A diamond in progress…

I am part of a 5th-year program, which is an extended year of high school where my school pays for another year of college. Typically, in this program students land between 30 and 50 credits. I decided I didn’t want to stress myself out of overload so I took the alternate route in which we needed 100+ hours of volunteer, career exploration, or job shadowing. Then I’d graduate with a MEMCA certificate.

I was fine with the MEMCA certificate as it still showed a big accomplishment. I didn’t have to shoot for an associates degree. However, after deciding on Construction Mangement I found I could receive college credit for taking building trades and welding.

I went to my teacher and got the papers signed. With those magic papers, it’d add 16 credits to my pile. I knew it’d be close but these new credits might put me over an Associates. I talked to an advisor at Delta, he looked it all over and added credits. As long as I pass all my classes I will have enough credits. However, I needed a political science to meet the rest of the criteria for Delta’s General Education Associates. That class fit perfect and I am on now track to obtain an Associates.

Now after all that…Today was the first day I have felt proud of myself. Like today is proof that I’m doing something right and making something of myself. I am a whole semester and a half away from a degree yet I feel like I already have it. Today I felt my dad’s proud smile. Today to me means that I pushed through the tears and sorrow, and am finally seeing results of not giving up. I didn’t let it stop me. I was fearful and scared, but today I feel fearless and invincible.

God has changed something in me. I’m honestly not even sure what it is yet. All I know is I finally feel like I’m doing something right like I’m going to make something of myself.  I know that I am capable of more than I even thought.

I’ve always done very well in school and to take college classes in high school was nothing out of the ordinary. But, today when an associates degree became a reality I felt extra. It wasn’t just expected of me like good grades. I will be graduting high school with my high school diploma, MEMCA certificate, Michigan transfer agreement, and an Associates.

Image result for diamonds quotes     I would like to know who else has done that. If anyone. I worked hard to get here. No, I wasn’t valedictorian, salutatorian, or even in the top 10% of my grade, but yet I feel more accomplished. I have good grades/GPA in high school and have made the dean’s and vice presidents list for Delta. Then to add this list of diplomas/certificates I’ll get with just simply graduating high school…I feel on top of the world.

Ever since my dad died I’ve been striving to make him proud and today I feel like I finally did it. I know this isn’t the first time making my dad or any of my family proud, but it’s the first time I truly feel it deep in me. I never felt I’d be able to take that many classes in order to get an associates degree. I never thought I was good enough they said I’d need 60+ credits and I never saw myself being able. God carried me through.

I was beyond broken. Six years ago my life was nothing short of a mess and this is a Image result for diamonds quotesglimpse that the mess is a stepping stone to success. I cried and cried over my dad, my aunts, my grandpas/mas. Life won, but God is making a diamond out of me. All the pressures of life are making a diamond out of me. He found me in a pile of ashes and in him I am shining and succeeding.

He’s making diamonds out of all of us. Every failure and loss make us a little stronger, just like a diamond the strongest material in all the world. With refining and pressure, you’ll get there. Days like today with me will remind you it will all come together eventually and you’ll realize you’re doing something right. Keep your faith you’re doing great.

 

 

 

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“My fear doesn’t stand a chance”

Since freshman year of high school, I had decided exactly what I wanted to do with my life. From which college I wanted to attend to what career I wanted. I decided on Wildlife and Fisheries biology and wanted to go to LSSU to get my bachelors degree. I then planned on getting into the DNR as one of their biologists.

That was until about 3 months ago…On my umpteenth hour, I had spent weeding for my job my mind started to wander. I was missing building trades and had been thinking about it a lot around that time.

The thought never crossed my mind before to change degree options, like I said since freshman year I knew what I wanted and just how to get it. Yet in 11th grade, a girl, who had previously graduated from my school, was going through the Ferris State University construction degree program. She came in and talked to us about not writing the trades off as a career.

I thought it was cool but was sticking to my guns. Then after 3 years of welding and starting building trades, I found a love for the trades and found I’m actually pretty decent with some help and guidance. I began thinking I could actually do this, but soon shot myself down because I had a plan already. I was afraid to stray from it.

