The Words of My 18 Year Old Self

Call me crazy, but I actually kept the essays I wrote my senior year of high school. I think at some point a teacher pointed out that they might come in useful in college. That didn’t happen, but I did get an idea last week when I didn’t have a planned blog. This week I found myself not knowing what I’d blog about, so now those essays are going to come in handy on this blog. If you read my blog every week, you’ve probably gotten a sense of my writing style, if I have one, so I thought it’d be cool to share something I wrote eight years ago. (I also can’t believe I was a senior in high school EIGHT years ago!) This particular excerpt is from an essay I wrote about a book we read in my composition and rhetoric class. (I’m pretty sure that I didn’t read the whole book and wrote this the night before it was due. You’ll notice how I barely talk about the book at all, though this isn’t the whole essay. Yay procrastination!) According to my works cited page, the book was called Maiden Voyage and was written by Tania Aebi. The only thing I actually remember about the book is that the author sailed around the world solo. So without further ado, here’s some words I wrote as a high school senior! (Hopefully this isn’t too embarrassing.)

(The first quote is from near the end of the book.)
We often take what we have at the moment for granted. “I could have walked faster than Varuna was sailing and I felt like jumping off the boat and running over the water to land.” Although when in context this quote does not have much meaning, it does make for a good analogy. All through our lives we are looking forward to the next step, not enjoying what we have right now. All through high school we look forward to college; we want to jump off the boat and run towards the land, but now as we get ready to graduate in a few weeks we realize that that land is closer than we want it to be. I have looked forward to graduating and going to college all through high school. Up until a few weeks ago, I have been extremely excited for graduation, but when I went to the post office the other day to mail off my graduation announcements, I realized how close I am to leaving high school behind forever. Throughout this year I have become closer to a lot of friends, some people I didn’t even know before this year, or even November, (not sure why I felt to add the November part…) and I am wishing that we would have become closer long ago. I feel like I haven’t had enough time to get to know them as well as I should. I have also started to get along better with people that I have never got along very well with in the past. I sometimes wish that I could start my high school journey over again in the middle of the ocean, my boat far away from the land, but I will always regret something and feel the same way when I get to this point, no matter how man time I get to start over. I can’t start my high school journey over again though. It is about time for me to jump off of my boat onto the land and start a new journey, a new chapter in my life. After I came to this realization, I started to make the most of the time I have left in high school and appreciate everything that I currently have. Leaving behind my life that I have known for four years will be incredibly difficult, especially feeling like I haven’t had enough time here. It will be hard for me to start my new journey. For most of us our journeys will most likely be much easier than Tania’s. Going to college or starting a career seems to me to be much less challenging than sailing around the world alone. Starting our new journeys will be hard for all of us, but no matter how much we might want to, we can’t stay right where we are forever.

There you have it folks! This paper is dated May 1, 2008 and I graduated on the 17th that same month, so it was pretty timely. I used a lot of really long sentences, and I still do, but the idea of my final statement remains true. Don’t be afraid of what’s to come! Embrace the future! When I wrote this, I had no idea what my future had in store. All I knew is that I was going to Missouri State University. I never could have imagined all of the crazy experiences I’d have or all of the amazing people I’d meet!

And just to add a photo somewhat relevant to the blog, here I am during my senior year of high school (I had to return that hoodie, but I really wish I still had it!):
ice skating

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Cupcakes!

Today is Scrumptious Saturday Sunday! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I made cupcakes the other day. Today I’m sharing the recipe with y’all!
Here’s my Instagram photo of them!

Yellow Cake
Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream shortening, salt, and vanilla in bowl until fluffy. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs; mix well. Sift flour and baking powder together 3 times. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, mixing well after each addition. Line cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill liners each 3/4 full of batter. Bake 20 minutes. Cool on rack before icing.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing:
Ingredients:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 2 tbsp whipping cream
Food coloring if desired

Directions:
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
Add vanilla, cream, and food coloring (if desired). Continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

That’s it! This is pretty simple! As I was mixing the butter and sugar for the icing, I had clouds of sugar, so if possible using some sort of cover. After a while I held the lid to a skillet over the bowl to prevent a bigger mess. I would recommend mixing the butter and sugar together with your hands before turning on the mixer. I did this after I’d already created a bit of a mess and it helped a lot! Hope you enjoy this delicious treat!

