Monday, December 16, 2013

Running on the ROAD!


This week, after years of asking, weeks waiting for the mace, and, sell, several minutes spent watching mace (pepper spray) videos, I went running. By myself. On the road! Monumental occasion? I think yes!

Okay, so in all honesty, my first run wasn’t alone. Once Blaize found out that I was going running by myself on the road, he decided he needed to come with me. He tried to convince mom that I wasn’t ready, but when that didn’t work, he just decided to join me. Though we didn’t run particularly far (and he wanted to clarify that my “running” was actually “jogging”… a very true clarification… he was thinking I was sprinting multiple miles at a time) we had fun just talking to each other. I got a good laugh when he was mentioning  how tired he was, then starting sprinting when some geese flew over us. Apparently, he was afraid that his new Nike sweatshirt would fall victim to  plummeting bird… droppings.

We were both ready to run long and hard… until we hit the third-mile long hill about a mile into it. J That took it out of us real fast. Eventually, I’d like to be able to do the WHOLE five-mile loop running, which has over a mile of uphill running in it… but that will definitely take a while for me to work up to.

I just started running, so there are many things about it that are painful. But one thing running outside has made me more appreciative of is winter. At any other time of the year, when I so much as get my heart rate up, I start sweating like a pig in a sauna wearing his snowsuit. I have a really good cooling system, what can I say? But in the winter, you start out cold, and by the time you’re done running, you’re the perfect temperature, even a little warm. (But not warm enough to start sweating profusely.)  I even took off my GLOVES, which is rather miraculous because if anything gets cold, it’s usually my hands. Exercising is so much fun when  you can come back refreshed rather than drenched.

 

I’m not a runner, and it’s possible I never will be, but I’m excited to be able to mix up my workout routine with an occasional jog (that was for you, Blaize!) outside. J

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My aunt can't talk. That is, unless you count slurring of speech and an occasional slow, painstaking word or two an hour talking. But she hasn't always been this way. She used to be the life of the party, my mom's best friend, a high-functioning librarian, and a doting grandma. Now she can't do the simple math required to balance a checkbook or the planning needed to grocery shop. My aunt has Primary Progressive Aphasia. Which, in case you're like me, and didn't know what this meant, means that she is rapidly becoming mute, and unable to understand or communicate written language. Oh, and did I mention she is married?

My Uncle Dave, her husband, has been incredible this past year and a half, since we found out about her condition. When she lost the ability to balance a checkbook, Uncle Dave took up that responsibility. Since she can't grocery shop anymore, they do that together, despite the fact that he works full-time. Though grunts and giggles are her primary form of communication, he still sets aside time to be with her. Though she eats ceaselessly because she doesn't know better, he still caresses her face with tenderness. When talking to her parents after receiving the initial diagnosis,  his words were, "I'll take care of her."

"I'll take care of her." These words are pretty amazing coming from a man who had just found out that he would become the primary caretaker of a mentally-ill women. When he married her, he didn't know that the last years of her life would feel more like childcare than romance for him.

Throughout the years, I've heard Jesus' life, death, and resurrection referred to as a "romance" from several Christian authors. While I agree Christ's love was undeniably expressed on the cross, was it a romance? I mean, Jesus, Son of God, King of Kings, comes to earth, and is born in a dingy stable. And instead of us being awed at His generosity and humility, people plan His murder! Oh, and don't forget the brutal execution of this plan, with Jesus on the cross. Or how, while we were scoffing at Him, He was suffering for our sins. Is that romance? I don't have much (okay, I don't have any) experience with romance, but I've always thought of a romance as mutual; both parties love each other, both parties are willing to sacrifice for each other.  Jesus didn't add to his glory or prestige by allowing himself to be murdered on the cross. But He demonstrated humility. He didn't gain much from taking away all our sins, but he got relationship with us. (We got the WAY better end of the deal) And the crazy thing to me is, He knew what He was signing up for. He knew it wasn't going to be easy or pretty, but He knew it as the right thing to do. I can just see Him saying to God, "I'll take good care of them." Romance? Not so much. Incredible love and sacrifice? Definitely.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Favorite Moments from This Week

1.) Sorry to sound like a sports geek, but AUBURN BEAT ALABAMA!!! This was by far the best game I've seen all season!  (How could it not be? Alabama LOST! have I mentioned that I hate Alabama? (The team, not the state) )It was a tied game with one second left on the clock.  Alabama sends out their freshman (newby)  kicker to kick a 57-yard field goal. The field goal was short. No biggy, right? Just go into overtime. But an Auburn player who is nine yards into the end zone fields the flubbed field goal attempt and takes off down the left sideline towards the opposite end zone, 109 yards away. But guess what? Since Alabama was attempting a field goal, they had all their linemen out on the field. And they can't run! So Auburn takes it 109 yards--109 YARDS-- to earn a touchdown. And Alabama lost!  Some teams just need to lose, and Alabama was one of them. Alabama has been good for forever, and they know it. Plus, now they probably can't go the national championship! Day = MADE! My family and I were screaming with excitement as Auburn scored that last touchdown.

Forgive my uneducated football lingo... I'm sure there are more technical words for half of what I said...although I'm trying to actually understand the game, not just cheer for (or against) certain teams. Blaize is unofficially "teaching" me about football. (I bombard him with questions, he answers until he gets annoyed.)  However, learning the difference between a punt and a kickoff (sadly) made me feel accomplished. Nope, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

2.) Oh yes, I forgot, there were other highlights from this week. I had intended to only talk a sentence or two about the Alabama-squashing. Hah!
 Another highlight, for example, was going out to Starbucks (yay!) with my cousins after Black Friday Shopping. It even made up for the fact that I didn't find a single thing to buy. Well, actually, I found things, but forgot my money, which is basically the same thing. I ordered a peppermint mocha (Who orders just black coffee at Starbucks? There are too many frivolously wonderful options to choose from!) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

3.) Baking! I made a pumpkin caramel cheesecake that was delicious, if I do say so myself. It had ground pecans in the crust, which I thought was such a good idea! And I made pretzel bread, which was also really fun. However, have you ever tried boiling a whole loaf of bread? (That's what you have to do with pretzels.) It's great... until you have to figure out how to get the too-large lump of dough OUT of the pan. Yeah, let's just say the results tasted good, but weren't particularly... attractive!

Natalie is sure to report a more detailed, better-rounded report of this week, so I will leave you with these detailed accounts of small but VERY significant events. :)
Did I mention that Alabama lost? :)




Sunday, November 24, 2013

Red Stripes with Pink Dots

Poems are so much fun! They are a fun to write, and a challenge, because they could always be better. This is a topic I've been thinking about lately... why is it that we seem to become more and more fearful as we grow up? To a degree, it is good to care about what other people think. But when I make that a focus rather than a product of my relationship with God, I get into trouble.


Red Stripes with Pink Dots

Her tiny skirt takes flight as she twirls,
Hair streaming, eyes bright without fear.
Unworried, unhurried, the free little girl
skips unfazed by the how she appears.

Her babble and chatter don't always make sense
And she's wearing red stripes with pink dots.
But her smiling eyes exude innocence
Concerned by her audience she's not.

Regardless of who sees her "flaws",
Regardless of who shakes their head,
She'll put forth no fraud,
And dance freely instead
Deaf to critique and applause.


