Navigate Me

As college students we often get tied up in the thought of “Where am I going to work after school?”, “Who will I marry?”, “Will I have enough money to support a family?”, “How about to go on vacations?”

While these are valid concerns for the stage of life we are living in, we can’t forget that we already HAVE a job. We already HAVE a significant other. And lastly we already HAVE our travels planned. We simply need to follow God’s will to get what He has in store for us. This means following His commandments in ENTIRETY. When we stray from them and take shortcuts, we throw everything off course.

Sometimes things don’t go as we necessarily plan for them to go, but that is because God has a GREATER plan than we could ever imagine at that point in time. The important thing is, to achieve His ultimate, we have to do what is right. We have to hate sin as God hates it. We have to completely be changed by Him to be navigated by Him. So what do you say? Do you want God to be your navigator? Do you want to live the life He desires of you…the one you were created for? It is your choice.

~V.

Becoming a Flight Attendant

The most complex project I ever took on was pursuing a job as a flight attendant for American Airlines. I remember arriving at the Dallas Airport shocked that I flew to an unfamiliar place alone, and would be staying for 6.5 weeks to pursue a job I knew absolutely nothing about. It seemed like the entire hiring process just happened so fast, that I didn’t really have time to contemplate what was going on. Rather, I placed my reservations aside, and pushed myself to do the unthinkable. Only two weeks before training was over, I found out that I would be based in Miami. I remember calling my mom from my hotel room balcony, choking back the tears, and asking her to please pack up any clothes and appliances she found of mine, so that they could be shipped to my new base. I didn’t know when I could return home, because I would have to start the job and find a place to live in Miami within 5 days after training ended. While I was excited, I was completely overwhelmed, and was not sure how to react to what was happening. Thinking back, I realize that I never could have found a place in time or pursued that lifestyle without my mom’s love, help, and support.  She packed up all my things and arranged to have my car transported to Miami. Not only that, but she reassured me every time I felt like giving up that everything would be ok. If the flight attendant thing didn’t work out, I was always welcome back home in Pennsylvania.  Her gentle words and attitude mirrored that of the blessed mother. Like the blessed mother, she possessed an unconditional welcome and continual loving support for a child with big plans.

All-in-all, the flight attendant training program turned out to be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding times of my life. I learned life-saving skills that I will carry with me forever, For example, I learned CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, how to deliver a baby, how to put out a fire, basic self-defense tactics, how to evacuate an airplane, how to construct a raft, how to navigate an airport, etc. Because the program was designed to adjust our bodies to unpredictable schedules, my fellow trainees and I had to wake up at 4 A.M. most days to be to class for 6 A.M. I remember being so tired for class, but thinking: “There has got to be a reason for all this.” I put my trust in God, and kept going.

All-in-all, working as a flight attendant for a year made me a stronger, more cultured person. Living in a crash pad with 5 other girls in Miami was comparable to a college experience, which was something I never had in Pennsylvania because I always commuted to college from home. Through it, I made some of my craziest memories and was introduced to some of my best, life-long friends. Aside from the fun, it taught me responsibility, as I made sure that our bills were always paid on time and that everyone who inquired about the apartment, signed the lease.

Looking back, being a flight attendant is something I would never trade. It played a huge role in shaping the person I am today. Like I mentioned before, the entire experience fell into place so quickly that I never had time to contemplate if what I was doing was the right. After a year of pursuing the job, and a lot of silent prayer in the jumpseat, I realized that I should pursue a more intellectually stimulating and stable career. If I wanted to someday have the family I always dreamed of, I would need to find a position with a more predictable schedule. Also, I knew I wanted to continue my education, but was not sure when. After being accepted and offered a graduate assistantship that would significantly decrease the price of tuition at Bloomsburg University, I knew it was time to end my job with as a flight attendant.

If I could go back, I would have pursued my MBA upon graduation in 2015 and applied to be a flight attendant after that. I loved the job, but felt like the timing for it was wrong. I don’t know what the future will hold, but my hopes are to secure an administrative position with American after completing my graduate degree. If so, I will need to make sure I have the proper support system and plan in place. I am so thankful for what my family, especially my mom, sacrificed to help me live out my dream. However, I would like my next endeavor to be a little more planned out and not as spontaneous and stressful to the ones I love.

