Friday, May 17, 2013

My Wildcat Family

My time in Manhattan is slowly winding down and most of the people I know are packing up their lives and moving away, as I will be doing in two months. I have talked to and listened to people reminisce about their time in this town, at this college, with these friends and it has been a gut wrenching experience. In the past month of my life I have made more friends in Manhattan than I have in my three years here. I have hung out with more people, gone out with more people and just tried to enjoy the company of people I have seen every day for the past three years.

I feel like it was somewhat of a wasted experience. I didn't bother getting to know my classmates, aside from three or four people. I went home too often, relied on friends from my past and didn't try and socialize. After finally getting to know more people, some of whom I have wanted to socialize with for a year or two, I'm finding I should have done this sooner. I shouldn't have settled for the friends I already have (not that they suck or anything). I've been blessed in my life to be around great people I can call my friends and I am thankful every day for them. I am thankful but also sad because a majority of them I won't see from now on since I will never step foot on campus for a class again. Unless I go to Grad School. #EMAW #FAMILY

Sunday, April 21, 2013

in the middle of the night

Late at night. This is the time when I am left with only my thoughts. It is a time when I love to go outdoors, drive around or walk, and soak up the world. It is the time when I find myself the most. It is when the Lord will speak to me. It is when the stars shine for me. It is time I cherish. So tonight I am thinking about who I am. What defines me?  What are my likes? Here are a few.

-I like making lists. I may not always follow up on the list, but I love making them. Crossing things off make me feel I have accomplished something important with my day.

-I color coordinate my bathroom towels, rugs and shower curtain.

-I enjoy Pinterest. Tapiture may be for 'men,' but Pinterest is where I find my great DIY projects and food recipes. It's more than just pictures and girly 'crap.'

-I love writing letters. Letters are more personal and feel more important. If you would like a letter in the mail, I would love to send one!

-I get pleasure from wearing dress clothes every day to teach. I love matching ties, shirts, pants, socks, shoes and coats.

-I dislike ironing dress shirts and pants. And keeping my shoes clean.

-I enjoy being surrounded by pictures. Of friends. Of family. Of mountains. Quotes. Anything really.

-I feel concerts are the only true way to enjoy listening to music. It is a intimate moment in time, where I can watch and feel someone share their craft.

-I think music without words fills up my heart and soul better than music without. Especially at night.

-I believe the Duke Brothers, Jon and James, are two of the most brilliant musicians most people have never heard of.

-I believe love concurs all.

-I like my iPhone. I never leave without it.

-I feel technology is ruining our world.

-I could never date anyone who didn't like to dance.

-I would rather read a book than watch a movie of a book. Books are more enjoyable, more intimate.

-I enjoy buying physical records over cd's, but my record player isn't the best quality. So my collection sits idly on my shelves until I can buy a better one.

-I feel weird without a watch on. I never liked watches before this semester, and now I always have one on when I go places.

-I wear my watches backwards, on the inside of my left wrist. I'm not sure why I do this, but it makes reading the time easier.

-I like quotes. They inspire me, build me up, and remind me of the good in each day. My current favorite: "We lose ourselves in the things we love; We find ourselves there too."

-I love worship. Everyone worships in his or her own way, but when I feel closest to Him, the world is miles away.

Monday, December 10, 2012


This past weekend I got to see Dane and Christy for the first time in just under a year.  It was amazing how it felt like they never left my side. Our conversations were focused on catching up on the wild ride that life has taken us all on the past year but it honestly felt like they never left. Dane, Brock, and I rode home from Kansas City together and had some man time.  Dane kept telling me how much he missed just hanging out with the guys and I knew exactly what he meant.

Right as we were pulling into Manhattan we turned on "Lover's Eyes" by Mumford and Sons. The great thing about my relationship with my friends is that we have a shared love of music. It is constantly talked about, especially with Brock and Dane. So we put on the song and sang our harmonies and just rocked out as people tend to do in minivans. I realized then it was the simple things I missed about having Dane and Christy around. I missed singing along to music or talking about music. We pulled up to the apartment as the song finished and it just felt normal.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

One Day At A Time

Thursday night I went out with two friends from school, one riding the joy of seeing a long distance boyfriend soon, one friend who was struggling at the end of a long week. I was smack dab in the middle of them, getting ready to see Dane and Christy the next day, and still struggling with the break up with Emily. But these two really allowed me to talk about whatever it was I had on my mind. It was just a great time and a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the semester.

