that one day we got engaged.

five years ago, i met a man rock climbing in maple creek canyon in utah. we happened to both be going to kentucky for a month. and then, i followed him back to australia to see if it was something more.

five years later, he dropped to one knee and held out a ring. i’m a sucker for a good love story, and so far i’ve been given all the makings for a romcom box office hit (including a cute foreign accent). 

but for now, i’ll just skip to the engagement proposal story so i can start directing people to my blog instead of leaving out more and more lovey-dovey details every time someone asks. and so that in the future, i’ll actually remember the details…

a few months ago, a longtime beloved festival (the event that i work for) attendee emailed me asking if he could propose to his girlfriend on the stage at this year’s festival. after asking my boss, i realized there was no way in hell i was going to be able to convince him to halt the main music lineup for a random patron to takeover the microphone and share his love with 3,000 other patrons. (he’s not quite the romantic that i am.) i gave up on that idea but was committed to helping this man find the space to propose at the festival.

once onsite the second weekend of august, i met with him and helped plan a time for him to get on the microphone at the yoga pavilion. on saturday afternoon, following a great ecstatic dance set, he professed his love in front of her family, friends, and a small dance floor full of other attendees. 

i stood on a hill overlooking the proposal feeling pretty proud of myself and basking in their love. i walked back down the forested pathway to the office getting drunk on chlorophyll and glowing from their love. everyone loves love.

when i returned to the office, i told my boss how i had just facilitated my proposal perfectly. he looked confused. he asked me where. i told him at the yoga pavilion. he said, no no, i think we should do it at the stage. then i was confused. i thought you said we couldn’t do it at the stage. 

all the sudden, he realized i was talking about the guy who emailed a few months ago. he changed his tune and gave me a high five, finally joining me in my pridefulness. then, he started hounding me about organizing the staff photo. he had been bugging me about it all weekend. typically, it was not a big deal and a pretty last minute thing. we would just pull as many people as we could to some discreet location sometime on sunday. 

this year, he said he wanted it on sunday afternoon at the stage right before manoj’s dj set, so all the staff would stay and dance a bit to his set afterwards. (manoj is a good friend of many beloved staff.)

cool. sounds good. staff photo planned. now stop bugging me about it.

back to the grind. i run around nonstop during the festival. as the general manager, i have most of the answers, so people ask me all of the questions. my mind has zero time to think about anything unrelated to the festival.

i made the announcement for the staff photo over the radio on sunday morning. all call, all call. the staff photo will be at 3:15pm at the stage. be there and bring your smiles.

3:15pm came quickly, and i rounded up all the admin staff in the office to head down to the stage. a couple of my coworkers alerted me that it was pretty hot outside (since i had not left the office since breakfast) and encouraged me to take off the black leggings i had on under my green dress. 

okay, leggings off. now let’s go.

i asked our security manager to borrow his megaphone, and we headed to the stage. 

it was the middle of the final day of the festival and the dance floor was packed. all the staff gathered together and waited for the current musician to finish their set. i continually glanced around the audience trying to figure out who was missing. which staff members would i need to radio individually and remind them to get their butts down to the stage for the staff photo?

i didn’t see ryan, so i texted him to make sure he was on his way. 

the music ended, and we all congregated in front of the stage on the dance floor. several of our festival photographers were there to help capture the moment. megaphone in hand, i directed everyone to squeeze in closer and move to get out of the sun. eventually, i slide into the front row, and the staff photo was complete.

we all hugged and started to clear out. i said thanks to everyone and thought we were heading back to work.

but, then my boss announced that he wanted to do department photos…

my thoughts: department photos? you’ve got to be kidding me. everyone has so much work to do. we never do department photos. there are over 20 departments. this is going to take forever. ughhh… 

he took the megaphone out of my hand and called out for the operations department to gather. (i guess the boss always gets what he wants.) the operations crew (ryan’s department) gathered on the dance floor. one photo down, a million more to go…

next up, they called the admin department (my department). i started walking out and all the operations crew pushed everyone else back. 

