Memories: Love to have them, love to make them

I have had an idea weighing on me lately that I have really wanted to blog about and this is me getting around to it. Couple of reasons why it’s today: 1) it’s my 3 year anniversary of having this blog (!!!) and 2) the best time to blog is when I have other things to do that I am procrastinating on. Let’s get to it then.

This is it guys. My senior year of college. In 8 months and 5 days, I will be (God-willing) walking across a stage and being handed a degree. Within 3 weeks of that, I will take NCLEX. Where has college gone?

I know a lot of people feel their high school experience culminated with graduation and would say “I feel like graduation was just yesterday” in this moment, but that’s not what it is for me. It feels like just a few weeks ago, I was stepping off a football field. I was crying that I would never march with these people in competition again. I was standing in full retreat being shocked by our placement. I was laughing on a bus ride back to our school. I was singing our alma mater as we turned onto campus.

It wasn’t just a few weeks ago though, it was almost four whole years ago. My life has changed so much since then. I have had so many wonderful (and if not wonderful than at least meaningful) experiences. The person I am today is not the same person I was then and that is a good thing. I have made new friends and fell out of touch some old ones, who I miss dearly but still cherish the memories we have together. Life will keep going on like this. Four years from now, I will look back and remember putting on white scrubs for one ceremony and a black cap and gown for another. I will remember having my brother at school with me for one more year. I will smile fondly as I think of a year living in an apartment with two wonderful friends.

There is so much that is coming. I cannot know how any of it will turn out, that is not my place but the Lord’s. Even with all that is to come though, I find comfort in the memories I already have, the memories I am making, and the knowledge that I am constantly making more to cherish. What will I get to think back to a decade from now and smile? An awkward start to something wonderful? Getting dressed for a wedding and laughing with the ladies I love most? The birth of a child or a few?

No matter if those are not the memories I get to make, because every memory is a great gift. And as I go through this chapter, where it seems like most of the memories I am making are kind of bittersweet, I thank a good and gracious Lord for all the beautiful memories that I love to remember so much.

 

Wishing you all the best (and for cooler weather)

-M

Thoughts Of A Rising Senior

Long time no post. I apologize for the gap, but not for enjoying my summer in all the easiest ways (i.e. Being wickedly lazy while not at work)

I went to an amusement park this weekend with my family (bonus: it was free because the company my dad works for paid for our tickets. Just the best.) and conquered tons of thrill rides. I have previously been to this park so I’ve been on all the roller coasters there before but since I last went a new one went up. This new ride is faster, taller, and longer than any other in the park. All day, my sisters and I joked with our dad (my mom and brother didn’t go because they are not thrill seekers in the least) that riding it would probably be a one-and-done kind of thing. While we were standing in line I was ridiculously nervous.

Seriously guys, you can’t even hear the riders scream while standing right near the coaster because the speed whips their cries into the air and away. Insanity.

Anyway, we’re standing in this line and it’s the longest wait we’ve had all day since this is the newest ride and I’m thinking to myself “oh man, I don’t think I can do this” to the point that I’m about to psych myself out, but we finally get to the front before that happens. I’m locked into my seat (with no shoulder harness mind you, even though you go sideways) and that’s it we’re off. The climb up was none like I’ve ever experienced. It was swift even at the beginning and picked up even more when we neared the top, then we shot down the (almost completely vertical) first hill at exhilarating but terrifying speed.

Why am I telling you this? Because metaphors, that’s why. High school was that long line and as I approached graduation, I got to be as nervous and as excited as I’d been yet. Then I graduated; I was locked into the college I would attend and was off into “adulthood.”

Freshman through junior year have been that quick assent up the hill with junior year just a little more rapid than my first two years. Now, I’m about getting myself mentally ready for the incredibly rapid drop that will be my senior of college that will send me careening into the rest of the ups and downs of life. Am I ready? Who knows? But it’s happening all the same so I might as well make the most of it.

Just as a side note on the actual roller coaster experience I finished the ride out with giggles that showed the exhilaration high I was coming off of as did my sisters (dads too stoic for giggles), but the row behind as did not finish it out so pleasantly. The girl directly behind me, puked TWICE on the girl beside her as we rolled into the station. We stuck to our joke of only riding that coaster once after we were present for that little mishap.

