Dear life … i am ignorant.

Concerning the recent world events, almost everyone, everywhere has voiced their opinions about what comes next and what we (meaning the United States or citizens should be doing to help). It is within these declarations of war, these calls to arms, and the blaming that i can fully understand the dangers of the ignorance we all believe we’re above.

Now, a quick disclaimer, i am ignorant. I by no means know everything about every country and every person in each one. However, it is for this same reason that i have made my opinions regarding these topics based on the information i have researched. As well, it is also for this reason that i do not publicly share my opinions and beliefs regarding this. From my personal experience and understandings, i would rather hold my tongue than speak about a subject i do not understand.

Ignorance is defined as a ” lack of knowledge, learning,information, etc”. This being said, people are ignorant when they do not understand a situation or an event BUT this is not a bad thing! Being ignorant is a part of life, and unavoidable in some circumstances, as no one can know about every single thing at one point. However, ignorance becomes bad when it is ignored. So often, people believe they know the whole story when they read about it once. They  become experts because these supposed experts shared their knowledge and now we’re all experts. Unfortunately, this is not how the world works – or rather, this is not how the world should work. 

While speaking with several of my classmates, my close friends, and even my family, ignorance was brought up a lot concerning the recent attacks in Paris, the bombings in Lebanon, the earthquakes in Japan and Mexico, and even the bombing in Baghdad. This ignorance comes through when we make judgments about topics we should properly research but don’t, when we overgeneralize about a group of peoples, places, or ideologies, and when we spend our time speaking more than thinking. 

_____________________________________________________

I can’t lie and say that I’ve never said anything ignorant on social media or in a conversation. However, I learned quite a bit from these situations and found that i would rather be blissfully silent than blissfully ignorant.
It is from this understanding that i know it is not my place to force my opinion or beliefs upon you in any way shape or form. However, it is also due to this understanding that i would like to share some of the things i have learned about how we should be approaching them vs. how we are approaching them.

  1. Stop overgeneralizing.
    The recent terrorist attacks in Paris were done by members of the Islamic State. They took credit for the attack and the blame has been given to them. That is fact. Now, the Islamic State identifies itself as a caliphate which would give it control over the world’s Muslims. This is fact. However, the Islamic State is a militant movement that has taken control of certain areas in the Middle East, but more specifically Iraq and Syria. It is not a country, or even a nation state, bound by a common culture or a governing body  and is not recognized in international communities as such. It is, as has always been, a radical extremist group. Therefore, it can be said that not all Muslims are part of the Islamic State or even live under this group as the Islamic State believes. So here’s the bottom line – Muslims are not to blame for the attacks. The Islamic State is to blame. It is so incredibly IGNORANT to punish all Muslims for the actions of the small percentage that make up the Islamic State. This extreme and developed hatred of Muslims has been given the name Islamophobia and has created such a fear in people that it is almost debilitating. Two articles describing the actions taken against Muslims in the recent days can be found at:
    – Canadian Muslims Report More Backlash After Ontario Mosque Torched
    – ‘Fear and Islamophobia’: US states shun Syrian refugees
    In response to these recent events, and the serious retaliation upon the Islamic faith felt by Muslims all around the world, more than 120 Muslim scholars wrote an open letter to the leaders of the Islamic State denouncing the group’s claim to Islam on the grounds of Islamic teachings. You can find the letter here: Letter to Baghdadi