Yet, on that hot, sunny day when all I had to do was pull weeds, I had myself almost completely talked into it. I looked at it this way. More job opportunity to put a degree, I pay lots of money for, to work. The job market is astronomically different between the two and I couldn’t help but to at least check into it.

By that night I had talked to my trades/welding teacher, my mom, my grandma, my boyfriend, and lastly my dad. The idea was becoming more and more doable in my mind. I talked to that same girl that came in during 11th grade and set it in stone. No questions asked I wanted to do it.

That week I talked to my counselor and got classes readjusted to follow a construction management degree. I contacted Ferris academics center and advising. I jumped in feet first. I was throwing every single plan I had laid out in the trash, yet, I wasn’t a bit afraid.

Ever since then it’s all I can think about and my fears are gone. I know I can get a job with a degree I already love and have experience in. I went from years of planning to throw it away within a day. I knew it was the right move for me because of the fact that I had no idea how I was going to do anything and I was ok and knew I’d figure it out. All I did before was worry about not being about to get a biology-related job with it being a specialized and small field.

IMG_0531I left it to God. I honestly believe this is what I’m supposed to do with my life. I can be an inspiration to women to go into a trade. I can potentially pursue my dream of having my own business one day. It’s in my blood something I’m familiar with. There’s more job opportunity, especially right now, and opportunity to stay closer to family and friends. I jumped in feet first for one reason and one reason only…God will guide me I don’t have to be afraid of what I want.

Biology obviously wasn’t for me and he let me know. Up to this point he has made everything work out just right to where I don’t question a thing. I have practically no plans compared to before and I feel more at peace now.

We get so caught up in planning for the future we forget to see what’s right in front of us, I had no idea I’d end up here just by taking building trades senior year. I was overplanned honestly and God hit the brakes. There’s a bigger plan we can’t see and it drives the planner side of me crazy. But times like these makes me see why it is this way. Who knows maybe this is how I carry out part of my dad’s legacy. Maybe my business will be a Christan based company who helps kids get into the trades. Maybe this will be another way I tell my story and inspire others. Maybe just maybe this is what I was put here for, my purpose.

I now tell people I will be attending Ferris State University a year from now to pursue a degree in Construction Management and that’s where it ends. The rest is up to God. My fear doesn’t stand a chance against my God. He will take care of me.

This is a newer song I just heard today and it really hit home for me with everything that’s been going on with my career change the last few months. Really listen to the lyrics. God wants to help you too. He’s just waiting for you to let him in…

From the ashes I have risen

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12 years of accomplishments all rolled into a single night of celebration. The ending of my grade school career and the beginning of creating a life of my own. For most people, it was full of relief and smiles as we were finally done. The tassel was moved from one side to the other and diplomas were received. It was finally over…

I had the same thoughts, but the week leading up to the ceremony I couldn’t help but wish my dad was there to see it all unfold. It was tough. Yet, I was determined to not let it ruin the happiness surrounding such a milestone. Throughout the ceremony, I was good, not a single tear, and thankfully no tripping as I was wearing heels and am extremely clumsy lol

I thought I had it in the bag, no issue. Then came the part where we could go give the roses we bought to the people who were there for us and encourage us the most. I went to my grandma Eva gave hers to her. From there I went to my second family, my boyfriend’s mom and stepmom. Then to my mom and Grandma Peen. Got my hugs and congratulations in from everyone and headed back to my seat.

Then all at once, the song “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts came on and it just hit me that I was still missing one hug. Tears started flowing instantaneously. As I tried not to fall down the stairs and make things worse I looked up as I got off them and looked my grandma in the eye. She was already a little teary-eyed from being the proudest great-grandma there. So when she saw me crying it didn’t take much for her to join me.

