Saturday, October 31, 2009

It Looks Like We've Made It This Far

I made it through the most emtionally draining week I've had as a volunteer. I'm sure there are many more to come, I'm glad I was able to handle it without a complete nervous breakdown...I say complete because I did have a bit of a breakdown. I cried on the phone with my parents and sister on Wednesday. However, it could have been worse. I'm proud of myself. That's a big step for me.

I was so exhausted last night I could feel every muscle in my body aching. My eyes burned. I was out of thoughts, I just sat on the couch like a vegetable. I'm starting to realize what it's like to be an adult. Your little Meggie is growing up :-)

I won't go into details for the safety and privacy of my students, but several of them came to me with very heavy stuff they are dealing with. I had to do a handful of peer mediation sessions in addition to comforting and a little counseling. It all came down on me at once, and my heart was heavy with emotions for them. It's very hard for someone like me to not get emotionally attached, but when I care so much about these students and they share their deepest fears, anxieties, worries with me I can't help it. When they come to me with tears in their eyes asking for me to just listen, I want to help save them from all the evil and danger in their life.

One student in particular is going through a pretty rough time in her life. I can relate to her feelings of lonliness, anxiety, and low self-image. I gave her a list of songs that have helped me get through the tough times. The next day, she came sprinting down the bleachers and gave me a huge hug. "Thank mommy say thank you too". That, folks, is why I am doing this.

Some funny things happened this week, too. One student asked me if it would be okay if she cut out my eyeballs and put them in her head, because she was so jealous of my eye color. I got two drawings, a Christmas card (yes, this early), a book to borrow, and the gift of smiles and "thank you miss carolin". I had a student tell me she wouldn't come back next year if I didn't. A group of student workers decided that I have a boyfriend named Andrew. (I don't even know an Andrew). My creative writing class wrote excellent scary stories. We had a great discussion in peer mediation about stress and peer pressure. At one point on Friday, I looked at three of my students who were making dancing to Michael Jackson and said "I love my job".

I do. I absolutley love my job. I have had people outside this house and my family tell me "this is the happiest I've seen you in a long time". That's because I feel useful, I feel like I am doing something I need to be doing.

Tonight we have a Mass with the Sister's of Mercy, then we are passing out candy, and ending the night with a party at the Jesuit Volunteers house. Someone remind me to take pictures.

My outfit: Black t-shirt with iron on Jonas Brothers image, black and grey skirt, leggings, fake (very fake) uggs, Jonas necklace, Hannah Montana necklace, Twilight pins, High School Musical pin, Hannah pin, Hannah/Jonas/HSM/Twilight bracelets, Twilight bag, glitter, etc. I'm excited!

Listening to- "This Far"- Landon Pigg

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Laurence Carolin <3

I'm sorry if you've read about Laurence before and this is repetative, but I am asking for all of you who read this to pass this along to those you know, so I must give an introduction.

15 year old Laurence Carolin was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer two years ago. Since then, he has made it his mission to live every day to the fullest and to help others in need. He became passionate about poverty in Africa, especially the danger of Malaria. Malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds. Laurence was devasted by this and decided he needed to help. His facebook status updates for the past several months have not been about his pain or his cancer, they have been asking others to get involved in his cause, to learn about poverty. He is a servant of God, trying to do so much good for others. He originally enrolled in the "Make-A-Wish" program to meet Bono from U2, but shortly after he asked that they use that money to donate to Africa instead. Laurence got both wishes- he raised $5,000 for the One Campaign and also was able to meet Bono at the U2 Concert in Chicago. It was an incredible experience for both. Recently, Laurence has made another goal.

Right now he cannot walk and he can barely talk, but he asked that a page be set up for Nothing But Nets so that people can donate money to this cause he is so passionate about. His goal is $20,000. You can donate by going to this page: I know times are tough and most people will not be able to donate...but if you can just give $10 dollars to this cause, you will be saving a life and making this kid's dream come true.

I am in awe of this child. The way he views the world, the way he is so passionate about helping people. I want the world to know about him, he is an angel in disguise. I want the students I see every day to know that someone their age is making such an incredible impact on the world.

Here is the video of Laurence on Fox News Detroit last night:

If you cannot donate, could you please instead pass this blog along to everyone you know? Let's spread the word about my amazing cousin.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Taylor Swift Stole Our Lives.

Let's play a game.

1. Post the names of 10 of your favorite musicians.
2. See who can guess which is your favorite song by each.
3. Whoever wins will get a very special prize <3

1. spill canvas
2. melinda doolittle
3. gavin degraw
4. kelly clarkson
5. jacks mannequin
6. mandisa
7. taylor swift
8. lady gaga
9. jason mraz
10. lady antebellum

Sunday, October 25, 2009

i'll take the chivas instead

VIP Preshow. Meet and Greet. 3rd row center.

