So I was a Tri Delt in college.  Delta Delta Delta.... for a little while at least.  Anyway, every sorority in college has a mascot.  Ours was a dolphin.  In fact, we had a dolphin tank in the basement ;)

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this.

Well, my best friend Ashley was a Chi Omega and my other best friend Christi was a Kappa Kappa Gamma.  Yep, we made up the 3 houses at the top of the hill, all right next to each other yet all completely different.  That's kind of how our friendship goes though...

So Chi Omega's mascot was the owl.  EVERYONE knows that Chi O's are owls.  They take total pride in being owls.  Everything they own has an owl on it.

Well, Kappa's mascot is also an owl.  And a flour de lies.  AND a golden key.

You'd think they could just pick one. (I mean if I was a Kappa, I'd choose the flour de leis)

Well, so I've always wondered if it bothered the Chi O's that Kappas were owls too.  I mean, we all know that the OWL is Chi Omega territory.  Just walk into Ashley's house/go shopping with her.  She's very partial to owls.

So answer my question for me, would you be offended if another sorority was using your mascot?

(I know that for most who read my blog, this post is incredibly petty/childish.  BUT it really is something I've always wondered about).


Cut off

Tressa and I were discussing earlier today about how hard it's going to be next September, having been finally cut -off from the financial stability our parents have provided us for so long (ok, probably a bit TOO long, but hey we're not complaining).

Here are our top 5 ways to save money next year (obviously some of these we're not totally serious on)

1.  Do without cable.  Ours is $135.00 every month.  Redic, I know.  We have cable boxes and DVR in every bedroom, plus all the movie channels.  Pretty sure we can both do without this.  I mean, you can watch everything on your computer now anyways, so why not just invest in one of those little cords to hook the computer up to the tv?  Sounds like a plan to me!

2.  Join a gym and take showers there.  That will cut down on both water and electricity!

3.  Leave the oven door open after you've cooked something.  INSTANT space heater!  (Confession:  I actually already do this because I'm so dang cold natured)

4.  Stock up on fans in the summer and space heaters in the winter.  Who cares if your home is a fire hazard, we're saving money here!

5.  Only run the dishwasher/do laundry when it's absolutely necessary.

When all else fails, call home and explain how unreasonable it is that you're being cut-off at 23 years of age when your other siblings managed to string along far longer than that.  Explain that sometimes being responsible is so overrated and you would like to postpone entering the real-world until you have a better grasp on your financial stability, which obviously they could help you reach by simply taking over a couple of bills.  After all, it would reduce stress and prevent premature aging.  Do they really want their daughter looking that a tired 40 year old in her mid-twenties?  I think not.

Joking, of course ;)


Television with Value

This makes me sound really old, but I'm often disgusted when I watch tv.  I mean, seriously, there's so much trash out there!  I've had so many conversations with my girlfriends about how we're probably not going to let our kids even watch tv when they grow up if it's anything like today's programing.  I'll admit, I get my fair share of viewing shows like Teen Mom, Gossip Girl, The Bachelor, and many others.  I like to think that most of the programing doesn't have much affect on me though, I'm old enough that what I believe I've stood by for a long time.  I'm not as impressionable as I was as a teenage girl.  

I couldn't imagine being a teenage girl now though.  It seems like every show promotes sex, drinking, and a materialistic lifestyle.  It makes sex before marriage seem like no big deal.  Drinking?  Well that's at EVERY party (mind you, when I was in high school you had to LOOK for parties that had alcohol).  And material things?  Girls no longer are happy with receiving a car at their 16th birthday.  They are convinced they need to top of the line BMW complete with a huge 16 birthday bash at the nearest four seasons.  

I'm not trying to get down on young girls.  They're my favorite age group!  I'm just saying I would hate to grow up in their generation.  At least when I was in high school, it was still the popular thing to wear a purity ring.  They face so much temptation now days, so much pressure to grow up WAY before their time.  In fact, I saw on the news the other day that Walmart now has a Tween makeup line for girls ages 8-12.  8 year olds wear makeup??  Really?

Oh... I digress.

I recently discovered my tv has On Demand.  (I know, I'm a little behind the times)  So I was flipping through all the free programing offered to me, I came across the show "Make It or Break It".  You know..the gymnastics show on ABC Family.  Well, being bored I decided to watch an episode.  I couldn't believe it!  It was so good and.... get this... HAD MORAL VALUE!!!  

And the heavens opened up....

Seriously, every episode has a little moral lesson mixed into a great story line dealing with pressures and situations teenagers face everyday.  I'm beginning to have a renewed hope in tv programming.  

I just might let my kids watch tv after all!

So, if you have any teenagers/preteens in your life...steer them towards the good television and away from the bad.  But if they MUST watch the bad (Who Doesn't love the Bachelor?), then have conversations about how most shows don't represent real life.  

And then, pray.  Pray for the next generation coming up, because they are under a tidal wave of pressures that we've never had to deal with.  Pray that somehow they will manage to ride through their teenage years without compromising the things that matter most.  Pray they will still seek Jesus, even if "See You At The Pole" isn't where the 'cool' people go anymore.



I'm the person that comes inches close to tragedy without experiencing it myself.  Does that make any sense?  I have WAY too many close calls on the interstate, I've broken my back yet wasn't permanently injured, I slip and fall on a daily basis yet sustain mostly minimal injuries, I don't think rationally yet have never been in a dangerous situation.  I'm the girl who gives homeless guys rides (not smart I know, I promise I've stopped doing this).  Friends of friends have passed away unexpectedly, yet I still have all of my childhood friends.  My family has had health scares, but we've overcome them all.

I've been incredibly lucky so far.  I also know though, that being a teacher I will experience tragedy, and frankly I don't know how to handle it.

