Radiating Sunshine: January 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lets Make Cooking Fun

Sometimes making dinner can be boring. You get into the flow of things. You have your protein, your vegetables, your starch (well thats what almost all of my meals look like, anyways). But, if you pretend to be on "Master Chef" or really any cooking show you can instantly spice up (sometimes literally) your meal. 

So, this last Friday my friend Alex and I decided we were gonna make dinner at her apartment. We were just gonna pick up a few ingredients from my school's cafeteria and whip something up. But, that would have been too boring. We decided instead to pick up a few ingredients and one mystery ingredient.

The 10 ingredients we used for our Friday night dinner, "master chef" style are as follows:

cherry tomatoes
parmesan cheese
1 egg
a cup of rice
3 tablespoons of italian dressing
mystery ingredient: corn flakes

We had 45 minutes to prepare our meal and boy is that what we did! 

We caramelized the vegetables, steamed the rice, breaded the chicken with a crushed corn flake & egg crumb mixture, mixed in the italian dressing into the rice and created a darn good meal. Turns out you don't have to be a "master chef" to create a delicious meal.

The only thing we really need to work on for next time is how to we can bread the chicken better. So, if you have any advice on that comment below!

Corn Flake breaded chicken with faux vegetable risotto 
It was blast coming up with the ingredients and deciding what we'd make with them all. Also, if I may say writing this post made me so hungry because this dinner was amazing. Happy Thursday friends :)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Odds Are Never in Your Favor: Graduate School

So, today I was stumbling around on the Internet doing my usual browse of journals and blog posts when I came upon The Chronicle of Higher Education. Now, most of you know I'm a res-lifer. I've been an RA for almost two full years, I've gone to several Higher Ed conferences, my on-campus job is in Student Affairs, and I spent my past summer working as a Residential Counselor. Clearly, I can't get enough of Higher Education and anything or everything that has to do with Higher Ed, hence my excitement over 'The Chronicle'.

Anyways, being the browser that I am, I came upon an interesting article written by Atlas Odinshoot; "The Odds Are Never in Your Favor." Its a well known fact that I'm a Hunger Games fanatic… so naturally this was the first link I clicked on and boy did it capture how I'm currently feeling. Odinshoot cleverly related the job search for post grads to the Hunger Games. Now, naturally you're not fighting 24 others in an arena where death is the most probable outcome. But, in today's world and in really any job market you're fighting with a ton of other applicants just to get an interview. The realities of the job market usually slap most graduates in the face, because its so difficult and competitive. When I was younger my parents told me that to get a job in their field (Sales) or really any field you needed the golden ticket. That golden ticket was a Bachelors Degree. Now, neither of my parents have that "golden ticket." I guess they got lucky, in the sense that their experience out ways what a diploma could have given them. But, as most graduates and current students know, a Bachelors Degree isn't enough anymore. Every now and then it will work out and you can get a job after you complete your undergrad, but how often do you get your dream job after graduation? More likely than not you'll end on the job hunt, which could take could stretch on for months or even years, says Odinshoot.

But, how does this apply to me? About two weeks ago my Psych Research Methods professor asked our class what each of our post graduation plans were. 80% of my class said that attending graduate school was on their agenda. So, not only are we all competing for jobs; we are also competing for graduate school acceptances that will make us "more" qualified for those jobs.

I'm a junior/ third year undergraduate student who is worried about my future. I get reassured all the time that I have "the grades", "the experiences", and "the involvement." But, no amount of reassurances can comfort me until I have some acceptance letters. And then once I'm in, I have to figure out how I'm gonna pay for grad school and (or) whether I need to re-locate. So, its a stressful process that won't have an end anytime soon. I'm boarding the train towards the arena and if I'm lucky I'll come out alive (and with a job).

Thanks to Odinshoot's article I started to analyze what steps I've made to start preparing for the application process for Graduate school and the fight for jobs after… Now, obviously I still have a year+ until I find out if any of these steps have made a difference with my applications. But, I wanted to share them with you anyways.