Controversial T-Shirts and Over-Sensitive People

I recently watched this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J61rjizQ564

You might be wondering why I’d watch this video in the first place. The answer is simple; I subscribe to this YouTube channel. The channel posts videos featuring two regular hosts, John Iadarola and Hannah Cranston, discuss their opinions on different topics. Some of the topics are serious, while others are all in fun. This particular video features Hannah Cranston along with a guest co-host, but the premise is still the same.

If you didn’t go ahead and watch the video, the two hosts are discussing a t-shirt that was recently released in, and soon after pulled from, Forever 21 stores. The t-shirt was a part of their men’s line. (I didn’t even know that Forever 21 sold men’s clothing in the first place.) Here’s a photo of it:
tshirt

As you can see in the photo, it’s a pretty simple white shirt with the phrase, “Don’t say maybe if you want to say no” printed on it. Apparently a lot of people found this t-shirt offensive. They say that it “promotes rape culture,” but nowhere on this shirt do I see a reference to sex/rape of any kind. The idea that this promotes rape is totally implied. However, enough people complained that Forever 21 took action.

“Forever 21 strives to exemplify the highest ethical standards and takes feedback and product concerns very seriously,” the company said in a statement.

“With regards to the t-shirt in question, upon receiving feedback from our customers, we took immediate action to have it removed from our website. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by the product.” –Today.com

According to the video, I didn’t do my own research on this, Forever 21 did not actually remove the shirt from their website but rather listed it as sold out so now, as Hannah Cranston pointed out, “It’s a popular shirt promoting rape.” This is another issue in and of itself, and one that I will not get into.

Here’s my opinion on the matter. I don’t see how this t-shirt in any way promotes rape, unless you are purely assuming that it is in fact referring to sex, and as a good friend of mine says, “Assumptions are like armpits and butt holes. They stink!” That refers to this too. Let’s say you don’t assume that this particular t-shirt refers to sex. What is it referring to then? Personally, I think that it’s trying to relay a positive message. In our culture it’s almost taboo to tell someone no. At work and in our personal lives we feel pressured to always say yes. Whether its taking on extra work at your job when you’re already stressed out or going out with friends when what your body really needs is rest, it can be hard to tell someone no. Maybe is our cop-out answer. If your friend asks you to go out Saturday night and you want to say no, you’re likely to say, “Maybe, I’ll have to check my schedule,” and later give her an excuse about being busy or forgetting instead of using the word no. I think the t-shirt is empowering people, men and women alike, to not feel guilty for using that two letter word.

Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I think people got way over-sensitive about a shirt. If it in some way actually insinuated that it was referring to sex, sure I’d understand the controversy, but it doesn’t. I can honestly tell you that I think people were upset about this because in this day in age we’re always looking for something to offend us so we can complain about it. I’d almost bet you that more than half of those who complained to Forever 21 wouldn’t have if someone hadn’t pointed out to them that this could be referring to sex, but because we can’t think for ourselves anymore (an entirely different problem that maybe I’ll address in a later blog), a bunch of people jumped on a bandwagon with someone else.  So if you didn’t get anything else out of this blog, at least take away this; remember to think for yourself! You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to agree with your family. You don’t have to agree with the media, and you certainly don’t have to agree with the general public! Get educated and make your own opinions!

