The most amazing love story since Romeo and Juliet haha

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

First day of school butterflies and such…

There is nothing quite like the first day of school! All of those brand new textbooks sitting on a shelf, brightly colored notebooks with crisp, unturned pages and all of your classmates walking across the Quad again with tans left over from summer and beautiful “first day” outfits and haircuts. It’s also the best day to people-watch all year, because most people make some sort of effort to look nice when going to class, even if it’s just applying some lipstick and ditching the Nike short/T-shirt sorority girl uniform for the day. (Except the pledges of course, who are rocking their brand new tanks with pride haha.) But I still think it’s a fun tradition to dress up a little for the first day. And, it’s also the only guaranteed day that every student will be in class!! After that first day, many students may never even return to certain classes. So like I said, the first day is the BEST day to people-watch. It’s so fun to see who has changed over summer, who has stayed the same and who could really care less about the first day of school!
Me? Well, I have always loved the first day of school. I love wearing a new outfit bought on a summer shopping spree, meeting new professors, new class friends and encountering some of the campus celebrities- term coined by Katherine Owen and Chloe from READ – and starting all of my extracurricular activities again like READ Alabama, SPJ, the Academic Honor Council, Business Executive magazine, and this year, Alpine Living, which I think I am MOST excited about. Alpine Living is a travel magazine sponsored by the journalism department at UA, and each year the staff travels to a location in the Alps for a period of two weeks, including Spring Break, and puts together an entire magazine complete with photos and stories during the trip. We are going to Spain this Spring, and I could not be more excited about this new adventure!

Anyway, if you could not tell by now, I am a little bit of a nerd haha and just to clarify, Luke is the exact opposite! He hates school, and dreads the first day, which I just can’t understand! How can you not like the first day of school?! Especially the first day of SENIOR YEAR?! Haha As they say, opposites attract, I guess!
Hoping everyone (especially all of my nerdy friends) has a great first day today!


Once Upon A Time…A blog post for my MOM!

Once upon a time…

1. Listening to The Lion King on audio tape in the mini van while Mom ran errands was the highlight of my day.

2. My biggest material desire was to have a small rocking chair just like the one Mom used when she rocked my baby brother, Ethan.

3. Rainy days were the best! Rain meant we got to have “picnics” on the living room floor with pizza AND Coke!

4. Ethan and I could entertain ourselves for hours by “painting” our brick house with old brushes and buckets of water.

5. The climbing tree (Bradford Pear) out front held the coolest fort that two kids ever built!

6. We knew every neighbor on our cul-de-sac…And took each of them homemade reindeer and Santa Claus cookies at Christmas.

7. I would try to touch the sky with my feet from the swingset in the backyard! I loved that thing, and I can remember swinging many evenings around sunset right up until Mom called me in for dinner.

8. My beanie babies were the most educated stuffed animals in the whole state. No, probably in the whole world! They (along with my brother Ethan) were my captive pupils, forced to learn all kinds of things about the world around us. Mom even bought me a whiteboard and Expo markers to enhance their education even more.

9. The Easter bunny never neglected to bring me a big basket of candy and other treats! He usually even threw in some jewelry, books and movies. And you can’t forget Peeps! :]

10. Back-to-school shopping might as well have been a federal holiday. Nothing beat poring over the shelves at Staples or Office Depot and picking out all of the necessary school supplies for a new year. We got to pick our own binders, pencils and pens, and we also got to go to the Mall for all sorts of clothes too!

As I am getting ready to go back to school to start my Senior Year of college next week, I can’t help remembering some of the fun times that are long gone now. This year, there will be no big back-to-school shopping trip. I pick out my own school supplies now and pay for them with my own money that I work hard for! Somewhere along the way, I realized the cutesy erasers shaped like palm trees and sunshines don’t really work and really aren’t necessary. Everything is digital now, anyway. And no, I don’t really need 15 matching binders. Sometimes it sure is fun to remember times gone-by though…

Ethan’s Birthday!

Momma and I

Ethan and I in the early ’90s

The Fourth of July

One of my “dress up” birthday parties

Ethan on Halloween

Just me!

