Friday, January 22, 2016

My Best Year Yet - 2015

Whew! What a year 2015 had been. Many ups and downs, but gladly, there were more ups. 

January was a rough month as I wasn't working starting the new year. About half way through the month, I fell into a position with a marketing firm selling a variety products. I was a top selling lead but it wasn't a position that made me entirely happy. 

February rolled around shortly after, and after a month of being burnt out on marketing and sales, I was losing my steam. I was happy to have an income coming in, but I was looking for more. I started looking for employment elsewhere. I've always had a list of jobs I wanted to experience but they seemed to be just a distant dream. If only I had known, the opportunities were like those messages in side mirrors of your car; "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear." So here I was seeking more fulfilling employment elsewhere at the very end of the month and then there it was, like a sign from God. I was on Craigslist reading job postings when there it was in all capital letters: "SALES SUPPORT SPECIALIST for DICK HANNAH'S ACURA OF PORTLAND." Excitedly, I clicked on the link and completed my online application with a submitted resume. I knew I had a decent shot and since I have always been a car girl with a knowledge of Honda's and Acura's, I figured, 'What have I got to lose?' I went to bed praying so hard that God would grant me the answer to my prayer as working for American Honda and Acura was a job I had only dreamed about.

March Madness quickly followed Frazzled February, and I had gotten a call from a kind hearted, soft spoken woman named, Miss Amy. She had called me to set up an interview with her about the position I had applied for. Without hesitation, I graciously accepted an appointment with her to discuss the position and my work history. On March 05th, I went in for my interview. Miss Amy was the sweetest woman and instantly I felt a great connection with her. She told me she was "quite impressed with my resume and personally felt that I would be a great candidate for the job." A few moments later, she made a phone call to the GM asking if he had a free moment to come up and meet me. Within 5 minutes, a shorter man with blue eyes and a nice suit on came into the office and introduced himself as Mr. Tony Hornback. A name that will always and forever be instilled in my mind. From there, Mr. Hornback asked if Miss Amy had explained the expectations of this position and then proceeded to give me a run down of different 'worst case scenarios' of what can happen while on the job and how I should handle them. As my heart started racing from nervousness, I was terrified of saying the wrong thing, but remained collected and answered with the most honest and professional answer I could come up with. As the interview concluded, I was for sure that I had completely BOMBED the interview. usually do great at interviews but this one seemed to have more pressure as this was a job I had dreamed about and I was determined to make that dream a reality. Miss Amy had informed me that she would be in contact with me within the next week to let me know what actions would be made. Let the waiting begin. As I waited and waited for what seemed like eons of time going by, I finally got a call from Miss Amy. She told me that after careful consideration, her and Mr. Hornback would like to move ahead in the hiring process (Freakin rad, right?!) and would like to conduct a criminal background check and would like me to go to Dick Hannah's Corporate Office to complete necessary training and hiring paperwork. As of March 10th, I was officially accepted to Acura of Portland (AOP)! My dream had come true and my wishes were becoming real life. 

Flowing right along to an Amazing April, I was making my mark and establishing relationships with some pretty amazing people at Acura. One of the first people I met on my first day that was right there to always help me out was an amazing, witty, sweet and caring man who I am proud to say is now one of bestest friends I ever had or will have. Mr. Justin Pai was the greatest welcome and is as good as they get when it comes to showing you the ropes and being there as a constant support. Justin, for that, I will always thank you for the acceptance and love you showed me right off the bat when I was brand new in a world of new things at work. You will never know how much your kindness impacted the start of my career at Acura. Another great friend and support I met, was a tall, hazel eyed charming man with a killer smile that has now become my partner in crime. He was always there to talk to me and make sure I didn't "mess things up." Sharing a common love for tattoos and for a sarcastic, sassy attitude, Mr. Christopher Draper has always given me nothing but funny grief to put millions of smiles on my face, even when I didn't want him to.  He's shared so many great times with me inside and outside of work. Just like Miss Amy, Mr. Hornback and JPai, he has become one of the greatest people in my life and I will cherish them for everything they've taught me and shared with me. In the second week of an Acura April, I was honored to have received the Acura of Portland 'Believe In Nice' Employee of the Month. The recognition is awarded to an employee that is nominated by their fellow peers. This award was very prestigious and meant so much to me because one of my [many] incentives was that I got to choose an organization or charity of my choice for a $200 contribution to be made. I take my volunteer project with Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife very seriously and always hold that one dear to my heart. My Papa, Monty Montgomery, is the reason why. He devoted decades of his time working for ODFW and ever since I was a kid, he helped mold that into me. The reason we do what we do, the reason we volunteer, the reason we have the traditions we have is because of him and the ODFW organization. He's the best man I've ever had the privilege in knowing and I have nothing but the most utmost respect for him. The legacy he has instilled in me with our volunteer projects is so irreplaceable and I am so honored to be a part of it. Papa had just celebrated his 88th birthday and needless to say, I have chosen ODFW to accept the contribution on my behalf, as it will always hold that special place in my heart, as well as the man who introduced it to me. I am very humbled, gracious and very, very honored to have had this. To everyone who nominated me for that recognition, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

