Family Ties

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So the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile is coming to campus on Saturday.

DUDE.

That thing is my dream car.

Well, not really, but it’s pretty dad gum awesome.

Sadly, I won’t be here.

Instead, I’m going to my family’s reunion thing, for lack of a better way to describe it, it’s the Turkey Egg Hunt.

For real.

We have always had an Easter Egg Hunt, since way way before I was born, and now we have one in the fall too, because we can’t stand being away from each other for a whole year. 😉

And let me tell you, this year more than any other, I need to see my peeps.

And I need to eat some of cousin Sally’s lavender-lemon cookies.

Y’all, my family is chock-full of brilliant cooks and bakers.

As I sit here with my TV on FoodNetwork, I’m getting more excited.

See, in my family, food is the love language.

My MaeMae would feed you until you swore you were never going to eat again.

She instilled a love of food in me.

I mean, it takes a special person to get a 5 year old to eat spinach quiche!

(FYI-it was, and still is, referred to as green pizza)

I loved taking boring ingredients and turning them into something yummy.

That’s one of the biggest things I miss about her.

It sounds extremely trivial, but we bonded over food.

I still remember when she let me bread the chicken to fry and told me not to tell Mama I had touched raw chicken or she’d freak out.

And so I told her!

After Cap passed, she was often too tired to cook up a heap of fried okra like she used to, but she had a way of making Stouffer’s Mac’n’Cheese and green beans feel like a feast.

I will never forget last Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving of 2011 was exactly a week after Cap died, so we didn’t want her to wear herself out cooking, but she insisted on doing something so I spent the night with her and helped.

Last Thanksgiving though, we were all so happy to be together, like things were finally starting to look up.

She brought over my favorite food in the world-dressing and gravy!

I can taste it.

Something about it being cooked in her house gave it a better taste than anybody else’s I had had that used her recipe.

That house is made for cooking, y’all.

MaeMae and I took the longest to eat, because we had to comment on every part of the meal, and what tastes made it perfect.

It was an awesome day, one I feel like I took for granted.

And living off of dining hall food, I would give the entire world to drive over to her house and eat with her.

They try, but nobody can live up to MaeMae’s fried chicken!

As we approach our first Thanksgiving without her, things are definitely a little weird.

Nothing will ever be the same, but all I can hope to do is enjoy food as much as she did, and one day teach my kids to love food.

So today I’m thankful for old recipes, future Turkey Egg Hunts, and family, because they make insane days worth it.

–aub–

A Double Major in Whaa?

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Today has been a wacky day.

Tomorrow, I meet with my advisor to make sure I’m on track with the classes I’ve picked out for next semester.

Because I had some free time, I picked out all of my classes last weekend.

And then, tonight, talking to my sweet RA, it hit me.

I’m changing one of my majors.

I’ve been struggling with this for a while now.

And though I love doing graphic design, it will just never be more than a hobby for me.

I’m not sure what the Powers that be were thinking, but I realized that every time something really great has happened, it’s been unexpected.

When I decided to leave the world of Aeropostale and drama behind to be homeschooled, it was the day before school started.

I found out I was to graduate early last OCTOBER.

And I found out I was going to be a Mary Knox McNeill scholar in the midst of tidal waves of grief hitting my family.

So yeah, I probably should have seen this coming.

Anyway, this is all to show you that sometimes, your plans change.

So now you are reading the words of a double-major in psychology and religious studies.

Yeah, I’m tired of people using religion to hurt other people, and I intend to change that.

So wish me luck in my advising appointment tomorrow!

–aub–

A Neuroscientist & Breaking Down Walls

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Sunday night, I went to Chapel on campus.

After a day of vision problems and migraines, I hate to admit I wasn’t really looking forward to going, I just wanted a nap.

However, it was one of the best services I’ve been to.

The topic was “Near Death Experiences.”

The sweet girl who led it talked about neuroscientist Eben Alexander, who before being in a coma for a week, never believed in a soul or heaven.