Lemon Blueberry Scones

When life gives you 🍋’s… Make these. 

Ingredients:

• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup Hodson Mill Insta Bake (whole wheat variety baking mix)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 stick butter
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup greek yogurt (vanilla, blueberry, or cherry)
• 8 tablespoons milk
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 cup fresh blueberries

Egg wash:

• 1 large egg beaten
• 1 teaspoon milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, and sugar. Cut butter into mixture. Add beaten egg, milk, and yogurt.

On a floured surface, shape dough into a 9 inch round. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Cut in segments. Press additional blueberries on top and brush with egg wash. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Perfect Pie Crust (Grammy Broyan’s Recipe)

Ingredients:

• 3 cups flour
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 cup Crisco
• 1 cup warm water

Directions:

Cut Crisco into flour and salt mixture. Add 1/2 of the water and knead together. Add remaining water and finish kneading until ready to roll out.

To roll out, place 1/3 of the dough in between two pieces of waxed paper. Use a rolling pin to flatten it to about an 1/8 of an inch thickness.

Take off top piece of waxed paper and invert dough into pie dish. Remove second layer of waxed paper. Crimp edges of dough around pie dish, cut off excess dough, and fill with pie filling! (Makes 3 pies)

When Accounting is Life

Five years ago I took the advice of my older sister: “Don’t take financial accounting.” Instead, I substituted it for principles of accounting I and II. Basically I had to take two classes in lieu of one, which was much harder than just taking financial accounting in the first place! Nevertheless, I ended up learning a lot more than many of the other management majors, and and ended up passing an upper-level managerial accounting course with flying colors. 👍🏽

Fast forward 5 years, and I now find myself taking a graduate level accounting course. While it is not my favorite course, I am developing a greater appreciation for the subject. I’ve noticed that many accounting principles are applicable to the way in which we should live out our lives. What do I mean by this? Well… consider the basic accounting equation:

Assets=Liabilities+Owner’s Equity

Assets: Wouldnt it be nice to live in such a way where we are living, breathing assets to those we meet? That is, we benefit those around us just by being our authentic best-versions of ourselves?

Owner’s Equity: In order to be an asset to others, we need to invest in becoming the person God truly created us to be.  A few simple ways we can do this include:

1. Investments in our educations. We should learn as much as possible while we are young so that we can capitalize on it when we are old and secure well-paying, intrinsically satisfying careers.

2. Investments for our hearts, souls, and bodies. We should invest our hearts for the one God has in plan for us. This means engaging in pure relationships before marriage. Trust me, it will just make things easier down the road for you and your partner when you don’t have to suffer the shame of explaining why you did the things you did in the past.

Liabilities: Of course, when investing there are costs that must be covered and a certain level of risk associated with our choice in dealing with them. Costs of investing in our futures may include…

1. Monies paid for education. These should be monitored closely! God forbid you leave your significant other with a huge debt to help pay someday…they won’t like it. When I look back, I am very thankful that my father worked at the university that I attended and I was able to get my undergraduate degree for free. If I had not performed a cost-benefit analysis first, my 17 year-old self may have chosen to attend Cornell University, and been faced with a tremendous amount of student debt. Luckily, I had a well developed self-concept back in the day and realized that I didn’t need an Ivy League education to be happy. My advice to you is to borrow advice from people who have “been there and done that” when deciding on educational investments and pay it forward with well thought-out, informed actions.

2. Ridicule and occasional loneliness are other costs incurred when choosing to live our lives as an asset. Some people will not see value in a proactive and pure lifestyle, and may even rebuke you for it. When dealing with belittling people, owe yourself a favor and disregard it.

So even if accounting is the bane of your existence, it offers some important life lessons: Surround yourself with people who see value in long term investments and focus on managing relationships with them. Had I not taken 5 million accounting courses, I may have never come to this realization… it is just a reminder that everything happens for a reason and some of the most rewarding realizations occur after our hardest battles. 🖤

Love always,

V.

