Thursday, August 16, 2012


Gosh, so today I went to all-training at our main office. This is something that happens bi-monthly, where all of the residential supervisors (me), program directors (my boss), and RNs  (the lady who makes up for my medical knowledge deficiency) get together to be updated on all of changes in company policies, given new information, and are given new checklists to keep our houses running smoothly.

Today I was reminded of how young I really am.

I sat through a seminar about 401ks, or saving for retirement.

Then I ate lunch with a bunch of married women and they regaled tales of when their kids started biting people and how their food tastes changed after pregnancy.

Then I sat in a meeting where we talked about professional communication, how to manage staff, and the new protocols for monthly call-ins with the head honchos of the company.

Often I think, "I'm not old enough for this" or "I'm not qualified enough for this" or "I don't know enough about this" and I feel really really young.

But then I remember.

I AM young. I'm not SUPPOSED to know how to do all this yet. This is my first time being exposed to this stuff, so OF COURSE I'm going to feel unqualified!

But how exciting is that? I'm at a stage in my life where I get to constantly learn new things and grow and develop as a person.

Take finances. I know nothing about 401ks. Roth IRAs. Stocks. Bonds. Even just budgeting. I'm terrible at it. I'm just excited that I'm at a point in my life that my bank account no longer dips below $20 on a regular basis. I'm actually earning a decent income now, but with loans, tuition, fixing my car, etc, I'm also at a stage of life where I could have one bill that completely wipes out my bank accounts. So anyways, I feel incompetent when it comes to finance, BUT NOW'S THE TIME TO LEARN!

Not just about budgeting, but now is the time to learn to use my crock-pot more and my take-out menu less. Now is the time to learn how to clean up after myself as I go, instead of waiting until my apartment looks like a tornado went through it. Now is the time to learn that I'm not in college anymore, so I shouldn't stay up into all hours of the night, just because I sometimes can. Now is the time to not just know exercise is good for me, but actually do it.

Now is the time of life to figure out who I am and become who I want to be. Currently, I'm young. I'm selfish. I'm naive. My internal organs are probably dying from lack of exercise and an excess of potato oles.

But I'm learning, and I think that's a pretty okay place to be.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Moving and Staying Put

From birth until age 18, I lived in the same house (excluding running away to camp for a majority of a few summers.) I moved rooms once, only because there wasn't a wall in between my brothers and my room and he was driving me bonkers. My living situation was about as stable as you can get.

And then college happened.

In five years I moved nine times. NINE TIMES. From dorms, to back home, from Texas, to Minneapolis, relocating with the changing of each school year or summer. I lived in a building with 300 freshman girls (and their awesome CLs) and a dorm with boys right down the hall from me. I've lived in apartments and houses. I've had 11 different roommates/apartmentmates/housemates. And now? After all that?

I have a two bedroom apartment all to myself.

Wait, what?! Even at camp when I wasn't sharing a cabin with 12 jr campers, I was sharing a room with at least 5 other girls. Even when I was the only kid living at home I still shared everything but my bedroom with my parents!

Granted, technically I don't have the house to myself. You could consider my place a duplex. I am the supervisor of a group home. Upstairs is where the program floor is. The ladies live up there and staff and myself work up there. When I am done with work, I make the long commute down the stairs to my apartment.

But down here, I live alone. Weird, eh? It's come to my attention that very few people have lived alone. Most people have roommates until they get married. Usually financially it just makes sense. I don't pay rent. (Job perks!) But I also can't have a roommate unless I'm married. So, I get to be one of the few people my age to live by myself.

There are definite perks (i.e. decorating however I want, I'm allowed to be a little messy, pants free zones, etc.) but there are also disappointments (i.e. no one doing the dishes when I leave for the weekend, instead of a little messy I actually become a complete slob, spending the night in watching TV feels a lot lamer without roommates joining in, etc.)

Anyways, not only do I live alone, but I've committed to living her for the next two years. (For those of you who know about my commitment issues, this is a big step for me!) TWO YEARS (maybe even more). IN ONE PLACE! That kind of gets me excited. I can actually unpack ALL of my boxes. I can organize. I can decorate. It actually seems worth it since I will be here longer than a few months.

Staying stationary for at least two years will probably teach me a lot. Living alone for two years will probably also teach me a lot, so stay tuned.

I'm excited. I'm nervous. I have a lot of space, so feel free to come over. I'm attempting to acquire cooking skills, but always keep a pizza in my freezer, just in case ;)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Becoming Stickerless

Have you ever read a book that just rocks your world? Currently I'm reading The Search for Significance by  Robert S. McGee. (Well not currently. Currently I'm watching 90s movies about high school and eating oreos, but that's beside the point.)

(Cheesy looking, yes. But that's also besides the point)

Basically it's about how we choose to let our performance and other people's opinions define us. The book breaks it down into four false beliefs: 

  • The Performance Trap: I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself.
  • Approval Addict: I must be approved by certain others to feel good about myself
  • The Blame Game: Those who fail (including myself) are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished
  • Shame: I am what I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless. 
None of the above are true statements, but I've been made aware that I hold these beliefs so deeply that they come out in my behavior every single day without me even realizing it. 

