Shout Out Saturday – Thank You Dad

Today is the day of celebration for the man I call my dad. He has given me so much in this life and I couldn’t be more grateful. So, I thought, who better than to give a shout out to on this beautiful Saturday?? I’d like to reflect on some of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my father, which I can only hope to pass on to my (possibly in the futurish one day) children as well:

  • Hard work still counts for something. No matter what you are doing in this life, whether you went to college or not, people will take you seriously if you show you have ambition. Words are just words and a degree is useless if you don’t have the willingness to roll up your sleeves and pay your dues. Even if you’re coming fresh out of college, this can still mean you might have to accept a lower position than you had planned on, but you have the potential of moving up quicker. (I know, we were all led to believe otherwise.)
  • Manners matter. Ask anybody in my little hometown of Circle, Montana and they will tell you that my sister and I were the most well-mannered girls there. It sounds silly I know. People used to tell my dad all the time when we’d go into bars (it was eastern Montana), restaurants, or businesses around town. There is something to be said for being polite and treating people with the respect that you’d wish to receive yourself. In the age of technology, we can become disconnected from others, including our ability to recognize the simple fact that we are all human. Being polite is most certainly not a thing of the past.
  • Parents are not your friends. (At least not for awhile.) My dad is an ex-Marine and was one of the strictest parents ever. Where was I five minutes after the movies, dances, and other school functions ended? Well, I was home of course and if I wasn’t then I was probably out of my mind because the wrath of my father wasn’t something one wanted to deal with once, let alone ever, in this lifetime. It sucked and I thought my dad was unfair. Of course I thought those things; I was a teenage girl. What teenager knows what’s good for them? Parents are protectors, mentors, teachers, providers, and are in charge of all around making sure you’re a decent human being who will contribute to society. So there’s that. In no way are they obligated to be your friend. The day will come where you cross that divide and can talk to your parents about life. You might even call them for advice because you realize they know a lot more than you. They kind of become your friend and they just get to relish in this awesome person that you’ve become, that they were a part of. Nothing is better than having a beer with my dad and getting to know him as more than my dad, but as a person. That’s pretty special.
  • Make time for the moments. I absolutely hated getting up at 4:30 in the morning to go hunting. People should not be awake in the morning when it is dark outside. That isn’t normal at all. We ate breakfast, packed our cooler for the day, and would head out. I fell asleep in the truck for most of the morning until my dad would wake me up to tell me that there was a deer nearby. At the time, it was just hunting with my dad, just like we always did. But, I learned to drive on those back-roads. That’s where I got my first deer, a buck, and my dad was so proud that we had to stop at all the bars to show everybody in town. Whether we were fishing, hunting, or just spending family time together on the weekend, all of it mattered to my dad. While I couldn’t see it then, I’m so thankful for all of those memories now.
  • Just be happy and don’t give a damn about anybody else. My father has never given one iota about what other people think of him. Obviously, this can be rather embarrassing as a teenager when he is singing loudly in the aisles of the grocery store or partaking in a variety of fatherly shenanigans. And, it most certainly was. I wouldn’t undo any of it though. I’ve always been fiercely independent and my father has only solidified my belief that happiness is found internally. No matter where you live or what you do, that spark is something you must ignite within yourself. Nobody else will make that happen so leave your pity party and make your own happiness, whatever that means for you.

Happy birthday to my wonderful dad!!! I love you so much.

Christmas in the Bahamas a.k.a When Travel Plans Don’t Go Your Way

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I was beyond ecstatic to head to the Bahamas for Christmas with my dad. While visions of palm-trees danced in my head, the Universe had other intentions. I flew into Atlanta the night before we were to fly out. The following day (Christmas Eve), my dad and I arrived at the Atlanta airport ready for our adventure. Never mind the fact that it was 6 in the morning and the line to check our bags was ridiculously long. We were headed to the freakin’ Bahamas!! Nothing was going to stand in the way of how excited I was for this, or so I thought.

I learned just how very wrong I was. There were torrential downpours, thunderstorms, and flash flood warnings that day. Our gate was slowly filling up with people milling about as flights were continually delayed, ours included. It was delayed until late morning, then early afternoon, late afternoon and finally…it was CANCELLED. I can’t lie; I was heartbroken. My dad could see it in my face and there were eventually a few tears. It was supposed to be our father/daughter time together and I was completely bummed in thinking that we were just going to turn around and head back to Alabama. But, my dad made a plan just like he always does. We went to the customer service line and it took us an hour to get to the front because so many flights had been cancelled.

