Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful Learning

Hello Everyone!

Wow, another week has come and gone just as fast as it got here! While this makes me extremely happy because it means I am just another week closer to being home, it is also a little bittersweet in the fact that I really don't have much time left here in D.C. No doubt I am ready to be back home, but thanks to this city I have grown to become the person I want to be, and I truly believe in my heart of hearts I have transformed into a better person in both a spiritual and personal sense.

This week I wanted to make a fun post for a few reasons! Number 1, I have to have something to laugh at right now because I know come Thursday I will be pretty sad that I missing my first ever Thanksgiving with my family and I hope that writing this post will help to remind me of all the wonderful things I am thankful to have learned while I have been here. Number 2, I want to write these things so that you may all get a small glimpse as to how life has been for me over the past 3 months and just maybe you might be able to learn something about D.C. that you didn't know either!

So, as I mentioned this is just a small little list of a few things that I am thankful to have learned while here in D.C. Some of them are silly and just little petty things, while some are very meaningful and great life lessons that will no doubt stick with me forever.

Here it goes:
1) ALWAYS and I do mean ALWAYS when riding on an escalator, whether it be in the Metro, a store, or work place, stand to the right. Thankfully, I learned this back in March when my mom and I came to visit here, but the story is a little different for some of my friends. They learned real fast that you WILL get run over and shoved out of the way if you try and stand on the left side of the escalator! It sounds like a hilarious thing, but once it happens to you, it is not so funny and actually rather embarrassing! So, you have officially been warned.

2) NEVER try and run onto the metro as the doors are closing! Although in almost all cases the doors open back up, everyone else on the train will be very upset with you for the delay and the train operator will most definitely yell at you to STAND CLEAR OF ALL DOORS!! Haha

3) This one is for all the women: Flats are your best friend! I made the mistake in my first few weeks thinking that I would be okay walking to work in "short heels" .. NOPE!! Still a terrible idea and you will have blisters like crazy from all of the walking. I now have permanent heal scars because of said terrible decisions!

4) Starbucks is God's gift to D.C. You are literally never more than a five to ten minute walk away from one seeing as there are over 90 total inside the district. It has no doubt been a lifesaver for me!!

5) Although I do not always advise this, in most scenarios it is okay to walk across the crosswalk even when the "Don't Walk" signal is up. While I always try and wait until the signal is green (unless there are no cars coming, then I too admit I go ahead and walk), most people just walk across without even looking and if you get in there way they will push you! (As you can tell from lesson 1, people in D.C. don't mess around when trying to get places! They mean business!)

6) If you are planning on visiting the city of D.C. in less than 3 full days, BE PREPARED!! If you are wanting to get in all of the sights and sounds in 1 or 2 days, bring your walking shoes!! I have now made the trek to all the museums, the Lincoln Memorial, the MLK Jr. Memorial, the White House and the Jefferson Memorial about 5 times and let me tell you; I think I have walked more on those trips than in the past 3 years of my life!! Long story short, even though it may seem like the National Mall and all of the important things are right next to each other, they really aren't!

7) If you love food and you love being adventurous, D.C. is the place for you!! You can literally experience cuisine from all over the world (except there are hardly any Mexican food places!! It is a definite issue for me!) on any given day here. It is one of the most culturally diversified places not only with its people, but with its choices in food and entertainment as well.

8) If you are a Dr. Pepper or good ol' Sweet Tea addict like I am, prepare to be highly dissapointed! I can count on one hand the number of restaurants that I have been to that actually even have one of these options, and most of the time it is not even the real thing! It is Mr. Pibb and some kind of store bought tea. Needless to say, DP and Sweet Tea will be one of the first indulgences I partake of when I return in two weeks.

9) I don't personally have to deal with this one, but my parents certainly did when they came. If you have rental car, be sure that you know where you are parking and how many hours you are allowed to stay there! The D.C. Parking Police are not your usual "Rent-A-Cops" and they WILL give you a ticket if you even park longer than one minute past your allotted time! Trust me!!

10) There are no buildings here taller than the capital! It is a law within the district that no building may be taller than the capital and can not be any taller than the street that it sits on if you turn it on its side! Not really that interesting to me, but still a fun statistic to throw out there!

Now to a more serious lesson learned:
11) D.C. is a place to meet new people. Never in my life did I think that I would be coming to a place where you can encounter people from all walks of life just by walking around in a place like China Town. I have learned that if you are open and willing to experience everything that a culture has to offer, then you will in turn be rewarded with some great friendships and life lessons to take with you.

12) If you come during a pretty time of year (June-Mid October) the weather and views you get are astounding! Yes the views are really great all year round, but you get to truly experience all of God's wonderful creation when it is nice and warm with some beautiful clouds in the sky. Sometimes when I am missing home, I just walk to the capital or head to China Town and witness the beauty of this city and it all brings me back to the thought that I am simply blessed to be here. Not many people get the chance to experience this wonderful place like I have, and I love taking the time to remember that!

13) Although it is not necessarily something the city has taught me; this experience has taught me the importance of friendship and learning how to truly get along with others even though you may not always see eye to eye. All of you know that before coming here I was blessed to live with my parents and living with three other girls has definitely had its ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I have truly grown so much as a person both spiritually and mentally from my time here and learned so many things about patience, humility, trustworthiness, and compassion in the three short months of this journey.

