December 15, 2012

Christmas Concert Pictures

So glad my cousin Brooke was able to make it!!! LOVE HER!

Don't Save It All For Christmas Day

This morning, I woke up groggily, ready to start the day, when I got on Facebook like I do everyday. This time, my timeline was filled with a lot of grief and sad posts of the same kind, talking about a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. The shooter had killed 17 kindergartners who were just starting out their lives. They were just starting this journey of life, and now they don't even get a chance to finish it, and they had no choice in the matter. It's hard to even begin to wrap your mind around, and I don't know that we can. Instead, all we can do is pray for peace and ask that God comforts and guides the families of those involved. My heart is heavy, as is the rest of America.

I knew it was going to be a busy day, and I knew that was going to get me into a weird mood. I started the day off with my devotion and some quiet time with God, which really gave me peace, even though I've been so distraught and out of it all this week. I had some coffee, then decided to start getting ready; took a shower, got dressed, put my makeup on, and curled my hair. Then, my mom and I ran some errands and had lunch. I was still feeling a bit out of it and not that cheery, but I wanted to be in a great mood in time for the concert. After we ate, I started feeling better. We still had a few minutes to kill, so I suggested Target.
We looked around for a little while, then my mom dropped me off at our church, which is where my friend, Viviyan works at the school. I stopped at the front office, where one of my old classmate's mom's, also a teacher there, was working in. She said hi to me and informed the other lady at the desk (I think it was her mom) that I used to be one of her sons best friends, which really brought a smile to my face. She explained how we all used to hang out and that sort of thing; I remember how close we used to be and reminded me of all the amazing times I had at that school, especially considering the news this morning. Miss Tomi walked me to Viviyan's classroom, and asked what I was doing with my life right now, and I explained that I was going to school for communications/liberal arts. She thought that was really cool and recalled how I used to be so shy, and she was proud of me for everything I was doing. It's always so good to run into her, and it reminds me of how far I've come.

Viviyan finished up things in her classroom, and watching the innocent faces of those of the little children, broke my heart so much of what happened earlier. They're so precious and it's just so unbelievably unfortunate that things like this happen in our world today. When Viviyan locked up her classroom, we grabbed coffee at Starbucks, then headed downtown to the convention center where our Christmas concert with our church was being held. We were afraid we'd be late, because things were supposed to start around 1:30, but when we got there, things were still being set up, and the band was still working some things out. The choir just hung out in the audience for awhile until we were needed.
We ran through quite a few songs, but not everything. And because time was limited, we weren't able to run through every transition and know exactly what was going to happen, so we were a little up in the air, but knew that everything would come together in the end. After we practiced, we had about an hour and a half of free time. We decided to eat dinner, which was set up nicely in a separate room. There were healthier snacks and drinks, and a local restaurant, Victor's catered. It was so good; beans, rice, chicken, salad, and chips. I felt sick afterwards, but because it was so good. I talked with Viviyan, her sister, and dad, then decided to head to the dressing room for the women to get ready.
It wasn't as busy as past years, but because there were only a few plugs around the room, we had to take turns with plugging in curling irons. I just had to touch up my makeup and hair, so it didn't take me too long. Then, Viviyan and I went exploring a bit, which is always fun.
We waited for the show to start; visiting with her family and mine, then chatting with the other choir members backstage. Finally, it was show time. Our pastors' son's band (also my hairdresser) played for about 30 minutes. They sang a few Christmas classics and a few of their own, which I really enjoyed. They're extremely talented musicians.

