Taking on Life at Full Speed

Learning from the past to make a brighter future

Civil Trial Jury Experience — August 27, 2014

Civil Trial Jury Experience

The past few days I have been on Jury Duty. I had postponed it a week so I could help with Vacation Bible School, so once that was over I knew my civic duty was upon me. I, like most people did not want to be there. I was totally not wanting to have my name be called for Voir Dire. By 10:00 or so in the morning I found myself sitting in a jury box in a courtroom on the 6th floor going through the Voir Dire process for a Civil Case. I ended up being one of the chosen 12 to sit on this case.

I am not going to go into much detail about the specific case, just because I don’t really want to talk about specifics and the details of the plaintiff’s case.

My plan for this blog post is to go through the process of the case. While waiting in the jury assembly room, I at least got a vlog or two watched. After I got called I had to go up to the 6th floor (a floor I know well from Corrections Grand Jury that I did 4 years ago). The law clerk took two or three in at a time and lined us up. It was a tiny courtroom. Thus beginning the Voir Dire process, which lasted from around 10:30 or so until well into the afternoon. It was several hours (not including lunch break) to pick 12 of the 30 people to serve as the jury. By 2 or 2:30 the jury was selected and the opening statements began. We got through opening statements and part of the first testimony before being let go for the day just before 5:00.

The second day (being yesterday was all testimony, for both the plaintiff and the defense. We got sent back into the Jury room quite a bit so that the lawyers could discuss something with the judge, and what not.  Today we finished up testimony before closing arguments. Closing arguments were done before lunch, and we were given our instructions, before taking a lunch break. Most of us left the courthouse at lunch. taking a break before setting to the task of deliberation. Beings that this was a civil case there was deliberating to do, but we were done with our initial deliberations by about 2:30 – 3:00 (and we had started at about 1:15. We were completely done by 4:00.

Once we arrived in the jury room in the morning, we could only leave it or the courtroom for lunch and at the end of the day. The jury rooms do have bathrooms in them so we don’t actually have to leave it to use the bathroom once we are there. Beings that we spent a fair amount of time in the jury room we had time to chat with our fellow jurors. We could not talk about the case until it was given to us to deliberate, but it is hard to be cooped up in a little room with 11 other people for 3 days and not talk to each other about other stuff going on, and life stuff. We could hear the lawyers voices (but not what they were actually saying) from inside the jury room, so I have no idea if they could hear us jurors laughing or not out in the courtroom.

As I was waiting to be picked up today after the trial, I glanced over across the street, in enough time to see a man wearing slacks and a dress shirt give me a smile, like he recognized me, and it took me a moment to realize it was the just from the trial I had just been a juror for.

Comment down below if you want me to write about my corrections grand jury experience.

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Making my own Normal — August 26, 2014

Making my own Normal

Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out? – What a Girl Wants

That seems to have been the story of my life. I just wanted to be “Normal” but have been meant for something more.

I have found that “normal” is so over rated. Normal is boring and lacks meaning, spontaneity, originality, and fun. If I was normal I would be like everyone else. What’s the fun and diversity in that?

But be not afraid of greatness, some are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon ’em – William Shakespeare

Be who you were meant to be. Not someone else.

Redefining Self Image — August 25, 2014

Redefining Self Image

Hey Everyone! 

I can only speak for myself, but I know that a lot of teenage girls and young women at least where I am from at one point or another, if not for a long period of time struggle with body image, self image and self confidence. We base a lot of our self worth and self confidence off what we are told, taught, and what we see through the media. Our culture has gotten so caught up in attaining an unattainable image that we are being force fed. At the same time we also wonder why so many teenagers and young adults develop eating disorders. 

Beauty is more than skin deep. There is more to who we are than what size we wear, the number on the scale, and the image the media forces upon us. 

I am not immune to any of this. From a young age I was ugly fat girl. I have always struggled with food being the enemy, and until I was in college I was never really taught that Food is not the enemy, but how to make good food choices, and that I don’t have to give up the things that taste good, just balance out what I eat. I was also one who at times ate my feelings, or went hungry, to achieve a more acceptable body according to the media and my mother. My freshmen year I was definitely malnourished, and lost at least 20 pounds because I was eating too few calories. Many of you may be thinking “why didn’t your parents intervene?” They didn’t take the time to notice that I wasn’t eating, and that I was skipping dinner daily. I went to bed hungry because I was ashamed of my body, and what I looked like. 

Rebuilding your self image will take hard work, and what worked for me may or may not work for someone else. For me, tuning out the haters, and those that put me down, talked crap about be to my face or behind my back, and telling myself that those who took issue with my weight, and treated me like I was less of a person or somehow worth less than them because of my weight, or that I was not as “pretty” as them, are the ones with the issues. There are people in my life who have helped me to rebuild my self image by loving me and accepting me for who I am. 

