Confessions of a Fierce Planner

I like plans.

I like specific dates, times, places, budget estimates and knowing if there will be food.

Why do I like plans? Why can’t I be a relaxed butterfly who goes with the flow?

Time is valuable, internet users. If I am making an effort to spend time with you, that means that I like you. It means I enjoy your presence. It means I would like us to be in the same room or outdoor space. So I made a plan with you.

Assuming you texted me back, we have a plan. Now I can plan other plans around our plan. I can plan a weather and activity-appropriate outfit, and make sure said outfit is clean. I can withdraw cash, buy food, vacuum for once in my life, get gas, or perform other tasks deemed necessary so I can enjoy our plans. I can even charge my phone!

Most importantly, I can gleefully anticipate our plans. I can get excited for days in advance that we are going to hang out!

I do not like plan changes. I do not like when people are more than 15 minutes late without letting me know. I do not like when people say they will come and then they do not.

I understand that, tragically, the world doesn’t work this way. Tires go flat, ice falls from the sky, cows give birth and professors unleash homework mayhem on students, I understand. I’m really trying to realize that not all plans are set in stone. I am trying to be patient, gentle, and kind, when a plan goes awry. It’s hard. It goes against every fiber of my nature. Both of my parents are intensely scheduled and infallibly prompt. Was I cursed with this genetic flaw?

In most of my relationships, I make the plans. This is used to bother me. I previously believed that no one wanted to spend time with me because they never initiated the plans. I was wrong. People did want to spend time with me. They just expected me to make the plan, because I am a planner by blood, design, and to a fault, if you haven’t noticed.

For this reason, it is WONDERFUL when someone wants to make plans with me. When someone comes to me with a plan they created, I am so flattered that I want to kiss them, which I have learned is only accepted in certain cultures. I can honestly name from memory the last 4 times someone besides me made the plan. Guys, when someone makes a plan and wants to hang out with YOU, it is just so flattering and makes my huge extroverted heart explode.

Based on 20 years and 2 months of planning, here are my tips for planners and those less inclined to plan.

Planners:

  • If someone doesn’t make plans with you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care. They are probably just waiting for you to make a plan.
  • If someone is late, breaks or somehow alters the plan, it is not a personal reflection on you. And in most cases, it was unintentional, and the other person did not think you’d be so affected by it.
  • Nonplanners appreciate spontaneity. Although it may feel unnatural, be spontaneous with your planless companions! It just might be super fun and a great memory!
  • If making a plan is stressing you, ask someone else to help.
  • Great people are often late. Everyone is late sometimes. Forgive, forget, and don’t take it personally.
  • If someone is late, don’t leap to dramatic conclusions that they have been struck by large vehicles.
  • If you are making plans with a person who often breaks plans or is late, have a plan B that you can look forward to as well.

Not Planners:

  • Text your planner if you are going to be more than 15 minutes late.
  • Try to respond to planning texts promptly to spare your planner anxiety. A reply of “Let me check my schedule” is better than hours of silence.
  • Saying no politely is BETTER than not responding or saying yes and not showing up.
  • Planners may be uptight, but this is how we have fun. Our plan is fun to us. Random activities that we are not prepared for are stressful.
  • Help plan! The planner will probably be thrilled.
  • Come to the planner with a plan! Saying “Come to this thing at this time at this place on this day with me” is beautiful.
  • Thank a planner for making a plan and inviting you. It will make their life.

I understand that spontaneity is terrific and fun to some people. To me, most of the time it is not. I am truly trying to loosen up and accept plan changes and even a lack of plans. I am getting better. I respect and am usually jealous of the free-flowing attitudes of people who don’t need plans. With that being said, respecting plans shows you respect other people’s time. It shows that you are just as excited as me to hang out, and that you have thought about it ahead of time.

Not planners, I am trying to meet you halfway here. It is a feeble compromise, I know. We need you in the world to produce beautiful things and have open minds and low blood pressure.

Bottom line: don’t take it personally and just let it go when a plan goes wrong. Maybe it is better that way. Don’t hold grudges. Respect the time of others. Understand that they probably thought-through and got excited about the plan.

