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Our Engagement Pictures

I almost forgot that I promised to show you the pictures from me and Corey’s engagement shoot!

My “big sister” in my sorority, Jessi, has become a phenomenal photographer, and has quite the little business going.  She truly has an eye for capturing moments, not to mention, she makes my food pictures look like Bella took them.

She is so creative, and came up with some really unique and fun shots of Corey and I! These are my favorites. Enjoy!

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If you live in the Orlando or South Florida area and need an awesome photographer for ANYTHING- weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, engagement shoots, maternity shoots…Jessi Caparella with J Photography is the girl for the job!  For more information or to see her work, please check out her Facebook page and “like” J Photography!

Plans

I’m a planner.  A list-maker.  A goal-setter.

There is nothing that upsets me more than writing down a plan, and then watching it unfold in a different way than I intended.  Fortunately, for my sanity, there is a quote that I repeat to myself every time I find myself in this situation (which is…a lot.)

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”  

It has always been of the upmost importance to me to know what my purpose is in life- what I’ve been put here to do.  I have struggled for years to figure it out.  As I discovered the nursing profession and learned more about it, I felt this unexplainable draw to become a nurse.  Some people would say it’s a “calling”.  I made the decision to pursue nursing during my junior year of college, when I was about 20-years-old.

I am now 23, and I feel like I’ve been crawling at a snail’s pace towards my ultimate goal for my career.  I have sat down probably over 10 times in the passed 3 years and made 12-month plans, 2-year plans, 5-year plans, 10-year plans…only to tear them up and start over a few months later.  I’ve encountered many setbacks that have tacked time onto my plans, and each time it happens, I feel more and more defeated.

I gave up a lot to pursue my goal.  For starters, I haven’t been able to work a “real” job for the last 5 months, and Corey has been working his butt off trying to support both of us.  Obviously, this makes me feel extremely guilty, and has added a lot of stress on both of us.  Thankfully, he is more than supportive of me going after what I want- I literally would not be able to do this if it weren’t for him.

Yesterday, I turned in my completed application packet to the nursing school that I have been planning to attend.  The program is a one-year, accelerated Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree- and it comes with a hefty price tag.  So hefty, in fact, that I would have to take out several large student loans to cover the costs- something that I am fortunate to have never had to do for my first degree (thank you, parents!).  As soon as I walked in the doors, I had a bad feeling.  Then, literally a few hours after turning it in, I discovered that the school doesn’t have the accreditation necessary for me to go on to get my Master’s at a different school.  This is a deal-breaker.

So, where does that leave me?

Well, for starters, I am really upset.  I have been overjoyed about the fact that I would be starting nursing school in just a few short months, and that I would finally be finished, working in the field that I want, in just a year.  Now, all of that is gone, and I feel like I’m back to square one.

However, I have learned a few things through all of this.  First, even though I feel like I’m too old to still be in school and not already have a career going, I’m not.  I’m only 23.  I repeat this to myself: You are not old, you weirdo.  It helps.  People change careers at 40 and 50-years-old!  Second, even though I have encountered more setbacks than I would have liked, I still want this- and so far, I have yet to see any signs that I am making the wrong decision.  In fact, with each month that passes and each class that I take, I am more and more sure that I am making the right decision for my life.

So, the new plan is this:  I will be, God-willing, re-joining the good ol’ workforce.  This means I have to start the dreaded and draining job search again, something I have not missed in the last few months.  I am hoping to find a job in a hospital, perhaps in administration.  I will work for the next 8 months, saving money for school.  Then, come January of 2012, I will *fingers crossed* start a nursing program that will result in an RN license by October of 2013, and a Bachelor’s degree by April 2013.

Is this ideal?  Not really.  I wish I could just snap my fingers and get what I want, but, life is a lot harder than that.  I am trusting that God has reasons for everything that has happened to this point, and that He is leading me in the right direction.

What I do know for sure is that, one way or another, I am going to be a nurse.

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By the way, HAPPY NURSE APPRECIATION WEEK to all you nurses out there!  

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you fabulous mommies out there!

I am sad that I am not with my own mom on this special day, but there’s  a few things I’d like to say, since I know she’s reading 🙂

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My mom is truly the greatest person I will ever know.  She has taught me so many things in the last 23 years, many of them without even knowing she was doing it!  She has showed me what it means to truly work hard, enjoy life, and most importantly, put others before yourself.

Here are just a few things my mom has taught me throughout the years…

1. Never put yourself first.  Her goal has always been to make my sister and I, my dad, my grandma, her friends- even strangers- happy.  She is always thinking of other people.  For example, a tradition that I know I will continue on is every time a new neighbor moves in, she gets to work making them a loaf of homemade bread- even though she works two jobs and barely has a spare minute in any given day!  I don’t know if there is anyone on this planet as selfless as she is.

