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Archive for May, 2011

Every Sunday I will attempt to share an excerpt from my work in progress…”You Can Hope”.

May 2009

I’ve never gone through anything as demanding as this.

  • Grad School….so what if I need to pull an all nighter and then assist an 80-year-old woman with personal hygiene at the nursing home that morning. I can sleep after my 2nd red bull.
  • Break- ups…another guy (or should I say the same guy 5 times) was an idiot and I got hurt again. I’m over it.
  • And another kid on my caseload that is confusing the hell out of me. How in the world can I engage this child?? Ehh…. I’ll figure something out.

But, grief.  Grief takes every single part of you…pushes you inside a garbage disposal…and then turns that switch on without any warning. Constantly being thrown into a million different pieces.

Can’t sleep. Not hungry. So Angry.  So Sad. Needing to talk about feelings, but having no words to say.  

This is me.  Losing my dad has been the first garbage disposal I’ve been shut into.

The first disposal in 25 years…holy cow. I am one blessed girl.

Yes, there’s been garbage that I’ve experienced. But there hasn’t been THIS.

My mom does not have that same story.

1964. An Accident. A middle schooler at home gets ‘the call’. Family rushes her to the hospital where a daughter sees her dad in a hospital bed, barely alive.

She sees that same hospital bed for the next year.  

Her high school experience was teaching her dad how to walk, not which dress she was wearing for the prom.

College meant fleeing everything she knew to be true, and finding life in lifeless places.

With her 20’s, she fell in love in many ways. With a God who she now knew would never leave her, with a family that looked much different then ‘the Jones’, and finally, with a man who would walk with her through every high and every low.

My mom ‘s life has been a story with tragedy. A story with pain. And a story with such beautiful hope.

Look at the mother that I have had because of the person that she is. God has given me a parent who has been refined.

I have been raised by a woman who has walked through fire, and come out strong.

Would she be a different person if she hadn’t had a disabled parent? Would she be a different wife to my dad if she hadn’t seen her mom not leave her dad’s side for twenty-two years? Would she be a different Mom if she hadn’t experienced so much pain? Would she have even married my dad?

I’ve been given a Mom,  who loves differently because of that pain.

Is that one of the mysteries within trials? Within pain? Will this be my refining fire? Will I be changed for the better because of my loss? Will I be a different parent, a different daughter, a different sister, a different friend…. because of this part of my story?

God, please. Make ‘this’ worth it.

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Because….its Friday….

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I’m back.

The blog hiatus has continued, because, well, I havent wanted to write.

I wish I had a better reason, but I just don’t. Time has been a very precious commodity in my life the last three months, and I have this trait of completely going after things that I love. And If I don’t want to do something, I just don’t do it until I absolutely have too. This is of course not  always a good thing, especially when it involves cleaning… So, lately I’ve lost some passion for taking time to write…but then I was roasted.

I’ve been roasted by this idea of things coming to an end, and questioning as they’ve ended, have they been done well or not. Case in point, my girl Oprah. Season finale of her incredible show happened yesterday. 25 years of TV done well, coming to an end. I know not everyone would agree with that last statement, but I love her. Guarantee Oprah is looking back on her 25 years, and she is confidently saying….this was done well. And now she will continue her trek with a new way to take over the world.

Many things in my life have been a bit in limbo the past three months and now  they have or soon will be coming to an end. 

One highlight of something that has recently come to an end was The Autism Speaks walk which  took place last Saturday.  When I look back on the last 27 years of my life, and think about some of the highlights, May 21st, 2011 will be one of those highlights.

This is an event that is finished, and we finished it well. For 5 hours straight I was humbled to the point of tears for many reasons.

Reason 1; being surrounded by 20,000 people all their to support the cause of finding resources and support for kids and adults on the Autistic spectrum. 

Reason 2; our team, consisting of 20 people (only 6 of them working directly with kids with Autism),  raised just under $2,000 for that cause. Unbelievable. 

Reason 3; I firmly believe that people who do great things, have a great team beside them. When you have people beside you believing in you, strengthening you, walking with you, you are a stronger person. Period. I was humbled beyond belief at my team that I saw next to me on Saturday. Many times you see your team that walks with you because something bad happens. You need people to lift you up, because you can’t without them, and they are there. This was a good day. There wasn’t a death, there wasn’t a big piece of devastating news. There was just a day, where people came together for a great cause, stood next to each other, and walked. I kept on looking around at this team beside me and couldn’t help but be inspired. My team is pure gold. And if they are behind me, I will do great things. I have no other options!

Full circle, why I was roasted about writing. Sometimes, you can’t just do things you want to do. We were made to do great things. We are loved so purely, so that we can love others and change the world. Writing is something I’m called to do. This book….its going to happen. And yes, I don’t always want to do it, but I’ve got to step up.  So I’m going to try, because I know I have the an AMAZING group of people beside me that will help me stand when I can’t…and watch glee with me on just that typical Tuesday.

