Monday, July 1, 2013

Remembering Why Life Is Good

Anyone who knew me about 4 or 5 years ago knows I was obsessed with the company Life is Good. I wanted all their shirts and hats and mugs and bumper stickers and, well, everything, because Life was good...and I wanted everyone to know I thought so.

Lately, I feel like I've been letting everyone (including myself) know that I thought, currently, life was bad. That perception has been getting me in a funk.

So I'm writing this blog to let you know why in fact my life has been not only a good life, but a great life, no matter what.

It's gonna be a long one, so sit back, relax, and enjoy.

I started out as a cute little thing and enjoyed doing things like fishing and crawling and going to the zoo:
Me at the 3 rivers festival
When I was in elementary school, I was already a star. I was in the recycling club, I won all sorts of reading awards, and I won first prize in the science fair almost every year. 
1st place science fair 1993
In middle school, I started playing bassoon in 6th grade (who does that), got to go to Myrtle Beach with the Beta Club to present my Rube Goldberg like invention that I believe was to give a dog a treat, went to Washington D.C. for an 8th grade trip, was in youth group and got to go to Lake Junaluska a retreat center and made this pretty awesome mural out of paint chips and learned how to be a puppeteer, and went to the 8th grade dance with these lovely ladies (mural and ladies pictured below). 
The mural
8th grade dance
In high school, I started out at Academic Magnet High School and had a blast. I loved learning, but then I went through some emotional stuff, so I went to the public high school (oxymoronic, right?) and didn't have as much fun, but I was closer to home and could fade into the background more. I got more into running and track. I had a boyfriend (who I swore I was going to marry, and he did too, and we almost did, several times). I worked at a movie theater (which ended badly) and Piggly Wiggly (which was awesome). I fell in love with environmental science, I went camping, and hiking, and white water rafting. I was in student council. I went to the beach (a lot!). I made awesome friends, that I am still friends with. I was in the astronomy club. I went to prom. I had and wrecked several cars. I did a lot of stupid things, as most high schoolers do. I really lived in high school, and it almost killed me a couple of times ;)
Colleen, me, and Melissa at Piggly Wiggly :)
At one point in life both these cars were mine, chilling on the trunk after a run.
Student Council Convention Skit Prep
My award after 1st place in my age division after a 5K
Camping with the Allie's 
Prom with the guy I  thought I was gonna marry
Next was college, and it was a blast, and I fell in love with the town, so I stayed there for what I thought was gonna be forever. Well, I guess I will get there in a minute. 

In college, I was really active. I joined Campus Crusade for Christ right off the bat. I joined a freshman girl's Bible Study and between Crusade and the Bible study that was pretty much my core group of friends throughout college (mainly, there were definitely others). My freshman year, I swore I was gonna be a preacher, so I took a trip to divinity schools all over the Northeast like Yale, Columbia, etc so we got to go to NYC also and that was fun! I secretly had a kitten in my dorm room for a while. I joined the Helen Foil Beard Society since we didn't have sororities or fraternities and that was another good core group of friends. I started playing bassoon again (and got a scholarship for it). I played in mud, I got packed up in a box, I went to Mississippi to study the blues where they originated. I went to (and planned) Winterfest (the formal) every year. Catawba played my beloved Tarheels in an exhibition game, so of course I went,  and we won, the first 4 minutes. I joined drumline and was cymbal and pit captain at one point or another. I was the music department worker, worked in the registrars office, worked for the environmental science building, and the science building. I took many, many, many long, hard runs through the ecological preserve. I was on student government and a Catawba ambassador. And had many, many, many deep philosophical conversations in certain rocking chairs in the 3rd floor of the administration building and everyone thought I was crazy for doing so. I loved Catawba deeply and really, really, really found out who I was there. It was the best place on earth. 

Crossroads in Mississippi where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil to write blues music.
Leadership retreat in Boone.
Playing Bassoon
Apparently something good was going on on the field I was more interested in.
Some of my favorite people in the world. Capernaum Young Life. 
Me in a box.
Me covered in mud after playing.
The minute and 21 seconds Catawba beat the UNC Tarheels!! 
The first summer of college I got to go on a summer long mission trip called summer project to Gatlinburg, TN through Campus Crusade for Christ. It was awesome! The other three summers, I got the opportunity to work at two awesome camps for most of the time. For one summer I worked at Camp Bob, a camp in Hendersonville, NC for underprivileged kids where they got to go to camp for free and do all the regular camp things and it was so much fun. Then for 2 summers I worked at Camp Royall, a camp for kids and adults on the autism spectrum where they got to do all the regular camp things despite being on the spectrum and in my opinion that was even more awesome. I loved being a camp counselor. After all, I was going to school to run a camp. But God had other plans. But here are some pics from camp and summer project. 
The whole summer project gang
Reunion at Encounter Christmas Conference
After the egg and whip cream war
The juice crew, after the campers were allowed to pie us in the face.
Hiking on the way to camp out. I had dysautonomia at this point and didn't know it. I couldn't keep up and wifey stayed back with me. She's such a good person. :) 
Yes, I was part of the Camp Bob Step Mob, be jealous.
A lizard I found in the staff lounge at Camp Royall.
 Every day he would tell me multiple times, "You're a monkey, clown dog." I love this place. 
Sometimes I think I enjoyed the sensory room more than my campers ;)
After college, and in between some camp breaks I spent my time being stupid in Salisbury a lot of times. Before I was a teacher of course. I did a lot of times. Especially one summer in particular I can remember. But, I think I needed to do that stuff, so that I knew that wasn't who I actually was. I had some fun times in the Bury. I had some awesome jobs, and had some even better bosses. I jumped over fires, I climbed on city roofs with random guys and did nothing but look at the stars, I loved too hard and too fast. But it was fun. 

Me and my boss a little too happy at an open mic night at Las Palmas.
Jumping over a fire.
Yeah, we loved working with each other.
At a concert.
Laying on a city roof looking at the stars, and I don't think I was as drunk as I look. (I hope)
I also had some awesome experiences, that didn't involve having quite that much "fun" but were still a ton of fun and very rewarding. I spent A LOT of time at Port City Java, doing stuff for work, doing stuff for school, doing stuff for life, doing stuff for coffee...haha. I volunteered at an equine therapy camp for kids with disabilities. I volunteered at music camp and Vacation Bible School every year at the best church on Earth. I volunteered with the "challenge team" for Upward Basketball at First Baptist. I was in the BEST Sunday School class ever and went to the best church ever. On Wednesdays, I ate dinner there and then instead of going to Bible study hung out in the library with the library crew with some of the coolest, wisest women I know. Then went to choir (until I got to sick and had to quit). I also did hand bells at church and played bassoon in the church orchestra. I also was a chaperon for the youth group trip to Caswell (a camp on the beach) the summer right before I moved to Indiana. Man, typing all that out makes me really miss FBC Salisbury so much!!! 
Me and the sweetest girl ever taking a water break at upward practice.
Halloween at Saving Grace Farm
Music Camp Production
Fort this place! 
God lives here...the best church on Earth...FBC Salisbury! 
I've also had the opportunity to go on several awesome vacations with both the juice crew and my BFF throughout the years! We've been to Charleston several times. The juice crew went to Savannah, Gatlinburg, and Washington D.C. And my BFF Christine and I have been to Charleston several times New York/New Jersey, and Maine! I also got to go to the Bahamas on a cruise with one of my friends from Helen Foil and Student Government for my undergrad graduation present :)
The juice crew at the Washington Monument
The original juice crew in Gatlinburg
The BFF and I on the cannon at the Battery in Charleston.
Love is all around, in NYC with the BFF :)
Our badly misspelled names on our Starbucks cups on the way from Jersey to Maine :)
Laura and I in the Bahamas
I also used to get this thing called teaching and coaching track and it was pretty awesome too!!! I miss teaching so bad! I really, really do. I loved my babies so, so much. And I'm not gonna talk about it anymore because it makes me cry, and I can't show you pics because of privacy. So you can see a pic of the most bangin' bulltein board my assistant and I ever made! It's called the 12 shapes of Christmas because we made a whole entire song to teach them the different shapes for math that month like 1 golden star, 5 stockings, 6 hexagons, etc. and the shapes in the song correspond to the shapes on the bulletin board. It was quite impressive! 
Also, as a tree hugger, I have a favorite tree that I've visited through the years. It's at Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, SC if you ever wanna go see it. Right out the back door of the house when the tour is finished. 

Allison and I (not the first time)
Brandie, Nicki, and I during Easter break one year
Me after the last Boone Hall Easter service I was able to go too. Sad day. Very sad day.
Now I live in Indiana and it's harder to make a positive list but here it goes (with less pics because I don't have them and this blog has taken an insanely long time to format). 

 I am very, very happy that I have gotten the chance to know my family. Being so far away from them geographically growing up made it hard to actually know them and I am very grateful for that opportunity. I am grateful for SNOW DAYS! They are finally in my life of hurricane days and 120 degree summer days a reality...yet somehow the 100 degree summer days still are too, I thought those would go away, darn. I am super grateful for finding Maryland Community Church. It is definitely no First Baptist Salisbury and not even a St. Andrew's Mt. Pleasant, but it's ok for now and I found a wonderful small group I attended weekly for a year and a half through them. I also have been given an opportunity to start a chronic illness small group there and am very excited about starting that in the fall. I am thankful for the strangest ways of meeting just the right people at just the right time in the weirdest ways, which happens a lot here for being such a "big" town. I am thankful that I am back in school to learn dietetics to hopefully use it in some capacity one day. I am thankful for being able to cook more (when I feel like it, which isn't often) because I actually have food in my house. I am thankful that we joined the Community Supported Agriculture this summer because you get really good veggies and fruits in it. I am thankful for my puppy that I got here Carolina. She is my constant companion and therapy dog. I am thankful for some doctors who appear to know some things. I am thankful for a much better relationship with my mother...much, much better (most days).

A photo shoot my dog and I did the other night...
And I am thankful for a garden courtyard where I can sit in the rain and watch my puppy run around and catch raindrops on her tongue while I smell the roses and make lists like this on a nice summer day.

****Addition: Congratulations if you made it all the way through this. I've been writing this blog for 3 days. I've been looking through pictures and remembering the good ole days while yet another doctors appointment with yet another 'specialist' was looming. I thought I was going to finish it in enough time to post right before I left, but it did not happen. I was trying to remind myself if he had no idea of what to do like all the other doctors that my life was amazing no matter what. Well, I managed to do that. But, he managed to remind me too. He validated me. He did in fact know about my condition and does in fact know how to manage it (hopefully). He did say I have a very severe case, but he knows what he is talking about. So in fact, after all this build up of preparing myself and reminding myself of the fact that life is good. As of about 3 pm today, it really, really became good...and I am happy. More on that tomorrow :) <3 br="" nbsp="">

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