"once you choose hope, anything is possible"

Monday, December 10, 2012

growing up

It's hard to believe that I have almost completed yet another semester of college, but here I am studying for my last few finals and starting to pack my suitcase to go home for Christmas. To say these last few months have flown by is an understatement, I feel like we were all just studying for midterms and I certainly don't feel like we've been here long enough to be taking finals already. Nevertheless, here we are and in my efforts to procrastinate studying just a little longer, I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about how much I have grown up, and panicking because of it.

My older sister, best friend, and hero these past couple years called me on Friday radiating happiness because she had finished her very last class as an undergraduate. Don't get me wrong, I am so happy for her, but I can't imagine being here without her. Kaitie and I have always been close because of our age, and I can't actually seem to wrap my head around the fact that next semester she will be a "real person" teaching a class full of 1st graders and starting a life separate from mine. We have always done everything together: danced together, gone out together, gone to school together. I know I still have one more semester with her in Milwaukee, but I don't really think going out for pizza together on Thursday nights is really going to fit into her big girl teaching schedule. 

I just want a remote control so I can pause life, just for a little bit. I don't think I'm ready to grow up, and I am certainly not ready for Kaitie and the rest of my sisters to grow up. As we were all together in Chicago for Thanksgiving, it really got me thinking about how different our lives have become. Its hard to imagine that the 6 troublemakers who used to tear down State Street in search for Santa at Marshall Fields have become future lawyers, teachers, and moms. Our happy little family of 8 has grown to 10 and is now spread across 4 different states and while I am more blessed and happy than ever, I am terrified about what is to come as we all continue to grow up. 

While I am still waiting on the invention of the remote control for life, I can't wait to get back to Texas and spend my break laughing around the table with my sisters and playing with my niece and nephew. I am so thankful that we have yet another holiday in which we are all together, even though I know these times together are winding down. Even better this year, in order to celebrate my Grandma's birthday our entire extended family will be joining us the weekend after Christmas. Just like old times, I can't wait till all the Hau's are reunited for the holidays once again :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

welcome to the dark side

To say this is a post I never thought I'd be writing is an understatement, a post talking about my introduction to life as a sorority girl. Anyone who knew me in high school, knows how skeptical I was of Greek life and I am sure they are all sitting there right now saying "I told you so." Freshman year I watched as all my friends vented about recruitment and then celebrated with pictures of bid day complete with matching shirts, bows, and lots of "throw what you know" hand signs, and I sat there thinking, never me. Fast forward a really long and difficult year of me trying to find my place at Marquette and all the sudden I am on the phone with my mom explaining to her that I was on my way to my first recruitment event.

Honestly, the whole situation comes down to good timing. I was invited to do informal recruitment, thanks to some heavy bragging by close friends of mine already in sororities, and it just happened that I didn't have any former commitments to dance or work that weekend. Add that to a pretty emotional week in September and me looking for any distraction I could find, I found myself standing around a crowded sorority house talking about myself. And I don't care how cheesy it sounds, as soon as I stepped foot in the little blue house on the corner of 17th and Kilbourne, I knew I was home. For the first time in a really long while, I felt like I had found the place I truly belonged. As I sat around talking with other education majors, other girls that volunteered on weekends, other girls that had recognized me from church on the week nights, I knew that there was no question about whether or not this was the place for me and luckily the sorority felt the same.

Still a little skeptical of the Greek life, I walked into my pledging ceremony on September 17. Anyone recognize that date? After spending all day willing myself through the one year anniversary, I was greeted with hugs from strangers when a close friend of mine pulled me aside and told me that she loved me, a simple gesture that many other girls in the sorority picked up on and immediately knew this day signified a lot more than a pledging ceremony for me. I was immediately pulled aside by a few girls that I had never spoken to in my life. They told me that they had no idea what was going on, but that they were always there for me. And they have held to their word 100%. The girls of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority have completely wrapped their arms around me and supported me through things they aren't even aware of. 

Six weeks in and I already feel like I have been apart of this family for a lifetime. So yes I have become that cliche sorority girls who raves that her big is the best, because she honestly is, and claims that AXiD has changed my life, because it has. It is such a blessing to be accepted for all my flaws, all my past, and all my hopes for the future, and trust me these girls know the worst of it. I am still getting used to walking around in letters and using the term "sisters" to describe anyone but my five sisters, but I truly am counting my blessings and thanking God that I was led to this organization. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

productive procrastination

Having my computer at work is a dangerous thing. I always come with the highest expectations of starting papers and finishing homework, and then suddenly I've spent three hours online shopping and checking all my social media 15,000 times....because that is so necessary and productive. This morning my website of choice was Pinterest. While I am not going to try and argue that this was a valuable use of my time, I really did find a lot of inspiration as I was flipping through the different boards. Between all the completely unreasonable clothing items, unrealistic wedding dreams, and delicious recipes that I will never be able to make, there were a lot of quotes/songs/pictures that show the hope that other people see and use in their everyday lives. Naturally, I thought I would share :)

I love, love, love this quote and I think it is so important for everyone to remember. People will not always remember what we do or say, but they will remember how we make them feel. Everyone has the opportunity to make or break someone else's day, so be good to people.

This is something that I saw and was instantly brought to tears because I truly have never looked at loss this way. And it is such a beautiful way to look at it. I am a firm believer that lost loved ones are with us always, they will always be a part of who I am and who I will be. I love the thought of them as my little link to heaven. 

