Sunday, September 30, 2012

I choose neither

Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? Democrat or Republican?
To vote or not to vote?
I understand that it is my duty as a citizen of the United States to get in that little booth and just pick one come November. But I find it hard to come to a conclusion about if I actually want to vote for either candidate.

A good percentage of the campaign commercials out there right now are depicting each man as an evil, self absorbed, power hungry maniac. Let it be known that I'm not having this dilemma due to these hypocritical commercials. It's because I agree and disagree with certain parts of each candidate's vision for the future.

Let's start with Mitt Romney. To be honest, I find it hard to like him. I was raised in a Democratic home and I'm not sure if I'm biased or if I really just don't like his sense of humor. What with the whole, "47% of Americans are lazy bums who only rely on government handouts," thing. You don't insult half the country. That's bad strategy.
When it comes to his economic stance, I like him a bit more. He knows what he's talking about, I just need to get a handle on some statistics to be certain that his plans to decrease the debt will be successful.

President Obama made me cry. A good cry mind you, when I listened to his acceptance speech at the Democratic national convention. I felt proud to be an American, I felt hopeful, I felt like voting for Obama. Now I'm not so naive that I'm going to vote for a guy because he can deliver a kick-butt emotion-filled speech. I need to know that he's going to take care of me when I'm trying to get a job after college, and overall set the course for economic growth in our country.      

I'll be looking at a few different topics, topics that I believe are crucial and important in my decision making process. 

Romney- Recipients should go to work immediately
Obama- Needs to do more for encouraging recipients to go to work and not be dependent.
There's one for Romney, I am definitely on board for helping the poor and less fortunate, but I think there are a lot of problems with our current welfare system. I've seen too many families buy endless carts of junk food with food stamp cards. While playing on their iPhones mind you. We need to be helping those who really need it, we need to be giving welfare to those who are going to be responsible with our tax payers dollars.   

Romney- Only legal in cases of rape, incest, or pertaining to a mother's health.
I applaud him for standing by pro-life, but you can't say "It's alright sometimes." The Bible clearly says that abortion is wrong. I'd like it if he were backing his beliefs 100%. He also has been known to flip-flop on these type of issues, depending on the vote he wishes to get.
Obama-  Pro-choice. No, just not okay with me.

Obama- His plans involve the goal of having nearly all Americans to receive at least one year of formal education beyond high school. He's spoken about how he will do the best he can to make it easier for every student to go to college, and not be in debt for the rest of their life because of their student loans.
My only concern is that there still won't be enough job creation when my generation wants to enter the workforce. 
Romney- When researching this topic for Romney, I didn't find a lot of answers. "He will equip state leaders to achieve the change that can only come from commitment and action at the local level. He will also ensure that students have diverse and affordable options for higher education to give them the skills they need to succeed after graduation." Sounds nice, but how exactly is all of that going to work out?

The environment: 
Obama- While he was in office he has more than doubled production of renewable energy from wind and solar, while investing in over 15,000 clean energy projects across the country.
Romney-Would cut funding for clean energy, including ending the tax incentive for wind energy, which could cost 37,000 American jobs. Meanwhile, he would continue providing billions for big oil companies. 

Global warming is real. We are using fossil fuels recklessly and foolishly, and there will be consequences. We need to treat the Earth God put us on with respect. I'm not a being a tree-hugger, I'm being practical. 

At this point I'm literally half and half. I know I can't have the perfect candidate, nobody's perfect. But I wish one of them would do or say something to solidify my decision, to tip the scale so to speak. 
I don't want to go in there and pick the wrong guy, what if he majorly screws up and I regret my decision? 
I've got about a month and a half to nail down who I'm going to choose, but to be perfectly honest I might write in Chuck Norris. He would get stuff done.

Philippians 1:9-10
"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,”

Monday, September 17, 2012


Here is a top five list of things that make me paranoid:

1. The foreign ladies at nail salons. You know that they are talking about you.

2. Walking up the stairs at school with a skirt on. There's most definitely some little perv under there.

3. When taking off in an airplane and you've seen the first Final Destination movie and everything seems like a sign that you are all going to die.

