Monday, April 22, 2013

Ten on Monday

I have been really busy for the last couple of weeks, and the next week or so is an all-out sprint to the end of the year, so I'll fill you in on a few highlights between now and then!

1. The biggest news for me this week is that I, yet again, aced my Diff Eq test!!!! Hallelujah!!!! The guys in my class still called it, and weren't surprised at all, but I am absolutely elated! I felt like I did well on it, so it was good to see that my instincts were on point! All I have left in that class is the comprehensive final next week, so I'm interested to see how that will...surely it won't be that bad!

2. Last Monday, us PLC sophs went on a celebratory trip to OKC. Our trip included a steak dinner at Cattleman's and a movie. There were five of us who went on the trip, including our sponsors, and we were given a budget of $400. We figured out that if everyone got the most expensive steak at Cattleman's, we would still have about $200+ left to spend on the movie. So, everyone went for the gusto and ordered the Prime "Blue-Ribbon" steak, which was undoubtedly the best steak I have ever eaten at a restaurant...EVER! It was tender, well-seasoned, and had a flavor that is unmatched. I'm starting to get hungry just thinking about it! Long story short, if you ever go there, be ready to shell out the $35 and go for it...you shouldn't be disappointed! After that, we headed over to the movie theater and watched the movie "Olympus Has Fallen". It was okay, but had WAY too much blood, gore, and violence for my liking. Let's just say that I got popcorn to eat during the movie, and lost my appetite for it about 30-45 minutes into it. Apparently, it was like an offshoot of "Die Hard", but I wouldn't know since I haven't seen it. Regardless, I had a good time!

3. Maybe I wasn't so into the movie on Monday night because of what had happened on Monday at the Boston Marathon. It saddens me to think that this kind of evil lies within people. My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families; I can hardly imagine how difficult this is to cope with. Sadly, as a runner, I could easily see how weak of a target events like these are, because there is no real way to monitor security. I will say that I am astounded by the example set by some of the runners who continued running to the hospital so that they could donate blood for all of the victims. Even in the face of danger, they were looking out for the others instead of leaving the scene. That is heroism, in my opinion. So, I have had the idea in the back of my mind to run a half or whole marathon at some point in my life, but this event has only helped to solidify my desire to do so. I'm not sure how long it will take to get there, but I would really like to accomplish this in honor of those who perished at this event, and all who can no longer run. It's not much, but it's a start! I've said it before, but I'll say it again...Never take this life for granted!! Anything can happen at any time!

4. Ironically enough, in the wake of the Boston tragedy, us Okies paid tribute to those who perished in the Murrah bombing in OKC last Friday. To have the bombing and the memorial within the same week really reemphasized the importance of remembering and honoring those who were lost and those who still stand to tell the story. It just so happened that the all-PLC spring trip was on Friday, and we visited the Bombing Memorial Museum. I have visited the outdoor memorial about three or so times since it was built, but have never had the opportunity or time to visit the museum itself. I loved the museum, and felt that it was a beautiful place of remembrance, peace, and hope. Being that I was two years old at the time, my memories of it are somewhat fragmented, and I kind of question whether I really remember it or the one-year anniversary...I'm not sure. The museum did a fantastic job of telling the story of the day and the aftermath for those who weren't there or able to remember it.

5. This kind of detracts from everything, but I have to add it here... After we got out of the museum, we waited outside at the outdoor memorial until everyone was ready to go to our next destination (a Redhawks baseball game). While we were waiting, we happened to notice that Kelly Ogle (he's an OKC news anchor, for you non-local readers) was at the memorial getting ready to broadcast the 6:00 news! Even better, we noticed that he was wearing neon yellow sneakers with his suit...how rad is that?! Well, I just so happened to be wearing my new, bright running shoes, so I wanted to go compare shoes with him, since lots of other people went over and talked to him. I wanted some of my friends to go with me, so it wasn't so awkward, but none of them wanted to. Well, they did, but they didn't. I really wanted to, though, so I double-checked with one of our sponsors, got the okay, and chugged on over to talk with him. No lie, the first thing he told me was that he liked my shoes!!! I talked with him for a short while, and told him about how all of us college kids were there visiting. I found out that he is an OSU fan, his daughter is going there next year (as a Freshman), and that he knows where my baby-sized quasi-hometown is! (It seems like no one south of Crescent knows where it is, so it was extra-impressive!) Yes, I did get pictures with him, and yes, I will share them!!!


Not gonna lie, this was perhaps one of my proudest moments in life thus far, but that paled in comparison to the looks of awe I received from everyone in my group as I walked back! My sister Emily was proud of my willingness to reach outside of my box, despite everyone else's unwillingness!

