Tag Archives: Growing-Up

Becoming a Butterfly

31 Mar

Spring is a time of change. The snow melts. The days start to get longer. The trees bloom and the flowers awaken. And in no time at all, there will be butterflies.

I’ve always been fascinated with butterflies, not because of their colors or their grace, but because of the amount of change they endure in such a short lifetime. Within the span of a-couple-months, a Monarch butterfly will hatch from an egg, spend its days consuming leaves as a larvae (caterpillar), attach itself to the stem of a plant or branch as the pupa (while it undergoes 10 days of change in the chrysalis), until it finally emerges as an adult butterfly with mere weeks left to lay an egg to ensure the survival of the species before passing away.

Change does not come easy to me – it never has, and it doesn’t matter how big or small a change may be, it causes me to over think, over analyze and over worry. I would be a terrible butterfly. I’ve hatched from an egg all alone in the world. Is this plant I’m on safe to eat? What if my chrysalis detaches during a storm? Will I be strong enough to break out of this thing when it’s time? How will my wings know how to fly without being taught? What if I fall? Now I have to produce the next generation – that’s a lot of pressure!

It’s a really good thing I’m not a butterfly – I may have never made it out of the egg!

Just like the butterfly, I find myself in a season of change. I am taking steps to return to school to further my education, a goal I set for myself when I watched my mom graduate with her Master’s degree, the first in her family and the best role model I could have ever asked for.

Scott and I are also apartment hunting. Together we’ve looked at two apartment layouts at one complex, he looked at a different complex today before work, and I’ll look it over on Saturday. I’m ready to have our own place, but I find myself on a rollercoaster of emotions from excitement  to totally terrified.

More often than not these days, I wake with knots in my stomach and a pounding headache after nights of stressful dreams. I know I’m worried about finances and finding an apartment that is clean and in a safe neighborhood. But I’m also worried about me. Living in Florida for a year while on the Disney College Program was one thing, I knew when it ended I would be returning home, to my room, to my safe haven. Now, that’s not an option.

I don’t know who I am outside of these blue bedroom walls – they have been my sanctuary since I was 10 years old (but I should mention that when we built this house I was all about the pink frilly life, so the walls were baby doll pink). This room has seen me change from pre-teen to an adult woman. I have slammed the door after arguments with my parents, shared my deepest, darkest secrets with friends, and cried my heart out in here when a boy carelessly broke my heart. This room has seen many late nights finishing homework or finishing a book that I just couldn’t put down. I do my best thinking and writing from this spot on my bed, staring out the window at the post office and the great void beyond.

My room has changed with me, always adapting to my needs. From pink to blue, from Barbie dolls to mountains of mystery and romance books, and my embarrassing love of Billy Gilman to my new love of running races.

But as I look around, I notice how the room doesn’t feel as big as it once did. Maybe that’s because I share it now. Most of Scott’s belongings aren’t even in here, they are sitting in our front room downstairs waiting for a place to call home. Or maybe it’s because, like the butterfly who knows when 10 days have past and it’s time to emerge, I know the time has come to move on.

I doubt the butterfly ever thinks about what happens to the chrysalis it left behind. I, on the other hand, think about a time when this room will no longer be “my room.” One of my sisters will move in here. They have always shared a room and have been chomping at the bit for me to pick up and leave already. I can’t blame them, it is nice having a space all your own in the house. Whomever moves in will change the walls, redecorate and add her own personal touch to the space. I will be erased. Just a memory of yesterday. My safe haven claimed by someone new.

It may be silly to feel so attached to a room, but we are each unique and have our own quirks. Maybe you are attached to a specific coffee mug, car or jacket. Called it an adult version of a security blanket, it’s that one thing you can count on being there to pick you up and warm your heart. And soon, I will be walking away from mine. I think I will feel lost for a while, unsure of my footing in my new room. But I hope with time I will feel comfortable there.

Change is never easy, but in order to progress through life it is a necessary evil. And so it is at these late hours of the night I find myself praying that my wings will know how to fly because whether I want to or not, I’m changing into a butterfly.

Do you live for change or does every cell in your body fight for things to remain as they always have like me? Tell me your best tips and advice for surviving a season of change! I don’t know how many more rough nights and anxiety starting mornings I can take.

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A Season of Love, Laughter and snow

23 Feb

It’s funny how words can have so many different meanings. Season for example, could mean “what’s the weather like” or “what phase of life are you in?”