4. Hearing your name in a conversation and thinking, oh my goodness they are talking about me.

5. Sending a text about someone to someone else, then freaking out that you might have accidentally sent it to that person.

6. Thinking that people will hate my last minute, crammed for time blogs

I know that was six things, not five. I knew you'd notice my flaws. That's number seven.


Vanity: Definition:
Excessive pride in one's appearance or accomplishments; to be conceited.
In other words, you think you're all that.

You're so pretty!
Thank you, I've worked really hard to be born of my parents who have supplied me with half of their genetic information and somehow created a physically attractive offspring.

But no, nobody says that. 

I've been racking my brain trying to figure out the appropriate response to a compliment that no one has ever once actually done anything to deserve. "Thank you" is most definitely out. I feel as though thanking someone after a compliment is such a weird concept. Doesn't it make more sense for us to just reciprocate their actions and say something that we like about them? And why not even take it a step further and compliment something we like about their personality, not their appearance. We are all so caught up in looks that we forget that God spent time making you the person you ARE. I'm almost certain that for every one, the way they look was just a last minute, nonchalant decision, that wasn't ever meant to be dwelled upon nearly as much as it has.  

When faced with nothing but a vain and shallow compliment, before offering a vain and shallow response, I believe that we should think about what we should really see in each other.

1 Peter 3-4
"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shoutout to all my Jesus freaks

There are a few select places in the world where someone can feel completely safe and accepted. Somewhere where they can be themselves in front of other people. People that care about their futures, not to mention their eternal souls. For me, that place is not necessarily in one stationary spot, it's wherever the people in it are at.

My church youth group has become an extended family to me. Every single person in it holds a special place in my heart, and every one of them is not like the other. There's my closer circle of friends, my girls, the ones that are in my grade, and go to my school and never fail to be an ever-present aspect of my life. These girls are my rock, they're my best friends. When I look back on my high school years, all of the good times spent with them with most definitely come to my mind first and foremost.

Then there's the odd ducks, the loners, the skaters, the goths and the nerds. Yet at church, none of that matters. We still say hello to each other, we treat each other with the respect that they deserve and the respect that Jesus asks that we give. I don't know what it is about being there, but I never feel out of place, or that I have to be someone that I'm not to gain the approval of the people around me. I hope that everyone else feels the way I do, because sometimes we all need a home away from home.

I'm so blessed to have such a great group of people that want nothing but the best for me. I have an ever-present force behind me, which makes it so easy to understand how fantastic God's love is for us. He gave us the ability to love and support each other so that His love can be felt as that impenetrable force.

These people have heard my testimony, they've heard about how far I've come and most have been around long enough to see me through it. Without them, I honestly don't know where I'd be. They know my struggles and pray for me. In return I try to know everyone by name, each and every single person that comes through our doors on Tuesday evenings should leave feeling that they were welcome. In time I learn about their struggles, and so the cycle continues.

Never once have I said, "Wow, I really wish I hadn't gone to youth group today." I don't regret missing out on things I could have been doing instead of being at church. I don't regret going to church instead of being lazy and staying home on the couch, in fact, it's the complete opposite. If I don't go I feel like I missed something funny that Gage did, or an important message that Tom shared, or my friends' little brothers trying to be cool and failing miserably once again.

I have so much thanks for all of these amazing people that have changed my life. Oakland Youth Group, I owe you one.
Act 12:5
"So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him."

Acts 16:5
"So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers."

1 John 4:19
"We love because he first loved us."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Let them eat cake

Recently it's been made apparent to me that I'm overweight and that I'm not allowed to eat dessert anymore. In fact, everyone in my age group is just a fat lazy sack and it's absolutely necessary that we are denied little pieces of cake and tiny cups of cookie dough or pudding.

