Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waiting For Superman

Don't ask me why I am sitting down to blog about a brilliant film at midnight. I have no idea. I should be sleeping right now. Clearly that is not happening. Moving on...

Following suggestions from my sister and a few friends, I went and saw Waiting For Superman today. I'm extremly glad I did. I've worked in school systems before, both private and public, but this film opened my eyes to the problems our education system faces. The stats are shocking, and yes, depressing. Simply put, our kids are not getting the education they deserve, or the education they need to survive. Our nations scores are among the lowest of the developed countries. This is not something to be proud of and this is NOT something we can ignore. We have to do something.

Here's the thing...everyone needs to see this movie. I don't care who you are, what political party you belong too. If you have an ounce of concern for the state of our country, you should be in the theatre right NOW watching this movie. We should all care about public education because it effects all of us. Without a proper education system, we will fail in the areas of poverty, the economy, even health care. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie. Just by going to see it you will already be helping, because you are making yourself more aware of the problems.

What else can we do? Volunteer. Don't lie to me and tell me you don't have a free hour or two that you could be using tutoring a child in need. In some of these schools, kids are two or three grade levels behind, because no one is pushing them. Poor teachers are allowing kids to just slip through the cracks, not bothering to get them extra help or, in some cases, even teach them at all. It may not seem fair to you that you are being asked to pick up the slack, but it's also not fair that kids are not being taught. We wonder why there are so many drop outs. It's not the neighborhoods or the's the schools themselves. So spend some time tutoring, or mentoring. Set an example, influence a kid. Help them prepare for college. Do whatever you can to show them how absolutley necessary education is in our country.

You know, this movie made me so very grateful for schools like Detroit Cristo Rey...and the rest of the Cristo Rey Network. The movie spent a great deal of time talking about teachers who simply do not care, know they will not get fired and therefore slack off. You don't see that at Cristo Rey. Cristo Rey was designed specifically for low income students who cannot afford a private education. With it's work study program tuition is knocked down and made affordable. So, these kids are getting a challenging, college prep education along with work experience for an affordable price. On top of that, they are getting amazing teachers and staff who care about the students more than their salary. I encouarge you to find out more about the Cristo Rey story by visiting the national website- . Cristo Rey schools could be the superman we are waiting for.

Obviously, I am quite passionate about this, because it breaks my heart to know that kids are dropping out of schools because people don't care about them. Bull. The future of our country depends on these kids. It is our duty as adults to change things. It starts now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

speak now

Normally, I would wait until all the chaos is over, write a blog about how I got through it. This time is different. I've been faced head on with some obstacles as far as scheduling, time conflicts, promises, etc. It all revolves around work and only some of it is in my hands, the rest is completely out of my control. There's nothing I can really do except take it one step at a time. One day at a time. Breathe and remember it's going to be okay, the world will not end. I need to write about it as it is happening to be able to vent and to truly let my strength shine through. Now, keep in mind this is nothing drastic, but it is stressful. Keep me in your prayers, please.

So, Taylor Swift's album came out today. Don't worry, I won't give you a track by track review. But, I think it's worth talking about. The idea behind the album is powerful itself- Speak Now. Each song is an open confession to a real person in Taylors life- ex boyfriends, enemies, Kanye, etc. The album def shows her maturity and growth as an artist and a songwriter. Taylor is braver than I. She keeps no secrets with this album. From the lyrics to the little hidden messages in the liner notes, she makes it clear who each song is about. In her message to her fans, she says this

"I think the words you stop yourself from saying are the ones that will haunt you the longest. So say it. Or say it to yourself in a mirror. Maybe it will come out in a letter you'll never send or in a book millions might read someday. I think you deserve to look back on your life without a chorus of resounding voices saying 'I could've, but it's too late now.' There is a time for silence. There is a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it.I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now. Love, Taylor."

The idea of this is so powerful to me. I so often hold back from saying something in fear of how someone will respond. I can't live in fear. I can't hold it all in. If I'm hurt, I should say so. Confused, ask for help. Scared, reach for a hand. This week I am going to challenge myself to tell all the people in my life who have been there for me through EVERYTHING these past few months...heartbreak, frustration, anxiety, joy, fear, etc..that I love them. I've already put Taylor's "fearless" idea into practice. It's time to speak now. I hope you do that same. You have a voice, and it deserves to be heard. You have a story, you are important.

Love, love, love.

PS- Favorite songs? "Dear John", "Haunted", "Enchanted".

Monday, October 18, 2010

oh, and you are loved

Life update:

I have started my jobs. EEEE. I know some people are dying to know all about them, so here is just a mini update.