i yelled out something dumb like “oh now we’re doing couples’ photos?!”

but instead of an admin department photo, ryan and i were left alone in a small space on the dance floor encircled by hundreds of my fellow staff and thousands of festival patrons. (the view behind us looked something like this…)

he had changed out of his filthy work clothes and put on a nice button down aloha shirt. he dropped to one knee and held out a ring. 

holy. shit.

my hands went straight over my mouth as shock and awe overtook my body. it is hard to surprise me (especially when we have discussed marriage and i knew it was coming), but he did. 

it was too loud to hear over the audience’s cheers, but i think ryan did actually ask me to marry him at some point, and i am pretty sure i said yes.

our friends from hawaii adorned us with a handmade lei and flower crown, and the operations crew gifted us with champagne to uncork over the crowd.

manoj’s dj set began and the endless group hugs turned into joyous dancing. what a perfect sunday afternoon.

and all this time, i had no idea that i was planning my own proposal. that my boss and boyfriend were scheming to make me the center of attention. that thousands of patrons would high five us the rest of the weekend. that my engagement party would have 3,000 people.

apparently some people are allowed to stop everything for a declaration of love in the middle of the dance floor at beloved festival, and i am deeply grateful to be one of those people. thanks elliot. (i am also grateful that my gals made me take off my leggings in preparation for photos that will be shared forever.)

thank you to everyone who made it happen. to everyone who kept it a secret. and to everyone who continually supports us in our relationship and in our love. 

it is not easy living a love that involves friends and families and jobs and homes across two different countries that are separated by a giant ocean, but we have done it. we will continue to do it. and it is absolutely worth it.

we love you. we love each other. now let’s plan a wedding… or two…

*****

p.s. i am sure i left out a few amazing details that ryan will alert me to after reading this. i’ll be sure to edit if he feels i left out anything absolutely essential. he always seems to think i do…

p.p.s. if you’re one of those people who is just dying to see the ring, here is the beautiful one that ryan slid on my finger at the festival.

however, he knew that i have dreamt of a custom ring designed by my friend rosemary for quite some time. so, this is not the forever ring. we will be going through her amazing love story custom ring creation process soon to craft a one-of-a-kind symbol of our relationship. check her out if you’re in the market for jewelry.

 

 

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mahalo.

with the amount of adventures we’ve undertaken in the past two years, you’d think that my blog would be filled with endless entries. but since we moved to hawaii at the beginning of february 2016, the weekly excursions never found their way to the page. and now that we are gone, i feel like i have so many stories to tell. as i scroll through my hawaii folder of photos, i am overwhelmed by this life we live and the love that follows us wherever we go.

what started as a way for ryan and me to live together in the same place for more than three months at a time, has ended with a place we will always call home.

our last weekend was filled with socializing and saying goodbye for now to the wonderful friends we have created over the past two years.

the friends who slacklined with us until the sun set over waikiki beach. the friends who hosted “sunday suppers” complete with homemade pizza, sushi, and other utterly messy food creations. the friends who made absurd mock reality tv show intro videos. the friends who are smart enough to get us out of an escape room in under an hour.

the friends who taught us how sharp volcanic rock is and tried to turn us into boulderers. the friends who almost swigged a bottle of tequila full of dead fruit flies. the friends who made me feel extremely tall and pale and loved. the friends who supported and amplified my rockstar karaoke dreams.

the friends who saved me from drowning at rockpiles when my surfboard leash broke. the friends who know the seriousness of spike ball. the friends who love taking massive group photos touching each other’s butts. the friends who know how to light up a dance floor (even in costumes). the friends who know how to reap the benefits of a fishing trip.

the friends who lived across the pond. the friends who fed us way too much european wine and delicious food. the friends who embraced the full moon’s excitement. the friends who took us to hidden tide pools and unpopulated waterfalls.

and of course, the friends who started as family. ❤

yes, hawaii is awesome. yes, we did a lot of epic shit. no, i didn’t lay on the beach everyday. no, i don’t have a killer tan. but, yes, we have made some amazing friendships on these little islands in the middle of the pacific. and yes, i now own an obscene amount of bikinis and rashguards.

for now, that is all. but don’t worry, i am sure as the nostalgia sets in even harder, our stories of hawaii will come to fruition, and we can relive the memories together. mahalo.

