I will be the first to admit that one of the best ways to describe myself is just a hot mess. I definitely do not have it all together but I give each day my best effort. Here are a few details that make me who I am.
A.J. is actually my college sweetheart, we met on the first day of school and have been inseparable since. He is a constant source of encouragement and never ceases to make me stronger. (for real though...his wrestling moves keep me on my toes!)
I am an open book. Seriously, ask me anything. A.J. likes to say I hold my poker cards facing out. There is not a topic under the sun or a hardship I've faced that I'm unwilling to talk about especially if I think it will help someone else brave through their own story.
Speaking of story, I'm a sucker for them. I love grand tales of epic proportion where the hero faces a dragon on the outside and demons within. I also love it when those same epic battles are realized in the lives of regular people, and we are drawn closer as the human race because of them.
My favorite personal story is how I discovered I had 3 baby brothers and met them just a couple years ago. Being an only child for 29 years teaches you how to take care of yourself, how to be alone, how to have a conversation with adults, that you don't need anyone else, that it's you against the world... Being an eldest of 4 teaches you how to let go of yourself and anything you've ever wanted if it will help them in even the smallest way. It brings out a visceral need that cannot even be described, but being close to them is the only thing that satiates it. I *might* have even written a book about the experience. It'll be a while before the world's ready for it though :)
Sorry...had to share a bunch of photos. They're just so adorable. :)
I'll try anything once. I love mountain biking, ultimate frisbee, paddle boarding, new roller coasters, and open mic poetry nights. On any given day you might see me kayaking or shooting hoops with some neighborhood kids, baking cookies or painting. I want to do it all.
My favorite food group is chocolate, but I'm otherwise quite healthy. (think Paleo) I'm also partial to bourbon and the occasional cigar. Calisthenics are my preferred workout style (muscle ups, I'm coming for ya!) but I've found great community and unique challenges in Iron Tribe recently and am committing to their routines for this season.
My favorite movie is District 9 due to the fact that it wrecked me. (I was working with refugee families at my first viewing and the parallel blew me away). For fun, I also love anything by Baz Luhrmann for his artistic style and Quinten Tarantino for his sheer audacity. Music is usually dependent on my mood but you'll find Incubus, Eminem or Led Zeppelin in nearly every playlist. Though I'm recently digging Kaleo and will.i.am for some reason.
Letty girl is our newest addition. She goes zero to 100 in about three seconds when she gets excited (kinda like her momma) but is the BIGGEST snuggle bug the rest of the time. We adore her. She was a rescue from the pound and is a Blue Pit in case you were wondering. :)
I frequently have to remind myself to be a business professional. To get the work done first and play later. I do not love fancy clothes, struggle with details and technicalities, loathe to my very core the idea of being put in a figurative box, and want nothing more than to have my only concern be loving people well - to be amazed by the incredible stories others have to share. This probably has something to do with being an ENFP but also because I attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus (though I have a LOT of beef with religion).
In high school I was a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. I passed my tests quickly, and became an officer taking me to Leadership Training School and eventually I became the Cadet Squadron Commander. I loved it so much. I loved drill and PT, I loved the aerospace education, I soaked in everything my mentors gave me. I was accepted to the Air Force Academy and started logging hours to get my pilot's license and everything. Alas, the journey from that path to the one I eventually found myself on was a long one that requires way more than a paragraph in a blog post, so I'll save it for when we have coffee. :)
I think this makes eleven things, but whatever...details...
In our eight years in Raleigh I've worked with dozens of organizations to see which ones serve the city best in their own unique way and to see which ones are in line with my personality and passions. I've been mentoring a little girl at Neighbor to Neighbor for 5 years now and gain new life from her each time she laughs or has a lightbulb moment. They offer one-on-one reading and math mentoring with kids who are years behind in school and by the time they finish, they are at, or above, grade level. So good. If you're interested in mentoring, hit me up, I'd LOVE to connect you. (We're starting a new semester this week...just sayin...)
Through it all I've learned to walk through life with my eyes wide open and hands held out - ready to catch whatever may fall out of the sky. Sometimes I end up catching bad things, but the vast amount of good that finds it way to me will forever surpass the bad. I'm extremely optimistic and can usually see the good in situations and in people. My littlest brother thinks I epitomize the character Joy in Inside Out and well, I think that's just perfect. :) I may be a little naive and some would say too trusting but I believe people hold this amazing ability to be extraordinary - to go above and beyond - to shine like a star - if only someone will believe in them and give them permission to do so. I will gladly be that person every time.