Dear Dave,

Dear Dave,

This is the blog I never wanted to write. You always encouraged me writing because you said it would help. I am really not sure anything will help this. I feel like I am living out my worse nightmare. I don’t want you to be gone. I don’t want to live without you.

When you came into my life I was convinced that you were the most annoying, frustrating person I’d met in a long time. You  were just so smart and made me feel so dumb. I don’t like feeling dumb. Then we started getting to know each other… and you became my sounding board. My confidant. Then you joined the gym so you could be spending time with me. I didn’t know what was happening at the time. Naïve I know. When we started spending more and more time together, people started asking if we could have a future together. NO. Of course not. We were totally wrong for each other. Polar opposites.

At that point I had been single for 33 years of my life. Well I was only 33 so that made sense. I had very high standards and wasn’t going to be with just anyone. And again we were totally wrong for each other in pretty much every way imaginable.

Then you tricked me into a day trip to Duluth. That was the trip that changed it all for me. I started to see things in a different light. I didn’t know that you had been plotting this since the beginning. You were very determined but knew how to not scare me away. I am not sure I will ever meet someone as knowledgeable as you. Needless to say I did not know that that day trip to Duluth the fall of 2014 would be the beginning of a very adventurous 5 plus years. From Duluth MN to Green Bay (where you loved me enough to run a 5k through my teams stadium) to Cancun, a couple of cruises, a couple trips to Texas, a trip to San Diego (where you graciously ran.. I mean walked… what did you call it Waddled? Wogged? 😊  over a bridge with me), countless road trips to various state parks. A few road trips to Iowa. And a couple of weeks in Virginia for work.

You helped me see who I was. You loved me even with all of my quirks. Actually my quirks amused you to no end. You would always tell me that. You pushed me at the gym because you knew I could give more. You pushed me at work… because you knew I could do more. The reason I even applied for a manager position was because you believed in me.

I think the thing I am most grateful for though was the way you treated my nieces and nephews. They looked up to you (and not just cuz you were a giant to them). You treated like them with respect. But also threw them around which they LOVED. You made them laugh and made them feel so much love. I couldn’t go anywhere without you or all I would here was “where’s Dave”. It sucks that they won’t have you anymore. You were the best. There I said it. And you would always argue that you try. Well you did a darn good Job babe.

I guess what I am trying to say is I miss you so much. There are no freakin’ words. My heart is in a thousand million pieces and will honestly never be the same. EVERYTHING changed March 7th 2020. My world flipped upside down. I feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest and stomped on the ground. I am not saying my life is over. I promise you that. You wouldn’t want that and for the last 8 weeks I have been living everyday to try and make you proud. Putting one foot in front of the other. Fighting for joy. Trying to think about the BAJILION happy memories we had in our short 5ish years. Being grateful for the time we did have. Grateful for the fact that we changed our 2020 vacation from May to February! Nothing can take that away.

Nothing can take away the morning of March 7th. When I was trying to get out of bed and you grabbed me and hugged me tight (I loved that so much) you didn’t want to let me go. I stayed and snuggled a bit…and then as I was getting out of bed I told you that I loved you and your last words were “I love you more.” I have peace knowing that you were happy. We were happy. Not sure why it had to end so suddenly.

I do have to tell you something though. I love when you show me signs that you are still there for me. 20 days after you passed away I ran though a graveyard and saw this headstone.

I started BAWLING. I just knew it meant you still love me. And need me to keep going. And you will still be there loving me and I need you to keep showing me those things. After I ran though the graveyard I ran around a pond and saw this very majestic eagle that landed ON the ice and watched me run. Like he was protecting me. You were my protector. My rock. My big giant teddy bear. I spent most of that run in tears… because I was grateful for the signs.

I know you would hate that this happened to me. You hated it when you made me cry (which didn’t happen often). You would tell me over and over and over again that your goal was to make me happy. I was so lucky to have you. Seriously. We used to “argue” about who was luckier… me or you. “I don’t know how I got so lucky to have you in my life” was said more than once.

I miss arguing about who loves who more.

