"only You can make every new day seem so new" ~Five Iron Frenzy

Saturday, January 29, 2011


What virtues do I value in myself?

Oi vey ... I'm not one to enjoy saying anything positive about myself (probably something I should work on...), but I'll try and see if I can come up with something.

I don't know if this is a "virtue" (what really qualifies something as a virtue?), but I value that I tend to be a very passionate person.  As I've said before, I hold a deep love and appreciation for many forms of art.  Any time I engage in anything creative, I do so whole-heartedly.

I also value that I am a listener - I'm not quick to speak and would much rather sit back and listen to the conversation of others in a social situation.  This also makes me great at listening when people just need someone to talk to.  And I truly listen intently, I don't just nod and smile and then wonder what I'm eating for dinner.

Another "virtue" might be that I have an uncanny ability to really put myself in other people's shoes and to be able to understand how/why they think a certain way.  It doesn't mean I always agree with them, but I am able to see where they are coming from.

 Lastly, I value that I am very loyal.  Once I am your friend, you're not going to get rid of me easily.  I may not be the best at communicating (especially when friendships become long-distance friendships - something else I need to work on), but that does not mean that I do not still love you and consider you a good friend.

Whew. Okay.  That one's done and over with.

Encouragement and Posture

Alright, time to make up for missing posts the last couple days, so here we go:

Encourage another woman:

There are so many wonderful women in my life, how do I choose? Well, there is one who I think can use the most encouragement:

To my sister Bethany:

I know that you're not where you want to be in life right now.  I know you always pictured yourself with a husband and a slew of kids and probably still another on the way by the time you reached this age.  This is what I have to say to you:

#1)  Take a look at how far you've come in the past few years - take a look at what you have created on your own:  you have a full time job, you have your own (very nice) apartment, your own car, and you still pursue your relationship with God more passionately than many people I know.  And you're not even done yet!  I know what your present aspirations are, I know you currently want to go back to beauty school.  You know what?  I think you can do it.  Take a look at mom.  She is a perfect example of, "if there's a will there's a way."  She has never failed to do anything she put her mind to.  Knowing how stubborn you are, I think that you can take that stubbornness and make something happen for yourself.

#2)  You are still young (30 is the new 20 ... and you're not even 30 yet!), and you are beautiful.  Continue to work out, continue to look for a new job that will be more flexible and start researching beauty schools, filling out applications, and applying for government aid.  

I believe in you and I believe that you can do it, I love you sister! <3 


Share a beauty secret/tip:

Here is my tip:  stand/sit up straight.

I know I need to take my own advise here, but seriously - this simple tip will take you a long ways.
One of my biggest frustrations is seeing these absolutely beautiful women hunched over.
Sitting and standing up straight will not only improve your looks, but in many cases, can decrease back pain (I know this from experience).

My own posture isn't great, but it's better than what it was.  I used to stand with my hips too far forward and my shoulders hunched over - if I could have see myself from a distance, I would have known how silly I looked.

Here is a test to give yourself - stand up how you would normally stand and have a close friend - someone honest - view you from the side, a profile view.  Your ear, shoulder, hips, knees, and ankles should be in a perfectly straight line.  If they are not, have your friend help you position yourself correctly.  I found that my hips and shoulders needed to go back and my head/chin needed to be up.

Trust me, this is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself - posture!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


"Has the world's definition of beauty ever jaded me?"

Well, let's see:  if by the "world" you mean media, or popular culture, then their definition of beauty might go something like this:

Beauty (Byoo-tee) n:

a person (usually a woman) possessing all of these traits:
- being thin, usually underweight
- being "fit," "toned," or "in-shape"
- having clear, tan skin
- being perfectly proportioned
- possessing a fearless, outgoing personality
- having hair that is always done flawlessly

I believe I would be lying, as most women would, if I were to say that this definition of beauty has never had an effect on me.  I have often noticed that compared to most women on TV and in movies, I am slightly overweight, my hips are too wide, and my hair never seems to lay quite right.

Sure, this has bothered me from time to time, but I don't believe I've been jaded by it.  It hasn't had a significant effect on my self-esteem or body image.  I haven't tried desperately to change my appearance because of it and I haven't tried to conform to this image.  I am quite happy being me.  I get stressed enough on my own, I don't need to add to it the stress of trying to fit into the world's image of beauty.
I don't wear heels because they're uncomfortable.  I don't dress in the highest fashions, because they only last for a few months before those clothes are useless.  I haven't lost weight because I enjoy food too much and I don't work out because I have yet to find the motivation to do so.  I don't take the time doing my hair in the morning because I'd much rather sleep an extra half hour/hour.  And I'm not outgoing because I'm much more comfortable curling up with a book on a Saturday night than going out.

