Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The "Holidays"

This one's for my Christian friends-

          Hearing "Happy Holidays" does not make me mad. Many are frustrated, because they feel people say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", because they want to "take 'Christ' out of Christmas", but I have a different perspective...
         This month has many different holidays: the major two being Christmas and Hanukkah. If someone tells me "Happy Holidays", my mind doesn't jump straight to them clearly being an atheist trying to take Christ out of Christmas. I think that because there are so many different religions and holidays, they don't know which one I celebrate, so they are going to play it safe.
        Maybe saying "Happy Holidays" didn't start with someone who is anti-Christ, but maybe it started with someone who after many times saying "Merry Christmas" and instead of getting the response "you too", they got "I'm jewish" or "I don't celebrate Christmas", so they got tired of feeling like they offend people all the time when this is supposed to be a joyful season.
         The biggest complaint I hear from non-Christians is that we "shove" our faith on other people. When we rant about keeping "Christ in Christmas" is this a passive-aggressive shove? Now don't get me wrong...I get upset every time I see "Xmas". No one say Xgiving or Xentine's Day... But "happy holidays" shouldn't be so offensive.
        After all, the word holiday originally meant "holy day", so next time someone tells you "happy holidays", just think, maybe they actually mean "happy holy days", because that's what they are, right?


[Subnote:]
        Calling Christmas Trees "Holiday Trees" IS actually offensive. There is no decorative tree in Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or even Boxing Day. The tree is from Christmas, therefore it is a CHRISTMAS TREE, Mr. President!

Here's hoping...

"[Love] bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13 : 7-8a

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Issues: The Death Penalty

More politics.
        Voting is so complicated, because you want to vote for someone who shares your views on important issues, BUT there are SO many issues and SO many different valid opinions on each issue, there's no way between two people (Yes, I'm only recognizing one Democrat and one Republican, sorry...) one of them will share your same views. So I thought I'd share "my view" on the major issues. And since I'm "republican", I'll start with the one major topic I see differently...

       WARNING: I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Christian, so many of my opinions will be biblically-based.
        I understand why someone would be for the death penalty. America has so many people in prison and of those people SO many of them are in for life, or 10 lifetimes with no parole. We know that those selection of people will be in that prison until they die, no matter what happens, so why keep them there? Why waste the money? Why waste the space? Our tax dollars are being used to keep these people, that have done SUCH AWFUL things that they have no chance of ever leaving prison again, alive. Men and women that have murdered and raped and so on and so forth. Are these people really worth my tax dollars? Some would say no. So some would say the solution is the death penalty.

       I say no. If we murder a murderer, are we any better? But it's for a "good reason".
       The Bible says "Thou shalt not kill". Our laws say "Thou shalt not kill". That doesn't mean, "Thou shalt not kill...unless they are costing us too much money, then go ahead...".
   
       As a Christian, my main goal is for EVERYONE to make Heaven. If I decide the death penalty is okay, then I am cutting short a life, when had that person lived a few years longer, maybe they would have had a change of heart. Maybe those few extra years would make the difference between an eternity of life or an eternity of death in hell. I'm not willing to take that chance. I'm not willing to put someone else life in my hands when it belongs in God's.

And that's my view on the Death Penalty.

Here's hopin'...

"[Love] bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:7-8a
 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Politics

Yeah, I'm going to talk politics.
        Let's start with the stars of the show...
Barack Obama: I don't think you're a bad person, an idiot or the Anti-Christ. I don't think you're doing what you told us you would, and I don't like what you are doing. I disagree with a lot of your opinions, and I have not found one person to give me a good reason to vote for you.

I think your first election was really won because you're "cool" and "funny", which is great, but not why we should vote for someone to run our country. I also think you won, because, yes, you are black. You guys know I think racist jokes are funny, but this is not one of them. There was a perspective that year that if you didn't vote for Obama, clearly you're racist. You would be blind to say otherwise because there were some people that literally said those words.

I don't think you should get a second term for many reasons, mostly because we disagree politically, but also because of this: during your election in 2008, you said if you didn't "fix the economy" by the end of your four years, you would be a one-term president. Have you fixed the economy? No, sir. Whether it was your fault or not, it is worse, and now you're breaking a promise.

Mitt Romney: I don't think when you said you didn't care about 47% of the population, that you meant that literally. I believe you meant it in a strategic way. You were talking freely because you thought you were in the privacy of trustworthy people. I didn't even take offense when you talked about how most of that 47% are too dependent on welfare to vote for someone other than Obama. I actually agree. That doesn't mean everyone on welfare is too lazy to get up and do something with their lives, but I know way too many people that are. I could write a-whole-nother post just on dependency on welfare...

