Posted in Dear Mom

Another day. Another blessing.

Today marks two years without you, Mom. Two years of missing you and accomplishments I don’t get to share with you. Every day I miss you, I am reminded that life is short and it’s a blessing to wake up each morning.

This year without you was hard; harder than last year. I expected the first year of firsts this and first that without you to be hard; I was mentally prepared for you to not be there and everyone else was on eggshells about it. But then when my 2nd Mother’s Day and Christmas (and everything else) without you came, I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be. When I made everyone’s Christmas presents this year, I felt I was channeling a bit of you, and all I wanted to do is share it with you, but you weren’t here.

I know you’re watching over us and here with us everyday but it’s just not the same. I went back for my MBA and got it – keeping a straight 4.0 throughout it all too! When I got my final A, all I wanted to do was share the news with you, but you weren’t here. When I got promoted in June and then got another promotion in October, I knew you’d be proud of what I’m accomplishing but it still hurt because you weren’t here.

Every time I’m sad you’re not here, I remind myself what every day is another blessing. I remind myself that you always pushed us to be better. I will always push to be a better person tomorrow than I am today…I will always strive to make you proud.

Posted in life

2017…another year in the books

2017 has reminded me just how grateful I should be, how thankful I am for the amazing people in my life and how blessed I am to live this life I have!

I’m not going to lie, 2017 started out as a rough year. 40 days in, my life changed forever. Dealing with my mom’s passing was rough, and I really thought it was going to define the year. While I am sure I will always remember that as the most influential part of my 2017, I have been blessed with a multitude of other experiences to make this year enjoyable in the days since. Here are my top 17 highlights from 2017:

  1. Monroe got a new yoga studio – Blue Lotus Yoga, opened by a dear friend of mine who has entrusted me with help her with her social media and website, and all the while it has only made Elaina and me better friends.
  2. My friend Mary came to visit from down south just to keep me company and be with me for a tough weekend. While it was a short visit, it is one I will always remember as she but her own life on hold for the weekend to be there for me at the drop of a hat.
  3. I got my 3rd tattoo – it’s my mom’s handwriting and says “Love, Mom”, taken off the Christmas card she wrote me last year.
  4. Tom and I went to see Jake Owen in concert! (I have to get at least one country concert in each year.)
  5. Once I finally had a chance to leave home for a bit, I visited Jenna and saw Oregon and Washington for my first time! We went beer tasting around Portland (along with whiskey and wine tasting) and even had a flight across the gorge in Washington! I was also able to see Mulnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge before they were hit with a devastating wild fire. Also, while in Portland, Jenna took me to my very first professional soccer game – and I will admit that I loved it!
  6. I spent Mother’s Day weekend in DC with Emily – wine tasting around Virginia and taking in another Nationals game.
  7. I completed my 2nd Warrior Dash with some awesome ladies from my softball team.
  8. I got a dirt bike!!!
  9. Spent Labor Day up on Cape Cod with Tom, Jenna and her family to wish her farewell before her next chapter of life and adventures in Cambodia! And since it was me and Jenna, rum, gin and wine tasting were all on the menu! Along with a 20+ mile bike ride on the rail trail. And we even caught a sight of seals off the coast in Provincetown.
  10. Finally took in a Bridgeport Bluefish game at Harbor Yard before they left town for good.
  11. And even though Hurricane Irma rained out the Tampa 2017 installment of #ktomandlamargotimlbtour, we booked a last minute trip to Cleveland where we saw the Indians win 21 straight games (and then break their win streak two days later). Plus we saw the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and cruised on the Great Lake to see a different side of Cleveland.
  12. I finally made it to Canada thanks to a work trip to Montreal. And though I didn’t have time for sightseeing, there was time to pick up pure Canadian maple syrup to bring home! Work also sent me to Atlanta, so I finally stepped foot outside the airport. And was able to experience some southern BBQ while we dined. My final work trip sent me to Torino, Italy for a week. And included a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt, which gave me ample time to go walk around the city instead of just hanging out in the airport.
  13. After wanting to learn for a long time, I dove in and took a calligraphy class at Joyful Noise Paper and have been enjoying practicing my new hobby ever since.
  14. I spent November writing my 30 Days of Thanks and looking back on all of the blessings I have in my life.
  15. I was elected chair of Monroe Youth Commission.
  16. I survived 3 straight days of Christmas baking – making 100 raspberry thumprints + 121 chocolate chip cookies + 3 Irish soda breads + 81 meringues + 45 chocolate covered pretzels…all for the weekend before Christmas. And that doesn’t include anything I made for Christmas itself, which we hosted for the 1st time this year.
  17. The Gotimer family grew again as Lizzie and Brian got married!
Posted in 30 Days of Thanks

Day 14 – Time Off

I am thankful that I had three and a half months off last year between jobs. Don’t get me wrong, it was oh so stressful when it was happening and I didn’t know how we’d pay all our bills, but in hindsight I learned a lot of lessons during that time. It gave me time to relax, rest and focus on myself. I was able to realize that I am worth more than I give myself credit for. I learned the true value of friends and family. But most of all, I was able to clear my head and get back to being me. Now that I’m at a new job, I’ve got a work-life balance, and a separation of the two 😊

And while it isn’t realistic that you’ll always be able to take that type of time off, I’m quite looking forward to having 19 days off for the holidays this year!

