Browsing Tag:

family

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Home Life, Lifestyle, Relationships

    How to Make Your Parents Proud

    parents

    Many of the parents I know, including my own, give everything for their children. My parents allow me to go on endless adventures and support me through any opportunities I have. They let me study abroad for the summer, they are allowing me to go to residential school for the next two years, and they are always positive lights in my life. The least I can do is strive to make them proud, right?

    Growing up, I had ideas of what my parents expected from me. Regardless of the amount of truth in these ideas, I agreed with some… but was extremely confused by others. I thought they wanted me to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a lawyer. Or that my mom wanted me to stay close to home and my dad didn’t want me to ever grow up.

    Me with my dad

    I didn’t know who I wanted to be, because I wanted to be who they wanted.

    I don’t know where I got these ideas because my parents have always been supportive and encouraging in everything I do. Is it even possible to make your parents proud if you don’t grow up to be like them? I wasn’t sure at the time. But yes, it certainly is possible.

    My ideas of my parents’ expectations couldn’t be farther from the truth. My parents always wanted me to be whatever I wanted, with a few actual expectations. They taught me that I could be whoever I wanted to be, as long as I was kind, hardworking, generous, and had integrity. Honestly, I am ashamed that it took me so long to realize what they were doing. They want the best for me, but they wanted me to make mistakes. They allowed me to learn on my own, probably because they knew I wouldn’t listen if they told me directly. My parents never truly placed any expectations for my future, because they want me to be independent.

    I have to figure out my own life, with their guidance, because it is mine, after all.

    My mom and dad’s goal is for me, and my brothers, to be happy, healthy, and love what we are doing. It’s that simple. Although, it’s cliché, it’s true, all you have to do to make your parents proud is be yourself. If I would’ve spent my life trying to make my parents happy, I would’ve missed the opportunities I had to accomplish things that truly make them proud. It is important for me to fulfill my own expectations, with the help of my parents. I take everything I am given to the fullest potential and hope that I can add to their pride, through doing what I feel is right.

    Parents should let their children live their own lives, let children make decisions, and fail sometimes. I know my parents enjoy watching what I can accomplish independently, after learning from them my whole life. I experience whatever is on my own path, regardless of what is on the paths beside me. Dreams have to be fulfilled by the dreamer. You can’t live someone else’s dream for them. The only way to succeed is to follow your own dreams, and have the ones you love support you along the way.

    Spend time with your parents and family! Here are some ways that you can grow closer this summer.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Home Life, Lifestyle

    The Power of Influence

    influence

    Anyone can be influenced

    Oftentimes I hear that children are vulnerable to influence, but that isn’t necessarily true. Adults can be just as easily influenced, but like to think they aren’t. Children are usually more open-minded than adults. This causes them to be more easy going and more likely to go with the flow. However, anyone can be influential, regardless of age. Everyone is influenced, whether they realize or not, by the people around them. It’s natural. Some people are influenced negatively and pressured into doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Others are influenced positively, and stop doing things that they normally do that could be harmful. Others are influenced to do anything, just so they can fit in. Regardless of others’ age or reputation, they still have the ability to influence you both positively and negatively.

    Influencers in my life

    The People that Influence Me

    I attribute most of my positive traits to the people I spend the most time with, who lead through demonstration. Within my family, there are a few women who I am most thankful for. First, my Mom showed me how to be strong, independent, and generous. Secondly, my Nana taught me to make my voice heard, be sassy, and confident. My Aunt Glenna showed me how to be kind, patient, altruistic, and loving.

    I spent the majority of my childhood with my gymnastics coach, Mrs. Ashley, who is my family. She taught me many useful lessons in life, like to always be the best I can be, but always work harder. Not to accept defeat, ever. I will sometimes fail, and that’s okay, but failure is supposed to be used as motivation to conquer whatever obstacle is holding you back. My school teachers taught me about their specific subjects, and also how to be successful and helpful.

    My mom taught me how to be strong, independent, and generous.

