Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011, What a Year it has been.

When I was little, I never believed it when people said that the older you got, the more quickly time began to pass. But boy, were they right. I literally feel like I just rang in 2011, and now it's almost over! Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans, right? I guess that's been proven to me. Last year, I attempted to sum up the major happenings of 2010, and it was fun to look back on this year. So, I'm doing it again. Here's your year in a flash: Part 2.

2011, a year of struggles.
Six people were killed when a man named Jared Loughner began shooting outside of a political event in Arizona. One of his bullets landed in the skull of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who held the entire country's attention through her miraculous recovery. Several more lives were lost due to an insane amount of natural disasters including flooding in Australia and Brazil, and a devastating earthquake in Japan that almost collapsed the entire country. Another, much smaller earthquake centered in Virginia was felt all the way here in North Carolina. That Earthquake put a crack in the foundation of the Washington monument, which is now closed to visitors. Several devastating tornadoes tore through the southern US, leaving thousands with nothing. Our entire world was held enraptured by the news of protests in Egypt this year. Facebook and other social networking sites were used as a political instigator and caused an entire country to be cut from world communication. Eventually, the Egyptian president resigned, and major changes began to take place all over that part of the world. Libya and Syria began to have revolts and uprisings that also captured the attention of the world. Resounding shouts of joy were heard all around as a headline broke announcing the death of terrorist leader, Osama Bin Laden. He was hunted for nine and a half years, and his death was long awaited by many. Life as we knew it will be no more... it's for sure, nothing will ever be the same again.

2011, a year of advancement.
With every year that passes, the things people come up with blows my mind. From medical science that is curing more and more diseases than ever before, to technological science that is able to create the iPhone 4s. Do you know what that does? It allows you to TALK into your phone, ask it a question, and receive the answer. Just like that. Seriously?! That's insanity. People have come up with interactive mirrors, paint that can be used as magnets, white boards, and chalk boards. Facebook has taken over the world, and is being used more than any other social networking site. It's insane the amount of achievements that have been accomplished in the past year!

2011, a year of goodbyes.
This year, we've lost many. The recent death of Kim Jong-il caught the world by surprise, and has left us with much uncertainty for the future of one of the members of our global community. One of the greatest minds of all time, inventor and entrepreneur Steve Jobs, left behind one of the largest legacies ever. He invented one of the most well-known and used product lines in history that continues to change technology as we know it. If you know anything about the world of jazz, you're probably aware that the jazz world lost one of its legends, Sam Rivers. The world of journalism lost the great Tom Wicker from the New York Times family. You know that pink ribbon that you relate to breast cancer awareness? Well, that is partly due to the late Evelyn Lauder, who also helped found Estee Lauder. The famous British singer Amy Winehouse had a tragic death at the age of 27. Ever heard of Sherwood Schwartz? I hadn't either, but I definitely know his work. He's the man that created The Brady Bunch as well as Gilligan's Island! Another great mind that 2011 saw part from this world.

2011, a year of milestones.
This year, so much has changed. The past is no more, but life is meant for that. What would we do if it all remained the same? Well, this year we saw many movements begin that instigated huge change. From the On September 17, Occupy Wall Street was born and is now a major cause supported all over the country. The whole world watched as the fairytale wedding of Britain's royal Prince William and Kate Middleton sent all girls back into the princess dreams of childhood. The United States took a moment to pause and reflect on an event that changed our country forever... 9/11. This year marked the 10 year anniversary, and the new memorial sitting where the twin towers once were opened up. The space shuttle Atlantis touched down at the Kennedy space center, marking the end of the US space shuttle program. The Cardinals beat out the Rangers for the World Series title. Our country has officially marked an end to the Iraq war. So many huge happenings.

