my heart and changed me that December 10th five years ago.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Something More...

So sometimes I get this feeling, and I don’t know how to clearly describe it, but I’m going to do my best.
Do you ever get the feeling that you’re bigger than your life? That you’re meant for something more? Something bigger? Something not so ordinary? I get this feeling kind of a lot. The feeling that I’m supposed to be doing something bigger with my life. I wish I knew exactly what it was, but I don’t. I just know that growing up, things would happen in my life and I would tell my dad, “oh, this is going to be part of my E! True Hollywood Story one day”. I don’t necessarily care about the fame or the money. I just want to fulfill whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life. It sometimes feels like something inside of me is just missing; like I’m not doing something that I should be doing. I asked my mom if she ever felt like this and to my surprise she said no. She claimed that having a child and working is exactly what she felt like she was supposed to be doing. This may sound conceded, but I really do feel like I was made for a life much bigger than that; a path less ordinary. Sometimes I wonder if that's why moving forward in time scares me so much. Because I'm getting older and still haven't found the cause of the feeling yet. Who knows.
Since I can’t exactly place my finger on this feeling, my plan is to continue on in nursing school, and hopefully, one day, an opportunity will come up; an opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than myself. And maybe then I’ll be ready, and I’ll know exactly what it is I’m meant to be doing.

 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Favorite Things

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things!”

The holiday season is upon us. Everyone, including Santa, is making lists this time of the year. Children are making their wish lists to send to the North Pole, Santa is making his naughty and nice list, Oprah and Ellen are making lists of their favorite things. So I thought I’d join in the fun and list some of my current favorite things! Who knows, maybe you’ll get a good gift idea!

1. The book “Still LoLo” by Lauren Scruggs
2. The Jana Kramer CD
3. St. Ives moisturizing cream
4. The new Taylor Swift RED CD
5. Cinnamon Stick Yankee Candle
6. Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks
7. Wrist tattoos
8. Smores flavored anything
9. Carmel cinnamon apple cider from Port City Java
10. Infinity scarves
11. The website Dogshaming
12. High/Low skirts
13. The idea of an adventure/vacation
14. Monogrammed anything
15. Grey’s Anatomy brand scrubs

A few of my FAVORITE things!
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Will Show You Love


As I was driving the 4 hours home for Thanksgiving break yesterday, I became overwhelmed with silly racing thoughts in my head. I’m generally an anxious person, so 4 hours alone with my thoughts and nothing to distract me is a lot! I decided to pop in an old CD that a friend had made for me. I flipped through the songs, singing the familiar ones and skipping the ones I didn’t know. Then I got to this song. The song is called “I Will Show You Love” by Kendall Payne. I hadn’t listened to it all the way through before and was very tempted to skip over it. However something drew me in and I couldn’t change the song. The beautiful voice and the sweet melody was enough to make me fall in love. I listened to a few of the words and felt like I needed to listen again to fully grasp the lyrics. (Yes, I’m a lyrics person). Here’s what the song says:

“I will show you love like you've never loved before. I will go the distance and back for more if you just say the word. 'Cause you will come alive again, call to try and tend your friend. Pain that you have suffered through will never get the best of you. You will hope in something that won't depend on how you feel. When you call my name then I will answer. 'Cause I am on your side, though the wind and waves beat against your faith. And you are on my mind since when the world was made. Trust in me my child. Walk out on the water, where you have no control. You're scared to death of failure; you'd sacrifice your soul. Please let that go. 'Cause you have climbed an upward hill. You have borne a heavy load. You have cried through endless nights, nearly giving up the fight. Watched your dreams like falling stars. Heartache made you who you are. Looking back, you'd see that I have always been there. 'Cause I am on your side though the wind and waves beat against your faith. And you are on my mind since when the world was made. Trust in me my child. Where're you gonna hide? Where're you gonna go that I can't see? 'Cause I have heard your cry and it breaks my heart for I love you so. I would never lie. This is not the end, there is still a hope. And I am on your side though the wind and waves beat against your faith. And you are on my mind since when the world was made. Trust in me my child.”

I was IMMEDIATELY overcome with chills and a strange sense of peace. These words, this is a love letter from God. “And you are on my mind since when the world was made. Trust in me, my child”. How amazing. God was thinking about each of us individually when he created this world and put us in it. He knows EACH of us individually. “Looking back you’d see that I have always been there”. Always. Even in the hardest times in my life, even when I didn’t know about God and had no relationship with Him, He was there and very present in my life. Looking back, I see that and I know there is no way that He wasn’t present. “Cause I have heard you cry, and it breaks my heart for I love you so”. So comforting. Jesus weeps when we weep. He feels our pain and our joy. He truly wants what is best for us.

