Friday, February 26, 2010


I've always been a big believer in God's plan and knowing that everything happens for a reason. For the past couple weeks, I've been really hurt by someone and his actions. With the news I recieved this morning, I am fully aware of God's presence in my life and that everything happens for a reason. I want to quote this:

"Everything happens for a reason.
Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck.
Illness, injury, love, lost moments or true greatness and sheer stupidity
all occur to test the limits of the soul.

Without these small tests,
if they be events, illnesses or relationships,
life would be like a smooth paved, straight, flat road to nowhere.
Safe and comfortable but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet who affect your life and successes and downfalls you experience, they are the ones who create who you are.
Even the bad experience can be learned from...
Those lessons are the hardest and probably the most important ones."

-Craig Lock

I don't know what has happened to this person, but it's like his life took a downward spiral. I hope that this was all just a big misunderstanding. I pray that he gets things in order and turned around- fast. He may have just lost everything and everyone that would have been good for him. I am thanking God for protecting me from going down too.

On a completly different (well. somewhat) note, check out my girl Allison on Idol last night. I hope the girls on the show took notes.

And, music memoir friday. :)

Top 5 songs that are mellow

This is pretty easy since I listen to a lot of mellow songs.

Jason Mraz- Sunshine Song

Jason Castro- Let's Just Fall In Love Again

John Mayer- Why Georgia

Counting Crows- Round Here

Gavin DeGraw- Belief

Retreat this weekend :) I won't be around until Sunday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Don't Try, Just Do!"

This is going to be a pretty random post, because I have a lot of things to say but none of them actually relate to each other.

This week has been kind of tough. I've had more than a few issues with students and the weather has really brought my mood down again. I've come home emotionally exhausted every day. Still, I found a few moments that gave me something to smile about.

One moment was on Tuesday, when a group of students were working at the school. One of those students was the one I mentioned a few days ago, the one who is a daily challenge. She is extremly attached to me, and when another student mentioned that I may not be around next year, she burst into tears. I told her I was going to try and stay connected no matter what happens, and she responded with "DON'T TRY, JUST DO!". It was so cute.

The other moment was yesterday afternoon. I had a pretty rough day yesterday, right from the start. Just dealing with issues and attitudes and feeling underappreciated. Two of my closest students marched into my extracurricular, moved their desks in front of my chair so I couldn't get out, and one said "You're upset today. We can tell. You're always peer mediating everyone else. We're here to peer mediate you." Although I had been on the verge of tears all day, I burst into laughter. It was adorable. When I explained that I was just having a rough few days, one said "I'm sorry". I told her "you don't have to be sorry, kiddo..." before I could finish and tell her that I'm more than okay, and she doesn't need to worry about me, she cut me off by saying "I'm your friend ain't I? THEN DAMNIT LET ME BE SORRY!". These are the moments that make me so happy to be at this school, and forget all the icky stuff.

My interview with the YMCA is today. I'm nervous, but also excited. The position is precisely what I want to be doing, and with my experience with KCAN, Cristo Rey, and the Girl Scouts, I think I have a good chance. Wish me luck :)

Since I've given up Facebook/Twitter (and have not cheated ONCE, go me!), I've been doing a lot of reading. I made a long list of books I want to read, but the library doesn't have all of them. Right now I'm reading Sag Harbor, which so far is okay. The WRITING is great, but the plot not so much. I don't even know if there really is a plot, actually.

Okay, let me quickly mention American Idol since, you know, I kind of like that show. This year is horrible. I'm going to hold on to the claim that they'll improve, and God I hope so. I mean usually there's at least one person that has me saying "wow" and not one person has done that yet. For the boys, I like Casey, Big Mike, and Andrew. I think Lee has potential, and I look forward to hearing more form him. As for the girls, I like Crystal, Siobhan, and Didi. I like Katie, too, but she's too cliche.

I'll close with a video that made me laugh hysterically yesterday (thanks Dean !)

Have a great Thursday. It looks like it may be a sunny one. Let's hope so.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm afraid I tend to disappear Into an anxious state When you draw near

Who shook Detroit's snow globe? Who decided to close 485 schools in the Detroit area, except for mine?

Good news is, there's only a handful of students here today. I'm assuming most looked outside their window with groggy eyes and fell back asleep. I'm proud of the kids that came, even though they are off the wall. I could have used a day off today, and every one's morale is a little low, but you know we'll get through it. These things happen.

I had such a good weekend. Friday was a little rough on my mood. I had a particularly emotionally draining day at work. I couldn't leave the building because students kept approaching me, some in tears, some yelling in Spanish, some just yelling. Friday was drama day, apparently...and everyone wanted to talk to me about it. I also had a difficult afternoon with one of my most challenging students. She's been a challenge the whole year, but there are some days that are harder than others. She has some severe emotional and developmental issues, often causing her to throw temper tantrums. She has become extremely close to me, and I am one of the few people who she will allow to calm her some days when she is having a rough day, it's really hard on me. I do my best, though. Anyways, Friday was particularly challenging. Dave and I made macaroni and cheese for dinner after school and then our support people, Mike and Amy, came over for our monthly meeting. It was wonderful meeting...first we learned that Mike and Amy are expecting TWINS in the summer! So excited for them. Then we had a great discussion on the topic of self care. Through an assessment and discussion I learned I need to take care of my self a little bit better emotionally.