So in answer to your question: no, I have not been jaded by the world's definition of beauty.  Their definition is based solely on appearances and uniformity.  I base my opinion of beauty on uniqueness and the state of the heart.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Heart Has Come Alive Because of You

Today I am supposed to thank someone who has made my heart come alive ... well, I'm not sure if I can limit that to just one person, but I will try ... here goes.

First of all, I would like to thank my very best friend.  Katie Marie Prentice Thomas.  When I first met her over 5 years ago, I had a friend-crush on her.  There was just something about her that made me want to know her better and become friends with her.  Lucky for me, this wish came true and we started becoming friends towards the end of my first semester at Spring Arbor.

Over the years of living together, drinking tea and eating chocolate, watching Friends, and dancing crazily in our room, we became best friends.  The thing I always loved (and still love) about Katie is that I can tell her absolutely anything.  I can be 100% real with her.  I love that she has like 50 quirks and acquires like 5 new ones every week.  I love that she made up a dance to the song "Had a Bad Day" one day when I was ... well, having a bad day.  Her dance is so cute and her angry face so adorable, that it has never failed to cheer me up.

I love that we can go months without seeing each other and pick up right where we left off.  I love that I can call her with a problem and that she will promptly send me a package and an encouraging note in the mail :O)

So thank you Katie, for making my world brighter 

Who else has made my heart come alive?  Well, many people (my husband, several other friends, my sisters/brother, my parents...), but for the remainder of this blog, I would just like to focus on four of the cutest ones ...

Here are two of them:  Gweneth Paige and Sophia Grace.  These two little darlings graced my world about 6 and 7 years ago, respectively.  I absolutely love being an aunt and these two have made that job enjoyable, to say the least.  Nothing can describe the feeling of meeting a niece/nephew for the first time and watching him/her grow from a precious little baby into a small person :O)

I love spending time with these two and playing with them.  They are so silly, so adorable, and so full of life, that I can't help but smile every time I see them.  They give the best hugs in the world and my life would be rather dull without them.  They have brought me so much joy that I would be remiss to not thank them (and ... well, their parents) for making my heart come alive.

Last but not least, how can I talk about being an aunt without also mentioning these two?  Eleanor Zaojean  has been one of the sweetest tempered babies I have ever known.  I'll never forget when she was just a tiny little thing and her mother would bring her into the house and set her down, car seat and all.  Most babies would at this point start fussing.  Not Eleanor.  She would just lay there with a smile on her face, looking around, until someone came to get her.  She is absolutely precious, a joy to babysit, and I'm so happy that I get to be her aunt.  

Next is Isaiah Michael.  Born very prematurely (1, maybe 2 months early?), he has grown from a tiny little thing into an adorable 3-year old.  He is very energetic, and I have noticed, whilst babysitting, that he has a great sense of humor.  I remember once, about a year ago, I was babysitting him and Ellie.  I playfully threw a blanket over his head and he lifted his hands up and started making ghost noises.  I'd pull the blanket off and he'd die laughing.  

Few things are more precious than the laughter of children.  All of my nieces and nephews are healthy, happy kids who love to laugh.  A lot.  They never fail to make my heart come alive.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beautiful You

In the grand tradition that is ... me, I am keeping up with what I told you in my first post, "I fold under peer pressure like oragami."  What does that mean for this post?  Well, I may have said last time that I will not be posting every day for Project 31 (Celebrate Beauty), but I got peer pressured into it.

Today's topic:  post a picture of yourself in your favorite outfit.
Now I'm not one to dress to impress or even to buy clothes because they're cute.  I mainly just dress for comfort, and if I find something that is cute as well as comfy, I just call myself lucky.  I don't have a picture of myself in an entire outfit that I love, but I do have several of me in different parts of outfits that I love.
So without further ado, here they are:

Outfit #1
Although I've only worn this entire outfit once (for my engagement photos), it's one of the cutest (as well as comfiest) ones I've worn.  Between the jeans, classic polka-dot dress and black flats, it was a win - and Adam picked it out!.

Outfit #2
I spent so much time backstage during my spring arbor years and so many great times happened there, that I just feel really at home wearing all black (unfortunately, I can't do that in the real world - people mistake it for being emo or goth).
Here you have me in my black sweat pants and shirt complete with the headset.  Not the most attractive outfit, but it holds the most memories.

