Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Willy's Wedding!

This past weekend I was so lucky to be able to be back in Lincoln for the most anticipated wedding of the year! Okay it wasn't the royal wedding, but it was my good friend and teammate, Jordan Wilburger, who tied the knot this weekend. As soon as I found out that we would have that weekend off practice, I booked a flight into Lincoln for Friday night. But, I didn't arrive on Friday night :( Okay here's the story. I got to the Orange County airport on Friday a little earlier than I needed to get there. Not sure why...nothing better to do I guess. I get to the self check in and enter in my confirmation number. Immediately a screen pops up that says, "Your flight has been delayed causing you to miss your connecting flight. Sorry for this inconvenience." My heart starts racing a little and I turn immediately to the lady working the desk and tell her what's going on. She looks to see if there are anymore flights out of Denver that I would be able to make. There weren't. She looks at if there are any other flights to Denver from Orange County that would get me there in time for my connecting flight. There weren't. Oh no... After about another five minutes of fiddling around on her computer, she looks up and informs me that the earliest she can get me to Lincoln is 6:00 Saturday evening. My jaw drops. I stare at her for about ten seconds. And then I start crying. I'm literally standing at the United Airlines check in bawling. The lady stares at me horrified and I beg her to try and find another early option for me. I tell her about the wedding and how I have to be in Lincoln before 5. She immediately sets to work and literally after 45 minutes gets me on a flight to Denver, where I have to stay the night (they put me up in a hotel). Then she gets me onto a flight Saturday morning getting into Lincoln at 12:30. I hugged her. No joke.

So, I get into Lincoln at 12:30 Saturday and my teammates Megan Pendergast and Gina Mancuso pick me up from the airport. We went straight to Megan's house after a couple quick errands. We hang out and watch  The Office for a couple of hours and start getting ready for the wedding. So, me, Megan, Gina, Morgan Broekhuis (another teammate of mine), and Chris Schumann (Meg's boyfriend) all go to the wedding together. We arrived early because we wanted to make sure and get good seats. Right after we sit down, it hits me. Willy is actually getting married today. It's actually happening. She is younger than I am, not by much but still, imagine if I was getting married. Can't picture it, can you? Anyways, the music starts and the flower girls and bridesmaids and groomsmen make their way down the aisle. Jess Yanz, Brooke Delano, and Brigette Root are all bridesmaids and they all look absolutely gorgeous. As soon as I see Willy walking down the aisle, looking absolutely stunning, I immediately have tears running down my cheeks. I've played with and loved this girl for four years, she is a great friend of mine. Tears of joys are streaming down my face. This confirms the fact that when I do get married, I'm gonna be a crying mess. The tears didn't stop any time soon. Her dad stood up there with her for the first few minutes of the ceremony and eventually hugged her and placed her hand in Jon's. The waterworks continue. They said their vows and "I do's" and then it was over. They were married. The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was so much fun! I got to see my old teammates and coaches and relax and dance! It was pretty perfect for me. And Megan Pendergast and I finished the night downtown celebrating her 21st birthday. My little bro is growing up so fast ;)

I went to the airport the next day to fly back to California. I walk in and the first thing I see is that my flight is delayed...weird. And I'm missing my connecting flight...again, weird. Sounds about par for the trip. So, I was blessed with another night in Lincoln with Megan, Gina, and Morgan. Although, I did miss practice Monday morning, I got back into Orange County Monday night around 9. Even after all the delays and all the trouble, just to be at Willy's wedding it was all worth it. I am so happy I could be there. Love you always Willy!


Monday, May 16, 2011

What is God? Who is God?

