Nobody Says Thank You Anymore!

I have witnessed so many great and wonderful changes in my life time and hopefully it’s only about half over.  This one change I see way too many times each day is really becoming irritating and very frustrating to me.  It seems to have happened so gradually people have accepted it.

Saw a story on the news where this man wrote a thank you card to a random person everyday for a year and how much of a difference just saying thanks for the little things can mean... New Years Resolution??:

NOBODY SAYS “THANK YOU” ANYMORE!

Am I completely off base?  Nuts?  Not listening?  Is this only happening to me?  And don’t get me wrong I am not trying to pin this on the government or any race or even the over privileged youth of today because for every bad example of a person, race, or class, I can find you two to fit that same description who are the total opposite to the better.  I even caught myself doing it one day and I felt so embarrassed and ashamed and glad my father wasn’t behind me or with me because he would have taken me behind the wood shed.  I think  I raised my girls and my grandkids the right way but who knows what happens out in the real world.

I would like to say it was just young kids, but it’s not.  They seem to be more polite which leads me to believe they are all Eddie Haskelling me (if you don’t know google it), but all my daughters’ friends are extremely polite as well.  I have noticed it more in people my age (48) or older than ever before.  The tunnel vision or more fast paced routine people have been thrust into today may be a root cause but it just plain sucks!

We could transform the world just by being considerate of others, being respectful of differences:

 

Holding a door open, a good waitress or bartender, a smiling face at the cash register, and my all time favorite…let into traffic person that doesn’t give you a wave or mouth a “Thank you” before speeding off up the highway.  That one really pisses me off.  If you were putting your life in danger I can understand. Or even if you had horrible service, your dog ran away, or you just lost your job does not give you the permission to be an ass.  It only takes a second and it is just as easy as smiling. Say thank you, have a nice day, or at least mouth the words.

 

-Denney

 

 

*Addition by Samantha:

While looking to spice up this blog by adding some visuals, I came across this AMAZING photo which I think describes everything about this post. "...And you're rude... bad mannered and deranged... So stop pissing me off and browsing my boards when you have no intention of being a gentleman...   or I will block you!"..  J.L. Thomas  :D:

While I do think that he makes a point because it’s not just the younger generation who are extremely rude, disrespectful and heathens.. But, it is the older generation as well. My perfect example is my current workplace: a law firm. While it may not mean that much to you and it’s just the type of work but the amount of negativity and expectation that comes from the older folks is RIDICULOUS. They expect help, assistance and while that is all fine and dandy.. please DO NOT treat me like a piece of gum on the bottom of your shoe. Otherwise – find someone else to help your sorry ass. Excuse my language.  But really. Find someone else. You receive no thank-you from a majority of the people that you complete work for, you just hear bitch.bitch.bitch about everything they would have done differently.. Well thank you kind sir, do it yourself next time! And let me tell you, a thank-you goes a long way and for those who have uttered those words when I assist them and give me FULL instructions when they’re swamped and could use a hand, I happily assist them. We are ALL busy, we ALL have stuff going on at home, we have ALL been dragged through the dirt time and time again.. you aren’t alone in that. And another pet peeve is DEFINITELY the letting someone into traffic or running someone off the road because YOUR life matters and no one else’s does. My mother-in-law said that we live in a generation where it’s “all about me” and people don’t care about others. Screw you, it’s about me. Sadly, I think she makes a good point. It doesn’t stand that way for everyone and in some instances we may catch ourselves acting that way but at least don’t make a habit of it. We all have bad days – we all don’t know what we’re going through – so remember that. I know I would do well to remember it too.  -Samantha

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What Was I Thinking? WTF?

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day… I thank God every day I am Blessed with another glorious day on this planet, It’s a GREAT DAY to be ALIVE!  Positivity!  Thankfulness!  Gratefulness! Carpe Diem!  Life is GOOD!

Exactly... Cut them lose for your own sake. This is not mean or selfish. This is a choice based on self-respect.:

It wasn’t always that way.  For years I somehow stayed positive and upbeat while being involved with an extremely toxic person in an even more toxic relationship.  Controlling, manipulative, selfish!  As I look back, I cannot fathom how I was so stupid not to see how one person could suck so much life and happiness out of those around them.  How could one person thrive so much on making other people miserable, or feel badly about themselves just to make themselves feel better and superior?  Then in the next breath say “I love you.”  I am a pretty strong man, fairly intelligent, helpful, giving, loving, and caring, so how could I allow one person to gain so much control over my entire life and do everything in their power to make me feel like a low life scumbag?  I have great kids, we had a nice house, we drove nice cars, but it was never enough to make a difference.  Hearing you were a piece of shit and not a good provider, and Don’t, Don’t, DON’T, can’t, Can’t, CAN’T can wear down even the strongest, most stable person over time.

