Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father's Day for the Pastor-Dads

 When I was little, he'd whisper it in my ear each night before I went to sleep:

"Of all the girls in all of the world, if I had to choose just one to be my daughter...
I'd choose you." 
    Every night.

    Over the years, our bedtimes have drastically swapped. I've had to stay up writing last-minute Sociology papers and Composition essays hours after he's gone to sleep. I have a little sister now, so the words have had to morph:

    "If I had to choose one girl to be my firstborn daughter..."

   Now, his whispers are more like the farewell at the end of a phone call, or the text right before an exam.

   I'd choose you— 

  Even if you bomb this next test. Even if the nursing schools don't want you. When you feel lost and alone...

  I would choose you.

    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

  This is how I see my Dad:

   He's one of the best read-aloud-storytellers of all times. He makes the best fried eggs. He's tackled countless marathons since his first in 2006, and he officially earned the title of "Ironman" last September after swimming 2.4 miles, biking 116, and running 26.2.

   He's persevered through studying and earning extra degrees. He watches my mysteries with me. He has read Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace. He has such depth of wisdom, and somehow he still puts up with me playing Taylor Swift for him on roadtrips. He diligently pours his hard work into every task that he faces, and leads with bold courage.
   I love him, and I trust him.

   He's my Dad.

•    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

   I've been thinking lately about how many "middle-man" questions pastor's kids are asked...

"What does your Dad think about _________?" "Hey, what is the schedule for that new missions program your Dad mentioned gonna look like?" "Hey, tell your Dad that I'm not going to be able to make tomorrow's meeting, will you? I forgot that the kids have a dentist appointment..."

   Nope, I didn't make any of those up. I've heard them all. And more.

   Don't get me wrong, Kids probably know the answers. They wear the hats right alongside their dads; they organize their offices every now and then, they've answered the church phone at least once, they've folded bulletins by hand. More likely than not, they know what's going on.

   Sometimes, though, Kids really wish that people would let them see their dads as...their dads.

   Because, truth be told, we see our dads as teachers and leaders, our go-to advisors for the overwhelmingly hard situations in life. That being said, we don't necessarily consider them to be our "pastors." That concept seems strange... and we have a hard time wrapping our brains around it.

   When we think of the pastor's role for our dads, we think of the job itself and the toll that it takes on them. We know how it drains them: physically, spiritually, and mentally. For us, all of the "experiential knowledge" adds up to hearts full of worry.

  So when you're talking to your pastor's son or daughter, remember who they are: they're somebody's child. They experience the same pride, love, and occasional embarrassment for their dads that any other child would.

  When you're talking to your pastor, remember every now and then, too, that he's a dad. He coaches sports and cuts the grass and loves spontaneous ice cream trips just as much as any other.

  Remember that Pastor-Dads are just as deserving of Father's Day celebrations as they are of Pastor Appreciation Month.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Currently {May, 2016}

   Whew, y'all. April was a killer of a month. 

   I tend to get overwhelmed with school around the third to last week, and this semester was no exception. I can make it to Thursday. *inhale, exhale, repeat* 

   The wait for any word from nursing school was absolutely nerve-wracking...a crazy trust exercise, if you will. Due to a large influx of students at my school, the acceptance rate became even more competitive, making the chances of getting in even more slim than before...

  But the Lord granted favor and gave a beautiful gift in the form of an acceptance email on Friday, April 29th. I am out-of-my-mind-excited to announce that I'll be starting Nursing School this fall! 


   My friend and I kicked off April with a concert here in town. We had so much fun! 

   I wrapped up my last bit of tutoring last week. It's been a great semester, but I'm extremely glad to be finished.

   At the end of May, I'll be reporting to Winshape Camps in Rome, Georgia. I'll be working with 1st-3rd grade girls all summer, and I am so excited about it! 

   I've been stockpiling a sort of "library" to take for the girls that will be staying in my cabin (naturally). Any and all book suggestions are welcome! 