Looking back through old picture albums as I am boxing up the remnants of my childhood bedroom, gives me proof that people come and go throughout our lives..Things change sometimes. And that’s OK. Change is a necessary part of life and growing up. During my 21 years of life, I have learned that friends enter and leave our lives like the tide ebbs and flows in the ocean. Only a select handful will actually stick around for the long haul. Those few select individuals are the ones to cherish and never let go.

Accepting that change is an integral part of life isn’t always easy. Sometimes change is really, really hard, such as when families break up, and people decide to go their separate ways. Suddenly, any semblance of a safety net is gone and you may be left to stumble around alone  for a while until you find the strength inside yourself to achieve sure footing again. But, the important part is realizing that that’s OK too. Even though the road sometimes diverges far from where we thought the path would lead, it is comforting to me to know that God has a reason for every necessary change in our lives. He is our guiding force and stronghold no matter what challenges we come up against.

It really is all about Letting Go and Letting God. Sometimes He points the way to a new path — one that is better than we could have ever imagined. My path just happened to lead me to Luke! (Something I never would have imagined at 5 years old, or 10 or even 18, but now I could not imagine my life without him.) God brought us together in His perfect timing, and my life has been changed for the better ever since. I am also eternally grateful for the loving mother that God saw fit to bring into my life. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my mother strived to give me the best childhood she possibly could and that she loves me more than I could ever know. 21 years later, I know that she is still there for me whenever I need her (proving that while some things change, some things DO stay the same.)  Counting the blessings in life and focusing on the positive aspects of change is key, I think.

It seems that all we have the power to do as mere humans is to focus on the present. These are the days that we must make count, because what has passed is gone and what lies ahead is not guaranteed. So, it is up to us to make today the best that we possibly can, and know that someday, we will be looking back on this stage in our lives and thinking ‘Once Upon A Time’…What kind of memories do you want to have  of today?

Wishing all of my readers a happy and blessed end of the week! TGI(almost)F!

Tacoklahomayo and other adventures in Lawton!

Adapted from Wikipedia's OK county maps by Set...

Adapted from Wikipedia’s OK county maps by Seth Ilys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While visiting Luke at Fort Sill this past weekend, I learned four important lessons:

1. If you are a gambling person, the number of casinos in the Comanche Nation must be pretty much unrivaled except for Vegas; Luke and I saw at least three different casinos during the ten-minute drive from the airport to his apartment building in Lawton! Another two can be found on the way to the local movie theater lol.

2. You are never too old to act like a little kid! Luke and I had the best marathon “play” date on Saturday. And yes, it felt like we were in middle school again due to the absolutely absurd amount of fun that we had while doing “little kid” activities. (more on that later).

3. The West Point Girlfriends Facebook Group certainly has its saving graces! I had the best (and LONGEST) lunch date on Friday with Mrs. Lindsey Niblack Oliver and Mrs. Rosa Greeson Stevens while our significant others were busy at work. It was so neat to arrive in Lawton for the first time ever and to already have two girl friends to hang out ( and gossip) with!

4. Tacoklahomayo is the absolute best “fast food” restaurant to EVER exist! Tater tots with your tacos? Genius. Pure genius.

Lawton, Oklahoma. It’s a fine place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there permanently. I think that’s the best way to describe the area surrounding Fort Sill. I arrived in Lawton late on Friday night on the tiniest plane to ever exist and stepped into the tiniest airport to ever exist! Seriously. This airport has two gates (only one of which is actually used), and the same two or three employees check passengers in, guide the airplane in, unload baggage and man security. On my outbound flight, I discovered that there are not even any restrooms once you step through security (but that’s OK, because trust me, there is plenty of time to step out, use the restroom and walk BACK through the security line, even up to ten minutes before flight time!) The airport only provides service to Dallas Fort-Worth, and I think there were about 20 passengers or fewer on both my arriving and departing flights.