Yup, Just like Jason and Jolene. Toxic people to the core. They lie, cheat, back stab everyone they call thier friend and or family, they both use everyone for money, $2,500 to be exact, that they refuse to pay back at all. Always saying they will but never do, they only ask "friends" over cause they have cars. Its always about what they can get from someone and never about love. So we are letting go and getting rid of these toxic people for good!!! Small claims here we come:

The good thing is, somehow we all survived and thrived, but how much better could we all have done had we not been involved with that toxic person?  Why didn’t I see it sooner?  Why didn’t I listen to others?  My parents, my brother and sister, and a few friends I had all saw it, but why couldn’t I?  How was I so blind to not get my kids out of that toxic environment sooner?  WTF was I doing?  WTF was I thinking?

Take This Life And Shove IT!!!

Several events happened at the same time one month that woke me up.  I finally said enough is enough!   I prayed!  I packed up and moved out.  I prayed.  I filed for divorce!  I prayed.  My Grandmother (my guardian angel) passed away.  I prayed.  I met Nancy.  I prayed.  I changed jobs.  I prayed.  I finally listened to good people and began to remove the toxicity from my life.  I prayed.  I thanked God and my parents for waking me up.  I prayed.  I wish I could tell you everything immediately got better, but Nancy and I had both been through so much with our exes, we did not know how to act for quite some.  True to form, my ex did everything she could to try to make our lives miserable.  The divorce was ugly, and took several years just because that toxic individual did everything she could to try to maintain some kind of control.  It cost a lot of money too.  Money we did not have.  We sure ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I’m not real fond of tuna salad any longer.  We prayed. We fought for custody which my attorney warned me was like throwing money down the well in Florida, but we had to do everything we could to get the girls out of that toxic environment.  We lost! We prayed.  Child support and alimony started. More tuna, more PB&Js, but with that time came more love, more understanding.  Nancy and I both grew as people, as a couple, as parents, and as people of faith.  We prayed and gave thanks.

Blue Zone: Nasty world of the big wide web:

WE MADE IT!  It has been almost ten years since Nancy and I left our toxic relationships together.  We love, we show compassion, we cried together, we pray, but through everything we survived, we thrived, and for some strange reason, I WOULD NOT CHANGE ANY ONE OF THOSE STRUGGLES!  We love life.  We made It!  We have six beautiful daughters, two absolutely gorgeous grandchildren, and a much better understanding of how to stay the Hell away from toxic assholes!  If you know somebody in a toxic relationship…HELP THEM GET OUT! RUN! Or You will have to get rid of them to avoid that toxicity!!

And to those toxic assholes…KEEP YOUR MISERABLE ASS LIFE TO YOURSELF AND AWAY FROM US!  WE GOT THIS!!!  Ciao!

 

I can train my mind just like in 2012 Navaratri time when You gave me direction. Everything got derailed the past year and I am sure You will show me the light again.:

-Dennis

Them Damn Ricans!

I have a pretty close knit family.  Or at least I thought we were tight.  Okay let’s face it, we not be as tight as we all want to be because we all are sooooo damn busy, have kids, work, practices, grandkids, blah blah blah.  We all end up falling into that comfort after you leave the nest where you think you can survive on your own and still communicate with family members during the holidays, birthdays, or funerals.  I honestly thought my family was tight because we did things that way.  The holiday dinners and maybe the occasional Sunday football game with White House Chicken (our local chicken shack). We do a lot together as a family, so I thought we were a close knit family because we are a lot closer than most families we know.  Until we met Them Damn Ricans.

A personal favorite from my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/listing/226754270/every-family-has-a-story-welcome-to-ours:

Now there is a little bit of a back story I should mention first. Nancy’s ex was a complete asshole, maybe not the largest, but definitely in the top 7 asshole list of all time.  He was very controlling and would not allow her to visit family unless his goofy ass was around for whatever all- about-him reason he had.  After Nancy left his dumbass, and he was convinced his best chance for survival was to leave the country and move back in with his parents, Nancy was free to visit her family as much as she liked.  I couldn’t wait to meet them either.  So was I accepted?  Immediately!  I was the one who brought Nancy home and put a smile back on her face because that is exactly what she had done for me.  I had a feeling I would be accepted just for that reason and that was enough for me.  But them Damn Ricans went so far above and beyond appreciation in welcoming all of us it was almost embarrassing.

