Sunshine Bloggers Award

Once again, I’m a bit behind regarding awards.  Oh well!  Better late than never!sunshine-blogger-award-300x300

A while back, Aimee from Pocket Writes nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  It’s always an honor to be considered–especially since this award has to do with being uplifting and encouraging.  Thank you so much, Aimee!

Every award is different and this one involves three things: thank the person who nominated you, answer the given questions, and nominate others.  I’m covering two out of those three things.  (See my Award Policies page for more info on why.)

Now for the questions…

What is your biggest fear?

I can handle most insects, but I’m downright terrified of centipedes.  The way they move with all those legs… ICK.  On a more serious note, I think my biggest fear is mediocrity.  I want so badly to make an impact on the world, to help people and bring light and hope to dark places.  It’s so easy to fall short of dreams for the sake of what is easy and comfortable.  But I’m doing my best to make the most of each day, knowing that big dreams happen in small steps.  I’ll get there someday.

Which one thing are you addicted to?

Nutella.  Oh my gosh.  It’s dangerous how much I love Nutella.  Any jar around me needs to be locked up lest I eat the entire bottle in a terrifyingly short period of time.

Do you have any pet peeves? What are they?

I hate it when people don’t shut doors all the way.  I really dislike anything that glows in the dark when I’m trying to sleep.  Also, it drives me crazy when my parents talk in loud voices early in the morning.  My room is right next to the kitchen and the sound goes right through my door, waking me up.

What is your perfect idea of a ‘relaxation day’?

Lounging on my couch in pajamas drinking tea while reading a book or watching Netflix is absolute heaven.  I also really enjoy shopping, especially this time of year when all the stores are filled with sweaters and scarves.

How do you deal with stress?

I tend to avoid it as much as possible.  For example, in college I rarely procrastinated because the threat of being stressed was too formidable.  Most of my essays were written a week before they were due.  When stress does happen, my worldview tends to shrink to the point where I get tunnel vision.  Everything is suddenly about me, my stress, my problems.  I tend to throw a pity party for myself and forget about other people’s issues and concerns.  I think that I become a pretty icky person to be around–which is why I go to great lengths to avoid being stressed.

Which is one habit of yours you wish to improve/change?

We sell these little pumpkin-shaped chocolates at my family’s apple orchard.  Throughout the day, I constantly snitch them.  I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember.  It’s an awful habit and I sometimes feel guilty… but I also love eating chocolate.

Where’s your favorite ‘hanging out’ spot?

Probably my bedroom.  There’s nothing better than curling up in bed with a book.

How do you prefer to spend your weekends?

I currently work most weekends, but if I had them free, they would be lazy with a few social plans thrown in.  If I’m busy one day, I like to have the other to relax and recharge.  I love sleeping in, reading and drinking tea, spending time painting, or going for a morning bike ride.  Sundays involve church, but the rest of the day is mine.  I like spending afternoons doing non-energetic social things like shopping or hanging one-on-one with a friend.

Are you a movie buff? What are your favorite movies?

I wouldn’t call myself a buff, but I really enjoy watching movies and never miss watching the Oscars.  Favorites include Midnight in Paris, The Princess Bride, Ever After, While You Were Sleeping, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Sound of Music, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and anything from the Disney Renaissance.

Which event do you feel changed your life the most?

There have been several, but my first major life event happened my freshman year of high school.  Believe it or not, up until this point, I was a committed basketball player.  I started playing on teams as early as they were offered.  In middle school, my winters were consumed with multiple practices a night.  But as I got older, the game became more serious and it was evident that I wasn’t able to keep up.  My teammates excelled while I regressed.  I had a coach tell my mom that, “I can’t have your daughter on the court screwing things up while the other girls could be out there winning.  If anyone had been cut this year, it would have been her.  Be thankful she’s out there at all.”

