Thursday, October 24, 2013

Special Collections Graduate Assistant: Humanity

I think maybe I am getting old enough for things to come full circle. Do you 20+ year old people experience this phenomena often? For some reason, my most recent move to Lexington has proved to be almost entirely retrospective, reflecting on many seemingly meaningless happenings of my past. Not that a Bachelor's degree is meaningless, it just did not mean a whole lot to me when I got it.

When I graduated from KCU with a Bachelor's degree in Humanities, I had no idea what I was going to be when I grew up. I mean, hello, what ARE humanities? The humanities are academic disciplines that study human culture, using methods that are primarily analytical,critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element—as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences.(Wikipedia). Yeah, riiiiiight.

 I accepted a shelver position at Bloomington Public Library and thus I started my journey. I only applied for this job because of my experience working in Young Library at KCU. After I experienced the enlightenment of 2010-2011 and decided to get my Master's in Library Sciences, I journeyed to Lexington.

During this time, I often asked myself what was the point of KCU? Of course I met some of my favorite people in the world there, but I also chose that school for their nursing program... Hmmm. 4 years, Humanities degree, in the foothills of Appalachia. No idea why.

Fast forward 2 years, and 3 ALDIs later I am back in Lexington and the things that just make sense are baffling. I am working in the Lexington Public Library System as a library assistant. I had interviewed for a page position when I lived here before and didn't get it. 5 years library experience, and they wouldn't let me be a page? Really? The full circle here is, I interviewed for my current job via Skype while I was still living in Illinois. I had the job BEFORE I even arrived. Talk about timing. (God, you are funny, heh...) I now know that working as a page at that particular branch is not where I need to be. My library is awesome. Best co-workers in the system, no contest. Networking, experience, knowledge as an LA, invaluable.

As if it could ever get any better. (Its too good now.) ALDI was awesome to transfer me all over the Midwest as I moved, but I was feeling a push to get out. Actually it was more like a punch to the gut, but that's neither here nor there. Just water under the bridge, I always say. I applied for a graduate assistant position at UK to work in the Special Collections Library. It was open to any graduate student, but I thought since I am library sciences, I would have a better shot. After all, we are each other's people. The position was working on a project entitled, "Immigrants to Appalachia." Appalachia you say? Oh, yes. I've heard of the region.

After accepting the grad assistant position, (Yeah!) I am experiencing circles that I didn't even know would become round. I never dreamed Appalachia and I would meet again other than the occasional visit, now I meet her weekly. I am listening to and indexing interviews with immigrants who migrated to Appalachia to work in the coal mines. I am becoming invested in these people, their families, their lives, their... humanity. What was that? I thought you said humanity? Interesting, I actually have a Bachelor's degree in Humanities from a university in Appalachia.

Of course this isn't a huge life-altering realization, but it IS relieving. Its like putting another piece in the puzzle of life spread out on a card table taking up all that space in your living room (You know who you are.) I like it when my puzzle looks more like the one on the box; the one Jesus put together.

Now if God would just finish this puzzle thing for me so I'm not up all night, or just staring at these pieces trying to figure out how they go together. If he would do it,  I could trust him better, right? Isn't that how it works? You scratch my back, and I believe in you more. Unfortunately, that's a battle I fight daily. I know I am not alone.

This makes me think of Proverbs 19:21, Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. When I looked up that verse, I noticed that the verse preceding is certainly relevant as well. v 20, Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Accept discipline. Oh, okay.  The LORD's purpose. Well if the small pieces are any indication of the LORD's purpose then it might be pretty fantastic.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Run Down

Hey people! Its has been a few weeks since you've heard from the Hays House in Southern Illinois, so I'll give you the run down!

I just finished my second semester of grad school, which means... I'm half-way done. Holla! This semester was straight-up difficult. I did some moving around and luckily my school can just be packed up in my computer bag to travel the country with me, but still, whew, it can get outta hand! I have turned in major grade-determining assignments when I lived in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan (for a short time in between my move.) All in one semester. I need to be reigning in the wild horses of my life and setting them out to pasture so I can chill! (And I can say this because in my past life I was a farm hand on a horse farm, see previous post.)

I finished the semester on the 3rd of May. It was a huge sigh of relief. I was considering taking summer classes to stay fresh and to maintain momentum, but I needed a break. I do plan to work on learning Spanish and reading lots and lots. Particularly some of the books I was suppose to read during the semester... oops! That was some full disclosure right there, I'm a LIBRARIAN student and I don't read everything. Embarrassing. But what are you gonna do? Just start from now and be better.

