Tag Archives: Remember

Timehop Musings

23 Aug

Ever innocently hop onto TimeHop and see a post such as this…

  

Six years ago on Friday…. I was apparently considering transferring to a new college in the west. Why is this worth musing about you ask, because had I gone the course of my entire life could have turned out completely different.

Imagine this….

Way back in 2009, at the ripe ole age of 20 (a month shy of 21), I packed everything up and moved across the country. Sure it sounds exciting, and who doesn’t love an adventure, but EVERYTHING would have changed from then on.  

I would have been living on campus, therefore I wouldn’t have been commuting everyday for class. I wouldn’t have been in the student center cramming for a test one morning during spring semester where I happened to see a flyer, half hidden behind another mind you, announcing a Disney College Program information meeting for later that night…

Had I not attended the meeting and applied for the program, I potentially could have missed out on an amazing opportunity of working for one of the best companies in the world. I wouldn’t have made lifelong friendships and fell in love. I wouldn’t have run my first 5K, thanks to the suggestion and urging of my amazing roommate, nor discovered running’s therapeutic qualities. It also would have meant not having my heart broke twice and mended once, nor meeting one of my very best friends in the whole world (we are so alike, we should have been sisters) who helped me through the mess and onto better days!

Transferring schools would have also meant my major could have been something other than advertising. If you didn’t know already, I was undecided for a while – taking intro classes in a few different majors until I found one that clicked. That click happened when I took an intro to advertising class with an inspiring professor and the only way to take more of her classes was to declare advertising as my field of study. Not attending the school in my home state would have meant no internship at the hospital, where I then filled in as a part time/casual employe for each of the full time girls’ maternity leaves and was then hired full time when they both returned. Chances are I wouldn’t have developed my graphic design skills for projects like billboards, brochures, social media or t-shirts.

But like every person who has held a coin or a book or a piece of paper knows, there are always two sides to everything. I’ve just shared with you all the stuff I would be missing, but what about the exciting things that could have happened….

Attending this school would have meant living on my own, would have forced me to make new friends and grow up much like the Disney College Program did.

I would have shared a dorm or apartment with a girl I grew up with and all the time together would have been amazing! She may have even got me into running as she was (and I believe still is, just like a good portion of her siblings) into running.

This school would have been closer to my family members in California, and I would have been able to visit with them for holidays and school breaks. And speaking of my California family, my aunt had told me of someone who also attended that school who she though would have been a great guy for me. Maybe, had he and I met, we may have hit it off and become inseparable.

Let’s chase that thought all the way to crazy town…

He was probably a couple years older than me, and when he graduated he would have proposed and I would have instantly said yes! 3 months later there would have been a beautiful wedding and 6 months later we would have been announcing the upcoming arrival of our first little bundle of joy.

School would have been put on the back burner for a while. I’m not even sure what I would be studying; political science, sociology, creative writing, homemaking…

Neither path was right or wrong, both would have offered unique opportunities. But looking back with hindsight, I’m very glad I didn’t transfer, there are things I may not like about my life today, but I wouldn’t trade the journey for anything as it’s turned me into the person I am today, who is so lucky to have the love and support of such wonderful people.

Anyone else out there ever find themselves wondering “what if I’d made this choice instead”…. or am I the only one?

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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!

In remembrance, We Honor

25 May

Today is May 25, 2015.

It is Monday.

Where I live, it has been mostly sunny.

I slept in this morning.

It is the unofficial first day of summer.

These are all true statements about today, and yet they are not the most important, for today is also Memorial Day.

Today is the day we are supposed to honor the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. These brave men and women who laid down their lives so that I, you, we may live in peace and without fear.

But do we remember the names? The stories? The faces? The families left behind with empty seats at the dinner table and echoes of their loved one’s voice in their ears? Do we honestly remember that freedom has never and will never truly be free? Someone, somewhere paid a high price.

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As I stood listening at our local Memorial Day service, a story was recounted of a local boy who fought valiantly during World War II. He would not return home alive. The speaker stated he is “forever young” – and as I reflected on that statement and it’s truth, it really sunk in. Today we remember the lives that were ended far too soon, the young men and women who would never grow old, right along side the veterans of wars past who are not with us this year to share their stories and wisdom with the youth today.

The ringing of the bell and the reading of the deceased is one of the most sombering moments as it is heralded by the Twenty-One Gun salute and the playing of Taps.

When I was a high school student I had the opportunity to play Taps twice, once as a freshmen and again as a senior. It is hauntingly beautiful, and whenever I hear it I can’t help but get emotional thinking about the number of times it is played as a last farewell to our fallen men and women all across the country.

Yes, today is a day when many communities will have parades, kids will be out of school, businesses will be closed and people will gather for BBQs and picnics. But during all of that excitement, I ask that each of us take a moment to reflect, to pause, to really let the weight of this day and the meaning behind it sink in.

Freedom isn’t free. The debt is paid everyday by the loved ones who must carry on, but as a community let us embrace these families so the weight might be spread over more shoulders. While no one could ever replace that person or perfectly fill that void, the love, support and encouragement can do wonders for the family. I’ve seen it happen twice in my community, and today I proudly wore a USMC shirt in one of their honors.