After about 30 minutes, it was time for the main event. Our pastor's wife, Lydia Ranger (I believe she's on itunes-look her up, she's incredible), was up, and so was the choir (us). There's just something so magical about setting foot on the stage; the lights coming up, the band kicking into gear, and seeing the beautiful faces of the audience. It gives me butterflies and just makes me smile every time. There's really nothing else like it! And I dream of the day that maybe someday I'll be able to do it on a nightly basis. Until then, I get to live out my rockstar dream once a year. And it never disappoints.
This year, we were only doing one show, which is rare (usually we've done at least 2-3), so it was like we had to really pour everything into tonight. There was no time for mess ups, just giving it everything we've got, and I really believe we did. I feel like this is probably the best show we've done since I've been doing it. Every year it gets bigger and better; this year was no exception. We had incredible musicians, crazy cool lighting, great media visuals, and of course, the music and message. We sang Joy To The World, Go Tell It On The Mountain, Shake Up Christmas, Oh Holy Night, and A Baby Changes Everything.
Our pastor spoke for a few minutes about how Jesus was born as a baby to be more relatable, not trying to scare us, because it's something the world had never seen. From that moment on, He changed everything; history and the lives of everyone on this earth, whether they believe it or not. That led into A Baby Changes Everything, which was so powerful after hearing the message. Even though I've grown up in church and I've basically known Christ my entire life, God has changed my entire life this year in so many ways. I was brought to tears knowing what He was doing around me in that very moment.
We wrapped up the concert, and that was the end. Everyone left the stage, and my feet were killing me. I had been taking my heels off in between breaks of us being on stage, and the first time, I thought I was going to cry from the pain. I never wear heels, so it probably wasn't the smartest move to just stand there for two hours in them, but what are you going to do? I survived it! I headed upstairs to the dressing room to get my stuff together, said goodbye to everyone and met up with my family. We took some pictures and stopped to talk with a few people, then headed home. We grabbed some food from Del Taco, and we were making fun of each other, which was hilarious! Also, my aunt surprised me with License To Wed (starring John Krasinski)...My night was most definitely made after that.
So, that was my night. I went to bed feeling full of that Christmas cheer I had been missing. I felt really full of love, knowing that not only do I have a family who loves me very dearly, but also incredible people at church that are there looking after me as well. Everything went really well, and I'm so happy with how the night turned out. I just wish it was more than one night, but since it's not...What a way to go!

That's all for now,

December 14, 2012

My Life In Pictures (Lately)

The Weekly Review

It has been another crazy week! I've been feeling a little down and just a little out of it, and I've also holed myself up in my room watching The Office on Netflix if I wasn't doing homework. This is the happiest time of the year and I feel like this has been the weirdest time of this year, for me. I'm just trying not to make myself miserable and to enjoy the last few weeks of 2012.

My cousins' great grandma passed away sometime last week, so my mom, aunt, and I went to the funeral. As much as I really don't like funerals, especially because I don't like goodbyes and that's the ultimate one, I like them for the impact they have on you as you leave. They remind you to treasure life, to recognize those significant moments, go after your dreams, speak your mind, and let the ones you love know how you really feel.
This one was no different. It broke my heart to see my aunt and cousin in pain at their loss, but reminded me of the hope that we'll see our loved ones again. The pastor that spoke was rather interesting...He didn't seem to have much information on who he was speaking about, so he filled it in with random facts about the era that she grew up in. He mentioned things like refrigerators, The Grand Ole Opry, and the differences between her generation and now. The service didn't last too long, and we were able to visit with my aunt, uncle, and cousin, along with some of my aunt's relatives, which was nice.
After the funeral, we came back to my house; my aunt dropped us off. Then, my mom and I decided to go to the mall so I could look for a dress to wear for the Christmas concert on Friday. Well, I had also received a Christmas card in the mail with a Starbucks gift card from my good friend, Cassandra, and was super excited, so my mom and I grabbed some coffee. It was perfect, because it was starting to get a bit chilly. We made our way to Forever 21, and I was instantly overwhelmed with the holiday attire everywhere, consisting of sparkles and glitter. I think we went around the entire store, and after trying on several outfits, I decided on a classic black dress. I really like it! I was slowly starting to lose energy, so we checked out and headed home.
I spent the rest of the night taking pictures and just hanging out, which was nice.

