Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ready.... Set.... Go!

I'm ready for IRELAND! This is the morning of my departure and I have finished a few last things and about to leave for church with the family! The WHOLE family- Ben, Eva, Grandma, Mom and Dad! Good way to spend my final day in the States for awhile.
I'm not really anxious or crazy excited- just kind of reserved about the whole thing. But yes, more excited if I had to choose one over the other.
Anyways- I won't be back on here until I get the internet situation figured out over there- so be patient please and send up a prayer for me please for safe and non-eventful flights :)

*This is the record for my shortest blog post*

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boiler Up!

Wow! What a great past 5 days! But, I'll tell you one thing that was really weird about being on campus- being around kids my age again and lots of them! As I was driving up Chauncey Hill coming into campus on Saturday afternoon, I kind of got the heeby jeebys thinking, "Wow, there are a lot kids here." Even though I was living in a college town in Texas, WT had 8,000 students. Multiply that times 5 and then you have the size of Purdue. Then being in Reno, I didn't have a peer group at all, so it was weird but fun and exciting at the same time to walk among peers again.

But, I realized I'm getting old! I know, I'm only 22, how is that old? But seriously, I had a freshman in the Varsity Glee Club come up to me after they sang at First Church on Sunday morning and called me out by my name. I was a little taken aback, but this kid looked familiar. I could not return the favor of immediately recognizing him and placing how I knew him so I cheated and read his shiny gold name tag. Turns out, he was a freshman in choir when I was a senior and in choir for a whole like 2 weeks, but couldn't stay in because I took AP German instead back in high school. And now, he's a freshman at PURDUE! Between that personal experience, seeing all the new 'little' freshman walking around campus and noticing the absence of those who have graduated already made me realize, I'm getting old!

I came home for a nice surprise as Mom as very adamant these past few days that I was home in time for dinner last night. After taking the long way home to avoid Indy traffic, which turned out as a great last drive through the Indiana country-side, the table was set for 5. I thought that was slightly strange and asked Mom why. She came up with some lame excuse like she was going to invite Grandma and counted up wrong as if Ben were here. Ya, I didn't buy it! I told her to her face that she was a lier and that Alyssa (my best friend from high school) and Stephan Seal were coming over, weren't they? She tried to squirm her way out of it, but she is a horrible lier and passed that trait down to me as well. Sure enough, less than 10 minutes later, Alyssa comes walking up the sidewalk to our front door. I was very glad to see her and it was great catching up on what is going on in her life. She is graduated from school now with a 'real' job and has been married for just over a year now. They're next big thing is looking for land to build a house! CRAZY! We were thinking in the next 10 years, we'll be meeting for dinner probably with kids! She's obviously a few steps closer to that than I am, but once again, I'm getting old!

The time I had in West Lafayette was great! Especially when it came to the Wesley Foundation. We had 70-some in the first worship and that was before classes have even started! Then, we had close to 24 at recreation that night and record-breaking numbers at our Tuesday night Bible study and communion service on Tuesday night. I was pumped! And I suppose the Mountain Dew LiveWire helped that out as well, but I was so excited to see this new inflow into Wesley. And we got a lot of really good feedback from the newbies as well. They were actively participating in the devotion that I gave and several made comments to Pastor Glen that they felt right at home and would be back! It really does my heart good to hear and see things like that- Wesley is still flourishing and growing strong.

I took care of some business type things as well, bank run, working out details for my apartment second semester, meeting with my academic adviser and stopped in at the study abroad office to turn in some last paperwork. But most of it was to visit and catch-up. I got to visit Camp Tecumseh on Monday and that was a blast. Got to catch up with the equestrian gals from out there and squeezed in some saddle time as well! Amie, Mary Anne and I went for a little trail ride and I got to ride a big ol' Percheron gelding. I was pretty excited as I think I was in a different weather pattern up there. He was a fun young horse with a huge stride! It was neat to hear about their summer and see all the changes that have happened around camp. I was a wee bit disappointed to see their new utility vehicle. It was not that I was disappointed that they had a new one, because the old Gator was on its last wheel (instead of leg), but it was the fact that it was a Bobcat instead of a Deere that pained my heart slightly. I'm just playing- it was the best deal they could get and it was a much needed improvement. It will be nice to be working trail rides in the Spring again when I get back, it is just nice to get away from school and breath in some horse dander :)