She belts out tunes with her clear, bubbly voice
Unaware of the tone, pitch, or key.
In every song, every giggle, every choice,
She is completely, entirely, free.

She dives headlong into new games,
Seeing not a way she might fail,
But instead, mere fun, no need for shame
Next to her, even winners pale.


Regardless of who sees her "flaws",
Regardless of who shakes their head,
She'll put forth no fraud,
And dance freely instead
Deaf to critique and applause

Many will cringe when they see her displays
Not used to unrestrained glee
But as she skips and twirls, at the end of the day,
She is the one who is free.




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Weekly Highlights

1.) The discovery of diaries! I hadn't journaled  (According to spell-check, this isn't a word, but journal can definitely be both a noun or a verb, so get over it, spell-check!)  since I was about 10 years old, and I was surprised by how effective it is in getting all my thoughts out. In the past my friends have been my diaries, and thus they hear the good, the bad, and the ugly... all in one confused, mostly incoherent run-on sentence. Now my journal gets to hear my initial explosion of words, and my friends get the slightly more condensed version. (At least, that's my hope. It'll take some practice!)

2.) Party at Jill's! Jill has helped coach CHIEF Varsity volleyball for several years, even though she really has no connection to the girls other than being a neighbor to our middle hitter, Rebek. She came to all our practices and was pretty much awesomeness in human form. And then, she invites the whole varsity team over to her house for a party! Though it took us a while to find her house (We showed up ten minutes late because we went to the wrong house and had to check to make sure it wasn't Jill's) we walked into this amazing fondue buffet, complete with cheese and chocolate fondues, pretzels (yay!) cubed cake, fruit, broccoli, and much more. We then headed down to her basement to play around-the-world Ping-Pong, Just Dance, and "basketball." Oh, and don't forget jumping from several stairs up onto  giant beanbags! The best part was just getting together as a whole team again. I'm going to miss those ladies! Although I definitely intend to try to keep up the relationships that were built this season.

3.) I couldn't wait much more than a day to call of my team-mates and discuss everything from new workout moves to essays with them! I love talking on the phone, although face-to-face is better. However, I often come home from Co-op or volleyball saying, "Mom, can we have so-and-so over?" And she gives me this surprised look and says, "You just saw them an hour ago!" "
"But classes do not count!"
This happens quite frequently at our house, and unfortunately, is the reason I am inclined to call so many people. But I don't mind too much. Sometimes phone calls are nice because I can be wearing sweats and a t-shirt while sitting on top of a pile of clothes on my room (actually quite comfortable) and the person on the end of the line has no idea. :) Basically, I like face-to-face, but phone calls are nice when I don't feel like spending three hours on room cleaning.

4.) Square Dancing: Despite being worried that I would trip over my own feet, I went and thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't do it all night every night, but the fact that it only comes once and a while makes it special.

I'd love to hear your highlights, too!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chloe Salts: One TREMENDOUS Blessing!


 Happy Birthday, Chloe!!! Wow, where to begin? Chloe is a friend who I can laugh with, cry with, and talk through the night with. From frigid photo shoots to caking our hair in baking soda, we've made many fun memories together. Here are some things  I love about her:

1.) She's a talker! I love both quiet and chatty people, but Chloe is fun to be with even when I'm tired. I don't have to work to keep up the conversation with her. She has this gift of making everyone around her feel welcome and included.

2.) She is a talented story-writer! Her creativity and vivid word choices make her writing exciting and meaningful.

3.) She deeply cares about all the people she meets! There have been many times when she calls out of the blue to ask how I'm doing, or sends e-mails with the one intent of encouraging me. She's mailed care packages all the way to Pennsylvania to encourage a friend in need. She's made me scrapbooks for birthdays and Christmas. She's left devotional books on my bed as a totally spontaneous gift.

4.She's a firm fan of Reese's pieces; what's not to love about that?

5.) God is constantly on the forefront of her mind. She is constantly trying to choose what would glorify him in her relationships with her siblings, parents, friends, and acquaintances. She  challenges me on a regular basis to give EVERYTHING to God, and not hold anything back.

6.) She's got a SUPER CUTE fashion sense! I love all her clothes, and she's a great shopper in that she finds clothing items that are really cute by themselves, but can be mixed and matched with other cute clothes to make fresh outfits. And it helps that she's beautiful to begin with.

7.) She's transparent. She's willing to be vulnerable and talk about her struggles, which makes it so much easier to confide in her. Also, I can usually trust that she will be honest about her opinion of me.

What a blessing Chloe is to me and to everyone who knows her. Chloe, YOU ARE AWESOME!! Love you!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lessons from Nationals + Pretty Pictures :)

I bet ya'll thought I was done talking about Nationals, huh? Sorry to burst your bubbles, but POP! BURSTED!  (Sorry, but I couldn't resist.) Here comes another post about the same thing. Kind of. :)
You see, I pretty much talked about how many games we won/lost, and what we did at nationals. But there's more to an event than what you do.
We only won one game at nationals. Yeah, I know I "forgot" to mention that in my least post, but hey, it's not exactly something I was proud of.  I mean, who likes losing?

 Still, I think there are some things that are hard to learn unless you lose occasionally.
For example, I had sort of put all my  "volleyball hopes" into this season. This season, we had six senior hitters, a team that gelled (or "mushed" in Marteney terms :) ) better than last year, and more height than we'll have next year. I got into the mindset that "this was it," and placed too much focus on winning, rather than having fun and honoring God. It's easy to have a great attitude when you're getting your way, but it was harder to be encouraging and  enthusiastic when you're getting beat 25-14 most games. But my attitude shouldn't change based on the score-board! I learned that my competitive nature, though sometimes useful, can get in the way of glorifying God.

Also, when I or somebody else is having a bad game, it's easy to get down on yourself. I used to think that getting upset at yourself is "humble," and that it motivates you to work harder. However, when you get so self-absorbed and depressed that you basically give up, you don't just hurt yourself, you hurt your team. I'm guilty of doing this, although I am working on it. But so many other things I think only affect me actually affect others, too. Bad attitudes are contagious. Sin spreads and hurts others. Though I'm not a stand-out leader, I am surrounded by people who are impacted by the decisions I make. Am I being selfish or selfless with the gifts and opportunities I've been given?

Enough with my ramblings!! Time for the pretty pictures part of this post! I know some of my friends don't have access to the pictures, so here they are!



Us with Coach Weddle!!! Isn't it weird to see us together and not wearing our uniforms? I think I could get used to this!

 
 
 

 
 
Us with Jill... our incredible coach who has no connection to CHIEF volleyball, but still comes to all our practices anyways. She always livens up our practice. Oh, and did I mention that Jill took all these pictures, too?
 
Isn't this one cute? It's my personal favorite. :)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oh, one last lesson... don't ask for a picture with a random tall black dude unless you're SURE he's actually famous. According to my dad, that is racist. But he WAS famous, (Brian Skinner, pro basketball player!!!) We just didn't know it when we asked for a picture with him. :) We DID know his daughter was one STELLAR volleyball player (I had to TRY to dig her spikes) so I guess that was kind of a good reason? :) :)
 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nationals!!!