However, in his comatose state, when he was a vegetable with no brain activity, he went there.

He describes his experience by saying that any religious “walls” were gone, because they only serve to separate us on earth.

LOVE IT.

LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Most of you probably know that I’m a little odd in my beliefs.

Believe me, I was trying to fight off the urge to write this post.

I’m a big proponent of coexisting with those that are different from me.

We’re all people and we are all loved by God, Allah, etc.

Alexander says that no matter what name you call her/him, this superior being loves us all.

No one should be punished because they use a different name or a different book.

Some things get lost in translation.

Love each other, y’all, it’s what life is all about.

The next part of Alexander’s story is the nail in the coffin, no pun intended.

It lends validity to his story.

While he was in heaven/paradise, a woman came to him on the wings of a butterfly and showed him around.

He had never seen anyone who looked like her in his time on earth.

He didn’t think too much of it until a couple of months after he awoke.

See, Alexander was adopted.

His biological parents tracked him down because they had just recently lost their daughter.

In the letter, they put a picture of his sister, who he had never met.

He immediately cried.

It was the woman on the butterfly!

Y’all.

That’s pretty freaking awesome.

Having had my own crazy experiences with people who have crossed over, this resonated so much with me.

It also reinforced the fact that my beliefs aren’t crazy, this dude’s been to heaven and knows how it works!

This week, I’ve been missing my grandparents.

It excites me to think they are up there with people of all different earthly religions, hanging out and talking about their lives on earth.

I have a feeling we’re all going to feel really stupid about the lines we drew between each other on earth once we get to the other side.

My goal is to hear other people out.

We can have differing opinions on a subject, as long as it doesn’t interfere with us being nice to each other.

Listen this week.

Don’t be quick to judge because someone is different.

At the most basic level, we’re the same.

–aub–

Soccer Moms & Ex-Boyfriends

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I have reached a point in the semester where all the constant studying I did in the beginning is paying off.

I can breathe!

Right now, all I have left to do this week is take some Spanish quizzes online.

Y’all don’t even know.

Because of my working ahead, I got to have a pretty chill day today.

I went to psychology this morning, and my sweet professor, who is pregnant, felt horrible, and let us out a few minutes early so she could rest.

Madre & the Crays weren’t coming up for shots yet, so I headed to the ‘Bucks to finish work for tomorrow.

PSL, y’all, PSL.

After going to get shots, I went with Mama to Daybreak to watch the kiddos while she led her group–the Sister Circle.

Today, I watched one of the sisters’ daughters, who is about four or five.

She was fascinated by my purse.

Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.

It’s my $12 brand new Vera Bradley from the GW Boutique.

She also almost took my phone with her when she left.

It was an interesting hour-and-a-half for sure.

🙂

Then I came back, went to dinner, and went BACK to Starbucks to study with my favorite couple on campus.

There’s never a dull moment when we are together.

We came back to campus for the soccer game.

This is where the specialness comes in.

The evening started off gorgeously, I mean, look at that sky!

The evening started off gorgeously, I mean, look at that sky!

Tonight the Wesleyan Wolves were facing the Huntingdon Hawks.

Unfortunately, we lost 2-0.

However, my problem isn’t that we lost, it’s that we lost to sore winners.

Technically, Huntingdon scored three times, but one was revoked because they were offsides.

That was the second goal.

After the third, a woman sitting on the Huntingdon side looks at me, the Cat, and Kohl, and yells, “Can’t take that one back, can you?!”

Seriously?

Ain’t NOBODY got time for that.

That’s one thing I can say for our team and fans, we may not always win, but I’ve never heard any outbursts like this from people associated with Wesleyan.

It makes me sad that we can’t all just get along.

I mean, IT’S A SOCCER GAME.

It’s never that serious.

I hate it when we let the smallest, dumbest things get in the way of our relationships with others.

It drives me insane!

I’ve heard to many stories and been way too exposed to people who let their presuppositions affect the way they react to certain events and people.

They don’t realize how much their words can hurt.

