Just us girls

Late last week, I watched my Facebook newsfeed flood with posts about National Sibling Day. With the recent passing of my brother, it inevitably triggered an overwhelming sadness that was difficult for me to shake.

Yet as I scrolled through one picture after the other, I realized I was being a total jerk, because I still have two siblings who are alive and well right here, right now. My two sisters mean the world to me, and while I tell them I love them every day, let this be a testament to two of the strongest women I know.

sisters_easter1

Me, Emily, Mary. Easter 2013. Sorry you look like hell, Em ;)

Mary is my older sister, and the oldest kid in our family. Most who know me recognize Mary because she’s the mother to my feisty, hilarious, gorgeous niece, Alice. Next to my own mother, I truly believe that Mary is the most incredible mother on the entire planet. She has sacrificed more for Alice than the majority of people will ever know or understand. But what’s important to realize is that there is so much more to Mary than just her incredible skills as a mother. 

Mary has an unfailing loyalty to family. Without her, I would not be as close to my relatives who live out of state. She is a driving force behind the planning of our family reunions, always making sure that the only thing separating the bond between us all is a few extra miles on a map.

Family reunion in Myrtle Beach 2011

Family reunion in Myrtle Beach 2011

Mary is also the reason why cheerleading is such an instrumental part of my life. As I grew up, I watched her make up choreography in our backyard, had her as my coach when I was just a little girl, and admired her unbridled passion each and every time she performed. I now go to Mary for advice about my own team that I coach and trust her input above all else. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the influences and impact that Mary has had on me.

Mary supporting me at my first competition as a coach!

Mary supporting me at my first competition as a coach!

Emily is my twin sister and honest to God, my better half. Being a twin is the most secure feeling in the world. Emily knows what I’m feeling and thinking before I do, never hesitates to knock me in the head with good ol’ common sense and reassure me that if I just chill out for a second (easier said than done), everything will take the course it’s supposed to.

My number one fan

Can you tell we’re fraternal?

On our most recent birthday, I wrote a post dedicated entirely to Em. As i’m sure most of you reading this who have siblings understand, it’s nearly impossible to encapsulate your family relationships into words. My birthday post to her gets pretty close, though. I encourage you to take a walk down memory lane with me. Emily is one tough betch, I’ll tell ya that much. I grow into a better person each and every day because of what I learn as I admire my beautiful twin sister.

em

Emily (left) and myself

The older I get, the more I respect and admire the absolute hell out of my sisters. They are beautiful on the inside and out, each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and will fight until their dying day to do what’s best for our family. We pick each other back up after we fall, kick each other in the ass (sometimes quite literally) when we need it, always forgive, and love without casting judgement.

I may live the rest of my life with an irreversible sadness that my brother left me too soon, but I’m also going to live the rest of my life knowing that I have two sisters who I am proud to call my friends. That is something I’ll make sure they know without a shadow of a doubt until my dying day. Love you hooligans.

sisters

Just us girls <3

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Crash course

Sometimes tip-toeing around a situation just does not cut it. It’s easy to play it safe, to justify taking the easy way out and to cross your fingers in hopes of the dice rolling in your favor. You’ll fall asleep knowing that while things aren’t as great as they could be, they’re still pretty decent. So that’s good enough, right?

Wrong.

Every so often (and if you’re like me, that means quite frequently) you need to throw yourself into a crash course situation in order to assess and understand what in the hell this battle between your head and your heart is all about. You have to be willing to risk it all — the comfort of the familiar, the vulnerability no one ever wants to reveal, the fact that you even care enough to dive right in — for the possibility of loving your life just that much more.

So build up your courage, take a deep breath, and go for it. Throw yourself into the middle of the scariest part of your dreams. How else are you supposed to find out if they could ever be a reality or not? Just don’t forget to brace yourself, because no matter the outcome, that one decision is going to disrupt the plans you once had, test your logic and shake your way of thinking. After all, challenge and change are the only ways we grow.

“Nothing in this life quite compares to the sweet exhilaration of making your move. When you just put it all on the line and go for it.”

- How I Met Your Mother

 

How I Build My Future

If you don’t already know this about me, I’m a big fan of the TV show How I Met Your Mother. Tonight was the series finale and, to no surprise, it had me laughing and crying all at once. What can I say? I wear my emotions for the world to see!

