Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Reflections

Christmas Reflections

This year was probably the weirdest Christmas "Vacation" for me. I'm a huge Christmas fan, like I start listening to my Christmas pandora station on November 1st. I love Christmas scents and decorations and the idea of Christmas, but it seems like every year Christmas passes by and I don't even notice it. The other members of my family are not huge Christmas fans by any means. I am the one who starts breaking out the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. We don't have any Christmas traditions that we follow, so it's different every year.

I am a very organized person and I like structure and schedules, although I am not anal about sticking to them because I know that other people act according to the wind. But I do know that once I get my own house and start my own family that we will create our own Christmas traditions; like Christmas movie in pj's on Christmas Eve and a more organized dinner than our buffet style like we have going on now. I have so many plans for the future and I just cannot wait till I can actually go through with them.

Now my 2013 Christmas adventures. This is my first Christmas that I have "come home" from college since I am a freshmen. I thought that it would feel weird and different but it was pretty close to the sameness as every year. My immediate family, as in my mom, dad and brother, and I celebrated on the 23rd and we had steaks for dinner and watched Scrooge on TV, then we opened up presents and had s'mores in the backyard. Nothing too fancy.

Then on Christmas Eve, we drove up to Dallas, where my grandparents live. We didn't even do anything on Christmas Eve. No Christmas devotional or the nativity story or anything. We just unpacked and sat around the house. A wee bit disappointing. On Christmas Day, mom did fix a hearty breakfast, which was very delicious. And the kitchen was busy pretty much the rest of the day. We watched A Christmas Story through out the day. I don't think I've actually sat through the entire movie in one sitting. But I still know pretty much even line. My uncle and aunt and cousin came over, then my great uncle and his wife arrived shortly after. We sat and caught up with each other. Nana called from the kitchen and said that it was ready! We ate and then ate some more. About an hour after that, we exchanged gifts and talked some more. Then about 5pm, everyone left. It was nice to catch up with everyone, but I guess I just had anticipated a lot more of the holiday atmosphere.

Thursday morning, we started packing up everything in order to go up to Oklahoma where my dad's family lives. We ate breakfast with my grandparents at Whataburger and left my dog, Sunny at their house because we figured 22 people is enough without a dog to worry about. We said our goodbyes and headed up north. When we got there, my cousin and his new wife, my aunt and uncle, and my Mamaw and Uncle Tim were there waiting for us. Then, my other cousin and her husband and their four young kids arrived! That was a lot of people for dinner, but it was great because Oklahoma Christmas was what I was looking forward to. It would be the first time that everyone on my dad's side of use family would all be together! It was definitely the "traditional Christmas" that I had hoped for. We played with the little cousins and once they were tired and went home, we stayed up late teaching each other new games like Greedy Gambler and a card game called Spot It which is supposed to be for kids, but  think the adults have a lot more fun with it.

On Friday, the rest of the clan arrived; my aunt, uncle , and their four kids. Now we were all here to enjoy one of the last holidays with our Mamaw. She is not doing her best and we all wanted to spend time with her now while we had the chance, so this was definitely a Christmas to cherish. We only do stocking stuffers for the LeFan Christmas because there is so many of us, so it doesn't take to long for the gift exchange. I really enjoyed the food, family, and fellowship that we had in Oklahoma. Saturday was a traveling day, closer to 10 hours of it. We left around 9:30, we stopped and ate, then picked up Sunny, and continued on. We got home about 8 o'clock that night. I was glad to be back in my own bed.

Reflecting on this Christmas made me realize the importance of fellowship and the "specialness" of the holiday season. It gives us a reason to slow down and gather with our family. We are able to spend time with those who we don't see often. We are able to be with the ones we love and hold close to our hearts. We are also able to join together and celebrate our savior's birth. Family is very important and we should never take our time together for granted. Although this Christmas wasn't the "traditional Christmas" I was anticipating, it was time full of love and laughter that I will remember for the rest of the years to come.

So here's to next year's holiday season, hoping that it will be as great, if not better than this one!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Progress. Well, Sort Of

Progress, well sort of

Well it has been about two weeks since I have committed to working out everyday. Now I confess that I have struggled lately with the holidays and traveling. On Friday the 20th, I did not work out at all because we went shopping the first half of the day and then I was "kidnapped" by two of my friends that I hadn't seen since we all left for college. Needless to say that catching up with friends was more important that evening. Then on Sunday, the same thing kind of happened. I was supposed to go work out after I had gotten my nails done with my friend, Chandler, but then we got a call from another member of the Fab Five inviting us to one of our ice cream shops to all meet up with our director and her daughter. There went my plan for working out that afternoon and our gym is only open till 5 pm. So I took a"little rest" by doing some leg exercises and a much needed stretch session.

