Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day 4: Leaves

I really wasn't feeling too inspired by this prompt, but I'll forge onward anyway. Today's idea was to capture a picture of leaves. Perhaps this challenge was meant for later in the year, when the leaves are changing colors, etc, but then again, at this rate, the leaves will never get to that point here in muggy ol' Oklahoma. (It is 80 degrees going into the first week of October, what is this?) All comments aside, here's my shot:


I took this picture while walking to work earlier today. It is one of my favorite views on our campus, showcasing some of the landscaping/architecture. Year after year they repeat their cycle. Each spring the trees bloom. Leaves come shortly after. In the fall, they begin their gradual descent to the ground below. Sometime between fall and winter, the trees are eventually barren of any ornamentation, until spring rolls around again. Perhaps the reason to be grateful for leaves is that they are a symbol of life itself, and that is enough for me!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 3: Happiness

I was going to post this yesterday, but I just couldn't find the inspiration, so here I am today to ponder happiness. I'm having some trouble coming up with a picture that just screams out happiness, because there really are lots of things that make me happy. Only for the fact that I don't think that this will be covered in any of the future posts, I will talk about one of my favorite things: Running!




Yes, I have quite the collection of pictures of me running. As you might guess, the top two pictures are throwbacks from my days in high school track!

I could go on with a long, drawn-out story about how I came to love running so much, but that really isn't the purpose of this post. (Although, that really is a story that is worth telling...in due time.) Believe it or not, running really does supply a source of happiness for me. For some people, maybe not so much, but for me, yes, absolutely! When I'm running, it's like my "me-time" when I can just reflect on life. I love running outside mostly for the fact that I like the tie to nature I feel when I'm out there on the road. I can breathe in the fresh air, and see what nature has to offer. Also, there is the added perk of the endorphin rush one gets after exercising! (aka runner's high)

I am grateful for the source of happiness that running is to me, among all of the other little things that elicit happiness in my life. I truly believe that life is simply too short to spend it getting down on little things. I know that there are many people who suffer from chronic mental illnesses that inhibit them from fully experiencing happiness. Sometimes, I get down in the dumps, for no particular reason, and nothing compares to the heaviness that envelops my heart. However, when I get to that point, I've learned to take a step back, re-evaluate, and realize that there are plenty of things to be happy about! In my literature class, we have been reading through Keats' various odes, and they're pretty depressing, if you ask me. John Keats himself was a morose guy, who was always living in fear of death. As it would turn out, he died from tuberculosis when he was in his thirties. I wonder how much longer he would have lived had he had a better outlook on life? Hmm...food for thought.

What is your source of happiness? I'd love to know! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 2: Smile

Today's challenge photo is a smile. Initially, I thought of the song by Uncle Kracker, which is actually one of my favorite songs. I also thought of that one line from the movie "Elf"..."I love smiling; smiling's my favorite!"...or something along those lines. I had to dig back in my picture files, but I found what I think are the best smiles in the whole wide world...

Okay, so Andy and Cole aren't really smiling...wait a second...here they are!

 

 Who couldn't love all of those adorable smiles?! They melt my heart every time!

I am very, very grateful for these smiles in my life! They can brighten up the dreariest day in a flash! My nephews are great comforters in times of distress, whether they realize it or not. Just in general, though, there is nothing like a smile from a random stranger at the just the right moment to ensure that everything is going to be just fine, or to restore your faith in humanity. I am grateful for those smiles, also, as I think we all are. I'm not sure why it is, but I feel like a smile is the single most reassuring thing, and even better, it's free!!!

I won't beat the topic to death, but I would like to end with a quote I saw the other day that I believe sums it up the best: "Don't let the world change your smile; let your smile change the world."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 1: Favorite Food

Today's challenge photo is my favorite food. This one was a real thinker, because, as you might know, I love almost all food. It was a near impossibility to come up with a single picture that represents my favorite food. Finally, the thought came to me when I received a text from my supper buddy who told me that she wouldn't be able to go tonight because of work, and I decided to make some supper of my own tonight, so here it is!