My sister, Macayla and I

My sister, Macayla and I

And, because I have a couple of pictures from our parade, I’ll include those here at the end.

Happy Memorial Day, may we always remember those who are forever young, gone too soon while protecting the country they loved.

Transformation Tuesday – work attire style

19 May

I don’t always notice how much time is passing until it’s gone. The days all seem to blur together and before I know it four years has gone by seemingly in the blink of an eye. 

I had such a feeling this morning when I checked my Timehop before work as is my usual routine. Today’s gems from years past included pictures from a Disney vacation from two years ago where my Disney sister, Monique, and I were participating in the runDisney Expedition Everest 5K Challenge. 

Also from two years ago was this quote from C.S. Lewis that I tweeted, “You are never too old set another goal or to dream a new dream.” 

And then I kept scrolling and came across a photo that I wanted to share on my Facebook as a then and now comparission.  

 

Four very long years ago I began day one training as the newest maid at Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom. Sadly, today’s work attire isn’t as fun. But can I just point out how crazy it was that I chose to wear stripes?! It’s the little things in life that amuse me, what can I say?! 

What’s fun about the Haunted Mansion costume is the Bat Hat the girls get to wear! There’s a tradition at the mansion for each of the maids to have a specific name for their bat, and I would like you all to meet Mr. Chuckles. I miss that silly bat hat more than you’ll ever know – I really thought bubbly me was relocated to the wrong place when I moved from Disney Quest attractions to the Haunted Mansion, but when I put on the costume and secured that hat to my head I embodied this new persona and became the maid. 

Some days I really long to return to Disney, others it feels like a dream and others still I find myself greatful for the people I met and the memories I made while it was my job to be a magic-maker for thousands of people everyday. And I can’t be too sad because “Once a maid, always a maid.” 

Disney will forever be in my heart, even if I’m not wearing a bat on my head to work! 

Today we celebrate you, mom!

10 May

Today we celebrate you, mom. But what IS a mom exactly? From my 26 years of experience, moms don’t come as a one-size-fits-all… but MY mom comes as a one-size-fits-me. 

You see, MY mom is one of the most important people in my life. Over the years our relationship has changed – at first I relied on her for everything from nourishment to clothing to security and love.  

My first picture with my mom! As I got a little older, there were nights when she was the only person I’d want and only she and her hugs could calm my fears or worries and convince me the world would be okay again.  

 Older still, she became my chauffeur to and from activities such as soccer, softball, church group, friend’s houses, school dances and so many other places. She was there at every activity I ever participated in – I could always count on her to cheer the loudest at my accomplishments be it a goal in soccer or a solo in choir. 

When I was troubled, she was my therapist and helped me talk through all of life’s problems. On that historic day when my young heart broke for the first of what would be many times, she provided a shoulder to cry on and reminded me that somewhere out there, someone special was waiting for me, and that he’d love me imperfections and all. Just like when I was a little girl with skinned knees and bumps and bruises, she picked me up, brushed me off and helped put the pieces back together. 

I have learned that it does not matter how old you are, you are never too old for your momma. Every time I have ever been sick or hospitalized, from the first as a terrified four-year-old having a severe asthma attack, to this most recent time last November, I have always been comforted knowing she’s right there, helping me through.

Yes, there have been times over the years when we haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye, but thankfully those were few and far between.

My mom is like my best friend – she knows all my secrets, worries, dreams and future hopes for life. She’s my biggest cheerleader and my strongest supporter. When I lived in Florida, I called her every single day, I missed her so much.  

 We are very similar, my mom and I – we share a love of reading and singing, musicals, a hatred of math, perfectionism and creativity. We laugh and joke and have our very own unique way of talking with each other and find the same things funny. Sometimes when I answer our house phone, the caller on the other end will remark “wow, you sound just like your mom!” While I don’t think we necessarily look alike, others claim they see the resemblance. 

Someday when I’m lucky enough to have children of my own, I hope I can be at least half the mom my mom has been for me. From stories and magic kisses, to baking lessons and bonding time, there’s no one in this world who knows and loves me like she does. I don’t always tell her how special she is to me or how much I appreciate all the little things she does, but I need to, and will try harder to make her feel loved and appreciated. I love that we are very close and have such a special and unique connection, I know I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today without her love in my life. She has guided me through this journey called life, leading by example of how to treat others with Christ like love and compassion, showing and teaching me a good work ethic and how to one day be a loving and supportive wife and mother. I hope that when people see and get to know me, they will see my mom reflected in my speech, my actions, my attitude and my smile.  

 And while the majority of this post is dedicated to my mom, I want to say a Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful women in my life, including but not limited to my grandma, aunts, cousins, best friend’s moms, my boyfriend’s mom and step mom and the various women I look to for guidance and support at work and at church. Whether you’re a birth mom, stepmom, adoptive mom, spiritual mom, grandma, or “like a mom” to me or someone one else… I honor you today. Have a beautiful day, ladies. You deserve it!