Go do big things. And be grateful for your team thats walking with you.

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I’m fairly convinced I sound like a broken record to my friends.

In the last three months, if you had a conversation with me asking something simple like “How are you?”, I’m sure my response has been an exaggerated…”BUSY!!!”

I guess you could say that I’m one that takes on alot, but that’s how I work best. My adult ADD can quickly get in the way of low key days….and I’m bored! So having a lot on my plate is how I enjoy to live…its when the line gets blurry between just right & overwhelmed that I have my challenges.

This spring, I can’t even see the line. The line is a dot to me(insert hilarious friends quote.)

So…I’m going to take this blog and have a bit of a ‘Brain Dump’ as my friend and fellow blogger Sarah Cunningham describes:

  • This weekend my mom and I are hosting my future sister’s wedding shower. Think Wedding Shower meets Double Dare meets Ladies who Lunch. I’m pretty sure people are going to walk away loving the thought of Greg & Sarah so much more…and thinking that was the best wedding shower EVER! Well, that’s the hope.

 

  • My family and I started a non-profit last year in memory of my dad. My dad loved seeing kids succeed. He was a constant educator, no matter if he was in his classroom or on the football field. He could be educating on the periodic table, or how to find happiness in this world. We took those passions and ran with them, creating the Greg Prendergast Memorial Foundation(GPMF). In the fall of 2010 we held a benefit raising money for our foundation. This past year we have been able to spread those funds in many ways! Supporting a school in Guinea-Bissau Africa, purchasing athletic shoes for Whittemore-Prescott, a small farming town in Michigan that has been very hit by Michigan’s economy, Supported the lapeer county organization “inspiring hearts for Autism” by contributing to a project beginning a lending library of books and materials about Autism and support that parents can borrow to learn more about the diagnosis and what to do, supported a mentoring organization that stems off of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Lapeer, and finally we are giving away two scholarships to past students of my Dad this MONDAY! We had 8 essays come in, all wonderful! But, my Mom, Greg, Sarah, and I have chosen our finalists and Greg and I will give out those scholarships this Monday at Armadas Scholarship night. THANK YOU to everyone who gave at the benefit…your gifts have CLEARLY not gone unnoticed.

 

  • I would like to just say this person who would prefer to remain anonymous did something really wonderful for me. But that would be a lie. She doesn’t want to stay anonymous. She actually keeps count of how many times she’s mentioned on this blog, and comments every time. My roommate, Ashley Ganski, is pretty awesome. As I may have hinted around the end of March, I have renounced my birthday. March 31st is a very tough day for me. Yes it was the day I was born, but it was also the first day that I knew in heart and in my head that my dad was in heaven. The first day we did not have a funeral or burial to go to. The first day everything hit home. So I gave it up. I decided I no longer have a birthday. My roommate took this fact, and twists it into a whole little web of wonder. In march I did not get a gift from her, I just got a t-shirt with my name on the back of it, and Autism Speaks on the front. I was a bit confused, even though I love seeing my name in print, why this t-shirt was given to me. Ashley had gone on this little secret mission, finding a cause I am very passionate about, gathered up a bunch of friends, and created a team Michaja for the Autism Speaks walk next weekend in Chicago! She took two of my biggest passions, helping those with Autism and being with people I love and combined them into this mash up that will convene next weekend(not in March…brilliant!). I am so honored to have the friends that I have in my life. Autism speaks is a great organization that is really making changes in this population…if you can give, even $5 or $10 and support our team, that would mean so much! Click here to visit our team page. I’m so excited for next weekend…

 

So, that is where alot of my brain has been lately. Sneak Peek Sunday is going to be a good one, spoiler alert it will have something to do with the past holiday we just celebrated and, bonus…. it won’t be gloomy! YAAYY! Stay tuned…

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Project pretty

My brother is marrying one of my best friends on June 25th of this year. Sarah and Greg are really an incredible and unique couple who inspire me often. I am beyond pumped for their wedding and marriage!

In honor of this special day that is shortly approaching I have begun a certain mission that Ashley has aptly titled “Project Pretty”. Project Pretty has really taken its own form and I’m fairly confident by June 25th I will be a new person.

