Monday, November 30, 2009

Concert Meme

Concerts Meme

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

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

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

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

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

Have you ever been on a tour bus?
I wish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who was it?

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

Are you wearing a band shirt right now?

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

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

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

What band do you have the most performance pictures of?

Would you ever get a tattoo representing a band?

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

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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a lovely week.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

Susan Boyle, Rihanna, Adam Lambert, and Gaga.

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

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

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

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

American Music Awards

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 21, 2009

music meme

Pick ten (of MY current) favorite bands/musicians. List the first song you ever heard of theirs, the song you fell in love with, and your current favorite song.

1. The Spill Canvas
First: Sunsets and Car Crashes
Fell in love with: The Tide
Current favorite: All Hail the Heartbreaker

2. Melinda Doolittle
First: For Once in My Life- Stevie Wonder
Fell in love with: There Will Come A Day
Current favorite: If I'm Not In Love

3. Kelly Clarkson
Fell in love with: Respect
Current favorite: Maybe

4. Mandisa
First: Fallin
Fell in love with: Shackles
Current favorite: He Is With You

5. Gavin DeGraw
First: Follow Through
Fell in love with: We Belong Together
Current favorite: Glass

6. Jason Mraz
First: The Remedy
Fell in love with: You and I Both
Current favorite: Beautiful Mess

7. Lady GaGa
First: Just Dance
Fell in love with: Poker Face
Current favorite: Brown Eyes

8. Taylor Swif
First: Teardrops on My Guitar
Fell in love with: I'm Only Me When I'm With You
Current favorite: Superstar

9. Lady Antebellum
First: Love Don't Live Here
Fell in love with: All We'd Ever Need
Current favorite: All We'd Ever Need

10. Jack's Mannequin
First: BLue
Fell in love with: Ready
Current favorite: Hamnmers and Strings

Friday, November 20, 2009

Baby I'm A Mess

I haven't vented in a while on a blog. I'm going to vent.

I'm tired. I come home every day mentally and physically exhausted from the day. I'm tired of pushing these kids as hard as I can to be motivated and care about their grades and attitude and seeing no change or slight changes that only last a few moments. I'm tired of feeling like I'm doing something wrong when I can't get a class to be quiet or behave. I'm tired of feeling looked down on. I'm tired of having to miss out on school masses and assemblies because I'm "just a volunteer" yet being required to attend other things because... I'm "just a volunteer".

Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love the kids and to be perfectly honest, I'd say most of them love me too (I realize that sounds egotistical...I'm venting, okay? HA). I'm just getting burned out. I think it's only appropriate that this time has come shortly before Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

My mom called me last night, because she can always tell when I'm struggling. She says she can't imagine what I deal with every day with these kids, and that I just need my mama. She's right. I LOVE my community members, but I do need time at home with my family.

I don't mean to sound pessimistic, as I said I love my job. I'm just feeling the weight of being a young volunteer in a very stressful atmosphere.

There's still lots to be thankful for!
-People who I look up to to be able to help me out and lead the way, who give me advice.
-Knowing that I can easily get help when needed.
-Our neighbor Frank who never fails to make me laugh.
-Meg Mal, who came to visit me on Wednesday and took me out to dinner in Mexicantown.
-The students who are shy and timid, but smile politley and are sweet.
-A warm house and bed- this is runaway month, and the amount of teen homeless runaways is so scary!
-My amazing family who I get to spend Thanksgiving with! 34 of us eating good food and playing football. Can't wait!
-Our support people! I was supposed to do Coffee with Amy this morning but our schedule got all kinds of messed up.
-The movie "up". I took over the movies extracurricular and had the class watch that movie. It's so beautiful <3
-The boys at the school who always help me carry milk up 3 flights of stairs and garbage down 3 flights and to the dumpster.

I am thankful today for my mommy. Like I said, she called me last night so we could both vent, and I know she is worried about me. I love my mom...she's fantastic. On Monday night, she was invited to go speak at University of Michigan on a teacher's panel. My best friend Alex went to support her and when Alex and I had a conversation about it later, he said "I mean how could anyone be in a classroom with your mom and not think she is the most amazing teacher ever". It's true, she is the most amazing teacher ever, your argument in invalid. I model my life after her, because she has inspired so many people. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "your mom is the best teacher in this school" my different parents. She has been through a lot of internal struggles, but she pulls through and remains strong. She has her own way of letting us know that she cares about us and loves us. Whenever I'm sick or sad, I just want my mommy. She takes care of me, she loves me unconditionally, and she supports every step I take. She's the best. End of story.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

my little rockstars

I need to brag about my Idols for a moment. I'll make a real blog post tonight.

