Friday, December 31, 2004

2004 in Review!

2004 has FLOWN by! I have seen so much go on in my life and have been exceptionably busy! The beginning of the year I got to see myself finish out some big accomplishments, such as the end of my term as secretary for my social club, the end of my term as a senator on the student government, and most importantly graduate from my four years of undergraduate work at Abilene Christian University with a bachelors of science in psychology.

Over the summer I started a new stage of my life which included moving in with my uncle and “aunt” and cousins in Irving, Texas. Experienced many “firsts” over the summer, including taking my first plane flight, which included my first time to leave the country. Got my first ever own car and cell phone as well.

I made the decision over the summer to attend the University of Texas at Arlington for their masters of social work program this fall. This decision was “technically” made, but I would continually question whether it was the right decision all throughout my first semester of graduate work.

During the fall of this year I experienced the life of working and going to school at the same time. I would work in my uncle’s doctors’ office as well as substitute teach part-time. I’ve always considered school to be a career in itself, so I found myself really busy this fall with school AND work, but I managed to pull it off, even though the month of November became solely dedicated to school due to my procrastination on many papers and projects for my classes, but I did get them all finished, and was able to finish out the semester strongly.

I also experienced a lost of a dear friend during the fall semester which put me into a state of bereavement which brought about a sense of depression over me, which I have never experienced before. It made for a rough October, but I look back on it now, and while I don’t want to have to relive something like that again, I did learn a lot from it, and I know it will make me a stronger person for having gone through it.

Throughout this year I learned a lot, which is the most I can ask for from a time period in my life. I learned that I have some of the best friends in the world. I learned not only that, but that some friendships are stronger than you think, and that some friends are willing to give more than you think to keep in touch with you no matter the distance or “busy” schedules that someone might have. I’ve learned that I can be tested in life with difficult times and pull through. I’ve learned that if I stick to it, I can make it through times of mourning, times of extreme academic pressure, and times of questioning myself.

So, what are my plans for 2005, you ask? Well, I’ll continue to be thankful for the blessings I have and I will continue my the current friendships that I’ve been blessed with along with take every opportunity I have to make new friends. Life will bring about many new experiences and challenges for me in 2005 I’m sure, but I’m going to deal with them as they come and learn all I can in the process.

I wish you and your loved ones a safe and wonderful 2005! Take care of one another—it’s the least we can do for those who make our life’s worth livin

The Events of 2004!

16-18 – GATA Officer Retreat in Conroe, TX. Jen, Julie, Misty, and Sharon pulling the “Jen and Julie are in a fight” prank over on Dustie, Laura, and me…HA! Playing the game at the kitchen table for hours where we talked about one another. I’ll never forget some of the things that were said about me. Especially some of the things Julie said about me. When she commented on how she had seen one of the internet surveys I had sent out and how she always remembered how one of the questions said “What do you think is the most important thing in the world” and I had answered “Love” and she said that that alone, the fact that I would answer that question like that said a lot about me. And to think I didn’t even think people paid that much attention to those things. Riding back to Abilene with Dustie, Laura, and Misty and coming up with the 2003-04 GATA Officer CD Mix! I still pop in that CD from time to time and think about those girls with “their songs!”

24 – Going to the Galleria in Dallas for the GATA Christmas social. I took Joel Rodriguez, and while I’ll admit, he wasn’t one of my first choices for dates, and while I wasn’t real “thrilled” about it at the time, I’ll admit it did make me feel good after I asked via email….HA….and he wrote me back one of the sweetest emails in which he was SOOO excited that I asked him and about how he had never been asked to a social club social in his 4 years at ACU. Anyways, I had SOOO much fun ice skating! I LOVE ice skating!

28 – I was giving the opportunity to give the “devo/talk” tonight this night at club and I couldn’t have been more excited to get to talk about “motivation”! I’ll tell you what, if I learned ANYTHING from giving that talk it was this: if you want to get that many girls to be TOTALLY silent and pay complete attention to you when you’re talking, include THEM in your speech. That’s right, when the girls know you are randomly picking some of them to be put on the spot and answer the question “what is their motivation for being at club” they will be totally attentive fearing you’ll pick them next and they don’t want to look “silly” in front of a group of peers they respect like their sisters in club. I’ve never seen GATA so quiet and attentive…I’m sure they were too busy thinking about what they would say if I picked them rather than listening to the other girls speak though…HA!

28 – The voting night at club to decide whether we would take a Spring Pledge class or not. Club lasted for several hours that night, and the majority of the night was club being involved in a DEEP discussion about why we should and why we shouldn’t go ahead and take a Spring class even though we didn’t meet our “quota.” I’ll never forget some of the comments shared by my sisters in club that night. Both sides had their arguable points, but I was firmly behind the “to not take a class” side. I’ll be completely honest, I’ve never really been a big fan of speaking up in heavy discussions in class or even club, believe it or not, but that night, after, no joke, approximately 45 minutes of discussion I had gotten so passionate about the fact that I did not believe it was a good idea for us to take a Spring Pledge class that I brought myself to speak up. And I’ll admit, I was so passionate at the time, and honestly so scared that the “wrong decision” (in my view) was going to be made, that I was shaking physically (and if could be heard in my voice), but I threw in my two cents worth at the very end. And while the final decision did go the way I had hoped, I’ll never forget when I was talking after that club outside in the FREEZING cold with Julie and Laura and Julie said to me, “I was not sure that it was going to go well, but when you made your comments at the end I really believed that the decision would go in the right direction! You really grabbed their attention and made them think, which is sometimes very hard to accomplish!” Wow….and to think that came from the president! HA!

--Sing Song practices…I’ll be honest, this was definitely not one of my favorite years at Sing Song practices. I was fighting a battle within myself of being myself and having fun at sing song practices and being the 100% obedient “officer example” I was being pressured to be, especially being positioned in the front of the show where I would be seen by many at practices (yes, I’ve been known to be a distraction). I’ll never forget some of the practices I came to them in the TERRIBLE moods not wanting to smile or talk to anyone! It was like I just so furious that I would stand there and not really sing and just be an ultimate JERK, until practice was over. Then there was the times I’d come to practice eating my canned fruit….HA! But the best part of this year’s practices was the fact that I was surrounded by great folks! Go Becca, Reiff, and Janaye!

19-20 – Sing Song 2004…hmm, so we didn’t do as well as we’d hoped, but we enjoyed our times entertaining the crowds in our Charlie Chaplin outfits! And as EVERY sing song experience, I had a BLAST taking pictures with friends!

--Our basketball intramural game versus the Kojies. I had my BEST intramural basketball game that night. Besides scoring eight points, I played point guard the entire game (which I normally don’t care to play that position), but for once I was fully confident in playing point and I got lucky because the Kojies had some young girl playing defense at the top of the court and, bless her heart, she wasn’t that great, and I schooled her several times in the game by going behind my back or threw my legs. Then I’ll never forget my brother telling me a few days later when he was in town that he had talked to Ashley Clarke (one of his old roommate’s girlfriend who was on the Kojie team) and how she said, “Yeah, your sister could have taken our whole team on by herself.” HA!

21 – finding out that night from my buddy Becca that Charles Trevathan had suffered a heart attack that morning and was in the hospital.

26 – my graduate school interview at UNT for their psychology counseling program. Whoa….that was scary. HA!

27 – the GATA retreat at Butman Camp. What a BLAST getting to bond with my sisters in club! And as for the high-ropes course, I don’t think I would have let anyone else other than my great GATA sisters convince me, a person afraid of heights, to do that! HA!

--Laura’s surprise birthday party at her house! I’ll never forget Holly, Reiff, and I blowing up those TONS of balloons in Laura’s bedroom and writing RANDOM stuff on them! HA!

--GATA formal was fun! I had a little trouble getting myself “put together” for it, but was blessed with help from some buddies of mine—thanks Aracely and JB! It was sad to pass on our offices that night, but I was honored to pass mine on to one of my best friends and was happy to see the group of young ladies that was taking over because I knew it was being given to reliable sisters in club. I was honored to sit at a table with some of my favorite folks for dinner, including my great date of course! Then got to go watch the movie at the paramount. But then I also had a BLAST going out bowling that night with several GATAs and their dates! Holly’s date, Dustin was HILAROUS to bowl and sing stupid songs they were playing on the overhead speakers there with.

8 – my graduation from ACU. Going to the “after gathering” for the morning ceremony and seeing my peers and getting pictures with them! Then going to my own ceremony! LOVING the “after gathering” following my ceremony. Being honestly one of the VERY last people to leave the “mall area” because I was not going to leave without seeing all the people I wanted to see. That including getting my picture with Chucky T!

9 – moving into my Uncle Bob’s house. And it is where I am still at today!

12 – I got to go to the Byron Nelson Pro-Amateur golf classic and watch my uncle golf with the pros. I got within 5 feet of Tiger Woods, too!

26 – Got to watch Fantasia win the final American Idol episode of the third season with my buddy Chris.

4-7 – going to St. Louis for my sister’s high school graduation on Sat. the 5th. She got salutatorian and gave a speech for it.