1) Start early… my sophomore year I attended my first Higher Education conference. I was at the Next Gen Conference in Las Vegas and was one of the youngest undergraduates present. When people asked what year I was almost every reaction I got was "I wish I started as early as you did." So, if you know what you want to do it can't hurt to get a jump start and start distinguishing yourself.

2) Do research… After the Next Gen conference I began researching grad schools. I looked into programs that I may be interested in and what their requirements were. There are so many different aspects about grad programs and the acceptance process that I began to list out my top schools. The list is constantly changing, but it definitely gives me comfort knowing I have a solid list.

3) Network with others… probably one of the most exciting things about choosing to apply to grad school is that you can talk with others who are in the same boat as you. So, whether that means studying together for the GRE or asking students who have gone through the process already for advice; networking with others is a really helpful thing to do. And if you start networking with others in your area you could make friendships with future co-workers!

4) Find great mentors… I've been so lucky to work in a Residence Life department with professional staff members who care about my future. If you have the opportunity to get to know professionals in the area of your interests then take advantage of it because they have a wealth of knowledge, can help prepare you in different ways, and can also write you great recommendations. Either way it is so crucial to start building up your references and people who have already gone through the process you're now starting.

5) Don't be discouraged… Sometimes plans don't work out, sometimes you get a bad grade on an exam. But, thats life. It is important to not stress over the minuscule things and instead make sure you continue to work on the bigger picture. So, as frustrating as it is to not get bent out of shape over an exam (trust me, I fall victim to this all the time) make sure that you are continuing to learn and you don't give up on your dreams. 

Anyways, those are just some little things I've been thinking about. 
May the odds be ever in your favor.
Odinshoot, Atlas. "The Odds Are Never in Your Favor." The Chronicle of Higher Education. 20 January 2014.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

10 Random Facts About Me

Ten Random Facts About Me:

1. I like long walks on the beach, haha kidding… but, I do like long walks (the beach is preferred).
2. I'm a sucker for rom coms and love stories
3. My favorite band will forever be U2
4. I struggle with not eating cookie dough, browning batter, or really anything sweet before its baked.
5. #curlyhairproblems are my life.
6. I make my bed everyday; maybe not in the morning… but, I make it everyday.
7. My favorite bible verse is Proverbs 31:25. I feel like it defines who I am & who I want to be. 
8. I've watched the TV show Grey's Anatomy an alarming number of times. 
9. My life is run by an endless amount of to do lists, but I don't mind.
10. I'm a northern girl with a "southern state of mind"

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekend Recap 1/27/14

Thursday night: I've been so lucky that for the past two weeks in a row, I have been able to go to the campus activity nights. So, this week the Mount hosted ice-skating! Now, I can't ice-skate to save my life. In life, there are people who are naturally graceful, and well I'm not that... at all. Anyways, my two best friends, Alex and Hannah went with me and we had a blast. The three of us have been so busy recently so it was so nice to get out and have some fun. 

Friday: was wild… just kidding. But, seriously Friday was a great day. After my one 50 minute class, a nap, program shopping, and work; I met up with Alex and we decided to have a cooking night. (I promise to explain our master chef cooking frenzy later this week) We made a delicious breaded chicken over our version of risotto and vegetable. We also hung out with her roommates and played an intense game of "would you rather." It was such a great night. 

Flashback to Christmas Eve with my baby sis
Saturday: Was a sad day… around 11:15am the mall that I work/ shop at fell victim to crime. Someone came into the Columbia Mall and shot two people, wounded several others, and then killed himself. I am beyond thankful that my family was not shopping that day and that my co-workers all got into the back store room. I am incredibly saddened that events such as these happen in the world, especially so close to my home and in a place where I could have easily have been. The victims and their families will remain in my prayers and even in the face of all of this darkness and violence, I still have hope in humanity and in God. After hearing of the shooting, my sister texted me telling me she was so happy I wasn't at work and that I'm safe and she decided to come visit me. I love when Brooke visits and her visits are limited because she'll be in Alabama next year. Anyways, we ended up getting dinner together and went to see 12 Years a Slave. It was a devastating story, but the acting and production was incredible. We also had the theatre alone which was such a cool experience! 