I also learned that I have slight compassion fatigue...meaning that I put so much care and compassion into other people and their problems that I forget about myself. I found it ironic that we had this discussion when we did, because I was beginning to feel used up. I love my kids and helping them through their issues, but there are times when I am just so wasteful because I have a hard time listening and helping when I haven't taken care of my own issues yet. I'm considering going on a personal silent retreat, to get away for a weekend and to find a focus point again. I think I'll wait and see how our community retreat goes this weekend to make a decision.

The rest of the weekend was very peaceful, for the most part. Dave, Katie, and I traveled with Renee (former Mercy Volunteer, candidate to become a Sister of Mercy) to Grayling, MI. We left Saturday afternoon and arrived around 4. Sr. Jean welcomed us and brought us into her beautiful home right on the lake. She took us to a Grayling favorite restaurant, Spike's. Then she took us for a short tour of the Mercy Hospital in Grayling, which is the largest employer. It was beautiful, and I loved seeing all the connections to Catherine McCauley and the Mercy values. That night Dave, Katie, Renee and I walked on the frozen lake...a new adventure for Florida native Katie :) It was very peaceful out there, just looking up at the stars.

The next morning, after waking up to orange juice and sticky buns, we headed to Church. The church was beautiful, and the people were so welcoming and energetic about us being there. I loved the Mass and the homily that the priest gave struck close to my heart. He talked about using Lent as a time to challenge ourselves, resist temptation, and keeping God as our anchor. At the church, I was particularly captivated by the crucifix. It was a gorgeous sculpture, not only capturing Jesus dead on the cross, but also Adam and Eve, the serpent, Mary, suffering, Matthew/Mark/Luke,John. It was one of a kind.

We headed back home where Sr. Jean made us french toast casserole and sausage. These sister's of mercy just take too good care of us :) After brunch we went to the state park, Hartwick Pines, to walk the trails. It was GORGEOUS. It was fun to see Katie enjoy it so much, and I defiantly saw God in the beauty and wonder of this earth. I took some great pictures...I also found the spot where I want my husband to be to propose to me, at the little wooden chapel on the hill in the fall. Except I feel like I can't say that because if someone ever does take me there, I'll know what they're doing. ha. oh well.

We went back to the church around 4:30 for the Faith Formation group. I loved seeing a parish so active and family oriented! Quite a large group of people came for a Lenten supper and discussion on MERCY. After dinner (mmm veggie soup) everyone gathered around to her us give a talk. Sr. Jean and Sr. Bonnie have a little background on Mercy, the works of Mercy, and Catherine McCauley. Renee talked about what it means to be a candidate to become a sister, and Mary Beth talked about being an associate (a lay man or woman committed to Mercy). Then the three of us talked about how we came into MVC and what it has done for us. Together we hit on every topic..wanting to help people, living simply, growing spiritually, connected to Mercy, living in community. I was scared to death, but I think I did okay.

After the talk, we headed home and arrived around 10. I fell asleep very quickly, and woke up to the mess I'm in now. I really appreciated being in Grayling this weekend.It was so quiet, serene, and peaceful. The people were so welcoming and happy. It was a chance to get away from the daily anxieties and fears, away from my work which can, at times, use me up. Sometimes I wonder if places like Grayling are where I'm supposed to be...but then I remember the work I'm doing in Detroit, the obstacles I'm overcoming, and I know that I am becoming a stronger person through each challenge.

I know this blog is already unnecessarily long but I just have to add that another point. Another wonderful thing about being in Grayling was the memories it gave me form my adolescence- when I used to travel Up North (very close to Grayling) every summer with Jamie/Lindsay Pillow and Sarah Guzick. The drive up to Grayling reminded me of singing Aaron Carter songs at the top of our lungs, stopping at West Branch and using all our money at Claire's. Being at Sr. Jean's houses reminded me of sitting on the floor in our pj's playing ponce...paddle boating around heart lake. I can still remember some of our best quotes... "It wasn't a very good view from the lake, you could only see the back of the cottage". "What would the neighbor's think?" and so many more. Those truly were "the days". Those trips were and always will be some of the best summer memories. I really miss those girls :(

Song of the day- Stand Too Close by Motion City Soundtrack

Thursday, February 18, 2010

But don't worry about me Cause I'm stronger then you think

I think today was one of the best day's I've had at work. I came home loving life, with the biggest smile on my face. Thursday's are my easy days, and I had a very special visitor- my mommy :)

Before I get into the details, I should update you on my Lenten journey! This is day 2...and yeah, it's going to be a long 40 days without facebook/twitter. Everything is going so well, though, and I feel like I'm going to have a huge breakthrough. I was already doing well with my dieting and "lifestyle", but I'm even more aware of it now that I cannot eat meat or go out to eat. I also have amazing support from one of my friends (thanks Christina) and daily e-mails from Fr. Jose, a priest who works at the school. My roommates are way into it, too, which is helpful. my great day. Everything was going pretty well anyways, but having my mom there made it 20298 times better. This morning, two angels were sent to me in the form of two of my closest students. They each shared a song they liked with me, and both songs struck so close to things I am going through. It was a very strange sequence of events but also so perfect. Plus, God gave us sunshine today! My mood has been way down because of the cloudy, gloomy weather...but today the sun was shining and immediately altered my mood. God knows what I need and takes care of me :)