Anyway, so Luke picked me up at the airport, and I was able to find him in the “crowd” pretty easily! It was already 10 p.m. or so by the time we left the airport, so he took me to get some Sonic for a quick bite, drove by the aforementioned plethora of casinos, and went back to his place for an early night since he had to be up at 5 a.m. on Friday. Friday morning dawned dark and early, and Luke left me on my own for the day to explore Lawton (with no vehicle)!  So, really I planned to just hang out around his apartment. I had very noble intentions of cleaning his place from top to bottom, washing and folding all of his laundry, and possibly cooking him dinner. (And watching plenty of Grey’s Anatomy, which I am currently addicted to.) But, you know what they say about the best intentions, right? I found something a little more fun to do instead :]

Around 11:30 a.m., Rosa Stevens picked Lindsey Oliver and I up to go out for lunch! I had met Rosa once before at St. Barbara‘s, and I knew Lindsey from the West Point Girlfriends webpage (basically a FB group for girlfriends and fiancees of West Point cadets to chat and get to know one another. It’s much less creepy than it probably sounds lol, although Luke might disagree.) We went to lunch at this local sandwich shop called the Silver Spoon (they have the BEST Raspberry Sweet Tea), and Lindsey acted as tour guide of the downtown Lawton area for Rosa and I, since she has been living out there for about a month now.

Lunch date with the girls

After (a two-hour) lunch, we headed back to Luke’s apartment complex and laid out at the pool until our guys got off work. The funniest part of the day was when alot of the military guys showed up in the late afternoon and started cramming into this tiny little pool Jersey-shore style. One group of guys wanted to set up a volleyball net, and they were having all kinds of trouble getting this net put up. They kept debating how to tie the knot correctly and tried setting two chairs on either side of the shallow end so that they could loop the net through. After about 20 minutes or so, Rosa looks at them and yells, “What? Didn’t they teach y’all how to tie knots up at West Point?” Lol. This elicited quite the response from many of the guys, who did not in fact, attend West Point. (It was really funny, but you probably had to be there to really take in all of the shocked reactions and horrified faces!) They started trying to talk to us a little bit after that, and luckily our guys showed up soon after to rescue us.

Then, we all headed to dinner at this wonderful little Mexican restaurant  in town (Las something..Lindsey, help me out here?!), and they truly had wonderful margaritas and sopapillas. Then, Luke and I headed back early (about ten hours after our “lunch date” began) and regretfully, missed Rosa’s game of cornhole (which we are sooo definitely playing when I  come up for Fall Break!) This group was so much fun, and I cannot wait to hang out with them again in October. I definitely had more fun than I would have had cooking and cleaning all day.

On Saturday, Luke and I got up “early” (around 10 a.m.) and began a marathon date in Lawton. First, he took me to Tacoklahomayo, which is literally the best fast food restaurant I have ever been to. It only exists in Oklahoma, and they serve yummy Mexican dishes with tater tots, of all things, on the side. I had the nachos, and it was wayy more than I could eat by myself. If we end up PCSing to Sill in the future, I will be Tacoklahomayo’s best customer! The restaurant was so good that I named this post after it, which I never do. If you are ever in Oklahoma, this is a MUST VISIT! Thank you for the great recommendation, Mrs. Oliver. :]

Next we headed to the water park, which I absolutely loved! It is a pretty small water park right off of the interstate, but it has five slides, a lazy river and wave pool. We had to buy a two-person float, since those were the only ones left, and since we weighed about 300 pounds collectively, the water slides were a REAL blast! We almost flipped over twice, and I thought I would lose my voice from shrieking so much. Of course, Luke egged it on, by grabbing the handles and rocking us back and forth, making sure we got “air” on the green tube slide and flipping me over on purpose into the pool at the bottom. It was truly a great time though, and after all of the excitement on the slides, I was more than content to float around on the lazy river with him. We eventually hit the wave pool, which was also fun, except for one unfortunate incident with a bee. It flew onto the front of our float, and I unwittingly put my legs down directly on top of it. I got bit three times by the time I realized what was going on and was able to move. My knight in shining armor killed that nasty little bee for me though, so I felt that justice was served lol.