Here are some recent videos of some of the most amazing people I know. I can't believe how lucky I am to consider myself to be friends with some of these people.

Chikezie- No Woman/No One Mash Up. I kind of begged him to make a new youtube video after his first one, so here it is!

Next up, my girl Syesha in Dreamgirls. So proud of her.

My fave from Season 8, Allison, in her debut music video.

David Cook performed his ENTIRE ablum at this show last night...first of all that never happens second of all, this means he performed Permanent.

Last but most certainly not least is my Melinda. I am so proud of her as she takes the stage in her nightclub debut. She is kicking butt and taking names. The reviews have been incredible!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm in the war of my life at the core of my life

It's only Wednesday and I'm already really excited for this weekend. I don't know what has been going on but the kids have been really wild this week. I've never seen the detention list so long. For some reason they just feel like causing trouble, I guess.

I am thankful to have support from some of my co-workers and even some students who recognize when I am tired and try to help me out. In fact, yesterday my last study hall of the day, who are usually pretty well behaved but have problems sitting still, were being very loud. There were visitors in the school getting a tour and I heard one of my students say "you guys BE QUIET. Miss Carolin needs us to pull through right now".

I think the problem is that my community has yet to have a retreat. I really think we need a weekend away from our house where we can come together and get away from our stresses. I don't know if people at school realize that outside of work we have made a committment of being a community, not just roomates. We are to share meals together, have spirituality night, etc. We need a vacation where we can just relax. I was thinking about asking the Sister's if I could spend a weekend at their place, just kind of in silence and to be able to catch my breath. I don't know if that would take away from community, though, and that's the last thing I want to do.

On a completly different note, some new albums were released yesterday.

John Mayer- Battle Studies. Say what you want about John Mayer but he is one of my favorite artists ever and a fantastic writer. I started listening to John Mayer way back before he became super famous. I remember one time on our drive up north my three friends and I listened to the album on repeat...for the entire four hours. Anywyas, I was ecstatic for him to release a new album. My thoughts? It's wonderful. It's not quite as emotional and genius as Continuum, but I don't know that any album he will ever make can touch Continuum. As usual, I'm not a big fan of the single "Who Says". It's a known fact with me that I rarely like a John Mayer single. They are usually my least favorite songs on the albums. My favorite songs would be "The War of Life", "All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye", "Edge of Desire", and "Half of my Heart". Check out a few songs and let me know what you think.

Kris Allen- Kris Allen. I was nervous for Kris' album. Although his music is the kind of music I listen to, I was worried that they were going to try to make him too pop sounding. I think the problem with Kris is that there is not much unique-ness to his voice or songs. He sounds so very similiar to everything else on the radio right now. I do really like his album, much better than I thought I would. I could do without "Alright With Me", and the recorded version of "Heartless" takes away from the talent he potrayed when he first performed the stripped version. As of now, my favorite favorite song is "Need To Know". It is beautifully written and performed. I also love "The Truth". I think I like "Red Guitar", but I'm still trying to figure out what it means. Oh, I also like "Can't Stay Away", but it is a carbon copy of a Gavin song. Overall, way to go Kris!

OneRepublic- Waking Up. I have issues with OneRepublic. Their lead singer is a toolbox and not the best live singer. However, I can't deny that they make great music. I haven't listened to the entire album but so far I like what I hear, especially "Fear" and "Lullaby".

Next week, we have Susan Boyle, Adam Lambert, Lady GaGa, Rihanna. Get pumped, they should all be excellent.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Still I Hope There's Hope For You

I'm having a hard time deciding if I like busy weekends or lazy weekends better. They both have their perks, they both have negatives. This past weekend was very busy, which made me want to stay in bed all day today instead of going to work.