14) Last but not least, this experience has taught me the importance of family! Being that Thanksgiving is just two days away, it is only fitting that I left the best lesson of all for last. I have learned that there is no way in this world that I would be where I am today in any aspect of my life without my wonderful family. Not just my immediate family (my parents and brothers), but my extended family as well (grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles). I don't think that I will ever be able to thank my family enough for what they mean to me. Coming to D.C. for me was originally based off the intent to build up my resume, but it has become so much more. However, without my family, the "more" would have never happened. You have all been there every step of the way encouraging me through letters, care packages, Facebook messages and phone calls and it has truly made this experience become what it has for me. Without you all I wouldn't have been driven to truly dig into my heart and discover the true passions that I have, and there is no doubt in my mind that my motivation lies solely with all of you. YOU make me want to be a better person and experience every possible thing that I can while I am here, and I know that words are not near enough, but THANK YOU!!

Okay, I think that 14 is enough for right now, and I am sorry if that list bored you! I just thought it would be kind of fun to show you a different sort of perspective of what my time has been like here and the things that I have learned. I sure am missing my wonderful family and friends like crazy right now and wish more than anything that I could be home Thursday to celebrate with everyone. But for now, I will continue to seek out more lessons to learn and stories to tell so that I can bring it all back to the ones who mean the most! As I said earlier, I could not have had this wonderful of an experience without you all and I am so so grateful for that! I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!! And don't forget to save some leftovers for me!!

I appreciate and love you all more than you will ever know!!


 At the White House
 The Capital! 
Union Station

Monday, November 18, 2013


Hey Everyone!

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted on here! I have been pretty busy with work and extracurricular things with the Washington Center, but I have finally had time this weekend to make a trip to Philadelphia and want to share a little about that trip with you all.

This past Saturday I got up bright and early and left my apartment around 6:15am to head to Union Station to catch a 7am bus to Philly! The one interesting things about waking up that early on a Saturday was seeing the "deadness" of D.C. It was almost as if I was in a small town because it was literally me and a few others traveling that morning that were out and about compared to the normal days where it feels like you are in an ocean of people. Anyways, once on the bus I had about a 2 and 1/2 hour journey from D.C. to Philly and let's all be honest, I slept the majority of the way! Haha I am sure this will not shock any of my family members seeing as that is not a rare occasion for me at all. Once I arrived in Philly, the real fun began!

This part starts with telling you a little about the wonderful people who I got to spend my weekend and stay with! Some of my family members know them, but many of you do not so I will go ahead and explain. I met up with the two people who I consider to be my "2nd parents", Alyssa or Gute as I have always called her, and her amazing boyfriend Chris. For those of you who don't know, I met Gute at LCU while I was playing softball my freshman year, and along with a few others, she quickly became family to me. She was a graduate assistant when I started so I never got to actually play with her, but this woman is one heck of a softball player even to this day!! Sadly, after Gute graduated in December 2011, she moved back to her home state of California, but no matter how far we are apart we have managed to stay very close and I am so so thankful for that! When Gute introduced me to Chris over Skype one day, I could immediately see that he would be a great fit as my "2nd father". These two even came to visit Lubbock the week before I was leaving to come out to D.C., so we have actually gotten to see each other twice in the past 3 months which has not happened for almost 2 years and I absolutely love it! Any who, Gute and Chris were in Philadelphia to attend the wedding of one of Chris's friends who is actually a professional baseball player for the Minnesota Twins, and when we figured out that I was going to be in D.C. they invited me to come up and stay with them... and of course I said yes! And let me tell you, it was the best decision I have made since being here! So now that you know some background, let the real fun begin!

When I got into Philly I met up with Gute and Chris and we went to grab some lunch at one of my new favorite burger joints called "The Shake Shack"! It is fantastic!! After Shake Shack we walked over to the famous "Love Park" in Philly where there is the LOVE sign. The "O" in the sign is placed on an angle to symbolize that love is not perfect but it can be beautiful in you work at it, which is very very true! After Love Park we decided to get tickets to go on a bus tour around the city! This was definitely a great decision, and probably my favorite part of the entire day! On our tour we got to see Eastern State Penitentiary where Al Capone "served time", I put that in quotes because he really was not treated like a prisoner and was still awarded a rather lavish life style. But who was gonna stop him right? He was Al Capone after all! We went on to see the Philadelphia Museum where the now infamous "Rocky" movies were filmed and we of course ran (more like slightly jogged!) up the stairs. We then saw the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross house, the first ever United States Post Office, and Benjamin Franklin's grave site among many many others. It was a wonderful tour and worth every penny!! I love history and it was like being inside your very own history book, which was absolutely incredible!