Tuesday was really great! My friend, Michele, picked me up and off we went. We talked the entire way, as always, filling each other in on our weekends, friends, and whatever else comes up. When we got to school, I went to the library to hang out with my usual group. I finished up some creative writing homework, then searched Tumblr and other sites that came to mind. Amanda and I were drained from that, and we hadn't even gone to class, but you know what? It went really well. Amanda, Toni, and I went up for our critiques, which made things go a lot quicker. Our professor likes to "pick" on us and just jokes about us being the power trio, because we always sit together and are usually laughing or talking about something. We've joked that we should make t-shirts or something like that in honor of it, which he would think is hilarious.
Anyway, Professor Dyer joked that Amanda and I should work together on our pieces of fiction since they both involve music, that we could incorporate a lot of the characters with one another. He was coming up with all of these hypothetical scenarios, and we were dying of laughter. So, you know, that's always something we have to think about if we can't get it to work on its own.
There were suggestions made, including one girl who told me I needed to work on the southern dialect in my story. She griped, as she always does, and nitpicked, which I found extremely annoying. Normally, I can take criticism from other people (other than family), but she's one I can't take it from...She has to point out something wrong with everyone's pieces, including names and hair color. She griped that she wanted to know my character's name, etc. She made some pretty decent points, but the way she comes across all high and mighty makes me just not want to do it in the first place.
When class ended, our "power trio" walked outside, griping about the critiques we'd just gone over and pointing out the fact that our stories seem to get the most interaction, because we write about things that are REALISTIC. What a concept....
I hopped in the car with Michele, and we headed back to town, making plans about our photo shoot that we wanted to have on our way to school on Thursday. The rest of the afternoon, I just stayed in my room, glued to my ipad, watching The Office. It just seriously keeps getting better and better.
Later on, my best friend, Marissa, came over. We had decided that Tuesday and Thursdays were going to be our days to hang out, but because things have been crazy for both of us the past couple months, we haven't been able to hang out as much. So, we talked for a good solid couple hours. We seriously have the best talks, and I love that we keep it real. We can make fun of one another, we can be honest, and I don't have to worry that I'm going to be ridiculed for how I think. We sure had a lot of dishing to do too! We even did a little flashback to high school, talking about some of the drama that happened and re-reading one of the journals we used to write in and pass to each other back and forth in the hallway. Then, we decided to start watching The Office, because I told her I couldn't stop watching it. She also loves it just as much as I do!
We ate dinner with my parents, talked for a little while, then went back to my room to gawk at The Office. We were laughing our heads off, and found Andy Bernard's quote, "I am now chopping Phylis' head off with a chainsaw!!" incredibly funny, so Marissa posted it on Facebook. We chatted a little more, and it was just a lot of fun. I love those simple moments of hanging out with just one or two really close friends. Those are the moments I never want to take for granted. 
After Marissa left, I continued my "Office" marathon, staying up til the wee hours of the morning. 

As sad as it sounds, it was one of the best days I've had in awhile. I woke up somewhere around 11, and immediately started watching The Office, and I spent all morning on my bed, staring at the faces of Jim, Pam, Michael, Kevin, Phyllis, Meredith and the rest of the gang. They just really cheer me up. My mom had a doctor's appointment  and came home with Chic-Fil-A, which made me really happy. I stayed in my pj's, still watching The Office for the rest of the afternoon and not doing anything, but getting way too emotionally involved with Jim and Pam's relationship. I realize how pathetic it is, but honestly, I don't care.
Finally, I decided I needed to do something productive, so I took my very last math final of the last math class that I will ever take. It feels weird to say that, because it has been such a long time coming, but what a load off. It feels good to know that it is all finished, and I can finally start moving forward to the things that I actually WANT to do. I then decided to get ready; took a shower, put on make up and was ready to head to church for practice.
It's always such an amazing time being with everyone; band, singers, choir, and others that are helping out with the concert, because you know that every little step of the journey is being brought together for the greater good and it's going to be something really special. The relationships that I've made over the years have seriously changed everything for me, and have led to so many other incredible open doors over the past few years, especially this year, and they keep coming. I truly believe God gives us the people we need in our lives at the right times. He knows when they're going to walk in and walk out, and what purpose they're going to serve in our lives for a certain amount of time. It has been an absolute blessing, and this is no different. I even got an offer about possibly singing for the youth department on Wednesday nights. I'm just not sure if I'm feeling led to do it. It sounds good, but sometimes I just scare myself out of big opportunities or make up lame excuses. I can't use school or work as an excuse, so it looks like I'll have plenty of time. Now, it's just a matter of where God leads. 
Back to practice; We went through an entire run through of the concert set list. It actually went pretty smoothly considering it was our first time running through the entire production with the choir and media. There was a lot of joking around, and just messing around, getting into the Christmas-y spirit.
When practice ended, Viviyan and I walked to the front of the church parking lot, because it was a bit warm inside, and it was chilly and rainy outside. We made plans for what to do on Friday before the concert, and just talked about our days, until my parents came.
I picked up Chic-Fil-A for dinner (yes, the second time in a day) and watched The X Factor, then stayed up until 3:30 or so watching The Office. I honestly regret nothing. And the coolest news I received all day was that John Krasinski got a Twitter!!!!! AH!