2011, a year of experiences.
This year held a lot of firsts for me. I got to travel out of the US on a cruise with one of my very best friends, Chelsea. We cruised Carnival and we took a jeep tour of Cozumel, Mexico, went cave tubing in Belize, visited Hell, a turtle farm, and a sting ray bay in Grand Cayman, and a beautiful beach in Honduras! I also went on a fabulous band trip to NYC in the spring! Band as I knew it came to a halt as our beloved director of 25 years resigned his position and took a job at the middle school. We got a new director, which instituted a lot of change and new experiences, but we got so lucky. We have a new fantastic director that has helped make my senior year fantastic. I ended my high school marching career with two first place trophies, including one at App, and one at North Davidson where we also won Grand Champion! And how were we rewarded? With a broken down bus, of course! Fantastic times. I went to prom with a fabulous group of people, and applied and got accepted to several colleges. I completed a Lent season where I gave up Tea, Soda, and Facebook. I met and gained a fantastic family at Hickory Girls Fitness, where I became involved in the biggest most amazing dance party with Zumba. Those people have been my motivation, my safe haven, and my favorite part of the week for the several months I've been involved with them. I love them more than words! I've become more serious about my photography. I've hurt more than I thought I would, but I've also experienced the most intense joy I've ever had either. Tears and hugs, laughter and hope. This year's been amazing. It blows my mind to think of how different I am now from what I was this time a year ago. I'm excited about it!

2012, a year of opportunity.
In a short time, we will stand with friends and family gathered around us and ring in yet another year. So hard to believe that 2012 is actually here. I've waited for this year for a long time. It's the year I begin an entire new chapter in my life, and I'm scared to death. But I'm also thrilled. It's going to be amazing, wonderful, unexpected, and changing. This time of year is a tradition to us now. We expect the falling ball, the crowds, the kisses, the time of excitement. It never gets old, you know? What are we going to do with this clean slate we have in front of us? We have 365 days awaiting us to be filled with memories and moments. What will we put in each of them? It's our choice! How thrilling. As far as resolutions goes, I have several. The usual cliche ones, sure: Work on being healthier. Be happier. Love more. Take more pictures. Write more. Pray more. Read more. Worry less. Stress less. Waste less time. Invest in people more. But my main resolution? I want to live this year. I want to savor every single moment possible, and live each second to its fullest. I want to work on some of my bucket list. I want to meet and love as many people as possible.

So, I guess that's it. 2011, you've been amazing. It's been a struggle at times, but a joy more often than not. I'm going to look back on you and smile, that's for sure. Thank you for everything you've been for me, and for wrapping me up and holding me inside your days. Thanks for never giving up on me, and for carrying me through the rough patches. Let's always remember to hope and dream and aspire to be the best we can be, whenever we can be. Let's be thankful for what we have, and for whatever may come our way this year. 2012, please don't disappoint. Please be the year my dreams and wishes come true.

Let's go into 2012 taking the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson and "Write it on your heart that every day is going to be the best day of the year." Here we go... cheers to the coming year... cheers to the best year yet!


Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Year's Eve (Eve) Reflection on 2011.

Heyy, old friend. I've missed you.

20 Questions for a New Year's Eve Reflection

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Well, that's hard to choose. I've had a lot of good happen to me this year, all completely undeserved. But probably the best thing to happen was that I learned how to survive. I learned how to trust, and how to hope, and how to be held when I couldn't hold on anymore. They are moment-by-moment lessons, but they are lessons that I am beyond grateful for.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
I've struggled pretty hard this year emotionally. It's been rough, but I'm still here. Just taking life a moment at a time. Hopefully, this will work out soon!

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
The huge amount of joy that I get from being a part of the HGF family is something I never could have imagined. Zumba class may sound just ordinary or kind of silly, but it's not like that at all... it's so, so much more than that there. I've gained an amazing family that supports me in ways that I'd never felt supported before, and I'm getting healthy at the same time. It's a huge stress reliever, and it's an entire hour that I don't have to be present in the 'real world'. They make me feel like I belong somewhere, and that's so much more than I ever thought I would have. It's one of the biggest gifts I've ever received. If you want to come, let me know. Because you definitely should!

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
I didn't really expect to have the medical struggles I've had this year. I've been through a lot medically, from thyroid to ear to GI to back issues, my body's been through it. But, it's sticking with me, and I'm lucky to have an amazing team of doctors by my side.

5. Pick three words to describe 2011.
Beautiful, Worthwhile, Changing.

6. Pick three words your spouse/best friend would use to describe your 2011 (don't ask them;
guess based on how you think they see you).
Difficult, Fabulous, Different.

