My mother was right. | An ode to Mom

an ode to mom

“My mother was right.”

A phrase I uttered weekly throughout college while giving campus tours to potential students and their families. My mother convinced me to just give Agnes Scott a try. “Just apply, you might like it.” I was determined that I would no way, no how, be attending a women’s college. But I applied anyway.

And with pride, during every tour, when telling my story of how I came to be at Agnes Scott, I would end up telling the group my mother was right. This would garner laughs from parents and groans from 17 year olds who were only there because their parents insisted.

I’ve already written about why I ended up loving my women’s college. This post, though, is about how much meaning there was behind that phrase that had nothing to do with my education.

My mother was right. Is right. Always.

Mom

I wish high-school me knew that then.

She is right in that she has always shown strength and grace in the face of hardship or trying times.

She was right in showing me that sometimes you just have to let people be mad. You can’t change it, but you can stop talking and walk away. Letting them think they won is ok sometimes.

She was right in showing me that some Rod Stewart and peanut M&M’s can fix almost any heartbreak or disappointment.

And for the heartbreaks that those can’t fix, you can always call home.

She was right when she encouraged me to get my education.

She was right when instead of telling me what to do and saving me from heartbreak, she let me experience the fall, as it was a lesson I could only learn the hard way.

She was right when she said I’d come home a new person after my year in Mexico.

She was right the many times she’s said “It’s all gonna be ok. All good.”

She was right to teach me so many things:

From how to value integrity, forgiveness, and true kindness to how laugh at myself and be able to joke and poke and not get easily offended.

She taught me to hold hands whenever possible with the ones you love. Life is better that way.

I learned confidence and strength and that lifting others up was the best way to lift yourself.

I learned that I was born to be a mom. I learned this because I heard my own mother say that phrase and all of a sudden everything made sense. Of course, I was made to be many more things before and in addition to that. But I was made to be a mother someday.

I learned that feeling our loved ones around us and having that “knowing” wasn’t creepy or weird, it is a gift that we were given to be treasured.

Through every goal reached, every heartache, every trial, tear, and laugh, my mom is the one I can always turn to for support and guidance. She taught me kindness and grace and extended both of these to me countless times, even when I was less than kind or deserving of that grace.

She taught me the biggest lesson of all:

Love can conquer all things.

hawaii.jpg

Love wins.

My mother was so right.

Advertisements

Traveling Tuesday | Mexico

Tulum

Ah, to be 15 again.

Today I’m introducing a new travel series here on the blog- Traveling Tuesday! Once a week I’m going to begin sharing some of my favorite destinations around the world. I’ve traveled around but I definitely haven’t been everywhere I want to go yet! Have you been to a super awesome place that you want to share about? Shoot me and email and we can work out some guest posting details!

Without further ado–

Mexico was my first trip abroad, and the place I’ve returned to most. I first visited on a vacation with my family when I was in my pre-teen years, but really returned and lived for the first time as an exchange student in my sophomore year of high school.

At 15 years old, I packed my life into 2 suitcases and went to live with strangers.

Strangers who, even after all these years, I still consider family.

Mama Luz

Just look at these faces! The sweet woman in the middle is Mama Luz, my grandmother who just celebrated her 88th birthday!

As a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, I met other students from around the world that all took part in a year-long exchange. Though we were spread out throughout the year, every few months Rotary would throw us an event so we could all get together and enjoy the camaraderie that comes from shared experiences. The ladies in the picture below were all a part of that group and are still close friends of mine. I’ve visited a few in their home countries since we’ve all returned!

Exchange Girls

Brazil, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Poland, France, and the USA

In addition to that I was also lucky enough to be able to do quite a bit of traveling throughout the country and ended up seeing some incredible sights. These of course included the pristine, goldenrod, beaches of Acapulco and Cancun, among others.

Cancun

Cancun

I was able to visit the ruins of where my own ancestors once lived and thrived many, many years ago.

Palenque

Ruins at Palenque, where history tells us my family came from. Fun fact, the girl with me, Sarah, just got married this past weekend! (Congrats, Sarah!)

Throughout the year, I lived with 3 different families, each giving me a unique perspective into culture and life in the city of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. My own mother was also able to visit in the Spring, and we were able to travel around a bit because I had already visited several places with my host families!

My first host family had children with whom I speak with on a regular basis and love with my whole heart. My youngest sister just had her Quinceañera this past weekend, which just seems like she’s growing too fast! Isn’t she supposed to stay 7 forever?

Familia

The whole family 🙂 My youngest sister is the second one from the left. How in the world has she grown so much?