Since I was already in route I went over to her. She asked “what’s wrong” and I just sobbed one word…Dad. It all had built up to that point. My first big milestone without him. The first event where all the family is there and he isn’t there to watch…

I miss him so much and every day, but I’ve tried to find the balance of carrying his legacy on and creating my own. We do so many of the same things have the same mentality, it isn’t too hard most days, but that day was hard. I knew I couldn’t let it ruin my “big day” yet when I miss him I miss him. I cried a little and continued to enjoy the excitement of graduation.

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This picture to me represents everything I’ve been through in the last almost 6 years. The smiles, the tears, the memories. It says to me that I am standing there strong even with tears in my eyes. That I made it this far and have come a long way. It all seemed impossible when my dad died. Yet, I beat the impossible.

This red, blotchy, teary-eyed face is a face of strength. I have withstood some of the worst years of my life. I’m proud of who I am today.

I always wish I could go back just one more time. Just hear his goofy laugh one more time. To feel my grandpa Don’s hug one more time. To see my grandma Rhonda’s face light up when she saw us. But yet, even knowing what I know now I wouldn’t change a thing. I went through a lot of pain and heartache, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Without it, I wouldn’t have found my strength.

It took a while but my life is on a great road right now. I made the choice to conquer and with God by my side and my dad’s hand on my shoulder I did that. I rose from the ashes. I stood strong in that gymnasium on June 1st at 7:00pm ready to face an accomplishment, my dad didn’t live to see, without him.

I cried yeah. Was it hard heck yeah. But that didn’t put a damper on the fact that I graduated. I didn’t let it anyway. I have risen from the ashes of my tragedies, but my journey is far from over. God’s not done with me yet. I can’t wait to see where he takes me.ashes2.jpg

 

 

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be”- Robert Munsch

Image result for parents quotes  Now I’m not a parent and not even close to being one. However, I do have them. As someone who just turned 18 within the last couple months many of my friend’s parents, along with mine, are finding the happy medium of involvement still while beginning the letting go process.

My parents were young when they had me. My mom was 18 and my dad was 20. Even if they were grown adults I’ve always seen it as I grew up with them. I got to enjoy my parents in their prime.

Getting married right outta school and beginning their family I’d imagine there were tough times. I remember one time my mom telling me she wanted to prepare us girls for life so that if we chose to take the same route she did we would be ok. My mom and dad raised me to be very independent and self-sufficient.

For as long as I can remember I was told if I wanted something I had to save up and buy it. It wasn’t ever just handed to me. Nothing in life is free and if you want something you have to work for it. My parents taught me that at a young age. I hated it at the time because my friend’s parents didn’t do that, but having my own bills for the past two years I am so thankful my parents made me use my own money. Now I can manage my money.

It was more than just money though. As soon as we could make a sandwich it was our responsibility to make our lunches for school. If we forgot homework at home mom didn’t bail us out and bring it in. Like I said before I hated it at the time but all of this made me more prepared for this exact time in my life.

Most parents I know are getting ready to send their kid to college as one big push. My parents are too, but, the difference is my mom has been removing herself from certain aspects of my life and allowing me to make my own decisions for about two years now. It’s not all at once, it’s more gradual and allows for me to easily regain my footing if I make a mistake.

I always tell everyone that my first summer job I worked at a campground and my main work schedule was weekends and holidays. Which was also the time my family went to the U.P. all summer. My mom knew she could leave me home alone for the weekend and they did just that. It stunk cause I couldn’t go but I had a bigger responsibility. My mom didn’t make a big deal about it just said keep us in the loop and have a fun weekend working.

As I watch other kids parents they are having a really hard time letting go. It’s senior year, they’re getting ready to go to college, and parents think it’s the last time they’ll see them. Sure my mom is gonna miss me, but she knows she has done her part and has to trust all her and my dad taught me will carry me through. There isn’t  a scene when I choose to go with my boyfriend and his family for a weekend instead of my family. She gets that I’m building my own life and that she has to let go. It makes it a lot easier for me.

More independence is great cause you don’t feel like you can’t breathe, you’re more prepared for being on your own. Yet, through school, you’re the kid that can’t go to the movies with your friends because your insurance is due and you don’t have any extra money. On the flip side, someone who is waited on hand and foot has the money to go wherever whenever, but won’t know how to handle themselves, by themselves when the time comes.