I know that obesity runs rampant in our country, and we are the worst offenders of over-eating. I blame Texas. But school desserts are cherished, at least at my school, and it has caused an upset in our cafeteria that they have been removed.

What I would like to know is how taking away the only good part of our school lunch by eliminating sugary desserts from the menu is going to do much good. They other day I had a hot dog, pretzels, apple juice and a granola bar for lunch. All of these things are still available for me to buy at school. Definitely a high carb, high sodium lunch, yet still lacking a tiny cup of jello, therefore it's better for me? I don't buy it.

Teenagers can still find ways to be pigs. We'll go down the street and scarf frostys from Wendy's. We'll bring food from home. Heck, we've got two other meals of the day that they can't even touch. You better believe I'm going to be eating cake for breakfast and dinner at my house.

Fat kids will still be fat, skinny kids will still be skinny. Has it been made clear that bringing back the desserts would make both of these kids happier?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Algebra>absolutely nothing

Can anyone tell me why I'll need to know the quadratic equation later in life? Anyone? Because I can't really see its usefulness in real life situations. Like ever. For any reason at all.

Oh no, that man is choking, someone give him the quadratic equation.

You're really trying to rob me? Don't mess with me pal, I know how to use the quadratic equation.

Should I put "can use quadratic formula" on my resume for Arby's?  

Hey pretty lady, I passed algebra one and lets just say I have extensive knowledge of the quadratic equation, want to date?

The truth of the matter is that the only reason I'm forcing myself to sit through just under an hour of torture everyday my senior year is so that I can rightfully say I took 4 years of math in high school on my college applications. I have absolutely zero desire to actually be taking pre-calculus. It's disgusting. Calculus is just algebra's cynical cousin.

There was an article in the New York Times debating if algebra should be a required class to take in most high schools, due to the fact that it is rarely used outside of the classroom once students leave college and enter the real world. It doesn't teach life skills, it doesn't enhance your ability to get a job, it has even been proven as one of the main reasons students drop out of high school.

The link to the full article is below.

Can I get an Amen? I've lost so many brain cells sitting in math classrooms listening to teachers drone on and on in a language I do not speak. I would rather be doing something much more productive with my precious time, thank you.

So before you try to convince me about how this class isn't pointless, and that I'll use algebra in my everyday life. You are sadly mistaken, and unfortunately I have already resumed tuning you out. 

"Don't have sex. You will get pregnant. And die."

So you're 14 and you've already had sex with three different people? Your mother must be so proud. Oh, sex is no big deal? Please tell me more about how you are immune to STD's and pregnancy. You thought he was the one? Yeah, well, he wasn't.

Why is this even a topic for a blog? Why is there a show called teen-mom? It blows my mind.

Want to hear some statistics? I'm sure you do.

  • Although only 13% of teens have had sex by age 15, most initiate sex in their later teen years. By their 19th birthday, seven in 10 female and male teens have had intercourse.
  • Seven percent of young women aged 18–24 who had had sex before age 20 report that their first sexual experience was nonvoluntary.
  • A sexually active teen who does not use a contraceptive has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year.
  • Young people aged 13–24 made up about 17% of all people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the United States in 2008.
  • Although 15–24-year-olds represent only one-quarter of the sexually active population, they account for nearly half (9.1 million) of the 18.9 million new cases of STIs each year.
  • Each year, almost 750,000 U.S. women aged 15–19 become pregnant.  
  • The U.S. teen pregnancy rate continues to be one of the highest in the developed world. It is more than twice as high as rates in Canada.
  • Fifty-nine percent of pregnancies among 15–19-year-olds in 2008 ended in birth, and 26% in abortion.  
(Information taken from )

So here we've got unplanned pregnancy, STD's, rape, and abortion, all up front and on the table. There's no denying the stats. This is what's happening in our country right now. It's not a joke, lives have been altered and futures have been crushed. All because these kids just couldn't say no?

