Friday, August 09, 2013

So that I remember....advice to myself.

For a good belly laugh: watch Kristen Wiig on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Seriously one of the most hilarious episodes ever. The episode was aired on August 15th. For more belly laughs: watch The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. These guys make you laugh so so much. They make your summer breakfast and coffee time much more enjoyable. Darren Criss obsession must stop now. He is younger than you and has a girlfriend. You are no boyfriend stealer. Also he is your chances are.....none. Go to the gym more often. You feel so so so so much better afterwards. Elliplical, bike, walk, just get there. Do not eat such large quantities....or any quantities....of cookie dough. That habit needs to end now too. Kind of like the Darren Criss thing. Find a new treat. Like carrots. Talk on the phone more often and hang out with Liz. She is awesome and a super encouraging friend. Love her. Don't be so hard on yourself. You are doing just fine. Hang in there. Live the life you want to live and stop telling yourself you're not good enough. You have at least five strengths (says Strengths Finder 2.0) so use them! Slow down a little bit. Rushing life will not make it any more enjoyable. Live each moment for what it is. Organize and clean more often. You always feel better when you are done. Put on some music and get to it. Do what you can with what you have been given today. Quit comparing yourself with all the other cool people out there. You are here for this time. Live in it and enjoy this stage....this won't last forever. This advice to yourself should suffice for now. Come back and re-read this every now and then. That's all.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A list.

1) I was in Kylie and Cody's wedding last Saturday. BEAUTIFULLY done, and the bride and groom could not stop smiling all day. Super special day. And yet..I'm not gonna lie...I am feeling more and more like Jane on the movie "27 Dresses," what with all the dresses I have worn in honor of many brides. :) 2) I somehow finished all my grad school work for the summer. It was not a pretty end, I will just say that. Tears, anxiety, a frantic phone call to Megan Z, frantic texts between Whitney and I....oh boy. It's done now, though - no looking back! Now I know what my students must feel some extent...although they get to actually see and talk to me in person...such a joy for them! :) 3) Since I finished that last grad school assignment (a timed 2 hour final, by the way...eww)...naturally I have been sleeping like a champ, catching up on the Colbert Report (how does he make me laugh every time?), and thinking about my classroom. 4) Today I went to the gym - I sometimes forget that the YMCA has an actual "gym" part to it, not just the pool. And sometimes I just don't want to hop in to all that chlorine, okay? Anyway, somehow I got myself a little banged up whilst getting off a machine (bike or elliptical, I think)...and now it appears I have a beautiful bruise adorning my super muscular legs. :) Fun times. Nothing like injuring yourself moving BETWEEN machines, right? 5) Glee. OK, so you all know how crazy I am about this show. Yes, it's been a few years...and I have grown and matured so much :) you would think I would grow out of this phase, or something. Not so. I have been watching this past season's episodes in order for a few days now (don't judge's my summer), and I almost cried a few times. Seriously. A little because of Cory Montieth. I mean, enough said. Don't want to dredge up those sad memories. And a little because I just love this show so much...and I feel bad for the cast! Oh my.....I am a little too involved. Hence the going to the gym today...had to press "Pause" on the ipad and get out of here for an hour...Moving on.... 6) My school gave all of us cool teachers ipads this summer. I am loving it. For the 6 of you who read this blog - what are your favorite apps that I should be downloading (for free, obviously)? Reminder: SCHOOL issued ipad. Yes. 7) I went to Colorado (sorry, out of order here...) and had. a. blast. The Kleinsasser family is one of the best, in my opinion. Just. The. Best. Oh, we just have fun together. Colorado is not to shabby of a location, either. I found myself thinking, "What schools might have openings here...?" Then I remembered SNOW, and thought, "Oh yeah. Cali it is." ha ha ha ha. Reunion highlights: driving in the rental car with my sibs, sharing a hotel room with the one and only Heidi Cole, running up to Zack, giving a big hug and saying, "You're having a girl!" (meaning, his WIFE is having a baby December...), a jeep ride through some small towns, window shopping with H, RAFTING (fear = conquered), having a crush on the raft guides (2 of the 3 I met, anyway. One is engaged. The other...well, he lives in TOURNAMENT = no big deal, I was on the team that made it to the semi-finals. Yeah, like I said, no big deal (thanks, cousin Mike!) Sunday morning church = I was bawling and tears were streaming down my face...oh man...Joel can PREACH, I am telling you! Oh dear...and I almost forgot! Heidi and I were the one and only talent show performers......we rocked it, naturally. And there is a semi-embarrassing video to document it all. Me and my silly dance moves....shoot. 8) "Strengths Finder 2.0". Have you heard of this? Have you taken the test and discovered YOUR strengths? My pal Kelly told me last year that I needed to buy this book and take the test online to see where my strengths lie - since it was obvious that CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT was not one of them. I guess she thought she'd encourage me to find some others...ha ha ha! So, I took the test - laughed out loud during the test - because some of the situations they make you choose from are SO ME, and some of the situations I was like "Um...both?" but you can't pick both. Take it for yourself - you will understand what I mean. are sitting on the edge of your seat as you read this wondering what my top 5 are, aren't you?? Just admit it, you are. Ha. OK...drum roll please.... 1) Empathy. 2) Woo. 3) Positivity.. 4) Communication. 5) Developer. So - I am spending some time reading through what that all means for me...and I had to laugh out loud, again, when I read the initial thoughts on these - because they are so dead on. Oh times over here. Thanks for the suggestion, Kelly! Well, I gotta go to bed ( another episode of Glee...? no! I am off to bed, for real!)so I hope this list finds you well. I just wanted to document a few of the happenings here in my little life. Oh, I almost forgot: a high school (elementary/middle/high school) friend Sara had a baby girl today (or was it yesterday? With so many Glee episodes my head is kind of spinning...)Anyway, the exciting thing is that she had a baby girl and named her....ELLISON! I mean....that is just too cute...and so so so close to my name that it is the best name ever. So yay for Sara, Conrad, and Ellison. Welcome to the world. Once you know how to read, you can check out my blog. :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Bless the LORD, o my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name."