I am still a ways of from where I would like to be, but I have come a long way from where I was in middle school and high school. It will help when I am able to move away from the two people who have tortured me enough so far in my life to last for several life times, and they are the ones who should really be there to help build up a positive self image, but they have been more destructive than anything. 

For me, taking the negative and destructive things with a grain of salt is hard, when it is coming at you a mile a minute, but it can be done. Yes, it still gets to me at times, and fighting back sometimes only makes things worse when you are around people who believe they are never wrong 100% of the time and you should kiss the ground they walk on (yet they whine and  complain worse than a little kid when something doesn’t go their way or doesn’t go the way they wanted). With certain people that have given me the “suck it up and deal with it” stance, I have fed it right back to them, because life isn’t fair, and they can’t get their way 100% of the time, and we all have to do things in life we don’t like. 

Letting people do nice things for me, still feels really foreign. I have spent so many years bending over backwards (I had to), and not having people do nice things for me because they want to, that it is taking me some time to get used to the fact that there are still people out there who like to do nice things for the people they care about. 

There came a point where I had to choose whether I was going to continue to let others life my life for me, and continue walking all over me, or if I was going to reclaim my life, and stand up for myself. I chose to reclaim my life, and work on improving my self image, and stand up for myself. 

My College Experience — August 24, 2014

My College Experience

Hey Everyone! 

Today I want to talk about the importance of doing your best and not goofing off in high school. Whether or not you want to go to college, it is important to do well in school. I learned the hard way what goofing off and not trying hard enough gets you. 

If you do intend to go to college, doing well all four years of high school is important, not only for your cumulative GPA (which also helps open doors to more colleges) but having a diverse class load (especially when it comes to electives) is also very important. Why I am telling you this is because college is not easy. I had a hard time, especially my first year of college to adjust to the higher level of what was expected of me in college. I was not prepared for the college course load, by struggling with a normal high school course load with no AP, Honors or IB classes. That even going to a small state college. 

When I went to college, I had gone intending to graduate with a degree in early childhood/elementary education, and had spent the previous school year volunteering in an elementary school. By the time I got to my sophomore year of college I was spending hours a day on my homework, struggling at something I was not enjoying, and I knew deep down that teaching school in the traditional sense was not for me (I have had the door slammed in my face a couple of times since college, reaffirming the fact that a career in teaching school is not for me). Half way through my sophomore year of college I changed my major to Social Science (I’ll explain a bit more about that in a bit) and I minored in Literature. 

The Social Science division includes Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Geography, History, Political Science and Sociology. I majored in Social Science so I could take classes in the above categories that interested me and have them all count toward my major credits. The only subject I did not take any classes in was sociology, which would be the primary subject of these subject if you were wanting to be a social worker. I took primarily History classes, and had no intention then nor do I have any plans now to become a social worker. I applaud those who can be social workers, but that is not something I could do, without it taking all that I have. 

Once I completed all my lower division general education classes (at my school we called them LACC’s – Language Arts Core Curriculum), and was entirely working on upper division classes for my major and minor school got so much easier. I didn’t have the busy work of my lower division classes (which were kind of like a repeat of high school, but a bit harder), and was taking just classes that were of interest to me. 

Growing Up Too Fast — August 21, 2014

Growing Up Too Fast

Growing up is hard, for anyone. It gets harder when children are not given the structure and support they need to thrive. That I know all to well. 

I was thinking about when I was a kid, and like how many other kids, I took the bus home from school in middle school. I came home to an empty house and fended for myself. That was completely normal. By the time I got to high school, about the only homework I was doing was for English, and maybe history, but I pretty much did no school work after getting home from school. I would just spend my time reading book after book. I got away with typically skipping a class a week my freshmen year. It was easy enough, and I just made sure my parents never found out about it. 

Besides being a latch key kid, a lot of where I went off course started after my grandmother passed away when I was 13. Most of what I know about life, is from making mistakes, and doing things. I have learned from the stupid stuff I have done. In someways I wish I could have stayed a bit more “innocent”. That is not what life dealt me, which is in part of why I am writing this blog, is to share some of what I have experienced and learn through my life. 

College really helped me realize that it is okay to be myself, and that I don’t have to play to an audience in real life. I prefer being in the great outdoors going on adventures, and that dumbfounds some people because of how I carried and presented myself as a teenager. I am not a teenager anymore. I am a woman who has thoughts, feelings, interests, pursuits and a life that is amazing but is rather contrary to the teenage wanting to please presentation of myself. 