30 days of gratitude: day 18 – the grants

day 18

dear grants,

what a blessing it has been to get to know each of you more and more over the past four years. when you find someone you love, you’re not always guaranteed to love their family, but you are all amazing! i cannot wait to continue to grow my relationship with each of you, and potentially become an “official” grant one day. (no pressure ryan.)

i am grateful…

  1. for the time i completely fell off of my bike, skinned my elbow and knee, and had a super wet bum the first time i met steph and dale (and they still accepted me)
  2. to have witnessed the amazing transformation/renovation of the tugan units (wish ryan had gone in on that one…)
  3. for our first hawaiian new year’s eve celebration at the outrigger club, especially our on-stage dance routine and seeing travis hungover for the first time in my life
  4. for the first several months, where i didn’t get that everything out of gordon’s mouth is leading to a punchline (boom, boom)
  5. and for the endless amount of bad “dad jokes” that i now know (i might regret saying i’m grateful for this…)
  6. for heather’s deep love for her three wonderful sons and her adopted daughters
  7. for the time dale let me beat him wrestling, only after informing me he was going to kill me
  8. that steph and dale let us crash their mini-moon and adventure on fraser island with them
  9. and that steph was there to save my life as the spa jets sucked my hair into them (no thanks to ryan)
  10. for that time i tried to keep up with the boys in darwin and drunk dialed dale to tell him i liked him better than ryan (i still do dale)
  11. for the endless similarities in every grant boy and their unique differences
  12. for the two years we’ve spent in hawaii and the time growing closer to travis and blair
  13. for heather’s anzac cookies, perfectly timed cups of tea, and loving hugs
  14. for steph’s signature dance move, intense hatred of horses, and extreme love of dogs
  15. that both grant brothers married such amazingly beautiful, strong, smart, and supportive women that i hope to call my sister-in-laws (aka SILlies) one day (including carly)
  16. that i now know that travis is entertained by literally anything and thinks the smallest things are absolutely hilarious
  17. for steph and blair’s understanding of what it means to date a grant
  18. that blair was the first american to steal a grant (made it a little easier for me to do the same)
  19. for getting to spend the first year of hugo’s life by his side and ensuring he likes to dance
  20. for all the boys’ lively, carefree, simple, fun, and hands-on approach to life
  21. for all the amazing accomplishments that have landed each of you the “best grant award”
  22. for gordon’s delicious brekkies and seafood cook ups on the barbeque
  23. for the amazing friends of all of the grants (seriously, what a fun crew!)
  24. for room beers and slope adventures in niseko with steph, dale, and that awesome crew
  25. that there is another baby grant to call me auntie on the way (fingers crossed for a girl)
  26. for that time gordon couldn’t process that my mom doesn’t drink, “are you sure i can’t get you a wine sherry?”
  27. that i know i have a home in australia and a home in hawaii no matter where we are
  28. for every time that all the grants get to reunite in one place, even if only for a few days
  29. for the fact that heather and gordon were in the circus back in the day (like for real, best story ever)
  30. that my someday in-laws are all people that i love, respect, and adore

30 days of gratitude: day 17 – new england literature program

day 17

i don’t remember how i heard about it or what the application was like, but i do remember the profound impact that university of michigan’s new england literature program (nelp) had on me. the people, the place, the reading, the writing. seriously one of the most unique and memorable six weeks of my life thus far.