This morning I awoke grateful. My heart is full. My soul has been restored, in small ways. For the last 33 years or so, I have taken for granted the fact that my family chooses to gather once every 3 years. Not only do I get to see my immediate family (this year it was just the "Original Six" as I like to call sister in-laws, brother in-laws, nieces, or nephews), but I also get to see COUSINS. First cousins, second cousins, third...who knows...they are all just cousins to me! I don't know what you do during your family reunions, but as I was telling a few stories of my reunion to my gracious friend who picked me up at the airport yesterday, I was struck by the fact that our family does not "mess around" so to speak. We go all in. We get t-shirts. We get tote bags. We create cookbooks. We have slideshows. We have a Rook tournament (you are looking at (theoretically) the girl who lost in the last game of the big deal). We have family pictures. We have talent shows (which, ironically, only my sis and I took to we were the winners of the show...and also the only contestants.) And at the end of it all, we have a church service to honor the One who has brought us together as a family. One year my cousin Mike led the church service. One year I played guitar so we could sing a few hymns. This year my brother Joel led the service, because, in his words, "When you have been touched by the grace of God, you have something to share." (or something like that....) Joel shared that when his wife Lora gives his son Beto a treat during Tea Time every afternoon, Beto turns to Lora and says, "Thank you," in his sweet almost-2-year-old voice. Lora mentioned to Joel once that she just loves giving to Beto, because she loves to hear him say "Thank you." "Isn't that just like our Heavenly Father?" Joel asked us in the service. He read the story of the 10 healed men in Luke 17, in which these 10 lepers were on the outskirts of society, marginalized, and in need. Jesus is coming into town, and the men cry out to him, saying "Heal us!" Jesus has compassion and heals the 10 men of their disease. After being healed, only 1 of the men comes back to say "Thank you, Jesus!" Jesus asks the man, "Weren't there 10 of you? Where are the other 9?" Kind of like, "Why aren't the other guys saying thank you, too?" That day, the one who came back to thank Jesus was said to be "made whole." Joel led us in an activity he so teacherly called, "Think, Pair, Share," in which we thought for a moment about that which we were thankful over the last 3 days of the reunion, last month, and last year. Then we turned to someone and shared with them. After sharing with a partner, that person listening would respond, "Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever." Joel asked for volunteers to share their moments of gratitude with the whole group. A few shared - cousins of mine, and my sister too. It was such a special time. I can just imagine God looking at our family and smiling at that moment - saying, "Yes. You came back to say 'thank you' to me!" As I was wiping away my streams of tears, Joel calls me up front to help him lead a song in Spanish. I stumbled up front and promptly replied, "I forgot the words." Classic. :) Fortunately, the song is short, but powerful. It says, "Gracias. Gracias Senor. Gracias mi Senor, Jesus," over and over. This morning when I woke up, that is the song that was playing in my head. Gracias, Senor, Gracias mi Senor, Gracias mi Senor, Jesus. Thank you, thank you Lord, thank you Lord, my Jesus. So simple, yet so powerful when we take the time to ponder all that He has done. Finally, the eldest of the family gave a benediction so sweet that I had tears in my eyes once again. My great Aunt Lydia, who is 98, recited the words of Psalm 23 to us, and then another verse from 1 Corinthians 2:9 that says, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived the things that God has prepared for those who love Him." If that does not leave you feeling full, I don't know what else in all the world will! After the service, Heidi and I were requested to perform our talent one more time, you know, as the winners and all. :) I would have to say our second performance was even better than the first, even if Heidi knocked her cup off the table and onto the floor. :) This morning I am grateful. For all the things that He has done, and for the things that He will do that I cannot even imagine. Bless the LORD, o my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summah, summah, summah time.

