Monday, March 21, 2011

my baby she wrote me a letter

Well, it's quite obvious that my blog views depend on my self-pimping on Facebook and Twitter. Yikes. Hopefully people will find this.

Shari asked me to write more about my Lenten Letter Project. Well. It all started my senior year of college. I was in class one day, thinking about graduation and "fear of the unknown", which led to me thinking about all the people who helped me get through my four years of college. Financially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, get it. So, I started writing letters. Handwritten thank you letters to people who I felt made a significant impact on my life during college. I think I wrote about 80 letters total. I wrote from everyone to my freshmen orientation leader to Melinda. From the friends from high school who I stayed in touch with to my sorority sisters I had lost touch with in those final years of college. It was an incredibly refreshing and liberating experience. Those letters were some of the most heartfelt writing I had ever done in my life. No editing, just straight out telling people how I felt, and thanking them for their support. The response was over whelming. I got the sweetest reply letters, thank you cards, etc. From then on, I made it a point to write handwritten notes and cards to people. I tried to do it for Lent last year, but I didn't make it past much further than a few of my co-workers at Cristo Rey. No doubt, they deserved to hear how much I loved them, but so did everyone else in my life.

So, this year, I sat down and wrote out a list of names of all the people whom I wanted to write too. It's long. Much longer than 40 names. It's not nearly 80, but enough that I have to do two a day for the first week or so. (You can do the math). Some of those people I talk too daily, others I rarely speak with. I just want them to know I love them and care about them, and that I am praying for them. I started just assigning dates to names. Once I look at the name of the person, I take out my journal and make bullet points of everything I want to say. Then I write the letter, and, again, it is straight from the heart. I've gotten a little teary with some of them already, because sometimes it is so hard to express to someone what they mean to me. Anyways, the response so far has again been outstanding. I've gotten texts, e-mails, a crying mommy (sorry mom), etc from people, thanking me for the letter. It is just further proof to me that it so so essential for us to express to one another how much we care.

So, I'm going to challenge everyone who reads this to write one letter. You don't have to write forty, you don't even have to write two. Just one. Handwritten. Tell someone you love them, what your relationship with them means to you. I promise you will get as much joy in the experience as the person receiving the letter. You may even get addicted ;-)

Here are some other things I've written these past two weeks. Not exactly my best, but, oh well.

This will seem pretty obvious to some of you, but this was written about one of my favorite students. It's pretty simple, but I got my point across. I love you, Jazzy!.

All her life she’s been told
She won’t make it out of here
That she’ll end up just another statistic
They tell her no one likes a kid from Detroit
But they’re wrong, so wrong
She’ll make it, she’ll fly
She’s got dreams of going to the moon
First she’s got to discover
Just how much she’s worth
She believes in the power of music
And keeps a journal for her thoughts
She’s seen too much and grown up too fast
But she’s got more strength than you could believe
And I know she’ll make it, she’ll fly
She’s got dreams of going to the moon
First she’s got to discover
Just how much she’s worth
She deserves a day without tears
And to let go of all her fears
I can’t wait for her to prove them wrong
She won’t get lost in the shuffle
She just needs someone to believe in her
Girl, believe in this
You’ll make it, You’ll fly

“never coming back”
It was only just now that I realized how much this is similar to Taylor Swift's "Back to December". Oops. This isn't about anyone in particular, it's just a common theme in my life that people tend to leave.

Don’t care until it’s too late,
Don’t care until you’re gone
And now you’re never coming back
Never coming back to me
I take the blame, this one’s on me
I could’ve had you back then
But I watched you walk away
I should have chased you
Cuz I knew you were never coming back
Never coming back to me
It’s all hitting me now
I’ll never look into those emerald eyes again
Oh how I wish I’d realized what I had
You were my everything, now you’re gone
And you said you’re never coming back
You’re never coming back to me
Why do I always do this?
I don’t care until it’s too late,
I don’t care until you’re gone
And now you’re never coming back
Never coming back to me
If I had one more chance
Just one more try to get it right
I promise you’d never want to leave
Oh, please come back to me

“The Boy In The Striped Shirt”

This is my favorite because of the way I wrote it. I had a ton of different phrases written down in my journal that I wanted to use for song lyrics. Rather than trying to come up with 6 different songs, I just mushed them all together, and this is what I got. I bolded the phrases that I had written down.

