Monday, March 30, 2009

The Bar of Expectation

If you've got something to write, then write it! If you have something to say, say it! If you see something that needs done or something that needs changed, do it! Change it!
However, always remember to be treating those around you the way you want to be treated.

This past weekend (March 28-29) brought loads of excitement, learning, challenge and an inadequate amount of sleep. The Leadership Institute hosted two days worth of lectures. They called the weekend "Leadership Institute Political Boot camp."

Everything from how to wear a name tag correctly to exciting projects to put together for your campaign volunteers was discussed.

What I found to be the most interesting aspect of the boot camp, though, was how the TeenPact students and the other students (college student or other high school students) interacted with one another and how different the were from each other. There was a marked difference.

A slight disclaimer, before I continue writing and you continue reading:
I strongly recommend you send any high school-college aged students in your household to a Leadership Institute event. They are very informative, you learn and grow a lot, and basics on running a part of a campaign (and some not-so-basics on running a part of a campaign). LI (Leadership Institute) teaches the mechanics of politics, plus (during the boot camps) they give students LOTS of excellent books! :) (always a bonus for home schoolers and other interesting in researching and getting involved in politics)

All that to say, I was shocked at the marked difference between TeenPact students (current or former) and the other students in the classroom.

At the beginning of boot camp Derin (LI program director) informed the students to take "as many notes as possible" during each lectures. There were two notably different reactions by the students already. There was the "ah, yes. Notes, no problem." reaction and the "As many notes as possible?!! Oh my gosh.. I cannot leave one word from the slides out of my note book!!" The latter reaction came mainly from the home school students (we can, after all, be an oddly compulsive group of people). But the second, more noticeable difference were the interactions with the students and the speakers (which only accentuated my respect for TeenPact professionalism). The first guest speaker had just completed his dynamic speech and, obviously, an applause was in order. Every student applauded, by the TeenPacters looked around the room, expectantly for the other students to give a standing ovation, as they had... and they did.
Upon the completion of the second speaker though, the TeenPacters tuned into the difference in speaker protocol and did not stand but merely applauded.

Fascinatingly enough the TeenPact students either ate with one another or ate with their parent - not necessarily with the other students. Talk about segregation! (Speaking as a TeenPact student) We knew the protocol and the expectations of the other TP students and this was a different group of people with different motives behind their desire getting politically involved... with different moral standards.

I fully support the Leadership Institute and will continue looking for, and when the opportunity arrives, attend their events. But, honestly, after this weekend I don't see myself getting any more involved with politics outside of volunteering. Some politics are ugly, and it appears to be a dog-eats-dog system. C'mon, I would have a guilt complex just thinking about publishing extremely negative information about my opponent! Does this mean I won't think critically or get involved? Absolutely not. Analyzing can be a shear pleasure and I enjoy writing (as you see). Research is a hobby of mind as is photography, attending political events, making connections with people in higher office than myself (which doesn't take a whole lot since I'm only a student), and learning gas much about leadership and standing up for my beliefs (based on a Biblical standard) as I can.

I will stay involved, I will use my voice, I will take action... But I will also do my best to be above reproach, go above and beyond and raise the bar of expectation.
Will you do the same?

For more information on sending your high school student to a TeenPact school or Leadership Institute event please visit their web sites:

For more conservative political resources visit:

Many internship programs are involved for students who wants to get involved

Monday, March 23, 2009

First Spring Rain

It rained today! All day - on and off, hard :)
Thunder and lightening graced the outdoors as enormous bundles of water careened to earths crust, splattering against pavement and dry ground. Withered grass has suddenly held a hint of green in it’s stalk, reaching high into the sky as if saying “Ah! I am revived! Winter is coming to a close, and flowers will soon bloom… and we shall enjoying dancing in a gentle, warm breeze as we used to do at dusk on a Spring day…”

There will be bunches of exploding blooms spilling out of a crystal vases in the center of every single surface in our house in just a few weeks!
I cannot wait until I can post pictures of all of Spring’s beauties!!