So. My mommy arrived right before the freshmen lunch. I was so excited to see her. I've had an...interesting...past couple of days, trying to sort out my emotions and deal with stress and anxiety. She stood in the cafeteria as I served lunch and I could overhear several students walking over and introducing themselves politely...I was especially shocked to hear one of my biggest problem children holding a very mature, polite conversation! My mom was impressed with the way my kids carried themselves. After lunch, I took her around to a few teachers and brought her into a sophomore theology class so she could meet some of my sophomores. Sr. Rita, who was teaching the class, told them they could ask my mom questions about me:

"Did she ever get in trouble?"-student 1
"All the time..."my mom
"No but, never"-my mom

"Why didn't the gel stay in her hair?"- student 2 (she was referring to this picture that all my kids have seen:

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"I don't matter how much gel we put in it wouldn't work"- my mom


"Does she have a special someone in her life"- student 3
"I can't reveal that information"- my mom

See, here's the thing. There's three different groups of girls who like to figure out if I have a boyfriend. One group has decided he is a "hot black man" (their words, not mine) named Andrew. Another group has decided that it's Nate,because they saw us together at an orchestra..but they didn't know his name, so they named him Charlie. The third group doesn't have a name for my "boyfriend" and his looks change daily. Well, a few days ago, these groups merged. So now they think I have three boyfriends, or that Nate is my "hot black man" boyfriend, when really, nothing is the truth. So this girl had the guts to ask my mom.

She also met a student who called her "mama carolin" and another who said "I just want to say that you must be an amazing mother for raising this girl. She's amazing and I can go and talk to her about anything." kids :)

Then my mom and I went to lunch at one of my favorite Detroit places, Mudgies. MMM, tomato soup and grilled cheese. Also, yes I am aware I'm not supposed to be going out to eat. However, everyone said since it was with my mom it was okay. So there.

When I got back to school, it was time for creative writing. My name came up in four papers today.

Two from the prompts "What makes me happiest"

"Being in Miss Carolin's creative writing class or study skills class or peer mediation or anything with Miss Carolin."

"The people who make me happiest are my friends, my mom, and Miss Carolin. I'm happiest when I'm talking to Miss Carolin".

From the prompt "10 Things That Make Me Laugh"

"Miss Carolin and Mr. Anderson"... "Miss Carolin when she's scared".

From the prompt "People Who Inspire Me" :

"Miss Carolin is an interesting volunteer I met this year. I feel a strong connection with her. I have a lot in common with her as well. I feel our hearts are close and I don't know what I'm doing to do without her next year. Mrs Rowe should hire her."

Also, this rap one of my boys wrote was too good to not include in here. Enjoy.

Check my personality,
There ain't no confidentiality
And if spittin' was a skill then it is my specialty
Can you feel the gravity I'm so spaced out
I'm down to earth,
These rhymes leave you with tragedies,
heat strong where's your sweat shirts,
Catch me at the bakery, you
know I be cakin'
But when shawty try to holla back I
Tell her that I'm takin'
I'm so down to earth I keep my music in the basement
See my music is an artwork, do you like
my finger paintin'
This is a KRAFT in the makin' and I'm just droppin singles,
But you can never mix my cheese with others, they just mingle

Aah, just such a good day. I loved being able to introduce my mom to my world, have her meet some of the kids I talk about daily. Plus, I have a job interview next week with the YMCA working as the Program Coordinator for Girls On The Run :) Things are looking up, friends.


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Seriously. So proud of her.

Okay, I'm out. Have a lovely day everyone. Song of the day...Kelly seriously knows my life.

let's not walk away from the sun we know is great

Who, or what, is the greatest love of your life? Is it a person? Is it a creative pursuit, involving music, writing, cooking, or art? Is it a passion, like food, film, or travel? How has it shaped your life?

God and writing :) God has brought amazing people into my life and given me the best family I could ask for. He loves us unconditionally before we were even born and created us in His image...beautifully. My faith in God has pulled me through some difficult situations and I know He is always on my side. Writing is my outlet, my therapy. Sometimes I just sit down and write out all my feelings, before I know it 8 pages are filled. I write journal entries, poems, song lyrics, short stories. The greatest thing I have found with writing is being able to share it with my students. I have pushed many of them to start journaling, to keep accounts of their lives, because each of them have a story to important story to tell.


Top 5 songs you loved until they were overplayed.

Another sunny day today :)

Dave, Katie, and I leave for Grayling tomorrow afternoon and won't be back until late Sunday night. Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lent 2010

Today is Fat Tuesday. For us Catholics, that means Lent begins tomorrow. For the past four years of my life, I have not truly committed to Lent the way I would have liked. I often blame it on having friends that were not Catholic, but when it comes down to it, it was because I was a lazy college student who didn't want to grow up. This year, as I have grown spiritually these past few months, I have spent many days contemplating and preparing for Lent.