Job numero uno, at Big Boys Brothers Club Hope Little Girls Sisters Hope Club. (That's my new name for it). I am there as a part time residential counselor. Translation- I have the same duties of a house mom, without living in the house. I mentor, tutor, cook, clean, drive. I'm working mainly with the girls, but will fill in as needed with the boys. The scholars (kids...we call them scholars) live in the house during the week. Our organization pays for their education and daily living expenses, as well as teaches them life skills. It's a really wonderful program and I am so excited to be part of the family. I have only worked three days so far, but have had great experiences. I'm still getting used to the routine and the scholars, and they are still adjusting to me as well. I will update more once I get a real grasp of the place.

Job number two just started today. I will be working as a consultant/assistant for a wonderful woman I know. Her job is too help provide grants and outreach on government programs aimed toward the departments of health/education. My job is to help her. For example, right now she is working on an initiative to reduce tobacco use among low income women. The reason for this is to benefit their health and the health of their children. The program we design will provide health education materials, counseling/social support, research, etc. So right now I'm in the beginning stages of finding organizations that provide resources/training on this so we can collaborate all the resources onto one website. Make any sense? Probably not. What matters is I know what I'm doing and I am glad to be helping out any way that I can :)

So, other than that, not much is going on. I've had some major writing blocks because my life really is not providing much inspiration, neither good nor bad. But I will say this.

I have learned the importance of finding a support system. No matter what it is you are going through, having people that love you surrounding you is absolutely essential. Luckily, I have seen this in my life often, especially as of late. From the people who helped me to get my jobs, to the people who call/text to ask how they are going, all the people supporting my 1/2 marathon training, etc. On my very first day of work I was completely inspired by the fact that two of my friends showed up at our organization's open house. It made things less stressful for me, and helped me to get through the night without a mental breakdown. I wouldn't be able to do any of this without the support I have been given.

I also think it is important to be grateful for that support. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone who texts/calls, reads my blogs, likes my facebook statuses, etc. You mean the world to me and I cannot thank you enough for everything that you do. Once I finish the 1/2 marathon in February you are all getting a personal letter- including the music artists whose songs have gotten me through the training.

Moral of the story is- find yourself some support. No matter what you are dealing with- you need the support to get you through, even if it's something wonderful and exciting like getting married. Then, show your gratitude for those people, turn around and help out someone else. You never know who could need it. Tell the people in your life that you love them, tell them why you love them. Don't be afraid to speak your love.

I haven't shared song lyrics in a while. I wrote this tonight. It was inspired by a friend of mine. It goes out to everyone who loves and cares for someone who doesn't feel the same.

You flash that bright, sweet smile
Trick them to believe you’re doing fine
But we both know there’s more to you
Than what you’re willing to show the world
let somebody see what’s behind that wall
oh please let that somebody be me
This may seem like a desperate call for your attention
But I’ve been silent for much too long now
And I think it’s time you knew
I could be the one for you
Chorus: Oh I pinky promise I really do care
I’m not like the rest, how can I make you believe
Your secrets are safe with me
I want to know every word to your story
What breaks your heart, who was your first love
Tell me your dreams, what moves your heart

Whenever I see you I can’t help but wish
For more time to be with you, let you break down right infront of me
I smile to myself as you walk past
Hold back from following you and taking your hand
Stop myself from screaming that I love you
And I, I must confesss, I wonder about you all the time
I can sense the trouble in your bright green eyes
Together we will be just fine
Chorus: Oh I pinky promise I really do care
I’m not like the rest, how can I make you believe
Your secrets are safe with me
I want to know every word to your story
What breaks your heart, who was your first love
Tell me your dreams, what moves your heart

I can’t take you away from your own little world
Just believe that I’ll be here waiting
When you’re ready to let someone in
Oh please let that someone be me

Monday, October 11, 2010

what we need in this world is some love

Megan Carolin is a straight ally and today is National Coming Out Day. I'm coming out for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality because it's 2010 and almost 90% of LGBT youth experience harassment in school, and too many lives have been lost.

That is my current facebook status. Today is National Coming Out Day, and it is something that should be talked about. I am a straight ally. I want everyone in my life to know that I love them and support them for who they are. Please don't be afraid to be yourself for me. I think you are beautiful. I know this because I know everyone is beautiful. I truly believe that. I cannot even begin to express how passionate I am about telling every person how special they are.

