Hope

Today as I was walking outside to get my clarinet from the music building, I had an interesting thought, which I later shared on Facebook.  Although it was just shy of ten degrees, I could feel the warmth of the sun peeking just over the trees.  That was when it hit me.

“Maybe we are sent to places we do not want to be so that we can make a difference-so that we can bring goodness, and love, and hope; and maybe, just maybe, we are sent to the darkest places to learn the brightest lessons.”                                                                                                  -Amanda Reimer

This year happened to be filled with a lot of those dark places that I didn’t want to be in.  There were deaths and struggles, lies and hurt feelings, sicknesses and pains, stresses and worries.  But above all of those things there was always hope.  Hope for a better tomorrow, hope for peace and love, hope for healing and relaxation, hope for joy and happiness—and maybe that’s something we all need to remember.  Kindness and love are the greatest gifts you can give to another person, and I think that they truly make a difference and nurture hope in those bad times—whether you’re giving or receiving.

I may not know what 2014 will bring, but I know this much: it will be filled with ups and downs, it will be filled with sorrows and joys, there will be trials and celebrations, memories and laughter, but above all there will be hope.

What Next?

Hello followers,

I apologize for my extended hiatus, but I have been sick and swamped with end of the semester projects and assignments.  I’m hoping to keep on track throughout finals week, so with that thought, I’m looking for your feedback.  What would you like to read?  Are there any topic you’ve found interesting that you would like me to write about?  Check out my updated “Contact” page or leave a comment with your feedback!

Thanks!

Amanda

Things I Am Thankful For, Part 5

21. Fire.

Campfires and bonfires are my favorites.  There is no food item on this planet that could be cooked over a fire and taste worse than something cooked in an oven.  Meals cooked on a fire are the greatest.

22. Shoes.

They provide protection from diseases and germs, plus warmth all rolled into something light, comfortable, and usually very stylish.  How can anyone not be thankful for shoes?

23.Stuffed animals.

As a child, they were your best friends and your protectors.  As an adult, they are memories of all the joy and innocence that is childhood.  I am thankful to still have my favorites.

24.Curtains or blinds.

There is nothing creepier than staring out a window into the dark abyss that is called “night time.” I am thankful for something to block out that view–plus curtains help hold in warmth in the winter time!

25.Stores.

Isn’t it such a relief to be able to go to the store and purchase whatever you need?  I am thankful that I do not need to make my own fabric to make my own clothes, or grow my own food, or cut my own wood to make my own furniture.  Stores are a wonderful thing.

26. Convenience.

The price for convenience is expensive, but we still buy water bottles and single serving macaroni and cheese cups and microwaveable frozen meals.  They are convenient, and sometimes, that is just what people need on a busy day.  I am thankful for access to convenience when I need it.

27. Spiders.

I hate spiders.  I think they are terrible creatures and I will kill them…if I can work up the courage to get near them.  But despite my rough relationship with spiders, I am still thankful for them.  They eat other bugs that I would rather not find alive in my house.  Other bugs will crawl around during the day, at least the spiders will stay put for the most part.

28. People who tell me I won’t succeed…

Because then I will succeed. I am so thankful for these people who give me motivation to reach my goals.

29. Girl Scouts.

I’m not sure why this did not end up higher on my list, but it should have.  Girl Scouts has given me so many skills that I will use for the rest of my life.  It has also fostered some of the most loving and strong friendships I have.  For me, Girl Scouts isn’t just a hobby, it’s a part of who I am.

30. This blog and my followers.

It has been fun posting on my blog for the past month and a half or so.  I’m hoping that with time this becomes a go to point to share my writing skills with others and learn more about the skills others have to offer.  I can only hope that my readers enjoy reading it just as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

On a side note, for any wondering if I will continue to blog daily now that NaBloPoMo is ending–

Yes, I will continue blogging.  I will try to post everyday, but college can be busy, so it may not always happen.  If I don’t post one day, chances are I will within a day or two, or at the very least once per week.  Just make sure to follow my blog for updates!  Thank you for all of your continued support!

 

 

Things I Am Thankful For, Part 4

16. Transportation.

I am thankful to be able to move from place to place, whether it be by car or train or plane or boat or feet or wheelchair or crutches.  Just to be able to travel is a wonderful way to learn–it is such a blessing.

