Monday, September 27, 2010

Work Hard and Play Hard

Not sure how long this post will be but I wanted to write about this past weekend before it got too far away from me...

This weekend I house-sat for my mom's friend and took care of the lady's three pugs. I'm not a big fan of dogs but I enjoyed having some space to myself that was quiet and relaxing (with the occasional snorting and barking sounds!). I was able to get my assignment and reading done for my class on Tuesday. Feels good to have that all done! The only thing I need to do is finish typing it up but at least the actual work part of it is done.

Yesterday I had to work all day so I didn't get to come home until about 5:30pm. As soon as I did I changed from my work clothes and got into my pajamas. I always have to do that when I get home! While I was charging my phone, putting away my overnight bag and all I was asked by Janelle to go out to dinner. I would have gone but felt like it was important to at least stay home long enough to eat a meal with everyone. Also, mom had made this delicious new recipe so I wanted to try it.

After dinner, I checked my phone and saw I had a text message from my new friend Jason. He said that Janelle and her husband wanted to go bowling and wondered if I would be able to join. Since I wanted to hang out with all of them anyway-- I was thrilled they had come up with that idea! So that worked out just fine. Funny part is, when I got to Drew and Janelle's house I saw another text on my phone saying they wanted to go to the 11pm cosmic bowling time. I had to laugh, I'm SO not a night owl! But hey, I was already at their place and I wanted to have some fun. Plus, I think it is good once and awhile to just get out!

I got to their apartment around 8pm so we had a few hours to use up before bowling. It took awhile to agree on something but we finally did. We ended up going to a coffee shop near the library in town, which I have been wanting to go to for years. Whenever I pass by it I always think, "someday I'll try it out!" And now my curiosity has been satisfied. I liked it quite a bit. Apparently, a lot of other people like it too. The seating was fairly crowded but we managed to find an empty table outside. I love how the outside is decorated! On the shrubs around the patio, thee shrubs had strings of white lights on them. Great atmosphere for hanging out!

When we were done with our drinks we set off for the bowling alley. Besides the nasty music videos that were playing on the large screens, we all had a blast. We were able to make light of the potential awkward environment so that was good. Oh, and I didn't fail too miserably... though I am sure the number of my gutter balls was WAY more than my good shots. I just kept saying that I was rockin' the gutter balls. haha

I didn't get into my bed until about 1:20am last night and then had to work all today. Though I am really tired today (and my wrist is wacked out!) it was totally worth it. I'm so glad I got to spend time with Janelle, Drew and Jason! I've missed hanging out with Janelle and Drew since as you know (probably repeated this too much) that I've been crazy busy. So it was a good opportunity to just have fun with them. Plus it was another great time to get to know Jason too-- it's a blessing to make a new friend!

Tonight I'm going to get some more social time in.. heading over to Janelle and Drew's place for Bible study. Not sure how I'll be conscious this evening but I'll manage. haha

Hope you all had a good weekend! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Slow Me Down

"Rushing and racing and running in circles, Moving so fast I'm forgetting my purpose, Blur of the traffic is sending me spinning, Getting nowhere..." --Emmy Rossum, "Slow Me Down"

I will admit that this month has been a huge challenge in doing that thing called balance. I'm no where near stressed like I was last year with student teaching full time (AND that blasted work sample)... but I am definitely too busy. I feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to get lots of hours this month-- it has given me lots of time to learn the job and also to make money. In the first two weeks of this month I worked 49.5 hrs and in these last two weeks I'm scheduled for 39 hours. Yes, I chose to take those extra shifts but it was also needed as we have been short 3 employees. Sooo yeah...

Adding all of that into the mix with my two classes has been interesting. I have been able to get my school work done in a timely fashion but I feel like my social life is lacking a little bit. Right now, I feel it is very important for me to be around my friends (that includes some family members too!). I have several really solid friends and they have been such a blessing. I can hardly put into words how thankful I am for all of them. They have helped me to find my voice again and to stand firmly in what I believe. Some of these friends are here and some are far away... wherever they are, they have touched me so deeply. Some I talk to almost daily and some I know that they are there (like that quote about stars in the daytime) even when I don't talk to them for periods of time. Thank You, thank You, thank You God for these amazing people in my life.