Speaking of horse dander, I got my preliminary schedule for Ireland late last night/ early this morning and I got into both of my Equine classes that I wanted! I'm pretty excited about that! But I should be going as I didn't get into some of the other ones that I wanted and need to figure out some replacements and also there is this thing called packing that I'm only about half-way done with. Toodles- I leave for Ireland in 4 days!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Green Grass

Ok- so random title, I know. But every blog title I like to try and come up with something that I've been excited about or just embraces an overall mood or summary of what's been happening. And so when I thought about this past week being in Indiana and driving to Purdue today- I realized how much I have missed the 'greeness' of Indiana. And then also just reminiscing over these past 8 almost 9 months now- how many wonderful opportunities I have had or how 'green the grass has been' even in places like Amarillo and Reno! :) Then the third validation I'll make for this blog title is my next big adventure- IRELAND! A very 'green' country indeed.
This past week has been full of trying to figure out details and getting back into some sort of exercise routine again. Traveling this summer made it kind of difficult to keep anything steady- diet, workouts or sleep-patterns. After dropping 20 lbs last summer, I have somewhat maintained by only putting back on 6- not too shabby in my opinion, but my doctor warned me about rationalizations. So my motivation to get back into a routine and maintaining it is the fact that I already ordered the bridesmaid dress for my brother's wedding when I get back in December. SIZE 8!!!!!! And yes, I really just did put my size up there for the whole world to see, because I'm pretty excited about it. Hopefully, mom will have to take up a few inches even when I get back. So if you talk, email, aim, skype or any other sort of communication that today's technically offers us at all these next 3 months- hold me to that size 8!
It is fantastic being at Purdue for a few days! Its so exciting to see everyone and hear about what they did with their summers and just to re-connect. I'm hanging out in my old room at Aldersgate (the house that is owned by the campus ministry, Wesley Foundation) admiring the bright green walls! I got to pick the paint color since I was the main person primarily living in this room for a year and half and I mean, they are bright green! I love 'em! The drive over today was great- I didn't even have to bust out a map or my Garmin- I know how to get here :) On my way I saw several Purdue license plates or stickers in car windows around 465 W heading to the good ol' town of West Lafayette! The last half-hour seemed to take forever, so I called one of my Texas friends to catch up with her and pass the time. I was ready to be here!
I came over today specifically for a bridal shower. One of my old house mates, Deana is getting married! It was my first bridal shower to go to and while she got a lot of cooking/ kitchen stuff- I was the one to get her the 'funny gift.' Yep- I got her some underwear. Just a cute pair of panties that had a bride saying on them and then a more practical gift- a laundry hamper as well. But it had a theme to it- so I thought it worked out alright :). Also got to design a bridal gown out of toilet paper for my 6'5" paster. We went with a mermaid style, very modern, to show off his physique. Accessories included a 'butt-bow' and detailing around the bodice and the entire ensemble also was comprised of a veil and a bouquet. I was the 'presenter' and had a great closing line after Glen (my pastor) made the comment that he really did feel beautiful in the gown- "It's amazing what the perfect dress can do!" My friends just stopped and said no wonder I was in marketing and informed me that David's Bridal could probably use a new bridal consultant!
It is just amazing to see how everyone just gels back together even after being away for a summer. My old room mate/ sister Lindsey and I were already starting to finish each other's sentences within an hour after seeing each other for the first time in about 5 months. You just get those special people in your life and it's amazing how the chemistry just works itself out. Now that's some good stoichiometry right there!
Well, I need to be working on a devotion for Tuesday night's communion service. I have some broad ideas but I want to combine my past two big adventures and some underlining themes from "The Shack" about God's love. So yes, very broad, now just have to narrow it down.
Wish me luck and Boiler Up!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sweet Home Indiana

I still can't quite wrap my head around that I'm actually home and done with John Deere for another summer! I mean, this summer has been nothing short of incredible and exhausting at the same time. But, I made it! I just had a good attitude going through it I suppose, stayed positive.