I started thinking about this yesterday when a precious boy in a town closed to mine was killed in an accident on an elementary playground.  It broke my heart, and I thought about all the teachers at that school.  About what they must be going through.  How do you tell a classroom full of 9 year olds their friend won't be in class anymore?  How do you ease their pain?  Help them make sense of what they are feeling?

I remember several instances in junior high and high school of teenagers losing their lives way too early--from car accidents, suicide, illness... Every year there would be several pages of the yearbook dedicated to these young lives, moments of silence and roses at graduation ceremonies.  Graduation ceremonies missing students.

I know that undoubtedly the next time this happens, I will most likely know the student.  Have taught the student.  How will I deal with that?  How will I comfort my students, comfort myself.  Make sense out of the confusion the world sometimes offers us.  How do I point them to God in a time where they need it most, without pushing religion on them?



Ever since I was little, I've always felt like I've lived for a bigger purpose.  I know that believing in God, you DO live for a bigger purpose, but this isn't what I'm talking about.  I truly feel that things affect me more deeply than they do others, and I feel that I'm supposed to make a difference in the world.  That it is my calling, no matter how small of a difference.

The same things don't make me happy that make others happy.  Materialistic things don't make me happy.  Sure, I have nice things, and I won't deny that I've been very blessed.  But, overall, those things don't make me happy.  In fact, a lot of times they make me feel embarrassed.  I HATE it when my students ask me where my clothes come from, or see what type of car I drive. I don't want them ever to think that they need these types of things in order to succeed in life.  To me, success isn't about how much money you make, what type of car you drive, or what neighborhood you live in.

 I have incredible friendships, and I'm very content in having a handful of close girlfriends.  I'm not the kind of girl that needs to walk into the restaurant and know everyone.  I also don't need to be surrounded by people at all times, in fact, I need alone time to survive.  Time to read, to think, to analyze.  To pray.

Relationships have never fulfilled me.  Yes, I love being in love (who doesn't), but I'm not the girl who can put everything I have into a man.  I just can't.  Men typically try to change me.  It's not their fault, but I think sometimes they think that I don't know what I want; if they just create another version of myself, then I'll be content with just being their girlfriend.    I do know what I want, know who I am... it's just hard to put into words sometimes.

I have this yearning, this longing to do big things, in my little corner of the world.

Ordinary events affect me much deeper than they do my friends, my acquaintances.  Compassion in one of my spiritual gifts, and sometimes I wish it wasn't .  Anytime I hear of anything sad or tragic, I'm completely broken.  It's like I'm going through the event myself.  I've cried, sobbed countless times for people I've never met, for situations, circumstances.  Anytime one of my friends deals with the loss of a loved one, a broken heart, or shattered dreams; it's as if my world stops.  I can't stop thinking of them, thinking of ways to help them, ways to lessen their load.

This is how I know that I'm different from most.

I've always had dreams for my future, but my dreams revolve around other people.  Doing something for someone, anyone.  Making a difference in a life.  Creating change.

This is why I decided to become a teacher, and it is the single most fulfilling job I could have chosen for myself.  Yet, even though I have arrived at the beginning of a lifelong profession of changing lives.  I am still not content.  I still see bigger, better things for me to do.  I want to truly make a difference, I want to impact lives, I want to travel and see the world through God's eyes.  See people as He sees them.  Love as He loves.

I've always felt guilty for not feeling the call towards overseas missions.  Yet, now I realize that I have perhaps the largest mission field.  I have 150 new students each year, whom, Lord willing, I can make a difference to.

So even though I'm not sure where I'm going, and often the ride is bumpy and sporadic; stained with sweat and tears.... come along for the ride.

Reading List Revisited

It's no lie that I read a LOT.  I would much rather read a book than watch t.v.  Since I read so much, I go through at least one book a week.  So here's my new list!

Water For Elephants- This is an amazing story to read.  Such a good way to just escape the evening and curl up with a good book.  I loved it!

The Saber-Tooth Curriculum-  You probably shouldn't read this if you're not in the field of Education.  But if you are, then it's a must read.  It's incredibly sarcastic and witty, and ironically still applicable today, 50 years after it was first written.

I just started reading this, and I already LOVE it.  It's so unbelievably inspirational, seriously I want to jump on the next plane and go build schools in Pakistan with Greg now!  It makes me think of the Middle Eastern culture in a complete new light, and about what our part as Americans should be.  

This is the sequel to "Three Cups of Tea" and so I figured I might as well put in on my list, since I love the first so much already.

Ok, I love Pioneer Woman ya'll.  Seriously... If I knew where she lived I would probably stalk her local grocery store just so I could "casually" run into her.  If you've never been to her website before, go there right now!  She has the most amazing recipes on there, and every single one of them is super easy to make.  I cook her stuff all. the. time.  
So she married a cowboy, and a while ago she posted her "love story" on her website in segments.  I read most of it, but I hate reading stuff on the computer.  Well, problem solved!  Her love story is going to be in novel form in February!  You can bet I'm pre-ordering.  I'm going to go ahead and say that you should too, you won't be sorry!


Monday Mantras

I got these from a blog that I read regularly.  It's great, find it HERE.

Monday Morning Mantras

The more productive I am, the luckier I will become.

Laughing, Crying, Joy and Anger--All are vital, all make me human.

I can help myself by helping those around me.

No matter how small, I will celebrate my successes today.

Life is short and people are not perfect.  I will forgive myself, I will forgive others.

I will not waste my time on jealousy.  I'm in competition with one person, and one person only.  I'm competing to be the best I can be.