 Yes, kids. You live with your parents. You don't pay bills. You are a freshman in high-school. You are a kid. You want to have sex? No. Go play with your dolls.

No one is perfect, not a single person can honestly say they've never made a mistake. Having sex before you are in a committed marriage relationship is not a harmless mistake. A mistake is when you leave your lights on in your car and the battery is dead the next morning when you need to go to work. A baby is not a mistake.

Say it with me, "No."
See how easy that was?
Want to have sex?
Ha! Brilliant.

 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
"Run away from sexual sin. Every other sin done is outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually, sin against their own bodies. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body." 


Oh darlin', don't you ever grow up

Think about your childhood. Do you remember your favorite game? Your favorite cartoon show? What would you lie in bed and think about before you went to sleep at night? Did you wonder what you would be like when you were older? Are you currently living up to that standard?

As a kid, I would picture myself all grown-up. I would be an excellent dancer, musician, and athlete, there was nothing that could stop me. I was going to be the perfect representation of a well rounded, skilled, and confident young lady. I've come to the conclusion that I've let myself down.

The dream of being a dancer was short-lived, mostly because I never let it get off the ground. I wanted to be a ballerina, without ever taking a single ballet class. I gave up playing the flute, I was no good and the band director thought I was the spawn of satan. I also can't sing a note, so that was out. Now, being an athlete was different. Being physically fit and playing sports is something that I was going to do if I wanted to or not. My family is chock-full of jocks. However, to date, I've managed to quit tennis, track, basketball, and softball.

So is it safe to say that I haven't become who I wanted to be? I am not even close to the renaissance woman I pictured myself as. Though at this point in my life, I'm one hundred and ten percent certain that I love the person I am. I wouldn't change any mistakes made, or any flaws I believe myself to have. I am me. But...I still can't help but feel ashamed that I let a little girl down.

The novel I chose to read for my AP language and composition class is called "Reviving Ophelia; Saving the Selves of Innocent Adolescent Girls." Briefly, this book is about the author, Mary Pipher, and her findings as a clinical psychologist to young girls. She tells the stories of some of her patients, and the reasons she believes that at a certain age, young girls lose themselves.

What I have taken from it so far is that young girls are resilient, confident and excitable. They play sports, read books, and play pretend. They go outside and actually enjoy being there. The innocence of a child is one of God's greatest gifts, it's  irreplaceable, it's beautiful. But sometime in early adolescence, little girls lose their way. They don't want to be seen with their parents, they care about what people think. They push down their feelings and their ability to express themselves into tiny compressed boxes. Many girls develop eating disorders or even drug addictions to cope with he new set of norms that they're supposed to follow.

Though my story isn't quite as dramatic, I definitely lost myself in my pre-teen middle-school years. There was no direction for my life, there was only trying to get through every day without embarrassing myself or looking stupid. I had no knowledge that God had a plan for me or that He even cared. I would cuss, lie, and do things solely to gain the approval of my classmates. The gangly little girl in overalls was nowhere to be found. All that was left was this stranger who thought that the only way to be accepted was to have stick straight hair and paper-thin shirts from Aeropostale in every color of the rainbow.

After coming to the realization that I'd let myself go, so to speak, everywhere I looked I saw girls at this crucial age. It's even brought me too tears to think that in a few short years, they will be reaching this terrifying tipping point. A good number of them are going to lose their drive and ambition to grow up and be whatever they want to be. It's downright depressing. 

I can honestly say I would give up anything to be a kid again, and to stay that way. If time machines and Neverland existed, you know exactly what I would be doing. Dirty finger nails? Who cares? Still wearing last year's outfits? Why not? Boys at recess are trying to kiss the girls? Eww gross!

I understand that aging is a part of life. And that the little second and fifth grade girls I watch after school will experience it just as I did. Someday she'll get her heart broken because of some punk who doesn't understand what fantastic girl she is. Or she'll get made fun of at school for not having cool enough jeans. I understand that everyone has to go through it, but it breaks my heart.