Whether you believe in Jesus or not, you have to admit that this is a chillingly beautiful song.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Faith vs. Fear

Today I heard the quote “Let your faith be bigger than your fear”. Sounds simple enough, right? Then why is it so hard? Why are we so quick to turn to fear instead of prayer or faith? I find that I am most fearful when there are unknowns in my life. I like having a plan and knowing what is happening next. I think a lot of us are that way. So when something doesn’t go according to plan or I’m not sure of the next step to take, I often find myself turning to fear. Unfortunately fear is not productive. In fact, I cannot think of a single time that unnecessary, anxiety ridden fear was exactly what I needed in the moment. What I needed was faith in something larger than myself. Faith that, even though I was not in control, someone or something much bigger was. You see, fear brings about anxiety and can be exhausting. However with faith comes courage and hope.
I know that it can be hard to turn to faith in moments of anxiety, fear, worry, and doubt. I know that it feels easier to rely on the things that seem more tangible. But I can promise you that if you allow your faith to become bigger than your fear, you can do amazing things!
Matthew 17:20 says “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
Romans 8:15 says “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship…”

A mustard seed is so tiny. Faith is so powerful, that even such a small amount is enough to do great things!.
Choosing faith over fear has to happen again each day. So which will you choose? Being a slave to fear? Or a beacon of hope and fear?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Guest Post: Molly

Hey guys! So here’s something I’ve never done before. GUEST POST! My friend Molly is an amazing writer and has a great blog, which you can follow here:http://disablingthelabel.wordpress.com/. Molly writes about disabling the label of mental health and the negative stigma that surrounds this topic. She describes herself as “a nineteen year old student who loves trying new recipes out in her kitchen, using a sewing machine to make her own clothing, and handling any means of photography, whether it be a camera or photograph.” Molly is also trying to become an advocate for Mental Health, hopefully at a national level eventually!
So as you all know, I’ve had a series of posts called “Letters to my Younger Self”. So I decided to ask Molly if she would write a letter for me to use on my blog. Molly, being the creative and eloquent writer that she is, decided to send me a letter she’d written to her current self. She has been through a lot and is currently in the process of recovering from an eating disorder. This letter is so full of hope and strength and I am so proud of Molly for writing this:

“Dear Molly,
I don’t know exactly what is going on for you right now, nor do I know the extent to what you’ve been through in your life, but I am proud of you for taking these first steps in recovery. It’s hard to completely sympathize with you when you yourself aren’t even sure of what races through your mind each day. I realize that everyday you have to recommit to treatment, which is a big struggle; and for that I am truly sorry.
I want you to know that you deserve to be happy and there is nothing that you can do to have that privilege taken away from you. Happiness is a human right that belongs to everyone, regardless of what they have or haven’t done. Never let anyone talk down to you. You are not a burden and you are certainly worthy of living a valuable and adventurous life.
Kate le Page once said, “My worst days in recovery are better than my worst days in relapse” and she is right. Although this might not sound probable, know that one day, you will see that anything is possible. After all, impossible is just like saying I’m possible.
There is nothing that you cannot do Molly, so stop setting boundaries and limitations for yourself. Start believing that you can beat your illness and begin to realize that without it, you will see the kind wonderful woman that you are. You are so strong, determined, beautiful and brave and these characteristics shine outwards everyday. I only wish that you could see them for yourself as well.
Just think of yourself as a gem. Sometimes you get a little bit dusty but after being polished up you are good as new. Don’t judge yourself by your illnesses. You are not Anorexia, You are not Depression, You are not Bipolar Disorder; YOU are YOU. These illnesses happen to the best of us. Perfectionism indicates that you do have a care in the world; just sometimes you care a little bit too much. Is that really such a bad thing?
I acknowledge that “Strong”, “Healthy” or even “Happy” can be scary words for you right now, but you need to learn to embrace them. Someday, you’ll be able to look back and realize that hospitals and emaciation shouldn’t be safe places or sane states for you. Both should be dreaded. I understand that right now it might feel like it’s easier to stay sick than to get better, but in the long run that won’t get you anywhere. Embrace the unknown. If you live by the motto “Forget the past and move on” (which works for you since your concentration and memory is starting to fade) you won’t even remember what you are familiar with and you will try to take a different path each day.
I know that it is going to be scary to start expressing all of your emotions and being truly honest about your eating disorder symptoms, but you cannot continue living with these bad habits if you do want to recover. Think of how badly you wanted to run away from the hospital when you were 13 because you thought there was nothing wrong with you? Think back to even before that when eating was fun, carefree and spontaneous. Where did this new attitude of “returning to my rut (room) and escaping my emotions (isolating)” come from? The Molly I used to know would face reality. She’d challenge herself to eat more and more until she reached her goal. She would not give up the way you are demonstrating. She would most definitely give ED a run for his money, since she’d be so angry with him for ruining her life and making her miss two years of school; her favourite place to be in the world. This being said, the Molly I knew would also be gentle to herself.
Try to think of the positive things you have in life. Don’t let your mind wander allowing yourself to feel guilty for not taking advantage of what you have misused, abandoned or haven’t completed to it’s full potential. Maybe you weren’t dealt the best hand of cards but believe in yourself that at the times you played, you laid your cards out in the correct order. Think about what you have to look forward to. Volunteering at a Naturopathic clinic, Participating in a Study to help with Eating disorder Research, A baby in February, School in September, Becoming a Wife or even a Mom, Removing a tumour or Conducting your Own field of Research… Life is limitless and yours is waiting for you to pop back into it. Right now, you probably have very little energy to even WANT to achieve these accomplishments but try and look past your current worries, anxiety and thoughts, and remember that in some time, you’ll no longer be “faking it” but rather you will be “enjoying things”. After all, as the saying goes, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But, today is a gift. That's why we call it the present!”
Don’t ever think that you are too fat, too short or too ugly because you are Molly, a little sister to three, a friend to many and a daughter to two proud parents.
Recover for yourself this time Molly. I believe in you,