I definitely agree with you on more issues than I do with Obama, but that does not mean I think you'll be a great president. You still feel a little slimy to me (I have no facts, that's just my opinion), and I've heard too many things about your lack for want of birth control (which is none of your business) to feel comfortable with you possibly changing laws. (Again, I don't know the facts.)

I think you could win, because a lot of people are tired of Obama's presidency, and unfortunately we all know it's either you or Obama.

Now let's discuss "slander". This goes for everyone, but especially Christians! Funny how when you get an opinion about something or someone, suddenly you forget who you are representing.
Here's some examples of people I thought were Christians: (all names will be removed)
"People are idiots!"
"One Big A(you know what goes here) Mistake America"
"My political post of the night: I have decided to un-friend everyone posting excitement/relief over Obama winning the election. I can't be friends with liberals. Better said, I can't be friends with dumb a(Again, I think you get the idea)s."

You guys are great example of God's love! Oh and also of how we supposedly have faith in a God that's bigger than an election... (Note: Sarcasm)

It's so disappointing to me that people will talk like this about other people. 
Here's another example: Imagine if suddenly millions of people were saying awful things about you...how would your grandmother feel? Hmmm? 

There are ways to express yourself that aren't rude or degrading of other people! 


Also, I want to say one more thing for now. I don't post a lot of political opinion on facebook, and here's why: I don't feel like I know enough about the people or the issues to have grounds for arguments. I do know bits and pieces from articles I read and news I watch, but mostly I hear from biased people.

I'm tired of ignorant people talking up politics. Let me get you a definition of that real quick...LACKING IN KNOWLEDGE. What's knowledge? Acquaintance with FACTS. Hey 13 year olds, listening to your parents isn't fact. Hey "some people", reading or listening to super biased news isn't fact! Figure out the facts, then your opinion will be valid.

In Sam World, the Sam is represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the people who inspire her and the research she does. These are her opinions.

Say whaaat??


Here's hoping...

"[Love] bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13 : 7-8a

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Insignificant

I'm falling into the trap again.
       My blogs usually fail, because if I don't have something insightful, profound or whatever to talk about, then why make a blog post? But this blog is just as much for me as it is for you, and maybe someone wants to just read the details of my life! So ha!
       So right now, Gus and I are chillin' in the house before I have to go to work. So much is happening right now! This weekend, I'll be working on the Harvest Carnival and Kylee's birthday party is on Saturday, then of course, Sunday is an all day affair! And when the weekend is over, the Harvest Carnival will just be upon us! I always stress about these things, but they all work out in the end, because we are doing this for the Glory of God and to reach out to children in our community and their families, so how could it possibly go wrong??
       After all...Romans 8 says:
"28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose..."
And also..."31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (NKJ)

       But once again, I am looking forward, not to an activity, but for an activity to be over. :b  November brings A LOT of birthdays, Return of the King, more GLOW, Pastor Appreciation and THANKSGIVING of course! Yum yum!! Maybe I'll be an active part in the festivities as a "wife" now... I'll buy drinks! ;)

      So much going on, but for today...I will work, I will pick up Scotty and we will go to Ma-in-law's and dine on pizza!

Arrivederci!

Here's hoping...
"[Love] bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13 : 7-8a
 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The D Word

Divorce.
        Such a sticky subject, such a muddy subject and a topic that seems like people have a hard time talking to me about. Maybe because I don't talk about it much, but I'll try to explain my views...

[Side note: Unless I quote scripture, everything I say is my opinion, whether it's right or not is between you and God.]

God hates divorce, and so do I. In Malachi 2 It says, "13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. 14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously." In v.16 when it says God "hateth putting away", some translations actually say that God hates divorce.

Also in Matthew 19:3-6 it states that when two people are made one, NO ONE should separate. 

So does this mean if they do separate, they're condemned? I don't think so...
If a murderer truly repents or a liar or a thief, are they still condemned? Or are they forgiven? I'm not saying it's as simple as getting a divorce, asking forgiveness and you're good.

(OPINION) I don't know how else to say this, (because it's not okay) but the only time I feel it's okay to get a divorce is in a situation of abuse to the spouse or children. Regardless of whether there's actually a divorce, get out of that house for as long as it takes for abuse to end! 
And the only other situation would be unfaithfulness. I definitely think you should try to work things out after an affair, but sometimes it just can't.
Other than that...how could you possibly justify divorce? You're unhappy? Then stop putting your happiness in your spouse and put it in Christ's hands. He's your true joy. Scott and I went through some "dating counseling" before we even got engaged (not because we needed it :b ), and I'll never forget the image Den gave us. It was this triangle with God at the top corner, then Scott and I on the opposite bottom ones, and...as we both move closer to Him, we grow closer together... How true is that?!