RIP Complete Stranger

19 Jan

Peggy SueIt doesn’t take much to make a huge impact on another person’s life – it could be as easy as holding up a sign during a runDisney race. Today, the runDisney family is morning the loss of one of our iconic spectators and bubbly cheerleaders, Peggy Sue.

The first time I saw her and her sign I was an emotional mess. I was exhausted. I was sore. I was ready to just give up. That’s when I saw her. “Hello complete stranger I’m proud of you too!” her sign read. She was proud of me? I had no doubt about it.

As my races have mostly been in Florida, no family members were there to cheer me on – but Peggy Sue was. I always knew just about where I’d find her on the course – providing encouragement and some much needed pixie dust to this still newbie runner.

For the longest time I didn’t know her name, her story or why she chose to come to just about every runDisney race, but I did know that she would be there, sign in hand cheering me on! And when I got home and friends and family asked how the race went – I always started with Peggy Sue and her sign. It was special. And it felt like it was just for me somehow – but that’s how she made us all feel!

It is truly amazing and inspiring what one person, with one sign can do for for millions of runners! She has touched the lives of many across the nation and possibly around the world. She will be greatly missed, what an amazing legacy she has come to be.

I didn’t get the chance to know you personally in this life, but I will one day find you in heaven to thank you for being proud of me for pushing my limits and testing my strength and for pushing on when I was ready to give up.

This is pure speculation of course, but if God and Jesus have signs in heaven, I’m sure they read “Welcome Home Peggy Sue! We’re proud of you!” You will be greatly missed out there on the course, but your love, spirit and contagious smile will be with each of us who had the pleasure to run with you cheering us on.

RIP Complete Stranger. Your race is over and you’ve won our hearts!

How do you measure a year?

31 Dec

As the time draws closer to midnight and the moment we say goodbye forever to 2014, I find myself, like many others, reflecting on the last 365 days of my existence – thinking about what happened in my life and the world around me, wondering how I’ve changed and grown as an individual, daughter, sister, girlfriend, co-worker and member of society. Did I make 2014 actually count for something – or did I waste those 525,949 minutes?

It is no secret that I love music, and often say life would be much more enjoyable if it were a musical, so it should come as no surprise that for the last few New Year’s Eves, I’ve always been reminded of the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent. Haven’t heard it you say? Not to worry my friend, I’ve linked it here for you. Take a listen – I’ll wait.

I really connect with this song – the lyrics are so thought-provoking because while we each understand that we have one year, 365 days – we each measure the passing of that time differently.

This past year, that consisted of counting down days until Disney vacations, or adding up the miles I ran while training for my half marathon. But I counted in other ways as well – the minutes until I could clock out after a long day at work, the days leading up to the weekend, and I usually underestimated the hours I spent lost in a book or talking to Scott.

There are times during the year where time almost seemed to stop – watching my baby sister give her co-valedictorian speech and then receive her high school diploma, walking through the airport arrival gates and seeing Scott for the first time in too many months, saying goodbye to my very best friend before she moved across the country to chase her dreams and crossing the finish line of my first half marathon.

Other highs for the year, which you may or may not know about include: being promoted at work and receiving a pay raise, seeing my designs featured in the local newspapers and on billboards, leasing my very first car, renting my very first car and successfully navigating Florida traffic, our family welcoming the addition of a number of new babies and completely paying off one of my student loans!

While the big things are important, the small everyday things matter more – the movie nights and bonding times with my family, spending one-on-one time with my quirky, but oh-so-lovable sisters, the late night chats and sleepovers with my best friend, completely nerdy text conversations with another best friend, reconnecting with old friends, rediscovering my passion for journaling and blogging, and discovering what makes me special, happy and 100% original.

While 2014 was mostly a good year by my own personal account, there were some times of hardship – my family had to say goodbye to a few loved ones who’ve passed on, the world has said goodbye to icons such as Robin Williams, Maya Angelou, James Garner and Oscar de la Renta, there have been many world tragedies and sorrows, and a constant reminder in the media that there is great evil in the world, lurking around every corner.

However, with the start of a new year, comes the hope of a brighter and better tomorrow. People feel an internal desire to try harder, dream bigger and love deeper than they ever have before. While many will give up on their New Year Resolutions within a few short weeks, it is my goal, and hopefully yours too, to stick it out this year, to fully commit to making the change.

I won’t go so far as to say 2015 will be my best year ever, because I don’t know what my future holds – but I do know that I will try very hard to wake up every morning with a smile and a can-do-will-do attitude. I will look for more opportunities to serve others and to accept help when I’m stressed. I will measure this coming year by love as the above song suggests – the love of my family, my boyfriend, my co-workers, my friends, myself and most of all the love I have for God and the knowledge that He already knows how my 2015 will turn out, so I have nothing to worry about – it’s in His hands after all.

If you’ve stuck with me this long, I’m so glad you’re still here because now it’s your turn – how did you measure 2014? What are you looking forward to in 2015? The year is yours my dear friend, what will you do with those precious 365 days?!

Happy New Year 2015