If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Twice More So That Your Failure Is Statistically Significant.

Four years ago I cringed at the fact that I was going to be attending Northwest Christian University. Everybody from Harrisburg attends NCU and I didn’t want to be another Harrisburgian at NCU. I wanted to be in SoCal at Hope International, soaking up the sun on the beach, and spending my weekends at Disney. Yet, here I was, checking the “I will attend” box on my admission packet for NCU and not HIU. I was bitter the remainder of my senior year, all summer, and partially through my freshman year at NCU. I contemplated transferring schools numerous times, yet every time, something fell through and didn’t work out, so I stayed at NCU.

Fast forward four years and I just walked across the stage at NCU, earning my Bachelor’s of Science in psychology, and while my time at NCU wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, I’m so happy to call myself a Beacon.

I declared my major as a Bachelor’s of Arts in psychology before arriving on move in day, later changed to a Bachelor’s of Science, still in psychology. I switched roommates halfway through my freshman year, living in two different residence halls, and worked in the school’s coffee shop, the Beacon Beanery. My sophomore year, I worked again in the Beacon Beanery, started working at Max Porter’s, lived in the campus apartments, and fell in love with all of the communications classes that I was taking, so I declared a minor in communications (one of the best decisions I made while in school). My junior year I continued working at the Beanery, but left my job at Max’s to become a Resident Assistant in the dorms of NCU. That was quite the experience. I’ll leave it at that. Then came my senior year, the grand finale. This last year, I quit the Beanery, returned to work at Max’s, was elected to work with NCU’s student government as the VP of Environment, finished my minor during my first semester, and ended up finishing my degree with honors. Oh, not to mention I got engaged.

Throughout my four years I learned a MASSIVE amount about the brain which has sparked my interest in graduate school. I changed career goals many times, moving from clinical/mental health counseling to school counseling to not knowing what the heck I want to do with my life other than watch Netflix in my yoga pants while eating hot Cheetos. I cried a few times over my communication papers. Those things were pure EVIL. I screamed in the cafeteria with my classmates over passing grades (generally regarding communications papers). I made friendships that I know will last a lifetime and I learned a lot about God, myself, and what I believe (all as a result of attending a Christian liberal arts university in the heart of downtown Eugene).

It wasn’t easy, in fact, it was super hard at times. There were numerous times where I wanted to give up, drop out, cry for days, not get out of bed, not do my assignments, swear at my professors out loud rather than just in my head, transfer schools, quit my jobs on campus, and yell “SHUT UP!” to everyone treating the library like it was the cafeteria. Yet, here I am. I made it through. I still got 99 problems but a degree aint one.

In the past four years, I also accomplished some pretty big things! I managed to watch all 16 seasons of Law and Order SVU, all 10 seasons of Criminal Minds, Breaking Bad, and One Tree Hill. Alright, well, I thought that was pretty awesome to do. I won ACE Day for my communications class. That is pretty rad. I passed college math with a B! Go me! (I’m the worst at math. Literally. The. Worst). I finished both my major and minor with honors, graduating Cum Laude (yup, thats right, that 2.4 GPA in high school aint got nothin’ on me now), and I managed to burp and sneeze and fart in front of a guy and he didn’t run, in fact, he proposed! What a keeper.

So, whats next? Well, that is a mighty fine question. For as long as I can remember since arriving on NCU’s campus, I’ve had the dream to get my Master’s degree. I want that hood. At the same time, I am burnt out. I’ve spent the past four years working two jobs and going to school full-time. Quite frankly, I need a break. So, for now, the plan is to take a gap year, enjoy my first year of marriage, see what is out there, explore graduate programs, and have fun. I just spent $48,000 and have a Bachelor’s degree, which only 22% of the country can say!