    Influence can come from anywhere

    My younger cousin, Hope, reminds me simply just to be happy. Each of my friends taught me something about relationships. Some friendships showed me that people can be dishonest, others just change over time and you grow apart. The best friendships are the ones where you learn something every day, usually just how to love and be accepting. Each experience and person we encounter makes an impression on our lives, but we choose how it impacts us and how we can help others. All of these women created the person I am today, without even realizing it. I hope I can make a fraction of the positive impact they had on me, on someone else.

    Hope reminds me to be happy!

    Initially, I thought influence typically comes from someone who is older, wiser, and more experienced. While that can be true, it also works the other way around. Some might think that discussing the power of your personal influence is conceited, but it really isn’t. Each person has the ability to interact and change people’s lives, so it is important to be positive. I strive to use what I have been taught and help others, even if it’s just through being myself.

    I think it’s safe to say that age doesn’t necessarily determine how much of an impact you have on someone. The age of role models is irrelevant, it is their qualities, and the content of their character that is significant.

    You aren’t just influenced by the people in your day-to-day life, celebrities and social media hold lots of influence too. If you’re looking for inspiring women to teach you about being the best you can be, check out our Wonder Women section, specifically our Sheroes!

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Holiday, Home Life, Lifestyle

    Spring Break with Parents vs. Spring Break with Friends … What do I do?

    Spring Break

    Spring break season is upon us.

     

    In our heads, we think of this glorious, week-long break from school as a time to relax and recuperate from the trials and tribulations of spring semester. But in all actuality, is it really as revitalizing as we make it out to be?

     

    Spring break falls into two categories: making memories with friends or spending quality time with your parents. Although both have their pros and cons, spring break is never actually as relaxing as we make it out to be.

     

    I spent this past week in Arizona with my parents. After long days packed with hiking at the Grand Canyon, searching for wild horses and watching baseball in the desert heat, I’m finally back home– and let me be honest, I’m more tired than I was before the vacation.

     

    On the other hand, a group of my closest friends spent their spring break in California. Even though laying at the beach, sightseeing around Beverly Hills and chatting around a bonfire doesn’t seem to strenuous, they’re ready to return to everyday life, as well.

     

    So if spring break is going to inevitably end up in exhaustion, how do you make a decision on what you’re going to do?

     

    In my opinion, spending vacation with your parents is always the way to go. Yeah, you’ll miss your friends (and probably encounter quite a bit of FOMO), but after a short week, you’ll be back together again.

     

    Spring break-ing with parents is much more smooth– the group is more organized and overall does more activities (and hey, not paying for everything with your own money is a perk). You don’t have to worry about travel or living situations, and they’re you’re family, so you know you’ll get along. Sometimes.

     

    Experiencing new things with friends is always a good time, but truthfully, spending too much time with them could produce some difficulties.

     

    I missed my friends this past week, without a doubt. But there’s nowhere else I would’ve rather been than with my family. Plus, family vacations aren’t forever– milk it while you still can!

     

    If you’re debating on whether to spend spring break with friends or family, follow the number one rule: family comes first. Besides the perpetual state of tiredness after it’s over, a great time is guaranteed.

  • Poem, Poems, Writing

    You Taught me to be a Writer; a Poem for my Mother

    You taught me to be a writer

    Since this is Women’s History Month, and mothers can play such a huge role in their daughters’ lives, I wanted to share a poem I wrote dedicated to my mother. She has always been a positive female influence and someone I look up to a lot.

    ~

    you gasped as you looked at me for the first time.

    9 pounds, 12 ounces.

    you were just happy i was here.

    you told dad to drive so carefully,

    you were terrified i would wake

    to a loose pebble on the road.

    you named me Grace, cause why not?

    it’s a sweet name, and i was sweet.

    you rocked me to bed each night,

    eyes never leaving mine

    you filled shelves with children’s books

    and let me flip back and forth through them

    pointing to images along the way

    and gargling in glee.

    you got me a easel and teared up

    when i painted a blob and it called it you.

    you let me use all of our tape rolls

    to put together pieces of paper

    with incoherent sentences written on them

    and call it a story.

    you watched movies with me

    and then watched as i went to my bedroom

    to think about them for hours

    and came back with a new movie, created by me.

    at night, you let “i have a headache”

    be my excuse to crawl into bed with you

    and snuggle into your arms as if i was still

    9 pounds, 12 ounces.

