Thursday, December 31, 2009

new year.

Well, only 6 1/2 hours left of 2009. I've already reflected on my year, gone through old pictures, cards, journaling, and blogs. I have to say this again: What a damn good year. (Excuse my language).

So tomorrow is a fresh start. A new beginning. I fully believe in new beginnings. Just because you had a rough day today, or maybe even a really rough year, does not mean it's the end for you. I personally have a hard time letting go of things, I cherish good memories and internalize the bad ones. I torment myself on what I could have done better to save a friendship or stop something bad from happening. However, I've learned to let go. There's no point in keeping all negativity in my life packed up in boxes. Open up those boxes and throw them out. You don't need anyone else telling you what to do or how to live your life. Be you. Be the BEST you that you can be. Wake up every morning with a fresh attitude. If we keep letting the small things build up, we turn into a mess.

I'm also a believer in resolutions. Maybe not life changing resolutions, but small goals that you know you can achieve. Find someone that can help motivate you. Write a post it and put it somewhere you will see it everyday. On that note, here are mine:

-Exercise. I've been doing really well on my weight loss journey (besides Christmas break. I hate you, cookies.) However, I'm not losing weight at the speed I would like to because I am not exercising. I would like to get a membership at the Y, as long as I can find the time to get over there.
-Keep in better touch with the other MVC communities. I know we're all super busy, but I would like to talk more with my friends I made at orientation and be able to share ideas with them.
-Keep organized on my paperwork for school. I get a little overwhelmed and lazy when it comes to the paperwork for the lunch program. I need to stay on top of that.
-Live in the moment and say yes to opportunities. Although I have progressed with my anxiety issues, I still let it get the best of me and turn things down sometimes. I would like to make the BEST of this experience with MVC and to do as much as possible.
-Stay positive about my future. I get so nervous and anxious about what I'm going to do in June. I need to remind myself to just let go and let God take me wherever He needs me to be.

Alright, I have to go get ready. I hope you all have a fabulous New Year's Eve celebration. Love you.

OH! I'm not sure if I've posted this...but here you go...I wrote this in November.

Who let me fall for you
How could this happen
I’m supposed to be strong on my own
Don’t need you to hold my hand
So why is it that
When you’re around I feel weak
I could crumble at any moment
Just by looking into those dark eyes
I put my guard down
Suddenly I need you to save me
To run away with me far away from here
I don’t know how this happened
I’m supposed to be strong on my own
I always said I didn’t need love
I’d do just fine in this crazy world on my own
But when you’re around everything changes
I suddenly need you to save me
Let’s start over somewhere new
In a place where I don’t have to hide my feelings from you
Cuz suddenly all I want is for you to save me

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Megan's 2009: Part 2

-Visting Gem: I visited Gem a few days before her birthday. It was a time when I was really stressed out with no sign of a summer job yet, and I also had not heard about MVC. The trip was good for me and we had a lot of fun. It was the first time we spent time together when we didn't have to rush around and be on a schedule, so we just enjoyed each other's company. I really enjoyed that weekend and I am very thankful to have her in my life. No pictures for this one (Gem, do you have any?).

-Nanny for Sophie and Kate: Shortly after I returned home from Gem's, I got a call for a nanny job. I was a nanny for Sophie (age 2 1/2) and Kate (age 1) for about a month- until their dad was laid off. It was a challenge, and exhausting, but I loved it. They were so sweet and intuitive. I won't forget Sophie saying to me "you're the best Megan ever" or Kate calling me "wagon" and asking to see "puppy". I still think about them sometimes!

-4th of July with Sam and Lauren: So random but SO much fun. We got in trouble for singing David Archuleta too loud on the tunes, spied on a high school party, and partied at Monaco. I got us a ride home from Booker T, who later gave us his personal card. So funny! I love those two so much. Girls, thank you for being amazing friends and always making me laugh.

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-Women of Faith in Cleveland: Considering I wrote a 2 part blog for this already, there's not much more that I can say other than spending time with Holly was AMAZING and see Mandisa was, as always, a wonderful experience. Not only that, but I also pulled away from the weekend a fulfilled, stronger person. The speakers helped me out so much, and Mandisa's story/music were the added bonus. She's such an inspiration. I owe her so much!

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-My Birthday: I celebrated my birthday by going out to dinner with friends from softball and my best friend Christine. It was really nice and a good way to wrap up the summer and say goodbye before I left for orientation. I raised $200 for Malaria No More via facebook. It also helped that I got the best present EVER from Chikezie. I had been hinting that I really wanted him to cover the Justin Timberlake song "Another Song". Well, I woke up the day after my birthday and I had an email from him...with an mp3 of that song and in the e-mail he said "I'm sorry I couldn't get this to you sooner, I was up until 3 am trying to get it on youtube". How precious is he?

MVC Orientation
: I was so nervous for this and for the entire MVC process. However, the week was so positive and reassuring that I knew I made the right choice. I made some amazing friends and was lucky to have people there that understood my anxieties and pushed me to step out of my comfort zone. Each of us in the program bonded instantly and I will not forget telling ghost stories outside or doing puzzles without looking at the lid. I had so much fun getting to know my roomies and the other MVC volunteers. Also, our act for the talent show was pretty amazing.

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-MVC Experience/living with Dave, Katie, and Nate: The first week in Detroit is a blur. We were all a little nervous, still trying to feel each other out, and anxious about our sites. However, I am amazed at how close we've become. The four of us have really been lucky, we look out for one another and have so much fun just hanging out. I am appreciative of everything that they do for me, and they each hold a very special place in my heart. I have enjoyed growing spiritually and emotionally, I couldn't imagine having three better roomies to share it with. I can only hope that we continue to grow.

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-Idol Concert Grand Rapids: Even though I wasn't emotionally attached to Season 8, I still went to the concert with Sam, Lizz, Brenna, and others. We had amazing seats AND won after party tickets through Michael Sarver. We met Matt, Michael, Scott, Allison, and Kris before the show. Michael LOVED us during his set. We met everyone but Adam at the After Party and I had a moment with Danny Gokey. I also made a sassy sigh for Aaron (drummer) and threw it at him on stage. Lil Rounds is STILL my hero for giving it to him, and Aaron is my hero for tweeting it later. I had so much fun with my friends and meeting the idols, especially my faves Allison and Matt. What a fun night- no stress, no drama, just fun. Oh, and my epic picture with Megan....AND the amazing Slow Ride, which was one of the only reasons I went to the show.

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-E Women Conference: When the stress of living as a volunteer was JUST starting to get to me a little bit, E Women came and saved the day. It was EXACTLY what I needed: refreshing, fulfilling, and peaceful. I was able to talk to Mandisa for a few moments, and she gave me two shirts and the sweetest card. I also met Thelma Wells, who is an incredible person. I learned so much that weekend and much like WOF, I take it with me every single day.

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-Kelly Clarkson: When I found out that I was meeting Kelly, I screamed a little. I have been trying for SO LONG. That night was incredible. She is exactly what I thought she would be, chatty, outgoing, and SO sweet. I was VERY nervous to meet her, but she made me feel so comfortable. I had to stop her from talking because she kept going on and on. I had to make sure I told her about my songwriting, since she is the reason I write. She looked at me like I had said I was Obama. She was like "thank you so much that is the best compliment. Don't stop writing!". THE SHOW ITSELF WAS INSANE. Wow. Screaming the words to Never Again and crying during Chivas. I miss it. Let's go back.

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-Thanksgiving Weekend: Ya'll know how special this weekend was but seriously, I look back on it and smile. I had so much fun! Bringing my roomies to meet my family/family football game, Archie/sleepover with Sam, barbie party with Alex. Good times all around, and I felt at peace and completly comfortable and happy.

-Working at Cristo Rey: I saved this for last even though I have been working there since August. You guys, I cannot even tell you how much I have grown because of working at this amazing place. I am such a different person. Stronger. More confident. More compassionate and understanding. I have seen the world in a different light. It has made me more aware of my blessings and surroundings, a better picture of WHY I am volunteering for a year. I love this school, I love my co-workers and I am in love with those kids. I will never be able to put into words just how much this place means to me, or how much it has given me. It has forever changed me. Thank you, Cristo Rey. Thank you, kids.

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Well, that's it. I want to thank Sam, Lauren, Alex, Alicia, my family, backups, my roomies, MVC'ers, my new friends, and my idols for the amazing year. Here's to 2010 and what it will bring. I have no idea where I will be sitting a year from now, but I'm confident that with God and my support system, I will be happy.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Megan's 2009: Part 1

I was watching a VH1 special titled "2009: That REALLY Happened". They were discussing all the crazy antics that happened during the year. At one point, one of the comedians said "when we look back at 2009, the first thing we're going to think of is that Michael Jackson died". I'm sorry, sir, but no, I won't. the first thing I think of is that I graduated from college. Michael Jackson's death is pretty low on my list of precious memories.

2009 was one of the best years yet. Besides Laurence being sick and my few emotional breakdowns over figuring out what's next, I had an amazing year. Here are the hilights!

