Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Days Are Numbered...

As of right now, I only have six more days of high school! Where has the time gone??!! For the meantime, I am not too upset about this, nor have I shed any tears over the matter, but I'm sure that'll change (the crying part, that is). The past few days have been so busy, and the days that haven't been busy, I have been recuperating from the busy days, so I'll give a few random updates from my world!

-Today I took my final EOI (End-of-Instruction) test. It was in US History, and I figured that since I haven't had a technical history class since December, and it only covered the beginning of the Civil War, I would be in bad shape for the test. However, I ended up passing with flying colors! I scored 55/60, which wasn't too bad in books, considering my situation! Hooray!

-Last week was State Band in Stillwater. We were hoping to come home with a Sweepstakes plaque, but we had no such luck. We just so happened to follow Perry, the best 3A band in the state (that also won Sweepstakes and includes the 1st chair Large-School & Small-School All-State clarinet player). Consequently, we came out of concert with straight 2's, but swept the sightreading room with all 1's! It was mildly disappointing to not win Sweepstakes, but, like All-State, it's just anouther honor, and we're just fine without it. Also, we were lucky to have made state, so we should be proud nonetheless.

-Speaking of band, tomorrow is our Tri-State performance! I am confident that we will do well, providing that everyone is focused. Also, I have my final ensemble with Shea and my friend Nicole, which should go well! It will also be my last time to wear my band uniform, because I won't be marching in the parade on Saturday, because...

-This Saturday, the 30th, is my All-State tournament and Banquet in El Reno! I am so very excited about it!!! I looked on the official website the other day, and I found that there are two classifications of All-State: Honorable Mention All-State and regular All-State. Regular All-State is comprised of the top 36 quizzers in the entire state, all classes. Honorable Mention All-State is comprised of the 37th-72nd quizzers in the state. And, for the record, I am regular All-State! :) Also, I am one of the (I think) seven girls who made All-State. I am honored, and appalled at the same time. How can it be that so few girls made All-State?! (Okay, I will step off of my feminist soapbox..)

-I am done with my Comp class for the semester. Although it will save gas by not driving to Enid or class, I will still miss my class and particularly my teacher, Ms. McCoy. It will be okay, I suppose. I ended up doing quite well in that class, and I ought to post some of my essays, just because I can!

-The senior video will be coming along much better after testing is over, the library is open, and Mrs. Fuxa's computer that is hooked up to the scanner is fixed. In the past few days I have received pictures from five people, which only leaves about seven people. That is progress, although it still irritates me that people have procrastinated so long, because they have known since mid-February that we needed their pictures. Oh well, they have one week from Friday to get their pictures in, or else they will only have their panel in the video, and that is that.

-Little Andy is recovering from his chicken pox nicely, although he has spent the last two days with my mom. He is growing up so much, and I cannot believe that he will soon be two; it seems like he was just coming home from the hospital! He is really starting to babble much more, and he is quite expressive!

-On Monday, I began my toughest writing assignment as of yet: my Valedictorian speech! It really is much tougher than I ever imagined it to be. I know the gist of my speech, but it is everything in between that I am struggling with. I know that it will come together soon enough, but it can't be soon enough for me! Each day I am trying to whittle it down just a little bit

-In our English class we are reading And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. We are only in the middle of the book, but is proving to be very suspenseful. I don't care for the sheer length, that is the "fluff" and extensive dialogue that is so common in British Literature, but I do like the book anyway.

-Today, Cody surprised me with two drawings he made at school. He gave me both drawings. One, which is mine to keep, is a lovely rendering of Tevis, complete with the bracelet he always wears and his name, which Cody spelled as "Tafis", which really wasn't too bad for Cody just sounding it out, and it was an understandable spelling blooper Cody recognized later. The other drawing was of me, and I was given strict instructions to give it to Tevis the next time I see him. It was of me, playing volleyball in the sun, wearing the heart-shaped necklace that I usually wear (it had no heading with my name). I thought it was so cute and it made my day! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Good Good Friday :)

Out of the three days of the Catholic Church's celebration of Easter, the Triduum, Good Friday is typically not one of my favorites. However, this year, it turned out to be the best so far.

Pioneer did not have school yesterday, as we also don't on Monday. However, being that it was Friday, I still had to make the trek to Enid for my concurrent class. (I will also have to do so on Monday...the price you pay to be an overachiever) My Comp class is ending on a high note, as our final essay will be a movie review over the movie The Greatest Game Ever Played. We watched it in class, but I wasn't able to be there on one of the days because of the state band contest. Because of that, I had to go rent the movie so that I can watch it over the weekend and be prepared to write our in-class essay on Monday.