Oh, today was quite the adventure. I woke up a bit later, and was sort of dragging to get ready. I couldn't wake up, which makes sense, since I was up until almost 4. I was still trying to wake up as we headed down the highway when Michele picked me up. Michele and I had planned to do our photo shoot, so we'd pull off to the side of the road to take cool pictures of the sky or whatever else we wanted to at the time.
Well, we had almost made our way into Taft, when we saw some cool vineyards. We pulled across the street and took a few pictures, then Michele asked if I wanted to get closer. We had plenty of time before our next classes started, so we thought sure why not? Well, when we pulled off to the other side, closer to the vines, the car started sliding in the mud a bit, and it felt like we were stuck. We got out and it didn't look that bad, so we just sort of blew it off and started walking around to take pictures and even made a video. As we were walking back to the car (or sliding, because my boots were now covered in mud), there was a truck that pulled up right behind us, and one of the guys got out, walking over to my side of the car. At first we thought maybe we had crossed a line and were going to get a warning about something, but the guy ended up asking if we needed help getting out of the mud. We responded with, "Nah, we should be fine, I don't think it's that bad," sort of thing. But, Michele started the car and the wheels just kept spinning and going in deeper. The two guys in the truck apparently did something that dealt with getting people out of situations like this, because they had the proper tools to help us out of the mud. One of the guys stayed and talked with us, asking where we were going sort of thing, and the other flipped around to drive us out. It didn't take long at all to get out, and when they were done, they came back over to the car to talk to us. The driver made a comment like, "I thought maybe it was my girlfriends from Taft," to which we just laughed. Michele thought maybe we should offer them coffee or something, but we ended up deciding against that, because you just never know about people these days. Anyway, we were feeling extremely thankful that those guys happened to be in the right place at the right time, because otherwise we wouldn't have had any other idea of what to do. The road we were on would have been a little hard to describe for those who haven't taken it before. So, maybe it wasn't our smartest move, but it was hilarious and definitely made our adventure even more memorable. You're only young once, right? And it all worked out just fine.
We laughed about it all the way to the campus, and wiping the mud off of our boots, while walking to the library. We went to the bathroom to clean them off as best as we could, but mine were way too clogged with mud to do anything about it. I had some things for creative writing to get done, so I decided to give up and get started. I sat at my usual table, which was low in attendance today with only Amanda and another of her friends. I was still laughing from my morning, so I explained it to them and they were laughing. Then, we got into our work, while searching Tumblr. I was only there for about 30 minutes, before deciding to head to class.
It was a pretty typical, boring day. It was our last class of the semester, so I was trying to enjoy it as much as possible. Amanda and I chatted before class, while searching Tumblr, then Toni came in and class started. Our professor talked about our reading that we're going to have on Monday, and how things are going to work, as well as how our final project should turn out like. And then when the actual critiques started, we went back to scrolling through Tumblr, which was much more entertaining. Luckily, there were also only three submissions, so they weren't bad either.
Finally, class ended and Toni wanted to show Amanda and I this SNL sketch of "The Californians", which was really hilarious. I think I'll have to look up more of those, because Kristin Wiig's facial expression and voice was just killing me haha! When Toni was done, Amanda and I waited around a few minutes to talk to our professor about a few things for the submission reading on Monday night, but ended up talking a little while longer about transferring and our majors as well. It was nice, because we don't really get to talk to our teachers all that much with it being a bit of a bigger class.
We walked outside when we were finished, and realized that that was the last time we would be walking out of the class, commenting on the interesting people, and the crazy things we'd overhear. Our class is actually like The Office, when I think about it. We have a lot of really off color, strange personalities. They blurt out whatever they feel like and it makes for some really wacky conversations, while the rest of us on the other side of the classroom just laugh. Yeah, I'm really going to miss it in that sense. I've learned a lot about techniques in writing, that I never thought I would have. It has given me a new perspective on other genres of writing, and knowing the kind of direction I'd like to go in, as well as planning where I want to take a story when I start, rather than just improvising every time I open my laptop.
I met up with Michele and we headed back to town, talking about the rest of our day and making plans for Monday, since she'll be going out to the reading with me. We took a few more random pictures, but not pulling off to the side. It made me think back over the semester and what a great semester it has been. It feels like it passed off extremely quick as well. All of my classes were pretty decent and didn't have too much work, there were just a lot of tedious assignments. I still have one more test to go in theater, but it shouldn't be too bad, so I'll finish that next week. But, other than that, I won't be going out to the campus anymore for classes next semester, since I'll only have one class online. It was a bit of a sentimental day for me, remembering when I first started as a Freshman almost three years ago to the progress I've made now. But, I'm really looking forward to this Christmas break...Almost an entire month of all kinds of exciting things, but I'm really not looking forward to more free time. Maybe it'll give me a chance to help out friends in their classrooms and other things that present themselves! It's going to be good :) It's a time to get refreshed and focused again on what I need to do. A new season is coming.
Marissa also text me, notifying me that John Krasinski has a Twitter now. That led to a really long discussion of how witty he is. I told Marissa that I was looking up his IMDB and wanted to watch all of his movies, and Marissa said she'd watch with me. So, we're planning on doing that! YAY!
The rest of the afternoon, I watched The Office and ran to Target with my mom to pick up a curling iron. I was not in the most chipper of moods, so I'm sure I was delightful to be around, but I got a little bit better later on. Tonight, I had dinner with my parents, and we watched The X Factor and an E! special on LeAnn Rimes.
Well, you already know what I'm watching right now, so I won't bore you with the details, but I should probably turn in for the night pretty soon. It's going to be a BUSY day tomorrow with the church Christmas concert at our convention center, and that's just the beginning of a crazy weekend! It should be a blast and instead of being annoyed by details or figuring things out, I'm just going to soak it all up and live it up. That's what life is all about, and I'm going to make the most of the last few weeks of this year.