The season is done!!! I can't decide whether to be relieved or disappointed. :) On one hand, I am so thrilled to have more time for school and a routine! Though it initially sounds boring and grueling, I really do like being productive, which is much more challenging during volleyball season, at least for me (I have some friends who are very diligent and do this well). However, I am going to MISS seeing my team mates SO MUCH! These last two tournaments I have gotten closer to several of my team mates, and then leaving them was so sad. People just make me so happy, and it will be a bit of a shock to not see them almost every day.(Not a shock I wanted, either.)
Now, for national details. First off, out of the gold, silver, bronze, and bronze II brackets, we got 6th in the silver bracket, only four places behind the "all-star" varsity team that played two years ago. I was so pumped we made it into silver, considering last year we only made it to the bottom of bronze HOWEVER, it wasn't particularly easy. All three days we got early morning games that meant LEAVING the hotel (not waking up) at 7:00 a.m. every morning. I was very happy to discover the wonders of COFFEE at this tournament for more reasons than one! :)

Also, we played three of the teams who made it to the Final Four in the GOLD division so that was a bit tough(in case you couldn't read through the lines... we got clobbered).

 In addition, we had three injured teammates by the second game... Irma and Miranda sprained/twisted (could someone please tell me the difference between these two injuries!?!?) their ankles, and Mary Frances jammed her finger pretty bad. They all toughed it out, though, and played most of the tournament. (Irma was the only one who couldn't play, and that was only part of the first day.) That didn't stop us from going to the zoo after our games, although Mr. Weddle made sure they didn't injure themselves any more from all that walking!
He even pushed Miranda at first until I begged for a turn (I offered to let him push her again when we hit a big hill. :)
 

 
\
 
Poor Irma was at the mercy of her sister, Lizzy, who had a little TOO much fun pushing her down the hill.
 

 
 
Highlights other than the zoo included a team Starbucks run, a movie night complete with jelly beans and pistachios to snack on, a cookout/s'mores fest with a local friend/volleyball competitor, and the final meal at Valentinos, where I got SODA! (I had gone off it from the season, and thoroughly enjoyed a tall glass along with coffee, my new standby! :) )
 
Oh, and in case you were wondering if we actually played any volleyball, here are some pictures to prove that we didn't just drink coffee and hang out:
 

 

 
 
 

Overall, both on and off the court, I had a blast. :) I'm looking forward to next year already!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

For the Love of Greek Yogurt!

I REALLY like Greek yogurt! It's delicious, and pretty good for you, too! I love foods that "sneak" health; they don't really taste healthy, but they still pack a nutritional punch. And they do so without my siblings turning up their noses at it (like they do to my favorite cereal and ketchup-on-bread addiction).  Here are a few reasons why I like it so much:
1.) I'm not a huge protein fan, but Greek yogurt "sneaks" in lots of protein without it tasting like meat (although turkey and chicken are growing on me). The vanilla flavor tastes like dessert, but it sticks with me a whole lot longer than a normal bowl of ice cream would.

2.) Speaking of flavor, there are so many options: From Key Lime and Strawberry to Honey and Coffee with Dark Chocolate chips (haven't tried this one but it sounds good!) there are lots of options. Sure, it means I spend forever in the grocery store picking out a flavor, but I love variety, and I haven't had a bad flavor yet! (Although honey wasn't my fave).

3.) The topping options are endless! Fruit, honey, peanut butter, chocolate,  and  raisins (Although Anna K. would beg to differ about the raisins) are all delicious options. Once again, so much variety!

4.) You can dress it up for a fancy dessert, or port it to a volleyball tournament. (I always eat a LOT of it at volleyball tournaments.) It's look is versatile too!

5.) You can add it to smoothies, substitute the plain variety in baked goods for sour cream, and even mix it with granola for a delicious breakfast. Get creative with it! It goes with the flow!

6.) Lastly, it tastes GREAT! That in and of itself is a great reason to eat something, especially in moderation. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thoughts...



 After a long day of school, work, and chores, the "Getting of the Mail" is an unspoken highlight of the day. (Although I think the ratio between advertisements and bills to actual "good mail" is oftentimes quite unsatisfactory.) Once or twice a month,  however, my day is made by the arrival of a magazine. I love a good magazine.  Glossy and inviting, relatable and engaging... sometimes it's nice to escape into its pages for a half-hour of innocent entertainment.  Or is it so innocent?

Amid the helpful,creative topics such as "Setting a Pretty Table for Thanksgiving" and "Healthy Recipes From Giada's Kitchen," there are some underlying messages that are confusing at best, and untruthful at worst.  I was reading an article the other day about the author, who had decided to "get off the dieting bandwagon, and  move on with her life." In other words, she was letting go of the numbers that were formerly defining her... scale number, calorie numbers, size number, etc., and was trying to find joy in something other than her appearance. Doesn't that sound nice??? And so... balanced compared to the extremes that our world seems to take regarding appearance? But yet, as I set down the magazine to get ready to go to a volleyball game, I glanced at the featured highlights on the front: "Got Belly Fat? We'll Convince You To Lose It," and "The Whole Body Anti-aging Guide." Hmmmm.


Later, I'm reading another article in the same magazine about how the author loves how good eating healthy makes her feel.  " It's not about how much you weigh or if you're as thin as someone else. it's about looking in the mirror and loving yourself. " Hmmm, interesting. Yet, only a few pages away, I find the phrase, "The thin life is the good life." repeated several times in a row.

Confusing? Well, at least to me, it is! Basically, I'm not supposed to love myself and be proud of the way I look at any weight/stage of life, as long as I don't have belly fat, wrinkles, or any other signs of being human. Easy, huh. (NOT!)

I was talking to one of my friends about a friend of mine who (a while back) had anorexic tendencies, and the first thing she said was, "We need to BURN all the magazines!" She was furious how magazines present ideas such as "The thin life is the good life," and other such hints that it is what's on the outside that really matters. She wanted to burn the magazines that she believed were at the roots of our friend's eating disorder.

Is it our culture's fault? I mean, they are the ones presenting some pretty blatant lies to us. BUT, magazines are in the business world. Oftentimes, they print what people want to hear. They print what the largest majority of people will buy, and apparently, since that's what they KEEP printing, most of us magazine-readers are interested. A lot of people, including myself, buy into the belief that "How you look makes you valuable."

It's a lie that, for a while, I haven't really questioned. I look in the mirror, and think I'm worthless thanks to what stares back at me. I look at my model-like friends and wonder why I'm so different. I've cried many tears wishing God would make me look like them. Because I want to feel valuable. I want to be worth the affection of others.

Most of you who I know are reading this haven't bought into this lie. But are there other, more subtle ones, that you might be believing? Maybe you think someone else is more valuable because they're a great friend, sibling, public speaker, parent, Christian, athlete, artist, musician, comedian, organizer, scholar etc. Maybe YOU think you're better because you are better at any of the above. I've known people who are prideful over aspects of their relationship with God, and people who are mortified that math simply doesn't click. Maybe you believe lies about God; that He doesn't mind sin, that He is angry at you, that He isn't good. You get the picture. We may not buy into the same lies as me, but as Christians, we are targets of Satan, and I'm willing to bet that you have, at some point, struggled with a lie.

The world does whisper many lies to us, but it is our CHOICE to believe them. I want to work on using my head, and the power Christ has given me, rather than my feelings, to figure out what's truth. What about you?