And now, even for those of you that would consider divorce, I don't think it is any easier, especially as a Christian, to work through the emotions of breaking so many hearts, including your own and including God's, than it is to work through your marital issues. You literally have become one in every way possible, and it's not going to be easy to tear that apart, even when you think you have, something else will remind you, you're still attached. 

I have more thoughts, but I'm not sure how to express them just yet, so maybe there will be a "D Word Part II", but for now, if you have any questions, leave a comment! Maybe that will help me make part two.

Here's hoping...

"[Love] bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13 : 7-8a

Friday, 12 October 2012

-

Negativity.
         It's a weed. Negativity is anger, sadness, hatred. It's road rage and bad manners. It's bitterness and distant. It's greedy, rude, selfish and inconsiderate. Negativity is vain and immature.
         1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends..." 
         Some of you may recognize part of that as my tagline, it means so much to me, but that's irrelevant. 

Negativity is everything love is not.

         I feel like getting a job has enclosed me in it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job for the most part, but...well, let me explain.
        When I was young, when I was growing up, I was not naive to it by any means. I knew all along that negativity was everywhere. I saw it; I heard it; I even felt it, but for the most part, I was able to ignore it, because I was me. I was my own person, and I could ignore the whole world if I pleased. And if I didn't ignore it, I blocked its shadow with my own personal sunshine, because that's the gift God gave me.
        Even after graduating high school and turning 18 ("becoming an adult"), I was still able to continue ignoring it. I guess because I could respond however I wanted, I could do (to a certain extent) what I wanted, and I could go where and when (again, to a certain extent) I wanted.
        But now I have to work. Now I have to drive places and be there on time. Now I have to sit in my teller window and be a teller. Now I'm married, and I have a son that watches me and looks up to me, and I HAVE to be a good example.
       I have recently acquired road rage. It drives me INSANE (no pun intended) to watch people be so RUDE (cutting people off, riding ones bumper, NOT getting over when you're the world's slowest driver), when it's so EASY to be courteous.
       And my job: I understand how they feel. With half the country in poverty, they need someone to blame, someone to yell at for their own financial problems, but please let me tell you, World- Your local bank teller is not the person. I tell people all of the time, I am the lowest of the low. I am a PART TIME, twenty hour bank teller. I do not make rules, and I do not have the authority to bend them either, so all you do by yelling at me is upset a wide-eyed 22 year old girl who wants to just take her cash drawer and stand in the Stewart Pkwy/Garden Valley intersection and toss money around.
       I would never, of course, but a girl can dream, right?
       Oh, and by the way, when you yell at us and get angry, it just makes me want to NOT help, because if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!
       AND there's a' WHOLE 'nother topic I can't even mention, because of who might read this, so I'll end with this, a prayer:
        God, I need my sunshine back. I'm tired of walking away frustrated at things I can't help. I'm tired of being angry at people I don't even know.

       If you want to know how to live...love. Live according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Here's another helpful list: http://www.gurusoftware.com/GuruNet/Personal/Factors.htm
Hint: live on the positive side!

I'll leave you with this...
        I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered, full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something...
 
...That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

Here's hoping...

"[Love] bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13 : 7-8a
 

Friday, 5 October 2012

The Prankster

Oct. 5th, 2012
        So as I mentioned yesterday, today was the anniversary of Papa Bob's death. Let's go back in time a little. I'll tell you a quick story:
        Once upon a time, we were at a BBQ at Butch & Sandy's house... Papa Bob and I were in the house getting some food or something, and I was through, so I walked out the back and shut the sliding glass door. LITTLE DID I KNOW...Papa Bob was following me out and a few moments later we all hear a *clunk* as he ran into the door I just closed...
        I have NEVER lived this down. For months at every gathering, I was reminded of how I "shut the door on Papa Bob". It may have even been mentioned at his memorial.
        So today, since I was unable to go with Scott after work, I decided I would stop by just before two right before I went into work.
       I drove into the cemetery, parked my car and got out. Well...the sprinklers were on and I thought I might be able to maneuver around them, but with them on, it was harder to find his spot and I ended up pretty wet. I have a feeling he was laughing at me up in heaven.

And that's how Papa Bob finally got me back for slamming his face in the door...

