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!

camping workfriend

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 America City Winners

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!

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Seasons of Change

Daily Prompt: Mid-Season Replacement
by michelle w. on October 11, 2013
For many of us the seasons are changing, bouncing unpredictably between cold and warm. Are you glad to be moving into a new season, or wishing for one more week of the old?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us SEASONS.


Zillah Lakes Sunset

It’s that first glimpse of a golden amber leaf…slowly swaying .. gently touching the ground
The evening glow of deep shades of orange, pink, and even a touch of red…all melding together,
creating the “perfect” autumn sunset in our backyard..just past the greens of hole #1
The colors begin to fade as I savour that last sip of wine … cherishing my favorite season,
This is the season I wait for each year…the season that inspires me… the season I love.

Seasons of Change

It’s that first morning chill that quickly changes into a pleasant brisk afternoon ..
Just warm enough for a soft cozy oversized sweater, some leggings and your favorite pair of boots.
A pumpkin spice latte in one hand and a dog leash..a book.. or maybe even his hand in the other,
An afternoon stroll around a favorite park, a hayride in search of the pumpkin, a kiss on the cheek,
This is the season I wish stayed longer, the season that says “hello” and “goodbye”.. too quickly for me.

Reflections.

It’s when I realize the golden amber leaf belongs to a tree,  changing into its own shade of autumn, overnight.
It’s when I realize that just like life, seasons DO change and you can’t hold onto a season or a life.
It’s when I realize that the last “hello” could truly be the last “goodbye”.
It’s when I realize that just as I cherish this season – I’ll always cherish those ..
Who like the seasons ..come in and out of my life ..

Fall at PNWU

This is the season of change

By Heather Decker

*This post is inspired by the daily prompt: Mid-Season Replacement*

Hi, Mom!

Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom!: Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. Wherever in the world you are, write your mother a letter.

Me & My Mom  Zillah Lakes SummerHorse Riding

Hi Mom,

I probably never told you this, but this picture – it’s one of my favorites.  Infact, I remember the day we stood there together – in the backyard of that house on  Thompson street. I remember you looking at me.. just how you are in that picture, with such love and gentleness in your eyes.  You (I’m sure) adored me .. loved me unconditionally.  We had no differences back then … I was the apple of your eye, we spent our summers out by that pool of the apartment complex – I remember you telling me – I could have been that little girl on the front of the Coppertone suntan lotion bottle .. and I’m sure that it’s because of you – that I tan so easily (hardly ever burn) every single summer.  You are the reason I love my sunshine, my flip-flops, a nice warm breeze and especially a relaxing horseback ride to finish up those perfect summer evenings… which have been replaced with a stroll around the golf course or nature trail with Nate .. not quite the same, but those rides with you – I’ll cherish.

Manicure

Do you remember that day you took me to get my nails done?  I do – I was in the 5th grade.  We were on our way to Stefanie Lalande’s birthday party – it was a sleepover.  I had my “Truth or Dare” game in hand, my sleeping bag & pillow.. thinking we were headed straight to her house, instead .. pulled up to a salon.  “Heather we are going to go & get our nails done .. ”  I remember picking out my color – it was a translucent pink .. I watched as my nails were trimmed, filed and painted .. and you, alongside me – also getting your nails done .. I felt so special, having that time with you .. knowing it was just the two of us, me – experiencing my very first manicure with my mom .. knowing that after this moment .. there would be more of those manicures to come.  And now – whenever I go to get my nails done – it’s you that I think of.  I remember arriving at Stefanie’s house, feeling so proud, telling everyone where I had just been .. and showing off my perfectly manicured nails! It was and still is one of my favorite memories.  