These friends are also what keeps me sane and they help my brain to slow down a little! And when life gets a little chaotic and stormy, I know that I am not alone. And as for the good parts of life, like those Godly stirrings-- it's exciting to share those times with friends. There's just a mixture of things going on right now to say the least.

Funny how so many of my posts lead back to my friendships. I sincerely hope that next month is a little more balanced. I think it will be-- I have requested days off and some new people are getting hired (YAY!). So... yes, it shall be okay.

Ha, love how my post was flowing and now I'm sort of stopping and conversing. Honestly though, this is a good reflection of my thought process these days. I have been so spacey-- feel like it all has been a blur lately. I don't like that at all. Wish I could've explained myself better yesterday. It was sort of a positive and negative post. It just feels weird right now to have good things going on within me while at the same time things around me are going a little haywire. I haven't felt this way before. I'm thankful that I do though. This personal strength is helping me to deal with what is around me-- I praise God for it too. I honestly didn't think I would get to this point. I hope and pray I never lose it either.

Ok- also, I do want to clarify too that what is going around me is certainly not the worst thing that could happen to me. I hope I don't sound like I am having the worst problem in the world. I seriously have a fear being misunderstood-- I know for a fact that someone in this world is going through something far worse than I will ever experience in my lifetime. So, yeah.. I feel better saying that. I know, I know, I know that life isn't about me. I hope I never sound like I am not humble.

I think I will end this post here tonight rather than confuse you even more. I plan on writing an actual update soon since it has been awhile since I have done that! With all that said, good night world... Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Something is Stirring...


1. rousing, exciting, or thrilling
2. moving, active, bustling, or lively

I'm fairly tired, trying to get over a cold, my mind is going 90 miles an hour with so many thoughts and my heart feels like it is changing. In honor of the first official day of Fall, it seemed appropriate to write a little post about change. This probably won't be a long one because I need to get to bed, but I need to process my thoughts a little.

There is so much going on around me and in me these days. I can't write the details of the "around me" situation as it would not be appropriate. So I am sorry for the vagueness. While I do love sharing my life and being honest, I also don't believe in disclosing everything on the internet. With that said, this one situation is going on around me but it is not my problem to deal with. I can only pray that God will be in the midst of everything and that HIS will WILL be done. I do feel very stressed being around such a problem and I can't let myself get swept away in it all again. I am an individual, a 23 year old woman, working on my relationship with Jesus, building a life of my own with friends, doing a running plan, working at my little part-time job, going to school, staying in touch with close family members... so many good things. I feel so much joy because of all of it. So blessed. All of this is ME. This is what separates me from the storm that isn't mine. I'm so glad that God has been working my life to get me where I am today.

Now, for the in me... I feel like there is something going on in my heart these days. I can't pinpoint it exactly but I feel like God is really starting to dig into me. I love it too. I feel like He is working on the rough edges and helping me to see the areas I need to work on. Believe me, there are mannnny rough edges!

One area that God is trying to smooth out is my fear of commitment. May sound strange but it is true. For the past few years, the thought of being committed to anything has freaked me out. In my heart and mind the word commitment has been synonymous with the word stuck. Fear of being committed to Teach for America; a contract for 2 years in a whole new environment... Fear of getting my own classroom someday and not liking it (yes I am embarrassed to say that)... or Fear of being with someone and realizing I AM unhappy. Horrible. I can't live like this anymore. There are plenty of psychological reasons behind my issues with that which I won't delve into. Last night, I felt like I was convicted to pray about that problem. I can't live a life with that barrier around my heart-- I will never be able to see a wonderful opportunity or person if I hold onto that negative thought process. God can use that amazing bond of commitment for so many parts of life. There is joy that comes with commitment and I want to be open to it. I need to LET GO.