My last few nights in Reno where spent at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino. I did drop some money in the slots- ended up losing $20, but oh well, can't win if you don't play! I really didn't do any big celebration on my own, but my office threw a going away lunch for me, which was fun! There weren't many people left in the office as most of them have taken new jobs in the company restructuring, but those that were there made for great conversation- picking on my cube buddy Chad for wolfing down his pizza and cake, a purse one guy was having made for his daughter out of a certain body part of his water buffalo he killed in Africa (and not telling her of course) and then it was speech time for me. I thanked everyone once again for their help, support and encouragement throughout my summer and wished them all the best for wherever this restructuring is taking them.

The flight home. I was at the airport early- I was pretty excited to get home! I used the sky-cap service and I think I slipped by the overage charge on my bag, as they didn't have a scale out there and my big suitcase came through just fine! Both my flights were completely full, the one to Vegas was even in an over-sale situation. I at least inquired about other possible routes to Indianapolis, but she said she didn't have anything for the rest of that day. I definitely wasn't waiting until Sunday to come home! The flight attendant to Vegas tried to be funny. I'll give her props for her peppyness, but that's it. After having a hilarious flight attendant to Vegas from Kansas City about two weeks ago, this poor gal just didn't measure up. I sat next to a camera guy for a new NBC show coming out this winter, which I think he was sworn to secrecy about, because he kept avoiding my questions about it. He was heading to LA, surprise! Real nice guy- probably one of my best flying companions all summer! Then the flight from Vegas to Indy, I recognized a gal from my Reno flight and she recognized me too. She was a 14 year old that moved to Indiana from California about 6 years ago and was coming back after spending a month and half with her grandparents in California. She goes to a rival conference school of Pendleton's, so she thought that made us friends or something. At first I was like, "Cool, what a small world?" But then she kept on talking and talking and talking! She asked me to save her a seat, and out of the kindness of my heart I did. She seemed to strike up a conversation with this old guy sitting next to her- talking about her issues at home. Kind of weird I thought, but I had my ipod going and slept most the way home. You could tell that she wasn't excited to see her dad, he was waiting in the terminal and I don't think she even acknowledged his presence. Me on the other hand, as soon as I got to my parents in the atrium of the airport- dropped my stuff- and was immediately in a group hug that lasted a good 30 seconds or so.

Since I've been home- sleeping in my own bed with my dogs has probably been one of the biggest highlights. It was great going to the park service yesterday morning, because I didn't have to dress up, which meant I could sleep in in the morning! Well, sorta, the dogs don't understand the whole snooze concept when my alarm goes off. And unfortunately, I think they both fall under the 'old dog' category when it comes to teaching them new tricks. The horses seemed excited to see me. Chip is becoming an old grump since he hasn't been worked in forever, so he was just excited about the food I think. Dej has always been more of a 'people horse' and likes to check out what is going on- so it was good to see him too. Looking forward to getting at least some saddle time in while I'm home.

My 'to-do' list is getting longer and longer while I'm home though. Three doctor appointments, well one is a vet appointment I just made for the dogs this morning, ordering my bridesmaid dress for my bro's wedding in December and figuring out all the last details when it comes to Ireland. Health Insurance, tuition (which I just paid last night- there went a good chunk of John Deere's money), housing fees, bank account, phone, luggage restrictions and what to pack. Not to mention maybe wanting to spend some time with some friends? Then when I go to Purdue this coming weekend- I have a bridal shower, first worship at Wesley, visiting Camp Tecumseh, meetings with my academic and study abroad advisers and devotions Tuesday night at Wesley! Ha, it was funny on my flight to Vegas on my way home. I was talking with Rob (the camera guy) about what I do at school and stuff and he was like, "Wow! You're making me feel guilty about not doing anything in college!" The stuff I get myself into, but you know, I would probably be bored or disappointed in myself if I didn't keep myself this busy. I enjoy what I do and I suppose I'm a success junky? Or is that a stress junky?

