Friday, November 22, 2013

Sometimes Potato Chips are a Metaphor for Life..

There are times in my life where I look at the situation I am in and realize that all that is left to do is sit back and laugh. It is at these points that I realize that all other forms of expression (crying, screaming, punching pillows, etc.) are pointless. All I can do is laugh. Let me give you an example, using my life as of late.
There's a lot going on in my life right now.
My dad is really sick. We don't know what it is, the doctors still don't know what it is, he can't work at all, and seems to get worse by the day. It's hard to be 3 hours away. I hadn't really seen him since he got sick, so it was really eye-opening when I went home a few weeks ago and saw in just how bad of shape he was. Sometimes I cry, but all I can really do is pray.

Our football team is really good. So good, in fact, that they get to play a game on Saturday, November 30th. Two days after Thanksgiving. Football game at home = marching band plays. This means that I get a 3 day Thanksgiving break instead of a 5 day one. If this was just Thanksgiving dinner I was missing, I would be a bit bummed. No, I get to miss out on part of our big Kuklenz Family Christmas celebration. I will miss out on Saturday and Sunday of this party. All I can do is be thankful for the time I do get to spend with my family, and for how flexible my family is being, moving around activities, games, and fun stuff so I can enjoy as much of it as possible.

My brother has taken a bit of a backslide as of late. He's in the hospital again. Hopefully they can help him out and get everything straightened out so that he can be back on track again. It really stinks, because we weren't really expecting him to have to be in the hospital again, and we would like him to be home for Thanksgiving. All I can do is pray.

I got a job back in October. It was a "Cat Caller" position. Basically, I call Alumni/friends of the University, update their information, tell them about what's going on around campus, and ask them for donations. This was the most uncomfortable job for me. Ever. I don't like calling strangers and I really don't like asking people for money. Nevertheless, I worked hard, and slowly got a little bit more comfortable with the whole gig. Whenever we would get a donation, we'd get "Bearcat Dollars" (basically monopoly money). All of the money that we earned was usable at the auction we were having at the end of the semester (yesterday). Cut to yesterday's auction. I had just over $2,000 Beaercat Dollars to spend, so I thought I would be set. There was food, a few apparel items, and a bunch of gift cards. I had my eye on a Maurices gift card, some HyVee gift cards, and a few others! Getting even one of these, I thought, would make all of my hard work a little more worthwhile!
via WalMart
I'd have something I could really enjoy! As we were going through the auction, the first item I got my hands on was a party pack of 20 mini chip bags. I thought that was just the beginning. Little did I know that it was the end. I didn't get any other things that night. What I had been looking forward to for the whole time I was calling people ended up being a bag of potato chips. All I could do was laugh.

Sometimes, potato chips are a metaphor for life. That you want your life to be that gift card, that nice thing that you enjoy. Instead, sometimes it ends up being more like a bag of potato chips. That's how I feel right now, and all I can do is laugh and pray.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Wow, my room number is 210.  According to the algorithim, that means only 6 posts of thankfulness.  Piece o' cake!

1.  I'm thankful for my job.  It's teaching me to work in high-stress situations (which will be uber useful for doing this whole midwife thing).  And all of the workers are really nice.  And it smells like cookies back in the kitchen :)

2. I'm so thankful that I get to be with my family in four days.  I am counting those days.  We're going to Minnesota to see my great uncle and other cool family members.  I hope there is pie!

3. I'm thankful for the one A I have right now.  If that A goes away, so be it.  But for now, it's just nice to have one.

4. I'm so thankful for our dorm.  It's just so cozy.  You can hear guitar music and laughter and people brought me tea when I had a cold, and there's one lounge-ish room people made and decorated with Christmas lights and filled with C.S. Lewis books.  "Hospers is home" is our motto, and it's true.

5. I'm thankful for people who are fun to sit with in class, eat breakfast with, and who just generally bolster my mood at all times of the day or night.  They make me belly laugh or boost my self confidence.  They are treasures.

