When you have to think about summing up your life it can sometimes be very hard. How do you sum up 30+ years of experience and laughter, heartache and accomplishments into a few paragraphs. Well, I'm going to try!
I consider myself to be fairly average. I grew up in a house with my mom and dad and brother. When I was in the 7th grade we moved to a new house in the community in which I graduated High School. That's when life gets interesting.
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves being people pleasers. That was me, I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do. I was supposed to get married, have kids, raise my family, and not desire more, but my heart yearned for more. I knew this was not where I was supposed to be. The strength to walk away took a lot to muster and a failed engagement left me feeling hopeless and directionless in my future.
Enter this guy on the right. This is my loving and supporting husband, Ken. This man would follow me to the moon and back if I asked him. When we started dating I was darn determined to be a firefighter, something that had been a dream of mine for years (something that the previous guy didn't understand). Ken would help me study and understood how important of a dream it was to me. The first 3 months of our relationship were amazing, and that's when tragedy hit. In July 2005 my brother was killed in a car accident. Ken sat in my apartment holding me as I tried to understand how someone only 22 years old with a baby could be gone forever. Ken stood by my side through it all.
A year later, shortly after our engagement, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and Ken and I got married ensuring my dad could walk me down the aisle. This one does have a happy ending though, my dad is in remission and is loving watching his grandbabies grow up!
Speaking of babies, well maybe not babies anymore... I have two absolutely amazing daughters, but getting them here was no picnic. Hannah's delivery left me with injuries that made me realize firefighting would not be possible as a result.
Cheyenne's pregnancy was anything but smooth, but to save you all the yucky details of IV drips and some very scary moments, I'll just say that I am thankful to have 2 happy and healthy children and that we are done having babies!
Moving forward it puppies for this family!
I love my family, but in the early years I found myself feeling lost. Jobs paid the bills but none left me feeling like I was serving a purpose. I opened and owned a photography studio for 5 1/2 years when the girls were babies, and I felt fulfilled for the first time ever. I was able to use my life to do good.
I was there for moms offering a memento when their baby went to heaven, I held their hands and prayed with them. I took pictures of great grandparents that turned out to be their last. I was there as two hearts joined and started a new life together as husband and wife. I organized an annual event to promote education and resources for pregnant women in the area. Things were pretty great from the outside, but my health was not. After 5 1/2 years and a failed attempt at opening a second location of my business in Florida, I decided with my family's support to close that chapter. It was the hardest thing to let go of something that gave me so much.
So again I was the search to find something to feel fulfilled. After being the victim of 2 layoffs and being told that a lack of college degree would never land me anything more than an entry level position, I decided to seek something that would set an example for my daughters, give me a purpose, and allow the things our family dreamed about to become reality. I looked into so many options and some I even entertained the thought of, but when I was given a free sample of a nail wrap, it was over! I fell in love with pretty nails and in June of 2015, I became a Jamberry Consultant. I was able to do fundraisers. I went to nursing homes and while I thought I was giving manis to their residents, I was giving so much more. I gave confidence, and a friendship. I shared the opportunity with others and helped them to get out of debt and have some extra money for the holidays. But most importantly I was showing my daughters that no one controlled my dreams but me!
Over the years I have gone to so many amazing places, and have met some even more amazing people. I have helped others improve their own lives and have reached out to help so many others. I have stood up against domestic violence and I have celebrated the accomplishments of my teammates!
Our company has gone through a lot of changes over the past few years and we now have a home at BeneYOU. This company, and this team of people truly care about others and want them to be healthy and happy. I am so proud that I get to be a part of this, serving others. My daughters see how happy this company makes me and they can't wait for it to be their turn!
I hope that when my time is over that I will be remembered as someone who was always in your cheering section. The person who told you to always go for it and even though it hurts now it will be worth it! I hope that I am remembered for laughter and crazy road trips. I hope that I will be known as a leader that people enjoyed working beside. I hope that words like compassion come to mind when you think of me, along with courage and integrity. And in the end I hope it is not remembered so much that I died, but more so that I lived, because in the end it is our time spent on this earth and how we influence others that matters.