For this week’s photo challenge, we were asked to share a photo that exemplifies season. I found a photo that captures both the weather and my life, I’m just that good!

Right now where I live in mid-west USA we are experiencing winter. I really can’t complain that much though, Old Man Winter just found us last week and the 8 inches of snow he dumped on us melted three days later. We had one or two days of flurries in November, 50 degrees and green grass on Christmas day and in January there were days I left work and didn’t bother to put my coat on. I hope we are almost done with winter though, I’m ready for shorts and sandals.

On the flip side of the season’s coin, my life has entered a new season. Scott and I are no longer in a long distance relationship, THANK GOODNESS! For the first time, we are living in the same place! It has been exciting coming home after work and finding him there! And learning new things about each other. It’s so wonderful to have him here every single day! I have never felt so happy and full of possibilities. We are also excited because we’ll soon be looking for our own place and traveling to see his family in Chicago in the coming months for his sister’s wedding! So many exciting things in store – I have a feeling it’s only going to get better from here!

A couple laughing in the snow

Photo credit: Photography By Constance

“Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life…”

19 Feb

When I was growing up, I had big dreams about the kind of career I wanted – I was going to be an astronaut doctor who ran down the halls fixing computers.

My creativity knew no limits even as a child. Don’t ask me how this particular occupation was born because I honestly don’t know. I have a feeling I took all the things that interested me at the time and mixed them together and came up with something awesome!  

Sadly, I did not grow up to do any of those things – I don’t love science or math enough to have survived all the education required to become an astronaut, the human body makes me squirm so doctoring was out (fun fact though, I did work at a hospital for three years in a communications role!) and finally, I’ll leave all the computer fixing to my dad, my favorite go-to IT guy!

So where did my career path lead me in life – I have a degree in advertising and have spent 4 years in various public relations and media specialist roles. My typical job responsibilities have included writing press releases, graphic design for ads/billboards/marketing materials, helping with event planning and serving as the contact person where the media is concerned. No two days are ever the same which is nice, but I am beginning to feel burned out. For four years I have worked in one kind of medical setting or another and it’s just not something that interests me or that I am passionate about. I don’t wake up excited to go to work and it’s recently got me thinking about what I really want to do – what my dream job today would be….

There’s a popular quote that goes by ancient Chinese sage Confucius that goes “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Sounds simple enough.

I love to read and write. I enjoy editing and thinking about word placement and arrangements. My idea of a good time is getting lost in a book, really lost to the point I don’t know what’s happening in the world around me.

According to Wikipedia, there’s such a thing as a beta reader, “a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting. Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption.” After some research though, it turns out most beta readers don’t get paid, they just read for the love of reading. I’d be okay with that, I’m always on the hunt for new books to sink my teeth into.

So back to my dream job, maybe its an editor. I love reading as I’ve already pointed out, and I enjoy writing, hence my blog, and I’ve been editing my sisters’ papers since they were  high school freshmen. It would be pretty cool to be paid to rearrange sentences and replace words with stronger ones. Not to mention, it would be nice holding the always feared red pen for once – so much power in that little tool. But there would also be that satisfaction that I helped improve someone’s writing, and that has always brought me joy. I love being able to help people better express their thoughts and ideas in writing. Over the years many people have told me I have a way with words, may it’s time to embrace this unique talent! The only problem I can foresee is there aren’t many editors in my little neck of the woods in mid-west USA, and I’m not sure I want to move far, far away from my family to be an editor. I’ll have to look into this some more, wouldn’t it be great if there was an online company or a little publication I don’t know about close-by?! That would be amazing – where can I apply, I have my resume ready to go!

On the flip side, there’s another career path I wouldn’t mind having, that of a Cosmetologist. WIthin the last few years, I have become so interested in learning new hairstyles and mostly trying them out on myself! It’s amazing how many ways there are to braid, pin, curl, twist and part hair! The creativity is literally endless and I love that! I began posting my creations on Facebook and my friends and family were amazed with what I could do after watching a tutorial. My little sisters have even let me style their hair on occasion – which I absolutely love doing!

As you can see, I love trying different things with my hair, from heatless curls to braids and updos! (Wish I had more of a variety to show you, but these were the best ones I could find on my phone!) How much fun would it be to do other’s hair all the time?! Of course I know I’d need to learn to cut, style, color and shave, but hey, that sounds exciting! Learning to do manicures and pedicures sounds fun, too! Every time I go to have my hair refreshed, those ladies just seem to be having so much fun catching up on news from the community and building relationships with their regulars. What’s not to love?!