Ironic how life seems to mirror the changing seasons but I think that is purposeful. I have no idea what may come tomorrow, the next day or even this cozy season of fall... but one thing I know right now: something is stirring.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Lesson in Humility

"Pride comes with disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." --Proverbs 11:2

I'm thankful that God has already been convicting me on this important value called humility. Even so, I had a sour dose of it on Friday night. I have also experienced mercy and grace in this the fiasco. I feel very blessed and fortunate that everything is okay.

On Friday night, at work, I made the silly mistake of putting the receipt paper in the printer "backwards." This was only my second time putting in the paper-- though it isn't rocket science. When I tested to see if the paper worked, I thought it was strange how nothing printed. However, I thought it was just an error with the computer and didn't even think to double check.

Unfortunately, I found out the "sour way" that I had made a mistake. I was re-merchandising a shelf unit when I saw my co-worker start to ring the customers up (and mind you, there were several-- it was a busy evening). When the transaction wouldn't print she said, loudly, "Angela you put the printer paper in wrong..." And the worst part is, that when she put the receipt paper in correctly- only half of the receipt would print. So something got messed up with the printer head (which I learned later was more of a coincidence than anything else!). Of course, I was extremely embarrassed and all of the customers were looking at me. I couldn't believe how dumb of a mistake that was; something so simple!

The rest of the night was pretty irritating and a blow to my psyche (to be honest- I was flipping out!). I contacted the help line for the registers but unfortunately, the tech guys didn't do much besides stress me out more. I called my manager and she came in later to check on the situation. She was very nice about it and comforted me. She knew it was a mistake. I was pretty good about not crying over it the whole evening until we talked about it. That's when I started to get emotional. Ahhh...

So anyway... Good news is that she said the register could still be used (the part of the receipt that wasn't printing wasn't a big deal). Today I worked and the printer was better, some of the ink still is kind of light on the receipts. Whew.

My manager was very sweet and called me today to see how I was doing. She was concerned with how personal I took the situation but she was proud of me for trying to solve the problem. That made me feel better! She also isn't mad at all and is very understanding of mistakes. I feel so blessed to have a merciful manager and co-workers.

It's amazing how one little mistake can lead to that tough lesson of humility. It made me blush tomato red, cry for a few minutes, cringe and want to crawl under a rock. But I survived. I can't laugh about it yet but someday I will. As my manager says, "Things just happen!" Oh, that is so true.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

C25K: Week 5 Update

"Running is a great metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it."

I completed the 5th week of the Couch to 5K Plan yesterday! The last day of training in Week 5 consists of a 20 minute run, no walking. Yesterday was the first day of running non-stop. It was also raining like cats and dogs so I felt like I was doing two sports at once: swimming and running. haha I enjoyed it though-- the air was fairly warm (but muggy) so I was able to run in my shorts. I am always happy to not have to use my long running pants!

The only negative part of yesterday's run was that I started to "over-think." Usually my mind has been fairly quiet when I've been running so it was kind of strange. When I was nearing the last 5-7 minutes of my run I had to stop for about 30 seconds. I was thinking too much about a funny sensation I was having (most likely an odd feeling due to eating yogurt a couple of hours prior to the run).... so I slowed down and walked a little bit. Once I got myself mentally organized I pushed onwards for the last few minutes. I made up for the those 30 seconds too; I was determined to have a complete 20 minute run. I guess that is all that matters is that you get yourself together and keep going.

Truly, I can't believe it has been five weeks since I started the program. From what it looks like, I'll be finishing the plan in early October. I'm contemplating doing this race called "Run Like Hell" that is at the end of next month. I would love to celebrate the end of the C25K with a race.

And here is what the 5th week of the plan looked like...