When I was up at camp, I realized that the book above is basically the same as one of my favorite (or favourite, depending on what country you're in) children's books. One has a lot more words and goes deeper into theology and the other has better pictures and is more effective at entertaining a cabin full of little girls: 

You Are Special by Max Lucado is set in a village of Wemmicks. Wemmicks are wooden people made by the wood carver, Eli. Every day they go around giving each other stickers, either gold stars or grey dots. They try to do as much as they can to earn gold stars and try to do whatever they can to avoid grey dots. Punchinello is the main character and he has a lot of grey dots. One day he meets Lucia who has become my new hero. She had no stickers. 

"It wasn't that people didn't try to give her stickers;
it's just that the stickers didn't stick. 
Some of the Wemmicks admired Lucia for having no dots, 
so they would run up and give her a star. 
But it would fall off.
Others would look down on her for having no stars, 
so they would give her a dot.
But it wouldn't stay either." 

When Punch asks, she says it's because she goes to see Eli every day and she advises him to do the same. He does. He asks Eli,
"Why don't the stickers stay on her?"

The maker spoke softly, 
"Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what 
they think. The stickers only stick if you let them." 


"The stickers only stick if they matter to you. 
The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers."

"I'm not sure I understand." 

I agree with Punch. I definitely don't understand. But I'm starting to. People are just people. They are not "higher" or "lower" than me. Letting them determine my self-worth is exhausting and futile. One minute I may be feeling super great, but after one critical comment I might be thinking I'm the WORST. What a silly way to live! But I'm learning how to combat those false beliefs with truth.

Hopefully someday I can get to the point where the stickers just don't stick, where others opinions don't matter to me and I don't have to constantly compare myself to others. 

Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door,
"you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes."

Punchinello didn't stop, but in his heart he thought,
I think he really means it.

And when he did, a dot fell to the ground. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What a year

It was my birthday at the beginning of this month. Birthdays more than anything else give me cause to look over the past year. This past year was definitely a big one! In the past year (and 28 days) I:

  • Got a new car
  • Drove to Canada with a stranger and spent a week as a camp counselor in my favorite place in the world with some of my favorite people in the world. 
  • Moved to Northeast Minneapolis with some of the coolest roommates on the planet

  • Started grad school at the U of M for special education 
  • Started interning with ACR Homes
  • Stopped working at Bobby and Steve's 
  • Rode a greyhound bus over 24 hours down to TX to share homecoming with my Baylor friends (Good story:
  • Started Redemption groups with Hope Community Church (life changer fo sho) 
  • Read the Hunger Games (loved them.) 
  • Got my first grown up job as a residential supervisor with ACR Homes
  • Moved (again) into Walnut where I am living by myself for the first time
  • Cooked my first (and only) meal in a crockpot
  • Had the healthiest dating experience of my life
  • Went to Colorado and saw mountains for the first time
  • Brought my MN girls with me to TX. Explored Austin and got to see my first college friend get married.

  • Started paying back college loans (woo hoo!) 
  • Attended my five year class reunion 
  • Took my first summer class
  • Ran away with my Mom back to Canada to help out at Camp of the Woods once again 
I've learned a lot over the last year (and 28 days.) 
  • Strangers are interesting to talk to. Everyone has a story to share.
  • It's hard to care about school when working full time at a job I love. 
  • The motivation behind most sins is a lie that I believe about myself or God. 
  • There really is a point in life where guys and girls can't really just be good friends.
  • I love sweatpants, milk stouts and coffee benders, Chinese take out, Jesus, and wedding dances
  • Even though I'm getting older, I'm really still just a 12 year old girl in my head. 
I wonder what this next year will bring? 

Why The Penguin on My Fridge?


You may be wondering, "Why name a blog The Penguin On My Fridge?" Answer: because I couldn't come up with anything better. Everything I tried previously ended up sounding like the corniest thing in the world or that I was trying too hard.

Rejected Titles:

Coffee and Jesus
Growing Tenacity
Snarky Ramblings
The Purple Teapot
Just a Girl

Honestly, I'm often an outward processor. I've had a lot of things that I've wanted to blog about, but I was spending so much time trying to find the perfect name for a blog that I just haven't gotten any farther. I was stuck. Today I decided to just name it something I like and then get on with life.

I like the penguin on my fridge. I actually painted the penguin on my fridge. I was taking a college class about using art in elementary classrooms, and my teacher told me to paint something dream like. This is what I came up with:

I could make a metaphor about how I'm like the penguin, traveling down the yellow brick road to an unknown magical destination and this blog is a way to track my journey, but I'll spare you. 

This blog is not about penguins. It's about my thoughts on life, God, and becoming an adult. Expect a fair amount of snarkiness and incorrect usages of punctuation. 

Oh! And if you're curious about my previous blog, here it is:

Also, feel free to help me name or give a story to the penguin on my fridge. Below is evidence that he is, in fact, on my fridge:

Happy Reading!