Thursday, December 30, 2010

Decide. Commit. Succeed.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." -Proverbs 16:3

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." 
-Colossians 3:23

 Do you think those are cheesy ways to begin a list of I-want-tos for a new year? Me too, actually. I bet blogs all across the land are speaking these very verses over themselves in the name of growing and following and becoming better. Well, me too, then. I'll speak it over myself.

I want to be better. A better servant, a better listener, a better cook,a better daughter, a better hugger, a better leader, a better talker, a better confronter, a better example, a better friend, a better lover, a better yogini, a better dancer, a better go-getter, a better sister, a better laugher, a better companion.

I want to be more. I want to be more obedient, faithful, loving, grace-filled, forgiving, compassionate, easy-going, understanding, accepting. 

I want to add er to all that I am: Kinder, gentler, freer, funnier, stronger.

And I want to do things I've never done. Because if I've learned anything this year, it's that I can do things I've never done. I may learn to love it, I may give it up; it matters not. The point is, I can always use new hobbies.  
Things to Accomplish in 2011 
(Think of these like Jack Sparrow would: as guidelines, not set rules)
  •  Have a 15 minute morning devotion before I get out of bed
  • Learn to knit
  • Own a pair of great boots
  • Run a 5k
  • Read my textbooks
  • Get a summer job
  • Cook five new recipes
  • Read 12 books
  • Try two new vegetables
  • Eat an apple a day
  • Talk on the phone more (instead of text messaging)
  • Discover new music
  • Go out of my way to perform acts of service
  • Make homemade lemonade
  • Talk to my mother everyday five times a week, just because I can
  • Have intentional conversation. Lots of it.
  • Have some lots of spontaneity 
  • Travel somewhere above Kentucky

If I don't complete all those bulleted things, I'm telling you right now, I'm okay with that, because that's just what they are: items on a list, things that don't matter unless I choose to give them life. But the other stuff- it matters, either way. It matters because I am a servant, a follower, of Jesus Christ. It matters because I am a leader, because people watch me. It matters because I am about to be given 365 opportunities to make decisions and to wake up and put my hands in the Lord's. Some days I'll succeed, some days I won't, but if I don't grow at all? Well, then 2011 will be a waste of more hours than I care to calculate. If I don't further the kingdom in the next 12 months, then I'm just taking up air, not fulfilling my purpose. The incredible thing is that my purpose isn't yours, and only I can do it. My place is me-shaped, and I was meant for it. And if I do all of that and come out with a few homemade scarves and a glass of lemonade, well, then, I couldn't really ask for more.    

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I'd say 2009 was the year that catapulted me into adulthood. It was during that year that I made one of the biggest transitions of my life, and certainly the biggest one of my life thus far.

2010, then, was the year that I embraced who I am becoming. I'm so different than I ever thought I might be, and I think I've surprised others, too. I didn't know that this is who I would become, but I wholeheartedly embrace the identity God gave me. This was the year that I really felt like an adult, at least as far as decision-making goes. When I have a job, things will be different. A husband, a baby, a retirement funds- all of those things scream "responsibility," and I'm not ready for any of that, but what I was ready for was driving in Atlanta traffic. I was ready to commit to earning an education. I was ready to do my own laundry and buy my own groceries and cook them on my own stove.

I was ready to become a part of a church that God had picked out for me, and to find my way into a group of people there. I was ready to understand how important sleeping and sweating and putting good fuel into my body really is, and to decide to make good decisions regarding that. Yes, 2010 taught me a lot.
Things About 2010 That Make Me Proud
  • Since May 14, I've worked out 5-6 times a week. My body is more toned and stronger and more capable. Sure, it's smaller, too. But I fuel it well and it responds. This adventure opened my eyes to a healthier lifestyle that punches heart disease and diabetes in their faces. And it has taught me that I can also punched the stereotypes that I've concocted for myself in the face, too. Uncoordinated? Always. Unathletic? Weak? Afraid? Not hardly. 
  • My grades showed my professors, my scholarship providers, my parents, and me that I wasn't joking around about this college thing. I'm there to learn. I learned. And I did a darn good job of it. I'm entering Spring 2011 with a 4.0.
  • I crossed several things off my Happy List (which is really just a bucket list): 
      • Make a Real Snowman 
      • Paint a Canvas 
      • Eat a  peanut butter and jelly sandwich
      • Take a Yoga class
      • Own a fantastic little black dress
      • Take a spontaneous road trip
      • I read more books, including, but not limited to The Harry Potter series, Catcher in the Rye, The Joy Luck Club, and The Hobbit.
      • I relearned how to appreciate my own company. I had lots of drives and lots of nights and lots of classes when my comrades were lacking. I learned how to pray with my eyes on the road, how to appreciate a blanket and a movie and a cup of tea, how to wander around a neighborhood and be perfectly content in the world God created- for me.
      • All too often, I withdrew from people instead of stating my feelings, and I'm not proud of that. But I learned the importance of saying "We need to talk," "It hurt my feelings when you...," "I've had a bad day and I need some time," and, most importantly, "I'm sorry."
      • I challenged myself spiritually and God showed up. I Bible studied in groups, and I discipled with a mentor and I had quiet time with coffee and I prayed and I did all of this with faith and my God took my hand. He confirmed again and again this truth: 
          • "Come near to God and He will come near to you." -James 4:8 

