Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tomorrow afternoon, I embark on a 14 hour trek with my sister and brother in law to Ft Walton Beach, FL. We'll arrive on Saturday. My brother and sister in law will meet us there. My incredible cousin Patrick and his son Joey will come a few days later.

And it's going to be incredible. I know this. It can't not be incredible.

First of all, I need a break from work like you wouldn't believe. Like I've never needed a vacation more in my life. I work 10-12 hours a day, as almost everyone in our company is doing lately. It's pretty sad when your volunteers call you and say "you really need this vacation, don't think about us". And I don't just need a week off. I need a week of AWAY from here. With my tablet shut down in my drawer, my work cell phone turned off and hiding. No computer, minimal contact with the real world. And that's exactly what I'll get in Florida. People keep asking me what I'm going to do there. Um. Sleep. On the beach, by the pool, on our balcony, under a palm tree. Wherever I can. I need it. Soak in the sunshine. Write. Read. Pray. Think about my future. Laugh. Bond with my siblings. Think about Laurence. Take pictures.

Secondly, Fort Walton holds such a very special place in my heart. It is my family's vacation spot. My parents met there. As kids we went there every single year for Easter. My brother in law proposed to my sister there. My brother went on his honeymoon there. I have not been there since I was 16, and I can hardly wait to feel my toes in the white sand and take a swim in the ocean. My last really clear memories of that place involve Laurence and I cannot wait to feel even more connected with him.

So, tomorrow I'm off. I'm not bringing my laptop, tablet, or work cell. I'm not going to think about work. I'm going to have an amazing time with the people I love the most- my family (with the exception of my parents, who are planning their own trip to Ireland in the fall).


PS....a lot happened during Lent. Most of it I'm not sharing. But I will say this:
I am meeting with the Sisters of Mercy every two weeks to become an associate and get spiritual direction.
One of my best friends at work is leaving and I am really, really going to miss her. I love you Tierra!
Lent Letters have been going swimmingly. The best is when I can hand it to people right in front of them.
I got to see my Cristo Rey kids!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hi everybody, here is the 2nd interview. This one was an interesting read. I really enjoyed the maturity in her answers.

I present 17 year old Jasmine. This is worth reading, she is very mature and has an interesting story to tell.

1.What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?

My name is Jasmine Iman (last name deleted for privacy). It was my mother's choice. She chose "Jasmine" because she liked the name because of the flower. "Iman" came from the Somalian model Iman. I found out Jasmine means "God's gift" so I am honored to have this name. My nicknames are Jazz, Jazzy, and Jay.

2. When and where were you born?
I was born on February 1st, 1994 at Sinai Grace hospital in Detroit, MI.

3. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
The biggest events that made an impact on my family would have to be the election of President Barack Obama. It was a huge impact as an African American in this generation because we normally have stories of the negatives. We needed to have something positive to tell our children.

4. Generally speaking, what was your childhood like?
My childhood was a little crazy in the beginning, and eventually mellowed out. So all in all, I view it as kind of normal.

5. What was it like where you grew up?
My neighborhood was pretty good at the time. The 90's seemed like a good time. The city was booming and bustling and full of life.

6.Describe your most important friendships.
Many of my friendships that are considered really important happened after elementary school. One of my best friends in the whole wide world is Kiara. Her mother and my mom went to school together, which made it easy for us to get along. Another good good friend of mines is Eric. I hated him in elementary school, but now were pretty much inseparable, as we have strong musical backgrounds and interests, as well as outgoing crazy personalities. And of course I couldn't forget my dearest friend Danielle, whom I met in middle school. She has helped me thru many tough times as did I with her. We sort of compliment each other. I have many other friends as well, but these are the most important.

7. Are there any teachers or subjects you have particularly liked or disliked?
I have always had an interest in the Arts, English, and Science. I don't care for Geometry, US History, or Chemistry. I love world history as well. I have grown to love Trigonometry as it comes pretty easy for me. Some of my favorite teachers include Ms. Brockman and Ms Lewis (from pre kindergarten), my music teachers Mrs. Lewis, Mr. Gardner, and Mrs. Ferris, my third grade teachers Mrs. Young and Ms. Burns, my middle school teachers Mrs. Baars, Mrs. Scott, Mr. O'Connor, Mr. Rock, Mrs. Ndu-Nwagu, Coach Filie, Mr. Cairo, Mr. Dean and Mrs.Williams. High school teachers include Mrs. Quader, Fr. Jose, Ms. Dougherty, Mr. LaCross and probably many more.

8.Are you involved in sports, music, drama, or other extra-curricular activities?
I played soccer in middle school. I loved it. But after a semi serious knee injury, I was no longer able to play. I LOOOOVE music! I sing and play piano. I also played classical violin on elementary and middle school. I loved it. I'm on the yearbook staff as editor in chief. I also am called the Spokesperson for Detroit Cristo Rey.