Today was the second Sunday that our church, Crosschurch, has opened it's Fayetteville location.  Today there was standing room only.  What a testament to God.  I couldn't believe it when I walked in the doors, and struggled to find a seat.  Growing up in a Baptist church, I can't deny the power there is in full-submersion Baptism.  I know that there are a lot of different opinions about baptism, but it brings tears to my eyes every Sunday to see people baptized.  It makes me feel like I'm at home.  I loved walking into Crosschurch today seeing people from all different cultures, all different walks of life, praising our Lord.  To me, that is what a church should be like.

So if you know me, then you know that music plays a huge part in my life.  I can name a song that describes every chapter of my life, I'm deeply affected by lyrics.  Music can also be a huge struggle for me.  Certain types of music can put me in the wrong mindset--a selfish one instead of a selfless one.  My roommate and I try to keep each other accountable to the types of music we spend the majority of our time listening to.  KLOVE is a constant on our radios in our cars.  I can totally tell a difference in my relationship with God when I'm listening to Christian music.  I know that music doesn't affect some people as deeply as it does me, but through music is one of the ways Satan tries to get to me, and coincidentally the way God gets through to me.  

In light of that , I thought I would post some of my favorite songs right now that put me in the right mindset:

Top of the list is:  How He Loves, by David Crowder.  I listen to this song probably 5 times a day.  It's like a band-aid to my heart.  Will probably be played at my wedding, love this song that much.

American Dream, Casting Crowns.  The 1st casting crowns c.d immediately brings me back to my sophomore year of high school, yet is so applicable today.  American Dream reminds me of what is important in life, and what's not.

Lead Me, Sanctus Real.  This is the prayer that I hope is on my future husband's heart.

I'm Letting Go, Francesca Battistelli.  This reminds me of all the petty things, and the big things that ultimately I don't have control over.

What are your favorite songs that I can add to my playlist?


It's OK to...

Hey it's OK to...

Wear the same outfit 3 days in a row because it's warm and you haven't done anything for the past 3 days anyway.

Workout extra long just so you can have that extra cookie.

Absolutely appall the idea of stepping into a tanning bed because it's too cold to take your clothes off.
Pale is the new dark anyway.

Stay in on a Friday night simply because you don't feel like putting makeup on.

Go to bed at 10 pm and still sleep past 10 am

Think being a grown-up is way overrated, but still enjoy wearing "work clothes".

To make less money that it took to pay for your college education.


Decorating Inspiration

It's no lie that I love to decorate.  Blame it on growing up in a home where my parents constantly rearranged our furniture on a monthly basis, and I was allowed absolute creative design of any bedroom I ever had.  I enjoy decorating so much more now that I have my own apartment which I can experiment with on a daily basis.  Through in a roommate who works at quite possibly the greatest decorating store in Northwest Arkansas, Riffraff, and our apartment is never lacking in decor.  In fact, we are known to put decorations in the trunks of our cars when we grow tired of them and have nothing else to store them in.

I'm not shy to use tons of color and patterns in our apartment, and my roommate has a love of words.  I'll save a peak at our decorating style for a later post, since currently our apartment is in shambles due to a sick roommate, and an emergency trip to the E.R in the early hours of the morning.  For now, I'll let you in on some of my inspiration that stays in a little folder on my computer.

I love raise bars and islands.  Our raised bar in our apartment is one of my favorite things.  It's a great place to sit and talk while one of use is cooking dinner, or working on schoolwork, or even blogging :)
I also love, love see through cabinetry.  Of course, I should probably never have them since my own cabinets stay quite messy, but they would be great for someone who is super organized, like my friend Christi!

I adore white furniture and white walls.  When paired together, they create an element of cleanliness and modernity.  The base of the table adds a rustic element, which is in stark contrast to the contemporary design of the chandelier.  Throw in some aqua accents, such as the picture and the vase of the table, and you have a very simple, yet put together dining area.

This kitchen screams my name.  I love the varying patterns that all correlate to each other, along with the different colors of wood.  I've always wanted a breakfast nook that has a bench.  This kitchen allows for lots of seating to be sure that the kitchen is the heart of the home.

How I love this armoire.  It's very modern, yet the design is very antique.  I love the matching lamps and bright yellow to add a splash of color.  This would look great in an entryway or hallway.

I imagine this little seating nook in a master bedroom.  A perfect place to read, or have a quiet time.  

I adore this kitchen.  It has a very European feel.  I love the sunken stove/oven area.  The island is large enough to have plenty of space for preparing food, and I love the open shelves in the background which house a variety of cookware.  I think a shelf for hanging copper pots and pans would make a perfect finishing touch to this kitchen.

A Trip to the Hospital

My precious roommate, Tressa, has been really sick for the past 3 weeks.  She has been scaring us because we haven't been able to figure out just what was wrong with her.  Last night, I woke up at 1am to my phone vibrating.  This was totally a God thing because normally I won't even hear my phone ring when I'm asleep.  I answered it, and it was Tressa, crying in the other room.  I ran into her room to experience her having a series of mini seizures.  Scared both of us to death.  I went outside in the snow to attempt to get the snow and ice off my car so I could drive her to the hospital.  It was a scary drive in the ice with Tressa trying to control her pain.  Her boyfriend, Ben, is a doctor and he met us there.
Several hours later, Tressa is home with a passed kidney stone and lots and lots of painkillers and antibiotics. I get to play nurse Jen, and take care of my sick roommate while we cuddle up with blankets and watch movies.
Praise the Lord that hopefully Tressa is on the road towards healing now, and the worst is behind her!


Dear Our Parents

I loved this.  I thought you would too-minus the drugs part that is.

Dear our parents,

Hi parents. How are you? We hope you’re doing good. It was nice to see you over this year’s holidays. We love home cooking. We were thrilled to hear that you still think we’re great, that you’re proud of us “no matter what,” that you think we’ll get what we want because you know that when we put our mind to something, we can do anything. We hope you continue to feel that way.