For those who have no idea what I'm speaking of... Lent is a 40-day liturgical season that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter. Easter. Lent has long been a tradition in the Christian Church, and it is thought that the tradition of the 40 days reflects the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, fasting and being tempted by the Devil. Lent is considered a time of penance and discipline. It is a time to make sacrifices, as Jesus did for us so that we can live freely. This year, I will be working hard to spend these 40 days contemplating, praying, and fasting from certain foods/items.

-No Meat. It is typical to not eat meat on Friday's during Lent, but myself and my roomates are giving it up all together.
-No going out to eat. This won't be too hard since it doesn't happen often anyways, but still a sacrifice.
-Limiting technology. As a community, we are implementing a Wednesday Night Community Night where we spend time together without the tv or internet. For myself, this means giving up facebook and twitter. I know I tried it once before and failed, but this will truly be the hardest sacrifice I can make, so I'm going to do it for Lent. It will take prayer and personal strength, but I can do it.
-Spend a 1/2 hour-hour each night before bed in silent prayer, doing self examination with reflection with God.

Another thing we're doing as a community is pretty cool and exciting: we're going to take away $100 of the $590 we get each month for food and money, and if it comes down to it and we really do "need" that $100, we'll use it, but if we don't, we're going to donate it to charity. We've saved $1000 so far this year with money we haven't used, so we might as well start doing something effective with extra money. We're thinking about donating to each of our sites, which would be really cool. We'll see.

Today has been alright. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night and have had some thoughts running through my mind all day, but other than that...I'm alive, I'm healthy, and I'm ready for a good Lent.

It will be a looooooooooong 40 days without Facebook/Twitter, but I will survive. email me, call me, text me. I'll be around.

Song of the day:

Monday, February 15, 2010

weekend update

I had another great weekend that left me grateful for this experience and the people in my life :) Jason and Meghan came over on Friday to watch the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics...although I could barely keep my eyes open, it was a nice evening with great friends.

Saturday I woke up and did some chores, laid around, and then saw Valentine's Day with Katie, Julie, and Amanda at the Ren Cen. I was expecting a cheesy, feel-good movie. It was exactly what I expected. I mean, it was a hot mess version of Love Actually, but I still enjoyed the movie. I had to laugh out loud at some of the obnoxiously cheesy parts, but I also teared up at some unexpected heart worming moments. After the movie, I went to dinner with the roomies. Since our Pittsburgh trip got cancelled, we decided to spend some of the money we had saved up. We went to The Traffic Jam and enjoyed delicious food and conversation. When we got home, Dave and I stayed in and watched "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" while Katie and Nate met some of our friends at the Corktown Tavern.

Sunday was a pretty lazy day. After Church and a breakfast out, I sat around most of the day. This weather has really got me down...and it's not the snow, it's the GLOOMY cloudy skies every single day. I need some sunshine in my life.

Today we have off, for a "winter break day". Most schools get a week off, we get one day. It's still nice though, and I'm in a much better mood. I got my room cleaned, went to dinner with Dave, and went to Barnes and Noble. I could seriously live at a bookstore and be happy. I was going to go to Mercy, but it didn't work out.

So, I already wrote a blog about Valentine's Day, plus I shared some facebook/twitter wisdom...but I hope you all had a great day celebrating love. Remember that you don't have to be in a relationship to celebrate love. There is someone out there that loves you, and you should be grateful for those in your life whom you love and who support you. You can never be "alone on Valentine's Day". You have God, no matter what. God loved you before you were even born, and He continues to love you. He wants you to turn to Him. You are beautiful, and so very loved. Don't ever forget that :) Plus, for those of us ( waiting for that "special person", it's important to remember the people in your life who are your soul-friends. The best friends who have been there for you through everything...the person you met and instantly clicked with. Someone who inspires you, pushes you through those walls you put up. Love them. Keep them close. Sometimes all we really need are our best friends...and do not ever let anyone push you away from your best friend.

I will close with two songs...both with the same sort of meaning. I haven't met that person yet.

1) Michael Buble- Haven't Met You Yet

2) John Mayer- Love Song For No One

Thursday, February 11, 2010

8 musical moments

I know many of you dislike my music posts, but I don't have much else to say, except:

-We had a snow day yesterday! In reality, we really didn't NEED to have one...but it was a nice break in the middle of the week.
-We can't go to Pittsburgh. Boo. We were supposed to meet up with three other communities, and all of them are on the east coast and snowed in. It's a bummer because we were saving our money for this trip and looking forward to seeing our other MVC friends, but I guess safety comes first.
-I'm going to start teaching little kids how to read! I have a training for it this Saturday and will start in March.
-One of my students said "Miss Carolin, just because you're pretty don't mean you can get away with everything". PLUS I got two carnations today. One from a student, one from a staff member.
-Yes, I have some favorites on American Idol. Andrew Garcia, Michael Lynche, Didi, and Katie Stevens. I thought I was going to like Mary Powers but she was obnoxious.
-Happy Birthday to my brother and to Meghan Brookes! Two amazing people :)

Okay, now for the music post part. This was a good one.

