Sunday, January 25, 2015

Of Mistletoe and New Beginnings and Ordinary Happenings

Yeah. So um I've been meaning to blog ever since some time before Christmas. By now ya'll know how it goes for me....I plan all kinds of awesome posts IN MY MIND....and yeah then they stop there. Excuses for why this happens:

1. I am constantly on the go with a million and one things to do every.single.minute.
2. If I am ever not on the go, I am asleep.
3. In the rare moments that I am not busy or asleep, I want to be lazy and do something mindless like scroll through Facebook or something. (Actually it is a good thing that I have Facebook on my phone. Otherwise I would probably never get on there either. Or is that a bad thing....Hmmm I'll get back to you on that one.)

OK so now that we got that out of the way....down to the substance of this post - which is actually hard to ascertain. See, at first I was going to write a post about Christmas but now that's just so last year (See what I did there??). But it seems a shame to ignore it completely when it was so nice and all. So then I was going to write a post about the New Year and how awesome it is to see it all stretched out before you with all kinds of amazing possibilities.,,,,and no mistakes in it yet (kind of like what  Anne of Green Gables said). But now that was rather a long time ago and a lot of life has happened since then. So I decided to kind of smush all of those topics together into one Goulash kind of a blog post. So here goes....

First of all....Christmas. It can be described in two words - Awesome and Microscopic. In other words, it was super amazing and I had so much fun with my family but it felt like it was about three hours instead of three weeks. I was not ready to leave them. Sniff. It was so fun to have everyone together though and lots of baking and eating and laughing and movies and general Ours family craziness  awesomeness happened. And I got a swim bag which was pretty much so happy. I get great enjoyment out of using it every day. #itsthelittlethings Some people including me got sick which was kind of a bummer so we won't spend time talking about that.

Second of all.....New Years. Well, actually I was sick for New Years so yeah....BUT not so sick that my brain couldn't dream and plan and be filled with all kinds of inspiring thoughts. Plus, since I was sick, I took the time to read three books I had been wanting to read: No Limits by Michael Phelps, Gifted Hands by Ben Carson, and Staying Focused by Noelle Pikus Pace. Three amazing books about three spectacular people who achieved amazing things in their respective fields and overcame all kinds of obstacles. I want to do something extraordinary with my life. Or maybe many extraordinary things! I don't want to settle for average though that is for sure. I don't know exactly what God has for me but I don't want to waste any opportunities or let any obstacles stand in my way! I love the start of brand new years because they are a great time to remind myself of all I want to accomplish and thank God for the achievements of the past year. Time keeps flying by faster than ever which just makes me more determined than ever to make the absolute most out of each day!

Third of all....Life in general. January is probably not my most favorite month in the world because it's kind of a let down after all of the excitement of Christmas. But, I have so very much to be thankful for and lots to keep me busy, so I try to focus on that. Piano, school, swimming, church, friends....makes for a very full life!! There is a swim meet coming up next weekend so that is pretty much super exciting and terrifying, I am preparing for my graduate chamber ensemble recital in March which is also super exciting and terrifying and Jan term is coming to a close very quickly (4 credit hours in 4 weeks? Like a boss baby!) which is also rather terrifying in a way because I have to get those last assignments finished haha and exciting as we start spring term.

Yep so how is that for a nutshell super fast synopsis of my life these past few weeks? I technically probably should upload some pics but I'm feeling kinda lazy and plus I really need to get to bed! Yeah you heard that right....yeah it's only 9:30ish but I found out that I have to try to get a little bit of sleep if I want to give 100 percent to my swim and piano practice. It's kind of a bummer seeing as I have way too many interesting things to do to sleep. But yearh I'm trying. And 4:00 am does come awfully quickly! :0

Best wishes to all of you as you try to live out your New Year's resolutions!  Don't give up when the going gets tough! You can do it!! :)

Love,
Tiffany

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time>"

Thomas Edison





Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Beginning to Look (and Feel) a Lot Like Christmas!

Guess what??!!! I'm finally on Christmas Break!! First semester of grad school = Beasted! I must say, it feels pretty amazing! :D

The last week as I was finishing up with final papers, lessons, and playing for people's juries (music performance final exams), I also made some time to hang out with friends and do Christmassy stuff!
My former Spanish professor and I had been trying to get together all term - we hadn't seen each other in several years - but our schedules never matched so that we could meet up. Last week, though, we were finally able to meet for lunch. It was great to see him - he was a super influential person in my life. I was also able to meet a new friend from my swim team for lunch - which we had also been wanting to do for a few months. Tuesday night, we had a party for my swim team - we sang Christmas carols and I played the piano. It was lots of fun. I brought these cute little cookies:



My friends and I also had a fun lunch for Katherine's birthday, which we also made be an ugly sweater Christmas party. Except - some of the people didn't get the memo, so only like three of us wore ugly sweaters. Mine was a sweater which I then pinned a dog toy too! haha It was so much fun to hang out together and eat Katherine's delicious lunch she made for us (I mean, she was the birthday girl and she still cooked! Great friend, huh!?!). It was a blast!!! I laugh so so much every time I hang out with these fabulous ladies!







