My Reason

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?

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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.

Nate

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!!

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Paris, France 2012

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)

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Childhood Friends

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..

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Friends Forever, Aug. 2009

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!

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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.

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All America City Winners, Yakima WA.

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.

Spring Media FAM, Naches Heights

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.

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French Media Winery Tour

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!

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A new adventure awaits you..

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!

Are “they” your “babies”

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While visiting a friend (and mother of 4) a few weekends ago, I was asked the question about my dogs: “Are they your babies?”
My husband, a very straight and to the point kind of guy responded and said, “No, I’m not that guy.”  I was then asked, “Are you that girl?”  And for a minute, I was silent – almost as if I was searching for the politically correct answer for those of us who have not “fulfilled our duty” and helped populate this overpopulated world.  I responded with a “They are animals, we love them, and they are a part of our family.”  The conversation progressed into how some people treat their animals like their children, and how that’s just strange behavior, maybe even unacceptable in the eyes of those who have children, and did not understand the idea of treating an animal like a person. 

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Growing up, we always had animals – my mother worked for KOIN TV in Portland, Oregon and there was always a “Animal Rescue” of the day featured before the evening news.  If nobody called, we were “surprised” with a new pet.  I’ll never forget one morning, walking into the kitchen and seeing a handful of cats run across the kitchen table with my little brothers blueberry waffle (each holding a small part of it with their mouth), making a quick scurry for the sliding glass door that had been left open… my little brother (not more than 3 years old) watched in disbelief as his waffle quickly vanished from his breakfast plate.  It was one of those moments, when all I could do is also stare in disbelief and laugh at what had just transpired.  Yes, we had many animals growing up – cats, dogs, horses, pigs, goats, the occasional hamster and rabbit… they all added joy to our lives.  We knew they were animals  – as kids, of course, like most – when we had kittens, we carted them around in our doll strollers, dressed in doll clothing, wrapped up in our doll blankets – they were our “babies”.. and that’s what is great about being a child, there is no judgment, there is no politically correct answer, there’s just a child playing with her babies. 

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Every now and again when I drop off my Saint Bernard for her grooming appointment, I walk up and down the aisles of Pet Smart, and look at all the accessories, houses, purses, strollers even car seats that they have for all different types of animals.  The strollers are specifically made for animals, and it makes me giggle a little.  Although, I personally can’t justify a stroller, I’ll be the first to admit – when I do find my Tea Cup Poodle, I will be in search of the cutest and most girly purse to carry my little dog around in, and there certainly will be matching outfits involved… not because I believe animals to be the same as people, but because I just love to accessorize pretty much anything in my life, and why not – if it brings me joy and makes me smile, and I’m not hurting anyone, then why not?

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And what about those “people” who treat their animals like their babies? Are they really hurting anyone?  Do we honestly know what is going on in their personal lives.. and maybe, just maybe, these “babies” of theirs will be the closest reality for them to experience love, nurturing, bonding with another life.  Who are we to judge or to call them crazy for displaying the act of love?  Maybe they can’t have children and this is their way of coping with life situations, maybe this is their form of therapy, maybe they just love animals, and they want to enjoy the company of someone who doesn’t talk back, who doesn’t judge, who is always happy to see you at the end of a long day.  Maybe, like those who have decided to have children, they have decided to have animals.

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My husband and I don’t have children, we do have a Saint Bernard, a puppy, and a cat who “found” us a few years ago. Actually, a few years ago today – we had returned from one of our camping adventures (the last one before the end of summer). I looked out on our back porch and I immediately noticed this little kitten, skin & bones curled up to Destiny (our Saint Bernard).  I had always wanted a blonde kitty with blue eyes .. and that day, he found me! We named him Tigger, fed him, gave him a little cheta print house outside, and the rest is history! We share him with our next door neighbors, who lets him sleep inside their home at night.  He was meant for us though, just like our Saint Bernard, Destiny (who was born on the same night Nate proposed to me), and our newest addition, Penny the puppy (who found me outside of Target!) – we love her too, and we are happy with our life.  We are lucky to have animals that bring us lots of laughter & entertainment.. and we are lucky to have friends who have kids, that we can visit and enjoy … and we are lucky to have eachother, to come home to after a long day .. and enjoy a quiet evening, a night out on the town if we choose to do so, an unexpected weekend away, or a planned out 2 week vacation abroad.  For now, we are happy with the life we have – and we look forward to whatever life brings into our future.. because everything in life is what YOU make it.

-Heather Decker

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My Morning Mug

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This is my morning mug. It’s not only my morning mug, but my “weekend” morning mug. It is the mug I wake up to between 8am and 10am, that I’m happily greeted by on Saturday or Sunday, and it is what I often look forward to because I know that my weekend is officially here.

I’ve had this mug for almost 10 years now. It has evolved from a coffee cup left in my dorm room next to a September issue of Glamour magazine and a note from my aunt saying, “You can do this!” , to a permanent fixture on the corner counter of my kitchen, reminding me that Saturday is just around the corner!

During my college years, this mug  served well in times of late night caffeine fixes during numerous midterm / final study sessions, long heart to heart talks with friends, and even those early morning epiphanies that were easily followed up with by another jolt of “wake the heck up”, before that dreaded AM class!  Being a communications major, I didn’t have too many early morning classes (2 to be exact – 7AM Intro. to Communications & 7:30 Intro to Design/Edit, both my sophomore year).  Thankfully, as more of the communication classes worked their way into my schedule, I also had more Friday’s of NO class..apparently com prof’s were accustomed to having their Fridays off, believe me when I say this – I certainly wasn’t one to complain! In this case, my little mug took a seat on the sidelines, while I took a walk down to D&M or Starbucks and caught up on some studying or maybe a chat with a friend…. let’s be honest, Fridays are still Fridays .. and most times – it was more likely a social outing than anything related to academics.

As “College Life” ended and “Real Life” began, this little cup of goodness quickly fell into its new role, in which this Monday-Friday, 8AM – 5PM working girl greatly appreciates. It is now the mug that (once filled) I hold in my hand, sip slowly, and make plans for the day, which might include a walk around my quaint and quiet neighborhood, usually consisting of birds chirping, the sun rising, and those who reside in Zillah Lakes awaking with their own cup of Joe in hand.   Sometimes, I enjoy this mug of coffee while I watch my Saint Bernard and kitty cuddle together on our back porch, or over a phone conversation with my best friend (it’s our time to catch up on life) while I stick a load of laundry in the washer and “think” about possibly doing some yard work. Sometimes, this mug is accompanied with a plate of warm cinnamon rolls, a mid-morning movie, and much-needed snuggle time with my husband.  It’s also the mug that keeps me company while I brainstorm or write my latest blog, and when it’s empty – it’s the mug I fill back up, in hopes of more inspiration for the “right” word or that perfect ending to a story I’ve wanted to share, but just haven’t had the time to stop and think.. and freely write my thoughts… while I take a sip out of my morning mug.

By Heather Decker
*Credit to Melody Olsen for giving me the idea of writing about my morning mug 🙂