Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What A Beautiful Mess This Is...

You guys...I laid down in my bed because my head was pounding and fell asleep for two hours! Now I'm wide awake and won't be able to fall asleep later! Yikes.

A couple people picked numbers tonight, but Hollister picked first. I'll use Sam and Lizz's next time, promise :)

Here's her surprise... a little paragraph about what Holly means to me.

For those of you who don't know her, Holly is a backup...and for those who don't even know what that means, it means once upon a time Melinda Doolittle was on American Idol and her fans formed together to join Melinda's Backups. We support her career and her charity work, but beyond that, we are a family. I've known Holly for almost three years now (isn't that crazy). She's nicknamed "Spunky" because of her outgoing, fun loving attitude. She's also a really sweet person who makes it clear to all that she is there for them for support. Holly always offers encouraging words to say and knows how to make me feel better. I love her accent, the hilarious things she says, and her beautiful spirit. She's an amazing friend and I am blessed to have her!

2) Aretha Franklin- Respect

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Ha. Instantly puts me in a good mood. This song brings me back to my days at Mercy. My senior year, I made it my mission to support the amazing singing group, the Mercyaires. I felt they weren't really given enough credit from the school. Everyone knew my support for them- I was named an honorary Mercyaire, they talked about me and gave me an award at the end of the year banquet, and I went to as many of their events as possible. I had some good friends in the group, but when it ended, I was close with almost all of them. Thinking back about some of those girls, they were my best friends. Meg Mal, Carly Atto, Kalin Franks, Emily Ponto, Anna Sklut, Minnelleeeeeee, so many great people. This song was kind of their thing- they performed it everywhere and did it with such joy. I miss them!

I wish I could post a video of the Mercyaires version to show you how good they are, but unfortunatley that's not possible, so I bring you... Kelly Clarkson. I knew she was going to win when I saw this. Plus, it brings back memories. What I love about Kelly is that she really hasn't let fame change her at all. Seriously.

6) Billy Joel- Piano Man

I had a tough time picking amongst Billy Joel songs (mainly Vienna and Only the Good Die Young) for this list. This song is another feel good song that reminds me of my early years of college- when, at the end of each frat party, the guys would gather around and sing this song in nothing but their underwear. Yes, those were the days. Favorite line is "They're sharing a drink they call lonliness, but it's better than drinking alone."

This is a cover by the band Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, who I was introduced to when they opened for Hanson. I now listen to their music quite often...great band.

47) Jason Mraz- Beautiful Mess

Jason Mraz is one of the artists I listen to on a daily basis, no matter what. This song is from his album he released last summer and is my favorite song he's ever made- it is so simple and beautiful. He is such an amazing writer, I don't know how he does it!

63) Mariah Carey- Hero

Okay. My love for this song is going to make me sound like I have a huge ego. Ready? Everytime I am with people when this song is played, they tell them it reminds them of me. It started in high school, when one of my good friends used this song to play for her Kairos talk (see yesterday's I'll Be description to find out what that is). She then went on to say that the song was dedicated to me, because it was perfect for the person I was, and that I was an inpsiration. Since then, my favorite staff member at Mercy who runs the Kairos retreat uses that song and talks about me in her staff Kairos talk, telling girls I have never and probably will never meet about me and that I made an impact on Mercy High School. A few people in Delta Gamma have told me it's their song for me...and most recently, two backups told me when Danny sang it on Idol. I don't know what I've done other than be myself and care about them with my whole heart, but it means so much to me that people associate such a beautiful song with me. I think what really reminds them of me is that I'm really hard on myself, and I've been through a lot emotionally, so I don't see in myself what others do.

I'll post Brooke White's :)... so simple!

88) Sugarland- Stay

There are only about five country songs on this list, so that should tell you how much I love this song :) I should thank Jess, since I was never into country music before she made me listen to Martina and I was hooked. She's actually the one who made me listen to this song- I cried. (I know, I cry a lot). It's RARE for an acoustic song to be a number one hit- but this was. It's what got me really into Sugarland, and now I'm a huge fan of theirs. The music video is just pure raw emotion, so amazing. It won't let me embed the video, so here's a live performance:

That's it, folks :)

The Life of a Nanny

Want to hear about my day?

Sure you do. Otherwise you wouldn't be reading this.

I got to work at 7:55, when I walked in Mike (aka "Dada") was just waking Sophie up to get her to preschool (today was her first day, from now on she'll go twice a week from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM). I heard Kate crying so I went in her room to get her out of her crib. She started laughing hysterically the second I walked in, which was adorable. Then I gasped, because her right eye was puffy and barely open. I said "Kate, does your eye hurt?" "NO!!!!!!" she said, smiling. Her forehead above her eye was swollen too. I sat her down for breakfast and when Mike came down I told him to look- he had the same reaction I did - gasp and ask if she was in pain. He decided to take her to the doctor after he took Sophie to preschool, said he'd come back to get Kate. So. After breakfast, Mike and Sophie are off to preschool, sure to come back shortly? Right. I was playing around with Kate for about an hour when Mike called and said Jessie (aka Momma) was going to leave work early, come get Kate to take her to the doctor, and then go pick up Sophie. So Kate and I keep playing and she's getting fussier by the minute, and now she's started rubbing her eye to which I have to say "No! Don't rub your eye!" To a 1 1/2 year old, this demand makes no sense, so of course she just keeps doing it. I evnentually feed her lunch and we're playing with blocks when I look at the clock and it's almost 1- Sophie was supposed to be picked up at 12:30, there's no sign of Jessie yet. So I called Jessie just to make sure everything was okay. Alright, apparently sometime during the day plans changed, Mike was going to leave work, go get Sophie and bring her back, and Jessie was pulling into the neighborhood to get Kate. Phew. So Jessie pulls in and Kate starts bawling- she's sleepy. Her eyes is worse. Jessie runs around the house like a madwoman, gathering things together to take Kate to the dr. They leave, it's quiet for maybe 3 minutes. In comes Sophie and Mike. Sophie runs over to me telling me about preschool, Mike leaves. I yawn, Sophie looks at me with her big eyes "are you tired Megan?" I laugh.. "YES Sophie!". I feed her some grapes and yogurt for a snack and then we go upstairs for quiet time. Sophie ends up falling asleep for an hour or so, in the meantime Mike calls and says "the doctor is sending Kate and Jessie to Beaumont". GREAT. That means this is probably serious. Also, Mike won't be able to get home until 5. Sophie wakes up and thank heavens is such a good kid as I sit there, worrying about Kate and MVC. Mike comes home at 5, apparently the doctor is writing it off as a bug bite that caused an allergic reaction. Jessie and Mike aren't sure that's the answer. Also, I hurt my back lifting Sophie at one point. Plus I'm exhasuted. All that stress, little sleep.

Whew. Longest day ever. Didn't help that my nerves were so high because I didn't know what was going on 1/2 the time.

Now. MVC. Literally, the second I left their house, I saw I had a new voicemail. I must have missed the call while I was talking to Mike. "Hi Megan, this is Marie from Mercy Volunteer Corps I am so sorry we didn't get back to you last night, but things have been really crazy here. I will try to call back later tonight or first thing tomorrow morning, hope you have a wonderful day". Blah blah BLAH. A few hours later, cue me, sitting in my bed with my pj's on already, poudning away at the keys on my laptop, looking at my phone every 2 seconds. I JUST WANT TO KNOW! I've got a really bad feeling about this which I know is horrible and I should think positive! Can't hepl it though. Had a pit in my stomache feeling all day and I really don't think I can wait another night.

I think I might do another 5 songs tonight just because it's like therapy for me. Will do it later when I can function better..maybe.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Now I Think I'm Able to Carry On

Yay for another 5 songs! These were randomly chosen by Miss Hollister...with one by my mommy, because Holly picked a number that was already done.

14) The Beatles: Let It Be.

Such a beautiful, moving song. This doesn't really remind me of any particular person or event, but I think it's safe to say that this is a song everyone knows and loves. It's a song I play when I need to think, or need to relax. It always makes me feel better and inspired. A simple song that goes a long way.

I had a hard time deciding which "cover" to use- it was between this and Brooke White's, because that was my favorite Brooke performance. I went with this one, though, because I bawled my eyes out when I first saw it. If you haven't seen Across The Universe, this is a spoiler!