  2. Find an UN-BIASED, RELIABLE news source.
    Holy canolis, the importance of this cannot be stressed enough. When you post articles from FOX News on your page which support your position, you’re not fooling anyone. In order to form an informed opinion, one must first find an informed source – a source that doesn’t chose which stories are heard based improving viewer ratings or a source which doesn’t receive huge amounts of money from anonymous political sponsors for sharing their good work for that day. From my experience, these are not the easy sources to follow. These sources are the ones that very rarely show up in your Facebook news feed and cannot be found on TV during the prime time hours. It is these sources that share world news that isn’t otherwise heard on the major media outlets.
    To be completely honest, I only follow about one or two of these sources – which is hardly enough to consider myself “informed” or “educated”. However, i do believe in the importance of receiving news from an unbiased source enough to share my sources with you.
    Here are some of my favorite, and most reliable, news source outlets:
    Al Jazeera
    VICE News
    The Real News
    Alternet
  3. Accept your ignorance. 
    This may be the most challenging piece of advice there is because no one likes to acknowledge their short comings. For example, I have been studying the Spanish language for the last 9 years. I would like to think that i know it all. However, i was not raised speaking the language or born into this unique culture. When I am in the classroom working with native Spanish speakers or even teaching them Spanish, the first thing I acknowledge is that they know more than I. There’s no doubt about it that they know more even though I’ve studied with scholars and worked my butt off all this time, but that doesn’t make it any easier for me to accept this. This definitely doesn’t make me feel better that I’ve spent 9 years of my life studying this language but will never know as much as the 13-year-old in front of me.

    The only way to objectively learn about something, some place, or someone is to accept that we do not know everything and, probably, will never know everything. The first problem of ignorance is thinking you already know all there is to know. When in all reality, even if you do know quite a bit about the topic, you can always learn more. That is one of the marvelous things about our world and the many diverse cultures and peoples and places that exist – there’s always more to learn. 

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that we’re all human and we’re all sharing this Earth. The way that we are treating each other now will go down and be remembered in history much like the treatment of the Japanese during the 1940’s, the treatment of African Americans still to this day, and the overall poor treatment of other cultures with the United States since inception. The only question is, and it’s not a new one so say it with me, “which side of history will you be on?”. I challenge you to take on tomorrow with an open mind and explore more. I challenge you to think critically before you speak and especially before you develop an opinion. I challenge you to respect those around you regardless of their skin color, their religious beliefs, or their sexual orientation.

Buenos noches,
Sarah

(My information regarding the Islamic State came from several sources: Council on Foreign RelationsIslamic State – VICE News

 

 

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Dear life … one my favorite organizational tools.

*I am not sponsored by these products, but rather, i enjoy and use their products on a daily basis. These are my own words and are completely personal reviews of these products*

Dear life, these are my favorite organizational tools.

My life, at times, is beyond crazy. So often i feel like i have no control over my life, my jobs, or my daily activities, and i’m on the brink of losing my mind. My way to combat this craziness and to fight this lack of control is with my planner – my command center, my organizational base, and my journal. When i emphasize the importance of this little leather bound book in my life, i honestly cannot emphasize it enough. This book is the one thing i can control and the one thing i have influence over through the course of my busy weeks, and is the one thing that i can count on and never lets me down. If you ask anyone who has sat next to me in class or spent the night doing homework with me, they will often tell you i am drawing in my planner or planning the rest of my week or even just writing.

So here’s the run down – this is my passion planner.

At the beginning of the planner, there is space to create a passion plan road map. In this section, there are mind maps used to map your goals and plans from everywhere to the next week to the next couple of years. There are several opportunities throughout the planner to chose a goal, either from these or somewhere entirely different, to expand or focus on in which you can re-map your original goals or thoughts and record your progress. This is such an amazing aspect of this little book that allows you, several times a day, to reflect on these goals, where you want to go, where you are, and how far you’ve come.