After class, I went and mailed the first third of my graduation invitations, then I also went on a couple of other errands. Most of that was to kill time until the movie store opened up at 10. When the store finally opened, I realized that I would have to start an account. Thankfully, I was not out much money for the movie rental, as it only cost $0.54 (Family Video is renowned for their low rental prices!) Then the guy at the register was so nice as to give me and the guys behind me who were also opening an account a tour of the store.

When I left Family Video, I went on to hand-deliver a couple of invitations to some people I met while volunteering at the hospital. The first lady was not in her office (as I expected), but her nice assistant left it for her. When I went to drop off the invitation with the other lady, I was greeted with some not-so-pleasant news. I learned that in the past two months, she is no longer employed there and the lady who told me that didn't know where she was or how I could contact her. When she told me that, I think a little piece of me died inside. On that note, I decided it was time to go home.

Upon my arrival at home, my mom told me that we would be dying Easter eggs later. I was pretty pumped about that because it is my favorite Easter tradition! Because all of the boys were at home yesterday, we decided to invite them over to join in the fun. I went and picked up all of the boys, except Andy, who is battling the chicken pox (more on that in a moment). When we got back to my house, the boys were so excited about dying Easter eggs that they could barely contain themselves! Thankfully, my mom and I had everything set up already so that they could begin when they got there. We had a few mishaps with the egg dye cups and a cracked egg, but overall, everything went well. My mom and I got lots of pictures, but unfortunately our computer won't let us share them. (Perhaps one day, I will make a post with nothing but pictures from my year.)

After the boys finished dying Easter eggs, which was much too soon for them, my mom got a few things together so that we could take a few eggs over to Andy so that he could be a part of the fun, also. The boys' excitement was a bit much to be contained within my house, so I decided to take them outside where they could unleash their energy. I think I won aunt props with my boys because I played Red Light, Green Light and Freeze Tag with them for nearly an hour. I had to make the "speeding ticket" rule in Red Light, Green Light, though, because Cody & Wyatt kept moving after I called Red Light. (Speeding ticket meant that they had to take a step back!) Between the games, my mom joined us outside and we took a short water break. During the water break, my mom began telling the boys the story of Good Friday, and Cody added his points also. Cody is pretty knowledgeable about the story of the Passion for a Kindergartener (It's obvious that he goes to parochial school).

A short while later, my mom and I took Kyle and Wyatt home (Cody stayed with my dad) and went ot Gina's to dye eggs with Andy. He was napping, so we went over and talked with Emily for a while. When we went back to Gina's, Andy had barely woken up, but he was ready to dye eggs. He sat very still while Gina helped him, and he was very intent the entire time. It was obvious that he wasn't feeling 100%, because he was very docile.

About his chicken pox, by the way, Wyatt refers to them as the "chicken pops". Also, he had an endless stream of questions for my mom when he found out about it. Here is a sample dialogue between Wyatt and my mom:
"Nana, did Andy get the chicken pops because he ate chicken?"
    "No, Wyatt, it's not because he ate chicken."
"But Nana, is Andy going to turn into a chicken?"
    "No, Wyatt! He isn't going to turn into a chicken!"
"Is it in his blood, Nana?"
    "No, it's a virus."
"Is it going to make Andy quit breathing and die?!"
    "WYATT!! No! That's not going to happen!"
"Are you sure he's not going to turn into a chicken?"
    "Yes, Wyatt, I'm sure he won't."

Oh, the questions little ones ask about things they don't know...As you can tell, Wyatt has quite a vivid imagination of how things work, and you can note my mom's alarm at his next-to-last question.

My day ended pretty well. My mom, Cody, and I helped my dad with some repairs on his swather. I also went and fed and watered the cows. While I waited for the water to finish, I went for a short run, because after taking about three weeks off, it is becoming apparent that I need to run again. I can just feel it. After that, my family and I went to the Good Friday service. Our visiting priest, or monk, rather, Father Manuel, gave a nice homily that partially changed the way I look at the Passion.