We were comfortable
That’s what you said the day you left
I’ve never known that to be negative
But I guess I got too close
I’m a lost cause without you
Weeping with the rain outside my window
Memories are chasing me out of sleep
And I have a drawer of lost things

I’ll put your picture there tonight
You know they warned me about you
They said watch for that boy
That boy in the striped shirt
He’s just the type to pack up and go
And he leaves a trail of destruction
But avoiding you was not that easy
I’ve never seen myself this weak
I’m a lost cause without you
Weeping with the rain outside my window
Memories are chasing me out of sleep
And I have a drawer of lost things
I’ll put your picture there tonight
I should have listened when they said
That boy in the striped shirt
His smile is a thorn to the heart
He’ll be gone by September
He’s just the type to pack up and go
Did anyone warn you about me
The girl in the
She falls fast, you see
And she’s just the type to stick around
So don’t you try to pack up and go
She’ll be a lost cause without you

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

this is my last chance

Hi, friends! I hope everyone is doing well. It's only been a week since Lent began, and I miss Twitter already. I really don't miss facebook as much, but oooh do I miss twitter. It's been good, though. One less thing to worry about.

So, what have I been up to? Babysitting every morning from 6:30-7:45. (Yep, only a little bit each day, but hey, it's steady, and I know I'm getting a check for it every Friday). Picking up other random babysitting jobs (doing a couple overnight jobs in the beginning of April), volunteering at Cristo Rey, playing volleyball (championship game tonight! woo!) and applying for jobs. Well, really searching for jobs. I've sort of hit a wall with the applying. There just aren't that many anymore. Trust me, I look. I spend 3-4 hours every day searching, writing cover letters and sending out e-mails. I've started keeping a spreadsheet, so I can follow up better. From March 10th-today (I don't search on weekends), I've applied for fourteen jobs. Not one of them is in Michigan, but it's starting to look like I will have to move (if I get a job, ha). Unless, of course, I get accepted to Grad School. I should be hearing sometime in April or May, so please keep your fingers crossed. Oh, I also had a phone interview yesterday for a job in Detroit. I try not to get my hopes up anymore, though, so I'll just say- it was fine. They will get back to me in a few weeks.

But you know what? Overall, I'm pretty happy. Sad when I don't get a job, yes, frustrated, yes, but happy. Taken care of. My parents do a wonderful job of supporting me, comforting me, encouraging me. Most of my babysitting jobs have been through my mom, which I'm so grateful for. I've also just been enjoying (as cheesy as this sounds) getting to know them. I think most of us spend our whole lives trying to impress our parents or make them proud, and yes, I still want that desperately, but I'm so glad that I can actually form a friendship bond with them. Don't worry, they can still intimidate me, and tell me to clean my room, but living with them is so much more fun (no offense, mom and pops) than I imagined. They give me space but they are there for me.

I've also been able to see three of my best friends recently. My friend Sarah and I are in similar situations, she's back home, taking a few classes and trying to find a job. Not only is she one of the funniest, most understanding and honest friends I have, but we also share a love for Idol and Glee. I saw her twice last week and I'm sure that will continue, which makes me happy. On Monday I had lunch with my friend Christine, who I've known since I was five. Yep. Friends for 18 years. We're also on a similar journey, so it was nice to vent. Finally, I had dinner with Alex Monday night. It just made me so happy to see him and reminded me why we are best friends. I love that kid to death, and I'm so proud of him. He's doing a year of AVC at UofD, and loving it. I'm sure the feeling is mutual with his students :)

So, that's my life at the moment. Other random updates that no one cares about? Sure.

-What I'm Watching: Detroit 187, Glee and Idol, duh. 187 is such a good show, makes me sad that it probably won't get picked up. Last night's Glee episode was wonderful. The original songs were so much better in context, Mercedes got a kick-ass solo, and Klaine happened. Oh, and they actually mentioned Quinn's baby. Idol? I'm having a love affair with this season. Seriously. Thank goodness it is so much better than last year, and honestly, probably better than Season 8. I pretty much like everyone, but Casey and Jacob are my favorites. BUT, I will say Paul is becoming one of my favorites. His voice is very similar to a lot of the artists I listen too. Also watching Modern Family, always hilarious, and Greys which is back tomorrow night.