28) Edwin McCain- I'll Be

A HUGE smile came across my face when I saw that this was going to be one of the picks tonight. Let me let you in on a little secret: This song IS my favorite song of all time. You know what's funny? I'm not even really sure how this came about. It's just that ever since I first heard this song, I have loved it so much. My favorite line is "I'll be the greatest fan of your life" because a) I'm a romantic and b) Like I've said before, I put my heart and soul into my relationships with other people. I feel like that line sums up how I feel so simply, yet so powerful at the same time. Like...THAT'S how much I care about you, that I'll always be you're biggest fan. This song brings back memories of high school...everyone knew I loved it. Also, when I was a senior in high school, I was chosen as a leader for KAIROS, an amazing retreat. As a leader I had to make a "talk" in front of my classmates about my life and my relationship with God. I chose this song to play after I gave my talk, hoping that my classmates would understand just how much I cared about them, no matter how close we were.

Oh, FYI to all the men out there- this song WILL be our first dance at our wedding. Just so you know.

David Arculeta has gotten a lot of love on this blog lately..but I've heard so many covers of "I'll Be", and David is the only person who gives it justice. Sorry, Bo Bice. David's makes me tear up.

49) Jeff Buckley- Hallelujah

I mean, who doesn't love this song? Seriously. Much like "Let It Be", it's just one of those songs that makes me smile and relaxes me. Can't relate this one to any person or event. It's just a very, very, beautiful and moving song.

I can't embed Jeff's version, so I'll post my two favorite covers...

Ya'll new this was coming...the amazing Jason Castro.

and Kate Voegle

77) Pink- The One That Got Away

I've loved Pink since I was a little tot. Seriously...I remember the first time I heard her live. She was opening for Nsync, at a time when I was starting to fade away from the pop, boy band scene and becoming more interested in other music. While all my friends were wearing "I <3 Justin" tshirts, I was screaming my lungs out, jamming to Pink songs. In fact, I remember I wanted to leave after her set. Anyways. This song is a very stripped down Pink, an emotional, beautiful song that I believe everyone can relate to, because there is ALWAYS one that gets away. Not to mention, it's my life right now. This is not one of her well known songs, but it should be.

87) Sam Cooke- A Change Is Gonna Come

I sense a pattern on today's list- just great songs that everyone loves and can relate too. A life changing song indeed. Can really be used in our current economic situation or in any individual's situation they may be facing.

Okay, I had the HARDEST time deciding which cover to post, so I'm posting two of my favorites.

First I'm posting Gavin DeGraw's, because it is so raw and real and everything I absolutley adore about Gavin. He is one of my favorite artists, and he sings this song beautifully.

Finally, I'm posting Syesha's. Hers makes me cry, because it is just SO obvious how passionate she is about the meaning of this song and how passionate she is about the message. Syesha went through a really rough emotional journey, yet she is one of the strongest people I know- which is exactly what this song is about. I think when she performed this song, she had that moment where she realized her life was never going to be the same. I love this girl. PS: I hated how harsh and unfair the judges were to her ALL SEASON. The end.

Hope you enjoyed!

"You're The Best Megan Ever".

I’m going to be 22 in a month. I feel like I’ve got my whole life ahead of me…like I’m just starting to live a new chapter in my life. There are so many things I want to accomplish, places to see, and people to meet. Yes, I fully understand that sounds like a sentence right out of a Dr. Seuss book. Seriously though…the places I could go!

That’s the main reason for me to lose the weight. I don’t want to be someone who holds back from living my dreams because I’m not physically able to do so. I want to be able to freely and actively do things others my age can do, without any restrictions and barriers. I want to be able to live each day happy with myself and my body. I want to be completely comfortable walking into a room full of strangers and feeling confident instead of worrying what they think about my weight.
I just signed up for Weight Watchers online- today was my first official day of entering in my food journal and counting my points. I’m super excited about it and have set aside a time tomorrow to completely go through everything and learn how to use it. I’m also working with a therapist, met with my physician, and am in the process of setting up a meeting with a nutritionist. I’d say I’m on the right track! The biggest problems I have right now are : 1. Temptation to eat “bad” foods and 2. Lack of motivation to walk after a long day of watching toddlers.

I know there are a couple people who want to accomplish similar goals that I do. If you’re interested, send me your e-mail address (twitter me or facebook me , haha) and let’s start our very own diet tribe! I’m also going to start regularly posting in the Dieting Thread on the Backups site if anyone else wants to kick that back up (ha, back up) with me.

On a somewhat related (maybe) note, today is my parent’s 30th anniversary. I am so happy for them! I’ve mentioned this before, but God really blessed me with the best parents. They have set an amazing example for their children of what it means to love. They support each other through every obstacle that comes their way, communicate effectively (and I totally know that because of all the amazing communication classes I took at good old WMU), and appreciate each other for who they really are. People always joke that my parents must have done an excellent job at raising us, because we’ve all chosen the “helping people” field. I can say with confidence that this is so very true. They raised us to be compassionate, accepting, genuine, strong people. Congratulations, Mom and Dad, on 30 years of a beautiful marriage.

Question for all my blog readers- all two of you- what made you smile today? It’s important to smile every single day. Here’s mine:
Kate had just gone down for her nap; Sophie and I were reading a few books before her nap time. In the middle of reading, she closed the book, looked up at me, and said “You’re the best Megan ever”.
I’m pretty sure I’m the only Megan she knows, but it sill made me smile. So what made you smile today?

I'm going to do another 5 songs tonight, so get pumped!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

First Five Songs

Okay, I asked for 5 random numbers, and Brenna answered. Little did show know, she picked 5 of the most meaningul songs on my list! It's about to get deep, people.

11) Ben E. King- Stand By Me

This song immediatley reminds me of one of my best friends from high school (and still is), Meg Mal. I have clear memories of her singing it often....It's one of those songs that everyone knows and loves to sing along to, puts you in a good mood. I live my life very closely to the message in this song...I try to make it clear to everyone in my life that if they need me, I'll be there for them. They can stand by me, I'll be there. It also goes the other way, I feel like I will be okay and can handle whatever life throws at me as long as I have my friends and family there supporting me.

and because my love for David Archuleta grows every day, here is his version

13) Bon Jovi- Living On A Prayer

ROAD TRIPS. That's the first thing that pops in my mind when I hear this song. Road trips, dance parties, college, American Idol, Jordin Sparks, Karoeke...so many memories. This is my favorite Bon Jovi song and reminds me of my best friend Sam...so many times we've yelled out "oooh WE'RE HALFWAY THERE" on our long trips to see Idols.

for Jordin :)

24) David Archuleta- Angels

I am fully aware that David is not the original artist of this song. However, his versoin is so beautiful and holds so much meaning that I'm just going to give him the credit. It's sort of ironic that Brenna randomly picked this number, considering I just saw My Sister's Keeper this morning and have been thinking about Amanda all afternoon. Amanda is who I think of when I hear this song- I know how much she loved it and that it helped her get through her toughest days. I also think of my best friend Sam. When Amanda passed away, Sam listened to David's performance of Angels in her memory...that is how she learned to love David Archuleta. He helped Sam during that extremly hard time in her life. This song will always hold a special place in my heart for what it has done to some of the most amazing people I have ever known.

66) Melinda Doolittle- There Will Come A Day

Much like the above performance, I know that Melinda is not the original artist for this song. I consider her to be, though. I will never, ever forget the first time I heard her sing this song. It was for Idol Gives Back week, and it happened to be at the lowest point of my life. It was a time when I was hiding in my room 24/7, scared to face every day because of all the hate and anger that was happening both around me and inside me. I was in my room, crying my eyes out while I had Idol on in the background. When I heard Melinda sing this song, my life changed. I was ready to give up on everything, suddenly I turned it all around and strived to be a better person. I knew I couldn't keep living the way I was, it was a danger to my mind and body. I still get chills whenever I see this performance or hear it live. I still listen to it very often before I go to sleep (I realize that sounds incredibly creepy...) Melinda will never know how much it means to me. "Thank you, Mama, you've forever made an impact on my life"...is really all I can say.

99. For Good- Wicked

I first heard this song when I was a senior in high school, after I read the novel and bought the soundtrack for the musical. At the time, it fit perfectly for how I felt about my group of friends- especially how we weren't sure if we would ever see each ohter again, but no matter what, each of us had impacted each other's lives. Now, this song is so perfect for how my relationship is with Melinda and the Backups. Every single lyric describes our little family that we have. "I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason".... seriously. Melinda brought us all together for a reason. I will always believe that.

