"Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."~ Robert Frost
We are truly enjoying our time home in America. However, one cannot help but compare our two very different lives when it comes to our time in Korea & our time in America. We took the road less traveled by going to Korea, and it HAS made all the difference. Consequently, it is hard to balance the feelings of the love you have for your home country and the country you grew to love. The picture above makes me truly miss the country I grew to love... It will be interesting to see what road God allows us to traverse on next...
Well, for Grant and I, it has been an interesting year in many ways but especially physically.
Grant had back surgery in December. I ran a marathon in March and somehow got a tear in my ACL during the training process and actually ran the marathon with the tear and a pulled groin. Also, ironically I got a large abrasion during the marathon which led to a not-so- exciting: staph infection in my armpit that does not seem to want to go away(good times). I've never had a staph infection or knee problems, and Grant has never had serious back problems.
I'm writing all of this while laughing to and at myself for all of these things happening. It could be soooo much worse and the irony is just too much not to laugh. I mean of course, all of these things would happen while we are away from western medicine, natural remedies, home remedies that you pick up at Wal-Mart, and dear family and friends. However, we have been truly blessed with family and friends who have sent us incredible care packages! Thank you!!!
In so many ways it has taken us out of our comfort zone and made us rely even more on God, which has been truly rewarding.
The above photo was taken last night while my Mad Scientist/Doctor hubby was trying to remove glass from my foot. I know of course with all of the things listed above of course this would happen, right? Grant accidentally broke a glass cup a few months ago, and we thought we had cleaned up all of the glass... apparently not... This picture now represents one of my most favorite memories of my husband. He was so intent, tenacious, and focused on getting the glass out. I think you can see this in the photo.
1. People running or bumping into you is considered a normal, everyday occurrence… 2. Kimchi is served with every meal. 3. You HAVE to separate you trash for recycling(not a bad thing). 4. While shopping you feel as if the shopkeeper is a leach or a monkey that is about to jump on your back, no personal space whatsoever. You feel as if they are breathing down your back. 5. You are constantly stared at because you are a foreigner (pretty basic for living in an Asian country). 6. While ATTEMPTING to try on clothes, the shopkeeper promptly takes away your clothes to get a BIGGER size because you are an AMERICAN with hips. Then trying to convince the shopkeeper that she gave you the wrong size equals fun times! They will not let you buy clothes THEY don’t think will fit you. 7. Everybody thinks you are extremely tall. 8. Women are socially scolded and frowned on for smoking in public. 9. Everything on TV, in stores, or in magazines has to be CUTE even if it is a toilet seat cover!!! 10. People try to rip you off in the marketplace (probably pretty common when being a foreigner). 11. People take the word of their doctor as the ultimate truth without researching and take a shot in the butt as a cure for everything. 12. Eating dog soup is common during the summer. 13. Kids poke you in the butt for fun(the sh**t needle that’s what they call it or that's what it translates into). 14. You think everything including the song: “YMCA,” and McDonalds originated in Korea. 15. Being good at English is gold and determines your LIFE….it gets you into a better high school, university, job…it follows you almost your whole life. 16. You have Braille sidewalks because your country thinks of every possibility and detail. 17. Wondrous Cherry Blossoms warmly greet you during the beautiful, early months of spring. 18. You work at a Hagwon(private school) and your boss is NOT a principal but a strict businessman. 19. There are delicious “French” bakeries on almost every street. 20. People are afraid of you and are usually timid when asked something in English while in public. 21. You need to be careful when motioning somebody to come here because you could offend them if done in the wrong/American way. To them it is like calling a dog! 22. There are dog farms, yes, I said dog farms for consuming their meat! YUCK! 23. Everything is child friendly, minus the pink light district. 24. Ovens, dryers, and dishwashers are an extremely rare commodity. 25. There are no CHICK-FIL-A's or Nutella or Reece’s ): 26. Mexican food is hard to come by! 27. Kindergarteners are allowed to run wildly free through the hallways of school. 28. Similar to Amsterdam, you have a pink light district in your city. Gross! 29. It sometimes takes 5 hours to move 3 miles while stuck in Seoul traffic and there are fences on both sides, and NO places to stop to use the restroom! 30. After saying you would rather not eat something, you eat the “food” as a cultural responsibility to your host after being prodded many times. 31. You host a party your guests that attend bring you gifts. 32. Every “food” that makes your stomach churn is considered healthy for some reason or other. Example: chicken foot is good for your skin, dog is good for men’s stamina, silk worms are good for your body and skin….yummy, jk! My stomach hurts just thinking about it or imagining the smell…. 33. Space is one of the uncommon things to be found. 34. Your floor is your heater during the winter months. 