We had a blast at the water park in Lawton

After several hours at the water park, we headed back to his place to get ready for dinner. I had butterflies while I was getting ready, because we haven’t been able to go on a date together in so long! I got to wear my pretty new turquoise dress with the bubble skirt and white wedges, and he wore khaki shorts and a button down. He took me to an Italian place called Luigis, and I had the ravioli filled with ricotta cheese, and he had fetuccini alfredo. The restaurant didn’t offer wine or any other alcoholic beverages, so we got sodas, and Luke made the comment that it felt like we were in middle school again and our parents dropped us off on a date haha. Needless to say getting ice cream at Braum’s afterwards (mmm Butter Pecan) and then going to see Ice Age 4 only contributed to the feeling of being two kids again. But it was one of the best dates ever, and everything was just so relaxed. I think we laughed more on that date than on some of the ones at elegant restaurants in NYC where we have paid $$$$ for dinner and a bottle of wine. It was fun to mix it up a little!

Date night

On Sunday, he got up early and cooked me breakfast, and  I got to watch my Grey’s marathon while he did some homework. We had an early dinner at another local Mexican place — nothing beats Mexican food out West — and then, we went to the commissary to buy some Gatorade and other items. It was such a settling feeling to be a “normal” couple again, going shopping together on Sunday afternoon. We watched some of our favorite TV shows that night and stayed up way, way too late haha but it was so worth it, even as we were dragging on our way to catch my 6 a.m. flight to Dallas on Monday morning.

The whole weekend was absolutely exceptional, and I promise to post pictures later! I have not had the chance to upload them yet, since I have been so busy packing to go back to school on Friday. The whole Lawton trip made me look forward to Fort Benning even more, when I will get to see him nearly every weekend. I can’t wait to see what the next few months will hold for us :]

Right now, I just know that I have to stay patient and enjoy the relationship that God has given us here and now, which means embracing the long distance and looking forward to seeing him in Tuscaloosa over Labor Day weekend. And then it will be Fall Break before long, and I will be heading back to Tacoklahomayo! More soon.

A Fresh New Perspective: Applying the 80/20 Principle

“Some days your mother and me loved each other. Other days we had to work at it. You never see the hard days in a photo album…But those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next.” — Ashton Kutcher’s dad in ‘Just Married.’

Luke and Manda at the West Point Graduation Banquet

The couple in this photograph obviously looks happy– and we were! This was the night before Luke graduated from West Point, the culmination of four years of hard work and tons of effort on his part, and two years of an EXTREMELY long distance relationship from New York to Alabama that required tons of patience and committment on both of our parts. We were so hopeful that night, as we knew that one chapter of our lives was closing in the most bittersweet way (if you ask Luke it was just sweet. Very, very sweet haha).

However, despite the excited smiles in this picture, no one could say that our entire relationship has been a big bowl of peaches and cream with every single day filled with snapshots like this one. We’ve had our share of tough times too. Nights where we were both cranky from being so far apart and arguing over silly little things yet again, days when we were so stressed out with work and upcoming exams that we couldn’t think straight, and times when we honestly had no idea what the future would hold, which caused a lot of stress and anxiety for both of us. When we first started dating, we were preoccupied with trying to make our relationship work from hundreds of miles apart, and it took us a while to stop focusing on the negatives (of which there could be plenty if we searched for them– distance, an uncertain schedule with the military, expensive visits, etc.), and to start focusing on all of the POSITIVES that God has blessed us with. After all, we have each other to begin with, which is enough for each of us just to know that at the end of the day we will be there for one another no matter what.

On Sunday nights Luke and I do a Bible Study book entitled ‘The Love and Respect Experience’ by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It is technically a Bible Study book for married couples, but we take the weekly lessons and apply them to our relationship as it is today, and let me tell you, this book has some pretty inspirational lessons in it! It has really helped us to grow as a couple and to start focusing on what really matters:  honoring the Lord first and foremost in every aspect of our lives, both as individuals and in our relationship.