Within this planner, there is a monthly view and a weekly view.
The weekly view is my favorite aspect about this planner. The week starts on Sundays and runs through till Saturday. Each day has a 30 minute time slot from 6:00 a.m. till 10:30 p.m. with a shaded section 12:00 section to mark half of the day. Along the top of each day, is a small section for today’s focus in which i write the quote i find on my tea bag that morning. Underneath the days is three sections, one for a personal to-do list, one for a work to-do list, and a larger section for taking notes, journaling, drawing, and brainstorming. In these sections, i draw my bible verse of the week, and keep sticky notes with everything i need to do and keep track of.  On the left side of the page, near Sunday, there is a section for this week’s focus, good things that happened, and a motivational quote with an accompanying personal task for that week. The point of this planner is to make it your own and to do what is best for you with what the sections you’re provided. Here’s a couple of what my weeks look like:
god is in her midst cut out walk by faith cut out

On the month view, there is, of course, the days of the month laid out. At the beginning of the year, i write all my assignments due dates, school breaks, birthdays, etc. in so that when that month comes, i am prepared! Underneath that month’s calendar there are two sections on for personal/passion projects and work projects and goals and the other is a spot for breaking down your mind map of this month’s game changer. In these sections, i will either draw, keep track of things going on that month, or, again, list out my assignments due that month. As well, along the side of the calendar there are several sections where you can chose what your work and personal focuses will be that month, as well as monthly check ins that direct you back to your passion road map, and a small section for notes.
After every month’s calendar is two pages for personal reflection about the past month. It asks questions such as how do you feel on a scale of 1-10, who are you most thankful for, and even reflecting upon how you spent your time this past month.
As you can tell, there is a lot that goes into this planner and the way in which it was made. This planner is so wonderful for anyone looking to stay focused and organized, while also allowing for immense personal growth.
When i first heard about this planner, which i was already head over heels in love with (don’t tell Schmerik),  i couldn’t believe they had a copy you could print and bind yourself for free. I used the free version for a semester before i decided i NEEDED the bound copy. This planner has been such a game changer in changing the way i approach my weeks and forces me to have a much more positive outlook on the day at hand.

I would highly recommend this planner to anyone looking for that one magic tool that fixes it all – this planner is great for the future teachers (like me), the current teachers, the college graduates, the students, the stay at home parents, and even the business people of the world. They are priced very reasonably for the quality of product you are getting, and, if not the best part about it, you are supporting a business started by a college graduate.

And at the end of all of this, i have told you everything about my planner and the many things i love about it, except where to get one. Below is the link to their webpage where you can learn more about the company as a whole, their variety of planner types and sizes, and, of course, buy one.

http://www.passionplanner.com/

Hasta la proxima vez,
Sarah

*As a final note, i am by no means sponsored to share about these products but rather made this account based on my personal experience. I encourage you to support this company solely because i believe in supporting small business and believe in their product whole heartedly*

Dear life … I’m definitely in it for the long run.

*Photo taken by Pamela Tabb Photography*

Dear life, i’m definitely in it for the long run.

It has been nearly a century since i was last able to sit down and write and freely tell the world what’s been on my mind, but tonight, amidst the craziest and most challenging semester i’ve ever had, i am here – laying in bed and typing.

Something that has been near and dear on my heart and ever present in my daily activities has been my relationship, and as i spoke to my boy about writing this tonight, his one rule was that he is only referred to as Schmerik (which is of course adorable and irresistible).
The truth is that we’ve been dating for over 3 years now, almost 3 1/2 years come November 28th, which may not seem long in the grand scheme of things, but actually, being in the midst of it, is a very, very long time. Now i am by no means an expert on long term dating as some would say that 3 1/2 years is hardly anything, but i definitely have more years under my belt with my boyfriend than most 20 somethings do with their new husbands, and what i have learned and understood in that time is so crucial to my take on relationships.

There is something special about being with someone for so long, but actually being with them because you full on want to knowing that at any moment it could all end and could go away, knowing that you’ve both worked through your arguments and differences and are still standing and here to tell the tale today. And looking back over the time we’ve spent together, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, not even marriage at year 1 or year 2 because here’s the thing … we may have been dating for a long time, but that’s a long time of learning and a long time of loving. In that time, i have had the ample opportunity to learn about the man i’m in love with and how he reacts when his favorite sports team looses, when he gets a bad grade on a test, when he doesn’t get enough sleep the night before, when he’s hungry, and especially when he’s upset. It takes time to learn all these things, and i swear every day i learn something new about him still. Being in a relationship with someone gives you a chance to talk about the things that you will face later in life like the fact that i’m really bad with money so he’s going to have to be the responsible one. It gives you a chance to talk about all the awkward topics such as the “future in-laws”, the taboo topics such as religion or politics, and even the not so friendly topics such as your individual weaknesses.