Outfit #3
This one is not a whole outfit, but I <3 my green converses.  Not just because green is my favorite color or even because converses are my favorite shoes.
My husband bought me these the day before our wedding and I wore them on our special day.
I <3 them! And every time I wear them, I can't stop looking at my feet :O)

Outfit #4
Without much explanation or knowing why this is one of my favorite shirts.
I love the plaid, I love the colors and it's just plain comfortable and can be either casual or dressed-up.

Outfit #5
This is me wearing my favorite sweatshirt in Ireland.
I got it on sale and it was the best money I've ever spent.
It's uber-soft, uber-warm, and goes with just about everything!

Outfit #6
Last, but not least, this is me in my Oxford sweatshirt.  I was ecstatic to get to visit Oxford University while in England, and was able to buy an authentic Oxford sweatshirt.  It's a deep purple color and my brother in law Matt and friend Mary just happened to buy the same one!
(you can't tell from this picture, but Matt and Mary's are both blue).

There you have it, me in some of my favorite outfits and pieces of outfits.
The End.

Love to all,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Uniquely Me

Several friends of mine are participating in this thing called, "Celebrate Beauty."  Every day they are posting about different topics such as, "what makes you uniquely you," and "who is someone you know that inspires beauty?"  I am not going to participate myself, especially since I'm jumping in several days late, but I am going to continue to enjoy reading everyone else's responses to these topics - allowing me to reflect privately on my own answers.

There is, however, one that I would like to respond to here:  what makes me uniquely me?  If you read my last post, you would know that in my last visit to my dear friend Kelly, I was happy to find that she was able to find a peace in the midst of her pain.  She is taking this time out of life to re-discover who she is.  She has really inspired to take my time, being unemployed and quite frankly bored, to remember who I am in Christ.  

Here is what makes me "uniquely me"

I am a lover of art in almost every form:
The performing arts (both theater and music) and
visual art (I personally prefer drawing and occasionally painting).
I love both to enjoy the works of others in these forms as well as
produce my own.
I love finding the beauty and art in nature:  it's everywhere from
people and relationships
to the flowers, trees, and sky - I am in awe every time I look at the sky 
(seriously, look at the sky and try to tell me there's NOT a creator behind it all).

In life I feel called simply to do this: love people.
I love giving gifts and baking for people
it's my favorite way of blessing others and showing them 
how much they mean to me.

I am also a listener.
I'm not great at talking, and often find myself without words or wisdom when others seem to need it.
However, I am great at listening, I will listen as long and as often as you need me to.
Along with this, I am a giver hugs, massages, and cuddles:
just another way of showing you how much you mean to me :O)

I am an avid reader.
I have a long list of books that I read often and an even longer list of ones  that I want to read.
JRR Tolkien is my hero, CS Lewis feeds my spirit, and Jane Austen satisfies my romantic sensibilities.

I am a lover of Christ.
He has saved me countless times, has blessed me immeasurably, and I honestly believe that I would not be alive today if it weren't for Him.

Very simply and in an every-day sort of way, I am:

Cheryl Anne (Matthew) Hoskins

a wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend,  and in law
baker of amazing cookies
guitar player (acoustic - about as well as Phoebe Buffay)
singer (in the shower)
Mario Kart Wii champ
interior decorator (of my own place)
house wife
TRHS/SAU graduate
dog-person (who also likes cats)
lover of God and people.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Say Anything..."

"...but say what you mean."

That's how I feel tonight.  I was fortunate enough to get to visit my friend Kelly once again this evening.  We were able to talk a little bit about how she is doing, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.  I am very glad to say that she is doing quite well.  To see her so positive and able to begin to discover the lessons that God is teaching her through this was so very ... uplifting. 

A couple days ago I had made the decision to not publish the narrative I had written about my experience set painting with her a couple years ago.  I just convinced myself that it wasn't good enough, that it was too ... cheesy? and that I'm just not ready to make myself that vulnerable.  Tonight, though, Kelly was talking about how God has been showing her that she needs to take this time and rediscover who she is.  For example, she's an artist, but she hasn't drawn and hasn't touched her camera in a long time.  But when we came in tonight, she had her colored pencils and art tools scattered all around her and she was drawing.  It was the first drawing she has worked on in a very long time.  Somehow, after talking with her, I knew that I had to publish this.  No, I am not a great writer, but I do love writing.  I am a writer, though, in my own way.  I loved writing this.  No, it's not a masterpiece, but I'm proud of it.  Though I do like feedback, I don't need it.  I don't need to be validated by whether you find it worth reading or not, I just need to get back to something I love.  This is what I love:  English.  The language itself, reading, writing, I love it all.  Here is my offering, here is my worship to God.

