You get out of what you put in to anything…whether it applies to school, work, an organization you’ve joined or really life in general. I joined the Abbeville Rotary Club almost two years ago, but joined for all the wrong reasons. I joined because I needed the business networking, because I had friends in it, and wanted that “free lunch” every week. Figured it was just another organization to add to my resume, and maybe it would help build some type of friendships. I wasn’t even really sure what Rotary was all about or what they did.
Going to the lunches every week started to become extremely boring, so I decided to get involved with our annual Rotary Bowl (which turns 50 this year)and put my volunteer time in. It was then I started realizing what Rotary was really all about…it wasn’t about the lunch, networking, programs, or anything like that…it was really about the services that we provide for our community, putting our day on hold to help others, and being involved.
I attended the Rotary PETS (Presidential Elect Training Seminar) this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it. I was very skeptical at first because like most seminar/conferences, you just never know. But not only did I learn about what to expect in the next two years, I also learned a lot about the history of Rotary
- It started 107 years (Feb 23, 1905) in Philadelphia
- Rotary name derived from the meetings rotating locations
- The Rotary emblem is a gear with 24 cogs and six spokes
- A keyway was added in the middle of the gear so it would “work” (gear attaches to shaft to make it turn/work)
- Rotary’s first service project was a public restroom
- Rotary is the largest service organization in the world (1.2 million members worldwide)
I had an awakening when I heard of all the scholarships that the clubs give, as well as the various service projects that are put in to place to help those in need. One project that really caught my attention was building wells to provide clean drinking water for 300k+ people in Haiti. I can’t think of any other way that I would like to give back to my club and RI than going to Haiti. I believe it would be a life changing event, yes for me, but more importantly for the people in the village that have never had clean water. Seriously am going to do some more research on this and make it happen. Service Above Self.
So what have I done in the last two years…..let me think back….
In the past two years I lost one grandmother, I have picked out and arranged my daddy’s funeral, lost my 8 year old cocker spaniel two days before my wedding, got married, traveled out of the country to St Lucia, bought a house with my husband, welcomed my God-daughter in to the world, found a job that fits me like a glove, proven to the town I work for that I am worthy of their tax money going towards my salary, organized a festival for 20,000 people, planned & organized several successful events, lost my last and closest grandmother, seen the Avett Brothers, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Brantley Gilbert, Dave Matthews Band, and a few others. I’ve also found time to be an active member of the Abbeville Rotary Club, and sit on the Abbeville Rotary Board, Opera House Board and Chamber Board….while also attending several weekly meetings outside the regular meetings…and also nominated as Abbeville Rotary President Elect 2013-2014. Howie and I gained a new respect for a healthy lifestyle. We both started exercising, eating more greens/proteins, running, drinking less alcohol, eating less carbs/sugars/fat….I’ve lost 30lbs and Howie has lost 60. He also ran his first half marathon…finishing under two hours! I was one extremely proud wife :)
Now I’m FINALLY ready to have children only to find tumors growing in/around my uterus that had to be removed, which delayed the baby making process. Now to wait 6 more months to see if they are growing back/can/can’t have kids…that’s always great to hear.
…….so what have I learned from the last two years?
(1) Shit happens. Life keeps going.
(2) No matter how hard life is, no matter what life throws at you, no matter the good or bad outcome….life still keeps going with or without you.
(3) Sometimes it’s easier to hold back the tears, say everything is fine and just keep moving.
(4) Your friends that are there during the difficult/trying/hard/strenuous times are also usually the ones that will be the happy/fun/memorable/photographic/never forget times….both which will remain in your heart forever.
(5) I am a lucky 31 year old that cherishes every moment breathing.
It’s been a while since I’ve even thought about writing in my blog…could be from a number of reasons…chaos at work, procrastination, gym time…really no telling. Either way I sit here with the holidays at my back door just waiting to bust in. I love the holidays. I’ve aways loved the holidays. But once you lose someone that held a large part of your heart, the holidays and meaningful dates, just aren’t the same. Everyone says that it “gets easier with time”…I call bullshit. It doesn’t get easier. It still tugs at your heart, it still rips away part of your soul and it still brings tears to your eyes when you hear a song on the radio.
I remember my last Thanksgiving with daddy. It was 2009, and I couldn’t face going to the nursing home during a holiday to watch my dad wither away. So instead I ate with my husband (boyfriend at the time) and his family. While I was eating at their table with his parents, sister and grandparents, I thought to myself how wonderulf it would be to have my family at the same table…and also did each person at the table realize how special and fortunate they were to have each one there?
People say to never look back and to let go of the guilt. But it is so much easier said than done. I have a lot of guilt leaving my dad alone at the nursing home, eating nursing home thanksgiving food while I enjoyed a wonderfully cooked meal surrounded by happy loving people. I don’t regret anything else in life…even making tough decisions for him (DNR, which nursing home, etc). But I can honestly say that I regret not being there by his bed during one of the last holidays. But it was my decision and there’s nothing I can do to change it.