May, June and July were amazing months as I had been blossoming at work. In May, BabyGirl's dad made his way home from Afghanistan, finishing his second tour to the Middle East. This was such an emotional but happy time for our families and for my little girl. She hadn't seen her daddy in almost 2 years. All Oregon soldiers were being welcomed home after being deployed for the last 2 years. We kept them all in our thoughts and prayers and we will always bless them for giving us our daily freedoms. Only FOUR out of all Oregon soldiers received their Purple Hearts and our Sgt. Robert Appling was one of those four. Robert, congratulations and we were so proud to welcome you home! We are so proud of you and your accomplishments and to each and every one our soldiers, thank you to each and every one of you for your courage, bravery and sacrifice! I was also back on a coed softball team with my cousins and some childhood friends. The field is my sanctuary. Its a place I can find comfort and clear my head. Like the open road and racing cars is for me. The field is where I don't have to question my skill - I just know. Its a game I can proudly say that I am damn good at. I know what I'm doing out there and I am proud of the athlete I am there. I am so happy to be back on a team and playing my favorite pastime in the greatest game ever played. 

In an Accomplished August, BabyGirl celebrated her 7th year of life. On August 14th, marked 7 years exactly that I have been blessed with the most beautiful presence that has truly blessed my life. God graced me with the gift of motherhood at 03:57 PM when I gave birth to the most precious 8 pound, 9 ounce, 21 inches long baby girl. From the very second I heard her cry as she entered the world, I knew, right there in Room 218 of Mercy Medical Center of Roseburg that my heart was now fully complete, so full of love. Being her mother has taught me so much and I never knew I could love someone or something more than I love her. She has tugged at my heart strings, made me cry and laugh with so much joy and has pushed my buttons so many times- but even with that, it has all been worth everything I have. Nothing could ever compare to the grace, beauty, love, wisdom, joy, happiness and courage she has given me and she will always be my reason to breathe, live and see the amazing tomorrow's. Some days its as if I need her more than she needs me and she is teaching me more than I am teaching her. She is the sunshine of my life and I cannot even express into words how tremendously blessed I am to be able to call her my daughter. Malia Noela, I believe we all make our own destiny and I didn't know it til you came into my life that I was destined to be your Mama. You make my life so meaningful and you are my whole entire reason for being. I love you so very, very much and I hope every single wish you make comes true. Happy happy happy birthday, my sweet darling. You will never know how much your Mommy cares for you and how much she loves you. I hope you always remember that and remember that when you dream, dream BIG.

In Sweet September, BabyGirl became 
a Second Grader! She loves her new teacher, Ms. Nelson and she was so happy to see her schoolmates again. She has grown into the smartest, charismatic little person I know, and I love to watch her grow. She has done exceptionally well this year and has learned so much. I only hope to see her succeed in her upcoming years and I am so proud to call her my little babe. 

Spooking into fall, October brought me an amazing reward. AOP had celebrated a well deserved win in the Acura Summer Sedan 2015 Challenge. Well deserved because the AOP Sales Department worked their asses off at this yearly contest and we won with the TLX Sales Events we promoted all spring and summer long. All our Sales men and women worked countless extra hours and put in so much effort to this cause. The prize was an all expenses paid dinner at Downtown Portland's Morton's Steakhouse. This  restaurant is top notch and very expensive. Now, being the Reception/Concierge, I was not included in this challenge... Or so I thought. The day of the dinner, Miss Amy and Mr. Hornback had told me that per special request by our Sales Managers - 2 amazingly supportive and knowledgeable men, Mr. Brad Caba and Mr. Nick Patoray - they would like to include me in this well deserved dinner. I humbly asked why I should be included as I was not part of any of the sales on these vehicles, and I was informed that I was a crucial part of these sales because if it hadn't have been for me getting stock numbers, key tags, pricing sheets and countless other things, my presence was formally requested. No other receptionist/concierge has EVER taken part in these dinners and here I am, less than 7 months into a career with AOP and I was being asked to participate. I graciously and humbly accepted and made it known to all my managers and peers that I was completely honored to be a part of the dinner with them. It was, if not, the best night of the year for me. I will never forget the recognition and honor I felt that night and it will always be a memory I will hold in my heart forever. 