Even in something as trivial as a soccer game.

We knew we were losing, we didn’t need her to rub it in.

Wesleyan has high standards for respect in our community, and events like this make me so happy that it does.

So please, y’all (and this is a challenge to myself too) think about how you’re going to make someone feel when you say something.

I have a friend who was broken up with recently because she was getting offended by comments her boyfriend was making and decided to speak her mind.

Having experienced a similar breakup, I was mad for her.

She, also like me, has been hurt by those who are supposed to be her peers, and yet make terrible comments because she believes differently.

What. The. French. Toast?

As she is a junior in high school, she’s getting ready to look at colleges, and I told her mom that if she decided to check out Wesleyan, she’s already got a community of sisters ready to accept her and love her no matter her beliefs.

Because that’s the way it should be.

Love somebody,

–aub–

The Golden Niche

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Yesterday, I was asked by PSJ, my AMAZING-I-owe-her-my-life admissions rep, to be on a panel for Pioneer Day, where prospective students visit campus.

Uhh-yeah!

I have to admit, I was pretty nervous.

I was the only first-year on the panel.

But, it was a lot of fun.

One of the questions that was asked was “Why did you choose Wesleyan and what made you stay?”

I don’t remember my whole answer, but at the end this came to me.

I said,

“Wesleyan changes you for the better.  You can ask anyone in my family or any of my friends and they will tell you I am a completely different person.  I’m so much more confident, and I haven’t felt self-conscious once since I got here.  There is a level of respect at Wesleyan that you don’t find just anywhere.  You grow as a woman.”

When I said my piece about self-consciousness, a mom in the front row leaned over HER mom and gave her daughter *that* look.

Y’know, the one that says “you better listen, this could be good.”

Cue downpour of emotions.

I was shocked that I could say something that could impact people.

I mean, I was in their shoes once, listening to current students talk about why they love it here.

I also wanted to go over, hug her, and tell her if she decided to come her, she’d have a friend.

Sadly, they slipped out before I could walk over.

But, if she does come here, I hope I remember, because I know what it’s like.

The people I met at Scholarship Day, AARDVARK, and Orientation are still my friends, and it’s so cool to have “known” them back then and now.

I know what she’s feeling.

High school can be absolutely cruel.

I had a conversation with Mama this weekend about the Princess, the oldest little in the house.

She’s such a cool, unique person.

But being her big sister, I’m terrified that kids will break her spirit.

She talks all the time about coming to Wesleyan, and honestly, I wish we were back in 1836 when Wesleyan accepted twelve-year-olds.

Because in college, it’s good to have a niche.

Her uniqueness would be celebrated, not cut down.

Yeah, I mean, she needs to learn a little tact, but she’s almost nine! She’s got time.

It makes me crazy when little girls are mean to her, but she is a very good advocate for herself.

(One of her friends once threatened to slap me, and she went all That’s So Raven and started bobbing her head and wiggling her finger at the girl. She’s pretty much the bomb.)

My point in all this is to say, while people reminisce about their childhoods, growing up can be the hardest phase of life ever.

We teach our children that people who are different are weird, and they repeat it to their peers.

I, I’m ashamed to say, have been on both sides of the coin.

It’s hard to be different, but I honestly believe that college is where you can finally be you.

So yeah, I can watch Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and Gossip Girl all in one day if I want.

I wear my Goodwill clothes while I carry my Vera Bradley purse (most likely also from Goodwill).

I’m a nerd and social butterfly all contained in one body.

I used to hate being this way–friends with a whole bunch of different groups, but never belonging to only one.

But here, everyone is in that boat.

We all have different interests and passions that overlap, and it is a beautiful thing.

I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

–aub–

Also, I just have to say, for probably the 100000000th time, that it is pretty amazing to walk the same sidewalks and sit in the same classrooms as Mama and MaeMae, the two strongest women I have ever known.

I hope to be as strong as they are one day.