So, I was sitting in my apartment on Monday night, not expecting any company, when I hear a knock at the door. Who could that be? I walk to the door, trying to make as little noise as possible with my feet....not sure why...maybe that secret mission to not let the person on the other side of the door know that you're awkwardly looking through the peep hole at them...ANYWAYS...I looked through the peep hole and saw a brown curly fro, which could only be associated (in my mind) to one person: TRACY STALLS! Tracy recently moved out of the apartment after saying a peaceful "goodbye" to USA Volleyball. I quickly opened the door and gave her a huge bear hug! She couldn't stay for long, but she wanted to stop by and say "hello" (which made my day) and have a short chat. I swear to you, I could sit and listen to Tracy talk for days and days and never grow bored. She just radiates light and energy and spirit. Anyways, she told me that she was headed up to another apartment for an "Eagles" meeting. I had no idea what "Eagles" was, so naturally, I asked. She explained to me that some of the USA players got together for a weekly meeting where they prayed, shared stories, discussed sermons and bible verses, and just grew closer to God. At first I kind of dismissed it; God and I have grown apart over the years and I'm not sure if I was ready to discover who God was or if He is even real. In the past few years, I never really considered myself ready to explore that area of myself and my beliefs. But, after sitting and talking with Tracy for a short five minutes, I thought maybe it's something I should check out, just to see what they're about. And of course, Tracy is so welcoming, telling me that if I want to, I should feel free to join them. I asked what room they were in and she told me. I looked at the clock and saw that they were meeting in 5 minutes and thought to myself, "Why not?" I felt an inspiration just from talking with Tracy (yeah that's how amazing she is to talk to) that I decided to go check it out. I told myself that I didn't have to talk if I didn't want to. I could just listen and see what they were about. Tracy knew that I wasn't sure about God (just from a previous conversation I've had with her), and she was so understanding with me about it. So, I walk into this apartment and the group consists of me, Tracy, Tama Miyashiro, Courtney Thompson, Angie Forsett (formerly Angie Pressey), and Danielle Scott-Arruda. This was their first meeting of the summer session so they decided to go around and share how God was present with them during their overseas leagues and the way God has shaped their lives since the last time they met with each other. I enjoyed listening to their stories. It was crazy the way they found God in everything they did. At some times, they would give their lives up entirely to God and just say "Alright God, I don't know what I'm doing so whatever you want for me..." I can't say that I can really relate to it (the best story I could think of in my head was about finding a dime), but it was cool to listen to. And I didn't feel the need to share anything. I wasn't pressured to. I was really just hanging out listening. But, I tell you what, Tracy just reinforced to me why she is like the coolest person I know. She just pours out love and joy and fire and passion into everything she does, especially her relationship with God. And she is just so inspirational in a way that is hard to describe. I listen to her talk and the fire in her heart catches in my heart and it makes me want to cry. That might sound crazy but that's the best way I know how to describe it :)
Like I said, I don't know God the way these women know God. If I would have said something tonight, I would've talked about how I haven't voluntarily been to church in four years, how I find church kind of creepy and cultish, and I would've told them how I feel spirit and inspiration and happiness in my heart, but whether or not that is God to me, I don't know. I'm sure they would've understood where I'm at with my idea of God, but I didn't feel like it was necessary to share on the first night. If I do keep meeting with them and trying to figure this out, then they will hear about it in due time.
Anyways, I just felt the need to write about this cool experience. My heart was seriously on fire with inspiration after this meeting....hmm....

...maybe that's God...


P.S. Once again, I'm setting ground rules for this post. No questions, no comments, no "help", I don't want to be "saved". If I'm going to figure this out, I'm going to do it on my own (with the help of my "Eagles" of course) It will be mine and only mine.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week One

Well, I survived week one. And not only did I survive it, I think I held my own just fine. I defended pretty well and put up good passing numbers. On Friday, I passed a 3.53 with 67% perfect! So yeah, I'll take those numbers any day. The thing I like most about this training block is the level of intensity. In the winter, we all had fun every day playing and getting better. As Hugh would put it, it was "all rainbows and ponies". Well, this summer is not going to be "all rainbows and ponies". The stakes are much higher, therefore the level of intensity is climbing. After all, people aren't just playing to get better anymore. People are competing for a spot on the Olympic roster. And to add to that, the coaches keep score of EVERYTHING. So, you work your ass off to win every single point as it may be the difference between making a roster and not making a roster. And if you take points for granted or let a point slip away on a play that you should've made, you will definitely be hearing about it from the people around you who are trying to get as many point as they can. Basically, the "rainbows and ponies" are gone. So, I'm grinding every day because like I've said, London may not be completely realistic for me, but it's what I have my sights set on.

Anyways, this last weekend was definitely a good one! My good friend Brooke Delano was in town and spent the entire weekend with me!!
Brooke and I in Hawaii!
Brooke and I have been playing volleyball together for the past four years at Nebraska. We came in in the same freshman class in 2007. Brooke redshirted her freshman year so she still has a year of eligibility left. It was definitely weird having senior night without her :( Anyways, she flew in to Santa Ana on Friday afternoon and after a quick stop at my apartment to drop off her bags, we headed to Long Beach to have dinner with fellow ex-husker Tracy Stalls. We went to a cute little diner that served breakfast all day! Yum! So, It had probably been four years since the three of us had sat down and had dinner together, and it was a great "catch-up" session. After dinner, we went to "First Friday" which is just basically a chance for local artists to display their work and live musicians to show off their music. It was cool to experience something different. We didn't stay too late. We were back to the apartment by 9. We had plans to go out in Newport, but fatigue took over and we decided to have a chill night. We watched a movie and hung out with fellow USA teammates Jenna Hagglund. Friday night we decided that Saturday was gonna be a beach day. We planned on leaving at like 11 am and spending literally all day there. Well, the weather didn't like that idea and decided to be cloudy all day. We still went in the hopes that the clouds would clear up. They did, eventually, the minute we left the beach. The sun started peeking out on the drive home :( When we got home we had a baking session with Jenna and my roommate Destinee Hooker. We made delicious Oreo balls! We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the men's volleyball championship match. Saturday night we went out in Hollywood! We went to two clubs and it was super fun! The weekend ended with us heading back to LA on Sunday for a taping of Simon Cowell's new show "The X Factor". The show was really poorly run and took way longer than it needed to but the acts were very entertaining. This is including a 62 year-old woman who sang "I Touch Myself". It was hilarious. After the show Brooke's cousin picked her up and they were off to Bakersfield for the week so she could spend some time with her family. Overall, it was a great weekend! 

I guess that's all I have for now. And of course, here is your "The Office" clip. Enjoy!