This next quote is something that I have to remind myself of every single day. It is so easy for me to get impatient, especially when I am having a bad day. I can't tell y'all how many times I have thought "when are things going to get better?" I know my time will come though, I know things will eventually get easier. I just have to stay focused on the fact that just because things are hard now, they won't always be. Timing is everything

Finally, my favorite picture that always makes me smile. I don't care if you are not a dog or a baby person, this picture is adorable. And a little reminder that laughter and smiles can unite everyone. Also a smile can make someones day :) I hope everyone has an incredible and hopeful weekend! And if your week hasn't been the best, hang in there. Your time will come, things will get better. 

"Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance" 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

everything's gonna be alright

So it is official, I survived the endless week that I never thought I would make it through. It wasn't easy and I am thanking God everyday that it is over, but I once again was able to make it through thanks to the love and support that surrounds me. The amount of phone calls, supportive texts, and chocolate (sweets) I received last monday was so much that it brought me to tears many times, and I honestly will never be able to thank you all enough. I am seriously blessed beyond imagine to have such a strong and incredible group surrounding me to hold me up when I can't do it on my own anymore. I knew this anniversary was going to be the hardest for me, and I wasn't wrong. Monday sucked, it sucked a lot, and Tuesday pretty much sucked too. But it has been a week and I am finally starting to feel like myself again. I never stop missing Michaela and with her all the other angels we have lost this past year, but I know I have to keep going because that is what she they would want. 

Amongst the outpouring of support I received all week was a song link that a friend of mine sent me, which has now become my "theme song" for the rest of this month. I will be the first to admit that I have my doubts about Justin Bieber. My little sister as well as many of my girlfriends are obsessed, but I have never really been able to get into it. This song though is perfect and happy and just makes me smile. And let's be honest, sometimes we all need a little extra something to make us smile. Its been my go to when I am feeling down all week long.

I hope everyone is having a blessed, happy week and finding hope in everything! :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


If someone were to ask me what I wore yesterday or even what I ate for breakfast, I would have no idea. I have the worst memory and I am the queen of mentally blocking myself from things I don't want to remember. Bad dates, failed tests, nights gone wrong, conversations ending in tears; no recollection. Honestly, I use my lack of memory as a coping mechanism. It is really great sometimes NOT to be able to remember every embarrassing, sad, or difficult moment. But one day stands out in my memory so vividly, one day that no matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to shake.

I remember everything about September 17, 2011. I remember what I wore and that I went outside with my hair wet only to realize that it was the first chilly day of fall. I remember who I spoke to, what I had for lunch, and that my best friends surprised me by buying me coffee that morning. I remember that I was supposed to be at the Al Maguire Run but that I had slept through my alarm. I can tell you that I changed my outfit three times that day, that I got lost trying to drive downtown to dinner, and I can recite to you every conversation I had that day. But what I remember most was the tearful phone call from my baby sister, the three words that literally stopped my world, "Kels, Michaela died."

Since Michaela has died, every milestone has been a hardship. First we counted the weeks, and every saturday I would wake up with a heavy heart knowing that it had been one more week since she had left us. And then months passed until all of the sudden it was 2012, a year that Michaela would never live in. Now we're about to approach the one year milestone, and I'm honestly speechless. I remember sitting in my room after the phone call and thinking there is no possible way I could do this anymore, and now all of the sudden I have willed myself through an entire year of having to live without Michaela.

Michaela was one of those people that everyone loved. Brutally honest, she had a way of making me laugh even if I didn't want to. My entire senior year is filled with memories of us spending our lunch hour together with our friends, and constantly leaving the room in tears because I had been laughing so hard. I wish I would have embraced it more back then, I wish I would have kept in touch better after we left for school. Coming up on this huge milestone has made me think so much about everything she has missed, everything she will never get. I wish I could tell her how everything turned out. During our special "C" lunches we used to all just sit and talk about our problems. I wish I could tell her that it all worked out, that my mom's better than ever after the accident, that I love Marquette, and that after she passed away I spent an incredible year with the boyfriend she never thought would work out. I wish I could go back to that last Facebook message she sent me, and tell her how much she meant to me. I wish I would have known that was the last time we would talk, because I have a lot I never got to tell her.
The truth is, I miss her everyday. Yes milestones are harder, but when I wake up on the 17th I am not going to miss her anymore than I did on the 16th or will on the 18th. Everyday without her sucks. After she passed away everyone told me it gets easier with time, but a year later I am not really seeing how it gets easier. I still want to rewind the clock, I still wake up wishing that this has all been a nightmare, I still turn on my phone or computer expecting a message from her. I don't know when it gets easier, I don't know when the missing her stops. But I do agree with everyone on one thing, everything happens for a reason. I am struggling with that statement now more than ever, but I know something more has to come from this. I know something good has to come from all this loss, all this bad. So even though all I want to do for the next week until this year milestone comes is sit in bed and cry, I am going to get up every morning and keep looking for that reason in all of this. Because anyone who knew Michaela knows she would have some sarcastic comment and be pissed if she found out I was feeling sorry for myself. 

My thoughts and prayers are with her family and closer friends this week, as they always are. My lunch time with Michaela is something I will always cherish, but I do know that she had closer friends, and I cannot even imagine what they are going through this week, what they have went through this year. I do know that we are all so lucky to have known her though, to have had time with her, even if it was cut way too short.