What career path do you wish you’d taken?! Or are you already living your dream job?

Nap time tactics

30 Dec

My mom is an evil genius when it comes to putting little kids down for a nap…I should know, of course, I was the first genernation she got to torture.

You see, here’s the thing, it’s actually a really smart, and super simple idea, and very little set-up and planning are required to make this scheme effective. One simply needs a Yanni CD and a repeat button on the CD player and it works every time!!!

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When my sisters and I were younger, we didn’t like to take naps. To “compromise,” my mom would tell us we didn’t have to go to sleep, we just had to lay there and listen to the pretty music, and when it stopped, we could get up. But here in lies the evil genius part of her plan…WE DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE REPEAT BUTTON!

I swear, that was the world’s longest CD ever to a little kid. My mom tells me that we usually were out within 2 – 3 songs, but that may have well been 2 – 3 hours of listening! Once she knew we were out, she’d let the CD play through 1 – 2 times and then turned it off so there would be no music playing when we woke up. Did I mention my mom was an evil genius?! 😉

Today, we are watching my cousin’s little boys for a few hours, and once lunch was over it was the most hated moment of the day for kiddos – nap time! The youngest didn’t have much fight left in him once he was all snuggled up in his blankie.

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His brother on the other hand, was having none of it, he only cared about watching Paw Patrol. So when my mom took him for a strategically timed potty break, I turned off the TV and busted out Yanni. Does this make me an accomplice to the evil nap time plot?!

He was given the same instructions I once received, lay on the pillow and listen to the pretty music. The little man cried and tried as best he could to fight the sweet, sleepy sounds of Yanni, but he, too was lost in dreamland before the end of song number two.

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The CD is still playing in the background as I type. It really is soothing, calming music. My mom and I were laughing about how at bedtime my sisters and I would sometimes ask her to play the Yanni CD. To this day I still fall asleep listening to soft music, my favorites being Jim Brickman and Celtic music. I guess some habits from childhood never fade. And someday when I have children of my own, mom has already told me she’s giving me a Yanni CD of my very own so I can torture the next generation of nap-haters! I must say I am looking forward to pulling the same trick on them that my mom pulled on me!

Jury Duty Woes

8 Dec

In  early November I received a letter in the mail that would usher in a new adult rite of passage. I had been summoned to jury duty for the first time. The letter was simple enough, explaining that I had been selected as a prospective juror in my county and that I needed to fill out and sign the attached questionnaire and juror summons and mail them back within 7 days. My final instructions were to call a special number on Friday, December 7, 2015, after 4:00 p.m. to see if my services would be needed Monday morning.

So I filled out and returned my forms and set reminders on my work calendar and phone so I wouldn’t forget to call, since that was a whole month away still! Friday afternoon I made my call, heart-pounding, palms-sweating, knees-twitching while I waited for the automated message to announce “this is a message for all potential jurors scheduled to be in Judge so-and-so’s court room A on Monday, December 7, 2015 – you are not needed on Monday. Please call again on Monday afternoon to see if your services will be needed for Tuesday.” I was so relieved I called back a second time just to make sure I’d heard the message correctly – was it really so, did they not need me?! How wonderful!

I should have started this post by mentioning that I really did not want to be on a jury. I don’t want to decide someone’s fate. I don’t want to listen to the horrible things an individual did or see evidence that could be subject matter for new nightmares. I hear enough terrible things on the radio, TV and internet, I didn’t want to come face-to-face with more in my own town. I don’t consider myself smart enough to know who’s telling the truth and who is great at lying and faking emotion in this stressful situation. I see the world in shades of gray, not clear black and white, so I don’t know how that would affect my judgement of a case.

Anyways, since I didn’t have to report on Monday, that meant I was able to enjoy my weekend in New York City (more on that in a future post I promise!) care-free! But then Monday at 4:00 p.m. came all to quickly and my luck ran out when I listened to the new recording for prospective jurors “please report to the court house on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, at 9:00 a.m.” My heart sank and the nerves set in quickly.

What was going to happen? What were they going to ask me? What do I say? What do I wear? How will I know where to go once I get to the courthouse? What if I’m the youngest juror there? What if I am selected as a juror and I am the only one who votes one way and everyone else votes the other? And a million other questions raced through my mind for the remainder of the night and into this morning.