That's all for now,

December 12, 2012

The Office

I have known about this show forever, because it has been on practically forever. I've seen it several times, usually by accident or if nothing else was on, but I always found it hilarious. I just never seemed to keep track of when it was on, because my mom isn't really into it or anything, so I wouldn't think about it. I didn't always necessarily get the humor or what exactly was going on, but I laughed because I wanted to get it. I think Steve Carrell is genius, John Krasinski is charming in that boy next door way, and Jenna Fischer is just adorable and likeable. I liked the way characters seemed to interact with one another, and I love shows that focus on a small group of friends that can just have that chemistry and have a way of delivering dialogue like they've always known each other. It makes me feel like I'm part of the group, and I guess that's what I've always wanted to feel like.

Anyway, since I have Netflix, I've been trying to make progress with TV shows I've always wanted to watch and The Office has been on that list for some time. I decided to watch it one day and was surprised at how quickly I was hooked. And as predicted, I fell in love with Jim and Pam especially...They are my favorites. Watching their relationship grow is seriously one of the best things ever, as well as one of the most realistic. Be expecting a lot of talking about them coming up! 

I just love this show, and I love that I always tend to find shows exactly when I need them to. I just seem to keep making friends with fictional characters right and left. Story of my life!

That's all for now,

The Weekend Review

I had a really great weekend, even though I'll admit my attitude was less than great for most of Saturday. I've just been really down, discouraged, and feeling insecure for most of this week. I've slacked off on my quiet time with God, and I know it all stems from that, which is something I'm trying to get back into.