After our wonderful history lesson we decided to go inside to warm up a bit and do what every other reasonable person would do, we went shopping at Macy's! Haha let me just say that the Macy's in Philly is HUGE!! I am sure the one in New York is probably a little bigger, but I have never in my life been in one that big! It was great!! And no, mom and dad I did not spend all my money just so you know. After the Macy's we figured we might as well keep up our warmth and headed to the Franklin Mills Outlet Mall. I should also say that in the city of Philadelphia they have no tax, soo it is kind of just an automatic incentive to want to shop! The outlet mall was lots of fun and we definitely did our fair share of walking, just ask Gute! For fear of her hurting me at a later date, lets just say her years of softball were catching up with her ;) hahaha. Any who, after we literally shopped until we dropped, we decided to head to get some dinner, and what else could we get besides Philly cheesesteaks?! I mean I think it is almost mandatory to eat a cheesesteak while in Philly and I have to say my first ever really Philly Cheesesteak did not disappoint! We finished our evening by heading back to the hotel and doing none other than watching college football (the Tech game did not remain on for very long, as it was making me sick to my stomach to watch haha). It was all and all one of my favorite days of this entire two and a half months!

The funny thing is, learning about all of the history and taking in all of the sights and sounds of Philly was not my favorite part of this weekend! My favorite part, as cheesy as it may sound was getting to spend time with Gute and Chris! I have been realizing more and more lately just how blessed I am to have the people in my life that I do. I mean for goodness sakes I rarely even get to see these two and they went out of their way to make sure that my time in Philly was the best it could be! Not only that but I know that they are constantly there for me even when I am not around them for months and years at a time and that is more meaningful to me than any silly trip or tour around an amazing city. I am truly blessed to know Gute and Chris and countless others through my time at LCU and I would not trade their friendships for anything in this world. Sometimes it is hard for me to realize why my life has not worked out the exact way I planned it (i.e. only playing softball for 2 years instead of 4), but when I look back and see all of the lifelong relationships that I have established through just those 2 years, I have no doubt in my mind I am exactly where I need to be. Not only do I have these friendships, I have a family beyond my family. The ones that are there to support me when I need it, to tell me I am being dumb when I am thinking things are great and they really aren't, and to love me in all situations no matter what the circumstances may be. So Gute and Chris, thank you for reminding me that while yall and countless other people who I am lucky enough to call some of my best friends are not technically blood, you are all and forever will be my family!

So essentially, I am one blessed girl!! Not only do I have a family that loves and cares for me more than I deserve, I have friends like Gute and Chris that at any moment can step in and be that family that I need! I love you guys so much, and to all of my other amazing friends and family just know that I love and appreciate you all more than you will ever know. Don't get me wrong, I have always known that I was blessed to have some pretty amazing friends and family, but it is not until I have moved away that I realize just how special those relationships are and I promise I cherish them more than ever now! So simply put, thank you!!

I am going to post some pictures from my weekend in the beautiful city below! I hope you all enjoy and have a wonderful week! T-minus three weeks from Wednesday until Lubbock is home again!!

Love Always,

 Love Park sign!! 
 First ever United States Post Office founded by Benjamin Franklin
 At the top of the "Rocky Steps" with Gute and Chris

The one and only Philly Cheesesteak!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

There Is A First For Everything

Hello Everyone!

I can't believe that another week has come and gone so quickly! It seems like the days are just ticking by faster and faster as my time here in DC starts to wind down. The past week has been the first full week in what seems like forever that I have not had a visitor during the weekend so I was able to rest my feet a bit and just have a relaxing weekend. Not that I minded having visitors, because if I am being real honest I would rather have family and friends here with me every weekend than no visitors at all. But, the good thing that came out of my somewhat boring and lackluster weekend was the thinking and reflecting I was able to do.

Thus, I came up with the perfect topic for this weeks blog. I realized that this year has been a year of many "firsts" for me. So, for the purpose of all of this actually making sense in the end, I am going to give you a lists of all of the things that I can think of that I have done or tried for the first time. Some of them may seem small and silly, but I promise all of them have, at some point made a meaningful impact of some kind for me.

So to start it all off, this year began with a first that many girls have "accomplished" way before they are 21 years old, but because of sports and the sheer fact that I am a baby, I finally decided to get my ears pierced! Haha while this may sound silly to most of you, it was kind of a big deal for me. Not only was it the first time I had ever gotten my ears pierced, but it marked the first time that I was able to do it because I was no longer playing a sport of some kind for the first time in as long as I can remember. I think up to this point I had been involved in some type of sporting activity since I was 4 years old, so for me, piercing my ears was symbolic not only because it showed that I was "growing up", but essentially now that I think about it, it signified the end of my time in sports. Obviously I will really never stop playing sports, but I am no longer involved in a school or organized league sport and that has definitely been a tough transition for me. However, I do have to say that piercing my ears was definitely a meaningful thing because it is what started my "growing up" phase in my eyes.

The next first on my list was quite possibly one of my favorites, and that was receiving a pay check for working for someone other than my parents! I have worked as an assistant coach for the LCHS softball team and gotten paid for that before, but for some reason, working various Child Nutrition Workshops around the Texas area this summer felt like it was the first time that I had ever had that experience before. It was essentially my wake-up call into what working hard will get you. It was also a first for me in the sense that I took every single paycheck I earned over this summer and put them directly into my savings to be able to have for spending money during my time here in DC. I obviously have saved money before, but never like this, and I am beyond thankful that I was given the opportunity to make the money that I did so that I am able to have a little more fun while I am here! And I promise I am not spending all of it while I am here ;) Well at least I am trying not to!!