We know that we’re not making much money, and that this might disappoint you, despite the fact that you’d never say it. We know that you know that when we say we’re freelancers, it really just means we’re mostly unemployed. That when we say we have an internship, it really just means we’re groveling at someone’s feet for an imaginary job where the pay is half in real estate advice and half in a number of “connections” who will open doors for more promising internships. Internships that pay $500 stipends after a 20-hour a week six month “trial period.” And we know this wasn’t what you were expecting. And we’re writing, among other reasons, to say sorry for that.

We’re also writing to say sorry that we’ve been completely and shamefully reckless with Facebook and Twitter over the past couple of years. We’re sorry that we let you discover these completely new and strange sides of us that we were developing this whole time without your knowledge. We’re sorry you had to get this information from the internet, rather than directly from us. Please don’t take it personally. It just somehow felt like the entire internet understood our problems more than you. Or maybe it wasn’t even like that. We can’t explain it.

We hope we haven’t hurt you. And we know we usually don’t write long letters like this – we’re really consumed with ourselves – and that you’d rather talk about this face-to-face, but it’s just more comfortable over email. It always has been.

Anyways, we have some questions. We guess we’ll start when we were born. It was in the middle of the 1980s and we lived in the suburbs, and you were in your 20’s. Can you remind us again why you were in your 20’s? Why did you decide to have us then? Because we’re in our 20’s now and when we think of ‘owning’ a child, we also think ‘no.’ It wouldn’t make any sense – we have things to do. People with whom to have sex. Drugs to consume. Countries to travel. Existential crises to drive us into depression. A job that pays over $20,000 a year with benefits to find. Expectations to realize unrealistic.

Which leads us to our next question. How did you guys have enough money to raise us? To eat out at Bennigan’s and all-you-can-eat buffets and Pizza Hut and Marie Calendars and variously-named steakhouses on a weekly basis? To buy a car? To go to freaking Disneyland. We mean – we’re pretty capable individuals. No offense, but it seems like we’re even much more savvy than you – that our skill sets are so much more relevant in today’s world. But we’re unemployed or baristas or dog walkers. We’re making like $10 an hour.

We really wonder what you think of us now. You with your things called Pensions and Retirement Plans and 401ks. These things that guarantee you money for the rest of your life. The retirement homes you’ve already purchased in Florida. The boats you have to go with them. The gated communities in Washington State. Every suburban mansion with central heating and a view of the ocean in San Diego. A dog. A barbecue. Furniture bought new. Basic medical insurance.

We don’t mean to harp on you. We don’t mean to imply anything negative about you. We love you. Your lives just seem really foreign. You work at the offices of companies that sell logistics technology, that sell the component parts of golf clubs, that sell mortgages. Totally esoteric companies that seem at a vast distance of abstraction from our day-to-day lives that we have no idea how they’re worth any money at all.

We should get together soon. Maybe you can come to our cities. You probably can’t stay at our place (would be sort of cramped) and you’d have to get a hotel, but we want you to tell us how to do what you’re doing. Getting all that money. Don’t tell us that it’s okay that we have no prospects – that we’re just living the “minimal” lifestyle. Don’t say that you’re like us; that you know how to live the “minimal” lifestyle too. You have a freaking car.

But that’s okay. We’re definitely not vindictive about your success. We only thought it would be different when we grew up and we’re worried that we haven’t met your expectations. We have this feeling of dread about the future, this feeling that our world’s not going to turn out like yours did. Can you help at all?

How’s next month? Or Mother’s Day? Call us.

Love you,

P.S. Oh yeah, we got rid of our cell phones. We can’t afford cell phone contracts anymore so we’re using the free Google Phone feature on Gmail chat. Don’t call us – we’ll call you sometime this week.

P.S.S Do you like the new signature?  It's a work in progress--the whole html code writing thing I'm working on.

Snow Day Part 2

It's a gorgeous snow day again!  I absolutely love this time of year, I love the excitement my students get when snow is approaching, I love turning on the T.V only to realize the school district I teach in is closed.  I love the peacefulness snow gives, the silence as it creeps to earth.  
Of course, I still woke up at 6 am this morning, but I'm delighting in the fact that I have a whole day with nothing that I have to do.  I'm planning on cooking some yummy soup, baking chocolate cookies that we certainly do not need, and finishing reading "Water for Elephants" (which is a must read, by the way).
And while I'm thinking of what I'm going to do today, I thought I would post some of my goals for the next year, mainly so I'll remember them.  Most of these goals won't get accomplished until the Summer, when I'm off work, but that's ok.

1.  Learn HTML code.  This way I can create blog templates for me and my friends and do all sorts of other cool things.
2.  Learn photoshop.  I have CS5 on my computer, yet have NO clue how to use it.  Photoshop is seriously the most confusing program I've ever used.  Everyone knows I love photography, but I love editing photos even more!
3.  Apply for teaching jobs!  (Ok so I really should get started on this one ASAP)
4.  Read through the Bible.  I'm one of those girls that only likes to read the part of the Bible that applies to the situation I'm in.  So my goal is to read through the entire Bible.


Dang You Autocorrect

Tressa:  What time is yoga?
Me:  Toga's at 6 tonight
Me:  Yoga....  Dang autocorrect

Brian:  Come back
Me:  Already home
Brian:  Donuts 2 feet away
Me:  Donuts? lol
Brian:  That wasn't supposed to say that haha
Me:  Stupid Autocorrect
Brian:  Exactly


Tests, TV, and Miss America

Cross your fingers that I passed both of my tests that I took yesterday!  The first one was the pedagogy.  We had to write a week's worth of lesson plans for a topic we were given, in an hour, plus write two assessments.  It's tough to write all of that in only 60 minutes.  My hand hurt so bad afterwards.  My topic was Nutrition and Digestion, and I think I did really well.  Let's hope, because I really don't want to have to do that again.
My Earth Science test is another story.   That stupid test is so hard.  It really was discouraging to me.  I studied so hard for it, and I wanted to walk out of there confident that I had passed.  I'm not sure if I passed or not though :(   But I know it's all in God's hands now.

