My Valentine

Valentine, you are the one whose smile can brighten any moment. You are the one who loves without regard. You are the one who is worthy of this, and so much more. You are the one who is strong when I’m faced with difficulty. You are the one who accepts my faults. You are the one who encourages me to chase my dreams. You are the one whose heartbeat I live by. You are the one who inspires me. You have the laugh I miss when I go a day without. You are the unique soul which I admire. You have the wisdom that without, this world would be bleak to me. You are the one who reveals beauty. You are the one who worships without abandon. You are the one who knows all of my fears and tries to push them away. You are the one whose vision of life is inspiring. You left me for a time, and it was a grave period. My heart ached, my vision was blurred, there was no music for my body to move to, there were endless tears… Thank you for coming back. At first I wasn’t sure of your return, but as time passed I knew for sure you were once again with me. So, Valentine – never forget that you are loved, cherished, treasured and adored.

After 24 years, I figured it was about time to write myself a Valentine letter. If we don’t first love, honor and accept ourselves, how could we ever expect someone else to?

The New Generation

With the slightest bit of the full moon peaking over the hills in Pennsylvania a phone rang. On one side was an excited man whose life had just changed in the most incredible of ways. The other side was a couple who were filled with anticipation for this very moment.

A new generation had just been born.

On Tuesday night I became an aunt. My oldest brother who lives in Austria and his wife welcomed into their arms a son, Joshua. While for the most part this entrance into the world was surrounded by overwhelming love, there was a hint of bittersweet. Joshua stands as the first grandchild for my parents – the first great-grandchild to my grandma – the first of nephews and nieces to any of my siblings. He arrived in a country far away from us though. It won’t be until May, when my family once again all gathers for my other brothers wedding, that this side of his family will be able to meet little Joshua. I’m not sure if I’ll feel like an official aunt until then. When it all comes down to it though – that’s okay. I’ve seen his face, fingers and toes. I know he’s a healthy little man and his parents are both well. In a couple of months when he’s squishy and even more adorable I’ll have my chance to love on him. Hope that little man is ready for it!

Joshua
Meaning: God is my salvation.
Spiritual Connotation: Bringer of Truth.
Scripture: James 1:25

The Guilty Daughter

Sometimes even when we do what we are supposed to, we still feel guilt.

As mentioned in “Hospitals, cars and weddings“, my dad has been sick lately and in the hospital. He was discharged last Tuesday, but by Thursday was unable to swallow. It was at that point he and my mom made their way to Hershey Medical Center – a much better hospital than the po-dunk one he had been in (where they found nothing wrong with him). For the past week my life has been consumed with concern for him and spending all of my free time with him and my mom at the hospital. Neither of my brothers are able to come to see my father, as one is in Austria and the other in Texas – both absolutely overwhelmed with work, new businesses, car issues and financial issues of their own.
Since my dad hasn’t been feeling well the emotional and physical drain on my mom has been obvious. On Thursday night while we were still in the ER waiting for the docs to admit my dad I saw my mom break. She allowed her husband hold her in his arms and let her tears fall on his shoulder.   Seeing both of my parents in states I am simply not used to takes a lot out of me. On top of which I’m still juggling 3 (or is it 4?) jobs, a car which still isn’t fixed, friendships and what I believe people call “breathing”.
The guilt comes in to play in the sense which I don’t feel like there’s anything I can do which will ease the situation on either of my parents, I’m the only child in the area so I’m expected to either be with my dad or be at home taking care of things there (like the baby puppies!). On Friday night I had a ticket to go see one of my favorite performers who was in the area and it took all of me to leave my dad and go spend time ‘enjoying’ myself. The hours I spend sitting in the hospital room with my mom and dad I find myself thinking about the work I should be doing and become frustrated. When I realize I still haven’t cried at all it makes me wonder why I’m forcing myself to be so strong.
This is what I do though – even when my life is crazy, I push aside my own emotions and concern myself with those around me.

Hospitals, cars and weddings

Sitting here in the hospital, I look back at this past week and realize how each day was more intense than the previous.
It all began with my car not working on Monday morning… Then spilling things on Tuesday… Overall stress on Wednesday… Thanksgiving had more work than relaxation. Then on Friday things really got out of control.
I hopped in my (surprisingly) working car, drove 2 hours and then headed to the NE Philly area for a wedding. 15 minutes away from the church my car stopped working and died on the side of the road. Thankfully one of our team members was near and was able to pick myself, our other coworker and all of our equipment in order to make it to the rehearsal. My car was then towed back up to my parents house. The rehearsal dinner went well minus our microphone not working. Saturday was the normal wedding crazy, from covering the prep to ceremony to reception there were few hiccups but overall I think we pulled off a decent production.
However Saturday in the morning I received a text from my mom letting me know that my dad who had been feeling bad all week was being admitted to the hospital. He was unable to move his head all week and then had a bunch of other symptoms.
Saturday after the wedding my cousin was kind enough to drive me and my coworker back to central pa but that put me an hour away from my parents, and an hour and a half away from my dad in the hospital.

