Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Most Important Things in Life aren't Things.

I really believe that everything happens for a reason, so anytime I am in a new situation, I try to figure exactly what the reason may be. Being away from everyone these past couple months, in Greece, has really given me a new perspective on life and gratitude. The older I become the more I am able to appreciate people and what they have done for me all throughout my life. I feel so blessed to have so many "best friends" and such an awesome family. Many of my role models growing up are now my great friends. My life is proof that the most important things in life aren't things.

New Year's 2010

My dad is one of the most amazing people I know. He has always been such an involved, loving father to all of us kids: coaching, attending games and practices (even the far away ones), always making sure that we have everything we need and much of what we dont need :) Yes, he is human and therefore not perfect, as a matter of fact this past family vacation we all reminisced about our favorite beatings as a child hahaha, yet one of my biggest fears is that I will never find someone who compares to my dad's selflessness, integrity, and work ethic.

As you can see, my mom is stunningly beautiful. What I appreciate most about her is that I don't think there is anyone else on the planet who loves me more unconditionally than her. One of the biggest life lessons I have learned from her is that just because someone makes mistakes doesn't make them a bad person, and certainly not worth any less. An old, dirty, crinkled $100 bill is worth the same amount as perfectly new one.

My Lola is my favorite person in the whole world. When I was little, I loved her because she always gave me money. As I grew up, I learned to love her because she is simply good. She is the most devout Christian I know. She is sincerely kind to every person she knows and meets, and she takes care of her family. These are just the obvious things. She can be endearingly naive. Other things I adore about her are things like the fact that she never gets jokes the first three times they are told. And not only that but she will sit and think about them after the conversation has moved on, and once she finally figures it out she laughs out loud about it and explains it to us all :) She is also hilarious on the trampoline, four-wheeler, and definitely while playing Skippo with her grandkids.

Melanie and I at my high school graduation above, and Rach and Christina (sisters) below

Melanie, Rachel, Christina! I was so lucky to have such amazing youth leaders growing up-seriously. (I know there were more of you that I loved too...dont be offended if your name isnt mentioned!) All three of them were married with families, but took the time not only to get to know me, but to be my friends. My senior year of high school, my two very best friends left for college, as well as many other friends. Mel, Rachel and Christina became my new best friends haha...I doubt it was such a big deal to them, but I really enjoyed hanging out with them, working out together, baking cookies, long deep name it. It ended up being a great time for me and I will always remember what a big part they played in my teenage years :) I always look forward to seeing them when I go home to Texas !

My crazy brothers! When I was a little girl, I would have given anything to have a sister. I remember being angry at my dad to the point of tears during one of my moms ultrasounds because he was joking that he "sees a boy in there." Turns out he wasnt joking! While I was a mean, anal, bossy big sister not so long ago, I love my brothers more now than ever. Not only are they all incredibly good-looking, but they are all incredibly good. (not perfect, but good) Remington is currently serving a 2 year mission for our church, a huge sacrifice for a 19 year old boy. Im so proud of him, not only because he's where he's supposed to be, but because of the work it took for him to get there. Cutler. He is crazy. You can't always tell from the outside, but he is a passionate, deep guy. I cant wait to see the girl he marries and what his kids will be like :) Montana, Montana...if you have ever met the kid, you already know how amazing he is. If anyone in this world "got it all," he definitely did. Maverick is also a loving talented kid, and Im excited to see him play sports in high school. We joke that he is my dads favorite (but secretly it's not a joke haha) Him and Bridger will always be "the babies," no matter how old they are! know him is to love him. I dont know how he ended up to be such a sweet little boy at the end of 5 brothers, but we cant help but adore him and his cute little quirks.

And the list goes on and on...Freshman year at BYUH many great memories!

Becca and Alyssa-Are the craziest, most fun girls. (sisters) Lyss in on a mission right now :) Melissa just got married in July.

Nicole is one of my best friends too! She is the most pleasant person to be around :) She just got married in June.