But i don’t want to fool you, being in a long term relationship has not always and will not ever be a walk in the park. So here’s a little couple pointers on how to ensure that you’re long term relationship is just as successful and strong as mine has been.

  1. You must compromise.
    Straight up, i cannot tell you how important it is to learn that you cannot always be the winner in every battle. If there’s something you don’t want to do for some odd reason or another, think about how this will make your partner. Think about how you challenging this decision will change the mood and impact your interactions for the day. It’s the little things like this that are often overlooked but can have the biggest impact on the relationship. Basically, you must think about whose happiness is more important – yours or your partners, and then, once you answer this question, you must determine what sacrifices your partner has made for you in the past. Relationships, especially those that are meant to grow and develop, are all about giving and taking. The hard part about it is learning when to give and when to take.
  2. Learn how to communicate with your partner
    More than anything, i would say that Schmerik and I are still working on learning how best to communicate with each other. Especially during high stress times like finals week and busy weeks where we don’t see each other often, we sometimes struggle being civil and getting along nice. For us specifically, we don’t communicate well when it is solely phone based. We need to see each other and talk to each other and be with each other in order to fully communicate our needs and our desires. However, don’t be fooled. What is best for Schmerik and i is not best for everyone. It is so crucial that you determine what works best in your relationship for you and your partner and don’t overgeneralize. In this case, it is especially important that if you don’t already know what works best for you, that you ask and explore. I would by lying if i told you i hadn’t asked Schmerik what’s his love language and how would he rather talk to me, and i’d be lying if i said it was easy and i didn’t have to think about it for a couple days before i did it.
  3. Pay attention
    Don’t let anything slip by. Pay attention to everything your partner does and learn from them. Learn about them. Spend the time you’re together learning to love your partner and everything that makes them unique. Try to remember how they like their eggs so you can surprise them one morning or maybe try to get their favorite childhood movie you watched on your first date together so that you can have a night in and relax. It’s the little details like these that end up meaning so much to your partner and it really shows how much you care about them. But really, this is coming from someone who is HORRIBLE at the little details and whose partner is phenomenal at surprising me with things i don’t even remember sharing with him however many years ago.
  4. Remember that your relationship is you and them … do not involve other people.
    I know i’ve done it before, but i’ve also learned from this mistake and will do my best to avoid doing it again. When you’re in your relationship, don’t talk about it or involve other people. It’s as simple as that. A relationship is meant to be between two people and when you involve other people it just becomes messy. Now, this may seem simple thinking that, “oh, i don’t involve others. It’s obviously just us”, but it’s not. When you are fighting with your partner, don’t go texting all your BFFs and tell them how much you hate your boyfriend or how you don’t ever think it’ll be okay (AND LIKE I SAID, I’m definitely guilty of this and those of you who know me well can completely call me on it). It’s so hard on everyone, and when you and your partner do work everything out and are better, and your friends check back in to make sure you’re okay, it’s a stab in the chest of a reminder of everything you were hoping to forget. Which usually comes with more explanations and more reminders of the huge fight you only want to move on from.
  5. Find out what’s important to them
    If you don’t know what they want for their future or for their future family, then you’re not ready to get married, you’re not ready to get married if you don’t know what they want to do after they graduate college and you definitely aren’t ready for marriage if you don’t understand their priorities. Believe it or not, many males first and foremost priority is not their girl and it shouldn’t be. There are very few things in anyone’s life that mean that much to them and a girlfriend of 4 months or even a year may not always be that one end all, first choice. However, this aspect isn’t necessarily about their number 1 choice but also about their numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and so on and so forth. For example, Schmerik and i will make plans for the weekends and decide what we want to do, BUT during soccer season, our plans are all made after 10 am when soccer finishes in the mornings.