 

Hope everyone is having the most enjoyable of summers. Here’s a picture of the beach, in case you don’t get to go.

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-M

Summertime

The end of this semester was ridiculous, but I survived. Nothing below a B. Tearing up nursing school like a champ.

Now that it is summer, I’m working in a church nursery and paying my rent. Being an adult can be frustrating sometimes, but paying rent on my apartment is such a satisfying feeling.

I am so looking forward to not having homework or studying for tests. Finally, I have time for reading leisurely! In honor of summertime and free time, here’s a list of 20 things that I’d love to do this summer:

  1. Read at least 15 books for fun.
  2. Go camping.
  3. Play outside at least once a week.
  4. Learn to cook a new meal.
  5. Lighten my hair up using lemon juice.
  6. Go rafting.
  7. Drive to the beach and spend a day diving through the waves.
  8. Hiking. All the hiking.
  9. Watch the first season of House of Cards.
  10. Fly a kite.
  11. Go for a bike ride.
  12. Ride on a Ferris wheel.
  13. Eat an ice cream cone.
  14. Go horseback riding.
  15. Make lemonade from scratch.
  16. Blow bubbles with my friends.
  17. Catch fireflies.
  18. Swing in a hammock.
  19. Eat watermelon and have a seed spitting contest.
  20. Enjoy the heat and get a suntan.

 

I really just want to enjoy my last summer before I am a full on adult with a full time job. Let me know what you plan on doing this summer!

Happy May everyone!!

M

End of Semester Blues and 50 Things I Love

Writing this post is probably a terrible use of my time at this point in the school year, I could be studying…or sleeping. Oh well, you only live once.

Anybody currently in college knows exactly what I am talking about when I say that this is the most hellish part of the semester. To all the seniors out there, I believe in you. This is the last time (unless you’re super driven and are going on to do a graduate program) that you have to make it through the last terrible month in class. All the projects are due. For some reason all your professors scheduled 2 tests in the last month of class. On top of that, cumulative final exams are lurking just around the corner. My goodness.

In order to combat all the misery of studying until you want to cry, I figured I would make list a 50 things that I love. They aren’t in any order, I just typed up things I love as I thought of them. Hopefully, y’all will like some of these too and will therefore have your day brightened. Sorry if you do not share my love of these things, but I hope it inspires you to think of things you really love. Let’s get to it.

  1. Spotify (Free music access. Enough said.)
  2. Talking to interesting people. (and talking, just in general)
  3. Rocking chairs.
  4. Wrap around porches.
  5. Zillow (I freaking love houses. I can literally look at them for hours.)
  6. Spending time with family.
  7. Walks with my mom.
  8. Friends that are there for me even when I neglect them when my life gets completely crazy at school (sorry!!!)
  9. Playing with my sister’s silly dog.
  10. Singing along to most any song. (recent favorite: Let’s Get Lost Carly Rae Jepsen all-time favorite: Saltwater Room Owl City)
  11. Parks and Recreation. (Leslie and Ben forever)
  12. The icee stand in my hometown.
  13. The movie Secondhand Lions. Go watch it now, if you’ve never seen it (or if you have seen it).
  14. Mint flavored things (did you know you can get a just mint milkshake at Cookout??)
  15. The softness of the inside of a brand new hoodie.
  16. Wearing dresses.
  17. Dresses or skirts that have pockets.
  18. SHOES. It is a problem how many I have.
  19. Knitting.
  20. The smell of laundry drying.
  21. Driving back roads.
  22. Driving with the windows down.
  23. Hiking in the mountains.
  24. Waterfalls.
  25. Coloring with crayons (Markers are not as good. It’s not even close)
  26. Phineas and Ferb. Especially Agent P.
  27. Marching band (clarinets are the best around).
  28. Christmas time and all that goes with it (decorating, baking, caroling, etc.).
  29. Reading for fun (sadly I have had little time for this, but soon I will).
  30. Swimming.
  31. Cold lemonade.
  32. A really good pair of sunglasses.
  33. Walking barefoot in long, soft grass.
  34. Stargazing in the country (it is such much better away from the lights of a town).
  35. Bonfires with awesome people.
  36. Rearranging a room after it’s been a certain way for a couple of months (I like to change it up when I get bored of a setup).
  37. Non-matching socks.
  38. Ranch dressing on chicken tenders.
  39. Bojangles french fries.
  40. Peanut Butter Crunch.
  41. Meeting new people (They haven’t hear all my favorite stories yet).
  42. Big comfy sweaters.
  43. New York Cheesecake ice cream from Bruster’s Real Ice Cream.
  44. Zumba classes (it’s more fun in a group).
  45. Popcorn x1,000,000,000.
  46. Sleeping in over-sized t-shirts.
  47. Having a uniform that consists of scrubs, when other majors have to wear dress clothes.
  48. Painting my toenails but not my fingernails.
  49. My Chevy HHR.
  50. Jesus Christ.

