April 29, 2014

What's On Your Desk? (A Link Up!)

At first I was going to just a little post about the things on my desk at work, then I thought - everyone loves link-ups.  And a lot of people enjoy getting a peek into people's lives, their possessions, the little things they keep around that hint at who they are.  

Smiling at me from beside my computer while I'm working at my internship is my cheerful pink owl mug, Molly.  I won her as a prize during a game at a baby shower, and she is just so happy and springy.  She also holds a lot of tea and coffee and hot chocolate.

On the other side of my computer is a bright pink bunch of silk flowers in a beer bottle turned flower vase. (And you are right - the bottle was not originally blue!  I put a bit (okay, a lot) of acrylic paint inside and rolled the bottle around until the inside was (mostly) coated).  And what's that hiding down in the corner of the photo?

Yep.  That's Dave, the Minion.  He showed up in my Easter basket and followed me to work where he sits perched on the edge of my Kleenex box.

On the side of my cubicle is my photo wall with pictures of my family, my Knight, my grandparents, my Knight again, my cousins and friends.  They give my cubicle a homey, personal feel.

Oh, and because I totally don't have enough photographs of my Knight, here is another one!  Also, Bath & Body Works has the best hand cream ever.

Finally, we have my quote board.  Four J.R.R. Tolkien quotes, very prettily designed courtesy of Pinterest, and my white board that changes every week or so.  I've gotten a few comments from co-workers on how they enjoy walking past and seeing what I've updated it to.  

And that's my desk!  What is on yours?  Join the link-up below and share your own descriptions/photographs!

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April 28, 2014

Learning Hands-On

I will admit, a hands-on approach to learning isn't typically my first choice.  Discussion with a little bit of lecture is my first choice, followed by reading multiple books on the same subject.  In some instances, however, nothing can teach you something the way that taking a hands-on approach does.

I made dis ^_^
This semester I was enrolled in an event planning class and our project for the whole semester was planning an actual event.  The psychology department at my school has put on an "Anti-Stigma Symposium" for several years now, and two years ago they came to my instructor and asked if the event planning class would help them run it.

We spent the first half of the semester learning about the event and learning about theme and event design.  For our midterm we split into groups, developed themes and presented the theme ideas to the Anti-Stigma committee for them to choose.  (Can I just say that my theme got chosen?  Exciting!)

The following month after midterms (has it really been only a month?) was spent in intense planning and learning.  It was stressful, but it was so much fun, and we all learned a lot.  My instructor gave us the reigns and took on the role of adviser rather than leader, and we were put into committees in charge of contacting the appropriate people for audio visual, room set up, decor, print services, food and the like.

The day of was... intense.  We showed up early in the morning and were there for 14 hours until the event was over.  We were exhausted, and my feet are still sore a few days later, but all went well, we received a lot of compliments on our decor and design, and it was in all a great experience.

 There were times that I huffed in frustration and wondered why on earth I had chosen this major.  Event planning is stressful y'all... really stressful.  Even in the midst of the stress, however, it was still - fun.  It was satisfying to see the pieces come together, to receive approval from our "clients", and it was a relief to have my teacher their for advice and ideas when we needed it.  I'm not always a hands-on learning kind of person, but for this class I wouldn't have had it any other way.

April 26, 2014

Get this Party Started!

As I may have mentioned before, I'm currently in school pursing an Associates in Meeting and Special Event planning, and today as a big day because my class is running an actual event!  I took an Event Planning class this semester and due to a request for help from the Psychology department a few years ago, it's an awesomely hands on learning experience.  Every year the Psych department hosts an Anti-Stigma Symposium (previously an awards show, this year an educational event and awards show) to break down stigma related to mental health issues, depression, sexual abuse, and the like and recognize some amazing and powerful projects created by students - projects often based on their own experiences or the experiences of loved ones.

It's been a hectic, sometimes stressful semester, but at last the big day is here.  As a plus, this is our final and so after day - no more class! Yay!  I'm off in a few minutes to head on over to school and start setting up and decorating, so I'll keep the rest of this post short for now.  I'm a little nervous as to how it will all play out, but I think we have a pretty good handle on things and everything will turn out great.

I'll be back in the next day or two with pictures!

April 22, 2014

In With the Old

I've thought about this for a while, and wished there was a way, then I thought about it some more and thought that there had to be a way, so then I Googled it and sure enough there was!  (Google also saved me today by informing me how to unjam a stapler).

By all this I mean - my dearly beloved, but long retired old blog over at "A Rose in Bloom" has been merged into this blog!  The old blog is still there, and will be until the day I delete it, but now all the posts and comments (and tags, ugh, have to sort through that mess) are all over here!  Now you can go all the way back to 2007 when I first started blogging and read your way through the past seven years of my life to the present day.  As a warning, the majority of my posts for the first few years were Saints' feast days, every. single. Civil. War. battle. anniversary.  and lots and lots of Lord of the Rings.  And then a whole bunch of Week in Feminine/Modest dress.  Oh, and then more Civil War battle anniversaries.