All in all, it was a great day for me. I got to spend time with my precious nephews and make memories with them. Add some time with God to the equation, and that's what it's all about!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. I am at the beginning of a new writing assignment. It is the next to last assignment I have in my English Comp class. I am excited about this assignment because it is a research paper talking about lyric interpretations of a song of our choice. I haven't quite decided on which song I will write about, but I do have it narrowed down to three. All three songs are among my ultimate favorite songs, which is saying a lot since I have LOTS of favorite songs. The three are: "You Found Me" by The Fray, "Drops of Jupiter" by Train, and "Fire And Rain" by James Taylor. I feel like all three songs are pretty deep, and leave some room for interpretation. I'll probably end up deciding in class tomorrow. On a related note, I also got a 100 on my last essay, a persuasive agrument that I wrote about how irrelevant standardized testing has become. I think I will post that one on here the next time I think about it.

2. Last weekend, my family had a great time celebrating Emily's 28th birthday. We actually had two parties. One was on Saturday night, and was more casual. The other was on Sunday, which was actually Emily's birthday. She blew out her candles on Sunday, and also, Mimi was there. Scotty happened to surprise Emily by getting her a Kindle, which she was actually thinking about getting in the near future. I was really excited for her!

3. This weekend, I managed to sit down and write down all of the names and addresses I need for when I send out my graduation invitations in the next few weeks. It didn't take nearly as long as I figured it would, which made me happy. Also, I only lack six or seven addresses from having all of the necessary addresses. I am oddly excited about preparing my graduation invitations, and I will probably begin that process in the next week or so.

4. I realized the other day that I really haven't mentioned much about the fact that I am in charge of creating the senior video. When we began talking about the senior video, I didn't realize that I would be masterminding it, but since Tonisha didn't want to (she's the class president and a library aide), I was next in line. It is going pretty well, for the time being, aside from the fact that people really need to get on the ball and turn in their pictures. I have had to begin hounding people about it, but hopefully it'll be fine in the end.

5. We found out last week that we would get a senior trip. Notice the 'would' in that sentence, because, yes, our senior trip was in question. Mrs. Golay and Mr. Schneider really tried to convince not to take a senior trip, but we ended up getting one after all. There were two reasons why we almost didn't get the trip. The first reason was that last year there was an incident that involved one of the seniors getting arrested for shoplifting at an Academy Sports in OKC. The other reason is that my class really doesn't have that much money to begin with, and we really don't have the funds for a trip, but somehow we can do it. As it turns out, we are going to Laserquest for our senior trip, which sounds like it might be pretty fun. The compromise is that we have to pay for our own lunch and anything else we want. Actually, we had the choice between getting a senior trip and getting free senior t-shirts, but my class wanted a senior trip. (I would've took the free t-shirt, actually.)

6. As long as the weather cooperates, I will be going to watch my friends at the track meet this Saturday at Chisholm. I am pretty excited about it because I miss watching the races and I am ready to be a spectator, not a participant. I also plan to take some good pictures for the yearbook, as per Mrs. Fuxa's request!

7. As of last Thursday, I am officially enrolled for the Fall semester. My schedule consists of a Comp II class, an Astronomy class, College Algebra, Trigonometry, and a Freshman Orientation class. I met with my advisor, who will also be my math teacher, and I feel like she did a good job of pointing me in the right direction. She seemed pretty knowledgeable, and I feel confident about the next semester. I was a bit scared at first, because, as a teacher, she is scary, or so I've been told. She didn't seem as tough as I had built up in my mind, thank goodness. Honestly, I think that intimidation is part of the territory that comes with being a math teacher, because I have had multiple encounters with stern math teachers and they all ended up being exceptionally good teachers who taught me the wealth of math knowledge I have today.

8. I am fairly certain that I have found a prospective roommate for next year, which makes me quite happy. All of the recipients of the PLC scholarship live in the same housing section, and, of course, room with each other. Aside from Shane, one of my buddies from school, I had no idea of anyone else who received the scholarship. Apparently, Shane knows a guy from OBA who received the scholarship, and his OBA buddy told him that another girl from OBA got the scholarship, and that she might be a good roommate for me. I happen to vaguely know of the girl, and I have yet to hear anything bad about her, so hopefully, we can room together.

9. The other day I realized that if I am going to be competing in a quiz bowl competition, of sorts, at the All-
State tournament, I probably needed to brush up on some questions. Thankfully, Mrs. Grant let me borrow her binder of quiz bowl questions, and I have spent a few hours here and there reading up on some questions. I feel better since I have done that!