Think of eight memorable musical moments, not necessarily all time favourites, but those when, for example, you felt compelled to wait in the car when listening to this amazing song on the radio because you just had to know who it was by. Or the piece you heard on the tv in a drama that drove you straight onto iTunes to download.... Optional details for each song give where, why and youtube links ...

These aren't in any particular order, but...

1) Sunsets and Car Crashes- The Spill Canvas. I will never, EVER in my life forget when I was driving with Lindsay Pillow and she played this song. I fell in love and haven't turned back since :)

2) With Arms Wide Open- Creed. This is the song my brother played at my grandma's funeral. It is rarely played on the radio anymore, but when it is, I know she's trying to tell me something or comfort me.

3) Maybe- Kelly Clarkson. I had bought her "My December" album at midnight and listened to the entire album in the parking lot. When this song came on, I was tempted to drive to Texas, knock on her door, and ask her why she stole my diary.

4) All We'd Ever Need- Lady Antebellum. Perhaps one of my favorite live performances. Jess and I saw them open for Martina McBride and right after they performed this song, I said "this band is going to be huge. They get it." This song gives me chills.

5) Superstar- Taylor Swift. Taylor has a tendency to write songs about my life, but when I heard this song I jumped out of my chair.

6) Another Song- Justin Timberlake. I was sitting on the couch with Lauren and she played this song, even though I'm not a Justin fan I ran into my room and downloaded it. I'm obsessed with it.

7) Angels- David Archuleta. I was trying to pick a song to represent summer 07. I was going to choose "Please Don't Stop the Music", but I went with this one because it also represents Amanda, who was with us every second.

8) There Will Come A Day- Melinda Doolittle

What else can I say besides this song changed my whole heart and mind. Sometimes I listen to it on repeat and just thank God for the people that have come into my life. This song brought me out of darkness, quite literally. This video is the first time she performed it, the first time I heard it...the first time I took a deep breath and made steps toward positive change.

I tag: Sam, Shari, Jena. :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

leave it in the valley

Dear Doris (The Taurus),
We've had a strange relationship these past six years. It started off strong, I have many fond memories in our early years. Like when I first named you...first you were Pierre, and then I changed it...when Alicia asked me what your name was, I responded with "my car's name is Doris the Taurus and YOU'RE JEALOUS!". I miss driving to Mercy and back every day. I loved how spacious you were. I loved how the sunroof was broken, yet everyone would try and open it anyways. I loved the built in, 80's style cell phone holder...every SINGLE person who got in that car asked what it was. As the years went on, we had many adventures together....driving to and from Kalamazoo...driving to Huntington with Sam for an Idol concert. In 2007 you started acting up. I guess you wanted out, a desperate cry for help. Remember the time you died on 94 when I was trying to go home for the weekend? You ended up staying in the shop for two weeks. When I got you back, Sam and I attempted to drive you to Nashville...but no way, you decided to lose a tire. Oh, then there was the time I tried to go home for a weekend and your battery died. That was a fun time....or those three times you were taken in to get the oil leak fixed...but you kept breaking anyways. OH! Remember that one time you died on me the night before I was supposed to leave for orientation for MVC? And then only a month later, you died AGAIN while I was driving home for labor day weekend? Of course, our most recent adventure (and our last) will go down in history. You went crazy on me and just gave up. No one bothered to care, not even the police. Now you're sitting in some shop near a strip club in Romulus, MI, waiting to be taken away. You know what, Dorris? What the heck did I ever do to you? I fed you, I took you fun places, I never ONCE got you in an accident. I guess I should be happy you lasted this long...but did you have to put me through so much torture the past few years? I hope you rest in peace.

If you hadn't figured it out, my car is gone...well, not yet, but it will be. The motor is dead and there is no point in replacing that mess. We're donating it, hoping they can use SOME of the parts. I'm not stressing yet. I'm still trying to remain focused that everything will work out the way that it is supposed to. When I am able to get a new car (which won't be until at least July or August, maybe later if I don't find a job to pay for it), I'm planning on getting a Ford Focus.

So, how is everyone? I had a pretty good weekend and right now I'm sitting in the cafeteria watching the snow fall, hoping for a snow day tomorrow. I'm talking with a friend about losing weight. I have to say, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. I have to think about every thing I eat every single day. There are so many temptations and it's SO easy to fall out of the routine. Overall, I think I've done a good job. I've had a few slips, but my overall relationship with food has changed. I can't wait until Spring so I can get out there and do some walking.

I have so many things I want to accomplish. I need to just DO it. I'm excited :) It's so much better to be productive and accomplish your goals then to sit around and watch them float away. If you want something, work hard to get it.

So Valentine's day is coming up. Usually I hate this day...but since I'm trying to change my attitude, I'm going to make it fun. It doesn't have to be about having a significant other. You can use Valentine's day to celebrate the love you have for yourself, for God, for the people around you. I am a firm believer in that we should express our love EVERY DAY, but why not make Valentine's day a little more special? Write a love letter to God, make a list of all the things you love about yourself. Send a good friend an email. You don't have to sit around all day feeling bitter about your ex boyfriend. Step up, smile, and love with everything you have in you.

