Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tradition, Tradition!

First and foremost, I'd like to wish everybody a very Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday has never been particularly large in my family by any means, but it's something special nonetheless.

I have a somewhat-severe Type A personality, so I like traditions. I can appreciate change, but if something's working the way it is, I like to keep it that way. That being said, holidays often bring about the most profound, and odd, traditions in my life. Here's the run-down of my Thanksgiving holiday and please share some of your favorite traditions!

My immediate family has never hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner, and for good reason...we hate cooking large meals. And when I say we, it would be more correct to say my mother. It's a rare occasion when the five of us are home at the same time just to have a weekly dinner at our house so we don't get too excited about Thanksgiving dinner. However, we do make our way to my dad's parents (Grandpa and Grandma Heitkamp) for some food. Grandma is amazing, has the purest of hearts, but is slowly losing the magic touch in the kitchen. The strangest part is that Grandpa is a MUCH better cook, yet Grandma feels the need to take charge on Thanksgiving. I absolutely cannot stand stuffing that includes the turkey parts, but she cooks it every year and I promise it tastes worse with each passing holiday. She also makes homemade coleslaw, which is generally delectable, but sometimes, the seasoning can be quite potent. I'm crossing my fingers for this year... But apart from the food, the table talk is the best part of the day. I love hearing stories from my dad's childhood and all the stupid things him and his brother used to do. It's so great to have a family that you can laugh with and truly enjoy each others' company. Along with watching the Lions lose, or watching the Vikings when they play, a card game is usually thrown in there and then we bust out the pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is the key to my heart...that stuff is delicious. My grandpa still lets me lick the spoon used for serving up the Cool Whip :)

As for my mother's side, we always spend the Saturday after Thanksgiving at their house in Rushmore, MN (about 40 minutes from SF) and instead of turkey, we opt for soups. Chicken tortilla is usually my preference, but I occasionally switch it up for a good bowl of chili or broccoli cheddar. This is the one holiday meal I can walk away from and not feel obligated to call Jenny Craig...for this, I am incredibly grateful. This Thanksgiving will be different than all the rest because it will be the first that we spend without both of my great-grandparents (Grandma died in August 2007 and Grandpa in May 2008). They were incredible people in my life and it's times like these when those who are left behind are reminded of the loved ones who have gone to a better place. So that will be somewhat difficult for me. However, my cousin Sara (who is my only older cousin...and she's 3 months older than me) is planning on announcing the gender of the baby that she and her boyfriend, Cody, are expecting! This is somewhat out of the ordinary in our family because of the conservative, Baptist/Christian Reformed tradition, but hey, God has a plan and I'm not going to be the one to question it.

Apart from family get-togethers, Thanksgiving Day marks the beginning of the Christmas season in my life. I will bust out the Christmas music on iTunes, sync it to my iPod (all 2.5 GB of it...) and turn on XM Holly. Also, I will now allow myself to have a peppermint mocha from Starbucks (my BFF Missy also has this tradition). I also spend about an hour of the day contemplating whether or not I want to brave the crazy shoppers on Black Friday in order to begin my Christmas shopping. I went last year, armed with my iPod in hand, and managed to get some pretty good apparently it pays off with patience! The two years prior to last, I actually worked at Old Navy on Black Friday and never before had I so seriously contemplated suicide. I hope and pray I will never have to torture myself like that again.

Well this is definitely a longer post, but I love traditions and I love holidays and I hope you feel the same way. Even if you're not a fan of tradition, I hope you can find some time tomorrow to honestly think about what you're thankful for. So enjoy the time with family and friends...and if you want to go running with me on Friday to burn off the calories, give me a holler or meet me at McKennan Fitness!

Happy Holidays my friends :)

My name is Courtney and I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, my entire family, friends, the USofA, Valparaiso University for giving me a much needed 10-day break, and YOU! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Holidays from Rachel and Courtney :)

Here you go!! Enjoy :) And please comment and let me know which one is your favorite!









My good friend Amanda (the photographer) uploaded 20 pictures from our photo shoot onto Facebook so I just picked out a few of my favorites so far. Well, minus the one of me, but I threw that in just for good humor.

As for me...I need to stop procrastinating on the blogosphere and get back to Constitutional Law...or something like that. Have a fabulous Tuesday before Thanksgiving Thursday :)

peace, love, and every happiness...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On the road again!

Well tomorrow is the last day of classes before the 10-day Thanksgiving Break and it couldn't have come at a better time. The two weeks before finals are going to be actual hell. Three presentations (one of which is a 75-min one) the first week and three papers the second week. It's a good thing I'm unemployed because I will be doing homework like it's my job...or at least, that's my goal.