However, I am getting ahead of myself and there are just pictures of Spring showers to share with the world! I hope you enjoy them! Have a great ante-winter week :)

Okay, this picture was taken more like mid-Summer, but the clouds are beautiful!!
Spring rain 2009 :)

Birds flying before a storm

Clouds looming over head

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Longing for Spring

Moths playing hide and seek amongst some mintfront-porch Fusia
Frost-covered mums
Our blooming crab apple tree
right after spring shower

The major theme in a lot of blog posts that I have seen this week are Spring-based. Stinky for someone who still has a few weeks yet until winter is "over." Unfortunately we can still get blizzards through April, here in the great plains. I am so jealous of y'all who get to experience the wonderful fragrance of fresh blooms already! Can you send some of your spring-time over here please?

Because I've been pouting about not having any spring time here I figured I could at least fantasize about it and look at last years pictures of our wonderful spring blooms... but then I just couldn't help but share!
I hope y'all enjoy :)
Have a wonderful week and superb weekend!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Paper Craft Wednesday

True, it's a Valentines card, but it's my favorite card this year (so far :) This picture may seem a bit confusing at first. I created a base card (using red card stock) and then a second, which (when folded) was half the size of the base card. So it's actually two cards glued, one on top of the other. You can open up the card either way, for a note, open the right side, and for the floral picture you open up the pink card on the left.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

He Knows His Plans for Me!! :)

Gals 2 Gether Formal 12/07Gals 2Gether Spring Tea 6/08The girls and I after the Tea 6/08
Top: Me :)
Bottom row (L to R): Emily, Rachel, Paige, Kate
For several weeks I have been muling over the different options out there after I graduate. Different colleges, internships, trades, jobs, traveling opportunities... the list goes on... and on... and on!

Hardly being able to keep my mind off the anxiety inducing, pain causing subject (which has a side-effect of twitching) I've tried discussing the topic with mom. Both of us have come up with different strategies to attack the unnerving fact that I must step outside "The Big Door."

Actually it's not that unnerving. I have done lots of traveling throughout my life, and have family just about everywhere in the US :)

However, as I was reading through some of my note books about my goals, dreams, thoughts, passions, desires and what "makes me tick" (although using that expression causes me to think of a clock.... not something someone enjoys doing....). The common theme throughout all these note books and goals and visions for my future actually has to do with woman's/ girls ministry.
I started a girls Protocol group called Gals 2Gether. For two semesters we worked through a wonderfully enjoyable little book called "Protocol Matters." Actually we read through the book.. while discussing interesting topics regarding cultures view on beauty, the Christian beauty, cultural issues, manners, etiquette, what would be fun to do next year... etc.. etc..

As a celebration of our success in the completion of Protocol Matters we enjoyed a spectacular formal tea party in December of '07. Not only was the party fun in the sense that we were well mannered "ladies"... but we also enjoyed smashing Cream Puffs between our hands... at each other... After this we exchanged gifts. Before we started the book each girl was assigned another girl in our group. This was her "secret sister." The sister was supposed to find out as much as possible about the other girl without being found out. Then she bought and gave a gift to her based on the girls likes and hobbies.

As I look through the filled-out questionnaires handed out to each one of the girls the first day the group met at a local coffee shop, I have to smile. It was so much fun chatting, giggling, sharing experiences in life, laughing, relating to one another, getting odd looks from the college students who were "working" on their lap tops... :)

Watching each girl grow, mature and strive to become who God intended her to be is one of the most fulfilling satisfying things in life!

Perhaps doing what God intends me to do after high school is as simple as continuing and growing in what I am already doing!

"... To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes; the oil of gladness instead of mourning; And a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor!"

Psalm 60:3 NIV translation

Warmth for Winter

* Burnt-orange nail polish
*feather-down, fleece-lined blanket
*Hot "English Breakfast" tea, if a tsp. of whipped honey
*Pictures of tropical islands
*knitted scarf
*An adorable puppy to sit on your lap
*blazing fire
* Basic Message Oil
6 tsp. carrier oil of your choice
8 srops of essential/ fragerance oil of your choice
Blend the two together, well. Warm up the oil before using - make sure to message between your fingers and your cuticals.
.... any questions?