Monday I took action and went to the gym for close to three hours! Because I knew that the next day would be nearly impossible to work out due to the fact that we were traveling that whole day. And then there was Wednesday, Christmas. I planned on doing a few stretches and some floor exercises at my grandparent's but after all the food I inhaled, I fell asleep instead.

Thursday was another travel day where we headed up north to Edmond, OK for our big family Christmas. At one point we had 22 under the same roof. I knew that I would be too busy catching up with cousins and aunts and uncles to find some quiet time and space to workout, which is fine because family time is important. But I have to say that the stairs in that house are killer and I was always running up and down them chasing the little ones. So does that count?

Today is Saturday and I have been in the car all day since 9:30. So that have me time to wind down and blog on my iPad. Unfortunately I couldn't upload the pictures that I wanted to use, other wise this post would have been up sooner. At first I was disappointed in myself for basically stopping my continuous work outs because I was so focused on "trying to get fit" and "never breaking focus", but then I realized that spending time with friends and family is way more important than two hours at the gym, (or in your room with a towel). I'm human, as are most people I know, and as humans, we make mistakes. We have slip ups  and loose focus sometimes. But I cannot let that discourage me from achieving my goals.

I was listening to the radio recently and heard one of the radio announcers talking about diets and counting calories. They mentioned how Carrie Underwood uses an app to count her calories and keep a log of what she has eaten. Then they talked about how she has to keep track of heat she eats because she doesn't get full like most people. She said that she could just eat and eat and not realize how much she has eaten. They said that she recently went to Italy and spent about a week or so there and she had said that she gained about 8 pounds just because she wanted to try everything. And for some strange reason, that gave me some comfort to hear that some one that I look up to slips up as well. Because we are humans, even celebrities.

Even with that hectic week, I have been experimenting and trying to find some of my favorite exercises on Pinterest. The top three are what I like to call my "Carrie Underwood Leg Workout" because she inspired me to become a more healthy version of myself; my "Easy 15" arm workout; and the "Victoria Secret Model: Ab Workout". But seeing how I am picky and I don't want to embarrass myself at the gym, I only do the first half of the leg and I do all but three of the ab workouts.

VS Angel: Abs

Carrie Underwood: Legs

Easy 15: Arms


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Looking Back

I’m on my Christmas break for school and I am completely bored out of my mind. So I decided to take a moment to pause and reflect. Something we all should every now and then. I mostly focused on this blog and how far it has come and how much it has changed since I first started it. At first, I thought I would have nothing to write about, and that I would just comment off of things I had seen on Pinterest. I thought that I didn’t have anything to offer this Internet world and even if I did, it would not matter. Who cares about the opinions of a teenage girl, right? I was kind of afraid to start it because of what others might think. The phrase “Once you post something on the Internet, it can never be removed” began haunting me. What if I accidentally posted something stupid or embarrassing? What if I became a laughing stock? So I decided to keep things simple by basically reposting things I had found on Pinterest or any other website that I had found interesting and write a few of my comments on the subjects.

But as time went on, I began to open up and write more freely about my feelings and opinions. I had also discovered a certain passion for writing. Not necessarily a passion for academic writing or rhetorical analysis, but for a free and creative type of writing. I learned that I especially enjoy writing reviews of anything really.  As you can tell, I have written at least three reviews of some of the live productions that I have viewed and I enjoy writing my opinions about each of them. Maybe if this whole business plan does not work out, I could go back to school and get a journalism or English degree and become some kind of critic or something along those lines.


Pause and reflect. Not something that I do very often, but when I do it sheds a different light on something I would have totally missed otherwise. It opens my eyes to new perspectives on certain subjects and helps me see the whole picture. I hope that I can do this more often in the future to help shape and mold myself into the strong woman I aspire to become someday. I know that I am on the road. I’m not sure which road that is, but I believe that with moments like this one, I will soon discover the answer.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Working-Out

I am probably the last person to be talking about "getting fit" because I rarely have a continuos workout routine. But last week I had emailed my dad and told him that for Christmas I wanted a "healthier lifestyle." In other words, I wanted us to start working out everyday for the whole month that I am home. I got home Friday afternoon, but they didn't know I was coming early. So we didn't get to go to the gym. Then, Saturday, my dad had to work on his sermon for the morning and we had tickets to go see one of our theatre's Christmas specials, so we were again unable to get to the gym. Honestly, I thought that he had forgotten, but during the intermission of the show he leaned over to me and said, "Hey Court. What time do you want to go to the wellness center?" We agreed on 3pm and that was that.