There are pros and cons to both sides and the fact is neither one is superior to the other. It’s all a matter of what the parents think is best. My mom may seem heartless because she chose to raise me this way; because she chose not to make me a sandwich when I was very capable. I don’t see it like that at all, I saw her and my dad loving me so much that when it got to be time for me to graduate and go to college I was ready and prepared as much as I could be.

Eventually, parents have to let go, let their kids fly, and see where they go. Some will succeed and some will fail. It’s life; it’s not going to give in, it’s not gonna back away on a bad day, and it sure isn’t going to let you coast through without a little work. Anything in life requires hard work and money. I was fortunate enough to have parents that taught me that at a very young age and I believe I benefit from it now.

My mom isn’t the one breathing down my neck during my senior year because she is gonna be “broken to pieces to see me go”. She is gonna be the one standing proud because of all I’ve accomplished up to this point and I hope she feels secure in how she raised me. Her and my dad did a pretty good job if I do say so my self. I’m not scared of the world or what it holds. I know it can stab me in the back, break my heart, and take everything away, but no matter what I will not give up.

With all my rambling it comes to this, speaking on behalf of most kids my age…Parents give a little leeway. It’s ok to step back and watch us fail no matter how hard. I go against my mom’s advice a lot and wish I didn’t but it was for me to figure out and I’d never know unless I tried. If they’re 17-19 let them go. It’s not like they’ll go off to college and you’ll never see them again. They’ll always be your little boy/girl. You have to trust us and trust that you’ve prepped us in the best possible way to survive in this scary world. We’ll make mistakes, we’ll fail at things, we’ll face countless things. It’s life and it’s ours to figure out.

And kids realize your parents have dedicated years upon years, however old you are, to you. From the time your mom found out she was gonna have you and after your dad found out you have been a whole new part of their world. Your mom carried you for 9 months I think she deserves some time to be sappy and sad that her baby is all grown up. Cut them some slack and reassure them everything will be ok. So take that picture with them, ride into town, give them what they want because pretty soon you will be on your own and when you run out of toilet paper in the bathroom they won’t be there to bring you a roll haha. You’ll miss them just as they will miss you.

Mom- I don’t say it enough but thank you. Thank you for making me make my lunch and making me wake up by myself for school. Thank you for making me use my own money to buy stuff and not letting me spend it on useless things. Thank you for putting up with my tantrums because I thought none of this was fair when other kids didn’t have to do it or got to do it. IMG_4028I see now that you and dad were only helping me in ways you guys may have struggled at first. I am ready to face this world because of you and dad. You guys taught me things I would’ve never learned in school. There are too many times I criticize you for doing these things and make you think you’re a horrible parent. You’re not even the slightest bit, because when I look at my classmates around me at graduation I know I will be one who will succeed.

 

Faith makes it real

“Ervin a tightrope walker used to do all kinds of crazy stunts like walk between bridges and skyscrapers. One day ole Erv decided to go big and stretch a line across Niagara falls. Now, nobody had tried that before so a huge crowd gathered. He brings a wheelbarrow and asks the crowd ‘How many of you believes I can walk across this line pushing this wheelbarrow’. The whole crowd shouts ‘We believe. We believe’. And then he asks ‘Who will get in that wheelbarrow and go with me?’ Crickets. Could’ve heard a pin drop. Believein he could do it that was easy they’d seen it, gettin into that wheelbrrow and letting someone else do the walking with no net under. That’s faith.”- Hoovey

Last night as I watched a movie based on a true story this “story” stuck with me. The dad was telling his son. The son had been a basketball star and began experiencing dizziness, headaches, and double vision. They went to an eye doctor and gave him glasses hoping to fix the problem. Then one day on the basketball court he got knocked over and knocked out; this led to a trip the ER where they found a tumor on his brain.