   This month, I tried a new granola recipe, and it was a huge hit! It tasted amazing, if I do say so myself. My yarn creations have been nonexistent in this busy school season, but I've had my eye on this dreamy pattern for a while. The chances of me actually making it in between the end of school and the beginning of camp are slim-to-none, but....someday

   I'm halfway through this right now—it has been such a thought-provoking read. This ripped me up (despite the fact that I knew what I was getting myself into, haha!). My "to-read" stack has grown monstrously tall over the semester...

  In the few weeks I have left without school or camp, I'm searching for an effective way to recharge my batteries. Any suggestions? What do your summer plans look like?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Thank You.

Thank-yous seem much easier than goodbyes. 

Thank you for loving all of us, even though Dad was your favorite (he secretly loved you for that).

Thank you for always knowing when we were sick—for staying extra close when we needed you.

Thank you for loving reading time as much as I did. I used to yell, "READING TIME," and you'd drop everything to race me to the brown chair in the living room. We read so. many. Nancy Drew books.

Thank you for making Graddy smile.

Thank you for making the removal of groceries from their Walmart bags feel like Christmas.

Thank you for wearing tutus and tiaras when I needed to play dressups. You were a trooper.

Thank you for being brave when men broke into our home and tossed your trembling little frame in the closet a couple of years ago. I thought we had lost you for sure.

Thank you for making the phrase, "What is it?" the best game of all time.

Thank you for keeping us humble with your ever-so-regal sassiness.

Thank you for hiding under my bed when you saw the dog shampoo on the kitchen counter. Pre-bath time hide-and-seek was ever the adventure with you.

Thank you for your frisky happy-dance. You made everything—from gorgeous weather to average bathroom trips—joyous.

Thank you for clicking timidly through the kitchen and down the hallway. Your fear of slick linoleum and wood floors always made us giggle.

For five years, you know, it was just you and me.

Thanks for tolerating the tiny humans that came bursting into our quiet, clean home. Thank you for letting them love you in their own ways.

Thank you for being my best friend when I was all alone. Thank you for listening every time I poured my little-kid-heart out to you. You were the best companion I could have ever asked for.

Thank you for fifteen years.

I miss you already.

Goodbye, my sweet girl.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Survivalist's Guide to A&P I

   I saw it on her face, and I heard it in her voice. It was my first week tutoring A&P I, and this student was sitting across from me with panic sketched across every inch of her. She, like you, probably, had heard the horror stories of Anatomy and Physiology... and she was scared out of her mind. "What do I do?" she asked. 

   Since then, I've had a lot of students that come for tutoring and simply ask, "What do we do?"

   There's a desire to approach this thing and conquer it. Maybe you have it, too. 

   Here are the things I've learned as both a student and a tutor of Anatomy and Physiology I:

1. Register For This Class With the Right Mindset.

   Know What To Expect: Assuming that you're taking a combo of Anatomy and Physiology, this course will be memorization-heavy: you'll be learning bones, muscles, organs, tissue types, etc. Having a general knowledge of "where everything is and how it all works" will prepare you for A&P II, which will be more conceptual.  
   I've seen way too many students sign up for A&P I thinking that they'll just "test it out," 'cause they can retake it later, right?

  *cue all the warning lights and blaring sirens*

   Classes cost money, and your time is precious. You know where you're going and you know how to put in the hard work to get this done. Don't just breeze your way through thinking that you can re-take. Be all-in right now, and knock this class out. I know you can do it.

2. Go Into Class Knowing the Learning Method that Works Best for You.

    Whether you're a visual, hands-on, or an auditory learner, it's best to know before you enter your first lecture. Your professor has a boatload of material to cover, and will hit the ground running. Be prepared.

  •  If you're a visual learner, take great notes: doodle and write things that will jog your memory later. Detailed flashcards are an awesome idea, too. 
  • If you're auditory, ask your professors for permission to record their lectures. Make sure and set up a time to meet with your classmates to study and talk through the material. Hearing other people discuss the study material will help tremendously
  • If you're a hands-on learner, consider re-writing your notes after class and making flashcards to help you study. Draw out the blood vessels. Write out the muscle names. Doodle the different tissue types. You get the idea. 

    I'm a weird conglomeration of all three learning styles (ha), so I record my lectures, take thorough notes, and holy-cow I make a ton of flashcards. You honestly can't do too much to prepare well for your exams. You just can't.