6. I took my OGET on Saturday morning, and I feel like I did well on it. Hopefully, my premonitions will be right again! It really wasn't too bad, but it was a long morning for me. I had to be at the testing site by 7:15 AM and didn't leave until around 11:30 or so. (Special thanks to Gina's in-laws who let me bunk with them for the night, saving me an hour of commuting time, and gained me an extra hour or two of sleep! It was much appreciated!) Before the test started, I made a couple of friends and had fun talking with them. It really helped to put me in a good frame of mind before testing. With any luck, maybe I'll run into them in some of my education classes! My only real complaint about the test was that my room had to have been built right by some avian sanctuary, because all I heard during the entire test was a horde of birds chirping incessantly. It was slightly irritating, but there was nothing that could have realistically been done about it. Needless to say, I'll get my results in about a month, so here's hoping!!!

7. How crazy is it that I will be graduating from here this weekend? Could two years already have passed since I graduated high school?! Gee, time flies when you're doing Calculus... I have mixed emotions about graduating. On one hand, I'm excited, because I'm halfway to a Bachelor's and a third of the way to a Master's, which means that I'm only that much closer to a career. However, I'm not that excited, because I still have two to four more years left, and this is really only a transitional graduation, not a end-of-schooling-for-good graduation. Is is bad that I really only invited my immediate family and Mimi to graduation, because I did. For the record, the seating is limited, and I don't want everyone to think that I want more presents out of them. And I'm graduating at least one more time, so maybe I'll go all out then! I will be having a celebration afterwards, but it's still just a simple affair...nothing like what I had for my high school graduation! I just want to have some fun, and I think that everyone is on board with that! 

8. Last week I was notified that I will be receiving some sort of award at the annual awards banquet later this week. I'm assuming that I will be receiving something for having a 4.0 GPA, because I know that they give out medallions that are to be worn at graduation. I'm excited because my parents will get to come, and we will get to enjoy a delicious, catered meal! Good times!

9. After a few months of hoping that the inevitable wouldn't happen, the oilfield has moved in across the road from my house. I, like everyone else in my family, hate it already. They have enough lights to light three football stadiums, which also happen to shine directly into mine and my parents' room. Our blinds help some, but I still hate it. They are always there; I'm convinced that they never stop working on it, which disturbs me somewhat. Even at 2:00 AM or all day on Sunday...who does that?! Because they are always working, there is a constant barrage of noise, which REALLY irritates me, because I get enough of that at my dorm. If that wasn't enough, there is always someone barreling down the road going to their site. (Debra, we totally feel your frustration on that one!) I think my real issue with this is that I worry for my family's safety. If there is to be some sort of disaster, my house is literally hundreds of feet from the drill site, which isn't that far. Even more, I worry about our water being contaminated due to some indiscretion on their part. I know that that can happen, only because my mom was a victim of that when she was about five years old. Sometimes I think that she still faces some side effects of it, and I don't want to see it happen again, especially to her or any of my family members. Is this oil really worth the potential hazards everyone else can face??? I'll get off my soapbox...

10. I'll try to end on a more positive note...let's see, ah, yes! I have a 5K in about one month, and I desperately need to pick up my training for it, if I have any desire of not keeling over or finishing in a decent time. I'm going to start training a little bit more rigorously than I did last year, and I really hope that I can keep it up when I go back home in a couple of weeks! My goal this year is to at least beat my time from last year, which was 38:30. Not totally bad, but I want to do better!!! Realistically, I would like to get my time down to below 30 minutes, but I can't promise myself anything since this race is hilly, and I already know that they will be rough on me! I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but I will be moving up an age group, so I will have slightly more competition, but they also won't be high schoolers who are still in track/cross country, who are fresh out of their season...and younger than me. Oh well, I'm not really in it to place, I'm in it to have fun and help raise funds for the cause, so whatever happens will be fine!

Have a fantastic week!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hope



Sometimes in the midst of our worries, we get overwhelmed with fear, doubt, and many other negative feelings...

Then comes a shower of peace and comfort...

At last, a rainbow of hope and promise...God's beauty at its finest.

Soak it in. Embrace it. Breathe.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

10 on Tuesday: A Different Spin

As this semester is beginning to draw to an end, my life is slowly becoming more chaotic, what with trying to put at fires at not one, but two colleges. Really all I have been posting lately is boring updates on my life, because I haven't had much time to write for creativity's sake. I'm switching things up a little bit today, and I hope you will enjoy this!