Friday I came home from work, changed into a black dress, ate a quick dinner, and then left the house again for the first school dance. Now, I was imagining that we would have to pull kids apart for dirty dancing, deal with some drama, etc. I was wrong. The kids all stayed in their clumps of people, no one even went on the dance floor until it was halfway over. They were all so timid and anxious, complete opposite of how they are in school. I'm thankful that there were no major behavior problems (although I did have to do one minor peer mediation session in the girls bathroom), and that they respected one another, but sheesh! At least make it interesting! It was cute though, and brought back memories of my high school dances. Also, it made me even more aware that I am now an adult...because every time a song played that I have dubbed "my jam" I couldn't yell and scream and be obnoxious. I had to hold back during some of my favorites. It was fun to meet some of my students friends/significant others from other schools.

Saturday was chore/errand day in the morning. I cleaned the kitchen, went to the bank, gas station, and CVS, and worked on some homemade gifts that I am making for Christmas. We went to an early dinner because we have only been out as a community once. We went to Z's Villa in Detroit, per my brother in law's recommendation. Then Katie and I headed off to Farmington Hills to see the Mercy fall play, "I Remember Mama". I love going back there for performances. I was involved in stage crew when I was at Mercy, so I appreciate the set and the way the show is run. The play was great, I was so very proud of those girls. I feel old, because I don't know anyone in the plays except for one student who is my friends little sister. It's strange to think that five years ago, those were my best friends on the stage...and now they are strangers. The theatre department at Mercy is outstanding, and this show proved that. I'll continue to go back for performances, and I'm especially excited that their spring musical this year is "Annie".

Sunday we went to church at Sacred Heart in Detroit. It was a primarily African American congregation, a long Mass, and VERY close knit group of people. I'm talking...they had anyone with a birthday and anyone who got good grades on their report card come up one by one on the altar during Communion. The choir was amazing. I really enjoyed that Mass, it's so different than what I am used to, but it was interesting and fun. The priest gave a wonderful homily on finding hope in the dark times. It reflected what I blogged about on Friday, and I really enjoyed it. After Mass we came home for lunch and then Dave and I went to Cristo Rey for the open house. I was a little nervous that we wouldn't have a good turnout, but there were several very interested families that attended. Dave and I were given the task of explaining all the extracurriculars. I recruited some new creative writers and talked a little bit about peer mediation and study skills. One of the nuns who is a foster parent came by, she was taking around an 8th grader who she had fostered when she was a baby and still keeps in contact with. It was nice to see a familiar face, and she had their latest addition with her- a 6 week old beautiful baby boy. I got to hold him, he was so precious. Cristo Rey students were responsible for giving tours to perspective students, and I was so proud of them. They carried themselves very well and were so well spoken. It was nice to see them show pride in their school.

I just made my to-do list for the week and it is quite long. I have a lot of phone calls to make, mainly calling back some people from other MVC communities that have called me. Also, tomorrow is my bestie Sam's birthday! WOOT! I wish I could have spent Saturday with her when she celebrated, but things didn't work out.

Thankful for:
-Mercy High School for preparing me for the person I am today.
-Students who aren't afraid to express themselves and say what they feel.
-Warm weekends in November.
-Friends who I can go to Church with and be open about my faith and beliefs with.
-Welcoming people at Church who greet us with open arms, even though they have never seen us before.
-Cute text messages
-That my friends get to travel to see Melinda in her NYC debut this week.

Today I am going to write about three of my co-workers.

Hannah- Hannah is a Jesuit Volunteer from Oregon. She is at Cristo Rey doing college counseling, she also helps me with the lunch program. She's a firecracker. She is not afraid to say what's on her mind, I admire and appreciate that about her. She's hilarious, and a great friend to have during the stressful school day. I really appreciate when the two of us can chat in between lunches and be able to understand and help each other. Because she's also a volunteer we have a lot in common. When she wasn't here for two days for her retreat I really missed her presence. I'm glad that she is in my life and that we can blast some Gaga music when preparing for lunch.

John- One of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. John is a Cappuchin Volunteer, he lives with three girls on the East side of Detroit. He is originally from northern Michigan and went to Aquinas for an education degree. He teaches at the school but is also a volunteer. He's got to be one of the most hard working of the volunteers. I have so much respect for him and know that he is a fabulous teacher. He's always willing to help out other staff members in an instant, and has come through for me quite a few times when I needed help. He recently got engaged to his college girlfriend, another sweetheart.