Rest in Paradise beautiful angel, can't wait to see you again on the other side <3


The color yellow has always been my favorite and anyone who has ever walked into my room would know that, between the yellow blankets, pillows, and other random accents. The brightness and cheeriness of the color has always made me love it, but this week the color yellow holds an entirely different meaning.
 September is awareness month for Childhood Cancer and this week is Suicide Prevention week. Both of these causes are represented by a bright yellow ribbon. For those of you who don't read my blog on a weekly basis, last year I lost several friends to both cancer and suicide. My personal and emotional pull towards these causes are making me think extra hard this week about how important it is for people to be more aware and educated about these tragedies. This week is also helping me to reflect on how much I have changed in the last year. Last September, this week wouldn't have meant anything to me. Now I find myself fighting back tears every time I see a yellow ribbon, or Love written on someone's arm. 
So this week I will be sporting even more yellow than usual, and I hope many of you will join me in doing so. My thoughts and prayers are with anyone currently enduring a battle related to either cancer or suicide. I miss my friends, every minute of every day. I wish I would have known more about childhood cancer and suicide before. I wish the reason I knew so much about it now was different. But I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I don't understand or like the reason all the time, but I know there is one. If my friend's stories can help anyone through something they are enduring, that is a reason. If Awareness and Prevention weeks even help to inform just one person, that is a reason.

And a special prayer in remembrance of all those lives lost 11 years ago today, for the families and friends who lost their loved ones, and for the men and women who are still fighting overseas to protect our country. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

the power of a smile

School is finally back in session this week, and I never thought I would say it, but I am SO glad to be back. I don't think the homesickness will ever go away and I highly doubt the goodbyes will ever get easier, but at the end of everyday I know I am supposed to be here. Marquette has always been my home away from home and I am so excited that I am back for another incredible year. 

These last couple days have been pretty difficult for me. On top of trying to settle back in to living on my own, away from the constant support and help of my parents, a few challenges have been especially trying on my patience and optimism this week. Sometimes I just have to ask why, and yesterday was one of those days. Why can't I just have one solid week when nothing goes wrong; one week without stress, tears, and the constant longing for things to just be okay? After my pity party yesterday which ended with me calling my sister and asking to come over and watch a movie before crashing on her couch, I woke up determined to have a better day today. So I pasted on the smile, put on my favorite dress, and made a deal with myself that I wasn't going to let these issues get to me and ruin yet another day.

All things considered it was a pretty decent day. Honestly, decent was all I was looking for, no tears, no setbacks, just a normal day. I was well on my way to accomplishing this, but as I was walking out of class earlier, the boy who sits next to me said something that changed my whole day around. We were casually making small talk, discussing yet another riveting class of British Literature (note the sarcasm). It was such a simple and unimportant conversation, but when we went to walk our separate ways he looked at me and told me to keep smiling because it brightened his day. Okay, I know what you're all thinking now....that's it? And yes that's it, such a small comment and that kid probably won't ever think about it again. But for me, it meant the world. For me, it was the little reassurance that I needed to keep going, even when I don't want to anymore. I would have liked nothing more than to lay in bed and avoid everyone today, but I got up and went on with my day determined to have a better tomorrow. And I did. But even better, in the process I was able to make somebody else's day just a little bit happier. For all I know, this boy could be completely full of crap and didn't even notice my smile, but I truly don't care because it was the first time all day that my smile was completely and honestly genuine. There was no effort to the smile anymore, no more forced optimism or the constant mantra in my head "you're going to be okay," I was just happy and hopeful. So thank you to the boy who sits next to me, for truly making my day even when you had no idea how much I was struggling.

There's my glimpse of hope for the week, a simple smile and conversation. Overall though, kind people are what keep me hopeful. Everyone who has called to check up on me. the girl who offered me a tissue when she walked by my room yesterday and heard me crying on the phone with my mom, my best friend who brought me coffee at work today, and everyone that smiled at me today. So when you wake up tomorrow and go on with the rest of your day, make sure you smile, it could change someone's whole day around.

Here's a picture of my two favorite people in this world who NEVER fail to make me smile, and a link to one of my favorite "happy" songs. :) 

Friday, August 17, 2012

goodbyes suck.

I feel like just yesterday I was sitting in my freshman dorm room writing a post about the end of the school year, yet here I am sitting in front of an empty suitcase preparing to return to Milwaukee for my sophomore year. Everyone keeps asking me if I am ready to go back, and while yes I am so excited to get back to my friends and everything, I am once again faced with the difficult task of saying goodbye. If you've learned anything about me through my posts and my writing, it is that I am TERRIBLE with goodbyes. I hate being sad, I hate showing my emotions, I hate crying and I hate the headaches that come with the tears. This time though I am trying to look at it in a different way, this time I am taking the advice from a dear friend of mine and focusing on how lucky I am to have something so special that makes saying goodbye so difficult! 

I truly had an incredible summer, and I wouldn't change it for anything. While most of it was filled with work and doctor's appointments, I still got to spend a lot of time with my family and friends from high school. With my dad in the middle of changing jobs, he got to spend a lot more time at home than usual which meant tons of lake days and family outings. I loved getting to spend so much time with my little sisters, catching up on everything I missed while I was away at school. I also was reunited with some of my girlfriends from high school and adored getting to hear about all our different college adventures!

Saying goodbye always makes me think about everything I will miss. I hate that I won't be there for my sister's senior homecoming or get to watch her lead her drill team on the field every friday night. I will miss my baby sister's first day of eight grade and only hear about my niece and nephew growing up through phone calls. I hate that I won't be home for all the important things, and I hate that my family won't be around for all my important events. Like I said earlier though, how lucky am I that I have such an incredible family that makes goodbyes so difficult. I know Marquette is where I am supposed to be. Its scary and I feel like every time I leave it just gets harder and harder, but I have faith that it will somehow all turn out in the end. Until then phone calls and Skype will be my best friend as always and I can't wait until Thanksgiving when I will get to see my family again!