The next first, and probably most obvious if you have read or know about any of my other posts, would be moving away from my family and the house that I grew up in for the very first time. I am sure that it goes without saying, but this has by far been the hardest of my "firsts". While I am enjoying this experience more than I ever thought possible, I sure do miss my family and friends more than anything. However, moving away for the first time, 1,700 miles away, has probably been one of the best decisions of my life! I am sure that sounds a little funny after saying that I miss my family and friends so so much, but in all honesty I don't think that I would be where I am at mentality wise if I wouldn't have taken this opportunity. As silly as it sounds I have grown up so very much in the 2 months that I have been here, and every single day I learn something new about myself and the world around me and I have no doubt that I have become a better person because of it. While I have been in DC I have had more time than not to think about my future and what I want to do with my life, and slowly but surely I am beginning to answer those questions and know that they are true. Before coming here, I was so set in my ways and satisfied with how easy life was, and I guess you could say that I was "sheltered from reality" a bit. Although my parents have always instilled in me the values and life lessons of what it takes to be a grown up in the real-world through their hard work each and every day, I never truly grasped that concept until I moved up here. I now have a whole new outlook on life and what it takes to become your own person, to pursue your own dreams, and to work each and every day to try and learn something new, not only about yourself, but about the world around you.

The last and most interesting of all my "firsts" would be pertaining to living in DC itself. While this is technically my 2nd time to be in DC (my mom and I came to visit back in March), this is obviously the first time that I have been in the city longer than 5 days. Because of that, I have had numerous "firsts". It would probably take me and entire day to list all of them, so I will just do a quick run down of some of my favorites off the top of my head: I have tried crab cakes, swordfish, vegan pizza (vegan cheese, fried eggplant, garlic, and onions), calamari, mushroom ravioli, and many other types of food for the first time, and I have to say most of them were actually pretty good (other than the vegan pizza! That won't happen ever again!!). I have had the pleasure to work with several Olympians including swimmer Kate Ziegler, tae kwon do champion Daba Keita, and cyclist Sam Schultz, along with Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker, radio personality Chuck Carroll, and perhaps my favorite one of all, Michael Phelps sister Hilary who is an amazing person inside and out and such a sweetheart. Working with all of these wonderful people has been quite an experience and has definitely shown me that hard work really does pay off, because in the end I am being rewarded with some amazing opportunities to meet and work with some of the worlds best athletes. I have had the opportunity to meet people from all across the world; China, South Korea, India, Mexico, Gibraltar, Puerto Rico, Canada, Brazil, and many more through the Washington Center program and I have no doubt forged some life long friendships with so many of these wonderful men and women. All of these things have been such a tremendous addition to my lists of "firsts" and I am sure that there are some things I have left out, but for now I am sure you get the idea! This has been an AMAZING experience and dream come true for me.

I hope I have not bored you with my "lists of firsts" and that you are able to see where I am coming from when I mean that every single one of these has in some way impacted my life for the better. This year has been a year of growth for me; from getting my ears pierced and stopping sports, to getting my first real paycheck, to moving away from my family and all I have ever known, to coming to DC and experiencing a whole lists of firsts that many people will never have the chance to do, I am blessed to be able to say that there is a first for everything. While in the beginning we may not be able to see the effects that these "firsts" have on us, when you delve deeper, every single life experience we have, whether it be the first or last time that we have it, will somehow have an impact on the way we view things. Last year at this time I would have told you that you were crazy if you said that I would be where I am at today!

I have no shame in admitting that I was just a young woman who thought she had life all figured out and while I admit that at times, I am still not sure that I do, I can assure you that I have grown leaps and bounds since I have begun this journey. By no means am I saying that I no longer need my family and friends, or that I am ready to go out and conquer the world all on my own. Lets all be real; I am a mommas, daddys, grandma and grandpa, brothers, and entire families girl who will never grow out of wanting to be home and surrounded by the ones who love me most. However, I am now able to firmly say that if and when the time comes for me to leave once again, I know that I will be ready. I am well aware that the career I wish to have will probably not allow me to end up in Lubbock, Texas, and before now I am not so sure that I was okay with that (and if it happens to lead me to stay in Lubbock, I will be happy as can be, that is for sure!!). But because of this experience and this past years "firsts" I can look by and see just how much I truly have grown up. I know this is hard for my family to read, (sorry daddy and momma!!) but is just so gosh darn true. I will ALWAYS, and I do mean always be a "small town" girl from Lubbock, Texas and I am beyond thankful for that. It is just the simple fact that now, when life comes knocking at my door in the next few months with opportunities for my career, I won't be afraid to answer it!

I am beyond blessed to have the love and support of all of my wonderful family and friends, and without all of you this experience would not be near what it has. I firmly believe that because of all of your words of love and encouragement I have been able to calm my fears, and just live the life that I imagine it can be. While the "grown-up world" is still a scary place to think about, I strongly believe I am ready for it. After all, considering that I graduate from college in a mere 36 days, I better be ready for something!

Life is probably going to throw me a ton of curve balls over the next few months and years; I am probably going to swing and miss many times, and strike out a time or two, but in the end I know that I will hit a home run!! I may not know exactly where I am going yet, but I have a pretty darn good idea, and I hope that each one of you will continue to run around the bases with me! As I have said over and over again, you all truly mean the world to me and without you I would be nowhere!