Arielle is literally one of the most beautiful girls I know! Not to sound cliche, but inside and out. She gets married this December :)

Jenelle is my second cousin, and also one of my favorite people ever! I have known her my whole life and have this hilarious memory of us making hair scrunchies when we were little. I always remind her of it hahaha. She is also married and pregnant with baby number 3 :)

Kayla, Brittany, and I became best friends in high school. We are a funny combination in personality and appearance! I love them like sisters and dont know how I could have made it through high school with out them. We have that relationship where we dont have to talk everyday to know we love each other. I love not seeing each other for months and picking up right where we left off! Both of them are married now with babies, Mavrick and Annabelle :)

I have 3 good friends named Kayla-this is Kayla Ragan. She is part of some of my favorite memories in high school. Mudding, chips and salsa, skipping school, and girls nights. She always reminds me to "Smile, life's too short not to" :)

This blog wouldnt be complete with out mentioning these lovely ladies. God didnt give me a sister, but he gave 3 beautiful aunts! I love talking with them, shopping with them, Cafe Rio with them, basically everything I would need a sister for :) These are my moms sisters, but my dads are just as awesome when I get to spend time with them!

All of these people have made some kind of positive impression on my life. There are so many more people I could go on and on about!! Like I said, I'm so blessed, and my life is definitely proof that the most important things in life aren't things at all <3

Friday, September 3, 2010

Newly inspired! So here it goes!

I have never been a good journal writer. For example, my current journal is the same one I started when I was 11 years old! I have been stalking random peoples blogs lately (with all my spare time in Greece) and have been inspired to create one of my own! Hopefully I will do better now in recording my life and perhaps document something inspiring to others along the way, as I have felt reading so many of yours.

I will start with a quick recap of life since college started. My choice to apply to BYU Hawaii was not really the plan until my senior year of high school. I always wanted to go to Provo, especially since both of my best friends were already there. That year (in the middle of volleyball season) my parents (sort of forcefully) invited me to go to Education Week at BYU. I didnt want to go because I had a big tournament that weekend, but my parents told me to pray about it, so I did. Obviously, the answer I received was to go, so I did. It didnt take me
long upon arriving on the campus to sense that this was not the place for me. I realized that maybe I was supposed to be there that week to realize that I better start seriously thinking about other options for school. I knew I wanted to be at a church school still so that left me with Idaho and Hawaii...come on now, is that really a question?? haha...and that leads me to the next big chapter of my life :)

BYU Hawaii

All those people who told me to enjoy high school because they will be the best years of my life lied to me! haha I think what they meant was to enjoy it, because it will be the last time I really get to be carefree, a kid. I understand that now. Sounds cheesy I know, but my first two years at BYU Hawaii were really magical to put it into words! The combination of the beautiful scenery, the fun people, and the strong spirit on campus made the whole experience indescribable! In short I fell in love...with Hawaii. One day, my friends and I were taking the bus up to Waimea Bay and there was an old man sitting across from us. Every time I round the corner where North Shore begins my heart beats faster and I smile because its so breath taking-like I said, Im in love with the place ;) So the older man looks at me and says, "Your sweetheart must love you!" My friends and I were all a little confused (considering I had no "sweet heart"-haha thanks for bringing it up sir!) Noticing that I was a little lost he went on to say that I must have a sweetheart because I look so in love hehe. "No sir, I just love this place!"

My first year there in the dorms were so fun! I loved living on campus, although I wasnt thrilled about being forced to at first. I made so many great friends there, and it was a blast having so many girls to get ready for dates and dances with! We all shared clothes and jewelry, did each others hair and make-up...what more could a girl ask for?? Did I also mention we were in walking distance from the beach? That part wasnt bad either ;) I think my room mate Becca and I made it to the beach every single day the first couple months at least! We only went there to study of course...

So life went on, school got harder, daily beach trips became less frequent, boys became drama, etc. There came a time when I needed to choose a major (and stick to it), but that isnt something a 19 year old girl should have to decide! So I took a year off to save money, figure things out, clear my head...which leads me to my next adventures!

Arizona, Vegas, Texas, Utah, Cali, GREECE!!

2010 has been a busy year for me! During Christmas break I decided that since I was taking a break from school, I would move to AZ to work and have a new adventure while I figured things out. My good friend from Hawaii flew over from Cali to TX to drive to AZ with me. Nothing like a fun road trip with good company! In AZ I lived with some very kind family friends for a few months and then stayed with my grandparents for a month or so. While I was there, I found a job as a nanny for a couple different families, and both of them had a set of twins! (Did I mention the family I was living with had twins also??) I was afraid the Lord was preparing me for quadruplets one day or something! I guess we will still have to see about that one haha...Anyway, one of the families had a brilliant little 5 yr old girl and boy/girl two month old twins when I first started with them. The dad was Caucasian and the mother was half black half Taiwanese. She was seriously gorgeous, and so were her kids! I totally fell in love with those kids and still miss and think about them all the time. It was a great opportunity to be part of a family of another faith and see what their home was like. I gained so much respect for the faith of Mei (the mom) and the way she lived her life despite her challenges. I learned yet again, that you never know what someone may be going through despite what it seems on the outside. The other family was also an inspiration to me. The mother was a Neonatal specialist and very very brilliant. I thought it was cool that she made so much money, yet she was always thrifty (coupons, sales, older model mini van, etc) and spending her money on things that mattered most in the long run: her kids activities, family vacations, things that will last forever, even if only in memory. From both of these families I learned more about what kind of person I want to be, and also that faiths other than mine also have much to offer.