17-24 – going to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with my uncle, aunt, and five cousins. This was my first time to fly and to leave the country. I enjoyed it to the most part, but if the opportunity confronts me again, I’d prefer not going for such a long time. But then again, I’ve never been much of one for the water….HA!

7 – got my first car! My lovely 2000 Toyota Camry that I named Aerosmith and the Sin Wagon, depending on my mood! ;) But don’t worry, she has treated me VERY well, and I put over 10,000 miles on it in less than six months. HA! Guess I need to cut back on some of my trips to Abilene…and of course the two trips to Missouri haven’t helped either!

16-18 – went to Abilene with my mom for Amber Letz and George Ramirez’s wedding. Amber was one of the main reasons I feel in love with ACU my first semester because me and her were almost inseparable our freshman year in the dorm!

5-8 – Went with my uncle, aunt, and cousins to Houston for basically my first time (had only been into the Woodlands to the mall area before that). Went to NASA and Astroworld.

14 – we had “the intruder” break into our house. From that night on, we’ve had to be very careful with locking the doors and letting people in the house know when we come and go from the house. Kinda been a pain in the butt if you ask me. What’s with “bad” people nowadays anyways?!

24 – my first day of graduate school classes at UTA.

6 – I got to stay in Abilene till Monday so I could get to go see Charles Trevathan during his office hours. I had been really wanting to see him and talk to him about how graduate school was going, but I mostly just love getting to sit and chat with him, so I was so happy to see him for the first time since my graduation in May. We chatted for about 40 minutes and then he walked me out to my car and gave me a hug bye and told me to come back in town and stay at his house sometime. This was my last time to see Charles. I only had a few more correspondences via email with him prior to his passing in October.

22 – Holly Herr and myself made a “surprise” trip to Abilene to show up for Valerie Jolly’s Pass the Candle at club that night! We got the surprise Laura Singleton at her house and that was classic!

30 – I substitute taught for the first time in a 2nd grade class and it was a TERRIBLE experience! I almost took myself out of all future subbing because of it. Luckily, I did give it another try a few weeks later and had a better experience the next time!

2 – my uncle and aunt that I live with got married. It was fun and a lot of family came into town for the occasion, so that was cool.

12 – Charles Trevathan passed away from a heart attack in his ACU office. I was on my way up the stairs to my night class at UTA when I received a phone call telling me he had suffered another heart attack, but it wasn’t until about 15 minutes into my class that I got another phone call that was the news of his death. I remained out of class for the next 1.5 hours on the phone with many friends who had thought of me when getting news of his death. I eventually returned to class at our mid-way break only to get my belongings and leave. That night was one of hardest nights I’ve gone through in my 23 years of life thus far, but one things for sure, it was that night that I realized just how precious my friends are and how supportive they are to me. That night alone I talked to nine people on the phone and thirteen people on AIM.

14-17 – went to Abilene for Chucky T’s funeral. It was more of a time of celebrating his WONDERFUL life than mourning, which was a good thing.

15 – my friend and GATA Winter Social date from January, Joel Rodriquez passed away in Abilene, at home. The cause of death was listed as “not having been determined” when the announcement was made, but rumors have been everything from illness to suicide. I’m not sure, but it was sad news to hear, especially only days after the death of Chuck.

22-24 – ACU Homecoming weekend! My first homecoming as an alumnus. Besides the rain on Friday, the weekend was great! Had a blast being with all my fellow GATAs and getting to watch the Homecoming Parade for the FIRST time, since I was in it the past 3 years (and didn’t get outta bed for it my freshman year…well actually, I don’t think I knew it existed when I was a freshman…HA!) Homecoming breakfast and the football game were great too! I was so excited to meet so many of the new pledges! Some way fun kiddos! Then getting to go out with several of my buddies to Buffalo Wild Wings on Saturday night to watch the whole first game of the World Series with my boys the Cardinals and the Red Sox, was a BLAST (even though we lost)!

--For most of October and a little of November, I found myself not quite myself. During the time I viewed myself in a state of depression, though I refused to admit to it to anyone. I would simply admit to not being myself, but would usually just blame it on school stress. But looking back on it, I do believe I was suffering from a sense of depression due to a state of bereavement for the lose of my friend and role model, Chucky T. While I still miss Chuck to this day, I was able to find my old self

--This month was easily one of my busiest academic semesters of my educational career. I had SOOO many projects, finals, and mostly papers to write that I was unable to work basically the ENTIRE month, because I was so bogged down with homework. With MANY hours in research and typing and some sleep deprived nights, I got all of it finished and all turned in on time, as I always do, though I sometimes wonder about my procrastination problems. HA!

24-27 – went to Springfield, Missouri, with my older brother and younger sister to meet up with all of my mom’s side of the family for our big “every-other-year thanksgiving get together.” This was a lot of fun, because I don’t get to see all these relatives that often.

9-11 – I went to Abilene to go to the December graduation to see a lot of my friends graduate! Congrats to them! It was also my birthday on that day so I was so excited to get to spend it with so many of my great friends there! And after the graduation ceremony a big bunch of us went out to Texas Roadhouse to eat and chat and they made me ride the saddle thingy for my birthday…HA!

15 – I got my first grades from graduate school…2 A’s and 2 B’s…not too shabby. This officially gives me the most education in my immediate family.

17 – I got to testify in court on my uncle’s behalf in a small hearing between him and his ex-wife about rights on their children. It was cool to take the stand. I looked at it as practice for in the future when I might have to do it as a therapist asked to testify about a client of mine.

23-29 – went to St. Louis to spend Christmas with my family. Had a GREAT Christmas! Was given way more things in the form of material gifts than I need or deserve, but totally am grateful for the blessings I have received, both the material ones and more importantly, the blessings of friends, family and love.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

My "Perfect" Guy

Okay, let’s face it—there is no “perfect guy” nor a “perfect girl,” but that doesn’t mean that we can’t imagine what he/she would be like IF they DID exist! ;)

Here is how I look at it: I think it is great to have your list of characteristics that would make up the “perfect” mate and then you just use that list to give perspectives points. For example, for each characteristic that the mate “meets” he/she gets a point, or even more than one point for the more important traits (AKA…the ones that you care about the most). Then, I would say that you should not settle for anyone that doesn’t meet at least half of the possible points available. When you make this list, don’t be afraid to list things that you would be “honored” or view as a “bonus” if the mate had it—I said this was for the “PERFECT” mate! ;)

Things that I look for in a guy (in no particular order):
--Respectful (that is so important)—not only for me, but for people in general.
--Honesty—lairs really upset me
--A good sense of humor (AKA, humor that compliments mine well…HA!)
--Intelligent—I’ll be honest, I know I couldn’t live my life with someone I was always having to explain stuff too! ;)
--Loves people
--Has goals or sees a purpose for his life
--Is not quick to judge
--Loves children
--Most accept the fact that women can play sports too (believe it or not, this is VERY important to me…I can’t stand guys who don’t think girls can play sports)
--A guy that can view a female as an equal (AKA he does not necessarily think he is better than her)
--Loves life—Smiles often (AKA is happy)
--Likes to play sports
--Can relate with people—gets along with folks
--Not a picky eater

We’ll call this the “physical” features that “rock my world” section! HA! (Hey, I said we can list the things that would a bonus in a mate…HA!):
--A goatee…in my opinion, just about ANY guy looks better with a goatee! Oh my goodness I LOVE facial hair…HA HA!
--Strong arms…I LOVE defined arms…DANG!
--Short hair—I just don’t go for the dudes with the longer hair…sorry...HA!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Details from the "Blind Date"...

He had a goatee, ladies! WOO HOO! ;)

Okay, for those who weren’t aware, Tuesday night I went on a “blind date” that was set up by my uncle and aunt. Strange? yes. Was I excited about it? Absolutely not!

It was probably about two weeks ago that my uncle was like, “Linda [that’s my aunt] and I were talking last night about trying to set you up with one of my doctor friend’s sons.” Of course, I played along, trying to act like I cared, and proceeded to find out this fella had just turned 30 years old! Okay, this is where I get highly interested in folks, opinions, because I personally view a 30 year old guy as kinda old for me while I’m just 23. Maybe farther down the road a seven year difference won’t be as big of a deal to me, but when I’m still just early 20’s, it just seems like too much for me. Anyways…

To make a long story short, my uncle tells me Monday night that they want to take me on a “three date” (that’s suppose to be the next step up from a “double date”…HA!) It would be my uncle and aunt, his doctor buddy and his wife, and then this son and me. Obviously, I was thinking oh HECK no, but I’ve always had a problem with telling people “no” and it is even harder when it is your aunt and uncle who are letting you live with them, so as was expected, I said yes, and dragged my head as I headed back to my room.

So last night we arrive at Dave and Busters at 7 PM. The other folks were already there. So we all do the introductions and then we head to our table.

Well, don’t get me wrong, I was nervous, I mean heck, I’m gonna be sitting at a table with all these rich adults and then there’s little ol’ me. But, my saving grace was Mike (my “date”) because, bless his heart he was soooo nervous…..HA! And you ask, how did I know? Because he joked about it at one point and was like, “I’m so nervous” and he was doin’ that whole girly thing where he was laughing at just about anything said, even if it wasn’t funny. HA! Believe it or not, seeing him so nervous put me at total ease. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. Get this—I actually ate! HA! Anyways….