I want to end with one of my favorite quotes that comes from Coach Lou Holtz (former college and NFL football coach), "Life is ten percent what happens to you, and ninety percent how you respond to it." I know for a fact that many more "firsts" will be coming my way in the near future, and I look forward to responding to it in the best way possible!

Thank you for sticking through this entire post! I love you and appreciate you all more than you will ever know! I am going to post a few pictures from some of these "firsts" below. I hope you have a great week!


Redskins Defensive End, Adam Carriker and I on the day of his TV interview with Varney & Co. 

Some of my favorite International guys, (LtoR) Paul from Gibraltar, Yoon from South Korea, and David from Mexico

Olympian and World Champion in Tae Kwon Do, Daba Keita. Such and amazing guy!! This was taken yesterday during his photo shoot for a healthy living campaign. Great times!!

One of the many interesting foods that I have tried for the first time while being here, this was a butternut squash salad, and I would brutally murder the actual name of it if I even tried so we are going to stick with that for now! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Countdown Begins!

Hey everyone!!

First off, I am very sorry that it has taken me so long to update the blog. I have been so busy with all of my wonderful visitors over the past couple of weekends, I just haven't had the time but I am super glad that I do now.

I honestly don't even know where to start telling you about all of the wonderful experiences that I was able to have with my bestfriend and my parents and aunt these past two weekends. To put it simply, I am blessed beyond measure and I could not be more thankful to be surrounded with the most amazing friends and family a girl could ask for.

To start off with, my best friend Madi came in on Thursday the 17th and we had an absolute blast together. Due to my work, we basically had to do everything on Saturday the 19th, and let me tell you, we walked, and walked, and walked!! However, we accomplished so many things that Saturday and I couldn't have asked to have a better person to spend that time with. I am so very thankful that I was able to share this city with her and I love the time that we got to spend together. Not to mention, my roommates and friends from TWC loved Madi and told me they were definitely able to see why we are best friends which makes my heart so incredibly happy. Thank you for all of the fun times twin, I am truly blessed to call you my best friend/sister and go to for anything.

The following Wednesday the 23rd, I was blessed with the arrival of my parents and Aunt Kelly who flew in from Denver to see me. We got to spend 5 wonderful days together and I am so so thankful for the wonderful times that we had. My boss even invited them to stop by work on Thursday for lunch and we had a wonderful time talking about all things sports (Well at least my dad and my boss Doug talked while the rest of us just sat back and happily listened haha). On Friday I had to attend Global Citizenship Day at TWC during the day, so they got to go on the DC trolley tour to see the sites instead. Later on that evening, I was able to meet up with them and go to a great Italian restaurant in China Town (Yes, Italian in China Town sounds a little risky, but trust us it is amazing!! If you ever see a Vapiano in your area, go to it!) before heading to the Washington International Horse Show where we got to see an amazing show full of very talented riders and horses,and even military tributes because it was military recognition night. The following day, Saturday, was the day that my daddy will tell you was the only "mandatory scheduled event" he had on his list while he was here, and that was to watch the Tech vs. Oklahoma football game. So we decided that we would have a nice evening at my apartment, in which my momma and aunt cooked some amazing enchiladas and we had wonderful family time watching the game together. Even though the outcome wasn't what we wanted, I wouldn't trade that amazing feeling of being right at home watching the game in my living room being surrounded by the people that mean the most to me. It is funny sometimes how you take such small things for granted, and sitting around the TV watching sports with my family is definitely one of them. The next day, Sunday, was the day I dreaded since my family got here, the day that they were set to leave. However, I refused to be sad that day, because I was getting to celebrate the birthday of two of the most important people in my life, my momma and aunt! For fear of them killing me for saying their age on the internet, I will just say that it was one of those "somewhat milestone" birthdays, and I am so so glad that I got to spend it with them. We spent the day going to the Holocaust Museum, and then walking around the reflecting pool and up to the Lincoln and back down to the White House. It was quite a journey, but well, well worth it! After we walked our butts off and essentially starved ourselves for the day, we went to a place called Legal Seafoods for dinner. (Shocker here, but it is also in China Town! I am telling you that place has some amazing eating establishments) Our dinner was AMAZING to say the least and we were treated very very well by the staff their!
The worse part about the dinner was leaving, because that is when it hit me that once we took the metro back to my apartment, that was going to be it. They were going to get back in the car and leave. I have to say up to this point, I had been able to keep my emotions pretty well in check for the most part and have not really had a breakdown moment. But when we got back to the apartment and headed back outside to say bye, my emotions no doubt got the best of me. I know that my momma and daddy and Aunt Kelly already know this, but I shed a few tears and they did too, but the best thing was hearing all of them say that they were proud of me and loved me very very much! Even though I already know that each day, it is just a great thing to hear, especially when you are feeling kinda down.