Dean- I am so thankful for Dean and his wife Giles. Dean is a lot like Dave- high energy and compassionate. His concern for others and selflessness is so admirable. Dean isn't a volunteer, but we can all relate to him as he is very strong in his faith and around our age. He also lives a "long football pass" away from us, so that comes in handy. The kids love him and call him "Mr. Timberlake". He's a wonderful guy with a huge heart, and passion for To Write Love On Her Arms. He also bought Gaga tickets for Hannah and I as a Christmas present, so I mean...obviously he's amazing. I really, REALLY admire his faith and that he's not afraid to be open with his views.

One final thing- tomorrow is not only Sam's birthday but also the day that Kris Allen and John Mayer are releasing albums. You better get them :-)

Currently listening to "Look so Tired"- Landon Pigg

Friday, November 13, 2009

Write Love On Your Arms

To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit organization which aims to provide hope for those suffering from depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. They travel to churches, colleges, and high schools discussing these topics and doing programming which make people more aware of the dangers of depression. Several music artists (Switchfoot, Anberlin, Hanson, many more are involved and contribute to the move.

The topic of depression and suicide hit close to home for me, as I'm sure it does many of those who read this. Most of us have had a family member or friend suffering from depression, or perhaps suffered ourselves. We may have lost someone close to us to suicide or known someone who attempted. It's an unfortunately very common tragedy in our world.

On a daily basis I work with the most targeted depressed group of people. Teenagers have a very high rate of self-harm and depression. Just yesterday I had a student scared because she had a friend who was contemplating didn't know how to stop him. Another student *jokingly* said that she would jump from the balcony in the gym. It's everywhere. These kids are dealing with so much pressure, pain, and fear that they can easily slip into loneliness and depression. They see suicide as a way out, cutting themselves as a way to ease the pain in their hearts. When students have come to me for advice, I can give it to them. Not only because of my background in education, but because I have been there.

I know what it feels like to want to give have absolutely no sense of who you are, to hate every part of yourself. To feel like you are crawling out of your own skin. I know what it feels like to cry so hard you can't breathe, that you want to rip your eyes out. To feel like you are completely alone in the world and that no one will ever be able to help you. To push everyone out of your life, even God, because you don't want to talk to anyone and you blame Him for all your problems.

Here's the difference between me and these kids: I've been through this and gotten through it, they are just starting to go through it. They need to know that there is ALWAYS someone to talk to, someone there, someone who cares. God never turns His back on his beautiful children. They have the strength inside them to pull out of the nasty stuff, they just have to reach down in and find that strength. All it takes is one person to be able to help another person.

I'm going to post my playlist of songs that have helped me get over some of the hardest stuff in life. I've shared this with two of my students who were depressed, and both said that it helped them.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Today, take a moment of silence for all the ones who have committed suicide. A moment of silence for those suffering depression and those who are harming themselves. For those suffering addiction or loneliness.

I love you all. Write love on your arms today...that means go out and hug someone, tell them you love them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

mama said home is where the heart is

As someone with anxiety, it's very hard to walk back into a place after being gone for some time. "What will they say to me?" is the constant thought running through our anxious minds. We have..well...we urge to know who's going to say what to us at what time so we can be fully prepared.

I was a little nervous to come back to school today. I haven't seen these kids since Friday, and on that day I was sick at school and not really myself. The second I walked into the gym with the juice and breakfast snacks in my arms, a student (dressed as Chris Brown) came running down the bleachers to help me. "You're back! We're so happy you're back. You're amazing". Pretty nice thing to hear first thing in the morning! As I sat behind my table, greeting students (all dressed as celebs), I got three tackle hugs and several students begging me to never leave again.

I don't say this to brag, or to be all "look how awesome I am". I know I have a lot to work on. The two worst behaved study hall's in the school are mine, while it's not completly my fault I do somewhat take the blame. I just have very little high school classroom management skills. I can get little kids to be quiet like I did when I worked for the girl scouts, I can teach an adult education class like I was trained to do at Western. I can't get 13, 14, 15 year olds to sit still and study. Anyways, I got way off topic. I say this because it stresses the point I've been making since August: This place is where I'm supposed to be. While I may not have all the answers or the best classroom strategies, at least I know that I can make a small impact on some of these kids.

I get strange looks and lots of questions when I tell people I'm doing a year of service at a Detroit high school. If those people spent one day here, they'd change their minds. I just know it.

