alpha delta pi: for a lifetime

I could not be more proud to be an Alpha Delta Pi member, for so many reasons.  Visiting ADPi’s biennial Leadership Seminar last weekend afforded me an  opportunity to see my sisters and all the amazing work they are doing.  This past year, Alpha Delta Pi Sorority raised over one MILLION dollars for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Additionally, we raised over $30,000 to go towards scholarships and need-based aid for our collegiate and alumnae sisters.  How amazing is that?  I am so proud to be part of a sisterhood focused on giving back and supporting one another.

Over the course of the weekend, I learned many things about the history of ADPi and the day-to-day responsibilities of our advisors.  I saw members who have been involved with ADPi for over FIFTY years and have worked diligently to make sure that the First and Finest sorority remains that way Forever.  I was surrounded by a group of hundreds of women who strive to give collegiate women with a positive and enriching college experience as an Alpha Delta Pi sister.  I am excited to be involved as an alum/advisor, and I cannot wait to see what the future has to hold for Alpha Delta Pi.

Alpha Delta Pi sisterhood holds a special place in my heart for the reasons mentioned above, as well as many more.  It’s one of those things that you can only understand by becoming a part of it.  The more you invest into the sisterhood, the more you see in return.  I am so thankful that in this transition period of my life, the love and sisterhood of ADPi remains constant–whether by meeting new sisters here in Texas or reconnecting with chapter sisters from Georgia.

ADPi is more than 4 years; it’s for a lifetime.

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wrapping up the semester

Forgive my absence…in the past several weeks I’ve accomplished the following:

  • Received an A on a ridiculously intense group project. (Seriously, this is a miracle.)
  • Finished up the semester with a 4.0, which I am truly thankful for.  For me, achieving a goal of all As again this semester reminds me that I have truly found my passion. I’m on the right track.  I’ve always had a passion for education and helping children, and I learn new things each day that will empower me to be a great school psychologist.  I am truly thankful to have found an area where my God-given talents and passion intersect. (Seriously, this is also a miracle, given the four years I spent borderline-hating my undergrad education.)

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  • Mailed out Save the Dates to almost all of our closest friends and family. (Woo! Less than 250 days!)
  • Spent time with my dad while he was out in Texas on a work trip.

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  • Had a phone conversation/celebration with my little cousin, who only missed ONE question on her math CRCTs.  Glad somebody else in the family got the math gene!
  • Spent time with two sweet couples playing Just Dance and eating BOGO FRO-YO. (Doesn’t that have a great ring to it?)
  • Shopped, packed, re-packed, shopped again, and packed again for my trip to Costa Rica. (P.S. I’m still not done packing.)

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  • Attended pre-marital counseling with the fiancé. (It’s going great, by the way. Perhaps I’ll talk about more in the next Wedding Wednesday.)

I’m thankful that this spring semester is over, and I am very much looking forward to this summer and all it has to offer!  I do hope you will continue on this journey with me.

Wedding Wednesday: date days

 

Last weekend Cason and I visited Homestead Heritage in Waco. We enjoyed the cafe for lunch then toured the village shops, which included the potter’s house, gristmill, forge, and fiber arts buildings. I’m hoping to go back and take some fiber arts classes in the fall, if my schedule will allow. Please check out their website for more information and enjoy our photos below! We had a truly fabulous date day (as we like to call them), and we are looking forward to going back!

Side note: Expect more posts soon about my first year in graduate school as well as my upcoming study abroad trip to Costa Rica!

 

I may not be the next Olivia Pope…

…but I did enjoy a nice trip to Washington, DC.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to NASP’s annual conference.  This year it was in Washington, DC, which afforded us a plethora of tourist-y activities for the week.

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First, we hit the monuments, from Washington and Lincoln to the various war memorials.  We also visited fun museums like the Natural History Museum and the Air & Space Museum, which are some of the coolest museums I’ve been to!  One of my favorites was visiting the Ford Theater to see the place where Lincoln was shot and died.

As far as the conference goes, I would say that the experience will be much more valuable in the next couple of years as I begin to work in the field.  While there were sessions geared towards grad students, I didn’t find them to be as helpful as one would expect.  Even those seem more applicable in your second year, as a practicum student. So, I’m looking forward to heading back to conferences over the years to continue to build upon the foundation I’m working on in grad school.

