Blessings from 2014

As I sit here, now in 2015, I can’t help but reflect on my 2014. The first 6 months of 2014 were a little rocky. I think I let a lot of my emotions from the 2013 year sneak their way in there with an obscene amount of drinking and stupid decisions. But what can you do but learn from it, right? So here I am, learning from my mistakes and counting my blessings heading into 2015..

Always100In my post, More Than MyselfI talk about coaching my kids and how much of a blessing they are to me. I did not mention, however, that in 2013 I took a break from all that. It wasn’t until January of 2014 I got back in the game with my new Always 100 family, which was probably one of the few good decisions I made during that first 6 month span. I thank God every day for these 9 young women, their families, and the coaching staff at Always 100 for bringing me back in to their lives and their program.

IMG_1956As I started to try and better myself come mid year, I decided not only to mentor my own kids that I coach, but to also become a Big for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). This was a big step for me. There was an extensive process in being matched with a Little. I was beyond nervous. What if we didn’t hit it off? How could I relate to a kid who came from a totally different background than me? Would we have anything in common?

Well BBBS really knows their stuff and matched me with the most amazing Little. It’s insane how much we have in common. She could be the younger version of me to be quite honest. We’re about 6 months into our match and the support from the BBBS family has really helped me to try and become a better Big for my Little. This girl and I are going to be friends forever, I just know it.

IMG_0702In August this year I ventured to Isla Muejeres, an island off of Cancun, for my first girls trip with two of my best friends. Can you say, much needed vacation?

The three of us had been inseparable for the past 6 months. What better way to top it off with a vacation to end the summer? And so we did.

Isla Muejeres was gorgeous and we were so blessed to have the chance to go to such a secluded resort, swim with whale sharks, golf cart the entire island, shop and bargain with locals, relax, and drink the amazing Mexican tequila.

Mexico just so happens to be my families favorite place to vacation. So guess where I’m headed to again in April? Yep, Mexico!

IMG_1296Now here comes the real kicker. The one moment in 2014 to change it all was this baby right here. Pretty gross, huh? Sorry for the gruesome image, but there are no words that would do this image justice.

This is what happens when you come down on a martini shaker. Seriously.

What a freak accident, right?! I had never had anything like this happen to me before. Straight to the ER I went: a lot of blood, 27 stitches, and 8 shots later, I was pretty much handicapped for 2 months.

Those 2 months were the 2 months that flipped my 2014 around. There’s not a lot you can do, but think and reflect, when you can’t move from your couch. I knew as soon as I was ready I wanted to make changes in my life.

The first was to read You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, a book recommended to me by a friend, and one I have now recommended to many more. If there is anything in this post you resonate with, I really hope it’s to purchase this book. I recommend the audio version so you can take notes. I took pages upon pages of notes, which I keep next to my bed, to remind me of ways to better my life every single day.

From there it’s really been uphill for me.

My oldest sister had her 3rd (and final) baby boy.

My younger sister got engaged to the love of her life.

And I got a dog.IMG_2092

Don’t laugh, I’m serious. This was a huge step for me. I didn’t have a whole lot of support on this one, but that didn’t matter. I was ready for more responsibilities. I was ready to have someone else in my life. What better way than to save my baby Lucy from the SPCA. You can read her story here.

So that’s it. That’s all she wrote. Literally.

Overall, 2014 was a success. I ended it WAY better than I started it. And I’d have to say the journey through 2014 really blessed me with a lot. Even in those last couple days of the year.

Everything happens for a reason and everything is all about timing. Everything.





More Than Myself

Always 100 MelloI can honestly say (and I’m sure this is no shock to some) that I have been a pretty selfish person in the past. Some may still say I’m selfish, but if you’ve ever seen me with my kids that I coach, your whole perspective would change.

I started my coaching career in the spring of 2012 with ZERO experience. I was given1900175_10202253087306238_857766389_n some 6th grade girls (who have since turned into freshmen in high school). And as all teams go, there have been a lot of changes to our rosters and even our team name.

These (now 14 year old) kids have been a major part of my life these last three years. I’ve always known how much they’ve meant to me, and how lost I’d be without them. But it did not truly hit me until this past weekend…

I was asked by one of my kids to help her get ready for her very first high school formal. I was honored to be able to take on the 1799020_10203164878183878_2913779039467934883_o“big sister” role for her as I have done for many of my players. Now, I’ve cried a few times with these kids in the past talking about how proud of them I was or because our AAU season was coming to an end. But this time, I started crying as I hugged this particular player right before she left.

Like, who the heck am I? Crying about a 14 year old kid, who isn’t mine, going to her first formal. What selfish 24 year old does that?

But it was that very moment I realized that I had truly found the reason for my existence. 1798807_10202253049585295_420085610_n

I was put on this earth to be a role model, a friend, a big sister, to coach, and to even mentor these girls. I’ve always known that in some capacity, but never truly understood the impact I was having on them as well as the impact they were having on me.

I found the reason for my existence, through this thing we call coaching. Something I originally got interested in mainly because I wasn’t ready for my basketball career to be over after college. These girls’ parents put their trust in a young kid they didn’t know who had no clue what she was doing. And within just two years it’s turned into me adding almost 15 more sisters to my family tree.10333258_10202825171487985_1071393759659922411_o

Believe me, I am not the greatest coach when it comes to X’s and O’s or game time decisions. But what I can tell you is that my relationship with these kids is bigger than the game of basketball. The bond I have developed with many of them over the years is something I will never be able to fully understand or explain to people.

And that alone is how I know I found the reason for my existence. I can’t fully explain to you why I love these kids. I mean they’re just kids. But because I can’t fully put it into words, shows me that I have found people I love more than myself.

You hear that you neh say’ers? I have found people I love more than I love myself.10313712_10203388215443732_94045592396891641_n

That is how you can find the reason for your existence too. Whether it be kids you mentor, a significant other, a child, a pet… When you love someone or something more than you love yourself, you will see why you were put here on this earth.

And isn’t that what we’re all looking for anyway? A reason for why we’re here.

You may not have found yours yet, but I promise you, you’ll find it. And when you do, you won’t be able to explain it. It just is.