Monday, July 30, 2012

full of hope

This week has honestly been such a happy and hopeful week, one that has reassured me that in the end, everything really is going to be okay. 

My week started with my last shift at Rally House, a store that I have worked at for two years. When I walked into Rally House for the first time during the beginning weeks of my senior year, I never imagined I would come to be part of such a special family. Like with most jobs, I had a lot of ups and downs, but in the end I was sad to be working my last hours with a company that I have learned to love. The incredible people that I was blessed to work with have taught me so much, and while I was sad to be ending this part of my life, I am so excited for what is to come. I couldn't have asked for a better last shift either. I worked with the manager that I worked my very first shift with and many of my favorite RH employees (whether still employed or not) came into the store so I got to say goodbye. It was a bittersweet day, but I am so hopeful for my new job which I get to start in three weeks and I know the people I left behind at Rally House will always be a part of my life.

The rest of the week I was blessed to spend time with my family! My parents were out of town this weekend, which meant I was mom for the two days. While I do not envy my mother's job at all and finally realized how difficult it must have been to raise six girls, I loved getting to spend so much time with little sisters, especially the baby. I know I have mentioned before how fast she grew up, but it was so fun to hear her talk about boys, make up, and the start of her 8th grade year. She has always been my baby sister, but this weekend I got to see that she wasn't such a baby anymore. On top of quality time with the girls, today my grandparents and uncle's family came to visit! I got to spend all morning listening to my grandpa tell stories about life on the farm and all night watching the little cousins play in the pool. I am such a sucker for family time, and I am loving every almost every minute of having everyone together!

On top of just an overall really good week, I have been surrounded by so many glimpses of hope. This morning on my way to a doctor's appointment, I stopped at Starbucks because I was running pretty early. While I was there, the barista asked me if I was going to meet anyone else because they had made an extra drink. When I explained that I was going to an office, the manager told me to call and get their drink orders, and then proceeded to give me the four drinks for free. Random acts of kindness always put a smile on my face, and I know it made the morning of the four woman in the office :) 

This week I also started reading The Letter by Marie Tillman, the wife of Corporal Pat Tillman who was killed in action in Afghanistan. What I thought would be an overall depressing book was actually one full of hope, peace, and happiness. Her account of her journey was so beautifully written that I was in tears throughout most of it, but I finished the last page feeling so hopeful. I HIGHLY recommend the book for anyone dealing with any sort of hardship, or anyone at all. Marie Tillman is the epitome of a glimpse of hope, the way that she overcome the tragedy that she was faced with so early in life is absolutely incredible.

My time in Dallas is winding down, so I am trying to get as much out of my final weeks as possible. It is still so weird for me to think that this is pretty much the last time that I will be living in Dallas. Of course I will still come home for holidays this year, but with my family continuing their adventure elsewhere and my life being primarily in Wisconsin now, my time in Texas is coming to an end. This has been a wonderful place for me, but I am so hopeful for my future. This week has left me incredibly happy and ready to take on this next stage in my life continuing to gather all my glimpses of hope :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

opening old wounds

This last week I had yet another of my infamous talks with my mom, just about how everything has been going. I finally admitted to her and to myself why this summer has been so hard on me. Being back in Dallas, back in my old room with my old job and my old friends, has made me reflect on how much I have changed this last year. I am a completely different person and it has been so difficult to be reminded everyday of the carefree, naive person that I used to be. With the reflection on my change comes all the memories that I have worked so hard to repress for the last year, and then the realization that I haven't really been dealing with my grief at all, just hiding it until something else happened to remind me. 

Since our conversation I have thought a lot about well, basically everything; life, love, loss, the list goes on. As I tried to regain a grasp on everything, a familiar bible verse came into mind.This bible verse was first introduced to me when my friend, Anna, began her fight against cancer and the 1 Million 4 Anna prayer chain was established. It was her favorite bible verse and one that the whole foundation has adopted as inspiration in times of difficulties. Over the past 18 months I have recited the verse often and have drawn strength from it as well as from the memory of the beautiful girl that held the verse so near to her heart. Despite seeing and saying it on a daily basis, I haven't truly reflected upon what these simple words mean until now.
Be Joyful in Hope: I have said it before and I will say it again, I am SO blessed to have the family and friends that I do. I am surrounded by so much love and support that I am continually amazed on a daily basis. I know I can handle any difficulty that is thrown at me simply because I have incredible people to help me up when I cannot do it on my own. I am joyful knowing that everything will be okay in the end, everything will find a way to work out. I have had to rely on my hope to get through troubling times in the past and I will continue to do so. I find so much happiness in the hope of tomorrow and the future that I am working towards.

Be Patient in Affliction: Hard times don't last forever. It is as simple as that. Eventually this will pass, eventually things will be okay again. You just have to get through each day, because days become weeks, and weeks become years. Before you know it, you're looking back on the year and thinking "I made it." I have to be patient with myself knowing that there will be bad days despite all the good days, and that is okay. 

Be Faithful in Prayer: I was born and raised Catholic. I have went to church every Sunday, prayed before every meal, and had a rosary by my bed for as long as I can remember. It wasn't until more recently that I truly learned to rely on my faith, and it amazes me that I ever got through the days before. My faith has been my rock, and without it I honestly do not know how I would convince myself to get out of bed every morning. There is so much hope and promise in prayer, knowing that there is someone up there looking out for me and listening to my pleas. 