All of these= the BEST Kelly show I've ever seen. Not just because I got to meet her, but also because she is maturing and so is her music. She puts on one heck of a show and is a ball of energy...but we'll come back to that.

So, I went to the show with some friends I know via Kelly stuff. I found out about my meet and greet a week ago, but didn't spend the money on a VIP. When I got to the venue, one of my friends said "Hey, Sarah is you want her VIP ticket?"

Are you kidding me? OF COURSE!

So, with VIP comes a preshow. About 15 of us sat in the basement of the Fox Theatre. I was in the front row and could touch the mic stand from where I was sitting. I was about to see Kelly inches in front of me, singing acoustic. We sat there forever, but finally Kelly came out. She was SO chatty with us and giggly. First she sang "White Horse" by Taylor Swift. My favorite Taylor song off "Fearless". Kelly freaking killed it. She sang it with so much soul and it was at that moment I realized how damn good she is. Then she sang an unreleased song called "Between the Lines" which is basically an angry song to her label. She talked to us about "My December" and how the fans always want to hear those songs, so she was planning on singing "Chivas" at the concert. Everyone screamed, her fans love "My December" because it's so real. Someone then gave her a bottle of Chivas, Kelly grabbed it out of her hands haha. It was an amazing experience, just having Kelly sit there singing.

Then they had all the people who had meet and greets follow this loooong hallway. We were at the end of the line and the girl in front of me told me to be calm and say as much as I think I can say. It moved quickly, VERY quickly. It got to me before I could even think about what was happening. I handed her manager all my stuff, and she reached out her arms for a hug "Hi I'm Kelly!" HA! I told her my name and she was like " were sitting on the floor at VIP right? otherwise you look creepily VERY familiar". I told her I was there by chance and then she said "HEY! We have like the same eyes!". We took a normal picture, and then I asked for a piggy back one. She said "Ya'll think I'm so light, but I'm I'll just pretend!". Before I walked away I told her "I just really want to thank you for My came out a time when I really needed to hear those messages in the songs, and because of that album I started writing poetry and lyrics Your music pulled me out of the hard stuff". She looked at me with this struck look and said "that is the best compliment I've ever gotten". She hugged me and told me to keep writing and to have fun at the show. I thanked her and was escorted back to the lobby. Poor security guard had to hear all about my love for Kelly.

By the time VIP and Meet and Greet were over, both opening acts were done and it was time for Kelly. I found my new seat (3rd row center) about 5 minutes before she came on stage. Suddenly the curtain dropped and there she was blasting out "All I Ever Wanted". The entire show was absolutley energy, she was SO chatty...she made eye contact with everyone. She sang her classics "Because of You", "Breakaway", "Behind These Hazel Eyes", "Since You've Been Gone", "Miss Independant", "Never Again" and "Walk Away". She sang new songs "All I Ever Wanted", "If I Can't Have You", "I Want You", "Ready", "I Do Not Hook Up", "Already Gone", and "My Life Would Suck Without You". She sang covers "Lie", "Use Somebody" "Walkin After Midnight" and "Seven Nation Army". As promised, she included "Chivas". I wish she would do more My December songs, but seeing her take three shots of Chivas on stage and then performing made up for it. She was so into it and into the crowd...

One of my favorite parts of the show was "Breakaway". She caught my eye during it and held contact, so she was singing "Take a chance, make a change, and breakaway" to me. AAh, such special meaning for me!

Seriously she was so close. Best concert ever. Now I have to be up in five sleepy time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Open House Party Surprises

From the day we've moved in we've had people asking us when we're having our open house party. It's a tradition for the Mercy Volunteers to host a party for their neighbors, the Sister's of Mercy, and people we work with. It's a way for everyone to meet us and for us to give back to all the support we've been given.

Sr. Mary Jo, who is our coordinator and takes care of us, came over early to help us set up. She's such a sweet lady, she truly supports everything we do and is always there for us when we need something. We're all very lucky to have her around.

Among our first guests were my parents. Sometimes I feel bad that I see them often, but at the same time it's so nice having them here with me on the journey, for them to be able to meet all the people in my life and to see what I'm doing. As always, everyone loved them. My parents are the kind of people who get along with just about anyone. My sister and her husband Dave also came, which was really awesome. I just love being able to connect these two worlds.

Several Sister's came, they are so laid back and gracious to us. Each of them had food in hand to share and greeted us with big hugs and questions about our job sites. Our tables were full of food and house full of people. At one point in the evening, the doorbell rang and when we opened it, Sr. Bette was standing there. Who's Sr. Bette? Well...remember back in August when I had orientation and several MVC staff members were there to teach us things and support us? Sr. Bette is one of those people. She is from Philly and plays a critical role in the MVC process. She's been there for us literally since the very start, even in the application process. We were all so ecstatic to see her, just thinking about it now makes me smile. She was so cute, making sure we're all happy, getting along, and content with our jobs. It really touches my heart that she cares that much about us to come all the way here and see how we're doing.

