Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in NYC: SPIDERMAN!!!

This show gets a post all its own.

OH MY GOSH.

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!

I was REALLY skeptical about this show. First off I don't know the first thing about Spiderman; I don't like comic books. Above all I don't like U2 and I think Bono is plotting to take over the world.

Why did I go?

Two reasons really.

The first is that I met Reeve Carney (aka Peter Parker) last spring at South by Southwest, and he's a really, really nice guy. He is in a band called Carney with his brother Zane. Well the band is the house band for the show and Zane, the guitarist, and Aidan, the bassist, are onstage for the entire show.

The second reason is, of course, all the press about the show. Most of that press was negative, little things like actors and stuntmen falling 20-30 feet, no big deal.

When we realized we were snowed in we just started booking tickets to shows: Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage, the Fantasticks, My Big Gay Italian Wedding; all were good, none matched this one.

Before the show began one of the technical directors came onstage and explained that they are still in preview phase. For those not familiar with Broadway shows, the preview is generally done away from Broadway, in other cities. Because of the complexity of special effects there is no way they could have done it anywhere else. He also explained that safety was of foremost importance, for the actors and for the audience. The Department of Labor or something issued a statement and a warning saying something about not trying to jump onto Spidey or one of his enemies and take a ride. That was pretty funny.

The opening scene had a huge platform risen with Mary Jane hanging from it and Spiderman climbing towards her. I was in awe for the next three hours. The show was very much done as a comic book with words like Pow! Wham! and such popping up everywhere. The scenery was very sketched, as a comic book. As opposed to the rest of the Broadway shows I have seen lately where all the set pieces are "knifed" and come on the stage electronically there were a lot of stagehands bringing stuff on. The flying was AMAZING. They flew and fought over the audience. The music was good (sorry, I don't like U2, that's the best you're getting :)). It very much fit (Carney, of course sounded amazing). T.V. Carpio from Across the Universe was Arachne. There were a lot of people from Across the Universe in this show (since Julie Taymor directed that film and also directed this show it made a lot of sense).

Reeve Carney was amazing, very different than when he is singing with Carney, but amazing nonetheless.

Overall the show was AMAZING. If you are in NYC go see it. If you can come up with any reason to go to NYC go see it. If you like Spiderman make an excuse to go to NYC to see it. If you like Carney make an excuse to go to NYC and see it. (If you've never heard of Carney go buy their album!!!)

I'll post more about the blizzard and my observations of it later. Now to pack!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in NYC: Snowed In

Well we got the call around 3:00 this morning that our flight was cancelled. After a few hours on hold with American Airlines (I do not joke) we got it rescheduled for Wednesday evening. We got the hotel stay extended for two more nights and now we're trying to get the car that was supposed to take us to the airport changed. Besides that all is well, just two more bonus days in NYC! Granted with A LOT of snow.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in NYC: Bronchitis

I mentioned earlier in the posts that I had started to get sick, well it came to a head on Christmas. I was SO sick yesterday! I coughed and coughed and my throat was killing me. Overall no bueno. I hurt so much last night that as we were walking to dinner I almost cried. This morning I got mad because I so hate being sick on vacation. Overall there has really only been one really bad day of being sick, which was yesterday, but we did get to see the Rockettes, however that was the extent of the day (besides scones and hot chocolate at Au Bon), oh and the cute boy at the corner grocery store. :)

I learned about creating my own humidifier last night: shutting the door to the bathroom and turning the water on at 130 degrees. I did this before bed and twice in the middle of the night. Finally I was able to actually sleep. This may just be the last trip I make in the winter; my body just can't handle it!

Christmas in NYC: Blizzard 2010

I was under the impression that when it snowed in NYC it was so hot and busy that the snow would melt when it hit the ground. For so many years I was almost sad for the people that lived in the city because they never got snow. Well you know what?

I was WRONG!!!!!!

BIG FAT WRONG!!!

According to weather.com the estimated snowfall is at 12.8 inches right now. Good grief! I don't particularly care for snow, especially after the Christmas that did not happen last year.

We got up today and it was snowing, so we headed to the Olympic Diner around the corner (snow is much prettier when you are watching it from the inside). The plan for the day WAS to maybe go to Serendipity, Macy's and Grand Central Station. Quickly the reality came that this was not probable. I suggested we just go to shows all day. I wanted to see Spiderman and my mom wanted to see the Fantasticks. I tried to order tickets on my phone, but that didn't work, so we trucked it back to the hotel to get on the computer. I couldn't get both tickets and the Spiderman tickets were over $150 each (I guess for liability insurance? if you don't get that google Spiderman the Musical and read :)). I found half priced tickets to the Fantasticks at 7:30, but was bound and determined to find another show because I didn't come to NYC to sit in a hotel and it was too cold outside to do anything else! I searched every show I could think of and we finally pulled out the Playbill from Promises, Promises and just stated searching shows.

We ended up at Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage staring Eve Plumb from The Brady Bunch. Before the show this is what the snow looked like:



So we go to the show. It was in the basement of a hotel. We thought we were going to be the only people in the audience, but it ended up us and five others! We were on the front row. It was a cute show! The theater was really cute too, because it was small and intimate.

After the show this is what we saw:



We shopped and headed to the Fantasticks. It was another small theater and we had front row seats again (I am good!). It was an, interesting, show, to say the least. I didn't know much, well anything, about it and it certainly wasn't what I expected, however the narrator was HOT, so it was all good!

When we got done with that show this is what we saw:



We had pizza again because our favorite pizza shop was right across the street and we were only a block and a half from our hotel. On the way back we saw what I think was a first for a lot of New Yorkers, a snowman in Times Square.



Good grief! We are scheduled to fly out at 6:50 Monday evening. We'll see if that happens...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas in NYC: Day 2

The day started with a lot of sleeping. We were tired from yesterday! When we did roll out of bed we were hungry and headed to our favorite pizza place on Broadway:


Famous Famiglia Pizzaria at Broadway and 50th

Yummy!
After lunch we wandered down towards Rockefeller Center. I'm not going to post all the pictures from this, so check my facebook for all the pics! I will give you two though: The Christmas Ornaments at Rockefeller and a pretty one of St. Patrick's!




Highlights of 50th and Fifth Avenue: we went in a cute little shop with blown glass and these cool wooden boxes and puzzles: Mom broke an ornament. I love Fifth Avenue. It makes me happy.

While around Rockefeller there were tons of these:



Vacuum-sealed children! I know it is to keep them warm, but it looks really funny.
Then we went to the best place ever:



There was a purchase made. I'll share that later though. Tiffany is so pretty, especially at Christmas. Amazingly everything is decorated in robin's egg blue!

We left there and went to Chanel and Burbury, so I could drool. Then onto the Plaza, where we did not tea (wow, that was expensive!) We then headed back to the hotel to change clothes for Christmas Eve service.

We attended service at John Street Methodist Church at 44 John Street a few blocks from Ground Zero.



It was traditional, which I thought was my preference. Okay I missed CrossTimbers! John Street was awesome, but it was not my church. So Chris Dodson, if you are reading this I guess I have been transformed to a "contemporary church" person. Oh well, there are worse things in the world!

After church we ate at Roxy's a few doors down. It was a nice diner. We stopped back by Ground Zero. It is amazing the difference between that and the site of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. I don't know if this is good or bad, but it just seemed like another place they were doing construction. My thought is that it is a good thing because it shows that the terrorists didn't win and life goes on. Of course I think that we need to remember all the firefighters, police and others that perished in 9-11, but I think there is a lot of hope the way it is.

We got back on the subway and headed back uptown to see the snowflakes at Saks Fifth Avenue. I videoed it, but the file is huge so it won't let me post it here, plus it sideways. I wasn't sure if it would have sound or not, so I did half on it and half on my phone, but the camera worked better. We're going to go back tomorrow, so I can get a good video of it.

That is all for today. More to come tomorrow!

Christmas in NYC: Sean Hayes' Flub

I totally forgot to post this last night!

So during Upstairs the third song of Promises, Promises Sean Hayes totally forgot his lines! I mean dead air for several seconds. The best part was during the next scene with Kristin Chenoweth he was going on about his hobbies and said "forgetting lyrics." She DIED! I mean she was laughing so hard she had to turn around from the audience and compose herself. It was awesome!

At the end of the show when we were talking to Kristen Beth she said that in the run of the show, over a year, he had NEVER done that. I just love live theater! She said even the Orchestra Voices forgot to sing they were so shocked that it happened.