6.  I'm so thankful for Christmas this year.  Through my other teenage years, Christmas was "well, yeah, Christmas is nice and all".  Now I'm like "BRING ME CHRISTMAS BREAK!!! It sounds like heaven!!!"  Every decoration, every song on the radio, reminds me that I am almost there.  Someone pour egg nog into this college student and let her put her feet up for three weeks.  Thank you.

God's really nice to me.  And though life here is hard (sort of), I'm really super duper blessed.

Peace, love, and pharynxes (we're studying digestion right now),


Monday, November 18, 2013

Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry...

I'm sorry guys.  Really really sorry.
I'm not posting about thankfulness.
I have something I've got to get off my chest.
I'm sorry.  Will y'all forgive me?  :(

Okay, here's what's on my mind.
It's something I've made up called a "martyr complex".
I have no idea if this exists or not.
It sounds all psychology-ish.
Here's what it is.

It's me constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY battling the urge to throw a pity party.
I have decided that I have the hardest life of anyone in my dorm, possibly of anyone on campus.
Which is the most pathetically stupid belief of all time.

It goes like this.
"Nursing major is hardest.  And I have a job.  And all of my classes are the hardest.  And I have a cold so my life is a giant bowl of doom and gloom.  Poor me."

Ummmmmm.... it's dumb.

Got any tips for fighting the martyr complex?
And will someone please pray for me?  Cuz four weeks until Christmas break.
I'm tired of being on the brink of tears.  I'm tired of "poor me".  I just need a hug.

This has been "Emo Posts with Eliza".  Tune in next time for a hopefully wayyyyyyyyyyy more thankful post.

Peace, love and fro yo,


P.S.  Here's a pic of the snow we got before Halloween.

( The view out my window.  It was relatively deep.)

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Wow. Well wasn't this challenge a surprise. Although I can't say I can complain. Our supposed limit was three weeks. I don't know how long it's been, and I don't feel like counting, but I can imagine I'm close, if not over.
My room number is 608. 6+3+8 (Since zeroes are threes for some reason. Honestly, Kara. At this rate I'll never understand math.) So if Google is right (Yes I looked it up instead of going through the trouble of thinking. It's a Saturday, don't judge me.) that means 17 things. Let's get started.

1. I am thankful for the cliched first choice but still important family. I wouldn't be where I am or who I am today were it not for the three people who were suckered into living with me for eighteen years, sixteen in Garth's case. They support and make fun of me. They know my quirks and curiosities. They mock my incessant obsessions. And I wouldn't have any one else doing it.
Summer vacation, 2008. We all like this picture because we're all hot and sweaty.
2. I am thankful that my parents are still together. I'm not gonna lie: I was pretty screwed up in middle school and part of high school. But I would have been even moreso if I didn't have both my parents to lean on, together.
There's a story my parents told me. It was shortly after Garth started school. They went over to a family friend who worked as a counselor in a high school. They asked what they could do as parents to help their kids in school. And his advice? Stay together. No no, my parents said. We want to know what we can do. And the family friend said "I know. Stay together." They did. And I know that's saved me in more ways than I will ever know.
Spring Break, 2013. First time at Zombie Burger.
3. I am thankful for my location. My physical, actual location. Because of where I grew up, I experienced fantastic Iowa small town living. I experienced all four seasons. I grew up in a small town, yet I was never more than half an hour away from any sort of "city" experience. And because I grew up in Iowa, I get to pay in state tuition to the school I'm currently attending. A school that's best in the world for what I want to do. That's a blessing.