3. Don't Be a Lone Wolf. Study Groups are LIFE.  

   You prefer to study alone? I understand. I'm not a fan of group projects, because I honestly would rather do the extra work on my own to make sure that the results are *just so.* Anatomy and Physiology is different, though. It made me realize that "lone wolfing it" just wasn't going to be enough. I needed a sounding board for what I'd studied, and I found that it helped me to hear from my fellow classmates. Sometimes I noticed that I had missed some major things. Sometimes, if our entire study group was stumped by a concept, we all realized that it was time to take our questions to our professor. (Professors are usually much more receptive to your questions if they know that you've put effort into the problem.)

   When you're choosing classmates to study with, steer away from the students whose struggles are the same as yours. I desperately hope that this makes sense. I simply found that it helped to have at least one student in my study group that was infinitely smarter than I was. Don't be exclusive and ugly... Just be smart.

   Take the initiative to ask classmates if they'd like to get together to study. Sometimes all it takes to build a stellar study group is for you to reach beyond your comfort zone. I promise you won't regret this.

4. Tutors Are Not Just For Students Who "Don't Get It." Go To Them For Help!  

   Some of my favorite students to tutor study all weekend, complete all of their assignments, and write down their top three questions to ask me on Mondays. They understand the concepts as a whole. They're great students. They simply want to make sure they're prepared by getting answers for their simple questions. They come in regularly, so I know them by name for the times when they come in completely lost and frustrated.

   Make use of the tutors available to you—they'll be one of the greatest resources you'll have.

5. Use Additional Tools.

Think study groups, tutors, Youtube videos, coloring books, and flashcards for this one. You will absolutely need your textbook and lab book, but these "extras" will help you by leaps and bounds. I've collected some of my very favorites for you below! ::

Crash Course Videos

  Raise your hands in the air and praise the Lord right now for the Green brothers. These videos are excellent supplements for your A&P lectures and assignments, truly. [I'd highly recommend these videos for when you hit tissues.]

• Kapit and Elson's The Anatomy Coloring Book

   This one's great for the visual learners trying to tackle A&P. It's only $14 on Amazon, and I'd totally recommend getting it and a pack of colored pencils. [You'll definitely want this or something similar for when you get to muscles and bones.]

susannaheinze Videos

 These videos got me through A&P. This teacher speaks slowly (a plus if the Crash Course videos are a bit too fast for you) and she draws as she talks. Amen and hallelujah. [I loved this video and its counterparts when I got to the Nervous System.]

• Open Labs

   Chances are, your college will host a weekly "open lab," where a tutor or professor will be available to answer your questions, and the models will be on display. I lived in these open labs with my study group as we tackled A&P I...they were straight up gold. 

6. Do. Not. Cram. 

   I'm ok with cramming when it's the night before a Sociology exam. I'm ok with cramming to prepare for a one question quiz in Psychology. A&P is a different matter entirely. You will not survive Anatomy and Physiology by cramming. You're truly going to have to work at it a little bit every day.

   Also. Don't try to do all of your assignments and studying in a three-hour block of time. For your sanity, work thirty minutes and then walk away. Come back and work thirty minutes and then walk away again. Do some laundry. Wash some dishes. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you later.

7. Prepare Well For Your Exams.

   I'll avoid the broken record route by not telling you to study hard. You know that by now, right? I will say, though, that it's essential for you to sleep well the night before an exam. An all-nighter before your test will render you useless. Rest up. Eat a good breakfast. Silence your phone. Breathe deeply. All that good stuff.

   Be sure that you have a pencil for your exam. Most tests will have at least some Scantron questions on it, and you cannot use a pen for these! I would even suggest bringing a highlighter if you think you'll need it and your professor will let you. Some of the wording will be intentionally confusing, and that added visual can be helpful.

8. Taking A&P Online? Prepare to Work Hard.

  Taking A&P online is not impossible, but it will require more effort from you, the student. You won't necessarily have quizzes and assignments each week to keep you on track. You've got more responsibility on you because you won't have a professor or lab instructor "on you" each class period.