Thank goodness for Taylor Swift, and her ability to have a song for nearly every emotion you can feel.
This song is called "Never Grow Up," and if you have a special little girl in your life, I'm obligated to warn you that you might bawl your eyes out just a little bit.

So I'm not a dancer, a musician, or an athlete. I'm not currently living up to the standards of the person I thought I was going to be. However, I'm a volunteer, I'm a hard worker, I'm a good student and a good person. I've been down the road of self-destruction and I came back alive and changed for the better. Overall, I think I've done myself proud.  My only hope is that other girls can make it out with at least a small part of that little girl still inside of them.

3 John 1:4
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."





Monday, September 3, 2012


For over a year, I've worked as a cashier at the local Fareway grocery store. It's a classy place, kept cool in the summer and moderately warm in the winter. There are some pretty legit people that work there. We specialize in customer service, that means yes, I WILL take that one bag out to your car in the pouring rain so that you can comfortably carry your umbrella. Yes, you're welcome.
While Fareway is a pretty decent gig, with honest wages and do-able shifts, the following is my list of cashier problems. The things that make our days go that much slower. Enjoy.
  • "Hi there, did you find everything alright today?" "Oh yes, I think i found a little too much!" I hear 200 times a day. 
  • Getting dirty looks when I use the counterfeit marker to see if your 100 dollar bill is legit.
  • When people pretty much rape the credit card machine with how violently they slide those things. Take it easy.
  • When people thrust random items at you from their cart when you already have mapped out what you were going to grab. You are throwing me off bro, have fun with your toothpaste flavored bananas and your melted ice cream because you wouldn't let me do it right.
  • I did not put the price on those crackers you are so upset about sir, I just work here. 
  • When people write a check for under 5 dollars. Like why. 
  • "Hi how is your day going?" "Oh not too good, my cat died and I broke my finger nail.." NO. You are supposed to say, "Good, how about you?"
  • No, we don't sell cold beer, buy a 12 pack at room temp, stick it in the fridge and be patient.  
  • You want 50 dollars cash back? Go to the bank or be happy with getting it all back in 5's. 
  • Match ads. Smart shoppers utilize that we honor them. But your cashier simply will not like you. 
  • Extreme-couponers, you have got to be kidding me.
  • Being on the phone while I'm checking you out is bad enough, but that one guy who was on speaker phone? If anyone knows where he lives I'd love to egg my first house.
  • I facepalm so hard when parents give in to their whiny kids begging for ring pops. You are raising brats.
  • When an item doesn't scan and the customer says,"That means it's free right?" Haha no. "Can I get a price check?"     
  • Surprisingly enough, I don't enjoy hearing about what a lovely day it is outside. That's rude. Please don't rub it in.
  • Old people, I love you to death, but when you "just think you might have that 3 dollars and .98 cents in your coin purse" and proceed to count it out one by one? I would rather stick pins in my eyes.
  • "Ma'am, I can help you down here if you're ready." .... Blank stare. "Ma'am?" .."Oh yes! I'm sorry I just spaced out a little bit!" Yeah I know, it was creepy. 
  • "Do you know your pin?" As the machines way to ask people if they want debit or credit will forever be ridiculous and hilarious to all who use it.

To Europe and back

Just this afternoon I got together with one of my best friends, Riley, and we talked about our plans for traveling to Europe this coming summer. It's astonishing how much time and energy goes into simply planning for such an epic trip. We easily spent a good two and a half hours at Coffeesmiths. (I got a mocha cappuccino, in case you were wondering.)  The most prominent topic of the day was money.
For starters, there's the costly issue of transportation. How in the heck are we going to get to all of these places without going completely broke? Every flight, train ticket, boat ride, and shuttle costs exactly what you feared it did.
Next on the agenda was to plan where we were going to sleep every night, choosing from the hundreds of hostels in each specific city we visit. Is this one safe? How about cleanliness? Is it close to a train station? Are our hostel international cards valid so that we can get a discount?
Not to mention the obvious expenses of feeding ourselves while overseas, and the imminent and oh so crucial shopping sprees we are sure to have in every country. The attractions, the museums, the tours and souvenirs to be had, it already has my bank account cowering in fear. 
I read in an article that in the United Kingdom, almost every expense is about double what it costs here in the U.S., exchange rates included.
Um excuse me. But do these Brits know of any incoming college freshman that can afford that lifestyle? Because I sure don't.