      Tuesday, December 14, 2010

      The Semester I Really Learned

      I started out with all sorts of ideas about how this semester would carry out. There was a sweet balance of "been here, done this" and "everything's so new" that day I moved myself in for keeps.I wasn't new at this; why, a year before I'd been shaking in my khaki shorts as my family hauled boxes and bags into 315 Riverside East. And still, the idea of living in an apartment with my best friends kept making me smile all day long. It felt so surreal. Words like perfect and freedom and laughter kept slipping themselves into my thoughts. And in the end, it was perfect and free, and people, there was a lot of laughter. But what else there was took me by surprise. It shocked me. It made me angry.

      Basically, I'd never experienced the stress that such a large load of school inevitably induces. As the girl who showed up on test day in high school and aced it and somehow found her way into not one but two Freshman Compass classes (read: "Write an essay on the difference between high school and college") her freshman year, things like studying for more than one night before the test were foreign to me. But this year, I had whole weeks where I didn't move from my spot on the couch, weeks where I felt guilty for breaking for dinner because "I have stuff to do!" Weeks where I would find myself, mid-Biology notes, thinking about my Human Development test and suddenly, there would be tears that I would whisk away, hoping none of my roommates caught a glance. Weeks that I took out way too much of that stress on way too many people who never deserved a lick of it. And I regret that.

      I pulled out better, shinier grades this semester than I ever have before, which affirms what I knew all along: if I put the work in, I could and would get it done. But I learned that I don't want to live in a world where being destressed is a foreign idea, where, more often than not, I feel guilty for taking dinner breaks. I took that lesson and learned and dropped a class next semester and signed up for yoga. I feel that I am guaranteed a less stressful existence in the start of 2011.

      So, that is my spiel about that. What's up next is all the crazy wonderful bits that I got swept up in, as well.
      August 2010
      moved in, threw Joanna a rockin' Birthday dinner, started class, revisited Summer Snow, learned how to cook black beans

      September 2010
      Went to the lake for Labor Day 2010 (again), Fell in love with Alabama football (again), suffered Round 1 of tests, found out just how wonderful our balcony really is
       October 2010
      Went to Lake Guntersville for Fall Break #1, remembered how liberating it is to (occasionally) skip class, carved pumpkins, became half of a Halloween costume called "Can and A Bowl"
       November 2010
      went to an away game (Tennessee), went to the Harry Potter premiere, went to a square dance, went home for Thanksgiving, met my goal of finishing the Harry Potter books
       December 2010
      I finished strong. And it was awfully hard to say good-bye.  
       At the end of it all, I learned a lot. I learned that allopatric speciation occurs when one species turns into two because of geographical barriers. I learned that widowed men remarry 5 times more often than women. I learned how to build a wrench out of shapes in a computer program, and I tried to convince everyone that Grendel wasn't really a monster. I learned that most of the time, you get what you put into it, whatever it may be. I learned that productivity comes in all kinds of different ways, and that sometimes, unproductive productivity is more important than dishes or homework. I learned that people are more integral to this life than anything else, save for Jesus, who is a person, anyway. I learned that eating together brings you closer to the people around your table. I learned that sometimes, you have to start the conversation. I learned that at the end of the day, I a bold, and that whoever is loving me has to like that sort of thing. I learned that running away because you're scared is a terrible reason to run. I learned that I'm more of a yogini than a runner, anyway. And in yoga, I learned, you have to breathe through the pain. I learned that a family never means "ideal." Instead, a family means "acceptance" and a family means "selflessness" and a family means "I'll hold your hand" and "Please, don't be perfect." And don't worry, I took that lesson to heart.