Sincerely,
Your inner wisdom”


THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Molly for guest posting on my blog. You are braver, smarter, and more beautiful than you know! Don’t forget to check out Molly’s blog at
http://disablingthelabel.wordpress.com/.



 

 

My friend, Jaimers!

This article ran in the school newspaper in 2007:
“Four years ago, Jaime Cathell was climbing the steps to her third floor Staley dorm room when she had to stop, gasping for breath. That’s when it struck her that something was wrong. Cathell wasn’t out of shape; she has cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disease that causes mucus to clog the lungs. “My freshman year, I was the healthiest I’ve ever been, and I kick myself now for throwing it all away,” she said. Cathell’s life wasn’t much different from any other student’s when she entered college as a freshman. The history major followed the norm for many freshman and took advantage of her newfound freedom by letting loose and partying. She started her year faithfully performing her twice-a-day treatments, during which she spends an hour wearing a vest that pulsates, shaking loose the mucus in her lungs. She took her pills when she ate like she was supposed to, but before long her treatments started to take the backseat to college life. “By then I was doing my treatments, maybe, once a week,” Cathell said. “It contributed to a pretty dramatic decline in my health. But if I hadn’t I never would have learned the importance.” Until she got to college, cystic fibrosis was never a problem for Cathell. Her parents always encouraged her to have as normal a childhood as possible while she was growing up in Chapel Hill. She was active in church, a competitive swimmer and went to summer camp every year, accompanied by her mother who administered her treatments. Before Cathell had the vest she now uses, her treatments were administered by hand. Her mother or a therapist would pound on her back to shake loose the mucus in her lungs. “Basically, it looks like they’re beating you,” she said. For Cathell, those sorts of things were just a part of life. Her illness was diagnosed when she was three months old, so there was never a time that she remembers it being any different. Now a fifth year senior, the 23-year-old looks no different from her peers. “You would never know I’m sick unless I’m really feeling bad,” Cathell said. “Cystic fibrosis has no outward physical signs.” In reality though, she is at high risk for life-threatening lung infections. The mucus in her lungs is over thick due to a defective gene. The mucus is present in every person’s lungs to keep them free of bacteria, but the thick mucus is difficult to cough up, which can clog airways and cause bacteria to build up. Cathell had never missed school because of her health until December 2006. She was hospitalized and given IV antibiotics for a serious lung infection. She recovered, but had to increase her treatments for four or five times daily. Since then, she has been hospitalized for lung infections numerous times. After her scare of the stairs four years ago, Cathell got involved in Campus Outreach, an evangelical Christian organization at Elon. Cathell learned to study the Bible, and now she leads Bible study sessions and mentors younger girls. Her faith is what helps her deal with the implications of her illness- the knowledge that she will eventually die from it. Her disease has no cure, and the median age of survival is about 37 years. How Cathell feels about it depends on the day. When she’s having a rough day, the knowledge weighs on her, but typically she comes to terms with it. “Well, we all die,” she said. “I just might die a little sooner.” Cathell believes in heaven, which makes it much easier for her to deal with. “The Bible says that when you die, you’re rid of everything you have in this world,” she said. “So I think, what’s a few years with this disease compared to an eternity without it?”