Maybe coming home to Dallas has opened old wounds and brought back memories that I am not sure I want anymore, but my past has made me who I am. As much as I wish I could forget, I know that I cannot. Now all that's left to do is work towards accepting my past, but still hoping on the future. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Little Miss Happiness

This week's inspiration is going to be short and sweet. (sorry for the profanity Daddy)

If you have not seen Little Miss Sunshine, I highly suggest it. On top of being just an overall really funny movie, the underlying theme is something that I think people lose sight of too often; do what you love and screw everything else. Life is too short to be miserable and it is too short to waste your time doing things that don't make you happy. Too often people lose sight of their dreams or settle for things of convenience or they take the easy way out. 

As much as I HATE the twitter fad #YOLO (you only live once), they were on to something. People rarely get second chances to go back and follow their dreams. If you live your whole life making concessions and losing sight of the things you love, happiness is going to be really hard to find.  

Have a good week everyone! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

another angel

For the past thirteen months, every time I have felt myself start moving on, start getting back to normal life, something happens: another death, another tragedy, another something. When I finally started feeling somewhat okay after Anna's death, Michaela passed away. And after Michaela, it was the call that Mason had died, on and on until here I am again praying for the soul of another life lost too soon. This time though it was my sister who got the call. My sister who was my strength and rock through the deaths of the last year. As I sat and held her while she cried, all I could think was "why us?" "Why is this happening again?" and what am I supposed to say now. 

I could go with the responses that I heard all last year. "He is in a better place, a place without pain," or "He is watching over you right now and wouldn't want you to be sad." I could tell her that life goes on even when we don't want it to or that she's a lot stronger than she thinks and can handle this. It is all true and I believe it with every bone in my body, but even still, it doesn't make the pain any less. It doesn't make losing him any more bearable.

If I have learned anything through all of this loss, it is that life is truly to short. I know it sounds cheesy, and the first time someone told me that I probably rolled my eyes, but the truth is, there are so many things that I wish I could've said, wish I could've done while my loved ones were still here. In my conversations with my sister today, I know she feels the same. My mom called today to check in and see how my sister was holding up, and while I explained to her that I was simply at a loss for words, she reminded me that we all needed to stop taking life for granted. 

I know I did my weekly inspiration already in which I exclaimed that my family could basically get through anything. While that is still true, there is something bigger that we need to keep in mind. We may not get tomorrow, we may not have another chance to tell the people we love what we need to tell them. So as you all go to bed tonight, think about what you need to say, what you need to do. And do it. Tell your friends you love them, hug your family a little tighter, remind your sister that she is cherished, and help your brother even if you don't have the time. It may be sad, it may be morbid, but live everyday like you won't have tomorrow. Too often there is no tomorrow, and no one is prepared.

As for all those that were affected by this most recent death, my thoughts and prayers are with you always. I only knew him through my sister's stories (there were some pretty great ones), but I know he was an incredible person and that he will be missed so very much. Please be careful everyone, let this be a lesson in more ways than one. Life is fragile, it is not fair, and it can be taken in any moment. I can't take the pain away no matter how much I wish I could, but I can hope for the future. I know that things get better, I am living proof. It is hard, it is scary, and it is so sad; but it does get better. Life goes on <3

Rest in Paradise Aaron Brandt July 5, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

this too shall pass

I know I am a day late on my Sunday Inspiration, but it has been a crazy weekend (I will fill you in later). This last week I have continued to be amazed by the sheer amount of speed bumps that my family has had to overcome in the last year. Each and every time something happens, I am pleasantly surprised by the way we come together in order to make things right again. 

 Today's inspiration is one that I hold very dear to my heart. It is something I remind myself of everyday because each and every obstacle the I have encountered this last year have made me into the person I am today. I am continually surprised by my incredible support system every time something happens because the truth is, "you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." Until this year, I was blessed to have never known real tragedy or real problems, and now that my life has been changed because of the people I have met and the friends that I have lost, my outlook on strength and support has completely changed.

For all you struggling this week, remember you can do it. Each and every one of us has the strength we need to overcome any difficulty we may encounter. Even when it feels like too much, look around and reach out to the support surrounding you. In the end, the sun will rise again and everything will be okay. If its not okay, its not the end.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

sunday inspiration

Starting this week, every Sunday I will be posting a weekly inspiration. Just a little something to think about through the week. This Sunday is a quote that I think is so important to remember on a daily basis. My whole life my parents have instilled in me the belief that I deserve the absolute best and that I should never settle, especially when it comes to the man in my life. Too often people accept the love they think they deserve. Ladies (gentleman too) always keep in mind that you are beautiful and whoever you decide to spend the rest of your life with will be so lucky. So keep your standards high and don't settle in life. Y'all deserve the best <3

Also, here is a song that I absolutely adore. Everyone should have a significant other that feels this lucky to have met you! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

daddy's girl

Every time, for as long as I can remember, when I tell people I have five sisters and no brothers, they always have the same response "your poor father." I would always just laugh it off and awkwardly walk away (I mean how are you supposed to respond to that when your seven?!), but now that I am older and not naive enough to believe that I am the perfect daughter anymore, all I can respond is "yea, my Dad rocks." Both my parents, as far as I am concerned, are saints for putting up with all six of us, and I am so incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with both of them. As I have said before, my mother is my best friend. Her advice and her unconditional love has been my rock for 19 years. What I haven't mentioned enough though is the other piece to the puzzle, my daddy. 