Sunday: homework all day & the battle for internet at the Mount! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spring 2014 Programming Printable/ Ideas

A new semester means a new round of programming that needs to be planned and produced. I'm very excited to present to you, my Spring 2014 Programming Printable! If you cannot download the picture directly from this post you can download the google doc, here!

Anyways, programming is one of the best parts of the job. And like most Res Life programming models ours focuses on individual (with floor) and building wide programs (with staff). So, below I have some programming ideas that I wanted to share with you all. One nice thing about our model is that we have to fit our programs with the month's theme so it does give us some structure. 

Community Needs/ Wellness
ice-cream social / welcome back to Spring Semester
Healthy Snacking 101
Yoga or Zumba videos

Alcohol/ Drug Awareness-- "Lets Get Baked"-- Cookies and brownies with drug/alcohol facts attached
Love Yourself: Valentine's Social
Healthy Eating and Yoga
Letters to the Soldiers for MLK Day

Diversity and Community Engagement
diversity bingo & craft night
St. Patrick's day drug & alcohol 
Sponsorship with Center for Student Diversity 

diversity social 

Service to Others
gospel choir block party
send cards to the military
donation baskets

service day
plant flowers
canned food drive

Values, Goals & Closure
end of the year party
goals for next semester
stress relief during finals 

open time capsules
stress relief during finals

Those are just a few programming ideas. If you have any fun things you'd 
like to see me do with my girls I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Best Ways to Spend a Snow Day

So, how can you improve a 4 day weekend? Well, by making it a 5 day weekend because of snow that's how. But, seriously people a 5 day weekend and a delay the next day is the way to go. I wish every week could be like this. The only downside is that I'm really suffering from a lack of motivation, but hey what can you do?  

Anyways, I wanted to share the best ways to spend a snow day: 

1) Get rations… when in college you will most likely at some point or another have to walk outside to get food from the dining hall. (unless you're one of those lucky people who have the dining hall in their building & if you are just stop reading this because your life is already awesome). Anyways, a key to a successful snow day is to relax and not have to walk 5+ minutes in the bitter cold for food. 

My rations included: 
- peanut butter & jelly sandwich
- cheese popcorn
- captain crunch
- ramen
- orange
- water & iced tea

2) Go to channel USA and watch 4+ hours of Law & Order: SVU. Seriously, this is the best way to spend a cozy day inside with Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler.

3) Do some homework. Yeah, I know that sounds boring and unenjoyable but look at the snow day as an extra day to play catch up. Even if you only read one chapter its still something and you'll feel less like a bum and more like a productive procrastinator. 

4) Do something you really enjoy… like baking… banana bread… for the full recipe, click here.

5) Watch movies… tons and tons of movies.

So, I'd say I had a pretty successful snow day. Not gonna lie I was a little bitter that I didn't have an additional day off today, but hey I'll take what I can get. Happy Wednesday, friends :) Only two days left until the weekend is here again.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Easy Banana Bread

So, as every college student knows surviving on your own can be a struggle. For those who don't live off of dining hall food… or really anyone who has to buy their own groceries and feed themselves understands that its hard work to plan your meals. You have to make sure you take into consideration your budget, ability to cook, and for some you have to consider eating healthy. So, thanks to my friend Alex and her fabulous kid cookbook... I've tested out the perfect (for anyone) recipe for banana bread!