As a whole, the goal of this mission was to put a bit more effort into how I looked. Now, you could quickly call  me prideful and close this blog….but let me explain. I have a bit of a history of setting up fairly lofty goals for something….lets hypothetically say exercising, I would maybe set a  goal of exercising 5 times a week. And that goal slowly gets pushed farther and farther back until it never happens. Example….I get home from working with the kids around 7, all day planning on going for a run as soon as I walk in the door, but then I see how I haven’t cleaned my room yet, so then I begin to straighten up my room and now its 8pm and I haven’t talked to my mom yet, so then that conversation happens, knowing of course that I will run as soon as that’s over….but then Ashley comes home and she hasn’t seen the last episode of 30 rock yet….and then its 10pm, I’ve cracked open a bottle of wine and I’m laying on my couch. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Of course it makes sense, since I’ve had such great luck with working out that I shouldn’t just focus on one thing such as exercising, I should instead throw in eating healthy, updating my wardrobe, learning how to wear makeup…..I mean go big or go home! And with the biggest gasp coming from me…Project pretty was created! This  has taken many forms and I’m most likely on my way to becoming a whole new person. And let’s be honest…this project needed to happen! (self deprecating ZING!)

This project is so involved it needed levels…

Step 1. Makeup. All the beautiful people have makeup from the same brand, and know exactly what to do with it. Quick look at what my makeup usually looks like. I know I should wear mascara, and something to color my eyelids, I’ve heard of this thing called coverup….Enter Michaja…age 27.

Goal….to have a go-to make up brand and know how to use it. Ashley is a big fan of benefit and she always looks good, so Benefit became the brand of choice and now if someone asks me if I had some moisturizer they could borrow…I can answer YES!!!

Step 2. Floss and Whiten teeth. Thanks to a contact by Sarah Cilk, I now have professional teeth whitening services at my door and I have begun this new thing of  flossing regularly. Can’t say that has happened before!

Step 3. Eat healthy. Answer Magic bullet. Protein shake every morning. All the produce I could ever ask for in a great little can! It is literally the best thing ever. And I feel like I channel Sue Sylvester every morning.

Step 4. Work out. Answer comcast On demand. Did you know you could get a great work out through hip hop cardioke( yes its a fitness video with karaoke involved!)???SOLD!

Step 5. Clean my closet and dress ‘in style’. Answer C.Smith. Quick recommendation, when having a closet consult, make sure it’s with one of your closest friends or…c. smith. Christine was able to look at my closet and tell me sweetly “ki, half of your clothes are sentimental, we’ve got to make some changes.” So, we got rid of 5 bags of clothes and I went from looking like this…

To, well…I don’t know yet. We still have some shopping to do…but hopefully in 50 days I can have a project pretty part 2 with a before and after photo. For now I just have the before!

All this to say…I am a mess when it comes to anything around fashion, makeup, and overall looking good. But I’m attempting to take steps in the right direction (due to the inspiration of an incredible couple and the thought of having pictures up on Grove Ave for the next 50 years…) I’ll keep you in the loop…so far this has been a pretty hilarious journey!

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So, the last little book exerpt…a little intense.

People who don’t really know me probably think I’m the saddest person in the world to be around! Seriously, all my intensity just comes out in my writing…I’m usually a pretty upbeat person! Haha.

To lighten the mood…here is my song of the day. Maybe play this when you read the next post and it will set the scene a bit brighter!

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Every Sunday I will attempt to share an excerpt from my work in progress…”You Can Hope”.

March 26th, 2009.

If Chicago is known for its schizophrenic homeless population, I’m pretty sure 75% of those schizophrenics live at my corner of Clark & Diversey. Was I one of those crazy people running down the street? You better believe it. What do you do when you get the news that one of the closest people in your life, your hero, your protector, the man who has always kept you safe is dead. I’ll tell you what you do….You run. You run as fast as you can.

So, I ran. I ran with tears in my eyes and with panic in my face. Somehow, I could stop this from being true. I had 4 blocks before I was at my apartment and I was running faster then prefontaine. I knew every step was making me closer to my destination. The place where I would learn this couldn’t be real. Maybe it was  a misunderstanding? Maybe it wasn’t his car?

I made it. To the elevator. In my apartment. Finally. Those 4 blocks felt like an eternity. As I was waiting I calmed myself down. I stopped from running and I just breathed. This wasn’t real. Why was I even breathing heavy? What just happened? I walked into my elevator with two other nameless faces and I remembered why I was sweating. Why I needed to get home. I was just told my dad was dead.  “Kia there was an accident”. I couldn’t hold it in, I screamed.

 Seven floors up and the people on the elevator now knew they were stuck with a schizophrenic. One girl asked me what was wrong, all I could say was “I’ve got to go home”. As soon as the elevator opened on sixteen I ran again. I didn’t know why I was running, but I knew something would be better once I got inside.

I got to the living room and lost all motion in my body. It was like a giant brick just slammed against me and gravity stopped holding me up. I couldn’t move. I just crunched into a fetal position. Moaning.  Wailing. Screaming. Tears. I wasn’t breathing, yet a sound was coming out of me. A sound from the deepest part of my being. I had no control over what was happening.

All I knew was I had to get home.

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