Another thing still going on is my pursuit of some possible internships for next summer already. I'm looking into the World Equestrian Games, as they offer Public Relations, Community Relations, Marketing and Journalism internships. I don't know all the specifics and I'm waiting to gather all my recommendations and what not, before going any further. Also, Certified Horsemanship Association has an editorial internship that can be based out of a home office that I'm looking into as well. So many possibilities and who knows what Deere might throw at me next summer?

Well, I suppose I should start working on that 'to-do list.' I slept in longer than what I had intended and probably should stretch the legs and run before the humidity gets too unbearable. Oh, yes, got to love the Indiana humidity!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Buick - Highly Successful - The Shack

So, it turned out to be a great day even after experiencing an annoying, careless automobile incident that would normally tick most people off and would be cause for a horrible day. Ok, all that verboseness means simply put ... I ran out of gas this evening coming home from work. So that's when my manager, or as I like to call him sometimes, "Father Brad" came to my rescue. He arrived with some gas and then informed me that I was going out to dinner with him and his wife! So even though my errands have been put off to tomorrow night, dinner was great and the company was even better!

So why did my lack of gas not dampen my day? Well a few reasons ... 1- Less than 72 hours from now, I will "Back home again, in Indiana." 2- I had my final performance management meeting with my manager today and got a really good rating for my project this summer. This was such a great feeling as my summer project has been kind of a struggle making black and white out of gray. And I found out that there has been some great feedback from the TM's that I traveled and met with this summer! YAHOO!

And to top off a great day, I was flipping through the pages of my current book, "The Shack" for a quote that makes me realize how much God really loves us. It helps put some clarity to the whole predestination/ free-will discussion. It is when Mack, the main character, is in discussion with God in the trinity form, and asks why God didn't stop the violent kidnapping and murder of his youngest daughter.

Here's the passage:
"Mack," said Papa with an intensity that caused him to listen very carefully, "we want to share with you the love and joy and freedom and light that we already know within ourselves. We created you, the human, to be in face-to-face relationship with us, to join our circle of love. As difficult as it iwll be for you to understand, everything that has taken place is occurring to this purpose, without violating choice or will."
"How can you say that with all the pain in this world, all the wars and disasters that destroy thousands?" Mack's voice quieted to a whisper. "And what is the value in a little girl being murdered by some twisted deviant?" There it was again, the question that lay burning a hole in his soul. "You may not cause those things, but you certainly don't stop them."
"Mackenzie," Papa answered tenderly, seemingly not offended in the least by his accusation, "there are millions of reasons to allow pain and hurt and suffering rather than to eradicate them, but most of those reasons can be understood only within each person's story. I am not evil. You are the ones who embrace fear and pain and power and rights so readily in your relationships. But your choices are also not stronger than my purposes, and I will use every choice you make for the ultimate good and the most loving outcome."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Little different post this time- I'm pretty pooped from a long day so I'm just going to hit the highlights of what I have been up to and the ramblings in my mind:

- Friday after work I finally found my long-lost running shoes and went for a run on the hills across the street from the condo. I found Bucky, the horse that my friend Ruth from the pool told me about. He came trotting over all excited and then proceeded to walk away when he realized I didn't have any food for him. Sarah's friend Kevin came to hang out for the weekend. We went to Bully's, a sports' bar, and watched some of the baseball games. Kevin called it when A-Rod got up to bat for the Yankees that he'd end the crazy long 15-inning game! And sure enough, A-Rod hit a homer with Jeter on base.
We then caught a late movie. Even the 'baby', as in me, was pretty pooped by the time it ended. We watched "Funny People". It was a good movie, just a little bit long for a comedy and seemed almost more like a drama actually at times.

- Saturday we headed back to our 'back-yard' which most would know as Lake Tahoe! We checked out some of the shops at South Tahoe and ate some good food. Then it was time to hit the trails! Kevin is a big hiker and we started up the Mt. Tallac trails. Sarah and I pooped out around Fallen Lake Leaf but Kevin was dead set on reaching that summit. Sarah and I went back into town and did a little more shopping, which we were apparently ratted out by Kevin to some other hikers about. We had ice-cream at Camp Richardson while waiting for Kevin to accomplish his goal. I had some issues eating my ice-cream, we'll just leave it at that.
We got the call from Kevin that he had made it safely up and back down the mountain, so we swung by to pick him up and hit up Emerald Bay one last time. As soon as we got back, we all passed out! I was in bed by 10:30!!!!! I'm not even in bed at that time during the work week!

