Wednesday, March 27, 2013

To Each His Own

Will Rogers once said, "We will never have true civilization until we learn to recognize the rights of others" and, I must say, I have to agree. One of, if not the number one, greatest things about this country (aside from fried cheese, corn dogs, and fried Snickers) is our freedom. We are free to serve or believe in whatever higher power we choose, voice our opinions in front of the President's house, and to own a gun for sport or for protection. I don't set out to tell others about my faith, unless of course they ask. I have no desire to protest animal testing, war, or anything else for that matter. I have no interest in running out and buying a gun. That certainly does not mean, however, that I do not think other people should voice their religious opinions, protest whatever they wish til they are blue in the face, or purchase as many guns as they want (legally) if they so wish. Who am I to say what others should or should not do? Who am I to decide what is right or wrong? I know who I will answer to when I leave this world, and it isn't the government, my mother, or the little old lady sitting front and center at church every Sunday.

The meaning of life is something I believe everyone is trying to figure out, consciously or subconsciously. Whether we like it or not, we may never truly figure it out until we leave this earth. I do know, however, that it is important to be happy. Life is short. Too short. And too many people spend their entire lives trying to be happy but never succeeding. That is sad. I think that if you are truly happy with your life and your choices, you are doing all right. And I believe that keeping anyone from doing something that would make them truly happy is disgraceful. You may not agree with it, you may not like it, but guess what? You don't have to do it. It's so simple! It is not our job and it is far too time consuming and exhausting to try and control other people's lifestyles. Although the issue at hand today has to do with marriage equality, that is not the only controversy this idea applies to. This goes for anything. You want to drink and I don't? Great! Drink away. You want to sing karaoke every Saturday even though you and everyone else knows you are a terrible singer? Sing your heart out, baby. You want to wear cargo shorts? By all means, be my guest! People should be entitled to do what makes them happy.

To quote my all time favorite movie, that's all I have to say about that.

Love, C

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bonfires, Bent Downtubes, Bats, and Badasses.

When someone hears "college spring break", the first thing that people in this area think is Panama City. PCB is the hotspot for spring break and is where the majority of people choose to spend their week of freedom. I, however, chose to do something very different for spring break this year and, quite frankly, it was one of the best weeks I have had. My spring break was better than yours, no doubt.

A couple of years ago, my dad became interested in hang gliding. He headed up to Lookout Mountain in Trenton, Georgia and was hooked. He soon bought me an intro package where I got to take a few flights on the small training hill and do a tandem flight. Unfortunately, my head wasn't in it at that time. I was getting ready to go off to college and had my mind on other things. So I did that first lesson and didn't go back until last week. I knew how much my dad loved the sport and how hard he had been working to finally run off the mountain, so I was pretty excited when he suggested I take part in the park's spring break week. I hoped I would have a good time, but was concerned that there wouldn't be anyone to hangout with and that I would end up being bored. Now I just have to shake my head at myself for thinking that way.

Pretty much as soon as I arrived, I started meeting some of the coolest and chillest people ever. I feel like I laughed more with these people in just 5 days than I have this entire semester. I was refreshed to find such down to earth fun people to hangout with around the bonfire. I wouldn't have wanted to drag myself through cave mud and water with any other people. I don't think these people understand what an impact they had on me. Whether I was freezing cold being drug through frost covered grass on the training hill, army crawling through the cave "pancake squeeze" in mud caked clothes, watching the sunset from the top of the mountain, or sitting around the bonfire laughing about the things that happened during the day, I was happy and having a great time. I felt infinite.

Training at lookout starts you out at a "small hill" where you learn how to properly launch a hang glider, fly straight and make minor corrections, and eventually land on your feet. So, the small hill is where my new buds and I spent our 5 days. For the first 3 days I worked on perfecting my launch, flying straight, and trying my darnedest to land on my feet instead of rolling in on the hang glider wheels. Finally, on Friday, I landed on my feet after my second flight of the day. To someone who has never tried hang gliding, this may not sound like much of a feat. To anyone who has tried hang gliding, you know why I was ecstatic. The sound of my instructors and buddies yelling from the top of the hill after I landed it made me grin like a little kid. I think that was the moment where I knew I was in trouble. I am hooked. I was trying to explain to my roommate earlier how I felt about it all and the best way I could think to describe it was, "I feel like a wolf that has just tasted blood for the first time; I've GOTTA HAVE MORE." And that is the truth. I can't stop thinking about getting back out there to the hill so that I can get 4 foot landings and move on to the big training hill.