Now, lately I have been reading a lot about Carrie Underwood, mostly to see what her comments are about the reviews of The Sound of Music: Live, but I kept coming across all of her health and fitness articles. But let's face it, she has one of the best figures. Although that didn't just happen overnight. I read that after Idol, she had decided to get lean and fit because she was concerned about the critical remarks that some people might have about her body. She didn't want them to have anything to pick at. She hired a personal trainer, changed her diet and was on a strict workout/eating routine. She quickly dropped at least 20 pounds and has continued that lifestyle since.

I was basically inspired by her because I believe that she is a great role model and an inspiration. Which kind of sparked this whole "healthy lifestyle" ordeal. Well today was Sunday, and my Dad and I managed to keep our agreement. Today marked the first day of our "training." I have been pinning a lot of different work out routines off of Pinterest, and today I mostly did cardio. That included the elliptical and bicycle machines because I am not fond of running, but I want to try and get back into it.

Anyways, there are a lot of different styles of exercising, and I am no expert at any of them. But I do feel that I can say this: Getting in shape is not an instant thing. You may notice a difference within a month, or you may not even see any results for a year. It all depends on you and how hard you are willing to work. I believe that we all need some motivation in our lives, whether it be from a picture taped to your mirror in the bathroom or a personal training who is always pushing you to go harder. If I had the money, I would definitely choose the latter, but I don't. So that is why I asked my dad to do this with me. I needed someone to hold me accountable and the same goes for him. What I hope results from this is that after I go back to school, we are in the habit of doing this and will not need someone always reminding us to go to the gym.

So this wasn't a post about my work out routine, because I haven't got one yet. This isn't some before and after piece that shows results after three months of hard-core exercise. This was just a post about my fitness life and how I am trying to improve it and become a better version of myself. I also write this to help keep myself accountable so in a month I will try and blog again about my improvements in my fitness and healthy life. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Carrie Underwood: Sound of Music

Along with many others, I watched NBC's The Sound of Music: Live starring Carrie Underwood. I was super pumped and excited to see how she, and the rest of the cast and crew, would pull it off. As you know, I am a theatre geek. So I was thrilled to hear that a major network was producing some live entertainment (besides award shows and football games). I realize that not everyone enjoyed the production as much as I did because most people were focused on and believed that "Carrie trying to replace Julie Andrews", "they are trying to re-do The Sound of Music", and that "Carrie wasn't a good choice for this part." Well let me just drop a few words of wisdom on your head…

First. I do not believe that Carrie Underwood was trying to "replace" Julie Andrews. She personally said that she hears "'You’re not Julie Andrews!' (and replies) I know I’m not — nobody is, and I would never pretend that I was. I know my place, you know?" (Entertainment Weekly). She was there to sing her heart out and try something new. She was given the opportunity to play this part and she took it. She worked just as hard as anyone else would have if they were given that part. We know that Carrie is not an actress, but she went out there and performed to the best of her ability. She was not afraid of failure. If you were not a gifted actor/ actress, would you have the guts to perform live, in front of over 18 million viewers? Well, she did! And even though her acting ability was not the strongest, her love for the children was real. Her tears in the Abbey scene were real. And I truly believe that her heart was in it and she felt the character of Maria come alive in her. She probably was not the perfect pick for many viewers, but who better than Carrie Underwood to play a compassionate and godly woman, with a passion for song, who loves unconditionally?

When asked about her acting she responded,
"Well, I should first say that I will never take great performances in acting for granted again. I feel like we are so spoiled and we go to the movie theater and we just see these incredible performances or we go to a Broadway show and we see these incredible performances and we just expect them to be wonderful. I will never take that for granted again, because it’s hard. And I’m so glad I’ve realized that, not that I ever thought it was easy, but you know, it’s definitely a challenge." (Entertainment Weekly)

I believe that she did have some great moments in this production. We need to take a step back and instead of criticizing her for the thing she did "badly", we should praise her for the amazing things that she did accomplish. For example, she sang for three hours straight and didn't even crack (obviously she has some practice at that with concerts and other live performances). But, not only that but she sang in a completely different style than what she is used to. Also, she is completely new at this whole acting thing, but she was willing and she was dedicated to her part. The whole show rode on her shoulders and she did not let the pressure get to her! Did you know that they prepared for this whole production in the course of two months!? Could you do that? Kudos to Carrie for taking on this responsibility. 

