Daily Prompt: In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?
Because everything happens for a reason..
The places I go..
and still haven’t gone
the people I meet..
and the friends I have yet to find
The challenges that test me..
and the fears that I’ve stomped on
The greatest experiences..
and those I would love to forget
Even when I don’t understand why –
Everything happens for a reason.
“Everything happens for a reason” – I hear that phrase often. Sometimes, I’m the one saying it to myself.. and sometimes, I’m saying it to a friend, colleague or sometimes – it’s my own husband saying it right back at me. As I ponder the phrase and what it actually means to me – I think about the life experiences and where they’ve all led me.
Places I’ve been:
There have been many..
moves (because moving means starting over, right?)
houses (more than I can count..at least 30)
cities & towns (some not even on the map)
schools (of all sorts, but usually on the smaller side)
most against my own will (the lovely childhood/teen years)
but far more I have yet to see..and very willingly I might add!!
My husband and I are in the midst of planning a two-week vacation to Italy (Venice, Rome, Sorrento) and I’ll have to say, if it weren’t for all of these previous moves in my life, I might still be hesitant to travel. Three years ago, we went to France & Germany for a wedding & vacation. My eyes were opened and it was then that I realized just how much I truly loved International travel – and promised myself I would see more of this fabulous world that we live in! It was like I had been missing out – all my life – and part of me wishes that I would have experienced this sooner, but everything happens for a reason. I can’t see myself traveling the world with anyone else than the love of my life.. and it was certainly worth the wait!
People I’ve met:
Childhood friends (giving credit to Facebook for this one)
Best friends (I can count them on one hand! – they know me well)
College friends (some of my best memories – hands down!)
Work friends (have made me stronger and believed in me)
“More like family” friends (as far as I’m concerned, they are family)
A few years ago, I reconnected with my childhood friend Keri on Facebook. We had one of those unforgettable friendships when we were younger – 6th grade, I was the “new” girl in town – and I sat next to her in Mrs. Semling’s class. She loved the latest fashion trends, bright pink lipstick, perfume that smelled sweet (think back to “Tribe” and “Exclamation”), spray on suntan lotion with glitter (who cared if the SPF was ..hmm, come to think of it – was there an SPF?!) We spent our summer on the roof of my house sunbathing, our hair drenched in Sun-In, with our favorite music playing through the open window – New Kids on the Block, Bobby Brown and maybe even a little Paula Abdul and Roxette..these were the days of “mixed tapes”. It was there that we discussed some of life’s most crucial questions – who would we share a locker next to? What outfit would we wear the first day of school? .. More importantly, who were those boys standing in front of us at the movies last night? And now, today – we still talk about those carefree days of being young, curious and unsure of ourselves. I love when a childhood friend transforms (years later) into a best friend – she knows my past, present and will continue to share good times with me in the future too..
Best friends are hard to come by, and the few that I have, I’m grateful for. Over the years, I’ve met them through my work, college and sometimes through other friends. I’ll never forget my first day at Northwest Christian College. I was overwhelmed with boxes and finding a place for all of my belongings on my side of the room. The girl across the hall was playing this obnoxious music..I remember thinking to myself how I was already dreading the room I was placed in. A few days later my roommate and “the girl across the hall’s” roommate arranged for the 4 of us to walk around the U of O campus together.. little did I know, that a “dare” to prank an innocent bi-standard during our walk would lead to a lifelong friendship – Karen lives in Arizona and our visits are very seldom. She was the maid of honor in my wedding almost 6 years ago – it’s my turn to go see her. We’ve shared so many “laughing until you cry” moments – we text when we can, email when we can, talk on the phone when we can – but when we reunite – we pick up right where we left off!
Sometimes I feel like my work friends cross into my “more like family” friends – simply because I spend 8+ hours of my day with them Monday-Friday and if they truly become “more like family” – sometimes, I even spend weekends with them! I suppose my “more like family” friends could be considered somewhat close to some of my best friends too. These are the friends who give me advice about life, love, and while they have my best interest at heart, they are not afraid to be brutally honest and tell me where I could stand to make some improvements too. I treasure these friends because I know I can count on them – they have my back – I can vent to them, I can share my fears & misgivings with them, and sometimes – I can even fall apart in front of them. They are my early morning power walking partner, my lunch date at the Sub Shop, my weekend adventurer at a new campsite, my morning cup of coffee on the weekends, my sounding board and support – even during the political drama that often occurs in the realm of higher education.