I miss you asking me if I need anything on your way home.

I miss your forehead kisses.

I miss calling you back into the bedroom after you tucked me in for just one more “story”

I miss our “fights” over whether or not I’d fall asleep with my glasses on.

I miss how you loved Tubby.

I miss seeing your little Beetle next to my car in the work parking lot.

I miss you bringing me a banana at lunch when I’d get stuck on a long call. Especially since you hated bananas.

I miss wandering Target with you. The Mall of America. Costco. Really you made wandering anywhere better!

I miss the way you looked at me with that twinkle in your eye.

I miss your “good morning beautiful” messages.

I miss the way you cared for me. The way you loved me. The way you wanted what was best for me.

I miss you grabbing my hand to hold in the middle of the night.

I miss you asking “how can I help”

I miss you every minute of every hour of every day.

I miss our Saturday morning breakfasts.

I miss all the little things that made you, you. And the little things that made Us, us.

I guess the bottom line is this. I miss you. I miss you so much it hurts. Like physically HURTS. I’m learning that you can hold pain and joy at the same time. I am learning a ton about myself and life in general. I want you to know that I will NEVER stop loving you. I will never stop trying to make you proud and keep being the best version of myself. I will keep your memory alive with the nieces and nephews. I still have Colby on his “Dave diet” and he still isn’t allowed in the garage without supervision. I will keep writing you letters. Because you and I both know its good for me to process this way.

Love Always,

Your Princess

Ps. Love you

3-5 days

This is a Blog I have been thinking about for the last 14 months or So. It was January 2019. The moment I remember like it was just yesterday. As the Doctor in the hospital room looked at my Aunt who had been courageously battling cancer that she was on Comfort Care. The room was filled with people who loved her and were not ready to watch her battle end when she just smiled and said something along the lines of yes, it’s just a matter of time before my life on earth is over.

I remember standing there in awe of her strength but extremely sad that my time with her was limited. We knew the end was neigh. She was given 3-5 days to live. *she ended up hanging on for a while longer than that* She didn’t get to chose this path that she was on. She didn’t get to pick the fact that she wasn’t going the meet the adorable baby boy that was about to be born shortly after (her first grandson). She certainly didn’t get to pick the cancer. All she could do was choose how she responded.

Every time I went to see her after that she would smile and laugh and tell stories (even when it got really hard for her to tell stories). She choose not to spend her time complaining and feeling bad for herself. I’m sure she had those moments. But I didn’t see them. I saw love. I saw Joy.

I had to put in this photo. It was my favorite.

The world is ridiculous right now. I’ve never seen anything like this. The world has gone mad. We didn’t get to pick Covid19. We didn’t get to pick the governor’s order to stay in our houses. We didn’t pick closed restaurants. We didn’t get to pick the fact that we can’t walk the mall on Thursday’s because it’s closed too! We didn’t choose the Social Distancing rules that tell us we can’t even hi 5 our friends. We didn’t pick the fact that we can’t go visit Grandma or hang out with our friends. We didn’t pick the fact that schools had to close for a bit. We didn’t choose that we can’t even get a hair cut right now or that we have “essential jobs” and have to go to work, who woulda thought that construction workers are essential!?!? We didn’t choose to work from home (maybe that was just me!!!!) but still. We didn’t pick this ladies and gents.

HERE is the good news:

We get to pick how we respond. we get to decide who we want to be on the other side of this. We get to choose our attitude in the middle of it. And I am thinking if we choose JOY in the middle of it.. it will be easier when the world resumes. When things are back to a new normal. When the virus passes. If we practice gratitude even in the midst of things… it’s easier when there are rainbows and sunshine. Praising God in the storm. Singing in the rain.

In a world that feels so out of control right now. What would happen if we focused on things we can control? What would happen if we stopped living in fear (yes, be healthy and cautious and safe) but instead put our faith in God. What if we helped our neighbor? Shine our little lights. Everyone is going through this together.. why not just be someone people can turn to for a smile. This is hard. this sucks. This isn’t fun for anyone. Nobody wants this.

