Who Am I? I am just a person like many of you: a grand-daughter, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, wife, mom, aunt, friend, and colleague. I would hope others would say I am hard working, humble and kind as well.
A Kansas City native – I grew up surrounded by love and support with all of my relatives near by. I am the oldest of four, and in my early years I remember family dinners, camping trips, special outings with my grandparents, KSU football games, intense basketball games (probably fouled out of most) and good friends. Adventure, sports, school, cooking, eating and anything around the water; including swimming, boating, sking, scuba-diving, called me in. I got myself in and out of my fair share of trouble, but you can’t learn if you are not about to cross the line. My sense of adventure and love to learn about others lead me around the world to experience many cultures and find true beauty in all people and places. After sleepless nights studying, raising cane in Aggieville/ Kansas State University and my time ‘studying’ in Australia, I graduated with a degree in Secondary Business Education. I loved teaching but soon Paul, my high school sweetheart, whisked me off to Colorado where we began our life. We lived the downtown life, the urban life and after a few years decided to start a family and move to the burbs where we found the most amazing friends, our CO family. I continued the work-life balance of wife, mom, full time employee in the nursing education industry, and continued to find ways for myself and everything else in between. Many days I struggled but love the saying…the days are long but the years are short so I kept going as my plate was never completely full. Life kept moving…how it was supposed to or at least how I had in my head.
Growing up there were a few horrible (worse than horrible) moments that altered my life and those I love most. I was sent down a different path and grieved in a way I didn’t know was possible. Those moments taught me to live each day because truly ‘shooting a lay up or going to bed – you may never wake up’ could happen in the most unexpected times to the most unexpected people. When ‘Only the good die young’ becomes a common theme song for several years in a row – your life changes. You can never say, I love you enough or not live for the day. In my life those moments taught me to live and lived the best I could, or at least I tried to. Most recently, I had another horrible reminder when I was personally diagnosed with cancer at the age of 34, now a mom of 3. I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of eye cancer, ocular melanoma. I once again experienced feelings I didn’t know were possible and the journey continued.
At the end of each day one of my biggest struggles is wanting to be mad or ask ‘why me’? but I remember ‘why not me?’ there is someone out there struggling or facing some barrier much worse than mine. Someone is also out there not receiving the care, love or support I am. I am lucky. I am really lucky. I am here and as long as I am, I am truly nothing but blessed.