Monday, September 19, 2011


Today is a sad, dreary day.  The weather agrees with me.  It's been raining since early this morning; before I was even awake.

I've made it a priority to keep myself involved while at school, and I like to believe that I've done an adequate job of doing so.  I am taking Honors level courses, was selected to be an Honors intern, applied for a job (from which I have still not heard back), participate in Softball Club, am a member of the Youth and Literacy Club, and partake in the Adopt-a-Grandparent Program.  I also try to attend most of the events that CAB puts on such as Ashland Idol, Acoustic Cafe, comedian acts, etc.


There are days, such as today, when none of these events are going on and I'm (shockingly enough) ahead of schedule with my work.  Yesterday was exceedingly lonely as my roommate and both suite-mates had gone home, and so did Kailyn and Brenna following their visit.  Today everyone is back at school, but it's a non-motivational day.  They have papers to write and classes for which to study, and the rain wants to keep us cooped up in our rooms.

I wasn't prepared for such homesickness.  I've always been very strong when it came to being away from home, but today it came crashing down on me.  I had the urge to call Larissa to talk with her about it, and of course that only worsened the matter.

If it weren't for the fact that my family is so wonderful and that my friends are so awesome, then this would not be a problem.  I don't want to make it seem as though my college experience has been negative.  I've thoroughly loved it with my fun times having far exceeded the sad ones.

As a cheerful reminder, I have left a collage of pictures below to show that I have been enjoying myself. :)

Glow Dance Party! (except that you can't see our faces...)

That's better. :) From left to right: Hannah, Mary, Me and Alison

Bowling Team 1: Amanda, Matt, Hannah and Leslie

Bowling Team 2: Me, Mary and Alison

We like to exaggerate our bowling methods. :)

Like by spinning around in circles...

Mary, Leslie and Amanda serenading to Hannah


Blue Suede Shoes :)

I went to Heidelberg to visit Jordan! :)

We're weird...


Brenna: "Best shot of the day!"

Mixin' it up

Poundin' the rock ;)

Hole in one!

Brenna had to search for her lost golf ball. :)

And then she got stuck in the tunnel...

Batting cages!

Dinner at B Dubs

"The Lion King" in 3D <3
 In conclusion, I am extremely excited to see my family this upcoming weekend and hope to make many new memories while at Ashland. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Learning to Fly

I feel that this post is aptly named as it applies to not only my new mascot the eagle, but also the symbolic idea that I am spreading my wings without help for the first time.

This week I did something that is still quite unbelievable to me: I moved in to my dorm at Ashland University.  I had a few doubts and fears, but it mostly stirred excitement.  And thus far, I have not been disappointed. 

My parents and Brenna helped me pack up and move in on Sunday.  They were of great assistance and entertainment and I was glad that they were part of my monumental step into adult life.

Half of my stuff in the back of the car

Brenna and I before the Farewell Dinner

I am living on the fourth floor in Clayton Hall where the Honors Program students live.  I share a room with my roommate Alison and also share a middle room with her and my suite-mates Mary and Hannah.  Fun fact: I have Larissa's old room!  I did not realize this until my RA Melany pointed it out.  I'm using the same closet that she did and have my jewelry hanging as she did.  It's weird to think that she's thousands of miles away yet I'm sitting where she sat so many times last year.

Room Pictures!

Alison's pickles and our cacti Pickles, Prickles, and Carl :)

Hannah, Mary, Alison, and me :)

My roommate and suite-mates arrived on campus bright and early on move-in day.  I was the last one to show up, which actually was pretty convenient because it was less crazy and crowded to unpack and put things away.  My dad assembled our futon, shelves and also drilled a dry erase board to the wall.  (Don't tell anyone; that's a code violation.)  Anyway, the room is pretty much set and organized now.  We just need to buy more trash cans and such.

Funny story...

My dad had adhered my giant collage of pictures to a wall above my shelf near my desk.  We figured it would hold fine...or so we thought.  At around 4:00 in the morning, the frame came crashing down off of the wall and missed hitting Alison in the head by about 5 inches.  This was not the kind of first impression that I was hoping to make.  She clearly had been frightened by the noise, as had I.  We talked about it the next morning when we were more coherent and I profusely apologized.  She told me that it was fine and now we laugh about it as we explain the funny scenario to others.

Ashland has been shoving activities down our throats to keep us occupied and therefore reduce homesickness.  It's a great plan that works, but it's simultaneously exhausting.  I've met some great people who I hope to see in classes and also can't wait to meet new people in these classes.

I can't wait to watch this year unfold and am looking forward to the Honors Retreat this weekend! :)

"Good parents give their children roots and wings; roots to know where home is and wings to fly off and practice what has been taught to them." -Jonas Salk

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sinto falta da minha irmã.

It turns out that I do my best thinking late at night.  With this in mind, I am completely prepared for college life. ;)

Time is ticking.  Life is beginning to change, slowly but surely.  I'd compare the change to the changing of leaves and be very poetic, but here in Ohio I find that one day I look out the window to see green leaves and then the next they are gold and when I blink, it's snowing.