That night brings me to the reason that I wanted to blog tonight. I have watched The Avett Brothers and Randy Travis on CMT Crossroads about fifty times since it came out over Thanksgiving break. I usually end up watching the songs that have been written by Randy Travis because I just love the original songs by The Avett Brothers so much. However, the interviews of the four main performers (Scott, Seth and Bob from the Avett's and Randy Travis) give me the most highlights. My favorite interview involves the four men talking about love and the relationships in their lives. Scott Avett said something that will stick with me for awhile when talking about his marriage.  He said, "A lot of people will give me weird looks when I say this, but I view my marriage as like each day of sobriety. A great friend of mine said, 'I can't tell you if I'm going to be sober for the rest of my life, I can't promise that.' We try to promise further than that, and we sure are committed to each other.... I try and keep it one day at at time."

They also discussed about songs that talk about the good and the bad up against each other. I can relate to that feeling because life always contains the good and the bad days, sometimes mixed in together. Even in the darkest of times, there will always be something positive in your life, you just have to look for it. Every rough story will have a fulfilling adventure.  I have always been the type of person who can look on the positive side of life, even in my darkest of times. That hasn't always been a good thing because it really shields you from seeing that things need immediate change at times. But life should always be viewed through a positive lens; too many days can be viewed in a negative light. As my friend Anna told me, I will tell everyone I know as well: If you ever need a positive voice in your life, give me a call. I am a good listener.

With Love,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Can Still Remember It Like It was Yesterday

I Can Still Remember It Like It Was Yesterday by Christian D. Orr

Salina Journal Date: January 17, 2003 Section: News

I was standing on the football field at Ottawa High School at the conclusion of a first-round playoff game between Ottawa and Clay Center High School when this old, gruff looking man came ambling out of the stands and down to the field.

I was standing in front of a living legend - Blackie Lane.

I had heard so many stories about Blackie Lane through the years it was almost unimaginable I was finally meeting the man. The man my father had talked so highly for so many years.

"He was a man that taught me a lot," my father said recently. "He was a man that I truly respected."

Blackie Lane died last Friday. He was 79.

But legends, in athletics anyway, never die and Blackie Lane is undoubtedly a coaching legend.

Lane coached in more than 100 seasons of athletics during a 40-year career which started at Wakefield High School, included a stop at Beloit where he was an assistant for present Purdue basketball coach Gene Keady, before culminating with a 30-year stint at Clay Center High School.

While he was best known for his love of the sport of track he was also an assistant coach in football and basketball, picking up head coaching duties in both sports for brief stints throughout his career.

"I can't ever remember a time during those 40 years that he was not coaching something," said son Paul Lane, who is now the head football coach at Clay Center.

But it isn't longevity that makes Blackie Lane a legend. It is the stories that he told. The stories told about him. And, most importantly, the lives which he touched.

"He was a very special person for me," said Keady, who was just 22 years old when he took over the Beloit High School coaching reigns. "He taught me how to work with people. He had a lot of charisma. He was good about being patient with people."

Patient with players ... officials, now that is a whole different story.

"We used to always joke that whenever we played a basketball game we were automatically down two points right from the start," said Emporia State University football coach David Wiemers, who played for Lane at Clay Center. "We always knew that Blackie would get a technical in a game so we just started off knowing we were down two points."

It wasn't that Blackie was not a sportsman, he was every bit a sportsman. But he fought for his kids and he competed until the very end.

"I don't think he ever won a state championship, I'm not sure, but I don't think he ever did," Paul Lane said. "But that never bothered him because he wasn't in it to win championships. He was in it for the kids. He was in it for the camaraderie."

He was in it for the thrill of competition.

"He was a guy that made friends with the other athletes and coaches," said Abilene track and cross country Ken Russell, who has competed against Lane and coached against him as well. "He was a true sportsman.

"He was always the first one to come and congratulate you if you beat him and he always played by the rules. He didn't always do things according to the book and some people may have seen him only as a gruff-old codger, but he always had the kids interest at heart.

"He was a wonderful coach."

He was and always will be a coaching legend.

"Coach, you got my attention," my father said after learning of Blackie's passing. "And I still remember after all of these years."

This article ran a week after my grandfather passed away. It's hard to believe that was nearly 10 years ago. I knew something was wrong that day when my dad wasn't in his room during 4th hour because he was there during 1st hour. I knew something was really wrong when, just before I took the mat in my first ever varsity wrestling match, my mom told me that we needed to get to Topeka as quickly as we could after the dual was over (I took this too literally I guess, losing in 20 seconds). Speaking only from this one experience and nothing more, I hope the day I day is just like the day my grandfather passed away. 

