Brunt Orange and Broken-hearted

Growing up, every Saturday in the fall was filled with burnt orange, hoot, hollering, and Longhorn football. We’ve always been a Longhorn family. I often say I knew the “Eyes of Texas” before I knew my ABC’s. 

My dad went to the University of Texas and my brother goes there now. I’ve spent countless days roaming Austin. Going to and frow, without a care in the world. I never felt unsafe, I never felt like there was a need to worry. 

But this time last year, for the first time since 1966 there was a homicide.. Now 13 months later, another. 

I start to question is this place that I’ve practically grew up in safe? Is it those place that would protect me like I always thought it would? 

I’m sad for the families, for the friends. My heart aches for them. How can you go on when something abrupt happens like this? How do you find peace? I pray that they find comfort in whatever they can during this awful time. 
It could have easily been my brother or at a different school, on a different day it could have been me. We hear these stories about college homicides, but you never think it’ll actually happen near you. Logically, you know it can.. But you’re absolutely certain that it won’t.. Then it does, where do you go from here?

People are trying to affiliate this with one political stance or the other… I think that’s just wrong, let the boy rest in peace. Don’t let him be something you throw in people’s face. “See, this is why…” “See, this is just proof…” No, stop it. It is not your place to use this kid as a ploy for your own political propaganda. Just let the family mourn, give them space to breath. Be respectful.

And as always Hook ’em Horns.

MTMM: September

“September” by Earth, Wind & Fire

I can imagine it now. It’s a hot summer day, we’re driving down the highway, jammed pack into a rental car, hopping from one state to another on our annual family road trip. My brother and I are snacking  on whatever we could get our hands on. My mom is searching on her phone for our next adventure, then this song comes on…

My dad is driving and as this song comes on he’s messing with the dials to make the perfect mix of bass and treble. My mom, my brother, and I are dancing and singing without a care in the world as my dad calmly bobs his head.

“C’mon, dad. Dance with us, dance with us.” We would plead until cave and groove his head ever so slightly more. He’d tell us, this is what real music. When I was younger, I don’t think I believed him. But now, I firmly agreed.

This is real music. It’s joy. It’s groove. It evokes emotion. It makes it impossible to forget. The bass, the rhythm, the melody. You know the moment that song comes on, that’s your jam.

This song has become a part of the soundtrack of my life. An irreplaceable part to the story telling of who I am. Just a girl dancing through adventures basking in the summer sun with my family.

Favorite Lyric:

“There was a
Ba de ya – say do you remember
Ba de ya – dancing in September
Ba de ya – golden dreams were shiny days

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
ba de ya de ya de ya
De ya”

Music That Made Me

Music is an influential part of my life. It’s a way of connection. Connection to feelings, situations and people. I want to start a new series where I open your eyes to my connections. These songs that are close to my heart. Maybe you’ll learn more about who I am, and what has shaped me into who I am today.

Not Your Average Anything

The day my parents decided on naming me Kristan, instead of the average Kristin/Kristen they should have known, I would always be destined to not fit any mold society place on me. 

Growing up, I never fit in. I was never a girly girl, I never wanted to be a princess. I loathed the idea of shopping, and my Barbies were only touched when other little girls would come over. 

I was a highly opinionated kid that often had an adult way of thinking. I would give advice in “adult conversation” and when my parents would apologize for me butting in to the conversation, they would be met with “no, but she’s right.” My mom would rarely catch me hanging out with kids my own age. I just didn’t fit in with them. 

As I got older I felt that my list only got longer. Not only was I not your average girl or child. I wasn’t your average Mexican-American. I wasn’t your average band kid. I’m not your average teenager. I’m not your average college student. I’m not your average cisgender heterosexual female. I’m not your average liberal. I’m not your average millenial. I’m not your average Christian. I’m not your average anything.

Not being average, made me be a confident in who I was. No matter how hard I try, I knew I would never be “average” so after awhile I didn’t even want to be it.. I didn’t even try. 

People assume things because of what categories I fill, but quickly I show them that stereotypes and prejudices are often wrong. We are all different and meant to stand out. 

We crave so badly to be “average,” that we forget that be us is what really matters. 

The things I learned from college

I’ve seen several of these kinds of list. I didn’t see anything I related to, but knowing that everyone has extremely different experiences, I wanted to write this in hopes that I provide a different perspective.