    you brushed my hair as tenderly as you could

    even though i still hated it,

    and rubbed sunscreen onto my face

    while i was trying to get on the swing.

    you bought me birthday hats and

    and watched with amusement

    as i used them to throw my stuffed dogs parties

    (and later weddings).

    you smiled when i came home and told you about my elementary school

    reading awards and smiled, even more, when i showed you

    my a+ essays.

    you laughed when i showed you the “oscar-worthy”

    movies me and my friend, and then me and my cousins,

    had created using the power of my ipad’s editing software.

    you cried almost every mother’s day

    when i handed you a letter, or poem, or collage

    and told me never to buy you something

    if i can write you something instead.

    you sat me down next to you one day

    and showed me a website you had found

    for a school called asfa

    and then you celebrated when i became as excited

    about it as you.

    you squealed when i got accepted,

    and you told me i would write amazing things

    even if i didn’t believe you yet.

    and now you hug me and buy me junk food

    every time i tear up and tell you i’m overwhelmed

    you fold my laundry

    every time you can see i’m too stressed.

    you tell me to relax and watch netflix with you

    even when i tell you i have no time

    because you tell me i need a break.

    you ask to read everything i write,

    you give me books from your library to read,

    you told me when i told you

    that maybe i should just be an accountant or something

    no. you’re too talented to punch numbers.

    you need to keep writing.

    and then you squealed again when i got my first publication,

    and again when i won my first writing award,

    you enveloped me in your arms

    with pride i could feel radiating off of you

    and held me, although i may be half a head taller now

    as if i was still

    9 pounds, 12 ounces.

  • Holiday

    My Family’s Christmas Traditions

    My Family’s Christmas Traditions

    I have a large family, so part of my immediate family’s holiday tradition is juggling houses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If we pull out the microscope and dive into my mother’s side of the family’s tradition, we’ll find BBQ sandwich platters and two rounds of Dirty Santa.

    Dirty Santa, for those of you who have that quizzical look, is traditionally a game where people bring a gag gift wrapped (or in a bag) to a Christmas party. At first my family went along with this, until people began to get upset with the dollar amount they spent on their gag gift versus the dollar amount spent on the one they ended up with. It’s not like there would have been a melt down if we had continued to do it the first way, but during this season of giving, we upped the stakes.

    Instead of gag gifts, there would be actual secret presents. Each person would bring a $10 present(s) and put it in a pile in the center of the room. This would lead to everyone drawing a number out of whatever bowl, hat, or bucket was available that year, and would begin playing. The rules are simple for our household:

    1. Place hidden (wrapped or bagged) gift in center of the room with other presents
    2. Count how many people are playing and put individual strips of paper in a hat with numbers representing the amount of people on them
    3. Everyone draws a number
    4. # 1 gets to pick a present first
    5. # 1 opens their present and shows it to the room
    6. # 2 picks a present and shows it to the room
    7. # 2 can then decide to keep their gift or “steal” # 1’s gift

    This continues with each number thereafter. A gift can only be “stolen” 3 times before it is stuck with someone. The person that is # 1 will get a chance to “steal” someone’s gift after the last number has gone. It’s all fun and games until a 10 years-old is crying over not getting what she wanted because cousin Tony wanted it, too.

    In the end, everyone leaves happy with a single present and the fun of hanging out with family.

    My dad’s side of the family is a little different. We actually cook food for this one. If you’re anything like me and are not a seasoned Chef, then I have some good news for you. I could easily burn a packaged sheet of cookies with the directions listed plainly in front of me, but I never go wrong with these two family recipes: French Potatoes and Chicken Dumplings.

    French Potatoes are identical to some Scalloped Potatoes recipes but sound fancier. You start off by peeling, washing, and cutting potatoes into chip-like slices. The preparation for both recipes is the only bad part.

    Then, heat up equal parts mustard and butter in a pot. Add in some salt. I’m not giving you specific amounts, because it really just depends on how many calories you’re feeling like eating that day. Give it about an estimated cup-cup and a half of each, minus the salt (that’d be a lot of salt, but there is never enough butter). The next step is to layer some potato slices onto a lightly greased pan. Cover the first layer with the butter, salt, mustard mixture. Add some parmesan cheese from those little bottles, next. And continue this process until all your potatoes are covered in heaps of sauce and cheese. Sounds healthy, right?