So dinner talk went well and then in typical high school fashion, both sets of “parents” (I say that because my aunt and uncle basically are my parents, I mean I live with them and all) was like “Well you guys don’t have to wait for us. You kids go play some games. Go have fun.” It’s almost embaressing that both sets of “parents” were so determined for us to hit it off. And it is even scarier to know that they are apparently filled him in all about me apparently because at one point he was like, “So I hear you were an all-star basketball player in high school.” To which I replied, “uh….i don’t know about the all-star part, but did play basketball all my life.” HA!

So the games part was a blast!

I must say at this point, one thing I do LOVE about “older” guys is that they are usually a lot more mature and “gentlemanly” than a lot of younger/still college aged guys. Mike was a very sweet guy. He paid for all our games, and gosh did we play a MILLION arcade games and basketball games and skiball. HA! And then he bought us drinks after the games. It was then that we were about to start our drinks when my aunt and uncle came up to us and my aunt was like, “Ashley is on the phone and needs to talk to you” which was actually just her cell phone (no one was on it). So she walked me away to “talk to Ashley” and was like, “Hey, we are about to leave. Are you having fun? Do you want to leave with us? Do you want him to take you home? Do you want us to wait around a little longer for you?” And me, being me, I was like…. “Uhhh…I don’t know…I don’t like making decisions like this….HA!” But I figured…well, I feel bad because he just got us each a drink and I don’t want to not drink it because that would be rude, and I didn’t want to make my aunt and uncle wait on me, so I was like, I’ll just see if he’ll run me home. So he said yes, and we chatted a little longer about all kinds of fun things…such as him being a wrestler in high school, which is cool to me because my brother wrestled, so I’m into that kinda stuff. And we talked about other sports…HA!

So we were leaving and we were going out to his truck and I was thinking “oh HECK yeah!” He has one of those HUGE trucks that is like a million feet off the ground with tires that are taller than me. It was a big ol’ diesel! It’s weird, but I’ve never really given a crap about vehicles, but it was just fun to ride so high up…HA!

So, I got home and one of my favorite parts was seeing all the folks who had IMed me waiting to hear details and when I whipped out my cell phone and saw the missed calls! HA! I have some funny friends!

Overall, Mike was a really nice guy and I wouldn’t mind hanging out with him again, but for all those of you who are like my aunt and cousins were when I got home, I’ll put it this way….I don’t fall for guys real easily and I’ve always been more interested in forming friendships with folks first, so I would definitely have to hangout with him more before I could say “I like him.” Or as Becca likes to put it, before I could say, “He’s the one!” ;)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Christmas From A Different Perspective

So the Christmas season is already in full-swing, incase you haven’t noticed. If it isn’t a blog being written about “Oh how I love Christmas Time!” it is an away message talking about “Putting up decorations” or “Watching a Christmas Movie” which is always followed by a comment similar to the blogs, such as “I love this time of year!”

I’ve never been a Christmas person, actually, not really much for any of the holidays, and with my birthday in the midst of the Christmas season, it makes it an even more dreaded time of the year for me, since I’m not much for birthday’s either.

I was out to eat with the “fam” the other day, we had just finished taking family pictures for Christmas cards. Yeah, I know right, JUST what a person who isn’t into the holiday spirit is looking forward too (especially since we were all dressed alike…HA!) So anyways, we were eating and one of the kids was saying how my aunt is a Scrooge. So I turned to her and was like, “So you don’t like Christmas? Because I don’t either.” And what she said really surprised me because I TOTALLY agreed with her. She said, “Well, it isn’t so much that I don’t like Christmas, it is more that I don’t like that people feel like they HAVE to give people gifts.” It was then that she went on to talk about how when she was little and didn’t have much money, how her grandma felt like she had to get the kids something for Christmas, and since she didn’t have any money she would take them to the dollar store and let them each pick out something for a dollar, or something like that.

I didn’t comment then. I just shook my head and told her I agreed. But I don’t think she knew just how much I agreed or that I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about.

Having grown up poor, I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about.

Christmas time has a totally different appearance to the poor as it does to those who are “better off” in life. I, obviously only know Christmas from my own perspective, so I will openly share that with y’all, and if you aren’t coming from a perspective similar to mine, maybe it will help you to see Christmas from a different view.

Poor people dread this time of year. If you’re a parent, you worry about if you’ll be able to give your kids a Christmas, not necessarily a “good” Christmas, but a Christmas at all.

First, I realize Christmas and Christmas time is not just about giving and getting presents, but for a parent with small children, you only hope to be able to give your kids some presents like most other families are able to do. And as a small kid, you too, only want to be like everyone else.

Most people have anticipation of what they will get on Christmas morning; poor people have anticipation of will there BE gifts. Some of you might honestly have trouble comprehending this, but it is the truth. Just last Christmas my family didn’t un-wrap a single gift. The only new thing I brought back from St. Louis on my return trip to school was a hair straightening iron I had bought for myself for $10 at Wal-Mart, and honestly, I only used it a couple times because it SUCKED, I have since then bought me a better one.

Now, for me, it didn’t bother me personally that I didn’t un-wrap a single gift last Christmas. I’ve never been much for “getting things” and I take a lot more pleasure in things in this life that aren’t materialistic. But what breaks my heart is thinking about my younger siblings who have to go through a Christmas like that, and then go back to middle school and high school only a week or so after that Christmas day to face their friends.

I went through it when I was a kid, and I’m sure it was the same for them. Going back to school after a poor Christmas was difficult, because you had to face the “What did you get?” questions, and the one I always feared the MOST was, the “What if I have to write a paper or some sort of a journal entry in one of my classes entitled ‘What I got for Christmas’” [Note: to any teacher or future teacher reading this, please don’t ever make your students do that, because you never know who could be having to write those papers, some of those kids might have worried all Christmas break about having to come back and face a paper like that].

In elementary school, middle school, or especially high school, how cool does it make you when your friend is like, “Well I got an X-Box with 4 new games, a stereo system, 4 DVDs, 3 CDs, a ton of new clothes, and a digital camera all for Christmas. What did you get?” and you’re like, “A calendar, a new hair brush, a pair of jeans, a pack of socks, some candy, and a picture frame.” Gosh, being a poor kid at Christmas time is hard. If anything, you just want it to pass, and to avoid all the questions. And if the “what did you get?” questions following the holidays isn’t bad enough, what about all the questions before the holiday, like “Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?” or “What are you asking for for Christmas?” or the “What are you getting for Christmas?” or “Have you found any of your presents hidden around the house yet?” Even having to make a Christmas list for a poor kid is hard because you know when you’re writing it there is no way you’re going to get some of the stuff, so you’re like, “do I put it on there anyways?” or do I make it so all the things on my list are under $10 and I realize I’ll only get a few of them anyways.

As I’ve gotten older, I don’t mind Christmas time for myself anymore, because I don’t care about whether I get gifts or not, because if someone was to ask me what I got for Christmas, it doesn’t bother me anymore to have to admit the truth. I’ve learned there is more to life than how rich you are or what all you own. Whether someone gets $400 dollars worth of presents under the tree or if someone doesn’t even get to put a tree up and their only Christmas gift came from a purchase they made with a couple bucks out of their own wallet, that doesn’t make the person to me.

Luckily too, once you get older, the questions following Christmas are normally the “what did you get for Christmas” kind of questions, it is usually a MUCH better phrased question, “How was your Christmas?” Awww…now THAT one is a GREAT question, because if Christmas is what I believe it should be about, not what you got, but how you felt, you can say “Christmas was GREAT!” even if you didn’t un-wrap a single gift!

I can’t stand the thought that people feel as though they have to buy things for people at Christmas time. And I don’t like all the expectations that come with the Christmas holiday either.

Yes, some people play off their “this is my favorite time of the year” thing with the “it’s not because of the gifts and things, but because everyone is in such good moods and high spirits”, but to me, I ask, why can’t we be in good moods all year round? Why is it just at the time of the holidays? And honestly, I dread Christmas time also because I avoid my favorite store, Wal-Mart, at this time of year because it is SOOO hectic, and I simply can’t wait till the Christmas shopping is over, so I can get back there for my necessities again. HA!

To me, Christmas should just be a day of happiness. No need for gifts, just a chance to talk with those you love and a time for laughter and reminiscing. If Christmas was what I think it really should be, it would be Christmas everyday for me, because it is almost everyday that I am blessed by getting to talk to people I love, usually some of my dear friends and they make me happy and make me laugh.

So, if you’re someone who had the “traditional” Christmas filled with a plethora of gifts to un-wrap the morning of the 25th, just remember your blessings, which include not only those presents, but the other things that Christmas should be about, friends, family, and simple happiness!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

My Purpose in Life

Whether life beyond our own point of view has a purpose, I am unsure, but I believe each person develops his/her own purpose in life, some knowingly and others unknowingly. I myself did not start considering the idea of developing what my purpose in life was until my freshman year in college. Today, I would describe my purpose in this world with the 4 L’s: to learn, to labor, to laugh, and to love.