7. Pick three words your spouse/best friend would use to describe their 2011 (again, without
New, Challenging, Hopeful.

8. What were the best books you read this year?
I actually slacked off on my reading this year... :/ With school, I just haven't had any time! But, I read The Help by Katherine Stockett. It was fabulous, and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it or seen the movie. It fills in a lot of holes for the movie, so you need to read it. I also read Tour de Force by Elizabeth White. If you have any sort of a passion for Dance or for God, read this book. It's fantastic. I have it, and you can definitely borrow it from me. Right now I'm reading a Sarah Dessen book. She's my favorite author ever. If you haven't read any of her work, you have to. I recommend reading all of her books. (:

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Probably my family. We've gotten a lot closer this year. And, as we know, family can be acquired. So, my acquired family is definitely included in this. My best friends and my HGF family, along with my studio family have kept me going this year. They bless me so much more than they know!

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I cut loose a lot this year. I stopped being so uptight, and started living my life. I started to be me, and do what I knew would make me happy, rather than try to please everyone else on the face of planet earth. I've learned a lot about how to say no, and how to just be every now and then. It's funny what you learn when you aren't really looking for a lesson.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I struggled a lot emotionally, as I mentioned earlier. I've fought some pretty rough battles with myself this year. There have been a lot of sleepless nights in 2011. But each of these nights has taught me many lessons. I've learned a lot about passion, and the fact that I'm passionate about a lot of things. Loving intensely all the time can be difficult, but I've found that it's worth it. This year has marked the beginning of me learning how to stand on my own two feet emotionally. I've got a long way to go, but I'm trying.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
God and I are in a new place this year. I've learned that my faith is not based in 'church', but rather in a real, loving, exciting, surprising, faithful God. I've been mad, so very mad, but every time He brings me back. He's surprised me in ways that I never could have imagined, and he's made me giggle a time or two. He's my Daddy, and regardless of what goes on in the institution of 'church', we're going to make it through. Together. Because I can't do it without Him.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I'm becoming a healthier person. I exercise more than I ever have, and I'm eating a more healthy, balanced diet. The scales don't move much, but I feel healthier, I'm stronger, and I'm losing inches! So, I'm very excited. This is also a goal of 2012 for me-- to continue the journey!

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I've become more intentional about investing in people this year. I try my best make sure people understand how wonderful they are because that's an easy thing to forget. I've spent so many years believing that I'm un-wonderful, and I'm working like heck to make sure that no one else feels that way. Not on my watch, anyway. Everyone deserves someone to remind them that they are beautiful, wonderful, smart, kind, and more important than they could imagine. If someone does something that changes me, I make sure that they know it. People need to be made aware of the good that they do in the world, and I feel like no one ever talks about that. So, I do. I remind people that they are fabulous, and loved. At least by me. I know that isn't much, but it's what I can offer. I tell people good morning, and I make sure I say 'I appreciate YOU' rather than just 'I appreciate it', because that is two completely different things. I've seen so many people regret not telling someone something before they died, and I'm not going to do that. I'm going to make sure that people know how I feel about them. So many people feel like the world has walked out on them, that everyone has given up on them, and that they aren't even worth it anymore. I know that feeling all too well. I made it my goal to make sure that other people don't have to feel that way. I don't want to be just another person that gave up on whoever. No, I want to be the person that never gives up on anyone. I believe in miracles, and people surprise you. Now... exit soapbox. Sorry!

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (Both professionally and at home)?
The most enjoyable part of school for me has been band, by far. Those people make that 7 hour day Monday-Friday worth getting up for. I adored being Drum Major. I got to know and invest in so many people and lives that way. It was wonderful. And ending the season with a Grand Champion? More amazing than I could have wished for! As far as home goes, I haven't been here much. But love it when I am. I love my family, crazy as we may be. It's never a dull moment here (:

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (Both professionally and at home)?
The most challenging part of school is dealing with people who have no sense. Like at all. It amazes me, actually. How does one acquire the ability to have no sense? I guess we'll never know. And people that have no regard for others. How can you not care about another human being, and how can you be so rude all the time?! That's another mystery to me. At home, it can be a little difficult because by the time we all arrive here, we're exhausted, and there's not much time left in the day. But, we make it work!