This summer break has been busy already, too busy to do any blogging even! But I have a few days off in a row and so around here we are cleaning, organizing, and I am catching you up!

On the 9th and 10th of May, I made a trip to see Mel, a gal pal from college. I was able to catch up with her in February when I was in the Indianapolis area and we had been chatting ever since. Even though it had been months since I'd seen her, we picked up right where we left off. I am so blessed to have friends that I can relate to when, most of my other friends are in different life stages than me. Mel and I have been on a prayer journey together hoping that we will be able to be roommates soon. Looking for a man is hard enough, but finding a quality roommate can be just as difficult! Still several ducks must be put in rows before another move can happen.For example, I hope to find a library job for my next move. I'm at currently working at my third Aldi due to my excessive moving... It's a problem. BUT, I trust God with the plan... "And now that you've seen "the plan", I'm gonna go... and show "the plan" to somebody else....!" Whats that from?! I need my girl, Katrina, right now! ;)

Mel and I at the most adorable shop in Nashville, IN. I tried on the sweetest dress while we were there. It was minty organza with a crisscross back. Shoulda gotten a photo, I know... Birthday present to myself in the future, maybe! 

Hello, if you know me, you know how I feel about Aldi. I LOVE it. Well, working there has its days, but shopping there is always awesome! And I love visiting other other Aldis. We went to the Aldi in Columbus, IN. It was so pretty and new. Strawberries were on sale for $0.99! Heck yes. Chocolate wasn't on sale, but who waits for chocolate to go on sale? If you do, you are wasting away your life. It's still a great price, though $1.49 for a bar of straight-up German dark chocolate. I'm serious, this stuff will change your life. You're welcome. Oh, and we drank some sparkling pink Moscato. Cheers!

On Saturday, my mom, sis, and I ran a 5k! We had all decided that we were totally not prepared for it, but gave it our all and did pretty well, actually! The race was to benefit the Nichole Hardcastle Foundation with Cystic Fibrosis awareness and finding a cure. It was started in memory of a girl I went to high school with. She lost her battle with Cystic Fibrosis in 2011.  :( I didn't know her well in school, but I remember having Spanish with her. Mostly I remember she was pretty and friendly. That's a pretty good way to remember anyone, I'd say. :)
Mom and Rachel just after the race. We are waiting on the results for the winners!

I ran the whole thing in 29 minutes and 29 seconds! What?! I was so proud of that time. Especially since I had only ran a 5k distance twice in my whole life! Crazy. Rachel finished with a time of 25:31 and Mom's was 36:37.

Rachel and her gazelle legs earned the second place spot for her age group!

My momma earned third place for her age group! Not too shabby!!
Sunday was Mother's Day. I hope you are not finding this out for the first time. If so, you better be calling yo Momma! We had a picnic at the park in town. The weather cooperated just fine and so we enjoyed the sun and some strawberries! 

Rachel, Maddy, and Harper in after our lunch. Maddy had been running around the park and came back to our blanket and in a concerned voice asked, "Maybe there is frogs in my shoes?" Of course not, we all answered. She had stepped in water and soaked her shoes through to her socks. The sloshy feeling probably made her think her worst fear was happening, frogs in her shoes! Mother's day crisis averted. 

Here's my mom and I. I could devote an entire blog to how great my mom is and all the fabulous things she does for us, like cut these awesome bangs I have. But I barely have time for this one, so just believe me, I have a GREAT mom! And even though I had to work later, it was the perfect afternoon to spend some time together and do something special. We need more excuses for picnics!

Rachel and I got Mom a garden cart for all her gardening aspirations. Maddy, Harper, and I were trying it out.

Mom and her babiest baby, Brooke!

We enjoyed some delicious caesar chicken wraps, chocolate covered strawberries, and sparkling grape juice. Maddy took a big swig after we casually told her it was juice. She gasps and says, "This is NOT juice." Oops. Not juice exactly.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Outfit Post: Sunday Librarian

Today is just a bit cold, but it didn't keep me from wearing my new-to-me sandals and floral dress to church today. I'm nearing the end of my 2nd of 4 semesters of librarian grad school. With this in mind, many of my new clothing purchases are librarian inspired.