Learning makes a person who they are. Can a person do anything without learning it first? A person is constantly learning, however, what matters is whether the person chooses to practice his/her newly found knowledge or not, because if he/she does not use it, he/she will lose it. And learning undoubtedly develops intelligence. It is when he/she takes this learned intelligence and applies it in life that he/she displays wisdom.

With my dedication to learning ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I can in life, I hope to one day possess the wisdom I see displayed daily in the lives of some of my role models: a past elder and a widow from my church congregation back at home, my aunt, a high school teacher, and some of my college professors. In order for my role models to sustain their wisdom, they choose to continually learn and apply what they learn. I believe if I want to achieve my goals, my purpose, or even become the person I desire to be, I must learn constantly along the way as well. Fortunately, my desire to learn is high!

Laboring to others is also important to me. It is through learning that a person is able to help another who needs assistance. Personally, I believe man was put on this earth to serve one another. Choosing to serve others means putting yourself second to others, and while I cannot say I take that mentality in all situations in my life yet, I hope to accomplish it one day soon. Being characterized as altruistic is a goal I will continually strive for in my life.

Laboring to others does not only include tasks such as helping fix a car, or cleaning an elderly lady’s home, or assisting a young child with his/her homework, but serving and laboring to others means teaching them and sharing with them your knowledge. I believe it is my duty to share with others what I know so they can learn and enhance their own lives. The laboring a teacher does toward his/her pupils is indescribable. The number of lives he/she has influenced is beyond counting. In my life, I must be a “teacher” willing to help those I come in contact with.

Laughing is very important to me. I believe that laughter is a key to getting through life. I am always excited to share in a good laugh or to make others laugh. Without humor and laughing, I believe one will take him/herself, as well as life in general too seriously, which in my opinion, dims the light at the end of the tunnel. I truly believe that laughter and happiness have amazing power over an individual’s satisfaction in life, as well as his or her well-being in life.

And finally, to love is possibly the most important step in my life. It is love that leads me to serving and teaching others. It is not only my love for the other person, but also my love for the feeling of satisfaction I feel when helping that someone.

To love another is a learned task, almost like an acquired taste. The way you choose to love a person in whom you come in contact depends upon whom the person represents to you. You learn to love your family with a certain kind of love. You learn to love your spouse or significant other specially. You even love your friends differently. You probably have a different type of love toward your closest best friends than you do with your other friends or acquaintances. Learning how to love each type of person can be seen through examples people set forth or discovered through your own findings. It is the feeling deep down within you that tells you when you have learned how to love.

I choose to show love to everyone I encounter. I can show my love through simple gestures such as a warm smile and kind word or by caring for another individual. Forming a relationship with each person I possibly can and encouraging him/her while sharing my joy and happiness with him/her represents my purpose to love in life.

Overall, my purpose in life is to leave the world a little better than I found it. I hope to touch some lives, and leave some people with a better-changed view of the world; a positive, better view of life. I truly believe that happiness is contagious, and if I share my joy and happiness with those around me, I will leave each place possibly better. I think it is important to try to find the good in each situation. EVERY situation has good in it, you just have to find it. I need to be the person that finds good in everything and shares the good I find with others. I want to be known as someone who lightens tough times.

So you ask, “Where am I going in life?” and “How am I going to fulfill my purpose in life?” My answer is in the goals I have set for myself. I hope to someday become a therapist. As a therapist with my own practice, I hope to labor to others by helping them to solve their psychological problems. Not only will this career give me the opportunity to serve, but also it will put me in contact with people, which is what I love, and present me with situations TO love. Of course none of this will be possible without my dedicated effort to learn. I must be willing to learn about people, in order to become a successful therapist.

I firmly believe that if I choose to AND succeed at learning, laboring, laughing, and loving, I will have led a purposeful life. These four acts are what give my life purpose.

Graduate School Semester #1 Top Ten List

So, with Holly turning in our group paper this morning for our Macro class, I have successfully completed all my assignments for my first semester of graduate school!

Now, of course I can't honestly say I have a semester's worth of graduate school under my belt in my opinion until I get those grades in and see that I passed all the courses, but with my success rate of passing classes in the past, I'm not too worried! ;)

So, being FINALLY free...after what has been the roughest semester of my life (for many reasons--not all related to school itself), I have decided to post this Top Ten List which actually is made up of 2 Top Five lists (last time I checked 5+5=10, but I haven't had a math class in a while too! HA!)


The Top Five Things I Learned From my First Semester of Graduate School:

5. It’s possible to have four classes with each consisting of approximately 25 or 28 students and only have a total of 8 different guys in all your classes (so much for finding a man).
4. It is possible to have a professor that you can’t stand with a passion who ends up being the professor whose class you learned the most in all semester.
3. It’s possible to get a hundred percent on an AMAZING 13 page paper you wrote on someone you were suppose to interview, but didn’t get to interview because they died before you got to it.
2. It is possible to get a hundred percent on a 13 page research paper that you wrote in one day that was on a subject that you had no interest in.
1. It is possible to survive a semester at a state school after having spent four of the best years of my life in the ACU "bubble!"

The Top Five Things I Learned from my First Semester of Graduate School (on a more serious note—such as educationrelated things):

5. That a LCSW can do exactly what a psychologist can do (private practice/therapy-wise), except they just can’t charge as much.
4. I learned the importance of looking at situations through the alternative view rather than always the traditional view.
3. I learned that a probe is more than just a tool used in science class and a dirty sounding word.
2. I learned the difference between calling someone “black” and calling someone “African American.”
1. I learned the extreme importance behind empowerment!

Friday, December 03, 2004


[Disclaimer: I want to make it known now that throughout this blog I will be referring to black people as just that, black. Now, before you go jump on some prejudice bandwagon, I want to share with you why I use the term “black” versus “African American.” And this is actually a new thing for me, because as many other ol’ white folks, I too would try to be “politically correct” in my formal speech and writings and say “African American” instead of “black.” It was only weeks ago in my night class that this great knowledge was shared with me.

Now, think about it: are all “black” people in America “African Americans?” NOPE! An “African American” is someone who came from Africa. African American is an ethnicity, not a race. Black is a race, as is white. There are many blacks in America who are not African Americans. For instance, back at my home congregation in St. Louis there was a guy a little older than me who was about as black as a black guy gets but he was actually adopted from Cuba, or maybe it was Haiti (dang, I can’t remember, but that is beside the point, he wasn’t from anywhere even near Africa). That’s right, definitely not African American.

So, think about it next time you call someone African American. And contrary to some beliefs, there is nothing negative about the denotation of “black;” it’s the same as anyone calling someone a “white” person. I have MANY black friends and am still yet to be hit for using the term “black.” ;) So, on with the text!]

Prejudice. I would define it as a form of hatred. And as derogatory as “hatred” is, I would even go as far as to say that we ALL display some prejudice in one form or another. I think negative stereotyping is a form of prejudice. Admit it; we all have these “views” of people who are different from us: whether it be people who are different by race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, etc. Why is it that makes “different” “bad?”

Let me give you an example…

In one of my classes this semester we did an exercise where everyone went around the room and put the first thought that came to their mind in reference to a particular “type” of person that was written on a sheet of paper. Some of the “types” were: Hispanic, Black, White, Males, Females, Asian, Gays/Lesbians, Teenagers, Elderly, Handicapped, etc. People were supposed to write what came to their head as stereotypes about these different “types” of people. So here are a few of the things that were written:

Hispanics – lazy, poor, smelly, partiers
Blacks – uneducated, poor
White – successful, powerful
Males – dominate, strong, chauvinistic
Females – weak, homemakers
Asians – intelligent
Gays/Lesbians – sensitive, weak
Teenagers – rebels, immature
Elderly – bad drivers, weak
Handicapped – weak

Many of these are what I would consider to be negative stereotypes that society honestly has of these different “types” of people. And trust me, we could add more groups to the list, such as Jews, Transvestites, (or my favorite) Politicians…HA! But this is beside the point. The point is, we all fall victim to thinking some of these quick thoughts when we hear a particular group or “type” of people being mentioned. And while this isn’t good, and I don’t want to make excuses for us, I will leave it at this, we are all human, and judgment unfortunately is a human trait.

So, beyond the stereotyping, there are forms of prejudice that are more than the casual negative association toward a “type” of people. There’s the prejudice that influences actions and behaviors, and even more unfortunate, sometimes results in discrimination.

Something that “sold me on ACU” and coming to Texas for college over four years ago was the people. I’ll freely admit, I’d never met as many down-right friendly people as I did coming to my freshman orientation at ACU in the summer of 2000. There honestly is something different about Texans, especially Abilenians! Strangers look one another in the eyes and will greet one another with a friendly “hello” without thinking twice about it. And for someone who loves people as I do, this was what drove me to sign the papers to go to ACU.