-Living with Lauren/Jess. : I had a strong relationship with both these girls. Jess and I had been friends throughout our four years, so we went through a lot together. It meant that we understood each other and were able to support and stand up for one another. Lauren and I were extremly close, and when I think of those last few months with her I think: digging cars out of snow, den sandwhiches, American Idol, Friday nights on the couch, award shows, Main Street, lazy movie days. I really miss that aspect of college.

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-Our party in January: The three of us decided to have a party in January, and it was such a blast. I think back to that night and just laugh. Alex, Sam, and I were ridic as far as dancing. JBizz passed out on the couch but waking up for "single ladies". Alex and I doing "no air". So fun, and I have the pictures and videos to prove it!

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American Idol Season 8: The next season of American Idol began and with that I was offered a writing position for the Detroit News. I was able to blog about Idol after every episode. Looking back, that was quite a blessing. It allowed me to grow in my writing and gave me a different perspective on the show. I enjoyed watching the show with Lauren, texting Sam, and calling my mom during commercial breaks. I wasn't as emotionally attached to the season, but it was fun.

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-Internship at KCAN: My internship at KCAN was a big part of January and the rest of that semester. I was nervous about it, but a few days in I knew it was perfect. While I wasn't working directly with child abuse cases, I was providing education and outreach to the community on the issue and organizing our fundraisers. It was an incredible experience overall! I'll never forget the board meetings or late, late nights during the Be A Lifesaver campaign. I am VERY thankful for my supervisor, Mimi, and all the people I met at KCAN who gave me opportunities to grow.

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-Melinda's Album Release: Us backups had been waiting for Melinda's debut album for two years. The result was worth the wait, she produced an incredible album that was perfect for her. I am incredibly proud of her and the project. Every single song is perfect, and Melinda's way of connecting emotionally is beautiful.

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-Melinda @ the Borders Promo Tour: I had the incredible opportunity to see Melinda twice on her promo tour and introduce her to my parents and one of my best friends, Alicia. Everyone in my life knows how much Melinda means to me and what she has done for me, so to be able to have all the important people in my life meet her was very special for me. It was also the first time I was able to have a good chunk of one on one time with Melinda. Kelley and Melinda made it a point to give me advice about graduating and job interviews. I'll never forget those two nights and I am very grateful for them!

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-Mandisa on Valentine's Day: I was also able to see Mandisa that month, on Valentine's Day to be exact. Mandisa and I had been corresponding via myspace the 4 months prior to that, and I was very excited to be able to see her and thank her in person. She has been an inspiration for me in so many ways and I know that she was put in my life for a reason!

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-Idols in Concert (Dearborn/Chi-Town). When I found out that Melinda, Chikezie, Phil, and Gina were touring together I flipped. Melinda and Chikezie are my all time faves, and I adore Phil and Gina. I went to the show in Dearborn with Sam, Lauren, and Gem. Talk about an amazing experience. That may have been one of the best concerts of my life. We had front row seats and were practically on the stage. Chikeize and Melinda made eye contact with us for 95% of the show. Chikezie sang "More Than Anyone" to me which is my favorite Gavin song. Lauren and Gem both thought I was going to pass out. I met Gina for the first time, Phil was so hyper, Chikezie wouldn't let go of me and Melinda had to pull us apart, Chikezie let me listen to his first single, Melinda came charing at me full speed. Holy MOLY do I miss that night. The next day, after my walk for the homeless (see below), Gem and I drove to Chicago to surprise Maria/Des and to see the show again. Things were not as magical this time, due to an ice storm/delayed show. However, I did get to meet Melinda's daddy. I also was blocked off from meeting Jon Peter Lewis because Chikezie ran around the table to hug me. Melinda was next to him and was like "are we really going to do this again?". Then she hugged me and said "hi little baby girl". Maria got her first Chikezie hug..Gina and I cried when I told her how much her original song meant to me, then she kissed me on the head. I hugged Melinda forever at the end because at that time I didn't know when I would see her again. Gem and I had to spend the night and the hotel was a crazy maze. Spending quality time with Maria and Des was very special. I'll never, EVER forget that weekend.

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-5 Mile Walk for the Homeless: In January, I had decided to really get on top of my weight loss journey. I started walking every single day and trained for a 5 mile walk in March. I would walk 4-5 miles a day and loved getting fit, I could feel my calves building muscle. I completed the walk the day after seeing Idols in Dearborn (don't ask me how I woke up for that, I'll still never know). It was special for me because even though it was only 5 miles, it was a major accomplishment. Plus, Gem was there to greet me at the finish line. I also raised $200 thanks to my AMAZING friends.

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-Graduation: I never thought I would make it through four years at Western. It was a rough four years, and I went through many struggles. However, graduation day was a very proud moment for me. Sam and Alex drove in and my whole family was there. It was such a blast celebrating and rejoicing. I miss parts of college, but I wouldn't go back and do it again. One day I hope I can think of college and smile, rather than think of anxiety and bad roomates. Graduation was the day of the marathon, and I got to talk to all the backups + Janet/Kelley/Melinda, and Melinda made me a special video. I had SO much fun that night with Lauren, Sam, and Alex, too.

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-Idols in Utah/Visit to Vegas: The BEST graduation present I could have asked for from the backups was to visit Val in Vegas and see Melinda/Phil/Gina/Chikezie again. I flew across the country all by myself and was able to spend some amazing quality time with Val in the BEAUTIFUL Las Vegas area. I really have no idea what Vegas is like until you see it in person. It's like it's own world. We drove an hour or so away to the MOST AMAZING venue I've ever been in- it was an ampitheatre in the mountains. Just picture that. I also got to see Maria, Des, Ape, and Cathy. Ape was a surprise and I almost knocked her over hugging her. Melinda and Chikezie didn't know I was coming, I thought Melinda was going to fall of the stage. Her performance of "home" that night was unforgettable. At the end of the show she grabbed Chikezie's hand and they stood in front of me, singing and waving. Afterwards, I was in the middle of talking to Chikezie when it started to downpour. We had to move to a covered area, he still had my picture in his hand so he came to find me. The backups chatted it up with Melinda and then she asked who gave Chikezie the Vegan cupcakes. Miss Sassy Pants called him over and told him it was me, which got me another hug and conversation with him. That night I for real hugged Melinda for the last time in a while (haven't seen her since). OH, and Chikezie kissed me on the cheek and promised to come visit me soon ('s past soon). It was a very special night and to be able to spend time with those backups was SO much fun. I want to go back and relive that weekend!

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-My brother gets engaged! My brother let us know that he was going to propose to his girlfriend, Sara, and asked that we would come and be there. We traveled to Indy and met Sara's family at a restauraunt. Sara and JP walked in a little later, much to Sara's surprise. I am SO happy for them! I am excited to have a new sister and that my brother is so happy, he truly deserves it. It was great to be able to get to know Sara's family and spend time with my own. I cannot wait for their wedding and again, I am so happy for those two.

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So there you have it, folks. The first 1/2 of 2009. My biggest struggles at this time were figuring out my life, financial struggles, and drifting away from friends. I had a major falling out with one of my best friends, and the experience hurt me but also allowed me to grow, to take a step back and realize I can only worry about myself, not trying to please everyone else all the time.

Part two is coming up :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 In Music and Movies

2009 was an amazing year in entertainment. We had some epic award shows, incredible albums, and touching movies. I love reflecting on the year and looking ahead to what's next. Before I get to my personal reflections and memories, I'm making my (meaning...what I listen to...not what the critics say, thank you) list of favorites of the year. Ready? Here we go.

Top 10 Albums

10) John Mayer- Battle Studies
9) Gavin DeGraw- Free
8) Kate Voegele- A Fine Mess
7) Jordin Sparks-Battlefield
6) Taylor Swift- Fearless Platinum
5) Jason Mraz: Beautiful Mess LIVE
4) Mandisa- Freedom
3) Lady GaGa- The Fame Monster
2) Kelly Clarkson- All I Ever Wanted
1) Melinda Doolittle- Coming Back To You

10 Favorite Singles (Some albums were not released in 09, but these singles were)

10) Taylor Swift- You Belong With Me
9) Kanye West- Heartless
8) Beyonce- Single Ladies
7) Gavin DeGraw- I Have You To Thank
6) Jason Mraz- Lucky
5) Lady Antebellum- Run To You
4)Jordin Sparks- Battlefield
3) Kelly Clarkson- My Life Would Suck Without You
2) Lady GaGa- Bad Romance
1) Melinda Doolitle- It's your Love

10 Favorite Non-Singles (all from albums released in 2009).

10) Kate Voegele- Lift Me Up
9) Mandisa- Freedom Song
8) David Archuleta- Zero Gravity
7) Gavin DeGraw- Glass
6) Jordin Sparks- Let It Rain
5) Taylor Swift- Superstar
4) Lady GaGa- Speechless
3) Kelly Clarkson- The Day We Fell Apart
2) Jason Mraz- Beautiful Mess
1) Melinda Doolittle- I Will Be

10 Favorite Movies I saw

10) I Love You, Man
9) Twilight: New Moon
8) Wolverine
7) The Hangover
6) Zombieland
5) Harry Potter 6
4) Up
3) My Sister's Keeper
2) The Proposal
1) The Blind Side

Movies I Still Want To See:
- Adventureland (Watching right at this moment and so far I love it).
-Time Traveler's Wife
-Julie and Julia
-Princess and the Frog
-Where The Wild Things Are
-This Is It

Second blog coming up tonight or tomorrow about my personal experiences this year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

this is life before you know who you're gonna be

It's the night before Christmas eve and tension is high. I'm not surprised or disappointed, I'd be more worried if this didn't happen. Everyone gets so anxious about cooking and cleaning and hosting the perfect Christmas. If you're one of those people: CHILL. Your family members won't be around forever, so cherish this time you are spending with them now. You'll get everything done, you always do. Take a step back and tell everyone just how much you love them. LET IT GO. There's no point in having these negative feelings toward one another. This season is about giving, loving, and honoring Jesus, not stressing. Just relax and say thanks to God for all your blessings.