But when I'm not doing homework, I'm really looking forward to catching up with my best friends...shout out here to my girl Missy and our partner in crime, Katie.

**Missy and I this summer in downtown Minneapolis**

I haven't seen this girl since mid-August, but I'm incredibly grateful for the fact that our friendship is the type where we can talk every once in awhile, but we understand that we have busy lives at school. Plus, I suck at answering my phone and I'm bad at talking on the phone (usually) for more than 20 minutes at a time. We both love the Minnesota Twins...

...and she's just the best friend I could ever ask for. We met at Patrick Henry Middle School, but didn't become good friends until sophomore year at Washington. We were both looking for something greater in our friendships and we found each other. Wow, kind of sounds like we're in love...but you know what I mean. Both of our families were struggling with church difficulties and our friends were giving into temptations that we chose to not partake in. I needed that support system and I thank God everyday that I found it in her. Not only is Missy fantastic, but her entire family has been incredibly supportive of every decision I have made and our parents have become great friends. People always say that friends from high school won't last, but I beg to differ. My friends from high school know me; they know who I was, they know who I am, and they know who I want to be. People here at Valpo just can't relate to that. I always forget that Missy almost came to Valpo and I often find myself wondering what it would have been like to have my best friend here with me. As many great times as we would have probably had, I know Northwestern was a great fit for Missy and the distance has only made our appreciation, respect, and love for each other grow.

Ahh...the joys of friendship. Makes life a lot more fun.

I'm also really excited to spend time with my family, because I also haven't had the chance to spend much time with them since I left for school (well besides the 12 hours over Election Week). I miss my brothers and it's amazing to see how much they've matured this year. Nick is actually in college and I can't believe it. Josh is getting scholarship offers right and left...and was state cross country champion! My parents are amazing and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

I'm really not sure what the purpose of this post was...I guess I've just felt that my life has been somewhat lackluster lately...just going through the motions, nothing too exciting. But, I just try to remind myself of all of the amazing people in my life (in which there are're probably one of them...I don't like non-amazing people) and I realize that I am truly blessed. I am blessed to be excited to go home.

So...if you're reading this...I'm coming home...tomorrow...departing Valparaiso, IN around 1PM and hopefully arriving in Sioux Falls before midnight. So please, call/text/keep me occupied...and if you're free sometime within this next week, lets get lunch/dinner/drinks/coffee!

Yay for Thanksgiving...oh my gosh, I love mashed potatoes...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oh...let them eat cake...

So I wrote an editorial to be submitted to our student newspaper, The Torch....and it got published! I'm pretty was the first editorial I had submitted to the paper and I just think it's another great way to get the College Republicans name out there. Anyways, just thought I'd post it up here so you can take a look!


Throughout every election cycle, political pundits and media outlets discuss the power of the youth vote. This being said, I took it upon myself, as well as other officers in the group, to make sure that College Republicans (CR, as we affectionately call ourselves) maintained a presence throughout campus during this "excessively political" time. In doing so, we have worked extensively with Political Action League and the Conversations Project to host voter registration drives throughout the fall months, as well as holding our own tabeling events to promote CR meetings and activities. We have volunteered for local political campaigns, as well as the Porter County Republican Party. During this week prior to the election, our group will be logging 80+ hours of volunteer work.

Could we do more? Sure. Should we do more? You bet, and we plan to. However, this is not the point.

This past Tuesday, we teamed up with Political Action League in an open political forum in which student-submitted questions could be answered by both sides. Over 50 students showed up, demonstrating that we, as a college campus, desire to be educated voters. College Democrats, an allocated student organization here at VU, failed to show. Not only were they notified, they had personally confirmed the date, time, and the content of the event. Want evidence? Their name was on the Union Board flyers that were posted around campus. This lack of participation is a complete disservice to the student body as a whole. There are democratic Obama supporters on this campus and it is incredibly unfortunate that they were not able to represent their side at the event, and instead put it open the shoulders of PAL and an informed student (it should be noted, however, that these two gentlemen did a fantastic job).

At the beginning of the year, I was thrilled to see College Dems chalking about their first meeting of the year and for the sake of healthy competition, I truly hoped that they could continue to maintain regular meetings and events. Not one person at the forum on Tuesday, including those in PAL, could provide with 100% confidence the date, time, and location of any College Democrat meetings.

So, College Democrats, we as College Republicans are calling you out, because you just missed the "biggest election" our generation has ever seen. It's too bad for us, for you, and for the rest of the student body who deserves to hear both sides. We hope to see you around soon.

Courtney Heitkamp
Co-President, College Republicans