While the people in Texas are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met, another difference about the people that I was quick to discover upon coming to Texas for school was the views of prejudice. Don’t get me wrong, prejudice occurs everywhere, as well as St. Louis, but it wasn’t until I came to Texas that I met so many people who would tell me things like, “My parents would KILL me if I brought home a black friend” or “If my dad knew I had a Hispanic boyfriend they would disown me.” I can honestly list several people right now off the top of my head that come from what THEY themselves would describe as “a prejudice family.”

I play the Texas prejudice thing off in my head with my own theories, such as the prejudice against blacks as the whole “it’s a Southern state” thing. All southern states still tend to have the “slave mentality” toward blacks still. And the Hispanic prejudice I say, “Well Texas had to fight long and hard to free themselves from Mexico, so they got that thing against them” and if that isn’t enough of a reason, there is the whole “well Mexicans are taking over our state” mentality, so that gives them “reason” to have prejudice against them. Whether there is any truth to these theories of mine to define WHY prejudice against these two particular races is so high in Texas, I don’t know. Either way, it shows that even the friendliest people aren’t perfect.

So, to let y’all know I’m not only “hatin’” toward Texans, because I realize prejudice is a global problem, let me bring this issue more “to home” for me…

First, I must say that while I too am guilty of the casual stereotyping prejudices, I must say on the scale of having prejudices that influence actions at all, I would say I’m strongly lacking. I was brought up in a family where prejudice was never an issue. The color of someone’s skin didn’t make a difference in my family. My sixth grade year I hung out with the “black girl group” in my class. In high school on my basketball team my best friends were always the black girls. Also, in high school, I had many Bosnian friends (many Bosnians have moved to St. Louis because of the wars in their country). In college I CHOSE (yes, I say chose, because a lot of people always just assumed that we went potluck) my sophomore roommate who was a black girl. Sooo…anyways…

For Thanksgiving this year I went back to Missouri. It was Thanksgiving eve and I was chillin’ with my mom and my aunt and we were just talking and stuff, and my mom was saying how she had just talked to her cousin a few nights earlier about Thanksgiving stuff. She was saying how her cousin was telling her how there was going to probably be a lot of talk at Thanksgiving amongst all the family because one of her daughters (my mom’s cousin’s daughter) had brought home her boyfriend from college for Thanksgiving and he is a black guy. Well, that’s all cool with her immediate family, because like my mom’s cousin said to my mom on the phone, “Susan, we’re like you and Ken are. We raised our kids to not be prejudice.” But her parents (whose house the huge Thanksgiving get together is always at) might have different views about their granddaughter having a black boyfriend.

So, to save a lot of time, I’ll just say, I never heard anything bad said while I was there on Thanksgiving Day, but who knows what people were saying behind folk’s backs, but as for me, I thought the dude was a great and fun guy!

So, I ask you, if this situation occurred in your family (someone brought home a boyfriend/girlfriend of another race/ethnicity/religion), would it cause uproar among your immediate family? How about your extended family? Maybe with you in particular?

Many times have I had my friends say to me, “I could see you dating/marrying a black guy.” I simply smile in response, because honestly, it doesn’t matter to me what a fella looks like, there’s more important things too worry about.

And along these same lines…if you have never heard my “are you mixed?” stories, let me tell you. It wasn’t until I came to Texas that I had people start asking me if I was mixed (AKA half white and half black). I’ve even had black people ask me if I’m mixed and tell me I have black people features. HA! And when I was telling one of my friends about this once (who happened to be white), she said, “Well does that bother you that people ask you that?” I just said, “No. Why would it?” I mean I don’t have anything against someone being mixed, so why would I be offended if someone thought I was mixed?

Wow, so after saying all this typing, I suppose my main thoughts are these: What’s wrong with people’s differences? Why must we consider differences to be negative? Let’s all appreciate people for being just that—people!

[WEIRD—while I was writing this blog, I have my stereo playing on “shuffle” behind me with 5 mixed burned CDs in it. And the first song that played was “We are the World” by Michael Jackson and friends. And then one of the songs that played while I was in the middle of the blog was “I Believe” by Blessed Union of Souls and now the song playing while I’m winding this up is “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson. If you know all these songs, you know how they all seem to relate to this specific blog. How ironic that they would all randomly play while on shuffle, during this writing! COOL!]

Thursday, December 02, 2004

My 2002 New Year's Resolution

Okay…so I was going through some old emails and stuff on my computer today looking for something and I came across an email I had sent out on January 15, 2002, to many of my friends. It was a request for their feedback on something I was going to work on for one of my New Year’s Resolutions. I found it interesting to reread what some of the people had said and I found it interesting what things have and haven’t changed about me in this almost 3 year time period that has passed. Also, I’m considering working on this same idea as a New Year’s Resolution for 2005, so feel free to leave me some feedback in the comment section (or you can wait till I send out the email in January to everyone again!) ;)

Soo…here is the email I sent out…and following it were the responses I got back from friends. I’ve divided the responses up by whether they came from my St. Louis friends or from ACU friends.


Okay ya'll....

This is most likely going to be a kind of email that you have never gotten before....but here goes...

I'm on a mission for one of my new year's resolutions I set. This resolution is to become a better person and improve in some of my personal character areas that need improvement to become a better person. Now, while I am pretty sure I know what my
most needed character/personality weakness areas are, I’m still open to y’all's suggestions.

But I also was wondering what ya'll might think are my character/personality stronger points, because while I believe one of weaknesses is my overabundance of sarcasm (which occasionally turns blunt and rude) I don't want to totally knock off my sarcasm (while that WILL be a hard mission in itself) if my sarcasm happens to be a strong part of my know what I mean? Maybe?

So, I suppose in simpler terms what I am asking is for you to tell me what you like about me as a person and what you don't like....and seeings how I AM asking...I am not gonna be hurt by any of me....I’ve been told some whoppers and it only makes me want to work harder, because it is to make OTHERS happy that I’m all about...and I have found myself telling myself lately that I REALLY need to work on some things...

This is obviously optional (like almost EVERYTHING in life) but I would really appreciate y’alls feedback....and I’m willing to accept emails of all negative things...I don't care...I just ask for honesty...and I’ll be sure to fill you in on how my progress comes. ;)

This means a lot to me and so do all of you...

Love ya'll,
Kimberly =)

I also see this as a challenge for ya'll....I mean do you ever really think WHY it is that you like a person and then what things about other people really bother you?...(most of us tend to do the latter of the two quite often unfortunately) But I also challenge ya'll to work to improve in your own areas, and we can ALL use me! ;)


St. Louis Friends:

Geez…this is a weird question... um, I guess one of your stronger points is your outgoing-ness. I wish I could walk up to people and instantly be able to carry on a conversation. And your ability to adapt. No matter what the circumstance, you always make it through. That’s pretty exceptional. One of the things that bothers me is that you put people down. It's funny at first, but after awhile, it gets to sounding crass and self-centered. Granted, I'm absolutely HORRIBLE about putting people down as well. And you kind-of boss people around. But, other than that, there's not a lot about you that bothers me. Whoa, it feels weird to be so up front... oh, I'm out of my comfort zone! I hope this is what you were looking for and that you don't get offended by any of it! Talk to you later! Emily Bishop (1-24-02)

In response to your e-mail about what we all like/dislike about your personality, one major thing popped into my mind. I think that just the fact that you are putting forth the effort to become a better person makes you one of the most considerate people I know. I'm not saying that it's necessarily a good thing to depend on other people's opinions of you as your means of identity (and I don't think you are doing that), but I think it's really admirable that you are turning to those who you know and care about for advice. In the past couple of years I've noticed such a change in your personality. For me, it's somewhat odd to read e-mails such as the one that you just sent me, and others which display a benevolent side of your personality. It's not odd in a bad way. At any rate, the point that I am trying to make with this verbose e-mail is just that I think your quest for improvement is one of your greatest personality strengths.

I hope this was of some help to you. Keep in touch and let me know how school is going for you this semester :).
Karla Partian (1-15-02)

Hey Kim. Okay, when I first read your email, I was kind of like, what kind of person and friend would send a friend an email telling them their weaknesses. I don't think about my friends' weaknesses. I focus on the wonderful aspect of the people I know, but as I kept reading I started thinking about what you wrote.

I couldn't believe you, of all people, would say you want to better yourself. You are one of the most caring and considerate people I know. You are fun and positive.

But I would have to say when I think about it, there is one weakness. I think we are pretty good friends. We had so much fun together junior and senior years of high school. I could always guarantee class would be fun if you were in it. Lord knows you got me through SOOOO many boring classes with Maulin and Rushing, but throughout these hilarious classes and years, there was so much I never knew about you, so much I still don't know about you. You keep so much inside of you. I guess I consider that as a weakness because without expressing yourself you aren't allowing people inside.

I, obviously, am a "lay it all out on the table" sort of person and I am not always the best at reading between the lines. I could tell so many times when it seemed like you were hurting because of one thing or another, but I never had any idea what it was. You are a fantastic person; I just think that you and I could have been closer if we would have shared more. Maybe it’s just me though. I hope you had an awesome break. I love you Kim! Thank you for making me sit down and thinking about all this, it really made me reevaluate some things. You are an awesome person and there is nothing about you that needs to change, but I do hope this is what you were asking for.
Laura Payne (1-21-02)

Dear Kim,
I want you to know that I like you just the way you are. If you want to change yourself, that is between you and God. I know that you are sarcastic, but maybe that is a talent. I know one time that you kept me sane during a junior project with Meierhoff and Andrea. If it wasn't for your humor, I would have gone off and said things I shouldn't have said.