White Teardrops

            Costume on.  Make-up on.  Hair done.  On stage.  In place.  Stand up straight.  Don’t lock your knees.  Look forward.  Remember to project from your abdomen.  Take a deep breath – okay, curtain up, lights up, and action.

            Theater.  It’s a love-hate relationship.  You spend about four weeks devoting your entire life, spending every free moment of your day, in preparation for – opening night.  You step out onto the stage and the adrenaline keeps your body moving and your mind focused despite the distractions:  a large crowd, stage lights glaring in your eyes, the band missing a cue.  Still, you keep on performing, soaking up every precious moment.  Then, in a very few short days, everything is done and over with.  The costumes are hung up, the dressing rooms cleaned out, and everyone goes back to normal life.  All you have left are – memories.

            Our college was putting on the biggest show it had ever attempted:  Maury Yeston’s The Phantom.  I began doing theater two years previously and had fallen in love from the very start, and from that moment on I had barely left the stage, the auditorium, the theater building.  This love affair sparked many new relationships and brought me some great friends; one of them was Kelsey.  I had first worked with her about a year and a half earlier and immediately had a friend-crush on her.  I was determined that we would eventually be best friends.  Well, so far that day had not come, so naturally, I was ecstatic to get to work with her in the following two productions and we had become – good friends.  Not best friends.  I auditioned for the chorus in this new, groundbreaking musical, and got in.  Kelsey, on the other hand, auditioned for one of the main female roles:  Carlotta.  Unsure of her abilities, she was very afraid of not getting the role.  I knew better, though.  Somehow, I knew without a doubt she would get the part.  Which is why I was thrilled to be around when she heard the news that Carlotta was hers.  She…was…euphoric.

            Apart from who got which roles, there was another question:  How would this tiny theater program pull of this huge show set-wise?  The answer?  The stage-building class was going to build the mammoth set pieces and Kelsey was going to be the set-designer, painting everything from the backdrop to the front of the opera façade to Carlotta and Christine’s dressing rooms.

            Poor Kelsey!  Not only did she have to memorize lines and blocking and songs and dances and cues.  She’d also have to paint the opera façade, the Titania set, and the two dressing rooms.  Not to mention the biggest job of all:  turning the blank-white back wall into the backdrop:  the catacombs under the opera house, the phantom’s lair.  All in one month.  So after the joy of getting her part wore off, she realized that this was the biggest project she had every undertaken.  It was her Everest.

            She now had many months' worth of painting to do in a very short time, so she called for backup and we came running.  Emily, Paul, Eric, Andrew, and I.  We were it.  The dream team.  Not quite.  Though she did and still does claim that she could never have done it without us, I question how much help we really were.  Not having been trained in painting like Kelsey, we could only paint solid blocks of color that she had to completely paint over (which she claimed “added depth”).  The only other help we provided was the painting the flat, cartoonish-style Titania set.  One more slight problem (you always have with theater people):  we like to perform.

            So to the tunes of Jason Mraz, Michael Buble, and the soundtracks of Wicked, Footloose, and Hairspray, we danced and sang our way through painting the set pieces and backdrop.  The first weekend we spent painting we were in the theater from 2:00 in the afternoon on Friday until midnight the following Saturday night.  No sleep.  Only a little McDonald’s and “Without Love” to keep up moving.  So it continued for the next two, three, four weekends.  We laughed and cried together.  We poured out our hearts into paint trays and splattered it unto wooden frames.  Then the song “Footloose” would come on, and we’d drop paintbrush and pencil and run to center stage and dance it out.  And that was life.  We’d go to bed exhausted Saturday night and wake up Sunday morning in time to go to church together.  We’d pick shows like Hairspray and Beauty and the Beast and decide whom of us and our friends would play which roles.  We’d outline, mix, paint, rinse, and repeat.  Kelsey was the driving force in us all.  She had heart and she had a love for the job that was contagious.

            Time was winding down.  We only had about a week and a half to go and we still weren’t finished.  Even after an ungodly amount of hours spent on it, the back wall wasn’t done.  Being the phantom’s lair, it was supposed to be complete with cracking columns and rows of skulls lining the outer walls by now.  This particular task was even bigger than anyone had anticipated.  After rehearsal one evening, the director pulled Kelsey aside and confronted her about it.  I don’t remember exactly what he said; maybe I’ve pushed it out of my mind.  It was too painful to hear those words spoken.  Especially to someone running on so little sleep and such enormous amounts of stress.  So Kelsey cried.  We held her.  We encouraged her.  We loved her.  Began painting again.