   Get to know your professors super, super well. Email them with your questions. Stop by their office when you are on campus. Do whatever you need to establish a good relationship so that they are familiar enough with you to help you when you're struggling.
   Take advantage of every single Open Lab that's available. I mean it. You're going to want to put your eyeballs on the models you don't have in your home, and the tutors/staff that run these are super helpful. Budget that time and commit to going each time that lab is open.

   Remember to do a little bit of work and studying every day. Turn in your assignments on time. You've got this.

9. Be Respectful of Your Professors—You're Going to Need Them. 

   Anatomy & Physiology (I and II) is a pre-cursor class. Chances are, you're taking it before walking into a program. Often times, you'll need letters of recommendation after you've taken A&P, whether for your program, internships, jobs, etc.

   You want your professor to be able to write the shiniest letter of recommendation for you that they possibly can, so make sure that your work, behavior, and attitude represent you well. 

   Do not audibly complain about the workload. This is a tough class, and everyone knows it. Do not trash talk your professor in the halls. They will hear about it. Do not text during class. It's not respectful. Do not ask your professor if they want to go out for drinks. (Whatintheworld, you know better—act like it!)

   Write professional, respectful emails when you have questions. Ask for permission before you record lectures. Smile when you pass them in the hallways. Be genuine. Work diligently. 

10. Don't Pass On the Horror Stories.

   If they have any shred of decency and kindness within them, experienced mothers know not to pass on those gosh-awful stories of labor to young women that are pregnant for the first time. Regardless of what those veteran mamas have suffered, they only offer the encouraging tips and hints for the rookies.

   The same idea applies to you, the veteran student, after you've conquered this class. Don't trash talk the course after you've survived it. Speak life, and encourage those coming up behind you.


Lois Lowry wrote that "fear dims when you learn things," and I couldn't agree more. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message if you have any questions, or advice that you'd like to add! 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

5 Things To Say When Someone Asks You, "How's School?"

   You're tired. You've got an assignment due at midnight that you haven't even begun. The last two meals you've eaten may or may not have come from a vending machine. You're stressed. Craziness is going down.

   So when someone asks you that question, the one about school? You have a split second to analyze. Is it worth it, to spill your guts and be straight-up honest? Or would it just be easier to drop your usual, "It's fine," and move on?

   Yes. It would be easier....but it's not always best.

   I've struggled with this a lot the past couple of semesters, but here are some things I've come up with, to consider before answering:

•They understand. 

   Hear me out. The people asking you about school may not be memorizing all of the bones in the human body this week. They may not be doing research projects on fumes of exhaustion. They are, however, balancing stress in other ways. They've got work, they've got children, they've got bills, they've got issues. Exhaustion, emptiness, confusion, and frustration translate to every age group. Regardless of the variety in which they're fleshed out from person to person, these struggles are universal. Don't shut down when you have a living, breathing, empathy-packed individual asking you about your life.

•You're not the first to experience college. 

   It's true. Many have gone before you and spent sleepless nights on research projects and spent days memorizing all of those bones. You're not in ground-breaking territory, and, truly...there are many students out there that are struggling to balance so much more than you are at this very moment. Be honest, but don't play the martyr.

•Your conversation should not sound like a Facebook rant or a Ratemyprofessor entry. 

   You don't appreciate those rants online, so don't start one out loud. There are designated, acceptable times for giving calm, patient feedback on your professors—those times are not now.
   Don't trash your classmates. Be respectful of your professors. *drops mic*

   Once I have these things in mind, it's easier for me to be creative and purposeful with my answers. Here are five basic responses that I've found work infinitely better than the "easy answer":

1. I'm really enjoying _____. 

   Just like when you're asking your friend how school is going, try your hardest to keep your words positive. Talk about your favorite class, the major things you've been learning, or the aspects of school you're just plum enjoying right now. (Don't have a favorite class? Geez. Pick the one you hate the least.)

2. I've really been struggling with _____.

   Use this time to exploit what's been difficult for you this semester, and why. Do you struggle with focusing in longer lectures? Are literature-based essays a challenge for you? Talking these things through can often get you some great advice from others that've been in your shoes and found solutions. Who knows? You may have a breakthrough while talking about school with your friend or next-door-neighbor.