Every little kid's hero is their daddy, for me though, that never changed. Through everything that has ever happened in my life, my dad has been my rock, my voice of reason, and the constant voice telling me that I can accomplish anything. Between the endless dance competitions, school events, and tests I needed to cram for, my dad was always there cheering me on even though it was the last thing he wanted to be doing. Every morning growing up he would come into each of my sisters rooms and kiss us goodbye before he went to work. This seemingly small gesture is one that meant everything in the world to me when I was younger, and still does today even though the kisses stopped when I moved out. Every morning I could count on him to be there, count on him to check on me first thing in the morning, and if by some chance I was awake (usually nervous about something or scared after a nightmare), he was there to sit on the edge of my bed and tell me that everything was going to be okay. In the end I knew everything was going to be okay because my dad was there to take care of his girls, no matter what else was going on in his life. 

I never realized how blessed I was to have a father who both worked and made time at home until I went to college as I listen to my friends and classmates talk about how their dads were always gone for work. I am so proud to say that my dad and I are incredibly close even though he has a full time job. First and foremost he has always been dad, he just happened to be a dad that wore a suit a lot :) He left every morning usually before the sun came out to be Bob Hau, but every night by dinner time he was back to being my sarcastic and often smartass dad. A dad that answers every question with "do you know who I am" and texts me random pictures of himself from across the room. One that tells me to suck it up when I do something stupid to hurt myself, but will follow me upstairs when I go to cry in my room so that I am not alone. 

My dad is my hero in every way, shape, and form. He has taught me how to follow football, how to jump a car, and everything in between. His relationship with my mom and the way he treats us girls have provided an incredible role model for me, and with that, incredibly big shoes for any boy to fill. I may look more like mom and not quite understand his fascination with the business world, but I am such a daddy's girl and don't plan on that changing anytime soon. 

Happy Father's Day Daddy! I know I don't say it enough, and when I do you usually ask me what I want, but thank you so much for everything you have given me. Thank you (and mom!) for working your ass off for the last 25 years so that I could go to Marquette like you and give me everything else I could ever need. Thank you for being home even when there is work to do at the office and thank you for calming all my fears all those mornings that I woke up when you walked in. Thanks for being my hero, I love you.

Friday, May 25, 2012


I am well into my second week of summer and I am elated to say that my break has been full of nothing but sunshine and happiness. I am loving every moment of being home with my family, back in the south where I belong, and thanks to Skype, Facebook, and the lovely invention of the iPhone, I am still able to keep in touch with all my friends from school. I am so spoiled and getting the best of both worlds right now :)

As if I wasn't blessed enough, next week at this time I will be enjoying the sunshine from a Hawaiian beach as I celebrate the 25th anniversary of the most amazing parents a girl could ask for. For the last year my parents have been planning a vow renewal (more like a second wedding) that the whole family gets to participate in and it is finally here! The love that I have watched my parents share throughout my life and especially over the last couple months is my glimpse of hope this week. 

With my younger sisters still in school and my older sisters not yet home for summer, I have gotten to spend a lot of time with my mom these last two weeks. As we spend our days shopping and getting ready for the wedding with last minute preparations, my mom has been sharing stories about her and my dad that I hadn't heard before. I have learned so much more about my parent's relationship in the past two weeks and it is like watching them fall in love all over again. The way my mom talks about my dad, and vice versa the way my dad tells stories about my mom brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I can only hope that one day I will meet a man who loves me as much as my dad loves my mom. 

25 years is a hell of a long time and the fact that my parents have been through so much together over these years and somehow ended up together and happy at the end is amazing to me and brings me so much hope. In society today it makes me so sad to see all the divorces and to hear people talk about how true love and the sanctity of marriage doesn't really exist as much anymore. My parents are the prime example to contradict all the people that believe that is true. 25 years of marriage, 25 years of love, 6 daughters, and 2 beautiful grandchildren later, my mom will be walking down the aisle again and I am ecstatic that I will get to be there to witness it.

My parents have been and will always be my rock. They are the strongest, kindest, most accepting people I know and without their guidance I truly do not know where I would be today.  Through every mistake I have made, every hardship I have faced, and every moment I have celebrated they have been there holding my hand, wiping my tears, cheering me on. Blessed is the only word that can fully describe how lucky I am to have grown up with them together and happily married. I have THE greatest example about how a relationship should be and how a man should treat a woman (and vice versa). I have seen their fights, I have heard my mom talk about how my dad is "such an ass," and I have watched my dad shake his head and roll his eyes at my mom. More than that though I see them still hold hands in the car just because they can, I babysit the girls on weekends because they want to go out to dinner just the two of them, and I watched as my mom tried to convince my dad to let her show him her wedding dress because he was "her best friend" and she was too excited to wait. They have already taught me so much about love and life and they continue to amaze me with the strength and depth of their relationship. They give me so much hope about the future and that someday I will find a man to be my best friend and husband for 25 years and counting.

Congratulations mom and dad, I love you more than you will ever know! Cheers to a life full of love and happiness and to celebrating that on the beaches of Maui. Aloha!

Friday, May 11, 2012

its see you later

Goodbyes are never fun and these last two days have been full of some pretty emotional partings. Yesterday I had to say goodbye to one of my oldest friends, Maggie. I have been friends with Maggie my entire life (through our moms), but it wasn't until this year that I was blessed enough to live in the same state as her. I went back to my room and continued to try and pack with tears in my eyes. All of the sudden it hit me, nine months ago I sat in this same room crying as I was unpacking and begging my mom to let me transfer to a college in Texas. I cannot believe how much I have changed this year. I went from someone who was terrified at the prospect of being so far from home and living in a city where I could count everyone I knew on one hand to someone who cannot even fathom the thought of being away from Marquette for three months.