10. When I get the chance, I will begin reading a new book that I borrowed from the Public Library. The book is called "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, and it has been the "it" book of the year among all of my friends. It happens to be on the High School Sequoyah book list and is undoubtedly one of the most popular, because it is never in our school library, and I was third or fourth in line when I put my hold in back at the beginning of March. I really hope that this book is great, because everyone I know who has read it has built it up to be the "most amazing book they have read", and if it is anything less than that I will be sorely disappointed! (I would think that it is good, because most of the people in my class have read it, and enjoyed it, and they aren't big fans of reading.) Surely, I will post a review in the near future.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Called to Lead

This weekend was my final YAB meeting for all eternity. I actually had a lot of fun, and I didn't have "a moment", like I thought I would! We had a great time in Woodward, and also at the Alabaster Caverns. At the Caverns, we ended up going on a nature hike after our picnic lunch. The girl who was in charge of the walk led the way. We were out there for about 2 1/2 hours, or what seemed like that long. It was very hot, and it was also very strenuous. We also got lost for a while, but we found our way back eventually...those things happen when you're on an adventure! It was a great team-building activity, and we had a great bonding experience while we were out there. I caught a few rays, but I managed to not get a sunburn, either! (That's truly an accomplishment in and of itself.) After our walk, we toured the caverns themselves, which was refreshing after being in the 85-degree weather for a few hours.

The rest of the weekend was just as fun, if not more so. I had some great times with all of my YAB buddies, and I'm glad that I was able to be there, and really, just be a part of the group itself. The other day I was thinking about the journey my life has taken in the past four years, and how one thing really does lead to another. Just considering the way I became a part of YAB, it boggles my mind to think that something so small led to where I am today. Because I think it's important, and for posterity's sake, I'll explain the chain of events that led to me to YAB, and all of my other leadership roles. (Note: This could be a tad lengthy!)

It really all began during my Freshman year. That was when I began preparing for my Confirmation. IT was odd, because usually that's something that happens between Jr. & Sr. years of high school. However, it just so happened that it worked out better that way. The evening of my first class was weird, to say the least. I felt very out of place, because I was a Freshman in a crowd of Juniors, and I was also a stranger to almost everyone in the room. The majority of the people went to Hennessey, and I was the lone ranger from Pioneer and the Bison church. After the first night, I was ready to leave and never go back, but I knew that I needed to give it a chance. So I did. And it got better. There happened to be a couple more Freshman who I knew who happened to join in the next few weeks, which helped tremendously. Also, a distant cousin of mine, Evan, was in the class, and he helped me get acquainted with everyone. By the end of the first month, it wasn't too bad.

Outside of church, I was at the beginning of some difficult times in my personal life. I was in my first year of high school, and I was just trying to find my place in the world. There were problems with my friends that were brewing beneath the surface. I wasn't popular, to say the least, but I also wasn't a social leper. I was in plenty of extracurriculars, ranging from band to quiz bowl to track. With all of this, however, I was still out of the loop. There were a couple of guys in my class who I happened to like, but I was nothing close to what they wanted, and they were satisfied with just being friends. It was difficult to see all of my friends with boyfriends while I was alone. (Or so I thought.) I was a quiet soul who rarely spoke my mind, because I was afraid that people wouldn't like what I said. If it wasn't for the fact that I had an immaculate report card and GPA, I probably would've fallen into the shadows of my school completely. That was a basic blueprint of my first year of high school. (I don't intend for this to sound like a "woe is me" story, but I have to give some background information to paint a better picture.)

My biggest problem at this point was that I lacked perspective. I had a hard time realizing that there was a much bigger world out there than just little old Pioneer High. I didn't realize that there was a light at the end of the tunnel when I graduated.

Back to my Confirmation classes...
I was finally making friends outside of my small circle at Pioneer. Before then, I never really had any other friends besides Pioneer people. I was learning to branch out, and reach outside my comfort zone. It took me quite a while, but I eventually gained the confidence I needed to assert my thoughts and ideas in group settings. I was beginning to reach outside my box, and, truth be told, I liked it. More than any of that, I was beginning to develop a greater grasp of my spirituality, and I began to have a better relationship with God, as opposed to before I began my classes. Things were getting better on that side of the spectrum.

By the end of my freshman year, things weren't too rosy at school. I still sat on the sidelines of my life, not getting too involved with anything because I was afraid. My friendships were getting pretty rocky, also. My life felt like it was crashing down around me, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. (Yes, of course there was, I was too scared to do it!) My confirmation class was pulling to a close of its first year, just when I needed it the most. I had a huge blowup and confrontation with some friends, and I desperately needed the fellowship of my confirmation buddies. I felt disconnected from the rest of the world, because I didn't live near any of my friends, and we didn't really communicate much outside of school. The beginning of my sophomore year wasn't much better. Actually, it was worse. For a while, I think my family was worried that I had fallen into a state of near-depression, and, perhaps, I did. I'm not sure, but it wasn't the best time of my life at all.