 
 
I made a small serving of a recipe my mom found a few months ago. It is called Creamy Tomato Shrimp with Penne. Here is a link to the recipe, which is incredibly easy and delicious, and can easily be tailored to make fewer servings! It isn't necessarily my "favorite" food, but it falls into my favorite category of food: Italian! I love, love, love Italian food! Also, I enjoy fresh vegetables (as noted by the salad). So, there isn't a dessert in this picture...however, I have another bonus picture...
Italian Creme Cake! (which ironically fits the Italian theme)
 
You all know that not only do I love food, I love cooking, as you have seen in my numerous recipes I have featured on here. As pathetic as this could sound, food can sometimes be my happy place, be it in nourishing my body or in providing goods for a group of people.
 
 
So, here's my gratitude portion of my favorite food post. I have always been blessed to have a good amount of food in my life. I never knew of a time when we didn't have something to eat for a meal or to take somewhere for a potluck. The vast majority of the food I grew up with was homemade and fresh. My parents always made it a priority that we received proper nutrition, even when money was tight. At nearly every meal, we had vegetables, which I believe has lead me to my affinity for fresh food. We were almost always able to have a large variety of food at our fingertips, and we usually had lots of choices. There are many people in this country and in this world who don't have that blessing, and it really saddens me to think that there really are people who go to bed with an empty stomach. Wow. What is equally depressing is the thought that there are many people who are able to eat, but cannot afford fresh, nutritious food, which is obviously more expensive. I'm not sure what a solution to that problem is, but I wish that that could change in all areas of this country.
 
I am very grateful for the blessing of food in my life!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

30 Day Photo Challenge: The Beginning!

I don't know about any of you, but this past year has really caused me to change my perspective on life. More than that, it has led me to realize how much I take everyday things for granted, and how amazingly blessed I am to have the life that I have, even if things aren't always 100% perfect. I was on one of my Pinterest crawls the other day (like I usually am), and I happened upon this picture. I'm not sure why I saved the picture, because I usually don't go for things like this, but I think that this is an exercise I need to do, so here goes...The 30-Day Photo Challenge: Gratitude

 
So, most people tend to do things like this around Thanksgiving, but I feel that I need to take the time to recognize these things all year round, so here it is! I can't promise that I'll have a new picture every day, but I'll get through my list sooner or later! I encourage any and all of you to go on this journey with me...I'd love to see what things you are thankful for! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

10 on Tuesday

1. Last Tuesday I went in for my regular six-month contact check-up with my eye doctor. Things were going great until my doctor looked in my left eye and saw a gaping scratch on it. Oh, joy. Thankfully, we had caught it before it got any worse than it already was. He put me on a regimen of eyedrops, ointment, and no contacts for a week. I was fine with the first two, but not so much on the last part. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that I have glasses to wear to help me see, because heaven knows I couldn't otherwise. The downside? Because I'm so nearsighted (My contact negatives are -6.50 & -7.00, if you know about that kind of thing.), I LOVE being able to wear contacts because I have full vision. With my glasses, I have absolutely no peripherals, which gets irritating after a while. Also, it has a tendency to give me a headache because I have to focus my vision into a concentrated area. (I know, I know, it could be much worse!) Needless to say, I have been bff's with my eye doctor, because I have seen him three times in the past week. Praise the Lord, I am cleared to return to my contacts tomorrow morning! Yay! :)

2. I have been pretty occupied this past week because of our most recent PLC project. We were tasked with building a float for the Cherokee Strip parade here in town. I won't lie, we were all pretty perplexed when our sponsors told us this, especially my friend Haley who was unanimously voted committee chair. After lots of thinking on the matter, we settled on an idea. Being that the parade theme was "Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains", our float was going to consist of a jet plane pulling a covered wagon. The plane and wagon were made from 2x4 & chicken wire, all thanks to a couple of guys in our group who are handy with tools & construction. After everything was built, we decided to pomp the jet, and cover the wagon with sheets. I could go on with explanations, but I think that pictures could show you just as well, so here they are!

