Meet My Cats!

cats

In the short time that I have been home from college, I have been spending so much time with my feline friends, whom I missed very much while I was away.  Since this blog is about my life, I decided to introduce them to you!  During this last semester, I only got to go home once, and that was only two weeks into the term, so I went for months without seeing my cats!  What’s worse is that I barely left campus during this time (except for my trip to New York City, which was a blast!) and I had no animal interaction at all.  I believe it took an immense toll on my sanity and I am glad it’s over!

My dad is a veterinarian, so it’s safe to say that animals have been a part of my life from the very beginning.  My dad has been running his own practice for several years now, and we adopted most of our pets because of somebody who came into his clinic with an animal in need of a home.  We are thankful for them every day, so let me introduce you!

 

Barty Crouch

meet my cats! -barty crouch profile

Yep, you read that right.  We named him after an obscure character in Harry Potter, just because we love Harry Potter!  Although, there has been some debate as to whether he was named after Barty Crouch Sr. or Barty Crouch Jr.  Not that it really matters, because he has made a name for himself!  He is by far the naughtiest kitty in our household.  He relentlessly tries to eat everything in sight.  Furthermore, he remains unphased by our attempts to shoo him from the kitchen.  He is constantly getting into trouble!

meet my cats! -barty crouch naughty

Did I mention that Barty only has one eye?  He makes up for it with personality.  Barty came into our clinic as a tiny kitten.  He was brought in by a Humane Society that intended for him to get all fixed up and ready to adopt.  Unfortunately, Barty’s left eye was badly infected beyond the point of saving, and so my dad had to remove it.  If we hadn’t decided to adopt Barty, I’m sure he would have been picked up immediately by another nice family looking to care for a half-blind kitten.  In that case, we would have cursed somebody else with his naughtiness and he probably wouldn’t have been named after a Harry Potter character.  Still, he can be awfully sweet and he was an adorable kitten!

meet my cats! -barty crouch kitten

 

Ruthie Mae

meet my cats! -ruthie mae profile

We adopted Ruthie Mae about 10 years ago, and she has changed our family completely!  She is probably the sweetest and most sensitive cat you will ever meet.  She is also quite the chatterbox and hunter of socks.  When Ruthie Mae was brought into our clinic, she was a shy stray cat that had been caught in the woods by a client.  After a while, she warmed up to our entire family, and the rest is history!  Ruthie has tons of personality, which you can observe on her Instagram account!  Follow Ruthie Mae here!

One time my mom bought this bowl that she was planning to use as a fruit bowl.  Almost as soon as Ruthie saw the bowl, she decided that it was hers.  Ever since then, the bowl has been known as Ruthie’s bowl. 🙂

 

Jasmine

Jasmine is my cat.  I found Jasmine when she was just a kitten and I was only 8 years old.  Ever since then she has been my cat.  She is not very cuddly and she doesn’t really like to be petted.  She tolerates other people and animals only at the best of times.  But she is still my favorite!

meet my cats! -jasmine profile

Isn’t she pretty?

meet my cats! -jasmine window

 

… And Bow

Ok, I couldn’t leave out Bow.  Even though I am much more of a cat person, I do love the family black lab.  Bow is about 8 years old, but he still acts like a puppy, and sometimes I think he wants to be a cat.  We tease him for his lack of intelligence, but he is still a friendly dog.

*Update* -Bow unfortunately passed away in August of 2016.  He was unexpectedly put down due to an abdominal tumor.  As much as we teased him, we adored this lovable dog.  It was incredibly sad to see him go at such a young age, but I’m glad we got to be the family that loved him.

meet my cats! -bow profile

Thanks for checking out my critters!

How I Got A’s in All My Classes This Semester

classes

Sometime during high school I realized that I was a was a good student.  After that, I realized that I had to work to keep it that way.  I actually wish I had realized these things sooner because it seems that there is always one person ahead of you in some way.  Although I may have surpassed a lot of people in academics, there were certainly several people ahead of me in my high school class.  Just a few numbers can mean the difference between thousands of dollars in scholarship money or awards.

But I am happy to announce that I got A’s in all my classes this semester!  After several long months, all my hard work has finally paid off.  Even if you totally expected to receive good grades, it’s still worth being proud of!  Today, I would like to share some of the tips and tricks that helped me bump up my GPA.  Quick disclaimer: I realize that everyone is an individual, and there is no right or wrong way to achieve success in your classes.  What works for me might not work for you.  Nevertheless, if my tips can help anyone else, I am happy to share the love!  Without further ado, here is how I got A’s in all my classes this semester!