The scene: a bright sunny day in SoCal, the Starbucks is filled with people working on their computers, texting on their phones, and chatting. The music is WAY too loud in my opinion, and the workers who are a mere 20 feet from me are kind of loud. OK, so maybe not the best environment for getting my grad homework done....but it's better than being on my couch at home, where I somehow always end up falling asleep mid-assignment. Well, it is HIGH TIME for some of my crazy stories on this little blog, here, wouldn't ya say? Sheesh. Since the last time I posted, my best friend got married, I went to the lake, I swam at the YMCA next to an 80 year old (give or take), I have made about 50 trips to Target, and I have almost gotten through 3 grad classes like a BOSS. Ha ha ha! The entire weekend of June 29 was one of the best I have had all summer. No, I declare is truly WAS my best weekend so far. Megan and Jeremy are a PRECIOUS couple that I got to stand beside as they said their vows and became Mr and Mrs. I think many of us kind of whispered, "It's about time!" as we heard them say "I do." Some stand-outs from the weekend: laughing non-stop with the Zwier ladies, seeing long-lost friends (Hi, Lisa! Hi, Nate!), dancing the night away under the beautiful sky, having a slumber party with Abby, and of course...seeing Megan and Jer look like they came out of a J Crew catalog. I am serious. Those two should be models. Sheesh. Not to mention....I got about 20 compliments on my make-up the day of the wedding. The secret: Megan did my make-up, and FAKE EYELASHES, ladies! Genius. (I stole the pics of Megan and Jeremy's wedding from Facebook. Is that legal? Well, I did it.) My week at the lake was pure bliss, too....except for the 100 mosquito bites I acquired whilst hanging out on the deck with my fam. Sure was fun watching those 5 little nieces and nephews run around together (how many games of "Mr Fox, Mr Fox" did we play, really?) and just absolutely refreshing to spend time with the sibs and the 'rents. Good people, that family of mine. Hm.....blessed beyond measure. Back in Cali for a few weeks - lots of hanging out with Kylie - trying on the bridesmaid dress I will be wearing in her wedding in....17 days...? Dinner with Brittany, Women's event with Whitney at her church, dinner and FUN with Megan and Liz....and tomorrow = my first time to the beach this whole summer! WOO HOO! Some thoughts...Corey Montieth died a few days ago. I was so sad when I found out. Then I found out that he died because he was searching for meaning, joy, and fun by doing drugs and drinking alcohol. So unfortunate. Just sad, really. Reminds me of how important it is to have a relationship with Christ - for those days and nights when you feel you are at your worst...when you are so lonely, so heartbroken, so joy-less. A woman who spoke at the women's even the other night said this, and I love it. "I can't be good enough or bad enough to change the depth of God's love for me." Isn't that beautiful? Other wanderings....I actually CAN be in 2 weddings, travel home, travel to our family reunion (next weekend!), take 3 grad classes, and somehow remain semi-sane! Can you believe it? :) I am not saying I love having assignments for 3 classes due every week...and I am not saying that I have understood every word of "The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship" that I have had to read each week...but I am making it. 2.5 weeks to go, folks. Then just a bunch more work this school year, and then by next May I will be able to say I am a Master. :) ha ha ha ha. Speaking of school....I got the best news yesterday. I AM ONLY TEACHING 5 CLASSES NEXT YEAR!!!! I will never again have a day in which I teach all the way through with no break. I will not come home and sleep for 12 hours (well, that is up for debate, actually.) I went in to school yesterday to pick up my Ipad (yep, you heard that right), and just quietly asked my administrator, "Hey, do you happen to know my teaching schedule for the year?" and he walked over to his massive whiteboard with everyone's names and teaching periods...and look there! I have 2, count 'em, 2 prep periods this year! Not only that, but one of those prep times is 7th period. ROCK ON. God is good. (For the record: God is good ALL the time....whether I am teaching 6 classes or 5...or unemployed....or whatever. All the time, God is good.) Well, "The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship" isn't going to read itself...time to get back at it. Nice chatting with you all.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A few dads in my family......