Haley snapped a picture of me pomping the jet...it isn't fun to pomp above you, just so you know.
 
The framework for the wagon
 
The jet, in its full glory!
 
The finished product! I think it looked pretty awesome!
Overall, it was a win on our part!
 
3. I had mentioned previously that last Wednesday was the Battle of the Schools event at Tevis's church. As promised, it was an awesome time, and I really enjoyed it because I got to have a small leadership role in it. They were in need of an adult sponsor for the Waukomis students, so Tevis volunteered me to pitch in at the last second. I really didn't do that much, but I still had a great time! 

4. I had a fun Physics date on Friday with a couple of my friends from class. We were given a take-home quiz that we had all weekend to work on, but were free to work on together, because everyone's quiz was different. (Same questions, but with different values.) We had a great time and were pretty productive, so it was a good deal all around!

5. After a productive Physics Friday, I had an active Land Run Saturday...literally! I started the day by getting up at the crack of dawn to go downtown to run yet another 5K. This time, I wasn't quite so enthusiastic about it, because it was misting, I don't like running in my glasses, and I'm still getting used to my new running technique. Regardless, I "cowgirled up", and pushed through! The course was more hilly than I really cared for, but it wasn't that bad overall. I was about 1 minute slower than my PR, but you can't win them all, so I'm not disappointed! Even better, I recruited Haley to come with me to be my official photographer/person to call someone in case I keeled over. As it so happens, Haley is wanting to break into the 5K scene, so getting to observe this event was exactly up her alley. I may or may not have convinced her to do one in October with me, which will probably be my last race until sometime next year, just because I'm a wimp who doesn't like cold weather running and it will give me time to perhaps adjust to natural running.

 
My finish line picture, which actually looks pretty cool, in my opinion...I'm a blur!

6. I ended up spending that evening at my dorm, mostly for the fact that I was dead tired from the race/parade earlier in the day. I also had a few visitors through the day, my mom and Emily's crew. It was nice to have some familiar faces around for a while. After taking an epic nap after they left, I had plans with Tonisha and Mary to go bowling. (Yes, that is our most common hangout destination, in case you were wondering.) Like always, we had a great time together!


7. You probably notice an alarming lack of mention of Tevis in most of these happenings. Well, yes, that is so, because he has been pretty tied up with work as of late. Thankfully, he was off on Sunday, so we had a nice little evening together. The highlight of the evening was a rousing session of Rock Band with him and Kamen. Being that that is the one & only video game that I'm actually good at (because I sing), I had an amazing time with that! Tevis even stepped in to sing a few songs and he did a great job! What a great evening with him! :)

8. I took a Physics test yesterday. I was pretty confident going into it because I understood everything we covered in class and I have done just fine on all of our labs & quizzes that we have had thus far. Too bad that confidence didn't carry over when I actually took the test. I'll sum it up in a few words, and for lack of better verbage, it sucked. Plain & simple. I hope that I did better on it than I think I did, but I guess we'll have to see. Yay.

9. Last night I had another round of surprise visitors! Gina and her boys came over bearing gifts of fro-yo & fries from Braum's...Wyatt's favorite! Actually, it is a tastier combination than one would think...must be something with the sweet & salty. Needless to say, they were killing time before Wyatt's first Boy Scout meeting last night. I loved getting to see even more familiar faces! I ended up going with them to the meeting, where I also got to see Emily, Scotty, & Cody. Scotty is the den leader for Cody's group, which is something that I think he is a wonderful man for doing, because I don't think that I could herd about ten 2nd-grade boys for an hour without losing my sanity! After the meeting, Gina, Andrew, and I ran a couple of quick errands before she brought me back. (Jeremy took Wyatt home so he could get to bed since he had school.)