But we can choose Joy.

This certainly feels like a storm right now. But there is a rainbow. and I am looking for it.

Olaf Quotes - Frozen II (2019)

What are you going to do with your next 3-5 days. Hopefully we have longer. But what if we don’t. We aren’t promised tomorrow. NONE OF US. How will you respond? How you respond to what you are in today, what is happening to you today… will determine your direction in life. Attitude determines direction. You pick the attitude. Translation. you pick the direction! Where do you want to go?

How will you respond. Does your response get you closer to your goals.

I hope this helps. I hope this inspires and gets you thinking. I really needed it writtend down so I can come back and read it when I’m struggling to choose my response.

In memory of My Auntie Tam. My Godmother.

Love you and miss you dearly.

2019 Thankful List

It’s that time of year again.

The time of year where I sit down and come up with a list of 100 things I am thankful for. Write it down and publish it all for you all to read. But really it’s just to remind myself that there are plenty of things to be thankful for. Even when life is tough and you can’t remember the last time you have seen the sun and just got hammered with like 8 inches of snow… and winter in Minnesota seems like it lasts FOREVER… I need to just step back and be positive. Because it can be really easy to be negative.

So.. in no particular order here goes my 2019 Thankful list:

  1. Sunshine
  2. My cat Colby, AKA fat Cat
  3. Sister bonding (something that doesn’t happen near often enough)
  4. Movie nights
  5. Running water
  6. HGTV
  7. Doctors
  8. Photographs
  9. Crafts Direct
  10. Snowplows
  11. People who know how to do things that I do not
  12. Babies. They make me smile
  13. My church.
  14. Christmas Lights
  15. My heated seats in my car
  16. Cruise Ships
  17. My childhood
  18. My wonderful, loving, very supportive Boyfriend
  19. Random snap chats
  20. My running shoes
  21. Lotion
  22. Memories
  23. My Health
  24. The couch of awesome
  25. My Job
  26. Rain
  27. My besties
  28. Commercial Jingles
  29. My slippers
  30. Vacations
  31. My mother. I surely wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for her.
  32. My winter jacket
  33. Headphones
  34. Chapstick
  35. People who push me to be a better version of me
  36. Books
  37. Electricity
  38. Cheesy Christmas movies
  39. People I don’t talk to as much as I would like, but they still inspire me
  40. Hoodies
  41. Socks
  42. My nieces and Nephews.
  43. Target
  44. Our Pop Vinyl collection
  45. Good news
  46. This blog, even though I don’t do it as much as I would like
  47. The lake
  48. The color orange
  49. Sunsets
  50. Duluth Minnesota
  51. My Coworkers, some of them or more like family
  52. Christmas cookies
  53. My Gym membership
  54. WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers)
  55. My past
  56. Rainbows
  57. Creativity
  58. A clean house
  59. A random text from someone you don’t often talk to
  60. Walks with friends
  61. Jesus
  62. The power of positivity
  63. Cupcakes
  64. State Parks
  65. Learning from failures
  66. Music
  67. My family. I know I mentioned some of them individually. But I really am thankful for them all
  68. Lazy Sundays
  69. Weekends
  70. The Joy Kids. Past, present and future.
  71. Ice
  72. Disney, all things Disney
  73. My beliefs
  74. My habits, even though I am working on shifting some of them…
  75. Pedicures.
  76. Pens.
  77. Water bottles
  78. Candles.
  79. Hot cocoa.
  80. Everything Pumpkin flavored.
  81. Cereal
  82. My randomness
  83. Social Media. However, this is part of the habits in need of adjusting. Too much time spend here, that’s for sure.
  84. Relationships
  85. Our new windows. They are just so pretty!!!!
  86. Malls.
  87. Butterflies
  88. My weight loss journey. I’m surely not where I want to be. But Far from where I once was.
  89. My running metals.
  90. Randomly finding cash in your pocket you forgot about
  91. My contacts.
  92. Hair ties
  93. Sleep
  94. Built bars. My current protein bar addiction.
  95. Quarry park.
  96. My wonderful, reliable, amazing Cat sitters.
  97. Onion rings
  98. Peanut butter
  99. Celling fans
  100. giggling