It was great. I enjoyed it. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas in NYC: Day 1

The day started VERY early. I went to bed last night around 1:00 am this morning. About 10 minutes after that (which the prep for going to bed included completely changing suitcases at the last minute) my mom comes in and has decided that her hanging bag is not going to work and, in true Newton fashion, is going to Walmart to get a new suitcase. Needless to say I did not go.

My alarm went off promptly at 4:30 am...I hit snooze until just after 5:00. We headed to the airport around 5:30 for our 7:30 flight. After driving in circles in the parking garage we finally found a parking place and inside Will Rogers World Airport I figured out how to "check in" on facebook. I may be abusing that privilege now. :)

We get checked in and get boarding passes and make it to Security. Oh the good ol' TSA. I was nice as can be and very friendly and made it through with flying colors. My mom, on the other hand, was stuck in "the pit." She had a wrist brace with a metal insert and got stuck. So I hung out and met a nice man from Long Island and chatted until she got back.

Onto the plane. Our flight left at 7:30, or that's what it said on the ticket. We were in the air promptly at 7:20. At least we were early. The flight from OKC to DFW was only about 30 minutes, so not too much time to have anything happen. When we touched down in Dallas and were getting off the plane I saw the guy in front of me was reading a book:



I am as liberal and progressive as the next person, but I would be lying if I said that this didn't kind of sort of freak me out, just a little bit. No idea what the book is actually about, but I just saw the cover and read it and well, if ti was me, I wouldn't have read it on a US flight, but, again, that's just me.

In Dallas it became rapidly clear that my little cough from yesterday is developing into bronchitis. Yay! I swear I just want to take a vacation one time when I don't get sick! We get on the plane in Dallas, with plenty of time (and no Security to go through) and there is a lovely family behind us. By lovely I mean they had two small children, both screaming, and one kicking the back of my seat. I was going to type up a few blogs on the three hour flight, however I have a large laptop and when the lovey dovey couple in front of me decided they needed to lean the seats back and cuddle I realized quickly that typing was not in my future.

I decided to read. My flight book of choice is:



A nice memoir of a delusional girl who thought she was going to marry a prince. She has moved to England for grad school at this point in the book and I'm pretty sure she's nuts. I made it through two chapters and couldn't keep my eyes open, so I tried to nap. Napping when you are in an upright position with a small child kicking your seat and screaming is kind of a challenge; however, it was a challenge I rose to. I put on a nice playlist of my favorite NYC soundtracks (Serendipity and One Fine Day) and crashed.

The end of the flight was rocky, to say the least, worst I've ever been on. We didn't check bags, so we didn't have to deal with baggage claim. We went to find our car, which should have been waiting on us. Yeah...no. We walked all over Laguardia to no avail. Finally a nice driver without passengers took pity on us (by this point it is snowing and I am inhaling cold air, which is not good on my pre-bronchitis lungs), and took us to Manhattan.

When we crossed over to Manhattan I saw this sign, it made me laugh:



Notice the top: No honking: $350 fine (pretty sure there are A LOT of cab drivers owing
enough money for me to live in NYC for the rest of my life).

All of a sudden we crossed Lexington Avenue. I know you hear people say they love New York, but I REALLY love New York. I mean, really. I could really make some nice (and very rich) Park Avenue man very, very, very happy.

We turned and were on Fifth Avenue and then I saw mecca:



The heavens opened up and the angels sang: 727 Fifth Avenue: Tiffany and Company. Call me crazy, but I love Tiffany's, though it is my second favorite place in the world (second only to Strawberry Fields, which will come up in the next few days).

We saw all the standard sights down Fifth: St. Patrick's, Saks Fifth Avenue, NBC Studios, the giant Christmas balls and skating rink and tree at Rockefeller Center. Oh how I love this place.

We are staying at the Mayfair Hotel on 49th, where my mom and I have stayed every time we've come to New York.



It is really cute. We got to our room. For those of you that have been to my house you know that I have a little room off my bedroom. Our room here is smaller than that. Oh well, just sleeping.

After all that excitement we were hungry. The guys at the front of the hotel suggested an Italian restaurant three doors down: D A Marino's. OH MY GOSH. Number one I fell in love with a man from Milan that I could barely understand. I think me going to Italy would probably be a bad plan. :) For dinner we had a cocoa fettuccine with shrimp in a vodka cream sauce. Seriously, I would have bathed in this stuff. It was SO good.

We then made a trip to Duane Read, the local (and plentiful) drug store for medicine to keep me from dying. Then off to the Broadway Theater for Promises, Promises.



To say the show was wonderful would be an understatement. It was phenomenal! Not only did this show star Sean Hayes, Kristin Chenoweth and Molly Shannon, it also had my friend Allison's beautiful sister Kristen Beth Williams in it! We got to go backstage to meet Miss Kristen, after fighting through the mean people who didn't want to let us through. It was quite nice to walk up to the bouncer and say we were on "the list" and be led into the back of the theater. Stupid mean people. Got to hang out on stage with Sean Hayes, you know, no big deal, just a normal Thursday night. Kristen showed us the track system that electronically places all the set pieces on the stage. So cool! A little bit different than my days in theater when we shoved everything on with out muscles.

Overall day one was a good one, besides a few little rough spots. I'm not sure exactly what we are going to do tomorrow. I know Christmas Eve service is on the agenda, probably at John Street Church, the oldest United Methodist Church in America. There will also be the viewing of the awesome snowflakes on Saks (one of my favorite things...there will be video of that!).

Now off to bed! In my postage stamp room. :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm Baaaaack

Okay this is going to be a long story short post and there will be more to come.

Thirty in Thirty:
Well I had all the good intentions in the world, except that I did not take into account the end of the semester and projects, papers and presentations. I'll get back to that. Not to mention it is pretty hard to come up with 30 people that I am actually willing to write about on here. :) I'll keep working on it though! I am about to go on vacation, which means something like 6 hours on a plane, so I will do A LOT of typing.

Here is a little preview of what's to come:

Leigh Anne Tuohy:
Many tears shed

OU vs. Texas Tech:
Happy Birthday Megan!

Christmas:
Why don't I hate you?

Baby Steps Thanksgiving and Christmas:
cooking class and fun gifts

Thanksgiving:
Different, but awesome.

Fire!!!
And I didn't burn the house down!

Mini High School Reunion:
An arrest, old friends and Maybe Baby Daddy?

Bedlam:
Um...interesting, but fun!

A Very Special Birthday:
My favorite five year old

Finals Week:
All nighters? Who'da thought?

Supper Club:
Totally amazing and fun.

Drunken Counseling:
I finally got it!

Downtown in December:
No broken bones!

Secret Santa:
Heartwarming

Tyler's Birthday:
Whoa

CT Youth:
A fun, yet interesting, group of kiddos

Printer/Scanner Rollout and Fresh Paint for the Office:
ARG!!!! No more thirteen hour days for me!

December 21:
How has it been five years?

Grad School, Semester Two: Wrap Up
We'll see how my grades go and what I learned from this semester

Grad School, Semester Three: What's to Come
Schedule, how expensive books are, etc.

The Non Profit:
AAAAHHHHH!!!! It's about to be real!

Vacation!
Thirteen days of pure bliss away from the office with a trip to NYC, one to Ardmore, New Year's Eve, maybe some cleaning and for sure some sleeping

Monday, December 6, 2010

Full

This weekend I realized just how full my life is; and I don't mean in the busy way (though it certainly is that!). I mean full in the rich, fulfilling, wonderful way. I love my life right now! I have surrounded myself with amazing friends that are more like family. They encourage and support me. I got to spend the weekend with some newer friends, some old friends, some young and some old. There is nothing more heart warming than being around people that you genuinely enjoy. I am blessed to be Aunt Wennie to some amazing kiddos. I am surrounded by an amazing church family. I help with the best youth group (yeah I think you guys rock even if I give you a hard time!). I am blessed to know exactly what I am meant to do with my life and am so excited to start. I see nothing but amazing possibilities in the future, but I am also enjoying everything that is going on right now (though I am ready for this semester to be over!). Overall I am just excited to be where I am. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Learning

We should learn something new every day, right?

Today I learned that I do not, under any circumstances, want to be a counselor! Even this afternoon I was debating it. Maybe after I take Theoretical Foundations and I understand some of this a little more I will, but right now I don't! I am super excited about my classes next semester: Grant Writing (yay!!!!), Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation, and Research. I need to solidify a thesis (I have a few ideas floating around my head).