No one is wrong and no one is right in this situation, you just have to understand a different mindset from your own and maybe even learn to appreciate it.

Casually Texting Jesus

“Eating doughnuts.”

“Watching 30 Rock.”

“Going to get doughnuts.”

“Watching Parks and Rec.”

“Thinking about cleaning.”

These are just a few examples of the stream-of-consciousness kind of text messages I scribble to my mom and select close friends. They’re short. They’re boring. They boast no importance or urgency. There is the occasional rant or detailed anecdote. But otherwise, it is just me, being more bothersome than profound. The group who receives these texts is highly exclusive and my mom is probably the only one who is terribly interested.

Many of my friends have this kind of phone-to-phone relationship with their parents or siblings, our personal high-profile, inner-circles.

What if we had this relationship with Jesus?

What if we texted Him all day, everyday like we do with those closest to us?

What if we waited anxious, with grubby button-tapping fingers for His replies?

I don’t know the Son of God’s cell phone number, but I know how He can be reached.

Prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing. What if we prayed to Jesus the same things we texted our personal inner circles?

He loves you. He wants to know how upsetting it was when you missed the bus. He wants to see the photo of the banana you found in your backpack, and He knows how long it’s been in there. He wants to hear about you studying for your macroeconomics test, taking your macroeconomics test, and acing your macroeconomics test. He loves you at your best, your worst, and your most mundane.

Jesus loves you. He wants to know you. He wants to be at constant text levels of friendship with you. And He’s the Creator and Ruler of everything. He’s waiting for you to text Him, just like you’re waiting for the cutie with glasses from sociology 204 to text you. That’s pretty cool.

Real Fake New Year’s Resolutions

May your 2015 hold more Chinese food than expected.

May your 2015 hold more Chinese food than expected.

I think there is too much hype around New Year’s Eve and the following day. It’s like exercise programs and life coaches have extended the Christmas shopping season for themselves to the next year. If you want to change your life, just do it, regardless of the date and its proximity to January 1. With that being said, here are my real fake New Year’s resolutions.

  • Improve my shower singing performance
  • Stop volunteering so much
  • Find a cleaner laundry mat
  • Spend more money on shoes
  • Take my Instagram game to the NEXT LEVEL
  • Cut through more buildings on my walk to class
  • Start drinking (I turn 21 this year)
  • Stay up late being productive, instead of staying up late trolling the internet
  • Make more Pinterest pins a reality
  • Take my hair from lion’s mane to horse’s mane
  • Meet my neighbors so I don’t have to refer to them as “Loud Music Left” and “Loud Parties Right”
  • Create feasible exercise goals
  • Eat more processed meats
  • Stop being afraid of what I’ll find if I clean out my closet
  • Actually clean out said closet
  • Find a healthy way to burn calories while sleeping
  • Vacuum at least once gosh dang it
  • Pet dogs
  • Nap more frequently
  • Order French fries, with ranch dressing
  • Say no
  • Get a caffeine IV
  • Fill caffeine IV with chocolate
  • Survive sugar overdose
  • Swear to take better care of self
  • Say no to caffeine IV

Your Friends Said What?!: Fall 2014

Quotes from the greatest people during the Fall 2014 semester.

Look at you on your high horse.

Drake’s a thing. He’s very popular in the meme world.

I’m ready to go into a diabetic coma.

Do you know how farmers make burgers? They grind up the cows, and there you go, burgers!

I love having a manual because- *car dies*

Sorry I’m not very exciting.
It’s okay, I knew what I was getting into.

I don’t think she has a real doctorate. I just think she has skin cancer and is freaking out.

Jesus said to love the unlovable. If that means eating ugly cookies, then that’s what I’ll have to do.

Missourians destroyed Lawrence in Quantrill’s raid. You’re welcome.

I can’t turn down sparkles or puppies.

When boys make me sad, shopping makes me happy.

I just need to know him better, you know? Like how long has his family been in this country? When did his ancestors come over?

Friendship is about give and take. Jeremy gives me rides. Jeremy takes me places.

