Monday, August 31, 2009

I'd like to thank the academy...

As most of you will probably already know, I've been granted the honor of being listed as a "Blog of Note." In the time since my blog was posted on the list, my following has more than quadrupled. I can't tell you how overwhelming and exciting this has been.

When I found out, I screamed. I jumped up and down. I did an epic happy dance. And I called my mom. (Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am a complete dork. Get used to it. ;])

But now the shock has worn off, and it's time for some 'thank you's:

1) I would never have kept with this blog if it were not for my first follower, Lyn. She's been supporting me from the start, and inspiring me with her ever-positive attitude and her willingness to help those that she can. She has lent comfort in difficult times, and laughed with me through the good ones, and has become more than just voice in the blogosphere. She's become someone I look up to. :)

Lyn's blog, "Lyn's Lifepixels," is lovely, and can be found by following the link in my blogroll. :)


2) Many of my first 42 followers (the ones I got the "hard way") have become more like friends to me than readers. Adele, Iida, Ivy, Jessica, Robyn...and so so soo many more. It's hard to picture life in the blogging world without you guys. The first bonds that are made through a blog are the ones that keep you at it. These guys are incredible. Most of their blogs will be listed on my blogroll. I highly reccomend that you go click around. :)

3) Thank you number three goes out to none other than my wonderful fiance, Kyle. (If you don't know about him yet, there are two links to posts completely about him in the top portion of my right sidebar.) On the days when I thought my little blog was never going to take off, he was there to reassure me, and when I nearly had a heart-attack (and remember, that involved some screaming and happy dancing) when I found out I was blog of note, he didn't laugh all too much. What more can a blog-girl ask for?

4) To the people who choose the Blogs of Note: THANK YOU! And if you'd be so kind as to e-mail me with a mailing address, I'll make good on that brownie-bribe that I'm sure is what got me nominated. ;)

5) Courtney, Courtney, Courtney. Thanks for keeping me company here in blog-land. :) It's a huge relief to have someone from the "real world" to talk to about all of the joys of blogging.

And now that's out of the way...

WELCOME NEW READERS!

I can't wait to get to know each and every one of you. Feel free to comment or e-mail me. I LOVE to hear feedback from you guys! If you add me as a friend on either MySpace or Facebook, be sure to send me note along with the request letting me know you met me through blogger or I might deny the request. I try to weed out the creepers, but that gets a little fuzzy when you have over 100 readers...

But now I have to get back to work. It's only fair. They do pay me. So for now I'll bid you goodbye with the hope that you all have simply marvelous days! :)


Now get commenting and give me your self-introductions! I have quite a few of you to get aquainted with! :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Back in the Swing of Things

This week has went by in a blur. But then the first week back on campus always does. I feel like I'm falling back into an old pattern, and it feels nice. I fit here.


Here are few things that made me ridiculously happy this week:


- In first-day introductions I got to tell everyone of my recent engagement. :)

- Already a few professors know to look for me when they ask questions. I've had ready answers all week, and I'm proud of that. If that makes me a dork, so be it. I like it when professors of classes with 100+ students know my name.

- My roomie and get along fabulously. I'm so glad we stuck together this semester.

- Kyle is waiting for me after each long day of work and classes. That's the best feeling ever.

- I feel like I'm doing things on my own, finally. I haven't had to have help from my parents at all, financially. I'm supporting myself, and I earned the scholarships that are paying for my tuition. I get myself through every week without much trouble. I make decisions on my own. I deal with my parking tickets (yeah, that wasn't a smiling moment) on my own. I make my own appointments, and I make my own plans. I like this. :)

- Courtney gave me a new dress that has earned, no lie, at least twenty compliments today. I'm feeling pretty good about that. Thank you, Courtney!

- I can officially give directions to pretty much any place on campus. I'm no longer the silly freshie, and I'm so glad.

- And finally, it's my Grandma's 76th birthday today! :) I love birthdays.

What are you guys happy about??

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hello again!

Welcome back dears!

I am now back on campus, and one day into my sophomore year! I already have homework, and I'm already procrastinating. It's nice how I've fell easily back into my old routine. ;) No worries though, I always get things done...five minutes before they're due.

I've been unable to update you on what's going on because I've been having technical difficulties with the wireless Internet here. (There are always problems with the wireless here.) So here is what you've missed while I was beating my computer into the wall trying to make it work:

Kitten number one, aka Penny, went to a happy home with my friend Jon. Thank goodness I know she's happy and well cared for. I almost cried when he came to take her home. :/ (Not that I have a shortage of cats. There are still five hanging around my house.)

Photobucket


Kyle is off to Cincinnati for a couple days to visit his dad, and so I'm playing the waiting game again. But I'm honestly a little glad to have some time for myself. It's good to have a chance to readjust to campus on my own. Plus it gives me some much needed time with my girls. :) (I'm trying to be optimistic.)