Wednesday, October 9, 2013

There for Me: My Dad

 
My Dad, or Papa, as the Peterman kids call him, is definitely one of a kind. He's the  only dad I know who challenges his kids to jump in the pool WITH HIM when it's 46 degrees outside. As a matter of fact, I don't know too many others who have had intense muscle spasms in the middle of the night from juggling four hours the day before. And I'm guessing there aren't too many dads out there who put up a volleyball net the "right way" using a forklift and 1000 + lb concrete blocks to hold it down. He's definitely... unique.
 

 

 

 
Okay, unique might be an understatement.  (Please, no comment on our fashion sense (or lack thereof) 
 

 

He's an incredible story-reader/teller. (although he loves to add dramatic effect by telling giving away small story details very s-l-o-w-l-y.) I have lots of memories of snuggling in bed with him and him reading the same books over and over again. (Robert the Rose Horse is my favorite one that he reads. There's a horse in it that sneezes every other page, and my Dad has the best, bed-shaking horse-sneeze ever! It's impressive.
 

 


 
He has always managed (and sometimes combined) work/family time.
He always takes the time to do the "important" stuff (the above qualifies as highly important) with us kids. He works his tail off most of the time, yet still manages to be there for us.
He can also build-- I mean, co-build, a "structurally sound" gingerbread house. For him, it's not "just" taste that matters. :)  (There are most definitely right and wrong ways to build gingerbread houses.)

My Dad is one of the quirkiest, most interesting people that I know. But he's more than just his quirks and his habits.
My Dad has always been supportive. I still remember one time when he had just gotten home from a business trip, and had got to bed at about 5:00 a.m. In less than an hour, the alarm clock rang, and off he went to the JH state volleyball tournament. In between games, he slept sprawled out in the car. But he was there, supporting my every under-hand serve and lobbed "spike."

I still remember morning hikes we took with him every Saturday  morning at Warner park. But they were more than hikes! They were hours of hide-and-go seek, piles of leaves to be made and demolished, and teaching moments about why the tree bark was shredded from deer antlers. I still remember splitting Panera Bread Cinnamon Rolls run through the bagel slicer (so we could split them the "right" way-- his idea, of course.)  and sampling their "bear claw" on a whim. Once again, he was there.

I remember his many bloody toes from getting a little bit too competitive into tag in our small kitchen/living room. But he was there. I remember his gross "candy turkey" made with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and lots of brown sugar and butter. (Mom was sick, and he thought us kids would like it since it had plenty of sugar in it. He was wrong. ) But he was still there.

Come to think of it, he still is there! He supports me (thought not vocally) at my games, watches all my piano recitals, compliments me on my cooking, and holds long debates with me. We "debate" over volleyball rotations, discuss the woes of physics, and argue about why I should/shouldn't be an engineer. (He wants me to be, but I don't think so!)

He isn't perfect... he's missed some games and piano recitals for work. He has occasional bad moods and stressful moments. But I love him to pieces, and in my book, he's definitely got a winning record.



 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Piano Post Part 2: Why Piano is Challenging

Okay, so now you all know why I love piano! And I truly do enjoy playing... some of the time. Oftentimes, though, I am challenged as well. Sometimes I'm not only challenged, but angered, because I can't get something quite right, or I am limited either physically or emotionally. I hate having limitations, and I HATE it when try really hard at something and I still can't do it. (In other words, sometimes it bugs me that I'm human. :) )

 One of my physical limitations with piano is my hands. They are small. REALLY small. I can barely reach an octave, which makes it really difficult to hit them accurately at high speeds. Oftentimes, I end up "smearing" my octaves because I have to stretch my hands close to the keys to be able to reach so that I accidently hit notes in between. Many times I have been frustrated with myself, even God, because my hands limit me from advancing and playing the music I would like to. But this is an "entitlement" mentality, isn't it? So often I am so busy shaking my finger at God for what He didn't give me, (bigger hands, smaller size, athleticism) that I forget to say "thanks" for what He did! And what makes me think I "deserve" these gifts, anyways? I mean, Jesus has spared me from hell, which is what I really deserve, and here I am complaining because he gave me small hands. Seems a bit ridiculous, yet so often I fall into that trap of focusing on what I don't have.

So, I'll try not to complain about the size of my hands, but I can't say it doesn't affect my piano playing. In about a week I am going to perform a piece for a competition that has a ton of octaves. Even though I have practiced fairly diligently since lessons started, the piece is not quite ready, because no matter how much I practice, I can't hit all the notes. I'm not expecting to do well, not because I'm worried about my memorization, but because I physically cannot hit all the notes.

Another challenge I've had with my hands is that they are weak, so I over-compensate by straining my wrists. My hand position is constantly in need of correction because I am too tense, which causes wrist pain. I have so much to learn when it comes to this.

One last challenge that I am hoping to overcome is the fact that I am a horrible performer. I play best when I am home alone and nobody is watching or listening. An adult mentor who is very dear to me has talked to me a lot about serving an Audience of One, (God) but I still get nervous when I am playing in front of other people, although it is getting better. This has caused me to freeze up in more than one performance, and skip whole sections of songs.

Some of these challenges are annoying, but I think that without them, piano would be boring! It is the challenges and the bumps that need to be overcome that make the victory all the more rewarding!

Question: What instruments, if any, do you play, and what are your greatest challenges and victories associated with them?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Piano Post Part 1: Why Piano is Awesome!

Most of you  (okay, probably all of you) know that I play volleyball. Volleyball is one of those things that is easy to talk about, I think, because  you don't have to know much about it to talk about it! Even when strangers are unfamiliar with sports in general, it is easy to ask what team someone is on and what their season has been like, without necessarily knowing how volleyball is played. Piano, on the other hand, is a topic that comes up less often in conversations. I mean, what's a person supposed to ask? "Do you like piano?" And "Are you good?" are two questions I get asked a lot. (The latter is a trick question... if you say you stink, everyone assumes you're being overly humble and lecture you about being hard on yourself. If you say you're good, people think you're a prideful pig. There is no winning with this question!) Anyways, you can give a comprehensive answer those questions in about two syllables, and then it's your turn to scramble to find something to make small talk about! ( I usually resort to talking about volleyball... imagine that!)

So, I will tell you what I think about piano, without you having to figure out the right kind of questions to ask. Sound like a plan?




I have been playing piano for about ten years (some years more diligently than others!) and overall, I really do enjoy it. My dad was just saying the other day that he doesn't understand WHY I enjoy it. But for one thing, it's an energy outlet. When was about six or seven, Mom always used to tell us that, if we get angry, don't hit a person, go to your room and pound a pillow. But...pillows are so... unresponsive! They don't groan or scream or express any emotion whatsoever Which is why, for a while at least, I made my little brother my "pillow." But several lectures (and well-deserved spankings) later, I found a new "replacement pillow" that allowed me to get my angry energy out: the piano. No matter how hard I pound on the keys, they remain intact and I remain in control. :) By the time I've played 'He's a Pirate' the fourth or fifth time, I stand up from the piano much more relaxed. (albeit, my family has usually exited the area at this point.) Of course, when I was five or six, I punched out songs like "Old Mac Donald" or "Twinkle, Twinkle, but the calming effect was still about the same. :) (although my family was probably worse  off  then than they are now. There's something about an aggressive, repeatedly played Twinkle, Twinkle that will darken the mood (and damage the ear drums.)