Here’s my list:

  1. There are stupid questions, ask them any way.
  2. It’s normal for there to be no “normal.”
  3. It’s okay to have only a few close friends… or a ton.
  4. You don’t have to party to have a good time in college, that’s okay too.
  5. There are times when you ace a test with studying a bit
  6. There are time when you gave it all you got, and you didn’t get the result you deserved.
  7. Not all friends make perfect roommates.
  8. Not all roommates will be perfect friends.
  9. Always go with your gut.
  10. Be open to trying new things.
  11. Books over boys
  12. Best friends over boys
  13. Basically most things over boys
  14. Coming home is good.
  15. When you visit home, you never study. Prepare accordingly.
  16. Plan-castinating is key.
  17. Calendars are super important.
  18. Private school is not worth the hype.
  19. Don’t just do something because of someone else.
  20. Microwavable mac and cheese can be brunt.
  21. Soak in every moment.
  22. There are time to speak up.
  23. There are also times to shut up.
  24. Actively choose to be happy.
  25. You don’t choose how people make you feel, but you can choose to not let it define you. Be a duck, let the water roll off of you!
  26. Don’t judge what you don’t understand.
  27. Be open to everyone. Love everyone.
  28. Give second chances, third chances, forth chances.
  29. Different people act differently around different people.
  30. It’s okay to ask for help.
  31. Don’t ever be afraid of hearing a “no.”
  32. Life is too short to care what people think.
  33. You’ll never please everyone, so just please yourself.
  34. Don’t let any one see you sweat.
  35. Check Rate My Professor, before you register for classes. (But also remember #29, that also applies with teachers with classes)
  36. Dreams change as people grow.
  37. Friends feel like they are walking through a revolving door.
  38. Time never will stand still, push through the bad and enjoy the good.
  39. “Advisors” don’t always have the best advice, but they do come in handy.
  40. You will get screwed over, many times.
  41. Nothing is that worth holding a grudge over.
  42. You know who what type of person you are. If you’re not a morning person, avoid 8 am classes like the plague.
  43. Confidence is the key to almost anything.
  44. Find a system that works for you and live by it.
  45. If you’re not completely happy where you are, look for a place you will be.
  46. Group projects are the worst. Online group project is even worse.
  47. If you need extra credit, ask for it.  (Refer to #30 and #31 if you’re still not sure)
  48. Nobody quite knows your situation like you.
  49. Comparison is the true killer of happiness.
  50. Find the good in everyone you meet.

If there’s something on the list you think that I missed, please comment below and let me know! What was/is your college experience like?

-kas

Why I want to adopt my (future) child

When I mention my desire to adopt a child, often people ask me “why?” Why would a girl who is 19 years old have such a strong desire to adopt when there is no apparent reason that would make her unable to conceive, carry, and birth a child of her own womb? Why would I want to put myself through the struggles of adoption?

I’m not afraid of what will happen because I chose to adopt, I am afraid of what will happen if I chose not to.

Here are some fast facts about adoption and foster care:

  • Approximately 2.5% of all U.S. children are adopted.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, in 2013, more than 23,000 young people aged out of foster care without permanent families.
  • Research has shown that these children who leave foster care without being linked to forever families have a higher likelihood to experience homelessness, unemployment and incarceration as adults.

These kids are not looking for much, they don’t want the newest and greatest toy. They just want stability and love. Don’t get me wrong, I want to have bio kids, but I want to adopt too.

I’m aware of the struggles of adopting. I’ve talked to kids who were adopted, I’ve talked to parents who have adopted. I know that it won’t be easy. I know it might be a long and grueling process. I know there will be days I wonder if I’m cut out for the job. But this is what I want. I want to get a child, I want them to know I chose them. I didn’t get them because I didn’t have any other choice. (Author’s note: I’m not saying that adopting because you can’t conceive is bad.) I just want my baby to know that I picked them, I wanted them and they are immensely loved by me.

People tell me “well you never know what you’re going to get when you adopt.” That’s true, I don’t know if my kid will have dyslexia, ADHD, SIDS, or even cancer. But I won’t know if my kid will have any of those even if it’s my own biological child. I feel like God will prepare me for whatever child I am meant for.