The other day I found an interesting article that was talking about simple ways to improve your self-image. Out of curiosity, I read it, and found that I really liked one of the suggestions, which was to write a list of legitimate things that you like about yourself. Because I really need a good pick-me-up once in a while, I decided to compile a list as such. Perhaps it may seem a little bit self-centered, but I think that it's a process that we all should do from time to time, just so that we can keep better tabs on the person we are at that point in time...Here goes!

10 Totally Awesome Things about Myself!
1. I'm in my second year of college, as a math major, and I'm rocking a 4.0 GPA!

2. I run 5Ks...for fun! How rad is that?!

3. I can cook like it's nobody's business! You name it, I'll cook it...especially cheesecake! (Okay, that should probably be bake, but you get the point...)

4. I am good with kids, especially my nephews :)

5. I've made my fair share of mistakes in my life, but I've made peace with myself, and have also recognized that there is nothing like the peace and love that is offered to us by God...His grace is enough! He has blessed me so, so, so much!!!

6. I've been told that I'm an awesome math tutor, and I am super excited to start my career as a math teacher!

7. I think that my sense of humor and taste in music are on point :)

8. My body...hear me out on this one! My eyes are an amazing color of blue, like my great-grandma Hajek's; I have a pretty smile with dimples; I have great calf muscles that have come from years of running! More than those things, I'm at peace with my body, and I believe that I am beautiful, because God made me that way, just as He has everyone else! I don't let myself give in to the negative self-images that the media does their best to perpetuate. I am enough!

9. I am a loving, caring person/friend. I always try to see the best in everyone/everything, and I try my best not to be judgmental! I like to include everyone in everything, especially those who usually get left out, because I know how much exclusion hurts. I believe in random acts of kindness and going the extra mile to make people happy, just because I can. I have a philanthropic heart that wants to change the world for the better!

10. I have A-MAZ-ING role models/mentors who have made me who I am today! My parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, coaches, priests, and plenty of other random people... They have built me up, believed in me, and empowered me to become the best version of myself. They all rock, and I am SO blessed to have these models of faith, knowledge, humility, love, ambition, and much more in my life!!!

So that's my list...Now, here's the challenge for anyone who's reading this: I encourage you to do the same thing for yourself, be it on a blog, in a journal, or through any version you want. Make it public or private, whichever you prefer. Take a few moments to dig in on yourself, and what you really, really like about you...take this opportunity to be a little bit selfish! You might be surprised at how freeing this is, as I was.

Be willing to see the good in yourself, so that you can better see the good in others!!! Have a great day!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

OSU Enrollment Day!!!

Before any more time passes and I forget everything that happened, I should tell you about my enrollment day at OSU! Despite the fact that it was pouring rain and about 40 degrees, I had a fantastic day at my new home-away-from-home!

When I went there on Wednesday, they had a whole day dedicated to transfer students. I should mention that it began with the almost parking lot debacle. We were told to park at a specific parking garage, which is where I went, and that was fine. The only bad part about it is that I get a little bit claustrophobic in parking garages, and I had some trouble finding a spot. Have no fear, ten minutes later, I emerged successful! (I fear this is only a precursor of parking times to come...) I am glad that I toured back in October so that I had a clue of where I was going and wasn't stressed out by that, otherwise the day could have been much different.

Most of the day was spent in the Union, where they had our program. It began with us getting a cool OSU bag full of "freebies". (The program will eventually cost me $75, so I can't be fooled into thinking anything that day was necessarily free.) After that, I looked around at the departmental set-ups they had, and promptly found the College of Education table. It was a good thing I found them, because I had to fill out some paperwork. While sitting there filling out my paper, I was glad that I had no plans of being an Athletic Training major, because they plan on ending that program within the next year or so. (I heard that same conversation about 3 times within five minutes, just so you know.)

