Finding my people

Leadership Training, Uncategorized

Coming into college, one known as a “party school”, I was nervous that as someone who is very strong in their faith, I wasn’t going to be able to find my place. However, I was very fired up about going to CMU and I knew that if I felt called to go there, then God was going to provide for me, and boy did he.

I had heard all about this great church at many different college campus’ called His House Christian Fellowship, and I was eager to give it a try. However, with my anxiety and the fact that I knew no one there, it took me a while to work up the courage to go. After going one Sunday and falling in love with the community, the worship, and the message, I knew I had to get more involved. After introducing myself to the connection intern, he excitedly told me that joining what is called a “life group” would be the perfect fit for me. I eagerly signed up because I was excited to meet a group of girls that I could hopefully bond with while growing in my faith even further.

After just a couple of days I got a call from a girl named Alyssa- just from hearing her voice I knew she was going to be one of the sweetest young women at school. She invited me with open arms to join her life group with another leader named Lynlee and a few other girls. Luckily, one of the other girls’ names sounded familiar because she was in the LAS sophomore cohort.

Fast forward 8 months and I do not know where I would be without these girls. They are some of the sweetest, kind-hearted, strong, empowering women I have ever met. Each of them have their own stories and hearing all the different ways that God has worked through them is beyond powerful to hear. I always looked forward to my Wednesday nights because it meant I got to laugh and grow with not only God but with some of the best gals ever!

Because of this group and how much I loved it, I decided to take a leap of faith (literally), and apply to be a life group next year. I have always loved helping lead in a church setting because not only am I helping guide others on a topic I am so passionate about, but I also am growing in my own faith through others’ lives. I truly do not know what I would do without my faith and I hope that I can help others see how much God loves them and wants to have a life with them.

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#BLESSED

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Dear Brooke,

Although we didn’t spend 24/7 together like some duo’s may, you have no idea how lucky I am to have a mentee like you. Your kindness is infectious beyond belief and your faith is so powerful that I know you are changing people’s hearts here at CMU and wherever you go.

From the moment I read about you, I knew I wanted you. I always wanted a mentee with whom I could share a love for God with, and boy was I right. Every time we met up, I left with the happiest heart because I always knew that God was doing great things in your life and because I loved hearing about all the ways that you were shining his light. Thank you for always being an encouragement in my life even though you probably had no idea you were. You impacted my life this year probably more than I did yours!

It has been so amazing to watch you grow into the almost college sophomore that you are! Isn’t it crazy to think that soon enough you are going to be writing a blog post to the next addition to our crazy family?! But seriously… your grandma and I were just talking about how independent you are, and boy is it crazy how opposite we are. I love knowing that even though I don’t see you all the time, I know you are ok and that you truly are thriving here on campus. I am so glad to see that you have found all the places that you fit in and where you are going to grow over the next few years on campus. I am so proud of you and everything you have accomplished this year… #proudmom

Thank you for making my sophomore year even more enjoyable, and I can’t wait to further our relationship with the newest addition to our family!

Much love,

Madeline

#retreatyoself2017

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Before embarking on this years Mentor Mentee Retreat, I sat down and gave myself time to just think about what I really wanted this weekend to look like and what I wanted to get out of it. Although this is my second year going on this retreat, it was still very new to me for a couple of reasons.

The first reason, and the most obvious one is because of my role. Last year I was that nervous yet excited Freshman who was ready to get to know her cohort and grow closer to her mentor. This year, I had the privilege of embarking on this adventure as a mentor to my beautiful mentee, Brooke Galloway. When I thought about this weekend with Brooke, I keep smiling thinking about all the fun things we were going to do together and about how excited I was to grow closer to her. Brooke is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met who has a heart on FIRE for Jesus and I love that so much about her. I was really hoping to be able to push Brooke out of her comfort zone and little did I know she would be doing the same thing to me.

I loved being able to watch my cohort interact with the new members of their LAS family tree and I absolutely loved the vibes of the weekend; the constant chatter and laughter coming from lifelong friendships being built, constant encouragement as friends help each other during the activities, and the sound of leaves blowing from the cool crisp air that chilled everyone’s fingers and toes. I gotta say, some of my favorite parts of the weekend were spent having quality conversations over a warm cup of coffee or hot cocoa.

However, my favorite part of the trip was the time I spent one-on-one with my mentee, learning about each other and growing with each other. I learned so much during our activities about how Brooke was a very strong leader and I admire that about her. I learned about how much more extraverted she is than me, but yet again research shows that yin and yang relationships are the strongest 😉 We spent the weekend laughing, pushing each other, and learning new things about one another. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with a better mentee.

Enjoy these pictures of our great weekend!