In the beginning of our relationship, I met Nancy’s mother and two of her brothers.  All absolutely amazing people.  When my family actually discovered how families should act around one another was on our first trip to Puerto Rico.  My mom and dad came along with Nancy and I so they too could meet some of Nancy’s family and enjoy a nice vacation.  We were met at the airport by aunts, uncles, and cousins as far as the eye could see.  Some of the aunts brought their famous coquito which is a Puerto Rican holiday drink most close to egg nog but 100 times better.  We caravanned to a small group of roadside bars and eateries in Rio Piedras where another group of aunts, uncles, and cousins were waiting on us.  We ate!  Oh my God did we eat, had some soda pops (Medallia) of the local variety, kissed, hugged and got to know one another.  We then went back to my Mother In Law’s (Maria) house where still even more family awaited.  More food, more Medallias, more hugs and kisses, music blaring, and dancing and singing like crazy.  I do not remember sleeping that day, but Them Damn Ricans put on one hell of a party and we felt instantly welcome.  We spent our almost entire two weeks that year with all of them.  Amazing!  It really sucked to say good bye, but we had to.  We immediately planned the same trip for the same time the next year.

As our plane touched down in San Juan the next year, it is customary to clap loudly and sing a little song.  We remebered it, and joined in this time.  Once again, a massive family get together at the airport, time together in Rio Piedras then off to Mom’s house.  We rented a beach house this time because more of our “White” friends wanted to come with us on this trip.  Nancy and I were going to renew our vows in Camuy at a gorgeous place owned by Tio (Uncle) Sonny’s friend Ramone and his wife.  Of course it was a pub/eatery we visited on the last trip, but their is a gorgeous cliff over looking the Carribean that was something out of a fairy tale.  The entire family and our friends rented rooms at a small, quaint resort in Camuy which was about a mile from the wedding spot.  It wasn’t gorgeous but it was magical, inexpensive and right on the Carribean.  I mentioned magical because this is where I saw magic happen between two different cultures and people occur that made me feel so good about the world.  I said we were all immediately accepted, but this was ridiculous.  My brother in laws, Alex and Anthony would scale the coconut trees and bring coconuts down, shave them, pour rum in them and serve them to whomever wanted one. This was about 9am.  My sister, Shannon fell in love with those two and they treated her like a princess.  So my dad wanted to join them.  He tried to climb the tree, but the years of him doing that passed, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t pick up that machete and learn how to shave one down even though my mom’s heart fell with every swipe.  It was amazing watching him.  So the day fell into night on that New Years’ Eve.  We went to the pub/eatery for final plans and ate, drank, and sang.  We all sang karaoke.  My dad and I even did a song even though we were so out classed by our new families singing voices (they all can sing beautifully) we sang New York, New York.

Messing with us, the owner, Ramone changed the lyrics over to Spanish half way through.  Big laughs ensued, but we ad libbed as best we could.  When we got back to the resort around 1am, my dad and a friend of ours Hillbilly were not tired, so they found the Manager’s room and had him open the bar.  Surprisingly they did not get shot and he opened the bar and we made it worth his while.  Apparently on New Years’ Eve it is customary to knock on the doors of people, sing a song, and they have to offer you something to eat and drink then join you in moving onto the next home.  By 3am the entire resort was up with us and we went to a grassy area outside of our room.  We were laughing and drinking, and my primo (cousin) Manolo picked up a trash can, Damian some sticks, Tio Coca some rocks, Tia Martita an empty jug and then they made music.  Good music.  Our prima Yarixa (Jar-itza) began to sing and if it was if the Heavens opened up.  Then all the aunts joined in, brothers, cousins, oh my God it was an amazing event I will never forget.  We did that til dawn, got a nap, then got ready for the wedding.

Puerto Rico ~ Yep! :o):

We still try to make a trip every year over New Years’ Eve and stay thru Three Kings Day, but now all Them Damn Ricans come up to our places on Lake Erie to camp with us for an extended weekend over the summer.  So now every year when we go up to open our campers, the first thing we get asked is when Them Damn Ricans are coming.  When they do show up, we have about five grills going at once, as many coolers as we can find, corn hole and hillbilly golf wars, and lots of music.  We still go fishing in the mornings with whoever wants to go, then we party the night away.  They are truly amazing people, and they never waivered about opening their arms and lives to my family.  So thank you to THEM DAMN RICANS!  I LOVE YOU ALL!

RIP Tia Martita!

 

-Denney

What had to be done.