And...

I may be able (cross your fingers) to use starting my non profit as my internship! One of my friends said that she thinks there is a professor (the non profit professor) that might go for it! I'm not really sure how that will work, but I am totally willing to do it. (I really wanted to put an exclamation point after that sentence too, but I didn't, but I am really excited. :))

Not much of a post. I'll write more this weekend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not Thirty in Thirty

I need to finish Thirty in Thirty (which is looking more like 15 in 60 or something), but here's some randomness instead of paper writing:
1. Where are you right now? on my bed

2. How long until your birthday? 8 months and eleven days

3. Are you better at math or art? depends on what you define as "art" but I'm pretty good at both

4. Who was your 4th grade teacher? Mrs. Pearson for a bit, then Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Thompson

5. Where did you go to pre-school, if you went at all? No preschool

6. Who was the last person to call you? Mom and it was well over 24 hours ago (I love days like this :))

7. Do you own a digital camera? yup, but I need new batteries for it (rechargables suck!)

8. How old is the cellphone you have right now? I got it in May

9. Can you do a handstand? Nope

10. Have you ever had a pet fish? Cornelius!

11. Did you kiss or hug anyone yesterday? Nope, I only saw the people at Chipolte (it was a nice day)

12. Do you think people have any misconceptions about you? Oh yeah

13. Would you move to another state or country to be with the one you love? I’d rather not

14. When's the last time you flew on a plane? NYC for Thanksgiving in 2005...too long ago! Should be on one in a few weeks for Christmas (again to NYC)

15. Honestly, what's on your mind right now? That I need to go to bed

16. What did you do today? Church, picked up the house, Youth, watched “The Power of Forgiveness” for my online class, wrote a paper, talked to a friend on fb chat, and started another paper

17. What was the last tv show you watched? Tv show? Um…Better with You I think (I watched a couple of movies)

18. What are your plans for tomorrow? Work and class

19. What reminds you of summer? Pool!

20. Do you prefer to watch scary movies alone or with another person? I prefer not to watch scary movies

21. Have you ever seen the tv show "ace of cakes"? Of course, I love Duff!

22. Does it annoy you when people answer questions in a different language? So long as I understand them, no

23. Do your neighbors have any dogs or cats? No idea (is it bad I’ve lived here two years and only know one neighbor?)

24. When are you gonna move away from home? I moved away like 11 years ago

25. Who was the last person you threw out of your life? Um…I don’t know?

26. How many windows are opened on your computer? Round about a bazillion (though I just closed some)

27. What was the last thing you said out loud? Probably something about points at Youth to Chris

28. Is Christmas stressful? Not this year, it’s vacation time!

29. Does it take a lot for you to cry? nope

30. What is making you happy right now? The fact that school is almost out and I get four days of peace and quiet this weekend

31. What are you sick of? Nothing really right now

32. Do you think two people can last forever? Yes I do

33. What is your favorite kind of weather? Not too hot, but hot enough for swimming

34. Would you change yourself for someone? Been there, done that, don’t plan to do it again

35. Are you a loud person? Some say I am

36. Are you ready to get out of this town? I love my Norman! But I am ready for NYC

37. Do you get along with guys or girls better? Guys, totally

38. Do you think you've made a difference in anyone's life? I think so

39. What was the WORST thing that happened to you today? Um, nothing?

40. Has someone ever told you that you have really pretty eyes? Yes…ah Cliff summer after junior year (others have too, but I really remember that one)

41. Who was the last person's voice you heard? Aside from the radio, Chris

42. Are you good at giving directions? Yup, very descriptive

43. Are you waiting for something? To go to bed

44. Who would you allow to read your thoughts for one day? No one, that would be too scary

45. Type a lyric from the song you're listening to? Just listening to the fan

46. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? mom

47. Seven days from now, will you be in a relationship? Highly doubtful, or not a romantic relationship (which I assume is what is meant), I am in lots of other relationships though

48. Are you a happy person? I’m trying

49. Do you think you’ll be married in 10 years? I really hope so

50. Do you currently have a hickey? negative

51. Are you usually wide awake in the morning? never

52. How did you get home today? My car

53. Do you know the last person you were in a car with other than family? I don’t remember the last time I was in the car with someone else?

54. Can you sleep in jeans? Probably so

55. What was something that happened to you in 1990? I got caught cheating on a standardized placement test, but it was not malicious, I didn’t realize it was considered cheating if you were explaining a concept to someone

56. Do you believe that what's meant to be will find its way? totally

57. Everyone has someone for them, right? Not necessarily, but everyone has a destiny that is meant for them, whether that results in a person is a different question

58. Do people ever mistake you for being a different race? Not sure about this one, but I’m certainly not in the same race as my coworkers

59. Do you even KNOW how to do the laundry? Of course, did two loads tonight…do I know how to put it up? Not so sure about that

60. Have you ever been called a punk? I’m sure I have

61. Have you ever gotten in a physical fight with a member of the opposite sex? nope

62. Physics or chemistry? chemistry

63. Have you kissed anyone this past week? nope

64. Do you ever get "good morning" texts from anyone? Not right now

65. When you see new people, do you judge how they look and act? I try not to. I try to remember that everyone has a story

66. Will you be up before 7 a.m. tomorrow? doubtful

67. Without stating the name, say something to someone you dislike? Stop whining!!!!

68. anyone ever told you they love you? yup

69. In one word, how do you feel right now? Like I should be ready to go to sleep (yeah more than one word, deal with it)

70. Ready for kids? Yes, but the timing is not right, right now

71. What's one thing you do when you're mad? cry

72. What are your LEGAL initials? WDN

73. What do you really think of Starbucks Coffee? I love it, when I can afford it

74. Is there a person of the opposite sex who means a lot to you? There are a lot of members of the opposite sex that mean a lot to me

75. Does anyone call you by your last name? Sherrie!

76. Are you talkative? yup

77. Do you think before you speak? sometimes

78. How's your heart lately? It is actually really good, quite content

79. Do you think age matters in relationships? I would like to say no, but I cannot get over dating someone that is younger than me (that’s just me, fine if others do it, but not my thing)

80. If someone liked you right now, would you want them to tell you? Yes please!

81. Can you handle constructive criticism? Some days

82. Are you a private person? It depends on the subject, some things I’m very open about some things I’m very guarded about

83. What are your thoughts on the world? Why can’t we all just get along?

84. Do you catch yourself running from situations? I’m trying to get better at it

85. Connection between you and the last person who text messaged you? Very good friend

86. Can you recall the last time you liked someone? Last week: new crush alert!

87. Where is your phone? To my right

88. Are you happy with the way things are going? I actually am

89. Would you ever get a tattoo? nope

90. Do you mind sleeping on the floor? Would rather not

91. Honestly, do you hate the last girl you were talking to in person? nope

92. Spell your name without an E:Wndy Dawn Nwton

93. When you are home alone do you still close the door when you shower? Yes, because I don’t want the dogs to jump in with me

94. What was the last item you bought? Snack after church

95. Do you have any piercings? Ears, two in the left one in the right

96. In the last 24 hours have you done anything you regret? I have no regrets

97. Has a friendship ended recently that you wish had not? I think I’m in the process of a friendship ending and it makes me sad, but it’s just not the same as it used to be and that’s life

98. Do you like your music loud or at a reasonable level? Reasonable level

99. Can you watch scary movies? I can watch them, I prefer not to

100. Look out the window, what do you see? Swimming pool and pool toys that need to be deflated (yes I know it is November)

101. Has anyone ever spelled your name wrong? Oh yeah

102. Is your bedroom window open? No bedroom windows, just sliding glass doors

103. Are you drifting away from any friends? I think so

105. Do you believe exes can really ever be "just friends"? yup

106. Who was the last person you called? The mortgage company on the little house Friday

107. What are you excited for? NYC for Christmas!

108. Do you still think of the person you fell hardest for? Yup, though I don’t know that I know who that person is…

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thirty in Thirty: Twelve

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~Marcel Proust

This person might be the nicest person I know. First of all, she has never met a stranger. Second, the instant she meets you she wants to be your friend. Third, she will always be your friend and she will be loyal.

That pretty much sums her up. The first night that I met her I wasn't sure how to handle her. I liked her right away, but she is pretty high strung and never stops. I'm a little more low key, so I didn't know if I could handle that much energy. Sometimes she kind of wears me out!