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
The computer. Between social networking and researching photog techniques, I've probably spent days on this thing. It's a great tool, but I intend to cut back drastically.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Investing in people. If you want to know why I do it, go back to number 14. And being able to serve and help my community and the world around me has been a huge blessing in my time this year.

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
I learned that life moves quickly, and if you don't live in the day-to-day moments, you lose them. I've learned that loneliness isn't forever. I've learned that wishing on stars doesn't solve the problem, but it sure does give you hope. I've learned that it's okay to hope. I've learned that life throws curve balls, and that you have to be ready to swing as they come. I've learned that life is happening, right this very second, and I don't want to miss out on it.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.
This year has been amazing and beautiful. When all of the joy and heartache come together, we come up with a glorious stained glass window that will now be used as filter the rest of my life. I've both learned and taught, laughed and cried, sang and danced, written and spoken. I've experienced new things, places, and people. And I've lost many of those same things that were dear to my heart. This year has helped shape me, and make me who I am to become one day. Thank you, 2011. I'll never, ever forget you♥


Monday, December 26, 2011

Princess Survey - Belle!

Disney Princess Survey


[] You’ve kissed someone your friends didn’t like.
[x] You’ve been lost in the forest.
[x] You love to read.
[x] You are not shy at all.
[x] One of your family members is a bit weird.
[x] You have done volunteer work.
[x] You have a wild imagination.
[x] You love to take care of people in need.
[] You’ve had guys like you only because they think you’re pretty.
[x] You’ve rejected at least one person when they’ve asked you out.
Total: 8


[] You’re an orphaned child or have an evil mother.
[x] You have many different hobbies to keep you busy.
[x] You can get really bored.
[] You have very long hair.
[] Your hair is/was bright blonde.
[x] You’re an artsy person.
[x] You’re childish.
[x] You can’t wait to stop the same routine each day and start living.
[x] You care about others and their feelings.
[x] You like to follow the rules.
Total: 7


[] You have/had a pet rabbit.
[x] You love to play cards.
[] You constantly know the time.
[x] You get yourself in sticky situations.
[] You have been to a court.
[x] You have fallen asleep while doing your homework.
[x] You have had a tea party.
[x] You like hats.
[x] You’re late.
[] You know how to play croquet.
Total: 6


[] Your dad is rich.
[] You are very clever.
[] You’ve been with someone way different from you.
[x] You’d never marry someone just because they were rich.
[x] You have set a lot of goals for yourself.
[x] You don’t have a lot of (good) friends.
[x] You’re independent.
[] You are wealthy.
[] Your parents try to control your life.
Total: 4


[x] Your boyfriend/crush is strong.
[] You have gotten involved with the wrong people before.
[x] You are very convincing.
[] You have fallen in love before.
[x] You have had your heart broken.
[] You find an interest in Greek mythology.
[x] You lie sometimes.
[x] You pretend to be someone you’re not.
[] You have been used.
[x] Purple is one of your favorite colors.
Total: 6


[x] Your parents expect a lot from you.
[x] You really try to follow the rules, but it’s hard for you.
[] You’re a bit of a trouble maker.
[x] You love to swim.
[] Your favorite animal is some sort of sea creature.
[x] You collect something.
[] You have/had long red hair.
[x] You are adventurous.
[x] You’re extremely curious.
[x] You believe everything people tell you/you’re a bit gullible.
Total: 7


[] You live/have lived with someone other than your parents.
[x] You almost died at a very young age.
[x] You are gentle, loving, and/or thoughtful.
[] You have a decent singing voice.
[x] You like to sleep in late on the weekend.
[x] You spend most of your time outside.
[] You’re adopted.
[x] You’re very romantic.
[] Pink is one of your favorite colors.
Total: 5