So this thanksgiving I am thankful for guilt, regrets, and tears. Without those God wouldn’t of made me as strong as he did to get through the tough times, learn from the hard times and love the ones around me as much as I do with all that I have.
When Howie and I moved in to our home almost a year ago, I noticed this dark brown tuff of feathers nestled up in the corner of our closed in porch. I thought to myself…at the time…”daggum, this thing is dead”. Well, next morning it was gone. So that was a good thing. Then I started noticing this neat dark brown tuff of feathers come around more often.
It would come around once during a weekend, a couple of nights during the week…it was very strange walking up to the porch and looking up only to find a little feather ball with its beak tucked in the corner resting its tired wings.
Later I started noting when we would see the little bird…and (I know how crazy/stupid this sounds) realized the little bird would come on major holidays, birthdays, death anniversaries, etc. I noticed the bird last year on Thanksgiving, then it would go missing for a bit then would come around again a week around and during Christmas/New Years. Then again on the year anniversary day date that Daddy died, Valentine’s Day, my birthday…then our wedding anniversary. This little bird seems to come around every important/holiday kind of time. Then I started thinking outside the box and to myself that this little bird isnt just any little bird…this bird is in some way daddy coming to check on me and his way of being with me during these special times. It just seems like such a coincident that the bird likes to perch himself in the corner to rest on special occasions…not on ordinary days, but on special occasions. Just saying………
Packing to leave for Charleston in a bit for my second Cooper River Bridge Run. Cant help but think of the one person I would love to tell how excited/nervous I am, isnt here. In 2009 when I ran the Bridge Run, he was a proud daddy…he didnt care that I wasnt up there with the Kenyans, or had to stop a couple of times during the run, but he was proud because I said I was going to do something, I did it, and finished it. He was my biggest fan. And I loved the look in his eyes when I would tell him about different things/events I did and accomplished.
So tomorrow I’m gonna run like a Kenyan in memory of my daddy and all the rest of daddy’s out there that are missing out on their daughter’s lives right now.
As I sit here at work, I cant help but constantly think about what is going on in Cheyanne’s mind right now. Eric is back in ICU and about to undergo an EXTREMELY risky procedure. It really makes you sit back and realize how petty things seem to be in life in comparison to what these two have been going through. Why does it matter if the milk is bad and you wasted an entire gallon? or you are not going to meet your deadline at work? or you have $56 in your checking account? It doesnt matter at all. Nothing really matters at all in the grand scheme of things. Do you have your health and roof over your head? Do you have people you love and they love you back? There ya go. Life is good.
Visit Eric’s Caringbridge page. CLICK HERE
I believe there is a reason for everything, everyone and every situation. Whether it is a bad situation or a learning curve, it is there for a specific reason. People are introduced in your life to help you build those special pages of your personal book.
Most people also have one or two best friends that they know for a fact they can call at any time of the night. I feel that I have been blessed to have more than just one or two. I know I can count ten friends right now that I can call on to cry with, tell a joke to or vent about a shitty day. And the funny thing is, each one would listen and do the exact same back to me. Each one of us has been through hell and back a few times, yet we always seem to wind up on top of the hill.
The jokes that come out of our mouths though are never understood by the outside world. Even though we are each different in our own way, it is like a secret language that we share and cherish. If I had to pick out a song that best described our group of girls, would probably be Jimmy Buffett’s song, Growing Older But Not Up. If this song does not describe us in the best way, I really don’t know what would. Even though we are all in our late twenties-early thirties we love to sit around, curse like a sailor, drink like a fish and make rude comments about people.
The thing I find weird though is how I connect with each one on a personal level. One of the girls and I share a special bond that has super-glued us together. We both have lost our dad and have learned how to deal/cope with it. I love how we both got tattoos on a girl’s mountain getaway that resembled our dad and we both cried. But the tears we had were understood by each other on a level that can never be expressed or explained to others. Another one of my girlfriends and I could sit in a blank room and have the best of times. No alcohol, etc…just us, laughter and talking. One of the girls I have known ever since 1st grade…and boy do we have stories about each other that would make our mothers blush! We have remained best friends growing up, went to college together, pledged the same sorority, got married, and now I have been honored to be her daughter’s Godmother (due May 8th!!). It is simply amazing how far we all have come! Each of them is so very extremely special to me and I couldn’t possibly thank them enough for being in my life. They love me at my dumbest moments, and that is what I love about them…because hell, we can all have some real dumbass moments. So if any of the “moteefas, shalondas or skankydoodles” are reading this, then I would like to tell them I love them more than life and will always love them, no matter which of the “seven nations” I live on.