Sunday, February 27, 2011

little emily

WOW! What an amazing weekend, to say the least. Here is a quick recap on all of the fabulous activities that partook...

So happy to have my little, Emily Durham, finally in my arms on a bright and early Saturday morning!

Welcome to the POWER FAM little one

I am a BIG!!

I loved cheering SO loudly for my KJ as she dominated on defense for Gladiator. So proud!

Just hangin' with the lit

Dinner party with the fam

We really do love you little Em!

Little and me with our curled hair for Aphiesta. Thank goodness for Emily's friend Alex, who we hired to come over and curl both of our hair. Don't worry, we fed her tacos out of gratitude! 

I have the best family in the world!

And what better way to end a FABULOUS weekend than a Hokie win over #1 Duke in basketball!!! It's a great day to be an Alpha Phi, and a great day to be a Hokie. I love my life!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

just a few updates

So I was planning on updating the CAT's meow on Monday night about Alpha Phi's Cardiac Care Day, but since BIT homework has been consuming my life I didn't get around to it.

Well, Monday was Cardiac Care Day. All the girls in Alpha Phi wore the new Alpha Phi red scarfs and gave out heart shaped lollipops around campus to raise awareness for heart disease, the number one killer of women. I'd say it was a success!! We all had a great time going up to strangers on campus and giving them heart lollis. My favorite response I got when handing a lollipop to some dude was, "Is this for free?" Why yes it is a free lollipop, I guess that made his day. Shout out to Alli Sharper, who is our amazing Director of Philanthropy, for doing such a great job with planning and executing everything on Cardiac Care Day.

Today, Elder Wheatley left the MTC and is flying out to Portugal. He is still in the air somewhere, which is so funny to think about considering his insane fear of flying! I am sure the other Elders are holding his hand. I got my last little package from him in the mail today. It had a nice letter, some pictures of him and his buddies in Utah, and a candy cane with a note that said, "Merry Early 2011 Christmas, it will be too expensive to send anything for Christmas in Portugal. Here you go!" Oh, James. I guess it will be awhile before I get another letter or any pictures of the Portugal life. I am so jealous, I am sure it's beautiful there! Safe travels. Here is a great skype throwback from like December...

teamwork processes - orientation 2011

At the beginning of this semester, I was selected to be an Orientation Leader for this summer’s Freshman Orientation. There were 24 Orientation Leaders selected, and there are 6 Orientation Assistants who were Orientation Leaders last summer. The Orientation Assistants (OA’s) are responsible for making the 24 Orientation Leaders (OL’s) feel prepared and comfortable with the structure and goals of Freshman Orientation. Once a week, on Wednesday nights, we have Orientation training where we learn various leadership styles and skills that make up a great Orientation Leader. The team also spends time in training getting to know each other, and building on the skills that each individual has to offer. It is very important that the Orientation Team carries out the critical team beginnings steps this semester at training before we are fully immersed in Orientation this summer.

So What?
According to Tuckman and Jensen’s group development theory, which focuses on the development of internal relations among team members, the Orientation Team must go through various steps to create a high-performing team. First was the “Forming” stage, which was completed when the Dean of Students Office and the Orientation Assistants completed the application process and selected a team of 24 Orientation Leaders. The current stages that the 2011 Orientation Team is working on are the “Storming” and “Norming” stages. 

At Orientation training, the team is setting goals, establishing norms, and socializing. The Orientation Team defines its purpose via the Orientation Mission Statement. We also set sub-goals for ourselves when we break off into our individual Orientation groups composed of one OL and about 20 freshmen. Right off the bat, the team established norms, or ground rules, for both training in the spring and Orientation in the summer. And finally, it is so important that the 30 OL’s and OA’s work on group socialization so that we can perform as a great team, and do amazing things for the newest Hokies this summer at Orientation.

Now What?
As the semester continues, the Orientation Team will remain working in the Storming and Norming stages of Tuckman and Jensen’s model. However, when Freshman Orientation rolls around in July, it will be time for the team to shift into the “Performing” stage. We will need to use all that we have learned in training, and apply it to our Orientation groups so that the freshmen can have the best experience possible. Once Orientation is over, the final stage of the model will take place, “Adjourning.” This will compose of reflecting on things that were great about Freshman Orientation, and also things the team can improve on for future years. To be honest, I don’t even want to think about the Adjourning stage quite yet. I’m only getting started!

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy valentines day!

As I sit here eating a delicious cinnabon that I treated myself to this Valentines Day, I am reflecting on just how blessed and lucky I am to have such a loving family and wonderful friends in my life.

During the past week leading up to Valentines Day, I have felt tons and tons of love from my family and friends. Valentines Day 2011 has definitely been one for the books. Here are just a few reasons why:

Last weekend, Lindsay and I made Funfetti Valentines Day cupcakes for the townhouse, and for our visitors throughout the week. They were so much fun to bake, and really got us into the Valentines Day spirit.

Throughout the week, I received Valentines Day care packages from both Angel and PD and Grandpa and Debbie. I have the best grandparents a girl could ever ask for!!

