Saturday, November 19, 2011

11/19/11: The Family Is A Haven In A Heartless World

Meet the Peppers! 

I feel that an integral reason for writing this blog is to really give any reader a sense of who I am and why I am doing all of the things that I am doing. I have written about countless adventures, studies, and personal experiences, but I have never written about the people who have helped make this all possible, and who without, I would not be where I am today. "Other things may change us, but we start and end with family" and I am so lucky to have one of the best families in the world.  

"Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a dad."  ~Author Unknown

My Daddy and Me

Perhaps one of the most influential people in my life is my dad. I don't know how he does it, but he seems to know everything from relationships to finances and everything in between. I couldn't ask for a better guide, and on the rare occasion I actually listen to his advice it always proves to be the best.  As much as a child HATES to admit her parents might actually know what they are talking about, I'm learning (slowly, slowly) to take his words and advice to heart. From his work ethic, to the way he interacts with people, he is such an inspiration to me. I miss my dad everyday but mostly during the holiday season, which is rapidly approaching. My sister, dad, and I take our holiday times very seriously, and starting with the watching of Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween, and ending with White Christmas on December 25th (with tons and tons of holiday music and movies in between), it is proving to be a tradition that I am deeply missing. Everything from our holiday movie nights to my step mom's obsessive (in a good way) holiday decorating makes me very hungry for home during this time. 

And we all wonder why I'm lazy!!! It's genetic :-) 

Dad with his girls! 

My daddy and step momma

Dad, Sister, Step Sissy, Step momma! 

I would not be where I am today with the support of my dad who has truly given me so much to be thankful for (including 4 years at the most amazing university ever!!! 1ST DOWN... GO BEARRRRS!!! as we like to say :-p) 

"I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine - she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights".  ~Terri Guillemets

Mommy and me!! 

 My mom wanted to be a mother from the time she was a teenager, and when someone wants children as much as my mom did you just know they are bound to be an fantastic parent. No matter where I am in the world, or who I am with, my mom is the only person who can make me feel infinitely better when I am sad or sick, when I feel alone or I am scared. I tell her everything (even things she could do without knowing), and I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my mommy around as a shoulder to lean on. Just as I miss my dad the most during the holidays, I miss my mom the most during the fall. Football season and the fall are my mom's seasons :-) Ever since I was a baby I can remember watching Ohio State football on saturdays, getting dressed up in Ohio state gear with our Ohio State pillows and pom poms, and that only intensified when I went to CAL and had a team of my own to follow. My mom gave me the love I have for sports, the fine arts, leadership, and so many other things, and she has helped me develop so many of my most important skills and attributes. 

Mommy and her girls 

Go Bucks! 

At the Rose Bowl! 

At the Fiesta Bowl 

"A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life." ~Isadora James
"If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child."  ~Linda Sunshine

These two quotes sum up my relationship with my baby sister perfectly. There were times when I wanted to kill her, still are, but she is my best friend in the whole world, and someone who will be there for me until the very end. My sister can best be described as the miracle child. She was born 3 months premature, weighing only 1 pound 10 ounces, and now she is bigger than I am!! 

Hard to believe she is bigger than me now!  

A sister is such a special thing to have, and I am discovering the truth to this more and more everyday. Whether you want someone to do something with, or just need a family ally, a sister is always there for just those purposes. A friend who is so so much more. Elana and I have had some crazy times over these past years, from 8 hour long drives starting at 10 o'clock at night, to watching planet earth at 3 in the morning, to football games, to sorority invites, and even raves, we have done it all, and I couldn't think of anyone else I would have wanted to share in these activities with! I can't wait until she joins me in the Holy Land so that we can continue on our epic sisterly adventures :-)

With our step sissy!! 


"What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance.  They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life.  And, most importantly, cookies."  ~Rudolph Giuliani (or in my case...TUNA!) 

I am so lucky to have the most amazing grandparents in the world. I will first talk about my dad's parents; my Bubby and Zayde. These are two of the most amazing people anyone will ever meet, and I don't know what Elana and I would have done without them. Because we are the only grandchildren (my Uncle didn't have children), we really were so lucky to have the full attention of Bubby and Zayde since we were babies. 

My Zayde is the smartest person in the whole world, and my Bubby is care-free, adventurous, and fearless. Both of them have such a different personalities, and I have learned so many different, essential things from each of them. In times of great hardship they have been my rocks and saviors when I felt like I had no where else to turn. They provided me haven unlike any other, and still, to this day, provide that same comfort and safety net. They are two other heros in my life, and I thank God everyday that they are here with me. I don't know what I would do without either of them so they better stay put for a long time :-p. They are my favorite people in the world. 

Yup... In Mexico with Bubby! 

I am also so fortunate to have my Muzzy (mom's mom) in my life. It is so amazing to have 3 grandparents alive and well, and it is such a blessing that we are so close to them. My Muzzy is the artist in the family (a gene which skipped most of us), and she has the most amazing sense of fashion and style of anyone I have ever met. I constantly admire her impeccable taste, grace, and sense of style. She has one of the most interesting histories and families around, and I love hearing about my great grandparents and all of the amazing things that they did with languages, printing, politics, and so many other things. 

Muzzy, Me, and Cousin Alex

"An uncle is a gift whose worth cannot be measured except by the heart."- Unknown 

There isn't a truer quote to describe the relationship I have with my Uncle Scott (dad's brother). He is one of the most special people in my life and I don't know where I would be without his kindness and generosity. My Uncle has always been someone I have idolized, and his fearless and adventurous life has been a huge source of inspiration to me. My Uncle marches to the beat of his own drum, and I aspire to be more and more like that everyday. Along with being the care-free, crazy (in the best sense) uncle, he has proven to be one of my greatest resources, and sources of encouragement and strength during very difficult times in my life. His generosity is overwhelming, and he has given me so much in terms of love, encouragement, and general support. I am so lucky to have him in my life! 

The rest of my family, My mom's brother and his son, live in Ohio so we haven't spent much time with them over the past years, but the time we do have with them is absolutely amazing. My Uncle Lon is one of the funnies people I have ever met, and is so brilliant. My cousin Alex (my only first cousin), is a brilliant musician and one of the most fun people to be with. They are amazing and I can't wait to spend more time with them in the future! 

Well that just about sums up my small, but amazing, family! Now you know a little more about us Peppers (and Mendelsohns), and these are the wonderful people who have gotten me to where I am today! 

Tisba7 3ala Khier ya habibis! 
Jordana Simone 

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