I wish I was better at photography. Hmmm, I have a brilliant idea of what I want to capture. But, it never quite works out. Oh well, I like to dress up, whether or not YOU can fully appreciate it via photos. Just believe me. ;)

Of course, Maddy was acting in true 3 year old fashion and this is why you don't see her face much. And she had just taken a spill on the sidewalk. I cannot count how many times I have wiped out on that same sidewalk! I was always barefooted and band-aid kneed. (Knee-ed). Band-aids were on my knees.

Here's a pretty sunny picture of Rachel, Maddy's mom, and Maddy. I cannot wait for just a raise in degrees just a bit. Then we can spend more time outside and not pretend to look warm! And maybe by then, I'll be better at taking pictures! 

 My dress and sandals were the products of a day at the Salem Consignment Center. It is a huge store of lots of second-hand clothes, vintage, and more! We love it. The sweater was mine already, but I think we got it at a garage sale.  Eeek! I do not spend money on clothes. I probably should!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Off work on Friday!

 Hooray, I am off work today!
Time to get caught up on some HW.
Then I should do something FUN. Like... Bike ride!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Happy Birth Month, Puppies!

April is the birth month of my precious babies. This year they are turning 3 years old! Charger and Delorean were my graduation presents when I graduated KCU in 2010. I was moving out on my own to a farm house in the middle of no where Central Illinois. I was living rent-free in a 3 bedroom house taking care of my uncle's horse farm. Aside from a few awesome humans that I got to live with while I was there, the majority of my roommies were four-legged.

These two pups were the perfect companions. I remember wishing that they would grow up faster so I would have protectors when scary people knocked on my door at 10pm when I was all alone to tell me my neighbor's horses were out in my yard. (This may or may not have actually happened.) But now looking back, it feels like they were never puppies. They grew fast and they grew BIG!

When I moved to Lexington in 2011, I knew I couldn't have both puppies with me in an apartment. I was blessed to have my sister volunteer to adopt one into her family. After she moved into her first home in South Bend, I left from my visit with just one puppy. I said goodbye to Delorean. As I cried like a parent sending her child to kindergarten for the first time, I said to my sister, "She's such a good dog." And she really is. She has fit so perfectly into my sister's family. She is a great big sister to my nieces. They all love her. Little did I know, Charger and Delorean would soon be together again.

Anyone who knows me, knows that Charger isn't a dog to me. He is my companion. There is no better word for it. From the farm house times, to our 1 bedroom apartment in Lexington, Charger and I are basically inseparable. He keeps my pace up when I go for a jog, he helped me study for the GRE, he watches my favorite shows with me, he holds me when I cry.... Well, um, he looks at me when I cry. Charger is perfect.

And even when I find myself moving all over the Midwest at a moments notice, you can bet Charger is there with me in the passenger's seat getting hair everywhere...

Happy Birthday, Charger and Delorean!

First Photo is compliments of R&G Photography

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sending a piece of my heart to Guatemala

Before I moved back to my hometown in Southern Illinois I heard about a fabulous concert in Elkhart, IN. Actually it started out as just fabulous and then it became a once-in-a-lifetime concert, for me anyway. It was the Promises tour with Sanctus Real AND JJ Heller. At first when I heard Sanctus Real was coming to town, I was like, yeah. That would be pretty cool. But when I knew they were accompanied by JJ Heller... forget it. I'm so there. I was not even deterred in the least to know that no one was available to go with me. I was going alone but this show was being played for ME. Hello.

I started listening to SR when I was in high school. The coolest hippest station, 102.1 The Alien played their song, Say it Loud. My best friend and I were always jamming to this one. Loved it! "30 hour drive through the Rocky Mountains..." She bought me their CD, "Fight the Tide." And my love for them continued. ***WHHHHAAA A bug just flew into my eye!

Okay, I'm back. Now, JJ Heller. I was introduced to them in college by my dear friend, Jenn. I was going through breaking up with my fiance in 2009. You know that feeling you get when you're going through a break up and its like you forgot what it felt like to feel normal? It hurts so bad that you forget what day it is. It was then when I first heard Your Hands. Such a beautiful song. It spoke to my simple Sunday school self. It reminded me of the simplest truth of my faith. God is here. I am His and He is mine. Thats it. God used that song to lead me to the other side.