After changing my mind three times, this is the outfit I settled on for my very first experience as a potential juror.

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I was so nervous that I was forgetting a piece of their instructions, I called the number again this morning while I ate breakfast. Nothing had changed, I was still to report at 9:00 a.m. And so, I decided to give myself plenty of time to get there in case there was an accident or I got lost, I had my GPS, but with all the road construction going on, who knows what could have happened!

I parked my car in the courthouse parking lot at 8:35 a.m. and was in the process of gathering my purse and keys to go inside when my phone rang, a number similar to the one I had called to find out I needed to report. Hesitantly I answers and heard “this is so-and-so from the courthouse and your services are not needed today. You have been released of your duty for the rest of the week. Thank you for your service.” Click.

I sat there for a moment, keys in one hand, the other on the door handle, ready to exit my car. I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. She was joking, right? Then the anger set in, you couldn’t have called 30 minutes ago before I left my house? Why did you suddenly change your mind 30 minutes before we all arrived this morning? What happened between 4 p.m. Monday night and 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning?

Fuming I drove to work, which lucky for me was only a 10 minute drive. However, I was 40 minutes late as my day started at 8:00 a.m. And adding to my surprise, I may have to use 40 MINUTES OF MY VACATION TIME BECAUSE I WASN’T THERE AND IT’S THE COURTHOUSE’S FAULT! 

I didn’t even want to be a juror. I didn’t want to go! I didn’t choose not to show up for work. I gladly would have been there. I have plans for those 40 minutes of vacation time. Irritated I messaged my dad and he explained that the person probably entered a plea deal to avoid a trial. Well good for them, but next time, do it at 3 p.m. so you don’t waste MY time. I’m a law-abiding citizen with responsibilities and a job and I don’t appreciate having to put that on hold, only to find out minutes before I have to be at the courthouse that you’ve probably finally come to your senses and owned up to your evil deeds. Next time do us all a favor and not commit a crime – your life will be better and so will mine.

And to make my story even better, on the local news tonight, there was a breaking news story of a high profile case where the person entered a plea deal this morning. I bet you anything that would have been my case….it’s been an on-going investigation since LAST November!

End rant.

Bitter-sweet Friday

14 Aug

Today is Friday, a bitter-sweet Friday. This morning I unlocked the doors to my office at the hospital for the last time. I clocked in for my last shift as a hospital employee in my office that is empty of all personal artifacts and signs that I was ever here. Today I will set out instructions and information for my replacement. At 3:00 PM today, I will close one chapter and begin to open a new and exciting one. These past three years have taught me so much about myself and brought to light dreams, goals, ambitions I didn’t know I had. I was privileged to work with some amazing people – together we laughed, cried and celebrated with each other; they are my work family and I will miss them the most. A hospital setting was never where I saw myself long term, but I am thankful for all of the experiences and lessons I’ve had. Life is about transitions and growing and stepping outside of our comfort zones, and I am eager to see where life’s journey takes me next! For those curious to know where I will be transitioning, I will reveal all soon, but for now, I’m not telling.

Adventures with Dad

21 Jun

Anyone can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a DAD!

For as long as I can remember, I have always looked up to my dad…. and no, that’s not just because he’s managed to remain just barely taller than I am. 

As I was thinking earlier about what I would write, I recalled a conversation at lunch about how my parents would never understand the struggle of being the oldest child, as they are both the youngest in their families. But that also got me thinking about how special the role of the oldest child is – we are the ones who break in our parents, and in this specific post, our dads, for the siblings who follow.

I consider myself very lucky as a daughter because my dad has been a key player in my life from the very beginning. I have never once doubted his love for me. Just look at these early photos – it’s clear as day!

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From an early age I showed him I was going to be trouble. When I was one year old, he was watching me while my mom was at school, and it must have been one heck of a time because she came home to find this sticker on me. It cracks me up that this sticker survived 20 something years and two moves; I found it a couple of years ago and scanned it for safe keeping…and if you’ve been lucky enough to know me through my teen years like my dad, you will understand how foreshadowing it was. Lucky for him and everyone else, I mostly grew out of that stage!

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Over the years we’ve had some great times – when I was in kindergarten he would pick me up and when we’d get home we’d laid down with a story book until I fell asleep…or so he thought that’s what I’d do. According to the story I’ve grown up hearing, I waited until DAD fell asleep, then I got up and went into another room and played. What can I say, I was a very stubborn and independent little kid!