The did surgery on the tumor to remove it and all went well except a piece of bone had to be removed and no plate or metal could fix it. This meant he was recommended to never play basketball again. Throughout the movie, we watch as he overcomes the weakness and regains his strength. H eventually gets back to his old self and at the end of the movie he scores the winning points in a championship game against their rivals.

Whether or not the story the dad told him was true or not the moral of the story can be applied everywhere. God is Erv. And we are his crowd. We may see him heal cancer and sickness or perform miracles. Yet, we wouldn’t want to trust him to do that with us.

Faith is more than believing. It’s changing your life and allowing God to carry you in that wheelbarrow. It’s thinking in different ways than before or not doing something you would typically.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again give your life to God. Amazing things will come of it. The guy, Eric, in the movie faced death in high school and had to really fight to become his self again. Yet, in all that he never questioned God. He laughed and leaned on his family and God to get him through. He never gave up, never panicked, and never turned from his faith.

It’s a tough thing to do. When something in life that you love so much and is such a big part gets taken away it’s hard to not be mad at God. It’s hard not to question everything. There was a point where I didn’t even want to go to church. There was a communion Sunday when I was so fed up and angry I didn’t take communion. That was the first and only time that’s happened.

When I didn’t partake in communion it was something I’d never done before, but I just couldn’t do it. I was mad at God. He had taken so much from me and my aunt just that morning. I knew I couldn’t be a part of it though having doubts it’s not how it works.

My faith was derailed. I didn’t trust God with my life because I had so much heartache and I blamed him for it. It took me a long time to come to a point where I was comfortable with giving it all back to Him. Actually, like 4 years. But once I did let me tell you he did amazing things.

My life has immensely changed since then and only for the better. He has brought me to the point of loving where I’m at in life. To having and leading a life to be proud of. A life my dad would be proud of.

“Eventually ya know we have to let go and get in that wheelbarrow or we’ll never get to the other side. Beause believeing makes it possible, faith makes it real” -Hoovey

The mother of the son said this as the movie was ending and it couldn’t be truer. At a point in your life, you are given a choice. God or no God. Without God, you stay the same and you’ll have the same issues over and over. Nothing will ever get better or not for long anyway. With God you’ll evolve and change, your life won’t be great all the time but after time it will be great.

My decision to give it to God was by far the best decision I’ve ever made. Even in my bad days I know I won’t regret it. I know I’ve hit on this before, but it’s just so important. The movie Hoovey last night really hit it home for me. It’s a great lesson watching a family almost lose one of their own and still stay so strong in their faith and never waver in the wake of tragedy.

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Some relationships can’t withstand life itself

Unfortunately, in life, things don’t end up like they’re “supposed to”. Whether it be friends, relationships, careers, anything really. When something you spent almost you’re whole life investing in is just gone in a blink of an eye it hits hard. When my dad died it was the hardest thing ever. Still is daily.

I have only gotten through it with the help of friends and family and God. Then some of my closest family dies as well so I lean on others. I have to move so I lost all but one of my friends in my hometown and have to make new ones. And God is just trying to keep me sane day to day.

Aside from God friends and family are what got me through. Yet, those people you turned to for so much and they do you just leave. They just forget about all the memories and good times and even bad times you have been through together. The worst part after all that they leave on such a depressing and violent note.

I was very fortunate to have good memories right up to the last minute with my dad. We were laughing and enjoying time with each other. I thought it’d be like that with everyone else too. Leave on a peaceful note or remembering all the memories. The thing is that’s not always how things go. Sometimes the people you thought you could trust and rely on most disappoint you the greatest.

It’s hard to even wrap my head around. Someone you have most of your life involved with is great until an argument starts, things have been rocky for a while now, and you both say things you don’t mean but that’s the possible end. The end to a lifetime of laughter and tears together.

You just wonder what happened. How you got here. How messed up it is. Your next thoughts are all of the good memories and how you never thought it’d end. You try to end it on a good note but instead, the conversation turns south. It hurts and for a mind like mine you think about it day and night.

No matter how much you can’t change it, it’s all you can think about. You feel helpless and lost without this person. Your only hope is that God can intervene and fix it all. Take it back to the way it used to be.