35. Your stomach hurts you should prick your thumb with a needle. 36. Kimchi heals everything! 37. Being tan or bathing in the sun is thought of as the worst habit possible. 38. You’re 50, you look as though you are 30. 39. Almost every gym is made up equipment from the 1980’s. 40. Your local park has better gym equipment than your actual gym. 41. Every apartment complex has a park. 42. You are not superstitious about the 13th floor, but you are superstitious about the 4th floor because the Chinese character for 4 means death. 43. Everybody has a NICE camera! 44. Most kindergarteners have phones!!!!! 45. While staying at a hotel, instead of receiving a mint on your pillow you receive a condom. 46. While in a hospital, one mention of ice chips or anything cold or icy, they give you the most bizarre look. In addition, hospitals are like a sauna, warm and toasty. Ice is NOT recommended as a remedy for any ailment. 47. If you desire to have an affair, the hotel/motel covers up your license plate so that your spouse does not catch you! 48. Being large or obese is something hardly ever witnessed! Skinny is in a huge part of life! 49. Taking off your shoes at restaurants and when entering houses is commonplace. 50. When you see very LARGE spiders!!! 51. English is used sporadically, incorrectly, and usually misspelled most of the time on signs, brochures, restaurants, menus.... 52. It is okay to buy illegally pirated dvds, cds... and copyright infringement is very popular! 53. FAN death is believed to be a common cause of death. Don’t ever keep your windows or doors closed while having a fan on, because you could DIE!!! lol
Oh, what a treat you are all in for...yes that is right...it is a blog with Grant as the author. If you have ever endured one or some of my writings before then you know what is coming, if not, well prepare yourself. Yes I can get lengthy, but I try to keep it fun; yes I get deep, but I am no scholar; yes it might be a little repetitive or overstated, my mind is slightly unorganized (as some of you might have witnessed in other areas); and yes there will be grammatical errors and enigmas, so please bear with me. Having finished my short introduction and disclaimer lets proceed to the meat.
Hmm...where to begin...oh yeah, We made it! One year and counting. That's right people, one more God graced testament for the world to witness on how two outrageously stubborn, passionate, and very different (at times) people can continue to shatter the odds, overcome new world thinking, and grow stronger together (with a little help!). For those of you yet to be married it might still be a mystery and a little uncomprehensible; but for those of us who are married, especially those far more ...umm... mature in their marriage, one must marvel at the miracle that is manifested every year, week, and day in a successful marriage. Successful: def. A continuing struggle to stay afloat, alive, breathing, unscathed from trying to honor, love, romance, etc., and forgive what seems an endless stream of faults in your partner (while somehow grossly overlooking your own); in the end realizing it is a struggle for both, not one, repenting to each other and God, and finally many glorious moments of making up, enjoying each others forgiveness, and resting in each others love once again... ready to start it all over. And of course this can occur and reoccur in all time measures, that is within only minutes to a dragged out grudge lasting months. Okay, seriously, this could be one LONG rant covering all the trials and elations we have gone through in this first year but most of you know most of them anyway; so let me try to wrap this up and move on to its culmination tale. Most importantly is this, we set out on this journey with one true ultimatum...With God's help this was for GOOD, divorce is not an option...and to that we hold! There have been slips, times when we were hanging on by fingertips, even desiring to let go; but by God our grip maintained and even grew stronger.
So....you might be wondering... how did the Boatwright's celebrate this victory. Well as usual I came up with a brilliant idea, and as usual it was not going to work out the way I wanted(haha). There is a cherry blossom festival every year in Jinhae, South Korea, and Jashley having just invested in a brand spanking new top-of-the-line camera, I thought it would be an awesome opportunity for some new experiences and photography exploring. However, the last weekend for the festival was the weekend before, not the weekend of our anniversary. Jashley graciously waived this aside saying it would be just as special, so off we went. I am now a big fan of trains when touring a country as it allows you maximum comfort (not having to drive), speed (just as fast as driving if not faster), and views (not the sometimes unrealistic view from a plane window) to really satisfy the traveler who likes to take it all in. And of course, like most other things in Korea, cheap. After a little mix up with train transitions (yeah for Grant's lack of reading skills when he can't tell the difference between Dondeagu station and Deagu station) and not booking the right arrival station in the city we were staying in (there were two in the city, and guess which one we arrived at), we DID arrive at our hotel in Changwon. This did however turn out to be a very nice hotel, which seemed at the time to be in a very small town center. Jumping ahead a little...we did find out this was only a little offchute town of the main city where we had dinner, and this is of note because it wasn't till dinner that we really realized what a beautiful city it was.