While I was learning on the small hill, my dad was over on the big hill re-qualifying to launch off the 1400 foot mountain. And guess what? He did it. After time and time again of dad going up to Lookout and leaving without launching due to the wind, he finally got to launch last week.
Photo Credit: Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding

I am so incredibly proud of him. I've always known my dad is cool, but this obviously takes it to a whole new level. I am so glad that he got interested in this because, had he not, I wouldn't be into it either. I cannot wait until I am ready to launch off the mountain right after him so we can soar together.

This week had a huge effect on me. Not only have I found something that I am genuinely excited about, I learned a thing or two about myself and where I want to be and what I want to do with my life.  Life is too short to sit around getting trapped in the mundane rituals of life. I'm not saying that I'm going to quit school and move to Lookout (although I did toy with the idea a few times while packing to come home). Life requires balance. Just like The Byrds sang years ago, there is a time for everything. A time for fun, a time for learning, a time to relax, a time to be quiet and a time to speak up. A time to fly and a time to drive back to real life in order to make flying again a reality instead of just a dream.

It was hard to come back to school after such an eye opening awesome week...but here I am. I have come back to reality with a better idea of what I want to do in the future than I have in a long time and that is a great feeling. It's going to take some discipline to make myself focus on school this week, but I'll be back at that hill soon enough.

P.S. If my words have inspired you (of course, don't they always?) to look into hang gliding, start here:

Love, C

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Catch My Disease

I have mentioned my (high school) job at the Honda dealership in several of my posts. I worked here part time during my senior year and the summer after and then sadly said goodbye as I set out for my Freshman year at college. I didn't know it at the time, but I have kept in pretty regular contact with this old desk and switch board. The office manager is nice enough to ask me to work during school breaks or even an occasional weekend. Needless to say, I am always available upon request due to my sad excuse for a bank account during these poor years of college. Anyway, I like this job for many reasons. For one thing, it is a pretty easy concept. I answer the phone, transfer the customer to the designated area, and wait for the next phone call. There is an occasional paper to file or temporary car tag to make but, other than that, I am free to do my own thing (which mostly consist of Facebook creeping and pinning on Pinterest..OH and making outfits on Polyvore that I will never be able to afford in real life.) All that to say, my favorite thing about coming to work here is that it makes me want to write. During the semester at school I have no time to write because I am so wrapped up in studying and doing things with ADPi and any free time I have is used for other...activities. This semester, though, I am really going to give some effort to reading and writing outside of school. For someone with a major like mine (JOURNALISM Public Relations) one would think that all I do is write. Unfortunately, that is not really the case. Writing for school is also very different than writing on my own. School writing has no passion and usually little interest. I do spit out enough words on a page, hit print, and hope for the best grade possible. Then I forget about it. So, over a week into 2013, I have decided on my resolution. I am going to read and write more for me in 2013. I'm not talking about those sappy Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts novels either (no hate to those books by any means, either. That is what I read A LOT). But I want to challenge myself in 2013. I want to read Tolstoy and Steinbeck and Dickens. I want to read the classics. And I want to understand what I am reading and reflect on it. It is going to take discipline because unfortunately I have gotten into the habit of using the fact that I have to read/write/etc or I won't get a grade as a way of making myself do it. No more. So if anyone has any good books worth reading, let me know. I'm a little rusty in the whole book area right now.