I also made a couple of new best friends at church. Leona, is "Hapa" like me (picture below), except she is half Japanese. We look alike and it was fun to be the only tall, brown, "exotic sisters" anytime we went somewhere where the majority of girls were white (no offense to anyone ha). We roadtripped to Vegas from AZ for a fun weekend with my Lola and Lola. It was my first time there, and probably my last! I definitely understand why its called "Sin City" now haha. Camille was the other friend and she is also from my singles ward there. She is coming out to Europe to travel with me in a couple days!! I cant wait!

In May, I had a great opportunity to really get to know my step grandmother, Cathy. I fell in love with her, and was so glad I got to know her in that short while. I will always have great memories of Hallmark movie marathons and Blue Bell ice cream :) I will also never be able to watch the Phoenix Suns play with out thinking about her! Another favorite part of AZ was spending so much time with my Aunt Mandy and her family!! Such a sweet, happy bunch of people! One of my favorite families ever, actually. I consider them (Both my aunt and her girls) the sisters I never had :)

All the nannying in AZ inspired me to fulfill a life long dream of mine-to visit Italy and Greece! I found a summer job as an Au Pair in Greece and here I am! Between AZ and Greece, I was able to go home for a couple weeks to see my family and join them for a few days in Utah. Thank you Cutler for flying out just to hop in the car and drive all the way back home with me :) We had a good time-especially the part where I got pulled over by a State Trooper haha, luckily he was a nice guy! Thank goodness for Red Bull, sour Jolly Ranchers, and iPod adaptors. Utah was fun too, Montana did well at BYU football camp and I got to see some good friends and family I have missed. From there I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friends wedding in California.
She was a beautiful bride, and the wedding topped any bridal magazine wedding I have ever seen!! Such a fun couple....

(Here is a pic of some of the friends who made it from Hawaii for the wedding)

That same weekend, I left for Greece, which turned out to be an experience I couldnt have even imagined before I got here! First of all, did anyone know that some people really are as filthy rich as you see in the movies. Im talking personal drivers, nannys, maids, cooks, mansions, parties, Prada, Chanel, Juicy, yachts, summer houses, etc. And its not just this family, but ALL of their friends and extended family as well. Second, Greece really is as beautiful as you imagine it would be, maybe more. Third, America really is the promised land, and Im convinced nobody can truly appreciate it with out experiencing living else where first.

Greece really is so neat because it is SO rich in culture and tradition! This family I'm living with and working for is very interesting. While they have so much "help" the mom is really involved with the kids and loves them very much. She just doesnt have to do the dishes, laundry, diaper changing, you know, the dirty work. She plays with them, teaches them, disciplines them (sometimes haha) and all the fun stuff a mom wants to do. My job is to play with the kids, help them with their English, and help out with taking care of them. Fair enough.

I have been SO lucky to travel all over the country with them. To be honest, I didnt even know Greece was composed of so many different islands. I have now been to 5 different parts of Greece with them. We have been to different islands, stayed in fancy resorts (where I have my own room) and visited friends summer homes and yachts. I am still shocked at the lifestyle, I mean I am from Vidor, but its not like I grew up in poverty!! The only downside of the experience is that because I am surrounded by all these millionaires all the time, some of them think they are better than you because of their money. Not so much to me because I am American, but to their other help, they are very rude and degrading. Its very annoying to deal with, and its one of those situation where saying something about it isnt really going to help. However, that is something I am able to get over because I am only here for a couple months, I just feel sorry for the girls that are here for years. Another cool thing about the job is that I have met several other girls doing the same thing for other families from all over. New connections to the world! I love picking their brains and comparing lives. It has really been fascinating!

This whole experience has been really good for me. There have been temptations here I have never had to deal with before, and sometimes I only have myself and my faith to hold on to. They say you learn who you really are when no one is looking. Im human and have done things Im not so proud of, but so far I can say I am pretty proud of who I have found myself to be :)