Posted in 30 Days of Thanks

Day 13 – Friends

I am thankful for my friends. While family loves you, friends who love you unconditionally are even more valuable – they make a choice to have you in your life. My friends support me, pick me up and are always there for me. I especially learned this much I rely on friends this pay year. Whether it be through hoping on a plane to fly up for 36 hours just to keep me company, opening up their homes to welcome me and my state of wanderlust this year (or joining me in an adventure) or simply being there 24/7 for me to call when I just needed someone to listen, or to distract me and just occupy my time so I couldn’t think of sad things.

Posted in 30 Days of Thanks

Day 12 – Family

I am thankful for my family, their unconditional love and support. I am also thankful I was born into two very large families! With 16 aunts/uncles, 17 1st cousins (plus their significant others and kids) and more 2nd cousins than I can count, family is not hard to come by. With such a large family, there is always someone there for any given situation – blood really is thicker than water and family comes together for good times, and to hold you up in the not so good times. God blesses each of us with the families we are born into and from the very beginning our families are there for us. Having such a large family certainly makes the holidays festive and allows you to celebrate over and over with different groups of family. This year I have been blessed with spending a good amount of time with some family members I don’t get to see as often, but even though we may live far apart and our lives don’t give us time to see each other frequently, we pick up as if nothing has been missed (and can thank technology for keeping us close even when there are many miles between us).

Posted in Dear Mom

Dear Future, I’m ready…

“A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset. When you wake up, take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one. Time spent appreciating is time worth living.” — unknown

February 9, 2017 – 6 months ago, my life changed forever. August 10, 2016, nearly an exact six months earlier, I already thought my life had changed forever.

First, I lost my job in August of 2016. I had not been unemployed since the 8th grade and next thing I know, I find myself unemployed with a mortgage and student loan bills coming in. This was not something I was prepared for but I survived it and came out of the predicament only better for it. Then, once I thought my life was back to normal, I got hit with a brick from left field — mom was diagnosed with cancer. But the real curveball, she passed away 10 weeks later. Living through both of these events (without getting any grey hair 😊) have taught me some immensely important lessons that will be with me the rest of my life.

The first lesson came shortly after getting over the shock of being unemployed — there are more important things in life than a job. Sure, we’ve all heard this, but to what extent do we listen and understand it? One week into my unemployment, Tom’s grandmother was in the hospital with a ruptured appendix, being unemployed allowed us time to spend with her and listen to stories about her and her family. It also allowed me to be there for Tom’s sister when she tore her ACL and needed rides to and from appointments, or just someone to keep her company. Getting rid of a 60+ work week allowed me to remember how important it is to spend time with family and friends.

My lack of work also enabled me to enjoy our vacation to New Hampshire last fall to ring in my 30th, without working through it (which is what I did days before loosing my job when I was on vacation celebrating my friend’s 30th). And fortunately I was able to land a job offer about two months later (and then still have six weeks before my start date due to background checks and such to actually relax). Having this time to finally enjoy life again, to even have a life outside of work was big. I forgot what it was like to have free time, to prioritize myself and my family. I learned it quick enough to ensure that my current job allows me a separation and balance between work and the rest of my life. I’m very fortunate to be at a company that values personal time; it allows me to work from home two to three days a week and to be home every evening with Tom to take care of our house and spend time with our friends.

Another lesson I have learned is that people will surprise you — people you think will be there and people you didn’t expect to come pouring out of the woodwork in your time of need. You find out who your true friends are. You remember who is there when you really need it – not the person who shows up for a party, but the person who drops everything any hour of the day to be a listening ear, or the person who hops on a plane to fly halfway across the country to be with you for 36 hours.

There so many others lessons I have learned and it’s hard to put it all into words. While I have, what I hope is the hardest year of my life, behind me, I think I’ve come out the side in a much better place. I am happy and relaxed. I spend time with people that really matter. I spend time in the quiet of my own home alone with no one but the cats. I have learned to take a break and really detached from work — to enjoy vacation, and to take them more frequently. But it all boils down to putting your self and your values first and foremost in everything you do. I know that my family, whether by blood or friends who have become family, is the most important thing to me and I will do everything to make sure my relationship with these people does not take a backseat to any establishment.

I knew that turning 30 last fall was a sure sign that I was truly an adult — no more claiming that “oh I’m only in my 20s, I’m not really an adult”… I knew that would somehow click and make me feel older, but I never thought I would learn those lessons the way I did. Life has sure handed me some lemons, and I hope the lemonade I made tastes sweet. 🍋

So lesson learned, and take it from me, YOU are what is important. Your own happiness is the upmost priority. And no one has the right to stand in the way of you living your life in a way that leaves you proud and satisfied. This past year has impacted me in a way I didn’t know possible and I am forever changed from it. I hope these lessons don’t stray far from my mind and that I continue each day forward being the best me and doing what’s best for me and those I love.

“Dear Past, thank you for all the lessons. Dear Future, I am ready.” — unknown