-What I'm Reading: Just finished I'd Know You Anyhwere by Laura Lippman. Loved it! Highly recommended. Page turner, mysterious, emotional. Now I'm reading Get Lucky by Katherine Center, which is good, and the writing is excellent, but I've read so many books too similar. Still good, though. While I read those, I'm reading God Loves Ugly by Christa Black, which is a self help book aimed at young girls, but I really think every woman should read it. It's a beautiful story that is allowing me to really examine myself. When I finish that, I'll start The Highly Sensitive Person, to continue to learn about myself :)

-What I'm Listening To: The CD's that are in constant rotation in my car are: 21, Adele (I listened to it for literally two weeks straight, without stopping once or switching to radio), Incredible Machine, Sugarland, and, most recently, the LIVE Cd of Melinda's Love 101, which is absolutely amazing. When I'm at home, you can usually find me listening to Nicki Minaj. Seriously. Whenever I sit down to apply for jobs, I put on Pink Friday. And that's...a lot. It's like I can't stop. I forget I even have other music on my Itunes, sometimes. Wow, that's creepy. Anyways, if I do stray away from Nicki, I'm usually on Pandora, on my Spill Canvas channel. Some of my favorite bands have been discovered from that station- Cartel and NeedToBreathe are two of my favorites right now.

Here, have one of my most recent obsessions.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stop The Hate.

Note:This may be the most important blog I have ever written. Please, please read this and share. I feel so strongly about this issue, and now that it has happened to someone I know, I am even more disgusted. My emotions definitely show in this post.

I'd like to introduce to you my friend Justin. Justin was one of my good friends in high school, and we have kept in some contact throughout college and after. Not as much as I would like, but I think of him often and check up on him on facebook. He is one of the sweetest, strongest guys I have ever known, always looking to make people feel welcome and enjoy themselves. On March 7th, Justin was the victim of a hate crime. I will let you listen to his story, and then share my thoughts.

Some of you may have seen it on facebook/twitter last night. I will warn you that it contains harsh language- use of the "f bomb" and gay slang terms. But, I encourage you to get past that and watch it anyways. This is a story that needs to be shared.

My initial reaction to seeing this and reading Justin's facebook status? Disgust. Heartbreak. I'm saddened enough by the amount of hate and bullying in this world, but to see it happen to one of my friends, in my city, is terrifying and disturbing. The hate needs to stop. How DARE one of us judge another person so harshly that we want them dead? This is not the way to live our lives. What good does hate do? Nothing. Hating someone does not make you better than them, it does not change any circumstances. Acting on it only makes you look worse, not strong. The fact that the witnesses just stood there and did nothing is equally disturbing. This was someones life at risk. It could have been any of us.

We need to stand against this. It is our duty as humans to look out for one another. We need to teach our children to love and accept others no matter the difference. What happened to Justin is not okay. It shouldn't happen, period. Not to anyone. How can we teach kids to love themselves, to accept who they are, when we have animals like the guy who attacked Justin running around threatening lives?

Please, stop the hate. I believe each of us can do something to put an end to this. Let us smile more, love more, be more grateful, open and forgiving. Be good examples.

I'm sorry that I cannot adequately put into words how I feel. I was so affected by Justin's words can express how disgusted and disturbed I am that things like this are happening, and how passionate I am about putting it to an end. I hope that you will join me. I am going to try and do my part by eliminating the word hate from my vocabulary. It slips out, but the less I say it, the less I will feel it.

To Justin, thank you for sharing your story. I know it took strength and courage, two of the things I have always admired most about you. I hope that this will catch attention and give people a wake up call, force them to get up and do something about this. I love you, big bird :)

Love. That's all I can say. Just love.

Thank you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lent, 2011 Style

This may sound kind of strange, but I always really look forward to Lent. The idea of sacrificing something to focus on spirituality and Jesus' love for us intrigues me. Last year was the most dedicated, intense Lenten season I've ever had. I gave up a number of things and spent much of my time in silent prayer. I honestly believe I succeeded so much because of the environment I was in. I was living with three very spiritual people my age who were excited and into Lent, I had the support of the Sister's of Mercy and several opportunities for Lenten reflections.

