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!

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