If I only have them for one day or all the days of my life, I promise I’ll give them all the love I can. I promise I will take care of them the best I can. I will make sure they know they are some of the greatest people that I’ll ever get to know.

When all the other girls were dreaming of their weddings, their husbands, the flowers, the cake, the dress. I was dreaming of something different.  I was dreaming of the day I’d adopt the most lovely little soul I’d ever lay my eyes on. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was in 4th grade. I know that life is so uncertain, and so many things may change from now to then. But the one thing in my life that I feel absolutely certain that I am meant to do one thing, adopt a kid.

 To donate to my birthday fundraiser to make duffle bags for foster kids, click here!

Other Adoption Related Blogs:

A letter to my future child’s biological mother

An Open Letter to My (Future) Adopted Children

I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise you I’ll get there. 

I don’t know where I’m going. I feel like I’m walking blindly in an unmarked abyss of thoughts, ideas, and plans all pointing to one thing. The end goal. It’s not quite clear what it is, nor do I know what it will take to get there. But I’m prepared for the journey. I’m ready to go. Wherever this path leads me I’ll go, high or low. Easy or hard, I’ll press on till the end. I’m ready to give it all I got, I’m not holding anything back. See, although the plan and destination is uncertain, I know the reward at the end will be sweet. That’s enough to motivate me. I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise you I’ll get there.

There’s two sides to every coin

This morning I had to catch a flight from Dallas to Baltimore at 7 o’clock this morning. Because Dallas is three hours away, we opted to leave the night before. The hassle of packing early made me grumbly, driving three hours to fly three more then driving one more made me even more grumbly, going on 5 hours of sleep for 48 hours made me quite cranky.

 But as I sit here on the plane headed to my destination, none of it matter now. Right now, I’m watching a beautiful sunrise from a whole new perspective. I get to watch as the sun slowly peeks through the windows. I watch as all these people begin their day. How they are going about their mundane lives, while I’m on an adventure. An adventure to Philly, to see some gorgeous babies and simply love on them. In this moment my lack of sleep seems so worth it. I get to love on some babies.

Slow down.

Some people stress eat, some pace pace when they’re stressed, some people fidget… I plan.

I don’t know where I started this bad habit. But when I have a problem, I analyze it this way and that way, turn my world upside down until I eventually think of every situation that could has even the slightest chance of happening and think of every solution to fix. No problem goes unnoticed, no problem goes unsolved.

If that doesn’t work, I work myself into a frenzy. I feel like in these moments, my mind in these moments is somewhat like a dog chasing its tail simply fixated on doing the impossible. I go round and round in my mind until I tire myself and able to manage to talk myself off the ledge. 

I need to stop that. It’s not healthy, it doesn’t accomplish anything. 

I need to realize life has imperfection. I don’t need to strive for a flawless plan because there never will be one… and that’s okay. In that moment,  I need to take a step back, calm down, take a breath, slow down.

What does it mean to be a miracle baby?

Ever since I was a kid, when people greeted me along with saying how they knew my momma or daddy they’d often say “you’re a miracle baby” or “I prayed for you before you were born.” I never got what they meant by that, but now I do so I’ll tell you what I’ve leaened.

What a miracle baby means is for a long, long time your mom and dad wanted you to be in their lives. During that time of waiting there were both joy and sadness. In my case (and maybe yours too) just when they thought that maybe, just maybe (more) babies weren’t in God’s plan, God gave them this “miracle baby.” 

When they found out you were coming, they had this indescribable joy. They wanted to share the news with everyone and anyone, but they were still a little scared. Should they tell anyone about you? What if they told everyone and then they lost you? Would it be too good to be true? 

But it wasn’t, you’re here. What a “miracle baby” means is that they wanted you so much. It means you parents love you sooo much that even the bad days when most parents wonder if they are cut out for the job, your parents don’t worry because they know they were meant for this. 

When your mom has chased you and your siblings around for hours on end making sure you play nice, use manner, and manage not to burn the house down before daddy gets home when she finally get a second to pee, sit down, or just breathe in that moment she thanks God because she wouldn’t want her life any other way. 

You are God’s gift to her and your daddy both. You’re a reminder to them that God’s timing is impeccable and that God’s plan is perfect. You are their answered prayers, you are their miracle baby.