I was blessed to meet sweet Jaime 6 years ago when I was a freshman at Elon University. Shortly after beginning my freshman year, I got involved with a campus Christian organization called Campus Outreach. Jaime was also involved in Campus Outreach and lived with some other girls I knew. I didn’t know much about Jaime at first; all I knew was that she was always smiling, had a great sense of humor, and gave the best hugs! It wasn’t until much later that I realized that Jaime was sick. As a 5th year senior, Jaime was incredibly busy, yet she always made time to schedule lunch dates or hang out times with me. I would frequently pick up milkshakes and head over to her house so that we could watch Oprah together at 4. We laughed about a stuffed pink poodle, watched numerous Youtube videos, and attended baseball games. Even after she graduated, Jaime and I still stayed in touch. She came to visit me at the beach over the summers, and I would drive to Greensboro for lunches sometimes. Jaime is not only a GREAT friend, but was also a huge spiritual influence in my life. She showed true bravery and what it really meant to be a woman pursuing the Lord. In fact, I drove over the Jaime’s house at midnight the night I became a Christian and Jaime stayed up to celebrate with me. She has such a big heart and has loved me so well over the years, which is why it was amazing to be able to celebrate her at her wedding last night! The ceremony was gorgeous and it was the perfect day for a wedding. With her illness, Jaime has overcome so much already in life. It was amazing to see her walk down that aisle, looking beautiful and grinning from ear to ear. If anyone deserves to be that happy, it’s Jaime.

I don’t see an illness when I look at Jaime. I see an amazing friend, a beautiful young girl, and a woman actively pursuing Christ daily.

 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A little bit of kindness...

With all of the election stuff going on, political ads, tension, and arguments are everywhere. It’s times like these when we all need to read a heartwarming story of different people coming together for good. Seriously, if this story doesn’t warm your heart, you might have a problem