3. I've got 3 exams, 4 quizzes, and an essay due this week. I could use a whole bunch of prayer.

   This needs very little explanation. You've got bagoodles of assignments flying left and right, and there's never a time that you won't need prayer for them. Plus, this gives your friend a greater connection with you as your week goes on. They know how to be specifically praying for you, and this will help you both maintain intentional follow-up conversations

4. I actually learned about _______ today. 

   Maybe you just learned the difference between diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Maybe you just learned how to say, "How's school?" in Spanish. Maybe you now know how to write the world's best Sociological Imagination paper. Share your learning experience. Not only will your friend be able to benefit from learning something new, your mind will be sneakily using your explanation to prepare for an upcoming paper, assignment, or exam! 

5. School's going well. I was actually able to take a break and ____ last week. 

   Ha. Seem like a fantastical scenario? Bear with me. 
   If you're anything like me during the semester, you often lose yourself in deadlines, assignments, and exams. There seem to be very few spare moments, and you feel like pleasurable breaks are a luxury you can't afford to take. That's a whole other topic for another day, but when you do take those once-in-a-blue-moon breaks, tell your friend about it. What makes you happy in your free time? What revives your spirit? This steers the conversation away from the ever-constant school topic, and into what makes you you

What are your go-to responses when someone asks you about school? 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Currently {February, 2016}

   Greetings from the deep, dark hole of college life, everyone. I hope that your Februarys are going well!

   School is going pretty smoothly this semester: I'm taking Nutrition and Lifespan Psychology along with a hand full of other gen eds. My schedule is full, but not nearly as stress-packed as the last. I officially applied to my school's nursing program over Christmas Break...I should be hearing back within the next month!

   {::insert whisper voice:: This has honestly been a bit of a difficult season. *Just waiting* to hear back is tough. I check the countdown on my phone its going to miraculously change multiple times during the course of twenty-four hours. Now you know. Carry on.}

Tutoring and Babysitting

   I've been tutoring Anatomy and Physiology again this semester, and I've truly loved it. Tutoring is a challenge unlike any other, but it has been an awesome experience. 

   I've also had several opportunities to babysit. It's been nice to take breaks from U.S. History and Polysaccharides for baby-holding, Seuss-reading, and chicken-nugget eating! *wink*


   Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Although I haven't just *loved* all of the themes and humor, I've really enjoyed this book as a whole. One of my favorite quotes so far: "Becoming a better writer is going to help you become a better reader, and that is the real payoff." 

Listening To

   Instrumental soundtracks! Wordy music distracts me while I'm studying, so I've created my own personal playlist. It's fairly decent, if I do say so myself.

Watching (Moviewise)

   This, this, and this. Four stars, four stars, and three stars, respectively.

   My "want to see" list is abnormally long right now...there aren't usually that many new releases that I feel like I've just got to see...but I'm interested in this, this, and this. I'd also like to see this, but I'd like to read the book first.

Watching (Showwise)

   The final season of Downton Abbey. *SNIFF* I'll be honest. I've had mixed feelings about this last season. On the one hand, this season has felt a bit rushed, as though there's been a race to grant all the happy endings...

   On the other hand, there's Matthew Goode. It's been nice to have someone dreamy that can put Mary back in her place. Enough said.


   I've gotten back to scribbling again....on napkins, index cards, and scraps of paper, with pencils, pens, highlighters, and crayons. I've got over ten drafts lying in my blog queue right now—they're all just in need of a little polishing before make their debuts. Thanks for *hanging in there* with me as I slowly plod along. 


  These mouth-watering bites of goodness, and chocolate crackle cookies. I've got my eye on this fun recipe, but the next couple of weeks are looking pretty midterm-crazy, so I probably won't be tackling it for a while.


    I've been trying to spend a few minutes of each day doing something non-screen-related that brings me joy. As silly as it sounds, I found last semester that I allowed myself to only focus on work and to-dos. I let myself forget how to make, scribble, and play. So somedays I lose myself in the thirteenth chapter of A Tale of Two Cities. Somedays I fill out a page of the Steal Journal. Yesterday I played dodgeball in between U.S. History and Nutrition. It's just about time to bring back my piano music, I think....It's been a while.

What all have you been up to this February?