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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Better Days

"Tonight's the night the world begins again."

Happy New Years, Everyone!!! I am writing you this December 31st in the midst of getting ready to go celebrate the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012.

2011 was full of incredible experiences and memories for me, and I hope the same goes for you all!

I have always loved the Goo Goo Dolls, and I think that you'll understand why!  This song is such a perfect way to say hello to 2012!  No matter what happened in 2011, if it was a great year for you, or a terrible one... tonight begins a new chapter in all of our lives... tonight is a way to start over... tonight the world comes together to say goodbye to the past and look positively and optimistically at the future.


Please enjoy tonight, and all of the magic that it brings.  Hope, joy, excitement and love to all of you on this wonderful evening!

And you asked me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
'cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

[Chorus]
So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

I need some place simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And that's faith and trust and peace while we're alive
And the one poor child who saved this world
And there's ten million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them


I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days


'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

The Goo Goo Dolls - "Better Days"

God Bless! And Happy 2012! xoxo
Love True-
Allison

Friday, December 9, 2011

Walk on the Ocean

Today, I realized that I have probably spent more time in a gymnastics gym than I have in any other place.  Particularly the gym at UW-Whitewater, where I attended college and now coach.  I have spent 9 months of the last 7 years there.  No wonder it feels like home to me.  It's not a chore to go there, and I don't ever feel like I'm at work when I'm there.  It's just a warm feeling, happy and content.  

I entered my first gym at age 4... so needless to say, I've been pretty content to be barefoot and in a leotard for the last 21 years.  Okay, my leotard wearing days are over... but I still go barefoot :)

Anyway, I came across this quote again today, a line from a song that wasn't very familiar to me, but for this one line that pops up frequently in one of my favorite TV shows.  

"Somebody told me that this is the place where everything's better and everything's safe."

 
My home is one of these places for me.  Relaxing in the comfort of my home, with my family by my side is the safest I've ever felt.  The fabric of the "nap chair," the warmth of the fireplace, the smell of my mom's candles, and the clutter of 4 young adults watching movies together with their parents, is the happy safe zone that I love the most.  I wish I could be there more, but real life isn't always that easy.

Work keeps me a good distance away from my home, but lucky for me I have a home away from home.  I have a nice little studio apartment where I spend a lot of time these days.  I am a nanny during the day, so I'm home a lot now.  But my apartment is not my comfort zone.  When I am away working, my home is the gym.  I feel happy there, calm and serene.  Sure, sometimes college gymnastics is stressful, and intense... but that is normal for any job. 

Despite the location, where ever it may be... I think the true HOME feeling comes in part because of the people who surround it.  I know how blessed I am to have two incredible families who love and support me... and that is all the SAFE I need.

My wish for everyone is that they have one of these places.  Somewhere they feel the most like themselves.  Somewhere they feel comfortable being who they are.  Somewhere they can trust to save them from the outside world when times get hard.  A safe haven. 


"we spotted the ocean at the head of the trail
where are we going, so far away
and somebody told me that this is the place
where everything's better, everything's safe

walk on the ocean
step on the stones
flesh becomes water
wood becomes bone

half and hour later we packed up our things
we said we'd send letters and all those little things
and they knew we were lying but they smiled just the same
it seemed they'd already forgotten we'd came

walk on the ocean
step on the stones
flesh becomes water
wood becomes bone

now back at the homestead
where the air makes you choke
and people don't know you
and trust is a joke
we don't even have pictures
just memories to hold
that grow sweeter each season
as we slowly grow old"

Love True-
Allison





Thursday, December 1, 2011

Carrie Underwood

"Lessons Learned" - Carrie Underwood



There's some things that I regret,
Some words I wish had gone unsaid,
Some starts,
That had some bitter endings,
Been some bad times I've been through,
Damage I cannot undo,
Some things,
I wish I could do all all over again,
But it don't really matter,
Life gets that much harder,
It makes you that much stronger,
Oh, some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were,
Lessons learned.

And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.

There's mistakes that I have made,
Some chances I just threw away,
Some roads,
I never should've taken,
Been some signs I didn't see,
Hearts that I hurt needlessly,
Some wounds,
That I wish I could have one more chance to mend,
But it don't make no difference,
The past can't be rewritten,
You get the life you're given,
Oh, some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were,
Lessons learned.

And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.

And all the things that break you,
Are all the things that make you strong,
You can't change the past,
Cause it's gone,
And you just gotta move on,
Because it's all,
Lessons learned.

And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned,
Oh, some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned,
Lessons learned.


This song came on last night while I was coaching, and I nearly broke down into tears right there.  It was one of those moments where the right words hit you at the right time.  I've been looking for the right words lately, to describe how I've been feeling about life.  Sometimes I feel like I've fallen so far behind that I will never catch up to where I am supposed to be.

For instance, if I would have done something different, would my life be easier?

Probably.

If I wouldn't have gone to grad school (or undergrad for that matter), I wouldn't be incredibly in debt.
If I would have stayed home and gone to school, I wouldn't have missed out on watching my little sister grow up.
If I hadn't done gymnastics, I wouldn't have scars, broken bones... or dreams...

Wait.

No dreams? What kind of a life would that be?

Every struggle, and every pain was worth it's weight in what I've learned because of it.