      Spring 2011? Bring it on. 

      Monday, November 29, 2010

      It's almost Christmas break...

      and I'm sorry! But rather than tell you and 40 year-old-me all the reasons I've been away, I'll save us all a lot of trouble and let it suffice to say that I've been so, so busy with school (and watching all of the Harry Potters), that I just didn't. That's okay!

      So a quick recap:

      October 2010
        There were roasted s'mores+

      my first away game at Tennessee +
      an awfully wonderful Halloween.
      November 2010
      There was Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, and Hermione Granger in our living room
      a midnight showing of Harry Potter 7 (plus I finished the books!) +
      one chilly, wet, sad Iron Bowl.
      (props to us for smiling anyway, I say!)

      Along with these things, there were lots and lots of tests, a couple trips home, yoga, Netflix (one of the best purchases I've ever made), and some freakin' awesome banana bread. That sums it up, but hey, in my future, there is a 34 day break. Do you know what that means? 
      It means sleep. 
      It means home cooked (not by me) meals. 
      It means movie nights.
      It means Christmas tress and filled-up stocking and a baby in a manger.
      It means being across the room from my family, not 120 miles down Highway 82.
      It means no tests for at least 34 days.
      It means lots of time with these guys:

      And it probably means more blog posts!

      Monday, October 4, 2010

      Being an adult ain't no joke

      Look, they all told me. Everybody had lists of lists of reasons why I should hold on to being a kid until I absolutely had to let go. They said, "Live at home until you're 33! Being an adult is hard!" Man, were they right. Before you go feeling sorry for me (Ha! I'm feeling quite a few "I told you so!"s coming my way). let me say that being an adult is fun and that I wouldn't want to be a kid again even if it meant I could eat ice cream every single day because kids do that sort of thing. I really love doing what I want and making my own decisions (this was actually something I really loved as a kid, too, especially when I was a teenager, which really never boded well for me, come to think of it.) But no need to dwell on that, right? I mean, I've felt my remorse and taken my parents out to dinner and put off having children for 15 years. So back to being an adult.

      If there's one thing that I've heard adults cry about that I never really understood it was bills. The bills! They're always either about to clean you out or just cleaned you out and left you eating peanut butter sandwiches. Every single month. It's killer, I tell you, and Mom and Dad, I am sorry that I never did something to alleviate the stress of Bills. I mean, really, if I had known it was this stressful, I would have cleaned the kitchen a heck of a lot more. Promise.

      And it's not just the Bills (but seriously! the bills!). It's the Responsiblity, too. People depend on me. It's almost overwhelming at times. There are people depending on me to cook dinner (which, honestly, is their first mistake.) Some weeks, the church floor won't get vacuumed or the babies won't get watched unless I show up. Freshmen won't get mentored unless I impart my wisdom (I've been looking for places to impart it, anyway.) It's pretty breathtaking, though, to think that I have become a (mostly) beneficial, functioning part of society. And also, I pay my bills on time.

      Whew. I just needed to share about the insanity that is Growing Up. Is it this dumbfounding for everyone, or is it just me? How do you guys feel about bills?

      This week was, apart from the Bills, legitimately stress-free, unlike the week coming up, which boasts a midterm and a biology test and busy mornings, all topped off with a visit home. Just what I like in my first ten days of October :) But, really, I am very optimistic about all of it. I started this morning off with a bright bible study with my best friends while simultaneously eating oatmeal and drinking coffee- very worth waking up at 6:30 for! And then I was productive in the coffee shop like it was my job (which it is, actually, though it doesn't pay. Which doesn't help much as far as the Bills are concerned, but we're past that.) October looks happy, and I'm embracing it, even though every time I think about it being October I almost fall down. School is chugging right along, but at the end of this month I get to go to TEXAS! I've never been to Dallas/surrounding areas, and I'm very excited because I get to road trip there and back in three and a half days with all of my best friends. Maybe we've lost all of our marbles, but that's what makes us fun, or at least that's what we're believing.

      I've got zero new pictures, and I can't even find a semi-recent one that's got everyone in it. So I give you this:
      Lost our marbles? Maybe.
      We are, however, lots of fun.

      Tell me about your week/October plans/ how much you hate Bills!

      Sunday, September 26, 2010

      He's a big kid now?

      If you've been reading for more than 4.3 seconds, you'll know I'm a big fan of words and, by proxy, a big fan of letters. (And if you hadn't been a big reader, there it is. Now you know!) I like to write them and receive them, and hear about them, and watch movies about them (except Letters from Juliet. That was nothing to write home about.) Anyway, my baby is turning seven years old in a few days. Seven. years. old. My baby!

      Okay, Taylor's not mine. I have not been hiding secrets about birthing humans, no. But I stayed with my brother quite a bit around the time Taylor was born, and when his boy was about seven months old, I moved in for keeps. Taylor doesn't remember a time when I wasn't there; to him, my presence was not only normal, but a vital part of our family. I've spent more time in Taylor's life than any of my other actual siblings- and man oh man, I loved every second. Taylor is in first grade, and I doubt the following letter will be reading material for him, but one day, I want him to be able to read. I want him to know that he made me happy and he brought me joy and that without him, my life is missing something.

      Dear T-mac,
      Let me start by saying, sir, that you are one of the most awesome people I know, and I'm including grown-ups in that. You aren't afraid to speak your mind, and because of that, you've constantly got us laughing. We love that about you! It's one of the wonderful things about watching you grow up, but that doesn't mean that your growing up isn't a little bittersweet.

      I remember that when I moved in, having a baby in the house was one of the best parts. See, I'm a baby person. I used to beg to be allowed to take care of you- "Can I feed him?" "Can I give him a bath?" I even wanted to change your diaper! And at night, you and I would lay down in Mom and Daddy's big bed and I would cuddle you until fell asleep (For the record, we watched General Hospital together.) And then, you got older and taking care of you was something I was almost expected to do, and sometimes, I wasn't thrilled about it. I can't tell you how many times I turned down friends during the summer because I "am watching the kids." I have to admit, I wasn't always happy to be responsible for little people and every now and then, I resented making all those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

      And then I moved away. I'd calculated all of the risks: I'd miss so much, so many. But Taylor, I hadn't factored you in. You'd always been there- the little baby in the orange bean bag, the toddler nestled on my hip, the adorable three-year-old with the lisp calling me "Schlindsley," the annoying four year old jumping up and down on the bed- the sassy six-year-old rolling his eyes when I told him no cookies before dinner. And I'd always been there, too: changing your diapers, giving you baths, tucking you in, letting you have cookies before dinner. I've been to t-ball and soccer and baseball. I've watched you as the Shepherd and on the swings. It's what you knew, my presence. And suddenly, we were apart. And I couldn't come.

      I'll never forget coming home. You wait at the door, almost as if you might be waiting so that you could retreat at the sight of me, because honestly, you get a little angry that I go away so often. But instead, you fling the door open and meet me in the yard. And always, the first thing you ask is how long we've got. "How long are you staying? How long until you go?" It breaks me every time that you associate me with leaving, but I know one day you'll understand, because one day you'll pack up and go, too. And then you'll know: it wasn't always fun football games and parties with friends, that independence didn't just mean freedom, but that it's heartache and regret at what's being missed, at the memories that aren't being made and the little boys who are disappointed. (That's not to say it isn't fun- you behave yourself!)

      There's a song- "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart- and that's a little cliche, I know. But oh my soul, it conjures your face every single time. It says a lot, but mostly, "Be courageous and be brave. And in my heart, you'll always stay forever young." That's all I'm saying here, little boy. I want big things for you. I know you're going places and you're going to be making people laugh on your way. And much of the time, when you run by me, I am so happy that you're this wonderful person. But every now and then, I catch the eye of the little baby who would snuggle me in the rocker, or the two year old demanding to watch Shane Falco one more time, and my heart yearns for that you. I hope there's never a day when I can't go back because that boy colored my rainbow every day and the he did it again.

      Basically, love, you hold a part of my heart. I've always known that, but I didn't realize how much of it you actually had until I left it with you when I came to college. I'm sorry about all of the games I've missed, all of the movies I haven't watched with you, all of the stories from first grade that I haven't heard. Don't think for a second that you don't cross my mind, because you do: I often wonder what you're doing, how much you're hating football practice, how many m's you wrote today at school. You're the light that I know will meet me when I pull into the drive, a shine that I can't wait to encounter. You love me even though I leave because you trust that I'll always come back.

      And I promise- I will.

      Happy Birthday, you great big kid, you.


      Tuesday, September 21, 2010

      Tuesday shenanigans

      C'est le mardi, oui?