Another surprise? Two of my best friends- Sam and Lauren. I was mid conversation with Sr. Bette when I turned to see who was at the door- there were Sam and Lauren with a den sandwich and den pop in their hands (a Kalamazoo thing). I freaked out, I mean I ran and almost knocked over one of the babies (there were three adorable babies at our party) yelling "OH MY GOSH!". I saw Lauren briefly a few weeks ago, but I haven't seen Sam since labor day weekend. I can't tell you how happy I was to see them. They are such amazing friends and I have missed spending time with them. I didn't get to talk to them TOO much because our house was full of nuns (seriously) but still, my heart was so happy. I was glad they were able to meet some people and see our house. They are amazing. I love you both!!!

So tomorrow I'm meeting Kelly Clarkson! Oh my goodness... I can't believe it. I'm so beyond excited. I don't even really have words....that girl made me appreciate music, made me know that I'm not alone, mmade me start writing. I'm finally meeting her!

Speaking of people I love, Taylor Swift is hosting Saturday Night Live tonight. Bring on the Kanye jokes. I love Taylor.

Currently Listening To- " Need You Now"- Lady Antebellum

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What If We Could Change It All

Disrespect. Apathy. Bullying. Depression. Anger. Gangs. Violence. Drugs. Sex.

These are the issues that teens are dealing with every day. They are so easily influenced by their peers. I see it in the mornings, when we all sit together to pray. A few people feel that it's "not cool" to pray, and that influences the entire student body to become ashamed of their faith. I see it in the classroom, when one kid starts acting up, the rest of them follow. If one or two people disagree about something the teacher says, suddenly everyone disagrees. Their lack of care for their education comes from one another- one student thinks he's cool because he never does homework, doesn't study...he/she can't waste their time with that, they have too much to do. Suddenly no one cares. Getting an A isn't something they strive for, because to them it's not cool. One kid starts bullying the quiet student in the class, that student becomes a target for everyone else to beat up on.

Then we get into the more serious challenges. The rate of teen depression is incredibly high. Their self-esteem is damaged. I see kids walking around this building with their heads down, barely saying a word. I see the kids who bully others because they don't feel good enough about themselves. The ones who get so angry over the smallest things, the ones who think its normal to be nasty to one another, because that's how it is in their world. I see the divide between the ethnic groups.

Taking it to an even more serious level is the stuff that I don't see at school. I'd love to say that drugs and sex don't happen but I know they do. It happened at my high school, it happens everywhere.

In the beginning I used the word "one" a lot. One kid...Well, all it takes is one teacher, one adult, one parent, one role model to reach out to these kids and touch their hearts. To teach them to be positive, to love themselves and love one another. I know I can't be that person for every student in this school, for every teen in Detroit, across America. I can't save the me, if I could take every single one of these students home, feed them, make sure they do their homework, provide for them, I would. I just can't do that.

As adults we need to show these kids and every kid the path to success. Not only in education and the jobplace, but in hearts and mind. Peer pressure will always exist, but by being a role model for a young person, by using our lives as an example, we may be able to change their minds. If we don't, we're going to start losing our youth.

The city of Detroit is suffering, we all know that. Some say it will never get better, some say it can only go up from here. I'm not sure what the fate is, but I know that the kids I see every day have the choice to make it great. We can't expect them to do it on their own. Let's let them follow us. Go out and make a difference.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world".

Currently listening to: "Gravity"- Sara Bareilles

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Don't Go Telling Me Your Okay...When You're Lonely

I think I sort of miss Kalamazoo. I don’t miss the excessive drinking and drama; don’t even really miss Western itself minus a few teachers. I miss the days of playing rock band from dusk till dawn, only stopping to eat. I miss our random dance parties, sitting on the balcony, making den runs, staying up all night talking and watching movies, making musical discoveries, having Target right behind our house, 3 dollar movies, bbc jokes, walking around college park, Monaco Bay (before Matt Giraud made it famous, ha), South Haven, Grand Rapids, concerts, walking on campus in the rain, and so much more. I guess…I miss Sam and Lauren and all my other roommates who made my four years great. I don’t know if I miss Delta Gamma, as horrible as that may sound. It was a good run, but sometimes I regret it. It brought about some negative people and situations in my life, and while I had fun, for the most part I was just working by toosh off for something that failed in the end.

It’s just so funny to me how different people come into your life, some leave and some stay forever- whether it’s physically or they are just in your heart for years. Lately I have been even more grateful for the people that have stuck by me through everything; I honestly do not know what I’d do without my support system. There are so many people who I know I can turn to if I ever need anything, which is truly a wonderful feeling.