Don't get me wrong, I am SO excited to go home. I have big plans of doing absolutely nothing. Laying by the pool, sleeping in, and day trips to the lake are how I intend to spend my summer with maybe a little bit of work on the side. I miss my family so incredibly much and am thrilled at the idea of being with my sisters again, I just wish Dallas was just a little bit closer to Marquette. No one ever tells you how hard it is going to be to come to college, meet some of the greatest people of your life, and then have to say goodbye to them every summer. All I can think about right now is how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life that make goodbyes so difficult. I literally have the best people in my life and I cannot wait for sophomore year. For now I will have to rely on Skype, texting, phone calls, and hopefully a weekend trip back up to the midwest in my future. So here's to summer and the end of a year full of amazing memories and incredible friends.

It's not goodbye, its simply see you later. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

mommy's advice

For as long as I can remember, whenever I am going through a difficult time my mom has always told me the same advice. She would hold me, wipe my tears, look at me and tell me that I just had to get through the day. She also would remind me of Dory's theme song in Finding Nemo, "just keeping swimming." I have followed my mother's advice all year long. With every new hardship or tragedy, I just had to keep reminding myself to keep swimming and that I made it through yesterday so I was probably going to make it through today which means I would also get through tomorrow. 

I remember specifically the first week of school, just days after my parents moved me into my dorm room and left me in Wisconsin, that I called my mom so homesick and told her that I wanted to come home already. She reminded me, as always, to keep swimming and that soon enough it would be Fall Break. Somehow all the days that I willed myself to get through have turned into an entire year of college, and I am proud to say I made it. I have officially completed my last class of freshman year and next week at this time I will be home in Dallas, thank God.

Freshman year has been an incredibly unique whirlwind of events. One full of too many ups and downs to count, endless tears and laughter, and an extremely difficult, but needed, learning experience. It is so hard to describe how I feel about this year because on one hand it feels like just yesterday I was meeting my roommate for the first time and moving in, but on the other hand it seems like first semester memories were a lifetime ago. Whichever way you look at it though, Freshman year is over. I am 1/4 finished with my college years and it has been one hell of a year. 

I am so blessed to have truly found the perfect place for me. Marquette University is a great school for so many reasons, but for me it is home. Choosing Marquette was one of  the best decision I could have made, and I thank God everyday that I was brought here. Between my incredible friends that I have met, the endless support that I have received from faculty and professors, and the community that I have become a part of, I truly could not imagine myself at any other college. This year I was presented with so many difficult situations and I could not have made it through them without the amazing support that I have found here at Marquette. I am sad to be saying goodbye for the summer, but I have so much hope for next year. I am so excited to start again at Marquette as a sophomore and I know it will be a great year. For now, I will dreaming of summer and the end of this long week of finals! For all of you still studying, you're almost done. Happy Finals and Happy Summer!

Just some of the amazing people who support me on a daily basis!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

surrounded by hope

Last night was full of more hope than I could ever ask from, last night was Relay for Life 2012 at Marquette University, and last night was exactly where I needed to be. I woke up from my midday nap (in preparation for an all nighter) to that dreaded voicemail that I have gotten too many times this year. A classmate and friend, Arie Fitzhugh, had passed away after his battle against cancer. Another friend, another life, another phone call, more tears, and a heart more broken than I know how to handle. Once again I felt as if I could not breathe, I got off the phone with my friend from home and I just stared at my phone. Who do I call? What do I do? I have to be ready for Relay in 2 hours and now this. Confusion is the understatement of the year. I called my mom though and like she always does, she calmed me down and put it all into perspective. Cancer sucks, it is this horrible and unbearable disease that no one should ever go through. Arie was 19 years old and he shouldn't have had to be fighting so hard for his life, he was finally free from all of it. Finally in a place where pain and cancer doesn't exist, and THAT is what I need to be focusing on. 

Relay could not have come at a better time, being surrounded with hope and people that were all together for the exact same reason is exactly where I needed to be and I was with the people that have helped me through so much already. I listened to the survivor stories and stood with tears of joy in my eyes as the numerous survivors walked the first lap of the night. They are what I need to focus on, they are the hope of the future. Despite all the happiness and joy that moments of Relay brought me, there were those moments when the sadness was too much for me. For anyone who has not participated in Relay, one of the major events of the night is the Luminaria ceremony. The track is lined with candles adorned with the names of those we have lost or those that are still fighting. All the lights are turned off and everyone takes a silent lap around the track as a slideshow shows the names and pictures of those we have lost to this disease. 

It was a beautiful ceremony, but one that I would not have been able to participate in alone. Hand in hand with my sister, my friends, and my team I was able to walk despite the tears, despite the heartbreak, simply because I have the greatest support system in the world. My sister held me up when all I wanted to do was collapse. She kept me moving and she pushed me forward, much like she has been doing all year and for my whole life. Kaitie is my glimpse of hope this weekend, I know with her by my side I will get through this, I can handle this. Her living a block and a half a way from me has been the biggest blessing in the world this year.

A special thanks to my three dedicated and loyal boys on my team who stayed the entire night even though it was long and it was the last weekend before finals. You are all amazing. And to Maggie O'Brien and Nicole Roman, two of the best friends a girl can ask for. I am so honored to have gotten to walk side by side with them all night, in celebration of Maggie's mom and in memory of Nicole's lost loved ones. Two of the most incredible and caring girls I know, they continued to walk with me up until the very end, when most of the Relay participants had grown tired. Thank you both for holding my hand, for wiping my tears, and for providing constant support and comic relief when I needed it.