Another reason I like piano is because it's something I can do. For me, with a lot of things, I work really hard and don't see the results I want. This drives me crazy because I (wrongly) feel entitled to doing well if I've put the work in. Piano is one thing that, if I work HARD (I'm not a natural) I can learn the music. I can make my fingers do what I want them to. I'm the farthest thing from being naturally gifted in this area, but the results, though slow, are visible! Because of this, piano has been one of the most rewarding hobbies I've taken up.
That's all for now! Next time I'll talk about the challenges that I have with piano. (And there are plenty!)




Friday, September 20, 2013

The Poems Keep A Comin'!

I realized I have to post twice this week and am settling on less-than-ideal posts, since (gasp) I can't think of anything more interesting to say! Here's another poem!

Blessing or Busyness 
I like to keep busy
there's no time to think.
No time to question,
to wonder or seek.

I like to keep busy, 
it helps me to hide
from the questions that whirl
'round and round in my mind.

I like to keep busy 
when life seems too bleak
It's nice to forget 
that I'm really quite weak.

It's nice to keep busy,
there's no time to feel
It helps me escape 
from what I know is real.

I like to keep busy, 
it numbs the sting
that silence and time for
thought seem to bring. 

I like to keep busy,
to brush over the fear
But when I keep busy
I forget God is near.

It's when I'm not busy
and I have time to think
that the problems I have
in this life seem to shrink.

Because when I sit down
To spend time with my Savior
The purpose I'd lost in this 
life is restored.

 It's when I am busy 
spending time with this Friend
that the fear of the worst in this
life seems to end.

Could it be that the dullness
of escaping a feeling
is surpassed by the JOY
of true inner healing? 



'

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Fun Has Just Begun! (A Day in the LIfe of the DeWolf Family)

A one week sleepover? Yes, please! The DeWolfs are like our second family, and often, when our parents are gone, we pack up our school and volleyball gear and head there for however long our parents are gone for! Of course, we try to act all upset and sad that we won't see our parents for a week,    but we never feel too bad... the DeWolfs are so awesome we often forget about the fact that our parents are gone! One night before my parents were scheduled to leave, I went out to dinner with my volleyball team, and they asked where my parents were going... and I had no clue! I guessed Washington D.C. or Chicago, when in actuality, they were heading south to Texas. Whoops.

Anyways, I have a feeling this week will be lots of fun, but very tiring. (in a fun way!) Us girls have decided to mix up the sleeping arrangements so that both Natalie and I can have "mini sleepovers" with both Savanna and Avery during the week. Last night I "slept" in Avery's room. Hah.  Two hours after we were planning on going to sleep, we finally shut up. :) And then we woke up early to make Mr. DeWolf a birthday breakfast. That was this morning... Yesterday was fun, too! I got to first, go to my practice, then come back and do school, and THEN go to the JV/JH practice!!! SO fun! I love those girls to pieces, and it was fun to condition with them and just chit-chat. (in between drills, of course.)  I'm afraid I sweated just as much as they did! And I was just shagging  balls! Then, I got to come home and BAKE!!! Can it get any better than that? It was just cornbread, but still, it was fun for me!  And then, to top it off, I went running that evening! (Baaaad idea. I did it 15 minutes after super and died at about the 2 1/2 mile mark.  But it felt good once I made it back!) Add to that family four-square, long, random conversations with Avery, and a good (although short) night's rest, and all in all, it was a good day. I am pumped to get to spend time with my favorite people, even if it does mean getting a few less hours of shut-eye. :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Comparison and Team Work



Team sports can be either a great experience, or a horrible one, depending on, well, your team! If you have a great team who supports each other and balances out each other's weaknesses, the experience is incredible! On the other hand, if everyone if about ready to wring each other's necks, it makes for some tense moments and a less than fun experience! Fortunately for me, I have an incredible team this year!  I love the fact that we can joke around AND play competitively. Not all of our games are pretty, but I think my favorite part of this team is that, working together, we can balance out each other's strengths and weaknesses. I love these ladies!
 



One of the things being part of a team has taught me these last couple years is that different  doesn't equal less-important or more important. Just because someone has different strengths than me doesn't make them better or worse than me!We need all the parts of the team for it to work well... we wouldn't score very many points if it weren't for our awesomely tall hitters! But they wouldn't be able to score any points if it weren't for  our setter, Mary Frances, who can chase down the ball and set it over to them to spike! But she wouldn't have balls to set in the first place if there weren't people in the backrow to get them up! 
 
It seems so obvious in a team setting that each player is important, but in other situations in life, I know for me, at least, it's easy to compare myself to others. When my peers are better athletes/scholars than I am, I feel like trash. But if I can find someone who is worse than me at these things, suddenly I am comforted. Because their strengths aren't my strengths, I somehow feel gratified. Yet, it is BECAUSE we have different strengths and weaknesses that we balance each other out so well! God gave us all gifts to be used for His glory, and many of us have different gifts. Sometimes when I look at my gifts compared to others, I am so busy complaining that I don't have as many or the same kind of gifts as someone else, that I never USE the ones God has given to me! Can you imagine what would happen if all the spikers on our team started crying mid-game because they didn't have Mary Frances's beautiful sets? Or if Anna Keeley and I (backrow specialists) decided to sit the bench because we felt useless since we couldn't spike? The whole game would be in shambles, even though together we could have a lot of fun. We would be making ourselves miserable.
 
 I am a habitual comparer, and by no means am I saying that I have this "no-comparing thing" down. But this is something I have been thinking about, mainly because comparing never makes me content.I guess my point is, I think I would be a whole lot happier if I chose to be content with my gifts, and happy for other people when I see theirs. I would waste a whole lot less time, and have fun doing what God made me to do in the first place.



Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another poem...

 This is a topic that I've tried writing about several times, with all attempts ending up in the trashcan. :) Regardless of whether this is trashcan worthy or not, it is going on my blog, because I can't think of much else to write!

Fear
It might hold me back,
But it makes me feel safe.
Though freedom, I lack,
From hurt, I escape

From panic to nerves,
it has many names.
But the master they serve
is always the same.

I think to myself,
what harm can it do?
My insecurities it quells,
my nerves it subdues!

It limits what I say,
and controls how I act.
Yet without any complaint,
I choose to be trapped.

"What will they think?"
The voice whispers inside.
My desires, they shrink
But the risks are denied

This 'friend' seems quite harmless,
my best interest in mind.
But the more of me I repress,
the less of me left to hide.

Though it's bonds do grow old,
 And it's chains cut in deep,
To its arms I tightly hold
Its company I keep.

Rather than calling on Jesus for strength,
To slash these shackles apart.
I cling to my captor with freedom at arm's length
And crave fear's secure grip on my heart.

But then, ever so softly, I hear Jesus' voice
So different from that of my captor
His gentle whisper offers rest from the noise
that bellows from the lips of this master.

I look in the eyes of my Savior,
His arms open wide, yearning for my embrace.
And I eye the key in the corner,
only a few inches away.

Which shall I choose?  I've had the key all along
But something kept holding me tight
Could it be that my captor has made me afraid
to accept the freedom that's already mine?

To be safe, or to be free.
The dilemma is mine.
But something in me
won't let me decline.