My dad had to work yesterday, so it was just my mom and I hanging out at home. I was trying to get my math homework done, so I spent most of the morning/afternoon doing that, while watching E!, and later on, whatever cheesy movie on Lifetime was on. I was really starting to grow anxious, annoyed, and I was ready to have a meltdown. But, just as I was ready to have my meltdown, it was time to get ready to head to church for a concert by Mercy Me, that was being held there. I was kind of starting to wish that I wasn't going. I felt like I had so much to do and just wanted to stay home...But, I figured since I was going, I should try to make the most of it. Well, it turned out to be the best thing I could have done.
We met up with my aunt in line, because they hadn't opened the doors yet, and just talked, waiting to go inside. Everyone immediately found their seats, then a few minutes later, my mom, aunt and I went to the coffeehouse so my aunt could get something to drink. We ran into our friend/pastor's wife and caught up with her for a few minutes, then went inside to just wait out the next 15 minutes or so before the show started.
I walked away feeling so blessed and full of God's peace. Everything I had been doubting or questioning or worrying about was eased by the words that the lead singer of Mercy Me spoke on, and just lifted the weight that had been on my heart.
This is something I wrote down during the intermission of the concert:
I have been beaten down this week by self doubt, fear, and the idea floating over my head that I'm just not good enough. It was like a domino effect of one thing happening, leading to past mistakes I've made, insecurities of my appearance or my clothes not fitting right or looking good, and fear of the future that I will never be good enough to reach the goals that I've always dreamed of and prayed for over the years. The words that people have spoken over me and have hurt me with echoed back in my ears, as well as other things that have scarred me pretty badly this year. I have had this ache in my heart and a seed of bitterness and anger towards the world again, which is something I've really been working on this year, and it hasn't been this bad in a long time. It's those things that have wanted to keep me down in a dark hole, where no one can reach me. 
After listening to the words spoken at the concert, though, I had so many other reassurances from God; He is crazy about me. I don't have to be anything other than who I am right now, and I don't have to "please" Him...That's why we need a Savior. We don't have to hold onto everything and we don't have to live up to all of these crazy expectations, because He is ALWAYS there alongside us. It gives me peace to know that no matter how many times I screw up, He loves me just the same and still believes in me and knows that I can do great things.
The concert itself was incredible, as well. They had so many amazing elements to the show, like lighting and TV screens the had visuals and sometimes lyrics on them, correlating with the song. The first half was of their own music, as well as inspiring words, and they spoke on an organization called Compassion, that helps spread the love of God around the world, as well as sponsor a child to give them a better life. It really touched my heart, and it has been on my mind lately, that I'd really like to go on a missions trip. I've been so blessed in my life, and I want to give back in some way. That short talk led to an intermission.
The second half of the show was all about Christmas! They covered a lot of the classics, and even one they'd written themselves about Joseph's story in this beautiful miracle. They decorated the stage with old fashioned Christmas lights and even got a little festive themselves. It was a lot of fun, singing along and getting into the Christmas spirit.
When the concert ended, we had dinner around 10:45 at Denny's! Even as incredible and touching as the concert was, I was still not necessarily in the most chipper of moods, but I was trying. Once you get into a weird funk, sometimes it's hard to come out of them, but I did perk up a little once I got food in my system.
I wasn't tired when we got home, so I messed around with photoshop for a little while, watched The Office and went to bed.