Funny Moments

So I happened to slack off this weekend, because my sister was in town, and I didn’t get a blog written ahead of time. So here I am pulling something together at the last moment because I really want to stick to my schedule. I was browsing my word documents, trying to find something already written that I could share, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. In order to post what I thought of last minute I would have to dig through my folders and re-type the entire thing, so for now I will not post that particular thing. Instead, I decided to share with you some funny quotes, and the stories behind them, from throughout my life. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

“No, we’re on the OTHER 50!” “No, we’re on the 60!”
When I was in high school, I was in band. More specifically for this quote, marching band. For those of you not in marching band, one of the things you do at band camp is set drill. Drill is basically just a fancy word for where everybody is supposed to be. It’s what creates the pretty, or not so pretty, pictures that the band makes during their field show. Well one day during band camp my senior year of high school, we were setting drill to the third part of our show. (Don’t ask me how I remember this crazy detail.) We were looking at the drill sheet trying to figure out where we were supposed to be on the football field. It wasn’t hard to figure out that the whole section, nine alto saxes and mellophones, were in a straight line front to back. I was in between two guys, and for some reason the three of us were all having a brain fart at the same time. We were on the 50 yard line, but we knew that was wrong. Suddenly Derek had a revelation, “No, we’re on the OTHER 50!” To which Grady responded with, “No we’re on the 60!” Now, if you’re familiar at all with the game of football at all you know that there is only one 50 yard line, and a 60 yard line does not exist. As soon as they realized what had come out of their mouths, we all had a good laugh, and eventually we realized that we were actually supposed to be on the 45.

“I’m okay with my finger being in it, just not my tongue.”
One day I was at a coffee shop with a group of friends. We all had gotten various drinks. Hot coffee, iced  coffee, smoothies, tea, pretty much everything you can get at a coffee shop. My friend John had gotten a hot coffee. The rest of us were just sitting there enjoying our drinks, but we noticed that John hadn’t drank any of his. He just kept sticking his finger in it. When asked what he was doing, he responded, “I’m okay with finger being in it, just not my tongue.” Of course everyone laughed because we were in college and it sounded dirty, but he was talking about coffee.

“What do you think Steve would do if we stopped on the side of the road to pick up a dead animal?”
One day near the beginning of my second year on a Youth Encounter team (read my blog about YE to learn more), my team and I were driving through Wisconsin. Taylor always joked about picking up the roadkill to have as our dinner. I think it was mostly to gross out our German, Johanna. Anyway, Johanna saw some roadkill and exclaimed, “There’s another dead animal for Taylor to eat this evening!” We were being followed by our on the road trainer, a wonderful man named Steve, so Josh asked what we were all thinking, “What do you think Steve would do if we stopped on the side of the road to pick up a dead animal?”

“It sounds like someone’s trying to feed a CD into the garbage disposal.”
This also happened on my second Youth Encounter team. We had gone bowling with the Pastor of the church we were staying at. Someone had chosen to play “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex on the jukebox. (Apparently every bowling alley has a jukebox for some reason.) When Pastor Jim heard the song his explanation was this.

And for some more of my favourite quotes, here are some without stories:

“Canada isn’t even another country, it’s like a suburb.”

“I just farted I’m so nervous.”

“I have so many keys, I must have killed a janitor in my sleep.”

“I didn’t realize how uncool classical music was. It sure doesn’t attract the babes.”

And there you have it folks, a last minute blog attempt! I thought maybe it’d get you to laugh a little, or at least smile. Maybe brighten up your bad day, or maybe only I think these things are funny. Whatever, I made an effort. That’s what counts right? Anyway, happy Tuesday y’all!

Deluxe Sugar Cookies

Its Scrumptious Saturday! Today I bring you one of my favourite and fun to make desserts! Frost them or not, they’re delicious either way!

(I was gonna put a picture in here, but for some reason I can’t find it, sorry!)

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:
Mix powdered sugar, margarine, egg, vanilla, and almond extract.  Stir in flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Divide dough into halves.  Roll each half 3/16 inch thick on lightly floured cloth-covered board.  Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake until edges are light brown, 7 to 8 minutes.  Frost and decorate as desired.

7 Fantastic Things About Being In A Sorority

One of the best decisions I ever made in college was joining a sorority. I need to tell you that my particular sisterhood is not a traditional sorority, but I imagine that a lot, if not all, of the things on this list would also apply to Pan-Hellenic organizations.