Right now I feel as though I am still in a protective bubble. We have so many people looking out for us and supporting us, we really can’t complain. I thought that the idea of simple living would be really tough…at times it may be so, but for the most part we get along just fine. One of my favorite parts of this experience is learning how to cut back, since I only get 100 dollars a month for personal use, I no longer waste money like I have in the past. We never go out to eat, to the bar, or the movies but I’m okay with that. It’s nice just living in the moment and spending time with people.

I’d say my biggest stress right now is what the heck I’m going to do next year. Deadlines for grad school applications are coming up. I applied to Ball State and Western (yes, again) and will probably apply to Wayne State by the end of the week. I’m also looking at University of Tennessee….but what do I want to go to school for? Family studies? Counseling? Social Work? Nonprofit organization management? I’m so confused! I’m even more lost now than I was my senior year of college.
I know people don’t want me to worry but like I said, applications have to be in by November-December. So yes, I do have to worry a little bit. If anyone wants to hire me, you just let me know. Seriously.

Alright, I have to prepare myself for my third hour class. Wish me luck.

Listening to: “Lost Without Eachother"- Hanson

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I've been up all night waiting for a song that will make me feel alright

"With a spirit so neat
One that someone else can't beat
A heart as big as the earth
To know you really is a treat

I think you're really grand
For some people I can't stand
Don't worry it's never you
I'm glad you're here Miss Carolin"
-Poem written by one of my students....she handed it to me after school. The note said- "To Miss Carolin- One of the greatest new people in my life! By Jasmine"

How adorable? I love it! I'm keeping it forever.

Today was a pretty great day. The class that usually gives me trouble was alright, although I have been noticing a divide between groups of students. I mean a HUGE divide. Peer mediation soon? Check.

I had my creative writing class again today, passed out packets on how to write a scary story. I don't know how, but somehow this turned into a religious discussion. It was awesome, and I am thankful to be working at a school where I can openly share my views. Many of the students are not Catholic, but to just sit down and talk about God with a group of 14 year old kids is so awesome! They are pretty much in the same place I was at that age, so it's cool to be able to tell them stories and relate to them. A lot of funny things happened today, but I won't embarass anyone in the process of sharing. The best part of my day was when two students tried to teach me the moon walk after school in the gym. Such goofballs, I love it.

It's been brought to my attention how many of these kids are struggling with low self-esteem and periods of sadness or depression. It triggered memories of my own high school years and what made me hurt the most back then- usually it was my anxiety, fights with friends, a bad grade, family fights, boy problems...I'd say that these kids are going through the same thing, but if we're being honest they are dealing with much worse. Most of them are just so lonely, which breaks my heart. No one should feel that alone. I remember times when I was so lonely, there was always someone there to eventually pull me out of that. I just hope these kids have someone. If I could take them all home and make sure that they are safe and loved, I would. I know better than to get emotionally attached, but it's tough sometimes.

Tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!

Currently listening to: "Radio, Radio"- Brooke White

PS: Which should I be for Halloween? A) Dorothy B) 80's Rockstar C) Teenager (dressed in Twilight, HSM, Miley, Jonas gear)

PPS: Don't forget to send me your favorite prayers, poems, lyrics, art work, etc! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One of my favorite things in the world is laughter. The sound of it, the feeling, all of it. No one should go a day without laughing. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who make me laugh. My kids, my co-workers, my community members, my family, and my friends. I laugh pretty easily, even get the "stop laughing so much" comments.

I am grateful for friends who make my stomach hurt from laughing. Everyone should have friends like that. Lately I've been so focused on work and community life that I haven't stayed in contact with some of my best friends as well as I should. I apologize- you guys know that you have my heart, and that I love you dearly. I think of you on a daily basis and send warm thoughs and hugs your way. You're all such special people. Never forget that.

So, guess the heck what? I, Megan Carolin, am meeting Kelly Clarkson. That's right folks. I made a list over the summer of things to do before I leave this world, and meeting Kelly is one of them. I've told people as soon as I meet Kelly and Oprah, I can die happy. Now I'm meeting her. I cannot wait, seriously so excited. I had to reread the email seven times, because I couldn't believe that it actually said "CONGRATULATIONS!". SERIOUSLY? Kelly is the reason I got into music, the reason I started writing. 99% of her songs relate to my life. I can't wait to FINALLY thank her for everything she's done in my life. I've waited seven years for this :-)

Things at the school are still going very well. I face each day with an open mind and a smile, because I know that it's going to be completly different than the day before. The kids make me so happy, when I see an attitude change or just something funny that they say. Their creative writing amazes me, their way of handling conflict is getting stronger. I am just so happy to be here at a critical time in their life. They teach me more and more every day. I had a very touching moment with a student today who was almost in tears, but she said to me "but Miss Carolin you have taught me that my faith will get me through". I could have cried, because that is what I have been trying to get through to this student from the start. I am so glad she is starting to pick up on it. I thank the people in MY life who taught me the same thing. The toughest part right now is getting them motivated academically. Most of them have never been pushed hard before, so they don't understand the concepts. We have to get them excited for college and working hard to get in. I wish they appreciated their education more, they really are so lucky to be at such a wonderful school.