- Sunday morning came around and feeling refreshed and rested, I headed off to South Reno United Methodist Church for my last time. Well, I can't say it's my last, but most likely. Of course, this is the Sunday that I get drilled with 20 questions from everyone. I even tried to sneak past the pastors- ya, that didn't work too well. The associate pastor tried to place me, and I apologized and admitted that I hadn't introduced myself, but had enjoyed my time here.
So, on my bucket list when I came out to Reno included a trail ride at Lake Tahoe. That has now been fulfilled! My bum is still complaining that it wasn't in it's usual saddle. It was a beautiful ride with great views of the lake. The only downside I would say would be that I was on a Paint named Rodney. Being an AQHA girl, this was a hard pill to swallow. But I suppose I can get over it because Rodney got me up and down the mountain safely.
I hung out after my ride with one of the old cowboys who was my guide. He was pretty excited that someone actually came to ride that knew something about a horse other than the fact that they had four feet and a tail. He was full of great stories of old days in rodeo, working cattle and being a pack guide. He has met some pretty famous people while guiding in the Tetons and couldn't tell me enough about his mare, Rose.
I packed like a mad-woman last night and this morning and now I am resting my head at a Hampton Inn in Tulare, California after a JDAim training session at a dealership.

Some other things I've been up to is continuing my summer reading program, which consists of whatever looks good at Barnes and Noble, meaning I don't get too far past the best-seller's list! I'm working on The Shack and would like to hear anyone's opinions on it if they have read it.
And then a random thought after an observation. My drive to work is actually a rather pleasant one, with small horse farms and winding my way along a hill that overlooks the city. There were two horses, a gray and a bay (just like mine back home) at the beginning of the summer. This past month there has just been the bay, but now there are sheep as well. The interesting thing is that there is one sheep that is always off with the horse and the rest of the sheep are off on top of the hill. I think it's rather sweet how two different creatures have made friends! Maybe people should practice that more often, making friends with those are different than us.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Such a Good Day!

Phew! Gave my final presentation to management at the John Deere Ag Marketing Center, made a great contact for a possible internship with the World Equestrian Games and got the green light for an offer with Deere again next summer as long as their new Global Operating Model (re-structuring) allows. Then topped it all off with while attending a great game of the all-American passtime- baseball!

I'll start with the presentation. After a great dinner with my cousin Monday night, I had a new sense of confidence. As I have written about before- I have some patience issues being content with where I'm at and leaving the 'unknowns' in my life up to God. Jonathan reminded that the only thing I can find true contentment is in Christ. He also was an outside source of confidence in that he was so supportive and in all that I have accomplished over the last year. So as I was saying my prayers last night I really took it all in and realized how much I have really been blessed with as far as personal gifts and talents and realized that that all came from God. So really, it wasn't me, it was the gifts given to me presenting today. So that finally allowed me to relax enough to fall asleep last night and then calmed any little butterflies that were trying to fly around in my stomach this morning which resulted in a relaxed, easy-going and effective presentation this morning. Even though certian lines I had played out in my head didn't come out just in right sequence that didn't really matter or phase me and I just kept going. I had three great questions, one that was two-fold from the former Reno Branch Manager and was able to answer them all intelligably. After the fact I got some great comments to from some upper management. Then the suit jacket came off and the shirt came un-tucked because I was done!!!!

The day continued to get better as the VP of Marketing and Sales of the Ag Region 4 (New Zealand, Austrailla and North America) took a special interest in my project at lunch when we introduced ourselves. So the day kept getting better. Next came my 'exit interview' with HR, basically to discuss my internship, my performance and the possible future opportunities within Deere for me. Again, more flying colors came in as far as my performance and discussed my key interests within the Equine Industry and possibly tailoring another project for me around that! SWEET!