Yesterday, I attended a watch party for Miss America at my friend Brittany's house.  It was so much we!  We had a blast cheering on Alyse, and we just KNEW she had it when she was down to the final 2.  We were so let down when she walked away 1st runner-up.  Still, though, 1st runner-up is the best Arkansas has ever done!  I can't believe the girl who won is only 17!  That's amazing!

After the watch party ended, I met up with some of my guy friends who were in town for the weekend.  We went out, and next thing I knew it was WAY too early in the morning.  We had a blast though, and that's all that matters.

I've been paying today for all the stress of the past week, and staying out so late last night.  I've felt horrible all day!  I slept in until 11 this morning, which is practically unheard of for me, and ever since I've just been relaxing on the couch catching up on all my Reality T.V :)  I figure that I deserve a lazy day though since I spent 7 hours testing yesterday!


Supposed To Be

Yesterday I was supposed to be hopping on a plane with my best friend.  Yesterday I was supposed to be heading to Vegas for my first time ever.  Yesterday I was supposed to be sitting at the final Prelim for Miss America.  Tomorrow I was supposed to be at Miss America.  Why you ask then, am I still here in Arkansas?

Well.... because I failed my Earth Science Praxis by one miserable little point.



I was in disgust when I saw it.  First of all, I've never failed anything in my life.  Second of all, because I knew that meant that my plans for Miss America were going to be postponed a year, because now I am having to spend 5 hrs tomorrow in a testing room instead of in a suite in Vegas.

But I DO hope that my best friend and amazing roomie has the time of her life in Vegas cheering on our friend and former fellow competitor, Alyse Eady, and hanging out with some of my most favorite people in the whole world.

And I'm going to pass that stinking test, dangit!



I have a slight obsession with having white teeth.  It probably stems from my years of being a pageant girl, but I just hate it if my teeth aren't super white.  I'm also obsessed with Crest Vivid White toothpaste.  Try it, it's amazing.  So I ran out of toothpaste yesterday, and bought a new tube.  It came with a sample of the new Crest White Strips Professional.  I decided to try them.  I'm no newcomer to white strips, but I normally have really bad experiences with them.  Like, they KILL my teeth after having them on for 5 minutes.  I put these on last night and they were awesome (or so I thought).  They didn't hurt at all and stayed put the entire 30 minutes I wore them.  Yes, 30 minutes.  Can you tell where this story is going?  I was pretty proud for getting through the entire 30 minutes without pain and thought that I had found my new love.  Went to bed, yadda yadda.
Woke up in the middle of the night in intense pain.  I'm telling you it was intense!  I seriously thought that my teeth were going to fall out.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  Hurt so bad.  Hurt so much that I couldn't sleep the rest of the night.  Ow.  I could barely brush my teeth this morning without crying they hurt so bad.  
So off I go to school.  The slightest amount of air on my teeth is excruciating, they are that sensitive right now.  It wasn't fun having to teach/talk all day without smiling (which if you know me, is hard).  I'm sure I looked pretty silly.  
So that's my stupid story.  Don't use the white strips.  They're horrible.  My teeth are still hurting regardless of how many tylenol I've popped all day.

On another note, my roommate and I volunteered to distribute flyers for our church's new campus in Fayetteville tonight.  Well it sounded all fine and dandy until we realized that today is the coldest day all year.  Brr... We are going to freeze our little booty's off.  We have to do 55 houses too, so think of us tonight while you're in your warm and cozy houses :)

And so I should also do a plug for our church!  The first service in Fayetteville is THIS SUNDAY at 9:15 and 10:55 so if you don't go to church anywhere else you should come hang out with us!  Lots of fun!  

Finally,  celebrate with me because I finally finished both my IRB proposal and my application for the Knowles Science Teaching Fellowships!  This is a HUGE stress relief and now all I have to do is sit and wait :)  I'm getting pretty good at that.


Snow Day, Finally

I wanted to have a snow day so badly on Monday.  Sunday evening I was studying with my friend Brittany, (who I also teach with) and we were so excited when we walked outside and realized it was snowing.  I was really hoping to have a snow day on Monday because I had so much work that I needed to get done, and a day off would be the perfect opportunity to get it all done.  Well, Monday morning came and although there was snow all around, Springdale schools weren't closed.  Fayetteville schools were, but Springdale... Nope.  So off to school I went, slipping and sliding everywhere.  Including busting my butt in the parking lot while walking in to school... fun.  
But the day ended up being great.  I rearranged my lessons a little bit so my students would have somewhat of an easy day, and I was able to finish my IRB proposal.  
God always knows what's best, and He knew that I didn't need a day to work, but simply a day to rest.  I finished all my work last night, and woke up this morning to snowy streets and no school! All of us in the MAT program are hoping for lots of snow days because we don't have to make them up at the end of the year!
So, muffins are in the oven.  The roommate is asleep on the sofa.  The bachelor is playing in the background, and I plan on doing nothing today but catching up on my guilty pleasures.
Happy Snow Day!  



I found this here who got it from here.  But I just thought I'd repost it for you HERE.  Follow me?  Good.

Some of this is a little over the top, but.. oh you'll see.