It is now around three, so we were off toward Jinhae and with what I hoped to be a very spectacular display of nature. With the help of the very cordial hotel receptionist, we negotiated a cab fair between the cities. The closer we got to Jinhae the more we felt that it was going to be quite a trip as the Cherry trees guiding us along the road into town were in a full stunning bloom, promising even better sights when we reached the festival. Now I had read, but not fully grasped, that the festival was city wide; so, when we went through the tunnel looking down on the coastal town and arrived at our first stop (Janbok Mt. park) on the very outskirts of town (not the town center) it finally sunk in. That and as the view opened up, allowing you to see all the way to the coast, it seemed as though the entire town was entwined and bursting with the blossoming trees. The first time my interest was sparked by these beautiful creations was in The Last Samuri, where the Samuri leader akins a perfect cherry blossom to a rare gift. Now seeing it with my own eyes, I must agree. It is quite amazing how lush and full these trees can become in full bloom, then put a couple of thousand of them in one city, and WOW! Being both nature lovers, our favorite spot was our first stop, the park. I had not given Korean nature much of a chance, my first love being the Rookies, but now having walked through a bit of it (especially during the blossoming) I must reconsider. That mingled with the overpowering presence and feelings for the one I was with, made it a truly awe inspiring adventure. One that made my metaphorical mind start to work in overdrive (yes I know it is sometimes a little over the top and cheesy, but hey that's me), drawing me into what a truly correlating experience I was having. Just one more anecdote God had put in nature to reveal to us how life is, can be, and should be if we but care to notice. And what did I notice...
Here sitting under the canopy of yet another one of God's magnificent small wonders, a robust blossoming of pink and white cherry blossoms, and watching God's magnificent gift to me, a gorgeous woman I get to call my "wife" capturing these marvelous wonders; I cannot help being swept away in a flood of emotions and visions that brought this day and this relationship together as one. Considering all that we had been through our first year together as husband and wife, an entirely new merged entity from day one, imagining this is how God called Cherry trees to be. Then of the cycle these newly merged trees would go through each year, and the cycle of years we are now starting. How, just as our wedding day in the bright sun I think we first bloomed showing off God's beauty and artistry within the human relational realm, these cherry blossoms were exhuberantly bestowing on the world a glimpse of God's original, perfect creation. Just as the wedding day itself had to end (time being dynamic and not static), so to would the blooms fall sending the beauty of the trees back within itself, resting, and readying itself for the upcoming year of life. Then my thoughts reached out to what such a tree might endure and experience over the next year; the storms that would bend and beat it, the wind that would make it dance, the rain that would nourish and sustain it, the droughts that would test its roots, the animals and other friends it would shelter, the sunrises and sunsets in would enjoy, and all other manner of every day pleasantries and hardships it would encounter. Is this not what we would live in our first year; battles and struggles, peace and enjoyment, nourishment, dry times that shook our foundations, helping others together, waking and sleeping side by side, and all that comes with two lives joined as one? Finally, as the sun sneaked through the millions of tiny blossoms, it awakened me to perceive what I was experiencing this day, one year later...that is the re-blooming, even more breathtaking than the one before, of a triumphing relationship. A relationship that is making it through, struggling on, and when the day and bloom passes ready to take on the coming year with a resolve and will as strong as nature itself. A nature echoing its Creator, who's hand is always guiding, tending, and pruning. A will and resolve with the Creator as its source, its foundation, who's loving care will have it's creation emerge ever stronger and ever more beautiful. ...and of course all this noticed in the smallest breath of time. Perhaps giving me a glimpse of what the eternal is like; these tiny slices of time in reality that seem infinite when experiencing and living them. Oh well, a thought for later I guess.