I also snuck in a visit to my grandparents and an awesome Elf party with the Pruetts - whom I have known for years and years but haven't seen for a while! We drank hot chocolate and watched Elf and ate nutella and other snacks by the fire. Unfortunately, I had to finish a final exam during the first half of the movie, and as soon as I finished the exam and sat still, I fell asleep! haha but it was still fun. Friday night I had a little sleepover with my former piano teacher, Mrs. Davies. She is a barrel of fun! We went out to dinner and watched Christmas netflix movies until we were too sleepy to stay up any later. Saturday was an absolute blast - my friends and I went ice skating and to the Roper Mountain Holiday Lights. That night was the big swim team Christmas party which was super fun. To make it even better, I convinced my sister Ashlyn to come to it with me.


I also spent some time making my room full of Christmas cheer and making and decorating a big batch of sugar cookies to bring to the swim Christmas party. 





















And yesterday I got to come home!! So happy to be with my family and so excited to do tons of fun Christmassy activities! I love Christmas sooooo much. My little brother is so sweet - he made a bucket list while I was still at school of things for us to do together when I got home.



The break is already off to an awesome start - in addition to swim practice and piano practice - we've watched like 3 Christmas movies, played some games, and made gingerbread cookies! And I've only been home for like 36 hours! Can't wait to see what else we do!
Wishing you all a fun advent season! 
Love, Tiffany

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

So last weekend I went to my first swim meet! It was absolutely terrifying and kinda awesome all at the same time. I had never even been to a swim meet as a spectator before let alone swum in one so I had no idea what to expect. My coaches helped me though and explained what to do and when to do it. I competed in the 50 free, 50 back, 100 free, and 100 IM. I also swam 50 free as part of a few relays with my team. I was also supposed to compete in the 50 breast but cute story..........I kinda missed it. My coach said the events went by really fast and so I should be behind the blocks by the time she was finishing her race...and so I did. Somehow I must have zoned out....I'm not really sure....just I was waiting and waiting and feeling nervous and then the timing guy asked me if I was Tiffany and said I was supposed to be in his lane and then people were diving in and I was like "Did I miss it?" and he was like "Uh yeah." I'm still not exactly sure how it happened....



I think I came in last...I'm still super slow...but you know what, that's OK. Well, actually it's not - I'm dying to get faster and am very impatient about how long it's taking me to get where I want to go - but the point is I've only been swimming for a few months and when I started, I didn't think I would ever be able to swim in a swim meet or at least it would be a very long time before I would be ready. But guess what? I've already done my first one! And I am not going to stay this slow - I'm going to keep working and get much faster! Also, there is one very good thing about being last - the only way to go is up!




Saturday, December 6, 2014

So Much to Be Thankful For

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! I certainly did. I kicked it off a bit early with a whirlwind weekend trip home where all my family (with the exception of my dear sweet Abby) was able to be home *at the same time* (I know right?? so shocking...it is pretty much a pre-Christmas miracle)...to celebrate Sarah Brooke's first birthday and dedication in church. It was great to see everyone. We did lots of fun familyish types of things including going to a 10 pm showing of Mockingjay with the sibs. We also managed to snap a shot of the family together.


Then it was back to Spartanburg for two days before heading back for Thanksgiving!! Wednesday was a whirlwhind of trying to squeeze in swim practice, piano practice, family time, and the all-important task of baking pies!



Thursday several of my siblings and I (and Maria, our awesome international student who stayed with us during Thanksgiving) woke up bright and early in time to participate in the Turkey Trot at 8 am. Some people did the 1 mile fun run and some did the 5K. I did both with a mixture of walking and running. I ran more this year than I ever have before so that made me feel proud! haha


We came home to a delicious breakfast of pumpkin pancakes and bacon which my mom and Chris made for us while we were running - because they're just awesome like that! We ate and drank hot chocolate and wassail and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Then it was time for all the Thanksgivingy meal prep and eating kind of stuff.

Friday was another busy day with Dad taking us girls on the annual Black Friday shopathon. It's always a contest to see who can shop the longest - Dad or the girls. In the past, he has always won. I'm not sure who won this year but he texted us first to see if we were almost done so.....I'm thinking that means we won?? Anyhow it was lots of fun like always with tons of shopping and lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and a little snack of cheesecake to end the day.