I am posting Melinda and Gina's version rather than the original because the two of them singing it has taken on more meaning for me. Also, I love you Gina. Just thought you should know :)

Music and Hugs

I just saw "My Sister's Keeper". It was an amazing movie, I cried for probably 95 percent of it. I read the book a few years ago, the movie did a really great job of capturing all the emotions. Now I want to go give a bear hug to every person in my life, look them in the eye, and say "thank you. I love you".

So, the day I came home from Western, one of the things I decided to do to keep my mind busy was to come up with a list of my 100 Favorite Songs. It was hard- I started it in May, and would randomly add songs when I thought of them or heard them. It was tough to decide between certain songs for artists, think back to some old classics, and eliminate crap songs that I just love in a moment. Anyways...I finally have the list completed! Wooohooo!

1)Alicia Keys- Fallin
2)Aretha Franklin- Respect
3)The Ataris- The Hero Dies in This One
4)Aerosmith- Cryin
5)Brand New- Seventy Times Seven
6)Billy Joel- Piano Man
7)Bob Dylan- Forever Young
8)Blessid Union of Souls- I Wanna Be There
9)Bette Midler- The Rose
10)Blessid Union of Souls- Peace and Love
11)Ben E. King- Stand By Me
12)Bonnie Tyler- Total Eclipse of the Heart
13)Bon Jovi- Living on a Prayer
14)Beatles- Let It Be
15)Beatles- Hey Jude
16)Counting Crows- Round Here
17)Collective Soul- The World I Know
18)Celine Dion- Because You Loved Me
19)Creed- With Arms Wide Open
20)Coldplay- Yellow
21)Cat Stevens- Wild World
22)Carbon Leaf- Changeless
23)Christina Aguilera- Beautiful
24)David Archuleta- Angels
25)Dashboard Confessional- Screaming Infidelities
26)Def Leppord- Pour Some Sugar On Me
27)Don McLean- American Pie
28)Edwin McCain- I’ll Be
29)Eminem- Lose Yourself
30)Eve 6- Here’s To The Nights
31)Evan and Jaron- Crazy For This Girl
32 Fall Out Boy- Where Is Your Boy Tonight
33)The Fray- All At Once
34)Gloria Gaynor- I Will Survive
35)Gavin DeGraw- More Than Anyone
36)Gnarls Barkley- Crazy
37)Goo Goo Dolls- Iris
38)Heart- Alone
39)Howie Day- Collide
40)Hanson- MMMBop
41)Hanson- Watch Over Me
42)Hairspray- Without Love
43)John Mayer- Comfortable
44)Jack Johnson- Better Together
45)Jimmy Eat World- May Angels Lead You In
46)Jewel- Foolish Games
47)Jason Mraz- Beautiful Mess
48)Jordin Sparks- God Loves Ugly
49)Jeff Buckley- Hallelujah
50)Jackson 5- I’ll Be There
51)Judy Garland- Somewhere Over The Rainbow
52)John Lennon- Imagine
53)Journey- Don’t Stop Believing
54)Josh Groban- You Raise Me Up
55)Kid Rock- Only God Knows Why
56)Kelly Clarkson- Maybe
57)Kelly Clarkson- Irvine
58)Lady Antebellum- All We’d Ever Need
59)Louis Armstrong- What A Wonderful World
60)Luther Vandross- All the Woman I Need
61)Maroon 5- Secret
62)Michael Jackson- Billie Jean
63)Mariah Carey- Hero
64)Martina McBride- Broken Wing
65)Melinda Doolittle- Amazing Grace
66)Melinda Doolittle- There Will Come A Day
67)Melinda Doolittle- If I’m Not In Love
68)Melinda Doolittle- It’s Your Love
69)Madonna- Crazy For You
70)Mandisa- He Will Come
71)My Chemical Romance- Welcome to the Black Parade
72)No Doubt- Don’t Speak
73)Neil Diamond- Sweet Caroline
74)Oasis- Wonderwall
75)Phil Collins- You’ll Be In My Heart
76)Pat Benetar- Heartbreaker
77)Pink- The One That Got Away
78)Queen- Bohemian Rhapsody
79)Rent- Seasons of Love
80)Ray Charles- Georgia on My Mind
81)Ryan Shupe Dream Big
82)Rascal Flatts- God Bless the Broken Road
83)Sara Bareilles- Gravity
84)Snow Patrol- Run
85)Straylight Run- Extensialism on Prom Night
86)Spice Girls- Wannabe
87)Sam Cooke- A Change is Gonna Come
88)Sugarland- Stay
89)Stevie Wonder- You Are the Sunshine of my Life
90)Something Corporate- Konstantine
91)Spill Canvas- The Tide
92)Spill Canvas- Self Conclusion
93)Sister Hazel- All For You
94)Tom Petty- Free Falling
95)The Temptations- My Girl
96)Taylor Swift- I’m Only Me When I’m With You
97)U2- One
98)Van Morrison- Brown Eyed Girl
99)Wicked- For Good
100)Whitney Houston- I Will Always Love You

What I'm going to do is randomly pick 5 songs each week and discuss them here- I'll post a video of the original (if possible), talk about it's meaning in my life, perhaps dedicate it to someone, and maybe post a video of a cover that is my favorite. Depends on the song...I can say that each of these are on here for a specific reason, and reading over each title makes me think of someone in my life.

Okay I just twittered for someone to pick 5 numbers between 1-100, so watch out for the next blog for the first five choices !!

My life is going really well right now...just living it one day at a time, taking whatever is thrown at me. Have for sure had my share of ups and downs this summer, but I am trying my best to stay positive through it all. I like my job, I'm working really hard on losing weight, I'm happy. I will find out Monday or Tuesday if I am accepted into Mercy Volunteer Corps. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Okay, coming up: 5/100 songs. Woo!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter

I've been wanting to write in here for a few days, but have either fallen asleep way early or lost motivation. Today's events, while tragic, have also inspired me in many ways.

First of all, RIP Farrah. She had such a fight, my heart goes out to her family and those close to her who were there by her side, watching her struggle but continuing to fight every single day. I can't imagine what it's like to be the person going through something that awful, but Farrah is an inspiration and a motivation.

I am still in shock about Michael Jackson, and have so many mixed feelings about how to go about this, because I know that people have strong feelings against him. However, no matter how you feel, what you believe to be true about him, you absolutely cannot deny that the man changed music. Not only has he produced 13 number one hits and other amazing music, but he is an inspiration. I know that several of my favorite artists were inspired by Michael Jackson, both his writing and performance. Some of them wouldn't be around if it had not been for him. I just really hope that people remember all the good, all the changes, all the amazing wonderful things he did in his short lifetime. I am going to quote my friend Tyler here, because I think he said it best...

is amazed by the insensitivity of some people to the death of a human being. I pray that Michael Jackson is remembered for all the good that he did, such as his extensive humanitarian work, his changing of the face of music, and his revolutionizing the world of dance. I will also pray for those who choose to disrespect the spirit of a human being whom was taken from us all too soon. Rest in peace, Michael Jackson. Exactly, I couldn't agree more! I was shocked when I read the statuses of some people who found his death amusing and well deserved because of the child molestation charges surrounding him. What those people don't take into consideration is the abusive relationship he had with his father, so mentally he really wasn't all that stable. I'm not condoning what he did, but not remembering him because of that. Its so sad to me that some people can hate so much..."

Sorry for stealing that, Tyler, but you said it the best...you are so so SO wise beyond your years. Thank you for your wonderful explanation on this tragic event.

Really what today has taught me is to appreciate everything and to remind those around you how much you love them. You never know when something horrible could happen, so don't take life for granted. Live each day as if it were your last, be you and be inspired. Smile lots, hug tightly, give thanks, write down your feelings, share stories.

I love you all. All I have to say is that a lot happens in a year. Each of you have been there for me, whether you realize it or not. You are special to me and I love you. I wish I could thank each and every one of you, but we don't have all night.