My roomies and I have a very busy February. This weekend (as long as weather permits) we are going to Pittsburgh. We've saved our community money for this trip and it should be fun :) We're going to see some of our MVC friends! The weekend following we are going to Grayling, MI to talk about being a Mercy volunteer. The final weekend we have our retreat at the Mercy Center in Farmington Hills.

I know it's far away, but I am SO excited for Sam and I to go to Nashville in April. I've been saving money and will continue to save money so that we can buy gas and food. Of course, if anyone wants to you know...donate a gas gift card or anything...ha. Just kidding. We'll be fine :)

Alright, well....better go get some stuff done before my study hall in a few minutes. Have a good day, and remember to speak your love.

Listening to: Leave It In The Valley- Mandisa

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Look at the top 15 artists on your or iTunes and post your favorite song from each one of them. Provide Youtube videos or download links, if you want.

15) Allison Iraheta

14) David Archuleta

13) Fall Out Boy

12) Jason Mraz

11)Jordin Sparks

10)Jack's Mannequin

9) Kate Voegle

8) Mandisa

7) Lady Antebellum

6) Taylor Swift

5) Gavin DeGraw

4) The Spill Canvas

3) Lady GaGa

2) Melinda Doolittle

1) Kelly Clarkson

Leave a comment with a song that reminds you of me for a special playlist. Please <3

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jason Castro was my favorite male contestant on Season 7, besides you know who. Jason was real, raw, laid back, and talented. I've been supporting him since the show and recently bought his EP, anxiously waiting for his album to come out in the spring. When I found out he was coming to Ann Arbor, I was thrilled. I remember saying back when he was on Idol "I can't wait till he tours, I'd be there in an instant". I was there. I was there to see him and to see Matt Hires, whom I adore. The concert was at The Ark, which may be my new favorite venue. It was an amazing set up, so intimate. Those are the best kind of concerts. Not one bad seat in the place! I sat on the side...a microphone stand was blocking my view, but other than that I was really close and happy. Before the show, I was recognized by two people. One asked me if I was "the" Chikezie fan. Another said she knew me from the Kelly meet and greet. Oh, Idol fans. Also, it was VERY obvious that most people there were there for Jason, which made me happy. Anyways, Caitlin Crosby was up first. She's great! I had never heard her before, but she definatley made me a fan last night. She's a little Kate Voegle, a little Colbie Caillait. I enjoyed her set a lot- she was cute and told us about her passion for knocking down social media standards and about her ex boyfriend, who apparently is Zachary Levi. Her songs were great, she's a very talented songwriter and vocalist. I downloaded her album as soon as I got home.

Jason was next- when he came out people were screaming and cheering, this one lady yelled "I REMEMBER YOU!". I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be creeped out for him. Jason has not changed a bit. He was still his goofy, laid back self. He performed SO well. I was reminded why he is my favorite. What I love about Jason is how raw and real he is. He's an artist who CAN sing live and sounds exaclty like he does on the album. He is also a very talented songwriter, with a passion for music. He made some typical Jason comments like "who watches American Idol? I do. I like to be on it sometimes." and "I just kept singing Crazy during all the audition rounds because I didn't really know any other songs and it seemed to be working so...I just kept singing it." He was amazing. My favorite song of his EP is "You Can Always Come Home" and my favorite Idol performance of his was "Hallelujah". He sang both :) I took some videos, I'll post them later. I am SO glad I was able to see him, and I will continue supporting him.

After Jason's set he was doing a meet and greet, so I went to the lobby to try and talk to him. The security kept telling us "we don't know how much longer he can sign, because he has to leave when Matt starts". Of course, I was the cut off. Seriously, I was next in line and they all grabbed him and said he had to go. He was clearly a little upset and wanted to keep signing and taking pictures. He looked at me and said "HEY!" and then told the people to wait, but they were not having that. It was so sad, but I'm glad I went anyways, it was worth it to see him perform.

I only stayed for two of Matt's songs (which were great- he is another very talented guy! I love him!) because I didn't want to get home too late. WELL.

On I-94, my car started making this noise...a draining noise, like it was saying "please stop driving me!" I started getting all the way over so I could pull over, and then the heat stopped working and it smelled- BAD. I pulled off at the middlebelt exit (right past the airport) and as I was pulling off, my car made a clunking sound and then just died. Luckily I was able to pull to the far right lane so I wasn't in traffic. I called my dad, because that's the first thing I do when something goes wrong with my car. I didn't have my triple a card, so he called for me using his card. I waited there for an hour by myself, shaking. Luckily Sam called me and talking to her calmed me down. The scariest part was people coming off the exit so DANG fast I thought I would get hit- I sat on the passengers side to make a quick exit if need be. Only a few people stopped, three who were very nice and asked if I had a ride and a two truck coming, and one very drunk guy in the backseat of a car full of men who just kind of slurred "you okay?" as his friend kept driving. I was starting to get very cold, tired, and shaky when a cop pulled up next to me. I totally thought he would stop, ask if I was okay, and stay with me, right? WRONG. He stopped (at the red light) and didn't say a word. Oh, young female all alone in Romulus, MI at 11:30 at night...looks FINE to me. Way to protect the innocent, jackass. (sorry). Eventually my dad came and a few minutes later the tow truck came. We took my car to a repair shop a few miles away and then my dad took me home. I was still shaking and freezing when I got home, and didn't fall asleep until about 2:30 AM..which made my 6 am wake up call a living hell. Depending on what is wrong with my car, this could be the end of the taurus. This is the fourth or fifth time it has died in me in the past two years, and if it's too expensive to fix, we're just gonna get rid of it. Which means no car for me for a while...which could make this job hunting thing even harder. It's tough to get a job without a car. So please pray that things could work out.