i am grateful…

  1. that i was sober enough (just barely) to receive the director’s last minute phone call on st. patrick’s day freshman year of college telling me that although i had been waitlisted previously, a spot had opened up for the spring 2006 new england literature program
  2. and that i was able to sober up even more to get myself over to her office for an interview immediately
  3. for six weeks in the maine wilderness with absolutely no technology or external influences
  4. for my kingfisher cabin family, including the lower half (love you anna, alex, shae, paloma, erin, and drew)
  5. that paloma let me shave her head and tape a piece of her hair into my journal (the first true bond of a lasting love)
  6. for the 39 other students and 15 staff who challenged little 19-year-old sara to grow the fuck up
  7. for every unexplainable bruise that seemed to appear on shaelyn’s bum (yes, i have photos but i will spare you)
  8. for the natural beauty of camp wohelo and lake sebago
  9. for the stunning sounds surrounding me always, usually coming from anna or andrew or nels or hannah or one of the other amazing musicians in our nelp
  10. that i got eight college english credits to hang out in the woods with some of the best people i know reading and writing and hiking and dancing and laughing (even if it did totally wreck my chances of getting into the english honors program sophomore year)
  11. for team fire, basically the best food group known to nelp
  12. that i now have frost and dickinson poems eternally memorized and set to song in my head
  13. that i survived hiking into 90mph wind and rain while submitting mt. washington (seriously, rain hurts like hell when it is going that fast)
  14. for alistair’s bright blue rain pants (and the dance moves that came with them)
  15. for the opportunity to explore my love for public art experiments
  16. that my fellow nelpers helped to break my default white food only rule
  17. for quiet early mornings alone on the dock with my journal, followed by abrupt morning dips with paloma
  18. for the moment when my amazing journal group leader took me aside and said, “sara, you are very intelligent, but if you don’t take yourself and your ideas seriously, no one else will” after i had read a jewel poem during a group read-around #bestjournalgroupever
  19. for the hilarity of hannah and kevin and sensor and schlitts and the other crew of comedians helping me not take life too seriously
  20. that i participated in the mass streaking of the staff meeting (even if we did get in trouble…)
  21. that i spent six weeks reading the works of the transcendentalists in the exact landscape about which they were writing
  22. for alex’s butterflies-in-your-belly inducing hugs
  23. and andrew’s rendition of every bob dylan song, but especially “she belongs to me”
  24. for stolen bowls of ice cream with my favorite lady clan
  25. for night walks void of artificial light and filled with wildlife squeaks and scatters
  26. for aric’s nelp vocabulary flashcards #bestgiftever (these still get hung up in every house i live in… narma)
  27. that i have two fat journals full of literary reflections, self journeys, and meandering musings that will live on forever to remind me of the amazingness of my time at nelp
  28. for every single letter and care package that my friends and family sent me while i was banned from technology
  29. for nine day weeks, talent shows, contra dances, wunder kammens, and every other nelp-y thing not yet listed
  30. that more than ten years later, the relationships i made at nelp are still some of the most meaningful relationships that exist in my life

30 days of gratitude: day 16 – brian

day 16

dear brian,

since that day amanda and i saw you in our high school math class, i knew you were someone special. double accelerated and a head of long dirty blonde hair. over 15 years later and i still revel in the friendship we’ve created.