4. I am thankful for Pintrest and tumblr. For those of you who don't know, Pintrest and tumblr are social networking sites. Pintrest is mostly known for having do-it-yourself crafts and recipes, and I don't really know what tumblr is known as by normal people. But I do know that I don't use Pintrest as I described. I use both these forms of social media quite similarly: for the things I love.
And sweetie? I ain't gonna be pinning or blogging anything about how to make doilies. No. I'm the one who floods the dashboards with hundreds of pictures of fan art, screencaps. and snapshots of my favorite characters, fictional couples, movies, TV shows, and books.
I'm thankful for these because I know I can sit back and pin three hundred things at once if I want to. Some people stress while stressed. Me? I pin and reblog. And I'm thankful.
5. I am thankful for Netflix. C'mon. I mentioned social networking. You had to have known that this one was coming. I love Netflix and how I can procrastinate for hours on end like a pro. I get my Disney movies, my SuperWhoLock, my My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, my Mythbusters.
I get both my stuff aimed at kids, and the TV shows about stuff that goes boom.

6. I am thankful for my brother. He's my best friend. I've been able to talk with him throughout my life, even when I couldn't go to a friend or my parents. He's always got my back, and that means more to me than he will ever know.
August 2012, Navy Pier, Chicago
7. I am thankful for my past work experiences. Did I have the time of my life? No. But did I learn enough to choke a cow? You bet I did. At Casey's, I learned not to judge people, and to keep up a positive attitude, since it impresses pretty much everyone.
While working at the South Des Moines Veterinary Center, I learned about being a team player and the meaning behind the phrase "hard day's work".
These lessons have gotten me pretty far already. I can only imagine where they'll take me next.

8. I am thankful for my best friend. I met her a little over a year ago at a summer camp, and at the time she didn't quite know where she wanted to attend college. Thankfully, she chose the same school I now attend. I don't know what my life would be like if I hadn't met her. She's a complete joy to be around, and I love spending time with her. Be it after our astronomy lab or shopping for feminine delicates, it's always a fun time.

9. I am thankful for my church. Yeah, I go to the number one party school in the nation. (Which is all I ever seem to say about Iowa City. Maybe I should work on that.) But my church is fantastic. I love the people who attend, and Salt Company, the college ministry, feels like a second home.
10. I am thankful for the friends I have met. Let me tell you: I thought that I was a pretty hardcore nerd and geek when I came here. Then I met some of these people. And they have been SO nice and SO fun to be around and SUCH a help in the transition into college life.
So thanks Patsy, Leah, Erin, Ash, and Jey. I couldn't have done this without you.
Not an actual picture of everyone. An actual picture of all of us doesn't exist quite yet.
11. I am thankful for lists. I know that whenever I'm having a bad day, all I need to do is start making a list. And not "To Do" or "To Get". The kinds of lists I make are the kinds you would expect someone like me to make. I make lists of my favorite characters, my favorite fictional couples, my favorite friendships, and the like. I make sure to include pictures. They may not serve an actual purpose, but they sure do make me feel better, and for that I'm thankful.
12. I'm thankful for books. For story. The things in life that are my greatest temptation and greatest joy. I'm so unbelievably thankful that I am able to have such enjoyment from such masterpieces.
13. I am thankful for Mexican food. Because yes. It is that good.
14. I am thankful for Iowa's four seasons. Because they are all beautiful, and I can draw so many parallels to life with them.
15. I am thankful for the fact that I live in a society that empowers women. I live in a day, age, and country where women can run companies, run for office, or run to the supermarket in sweats and sneakers if that's what they want. I can get an education as a woman, and I am extremely thankful.
16. I am thankful that I am who I am. I am my own person. I am confident in who I am, and no one can take that away from me. I know that I shouldn't be ashamed because of who I am or what I love to do.
17. I'm thankful to be finished with this list. Because DANG, it took a while.