9 What did you want to be when you grew up when you were little? What about now?
As a very little girl, I wanted to model. I don't know why. As I got older I wanted to be a singer (like a big superstar). Now I want to be an Astronomical Engineer and possibly teach music as a side job. I would like to become a locally know musician as well.

10.What are your biggest fears?
My biggest fear is losing people I have become close to. Also, I fear that I can let people down or be too needy or bug people, when that is far from the case.

11. What do you think love is?
I see love as an unconditional feeling for someone or something, an admiration for a person that is very hard to lose.

12. What do you think makes a person beautiful?

A person with a kind and giving spirit is extremely beautiful to me. Also someone who is self less and wants to help others.

13. Do you follow any religious tradition?If so which one, and what is it like?
I consider myself a Baptist Christian. I am the type to follow the rules as they should be followed, yet at the same time, doing what I already know is right. I do not belong to a church home now, but I do actively participate in services.

15. What role does your faith play in your life today?
My faith has kept me on a humble path, to always remember my place, what I came from and what I have, because I know it could all be taken away very easily.

16. What were the most joyous, fulfilling times of your life?
Some of my most happiest times have been spent with family and friends I care deeply about. Also, giving of myself to help those in need and my music have been the most fulfilling moments ever.

17. Any sad, tragic or difficult times you'd care to share such as losing a loved one, a job, or something you cared about?
When I was four, I lost my mother to Lupus, an auto-immune disease. This left my maternal grandmother to take care of me. My dad is not around much. It has been hard before, trying to get by with one parent who seems not to care even if that's not the case. Since I am just about done with high school, things have gotten emotionally rough for me, as I feel extremely alone at times. Things are hard as I am trying to come,to terms with my mother not being there, and my father, who has caused me a great deal of pain, sharing in my success, which I feel is very unfair. The stress of starting school in the fall has its normal scary moments. I've also lost other family members very dear to me; ones I thought would be here to share in my success with me. Periods of extreme sadness have overwhelmed me throughout most of this year but some type of way I magically get through it.

18. What lifelong lessons did you learn from these tough times? Joyous times?
I have always learned to keep a positive face throughout anything. It's not always easy but I do so. As for the hard times, a quote from director Tyler Perry, who has had his share of tragic moments, said: "Take the negatives of your past and use them as positives towards your future."

19. Were there any moments you recall as true breakthroughs in any area of your life?
Forgiveness. I've always been able to forgive certain people, but one person has always seemed the hardest: my dad. It's not like I am bitter but I guess I still care. I feel like I can forgive him, because I've been more than ready to let him go. He hasn't shown me any signs of him wanting to do a 100% job, but at the same time I don't want him there at all.

20. If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would that be?
I don't think I'd want anything different. Everything that happens happens for a reason.

21. What have you learned over your lifetime that you'd like to share with the younger generation?
It is important to be yourself and not let society or any other person over rule you. Try to always find the brighter side of any situation. Take responsibility.

22. Who inspires you/who is your role model and why?
I have a few: my mother, whom I take after when it comes to keep up strength. While sick,she managed to go to school, work full time, and take care of a child. Also my grandmother who has taught me to be independent and strong as well. My older sister Brittney is a huge inspiration to me. She is in school managing a 4.0 GPA while working and she is taking complete care of herself. One of my celebrity inspirations would be Michael Jackson. He has helped over millionss of people through various charitable work and thru his music. His philanthropic acts and selfless attitude has had some impact on me as I try to do the same. One person who has been a huge inspiration to me also is Megan Carolin. Her giving spirit and loving personality has definitely rubbed off on me. Her helping me with creative writing and with other personal problems of mines has gotten me thru alot during my high school years. Without any of these people I have recently mentioned, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

So a few weeks ago I sent out a list of questions to people of different age ranges. Only two people have responded so far. :) My reason for doing this was to hear peoples stories and to see how differently they view the world.

And so, my friends, I would like to intrdouce you to 8 year old Meghan S, a student in my mom's classroom.

What city do you live in? Do you like it?
Troy. I like it a lot. Nice area, lots fo lowers.

Who are your best friends?
Everybody (girls).

Do you like school? Who is your favorite teacher?
Yes! Mrs. Carolin is my favorite. She is fun.

Why do you like being a kid?
I don't have to deal with stuff older people do.

One would to describe you?

What advice would you give your parents?
If kids get something wrong on a test, don't punish them for it.

what was the nicest thing you did for someone?
Opened the door for a water and waitress who were carrying a tray of dishes.

What are you thankful for?
Food and money.

What do you think you will be doing 10 years from now?
Graduating from Mercy High School and going to Notre Dame in the fall.

What would you do if you were given 10,000 dollars?
Give 1/2 to the poor, save 1/2 in my college/life savings.

Do you want to get married? How old do you think you'll be?
Yes. My mom wants me to be 27. I want to be 28 so I am more responsible.

What kind of job do you want to have?
A flight attendant or a real estate agent.

What do you think makes a person beautiful?
How happy they are!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

life update.

Hi Everyone.

No one reads my blog during Lent, but I thought I'd post a life update.