From the minute I met her she was trying to get pregnant and we knew everything about it! (Having two friends going through fertility treatments hearing about ovulation, cycles and trying wasn't that big of a deal to me.) After what seemed like an eternity she got pregnant (I think it was about two months after I met her actually!). I knew immediately that she was having a boy. There was no doubt in my mind, and I was right.

Now we are pretty good friends, but she has a sister who would be this little guy's aunt. When he came out I was immediately Aunt Wendy. I just love that. I cannot wait for this little guy to grow up and for me to spoil him rotten (and turn him into a Sooner fan!).

I think what I have learned from her is how to really love everyone, because she does. She is going to be the first person to make a stranger feel welcome. Any time I need to feel a part of a family all I have to do is call her up and she always makes me feel welcome and wanted.

Thirty in Thirty: Eleven

It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. ~Epicurus

I cannot believe I have known this person less than a year.

The first night I met her she had on a shirt from my college sorority, so I thought we would hit it off immediately. Then not so much. The more we were talking the more she talked about being into outdoorsy stuff and well, that's not me. I didn't think we would end up getting along at all. Boy, was I wrong!

I'm not sure when it all changed, but it did. We share a love for crafting and Christmas decorating, and pearls, and shoes, and most everything else (except our choice of college loyalty). Earlier this year when I found out she was pregnant I was CERTAIN it was a girl. I mean, certain. To the point that I had already bought stuff to make her baby stuff, in girl patterns and colors. I was in a meeting when she called to tell me the "verdict" and her call was so funny: WE WERE WRONG! Nonetheless I adore that little guy, so all's well, though she can hurry up and have another one so we can have a girl to take to dance class and get all dolled up at dance recitals! (She may kill me for making that comment when she reads this...LOVE YOU!!!)

Like I said, we bonded over crafting and would have craft nights and work on stuff and I think I tried to teach her to knit (she went back to her needlepoint pretty quickly, but she'll get it eventually). Hers and her husband's families are in Texas, so they are gone "home" quite a lot, so I don't get to see her as much as I would like and add school, work and Junior League for me it is a hit and miss type of a deal.

Somewhere around February I was having a really, really crummy day and we were having a women's group evening and I was just not in the mood to really be there, luckily though, she showed up. We ended up chatting at one end of the table and I took her home and sat in the car crying for about an hour. This would have been one of those frustrated moments that everyone in my world was married and pregnant and I wasn't and frankly, I felt that I was standing still while everyone else was moving forward. In no way could I see it any other way. This wonderful, wonderful friend looked at me and said she felt like she was the one getting left behind because here I was in grad school and she wasn't and thought she would be.

She is always there and can tell when I'm upset. And she is always there to listen and remind me that I'm a good person, no matter what I seem to think. She is one of the first people I want to call when something exciting happens and she is always fun to talk to about silly things that are going on in my life. Unfortunately I know my time with her is limited (stupid military family), but the bonus is that no matter where they go I will have somewhere fun to visit!

Sometimes you need that friend that will point out how wonderful your life really is. In no way would she change her life, of course, and in no way would I change mine, but it helps to have a friend around that reminds you just how good you have it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thirty in Thirty: Ten

Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally ~David Frost


I think all too many times people equate success with financial gain or with achieving what everyone else has: the big house, the cute, smart husband, the perfect children. I think it is important to have someone in your life that reminds you that success in not measured by that, but rather, by doing what you love.

I am overly blessed to have that person in my life. I have known her about fourteen years and she was my high school music teacher. We were close in high school, when my grandmother died I went and spent the day in her classroom, we went on trips to Dallas to pick up props for musicals, ran all over town trying to track down FedEx to pick up backdrops, you know the typical high school stuff.

At the end of my senior year, however, I started going to her church (the large Methodist church in my hometown) with my best friend. She was the youth choir director and the best friend dragged me along. Please don’t be fooled, just because I said she was my high school music teacher does not mean that I sang, I was in Stage Crafts and ran the sound for our show choir. I do not sing. Well I do, but not well, so me joining a youth choir was nuts. I would have never done it if it wasn’t for this teacher and that best friend. It ended up being a lot of fun, and I don’t know if she loved me enough to put up with my singing or I don’t sing as bad as I thought, but I stuck with it through graduation.

I had been going to the youth group for awhile, but never actually went to “church” as in Sunday mornings, or we would go to the Baptist church for Sunday morning and the Methodist church for youth on Sunday nights. Because of youth choir and us singing in church some Sunday mornings I had the opportunity to experience the Methodist church. I grew up “Baptist.” I put the quotation marks because that was the church I was most likely to go to on the very rare occasion that I went to church growing up. VBS was always at the Baptist church and I think I remember going to one Sunday church in my entire childhood, maybe a few others if the VBS kids were singing or something.

Well I loved the Methodist church. I started going there all the time and a few months in joined the church and was baptized. That summer I offered to help with VBS. The girl I was babysitting also went to that church and went to VBS every summer, so instead of sleeping in and picking her up after VBS I just went with her and helped my teacher, who was quickly becoming an adult friend, with the craft area. I did this for the next few years.

The summer after my sophomore year she was asked to be the dean of Joy Camp. Now this was my kind of camp. It was for third through fifth graders and it wasn’t camp like you would think of camp. It was church camp, but rather than hiking and canoeing and all that icky outdoorsy stuff we learned about God through the arts, in air conditioning. I, along with some other of her friends from church, including her brother and some other former students, got recruited into being the “counselors” for the camp,

I cannot express how much fun this was. We did the camp for six years and I’m really not sure who had more fun: the adults or the kids. Those are some of my favorite summer memories. I won’t go into some of the inside jokes on here, but if you went to camp you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Through my adult life she has been a constant. She is one person I can spill everything too and she always lets me know that it will be okay. Not in the sense of “oh, there there everything will be fine,” but a lot of times it is more like, I’ve been there and I made it through, you are strong, so will you. When all my friends were getting married around me and I wasn’t she was the one that told me the story of her and her husband and the timing of it. When my engagement was broken, it wasn’t until I talked it out with her that I had the strength to take off my wedding ring. Now that I am wanting to take this crazy leap of faith into starting a non profit she is there reminding me that what I want to do is something that is needed and that regardless of how much money I don’t make from it that the rewards that I will get will be better than any paycheck. She is also the one that reminds me that you don’t have to have a man in order to have a baby (and reminds me that I’m not getting any younger!).

I know that not matter what I choose to do with my life she will be there to support me in every way and for that I am very grateful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thirty in Thirty: Nine

Okay I can't find a quote, so we'll just say this:

Everything happens for a reason.

I truly think God put this person in this job for a short period of time solely for the reason of me meeting her.

In 2008 I was engaged and planning a wedding and not going to church. There was a new girl at work and I actually had time to sit down and do my whole new worker training. Through some crazy reason that I still don't know we somehow got on the subject of church. Probably I had asked how she ended up working there, and she said she had just moved because her husband was asked to start a church.

Not only was he asked to start a church, he was asked to start a United Methodist church. Hmmmmm I thought this could be a good thing. Well she ended up working with me for two weeks I think and she was off to a better job opportunity for her. In the meantime, though, we'd hit it off and I ended up on the email list for this new church (which didn't have a name at the time). They were having an event to kind of recruit people for the church and I tried to talk the fiance into going, which didn't work.

I was still on the mailing this through the decision process of the name, through the logo choice, and through the first service, in a school gym. That was April. We broke up in May. When we did I knew that church was one thing that I needed back in my life. I messaged her on facebook and told her this, but I still didn't get the courage to go. Then on my birthday she posted a happy birthday post on my wall and said I should come the next Sunday because it would be the last week in the school, they had a building. I stewed it over that week.

On August 8, 2009, a Saturday, the women's group was meeting to have dinner and make shirts. Somewhere that day I decided that it was time for life to change, so I made the call and said I was coming.

And I am so glad that I did! I met the girls and liked them immediately. I knew that it would be easier to go to "church" if I knew more than just my only friend, which was right. The next morning I walked into the school and realized that it was contemporary worship. Arg. I don't like contemporary. That really sucked because I really liked the girls I had met the night before. I "suffered" through the first few songs and we got to the sermon. That was all it took, I was hooked!

I had told my best friend that I was not going to get over involved. She said, "uh huh, okay," knowing that there was no way that was going to happen. I ended up helping, on my first Sunday, the church move into the new building. I was still resolved not to get over involved though.