On Friday I took a detour and headed back to Georgia to see my family.  After a short weekend there, I returned to good ole Waco, Texas. Now there is only one week before I travel back to Georgia during spring break.  Then wedding planning will kick into high gear!

As graduate school has been taking up the bulk of my time, planning has been paused.  I am excited to get back to that because it really has been enjoyable. It’s funny though–I keep waiting on everyone to get tired of hearing about the wedding, but truth be told, I’ve found that I’m usually the one saying, “Let’s talk about that later.”  Don’t get me wrong, I do like when people ask about plans, but when I’m overwhelmed with other things, wedding planning takes a back seat.
I’ve just found that I’m a thousand times more concerned with preparing for my marriage than planning for my wedding.

wintertime in waco

Why is it freezing in Waco, Texas?  I have no idea, but I sure am glad that it’s starting to feel like winter.

I’ve had so many priceless experiences in Waco over the past few months, and I’m blessed and thankful for my time here.  I’d like to share a few experiences that I’ve had in the past week or two–since Waco became somewhat of a winter wonderland.

  • Georgia
    Georgia in front of the Christmas tree.

    I spent…uh…Brown Thursday? shopping for a Christmas tree.  Cason and I decorated ornaments to put on the tree, which I hope will become an annual tradition.  I also got stockings for Cason, Georgia, and myself and hung them on the mantle.  I love decorating for Christmas each year, and I have so many fun memories.  Most years, I decorate  the family tree with my mom, hanging thumbprint ornaments from my childhood.  Then throughout undergrad I would decorate the common rooms with my roommates–Kristin, Alli, and Katlyn during my sophomore year and my ADPi sisters in the house during junior year.  This year is different, but I like the new traditions and new stockings!

  • My guilty pleasure: when the holidays roll around, I love to watch those cheesy Christmas movies on Hulu/Netflix.  They are so predictable, but honestly that’s what makes them great.  This season I’ve already watched a movie about an adorable little Jewish boy who just wants to celebrate Christmas and another movie about a girl who falls in love with her boss’s fiancé.  Cason makes fun of them the whole time, so he’s not allowed to watch them with me anymore…seriously.  I’ve been watching them while I complete my take-home finals…and while Cason is at work. (Since I started writing this post a week ago, I’ve watched at least 3 more cheesy Christmas movies, and I made Cason watch one.)
  • I also have been giving assessments to children for one of my classes.  (This semester we administered the WJ-III and the WISC-IV.)  It’s hard to believe that after just a semester of grad school I now have the basic know-how necessary to give some of the more widely used IQ tests in our field.  Also, since I’m not from here I had a harder time finding students to assess.  So, I reached out and was blessed with an amazing connection.  I now hopefully have at least a few parents I can call on who are willing to let me assess their kids throughout my time here at Baylor.  I’ve had great experiences with the families and the students all while gaining experience.
    Last week I met a sweet family with four boys, and the youngest fell in love with my teacup poodle, Georgia.  His mom told me later that he decided that Georgia needed her own play room with dog treats and legos, in case the boys came back to play.  I honestly think that Georgia would LOVE that.
  • February_2012_0114
    February_2012_0114 (Photo credit: cmiked)

    On Saturday, Cason and I went Christmas shopping for our family for the first time.  We got some amazing local items from the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market, and we are excited to share them with our family.  We also made a cute ornament to put on the tree!  Going to the market is always a great experience.

  • I’ve sold a few prints from my Etsy shop, which has been both an encouragement and a blessing.  It’s nice to know that people enjoy my work.  It’s an added bonus that I have a little extra cash in my pocket for the holiday season.

