Monday, March 12, 2012

Final Cut - APU

Final Cut was amazing and super fun. Oh...let me rewind. I auditioned with about 40+ other people for this APU vocal competition and I made the cut for the final 12 contestants. Eleven other people and I performed one of our audition songs for this competition. It was incredible. EVERYONE WAS SO TALENTED! The variety of style and vocals was beautiful and unique. I enjoyed it immensely. I did not win which obviously made sense since I was one of the most untrained and inexperienced performers there. But it was such an amazing opportunity. I forgot how much i love performing. I also would love to give a huge thank you to all who came to support me. Oh and also those people who encouraged me when I felt like giving up or just when I was freaking out from nerves. ;) If you were not able to attend and would like to watch a video i'll post it below.

I will post more about my life later but this was definitely the highlight of my week last week. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh, the Life of a College Student

Well I'll start this one off with an amazing experience I had a couple weeks ago. It's been a great learning experience this semester period. I love it.

Two weeks ago my hall had a specific theme we were doing through this week:
And it was called
-No Makeup
-No Mirrors

For the whole week we fasted from makeup and mirrors in search of other things like wisdom, knowledge, restoration, and hope.
This has been such an interesting challenge for me. Well, makeup is no problem because I don’t wear makeup very often anyway so it doesn’t make me self conscious. However, I never realized how much I think I need mirrors. It’s such a habitual thing. Yet it almost makes me sad to realize HOW MUCH I depend on the reflection of myself throughout the day or even just to begin the day. I never realized how much I did because it is so much a part of our culture to make sure we look good on the outside. Yet the inside beauty is not looked at quite as much as it should be. This is sad because ultimate beauty should come from the inside because as the outer beauty leave as the years go by the inner beauty is capable of staying for our whole lives.

For the last night of the week. Saturday. Our hall dressed up super nice and went out some went to see The Vow…I was not able to attend but it was interesting to hear the reactions from the other girls. I met up with them afterwards however and we went to get Pazooki from BJ's. However, Linsday (our RA) took us on a small detour where we ended up parking and looking across the street and in the park our brother hall was standing in a group dressed up super nice and they gave us flowers and sang for us to congratulate us on our accomplishment of that week and the courage for taking that step. It was such a lovely experience. 

Best Buddies! -- Oh my goodness. Today was the first day for me to attend best buddies. Well, basically I go to a classroom at a school and there is classrooms for intellectually challenged kids and I have a buddy in the classroom and I spend time with him there every week. It was such a blessing to be there today. It was my first day and i enjoyed it very much. I can't wait to get to know the kids better. They are the sweetest thing. I hope that I am challenged by them in a positive way and can learn as much as i can from them and i also hope that I can give them as much as i can. :)

Moving along, I had a very special letter this week that excited me very much. I received a letter from my lovely dear friend Sarah Ritchie, who is a close friend from YWAM. She and my friend Joachim are getting married this September. It is the most exciting news and I am so happy for them. Congratulations to you, Sarah & Joachim. I love you both very much! :)

The economist has become a regular daily source of knowledge in my journey of debate. The necessity of knowledge has actually become a personal enjoyment. Knowing what is going on in the world is actually as I have now finally figured out, not such a bad thing. :D
I had a tournament on Saturday with my partner Arlene. It was our first tournament in Open division. I was scared. I am not even going to lie. I was more than a little bit worried about the teams we would be coming up against. And the day started on the road at 6:45am. That in itself was a terrible experience. But I was excited for the challenge. I already knew I was going to learn so much. I do every time. However, it was still a pretty dismal tournament for us. I don't think we won any rounds. It was very sad. But it is okay. I learned more so that counts for something. :) 

I was going to write last weekend but it was the most insane weekend ever. Every weekend feels like a crazy weekend. Life never stops enough to give me time to even think about writing a blog. However, debate will be over with Nationals the week before spring break which is nice. So I will only be giving one weekend a month to Best Buddies for events so thats nice. I am excited to finally have a weekend to just sit back, do homework, and go to the beach. That would be amazing. I miss my tan! :D

Also, I just have to make just a small note about Health. It has been such an amazing experience. Our teacher is amazing. He is all about helping us succeed not only in our health but in life. He is challenging us to think ahead and to plan for life. It is something I TOTALLY need.