Take a venture back - if you dare!  While going through and sorting through what posts I wanted to keep and which ones I wanted to delete (don't worry! I kept almost all of them!) I found myself clicking on titles and chuckling at what little me had written, so I there may be some Throwback Thursday's coming up in the near future.  Stay tuned y'all.

Oh... and if you were wondering how I merged the two, it was quite simple.  I went to the Dashboard of "A Rose in Bloom" - Settings - Other Settings - Export Blog (button near the top).  Download the file onto my computer, then sign into this blogs account and go to Settings - Other Settings - Import Blog.  Load it all up with the option to publish automatically or manually and voila!  Easy as all that.

And I really have to do something about the terrifying plethora of post labels I know have.  I was also quite label happy back in the day.

April 21, 2014

The Beauty of Easter

The Easter Triduum and Easter itself are, I think, the most beautiful time of the liturgical year.  There is so much joy, such solemnity, so much grace.

Holy Thursday has always been one of my favorite liturgies.  Going to Mass at night is always exciting for me - I don't attend Mass in the evening often, so when I do it usually signifies an exciting feast or liturgical event.  Holy Thursday is such a solemn evening, but with an undercurrent of joy and excitement.  This is the night before Christ died, but it is also the very first Mass, the night that Christ gave Himself to us in the Eucharist.  There is the joyful singing of the Gloria as all the bells are rung for the last time before the Passion of Christ begins, there is the procession through the church as the Eucharist is taken and reposed.  Our church decorates the area where the Blessed Sacrament is taken to look like a garden... it's a beautiful reminder of the agony that Christ endured in the garden of Gethsemane.

Good Friday too is an absolutely beautiful service.  My parish does their Passion service at 3:00 on Friday afternoon and it so still, so quiet, so solemn.  I love the silence, how our choir sings as much of the music acapella as possible, how we enter in silence and leave in silence.  It is so hard to leave the church and start talking again... after such a moving service I want to just be quiet for the rest of the day!

My experience with the Easter Vigil is more recent.  I went once when I was about ten years old with my mom, just to see what it was like.  (I wasn't too impressed then... from what I recall we didn't go outside to light the candle and the church didn't start out dark).  Two years ago I attended the Vigil Mass again when friends of my family entered the Church - which added an exciting personal element to the celebration.  Last year, we attended a Byzantine Rite Easter Vigil, and oh was it absolutely beautiful.  Close friends of ours had recently had a baby, and so they had the baptism at the vigil.  Let me tell you, the Byzantine Baptismal ceremony is incredible.  This year I attended the Vigil at my home parish, and I loved it.  We started outside with the lighting of the Easter candle, then processed in and it was so beautiful to see all the gently flickering candles in the dimness of the church.  The Easter Vigil is so exciting, so full of joy and life.

Then, of course, there is Easter itself. Easter Mass is always wonderful - and how could it not be?  Christ is alive and risen, and you can feel the energy and excitement in the Church.  It's time again for singing "Alleluia" in nearly every song, time for the renewal of baptismal promises, time for celebration and joy.

What is your favorite liturgy of the Triduum/Easter? What is it you love most about this time of the liturgical year?

April 17, 2014

As We Enter the Triduum

Photograph by Dominick Photography
As we enter into the Triduum, I pray that you are able to enter fully into the mystery and wonder of these three days, and unite yourself to Christ in the sacrifice of the Cross.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion.... have mercy on us and on the whole world.

April 11, 2014

City Girl, Country Girl

I was born in the city, but I've lived out among the corn and bean fields for the last eleven years of my life.  I love the wide open spaces, being able to look out and see for miles and miles to the horizon, drive down the road without having to stop and go for stop signs and traffic lights.  I love being able to be as loud as I want with my siblings, blast music on a summer night and dress up in costumes and fancy dresses for photoshoots without having to care what neighbors might think.  I am a country girl, and I could never be completely happy living anywhere else. 

As of late, however, I have become a bit of a city girl as well.  I work part-time as an Intern in one of the satellite cities of Chicago, and I have come to really enjoy the environment.  I love getting to dress up for work and the feeling of satisfaction when I hit a lucky day in my fashion challenged life where I put together a really cute outfit.  I love the novelty of having so many restaurants to choose from when I forget/don't have anything to pack for lunch - only five or ten minutes down the road!  I love how sophisticated I feel when I splurge and get a coffee from Starbucks instead of McDonalds.  I love the busyness, the buildings, the atmosphere.  