Photobucket


But on the topic of weddings, we've definitely pinned the date down to some time next summer. If all goes well, by this time next year we'll be married, and I'll be moving to where ever he is stationed, transferring to an online school so I can finish my degree. (I'm so nervous! But more excited. It's a good feeling.)

Photobucket


I'm hoping that the wedding planning will keep me so busy that the time we're about to spend apart will slip by almost without my noticing. (Fat chance of that.) So far the only things that have been planned are the colors (coral, fuchsia and yellow) and my bridesmaids (six very dear friends). That leaves me a lot to do while he's away.

This wedding occupies 70% of my daily thoughts. :) I'm more excited than you can possibly imagine. I've been dreaming of starting our life together for a long time. To be this close, to be able to finally see it coming in a way that's tangible, it's an indescribable feeling. It's amazing, and I couldn't be more pleased. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Long Past Due

We arrived in Missouri late last Tuesday night. The trip there was both very quick and painstakingly long. Every inch of road we passed brought Kyle and I closer together, but it seemed that for every mile we traveled, another ten stretched out before me. We drove west, chasing the sunset until the mountains had faded first into small hills, and finally into plains. Distraught as I was, I was in complete awe of how beautiful the flat earth can be. The skyline was completely uninterrupted by the tall mountains I'm accustomed too. It was easy to imagine, in the middle of those great wide fields, the hand of God descending from the heavens to pluck me from the ground.

I hadn't slept a wink the night before, and didn't want to close my eyes on the way there lest I miss something I wouldn't have the chance to see again. By the time we made it to our hotel I was so exhausted that I fell immediately into sleep: no energy for nerves.

The next morning was another story. I opened my eyes and thought to myself: It's finally today. It was a day five months in the making. And every last second of it was worth it. But that isn't to say that I didn't spend at least an hour staring at myself in the mirror, trying to be positive I was looking as presentable as could be.

When we arrived on base, when we first saw him, I was completely overwhelmed. I didn't know what to think. I gazed at the uniform-clad man before me, desperately searching for some trace of the one I'd loved for so long. At first I thought that perhaps my nightmares were becoming reality. Perhaps the time and distance had done what we didn't think possible: maybe we had both changed. Maybe we wouldn't fit anymore.

But then those arms closed around me in an embrace. And our eyes held for a moment. His hand held my cheek. And I knew that I was the most ridiculously silly creature in the world. Of course we were still us. What else could we be? I was right all along. We are etched forever into one another's beings. Perfectly intertwined and inseparable. A love like ours can take on whatever it is matched against, without doubt.

We quickly whisked him away for the day, and at 8:00, brought him back for tearful (on my part, anyway) goodbyes until Thursday morning at graduation.

After we left, bringing Kyle with us, I spent the entire eight hour drive in a state of wonder. Kyle slept most of the way back to Kentucky, and I may as well have. I couldn't believe that he was finally back with me: sitting right next to me, our fingers knotted together and shoulders being used as pillows. I was so happy and relieved that I could barely form coherent thoughts to express my delight. I was perfectly content for the first time since March.



Photobucket




---


Saturday, August 15, 2009 was the date of the massive Welcome Home party I've been planning for months. It's been a mess of phone calls and questions and directions and food preparation. And last Saturday we pulled it off without a single problem. Everyone showed up promptly, food in hand. I floated from one circle of guests to the next, making sure everyone was mingling and happy. Kyle looked surprised and amused that so many people had made it. So, obviously, since he was pleased, I was elated. I finally felt that I had accomplished something while he was away. :)

But a few hours in I discovered that the surprise wasn't his at all, but mine.



Photobucket


That's right, guys. He proposed. :)

He made the sweetest speech I've ever heard, and as he fell to one knee the rest of the scene melted away. I can hardly remember anyone's reaction. My world ended outside of the two of us. The embrace after I gave an ecstatic "yes" sealed us into a bubble of pure bliss, untouched by the tears and excitement of the crowd.



Photobucket


The beautiful ring that now rests on my finger is the perfect symbol of the promises we exchanged over a year ago, the ones that were laced into our first "I love you:" the one that says forever.

It was absolutely adorable. It was perfect. It was like a scene from a movie. I couldn't be happier. I'm finally getting my happy ending. And for once I think I can safely say: my life is a Taylor Swift Song.



Oh, I'm so excited! And I wish that each and every one of you could be at the wedding. If any of you are in my area next summer, you're more than welcome to attend.

And now, before I leave you for the day, I'd like to give you all a big thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You guys don't know how much your comments and well wishes have meant to me. The support you give me has helped to carry me through some pretty rough times. It would have been so much harder without all the blogging-love. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful rest-of-the-week, just in case I don't make it back for a while.

"We were both young when I first saw you.
I close my eyes and the flashback starts:
I'm standing there on a balcony in summer air.

