Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Is Just Around The Corner!

I know, I know…It’s been ages since I posted. I’ve been away from Grilla (my computer). Actually, Grilla has been away from me. Seriously, a $10 upgrade ended up costing almost as much as buying a new computer would have cost. I don’t understand my luck with electronics! I always have issues that tend to stump the professionals. I guess that’s kind of just the story of my life. However, I think it is inevitable for the girls in my family to break their electronics. My sister is a freshman in the middle of finals. She spilled coffee all over Oscar (her computer)! She’s afraid to turn him on and I don’t blame her. It brings back tragic memories of my freshman year! I told her if Grilla could stick it out this long, Oscar could too. I guess we’ll see when she comes home…TODAY!!!! I AM SO EXCITED! I miss her so much and it has only been 15 days since I saw her.

College is basically over for me. I turned in all of my semester portfolios last week and took one final. All I have left is student teaching and that is more than exciting. I have been looking forward to ST for as long as I can remember. I cannot believe how fast college has flown by!

I have been so involved on and off campus, but I have officially passed the torch to new leaders. We had officer transition for KD last week. The girl taking over VP-Standards is a perfect fit. I am so proud of her and excited to see what she has in store for members. My year on Council went by so fast! I have so much free time now that it is over and I’m not sure yet if I like that. I will definitely fill it with something else, but it will be strange not being as involved. I am going to enjoy being a senior member though. I’m looking forward to enjoying the fun aspects of the sorority without the stress of being a leader. The last semester is probably one of the most enjoyable!

Can you believe that Christmas is here??? I cannot believe how close it is. I mean, I haven’t even had time to use my countdown chart! I feel like I’ve missed out! No worries, my home is decked out for Christmas. It was so much fun decorating the house for Christmas. Of course, I have plenty of d├ęcor to display and I made an event of it complete with hot cocoa and country Christmas music. I look forward to turning the lights on when company is coming. I’ve had two Christmas parties and multiple friends over for supper. I really enjoy friends gathering at my house. I like the excuse to cook my favorite recipes for a large group. I like the company and the conversation. The holidays are when I make time for this, but I should do it more often. Maybe I’ll work on that with the coming of the New Year. I’m ready for my sissy to be home so it will really feel like the holidays. I like having the whole family together all snuggled in my parent’s house!

So, I made a huge adjustment in my life. I have been taking A LOT of medication for the past 9 years to control my Fibromyalgia. It has been a roller coaster of a ride and it has been a challenge to cope. Personally, I think I cope quite well. I never let it stop me from getting involved. Most people would never know I even have a problem as I go and go and go. I really hate taking the pills though. I am a bit of a health freak I don’t care to put chemicals in my body, especially when we really do not know the long term effects. My mom and I have been looking into alternative methods of treatment and I have tried a few with no success. I was really ready to give up. This past year has been the hardest I’ve encountered yet. I was getting nervous to start a career in my current state. However, my mom’s faith is stronger than mine, and she kept looking for a solution. She set an appointment with a new doctor the week of Thanksgiving, and that appointment changed everything. I found out I am allergic to wheat. It sounds like it has nothing to do with FS. Apparently, the symptoms for FS and a wheat allergy are similar. My allergy is digestive. My body cannot process wheat products and therefore causes “issues”. He suggested a drastic change in diet with a few other restrictions and a completely holistic approach to management of my FS. That means no more chemicals for me! I’m trying a new regimen with all natural supplements. I cannot even begin to tell you how much better I feel. It’s remarkable!

Cutting wheat out days before Thanksgiving was tough. Wheat is in EVERYTHING! Things you wouldn’t think of like soup, dressing, soy sauce, seasonings, etc. Everyone knows I am a foodie! I love to eat food, talk food, and read about food…you get the point. To discover I could not eat the majority of things I am used to was a bit devastating, at first. I was hungry all the time and felt like I was missing out on all my favorites. But, it has gotten easier even in the short time I have known. It is much easier to turn down my favorite foods when I feel this good. Realizing I could eat those foods and feel miserable is a pretty good discourager. I have pretty much cut wheat out of my diet completely. I’ve only made a few exceptions…onion rings in Nashville and scraping pie off the crust. But, I have found some good alternatives to my favorite foods. Eating out is the hardest part. Basically, I can have salad without dressing and that’s about it. I hate being obnoxious and asking special questions about food ingredients. I like cooking at home because I can control the ingredients. It is more expensive to eat wheat-free, but it is worth it.

If you have any suggestions for eating wheat-free, I’d appreciate your comments!

I hope this season is a happy one for you and your family. Enjoy every moment and make the most of the time you have together. Don’t forget the reason we celebrate. Remember to give to those who do not have and volunteer your time. We are truly blessed to have all that we do.