i am grateful…

  1. that i befriended the little freshman in our math class sophomore year
  2. and that you could help me with all the math homework i never understood (and never will)
  3. that you introduced me to victor wooten at 16
  4. and for constantly introducing me to new music that i absolutely love
  5. for your ridiculous musical talent and ability to play every instrument in existence
  6. that my interest in country/folk music finally wore off on you
  7. and that i can now tell you in earnest that i love dancing to your band (i mean chafo was great and all…)
  8. for every time you call me seeking advice about a new girl
  9. that you can still surprise me (kind of) with your complete life upheavals
  10. that i know i can tell you anything
  11. for your intelligent mind, academically and philosophically
  12. that you’re as crazy as i am
  13. for the times you’ve talked me out of doing something stupid
  14. and the times you’ve embraced me doing stupid things
  15. for the long pauses of appreciation you take after a bite of well-crafted food
  16. that you hurt your foot and got ada camping at bonnaroo
  17. and that you mailed me the bonnaroo schedule (with acts i have to see circled) to me at nelp since i didn’t have access to internet
  18. that i’ve gotten to see you perform on several occasions, in several locations
  19. for our long talks over good beer
  20. that i got a local tour of puerto rico complete with the world’s best ice cream

  21. and for that time taylor, you, and i cruised around san juan’s finest hotels
  22. for the opportunity to live vicariously through your adventures over the past 15 years
  23. for your amazing mom, dad, and sister
  24. and that we still both get jealous when the other one does something epic
  25. for the bonding experience that was “pippin”
  26. that your dreadlocks phase came to an end
  27. for getting to spend time with the beautiful maysa

  28. that i know you’ll be my best friend forever (yeah, bff)
  29. for how well we understand each other’s highs and lows, and how to help each other deal with them
  30. that you’re my b-ri

30 days of gratitude: day 15 – my stc boys

day 15

dear adam, cooper, curtis, patrick, peter, and timothy (in alphabetical order),

although all of you deserve your own day, you would take up an entire week, so you get to share a gratitude post. and truthfully, i am equally as lucky to have each and every one of you in my life.

i am grateful…

  1. for freshman and sophomore english classes (vant and schaeffer really brought us together)
  2. that pete was impressing girls (like lindsay brady) with his gentlemanly wiles way back in 7th grade
  3. that i have endless video footage of patrick singing show tunes and cooper explaining historical events to me (i won’t post it here…)
  4. to adam for the depth of my understanding of how to play fifa and a slew of other video games
  5. for your legendary saints night out boy band performance
  6. for that time you visited curtis and i at michigan and somehow got on television pretending to bleed maize and blue
  7. for the time i visited illinois state and got all adam’s frat brothers wasted on homemade wine, and the time we all went down for dumelle’s big 2-1
  8. for the time i visited princeton and knew as soon as i met her that daniela was the one for petey (mainly because she instantly started making fun of him with me)
  9. and for the many times i headed over to east lansing or down to champaign-urbana
  10. that you all put up with me, even if at times i’m probably like an annoying little sister
  11. and that you all look out for me (and judge the people i date) as if i were your sister
  12. that your families are all amazing and that i’ve had the opportunity to get to know them well
  13. that you have all remained such a tight knit group of friends over the years and distances
  14. for ridiculous nights being drunk and disorderly at duerr’s house
  15. and for ridiculous nights being drunk and disorderly in john’s garage
  16. for cooper’s magic ability to turn serious when i actually need to talk through something
  17. and his magic ability to make deep dish pizza appear at 3am
  18. for the beautiful, intelligent, and witty women you have found to start your lives with
  19. for all the times you’ve let me crash on your couches, guest beds, and floors when i am back in chicago or passing through los angeles
  20. that when my grandpa just passed, a few of you were some of the only friends to personally reach out and see how i was doing
  21. for that time tim and i embraced our love for jam bands at bonnaroo
  22. for my first real lesson in love, heartache, and the meaning of “hardwork” from our state champion athlete
  23. for that time that i got to perform alongside the best pippin ever to take the norris stage
  24. for tgi fridays friend dates
  25. that we all get to say we are friends with the leader of the teenage mutant ninja turtles
  26. for that cow mailbox and the one time when i couldn’t find the cow mailbox, got confused, and walked straight into a complete stranger’s house instead
  27. that i have gotten to watch all of you boys grow up into such amazing men (my motherly pride is seriously disgusting)
  28. that you let me be part of your voxer group for a short while (even if you had another one that was boys only)
  29. that i know if i really need any of you for something, you’d be there for your “schneids”
  30. that some things just never change with you boys…