Angel and PD sent me treats and goodies to put together Valentines Day baggies to distribute to my roommates, sisters, and friends. They were so cute, and everyone loved them. It was so great to see the smiles on everyones faces when I handed them the baggies! Sorry for those of you who didn't get one, I only had a limited supply. But know that I love each and every one of you just the same!

Grandpa and Debbie sent me one of their infamous Popcorn Factory tins. Inside was cheddar popcorn, white cheddar popcorn, cinnamon popcorn, candy hearts, chocolates, cookies, nuts, etc. The roomies and I always love diving into the fun holiday tins!

But today, on Valentines Day, came some of the biggest surprises of all! I woke up this morning ready to tackle my ECON exam and COMM online quiz. Those were really the only things on my mind. Once I had finished those, I got home and went on facebook to look at all of the beautiful flowers and Valentines Day mobile uploads. Not complaining and whining or anything, just appreciating.

So I went outside to check the mail around 4 like I always do, and inside my little mailbox was a valentine from KZ! I truly do have the best friends in the world. She is always so thoughtful and on top of things, and I am thankful for her and the Fab4 everyday! Thank you so much KZ, I love you with all my heart.

Shortly after checking the mail, I came back inside and our doorbell rang. Megas opened the door and there was a package...for me! From Elder James Wheatley! I couldn't believe it. It feels like I just wrote about getting a package from James, probably because I just did. But he sent me another! A Valentines Day package. What a guy!! Literally made my day with his homemade valentine, cookies, heart lollipops, sweethearts, hershey kisses, and chocolates. I'm still smiling!

So I guess I have had my share of Valentines for the year! I am so thankful for all of the love I felt today. But behind all of the pink and red, flowers and chocolates, kisses and sweethearts, there is just good old EVERYDAY LOVE. Now that's the good stuff.

I hope everyone had just as fabulous of a Valentines Day as I did this year, because you all deserve it! 

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

characteristics of teams - relay for life

Relay For Life, a year-round fundraiser for The American Cancer Society, at Virginia Tech is well-known for being the #1 Collegiate Relay. At Virginia Tech’s Relay For Life in April, students, faculty, and members of the New River Valley come together over the course of one full night on the drillfield to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and to fight back against the disease. This year, I am a member of the Marketing Committee for Virginia Tech’s Relay For Life. Our committee consists of 11 very dedicated individuals seeking out new and effective ways to market such a large event. The committee meets once a week to discuss upcoming marketing strategies and ideas. Marketing is such an important part of making Relay For Life successful, so it is imperative that our team effectively works together to reach out to the Virginia Tech community.

So What?
I would definitely categorize our Marketing Committee as a team as opposed to a group. What is the difference you may ask? According to Levi, a team is typically composed of 4-20 individuals who work interdependently to achieve a common goal. A group, however, ranges in size from 2-thousands of individuals who have a purpose or goal that is shared by all group members, but those individuals may not be working with each other directly.

My committee works together to come up with new marketing ideas each week, and also implements those ideas around the community. We are working all year on one specific aspect of Relay For Life. There are many other committees designated to other aspects, including fundraising, events, spirit, accounting, etc. Each Relay committee is its own team, and together we all make up a group.

Now What?
Now that I have established the Marketing Committee as a team, I will be very critical of our team’s success throughout the rest of the semester. I think the best way to see if our committee is being successful and productive is to use Hackman’s 3 criteria to defining team success:
1. Completing the task
2. Developing social relations
3. Benefiting the individual. 

So far, our committee has definitely developed good social relations because we work very well together, and get everything accomplished in a timely manner. By the end of April, I will be curious to see how we stack up in regards to the rest of Hackman’s 3 definitions of team success.

Monday, February 7, 2011

just a heads up

The CAT's meow is about to be taken over by a few "leadership blogs" from time to time. Please do not feel the need to read them. They are for my Elements of Team Leadership class, in which we need to write a blog pertaining to each unit. And it just seemed more convenient to put the blogs on the CAT's meow.

That's all for now,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

never give up

About a month ago my little (or not so little) brother, Michael, tore his ACL playing CYA house basketball. Nope, he didn't tear it during the brutal and physical football and lacrosse seasons, but during the off-season while playing basketball just for kicks. 

This morning he had his surgery right in the Franklin Farm shopping center. I have been bbm-ing him, and even got to talk to him on the phone earlier this afternoon. Besides a few slurred words, he sounded like he was handling it very well. Didn't complain about the pain or anything! 

I totally admire Michael for being so strong and composed about this whole situation. It is definitely a roadblock in his high school athletic career, but how he has been handling it is unlike anything I could have ever imagined. He doesn't whine and cry like I did when I injured my back before my senior year on dance team. Michael remains fully confident in the fact that he will return to the football field in the fall as a starting linebacker. With that attitude, how could he go wrong? I know that he will put 110% into his 6 months of physical therapy, and will be back at it in no time.

I never knew I could admire my little Mikey as much as I do tonight. He is teaching me so much about patience, persistence, and positive attitude. And I am sure he has NO idea! I am so proud of you bro, keep your head up and everything will fall right back into place for you. I just know it will.