Off on the Next Adventure!

Well 2014 has been running strong and keeping me busy.  Just a week ago today I was driving through South Dakota, the week before on a plane to Missouri, three weeks prior to that I was on my way up to Northern California, and the week before preparing to walk for my college graduation!  These past weeks have certainly been filled as is usual of the lifestyle I have created for myself.

Along this same theme, I take off again tomorrow for Arizona.  Differently from my past outings however I will be serving others as opposed to myself.  My college church group and I are off for a week to work with the community of Tucson, to share the Lord’s love, offer a helping hand, and minister with children.  Yes, I am very excited for this new and unknown opportunity however to say I am nervous would be an understatement.

I would like to ask for your prayers throughout the next week.  We are a young and small group, hopeful to shine brightly for the Lord and spread His love.

“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

Psalm 96:3

Much thanks and many blessings!  xxo, B.

January 22

Four years ago I was a senior.  In high school.  It’s hard to believe time could go by so fast as I now am approaching another graduation, a much scarier graduation.  In the past four years I have learned a lot about myself, about society, about friends, and about the strength of a family.  I have learned a great deal about money and how it sucks, about hard work, and how sometimes cereal is the best dinner.  I have learned a thing or two about child development and broadcast journalism.  I’ve learned how to make ends meet and that the beginning and end of month are the worst because every payment is due.

The second semester of my senior year I began a blog for my English literature class.  I suppose it foreshadowed what would become of my writing as I enjoyed the posts every week and worked hard to perfect them.  I was most proud of the first one I ever wrote, one I wrote exactly four years ago today!  I would like to share it with you all as it still rings true.  There are many things different today than four years ago.  Looking back life seemed simpler only juggling school and tennis most of the time.  However the story and feelings that I felt then remain real today and stronger now more than ever.  Thanks for reading!

January 22

“On January 22, 2004, I lost a little piece of my innocence; my youth and carefree attitude would never again be the same as it had been before that fateful day.  I lost my grandfather that day in only a matter of minutes.  One second I had been ready with my piano book in hand to go to my lesson and the next I was listening on the phone as my father told me my grandfather had had a heart attack.  From the moment I heard the idea that he could be dying it felt unreal, I felt I knew for sure nothing could ever happen.  Minutes later my mom came rushing in the door, telling me that we had to go to the hospital.  From there my world came crashing down as I witnessed my mom, my strong and fun mom, answer the phone and fall to her knees balling as she told my dad she was so sorry.  My grandfather had died.

On January 22, 2010, the opposite happened.  My cousin, Even Felipe Enriquez was born around 11:30 in the morning.  Six years to the day after my first experience with death, happiness was all that came from a day that had brought so much pain and sorrow.  I walked into the hospital to visit with family just as before but this time there was only joy in my heart.  I was not numb and there was no puffiness around my eyes.  I held my cousin in my arms and saw the goodness of life, the purity that it held, and its beautiful existence.

Looking back on the 22nd of January six years ago still makes me cry and as I write tears fall from my eyes, but instead of being numb I have a smile on my face.  A new life was born on the very same day.  A little boy that I will babysit, play with and who will make me laugh, that I will hold and celebrate with and watch grow into a man.  Life begins and ends in a matter of seconds, gives you hope and sadness, but also brings you love and joy.  God created mankind and gave else all life; He brought us companionship and gave us each other to laugh and cry together, to enjoy life with.  I experienced the grief that life can bring, but also felt the overpowering fullness that comes as well, that gives you strength and hope and happiness.

I felt like the monster in Frankenstein on that Thursday in 2004.  I felt pain and didn’t quite understand why things had to work out as they did.  I was let down.  But now today in 2010, I am able to feel something beautiful, as opposed to an end, a beginning has occurred.  Unlike the monster I was given life through a greater being than a human, I was given life by God.  The creature was created by Frankenstein, an imperfect human, and thus the creature could not overcome this.  I think about the life I had the privilege of knowing and of the life I now have the privilege of getting to know.  They were brought here by God and through this I can know their perfect and powerful creator.

I no longer feel the hurt I felt, but instead have cherished memories.  I feel joy for having known my grandpa for 12 years and now little Evan has a lifetime to fill with memories that I will be able to be a part of.  January 22 will forever hold a special place in my heart.”

I can’t help but think about my Aunt Cheryl after rereading this.  My family and I felt an enormous amount of pain following the days and months after her death.  Today it sometimes still feels fresh, I find myself crying in the car, thinking becomes too hard. And then I think about her son that she blessed us with.  A little boy only a year younger than Evan.  And all to brilliant to not make my heart happy.  God gives us life to leave a legacy.   This will never change.GrandpaIn loving memory of my Grandpa.
Cheryl and meAuntie Cheryl and I during my senior year of high school. EvanHappy 4th Birthday, sweet Evan.  I love you! JakeJake, you will forever have my heart.