Nobody is perfect; I want you to know that. We all have areas to work on, but just having time with God everyday and listening to Him will improve both your spiritual life and personality. If you really feel convicted of a certain characteristic, then God will show you how to fix it. But God made you the way you are, so maybe you should think instead of changing your qualities, think about how you could use them for the Lord.

That's my best advice for you. Hope you are loving Texas, I hope it's warmer there then it is here. Miss ya!
~Shana McCoy~ (1-15-02)

Hi! First of all Kim I would like to say good luck on this resolution. It's a good one. Here is all the help I can do for you right now. I really like you the way you are. I really love your sarcasm though, so I don't think you should change that at all. Of course I am a pretty sarcastic person too. Oh well maybe that is why I like it so much. Well that is all I have for now. If I think of anything else I'll let you know.
Good Luck! Stephanie Taylor (1-17-02)

Wow, Kimberly, I commend you. That's some New Year's resolution! But, I'm sure you can do it, and why I know that is because one of your best qualities is your determination. You always have such a GREAT attitude about things as well. And your optimism... that is definitely contagious. I love how you made me laugh and you were always able to ease my stress. You listen really well. I really don't know of any bad things about you, Kimbo! Hang in there, and keep me posted on how you're doing. I love how you keep in touch! Take care!
Love, Susan Meierhoff :O) (1-16-02)

ACU Friends:

Well, this is definitely an interesting e-mail you have sent out. I have never heard of such a thing before but I think it is very bold of you to ask people what they think of you personality wise and think it's awesome that you can do that! Well, though you say your sarcasm gets you into trouble sometimes, I guess I sometimes do not notice. Don't get me wrong, I am not blind or anything, lol. From my observations of the typical sarcastic
individual, I think that sarcastic people are usually very quick to think, smart and witty. Be proud of your sarcastic ways (seriously, that was not I am not trying to be nice or anything, but, from my own point of view I really don't see many flaws in your personality.

Well, this is DEFINATELY not a flaw....but you are usually so happy and I just wonder how you do that all the time. I wish I could do that even half the time. How do you stay so optimistic about things your life? Do you think if something really bad happened to you that you would still be optimistic about things? I bet you would. That takes such strength. For me, I feel like I don't know what it takes to be truly happy these days and that not everyone can achieve it. I think some people are more happier than others but that unhappiness is not unluckiness, it just simply happens. Well anyways, I just think it's good that you're usually happy because it always puts me in a better mood! I only hope that I can pay it forward to others. Your happiness is such a good
trait....however, just because I told you this does not mean I expect to see you happy all the time. Feel free to be sad or mad, too! LOL!

Oh, another thing that I think is a good trait is that you are a very good listener and you seem to be very trustful. I always feel comfortable confiding things in you. I don't just tell everyone anything. Ya know? People like listeners. Also, I like the fact that you are a very strong and outgoing person, it's what makes a good leader. People need leaders. LOL,..I am a strong person, and outgoing,....yet I am shy too sometimes (but I think most everyone is). Also, I like that you really care about your friendships and always try to hold them together, that's an awesome friend for a person to have....I know because I have been a good friend to people before yet some just threw me away....but after a while, I got to thinking that it was really their loss, not mine...because I knew I had tried my hardest and valued the importance of friendship. I see you doing the same things, being a caring friend and valuing friendship. Anyways, I hope I answered some of your questions good enough. :) Well, I guess I can take this last line to say thank you for always being such a wonderful friend! Lata GATA!!!!!!!! :)
Your Friend,
Holly Herr (1-15-02)

Hey girl!!!!!!!!! You know, I’ve been sitting here thinking about your last e-mail, I was like, you know that is a great idea--I want to do that too, but I have been racking my mind about what to say and I just seriously don't know. And you know me girl, when I don't like something about someone I say it. I know that we really clicked as friends because we do have about the same personality. I love how you love to laugh with me and that whenever I needed someone you were there for me. We could just sit and listen to music and that was cool. One thing you need to work on is your tan--because seriously, I still feel bad about that one time when we laid out and you got FRIED!! But on a serious note you are an awesome girl who knows who you are and won't be fake with anyone, I really love that about you--you are real. You know where you are going in life and have a clear mind about it. You love people in general and you will go out of your way to help them. You know everybody--and everybody loves you. I really don't think you are overly sarcastic, but maybe that is because I am the same way. But I know that you are a great friend and I miss you to ya girl!!!!!
Karin Grimes (1-16-02)

Wow, now that’s an email. I think that you are a great friend to have and I am honored to have you as one. I think that you are a great listener and a great advice giver. Also you are fun to be around and talk with. I miss talking to you this year and I hope that you are
having a great one. Now negative things, I am terrible at so right now I can’t think of anything. I want to thank you for that challenge as well because I often wonder that too: why it is you like certain people maybe? It is because you just click or something about them that attracts that person to you a special quality in them. I also think that you are a very caring person and someone who can see others for who they are on the inside. I hope that this helps and that you have a great year and semester in school.
Your friend
Mandy Woodall (1-15-02)

Hey Kim- I know this is a way WAY overdue reply- but honestly your one of the most awesome people I've met at ACU- so I'm not going to offer any suggestions on how to improve yourself. I don't know you very well (yet!) but I have to say I think your sense of humor and your outlook on life are amazing- so- don't change those two things, whatever you do! Keep up the good work thus far! :)
Sarah Hutto (1-22-02)

Final Exams Relief!

Whelp, I’m basically through with papers, projects and exams (I say basically because I do still have one more group paper to write with Holly, but I’m not real worried about that one). But, I do know what many people, including all my good pals at ACU still have finals week right around the corner, so in honor of y’all I have a couple “things” I want to share with y’all to possibly make you smile during such a stressful time!

Take Care of Yourselves During This Stressful Time!
Love y’all!

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not flunk; He keepeth me from lying down when I should be studying. He leadeth me beside the water fountain for a study break. He restoreth my faith in study guides. He leads me to better study habits for my grade's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of borderline grades, I will not have a nervous breakdown; for thou art with me. My prayers and my friends, they comfort me. Thou givest me answers in moments of blankness; Thou anointest my head with understanding. My test paper runneth over with questions I recognize. Surely passing grades and flying colors shall follow me all the days of my examinations, And I shall not have to dwell in this university forever, Amen! "


To the tune of “I Will Survive”:

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified, that I just cant keep my GPA of 2 point 5 I spent all those stupid nights I was just chillin way too long, and that was wrong but now I know I must be strong And now they're back (add base line) they're in my face I’ve got 3 finals and 2 papers to be done in just 5 days! I should never have gone out and I should never have partied cause now all this work I have is all piling up on me! So now I must go, to the libraryo, to do research on those papers and study harder than before. It's hell, I’ll tell you that and you know it's not a lie. But I can’t crumble, I can’t lay down and die! Oh, no not I! I will survive! If I keep a 2 point 0 at least I’ll be alive. I've got five more days to live and I think my brain'll give, but I'll survive!!”

Negative People

Okay...I suppose this is just my opinion getting the best of me (like it tends to do!) but I would have to disagree with a phrase many of us have encountered...

What I’m talking about is a phrase I have gotten in several email forwards before...for instance the "words of wisdom" forwards that people send around...this particular forward puts it this way..."Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down." But this isn't the only one email...we've all seen the other ones that say things like, "Avoid negative people" or "Stay away from those who are pessimistic" You get the picture.

So anyhow, when I started thinking about it, I decided I didn't really like those types of sayings. Without giving the saying much thought, I would quickly just agree, because surfacely, it seems like it is the “right move.”

I tended to refer to these types of sayings when I would be around some of my friends that maybe weren't so happy a lot of the time. With the kind of person I am, when I am around people who seem to be grouchy a lot of the time or who never seem to have a positive thing to says, I normally will say something like "well why don't you say SOMETHING nice..." or something like that. Basically, I would point out to them all the time that I thought they were too negative and I would tell them that I would just avoid them if they were not going say anything positive because "I should avoid negative people" since they "pull me down.”

So I was giving this some thought and I decided that what is really being said is if someone IS negative all the time or grouchy (due to certain reasons--that CAN be helped [that is my psychology punch!]) then they shouldn't have any friends because others should avoid them because they pull them down....right? Like all the negative people don't deserve friends. This makes me think that maybe there should be an ending on the saying that says "avoid negative people--but if YOU are negative, then go find other negative people to hangout with."

And then there is the "Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down." This one is interesting to me too. Since it says "Keep" this means that there are [or were] other “non-cheerful” people that are [or were] your friends too. Well, you obviously became friends with them for SOME reason, correct? So isn’t there something special about them that you love? Something drew you to them in the first place. Can you just leave that person who has meant something special to you just because they are negative? Or maybe it is that when you became friends with them they were not negative and grouchy all the time. As a friend shouldn’t you try to help them, not “avoid” them? Does this mean that you should drop their friendship because they are “pull[ing] you down”

Why do we always just think of ourselves?