I will close with YouTube videos of my three favorite Jackson 5/Michael Jackson Songs

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"You've Changed My World"

Tonight I was given possibly one of the most amazing compliments I have ever received. It came from a friend of mine named Chelsea. We went to Mercy together, had a few classes, worked on different organizations, etc. She was one of those people I was good friends with in school, but didn’t really hang out on weekends or anything. Not for any reason in particular, we just had separate groups of friends. Chelsea’s always been a very outgoing, bubbly, sweet girl who smiled at everyone and was willing to help you out if you needed it. She ended up going to Western with me, we lived in the same dorm our freshmen year. We would often eat together in the cafeteria....since I had lost most of my good friends then, she became someone I really leaned on. Looking back on those days now, I am really lucky to have had Chelsea during that time. I wish that I had realized it more back then! Anyways, she ended up leaving Western after our freshmen year. She moved to NYC shortly after, where she still lives to this day. Now she reads my blog, and we facebook every once in a while….here is what she said tonight…yes, I copied it from our facebook chat. Shut up.

“In a gentle way, you’ve changed my world. You’ve always been this strong force of optimism and support, no matter how close or distant we’ve been. You’ve always stepped in when I needed a friend the most, and you are a wonderful person. Though we’ve never been close friends, you’ve always been in my thoughts and prayers as a genuine person who I hope nothing but the best for…and I am proud to know you. You are probably that person to far more people than you realize. You’ve always been there as someone I could trust with every fiber of my being. You care for people in a complelty unselfish way, I’ve always recognized that”.

Cue tears coming down my cheeks. I appreciate whenever someone gives me a compliment such as this, or tells me how they feel about me whether it is good or bad, but the fact that it came from someone who I don’t even talk to that often just really touches my heart. I’m not sure exactly what I did for her to make her feel this way about me, but I am SO glad that I can be there for her as someone she trusts and can rely on, because that is the person I strive to be for all my friends, even if things have happened between us or we’ve grown apart.
Chelsea wants me to visit her in NYC soon. Although it probably won’t work out this summer, if I am placed on the East Coast for Mercy Volunteer Corps I am DEFINATLEY fitting that in :)

Thank you, Chelsea, for always being such a wonderful person and for simply proving what I’ve been blogging about recently: Mercy is home. Nothing will ever change that.

Happy Daddy Day!

There is a Taylor Swift song called “The Best Day” which she wrote for her mom, about their close relationship and how it’s been that way since Taylor was born. It’s a beautiful song that my mom and I both love. One of my favorite lines, though, is this one:

“I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger. God smiles on my younger brother, inside and out he’s better than I am”.

Change younger brother to older brother, you have exactly how I feel about the two most important men in my life. I have always felt very lucky to have such a close bond with my family, especially my parents. I know that is rare, and it is something I treasure and thank God for every single day. I have so many friends and peers that have horrible relationships with their family, my heart goes out to them. I really wish they didn’t have to go through that!

Since today is father’s day, I’d like to honor my daddy in this blog. He’s the greatest guy I know, hands down. We’ve always had a tight bond. Not only is he my protector, comforter, provider, but also my friend. He is the most sensitive, caring, compassionate man that I know, always putting others before himself. He has made many, many sacrifices for our family. Both my parents made it their mission to send us to excellent schools, and because of that raised us to value education. My dad is the person that I look to for strength, for a good laugh, for a hug. He’s done his share of taking over mommy duties when my mom was a teacher and couldn’t take time off work…being a “room mom”, signing up to drive on field trips, cooking, etc. Some of my favorite memories growing up include having breakfast out with my dad after dance class, daddy daughter dances, and going trick-or-treating with my dad. I’m also very proud of him, because he handles stress so well, even if he’s upset, he does not let anyone else know it. He just keeps on going.
One of my dad’s catchphrases is “Don’t tear each other down, build each other up”. He is kind of the glue that holds our family together in that he hates seeing anyone hurt, so will go out of his way to make them feel better. Plus, every person that meets him, LOVES him. (Even Melinda! Hehe).

Recently, my brother asked my dad to be the best man in his wedding next summer. I think that’s really the only way to sum up my dad’s greatness- the best man. I love him so very much. Thank you for everything, Dad. You inspire me each and every day.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Playlists :)

Okay, second post of the night and I'll have another one tomorrow. Wanted to share with ya'll two of my playlists, though. Feel free to comment with your own favorites or suggestions!!

This is my workout playlist. A few notes:

-"Whipped Into Shape" is a MUST HAVE on your playlist.
-Almost all of Kelly Clarkson's songs from "All I Ever Wanted" work. I just picked my favorites.
-"One Step At A Time" isn't the most upbeat, but it's message is just what I need to hear when I am ready to give up. Plus, it's got a good rythmn.
-Some like to start of with Eminem's "Lose Yourself". I choose to end with it, it gives me motiviation for the next day.

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This is my "RELAX!" playlist, or the one I use when I need help falling asleep. There are some beautiful songs on this list, and I could add about a thousand more. Please check some of them out!!

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What we got here is... failure to communicate.

Last night, my first ever best friend Christine and I walked into Dick O Dow’s in downtown Birmingham to show our respect and love for the greatest teacher at Mercy High School, Mr. Tom Schusterbauer. I expected to see old teachers and classmates, to share some smiles and hugs, give my congratulations to Schuste, and be on my way. I did not expect what actually happened: to be overwhelmed by the feeling of “home”. It was a little awkward at first, crammed into the back room of an Irish pub with people I haven’t seen in four years. However, just a few of the first smiles cracked at two old friends, Emily and Emily, broke any tension or nervous feelings. Being in that room felt like coming home after being away a long time- everyone there was so genuinely happy to see each other, cared about what you were up too, and meant it when they said “it was SO good to see you”.

I was able to mingle with a handful of girls who graduated with me, which is always awesome. We shared stories about what we were up to, memories of high school, who we are still in contact with. Each of them mentioned something about me being their connection to Mercy still, which made me feel really proud.

You may have read a few posts back when I talked about Mercy and my favorite teachers: Schusterbauer, Campbell, Rozman, Kowalski, and MacLennan. Of the five that I mention, I was blessed to be able to see three of them last night.

While I did not get a chance to talk with Mrs. Rozman, I will be sending her a note shortly to let her know that she is the reason I chose this field. She was my psychology teacher in high school, made me love the subject and interested in learning about people’s minds, how they work, and how to help people. I watched her interact with present and past students, it is obvious that she has made the same impact on them as she has with me.

Madame Campbell, my French teacher, greeted us with a hearty “bonjour!” before she wanted to hear all about what we were up to. She was so excited to hear about me doing Mercy Volunteer Corps, bragged about one of her former students and a good friend of mine who is studying abroad in France. I love that woman so much!!!!

Finally, the man of the hour…Mr. Schusterbauer. I’ve known about this guy since I was in fourth grade, my sister was a freshman and I would hear the stories about her amazing English teacher. He inspired her to get into writing, for a while she was sure that she would be a journalism major. Last night, as I was leaving his party, he gave me a hug and said “how’s your sister? Tell her I said hi. ..” (KEEP THAT IN MIND). When I was at Mercy, it took me a while to be able to have him as a teacher- but it came at a perfect time. I had Schuste the first semester of my senior year for a class called “Lit into Film”, where we would read a novel, analyze it and be tested on it, and then watch a film that was either made from the book or had themes that related to the book- we would pick apart every scene and discuss the importance of each angle, shot, dialogue, costume, etc. It was the most amazing class I’ve ever had...probably the hardest one too. While Schuste always made class fun and interesting, he is a tough teacher. He is an incredible writer and extremely intelligent man, so he had high expectations for his students. He challenged us, he taught us how to write and to comprehend both books and movies, but most of all, and he taught us about life. He really got us ready for the world, using metaphors and themes from materials in class to apply to our own lives. Last night’s party proved what a spectacular person he is. The room was full of smiling faces, all there in support of him. He has made an everlasting impact on his students, co-workers, family, and friends. Mercy will not be the same without him that is for sure. I will never forget the lessons I learned in his class…or the life lessons that he taught and continues to teach me (via his facebook notes) to this day. When I was a freshman in college, my English teacher asked me where I went to high school, because my writing and grammar were so much better than the rest of my class. I smiled, thought of Mr. Schusterbauer, and answered “Mercy”. Thank you, Mr. Schusterbauer, for being an incredible teacher and touching the hearts of so many.
Fast forward to tonight. My sister was unable to make it last night, but I did tell her Schuste’s message. Tonight I went to dinner and to see “The Proposal” (Amazing movie) with Alex, my sister, and Lauren. In between dinner and the movie, we had some time, so we were walking around downtown Birmingham…my sister and I were talking about Schuste’s party, I look up and who do I see walking down the sidewalk? Mr. Schusterbaur. I kid you not. It was fate. We walked up to him, and he was just “oh my god! I just asked about you!” it was so cute. I believe that may be the last time I see Mr. Schusterbaur, and I am glad it was with my sister, sine he has inspired us both more than he knows.