“How about a little good news? In the scrub-brush desert town of Queen Creek, Ariz., high school bullies were throwing trash at sophomore Chy Johnson. Calling her "stupid." Pushing her in the halls. Chy's brain works at only a third-grade level because of a genetic birth defect, but she knew enough to feel hate. "She'd come home every night at the start of the school year crying and upset," says her mom, Liz Johnson. "That permanent smile she had, that gleam in her eye, that was all gone." Her mom says she tried to talk to teachers and administrators and got nowhere. So she tried a whole new path -- the starting quarterback of the undefeated football team. After all, senior Carson Jones had once escorted Chy to the Special Olympics. "Just keep your ear to the ground," Liz wrote to Carson on his Facebook page. "Maybe get me some names?" But Carson Jones did something better than that. Instead of ratting other kids out, he decided to take one in -- Chy. He started asking her to eat at the cool kids' lunch table with him and his teammates. "I just thought that if they saw her with us every day, maybe they'd start treating her better," Carson says. "Telling on kids would've just caused more problems." It got better. Starting running back Tucker Workman made sure somebody was walking between classes with Chy. In classes, cornerback Colton Moore made sure she sat in the row right behind the team. Just step back a second. In some schools, it's the football players doing the bullying. At Queen Creek, they're stopping it. And not with fists -- with straight-up love for a kid most teenage football players wouldn't even notice, much less hang out with. "I think about how sweet these boys are to her," says volleyball player Shelly Larson, "and I want to cry. I can't even talk about it." It's working. "I was parking my car yesterday, and I saw a couple of the guys talking to her and being nice," says offensive lineman Bryce Oakes. "I think it's making a difference around here." And the best thing is? The football players didn't tell anybody. "I didn't know about any of this until three weeks ago," says Carson's mom, Rondalee, who's raising four boys and a daughter by herself. "He finally showed me an article they wrote here locally. I said, 'Are you kidding me? Why didn't you tell me this?'" All of a sudden, Chy started coming home as her bubbly self again. When her mom asked why she was so happy, she said, "I'm eating lunch with my boys!" The boys take care of Chy, and she takes care of the boys. Carson, carrying a GPA of 4.4, got in a car accident last week; since then, Chy is always trying to carry his backpack. "I know his neck hurts," she says. I get emailed stories like this a lot, but most of the time they don't pan out. They turn out to be half true, or true for the first week but not the second. But when I walked into the Queen Creek High School cafeteria Tuesday, unannounced, there was 4-foot-high Chy with 11 senior football players, eating her lunch around the most packed lunch table you've ever seen, grinning like it was Christmas morning. It was Carson's birthday, and she'd made him a four-page card. On one page she wrote, in big crayon letters, "LUCKY GIRL." I asked Chy to show me where she used to eat lunch. She pointed to a room in the back, away from the rest of the kids, the special-ed lunchroom. Much more fun out here, she said. "I thank Carson every chance I see him," says Chy's mom. "He's an amazing young man. He's going to go far in life." Nobody knows how far Chy Johnson will go in life. The life expectancy of those afflicted with her disease, microcephaly, is only 25-30 years. But her sophomore year, so far, has been unforgettable. She'll be in the first row Friday night, cheering 10-0 QC as it plays its first playoff game, against Agua Fria. Some people think it will be QC's sixth shutout of the season. Sometime during the game, Carson probably will ask Chy to do their huddle-up "Bulldogs on 3" cheer, with everybody's helmet up in the air. You won't be able to see Chy, but she'll be in there. "Why do I do these interviews?" Chy asked her mom the other night. "Because you're so dang cute," her mom answered. I've seen this before with athletes. Josh Hamilton used to look out every day for a Down syndrome classmate at his Raleigh, N.C., high school. Joe Mauer ate lunch every day with a special-needs kid at his St. Paul, Minn., high school. In a great society, our most gifted take care of our least. But what about next year, when Carson probably will be on his Mormon mission and all of Chy's boys will have graduated? Not to worry. Carson has a little brother on the team, Curtis, who's in Chy's class. "Mom," he announced at the dinner table the other night, "I got this." Lucky girl.”
*Source
Chy with her boys.

Chy and Carson at a football game

Chy's birthday card for Carson

 

 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Rent-a-Pup

I want to start off this post by saying that I am copyrighting this genius idea. If nursing school doesn’t work out for me, I now have a backup plan.

Rent-a-puppy.

BOOM. Genius. I see a need, a gap in services if you will. I want a puppy. However, I don’t have to time or money to adopt and raise a dog. I also can’t imagine (or afford) fostering a dog for a few days/weeks and then having to give it up. Therefore, I want to rent a puppy. Here are my thoughts. You could pick a dog to rent for 12 hour shifts. I’m thinking a 12 hour minimum charge, and everything over that would be an additional fee. You could cuddle with the dog, take the dogs on walks, run with the dog, take it to the park and use it to make friends. The possibilities are endless! And then, at the end of the 12 hour shift, you bring the dog back. No vet bills, no constant food bills, nothing. Just a one time rental fee.
I mean, you can rent a porta potty, a house, and a car, why not a dog?
So to wet your palate, I present you with the worlds cutest pups. I hope to own all of them someday when I have time and money.










 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Travel Bug Bucket List

Since I’ve rediscovered my love of travel and tolerance of airplanes, I feel like I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. There are SO many places, in the US and out, that I want to visit! So I decided to make a USA travel bucket list! Here it is (by state):