Work is work. Busy as ever. Exciting things like Volunteer Appreciation week happening in April. I just put in my nominations for volunteer of the year. Two major things are in the works with me, but I can't say anything about them yet. So just know that I'm working hard and trying to find new opportunities.

Life Outside of Work
My outside life consists of: hanging out with the boy, going to the Carter's house, co leading youth group, writing lent letters, playing volleyball (we're doing a spring league too!) watching the voice and american idol, and now doing grown up things like buying groceries and paying bills. Yahoo.

What I'm Watching
As I mentioned, my main shows right now are The Voice and American Idol. I don't have a favorite on The Voice yet. For Idol it's Joshua and Erika. I've also recently gotten into Smash, although I'm way behind on the story line. Oh, and Modern Family...but I watch that on weekends, not when it airs.

What I'm Reading
Well hey, I finally finished the Hunger Games trilogy. I cannot tell you how fabulous they are until you read them yourself. The first two especially. I struggled with the third one. But don't let that stop you because they are incredibly well written and mezmerising. I dove head first into the characters and their stories, into the emotions and the action.

I started and finished "We The Animals" tonight- it's a short book, just a little over 100 pages. It's the story of three brothers, following them through childhood. Their young, struggling parents have a very on and off relationship, and as a reader you immediatley feel the heartbreak that each family member feels as they struggle to love each other and get through life on what little they have. The writing is unique and beautiful. Great book, especially one to transition me from Hunger Games to regualr reading haha.

Next on my list is Skippy Dies. I have to pick it up from the library tomorrow. The plot line is as follows:

Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the subject of this dazzling and uproarious novel, unraveling a mystery that links the boys of Seabrook College to their parents and teachers in ways nobody could have imagined. With a cast of characters that ranges from hip-hop-loving fourteen-year-old Eoin “MC Sexecutioner” Flynn to basketball playing midget Philip Kilfether, packed with questions and answers on everything from Ritalin, to M-theory, to bungee jumping, to the hidden meaning of the poetry of Robert Frost, Skippy Dies is a heartfelt, hilarious portrait of the pain, joy, and occasional beauty of adolescence, and a tragic depiction of a world always happy to sacrifice its weakest members. As the twenty-first century enters its teenage years, this is a breathtaking novel from a young writer who will come to define his generation.

What I'm Looking Forward Too:
FLO-RIDA. I CANNOT WAIT TO BE IN A SUNNY PLACE WITH SAND AND PALM TREES WITH MY FAVORITE PEOPLE, MY FAMILIA. It's gonna be the best trip. I am planning on just...sleeping. on the beach. with a margarita in my hand. for the whole week :) And I won't check my work email. Yeah, right. I'll check it all the time.

What I'm Listening To:
He Is We, Happily Ever After This band is so fantastic.

Fun. I've been a big, big fan of this band since they were The Format. Crazy how famous they are now!

Haley Reinhart, Free
We all know I was not a Haley fan on the show. Can't help it, I. LOVE. THIS. SONG.

Carrie Underwood, Good Girl

Gavin DeGraw, Sweeter

Gotye, Somebody That I Used To Know

Monday, March 5, 2012

don't you remember

This post may seem slightly morbid. And I'm not really sure where it came from. But this is what I wrote in my journal today, and I wanted to share it.

If I were to die tomorrow, I don't care if people remember what my job title was or my accomplishments at work. I don't care if they know my college major or what sorority I was in. I don't care if they know what sports I played in high school or how much money I made. I want people to think I was a good person. Above all things, that's all I want to be remembered for. A good person who treated people with kindness. I remind myself of that every day. When I get really angry over something little or when life seems to be all caving in- I remind myself of my purpose. To be a good person. I also want the people who have impacted me in some way to know they have impacted me. So many people have played a part in my story, and I just want them to know I appreciate it.

I want to do what I can to make people happy, to make people breathe a little easier. I work hard every day at my job to do this for my coworkers because even though I don't have too, I get so much satisfaction from it. Even on my most exhausting days, if I can do something for somebody else, I'm happy. That gets me in trouble sometimes, because I forget to take care of myself and wind up sick or sad or lonely.

I'm the happiest I've been in a long time. Work is crazy but great. I love my house, and my roommate. I love spending time with the Carter family. I love youth group. I love volleyball. I love my family. And I love that I am going to be in Florida in 4 weeks with my siblings, their significant others, and my cousin Patrick. And there's this new person in my life who is wonderful and maybe you'll get to here more details later.

Lent Letters Update
Most of the letters have so far been hand delivered. I did just put a stack from Friday-Today in the mail. The reaction I'm getting has been sweet. One of my coworkers cried and then came into my office and hugged me so tight. I have another coworker letter to deliver tomorrow. I've stuck to my calender. Friday-Today were all tough, they were very close family members or friends so I'm excited to see the reactions I get to those ones!

I have to sleep, my eyes are closing as I finish typing this and I'm due at the office at 7:30 tomorrow morning. Goodnight!