    Here’s a plain list of ingredients:

    Butter (to your heart’s content)

    Mustard

    Parmesan Cheese

    Salt

    Potatoes (of course!)

    Heat your oven to 350 degrees or 400 degrees if you’re impatient like me. I’m sure there’s some cooking logic somewhere that argues changing the temperature does not work the same just faster.

    Leave in for 45 minutes (or 30), and voila!

    The next recipe, the Chicken and Dumplings, are a favorite with my family. I even make these throughout the year if I’m feeling particularly culinary. You just need a little patience or some extra hands for this one.

    Grab two cans of regular (or large) size biscuits from your local grocer. I’m sure you could make them from scratch, but I’m just not at that point in my life right now.

    Roll out some parchment paper or clean your counter space. Cover the area with some Self-Rising flour. Make sure to have extra flour because the rolling process for these biscuits can get pretty needy (I definitely could have made a pun here, but I’ll spare you).

    Break open the cans, place a single biscuit onto the floured surface. Cover it with a little bit of flour and use either a roller or plastic cup to flatten it out. Then take a knife and slice the flattened pieces into long, thin strips. Continue this process until both cans of biscuits are now heaps of thin dough.

    Take two cans of Cream of Chicken soup (Campbell’s or off-brand both work) and place them into a large pot on the stove. Add in a cup of water for each can and toss some pepper and salt for taste. Let boil on medium heat for thirty minutes. Then, toss in the dough strips. Let cook for fifteen-twenty minutes until dough is cooked. You may need to stir a lot near the end of the time to keep it from sticking to your pot.

    If you’re not begging for more after your first taste, then I’m not sure you’re a real person.

    Here is a list of ingredients:

    2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup

    2 cans of ready to make biscuits

    Salt

    Pepper

    Self-rising flour

    I hope that you enjoy some of my family’s holiday traditions, and feel free to comment your own down below!

  • Mental Health

    Grieving During the Holidays

    Grieving During the Holidays

    I have so much to be thankful for this year, that the past two years seem almost like a fleeting nightmare. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. The food, the family, the festivities. It was all an endless possibility for joy. I find myself missing the way I felt back then, but I understand that what I have gone through brings me here today.

     

    Grab a comfortable seat, a blanket, and possibly some tissues, because this ride is going to ring you for all you have. Or at least, it did for me.

     

    It all started with my first retail job. I gave up my right to have Thanksgiving with my family so that I could cater to the afternoon shopping rush. I only did it for money. I needed to pay for school at the time.

     

    A couple of years of missed Thanksgivings started to weigh heavily on my relationship with my non-immediate family. This was the only time of year, aside from one day at Christmas time, that I got to see any of them.

     

    Flash forward to 2016. My sister is going to have a baby! She flaunts her bump everywhere she goes, and I’m buying little pink and purple things everywhere I go. Forgive me for loving those colors. Baby Squid would have worn them regardless of being a girl. Oh, yeah, she got her nickname because her ultrasound looked like an adorable baby squid.

     

    Over the Summer my grandmother gets sick. She already had cancer, but it got much worse. By the end of July she was saying her last goodbyes with an occasional word to her future great-grandchild. She passed away quickly.

     

    I quit my job, stopped going to class, and felt like life was fleeting. We had always been so close. It felt like a limb had been removed from my body.

     

    After seeking some help, I turned to the positive things in life. My sister was five months pregnant by the end of August. She would be the first grandchild and niece to a family of five children.

     

    As the months went on, my sister got sick. She battled viscous pancreatitis, causing her to be hospitalized for the remainder of the pregnancy. I stopped going to class again so that I could stay at the hospital with her. The whole family took turns.

     

    The doctors kept feeding us good news about the baby, saying she was healthy and the only one to worry about was Jamie, my sister.

     

    Come November, I wondered how Thanksgiving would feel. My grandmother was gone, and Baby Squid was becoming a high risk pregnancy.