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PS: Anyone who can guess what movie the title of this blog is from will get a special surprise. No googling.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mercy Volunteer Corps Interview

When I walked into the Sister's of Mercy building today, I was greeted by Leslie, the woman whom I was interviewing with, by her saying "Oh my gosh,you have the most beautiful eyes! Seriously!". I knew it would be a good interview after that :)

It was probably my favorite interview that I've ever had. Leslie was very friendly, sweet, and helpful. It was also a very personal interview, so none of the standard, boring questions.

First, she explained to me that she was a volunteer in Detroit 05/06, then decided to live her permanently. She is now the support person for all Mercy Volunteer Corps volunteers in Detroit. Then I talked a little bit about myself, why I wanted to do this, my background of Mercy and working with families, etc.

Next, she gave me some scenarios of things that may come up during my year of service and how I would react. I was able to relate to most of them having lived with 9 different roomates during four years of college, I have had all kinds of experiences.

Then, Leslie had questions that she created based on my application, essay's, and reference letters. Her biggest concern/curiosity seemed to be my desire to be placed in Detroit. I explained to her my anxiety and weight situation, and that I am working with someone on getting these under control, so overall it would be easier to live in Detroit, but that it is not a necessity. I made sure she knew that I would stick to the community living and make the most out of the situation. I also explained that my parents, family, and friends are VERY supportive of this decision, and want me to get the most out of it, so they would definatley be encouraging me to stick with it. I also made sure that she knew that being placed in Detroit was not a make or break situatiion. We spent about a 1/2 hour just discussing my anxiety, how it plays out in certain situations, what I do to deal with it...now that I think about it..I kind of feel like I was in therapy! Ha!

Leslie told me that if it was her making the decision, she could for sure see me as a part of the program because of my qualifications, excellent reference letters (thank you babies), and compassion for others. She also explained to me that the hardest part about the program is probably the community living, which most people don't anticipate. She made it pretty clear that she wanted to be sure I knew that..I'm not sure if that was a good sign or not, maybe she is worried I won't be able to handle it?

So, that was my interview. She told me to e-mail her if I have any questions or concerns. She made me feel really comfortable, which was quite a relief. I will be hearing whether or not I have been accepted in about a week, and then I just have one final step- getting placed! The other thing with Detroit is that there are more service site opportunities that fit my qualifications and future career goals- so, we shall see.

Tonight I have a retirement party for one of my favorite teachers EVER. I'll write more on that later- I have about a million errands to run before that.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On the right track...

I'm going to make this as quick and short as possbile (promise) because I have a new rule that I have to be in bed by midnight. Wanted to give a quick update on everything!

First of all, thank you for all the positive comments that I have gotten on my blog- whether you commented here, on twitter, facebook, in person, sent me a special message...it means the world to me. Yesterday I got two very special messages that made me cry. One was from someone whom I admire more than I could ever express, her wisdom, advice, and perspective on everything really help me with any situation. The other was from an old friend who said that they stumbled on my blog, her message was full of love and comfort. Thank you to all of you- I know that I can ramble :)

Dieitng is going great! I finally got a pair of good walking shoes. My mom did too, so we're going to start walking together. I'm really excited that my parents have also decided to commit to improving their health. It's definatley easier knowing they are with me every step of the way. I am eating really healthy, mainly because I eat what I feed my kiddies...and am eating smaller portions.

I love my job- it's stressful, hard work, and exhausting, but I love it. It's just so interesting to be such a big part of their lives when they are this young. I dread their meltdowns and temper tantrums when things don't go their way, but I love being able to teach them things and watch them grow. My favorite part of the days are when I first arrive in the morning when Kate (younger) is awake and just wants to read books, look at my cell phone (Seamus is my background picture, she screams PUPPY at the top of her lungs every time I show her), and show me all her toys. Another favorite part is right after lunch time, when Kate is down for her nap and Sophie and I are able to bond. She just talks and talks about everything, asking questions about animals, telling me that her crayons don't have clothes on...and my final favorite part is the last hour or so, when they have both just woken up from their naps...a little cranky, but they want to cuddle and read. The past two days, Sophie has cried when I left...today she even told me "I don't want Mommy, I want you". Ooops.

The only downside is how exhausted I am- running around with them, watching their every move, preparing meals, stopping the breakdowns are so tiring. When they take their naps, I am cleaning up the mess of macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly that has somehow managed to get on every inch of the kitchen. I am picking up their toys and vaccuming...I lay down on the couch for about a 1/2 hour to rest before I know it, one of them is awake, ready for me to give them all my attention.

Tomorrow is my last work day of the week, and then I have softball...which has been cancelled the past two weeks. So ready to play again! Friday is my interview with Mercy Volunteer Corps, then the retirement party for the BEST teacher I've ever had.

I love you all, and just want you to know that with your help, I am on the right track. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

All these heroes come and go...

So, I’ve been working on some song lyrics and short stories lately. None of them are quite ready to post yet. In the meantime, I will entertain you all with a subject I love a lot- American Idol. Before you non-Idol fans exit out of this, let me try and explain something to you.

I don’t love American Idol because it’s a show trying to find the next pop star. I don’t love American Idol to hear what Simon has to say, how crazy Paula is, or to discuss which contestant is the “cutest”. I love American Idol because of the way it impacts people, how each contestant has their own story that somehow relates to your own life. They are real people with a dream, proving that if you work hard and stay true to yourself, anything is possible. I love American Idol because of the joy it has brought to so many people. Most of all, I love American Idol for the friendships which I have formed because of it. Trust me, I know it sounds crazy. I used to be one of those people who wanted Clay Aiken fans put into a home, because I did not understand their insane ways (by the way, they are on a whole new level of extreme fans). The friends that I have made through this show are people who have been there for me more than you could ever imagine.

So, after 8 Seasons, there are several Idol alum that I would consider a “favorite”. You mention Anwar Robinson, I’ll fan girl because not only was he my favorite that season, but he was amazing in Rent. You throw the name Kimberly Locke into a conversation; I’ll lecture you on how amazing it was that she held her own during the Clay/Ruben phenomena. Anyways, I have narrowed my LONG list of “favorite Idol contestants” down to my top four. Considering there are over 90 finalists, I’d say this is pretty darn good.

They are in alphabetical order by first name; because that’s the only way I could think to do it :)

Chikezie Eze. I can promise you that finding Chikezie on a list of top four favorite Idols ever is a rarity. Not saying that to be rude, but it’s true…and it’s sad, and unfair. He is so under rated. Chikezie auditioned before, I remember seeing a tiny glimpse of him during Season 6, and then seeing his whole group being cut during Hollywood Round. I will never forget having dinner at Megan Sultana’s house during the Season 7 auditions when he stood in front of the judges- I kept screaming “HE’S BACK!”. Megan is not an Idol person, so she was probably ready to call the cops on me. I was ecstatic- loved his soulful voice. He had a few rough weeks on Idol, and is probably best known for his orange suit and arguing with Simon…well, if you saw his “She’s A Woman” performance…or saw him on the Idols Live! Tour, OR on tour with Melinda, Phil, and Gina, you know what an amazing performer he is- he really knows how to get the crowd going! Chikezie is one of those idol contestants that just sort of gets lost in the shuffle- too few people know how incredibly talented he REALLY is. He is extremely versitle when it comes to genres of music- some of my favorite performances of his are his take on Gavin DeGraw songs. I just really, really hope that he is able to continue doing what he loves to do- entertain and make music. He also makes this list for everything that he has done for me. I can’t express how much it means to me, but I hope by now he knows how much I appreciate it. My goal was to be able to show him that not only is he a talented artist, but he inspired me to never give up- and that I will be here supporting his career every step of the way.

