Tag Archives: 2012

To Butterflies, 2013, and New Beginnings

I could write a fluffy post about how wonderful life was in 2012, but if I’m honest I would have to say that it has been one of the hardest years of my life. I had a stressful, time consuming job (note to self, if your life goal is to travel and help people around the world do not agree to run a small town newspaper) see Pageants, Parades, and Tractor Pulls. I lost a very dear friend to a brain aneurism see When Words Aren’t Enough and For Alice followed by my grandpa getting very sick (he’s doing much better now). I lived in an unfinished apartment with limited electricity and no running water see Bucket Head, Camping Without the Stars, and Weaving Through the Chaos (this situation has since improved). I had to live on a very tight income, was haunted by the general feeling of being stuck, and –to top it all off—four days before Christmas my grandparents got into a car accident see When Your Forgettery Works Better Than Your Memory and Walk With Me (Grandpa is now settled in an assisted living facility and Grandma is still in ICU).

At times, I felt like I was living the life other people felt I should live and not living the life I really wanted to live. I’ve cried a lot, dealt with depression, and at times felt like life was a waste, but as the year has finally come to an end I am thankful that many circumstances have changed and am ready for a fresh new start.

But, in spite of all the crazy, I was thinking the other day that I’ve actually gotten to do some pretty cool things this year including:

Shooting a wedding with the help of my amazing friend Treena

I Do

Running three 5Ks with my good friend Chelsie

Running Buddies

Seeing Lindsey Stirling in concert (amazing)

Love this girl

Taking a birthday trip with two incredible friends to San Francisco

Best 25th Birthday Ever

Flying to Atlanta to visit another incredible friend

Hanging with Lindsey

Attempting windowsill gardening with varying degrees of success

Trial and Error Gardening

Getting to write for the amazing magazine Rejoice Always

Rejoice Always

Spending time with my little buddy Hailey

Hailey

And I got my passport renewed, so who knows what is next.

I’m looking forward to 2013 even though I have no idea what it is going to bring. I decided to close the newspaper at the end of the year and plan on moving to St Louis. My goal is to work, save up money and move to Kenya sometime in May to hopefully work in an orphanage or with street kids. There are a lot of unknowns and what ifs, but I feel at peace and am hopeful about the future. The last artist I interviewed for the paper carved beautiful gourds and gave me one of her pieces as a good bye present a butterfly she said the symbol of new beginnings.

New Beginnings

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Filed under Contemplations, Photography, Travel

One Year and Six Days

I was so excited last Monday to hit the one year anniversary of this blog. I had great plans to make some cupcakes to celebrate, take a picture, and then write an elegant post about how much this blogging experience of sharing thoughts through cyber space has meant to me, but I never found the time to do it justice. Monday turned into Tuesday, Tuesday into Wednesday and now all of the sudden it is Sunday night, and I still haven’t had the time write what I wanted to write.

I realize I have become so busy that I don’t seem to have time anymore for the important things. The things that make me who I am, the things that remind me that it is good to be alive, the things that will really matter at the end of my life. I love blogging because it forces me to stop and process life. Blogging is a connection and a way to feel and remember an experience or a thought. It has been one of my most important outlets this year when I just needed to interact with a thought or share a piece of the day.

This post is so much shorter than I originally intended but sometimes simple is best. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by the blog, left comments and likes, and interacted with a post through facebook. Your words mean more to me then you know. Thank you Lindsey for encouraging me to start blogging. You are a true friend and have been such an encouragement.

To be completely honest this last year has been one of the hardest years of my life, and I am glad that it is coming to a close. This blog has been one of the brighter spots, and I am thankful beyond any words that are coming right now for the chance to reach an audience outside of my current bubble and to connect with other people who also enjoy the art of writing and photography. I hope to simplify my life in the coming year and get rid of the things that are eating up my time and spend more of my day doing things that I actually care about. I want to look ahead not back and live each day in a way that matters.

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For Alice

Everyone around me was waving, trying to get their graduate’s attention as the sea of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral candidates paraded to their seats on the arena floor. I tried to smile, and not look out of place, but sometimes it’s just too hard to smile. My friend Alice was supposed to be a part of that sea of graduates. She had worked so hard and overcome so much, but her unexpected death in February changed everything.

When Alice first landed in Chicago, she was met with a horrible snow storm, and no one to greet her at the airport. She took a taxi, but the new arrival from Kenya was unfamiliar with American money, so when the taxi driver told her the price of her fare, she held out her money and let the driver take what he needed.

The school office was closing when she arrived, so Alice was told to spend the night in a hostel. The next day she was handed a list of area apartments and told to find somewhere to live. Not used to the weather, she developed a severe cold and later said that if she had had a return ticket, she would have gotten back on a plane and returned home. But she stuck it out and graduated from Loyola University with her master’s degree and then transferred to Southern Illinois University to work on her PhD. Even at SIU, she ran into obstacles and had to switch programs and earn a second master’s degree when she observed that no one in her program was graduating. Alice was not the type of person who complained, she just did what she needed to do reach her goals.

Alice’s father flew in from Kenya to receive her PhD. Everyone on the stage stood to applaud him and the work Alice had completed. At the graduation, astronaut Mark Kelly spoke about goals and how his goal was to be the first person to set foot on Mars. He never made it to Mars, but Captain Kelly has flown on the space shuttle Endeavour and the Discovery and visited the International Space Station four times.

Alice never walked across the stage to receive her doctorate degree, even though she worked so hard to earn it. Her goal of starting a women’s center in Kenya will never be fulfilled, and yet she accomplished so much and touched so many lives in the process.

I’ve been thinking about goals and what they even mean. Life is short. There is so much I hope to accomplish, but it is easy to lose direction. It is easy to never reach the goals you set. It is easy to ask—what’s the point?  But, life is not lived in a vacuum. Maybe you won’t reach all of your life’s goals, but maybe you’ll inspire other people to reach theirs. Do goals define someone’s life? No, because life is more about HOW you live than what goals you can check off your bucket list. But, it’s good to set goals and live life with a purpose.

Saturday’s graduation was hard to attend, but I was happy for the family and friends who filled the stadium to celebrate with their graduate. So much potential filled the room. I hope each graduate sets high goals, and it will be exciting to see how they change the world.

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