May 22, 2014

How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

You can plan your life, make goals and hope for the best, but you never really can know the outcome until it happens.

My life has been crazy and exhausting lately. Although, come to think of it, that seems to be the theme of my entire college career. The quarter has really been wearing me out with constantly contacting sources, staying for the journalism club, working on the newspaper, and communicating with people what seems like 24/7. I've been hanging out with the newspaper staff a lot and dedicating everything else to school. It's like I've been stuck in this little bubble. There have been a lot of ups, but also many downs in the past couple of weeks…And most of the time, I'm just trying to keep my head above water.

Here's a quick recap: 

The dressing room at Kohl's …I don't know! 
I joined the Journalism Club, which is something I've been more involved with. We've had weekly meetings and had our first event at a celebration for our school. Athena and I went with our newspaper advisor to pick out decorations for the booth and decided to decorate a poster board to display some of our work for others to see what we do. There were booths with all different clubs throughout the school, and it gave us a chance to connect and network with one another. There was a talent show, food, and games. It was surprisingly a lot of fun! Plus, it gave us all a chance to get together and do something as a team outside of the classroom.

Our board!

All of that morning, I had felt kind of "ick," but just figured it was nerves or feeling anxious. I often feel like that when I wake up, so I didn't think much of it. After the school celebration, I was still feeling achy and sick, and thought I'd feel better after I ate lunch, but didn't. I gradually started feeling a little worse. I didn't want to go home, so my parents and I decided to take a little drive out to the canyon/lake. It's a gorgeous view and just enough to feel like you're getting out of town. We listened to the top hits on the radio, talking, laughing and stopping along the way to snap pictures or take in the scenery. It was incredible. 

Shortly after we got home, I was feeling awful. I decided to lay down on the couch for awhile and pretty soon was throwing up. I think I ended up catching a 24-hr flu bug and was so afraid that I would have to miss the Gavin DeGraw concert the next day. My parents got me some chicken noodle soup and Sprite, and I watched Modern Family, just hoping to feel better. Luckily, the next day I was able to go to church, editing at school and the concert I'd been counting down the days for. 

It was one of the greatest shows I've been to! Gavin sure knows how to work the crowd and all so effortlessly too, which you can read about here. He sang all of my favorite songs; Athena and I were up on our feet the entire time, rocking out and singing at the top of our lungs. I don't know if I've ever felt so carefree, just letting the music speak for itself. DeGraw also brought along Parachute and Rozzi Crane, who we got to meet in between sets, and they were both incredibly nice! After the show, we rushed up to the stage and were able to meet Gavin himself, give him a copy of our paper and I was able to thank him for doing the interview with me. He shook my hand and introduced himself and signed a copy for me, and thanked me several times with such a genuine spirit. 

Since then, the quarter has been busy with writing papers, talking to people, working with staff writers on the paper, and staying up way too late (because that's what college students are supposed to do).

Last weekend was Mother's Day, so my parents and I went with some family friends to Valencia.
Here's that entry:
 I had to wake up earlier for church this morning, as we went to the 8:30 a.m. service, but it was so worth it. I got up a few minutes later and had to hurry, but still made it in plenty of time, because I’m a PRO at that. Then, my mom opened her presents (a new set of dishes and trays that she wanted and a GIANT Taylor Swift card from me).
Giant card!
Giant card!
The service was about how to experience satisfaction in life, which is a lesson I can always be reminded of.
The keys are to:
  • Recognize my real hunger (spiritual hunger for God), not whatever my flesh might be desiring at the moment.
  • Stop eating spiritual junk food; Things that don’t satisfy me (Those certain thrills wear off)
  • Start looking to Christ.
We don’t get satisfaction from pleasure, and I have learned that firsthand. I used to feel so miserable about my body image and so many other things. But, most of the time, it was because I was constantly ignoring the real reasons that were making me feel that way about myself. I was ignoring the guilt and shame; covering it with trips to LA, buying the latest trendy things, hanging out with people, and so on. Sure, I felt great for awhile, but it always came back. Those things that I had to deal with were always hanging over me.
When we aren’t stopping to look around at what we have, we miss out on the fact that we probably already have what we’re looking for. Our contentment comes from Christ, no matter what the situation is. It’s much deeper than just superficial items and the possessions that we own.
After service, we stayed around for awhile to talk with some of our friends at church, along with our family friends that we do just about everything with.