Happy Father's Day ('s 12:25am on Monday...oops) to: my brother Zack (reading to the kiddos at Christmas), my brother Joel (feeding his son Beto while in Nicaragua), my brother in law Nate (playing for endless hours in the lake with his girls), and my dad (holding Charlie when he was a newborn). We are blessed. (PS: the other picture is ALL the dads playing "Duck, Duck, Grey Duck" with the kiddos last summer. Yeah, it's "Duck, Duck, GREY Duck to those of us from the sweet state of MN....)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Taking a quick break from homework...

HEY HEY! All work and no play? Not for this girl. Ha ha! I have been in my 4th summer of grad school for a whole week now, and look at me go...turning stuff in on time and all that jazz. I am even having a bit of fun here and there, so that makes life even better. This past week I traveled to BAKERSFIELD...which some people lovingly call "The armpit of California," but I have a good friend there, so I try to refrain from saying such things aloud. Visiting my longtime friend Nicole was a BLAST. Not only does Nicole own her own house (!), but she just got a puppy too! 4 pounds of adorable is what I call that little dog. Whew...we had fun with that little pipsqueak. I tell you what....I am glad I don't have a puppy of my own, but it sure is fun to hang out with one for a few days. Nicole and I had a great time just catching up on life, laying by the pool, and of course discussing all things Glee and The Office. Nicole has this new-fangled thing called "DVR" of which I know nothing about in my little apartment/part of the house because I was the cheapskate who didn't want to pay for ANY sort of TV when I moved in here a year-ish ago. So instead, I relished in the recorded episodes of this past season of Glee and the re-cap of The Office. Who knew that even existed? Thankfully Nicole did, and she let me watch it. Unfortunately, I had to come back home to do more grad school work, but it was a nice getaway. Plus, Nicole always makes me a fun "road trip" CD to listen to in my car on the way home, and she did not disappoint. 22 songs of Glee bliss. Just awesome. Later this week, Whitney and I had a blast again adding more fun and adorable decorations and such to my place. Seriously, you will have to come visit - you blog readers, you - because this place is getting cuter by the curtain. I'm not joking. Whitney just has "an eye" for these things, and she says, "You need ________" and then we find it, and somehow it makes my place so. much. better. Come on over and check it out! Today is Father's Day, and I was invited to join my friend Liz's family for lunch and wine tasting. Yep, I just said that. Wine tasting. Allison. Going wine tasting. Ha! Funny image, no? This afternoon, 4 of us piled into Liz's car and I rambled on about my Christian Mingle stories (oh, did you know I have been on that site for 6 months?'s been a ride), and all of a sudden after my (hilarious) anecdotes, we were at the restaurant. We met up with Liz's parents, one set of gparents, her two brothers, and one sister in law. Good food, good stories, good laughs, good times. Three of us split a wine-tasting card, so don't get too crazy in thinking I had a bunch fact I had 2 small glasses, both of which were, you guessed it, SWEET DESSERT wines. Mmmhm. That's right. And now it is midnight, and I am just reading textbooks and writing big deal. Living it up over here...did I mention you can come visit ANY time? Come on over...I will gladly set aside this textbook in order to brew up some joe for ya. :) And now, here are some pictures from today. Oh...Liz is having a baby in September. I already love him/her. :)

Sunday, June 09, 2013

A fresh start.

