Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Rough Year

As 2011 comes to a close I can only reflect on what has happened this year and take away what I can. Grow and learn from past experiences. This year has been a rough year for me and my family, but I did not realize how hard this year was for me until now. I've been hurt this year by those I loved, betrayed by those I thought were closest to me and my whole life was moved. It has been a long year and I am happy to say goodbye to 2011. 

As I begin 2012, I start thinking what I've done wrong and where I could have done better and what I really want 2012 to be about. I want to recover from everything that has happened this year and finally, truly feel happy about where I am. Doubt myself less. Become more confident. Do not second guess everything and the comparisons have to stop.

Being in high school, comparisons are easy to make since you are placed in a group with those who are all the same age and are all taking the same classes. It's all too easy for me to guilt myself by comparing how much more others did, but this year that isn't fair to make. We're all fighting a hard battle throughout this crazy thing called life and some years are harder, much harder, than others. 

My hope for 2012 is that it is a bit easier than 2011, for me, my family and for everyone around me. I hope your 2012 is filled with joy, love and happiness!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Positive Way to Start the Day

Beginning during the month of September, I started attending church services on Sunday mornings. Living in Seattle, one of the least religious cities in the United States, going to church is not something that everyone does. It has not been easy finding friends that also attend services!

Attending church, growing my faith and having a new community that I could grow with was something that I had always wanted. Religion was never pushed upon me and for that I am grateful, I was able to start going to church when I wanted to. Due to that, I have been going to church by myself! It is something that I value as a time to find myself and what I believe in, a time that I can spend reflecting on myself. 
I have been attending St. James Cathedral since September since I attended an Easter service this year there and I felt comfortable. Today I branched out and tried something new, and it was by far the best decision I could have made. I attended service at Bethany Community Church and I loved the community that was there. I was welcomed with open arms and the greater made me feel incredibly comfortable. This church has the perfect balance of what I am looking for, definitely worth all the nerves I had this morning!

I know that many are not religious or do not go to church in my community, but I would love to challenge many to try it. Always been pulled to attend a service but didn't know where? Try it! The likelihood that you will end up somewhere that you are welcomed is high, they are excited to see you there with them. That is why I make sure that I smile at everyone during service, you never know how far a small smile can go to someone who is also nervous! My favorite part of attending today was working with the Giving Tree that BCC organizes. I feel so blessed to pass on what I have been given to others. 
In previous years, Christmas was not highlighted because of the religious reasons. We celebrated Santa, receiving gifts and celebrating the holiday season. This year, I'm challenging myself to focus on the true meaning of the season and what it means for me. As I start celebrating Advent today, I hope that all of you have an absolutely beautiful holiday season! What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Mish-Mash

  • Being sick on your birthday makes it incredibly less fun than it should be! Other than a fun dinner with friends on Friday night, the birthday celebrating stopped there. Spending my weekend in bed was not what I had planned.
  • I am incredibly blessed! Gifts or no gifts, the people that I was able to spend my birthday with make me smile and truly bring out the best in me. 
  • I only have to make it through another 24 hours of school and then I am done for the week! Woohoo!
  • Having understanding teachers is an incredible blessing! 
  • Extra late starts are the best decision my school has ever made. Starting a full hour and five minutes later than usual was a fantastic way to start the day on my birthday!
  • I am finally getting caught up with TV. I am loving The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills! Do you watch this show? Do you love the drama too? I find myself curling over with laughter during most episodes! 
  • Polka-Dot balloons are my absolute favorite! They brighten my day and I hope the helium doesn't go out of it for a while!
  • I'm incredibly excited for Thanksgiving this year! I am hoping to volunteer at my church and serve a meal there, wish me luck! This is something that I have wanted to do for years and I'm finally taking initiative to do it myself.
  • My love for Patagonia grew over the weekend as I added this new vest to my closet! I wore it today and it was perfect, so cute and so comfy!
  • I wish it was easier to upload pictures in a cute style to the blog, I definitely don't mind putting the time into it but I just wish there was a way to make it happen faster. Getting better at Photoshop may help me with this goal. 
  • What are you thankful for this week? Any special Thanksgiving traditions?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Birthday Week!