On a completely different note, Taylor Swift's latest single, "Fifteen", has been on my mind lately. The first time I heard it was when I bought her album last fall, and I thought it was a cute song, but I often skipped over it when listening to T. Swift music. When it was released as a single, I heard it on the radio on my drive to school. Although it's only been a year since the first time I heard it, the song has a whole new meaning for me now.

I played it for my favorite (shh) student...the one who left a few weeks ago. I played it on her 15th birthday and watched her facial expressions as Taylor sang the words. She looked up at me at one point and said "don't you hate it when a song is SO TRUE?". She asked me to make her a copy of Taylor's CD. Now, every time I hear that song, I think of that student....and all my other students who are dealing with issues of figuring out who they are, who they want to be, falling in love, striving to be popular.

When I was 15, I had a wonderful parents who supported me and cared for me, always making sure I was taken care of. I went to an amazing high school and had plenty of friends. I was sure I was going to be a nurse and was passionate about helping other people and putting a smile on their face. I became more interested in music and writing. I was happiest when I was at school, because I was in my element there. Almost everyone knew my name and I was always busy. Inside, I was struggling with anxiety. At the time, I didn't understand it, so I pushed it away and covered it by eating. Despite the anxiety, I would say I had a very good life. I thought I was in love with a boy, but I know I had no idea what love was.

My kids, on the other hand, are struggling. Almost all of them come from single parent homes, some live with a grandparent or other relative. They are all from low income households and are at our school because it is the only Catholic, college prep education that they can afford in the city of Detroit. They have been through more than I could possibly imagine. They've seen the affects of violence, drugs, their neighborhoods, in their own homes. I don't know how they remain so strong. When I look at them I see faces of children, looking for someone to reach out to them and hug them, to be their mentor...someone who actually gives a damn what they think about, their dreams and hopes. I see how desperately they try to get the attention of the opposite sex, right now that is their biggest priority. They want to feel loved. They think they will marry their secret crushes, and they have no idea where they see themselves in a few years, because, for the most part, they have been told they won't go anywhere. The staff pushes them hard, making sure they know they can be the best person they choose to be. That's why I play songs like "Fifteen" for them. I want them to know that although it may seem like the whole world is against them, there are people cheering for them. Even Taylor Swift.

Another 15 year old who deserves all the love and peace in the world is Laurence. You all know the story of my cousin Laurence and that right now he is very, very sick. Laurence is extremely special to me, he's always been my little buddy and I adore him. His illness has been hard on me, and hard to grasp that someone so young is suffering so much. I went to visit him on Monday, something I've been wanting to do for a while. His head is very swollen, and he is very thin because he barely eats. He can't stay awake very long and speaks 1-2 words at a time. However, I could still see how hard he is fighting and how much he cares. I loved that he was wearing a U2 Shirt and that he was trying to listen as I was talking about my job and my students. He has raised over $16,000 for Nothing But Nets, getting closer to his $20,000 goal. There will be a story on him in the Detroit News out on Christmas Day, so those of you in the area make sure you get a copy. Laurence, I love you to pieces, I'm proud of you and inspired by you. Keep on fighting.

I love you all and hope that you have a very, very Merry Christmas. Here is the video for the song....take a listen and reflect. Reach out to a 15 year old and let them know you love them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

love on the rocks

I was under the impression that this week would go by super fast. I figured since we were so busy, it would fly by. Ladies and Gents, I was wrong. So very wrong. Yesterday afternoon I was in the admissions office with a group of students. They were pretty wired, and I was pretty quiet. Suddenly I said very loudly "WAIT. It's only WEDNESDAY?" the kids laughed and then asked if I was ready to go home for break. Oh kiddies, you have no idea. I would go home right now if I could, crawl into my huge bed and stay there for days. It's not that I don't love my job and my roommates, because I adore both, but I am beyond ready for a break. I'm sure there will be times over the two weeks I'm home where I get annoyed and frustrated with family, but nothing beats being at home....staying up late chatting with my parents, playing rock band with my brother, eating my dad's famous tuna melts. I'm so excited!

Christmas this year is going to be laid back, and honestly I'm looking forward to that. Too often we get caught up in the commercialized Christmas, and I think taking things a step back will help to remember the true meaning of the season.

Last night we had our big community meeting with our program coordinator and 1/2 of our support couple (Mike). We talked about any issues in the house, what we want to change for January on, etc. It was nice to reflect on how we've been doing and what we need to work on. We closed the meeting by sharing affirmations about each other, which was really nice. I think it was exactly what we all needed, to feel loved and appreciated :) Afterwards we realized that it was the last night the four of us would be together before break, so instead of my usual bedtime of 9:30 pm we stayed up and spent some time together. I love that, when we can just sit back and talk and laugh. I don't know how I got so lucky to live with such amazing people, but I am very thankful.

Another great part of my day yesterday was taking a group of students to Meijer to go shopping for our adopted families. They broke up into teams and were assigned a family to buy clothes/toys for. They had to do it on a budget and a time schedule, and did such an amazing job. I could see in their eyes and their smiles how proud of themselves they were. They showed me each item they bought and explained it, as if I needed to know why a 5 year old would want a Barbie. It was really cute and I am so glad to see my students enthusiastic about this project and giving back to others. Tomorrow I will take a different group of students to actually deliver the gifts to our families, and I am super excited about that. It should be really cool to watch and be a part of.

Well, it's Thursday. I'll have a quiet afternoon because my 8th period study hall is working today. I'm supervising make up Latin tests, but other than that I'm looking forward to spending the afternoon getting stuff done before break.


Listening to "Love on The Rocks"- Sara Bareilles

Monday, December 14, 2009

believe not God is in your heart, child, but that you are in the heart of God

The past few weeks I have had several opportunities to reflect on how much I've grown. These opportunities range from one on one's with those who are called to support our community, Thanksgiving break, talks with people who have helped me through my challenges, going to confession (something that terrifies me, but absolutley blessed me this past week), and the visit from our program coordinator this week. It scares me sometimes how different I am from the person I was a year ago. I've come to so many exciting realizations and to be able to feel happiness and peace is such an amazing thing. The changes in me may seem small to others but I am ecstatic about how strong I have become and willing to cross boundries and break down the barriers that once held me back from truly living my life.

This past weekend was so incredibly busy, all four of us had different things going on. Friday night I cooked dinner for everyone and stayed in rather than meeting up at the bar with some friends. I was too lame as that may sound. I hope I can find a husband who will stay in with me on Friday nights when I can't keep my eyes open long enough to hold a decent conversation.

Saturday morning I woke up WAY too early (6:30 AM). I couldn't sleep so I laid in bed doing some writing. I finally got up and got some Christmas shopping done. When I returned Katie and I went to help Nate out at a children's Christmas party. There were 500 kids there between the ages of 5-11. I'll let you imagine how crazy that was. It was so fun watching them and seeing them excited for santa. The best part was seeing how excited they were to get a big bag full of presents. Most of these kids won't get a lot on Christmas, so the joy in their faces was adorable...especially to see how excited they were to get winter coats, gloves, and hats. It was really touching to see them so appreciative of things that the rest of us don't even think about, things that just show up. For them it was truly a gift. Although I was approached my 3 clowns at the party (I don't want to talk about it, thank YOU), it was fun and so special. My job was to get kids from their assigned tables as their parents came and picked them up. Even though these kids had never met me before, they talked a mile a minute about their day. So precious!

Saturday night Nate and I went to dinner and to a beautiful production of "Messiah" (but a jazzy version) at the Detroit Opera House. It was really nice to be able to spend time with him, and SO sweet of the sister's to purchase tickets for us. We had great seats and I really enjoyed the show- especially the absolutley unbelievable piano solo. I'm still not over how good that was- never in my life have I seen someone play piano the way that man did. Nate and I had a great time, came home and I passed out. 3 hours of walking back and forth to get kids to the parents plus a night out exhausted me.