As for the rest of the trip I will let the pictures do more of the talking. But to sum up, we then traveled to some downtown spots which were all within walking distance of each other. One was a river-walk...no, stream-walk.... style street completely lined for a couple of miles on each side with overhanging cherry blossom trees. The only drawback was the amount of people, it really has gotten very popular; and of course it being an Asian culture, everyone was taking pictures as well. Making things a little difficult, and eventually being the cause of our rapid exhaustion and early return to Changwon. However, before we left we did get to the festival center, where it seemed they were going to have a concert or show of some sort later that evening. All around were vendors selling various what-nots, an ample supply of seafood eateries being it was a coastal town (we quickly slid past these as anyone who knows Jashley might guess), but in the end found our Turkish friends who sell Arabic style kabobs (which we both enjoy!). Somewhat nourished, extremely visually satisfied, we headed back to the hotel to see what our little town had to offer for a romantic dinner.
This, of course, is when we found out we were really on the outskirts of town. So we got another taxi and headed to the best western food restaurant they had in town, Bennigans. Contrary to what I know you must be thinking, this really is quite an upscale place in Korea(especially the way they are established in Korea). This taxi drive on the way into town also gave us a good estimation of what the rest of the city was like, and I must say it is the best city I have been to thus far. I think this might be similar to a Dallas/Boulder comparison back home. Changwon seemed much more spread out than other Korean cities (that is not everything stacked on each other), it was nestled near some mountains, and had a vast network of parks and arts facilities. Upon arriving in the downtown area, the style continued with many different aesthetic and artistic additions to bridges and the like, wider sidewalks on the streets with vegetation, and a generally cleaner and newer look and feel to the whole area. Bennigans and the food was no exception, so we reveled the night away in good food, drink, reminiscing on the day and year, and just plain enjoying each others company. So went our week before the anniversary, anniversary celebration...
However, if you would permit me a bit more to write just one last brief chapter to recount our actual anniversary to you. This we got to enjoy on the day before, as the day of our anniversary was a Monday which is quite a long, exhausting day for us. Therefore, we decided to make a night of it on that Sunday, starting off by getting all gussied up in matching outfits (with Jashley showing off an older, stunning dress she wore that was new to me). Next, we went to our favorite little Italian place in Pyeongtaek, Olive and Herb, where we lavished ourselves with all the delectable delicacies that they had to offer. One of which I am going to have to try when we get back to the states, a tenderloin steak with a gorganzola cheese sauce (YUMMMMMMMM!). One of our student's mother manages the restaurant, so we got to say hi to him as well. The rest of the meal consisted of another delightful round of reminiscing over favorite times, lessons learned, memories shared, ect. Then it was back to the apartment for.........presents (haha, gotcha didn't I). I am not sure who knows this, but as one of the things I did for our engagement I made a list of 365 reasons I chose Jashley since the day we met on October 12, 2007; so, Jashley made me a list of 365 things she married me since we were married on April 13, 2008, continuing the story. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed. I in turn wrote her a nice, little something in our journal. We then watched our wedding ceremony together (thanks Daniel) and proceeded to read our vows to each other afterward. Sidenote: this has an astonishingly powerful way of arousing those feelings first felt that exciting day of the wedding once again, that I highly recommend it to others, and will continue to do for all following anniversaries. In closing this magnanimous, lengthy, tale we would like to thank all those who have helped make this year and this marriage so successful and enjoyable. Especially to all those who have seen, heard of, and helped us through all those trying times. May God grant us many more years together, with you all, representing all that is good from Him to all those around us...
3/15/09 The Day...that I had anticipated and trained long, tedious hours for...it was here. This was the day that I had prayed for, dreamed about, and desired to come to fruition. I was excited to run this race because I felt like God had given me the ability to run a marathon, and I wanted to glorify Him through it. In addition, I wanted to run this race for those people in this world for whatever reason are not able to run a marathon. It was GO time!
Grant and I woke up at 5:00 am to make sure we would be at the marathon site on time. We walked outside to a chilly, windy morning of 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The frigid wind coldly chaffed our faces as we found a taxi and drove to Gyeongbok Palace. We arrived and were swallowed by the huge crowd of over 30,000 supporters, runners, and race coordinators/volunteers. Race advocates stated that there were around 25,000 runners running this year. This race attracts a lot more Korean men than women. For every one woman there were four men. This race is considered an international race but there were very few foreigners.