Saturday was a calm peaceful day where we slept in and ate pie and laid around and ....JUST KIDDING!!!!!!! Really, it was another super busy day of swim practice and piano practice and decorating the tree and house for Christmas and going to the Jekyll Island Christmas Tree lighting ceremony and having our dear friends the Vicents over for dinner. It ended so sweetly with my little sister falling asleep in my lap as we snuggled in a cozy chair and watched Hallmark Christmas movies. Sunday it was time to pack up and head back to Spartanburg!

The holiday season always makes me realize how very, very blessed I am, not just materially (I mean I'm not rich but I have food, a great place to live, awesome clothes to wear, a car to drive - lots of things that people all around the world can only dream about and I just take them for granted) but also with so many wonderful family and friends, and a happy, busy life of pursuing my calling and passions. I love this song by Josh Groban - I feel that it is a great reminder of the kind of thankful attitude I want to have during this season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9wgeokEsOc

I hope you have a wonderful, blessed Christmas season and find a few moments in the midst of all the crazy hectic bustle of the season to quiet your heart and focus on just how much we all have to be thankful for.

Love,
Tiffany

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekends are for...Sleep??

Every weekend I make a resolution to catch up on sleep from my busy week and every weekend so much fun stuff comes up that I just can't say no to and I run around from thing to thing while simultaneously trying to squeeze in homework and swim practice and before I know it the weekend is over and I'm more behind on sleep than I was to begin with! Wow, that was a big run-on sentence. It just kept going and going....kind of like my life. Haha. But seriously. Also seriously, my weekends have been basically pretty much awesome lately! I'm making so many new friends, my sister lives in Greenville, people keep coming and visiting, and there's just so many interesting things to do! I want to tell you about the different fun weekends that have happened but I will have to do it in separate blog posts I think! One weekend by itself is quite enough for one post!

A couple weekends ago, my aunt and a few of my cousins came to Greenville. Friday night, I went to Greenville and ate dinner and hung out with them and my grandparents. I spent the night with them and then left from there to go to swim practice Saturday morning. After swim practice, we went shopping in downtown Greenville. We walked and walked all around, took off down the Swamp Rabbit Trail for a while, looked in shops, walked around in the Reedy River Park, got coffee at Spill the Beans, and got gelato at Luna Rosa Cafe. It was SO much fun! Also, the fountains were randomly purple, so I dared Abby to put her hand in, which she gamely did. Then we decided such a great opportunity should not go to waste, so we finger painted on the walls in front of the fountain and dyed our hands purple. We had a blast seriously!!



After we got back, I had to hurry back to Spartanburg for one of my friends from school's birthday dinner. We went to a Mexican restaurant and several of my school friends were there and we laughed so much, I'm surprised we didn't get kicked out. Or choke on our food. Or both. 

Sunday morning was church, followed by a three hour rehearsal for our chorus concert the next day. Then, (after some homework and cleaning and whatnot), I drove back to Greenville to my grandparents house for a movie night with my cousins. We had to take a little trip to Walmart first, because I mean, what else do you do at 10:00 on a Sunday night? Walmart trips are def where it's at. We were all so hyper - the trip involved skipping around the store looking for a movie and snacks and sneaking up on Aunt Rebecca and Audrey and scaring them, among other delights. Then we came back and watched Maleficent which was actually a really great movie. I definitely recommend it. Then we crashed into bed to get a few short hours of sleep before I had to leave for swim practice at 4:45 am the next morning! It was such a fun weekend  but over so fast. I'll tell you about some of the other awesome weekends soon!

In other news, it is almost Thanksgiving break! And then comes Christmas!!! Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Until next time!

Love, Tiffany

Friday, October 31, 2014

These Times They are A Changin'

First of all, a moment of silence in recognition of the fact that I am actually blogging. I know you are all so proud. -----------------------------
 Now that that is taken care of....down to the important business of *trying* to update you all on my life. Which is practically impossible because my life happens too fast for me to keep up with it, let alone tell you my lovely readers about it. Also, I don't really remember what I last told ya'll (although technically I suppose I *could* go back and look what my last post was but I mean seriously aint nobody got time for dat.) So.....anywho....after an incredible summer at Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC, (which I plan to tell you about in subsequent posts. Hopefully.) I moved to Spartanburg, SC to begin work on my MM in Piano Performance at Converse College. Since I completed my undergraduate degree there plus I grew up in this area, in many ways it has been like coming home, but in many ways it has been totally different as well. I am living with an awesome family that I have known since college (I went to school with their daughter) and who were my adopted family at that time. It was actually really really cool how God worked it all out because they had been living in Texas and randomly decided to move back to Spartanburg at the same time that I was going to be moving here and offered for me to rent a room from them. It's actually been so amazing because they make cookies and cook dinner for me and watch TV with me and keep me from missing my family by picking on me incessantly. (Yes, I'm talking about you, Duane). That's good though - I need to keep my verbal sparring skills in good shape.