This time around, it's not quite the same. I'm living at home, babysitting when I can, and desperately trying to find a job. I spend most of my time on the computer, job searching, typing cover letters, writing blogs, and, yes, indulging in the fascination of social media. Facebook and Twitter are my outlets. Probably (and yes, this is sad) because I don't have much of a social life, I sort of rely on those to be my way of contacting others. I rant about American Idol and Glee, participate in silly tumblr challenges, etc. I totally have fun doing it, but during these next forty days I really want to spend my time focused on other things. Prayer, journaling, volunteering, reading, etc. I will still be spending a good amount of time on the computer as I will need to keep job hunting, but no social media for me. I may blog from time to time, tho.

It's not going to be easy. The temptation to check twitter and facebook will be there every minute. I'm hoping the experience will allow me to learn about myself. Last year I loved it- I felt so relieved...but as soon as Lent was over I fell right back into the "addiction". So, here is my 2011 Lenten Promise.

Giving Up
-Facebook and Twitter. See ya'll on Easter. If you need to get in contact with me, text me, call me, or e-mail me. Enjoy your Idol parties, Glee rants, inspirational quotes, song lyrics, etc. Also if something exciting happens in your life please tell me :)
-Fast food. I've already been sorta doing this anyways, but this is a no exception kinda thing now.
-Meat. Did this last year and it was much easier than I thought it would be.

Things I'll DO during Lent (all about doing something, not just sacrificing)
-Writing letters. Forty or more of you will get a letter from me, handwritten. Some of you may even get a mixed CD. If you're lucky ;-)
-Spend quiet time in prayer.
-Volunteer. Now is the time to do it, while I'm out of work. In between babysitting and tutoring at Cristo Rey, I'm going to find time to volunteer- hopefully as a mentor with BBBS, Boys and Girls Club, or something of that sort.

Alrighty- I have to head to bed. Happy Mardi Gras to all of you, and I hope you have a blessed, peaceful Lent. I will blog if inspiration comes to me, so keep checking :)


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Wonder...

First of all, no, I have not heard from any potential jobs. Yes, I'm starting to stress out a little bit. They all said one-two weeks though, and it's been exaclty one. Plus, like I said, I am very grateful that I had interviews. Ijustreallyreallywantoneofthosejobs.

Anyways, today I am bringing, for your reading pleasure, a second edition of "Second Graders Say the Cutest Thing". A few months ago I posted an entry with some of the stories from my mom's kids. Ths time, their project was to write "I wonder"...they had to do one for who, why, when, where, what, if, and how. My mom picked her favorite from each student and made a book. Here are some of MY favorites.

I wonder if when you see a shooting star, your wish really comes true.

I wonder who tells the sun to go down and the moon to go up.

I wonder why we don't have hurricanes in Michigan when we are surrounded by lakes

I wonder if my cat went to Heaven when he died

I wonder when Jesus will return to Earth...

I wonder how come Ann Frank is so famous

I wonder if my dad has met Mrs. Carolin's parents in heaven (this one legit made me cry).

I wonder where Santa has test flights

I wonder when Santa will die

I wonder why stars are so bright

I wonder if everyone in our class will get married

I wonder why God gave us dreams

I wonder who made God

I wonder what God looks like

I wonder where stars go during the day

I wonder if God has a mother

I wonder if Santa is watching me still

I wonder where the homeless give birth (this AMAZED me that a 7 year old came up with this)

The imagination of children fascinates me. I've got a new temporary babysitting gig (been thankful to pick up a couple of these while I'm out of work) that has been going on for the past three weeks and ends next week. Anna is 5 and Owen is 3. They are precious and honest, loving and playful. They are constantly playing make believe, and the things they come up with astonish me. I am instantly reminded of my childhood, when I spent countless days at my friends house playing Barbies, paper dolls, office, school, Babysitters Club, etc. It saddens me that the innocence, the imagination, is gone. I still get ideas, I work well, but I can't "pretend" like they do. Or maybe I'm just not trying hard enough. Maybe I'm too caught up on worrying about "grown up stuff" that I'm not allowing myself to imagine.

Hope you all have a blessed week.