Recently there has been a huge rise in the number of teen suicides as result of harassment/bullying for their sexual preference. You'd think we would be past that, it's 2010- but it's clear that it's a battle we fight every day. I'll be honest, I didn't see much of this in my own high school experience. Probably because I went to an all girls school where we were more concerned about whether or not there were fresh cookies in the cafeteria that day, but in my four years I never saw bullying or harassment. A little gossip, maybe, but that was it. In college I heard a few stories but I was still hesitant to believe it was really a problem, after all, my group of friends from home loved each other no matter what. I had a few gay friends and no one had a problem with it. I couldn't believe when people told me that where they came from, it was "disgusting" and "wrong".

It wasn't until I worked at a high school that it really sunk in. I had a few students that were tormented because of their sexual orientation. Cyber bullying and rude, hurtful remarks were a daily occurrence. My heart hurt for those kids, and I was always quick to defend them. One student came out to me. We'll call him James. I will never forget that day. James came to me and asked if we could talk. This didn't surprise me, he was a frequent flyer in the peer mediation department- because girls were always fighting over him. That day, though, he told me "Miss Carolin, I'm gay. I have a crush on a boy." I said "okay, James" he smiled. "I knew you wouldn't laugh at me. You're different". I asked him if he had told anyone else, and that's when his mood changed. For the next 15 minutes he sat there crying telling me he would never tell anyone else because it would ruin him. A few days later, James was back at my desk. "I told my best friend. She put it on facebook and everyone went nuts. Now no one is talking to me". I didn't know what to say. I just told him that I was there for him and that people can be cruel, but that he should know he is important and worth it. The bullying continued, although it was not as severe as I know it could have been. Thank God for that. I still think about James and wonder how he's doing. I promised him things would get better. I hope that they did and he is happy and loved.

So, I am a straight ally because I want the bullying to stop. No one should ever feel that low, that unworthy of love. We are all deserving of love. Every single one of us, and who are we to judge someone and say that they are not? You can't do that. I don't know how long it will take for people to understand that. I will continue to fight for these rights, because it is something I believe in. If anyone out there is feeling lost, hurt, alone, know that I stand by you. Hugs and kisses to all. You are beautiful.

In support of National Coming Out Day, I suggest each of us take a deep breath and admit something to the world. It can be silly, it can be personal and serious. Just do something to show your support. While you're at it, say a prayer for everyone coming out today, that they be shown support and love. If you haven't taken your stand, do it today. Now. Don't wait, or keep it inside. People need to know that you love them and will be there for them. It could save their life.

I am going to close with a song that gives me hope. Maybe it will touch some of you, as well.

Friday, October 8, 2010

talking to the moon

First of all I just want to thank everyone who was texted/called/emailed me asking about my jobs. Unfortunately, I have no real news to report because I have yet to start. I've been all over Oakland County getting fingerprinted, tested, questioned, and asked out on dates by male nurses holding my urine sample. So, once I actually start work, I promise I will update you!

So, I've been babysitting this week. Overnight. Which means- waking the kids up and getting them ready for school, dropping off carpool, running errands, feeding them after school snack, helping with homework, making dinner, getting ready for bed, repeat. Basically, I'm mom. Let me tell you- it was challenging. It has given me an incredible appreciation for all the moms out there. It gave me a love and support for two great kids. When John came home from school on Thursday and told me that another kid was making fun of him at lunch, I was enraged. Who had the guts to mess with MY kid? And what kind of low life parents allow their kids to say such nasty things? I wanted to go in there the next morning and kick that kid's butt! I know that may seem a little dramatic, but I was angry! I really enjoyed my week with those kids, it has given me a whole new sense of responsibility. I've also realized I don't think I could be a stay at home mom. The day to day routine of it all would slowly kill me. I can totally see how stay at home moms or dads get addicted to shopping or gambling.

Besides the babysitting and getting shots all week, a highlight was a get together with my best friend Christine. We are both amazed that we have been friends for 18 years. You don't get many chances in life for that kind of friendship. It's not just about the length of time, but the depth of the relationship. Christine knows so many of my secrets, she knows things that no one else but God knows. I have complete trust in her. She's never done me wrong and I'm confident she never will. She knows about all my crushes, hopes and dreams, failures. It's an easy friendship. We understand each other, accept each other, and love each other. I'm really happy for her because she's very happy with the way everything is going for her right now- amazing boyfriend, great internship, and she'll be finishing school in December. You go girl, I'm proud of you as always. Thanks for these 18 years. I cannot imagine my life without you in it. We ARE having a party when it hits 20. Count on it :)

So I have about a million things going on in my life right now. I need to figure it all out on my own, one baby step at a time. One thing I can share right now is that I am entering in a pretty cool writing contest. The deadline is January, so I have plenty of time. The prize is to get a book published by a Christian publishing company. I'm really excited about it and plan on taking my sweet time making it just right. It could change everything for me, or it could have no effect at all if I'm chosen- but I know I'll learn a lot along the way, which is what I am most excited about.