     

    Two days before the holiday, Jamie was released. We planned a large feast with our immediate family and her husband’s. That night, she got sick again.

    We rushed her back to the emergency room and waited for several hours to hear anything back from the doctors. Finally, we were told that she would need to stay at the hospital until the baby was born. Three more weeks of hospital time. I was so selfish. I had finals the next week.

     

    One week later, as I was submitting my final assignment for a creative writing class I was in, I got a horrifying phone call. This is where you’ll need those tissues. I’m certainly desperate for some right now.

     

    My sister was dying and so was her baby. Her heartrate had dropped drastically, and Squid’s was nowhere to be found. They rushed her into an emergency c-section without knowing if it would kill them both.

     

    I just wanted a nice Thanksgiving. A nice Christmas. To get finals week over. Yet there I was, sitting in a hospital waiting room, watching my brother-in-law’s parents crying and hugging their son. He kept mumbling something about losing his wife and first child on the same night.

     

    My mom came out from behind a large metal door with red eyes and shaking her head. My niece didn’t make it.

     

    Jamie was still battling the blood loss somewhere in that godforsaken hospital. Would we lose her, too?

     

    Half an hour later a nurse came out to let us know that Jamie was doing fine, but in reality she would be broken for the rest of her life. We walked into her hospital room to see her holding my stillborn niece and babbling incoherently. She was on drugs and could barely comprehend what had happened.

     

    The doctors said it was a freak accident and that nothing could have prevented it. But it still feels like something could have been done.

     

    I am not sharing this story to make you feel sorry for me or for my family. I just want you to know that things can get better. Having grief, especially during the holidays, can be hard. It requires the help of all your loved ones and sometimes professional council.

     

    My sister got pregnant again the next year. With a baby boy. We called him T-rex, because his ultrasound kind of looked like one. I still miss Squid and my grandmother, but it is okay for me to be happy again. And it’s okay to still be sad sometimes.

     

    I have had time to heal. I am back in school full-time. I work retail again, with Thanksgiving off. And I have a beautiful nephew that I love so much.

     

    Try to remember the good things in your life as this holiday of “thanks” nears. I am thankful that my sister is alive. I am thankful for my nephew. I am thankful for all my family. I am thankful for my college education. I am thankful for this in internship so that I can share stories like this one with young girls who may experience similar grief.

     

    Here are some links to grief webpages if things get a little too tough:

    https://www.dougy.org/grief-resources/how-to-help-a-grieving-teen/

    https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/bereaved-family-friends/coping-grief-teenager/teen-grief-books

    https://www.verywellhealth.com/working-through-grief-10-helpful-tips-1132522

  • Book Review

    Grapes of Wrath: A Book Review

    In the book Grapes of Wrath, published by John Steinbeck in 1939, a family is forced to move out of their homeland and migrate towards plentiful land. The Dust Bowl posed a great threat not only to this family but all farmers and their loved ones. One important underlying message in the book is the importance of the women in a household. Ma Joad in the story is seen throughout the book as a hero and a mentor.

    First off, she is very welcoming, through allowing strangers (including homeless men) to sit down and share a meal with her. On the journey there, she puts on a fire, makes food, and sacrifices her food in order to give to the poor, hungry children around the camp. (SPOILER) She also keeps quiet when crossing the border to California in order to trick the guards into letting them through because the grandmother was sick when in reality she was dead the entire time. Ma was lying next to a corpse all night! While many believe that the man is the real center of the family, Ma Joad is able to break these types of gender roles and assumptions. Not only is she extremely confident, decisive, and friendly, but she also serves as the literal backbone and center of the family, supporting them throughout the entire experience.

    The book even mentioned her as the “citadel of the family”. She nurtures her daughter, Rose of Sharon, through the course of her pregnancy, while also managing to keep her impulsive and aggressive son, Tom Joad, in the right state of mind. Ma Joad is able to represent all women across the world. She is able to depict the idea that a family would not survive without a woman; a woman is just as important as the male in a household. A woman like her must be able to carry not only physical things but emotional things on her shoulder as well. She is an excellent representation of how women are capable of withstanding hardships and gain strength throughout the way!