I was meant to be an Ice Skater

John Steinbeck wrote, “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

As a first-born, naturally I am a perfectionist, and naturally being human and all has always failed me with this personality trait. Thus is exactly why I love the statement above.

I have a tendency to suggest nearly every new thing I try might be my calling. Contrary to what I had imagined, I am the worst skier … ever! Ice skating, on the other hand, is a bit more my style. I enjoyed a fun-filled night of ice skating with my sister and cousin last week that reminded me why I have always loved the sport. The grace it requires comes a bit more easily … none the less I will never be any more than “good” at the sport.

Today I begin a new semester of school. As a hopeful teacher, the student in me has always been excited for another year, new materials, new teachers, new classes. Today feels different however. With college graduation in the foreseeable near future and figuring out my next step in life is coming all too quickly, I cannot help but be anxious and nervous and wish for another few weeks days of winter vacation. With this in mind (I realize that I use this statement in most every post), being “good” at all I face in the upcoming busy semester is my goal. Because maybe after all, being perfect isn’t what makes life enjoyable. Because then ice skating would never be that much fun anyway.

Wishing you all a lovely Tuesday and happy first day of spring semester Titans and to everyone else who starts today! xxo.

Happy New Year

And with few hours left of January 1st left, 2014 has officially begun.  Happy New Year and cheers to another year!

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Come this time next year, I will be a college graduate (if all goes as planned)!  It is my resolution this year to write the best of stories, to fill the next 365 days with joy and excitement, and to gain a little bit more understanding about what the next chapter (post-grad) in my life may be.  I pray you all have had a brilliant new year’s and that 2014 will be just as bright. xxo!

A Day of Thanksgiving

I have been trying to figure out an interesting start to today’s post for some time now.  An special anecdote.  A cool lead.  A quote that identifies exactly my feelings.  But at last I am at a loss.  Instead I just write, in hopes something creative, something honorable will be the end result.

I have been counting down to Thanksgiving for five weeks now and for good reason.  For as long as I can remember it has always been my favorite holiday.  No pressure.  Good food.  Macy’s Day Parade.  My Family.  Anticipation for the future holidays.  The holiday defines bliss.  For me at least.

This Thanksgiving is different however.  46 years ago today a blonde haired beauty was born.  She would be 23 when I was born.  I would spend the next 20 years admiring her.  And so I wish a Happy 46th Birthday to my Auntie Cheryl.  With every passing day I miss you more and more.

Today Cheryl Lynn is celebrating with the Big Guy above just as she does every day.  And I could not be more thankful yet still I am at a loss.  There are days when I think about the events that took her away from us – her husband, her baby boy, her family, her niece.  The sense and the clarity of those 10 days we had to say goodbye have never come and I am not sure they ever will.  It has not become easier with time, only more confusing as problems still persist.

And thus in my confusion today becomes a day truly dedicated to thanksgiving. Thankfulness for an aunt that was intelligent and truthful, stunning and spunky.  Thankfulness for an aunt that was definably unique and unbelievably special, a person I had the privilege of knowing the way I did.

I have numerous other things to thank the Lord for today.  My family and roommates, homes, education, health, jobs, church.  The list goes on.  But most importantly today I thankful for the blessing of the time I spent and the relationship I had with Cheryl.

Time.

It’s endless and yet not at the same time.  It cannot be predicted and yet I still make endless lists of things to be done everyday.  Today on what would have been her 46th birthday I honor the life my aunt led and will try to continue to live out her legacy through this blog.  I wish a happy, happy birthday to Cheryl’s twin sister, my auntie Carol; your kindness and generosity are beautiful.  I love you.  I pray you are all having a blessed Thanksgiving.  The next few weeks are bound to fly by.  Christmas lights will be put up and taken down.  A new year will start.  Take TIME today to realize what truly matters in your life.  The people.  Today I thank the Lord for being so good.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”

Psalm 107:1

All my love, xxo!

Cheryl and me

#feelin22

22 used to be an unexciting age.  Then Taylor Swift decided to write a song about it.  Since then the hashtag above has defined a new landmark age amongst the sweet 16-teen queens, legal 18-year-old’s, tipsy 21’s, and over the hill 50-year-old’s.

Well today I am feelin’ 22.

A couple years ago I came across this quote below right before New Year’s.  It may not be a new year quite yet but today I have hit a new age, and I have decided to share it as it represents a few of my wishes for the coming year.

“This coming year, I hope to create a story that I love.  I hope to make something beautiful and take great risks.  I hope to dare myself to do brave things.  I hope to have a conviction and see it through.  I hope life breaks me and from disaster, I hope to come back brand new and beautiful.  I hope to have the courage to take the weak things and amplify them until my life overflows with only the good stuff.  I hope to see the world and meet interesting people but above all, I hope to have an absolutely passionate love affair with life.”

Today I am half the age my aunt was when she went to be with the Lord last year.  She lived a life full of love, of hard work, of humor, and of true worth.  In honor of her life my wish is to live the next 22 years as she did … with joy, conviction, faith, integrity, and thrill.  I will continue to honor her legacy.