Overall, it has been a sweet holiday season in Waco, but I think it’s safe to say that Cason and I can’t wait to be home for a week.  I’m thankful that the semester has winded down and I have a little bit of time before we make the long trip home.  I know it’s gonna be quite the ride, but it will definitely be worth it.  Several of my family members have countdowns until the day I arrive.  I have tons of wedding planning to do.  I will get to see several friends, whom I haven’t seen in who knows how long.  Plus I will get to see several relatively new additions to the family, including my nephew and first cousins, once removed (yes, this is the correct terminology for my cousin’s children–no, they are not my second cousins).  Regardless of terminology, I am excited to see my family!

the proposal

My sisters are chatting about candle lighting ceremonies.  My cousin has made herself available to help with questions and contest entries.  Local friends have given me names and websites for photographers. My aunt and mom have already started planning.  I now own several magazines.  I have a rather large rock on my hand.
It’s official, I’m engaged!
For the story of how we met, click here.
And without further ado, here’s the detailed engagement story you’ve been waiting for…

Our engagement story:

On Friday, November 1st Cason went in to work and I planned an afternoon of shopping followed by an evening of studying.  I was at Target when Cason texted me to let me know they had too many people for his shift, so he got to go home.  I asked if we were making plans for the night, and he said he wanted to have a nice date night since we hadn’t planned one in a while.  (This is not unusual–we like to randomly plan fun nights, spur of the moment, where I put on a dress and he wears something besides athletic shorts.)  He picked me up at 6:30pm and we ended up going to dinner downtown at a place called Sam’s on the Square.  They had about 10 different kinds of tacos to choose from–I got fish tacos, and they were surprisingly delicious.  At dinner we did our fair share of people-watching; we constantly overhear tons of hilarious conversations among “college kids.”  So at first I didn’t notice how quiet Cason was being.  Towards the end of dinner I remember asking why he was so quiet–come to find out, he was super nervous.

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After dinner we went to one of my favorite places in Waco–Katie’s Frozen Custard.  We get Katie’s at least twice a week because it’s so delicious!  Then we took our frozen treats to Baylor instead of to my house to watch TV, which is perhaps when I realized something was up.  We parked on campus and walked towards Pat Neff Hall, passing the Judge Baylor statue and stopping in the gardens to sit and enjoy our frozen yogurt.  At one point in our walk I got pretty excited about the shrubs because they were cut to spell “Baylor Bears,” and I remember thinking it was strange that Cason seemed indifferent.  (We usually get excited about random/new things, but he had seen the shrubs before when he scoped out the location, and he had other things on his mind–which is obvious in retrospect.)

So we sat down in the middle of the garden looking at the glowing green Pat Neff Hall.  I’m trying to eat my frozen custard, but it was unusually cold outside for Texas so I gave up and listened to Cason tell me the history of the glowing green light.  (I’m still rather shocked that he did his research.)  After sitting for a few minutes I told Cason that I had to go to the bathroom, so he said, “Well then I will make this quick.”  (This is it!)  Then he got down on one knee, with the glowing green building behind him, and he told me how much he had always looked forward to finding the right person, how at times he wasn’t sure it would happen, and how he was blessed to have found me.  Then he said my full name and asked me to marry him.  I said, “Yes” through my tears and I got down to hug and kiss him.  Then he stood up and asked me if I was going to say yes (which apparently happens in more engagements than you would think), and I told him that I did say yes and that I do want to marry him.  So he put the ring on my finger and we smiled and laughed and kissed and hugged.  Then, since it was dark, he pulled out his iPhone and turned on his flashlight so I could see the ring. (It’s perfect, by the way.  We previously looked at rings, so he had a good idea of what I wanted, and he just took it and ran with it. 🙂

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We walked back to the car, giddy, and I asked all sorts of questions like, “Were you nervous? Did you think I would say no?” etc.  (Yes he was nervous but not because he thought I would say no.)  Once we got back to the car, we called my parents and face-timed them so they could see the ring.  Then we face-timed Cason’s parents, who were on their way to Florida with his youngest brother.  It was all very exciting to start sharing with family.  I also called my aunt and my nana, and my cousin’s reaction was priceless.