After setting my alarm twice, and still not waking up either of those times, I finally woke up around 9, and decided to get ready. I was feeling super tired and not really in the mood for church, which is something I have been struggling with a lot lately. My parents and I found a seat, and worship had already started. I find so much joy and peace through worship, and while my head has been completely chaotic with all kinds of end of the year projects and whatever else pops up, I felt okay after that.
We had a guest pastor speak from Arkansas, who I believe is also Kris Allen's pastor back there, or was at one time. He was so good! He touched on a lot of the things I've been dealing with, as well as some of the things that had been mentioned at the concert the night before.
There are so many times that we aren't aware of God's plan in our life. It's up to us and the moves we make that show His greater plan in what we do. There are a few actions that we can take to follow through with:
  1. Confidence in our approach to God. When we are weighted down by condemnation and guilt, it takes over us and we aren't close enough to God to hear what He's saying, because we're too weighted down by our problems.
  2. Dream dreams again. We have to get involved and go after what we want; God loves to hear His people talk about their dreams, that's why He gives them to us. Why do we always hesitate when it comes to making moves with the important things? I know with me, it's because I'm scared of failing.
  3. We have to have confidence in our approach with people. You don't have to be intimidated by other people. I get intimidated by people a lot, because a lot of times...I think I'm not good enough or I can't possibly compare to others doing the same things that I am, but we're all on different journeys for a reason.
  4. Be sincere in your approach to God. God knows our hearts and can tell when we're pretending or acting like we have it all together. He doesn't expect us to either. That's why we need a Savior...To save us from ourselves.
  5. We have to make the move to encourage others. Our great commission in life is to help others, love others and encourage them through our struggles. We're all here to help one another out as cliche as it sounds. That is our true calling. Don't wait...Go for it now.
I had a lot of thoughts and was feeling inspired after that service, and the rest of the day seemed like it was going to be off to a great start. We had lunch at Outback, which was tasty as always. I filled my parents in on some things I have coming up, pouring out my friend issues, and of course, there were mentions of celebrities, because with me around that always comes up. We came home for a little while, then ran out again to run a few errands (Sam's Club and Office Max), which was fun! I didn't want to be stuck at home, so it was nice to get out. We grabbed milkshakes from Jack In The Box, which are delicious. We've been experimenting with the peppermint/festive flavored shakes...Tis the season!
We came home, talked to my family on Skype, which had me busting up. My grandpa asked who the guy in my profile picture is. I answered, "Uh..Oh, it's just a guy from a band I like." My uncle clarified that it was a celebrity and not someone I actually knew. He later said that he was a nice looking guy and that I should be with him sort of thing, which I don't mind at all. But, I think it will be very difficult to pull that off. I also told him that he can pray for him, though. He said he would. My parents carried on conversation with the rest of the family, while I wrote down quotes I found from Pinterest, which kept me entertained.
That night, my parents and I went to dinner, and checked out a few Christmas lights in a pretty famous neighborhood around town. The houses are incredibly beautiful, and there are usually a lot of them decorated this time of year. I compare it to that of the neighborhood of the "Disney Community." Yes, many would tell you that I am the only one who would think of that. It's okay.
We came home after our little excursion and ended up watching a Hallmark Christmas movie. Cheesy? Yes, indeed it was. But, I think the best ones are.

It was a great weekend. Now, it's time to hit the books and focus on finishing out this semester. Yay....

That's all for now,

December 9, 2012

This Week In Review

It has been quite a busy week! Seeing as these are the last couple weeks of the semester, I've had plenty of homework to be done and plenty of projects that I've been keeping up with. I have felt a little worn out and just a bit down and discouraged. It's funny how this always used to be my favorite time of year, yet for some reason, I'm having a hard time feeling cheerful. At least that's how it has been the past few years. But, I'm trying to do the best that I can and make it a joyful season, because that's what it is. I didn't always have the best attitude and I need to get my priorities back in order...
On the bright side, I did pick up a new obsession with The Office, and that has been helping me get through the week.
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I don't have class on Mondays, so I spent most of the day doing math homework, which was extremely fun, and I was really on edge by the end of the day. That sort of set the tone for the rest of the week, after making 18,000 "to-do" lists of what I needed to do for the rest of the week. Let's just say I was not charming to be around. 

