Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Little Things

(One of my "caught in the rain and captured on camera" moments. I really like the rain. . . Only in the summer- when it's warm)

As much as I LOVE the sunshine, I also really love the rain. This week I was lucky to get caught up in the middle of a downpour. The day was Thursday, I was wearing an exceptionally cute outfit, and it was a very good hair and makeup day. As I left the building I was in and started to make a dash for my car, I stopped. In the middle of the rain. It felt nice. Given where I was at, I couldn't exactly spin around, but I really wanted to! When I got to my car (trying not to look a little kooky walking slowly in the rain) I just stood there for a few minutes. Soaking wet in my cute outfit, I couldn't help but smile. A real, serious smile. The kind that makes your cheeks hurt and your heart happy.

It made me think of all of the times that has happened recently. I'm happy to say it's been quite a few. I thought about it and it's these little moments where your heart is so happy your face can't help but smile that make life look like a really wonderful thing. One of those "I LOVE MY LIFE" moments. June is almost over but I feel like it should still be February. The truth is, a June like this is something I would be happy to go back and do all over again. Not because it was perfect or because it was a walk in the park, but because I've started to stop and take a second to look at all of those little moments that mean so much. 

Specifically: getting caught in the rain, jumping off of a very large tree into the river, "floating" on that river in silence with some of the greatest friends I have ever met just taking it all in (the trees, the sounds, the sky, that place of total peace), seeing Tim McGraw and Luke Bryan with two of my favorite people in the whole world (both if them laughing hysterically at my "concert moves"), hearing a song on the radio that just makes my heart smile and scan through all of the stations to try to hear it again, catching up with the person I use to spend every day with and her "Ahhhhh" when I walked in the door to her grown up apartment, group texts with my sister and cousins, and lastly realizing that all of these things are so important. They should not be taken for granted, but celebrated. It's the little things. 

May sunbeams find you.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Dad

When I was fourteen years old, my dad came to me and said if I ever had any questions about ANYTHING to come to him. At the time, I had no idea what he meant. These past few years, I slowly (mistake after mistake after mistake) began to understand. Throughout all of my slip ups and shortcomings, my dad has been there. To talk to, to cry to, to laugh about, and to just "be" there. I don't think there is anyone who quite understands me like my dad does. So, yesterday being Father's Day and all, I narrowed it down to 10 Great Dad moments: 

1) That time when I was about six and listened to the Eric Clapton song "Tears in Heaven" on repeat for an entire day. It made me so sad and I would not stop crying- all I wanted was my dad home with me. My mom called him and he left work and came home just to make me feel better. (And for later for taking me to see Eric Clapton, himself live. I was ten. My Dad was awesome.) 

2) Playing Candy Land with me for HOURS. 

3) SO many Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, O-Town, and Aaron Carter concerts. And putting me on his shoulders to get a better view.

4) Not telling mom when he caught me watching Friends in my room when I was little and I wasn't old enough to watch it.

5) The many hours of overtime and side jobs he worked to provide for our family. And letting me come with him Barbies and all.

6) Always being there for every soccer game, softball game, dance recital, play, and every other extracurricular I decided to embark upon. 

7) The very first time my heart was broken, my dad came upstairs, didn't say anything, but held me so hard as I was sobbing my heart out. He didn't leave until I fell asleep. 

8) My dad is never one to not share his thoughts on politics, or religion. I am so thankful for his faith in The Lord and love for this country. 

9) My Hallmark Movie buddy. We can watch Hallmark movies over and over again and they never get old. And there's that moment in every single one where one of us will say, "He wants to kiss her, he wants to hug her, he wants to love her" (a la Sandra Bullock in Miss. Congeniality). 

10) For putting up with three women for 20 years. A house full of estrogen and hormones. It's not easy- but he does it. 

And lastly: For letting me know how proud of me he is on a daily basis. It means the world to me.

I wouldn't be the person I am today without the love and support of my father.