Sometimes God decides to stay out though. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. All while two people who were so close don’t have each other to lean on anymore.

Life happens and more times than not it’s not rainbows and butterflies. However, if for once in a very long time you are in one of those rare moments don’t let this sad, depressing bump in the road detour that happiness.

I am truly happy at this point in my life and I’m secure and comfortable where I’m at right now. Nobody can change that. Even losing one of the most important and special people in my life. I have an amazing boyfriend, my college is on track to graduate early, graduation is only three months away, for once my life is somewhere that if someone takes a low blow on who I am or my character. I can stand tall and know it’s not true I know who I am and those things even if they do hurt won’t define me.

The most hurtful words come from the people you’re closest to. They leave a scar on your heart from someone you never thought would hurt it. Someone who knows what you’ve been through.

From just recently being in one of these situations I’m battling with it as I write this. The words spoken are still running through my mind even if I know it was said out of anger. I can’t help but look back and just be speechless. I never thought things would be like this ever. But life happened…Sometimes relationships can’t stand the test of life itself.

Give it to God. Relationships, careers, school, family, death, everything. It’s hard when you lose someone who means so much, but let God take over and it might notIMG_0749 be over just yet. He has a greater plan in mind and as much as it hurts right now life goes on.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you…”

As graduation quickly approaches I find myself very excited. Not a bit nervous or worried. Partly because I have step by step plan for approximately the next 2-3 years. Obviously, nothing is to say those are set in stone because life happens and it isn’t always the nicest.

However, with that being said I find peace in it still. Even on the chance that my plans and dreams won’t happen or won’t happen like I want. I feel totally comfortable. Why you ask. The answer is simple. My faith.

My plan is to finish my 13th-year program through Delta College and my high school to graduate with my MEMCA certificate and 14 credits short of an associates degree. Then I will transfer to LSSU to get my bachelors degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology.  With that, I hope to work through the DNR. Once I move back after college and we both get settled into a career my current boyfriend plan to get married and start our family.

Like I said, I have a plan and if all goes my way I’m gonna have my dream life. When it comes down to it all this may not go my way. I might not get accepted to LSSU or might have to really search for a job. My boyfriend and I may break up. But through any of these instances I know I’d be ok eventually.

I was telling my aunt that I feel horrible about being comfortable with either possibility of my boyfriend and me. I’ve thought about it a lot. I’ve decided that if he isn’t the one God will take him away and then take care of me. I love him with everything I am and I truly hope that doesn’t happen.

It’s not even that I think it will because it’s the farthest worry from my mind, I just look at it like this, if God can take my dad away he can take anyone away and I survived through my dad. It means I can take on anything if I stay strong in my faith. I hope my plans all layout nicely and I’ll do everything in my power to see that happen.

I also know that life happens too. I mean I also planned on graduating, getting married, and starting a family while my dad was here. I planned on shooting my first deer with him right by my side to celebrate with me. I planned on him being the one to walk me down the aisle and give me away. God, however, had other plans.

After experiencing my dad’s unexpected death I realize God’s plans and my plans don’t always line up and more times than not his are always better anyway.

I am a list, calendar, pre-planning type of person and many times it comes in handy. Others times it doesn’t. For instance when something messes up my planning. It is really frustrating but if something didn’t work out I know it’s cause it wasn’t part of the big picture.

We aren’t able to see the big picture, therefore, our plans pretty much mean nothing. It’s a good guide to have and it’s good to have a general idea, but it’s not going to be up to you. Once that is realized life goes so much better. There are no worries or fears or what ifs. You know that you’ll be taken care of no matter what. You’ll survive in one piece no matter what life brings you.

If you’re struggling with something give it to God and he will handle it. I gave my life to God and now I look at my future with ideas in mind, but ready for a spin. I’ve faced the hardest thing in my life up to this point and the strength that grew in me from that makes me feel invincible with God of course.

From one of my favorite TV shows

                                          “Expect the Unexpected”- Big Brother

And be confident that you’ll be ok no matter what level of unepected comes.