It's all very overwhelming and stressful, however, in my opinion, it is 100% worth it.
After all, in less than a year I'll be approximately 4112.9 miles from home in the great city of London, England. I'll be seeing Parliament, Big Ben, The London Eye, and Buckingham Palace. Ten days after that I'll be 4299.1 miles from home in the elegant city of Paris, France. I'll be standing under the Eiffel Tower and choking up at the beauty of the Louvre. Ten days after that I'll be 4984.4 miles away from my mommy and my soft warm bed, because I will be experiencing true beauty in Italy. Our time there will take us to Venice, Florence, and Rome, a completely different destination to each their own.

My time spent in these amazing and decadent places won't be without cost. But the memories I'm sure to gain will outweigh those costs tenfold. We have our skeptics, our doubters. They are constantly reminding us that it's a lofty and downright dangerous goal for two eighteen year-old girls, nay, women, to venture out into the world. I don't know about you, but the mid-west just isn't doing it for me, and I'm ready to prove these people wrong.

Deuteronomy 31:6
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."          

Soo..I guess I blog now.

This whole blogging thing is new to me, so until I get the hang of things I'm going to play it safe and stick to an "about me" post. So hey, I'm Maureen. I'm a senior in high school. I work two jobs, one at a grocery store, and the other as an after school nanny for two little girls. I love kids, their innocence and at the same time, their stunning ability to pick up on things you wouldn't expect them to understand. I attempt to spend as much time with them as possible. On Wednesdays I volunteer with a pre-teen after school program and on Sunday mornings I teach a pre-school class at my church.

I'm going on eighteen and no, I don't know where I'm going to college. I'm just under 6 feet tall and I have a giraffe fetish. I love my friends, to-do lists, and late nights. I'm a Christian, and I do my best to make that statement actually have meaning and represent who I am. My parents are divorced, my little brother is taller than me, and I didn't grow up knowing my older sister. I hate being disappointed and when people have no empathy. I also hate when people burn microwave popcorn. Honestly how hard is it to screw up microwave popcorn. I love going barefoot, and wearing pretty dresses, dancing in the rain and laughing with my best friends. I love that I have so much to love.

This blog could go on for days if I could just continue to spout useless details about my life. At some point I should probably address deeper topics. But for now, I'm just going to get this out of my system.
I would be a vegetarian if steak didn't taste so dang good. Medium well, with ranch on the side to dip it in. I love driving with the windows down and buying endless pairs of fake Ray Bans. I love the long journey I've taken to be the person I've become. I can't stand carrots, they literally taste like cardboard to me. I dislike when people do things just because they can. The Iowa Hawkeyes are my team, even though we got off to a rocky start, I think we could still have a great football season.

I hate winter. It's cold, it's wet, and it's dark. Nearly every day is overcast. I can't go that long without some natural vitamin D soaking through my skin. On the occasional sunny day in winter you can find me sprawled out on my living room floor catching a sunbeam through the window. Like a cat. A sad, desperate cat.
Which is why I'm going to live in Hawaii. No need to worry about a lack of sun on a cluster of tropical islands.

I love traveling, and my mom who makes it possible for my brother and I to go to these fantastic places every spring break. I loved Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Hawaii and San Diego. I've been spoiled with the opportunity to venture from my boring little mid-western comfort zone and do amazing things in even more amazing places.
I would never wish to change anything bad about my past. I am who I am because of those mistakes.
There has got to be a stopping point to this, so I'll end this rambling crazy train with just a little more love.

1 John 4:8
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."