On Sunday, Katie, Nate, and I walked to Most Holy Trinity for Mass. We've been Church hopping every Sunday the past 5 months that we've been here, but we're ready to settle. I am proud to say that I absolutley love Most Holy Trinity. They are devoted to service and a very family friendly, community loving parish. I feel at home there, and not just because the priest mentioned us twice at mass...just the mission of their church and the motivation of all the people involved. I'm really glad it's so close to us. After church we had our family breakfast and then I headed off to Mercy for their annual Christmas concert. As always, it was fantastic. There is so much talent at that school, I'm proud to be a graduate :) Sunday night we had our spirituality night and watched a movie together. I love spending time with my amazing roomies :)

Monday was the start for a very busy week for us. Not only do we all have crazy things going on at work, but our program coordinator, Marie, came to do her site visit. She is the person who we've talked to throughout the entire application process, she matched us with our sites and is our main contact person for MVC. We didn't get to meet her at orientation, so I know we were all really excited to finally be able to meet her. When someone has put so much work into your life for basically 7 seven months, you're excited to meet them. She visits each of the communites across the country to check in and see how everything was going. Yesterday she visited Cristo Rey at 2 and first had a meeting with the principal/my supervisor. I have to admit, I was nervous. Although I trust that my supervisor would have already approached me if there were any issues, I was still a little anxious. During 8th period I was called down to meet with both of them after they had their own conversation. I was given a very good review and was honest with what I felt my strengths and weaknesses were. I was happy to hear that my supervisor has noticed that the kids really trust me and enjoy coming to talk to me about their issues, and that she also knows my frustration with my 3rd hour study hall. (In fact, I may not be getting them next semester...ya'll better PRAY for that). It was good to connect and to hear that my supervisor is confident that I'm making a difference. Sometimes it's hard for me to see that, so it was really awesome to be able to know that she feels that way.

As far as the challenges, we were pretty much on the same page that the hardest thing for me is to balance being the person that everyone comes and talks to and trusts with their issues and also being an authority figure. We both agreed that it's not really my fault considering I have no classroom management experience, I'm so glad that everyone realizes my 3rd hour is literally impossible for me to control.

Later that evening Marie came over to our house. Besides visiting our sites, she is also having individual meetings with the four of us. For almost two hours we sat at the kitchen table talking about every possible aspect of MVC- Cristo Rey, community, simple living, stipend, spirituality, safety, the house, social, challenges, EVERYTHING. It was really nice to be able to spill how I felt about absolutley everything to someone who knows the program inside and out. I talked to her about how positive the entire program has been and how much change I've seen in me, how much I'm growing spiritually, how much I ADORE my roomates, everything. I also talked to her about my challenges, which fortunatley there aren't that many.

I am really glad Marie came this week. Although it's a crazy busy week, it's nice to have her around and hear her feedback, and to have her see how close the four of us are. It's obvious to me how much time and care she put into matching each of us at our sites, so I'm extremly thankful for her.

Well, I guess that's it for me. I'm sitting in the cafeteria typing this up and getting some other stuff done. One of my favorites (shh) is across from me, working hard on her chemistry homework so she can pull her grade up. She's said "I give up" about 10 times, and every time she says it I answer "never give up". She laughs, and then continues working. You got this, girl.

Have an amazing day, everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't Waste The Pretty

Domestic violence is one of the most serious issues in our society. An estimated 1.3 million women are the victims of domestic violence every year, although they are many more because most cases are not reported to police. The reason I talk about women and not men (although that is another tragedy) is because 85% of domestic violence victims are women.

In most cases of domestic violence, the abuser is a controlling, powerful person who uses emotional and physical abuse to break down their victim. The abuser uses put downs, insults, mind games, guilt, and treats the woman like a servant. Often times, the first thing that goes through the mind of an outsider is “why didn’t the woman just leave the situation?” Here’s the thing…they can’t. The abuser puts so much pressure and power over their victim that the person finds it nearly impossible to leave. Perhaps they are afraid something worse will happen, or maybe they have been so brainwashed that they think it’s their fault or that they are crazy. A victim of domestic violence feels isolated, anxious, terrified. They live every single day in complete fear of what will happen to them.

I see the way the kids at my school treat each other. Many of them come from backgrounds where emotional and physical abuse is part of daily life. Therefore, they think it’s normal and acceptable to be disrespectful. We try to shape them and teach them differently, but it’s so hard knowing that violence is such a part of their world outside of school. I had a chat with my girls in peer mediation about the ways boys treat them, and to never ever let anyone disrespect them or make them feel scared or uncomfortable. We talked about the Chris Brown/Rhi Rhi situation and I am happy to report that most of them felt Rihanna was a strong person and would have stopped listening to her music had she gone back to Chris Brown.

It came out yesterday that a former well known local news anchor was the victim of domestic violence. She attended Mercy High School, and when I was a senior she came to talk to us for career day. I remember admiring her for being a woman who made a difference (the motto of Mercy ). Yesterday, when I heard her heartbreaking interview on the radio, I was touched by her strength. She talked about how horrible the abuse was and the emotional torture she went through. She is using her experience to advocate for the education of domestic violence and to educate young girls. I am glad that she can serve as a role model for young women in Detroit.

It makes me sad that domestic violence is overlooked or turned into a joke. This issue is serious and devastating. I want every single one of my friends, family members, and students to know that they should never have to suffer to violence or abuse. YOU are beautiful and worth so much more, so don’t ever let anyone take that away from you or tear you down. Do not settle for less than what you deserve. In the words of Allison Iraheta, “Don’t waste the pretty on him!”. Let’s stand together.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I wanna let you know, I'll never let you go

This post is going to be all over the place, and then I'm posting one on a more serious topic.

There's been talk that one of my students would not be returning to school. Nothing's been official, but she did not show up on Friday, which is her work day. Missing a work day is a big deal, kids rarely do it. Yesterday we didn't have school, so today I stood in the gym waiting anxiously for her to walk through those doors. Nothing. I waited until 3rd hour, when I have her in my class. Nope. Immediatley my heart sank. I think she's really gone. I still have not gotten the official word, but according to a few adults and her best friend, she's gone. Just like that. She's one of the students I have been working the hardest for. We've developed a very close relationship, even though I give her detention 3 or more times a week, she lights up my day. She drives me crazy but I love her. I've considered her a little sister, I always look out for her and push her to be the best person she can be. She came to ME bawling her eyes out last week when things got out of control. She's the kind of kid who wouldn't be caught dead crying, yet she was sobbing in my arms in the middle of the hallway and telling me I'm the only person who cares. Now she's gone. I am going to miss her more than I can tell you, but more than that I am worried about her. I saw her making small changes leading up to this mess but I've got this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach about what kind of trouble she is going to get into when she's not in this safety net. God put this girl in my path for a reason. I don't know what's going to happen but I know that I cared about her, and I'm going to miss her.

Laurence isn't doing so good. They hooked him up to an IV. Everyone is worried about him and trying to find the strength to deal with this situation. My heart goes out to everyone in his family, especially his dad Patrick. I admire Patrick so much. He's been through more than anyone I know and yet remains strong in every situation. It is unbelievable how he is able to overcome all the extreme obstacles he's been through. That man should write a book, I'm telling you. Please continue to pray for Laurence and for his cause, Nothing But Nets. He has raised over $11,000! He's such an inspiration. Please continue to pray for him.

I was in a really negative mood today because of all the stress I'm feeling until I attended Mass with the school. The priest and a co-worker, Fr. Jose, gave an amazing Homily about saying "yes" to whatever God tells you to do. It really helped me understand some of the obstacles that have come up and what exactly I need to do to handle them. There was also a really peaceful moment afer Communion when the music was playing and the room was silent. I sat with my head in my hands praying and thanking God for all the gifts He has giving me. One of my students was sitting next to me and squeezed my hand. It was so cute, especially because she usually has a major tude.

On a completly different note, today's Tuesday, which means new music. I woke up to an amazing surprise: a new Spill Canvas song! Gah. I've been waiting forever! I cannot wait for them to release a new album and tour again. They are perfect. Nick's voice...

Also out today is the new We The Kings album. It's not my fave, the songs are all very similiar to one another...but, it's a good pop rock album and I really like "Promise the Stars" and "Rain Falls Down". There's also a song called "In-and-Out (Animal Style)" which immediatley reminded me of Melinder.

Michael Sarver released two singles today. I'm not liking "Cinderella Girl" (too country for me, I think) but I am in love with "You Are". Such a beautiful song!

Hanson (don't judge until you listen to them, please) released an EP called "Stand Up". It's five tracks of perfect songs. They have a unique sound and amaizng lyrics. I can't really pick a favorite, because they're all amazing, and it was def my favorite release of today...but I have a soft spot for "These Walls".

On an even more completly unrelated note, my Christmas list. First, the unrealistic list.

1) A trip to Nashville.
2) Having every single friend and family member together.
3) A job...okay, I guess this isn't unrealistic...but seriously. Someone hire me come August.
4) To go to the Grammy's.
5) Laurence to be cured so he can live out his mission.