I’m so thankful for the time I’ve had at NCU, the relationships that I’ve formed with not only my peers but my incredible professors (shout out to Dr. Nani Skaggs, you are my spirit animal and every woman in the psychology department at NCU wants to be you. #goals). I’ve been blessed by the incredible experiences and opportunities that I had while at NCU, I learned so much that my brain couldn’t handle it all and forgot most of it already (Whoops. Just kidding, that doesn’t happen..trust me, I’m a psych major, I know these things), and I found a place to call home for four years. Although it wasn’t HIU, the beach, and Disney, it was so much better. It was NCU, community, faith, and service, which was exactly what I needed.

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DIY Photo Collage

Nine or so months ago, I purchased six wooden picture frames from Goodwill for $6. At the time, I was planning to make a wall collage for my dorm room, so I sanded and spray painted the six frames. Since then, I have moved home (for good) and after doing so, I realized that the colors of the frames did not match my room at home. My room at school was turquoise, grey, and yellow whereas my room at home is grey, navy, orange, and red. So I decided to revamp my picture frames but to also double the amount of frames that I had. To do this, I went to Goodwill and picked up 6 more frames which cost me $12. I already had my Africa pictures in 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10 prints, so those didn’t cost me anything at the time of the project. My next task was to pick out paint. For Christmas, Nathan ordered me a beautiful tapestry from India. My dad and I aren’t allowed to paint our apartment walls and I can’t stand bright white walls, so I had been eyeing a colorful tapestry for months. This is the one Nathan got me: IMG_4157The main background of the tapestry is navy blue, with orange, burnt red, and an deep turquoise green. I didn’t really have anything to go with the tapestry at the time, but I also received a down comforter with a grey cover for Christmas (which I paired with a coral like orange pair of sheets) and it surprisingly matches well. I had these colors in mind when I went to pick out spray paint, but because I was feeling particularly lazy that day, instead of driving to Eugene for spray paint, I drove to Junction City where my color selection was limited. I found a burnt orange that I really liked and also picked up a navy blue just incase (I had grey at home already). The spray paint totaled $8 and I eventually ended up returning the navy, so only $4! After getting home, I realized that some of the frames were already a bright yellow, but I really wanted a dark mustard yellow, so I mixed some yellow acrylic with the burnt orange spray paint and hand painted three of my frames. The rest, I sanded down and then used either grey, burnt orange, or paprika (which I found in Nathan’s shop. By the way, Robin, if you’re reading this, I totally owe you a half a can of Paprika! HA!). The whole process actually went super fast, probably because while I painted, Nathan sanded, so the entire thing took less than an hour. I laid out some butcher paper and boxes, sprayed the frames with two or so coats of paint, waited for them to dry, and then inserted my pictures!

Now, there is an issue with buying frames at Goodwill and the issue is that most of them do not have hanging hooks on the back. I learned this the first time that I picked up frames and attempted a craft. Luckily, there are really awesome command hooks that are made just for picture hanging. The command hooks have interlocking velcro, where one sticks to the wall, one stick the the picture, and then the two connect with velcro. I decided since only 2 of my 12 frames had hanging claws, to pick up two packs of the command hooks. Command hooks are rather spendy, but I think that they are totally worth it, so for two packs, I spent $12. Each pack of the command hooks comes with 12, but I used 2 each, cutting them in half to attach to each side of the frame, so I had 12 in total to use instead of 24.

The total price for my frames, paint, and hooks was $28 (not including the frames and spray paint that I already had along with the prints).

As Type A as I am and as much as I like clean, precise lines, I wanted my collage to be fun, so I just went for it when I hung the pictures. I started with the picture that I liked the most as my focal point, and then played around rearranging and holding up the different frames until I found what I liked the best and which colors/frames worked the best by one another!

