I grew up with a crazy, sometimes- dysfunctional family, and I say that in the most affectionate way. My Brother is sassy, my sister is dramatic, my father is bold, and my mom- well according to my husband she is too sweet for her own good. Then there’s me, I like to think I am a little of the whole crew, making me the perfect mix of crazy and lovable. They may be a handful, and we may have our fair share of crazy stories (Ask me about the time a deer jumped through our living room window, and just for the record- we lived in the middle of Austin, Tx), but in so many ways I hope that my own little family will someday resemble the home I grew up in because they taught me that things don’t have to be perfect to hold value.
My siblings and I all went to a small private school our whole lives, and with the entire school being made up of only 800 students (Yep, that’s pre-k through 12th grade), it became a second family and a home away from home.
I was the painfully shy little girl who cried every morning when her dad dropped her off at school, and kept that reputation until about 7th grade when I decided I wanted to have a voice. I tried out for cheer, made the squad and found my voice through eight-counts and team-spirit. For the first time in my life I was seen, and it kind of became my secret mission to surprise people again and again. I went on to become Cheer captain, a thespian, class president, and homecoming queen. I was uber involved and it felt good to do the unexpected. But the thing is, I had let achievement become my worth– of course I didn’t understand this until I was sitting in a leadership course my freshman year of college and I took a strengths finder test and achiever popped up as my
#1 strength (and if your curious my other strengths are Empathy, Developer, Adaptability, Ideation, and Positivity). More on that later though.
Somewhere in the blur of high school I met a goofy freshman boy on his first day of high school that had the sweetest disposition and a knack for sketching. He was a year younger than me, but we had geometry together, and his mom taught the class. He quickly became one of my best friends, and after about 3 months of denying I had feelings for him, I finally admitted that I by far had the most fun with Jackson Scott, and to fall in love with my best friend wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Well, fast forward through one awkward first kiss (that ended up more like me kissing his nose), a terrible 1-month break, and seven years with too many adventures to count– he had completely stolen my heart, challenged me to be better, pursued me with Christ’s love, and asked me to take on this life with him. We said “I do” on a rainy June day, and danced the night away in our little white chapel– the one we had fixed up just for the occasion. I left that night knowing that Jackson Scott Graessle is one of the sweetest gifts the Lord will give me.
For now, Jack and I are figuring out newly-wed life in Waco, Texas– a little town with a big heart. I work as a Social Marketing Strategist and Event Planner by day and dream by night of the things we could do to make a difference in this life, maybe that will be through the words left here, or maybe through a business we start, but either way I am convinced that we are given a unique purpose and mission for this life– I’m still figuring out what that means though, so if you’re one of those people who have known since they were 5 that they were called to Indonesia to serve or to start your catering business to make a difference, I envy you, but to those of you who are in the “I have no idea what I’m doing here” boat, I FEEL ya! But still I have resolved to live peacefully because the Lord is faithful!
To be honest, I feel like I have too many things I’m interested in and a handful of talents I’m kinda good at, but I never was the kid that people said, “WOW, you’re so good at ________”. What I do know is I like to be nice to people, think ALL people deserve to feel loved and valued, have an knack for problem solving, taking pretty pictures and showing people that taking the risk to dream is SO worth it. But I struggle to believe for my own life what I preach to others (Anyone else relate??), can be a little stubborn (But I was raised by a red-head and a New Yorker, so what can I say), and have an uncanny ability to leave toilets un-flushed (I chalk it up to being environmentally conscious). But I digress.
We live in a world where perfection is pushed and disguised as “#nofilter”. We sit and formulate who we want the world to see us as and work and work until we feel some sort of value. Right? Raise your hand if you’ve felt that way. SO MANY HANDS, I just know it! And so here we are, let’s relish the things that make us human, that makes us, us. All the brokenness and messiness, the random dance parties even when you can’t dance! Yes! This is what we need more of. This is championing humanity, not plastic perfectly-packaged lives.
Let’s ask hard questions, show our true selves, seek to uphold real truth, and do more about it.
This is me, this will be my story.