I study something I love

I hope this goes without saying, but loving your education makes college a million times more endurable.  If you truly love the content and the work that goes into your classes, then your classwork don’t seem nearly as grueling!  Because I am a theatre major, most people realize right away that I am in this major purely because I love it.  On the flip-side, I have talked to plenty of people who adore theatre and have maybe even considered going to college for it, but they are scared to take the plunge.  But, trust me, my college experience is a blast because I am studying something I am passionate about.  I couldn’t imagine it any other way!

I am not alone in my classes

Now, I realize my major is pretty different from other fields of study, but I still benefit so much from the community of theatre majors I am surrounded by.  In my theatre classes, I always have several of my friends right alongside me which makes it easy to ask questions and collaborate on our classwork.  We frequently discuss our classes and help each other with projects or problems that we encounter.  We also have a lot of fun  in our classes too!

I made plenty of time for my homework

This didn’t always mean that I started a project several weeks before it was due, it just means that I dedicated specific time for working on big projects or papers.  I more or less budgeted my time during the week to have enough time for schoolwork.  I almost never worked on homework after 8pm, just because I didn’t like it!  I still had plenty of time for all my schoolwork.  Productivity is key!  Here are 10 Ways to Be More Productive Right Now.  These habits saved me plenty of time!

I avoided stress

This goes along with budgeting my time during the week.  I mostly didn’t work after 8pm because I needed that time to relax.  I also passed up opportunities to hang out with my friends because I knew I needed to recover from a busy day.  Stressing about school will only have negative effects on your classes, so learn to take control of stress.  Here is A Foolproof Guide to Dealing With Stress in College; all these tips help me conquer stress in my own life which allowed me to focus on school.

I worked on having a healthy attitude

Can I emphasize the word worked?!  This semester was hard!  For the last two months of the semester, I was having a terrible attitude about school.  I didn’t like my classes and I didn’t like living in the dorms, but I got through it!  I tried really hard to have a good attitude and cut the negativity out of my life.  I failed a lot, but I still finished strong and got good grades in all my classes!  Sick of school? Here’s What to Do When You’ve Had Enough of This Semester.

I had a voice in my classes

If I had a problem with something in my classes, I felt no remorse in emailing my professor about my concern.  For example: in my public speaking class, I was giving a speech and a girl walked into class late and completely broke my focus.  She loudly opened the door and walked right in front of me as if I wasn’t even there.  I had seen this happen several other times during other speeches and I had had enough of it.  I emailed my professor and told him that it was very bad speech etiquette to enter a room while someone was giving a speech.  He addressed it with the class and it didn’t happen again.  Do you see what I’m saying?  You are paying for this education, so don’t feel bad about having a voice in your classes.

Confession:

Ok, here’s my secret: getting good grades isn’t very hard for me.  This doesn’t mean I effortlessly get A’s in all my classes all the time, it just means that I’ve worked hard to develop good habits that are now second nature to me.  Developing good academic habits is the easiest way to get straight A’s.  Because of the discipline in instilling these habits, getting A’s this semester was a breeze.

I am always looking for more college or study tips to help boost the good ol’ GPA!  Let me know what tips you have for getting A’s in your classes.  Is getting A’s something that comes easily to you?  Or are you still working on developing good academic habits?  I want to know!

Why Everybody Should Be A Diva

why everybody should be a diva

What do you think of when you hear the word diva?  Chances are you think of someone who is really stuck up, covered in expensive couture, and bossing people around.  The word “diva” has come to mean someone who is generally pretty dislikable, but still seems to get everything they want.

Hang on.  Here is the dictionary definition of what a diva is: a famous female singer of opera.  That’s it.

The term diva has evolved over time, and it is still evolving to this day.  It used to simply mean an accomplished singer, but I frequently hear it being used as an insult or descriptor word of somebody that is pretty high-maintenance.  But as the word has continued to evolve, I think the term diva has come to a completely different definition altogether.  I think the best and most relevant definition of a diva is a person who values their creativity, respects themselves as an individual, and draws attention to themselves because of their authenticity rather than their ego.

Some classic examples of modern divas would be Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Beyoncé (duh).  These people have achieved diva status not only because of their amazing talent but because they are truly one of a kind.  There are many other singers you may not be aware of who actually do sing opera, and sing it very well.  These people are first-class divas too.

This kind of diva sounds like someone I want to be.  In fact, I think anyone with a creative bone in their body should aspire to become their own brand of diva.  Since I aspire to be both a singer-diva and an overall-creative-diva, here are some steps I’m taking that may help you become a diva as well.

Divas don’t try to copy others, they love being themselves

Has anybody ever become successful by copying others?  No matter what field you are attempting to achieve diva status in, I’m sure you have people you look up to.  However, aspiring to be exactly like these people isn’t your key to success.  I think it’s wonderful that there are so many incredible people that feed my inspiration, but if I’m ever going to be that kind of inspiration for anyone else, I must be totally confident in being myself.