Not-So-Nice-November was a tough month for me. Let me just say that typically, November is MY month. It is the month I was born in. It is the month that recognizes Epilepsy Awareness, (for those of you who don't know, I am epileptic). It is also the month that celebrates Native American Indian Heritage month, (yes, I am also Native American). It is the month of my second favorite holiday, (first is Fourth of July. I'm very patriotic). I was alive and well. Loving life and in good health about to come up on my 28th birthday. Well, 4 days prior to celebrating my 28th, my health, my life, my job was suddenly disrupted. It was a crisp, fall morning, I just dropped off BabyGirl and her best friend, Miss A off at school. The sun was just peaking over the roof tops. I was passing through the normal neighborhood I drive through daily, when out of the corner of my eye, I see a big SUV coming up fast on the left hand side. I noticed that this driver was not attempting to slow down and she was not even looking at the road. She had been looking down at her phone texting while driving. I attempting to flash my lights and honk my horn at her to inform her that traffic was coming and she needed to stop. As I tensed up, I noticed she did not even bat an eyelash to even look up and prepare to stop. I tried to stop, and even tried swirving out of the way but by then, it was too late. I had already t-boned her. I was anxious and was scared to death, and before I knew it, I had police officers, an ambulance, and fire trucks surrounding me. Everywhere I turned, there were flashing lights, medics and law enforcement running towards me. I was nervous and suddenly fell into a trance - Everything looked blurry, sounds were muffled, all I could hear was my breath and my heart pounding in my ears. I saw witnesses outside and talking to police. I had a police report and a DMV report filed. Airbags deployed and roughed myself up pretty bad. I was so concerned with not only my car, but my job that was waiting for me. I frantically called Mr. Hornback and Mr. Caba, crying and panicking and all. As I wept and continuously apologized for letting them down and not being able to come into work, in a calmed voice, I heard, "It's alright, don't worry about us, we are more worried about you - are you alright, are you injured, your life is so much more important. All you need to do is calm down, just take a breath and get the medical attention you need."  I spent the remainder of afternoon at Emergency getting numerous x-rays done and then after finding out that I had a severe case of whiplash and a severely sprained neck, back and knee, I was then ordered to have a neck brace and a leg brace. I had been on the phone with insurance, doctors, attorneys, my nothing but completely understanding employer, the Washington County Sheriff's Office, with customers, my dad... It seemed that the phone calls were endless and all I had wanted to do was sleep, and rest. My neck, shoulders, back and right knee are sprained and my knee was swollen and severely bruised. I had a bruise across my collar bone and across my chest from my seat belt restraining me back from flying through the windshield. The doctor wanted me to take "a few days" off and start physical therapy the next week. I needed to wear the braces on my neck and right leg for a few weeks to a month and I was prescribed a couple different pain killers and muscle relaxers to help as I need it... It wasn't my fault so I was hoping that the ignorant driver involved got hell for this. I couldn't turn my neck or bend my right leg. I couldn't complete simple daily tasks - hell, I couldn't even play with my child. It was so sad to think that this woman was too busy texting while driving and flew through the stop sign that she took things from me that I couldn't get back. I missed my car, my 2004 Acura TL. I loved my car, it was my other baby besides BabyGirl. I went so many places and made so many memories in that vehicle and it became a part of me. It was also a gift to me from BabyGirl's dad for being such a good mother to his child and it was the nicest thing anyone's ever given to me. I'm a firm believer in NOT texting while driving and I've always looked down on people who did. I've known too many people that were involved in accidents from someone who was texting and hit them. It's sad that so many ignorant people could ruin or take something from a decent individual that worked so hard to earn the things they have. I'm mad at her not just for running the stop sign, but I'm also mad at her for texting while driving and for not having her full attention on the road. I'm mad at her for not driving safely with even her own child in the car with her. I'm mad at her for taking something that was gifted to me away from me. To this day, I still have alot of feelings toward this, and it will never fully be behind me.

Dancing Back December came before I knew it. I was due back at work before I knew 

it. I was still in the process of rental cars and insurance mayhem from the accident but was not going to let that bring me down anymore. On December 4th, I watched my two childhood friends tie the knot. I was so blessed to be able to witness such a joyous event between the two of them. Watching them together amongst their family and friends, I realized in that instance that life is happening. Like right now. No matter what obstacles come your way, you must live for the day cause life and time won't ever stop just because you are. I was determined to make the end of the year a good end. A short few days later, I was back at work and in the process of waiting to hear back from the banks on a car I was really wanting. This car was going to be my second dream car. I was so nervous and was sad that I didn't really think I had much of a good chance. But long story short, strings were pulled and the bank came through and I was suddenly holding the keys to my new 2007 Honda Civic Si. Merry Christmas and Happy (belated) Birthday to me! Christmastime was amazing with my work family. We had an amazingly magical Christmas party at Mama Sandy's Winter Wonderland house, that was so gorgeous, I will always remember it. Our Acura Potluck at work a few days later was so fun, everyone baking, prepping, wrapping gifts, and sharing so many laughs, was a time to be cherished. It was especially a good time being able to have a potluck dinner with Mr. Hannah himself. I spent the holiday with so many close coworkers, Miss TJ made everyone amazing little mason jars filled with amazingly (strong) good apple cider moonshine. Mr. Jame(s) got me an awesome HID Conversion Kit for my new cars headlights. After I tinted the windows, I had the HID's he gave me put in and now, I'm loving my cute little car. Christmas Day was spent in my hometown, Winston, with my parents (my dad and stepmom) and was a very special time for me as I had not had a Christmas with them in years. It was so special to BabyGirl that we got to have that special holiday with them, making memories new and old for years to come. :)

I am so unbelievably thankful for all the things 2015 gave to me, and for all the lessons learned within that year. I honestly have met so many personal goals in the past year that I cannot wait to see what this new year will bring me. The sky is the limit and I have no place to go but up! 

xoxoxo! -S.

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