God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


November 3, 2010

This morning I woke up and realized I was wrong. Gah!! I hate when that happens! I mean, it happens a lot, but I hate that feeling of realization that my stubbornness and frustration was incorrect.

I’m a pretty calm individual. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. Even people who know me well often don’t know some of the frustrations that plague my mind. I am very analytical and thought tends to consume me.

I’ve been very torn lately about a particular situation. I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions that leaves me feeling exhausted. I realized this morning that the fault is in me. When I truly stop and think about all the events that have happened I have never been misled. In fact, I don’t think I could respect such wisdom more. The issue is in my own naivety. I became impatient. I chose a black and white perspective rather than honoring the shades of grey. I wanted a choice to be made when none was required. As usual, I was getting ahead of myself. I was the immature one. OUCH!

Unfortunately, it may be too late to change the outcome of this situation. However, I’m grateful for the learning experience. I can choose to be mad at myself, or I can accept that I make mistakes and grow from my newfound understanding.
So, now I will get ready for my day. I will go and be with my second graders who believe I can do no wrong. Ok, that’s a lie; they call me out all the time! I guess failing is part of life. Getting up and brushing your butt off is what really counts!

Make the most of this day and all it brings. Look for opportunities to better you. Seek opportunities to encourage others. Above all, recognize the blessings of your day and be thankful!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I've Been Given a Gift

October 28, 2010
Can I just say how tired I am of looking at this computer screen! I mean, I have worked 13+ hour days this week preparing for an upcoming workshop I am presenting in Houston, TX at the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching. I am so excited, but when my boss moved the deadline for the final product up to tomorrow (Friday), and she did so on Tuesday at 8:30 PM, I got a little overwhelmed. In addition to getting a virus over the weekend and spending 3 hours at IT, then coming home to over 100 emails in 1 of 4 inboxes didn’t feel so good. For the record, I am not a fan of Windows Vista. Seriously, NOTHING BUT ISSUES!
Regardless of the process, I completed my write-ups and, if I may say so, they are good! I am really proud of them and think it will be a great presentation. It was annoying to have to do them this week on top of other expectations, but it is nice to not have to worry about it anymore.
What I cannot figure out is this strange energy I have. I haven’t been this out of shape in forever, I can’t sleep through the night, I’m eating junk constantly, and I’m stressed! Yet, I accomplished everything and I’m still awake at midnight. My alarm is set for 6:00 AM, and I WILL BE EXERCISING! Mark My Words! I have come to the conclusion that it is because I am finally, after all this time, doing what I’ve dreamed of doing…teaching in a classroom. I am with 2nd graders every day. My goal is to always do my best, model my expectations, and make an impact daily. Each day presents a new challenge, and I meet it with a smile. Tonight, the organization I am President of hosted a Spooky Science Night for 5th Graders. I’ll admit, I did not have the best attitude when we were planning this event. It was one more thing on the calendar with multiple expectations attached. But, I left that school feeling complete. I mean, that is what I dreamed of when I dreamed of making a difference in the teaching profession. The excitement on the faces of those children is stamped on my heart forever. I will remember it when I feel inadequate or uninspired.
You see, I get overwhelmed and frustrated just like everyone else. But, I realize that I have been given a gift, multiple gifts, in fact. I am thankful for the opportunities to use my gifts and I am not called to sit on the sidelines. I know I am making a difference and making my Heavenly Father proud. And when it is all said and done, that is all that matters.
So, what is your gift? What are you going to do with it? I guarantee it will make a difference and warm your heart. We all need a little heart-warming now and again!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Cure All Weekend

This weekend was not what I expected, yet it was just what I needed. Friday night, my sorority had a Western event for Parent's Weekend. It was in conjunction with our Academic Excellence Banquet, and we asked my dad to speak. As expected, he did a wonderful job. He knows just what to say and is a natural! When I watch him lead, I am inspired. He is a great leader, and I find myself wishing often that some of his qualities came easier for me. My mom is the heart of our family. She is a lover, just like me (or is it me like her?), and she always reminds me to think of others. Sometimes this annoys me beyond belief! I constantly think of others to the point that I run myself down, but she encourages me to put things in perspective. I took her to the Peddler Show today, a favorite experience for me. We found lots of fun gifts and had a nice time chatting.

Life Lesson #1: My mom reminded me that I cannot control situations; all I can control is my attitude and how I react to them. I explained to her that I constantly feel like I am letting others down. I feel like they cannot understand my situation and the exhaustion I feel. I get so frustrated and yet, I can't do much about it. Instead of aching for other's to understand something they simply just can't, I should realize that I know what can and cannot handle. I have to be better at micromanaging and prioritizing all the things I love. You see, the problem is I can't do everything I want to accomplish! I am so ambitious and it is not possible to do all these things and do them well. It is my responsibility to draw the line to the things that aren't as special so I will have more energy for the things that are.