I woke up at 8:15, delaying getting out of bed as long as possible. I was all cozy with my little heater warming the room and Christmas lights shining around my window. But, I finally did decide to get ready with a few minutes to spare before my ride picked me up. Michele got to my house, and we headed to Taft, which is always an entertaining ride. I love the heart to hearts we get have on our rides; passes the time off much more quickly. 
I went into the library, and there wasn't a free spot with my friends that I usually sit with, so I grabbed a spot by myself, which worked out, because I was able to get my work done a lot quicker. I met up with my friend, Amanda, a few minutes later. We moved to our own table, gabbing about our creative writing class and I tried watching The Office. 
At 11, we headed into class and waited for it to start. We had more critiques, which usually consists of snarky one liners being tossed around the room, whether it's towards people or the stories they've submitted. Sometimes our professor even tries to sing the poems, which never fails to make us laugh. It also makes us laugh harder when he's laughing harder than the rest of us. 
When class ended, I met up with Michele, and we headed back to town. She dropped me off, and to my surprise, my aunt was at my house. We ended up having lunch together at Del Taco with my mom, then running to the grocery store for a little while, then back to her house. It ended up delaying me a bit with homework and such that I'd had planned for the afternoon, but it was a nice little interruption. My aunt's house actually belonged to my grandparents, before they passed away, and there are still plenty of momento's around the place to remind me that it belonged to them, even though things have changed quite a bit. My grandma always had a ton of old treasures around the house, like old telephones and other antiques, that I always found fascinating, and decided to take a picture of some of them, so my aunt said she still had one of the old phones. She ended up giving it to me, which led to looking through the garage and some other cabinets, which I loved. It reminded me of all the afternoons I spent there, growing up, and feeling like their house was this magical land. That was how it always felt to me, and it warmed my heart. 
When my mom and I were done, we headed home, where I tried to relax for a little while, then had to head to church for practice for the upcoming Christmas show. For some reason, I wasn't feeling that great; my head was just bombarded with all kinds of thoughts, I was feeling stressed out, and didn't feel "present", you know? We ended up going over every song, including a new one; Lady Antebellum's "On This Winter's Night", which I didn't realize we were singing! They're some of my favorite people, so I was extremely excited about that. We were all having a great time, laughing about our parts for the songs and the repetition on things like Joy To The World and Go Tell It On The Mountain, which reminded me of last year; Viviyan and I couldn't stop laughing at the same parts, and then pretty soon, everything just became funny.
After practice ended, the rest of the night was pretty relaxed. My mom and I decorated gingerbread men cookies and we watched Christmas Vacation, which is my favorite Christmas movie. It was a wonderful night, and did get me in the spirit of the season a bit more :).

Once again, I have Wednesday's off, so I usually use that to catch up on homework or I just push everything off a bit more. 

Quite an interesting day, Thursday. Michele picked me up for school and off we went; it was a rainy, sort of depressing looking day outside. That can depress a lot of people, but I love it, even if only for a little while. It always makes me feel so inspired, especially when I'm able to stay at home to write or watch movies. We got to school, and obviously the ground is completely soaked, which is the day I decided to wear my new Taylor Swift shoes that I've only worn maybe one other time. I tried to walk as carefully as I could, but the very first puddle splashed back up, making a nice big mud spot right on top. I thought if that was the way things were starting the day off as, then it was going to be a long day. 
I went into the library, sitting with my usual peeps. Amanda and I talked about our creative writing critiques, while the other guys at the table kept telling us to look at pictures or were swapping ideas about video games, which gives us plenty of reasons to chuckle. 
Finally, class rolled around and there were six people up for critique, which felt like it lasted forever. There have been a lot of moments recently where I've really had to refrain from rolling my eyes or I have to bite my tongue to not say anything I'll regret, because sometimes people are just...Interesting. By the end of the class, I was pretty much almost tuning out, not because I don't care, but because it's the same thing over and over again, and I just have a hard time focusing. So, instead, I decided to do a little stalking on the Jonas Brothers with Amanda. We were trying to figure out if Nick is dating anyone...That was fun! 
When class ended, Michele and I came back to town. I spent the afternoon trying to get homework accomplished, then my friend, Viviyan picked me up. We grabbed Starbucks, then headed to church for a volunteer dinner. We went to her classroom for a few minutes before, then met up with everyone else in the main sanctuary. It was a really fun time getting to visit with some people I've never met and some that I just don't get a chance to talk to very much. There were a few games, dinner, and a short thank you message from our pastor. I am so thankful for my church family, and big functions like this, just remind me of how my life has changed so much since I've gotten more involved over the years. I love them all so much; they're family!
The rest of the night was pretty relaxed, once I got home. I watched some TV, got online, and had a marathon of The Office before I fell asleep. I love that show so much! It just makes me smile.

So, that was my week. It was pretty good! And Christmas is getting closer...sooo...YAY!!