I realized after doing a once over that I am very thankful for a lot of different kinds of food. Either I was reaching for things to list or I have a food problem. Lol. Maybe that explains the “I’m not where I want to be” aspect. Just teasing. I really love doing this list because it makes me sit here and think really hard about things in my life that I am thankful for. Some super off the wall and random, but if you think about it…what would your life be like without the little things?!?  SO if  you are going through this holiday season, or anytime really I would challenge you to sit back and think about what you are thankful for. I bet it doesn’t take long before you start to look at things differently.

Full disclosure. I can’t promise that there are no duplicates in this list as I am just getting over being sick for a few days… so there 😉

Dear Younger Me,

I’ve been thinking a lot about school lately. I think it’s because it’s September and the weather is getting cooler and all I’ve been seeing for the last few weeks is pictures of kids going back to school. It’s really got me thinking. SO.. I figured I would share my thoughts. I included some random school photos of Young Tonya for your enjoyment.

The question I asked myself was what Would I tell Little Tonya? What would I want her to know?

ENJOY IT!!!

You are only in school so long. It may seem like an eternity at the time.. but you will miss it one day. Learn stuff. Soak it in. Have fun. Don’t take it all so seriously. Lighten up a bit. You don’t have to be so uptight.

DON’T BE AFRAID!!!

Don’t miss out on things because you are afraid. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let what other kids think of you stop you from doing what you really might like. Don’t be afraid that you aren’t capable of things, you don’t know.

MAKE FRIENDS!!!

Seriously! I think one of the biggest things I would tell Young Tonya is don’t be afraid of getting close to people. Open yourself up a little and make friends. Seek out someone who doesn’t have a friend and be their friend. Share your story, ask questions about them… be someone’s friend. Life is better with friends. Being afraid that people won’t like you shouldn’t hold you back from trying to make friends.

FAIL!!

Fail often and fail hard. I know this one sounds super weird Young Tonya… but it’s true. If you aren’t failing. You aren’t trying. You won’t grow. It’s scary I know. But I promise you it will be worth it. You are a human being, that’s what we do.

FEEL

It’s really, honestly okay to have feelings. You can say when you are sad or happy or disappointed. It’s okay and it’s normal. You are… in fact… a human being.

HAVE FAITH!!!

Keep learning about God. He is good and He cares about you. He Holds your future. Speaking of future, it’s not going to turn out like you think it going to… but that’s OKAY. Keep walking by faith. God has a plan. Trust it.

LOVE!!!

Love God, Love others and Love yourself. I know the last one is hard for you… but it’s actually okay to love yourself. You are a decent human being (who screws up sometimes) but you are decent. You try hard and you deserve to love yourself. Also it’s hard to love others if you can’t figure out how to love yourself. Love others. Even when they are being “unlovable” (you are “unlovable” too sometimes. but you still deserve to be loved). Speaking of Love, You DO deserve to be loved. I know you don’t believe it. But let it happen. It’s actually a really great and wonderful thing. DON’T miss out!

BE GRATEFUL!!!

For everything. The little things. The big things. The little things that turn out to be big things. All of it.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!

You only get one body. Treat it well (but don’t treat it too often). You have a sweet tooth and that’s okay. Moderation is key. Portion control. Making mostly good choices and moving your body are key. Don’t stress out about it too much. Just do mostly good… most of the time and you’ll be fine. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you get off track. Mental health is even more important than physical health. Take care of it. Spiritual Health too. If you aren’t taking care of yourself it’s hard for you to be fully YOU.

EMBRACE YOU!

You are weird. Goofy. Fun. Sassy. Random. Quirky. Funny. Interesting. Loving. Creative. Embrace it.