It’s ok to just say “no”. In fact, it’s better!

Leadership Education, Uncategorized

Recently, my cohort was asked to think about whether “leadership comes from saying the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” After first reading the prompt, I honestly didn’t even get what the question was asking, hence why it has taken me a whole week to even write this post.

I let this question sit in my head for days as I tried applying it to my life and to the leadership positions I have been in. How many times have I said no? Has it helped me become a better leader? What about famous people? What famous leaders said “no”? 

BOOM. That was when it hit me. Leadership comes from saying “no!”

Many of our nations greatest leaders were the ones who refused to conform to what the world was telling them. One of the greatest leaders who comes to my mind is Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks did not let anyone tell her what to do because she was a colored woman thus leading to her title as “the first lady of civil rights”. Her will to say no led her to become an amazing leader of her time.

Sometimes, especially for me, saying no sounds so mean and sometimes I shy out of saying no because I don’t want people to dislike me. And that is what we call a people pleaser. Dr Caren Aviv says “people pleasing is looking externally for affirmation, acceptance, and approval, rather than looking inwards”.I’m over living like that. How am I supposed to grow as a leader when I just conform to what everyone else says. As a leader, it is my job to stick up for what I am passionate about and say no to the things that I do not support. Saying no leads you to push yourself to become stronger and more independent in what you believe in.

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So from here, I invite you to look back on your life and how many times you let the word “no” stop you from sticking up for your passions and how many times you let the word “no” empower you and help you grow. Because when you start saying “no” to more things, I promise some serious growth will come out of it.

 

 

 

This One Is For You, Meama.

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Well first off, Happy Birthday!

Today you would be turning 74 and boy do I wish we were getting ready to celebrate with you here on Earth. None the less, today is a day to reflect on the amazing woman you were while you were here, and I have chosen to live out today the way you probably would’ve: full of love and reading. I miss you every day, Meama.

Secondly, this is what really inspired this blog post.

It’s hard for me to even comprehend that I have to be writing this in a blog instead of calling her or even walking over to the house to say “hello” since I’m finally close enough to do so. As most people know, the holiday’s can be very hard for those who have lost loved ones. As we begin to transition into two of the greatest holiday’s all about thankfulness and happy time’s spent with family, I can’t help but get a little teary eyed when I think about not having my wonderful Meama around to celebrate it with us. There are so many traditions that were passed on to me through my Meama who either shared it specifically with me or through my Mom, that I will cherish forever. One of my favorite traditions will always be listening to “9 Lessons and Carols”. I have to be honest, when I was younger having to listen to choral Christmas music instead of my Cheetah Girls Christmas CD was pretty tragic, but as I began to grow older I understood why it was so special to my Mom. A few years ago my Mom found out about a rendition of the program that was done at a church in Grosse Pointe; thus making a new tradition for our family ever since. Since losing my Meama, going back and hearing songs such as “Once in Royal David’s City” and “In the Bleak Midwinter” gets harder and harder knowing that I will never be sitting next to her listening to them, but at the same time I smile thinking of all the great memories I got to share with her during the holiday’s.

So Meama, this one is for you. For all the cherished times I got to spend with you and for all the holiday’s that you helped make so special. I can’t wait to hang all my ornaments on the tree and smile at them because you always seemed to pick out the funniest little ornaments for all your grandkids. I can’t wait to hopefully carry on these traditions with my kids, telling them all about you and your love for everyone, especially your family.

Much love,

Madeline

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There’s No Place Like Home

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It’s true people.

Theres something so satisfying about hopping into your bed at home; whether it’s after a long day of work, school, after a vacation, or in my case, after sleeping in a twin xl bed that can only get so comfy. As most of you know, growing up I was often the child that left a sleepover early because I struggled with homesickness. So to me, my home is a very special place to me. Before heading to college I told myself that coming home every weekend was not an option(especially because of weekend marching band performances). I knew that if I didn’t allow myself to settle in here, I would never get the full college experience and develop my independence. So, when coming home after a couple long weeks, there are many things that I realized I took for granted before I went away. Things as simple as home cooked meals, free laundry, a room to myself, familiar people all around me, my cozy bed, to things like snuggling with my parents, going to concerts, spending time with my best friends, and being with Will. Just looking at this list though makes me realize how truly blessed I am to have a home that is so near and dear to me and to have such amazing family and friends that when I do go home, we can just pick up from where we left off. College is truly such an amazing experience and I know I am already developing lifelong friendships and a place to call my second home, but never will I ever forget to spend some of my weekends at my real home, snuggled up with my family and friends.