I stole this from someone, but I think it's an amazing idea and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE for all of you to contribute:

I'm going to put together a simple booklet of daily prayer and reflection pulled together from anyone interested. I would be looking for reflections of any kind that would fit onto a half page. This could include poetry, artwork, biblical reflection on the moment, recipes, prayers, music (lyrics), or anything you can think of. E-mail or snail mail me the pieces (contact me for an address). I'd like to have everything by the last in November so I can start getting it organized. Feel free to send in more than one item, or to pass this along. Thanks :-) I'll tweet reminders.

I hope the week ends well for everyone! I love you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

So Go Unlock Your Door, Find Out What You're Here For

I used to hate talking about my struggles with anxiety. I was afraid (ha, duh) of people judging me. Over time, especially recently, I've become more open about it. It's a huge part of my life, so it's kind of important that I let people know.

When I was younger, I really didn't understand it. Some of you may have heard the stories...but I used to be terrified of everything. I would cry and breakdown when people said something about my big eyes, because I hated the attention. I came into my parents room at 4 am once, when I was just six years old, crying. I told them I didn't have a brown crayon, and I couldn't go to school because I was terrified that the teacher would tell us to use a brown crayon and I wouldn't have it. I never once raised my hand in class, even if I was sure of an answer. The thought of being wrong, looking stupid, and just talking in front of everyone made me literally sick to my stomach. As I got older, I still struggled with classroom issues, people in authority, and strangers. When I was old enough to drive and go shopping by myself, I would avoid associates, even if I DID need help. It started to come out a little bit more seriously as far as avoiding things- I was pretty active in high school, but often times would make up excuses for going out with friends so that I could just be alone, where I wouldn't have to feel anxiety. I did that SO many times in college, too. I preferred being a hermit in my room to going out.

I know some of you can relate, but to those who can't, imagine for just a second living every single day of your life in absolute FEAR. That's how my life was for several years, until I recognized my own issues and got the help I needed. I would never wish what I dealt with upon anyone, ever.

How I dealt with the anxiety has become the biggest challenge. When I was younger, I didn't understand it. I dealt with it by not speaking. I still have a hard time talking to strangers, but you should have seen little Megan. Up until a few years ago I was hiding behind my mom, out of pure fear. As I got older, I turned to food to comfort me. I can remember binging on fast food before I went out with friends, and then feeling awful about it, to the point where I began to hate myself. The self-hate and depression played a pretty large role in college. I honestly don't know if I ever reached a complete level of happiness in college. I was constantly at a very low self-esteem and state of anxiety. I practically spent my entire sophomore year in my room, and if I wasn't in my room I was drinking...heavily. I avoided my feelings and getting help by drinking or eating. It wasn't until some very special people came into my life and pulled me out that I started to realize how destructive I was being to my body and mind. I started getting help but was still overwhelmed with anxiety in most cases. I would go home very often to avoid spending time surrounded by PEOPLE. I would make myself physcially ill with the things I worried about. It wasn't a good time for me.

The difference between then and now is that I have the resources and help to recognize my anxiety. I keep careful track of when I feel anxiety most and talk it over with a professional. I know the signs of anxiety and of when it will be easy for me to withdraw and slip into depression. For the first time in my life I am helping myself. I also do not turn to food anymore (okay, I've had a few binges, but nothing like it used to) and have other ways of coping- writing, praying, etc.

The reason I tell you this is so you all have an understanding of anxiety. Let me tell you that for every person who suffers from anxiety, it is the LAST thing they want. They don't mean to hurt your feelings if they avoid you- it's their way out. I know when I was struggling deeply with all of this, when I had days where I just wanted to completly give up, my biggest issue was that I didn't think anyone understood, I thought I was alone. I want people to know that they are never alone.

Thanks for reading. Love you all, have a good week....oh and to all of you who tell me you read this blog, I expect comments this time, ha.

As I was typing this, John Mayer's "Great Indoors" song started playing, which is exactly what this entry is about. Strange.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

These Are My Colors For You

I've met a handful of "famous people". For the most part, they have been American Idol contestants. Throw Lisa Whelchel, Matthew West, Taylor Swift, Lady Antebullum, and Hanson into the mix, and you have it. 90% of the people I have met have been nothing but compassionate toward their fans. I hold a special place in my heart for those who use their fame for good, and many of these people do just that. Whether it's charity work, helping out a fan in need, doing something special for a fan, etc, many of them are out there doing more than making music/writing books. As a fan, I appreciate the time that they take to make people happy. Sometimes it makes me wonder what I would be like if I were famous...