By the second Sunday I was suggesting we start a prayer card ministry.

The rest, as they say, is history. I truly think that she was sent to my job for those two weeks just to get me to CrossTimbers. I am truly thankful for that. And I'm thankful that I'm nosey and always ask how people end up where they are! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are You Ready To Die?

Are you ready to die?


What a bold question. This was what I heard tonight at the November Junior League General Meeting. We had guest speaker Justin Echols, a jazz musician/Oklahoma City police officer. The topic of the night was about happiness. How could you get happiness out of being ready to die?

Mr. Echols was quite a powerful speaker and everything he said I agreed with. These were some of his questions if tonight was your last night to be alive:
Did you live life or just let life happen?
Have you taken enough risks?
Did you accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish?
Finally
Are you ready to die?

He said he was. He lives his life for what it is. He is a dream chaser. I love that phrase: dream chaser. He defined this as such:
Someone who chooses to live a life of ambition, not about accomplishments, but about the journey while they chase their dreams.

His long story short is this: he wanted to be a cop, so he was. He wanted to be in the Army, so he was. Then he got hurt. He had to learn everything again, including how to walk. During his recovery his mother had moved in with him and his wife and brought with her a baby grand piano. He used this as his therapy, though he had never played before. He has gone on to become a recorded pianist who has performed in New York City and has a few gigs booked in Rome in the coming months.

He has the best attitude!

Through his journey he cited three things he learned:

1. Everyone has an are of natural ability which is our natural purpose
2. Everyone has to evolve to this
3. The journey is the most significant part

He said to live a happy and fulfilling life is to be a dream chaser and to achieve your purpose in life. The key is to find your purpose and make that your profession and your passion.

When you finally figure out why you’re here, your destiny and purpose, the most significant part is the journey from where you are to where you want to be.

I was just soaking in this speech. I agree with him wholeheartedly! I have talked a little bit about my journey, from being engaged and not knowing who I was to someone who truly knows what their destiny and purpose is. I am finally going to reveal that!

I joined Junior League this year, finally. I have wanted to for years, but I never did. There was the element that people thought that I only wanted to join for the “social” aspect, which is the farthest from the truth. It took a long time for me to get through to people the true reason that I wanted to join: Baby Steps.

Baby Steps is the signature project of JLN. It is a collaborative effort of JLN, Norman Public Schools, Crossroads Youth and Family and Center for Children and Families, Inc. The demographic that is helped by this program is those teens that are parenting or pregnant in the Norman Public School system. It is a daycare for the “babies” and classes for the “teens.” I fell in love with this program when I was working as a TANF worker. I had a few clients that were students at Baby Steps. I wanted to be as involved as I could be, but I never quite took that step: out of fear, out of insecurity, out of feeling that I didn’t know if I would belong. Finally I gave all of that up. When I applied to grad school my personal statement centered around Baby Steps and what a great program it is.

At that point I wanted to start Baby Steps-like programs in other communities. Well that was all fine and dandy until I learned about Bridges. Bridges is a program in Norman for homeless teenagers. This is a great non profit that helps these teens finish high school. Well this was right up my alley too!

Now what to do? How can I help these two groups of kids? These two are great programs and they have one common goal: to get the teens through high school. But what happens next? Does a high school diploma and being 18 make you an adult? I know, for a fact, that when I was a fresh high school graduate and 18 I didn’t have a clue. There were many times that I had to call my parents to ask: how do I make this recipe? What do I do when a storm knocks out the electricity? Where do apply for financial aid? How do I get an apartment? How do I pay for a bed and a couch and a dining room table and dishes and, and, and?

That’s when it hit me! These kids still need someone. I did a paper last week on teen age pregnancy (a social problem near and dear to my heart) and one of the reasons for “planned” teen age pregnancy is because kids want a family; if they didn’t have one or the one that they had deserted and disappointment them, then the easiest way to get a family is to make one.

Maybe I am the eternal optimist, but what if we, as a society, can embrace these kids and young adults and give them a family?

About a month ago I watched The Blind Side. I know, I know, how on earth could I not have seen it before now? Well, I hadn’t! But I cried through the whole thing, of course. Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy wrote a book called In a Heartbeat about their journey with Michael. The biggest message that I got from this book is that Michael didn’t need “saving” he just needed support and encouragement, someone to love him and accept him, to help him through all those rough times that we all go through and be there for him unconditionally.

I think that's all any of use want: just to be loved and accepted. I think everyone deserves that, too. I want to help people find that love and acceptance. I know that the time is coming, much faster than I thought it would be a couple of months ago, that I will have to take a huge leap of faith to start this non profit. Does the thought terrify me? Oh yeah.

Next semester I'm taking Program Development, Implementation, and Evaluation and Grant Writing. After that will I know everything there is to know about how on earth to start this thing? Nope. It's kind of like planning to have kids: if you wait until you're ready, then you'll be too old to have them. That's kind of how I feel about this thing; if I wait to do it until I am 100% ready I'm going to be too old, or too married, or too busy with kids, or too something. There will always be an excuse. I'm tired of excuses and I'm not going to let them hold me back.

I have a name in my head, but I'm not posting that on the internet quite yet. :)

All of this being said, if you would have asked me nineteen months ago where I'd be I would have without a doubt said: married with one kid and one on the way (or getting ready for the second one). I would be staying home with the kiddo. My ultimate goal was not to work. Fast forward nineteen months, a few million tears, and a life changing experience or two and here I am: on the brink of starting a non profit that I hope will genuinely help people.

Will this be a glamorous job that I can leave at 5:00? Nope.

Will I make a million dollars? Nope.

But will I be fulfilling my destiny and purpose? You bet!

Will I enjoy the ride that this crazy life takes me on? As much as I can.

I know it will be hard and I know that there will be days that I might just want to give up, but I hope that I don't. I want to do everything in my power with the journey and the path that I have been given. I want to live life by taking risks and to really live life, not to let it happen around me. I want to live my life knowing that at any given moment I have given it my all, and then some, and I am ready to die.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thirty in Thirty: Eight

Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all. ~Ovid


I think I have to get a blog out before I can write a good paper. It's like my warm up writing.

Okay day eight is not going to be my favorite and it's going to be really vague. To protect the guilty I guess.

This person taught me a lot in the short time that I knew her. First off, she was perfect. Believe me, perfect. Just ask her. We got along, and by got along I mean we were the definition of "frienemies." I don't think I understood that word until I encountered this person.

My perception of this person was that she thought EVERYTHING I did was wrong. The funny thing is that everything that has happened, which did not mirror her life, happened just as it needed to for me. And I think those last two words of the sentence are the most important: for me. Her life has gone perfect for her. I'm sure there have been obstacles that she has had to face, but she doesn't talk about them nearly as much as I do. Granted I talk, a lot. I don't mind sharing my story. I hope that my story will give others in similar situations hope. Or if nothing else it will entertain them.

In the last year my life has gone in many different directions. I am back in school (who'da thought?), I went out a lot (I thought I had given up going out sometime around age 24), I have made friends with some interesting characters (now that one's not all that surprising). I don't see anything that I've done as wrong...for me. Some of the decisions might not be right to someone else, but ultimately I'm the one that has to answer to God and answer to myself, not them.

When mentioning things that I have done (none of which have been that bad!) I got many, many "looks" from this person. It seemed that nothing I did was right. I am a people pleaser and this really bothered me for a long time. Why did she not like me? Why did she judge what I did? I just didn't get it. I spent a long time talking to a friend one night and he brought up the point that maybe it wasn't judgement, maybe instead there was an element of jealousy or "what if?" and I was perceiving it as judgement. This really got me to thinking: people are only mean to me because they are jealous of me! Maybe that's not the only reason, but, frankly, I do have a lot going for me, I really do. At the same time the road to get here has not always been smooth, flat, sunny and cheerful. I wouldn't have it any other way though. I may not be married and have two perfect children in a perfect house, but I am furthering my education in a hope that I can go out and make a huge impact in the world. I want to help people, not just myself, as many people as I can. Odds are good that I'm not going to make a million dollars doing what I want to do, but at the end of the day I think truly loving what you do and knowing that you are making a difference are worth so much more than money can buy.

There were several times that this person would get just angry over things that I did. I, on the other hand, just went with it. It was honestly kind of funny to watch her get worked up. What I realized was this: when she got upset the only person who was miserable and upset over her being upset was her! My youth pastor in high school was known for this phrase:

"When someone spits on you does he make you mad? Nope, he just makes you wet. You make the choice to be mad."