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People asked me if I was surprised, but I think the better question is, “Were you pleasantly surprised?”  Truth be told, if I had no inclination that it was coming, I would have been surprised, but I’m not sure that I would have liked it.  Cason’s proposal, for me, had the right balance of expectation and surprise.  So yes, I was pleasantly surprised.  It was a special moment shared between the two of us, which we will never forget.  Even now when I drive by campus at night and see Pat Neff Hall glowing green in the distance, I get this big grin on my face.

taking a turn for the better

Sorry for the delay in posts; graduate school consumes about 70% of my life now (and that’s probably an understatement).  The first weekend of the month I actually flew home to see my cousin get married to her high school sweetheart.  It was beautiful, and it was wonderful to see my family.

casie

Last week I struggled with anxiety, and I was very sick on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Thankfully I’m feeling better.  I definitely bounced back more quickly than I would have this time last year.  I’m thankful to have Cason here by my side.  The move to Texas has been a transition for the both of us, but we are making it through together.  Cason has a new job.  I have new friends, I think (which is a big deal for me).  I’ve even managed to stay in touch with some GA friends, and that’s honestly something I was most worried about; I’m terrible about keeping in touch, even with my best friends.  I’m blessed to have friends who reach out to me especially given that we are all so busy.

Cason and I also believe we have found a new church home.  The worship music is an excellent combination of contemporary worship music and new renditions of old hymns; it reminds me of RUF worship at Mercer. (Shout out to the RUF band! Miss you!)   The sermons provide informative historical backgrounds for the verses each week, and I really like his preaching style.  It’s all very Bible-oriented, which should be a no-brainer for the church, but these days it’s harder to find someone who actually preaches the Bible.

hymnpainting

Anyway, now to school-related things.  The past couple of weeks I have advised my undergraduate students to evaluate their midterm goals, so I decided to make a few of my own.  I’ve encouraged my students to be open and honest, and I tried to do the same on my evaluation.  Writing these goals down helped me get the ball rolling in some areas.  I’ve already met a couple of goals on there, like talking to my professors, scheduling more time for coursework, and studying with my peers.  Perhaps I should add some more goals to this list!  Graduate school is bringing out a whole new side of me, and I like it!

midtermgoals
My brutally honest midterm goals evaluation.

I have my first exam in Ethics of School Psychology (<–short version of the course title) on Monday, and I’ve made a study plan to help me tackle all the information from 7 class days, an entire textbook,  our program handbook, 10+ articles, and multiple PowerPoint presentations.  Needless to say, I have a lot of studying to do, and it has already begun.  Hopefully my brain won’t be fried after class and I can keep studying this evening.  Even though I’ve only been there a couple of times, Common Grounds is one of my favorite places to study.  Expect to find me there all weekend.

studying

Lastly, today is my 1 year anniversary of this blog, and it’s Baylor homecoming week.  Sic’em.

if at first you don’t succeed…

Downtown Oklahoma City–adorable.  Last weekend Cason and I visited some friends from home, who are now stationed in OK City.  They were the perfect hosts.  They took us to dinner downtown at this place called Texadelphia.  Cute little combo of Mexican and Philly cheese steaks.  Delicious.  Then we played Scattergories together and watched a hilarious Jim Carey movie.  I love traveling, and I really like that living in Texas now gives us opportunities to travel to new places without having to drive really far distances.

I had my first statistics exam on Monday, and I did well.  I’m thankful that I have this class my first semester in grad school because it is the one class where I’ve learned everything before.  Intro to School Psychology is good so far because it has mostly been topics about School Psychology that I researched when looking at different school psych programs.  Though my Psychology of Exceptional Children class is pretty new to me, a lot of it seems to be common sense so far.  There are loads of acronyms that I’ve never seen before, but I’ve learned them pretty quickly.  The biggest aspect of that class so far is that I will serve for 10 hours this semester outside of the classroom.  I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to tutor a 13-year old boy with Aspergers.  I’m really eager to get started, and I’m glad that I will be tutoring him in my favorite subject–math.

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Assessment is a completely new class; I never had the opportunity to learn how to administer cognitive abilities assessments.  Why would I have needed to?  Even though the class is new and sometimes difficult, the subject is interesting and necessary.  In order to do my job as a school psychologist well, I have to learn how to administer these assessments.  Today I will be administering my first assessment to another classmate.  After sitting in class for two weeks “learning” how to administer this assessment, I’m just ready to get the show on the road and actually do it!  It’s one thing to listen to someone tell you how to do it, but I have a feeling we will  learn more today by administering the test than we have learned in the past two weeks.  Experience seems to be the primary teacher in this field thus far.