The Ingredients: 
1 2/3 cups of all- purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3 ripe bananas
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

the banana mixture
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2) Grease and flour a loaf pan
3) In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
4) In a large bowl, smash the 3 bananas with a fork. Add the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to the smashed bananas and mix well.
5) Then combine the dry ingredients into the large bowl with the banana mixture.
6) Pour the banana mixture into the greased loaf pan.
7) Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown (test with a tooth pic to make sure it comes out clean)
8) Let banana bread sit for 20 minutes
9) Remove from the banana bread and place on a metal cooling rack.
10) and enjoy :)

the dry ingredients

can't wait for the finished product

Voilá… you have cheap and easy banana bread that is relatively healthy and tastes delicious. But, seriously this hits the spot and is so easy to make! It will be a recipe you'll make over and over again!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend Recap 1/20/14

And finally the first weekend recap of the semester is upon us! I can't wait to start these posts back up again especially since this weekend wasn't just a regular weekend it was a f-o-u-r day weekend… which is pretty much the best thing that has happened in forever. Anyways, lets start recapping...

Thursday night: My weekend started with a trip to the bowling alley with the Mount's campus activities! Free bowling with some great friends equals a great start to the weekend. It was so cool bowling along side of a bunch of mounties and I think I've finally learned how to bowl without the bumpers up… (you can hold your applause until the end).

Friday: I hung out with my favorite couple, Hannah and Matt! Besides playing rounds upon rounds of QuizUp and watching Jimmy Fallon youtube videos, we went to an amazing restaurant in Downtown Frederick. We dined at Isabella's Tapas Restaurant and Bar and I can honestly say I haven't had a meal like that in so long. Now, of course I didn't think about taking photos of all the tappas we got but I'll describe some of our favorites for y'all. For starters I think the best dish we got was goat cheese wrapped in bacon served warm over toasted bread with some onions on top. My second favorite dish was probably the crab and mozzarella stuffed yucca dumplings with a garlic aioli sauce. One really cool thing about a tapas restaurant is that its the tapas come out staggered. So, we ordered at different times and always had something to nibble on at the table. 

I don't know about you guys but I'm all about the snacking/nibbling/eating all day everyday kind of life so this style restaurant was perfect!

The one dish I did manage to get a picture of was the ice-cream sampler that we ordered to end our fine meal. Like holy cow people homemade ice-cream. The flavors we ordered are: hazelnut, candy cane (my favorite), chocolate, strawberry, banana, and apple crisp. So, if any of y'all wanna give me a pint of the candy cane or straw-bana-choco-hazel-crisp I would love you forever, and ever and I'd share. 

Saturday: was a res-life kind of day! I worked RA Interview weekend, did a few hours of homework, went to Chipotle with friends, and had rounds. So, it was kind of a boring Saturday but, it was simple too. Sometimes its just really nice to not have any major plans or to go out anywhere. 

Sunday: usually Sundays are full of sad-weekend-is-over kind of feelings, but the Mount gives us Martin Luther King Day off so Sunday was like a Saturday, which means I kind of had three Saturdays since I was off on Friday too. Anyways, the highlight of Sunday besides watching the playoff games was a break from homework to go to bingo with friends. We had a great time and it didn't even matter if no one we knew won! However, I will definitely admit that when the first two seasons of Friends got taken I was a bit enraged. I also ended Sunday night with one of my favorite comedies, Wedding Crashers so Sunday was the perfect day.

Hope you had an amazing weekend! 
p.s. i apologize if this post made you famished…
p.s.s. i'm about to go play touch football with a bunch of guys, wish me luck!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I Work Out & Giveaway

I've never been one of those gung-ho workout people. Its just not who I am. Every now and then when I get a new workout shirt or have a new workout buddy I get all pumped up for the gym but for the most part the gym is just another obligation that I feel called to do.

As every college student knows its hard to either find the time or the energy to workout. Up until last year, I was definitely a go {nap} instead of go {run} type of person. Now, I'm not gonna sit here and tell you all about how I'm a beacon for fitness… no I'm probably the opposite of a fitness role model. But, the one thing I have going for me is that I try. 

I incorporate the gym into my schedule. I take workout classes like Body Pump and Zumba to add some diversity into my workouts. I will even occasionally play touch football with my guy friends for a workout. Ladies, let me tell you that even though its just a game, its quite the workout. I don't know if its the anxiety of the game or the actual running/catching/ and blocking on repeat that makes me sweat, but I'm wiped when we're done. 