Friday (10th)
5 minute brisk warm-up walk
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Monday (13th)
5 minute brisk warm-up walk
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)

Wednesday (15th)
5 minute brisk warm-up
Jog 2 miles (or 20 minutes)
*No walking!
Side note: calculated my run on and found out I went ~1.98 miles. So yeah, that's pretty much 2. haha

Yes, so that's how that week went. I'm starting on Week 6 tomorrow!! By the end of Week 6 I'll be jogging 25 minutes. I really need to find a new route... hmmm...

Happy running (or exercising if you aren't a runner)!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

C25K: Week 4 Update

"Stadiums are for spectators. We runners have nature and that is much better."
--Juha Vaatainen

I have been horrible about writing updates for the "Couch to 5K Running" plan that I'm doing. Really though, there hasn't been that much to say up until Week 4. That's because Week 4 basically kicked my butt. haha On Friday 10th I started Week 5, which is challenging too. Think the last few weeks of the program will be increasingly harder but that's okay. :)

Week 4 consisted of this plan for all three days (I run on Monday, Wednesday & Friday):

Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk
Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-2.5 minutes)
Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

I think what was the most challenging about the above plan was the increase of alternating walking and running. Also, the length of running time is significantly increased from Week 3. In Week 3 you only alternate four times.

Anyway, I am thoroughly enjoying this entire running plan so far. I love how it has gradually built up my stamina-- focusing on the time versus the mileage has been a better perspective for me. Plus, I feel like I run farther when I just focus on the time. Speaking of which, with this plan I have been running ALL over the neighborhood. Since I know I have to run for either 3 minutes or 5 minutes (etc...) I have to be creative with the routes I take. I have to take routes that will allow me to run safely and also finish the running plan for the day (usually I try to end at home but a lot of times the end of my run occurs a couple of blocks before my house. Thus, I just end up walking rest of the way and /or running real slow).

I find it so refreshing to see new places once and awhile. I am feeling a little limited though because there are quite a few busy roads where I live and some streets don't have sidewalks. I tried a new route yesterday and didn't feel too great about the location... Need to figure out somewhere new! When I'm finally running for 30 minutes I know of some good places to go-- they're old cross country practice runs.

Running is sooooo good! I just love how it makes me feel all over. During the day after my run, I always feel like I can breathe easier and fuller. I love how my muscles feel when they've been stretched and well-used. I also love how running clears my head. Sometimes I don't even think when I run-- I love that mental quietness. Just me, the pavement, the sun beating down (if I'm lucky- certainly was yesterday), sweat beading up on my skin, my leg muscles powering me through and the entertainment of fellow humans and nature. :) Love, love, love!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pictures for Previous Post

I'm sorry that I did not get these pictures posted any sooner. Every day I have been wanting to write but just have not had the time. I've been working every day since Wednesday (tomorrow ends my 6 day streak) so I have not had much free time! I'm hoping that after tomorrow there will be some normalcy. haha We shall see!

I'm pretty tired this evening so I am just going to post these pictures to go along with my previous post, "Keep the Change, Throw Out the Junk."

(Here's all of the items we gave away on Friday! And yes, I did end up needing my flash anyway, thanks to the clouds. haha And the tree and plants you see are fake ones. We are tired of dusting them and we don't like them anymore. We still have some in our house, my guess is will get rid of them all within the next year or so.)

(Here are the Frappucino bottles I was talking about. I hope it is okay to post this picture too. But I wanted ya'll to see what I mean. One bottle for all the regular coins and then the other for the new quarters with the state picture/designs on 'em.)

Oh, and before I end this blog tonight I want to note that Granny had dinner at our house this evening. She had been hanging out here today while my aunt and uncle took care of some errands. I wasn't sure if she would be here when I got home from work. She was though! She stayed with us for dinner; it was great to spend time with her. She has really improved since she got back to Oregon. She's able to move fairly smoothly with the walker and she doesn't look as tired. I'm so blessed that she has recovered and is staying positive no matter what. :) Praise God!