On Saturday, I slept in until 9:00 am, which happens never and was quite a treat. I went for a 4 mile run, came home and cleaned house and worked on a project in my cave for the rest of the day. This day of going nowhere and seeing no one was absolutely perfect and just what I needed. Scrapbook heaven exploded in my bedroom and I reminisced over the past as I put a book of my life together. I truly have a great, blessed life. I see the gifts I have been given on every single page. The frustrations life brings become so obsolete when I look at all the beauty in my life. I am loved, I have much and I know my purpose. Ok, so I don't fully understand my purpose yet, but I know where I'm headed. The day ended with a roomie date with Mae Mae. We went to Starbuck's and I ordered a Skinny Vanilla, Pumpkin Spice, Chai Tea Latte. I know, it's like a $6 drink, but no worries! I had my birthday coupon for being a Gold Card Member (yep, it's official!!!!), so they gave me a venti for free! Then we went to see Life As We Know It. Of course I wore my pajamas. It was nice to watch a movie and not think about all my obligations. I even came home and read before falling never happens anymore!

Life Lesson #2: I have GOT to take a chill pill! I feel so much better when I get in a good workout and recharge on my own. I need that time like I need food and neglecting myself only makes life harder. I had the chance to listen to a few sermons too. My spiritual battery needed recharging too. I really struggle with trusting God. I know he is there and I know he will protect me. Yet, too often, I stress out about the big picture rather than enjoying the here and now. Dahlia helped to remind me of this. It was wonderful seeing her this weekend! She and I had the opportunity to talk about some really big stuff. I have always been a planner. I can't wait for the future, and I put everything into preparing me for the best future possible. Unfortunately, I sometimes neglect very important moments because I have spent all my energy on areas pertaining to the future. I always say I am going to work on this and then I get back in my rut. This is one of the greatest periods of life,and I don't want to miss it. So, hold me accountable...I really am going to work on it!

Sunday was spent with my kiddoes in Children's Church, hangin with the momma and then with my bestie. It ended with Kappa Delta initiation. Ritual events are my favorite as they are a reminder of why we are part of this sorority. I'm not a "sisterhood" type of person. I'm not a touchy, feely, "girl, I love you" kind of friend. But, at events like this, I don't care. It was so special watching the initiates as they nervously awaited instructions. They were all smiles! I couldn't help but think about my own experience as a New Member. How time has flown and how great my experience has been!

Life Lesson #3: It truly is about relationships. I get frustrated with the time commitment. I get disheartened by those who misrepresent our principals. I get annoyed with the cattiness. But, those are just facts of life no matter where I go or what I get involved in. I chose this Sorority because I believed in their Philanthropy. I felt a camaraderie among their members. I agreed with their values and principles and I saw a place for myself. All of those things are still true 3 years later. If anything, our bond has gotten stronger and our commitment to service has improved. I am proud to be a KD lady and I am thankful for the experience I have had. My hope is that the new initiates would stay committed to the oath they took and make the most of every experience. I wouldn't change a thing, but I will work on my relationships. I have this terrible problem with trying to do it all by myself. I don't like to share with others and I take the world on alone. It was never intended to be that way. I am trying to learn that, but it is hard to rely on others.

This is my beautiful life. It isn't perfect, but it is perfectly blessed. I will take on this week with a fresh start, a positive attitude, an open heart and an eagerness. I will do my best, but stop myself when it is too much. I will make an effort to communicate with my friends and I will value the social excitement of the week.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Time..where does it go?

You know those days when you feel completely, totally and utterly useless? Well, I had another one today. In fact, this whole week has been one of those days after another. One would think this would have been a really relaxing week as I had Fall Break until Wednesday and no real class this week because of work. However, I made up for it with other involvement.

I was watching the Real Housewives D.C Reunion, and I cued in on one comment, "...she looks very stressed. And, when you get stressed, it's time for a lifestyle change." Now, I heard that and my first inclination was, "Heck, if I changed my life everytime I got stressed, I'd be stressed from all the change!" But then I thought about it...maybe it is time for a change. Not just a change, but a true change. When I really stop to think about it, time has been this way for quite some time. I cannot deny loving most everything in my life and the hard part is prioritizing all the things I love!

I miss working out and eating healthy. I miss doing this daily. I know I feel better when I do, and I have so much more energy. I miss catching up with my best friends in the little bit of free time I have. I think I have been so concerned with trying to keep up with everyone else's social energy that I have been lagging behind in my job mode. I know I cannot physically handle as much as others can, and I choose to use my energy in the workplace and with loved ones.

I think one of the worst feelings in the world is knowing that you are doing everything good, but nothing well. I am a perfectionist and I like to give my all to everything. I know it is dangerous to expect this much from myself in all aspects of my life, but when I start becoming mediocre in areas I typically do my best in, I know I am off.