Here’s to another blessed year.  Hope you all enjoy the new design! xxo

First Day of Fall and All

I have had my fair share of breakdowns this past month.  School has started and with it numerous new obstacles.  Double major, student athlete, employed intern, hospital volunteer, … chaotic mess.

Emily Bronte wrote,

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”

I have only ever read one novel by Emily Bronte.  I was 14 at the time, and it was the summer before my freshman year of high school.  The overachiever in me decided to take Honors English that fall and thus “Wuthering Heights” was mandatory reading before my first day.

An individual attempt at reading the book was rather short lived and ended with me crying (yet another breakdown) on our family vacation in Vermont.  I was lost with the story.  I was sure I wouldn’t finish the book in time.  I was going to fall behind in class, fail the ninth grade, and end up a dropout (I can tend to be a bit over-dramatic).  And thus I spent the remainder of the summer rereading “Wuthering Heights” with my ever patient mother, sure to understand better simply because she was there.  When I showed up for English a few weeks later, my teacher ended up hating the book as well, never understood why it was the required reading, and moved on to a new novel after only a few chapters in … which brings me to today.  With few days away until my 22nd birthday, I cannot adequately describe a logical theme to Bronte’s work.

I share this story for two reasons.

First, Emily Bronte was … deep.  No easy-read, mind you.  Or maybe she wasn’t all that deep but my experience with her work was not exceptionally easy.  I say this to warn you.  My deciphering of the quote I have shared above may be far from what she ever thought or felt when she wrote the poem, “Fall, leaves, fall.”   And thus a new attempt at figuring out what all she was talking about has begun.

There’s a saying, “Turn over a new leaf.”  It means to begin again, to create a fresh start.  Bronte was on to the same thing.  Every new beginning and challenge should be met with the same focus … excitement, an excitement for something new, for something better, something almost blissful, for a future with clarity and certainty.  She understood the problems life caused, for if there is anything I do remember from “Wuthering Heights” is that insanity prevailed throughout.  Yet still she wrote to treat each “leaf” with encouragement and hope.  Perhaps with this in mind, I then too can see my latest obstacles as opportunities rather, causing the breakdowns to end.

The second reason I share my flashback is to show the end result.  My frustrations never resulted in anything significant.  I finished the book.  I never truly understood it, but never needed too either.  I passed my English class.  I graduated.  My crazy antics turned out to be just that … crazy.

Today is the first day of the fall season.  It is no coincidence that “autumn” is in the quote.  I encourage you to treat life as the quote says above, or at least my interpretation of it that is.  With the start of this new season allow each new obstacle that “falls” on you to be an opportunity for a something better.  Make a choice.

And as a lover of this season or maybe not so much the season but the idea (living in Southern California has presented a few challenges when it comes to trying to experience any sort of cooler weather change) I am working towards appreciating my changing circumstances and putting forth the best effort in exchange for the usual tears and common breakdowns.  Maybe then autumn can be blissful and brilliant.

Happy Autumn Equinox everyone!  Go enjoy something pumpkin-flavored.

Monday Night Football

Breakfast at Bekah’s // Week 3

“Mental toughness is many things. It is humility, because I think it behooves all to remember that simplicity is the sign of all greatness and meekness is the sign of true strength. Mental toughness is Spartanism with those qualities of sacrifice, self-denial, dedication. It is fearlessness and it is love.”

Vince Lombardi

Because I love my dad (ask him about metal toughness and you’ll get him goin’),

because I start team practice this week,

and because football is back …

Facts:

Sadly, sometimes I can be all talk. I have never been an avid follower of sports. I enjoy baseball, get excited for college football, wait for ice skating and gymnastics during the Olympics, and watch tennis, but only during the majors (for the most part). With this in mind somehow I became a fanatic for USC over the past four years while Matt Barkley was the quarterback. I thought he was going to be the one before he got married this past summer (insert sad face here). Despite this set back I am now an Eagles fan (even if Barkley doesn’t get that much playing time), and today they play the Redskins at 7:10 EDT. So here is to no longer being all talk … Happy Monday Night Football! Good luck.

In case you haven’t been keeping up and are a bit confused …

Breakfast at Bekah’s

Breakfast at Bekah’s // Week 1

Breakfast at Bekah’s // Week 2

Happy Labor Day

Breakfast at Bekah’s // Week 2

In honor of this Monday …

“Far and away the best prize life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth living.”                                        Theodore Roosevelt

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Interesting Fact:

In the first and sadly only other edition of Breakfast at Bekah’s I pointed to three celebrity couples becoming first time parents in the next few months.  Well, those few months have now passed and with it the three children have been born!

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum: gave birth to Everly Tatum on May 31st

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge: gave birth to George Alexander Louis … or rather His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge on July 22nd

Josh Duhamel and Fergie: gave birth to Axl Jack Duhamel born on August 29th