Yesterday was the first day I was feeling a lot better (minus the stuffy-ness, that's still here) and I had a nine hour food manager's class. On the plus side, I am now 5 year certified to handle food, you know, incase I ever need that. (Don't ask me when). On the downside it turned me paranoid. I learned every possible way someone can get a foodborne illness and something about each illness. Gross. I learned that the most infected item in an office setting is the coffee pot. I learned that most Americans do not wash their hands after going to the bathroom.

I'm making some positive changes in my life. I'm signing a contract of all the things I want to work on during the next few months. I'm making my study skills extracurricular class do the same thing and teaching them the lesson that we can't sit around and wait for change, we have to do something.

It's not even 2nd hour yet and I already have so much to be thankful for:

-All of the people who have encouraged me throughout the MVC process. My family, friends, the staff, Melinda. You guys have been there since the beginning when I first decided to do this, you supported me through the application process and during all my nervous breakdowns. You were all right, God did have a plan for me and it is an amazing plan. I love you guys.
-My students. Amazing little people that they are.
-My co-workers, specifically Hannah and Jon. Both greeted me with huge hugs. They are both volunteers as well, so it's so nice to have people to relate to at work.
-Fresh ideas and motivation!
-Our support people, Mike and Amy.
-The other MVC communities. <3<3

Okay, I have a whole week of make ups to do for thankful people. I sat here and can I put a group of people on here? I'm going to write about seven men in my life! That sounds odd phrased that way, but you know what I mean.

Daddy- I've always been a huge fan of my Dad. He's got a huge heart and is the first one to reach out whenever one of us is dealing with an issue, whether it's a personal issue, money problems, homework help. He's the glue that holds our family together and he can make everyone laugh. He's a hugger and had such a sweet, caring heart. Every single one of my friends that has ever met my dad falls in love with him, because he's so funny. What a classy guy. I am thankful for all the times he's come through for me when I needed help...the car breakdowns, overwithdrawn bank accounts, when I just needed to cry. He's always there.

JP- People will often hear me say that my brother is my hero. It's true. He's been through so much and yet is one of the strongest and most giving people I know. It was his idea for us to adopt a family this year, another way he is constantly showing love to others. He's hilarious and one of the few people I can be yelling and screaming at one second and laughing with the next. We've always been really close, even when he used to rip off the heads on my dolls and throw them down the stairs. I am so proud of how much he has accomplished and I know he's only going to continue to grow and make a bigger impact on this world.

Dave- My otha brotha haha. I love this guy. He's a tough guy but another one to reach out and help people in a second. He is such a huge part of our family, I couldn't imagine our life without him. He is hilarious and cares for my sister in a way that I find beautiful. The guys at UofD are lucky to have him around and as a hockey coach, because he teaches them so much not only about hockey but about how to be a better person.

Alex- Bestie <3. I love this kid more than I could ever say. He is a light in my life. We don't get to talk as much, we're both extremly busy, he's trying to finish up at school and I'm living this crazy life. He's been there for me since we were young, he knows pretty much everything I've been through. He's a strong, compassionate person who I can be my complete self around. He's another one that I am so proud of and know that he is going to make an impact on the world- a fantastic writer, so creative and a wonderful teacher. I am thankful to have such an amazing best friend.

Dave/Nate- I put them in the same little blurb because I'd be repeating myself a lot otherwise. I'm lucky to live with such great guys. Dave is the hugger and gives me such positive energy. Nate is one of the most selfless people I have ever met. He gave some of his personal stipend up to purchase food for the food bank. I consider both of them to be like brothers, especially Nate who reminds me of my actual brother. They are lovely <3 I'm so lucky. I am thankful for their support, smiles, hugs, concerns. They are wonderful.

Chikezie- Yeah yeah. Go ahead and laugh it up, but this guy has given me so much hope. It is because of him that I have taken on the "never give up" motto and motivation in life. He is one of the most determined people I know. He's so sweet to every person he meets, he's softspoken, polite and loving. I am thankful for the music he has brought to my life and all the happiness that has come along with it. He deserves so much success in this world and I just hope he gets it. I am thankful for all the good times he has brought for Sam and I, all the concerts and after concert memories. I am thankful for all the times that he has gone out of his way to make me and other fans happy, like recording my favorite song for my birthday and sending it to me or shoutouts on stage. I am thankful for his sense of humor and toughness.