Of course, no one wants to be around a person who tends to be negative or grouchy all the time, but if a person is negative do they not deserve friends? They need help or possibly just support and a friend to be with them, not to “avoid” them. But we only think of ourselves, not them. YOU need cheerful friends. YOU deserve better than a negative friend. YOU don’t need to put up with unhappy people. They will pull YOU down.

I think negative people need friends just as much as positive people, possibly even more. It is said that happiness and smiling is contagious. I firmly believe this, but sometimes it just takes time. I think if a happy person stays around a negative person long enough the negative person will either become happier because they see the happy person having more fun and they will want that for them self or they will just get fed up with the happy person because they are always seeing the positive side of things that they are refusing to see and will leave, because they can’t take it, most likely going off somewhere and publishing a quote that says “Avoid excessively happy people!”

SO! Lets try to help negative people and not only think of what is best for US and “avoid” them!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Is it possible for this blog to be lacking exactly what it’s about?!? Hmmm….I suppose we’ll leave that one up to you to decide….

The power of a purpose. Have you ever thought about it? I hadn’t really given it much thought until it came into play for me tonight, and then I overanalyzed it (as I tend to do with topics that turn into some of my best blogs—in my opinion. Those blogs that are about those one word concepts or ideas or topics. i.e. politics, honesty, religion, assuming, sarcasm). So tonight it’s purpose.

Wow, the more I laid on my bed tonight and thought about it in depth, the more I realized that a purpose is the underlying power in SO much that we do, and honestly, I don’t think we consciously note the actual purposes that often. Or maybe it's that we do, but so quickly forget them. It’s almost like if we recognize it once, we know that the behavior or circumstance or situation has “credentialing” and we can go on once again without noting the “purpose” for the actions.

Let me start with the situation that brought about my “purpose thinking” this evening. Okay, so I had been planning for a little less than a week now to go to Abilene for tomorrow (Thursday) and stay until around 1 or 1:30 PM on Friday then coming home. My purpose being to surprise my good friend Laura and offer support as she was scheduled to undergo surgery on her broken finger tomorrow. I must also note that this brilliant idea came from my buddy Becca! So, I had been using this “mission to Abilene” as a motivational tool for getting through a lot of my homework these past couple days; viewing my trip to Abilene as a reward to follow my hard work.

So, all week Becca has been my amazing P.I. getting the scoop from Laura about when and stuff on her surgery. Well tonight Becca informs me that Laura is having some insurance complications and so she isn’t sure when her surgery will be tomorrow, if she even gets to have it. So, I decide to call Laura and try to get more details from her (realizing she is unaware of my “purpose” for calling and wanting her surgery details).

Well, to make a long story short, Laura’s surgery has been moved to Friday, (and to save a long story, I won’t be able to stay in Abilene on Friday because I have to get back to the Metroplex for something I already have scheduled for that night), so I wasn’t going to be able to go to Abilene for my “purpose” (to go with Laura for her surgery).

So, after getting off the phone I drilled myself, “So, do I still go to Abilene? It’s just for a little over a 24 hour stay. Do I still have another ‘purpose?’” Now, don’t think I didn’t already have the rest of my time in Abilene already planned out: leave a note on Ellison’s car to scare her because I know she would recognize my handwriting and be like, “Smith is in town?!?!”; randomly show up at Walker’s apartment that she has begged me to come see (and I’m tired of being called a “ho” for not going and seeing her); go watch GATA play waterball; go chill with my FAVORITE ACU library worker, Becca; then Friday, Praise Day in chapel, and possibly GATA lunch (depending on where it was at). So yes, I had other plans, but no other real “purpose.” So wanting to avoid homework more of course, and wanting to “take a vacation”, I so wanted another “purpose” to arise.

I flirted with the idea of calling my sister and telling her I would come take her to lunch tomorrow and take her grocery shopping and that kinda stuff. I was like, “that could be my purpose. To spend time with my sister.” But let’s face it, that was a “made-up purpose.” One that someone makes-up in an effort to “rationalize” with them self that they have a “purpose.”

So, I came to the conclusion while on my bed that I didn’t have another “true” purpose that would out-weigh my purposes to stay home (i.e. to save money and to get more homework finished).

So, lying on my bed, not really in a good mood I thought more about purpose. And that’s when the deeper thoughts on purpose came….

Purpose in life. Yes, I’ve always claimed to be fully aware of my purpose in life. It is written at the top of this blog if you’ve never noticed: “The 4 L’s: Learn, Labor, Laugh, and Love.” Yes, I still call this my purpose and still believe it. But it sometimes doesn’t answer my other “purpose” questions.

Oh how easy it is to lose track of our purpose on things. I used to question “how can anyone possibly contemplate the idea of suicide?” And the idea of going through with it I couldn’t even begin to fathom. But over the past year I’ve begun to realize what could bring people to think those types of thoughts. I won’t say I’ve ever considered suicide, but I have had times now that I can honestly say "I can understand why people might view it as a choice." I still can fathom doing it, but I’ve had times when I’ve been thinking things totally out and doing the “weighing the options thingy” and thinking out EVERY possible option and so the idea of just not having to deal with any of it anymore (I suppose suicide) was something I thought “well that would be AN option, but not really A option.” (I know you read that thinking, “Stupid, the correct grammatical word is “an”—which you’re right, but reread it and maybe you’ll see what I was trying to get across with it—gotta love the power of words! Also, you'll understand it better if you pronouce "A" as exactly how you say that letter of the alphabet and not by pronouncing "uh". HA!) So, enough of this suicide talk, how about religion! :)

Awww….the purpose of religion. There is both, “the purpose of religion” and “religion’s purpose.” ;) Many people enjoy the latter. Oh how so many people use religion as their purpose for living. In many cases, it IS people’s “purpose in life.” Many people devote their whole being to religious beliefs; they let it control their thoughts, behaviors, choices, etc. [Note: I want to make it clear, yes, right now in the middle of this paragraph, that I am not condemning or even depicting this choice of life in a negatively fashion or badly. I don’t want it to come off that way. Please be aware of that.]

So if that’s the latter, the first is what? Well, honestly, I don’t think I can answer that one. I honestly don’t know if anyone can answer it for someone else. I don’t even know if it is the same for all the people amidst the same religious affiliation or not. I honestly don’t know, nor do I know if a lot of people know. But I will say this, about the most I can contribute when I pair the two words together (purpose and religion) is this: my struggle with religion comes down to just that, it’s purpose.

As I think I made myself clear, I don’t know the purpose of religion. I’ll freely admit I have never been baptized and when the thought of baptism does cross my mind, I often find myself thinking, “But your ‘purpose’ for being baptized is not the right ‘purpose.’” Yes, don’t think I haven’t thought the typical thoughts like: “Well, if there DOES end up to be a God, and Heaven really exists, at least you will have been baptized JUST in case” or the “Honestly, even if you don’t believe in the whole religion hoopla, you can fake it, get baptized, and folks will ‘get off your back,’ it ain’t like they will honestly know if you’re faking your belief,” or (the one I’ve thought about recently) “Okay, so you know if there IS a Heaven, ‘so-and-so’ is going to be there, and if you ever want to see or talk to ‘so-and-so’ again, you best be getting baptized.” So, these thoughts cross a person’s mind, and that is where the power of “purpose” sticks its ugly little face in. Are any of these “thoughts” in accordance with the biblical “purpose” behind baptism? No (and even I know that). The purpose of baptism is to confess that you believe Jesus is the Son of God and that you want to devote your life to Him. Hmm, no where in any of those “thoughts” did I seem to express that “belief.” So, as any halfway bible reader (or in my case, person having grown up in the church) would know, anyone who would get baptized with the purpose in mind of those “thoughts” would be doing the baptism “in vain” (AKA baptism nullified).

So, where I was going with that paragraph? I don’t know (maybe just tying my thoughts on purpose and religion together, who knows?) Anyways, the power of a “purpose” is unbelievable if you ask me. But if you still aren’t sure, ask yourself why you do most the things you do in life. I bet you’ll find that some “purpose” is lingering about that is powering your behaviors!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Who Is Reading?

Okay, so today has honestly been a crummy day. That’s about all too it. So, in order to try to put myself in a better mood, I want to comment on something that has given me a gleam of happiness for the day—the record amount of blog readers I have had for today alone.

I set up my blog counter around the beginning of November (I honestly wish I could remember the exact date), or it might have been that final week in October, I’m not exactly sure. Anyways, since that time I have surpassed the 100th visitor mark. Then today I set a new record for myself for number of visitors to my blog (which is currently at 17 for today, but the night is still young). So in my gloom of the day, I am joyous to know that people are at least in a sense interested in my life. You gotta face it, whether you like me or not, if you’re going to my blog you must have some sort of interest, even if your doing it only to procrastinate longer on your homework because we all know there are PLENTY of other websites you could be surfing instead! ;)

So, it is now that I must disclaim a myth that is evident in “blogland” and that is that you have to be a member to comment (AKA leave a reply) to someone’s posts. First, some people might have their blogs set to that format, yes, but a majority of the people have it set where ANYONE can comment you just choose the “or post anonymously” “button” on the webpage that comes up asking you to login after you have clicked the “post a comment” button thingy. Does that make sense?