Alabama- BEEN to Dothan. Probably have no need to go back.
Alaska- I would LOVE to go to Anchorage or Wasilla to visit my family.
California- BEEN to Los Angeles and would definitely love to go back. I’d also love to go to Burbank, Santa Monica, San Francisco, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.
Colorado- I have a really huge desire to go to Denver or Boulder. I don’t know why, but I do!
Connecticut- BEEN there, done that.
Delaware- BEEN. Probably don’t need to go back.
Florida- I‘ve BEEN to Florida, but I would really love to go back. I’d love to go to Orlando, Miami, Tallahassee, and Tampa.
Georgia- I’ve BEEN to Atlanta, but only for a short amount of time. I‘d love to go back there, and to Augusta and Savannah as well.
Hawaii- I would LOVE to go to Hawaii. But really, who wouldn’t?
Illinois- Chicago would be a fun place to see
Kentucky- BEEN to visit family. Don’t care much about going back.
Louisiana- I’ve BEEN to New Orleans when I was younger, but I‘d love to go back now that I‘m old enough to appreciate the culture more.
Maine- BEEN to visit family when I was younger, but I‘d love to go back for a fun trip to either Bangor or Bar Harbor
Maryland- BEEN. Boring.
Massachusetts- I’ve driven through, but I don’t think I’ve ever really been. I’d love to explore Boston!
New Hampshire- I’ve BEEN to the White Mountains of New Hampshire and loved it. Definitely wouldn‘t mind going back.
New Jersey- BEEN. Ew. 
New York- I’ve BEEN to NYC, and would love to go back. But I’d also love to go to Buffalo and see Niagara Falls
Ohio-BEEN to Akron and Cincinnati. .
Pennsylvania- Again, I’ve driven through, but I’ve never really explored. I’d love to see Pittsburgh, though!
Rhode Island- BEEN and loved it. I was really young and would love to go back. I remember it being beautiful!
South Carolina-BEEN. (duh!) But I’d love to explore Charleston more!
Tennessee- I REALLY want to go to Tennessee. A few years ago I even applied to colleges in TN! I’d love to see Memphis and Nashville.
Texas- Texas is HUGE and I want to see so much of it. I have friends that I’d love to visit at some point. Maybe see Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Fort Worth.
Utah- Kind of like Colorado, I don’t really know why, but I would love to see Utah. Especially Park City and Salt Lake City.
Vermont- BEEN there. Done that. 
Virginia- BEEN. Boring.
Washington- I want to go to Seattle and drink coffee!
West Virginia- BEEN.

SOOOOOO, if anyone needs birthday/Christmas/holiday/gift giving suggestions, plane tickets and/or money would be great. I’m tryin to get my travel on!


 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mam!

My mother. Crazy. Tiny. Loud. Silly. Hard working.

Today is my wonderful mother’s 50th birthday! Like any other mother/daughter duo, my mom and I don’t always get along and we’ve definitely had our share of fights and arguments. But I know that I would not be who I am today without my mother. Growing up, my mom drove me to every dance practice and stayed and watched every day. She helped make all of my costumes and volunteered at my studio so that she could spend more time with me. She woke up early every weekend to travel with me to dance competitions. She was my girl scout troop leader. She led the school book fair. She traveled with my 6th grade class on a field trip to Raleigh. She came to every cross country and track meet. She drove me to all of my away meets. On my second weekend away at college, she drove up late at night because I called her with a cold. However, I think what really stands out to me when I think of amazing mom moments is my spring semester during my sophomore year of high school. When I was 15, I went crazy. Seriously. You can read about it here. I was crazy and emotional and a total disaster, and still my mom put up with me. Actually, she more than put up with me. She loved me through it all. She sat with me as I cried, she drove me to doctors appointments and sat in the waiting room for me while I sat in the car and waited. She went on walks with me to get me out of the house. She spent countless amounts of money on me via doctors appointments, medicines, and relaxation tapes. She sat in the car in the school parking lot for hours, just so I could feel safe knowing someone was close by. She met with all of my teachers and explained the situation. She helped me get through the hardest year of my life, and never complained.

So yes, my mom and I might fight sometimes. But who else would I call at 6am when I‘m up and walking to class? Who else would I call to sing “Bust A Move” to? Who else would sing me Silent Night just to cheer me up? Who else would dance to the Gilmore Girls theme song with me? Who else would I share all my silliest moments with? So here’s to 50 nifty years of mama! Happy Birthday to her!


 
 
 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Loved

This past summer I did a “values” activity. The activity was this - there was a stack of 100 values cards. Each card had a different value, such as “family”, “money”, “world peace”, “honesty”, “self control”, and “loved”. My job was to go through the stack and place the cards into 3 different piles. One pile was “Extremely Important”, one was “Somewhat Important”, and the last was “Not Important”. It sounds like a simple task, but I had such a hard time fitting them into categories! There were so many values that I wanted to put in between extremely and somewhat important, but those weren’t the rules. I was then informed that I had to discard all the of values in the “Somewhat Important” pile and the “Not Important” pile. My heart broke a little, but I do like to follow the rules, so I did what I was told. I then had to narrow it down to my top 10 values, and then place those values in order from least to greatest. The purpose of the activity to was to identify what I find most important in my life. My top 10 values, from what I can remember, were these: order, self-control, family, friendship, popularity, compassion, safety, dependability, faithfulness, and LOVED. My number one value turned out to be “loved”.