I have thought this phrase a lot over the last year. When I get upset who does it hurt? Me. That's really about it. Sure I have friends that care, but the reality of the situation is that if I let someone get to me, it hurts me, not them. I had to take this attitude with this particular person. Oh there were times I was SO mad, but I just had to keep reminding myself that if she didn't care about hurting my feelings then she wasn't worth me being upset over.

I hope that I brought something positive to her life as well, because she certainly taught me things about my life. I learned that it's okay that I don't have a picture perfect life. It's okay that my life has not taken the same path as many of my friends. It's okay that I didn't meet my future husband in high school or college or fresh out of college. It's okay that I'm 29 and not married yet.

I have learned that I have had a huge blessing placed in my life. I was blessed to be in several unhealthy relationships and I was blessed to get out of them. My partners were blessed to get away from me as well, because it is rare that a relationship is only bad on one side.

I have also learned that people will judge you. People will not agree with what you do with your life. People will not agree with the path that God leads you on. People will think they are better than you. If you go through life believing them then you are missing out. Each of us was given a very distinct and perfect path in God's perfect timing and we should accept our own path and that others will go in a different way and that's okay.

If I could go back and have the life that this person has, as perfect as it appears to be on the outside, would I do it? Probably a year ago I would have said yes. She had everything that I thought I wanted. Note that word: wanted. Not what I needed. I have needed every heartache to get me to where I am. I thought, for a long time, that I just wanted to be a wife and mother, which for many people is a very admirable thing to do (not knocking any stay at home moms that I know and love), but for me it wouldn't be enough. I know that know. A year ago I didn't know that. Six months ago I didn't know that. Heck I don't know that I knew that a month ago. I was going about my Masters trying to find a career that I could do and stay at home at the same time. This semester I have learned that that I won't be fulfilled doing that. I have entirely too much to offer to the world to hold back. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do (though I have a pretty good idea). I pray that I take advantage of every opportunity I am given. I know there is going to be a moment in the future (maybe it will be soon, maybe it will be a long time from now) that will test me. I will have to make a choice between the easy out, that is totally acceptable, and something that will be challenge me and might be really hard. I don't know what that's going to be and to be honest I'm terrified.

I know when the time comes I will step up to the challenge.

And I know that challenge will change the world.

I realize I sound crazy, but if you've heard about any of my "feelings" then you won't question it. Mark my words, I will change the world. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thirty in Thirty: Seven

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer

My first day of work at my first "adult" job I met this person. We did not exactly hit it off. I thought she was a goody-goody prude and she thought I was a drunk, partying sorority girl. To be honest neither of us was too far off. She'd just graduated from a private Christian university where she was an RA. I had just finished up at OU where I'd spent the last two years drinking A LOT of alcohol along with a host of other not so good for me things.

The good news was that we took time to get through that surface stereotype and learn who the other one really was. And we became best friends.

I was there when she met her husband to be, and how she wasn't so sure about him. She was there for the first adult boyfriend (referenced in number three of this series) that didn't work out so well. She got engaged the night that I met the last boyfriend/fiance. When I went out with him the first time she told me not to worry about it, just to let go and enjoy it and she'd do the worrying.

She was there during the first breakup, the second, the third, the fourth, and the most during the last. We talked every day, several times a day right after the wedding was called off. Throughout my relationship she tried to explain the concept of codependency to me, but I never allowed it to sink in. Oh I knew that I was very codependent, but I did not want to hear it. Finally after that break up I got it through my head. Through many, many, many, many talks, tears and realizations I began to heal from the relationship.

The hardest part was that I had to learn who I was, as an adult, in Norman, without him. Let's be honest. I graduated college, partied that whole summer, started a job and started dating someone from home, leading me to be at home every weekend and a few times a week. When that finally came to an end I just wanted away from him, so I threw myself into the next relationship, giving up all the things that were me that reminded me of him for this guy who was such a polar opposite.

Here I was now trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted. July 23, 2009 I cried on the phone to her for about three hours. We went through everything and I was frustrated by my lack of passion. The ex was passionate about sports, but what was I passionate about? Him. (And my darling child I nannied for.) Through this conversation all I could come up with was people. What I finally realized was that I wanted to help people. I don't know that I would have seen that without her talking me through it.

She has her Masters of Human Relations. That's how we met. She moved to Norman to go to grad school and we went to work at the same place, on the same day. Halloween day, last year, on a whim, I asked her about grad school. It was just a question, nothing really serious about it. We ended up talking for a long time the next night. I have already expressed how much I want to be a mom and I want a daughter, plain and simple. I was very lightly rolling the idea of grad school in my head. I kind of had a framework of what I wanted to do, or what group I wanted to help, and when I realized that there was a non profit element to the MHR I was intrigued.

As we're talking and I started to kind of come around to the idea, realized how many hours it was and what the requirements were, she said the cruelest, meanest, most perfect thing to me: What are you going to tell your daughter when you had this opportunity to further your education and you didn't do it?

WHAT?!?!?!

Geez. That was low. Using my yet to be conceived child, that I want more than anything against me? You know what? It worked. That was the one thing that I needed to jump start me. I realized that I have this amazing opportunity. I was given a second chance. I had decided that my life would be one way, but God did not see it that way. I was given this chance to not only change my life, but hopefully to change others' as well.

I hated school. Especially college. I wasn't really looking forward to "hitting the books" again. What I realized, though, was that I have finally found my calling. Now I hate the word "calling" because the majority of people that I have heard use it have been so full of crap that it just makes it sound like total B.S. But, alas, that's what it is. My challenge to myself, though, is to not rush through school and be looking forward to the finish line, like I have my entire life. I am truly, honestly enjoying school. I love that in grad school (or maybe it is just the Human Relations department) that they really seem to want you to learn. We have a social justice basis and they challenge you to make a difference in your community, no matter what track you set yourself on. I love that! I love my specialization! I love the potential that I can see coming from it! I feel so lucky and blessed to have a second chance at life. I know I'm going to make a difference. I'm not exactly sure how, but I have some ideas and I think after next semester I am going to be ready to take a huge step of faith and try it out. Time will tell.

I'm so glad that I didn't take this friend at face value and totally stereotype her that first day at work. Who knows where I would be without her!

Children

Everyone deserves respect, no matter their age. However, their age does not mean that they deserve more respect than someone else. In my book their actions determine the amount of respect they deserve.

In the last three days I have experienced two situations where I do not feel that the adult respected the child. One was a mother and daughter. The other was a woman and a little boy she had never met.

I was getting my nails done and there was a mom and her adorable little girl. The little girl couldn't have been more than four. Both had just gotten manicures and pedicures. The little girl came to the drying table and wanted to read a magazine, because that's what the "big" girls were doing. I don't know if the mom was tired, or annoyed, or just kind of a pain, but when the little girl tried to get a magazine the mom yelled at her and said she couldn't read and she didn't need a magazine. The little girl got sad because Mom yelled at her. I felt so bad!

The other example was the other night. There was a little boy that asked for something and a lady who was helping him. Apparently, to her, he did not ask for what he wanted in a proper way. She proceeded to make him ask for it properly. The poor kid just shut down. He went from his eyes being lit up and enjoying the activity to a head down and barely speaking.

We don't know the whole story behind either of these children. What I would like to mention is this: everyone deserves respect, initially. I don't think there is anyone that we come in contact with that we shouldn't respect, I don't care if they are five or ninety-five. You have the choice whether you want to keep my respect. It drives me crazy when I see adults patronizing children. That is the fastest way for an adult to instantly lose my respect. In my work with children through the years I have found that, general rule, if you treat a child like a little person, not like a baby, you are going to get a better response out of them. Kids like when adults respect them, and they deserve that respect. There are, of course, times that kids don't deserve respect, but the same goes for adults, teens, and so on.

I grew up in a world where I was not treated as a "child." I was around adults my entire life. I was not the kid that couldn't handle being in an adult situation. I truly feel this is because the adults in my life did not talk down to me. I have taken this and it is how I deal with kids now. Frankly there are some kids that I know that are A LOT more mature than some adults I know.

This was totally a rant. I admit that. Stepping down from my soapbox now. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thirty in Thirty: Six

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.

This is the story of one that came into my life and left very quickly.