First of all, if I were ever to be famous, I would want it to be for writing a book that helped people. Then I want to go around and speak about it. I know this sounds crazy for someone who is shy and despises talking in front of people, but I really feel like I need to share my story. I feel like there are probably so many young girls going through the same things that I have, and I want them to know that there is a way out. Does that make sense?

Now...if I were to ever reach that level, I would hope that I would be as sweet and cheerful to "fans" (that's just crazy to think about). I would want to spread the word about causes that I am passionate about, like child abuse and neglect and childhood cancer. I would also totally invite myself to be on Oprah. HA.

On the other hand, I think the rest of us sometimes forget that these people are real people too. They have emotions and feelings, they get tired and drained. To expect them to be perfect all the time is ridiculous, and there is so much pressure on celeberties. It's no wonder they have nervous breakdowns, people are constantly wanting to talk to them. It makes me worry about little ones like David Archuleta, who is so young. I know everywhere he goes from now on people will stop and ask for something, and that kind of breaks my heart- he can't live like a normal 18 year old. I know he asked for it and it's his life that he loves, but STILL. It has to be so hard sometimes.

So to every famous person I've met that has smiled and taken the time to chat, I thank you. To those who have gone an extra step and done something for me, for someone I know, or for charity work, I thank you.

I'm terrified of losing Laurence. The world needs him and his ideas. I need him for inspiration. He has planned his own funeral and told Bono when he met him that it would be soon. How sad is that? I'm going to be completly honest- I will need you guys. I know that may sound selfish, morbid, whatever. I will though, I'm just letting you know now.

Okay, I'm exhausted, I have to get ready for the week. I also need to spend some time thinking about everything I heard and learned this weekend. I love you all.

Currently listening to: Jordin Sparks- Colors

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Belief Makes Things Real

First things first- so many people have told me that they read my blog- I appreciate that so much! I’m glad people are interested in what I’m doing. So hello, readers! Leave a comment so I know who you are :-)

Yesterday and today were kind of stressful. I had some high moments for sure, but my third period study hall gives me such high anxiety. They literally DO NOT stop talking, and not only are they talking, but at a very high volume. No matter what I try, they don’t stop. My stomach is in knots the whole time, my head pounds, and I just get so anxious and frustrated. It has gotten to the point where I literally dread going to that class, which is miserable for me AND the students. Today 12 of them were pulled out for testing and it made a huge difference. I wish every day could be like that! Also, I’ve been doing a lot of counseling and peer mediation the past two days…I can’t even tell you how many times I heard “Miss Carolin can I talk to you about something?” today. I love helping them, and when I see a significant difference in the kids it makes up for everything, but I did have a peer mediation session that didn’t go well and I’m afraid will blow up. I know it’s not my fault and that I can’t save the world, but it was still stressful. I had a total "Tyra moment" with one of my students. You know that time on Top Model when she screamed at a contestant about how she cared about her and was pulling for her and then the contestant just disapointed her? Yeah, I did that to someone. I made her cry. She finally said "I know you care about me, Miss Carolin. I know I can come to you whenever I need anything". I had a mini breakdown in the stairwell after school. I was telling two other staff members about my challenges and then about Laurence and I tried to stop my voice from cracking and the tears from coming but it happened. Thankfully they were SO supportive and helpful. Two students walked in and saw me, immediately gave me hugs and asked if I needed anything. Love that!

Of course, the positive things will forever outdo the negative. For the student workers who went out of their way to help me today, thank you. For the sophomore girls who told me that my hair looked pretty, thank you. To the boys who ALWAYS help me carry stuff down from the cafeteria, thank you. To Omar, who made me laugh when he said “Miss Carolin, back in the day, did you used to get down” and continued to do the Soulja Boy, thank you. You all made me smile. Also, now that I am helping (I’d say teaching, but these kids are the ones teaching ME) with a creative writing class, I’ve been more into journaling, poetry, song writing, etc than ever. I’ve been researching “writing prompts” for my class and found some amazing ideas. I love reading what they write. Today I had a student who was very unenthusiastic about the class when arriving. She didn’t feel like writing and had a pretty negative attitude. I encouraged her to write how she was feeling about ANYTHING. She ended up writing a beautiful poem about having a “crush” on someone who doesn’t like you back. As juvenile as that may sound, it was honestly haunting. Her emotions were just right out there, so raw. I was proud of her!

I’m going to post two things I have written recently! Haven’t done this in a while, eh? The first one is really opening up my heart. I don’t want any questions asked or assumptions made. Ha. Thanks.