The next thing on the agenda was a choice of three informational sessions. I started out going to the LASSO center session until the program coordinator came in, informing us that no one was in the other sessions yet, and that we could come back at the next session. I decided that since I had no one else with me, I could manage coming back. So, I really went to the Campus Life presentation first. The guy who led it looked like what I think frat guys look like, which shouldn't be that surprising if you think about it. He had lots of great information about how to get involved on campus. So far, I think my potential choices for organizations are the ones just for transfer students. I say that only because there is an honor society just for transfers that I'm fairly certain I could qualify for. After his session was over, I went back to the LASSO Center presentation for the next session. (The LASSO center is like a tutoring lab/counseling office.) This session focused on academic success and other things of that sort. Okay, so really why I went was so that I could see about getting a job there next year, because that is at the forefront of my mind right now. The guy gave a wonderful presentation, and told us that there would be transfer student-specific activities during Welcome Week! There's an entire day for us, which culminates with an ice cream social. I really hope that it is as good as he made it out to be, because I now plan on going! After the session was over, I asked about the probability of me having employment at the LASSO center, to which he nicely told me that I probably wouldn't because of my transfer status. Ugh. I understand, but am frustrated because I actually do have experience and the grade qualifications. Oh well, such is life. There was the third choice of attending a Career Services presentation, but seeing as I am planning on being a math teacher in a state that is giving special incentives for math teachers and attending one of the best teaching colleges in the state, I doubt that I am in special need of career services. Also, I have never heard of a teaching internship, so probably unnecessary information for me.

After the sessions were over, they fed us a nice lunch, which exceeded my expectations only because I was expecting to have to buy lunch myself. Maybe I should have branched out a little more, but I did happen to see a girl and guy who were in my Physics class last semester, so I sat with them for lunch. After everyone finished eating, they brought in people from the Bursar's and Registrar's offices to give us even more information! I was starting to feel a little bit overwhelmed at that point, from all of the information that had been thrown at us already. I was also starting to get a headache. After an hour of listening to those presentations, they FINALLY released us to go with a representative to our respective colleges and get enrolled!!! I didn't really realize it until then, but there was a girl who was also from NOC, who I sort of knew, who was also going to the College of Education with me. By this point, I was ready to fully branch out and meet new people instead of clinging to the familiar. (Is that a bad thing?) She informed me that she had no idea of where we were going and that she would follow me everywhere. (Did I mention that we were given three clearly-explained maps in the bag of freebies?) Against my feelings, I was polite and told her that that was fine. (Maybe that was a bad thing?)

After getting to our college, which is housed in the beautiful Willard Hall, we checked in and were told to wait "in the room behind the astronaut". Yes, there is a display case of a NASA space suit, aka the astronaut, and there was a random hallway behind it that had a room that looked too nice to send students to, but we went in there anyway. Turns out we were in the right place, we were all just paranoid because about half of the people that came with us didn't go in there, and it took a while longer for us to be called back for our respective appointments. There were about ten of us in the room, and half of us used it as getting to know each other time. I met a seemingly nice girl who was from Texas, transferring from Baylor (I'm not quite sure why?), and a couple of girls from Tulsa Community College. Then, of course, there was me and the other girl from NOC. Although I was never told specifically, one of the TCC girls used to go to grade school with me, although she was a grade older, and I never talked to her because I thought she was extraordinarily obnoxious. After a while of talking with her, I found that she is still the same way, and I was glad that we never exchanged names, although I know we will eventually because she is a Secondary Science Education major. Maybe I'll be better prepared for that encounter when the time comes? We'll see.

After a while of waiting around, my adviser came to get me for my appointment. In a beautiful twist of events, it was the same lady that I visited with back in October. Even better than that, she remembered me!!! I honestly had no expectations to be remembered at a place as big as OSU, but I am glad that I was! (Possibly a perk of having a last name spelled like mine is...) She escorted me back to her office, and we began my enrollment appointment. I said it earlier, but I'll say it again, I am beyond thankful that I made the trip up there earlier in the year because it saved me lots of frustration and shock. My adviser was glad to know that I had already signed up for the OGET. She also told me that I would be a little bit behind on math classes, because I was lacking one prerequisite, but that I would be able to catch up in due time without having to take summer classes or stay an extra semester or two. I *should* be able to get out of a statistics and computer class, as long as the lady who approves class substitutions is still on her kick of approving classes, like my adviser said she was.

So, next semester I'm taking 15 hours and only 3 of those hours goes to a math class. That means that I will have 12 hours of education classes, which I am looking to! For the most part, my classes are all on MWF, with the exception of one that meets on a Tuesday evening. I will spend Tuesdays doing my teaching observations at schools that I will be later assigned to, and I have nothing planned for Thursdays! My classes are: Technology in the Classroom, Role of the Teacher, Adolescent Psychology, Field Experience in Secondary Schools (Observation), and Linear Algebra. The tech class essentially consists of learning how to use PowerPoints, SmartBoards, and other tech tools to benefit the classroom, and actually using them in this class. I believe that the Role of the Teacher class just consists of discussing teaching styles. Then, the psychology class and linear algebra are pretty self-explanatory. According to ratemyprofessors.com, I was enrolled into a class with a good professor, so we'll see how true that is. Otherwise, I'm excited about my next semester! After I finished enrolling, I submitted materials for the background check that I need to be able to observe. I also got my OSU ID, and another free t-shirt!