 

I knew this person for about a year and a half before I ever noticed him. Granted, during that time I was in a relationship, I had just gotten engaged and I was the good girl that certainly did not look at other guys. Well then the wedding got called off and I had to reevaluate everything. During the engagement I had avoided, at all costs, making new friends. At $30 a head for the plated dinner new friends were expensive. I could have new friends AFTER the wedding. After the wedding was called off I opened myself up again, and that meant making lots and lots of new friends.
 
This guy was one of them. I added him on facebook (along with a bunch of other people). I had never noticed that he was pretty darn cute and had really pretty eyes until one day that he commented on a picture I had posted some time before (thus proving that he was looking at my profile) and asked the story behind it. I facebook chatted him (oh the things we use as verbs these days) and we talked for a few hours. There was flirting, though at the time and how totally out of practice I was I didn't notice it. This rocked along for a month or so and all of a sudden (really came out of nowhere) I had a crush. A crush? What did that look like in my post engagement world? Well I wasn't really sure.
 
Here are some observations I made, both good and bad. 
  • When I like a guy I have a tendency to take on their interests: this one liked obscure music, I wanted to go to South by Southwest (This is a quality I need to work on, being interested in things a guy likes is fine, changing how I feel about things because they like something is not fine. In this case it was okay, I've always liked obscure music, I just got a little mainstream for awhile, however there was a moment with a guy when I started watching the news everyday because he was more "worldly" than myself and frankly that's just not me! I got over that fairly quickly :) )
  • I am painfully shy: I got embarrassed at the little things that in the past of our relationship I would have felt totally normal doing  
  • I went to Austin (see Day Ten for the implications of this trip)
  • I learned about BOLD: I got the courage to take the bull by the horns and actually invite him to do something
  • When I get a crush on someone they, within a short amount of time, find the love of their lives and run away to be with them or get married (that is a blog post for another day because this has happened, seriously at least ten times)
And the most important thing I learned from this crush (drumroll please):
  • I could really, truly like someone that was not my ex fiance.

That was an eye opener. I got my feelings hurt with this crush (they don't call them crushes for nothing), as he ended up in a relationship, moved away and (as I realized a few days ago) unfriended me on facebook. I think he came into my life at the right time though. In him I realized that I could still have feelings about someone else. The ex was not the only guy in the world: he was an important part of my life, but I was far from dead and there is plenty of time and opportunity to meet someone else.
 
In the end he was only in my life for about two years, grand total, and a significant part of my life for only about six months. It doesn't take a lifetime for someone to have an impact on your life. Sometimes they, in no way, shape or form mean to have an impact and yet, they do. I am grateful to this particular fellow for being in my life at the right time to teach me some important lessons: it is okay to open my heart up again, opening my heart is worth the risk of getting hurt, and there are more fish in the sea!

Thirty in Thirty: Five

While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.

November 20, 2000 a little person was born that changed my life. He is the little brother of the child that I babysat in the summer. I was never expected to baby sit this little guy. About two weeks before summer was to start I got the call by the adorable girl that I kept in the summer asking/telling me that we were going to have her little brother too.

I was going to be responsible for a six month old about 10 hours a day. Eeek! I didn't know what to do with a baby! I didn't like babies! (Well I liked this one, by nature of who it was, but that was the only reason!) I had changed exactly one diaper in my life (the two year old cousin these kiddos a summer or two before). Their mom and my mom (who worked together) thought this little experience would be the best birth control for me and the 12 year old. I got a crash course one Sunday after church (and the day before I started). It went pretty well, except the little blond child pointing out things like "be careful he doesn't pee on you" and other helpful tips. It's a lucky thing that she's cute!

Bright and early Monday morning I started. I got to learn about rice cereal, which I still think is pretty gross. :) The first day out the precious little darling threw up on me. I guess that was my initiation into having a baby!

The next summer he was eighteen months old and just the cutest little thing ever! Except during temper tantrums, at which time he was hilarious! I remember one day we were waiting on his mom and sister to get home from tennis camp. He was sitting on the kitchen counter watching out the window. He kept trying to put his finger in the electric socket. I explained he couldn't do that again. He tried again, I told him if he did it again I would take him off the counter and he couldn't watch for Mom. He tried again. He got down. He then proceeded to start WAILING and throwing himself on the ground. It was HILARIOUS! His mom called in the middle of this and heard him and asked what was wrong with him. I explained that he was upset with me for not letting him electrocute himself.

Over that summer the idea of him being perfect birth control went out the window. I was in love! I had gone from wanting nothing to do with having children to wanting one! (Not at THAT moment though, I was only 21!) I still sit at this point. More than anything I want to be a mommy. I can't wait! One of these days the time will come. I love all my friends' kiddos and most of the time I can squelch my jealousy of them being mommies (especially when they cry and I can give them back!).

I never would have thought a little summer job would turn into me realizing what I want most out of life, but it did. The lessons I learned with him I have carried through the last ten years. It's amazing what you can learn from a teeny, tiny little person.

The OU Undergrad Female Uniform

So I am at Panera for lunch yesterday and in front of me in line are two college girls. They both had long, brown, straight hair; the same length. They each had on denim leggings and tan UGGs. They both had on black fleece jackets (one was Columbia and one was NorthFace…BIG difference). They each pulled out from their matching designer purses a Tory Burch wallet. They proceeded to complain about how someone had said that they had the same wallet. Now to the untrained eye they appeared to be IDENTICAL. Okay let’s be realistic they WERE identical, or I couldn’t tell the difference between the two and I know the difference between magenta and fuchsia, lemon and canary, eggshell and ecru, and I couldn’t see a bit of difference. Not to mention, why did they care if they were the same wallet? They had on matching uniforms!


This got me thinking about exactly how much they were wearing. I didn’t pay attention to jewelry and this is just face value, what I looked up and found quickly on the company website, but here you go:

Louis Vuitton Shoulder Bag: $785

Tory Burch Wallet: $225


UGG Boots: $140

“Jeggings” (Gap): $69.50

NorthFace Jacket: $165
DRUMROLL PLEASE!!!!!




Grand total: $1384.50


ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????

I am a spoiled brat. I live in a large home, with a pool, by myself and two purebred dogs. I have nice things and I find this RIDICULOUS! I swear kids have gotten more and more spoiled as the years have gone by. This was not the norm when I was a freshman in college. Now it seems if you don’t have at least one Coach bag you are not normal. I find bags that I like and by spending less I can have more! The same goes for shoes. I have tons, but most of them are not name brands. I am proud of my $15 plum stilettos from Ross that are SO cute! I guess we each put value on different things because I do have plenty of fine jewelry!

This did get me thinking about kids and parents these day. I think there are a lot of parents that throw things at their kids so that they don’t want anything. I think this causes kids to not be totally appreciative of those material items. Is this wrong? I don’t know. I pray I don’t raise my children in this way.

To put this in perspective I was at a Junior League Kids in the Kitchen event Thursday night. We did a class with the kids involved in a CCFI (Center for Children and Families, Inc.) after school program about good nutrition and exercise. There was one little girl that didn’t have shoes on. There is the possibility that she just forgot them. There is also the possibility that she didn’t have any.

This is the sad world that we live in. I think we get so wrapped up in our own little bubbles of life that we forget about what is going on in the rest of the world. In Cleveland in the last week or so four children died. These are headlines that you read in the newspaper or see on the news. We need to remember that there are many in our world that are much less fortunate than us.

Because of where I have worked for the last six years I have gotten to interact with some of the more less fortunate of our community. I came into this job as a 23 year old that knew everything and was better than all of my clients. It took a couple of years before the clients changed my life. Yes, the clients changed me. I pray that in some circumstances that I changed their lives as well, but I am very grateful for the impact that their stories have had on my life.

One of these days I’ll talk about what I want to do with my life and why, but that’s not a story for today. Instead I hope you all take this from this blog entry:

You are very lucky. If you are reading this you have access to a computer, more than likely at your home, or even better: Internet on your phone. You have electricity. You have a roof over your head. More than likely you didn’t really have to think about how you were going to eat tonight. There are people around you that had to worry about some or all of these things. The next time you are DYING for that new pair of $100+ boots why don’t you think about buying something a little cheaper and using the rest of the money to help someone else. Go out into your community and volunteer at a soup kitchen, or with the homeless, or with underprivileged children. It may be a few hours of your time, but the feeling that you have when you’re done is more than worth your time!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thirty in Thirty: Four

Finally caught up!