After many nights of tears and frantic prayers, things began to get better. I found my true friends, and I began to step out of my box, little by little. By the end of sophomore year, when I was confirmed, I felt like I was beginning a new chapter of my life. That's when things really started to happen for me.

My junior year started out nicely. I had my friends, family, and God, and everything was going pretty well. The only thing that still ate at me was the fact that I couldn't get a boyfriend. I tried convincing myself that I didn't need one, and that even if I did have one, it wouldn't neccessarily make me happy, and that it would happen when I was good and ready for it. It helped some, but not much. In August, I got an amazing opportunity. Joyce Markes, the former youth cooordinator for my church, told me and the other youth at my church (all four of us) that there would be the National Catholic Youth Conference, or NCYC, in November. It happened to work out that I could go.

I went into the experience with an open mind, not knowing what to expect. When Joyce, Clayton, and I arrived at the Pastoral Center at 5:00 AM, and there was a conference room FULL of youth, who were very energetic for that hour of day, I might add, I was flabbergasted. Soon after, they began playing some music, and people were just singing and dancing and just acting crazy. I was WAY out of my comfort zone already, and we hadn't even got on the bus yet. I didn't know anyone in the room except for Joyce and Clayon, and I wasn't that good of friends with Clayton at that point, either. I began to think that I made a bad decision, and I should've just stayed home. When we got on the bus, finally, I wasn't able to sit with Clayton and I had to sit with a complete stranger. I don't know her name, but I know she wasn't too enthralled about sitting by me. By the time we got to Kansas City, I made about three friends, maybe. Unfortunately, they weren't in our group that went out to eat, so there I was again, alone. (Clayton made all kinds of friends in our group by that point, so he wasn't too concerned with me.) By the time we were done eating, I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry, because I didn't know anyone, and everyone knew each other, so they weren't concerned about knowing me, and I was ready to go home. Finally, it happened. I made friends who were in my group. For the most part, everyone was really nice. Then I had to meet my roommates, and I was even more scared. As it turned out, they were amazing, and we were instant friends! My luck was turning.

The next two days gave way to some huge life changes for me. I met all kinds of people of everywhere. I told random people hi, and gave them hugs or high fives, just because I could. I realized that there were lots of other people out there, just like me, and it was great! I had deep conversations with people about things, like our faith or just life in general. That was also when I was introduced to YAB, via a girl in my group. She and Joyce encouraged me to join, and that was one of the first things I did upon my return home.

The application process went well, and, as luck would have it, I was accepted to join for the remainder of the year! When I went to my first meeting, I felt just like I did at Confirmation or at NCYC on the first day. Eventually I settled in, and I loved it!

Back at school, I was becoming a new person. I had a new sort of confidence within myself, and I wasn't afraid to step up and state my opinions. I didn't even care if people didn't like it, because I knew that they were entitled to their own opinions, also. I was finally my own person for the first time in eleven years of being at that school. I loved my friends dearly, but I learned to stand on my own and do my own thing, even if it wasn't what everyone else was doing. Somewhere in there was when I got my first boyfriend. Life was going great for me, and I was unstoppable! I learned to take things in stride, and not to obsess over what everyone else thought about me. I even decided to run for a STUCO officer, and I won! I was ready to lead after having sat in the backseat for all of those years.

Of course, things weren't always fantastic, because that's just how life is at times. However, feel like my life has been much better since I have stepped up and began to lead. Between YAB (this year), STUCO, and just being a senior in general, I have been called to lead quite often. I have now been chosen to be on a Leadership Council next year at college, which I am looking forward to so much.

It never fails to amaze me how much I have changed during high school, and the journey my life has taken as of yet. It is hard to believe that if it hadn't been for my Confirmation classes, that I might not be the person I am today. God has a way of giving you the opportunities you need at just the right time, and I am so glad that He did. Perhaps, I won't become a teacher. I don't know just yet. One thing is for sure thought, I do plan on being a leader, of some sort. (Not of anything bad, though!) I also hope to be able to set an example for future generations and guide them to become the leaders that they are called to be.

I always remember to thank God for simply blessing me with all of the opportunities that I have received. I am so very lucky to be who I am, where I am. I wouldn't change a single thing in my life, because I know that I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't experienced all of those things, both good and bad. I am blessed, indeed!