Finally I had a few moments to steal away to go upstairs and visit a little bit with my old department. I love Ag National Sales and the people that work there. I met the soon to be new manager for the department with all the re-structuring going on and smoothly mentioned to one of my advisors from last summer that I'm pursuing an internship with the World Equestrian Games next summer. He has some connections with the people at WEG and was more than willing to drop a resume and a good note onto them for me!

Then to top the day off- I got to enjoy one of America's favorite passtimes- a baseball game on a beautiful evening in Kansas City and in a beautiful baseball park!

So again- exhale! Trust and keep stepping my way through all these great opportunities. How blessed am I? Seriously? Oh and more good news came as my soon to be sister-in-law landed a teaching job in a small private Christian pre-school/ kindergarten in Wilmore, KY as their newest kindergarten teacher! Another answer to prayers as it gets her into a classroom and an actual teaching position! Go EVA!!!!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Back to School!

"Back to school, back to school. I got my boots tied tight and my lunch box packed- prove my dad I'm not a fool" ... oh Billy Madison- gotta love that movie. But really my version of the lyrics might go something more like this:
"Back to school, back to school. I got my airplane ticket and my suitcases packed- maybe I'll even see Liverpool!" Haha, I am such a dork- but I can laugh at myself which I find is a great skill to have at times. Makes life more enjoyable.

But yes, I am indeed going back to school. After being in the working world of college internships for the past almost 8 months, I am ready to hit the books again, have the luxury of taking naps between classes, skip a class if I feel like it and the best part- show up in sweats to class :)

But one has to remember that this is what I like to call Britt's crazy year of 2009. Amarillo, Texas for 4 months with AQHA- check. Reno, Nevada and all the Western continental United States in less than 3 months with John Deere- check. So even though I would be perfectly happy to experience the entire school thing again back at Purdue- that wouldn't quite live up to the standards of this year. So needless to say if you don't know already, in one month I will have been in Ireland on the campus of the University College of Dublin for a whole 24 hours.

I seriously did not see all of this working out the way it has. John Deere was in the plans since last October when I got my return offer, so I knew this summer was going to be an adventure but the rest of it, well let's just say I can get a little bit carried away- now don't be smiling too big right now mom. But you know- I wouldn't have traded any of these experiences for anything. I have met wonderful people, done some crazy things and literally have seen the country and soon other parts of the world. God has blessed me so much with these opportunities and the confidence and personality to go after them. It hasn't been all happy, happy - joy, joy though. I definitely got homesick at various times for my family, friends and my ponies :).

Going out and experiencing everything I have, one would think I'd be hooked to a life like this- but let's just say I haven't bitten hard on the bait yet. My trips home have been too precious for me and it made me realized how loved I am back in Indiana. So I've been tired of these next two words, but in all reality they are so true, "Who knows?" That is actually a very easy question to answer - God. But all of the unknowns that it brings up and the quandary of questions that I would love to answers to still float around in my mind. But I do know this- whatever and whenever I decide to settle down or wherever this funny thing called life takes me- I'll be more than happy because I've been able to go out and see/ experience things that not many people get the chance to. Which is again, why I am continually grateful for the Lord's many blessings in my life.

Back to the present here for a few more minutes. Two weeks from today I'll be back home before the last big transition for the year. That means that I will have worked my 500 hours for John Deere this summer (plus an extra 15 minutes of overtime the way it's all going to work out- I don't like cutting it close do I?) As far as the internship goes- it's going really well. Even though at times I struggled with it as in feeling like I wasn't doing anything- at least in my presentation it sounds like I did. LOL- no really, I can look back and feel like I have added some value to the company and I personally have learned a lot with the whole experience. Even got to drive a windrower :) Big piece of green equipment that cuts hay and windrows it to bale - one of those things that you see out West, not so much back in the Midwest. I'll be in Kansas City on Monday and present on Tuesday with all the other interns. Then come back on Thursday. Then the following week I have a more formal training session on JDAim to one of our larger dealers in California. So this will mark my 6th trip to California this summer. That's not including the California side of Lake Tahoe- which I'll be making another jaunt there this afternoon with my roommate- oh the joys of having Lake Tahoe practically in your back yard :)

Speaking of which- the water is calling my name. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!