:)
RIP Papa Bob<3

Thursday, 4 October 2012

GVG²

Whew! It's been a busy week.
        Rockin': My Beloved by Kari Jobe<3
        So tonight was our Campaign Rally for the bank. It's night where we get together with the other branches in our district to get amped up for fall campaign! This year they had a t-shirt contest that we prepared for extensively. We all had white t-shirts with a gift box & ribbon, the words "Garden Valley Gift Givers" and our "number" in glitter glue, then a bow on the gift and our "names" on the back in sharpie!
        We had Margie as "Bubba", Kelley as "Crusher", Sara as "DestroyR", Patty as "Chomper" (for Halo), Vicki as "Ninja", Sarah as "Bear Claw", ME as "bR00tuHL", Haley as "RULEZ IZ RULEZ" and Cierra as "Game OVER!". Oh and Vince as "Top Dawg". :)
        We had plenty of fun preparing for this. At the rally, we "mingled", and there were some Minute To Win It games and bla bla bla... Guess what?! We won the games! We tied for first, but then we had been closer on  the tie breaker question, so we get a pizza party! What what!
       Also for the t-shirt contest part, I "rapped". It was ridiculous.
       But I had a lot of fun, and it's nice to bond with my team.

I'm not so sure what else to write today.
       I'm kind of glad it's over. It kept me busy and excited...right after I posted about things winding down! So maybe now things really will.

Tomorrow's the anniversary of Papa Bob's death. I'm sad just because I'm sad. But I'm a little disappointed because I won't be able to go with Scott to the cemetery when he goes because of work, but I think it will be okay, because I will go before work.
       It's been a weird week/month. I really miss my family. I miss Christmas' at Gramma's or Aunt Sandy's with everyone. I miss Cousin after getting to spend some time with him again! I miss Mallory, Korbin and my sweet baby Ava. Soon Kyle will be heading back to MD for a time. And Papa Bob's anniversary just puts cherry on top I guess.

But in everything, I know God has a plan.

Now rockin': Beautiful Things by Gungor<3

Great music on Pandora tonight. :)


Here's hoping...

"[Love] bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13 : 7-8a

Monday, 1 October 2012

Falling for October

Today is October 1st.
          I'm not usually one for fall/winter. I don't like the cold, the cold rain or that it gets dark so early. But this time feels different; this time feels fresh and crisp, which is why I think most people do like fall. It's also bittersweet. I'm really excited for this month, but at the same time I am sad.
         Let's start with the "neither here nor there": As if there's not enough breast cancer pink in my life, this month, as always, there will be more. I don't know quite how to explain it, but it just means something to me, and I will always support this cause.
        The bitter: Today is the last day for a real long time I will be able to hang out with Mal and Ava. Korbin will be returning early next morning, so my best friend and my baby girl are off to Virginia Beach to "ready the home" and welcome their soldier back. I am so proud of Korbin and how quickly he progresses, but I am sad that it take my family away. It really doesn't help that I'm a big cry baby, but even though I told myself I wouldn't cry last night (knowing I'd see them again today), I couldn't help but shed just one tear (or two...) when Ava with her newly acquired big girl voice turned and said "bye bye Sam". She's not quite two and can't express herself as well as we adults can, but I think she knows something's going on.
        There will be skype dates and Glee dates and facebook chats and texts about racism, but it's not quite the same, you know? But I know they'll be back, one way or another.
         Continuing with the bitter, the anniversary of Papa Bob's death is not even a week away. It's weird to think it's been only a year, because it seems like it's been so long! He was definitely a bright spot in our family, and even though I didn't know him for too terribly long, he treated me as his own and made me feel like I'd known him forever.
        The sweet: Life FEELS like it's calming down, although I should know better... Maybe it's just my bear instincts preparing for winter, but I feel a little more content than usual. At the end of the month, we'll be putting on a Harvest Festival at the church for kids in our neighborhood, and I am super excited, because I feel like this is something good for our church. I feel like this will be one of those projects that really brings the church together.
         Perhaps part of it IS just me transitioning from summer to fall. Summer always gets so crazy and GLOW isn't precise(?) and organized. Summer's more of a "if we have time, sure" season. Fall, the kids are back in school, people are getting back to their normal schedules, and so am I. We'll have what feels like our first "real" GLOW in a few months, and there are other little things going on that I'm excited about too.

We'll see!

Here's hoping...