            Thursday was upon us.  It was the morning of opening night.  After leaving class at 11:00am, I ran into Emily and Paul.  Last we knew, the back wall still wasn’t finished, and we were all overcome with curiosity to see how it was progressing.  We walked into the backstage area.  Opening the door sent in a draft that stirred up the comforting smell of sawdust and paint.  It was like coming home.  We walked out onto the stage and there was Kelsey’s iPod hooked up to the speakers playing “I’m Yours” and the lights were on.  There were various trays and cans of paint and paintbrushes scattered around.  Then we saw it.  The backdrop was finished.  It was one of the most delicate and intricate pieces of work I had ever seen.  The vast columns complete with meticulous cracks and fissures.  Very cunningly, in the place of the rows of skulls, there was a single red candle sitting atop a single skull, lit.  There were a few sets of these on each side going back.  The flame from the candle glared and illuminated the wall behind it and the blood red wax dripped and reflected the light so that I had to do a double-take to make sure it wasn’t real.  Where was Kelsey?  It was then that we noticed her in the back corner of the stage.  She was lying on the floor asleep with paintbrush in hand.

            Opening night came and all were in awe of the set pieces and backdrop.  I heard previously that throughout her many productions, Kelsey had never received flowers back stage before, like many other performers had.  I decided to make it my job to present her with this sort of “right-of-passage.”  I ran to the store in the middle of the day, and immediately found what I was looking for.  I got back in time to arrive at the theater before most of the others, but not Kelsey.  I presented her with the over-sized vase overflowing with red roses and daisies and in return received the biggest hug from one of the best people I knew.  After all we had been through that month, I finally had the best friend I had wanted for the last year and a half.  Kelsey.

            The weekend of production flew by in a whirlwind of excitement and near exhaustion.  Our crew spent every evening after the shows together at our favorite restaurant:  the all-American Denny’s.  The food wasn’t great, but what did that matter when we were together?  There was something in the atmosphere that drew us in and made us burst out in song (luckily there were so many of us that they had to stick us in the back room – away from the other customers).  It was so relieving to finally be done with all of the rehearsals and painting, the painting and rehearsals.  We were in the midst of enjoying the spoils of all the sleepless nights we had put in.  Then came Sunday.

            Sunday afternoon was our final show, it was all over.  Everything we had been working towards and had put our blood, sweat, and tears into for the past month was – gone.  Over.  Done.  We were told by administration that we had to restore the auditorium to the precise condition it was in before we invaded it many weeks previous.  There was one question lingering in all of our minds that until this point we had pushed away every time it crept up.  Who was going to paint over the back wall?  When?  Due to prior experiences, we all knew this was inevitable, but none of us wanted to even think about it.  The answer came on us unaware:  there was going to be an admissions event in the auditorium the following day.  We were to paint over as much of the wall as we could with what white paint we had left and maintenance would finish it the next morning before the event took place.

            Kelsey broke down.  Of course she broke down.  She had put her whole life, her everything into making that smelly white wall the breathtaking piece of art it had become.  I know, I was there to witness it along with Andrew, and Paul, and Emily, and Eric.  In a moment of clarity, Kelsey knew what she had to do.  She looked up with resolution in her eyes and said that she must be the one to paint over it.  To see anyone else do it would be to subconsciously set that person against her in her mind forever.

            Much of the cast had already left to go to the cast party and only a few stayed behind.  I found Kelsey standing in a group with the director, who was delegating the last jobs to those left.  Her head was in her hands and her shoulders were trembling.  I ran up to her, pulled her to me, and embraced her.  The others left and we few remained.  Kelsey, Eric, Andrew, and I.  The opera façade and dressing rooms had been diminished down to pieces of scrap wood thrown into a pile.  The stage was bare.  We tried to talk Kelsey out of her decision, maybe there was another way, they could just pull the mid-stage curtain.  It was no good.  There was no other way.  It was an agonizing leap she had to take.

            To make our small provision of white paint spread farther, we silently mixed some water into the tray.  Music no longer floated through the air enlivening us now, there was only tension.  We carried the two laden trays out to the stage and scrounged up four rollers.  Kelsey was determined to make the first strike.