With one turn of the key
my chains drop to the floor.
And I jump up, free!
My bonds are no more.

As I sit in the lap of my doting Savior,
I realize something I'd formerly missed.
Fear didn't make me more secure,
All this time, it  just kept me from this.

By giving up fear, security came from a new source--
My Jesus provides me both safety and freedom.
But instead of fear making my decisions by force,
Jesus controls who I am and become.













Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fat: Friend or Foe?

I am not ten words into this blog post and I have already committed a heinous crime in my book: referring to anything food-related as though I have a relationship with it! It is my opinion that food in general should never be thought of in relational terms... it is neither an enemy or a ally. But, for the sake of a title that is a bit more exciting than, "Fat Facts" or something equally unimaginative, I am going against my convictions just this once. If you dare come away from my blog loving or hating food, then, then...  I can't think of anything drastic that I would do right now, but it would be dramatic and unpleasant. (It might even include posting an exceedingly lengthy clarification blog post, which we all would like to avoid, I'm sure.) Got it?

But, now that we are thinking of food in terms of fuel and not as our substitute boyfriends/ girlfriends OR evil villains, we come to a controversial, confusing topic: FAT. And before I look at it from a nutritional standpoint, I must get something out in the open: I don't know WHO'S idea it was to make the word for a crucial nutrient and the word used to describe an unhealthily overweight individual interchangeable, but I'm telling you, that person confused a whole lot of people. Including me!

The fact is, a few years ago, I thought these words were interchangeable. So, therefore, I was afraid that if I ate anything that had a gram of fat in it that it would immediately tack fat onto to my body. I was completely wrong. This incorrect thinking, so if you are thinking this way, STOP! Fat is not the enemy. Fat is not evil. Eating the fat-laden cheeseburger below will not guarantee that you will die of a heart attack by age 40.




prgrsvimghttp://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4711223769434906&w=207&h=207&c=8&pid=3.1&qlt=90




You now know what dietary fat is not. Here is what it is. Dietary fat, also know as a lipid, is one of the three macro-nutrients that the body dissolves so that it can function properly. Unlike carbohydrates and protein,  fat has 9 calories instead of four. This means that there is more energy per fat gram than per gram of carbohydrate or protein. This is why experts recommend you cut out fat if you are trying to cut back on calories: Because it is denser in calories, you can cut out a little bit of fat and reduce your calories a lot, even if you only reduce your food intake a little. However, it is extremely rare for anyone who knows anything about nutrition to tell you to cut out fat altogether. Why? Because fat is an ESSENTIAL nutrient. For those of you who need a vocab-refresher, essential means that it is not just beneficial, but necessary for good health.

Why is it essential? Fat is a jack of all trades. It gives your body energy.  It helps keep your body warm. It insulates your vital organs from bodily trauma. (Translation: It keeps your innards safe if you run into a telephone pole or something equally traumatic.) Fat carries vitamins so they can be absorbed by the body. (Like a vitamin taxi-cab.) It keeps you fuller longer! Just this morning, I tried to get away with eating a fat-free breakfast because I like toast and smoothies better than eggs. And guess who was hungry by 8:00 a.m, after eating breakfast only two hours before? Fat is necessary for producing hormones. Fat is necessary for brain development and function! Do you get the picture? Fat matters! It shouldn't be avoided like the plague, because if it is, you'll wind up with more issues than when you started.

So are we all agreed that all fats are not bad? Good. Now, you must know something else: Not all fats are created equal. There are four basic types of fat. Trans fat, Saturated fat, Monounsaturated fat, and Polyunsaturated fat.

First, Trans Fat. This is what happens when man decided to mess with what God created. There are several very natural fats in creation, but trans-fat is chemically altered so that it can act as a preservative in food. However, this is one fat that has very little controversies surrounding it: it has been linked directly to heart disease. It is recommended that you limit the intake of trans-fat containing foods. Just read your labels... if you bake most of your cookies and muffins at home, you've probably just eliminated trans-fat from your diet. Basically, avoid an everyday diet that looks like the one below...
junk food photo: sample of junk food for ArgoArgo junk-food-thumb1510832.jpg

 


 And bake your own baked goods. Simple enough? See, I told you nutrition wasn't complicated!

Next, Saturated Fat. These fats are usually solid at rooms temperature and are commonly found in animal products like milk, cheese, steak, and butter. However, both palm oil and coconut oil are plant-based foods that have them, so the gist is that they're solid at room temperature. EXCESS quantities of them have been linked to heart disease, but EXCESS is the key word here! The American Dietetic Association recommends limiting intake to less than 7% of your daily intake. But who likes to include math when it comes to eating? I generally just try eat things like chips, doughnuts,  and creams (the things I don't like so much)  in moderation, an splurge occasionally (okay, more than occasionally!) on the good stuff: chocolate! Maybe you like chips and butter on your bread, but you aren't a huge sweets person. Either way, just try to be balanced in what you eat: don't eliminate these foods all together, and don't eat a quarter cup of butter on your toast every morning. And guess what? Butter is good for even more than adding flavor to your toast! Check this out!

butter sculpture photo: Butter sculpture CIMG1914.jpg
Sorry this picture is so small, but that is a butter carving!!!  Yes, apparently people do carve butter as a hobby...how's that for playing with your food?
 
Anyways, bunny trail... Onto Polyunsaturated fat!!! Yay, this is my favorite fat! It is liquid at room temperature, and comes in the form of olive oil, sunflower oil, PEANUT BUTTER (thank God that peanut butter is good for you!) and edamame!  Did you catch that? Two of my very favoratist (spell check officially hates me) foods are a great source of polyunsaturated fats!  And guess what? Instead of harming heart health, polyunsaturated fats (a.k.a. peanut butter!) are considered heart healthy and have been seen to lower blood cholesterol! Did I say yay already? Because I think a second "yay!" is called for! This is the type of fat found in edamame, after all!
 

Last but not least, Monounsaturated fat! Pistachios, almonds, pecans, peanut butter (it is a source of both polyunsaturated fat AND monounsaturated fat... isn't peanut butter great?) and yes, Mary Frances, AVOCADOS are all great sources of this fat. And guess what? This fat is also great for your heart! Oh yeah!
 
 
So, to sum it all up, fat is not bad, but choose your fats wisely. Enjoy the saturated and trans fats occasionally, and lather on the peanut butter! (In moderation, of course!)


Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Summer of New Experiences!

It is nearly impossible to believe that summer is coming to a close... wasn't it just a week or two ago that I turned in my last English assignment and was sincerely stressed about my chemistry lab final? It puts things into perspective that life flies by so fast... I tend to always be looking forward to something or reminiscing about something else, rather than investing in the moment.

Despite being gone on several vacations (similar to every single other summer I can remember) this summer has been one to remember! Here are a few stand-outs from my summer vacation.

#1- School? During summer vacation?  Between CYIA, three vacations (including the one coming up this week) it's been tough to squeeze in math  and piano lessons. But, my piano teacher, Mrs. Nelson, has been really awesome. In addition to the normal practicing assignments, she's started having me do written work as well as taking notes on music videos and learning a whole new technique to memorizing music. I'm enjoying the extra challenge, although I definitely am not the most motivated practicer.... Sometimes I work more on my Pirates of the Caribbean theme music and not enough on my Bach piece. (for obvious reasons.)  I cannot say math itself has been awesome, but I can say that my tutor, Mrs. Moldrup, is amazing. She can explain any concept 6 different ways, wears sweats and athletic gear and totally rocks them,  and can teach me how to graph parabolas while breaking up a sword-fight and helping to write graduation invitations at the same time. I could go on and on about her, but for the sake of you, my readers, I will limit my description to that, since I'm sure if you've met her, you know just how incredible she is.