All in all, it was a good day, and I am super excited to begin this next phase of my education!!! Go Pokes! :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ten-ish on Tuesday

1. I finally got my new running shoes in, and I love them! They are a smidge brighter than I thought they would be, but I still love them! I ran some in them yesterday, and it went pretty well, minus some random knee pain towards the end. I *may* have hit it a little too hard yesterday, which means that I'll have to ease back up a little bit, but I'll adjust accordingly. Otherwise, I'm in heaven!

2. Of course, last week was Holy Week and we had our rent-a-priest, Fr. Creider with us. All of the masses went well, and without too much excitement, besides the fact that they took forever and provided some late nights for everyone. Such is life! Like always, the creation story was the highlight of the vigil mass. We had a small practice session that morning that was semi-chaotic. It was somewhat debatable how well everything would go at that point, but, as always, the kids pulled through! (I said lots of prayers that nothing catastrophic would happen...maybe that helped?) My favorite moment this year was when my cousin's 1.5-year-old daughter gleefully discovered the live bunnies! It was adorable! The whole thing was beautifully done, and brought tears to my eyes. My not-so favorite moment was when I had to transport a cage of baby ducks to the back of church. Summoning some intense courage, I gingerly toted it to the back without hyperventilating! Good times!!

3. Our family had a fun little Easter celebration on Sunday. In a miraculous turn of events, the weather was beautiful, which meant that the boys didn't have to be cooped up all day and we could have a real Easter egg hunt. We had a lunch of smoked ham, harvest potatoes, grilled asparagus, carrots, and pistachio salad. The dessert side was completed by a fruit salad, the famous chocolate pudding dessert, and a banana pudding poke cake inspired by one of my Pinterest finds! Yum-o! The egg hunt was great, although I had to play some intense Red Light, Green Light with the boys so the Easter Bunny could sneak in, if you get my drift. Now that all of the boys (well, not so much Cole...yet) are more active, we have had to be more creative about the hiding process. What used to be a small-ish front yard & back porch hunt, has turned into an almost all-encompassing farm hunt. I can only imagine what it will be like in about three or so years!

4. The good weather this past weekend helped my dad to make some significant progress on his barn of a century. Jeremy brought over a Sky-Trak from his work, and my dad borrowed another one from a guy who did some work on the concrete pad. By the end of the weekend, they managed to get about half of the beams up, with most of the perlins attached to said beams. I think when the beams are all up, my dad will have a contractor come in and essentially finish the rest of the building, which, I hope, will take much of the stress off of my dad, who is already strapped for time most days.

5. Not that this counts for much, but I am really disappointed with Oklahoma's weather right now. We had seventy-degree temps with a nice breeze, and I was able to comfortably wear shorts all weekend. Today, I had to wear my winter coat, gloves, and a crocheted head wrap so I didn't freeze. It did rain, so I can't be too upset, because the wheat really needs it, and it has helped dull my allergy problems. Still though, it is generally miserable outside right now. I think it only bugs me because I had the taste of spring and it's temporarily back to winter-like conditions. Supposedly, the warm weather will be back on Thursday or Friday, so I'll hold out a little more hope!

6. Enough about my crummy feelings about the weather...time for good news! Guess what I'm doing tomorrow...I'm enrolling at OSU!!!!!!!!!! Hooray!!! I am super excited for tomorrow, and only hope that I have a great day. I can't wait to actually meet people who I could potentially see in my classes. Maybe I'll make a friend out of the deal...maybe that expectation is too high? Okay, maybe not, but still. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. I guess the crazier part of all of this is that I am a mere two-ish years away from graduation and looking for a "real" job. Woah! CRAZY! Say some prayers with me that tomorrow will be a good day, because I need all the help I can get! :)

I honestly have nothing else to really mention right now (shocker, right?), SO... I'll end it with some pictures of my adorable nephews from this weekend!

Everyone around the table dying Easter eggs

Kyle, showing off his pearly whites!

Wyatt, rocking the snaggle-toothed look I love so much. 

Andy, my blonde boy, looking charming as ever

Emily & Cole, who is hamming it up for the camera! Love that smile!!!
 
Cody, pausing from perfecting his "Golden" egg
Okay, so it's really a random, chaotic, unposed picture, but it shows the progress that has been made on the barn, mostly for posterity's sake.
This could very well be my favorite picture of these boys I have taken to date...loving Cody holding Cole's hand, like the good big brother he is! 
On that note, I hope you all have a fantastic week!