17. The ability to walk.

On the thought of transportation, I’d like to be more specific.  Breaking my ankle was one of the most eye opening experiences in my life.  I learned how to rely upon others to do basic things like carrying a plate of food or taking a shower.  I am truly blessed to know exactly how much of a blessing the ability to walk is, and for that I am thankful.

18. Glasses and contacts.

I am thankful that someone invented a way for people to be able to see despite failing vision. Without my contacts, I would be nearly legally blind.  I am thankful that I am able to see with the aide of contacts/glasses.

19. Technology.

In this day and age, technology is a controversial thing.  To some it means wasting potential, to others it is encouraging potential.  I would have to fall on the side that to much technology use is bad, but if used correctly in moderation, is one of humanity’s greatest inventions.  I am thankful that with technology my friends and family are a mere phone call away, that with technology I can save all of my writing in a place where it won’t blow away or burn, that I can make a few clicks and know whether or not I will need to wear a coat for the day or not.  Technology is so very useful, and that is why I am thankful for it.

20. Laundry machines/services.

I am thankful that I can put my clothing into a machine, put soap into the machine, press a few buttons, and have clean clothes within a few hours.  I am thankful that I do not have to beat my clothing against rocks in a stream to clean it.  I am thankful that I do not have to scrub my clothing on a washboard in a bucket of water.  Washing machines and dryers are wonderful things.

Things I Am Thankful For, Part 3

11. Camping.

I am thankful for the many years I spent not only as a camper, but also as a camp counselor.  My experiences at camp taught me so many things about the world and about myself.  They were life changing.

12. Blankets.

I tend to be very cold, so naturally, I am thankful for blankets.  In fact, if I could go back in time, I would personally thank whoever invented/discovered blankets.

13. Bananas.

Bananas are the greatest food ever created.  You can eat them raw or cooked, sweet or salty, with a topping or without a topping, in another dish or by themselves, and a million ways in between, not to mention, they’re rich in nutrients! What’s not to be thankful for when it comes to bananas!

14. My fish.

I generally would lump fish under the “pets” category, but I have to say that my betta, Omega, falls on a different level.  I am thankful for all the frantic Internet searching and trips to pet stores when he was sick; for the way he would turn his head sideways a little bit to look at people; how he was feisty and never let anything get him down–even when he was sick with fin rot and fungal infections; how no matter how mad I would get at him for repeatedly killing my snails, he would still make me love him by swimming cutely in his tank; how he taught me that money is valuable and shouldn’t be wasted on little trinkets that will just clutter up your tank and provide a breeding ground for bacteria and algae; and how he taught me that even the tiniest creatures deserve the  greatest love you can give them.  I am thankful I was blessed to be his owner from the time he was a little tiny fish, until he passed away over two years later.

15. Storms.

I am thankful for both the beauty and the terrifying power of storms.  They remind me that I am human, and that living upon this earth is something to be deeply thankful for.

Things I Am Thankful For, Part 2

6. My pets.

There is nothing more wonderful than the way my cat’s eyes get big when she runs up to me after I’ve been away at school for weeks.  The love of my cats and dog is one of the greatest things I am thankful for.

 7. My education.

I am thankful just to have the opportunity to learn more every single day.

8. Music.

Music has always been an important part of my life.  I remember singing as a little girl, and I learned to play the clarinet in just fourth grade.  I am so thankful for the knowledge and appreciation I have for music.

9. Shelter.

I am thankful to have a roof over my head and clothes on my back.

10. Food

I am thankful that I have never had to go to bed hungry.  I am thankful that I know what it means to have food on my plate for every meal, every day.

 

Things I Am Thankful For, Part 1

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will go ahead and follow along with thirty things I am thankful for, one for every day of November.  I will split the thirty things I am thankful for across the last few days of November.

1. God.

I am thankful for my loving and merciful God.

2. My life.

It is the greatest gift there is: to spend a single day a live.

3. My fiancé.

I am thankful to have a best friend to grow old with; who supports me in every way he can, and loves me for all that I am, no matter what.  And I am thankful that I can love him just as much as he loves me.

4. My family.

Without my family, I would never be the person I am today.  I am thankful for their unconditional love and support.

5. My friends.

I couldn’t imagine my life without my friends.  I am thankful for all the laughs, memories, support, love, and even the times when we just sit around doing nothing.

