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Transcript of My Story
lost in the desert
I asked my parents if I was an accident.
Being good Catholics, they told me, "You were all accidents."
I often felt like I had lots of parents.
I also took a lot of abuse.
A monster wedgie
I was babied and spoiled, but I also felt like I had a lot to live up to.
I figured out quickly that the best way to get attention was to let others shine. I became the listener, the cheerleader and the peace-maker.
I went to
Christ the King School through 8th grade.
But, I was a good student and , most importantly,
a "good girl".
I appreciated going to a small school where I had known all my classmates forever.
I made it through my awkward phases with my self-esteem intact.
Awkward in 6th
More awkward in 7th
I cut my own mullet. And thought it was so cool.
Awkward and in denial in 8th.
Life was going pretty well.
I had great friends, I liked school, and I was finally at Dowling, which I had looked forward to my whole life.
The winter of my freshman year was particularly cold.
It was not a great idea.
So my parents thought it would be a great idea to move to Arizona.
To say I hated it is an understatement.
In hindsight, I learned a lot about myself and it made me a lot more open-minded.
But it still really sucked.
I went to the University of Arizona and got a psychology degree.
I went to graduate school at
Colorado State. Because what else can you do with a psychology degree?
A couple of things happened in Colorado:
1) I married my high school
2) I studied to be a Marriage
& Family Therapist.
A couple other things
happened in Colorado:
1) I realized I had no business being married.
2) I realized I had no business being
a Marriage & Family Therapist.
As a "good girl", it was not easy to admit that I'd failed.
I had no idea who or what I wanted to be when I grew up.
But I was ready to figure it out.
I knew that the only place I could do that was Iowa, where I had the unconditional support of my family.
My story starts
with these two
All of the odds were
My whole identity was based on my family and my friends, and I felt like I had lost both.
I know: "Wah-wah...you had to move to Arizona...poor thing."
But it really sucked.
Despite being young, poor and inexperienced, they turned out to be amazing parents.
They faced incredible challenges, but they overcame each one.
They have always been a TEAM. They are an inspiration to me and all of their kids.
Des Moines, 1971
I had 5 older siblings who were between 8 and 16 years older than me.
I was also born 5 years after my sister, Lisa, died when she was 5 months old.
Accident or not, my family
needed a new start after such a tragic loss.
So, I was pretty much a miracle.
Before the Beginning
I adored and idolized my siblings, and still do.
I was thrilled to be with my family again.
I rediscovered old friendships and started having fun again.
I started working in middle and high schools and realized I LOVED adolescents and education (something I honestly had never considered.)
So I went to graduate school AGAIN. At Drake this time.
I met my husband, John, and married him 8 months later.
I couldn't imagine being happier.
And then I was.
Evan is my favorite person in the whole world.
He makes me laugh and he makes me proud.
I feel so blessed to be his mom.
One of the things I am most grateful for is that Evan gets to grow up surrounded by all of the people I love so much.
Our lives are so much richer because of them.
It took a while, but I finally figured out who I am, where I want to be, and who I want to be with.
I never take my life for granted.
I am finally home.
Teenage siblings are busy and have a low tolerance level.
And parents who have already seen it all don't really need any trouble.
I was lucky to get to stay home with Evan for 5 years.
To earn money while I was a stay-at-home mom, I did deliveries for my family's business at night.
I still do this every weekend and summer.
Donated human tissue
I believe that life is messy and sometimes we need a do-over.
I believe that we learn the most by making mistakes.
I believe that we become our best selves with the people who see the best in us.