Monday, November 22, 2010


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).


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?
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?


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!


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

Grand total: $1384.50


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.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thirty in Thirty: One

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. ~Aristotle

My first victim, er, friend and I have been friends for 18 years. We had six of eight classes together in sixth grade, but that's not where we bonded. Our bond came at the YWCA Charm School that fall. I guess we realized that we had classes together and that Charm School was kind of silly (though quite entertaining and fun at the end when we got to be in a fashion show!).

To say we've been through a lot together is a drastic understatement. There have been times in our friendship that we have not been the best of friends. I think she and I had some competitiveness when we were in high school. Many times it was over other friends and who was closer to this person or that person. She introduced me to one of the biggest thorns in my side (who has stayed that way for about fifteen years, though I wouldn't trade it for anything!). We went through destructive habits together: bad relationships, stupid fad diets, really bad clothing!

We went on vacations together, I spent more time at her house than mine most summers, we got into trouble together (Mrs. Patman's Latin class and the band room and that one time we went to the lake with boys without telling my parents!). I think in many ways our friendship is more like sisters than it is of friends (neither of us having a sister). When we would spend too much time together we would have to be away from each other and wind down and then would go right back to normal. There are many things that she introduced me to and many things I introduced her to; some good, some bad!

Freshman year we went to different schools. By different I mean huge rivals. Her family would always jest at my allegiance to OU (they still do actually!) which is just a normal part of our banter. Growing up her family was an extension of my own family. During the second semester of our freshman year we were working a Chrysalis weekend and I met a boy (don't most hugely dramatic tales begin with "there was this guy..."). He was a nice boy, I thought. She'd known him for some time. We dated for a week! (Huge monumental relationship, huh? :) It actually really was...I'm quite certain he will come up in later chapters!) Then we broke up the next weekend. I was devastated (I look back now and I'm not quite sure why). At any rate something happened and being the overly emotional person that I am my feelings got hurt. Clearly it wasn't that big of a deal as I cannot recall the exact events, though I know it had to do with that boy. We did not talk for a few months.

Somewhere after that we made amends, probably without actually saying anything, that's just how things go. Sophomore year she joined a sorority and I discovered football. I had my friends, she had her friends and we didn't talk as much as before; nothing was wrong, we were both just busy. The summer after junior year we were in a play together in Ardmore (well she was IN the play and I worked the play backstage) and I guess we connected. The third of our threesome of best friends got married that summer and there was a reconnection for all of us. When we got back to school it was much the same as it had been: both busy with separate lives.

She graduated the December after we were "supposed" to graduate (I took the five year plan and graduated the following May, but with two degrees!). Nothing was really said about the other's graduation, it just was what it was. Somewhere after I graduated we started talking regularly again. It might have been because of the guy I was dating (ugh...why is it always a boy???) or who knows why. I remember when the afore mentioned boy and I broke up (for probably the third time) I went and visited her and spent Valentine's Day with her and her brother, just as an escape from life at home. Things were great and wonderful!

The following summer I had the final breakup with that guy and started dating the next. I remember he and I going to visit her at her parents' house just after we started dating. We were already talking about marriage and I remember she and I talking about being in each other's weddings. That afternoon I remember her talking about this guy that one of her friends wanted to set her up with, but she just wasn't all that sure about him.

Well they started dating a short time later. This is the part of my tale where we "broke up and got back together", so there was a bit of tarnish on my seemingly perfect relationship. I had built things up that this relationship was perfect that I was in no way, shape or form going to admit that we may have hit a rocky patch. That summer my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. We went through all the preop stuff and the surgery. I remember when I was at the hospital after surgery I got a text message announcing that they were engaged. Really??? Engaged??? They'd known each other a millisecond! I'd been in a relationship longer! This was not fair! To say I was jealous might be an understatement. To top in off while she is in wedding planning mode we went through "broke up and got back together" again! I could not bear to admit defeat and couldn't bear to tell her that we'd broken up, especially since I KNEW we would get back together (and we did).

I remember laying in my bed at my old apartment when she called and told me I'd be serving cake at her wedding. I was floored. Serving cake? That's the job you give to that person that you have to give a job to and you don't really like them. We're best friends! How could she? I was upset. (We have since talked and laughed about this, by the way!)

A sidebar to this story: I will now reveal my love languages, if you know anything about the five love languages. Mine top two are Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. I can think back on countless times that my feelings got hurt because I was not given the quality time that I desired (like being a bridesmaid!).

The reality of the situation was that she asked her cousins (clearly), his sister (clearly) and two of her sorority sisters, who in reality were her best friends at the time. During this time in my life I kind of felt like everyone was out to get me (I am in a MUCH healthier place now!) and this was just a manifestation of that. I did go to her wedding and was jealous of the relationship she had with her new sister in law, her sorority sisters and her cousins. To say that I wasn't hurt would be a lie.

The months rocked along and we didn't talk all that much. She was a newlywed and I was trying to sort out my relationship. About a year after they got married she got pregnant. I found out on MySpace (granted, she posted it and then called or text messaged me right after, so that was just crappy timing). I was hurt and angry about that too. It wasn't so much that she didn't tell me, but it was hard watching her other friends know and me not know. It was hard not being that person that she told things too. It made me sad.