All of these friends have stepped into my life at the right moment – when I needed them the most, they were and continue to be there for me.. because, everything happens for a reason.
Challenges & experiences I’ve faced:
I believe it’s human nature to avoid challenges – because as I’ve recently been reminded, it’s only through our challenges that we grow stronger as a person. It might be painful, uncomfortable and frustrating – but during these growing pains, we become stronger, more confident and better in our personal lives, in our work lives, and with those who we encounter on a daily basis. As a friend of mine would say, “Heather just tell yourself, I GOT THIS!” She is right, because really – I DO…I’VE GOT THIS!
Almost a year ago today – one person who will be known as “Crazy Town” or “Tinkerbell” turned my world upside down – to the point of which I swear I was living in the Twilight Zone! I did not think I was capable of seeing this “challenge” through, I felt like the world was against me, and quite often asked myself – what did I do to deserve this?! Luckily, I had friends who encouraged, listened and lifted my spirits .. and then – it happened – I was on the Yakima Herald looking at the classified section (on my lunch break of course) .. and there it was .. a job posting for Yakima Valley Tourism as the Travel Media Trade Relations Manager. I read the job description (sounded like fun) and the requirements (I had most of them), and then there was that “APPLY” button .. in which, with no hesitation at all, I submitted my cover letter, resume and references .. went back to work and hoped for the best.
Two months and two interviews later .. on a sunny afternoon, I received a phone call that changed my life forever! I was offered this job .. this job that I had only ever looked or applied for because of a “challenge” in my life and now – it was mine! I’ve been with Yakima Valley Tourism for almost a year and I absolutely love it! It has forced me to leave my comfort zone, it has challenged me to utilize my organizational skills, writing skills, GPS skills to their fullest..but I love it. I love the people I work with – we are all one team, and we all have the same goal – to promote the heck out of the Yakima Valley and let it shine!!!! It’s a job that exudes positivity, endless possibilities, and continuous new discoveries. It’s a job that I feel good and excited about – I learn something new every day. So, Crazy Town, if you are reading this, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because without your ridiculous lies, laziness and unmentionable work ethics, I would have never even been looking for this job! This experience has shown me that even through our darkest moments of not understanding – EVERYTHING happens for a reason!
This post ended up being longer than I anticipated, but at the end of the day, we all have our reasons for believing. Mine (unbeknownst to me) just happens to be a little categorized. The important thing is though – to have a reason to believe.. believe in miracles, unknown places yet to be found, friendships, love & loss, and new adventures still waiting to be experienced!
I’ve become one of those lucky victims of being hacked .. quite a few times!
I wanted to apologize to anyone who has been receiving SPAM notifications from me in their email. I’ve changed my password to a “STRONG” password by WordPress, so I’m hoping that solves my problem.
Since I’ve been slacking on posting blogs – I thought I would take a few minutes to post a “Merry Christmas & Happy New Year” to everyone.
We had a lovely Christmas and enjoyed the time off to spend together.
I’ve included pictures from Silver Lake Winery and their Grapevine Wreath Making / Mulled Wine Event in November 2014. It was such a beautiful day for it and the view from Silver Lake Winery is absolutely amazing!!! I plan on visiting them again during Yakima Valley’s Red Wine & Chocolate in February and Spring Barrel in April.
Blogging 101: Today’s assignment: try out at least three other themes — even if you’re happy with the one you first chose. Try one you’re drawn to, and one you would never use.
I’m just a bit behind on some of these posts – and I thought that this particular assignment would not take me very long. I was wrong .. and I confess, I tried out ALOT more than just 3 themes.
I had been using “Adelle” for the longest time, and I was actually a little sad to change things up – through this assignment, I’ve realized the following about myself:
1. I get easily attached to what I love and what I’m comfortable with .. whether it be a “theme” used on my blog site, a vehicle I drive everyday (I love my Civic, but I was a little sad .. when I said to goodbye to my FIT .. I might have to go back to the FIT, now that there is a Sun Roof option) .. sometimes it’s the little things .. and sometimes it’s the big things – but to this day, I struggle with change – something I’m working on, and will continue to work on.
2. I’m very particular about my decisions – there were so many themes to choose from, with so many different layout options.. but I found myself drawn to those layouts that were clean, concise, and had a side bar on the right side of the blog site. I liked some of the other layouts, but then my pictures were compromised – and that bothered me. I was drawn to some of the themes that had bright colors and big fonts, but I found myself shying away them at the same time. I’m not a risk taker, and I felt like some of these big fonts & colors were just a little too bold for my taste.