Oh my goodness. And Chapel yesterday! EPIC! I felt like the speaker was simply talking just to me. Her name was Rachel...I don't remember her last name but she was my age (20) and she was talking about finances. She was talking about how we should have a written budget even though its old fashioned or whatever. It was funny she said "You tell YOUR money where to go instead of letting it tell you". And she was talking about how we don't say no enough in our society and we need to learn to simply say...NO. She was saying how in the bible it says God loves a cheerful giver. She was so amusing too...totally connected with her audience. And she was saying that people who do not give are like scum on the top of a stagnant pond. So she continued with the encouragement to be a giver, be selfless. The thing she said that hit me the hardest was when she said "If you are selfless and give, you can change the world". But in order to do that you need to save. Be wise with your money. And DO NOT be in debt. And she said the love of money is the root of all evil according to the bible. The heart you have when you have money will determine what happens. Be on a plan. -- I loved it! It was such an incredible chapel.

I realized also, even though I am getting better, I still need to work on TIME MANAGEMENT. It is still very difficult but I have found a new homework habit that i'm hoping will work.

Also, BIG NEWS! I am auditioning for Final Cut - It is an APU american idol type thing. The audition is tonight. My specific audition time is at 10:10pm. I am SO nervous but I am excited and ready to have some fun. :) I am auditioning with "I'm Through" by Ingrid Michaelson, and "Forget You" By Glee with Gwyneth Paltrow. It is going to be fun. I am pretty stoked since I have never really auditioned for music other than in Musicals. And I have not done that since high school. :)

Well, that is all for now. Hope everyone has a great week! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Life is Chaotic

Well, yes this blog is definitely late. But that is because I have had my life on a never ending wheel of continuum. I thought I would have more time to do a blog every weekend but it is definitely harder than i thought so I will probably for the rest of my time do a biweekly blog.

I had my very first debate tournament of the semester a couple weekends ago. I had my first debate class and decided to throw myself into the mix by signing up for the debate tournament that coming weekend. Yes, I knew if I attended the tournament I would be drowning. That first Tuesday was the first day I learned how to even simply organize a speech for the Government team. Plus how to run advantages and disadvantages. If you have done debate or speech, you know what I am talking about, if would take too long to explain. ;) Anyway, even without the knowledge and experience I decided...I have to start somewhere. So I asked the Forensics director what it would be like if i attended this tournament.
She said: You'll probably look like a fool, learn a little bit, and maybe win a round.
My response: Awesome, let's do it.

The Experience: Chaotic, terrifying, exciting, different. These are a simple explanation of how it was. ;)

However, I am glad I joined the team because it has been quite an enjoyable experience. I have had two tournaments so far and there are more coming up. My partner and I will also both be attending Nationals. I have no idea what that looks like yet but am excited to find out.

My classes are interesting and WAY harder this semester but I like most of them.

Weight Training is SO difficult. I never realized how pathetic and out of shape I have become. Plus the fact I NEVER every workout in a gym. I am glad I took it though because I think 20 years old is probably a good time to learn what everything is in a gym. Literally I walk into a gym and it's like a whole other planet with aliens on it and I am supposed to connect with them yet have NO idea how. However, this semester I am going to learn. I am slowly. I can do 10 pushups again. That's something I guess. haha. It's nice because the class is not very long so I can do a little bit of yoga afterwards to warm myself down and just have a peaceful ending to a nice workout.

Philosophy is insane and SUPER hard to stay on top of and comprehend everything that is happening while going at a quick pace. Lots of reading but loving the challenge of trying to understand and work through the philosophies. It's surprising when interacting with the other students in the class. To notice and learn all the different thought processes and point of views. I like it alot. It's such an interesting subject.

Sociology is different. I cannot decide if i like the teacher yet. And tests have been super difficult so far because all we do in class is sit in a circle and talk about the readings. So it's hard to take notes and also know what to study for the tests. But the class is really interesting. I feel like there is some tension because there is a very diverse class. But I LOVE learning all the different views from different culture about society, and social systems and structures. It's an interesting class. I like it. I took my first test on Monday so we'll see how I'm doing so far.

Intro to Lit is by far my least favorite class. The teacher is ridiculously boring and we do the same thing every class and he is monotonous in his teaching and his verbal interactions and its driving me insane. I am trying so hard to just enjoy the reading of the stories and poems we have and learn that way because I am learning absolutely nothing from this teacher. Just been trying to tell myself to keep an open heart and mind to learn something new each class. I'm quite sad I haven't had a good english teacher yet at this school. Not this semester or last.

Health probably is my favorite class and not only because it's easy but our teacher is awesome. He is the head football coach here and he is so interesting. Always has our attention and always is encouraging us in life and choices and succeeding in life. I remember the thing that stuck out the most to me is that the first day he said "You all are going to get an A in my class." And i thought wow he must be very easy but then he continued on to say that he WANTS us to succeed in this class and that is why we will do well. He is not going set us up for failure. He is going to lead us in the direction of success. That mentality in a teacher is SO encouraging. It gives me more of a desire to want to do well in his class.