This may have turned into an article about all the areas i fall short in, but these are the areas in which my relationship has grown through the challenges. I could honestly go on and on about the different things i have learned from my relationship, but the list would never end. However, to finish up this extremely long post about long term relationships, i asked Schmerik what his two most important pieces of advice for anyone in a long term relationship would be. He said:
– It’s not always about you
– An argument does not mean you’re going to break up.

One more final disclaimer for you – my relationship is very specific and unique to me and my boy. It is by no means applicable to every situation or every relationship, but rather this is my general understandings based on my experiences.

Much love,
Sarah

Dear life … i’m old spirited.

Almost every day I ask myself if i’m too mature for my age or if everyone else just isn’t mature enough.

I would so much rather hang at home playing board games, watching tv, and sitting around the fire than going out and drinking till I pass out, having gross bodies grinding on me, or even smoking hookah, weed, or whatever the cool new thing is these days. It’s not even a matter of not wanting to get caught, it just isn’t that fun for me.

I have bigger and better things to focus on and devote my time too than getting caught up in the court system, addictive substances, and reckless things.

Any other old-spirited, 20 something’s out there?

Dear life … here’s my secret

As summer comes around and all of my friends come home, there end up being A LOT more parties every weekend, every night, and all the gosh darn time!

Now, I’m not as opposed to partying and drinking as I am to stupidity and drinking while driving. Unfortunately, those two go hand in hand … more often than I’d like to admit.

BUT either way, as Friday nights and weekends come around, my boyfriend and I are not usually at the party but rather seeing snapchats of it. And, as crazy as it may seem, this is odd to some people and we CONSTANTLY get questions about how we avoid this crazy party scene. I finally decided to share my secret with anyone interested enough to read it.

“Our typical night in which we plan on going to a party”
1. Tell parents we will not be coming home that night and we’re hanging with friends
2. Promise not to be stupid and drink and make bad choices, blah blah blah
*2 hours later*
3. Check bank accounts for money to pay for said party
4. Decide that we would much rather spend the night together and have some quality couple time than be in a dirty, gross house drinking cheap liquor or be in a fancy, decorated house wondering which neighbor is going to call the cops first
5. If the bank account allows, rent a movie and buy excessive amounts of ice cream and popcorn and candy on the way home.
6. Go home late that night when the movie is over and all the fun has ended.

The secret to not spending my weekends in a drunken stupor is not, and has never been, that I wasn’t invited to the party or didn’t have the correct connections, but rather I chose not to spend my night that way. In my 2 years of college and my several years of life, I have seen alcohol absolutely ruin my friends and much of my family. Heck, it’s even the reason that I grew up without a father. I have seen it become controlling and necessary in people’s lives and I refuse to let that even be an option for me.

However, telling you that I’ve always made the smart decision would be a lie because I had my crazy days in high school and I’m over it (but that’s another blog post).

So tonight or tomorrow, as you decide to go drink because your having problems in your relationship, think about how this time could be better spent. As your friend starts habitually drinking more and more each night, start to worry a little about them and think of ways to help them. When your drink friends start acting like idiots and treating the ones they love badly, cut them off even though they’ll likely be pissed. Oh well.

So there’s my Negative Nancy and Debbie Downer input for the day, hope it was the least bit enlightening.

Dear life … things are changing

Change is defined as “to make (someone or something) different”.

As i think about the many things i have not had the time, but wanted, to say these past couple of weeks, i can’t help but think about how much everything has changed and how much everything is going to continue to change. It’s absolutely terrifying and i’m kind of over it … already.