They look fierce all the time

Of course, it is natural to assume that divas “look the part” all the time, but that is not necessarily true.  Real divas own whatever they are wearing because they don’t get their confidence from the clothes they wear or how their makeup looks.  Divas wear whatever they like, even if it doesn’t conform to current trends.  In modern terms, these divas are called trendsetters.

Divas value their own creativity

One of the biggest mistakes an artist can make is selling themselves short.  It’s easy to compare yourself to others and see that you haven’t accomplished as much, but give yourself credit where it is due!  I am so guilty of undermining my success, but it is something I am working on improving.  Every diva knows that what she creates is worth her time and a success in itself.  So don’t sell yourself short!

Every diva knows that what she creates is worth her time and a success in itself. Click To Tweet

They may have fear, but they don’t let it stop them

Obviously, you can’t be a diva if you are constantly checking for approval from others.  No one can truly escape fear, but that doesn’t mean you should let it control you.  Any good diva will look fear in the eye and move on with her life.

Divas lift up themselves by lifting up others

One of the problems I have with the popular definition of a diva is that it seems to imply that divas don’t care about other people’s work, or will even slam the work of others to build herself up.  Divas are of course honest all the time, so when she sees something she likes, she will, of course, say something!  Take every opportunity to praise other divas; they will surely return the favor.  True divas are not threatened by the success of others.

True divas are not threatened by the success of others. Click To Tweet

They don’t need the approval of others to be happy

Divas sing or act or write or paint or do whatever because they love it.  Of course, it’s always nice to have the approval of others at hand, but take it or leave it because you should only be trying to make yourself happy.  If your work can make others happy, great!  But your work doesn’t need the approval of others to survive.

Divas graciously accept compliments and critique

Do you ever find it hard to accept compliments?  I know I do.  Sometimes all you need to say is a simple and sincere “thank you” and leave it at that.  When people compliment you, it’s because you earned it.  So like I said before, don’t sell yourself short and simply accept the good that others see in you.  Likewise, critique can be equally hard to accept, but the same procedure applies.  Whether or not you agree with the critique, smile and say thank you.  It’s the least you can do, and it may help you improve yourself.

While I am still aspiring to become a singer-diva, I am taking these steps so that I can become a diva in all areas of my life.  I believe that divas are a powerhouse of confidence, which they exude in all areas of their life.  In fact, I’m sure we all know plenty of divas in our own lives that are pretty fierce!  It might be your mom, or your best friend, or one of the upperclassmen at your school.  Either way, I believe we all have the power to be a diva.

Oh, and I also think guys can be divas too. 🙂

So, what do you think of this?  Do you like this new-and-improved definition of a diva?  Let me know in the comments what you think about aspiring to become a diva or some divas that you might look up to! 🙂

The Pros and Cons of Being an Introvert

the pros and cons of being an introvert

The spectrum of introvert to extrovert is something very near and dear to my heart.  I believe that understanding a little bit about yourself and the way your personality works can help you relate to others and take care of yourself.  I consider myself to be an introvert; more specifically my personality type is INFJ.  It just so happens that INFJ’s cling to their personality type the most, which explains why I wrote this post I guess!

My introverted friends and I bond through the struggles and perks of our personality type.  So, I thought it would be fun to put together this list and see if any of you relate!  Keep in mind that these are only the things I have observed from my own journey as an introvert, so I can understand if you can’t relate to all of these.  Afterall, though we may all fall somewhere on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, we are all individuals. 🙂

The pros of being an introvert

  1. People think you’re really smart because you internalize everything and emerge with earth-shattering deep thoughts.
  2. You have no problem shopping, eating, or working by yourself. It’s actually pretty fun to treat yourself to a coffee or a movie all alone.
  3. People praise you for your amazing listening skills.
  4. You can read people in an instant.  It’s like your superpower!
  5. You are energized by alone time, especially with a good book, your favorite movie, or a walk outside.
  6. You have an uncanny understanding of cats.
  7. Introverts can actually process larger amounts of information than most people in any given situation.
  8. You are able to rationalize and problem solve much easier than your extrovert counterparts.
  9. You are ambitious. Contrary to the quiet evenings and mild social lives, introverts have all the tools they need to pursue their goals fearlessly.
  10. You learn things easily and have an incredible ability for self-correction.