Before I knew you love didn’t exist
Now when you sing those songs
When you give me that look
I know what love feels like
It makes my heart stop
I’m in awe of your perfection

Never felt so sure of anyone before
I just need you here by my side
Can’t you just come here now?
I’m sick of the constant tiptoes
We both know what’s there

It’s when you sing those songs
That feel specially written for me
It’s obvious when our eyes lock in that stare
I need to be with you

How could you make promises of tomorrow
Then leave me alone for so long
I need you here with me
To sing me a song

Without you love does not exist
I slowly break down
Don’t let me shatter
Come and sing me a song.

This one I wrote for my students…it’s a work in progress, I want to add more:

Walking down the road alone
With no one reaching out for you
You feel so lost and broken
You put on a face of a hero so they won’t see
Well kid, you don’t fool me
You’ve got it in you
To become so much more
Take a chance and dare to dream
You could be so much better than those who left you
Those who hurt you, those that didn’t believe
Have faith in yourself and keep on pushing through
All these walls that surround you
Don’t let anything hold you back
From being the best you that you dream to be
The pain you feel now doesn’t have to last forever
You’ve got the choice; it’s up to you to change
Stand up, be strong, and put a smile on that face
Prove them wrong, show them the you that you know you can be

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Music!

I haven’t done a “new music post” in a while, so I have some albums to discuss…and by some, I mean many.

Jason Castro announced today that his album will NOT be released in November, but rather next year. I’m so disappointed! I was all excited for new Jason music. He’s one of my favorites ever, and I really believe that his album will be one of my favorites. Anyways, his first single was released in September, and I loved it! It is so perfect for him. I really hope he continues to make music because there is something so special about his voice. Download his single “Let’s Just Fall In Love Again” and keep your ears open for updates!

Bethany Dillon’s album was released in September also. I first heard of her via suggestion from Mandisa, and I love her music. She’s a young Christian artist and all of her songs have a wonderful message. “Get Up and Walk” relates very closely to my life story, so that’s probably my favorite song.

Next up is the Boys Like Girls album. It is such a good pop/rock album. They are a good band, I’m glad I got into them. Their single “Love Drunk” is a good example of their typical music, but my favorite songs are “Two Is Better Than One” (exactly how I feel about someone) and “Go” because it’s inspiring- I want to play it for my students!

Howie Day…I had no idea that he was releasing a new album until I found it on Amazon. It’s so amazing and I am ecstatic that he is touring with Colbie- perfect match. Favorite song is “Be There”.

I first saw Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers when they opened for Hanson. I digged their music, and have bought all their albums since. The one that they released in September is awesome. It’s indie/acoustic/rock-ish. Ha. I love it! Favorite song is “See Yourself”- another inspirational one, paired with an amazing voice.

Next is Landon Pigg (wow, lots of male artists this time around!) You may know recognize his voice from an ATT commercial- “Falling in Love in A Coffee Shop”. I love all his songs, but my favorite is probably “The Boy Who Never”.

I downloaded Blake’s new album today. To be honest, I was a fan of his first album. There were a lot of songs I listened to frequently. This one is pretty decent, I don’t like as many of the songs. My favorite is for SURE “The Point”, which has no techno or beat boxing. Love it!

Finally, my first Christmas album downloads of the year- Anthony Evans! Oh it’s so good, I love this guy. What a great soulful voice! He puts his own spin on great Christmas songs. I can’t quite pick a favorite yet!

The end 

Have A Little Faith

I asked my peer mediation class two questions yesterday: How do you WANT to be remembered, and IF you continue to live your life the way you are now, how WILL YOU be remembered? I asked them this because I want them to know that whatever they are unhappy with right now, they have the power to change those aspects of life.

It wasn’t too long ago when I had to change my direction. A few years ago I had to take a step back from my life and realize that if I continued, none of my goals would be accomplished. It’s taken me those few years to rebuild myself into the person that I want to be. It took prayer, it took the influence of other people, but I did it. I can honestly sit here and tell you that I am happy with myself. I have weaknesses, I have faults. There are things that I work on every single day, but the difference now is I ACTUALLY work on them, instead of telling myself I should or just thinking about it. Sometimes it even scares me a little to think how different I am right now than I was two years ago. It may have to do with getting older and becoming more mature and responsible, but it’s also because I pushed myself to stray away from negative influences and fill my life with positivity.

No one should control your life except for you and God. You’re a team, working together to be the best person that you can be. Don’t let silly little things that will just make you feel worse in the long run become a priority. This may mean that you have to step away from people who bring negativity into your life, you may have to completely change your lifestyle…but wouldn’t you rather feel happy and at peace then anxious and irresponsible? Take the first step…it can be scary, but I promise you it’s worth it.

You don’t have to believe in God for me to tell you that He loves you unconditionally. Try talking to Him, you may be surprised what you find out. It’s time you start being positive and keep an open mind rather than shut away from the world and live your life like it’s a waste. Your life is precious, treat it like so. Don’t poison your mind and body anymore. You may think you don’t deserve it, but you do. Every single person on this earth deserves a chance to be great, to accomplish their goals. All you need is a little encouragement and a little prayer.