      For the record, I have a long history of hating Tuesdays. I've got a whole Tuesday philosophy that I'm sure I've mentioned lots of time, especially on Tuesdays when my philosophy was proving true. My first semester of college, my counselor signed me up for a 2.5 hour evening history class. I knew without a doubt that it was on Tuesday nights before I even looked at my schedule. This semester, I'm in class on Tuesdays from 11-6 without a break. Fitting, right?

      So I was recounting my distaste for most things Tuesday to my friend Coston, who was really sharing in it, and then I said, "But good things happen on Tuesdays, too!" And it's so true. I won't go into how today handed me buckets small pea-sized containers of blah (I mean, I won't mention how I lost my Biology book and my favorite yogurt); Instead, I'll tell you some good downright terrific things about today.

      • I woke up before my alarm, and
      • had a DELICIOUS bowl of banana oatmeal and then,
      • knocked out my p90x workout.
      • I was almost late for school but then I WASN'T, and 
      • I made a 100 on my French test!
      • I was able to print off my lab manual (which was in the book I lost),
      • and I finally had the pretzels I've been craving for about a week (+ an iced coffee, YUM!)
      • Lab went smoothly,
      • and we got out early!
      • Dinner with roommates and
      • a great talk with my best friend and
      • making it home in time for Parenthood and
      • French Vanilla pudding.
      Top-notch material, right? Absolutely. I mean, no way can I look back at that and remember how I got caught in traffic this morning due to a detour. It was the pudding that made it, of course (and the coffee.) Moreover, I am all finished with tests for a few days and I'm basking in doing things like sitting around and watching t.v. and finishing Harry Potter. Twas a great day, and the rest of the week ain't looking too shabby either: there's attending The Well and the premiere of Grey's Anatomy and the UA v. Arkansas game (stay tuned for details from a hog roast.) 

      Tell me what was fantastic about your day, and what you're looking forward to this Wednesday-Sunday. Go!

      Just because and such:
      September 2009

      September 2010

      Well, they make my days better all the time.

      Saturday, September 18, 2010


      Sorry about that.

      I took a blog hiatus because it seemed more appropriate than, say, taking a sleeping hiatus. Though actually, i sort of took one of those, too. This week was monstrous. And so, blogging fell by the wayside. But I'm back!

      Let me give you a brief overview, mostly because I'm proud that I made it through: two tests, an entire Photoshop book, 352 points of French homework online, a PS skills evaluation + a PS test, a French test, nursery duty, volunteer duty, small group, dinner with friends, coffee with friends, a party at my house, thrown by me, etc. It's been busy in ways that I don't like to be busy (i.e., I didn't get to watch a stinking minute of TLC, read a page of a book that wasn't school-related, or take any naps.) And I'm actually not finished yet, but I think that I'm through the worst of it, and I aced those tests, by the way. And while I kept my spirits up and my sense of humor handy, thus eliminating any panic attacks, I'm still really, really looking forward to the calm of next week.  

      Anyway, a recap of all things me in the last few weeks via photos:

      I know what you're thinking: What a sweet life! You're so right, friend! I mean, there are downsides to being me, certainly. I have to walk about six miles to get to class every day. I am taking lots of class and therefore my stress levels are usually up and my free time levels are way down. Additionally, I only have six freckles, something that's always kind of torn me up inside. But I have crazy awesome friends who do crazy awesome things like invite me to be dragged behind a boat and brave a thunderstorm to watch my football team beat the pants off other football teams and cram 200 people in a three bedroom apartment for a dance party (needless to say, a lot of sweating ensued, if you were dancing at least. And c'mon, there's no question about whether or not I was dancing.) (See above photos for illustrations.)

      So it was a long, stressful, exhausting, demanding week, but I'd had all these great things the week before to push me through, and lots of great things waiting this weekend to pull me along, and, as it turns out, those days went by and I took those tests, and suddenly, I'm finished and I did it and I'm proud and I'm back.


      Saturday, September 4, 2010

      Life lists

      One of the reasons I'm so obsessed with blogs is because I'm so obsessed with knowing about people. (So basically, I'm nosy. ) I like to know the ins and outs of every one else's lives: tell me about how you almost hit a squirrel on your bicycle. Please, I want to hear about your encounter with that creepy, smelly guy. And please, please tell me what you ate for lunch today. (I really love to know what people eat; call me a funny little bird, but I think I'm not the only one because there are hundreds of blogs that consist of nothing but people eating, taking pictures of their meals, and showing the world. It's kind of strange but really, really addicting.) 

      Anyway, like I said, writing this all out makes me sound peculiar or, at the very least, like I'm lacking a life- not true! Well, strange maybe, but I have a life nonetheless, and I'm also betting that all of these people who read blogs about people who do the same things they do, like catch the train and go to the grocery store and spill coffee on their new flip-flops, like to know about other people, too. And so I'm telling you about mine, via list post, because my goodness, who doesn't love a good list? Oh reader, I love a good list. Gives me a high of sorts. And so, onward bound, to the first Life List. You know, so that you can know me more and you can tell me about you more and we'll all get a good list out of the whole situation. Feel free to comment with your own list, if you have a particular knack for lists like I do (Is the word list starting to look a little funny to anyone?).

      Five Things I do Every Single Day (That Perhaps You Don't*):

      • Eat oatmeal, an apple and frozen yogurt/drink coffee and hot tea (not all at the same time, mind you.)
      • Floss (this is an achievement I'm really proud of!)
      • Jumping jacks
      • Read
      • Watch TLC
      Well, that was a little harder than I thought because while I do lots of things lots of days a week (like watch Regis and Kelly, learn French, and eat grapes) and lots of thing every day that are pretty normal every day activities that you do, too, probably (hopefully, like brushing my teeth and sleeping), there aren't many unique things that I do every, single day, but that's the list I came up with. Your turn!

      *Not that my doing these things makes me better than you if you don't- I just think these may be things that make me a little different. You know, interesting enough that you'd want to read them and tell me your quirks!

      Thursday, September 2, 2010

      The songs of September

      Did anybody almost have a heart attack when they woke up yesterday and it was all SEPTEMBER and stuff? You know, your calendar had run out of days and when you flipped the page, it was WHAM! September! and you clutched your chest and wondered how could it BE? Just me? Luckily, when I walked outside the weather, at a cool 94 degrees and 69% humidity, reminded me of summer. So, no heart attacks.

      But really, September is the great big banner that screams SUMMER IS OVER. Sure, school starts in August, but there are those great few weeks at the beginning when everyone's getting acclimated and reading syllabi and mapping out routines and the like. By September, all of those things have run their courses and it's time to get busy. For example, I had my first test today. That's right. It was French and I think it went okay and it's totally and completely in the back of my mind until later. But you want to know what's on my mind? (My mind, your mind, approximately 800 million fans' minds, actually.) I'll give you a hint:

      FOOTBALL! The season opening of the reigning National Champions is Saturday and I HAVE A TICKET. In fact, I have a ticket to all of the home games. It's like payback to my brother for that early curfew that I hated for so long, because man, he would kill for this. (To add insult to injury, I get the package for $5 a ticket. Ha!) After the game, we will celebrate our win by vacationing at the lake because Labor Day is here! (Hey, just because September almost gave me a heart attack doesn't mean September isn't welcome! Yay, September, we like you!) 

      Oh man. I may or may not survive. In a good way.

      I'm really excited for September because I think that perhaps the shock (and the hot weather) of such an extreme change will wear off a bit, and my routines will naturally fall into place. In fact, that's already happening, and it's working. I can't wait for fall temps, and fall leaves, and fall smells (think pumpkin and apple pie, oh my word, yes, please!) Moreover, I have a feeling there will be more and more splendid memories made throughout September, like these from August:

      I'm actually cut out of this shot, but you can imagine the fun that was happening.

      Ah, reunited and taking photos to prove it.

      So see, September took me by surprise. Maybe it's because I spent all summer counting down the days until this was my life again, and then once it was, I stopped counting and started living and it's going so quickly. But still, I can't wait for these 30 September days, and I am especially stoked for this first weekend. If I live through the tubing again, then I'll be back with pictures on Tuesday. Bonne weekend!

      Saturday, August 28, 2010

      And then I was a couch potato.

      Gracie and Janie were both going out of town this weekend (and Joanna's middle name is super busy), and because I never got to come home on that Tuesday a few weeks ago due to a flat tire, I thought that it would be a splendid opportunity to come back, collect some things I left behind, and hang out with my fam. Also, I had have lots and lots of homework to do. Oh my goodness, Internet. What a wonderful idea it was.