My final host family consisted of only my host mother and myself. I still call her quite often and call her “Mama” because we really connected during my time there. It was just us on our own (her biological daughter was on exchange in Brazil while I was there) so we would adventure out every Saturday morning to a new place. Because of her, I was able to see more places around where we lived that I didn’t even realize existed!

Lake in background

On one of the trips Mama Sofie took me on.

With Mama Sofie

My third host mother, Mama Sofie

It was also because of her that I learned to make killer guacamole, among other foods.

My time in Mexico saw my change from little girl into young woman, and really solidified my love of travel. After my exchange year, my whole life would change as I continued to have that travel bug and explored new places. More on that in the coming weeks!

Have you ever been out of the country? What was the first place you traveled that really grabbed your heart and gave you the desire to not only return, but continue traveling and learning about other places?

It’s July 28th already!

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been on this little blog! I’m so sorry for being away so long, life has been a whirlwind!

I moved into an apartment with no internet (yeah, breaking that addiction was interesting!), began my teaching job (my only source of internet) and have been loving it so far!

My students are the absolute coolest. I seriously could not ask for a better group of kids. They’ve kept me challenged and made me laugh more times than I can count. Watching them as they’ve grown even in these past couple of months has been so rewarding. Seeing them learn and get interested in the material has been great. We’ve has our trials and our road bumps but for the most part I’ve had a great support system around me and we’re getting through!

As for my own life, this past month has been about making big life decisions. I’ve been torn between moving back to Atlanta and moving back home to be with my parents. I love the city of Atlanta and all my friends (and boyfriend!) are back there, and I know my job opportunities are wider there. However, my father’s health isn’t the best, and being so far away just doesn’t seem like the best idea for right now.

Today, I made a decision.

When the summer ends, I will leave my teaching job and move up to my parents’ house. I will go to school at one of the local universities for a second bachelors degree. This time, in elementary education.

So I’m putting off the whole solo-living in Atlanta plan for now. It’ll still happen, but maybe not for another year or so. I know my friends understand. I know my boyfriend understands. They are all, of course, ok with it and supportive of what I feel I need to do.

It’s not going to be easy, but in the end I know family is worth it.

Graduation, moving, and puppies, oh my!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated, but I promise there’s a reason! I graduated from college and moved across the country! It’s been such a whirlwind couple of weeks but I’m finally catching up with everything going on.

First of all, let me say that graduating from college is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. The amount of love and pride I felt radiating all over my college campus that day was overwhelming in the most fantastic way. My beautiful, sweet, intelligent, kind, incredible friends all did wonderfully and we all couldn’t have been more proud of each other. We’ve all supported each other through four years of the greatest but also most difficult and trying years, but we survived and came out stronger, more confident women.

401833_602051971394_192302761_n     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’ve loved each other with incredible strength, passion, and loyalty, and these women have become my true support system and best friends. I couldn’t imagine life without them, and I feel profoundly lucky that I don’t have to.

And of course I can never forget about my other incredible support system. My parents and two of my brothers were able to make it to my graduation and I was so so happy that they were there!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A couple days after graduation, my brother and I started on the drive back to Idaho! We had a pretty uneventful trip, just a lot of driving and counting antelope in Wyoming! And of course, coming home I’ve been spending a lot of time with this sweet baby!

IMG_20130516_154326

First blog post.

A couple weeks ago I was thinking about starting a blog while I sat relaxing in my parents hotel room in Seattle. Not knowing where I’m going in this world had me overwhelmed with thoughts that I feel like I should share and even more overwhelmed by how incredibly blessed I am in this very moment.

I am healthy. Incredibly so. My surgery over this past winter break has allowed me to heal so much and not be sick near as often this semester. I’m so grateful to have had healthcare and insurance all my life that has blessed me with this health. Getting back into running/jogging recently has made me feel better than ever. I need to keep with this habit!

I have options. SO many options! As scary as it is most days it’s really such a wonderful thing to have so many things to be able to do. I am lucky to have choices about where my future is going. Many people have their futures planned out for them and have no voice in what they’re going to do.  I do.

I have a supportive family. Of course we’re not perfect, but they will stand behind me and help me with whatever happens.

My friends are truly the very best in the whole entire world. I am so so lucky to be able to call them my friends and talk to them all the time. They are the best humans I know- smart, sweet, beautiful, kind, giving, patient, and so many other adjectives that are fabulous. And for some reason they let me hang out with them, ha!

I have an excellent education and a job I love. My schooling has been top notch and I’ve worked hard and earned my way through with zero student loans. As close to impossible as that is these days, I feel even luckier. I love working with the children I do and being the one they trust and talk to and depend on. They are so much fun and they keep me creative and young.

I am honestly so, so blessed.