Peace out 2014. It’s been real.

Here, I sit with a bun on my head and an appalling amount of green clay I’ve globbed onto my face. I call it a “mask.” Here, I sit basking in the light of my beautifully decorated Christmas tree, soaking it in while reminiscing on the past year. Tis the very end of year number 20, for moi. And as usual, I like to recap all the things I’ve experienced, both good and bad. The year 2014 started off hopeful, with the knowledge that nothing could be worse than 2013. And that has held true so far. When 2013 turned the corner and I saw 2014 as the light at the end of the tunnel I knew things would be far better than I could have hoped for…and I can’t say that I was wrong. Although 2014 brought its own new challenges, like living off campus, finding a place to park, actually working my butt off to get good grades, and trying to find a place to fit in…. I found that 2014 also brought its own new blessings, like learning how to get creative when I know I’m about to be late for class, and discovering how to position things in my room to block out the light of zooming cars out my window and the beeps, caused from less intelligent people driving on the wrong side of my one way street. The year brought much greater blessings than these, and the ones I’ve ignored are much too good to even try to put into words. You’ll just have to take my word for it. It was a splendid, lovely year. Now that I’m (partially) done bragging I have to review my bucket list and see if I actually did the things I told myself I would. Fingers crossed that I accomplished all (or at least most) of that list.

Voila! I’ve found it.

  1. Find a Hike: FAIL. To be completely honest, I don’t even think I tried.
  2. Accumulate vintage items: SEMI-ACCOMPLISHED. I bought an old Polaroid camera, that worked for only about a total of 4 pictures, the rest was just wasted and incredibly expensive film. I also got an old ring from my Nana, which is gorgeous and much more practical then a crappy camera, no offense. I’m stilling praying it will eventually work again.
  3. Bookstore: ACCOMPLISHED. I found a few, actually. Apparently Words on Wheels was a hit for me.
  4. Favorite book: ACCOMPLISHED. Jesus Calling. I read it everyday and so far no book has been better.
  5. Musication: SEMI-ACOMMPLISHED. I love having random songs sent to me, and I’ve received an assortment of music from an eclectic range of people. The most memorable songs of the year, for me, are: Dollhouse by Melanie Martinez, Bad Intentions by Niykee Heaton, Who Do We Think We Are by John Legend, and more that I’ll have to share in another post. Warning these songs are not really normal.
  6. Write a song: FAIL. I write them in my head… Does that count?
  7. Drive in theater: FAIL: Still waiting for someone to take me on a date to Coyote Drive In….
  8. Attend a concert: ACCOMPLISHED! Thanks to my great friend Lesli who won free Justin Timberlake concert tickets. Love ya, Les. And also Stagecoach, and of course Stagecoach again next year is already booked.
  9. Dress up: ACCOMPLISHED. I stuck to it. Rarely ever dressed poorly (or at least what I considered poorly, don’t ask my roommates if they agree), partially because I stopped working out the past 3 months because I was sick and kept pushing it off and I knew even if I put on work out clothes I wouldn’t make it to the gym. Next year I have to dress business casual EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
  10. Get a job: ACCOMPLISHED… let me repeat. I have to dress business casual EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. At least I get my own binder and my own business cards. I have to brush up on my persuasion skills because as a new TCU Student Media Account Executive, I have to sell ads like there’s no tomorrow.

And so, I’d like to think I had a very well rounded year. Stayed in the grey area for the most part. I guess I finally realized that not everything is black or white. And while that may be kind of boring, it was exactly what I needed before entering my next year, my 21st. Cheers!

Preview For Next Blog Post: I plan on doing a short year recap with a couple pictures and ending with a list of tips I’ve learned throughout the past year. For readers who are actively paying attention, let me know if there is anything else I should (or shouldn’t…) post. Thanks and Happy Holidays.

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On Repeat

If you don’t know me or my not-so-absurd study habits, you’ll probably benefit from knowing that my favorite song is The Intro by The XX. Y’all have heard this song a bazillion times, trust me. It’s that super catchy low-key beat that can be streamed together for 10 hours (seriously though, it’s on YouTube) and there are (fun fact) absolutely no lyrics. Just looking at iTunes on my computer you can see the blatant gap between my top 25 most played songs, coming in first The Intro with 719 plays (as of right now) and coming in a “close” second Clocks by Coldplay with a solid 76 plays. So, you guessed it, instead of listening to YouTube’s ten hour version of The Intro, I’ve dedicated my time solely to listening to my 6 minute version, on repeat, every single time I study, or attempt to study at least.