How to be a 20-Something
DEC. 13, 2010 By RYAN O'CONNELL  
Be really attractive. Your acne is gone, your face has matured without having wrinkles and everything on your body is lifted naturally. Eat bagels seven days a week, binge-drink and do drugs: you’ll still look like a babe. When you turn thirty, it’ll become a different story but that’s, like, not for a really long time.

Reestablish a relationship with your parents. You don’t live with them anymore (hopefully) so start to appreciate them as human beings with thoughts, flaws and feelings rather than soulless life ruiners who won’t let you borrow their car.

Go from eating delicious food at your parents’ house to eating Ragu tomato sauce over Barilla noodles. Develop an eating disorder to save money.

Move into an apartment on the corner of Overpriced and Dangerous. Sleep on a bare mattress with an Ikea comforter. Your mother talks to you about buying a top sheet and a duvet cover but feel like you’re not mature enough to own something called “duvet.”

“Date people who you know you’ll never be able to love.”
Read the New York Times piece, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” Feel exposed and humiliated. Share it on your Facebook with the caption: “Um….” Your friends will comment “Too real” and that will be the end of that.

Work at a coffee shop but feel hopeful about your career in advertising, writing, whatever. Remember that you’re young and that the world is your oyster. Everything is possible, you still have so much to see and hear. You went to a good school and did good things. Figure if you’re not going to be successful, who the hell is?

Date people who you know you'll never be able to love. See someone for three months for no other reason than because it’s winter and you want to keep warm by holding another body. Date a Republican just so you can say you dated a Republican.

Eventually all these nobodies will make you crave a somebody. Have a real relationship with someone. Go on vacations together, exchange house keys, cry in their arms after a demoralizing day at work. Think about marrying them and maybe even get engaged. Regardless of the outcome, feel proud of yourself for being able to love someone in a healthy way.

Start your twenties with a lot of friends and leave with a few good ones. What happened? People faded away into their careers and relationships. Fights were had and never resolved. Shit happens.

Think of yourself at twenty and hanging out with people who didn’t mean a thing to you. Think about writing papers, about being promiscuous, about trying new things. Think of yourself now and your face looking different and your body feeling different and how everything is just different.

Form the habits that will stick with you forever. Drink your coffee with two sugars and skim milk every morning. Buy a magazine every Friday. Enjoy spending money on candles, smoke pot on Saturdays, watch the television before bed.

Move into a bigger apartment on the corner of Mature and Gentrification and finally buy a duvet cover. Limit your drug-use. If you find yourself unable to do so, start to wonder if you have a problem.

Have your parents come to your place for Christmas. Set the table, make the ham, wear a sophisticated outfit, This will all mean so much at the time.

Think about having children when you stop acting like a child. This may not ever happen.

Maybe this is assuming too much. Maybe this is generalizing. Maybe society uses age as an unrealistic marker for growth. Maybe. Still feel the anxiety on your 30th birthday and think to yourself, “Oh shit, I’m no longer a 20-something.”

Note from Jen:  So it's probably not a good idea to do drugs, or smoke pot. Ok?  

Life's Love

I have been surrounded by incredible relationships my entire life.  In my mind, my parents have the greatest marriage on Earth.  I hope to one day, have a marriage that even slightly resembles theirs.  I think this is why most would say that I have incredibly high standards and expectations in relationships, I don't just want to settle for an ordinary love.
My mom often says that my dad is her life's love.  He's the love of her life.  My mom was married and divorced before she met my dad.  She understands what's it like to be with the wrong person.  I feel as though she has taught me so much about the importance of finding your "life's love".  About not just settling for what comes along.
My dad is the most amazing man.  He completely spoils me with love and attention, and I understand that it makes dating me extremely hard.  I realize though, that I would rather wait the next 10 years for the love of my life to come along, than settle and end up in a loveless marriage.  My greatest fear is to wake up one day, years down the road and realize that I made an incredible mistake.
Plus, by waiting.... I still get to dream.


2 Years

Do you have a day when you know that you're life irreversibly changed, never to return to where it was previously?

I do.

Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of my accident.  Sometimes it seems like it's been longer than 2 years.  Some nights I lay in bed and can still remember the pain.  I remember some pieces of it vividly, yet some pieces I can't remember at all.  Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful.

Although I've made references to it, I've never written on here about all the details of my accident and God's hand in all the pieces since then.  I can't promise that I'll get through this without a few tears, but I can promise that I will be sincere and honest, and incredibly transparent.   In the hopes that maybe, it might help someone who feels as though they are suddenly thrown into "Plan B".

January 8th, 2009.  I had went on a winter vacation with my boyfriend at the time, and his amazing family. They were like a second family to me, and all of the girls were extremely close.  I was so excited for this trip because I immensely enjoyed just spending time with everyone.  It was a Thursday morning, and we were all out on the slopes enjoying our last day of skiing before we were to head back on Saturday.  I wouldn't say that I'm an avid skier, but I've been enough times before to be decent at it.  We had met up with some friends who were staying at the same resort as us, and began to ski through several slopes in order to arrive at a different mountain.  During one of the runs, my ski hit a patch of ice sending me skidding, and then tumbling down the mountain.  I don't remember falling, I just remember slowly coming to a stop and yelling at the top of my lungs "My leg, my leg, my leg".  I wouldn't look at it, but I just knew it was broken.  I've broken enough bones before to know what THAT feels like.  We were on the mountain for about an hour and a half before EMT could reach us.  At the top of the mountain they went ahead and administered an I.V with pain medicine before attempting to transport me down the mountain.  We arrived at the hospital at the base of the mountain, and I remember joking that I was being all dramatic and I probably only had a sprained ankle.  It wasn't exactly so simple.  My leg was broken in 5 places and I needed emergency surgery to place an external fixator on it.  I immediately started bawling.  An external fixator has always been my worst nightmare, seriously.  I was taken to an Orthopedic Hospital outside of Denver and I had surgery late that night.  By then, it was too late for my parents to catch a flight out to Colorado to make it in time for my surgery.  I woke up from surgery late that night.  I honestly wasn't in that much pain then because I was on so many painkillers.  We flew home that Saturday.  My mom broke down when she saw me in the airport, I could only imagine how she much of felt knowing everything I was going through and not being able to be there with me.  I had the external fixator on my leg for a week.  It was incredibly painful.  Every move I made hurt, like it was shifting my bones.  I had my next surgery a week later to piece my leg back together with pins, screws, and plates.  I woke up from that surgery in intense pain.  The worst pain I have ever felt in my life.  My boyfriend then, had to leave to return to school in Fayetteville.  I remember feeling so incredibly alone, scared, and just so sick.  He was my constant companion, and up until that point he had been by my side through everything.