This is America! I should be able to get a cheeseburger whenever I want!

The Myers-Briggs says I am stubborn. I am not stubborn at all! Why would it say that?!

I got a 6 out of 14. I’m not a math guy, but that seems good.

I was up doing election coverage until 1:45, so a typical night in Aggieville.

This pastrami and cheese will change your life.

I had to climb this tree for class then I remembered I was wearing a skirt.

He has a 4.0 if you add up his GPA from every semester.

I’m sorry you hate your surprise party.

We don’t have to plan this road trip now since we’ll be friends forever.

My sister taught my brother a fake language, then he went to speech therapy for 5 years.

He likes one of us. If it’s you, I’m going to be ticked.

He was going ham on that cello.

I was supposed to do it yesterday. Then today. I’ll do it tomorrow.

YOHO, you’re only here once.

Stuff My Professors Said: Fall 2014

I forgot where I was. I drank a lot this summer.

Tectonic plates yada yada yada.

You can have a dirty mind if it helps you get your work done.

Yes, I am crystal clear as usual!

What are you going to do with all that ash? Dump it in Nebraska? Perfect.

There was pronoun-antecedent disagreement everywhere, like weeds in a garden.

I knew he loved me when he showed up at my house with his box of financial records and said “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

You aren’t supposed to swear in the Vatican, but…

P-H-A-T. Phat. Is that a thing?

I used an active verb and then the editor came in and put a nasty be-verb in there.

You have the inverted pyramid, and you have the perverted pyramid.

The cutting machine is not alive. It cannot hate people.

I’m always thinking, so I’m always getting into trouble.

I know that trick. I’ve done that trick. Don’t do that trick.

Maria, you look like a penguin with duck arms.
That’s a lot of bird references.
I’m in a fowl mood.

How to Get the Good Life

I have a good life.

I have plenty to wear, plenty to learn, plenty to eat, and plenty to enjoy. I have a rock solid support system of friends and family. And except for the occasional weird rash, I am healthier than a grand champion market hog.

No one’s life is easy, and my good life is no exception. Those of us who know we have great lives can still be discouraged and disheartened. We burn our breakfast, our friend is acting weird, and we lose a job we love. We don’t get the scholarship, don’t get the guy (Or girl), and don’t get the last slice of pizza.

If I can barely keep my own life and self knitted together, how can I spread God’s love? I barely made it through grocery shopping, and now I am supposed to love God by serving others?

Yes.

Serving others is what gives you the good life. It is how we spread God’s love. It is the joy of serving that gets me through the hours of studying or tedious lectures. It is my life’s joy serving God by serving the people He loves! Hint: that’s everyone!

Serving others is what gives me the good life.

But how do you serve others? You aren’t a missionary. Don’t you go to class and sometimes show up for work?

Yes, I do. I am a huge believer in Mother Theresa’s “Small things with big love.” Many of the people God wants us to serve are right in our daily routine! It’s holding the door for the man behind you, putting your roommate’s plate in the dishwasher, calling a relative who has been struggling, staying to clean up after a wedding, or baking a casserole for your neighbors just because. It’s loving others by putting their needs before your own, every day.

I’m not saying that volunteering at a homeless shelter or going on mission trips isn’t great or important. Those kinds of things are wonderful! What I am saying is, there are people in Your Hometown, America that God is calling you to serve. Through serving God by serving others, even when things go wrong in your own life, you’ll always have the good life.

This Needs More Sugar

If you are looking for cooking tips from an expert who never has flour on her butt, this is not the blog for you.

If you are looking for cooking tips from a kitchen-adventurous 19 year-old who calls her dad every time she has to use the can opener, this is the blog for you!