#2 Lots and lots and LOTS of homemade angel food cake. Who would've guessed that something with such a heavenly name would be so devilish? I mean, seriously, it's not polite to flop seven times in a row, especially if you're supposed to be angelic and compliant! And then for the one cake that I enter in the 4-H fair to decide it wanted to have The Grand Canyon in it's side and ginormous air bubbles in the middle... that's just plain rude! (And possibly vindictive, although I'm still not quite sure what the exact meaning of the word is. It sounds fitting, though.)

#3 The 4-H fair. Don't procrastinate until the week of the  the 4-H fair to work on your projects. That's the best way to become end your relationship with angel food cakes, and lose lots of sleep in the process.

#4 A Psalm Sing! Despite being nervous about fitting in and not knowing what to expect, singing the Psalms with fellow friends and believers was very memorable. A lot of the Psalms were put to tunes that I was familiar with, and the environment was very welcoming. And to top off an already special evening, throw in an hour and a half of social time that included a discussion about theistic evolution, homemade snickers bars, and catching up with friends, it couldn't have gotten much better.

#5 Fried Oreos! Do it! They're amazing. I was QUITE apprehensive about trying them, but I was wrong! They're puffy and airy with a little pocket of creamy chocolate deliciousness in the center. Almost like chocolate-filled cream puffs... but note quite. (try them, then you'll know what I mean.) It wasn't my idea, (We're doing what?) but I give them a total thumbs up!

All in all, it's been a great summer thus far! I'd love to hear about new experiences that you all have had, too!






Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Of Hairbrushes

You know I'm bored when I start writing poems about hair-brushes... but there really is not much about my current schedule worth saying... sleep, eat, "condition" (a.k.a. die) for volleyball, and chores and working at my dad's shop! So in my attempt to compensate for my lack of social life, I write about... hair brushes. Yes, I'm homeschooled. :)
It's ALIVE!
My hair brush has legs
of that I'm quite sure
When it thinks I'm not looking,
it bolts through the door

It's sneaky, that brush!
Never caught in the act.
But I know it has legs,
and that is a fact.

There's no other way
to explain why it's missing,
And  it's always when I
 am especially busy!

It hops out of my drawer
and onto my desk
Then slides down the lamp chord
like one of the best.

It looks all around
to make sure I'm not there
Then slinks off in the shadows
to district Who-Knows-Where.

It hides in my hamper,
and camps out in the car!
Though it often goes missing,
it never goes far.

Its favorite game
is hide and go seek,
And it hides for an hour,
a day, or a week.

And when I get used
to its odd hiding spots,
It's right there in my drawer!
Not to be caught.

It may look quite innocent,
but don't be deceived.
It'll use its quick legs
as soon as you leave.

Disclaimer: If any hairbrushes decide to sue me for disclosing their escape tactics, I would like to remind them that I am a minor payed minimum wage, and all attempts to get wealthy off of me will be in vain.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CYIA Commentary

Well, it is a cool, breezy day in Ocean City New Jersey, (in other words, not a great beach day)  and I am currently waiting on my Dad to finish napping so we can go on a walk on the boardwalk together. So, I thought it would be fun to update my blog since I haven't done it in, well, who knows how long. So, here I am, feeling rather out of practice, seeing as, well, I AM out of practice. But I'll never get back INTO practice if I don't practice, so I'm practicing. I pity you, though!

A lot has happened since I last posted! I, for one, decided to go to CYIA after all that jazz about skipping out and having a "relaxing" summer at home. Hah! Since when have I opted for doing nothing when I could be doing something? I should have known I couldn't NOT go to CYIA!

So, here I am, ready to compare and contrast the ins and outs (and in-betweens) of camp and my beach vacation: Prepare for a long blog post!


Camp was, overall, an very worthwhile experience.I was greeted by "HANNAH!!!" and practically mobbed by Becca and several of my other camp friends. Right from the git-go I met several new people, and classes commenced with Gabe forcing us to look .each other straight in the eyes and say, "I am NAWT INterESted in YOU!" Complete with Southern Drawl, of course. This was one of the many ways he tried to ingrain in us a "non-dating" perspective from the very beginning. He wanted to be sure we knew the purpose of the camp was to spread the gospel, not to find a boyfriend/girlfriend. Made sense to me!

Classes started in a hurry, and I came to love my desk partner, Katy, dearly. She was so sweet, and very quiet at first meeting. But as the week went on, she got more and more talkative. It is always so exciting for me when a seemingly quiet person opens up to you. I love to hear the stories of those who are quieter, especially since I tend to dominate conversations with those who talk less. :) I am learning that when someone is quiet, it doesn't mean they don't have something to say. Give them "air space" to talk, and they will most likely say something much more insightful than anything I would have come up with, simply because they've thought about it BEFORE they said it! Something to think about!

One of the greatest challenges for me was finding time to fit "it all" in. I wanted to do honors, devotions, my hair, run, excel in schoolwork, and develop close relationships, all of which took time! And there was only so much time to be had. Originally, my goal was to do honors, but, after skipping almost all of recreation, free time, and fellowship as well as rushing from meals to fit in school, I realized I was sacrificing time with people. Also, I didn't have the greatest motives for doing honors. Relationships have always been something I really value, and I was spending so much time studying that, though I'd been there for a week and a half, Becca and I had barely talked, despite the fact that our beds were next to each other! I decided honors wasn't the best decision for me, and spent the last few days enjoying really refreshing chat-times with several dear friends. I felt guilty for not doing the extra practicums required for honors, but I don't think God was calling me to it, at least not this year.

Our clubs went really well! Though I was a bit leery of the team I had (two guys, one newby and one who didn't take things too seriously) our club actually went really well! Out of the 17 kids who accepted Christ overall during the week of clubs, SIX came from our club! That was SO exciting! Car-rides to and from our clubs were quite eventful... water-bottles were squirted, candy was consumed, Tangled songs were belted, and lively conversations were... conversed? In other words, there was never a quiet moment in our van. The first day to club the bumper started dragging and we had to rip it off. That was exciting. Cherish, our leader, is quite opinionated about doing what is right, and Austin, my co-leader, was quite opinionated about "getting away" with certain things, which made for some noisy but exciting debates.

Leaving was the most challenging part! There were a ridiculous amount of hugs to pass out, and I did see some tears. :( I can't wait to keep in contact with all the new people I met!
Then, we were off on an airplane to Ocean City! I was going to write about that, but I'm out of space. And all we're basically doing is swimming and walking, and walking some more. Right up my alley. Speaking of alleys... just kidding. That is all.