  Did I tell you I love Sanctus Real? As I've grow up their music has changed to me. It means something. I'm sure if you listen to Christian music at all you've heard Whatever You're Doing. A.MA.ZING. I have heard so many stories of that song touching lives. Its good. That song defined my transformation from struggling post college grad to "thriving" grad student. Thriving is a relative term... ;) Seriously that song encompasses my thoughts, fears, hope from 2010-2012.

Well, I haven't even mentioned Guatemala yet! I'm getting there! One of the speakers for the concert was a child advocate for Compassion International. Now, I actually have a history with Compassion. Flashback: I was a simple-minded, well-meaning high school student at a CIY conference. I was moved to sponsor a child, from Peru actually. I am not sure if God was telling be to do it, but I felt compelled. Who wouldn't? The stories of those children are so touching. I wasn't able to keep up with the payments. I felt so guilty about it. And as a high school student, thats what they were, just payments for something I'd signed up for. I meant well, but I didn't get it.

Since graduating in 2010, I have been trying to figure myself out. What is God telling me? What am I doing? Where am I living? (Resident of 3 states in 3 years, people. This is serious.) After talking to a inspiring woman I met in my last church, I have accepted that I am God's vessel. I am empty for Him to fill and pour out. I am made to BE Christ to the world. God has given me the responsibility to care for his people in whatever way I am presented. This lifestyle is a challenge. Everyday is a challenge. I like my time. I like my money.  I am learning what real stewardship is. More than my tithe belongs to God.

I knew this time, God was telling me to use my money to sponsor a child. I prayed as I listened JJ Heller and later the announcement was made that anyone choosing to sponsor a child tonight would receive Sanctus Real's new CD and get to meet the band. If that is not a sign from God that that is exactly what I was suppose to do, then WHAT IS?!

With that in mind, I'd like to tell you about the newest member of my family. :) Her name is Sheila. She is 6 years old and she is from La Trinidad, Guatemala. It was so exciting to look through the packet I got after I signed up. Her father is a farmer and her mother is a stay at home mom. She has 5 siblings. I am so pumped to support this little girl, write to her, and love her.

 Just 2 days ago I got an email from Compassion saying that they'd told Sheila that she has a sponsor. It gave me goosebumps. I came to the dining room table to eat breakfast with my family after reading that email and I cried over my raisin brand. She knows about me. She knows that someone is going to take care of her. She is going to have opportunities that she couldn't have without me. ME. Wow. Such a big responsibility. God has blessed me so much, honestly its an honor to give my money to help someone else. Now when I go to work, I do my job knowing that someone is depending on me. I have a purpose, even as a grad-student Aldi cashier. God has filled me and "my cup overflows with blessings." Psalms 23:5

The last song of the concert was Whatever You're Doing. I was already crying as they played. I didn't know how the show could get any better until Matt, SR's lead singer, welcomed JJ Heller to the stage to sing the last chorus of their song. Here I watched as two of the most influential musicians in my life sang one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard. I closed my eyes and I was alone with my God.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Making the Insides Happy

Now, I am suppose to be doing my homework right now, but alas, my motivation is lost. I thought maybe I'd find it here. I have been on a weight loss journey for over a year now. I didn't have that much to lose, but I am finding it impossible to reach my goal. It's a mere 8 pounds away! Usually, I am not a fan of "dieting" but I just HAVE to kick this last 8 pounds. The book boasts that you can lose up to 20 pounds, 4 inches, and 2 sizes in 6 weeks. It's definitely worth a try, right? Now if I can stick to it... that's the question.

 I kinda have this tendency of doing whatever I want. Ha!  If I feel like eating a cookie and I'm watching what I eat, it doesn't matter, I eat a cookie. I don't let anything stop me. Sometimes if I am able to change the way I think about what I am eating, I can stop myself. It's like needless eating is worshiping the god in my stomach. She calls to me and I obey her. Then afterwards, I always regret it. I'm sure most of us can relate to this feeling. How can you shake this?

Even though I know God loves me and I should honor him with my body, it seems like what I eat is no concern of His. I don't think this is true. But living it is dang hard!

It's time to take a step forward: trusting God with my career path, my love life, and my physical body. Tomorrow is day 1 of shred diet. I'll be praying it through! Let's get healthy!

The first picture was taken in 2011, I weighed approximately 178 and in the second photo was taken just a few weeks ago and I weighed 158.