We are about 1/3 of the way through the book, and one of my favorite lessons thus far (Chapter 5) talks about the 80/20 principle in a relationship. At least 80 percent of the time things are good. No, they are better than good! They are GREAT. FABULOUS. FANTASTIC. Couldn’t ask for more. As Meredith Grey would say on Grey’s Anatomy, “ I love you, in a really, really big ‘pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your window’, unfortunate way that makes me hate you, love you.”

Then, there is the other 20 percent (or less), where things are going kind of badly. You may be fighting, stressed out, tired, lonely, having problems at work or whatever, and those things are affecting your relationship in a negative way Dr. Eggerichs says that it is easy to focus too much on this 20 percent of the relationship, which leads to you forgetting about all of the positives and blessings in your lives. When you focus on that 20 percent, you tend to make inaccurate accusations and generalizations about your partner that make you feel even more unloved and disrespected. He says to LET GO of the negative snapshots in your relationship! You could probably pull out a million little annoying things about your significant other and put those together in a big album that makes your partner look terrible. But then again, couldn’tyour partner do the same thing about you?  The Love and Respect Experience suggests incorporating a little bit of perspective into your relationship and remembering all of the things that you love about that person, even when you are most frustrated and upset. This way, you won’t build up resentment towards one another and unintentionally create a negative album filled with bad memories of the relationship that you cherish most in this world.

The example that hit close to home for me, was of a woman who constanly complained to and criticized her husband for walking on her clean kitchen floor in his muddy boots, day after day. She was always having to clean up after him and deeply resented this intrusion into her day. However, when her husband passed away, and the muddy boots sat empty outside on the porch day after day while her floor remained spotlessly clean, the woman wept and began to deeply regret the terrible way she had treated her husband over such a minor annoyance. She told Dr. Eggerichs that she really should have focused less attention on those stupid muddy boots and more attention on the wonderful man who wore them!

This lesson really made Luke and I think about the way that we treat each other when we are in a disagreeement over something so small that it won’t really matter in the long run anyway. We learned that it is more important to treat your partner with love and respect and focus on all of the positive things in your relationship than it is to gripe about the negatives.

Last night, we each made a list of 10 things we love about the other person, as part of a follow-up Bible Study lesson to the 80/20 principle. We found it was much easier to think of a million positive things about each other than it would be to think of even 10 negative things. As the quote from ‘Just Married’ points out, hard times WILL come between the happy snapshots in the photo album that you share with the outside world. In my opinion, the key to having a happy relationship (MORE than 80 percent of the time) is in the way that you handle those hard times and work to get through them together as a couple! It is all about throwing away the negative snapshots and cherishing the happy memories and good times that you share together.

I’m not saying that Luke and I have it all figured out, by any means. But we are working on applying this principle each and every day, and I think it really has given us a new outlook on our relationship and how much we mean to each other. I thought I would share so maybe it will help some other couple out there as well!

Hope everyone has a blessed Monday filled to the brim with that 80 percent today! :]

I can’t be a senior…I was just a rushee!

Wow. I am a senior in college now. That’s a scary thought! Although I don’t feel old enough to be a senior (or old enough to be dating an officer in the U.S. Army, come to think of it,) it would appear that senior year has indeed snuck up on me, since my plans tonight consist of watching a movie with my mother while we pack my belongings to move back to Bama for the Fall. Even though I am not “officially” moving back in for two more weeks, I am heading down to T-Town with a carload of things tomorrow so that I can start to organize my new apartment before I meet Jessica Belue for some back-to-school retail therapy and lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in Birmingham. Time really does fly. Sadly, this will be the first year that I won’t be participating in sorority recuritment at UA. It seems like just yesterday that my parents were dropping me off at my dorm room in Ridgecrest South two weeks early so that I could go through Rush.God led me to find my “home away from home” in AOII that week, despite the scorching August heat, all of the girls and houses that blurred together after awhile and the stress and confusion of making such a huge decision that would affect my entire collegiate career. My decision to join AOII has brought me so many good times with great friends during these last three years, and I don’t regret any of it for a minute! I thank God so often for the opportunity to meet and bond with my AOII sisters.

A short flashback to my first Rush experience in honor of the upcoming Fall recruitment:

Ice water teas with Jessica Ruffin!