High School Graduation

Do you remember this day? High School Graduation – I couldn’t have been happier, and you were there – to cheer me on.  You were so proud of me that day! This was the start of something new – I was almost 18, thought I had all of the answers .. like any other graduating senior does .. But, this was just the beginning .. Still, you stood by me – encouraged me to follow my dreams. It was so hard – telling you goodbye that day at NCC.  We had spent the whole drive over from Idaho to Eugene, Oregon – you telling me not to go out at night, it’s not safe – and if I did, I better wear that flashlight with the whistle around my neck .. and if I was scared at all, to blow on that whistle.  You helped me unpack my side of the room, not knowing if we would have enough space, but you made it work.  You filled an entire container full with snacks, incase I got hungry and needed something to eat.  I remember dreading that moment when you and everyone else left – there was nothing more to unpack, the boxes were empty, and it was time.. it was a terrible feeling .. seeing you leave.  This was before cell phones, email or instant messaging.. and I worried about how I would manage without you, without our evening chats outside on the front porch, our rides into town, our time together.  That first night – being in a new place, I’ll never forget.. I was so used to falling asleep to pure darkness… as I did, living in that house in Harrison out in the country, so quiet and so dark .. with the exception of the crickets .. and the stars.  lying in bed that night – with the sound of college students outside my window.. and the fluorescent light of a street lamp shining through my window, I knew my life had changed.  And, I had to experience just a few more things in life before really figuring out what it was I wanted to do… coming back home for a “break” that turned into “6 years” — I met some amazing people along the way, who helped me figure out what & who was missing … I soon decided I wanted to finish what I had started, my education, and I wanted to know all of my family.

CWU Graduation My Wedding Day

When I decided I wanted to go back to school … we weren’t exactly on speaking terms … because along with going back to school .. I had also chosen to reunite with my grandmother  aunts, uncles, cousins.. and many other relatives I had not seen since I was 9 years old .. and most importantly I found my real dad.  We seemed to work  through those differences (a little) .. but something happened in between the College graduation (in which you attended… you were there … but your mind was elsewhere, and I was sure to hear all about it on my special day – the day I had been waiting 4 years to enjoy) … It was that day – you had already decided in your own mind that you would not be attending my wedding… because I could not promise you that “The Others” would not speak to you or the rest of the family.  Sometimes, if I had to do it over again, I would have opted for you to skip my graduation and come to see me get married.  And in some ways – I wish you could have just been there for both of these very important days of my life – that I’ll never do over again.  Why couldn’t you just set aside all differences for one day, and watch your daughter get married .. on the happiest day of her life.  Why did you have to post such a mean comment on Facebook, proclaiming how HAPPY you were that I would be changing my last name? Was that truly necessary? Was it truly necessary to make a point of what a great time you were having that day with your sister, barbecuing .. not making one mention of your own daughter getting married .. because, I wonder sometimes, if you were worried about what others might think – what would you tell them if they had asked.. why you weren’t at your own daughter’s wedding?  Oh, I’m sure you would come up with something to justify why you didn’t attend .. because, yes, that’s right – it was MY FAULT you weren’t there … because I CHOSE to have ALL of my family (who wanted to be there) watch me marry the love of my life.. that’s right.  To say that I’m deeply hurt over this.. is such an understatement, you’ll never know just how bad you really hurt me by not being there – and it is something that I will NEVER do to my own kids – regardless of circumstances I may agree or disagree with.. because that’s what you do when you are a parent .. you put your own feelings aside and let them have that moment. Although I am still sad that you chose not to come, I have forgiven you, and my anger and sadness is only for you – I’m sad for you, that you missed that day.  In the end, I can honestly say, it was a beautiful wedding and those who attended wanted to be there and that is what mattered.  I would have loved for you to be there, but you weren’t – and well, as the old saying goes, “It is what it is.”

Heather & Nate

It has been nearly 4 years since we’ve really spoken – and there are some days that I miss you .. that I have to think back to that “last time” .. having coffee together, laughing together, telling stories together … shopping together.. as the years go by, I’ve been so blessed with the friendships I’ve made … and today, on Mother’s Day … as I look through the pictures of moms & their daughters .. I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have these amazing mothers in my own life.  They’ve taken me in as one of their own .. and when I’m having those days … where I’m missing you – they are the ones who step in .. and they are the ones to remind me that even though you might not be speaking to me, you do still love me – because really, you just can’t help yourself.  I will always remember the fun times we had together – and someday, I really do hope that instead of responding to a daily prompt on my blog site that I’ll be able to pick up the phone and tell you Happy Mother’s Day.  But today – as I write this letter that you may or may not ever see .. I just want to tell you Happy Mother’s Day, I do love you mom..I always will.. because quite honestly, I just can’t help myself either.  And – finding that picture of us .. way back when a few days ago – really made me miss you.  Incase you wanted to know, I’m doing really well .. Nate and I are happy together – he is so good to me, and he loves me .. he would do anything for me .. we are a good fit for each other, and I’m excited for the life we are living .. and all that we still have to look forward to.

Happy Mothers Day – Heather