We quickly tried to figure out what in the world we were supposed to do. We found the baggage claim and dropped off my sweats. I DID NOT want to take them off. It was so cold! Good thing I was wearing tights and my pink fleece from the Boatwrights! Grant and I took some quick shots in front of all of the historical sites around us. Next was finding out where/when I was to start. By observation we figured out that there were 5 heats in the race and me, being a first time marathoner, was in the last heat. Each heat was about 5-10 minutes apart. I was in heat E. Grant and I parted ways and he gave me a good luck kiss and told me where to look for him during the race! My anxiety and excitement began to grow as I was disconnected from all forms of English speaking communication. Then, I found a sweet Canadian girl, who had already run this marathon twice, and a nice Turkish fellow. They alleviated a lot of my fears through their encouraging and reassuring words of things I already knew.
My heart began to race with exhilaration as the first few heats were off! I began to thank God for giving me the ability, the blessing and the experience of running of a marathon. Soon, our heat was at the starting line, I was near the middle of the large heat of E. And in an instant, without realizing when they said go since the announcer was speaking in Korean, we were off!
The cold air started to feel soothing as my body warmed as I began to take faster strides. The sun gleamed down through the tall, large, and overbearing business buildings. My breathing and strides became one in their unity, and my body began to feel of the pattern of my running pace. I was feeling incredible! I paced myself as I had been told over and over again not to start the race out to fast. I ran my first mile in 7 minutes and 30 seconds which was a typical first mile for me during training. I started to run each consecutive mile after that between 7:30-8:30. I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I was passing people right and left trying not to get stuck behind people. About mile 4, I got to see my sweetie. He took some really good pictures with our new camera. I was really excited to see a friendly face that I knew. I quickly took off my pink fleece which was a mistake later on during the run because I was starting to get extremely warm. At this point, I was up there with the D heat.
I continued to run my pace and felt the warm sun tickle my arms and back. I got trapped a few times behind very slow runners, but then I found a really good forerunner who paved the way and helped me keep a good pace. I followed the Korean runner through the crowd and soon I had two or three other Korean runners following me. I eased into my pace and listened to the music that was dancing through my ears. As I rounded mile 10, the roar of the Korean drummers sent my heart and body into overdrive. After looking for Grant, I finally saw him, but, he did not see me so I stopped and yelled his name. He nodded at me and took some pictures. I was hoping to get to talk to him, but he was a decent distance away, so I began on my way. At this point, I was up there with heat B and C, and I was still feeling amazing. Grant saw this and decided not to meet me at mile 14 because of the fast pace I was keeping.
I started to get really hungry about mile 13 and kept looking for a refreshment station with food. As I started searching, I found a Korean husband and wife who were generously handing out what looked like juice. I was hungry and didn't care what they gave me as long as it would help sustain my blood sugar levels. I chugged the juice down and soon realized that it was not juice but ginseng. It revved my body up enough to keep me going. At mile 14, a Korean man anxiously and abruptly came up to me and asked me several times in a very, broken English accent: "Did you run into a tree, did you hurt your arm?" He pointed to my right arm and continued to ask me this three or four times. I kept trying to reassure him no my arm is fine, "I'm okay." He finally gave up, and I kept running not thinking about what he said because I had previously had a small bruise on my right arm. I was relieved to find that at mile 14.5, they had a refreshment station with choco pie(a yummy Korean Little Debbish chocolate cake) and bananas. A yummy mix! I stopped for a restroom break at a gas station up the road a little bit from the refreshment station. I went and glanced in the mirror and saw a shocking sight. I had blood all over the back of my right shoulder. I was curious to see where this blood was coming from so I looked under my arm and saw a bloody, two inch abrasion that had been caused by my MP3 holder on my arm. I wiped off the blood with water and toilet paper and went on my merry way. I soon began to feel the sting of the abrasion, so I showed one of the medics my arm. and they gave me some petroleum jelly which helped stop the bleeding and sting.
I was still feeling well overall except for a very annoying pain I felt in my right groin and knee. I kept pushing through the pain trying not to think about it(because the week before the marathon, my right groin had been a little tight). However, around or between miles 15 and 16 the pain in my groin and knee began to intensify, and I began to grit my teeth and could no longer ignore the pain. The pain level had started out at 5 and was now an 8.5! My groin muscle finally had enough and tore. Also, my knee began to swell internally and fill up with an immense amount of fluid to the point that I could barely bend my knee. Which as you runners out there know, it is very hard to run if you can't bend your knee. I felt as if my leg was being split in half and there was no relief in sight. I couldn't stop and ask for somebody to massage my groin. What was I going to do, ask one of the Korean volunteers/medics to put icy/hot on my groin? No, if I had pointed to my groin they probably would have thought that I needed to use the restroom.