As a human being, we all have a need to be loved. It’s the core of who we are. Most of us experience love, whether it be from a family member, a friend, or a pet. I have had no shortage of love in my life, let me be clear. I never felt unloved as a child, in fact sometimes I could probably say that I felt overloved. And I have never had a problem with loving. I tend to love hard. However I seem to have an insatiable need to be loved. I could be in a room surrounded by people who love me and care for me, and I still feel like something is missing. Which brings me to my point…I believe that a person must love themselves before they can receive love from others. I know that sounds cheesy, but the book “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” states, “we accept the love we think we deserve”. And I believe this to be so incredibly true. I will admit that I have problems with self confidence and self love, and I honestly believe that because I don’t fully love myself, I have a hard time feeling completely loved. I have always had a hard time accepting help or acts of kindness from others. I have friends who constantly tell me “please let me do this for you”, “please let me show you love the best way I know how”, or my personal favorite “I want to help you. Don’t rob me of that joy!” The fact is, I don’t know that I will ever feel “satiated” with love until I learn to love myself fully, for all of my flaws and imperfections!

 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Where Have I Been?

In case you were wondering where I've been (which you probably haven't), I seemed to have time warped back to the 90's and turned into Jessie Spano in the episode where she's hooked on caffeine pills. The main thought that runs through my mind the minute I wake up and the minutes before I fall asleep is this: "NO TIME. NO TIME. THERE'S NEVER ANY TIME!" I wake up before the sun, go to class, come home, study, eat, study, and sleep. The frequent meltdown can usually be inserted at any of those points, and sometimes even at all of them. So if you've been wondering where I've been, this is it:


 
 
I feel your pain, Jessie Spano. I feel your pain.
 
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

9/11/12. Eleven years later...




Will every September 11th for the rest of my life feel like such a huge day? 11 years ago the world changed with the terrorist attacks. I was in 7th grade and was the perfect mix of very aware that something bad was happening and yet not aware enough to be a bundle of anxiety and panic. In my own little world, everyone knows what September 11th was. Everyone knows what happened, everyone knows the times, everyone knows the years. Apparently I am wrong. My roommate is teaching 7th graders right now and today she came home and informed me that a few of her 7th graders didn’t know what really happened on September 11th. They’d heard stories or read about it in the textbooks, but they didn’t really get it. At first I was shocked and appalled. But then I realized that these children were only a year old when the attacks occurred 11 years ago. They’ve grown up hearing about terrorism and the Middle East and the War on Terror. Much like I can’t really grasp the fullness of what happened during Pearl Harbor, these children only really know September 11th as a historical event, rather than a memory. Not me. I have my own account of that day, and my own vivid memories, which I shared last year in another blog post here. This year feels slightly different though. Back in June I had the opportunity to visit Ground Zero while in New York City. I had been before, back in 2006, when it was still debris, steel scraps, and some makeshift memorials. Going back now was a completely different experience. The tower was almost done being built, the memorial park was beautiful, and the museum was incredibly powerful. When I stepped into the memorial park I was immediately overcome with emotions. 2 large reflecting pools are set up where each tower used to stand. There are large stone plaques engraved with the names of the victims. To stand in front of those pools was powerful. It was so strange to think that this was once the site of such chaos and turmoil. People were standing in this exact spot, some in shock, some running, screaming, crying, looking for loved ones, etc. There were firefighters, policemen, and paramedics all saving lives in that park. I can’t imagine being there that day. I can’t imagine moving past that. I believe that if you were there that day, that would be one of those defining life moments where you categorize your life into pre 9/11 and post 9/11. I can’t imagine going one day without thinking about that fateful Tuesday. So let’s all remember to take a minute today, and everyday, to be grateful for what we have and the life we have been given. Not everyone makes it to tomorrow, so the fact that we’re still here today is a blessing.

A helmet from the FDNY Battalion Chief

A timelife of events. I will never forget watching the 2nd plane hit live as it happened on the news.

The new One World Trade Center.

Tower One reflecting pool. A whole building that contained many lives once stood here.

One of the reflecting pools. God Bless America!
 

Monday, September 3, 2012

College Videos

Oh college. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I could write a whole book about some of my best and worst college experiences, but I won't do that (right now). Here are some of my favorite college memories that I caught on film. In no particular order:

1. Girls Night In. This night Megan, Amanda, and Courtney came over to my apartment to make cookies and watch Step Up. We set up the air mattress and lounged around all night. Then Amanda felt inspired to dance. I think this video describes all of our personalities very well. Courtney is the one laying on the mattress CRACKING UP. Amanda is the one with the sweet dance skills, Megan is the sarcastic one, and I'm behind the camera.