Well, amidst all this joy that I get from my numerous readers, I must say I find myself enthralled by who some of my “avid” readers are. HA! Below I have decided to enlighten everyone to the knowledge of who tends to read my blogs, so you’ll know (as a reader yourself—because you ARE reading it right now!) who also shares in these readings with you! ;)

The following list is people I get off of my AIM buddylist. Folks that I think have the greatest opportunity to access to my blog (even though I realize you don’t have to be on AIM to get to my blog). Also, the listings below are all due in part to my own knowledge, they could be incorrect, and if so, feel free to correct me (AKA if you read my blogs and I don’t have you listed or I have you incorrectly listed! HA!) I personally like the “Non-Readers” section because it is the folks I need to get on to and tell them they are missin’ out! HA! ;)

Angela Rawlings
Aracely Velasquez
Becca Osborn
Brandi Woodard (who is a GREAT friend of mine even though she isn’t a GATA!)
Cheryl Leland
Hollie Inwood
Holly Herr
Jackie Beth Shilcutt
Janaye Batiste
Janet Singleton
Jenni Kripner
Jennifer Reiff
Jennifer Walker
Laura Singleton
Lindsay Nelson
Melody Forest
Val Jolly
Whitney Jones-Briscoe

Have Read, but not in a LONG time:
Chris Cummings
Kristen Turner
Liz Wood
Melissa Mitchell
Ray Donnelly

Amber Ramirez
Amber Witcher
Becky Degge
Katey Earles
Kendall Bailey
Lindsey Miller
Misty Willcox
Stacia Barton
Sumer Bernard
Tori Watson

Thanksgiving Day Decisions....

With the rapid approach of Thanksgiving Day, many thoughts begin to cross my mind. First, obviously, all the blessing I have in my life cross my mind. The people in my life, friends, family, acquaintances, etc. they have all had a GREAT influence on who I am, so I thank you!

Another thought, and the one being the inspiration for this blog, is the idea of the “kids” table vs. the “adult” table. Let me explain…

First, I must set the stage. Every other year my mom’s side of the family has a big get together for Thanksgiving (this year happens to be the “on” year). So, my whole family will be getting together this year right outside of Springfield, Missouri (my birth place), with approximately 50 or so relatives. To me this is cool because for one, I don’t get to see most of these people except every two years at this function, and secondly, I’ve always loved my mom’s side of the family. HA! I mean heck, the uncle I’m currently living with is her baby brother! ;)

So, at this get-together, with all these tons of people, we will have the time to eat of course. This is where I begin to think, so, where will I sit and eat this year (I have tended to ask myself this question for the past few years of this—ever since I’ve been going back for the get-together and I’ve been in college). As any of you who have big family get-togethers know, there is always the “kids” table and the “adults” table (or in our case with so many people, several of each).

I question where I belong (not that I suppose you have to be one or the other, but it isn’t like you can sit at both tables at once). I know as an almost 23 year old I’m not really what society would consider to be a “kid” anymore, but I’ve always found I relate with kids so well. Let’s face it, I would fit right in at the kids table, it ain’t like I look like I’m 23 years old anyways!

But then there is that side of me that is like, “dude, your in graduate school. You’re an ‘adult,’ so go side with the other adult relatives and fellowship with them. You’re finally part of that crowd.” But then I quickly think, well that means you’ll have to have the “adult” type conversations, and honestly I’ve never been real into the “politics and job” type talks. Granted I could spend the time educating these great relatives of mine on the wonderful experiences of Texas, which most of them are unfamiliar with (yes, I know, a lot of y’all reading this right now are letting out a big cheer and sayin’ “that’s right!” HA!) But still, I think of how I could go sit with the kiddos and not worry about things like, tasting some of the food and finding out I don’t really like it and choosing not to eat it, or if I spill on myself, not worrying about lookin’ like a dork! ;)

So, while I’m still not sure as to where I’ll sit at Thanksgiving (maybe I’ll find the “younger adult” table) I do know this: I’m just lookin’ forward to all the good food! YUM!

Also, this whole kid vs. adult confusion also brings up the topic of what do I wear to Thanksgiving? Do I wear a nice button down shirt and try to look nice and adult-like, because I am a college graduate now working on even higher up education, or do I wear my sweatshirt and jeans so I can go outside and play football and basketball with all the kids like I tend to end up doing every time we have this get together! ;) Hmmm…..

Let me know if you too are confronted with the “kids” vs. “adults” table decision, and let me know what you do, or what you think I should do! ;)

Monday, November 15, 2004

RaNdOm Funniness!

I honestly believe that laughter (and plenty of it) is what makes me the happy person I am in life (well, okay, so love and other things go into that equation...but anyways...)

Sometimes some of the things that make me laugh the most are some of the TOTALLY random stuff I come up with. It is those things that make you think, "Who the crap thinks up things like that!?!?" HA! Those are some of my FAVORITE moments! And as you will see by the RANDOMNESS of a letter I wrote to a friend at the bottom of this blog, you'll know what I'm talking about.

But first I must say, today was full of random HILAROUS humor! First, Holly and I took it upon ourselves to call SEVERAL of our favorite folks to give them our rendition of a good ol' commercial for none other than non-alcoholic beer! HA! Random? Yes! Fun? NO DOUBT! And thanks to Miss Walker for the call back and giving me the opportunity to "wing it" and keep the humor continuing, but I did have to hang-up on her when I couldn't keep myself composed enough to say "fermentation" without laughing! That word just sounds kinda dirty...HA!

So, after that, it was time for some good ol' AIM humor! This prank/joke you'll have to read more about on Holly's blog at It was rather humorous if I might say so myself. At one point when we were having the conversation with the person I was laughing so hard I was crying!

And finally...the blog I've been putting off posting until I knew the person that I sent the letter to had received it. So here we go....

Okay, so recently Holly and I took it upon ourselves to make our friends more aware of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) by sending a handful of folks several brochures a piece that covered specific STDs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, and others. I even recommended to some of these friends who received these pamphlets to place them in the bathrooms of their homes after they finished reading them because I thought they made GREAT bathroom reading material and I thought that way special guests who visit their homes would become more aware of STDs as well.

It was unfortunate though that I was later informed that one of my friends who did not receive any pamphlets in the mail, but her roommate did, was upset that she didn’t get this helpful information in the mail. So, of course I couldn’t live my life knowing that this one friend might fall subject to an STD because I did not inform her with this information, so I immediately wrote her a letter in my class that next morning which included what I like to call the “Quick STD Facts List.” Below I have left y’all a copy of what my letter to her included, because I too worry about YOUR safety!

STD Facts for those of us that don’t have enough time to read the pamphlets (except maybe while we’re in the bathroom):

-STDs are bad!

-You can’t get an STD by sharing a pencil in class with someone who has an STD.

-You can get an STD from someone you shared a pencil with in class if you have sex with them in class.

-If you have a phobia of people who have STDs, this is called: STD Phobia.

-STDs can kill!

-Myth: STDs do not cause an individual to have extra ice cream cravings (that just comes from the fact that you love ice cream!)

-You can not get an STD from a person who has sat in a chair previously to you sitting there.

-You can get an STD if a person who has as STD sits in a chair without pants or underwear on and then you sit in the chair without pants or underwear on!

These quick STD Facts are 100% genuine and approved by the National “STDs Kill” Association.

[Here is the added information I wrote on the back of the letter for her…]

I didn’t want you to think that I didn’t care if you got an STD since I didn’t send you any flyers like I sent your roommate. I just realize you’re like me, and too busy to have the time to read those things, so I hope these “Quick Facts” help you out and answer any questions you might have had about STDs.

I also totally understand that sometimes when people go to the bathroom they might not have the time to read the flyers that I suggested your roommate place in y’alls bathroom, so I recommend taping these “Quick Facts” above the toilet paper dispenser, because they are so quick and easy to read, a person can read them in the amount of time it takes to tear off the toilet paper you’ll need!!

Love ya and take care of yourself!
Kimberly R. Smith

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Some Old Blogs (maybe) Worth Another Look...

Okay, so lately I’ve had some people tell me that my recent posts have been really good and have made them think. That my friends is the only purpose that I can serve others with through my posts—to make you think. So, while I personally haven’t found my recent ones to be “wonderful”, I suppose they aren’t too bad. But I decided to enlighten some of you folks who are among my new readers with some of my more favorite posts from my old blog website that you might not even know about ( So, if you find yourself wanting a halfway decent read (in my opinion), check out some of these older posts I wrote, or if you’ve read them before, they might be worth a refresher! Take Care!

My Top Ten Favorite Posts from My Old Blog Website:

No More Politics, Please!


The "Famous"

Those Were the Days....

How "Smart" Do You Really Have to be to Get a College Degree?



The Power of Words!

These Kinda Questions Will Make Ya Think...