The Job That Changed My Life

Three years ago I called my mom & told her that I did not want to be a receptionist at a day spa anymore. I didn’t want to get all dolled up every evening & be the hostess-of-the-mostess at a high end, beautiful restaurant. And I didn’t want to answer phones at a hair salon & fold towels all day. I was thankful for those jobs & the opportunities & people I was lucky enough to experience along the way. But I didn’t want to just work, I wanted to inspire. I shed some tears about it, went to sleep, and then I woke up & got busy.

My heart knew that it was time to start searching for my purpose. I knew if I looked within myself & remained positive I could find the thing that would make me eager to rise early in the morning & work hard all day. It was time to find something that would not only occupy my time, allow me to support myself, and help me grow as a young woman — but something where I was making a difference in other peoples lives as well.

Fortunately the universe heard me. A few months later I was offered a position as a recruiter at The American Academy, an online private high school. I absolutely loved what I was doing, and then something amazing happened: I felt myself begin to feel alive again. I knew I was where I needed to be & that is where I have stayed.

I have been with TAA ever since & it has been such a rewarding journey. I’m honored to work with such incredible people every single day. I’m surrounded by motivated individuals who genuinely love helping others succeed. My students remind me every day that we can all do anything we set our minds to, no exceptions. They are proof that it is not about what happens to you in life but how you react. There are times when I hear the things they have gone through at such a young age & it really puts things into perspective for me. They help me be strong & appreciate the little things in life.

When I accepted my first position with TAA I had recently finished a semester at the local community college. After I completed my classes I decided to take a break from school for a while. I was burnt out & needed to focus on supporting myself financially so that I could have a stable lifestyle. A lot of our students originally dropped out for that exact reason, but they also have children & other hardships to overcome. But they found the courage to return to school. That is what motivates me. I love my students, and the fact that they keep on working hard when it would be so much easier to give up is amazing to me.

Thanks to TAA I have decided to enroll for Spring 2014 classes & start working towards the dreams that I put on hold for a while. And I have to admit.. I am absolutely scared to death to return to school. But I know that this is what I need to do in order to become the woman I want to be & open doors for myself. I’ll be able to create a better future for myself, and I’ll also learn how to be an even better support system to my students. I am so incredibly grateful for my job. I help students graduate & become more confident —  now it’s my turn.

What are you thankful for that has influenced your life in a positive way?

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“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

-Groucho Marx

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Plunge

Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Toothless Grin

I enjoy finding beauty in an average day. There are so many moments that take my breath away, and sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough space in my heart to hold them all at once. It’s like I’m turning into some kind of happy-moment-hoarder and I need an outlet. That’s when I remembered: I have this blog where many of my deep, and sometimes silly, thoughts quietly drift. Brace yourself, this shit is about to get pretty happy.

Almost everyday after work I walk to FedEx to drop transcripts off for my students. It’s about 3 blocks from my office and I have experienced a handful of “downtown moments” since I started doing this. Moments where I have conversations with strangers that often leave me with a smile on my face and a skip in my step. But I had a special day last week where I felt bombarded with things that made my heart swell, so I thought I’d share one and maybe even make it a habit if I’m lucky.

A windstorm had come through the city late that afternoon and it shook the windows in the office. Thick black storm clouds hovered over the tall buildings, and litter was lifted into the air. But it was 5:00 and I had to get my students transcripts mailed before I went home. So I slipped through the glass door of the building I work in and braved the strong gusts. I had a silky black dress on with a white stripe down the middle, it buttons all the way up and I keep it at the end of my clothes rack with my “feel good” dresses.

But I felt far from good as the wind tried to sweep me one way and my dress the other. My hair felt like it was stuck between a cheap blowdryer on high and my lipstick smeared lips. Halfway to FedEx my fingers began to hurt from having such a tight grip on the documents I was delivering and the pyrex bowl tucked tightly between my arm and side. But I instantly forgot about all of these messy details when I exchanged a few words with a man that stood next to me waiting for the crosswalk to be clear.

I asked him how his day was going and he responded with a swift run on sentence (my kinda guy). He told me how incredible his day was. Before I could ask why he was so happy he went on to tell me that he has been having surgeries on his shoulder for almost 5 years. Doctors could not ease the pain and it was one problem after the other, but today was different. He got his Xrays back and found out that he’ll never have to have another surgery again. We began to walk. He pulled out his Xrays and showed them off with a huge grin on his face. I complimented them the best I could and tried to add to his endorphin rush, but that’s just simply hard to top.

We went our separate ways shortly after that, but the 30 seconds of bliss he shared with me had a consuming effect on my attitude. I had this dorky smile on my face all the way to my car and the wind suddenly changed and blew my worries away. Sure, the day was filled with garbage (literally) and my bum may have been revealed when the wind lifted my dress. But I’m thankful for that man, and I’ll never forget his toothless grin. He made that downtown moment an experience I’ll always treasure and my appreciation for my healthy body feel so much more present. So shine on, sweet man. I hope you feel strong enough to swoop your grandchildren in your arms without an ounce of pain.

 

How to be a better (happier and healthier) human being

“Never touch anything with half of your heart. Be present, endlessly loving and compassionate towards others. Confront any challenging situation first with a deep breath. Wander. Remember that your own happiness and comfort comes above all things. Before reacting—understand. Eat breakfast every morning. Find the faces in the flowers. Remember what is important to you. Treat your body kindly. Be honest. Get to know yourself. Take things at your own pace. Don’t feel embarrassed to feel, laugh, cry, sing or love. Remember that what’s right for someone else may not be what is right for you (and that’s okay). Never be ashamed or afraid to ask for help. Do what you love. Remember that you always have a choice. Find joy in what life really is—living.”

Learning to be at peace with this beautiful and messy world is the first step. Inhale pink, exhale grey and smile… You’re incredible.  XOXO

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“You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, and the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, breath of the fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner.

You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and the colors fill your mind until there is nothing left to do but explode, There are no wrong answer . Inspiration is everything. Sit back, relax, and take it all in.”

-Jac Vanek

When Things Get Heavy

One of my biggest flaws is not paying enough attention to detail (always has been) but I’m working hard to make sure it will not always be. I’m learning life is easier when we stop running away from our personal flaws.. or even worse, ignoring them. I’m not saying I accept the fact that I drove to Idaho this morning because I missed the exit I take to get home on a regular basis (too much on my mind + Romans neat perma-meow/panting the whole way home didn’t help)… Alls I’m sayin’ is I’m not going to beat myself into the ground because of it  (route B was much prettier anyway) My point is that mistakes do not erase our self-worth, they teach us lifelong lessons that increase it bit by bit. This is, of course, as long as we choose to learn from the bumps in the road instead of letting them throw us off track.

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I guess what I’m trying to say is a little bird is telling me one of you may need to be reminded that you’re incredible, and you probably don’t even know it. Be soft with yourself, sweets. You’re just learning and the books only get heavier from here. Get some reading glasses that you feel like a babe in & get to studying, darlin. It’s a long, windy, beautiful & sometimes ugly road ahead. (Don’t tell your mum I said this) but sometimes I get so busy keeping my heart active that I forget to use my brain — and I don’t see a damn thing wrong with that.