Hope you all have had a good weekend! I'll try to write more again-- crossing my fingers for tomorrow.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Keep the Change, Throw Out the Junk

"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things." ~Elise Boulding

I'm always interested and amused by the type of customers that come into Hallmark. The population varies depending on the time and day of the week. Often during the weekday afternoon time there usually is a trend of elderly people, mothers with their children and some single individuals (those that come in by themselves- not sure how to classify that group). Among these shoppers today, there was a pattern that made me a little concerned.

When customers were paying for their purchases today, many of them wanted to give me exact change. It was very nice of them to do so because it made the transaction easy for me. However, I was bothered when people kept saying they wanted to use their coins because their "purse was getting heavy," or "they were taking up so much room." Basically, the coins were an imposition to the customer. Yes, coins are the heavier part of our currency but they also have a lot of value.

Whenever people used phrases like that today all I could think about was: "Why not save them then? Take them out of your purse or pocket and store them up." Those little coins can add up quickly!

Think about this (yes, this is common knowledge for those of us in the U.S. but I think it is good to look at this again):

1 dollar =
100 pennies
20 nickles
10 dimes
4 quarters

I know there are many other combinations to make a dollar, but I don't want to get into those minute details. My main point is that every coin matters when it comes to saving money. And it all adds up into something much greater! You can't see the savings grow overnight but yet in time it can be quite spectacular.

One of my favorite ways save my coins is to put them into separate glass bottles (I have been putting coins into old Starbucks Frappicino bottles). I have a special bottle that I use for the quarters that have a state design on them, I call them my "special coins." When I checked awhile back, I had about 40 dollars in that bottle. Though I have quite a bit of money in that bottle I am not going to take it to the bank until it is all full.

For the other bottle, I just save all the regular coins-- that is what I do when my wallet gets too stuffed. Now that bottle is completely full. I also put regular coins into my other piggy banks.

I credit my mother on my habit of saving coins. She has been very deligent over the years in saving her coins. Usually every week or every other week, she will take the coins from her wallet and save them in different places. She always puts some coins in my sister's and my piggy banks (she divides the amount she has). Since she's been so good about this; she is actually more of the reason why my one bottle is so full! :) Thanks Mom!

I also want to add that my mom also tries to save certain paper bills. If she gets a new ten and five dollar bills she puts them into separate envelopes. I think this is a neat idea.

Though there are many other ways I would like my family to save, I am thankful that my mom has set a good example of these savings techniques. These little coin savings have added up and been worth it. So, I am encouraging you to do the same-- every penny does matter.

On another note, I want to also mention that I have motivated my mom to massively de-clutter the house! A couple of weeks ago I started going through everything in my room and was able to create four giveaway bags. I am still convinced I could clear out more-- need to check once again. I absolutely LOVE getting rid of stuff I don't need. I feel like stuff just weighs me down and gets in the way. What is the use of having things that I don't need, want or use anymore? Plus, things like that could be used for a better purpose. Perhaps someone who is less fortunate than I am could get more use of out of my unwanted items. I would rather have my unwanted old shirts and sweaters clothe the body of someone who needs them.

Anyway, back to the "Great Giveaway" (that's what I call it in my head). My mom has been motivated to go through numerous items in the attic and on the side of the house. We have piles of items to give away sitting by the doorway. Union Gospel is coming tomorrow to pick the items up! We love giving our items away to that organization-- our next door neighbors, who told us about them, are always giving away items to UG. Funny enough, our next door neighbor has items set out to give to UG tomorrow too.

We're also going through boxes and boxes of cards that we have recieved throughout the years. We're recycling all of the cards that we don't want to keep. I am being selective in the ones I keep though it is a challenge sometimes. There are some that aren't worth keeping: like the ones that were given to people that I don't know. And some cards I am keeping to upcycle them; not keeping many for that though. Feels good to downsize my boxes. Less is more.

I hope that I can encourage you to store up those little coins when you can and to give away what you don't need. :)

*might add some pictures to illustate this tomorrow... I don't like using the flash on my camera when I don't have to... love the natural light. lol

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stuck Like Glue

"There you go making my heart beat again,
Heart beat again, heart beat again,
There you go making me feel like a kid,
Won't you do it and do it one time?
There you go pulling me right back in,
Right back in, right back in,
And I know I'm never letting this go...