Alright loves, have a good weekend. <3

Song of the day:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

save a life; listen to new music

What are you going to do today? Read a book, watch Law and Order, go to work, or class? Every day we go through the motions. We make decisions that will be the best for us and those we love. There are some people in this world who can't make thos decisions. They are struck with disease. Malaria is one of those diseases, and it kills a child in Africa every 45 seconds.... but it's preventable. We can play a role in STOPPING those deaths. That whole idea is absolutley incredible to me. So what are you going to do about it? Well, try and spice it up a little bit. You can go home to your family and say "I saved a life today". All you need is $10. You can go to to donate one bednet. That's all it takes.

The reason I am asking you to do this TODAY is because of my idol, inspiration, and friend, Melinda Doolittle, whose birthday is today. Melinda is asking all of her twitter followers and facebook friends to donate one bednet. Melinda is the most selfless, compassionate person I have ever known. As we celebrate her life, we can save other lives. You can help other people have another birthday. Please buy a bednet today in Melinda's name. Help her wish come true and save a life.

While you're opening a new tab to donate, I'll keep writing. There's some new music I have to tell you about.

Four of my favorite male artists released albums yesterday. Four! What a great day for music for this girl.

Jason Mraz, Life is Good EP. I was ecstatic when Jason announced he was releasing a new EP. It's been far too long. All of the songs are live, which adds a fun twist. But that doesn't mean I don't highly recommend it. I'll say this- only Jason Mraz can make a song called "Mama's Song", about listening to what your mom tells you, sexy. He also sneaks one of his signature reggae songs in there, and inspires with "Up" and "Freedom Song". Yet another great project from Mr. Mraz.

Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops and Hooligans. I was introduced to Bruno Mars on the hit song by Travie Mccoy, "Billionaire" Bruno lent his voice for the track. The first time I heard that song, my ears ignored everything but Bruno's voice. Who is this guy and where can I buy HIS music? On his debut solo album, Bruno showcases his incredible voice and vocal range, creativity, and song writing skills. The album is refreshing- Bruno's voice is unqiue and a nice change from all the other junk on the radio right now. No autotune, just pure raw talent. I absolutley love this album. It's one of my favorites of the year, competing for the top spot with Sara Barielles. It's an album that everyone can appreciate, no matter what genre of music you prefer. Favorite songs include:

Matthew West, Story of Your Life. This isn't just any old album- it is an experience. Matthew West made a bold move with this album- he simply asked people to tell him their stories. The stories fled in, and Matthew spent a great deal of time turning the stories into songs for his album. A genius move. Involve the people, get their stories out. Everyone likes a song they can relate to, and Matthew made an entire album of those songs. The personal, moving songs deliver a message of faith and hope. I strongly reccommend giving this a listen. You could find YOUR story in one of these songs. I did- my song is "My Own Little World". Which one is your story? Promise me you will listen to the album. It is truly a beautiful piece of art.

David Archuleta, The Other Side of Down. If you're looking for a pop album that will lift your spirits, this is it. On American Idol, I wasn't on the David fan train. (Let's be real, we all know who I was rooting for during Season 7. His name starts with a C and ends with a hikezie...but since that music career has gone down the drain... oh yes I did.) BUT, I could never deny his outstanding, mature vocals. I just found David a little boring. Well, he certainly proved me wrong with this album. It's upbeat, catchy, fun...99% of the album is aimed at optimism. David managed to make an album full of songs about what he belivies in, in a way that will reach out to people and make them listen. He does all of that AND still found a way to make each song different. His vocals are flawless, as usual. It is clear that David took his time with this album, and it paid off. His song writing ability and creativity really shines through each song. I have several favorite tracks, and each for a different reason. I related to this album and can guaruantte most everyone else can as well. You'll be missing out on a fantastic pop album if you don't give this a listen...and who knows? Maybe you will find some encouragement through it as well. I know I did. Thank you, David, for this real gift of an album. I'll give you a few favorites: Stomping the Roses (no surprise, considering the co-writer is another favorite artists of mine, Bryce Avery), Things Are Gonna Get Better, and My Kind of Perfect.

Take a listen, let me know what you think. Oh, and don't forget to save a life today.