Debate is quite an interesting class. We are reading a great book called Escape from Reason by Francis A. Schaeffer. It is quite a difficult read but quite an invigorating mental challenge. The class is awesome also. We have had two practice rounds in class which was difficult but fun. :) I enjoy Annie's teaching very much and reading the book with Mrs Amy Jung is also very enjoyable. Debate at this school is quite interesting. If you join the team you are joining a family. Our two debate coaches are Annie and Joey and they are such a blessing and so much fun to work with. So if you haven't guessed, they are mama and papa of this little debate family. :)

So far in life on campus my goal is trying to hold myself together and REALLY focus on TIME MANAGEMENT. I'll talk more about that in my next blog though.

This is all for this post. However, I will most likely be posting another one today about this week specifically. :)

Enjoy this rad day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Second (or Spring) Semester at APU

Finally!! I have returned to the beautiful school that I love. It feels like i've been gone forever while at the same time, it feels like just yesterday since we had finals. Already, even though I have only been here one semester, it feels like home. I love my dorm room, and my roommates, and my hall. Trinity 3rd South! What what?? Technically, this new semester I am a Sophomore according to my credits but I am still in the dorms for now. After a lovely break with my family I am ready to jump back into my classes and take on the new year. 2012 Here I Come! :)

First semester GRADES!:

Public Communications: B
Freshman Writing Seminar: A-
History: B 
(I seriously thought I was going to fail this class. So proud of myself!)
Christian Life, Faith & Ministry: B+
Music Fundamentals: A

Obviously, these are not the best grades in the world, but considering trying to figure out and organize life first semester as a college student i'm good with these. I never believed I was good at school or capable of succeeding in the academic department. But this first semester has proved me wrong in a very positive and encouraging way. And my goal this next semester is to get as many A's as i can and try as hard as i can to get all A's, if possible. I really think I can do it. I just have to focus, push, and challenge myself. :)

I have learned alot of new things about myself this semester that I never would have thought of or guessed. For example:

My Strengths...
Now I don't know if most people know or understand what strengths are. This might explain it a little bit.

"Many years of research conducted by The Gallup Organization suggest that the most effective people are those who understand their strengths and behaviors. These people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers, and their families.
A review of the knowledge and skills you have acquired can provide a basic sense of your abilities, but an awareness and understanding of your natural talents will provide true insight into the core reasons behind your consistent successes.
Your Signature Themes report presents your five most dominant themes of talent, in the rank order revealed by your responses to StrengthsFinder. Of the 34 themes measured, these are your "top five."
Your Signature Themes are very important in maximizing the talents that lead to your successes. By focusing on your Signature Themes, separately and in combination, you can identify your talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy personal and career success through consistent, near-perfect performance."

I hope that was easy to understand kind of the idea of strengths and how they affect a person and their choice and thoughts in life. Well below I have a list of my top five strengths from the test I took in September with all the other Freshman and Transfer students here at APU. The interesting thing I found was that since the last time I took the test my first and last strengths completely swapped places and two of my old strengths were replaced with different ones, while Positivity moved higher on the list into the center spot. I think strengths are very interesting and definitely shed some light on understanding individuals better in a positive way.

You love to solve problems. Whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, you can be energized by it. You enjoy the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution. You may prefer practical problems or conceptual ones or personal ones. You may seek out specific kinds of problems that you have met many times before and that you are confident you can fix. Or you may feel the greatest push when faced with complex and unfamiliar problems. Your exact preferences are determined by your other themes and experiences. But what is certain is that you enjoy bringing things back to life. It is a wonderful feeling to identify the undermining factor(s), eradicate them, and restore something to its true glory. Intuitively, you know that without your intervention, this thing—this machine, this technique, this person, this company—might have ceased to function. You fixed it, resuscitated it, rekindled its vitality. Phrasing it the way you might, you saved it.
Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.
You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious. Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure. You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit. You inject drama into every project. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won’t allow it. Somehow you can’t quite escape your conviction that it is good to be alive, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one’s sense of humor.
“When can we start?” This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that “there are still some things we don’t know,” but this doesn’t seem to slow you. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go stoplight to stoplight. You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning. You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can’t. You must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.
You live in the moment. You don’t see the future as a fixed destination. Instead, you see it as a place that you create out of the choices that you make right now. And so you discover your future one choice at a time. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have plans. You probably do. But this theme of Adaptability does enable you to respond willingly to the demands of the moment even if they pull you away from your plans. Unlike some, you don’t resent sudden requests or unforeseen detours. You expect them. They are inevitable. Indeed, on some level you actually look forward to them. You are, at heart, a very flexible person who can stay productive when the demands of work are pulling you in many different directions at once.