Source
On Friday I turn 17! I'm incredibly excited about this birthday, I can't wait! Getting to my birthday will not be an easy feat, I have quizzes and tests that will make this week a crazy one! Please, excuse my absence as I try to keep my head above water. I cannot wait to share all the exciting things I have planned for my birthday with you this week. I hope everyone has a fabulous week! This week, more than any other I've ever had, I am wishing for it to be Friday on Monday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Balance

Being a student at a challenging high school can be insanely stressful and difficult at times. It is hard for me to visual a bigger picture, one that includes more than the quiz in Biology that I may have tomorrow. Stress has been something that I have been trying to get rid of, I have had way too much of it in my system for way too long. It was something that was self inflicted and if I was to continue, it would have ended badly. The stress was no longer a motivator and was taking over my life. Never let stress become a motivator.

This is my junior year of high school, the one that is more important than all the rest. How I do this year will effect much more than it ever has before. It's a lot to think of and a lot to be concerned about. Since middle school I would stress and that would help me get things done. The assignment would always get done, even if I had to stay up until midnight or later to finish it. This year, sleep comes as a priority, since I find myself absolutely exhausted if I don't get enough sleep, which only becomes more of a hindrance later in the week. Decreasing the time that I can do with as I please, since I chose to spend more of that time sleeping, I have to be careful with the time that I have. This year, I have decided not to waste my time crying over a quiz that I'm not ready for and sit down and study for it instead. What needs to get done will be done, because school is my priority.
[Photographed by MAT | Vashon Island Farmer's Market]
Junior year requires many to put their priorities in focus and decide what truly is important to them. School has been a priority for me since 6th grade, when I first received grades, and will continue to be until I have graduated. Classmates may not have this same priority and may want to spend their time doing something else, but time spent on school will never be a waste because it is a priority for me. It's hard to find balance when a priority, such as schoolwork, requires so much time. It requires more than just time; it involves emotion, effort and begins to define who you are. I began to lose sight of what I enjoyed and turned 100% of my attention to my schoolwork. Some may say this is admirable, but I say it is silly. I lost motivation and am still struggling to get it back. 

Through this process, I found that my hobby of photography, is something that I need to spend time on. It fills me with happiness and joy that no 100% on an assignment could ever do. Baking is an activity that used to be stressful, but as I have began to worry less, I found that baking is something that I do need to make time for. It's something personal that makes me happy, something I do for myself that I can share with others. I love it. Blogging comes into play here too, I love it too. I love sharing, recording and remembering my life at different times and stages. It can encompass other passions of mine, such as photography and baking which I thoroughly enjoy. I admire the relationships and communities that we build from our blogs. I hope my little corner of the Internet can become a place of joy, happiness and community as the months and years go on. Blogging is much more than just maintaining a blog for me, it means much more. This hobby makes me happy, it doesn't matter to me that my friends may think it's weird, t makes me happy and life is too short to not be sad because you aren't being true to yourself.
[Photography by MAT | Vashon Island Farmer's Market]
This school year, I am challenging myself to find balance with my priorities and doing what I love to do. I will let the way I use my time reflect that, then I can happily go on weekend adventures with friends, spend my day baking and do well in school, while maintaining balance. It will not be easy and it will be a constant struggle, but there is something to be said about being aware of what is important to you. Then you begin to live the life that you want to live, not the one that is just passing you by.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Apple Pie Cookies

[Photographed by MAT]
 I spent the day in the kitchen baking these, they turned out absolutely delicious. There is something to be said about spending all day working on something and have the results be magnificent. I do not get that feeling enough from school, not as much as a I should. It was lovely to spend my day, yes these did take all day, doing something that I loved. 

Baking is something that I have found more enjoyable as the years have passed by. I get more comfortable with the instruments in my hands and when reading the recipe, it does not seem as daunting as it once did. This task that I once found stressful has now become something I thoroughly enjoy. Spending my weekdays at school, working hard on homework assignments, it's hard to fit in time to do what I love. Thankfully, today we were given the day off. A day to breath and relax, to sleep in past 8 o'clock and be who we truly are. Do what we would like for a day that would typically be spent going from class to class, counting down the minutes until the school day is over.  Days off are not as appreciated as I think they should be. But today, I lived every moment of the time that I was given. 

I baked without pressure, with only hope that my hard work would pay off today. Enjoyment rushed through me the second I took the first bite. These morsels will melt in your mouth and the hard work that they require will be incredibly worth it once you have them to enjoy. I wish I would have doubled the recipe so I could enjoy them for twice as long. I loved the way that I was able to spend my day baking, running errands in between time that the dough needed to chill and photographing everything along the way.
[Photographed by MAT]