I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know some things you love in the comments if you feel so moved or if we love any of the same things.

Think of puppies and little kitty cats and push through the last few weeks! You’ve got this!!

-M

Story time (trying something new)

For those of you who have read multiple posts from me, you have likely noticed that my blog is a major hodge-podge of things. I never really intended it to be anything in particular, but it has definitely had a tendency to be about my daily life and things I experience thus far. This post is going to be a bit different. I recently had a dream and I kind of grabbed the general idea from that and wrote a short story, which I am going to share here. I am a very amateur writer so please do not judge too harshly and I will not be offended if nobody makes it to the end of this post. Here goes nothing

 

Seeing moving trucks in front of his house as I approach it for the first time hurts more than I thought it would and I have to choke back tears. Determined, I pull in next to his ancient Chevy and throw it in park. Just as I slam my car door, Henry comes out of the front door, holding it open for a couple of movers carrying the couch on which we had watched movies, kissed, and cried together. Someone shouts “Henry!” When he spins toward me, I realize I am the one who called for his attention. His face shows his surprise and unmistakable happiness as he jogs over.

“Did you come to see me off Liza? I was afraid I wouldn’t get to see you before I left,” he asks. His accent, distinctly British but with certain American undertones, melts my heart and I just want to kiss him. No. He’s leaving tomorrow.  “I couldn’t let you leave without seeing you one last time!” I start off sweetly, but quickly turn serious”plus, I have something to say.” Henry’s smile disappears and his brow furrows in concern, “Is everything alright?” His concern touches me and I almost change my mind.

Before I could think of something else that could possibly be “important,” what I really came to say tumbles out of my mouth. “The last 3 weeks have been terrible. I know I broke up with you, but all the reasons I gave you were lies. My love for you hasn’t changed, but when you told me you were leaving…” my voice cries and Henry starts to break in. “No. Let me finish.” He graciously complies. “There was no way I could imagine drop everything right now–my family, my job, my friends–with barely any notice, I still can’t. And it would be selfish of me to ask you to turn down a dream job opportunity and stay here. I won’t ask you to stay, it’s unfair, but I couldn’t let you go without you knowing how much I love you. I’ve been telling my bedroom walls that I love you since the last time I saw you and I couldn’t let you believe a lie.” I finally breathe. “That’s it. I don’t want you to give me an irrational, purely emotional response so I’m gonna go.” I lean toward him, breathe in his scent, and kiss his cheek, “Goodbye my love.”

I run to my car, hop in, and back out of his driveway. His watchfulness is evident out of the corner of my eye, but I don’t look back as I drive away from my greatest love.

Curled up with my head in my sister’s lap, I sob. Laura pulls my hair back off of my face. “Lizzie, you cannot beat yourself up over this. It is what it is. I know you wanted him to able to go without worrying about you, but he probably would have worried about you unless you went with him. There was no avoiding that.” I slowly start to catch my breath enough to speak when Laura’s phone rings. “One sec,” she says looking down at her phone screen. “Hello? Uhhh, yeah I guess I could do that.” she covers the mic and whispers to me “I’ll be back in just a minute.”