So really it just comes down to these simple steps:

1. Buy your frames

2. Sand & paint

3. Attach hooks or command strips

4. Add pictures

5. Arrange & hang

I had so much fun doing this and it really adds color to my white walls! So, you’re probably wondering what the heck these picture frames that I have been raving about look like. Well, here is my wall collage:

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I have so many pictures from Africa, that I had a really hard time choosing which to frame, but these are a few of my favorites. I also framed my sponsor child info because I am constantly losing it and at the top left, I framed a piece of chalkboard paper that I used a white crayon on 🙂

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The black and white photo of the children is in the burnt orange, the giraffe photo is in the paprika, the yellow is my homemade yellow, and then of course grey 🙂

This DIY is so simple, quick, and relatively cheap!

Summer DIY

Did you know that if you go to the mall to try and buy a pair of shorts for summer, you could spend anywhere from $25-50?!?! Let me tell you, I had no clue or I wouldn’t have gone to the mall. Maybe I just didn’t realize how much shorts cost because my mom always bought them for me or because I had been SO poor this year that I hadn’t gone on a shopping spree in nine months, but DANG, shorts are spendy. I wasn’t about to drop bones on shorts, which I can only wear for maybe three months of summer in oregon, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do because at the time of my trip to the mall, it was 75 degrees out in the middle of April and I really needed some shorts. Then I had a lightbulb moment and decided to make my own shorts! A few days after this idea came to me, my friend Megan & I went thrifting to find old mom jeans that we could turn into shorts. Sadly, I only found one pair that worked and they were already shorts, so I planned to just cut them and sew on cute pockets, but after getting back to my dorm, I found a pair of coral skinny jeans that I hardly ever wear and a pair of high waisted yellow Forever 21 shorts that I think I’ve worn a few times, so I added those to my pile of DIY shorts.

The ugly, long, mom-shorts that I picked up at St.Vincent Depaul were $4. I had a pair of Old Navy skinny jeans that I have had for 3 years that I have worn maybe three times, and a pair of Forever 21 shorts that I have worn a few times. So I only spent $4 on pants.

Then Megan and I took a trip to Jo-Anne Fabrics and I spent $10 on two different fabrics and two different types of lace. I haven’t had a ton of time to work on my shorts since finishing school and moving home, but I have been able to get two pairs done and I’m pretty satisfied.

The ugly mom ones turned out pretty good for a first attempt and they just need to be cut shorter, although I kinda dig the long length:

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Next I worked on my coral skinny jeans. I cut most of the leg off, cutting at an angle so that the inside of the leg was longer than the outside. I plan to roll and cuff the bottoms of the legs. Then I created two mint floral pockets, then sewed on the lace to the mint fabric and attached the pocket as one! I also sewed on the mint floral fabric to the inside of the pockets and then distressed the pockets using an X-Acto knife:

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To distress any pair of jeans, you just make horizontal cuts using a knife or box cutter, then you will see little blue or colored vertical strings in the cuts, you just pull those out with tweezers, leaving the white or colored horizontal (it was really hard with colored jeans because both the vertical and horizontal strings were pink, but in jeans, the vertical are blue and the horizontal are white). Then, you’ll have distressed patches on your jeans! Super easy!

My last pair of shorts are light yellow high waisted jean shorts with frayed legs and I can’t exactly decide what to do. I may sew on colored pineapple fabric to the pockets or just distress the shorts, but either way, I have had a ton of fun getting to make a few pairs of shorts for summer.

& the best part is, I spent less than $15 to make 3 pairs of shorts, which you definitely cannot do when buying shorts at the mall!

If you’re interested in making your own shorts, you just need:

-Shorts or old jeans

-Fabric Scissors

-Thread & Needle

-Pins

-Fabric quarters

-X-Acto Knife & Tweezers

Super easy and fun DIY for summer!