The best tip that I've taken to heart on my workout journey is to constantly change up what you're doing. So, I'm not just gonna run 2 miles, lift weights, and do abs every single day. Not only would my muscles get used to the routine but, I would honestly get bored… which, would eventually lead me to not going to the gym. 

And my favorite motivation for working out is the nice big glass of chocolate milk I get after. Seriously people I'm a chocolate milk fanatic. So, even though its probably bad that I reward my hard work with food, you do what ya gotta do! 

Anyways, to give you all some motivation to either start working out or to continue to workout and since I can't give you all chocolate milk, let me present to you a wonderful Lululemon giveaway so you can workout in style…{I know two giveaways in a row-- so awesome}

The Sticky Note Addict / Radiating Sunshine / Growing Up is Actually Kind of Fun

Borrowed Heaven / Win $125 to Lululemon! / Many Waters

Scattered Seashells / Free Borboleta / McDancing Through Life

Kristin's knook / It's The Journey / Poppiness

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck friends! And if you have any work out tips 
I would love to hear them… but seriously chocolate milk
will stop being seen as a "reward" soon! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My First Giveaway

Good morning, y'all! After a year and a half of blogging I'm excited to announce Radiating Sunshine's first giveaway. Check out some of my amazing friends and enter to win $20 Paypal cash and some free advertisement. But, seriously who doesn't love Paypal. You can go crazy on Etsy or even participate in other blog giveaways/ advertisements! Happy Wednesday :)

*** Win $20 Paypal Cash and Ad Spaces ***

jan-giveaway graphic

Monday, January 13, 2014

Finally A New Pair of Glasses

Back in September, when I made my 101 in 1001 list I knew one thing that I needed to add to the list, was to get a new pair of glasses. I had put this off for many years and there is something about adding anything to a list, that just inspires you to get it done! Now, my old ones worked just fine. They weren't the perfect prescription but, they sufficed. However, they weren't the cutest pair that has ever been made so, this year I set out to find a pair that really fit who I am. So, after trying on about 50 different pairs I finally found the pair for me…

so, out with the old

and in with the new! 


The pair you see above are Kensie's and they are amazing! I'm still getting used to 
the way they feel but I actually get excited to wear them. I'm noticing that I'm starting to 
take my contacts out around 7pm just to wear the glasses. Yeah, I know I'm a goof. 

Anyways, Happy Monday friends!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

26 Days of Rest

Winter Break. Two glorious words. Two words I clung to for the majority of last semester. And two words that end today. This break has been a challenge. My grandpa passed away, we had to put down our cat, and my car was in and out of the shop costing me my paychecks that I was hoping to save for my study abroad trip to Austria. So, those three things monopolized my winter break.

But, despite those three things I can't help but feel like I had a great break. I spent so much time with my family and friends. On the days when I didn't work I tried to stay in my pajamas as long as possible (1pm= record breaking). I read two novels, Summer People and The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand. I cooked and baked. I also discovered that I can make a delicious loaf of bread. And while we are on the topic of food I wanted to note that I enjoyed the blessing of not having to walk outside and down a hill to get dinner.

Now, don't get my wrong. I'm a little excited to go back to school. I miss my friends. I'm not excited to leave home and start classes again though. This semester promises a lot of new opportunities. For starters, I turn 21. For those of you who know me personally, you know that I'm not the biggest fan of birthdays and that I'm not a raging college student. But, I am excited to have a glass of wine at dinner with my parents! I'll probably be the lamest 21 year old ever!! I also will be taking the GRE and prepping for my future when it comes to grad schools. I'll be taking a crash course in german and prepping for my study abroad trip. So, Spring 2014 will be amazing and challenging, but I can't wait to make new memories.

Ravens game with dad!

Check out my beautiful sister! We took this on Christmas Eve.