Regardless, my sister Larissa is now an entire continent away from me.  She took a plane to Brazil on August 2 and will return mid December.

My parents and I dropping her off at the airport

I'm happy to report that I kept the crying to a minimum; contrary to popular predictions.  My mother was also able to keep it together and I was very proud of her for that.

This is the first time that anyone of us has left the country...and for the longest period of time.  We do have Skype and other such technologies to keep in touch, but it is so different being unable to send her a text or call her for trivial things.  Her absence is and will be more prominent at family get-togethers and parties, but I miss her most for the little things.  I can't whisper funny comments into her ear that only she would understand.  I can't ask her if my outfit combination looks funny.  I can't listen to country music and sing along with her in funny voices.  I can't complain about how dirty our room is and then badger her until she cleans it...weeks later.

But I don't pity myself.  I am so excited for her.  She is in a new country, learning a new language and even practicing her teaching in English schools!  This is such a great opportunity and I'm proud of her.

The fact that I am diligently organizing a collection of framed pictures to take to Ashland and that my sister has left is evoking old thoughts and feelings.  I remember having tea parties with her and sipping the air out of our plastic teacups because water was becoming "too much of a mess".  She would take me by the hand and lead me this way and that; to beauty salons, school, restaurants, and other places of pretend that were all owned and operated by her.  She taught me how to read, braid my hair, and do multiplication.  She was practicing for her career before she even knew what a career was.  Larissa was born to lead, to teach.  She knew that she was meant to touch the lives of other children.   She always told me how she worried about leaving a good impression on her students because they may not remember all of the lessons, but they will remember her.  I admired her for that.  To Larissa, it's not about formulas and equations.  It's about the people.

To have such a great sister and role model is uplifting and yet can be simultaneously discomforting.  She sets a great example of what can be achieved with confidence and hard work, yet I wonder if I can compare.  She is so sure of what she wants and of what her capabilities are.  I, on the other hand, am not.

I realize that we are not the same person and that I will find my niche (eventually).  But will my siblings ever look up to me and think, "Wow.  I want to be like her." as I so often did to Larissa?  Maybe.  They don't have to want to be me.  I couldn't imagine all of my siblings sitting around reading and basking in the wonders of writing.  That would be frightening.  I suppose that the best I can do is show them that doing your best is worthwhile and that not fitting one person's description of greatness does not mean that you weren't destined to be great.

What I'm trying to say is...I miss my sister.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Parable of the Prodigal Son (And His Older Brother)

This is a classic parable that many Christian students learn in school, myself included.  However, it always annoyed me.  Clearly there was something wrong with me if I was disagreeing with Jesus.  Then I realized that I just needed to think.  I needed figure out what we meant.

So we know that there was a man who had two sons.  The elder of the two was loyal and the younger one was...well, for lack of a better term, "misguided".  The younger brother takes his inheritance early, spends it foolishly, and then crawls back to his father embarrassed and begging for forgiveness and mercy.  The father welcomes him with open arms, throws a party and rejoices. 

Okay, I understand that.  Jesus is saying that the father is like our Father, the Lord, and the younger brother represents all of us here on Earth who sin.  Even when we reach our lowest point, as long as we seek him and ask for forgiveness, He will not deny us.  That makes sense.  Here's where it got me...

The older brother is angry that his younger brother gets a party.  He had worked hard for his father his entire life; never betraying him and doing what he was told.  Yet he received not a single celebration for his labor and dedication.  When he questions his father about it, his father replies that they must rejoice because his brother had been lost and then was found again.

Yes, it's great that the younger brother found his way back, but I agreed completely with the older brother.  If I had been in his shoes, I would have been jealous.  Unfortunately, jealousy is an ugly color on everyone.  We are told as part of The Commandments not to covet what someone else has, which can be a difficult and seemingly impossible challenge at times.  Looking at this parable from a narrow-minded, selfish perspective makes the brother's anger understandable.  But there's a bigger picture.

The older brother was being pessimistic.  His brother had finally returned home and he was worried about fairness.  He should have been right next to his father rejoicing.  But why wasn't he?

I think that the older brother represents those of us who believe that we are good people and have led faithful, Christian lives.  None of us want to relate to the "bad" younger brother because most of don't view ourselves as "bad" people.  We lead our lives in the good,holy manner that we do because it is what we believe and what we know is best, yet we don't want our efforts to go unrecognized.  The brother felt the same way.   This makes him more realistic as a character.  However, that doesn't make him right.

Jealousy brought out the ugly side of this older brother because he was competing with his younger brother.  He was keeping track of all of the good that he had done throughout the years and then turned around and his younger brother was celebrating because he had "won".  His brother had cheated.  He didn't deserve the feast and the fattened calf.  Why should he be rewarded?