So. Now that I have had time to digest the happenings over the past few weekends I have come to realize a few more things. Number one, I don't need to be sad or upset that my family is no longer here, while I would love for them to be with me every single day, I realize that I have grown up so much in my short time here and being without them has taught me so much. I know it sounds silly, but I realized that I can do things on my own and that I am strong enough to live on my own! Although I will admit that I am happily looking forward to being back in the comfort of my parents home when I get back in 6 short weeks, but it is just comforting to know that I can do things on my own. Number two, I realized how rewarding having a "hard working" internship really is. At first I was upset that I had to work during a few of the days that Madi and my family were here, but I realize that that is what happens in real "grown up" life. You don't always get to choose when you want to have off or to even stop working when you are on vacation, and having this internship that pushes me to work hard each and every day has been an overall great experience.

Number three, and perhaps the greatest thing I realized is that I have a whole new "Countdown" to look forward to in the coming weeks. For starters, as I mentioned earlier, I will be home in just 6 short weeks! That may sound like quite a while, but with how fast these weeks are flying by I know it will be here before I know it and I am going to do my darndest to enjoy every minute that I have left here in DC. Next on my list is in just a little over 2 weeks (Nov. 16th and 17th) I will be going up to Philadelphia to visit and stay the night with a few wonderful friends from California and I am so so excited about it. Then 3 short weeks after that, (Dec. 7th) my wonderful brother Karson is coming to DC to visit and help me with my packing to get ready to come back home. Finally to top off the whole "Countdown", I will be graduating from LCU in exactly 44 days!!! How crazy is that! I can't even believe that in a little over a month I will officially be a "grown up"! And of course there are all of the holidays coming up, and although I am missing Thanksgiving for the first time ever with my family back home, I no doubt will be able to have a great time here in DC with my new friends and roommates.

Needless to say, I have had some of the best times possible these past couple of weeks here and I will keep all of these wonderful memories with me forever! I am looking forward to all of the things that I have listed on my "Countdown" and I am most certainly grateful for all of the amazing things that I have been blessed to do and accomplish thus far. DC has been an experience that I will never, ever forget and I am so very thankful that each of you have stuck with me through it all. I will do my best to keep you up to date with work and all of the happenings going on in and around TWC. Until then, please know that I love and appreciate you all so very much. I apologize that this post is so long, and I hope that I haven't rambled along too much. I will post a few pictures below to give you an idea of some of the amazing times we all had!

Have a great week!!

One of Madi and I's adventures at the zoo where we were finally able to see the panda up close!
My roommate Jasmine, Madi and I went on a "night walking tour" to the White House and the Capital
Our seats at the Washington International Horse Show! It was an amazing night!!
My wonderful and amazing Aunt Kelly and Momma on the night that we celebrated their birthday at Legal Seafoods. It was a fantastic night and the food was to die for!! So glad I got to spend this special day with them!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Short and Sweet!

Hey everyone!

This post is going to be short and sweet (hence the title) but I just wanted to make one since I haven't this entire week. (I am sure you are on pins and needles ;)) Haha anyways I just wanted to give you all a little update on how my week is going.

To put it mildly it has been full of work and pretty boring events, but I do have to say that the bright side is that work is actually not too bad and has been rather rewarding in terms of giving me a great experience and a great new appreciation of the term "hard work pays off". We have been very busy at the agency and when I have more time, I will hopefully be able to fill you in a little bit more. But for right now just to let everyone know, I am working every day and putting every skill and piece of knowledge that exist within my little brain to use!

On a much lighter and happier note, this weekend and all of next week will be a fantastic time for me! As I am writing this my best friend, Madi is taking off from the airport to come and visit me until Sunday and I could not be more excited!!! Having her here will be such an amazing experience and I can't wait to show her all that DC has to offer! And hallelujah she is getting here right as the shut down is over so we can actually go to the museums and monuments!! It is going to be a great weekend and I look forward to posting pictures for all of you to see the wonderful adventures we will be going on.

Then shortly after Madi leaves me, I get another wonderful visit from my lovely parents and aunt who is coming all the way from Colorado to visit! I am beyond words excited for them to get here and so glad that it is only one week away!! They will be here for around 5 days and I just know we will have an amazing time! I am so happy to get to be the tour guide now instead of having to ask someone else for help. I must admit I have gotten pretty darn good at knowing where things are around this crazy place, so hopefully we won't be getting in to too much trouble while they are all here! ;)

As I said earlier this past week has been filled with work and some homework assignments for our class, but I did have the opportunity to catch a preseason NBA game between the Wizards and the Heat on Tuesday and it was lots of fun! It is pretty hilarious to see how crazy people get over seeing Lebron James and Dwayne Wade play. I will post a few pictures below so that you can see what the Verizon Center Arena looks like. I will hopefully be attending more sporting events their in the coming weeks, so when I do I will be sure to keep you posted.

I hope you are all having a fantastic week and I look forward to sharing with you all in the weeks to come about the adventures that we all take with my lovely visitors!!

Sorry the picture is kind of blurry! But here is what the Verizon Center looked like from our seats! Lebron James is on the bottom left and Dwayne Wade is the one shooting the free throw on the right! Hopefully I will have better pictures in the weeks to come, so stay tuned!

Off to the airport I go!!! Love you all!!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Forever Blue!!

Hello everyone!

What a week it has been! This weekend was by far the best that I have been a part of while being here, and it just so happens that it included many of our wonderful faculty and dignitaries from LCU. This post will be mainly about the wonderful events that we attended throughout the weekend and some of the great people that I was blessed to meet.