Friday, November 15, 2013


There's a big thing on Facebook during November where you post one thing you're thankful for each day, for 30 [40] days. I started this, but realized quite quickly that I was having trouble posting one thing each day. Oftentimes I couldn't think of something or I just wasn't on Facebook, or whatever. Either way, it's still a good thing to reflect on things you are thankful {grateful} for, especially during the Thanksgiving season, and especially after a year of many changes in my life. Instead of 30 or 40 different things, I decided to come up with 15 {my room number is 375, 3+7+5}. Eliza and Billie, feel free to play along! (P.S. The number 0 counts as 3. Ex: 400 = 4+3+3 = 10)
Here we go!
1. I am thankful for my family, especially my parents, aunts, and uncles.There have been lots of ups and downs and changes over the year, but they've supported me in all my endeavors, projects, and goals. They're always willing to talk/listen whenever I call them, and they're really good at being rational when I'm not.
My drumline friends are awesome!
2. I'm thankful for my Iowa/Nebraska friends. I means so much to have people who have known me for years and that I have known for years that I can have fun with, have heart to hearts with, or just spend awesome quality time together. I'm glad that we can stay connected!
3. I'm thankful for the friends I have made at college so far, through my floor, The Navigators, and classes,
too. I continue to be surprised as how college is such a fast track to friendship. In general, if you're doing something with a group of people, like the Barn Bash I went to for Navs, lots of people will introduce themselves and be more than happy to strike up a conversation with you! For me, it was almost overwhelming (in the best way possible!) and I'm still playing catch up with remembering names of people I've met!
4. I'm thankful for the sweet older ladies in the dining hall. They're much better about "breaking the portion rules" than the young student whippersnappers. For example, today at lunch,  when my 1 scoop of Riggatoni with meatballs didn't have any meatballs, she continued to fish around until she got me some!
This was on the first night that she moved in.
5. I'm thankful for my roommate! Miranda is super great, and really the best roommate I could have asked for! We share many of the same interests/disinterests, are both big on studying, and we do a lot of fun things together when we aren't. For example, on Wednesday night, we watched The Rescuers. Such a sweet movie! I'd never seen it before! We experimented with peanut butter and Ramen (we live on the edge!), and we do things like go to Walmart and buy a brick!
6. I am thankful for music! Playing or listening, it is  a BIG part of my life! I especially love playing the piano!
7. I'm thankful for my sister! We're super close and I miss her a lot while I'm here at college! It made up for it a little bit when I surprised her by coming home for the weekend and when she first saw me, she started bawling. She was very happy!
8. I'm thankful for those cool God moments where you've been praying about something (worries) and then you pick up your book by Max Lucado and read the next chapter which just so happens to be about the exact same thing!
9. I'm thankful for all of my teachers from High School. I feel so prepared for College, and I credit it to all of their dedication and commitment. I feel bad for the other students I see who didn't have people that cared about them as much as all of my teachers did.
10. I'm thankful for my church families, both at Grace and here at Laura Street. Everyone is genuinely concerned about me and is always asking about how I'm doing and how my family is. This is especially true of everyone here at Laura Street. Even though I've only really been here for 3 months, it doesn't feel like it because of how much everyone is always asking how I'm doing and how my dad is doing.
11. I'm thankful for my job. Even though it is certainly NOT my favorite thing to do, and I practically dread going to work, it was certainly been a really good crash course in people skills. It's not that I didn't have people skills before, it's just that this job has helped me get over not liking cold calling people and has also helped me be a little bit more comfortable asking people for money. Bot only a little. It's still uncomfortable. I will be done with my Cat Caller position next Thursday, but I applied for a job as a library assistant, which would be a position that is right up my ally! I've working in a library since 5th grade! I love libraries! It would be so cool to get this job!
12. I'm thankful that my mom taught me to sew and cook and bake and that both my parents helped me learn how to fix all sorts of things! These are very helpful skills, people! Also, it means that when I get married, my husband will not live off of Ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches every night! Huzzah for food! Huzzah for sewing!
13. I am thankful for sticky notes! Seriously! A list-maker's dream! (I know, I'm grasping at straws here, but all my other ones were really deep!
14. I am thankful that Northwest gives us all of our textbooks and a laptop too! A LOT less to worry about! I just walk into a room and grab a paper bag full of all of the books I need for the semester!
15. I am thankful for the mattress on my bed at home. I did NOT realize just HOW comfy it was until I went home last weekend! Oh my! And it doesn't make plastic-y wrinkly noises when I roll over or make any movement! So perfect! Ah!

There ya have it! Eliza and Billie, the ball's in your court!