Philanthropy Day with some of the awesome ladies in my Rho Chi Group!

DYING to open our bids! Little did we know, in just a couple of minutes, Jessica and I would become sisters!

YAY! AOII chose us too!

I was so excited to learn that Jessica would be in my pledge class! She was one of my very first friends at Bama, and we are still close today. It’s wonderful to have sisters like her to turn to with all of the joys and sorrows that come along in life! And, my sweet mom came down for Bid Day also. We had such a great time touring the house and meeting all of the women who I would be spending the next 4 years with.

Momma and I on Bid Day 2009.

It was such a God thing that I found this amazing house with so many genuine, Christian girls to spend four years of my life with. Bid Day was an exciting, unforgettable day! Followed by the Bid Night Party, Pledge Retreat, swaps, swaps and more swaps, and some really fun date parties.

Our first time inside the AOII House after Rush. We were so scared to open the door and walk in haha

Hanging out before the Bid NIght Party!

Bid Night- Michelle Meadows, Allison Pike (my future big sis), Kelilah and Jessica

Pledge Retreat at the Yacht Club

Katie Naughton and I– AOII sleepover at Ridgecrest

AOII Sleepover in Ridgecrest South- With Jessica, Katie and Tara

TOGA SWAP! With Sarah Mustion, Kelilah Anders and Alaina Thweatt

Toga Swap with Courtney Calkins!

The day we received our pledge pins.

ATO Pajama Date Party- With Cati Hornbuckle

80’s Swap with Alex Walters. Love her :]

Redneck Date Party with Allison and Alaina

Red Rose Formal- Group Picture at the Cypress Inn

Red Rose Formal with Alex and Courtney! Such a fun night :]

So freshman year was pretty much amazing! I loved going to all of the swaps and date parties with my sisters! We also went to football games together, and it was really fun to eat at the AOII house before games.

Gameday at the AOII House!

Alaina and I at one of the first games of the season!

Spring semester was even more fun than the Fall! (I should probably point out that I met Luke the summer between freshman and sophomore year! Which is why he isn’t in any of the pictures to date and didn’t go to any parties with me freshman year. But, I DID meet him that summer and of course, that changed my life forever. But that’s another story!) Which brings me to: Rush sophomore year.

This is the year I met my future little Jessica Evers, and recruited her all during Rush Week. When they announced her name on Bid Day, I was so, so excited that she had chosen AOII!  I was her Bid Day Big and her Trial Big Sis before eventually becoming her actual Big Sis at the Big-Little Reveal. I absolutely love that she became one of my very best friends that first semester in AOII. A few pictures of sophomore year rush and the big-little activities:

Jessica Evers and I at the Bid Night Party at Claire and Emily’s

Maegan Gundy (another of my close friends), Jessica, and I getting ready for the party!

I tried to be a good Bid Day Big and baked some AOII cookies using cookie cutters that I picked up at Leadership Institute in Franklin, TN the previous summer. Unfortunately, I filled them too full and so I ended up with a GIANT A, O and II. Haha it was pretty funny at least and kind of broke the ice some more with my new friends (aka the coolest freshmen ever!).


And she also forgave me for being a complete failure at toga-making! My little must really love me since she picked me to be her big anyway..Haha I was never more happy to see two of my best friends Samantha Erickson and Holly Willis that night when they came to my rescue in the toga-making department.

FINALLY ready with all of the freshmen successfully outfitted in togas!

GROUP PICTURE! Lots of sweet girls in this group, including: Samantha, Holly, Maegan Gundy, Maegan Green, Jessica Evers, Lisa Ledbetter and many more!

Then the swaps and date parties began! I took Jessica and Maegan to many of the swaps this year, and Luke even got to come to one of our date parties! We had so much fun, although I definitely missed being a freshman and getting to dress up for swaps :]

Cowboys and Indians Swap with ATO

Holly, me and Sam, (aka Jasmine (I think), Cinderella and the Little Mermaid) dressed up as Disney Princesses for a date party.

