Excelsior

       Imagine this: you have two huge tests, you forget about a quiz until the morning before, there’s one day you have to sit through a college’s presentation twice, you dragged your guitar all the way to school only not to need it on a day you almost left it at home out of sheer laziness, you’re assigned nearly 60 math problems (your least favorite subject since time began), you leave your cookies at home, and you are one dime short of being able to purchase a Vitamin Water, all in the same week. That’s basically how my week has gone.

      So, I have been everything from bored out of my mind to frustrated beyond belief over the course of five days. And to tell you the truth, it’s not been that fun. But I have found myself trying to find the good, the highlights, the silver lining, because otherwise, it really is a bad day. Past experience has taught me that it is up to you how happy you are. You can either let all the bad stuff weigh you down, or you can let it roll off your shoulders so you can keep looking up. I prefer to stand in the sunshine.

      Therefore, I will choose to let it roll off my shoulders and keep looking up. Let’s rethink that first paragraph:

     Imagine this: you rock two hard tests, you ace a quiz you nearly forgot about, you get to spend two class periods watching funny videos created by film production students from a visiting university, you are going to learn to play a song by your favorite band on guitar, you are almost finished with all your homework, you bought a delicious dark chocolate bar and shared it with your sister, and you ordered two books that will be delivered later today, all in the same week. That’s basically how my week has gone.

     There. Much better.

     And thusly, we will move onward and upward to my favorite part of the week: the weekend. I have an exciting one planned, one that involves going out of town for a Christian girls’ retreat and reading those two new books I bought (sidenote- something funny I realized about those books: one of the main characters has the same first and last name as my uncle 🙂 ). I can sum up my anticipation in a single word: Excelsior. Excelsior is a Latin term meaning “higher” or “loftier” and is used in the English language as an exclamation meaning “forever upward.” It’s also kind of my new favorite word. 🙂 I keep telling myself, “Keep going, no matter what. Remember: Excelsior!“So, onward and upward and to the weekend.

Excelsior!

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

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Quiet Please

“So your confidence is quiet
To them quiet looks like weakness
But you don’t have to fight it
‘Cause you’re strong enough to win without a war…”

-“Invisible” by Hunter Hayes

 

All I want for this Friday night is a nice, quiet night in after this loud week. And I’ve got Hunter Hayes’s new song on replay, too. Once again, that boy has written a song like he’s written it for me. Meaningful lyrics, smooth vocals, lots of acoustic guitar… This is the kind of music I enjoy.

You know what kind of music I don’t enjoy? Pitch Perfect.

In case you’re not quite sure what Pitch Perfect is (which I really wish I didn’t know), it’s a really popular but really overrated musical. I generally enjoy musicals, but that one just runs on gross humor. We finished watching it in world music class yesterday because we had a substitute (again!), but afterwards came the highlight of my day: WE WATCHED CAMP ROCK! That is basically my favorite movie of all time, and I had wanted to watch it in the morning during guitar class, which we also had a sub for. However, my friend was very adamant about her desire to watch The Lion King. Her choice won by an overwhelming popular vote.

Pitch Perfect wasn’t the only loud annoyance of my week. We had a substitute in English last week. The instructions left by the teacher were simple- read this story and be ready for the test next class. Well, next class came. After showing us a video about the author whose work we’re reading, my teacher said, “Okay, guys, we need to talk.” Those words, of course, strike a note of fear in  the heart of each and every teenager. And with good reason this time! The sub had left him notes: 1st period- only class who actually did their work, received 10 bonus points on the test; 2nd period- you don’t want to be them…; and, finally, 3rd period- only about four girls were actually doing the assignment. The rest of us were chatting and playing “Flappy Birds” and showing off the new phone speakers we got for our birthday. We were rewarded with the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take the test without the notes some of us had worked very hard on AND write a 150 word essay on the story (and Stephen Crane is not an easy author!). I was so elated that I almost ran out of time to finish my essay. I’ll never understand why some people just have to be loud at the most inappropriate of times.