Well you see, the older brother will be rewarded...just in a different way.  I believe that his reward comes in the Kingdom of Heaven; which, let's be honest, is greater than any fat cow and a party. 

Jesus was describing two types of people:
1. Basically good people who trip every now and again
2. People who have completely lost their way
These situations have a common ground: none of us are perfect.  The only unblemished character in this parable is the father, and since the father represents the Lord, he can get away with being perfect.  Though known of us here on Earth can avoid sin, this parable offers us hope.  It's okay to stumble as long as you get back up, admit to your mistakes, and ask for forgiveness.  God wants to be there to hug us when we return to Him.

So whether we are younger or older, we are all brothers (and sisters) and children of God.  He is our savior, and He will rejoice for us when we are found again and again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Time Flies

So I purposely waited to do this post so that I could fit in all of the activities I took part in this week.  It was that reason, or because I'm getting good at procrastinating.

Sunday, July 10 Sela and I FINALLY celebrated our birthdays. (Mind you, this was nearly a month overdue.)  I received a cover for my Kindle along with money for my Kindle account.  But I'm not obsessed with it or anything...I just use it all the time and take it with me everywhere, but that's all...
Sela got cute little girl outfits, a little pony, and a camping edition for her Sweet Streets.

That's my Kindle paraphernalia...and Brenna creepin' in the background.

Sela displaying one of her cute shirts.

We had a birthday cake in the shape of a castle with a plethora of Disney princesses surrounding it. :)

Things happened Monday and Tuesday, I just don't remember what they were besides working.  Speaking of which, my brother Ian got a job at my place of employment.  Much to his dismay, we now have the opportunity to work together! :)  His first day was that Wednesday, but I wasn't scheduled to work that day.  I had requested off to spend a day with Jordan. :) 

That day was our 9 monthsiversary, and since I did not give him a graduation present, I decided to treat him to a day at the Fun and Only Cedar Point.  It wasn't too busy, and we rode all of the good rides including the Raptor, Mantis, Meanstreak, Gemini, Maverick, Wicked Twister, Millennium, and the Dragster.  Unfortunately the Windseeker, the newest ride, was not up and running so we didn't get to experience that.

Funny story...

So we rode the Maverick which kind of takes some quick twists and turns and my phone decided to go flying out of my pocket and into the graveyard of lost belongings.  I was pretty upset when I first discovered this, but it was pretty fortunate timing.  I was due to get my phone upgraded anyway, so the only thing that sucked was losing my contacts and pictures.  But the contacts were obtainable and the pictures weren't priceless.
Then we rode the Meanstreak where Jordan had placed his Pittsburgh Steelers hat under his leg for safekeeping, only to forget and leave it in the seat.  It was gone when we went back to retrieve it.  It was his favorite hat. :(  Did I mention that we forgot the receipts for our tickets which prevented us from getting in and then had to drive home and back before the day even started?  Yeah, that happened too.

However, the day was great. :)  We wanted to go to the Drive-in later in the evening and had time to burn before that, so Jordan took me to the Huron lighthouse.  I had never been there before, but it was wonderfully fun.  We documented the experience.

Whoa...that's a pretty big butt.

It's so sunset-y! :)

To the Lighthouse! :)

Jordan being Jordan ;)

God makes some wonderful things. :)

Piggyback ride :)

Then Thursday rolled around.  And part of my childhood came to an end.  I went to the midnight premiere of the final Harry Potter movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2. 

It was a momentous occasion.  I dressed up for it.

I got off work by 10:00 and then showered, threw on some comfy sweats, and headed to the theater where I waited in line with other fanatics.  There were witches and wizards with their wands and robes and dyed hair.  (Yes, a boy actually dyed his hair red like Ron Weasley for this premiere.  It was intense.)  My friend Kailyn and bought the tickets a month in advance and we decided to go with 3-D.  It was totally worth it.  The effects were awesome, the movie was enthralling and entertaining.  It was a great end to a powerful series.  I was not disappointed.

Friday was a 10 hour work day that it is not worth discussing.  It was a long, pointless day.

Saturday was a treat.  We went to the Blossom Center to watch the Cleveland Orchestra perform the music from the Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl while also watching the movie play out.  It was amazing.  The orchestra was spot on and at times I forgot that it was live and not part of the movie.  We were seated outside in lawn seats which was fun; especially with the little Berckmueller children who accompanied us.  They were hilarious.

I finally met my roommate on Sunday!  Her name is Alison and we got along pretty well.  It turns out that she plays softball, and planned on playing club ball in the spring.  I was happy about that.  Alison, my suitemates Mary and Hannah, and I met up at the Strongsville mall where we browsed/shopped for dorm stuff.  It wasn't awkward at all like I feared it might be and we are all easy-going.  We picked out a fuzzy lime green rug to go in the middle room and Mary got a purple one like it to go in her and Hannah's room.  It was very fun and made me that much more excited to go to Ashland! :)

I only have a few weeks left before I'm thrown into the adult world, but I think I'm ready.