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


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!