See the lights, see the party, the ball gowns.
See you make your way through the crowd
and say hello;

Little did I know
That you were Romeo; you were throwing pebbles,
And my daddy said, "Stay away from Juliet."
And I was crying on the staircase,
begging you, "Please, don't go."

And I said,
"Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone.
I'll be waiting. All there's left to do is run.
You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess.
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.'"

So I sneak out to the garden to see you.
We keep quiet 'cause we're dead if they knew.
So close your eyes; escape this town for a little while.
'Cause you were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter,
And my daddy said "Stay away from Juliet,"
But you were everything to me.
I was begging you, "Please, don't go,"

And I said,
"Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone.
I'll be waiting; all there's left to do is run.
You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.'"

Romeo save me - they're tryin' to tell me how to feel.
This love is difficult, but it's real.
Don't be afraid; we'll make it out of this mess.
It's a love story - baby just say "Yes.'"

Oh, oh.

I got tired of waiting,
Wondering if you were ever comin' around.
My faith in you was fading
When I met you on the outskirts of town,

And I said,
"Romeo save me - I've been feeling so alone.
I keep waiting for you but you never come.
Is this in my head? I don't know what to think-"

He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring and said,
"Marry me, Juliet - you'll never have to be alone.
I love you and that's all I really know.
I talked to your dad - go pick out a white dress;
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.'"

Oh, oh. Oh, oh.

'Cause we were both young when I first saw you..."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I just had to take a moment...

...to point out that my countdown now says "1 day."

EEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy dance of the century is happening now.
I'm leaving in approximately 3 hours.
And tomorrow we'll be together.
The fact that this went by so fast is a miracle.
Hope you guys have a wonderful rest-of-the-week while I'm away!
:)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Kuroshio Sea






This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. It was shot at the "Kuroshio Sea" tank at the 2nd largest aquarium in the world, the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan. The song is "Please Don't Go," by Barcelona. I discovered this video via inothernews on tumblr. I couldn't resist sharing it with you all. Enjoy. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where am I?


Photobucket
Image via iamblessed.

I found this image via tumblr today, and the answer to the question rang out in my head instantly. Nope. Not a clue. At first, that scared me. I've always been one to plan. I had a clear cut path to get me through high school and into college. I had hopes and dreams that came with road maps. But now that I'm here I'm discovering that the parts of life that are quickly approaching are not ones that come with directions. What's more, I'm beginning to think that this might not be such a bad thing.

I have this image of life as a timeline: a clearly defined line with a little tick mark that marks your place in how close you are to accomplishing your goals. If you'd asked me the afore-mentioned question near the end of my senior year of high school, I'd have placed that tick mark about an inch from the end. I didn't realize how much more there would be to life, or how much more I'd want to accomplish outside of earning a college degree. (Good gracious, I was naive. And I'm sure I'll say the same of me now a little later...) The further I go from where I am now, the further backward that little mark is pulled down the line. It doesn't make any sense at all. Logically, shouldn't it be moving forward?

I came to college with all the eagerness of the young. I was ready to learn and experience and accomplish. I thought that I'd be handed clear-cut facts that I could etch into my mind, solid pieces of knowledge that would stay with me for the rest of my life and ensure my success. Oh, what a surprise I received! I learned nothing of the sort. In fact, about the only acquired knowledge I can chalk up to college (so far, anyway) is the ability to question. I don't take anything for granted anymore. I find myself rejecting opinions of others more frequently. I argue, and search out my own answers more often than I heed the words of another. (But along with that rebellion, I've learned that criticism is best received with grace and open ears. Without it, we cannot grow. Everything in balance...)

That way of questioning isn't limited to academics. It carries over into my everyday life. I question where I'm going, what I'm accomplishing, if it's the right way for me. I question whether I'm doing enough of both what I want and what I need... And at the end of the day, I usually end up with more questions than answers. (A far cry from what I expected to be happening at this point in my life.)

I feel like all the questioning has stripped away all the hazy parts of myself: the outlines I had about the future, the doors that I had closed long ago, the options I had written off as "not to be considered." All that I have left is a foundation -- the smallest bit of a structure to build from that contains only the bare minimum of my being: my beliefs and values, my interests, the things I love, and an immense amount of hope for what's to come.

So, I have no idea where I am in my journey. I don't know what's coming or how close I am to finding out. I don't know how I'll manage it. I don't even know exactly where I want to be going. All I have to go on is faith and (hopefully) luck and whatever courage I can muster. And (finally) I don't think that's such a bad thing. Every day is a new adventure, and each one holds a little bit more potential than the last, because each morning I'm a little bit more willing to let go and just live it. Whatever's coming will come in it's own time; I can't stop it, rush it, or change it. It's just going to have to happen...when it happens.

Eventually, I know I'll find the answers I've been seeking for so long. Until then, I have nothing but time and opportunities, and I intend to make the very most of each and every one. After all, most of them won't come around twice. ;)