I’m sure by this point Young Tonya would be telling me she had to go listen to NKOTB and ride her bike around the neighborhood with neighborhood kids. And she probably wouldn’t have listened to half of this because she didn’t believe she was worth it. She didn’t believe that she could go after her dreams and accomplish them. She just didn’t know what she didn’t know. I can’t go back and change her childhood and I don’t think I would. I am who I am today because of who I was in school. But these are lessons I am learning now and things I hope to keep in mind to continue to learn and grow and become an even better version of me.

100 thing’s I am thankful for

so.. it’s that time of year again. The time of year where I sit back and think about the things that I am thankful for. I really should be better about doing this all year… but i’m just not. However MANY years ago a friend did this and recommended others do it too. I did and I love it so here it goes for 2018 As ALWAYS these things are in no particular order and there are a BAJILLION things that I will miss. But here is a list of 100 things I am thankful for… Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving. 

  1. Cupcakes
  2. Sunsets
  3. My new house
  4. My mukluks (new slippers that keep my feet toasty and warm)
  5. Toast
  6. Running.
  7. My family. EVERY. CRAZY. one of them. Ps. If I named them all I wouldn’t be able to be thankful for anything else because there my family is just so big. 
  8. Photographs 
  9. the ocean
  10. my cellphone
  11. Colby Jack (not the cheese…the cat) better known as Fat Cat
  12. music
  13. Netflix
  14. the treadmill (I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SAY THAT ONE)
  15. HGTV
  16. comfy pants
  17. my wonderful, loving, patient, caring Boyfriend
  18. sunglasses
  19. contact. I love my contacts (just because I can’t stand glasses)
  20. my work family. 
  21. Snowplows
  22. Memories
  23. chapstick
  24. street signs
  25. childhood friends
  26. high school. 
  27. painful lessons
  28. my sparkly diamond earings 
  29. Holidays
  30. schedules
  31. WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
  32. DVR 
  33. Social media
  34. Books
  35. The Kids who come to the Church Nursery
  36. friends
  37. electricity
  38. spontaneity
  39. ADVENTURE
  40. Waterfalls 
  41. Disney movies
  42. Baseball Hats
  43. Text messages
  44. my fitbit
  45. my winter jacket
  46. Hot cocoa
  47. The Girls I used to babysit. (and their parents too!)
  48. airplanes
  49. paint
  50. windows
  51. money
  52. my cell phone
  53. blankets
  54. Pintrest
  55. my garage door opener. 
  56. Tacos
  57. water 
  58. bridges
  59. coloring books 
  60. medication
  61. my health
  62. the pastors at my church
  63. the Green Bay Packers
  64. Movies
  65. my 5 senses
  66. lotion
  67. the couch of awesome
  68. the internet 
  69. my job. Where else can you work that changes peoples lives?!? okay. there are a few places. but my job is pretty freakin’ sweet most days 🙂
  70. the English language
  71. Ice cream
  72. people who can organize things
  73. Sentsy
  74. youTube
  75. my winter jacket
  76. google
  77. my credit card reward points
  78. health insurance
  79. heat in my house
  80. PILLOWS
  81. my car
  82. socks
  83. rollerblades
  84. vacations
  85. pizza
  86. people make me want to be a better person
  87. the fan in my bedroom
  88. window treatments
  89. the fact that I don’t have to cut grass or rake leaves or shovel snow
  90. Target. the store, not like a shooting at kind of target… just to clarify
  91. podcasts
  92. our Funko Pop Vinyl collection (ps. if you are ever looking for a gift for me.. just add to the collection) 🙂
  93. body spray
  94. cruise ships
  95. warm showers 
  96. my gym
  97. Gum
  98. Banana’s
  99. the autosave feature on this blog (I literally almost just lost the whole thing)
  100. the moon!
  101. Cheesy hallmark Christmas movies
  102. grapes

oops. got a little carried away. There is my list. Take a few minutes to create your own. You will thank me if you do. It makes you stop and think about all the little things in our lives that we have to be grateful for and the big things that we don’t often stop to give thought to. 

