Friday, July 30, 2010

Test Day Thoughts

One thing I enjoy about the CollegePlus! experience is the flexible schedule. This has allowed for small breaks and spontaneous excursions that other students may not have the freedom to take. Even the most stressful of school days -- Test Day -- is a chance to celebrate and take some time off. It is always a relief to complete a test and know that my long study hours were rewarded. My mom went with me to every test, so we enjoyed some good mother/daughter time together.

I took my CLEP exams in a town twenty minutes away, and the drive gave us a chance to talk, grab a Sonic slush or malt (or gas station hot chocolate if it was cold out), and enjoy the beautiful Oklahoma countryside.

The DSST exams were an hour and a half away, so that just multiplied the fun!  Getting up early to arrive in time for an 8:00 AM test is definitely not on my list of favorite things, but when the test was over we explored  historic homes, museums, and stores, went to Subway (my favorite place to eat), and visited forests, rivers, and parks.  Most of all we would laugh and enjoy the freedom that comes with a completed test.  For a few brief hours I could relax and not worry about conquering knowledge.

I know how blessed I was to focus on one subject at a time and devote my entire study time to it.  I didn't have assignments spread out over several months -- like I do now with the online classes.  Instead, each subject had one test -- the CLEP or DSST -- and I could take as much or as little time as I needed to study for it.  My shortest span between tests was 3 1/2 hours.  The longest was 10 weeks (it was my hardest subject, math, and I took a family vacation in there too.)  In 21 months I earned 108 college credits -- while spending time with my family, my sweetheart Zachary, and church.  I thank the Lord for all His help.  Only 5 months of school left!

Monday, July 26, 2010

321... Life Update!

My life is full and overflowing.  I could just say I am busy, but blessed and happy sounds better!  This is an exciting time of my life, and I am never bored.  Responsibilities, writing assignments, work, and a very special relationship fill my time.  God has blessed me and I am thankful for all He has provided!  I realized recently that the "current news" on my sidebar is almost a year and a half old, so it must be time to update.

I graduated from home school, high school in 2008.  I took the summer off from schoolwork before beginning home school, college in the fall.  In other words, I enrolled in CollegePlus!  As a youngster, I never imagined that I would be a college student.  I knew it would be way too expensive, and it was not my plan to move away from home until I married.  With CollegePlus! I have been able to spend less money and time on my education while living at home and being involved in my family and church.  The program takes normal, hardworking students and helps them finish four years of school in two -- and no, you don't need to be a genius!  I know I'm not!  I am now in Phase 3 (enroll in a distance learning college and graduate) of the CollegePlus! program.  I am enrolled in two online classes from Thomas Edison State College: Literary Roots of Western Culture and African Encounters.  When they are done I will only have two more courses before graduation.  The end of 2010 will see the end of my college work! It hasn't been easy, but it has certainly been doable.

I am still working at my local public library.  I marked my two year anniversary there last month.  The library has been a blessing to me in so many ways.  My current work project involves digitizing some of our vertical file collection of historic photographs and newspaper clippings.  It is a mammoth task, but I have to remember that each item scanned is one item that was not scanned before.  I know that is an obvious statement, but it helps when the drawers of files seem too deep.  In addition to scanning the files, I also continue my normal duties of answering the phone, replying to genealogy research requests, shelving books, and helping patrons begin their genealogy.
My parents' 25th anniversary quilt was completed before their 27th anniversary!  It was actually finished just in time to be gifted to them for their 50th birthdays (my mom and dad were born only weeks apart from each other).  It was my third quilt.  Since then, I have completed a much smaller fourth quilt, but I can't show you that one yet since it is a gift for someone.  Check back later for pictures!  The "Mystery Quilt" was completed shortly after my engagement to Zachary, so my current project is a Wedding Quilt!  It is blue and white and made in the railroad design.  As of this posting, the piecing is half done.  My goal is to have it completed before the wedding.  Yes, I said "before the wedding"... not by my 2nd anniversary!

My dad has been leading our family in healthy lifestyle changes this year.  I am very happy to say that we have not bought a loaf of bread all year!  Most of our family members are helping to make the bread, and it is tastier, fresher, and more nutritious for us.  My favorite loaf to make is a sandwich loaf made with one part whole wheat flour and two parts white (unbleached) whole wheat flour.  I like the recipe because it is easy to make, versatile, and memorized!

Healthy is the new norm.  We have always made good food and nutrition a priority, but ice cream, cookies, chips, soda, and other sugary sweets had moved in gradually over the years.  They thought they were our dear friends, but they had to move out this year to make room for Herbalife shakes (think dessert for breakfast... except good for you), fruits, vitamins, carrot juice, salads, and fish.  The change is tastier and fresher, and we are all reaping the rewards.  Several of my family members have even turned Herbalife into a home business, and God is rewarding their efforts.
A priority this year is to maintain and grow my friendships with two of the most amazing people on the planet -- my brother and sister.  God gave them to me, and over the years they have been my dearest friends as well as my siblings.  Our relationship will change a lot this coming year as I transition into a new role, but they will always be my loved ones.

We are in the second half of our One Thing! Challenge at church!  It is our desire to be on the same page with our church family this year.  We are currently in 2 Chronicles, Romans, Psalms, and Proverbs.  I haven't been as good about writing and posting my One Thing! reflections, but it has been an amazing blessing in my life this year, and I plan to keep it up!  Zachary and I help teach the third and fourth grade Sunday School which has been a rewarding opportunity for us to work together while helping the children of our church.

It is an amazing thing to love someone so much I can't imagine loving him any more... until I see him again and I find I love him even more than I did before.  It is this way with my relationship with Zachary.  His sense of humor, smile, sparkling blue eyes, quick wit, and kind nature are just the beginning.  He amazes me constantly with his spontaneity, deliberateness, and adventure seeking fun.  He helps me relax and have fun during these hectic school days. We enjoy simple pleasures together: country drives, dragonflies, lakes, streams, birds, shade, flowers, swinging in the gazebo, watching cars drive by, etc.  Zachary is a gift sent from God, and I pray every day that I may bless him as much as he has blessed me.  It is only 321 days until the wedding!
There is a lot I could put in miscellaneous: family trips, genealogy, other crafts, favorite tea... but I think this post covers the main topics.  Have a great day, everyone!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Word Definition

The following word definition describes what I want to be practicing right now and for the rest of my life.  What is the word?  See Proverbs 19:14 -- a reading from yesterday's One Thing!

1 : the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
2 : sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs
3 : skill and good judgment in the use of resources
4 : caution or circumspection as to danger or risk