I'm stuck on you,
Stuck like glue,
You and me baby we're stuck like glue...."
I just love this new country song called "Stuck Like Glue" that's out by Sugarland! Sugarland sings this song with a lot of enthusiasm, as usual, and the beat is very catchy. It is one of the songs that I blast in my car when it plays on the radio!

"Stuck Like Glue" is really a love song but I think it can actually be about friendship too. I think that good friendships can be likened to glue. The effort, love, commitment, acceptance, respect, joy, sympathy, empathy, memories (and many other things) are the ingredients in that bond called friendship. For your visual purposes, when I say the word glue I'm actually thinking of that liquid Elmer's stuff. The kind that makes us shudder when we think little kids experimenting with it because... well, glue has the potential to be very messy, especially if there's glitter, feathers and pom-poms involved.

Tissue paper, beads, and cotton balls aside, friendship-- like glue, is that wonderful adhesive between two people. Of course, like hardened glue between two sides, there is the possibility of the bond weakening over time through aging and weathering. To prevent this from happening, sometimes the glue needs to be reapplied in different areas--- the weak spots need to be evaluated and filled in (if it is meant to be). Sometimes a little more glue is needed just to strengthen the bond even more. And in the case of new friendships, that glue is fresh and takes time to fasten together. If you've ever watched a kid with a whole wad of glue, attempting to stick two pieces of material together, it's quite hilarious. It is particularly interesting because the glue tends to get everywhere. The two pieces of material tend to slide against each other until firmly pressed in place.

With that said, I had a great Labor Day weekend. I spent most of my time with my friends, which was such a blessing. I enjoyed being out and about-- enjoying that thing called freedom. ;)

On Saturday evening, after work, I went over to Janelle and Drew's apartment. They were hosting an open-house party for Janelle's birthday. I enjoyed getting to see their friends again (met them at Drew's party in July). I also learned that when one turns 24 it must be the "Year of the Flower" or something gets tweaked in the minds of party-goers. Yes, everybody, including me, that came to Janelle's party brought her flowers-- bouquets or potted ones. It was pretty hilarious! Janelle's apartment looked like a very pretty spring garden. haha

Janelle's party was very fun. I'm so glad that I was able to celebrate with her and everyone else. I enjoyed getting to know her friends better. We also played a few rounds of a Bible Trivia game. We started out with the adult questions but they were a bit too challenging for us. So, we went on to the kids' version... much better!

On Sunday, I went down to Salem for the day to visit my good friend Andrea. We both try to see each other every month. When I visit her for lunch, I usually stay with Granny overnight. However, Granny is staying at my aunt's house now as she recovers. I didn't see Andrea last month because my schedule was hectic and I didn't know what all was going on with the family. Since we've made the commitment to see each other, I felt it was important to uphold that-- totally worth the gas and drive (love the drive actually- it's through the beautiful country). I'm so glad that distance cannot separate good friends.

When I got home in the late afternoon on Sunday, I had a little time to change out of my cute outfit to something more comfortable. Drew, Janelle and Jason picked me up to go to Drew's company picnic. Friends and family were included in the picnic announcement, which is why Jason and I were included. The four of us had a great time hanging out together-- it was fun to get to know Jason better too. While Drew participated in some of the funny company activities (like the water balloon toss and seed spitting contest), Janelle, Jason and I attempted to keep ourselves warm- we sat around most of the time and chatted. Yeah, it was a VERY chilly day for a picnic. There is no doubt the seasons are changing.

After the picnic was over, we still wanted to hang out. We attempted to go to the 24 hour Starbucks but it wasn't open, probably due to holiday hours. So, thankfully, Moonstruck was open! Even though we had been cold from the picnic we decided to sit outside in the courtyard, but it wasn't too bad. The courtyard was fairly protected from the wind and my hot chocolate kept me quite comfortable. Plus, we all were thoroughly enjoying each other's company. That was a great way to unwind (as Janelle perfectly stated)...

Hope that you all had a great Labor Day weekend too!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Wrap-Up

"A man who does not think for himself does not think at all." --Oscar Wilde

I really enjoyed writing my "What I'm For" poem-- it was liberating and fun. Often times I feel like I'm a "Plain Jane" but when I wrote that poem, it brought out all of those parts of me that make me who I am. Who I am is not a label of some kind. I've always felt frustrated that I could never be in one category or another, especially in terms of politics. Sometimes I agree with the Left side and sometimes I agree with the Right. Really though, I'm a combination of values. To some, I may seem apathetic but I'm not. Like everyone else, I have my own opinions too.

So with that being said... there are plenty of more things I could say in my poem. But when I wrote that poem last night, that's how it all came out. I did make a list throughout yesterday but when I sat down to write, it all came together in that way. I like it. I feel like I represented myself well. That was me writing in the moment.

Besides reflecting on the poem, I also wanted to share where I'm at with the things I'm working on...

Couch to 5K Running Plan: Just started the 4th week! Today was definitely the most challenging day. I'll write more about this week's plan tomorrow or in a few days.

Bible Reading Plan: August 31st marked the 50th day of reading! I'm now a few more days over that of course.

Budgeting: Just got paid today for the last two weeks... Need to re-evaluate some of my plans. So far, I feel pretty good about my spending.

Alrighty, sorry this was a little rushed at the end. I need to get ready to head downtown with my mom and sister to the first football game of the season (my alma mater is playing a Portland school tonight). We're mainly going to support my sister's boyfriend. Go #45! haha. And we're going to ride the MAX! Should be an adventure! (And in all honesty, I am dragging my feet a little bit... I'm not a huge fan of this sport)

Hope ya'll are having a good Friday night!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What I'm For-- the Angela Version

My cousin Elizabeth, on her blog, Simply Authentic inspired me to write this "What I'm For" poem. She was inspired by the song "What I'm For" by Pat Green. She wrote her own version on her blog post.

Here is what I'm about at this present time... Hope you enjoy...

What I'm For-- the Angela Version

I'm for following Jesus, making Him the center of my life,
For firmly believing that God will sustain our planet as long as He wants,
Yet, am for respecting His marvelous creation, as He gave humankind authority over it all.
That means being compassionate towards fellow humans and animals.

I'm for living a simple lifestyle, one little change at a time.
For using less resources and harmful chemicals,
Recycling, re-using and natural/organic products.
I'm for being frugal: spending less and saving more,
Paying off debts big and small,
For wanting what I have and only buying what I need.

For making mistakes and learning from them.
I'm for moving on from the stumble,
And going over the hurdle.

I'm for taking advantage of warm sunny days,
For washing my laundry in cold water (always) and then,
Line drying everything,
Nothing like crisp fresh bedding and sweet smelling clothes.

For solving mental and physical issues naturally before trying Western medicine,
Yes, there are exceptions to this at times.
I'm for furthering my education by learning from others and college courses,
For reading for enjoyment and learning:
The Bible, autobiographies, biographies and memoirs are some of my favorites,
And of course a variety of fiction and non-fiction books.

I'm for discovering meaningful quotes, song lyrics and Bible verses,
For exercising (running for me) to prevent future physical ailments,
For the wonderful moments with my cat.

I'm for taking pictures of special moments or things that catch my eye,
For scrapbooking and card-making; writing and receiving "snail mail,"
Saying and writing thank you.
For maintaining and strengthening relationships with friends and family,
For supporting those in the U.S. military and their families,
Soldiers are my heroes and celebrities-- they sacrifice their lives for us.

I'm for being kind to every person I meet,
For professionalism and sincerity.
For growing as an educator so that I can make an impact,
I'm also an advocate for children-- for their rights and welfare.
I am for being that person children know they can trust without a doubt.