I have talked with a couple of my closest friends and people whose opinions i value dearly, and change always is brought up. Yes, people change. Yes, our environments change. AND Yes, we can even change ourselves too. But none of this has prepared me for the excessive amount of change i have seen/experienced lately.
Change is such an odd concept as it can be relatively good, as well as bad. Not every single change in the world is bad, even though it may seem like it at the, time because what’s good change for someone might be an awful change for another. Either way, no one can win all the time.

I think one of the main factors of change, especially in my life, is time. Time changes everything. It seems that time even reaches its fingers into the spines and souls of the people we thought we knew and changes them all the way down to the bone. Someone you thought you knew and that you grew up with gets exposed to this new thing called time, and comes back a grown-up … or at least different. For me, it’s always hard to handle these kinds of change because they seem to hit me where i least expected it, right in the feelers. But then again, i’m happy for those who have changed, i’m also worried, but still happy that they were able to come to this point on their own. When it comes to people, change is the scariest. I never know what to expect or how to act around someone who’s returned and is back. I never know if we’re cool like last summer before you left or like if we’re “cool we knew each other at one point in time and were pretty chill”. People are incredibly too unpredictable and incredibly too judgmental to know if you can act the same, but not only that, people are incredibly too critical and place high expectations on those we hold close and those we surround ourselves with.
A fairly large part of why people change though, is also how our environment, our experiences, and our lives change through this period of time. It’s remarkable to think that in the past two weeks, i have been in 8 states, traveled over 4,000 miles, and been without a home or place to come back too. It’s crazy to think of my best friend who’s coming home after spending 9 months traveling the globe and to think about how her environment and people around her have changed her, but also how my friend from North Carolina has changed just being away from Colorado for the past 9 months. My small town, suburb in Colorado, just 15 minutes north of Denver is different than every other city and there will never be two which are alike. Therefore, there will never be someone who experiences the same things i do on a daily basis.

Not necessarily for you, as much as for me, i have summed up a lot of the positive and negative changes that i have experienced this past year (or at least the ones i can remember/impacted me the most)
+ Helping my mom to buy a new home
+ My job/experiences/friends/family/kids at the church
+ Having jobs that i actually enjoy at the church and quilt shop
+/- Challenging semester
+/- The up’s and downs of my relationship
– Losing my Grandfather and the familial conflict that ensued after
– Moving the week of finals and then leaving immediately
– My car’s catalytic converter going out

At the end of all of this, if there is any point in anyone reading this, i want you to know that life changes. Things and people change, and even the place we reside and spend our days may change, but God is always faithful. Through all of the change i have experienced, and all the change that is still yet to come, i find shelter in our God. He will follow you to college, and accompany you on any, silly, 3 day long road trip you decide to venture on. God is always there and is the friend you can always count on. He does not change with time, but rather is always good, always pure, and always present in our lives, whether we chose to acknowledge Him or not. Change does not affect our God. He loves us despite our change. It is through Him that we find the good in the bad and learn to handle the changes that occur around us everyday.

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

1 cOrinthians 15:51
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed

Dear life … sometimes it should be about me.

Let me start by saying i’m not sure anyone besides myself will even care about this post, because it is about me … and what i want. It is going to come across as super stuck up, and selfish, and a little bitchy, but that’s okay because i can’t think of a more accurate representation of my feelings right now than stuck up, selfish … and a little bitchy.

Do you ever have those days/weeks/months/years when it seems like everyone’s needs come before your own? And not only that, everyone’s needs are more important than you own? BECAUSE ME TOO.

I have so much going on in my life right now, and i’m torn between thinking that i am overreacting or that i am actually justified in my nightly panic attacks.
I have finals week next week, even though all of my major assignments and projects are due this week.
I have to be out of my condo by next Saturday, BUT i have to be packed and ready to move into storage by this Friday. My mom hasn’t touched a single box so i have pretty much stay up until 1 a.m. packing boxes these days.
I am working 3 jobs right now; one of which i love but there’s a lot to do, one of which i’m just not in the mood for, and one of which i’m secretly hoping they fire me from (I haven’t done anything for that job lately … ugh).
My relationship has not been nearly as great as i try to convince myself it is. My mom and I have been on the rocks lately, probably because of all the stress.
I don’t want to clean out my grandpa’s house because that means i’ve come to terms with it and i honestly don’t even think i’ve had time to make it to Stage 1 of the stages of grief.

