what happened before what happened happened

From my old blog a year ago:
7.24.12
I always looked at the world and saw the good. Even when bad things happened to good people, I wanted to see the positive side. It was sometimes hard to find, but there was always hope, right? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?? Now that I am here, on the brink of one of life’s devastating, world crashing down events, I am having a hard time seeing the hope for myself. My heart is broken for what my sister and family are going through. I just want this to be over, so we can begin to heal, but at the same time, I want to stop time right now and not have to go through this. I know deep in my heart that joy and happiness will find us someday. Someday, all of this WILL have made us stronger. I know that this baby boy has come into our lives for a reason and he’ll leave us completely changed. A symbol of strength and courage. But right now, it is hard to give thanks. To see the blessings in this burden. Not to ask why us? Why her? Why doesn’t he get to stay?

The only miracle we can hope for is time. We don’t know if it will be minutes, hours or even days. The chance to know him, and feel him, see his eyes open and know that he LIVED. I lie awake almost every night and the whole scene plays over and over in my mind. What it is going to be like (God willing) to welcome him into our world. To hold him. To surround his every moment with us in love. To let him go on to whatever adventures are in store for him…The emotions run through my heart as vividly as the pictures in my mind and it is torn between incredible joy and love, to the indescribable grief I know is waiting in the wings. There is no way to prepare for this.

Wow
The feelings of fear and uncertainty that I was feeling a year ago were SO intense. I still don’t know how we made it through. The emotions have been brought to the surface lately, since Randy’s birthday is tomorrow. I’m sad. Still angry that we went through it. Thankful that we got so much time with him. So overcome with joy that my new niece is on the way and perfectly healthy. Full of love for my family… The most important thing in this lifetime is time with those you love. Everything else, well… you can’t take it with you. Memories are to be cherished, and days are not to be wasted. No one is entitled to such blessings, yet so many people take these simple gifts for granted. These are the most important lessons of my life.

I’m glad I made it through. This is me, on the other side.

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emPOWERed

emPOWERed

The rewards that are reaped when you work hard for something are priceless. I’ve been fortunate to learn that lesson early on in life, and it has stuck with me ever since. I knew what I needed to do to achieve a goal, made a plan, stuck with it and earned a half-tuition scholarship to the private art school I had my heart set on. Every single day I am reaping the rewards from the dedication of my 17-year old self. My life would be incredibly different had I not got the education I did, met the friends I met, or been more prepared to get my career started on the right foot.

Back then, maybe it was easier to set and achieve goals. Dreams were limitless, and opportunities were right there, all you had to do was reach out and grab it. When you get older, and the stakes get higher and there are a thousand more variables in play… it get a little more challenging. Big picture goals are often set on contingency plans, such as, when I get married, I’ll buy a house. Or, when I have kids, I’ll start my own business and work from home. Welp, the clock keeps on ticking and putting up these barriers in my mind is just an excuse that is holding me back. I’ve been ambivalent about these goals, when I need to be more pro-active. I’ve been taking baby-steps toward both of those big-picture goals, and I am ready to pick up the pace. I have a 1.5-2 year goal to buy my own house. Increasing my income and saving up a down payment are things that I can realistically work on RIGHT now. I’m increasing my client base and networking for freelance work, which will give me a good foundation for when I’m ready to go it on my own. It can be such a struggle to establish yourself in the marketplace, and having good referrals is an important step.

Then there are more abstract goals… I want to help people. I want to do some type of service or work for a company or group that is making a difference. I am a very good graphic designer and my creativity is a gift. I would love to be able to use my talents and experience to do something that makes a little bit bigger impact than increasing revenue and ad sales. There is a certain amount of pride that I feel for doing good work and pleasing my clients, but I’m looking to do something with a greater purpose. My needs are pretty minimal, and I have never and probably will never live a life of excess. If I can find something that I can contribute my time to that is meaningful and can support a humble lifestyle, then I will be very happy. There are a lot of things I am passionate about, and striking the right balance in my personal/work life will bring me a lot of happiness someday.

Right now, I’m just trying to keep my head up, and keep these goals in sight. The motivation and realization that I am working towards something to better my future makes me feel extremely empowered. An opportunity could present itself any day that could change my life, just like getting that scholarship did. I’ll be ready to walk through those doors when they are opened before me!

connecting the dots

I haven’t written in a long time. There have been a lot of changes, and there are so many, many things I am looking forward to in the near future. Dare I say… that things are wonderful. I really do thrive with change and all of the new opportunities that come with it. I wouldn’t say that I get bored easily, but I tend to stagnate and lose my motivation when I have to do the same things over and over again with no end in sight. I think everyone gets burnt out in that way. Lately though, my motivation level has been extremely high!

The most notable change would have to be my living situation. I have been living close to work, in an apartment by myself for 3 years now. I like living so close that I can pop home for lunch during the day and not have to deal with a commute. Having that extra hour and a half has been very nice. Not that I’ve taken full advantage of it, but I appreciate it. I am about to sign a lease on a house with two girls I know. It is scary and exciting all at the same time. It is a new experience and I’m really looking forward to the change. It will also give me an opportunity to save a LOT of money, pay off some bills, and get more in control of my finances. Maybe even buy a nicer car… something that I have never done before. I don’t place a high value on material things, especially vehicles, but it would be nice to have a more dependable mode of transportation. So I’ll be a little farther from work, but a little closer to my family and all the other activities that I do several nights a week.

In addition to that big change, I am also excited about my ultimate Frisbee season with a brand new team, career and personal growth opportunities and the impending arrival of my niece. Yes, my sister is having a girl. I knew the moment she told me that she was pregnant that it was a girl. I just FELT it. Despite having bought a couple pink blankets and onesies, it just doesn’t feel REAL yet. We’re planning the baby shower, and she’s updated all of her baby registry stuff. She feels her move more and more all the time, and she is perfectly healthy.

So all of that should keep a girl busy, right? 🙂 The past couple of years have been quite a journey for me, and times have been pretty tough. I know someday I will look back on these years of finding myself and I’ll be able to see all the little landmarks, bumps in the road and changes in direction have just been leading me down the path I was meant to follow. It’s been a hell of a ride so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

-Steve Jobs