30 days of gratitude: day 14 – chicago jr. school

day 14

dear chicago jr. school,

it only feels right that for day 14 i write about my second home, it is technically korrie’s birthday after all.

i am grateful…

  1. that the older i get, the more i appreciate the education i received at cjs
  2. that i spent the first 14 years of my life surrounded by love, diversity, and nature
  3. for your 50 acres of woodlands (including one of the last white cedar forests in illinois)
  4. that by the time i got to mr. mikulak’s 8th grade class, he had watched me grow up from birth (and already learned how to handle a schneider from my brother and sister)
  5. for the chance to play and experience every sport (since we only had 14 kids in our class)
  6. that environmental education, music, and art were required classes
  7. for the 12 character building qualities (i think they really did help build my character):
    CHARITY We care. We help others.
    COOPERATION We work together to support each other.
    COURTESY We use good manners.
    CREATIVITY We have our own ideas.
    GOOD JUDGMENT We think before we act.
    GRATITUDE We appreciate. We are thankful.
    HONESTY We always tell the truth.
    HUMILITY We are patient with others and ourselves. We are gentle.
    RELIABILITY We are dependable. We are punctual.
    RESOURCEFULNESS We care for our natural world. We solve problems.
    RESPECT We are kind, considerate, and thoughtful to others and self.
    SELF-CONTROL We do what is right. We chose to behave.
  8. that i was able to perform in our school assemblies and annual school musicals (even if korrie always got the lead…)
  9. for our annual camping trips and the trouble we got in during them
  10. for the outstanding educators that taught me and that i will remember forever
  11. for friday electives that taught me things like scrapbooking
  12. that in-school suspension meant i just got to hang out in the library all day and finish all my homework before lunch (i mean, taught me valuable lessons about why i shouldn’t hit patrick on the head with a dictionary)
  13. for the lifelong friendships that i formed within your walls
  14. that kenny decamp taught ballet after school at “bates” and that my love for dance started at age 3
  15. that the “big hill” seemed way bigger when i was a student with a sled
  16. that i got to have my mother as a preschool teacher and hang out in her classroom after school every other year
  17. that my first “boyfriend” was african american and when he dumped me for a cute korean girl, i dated a hispanic boy in the grade below us, and all the meanwhile my best friend was pakistani, and never did i realize that that was a thing to be grateful for until i attended a nearly all white public high school
  18. that mr. mikulak’s 8th grade prediction was that i would return to cjs to run the early education department like mrs. doolin (what an honor that would have been)
  19. that i have trespassed through your closed gates to show everyone i love just how amazing my childhood school was
  20. and that now reopen your doors and become a school once more (even if it will be under a different name and mission)
  21. that i was learning how to make animated gifs and write simple code in middle school thanks to our computer classes
  22. for the young authors program and the fact that i graduated 8th grade with 7 “published” books under my belt
  23. that the tune of edelweiss will forever have lyrics for me (oak trees fall over all, on our junior school campus…) and silos will only make me think of cjs
  24. for my 7th grade trip to washington d.c. and the wreath i got to place on the tomb of the unknown solider
  25. for inservice and teacher conference days, so us staff kids could explore the woods unattended, following the streams wherever they would lead
  26. for mrs. johnson, mrs. gaines, and mrs. arndt – three of the best art teachers a child could have asked for
  27. for mrs. woolard and mrs. spears for their cultivation of my performing arts skills
  28. for kindergarten song circles where the now mrs. donnelly subliminally exposed us to music from world-renowned musicals (there is a castle in the sky…)
  29. that i knew the cafeteria kitchen staff, so that i could go make myself a pb&j when the daily lunch items were disgusting
  30. that i was lucky enough to have an extended family of peers and teachers that made me into the woman i am today