Strengths

What comes to mind when someone asks you about your strengths? Well for me, I automatically think: “sleeping, yeah I’m really good at that. And eating, shoot, I should join the olympics for eating because that strength is off the chart!” I don’t usually find myself focusing on the self or the aspects of myself that would be considered my strengths. In my CM240 class, which I strongly dislike, we finally did something worthwhile. We took the StrengthsQuest. As a psych major, I have taken endless surveys, assessments, etc. that are supposed to tell us who we are, what our personality type is, and yada yada yada. So I had somewhat low expectations going into this StrengthsQuest. So as I do whenever I have an assignment for CM240, I sat down, groaned a lot, complained about how long the assignment was, how I doubt it would help me, and then finally after an hour or so of putting it off and getting on Facebook, I took the assessment.

Fast forward half an hour or so when I finally finished. I was shocked. I mean, really really shocked. I had expected this assessment to be dumb and to ask questions that every other survey asked, but I was really surprised. Of course there were questions like “choose one of the two” and neither pertained to me or both did, yet I had to make a decision, so I didn’t like that, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised.

Next it was time to view my results. The StrengthsQuest lists your top 5 strengths at that time, but usually you tend to fluctuate between 10 or so. Side story: in the weeks prior to this assessment, I had really began to question what I was going to do after I finished my undergraduate studies, I didn’t know if I was cut out to be a counselor, etc. So you could say that I was pretty stressed. I kept asking myself “what if I’m not empathetic enough or can’t relate to people enough during counseling? What if I just flat out SUCK?!” Back to that quiz. When I saw my top 5 strengths, I was suddenly at ease and I honestly no longer felt worried, anxious, or unsure about my future schooling and career plans.

So by now you’re probably wondering what my top 5 strengths were, what they mean, and how I see them helping me as I live out my calling. So here they are:

1. Futuristic. I can’t even tell you how true this is of me. The website stated that this meant that I tend to “peer over the horizon.” Yup, that sounds about right. I don’t stop thinking about the future, it actually kind of sucks sometimes. I am always thinking “What is next? Where will I be? What am I going to do?” so this strength did not surprise me at all. I try to live in the moment, but of course, I always find myself thinking more about the future. I’m not entirely sure how this strength will help me in my pursuit of counseling, but the description listed by the website certainly encourages and resonates with me.

“You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you. They can energize others, too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future.”

2. Belief. This strength is described as having enduring values that lead me to be family-oriented, responsible, and morally ethical. I suppose those aspects are great no matter what calling you are living out. Not going to lie, I was somewhat bored with this strength.

Moving on.

Here is where I got super excited and felt at ease.

3. Relator. YES! FINALLY! The strength of the relator was described as someone who can easily relate to others, create friendships, and cares about those around them. The website stated that a relator “want[s] to understand their [friends’] feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk—you might be taken advantage of—but you are willing to accept that risk. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine.” As an introvert with like 3 friends, I was somewhat surprised by this aspect of my strengths and personality, but then again, I wasn’t utterly shocked. I find myself relatable, I find myself relating with others even if I’ve never been in the same situation as them, and yes, I only find relationships valuable if they are real. After this strength popped up, I was sold on this assessment.

4. Empathy. The awesome and encouraging strengths just kept coming. I wanted to cry tears of joy when I saw this strength. I kid you not. Sounds silly now, but for someone who was doubting their career choice, seeing this simple word was just the best. I don’t really have much to add because the description of this strength summed up everything so nicely, really resonated with who I am, and made it very evident that I am on the right path.

“You can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament—this would be sympathy, not Empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand. This instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You hear the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need. Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone. You help people find the right phrases to express their feelings—to themselves as well as to others. You help them give voice to their emotional life. For all these reasons other people are drawn to you.” 

Lastly….

5. Individualization. I’m in college but I had no idea what this word even meant. So I googled it and found that it apparently means that I see people as individuals, rather than types or groups. I can dig that. Again, just what I needed to hear regarding my counseling career choice.

“You hear the one-of-a-kind stories in each person’s life. This theme explains why you pick your friends just the right birthday gift, why you know that one person prefers praise in public and another detests it, and why you tailor your teaching style to accommodate one person’s need to be shown and another’s desire to “figure it out as I go.” Because you are such a keen observer of other people’s strengths, you can draw out the best in each person.”