"[Love] bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13 : 7-8a

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Psalm 100

Unending faith!
        My pastor is an amazing man, and there is no one else like him!
        I don't even know how to begin this, so I guess I'll begin at the beginning! My pastor at the Roseburg Church of God of Prophecy is Steve David, but he is so much more than that to me. He is my friend, my "grandpappy", technically my 2nd cousin and my step-uncle? I've known him pretty much my whole life and even lived with him for a short time. He's been my pastor all but a short while, first in Albany then here in Roseburg. I love him and his family dearly and so appreciate everything they've done for me.
         This year he's gone through some health complications and long story short is diagnosed with cancer. He's now on a regiment of one week on, one week off of chemo for six months. He's just starting his off week of his second chemo treatment.
         His never ending faith and trust in God is unbelievable. Not once has he doubted God's plan for him. After his first surgery when he found out he'd still have to go through cancer treatments, instead of wavering and being angry, he said that "God must have a plan for his chemo doctor". He knows God is going to reach somebody through his sickness, but he doesn't know who, so he just waits and trusts in the Lord.
         Earlier this month he preached a message, just before he started his first chemo treatment, about how it's totally worth it to go through trials if it means we'll reach someone for God, whether it be family, friends or even a stranger. If they can look at him and see his peace in this situation, surely that'll turn someone's eyes to Him. He had us all crying of course.
         This morning, after doing chemo just this last Monday through Wednesday, he preached another message. He just won't give up and rest! Today he preached on Psalm 100. He spoke about how we make a joyful noise to God in ALL things, no matter the situation. That we need to serve the Lord with GLADNESS in every crisis and every joyful time as well.
         I am just amazed by him every day, and I am so proud and grateful that he is MY pastor.

"That means even with cancer I can glorify God."
"I'd rather die believing that my God is a healer, than become bitter and angry and die anyway!"

What an example to everyone. I can't wait to see what God does through Steve.

"[Love] bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13 : 7-8a
 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Your Love Never Fails

          Hello World!
          Everyday I'm reminded of You. I'm reminded that You never fail me, that You always love me and that You never give up on me. We are made overcomers by the word of our testimony, so even though I've told this to some, I want everyone to know that God is faithful to us. Seems like forever ago already, but just last weekend was the third annual Hallelujah Conference. In the last couple months it just seemed like everything was falling into place. Just as I was getting nervous, God provided me with all three speakers almost in one day! I was feeling really good and excited for the upcoming conference. Well two days before the conference, I got a devastating email from my final speaker telling me he wouldn't make it. My first human instinct was to panic. I was racking my brain trying to come up with something to fill the two hour void ending the conference.
          So I took a moment, and I said to myself, "You haven't failed me yet" and just then He starting flooding me with ideas and inspiration, and this incredible peace just flowed over me. I had several people offer suggestion as to last minute speakers or things to do, and I said not to worry, because God's given me a plan.
         The next day God showed me why He gave me that plan and that peace. He knew what was in store, because my speaker emailed me back to let me know he worked things out and was able to make it again! Praise God! He is just way too good to me!
         Once again another test in trusting Him, because He has everything worked out for my good.

        But TODAY, I got to spend a good many hours with my baby girl, Ava! So it was pretty much the best day ever. :)

I just love her!!

I'm being rushed out the door, so BYE!

Friday, 28 September 2012

It's My Life

          Well...here I am again! This is my FOURTH blog: the first (Sammy Thinks) wasn't unsuccessful per se, but I was young, and it fizzled out. The second (21st Year of Living) was a fail. I think I had 25 out of 365, but it was by far the most popular, and I really enjoyed it! The third (Marriage 101) was a big fat F-! I think because the last two were so specific, I just couldn't keep up. I need a simple place to express my view on the world. Hopefully as you all join me on this endeavor, we will all learn more about ourselves, about the world and about our Creator who just simply loves me (and you...and you and you and you!).
          After seeing so many of my friends and family blogging again, I decided to retry one more time. Without further ado, I would like to introduce me to YOU:
         My name is Sam. I am 22 years old. I have a giant head full of dreams and aspirations, but I haven't yet found the key to open it! I am State Youth Director for Church of God of Prophecy in Oregon. Co-Youth Director at our local Roseburg Church and a teller at US Bank! I love life, and I love my Creator and my Savior Jesus Christ! I married my best friend Scott on March 19, 2011, and I just love him so much! And on that same day, (I got an awesome package deal!) I gained a wonderful step-son Scotty who is 10 years old, just like his father and makes parenthood seem like a walk in the park. We also have my hysterical and magical three-legged feline friend, Gus Chiggins, who loves me unconditionally even though he really shouldn't!
         Seems pretty great, right? Well it gets even better! On top of all that, I have more loving parents than a girl knows what to do with, a plethora of grandparents, FOUR brothers (one blood, one in-law and two steps), THREE sisters (one step, one exchange and one step-in-law/cousin (don't ask!)) and way too many cousins, aunts and uncles! I have a few close friends that are just as crazy as me, a beautiful "niece" whom I love more than the world, plenty of other friends and bright-eyed youth.

         This is my life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.