Now, what I would love to get this year.
1) Christmas cards - snail mail, e-mail, video blogs, whatev's. I just love hearing from you beautiful people.
2) Mixed Cd's/song recommendations. I know postage is annoying, no need to mail me cd's. Just comment with new music you think I should hear.
3) Posters! Vintage, art, tour posters, band posters, whatever.
4) Stuff for my vision board: Postcards of Ireland, NYC, and LA. Quotes about writing a book/song. Anything to do with working with kids and making a difference.
5)Donations to the Mercy Volunteer Corps. After everything this program has done for my life, I would greatly appreciate if my friends and family would donate. You can donate right at this link:

Okay, last thing of this random post is something I wrote a few months ago that never made the cut to the blog. I'm posting it now because it is about my faith and I have been very much in touch with my spirituality latley.

I'm not always where I should be
I don't always follow the path you pave
But you still come to me
You're there in the beautiful faces
Of those around who take my hand
You're in the rain and the wind,
In the struggles that I face
And the fights I win
You give me the answers I need
How glorious are you, who still comes to me
Even when I'm not who I should be.
People tell me I'm special
I know it's because you're with me
You bring me comfort and peace
When all I want to feel is anxiety
You pull me up when I fall down
I don't know where this road is going
But I know that every step of the way
You come to me
Through the people I see, the songs I hear, the words I write
You come to me


Friday, December 4, 2009

09 Resolutions- Fail or Win?

Someone (and right now I can't remember who it was, so I apologize) suggested that we look back on our new year's resolutions from last year and check our progress.

Mine were pretty simple:

1. Do more to help out my mom and dad. Over break I have realized just how much my parents have done for me and how much they love me, and also how much I love them. So in 09 and beyond I want to make sure that I am doing more things to help them out- either by making things easier for them or just making them happy, because lord knows they deserve it.

I think I did pretty well at this, especially when I was living at home for the summer. I made dinner and cleaned as often as I could, before I had my nanny job. I love my parents!

2. Keep a positive attitude. There is no doubt in my mind that this year is going to be rough- financially. However, I am going to make a promise to myself to just start off each day by thinking it will be a good day- because I believe that will help.

I tried my best to keep a positive attitude. I had nervous breakdowns about my future, but other than that I'd say I was pretty positive. I have kept an open mind when it comes to the new way of living this year and that has really worked out for me...and for the most part, when I've been REALLY stressed, I've remained positive. Except for today when my grumpy butt just needs to shut up.

3. Get back in touch with people I have lost touch with. This is so important to me especially because in the fall I pushed so many people away due to school. That won't happen again, because I felt alone so many times. And there are people that I am better off without, I realize that now. So I have to be careful.

Ummm yeah. I failed. I mean, the people I didn't need anymore and who were constantly bringing me down, I didn't keep in touch with, and that's probably for the best. However, I also failed at contacting some of the most important people in my life who I have let drift away. Get on that, Megan.

4. Write more. In addition to pushing people away, I sort of pushed writing away. I need it back in my life .

I've def been writing more. I wrote a ton of songs/poems in 09. I'm hoping to pull a few more out before Christmas. Plus, I started this blog which was a huge outlet for my writing.

5. Meet new people and get more involved at St. Tom's. My anxieties can't hold me back any more, I have got to step out and meet new people, be more involved and build stronger relationships with the people at St. Tom's.

Fail. I got busy with the stress of senior year and my internship that I did not focus on this. However, this year I've met so many new friends, and I'm really proud of myself. It would be easy for me to slip into the comfort of being alone and avoiding people, but I've pushed myself.

6. Last, but most important. Lose weight. I have been saying this for so long and I did so good over the summer- lost about 20 lbs. Now I've gained that back, and I am tired of it. I am going to restart my weight loss journey my space and seriously write in it at least 3 times a week. I am ready for this. I am going to need some help from people but I know who to ask, and they are all backups. Plus Lauren, since she lives with me and I know she will keep me in line. There are several others on this journey with me so I am excited about that. Ready?

I've done so well with this, I can't even tell you. I've had my low points for sure but for the most part I have a completely different attitude toward food and my struggles with food. It is something I live with daily, but I am so thankful that I can recognize my own struggles and be able to fix things.

So, did you keep your resolutions?

Although I'm sure it's coming any day now, right now I'm so thankful that there is no snow yet. I don't mind the snow and the cold necessarily, but I do mind the driving and how long it lasts. Last year I hated waking up every single morning to several inches of snow. We were snowed in for a week and 1/2 in January. I don't miss that at all. I don't think it will be that bad this year because I'm on the east side of the state and because it hasn't snowed once yet, but can wait. I don't mind at all.

I woke up in a grumpy mood today and it's stayed since then. I can tell I've been taking it out on the kids and that I've been irritated very easily. I need a pick me up and to snap out of this. It's not healthy for me or my kids. Ugggghhh.

Sorry this isn't much of a post. We've got a crazy weekend ahead so I'll update soon. Love ya'll.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

David Archuleta in Ann Arbor Review

I've been replaying David Archulet'a Christmas Concert over and over in my mind. It was clear that David was in his element on Friday night as he performed with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. Throughout his two part set, David proved to the audience why he ALMOST won American Idol: not only because of his gorgeous voice, but also his sweet, humble, awkward personality. The concert had it all: traditional Christmas music and catchy pop songs. The combination made for a once in a lifetime experience. If there was ever a show to see David shine vocally, this would be the one.

He opened up the show with an amazing rendition of "Angels We Have Heard On High" that gave me goosebumps. David chatted awkwardly with us in between each song, explaining his connection to the music and rambling about the acoustics in the beautiful Hill auditorium. He was obviously nervous, as he was being backed by one of the best symphony's in the state of Michigan. However, David's near perfect vocals made up for it. I was skeptical toward how the pop songs would sound, but David proved me wrong. The fan favorite tunes "Zero Gravity" and "Crush" accompanied by the symphony were made new and different, and David adjusted to the change easily. My personal favorite from the first half of the show was "To Be With You", a ballad off of David's debut album. I also enjoyed the cover of the Five for Fighting song "The Riddle".

By the second half, I was speechless. David's vocals were out of this world. I have heard him sing live before, but nothing was quite like this. I sat with my jaw open during David's Latin rendition of "Ave Maria". I can't quite describe to you how good it was, but it may have been my favorite David performance yet. Although it was in Latin, David had a strong emotional connection to the song and belted out the notes so perfectly. At the end of the night, David had successfully moved the entire audience to tears and up on their feet for a standing ovation.

I believe that this concert was a highpoint of David's career. I know his fans are eager for David to return to his more standard pop concerts, but I think performing with the beautiful symphony in a gorgeous auditorium was critical for audiences to hear David's vocals.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Allison Iraheta: Just Like You

What do you get when you combine the musical styles of Kelly Clarkson, Pink, and Ashlee Simpson?One of the best pop/rock female artists of the past few years: Little Miss Allison Iraheta. I guess it's no surprise that I am head over heels in love with her album "Just Like You", since I was a fan of Allison's on American Idol. (Homegirl should have WON). However, I will admit to being terrified that her label would spin her into an annoying teenage popstar singing about Jay-Z songs. (Heeeey Miley). I was wrong. There's only one song I would happily take off the album, and that is "Robot Love". That has nothing to do with Allison or her music, just the fact that I can't personally connect to the lyrics. However, I'm sure girls her age will. Overall, Allison's ablum is incredible...probably one of the best non winner Idol releases, and outstanding for a first album. I think it gives Allison plenty of time to continue to rock out. She didn't go all out with the rock on this album, which may dissapoint some, but I find her unqiue blend of pop songs and mature ballads perfect.

Allison hooks in her target audience with the catchy, rock edge songs "Friday I'll Be Over You", "D is for Dangerous", and "Holiday". She shows her maturity with "Trouble Is", "Scars" and "Still Breathing". Anyone who has seen Allison perform live knows that she is a born performer. When she's out there rocking out I forget she's only 17. She will perfect these songs when she performs them live, I have no doubt about that. I'm so excited to see where she goes from here, this is not the last time we'll hear her name.

Do Something :)

December 1st is World Aids Day. HIV/AIDS is a viruse that attacks the body's immune system. Often times, our world immediatley classifies HIV/AIDS with a specific group of people. In reality, this deadly disease affects more people than ever before. HIV/AIDS can be passed through sex without a condom, sharing of needles, during pregnancy. The disease is treatable (although no cure yet) and preventable, yet almost 40,000 people die DAILY in Africa. Together, we can make a stand to educate and prevent HIV/AIDS. Most importanly, we need to break the silence of this disease. So many people find it embarassing or something to be ashamed of or mocked...this disease should not be a secret. No one should be silently suffering. If you are not educated on the disease or ways you can help, visit or . Encourage young people to get tested. Teach safe sex. Do whatever you can to keep each other safe. We're here on this earth to look out for one another. Do your something.

This holiday season, let's all do our part to help those in great need. At school today, we announced our project for the season. The cool part about it is that it's going to be almost complelty student run. We are doing the "adopt a family" program and donating food to those in need. Our prinicpal asked for volunteers from each grade level to volunteer for different jobs: collecting money, collecting nonparishable food items, using the money to buy more food and some gifts, wrapping gifts, and delivering the gifts to the families. Honestly, I was a little worried we'd be begging kids to volunteer. Shame on me, because when I walked past the sign up sheet, it was complelty full- there were names written all over the page. I stopped and smiled, seeing how enthusiastic they were about helping others. We all know our kids don't have that much to begin with, but the fact that so many of them were willing to put that aside really touched my heart. I'm excited about it and anxious to see how it plays out these next three weeks.