A Diamond in the Rough

Just recently, I transitioned from being a flight attendant in Miami to pursuing a MBA program in my small, quiet hometown in Pennsylvania. While I thought it would be a great decision to continue school, it ended up turning into a disaster. The person who I thought would be battling out the program with me, decided to take his life in another direction…one that didn’t involve me at all. I now find myself at an all-time low- one where I try to mend my broken heart and balance 4 highly intensive graduate classes, a graduate assistant position, and the start-up of a new active-wear business, ArcAngel Apparel. While I am often overwhelmed and on the verge of tears, I have faith that things will get better soon. When I recently read the fourth principle from the book, Happiness Advantage, about how one can capitalize the “down times” in his or her life to bring about greater good, I knew that it was not by coincidence. I needed to hear those reassuring words.  

Perhaps the most important takeaway from the book is found within the fourth principle. It is about “finding a third path”. The author, Shawn Achor, explains that when adversity strikes, we are faced with 3 paths:

1. The first is where one circles around his or her current negative situation

2. The second is where he or she gravitates towards an even more negative situation

3. The third is where he or she uses the negative situation to propel towards a positive outcome.

Reflecting upon this, I realized that upon moving home, I became stuck on the first path. I have been focusing on all the ways my current life situation has kept me from living out the life I truly desire. My mind has become a whirlwind of all the instances where “If I had done this instead…” maybe the situation would be different now. Essentially, I have become lost because of the adversity I experienced- an adversity caused by a failed attempt at loving someone who simply did not and does not care about me. I realize now that I need to convert all the negative energy into a determined mindset… one where I MUST reach my goals. Ultimately, I will need to navigate to a third path.

In terms of leadership, this is essential. If I plan to launch a clothing company that embodies the qualities I think our souls should- that is, strength, durability, and virtuosity- I need to make sure that my own soul is living within those dimensions.  I need to meet people who will support my vision and realize my worth. Essentially, I need to become surrounded with people who “appreciate assets”, as Shawn Achor describes it. These people are the ones who see value in creating and maintaining lasting relationships and invest in others’ well-being.

I think the most logical way to go about finding a third path is to focus on becoming a living-asset to others before expecting them to do so for me. This will require stepping out of my comfort zone and making an effort to build a support system. For this reason, I plan to take this week to find at least one club I can join at college. I also plan to incorporate random acts of kindness, fasting, and prayer within my week. By the grace of God, and by utilizing my strong interpersonal skills to help others, I think that my life will be changed. The seemingly hopeless situation I am in will eventually blossom into something beautiful. It may just take time.

Interpersonal Instruction Manual: An effective way to gain insight into the way those you know and love, think

Well, wouldn’t you know, it’s that time of year again: back to school time! The time I could not wait to get away from growing up, and have somehow found myself at again. This time, however, pursing a Masters of Business Administration at Bloomsburg University. I guess God has a way of placing His children exactly where we need to be, but I can honestly attest to the fact that I have no idea why He has brought me back to where it all started: my little hometown in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, I will trust in His providence.

As with all new beginnings, usually the ones that shake us up and place us out of our comfort zones, comes new insight into the way we think and deal with change. One way in which I gained insight this past week was by completing my first Principled Leadership, Ethics, and Professional Development assignment of the semester: a “user manual” that reveals my style of leadership, what I value, what I have patience for, how to communicate with me, how to help me, and misconceptions about me, to my fellow classmates.

For purposes of this article, I renamed “user manual” to “interpersonal instruction manual,” because it eliminates the negative connotations associated with the word “user”. “Users” have no business writing or reading each others’ manuals, as they are only concerned with his or her own personal gain.  Conversely, “interpersonal instruction,” negates that idea; it relates to communication and relationships between others… ultimately those who know and care to learn more about you. Unlike a user manual, an interpersonal instruction manual is a means of love, that can build better, more conscientious, and more lasting relationships.

My assignment is reproduced below.  Try making an interpersonal instruction manual and share it with someone you love!

Love always,

V.