ROLL TIDE ROLL! Game Day with Jessica, Lisa and Alaina! It was standing room only since we showed up a little late after Backyard Bash, but it was a blast anyway :]

The Iron Bowl was at Bama this year! Ethan (my younger brother) and I sat with these beautiful sisters, Sarah and Alaina. Love them!

Tacky Christmas 2010 with Jessica and Maegan

Insert a very busy Spring and Summer, and then jump to Rush 2011: Junior Year! This year, I met my ‘Bama Little,’ Grace Hagemann, who would become Jessica’s twin. She transferred back to Bama from a school in Georgia where she had joined AOII. We clicked instantly during Rush Week and became really great friends. Since she already had an official “big sis,” I adopted her as my “Bama Little,” so now she has a big at each scool. I am so blessed to know an amazing girl like Grace.

Grace and I at the AOII House before a Bama game!

Grace and I having our picture taken with an LSU fan as part of the ‘Amazing Race’ philanthropy event to raise money for arthritis.

Helping Grace decorate the doors of her new littles! (My grand littles). Yes, I feel old. Haha

Junior year was so much fun, and I wouldn’t trade all of the memories that I have hanging out with my AOII sisters for the world! If you look at a picture from my birthday dinner at Jalapenos last year, you will see that I would not have known many of these girls if it hadn’t been for AOII.

My 21st Birthday Dinner celebration!

From L to R:,

Holly Willis, my “bump buddy” and pledge sister! I cannot wait to be a bridesmaid in her wedding next June!

Maegan Gundy, a sweet girl who pledged AOII in 2010. She is currently serving as the Secretary at our AOII chapter, and I love talking to her about our respective long distance relationships since she really does understand where I’m coming from.

Sarah Mustion, my pledge sister and sweet friend who is also in communications with me. Sarah was a Rho Chi during Rush last year and represented AOII just beautifully.

Laura Metcalf, (the oddball haha sorry, Laura)! She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, and I actually met her through our mutual major of journalism. She is an amazing friend, and my favorite travel buddy. We have made many late-night/early-morning trips to Birmingham together haha

Jessica Ruffin, my friend since the Rho Chi group who is also a communications major! She had an awesome internship for a PR firm in L.A. this summer! I can’t wait to hear all about her trip.

Jessica Evers, my sweet little sis from Dothan, Ala. She came to my birthday dinner even though she was still on crutches from breaking her leg a couple of weeks before!

Lauren Killen, another pledge sister from AOII. She and I became close friends during the Spring semester of our freshman year, and I still love hanging out with her. She is one of my best friends! She is from Athens, Ala.

These are just a select few of the amazing friends I have found during my time as a member in AOII. For all of the girls going through UA sorority recruitment this year: Good Luck! It’s a wonderful, emotional, exhausting week, but in the end, when you run to that house on Sorority Row and meet all of your new sisters, it is so worth it!

As rush starts up again this year, I am sad that I won’t be a part of it. I am currently on Special Status for the Fall with the sorority, which means I am still a member but I won’t be attending all of the events anymore, since quite frankly, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Since senior year will be super busy for me, along with a couple of other personal reasons, I knew this was the best choice for me, and I am happy with it. But, I will sure miss seeing all of these ladies at lunch and dinner every day!

Even though I won’t be in the doorsongs or passing out ice water to thirsty girls this year, I know that my sisters and I will remain close friends no matter what life throws at us this next year.  I cannot wait to see what the Lord will do in our lives during my senior year of college as we all prepare for graduation and the real world. (Some of us are already there– like Holly, who has an amazing job with a bank in Birmingham as she excitedly plans her wedding to the love of her life!) I couldn’t be more thrilled for my sisters who have graduated and are already embarking on exciting journeys in the real world, such as Marie Davidson, who has committed to spending a year overseas doing mission work, and Kelsey Richaud, who has gone on to join the Teach for America Corps to help provide quality education to impoverished children.

Me? Well, for starters, I know I get to spend four days with Luke next week, and I am more than ready for that trip. Classes start the 22nd, and then it will be Labor Day and my birthday before I know it.

Bring it on, senior year! :]

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