            So there I was before the wall, reluctantly holding the paint roller in my hand.  I was looking for the last time upon the one thing that had drawn us all together.  The one thing that had brought us all serendipitously together in what seemed like a mere moment of closeness, love, joy, and unity.  Kelsey entered my line of vision, disrupting the perfect view of beauty.  With tears streaming down her face and her whole body now trembling, she began to nervously pace back and forth in front of the wall; the paint roller she had gripped in her hand leaving a trail of white teardrops where she walked.  In one quick motion, her roller hit the wall and flew across it.  Defeated, we silently joined her in her sin.  The sin of destroying something with so much aesthetic beauty and personal meaning to all of us.  The thinned white paint splattered on our faces, in our hair, on our clothes, and on the floor.  We covered as much of the wall as our amount of watered-down paint allowed, which was only about five or six feet up the twenty-foot wall.  We left one of the skull-based candles in a bubble of its own surrounded by a cloud of white.

            Later on that night, at the cast party, we laughed and joked, and danced around.  Everything in us was trying to push out the memory of what we had just done.  The awful thing we had just done.  Our very clothes and faces and hair were still covered in the white splattered evidence.


            About a week later I found myself in the auditorium again, filming for a video class.  The mid-stage curtain was drawn concealing the back wall.  My curiosity got the better of me.  I mounted the stage and walked up to the middle of the curtain.  My fingers reluctantly searched for the opening and found it.  I pulled back on one side to see what lay hidden behind.  I wasn’t surprised in the least to find the back wall just as we had left it:  half done.  The skull candle was still in its protective bubble surrounded by a cloud of white.

            They hadn’t finished the back wall and ended up drawing the curtain.

Notes:  the above account is (to the best of my memory) almost wholly true.  I would clarify this one point, however:  although Kelly (aka "Kelsey") and I are good friends, we did not become nor are we particular "best friends."  I know I am not her best friend (I know who is) and she knows she's not mine.  That was a slight exaggeration added for dramatic effect - as if the 100% true version of this story needed any...  Other than that, being written several months after the event, several details were inserted where I didn't remember exactly - but filled in as close to the truth as possible.
Other than Kelly = Kelsey, you should also know:  Emily = Elizabeth, Paul = David, Andrew = Marc, and Eric = Kyle.  Why the name changes? Mostly just an attempt to objectify myself from the story whilst re-writing and editing.

Candle/Skull on back wall

Titania Set

Part of the back wall

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Old Movies and Scary Friends...

...wait, strike that, reverse it: I meant "Old FRIENDS and Scary MOVIES"

I'm not a huge fan of scary movies, I'm actual quite the opposite.  Nine out of ten days, I will be in the mood for a comedy or musical over a drama or action flick.  Nonetheless, I find myself constantly exposed to previews for scary movies whether in the theater or on television.  Every once in a while, one will catch my eye that seems worth watching.  Most others just scare the crap out of me.  Either way, I never end up watching these horror flicks, worthy of viewing or otherwise.
The Strangers was one such movie that caught my eye.  It didn't seem horrible, and I've always had a small curiosity to see it. 

As most of you know, I am in Spring Arbor until Friday.  I've been having a great time thus far, helping paint the set for "Music Man" and hanging out with some old friends.  For the first couple days, I had been texting Kelly, my injured friend, to see how things were going with her and hoping to see her soon.  She met with a surgeon yesterday and this is the gist of what she found out:  her surgery will be early next week, after which she cannot put ANY weight on her ankle for six weeks.  After that, she can put minimal weight on it for about four months and she's not allowed to work for 10 months after the surgery.  The surgeon doesn't know yet whether she will every regain full use of that leg.

Yesterday evening, I found out that a mutual friend of ours was going to see her after rehearsal, so I texted him and asked if I could tag along.  He told me they were planning on watching The Strangers, but I could come if I wanted. I claimed to be perfectly fine with that choice of movie, so he came to pick me up.  In all honesty, I was perfectly fine with it.  I was curious to see it and thought that I could handle it well enough.  Either way, it didn't matter, I would get to see Kelly!

Kelly is staying with some friends very near Spring Arbor, and they are taking very good care of her (I'd have some issues with them if they weren't).  I got to see her, hug her, and hand her her machete.  She really needs continued prayer.  Apparently she had a lot of big things coming up in the next few months that she will no longer be able to do:  a mission's trip to the Philippines, an art show, and a couple new clients that had hired her as a personal trainer.  Not to mention the job(s) she already had.  Kelly is one of those people that cannot sit still, she is very active and always has to be up and moving.  Being nearly bed-ridden like she is has been, and will continue to be, extremely difficult for her.  Prayer is very much appreciated!