3. I love having “options” – Some of these layouts had amazing options for color and pattern changes .. but you had to purchase the theme in order to make changes. I’m easily drawn to the “accessories” or “added features” when I’m contemplating on the purchase of a product. When I was deciding between the Honda Civic and The Mazda 3, the ultimate deciding factor came down to a digital screen in the civic that could also be used as a “picture frame” of one JPEG photo! Once I found out I could display in a picture in that screen – I was sold! While viewing these other themes, I found myself almost tempted to buy the upgraded theme so I could also personalize it as well! This is something that might just have to wait until after the holiday season though!
I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with this new theme.. but I’ll give it a try for a little while!
Blogging 101: Today’s Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.
Sometimes when I’m looking at the mirror .. getting ready in the morning .. I see your reflection looking back at me. I’ve been told that in certain pictures I’ve posted that I look just like you. The other day, as I excused myself from a funny conversation, laughing to myself as I walked to my car – It was your laugh I heard.. and when I find myself consoling a friend, always looking at the brighter side, I hear you in my word choice.. Just the other day, I was visiting with some friends, sharing memories – and I was reminded of those early mornings, when I would watch you get ready for the day. If anyone could pull off the short pixie haircut, it was you…even that time you dyed your hair and it turned bright orange (remember the sulfate water in Hillsboro, McKay Creek Farms) – you still looked amazing! You had the perfect pair of black heels, pencil skirt, and electric blue silk blouse.. and when you applied the finishing touches with the signature red lipstick – your meticulous morning routine left no room for imperfection.. because in my eyes, you were a movie star in the making .. the look-alike singer in that 80’s Band Roxette .. at least that was the general consensus of my friends in junior high… and you were the one I looked up to, you were who I wanted to be when I grew up…
I wish I could go back in time, and relive those moments of us together, when we still got along – staying up late and watching those mini series movies together (this was obviously before Netflix), remember that time you took me to get my very first manicure? It was right before my sleepover at Stefanie’s house… horseback riding … road trips to the various houses we lived in – I even enjoyed those times together .. painting that room upstairs in the loft when we lived in Lostine … learning how to make lasagna with you when we lived in St. Helens in that log house … listening to you sing “She’s In Love With The Boy” on our way to the store – I remember thinking to myself, what a beautiful voice you had that day… Freshman Homecoming Week, you “bought” Jake & Keri at the “Freshman Slave Auction”- and had them come dress shopping with us so that I could find that perfect dress.. that is actually one of my favorite memories I have with you. I tried on several dresses … and yet .. it was that first blue violet dress with the embroidered floral print that stole your heart, and you told me, “Heather – THAT is THE dress!” and of course, we had to get it! You picked out a beautiful set of Austrian crystal earrings, and a heart-shaped necklace with my initial carved in the middle. I still have that jewelry set, and I think about you every time I wear it… all of my high school heart breaks .. friendships that had gone astray … ridiculous assignments that were required throughout the years .. you were there for all of it. And, when I left for college the first time .. and the second time .. and even the third (and final) time .. I came home to visit, and we would catch up over a pot of coffee .. and numerous interruptions from brothers and a little sister .. and sometimes even the occasional kitty or Saint Bernard. You always had the best stories on all the neighbors and town people .. with whom you swore you had nothing to do with .. but yet, still had all the dirt on! You were always good for that — and sometimes, when I’m telling a story of my own .. It’s you that I hear telling the story.