I've been fighting a sore throat the past few days. I haven't been sleeping well so I think I may be getting sick- AGAIN. Good news is I started the Daniel Fast yesterday. I did have to drink coffee at one point (yes, HAD to) because I was SO tired driving to Ann Arbor.

I have exciting news! I've got two phone interviews lined up! Although I'm nervous about them now even more because of this whole car thing. One of them (Women of Faith tour) is a job I would do just about anything to get, but I'm unsure about it for two reasons. 1 is that I can't start until late July, so that may hinder my chances, and the second is that once the tour is over in November, I am jobless again...unless I can work for them full time. We shall see. I'll know more details after I talk to them. The second is a children specialist job with Headstart in....Nashville :) I just found out about this and I am super excited. My interview with them is next Friday.

I have more exciting news! Best Buy works closely with the Cristo Rey Network. They asked that all the Cristo Rey schools nominate one student to be a participant in the project “My Education, My Job, My Success”. It is a collaborative video project that will document Cristo Rey Network students as they learn from their jobs and school, love their families and communities and also become leaders in all their environments. The project goal is to show how a 15-year-old student can break the cycle of poverty by integrating school and work. They will turn the video footage into a video blog every month. It is also to show what Cristo Rey schools do and how the students embrace its mission. They chose TWO students out of all the nominations (23). Guess what? OUR STUDENT IS ONE OF THE TWO! This is HUGE, especially since we are so new! It helps that she's one of my girls. She's so sweet, gets good grades, excels at work, and has leadership positions. She is one of my favorites, she runs in every morning to hug me and we talk all the time. To see her reaction yesterday when we announced this amazing opportunity is something I will never, EVER forget. She was shocked, and then started crying. I teared up just watching her, she was so excited. I'm SO happy for her.

Oh, I have even MORE exciting news. Yesterday, Laurence's mom Lisa received a hand written letter from Bono to both of his parents. He expressed his sorrow at Laurence's passing, but his joy in all of the work that Laurence has done for the One Campaign in his short life, and his deserved place in heaven. How amazing is that? Also, the MAD award was sent to Laurence's dad- he said it is beautiful and weights almost 20 pounds! Awesome!

This has been way too long so I'll leave you with some videos. My Jason videos aren't up yet, but I'll edit this post when they are.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

lead me, guide me

I haven't been sleeping very well lately...I think it's the weather. Plus, I've made some poor food choices the past few days that probably screwed me up. Tomorrow, I'm starting the Daniel Fast ( to refocus myself on eating right.

Dave led a beautiful spirituality night for us last night. We did a contemplation/reflection on what we'll do after this year. I still feel a little uneasy and nervous, but hopeful and sure of my trust in God. I'm for sure going to be spending more time reflecting and praying.

I've actually thought a lot about renewing my year of service and sticking at Cristo Rey as a Mercy Volunteer for another year. There's pros and cons...I'd be with my kids for another year and gain more experience. I would want to develop more counseling and give the lunch program to someone else, so that I can maybe teach a life skills class or set up a campus ministry department, where I could have the kids do service hours and retreats. However, I know people want me to start making real money...even though I'm actually very content living off $100 a month, I know it's not "the norm" and people are judgmental about it. Plus, I'm fairly confident I wouldn't be nearly as lucky as I was this year with roommates. My main apprehension is the reaction of others, which I know shouldn't be my main concern. The deadline to renew is approaching...quickly. Trust me, I've been applying for jobs. I've been declined quite a few for lack of experience, which is bull.

Grad school applications are in, just waiting on my recommendation letters...but to be honest, I don't even know what I want to do, so the pressure of grad school really makes me antsy.

What I want more than anything is to move to Nashville, get a good job working with youth, and write songs. I feel like this would make me the happiest....I refuse to move there without finding a job first. I'm constantly looking and applying.

Sigh. I don't want anyone to tell me what do do, but I wish my heart was a little more clear. I know I have to do whats best for me, but right now I don't know what that is.

Love you guys- have a great Tuesday.

Monday, February 1, 2010

2010 Grammys.

I live for the Grammys. It is possibly my favorite night of TV. I believe that music saves people, and to watch my favorite artists get recognized is so exciting for me. I was looking forward to last night's show, and for the most part, I really enjoyed it. I liked most of the performances. I don't typically agree with the awards, but that's because I'm biased toward my favorites. Let me break this down.

