Sunday, September 2, 2012

Danielle's Family

Describe your parents including education, occupation, personality, interests, etc.: 
My dad is very knowledgeable, intelligent, witty and creative. He can turn anything into a song, poem or joke. He has a large collection of amazing poems that he has written over the years. While many of them are light-hearted, most of his poems focus on religious themes that exemplify his love for diety.
Growing up I always knew if I had a question about why something was the way that it was, or needed some advice, I knew my dad would be a great resource. He obtained his bachelor's degree at Brigham Young University and then went on to complete a law degree at McGeorge School of Law. It was always a dream of his to be an attorney, but life brought him a different opportunity to use his talents and education in the church. He worked for our church's work-assistance program as a Rehabilitation Manager for many years. He helped people overcome addictions, trials, and insecurities. Since retiring from rehabilitation management, he keeps himself busy working as an insurance specialist at my brother's dental office. In his spare time he loves to read autobiographies, historical novels or James Bond books, go golfing with my brothers, go for long drives to the coast or up to the mountain or enjoy Law and Order reruns.

My mom is very spiritual and bright. She started college shortly after getting married and didn't really care for it. She soon after found out they were expecting their first child and she decided to dedicate her time and talents to being a mother. My mom would do anything for her children. She sacrificed warm meals, restful nights and free-time to herself so that her children could be happy and comfortable. We were and still are her life. It was always her dream to be close friends with her kids as they grew up and had families of their own and I believe that dream has come true. My mom is very kind-hearted and soft-spoken. Her heart is so full of love for her family and friends. She puts 100% into everything! She too works at my brother's dental office, as the office manager. She is dependable and knows how to get things done! In her spare time she loves to play with her grandbabies, paint, sew, read a good book, watch a good movie (aka, take a nap) or play Scrabble.

Explain your parents' methods of discipline: 
Although there was the occasional spanking or "popping on the mouth" when my siblings or I was especially mouthy or disobedient, these were not the usual methods used for discipline. My parents strongly believed in teaching us what was right and wrong then allowed us to make our own choices. We knew that no matter what they would love us and help us. When we made a poor choice it was a teaching opportunity for our parents to help us understand how to better avoid mistakes in the future and how to make things right. I remember when I was about seven were were in line at K-Mart. I saw a pack of grape Bubble Yum Gum and asked my mom if I could have it.  She told me "no" but I was determined to have that gum and put it in my pocket when no one was looking. Feeling victorious I climbed into the back of our van and forgot to buckle. At the next light, when my mom applied the brakes, the packet flew out of my pocket and landed in the front of the van. My brother proceeded to tattle on me. When we got home my siblings were dropped of and my mom turned the car around to take me back to the store. During the drive there she talked to me about what I had done and asked me if I understood why it was wrong to steal. I knew it was. She told me I would need to return the gum myself and apologize. I began to protest but she told me it was part of the consequence--I needed to make things right. Holding my hand, my mom walked me back to the cashier and told her I had something to say. Crying, I walked up to the cashier, admitted my fault, apologized and returned the gum.  She said "thank you for being honest." 
My mom not only taught me that stealing was wrong cause it hurts others, but that I needed to be accountable for my actions.  This is how it was with all learning opportunities in my life. I knew that I could turn to my parents for help and I could count on their helping me the best they could, to do what was right.

What is your present relationship with your parents and siblings? 
My relationship with my parents and siblings is very important to me. Although we live quite a distance apart we keep in touch with each other by phone, Facebook, Skype and email. I also make a point to visit home at least twice a year so I can play with my nieces and nephews, give/get hugs and to just spend time with my family. Growing up, my parents always counseled us become best friends with our siblings because friends would come and go, but families are forever. I believe we really are each other's best friends.

Relate any special experiences or memories: 
My family loved road trips. Road trips meant Slurpees, endless games of "I Spy", the Alphabet game (whoever can start with the letter A and get to Z using street names or billboards or restaurant signs first, wins!), and the license plate game (whoever comes up with the most clever phrase based on the license plate letters on the car in front of you, wins!). We also sang loudly to all of the oldies on the radio or made up songs when the signal cut out. Our road trips were mostly to go see family in neighboring states, but we also loved to go to the coast or on camping trips. One of my most memorable camping trips was when it rained HARD the entire time we were there. My dad and brothers hung tarps over our entire campsite so we could stay dry. Since the only dry place was our campsite, our bikes and toys stayed covered and we depended on each other for entertainment. We played cards and boardgames, sang songs while my dad played the guitar, ate delicious meals and snacks and spent hours talking around the campfire. We all thought the rain was going to ruin our trip, but it actually made it a lot better. The last day of our trip the sun came out long enough for us to pack everything up and take our bikes for a quick spin. It was definitely my favorite camping trip ever!

Share any traumatic events that have impacted your life: 
I think one of the most significant traumatic events in my life was when I lost sight in my right eye during a bungy cord accident when I was five. Before my accident I was afraid of nothing and no one. I was a daredevil! After my accident, I realized that people can get hurt, that injuries can be permanent and that people can be mean or judgmental. Until I received my prosthetic lens, I was constantly asked, "What happened to your eye?" Kids would ask me just to hear the story again. Adults would stare and look away like they were ashamed of me. It was a very painful transition for a little girl to go through. However, as I grew up and became accustomed to the loss of vision and learned that even though my eye may not look the same, I'm still me--my perspective began to change. I realized that there were a lot worse things that could have happened to me and how blessed I was that it was only my eye that was hurt. This traumatic event has definitely changed my life, but I like to think that it has changed it for the better. Even now, when I begin to feel sorry for myself, I remember how blessed I am to still be able to see, even if it is only out of one eye. This injury has given me a unique opportunity to empathize with people who have a deformity, handicap, poor self-esteem or body image. It's ok to not be "perfect" because nobody is! It took an eye accident for me to realize that about myself and I'm grateful now be able to share that message with others.

List significant activities, group involvements, or accomplishments during your years of education: 
I was very active in lots of different groups and activities growing up. In grade school I was in choir and band. I played the trumpet and was 1st chair through sixth grade. My love for music took a different route though and I soon learned to love the piano and singing. I participated in choir my freshman year of high school and was able to be in the a'capella and advanced choirs beginning my sophmore year. I taught myself to play the piano at about age 14 and started voice lessons when I was 17. I took voice lessons for about 3 years (off and on) and loved the challenge or learning new styles. My favorites are opera and big band torch songs (the kind a woman would sing in a lounge, wearing a long red dress and laying across the top of a piano!). I tried out for the school and church talent shows and participated in any musical I could. Performing is such a blast! I always tried to do my best in school. I was always on the honor roll and was a member of the Heliaca National Honor Society. I graduated 20th in my class of over 500. In college, I worked really hard to earn good grades. My husband and I always competed to see who could get the better grades! :) My greatest achievement was when I scored a perfect 30 on my final exam in Political Philosophy. My professor told the class that he had never given a perfect score before, so to not expect it. When I got my grade I couldn't believe it. He told me my work was nothing short of outstanding! Those essays were on our fridge for a month! :)

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