Seeing all of the post on Facebook and Instagram yesterday about all of the "best dads" out there was really wonderful! There are some great ones out there! At the same time, my heart is breaking for those who don't have the "best dads". Or for those who do not have their dads here anymore to spend that special day with. My heart goes out to you. In my life recently I have come to notice how incredibly important it is to spend time with those you love. No one is promised tomorrow. As annoying as my Dad's snores are (think. . . Chainsaw),and the phrase "Are all of the curling irons off?!" EVERYTIME we leave the house, and the angry stomps to the garage about something breaking in the house- I love it all. I wouldn't change a thing. 

I love you Dad! Thank you. 

May sunbeams find you!


Friday, June 6, 2014

I Don't Know How You Feel

I think many times when attempting to comfort another person, a phrase I have heard (and spoken) very often is, "I know how you feel". I admit I have been guilty with using this phrase, especially if I considered something I experienced along the same lines of the other individual. However, I want to be clear that with the field I am going in to, that is not a phrase I will be throwing around.

With readings for class, volunteering with individuals with disabilities, talking to other professionals, and parents, one thing is clear: I do not know how they feel. I have never struggled with a disability that makes ordinary activities challenging. I do not know how it feels to have a child with any sort of disability (or any child for that matter). I do not know what it feels like to see one of the students I love struggle with health or other issues out of their control (and that I cannot help with at all). I just don't. As much as I want to put myself in their shoes, the reality is, I am just not there.

I have been given a different path in life. One that has been full of opportunities and void of many struggles. I have never quite understood why I have so much and others do not. Why have I not had a life in which trials were a part of my every day walk of life? It's not fair. I do not understand and have not found an answer to this. But I am not wasting any more time trying to figure out why. I have been given skills, opportunities, and want to help others and share what I can. I have wasted a lot of time "YOLO-ing" and living for me and I have come to the conclusion that bad things happen when I'm all up in my own head. It's time to step outside of "me" and use my blessings for good. I want to do "good".

That being said, to all of the parents, students, and individuals I hope to work with one day I would like to say:

I have no idea how you feel. I will not even begin to compare my challenges to your daily life experience. But I want you to know I am here to help. I am here to take the abilities and heart I have been given and try to make your world a better place. I will not always succeed at this, but I want you to know I will do everything in my ability to try. I want to make your daily routine a little more manageable, spread awareness to the community, and become an advocate for you and your families. I do not know how you feel, but I am on your side.

May sunbeams find you!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Crying on a Backpack

I had a bit of a "moment" this evening. After reviewing assignments for the upcoming week, I realized I missed three from the previous week. Participation points, yes, but still I find it unacceptable. I have held myself to a much higher standard in this Masters program than I ever had before. Looking at my June calendar I am feeling a bit on the "busy" side. Work is a mandatory, then add some 20 hours for grad school, some doctors appointments, mom's surgery, and then some really fun things planned on the weekends. I really do enjoy being busy, but I am also someone who enjoys Criminal Minds marathons and naps. 

This evening when I got on to see I had missed some assignments, I had my "moment" and emailed my professor about dropping the course. I also texted my friends I wouldn't be able to go kayaking this weekend (a trip that's been planned for over a month). After a quick response that my grade is not tarnished and that I should be able to catch up (but withdrawing is still an option), I had to take a step back. I have some busy things going on right now, but what is it going to be a year from now? When I am teaching or involved in other things? How would I fit it all in then? And how in the heck does anyone do this college (grad/undergrad/associates/ANY OF IT) with a spouse and kids?! There's a reason God thumped on my heart that this is the time for me to be pursuing this. 

One of those little quote-y things that makes its way around Facebook, Instagram, and Pintrest is, "Do something today your future self will thank you for". Welp- today this is it. I'm not withdrawing, I'm not canceling on my friends. I'm going to suck it up, work twice as hard as I have been, and put my daily calendar to good use. 

Maybe I will miss out on a nap, and maybe I won't watch TV this week, but I've got to get to it. Who knows where I will be in a year, but I know I want this particular class completed. If I'm busy now, chances are I will always be busy. Sounds like life. I think I'd like to go back in time and have a serious talk to my younger self when I whined the words, "I'm booooooored". 

It's going to be a full summer, but I've also got to make time for the fun stuff too. Like baseball games, concerts, kayaking, baby showers, and trips to a village safari. I've just got to learn to focus and plan, plan and focus. And maybe utilize my dry shampoo more often. 

My future self will thank me. 

May sunbeams find you!