And even after an absolutely horrible day like today where i managed to go to classes and work at all 3 of my jobs and pack a crap ton of boxes , i’m still the bad guy.

I just would love it if someone sat down and just let me cry. I would really love it if for once i wasn’t the bad guy for trying to get some things in the air and off of my mind.

I’m so exhausted of trying to keep everything to myself and handle it all myself because that’s not normal. I’m convinced that it’s not normal. I haven’t slept more than 4 hours a night this whole week because i’m so darn concerned about getting my projects done, getting the house packed, where i’m going to live, how i’m going to afford traveling for 2 weeks, if i’m going to make the Dean’s List again, or even if i’m going to be in a relationship in a month.

For once, just once, i want everyone to acknowledge that i am dealing with a lot instead of getting upset with me when i’m cranky.
For once, i want my teachers to quit telling me how to sort my priorities because they don’t know what’s going on in my life.
For once, i want to know that all my work at the church is worth it and that i’m not just going to be tossed aside when the new intern comes.
and, for once, i want someone to acknowledge that i am strong and i am brave and i am a little crazy for taking all this on, but that i’m doing it well.

Dear life, I … am privileged.

Dear life, i … am privileged.

In whatever free time i seem to find these days, i have been attending the local high school and helping out in the newcomers class. To start off on a great note, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.You see, the special thing about the students that i work with, and have become fairly attached to, is that they ‘ve just recently, meaning in the last year, come to the United States. Many, if not 90% of them cannot hold a conversation with you in English, and many of them, if not 80% of them live in poverty, and i’m just happy to see them the once, twice, or three times a week that i do. Either way, I could go on and on about these kids and how they’ve taught me so much more than Spanish, but today especially, i found out how privileged i am to live the life that i do. 

Today, we, meaning 2 other Regis students, myself and their regular teacher, Hutch, took the newcomer students to the Colorado History Museum with a Regis grant, and it was phenomenal – absolutely exhausting, but wonderful nonetheless. There were 32 students, and only 4 of us, so it was a bit of a crazy, overwhelming disaster, but it was beautiful. We started at the museum’s new exhibit about the year 1968 which had everything from the Vietnam War to Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, to the space race, to all about Black Panther civil rights group. The students were given a worksheet to fill out, and given around 45 minutes. After this, we went to an exhibit about the Chicano movement that has been going on for years throughout southern Colorado. Again, the students were given a worksheet, asked to fill it out based on the information within the exhibit, and then were allowed to roam the museum’s remaining exhibits until lunch time.

During the kid’s time within the exhibits, i got to roam around and help as needed, as well as talk to a lot of them about the things they were seeing and experiencing. Little did i know, many of them had not even been to a museum before, let alone Downtown Denver.
They had never seen Union Station and didn’t know what the KKK (not necessarily a bad thing). They had never seen a life-size helicopter or listened to the Beatles. They had never made their own lunches for a field-trip or taken a picture with the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign.

Days like today make me realize how much of this life that i take for granted, and on days like today, i realize that God has interesting ways of showing us these sorts of things. He has a hilarious sense of humor because, believe me, it was not easy by any means, but He always has a purpose.
It was so rewarding to see my city and the history of our nation and the world through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before. There was such a renewed sense of wonder and real interest in every aspect of every exhibit we saw, and the kids made sure we read EVERY SINGLE QUOTE on EVERY SINGLE PICTURE in EVERY SINGLE ROOM not missing ONE SINGLE THING. It was absolutely mesmerizing to see what children, who are given the appropriate resources, time and attentions, can do and make of a simple room full of pictures and videos.

