Bring on 2014!

Well, it’s the last day of 2013 and a new year is about to begin. As I reflect on this past year, I am overwhelmed by all of the exciting experiences and happy memories. Life truly does seem to get sweeter as time goes on. This is a simple post, but I wanted to make sure to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe New Year’s. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for my family, friendships, career, and everyone else’s lives. According to the way 2013 panned out, the year 2014 is sure to be nothing less than spectacular.

For now, here’s a throwback to when my little brother and I rang in the year 2000:

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Baby steps

For the first time in my life, I have absolutely no idea where I will be a year from now. The feeling is unexplainable. Thankfully, I have the most wonderful support system who always has my back. My family, boyfriend, and mentors are great cheerleaders to keep me going.

As I begin to research job and post-graduation options for myself, I’m learning how key baby steps are. Once I begin a new project, I cannot stop until my work is done — and finished to the best of my abilities. Job hunting is a different story, however. I’m learning it takes time. 

We all have moments where we believe we’ve hit rockbottom. One of those moments for me was during the beginning of this past Fall semester. I realized I don’t have the necessary pre-requisites for certain meteorology grad school program. What I didn’t realize is that life works in mysterious ways. It just wasn’t meant to be and there was a better (online, distance-learning) route for me to take. 

Remember how I mentioned my support system? My encouraging family? Well, one of my cheerleaders stepped in at the right moment when I was feeling down. She told me something that will stick with me forever.

“You do know sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t figure life out. Just let it go and you will be guided. Just keep your eyes and ears wide open.” -Aunt Mo

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My Aunt Maureen, or as I like to call her “Aunt Mo,” is a huge inspiration to anyone and everyone. She’s always positive, always cheery, and always encouraging others. She’s the amazing mother of my older cousin, Ryan, who was born a premie. His entire, tiny body could literally fit in the palm of your hand. The obstacles she faced when he was born are a any new mother’s worst nightmare. Not only is he now a happy, healthy 30-year old, but Ryan has a great job as a PA, is recently engaged, and loves life to the absolute fullest. Maureen constantly loved and supported him, which seems to be our family’s recipe for success. Aunt Mo helped Ryan prove other’s wrong by guiding him through high school, college, and even PA school. I’m so proud of both of them and am thankful I can call them family.

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Aunt Mo is just one example of my many cheerleaders. She and the rest of my support system is teaching me to take life one baby step at a time. No matter how much I’d like to figure life out right this moment, there’s no need to!

Enjoy all of life’s beautiful moments while you can. I need to remember how important baby steps are. So, thank you Aunt Mo and thanks to everyone else who is supporting me during life’s crazy journey!

My new friend, Maci

Ever since I can remember I’ve been a cat person. When I was five years old, my family rescued two kittens. These kittens, which I later named Harley and Sneakers, became wonderful childhood pets. The friendships any pet owner gains from these sweet, tiny animals is so extraordinary — something I can attest to.

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Although I adored both of my first cats, Harley (on the left above) stills holds a special place in my heart today. I did not “own” him. He believed to have owned me. For 16 years, he was my best kitty friend. Never have I ever loved an animal as much as I loved Harley. I don’t think I could have asked for a better companion growing up. He was always there for me and perked up whenever my dad would say, “Lauren’s coming home!” I will always miss him deeply, but I have peace knowing we had those sixteen happy, happy years together.

You can imagine how tough it can be having to put down your childhood pet — something that’s been with you from the very beginning of your life. In Spring of 2012, I had to do just that to my Harley cat. It tore me to pieces. However, it’s been a little over a year since Harley went to kitten heaven, and I’ve been itching to find myself another furry friend to share my days with.

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This brings me to Maci. She’s a two-month old, long-haired, brown tabby kitten who was rescued off of the streets thanks to the Alachua County Animal Services. My boyfriend has been scheming to adopt a kitten for me for Christmas, but this sweet girl came into our lives a bit before the holiday. It was pure fate.

Ryan walked into Gainesville Pet Rescue yesterday and saw a litter of three, adorable kittens. One happened to be my Maci, who was the runt of the group. They were recently dropped off at the shelter, plus already had their vet checkups, first round of shots, and were fixed. Ryan played with Maci for a while until he realized she was the kitty for me! He went through the adoption process and surprised me with her yesterday afternoon when I got home from my Saturday weather shift.

Oh, how my life has just become that much more exciting! I am now a proud, kitty mommy again. I’ve only had her for a little over 24 hours, but she is such a joy. I cannot wait to share more Maci stories later on.

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Are you a cat or dog person? Did you have a memorable childhood pet as well? I’d love to hear about it!

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YouTube: Crazy Cat Lady

Buzzfeed: Cats vs. Dogs

Alachua County: Humane Society

AdoptAPet: Why you should rescue your next pet