I claim to be spontaneous, one of my top three traits, but I am pretty damn predictable. I’m a creature of habit. Aren’t we all though? I’ve decided that I need to leave myself opportunities for new experiences, for stepping outside my comfort zone. So this week, I had a couple new rites-of-passages. Some good, some bad. And instead of doing my usual lists on this site, I’ll change it up and purge some words without any other context. So who wants to know what happened recently? Ya? Okay cool. Here goes nothing.

I went on my very first “official” date. I didn’t get let into the student section for my very first time and sadly it was for the K-state game. Us roommates had our very first fight about doing the dishes. I tried a coconut-oil hair mask. I went to Lab, that weird freshman bar. I got accepted to the London study abroad program for Strat Comm. I listened to new music. Found a new song to play on repeat. It’s called Bad Intentions by Niykee Heaton. I went to my very first hockey game. Go Stars! I got a 97.5% on my advertising test. I got my very first C on a comm paper. I saw a couple new movies. My roommates and friends had some exciting new experiences too, but it’s not my place to tell. Although, I want to brag for them. It took me 40 minutes to park at school on a rainy day. TCU has officially beat all of the Big 12 teams in the past three years. We rock!

Alright, I think that’s all my little mind can think off. I’ll let you know if any more cool stuff happens. This is just a reminder to give yourself a break. Give up that monotonous daily/weekly/monthly/yearly routine for just a quick moment. Make it memorable, intentional, and freeing.

Cheers to New Experience and Peace Out,

Tara

It’s a Story to Tell…

It’s a story to tell… it’s the motto of the day. 

            These past few weeks have been filled with adventure, insanity, and chaos. It has been crowded with set backs and terrifying moments, but significantly outnumbered by the infinite amount of incredibly blessed moments. The beginning of each year introduces a new rhythm that sets the pace for the upcoming semester. I have a feeling that this year is going to be unbelievable in a hectic, but good sort of way. Here is long-story-short breakdown of how things have been going so far.

            Where did I leave off? How about I just start off with recruitment.

No surprise here, recruitment was off the wall crazy. It was way more fun than I thought it would be so props to my girls Aubree and Kelly for being the best recruitment chairs ever. Workweek and recruitment week are the two most insane weeks of the year. It is crazier than spring break…. For those of you who don’t get to experience the whole TCU recruitment process, you have no idea what its like underneath it all. It is incredibly hard to explain. Like when you ask someone who studied abroad (because like everyone did this summer), “how was it?” and they can only respond with one-word answers like “amazing.” How would I describe recruitment? Crazy. But it is so much more than that. Imagine cheer camp mixed with boot camp combined with an uncanny amount of estrogen. There is no real way to explain this week of drama and excitement. All I can tell you is that THETA is the best sorority and my sisters are truly talented and remarkable girls. TLAM!

            Next, school begins… of course. My schedule really couldn’t get much better. I mean two night classes AND a Friday class. It’s awesome. Alright, even though my calendar is not all that great, so far my classes have proved to be promising. Class is my favorite place to meet new friends. It gives me chances to have unattached relationships. I like knowing people that no one else knows. I don’t mean for that to sound creepy in any way, but I hope some of you will understand. For me I like it because it gives me a new viewpoint and perspective of everything that’s going on around me. It keeps me balanced and open-minded. I like that

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            With that in mind, I would like to share my indescribable experience in the music industry thanks again to my good friend Aubree who always provides us with a good challenge. This week’s was a music video. A legitimate one, kind of. An MTV2 music video that we were asked to come be a part of. I will spare you the details, but share some pictures that will explain the “it’s a story to tell moment.” It is one worthy of being told in person, but hard to explain in written words. I guess you’ll have to tune in on MTV2 to catch yo girls making a cameo in Willstrumental’s “Bout It Bout It.”

        Mixed with all this craziness with new beginnings and hectic schedules, I have found some lovely silver linings. A worthy list of breathtaking and delightful experiences. Through these past weeks I have strengthened relationships and bonds with new and old friends. I have been reminded about why I chose Theta and why I chose TCU and my friends. I have entered the long path of classes needed to complete my major. I have met with friends and family that I haven’t seen in forever and I finally got to settle into my new house with my unique and awesome roommates. Speaking of houses and family and friends, I have one more little adventure to share.