Second. They definitely are not trying to remake the movie! I'm pretty sure they are using the stage script. I have read so many reviews about how "it wasn't like the movie at all!" Well of course not! It's based on the stage version! No one wants to remake anything. They are simply paying tribute to the Von Trapp's and the original Sound of Music. This live production is a token of appreciation. People need to take a chill pill! And even if they were "remaking" it, who cares? They do it all the time. Footloose? The Parent Trap? King Kong? Hair Spray!? 

NBC is trying to show appreciation for a classic. Is that so bad? When Broadway produces "Revival shows" do people get their panties in a wad? I do not think so. In my time acting and performing, my director always told us to "never to try and reproduce what you did yesterday, because then it isn't real. Live in the moment…" I believe that is what the cast of The Sound of Music: Live was doing. They are not trying to reproduce anything. They are trying to bring the hills to life again with music by paying respect and honoring those who have done so in the past.

Third. Let us all take a moment and appreciate what live entertainment is. We are so spoiled when it comes to television and movies because there are no mistakes in that area. We are expecting perfection every time because that is what we have been conditioned with. But when it comes to live theatre, anything can happen! Sets can fall apart, people can break their ankle in the middle of a dance number, actors can forget their lines! It happens. The entertainment business got it's start where? Live theatre. We would be no where without people who were willing to risk everything and perform in front of live audiences. Live audiences where you can hear their reactions. Their laughs at jokes, or even mistakes. Their sobs or gasps at suspenseful moments. And especially their silence. Live theatre is something that not everyone has an appreciation for and that is sad. I believe that NBC and others are doing their part in trying to bring us back to the basics. And I thank them for it, too. 

A beautiful shot from the production.
So I conclude with this extremely long, but very passionate post with this. A "thank-you" to Carrie Underwood and the rest of the amazing cast and crew of The Sound of Music: Live. A "kudos" to NBC for doing something out of the norm. And a very big *hug* of appreciation to those who took the time to read this. Please try and congratulate instead of criticize. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Vow to You

During my English 111 final essay, I had to write about my writing process and whether or not I feel like I have improved. I mentioned that I had started a blog since beginning the class and then it dawned on me. My essay grades began improving after I started the blog! This free writing and blogging had unleashed my creative juices and allowed me to add my personal touches to my essays to make them more relatable and personable. Even if it was a slight grade improvement, but an improvement none the less, I accredited it to Hello, My Name is Girl!!

So I urge you, fellow readers, (Whether the audience numbers are great or small), to do your own creative and free writing. It really helps relieve some stress or just jumbled up thoughts in my brain and helps me release some tension building up. You can either write poetry, short stories, songs, or even a blog! It doesn't matter what you do, just try it for a week. Take some time to sit down and just release whatever is going through your mind at that moment and write!

Now here's what I'll ask of you and I will give you something in return. 
I ask that you, dear reader, please give me some feed back. Comment a smiley face or something. Just please let me know what you think or what your opinion is of whatever I have written about. And I vow to write more frequently and consistently.

Also, if you happen to start a blog, email me your link and I will gladly read it! Because I enjoy reading blogs and I know how much it can affect your day with a positive comment on your post.

So please, take the time to consider what I have said and I hope to hear from y'all soon. (That's right, I'm from Texas).

email is courtneylefan@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

First Semester

Wow. It just does not even seem real. Yesterday I was packing up for the big move to Abilene, and today I'm packing to go back to Fredericksburg for a month. I'm not sure which to call home anymore. When I'm in my dorm, I think about my nice warm room back at my house. But sometimes when I'm in Fredericksburg, I just can't wait to get back to school. I can't imagine how a month "back home" is going to be like. Of course, we are not just staying in Fredericksburg. We are going up to Garland for Christmas to visit my grandparents and an aunt and uncle and a cousin. Then we are continuing up north to Edmond, OK to visit my other grandmother and the entire Mac LeFan family! All of my dad' s brothers and his sister and all of their families and their kids and even their kids' kids!! At least 20 people under one roof! And I'm soooo excited.