I am so thankful for these past few days. I miraculously got all my grading done (and when I say miraculously, I truly was a miracle...prayers were SO appreciated!), and gave a quick "5 years at WCHS" speech for my pal Brittany Lane. I filled out the end of the year checklist, and handed it in. I then proceeded to be LAZY. I finally got myself to the YMCA - the ladies at water aerobics were all like, "Where have you been? We missed you!" or...maybe I made the "missing you" part up...but they did ask where in the world I have been. Four words: End of the year. SO SO SO busy. Awards night, baccalaureate, giving final exams, proctoring final exams, grading for HOURS, a few more cups of coffee, and more grading. Bribing friends to help me grade, more coffee, skipping church last week to work for another 8 hours to finish grading...going over to school and entering the grades...then Monday's final meetings...bah. So...summer. I have been running errands and cleaning, meeting my counselor at church, laughing with friends, sprucing up my apartment ( of my landlord's house in which I live...) and ordering textbooks for grad school on Amazon. It's amazing the amount of hours in a day when I am not going to school! Ha! I have been meeting with a counselor at my church for a few weeks now, and it has been so so good for me. I think that for counseling to actually do it's work in someone's life, that someone has to just lay themselves bare - honesty is key. You gotta lay aside insecurities, and realize that the person sitting on the couch across from you is not there to judge you, but to help you. Whew. So much I could say about that....but has been so helpful. I am learning so much about myself - things that other people have tried to tell me in bits and pieces, but hearing it from someone who only met me a few weeks ago and can just pick up on little (or big) things in my's pretty eye-opening. This is getting kinda I'll just move on... :) I have a really great pal named Whitney. I love her so very much. She has been such a source of encouragement and truth in my life this past year. And last night, she helped me get a fresh start on life. What I mean to say is...she took me to TJ Max Home Goods....and we had a ball. "You are going to feel so much better once we get all this in o the house!" she said. A few dollars and a milkshake from The Habit later..we came back to my...part of the house....and started THROWING THINGS AWAY and putting simpler, more beautiful things in place. Like Whit said, I seriously feel like a new person with a completely fresh start after doing just a few things in here. I am telling you - I threw away and recycled SO MUCH JUNK. I wish I could remember her exact words, but Whit said something like, "You have too many boxes," or something way more funny and ironic last night. It was true. I saved boxes from moving here last August...shoe boxes I thought I'd use...I had a Rubbermaid type container with an old sheet in it...all from moving here last August. The container had the name "Aaron" on it. I looked at it and said, "That's from my ex boyfriend..." Whit says, "PITCH IT." BAH! We cleaned out a closet and began to store things with so much more organization....and my favorite parts: a super cute new shower curtain...a super cute little wooden sign that says, "El bano" for my bathroom door...and adding my favorite color to area. TEAL is now making an appearance in here and I feel so good. It's not complete.....Whit says she is willing to paint this place a new color while I type papers for grad school in the coming weeks...and then it will REALLY feel good., if you need a cup of coffee, come on over. You can sit on my couch with the new TEAL blanket and we can watch funny episodes of The Office or something. (I bought a new DVD player last week.....the remote to my old DVD player had lost its function of...working...loooong ago, so I decided to purchase a new one...with a remote that works. And guess what? I hooked it up all by myself. And I promptly began watching episodes of The Office. No joke. Who needs a husband? Psh.......) Alrighty.......well, I gotta live it up today....because tomorrow begins the long journey of grads school classes. Ohhhh boy. I am taking 3...count 'em...3 classes this summer. But for today, I am off to shower a beautiful friend and her soon to be baby boy or baby girl with lots of love. Life. Is. Good. PS: in case you didn't go to church this week (um....I may have skipped this morning.......), take a listen to this. You will not be disappointed. :)