Remember when that movie “Mamma Mia!” came out? I remember you watching the previews for it and saying, “That looks like the most ridiculous movie ever!” I hadn’t given much thought to the movie … until people kept telling me that I needed to see this movie and that I would undoubtedly enjoy the plot of it – a girl who is about to get married, doesn’t know who her father is .. finds her mother’s diary .. in which she discovers the possibility of finding her dad … just in time for her wedding day. This movie (with the exception of it taking place in Greece, and the additional 3rd man) was relatable to me in so many different ways – If only life could be like the movies .. and if only you had written your deepest most personal thoughts in a diary … when you still loved my dad .. and I could still read about it.. I know that life was hard when you had me, when you left your first husband, when you raised me on your own for a little while, when you remarried someone else who also had a child, when you spent time and money in numerous family counseling sessions .. and when even then – life continued to get harder. I wish that someday you could understand where I am coming from when I tell you that I never meant to hurt you or the rest of my siblings when I decided to seek him out. It was never my intent to uncover a secret .. I’ve never had any ulterior motive or hidden agenda – I simply wanted to know who he was .. and when I began my search, seeking him out was initially so that I could rule him out as even being my dad because I BELIEVED the story you told me so long ago – the story that I was obsessed with for my entire life .. of a man .. a best friend .. who helped you conceive a baby .. so that your father could see his first grandchild before he died… that is what I had always believed in my heart … without any question, without a picture of what this man looked like .. without ever getting to introduce myself to him – I believed you.. and that night, when I told you what I found out, and all you could say to me was “How could you do this to me?” – I was speechless, after all these years – of me believing a story … and you wanted to know how I could do this to you. You were so angry that night – at what I had done .. and you blamed the man you remarried for not being the father he should be .. because to you, that’s why I had to go looking for him. Maybe if it hadn’t been treated like a dirty little secret, if I could have talked more openly about him (whoever “he” was) to you, maybe if you took my feelings about this seriously when I was younger .. and maybe if you could step back and realize that you aren’t the only one who has changed in 20 years .. then maybe we would still be talking today.
You missed one of the most important days of my life – because you wanted me to promise you that “the others” would not talk to you or my little sister. You didn’t want to be in any pictures with “the others” or “him” because that would just be a “picture full of lies” What about the picture and what it would have meant to me? A picture that has my mother and my father (the two people who created me and who I love) together – not as a family, but simply a picture of me with both of my parents. For one day, not even a full 24 hours, you could have watched your first child walk down the aisle and marry her best friend. You’ll never get to see that moment – you missed it.. and that hurts… that is what I struggle with – when I think of all the other times you were there for me. You are my mom – why couldn’t you just put your personal feelings aside and just be there for me on such a special and emotional day of my life. I don’t understand – and I hope that someday I will.. because it still breaks my heart. Do you know – his Dad came to our wedding .. my grandfather .. the man who refused to go to his own son’s wedding because he was against it from the get go … but he came to his granddaughter’s wedding, and although I don’t know him that well, I was very touched by the gesture, and the fact that there were more family members from my father’s side of the family.. and my own grandmother was there – and all of your sisters, and their children .. everyone was there to see me get married .. everyone but my own intermediate family who I lived with for over 20 years – It’s really too bad.. because it was a special day, something I wish you could have shared with me.
I don’t know if you ever did watch that movie – but there’s 2 parts that always seem to get to me… the part where she is singing to her friends about her mother’s diary entries, and the end of the song she says, “I heard about you before, I wanted to know some more and now I’m about to see, what you mean to me.” That is exactly how I felt when I decided to find him – and I’m glad that I did because he is the most loving and caring parent – for what it’s worth, he’s an amazing man, and he & his family have only ever supported and loved me since our reunion. I hope that someday you won’t be so bitter toward him or those who you claim are “dead to you” – bitterness turns into animosity and it isn’t healthy to have so much hate toward a person. People do change – and he isn’t the man you knew straight out of high school… none of us are.
The other part of this movie that touches me .. even makes me a little sad is when her mom is singing to her, getting her ready on her wedding day.. and reminiscing over a song, talking about when she was younger, and sitting at the breakfast table together, making plans .. understanding her daughter for just a moment in time .. this is how I choose to remember the type of relationship that we once had – because (before all of this) we did – and we were close, and I could tell you anything – I could confide in you, and I could trust you. These are the memories I’m choosing to hold on to.. at the end of the song … she sings, “Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture, and save it from the funny tricks of time” – If only that were possible.
If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?
Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the back story. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?
Nate and I decided to road trip to the Oregon Coast and that labor day weekend of 2013 couldn’t have been better. We arrived at the beach, Rockaway Beach, and the moment my toes felt the warm sand beneath them – it was as if time stood still. We walked along the shore, letting the small tide waters brush over our feet, the water was warm and it felt amazing, not like the Pacific Ocean I remembered playing in as a child.. holding hands.. I promised him that we would turn back, “lets just walk a little farther.”
I could see a few rock mountains in the distance – the sky clear, the sun shining bright, the sight of the ocean-going on and on forever, I could feel my mind starting to drift. It’s one of those places I could stay all day and be content just getting lost in the beauty of the scenery alone. We stop for a few minutes and splash around in the water, jumping waves just like some of the little kids nearby – the perfect weather has added a friendly invitation to dogs playing fetch with balls, Frisbees, and even a stuffed animal. I see little toddlers holding their parents hands and walking along the shore.. a few older kids building sand castles, and others burying their feet in the sand .. watching and waiting for that next wave to move them closer to the water. Skim boards and surf boards and a few flying kites are also visible in the distance… chatty little girls carry their bright red pails full of sea shells and silver dollars. Couples similar to Nate and I walk hand & hand and admire the stunning view. This is a moment I wish I could just freeze in time.