This is your life

This is your life

this is your lifeThere is this song by the band Switchfoot that’s chorus contains these words. THIS IS YOUR LIFE. ARE YOU WHO YOU WANT TO BE. I have been pondering this for MONTHS. this song pops into my head ALL. THE. TIME. WHY?!? I don’t know. I think maybe because I am striving to be the person that I want to be.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
Yesterday is a promise that you’ve broken
Don’t close your eyes, don’t close your eyes,
This is your life

And today is all you’ve got now
And today is all you’ll ever have
Don’t close your eyes.

This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, is it everything you’ve dreamed
That it would be when the world was younger,
And you had everything to lose?

Yesterday is a kid in the corner
Yesterday is dead and over

This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, are you who you want to be

Have you ever stopped and thought about who you are? Several weeks ago at work I was given the opportunity to take a personality profile type of thing that was FREAKILY accurate. It knew things about me that I try not to admit to anyone, even myself…and it knew these things from a list of words I choose. JUST WORDS. I don’t even want to tell you the things that it said about me. But here is what I got to thinking… WHO gets to choose who I am? This is MY life… I get to pick who I want to be. Hmmmm…. think about that for a moment.

I sometimes find myself with a short fuse with other human beings. Ones who maybe aren’t as “perfect” as me… I’m teasing by the way. I know how impossible I can be to work with or be around somedays. I find myself having no patience with them. Or getting irritated with things I can’t control. Is this who I want to be? do I want people to not come to me because they are afraid of how I will react? NOPE! That means I have an opportunity to change my attitude. Change my tone. Or.. as I like to tell my people “Fix my face.” I find myself bottling up my emotions from the day and taking them out on my unsuspecting, very loving and understanding boyfriend even when he has done nothing wrong. Leaving him walking on egg shells around me.  I don’t want that. That is NOT who I want to be. Good news. I don’t have to be that and It’s something I am working on.

It’s up to me to decide who I want to be.

It’s up to me to be self aware of who I am being.

I get to influence this. I can fix my face. How cool is that??!?!

Full disclosure. I am a human being. and some day’s I am going to choose to be a whiney brat. Some day’s I am going to choose to let little things bug me and some day’s I am going to chose to through a pity party. I may also chose to wear a pair of cranky pants once in awhile. Because life happens. because I am not perfect. I just hope that I can choose Joy more days than not. Choose positive and influential. Choose Inspirational. Choose success. Choose never giving up.

life

 

Check on your strong friends…

This is a phrase that has been playing in my mind the last couple of months. Since the death of some famous celebrities. (Quite a few months ago now) and Came as a shock to the world that it was actually suicide. This phrase came into popularity. And I’ve not stopped thinking about it.

Here is the thing. You never know what someone is battling. Never! The thoughts that come. The doubt. The anxiety. Depression. Stress.  The hurt. Their past… etc.

A few weeks ago my sister and I walked a 5k (actually it was 5 miles) for mental health. A cause that means a lot to both of us.

CA6D6D13-4430-4097-AFA8-A78308F5EEDB.jpegI’ve actually been thinking a lot obout mental health lately. Here are some of my thoughts.

You don’t know what people have been through that makes them who they are.

Mental health is a huge topic these days. And I think it’s for good reason. I just have to take a moment to talk about Social media. Social media is a liar. Now… hear me out on this one. All you get to see on social media is whatever side of people’s personality that THEY want you to see. It’s never the whole story. It’s filtered. I get to pick the View of me that’s portrayed on social media. So do you. Think about that.

So that person that you see on social media who is always possitive and “loving life” might be struggling. And wanting to appear to have it all together. Maybe they don’t want you to know their life is really out of control and they don’t know what to do. It’s spiraling like crazy and can’t stop it. We don’t know…

I wanted to write this for a few reasons.. first. Don’t be ashamed if you are struggling. Get help. You’re worth it. Plus if  you are struggling with depression or anxiety or any mental health issue… it doesn’t make you a bad person. Actually it makes you human!

Also… be sensitive to other people. We honestly don’t know what battles other people are fighting. And it’s not our place to judge the battle.  Take a look at things from another perspective… the world might be a little better if we did.

We are all in this journey of life together and we are not called to do it alone.

Be kind.

love people. Love yourself.