That summer I missed her baby shower because I had surgery a few days before. I am sad that I did. Maybe I should have ridden with our other best friend, maybe I could have taken another pain pill and made it through the day, would it have made any difference? Coulda, woulda, shoulda...what can you do about those now?

The morning after the baby was born (an adorable boy!) she called me (he was born at like 2:00 am, she called at 11:00 am, no one is going to be upset about that time lapse!). I remember where I was when I got the call. We talked for a few minutes and then hung up. Her mom asked who she had been talking to, when she told her, her mom said "I think that's the shortest amount of time you two have ever been on the phone!"

Everything changed that Easter (doesn't it always come back to Easter with me? See World Communion Sunday for more on my history with Easter!). She sent out a mass email from her dad about their annual Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter Egg Hunt was a huge thing for us in high school. This is a serious hunt! In the good ol' days (before the economy bottomed out!) there would be hundred dollar eggs and they would be hidden all over their land. There was tons of food and family and friends. At this particular hunt her son was to be the guest of honor! Well I wanted to go! I convinced the boyfriend that we had spent the last two Easters with his family and we headed to Ardmore for it. We had a blast (well she and I did, don't know about the guys!) I guess this is where our friendship got back on track.

My mom and I went to her son's first birthday party; something I cannot even think about missing! When I got engaged I did not ask her to be a bridesmaid. I would be lying if I didn't say it was partially out of spite. I pray that even subconsciously this was not my primary reason. I did want to prove a point, with the whole stupid wedding, though, that I had moved on from our hometown, thus I asked no one from home (sans the little sister type person). She and our other best friend would be "honored guests" instead, along with two of my best friends from college.

Once again, Easter happened. On Maundy Thursday, to be specific, there was an "issue" (we'll just leave it at that) with the fiance's family and myself and though we were supposed to spend Easter with them I could not bring myself to go. I called her bawling and asked if they were having the Easter Egg Hunt and if I could come. Pretty sure she rolled her eyes when I asked this and said of course.

I knew I was invited. Her parents' house is like my house and the door is always open. I just had this need to be "wanted"; I needed to know that they wanted me to be there and cared that I would be there and I needed to hear that (back to those five love languages). Her mom even said that she thought I was ridiculous for asking if I could come. I explained this idea to her and she said, well we'd rather you be here anyway! It was a great day.

A few short weeks after that they wedding got called off and our friendship became even stronger and is where it is now. There is no competition of any kind anymore. I don't know when that fell away. It is part of growing up.

The single best testament to what an amazing friend she is happened when she told me about her second pregnancy. It is no secret that I have had some issues with people in my life being pregnant and some problems with life not being fair and being jealous. She and I talked about this, many, many, times as she was trying to get pregnant and had a little trouble. She told me that she was pregnant via text message. Now this may sound similar to when she was pregnant with her first, but alas, it was very different. This time she sent it and said, "So I thought I would message you so that you don't have to pretend to be happy because I know it will deep down make you sad but #2 is finally on the way". I am fairly certain I cried when I read this. I was nothing but elated for her. I mean I am so very excited about this baby! I called her and told her all of this. The caring that it took to hold back her excitement to consider my feelings is what I see as a true best friend. I am busy planning her baby shower with such excitement it is ridiculous!

I cannot imagine my life without her. In two years we will celebrate our 20 year "friend-iversary" and we are supposed to go on a trip. We are both embarking upon different stages in our lives, but even with 180 degree differences we are closer now than we have ever been. I would not trade one fight, squabble, jealous moment, competitiveness between each other for anything. She has made me who I am and I have made her who she is. We have come out stronger through it all. There is pretty much nothing that the two of us cannot accomplish or figure out if we put our heads together (which can be a little scary!) It is now strange for us not to talk every day (in fact we're talking on facebook chat right now!). I think we have both grown up a lot in the last ten years (me especially!) and there is no worry about what others will say, think or do and we just call each other out on our bullshit and move on. We don't say what the other one wants to hear, rather we say what we need to hear in a kind and loving way. She is usually the first person that I call when I have a problem and she is the first person I call when I have a new crush (which she can usually figure out with the first guess, tricky little devil!).

My predicition for the future: we will be the ones that when we are 99 years old will be sitting in a nursing home gossiping about the little old men chasing after the little old ladies. Who knows what technology will be in place for us to figure things out then! :)

Thirty in Thirty

Okay new inspiration to blog! For the month of November I am going to write about my friends. Well not everyone may be a friend, some may be inspirational people in my life, who I might not consider to be a friend, but who have shaped who I am. All of these people have played a crucial part in my life. I'm pretty sure that I can come up with way more than thirty, but we're going to start there. I don't really have a plan for this; meaning I don't have a list. I'm just going to start today and go. I will not focus on the negative of anyone in this, only the way that they positively influenced me. There may be a little negative there, but there will always be a positive outcome! No slamming of people here!

The kicker is that I'm not using names! :) Much like Day One of Ten Days I'm just going to write about them and let you, the reader, see if you can figure out who they are. I will not confirm or deny publicly though, so don't bother commenting on them. I will try to post every day, but it may not happen (stupid school! :)), but I promise there will be thirty posts. :)