We got to the hospital very late, only to find that my grandfather had been moved to a new floor. This was because my family was celebrating his life, and we celebrate by singing. My aunts and uncles had become too much of a distraction on the ICU floor and thus they moved Blackie to a floor to accommodate us. This was the first night that I ever heard the CCCHS school song sung with words, who knew? We all shared stories about my grandfather, even my little cousins. I shared about how much I loved him coming over every saturday morning to talk football, driving over even though he was too blind to drive. Early in the morning I got to say my goodbyes before leaving the room and leaving my aunts and uncles to say goodbye. 

I went to school the next day to take a test, because I knew that sitting at home wouldn't do anything but hurt. I walked into school and saw Mr. Block, my Anatomy and Phisology teacher standing outside of his room. Mr. Block lived next door to my grandparents for most of my childhood and was always over during family time. I had held it together up until that point but I broke down crying when we embraced for a hug. He understood just what I was going through, and the feeling was mutual. 

Two days later I went to my first varsity wrestling tournament in Rossville, KS. I got second place, knowing that Blackie was watching. The team lead a prayer and wanted to win for my family. My grandfather, even 30 years after retiring as a coach, was held in high regard by my friends and classmates. We won the tournament with only one person not placing in the top 3. 

I am going to be a teacher, influence by decades of teachers from my family. I realized that day just what kind of influence a teacher and a coach can have on students, parents and a community and I knew I wanted to be a teacher like my grandfather and father and mother. I hope the day I pass away is a celebration, because that is what death is. It is a celebration of a life that has ended, but hopefully just begun. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Brett, Brock, Craig and Dane. Those four men are the closest friends I have and if I am being honest, they are the best friends any person could ask for. As I wrote in my last post, I am reading A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller. There is a chapter in the story about a group of men who were held captive for a year while being tortured. The men were described as the closest of friends because of the simple things they did while around each other. They didn't cut each other off, talk over one another and they didn't need to fill the air with unneeded words. They simply enjoyed the company of one another. I've never really thought about why certain friends are closer than others, why I will always reach out to those four men above everyone else, but I just know that is my first instinct; it is second nature.

However, if I really think about why we are all friends, it is because we have all been through some deep stuff in our time knowing each other, some, like myself, more than others. Each friend offers a different view of the world, and their advice and opinions reflect that. I know Brett will always be a smart ass when I first bring something up, his way of making the situation less heavy I suppose. Dane will start off by apologizing (or praising) to me for what happened. Brock will ask for details before offering advice and Craig will probably just not answer the phone. He takes on a combination of the other three though. It is funny how well I can know these four men, even though our time spent as friends varies a great deal.

I thank God every night for my friends and all that they have helped me through. It is amazing what someone can go through when he has people by his side like Brett, Craig, Brock and Dane. I look back at old pictures, mostly of Brett, Craig, and I, and I laugh at who we were back then. Eight years ago we were punk kids who wanted the world. Now we are at various stages of our lives and take what we can get. That is not a bad thing, but the inevitable change all people go through. We went through the fires often in those days and I can remember the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Those days still show up and when they do, I know who I can call.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A New Path Created

I have started this post about twenty different ways, not really knowing where I wanted to take it. Post-breakup days are always filled with time spent wondering about what ifs and what could have beens. These days, however, are filled with thoughts about where my path is headed, about what kind of story I am leaving for the world.  Distance changed everything about my relationship with Emily and with that comes a different thought process to breaking up. I can remember four years ago when I ended my last serious relationship and how I felt; remembering how much it ached and how I was living a life down the wrong path. These days I don't feel that way.  I find myself wondering if it is because of my advanced age, my closer relationship with God (and by closer I mean I have one now), or because the distance just made it easier to move on. 

I am reading A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller for the third time. The first time made me want to be spontaneous and have fun. The second time I started to pick out important pieces, advice on how to live a better life/story. This time though, I am finding passages and tidbits on how to become a better character. Amazing things can happen when you give stories or music multiple chances to blow you away, to reach different parts of your mind. I know a musician who recommends listening to an album, in order, three times before you decide how good it is. I find this to be true for any craft. Donald Miller is one of those writers that always leaves me with something new to process. Songs by Mumford and Sons are that way as well. 

One passage that I found to be enlightening in A Million Miles In A Thousand Years was a single line that reads, "The stories we tell ourselves are very different from the stories we tell the world." Basically, other people cannot perceive our thoughts, they cannot read our minds. Sometimes body language and actions can give our feelings away but most of the time people are left guessing how we truly feel. I believe people need to be more open and share their stories, share their thoughts and emotions with the people around them. It is sometimes easier to fight personal battles and demons by ourselves, because we are embarrassed by what we are going through. However, there will always be people who are fighting the same battles, struggling with the same faults that you are.