The cons of being an introvert

  1. It is really, really hard to relate with people who are different from you.
  2. Although you love being by yourself, other people don’t really understand why you are keeping your distance.  It’s not them, it’s you.
  3. Making phone calls is the worst.
  4. You have to rehearse what you’re going to say to someone before you speak to them.
  5. You overthink everything. Hopefully it doesn’t drive you insane.
  6. For some reason, people feel like they need to help you be more outgoing. (Please don’t)
  7. Group projects!!!
  8. You hate being late, but you hate being early even more.
  9. You feel misunderstood sometimes.
  10. You struggle developing relationships with people at the same speed as everyone else.

There you go!  Just some observations from the life of an introvert.  Despite all the pros and cons, I wouldn’t trade any of these characteristics for anything.  Do you relate to any of these?  What are your own struggles as an introvert?  To my extroverted friends, what are some of the struggles you face?   Let me know in the comments!

Learning to Be Still With God

learning to be still with god

Recently I have been discovering what it means to be still with God.  And by “being still” I mean lack thereof.

My brain and my overall presence has been pretty frazzled recently.  I have basically been on auto-pilot for the last month in attempts to make it through this semester in one piece.  It’s taken all my energy not to throw in the towel on school and maintain a healthy attitude.

Flashback to winter break:

Break was great because I actually got to rest my brain for a while.  I spent a lot of time at home coloring and listening to music. 🙂  I also felt like I was in a place where I was available for God to speak to me- and He did.  My life was quiet, my brain was quiet, and I was still.

“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”  -Psalm 37:7

Well, I’ve been kind of failing at the “being still” part and the “presence of the Lord” part.  I didn’t even realize it until after weeks and weeks of a busy schedule that I haven’t been still at all.  That just goes to show you how effectively this world can sneak up on you.  It feels like driving a car and getting caught up in your thoughts until you realize that you’ve driven into the middle of nowhere.

I’d like to give you a little insight that I’ve picked up in the last couple days, so hopefully you can be aware of your own level of stillness.

Reasons why you aren’t being still

You may just be too busy.  I love to keep a busy schedule doing things that I love.  I get some cheap thrill when I make it through a season where I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but this is a surefire way to not keep your head in the game and your heart in touch with God.  In Brant Hansen’s book Unoffendable, he talked about a period of his life when he and his family spent a lot of time at home, together, doing basically nothing.  They started getting funny comments from their neighbors like “I’ve looked outside and seen your family.  I’ve watched you.  And when I see your family, I don’t even know why, but I think about God.”  Now, I don’t know if I could ever slow down my life to the point of doing “nothing” but I think there is something to be said for restfulness.  You can read more about Unoffendable in my review here.

Your lens may be too small.  As in you “lens of life.”  (It’s cheesy, sorry)  But honestly, if you are getting caught up in day-to-day drama then you may need to zoom out to get a bigger picture of things.  Or perhaps you are one of those people who is always counting down to the events in the future.  I am pretty guilty of this.  Of course it’s ok to have aspirations and things to look forward too, but learning to be content in the present is essential when it comes to learning to be still with God.  Learning to be happy in the present moment means learning to be happy all the time.

Learning to be still

There is a concept in meditation that your objective should be to reach a state of simply letting things be.  For example, you may have a thought enter your head, but you should try to simply let it go and not get caught up in the fixation.  You should be able to look at something and not form an opinion of it.  I do not practice meditation (although I would like to) but I can definitely see the benefit of this concept.  You don’t have to have an opinion on everything.  Likewise, relentlessly holding onto your own opinions and feelings about worldly issues won’t do you any good in the long run.  Learn to let things go.

You can always surrender it to God.  If you’ve found that your lifestyle is just too busy to make time for God in your thoughts, then pray about it.  Ask your friends to pray about it too.  Maybe you just need some strength to get through this busy season, which is pretty much every student ever.  Pray for peace of mind and a stillness of heart so you can better hear God despite your busy life.

Get in touch with creation.  It’s summer baby!  Go outside and appreciate this beautiful earth!  I believe that one of the reasons why I became so close to God when I worked at camp was because I was outside all the time.  It’s hard to ignore God when you are experiencing his creation.

How being still can help you

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.”  -Psalm 62:5-6

We all need God all the time.  Learning to be still with God is a practice that will constantly remind us to keep Him in our lives.  It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of school, work, family, friends, and whatever drama you are experiencing, but it’s worth the time and effort to learn to be still in Christ.

Even though I put Jesus on the back burner for a while, I don’t need to feel remorse or guilt for letting my guard down.  I don’t have to write a paper or stay after class.  I can pick up with God right where I left off, no strings attached, and that is what Amazing Grace is.  You can do that too!

There are several times in the Bible where stillness is expresses. Here’s a list of 25 Bible verses about being still. 🙂

Is quieting your mind and being still with God something you struggle with?  Leave a comment, I’d like to get a discussion going!