Even the most picture-perfect families have unseen cracks. Get Iyanla Vanzant's thoughts on how to cope if your family is facing a breakdown.:

As a little girl you are wrapped around fairy tales, your Barbie’s and your parent’s fingers because you are their little princess. As you look back on those moments, at the age of 25, you couldn’t ever imagine your life without your family as your number one and those very people being the ones that protect you from all the evil the world has to offer. Little do you know, the one you trusted with your heart and soul will rip it into a thousand pieces, not once, not twice, but a million different times and in a million different ways. You keep giving in but there comes a time where you finally stand up to that very evil and even though it takes everything out of you, you shove it out of your life. You had to. You’ve given countless chances. Forgiven. But never forgotten. But the end result is always the same..no matter how much time has passed, no matter what the consequences. You are left in pieces, and the only choice you have is to pick yourself back up, put yourself back together and learn from your mistakes. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Well, I was fooled more than twice. So no one can ever say that I didn’t give a damn.

“You can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue in their actions”.

It is sad. But it is the truth. I’ve seen it, you have probably seen it, we have all in some way, shape or form witnessed this to be 100% true. People these days are some of the selfish that they have ever been. It’s a problem. It creates a lot of problems. It creates a huge distance between them and the ones that they love, or used to love anyway. Ultimately, this is where it all fell apart for me. Someone who was so consumed in everything just being about them, not just wanting but needing the material things, the thrill, the competition, the adventure while their children were to fend for themselves. That last part really irks me, does it do the same to you? Maybe not, but because I dealt with it first hand for years, it kills me to even think about it. Or to even allow myself to go there.

Don’t get it twisted, I have some fabulous family members and friends, some blood-related and others not even close but they might as well be. And I am truly, very blessed to have them in my life. Without them, things would be completely different and I’m not sure how I would’ve made it through. Well, I would have made it through, I consider myself a fairly strong person but with them, the pain started to slowly disappear (not completely, it still lingers from time to time), life begun to fall together into something truly beautiful and I had people that I could count on no matter what the task, obligation or obstacle that lie ahead.

Blood means you're related. It doesn't mean you're family.:

 

Selfish people tend to only be good to themselves… then are surprised when they are alone. - Steve Maraboli For more quotes and inspirations: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/selfish-people-tend-only-good-themselves-then.html?ref=ppt10: Sometimes you have to give up on people. Not because you don't care, because they don't.: Blog post about coping with a loved one who struggles with addiction. "My First Best Friend" talks about watching a loved one fall into addiction and finding forgiveness and the ability to love.:

There comes a point and time when you just cannot handle anymore destruction, heartbreak and suffering and you just have to let go… because if you don’t, it will be the end of you. That’s what it came down to, for me. I believe in second chances, even if you may not, I understand and I won’t judge you for it. But each and every time I allowed this person to come and wreak havoc on my life, I died a little inside. It killed me to know that this human being, this person who was supposed to love & protect me at all costs, would so gladly hurt me in ways unimaginable and wouldn’t find the need to make amends or want to for that matter. Honestly – this entire blog has been about the hurt that I’ve dealt with and what I’ve felt but what I care about most is that fact that others around me have been hurt, destroyed and confused on what they ever did to deserve such treatment.

Kind Of Dramatic But So True! 10 Taylor Swift Quotes Every Girl Understands http://www.gossipness.com/lifestyle/kind-of-dramatic-but-so-true-10-taylor-swift-quotes-every-girl-understands-677.html:

What I care about is that even on their worst day, they would still give you the world but it’s never good enough. You always want, want, want. You pry on their weaknesses and when they are most vulnerable. You humiliate everyone by the name you’ve given yourself and we have to live with it too. You’ve been given countless chances and opportunities but have chosen yourself every time. Somehow, some way you have manipulated people to continue to be around you, but sadly, your time with them is limited. It’s only a matter of time before your true self has been revealed and you have yourself to blame. You’ve destroyed any hope of having a family that we’ve once dreamt of. What I will say though, thank you for giving me a wonderful sibling, without her I would go insane. Thank you for three sets of the best grandparents I could’ve ever imagined. Thank you for an amazing father, a wonderful step-mommy dearest and siblings that if it weren’t for you, they would’ve never been apart of my life. And thank you for documenting our lives in pictures and photo albums because at least there, I am able to reminisce on the happy memories when we were once given a shit about by you. So thank you.