I watch Nate walk ahead of me, I’m sure he is thinking about the next destination after this one .. where and when we will eat our next meal…and how much farther I plan on walking before we truly do start heading back to the car. He turns his head to see if I’m still behind him .. sometimes I can’t help but just stop and enjoy this beautiful life. The waves are so mesmerizing..For a moment, I’m a child again .. I’m running free in my salt water sandals with my favorite dog Sidney and my favorite doll Lisa Marie .. I don’t have a care in the world. For a moment, I can see my Aunt holding me and taking me out into the ocean as I scream with delight.. feeling scared of all the big waves in front of us, but feeling safe because I know she won’t let go of me. For a moment, I can remember that favorite beach house in Manzanita and the little store that my grandma would take me to each morning.. I’m reminded of the campfires we had on the beach, snuggled up in oversized sweatshirts and blankets that smelled just like the salt in the air .. roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and taking the routine family photos by the tall green grass.. For a moment, just one moment, I wish that I could go back – to being that little girl who believed in finding love notes in a washed up bottle, magic starfish, and mermaids.. but for that moment, as I see my husband walking further ahead of me, I am that little girl – who has found her way back to the ocean with the love of her life .. even if for just a day .. This is one day that I will always remember and a place I will always wish I could just magically appear whenever my heart so desired. “Look, there’s a Vacancy,” Nate points ahead at the little blue beach motel with the flashing red “vacancy” sign in the window. I’m brought back to reality .. we are now walking back to our parked car .. and past the motel .. on to our next destination.
Blogging 101: Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.
Writing 101: Write about anything for 20 minutes
*I’m combining the Blogging 101 and Writing 101 assignment into 1 Blog.
Hi – My name is Heather and I’ve actually had this blog site for a few years. I decided I wanted to start blogging after I helped manage/write contact for a blog at PNWU. I’ve also always wanted to keep a blog for personal reasons. Sometimes, I think some of my posts should be private – because some of the content has been hidden from my life for so long…and why would I share this with the public? Now that I’m no longer a child and have the freedom to write what is on my mind, I find that blogging is very therapeutic. I know there are those out there who probably don’t like or agree with some of my topics .. but I read once, it’s important to treat others nice, because someday – if / when they decide to write about their life, you would want them to write nicely about you and the role you’ve played in their life. I’ve had a few people in my life who I don’t mean to speak horribly about, but some of my experiences are just that – experiences .. and as I’ve been told before and told others, you can’t control the behavior of others, you can only control your own behavior and how you react to those life moments. This has been hard for me – simply because for so long – I let others control me, out of fear, sadness, and simply the unknown. It took some pretty amazing people to step into my life and help me realize that I’m better than that – and I deserve to be treated better than that.. that life is not about living by a bunch of ultimatums or being talked down to .. life is about so much more. It’s about not being afraid to mess up, or to even put yourself out there and believe in yourself, or sometimes fall flat on your face. We only have one life here on earth, so we better live it – because it’s no fun when someone else tries to live it for you!
My name is Heather – and I’m here to blog..to blog about pretty much everything and anything under the sun – to record some of my happiest and saddest memories .. and to make new friends along the way! I’m hoping that this Blogging 101 and Writing 101 assignments will push me to write more and improve more in my writing. I’m hoping that it will also help me set a routine – because I do love to write, I just need to make time for it – it’s so important to take time, even if it is just 20 minutes .. to write about what is happening – I start a new job in a week, and I’m a little scared. But, as my husband reminded me tonight, “Heather you’ve done all the pieces of this job in your other previous jobs .. now it’s time to put this puzzle together!” He is right – it’s time – to start this new chapter in my life. I know it’ll be hard at first, there is always that “learning curve” but a year from now – I will look back on this post, and I will feel happy, relieved, and more confident in this job … than I do right now. That’s why blogs are important – they capture your feelings at the very moment you are feeling them.. and then you can reflect on them later. Blogs freeze moments in time. I might only have 4 minutes of time remaining – but for this moment, this is what I’m thinking about… and this might just be one blog full of rambles .. but that was the assignment – and it’s a first for me, because my blogs — they are never timed, nor are they full of random thoughts.