I believe that’s why God made it possible for me to go today, despite all the challenges I’m facing this week and in my life. He knew that these children would help me forget about the stress of completing all my homework that costs me $40,000 a year, moving all my things and trying to fit them into a storage unit the size of a garage, and even remind me that i am beautiful and appreciated, from a variety of means of harassment through the course of my day. He sure does have funny ways of getting messages across, but they are effective.

I’m so thankful that i was able to go on this trip with this class full of wonderful, inspirational, and strong students. I’m so blessed to be able to attend a school that donates to students such as these and allows me to impact their lives on a regular basis.

I win at being me.

… or at least today i’m trying to win.

I’ve started other blogs periodically and never really stuck with them because i was too terrified of letting anyone know what i was really thinking, but here i am, going at it again. Writing has always been something i’ve strongly opposed, but i’m pretty sure that’s because all the writing prompts throughout high school and AP Language are horrible. But if i’m being honest, i like writing. I enjoy the fact that you can create a new person depending upon the words you use, or, in my case, you can sound incredibly more confident and knowledgeable about the life you supposedly live.

So here it goes.

My name is Sarah and i’m a student at Regis University. My planned graduation date is May 2017, but my intended date is to walk (maybe?) in May 2016 and graduate in December of 2016. I gotta get this shit done. At Regis, i am studying and majoring in Spanish and education. BUT, as everyone always says, what are you going to do with that? In the coming years, i would really love to teach and probably teach Spanish. However, my direction has slightly been changing lately and i’m thinking i would like to teach and work with Culturally/Linguistically Diverse (CLD) learners. In all honesty, it really depends on the day if i know what i want to do when i graduate.

I live AT HOME with my mom, which is really not as awful as everyone makes it out to be, and with my two dogs. I have lived in the Denver/Denver suburbs for the majority of my life, but I still call a small part of the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado my home. I enjoy traveling and often travel to New Mexico and through the southern states, but unfortunately don’t get to do it that much as i am usually restricted by money, time, school work, life, etc.

As for my love life, i do have my amazing, wonderful, pain-in-the-butt boyfriend who makes me smile every day (sorry men, you’ll just have to wait). His name is Erik (you can see his cute little baby face below) and we’ve been together for over 3 years now, but will celebrate our “official” 3 years on May 28. Yes we are hoping to get married in the future. Yes we are hoping to have kids in the future. Not now though. Just finishing school now.

The only other part of my life worth mentioning besides my man, my mom, and my school is my religion. I’m saying it now so there’s no confusion and so you can hold me accountable when i go a little crazy. I am a crazy Lutheran, every Sunday, and middle of the week, church goer. My church, the people at my church, and everything i am involved in there, are my favorite parts of my week and i wouldn’t trade them for the world. As of right now, i am the acting, interim youth director as our previous one had a baby recently and has taken on full-time mommy life. Before i actually got paid to hang out with my favorite kids though, Erik and i had been helping lead and teach the middle schoolers in Sunday school and the 7th and 8th grade youth group, PJs, or Peace Juniors. These kids drive me absolutely insane on a regular basis (or every Sunday morning if i’m being exact) but they never fail to make my day, and i love them for that.

Other fun facts about me that may be of interest to anyone who happens to find this:

– I quilt! A lot actually, and it’s one of the only things i really do for myself

– I used to swim competitively, my bad shoulders can prove it

– I had a pet tarantula at one point, but my crazy cat killed it

– I am an only, spoiled child

– I love, love, LOVE schedules … but rarely ever can follow mine as well as i would like

– I’m trying to be healthy and do this whole “lose weight thing” but chocolate

– I think i’m one of the most extroverted introverts i’ve ever met.

… and i think that’s about it.

I hope this blogging experience will provide someone with some sort of entertainment, if not only myself. As i am able to write down more of my thoughts and continue on this journey, i hope that you also feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and comments with me and the rest of the world. I mean, if i can do it, you can definitely do it!

Se quiero todos,

Sarah