Scarred from a diminishing basketball career, I entered high school and joined the marching band.  There, I made tons of new friends with whom I shared more interests than any of my former teammates.  At the end of the season, all my band friends started talking about how they were joining the Speech team once winter came.  Up until this point, I had planned on staying in sports… but I started to reconsider.  Why stick with a sport I’m not good at with people I don’t like very much when I could be giving speeches and hanging out with my friends?

Long story short, I joined Speech.  Looking back, this decision was absolutely HUGE.  Speech shaped me in ways that sports never would.  It gave me a chance to write and perform my own pieces, to become a comfortable public speaker, and hang out with my friends.  My Speech career was extremely successful–I ended up captaining the team for two years and competing in the State tournament.  In college, I was able to judge meets assist in coaching for the local high school team.  Through Speech, I gained my voice, learned leadership, and picked up critical thinking and analysis skills that I know will play a key role in my future.

What did your ten-years-younger self think you’d be doing right now?

Honestly, I don’t think twelve-year-old Amelia had many lifelong ambitions.  She wanted to go to college and someday get a boyfriend.  She’d be pleased to know that I now have a degree, but probably wouldn’t be too thrilled that her twenty-two year-old self has yet to date anyone.  It’s okay, little Amelia.  There’s still lots of time.

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Thanks, again, Aimee for the nomination!  She answered similar questions to mine, so be sure to visit her Sunshine award post to see her answers.  Check out her blog as well–she’s a really good writer, likes books, and does really cool cross-stitching.

Up North

We Minnesotans have a vague term to refer to any vacation at takes place north of the Twin Cities. (Another vague term to refer to St. Paul and Minneapolis.) My mom has meetings and events for work this week that spans much of the northern half of my beautiful state. She let me tag along and I am now enjoying my one vacation of the summer. So here I am… Up North.

This morning, we drove to a little town called Grand Marais on the shore of Lake Superior. Due to meetings taking up her time, I had the chance to wander on my own most of the afternoon.

Guided by my instincts, I found myself perched on a rock along the shore of the vast lake. Waves pounded below my feet. Children laughed and splashed in puddles under the watchful gaze of their parents. Groups of tourists trundle by, heading to the nearby lighthouse.

It has been a hectic few months. I graduated college and plunged myself into a full-time job. Hanging over my head are nagging questions about where the future will lead.

Sitting by the lake, the huge life decisions faded away for the first time in months. For a brief half hour, there was only my bare feet, an encouraging book, and endless water.

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Tomorrow, we plan to hike small mountains, discover waterfalls, and drive five hours to our next stop: International Falls.

The problem with Spring Break

The problem with Spring Break is that, although you may start with the best intentions, you inevitably fail to get anything done.

On Monday, you open your notebook to work on one of the several creative writing pieces you need to finish.  Then you decide to spend your evening talking to your dad instead.

On Tuesday, you’ve got plans with friends in the cities with a five-hour gap between them.  “Great,” you think, “I’ll find a Starbucks and power through that Virginia Woolf essay!”  Upon arriving at the coffee shop, you realize you remembered everything but your computer.  So instead, you spend twenty minutes planning the essay and the remainder of the day is spent wandering around secondhand bookstores and thrift shops.

Wednesday is a designated pajama day and you mean business.  After all, writing in your pajamas is way better than writing in normal clothes… right?  Yeah, no.  You briefly glance at your copy of To the Lighthouse, then promptly decide to play Skyrim for four hours instead.

Thursday is more hopeful.  You force yourself out of bed, hit the gym, and before you do anything fun, force yourself to work.  Two essay paragraphs and a few new sentences on your creative pieces later, you resign to an afternoon of more video games.

As for Friday… on Friday you realize that you can only say, “Screw it, I’ll do it tomorrow” for so long.  It’s crunch time.  You need to sit down and actually write that essay.  But then you look out at the melting snow and lovely warm (well, warm for Minnesota standards) weather and think…

Screw it.  I’ll do it tomorrow.