1. My style when working with others (as a leader and/or team member)…

  • I believe in “work before play.” While I enjoy working with fun-loving
    people, I place high regard for accomplishing tasks before relaxing and conversing.
  •  I appreciate time when it comes to making decisions. I don’t like feeling rushed or obligated into doing something I don’t have time to analyze first.
  • I like to capitalize on others’ strengths by delegating tasks to those that have the most knowledge in a specific area.
  • I place a high regard on making sure those I am surrounded by feel appreciated for, and motivated about, the work they do.

2. What I value…

  • I value a healthy work-life balance. I work best when I feel well rested and have something fun to look forward to at both home and work.
  • I believe that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. If you want something, go out and get it! If you feel a need to change, change! If you feel a certain way about someone, tell them! Do not hold back on opportunity because you may never get the chance to revisit it again.
  • I value improvement in areas of weakness. I believe in frequent examination of one’s actions, motives, and conscience to help reveal these areas needing improvement.
  • I appreciate humility and am not afraid to ask for help. I expect my team members to do the same.

3. What I don’t have patience for…

  • I am turned off by vagueness. Withholding parts of the truth is essentially a lie, and I will not continue doing business with anyone if I feel this is happening.
  • Interruption is rude. You will never see me interrupting others, as I value what is going through their minds. Please have the same respect for me.
  • I don’t like gossip. Talking behind others’ backs is deceitful. If you have a problem with someone, try to resolve it privately with that person first.
  • I get upset when my messages are ignored. If you don’t have time to talk about something, just acknowledge you saw my message, and answer it when you have time. Please don’t leave me hanging.

4. How to communicate with me…

  • Use a calm tone. Tones of accusation or immediacy make me nervous.
  • Check-in frequently. I like hearing what you’ve accomplished and share with you what I’ve done too.
  • Send texts. My Apple Watch is my favorite accessory, so if you need an answer quickly, don’t be afraid to text. I promise I will answer that more quickly than an email or phone call.
  • Be specific. If you’d like something done a certain way, please tell me. I will try to complete it that way, to the best of my ability.

5. How to help me…

  • Be constructive, not destructive. Offer both compliments and recommendations for improvement, when deserved.
  • Be honest about my performance. If I am not up to par on something, let me know so I can focus on that more.
  • Become a friend. I feel much more comfortable working with someone I can call a friend than I do for someone who treats me like a number.
  • If I don’t understand something, please take time to explain it to me. While I am driven to succeed, sometimes things take a bit of time to sink in. I may need some additional explanation to fully grasp the information at hand.

6. What people misunderstand about me…

  • Despite being quiet at times, I am easy to talk to and appreciate when people take an interest in what I’ve been up to lately.
  • I have a greater goal of serving God in every endeavor I take on. If something comes along that seems to disrupt my relationship with God, I cut it out of my life.
  • Sometimes I like to be alone. Not because I don’t like the people I am with, but because I need time to recharge from social situations.
  • When I smile, it is not because I am always happy with the way things are going. My smile encompasses my attempt to make the best of every situation and trust that better things are coming.

V’s Banana Bread

One of the coziest, most lovely scents in the entire world is the aroma of freshly baked banana bread just being taken out of the oven. Here is one of my favorite recipes for it!

Ingredients for Banana Bread:
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1 1/4 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• 2 cups flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup over-ripe, mashed bananas
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for Banana Bread:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans, and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and sour cream.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Blend in dry ingredients alternately with bananas. Add remaining ingredients. Fill loaf pans with batter and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Icing:
• 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
• 1/4 cup softened butter
• 4 oz cream cheese
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions for Cream Cheese Icing:
Mix all ingredients and spread over cooled banana bread.

Oven Roasted Zucchini (Gluten Free)

Ingredients:

• 1 medium-sized zucchini
• Olive oil
• 2 tbsp chopped, fresh basil
• 1 tbsp dried oregano
• 1 tbsp thyme leaves
• 1 tsp garlic salt
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Cut zucchini in small segments (lengthwise). Arrange segments on a broiler pan and drizzle generously with olive oil. Combine parmesan cheese, herbs, and salt and sprinkle over zucchini.

Bake for 20 minutes. Increase heat to broil and broil for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.