And then when I got a little older, pretending to be a hairstylist was all the rage! And guess who my number one client was, good ol dad! Countless hours he spend sitting on the floor up against the couch while I combed and brushed and styled his hair. And, like every good hairstylist, he was subjected to my endless chatter or singing or storytelling – whichever I was in the mood for that day. He was a really good sport, I’m sure I pulled out more hair than he’d care to admit (maybe I’m the reason it’s a little thinner on top?? Hummm???).

Older still and there’s this great photo of my sister, Megan and I tackling him right after he got home from work. I’m not sure why we did, but it’s clear we missed him while he was away.

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One of my all time favorite memories with my dad from my childhood would have to be our “Daddy-Daughter Date Days.” These could be anything from going to the park, bowling, eating at Pizza Hut – as a little kid it felt like the sky was the limit. This was my special time, and having two little sisters running around, it was nice to have his full attention if only for a little bit. It was in these little moments, when I would ramble on about who knows what, he would listen. And that was the start of a special connection, I knew no matter what was going on, if I needed him, he would be there to listen to me and to help me figure out life. He may not always have the answers, but he’d always do his best at helping me solve whatever problem I was facing.

Another favorite memory would be when he was my soccer coach. During this time in my life, I learned a very important lesson – even though I was the coach’s kid, he wasn’t going to treat me any differently, I would have my time sitting on the bench and playing my least favorite position – goalie. There was one game in particular I remember clear as day, I DID NOT want to play goalie because the other team was really good and they were already up by a lot of points, and guess who was up to be goalie at the start of the second half – me. I tried every trick in the book to make him switch me with someone else, I even through a temper tantrum right there on the field and got a stern talking to in front of my teammates. I CRIED THE WHOLE WAY TO THE  GOALIE BOX AND DURING THE WHOLE THIRD QUARTER. I don’t remember how many points that team scored against me, but I know now looking back it doesn’t matter. What my dad taught me is that life isn’t always fair and that I’m not entitled to anything just because I have a connection. I have to pay my dues (or play goalie) just like everyone else, and I’m a better person for learning that.

Over the years my dad has taught me many things, some he knew about, others he may not even realize I learned from him.

He is one of the most loving and caring people I know, but he shows it quietly through actions. There are many times I’ve seen him help someone in need, and countless other times I’m sure I don’t know about. He’s taught me compassion and service to others.

From my dad I have also learned good work ethic and to strive to keep learning and improving. I was impressed when he went back to finish his college degree when I was a senior in high school, and though it was tough, he never gave up. I’m sure there were things he would have much rather been doing, but he was determined to do this for him and his family. If he (and my mom when she went back for her Masters degree) could do it, there’s nothing in this world that can stop me from achieving my educational dreams either.

I have watched over the years as my dad’s faith has grown. I’ve seen him be our family rock and stand firm when things were hard, but I have also seen times when it was too hard to stand, so he’d kneel and ask for guidance or strength or peace or understanding. I know that he prays for each of my sisters and I, and we for him.

I have watched the way he treats my mom with love and respect. He adores her and she him, and I won’t settle for a love less than that. Together they are teammates, friends, the head of our family. He has set the bar high for the characteristics I want in my future husband and father of my children.

My dad is a goofball, there’s always a joke not far off. Most of the time I roll my eyes in exasperation, but secretly I love it. He’s always up for silly times with my sisters and I – anything to get us to laugh! And to think it all started way long ago when I thought he could pull a quarter out of my ear! He has a unique sense of humor, and though I don’t share that same trait, I have learned over the years not to take it for granted. My high school friends loved coming to my house, partly I think because of my dad – while there’s weren’t always invested in their lives or were more serious personalities, my goofy dad could always cheer them up and brighten their day. I lost track of the number of times they told me how cool my dad was!

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He has been there for every important event in my life, from my birth to sports games, choir and band concerts, graduation from high school and college, flying with me to Florida to help get me settled when I started working for Disney, and even helping me make connections that landed me my job. My dad is awesome, and I don’t tell him that nearly enough! Just tonight he even unclogged our tub (thank’s dad, you rock!).

So on your special day, I want you to know how blessed I feel to be your oldest daughter, to be the one who got to first call you daddy! No matter how old I get or where the winds may blow me, I will always and forevermore be your little girl.

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And now for a few highlights from Father’s Day 2015…..

And last but not least, the video of him opening up my awesome card!