Greet Rufus, whom the Lord picked out to be his very own; and also his dear mother, who has been a mother to me. Romans 16:13

This verse was part of the Mother's Day sermon at CrossTimbers. The general idea of the sermon was that just because someone is not you ACTUAL mother doesn't mean that they can't be a mother to you.

I wasn't sure how Mother's Day was going to feel to me this year. Had you asked me the year before I would have said that come Mother's Day 2009 I would be married and proudly have a newborn to show off. God did not see the plan quite like I did. I so hate when He thinks He knows better than I do! (A smidge of sarcasm; I am quite glad that what I think should work out doesn't always!) May 2009 came off of some pretty hard times in my life (Check out Day Ten for more on that) and not being a mom was on the top of the list. How was I going to feel? How would others around me make me feel? Would I be sad? Would I still be thrilled with where my life was going? I didn't know.

Then I heard the sermon. It could not have been more perfect. I have the tendency to be very nurturing and I pride myself with "my kids." I have a bunch of them. I have not given birth to a child yet, but I have about 20 that if they ever decided to run away from home I would take in a heartbeat.

After the sermon portraits were taken and the request was: take a portrait with your mother, take a portrait for your mother, take a portrait with someone that is like your mother...


One of "my" kids came up to me and said "Wendy, will you take a picture with me because you're like my second mom?" After I composed myself and kept myself from crying I said, of course. I was so touched by that!

And what an awesome "son" I have! He is a mess and I wouldn't trade him for the world. I would like to give credit to his mother for raising such an amazing young man. He is12 and in the seventh grade. He is quite the cute kiddo: blond hair, blue eyes, tall and athletic. He is blond though, God love him, he is a bit ditsy! And slightly accident prone: three trips to the ER in a month during football season. Though he only got to play two games I have to mention his athletic talent. This summer he went to the Josh Heupel football came and got chosen by a scout to be sponsored for camp next year and they are going to follow his career! (Did I mention he's 12???)

He is one of the most kind, caring, compassionate kids I have ever met. He is the kid that is going to go talk to that kid that no one else will talk to, the one without any other friends, that may not be as smart, or as pretty, or as athletic, or as popular. He will always be there to help out his friends. He loves his mom more than anything and isn't afraid to show it (we'll see how that goes in about four years!). He is just overall a great kid. I am blessed to be a part of his life and am blessed that he is a part of mine.

No matter what I was afraid I might be feeling on Mother's Day I didn't have to worry about it because of him. He was placed in my life at just the right time and will be there for many, many more years!

Thirty in Thirty: Three

A sad thing in life is that sometimes you meet someone who means a lot to you only to find out in the end that it was never bound to be and you just have to let go.

Let's try an ex boyfriend on for size! Though there were some hard feelings when this relationship came to an end, I am not going to dwell on the negative, just simply mention it.

I met this guy around 2002. He was about to marry his high school sweetheart (aw!) and we became friends through church and a musical (I was friends with his fiance' as well). They married and inevitably divorced. After they split we talked a lot, just as friends, because when you're going through a break up you need a friend. From there a spark was lit.

We saw each other one night at a play and then he asked me to dinner and a movie, I wasn't sure if it was a date, so I asked what kind of shoes I should wear: heels or flip flops. He said, well wear whatever makes you comfortable, but it is a date! I was pretty excited.

On paper we were PERFECT! We had the same group of friends, were interested in the same activities, went to the same church. The only negative I could see was that he lived in our hometown and wasn't very willing to leave, which would mean if we ended up together I would have to move home. I came to be okay with this idea as the weeks and months progressed.

When we started dating he had not thoroughly healed from his divorce (mistake number one, on both of our parts). We were together and then not so much and then kind of and then not so much and then kind of and then not so much and then well yeah. I remember us having a big fight (but we were NOT together!) and I had a bit too much to drink which led me to meet the next guy, though I was totally not over this relationship. That was Friday. On Sunday I went home for church and we got into a HUGE fight that night. This is my fun story of getting dumped when you didn't know you were dating someone! Oh the stories of my life! :)

I started dating someone soon after that and the mistake that I made following the relationship with this guy was that I did not forgive him when I started dating the next guy. I was hurt, a lot. We had been close friends and all the things that happened in our pseudo relationship, to me, didn't feel like something that someone would do to their friend. I realize now that he was not in a place to be in a relationship and I wanted to be in a "perfect" relationship too much. I could see all the positives, but did not take into account the fact that we just didn't fit!

That happened in 2005. October 28, 2009 (following the cancelled wedding) I realized that I had never forgiven this guy. I realized the problems this caused in my next relationship. I was so angry after that relationship ended that I was so determined to make the next relationship work and to make it "perfect." He kept telling me that things would not work with this new guy; I did not want him to be right and I did not want to fail. I did everything, too much, to hold onto a relationship so I could be right. (This is not to say that I did not love the next guy with all my heart, I whole heartedly did, but the hurt from the previous relationship certainly played a part in the length of the next relationship.)

I am happy to say that October 29, 2009 I totally, whole heartedly, 100% forgave this guy for every hurt that I felt. Forgiveness is a very freeing thing, I highly recommend it. Some may say that this guy, or the next, or others in my life do not deserve forgiveness. What I learned that day is that forgiveness is not necessarily about the person that has wronged us, but rather, about our hearts not holding onto hurts when the time comes to release them. Whether anything that I felt was justified in his eyes I don't know; I probably never will know. Has he forgiven me for any wrong that I did in the relationship? I don't know that either, I pray he has. I know that I did not handle everything during our relationship (however you choose to define it) in the best manner possible.

So long as we learn and grow from our experiences then I feel that every tear shed is worthwhile. I hope he learned something out of our time together, I know I did.

And I know I will always be grateful to him for that.

Thirty in Thirty: Two

I had a big research paper due yesterday which took all my writing ability! I'll try to catch up three days today!


Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends. ~ Mary Catherwood

Perfect quote to describe this friend. In fact my senior year of college at the Wesley Foundation retreat she came up to me (we'd known each other about a month) and said "Just so you know we have the same personality." My initial thought was: "Dear God, there's two of me!" This thought both terrified and excited me.
 
It was pretty much from that moment that we were the best of friends. There is something about having a friend that completely and totally understands how you think. She and I can go for days, weeks, months and it seems like we just talked.
 
One of the funny parts of our friendship is the path that both of our lives have taken. We were both political science majors in college and both planned to go to law school. I think we both would have been great at it too, but alas it did not happen and thank goodness! She had a stint in youth ministry and though I'm pretty sure that I said I never would I know find myself as a leader of the youth group at my church now. I worked with underprivileged people which has turned into the passion that is driving what I want to do with my life. She is currently working with underprivileged and at risk teenagers.
 
Our lives seem to mirror one another, though sometimes (most times really) I think she figures it out before I do!
 
I am super excited that she is coming to spend the weekend after her birthday with me next week!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day 2010: Exercising My Right to Complain

I vote. I voted today. I believe in voting. I have a political science degree, of course I vote!



While I am excited that so many of the "facebook" generation expressed their plan to vote I got a wee bit annoyed by all the posts about voting! It is great that so many went out an voted, but where was all of this during the primaries? What about the Norman mayoral elections in March? Where was everyone and their pro-vote stance then? I hope that everyone keeps the pro-vote attitude from now on.

This year I celebrated my twentieth year "in the political arena," so to speak. When I was nine I hit the campaign trail for my local state representative. I did this every two years as long as he ran. My freshman and sophomore year of high school I served as a page at the State House of Representatives. When I was 16 I campaigned for the District Attorney (who I also babysat for) and for a local Senator (who was one of my high school teacher and whose wife was one of my elementary school teachers). I have always been politically aware. This election also celebrated my tenth anniversary of "big" elections. My first presidential election to vote in was 2000 and what a doozy that one was!

A note about elections and campaigning: I HATE DIRTY CAMPAIGNING! From the gubernatorial campaign in Oklahoma that made national news to my local state representative race where I got more negative campaign material about the opponent than I did of positive information. I learned when I was little that if you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all...I think there are some political candidates that need to re-learn this idea. When I hear someone campaigning negatively about their opponent it just makes me wonder what exactly they are hiding.

If you don't like how the country is going then go vote. Educate yourself on the candidates and the state questions. When you walk into that voting booth know what you believe and who will be most in line with this. We are very lucky to live in a country where we can have a part in the decision making process for our leadership.

If you don't vote then don't think you have any right to complain about the decisions that are made in our country.