My grandma loves holding babies and she was bummed when someone took
the youngest baby away from her. So, I sat on her laugh and she got a good 
chuckle from it. I told her "I love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as
I'm living my baby you'll be" 

And finally I ended break by saying goodbye to my dear cat, Oliver. We rescued 
him over 13 years ago and I've loved him everyday since. I loved his little white socks, 
I loved how cuddly he was. I'm definitely a dog person, but I'm loyal to my baby.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Beautiful Reasons

when you live in a world where there is so much hatred, disease, death, sadness… it can be easy to overlook the everyday aspects that bring beauty to life. the aspects that bring joy and happiness.

the smell of fresh and cleaned laundry
little giggles from a child on Christmas
the butterflies you get when you talk to someone you love
the coldness of the other side of the pillow
when you create something beautiful
freshly cut grass
the sound of the ocean beating against the beach
a crisp fall morning
handmaid pie crust
snow flurries
a warm cup of hot chocolate
the brief moment you pass under a bridge while driving in the rain
when your dreams become reality
the way the sunrises and sets
extra foam on your cappuccino
finding a pair of shoes that are cute and comfortable
perfectly golden pancakes
sneaking cookie dough from the fridge
the health and safety of your family
not setting an alarm in the morning
fireworks on a warm summer evening
a cup of coffee in the morning
your favorite pair of jeans
when your team wins
a beautifully iced cake
the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies
drinking sweet tea on a summer afternoon
the cold rush of the first summer swim
climbing into a freshly made bed
finishing a whole tube of chapstick
playing with a pet
having your loved ones close
flowers budding in spring

celebrate. everyday. little. moments 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Photos and Writing the Details

We live in a world where we are blessed and cursed to have social media. In the past 50 years technology has soared beyond measure. I now have a device that I can call text home on regardless of where I am. I can use that same device to take a picture and then virtually share it with thousands of people. I can even go back a few years and find that photo that I posted and share it again if I choose. I can be viewed as a social media fanatic. I have a twitter, a Facebook, a Instagram, a blog… I have three different email accounts and am almost always reachable by text or some form of social media. But, as I realize how convenient it is to always be reachable… or to be able to share a picture… or an article I found inspiring, I also realizing how sad and dangerous it is. Now, I am not addicted to my phone or any social media app. Yes, I would miss all of you like crazy and would miss Radiating Sunshine, but I could live without it. But, I do wonder how this world has started to be run by technology and that little things like calling someone on the phone or simply printing out a photo has been lost a times. 

On a couple of occasions over the past few years I have made either a memory book for someone I love or collage for a relative that has passed. I've looked at probably over a thousand photos and have used those photos to continue to share the memories that were made. But, one thing I noticed is that no one decided to write information on the photos about the memories. Sure, if I'm lucky there would be a date and someone present who I can ask questions regarding the photo but, no one wrote the details. 

Now, compared to the technological world we live in, where its so easy to share a photo and comment what is happening or why its special. The photos I was looking at (from the 30s-90s) don't have the privilege to just be pulled up on Facebook. Most of the time I was working off of no information and had to make good guesses on what was going on. Now, it definitely gives one the opportunity to cherish the photos more, but it occasionally lives you completely clueless to what happened in the photograph. But, there was something so nice about having the photo in my hand being able to decipher who's birthday this was or how old they were turning. 

 Many people my age aren't concerned with printing photos. Sure, we can all share the pictures on social media but, actually printing the photos… heck no! Well, I'm a twenty year old college student who waits for Shutterfly or Snapfish to give free prints or a penny for a picture deal to get all of those memories printed. After going through other people's memories and making picture books for them. I realized that my life was in picture print until I was about 10 and then middle school happened and there are virtually no photos of me. I realized that around that time my family got our first digital camera so everything was just saved onto a computer. Almost like it was forgotten.  So, after realizing that if in 50 or 60 years someone in my life would want to see memories of me from when I was a teenager or in college they would be in trouble because almost everything is either online or on a hard drive. 