That white scar down the front of my leg made me Strong.  And the fact that it's two scars deep makes me Stronger.  The purple "swirly design" on my heel is a reminder that I have a family outside of my family should I ever need them.  And the one on top of my foot reminds me to believe in myself when there is nothing else for me to believe in.  And all of the marks on my heart that have come through loving and losing, dreaming, daring, taking chances, being scared, succeeding and failing have only prepared me to be a more compassionate and understanding person.

Life is all about lessons.  If we didn't make mistakes, we would never learn from them.  If we didn't take chances, how would we know how great life can be?  I have to turn down that ticket... to the event in LA that I was dying to go to.  Unfortunately, I can't afford the trip, but I'm planning to save enough to go next year.  Am I bummed?  Of course I am.  But I am still thrilled to have been acknowledged for my accomplishments, my struggles and for being brave enough to tell the world what I have been through.  All of that pain was worth the lesson I learned about my life; That it is far more important to do something that I love, be someone I love, and to be proud of that than to waste energy worrying about things that don't really matter.

Sure, I probably could have skipped out on all of this hard stuff had I chose another path in life.  But who knows what that would have brought me?  I don't want to know.  I want to appreciate.

Day 24: Appreciate life's little lessons.  You may not recognize them as they hit you... but if you're patient, they will always reveal themselves!

Love True-
Allison

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shantel VanSanten

After my last crazy rant, I thought I should come back down to Earth a bit.  I've quoted this woman before, and I'll probably continue to do so.  She is such a positive force in speaking up for young women, whether it be about self-image, self-confidence, finding inner beauty, recovering from eating disorders, what have you... she is a constant source of inspiration for all women.  I have found a great deal of support from her words, as have many others.  I am thankful for her wisdom and her honesty and her ability to make sense of difficult emotions.  So as I lie here in bed tonight, I thought I would share one of her tweets with you all.

"When u close your eyes tonight... Embrace who you are... know that you are more than enough."


This is me... today.  Bundled up for winter!
I didn't have a particularly great day today... or week for that matter.  Hell, you all heard what happened on Monday ;-)  But I've found some comfort, from Lord knows where, that has helped me out in recent days.  Maybe it's getting the daily doses of advice from people who have been there.  Maybe it's talking to friends and family on the phone or Facebook.  Maybe it was the recognition from Team True Beauty in winning that essay contest.  Maybe it's the blogging, that calms me and gives me a sense of purpose.  Maybe it's the fact that I took charge of a stressful and depressing job situation.  Whatever it is... I've been feeling much stronger and more beautiful these last couple of days.  I've been feeling like I am enough... or "more than enough" as Shantel told me.  


Day 23: Remember that you are MORE THAN ENOUGH... just YOU... the way you are RIGHT NOW.  If you're reading this, you mean the world to me... even if I don't tell you enough.  You are giving me the opportunity to share myself... all of me... with you and the world, and I am so incredibly grateful for this!  "You are beautiful, you are capable, and you are loved."- SVS


Love True-
Allison 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Giving Up

I did something kind of crazy today.  For the first time in my life, I quit something.  I quit my job.
Crazy right?

Probably.

Though I do have something else lined up, I still felt entirely guilty about quitting.  I don't know if it was just "quitting" something that got me so worked up, or the completely inappropriate and unprofessional way my boss attacked my character for giving her two weeks notice.

That's right.  I left that office feeling like the smallest version of myself.  Now, as an eating disorder survivor, I've felt pretty low at certain points in my life... but never have I ever felt that way because of something someone else said to me! WTF Lady?!

Though I never planned on using this blog to vent about a person, today marked a new step in my life.  I had to stand up for myself, maybe for the first time... and I struggled.  I had a hard time finding the words to explain how grateful I was for the opportunity to work there, but how my life needed to take another path.  And that was the nicest way I could think of to say, "I can't work for you anymore, because I cannot continue to wonder which of your two personalities I'm going to get each day? The stress you cause me is driving me insane, and I cannot enjoy my life or anything about it while I'm wondering if myself and my Master's degree are pouring coffee the right way."

Now that I've gotten all that off my chest... I can share my quote with you all!

"Giving up doesn't always mean you are weak.  Sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go."

As an eternal 'people pleaser' I have spent so many days making sure that everyone else is happy.  Today I took a step towards my own happiness.  I think that over the past few years I have grown tremendously.  And though, I still hate causing problems, confrontation still makes me extremely uncomfortable, and I definitely got in my car and cried today, I did have the strength to let go of this situation.   I still have to deal with the repercussions of working there for another 4 shifts, but in the long run... I know in my heart I did the right thing for ME... and that is what I'm going to hold on to.

Day 22: Let go of whatever it is that is holding you back.  Whether it is restricting your life physically, mentally or emotionally... be strong and put a stop to it.  The lightness that follows will be great! (I hope!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Carrie Underwood

"It's so easy to get lost inside
a problem that seems so big at the time
it's like a river thats so wide
it swallows you whole.
While you sit around thinking about what you can't change
and worrying about all the wrong things
time's flying by
moving so fast
you better make it count 'cause you can't get it back..."

So often, I get caught up in all of the little things that are going wrong in my life.  Simple, stupid, little things, that really won't affect my life in it's entirety.  Or at least, it shouldn't affect my life that way.  When I get caught up in these little inconveniences, sometimes they seem much bigger than they really are.  I've done a bit of this lately.  Wasting energy dwelling on a small problem, and causing myself stress and pain over something that I should have allowed to just roll right off my shoulders.  

I need to stop.  And I'm telling you all about it so that I have some incentive!  Life is way to great to spend it sweating the small stuff, and I'm so tired of sweating! ;-) 

Day 21: Stop sweating the small stuff.  Let one thing go each day... whether it was a big deal or nothing at all... just let one thing go!  Eventually, we will all have less stress in our lives!

Love True-
Allison

Monday, November 7, 2011

Make a Wish

"Make a wish and place it in your heart... Anything you want, Everything you want. Do you have it? Good, Now believe it can come true. You never know where the next miracle is gonna come from the next smile, the next wish come true. But if you believe that it's right around the corner, and you open your heart and mind to the possibility of it, to the certainty of it, you just might get the things you're wishing for. The world is full of magic. YOU JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE IN IT. So make your wish... Do you have it? Good, now believe in it... With all your heart."


One Tree Hill- "Make a Wish Monologue"

I thought that this quote was ideally perfect right now.  At this moment, as the cast of my favorite show is filming their final episode over 1000 miles away from me, I find myself becoming more and more appreciative of what I've gained from their work.

Long story short, as a fan of the show, and the actors that are on it, I came to follow a group called Team True Beauty.  I read a beautiful and honest account of one the actors personal struggles and it touched me so deeply that I found the courage to share my own story with these amazing people.

My goal in life has always been to make a difference in the world; and up until now, I wasn't quite sure what that goal meant or how I was going to pursue it.  These wonderful people at Team True Beauty have given me the opportunity and the platform to help make that change.

I entered a contest.  An essay to be submitted, sharing my story, explaining what Team True Beauty meant to me and how it has affected my life.  I submitted my essay, having shared it with only one other person.  Though that friend only offered words of encouragement, and positive feedback, I clicked send... and virtually forgot about the essay and the contest.  You see, the winner was to receive free tickets to the Team True Beauty Anniversary Event in January... in LA.  (Yeah, right.  Like I'm going to LA).

Well, I won... so maybe I am going!

I got tagged in a Tweet last night (for those of you who aren't twitter literate, it's like a Facebook tag) by someone I didn't know, congratulating me on winning a the TTB contest.  "What?" Was the only thought I could muster... and it came out loud.  When I finally got to a computer and checked I was completely blown away.  They chose me, and my story to win tickets to this event that I thought was completely out of my reach.  I felt so humbled and so honored... and I still do.  I feel like these people have given me this incredible platform to do good in the world... and I don't intend to waste it.

Financially, I'm not sure if I can afford this trip... but I sure as hell am going to try.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so blessed and so fortunate to be able to be able to have it.

My wish has always been, and will always be to inspire and to make a difference... regardless of whether or not I can physically attend this incredible event, I will forever be grateful for the acknowledgement and the recognition of these incredible individuals.

Day 20: What is your wish?  "Do you have it?  Good, now believe in it... With all of your heart."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11


I saw this quote on someone else's facebook status today and it spoke to me.  Then, I rented "Soul Surfer" from the Redbox, and again... Jeremiah 29:11 was repeated to me.  FATE.


Sometimes I sit and wonder what I'm meant to do in this life, or who I'm meant to be.  I've spent countless hours worrying about the outcome of my life, the choices I make, and the chances I take; and then I remember, that God is probably laughing at me for worrying about something that he has already decided.  My life is what I make of it... I know that.  But I also believe that He has a plan for me... and for everyone.  The control freak inside of me struggles with this idea from time to time, but I know in my heart that everything will come about the way it is supposed to based on His ideas.  He has "plans to give you hope and a future."  What could possibly be better?


Day 19: When you are wondering about God's plan, and feeling uneasy about what life is bringing your way... take comfort in knowing that it's okay to NOT KNOW His plan... yet.  And he will make your mission known in due time.  


Love True-
Allison


PS. If you haven't already seen "Soul Surfer," I strongly encourage you do.  The strength of Bethany Hamilton is truly inspiring.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mary Anne Radmacher

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from author, Mary Anne Radmacher.

"Courage does not always roar, sometimes it's the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering, 'I will try again tomorrow."

These words have helped me in so many ways.  Since high school, I've read this statement over and over to help me through my struggles as an athlete, a musician, a student, a sister and a friend.  It is a comforting sentiment to know that true strength can be identified in simply waking up the next morning, getting out of bed, and trying again.

Recently, life has tried to knock me around a little bit.  No real hardships or devastating instances... just enough to keep me mentally and physically exhausted.  You know how it feels when life just doesn't give you a break?  That's how it's been.  One of the things I've come to realize (slowly, mind you), is that life will only continue to swing at you, for as long as you refuse to swing back.  As soon as you take control... and start fighting...life doesn't stand a chance against you.

I've been doing a lot of things to just "get by" financially... because I'm an adult... and I have to.  But secretly I've been doing more dreaming than anything else.  No matter where I've been in my life, I've always worked hard at what I was doing and taken great pride in knowing that I gave all of myself to the task at hand.  But I've also been a dreamer for as long as I can remember.  Many of those dreams have been locked deep inside my heart for years and years.  I've never been an overtly confident person... and a lot of my dreams have been pushed back because of a fear of pursuing them.  But when I was looking up quotes to help me write tonight, I found another one of Mary Anne Radmacher's quotes that might help me to work through this.

“The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be... because of all I may become I will close my eyes and leap!” 


What beautiful words to describe the thrill of taking a chance.  Taking a chance to become the person I want to be.  I can't think of anything better than looking in the mirror, and being truly happy with the person that I am.  That is the ultimate goal... the ultimate aspiration... to become who you are meant to be in every aspect of life.  


I will leave you tonight with one more quote from Ms. Radmacher.  Just one more simple piece of advice... 


“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”


Below, I have included a small collage of the things in my life that I am so grateful for.  Two incredible and loving groups of friends.  Top Right: Angel, Ashley, Katie and Dani.  Bottom Left: Kendra, Nicole, Caitlin and Vilija.  Top Left: My wonderful, amazing and inspiring family, Abby, Amy, Mom, Dad and Jake.  Bottom Right: Team True Beauty, a group of individuals that are making a difference in the world, and have allowed me to be a part of that change.  My WHOLE HEART belongs to the people in these pictures.  


Love True-
Allison

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Switchfoot

I've been living a pretty crazy lifestyle for a while now.  It hasn't been very long, but long enough to give me a little perspective on things.  It's not that I'm unhappy, because that isn't the case at all.  But as a career perfectionist, splitting my focus four different ways has not been good for me.  I haven't felt like I've been giving 100% of myself to any one of my jobs... and that is hard for me to handle.  I am the type of person that is NOT OKAY with giving anything less than everything I've got.  My Type-A personality cannot appreciate the scattered schedule and constant worry that I'm going to forget something; while My Type-B personality is completely grateful that I have the means to support myself... and appreciates the randomness of an artist-like lifestyle.  As you can see, I'm a little conflicted.

I have been taking life day by day, and trying to appreciate each day for what it offers... and yet, the days seem to be flying by completely out of my control.  Is that how life is supposed to be?  For some reason, I have this romantic notion that life, in it's day to day passing, should be more memorable than it is right now.

I always thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life.  Since I was about 17 years old, I knew that a part of me was always going to have gymnastics.  But there is an itch, deep inside my soul, that keeps telling me I'm meant for something different.  Maybe it is intuition... and maybe it's completely wrong... but there is a little voice that is nagging me to take a chance and try something completely new.

I guess I'm just looking for a little guidance.

This is a great song... and some good advice.  I might take it.

"Dare You To Move"

"Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone's here
Everyone's here
Everybody's watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next
What happens next


I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before

Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before


Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened before"



"Dare You to Move" - Switchfoot


Day 18: I dare you to move.  Make a move towards something you've dreamed about, something you need in your life, or a change that would better you.  I dare you to move... and I dare myself.  


Love True-
Allison 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Louis Armstrong

Today was my 25th birthday. It was a perfect day.  I drove home in the 80 degree weather, windows down and loving every color of every tree as I drove by.  The sky was blue and the leaves were falling gracefully through the air.  I spent the entire two hour drive being grateful for my life... my family, my friends, the love that I share with so many people.  I am truly blessed... and so grateful.  Words cannot explain how lucky I feel right now, but Louis Armstrong did a pretty good job with this one :)


What a Wonderful World


"I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin', "How do you do?"
They're really sayin', "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more, than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah"



"What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong

Love True-
Allison

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Demi Lovato

Recently I came across some very disheartening images and stories on the web.  I can't even tell you how I came across these web pages, because I don't remember what I was searching for... but they made me mad.  VERY MAD.  In short, I came across a collection of web posts from women, mostly very young women who had commented on a dieting article about how they needed help losing weight.  The part that troubled me was that these women asking for advice were not middle aged women who work 40 hrs a week, and need meal planning advice, they were 13 and 14 year-old girls describing so much self-loathing that I found myself in tears.  How can a 15 year old who is 5'7" and lost 35 lbs to only weigh 95 lbs be so diluted as to brag about her drastic weight loss and say, "and I don't even have an eating disorder!"  These girls were trying to help each other destroy their bodies and they don't even know it.  What has our society done to us?  When there are photos and posters like this...

This kind of advertising causes depression, self loathing, irrational expectations, and horrible eating disorders and self-mutilation.  Girls who see things like this, "want to be thin."  Why the hell are we printing posters that say "I want to see my cheek bones and my hip bones" and expecting girls to think that this is normal.  THIS IS NOT NORMAL and THIS IS NOT HEALTHY.  No girl should ever evaluate themselves as a person based on how jealous their friends are of them, or how many boys they can get to do a double take.  

I am angry. Period. 

Demi Lovato is a young actress and singer who has just released a new song describing her journey and the journey of many others called Skyscraper.  Demi is such a pillar of strength and recovery.  She has been an inspiration to me, and millions of other girls who have struggled with eating disorders or other internal battles.  This song is so perfect and pure and honest about how the scrutiny of others (or in some cases, the scrutiny of yourself) can tear you down so low... but the most important thing is to keep getting up when you fall down.  

You can be stronger than even the Strongest of influences.  You have it in you... no matter what is working against you.  So, thank you, Demi, for putting these feelings into words.  


"Skies are crying, I am watching
Catching teardrops in my hands
Only silence, as it's ending
Like we never had a chance

Do you have to make me feel like
There's nothing left of me?

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I'm made of glass
Like I'm made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper
Like a skyscraper

As the smoke clears, I awaken
and untangle you from me
Would it make you, feel better
to watch me while I bleed?

All my windows still are broken
But I'm standing on my feet

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I'm made of glass
Like I'm made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper
Like a skyscraper

Go run, run, run
I'm gonna stay right here, watch you disappear
Yea--ohh
Go run, run, run
Yeah, it's a long way down
But I am closer to the clouds up here

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I'm made of glass
Like I'm made of paper
Ohh Ohhhh!
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper
Like a skyscraper

(Like a skyscraper)

Like a skyscraper
Like a skyscraper"

Love True-
Allison

Monday, September 26, 2011

Brad Paisley

This weekend I attended a dear friend's wedding.  This friend and I were part of a small group of six girls who I was incredibly lucky to find and mesh with during my junior and senior years of high school.  Up until then I had had some bad luck with friends.  Girls in high school aren't always the nicest (as most of you already know) and I had struggled with some pretty harsh circumstances until I came across this wonderful group of women.  Some of them were friends I had known for years and years... and I still feel blessed to call them my friends, but the rest welcomed me into their group with open arms and open hearts.  Caitlin was one of my new friends.  She was brilliant and beautiful.  An eloquent writer, she went on to become a fantastic journalist!

Anyway, Caitlin got married this weekend... and I couldn't be more thrilled for her!  Her new husband John (also a writer) spoke about their love at the reception.  I was completely blown away by his "spur of the moment" thanks to their family and friends for sharing this special day with them.  John spoke about his love for Cait in the most genuine and pure way.  The only word I can think to describe his speech was BEAUTIFUL.  I wish this intense and gratifying love for everyone on the planet.  I have never in my life seen my friend so happy.  I cannot wait to watch their marriage develop and grow into what it will most certainly become.  I heard this song on the radio as I was driving home from the wedding yesterday, and it just seemed so perfect!  I know that Caitlin and John are blissfully in love at this very moment... but I can only hope that they can look back years from now and feel even more in love than they were on their wedding day! God bless, Cait!

Love True-
Allison




"Then" - Brad Paisley

"I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
And 3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss goodnight
I hadn't told you yet but I thought I loved you then


Now you're my whole life now you're my whole world
I just can't believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it's ever been
We've come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn't care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then


Now you're my whole life now you're my whole world
I just can't believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it's ever been
We've come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can't see is how I'm ever gonna love you more
But I've said that before.

Now you're my whole life now you're my whole world
I just can't believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we're in
And I'll look at you and say and I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then..."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jamie O'Neal

Somebody's Hero


"She's never pulled anyone from a burning building
She's never rocked Central Park to a half a million fans, screaming out her name
She's never hit a shot to win the game
She's never left her footprints on the moon
She's never made a solo hot air balloon ride, around the world,
No, she's just your everyday average girl (but)

She's somebody's hero
A hero to her baby with a skinned up knee
A little kiss is all she needs
The keeper of the cheerios
The voice that brings Snow White to life
Bedtime stories every night
And that smile lets her know
She's somebody's hero

oh oh
She didn't get a check every week like a nine-to fiver
But she's been a waiter, and a cook and a taxi driver
For twenty years, there at home, until the day her girl was grown
Giving all her love to her was her life's ambition
But now her baby's movin' on, and she'll soon be missin' her
But not today, those are tears of joy runnin' down her face

She's somebody's hero
A hero to her daughter in her wedding dress
She gave her wings to leave the nest
It hurts to let her baby go down the aisle she walks right by
Looks back into her mother's eyes
And that smile lets her know oh oh oh
She's somebody's hero

Thirty years have flown right past
Her daughters' starin' at all the photographs
Of her mother, and she wishes she could be like that
Oh, but she already is

She's somebody's hero
A hero to her mother in a rockin' chair
She runs a brush through her silver hair
The envy of the nursing home
She drops by every afternoon
Feeds her mother with a spoon
And that smile lets her know oh oh
Her mother's smile lets her know oh oh
She's somebody's hero"



"Somebody's Hero" - Jamie O'Neal

A few years ago, one of my best, and most loyal friends told me that this song always made her think of her mom.  Someone selfless, who was there for her no matter what.  I agreed instantly, reminded of the unconditional love I feel daily from my own mother.  There's something about the way a mother loves that is indescribable, and yet completely familiar.  That love is so strong and so pure and I feel so blessed to have an incredible mother who taught me how to love unconditionally as well.

The friend I mentioned is now a mother too.  And she is a great one.  I have watched her become the role model that she saw in her mom.  She is kind, compassionate, strong and unwavering.  She loves with more of her heart than most of the people on this planet.  I am so proud of the mother she has become, and incredibly thankful to call her my friend.  Happy 25th Birthday, Angel!  You are not just somebody's hero... you're mine! I love you!

Love True-
Allison

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Helen Keller

Helen Keller once wrote, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched... but are felt in the heart."

Amen, Helen Keller! - And thanks to Team True Beauty for sharing her brilliance tonight!  I was searching high and low to try to find a quote that could give weight to the way I've been feeling lately, and as if from nowhere... TTB tweets, to the rescue!

I have been feeling very fortunate lately... and very overwhelmed.  This week I started quite a few new endeavors, and it has been a very hectic 3 days!  Currently, I am working 4 different jobs, and my head has been spinning! Thank you, to the wonderful woman who created the day planner! (only a woman would know what I'm going through!) =)

Anyway, I know it has only been 3 days, but I've already found myself getting emotional in small moments of stress.  I didn't sleep the other night because I was so worried about cramming 3 jobs into that day!  What I've needed to do in those moments is remind myself of how lucky I am to have A job, let alone the 4 that I'm keeping.  Now I understand the lengths that some people go to to make end's meet.  It's crazy!!  Most of those people can't say that they are working a job they are passionate about... and I'm lucky there too.  Gymnastics has been in my life for nearly 21 years, and I feel so blessed to be able to share my love for the sport with others.

I was tired today, and in a short conversation managed to get upset and second guess myself.  Frustration is one of my biggest enemies... and sometimes it is hard for me to get past it.  Then 3 little girls walked into the gym for their first gymnastics class ever, and I was completely rejuvenated!  They were so full of excitement and wonder and I was instantly reminded of why I do what I do.  These six year-olds were able to instantly change my perspective.  I could feel their wonderment, and so much love for what I was doing.

Day 17: FEEL the beauty in life, don't just look for it.  You may find it in a place that you never expect!

Love True-
Allison

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Where Were You?"

Today marked the tenth anniversary of the day terrorists changed the world for us Americans.  Life as we knew it would never be the same.  As a fourteen year old freshman in high school, I had an idealized opinion of the great nation I was a part of.  Growing up, we were taught the history of the United States; How it was founded as the "New World" then later referred to as the "Promised Land" and the "Land of Opportunity."  All of these names given to a place that people believed in and looked to be a safe haven for families to grow and to prosper.  I remember learning about tragedies in our history like Pearl Harbor and feeling patriotic, knowing that our American people were able to come together to protect everything that our great country stood for.  And I remember September 11, 2001, realizing in one incredibly painful and eye opening moment that I was going to carry this day around with me forever.

I didn't go to school that morning, because I had a dentist appointment.  I was in the car, listening to the radio with my mom when the first plane hit.  I was in the dentist chair, with the radio in the background when the second plane hit.  I remember sitting up in the chair and saying, thinking "one plane could have been and accident... but two?  No way."  I arrived at school before the end of first period.  I remember walking to my Spanish 2 class, down the large, empty hallway feeling confused and completely alone.  Our principle came on the PA system and explained what I had already known, but no one else was aware of yet.  The deserted hallway seemed like a ghost town as every single classroom went silent.  He instructed the teachers to turn on the news, cancel classes for the day... and all we could do was watch.

Most days, I don't really think about that day.  But on a day like today all I can do is remember; the images of the people and debris, crying, and feeling very afraid.

I think that is what we are supposed to do.  Remember the day as it was, teach those who are young what it truly means to be an American... because like the teenagers who felt the Earth shake on December 7th, 1941... we now know what they felt.  The pain and the fear and the patriotism that was overflowing with rage as we tried to make sense of the acts.

I am so proud to be an American.  Words can't describe the feeling in my heart as write this.  It aches for the people who lost their lives, and the families that were destroyed; But it hopes for the future of these families and our Nation as a whole.

I hope everyone was able to take at least one moment today to say a prayer and to give thanks for our lives.  We are protected by an incredible group of men and women who sacrifice each day to keep our country safe.  Thank you to all our service men and women... from the bottom of my heart.

"Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

[Chorus:]
I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell 
you the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?


And the greatest is love.
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning that Septemb
er day?" 


Love True-
Allison


"Where Were You (When the World Stop Turning)" - Allan Jackson

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Lift Me Up"

"Impossible means nothing to me."

My life is good.  It's great in fact.  I'm not saying that to brag; I'm saying it to remind myself that I have been blessed with so many unimaginably good things.  Friends and family members who have made me feel so special at times when I have forgotten to see myself that way.  Those people who reminded me at the darkest point of my life that they were always going to be there for me, lifting me up when I couldn't lift myself.

The thing about any struggle is, while you are feeling completely alone and like no one else could possibly imagine what you are going through, there is ALWAYS someone who understands; Someone who has been there before, or helped a friend in a similar situation.  It doesn't matter what you are going through in life, don't ever believe you have to go through it alone.

There were many days when I couldn't talk to those wonderful people in my life, simply because I didn't think they would understand.  I kept it to myself and let my pain take control... and that was wrong.  My friends loved me, and I knew it, but I didn't know how to show them that inner part of me that was hurting.  I put up walls that they tried desperately to break down.  What I didn't know then, and what I eventually learned, was that I needed them to break those walls down, because I wasn't able to do it myself.

I know it probably seems like I've been writing about my struggles a lot lately, but that is only because I'm trying to help.  Anyone, and everyone who has wandered down a winding road... thinking it was theirs to travel by themselves... it's not.  There is always someone who is willing to take that journey with you.  You just have to ask them to come along.  Maybe you don't have someone that you can confide in that is close to you, but no matter what your challenge may be, there is a group or a person out there who understands you, and who supports you, and who loves you.

I've spent a lot of time being scared, and I'm done.  I'm not hiding from my past, or pretending it didn't happen.  I've overcome a lot in the past few years, and I know that I'm not done fighting... but there is no way in hell I'm going to finish this journey the way I started it.  I've got way too much support for that... and so do you.

Love True-
Allison

"Lift Me Up" - Kate Voegele

"This road is anything but simple
Twisted like a riddle I've seen high and I've seen low
So loud, the voices of all my doubts
Telling me to give up, to pack up and leave town

Even so, I had to believe
Impossible means nothing to me, yeah

So can you lift me up,
Turn the ashes into flames
‘Cause I have overcome
More than words will ever say
And I've been given hope
That there's a light on up the hall
And that a day will come
When the fight is won
And I think that day has just begun

Somewhere, every body starts there
I'm counting on a small prayer,
Lost in a nightmare
But I'm here, and suddenly it's so clear
The struggle through the long years
It taught me to outrun my fears

Everything worth having, oh
Comes with trials worth withstanding

So can you lift me up,
Turn the ashes into flames
‘Cause I have overcome
More than words will ever say
And I've been given hope
That there's a light on up the hall
And that a day will come
When the fight is won
And I think that day has just begun

Oh, lift me up
Oh, lift me up
Oh, lift me up
Lift me up
Lift me up
Oh, Lift me up

Down and out is overrated
And I need to be elevated
Looking up is not enough
No, I would rather rise above

So can you lift me up,
Turn the ashes into flames
‘Cause I have overcome
More than words will ever say
And I've been given hope
That there's a light on up the hall
And that a day will come
When the fight is won
And I think that day has just begun

Oh, oh, oh, just begun
Lift me up, yeah, oh, oh, oh, yeah, now
Oh, oh, lift me up
Lift me up
Lift me up"

Friday, September 2, 2011

Team True Beauty

Life is Beautiful... that's what I believe despite certain things that have happened in my life that could lead me to think otherwise.  Don't get me wrong, because I have led an amazing life full of love and opportunities and I am so grateful.  However, I have struggled with a pretty severe inner battle that threatened the person I could become.  I have been extremely lucky to have some pretty incredible people in my life, that weren't about to watch me self destruct.  To them, I am eternally grateful.

Recently, I wrote about a new organization I came across called, Team True Beauty.  It is a team of individuals who have created a powerful new movement to help spread the word about eating disorders and help promote a healthy body image.  Their mission is simple, to change the way we see beauty.  Beauty comes from within... and is not a reflection of your waistline, or your bra size... or your reflection (ironic, huh?)  Anyway, I was so moved by this group of people that I decided to share my story with them.  Kind of a bold move, because it's not really a time in my life that I am proud of.  However, one of my rather lofty ambitions in life is to make a difference in the world, and this is something I feel very strongly about.

So I wrote to them.  First, I said thank you... for what they are doing to help girls everywhere, and for inspiring me to share my story.  Then I poured my heart out, in the hopes that maybe one person could be helped by my story.  Little did I know, they were going to share my story with the world!

I received an email back thanking me for sharing my story.  Then, the vice-president of the organization told me that my story would be posted on their official website, as well as on one of their Celebrity supporter's websites (Daphne Zuniga, who I absolutely adore!).  I was completely floored!  Here I am, scared to share my story, but wanting to help maybe one person... and now it is there for everyone to see!  I felt so empowered, and so proud of myself in that moment.  It made me feel like all of my struggles and everything I went through were totally worth it, if my story could help someone else!

Please check out Team True Beauty on Facebook or Twitter, or just check out their website!  I am such a believer in their mission, and I am going to do whatever it takes to keep spreading their message!  Also, thanks for being such loyal followers! I feel truly blessed to have such wonderful friends who support me in this!  I love you all!

Love True-
Allison
Team True Beauty

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Dream Big..."

I saw this quote on an athlete's bracelet... it spoke to me, so I thought I would share it with you.

"Dream big. Work hard."

Such plain and simple words that really hit me when I read them.  If only we looked at life that simply.  Dream your dreams, and work hard to achieve them, don't stop or surrender for anything.  So often I have let outside obstacles get in the way or knock me off task on the way to achieving something I dreamed of.  In gymnastics it was very black and white.  I had a goal, and I worked each day to achieve it.  Usually it was getting a new skill or combination or higher score, and my obstacles were most frequently my fear.

Now, my goals are a little more grey.  I don't have answers for everything, and taking one more turn isn't going to help me the way it used to.  But still, I wan't to live by those words, "dream big, work hard."  Even though the lines are a little hazy, and I'm not certain what lies ahead... I'm not going to stop dreaming.  I may not be sure what the hard work entails anymore, but I'll figure it out.  If I keep dreaming, eventually I'll figure it out, right?

Day 16: What are your goals?  Say them (or just one of them) out loud to yourself and write a plan of action.  How do you plan to get there?  Figure out your plan, and start working hard!

Love True-
Allison




 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Moments

"Most of our life is a series of images; they pass us by like towns on the highway.  But sometimes a moment stuns us as it happens, and we know that this instant is more than a fleeting image.  We know that this moment, every part of it... will live on forever."- Lucas Scott, One Tree Hill

I spent this past weekend enjoying a friend's special day.  Her wedding day.  It was an expression of love so magnificent; I know she will remember each and every moment as a beautiful collage depicting the love that she shares with her new husband.

As a friend, I have two separate memories.  The first is the joy that I feel for my friend, the beautiful bride, that gave her heart to her best friend.  The second, is the happiness that I felt spending the night of celebration with some of the best friends that God has offered me.  The whole day flashes past my eyes in images of smiles and love, moments that were captured either on camera or in my mind.  I am so grateful for days like that day... days that will resonate in my mind forever.



Love True,
Allison

One Tree Hill Quote- Skip to 3:05 mark =)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

In this crazy world of mixed up emotions and obstacle to tackle, sometimes it's just important to sit back and remember where your heart truly lies.  I've had quite a few things on my mind lately, and the only thing that has allowed me to relax here and there is to focus on my goals.  Dreams I have, that might seem completely unattainable... still bring a smile to my face when I think about achieving them.  Dreams are an essential part to our lives.  Though my dreams most often grace me at night, they are a major part of why I get out of bed in the morning, something great to live for, to work towards, to believe in.  What do you dream about?


"Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?"



This song is such a simple statement of how important dreaming is.  For any kid who has had a dream, a goal or a wish for something bigger in their life, the line "And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true," is something they could all hear a little more-- I know I could!  


Day 15: Take one step closer to achieving your dream.  No matter how far fetched or lofty it might be.  Take that step, and be proud.  


Love True-
Allison


Judy Garland- "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Change"

Even though I wrote about Taylor Swift's brilliant mind recently, I found myself needed to visit her again!  It is actually extremely appropriate considering she is playing a concert in Chicago (very near me) and I WISH I could be there tonight!

Today was such a beautiful summer day.  It was one of those days where the sun was up, the breeze was slight, and the air was a perfect 75 degrees... not at all normal for the humid Midwest!  I went for a run, like I do many weekdays, and because the day was so fantastic, I didn't want to stop!  I felt like Forrest Gump, because "I just kept runnin!" =)  When I started to get tired, it hit me like a brick wall.  Perhaps it was because I had ran almost twice as far as I normally do.  Nevertheless, I was ready to walk when a song on my iPod forbade me from it.

It was a song that is very near to my heart.  One that has spoken to me and many of my friends and former teammates about the life we spent together in college.  A song that still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.  It reminds me of a day when our formerly last place ranked Division 3 college gymnastics team showed the entire nation that we were a force to be reckoned with.  It was the day everything changed at UW-Whitewater.

We didn't get first place or anything.  We didn't even podium, but that didn't matter because we weren't supposed to be there in the first place.  A technicality allowed us to compete that day, because we were the meet hosts, we had an automatic bid.  It was such a crazy feeling, because our team had never been there before.  We felt like Celebrities, and we acted like them.  Our fans were incredible, but the arena was loud and most of the spectators were there to watch someone else.

That didn't matter to us.  We were at NATIONALS, and no one was going to bring us down.  We were there for the moment, and even though we weren't in first at the end of the meet... when we heard our names called for 4th place, the moment was OURS.

I remember feeling so grateful that day that I cried... a lot.  I had never been happier.  I was doing the one thing I had been born to do and I was standing next to some of the most incredible people I have ever known.  Nothing will ever take that feeling away.  No matter how many good days I had after that, or how many horrible days I had that followed... I can always go back and remember that day.  The nerves, the excitement, the passion and the courage we shared THAT DAY.  "The day things changed."

"And it's a sad picture, the final blow hits you
Somebody else gets what you wanted again
You know it's all the same, another time and place
Repeating history and you're getting sick of it

But I believe in whatever you do
And I'll do anything to see it through

Because these things will change, can you feel it now?
These walls that they put up to hold us back will fall down
It's a revolution, the time will come for us to finally win

We'll sing hallelujah!
We'll sing hallelujah! Oh

So we've been outnumbered, raided and now cornered
It's hard to fight when the fight ain't fair
We're getting stronger now from things they never found
They might be bigger but we're faster and never scared

You can walk away and say we don't need this
But there's something in your eyes says we can beat this

'Cause these things will change, can you feel it now?
These walls that they put up to hold us back will fall down
It's a revolution, the time will come for us to finally win

We'll sing hallelujah!
We'll sing hallelujah! Oh

Tonight we standed on our knees
To fight for what we worked for all these years
And the battle was long, it's the fight of our lives
Will we stand up champions tonight?

It was the night things changed, can you see it now?
These walls that they put up to hold us back fell down
It's a revolution, throw your hands up, 'cause we never gave in

We'll sing hallelujah!
We sang hallelujah!
Hallelujah!"



The team dynamic has continued to change since that day.  UW-Whitewater is now the two time Conference Champions and has since improved that first national appearance 4th place finish to a 2nd place finish in 2011.  The tides have changed dramatically, though the spirit of the team has not.  They are still an incredible group of young women lead by 2 amazing coaches (that I have the great privilege of working with).  I am so proud to have been a part of this incredible family and to have experienced all of the wonderful things I have through my involvement here.  Thank you to everyone who has affected my life as a part of my UW-Whitewater Journey.  I will be forever grateful to you all!


Day 15: Think back to a moment when  you could see it all change for the better.  Be grateful for your life before, and be grateful for you life since... for every change in life is a learning process, to help us grow and love.  


Love True-
Allison



"Change" - Taylor Swift