This weekend was hard, it was sad, and it marked another loss that I can't even comprehend at this moment. But it was inspiring, it was hopeful, and it helps me believe that there is something good coming out of all this loss. Marquette Relay for Life raised more than $47,000. $47,000 that will go to fighting this disease so that one day no one has to hear the words "you have cancer" anymore. I know we are making a difference somehow and I wish more than anything that that difference would have been made before Anna and Arie passed away, but their legacy and their memory lives on in all those that loved them and the inspiration they left behind. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Anna's Hope

As an English major, there are very few times in life when I am at a loss for words. I have never really struggled with a way to convey my feelings or to tell a story. This week though, I have written, rewritten, deleted, backspaced, and shut my computer in frustration countless times trying to write this post, attempting to share my 'glimpse of hope' this week in a way that will do her justice. Easier said than done when the story I am trying to tell encompasses so many emotions, so many feelings, and so much of what has made me the person I am today. 

I have been extremely blessed in the last 19 years of my life to remain healthy, happy, and incredibly loved by those around me. I have had my difficulties to overcome, just as everyone has, and while they may have seemed like the end of the world at the time, nothing compares to the words "you have cancer." Tomorrow I am joining more than 600 Marquette students at Relay For Life, an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society designed in order to fight back against cancer. As a community we are doing our part to raise awareness and funds to create a world with more birthdays and less people who have to hear those fateful words.

Everyone has their different reasons to relay, this year I am relaying in memory of my friend Anna Basso who passed away on June 8, 2011 after a long, hard battle with this horrible disease. Anna was diagnosed her junior year in high school and put up an amazing and inspirational fight against Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Anna has provided constant motivation and inspiration to me. I miss her everyday and I continually question why she was taken from us so young, but God had different plans for her and she has taught me so much about faith, life, and hope in her journey and her legacy.

Anna is my constant 'glimpse of hope.' She taught me, through the words of her favorite song, that "even if things get heavy, we'll all float on" (Modest Mouse), and she showed me what it was like to truly be strong. Her story is incredible and I could go on for hours about how amazing of a person she was. During her battle a modern day prayer chain was started in her honor, 1 Million 4 Anna. It was a website used to track all the people praying for Anna's health and to demonstrate the power of community as we were all asked to pray each day at 12:12 in honor of her favorite bible verse Romans 12:12. 1 Million 4 Anna has recently reached more than 3,000,000 tracked prayers, a true testament to the nature of her legacy and the lengths that her story has gone.

Its been almost 11 months since I last saw Anna. 11 months later and I feel her with me more than ever. The strength and faith she has given me helps me through my hardest days. I know Anna will be with me tomorrow, pushing me along as I walk in her memory and in honor of all those who have been affected by cancer. I am honored to have known such an incredible woman, I am honored to have been able to call her my friend, and I am honored walk in her memory tomorrow with team Float On

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" Romans 12:12

Friday, April 20, 2012

southern obsession.

These last few days have brought a lot of rain and dreariness. Sometimes it is so difficult to get out of bed on days like these, but lucky for me, I had some big plans to look forward too. As I have mentioned before, I am a country psycho. I am such a southern girl it is scary sometimes, and there is nothing I love more than my country music. This weekend I was blessed to see not one, but two incredible country concerts featuring some of my favorite artists. Between southern comfort, best friends, baseball, family, and endless laughter I have had one amazing weekend...and it's only friday!

My fun filled weekend started a little early, on Wednesday, when I got to go to the Brewers game with my sister and some of our wonderful friends. It was so nice just to sit and relax after a long week of tests and papers. I am a diehard Arizona Diamondbacks fan, but I adopted the home team for the day and was thrilled when they pulled off a win with a walk off run in the 9th inning.

Thursday was a day that I have been looking forward to for quite sometime. Miranda Lambert, my country idol, was playing just a few blocks away from my school and she was accompanied by two of my favorite country men, Jerrod Niemann and Chris Young. The concert was incredible and I spent it with my very best friend. I went home exhausted and voiceless, but it was so worth every moment of it. If y'all haven't heard of these talented artists, you HAVE to check them out, they are incredible! Miranda Lambert began one of her songs by explaining how music had always been a source of healing for her...I could not agree more. It is Miranda's newest single, Over You, that has been a source of so much emotion and strength during my difficult times. I swear by the fact that music has a way of helping you through some of the most difficult things and I am happy to say that it is Miranda's music as well as so many other artists that have brought me so much hope and comfort.

Finally, tonight I got to see a newer country artist, Hunter Hayes. He was AMAZING to see live and was so entertaining. It was a smaller venue so I literally got to stand just a few feet from him and I had an absolute blast. I am going to need several days of recovery after this week, thank goodness I have all day Saturday and Sunday. My boots have gotten their fair share of excitement this week and I am so incredibly grateful that I had such amazing people by my side to share this week with.

It is days like today that give me hope. Sometimes the bad days seem to pile up one after another, and often it gets too much to bear. I know it is difficult, and I know sometimes we don't want to, but it is crucial that we hang in there because there are going to be good days and those good days ARE worth it. And for those bad days that seem as if you won't get through, focus on something you know for certain is good. Whether it be music, your best friend, a family member, or your favorite movie, hold on to it, the bad days will pass and it just means you're next in line for something truly good to happen.

"where there is life there is hope. and where there is hope you will find happiness"