(I’m about to talk a little bit about how I got involved in GAL, and GAL itself specifically, so if you’re here for the list, feel free to jump ahead.)
Going into college, I never thought of myself as a sorority girl. I had a very stereotypical view of greek life, and that just wasn’t me. My first semester, my suite-mate Jenny wanted me to rush with her and I turned her down. At that point in life, I was still afraid of trying new things. For those of you wondering, Jenny went forward with rushing and made a friend in her new sisterhood that she ended up moving in with, no longer making her my suite-mate. During our first couple months of school, before she moved out, Jenny and I had become pretty good friends, but once she left I hardly saw her anymore and we fell out of touch. I also lost a good friend from high school due to a car accident that semester. Though I was making a lot of other friends, I started to consider joining an organization of some sort. At the beginning of my second semester while I was waiting by the elevator, I saw a sign. It read something to the extent of, “Join Gamma Alpha Lambda, Christian Sisterhood.” So I went to an informational meeting and ended up falling in love. It was the clear place for me.

So what is Gamma Alpha Lambda, or GAL for short, if its not a traditional sorority? Its technically a student organization that was started at Missouri State University in 2003. GAL is a Christian sisterhood that a one point had four chapters across the state of Missouri. To quote our chant, “We’re daughters of the King serving Alpha and Omega.” Here are some videos about it if you’re interested in knowing more:
About Gamma Alpha Lambda
About GAL
What is GAL?

So what are some fantastic things about being in a sorority?

#1- Fun
When you think about sororities, many people think of girls who like to party and have fun together, and that is completely true! Social events with my sisters were often the highlight of my week! From casual events like cereal parties and Milkshake Mondays to holiday parties and formals, there was never a lack of fun to have!
100_5003
A group of GALs at our Fall Formal in 2011
Its okay to invite guys to go with you too. Its really fun, especially if they love to dance and rip their pants in a dance off with one of your sisters.
billy and me2
My first GAL formal
(Its a great time to re-wear that prom dress you only wore once too!)

#2- Brother Fraternities
I don’t know if its true of all sororities, but we had a brother fraternity that we did social events with and teamed up with for intramural sports. Some of my good guy friends from college were from Delta Tau, our brother fraternity.
frisbee team
Our GAL/DT intramural ultimate frisbee team

#3- Roommates
When you have 100 sisters, you’re never at a lack of people to live with. Throughout college I lived with a total of four of my sisters. One semester in the dorms and one in an apartment with Ari, a year and a half in a house with Kristen, and one semester in a house with Emily and Jessy.
100_4484
One of my four GAL roomies

#4- Bigs and Littles
If you’ve ever met a girl in a sorority, you’ve probably heard of bigs and littles. We’re all super excited to find out who our big sister will be, and extremely proud when we become a big ourselves. Often times our “families” even have names. Mine didn’t have a name, but I do know that my grand-big had six or seven littles making our family quite large! Even though I’m actually better friends with some of my other sisters, nothing will change that my big is my big, and my little is my little. And I’m proud of that!
rona and me2
My big, Rona, and I
me and sarah
My little, Sarah, and I

#5- Built in Support
Because you’re sisters, bonded by those three Greek letters, you support each other no matter what. Need someone to study with? Call your sister. Need someone to eat in the dining hall with? Call your sister. Need someone to take care of you when you’re sick? Call your sister. Need a distraction from stress, someone to just listen, or just some random fun? Yeah, you know where I’m going with this. Not gonna lie, I’ve done all of these things and probably more. I have to say, this is probably the best part of being in a sorority.
hannah
A random excursion of sledding in a laundry basket

#6- Friends for Life
Aside from all of the fun I had with my sisters (and brothers) in college, I continue to be friends with them beyond college. The bond of sisterhood will never be broken. Just because you’ve moved on to different places and things, doesn’t mean you’re no longer sisters. A lot of times you’ll find yourself in, or attending, your sisters’ weddings. The fun and support never ends.
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All of the GALs at a sister’s wedding

So if you’re considering joining a sorority, I recommend it. I became a better version of myself after joining Gamma Alpha Lambda. To quote one of my sisters from an encouraging note we wrote each other during a meeting (Yes, I still have it), “You are a good friend and I love that you aren’t afraid to be yourself. You are a very funny person and I like you a lot!” Before joining GAL, I don’t think anyone would have ever said I wasn’t afraid to be myself, or that I was funny. I was insecure in every sense of the word, but my sisters accepted me for who I was. It was one of the first times in my life that I truly felt comfortable being me. So that’s #7- Being able to be yourself, with no judgement.