And to you: Stop pointing fingers at others when you are the one at fault, you only make yourself look more pathetic than you already are. Please do not act like I am the cold-hearted one that never wanted you apart of my life and that I only pushed you away when you kept “trying”. Your version of “trying” ended the same way every time, it never changed. The only consistent was the amount of pain and tears you caused each and every one of us, that was enough for a lifetime two times over. Don’t say I never forgave you, I forgave you more than you ever deserved. More than I should have. Oh well, maybe you could say that I had hope for you? Or that I wanted you apart of my life and I thought that maybe, just maybe, you would change for your kids? But we were all wrong, jokes on us. It’s bad enough that my kids (when I have them, not pregnant) will have to grow up without their great-grandmother — who would’ve been the light in their lives just like she was in mine. But don’t worry – they will grow up with multiple grandmothers who I don’t have to worry about leaving them with; in fear that something awful will happen because you cannot get your act together. Among all the awful things you’ve said to me over the years, you hit home when you brought Mel (my biological father) into this screwed-up mess. Don’t you dare think that he doesn’t see the person I’ve become, the complete opposite of what you describe me as, because he watches over me every day. Lastly, I’ve let go.. for good.  I will not allow anyone else to be hurt by you, as long as I live. I hope that you find happiness, peace and the life you so desperately long for.. even though that’s certainly more than you even deserve. Ciao.

 

-Samantha

Race Didn’t Matter! We Were All Green!

For most – race, creed, color, origin, age, and sexual orientation are taboo.  I want to throw out my opinion on the race phenomenon we are witnessing in this day and age, and compare and/or contrast to a time in my life where it just did not seem to matter.

Racial Equality:

I was in the Army for almost five years stationed for the most part at Ft Eustis, Va.  As you can imagine you meet many different types of people with such diverse backgrounds and it is amazing the cohesiveness you can feel with any one soldier.  All races, genders, ages, origins, and several different religious preferences didn’t seem to matter.  We all had each other’s backs and did what we could to help one another.  Don’t get me wrong there wasn’t always peace and harmony amongst our ranks but for the most part race rarely entered into the equation.  If you were smart, you tried your best to learn about as many different cultures as were represented and respected each and every one. The food alone was worth it in my book!

USMC || Boot Camp | "There is no racial bigotry here. Here, you are all equally worthless." ~ Gunnery Sergeant Hartman:

I met some of the best individuals while I was enlisted.  Two of my mentors were black, three or four were Puerto Rican and a couple were white rednecks like me.  These men were the best and they cared about you and your families.  I had two daughters only at this time and both Samantha and Shayna loved all of them to death and they all loved my girls. Samii was old enough to be the little princess in their eyes and started preschool with some of their children.  She was always talking about Sarvant (she couldn’t say Sergeant properly yet) Davis and Sarvant Powell.  She would run and jump into their arms whenever they came over and hug them like she was theirs.  Great men! Black! Who gives a damn!

Every race has their assholes for sure, but every race also has their good people too.  My experience crossed many lines with these men and women and we lived together in not so fun places, we spent a lot of time together, had families involved, and learned from one another, but we were all Green! Nobody was better than anybody else.  We all crawled thru the sand, burnt shit from cut out latrines, and way too often bled red!

BUT WE WERE ALL GREEN!

We need to stop this ignorance of racial bullshit and realize we are all Americans and most importantly realize WE ARE ALL GREEN!

ALL LIVES MATTER!

 

-Denney

What Does It Mean, To Sacrifice Something?

Do you know what “sacrifice” and “the best” have in common? They’re both wildly overused and abused words that are used to describe something or someone. “The best burger ever!” Really? You’ve had every type of burger in the world and known to man? Recently, if you watched the Super Bowl, you heard about Cam Newton not “sacrificing his body” on a fumble that he had a chance to recover, but is sacrifice the right word to describe his inaction, when going for his own fumble isn’t technically something that’s out of the norm for his very profession and, more specifically, that specific scenario on the biggest of all sports stages?

In Life and Love:

The very word, sacrifice, became a surprisingly simplistic, mundane internal argument I’ve been having with myself since my wife, one of the two regulars on this blog, wrote “…thank you for all that you sacrifice” in a very moving and appreciative Valentine’s Day card last month. When I read it and asked her what it was she thought I was sacrificing, she said it was because of my current job giving me tennis elbow in both arms, causing a great deal of discomfort and, sometimes, a searing, stabbing pain in both forearm areas at any given time, even on the weekends when I’m supposed to be recovering.

As if on cue, my mind, ever the hyper-analytical and argumentative one, was flooded with various different arguments that I had neither the right person nor the time to vent or argue with about how people, with seemingly blatant ignorance and disregard, throw out a word like sacrifice. Cam Newton is supposed to dive for his own fumble, especially if it’s in the Super Bowl. An outfielder is supposed to dive full-speed for a blooper/pop up, whether it’s the first out of the inning or the final out in Game 7 of the World Series. A Secret Service agent is supposed to take a bullet for whomever he or she has been charged with protecting…but am I supposed to have pain in both of my arms when my job is to edit highly sensitive reports?

The answer is a very resounding NO.