I love how my room turned out - it is super cozy and fun - sadly, I hardly ever get to hang out in it -except when I'm asleep which doesn't really count...


















I'm loving being back in school - it is so incredibly amazing to spend each day learning and getting better at what I love. In addition to my regular classes, I am getting to audit a French class, which is really fun. I love languages and it is so cool to get the chance to study another one. I realize this will be a complete shock to everyone, but I have managed to fill my schedule pretty full! Between classes, homework, piano lessons and practice, duo piano lessons and practice, accompanying for my assistantship, church, and hanging out with my new friends, there is not much time left. Which is precisely why I decided to add something else to my schedule. Swimming. I've always enjoyed the water and always kind of wanted to be on a swim team so this summer, when I was at Brevard, I started swimming with a US Masters team there. I found out that I pretty much love it! It's kind of like piano actually - so much hard work and sometimes I don't want to do it, but at the same time it's amazingly addicting and I have this really strong desire to learn all I can and develop my skills as much as I can. So before I even moved here, I looked for a Masters team in the area and found Greenville Splash. I practice with the team 6 days a week - sometimes multiple practices a day. Yep. I know. I'm insane. But, I have this burning drive to do it and see how good I can get. Right now I am really bad - all my strokes need better technique and I don't know all the turns and dives and things and I am so super slow, it's embarrassing. The thing is though, all the people who have done anything with their lives say hard work pays off, saying something is impossible is just an excuse not to try, and the main key to succeeding at anything is not giving up. This is what keeps me going with piano, because goodness knows I am behind with it, too, seeing as I started lessons so late in life. So, anyhow, I'm just going to work my rear off with piano and swimming and hopefully it will pay off!

 I don't really know what all my life holds and how the future is all going to play out (see what I did there? Like piano play-ing?), but something I've been thinking about lately is how I want to make the most of every single opportunity and talent, no matter how small, I have. I firmly believe God gives us desires, talents, and opportunities for certain reasons that we can't always see at the time, but it's up to us to make the most of them and not waste them. We aren't guaranteed anything in the future and we can't know the exact paths that God is going to lead us down or the doors he is going to open for us or how he is going to use the lessons we are learning today in situations tomorrow but what we can do is seize every opportunity and make the most of each day. I don't want to waste my life - I want to accomplish something great with it! I don't know what exactly that is going to be, but I'm going to do my absolute best to not waste any chance to learn and grow God has given me, so I will be ready for whatever He has in store.

And on that note (there I go again!), I better get back to getting my practicing, homework, and dryland swimming exercises done before this day is over and I've wasted this opportunity! :)

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!

Love, Tiffany

" For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." 



Thursday, May 15, 2014

W.W.B.A.

World's Worst Blogger Award. Yep. I think I've won. It has been more than a YEAR since my last post. SMH. Actually I DO write lots of posts...in my MIND. It is just getting them actually typed out and published that I need to work on. I wish someone would invent a device that hooks up to your mind and copies down the information that you want it to. That way I could be driving or cleaning or whatever and get my blog posts written, journal entries completed, lists compiled, why I could probably even find time to write a book! So, Geniuses - I'm going to need you to get on that. You could be RICH! And famous. Just give me a little credit and 62.3% of your profits for coming up with the idea.

Sooooooo....a lot has happened since my last post and it is simply too overwhelming to try to catch you all up, so you're just going to have to try to guess from various comments and stories and newsy bits what may or may not have transpired in the past few months (aka Years!). 2 Items of Interest I will tell you now though:

1. I'm going to Converse College in Spartanburg, SC in August to pursue my MM in piano performance

and

2. I'm going to Brevard Music Festival this summer.

I am VERY excited about both of these developments!! :D

I leave June 8th for Brevard which means I have three weeks, 2 days, and some hours (and a few minutes) left at home. There is so much I want to do and need to do in that amount of time that it makes my head spin!! And I plan to enjoy every minute of it! :D

Random funny moment of the day: My little sister came up to my Mom, gave her a hug and said very sleepily and confidingly, "Mom, thank you so much for hatching me and not letting me die in your stomach!" Bahahahahahahaha Little siblings are so funny. I am still laughing over that one!

I want to start posting regularly again BUT I am not making any promises!

Love,
Tiffany