  •  Yes, adding more sugar will probably fix it.
  • It’s okay to dip your finger in the bowl and lick it.
  • Leave cookies on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before you transfer them to the cooling rack so they set up. Or just eat them.
  • Always add tomatoes, strawberries, or something colorful to a salad. It looks infinitely much more appealing.
  • Ask how long it takes for your oven to preheat before you buy it. Sorry about the Glacial Oven Purchase of 2012, Mom.
  • Good vanilla and good baking soda are worth the extra money.
  • I’m pretty sure exposure to salmonella builds up immunity (Not a medical professional).
  • Always be flexible. Occasionally things don’t go as planned, even with tried and true recipes.
  • Brownies are better than cake. Those who believe otherwise cannot be trusted.
  • Have the kids help! They’ll love it and learn! Some of my earliest memories are of helping my dad in the kitchen.My kitchen help
  • Messes are okay.
  • If you cannot tolerate messes, put ingredients away as you use them.
  • Buy what’s fresh and in season. Use garden-grown tomatoes! Do it!My favorite salad!
  • Learn how to make foods healthier. Cook bacon in the oven, or use applesauce instead of vegetable oil, but don’t be afraid to splurge and make a meal in its full caloric glory.
  • Don’t try to combine too many strong flavors. Have one flavor that you are focusing on and use the other to complement it.
  • Crack an egg by tapping in on the counter or another flat, hard surface. This forms a dent in the shell where you can put your thumbs in order to get a clean separation of the shell.
  • It has to taste better than it looks.
  • Accept that your food probably won’t look like the picture. It is okay!
  • If you really want yours to look like the picture, follow the recipe DOWN TO THE LETTER. DO NOT STRAY.
  • If you are just learning to cook or wanting to try something new, look for a very specific recipe and/or one aimed at kids.
  • When a recipe calls for mixing wet and dry ingredients separately, and you are lazy like me and only want to use one bowl, combine the wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients.
  • Some store-bought items taste a lot like their homemade counterparts. Frosting is not one of those things. It is super easy to make from scratch and tastes exponentially better.Gobbled these up
  • You must babysit any milk-based substance that is on the stove.
  • When you become more experienced, recipes are more like guidelines. Recipes are also guidelines if you are like me and don’t follow directions well.
  • You don’t need a multitude of gadgetry or a fancy kitchen to be a good cook. You just need practice.
  • Food makes a great gift. Offering to cook a meal for someone is great way to say “Thanks,” “I love you,” or “Help me eat this.”

    Grilled chicken sandwich with avocados and provolone cheese, baked tomatoes with basil and parmesan cheese, and a cornbread muffin

    Grilled chicken sandwich with avocados and provolone cheese, baked tomatoes with basil and parmesan cheese, and a cornbread muffin

How To Become Close and Personal Friends with Your Roommate (Or At Least Tolerate Them)

My freshman year, I went potluck and lived with a stranger named Emily for 8 months. Based on this one experience, I am an expert on living with a roommate. Here’s what, in my amateur opinion, you need to know:

Be upfront. When anyone does something that irks you, you have three options: Tell them, let it go, or let it fester and build to a rage inside you. If you tell them, the problem will be addressed, and if you let it go, there isn’t a problem anymore. If the issue festers, you’ll eventually explode into 10,000 pieces. The day we met, I told Emily that she should always tell me if something is bothering her- and she did. This helped build an open and honest relationship between us, so we could address small problems before they got out of control.

Set expectations. If having an overnight guest of the opposite sex makes you uncomfortable, tell your roommate before you wake up to a strange man snoring like a train. If you want privacy when you change your clothes, tell your roommate. If you want to do all the cleaning, tell your roommate. Communicate your wishes respectfully, and most people are reasonable enough to compromise or comply.

You have flaws. Let’s be real. No one is the ideal roommate. We all have issues. As for me, I walk really loudly. And talk really loudly. I’m just generally noisy and obnoxious. Also, I stay up late. Like until 5:00 am twice (Don’t recommend it). I thrash in my sleep like an angry bear. I listen to music constantly, sometimes one song over and over again (No Interruption- Hoodie Allen). Tell your roommate what you believe your roommate drawbacks to be; doing so will make them feel more comfortable telling you that listening to your frat rap is insufferable.

Basic respect and courtesy go a long way. Don’t use your roommate’s stuff without asking. If you are going to the store, ask them if they need anything. Don’t Harlem Shake when they are trying to study or sleep. Ask before you have your little brother sleep on the floor for 3 days.