My wife and I met while we both worked at dead-end carnie jobs at Universal Studios; I was working part-time to simply put gas in my car driving to and from UCF to finish my Bachelor’s, and she was being given lip service about how they were going to fast track her to a supervisor position. The ride I worked at, as a menial pawn a.k.a. attractions attendant, had very stiff and unserviced harnesses. After one year of working there, an elbow injury from years of abuse from sports began to flare up, and it got to the point where my doctor thought Tommy John surgery was a viable way to rectify the issue. My wife, on the other hand, hand to sacrifice her overall sanity while she was in charge of people who, quite frankly, were either below or slightly above Forrest Gump-level intellect. Nowhere in that job description did either of us see “risk your future health and mental well-being” in the “primary responsibilities” role.

And now we reach the crux of the issue: when someone legitimately sacrifices something or themselves, not the Cam Newton-lack-thereof version, should that sacrifice go unnoticed? Should someone throwing away their dignity to brown nose and get a promotion and someone risking potential surgery on both arms be constituted as the same type of sacrifice?

et bah y'en intérêt parce que là, j'ai ma dose de chaos!:

 

This is a tough question for many of you, I’m sure, especially when I ask that you leave politics out of it. You responses are appreciated, but not necessary; I’m simply trying to bring to light an issue that seems to have been forgotten in this chaotic world we live in today.

 

 

-Case

Why I’m thankful for each and every one of my coaches.

I came across this photo today while scrolling through my Facebook & strangely, it couldn’t be more accurate. At least in my opinion. This photo was made and posted by a dear friend whom is a teacher and a head coach at a high school for sideline and competitive cheerleading. For those of who you may think that cheerleading is a rah-rah let’s throw my pom poms around and let’s see how short I can hike up my skirt, I can assure you, you are very, very wrong. Take a brief moment, open a new tab, type in YouTube and you know what better yet — click here.

Are you finished? Great, let’s move on.

And why yes, they may have on a crop top and a short skirt/shorts… it is no different than what your average college cheerleader looks like.. but, that’s another argument for another day. Now while I did do the rah-rah go-team-go type of cheerleading AKA: pop-warner, middle school and high-school cheerleading.. I also competed like in the video you watched above. If you didn’t watch it, or at least A PART of it, you won’t completely understand unless you are fluent in the all-star cheerleading world. And yes, it IS a whole different type of world filled with blood, sweat, tears, broken bones, huge bows, glitter, lots and lots of makeup and hairspray, late nights, 5AM practices and wakeups, lots and lots of traveling, 4 hour practices (even on weekends) and much, much more. In this very moment, I couldn’t even imagine not being apart of the countless hours of practicing, competing and traveling all those years. While I may not have realized it at the time, those coaches, the ones we may have been so angry at while they screamed and screamed because of each fuck-up we made during practice, are the very ones who taught us perseverance and strength and who taught us never to give up, and the meaning of teamwork. The very people who showed us unconditional love and dedication, and those very people helped shape us into the human beings we are now. Without them, we would’ve become a whole different kind of person.

I didn’t just come across such amazing coaches in cheerleading, but I also came across some wonderful coaches while playing volleyball, running track, and playing flag football. However, out of all the sports, cheerleading, without a doubt, took up the most of my time. Between going to practice right after school for school practice, then leaving there and eating something while heading to all-star cheer until 8-9pm at night, then heading home to do homework, get a shower and go to bed to do it all over again tomorrow. Practices even occurred on the weekends, 4 hours long. Now you would say that we didn’t have much of a life but in fact, our life was our gym, our teammates, the competitions, the hotels we stayed in when we traveled out of town to compete during the weekends, just wherever we were as long as our teammates, team moms and coaches were by our side – we were complete. Our friends WERE AT practice with us, their parents became our second parents/families, so we were as happy as could be until we didn’t stick a perfect routine and had to run it 50 times before we were allowed to go home….. No joke.

I am beyond thankful for how hard they made us practice, for how they made each obstacle seem like it may have been impossible but kept motivating and pushing us until we completed it to then give us another obstacle to tackle. Together, the coaches, our team, our parents, our siblings, other teams — we were a unit. A community. Together we were apart of something much bigger than ourselves and it really made us appreciate the little things in life. We thrive under pressure, we encourage the competition, we know what dedication looks like, we know what teamwork consists of, we won’t back down and we know that in order to achieve greatness, you must be willing to sacrifice things and we are 100% okay with that. My coaches were some of the most influential people in my life, people who tore us down to build us back up into an even better individual and an even better asset to our fellow teammates. They never gave up on us, they always had our backs, we always had each other’s back and because of that, we came out on top — stronger than ever. Every time. Win or lose.