2.  Be your childrens’ #1 fan.  No matter what I was doing growing up, whether it was singing competitions, dancing, playing the piano, ice skating, tennis- it didn’t matter- she was there, pushing me to be the best I could be, and supporting me when I needed it.  She’s believed in me 110%, and always said that I could accomplish anything I wanted.

3. Work hard.  My mom was, and still is, a working mom.  She started her own business when she was my age, and has grown it into something pretty remarkable.  It has always amazed me that she is able to teach class after class of young kids, with more energy and enthusiasm than I think I could ever muster up, yet, she still comes home with a smile on her face, laughing and telling stories about her day.

4.  Play harder.  Talk about life of the party.  My mom can literally walk into a room full of the most boring, uptight people, and have them laughing their butts off within minutes.  She is not only hilarious, but so incredibly talented- I cannot count the number of times she has saved a party by getting up and singing or playing the piano- or both! She truly lights up a room- her energy is contagious!

5.  Don’t give up.  My mom has taught me that life can be tough.  Things don’t always go the way we plan, but that’s OK. The important thing is that you don’t give up- if life throws you down, get back up again.  If you have a goal in mind, go for it.

I owe my mom the world, because that’s exactly what she’s given me.  


Mom, you are my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, my confidante, my shopping partner, my coach, my guardian angel– you have made me into the woman I am today, and I can honestly say that my #1 goal in life is to bring the same happiness to my family one day, that you always brought, and continue to bring, to yours.

I LOVE YOU!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Expectations

I’m really not someone who likes to brag or toot my own horn, but…since this is my blog…

May I 🙂 ?

Take a look at THIS:

AND

I have never been happier about any accomplishment in my life.  I have never received straight A’s in college, much less received anything higher than a B in a science course.  I took 3 science classes in one semester, each one more daunting and challenging than the next, and I got A’s.

Which leads me to the following topic…

In high school, I was dubbed the “dumb blonde”.  I really wasn’t dumb, but I played into the cutesy role that was pushed upon me without hesitation, something I wish I could take back.  Some expected me to get married immediately and not really do anything with my life except shop.  Others thought that my singing ability might take me far.  Others still, thought I might be on TV as a weather girl or a host.

Recording a demo in high school

Winter Court Queen

So, what did I want?

Honestly, it didn’t seem to matter.  It was never something I gave a lot of thought to, because it was all decided for me.  I was going to be a singer, or I was going to be on TV, or I was going to be famous and THAT’s that.  Talk about pressure!  Those aren’t exactly tangible goals, am I right?

Finally, during my junior year of college, it hit me.  I was on Facebook (of course), and saw at least 10 of my sorority sisters’ statuses that said, “I got into UCF Nursing School!”  I thought to myself, “That is so awesome.  I wish I could do that, but it’s way too hard. I’m not smart enough to pass all those science and math classes.  Oh, well.

Later, I mentioned my inner thoughts to Corey about my friends in nursing school, and he looked at me said, “Wait- what do you mean it’s too hard?”  He told me that I could do anything I wanted, and he encouraged me to go after it.  I did a lot of research about nursing.  I went to hundreds of different websites, forums, watched videos, learning anything and everything I could about the profession and the different types of degrees available for nurses.  Eventually, I created a plan of action.  I decided that because I was already so far into my Communications degree, I would finish it, and use it as a way to get me into a one-year accelerated BSN program, which is available only to those who already hold a Bachelor’s in another field.  I have been working towards this goal ever since, although I did encounter several set-backs.

I spent the day yesterday with my “big sister” in my sorority, Jessi.  Over breakfast, we had a conversation that really opened my eyes to something.  She was explaining how her whole life, she has been working towards this “dream” of being a news anchor on TV.  In high school, she was class president and very involved with the TV production class.  Everyone, including her parents, expected her to be a famous news anchor one day, and she thought that’s what she wanted.  Turns out, after several jobs in the industry, she realized it’s never been what she wanted, but what everyone else wanted for her.  She has now discovered that she truly wants to be a teacher, with a side business of freelance photography, which she is incredibly talented at.

Jessi and I on Bid Day

After she said this, it dawned on me that I’m not the only one who has dealt with this kind of pressure- the pressure of other people’s expectations of what you should be.  

I think it is common for our friends and family to see where are talents are and hope for the highest and best possible outcome for our lives.  It is great to have that kind of support.  But, when it gets to the point where YOU don’t know what you really want, it’s time to step back from what others want and focus on what you want for your own life.  After all, you’re the one that has to live it, not them, right?

I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my entire life.  I am so excited about my future profession, and I am so thankful for the people that pushed me to go after what I wanted.  I proved to myself that I AM SMART– that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, and that is a great feeling.

Winning a pageant

Singing at Miss Florida

Graduating from UCF

Have you felt the pressure of expectations before?  

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