[] One of your parents is dead.
[] You are expected to do a lot of chores.
[x] You love to dress up.
[x] You love animals.
[x] You are waiting patiently for your Prince Charming.
[] Your mom is really strict.
[] You have sisters who seem kind of jealous of you.
[x] You’re afraid to speak your mind sometimes.
[x] You have left your shoes at a friend’s house before.
[] You have/had blonde hair.
Total: 5

Snow White

[] Sometimes it seems like your mom is jealous of you.
[] You’ve almost been killed.
[x] You have at least seven good friends.
[] You’ve had food poisoning.
[x] You have/had short hair.
[x] You get along with almost everyone.
[x] All of your friends are different.
[x] You love to have a good time.
[x] You’re happier when you’re out of the house than in.
Total: 6


[] You get jealous easily.
[x] You loved your childhood.
[x] You like to fly.
[x] You believe in magic.
[] You’re 5’2” or under.
[] You hate pirates.
[x] You love sparkles.
[] People underestimate you.
[] You get angry easily.
[x] You have/had a treehouse.
Total: 5


[x] You love to walk around and explore big cities.
[] You are more spiritual than religious.
[] You’ve been in an interracial relationship.
[x] One of your family members is dead.
[x] Your parents are very protective of you.
[] Someone you know has been in the war.
[x] You love nature.
[] You have/had black hair.
[x] You would love to move somewhere exotic and beautiful.
[x] You’re very adventurous.
Total: 6


[x] You can be a tomboy sometimes.
[] People wish you could be a bit more girly.
[x] You’ve pretended to be someone you’re not.
[] You’ve had a physical fight with someone.
[x] You have/had considered running away from home.
[] Your parents try to plan your life out.
[x] A lot of your friends are boys.
[x] You sometimes find yourself in bad situations.
[x] You love your family so much that you’d do anything to protect them
Total: 6

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas is a State of Mind.

There's just something about this time of year.

Between the presents and the laughter and the lights and the parties... all of the sudden life looks a little bit softer around the edges.

There is so much cynicism now. People claim that Christmas has become too 'commercialized' and that there is no longer that true joy that lies with the holiday, only stress. But I beg to differ. Have you heard about the anonymous people who are paying other people's layaway gifts at KMart? Or how about the person who put $50,000 into one of the Salvation Army buckets outside of a store? Christmas Spirit is alive and well, all you have to do is look for it. Christmas Spirit is a choice, and one that anyone can make at any time. It doesn't have to be stressful if you don't want it to be... just make it joy-filled. Choose to have your heart be joyful instead of stressed. Believe me, it is possible.

There's something about the season that takes us back to a child-like state. We remember our first Christmas. It was perfect, wasn't it? Santa came and brought you exactly what you asked for, or something that was even better that you didn't think to ask for. Your whole family was there. Everyone was laughing and smiling and the food was delicious. The memory makes you smile right now, doesn't it? And every single year, Christmas time brings back a bit of that magic. That hope that springs from a faith in things unseen. Even as we grew up, and we learned about the happenings of Christmas Eve, somewhere the hope and faith lingered, and that hope is rekindled with the spark of plugging in those Christmas Tree lights.

That's what I love so much about Christmas. For an entire season, I'm reminded of all that matters in this world- God and People. The most amazing gift we could have asked for was delivered 2000 years ago in a stable in Bethlehem. That story never ceases to amaze me. How astounding that the God of all the universe chose to be with us. And now, in order to celebrate His life and the greatest gift of all, we take time out of our everyday lives to cherish those we love most. We buy gifts that show others that they mean a lot to us. We have parties and dinners and gatherings that allow us to enjoy simply doing life together. That's a gift that can't be replaced.

Who says that Christmas isn't what it should be? I challenge that person to look around. Stop, right now, right where you are, and look around. Think of all of the people that love you, and that you love. Think of all of the good that is still left in this world. I challenge you to step back into that child-like faith. Believe again. Show the world that good... that Christmas Spirit... still exists and is thriving today. Be Christmas. Allow that joy to overcome you again. Soak up every moment of the time you spend with those you love, and bury it in your memory treasure chest. Let's let this be the Best Christmas Yet. After all, we have been given the greatest gift of all!

Merry Christmas.


Sunday, December 11, 2011


I love Christmas lights.