So coaches, thank you so much for everything you’ve ever done for each one of us.

Thank you for putting up with our crap, pushing us harder each time, standing by us, supporting and cheering us on in the front of the mat while the bright lights revealed in a minute and thirty seconds — just how hard we’ve worked to complete a magnificent routine. And we owned it.

 

&& as for Adrian, one of the best tumblers, dancers & jumpers that I know. A coach and friend that we lost way too soon, thank you for constantly pushing us to be better. Thank you for screaming loudly, jumping up and down and cheering us on at the front of the mat each and every competition. Thank you for always being someone we could count on.  We loved to make you proud. Thank you for being such an amazing human being and thank you for being the best coach possible. Rest in peace. We will never forget you.

-Samantha

Live. Love. Laugh. READ.

So everyone, I have an addiction problem. For books. So is it really THAT bad? Much better than crack.. that’s for sure.

e-Readers make this uniquely true!-- http://www.examiner.com/article/e-readers-fit-travel-needs:

If you’ve read the ‘About’ section and learned a little more about me..(if you haven’t, go now.. before I come find you) you’d know that I love getting myself lost in a good book. And I also want a library like Belle from Beauty & the Beast. My husband told me I’m such a nerd, but he loves me anyway! He has his video games, I have books.

I’m not your typical reader who has migrated into having all their books on their IPad, Nook or cell-phone.. While that is all fine and dandy, and I did try it for a short period of time, I prefer the feeling of a good book in my hands. Is that weird? Then so be it, I’m weird. No hard feelings.

I asked my dad what the first book I read was because unfortunately, I couldn’t remember. That’s kinda depressing. What I did remember was having ALL of the Disney books, ALL of the Dr. Seuss books and always carried one around with me to read. My dad said he is *pretty sure* the first book I read was Beauty & the Beast.. how ironic. But my all-time favorite princess will forever be Aurora in Sleeping Beauty.

During elementary school we had these tests on the computer in our library called AR or Accelerated Reading program. This was my shit. This program consisted of reading books and taking quizzes to get points. In order to determine the amount of points the book was worth, it was based off the length of the book and difficulty of the text. You either answered the question right or wrong and were rewarded so many points for each question. Then, based on the amount of points you received you were rewarded prizes, invited to luncheons, had a dinner out with the principal, etc. It was an amazing program and other than attending my classes each day and doing homework of course, my life consisted of reading and taking those quizzes. I had the time of my life. Since smaller books are so much easier to read I was able to blow through a ton of those books and quizzes all in one sitting. Then, you have your Harry Potter books which are NOT small especially to a little kid like me and those were worth hundreds of points. Now since I’m a quick reader, I comprehend things very easily and can recite what happened back to you in the book, I aced those quizzes. I attended many parties, used my points to buy more books within the library and a bunch of useless goodies (that were not so useless at the time but super awesome) and I had lunch with the principal! When I graduated in 5th grade, I was rewarded the ‘Principal’s Award’ (only went to one student in the entire graduating class and it was not small) and I still have that tiny little plaque today. Yes, I am tooting my own horn. Woohoo.

Harry Potter Quote. Books and Articles by Arthur Chiragiev http://www.pinterest.com/achiragiev/books-and-articles-by-arthur-chiragiev/:

Of course, I grew up in what we call the ‘Harry Potter’ generation so I’m ridiculously obsessed with the Harry Potter series. Not to mention, she is releasing the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in July 2016.. Oh boy oh boy! Now I get it, some people are pissed because it’s just the script, not the book. Okay well quit your whining, I don’t want to hear about it. It’s better than nothing! But anyway, my dad and I used to race to read the Harry Potter series when I was younger. We would start one of them and race to see who finished it first. Now you may think that I had the upper-hand however.. He was busy with work every day and the crazy people he dealt with. I had school each day and practice directly after school. I would come home and eat, do homework, shower and by then, I was exhausted. I have to say though, it was always pretty intense in our household when it came to this series. We would buy two different copies so we could race each time, it was a lot of fun! We even plan to race to finish ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’..May the odds be ever in your favor. (Yes, I’m a Hunger Games fan too… and Twilight.. and Fifty Shades.. Listen, I read A LOT. There are very few books I have found that I didn’t like and put down)

Today, I find that my interests are definitely evolving. There are a lot of books that are in the same realm of what I have read for years and then there are new books that I have brought into my life. Currently I am reading ‘Still Alive’ by Lisa Genova and it is absolutely wonderful. This book is about a woman named Alice who has worked so hard to build her career in linguistics as a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This book is definitely a little out of my usual readings but I am so engulfed in this book, it’s absolutely amazing. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Lisa Genova — I definitely recommend this book and this author without question!