Anyway, back to The Strangers.  I watched it, as difficult as it was with some one screaming ... no, screeching every 10 minutes and people talking obnoxiously loud in the other room.  I think what got to me more than anything was that it wasn't about spirits, or monsters, or demons.  It was based on a true story - at least what they think might have happened at this house, no one knows for sure.  And the people under those freaky masks that I saw in the previews were actual people, not phantoms or spirits.  They were people and (SPOILER ALERT) they stabbed their victims to death - which is one of my biggest fears.  Yes, I did scream a few times and Kelly gripped my leg so hard at one point that I had to pry her fingers off.

Luckily someone from the house I'm staying in had also come, so I had someone to go back into this huge old house with.  We watched a couple episodes of Friends before we went to bed (well, I went to bed - she zonked out on the couch), which ended up being a wise choice.

So all in all, I hope to never watch a scary movie again and I also hope to get to hang out with Kelly once more before Friday rolls around.

Love to all,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Words are flowing out like endless rain into a papercup..."

"...they slither as they pass, they slip away across the universe" ~The Beatles

This week I'm taking some time off from my every day life.  Remember those wonderful friends I mentioned in my previous post?  The ones that made my final year at SAU so wonderful?  Well, they're youngin's ... meaning they're still at Spring Arbor, seniors this year.  They're currently working on a little musical called "The Music Man," you may have heard of it.  After seeing the extensive plans they have for the set pieces and hearing that an old friend of mine - another SAU alum - is on campus to help, I really got the inkling to go for a visit.  If you have ever been unemployed (and car-less), you know how stir-crazy you can get, being at home alone with really nothing important to do.  This only added to my yearning to go back and help out, even if just for a week, with the theater program I hold so dear.

After some last minute, hap-hazard planning, I was able to fan-angle a way to get here (but that's another story...).  I've only been back for a few hours, but it's been long enough for me to realize one of the things that I miss about college:  the community.  Yes, it's kind of cliche, especially for an SAU alum, but it's very true.  I miss the social aspect.  I miss being able to step out my door and be within walking distance of a library, a dining commons, a theater.  I miss not being able to take two steps out of my door without running into someone I know.  I miss having friends down the street, across the hall, in the other room to hang out with every night - many times during the day also.  It was one of the hardest parts about leaving.  Being an adult.  Being alone.  Well, not quite alone.  I do have my husband, whom I love tremendously, but he has work.  I (currently) have nothing.

And as strange as it may sound, I miss my classes.  I miss learning, I miss my mind being challenged.  I miss having to write 2-3 pages on one sentence in a book.  I miss doing research and organizing speeches and finding the meaning behind the symbol.

Anyway, that is what I miss.  What am I doing here now?  Well, I will admit, that almost half the reason I came was because of this "old friend."  She was an art major and I spent a hell of a time helping her paint sets before (another story in itself ... in fact, I've already written down - maybe I'll post it later).  I love her dearly, but haven't seen her in almost two years.  I also have her machete (again, LONG story - suffice it to say, "theater people.").  There is a problem, though.  She came for a couple weeks to help out with the set, but a couple days ago she was injured.  From what I hear, she was playing ultimate frisbee when she fell and someone landed on her ankle, breaking it and tearing all the ligaments.  Rumor has it she goes in for surgery tomorrow.  I am very disappointed.   To say the least.  I always imagined coming back and sort of re-living set painting with her and imagined this glorious time we'd have together.  Apparently God had something else in mind and I'm trying to rest easy - knowing that He knows what He's doing.  At this point, I just hope she has a speedy recovery and I just want to see her, just once, before I leave.  I don't care if we get to do everything I pictured, I just want her to be okay.

I will probably blog again in a couple of days, I think I may post the story of this girl (did I mention her name was Kelly?) - the one that I wrote about our experience set painting.  Then you'll hear from me again at the end of the week - Friday when I leave - and I'll let you know how everything turned out.

Please be praying for Kelly's surgery and recovery as well as the cast and crew of "Music Man."  They're really working hard, and I hope that I will get to see the fruits of their labor in February.

Love to all,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"I'm just sittin' here watching the wheels go round and round..."

"...I love to watch them roll" ~John Lennon.

I just began this blog yesterday and I wanted to start by reflecting on the past year.  So many huge things happened in 2010 and I challenge you to come up with someone who had a more exciting year.

First of all, I finished my last on-campus classes at Spring Arbor.  I was sad to move back home in May, knowing that I wouldn't return.  I wasn't planning on enjoying my 5th year at SAU, all of my really good friends had left.  I didn't realize that God had blessed me with three AMAZING roommates as well as a few other friends who made my year SPECTACULAR and made leaving that much more difficult.