Starting on Saturday, we got to catch up and eat lunch with some of our faculty members from LCU and discuss with them all of the fun things we have been getting to do, along with talking about each of our internships and the great experiences we are having. We ate at a great place called Ella's Woodfire pizza that I will definitely be going back to at some point while I am here. It was delicious!

Sunday was our first full day of activities with the LCU crew and we started it off on a great note by attending church service at Arlington Church Of Christ in Arlington, VA. It was a wonderful little church that even welcomed us during the service and it was honestly the first time where I felt like I was somewhere that reminded of the wonderful church community back in West Texas. The only downfall about this great church is the fact that it is an hour commute in each direction for us from the RAF at NOMA, so it is quite a daunting task to get there. After church our group went to an amazing chili place called Hard Times Cafe. This is one of the times that my previous trip here to DC back in March came in handy because my mother and I had actually ate there and I knew it was great, so thankfully the others trusted my opinion and we enjoyed a great time at Hard Times. We were blessed to be joined by many faculty members and President Perrin and his wife were also there to enjoy some time with all of us which was great. After eating entirely to much, we made our way over to the Courtyard Marriott at the Navy Yard where we were set to have our LCU Forever Blue Alumni Reception. For those that don't know this is the Alumni Relations tour that President Perrin has been traveling around to throughout the state of Texas and many states across the country in order to keep in contact with our alumni and keep them involved with the university. This event was pretty amazing for me to see the amount of alums that came out and also to see how people who used to be students just like me from LCU have gone on to have some amazing careers and lives within the DC and New York area. At the reception I was also introduced to Mr. Jim Cardwell who plays an extremely pivotal role in my time here in DC as he and his family have provided the scholarships for the LCU Washington Program and getting to meet and talk with him was a great honor and privilege.  I was also able to connect with many alumni, along with several of the LCU board of directors and their spouses which turned out to be an amazing experience. And to top it all off, each of us got to take a to-go box full of goodies back to our apartments from the reception! Let me tell you, if you think this sounds like we were spoiled this weekend, you are exactly right! But just wait, it gets even better!

Monday, Monday, Monday. Typically this is the day that I dread because it means the start to another long week of programming, but this Monday I was far from that viewpoint. I knew that we were in for a grand day, but I must admit my expectations were far surpassed. We started off the day by attending the TWC Awards Luncheon in which President Perrin accepted our award for private university of the year and it was a great experience. I will be honest and tell you that I was pretty nervous about the food choices that we would be given, because as my family and friends that know me so well will tell you, I am an extremely picky person and only in the past few years have I actually started eating more than chicken strips and mashed potatoes. But let me just tell you, I ate pretty much every bit of the food that was provided for us, which included a salad with a vinaigrette, chicken stuffed with some type of spinach mix and the best strawberry shortcake dessert I have ever had! Yes, you read that right, I ate spinach, and salad without ranch dressing in the same sitting! (I know must of you reading this don't believe me, but Dr. Rogers is my witness and will tell you the truth if you need to ask him ;)) Overall, the awards luncheon was a great time and provided me with a lot more insight as to how The Washington Center really works and their particular interest in the civic engagement area for all of us students.
Now comes my favorite part of this entire week! Last night we got to attend the amazing and literally awe inspiring Gala that was put on by TWC. Let me just tell you that I have never in my life been somewhere this nice and elegant! Of course we all looked extremely fancy and put on our best dresses and suits for the occasion. I will say that we Texans clean up pretty darn good when we are asked to! Every one of us got many great compliments on our attire and personalities and not to toot my own horn, but I truly believe we were great representatives for LCU and our Lubbock community through our actions last night. As we were standing around during what you would call the social or cocktail hour, I was in awe of how many upstanding people I was surrounded by, not only from our University but from people all across the world. When it came time for the curtains to be opened to the dining room, I thin I can speak for all of us students and say that our jaws literally dropped when we first walked into the space. It was by far one of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen and the decorations, along with the fountain sprouting right in the middle of the dining area made for a spectacle that I will never forget. The table settings were immaculate and in all honesty I was a little concerned that I was out of my element when I saw that we each had 3 glasses, multiple forks and plates and there was shimmering golden laced china around us. However, thanks to my wonderful parents who sent me to Cotillion for two years back in my Junior High days I was able to put my "fancy dining" skills to good use and not feel too overwhelmed. Once again, I will admit that I was very nervous about the food that would be served to us, but it turns out that if you are willing to be a little adventurous, then most of the time it will pay off. Now I will have to say that I did not eat all that was on my plates, but just so you know, I did make sure to try everything on my plates (other than the brussell sprouts. Sorry mom, that is just never going to happen!!) I was very blessed to sit at the table with some great people from LCU including Dr.'s Jesse and  JoAnn Long who are absolutely amazing! Their influence on me has meant so much, and I am so excited that I now have more connections with faculty other than the great people of the ESS Department.
In regards to the actual event, I will reiterate how insanely honored I was to even be in the same room as so many dignified people. Not only were we in the room with them, we got to hear so many of them speak and accept their awards that were bestowed upon them by TWC. We got to hear from two congress members who were both very funny and even joked how they knew there was irony in the fact that they were accepting awards during a government shutdown. There were also several other great men honored who have been a huge help in respects to TWC and their fundraising efforts. I won't go into too many details in order to keep this post from being a full on book, but just know we were surrounded by some truly amazing people of very high standing.
So as you can see, we were surrounded by an abundant amount of amazing people who have built some of the most impressive careers possible, and many of them have actually come from TWC roots and internships themselves. As a matter of fact, every person who got up to speak to us talked about the importance of internships and how they would not be where they were without the opportunities given to them through internships! This gives me so much hope and courage to keep on keepin' on with this great experience and I could not be more thrilled that I got to be a part of such a wonderful occasion.
It was truly a night that I will never forget and I am so thankful to be a part of an amazing school like LCU. It is pretty awesome to say that such a small school from the state of Texas has made such an enormous impact on the world of Washington, D.C. and for us to be recognized in the setting that we were in was a huge honor. I can promise you that we as interns are doing are darnedest to represent LCU in a way that exemplifies this award and we will continue to show everyone just what it means to come from the Life Changing University. At the end of the day I can truly say that I am a part of the greatest institution possible, and I will always and forever be grateful for all of the amazing opportunities that it has provided for me.

Now comes the not as fun part, going back to work! However, for me it is just as fun because I am getting to be a part of an ever growing agency and sports law environment and from here on out I look to come to work with a positive attitude every single day that will allow me to work my tail off, while at the same time having fun and learning as much as possible. It is funny sometimes how things tend to work out in your life, and I truly believe that being here at DLE will shape and mold me into a better person in all aspects of life.

Overall, these past 4 days have been some of the most rewarding days I have ever had the chance to experience and I am so thankful that I was able to do it with our LCU family. From church, to the Be Blue Reception, to the awards luncheon, to the awe inspiring Gala, I have been so blessed to have this opportunity and will forever be indebted to all of the wonderful people who made it possible. There are several people who were with us throughout this weekend who I have not mentioned in this post, but trust me every single person I came in contact with has made a huge impact on my life in one way or another and I want to thank you all!

I look forward to filling you all in next week on the things that I will be working on this week at DLE and like always thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. As cliche as it sounds, I promise I feel your love all the way here in DC and it means the world to me. I am going to post some pictures below for you all to enjoy! I hope you have a great week and know that I love you all!

 All of us interns with President and Mrs. Perrin at Hard Times Cafe.
Throwing up the Chap sign for Chap Nation of course!

Accepting the award for Private University Of The Year
 The panoramic view of the dining area at the gala. Such a awe inspiring place! The picture does not do it justice!
 Masy, Me, and Angela at the gala. Love these girls! 

Our table setting! See what I mean by all of the fancy things! 

Big thanks to Dr. Susan Blassingame for sending me lots of these cool pictures she took of us over the weekend! 

More pictures to come later! Thanks for reading this super long post! I am now and will always be FOREVER BLUE! Have a great night/day!! 

Love you all!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Day and What Lies Ahead

Hey everyone!

This week has been crazy already and it is only Tuesday! I realized that I have yet to actually make a post that tells you about my week and the things that are happening in it, so this post will definitely be about all of that.

Yesterday I FINALLY started my internship, and I LOVE IT!! Yes it has only been one day and yes it was only for a few hours, but it was utterly amazing. I left there feeling like I am going to experience so much this semester and get to do so many cool and exciting things. My boss is genuinely an upstanding guy and is literally in the position that I aspire to be in someday. I am also getting to work alongside another student who is in his second year of law school at George Mason University, named Pasha. He is a great guy and I think we are going to be able to work very well together. DLE Agency is truly an up and coming sports representation and consultation agency and there is no doubt in my mind that it will become a huge hit among big time athletes in the very near future!

As for the rest of this week, my boss will be in New York attending business meetings so Pasha and I will be working together through email from the comfort of our own homes. I am so excited about all of the opportunities that I will be presented with throughout these next 10 weeks and can not wait until I have more to share with all of you.

As for my weekend, it will be extremely exciting as well! Most of you know, but some may not, LCU is being honored by the Washington Center as the private university of the year and because of this we will all be attending a Gala on Monday evening. So because of the gala and us being honored, many of our deans and faculty from LCU are coming here to DC to celebrate with us and we will get to have a fun filled weekend of catching up and going to see the sights (well at least the ones that aren't shut down by the government). We will have a reception on Sunday evening for all of the LCU people that are here, as well as various alumni from around the area and I am so looking forward to seeing familiar faces and talking with all of these wonderful people.

In regards to the government shutdown it doesn't really effect my job so I am still getting to go to work every day in the coming weeks, or however long this thing lasts. However, many of my friends are now out of internships so it will be an interesting time for all of them trying to find something to keep them busy the next couple of weeks or so. It does also mean that most of the museums, the monuments and the zoo will be closed for the time being and that is truly so sad because it ruins the experience of DC for so many people. I am hoping that this shutdown will not last as long as people are saying that it will and we will all be able to return to a since of normalcy around here, but until then I am sure that we will be able to find fun things to do!

I hope each of you has an amazing week and I look forward to sharing more about my internship with you over the next few months! I am so excited for the fall weather to come and get to experience the leaves changing in the next few weeks. Until next time, just know that I love and appreciate you all and thank you so much for all of the sweet comments that I got yesterday regarding my first day. You are all amazing!