30 days of gratitude: day 13 – jonathan

day 13

dear jonathan,

there are very few people that fit into every relationship definition, but you are one of those everythings for me. although we lead oddly separate lives in rarely overlapping spheres, you and me are intrinsically intertwined.

i am grateful…

  1. that you are like a brother, sister, father, mother, best friend, creepy uncle, loving aunt, therapist, muse, stranger, teacher, employer, and every other form of someone to me, and yet there is not a single word to describe us
  2. that despite my “obvious nervousness” you hired me for my first big girl job freshman year at university of michigan
  3. for the times you brought me chicken nuggets and a frosty
  4. that brandon couldn’t resist my sarcasm and wit (and neither could you)
  5. for the time you accidentally killed my goldfish while watching them over break, but kept their bodies in the freezer for me until i returned in case i was sentimental and wanted to say goodbye
  6. that we became friends and remained in touch even after i left you for a better job 🙂
  7. for the numerous and overwhelmingly kind recommendation letters you’ve written for me (all lies…)
  8. that i have been able to surprise you at more than one of your theater performances
  9. that you think my dramatic antics are highly amusing
  10. that you trust my opinion when it comes to things like your screenplays (even if i never get back to you with notes)
  11. that i can go months without talking to you and still know you’re always there when i need you
  12. that my eternal optimism may have rubbed off on you slightly
  13. for all the times you have talked some sense into me before i do something dumb
  14. and for all the times you’ve listened (albeit while shaking your head) after i’ve done something dumb
  15. that you are older and wiser than me (and have made all the mistakes so i don’t have to)
  16. that you finally quit your old job and pursued your dreams
  17. that this image exists
  18. that there is a creepy scary clown book that makes you think of us
  19. that you know me better than i know myself
  20. for your kind eyes and complex soul
  21. that one day you’ll probably write a hilarious sitcom about my family and my life
  22. that we hilariously don’t have a single photo of us together from the past 12 years (that i can find at least, although i feel like i tried to rectify this one time…)
  23. that no matter how shitty i feel i know i can always text you for a super quick pick me up
  24. that we will be friends forever (because you’ve seen it)
  25. that you are a loving and dedicated father to two amazingly beautiful children
  26. that you write silly blog posts for my clients when i don’t want to
  27. that you taught me to be flexible in my beliefs and to reevaluate them often and adjust accordingly
  28. for your beautiful way with the written word
  29. and that there are so many “jonathan quotes” that can be found scattered in my journals, on my computer, and on post-it notes stuck to my desk as helpful reminders (example: “playful confidence is a gem matched only by true and deep humility in a woman. arrogance, however steep or soft, is not a trait to be associated with desirability. ever.”)
  30. that i have a person like you to guide me through this journey called life (good thing it comes with lemons)

30 days of gratitude: day 12 – aunt vivian

day 12

dear aunt vivian,

it’s a shame i didn’t have a relationship with you until high school, but i think we’ve made up for it in the last 15 years! life wouldn’t be the same without your wisdom and humor.

i am grateful…

  1. that my dad has a twin sister equally as cool as he is
  2. that i can still fit in most of the clothes from ruthie’s guided shopping sprees from my youth
  3. for spring break 2009 when you let me crash lily’s texas tour to help me recover from a broken heart
  4. for your incredible basketball skills, especially in the pool
  5. that you, ruthie, and pupsi (and annie) are such amazing female role models
  6. that we both love gin & tonics
  7. for the 60th birthday we got to celebrate together with you twins
  8. for your support of my endeavors, especially when it means donating to causes like the boys & girls clubs of grand rapids
  9. that you have taught me that true love comes in all forms
  10. and that it takes work to last (35 years and counting?)
  11. that ruthie is embarrassed by us in public (but secretly loves us more for it, maybe…)
  12. for that time you “accidentally” touched the matthew barney exhibit with your foot to see what the goopy sculpture was made out of (example of #11)
  13. that you rock socks with sandals and can pull off a visor somehow
  14. that you (but probably mainly ruthie) support my love of the arts by taking me to amazing exhibits and musicals
  15. for your sense of humor, worry-free attitude, and outgoing spirit
  16. that you let me spend a few weeks at your place every summer in college
  17. and that i now consider your house one of my adopted homes (although i guess i have to fight pupsi for my bedroom every now and then)
  18. for the stories of your past adventures
  19. that you aren’t afraid to fill me in on the schneider family secrets and memories of my dad as a child
  20. for your and ruthie’s heartfelt listening and “subtle” guidance
  21. that you need me to help set up your technological gadgets and teach you how to use facebook
  22. that i am a “schneider woman” and am proud of everything that comes along with that title
  23. that you were able to join us for one of our recent family reunions
  24. that you’re in good health, even if we had to postpone skiing in tahoe
  25. for the fact that you’ll binge watch netflix shows with me (despite ruthie’s disapproval)
  26. that you infect everyone you meet with joy and laughter
  27. that you and my dad blow your noses the exact same way (not grateful that i may have inherited that trait)
  28. that you love sports and cheer for michigan for me
  29. for your stubbornness and independence
  30. that you’re my aunt (who dreams about what it would be like if i was your daughter)

30 days of gratitude: day 11 – aisha

day 11

dear aisha,

from first grade on, you have helped me grow into the woman i am today. you have taught me so much about acknowledging privilege, embracing humility, and taking responsibility (just to throw some cbq’s out there). my memories with you are some of the fondest from my childhood and adulthood.

i am grateful…

  1. that your mother decided to send you to a boarding school (chicago jr. school – cjs) in elgin, illinois in first grade
  2. that my mother allowed you to come home with us basically every weekend
  3. that we thought it was a good idea to dump the bathtub water all over the bathroom floor and play slip ’n’ slide on the tile (that dang heating vent did not make a great stopping bumper)
  4. for your amazing spelling skills in elementary school
  5. that you let me be batman and were okay with being my robin (metaphorically)
  6. that your mom decided to take you out of cjs for 4th and 5th grade (not sure if that is accurate), so that i could take my first flight to come visit you in columbus, ohio
  7. for every single one of our shopping trips to gabriel’s (although i guess we should always try before we buy from now on…)
  8. for the tgi fridays waitstaff that humored us and “believed” that we were actually twins celebrating our birthday together
  9. for your tough love (we all know i needed it)
  10. that we had big dreams of opening a salon where i did hair and you gave massages
  11. that you matured faster than me and could give me the low down on boobs and periods and sex
  12. for your weirdly optimistic cynicism
  13. that you gave birth to the magical creature that is anna lisa
  14. and that i have been able to watch her grow up into a spitting image of you
  15. that no matter how long it’s been since i’ve seen you last, we always pick up right where we left off
  16. to have been your maid of honor and by your side through everything (even if only in spirit)
  17. that you have always been a role model to me, demonstrating strength, fearlessness, and the ability to stand your ground
  18. that i can be there for you when shit gets crazy
  19. that you are a constant reminder of how grateful i should be for all that this life has provided me
  20. for that time you wore all white and pretended to be an angel
  21. that you work so hard to support your family with all those long nursing hours
  22. for your laugh
  23. that your mother and grandma have always treated me as an adopted daughter
  24. for all the hours you sat watching my endless dance classes (i’m sorry)
  25. that you love “death becomes her” as much as i do and forced your daughter to watch it
  26. that you were there to remind me to be grateful for my stepfather
  27. for your infinite love and understanding of my shortcomings
  28. for the time you and your crew took me to shoot my first (and only) gun at the gun range
  29. that a trip to west virginia is one of the best things ever for me
  30. that fate gave me another sister (a twin even!)