Be sensitive and understanding. You are going to see your roommate at their best and worst. Why? Because you are sharing a room. When your roommate is freaking out about her Spanish project, don’t talk about your easy open-option classes. Emily’s grandpa passed away while we were living together, and understandably, that was really hard on her. You are going to see all sides of your roommate. Give your roommate space when you know they need it. Be kind. Don’t gossip or spread rumors about them. You may think that she sounds like a dying cat when she cries, and you are the only one who needs to know that. Your roommate should feel safe and at home in the room. They don’t need to feel like you are constantly judging them, or telling others about their problems.

You are different. That is okay. Emily and I have a lot in common. We both like theatre and journalism. We love Harry Potter. We consider pretzel M&Ms an acceptable supper. We’re also different. Emily has a serious boyfriend. I have a serious relationship with Netflix. Emily is not very religious. I have been called a Jesus freak. Emily is always fully-clothed and cold. Being warm-blooded, I find being fully-clothed difficult. I am organized to a fault and Emily usually knows where to find her scarves. Emily is the baby of six kids, and I am the oldest of two. We have different ideas about families and marriage. I’m extroverted and she’s introverted. The list goes on. However, Emily and I are great friends and we were great roommates. We attribute this to our mutual respect and nonjudgmental attitudes toward each other.

Ultimately, it all trickles down to attitude. If all parties involved are willing to cooperate and live together in harmony, you will. If not, make new friends who will let you sleep on their floor.

The Story of My Life (Not A One Direction Reference)

 

Probable Cover Art

Probable Cover Art

If I live an interesting life, I am definitely narcissistic enough to write an autobiography about it. Here are some title possibilities:

Is Everyone Having Fun Without Me?

God Is Up To Something, But I Don’t Know What

Acting Like Dad, Thinking Like Mom

Did I Really Shave My Legs For This?

Well, That Wasn’t In The Plan

Food Regrets

I’m Not Ashamed That I Like This Song

Yes, I Will Eat All Of It

Came For The Pizza, Stayed For The Brownies

Always A Flower Girl, Never A Bridesmaid

CTRL Z

Perpetual Acne

In Love With A Fictional Character

Tired Of Personal Growth And Responsibilities

Freak Out and Call Mom

Awko Tacos

I Need A Cookie

Faking Until I Make It (Or Worse)

Didn’t You Get The Script I Sent You Of How This Conversation Is Supposed To Go?

 

Your Friends Said What?!: Spring 2014 Edition

“Do you even weigh enough to give blood?” “No, but I lied about my weight and they still wouldn’t let me!”

“I’m a great physicist.” “Can I call you Sheldon?” “No, it’s Dr. Cooper.”

“Hey, he’s in the end zone!” “That’s the lane. This is basketball.”

“Are we YOLOing at 9:00? That is the prime YOLO time.”

“If it isn’t burning and rolling down a hill, it is a success!”

“People tend to get mad when you lie about having cancer.”

“Look like Tina Fey, be funny like Tina Fey, and get money like Tina Fey.”

“Walked into Spanish like ‘What up? I’m late again.’”

“One strip of bacon? Don’t they know I’m a growing adult?”

“Keep your fluids to yourself or I will scalp you.”

“We moved to Kansas because we’d pretty much do anything to get out of Bama.”

“My art GTA says art is the best major because you can make anything out of it.” “Except a career.”

“Maria gave up social media for Lent and I’m being Hitler about it.”

“My dog eats better than most people.”

“I tried to be an atheist but I couldn’t stop praying.”

“Never never never build a house out of bell peppers.”

“Don’t think I hate you just because I say I do.”

“Take my sarcasm literally.”

“Look what your legs brought. It’s you.”

“I had to start cussing again to deal with the insurmountable amount of crap that persists in my life.”

“Awko tacos are my favorite flavor of tacos.”

“I pressed the clutch and she revved and I was like ‘Sweetheart I’m not pressing the gas.’ She was so confused.”

“Time flies when you’re supposed to be doing things.”

“Oh, he’s off somewhere getting friend-zoned.”

“I’m as passionate about education as Maria is about Kansas trivia.”