They finally ended up getting us on a flight and when we landed in the Bahamas without luggage, well I was not a happy camper again. I don’t want to get into the details of the numerous phone calls we made in trying to track down our luggage (which eventually ended up arriving the next day). I don’t want to make this a woe-is-me story and while it was one of the more stressful flying experiences I’ve encountered, the precious days I did have with my dad were awesome.  The resort, though busy, was beautiful. And overall, it was time with my dad I’ll always cherish. Here is my takeaway from all of this:

  1. Stop planning. Seriously. Obviously you have to make plans overall but don’t ever think that things will go YOUR way just because said plans were made. Because, really there is no your way. There’s just….now. There’s just however things play out. We are not in control of as much as we’d like to believe. The sooner I realized that, the less stressed I became.
  2. Things can’t replace memories. Looking back, I was so upset about not having my “essentials,” instead of just rolling with the punches and enjoying where I was at. I was in the Bahamas!! And I couldn’t see the sand for the palm trees. Don’t be that person. (Also, it is super important to have the basics in your carry-on! I know that for future travel now.)
  3. Laugh about it. The more the day wore on, the more hilarious my dad and I found the whole situation. We were eventually able to make light of it and find humor in the craziness of it all.
  4. Find a place of gratitude. We are allowed to have feelings and I find that they are mostly justified. It can be unhealthy to stay in that place though. Recognize those feelings for what they are, the situation for what it is, and eventually move on. Try to find some good where you can. Even a tiny moment of thankfulness can bring surprising benefits. All will work out in the end, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the moment.
  5. Patience is hard. Ah yes, this one. I struggle with this the most (especially when I’m driving). I am generally pretty level-headed but those times where I have to do a great deal of waiting can make me anxious. This is why I always have a book and some calming music (*cough, cough*….Explosions in the Sky) when I travel. Distractions help, whether it’s getting lost in a book or music. Find your thing and focus on that. Waiting is part of life and getting upset with those around you won’t change that.

Now, here’s some more pictures from the beautiful Bahamas. Enjoy friends and wishing you all a beautiful weekend!

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Love me some dad time

 

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Birthday snorkeling!

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Junkanoo Parade with these guys 🙂

Allowing Space for Creativity

I hadn’t posted anything since the beginning of February. It had been an entire month and I was letting it get to me. I expressed my frustration to my boyfriend, saying how I really needed to get something written. His honest and innocent response of, “Why?” really threw me for a loop.

Why did I need to get something out there? Aside from the fact that I: a) was of course wanting to grow my blog and b) really needed to put in that writing time; was I really doing this for me? I have always been a big supporter of approaching tasks, goals, and dreams when the timing is right. You have to put in the work along the way, but by no means should you feel bad about where you’re at right now. And then I realized, that’s precisely what it was. I have been feeling stuck, lost and frazzled, simply moving from one task to the next. I was placing so much emphasis on my job title that I felt as if I wasn’t contributing according to some so-called standards. When in all honesty, I’m calling bull on that one because I know in my heart that I am doing great things every day, even if I can’t see it. I am a nanny to 2 amazing boys, whom I adore and care for with my whole heart. I am a server at a family-owned restaurant, where I have met some of the sweetest guests and co-workers. I am a mentor to a remarkable young lady. I am a volunteer in my community and church. I am also a writer.

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I’ve also been healing this year, taking the time to come back from the loss of my mother, as well as other cards I’ve been dealt in this hand. I take it day by day. Through this I found that for every tide that has washed away pieces of me or my story, it simply has been rewritten and I have gained tenfold during the course of it. My faith has strengthened, I’ve regained my confidence, new and wonderful people have appeared in my life, and though the loss of my mom will always hurt in some way, I have found thankfulness for the time we had and peace in knowing her suffering came to an end.

For the creative type, this all matters. We can be people-pleasing perfectionists (say that 3 times), always wanting to put out something great. But, what if we’re just doing it to go through the motions, instead of when it’s the right time? Can we really create greatness in those moments? When you’ve pushed yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally to the brink of exhaustion, how can you want to create?

I came up with a mantra to remind myself of this:

MAKE SPACE FOR CREATIVITY.

I don’t mean an actual space consisting of the perfect desk and chair.  Rather, the space inside of you. Allow for failures and mistakes. Call security on that inner critic when he gets too rowdy. Make sure you are in a healthy mindset, as well as physically nurturing yourself. You wouldn’t go to work in rough shape, so why insist on settling when your creative work is just as important?

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Photo Credit: catkinswillow via Compfight cc

If we, the creators, are so striving to make something of lasting value, then we owe it to ourselves to nurture that part of us. We can still create in those moments of extreme emotion such as anger, sadness, or guilt. In fact, those times where we are just putting it all out there are often jumping points for future great works. But, don’t sell yourself short in terms of creativity. You are a beacon of light in what can sometimes be a seemingly endless, dark horizon. The sun beam that comes through your window just right. The first firefly, beckoning the beginning of summer.

You owe it to yourself to bring something of lasting value into this magnificent world. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, or even the next, but I promise you that it will happen, perhaps when you are least expecting it to. Don’t box yourself in and most importantly, do not rush the process. I know that can often go against what is instilled in us but creativity should be about slowing down, not speeding forward. Make that space. Be that light. And always, always keep creating.