So, I decided to check off #100 of my 101 in 1001 list which, was to print out photos and write detailed descriptions on the back... for whoever is curious about my life. Its crazy how many photos you actually take. My numbers definitely went up when I started the blog, because now I use the famous line "its for the blog" to justify the quantity of memories I have saved. Not sure if its a good thing or a bad thing yet, but I'm glad I have a ton of photos to remember my life by. And as I started to write the descriptions I realized I had trouble remembering the details of some middle school events which, goes to show that I'm glad I'm doing this now and not when I'm 50. 

Now, I'm not gonna lie to y'all. It was time consuming. But, I believe it was time well spent and in 60 years if I develop a memory problem, I want to be able to have memories that I can find comfort in because I know who those people are in the photograph or who's birthday we are celebrating. That will be worth it to me. 

What is your favorite (non-technological) way to remember memories? 

Friday, January 3, 2014

In Loving Memory

This post is dedicated to 
Harry McCabe Wilgar, Jr.
December 18th 1928- December 24th 2013

So, as most of you know I primarily blog about happy everyday moments in life. But, every once in awhile there are some events that are hard to put a positive spin on. This past Christmas Eve, my Grandpa passed away. And just like that I was grandfather-less. 

We were waiting for him and my grandma to arrive at my Aunt's party but, instead we got a phone call that there was trouble getting him into the car. A little while later, my dad told my cousin and I that Grandpa had passed away. We immediately stood up and walked outside into the freezing cold Christmas Eve night. His death was too much for us to wrap our minds around. It wasn't until we went to the house to bring my grandma some of the food from the party and saw him there, did it fully sink in. I now live in a world, where my grandpa does not live. But, after I came to that conclusion I bowed my head and I prayed for him and I gave thanks to the Lord for his life. He lived an amazing and long life, that was full of love and discovery. He passed away not in a random hospital bed, but at home in his chair-- which, is an incredible blessing to be thankful for.

So, now we have planned his funeral and have gone through old photos. We have shared and cherished old memories. Instead of dwelling on his death, we have been thinking of his life. A life well lived. He was a son, a veteran, a rail road worker, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend… He meant something to everyone and was everything to someone. 

I'm so incredibly blessed to have gotten the opportunity to know my grandfather and have him be a part of my life for so many years. A memory that I will always cherish was when we went on a trip to Philadelphia, just the two of us. As I mentioned previously, he worked on the railroad and he absolutely loved trains. I remember as we boarded the train, he began to tell me little things about trains and how they worked. When we arrived in Philadelphia, we saw the Liberty Bell and spent hours walking around. But, it wasn't the touring of museums or getting cheese steaks that made that trip special. What made it special, was just my grandpa and me… going to a new place… on a train. I don't have any photos of us from that day, which makes me wish that was what was on my 8 year old self's mind. As I searched for a photo to share with you all. I came across this gem that was taken three Christmases ago. I still haven't mastered the no-pillow-sitting-up snooze, but I'm sure when I do I'll thank this guy for the technique. Every time I look at this picture, I can't help but smile… clearly we are the life of the party. 

We held the viewings yesterday and the amount of people that came out to say their goodbyes was breathe taking. Each viewing was filled with people and it became very clear that Grandpa lived a wonderful life and that he will forever be missed. It was hard to say goodbye to him, to look into the casket and realize that this would be the last time I would ever see him. But, as I looked at his face I was reminded of a happy phrase he would always say.

Everyone has a catchphrase, right? Something that they say frequently. Something that as their friend you almost always know they will say. Something that defines the life they lived, something memorable... Well, for my grandpa that phrase or response was "I'm a hundred percent." Whenever anyone asked how he was, his answer regardless of how he actually felt was always a hundred percent. How's that for positivity? Even when I was visiting him at the hospital a few months back, when I asked how he was his answer did not waiver. Even now I can still imagine him saying it, I can hear it so clearly. Its amazing that a simple saying will probably forever be ingrained into my memory, like he had just said it to me yesterday. We can all learn from my Grandpa.  I challenge myself and all of you, that the next time that someone asks how you're doing, instead of rattling off some complaints, think of all the positives in your life and see how they make you one hundred percent. 

"For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. 
So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's"
Romans 14:8

For his full obituary, click here.
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