Kelly Clarkson. One of the biggest accusations I receive from my friends who aren’t into Idol is that I only like the ones who I have met- WRONG. I’ve never met Kelly, and yet she is one of my favorite Idols of all time. In fact, there are really many, many people I have not met that I love. Anyways, back to Kelly. First winner of American Idol. I was a young chicken…13 years old. At thirteen, girls need someone to look up to in a positive way, someone they can model themselves after- Kelly was that person for me. Her laid back, real, friendly attitude shows through in EVERY. SINGLE. Interview that she does. She has remained so level headed and appreciative. Her voice? Seriously? Do we even have to go there? Something about it- so recognizable. It is beautiful; she can sing the heck out of any song. I love her style vocally as well as the way she has stood up for herself when times got rough. Although I don’t know Kelly personally, sometimes it scares me how much her songs relate to my life. Honestly, if you read the lyrics of the entire “My December” album, and then read my journal from that time period, the similarities are so close it’s freaky. She’s been one of my biggest writing inspirations, as well as a role model to remind me that you don’t have to prove your worth to anyone else but yourself. Kelly will continue to have success, I am very sure of that.

Mandisa. Mandisa was on Season 5 of Idol…. A season where they literally had a different contestant from every genre of music you could think of. Mandisa was known for her huge voice, horrible remarks from Simon regarding her weight, and her Christian faith. I was such a fan of hers, and was devasted at her too early elimination…which some blame on her religious beliefs. I don’t know what to blame it on, but since Idol Mandisa has had an outstanding amount of success. She’s another contestant that gets overlooked, because she has not turned into a “pop star”. She has, however, earned much well deserved recognition in the Christian/Gospel music industry. Over the past few years, Mandisa has been one of the biggest inspirations and motivations in my life. I have been blessed to be able to get to know her, I am so thankful for that. I am not sure how many of you know this story, but I’ll try and make it quick. She posted a blog in April 2008 about how she would love to discuss Christianity with people. I sent her a message, because at the time I was going through a “God Crisis”. I didn’t know what to believe or how to form a strong relationship with Him, I felt I had lost it. Months went by without an answer, didn’t think anything of it. In October of this year, I got a message from her that she had just stumbled upon my message and wanted to answer some of my questions- we have been corresponding ever since. I’ve met her twice, gotten some amazing resources from her, and received advice on everything from weight loss (she’s lost 80 pounds…her story is amazing…) to anxiety. Many things that I deal with, she has dealt with, so she helps me- and is MORE than willing to do so. Can’t believe how lucky I have been, but so blessed. She is a beautiful person, inside and out, with an amazing voice and personality.

Melinda Doolittle. I know, shocking. :)This one is so hard to even write, because Melinda is so much more than an American Idol Contestant to me…she is a friend, a role model, an inspiration.
So basically Melinda is the best (in my opinion) female vocalist to ever grace the Idol stage. Her sweet, humble personality combined with that beautiful voice made her a very loveable contestant. She was also the most consistent, never landing a spot in the bottom three (sorry, always have to add that stat in there). What made me love her so much was her obvious compassion for other people, her music career, and God. At a time in my life where everything was going wrong, she helped me to realize the importance of Dreaming Big and taking baby steps. Her music can turn everything around for me…especially hearing her sing live. If you’ve never been able to do so, I will tell you that no audio clip, youtube video, anything will ever compare to the magic that happens when you are sitting a few feet away from her. Melinda is another one who I have had the honor and privilege of getting to know. She is the kind of person who puts everyone else before herself, goes above and beyond to help someone out, and shows her compassion through charity work and her daily human interaction. Not only has she inspired me, taught me a whole new way of life, and led by example, but she has connected me with some of the most amazing friends that I will ever have- the backups. We support her music career as well as her humanitarian ideals (Malaria No More). We have become a family- caring for one another, arguing, supporting, and loving. Melinda’s heart shines through in everything that she does..whether it’s an amazing performance, an event for a new organization that she informs us about, or planning special events just to show how much she appreciates her fans- she does more than I can imagine any “celebrity” ever doing. Her debut album is absolutely amazing, really shows how talented and passionate she is. Melinda will always be my favorite Idol, for everything that she has done for me and her amazing voice.

Monday, June 15, 2009

10 people- With A TWIST!

I need to get a lot off my chest. So I'm doing that 10 people meme again. This time I'm adding songs for some people...because music can express more than I can.

10 things you want to say to people but can't. Don't put their names.

Just an FYI- these aren't all necessarily things I can't say..they may just be things I should say more often.

1) I know that you are one of the most amazing people in the world, and the incredible impact that you have on people’s lives. I also know that you don’t think I appreciate you. If you ONLY knew how much I appreciate, love, and care about you. I would do absolutely anything for you, despite what you think. No, I don’t understand the pain and confusion you live with on a daily basis, but I do understand how hard it is and how much you have overcome. I LOVE you. Don’t you ever forget that.

2) Being friends with you have been one of the most stressful, yet rewarding experiences of my life. I cannot think of two more opposite people, yet somehow we make it work. I can go from worshipping you to being so very frustrated with you within minutes. I’m pretty sure you feel the same way about me. I love you, and I am so grateful for everything you’ve done for me- but sometimes I am hurt by your actions and words. I really hate feeling uncomfortable because I don’t know what you’re going to say next…maybe I’m too sensitive, but I just don’t enjoy feeling attacked. I also feel like you worry too much about what others think of you and try too hard.

3) Every time I try to put into words what I feel for you, I end up deleting it. I have not felt this way about anyone in a very long time. No one knows what it’s like and that I am completely serious abut this. Much like someone else on this list, “you and I” will NEVER happen. It’s pretty much impossible. What started off as something so small turned into me falling head over heels for you…and while some may say that I am to blame for this little mess I got myself into, I never expected you to give me the attention that you have. So no, I do not blame myself. I wish I didn’t feel this way about you, but I do. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings in the world, to have this much passion for someone who could easily forget about me. Almost every song I hear reminds me of you, it’s you I dream about…may seem sad and pathetic to some people but I know my heart and this is real for me. It’s not for you, and it probably never will be. I said to someone else that I am learning to accept they will never see me the way I see them, but with you I don’t know if I can ever accept it. It’s not that you don’t care about me, or that you’ve hurt me…..I just know that nothing will ever come of this. That hurts me more, knowing that I will continue to sit here and think about you, while you’re off somewhere else, not even caring about me (as you shouldn’t, you have no reason to). Okay this has turned into one rambling mess. I don’t know how to put this into words. One of these days I’m going to climb a mountain and when I get to the top I’m going to yell “I LOVE __________”.

Okay, I have about a MILLION songs that could describe the above person, but I settled for Elliot Yamin- change the "she's" to "he's"

4)Through all the relationships that I have had, I don’t think anyone has cared for me as much as you have. It scares me because I don’t know how I feel about you…I don’t want to lead you on anymore, but I need your constant comfort and concern that you show me. I think I’m just lonely…and therefore “needed” the attention you give me. I can’t keep on hurting you, though. You deserve someone so much better than me. I’m so sorry.

5) You are making the biggest mistake of your lives and have pushed everyone else away because of it. I really hope you wake up soon and realize how many people you are hurting. The way you treated people is absolutely disgusting.

6)I think by now you know how much you mean to me, but it never gets old. Especially today, I’ve been thinking lately just what an amazing person you are. Everyone who meets you just loves you because of your shining, bright, friendly personality and the way you put everyone else before yourself. More people should know about you and how amazing you are- because really, you are the one who inspires so many of us to be good people. I love you and don’t know how I got so lucky to have you in my life, but I am very blessed.

7)I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but feel completely uncomfortable whenever I am around you. It kills me, because we should have such a strong relationship…there really is no reason for there not to be. However, lately you’ve changed, and I’m not so sure I like it. Never thought you would be the kind of person who would let other peoples thoughts influence your own. You’re so much stronger than that. I don’t think you realize it, but you’re hurting people. Another part of the problem is that I can’t stand knowing that I will never be you. As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s something that I deal with every day of my life.

8)You know I really don’t think you understand just how badly you hurt me. You can try to put the blame on me all you want, you can try to make me feel guilty, but we both know that is just more of your little game. Everything that has gone down the past few months just makes me realize how corrupted I was by you and your lies. I never should have let myself become that person, but it happened. It makes me really wonder if I wasted my time being so close to you. You’ve done nothing but bring me down and make my problems worse, unfortunately I realized this too late. The damage has been done. As hard as you try, nothing is going to piece this mess back together. Sorry. I spent too many nights crying about you and wondering what I did wrong. I don’t need that in my life. I’m going to let you go continue living this life that you are so proud of…to quote my favorite band, “I hate to break this to you, but being a coward is not a legitimate career”. One day you’ll learn. Until then, enjoy.