Sometimes, being a good leader means letting go of the reins. It's time for me to let go of some things. Letting go will be my goal and inspiration for the change I want to see in myself.

Friday, October 8, 2010

All The Small Things

Life is a collection of moments. Each moment is a gift; a gift to be in awe of, and yet, I take moment after moment for granted. I waste these moments anticipating moments to come and stressing about things I can’t control. Yesterday, as I drove to Dallas, I had a very simple goal…to make it to Seymore before Sonic Happy Hour ended. Oh don’t worry; I totally made it with just minutes to spare! Something so simple totally made my day. As I drove alone and carefree in the car, with the music blaring, belting my favorite songs, I took note of all the beauty around me. I realized, yet again, how often I get caught up in how much I have going on that I miss out on the beauty around me.

I listened to a sermon this week in which one line stood out to me. The pastor was talking about rest (imagine that) and read the following passage:

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

I mean, let’s be real! I need to write this passage on my forehead, on my mirror, in my car. In fact, maybe I should make a blanket out of it so I see it when I get in bed. It shouldn’t be this hard! Why must I make it so challenging? Anyway, his comment was “If we’re burned out, it’s not God’s yoke.” I struggle because I do what I do to ultimately bring glory to God. My involvement makes me a better person and gives me more opportunities to reach others. My motives are right, yet my life is out of control.

Lately, my physical ailment has been bothering me. The pain is getting worse and I am feeling weak. I get discouraged because there really is no cure. Research is showing that, unlike musculoskeletal diseases, Fibromyalgia is neurological. It totally makes sense, but how do we fix it? I mean, I’m 21 years old. Most people don’t get diagnosed with things like this until the latter part of their life. I worry about what I will encounter then if I am already struggling this much now. And look, I’m already worrying a paragraph later…this is not going to be easy. But honestly, it would be much easier to rest if my head was not throbbing and I wasn’t feeling piercing pain all over my body. But then I tell myself that it could be so much worse…it could be deadly. When I think about it as a manageable ailment that has not landed me in a hospitable bed, I am grateful. I have so many blessings for which I am thankful! Not to worry, my coffee is ready! That in itself is the highlight of my day! The aroma brings a smile to my face…I totally identify with the Folger’s commercial now!

Yes, I do get overwhelmed A LOT these days; however, I am enjoying life. I am reminded daily of how precious life really is and how quickly circumstances change. I came to Dallas this weekend to get away from all the things on my to-do list. When I arrived at my aunt’s house, my two-year-old cousin came outside in her diaper and a pink monkey shirt. She pointed at me and said, “Aimee!” I think the reason my passion is children is because they constantly remind me how precious life is. They love us so tenderly regardless of our wrongs. Today I am making a new list, and at the top is to enjoy every moment and take a mental snapshot of every smile on Claire Bear’s face! No worry, no stress, no frustration. This day was made for me, and in it I will rejoice.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Research Begins

Today I began my wine research with Rachel. She is researching the removal of the proteins in white wines using phytic acid compared to the commercial use of bentonite. It is so cool! Basically I get to play until I graduate! I have only been in a real lab for my basic science classes at Tech. Those lab experiences were pretty much a joke. I took chemistry last semester and it is rewarding to actually use that knowledge. It's a good thing I know the basics because this research is fairly advanced. I am also learning about publishing. That is something that terrifies me! I don't like writing papers, especially academic ones. But, seriously, how cool would it be to publish a paper as an undergraduate????
Ok, so ready for the coolest part?!
Well, I met the Phd in charge of all this research. First of all, he teaches this class about wines of the world and the lab is basically an educational wine tasting. Don't worry, I WILL be taking this class and I get to assist with setting up the labs. BUT, he also wants me to do my OWN research project and publish my own paper!!! I didn't have the heart to tell him that research terrifies me and I have next to no idea what Rachel is doing, much less what my own research would be. I could see the wheels turning in his head though...he is going to make this happen. So, the elementary teacher might possibly graduate with a EC-6 generalist, 4-8 math and science, and ESL certification along with a published research paper in a legit science journal.
Watch out world, here I come!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Is My Favorite Day

Sunday is the day for reflection and renewal. I think it is my favorite day...this Sunday in particular. You see, today is the day a new chapter in my life begins. I am strong! I have always been strong for everyone else, but from now on, it will be for me. I am proud of who I am and what I have accomplished and I have nothing to prove. I want to look back upon these days and know that I lived them to the fullest. Recently, I came across this excerpt that has changed my life.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others

I cannot read it and think to myself, "Hmm, very inspirational...I agree". Instead, I must live in this way. I need to liberate myself from the fears that have controlled me so long.

So today I will view myself in a new way. I will be proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. And, most importantly, I will listen to my heart.