I'm for parents taking their roles seriously and gracefully,
For parents being active in their child's education and life.
For parents not letting the consequences of their mistakes to burden their child,
Children should never have to suffer for their parent's poor choices,
Unfortunately, they always do.

I'm for adopting children and giving them a loving home.
For the Operation Christmas Child organization,
And for de-cluttering: giving away items to those less fortunate than me.

I'm for the freedom that allows me to choose my political views,
Currently, I have certain conservative and environmental values,
I refuse to vote on social issues ever again,
God is the Judge, not me.
As for the government and its spending, I just know it is all a mess.

I'm for being eclectic about Biblical theologies,
No theology is just right for me,
I'm for my relationship with Jesus and His Word being the ultimate in my life.

I'm for enjoying nature,
Looking at the stars, the breathtaking rainbow and the delights of each season,
I'm for the tranquility of the beach and the boldness of the desert,
For gardening-- growing vegetables, fruit and flowers.
I'm for eating locally and organically when possible,
For water, tea, hot chocolate, decaf coffee and the occasional alcoholic beverage.

I'm for learning how to be a self-sustaining individual,
For myself and before I am in a relationship with a man,
I'm for changing my mind, re-evaluating my values and goals,
I'm for just being me because I'm here for a purpose,
And nobody else can do my job better than me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thank You Notes

"You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

*This post may be a lil long, sorry!

What do the words thankful, grateful and appreciative mean to you? How do you express them in your life?

For me, being thankful comes with quite a bit of humility. It is wonderful when someone says or does something kind for me. When someone takes the time to think of me, I feel blessed. Thinking outside of oneself takes effort and it shows that is being an active participant in the relationship. When I say relationship I don't mean any official relationship-- that kind someone could be a perfect stranger. Regardless of who 'they' are... when someone steps out of their comfort zone or self it makes a difference.

And for those moments, we need to be thankful. In the act of being thankful, that's the part where we do the "return service" to that kind person. We can communicate our thankful heart orally or in written form. Depending on how you know the person or what they may have done, sometimes one or both forms of communication are appropriate.

I always try to send a thank you note when I can. I send thank you notes for gifts, after interviews, fun events with family or friends (ex. my neighbor took me to a Lavender Farm a few months ago- it was sweet of her to take me), when someone goes out of their way to help me, to teachers after I've observed them or substituted for them, and many other occasions.

People should never underestimate the power of a thank you note. They are worth every minute spent as well as every penny for the postage stamp. I'm so thankful that I grew up with this value instilled in me, which is the result of Granny teaching her children well... that led to me learning about thank you notes at a very early age.

Thank you notes are important particularly for gift-giving events (such as weddings, showers, birthday parties etc...). First of all, thank yous let the gift-giver know that their gift was received. Also, thank yous in this case should tell the giver that their time and effort was appreciated-- for the gift as well as their presence at the occasion. When I have received thank yous for these types of events I have felt like I truly mattered to the "event people."

A personal story on this topic... I went to a wedding in August of 2009 and never once received a thank you verbally or in written form. I've been very offended by this because I was good friends with the bride and groom (watched their relationship blossom from the very beginning). I wasn't just some random person at their wedding. My friend Jennifer and I also put together a special scrapbook for them as a wedding gift. Also, prior to the wedding I had been asked to do the slide show for the reception. I spent at least two full days working on it and got frustrated. So, I asked the bride to hand over the task to her father as he was capable of that. Never once did I receive a verbal thank you for my time. Soooo... I'll let you assume how my relationship is with those individuals at this present time. ;-)

And for perspective: In February of 2010, I went to a wedding of a friend from the education program at WOU. Within two months, I received a thank you note for the wedding gift I gave and was thanked for my presence. I had also been to her bridal shower in January and received a thank you note within a couple of weeks (it didn't take long!). I'll let you guess how my relationship is with her currently! :)

Thank you notes are important. They are never a waste and always welcome. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson says, you never know when it might be too late...