At this point… I’m borrowing a friend’s car until tomorrow. My car is still dead and I have to figure out how to get it fixed. My dad is in the hospital and they really aren’t sure what’s wrong with him. And overall, I’m ready for a vacation. A beach, drink in hand, floppy hat and a good book. This stress level of mine needs to drop.

The Date

They meet.
They talk.
They exchange numbers.
He calls her.
They talk for a while.
He finally asks her out.
She agrees, unsure of how it will go but excited.
He arrives at her place 4 minutes early anxiously waiting for the next 6 minutes to pass.
She runs around preparing, fearful of not being ready.
He rings the doorbell 2 minutes late.
She is waiting, checking the mirror every 3 seconds to make sure her hair still looks okay and her make-up hasn’t smudged.
They greet one another, and she locks her door while noticing he is tall enough to wear heels around.
He opens the car door for her.
She wonders “Will he still be a gentleman after 5 dates?”
His opening line in the car is so smooth it shows how much he rehearsed – especially in those 6 minutes.
She smiles to herself and accepts he is nervous as well, but won’t make a comment to him about it.
When they arrive at the restaurant he jumps out so quickly she worries she’s too slow – but her fears are released when he’s opening the door and offering his hand.
He is trying to be as kind as he can be, but he isn’t sure she likes him because of how quiet she’s being.
He enters the restaurant and gives his name, hoping she’ll hear and realize that he had made reservations – he thinks ahead.
She hears the hostess thank him by name and wonders if he is a regular, and if so how many other girls has he brought to this restaurant.
He makes sure to grab the chair for her.
She thanks him and takes her seat.
He wishes to impress, so as soon as the waiter comes he orders a bottle of Pinot Noir.
She stops and immediately thinks of meals which will pair well with Pinot Noir, and realizes she would prefer a Cabernet Sauvignon.
He asks her a question about herself.
She answers, but is so crafty she gets him to talk about himself while only half-listening because she’s looking over the menu and is terrible at making decisions.
He realizes when the waiter returns to take their order she hasn’t said a word, and worries he’s begun to bore her.
She gives her order only after he gives his, just to be sure she doesn’t go out of the correct price range.
He once again tries to pull her into conversation.
She has no trouble talking about herself, but tries to keep it even.
The conversation flows until the food is finished.
He doesn’t want the time with her to end.
She wants to stay, but realizes it’s getting late.
Being the gentleman he is, he makes sure she doesn’t feel any pressure to pay.
She feels a little odd not paying for anything, but reminds herself that it’s okay.
He opens the door for her as they approach the car.
She sits in his car, amazed at the way he’s been acting all night – thrilled he didn’t even once bring up some unhealthy topic.
They arrive back at her place.
He suggests they take a walk around the block, he can’t help but wish the night won’t end.
She debates the time until finally giving in and joining him.
They walk losing all track of time too busy discovering each others’ quirks.
Arriving back to her door he reluctantly wishes her a good night, and promises to call her soon.
She steps in and gives him a hug, as she will not be satisfied unless.
They separate and recount the night in their minds in their own way…

It’s just a date.
Something I have never experienced, but this is what I imagine it would be like.

The Most Precious Gift

My love for children is more than I can comprehend at times. Those who have been a part of my life and I consider friends are near and dear to me. These two facts have made this a difficult morning.

A beautiful young woman I once had the pleasure of working with and her husband announced a couple of months ago they were pregnant with their first child. The excitement I felt for them was the same as when I heard my own brother and his wife were pregnant. New life is something to be celebrated. Even with them states away, Facebook and weekly updates helped all of those who cared feel a part of this treasured time.   The other day things weren’t as they should be and she was admitted to the hospital.   Many began praying and supporting this incredible woman and her baby boy.   This morning when I opened Facebook on my phone I saw her latest status which ran down the facts.  Their son was still-born at 26 weeks gestation.  She also posted a picture of her holding the little one.   My heart hurts for her and her husband. The things they’ve been through already and what they’re still to face in this situation are more than I can bear to think about.

The only thing which keeps me from breaking down is knowing that God is there with her, He was with the baby and He always has a plan. The things which this couple never experienced with this child, they will experience with others.
We all have our own stories of our lives… Every one of us goes through our own tough times… But those trials and tribulations are used later in life for good.

Those of you out there with children, never forget how precious of a gift you’ve been given.

My oh my…

My heart has been torn open and to pieces multiple times.
My words come from someone who has lived and pushed through a lot.
My thoughts are those which prove I’m no average 23-year-old female.
My actions show how much I’m capable of love.
My hands are those which have grasped on to hope, and been forced to let go.
My eyes have seen the truth of this world, and continue to search for the good.
My soul has been lifted and cannot accept anything less.
My mind attempts to stay on the positives.
My being, is not one easily forgotten, damaged or belittled.

I’ve lived a life. Why is that so hard to believe? Please, stop looking at my appearance and for once – just ONCE, listen to the words I say and the things my heart screams.