After a week in the hospital I returned home.  At first I was in good spirits at getting better and returning to normal activities.  When I realized that it would be a slow, painful recovery, my hope diminished.  Soon my mom had to return to work, and I was left by myself for most of the day.  I wouldn't say I was depressed during that time, because I would never want to compare what I went through to the horrible thing that depression is.  I can say that I was very very sad, and felt very much alone.

At a time when I should have drawn close to the Lord, I withdrew from Him.  I wasn't mad at God, but I didn't feel his presence.  I withdrew from friends, and placed incredible expectations on my boyfriend.  Expectations that only God could fill.

Going through an illness or an injury with a significant other is extremely difficult.  It was impossible for my boyfriend to understand how I felt, though I desperately wanted him to.  I felt so left behind.  He was able to continue with his life, without me, while I was just stuck in "pause".

After 6 months I was able to walk again, and I went through over a year of intensive Physical Therapy.  I returned home to Fayetteville to continue with school and hopefully "pick up where I left off".  Although we tried, my boyfriend and I were at completely different places in our lives.  I'll never deny or doubt the love that we had for each other, but it wasn't enough to salvage the pieces that our relationship was in.  Several months after I returned to Fayetteville, we said goodbye and went our separate ways.  Both heartbroken.

I truly believe that heartache manifests itself differently in guys and girls.  He soon after found love with someone else.  I didn't.  I truly believe that I needed to feel every bit of pain that was caused by the ending of the relationship, of all my hopes and dreams for the future.

MY hopes.  MY dreams.

Not God's.

That's what I learned.  Through everything.  That my hopes and dreams don't always align with God's.  He had such a bigger plan for me, than I had for myself.  He literally had to break me, before he could build me back up.

My senior year of college was the most painful, yet most incredible year of my life.  I met people that I never would have met had God not interceded.  I had amazing women mentors, women who prayed with me, cried with me, rejoiced with me.  I built friendships that I had been longing for for years.  I restored friendships that were broken by my own selfishness, and inability to see past the lies that Satan feeds me.  And yet it WAS painful.  I know that most people make heartache seem easy, because that's what we want it to look like.  But it's not.  On the same days that I would have the most incredible time with friends, and feel so amazingly close to God, I would still cry myself to sleep.  Wrestling with the idea that maybe somehow the love story I wanted could work out.

I think that's our problem a lot of the time.  We put commas, where God puts a period.

Eventually though, I got over the hurt and was able to truly find joy and hope.  I no longer found myself wondering "what if" or hoping for things that were already gone.  God had given me new hopes, and dreams, and a future.

Throughout all of this, God taught me to be independent yet still completely dependent on Him.  He taught me the importance of surrounding myself with Godly influences.  He gave me my passions, and built in me a love for Him and His people.  Sometimes I still surprise myself at just how far I have come.
God also provided me with amazing guy friends.  Guys who would call to check on me, never leave me alone on a Saturday night, and remind me that I'm irreplaceable.

Now I can say that I am truly joyful and happy.  I'm at an incredible place in my life.  Yes, I still feel lonely at times, but sometimes loneliness can be a good thing.  As my mom reminded me tonight that it has been 2 years since my accident she told me, "God broke you, so He could make you better."  And I am.

Not a day goes by that I'm not reminded of my accident.  My leg constantly hurts, but the hurt is only a physical manifestation of the healing God has given me.  Sometimes I get angry.  Angry that I can't chase after the little kids that I'm constantly surrounded by, upset that I can't water ski or snow ski anymore.  Irritated when my ankle won't fit into the newest style of shoes, or when I cut myself shaving because I don't have feeling on the front of my leg.  None of that compares to the happiness I have now that I can exercise again, enjoy my freedom again, and enjoy having a relationship with my God that was restored through my brokenness, in every sense of the word.

Most people can't define a specific moment when their life changed, but I can.  My life changed on January 8th, 2009 in Breckenridge, CO and has been evolving ever since.

So although I thought my life turned into "Plan B" I realize that it was God's only plan.

Reading List

It's no lie that I love to read.  I'm literally always reading something, and I'm a fast reader so I fly through books.  All of my girlfriends are avid readers as well, and we are always recommending books to each other.  Here's my new reading list:

This is a required reading for one of my M.A.T classes.  It's actually a compilation of lectures about the educational system.  It's pretty good, but I haven't gotten very far yet.

Elizabeth Gilbert has a way of putting into words feelings that I've had yet didn't know how to explain.  It you liked Eat, Pray, Love (The book, not the movie) then you will love this book.  It's the sequel to Eat, Pray, Love and amazingly wonderful.  It's written in a research format, so at first I wasn't quite sure how much I would like it.  Yet once again, her eloquence with words soaks you in, and keeps you there until your page is full of marks and scribbles of things you want to remember.  Also, it made sense out of marriage to me, in a way that nothing else has.  A must read.