Love Your Body

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Today ACT, the feminist movement on campus, hosted “Love Your Body Day”

They had a table set up in the dining hall where we could make pins telling the world what we loved about our bodies, whether it be something physical or a function our bodies can do.

My pin, talking about the part of my body that I've always been the most proud of. :)

My pin, talking about the part of my body that I’ve always been the most proud of. 🙂

Once I returned to my room, I realized that I could have written I Love My Curves.

But honestly, it wasn’t until I came to Wesleyan that I embraced my curves.

See, I realized that no matter what size you are, or what color your hair is, we’re all sisters.

Maybe it’s just because there are no guys here, but I really think it’s more than that.

I’ve been so much more confident.

And in the words of my friend for life, Cat, I’ve tried to be my “sexiest self.”

Hehehe. I’m gonna get a call from Mama on that one.

But really, being “sexy” isn’t what she meant.

She meant to own the way I look and to own the pride I have in it.

 Now, it’s not good to think you’re all that and a bag of chips because of the way you look, but it is okay–good even–to feel confident in who you are ad the way you look.

And to beat anybody down who decides to grab your rear end at the Luke Bryan concert–yeah, that happened.

I’ve learned to respect myself, my needs, and my sisters.

Not once have I felt guilty for eating dessert in front of my “skinny” friends.

Who cares?

Typically, I eat pretty healthily, but sometimes they have pumpkin-y desserts in the dining hall and I splurge.

I’m owning it.

So this week, I challenge you to find something about your body that you admire and enjoy.

Your curves, your ability to read, or your crooked feet–anything!

Loving yourself is a step toward loving those around you.

It’s good stuff.

–aub–

 

The Girls of Fall

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Well, fall break has (sadly) come to an end.

It’s been amazing.

Friday, I got to hang with Mama alone for a little while while Major Dad took the Crays to Johnny G’s.

Lemme tell you, hanging out with Mama by ourselves, even if we’re just chilling in the living room with the puppy, is my favorite time ever.

Then, we all headed down to the fair with Gnomee, Leroy, and the Grape.

I happened to run into one of my best friends in the entire world that I hadn’t seen in four years.

She screamed and grabbed ahold of me and we stood in the middle of the walkway crying and hugging for a good five minutes.

No matter the time that passes between when we see each other, we always just seem to pick up where we left off.

We’ve both changed so much, for the better.

We are now confident women who have become our own people.

I love her so much, I cannot even express to you.

In middle school, I went through the cheerleader phase, and pretty much left her in the dirt, but after I came to my senses, we became close again, and obviously, it only made us stronger.

Saturday was a pretty chill day.

We ate Stevi B’s and then the menfolk took the kids to a car show while ‘Dre, Gnomee, and I spent way too much time and money in Goodwill.

But I got a brand new Vera Bradley for $12 so we’re all good. 😉

I also drove Mama in my car for the first time since I got my license forever ago, and she survived!

Sunday, Angelbaby went with us to the fair so I would have someone to ride the ‘big kid’ rides with.

She had me riding things that I had sworn off years ago.

But that’s just our relationship, she makes me a better person by challenging me.

Always has, especially when she lived with us.

She made me rethink a lot about life.

After a fun-and-fatty-food-filled day at the Fair, Mama went to see a friend in the hospital and I went to Bare Bulb for church for the first time since I’ve been at Wesleyan.

Call it fate, but the guy in the truck driving next to me the whole way there–both of us blasting country music with the windows down–showed up and I think we’re gonna be friends.

He defended my wanting a truck to my thirteen-year-old brother from another mother, so he’s pretty much my favorite now.

Yesterday, Angelbaby and I went to see one of our old teachers to catch up.

It was great.

But then it was back to my reality of preparing for Spanish exams and Graphic Design projects.

My favorite times at my house are when I’m laying on the floor with the puppy, or sitting at the bar talking to Mama while she’s cooking, or sleeping in silence.

Living away from home really gives you a new appreciation for the people who have known you your whole life.

Counting down the days until Thanksgiving break, but living each day until then to the fullest,

aub