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100%=Perfection

It’s hard to see life this way. Typically our minds only recognize the negative, even for the happiest people. A day may come where it just seems nothing can go right. Maybe even a week, a month, or a year. Seems like you just can’t catch a break.

It happens. To everyone at some point in time where you look at what happened and feel like a failure. After my dad died I didn’t know which way to turn, and when I finally decided it typically came back to bite me in the butt. It seemed impossible to release myself from the endless cycle.

I wanted to give up and crawl under a rock. Hoping it’d all go away. However, due to loving friends and family, they wouldn’t let me give up that easy. My life was a mess and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever recover. Time went on and I slowly started putting my life back together.

I found this quote just a few weeks ago and it hit me.

  “So far, you’ve survived 100% of your bad days. You’re doing great!!”-Unkown

There is no failure in this journey. Sure there are hiccups and sometimes I fall down but at the end of the day, I have survived every day. Every single day I woke up, endured the day, and went to bed in one piece. Some days were pretty bad and scary even, but I still made it through.

Just because I had one bad day in a span of a few months doesn’t mean the whole few months was bad. It only means that one day was. It means I can’t let those few days that are tough ruin my overall progress.

I was just talking to my aunt earlier this week about it. About the fact that I’m in a really good spot in life. I’m balancing a job, high school, and college while getting good grades, and I have a solid, promising long-term relationship. Some days are tough and those days I want to just be over.

Then there are days where I can laugh and enjoy the day no matter what happens good or bad. Those are the days that count. I can’t let myself get discouraged about the times I have bad days.

Overall if there ever comes a time in life where you’re looking death in the eye you’ll think of the good times all the good days and realize how far you’ve come. I haven’t been even slightly close to that, but when I get some quiet time to just myself I reflect on the last 5 years.

When I do that I don’t pick out the bad days, I remember the days where I decided to start my day different. I remember the first days where I went a full day without shedding a single tear. I remember even the funeral and just imagine my dad standing next to me telling me I’ll be ok and I’ll figure life out.

I still miss my dad like crazy and that pain will never decrease. What will decrease is the amount of time I spend feeling sad and angry about things I had no control in. Anybody I have ever lost deserves for their lives to be celebrated with memories and laughter.

It’s ok to have bad days because inevitably they will come, but don’t look at them as a point of failure. Wake up the next day and realize all the hardship and pain you’ve been through you are 100% successful. You made it through every single bad day and it can only get better.

No matter what you’ve been through your journey is perfect.

The Present is a Gift

Some people get caught up in the past and never move on, others are constantly looking to the future. The problem with this? They miss what’s going on right now.

The past tends to creep into our minds way too much for many reasons. Although it is important, often times we dwell on it more than we should. It’s nothing we can change or redo no matter how much we’d like to. That five minutes we should have spent with family or those words you regret saying. It’s all a part of your past.

Every decision you’ve ever made, good or bad, reflects who you are today. It has shaped you into who you are.

The future also tends to be something we dwell on. Whether it be worrying about a job or where you’ll live. Everyone thinks to the future probably multiple times a day, even if it only might be hours in the future. Thinking about the future is not an all bad thing, it’s good to plan and have goals. But, just like the past, it distracts us from what is really important.

Every decision you decide to make, good or bad, will one day reflect who you are.

The one very important component we miss is the present. The here and now. So many of us are dwelling on the past or worrying about the future we can’t enjoy what’s going on right in front of us.

I’m a victim of this in a million different ways. My past means precious memories with loved ones and I look back pretty much daily. My future means college, a family, and life of my own. I often forget to enjoy today.

I am a huge planner, my spontaneous activity is slim to none, I like to know what I’m doing, where, when, and how. I’m just one of “those” people. I overthink and overanalyze. It’s just who I am. But on the other hand. I have goals and 95% of the time I know EXACTLY how I will accomplish those goals, not much will stand in my way.