You know what else can be loud? People’s opinions. Someone left a very mean note in my friend’s backpack this week, calling her things like “mean” and “ugly” and something about a monster. But I loved her reaction. She goes, “I am not ugly! I have beautiful nails and the world’s softest hands!!” She then reported the note to the front office, and they are taking care of the problem for her. I just love the way she handled it, though, like it didn’t even bother her. She knew nothing in the note was true, and so she refused to believe it. That’s the kind of confidence I admire. 🙂

I don’t know about you, but I definitely prefer quiet over loud any day. Especially after today, when I’m not feeling so hot after failing at donating blood. Kristen, how can one possibly fail at donating blood?! Oh, but you don’t know me. I can make anything go awry. I filled out all the paperwork, got approved, and I even had the needle in my arm, everything according to protocol. But then, my arm decided to stop bleeding. The nurses on the Red Bus (the school’s Interact Club was running a blood drive this week, BTW) couldn’t fix it, so they took it out, told me I wouldn’t get any results back because the donation had been no good, gave me juice, and sent me on my way. I felt fine, just a little tired afterwards. I came home and lay down. Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.

And now, for a quiet, restful weekend. And like the song I quoted at the beginning, I believe that  quietness is strength. This quiet night will help me regain the strength I lost to the screwed-up blood drive needle.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Just Another Manic Monday

Guess what?! I can read!

Yeah. I already knew that, too. I was called to the office multiple times last week. One of them was because the results of the reading test I had to take (after two weeks of “tutoring”) had come in. I got a five, the highest level. I passed a reading test. Who would’ve guessed?

Last Monday I was called to the office to be notified of the authorization of my pre-excused absence for that Tuesday. I think they mispronounce my name 80% of the time over the intercom. That is, unless there is a “Christian” somewhere in my school with the same last name and schedule… Anyways, the absence was to attend a Veteran’s Day luncheon with my dad. And it couldn’t have come at a more convenient time! I got out of taking the ASVAB test (yet another standardized test!). I didn’t have that much work to make up, either.

I think that last week, my teachers all got together and decided to plan to give tests all at the same time. I had two difficult English tests, a geometry test, AND an unannounced chemistry test. It was not a good week to be Kristen. I have two more tests this week, too. Seriously, it has been so stressful. I had a hard time sleeping due to nightmares all weekend. That generally happens when I’m stressed. And then I stay awake trying to figure out what they meant, and that just makes it worse…. Yeah, not fun!

But today was much better. I didn’t want to wake up, though, because it forced me out of a dreamworld where I was not only going to a Heffron Drive concert every night for a week, but I was friends with the band and wandered between the front row and backstage at my leisure. It was much preferable to a Monday with chemistry class any day! At least I didn’t have any of those tests today. It was actually a relatively easy day. We had a really cool demonstration in chemistry where the teacher burned different elements in the Bunsen burner, and they gave off different colored flames, like fireworks. And we’ll get to try it for ourselves in the spring for our lab final (identifying elements in unmarked testubes). Yay…

     Hey, my favorite part of today: it’s almost TUESDAY NOVEMBER 19!! That, my friends, is the day I have been counting down to for over two months: the release of the book Staying Strong by Demi Lovato. I’m excited; can you tell? 🙂 I’m the person who tends to get really excited over things like CD or book releases. What can I say? I like to make countdowns.

But speaking of books, I fell in love and then had my heart broken last week. I read this completely amazing book called The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater over that weekend. The author’s exquisite writing style pulled me in, and her unique storyline and memorable characters kept me there. I was literally hanging on to every word until the final page. So, I got myself through the weekend by promising myself I’d go and get the sequel from the school library on Monday. I got through the day and to the library- no sequel. Feeling let down, I Christmas-listed both the books.

Now I’m reading a rather odd book about a girl who’s half dragon. I still have a good chunk of it left. Homework’s done, so I better get to reading. A hot cup of peppermint tea is calling my name…

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen