I love sharing my experiences with y’all. I love that people find joy in my crazy life, share laughs with me after full body contact with the ground or the wall, and continue loving us through the good days and bad. It’s not everyone’s choice to be so open and honest with fears, failures and funny encounters – for me it’s cathartic.
Yesterday was a funny day, and I’m still enjoying the innocence of the encounters. People will never cease to amaze me and today reaffirmed my belief in the good of others.
It all started in the elevator, a sweet man who I’ve spoken with in passing on various occasions turned around and said:
Can I ask you a personal question? Have you always been blind or is this new for you?
I explained that I have ALS and use the walking stick for balance and keeping my teeth in my mouth. He exited the elevator with a smile and a “bless you” and we continued on our separate ways.
Once in the office the conversation quickly digressed to including dark glasses, extra tapping, and to really sell it: adding in Baloo. Phil is confusing to people, but the fact that this man was comfortable enough to ask reaffirms my dedication to awareness.
Later, I was waiting for a coworker in front of the entrance of our building so we could walk in together. It was in the midst of the lunch bustle so people were coming and going. We walked into the office, I did a few things, then headed out to drop my car off with Kenneth. As I was walking to my car a sweet woman stopped me and asked:
Do you need a ride somewhere? I hate that you’ve just been standing out here.
I quickly thanked her for the offer and laughingly explained that we seemed to be on the schedule coming and going from the building. Her concern turned to laughter and we went our separate ways.
Yesterday ended with the coolest opportunity: I was asked to be the guest speaker at the Tarleton – Fort Worth campus chapter of American Association of University Women. Such a blessing to be in a room with strong, passionate women.
Funny days are good for the soul.
“It’s a beautiful day and I can’t stop myself from smiling. If I’m drinking, then I’m buying, and I know there’s no denying It’s a beautiful day, the sun is up, and the music’s playing” – Michael Bubble
Hello Tarleton Texans! What an honor it is to be here tonight, speaking to y’all – the best looking part of our Tarleton family – and sharing with you my story.
Tonight you are leaving with two separate pieces: one talks about my journey as a 30 year old wife, dog and cat mom, and busy body living with a terminal disease; the other discusses my passion for education, my love for all things Tarleton, and the brutal havoc this disease is having on my body. Both are insightful, both are me in my purest form, and both leave me asking – how is this real life?
I’ll give you the cliff notes version of how I got here, speaking to the powerful, innovative, passionate women of Tarleton – Fort Worth and featured in two amazing publications:
I grew up in Hico with 1299 other country bumpkins, graduated 5th in my class of 42 and set off to Tarleton in the fall of 2005. 4 years to the date that I told my mother “graduating college in 4 years is like leaving a party at 9PM – so lame” I graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Interdisciplinary Business. With nothing else to do, literally I tried everything I could think of to not go, I loaded up my stuff and started grad school at Texas State in the fall of 2009. Accepting my first “big girl job” in January of 2011, I moved to Weatherford to work full time and finish my degree online. After 3.5 years, a position opened within an organization I was currently volunteering for and in August 2014 I became the Director of Development and Events at Junior Achievement of the Chisholm Trail. Diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, on January 20, 2015 – married the cutest redheaded South African golfer in November 2016 – turned 30, two publications, threw out the first pitch at the Rangers Game, and BOOM here we are.
AAUW Tarleton – Fort Worth is making an impact on the world around us by empowering and encouraging college students to develop professionally, take leadership roles and advocate for gender equity in areas of salary and career opportunities – do you feel empowered and encouraged?
Similarly, JA is a youth development program that takes volunteers from the community into the classroom and bridges the gap between what is being taught and how it’s applied in the work place – I can attest that our students feel empowered and encouraged by our volunteers.
You have my story in front of you, I encourage you to read it, to ask questions, and to use my experiences – good and bad – as motivation to live your life loud, full of love and sunshine. Now let’s talk about you, because that is why we’re here – right?
YOU are a part of history and that’s huge. The proof is in the puddin’ as they say:
- John Tarleton walked from Tennessee to Texas with his pet duck, Oscar P, in 1865 and the John Tarleton College opened its doors on September 3, 1899.
- Association of Collegiate Alumnae, who first met on November 28, 1881, has been a catalyst for change and an important role in women’s history
- On June 9, 1921 a merger of two powerful organizations gave way to form the AAUW.
- In 1917, the John Tarleton Agricultural College became part of the Texas A&M System and became a state institution.
- In 1938, AAUW set the foundation for future campaigns to improve the status of women by publishing and proving discrimination in academia.
- In 1959, JTAC became a four year degree granting institution which opened the door for me to have a beautiful diploma in my office – and one day, you will, too!
- In 1973, JTAC became Tarleton State University and began the growth and expansion of an academic system that lead to classes being held on 5 separate campuses today.
- In 1949, AAUW revised its bylaws to reaffirm that women college graduates of all races are eligible for membership and began the growth and expansion of the organization that has more than 170,000 members and support on more than 800 campuses.
Well into each of their second centuries of establishment, Tarleton and AAUW are prominent in this community. Your affiliation not only makes you powerful, but you are now part of a family – my Tarleton family.
And as all good family members do, I need you to do me a favor:
- Get involved
- Be part of the solution
- Together let’s prove that love wins, every single time.
Thank you for having me.