Okay. Love ya'll.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's All Part Of The Show

This past weekend was probably the last nice weather weekend we'll have here in Michigan. It was sunny and in the 60's. Unfortunately, I did not get to enjoy it. I was in bed for the majority of the weekend. At first, I thought it was just a bad cold...but then I got the chills and had a 102 degree fever, so my first thought was "SWINE!" I stayed in bed all day yesterday, and when I got up to go to the bathroom I didn't even feel like me...just felt like a zombie. I don't remember any conversations with anyone...I just remember getting Powerade, and I woke up with an empty mug near me so I had tea at some point. I had to read through all my tweets/status updates to remember what exactly I said, because I honestly DO NOT remember. I do remember on Saturday night when I couldn't sleep and was just sitting in my bed in pain and shivering that I wrote something very depressing/reflecting of a dark time in my life. I'm not ready to share it yet, because there are several people who read this blog who have no idea what I have been through, and I don't know that they are ready to know yet.

Today I finally had the energy to be out and about so I ran some errands. While doing this, I got a text from Dean that said "(Insert Name of Student Here) says hi, she misses you, and she hopes you feel better soon". Oh my gosh, I think it was the best text I've ever received in my life. It made me smile so much just knowing that this kid cared about me.

In other news, today I created a vision board. I learned about it thanks to Tyler, who got the idea from Syesha. It's a bulletin board, but instead of posting to do lists and pictures, you post hopes. goals, dreams, places you want to go, people to meet, etc. I put blue and green fabric around the ends so it looks nicer and am excited to post things to it. Also, I bought a map of the United States and I am going to put little thumb tacks wherever my friends are located. I need more posters/pictures, so send some my way if you want :-)

You should all try and add a vision board to your room. Let's keep this thing going. We need as much positivity in our lives as possible to accomplish our dreams.

I KNOW I need to thank people tonight because I haven't done it in forever, but my eyes burn and I have to be in an EIGHT hour food management class tomorrow.

Thankful for:
-AMAZING community members who make me soup, juice, toast, etc when I am sick.
-The Sisters of Mercy who offered to take me to the doctor today and who so quickly jumped to support me and show their concern.
-The power of prayer.
-Ability to talk about spirituality openly and honestly.
-Neti pot.(NOT a drug).
-Backups who are always there.
-Laurence! He raised so much money at his fundraiser this past weekend! This kid is amazing! He inspires me so much.

I love you all. If this twitter party does not settle down I won't be asleep before midnight which is a giant no-no for me. Goodnight!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sorry I missed yesterday. I went to a conference at Wayne State University called "Giant Steps". It was aimed at 9th-10th graders and their school counselors. I was excited about it, because I wanted to bring three kids who have leadership potiental to talk with other high school students about what they can do to bring peace into the school and their own lives.

While my kids were sperated into different tables, I was sent to a room with all the other high school counselors. We learned about diversity in schools, programming to bring to the school, and touched on the topics of depression, bullying, gangs, sexual orientation, and so much more. I am so glad I was able to attend, I learned a lot and I am excited to bring some new programming to the school.

When I got back to the school, I began feeling ill. I was coughing a lot and felt pressure on my lungs/chest, as if I had been smoking. It kind of got worse from there, and when I got home later that evening I had zero energy. I fell into a deep sleep before 9 pm. I woke up at 4:30 feeling even worse, but when my alarm went off again later I felt fine. Now I feel pretty bad again, and I have been coughing up a storm since then. My kids keep telling me to go to the dr. I'm sticking it out until at least lunch, we'll see how I feel after that.

I am thankful for:
-Ability to get medication when I am sick. So many people are uninsured and can't afford to take care of themselves. I am lucky.
-Warm coats and clothing in the winter time.
-A car
-Friends that support me and encourage me to follow my dreams
-New friends! I <3 my community, Hannah and the other JV's, Dean and Giles, Jon.
-The right to vote. I wish I was registered for Detroit so that I could have voted this past week, but I am happy to be free to vote.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just You and I Defying Gravity

On Monday, one of my favorite students asked if we could have a private talk. She told me that she was planning on leaving the school because of some issues that she was having. I care a lot about her, even though she gives me attitude most of the time, she's also a sweet kid dealing with a lot of other challenges. On Monday she was in tears as she said "the only person I care about in this school is you". My heart sunk, because she has gotten into trouble before and I panicked about what else she could get into when not in the safety of this great school. I quickly tried to talk her out of leaving and to stay strong, because she can't continue to run away from everything that upsets her. Our time was cut off and when I went back into the office a few hours later to check on her, I was told her dad had come to pick her up.