So, all in all, I really like the StrengthsQuest and now I’m going to advocate that everyone takes it. The assessment was part of my class, so I didn’t have to pay anything to take it, but I looked into it and found that one code is only $10. So if you happen to be curious as to what your strengths are and how they can help you, take the StrengthsQuest, seriously.

Secrets

First things first, the lip synching in this video is just awful and I mean seriously awful. Aside from the awful lip synching though, this song is super catchy and speaks a ton of truth about today’s society.

When I first heard this song this summer, my friend and I looked at each other and started laughing, but the more that I have heard the song, the more I have grown to love it.

Throughout the song Secrets, Mary Lambert sings “They tell us from the time were young, to hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves, insides ourselves. I know I’m not the only one, who spends so long attempting to be someone else, well I’m over it.” The song itself speaks so much truth about society and the things that young women and men are taught from a young age. My parents never told me to hide my imperfections or to try and act a certain way but society certainly did. I remember being in the fifth grade when I had no leg hair and secretly snuck razors from my mom and shaved my legs because the girls on the TV told me that boys didn’t like leg hair. I can remember buying oodles of makeup in middle school and caking on the concealer and eyeliner because without it, everyone could see my zits and I wasn’t cute. The thing is though, I didn’t need those razors or makeup. As young children, and more specifically young girls, we were taught that without doing those things and without covering up any imperfections like zits and leg hair, we weren’t good enough.

In middle school and high school, I was judged if I wore clothes that might have been too tight on my “bubble butt” or a shirt that was a little tight on my chest. I was made to feel ashamed. Why? Because I had the body of a woman? Yes, I had a booty and a chest and I wasn’t ashamed of it. I was actually proud to not have a mom butt, so heck yeah, I wore jeans that had little designs on my tush and made me look good and like a girl.

I’ve had little things that I didn’t like about myself, whether it was leg hair or zits and I’ve always been told to cover those imperfections up. I have two drawers full of makeup, I spend $30 on one tube of concealer, and yes, I used to buy Proactive because I had weird little acne spurts here and there. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on products to cover up aspects of me because why? Because society has told me that it is unacceptable to let others see those so called imperfections? And yes, all of this time I have bought into what society has told me. I have bought multiple tubes of expensive concealer and have constantly tried to dress to my body type and on and on the list goes, but I’m here to say that although I have imperfections and there are countless things that society has told me to hide, I won’t hide any longer.

I suppose Mary Lambert’s song has inspired me. 

I have secrets and things about myself that I dislike and have hidden or covered for so long, at least until now.

So here it goes kids..

I’m knocked kneed and my knees are even uglier when bare. I hate it. I don’t wear short skirts and I hardly wear shorts. I hate showing my knees. I hide them.

I have super dark circles and skin under my eyes, which is why I spend $30 on expensive, extra-strength, concealer. I look like I was just straight up punched without wearing concealer. I hide those dark circles.

I have crazy freckles, especially during the summer but most people can’t tell because of the makeup I feel that I have to wear. Those freckles are hidden.

My feet are straight up hideous. I definitely did not get my mom’s cute feet so I usually cover them up and eventually plan to get tattoos so that I won’t hate them so much. I keep my feet out of sight.

I do like my butt. Judge me. It is there and isn’t flat! HOORAY!

I’m scared of the dark but why would I tell people that? That would make me a wuss.

I’m terrified of being kidnapped, having my home robbed, or anything of that nature. Like overly obsessively scared. Then again, society tells me that I should be because I’m a woman..

I’m also afraid of the dentist and doctor. I think that one is natural though.

I don’t shave my legs that often. So what? My boyfriend doesn’t care.

The list could go on and on, but really there is only one thing left to say…

SCREW YOU SOCIETY.

God made us all in His image and we are all perfect, even with zits, leg hair, acne, big bubble butts, and disorders.

I refuse to believe society any longer and I refuse to hide the things that I don’t like about myself because I’m over it.

New Year, New Goals

Here we are, the last day of 2014! I can’t believe how fast this year went & all of the things that I experienced. I don’t really make new year resolutions because the last time that I did, I vowed to not eat McDonalds and then 20 minutes later I found myself with chicken nuggets in my hand. I sure do love my nuggs. As a result of my failure with resolutions, I’ve decided to just set small, medium, and big goals for the year. The small goals are more of resolutions or things that I would like to either start or stop doing, but they are also things that I will have to work at. The medium goals are a little more important and are also a little bigger. Then the big goals are just that, BIG! Last year my small goal was to get all A’s and B’s, my medium goal was to be an RA, and my BIG goal was to make it to Kenya! It took a lot of hard work but I was able to accomplish all three!

My two semesters of 2014 classes were ruthless. I ended up declaring a minor in communications which just might be the hardest major/minor that NCU offers. I finished my first semester as an RA, which has undoubtably left me with numerous stories and memories. I was also able to spend 2 weeks in Kenya this past summer, where I helped run VBS and visited my sponsor child, Esther. I struggled a lot, saw a lot, and experienced all sorts of new things like squatty potties and foreign food, and I loved every minute of it.

I’m not sure what 2015 has in store but again, I have some goals. As I look at the future, I’ve realized that I don’t really have any huge goals or small goals. I just simply have goals and things that I would like to accomplish in the next 365 days, no one goal more important than the other.

My goals for 2015 are to again, get all A’s and B’s, to find an internship that fits me and my career goals perfectly, to start doing yoga, to roadtrip with friends & family, to apply to graduate school & get accepted, to pay off my car loan, and to once again start saving for another trip to Kenya<3

It is crazy to think that in just 15 hours, we will be as close to 2030 as we are to 2000, and in just 365 days, we will be once again gathering to celebrate the new year.

Time truly does fly when you’re having fun.

 

 

 

 

Bucket List

You hear people talking about these. They can’t wait to cross items off, travel somewhere new, see something rare. Yet I always wonder if people actually remember the items on their bucket list and if they actually try to complete every task on them. I have a bucket list, but only for big things. My goal is to complete every item on my bucket list before I’m 65. I don’t know why 65, but I feel like that is a pretty solid age before you start deteriorating. Here is a little glimpse of everything that I plan to do someday 🙂

#1: Experience NYE in NYC. Every year I watch the ball drop from NYC and it looks miserable, but it looks miserably fun and I want to just experience the emotion and celebration at least once.

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#2: Ice skate in Rockefeller Center! This has been a dream of mine forever. Something about that massive tree and ice skating in the city is just….wonderful.

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#3: Visit India during Holi! I mean, India looks gorgeous as it is, and then make it look like a massive Color Run & I’m in!

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#4: Spend Christmas in London. Actually, it doesn’t matter when I go to London, but Christmas looks beautiful 🙂 When we flew over London on our way to Kenya, I wanted to go explore so badly. I have to go back.

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#5: Lets be honest, I just want to go to Italy for the food.

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#6: I’ve never been to San Fran and I am DYING to go.

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#7: Ever since The Last Song came out, I have been yearning to visit Tybee Island, in Georgia. It just looks peaceful 🙂

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#8: Boston! I have heard such awesome things about Boston and I wouldn’t mind visiting Fenway 😀

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#9: I’m not a big hiker or rock person, but I am my father’s daughter and love the outdoors. Arizona looks so beautiful with all of the sweet rocks and hikes, plus the warm weather is perfect!

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#10: LASTLY! This one is a big one. It is expensive and I will probably never get here, but it is worth the shot. Also, I’m pretty sure that if I traveled here, I wouldn’t leave. None other than the Maldives!

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I have quite the traveling to do & money to make in order to do so, but I’m determined 😉