In other news, I cannot wait to get back to school. Actually, I could wait on the school part. But I am excited to get back to my house. I got lots of cute stuff for the house for Christmas and I can't wait to put it all out! One example?
This precious Martha Stewart recipe tin! I love how old fashioned it looks. I've been working on putting all my recipes in it while I've been at work today. :)

Tonight after work I am going to a friend's band show downtown. They are really great...You should check em' out; Your ears will thank you. The Static Trees 

Another band I totally dig right now is Stornoway. Look them up. You're welcome, again.

I feel optimistic for this semester. I see good things on the horizon. My teen years will come to an end in about a month, so I know at least one good thing will come from the next few months. I'll be starting my "twenties"...When I say it like that, I don't know how I feel about it...I guess we'll find out, won't we?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

God has a plan.

"Weeping is not the same thing as crying; It takes your whole body to weep and, when it is over, you feel like you don't have any bones left to hold you up." Sarah Ockler, Twenty Boy Summer 

 Death happens every day. It is a part of life; It will happen to everyone. It is a natural and necessary part of our existance. However, it is unnatural and extremely unnecessary in some cases. The death of children is one of those instances. The tragedy that took place in Connecticut yesterday morning makes me sick to think about. I cannot even grasp the amount of evil and sickness involved in such an act. Murder is terrible and evil no matter what. But taking innocent children's lives definitely hits a different part of my heart. The fear those precious babies, both the one's that made it and the one's that did not, had to go through kills me. However, those children are now safe and happy and carefree. My heart literally aches for the parents that lost their babies yesterday. I am not a mother and do not know the full extent of love a parent has for her children. I do, however, know the amount of love I have for my two precious nieces and my nephew. So, as I said, my heart goes out to the families that lost one of the most precious gifts on Earth. I will continue to pray for those families and ask God to send them comfort and peace. 

Terrible things will happen, yes; it is inevitable. But God is with us and has a plan for all of us. He has not left us or forgotten us. He has a plan. 

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Plank-a-day, easy peasy recipe, and a few more need-to-knows

I am pleased to say that this little blog reached 700 page views today! Now I certainly did not start this blog to gain a following or become famous in the blogging world, but it is nice to know that at least a few people check out what you have to say. So, thanks to my few but faithful readers! :)

I was reading one of my favorite magazines yesterday and I came across a great idea. There were articles about several ladies who had committed to "tweeting" everything that they eat at the end of each day in hopes of eating less or eating healthier since everyone will be able to see what they are eating. Several of them lost over 30 pounds! Not only do I not have a twitter, I also have no shame, so I am not sure that this would work for me, but it is a great idea! There was, however, an idea that I think I will try. A lady started her own hash-tag on Twitter (#plankaday) and hundreds ended up joining in. Her idea was to spend at least one minute a day in the plank pose. Easy enough, right? I am going to try to commit to doing this because I know from my experience in Pilates that planks are THE way to go. Planks strengthen your core and force you to tighten just about every muscle in your body. Join me in the plank-a-day challenge; lets get that flat belly that I know we all want.

I published this and then realized how weird it was to talk about a flat belly and then put a Mexican dish immediately following. All I can say is...I use low-fat ingredients. :)

Cheesy Taco Salad
This is a recipe I have put together from several different recipes

One pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
Half a head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 1/2 cups low-fat cheddar cheese, grated
One packet taco seasoning (homemade is great and easy)
Jalapenos (optional)
Can of black beans (corn would also be good in it)
Small onion, minced
Light sour cream (about one cup, but I like a little more!)
Jar of salsa (or homemade if you have time)
Bag or tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 375. Brown ground beef in a skillet with a little bit of oil and the onion. Then add the taco seasoning and some water (whatever it calls for on the seasoning packet.) Set aside.
Place a layer of chips in a casserole dish. Then layer with some of the beans, some salsa, some meat, some lettuce, and some of the cheese. Then put another layer of chips, and another layer of all of the fixings (be sure and save 1/2 cup of cheese for the top.) Top with remaining cheese and some jalapenos. Place in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt (not too long or the chips will get soggy.)
Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream on top (you could mix the sour cream in with the layers but warm sour cream kind of freaks some people out.) A lot of recipes call for Catalina dressing, so you could have that on the table if anyone wants it. :)