Awards I Wasn't So Happy About
-Record of the year. The winner was "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon. Should have been "Poker Face" by Gaga or "Halo" by Beyonce.
-Best Pop Vocal Album. Winner was Black Eyed Peas, I'd kill for Kelly Clarkson to win. She does not get enough credit, and her album was incredible.
-Best Pop Gospel Album. Winner was Isreal Houghton, who was expected to win, but in my heart it was and should have been Mandisa. I am so proud of her for being nominated, though, and for everything else she has accomplished. Plus, she looked amazing. She's lost 100 lbs!
-Album of the Year. I love Taylor Swift. LOVE HER. I listen to her music all the time and she is probably my biggest writing inspiration...but there is absolutely NO WAY her album was better than Gaga's, or even Beyonce. Taylor Swift's album good, but Gaga is genius. I just don't think the music industry appreciates Gaga as much as her fans do, and that's sad to me....because in all her interviews, what she says about her music and her outfits MAKES SENSE. She's not a crazy freak, she is a creative genius. Watch her interview on Oprah....find out the true meaning of Paparazzi. It's not any old pop song. Her album tells a story. Her follow up EP continues it. No one has done that in YEARS. Okay, that's enough of my vent. I do love Taylor, and she's such a sweetheart. I was excited for her, because she has accomplished more than I could ever imagine...just don't think it was right.

Awards That Had Me Smiling.
-Best Male Pop Vocal Performance AND Best Pop Collaboration: JASON MRAZ! For "Make it Mine" and for "Lucky" with Colbie. Oh my gosh, that almost made of for the Taylor Swift album of the year fiasco. I'm so happy for him! I've loved Jason Mraz for so long, and I'm glad he is getting appreciation and recognition.
-Best Female Country Vocal Performance..."White Horse" by Taylor Swift. See, I told you I like Taylor. That song is beautiful, my favorite off her album. It deserved to win this, for sure.
-Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group: LADY ANTEBELLUM! EEEE!! It's so exciting to see a band that I dubbed as "favorite" before their debut album was even released. They have come SO far, and I am so proud of them. They definitely deserved it, and it makes me happy that they beat Rascal Flatts.

Performances I Sort Of Disliked
-Dave Matthews Band. I'm reading this morning that many people loved this. I did not. I probably SHOULD be a fan of Dave Matthews, since I love that kind of music...but really, I thought it just went on for too long. I could have done without it.
-Black Eyed Peas. Even though I love some of their songs, that was just obnoxious.
-Jamie Foxx, T Pain, Jay Z, Slash. Once again, slightly obnoxious. Probably because I dislike that song.
-Maxwell and Loretta Flack. Again, I'm biased because I hate that song, but wasn't amazed by this performance either. Boring.
-Taylor Swift/Stevie Nicks...may have been the worst performance I've seen on the Grammys. Oh wait, that may be the Taylor Swift/Miley Cyrus fiasco that was last year. I can't decide...but seriously, the performance last night was awful. The new "You Belong With Me" arrangement was horrible, and her attempt at "Rhiannon" was even worse. I'm sorry Taylor. I do love you, you just shouldn't do that. Ever. Just keep making cute speeches and writing good songs.

Performances That I Enjoyed
-Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake. For the first time in my life, I found Lil Wayne sexy. That was weird. Other than that, they were alright. A little obnoxious, but I love Eminem. I don't like rap music, but he does have talent.
-Jeff Beck and Imelda May, doing a tribute to Les Paul. They were good, it was a solid performance.
-Mary J Blige and Andre Bocelli. Powerful vocals, and I don't like Bocelli at all...but it was powerful.
-Bon Jovi...really only because of Jennifer Nettles. I love her, and she saved that performance for me. Although "Livin on A Prayer" is one of my favorite songs of all time, so it was fun to see that :)
-Zac Brown Band. Solid. Good vocals, I was sort of surprised.
-Beyonce. The only reason she is not in the LOVE category is because I was hoping for "Halo" or "Single Ladies". I'm sick of "If I Were A Boy" and I don't know how I feel about her covering Alanis...but I did like that because it showed her vocals. Homegirl can SING. I mean, SING. One of the best vocalists we have around.

Peformances I LOVED.
-Green Day. Even though I don't like that song, I loved the mix of power ballad/rock. I'm interested in this musical about American Idiot.
-Lady Antebellum. Mainly because I'm so damn proud of them. They are amazing. "Need You Now" is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard. I love them so much and hope they only continue to be more and more successful...and to think just a few years ago they were playing at local fairs and summer festivals.
-MJ Tribute. When did Carrie Underwood get SOUL? She really surprised me. I've always liked her voice but I didn't know she could sing like that! All of the singers were great, but I have a love for J Hud- she was amazing. I loved it, even though I didn't have the 3D glasses. It was a very strong vocal performance.
-Lady Gaga (and Elton John). I loved the Poker Face, and then when she came out and did Speechless with Elton John, oh man. Speechless is my favorite song, I'm glad people were able to hear that she has an amazing voice. Loved that they slipped some of his songs in there, too.
-Pink! First of all, "Glitter In The Air" is my favorite Pink song (besides The One That Got Away). Most people don't know it, because it's not a single...but it's beautiful...then she goes and adds THAT into the song. It was amazing. One of the best performances ever, plus she was REALLY singing that whole time. I don't think people know how GOOD she is. Her performances of "Sober" from her tour are unbelievable. Check them out sometime.

So, that was my take on the Grammys. What were you most excited about?