To parents out there, the biggest thing I can’t stress enough, even if you work, and your partner/spouse (if you have one) works, is to at least check your children’s homework daily (grades 3 and up) and weekly for the younger ones. Know what’s going on with them at school and after they come home. Make sure they are doing their  homework. That was one thing I did not have happen in my life, and I barely did my homework in high school. I barely scrapped by, and it should not be that way. When a child is capable of A’s and B’s, C’s and below are not acceptable. A lot of what makes the difference between a C and even a B is whether or not they are regularly in class, and are doing their homework (and at least attempting it). 

I cannot express how important it is to love your children, and how important it is to truly listen to them. I don’t care how tired you are from a long day at the office dealing with your annoying coworker. When your child comes running into see you after you get home, yelling “Mommy, Mommy (or Daddy, Daddy), guess what I did today?” and goes into a long winded ramble about seeming nothingness, that is the prime opportunity to be building a stronger bond and relationship with your child. I am not saying that your world needs to revolved around your child or to be a helicopter parent, but be involved with your child’s life. Believe in, and support their dreams. Don’t belittle them or put them down when their dreams change as they get older (and change their major for the second time). Or if they want to talk to you about the person they like at school. They are wanting you to be involved, and if you have laid the ground work, they will come to you, and tell you about the important stuff, especially if you took interest in (and didn’t freak out over) the little stuff. Trust me on this one. 

Having been forced to grow up and be mature for my age, has not always been for the best. Now, after college, I feel like I am having to go back over some of the growing up stuff I missed, and figure some things out about myself, who I am, and what direction my life is going in. I have to say that this summer has been amazing though. I have had a few opportunities to just be me, and forget about all the external pressures. I could freely just be me, and love my life and where I am at in life. 

Small Town Life — August 19, 2014

Small Town Life

Going back “home” to the towns in which I lived during college, still in someways tears at me, because I can’t be living there at the moment. I miss the three towns that were such a huge part of my life, and are still very much a part of my life. 

The towns have changed a bit since I have lived there but not so much that it is like “whoa what happened here” 

I can tell there has been a definite change and shift in my mentality from the college there to go to school mentality, to thinking of the area as a great place to settle down, buy a house, and raise a family. It would be a great place to raise kids. The small town life is the kind of life that I want to give my kids. I grew up in the city, and that is not what I want for my kids. 

Afore mentioned town that shall remain nameless is still close enough to the big city, for shopping purposes, especially for Food Intolerance specific specialty food. 

Life in the city is insanely busy even when you are sitting home doing nothing. There is always something going on, something to do, someplace to be, someone who wants to do something. This summer has flown by, and most of the time I really haven’t done a whole lot so to speak. I can remember while I was in college how much I didn’t like the city in part because I could never fully relax, and just breathe. Breaks from school that I would spend at home in the small town were the most relaxing, because there was nothing really demanding of my attention, and I was where I wanted to be so I wasn’t trying to get away from someplace or to somewhere else. 

I also loved being on my own most of all, I had my own life, and did my own thing without anyone telling me how to live it, and decide for me whether I was getting sick or not, or that I needed to get myself over my food intolerances, by making myself sick in the process. 

Living with Food Intolerances — August 18, 2014

Living with Food Intolerances

Over the course of the last two and a half years I have been at times struggling (especially the first year), with, and at other times successfully navigating life with food intolerances that I developed as an adult.

It is not as easy as taking a pill or just eating what is provided. I constantly have to be thinking about what is in my food, checking labels and asking questions.

I have figured out that dairy (not just lactose), gluten and caffeine are the three things that I have developed intolerances to. Dairy is the worst, I can handle a little tiny bit of gluten on the rare occasion and I also avoid caffeine (in addition to the sensitivity issues) because I have found that I sleep better without it in my system.

Having food intolerances does impact my life, but for the most part I can navigate it well as long as I go some place that has GF/DF options or I cook for myself. I may not be able to go to camp as a counselor or on a youth retreat because it is a logistical food nightmare but at the same time I am not hurting any by missing out on these things. I went to camp as a camper and a couple of times as a counselor, as well as having gone on several retreats before I developed
Intolerances. So I don’t really feel like I am missing out on much since I am not one who likes big groups anyway. If it were a ladies retreat with just the ladies from my home church (while I was in college) it would be a different story – fewer people/easier to be able to cook for myself.

In almost 3 years now I have become accustom to taking care of myself when I go somewhere and pack my own food, and know some safe food and safe restaurants. Day trips are super easy now.

There is no point in complaining about it. I have come to accept that this is how my life is. Rather than feeling bad and see it all as what I can’t eat, I choose to see what I can eat and making that taste good. It is what it is, it is how my life is, and I can’t go back to the way it was before so I might as well make the best of it.