I like to read books that my students are reading so I can stay relevant to them.  A lot of them like this series.  It's about fallen angels, and very similar to Twilight.  It's an easy read, and a great story.

This was recommended to me by my friend Christi.  Christi is a true lover of any and every type of book and when she said that she literally could not put this book down, I knew I should probably read it too.  They are also creating a movie on it with Reese Witherspoon and the guy from "The Notebook".  Since I always like to read the book before I see the movie, I need to read this one!  I haven't started it yet, since I'm in the process of studying for several exams, but once I finish those next weekend I will begin!


For My Sister

The single greatest blessing in my life has been having a sister that is also my best friend.  It is hard to put into words the incredible relationship I have with my sister.  It's having a best friend that you never tire of.  I often feel bad for girls who have never experienced the joy and love of having a sister.  For those girls, I hope someday they have a sister-in-law who will be the sister they never had.
My sister and I were always the best of friends growing up.  The day my Mom told her she would have a little sister, she literally couldn't wait for me to get here so we could play together.  Play we did, all the time.  Barbies, dolls, house, tea parties, we did it all.  We built forts in our rooms, and made up dances and sang karaoke.  It was like having a best friend around 24/7.
As we grew up, we only grew closer.  We never excluded each other.  We always shared everything.  I remember the sadness I felt when I moved off to college and realized that I didn't have two closets to choose from anymore.  She understands me better than anyone else.  We never get on each other's nerves, she's the only person I can be around all day and not tire of.
She has an incredible voice.  It's beautiful.  She always had the voice, and I played the piano.  A perfect duet.
When I competed in pageants, my sister was the ultimate backstage helper.  She knew all the ins and outs of the pageant world.  She was the perfect makeup artist, personal assistant, and supporter.  She was at every.  single. pageant.  Oh, and did I mention that she hates them?  She does.
I always loved the fact that we look so much alike.  It was almost like having a twin.  We sound identical, even our Mom can't tell us apart on the phone.  My sister is the only person who understands what I mean when I say that Mom is driving me crazy (ha, I love you Mom).
Several years ago, we had a scare.  The doctors thought my sister had cancer.  It scared me to death.  Losing her would be like losing a piece of myself.  Thankfully, she didn't and I've never taken that for granted since.
We talk to each other every day.  We send pictures back and forth.  We share recipes, ideas, plans, hopes, dreams.  She's there every time my heart is broken, and I won't date a guy if she doesn't like him.  Now that she has a daughter of her own, the bond we share is incredible.  I love little Heelyn as if she were my very own.
Kyle (My sister's boyfriend) is used to me always being invited to every dinner, concert, or movie night. My sister is the main reason why I'm a bit restless where I'm at now, it's not life without sharing every aspect of it with her.
For those of you who have a sister, be thankful to experience a relationship unlike any other.  Those who do not, it's my hope that you have a friend who is like a sister.  Every girl needs at least one.



I'm blessed because I have the most amazing girlfriends that I can call, anytime of the day and always hear them tell me "I've been there and know exactly how you're feeling".  I know I've said it before, but there was once a time in my life when I didn't have such great girls to consider friends and I'm just thankful to have them!  They're always there to remind me that the grass isn't always greener on the other side, which is what I'm in constant need of reminder.

I was thinking today, actually I've been thinking of this a lot lately.  The thing that I hate the most about ending relationships isn't the heartache, it isn't rejection or hurting someone else, it's simply the loss of a friendship.  I treasure my guy friends.  They can cheer me up like no one else can, and are always there to remind me that "my standards are too high" (ha) or "I might as well just face the fact that I'm going to one day fall in love with one of them" (haha).  It's hard for me to be friends with a guy without them wanting something more, and then if something more doesn't work out I've lost one of my friends.  I HATE this.  Really, I do.  If I could still be friends with all my ex-boyfriends I totally would.  In fact, I am still friends with most of them, but this only comes a long time after we've both gotten over the heartache.  I hate the fact that I lose a friend every time I leave a relationship.  Hate.



I've been slowly but surely working on an application for a teaching fellowship that is due next week.  I've had writers block for the past three weeks.  I work extremely well under stress, which is why I normally procrastinate.  I know it sounds weird, but my creativity always comes out when I'm in a time crunch to finish something.  So, even though I've intended on getting my application in early, it looks as though it's not going to happen.  Oh well...
Today I was assigned a student aid.  Anyone who is a teacher can silently rejoice with me in the fact that I now have an aid.  Hallelujah!
On a different note, I am excited because my roommate is coming home tonight! It's been so long since we've both been in town on the same day, we have a lot to catch up on!
So evidently the people who live above me do not understand the fact that cigarette smoke leaks through the vents.  Ugh.  So every now and then my room (and everything in it) smells like smoke.  I CANNOT STAND SMOKE!  Anyone who knows me understands this little fact.  So right now I have a million candles lit trying to get my room to smell normal again, ugh.  Cigarettes should be outlawed, especially in apartments.
Yesterday, I wore my clothes to school with the tags on them.  Luckily one of my sweet students informed me of this.  It's still embarrassing, yet likely to happen again.
Well, sorry for the rambling, but I'm still having a hard time getting used to being back at school!  My students wear me out!


I love my job.

I asked one of my students what she did for Christmas break, she replied "I was arrested".  This is why I love my job.  Growing up in Suburbia did not prepare me for this.


New Year's Resolutions

What's a new year's post without some new year's resolutions, right?

While thinking about my new year's resolutions, I don't really have that many except to keep on doing exactly what I'm doing.  I plan to continue to enjoy life, and be happy.  Of course I always have a goal of growing closer to the Lord, enjoying the little moments, and growing as a person, but I see those as more of personal goals than resolutions.

So here's to a New Year's without any resolutions!