Paul and Tammy, our family friends, came back to our house. We waited for their daughter, Mandy, to meet us and then we split into two cars and headed to Valencia. In the meantime, my mom and I were able to take pictures, which was fun!
This will be the bragging on my mom portion of the post:
Happy Mother’s Day to my mama! She has put up with a lot from me over the years, and continues to today. I’m constantly dragging her to concerts and other events that she might not be too fond of, but she goes because she knows how much it means to me ( i.e – The Jonas Brothers, Parks and Rec Paley Fest or book signings), she has helped me with projects and homework more times than I can count, has listened to my rants and frustrations after school, was forced to watch “stupid” shows with me ( but she knows they always end up growing on her, because I have great taste lol), has dropped me off and picked me up when she would much rather be sleeping in or had other things to do, and has loved me unconditionally even when I’m hard to love. We argue like sisters, but I know that at the end of the day, no one else (along with my dad) is going to love me more. I thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful woman to help me grow into the person I am today… You’re my concert buddy and the Lorelai to my Rory; I don’t know what I’d do without you.

“And I didn’t know if you knew, so I’m taking this chance to say, that I had the best day with you today.” ~T. Swift

For those not familiar with the area, Valencia is home to Magic Mountain and isn’t too far away from LA. In fact, some celebs when they’re first starting out live in the area, because it’s probably much cheaper and is close enough to drive into town every day. Ashley Tisdale even went to high school there, if I’m not mistaken. It’s a beautiful area, with many shopping centers and restaurants, and isn’t as busy as Los Angeles.
Our trip started out very interesting, since we started our conversation about funeral arrangements and whether we’d like to be buried or cremated, and that led to talking about my grandparents’ funerals. It felt a little morbid to be talking about that on such an uplifting holiday! LOL. Then, we eased into dating and feeling butterflies when you start seeing someone and finally, my mom’s birthday party that we’re planning. We were all over the place today!
Denim shirt, black jeans and boots. You can’t go wrong.
We had lunch at one of our favorite places, Rattler’s Bar B Que. It was supposed to be a long wait, but we hadn’t even been there but 15 minutes when they called our name.
We sat down and everyone was acting silly and enjoying themselves. Mandy ordered an appetizer tray with a TON of food on it, and you would have thought we hadn’t eaten in weeks. There were potatoes, onion rings, buffalo wings and more. It was so good!
My mom and I shared tri-tip, which also came with two sides. We had mashed potatoes and the peanut coleslaw! YUM! And we all had multiple garlic rolls. Seriously, though, you can’t have just one. It’s impossible. We were all so full when we finished.

IMG_9652 IMG_9650
After lunch, we went out in the parking lot and there was a Red Bull car driving around. Paul waved to it and they ended up stopping right in front of us, giving us all a free drink. I’ve like never had a full energy drink in my life, so I had one. It was blueberry flavored and pretty tasty, but I don’t know that it actually did anything to give me energy. It was only 1 p.m. or so when we finished up and weren’t in a rush to get back, so we decided to hit the mall.
It’s a beautiful outdoor shopping center with a variety of stores from Macy’s and Charming Charlies to Free People and Sephora. There’s even an outdoor pond with Koi fish and turtles that kept everyone entertained. We were there for about an hour or so, wandering around; going in if something caught our eye. It was cool when we got into town and by the time we left, it was pretty warm. Can’t get over how perfect the weather was.
Isn't it perfect??
Isn’t it perfect??
I ended up getting a T-shirt from Buckle that said, “Just a small town girl…” on it.
1) “Don’t Stop Believin’” has always been one of my very favorite songs.
2) Because Glee. Duh.
3) It is THE perfect thing to wear to the Lea Michele signing in just a couple weeks, which is looking more like a possibility. AHHHHHHH!
Sidenote: I was digging through my purse, trying to put something away and I found 5 dollars!!!! One of the greatest moments ever.