10. I am now coming to an end of a very lazy Tuesday evening. I have to say that I loved it! After the marathon week I had last week, it is great to have an evening that I have no obligations, etc! Here is the gist of what I did: I took a brief nap after getting off work in hopes of alleviating an excrutiating headache I had, I watched some reruns of "Friends", ate some popcorn, ate supper, watched reruns of "Full House" & "The Nanny", did some Calc homework & Physics reading, and now I'm here! What a sigh of relief after all of the madness! I do believe that I will be heading to bed sometime after the news, because tomorrow is yet another of my usual busy days. Oh well, at least I will be able to conquer my day tomorrow in the comfort of my contacts! Hooray!!!

I hope that everyone can find some sort of repose from the grind of life this week, even if it's something small...you deserve it, as did I! Have a great week!!! :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quick Update

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth...yet! I have been incredibly busy/mentally occupied for the last two weeks. Lots of general craziness that I won't delve into, but needless to say, it hasn't been the greatest couple of weeks for my family. We have all managed to come out generally unscathed, but a little worse for wear. (Is that vague enough for you?)

I could go into how everything went haywire, but I'll focus on the high points...does that work for everyone? I thought so! :)

-I've been trudging through and adjusting to the set-up of Calc II/Physics, which accounts for about 3/4 of my hours this semester. I have been doing pretty good in Physics, although it has required me to somewhat change up my way of thinking. Calc II has had some challenges mostly due to teaching difficulties, but I took my first test today. I can honestly say that I felt pretty confident about it after I left. Also, it had a bonus question that I'm fairly certain I got...let's hope that my confidence on the matter will correlate with my test score!

-I went to an awesome running form clinic on Saturday morning! There were only three of us attending the clinic, so we got lots of one-on-one coaching, which made it much better. Our instructor is a certified natural running coach for Newton shoes, and she taught us lots of great techniques to convert to a natural style of running. What is natural running, you say? I'm so glad you asked! Here is a great website that can better explain the process, if that interests you! FYI, I am on the track to convert from heel-striking to mid-foot striking, which is much more difficult than one would think. I also ended up getting a new pair of shoes with my 15% clinic attendance discount! I'm starting with a transitional model that will help to aid in the new running style. Check out my snazzy new shoes! I am in love with them!!!

-Saturday was also a big deal for little Cole, because that was his baptism day! I am happy to say that I am a Godmother to another of my adorable nephews! The whole ceremony went well, and Cole was his normal happy, cheerful self! Thanks to my proxy photographers, I got some good pictures! Enjoy!
 
The Hladik-Moody family picture!
 
All of us girls with Cole...wish I would've been looking more directly at the camera :-/
 
The proud Godparents with little Cole!
 
-I've recently gotten back in contact with my former roomie, Carissa! Thank heavens for the advents in technology that make these things much easier! All is well with her, and she is loving her married life, which makes me happy to hear! Nothing like catching up with a good friend!
 
-I'm pretty pumped about this Wednesday, because it is the annual big event for Tevis's church...Battle of the Schools! Okay, so you hear battle and church in the same sentence, and it might not strike you as being too "church-y", but basically they incorporate all of the schools of the members and they have a scavenger hunt of sorts in their own school. For example, they're given a list that includes things like bringing the tallest person in school, or a football player, or a band member. They also have various contests...think "Minute to Win It"-like games. Needless to say, it is the first time I've ever been, and I'm excited to see how it will go!

 
-Random final funny thought for the day: In Physics, we have been going over vectors and projectile motion problems. It is a problem that everytime my teacher says the word vector, I think of "Despicable Me" and the way that Andy used to jump around, shouting "Vector...Oh yeah! Oh yeah!" at the top of his lungs, doing the motions? Yeah, every time, I nearly bust up laughing in class, and no one else gets why...story of my life! Here's the clip for your enjoyment!