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The theme for the next several years will likely continue to be, “Let’s throw them to the wolves and see how they do.”  The perfectionist in me doesn’t always like this idea.  I am a planner, and I like to have expectations clearly defined before I embark on a large task.  School psychology doesn’t work that way at all.  The only way to learn is to attempt, fail, and try again.  I like to watch others attempt and fail so that I can learn from that instead of making my own mistakes.  Well, that’s not an option here, so I’m still trying to get used to that.  Luckily, our first attempts and failures with administering this assessment are pretty low-risk.  So we make several mistakes in front of our peers–they’re likely to make similar mistakes.  Plus, I understand that they’d rather have us make the big mistakes with our peers and our professors instead of in the school setting.

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On another note, I get to fly home next weekend for my cousin’s wedding, and I am SO excited!  One, I love flying.  Two, I love weddings.  Three, I love Georgia.  Four, I love my family.  (That was in increasing order, if you didn’t notice.)  Needless to say, this is going to be a pretty awesome weekend.  Now I just have to get through five classes, several homework assignments, two quizzes, and one extra test administration & protocol.  Not too bad, right?  Honestly, it could be much worse.  I’m just thankful for three-day weekends and fun events to look forward to!

 

my first week in Waco

Pat Neff Hall, Baylor University, Texas, USA
Pat Neff Hall, Baylor University, Texas, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over a week.  We have been in Texas for over a week, and it still hardly seems real.
On Thursday afternoon, my parents and I began the 13-hour drive to Waco around 1pm.  We arrived around 1:30am and headed straight to bed.  Friday morning we were up and at ’em.  We got the key to my beautiful house and started moving things in right away.  That afternoon we made our first trip in Texas to the nearest IKEA, and when we returned Dad and I put together my new bed.  We spent the rest of the weekend getting me settled in, buying groceries and the like.

Tuesday night, the ladies from my cohort enjoyed an evening getting to know each other.  We would have invited the guys, but they hadn’t joined our Facebook group at that point.  We met and spent time chatting about ourselves, where we’re from, and what we’re doing here now.  Spending some time together helped us to feel comfortable as we navigated the orientations that followed.

First we experienced the Graduate School orientation together, followed by Baylor’s Educational Psychology department orientation.  There we met several of the faculty and most of the first year students in the Ed. Psych department.  On Thursday, all 7 of us introduced ourselves to one another and to our professors at our School Psychology orientation.  We learned more about the program before heading off to a local eatery for lunch.  There, we shared some good ole Texas barbecue.  After lunch we learned more about Baylor’s Autism Resource Center, known to us now as the BARC.

When we were done navigating orientations as a group, we split up on Friday as my roommate and I headed to our graduate assistantship orientations.  There we learned about Baylor’s Academic Success Center, where I will spend 20 hours a week working with students to provide them with resources for success here at Baylor.  (Meanwhile, I will need your prayers for this part of my endeavor.)

In other news, I can find the following locations without my GPS:
My house
Baylor
Cason’s house
HEB (the grocery store)
Walmart
The mall
& various restaurants
Needless to say, I’ve got the necessities down.

We’ve been in Texas over a week and I’ve already met over 20 new people and visited about 6 local eateries, and this is just the beginning.  Next up: a recap of my first week in grad school!

selling on Etsy

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I MADE MY FIRST SALE ON ETSY!  I posted a few things a couple months back just to see what would happen.  I was making art for my room in Texas and about 8 different Save the Date templates for a friend.  So, I thought, Why not try to sell them.  A few months later, here I am!  My first sale!  I am excited that someone appreciated my work.  I’m very thankful, actually.

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My first sale!

So I just wanted to share that tidbit and also take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been reading my blog, looking at my photography on Facebook, and supporting me.  My photography and Photoshop creations are things that I like to do for fun, but it is nice to know that people appreciate those things.  It’s also a nice little extra money for this college kid on a budget.

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you.  Thank you for booking photo shoots with me.  Thank you for purchasing pictures from me.  Thank you for purchasing save the dates.  Thank you for loving what I do so that I can continue to do what I love!

P.S.
You can visit my Etsy shop here, or my Facebook page here.