The Grand Finale

If you’ve ever participated in a long distance race, you know all about the need for endurance, vision, and goals to see you through to the end of the race. Without them, you might get half way through a marathon, then look in the wrong direction and cast your eyes on an adorable 6-year old selling pink lemonade and shortbread cookies on the corner. If you’re anything like I am, you’d be done for.

Endurance, vision, and goals are the energy that can sustain and push us forward when we feel that we simply can’t run the race of life for another moment. They help us to keep our eyes focused on the finish line of whatever challenge we might be facing, eliminating the distractions that cause us to stumble and fall; assisting us in taking our minds off of any physical pain that we might be feeling.

I used to know diddly squat about endurance. The only kind that I was even remotely familiar with involved making it through the emotional strain of a Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey craving from one paycheck to the next… Then I enrolled in college and I became enlightened to the truest meaning of “EVG”.

Flash back to January 10, 2011. You may not recall what you were doing on that day, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the first of my Monday academic “days from Hell”.  This past school term, every Monday I had classes from 7:30am until 8:30pm. Oh, and I’m not talking about fun classes like Bacon Identification or Baking with Nutella 101 (for the love of all that is good in the world, I TRULY hope that Chef Jeff at Fox Valley Tech decides to add those classes to the culinary program one day!) Nope, for 19 weeks I spent my Mondays sitting through 3 hours each of “Tourism – A Community Approach”, “Hospitality Law”, and “Math with Business Applications”. I suspect that even the finest of academic overachievers would yawn a time or two through those classes. However, ENDURANCE saw me through to the end of Hell day, so that I could focus on my classes for the remainder of the week. I won’t sugar coat the situation…for a month or so, it was looking as though yours truly might throw in the white flag on the whole college experience and walk away in defeat. Then I remembered why I had enrolled…my GOALS and VISION for a better future for Brian and myself. I trudged on, (at times, grunting and groaning), but I made it through each and every week. Then I made it through the first month… and the second….and with EVG along for the ride, I made it all the way through the term.

So here I stand at the GRAND FINALE! I’vemade it through some of my toughest courses to date. The ironic thing about that is, in prior semesters, where my classes were a bit less challenging, I still somehow managed to end up with one or two “B”‘s on my report card. So how is it that I pulled off a 19 credit course load and somehow managed to get straight “A”‘s?! On second thought, who really cares why?!  The point is, I FINALLY got the 4.0 GPA I’ve been working so hard for and so desperately wanting.

On occasion, I actually rock my own world… YAY ME!

Because summer break is the time for college students to relax and enjoy the finer things in life, I plan to kick it off right.  I’m going to make a huge batch of Jamie’s orzo salad, grill some flank steak, serve it up with INCREDIBLY awesome mango salsa from Todd and Diane, and finish off the meal with Jessica’s Better Than Crack brownies.


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