My dad and I :)
So totally random! But, I didn’t mind at all.
A little after three, we decided to head back home. Mandy and I watched some video of a guy proposing to his girlfriend going to EXTENSIVE lengths and made it feel like a movie. He started out in a radio station, sang along with Boyz II Men and *NSYNC, then had a flashmob which turned into another story. Finally, it ended with the actual proposal, where he brought the family in. Mandy was hoping it would make me cry, but it didn’t. HA! I try not to cry in front of people if I can control it.
Mandy and I on our way back to the car!
By the time we got home, I was starting to lose energy. We said goodbye to our friends and just hung out at home for the remainder of the afternoon. I started working on a story I’ve been brainstorming over the weekend and glanced over the stories for the newspaper that were turned in.
For funsies later on, my parents and I took a drive out to the airport to check into something, but didn’t really find any answers. We weren’t there very long, in a nutshell. After that, we had dinner at Fabulous Burger, which pretty much lived up to its title. I had a cheeseburger and a milkshake. SO GOOD! And I felt so sick and full after, so you know it was worth every bite. I also couldn’t help but think that I need to cut back on the junk food this week or go bike riding more.
Then, I needed lunch for tomorrow, so we stopped at WinCo and ended up doing the grocery shopping. It actually wasn’t bad and I don’t think I complained once! WOO! I completed the evening by watching the “Once Upon A Time” finale. HOLY CRAP! HOW AM I GOING TO WAIT UNTIL THE FALL NOW?! Summer hiatus is the absolute worst.
Now, I’m sitting on my bed, watching Glee with wet hair (still needing to brush my teeth and get ready for bed) and dreading school tomorrow. Also, I feel so very unprepared and feel like I have been slacking on so many things that I need to be doing. I needed to print out my stories to edit for the paper and needed to come up with a better outline for my pitch in public affairs reporting and I need to read the Catcher in the Rye. UGH! How many weeks until summer break again?? TOO MANY.
Our school newspaper set up a table during lunch the other day to pass out papers and take story ideas. It was SO hot out, but we all had a great time. We've been doing much better with our team bonding and getting the word out around campus about what we do. It was a great way to break out of my shell and to meet new people and hear what they have to say. 

My mom and I have also been planning her 50th birthday party! Ah! It's so exciting being able to pick out decorations, the food, what we're going to do, who's going to come and all of the other aspects of throwing a get together. We decided to go to Party City to check out a few things, just to get some ideas and I think it's all really starting to come together. 

When we let go of what we want, God always shows up with something better
than we could  have ever imagined.
Aside from that, the last week was nothing like I expected. So many upcoming projects and making sure I meet deadlines that had me stressed out, then an unforeseen event that really shook my family up. It has had me a little paranoid and more fearful over the past few days (especially with sharing so much information or how much is too much online) but I'm working through it. The Lord never gives us anything we can't handle, and I truly believe it's the same with this. He has a plan in everything we experience, and I know He does now. I don't necessarily understand WHY it happened or how it happened the way it did, but the what-ifs and analyzing can kill a person and I just don't know if it's worth it anymore. Sometimes you really do just have to let things go.

Saturday, I spent almost the entire day with my best friend, Marissa. She came over to my house and we caught up for awhile, then had lunch at Wingstop and browsed the aisles at Book Hounds for a couple hours. We both found a stack of books and freaked out when we'd find something really cool. I seriously wanted to squeal or cry when I found the Rob Lowe autobiography, because I have been looking for that every time I go out there. AH! SO EXCITED!
We came back to my house, watched the Dodger game and whatever else was on TV after that, ate pizza and geeked out over our books some more.
Can't wait to read this! 
Sunday, I went to church with my parents and had lunch with them. A little later on, they dropped me off at school so I could edit at the newspaper, I came home to work on an assignment, then we went over to some family friends' house. We ate dinner, talked about my mom's birthday, and watched the Billboard Awards. It was such a great time to get my mind off of everything going on. Being in the company of people I love is the most important thing to me right now. 

Right now, there are two full weeks left of school and finals week, so I'm just trying to keep going. I just have to get everything turned in and finish strong, which shouldn't be too bad. In the meantime, there will be a lot of socializing and a few fun things in between. I'm learning to balance school and having a life much better. I guess it just takes some time to get to that point. You can't rush a good thing.

I guess the hardest part is that not only am I going to school, but it's time to get really serious about things for the future. I mean, sure, that's what I thought I'd been doing this entire time. But, I often look around at everyone else and think 'Do I really have the experience that they do?' So, right now, I'm just trying to build my resume as much as possible and to gain experience. Journalism is all about DOING. If you don't actually DO anything, how are future bosses going to know what you're capable of? Just a thought.

I better get to bed. SUPER FUN day planned for tomorrow. I CAN'T WAIT!
Book signing for "Brunette Ambition!" EEEEK!

That's all for now,
Shelby :)