Bucket Lists

Yesterday, I came across the blog of a 20-something girl who posted many bucket lists encompassing several areas of her life.  She wrote about what a sense of fulfillment it was just to cross off a single goal and how much fun it was to think of new things she wanted to do in her life. I loved the concept of what her blog was about, and for this reason, I would like to create and share my own bucket list.  So, here it goes:

  1. Write 1 poem every day for a month.
  2. See the ocean.
  3. Pay for the car behind me in a drive-thru.
  4. Have a live Christmas tree.
  5. Go apple picking.
  6. Compliment at least 1 person a day for a year.
  7. Swim with dolphins.
  8. Publish a book of poetry.
  9. Write my wedding vows.
  10. Play clarinet at the Chicago Symphony Center.
  11. Go hiking in the mountains.
  12. Have a career that I love.
  13. Learn a foreign language.
  14. Earn my Bachelor of Arts degree.
  15. Keep a plant alive for more than a year.
  16. Make birthday cards for all of my loved ones for one year.
  17. Teach others one thing I have learned every day for a year.
  18. Help someone who is in need.
  19. Go to the gym at least once a week until the end of the school year.
  20. Take pictures in the park while there is snow on the ground.
  21. Take one picture to describe my day every day until my 21st birthday.
  22. Laugh once every day for a year (the habit will stick forever J)

 

Check back at “My Bucket List” tab for updates and additions!

The past seven days have been anything but ordinary.

One week ago, tornados ravaged a large portion of Central and Northern Illinois and Northern Indiana.  In the daylight hours following the squall, families looked around them to find homes decimated, neighborhoods demolished, and trinkets and belongings gone.  Victims will feel the scars of destruction long after their lives return to normal.

Just this Friday, Americans came together to remember the 50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  At my campus, we held a concert hosted by the Wind Symphony (in which I play the clarinet) titled “In Memoriam.” Following our final piece, the audience was absolutely silent, as each member thoughtfully remembered the life and death of a man loved by his nation.

But I do not write about these two chilling and moving events to bring sadness.  I write them to remember and honor.  I write them to give thanks and praise.  I write them to encourage you that even in the darkest of times there is light.

Where is the light in the tornado aftermath?  It is in the volunteers, and kindhearted people giving their time and efforts to find aide for all of the victims.  It is in the love that binds families together though they have lost every material possession.

Where is the light in the death of a President?  It is in the memories that he left behind.  It is in the hearts of those who strive to continue what he started.  It is in the bond of a nation that knows no evil will run them to the ground.

Yes, the past week has been anything but ordinary, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  If we were not put through adversity, how would we know just how much to value every single fiber of our existence?  After all, some of the greatest things about humanity are born from the darkest ashes of life.

Anything But Ordinary

19 Signs You Are A Poor College Student

1. You recognize two food groups: Ramen and instant coffee.

2. You’ve eaten Ramen for several days consecutively, and more than once per day.

3. You’ve made boxed macaroni and cheese without milk and butter.

4. You’ve contemplated eating the spoiled food in your refrigerator because: one) it’s a waste of money to throw it away; and two) you can’t afford to buy fresh food.

5. You’ve had to decide whether gas or food is more important.

6. You’ve had to choose between going to the doctor and buying food.

7. You’ve taken multiple free samples of cough drops or ibuprofen from the student health center because Walgreens is for fancy people.

8. You’ve either snuck into the Campus dining hall or stood outside begging people to swipe you in.

9. You befriend cashiers at fast food places because the dollar menu is cheaper than the Campus dining hall.

10. You become a regular at Denny’s because you consider it to be fine dining.

11. You’ve gone to activities or events on campus only because they offer free food (Extra credit for class is just an extra bonus!)

12. …But you turn down free food from your family because you want them to think you have more money than you do.

13. You drink tap water because you don’t want to pay $2.75 for a bottle of water.

14. You buy toiletries in bulk when you have a good paycheck.

15. You’ve had to decide whether to pay to print off a paper for class or do a load of laundry.

16. You think that Febreeze counts as doing laundry for the week.

17. You’ve purchased powdered laundry detergent from the dollar store because the liquid pods are too sophisticated.

18. You’re wearing the same pair of jeans your parents bought you your first month of college…and you’re a senior in college.

19. You’ve realized that food is the most important thing money can buy…but you still waste money going out to eat and to see movies with your friends.