These strengths actually help me understand myself better and how to reach my full potential individually while also in my relationship with other people which is very useful.

Moving right along. 


1. Daily Devotions
2. Exorcising
3. Better Time Management
4. Read the Newspaper
5. Financial Integrity
6. Investing Wisely in Peoples lives
7. Change Lives in a Positive Way
8. Listen. 
9. Aspire to Love Unconditionally as Close as is Humanly Possible.

10. Work Harder. 
11. Be More Selfless. 
12. Trust God. - Open up and let go and let Him guide me in this next year to be what He wants me to be and do what He wants me to do.
13. Continue in Exorcising Creativity Through Music
14. Focus

The End.

Bible Verse of the Year:

Isaiah 43: 18-19
"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not see it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

Song of the Year:

The Stand - Hillsong United 

My Relationship with God:

I put this one in Green because I believe my relationship with God is always growing. I see him differently in new ways everyday. I am not always consistent. But I know he's always there. I really want to strive this year to become closer with God. I can feel him calling me everyday. His voice is in my eyes, his spirit calls from my soul.

Chapel has been a progressive and incredible experience for me here at APU. I started out hating it and am now at the point where i am shocked to realize i missed it so much over break. I have been at my highest and my lowest in chapel. I have had my hands raised toward heaven while also tears pouring down my face down on my knees. My spiritual journey here has been the most intense roller coaster of my life. But I am here and ready to take over again. I am yearning so much for a closer relationship with God. I want to be near to him. I want to be close to him. My heart burns with the desire to be in his presence.

My one and strongest prayer for this semester is that my mind and my body will quit slowing me down and stalling me from my relationship with God.

God, I am here. Ready to be renewed by you. Take me in your arms. I am in desperate need of you and your love. I want to "...stand, arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the one who gave it all, [I want to] stand, my soul Lord to you surrender, all I am is 

Prayer Requests:

1. HEALTH - last semester was one thing after another, i was sick or had some physical issue every single week. It totally got in my head and kept me from my sleep and my studies. I really would like to stay healthy this semester - well actually the whole year would be nice. :)
2. God. My relationship with him. To trust more. To desire more. To be motivated to actively pursue Jesus.
3. Focus in classes. Challenge myself. Reach for the goal of straight A's. I know it's possible.
4. Debate - just that i won't be drowning. That i will succeed and do well in this. and i will GET OVER my fear of speaking in front of people. ;)
5. That I can get myself up and also find a solid weekly ride to Mosaic. I really have a desire for a church community.

MY Classes This Semester (Including Chapel;):

Mondays & Wednesdays:
  • Chapel: 9:30-10:20
  • Weight Training: 10:40-11:35
  • Philosophy: 1:05-2:30
  • Sociology: 2:45-4:10
  • Wed Only: Kaleo: 9:00-10:30

Tuesdays & Thursdays:
  • English Literature: 9:45-11:10
  • Health: 11:25-12:20
Tuesdays & Wednesdays:

Tues: 4:20-10:30 - Wed: 4:20-7:30

Plus, all the homework, and eating, and bible studies, etc., etc., etc. :D

Well, I think that is about it for everything I need to cover for this week and the beginning of this new year. Life is crazy, hopefully it will die down a bit in a couple weeks once I get settled in to the new schedule.

BUT last but MOST DEFINITELY NOT least I would like to say a couple "Thank You's".

First: I want to give a huge thank you to my Grandpa Al Howard who made my first semester possible. I would not be here without him and I cannot express how it means the world to me that he is helping me make this happen and encouraging me in this next step of my life. Those grades are for you (well of course for myself too ;) and the aspiration to reach higher, all because of you. :) I love you so much! You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Second: I want to say thank you to my Dad for making this second semester possible. I would not be here without you're help either. Thank you SO much! I also really appreciate the effort you put in to help me keep my focus when needed, even on break. ;) I love you.

Third: I just want to give such a heartfelt thank you to my beautiful amazing mother, Laura. She has been the hugest encouragement to me throughout this entire process. She calls me to see how i'm doing and makes sure i'm on track. She has been the encouraging little bird this entire semester. Picking me up when i'm feeling down, encouraging me to keep my focus, and so many other things. I cannot express how blessed I am to have her in my life. I would not be who I am today without her. I am grateful beyond words for my mommy. I love you so much Mom. <3

Well, that concludes this intensive first blog post. I PROMISE none of the rest will be this long. ;)

God Bless.
and a Happy New Year!