 
 
2. Belk Library Rave. I know we aren't Carolina or any other big school, so it isn't as impressive, but the library rave was so much fun! Everyone gathered in the library, the music was blasting, some guy was dressed up in a head to toe gorilla costume. Heck, I even stood on one of the book shelves! It was a fun night of chaos!

 
 
3. Spice Girls Dance. One night I had Kelsey and Katie spend the night. We spent the night talking, laughing, watching movies, and dancing around the living room. The next morning we woke up, made breakfast, and danced some more. This is the result.
 

4. Roadtrip. This was coming back from one of our annual Wilmy Weekends. At this point we were all tired, sick of being in the car, and trying not to think about going back to school. That is when hilarity, terrible singing, and craziness ensued.
 

5. Strawberry Wine. This was freshman year when we were just babies. We had a lake weekend at Lindsey's house and set up beds all over the floor. This was kind of our anthem freshman year.

Some honorable mentions would include: trying to unwrap tootsie rolls in our mouths, roomie rocking out to I Believe In A Thing Called Love, the infamous Abused Children Don't Shower, the Walmart driveby, and snowday water bottles!
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Clinical Day

Today was my first day of clinicals, and honestly I’m nervous to say anything at all since HIPAA has been pounded into my head. I think I’m allowed to say that it went well and that I didn’t kill anyone. I woke up at 4:30am. Yes, in the morning. Did yall know that it's still completely dark outside at that time? Ya know why? Cause it's the middle of the night! But anyways, today was pretty basic. We got oriented to the floor and the staff, and did physical assessments on a few patients. It was actually kind of cool to see tubes and drains and suction and wounds. I thought it would completely gross me out, and honestly at some point, I know there will be something that will make me gag or want to die. But for today, no dry heaving for me! Yay! (it’s the little things, really). As our clinical instructor was giving us a tour of the unit and showing us all the supplies, she kept saying “this is a blah blah tube, and you’ll use this for…and you’ll clean it like this…and if this happens, you do this…and if you have a patient with this, make sure you do this…and remember when giving these meds to do this…and don’t forget to always do this…” Now, granted, we are all NA's and have some basic skills and knowledge, we are currently on our first chapter of our first semester in nursing school. We are learning head to toe physical assessments. So as our instructor is telling us every possible situation that might occur for the next 2 years and what instruments and equipment to use in each circumstance, our faces are blank. At first I felt the back of my neck get hot, as my brain started to saturate. I was anxious. I was on the edge of panic. I may have looked fine on the outside, but on the inside my brain was yelling “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING. YOU CAN’T BE A NURSE! QUIT NOW!” I took a second, zoned out, and collected my thoughts. Just as I was about to leave to take a bathroom/mental break, I turned around to see the faces of my 6 other classmates. I could not have been happier with what I saw. Their faces were blank, their eyes were glossy, and they had the same look of sheer panic on their face. It was in that moment that I knew I was not alone in my fears. When we stopped for lunch we all just looked at each other, wondering what the other was thinking. Finally someone said “well that was completely overwhelming and I honestly still have no idea what I’m doing”. That honesty was all it took to burst the bubble. Suddenly all 7 of us were talking at the same time. It was then that we all realized that none of us knew what we were doing and that we all felt the same way. There is some instant bond that forms when you realize that you are not alone in your feelings. So we laughed it off, promised to help each other as much as possible, and went on with our days with a renewed sense of comfort. If I learned nothing else on my first day of clinicals, I learned that there is a power and a strength in numbers, and that it’s okay to rely on other people. Sometimes you will need them, sometimes they will need you. Nursing is a give and take, with your patients, with your coworkers, with your friends, and just in general.

 
 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Irony of Nursing School

In nursing school we learn the importance of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and how stress affects the body. In nursing school, we set our alarms for 4:45 in the morning and get very few hours of sleep. In nursing school, we are lucky if we get 20 minutes to microwave some Ramen noodles or scarf down a power bar and a coffee. In nursing school, we get home from lecture and clinical with every intent of going for a run, but end up making anatomy flashcards instead. In nursing school we have a test every other day and are literally responsible for the life and death of other human beings. Talk about stressful. Dear Alanis Morrisette, THIS is irony.