I have the rest of my education pretty much planned to a T, have since practically freshman year. However, it’s kind of drawn away from me truly enjoying my last year of high school. My senior year. Because I chose to take college classes I miss out on a lot, most I don’t miss, but the whole “senior year” atmosphere I am.

The thing is after my dad died one of the things that stuck with me is that you live every day like it’s your last. We aren’t guaranteed the next day and can’t change the day before, all you have is now. I am just as guilty as anyone else for dwelling on the past or over planning the future.

It is hard to live in this moment. There’s so much to do. Especially at my age. I’m always thinking ahead. It drives my boyfriend crazy, he always tells me there’s plenty of time. Yet, in the next second, I’ll get caught looking at the amazing sunset God painted across the sky that night. I can get lost in it.

It is hard to do. But I challenge anyone who is reading this to make a New Years Resolution to enjoy this moment. A single moment.  Don’t think about the past or future, just get lost in what’s going on around you.

Live every day to its fullest, don’t waste a single second. The past will always be who you are today, the future will always be something to look forward to. Now take a break from both and enjoy the little things. Hug a loved one a little longer, take that picture, and stare at the sunset until the sky is black.

Life gets hectic. Stop. Just simply enjoy what you have now.

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Onward and Upward

“I’ve seen a baby cry and seconds later he laughs. The beauty of life, pain never lasts”- J. Cole

As I approach the 5-year mark of my dad’s death the heartache, grief, and pain that comes along with it flood my heart. The pain of my heart tearing apart was almost unbearable some days. At one point in time, I hoped and prayed that one morning I just wouldn’t wake up.

I felt like I had no worth, nothing to live for anymore. I had hit rock bottom…Days came and went and the pain seemed to just weigh over me. That is until I decided to change it. I was tired of living such a miserable life. I knew my dad would never want that for me.

I had to make the change to be happy again, to remind myself my life was worth living. I literally had my whole life ahead of me and I just wanted it to end. I look back and it’s so messed up, but the pain of waking up to a world without my dad was something I had to learn to cope with.

Everyone told me eventually the pain will go away and I never believed them. One day it did. One day I found myself actually smiling again. A real smile. I wasn’t miserable anymore and I had something to look forward to the next day.

I hit absolute rock bottom after my dad died. I’d just get back up then pushed back down as other loved ones died after. But eventually, even after all the pain and suffering, I can enjoy life again. I miss all my loved ones like crazy, however, it does become more bearable.

Nothing lasts forever and that includes pain. Sure it’s something you’ll face all through life. Just don’t let it take away your smile. If you lose something that makes life unbearable sometimes count your blessings. You were fortunate enough to have that.

Like what I had with my dad, it’s unbreakable, I wouldn’t trade it for the world because most people aren’t fortunate enough to have relationships like that with their parents.

Pain will consume your life you let it and let me tell ya a miserable one at that. It’s ok to grieve and cry it means you’re healing. But the second you let it start changing you, that’s when it needs to stop. Everyone around you will sense it. Your family won’t want to be around you, friends won’t want to hang out, because eventually, it is just depressing to be around.

Tragedies happen to everyone at some point or another. When you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom remember you can only go up. Take the stand against yourself and pick out something good in every day. Laugh a little extra. Find yourself again. Pain will come and go, just don’t let it be permanent.

It’s almost breathtaking when you have the feeling of happiness once again in your heart when you feel that smile forming. You feel accomplished. In a mere 2 days, I will probably be a mess. But that pain will not consume me. It only took 5 years but I am now in control. I am truly happy again; I have friends, family, and goals in life to live for. I have a life planned to achieve, and a man upstairs to make proud.

The sole motivation for me is to make my dad proud, to stand by what he taught me, and build a life to be proud of. My phone is flooded with inspirational quotes for anytime I even begin to start thinking negatively and Pinterest is my best friend.

There will be few moments you’ll be prouder than the day you conquer something you’ve been battling. I’ve become stronger because of the pain I’ve endured and I can stand proudly in that; up to this point, it is my greatest personal accomplishment.

Even if it is a cliche, things will get better. As long as you make the effort to continue moving up.

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