Some of the other books I’ve completed recently and definitely recommend:

  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Gailbrath (JK Rowling’s pseudonym)
  • See Me by Nicholas Sparks (Not his usual but I LOVED it!)
  • Beautiful series by Jamie McGuire (Absolutely addicting, read two books in three days)

Books I have that I am looking forward to reading:

  • Me before you by Jojo Moyes (turning into a movie with Emilia Clarke, watch the trailer.. you WILL tear up)
  • Dare Me: A Novel by Megan Abott (First book I’ve bought from this author but definitely looking forward to this read)
  • The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan (Must read of 2015)
  • And those are just a few that are coming my way!

Image result for nicholas sparks quotes the best of me:

Favorite author? Nicholas Sparks. Yeah, you may know him as the author of ‘The Notebook’ and yeah, that’s where I fell in love with his writing but his favorite book of mine is from the quote above, ‘The Best of Me’. He is an exceptional writer, someone who takes a story and makes it into some simply breathtaking. People might think that there is ALWAYS a happy-ending and they ALWAYS end up together but really, it’s so much more than that. You have to endure the pain that they are dealing with while reading as they lost their loved ones. I get completely lost in his books and while reading, I am sitting in the locations exactly where the book is based in. (He is a huge fan of the Carolinas. No complaints here, the Carolinas are beautiful).

Simply put: I stand behind reading.

I think that this generation focuses so much on social media, their cell-phones and the celebrities that they forget some of the most important things that can be greatly beneficial in their lives. Is Accelerated Reading still a thing? Apparently, it is. AND apparently, it goes from K-12.. But it was never pushed or offered after I left elementary school. While I do love my phone and maybe spend too much time on social media, I still make the time to read. I wish more people would sit down, grab a glass of wine and grab a good book. I feel like it would do a lot of good and it would be extremely helpful in our lives. This is something I feel very strongly about and I think that maybe it is time to get behind it and do some good with this passion too.

Alright, I think I’ve rambled enough with my almost 1400 words.. Favorite authors, favorite books, favorite genre?

-Samantha

Words are powerful.

“Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten.”

A lovely fellow blogger inspired this post today when I was having trouble figuring out what was next for me. My dad said that we have quite the dynamic duo going on because he focuses so much on his humor and his “tough life” being surrounded by all women 😉 however, I am focusing on a more serious approach I guess you could say…

Words are quite powerful. You would assume that people would be more careful about the words that leave their mouths however, we know that isn’t always the case. We are all victims who have been wounded by simple words that have been spoken by a loved one or a stranger. We are all multiple offenders that have spoken such words to a loved one or stranger and instantly wanted to take them back.

Isn't it amazing that the people who claim to love you and have your best interest at heart are also the ones who have the power to crush you ?:

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We have all done it. No one is perfect however, I have watched time and time again as people just rip into someone who didn’t deserve it at all. I am sure that I have ripped into someone that may not have deserved it. As a matter of fact, YES, I know that I have. I’m not proud of it and I would very much like to take back some of the awful things that I have said but I can’t. People have forgiven me but I know that they will never forget that incident. That one time. That one word that broke them into pieces. And I don’t blame them, I understand it. I have done the same.

I believe that now more than ever people need to be aware of the words that they are letting escape their mouths. Filter or not, have some respect and act your age. Or don’t act your age (you know, like my dad ;)) but have R E S P E C T. We should be doing more good in the world rather than adding more negative shit to it. Things are bad enough, we don’t need your negative attitude fogging everyone up everyone else’s view.

Find what makes you happy. Document it. Savor it. Write it down. Take a picture. Eat it.

Spend more time writing down inspirational quotes and sharing that vibe with others. It’s much more contagious than the negativity you’re currently spreading around. And listen, I’m working on this too so don’t think you are alone. And trust me, there will be days that you feel down in the dumps and you want to take it out on everyone around you.. Unless you are my dad, who just ALWAYS seems to be peppy (I do not know how he does it) and believe me, if you are NOT a morning person like me, you would NOT want to sit in the car with him while he DRIVES YOU TO SCHOOL! -_- Those years were torture 😉 No but seriously. Pure t o r t u r e. (Love you!)

20 Great Positive Quotes and Pictures | http://www.meetthebestyou.com/20-great-positive-quotes-and-pictures/:

Head home today. Grab some sticky-notes. Find some inspirational quotes. Post them everywhere! We all need a little motivation and positivity every now and then! I know I do!

So everyone, what’s your favorite inspirational quote? Comment below!

-Samantha