      It was a long drive, complete with a shady rest area stop, an hour long thrunderstorm, and construction, but it was worth it fo sho. I went straight to my high school's season opener (we were the reigning state champs for three years, so football is a big deal around here) and then watched a movie with Lori. This morning I slept until 9 (!), and then had a crazy delicious bowl of oatmeal (I was starving after all that sleeping and having Cocoa Krispies [so nutritious, I know] for dinner) an coffee. I really needed to do some reading, but I ended up sitting and watching Property Virgins on TLC for two hours! Then, I came downstairs to try and read biology down here, but I kept getting distracted by the Kardashians that Lori was watching and my family. Whoops. Eventually my family left to go to a birthday party and I got busy and did some biology and French homework. Then, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I took a bath and drank some iced coffee and blogged and wore no make up and it was FABULOUS.

      I even walked outside for a whole three minutes to check the mail and considered going for a run because it was a cool 89 degrees in the shade. My better judgement persuaded me not to, though, because my muscles are tired and tomorrow we're starting a new exercise program (p30X, as opposed to p90X). Also, 89 degrees starts feeling hot four minutes into it, so I went back inside for more blogging.

      It has been SUCH a perfect Saturday. I really, really needed a bunch of sitting and doing nothing. There's dinner with my family in my future and I am super pumped about that, too. It doesn't take too much to make me happy, I suppose- iced coffee, books, blogs, oatmeal, bananas. Here's to more weekends like this one.

      Getting with it

      Holy cheese and rice! My apologies for abandoning posting at a time when I'm sure so many are feverishly checking daily to be updated on my scintillating life, but (oh, that's just Gracie? Shucks.) this week has much! It's been challenging and it's been overwhelming, but it's been wonderful and sweet, too. Mostly, it's been busy, and so, at any given time, I've been at the gym or in the kitchen or (only occasionally) in the bed. It's been a week of learning and adapting and figuring out new routines and how exactly to transition back from "I have nothing to do but read Harry Potter" to "I've abadoned Harry Potter, poor Harry Potter!" (I miss Harry Potter.)

      You college-y people know what I'm saying when I say that I'm taking 17 hours. To you folks who aren't quite so familar with collegeness, let me just say that it's A LOT of class. More than I anticipated, even. And I am definitely up-to-date on my collegeness. I've never spent this much physical time in class before. Remember the good old days of freshman year? No? Well I do, vividly. My first semester I only had classes on Tuesday and Thursday, for five hours on Tuesday and three on Thursday. Oh, and one on Monday. (And I took 15 hours that semester. I'm still not sure how it came down to that.) This semester, I have class for at least two hours a day, with seven (7!) on Tuesday and five on Thursday. And the studying rule assumes that for every hour you spend in class, you spend two outside of class. Now, we all know math isn't my strong point, but can we just note that I have lots of schoolwork?

      I spent this week trying to figure out how to go about making it all work. I shoved Clif bars down my throat for lunch and squeezed in time at the gym every day and drank coffee like it was going out of style. No, really. NO, REALLY. (Come on roommates, back me up here. Tell 'em how much coffee we drink.) And still, I tried to make sure I got at least seven hours of sleep a night because all of that working out and running to and fro to get to class demands sleep. I worked hard to get my body on a schedule this summer, to find out what kinds of foods and exercise and sleep my body needs to be its healthiest, and I refuse to sink back into unhealthy habits. Those habits, I'm learning, are only partially about eating. Sleep is important and sleep is good and I like sleep. I'm making it a priority or, basically, I'll just fall out dead. I haven't tested this theory out yet, but I stand firm in my hypothesis.

      Are you wondering how it all works? I'm learning that this year (and subsequent years, probably) is going to look a lot different because of the classes I'm taking and life choices I'm making (i.e. what's important to me now that hasn't been in the past. Read: sleep.) and overall growing up I must do. And because this is not only an outlet now but a record for later, I think I may want to know how I swung it all. And slept. So, I picked a day to give you- and 45-year-old me- an idea. Also, this week had some added kinks of the functioning car kind, and that sort of threw me for a loop at times. Hopefully such things will not repeat.

