lessons learned

Thursday January 24, 2013


three friends have lost their parents in the last less than half a year.

three funerals i have cried out in hurt for these families.

three hugs plus so many more have been given to say the words i cannot even speak.

three times i have been reminded how short life may be.

this is just ridiculous. no one should lose a parent this young - before their college graduation, before their wedding, before their first kids, before their first real job. each day, i am trying to appreciate my parents for what they are worth, beyond that. and i feel guilty because no relationship is perfect. my dad and i argue, butt heads, consistently. my mom and i are sassy. but i do love them dearly, and wouldn’t trade them for anything. here’s to learning how to love deeper, richer, and appreciate what we’ve been given. 

shoutout to the parents who have left us too soon. you’re missed. 

Friday November 2, 2012

I still have so much to learn. Talked to Mom about some of these new experiences coming in the form of Senior year. It’s just such a weird feeling. Getting old yet I feel so young and naive. 

Things I am learning about myself:

  • I am a trusting person, sometimes too much.
  • I need to seek advice from multiple perspectives.
  • I enjoy hearing others’ experiences.
  • I must make decisions carefully.
  • I am in need of more fun. Safe, yet reckless, fun. (is that even a possible combination?)
  • I have a wild child living inside of me.
  • I appreciate my mom and roomies and cousins so much.
  • I have to find my true confidence once again. 
  • I should layout some boundaries. For myself, for others.
  • I can figure this out. 
  • I still have so much to learn. 

Sunday September 2, 2012

Well. Last night was so twisted. Bars were fun, I love my friends. Lyss and I didn’t drink as much as some of the others, definitely a good time to pace yourself. Got back to the apartment and talked with roomie for a bit. Then decided to get to bed…Well, just as I was falling asleep my phone started ringing about 2am. 

On the phone was a friend’s mother from my church at home in Andover - I dearly love their family. They are so kindhearted and love their children so much. Just so happens she was calling me about one of those very kids…her son who also goes to Winona. He was in detox at the hospital. 

Immediately, I was no longer tired and no longer feeling the alcohol. Adrenaline kicked in, my heart was panicking out of love and concern. Good thing I didn’t have much to drink. Nobody should ever have to feel the pain of knowing you cannot do anything to help your child from three hours away, nobody should get a phone call from the hospital that their child had way too much to drink. What a pain to feel. 

Alyssa and I got dressed and went to the hospital, where we had to wait for another half hour before they released the boy who is like my little brother. So worried for him. So concerned about his choices. Hopefully he can learn how to manage himself and be smart. I have nothing against having fun and having a few drinks. But, when it comes down to it, detox should never be an option. Shouldn’t get that bad.

Sunday morning. His mom and dad just left my apartment. They drove the trek to Winona first thing this morning, after probably not sleeping at all. She cried in my arms - this woman who has been such a role model in my life for so long. She was so grateful that I could be there for her son when she couldn’t. My heart is breaking. I don’t ever want to spend a Saturday night at 230 in the morning at the hospital picking someone up from detox ever again. But I am so thankful that I could. 

Most importantly, I don’t ever want to scare my parents like that. Scare my roommates like that. Scare my friends like that. It hurts.

March 23, 2012

As I sit at my laptop right now, there are so many things on my mind and I cannot even fathom how much I have learned this last year. Heck, just this last week.

 God puts every person in our life for a reason. He brings them to us for comfort, for laughter, for closeness, for times of trouble and times of friendship. 

I think what we fail to realize some days though, is that God also takes people out of our lives for a reason. 

Maybe they are slowing us down.

Maybe they are holding us back.

Or maybe they just need time - time with God, time with others - to really appreciate life.

Not gonna lie.This really sucks.

I hate falling away from friends. I hate when guys drop me off the face of the Earth. and I especially hate when family members pass away. 

There are so many people that I am praying for. Right now. As I write this, tears fill my eyes, thinking about who isn’t a prime part of my life anymore. But you know what? I do still care about you. And I still care about her. And I still care about him. And him. 

Good things will happen. Wether that means we are friends again, or you find your real happiness, somewhere. I don’t know. 

But please follow God. Continue to pray. And be happy.Wherever you are.

Don’t waste your time on me. You’re already, the voice inside my head.


February 2011

My brother told me once:

"You have to stop letting everything bother you. You need to take a chill. Enjoy life for the good things. Stop trying to control everything. You’re not a mom. You’re not God. Don’t take everything so seriously and just fricken enjoy your life. God gave it to you for a reason. Everyone is there for a reason. Stop being so serious all the time. It’s annoying."