It was thoroughly frustrating not being able to tell anybody what was going on with my leg. Each step I took I felt the muscle pulling even more. I was beginning to feel as if my leg was no longer attached to my hip, however, that thought did not last long because of the sharp, excruciating pain that surged through my leg that reminded me of my injury.
I began to question why I was running this race. Feelings of defeat tried to crawl into my thoughts. I began to get mad and wondered why God would allow me to get injured. I had trained so hard, I had stretched well, I had iced the heck out of my knees, groin, and shins, I had given this race up to Him, I had eaten very healthy, and done everything possible and plausible to prepare my body and mind for this great event. Why was this happening now? I'm young and athletic, why me? God began to quietly whisper to me that He was in control, and that I was not. Of course me being me, I continued to ask why? I felt as if God was telling me that all the lessons I teach you and the growth I want to see is NOT about your comfort. Darn! I wish it was sometimes! My race just goes to show you that no matter how well you train or work for something, you don't get to decide how it turns out, He does. Just like how we can't be good enough or do enough good things to get into heaven, but unlike the injury I endured during my marathon, we have a choice to choose Him, and He accepts us just as we are. Broken, bloody, weary, sweaty, injured...just as we are. However, my choice during this race came with finishing the race. My aching leg told me to quit and to give up and try again next year. I could have quit at mile 16 and not many people would have faulted me for doing so. There were ambulances patroling the whole race passing me left and right. I could have taken the easy way out of my predicament. Nonetheless, my mind and heart and body would not let me quit. This was my time to let God shine through my pain. This was it, do it or die...
Through many painful strides, stretching, a little bit of walking, and an awkward running stance, I finally made it to the Olympic stadium without the help of the rapturous 20 MPH headwind that hit me around mile 19. Through tears of relief and severe pain, I hobbled to see the Olympic rings that valiantly aligned the stadium. As I ran through the Olympic Stadium, I felt a burst of renewed vigor and strength and quickened my pace as I passed several people before the finish line.
I finished, not with the time I wanted...but with a new since of how God always has a plan even if it is hard to see the why in the plan. "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps" Proverbs 16:9.
I have been nominated for the Honest Scrapper blogger award by my dear and wonderful friend: Abby. It took me awhile to pen all of my scattered thoughts, but here is the fruition of much thought. The goal of this blog is to tell you: "10 honest things about me that you possibly do not know."I hopelessly tried to think of some things that not everybody knows about me...It was a fun but long process. I am a very wordy writer, bear with me...
1. I have always been fearful of leaving people out or of losing friends. I know these two things are not the same thing but I thought they should both be stated together. I don’t know what it is about leaving people out, but I can’t stand it. I kick myself every time it happens and could have been avoided. I even feel awkward about telling people activities I’ve done with other people, even if I was invited and it would have been inappropriate for me to invite them. Maybe it’s because I was brought up in a very large family, and it was easy to get left out of certain activities. At any party or social function I go to, I can’t stand watching the wallflower sit by themselves in the corner, I have to go over there and talk to them and at least try to get them involved. I try my best to not leave out friends in certain situations. I’m afraid of losing friends because for one: My friends mean the world to me and, secondly: I can’t bare the thought of emotionally letting go of someone who I care so deeply for, that’s why death is hard for me to deal with; thirdly: I have this weird sense of abandonment. I’ve had this fear ever since I was a child. I guess it’s more a fear of being alone…probably because you can’t really ever be alone while being raised with two sisters and four brothers.2. I have always over-committed myself to too many activities. In high school, I played 5 different sports including: volleyball, basketball, swimming and diving, cross-country, and track and field. I was part of the National Honors Society, Secretary of S.A.D.D, a member of Key Club, a heavily enthused and involved artist, a straight A student, a mentor/leader in J.H.