9) You will always be the love of my life, no matter what. Things have been rocky lately but we have been through worse. I can’t help but keep the dream of us in the back of my mind, even though it will probably never happen. I don’t know if you’ll ever, ever see that we belong together, but it’s becoming easier to accept. I will always be here for you, no matter what. When I think of happiness, I think of you. Do not EVER let anyone hold you back from living your life the way you want to. That’s all I have to say about that.

Another one that I have at least 184392183 songs for. Can't go wrong with Taylor Swift, tho :)

I don’t think that you are aware of just how much you have helped me over the past few months. I wish that we were able to spend more time together, but I am so thankful for all the guidance you’ve given me. The funny thing about this is, you’ll probably read this…and have no idea that I am talking about you. You are one of the most amazing people that I have known, and quite an inspiration for me. We’re a lot alike, and I look at how far you’ve come and how much you have accomplished as a sign of hope for me. I love youuu!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Amanda Jones <3 <3 <3

On June 15th, 2008, our world lost one of the most beautiful, compassionate, inspirational young person that I have ever has the blessing of knowing. We lost Amanda Jones. Most of you know the story of Amanda, how her strength, faith, and beliefs inspired me and thousands of other people to be a better person. She meant the world to my best friend, Sam, and I was able to see the light and joy of Amanda because of Sam. I would like to post both a poem and a story that I have written for Amanda.

Even at your darkest times, your light shined through
How could someone with so little left
Have more strength than the rest
Your hope is what made you real
And carried you when you couldn't take another step

You always talked about your big dreams
And how they'd helped you
I pray that now all those dreams
Can finally come true

Most of all you taught to believe
To believe in love, music, and family
Your belief in faith and friendship
Brought so many close to you

Through all of this you became a hero
Someone we all needed in our lives
Because of you we've learned
When you add a little belief to your hopes
and dream, there's nothing left to do
but achieve
“Amanda Jones”- Written by Megan Carolin July 2008

The second is a short story that I wrote…which…parts of it are true or based on true events. My hope for this story is that people understand how important David Archuleta is for Sam, as well as how amazing Amanda is.

David rolled his luggage down to the lobby of the hotel where he met up with Jason. “What’s wrong, kid…you look like you just saw a ghost...did you have another one of those dreams?” Jason questioned. David nodded and gave a weak smile. Ever since June, David has been having the same dream night after night. In the dream, he is sitting at the piano singing “Angels”. A beautiful girl with long brown hair is always sitting next to him, with tears rolling down her cheek as she sings along. In the dream, she disappears when the song is over. David has told Jason and some of the others about this dream, but he has never told them about the voice he hears. Several times during each day, a girl’s voice whispers to David. It is usually encouraging phrases such as “you’ll do great tonight” or “you’re a star”. Sometimes the voice tells him what to do, and always reminds him “I’m here for you. I’m your angel”. David has been blaming hearing voices and his dreams on the lack of sleep and intense work schedule on the American Idols Live! Tour. However, he knew deep inside that this girl was his angel and that she was somehow connected to his life. He just didn’t know how.

That day, the tour was making a stop in Indianapolis, IN. After the buses pulled into the venue, David went to the dressing room to say a silent prayer. He loved meeting fans and performing, but sometimes anxiety got the best of him. Please help me get through today…help me do it with confidence and help me to touch someone’s heart today, David prayed. The girl’s voice answered immediately “You will meet someone today who will link you to who I am. Put a smile on and have fun. I’ll be watching over you.” David looked around furiously, but saw no one. He knew that this voice was his angel…and that she had been helping him get through the tour. He needed to know who she was. David went outside to greet the screaming fans. He decided that he was too scattered to take pictures with anyone today. She said I will meet someone today that will link me to her...I have to find this person...David thought as he signed autographs and thanked fans for coming out to the show. David approached a beautiful blonde girl with bright blue eyes. She seemed extremely friendly and handed him a gift. He couldn’t help but look into her eyes for just a little longer than most fans. She was calm and having a good time with her friends...not screaming and crying like most girls do. David couldn’t talk to her or her friends very long before he got shuffled along by the security guard. Soon time was up and he had to march back inside to get ready for the show. While waiting for his turn on the stage, David went through all his gifts he had gotten outside. He started putting them into piles of donations and things he would keep. The last gift was the John Mayer Live DVD. “Oh my gosh!” David exclaimed out loud. “Do you KNOW how long I’ve wanted this?” He demanded at Carly. He didn’t wait for an answer before he placed it in the pile of things that he would keep. He frantically searched for a card or a letter so that he could thank whoever gave the gift to him, but he couldn’t. Before he could think of what to do, David was being pulled to the stage to get ready. As he waited for Syesha to finish her set and his piano to rise out of the ground, he quickly surveyed the audience. He spotted the blonde girl and her friend from earlier immedialty. Sing to her…the voice whispered. As David began singing “Angels”, he looked out at the blonde girl whose face was full of tears. She was singing along so proudly, and her friend was smiling at both David and her. It was one of the best performances he’d ever done on tour. David thanked his secret angel quietly as he took his final bow on stage. He met up with the rest of the contestants in the After Party Room. After talking to a few fans he looked up and there was the blonde girl and her friend. “Did you get my gift? It was the John Mayer DVD” she asked. “THAT WAS YOU?” David exclaimed. He didn’t know what had gotten into him, he’s never that outgoing with her fans. She nodded and went onto say “I wanted to let you know that the song Angels means a lot to me…my good friend Amanda Jones passed away this summer from cancer. You were her favorite contestant and that was her favorite song. So every time I hear it, I think of her.” I told you…her name is Sammie Amanda whispered to David. David was so overjoyed- Sammie was the girl that knew his angel, and he now knew who is angel was- Amanda Jones. David wanted to say so much to Sammie, but all he could get out was “Thank you so much for telling me that” and reached out for a hug. As the girls made their way around the room, he couldn’t help but watch as they interacted with his idol friends. He made a mental note to ask Chikezie about them later, since Chikezie squeezed the guts out of Sammie’s friend. Soon David was ushered out to meet fans by the buses, but all he could think about was Sammie and Amanda. When he got on the bus that night, he immediately opened his lap top and googled “Amanda Jones”. What he found was astonishing. She had only been 21 years old and had passed away from cancer, like Sammie said. She had kept an updated online journal where she would tell everyone news on her illness. She must have been in so much pain, he thought.
She also mentioned American Idol a lot. David smiled when he read her entry about his Angels performance. The fact that it meant so much to her and helped her through her illness made him so proud. He continued to find information on Amanda, including many touching poems and stories about what a wonderful friend she was. She had a big connection with many American Idol fans and there were many beautiful pictures of her with season 6 contestants. David read one story about how a woman had put a picture of Amanda in her shoe while running a marathon because Amanda was her inspiration. I’m here…I’ll always be here,Amanda whispered. David said out loud on accident “thank you, angel”. “Who you talking to, man?” Chikezie kidded. “No one..” David answered, embarrassed. “Hey Chikezie, did you meet a girl named Sammie?” He questioned. “Yeah..and her friend Megan. They’re from Michigan. They will be at the show in Detroit”, Chikezie answered. Awesome…maybe I can formally thank Sammie…David thought as he drifted into a deep sleep. That night, David had another dream about Amanda. This time, she was singing at center stage while he sat and played the piano. When he woke up, he thought about how singing must be Amanda’s dream, and she’ll never get to do it. He couldn’t help but feel guilty about that, but made a silent promise to dedicate every single performance of Angels to Amanda.

The buses pulled into Detroit on Wednesday where the idols were once again greeted by tons of screaming fans. In the middle of the line, David came face to face with Sammie and Megan. He tried to say something about Amanda, but instead “I remember your buttons!” came out. He quickly took a picture with Sammie before being pulled a million different directions to sign pictures, posters, and t-shirts. He walked into the venue and plopped onto a couch next to Syesha. They chatted for a long time about the tour and writing songs until Syesha’s phone went off and interrupted their phone call. “After party passes for Megan and Sammie? I thought I already put them up there. I’ll make sure they get them” Syesha said and hung up the phone. David smiled and said “I know Megan and Sammie too…they knew my angel”. Syesha gave him a funny look before she got up to leave for hair and makeup. Not everyone will understand…that’s okay, Amanda whispered. Soon it was show time for David and he once again caught Sammie’s eye in the audience. She looked so pleased during Angels, so calm and peaceful. David wanted to reach out his hand to her, and tell her that Amanda was his inspiration. He also wanted to tell her that she was beautiful, but that will never happen with his lack of confidence. At the after party David anxiously awaited Sammie and Megan to visit his corner of the room. When they did, all he could think to do was to start singing Daydream. I probably look so dumb…he thought, but just kept singing. Sammie and Megan exchanged a giggle as they politely asked David to sign posters and pictures. They walked away happy, but David wanted to yell out “don’t go! I need to talk to you!” He just couldn’t find the words.