As hard as this was to hear from my little brother, and as strange as his timing was, this was exactly what was needed to be said. Ty is an immature, dirty, disgusting, high school boy. But he is also a kind, loving, honest brother. He showed me how I needed to let loose, enjoy life as it is. I had been hiding from myself for as long as I can remember. Ashamed of who I am inside and out. I would try to control my life and be as perfect as possible, searching to please everyone around me. 

It took 18 years of my life to figure out life is not our perfect plan. Life is God’s perfect plan. We cannot control it. We can live this life to the best of our ability and seek God’s will for our purpose. 

So stop. Think. Challenge yourself. Enjoy your life. Learn from the disappointments. Embrace the positive. 

To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other’s hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time.


Today I had my field experience. At a Catholic school here in Winona, with a 4th grade class of 26 wild, rambunctious, talkative kids. I have been observing this class for about three weeks now, and was able to take a small group of students out in the hall for some extra practice on area and perimeter today. I helped these students figure out the difference between the two and how to properly label their answers. One girl did not understand the concepts at all; but once I was done helping her, she got it! To see the look of accomplishment on her face made me just so proud of her and thankful for what God has me doing.

After math, the class had their churchical music class. I wanted to observe how they interact with another teacher so I followed them in and sat listening as they rehearsed hymns for the next mass. At the end of class, with about five minutes left, the teacher asked a girl what her favorite song was. It was a hymn called “Never Too Young.”

Immediately, 45 fourth graders start belting out proudly and sincerely; 

 "Never too young to be like Jesus, 

 Never too young to help the poor, 

Never to young to be disciples,

of the Lord!”

My heart melt and I couldn’t stop smiling from then on. 

After I left St. Stan’s I had to rush to another class on campus. Then I had volunteering at Kids First - a free after school program supported solely by donations and volunteers to provide a safe, fun place for low socioeconomic status students. I sat with a sixth grade girl for an hour and a half. We laughed for an hour and a half. About nothing, about everything. 

Then. I had dinner with some amazing friends from the summer camp I work at. 

This has just been one of those days where I thank God for the life He has given me. I know His plans are good and His mercy set me free. I am just absolutely grateful for the people in my life who He is using to teach me, to mold me. I cannot wait to spend everyday of my life in the classroom, with my own group of students. 

All in all, God is so good! When we least expect it, He is going to surprise us. Be ready.

March 2011

I think we need to open our eyes. We need to be grateful. There are so many beautiful people on this earth. There are so many wonderful things that we encounter everyday. God put every person, every tulip, every lion, every star, here on our planet - in our lives for a reason. Our generation is selfish. Our society is wrapped up in themselves, consumed in the devil’s work. We need to take a step back. Back to the simple days, when it was all about love. God’s love. His love for you. His love for me. His love for US. 

Sarah, a third grade camper at Luther Point Bible Camp with autism taught me a very important lesson last summer. All week she was completely obsessed with the bugs in the air, on the ground - everywhere. During Bible studies, she would be crouching in the dirt playing with worms. During night time campfires, she was digging in the sand and dirt searching for bugs. I started to get very frustrated and annoyed with Sarah because I could not get her to pay attention. She was always running away, and always off task. All I wanted was to teach her about Jesus and His love for her. I wanted to help her interact with our ‘family’ of the week. I wanted her to have fun. After lunch one day, during closing prayer, she whispered very loudly to me: “Why do we always talk about Jesus? This guy is SO boring!” …I couldn’t help but laugh as she smiled at me after she asked a simple innocent question. I knew from here I had my work cut out for me the rest of the week.

During our 3rd/4th grade kickball game one afternoon, she ran down the pavement. I started chasing (for the what felt like the hundredth time this week) after her trying to get her to come back to the game. She plopped down and starting singing in her whiny voice. “Mosquitooooos. Mosquiiiiiiitos. They want to suck your blooooood. They suck your blood cause they want baaaaaabies.” I, again, could not help but laugh. All of the sudden I became aware of our surroundings. I quickly looked around and noticed other counselors and campers staring at me and Sarah as we were obviously not following camp schedule, I slapped my legs as I felt a few mosquitos biting, I could feel the hot sun burning my shoulders. Sarah, too, was aware of her surroundings…but in a completely different way. She was still investigating the creatures in the sand and grass and pavement. She whispered quietly… I am still unsure who she was talking to. “Beautiful, Thanks" was all she said.

Immediately, I stopped trying to force her back to the game with the rest of camp. Sarah and I sat still for fifteen minutes, soaking up the beauty that God had put right in front of us this whole time.

Count your many blessings, see what God has done.