Now back to this week, today I took two of my finals. Bright and early this morning I wrote an essay for my English final and then later I listened to my science professor give his "farewell speech". He really does mean well, it's just his voice and the subject matter is so boring I just think "maybe if I bang my head hard enough on the table, I'll die…" every time I walk into that classroom. Thankfully, he does not believe in tests so we did NOT have a final! Hallelujah!! Tomorrow, I have the day off of school seeing as I do not have any finals. But I do have to go to work. (Mehh!) It's not that it's a hard job, I basically babysit, but it really is very unorganized and I'm the one who is sent to different schools when a regal care counselor is sick or gone and fill in. I am thrown into new situations everyday! No one respects me and I usually have no idea what is going on, but hey, that's most of the time!

Anyway, Thursday I have Cornerstone at 8am where the final is a podcast and a six word memoir. Both of which I have done!! Except I'm a little worried about the final podcast because it was supposed to be 5 mins, but mine is only 4:36, and thinking about it now, I probably should have made it a little longer. But I ain't going to worry about it now, it's already submitted. Besides, I'm just hoping for an A in this class, not a 100. I think I'll be good. Then I have a Bible final which is a 50 question, multiple choice exam. But I'm not too worried because I have a 107 in that class now and he basically told us that the questions are coming straight off of previous tests and quizzes, which I have aced! Then I have an optional Business exam, but I still have an A in that class as well so I'm going to skip it and go to work (Yay…) instead so I can go home early.

Looking back now, I have realized how blessed and extremely lucky I was this semester. I was eased into this whole college process. I didn't have any terrible classes, Science was the closest but it was never hard or stressful, just boring. I had amazing professors! And I never once felt alone or scared about anything. I'm so thankful for this semester and for the friends I'm making. I'm thankful for the little communities I have found on campus. I am extremely grateful for my two besties on campus, Brittney and Michaela (Shout out). I have no idea what I would have done without them! Again, I am extremely thankful for this school and the people who have worked so hard to get me here (teachers, counselors, PARENTS). And of course, where would I be without my faith. Now I'll admit, I haven't hit rock bottom or have been in many of my personal dark crevices, and I'm no where near to what I would want my relationship with God to be, but I know that without Him and His grace, love, and mercy, I would not be where I am today.

So basically: I'm done with semester one. Grateful, thankful, never hateful. Bring it on, Life! Hit me with your best shot!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why Elle Is a Role Model

Probably the most iconic "chick flick" movie known to mankind is Robert Luketic's Legally Blonde. I personally like Legally Blonde: The Musical the best, only because I am a theatre geek. Of course none of these Elle legends would even exist with Amanda Brown's novel. Although I have heard that it is nothing like the movie or musical. Elle doesn't have an "ahh-ha" moment and she basically mopes about Warner the whole book. The story of a college girl and her miniature dog who is obsessed with pink and Warner Huntington III who follows her guy to Harvard initially to win him back, but does something even more incredible. Elle Woods is not only the epitome of "girlie", but she goes on a journey of self discovery to figure out that you can do and achieve anything you put your mind to.

A couple of reasons why I love Elle. One. She is afraid of nothing. Her confidence is glowing and contagious. When she realizes that she has to follow Warner to an ivy league school, she doesn't wonder if she'll get in. In fact, it's quite the opposite. She is determined to be accepted, even when her advisors and own parents frown upon Harvard.

Two. She doesn't follow the stereotype. She started off as the "typical blonde", but she was determined to get what she wanted, so she studied hard to get into Harvard. While there, Elle actually showed that she was intelligent and that she could become the smartest one in her graduating class. She ended up graduating as valedictorian of her class.

Three. She is a hard worker. Getting into Harvard was no picnic either. She worked her butt off! And then, in order to prove to everyone that she isn't a dumb blonde, she and Emmet studied and worked hard to raise her grades and get the coveted internship with Callahan.

Four. She is true to herself. "Being true to yourself never goes out of style." Elle earned the coveted Valedictorian spot, not by conforming to the status quo, but by remain and embracing who she truly was. A girl with a passion for helping others. She used that passion to drive her to learn more about the law and to make the top grades.

Five. She is the greater person. When Vivian tricked her into thinking the party was a costume party, Elle totally played it off cool. She wasn't completely embarrassed and humiliated. She did turn around and run home. She embraced the situation and made it work out to her advantage. She never backstabbed Vivian or Warner, she never played dirty. She was always the fair and honest person and look where that got her.

And six. Of course, we cannot forget her great sense of class and style!

So thanks, Elle, for teaching us how to continue to be classy and confident in this world.

Source