I feel like an ad for a motivational speaker right now, but HONESTLY if anyone needs to talk further about this topic, let me know. I am a prime example of someone who was getting closer and closer to failure- emotionally, physically, mentally. Now I’m loving life and accepting my strengths AND my flaws! Come join me!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lisa Whelchel

I have clear, distinct memories of myself at the age of thirteen. I was shy, sensitive, and sweet. I often went along with whatever my friends were doing in fear of feeling different. I enjoyed school for the academic part; I loved learning new things and reading. After school I would come home and finish all my homework to allow me to spend time with my family. The best part of those days, however, were the nights when I would make myself a bowl of cookie dough ice cream and plop on the couch for my favorite TV show. While all my friends were at home listening to N*Sync or watching trashy MTV shows, I was dancing around my living room to the Facts of Life theme song. The show ended its run before I was even born, so it may seem unusual that I enjoyed it so much. Although it was older, the topics they touched on were all the same challenges I faced. Little parts of me identified with each character, I loved being able to find myself in the conversations they shared. Although I didn’t always identify with Blair, she had characteristics I strived for. I envied her confidence and honesty, as I had never been a big fan of myself. I admired Blair, she made me laugh until my stomach hurt, and when she dealt with obstacles; my heart went out to her. I became slightly addicted to the show and was deeply disappointed when it got pulled off Nick at Night. My one hour of happiness each evening was eliminated, but I never forgot the lessons I learned from the Facts of Life.

Let’s flash forward a few years: During college, I went through rough times with myself and my faith. I battled depression, social anxiety, and questioned God’s love. Luckily, God answered my cries by sending people into my life that helped pull me out of that dark time. One of these people was American Idol finalist Mandisa. She helped me to overcome a food addiction and to understand my faith a little clearer. Although she had (and continues to) helped me immensely, I still had something missing. Shortly after graduating from college, I would describe myself as a “lost, confused young woman”. I was anxious about the next steps I was taking in life and trusted very few people. One weekend, I decided to volunteer at a Women of Faith event in Cleveland, OH. I was a volunteer because I wanted to see Mandisa, but couldn’t afford the ticket price. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much. I was excited to hear a handful of speakers and listen to good music, but wasn’t expecting to walk away the changed person that I did. I could go on and on about how remarkable this organization is, I’m just blessed I was able to be a part of it!

All the volunteers were gathered around getting our assignments for the day when someone brought up the name Lisa Whelchel. I immediately recognized the name as “the actress who played Blair in Facts of Life”. My quiet, shy self suddenly yelped “WAIT. She’s going to BE HERE?” The other volunteers giggled at my excitement “You’re too young to know who that is!” they accused. I explained my love for Facts of Life, and everyone became excited for me. That’s another wonderful thing about Women of Faith- everyone there is so supportive of one another.

I had the lovely job of making sure no women went in the one men’s bathroom for the majority of the conference. As I was sitting out on the concourse of the venue, I heard the video package for Lisa. I recognized Mandisa’s voice singing the theme song. My heart started sinking; I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear most of her talk. Two seconds later, my friend Holly came running out of the arena “You go in there, you wanted to hear her!” I jumped out of my chair and sat down to hear Lisa talk. What I heard was so inspiring. I never knew the pain and suffering that she dealt with while she was filming the show. I was inspired by her honesty with us and how she let us know that she once needed to open up her heart, and encouraged everyone in the audience to find that one person who will be there to support you and be there for you through everything in life. Here I was, sitting in an arena full of Christian women, listening to my childhood hero talk about her faith, family, and the Facts of Life. I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the weekend; I had been so touched by Lisa’s words. She ignited something in me that made me want to change.

After the speakers were done for the day, the volunteers were asked to stand at the “talent table”. Basically, we were to stand in the meet and greet lines for the speakers/artists and do crowd control. I loved this job, as someone who is fascinated by the entertainment industry. Because everyone knew that I knew Mandisa, they allowed me to work her line. I looked over and saw that they were putting up a sign for Lisa Whelchel to sign as well. I stood there watching two of my idols meeting fans and sharing quick words of wisdom. I thanked God for blessing me with this opportunity. As Lisa’s line came to an end, I hopped on over. She was in a rush to get to the airport, so all I was able to communicate was “I’m a huge fan and LOVED your talk”. I couldn’t say that she had just inspired and motivated me, or that her values and ideals sparked something so big in me. I could just smile and get a quick picture with her.

I look back at that picture now and do just that- smile. After returning home from Women of Faith I read one of Lisa’s books and was even further touched by her testimony. She truly is an amazing child of God, and I can attribute my positive attitude and openness to love and listen to Lisa’s words. It is also because of her writing and talk that I am inspired to write. If I could impact one person the way Lisa has impacted me, I will feel accomplished in my goals and dreams.