 

Thank you to everyone back at home who have sent me texts, letters, Facebook messages, etc., encouraging me and letting me know you are praying for me. It honestly has meant so much to me and I am so thankful for all your love and support while I am doing what I love and pursuing my passions at my favorite college ever.

Much love,

Madeline

One month down! Many more to go….

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Reflecting on my first month as a Chippewa and an official college student, there are already so many things that I have learned:

1.) The food is sub par but the ice cream definitely isn’t!

Many times I have made it halfway out the door of the cafeteria and my stomach is already telling me it wasn’t a fan of whatever I just ate, but, this never seems to be an issue with the ice cream. I can really never go wrong with the waffle cone filled with twist ice cream, completed with colorful sprinkles on top. Now I know you are all now judging me on what I am eating, but this is leading to my next point.

2.) The gym is already my best friend.

Like most freshmen, one of the scariest things about college is the amount of times that people say “You WILL gain the freshmen 15.” I am determined to be one of the freshman to defy that saying. I promise I don’t eat the ice cream every day as much as I wish I could. Since I’m paying enough money to be here and part of that money goes towards me being able to use the wonderful athletic facilities, I decided that now is the time to get on started on my workout grind. Wish me luck as I continue that journey…

3.) Holy clubs!

For those of you who know the stereotype of CMU, you might be thinking I’m talking about clubs like Wayside, but I’m talking about the good clubs: the student organizations. I can’t even count how many there are at CMU, it’s so cool and so overwhelming. I recently joined two clubs, one religious and one that deals with children. I know both of these clubs will help me build my relationships with my community, fellow Chippewa’s, and even my faith. I am looking forward to all the service oppurtunities I will experince and all the bible studies I will be participating in.

4.) A whole new love for talking on the phone

Before going to college I absolutely hated having to call someone… I know, such a 21st century sounding teen, but seriously I hated it. Ever since going to college and being so far from my family, my best friends, and my boyfriend, there is something so reassuring about hearing their voices and being able to laugh together even though distance comes between us. It has helped me cope with my homesickness(which has gotten a lot better as well!).

5.) College marching band rocks

Ok maybe having practice every day doesn’t, but I have never felt more loved than I do when I am with the CMU marching band. We have so much fun that the long, hot, hard practices don’t even matter in the end. Also, it feels so good to be appreciated. Never once in high school did I feel like the student section actually cared about the marching band, so here, marching onto the field for the first time and hearing thousands of college kids cheering me on, had never felt better.

This list could go on and on and I probably should have included some of the hard things I’ve learned because trust me I am not living the dream every day up here. This journey is definitely going to be long and classes are only going to get harder, but the journey has already taught me so much more than I can ever comprehend and I am looking forward to the next few years because I know they will fly by.

 

Until next post! Happy almost Friday 🙂

My Comfort Zone Was So Comfy Though…

Leadership Education, Uncategorized

This past weekend was my first “Mentor Mentee Retreat” for LAS. The weekend was filled with many laughs, good talks, and of course, lots of leadership training. Heading into the weekend, I’m going to be honest, I just really wanted to stay in my dorm and catch up on much-needed sleep. I was really struggling with homesickness the night before and all I wanted to do was go home and be with my family; God clearly had this weekend all planned out because wow, was my mind totally changed after being on the retreat for just 5 seconds. I was so nervous as the weekend began because so many LAS people are crazy outgoing and that is one thing that I am definitely not(but trying to work on). When we broke into our small groups, we talked a lot about what we were looking to get out of the retreat and someone in my group responded that they wanted to step out of their comfort zone. Merriam-Webster defines a comfort zone as, “a place, situation, or level where someone feels confident and comfortable” Some examples of my comfort zone’s are church, family, marching band, Clarkston; anything but being around new environments. It wasn’t until the team building activities that I really realized how small my comfort zone was, and without the help of my fellow LAS friends it would have stayed that way. What I never realized before stepping out of my comfort zone was HOW DARN FUN THINGS ARE WHEN YOU AREN’T IN IT. Life is so boring if you just live your life in your little box doing the same things all the time. I can easily say I would’ve never enjoyed the high ropes course if all I worried about was how high up were. I would’ve never met half the LAS people I did if I wouldn’t have just sat down next to them at a meal; and I definitely wouldn’t have learned all about trust and leadership if I never would’ve stepped out of my comfort zone.

So many times I have let my anxiety get the best of me, but not anymore. It is SO hard to ever learn anything new or grow as a person/leader if you don’t take risks. I climbed a wall that had no ropes and nothing to hold onto simply because I put all my trust in my teammates to help me climb over it and forced myself to try new things, and it was so darn fun. So, ditch your comfort zone and have some fun because I promise, it WILL be more fun.

 

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image from Google

 

Madeline Peterson