I absolutely love working in this city, and getting to visit The City (that's Chicago folks, not New York) on occasion.  I think I would love getting a job someday downtown (where I could ride the train though, not drive), and being able to spend my days in the hustle and bustle of Chicago.  At night though, I still would want to come home to my cornfields, to be able to sit in the quiet and watch the sun set to the sound of crickets chirping and fall asleep with the distant yelp of a coyote.  I have a bit of both worlds in my heart, and a bit of both worlds is what I want.

April 9, 2014

But People Are Looking....

After a streak of blogging several times a week, it feels like I've run into a brick wall.  There are vague ideas on the other side of that wall, I can hear them, but I don't fully have a grasp on them or the ability to put them into words yet.  I tend to analyze my actions and reactions in depth, and so naturally I started to wonder where that brick wall came from.

I believe a few of the bricks are made up of "blogger envy".  I have always struggled a bit with finding my own style, finding topics and ways to write that let my personality shine through.  Because of that, I have a tendency to read other people's blogs, sigh and say "I wish that I could write like that".  But I can't, and so I don't.  I know that my blogging will never measure up to anyone else in my eyes, and I am far from an unbiased judge of my writing.  In some ways I have learned to ignore those whispers of doubt, but the walls still pop up now and then to block me.

As for the rest of the bricks in the wall - a lot of them recently have come from the realization that people read my blog.  I knew that, but until recently it had only been a small handful of people.  It was easy to just write without thinking of my audience because it was easy to forget that I had one.

You see, I don't share my feelings and thoughts with people, not really.  It's easier when I'm writing because when I write my thoughts flow much easier, and there isn't someone actually sitting across from me.  In person though - unless you are my Knight, my parents/sisters, or a friend I feel very comfortable with, forget it.  And even with those people, it is hard for me to properly vocalize what I am thinking on the inside.

It's not just the deep thoughts, the feelings in my heart, but to a certain extent my normal every day thoughts, my reactions, my opinions.  It's easier to keep it all inside - no one can misunderstand, no one can argue, no one can ask uncomfortable questions that I don't quite know how to formulate an answer to, no one can tell me that I'm wrong or use my words and opinions against me.  It's easier to be quiet then fumble through a sentence while trying to get my thoughts from my head to my lips, and to take too long and get talked over.  I have my little wall that I've built up, and while I let some things on the other side, I keep most of it safely protected inside my head.

Recently I think I have come to realize more that while more people are reading my blog, most of them are people that I know... and that's uncomfortable for me.  When I thought of it as random strangers reading my blog it was easier, because I could throw stuff out there and it didn't matter because I'd never know the people reading, and it didn't matter. I've retreated a little bit, because even though I want to share more introspected, more "thoughts rather than just what I've been doing post"... people are looking.  You are looking, you are reading this post and I've let you inside of my head.  It is very tempting to just delete this whole post and write something bland about how I want to get a second ear piercing - but at the same time I want to overcome that discomfort and be able to throw my soul out there every now and then.  And so that is why I am letting you read all this, because I want to push myself out past my comfort zone and get past the fear and discomfort of letting people in.

At least, you know, only letting people in via my blog.  One step at a time folks, one step at a time.

April 3, 2014

Funny How Things Work Out

First - sorry y'all for my sudden silence!  Life's been life and my recent streak of wanting to blog every day went *poof* and I haven't had the time or motivation to think about something.  However, when life hands you the perfect blogging topic - you blog about it!

The other day, the randomest of happenstances happened.  And I met a friend I'd only ever known via the interwebs online.  And it was AWESOME! 

Said friend hails from the far northern state of Alaska, and as such obviously doesn't get down this way too often.  As it turns out however, she has family that lives in the Chicagoland area as well!  The other day, she posted on Facebook that she was flying down, but alas only over night before going on to a different state for a conference.  We sadly agreed that next time we'd have to finally meet up.

Then one thing started to lead to another.  She posted a status saying she was going out to dinner at a restaurant just down the street from where I worked.  I asked "Oh hey, do your relatives live in that are?"  She replied "Why yes!  They live here!"

Turns out her grandma only lives 15 minutes away from my grandma. Small world!

I said "Oh drat, I was just there this morning to stow my guitar before I went to work! I was 15 minutes away!"  Unfortunately for us, by the time I got off work she would already be at the airport.  So then I asked.... "Wait, which highway do you take to the airport?"  My office backs right up to one of the highways, and lo and behold that was the one she was taking!

We thought we were going to have to settle for me sending her a picture of the place where I work and her waving at me as they drove past.  Until....

I got one text message saying that her flights were all confused and she might be staying another day.  Then I got another one that said "So, I don't have to leave until tomorrow - have time to come pick me up and take me back to my grandma's?"  I had just gotten off work, I had enough time before I had to pick up my guitar from my grandma's and head off to lessons... so I "Yes!"

And that, dear readers is how I finally met my dear lovely friend from Alaska.