       (This particular Wednesday was August 25, 2010, but other Wednesdays are likely to look like this, I would imagine. Minues the aforementioned car issues which went on Monday and Tuesday, too.)
      8:00 a.m.: Wake (without an alarm! Snaps for body adjusments!)
      8:30.: COFFEE. NEED COFFEE.  (Have a cup + put a cup into freezer for iced coffee later.)
      9:00.: Oatmeal + brown sugar + yogurt + a whole glass of water
      8:30- 9:45: Blogging, email, Live with Regis and Kelly (in place of TLC because I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant creeps us out at 9 in the morning. Or any time, really. Listening, TLC?) roommate bonding (my favorite part of the day!)
      9:45-10:15: Shower, get dressed, listen to music, get ready for day mentally (read: plan until you can plan no more, and then formulate a plan b)
      10:15: Realize I'm almost late, make iced coffee (coffee, milk, splenda), grab lunch, keys, sunglasses
      10:20: Head to school (on this particular day, I rode with Janie because I thought I had flat tires. I had over inflated tires.)
      10:30: Arrive in parking lot (also known as EGYPT.) Stalk walkers to their cars. Vicously steal their parking spots. (Another option is to circle the parking lot 48 times, find no spots, and head to one in West Egypt.)
      10:37-10:53: Power walk the mile to class; arrive sweating, breathing heavily, and appearing frazzled. (I like to smile at people here so they know that while I may be frazzled, I've had six cups of coffee already and am in a downright terrific mood, generally spekaing.)
      11:00- 11:50: Speak, write, curse, pray in French.
      12:00 p.m.-1: Speak, write, curse, pray in English (albeit Old English/ Anglo-Saxon)
      1:10-1:35: Lunch at dining hall: turkey, lettuce, provolone, tomato, pickles, mustard on wheat + salad + apple
      1:40: Library (this includes Facebook, Google Reader, AND homework, I swear.)
      2:00: Janie: "Let's go home and do a p90X workout! No gym!" Lindsey; "Super idea!"
      2:30: Arrive home, sit on couch, watch TLC
      3:30: Take car to have deflated and faith in said car reinstated
      4:30: KenpoX
      5:30:  Begin dinner preparations (chicken noodle soup + french bread + brie + salad w/ onion, tomato, celery, & cucumber. We later added blueberries and grapes.)
      6:30- 7:10: Eat, drink, be merry with friends
      7:10: Shower, scrunch, smooth, etc.
      8:00: The Well (for you non-Tuscaloosians, this is a gigantic college worship service)
      10:00: TCBY: The Wednesday Night Social Scene (actually, we hit up Starbucks for some decaf instead and then went to TCBY) (We also invited a friend, switched venues, showed up late, and forgot to tell him. So then we took him some yogurt because we felt bad.)
      11:15: Arrive home, have frozen Yoplait on the couch, watch a little Remember the Titans
      12:15 a.m.: Bed, bed, bed

      So that's a typical day. Honestly, that down time from 3-5 happened only on that day, and by Thursday night I was so exhausted that I couldn't even attend any social going ons that night, ones I had really planned on going to. Instead, I stayed home, washed clothes, did homework, and ate a sweet potato. I am the poster child for a rowdy college student, I'll tell you.

      Happy 19th Birthday, Joanna!

      My bff, fellow Coke Scholar, devoted blog-reader, rommate, etc.

      First day of classes/ rommate bonding

      Hey, see all those smiles? You can't argue with them. It may be busy and challenging and crazy, but it's so very rewarding I'll take it!

      Saturday, August 21, 2010

      School 101

      Whoa whoa whoa. I'd forgotten everything. I'd forgotten about buying books, how it feels to actually go to class, how much sweating is involved with walking around in Alabama August heat all day long, how to grab lunch in 20 minutes and run off somewhere else, how your shoulders feel after lugging around a back pack for three hours. Moreover, I'd forgotten how wonderful it feels to "get it," how gorgeous our campus is no matter what time of year, how incredible it is to be able to hang out with your friends any old time you want.

      I started school on Wednesday and whoa: I'd forgotten. It took me a few days to adjust. I'm allergic to change, and August always, always forces me to do tons of it, but this has been welcome, happy (albeit occasionally stressful) change. Still, I had to learn how to work commuter parking, which involves stalking walkers to their cars and then edging forward as they reverse so the guy on the other side knows I STALKED THIS WALKER, IT'S MINE, BUCK-O. I had to spend approximately $73,409 on books, which means I'll never, ever eat again. I got lost! (I found it, but really, isn't that more of a 2009 sort of thing?)

      But people, I fell back in love. I get to learn, see. That sounds cheesy, sure, but I'm a first generation student, and when they asked me in an interview for a FG scholarship what it meant to be able to go to college, I said, "I feel really, really privileged to be the one who gets to keep learning." And I still feel that way. I'm still getting used to walking down the street and running into people who spent the last three months light years away from me, but isn't that a splendid change? Uh, yeah!

      It's been a week packed full of new routines and old friends, carefree lunches and stressful parking lot circling, feeling at home and...loving it.