I believe things happen for a reason. Situations and challenges are sent our way to rise above and make the best of. No I have no plans to reintroduce foods I know make me sick into my diet. There is so much out there that tastes good that is gluten and dairy free. Why should I make myself sick just to try to become tolerant of said items again, when I can avoid the stomach ache and time in the bathroom/loo/toilets/washroom whatever you call that room in the house, and have food that tastes just as good as “normal” food. That and it is counter intuitive at best to making the problem worse/ doing more harm to your body by knowingly eating food that makes you sick.

Bell’s Palsy and Glasses — August 15, 2014

Bell’s Palsy and Glasses

Part of why I was harassed, teased and got made fun of as a kid, besides my weight was also the fact that I have been wearing glasses since the age of two. Being overweight and having to wear glasses are two major strikes against you at any age, but especially as a kid.

As it was I had low self confidence going into Middle School, what made 6th grade even worse was the fact that I spent most of that school year dealing with Bell’s Palsy. For those of you who don’t know, Bell’s Palsy is a temporary partial face paralysis.

So imagine you are 11/12 years old with thick glasses that made you look like an insect, and then having half your face paralyzed for most of the school year. That was a rough school year. Though the good thing that came out of that school year was that I finally got Contacts, which totally solved the having to wear glasses in public issue.

I had totally forgotten about having had Bell’s Palsy until I was doing some googling and came across a mention of it. I was totally like “I’ve had that”.

There was one instance that I can remember that we were doing some kind of presentations in my block class (language arts and social studies with the same teacher for 3 class periods) and my teacher would have let me sit out the presentation because of the Bell’s Palsy. I chose to do the presentation anyway and not care what my classmates thought or said. I chose to be strong through that and not let it stop me, or get me down.

I am glad that phase of my life is well in the past. Though it is one of those things that I have been through and come out the other side. I still have glasses and contacts. I still generally wear contacts when I go out and about.

Taking Back My Life —

Taking Back My Life

Picking up where I left off on my last post, as it has is really a two parter discussion. So if you haven’t read part 1, click here

Since I got saved (some call it accepting Christ,it is that and so much more), Life has not been a bed of roses, it never it, but I have seen a marked change in my life. Since then some friends have had to go, because they were stumbling blocks, where as others have seem to have really taken root and wing.

They have grown deeper, as they have seem to really taken off. Getting hurt is part of life, but the relationship that withstand the tests of life are worth the pain and hurt for the beauty that comes with being have a heart to heart with an older sister figure who actually takes interest in my life, and has shown me so much love through the good and the bad. I have been blessed by the friends that have been put in my life for a reason. 

I firmly believe that events and things that happen in life, happen for a reason. 

I have taken to writing this blog, as part of an outlet for what is going on in my life, and the things I am going through. I know that I am supposed to be sharing my story, and I don’t know where it is going to be going from here, but I know I am supposed to be writing it. 

What I have been through in the past is what brought me to where I am right now, and has shaped me, but it does not define me. It doesn’t define me in the present or the future. How I handle it, and what I do with the experience is what will take my life forward. We have a choice. I choose to not be the hurt, worthless girl anymore. 

I am a woman of worth, and strong character. I am beautiful just the way I am. I am saying forget you to anyone who tries to put me down, and make me be inferior to them, or any less than my best. I have spent far to long being the object of ridicule and fueling others need to make themselves feel better about themselves by putting others down. 

I am going to rock who God made me to be, I am not going to change to get the attention I think I need. 

Putting the Past Behind Me —

Putting the Past Behind Me

Without going into to many details I wanted to write about why I started this blog, and I decided to share my story. 

For years, I have felt out of place, and that I never really belonged even where every person and child should feel like the belong. I was called fact, ugly, worthless, the red headed step child. I was made to feel like I was all of the above. I rarely felt like I was worth anything. At the same time I was a pleaser when I was younger, doing what others expected of me in order to try to fit in. Most of all I wanted to feel loved. By the time I went to college, I went looking for attention in the wrong places, and had a couple of relationships that were not healthy or normal. There were crushes that I had held on to for far to long. 

I have had my fair share of heartache and broken hearts. It is not fun, but totally necessary to weed out the losers. I was totally an attention seeker, and did it for the attention even though I knew for 95% of the time that one in particular was not the one I was supposed to be with. 

I had hid behind the pain and the hurting and had closed myself off out of fear. I didn’t want close friends or anyone to be close to me, as I knew it would end in getting hurt. 

I had been raised going to church my whole life, and had played the game so to speak, about keeping up appearances and living somewhat of a double life. That has been how I had lived for the first twenty six and a half years.

I had also use alcohol for a while. as a way to rebel against a way of life that at the time I hated at the time.  

That is until I fully surrendered my life to God. The defiance and rebelling had come to an end.