I’ll close with our Bible verse:
Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!”
mu class
My rush class at our induction

The Life of a Socially Awkward Extrovert

(Before I begin, I want to apologize for missing a whole week of blogs! I never said anything, but I was trying to keep to a schedule of Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, but that just didn’t happen this week. That’s all. Enjoy!)

Yes, I’m talking about me. Surprise, surprise! If you were around the internet circa 2011-ish, you’re probably aware of memes such as Bad Luck Brian, Over Attached Girlfriend, Successful Black Man, and Socially Awkward Penguin. I am Socially Awkward Penguin.

Here’s an example of one that I do all the time:
penguin3
I just don’t always know how to respond to people sometimes. Its not that I didn’t enjoy meeting you, because I likely did. What am I supposed to say though? “Nice meeting you too!”? That just sounds so fake and forced to me, so I’m left with the ever so awkward, “Yep!” (I feel like I should talk about how the word “yep” is awkward in and of itself, but I’ll leave that for another time.) Here is another somewhat related example:
penguin2
This is my life! I’m always mulling over what I could, or should have said in a situation to make it less awkward. Only on occasion are my witty comments on time, and then this happens:
penguin1
Talk about the most relatable meme I’ve ever seen! Whenever I do have something intelligent to add to a conversation, nobody listens to me.

So what does this have to do with also being an extrovert? A lot. Socially awkward extrovert used to sound like an oxymoron to me. Before I learned what it actually means to be an extrovert, as opposed to a stereotypical extrovert. In case you don’t know, I’ll enlighten you. Stereotypically, extroverts are loud, outgoing, and the life of the party! While stereotypical, they can be true. Where do you think stereotypes come from anyway? One of the actual traits of an extrovert includes being energized just by being around large groups of people. You can love being around people and still be socially awkward!

Because of my social awkwardness, I’m often perceived as being introverted. Depending on how you know me, you probably see me as either a definite extrovert, or a definite introvert. If you’re family, or someone I haven’t spent a lot of time with, you’d probably say I’m introverted. On the other hand, if you’re a close friend that I’ve spent lots of time with, you likely view me as the extrovert that I am. The reason? I’m so much less awkward around people that I know really well! (The exception to this is the people I met while on a YE team, because it was my job to get to know them.)

Why am I writing about this? It sucks! I mean seriously, I want to be around people and spend time with them, but half the time I can’t even produce any intelligent sounding sentences. Most people prefer to surround themselves with interesting people, but its hard to be interesting when you’re plagued with social awkwardness. It really is a curse that many people suffer from!

In dealing with this my whole life, I’ve come up with some ways to spend time with people while not being completely awkward. Sports are a great option because you’re concentrating on what you’re doing while still enjoying, hopefully, each others company. Whether playing a team sport with a large group, or something one on one like tennis, it fills my extroverted needs of being with people while eliminating the social stress of conversation. Always having background music is a staple of my life. If there’s ever a lull in conversation, I can either start jamming out to the song that’s on or it will spark another subject to talk about. You can also just bust up some silly dance moves, which brings me to one of my favourite activities, dancing. Dancing is especially great for socially awkward extroverts because like sports, it lets you concentrate on something else. It also requires music and if you’re feeling comfortable, especially in partner dances such as swing, you can hold a conversation at the same time! Plus its fun!

So there you have it folks! The life of a socially awkward extrovert. Hopefully my 3am writing is coherent because I don’t really feel like editing today! =)