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Leave a Legacy

Leave a Legacy

Those of you who have known me for a while or have me added on Facebook, probably have heard mention of my brother in Heaven, Aaron. When you hear of someone young passing away, it seems we usually assume that it was something sudden; a tragic car accident, a drug overdose, a suicide, etc. The reality is my brother’s passing wasn’t really sudden in that way. He struggled with health issues his entire life. He was born with a congenital heart defect known as tricuspid atresia, which means he was born without a right ventricle. Despite having to have numerous surgeries, procedures, checkups and medications he was able to live a relatively normal life and oftentimes most people were never even aware he had a heart condition.

Aaron

I think most people, if they were ever in the same position he was in, would probably have lived their life much differently than he did. I think most people, myself probably included, would be angry, bitter and negative. Few people know that sometimes he also had his share of days where he felt negative and down about his life but majority of the time, in spite of his circumstances, he lived his life to the fullest with a smile and always thought more of others than he ever thought of himself. His positive attitude was infectious. Every person he encountered, even if they were reluctant at first, became a fast friend and as such, he was a man of many friends whom he loved being around. He was spectacular at making people happy and making people laugh and I don’t know about you, but I certainly could use more people like that in a world that seems so negative!

Above all, he was a man of unfailing faith and a love for Christ that seemed unmatched. He never forced others to believe what he believed but he had this ability to, little by little, chisel away the hard, rough exterior that people put up to guard themselves and make them see how much better life could be if they lived more like he did. He showed love to people who were definitely not the easiest to love and even showed love to the people who hurt him or people he maybe didn’t like all that much. He treated everyone the same.

In the 22 years of my life that I got to share with him, I learned so much. I know I have a completely different personality than he had, but when I think of living a better life, I think of living more like he did. He changed so many lives in just 24 years and the ripples of his life are still going strong. I can’t even imagine the number of people out there that I don’t even know that probably have a story of how their lives were impacted by him. And this week I am thankful I got a little bit more insight into a few of those lives who were changed.

The reason I felt compelled to write more about him is because on Sunday my church had a sermon all about being “STUCK” in the middle of disappointment. We all face disappointment, it’s a part of life, but what we learned on Sunday, is that God is present with a purpose even in those times of disappointment. In order to drive the point home, they showed a video of my Dad talking about my brother and how his attitude and faith even when facing a heart transplant really changed his life. I wanted to share the video of the sermon on my blog, not just because it’s my Dad and my brother but because I feel that it is part of my duty, being left behind, to share the story in hopes that it will inspire others and in order to keep those ripples flowing.

2012 Recap + High Hopes for 2013!

I can’t believe I didn’t blog even once last year. I guess that is a testament to how much changed in 2012. I wanted to post one of those Year End recaps to talk about all the things that happened in 2012 before the New Year, but the end of my year was probably the busiest and most exciting part out of all of it! I’m going to try and blog a bit more often this year because I have a good feeling about all the new experiences that are headed my way this year.

So to kick things off, I’ll get you guys a little up to speed…

2012 Recap

  • WORSHIP BAND – One of the first big changes that came out of 2012 was auditioning again in February and finally making it into my church’s worship band as a vocalist! This is a goal I have been working towards for many years and I feel like has been an a learning and growing experience for me. Lots of spiritual and personal growth involved and definitely stepping a bit out of my comfort zone. Here’s one of my favorites we performed at church! Also happens to be one of my favorite songs.

  • DC TRIP – Back in May, I went on a mini 4 day roadtrip/vacation and traveled with my two crazy sisters up to Washington, D.C. and Maryland to attend the 2012 APAHM Tour to see Jay Park in concert. It was my youngest sister’s first experience with meeting someone famous and the trip was a little dose of freedom that I feel like we all needed. A big step outside of my comfort zone as it was my first time driving to and around an unknown place, but it was a great experience and a great trip for sisterly bonding!
  • WEIGHT LOSS – I achieved even more success with my weight loss this year. The numbers definitely weren’t as impressive as they were in 2010 and 2011 but I’m still on the overall track. I’m hoping to step it up in 2013 and work even harder towards achieving my weight loss goals. Hoping I can shave off that extra 20 pounds and turn my current 80 pounds total lost into a 100 total lost this year! Getting back on track with my healthier eating and working out extra hard this year!
  • LOTS OF FIRSTS – At the age of 28, it’s a bit embarrassing the amounts of things I hadn’t experienced up until this year. I think 2012 will go down as a very memorable year for me, though. Just to name a few… First road trip (driving without parents), first vacation as an adult (albeit a short weekend vacation), first time meeting an online friend in person, first time trying sushi/sashimi, first time going to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens and probably the biggest, most memorable… my first kiss.
  • I started off 2012 with the goal of living without fear. Fear is probably the largest obstacle for me in life and it has been a huge hindrance as far as holding me back from achieving the best available for me. So I feel like 2012 was a year of constantly working to overcome my fears, lifting them up to God and stepping outside my comfort zone. I hope 2013 will be even more of the same because if I learned anything from 2012, it’s that the best experiences usually begin with just a tiny step outside of our comfort bubbles. So 2013.. a year with less fear, more experiences and hopefully more firsts!

    I already have a couple firsts planned this year: First time flying solo (last time I flew I was 6!), first EXTENDED vacation as an adult, and first time visiting the West Coast! Yep, this year is looking like it will definitely be my best year yet!

    I Like This

    It’s been far too long since my last blog. Turns out I’ve been pretty busy lately and it’s mostly all the GOOD kind of busy. For a long time I’ve been the kind of person that just wants to keep to myself and do my own thing but I feel like I’m finally getting more comfortable out in the world! Since my last post a lot has gone down.. I’ll try to do a quick recap.

  • It’s finally OFFICIALLY fall. (Isn’t it funny I posted so much about Fall before it even got here and now that it’s here I disappear from the blogosphere?)
  • Went to my Church’s Volunteer Tailgate Party and HAD. A. BLAST even in the RAIN!
  • Designed another postcard for my Church which always makes me feel so fulfilled and helpful!
  • My face paint!

  • Went to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg TWICE and had a BLAST both times despite laughing until near suffocation numerous times.
  • Had the opportunity to volunteer for a special event at my Church and it was an AMAZING experience. I had no idea what I was even going to be helping with when I decided to help but I am SO happy I did it. I played a role in helping a number of people out of 399 that spontaneously got Baptized over two Sundays at my church. I had chills practically the entire time. Such a powerful moment and so glad I could help out people who made that decision!
  • Made some really cute (and tasty!) Halloween treats for my Community Group snack!
  • My baby niece, Alysa, turned ONE YEAR OLD on October 17th! That miracle child is such a blessing and I love her so much!
  • I have suddenly become obsessed with K-Pop thanks to my little sister and have also started (barely) learning Korean as a result.
  • Joined a penpal website and now have some new snail mail penpals and I am also starting new friendships with people around the world.
  • I have taken on the responsibility of helping one such friend through a really rough time. Not really sure how much help I am, but I feel good for trying and also for using it as an opportunity to talk about Jesus and link them to some videos of my Church’s past services.
  • I’ve nearly hit the 70 pounds lost milestone in my weight loss (Less than 2 pounds away!).
  • Here are two pictures of me with my sisters after we got our faces painted at Howl-O-Scream!

    So there you have it! I also have a lot coming up too. Not only are the holidays right around the corner, but I’m going to a Pumpkin Carving Party next weekend and just really excited about the future. I don’t really know where this change in me has come from but I’m really enjoying being more social and having more fun! Hope you all are having an awesome Fall so far!