As she walks up the stairs to her room, I flip over the pillow to the dry side. Laura is right, I know. Does that mean I’m okay with that? Definitely not. It is hard to believe that Henry only told me about the job offer in Chicago less than a month. Less than a month ago my life was nearly perfect, and now I don’t know what adjective to use.

My phone rings and I look down to see his lovely smile on my screen. My heart skips in my chest. Fingers trembling, I answer the phone. “Henry?” His voice warms me head to toe “Liza, what are you doing right now?” I try not to sniffle, “I’m at my parents’ house hanging out with Laura, why?” There’s a little mischief in his voice as he says, “I want you to go get ready for a nice dinner and meet me downtown at the gazebo.” I start to respond, but he cuts in “you got to do all the talking this afternoon. See you at 7:30 darling.” The line goes dead, but I just stand there.

Steps behind me break my trance and I spin around. Laura must see something different on my face and the corner of her mouth tics upward in a little smile. “What’s going on?” I let myself giggle a little, “Henry called me. He told me to go home and get ready for a fancy dinner at 7:30” Now she smiles for real, “what are we still doing here?”

Laura and my other sister, Sara, get me ready, only allowing to give my opinion a few times during the whole process. As I drive downtown, I must admit they made me look good and I smile. My hands are shaking a little on the steering wheel as I pull into the lot of the park where our favorite gazebo is located. There are no other cars as I park, but the gazebo is lit up like I have never seen and I make my way over to it. Henry is standing behind a table with candles, flowers, and plates with silver domes covering our dinner. He breathes out slowly when he sees me and grins. “Hello, beautiful. I’m so glad you could join me.” He pulls back my chair and I take a seat. “Henry, this is so lovely, but what are…” He shushes me gently. “Liza, I want you to hear me out. Okay?” I manage a smile which I hope appears sweet, but is probably more nervous looking, “Sure, I’ll try to be quiet.”

Henry is all dimples as he takes a breath. “I applied for this job when we first started dating, over a year ago. Never did I think my life would be what it was a month ago. I didn’t know I would be so madly in love with you…” His eyes are tearing up, and I smile encouragingly, but say nothing.”…I also didn’t think I would get the position. It was more of a dream than anything and I barely thought about it until decision time was coming up. When I actually got it, I was so happy! Now two of my greatest dreams were coming true. In the middle of some plans I was making, I read the email about when they wanted me to start and I was spun around. I had a lot planned for the day after you told me you didn’t love me.” Henry looks up and I can see he’s holding back tears, I reach across the table and grab his hand. “I’m sorry I lied to you. I thought it would help make your decision easier.” I whisper. He nods and continues, “That date I had planned, was similar to this one. It had the candles, the flowers, and this,” Henry lifts the silver lid off my plate and I suddenly can’t breathe.

Henry takes the box off the plate and gets down on one knee. “Liza. Being your husband is my dream job. I didn’t know that when I sent in that application all those months ago, but I know it now. My life is not what I want it to be without you in it. I don’t want that job if you aren’t with me and I don’t want for you to be unhappy. If your want for me to be by your side is selfish, then I’m selfish too because I never want to be without you by my side. Elizabeth Morris will you make me the happiest man alive and marry me?” I breathe “of course”

Over dinner I ask Henry about his job. “This afternoon, I thought about what you said for about 30 minutes and then I called the firm.” I giggle, “a whole 30 minutes, huh?” In all seriousness Henry states, “that’s all the time I needed to decide. Well, they are apparently accepting applications for a similar position that will be opening in a year and a half. They’re willing to consider me for that position and it’s far enough out that we can a plan the wedding and get married. It’s something for us to consider together and decide on, but it’s an option.”

One look at my sweet future husband and I know “I think, we can handle being newlyweds in the windy city.”

 

 

Well that’s it. Like I said this story is based very, very loosely on a dream I had. I hope you liked it or at least that you didn’t hate it. Thanks for making it through if you did.

-M

 

 

 

Spring Break Project (I’m kind of crafty)

Some friends and I are moving into an apartment together for the summer and our last year of college. I am ridiculously excited for this opportunity to practice being adult a little before actually getting a mortgage and grown up stuff like that. Only problem? Apartments in my area do not come pre-furnished like dorms do. My parents were generous to promise me an extra bed from the house I grew up in, but other than that I own one bedside table sized set of drawers, a TV, and a bookshelf. All in all a pretty sad furniture collection.

To rectify this problem I went thrift shopping *cue the music*. It took a little time and patience but I found this little beauty at a thrift shop, I had previously never been to, in my hometown.

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Yes, I realize it is upside down. This is what happens when my dad is making the decisions. I also totally forgot to take a picture before removing the pulls (pictured below) and beginning work on the 3 missing drawers.

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First, I wiped the whole thing down, inside and out because it was pretty nasty. I even found some small child’s coloring of a pony as a bonus! Then, it was down to business. I sanded every inch of surface that I was going to paint with a very rough sanding block and followed it up with a fine grit sanding block. The left picture is before and the right picture is after. As you can see, I did not sand all the stain out. The goal was to rough up the surface so that the paint would adhere and to try and get out some of the nicks.

Then came several days where I painted the drawers and box in my free time. All in all, I’d say I spent about 2-2.5 hours actually painting (not counting dry time). I also only used about a quart of paint, which is way better than the half gallon my dad was convinced I would use.

After investing a good chunk of my spring break investing in this dresser, here is the finished product!

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It is by no means perfect, but I am really proud of the way it turned out!

I paid $40 flat for the dresser, which I felt was a pretty decent price as it is solid wood and really big (it took up every inch of the back of my HHR with the back row down). Then I spent about $20 on new hardware and $15 on paint. That’s $75 for a solid wood dresser that I am really happy with for all you mathematicians out there.

Now I’m back to school for one more month of hard work before summer break!! Happy spring everyone!

-M

 

Learning about real things

February was an interesting month of class. Be forewarned this may be a little bit of a preachy informative post. You should read it anyway.

This semester, I am in my mental health course. Entering the semester I was fully prepared to learn about the science behind various mental illnesses with which people from all walks of life struggle. What I did not expect is to have everything I knew about the few mental illnesses I have come across to be broken down and tossed out the window.

Now I am aware that this one post is not going to change everything about what the mentally ill go through, but I do hope that it changes the way you (yes you specifically) handle interactions with the mentally ill. Who knows, maybe the effect will ripple out and change something.

Mental illness is something that is incredibly hard to deal with as the ill person, as the family that wants to help, and every person who interacts with the sufferer as they try to handle every interaction as if it is the most fragile one in the world. Take schizophrenia for example, the schizophrenic has an overload of a specific euphoria-causing neurotransmitter that causes them to think and act the way that they do and they would like to fix that problem, but when they take medications for it, it causes them to have too little of that same neurotransmitter. This causes them to feel nothing, which is also not ideal, so clearly medication is not perfect, but neither is therapy. Therapy is really great and I am in no way saying that one should not go to see a therapist if he or she needs to, but is also incredibly difficult for a therapist know what a specific person needs since no one is effected by the same mental illness in the same way. This is the biggest issue: treatment is not perfected in any of these illnesses.

Another huge issue is stigma. Much too often the word “crazy” is thrown around casually when speaking of mental illness. It is a challenge to not do this, I know from personal experience, especially when a mentally ill person does something that is so off the wall  that in the moment you cannot think of another word. Less often than the use of “crazy” but still too often is the occurrence of discrimination against a mentally ill person due to deeply rooted stigma. It takes time to not stereotype a person who tells you they have clinical depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder but society has to put in that time.

These and so many other issues result in one of the saddest realities I have had to face this semester. All too often those with severe mental illness end up alone, homeless, or both. Mental illness is taxing for people who care for the ill and many times families reach a point where they want nothing to do with the sick person anymore. Some can still make a life for themselves without the support of family, but not always. Mental illness can cause a person to be unable to hold down a steady job, function within society, or keep up with their bills, which results in homelessness. If you’ve ever seen the documentary “Lost Angels” about skid row in LA you know that some of these people do not hate being homeless except for the way they are treated due to that fact.

If we all approach mental illness with an open mind and a caring heart we can take change at least a few lives. I am not necessarily asking any of you to specifically be part of the solution, but please (please, please, please) do not be part of the problem.

Happy spring (or almost spring) everyone!

-M