            Lucky for me I was able to travel down to San Antonio to my grandparent’s house to see part of my extended fam. Cousins and cousins and more cousins and aunts and uncles. The whole shebang. You’d think it would be one of those over the top family gatherings, and you’d be right because it was exactly that. I can’t believe that a group of 20-something-year-olds would get together and wreak havoc. How many girls does it take to open a trundle bed, to finish a basket of candy, to overflow the pool with an abundance of colorful floaties. It was nuts how many absurd activities brought us together. We wrapped up each night with looking at old photos from when we were little kids and then we would begin the next day with reenacting the pictures.

            During this great weekend, I was overwhelmed with all the fun and awfully tired from the sun. I was exhausted and unable to comprehend the call I had received from my dad. You can imagine how unbelievably shocked and panicked I was when I found out my mom was seriously ill in another country. I tried to stay calm and show how brave I was, but that night I crashed a little earlier and prayed a little harder. I prayed my little heart out for her. Thank you to everyone who sent her out in their prayer groups. Cid, you are doing great and have a strong support group that never stops praying for you. I love you! It’s your “story to tell.” 

 

Finally, throughout this entire crazy and emotional short journey I was able to experience some precious moments of solitude (believe it or not) and enjoy alone time with my homeboy, Jesus. My biggest “oh snap” moment was when I reread my Jesus Calling book for the reading of August 29. Yes, I’ve read it multiple times to understand it and then believe it. I’ll leave you with that. Remember through all your craziness, there is always an anchor. Find it.

 

“DEMONSTRATE YOUR TRUST IN ME by sitting quietly in My Presence. Put aside all that is waiting to be done, and refuse to worry about anything. This sacred time together strengthens you and prepares you to face whatever the day will bring. By waiting with Me before you begin the day’s activities, you proclaim the reality of My living Presence. This act of faith–waiting before working–is noted in the spirit world, where your demonstration of trust weakens principalities and powers of darkness.

The most effective way to resist evil is to draw near to Me. When you need to take action, I will guide you clearly through My Spirit and My Word. The world is so complex and overstimulating that you can easily lose your sense of direction. Doing countless unnecessary activities will dissipate your energy. When you spend time with me, I restore your sense of direction. As you look to Me for guidance, I enable you to do less but accomplish more.”

 

Luke 12:22-26; Ephesians 6:12; Proverbs 16:3

 

Enjoy your week!

Tara McQueen

A Powerful Playlist

So my friend’s college fellowship has established a theme for their 2013-2014 academic year. It’s called Personal Spiritual Playlist, which is essentially a “playlist” (or set) of “songs” (or activities) under different “genres” (or spiritual disciplines) that bring 1. joy and 2. me closer to God. 

1. Prayer/ Worship
. Continue finding bible verses that directly affect me per each day. For instance when I am feeling alone and scared I pick up my bible and read Psalm 23. I write down a few words that remind me that God is always there for me and then I continue to write a small prayer thanking him for his guidance and asking for his forgiveness and help for the upcoming day. I have never done this before, but this past week and a half have seemed much more lovely with God by my side.


2. Service
. Similar to my friend’s service I plan to fast for one day a month. For me it is to act less selfish in life and prove my will power to be a strong believer of God. I am choosing to do this on the 13th of every month, as it has an important meaning in my life and I need God to always be with me on that day to give me strength and hope.

3. Obedience. 
I plan on keeping my friends on track with our weekly routine of going to church. I vow to be a strong believer and behave like a Christian rather than just saying that I am one.

4. Rejuvenation
. I recently have been cleared by my doctor to run. I find that running is typically one of my best stress reducers. I will encourage myself to “run it out” when I feel that I can’t handle the pressure of the world. Like my friend I too enjoy writing, whether it be for this blog or anything else really.

5. Fun
. I think this may be my hardest challenge on this playlist. I wish there was a secret recipe for fun, but because there isn’t I am deciding to make one. I’ll keep you updated when it starts looking like it is complete. Wish me luck!

6. Belief. When I find my self in times of trouble I need to remember to hold my wrist. Feel God’s presence there on that cross and remind myself that I am never alone and I can make it through whatever situation that comes my way. Believe in Him and believe in myself.

7. Heaven. I promise to be the best angel I can be. I promise to listen to and help my friends and family, be there for them through thick and thin. I hope I can go above and beyond and constantly remind them how much they mean to me.