Friday, April 26, 2013

Why I ENJOY Exercise

If you know me well at all, you know I'm fairly active on a day to day basis.  While (earlier this year, especially) I used to do it more out of compulsion than an enjoyment of it, it's starting to become more of a bright spot in my routine than a chore! Now before you write me off as an exercise nerd/addict, let me explain. It hurts me, too! When I'm doing sprints for volleyball conditioning and gasping for air like a fish out of water, it doesn't feel like heaven! It feels more like my lungs are collapsing, and usually I'm totally convinced I'm about to flop over dramatically on the sidewalk dead from over-exertion. :)

However, I'm learning to focus a bit more on the good parts of exercising, and not the pain. :)
First of all, being outside in the sunshine just makes you happier! I think the weather affects my mood, so when it's shiny and bright, it just feels so good to be alive!!! (although the opposite is true when it's totally grey and dreary outside, too.)

Another thing... Lately I've had several people and situations that I'm pretty worried about. Exercising is a way to use my energy in a positive way, rather than in worrying, which doesn't do anything productive. Kinda like a worry-outlet, if that makes any sense. I come back from a run feeling  a little bit freer and more content.

Also, it gives me a chance to talk to God! People rarely want to walk or run with me, so when they don't, well, I have to talk to someone. And God's a pretty good person to talk to. And to pray for the things I worry about or struggle with, rather than keeping them swirling around in my head like water in a clogged up toilet. Yuck!

So you see? I'm not crazy, extreme, or weird. I've just found something that works to get stuff off my chest. I know many of you are pretty active too, so I'm sure this is nothing new. But, to the few of you who don't enjoy it quite as much, maybe this post gave you a little window into my world. :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Week in a Nutshell :)

My week has been a strange week. Usually I can determine whether my week has been been "good" or "bad". Not so with this week! Within the past 7 days, these pictures have all been accurate portrayals of me:
 Last Monday/Tuesday:
Quote of the Day(s):"This is the worst day of my LIFE!"  Confessions, confessions, I have actually thought this. (Cough, cough. A LOT!)But that's what a week of procrastination will do to you, so it's my own fault!) I had a chemistry test for which I HAD to get an 'A' (due to a previous bad grade) 3 hours of piano to do, a 64- question math test, and an English assignment. And I had the self-imposed pressure of refusing to pay the consequence for procrastinating (failure.)
Tuesdays, my days always look like this:  6:30 a.m. What in the WORLD am I wearing today? 8:30-English. 10:30-Chemistry. 1:00 -piano. 3:00 math tutoring. 5:00- MY SACRED HOUR OF DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING PRODUCTIVE! 6:15- Alpha 9:00-
treadmill time! 10:00-study for procrastinated worldview assignments. :)

Wednesday/Thursday:

Quote of the Day(s): "This is the best day of my life!" Yup. That's what a birthday, multiple very sweet cards, new jeans, Panera bread, and loads of diet mountain dew will do to you. (Wednesday.) Despite the fact that I didn't get a whole lot of sleep the day before, I had a great day... especially when my day was made by my writing class friends. :) Thursday, Mom planned a whole day out for me with a few of my friends, shopping, jelly-bean eating, talking, parking-lot-laps, walking, and more shopping and eating... basically this girl's dream come true. ) It was a truly wonderful day. And, of course, no school!

Friday:

Quote of the day(s): "Wait... that's on the schedule?" Oh no! I had two honors society commitments, the ACT test, Sunday school to teach, a doctor's appointment, thank-you notes to write, and, oh yeah, I forgot about school!  How was I going to fit it all in?

Saturday:

Quote of the Day: "Uh, oh, I need to use the bathroom. NOW!" Yup, I had just sat down for what would be about two hours of testing, they had just gone through the rules about how if you leave  during the test you're automatically disqualified. That's when my bladder decided to rebel. Well, not really... I just really, really, really, had to go. That's when I started praying that I'd make it. And God, having forces over all nature, helped me focus despite my temporary discomfort. :)
The test was pretty hard... actually, my favorite part was the essay! It was nice to see something that looked familiar... not like Greek. I have no clue how they'll grade it, but I got words down, and I remembered to have a thesis statement! I guess that's a good thing?

Sunday/ Monday:
Quote of the day(s): "Wait, I have school?"  Yup, THAT'S when I remembered that I had a short story to write, piano to practice, math to do, and chemistry homework. Sound familiar?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sleepy Thoughts...

Good morning! As I write this, it's 4:52 a.m. and I've actually been up since 3:00 a.m. (Well, that's when I got up. I actually have been awake since two, but I was still in bed so it doesn't count.) Seeing as I went to bed at eleven... hmmm, I'll avoid finishing that thought, the math is scary.

Actually, so far, I'm  not sleepy at all, and it's been a good thing, since I've studied for a test, started my story, and am not writing my blog. Before you write me off as an over-achiever, NO, I didn't set my alarm for 2:00 a.m. I'm not THAT much of a morning person! I simply couldn't sleep, and beings as I couldn't make any noise, and there wasn't anyone else to talk to, I decided to just try to be productive.

Still, in between productive moments and early morning munching on almonds and granola (does anyone else wake up ravenous?) I've been thinking about sleep... or, lack thereof, really!

First, a few facts about sleep to make you smile:

The longest period recorded for being without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, and 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. By the end, the record holder had slurred speech, paranoia, blurred vision, and concentration and memory lapses. I'm beginning to think my missing a couple hours of sleep isn't quite so bad!

A new baby usually results in 450 to 700 hours of lost sleep for the parents in the first year.

If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep, you are sleep-deprived. Ten to fifteen minutes is the ideal length because it means you're tired enough to sleep well, but aren't tired in the middle of the day.


Cool, huh? Guess what? There are major benefits to sleeping longer!

Things like better memory, a longer life-span, improved athletic performance, better grades ( might this be related to the better memory part?) and reducing our stress levels.

Whoo hoo! Guess who's going to try to get more shut-eye?


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Random Excerpts from my Thoughts This Week :)

I'm not kidding when I say this post will be random. Trust me, it will be. I've been  having one of those weeks where thoughts will not collect into coherent sentences. (I have a lot of those weeks!)
So one of the main things I've been thinking about is how THANKFUL I am for other people. I love those people who I can trust with pieces of my life, and I feel so priveledged when I get to share in someone else's life story. (And just laugh with them.) 

Another something I've been thinking about is what I want my life to be about. I guess "purpose" is the word I'm looking for. It's pretty easy to get so focused in the day to day challenges and obstacles that we miss the greater purpose. The obstacles can either be something to complain about, or something we learn from. We can dwell on our failures and let them define us, or we can learn from them and apply what we learned from them. I tend to do the former.

Another thing I've been thinking about is edamame! (I know, random, right? I'm sure ya'll are shocked) I really want to find a recipe for edamame hummus! Doesn't that sound good? I could combine whole grain pitas with edamame hummus, and have a meal of veggies, complete protein, and whole grains. (Loaded with fiber) How cool would that be?

One last thing that's been on my mind is the song "In Christ Alone."  It's my very favorite song. The lyrics are so powerful! Here are my favorite verses:

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.

No power in hell, no scheme of man,
Could ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns or calls me home,
This is the power of Christ in me.

These last weeks, I've been anything but fearless and guiltless. Fear and guilt over various things have weighed pretty heavy on me. I love the thought that even when I can't feel Jesus's presence in my life, even when I am terrified and my heart is heavy, He holds me in His hand. His power is in me. Right now, I feel  very weak. But I'm trying to keep up the hope. If Christ controls my destiny, whom shall I fear?

Now if only I can live it out!