For the rest of tour, David’s days remained the same. He would dream about singing Angels and Amanda would be singing on the piano bench next to him. When he woke, he would thank her for being with him and carry on with his day. As he greeted fans, he would smile and share general conversation with them. When he was performing, all he could think about was Amanda and Sammie. As tour was drawing to a close, David was beginning to have meetings with his management about his album. He wanted so desperately to include his angel Amanda and his crush Sammie on the album, but didn’t know how. In early September, the tour stopped in Grand Rapids, MI for a performance. As David was outside greeting fans he heard a ruckus coming from a group of girls down the line. He saw Chikezie squeezing the guts out of Megan again and Sammie next to her, smiling and capturing the moment on film. David was so ecstatic he practically ran past all his other fans to get over there. This time, he had a real conversation with Sammie. He didn’t want to walk away but he had to get to his other fans. That night, as David waited patiently to be lifted onto the stage, he turned next to him and saw Amanda. She looked just like the pictures on her website from before she got sick. She had beautiful long brown hair and gorgeous eyes. David was speechless. “How…what..” he started to say. “Shhh. It’s time”. She whispered as the piano was raised. Amanda played the keys to Angels as David sang his heart out. By the end of the song he had to wipe away tears. He turned to Amanda “thank you” he whispered. She gave his hand a light squeeze before disappearing. As soon as David got on the bus that night, he called his manager. “I need to put the song Angels on my record. There is no question about it. I have to do it” David demanded. He didn’t know where this confidence came from, but he liked it. Now that was taken care of, David needed to write something about Sammie. He took out his journal and started to write lyrics about her … “saw you from the distance…saw you from the stage...something about the look in your eyes...something about your beautiful face…” David smiled… well, it’s start, he thought.

Tomorrow, please remember Amanda and her beautiful spirit.

Ability, Motivation, and Support

I’ll have two posts tonight…this one, and a second one dedicated to Amanda Jones.

First let me update on how my progress with everything. I started my job on Friday as a nanny for two little girls. Sophie is 3 and Kate is 1 and ½. They are beautiful, fun-loving, bright little ones. It’s an exhausting job, especially since they have the attention span of…well…a toddler. They argue over crayons and whose milk cup is whose, but they are very sweet, intuitive, and friendly. I’m excited for the summer and to form a bond with them. Already on Friday, I learned so much. I’m considering jotting down notes on their behaviors and funny things that they say so I can remember it at the end.

Dieting is going really well, and now both my parents are on board. We cleaned out our kitchen today, throwing away everything that is considered “bad”. I’ve also been doing most of the cooking for dinners, which is great because I am learning and making sure that what we eat is good for us. Maybe I’ll post some of my recipes of anyone is interested. My concern right now is the walking- I work 8-4, so my options are kind of limited. I can either walk in the morning, which would be about 5:30 AM…not sure if I’d be able to then stand on my feet all day and play with little kids. Second option is walking while I’m at work…not sure how Sophie and Kate would handle that. There is a park that we walk to in their double stroller, but only about a mile away. The final option is after I get home…which, if I don’t get used to keeping up with them soon, I will be too exhausted to do. I think I’m going to aim for when doing it when I get home, that way I’ll hopefully be going to sleep earlier too.

I got a call that I have been advanced through the first round of the Mercy Volunteer Corps application process. Next step is the interview- which is this coming Friday at 2:30. I’m nervous already! I just really want this and think it’s so right for me.

I just finished reading Jen Lancaster’s fourth book, “Pretty in Plaid”. As usual, it had me laughing out loud and nodding my head in agreement over the observations and experiences she’s had. The last few pages, though, stuck me pretty hard:

“I have the ability to work toward other successes in my life…provided I try hard enough, there will be other shining moments…and I won’t always be alone to get the good news about them”.

This quote is one that really related to what I’ve been focusing on lately. For the past few months, I’ve been lazy and unmotivated about life in general. I find myself saying “I’ll do that later…” or “If I don’t get it finished, oh well”… I’m not sure if it’s to blame on “senioritis”, my emotional problems, immaturity, or a combination of all of these. Regardless, the time has come for me to realize I can’t just wait around and hope that I get what I want. I have to work…fight...and push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to truly chase after my dreams. I know I have the ability, just lacking that motivation. Jen’s book helped me to understand that I need to be my own motivation.

As for the part about being alone…well, that’s where you come in. I don’t know how to put this lightly so I’ll just throw it out there: I don’t have that many friends. By that, I mean friends that live near me that I can call up and say “let’s go out”. I used to, but over the years things change, people grow apart. There are so many people that I would love to reconnect with, but I feel like it’s always “yeah, we should hang out” and nothing ever happens. I love the friends that I can hang out with frequently, but I think part of my problem this summer has been that I feel very alone. Yes, I have Sam and Lauren and the backups, but it’s different having their support and love than actually having people around on a daily basis that I can hang out with. I have GOT to get over my fear of meeting new people because, aside from Alex, I really only see my family. I also need to see my bestie Christine more, and make definite plans with Meg Mal. I just get scared because they have lived here and created their own lives with friends, and I don’t want to intrude. Anyways, enough about that…what I was going to say was that I am so grateful for people in my life who I can call up or text and say “GUESS WHAT?” and they will be genuinely happy for me. So thank you, for being those people in my life.

On a very random side note, please check out this video I made for Chikezie, and if you are a YouTube user, rate it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

This little light, you gotta let it shine!

I tried really hard to come up with a good topic for today's blog but I've got nothing but updates for ya. Here is the breakdown:

I've been having sleeping problems again- I am exhausted around 8 0r 9, but no I won't sleep through the night if I go to bed then...so I wait...and by the time I wait, I can't sleep. I could be dead tired, but still toss and turn. I've also been waking up in the middle of the night, and waking up way early in the morning without being able to fall asleep again. I'm so sick of being so tired!

The dieting/weight loss journey is going well. I haven't walked in a few days because of "girl issues" but that's besides the point- I have been eating healthier and overall feeling better aside from my sleeping schedule. I have an appointment with my Dr in a few weeks to discuss what else I need to be doing and if I have any health concerns.

As a graduation present, Mandisa sent me a workbook called "Experiencing God". It's a day by day study on your relationship with God and Christianity. I flipped through it and started seriously working on it last week. It is helping me so much, I can't even describe it. For the past few weeks I've had so many questions on my faith and trusting God's plan for me, this workbook is answering all those questions. I am feeling much better and trustworthy. The biggest thing I've learned is to quit worrying and questioning and to just have trust. I find myself writing notes and other thoughts in a separate notebook, ready to ask some of my strong in faith friends questions that I have. (Hollister, I'm talking to you...haha).

I got the nanny job for the 3 year old and 1 1/2 year old! I'm really excited about it...they are adorable. It will be a long, tiring day, but fun and it's good money. I'll be working Monday-Thursday 8-4. I'm working this Friday to get a start. I'm so thankful that this job came about, thank you Lord and for all who prayed and sent positive thoughts my way.

I also got an e-mail today that my application for Mercy Volunteer Corps has been passed through to the next round- interview. I should be contacted by the end of the week to set it up. I'm excited about this but also getting anxious because it's going to be a while yet before I find out where my actual placement will be and what I will be doing. Still excited and confident that this is what I am supposed to be doing, though.

Okay, I wasn't going to get all deep and analytical in this, but "True Beauty" by Mandisa just started playing. Odd, because I've been thinking about it all day. The song talks about the importance of inner beauty and how being pretty and having material objects don't make you beautiful- which I completely agree with. It's sad, though, because I know that's not the way our world works. I wish there wasn't so much pressure put on people to fit the standards of outer beauty, and that each of us could honestly say that we looked inside people's hearts to find out who they really are. Do you think it depends on how the person feels about them self? I mean, if someone is way confident and believes that they are beautiful on the inside and out, will others as well? How does one gain that confidence? These are just some of the many questions I have about life.