(Junior High) Impact, went on mission trips, and competed in writing, art, and math competitions. In college, I took being over-committed to a new, steadfast level. I played college volleyball, coached club volleyball, was the Treasurer of Student Government, volunteered for the Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity, was the Secretary of the Student Education Association, was the only student on the academic committee at DBU, was a Freshman Welcome Leader(SWAT), an officer in Alpha Sigma Omega, was a part of the honor’s society: Alpha Chi, was a Community Assistant(RA), a YoungLife leader, was a part of the International Student Ministry… I could keep going, yet I still had a good social life. I wish I hadn’t stretched myself so thin, but I met so many amazing people through it and established unforgettable memories! This is me in college, in an airport, during a mission trip. 3. I hate it when people want to talk ONLY about themselves ALL the time, I mean EVERY time you talk to them. I’m not talking about something that occurs occasionally, but constantly. They have no interest in what you have to say or what is going on in your life. They just HAVE to air their own opinions no matter what and sometimes even when you weren’t even talking to them. A true friendship goes both ways and is not one sided. I’ve had to pray for patience with this in the workplace.4. I’m STILL a cookie or sweet monster… ever since I was a very small child, I would quietly creep into the kitchen to steal cookies or fudge my mom had just made. I became very talented at hiding cookies and filching sweets! It was almost a game for me! Even now, I sneak into the kitchen stealthily, now, to take cookies out of the cabinet so that Grant doesn’t see me. However, I can’t tell you how many times he has caught me red handed or with chocolate on my face! I love me some chocolate chip cookies or really anything sweet!5. I’ve always wanted to do something amazing in the athletic world, hence why I played college sports and played as many sports as possible in high school. When I was 9 years old, I religiously watched women’s gymnastics in vain hopes of becoming a gymnastics star. I was a fanatical gymnast and was deeply committed to long hours of competitive gymnastics until I wanted to live a “normal” life and stopped gymnastics altogether. I then delved into other sports. While in high school, I dreamed of competing in a decathlon: which included my track and field strengths: high jump, hurdles, long jump… I was even recruited to compete on the college level in decathlons but decided to do volleyball instead. I also dreamed of becoming a competitive pole-vaulter. In high school, pole-vaulting for girls had just become a real event for girls and I quickly became an avid pole-vaulter. I foolishly once dreamed of becoming a professional boxer, considering the fact that I always enjoyed fist fighting with my brothers and my now husband. This is a picture of my favorite female athlete: Babe Didrickson Zaharias. She was amazing and inspirational! 6. I don’t like the fact that people who are considered beautiful get preferential treatment compared to those people who appear to the world as dismantled and hideous and get treated as less of people. I think some of the most gorgeous people in this world are people who have no worldly beauty or are mentally handicapped. I have seen the most gorgeous people in the world competing in the Special Olympics. The beauty of this world is only temporary and does not last. I have even felt uncomfortable when that kind of preferential treatment has been given to me and my friends. I don’t think it’s fair or right. Just because somebody is pretty on the external doesn’t mean that they are beautiful on the inside, which is what truly matters more!7. I don’t have comebacks… or at least any good ones! When Grant and I play fight, my best comeback is “Be Quiet” or “Shut-up!” That’s all I’ve got! It’s pretty ridiculous! It was the same when I was growing up, I could never really put somebody down verbally, so I guess I used my fists instead!8. This one is quite silly, I’m pre-warning you! As I grew up, I always hated my curves. I grew fast. I was lanky in junior high but somehow had womanly, child-bearing hips. I hated it because I could never get rid of them, even if I wanted to! And I couldn’t find clothes that fit well because while the rest of my body was very thin, I had very curvy hips. Nothing fit quite right! I’m starting to finally grow into them and see them as beautiful! 9. I have an extremely wild imagination… almost as good as Peter Pan! I imagine things, still that most adults have a hard time seeing. Which is probably why I love teaching kindergarten and “Finding Neverland” is one of my all-time favorite movies! Kindergartener’s imaginations are still fresh, innocent, and kicking! I hope I don’t ever lose that. Even though it is really easy to lose your child-like imagination in a world full of negativity, deadlines, and harsh realities. 10. I’ve never been considered “normal” and have never been able to just fit in one group which is probably why my friends are very diverse and come from a strange variety of different backgrounds. In college, I hung out with the jocks, the goodie-two shoes, the popular crowd, and the artsy crowd. I have always felt that besides my family and some close friends that I have been and am usually misunderstood. Many people in my life have called me “weird” but I like to take that as a compliment and consider myself unique.I now nominate Jillian and Alicia to do this honest blog!