So, my dears...what are you going to do this season ?

Up next: Allison's album review

Monday, November 30, 2009

Concert Meme

Concerts Meme

What was the last concert you attended?
David Archuleta Christmas Concert.

What bands have you seen in concert the most, and how many times?
Spill Canvas- 10 (oh man, remember the days when their concerts were FREE?)
Melinda- Actually IN CONCERT 7 times
Kelly- 5

Do you have any setlists? From what bands?
Spill Canvas

Are there any CDs in close proximity to you? Which ones?

What band are you in the mood to see live right this second?
Spill Canvas...when the heck are they going to tour again.

Have you ever been on a tour bus?
I wish

Have you ever partied with a band?
No. I’m not cool enough, haha.

How many states/provinces have you been to concerts in?
Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, West Virgina, Tennesee, Utah, Ohio

What bands did you see live the month of May?
Melinda/Phil/Gina/Chikezie <3

What CD are you addicted to at the moment?
Taylor Swift Fearless Platinum Edition

Who is one band that you used to like, but now you can’t stand?
umm...I can't think of one, honestly.

Have you ever been on anyones guest list? Whose?
Melinda for the Christmas Concert, Syesha/Chikezie for Idol concert

Last band person that you got a picture with?
Kelly <3

Do you consider yourself a groupie?
No, just a very devoted fan, haha.

How old were you when you went to your first concert?

Who was it?

Which artists havent you seen yet that you want to see?
Jason Mraz, Sara Barielles, Jack Johnson

Are you wearing a band shirt right now?

What band do you own the most merch of?
I'm not a big merch person, but probably Mandisa since I won a few shirts.

Do you ever do anything crazy at shows?
LOL...define "Crazy".

What are your favourite venues to go to shows at?
Small club settings where you can practically sit on the stage. Very intimate and very interactive with the performer(s).
At the same thing, I like big arenas too because of the energy of the audience.
So both BIG and small atmospheres, I guess.

What band do you have the most performance pictures of?

Would you ever get a tattoo representing a band?

How many concerts do you average a year?
Probably about 5 or so...

Upcoming Shows?
I think Jason Castro at The Ark in February.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

Is this weekend really almost over? I'm anxious to get back to my roomies and see what they've been up to, but sad to be leaving the comfort of my home. It has been such an amazing few days, and I am thanking God for all the wonderful people in my life.

My parents invited my roommates to our family's Thanksgiving celebration before I had even met them. It was right after I learned they were all from different states, and my mom said "they probably won't be able to go home for Thanksgiving...let's invite them to come with us". They were officialy invited the day we moved into our Detroit house. That's just the way my parents are- open arms to everyone. We celebrate Thanksgiving with my mom's side at my Uncle Kevin's house in Lansing. The number of people varies every year, but this year was a record with 34 guests. Our traditions are to finish the cooking/watch football, write down what we're thankful for, eat a delicious meal, read aloud what we wrote down, and then play an intense game of football in the backyard. I was proud to bring my roomies and introduce them to my family. It was good to see my cousins and other family members. The dinner was absolutley delicious, and I enjoyed hearing what everyone was thankful for. Mine was "the oppportunity to serve at an amazing school and the support of my family, friends, and roommates". After dinner we all bundled up and headed outside for the football game, which gets more intense ever year. My team (the sweet potato sackers) pretty much rocked, we were dominating the entire game until halftime when the green bean machines caught up and ended up winning the game. (boo). It was a blast and gave everyone the ability to let loose and have some fun. I hope my roomies enjoyed themselves as much as I did. Oh, and you guys should have seen when I tackled my sister to the ground. I was trying to grab her flag but ended up plowing her to the ground. Oops.

We drove back to my parents house and I parted ways with my roomies so I could stay home for the weekend. I spent some quality time with my brother, Sara, and my dad watching The Office and more quality time eating pie and chatting about the day with my momma. So perfect. Love it. Love my family, love Thanksgiving.

Friday I woke up sore from football and ready for a new day. Sara and I watched Gaga on Ellen and lounged around for a while, then I went out to lunch with my brother and Sara. I absolutley adore the two of them and I am SO happy that they are happy. I came home and got ready for the evening, and then headed to Ann Arbor to see BB Archie. I was supposed to be an usher, but apparently they overbooked and had way too many. Instead, they gave me a free ticket. A volunteer will take anything that's free! (No seriously, we will). I called Sam to let her know what was going on...little did we know we were talking to each other in the same spot...she was just a few steps away from me! Ha! It was so good to see her, I love my bff. I love seeing her so happy, she truley deserves it. We waited around until doors opened and then headed to our seats. As I was sitting way up high I see Sam walking closer and closer to her seat- she could touch the stage! I was excited for her and ready to hear David. Oh my gosh you guys, the concert was amazing. I'll write a better review of it later, but if there was ever a show to go to to hear David Archuleta's amazing vocals, that was it. The poor kid was incredibly nervous, but his voice was perfect. The symphony backing him up was goregous. It made me really proud of him, he proved what a talent he is.

After the concert I met up with Sam and we headed to back to my parents house...but made a pit stop at Denny's. Sam and I haven't had an after concert chat in so long, it was just like old times. We got back to my house pretty late but stayed up and talked and laughed for a while.

Saturday morning, I FINALLY slept in, for the first time in months. Sam and I watched some hilarious youtube videos and had some more great chat time before she headed home. I found out later that a car merged into hers on 94 on the way home, but thank God she is okay, and so is her car. Everyone please be careful driving and know your surroundings!

Saturday was probably the most interesting day of break. I spent the day lounging and playing Scrabble with my dad, brother, and Sara. Then around 3, Alex came over and the five of us decorated the house for Christmas. I absolutley loved that, having some of the most important people in my life to share that with. A few hours later, the house was ready for Santa and Alex and I left to go to a reunion dinner. It was SO good and refreshing to see old friends. I haven't seen some of those people in 2 years! They are my heart, and I love them dearly. I'll always appreciate their sweet hearts and compassion. I hope to see them again over Christmas break, and hang out with those in the area once in a while.

Alex and I decided to stop by my sister and Dave's house with the rest of my family before we went to a birthday party for one of his co-workers. We watched some ND Football and played "Things". So much fun, I'm lucky to have this family. At one point I decided that whatever the next category was, I was just going to write "Chikezie" for the heck of it...well the next category was "Things you would wish for if you had a genie in a bottle". HA! How ironic.

Alex and I headed out to the party...which was in a gated community. I felt like I was in Barbie's playhouse or an episode of Laguna Beach. Alex's friends that were there were all super nice, but it was definatley not my kind of crowd. We left early and headed home for some fun times with my brother and Sara. Nohing like bonding over creepy free movies on OnDemand and dance parties. It was a blast, I didn't go to sleep until 3:30 am.

Today was goodbye to my brother and Sara, Church, and now enjoying my dad's famous tuna melts and watching The Proposal with him.

SO. An amazing weekend. Thank you to all who were a part of it!

Have a lovely week.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


All this month I've been blogging about what I'm thankful for, including specific people in my life. From my family and friends to my Idols, co-workers and roomates, I've pretty much covered everyone, right? Wrong. I've been waiting to post a special thank you to one of the most amazing group of people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Those people are the backups.

New people in my life that are reading this are probably "what the heck is a backup?". Well, my friends...sit down and enjoy. By the end of this post you'll love them as much as I do.

No matter how well I know you, reader, I'm 90% sure you've probably caught on that I'm a huge American Idol nerd...and perhaps that I have been lucky to build friendships with some past contestants, particularly Melinda Doolittle. That's where the backups came in. When Melinda was on Idol, she built her fanbase, who named themselves "Backups" because Melinda was a backup singer before Idol and because they were committed to always "backing up" Melinda in whatever she did. (I know, we're clever). I was never one to join fansites, I thought (like many of you probably do) that those were for the crazies. It wasn't until after I met Melinda for the first time and saw her perform live that I joined...after witnessing that, I became 100% committed to supporting her career. I first joined just to keep track with what Melinda was up to, never ever expecting to have the friendships I have now.

You see, the Backups are NOT just any fan group. Ask anyone, they will tell you. We are about supporting Melinda in her career and seeing shows, but we also focus on supporting her humanitarian efforts. We've been participants in the Country Music Marathon to raise money for Malaria No More, we started a scholarship at her alma mater, and we each volunteer during the Christmas season in her name. We relate to Melinda and her "dream big" attitude, as well as her amazing compassion for others. We reach out to help others because that's what our girl does every day of her life.

I joined the backups at a time in my life when I was a little lost. It was my junior year of college, I had just been through one of the worst times of my life and I was in need of positive influences. Cue the backups to the rescue. They immedialey welcomed me into their family, and although I was (and still am) one of the youngest members, they didn't care. They took a general interest in my life (and not in a creepy stalker way) and cared about me. I needed that. Over the next few years, they've been constantly there for me whenever I needed it. The thing about the backups is...they've been more than just "other fans" to me. They've been my mama's, my sisters, my support system. I've never seen people so quick to help out, even though they had their own lives to worry about. They were there for me during the most stressful times at school, to celebrate with me, when Amanda passed away, to cheer me on through obstacles. I've been VERY lucky to spend time with a handful of them, whether in Nashville (Love), Chicago, Detroit, Chillicothe, or even Vegas. They've given me some of the best matieral gifts, but most of all they gave me the gift of their friendship and love. I honestly don't even have words for how amazing they have been in my life, but I can tell you that they have been some of the most positive influence I needed. When temptation came around and I could have easily slipped back into where I was, they were there to pull me right back out.

I'm going to talk about some of them individually, because they deserve it.

Shari: Shari is so encouraging. She's always helpful with advice on writing, and she herself is extremly talented. I'm honored to know such a kind soul. She always makes me smile with her sweet comments.

Lexi: My little sister. She's one of the few baby backups we have left, this girl is SO amazing. She's gone above and beyond and completed service projects in Melinda's name all on her own, without anyone suggesting it. She's full of bright ideas and motivation. She is way wise beyond her years! I'm very proud of her and inspired by her. Thankful for her energy and sweet heart. Can't wait to see where she goes from here.

Louise: Weeezy makes me laugh so much!!! She's a bright light for sure :-) Now talk about dedicated, this girl never stops working. We should all be very thankful for her for always being on top of things. She's also a wonderful friend and role model, as she as been through so much yet remains positive and selfless. I'm lucky to know her.

Rhonda: Rhonda acts tough but secretly she's a sweetheart who'd do anything for anyone. She is pretty funny when she's being snarky, though :-) She never fails to make me laugh. She's an amazing friend to all and not afraid to speak her mind. I love her so much and am very thankful for her presnce!

Babz: The past few months Babz has been my inspiration. She's lost a lot of weight by working hard. I'm proud of her and strive for her attitude, I honestly am very thankful to have her as an "older sister" and role model. She's also very encouraging and concerned about others around her. She's fun to be around and very sweet. I love her to pieces and am thankful for all the wonderful times we've had (banana and pickle FO LIFE).

Holly: My little Hollister! Just thinking about her makes me smile. I've laughed so hard my abs hurt with her. She's so funny, and SO wise. What a firecracker. Most recently I'm thankful for the weekend we spent together in Cleveland at WOF, but I'm also so thankful for all the times she has been there for me. Whenever I'm having a bad day Holly is one of the first to ask if I need anything. Holly and I have a lot in common and I'm thankful that we can share stories and experiences together. I admire her faith and her ability to be so outgoing and friends with anyone. She's an amazing friend to have.

Cathy and April- I started writing about these two seperatly, but then realized I was saying almost the same thing for each. It must be because they are so alike :-) Okay, it's honestly kind of hard for me to say how I feel about these two. There's something about them that just makes them so special, you know? I admire the heck out of them, they are both so strong. They have a WAY of making me feel special and supported. I can't quite explain it, but it never fails. I strive to be like both of them- strong, selfless, compassionate, and SO sweet. I remember longgg text conversations in the end of my senior year with Cathy when I was stressed out, she was one of the most helpful people at that time. Both of them are absolutley beautiful inside and out and AMAZING people! Like I said, they are just so amazing I can't even tell you all. I love you, Cathy and Ape! SO much!!! I consider both of you a hero to me. You inspire me.

Jena- Talk about inspiring., my dear, are the defination of inspiration. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we are lucky you joined the backups, because you have taught us so much. You're an angel, and I truly believe that. I am thankful for everything you've taught me...I seriously immediatley think "peace" when I think of you, because that is what you've brought to my life. Thank you for always ALWAYS thinking of others and sticking up for me, for leading the way and for helping me break down the barriers of anxiety. You are truly special and I thank you for being my friend. I love you and I miss the heck out of you.

Maria and Des- Okay, I had every intention of doing these two together...they are attached at the hip. Maria and Des are part of the formula of people who have helped me through some of the worst times of my life...not because they had to, but because they wanted to. I am SO lucky that they were there for me. They are both beautiful friends. I don't know where I'd be without their guidance. They understand me, they encourage me. They are there for me without even saying anything- I just know. I know that they would do anything for me. I'm thankful for all the fun times we've shared, especially the Vegas trip. I love them dearly. They have been two of my closest friends since the beginning and I hope to never lose that.

Val- Oh Val. My twinner. It's very unusual, I think, to find someone who I have so much in common with. Val TRULY understands me and everything I've been through. She is quiet, but one of the most amazing friends I have ever had in my life. I'm typing this, I just got so sad because I miss the absolute heck out of my twinner. I want to see her ! Anyways...Val is beautiful. I mean...stunning. She's so sweet and always there for people. She is strong in her beliefs, yet quiet and helpful. The weekend I spent with her in Vegas was so much fun...she was always looking out for me, just as she does every day. I know that Val understands me and my anxiety and I am so thankful to have someone to turn to when I need advice. I love her to death, and now I really, really miss her. I love you Val, you have made a permanent impact on my heart. You are amazing and don't you ever forget it.

Well I guess that about wraps it up, huh? Just kidding, Gem.

Gem- I mean where do I even start? What do I say to someone who completly took me in? Who has given me more than I could ever begin to thank her for? Gem is my second mother, that's for sure. She cares about me, in a way that none of my other friends cna compare to. She's the most honest person I have ever met, which I appreciate. She has the biggest heart, always concerned about those around her and making THEM happy. She was immediatley there for me when I needed it, and to this day if she suspects I'm stressed out, she knows exactly what to do. We are compeltly different people and can never agree on directions, but go together so very well. Whenever people are around us they can't help but laugh at our relationship. She is such a special person and I hope she knows how thankful I am for everything she's done for me, which I can't begin to list because I will run out of characters. I will always hold a very special place in my heart for Mama Gem and I love her dearly.

Okay backups, now that I have written this I am missing all of you more than I was before. Reunion soon, PLEASE?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


"When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us?"

I know the meaning of sisterhood. I've got my own sister, I went to an all girls high school where my friends were more like sisters, I was in a sorority, and I have had several female roomates whom I've considered sisters.

You've heard me talk a lot about Mercy and the special place that it has in my heart, so I won't say much except that those girls were my lifeline for four years. Many of those friendships have faded away, but I'll never forget the times we shared together. Going to an all girls school is truly unique- you share things so openly with one another and don't hold back any emotion. Mercy is where I learned the true meaning of friendship.

Skip ahead to my college years...I was an anxious, shy 18 year old who absolutley did not want to go to college. I was deseperate to belong somewhere, to find my home away from home...which is why I rushed for a sorority. I had my doubts throughout the entire rush process. It seemed every houes we entered, the girls were the same. Skinny, blonde, goregous, and obnoxious. WHY were they all wearing the same outfit and chanting annoying cheers at us? Why were they asking me so many questions, and why the hell did they care what my dad did for a living? Oh....I get money. Dang. When I walked into Delta Gamma, things were different...way different. The girls were normal. They had brunettes...they had big girls...they had the tiny blondes...they had everyone. The first girl I talked to was so calm, she didn't pressure me or ask me a million questions. She made me feel comfortable. I chose Delta Gamma to be my home for the next four didn't quite work out that way, though. For two years, I worked my butt off. My grades slipped because I was so focused on making DG the best that it could be. I was 100% dedicated to our mission and my sisters. I had so much fun getting to know everyone and going out on weekends with them. They were my whole life for two years. I would have done anything for any person in that house...and you know what? To this day, I still would. After we closed our chapter, everyone quickly grew apart. It was devastating for me. There went my two years of hard work and friendships, poof gone in an instant. I thought we would all be in each other's weddings...wrong. I'm sad to say I only talk to a few people from DG anymore, but proud to say that I was in it for two years. Delta Gamma taught me the true meaning of sisterhood. Of making sacrifices for those you care about. If anyone in Delta Gamma is reading this, know that I love you. Dearly. Despite what we've been through, you guys were my life for two years, and I will always be here for you. ITB, baby anchors.

Then there's all the roomates I have who I consider sisters. Jen's name immediatley comes to my mind when I think of that. We were attached at the hip and could tell each other everything. We stayed up late in our dorm rooms laughing...crying...telling our biggest fears and dreams. Then there's Megan, who was my big siser in my sorority and my roomate. I wouldn't have made it through my sophomore year of college without her. The absolutley ridiculous times I had with her still make me laugh. Junior year it was Fitz, Mary, and my bestie Sam. I'm convicned Sam and I are long lost sisters. We're the same person yet so different at the same time. I can't imagine my life without her. Senior year it was Lauren and Jess. Now Lauren and I literally are the same person. She'd do anything for anybody, although she'd never admit that :-)

At school, I'm in the position where I sort of am a big sister to these kids. I'm too young to be a mama and too old to be a "friend". I look out for them as if they were my little siblings. I've stood up for kids, I've taught them lessons, I've helped them with conflict issues and homework. I wouldn't be able to do all of this if it hadn't been for my sister and friends, Mercy, and DG.

Today, I am thankful for
-All the positive role models I have in my life
-The gift of sisterhood
-Friends I've had through the years, no matter how often I now talk to them. They still hold a place in my heart.
-My parents who raised me to be the compassionate person I am
-Delta Gamma and all that it taught me
-Big sister figures
-Little Sisters
-Western Michigan University's Family Studies program
-Mr. Khoury for the thank you card and cookies.

I know this blog is already long but I'm going to talk about some sistah's.

Maureen- In my eyes, my older sister is perfect. Not saying that in a bratty, jealous way. She is perfect to me. I see her that way. She's goregous, athletic, extremly compassionate, laid-back, funny, and a great friend to all. I WISH I could be as calm and understanding as she is. I think I've only seen her cry once...I cry once a day. She is smart and gives the best advice. She's friendly and can carry on a conversation with just about everyone. I'm thankful for everything that she has taught me. She may not know this but she is a role model for my brother and I...why do you think all three of us are in the social work field? Because we see what good work my sister does, and we want to do the same. I admire her ability to keep friends, and not get too upset if they do grow apart. I wish I had her outlook on life. I love her dearly and I am lucky to have her as a sister. I can't wait for her to have babies (hint hint) so I can be an aunt.

Katie- Katie is my most recent girl roomate and could easily be added to the sister list. She's a sweetheart and always making sure everyone else is taken care of- which is probably because she is the oldest sister in her own family. Actually, she reminds me a LOT of Mo, they are both 9's on the ennogram :-) Katie is funny, smart, deep, compassionate, and friendly. I'm thankful for every day, I absolutley love having her around and spending time with her. She brings so much life to the community, and I know she is probably making an incredible impact at her service site. She has so many admiralbe qualities, and she's so patient and understanding. When I was sick she was quick to help out. I'm proud of her, and can't wait to see where she goes from here. Katie, thanks for being my MVC sister. :-)

To everyone else I briefly mentioned in here and also to J Bizz, Meg Mal, and Alicia, know that I am thankful for you every single day. I love you babies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Susan Boyle, Rihanna, Adam Lambert, and Gaga.

Susan Boyle was a youtube sensation this year after her audition on Britian's Got Talent. She has been in the news for her mental breakdowns and outstanding vocals. Her album was released today, I downloaded it out of curiosity. Holy freaking moly. What a goregous voice! It is jam packed with goosebump ballads. Dang. She is just GOOD. Totally buying this for my mommy for Christmas.

Rihanna...first thing I think of when I hear that name is "Grammy's. Chris Brown and Rihanna will no longer be appearing". What? The new pop princess and prince wouldn't be at music's biggest night? A few hours later we find out it's because Chris beat her up. I lost all respect for him, and I was a big fan before that. Today is a huge day for Rihanna so many people said she would never recover and that was the end of her career. They were wrong. Although I'm not a huge fan of her first single "Russian Roulette", the rest of the album makes up for it. "The Last Song" is goregous. "Wait Your Turn" is my jam. It's definatley darker than her previous albums, but I wasn't really expecting much else. It's terrific. Go Rhi Rhi!

It happened. I fell in love with Adam Lambert's album. After I lost interest in him and became more involved in Allison/Matt, I really wasn't sure I'd like it. It's amazing...and exactly what I imagined would come from his debut album. It's got the typical Adam-screamy-amazingness (Check out "Sure Fire Winners") if this is your thing. It also has the stripped down, "Mad World"-esque kind of Adam, which is my personal perference. I am in love with "Broken Open" and "Soaked". They are stunningly beautiful. I dig the inspirational "Aftermath". I would be fine with never hearing "Strut" again. I don't really know what genre to place this album in. I'd say pop, but it seems almost too much for pop. There are some songs that could be mistaked for 80's rock tunes. It's a wonderful album that Adam should be extremly proud of. I can't say if I'll ever see him in concert, but I know he'd put on quite a show with a set of outstanding tunes.

Last but certainly not least, Miss Lady Gaga. She's caught the attention of the media for her outrageous costumes, videos, and performances. I knew I would love this album because of the amazing single "Bad Romance". The rest of the songs are just as epic and amazing, except "Teeth" which I could do without. My hands down favorite is "Speechless". It's genius. My other favorite is "So Happy I Could Die". I adore this chick. Her music makes me so happy. I am in love with this album as much as I am her first one. Go Gaga.

American Music Awards

The American Music Awards are usually my favorite awards show, besides the Grammy's. They are fun, fan-voted, and jam-packed with performances. Last night I curled into bed to watch what was left of the show on a live stream. I missed the first few award and performances, but I'm all caught up thanks to .

I agreed with most of the awards. I think it's a little unfair that Taylor Swift won Favortie Pop Rock Female Artist. I'm a little confused as to why Kelly Clarkson was not nominated for that. Since she wasn't, then Gaga should have won, no questions asked. Taylor is a country star. Also, I understand that Michael Jackson is a legend and we should honor his life and music...but aren't these awards about THIS year's music? Why was he nominated for so many categories? I didn't get that. The last one I didn't agree with at all was breakthrough artist. Now, I love me some Gloriana, but they are nowhere near the talent of Lady Gaga. She is a musical genius...but we'll get back to that when I talk about performances.

Now...if I think Taylor should not have won pop/rock female artist and Gaga SHOULD have won breakthrough, who did I think for artist of the year? Eminem? Nope. MJ? No. You know my feelings on that. Kings of Leon? No...they are an amazing band I was torn between T Swift and Gaga. Here's my thing. Both of them have had several NUMBER ONE hits this year. Both have sold out shows in seconds. Both are extremly talented. Taylor won and I'm proud of her. She DID deserve it, the fact that people don't think so really irritates me. Just because you don't listen to country music doesn't mean Taylor is not a superstar. Good for you, Taylor.

Overall....Gaga should have won SOMETHING. That's my biggest complaint.


It really was the battle of the diva's last night! From Janet to Whitney to Gaga, we had them all.

The only reason Janet was there was because her brother died a few months ago. Harsh, but true. Daughtry...was Daughtry. Same old thing. Shakira's back...I've never been a Shakira fan. I'll leave it at that. Keith Urban was good, as usual. Nothing exciting...

Wait, HERE we go. Reba introduces Kelly, who performs "Already Gone". In my opinion, Kelly's was the best of what we had seen so far. She is truly talented. What a voice! She looked beautiful and sounded amazing. Kelly always does, that's what I love about her. The standing O she recieved proves it.

The Alicia Keys/Jay Z duet started off beautifully. I'm a fan of piano Alicia, without all the fancy stuff. She has a goregous, soulful voice. They sound good together.

The Black Eyed Peas were great, and energetic. They never fail to put on a good performance, and their songs easily become theme songs for parties. Love it.
Fergie has such a great voice.

I usually love Rhianna but was very disconnected from her performance...I miss "Umbrella" and "Rehab". Next up was Carrie. I'm not a huge Carrie fan but that performance was oustanding. She has such an amazing voice. So far, Carrie and Kelly win for best vocals. Hmm...and I THINK they were both on the same tv show that people love to hate...right? After Carrie, Gaga.

I absolutley adore Lady Gaga. I know she's crazy. That's why I love her. She takes risks. She breaks barriers. She steps outside of the box. She is the Madonna of our generation. Plus, I'm convinced she's an artistic genius. Oh, and the fact that she can ACTUALLY sing helps. She's not lip synching, people. She has got something in her voice. "Bad Romance" was wonderful, but I loved when she broke glass, set a piano on fire, and sang "Speechless" even more. The girl was sitting there belting out this emotional tune while smashing empty bottles of alcohol on the piano. Amazing.

Mary J. Blige and J. Lo....not going to lie, I muted during them. Not a big fan of either one. I turned the volume back up for Whitney, who performed "I Didn't Know My Own Strength". She's definatley lost the perfect voice she once had, but homegirl still did a great job.

Since I'm not a fan of rap music I'm not even going to discuss the Eminem/Timbaland situation. I'm also going to skip Green Day, since I am so sick of that song I can't even begin to tell you. Moving right along to...

ADAM LAMBERT. I'm an Idol fan. Adam was my favorite all season, (along with Allison) but I admit I got annoyed with the constant praise and over done performances. After the season ended, Allison and Matt became my real favorites, the ones I vowed to continue to support. When I saw Adam live in September, though, I was absolutley overwhelmed with how amazing he is live. I still choose Allison and Matt over him, but Adam is epic. Last Okay, I will willingly admit that his voice wasn't as good as it can be. I'll even admit that performance probably should not have been performed on live tv...but that's what I love about Adam. Like Gaga, he pushes limits and breaks barriers. He doesn't fit the mold and he doesn't care. He proves that you can do whatever the hell you want to do and be who you want to be. The fact that he is so comfortable in his own skin and doing whatever he wants makes me admire him. Good for you, Adam Lambert.

New music was released today...which first of all kind of confuses me (it's only Monday) but is also exciting. I'll write a review of Gaga and Adam's albums later.

I'm VERY excited for this weekend. I get to see my family and friends! Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, Archie on Friday with Sam, reunion and party on Saturday. Woo!

Also, if I don't see Precious or Blind Side soon....