Yesterday she was absent. I freaked. Her friends told me she was leaving, but nothing was official. I went home and prayed my heart out that she would be comforted and led back to the school.

This morning I was having a conversation with a student when I heard someone walking in VERY loudly clicking their heels. I sighed and half- jokingly said "whoever that is gets a detention for disturbing the peace". When I turned, there she was. I hugged her and told her I was so happy to see her. She smiled at me and said she was back for now but probably leaving in January.

I'll tell you one thing, I will do whatever I can to get her to stay. She needs it. For now, I'm just happy she came back.

There's another student who gets kind of lost in the shuffle. She reminds me of myself, except when I was her age I pushed myself to talk and be involved in as much as possible. She's an extremly smart girl and a beautiful writer, I know this because she's in my creative writing class. Before today, I've only heard her speak a handful of words. I have made it my mission to try and warm her up to people, because as someone with severe anxiety I know how hard it can be, but I want so badly for this girl to suceed. I've started conversations with her, pushed her lightly to talk in front of people...she even came up to ME today to say hi, which has never happened before. I walked her out today and helped carry her books (those things are SO heavy) and she spoke four whole sentences to me, which is more than I have ever heard her say. I wanted to run around and hug people I was so excited. It may not seem like a big deal, but if you knew this girl and saw how hard it was for you, you'd be jumping up and down as well. I hope she sees that I care about her and am reaching out to her, because it's all she needs right now- just someone to be there. I can tell.

I asked both of these students permission to write about their stories in my blog. They both said yes and were excited that I cared so much.

I think all of us in this house are feeling the weight of the world. We want to help so badly but will probably never know the impact, if any, we are having on our sites. It's hard to detach from the horribly sad stories we hear every single day.

I am thankful for:
-Support, support, support!
-Quiet time.
-Gingerbread latte's in red cups.
-Gifts from students (drawings, poems)
-Sweet things people say

I would do a one person thankful thing tonight but it is WAY past my bedtime- I'll do two tomorrow.

Also, tomorrow I am going on a super cool conference with three students! WOOO.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You Pulled Me Through

I am asking all of you to pray for my sweet friend Alyssa. Her father passed away today, after a struggle with heart problems. Alyssa is one of the strongest people I know, and although she is younger than me she inspires me greatly. I hope that she knows how loved and supported she is, I cannot imagine the pain she is feeling right now. I pray that God comforts Alyssa and her family during this tragic time. I love you sweet little Alyssa!

With that being sad, I am asking all of you to reach out to your family members and friends today and tell them that you love them. You never know when something tragic could happen, they need to know that you appreciate them. Give someone a hug. Hold on to the ones that care, cuz in the end you know they'll always be there. (Name that song).

Today I am thankful for:

-Funny moments with my students. Seriously, they say the funniest things sometimes. I wish I could remember something specific but I am drawing a blank.
-My education. I am lucky to have recieved excellent education because of my parents sacrifices. It upsets me that I didn't always realize just how lucky I was until recently.
-Living in Detroit. It's opening my eyes up to so many things- the good, the bad, the scary, the life changing. Before this experience I never stepped foot down here unless I was going to a concert or a sporting event. I love it here. I am learning so much more!
-The freedom to do whatever the heck I want to do with my life. Even though I have no idea what I want to do and it stresses me out, I know that I could do whatever I wanted, because I live in this great country. I know it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but I'm up for that.
-Music! Today is Tuesday, which means new music release day.... Carrie Underwood, Say Anything, Weeze, Glee!, Steven Curtis Chapman. What were your picks? Anything good?
-Recognizing that I can write out my feelings. I love teaching this in my creative writing class. Today they wrote letters to the person they most want to see in this world. One of my students wrote a letter to her mom, whom she is very close to but rarely sees. It was so sad.