That is all.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Five Minute Friday

Today's Topic: Color.


It amazes me how a simple color can have the most profound meanings sometimes.

For me, it's Purple.

Purple has gotten me through a lot. It represents the hope that I cling to when all else seems to fail, and the peace that passes all understanding. Purple reminds me of family and friends that stood by me in some of my most difficult times. Purple makes me smile to think that I am lucky enough to be so loved. Purple reminds me that the tears that are falling will not last forever. Purple makes me giggle to think of all the silly inside jokes that we have together. Purple represents healing, imagination, determination, strength, and courage. Purple feels like a hug. Purple looks like a painted wall, a simple flower, a bracelet with a reminder to be seen on a regular basis. Purple is magic.

Purple helps me hold on to hope until tomorrow.


Thursday, December 8, 2011


Today was a good day.

This, however, was a far cry from Thursday's friends: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. No, they weren't bad days. Just not good days. Tuesday even came equipped with a breakdown. In the middle of the school day. Classy, right?! Oh well. Life moves on (:

I really don't have a theme for this post. No witty sayings on the tip of my tongue. I'm not even really aiming at being encouraging. I'm just being me, and making a list of things that I don't really want to forget, but that would be easy to. So, if you care to read: My life, numbered:

1. I have a project due on Tuesday that I just cannot seem to find the motivation to do. It's just an 8-15 minute presentation, but still. I'm really just ready for Christmas break!

2. It hit me the other day that I will be performing in my last ever Holiday concert this coming week. Wow. Time really does fly.

3. I have a tumblr, and I'm addicted, and I'm not sad about that.

4. I have a passion for movement. I never feel as amazing as I do when I am moving. Dancing, walking, conducting, anything. Especially dance, for me, though. I love the way I feel when I dance. It's like the purest form of joy. God honored me with a gift of a body, and in my opinion, dance is a perfect way to celebrate that gift. The things that the human body is able to do amazes me. Just think about all of the millions of cells that have to work together in milliseconds of time just to allow us to function. It's a miracle, and by dancing, I am thanking Him for that miracle. He's given me more than I could have wished for.

5. I love my family. A lot. We're crazy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

6. Family doesn't just include those related to you. Family is about those that you are connected to at a heart level that cannot be broken. Those that love you regardless of what you may do, and those that are able to sing the song in your heart to you when you think you have forgotten.

7. I know I talk about it a lot, but it's only because it literally is that amazing. I'm in love with Zumba, and the place in which I am blessed enough to be able to attend classes. We have the best instructors in the world, and I love them with all of my heart. They make me want to be a better person. HGF, Hickory Girls Fitness, has literally become a home for me. It's my 'place'. When I'm there, I don't have to be anything. I'm not the Drum Major/Senior/Oldest Dance Member/Beta Club Member/Sunday School Teacher/Daughter/Sister/WhateverElse.... I'm just me, in the simplest form. I don't have to lead, or be in charge, or set an example. I'm a part of something much bigger than myself. And nothing gives me more joy than performing, so the opportunity to be on a stage with people I dearly love is amazing. It's more of a blessing than I could put into words.

8. If you make up your mind, any day has the potential to be a good day. But, you have to be the one to make up your mind. It won't be done for you.

9. Tell people thank you. Tell people you appreciate THEM, not just whatever they may be doing. Tell people that you love them. Tell them that their hair looks nice and that the top they are wearing flatters them well. Tell people that they're worth it.

10. For today, I'm just living. I'm soaking up every last moment I can before life moves on. This is today, and this is me. Love you guys (:


Monday, December 5, 2011


Can you believe it's already December? So crazy. I know I can't . When did 2011 go by? Not that I'm not excited, but it just seems to have flown. All my memories are running together now. Life is still crazy busy, so I apologize for the lack of posting on here for the forthcoming future. I'm still here, and still reading, and I'll post occasionally. I hope you are all having a wonderful beginning to your holiday season, and are enjoying all the festivities that come with the most wonderful time of the year! (: I kicked my season off well... helping Santa as one of his elves! Nothing quite like becoming an elf to get you into the Christmas Spirit!

How did you kick off your holiday season?
Love you!