One of the main takeaways from the show, and especially in tonight’s finale, was that you want your close group of friends to be there for your “big moments,” aka the weddings, children, career advancements, etc.

Of course, this idea had my mind racing. I’m 24 years old, turning 25 in a few months. I’m at that phase in my life where my friends are starting to get married and have kids, some already do. It’s so exciting to be a part of those moments, yet I keep thinking to myself that there were so many smaller moments that led up to those big milestones.

Before my best girlfriends were in long-term relationships that have or will eventually lead to marriage, there were smaller moments that got them there. There were nights of trash talking our exes and sobbing as we ate out of an ice cream carton. There were the butterfly moments of, “Oh my gosh, do you think he even likes me? Should I say something? What should I do?” Those moments seem trivial in retrospect, but they were imperative to get to the big moments that are happening now.

Before both myself and my friends landed jobs that we were actually excited to have, there were many dreadful moments that we went through together. Moments where I scooped ice cream for hours just to make a paycheck that covered not much more than the gas money that it took to get me there; time spent on the phone complaining and talking about how one day these ridiculous jobs would help us pave the way to where we truly wanted to end up.

Well that one day is starting to turn into today. And looking back, I am incredibly grateful that I was there for those now-trivial moments that brought me here. I know that when my big moments continue to come for both myself and the people who matter most in my life, they will mean so much more because the time it took for them to happen was spent with none other than those who helped me get there. 

It’s fascinating to me that each and every choice, action, and step we take very realistically shapes our lives and the futures we build for ourselves. We may fall and stumble and sometimes cry our way through it all, but if we have the right people by our sides — the ones who we trust, care for, and genuinely adore — then at least we can rest assured that our future will be worth the wait.

The big moments count, but don’t forget that the little moments are what it takes to get you there.

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Dreamin’ up a storm

I’m in love with a lot of ideas.

I love the idea of traveling all over the world. I can close my eyes and see myself on the beaches of Australia and Greece, the green hillsides of Ireland, lost in the city of Chicago, giddy with excitement watching a giraffe in its natural habitat (fun fact: they’re my favorite animal.) I’m proud of the travels I’ve embarked upon thus far, but traveling is something I plan to do for the rest of my life.

California lovin'

California lovin’

I love the idea of growing as a professional. This idea is going to be constantly in motion. I am at an incredible place with my career right now; It’s hard for me to believe that I am just shy of being two years out of college. The mentors I have been fortunate enough to have in my life have allowed me to challenge myself in terms of what I’ve learned, as well as what I want out of my career. A professor once told me, “your career will be a zig-zag path, not a straight line.” He was right. The day I stop learning and growing is the day that I make my next zig-zag. Right now, however, I couldn’t be happier with the path I’m on.

My motivational year-long success board at work

“One year from now, what will have made the past 12 months a success?” My motivational year-long-success board at work.

I love the idea of being in love (again). If you’ve never been over-the-moon in love with someone, I encourage you to be vulnerable and think of how you can allow love to more easily incorporate itself into your life. If you’ve been in love before and it slapped you in the face and left you heartbroken, I encourage you to work on acceptance so that it does not hold you back from future possibilities. Being in love in a healthy, mutual way is, to me, the greatest joy I have ever known. I am a sap, though, so take that into account. However, the day that timing and chemistry line up in perfect unison and present me with the love that will last until the day I leave this Earth, I will shout it from the rooftops and never look back.

:)

:)

I love the idea of being a mom and raising a family (when I’m ready, people!) I am blessed to have two incredible role models as parents, as well as a niece who reminds me every day that there is nothing more pure than the innocence and candidness of a child. There are some things that you just know you want to happen in your life without a shred of a doubt. Having a family and being a great mom is one of them for me.

 

Reading Alice her letter from Santa on Christmas morning

Reading Alice her letter from Santa on Christmas morning

These are all dreams of mine that I’m eager to have come to fruition. Yet I think back and realize that many of my accomplishments were once just simple ideas that I was in love with. There were days when I dreamt of going away to college, giving the commencement speech at my graduation, landing my first job and coaching a cheerleading team. Those dreams are now realities I have proudly checked off of my personal to-do list.

If the dreams in your head present themselves time and time again, that is a sign you just cannot afford to ignore. Chase them. Fight for them. Pour your heart and soul into them until those dreams you’re so in love with turn into the life you’re proud to call your own.

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