Myself, Breinne, Liz, and Lauren at the Luminocular Film Fest last Spring

Around the same time, my husband (then fiance) graduated.  Shortly after this, I left on a once-in-a-life-time adventure to Ireland/England.  I was blessed to have at least one friend on the trip with me, as well as my future brother in law, Matt.  Along with his friend Casey and Kaitlin, whom we adopted into our group part way through, we had quite a fun time.  The trip lasted a total of 3 weeks (about 10 days in Ireland and 10 in England).  If I were to go into any more detail, I'd probably need about 20 more blog posts - one for each day.

Casey, Matt, and Myself way back in the distance - at a park near Buckingham Palace in London, England.

Next, to top the whole list of everything that happened last year, I was married to the love of my life on July 17th at 3:00pm.  All I can say is, "IT WAS ABOUT TIME!"  We had been dating for about 5 years (engaged for 2 of those years) and saw MANY friends married before us by the time our day came around.We were married by our favorite professor and mentor at SAU, Dr. Paul Patton.  We were surrounded by our closest friends and family - what can I say? The day was magical...

Left to Right: Nick, Katie, Sarah, Jake, Kathie, Ben, Adam, Myself, Chris, Kate, Matt, and Bethany.

The previous Spring, I had found a student teaching placement for the Fall at Dundee HS in Dundee, MI.  This meant that shortly after we were married, we'd need to move to Dundee.  Adam was blessed with a security job in Dundee, which he began directly after our honeymoon.  We were also blessed with an inexpensive apartment right across the street from the High School I would be at - we moved in just one week before I began.  My student teaching experience went extremely well.  I really enjoyed working at that high school and my cooperating teacher was extremely helpful.  This last November, I graduated from Spring Arbor and completed my student teaching.  I ended the semester with a 4.0 GPA (for the semester - not overall, I slacked off majorly my first couple years of college...) - the first of my college career!

Mallory, Myself, and Mary - two other girls integral in making my 5th year a memorable one :O) - Mary was also on my trip overseas!

In the same tone with the rest of the year, Adam and I ended 2010 with a bang.  Unhappy at his current job, though it was a blessing while it lasted, Adam started searching for a new one.  He applied for a security position at the University of Michigan Hospital, and after several weeks of interviews, exams, and tests - he was offered the job a few days before Christmas!  What a wonderful Christmas present from God :O) He began training on January 3rd.  Not only is this job MUCH more interesting for him - it also pays significantly more, has kick-butt insurance that began right away, and has a great retirement plan, etc. and he will get a raise after 3 months!

That pretty much brings us up to date.  We're currently trying to move to Ann Arbor.  There's this great place that has openings, is affordable, includes a pool and workout room, and is only about 6 miles from Adam's new job.  Our only problem is that we need to get out of our lease here.  It won't be up until August, but we'd like to move much sooner.  Our rent is going to be too high here (it's based on income) once we report our new income, making it not worth paying for gas for Adam to drive to Ann Arbor daily.

There it is, my last year in the briefest nutshell that I can muster.  All I can say is that we've been blessed beyond belief so far.  Can anyone top that?

Much Love to all,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Year Has Begun

I feel I should begin my blogging venture this year with an explanation on why I am blogging.  After all, there's nothing particularly exciting happening in my life and my days are rather uneventful.  I am not a great writer, neither have I any wisdom nor recipes to share.  Yet I have found several reasons for beginning a blog, one of the main ones simply being, "why not?"

First of all, as I stated earlier, my days are currently VERY uneventful. I am unemployed and am not seeking employment until I know whether or not Adam and I will be moving in the next month.  Blogging will at least fill up some time during my day and does not include cleaning or being wholly lazy.

Perhaps a better reason for my blogging is because a new year has begun: my first full year as a married wife and I feel big things, big adventures, coming for my Love and I, and I would like to communicate and keep track of where our life is going as well as reflect on what has/is happening.  All I can say so far is, "God is GOOD."

Last of all, and perhaps the poorest reason for blogging is that "everyone is doing it." Those who know me, know I fold under peer pressure like oragami.  You don't even have to get a group of people together to beg me to jump off a bridge.  All you have to do is begin jumping, and I'll follow ... okay, that example is pretty over-used and a bit extreme, but you get the picture.

Anyway, there you have it: my reasons.  I promise I will try to make future postings a bit more interesting (again with the disclaimer that I am NOT a good writer) and more informative on how our life together is going and what we're up to!

Love to all ~