Tonight's person is Melinda Doolittle. I chose her for tonight for a few reasons : 1. I miss the heck out of her. 2. She responded immediatley to my message about Alyssa. 3. She wrote a sweet message to Laurence. I love this woman. Her sweet compassion toward every single person she comes in contact with is absolutley overwhelming. She has gone above and beyond in the things she has done for me and so many others. She has brought faith back into my life, she's brought peace into my heart and a smile on my face. She has taught me to dream big, to accept and love myself, to take a step of faith, to take things little baby steps at a time, to appreciate, to understand. She has been a mentor and and inspiration, and honestly I don't know where I would be without her. She has brought some of the most amazing friends I will ever have into my life. Those people have picked me up over the roughest obstacles, I would have never known them without her. Okay, and do I even have to mention her VOICE? Sweet Lord, she is vocal perfection. No, I am not exagerating. I will even post a video so you can see for yourself. Melinda, thank you for being my mama. Thank you for your gift of music. Thank you for being an inspiration and a role model. Thank you for changing my heart. Thank you for paving the way. Thank you for calling me Meggie. Thank you for giving me the confidence I need. I love you so much Mama!

First I'll post her singing. This is "Home", a song she is known for. It gives me chills.

Here is the song that reminds me of her!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Dudes, it’s November. I’m sorry, but when did that happen? Last I recall I was sitting on my bed crying because I was so nervous about MVC orientation. Now I’m sitting on my bed, my eyes hurt from crying because I opened up about the loss of my grandparents and other loved ones to my community members during spirituality night.

Today we celebrate “Day of the Dead”. We had a Mass at school and I am told it was very emotional. I am sad to report that I missed it, because I was cleaning the cafeteria after lunch and didn’t make it on time. I am told that some of the kids completely broke down in remembering their loved ones that they have lost. Many of them have lost a parent, sibling, or close friend to violence or addiction. Let’s remember their daily internal struggles for a moment.

I consider myself a pretty grateful person, I try to express my gratitude as often as possible. I think it’s so important to thank the people in your life who are there for you. Perhaps it’s as equally important to be thankful for those who have hurt you- they may have made an impact on your life and changed something about you.
Therefore, for the entire month of November I am pledging to blog every single day about what I am thankful for. Some will be based on that day, some will be general things that I am thankful for. I will also choose one person in my life to thank. I encourage all of you to do the same, whether privately or publicly. You’ll never know the impact you may have on someone just by saying “thank you”.
Today, I am thankful for:

- My position at Cristo Rey. I am here for a reason and I am beginning to recognize that more and more every day. I am thankful for the students and the staff.
- My community members. I wouldn’t be able to go through this experience alone. They are there in times of stress and they are there in times of celebration. They are my family, and I adore them.
- Our house and our neighbors. We live in a safe pocket of Detroit; our neighbors are great and so supportive. We are able to have a happy home and live freely.
- My faith, which never leaves my side. I am thankful to have such a strong relationship with God and to proudly say that I love Him.
- My family, who are always so supportive of everything I do. I love my family more than anything else in this world; they are the most amazing group of people you could imagine. Whenever times are tough I know that they are here for me and love me unconditionally.

The person I would like to hi-light tonight is my best friend Sam. We’ve been friends since my sophomore year of college, when we were both really upset with things going on at the sorority and I pretty much demanded that she go on a walk with me. I believe it was after we decided we were living together with Mary and Fitz. I just remember venting and talking about Hanson and Idol. We instantly clicked, and that summer we were desperately searching for a way to see our favorite Idols in concert. I’d say the day Jess called me and said she won tickets for us, and then Sam and I fangirling over the phone was the day we really became besties. Since that summer we’ve had some of the most amazing times. Sam is one of the few friends I have that has seen me at my best and at my worst- but still loves me anyways. She is one of the most supportive and dedicated people I know, and always has something positive to say about someone. She would do anything for her friends; actually she’d do anything for anyone. Sometimes I don’t think this girl gives herself enough credit for the good she does and is able to do in the world. She’s one of those people who can instantly make me smile. All of the things we’ve done together are so very close to my heart, from the insane traveling to working at the soup kitchen for a day. She’s one of the few people who can make me laugh until my stomach hurts or until I’m crying. Also, she understands me. She understands why Melinda plays such a big role in my life, why I am in love with someone who I’ll never have, my fears and anxieties, my hopes, my love for music, my writing. She’s actually the only person who understands ALL of this completely. Everyone should be able to have a best friend like that. I am truly blessed to have her in my life.

"When it hurts to look back, and you're scared to look ahead, you can look beside you and your best friend will be there”

A song for my bestie: