In the days leading up to Chapel Hill, I am more conscious about my days and how I spend my time. All the while thinking about my “numbering” days, I have come to an epiphany. What if every month I had a “Chapel Hill”– all this is to say, what if I treated every day with an excitement to make that day count. Not just another normal day, but truly be grateful for these days and live out “one day at a time”. So, let me introduce my friend Rebecca. She has helped me reach this revelation about staying strong, positive, and showing excitement for every single day we are blessed to have.
Rebecca and I were in Inclusion in Recreation and Parks together at UNCG. As a requirement for class, each student was assigned a “buddy” for the semester. Our class partnered with Beyond Academics at UNCG and the ARC of Greensboro. These two partnering organizations allow Community and Therapeutic Recreation students an opportunity to become educated on creating an inclusive environment for people with disabilities in and outside of recreation. Rebecca, a student at UNCG in the Beyond Academics program, joined our class and we were paired together as “buddies” and study partners. When I was first introduced to Rebecca, I knew we would be instant friends. Her Scotty McCreery t-shirt, bag, and hot pink glittery shoes said it all– this girl had style. Over the course of one semester, Rebecca and I grew to be friends outside of any “classroom assignment” or study session. Between NCSU football games and “study sessions” at Bojangles (Scotty’s favorite!) Rebecca made a direct impact on my life. An impact that has inspired me to be a better friend, daughter, wife, and mother.
Rebecca has taught me many “life lessons”. I hope these are an encouragement to you today in whatever season of life you may be experiencing. So, to my sweet friend Rebecca, I want you to know that your legacy will be passed down to our girls. The lessons you have taught me in our year of friendship will be instilled in Amelia and Leah as we raise them. These are only a few of the lessons that I have learned from you since that day those hot pink glittery shoes and Scotty McCreery bag caught my attention!
1. Discover Your Passion. Chase Your Dreams. When I first met Rebecca I immediately knew two things about her: she loved Scotty McCreery and Walt Disney World. Whether you are passionate about a celebrity and dream to meet them, or passionate about a certain destination- you owe it to yourself to live it out. Be persistent. Do not sit back and wait for life to find you. Discover Your Passion. Chase Your Dream. We are blessed with one life. Make it count.
2. Love. Love Hard. When you are Rebecca’s friend- you are her friend for life. If you need someone to encourage, support, and love on you– you go add Rebecca on Facebook right now. Rebecca is truly a loyal and loving friend. Never once have I heard Rebecca gossip or say anything ugly about a friend or a stranger. Mother Teresa said so herself, “Spread your love everywhere you go.” As Christians, we are called to love and to love different. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. As a true “McCreerian” at heart, what can I say? Rebecca loves everyone “this big”.
3. Live out the “exclamation points” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In my entire life, I have never met anyone that has an enthusiasm and excitement for life like Rebecca. She is always SO excited, awesome, or my favorite- “pumped up!” Her positive attitude and zest for a life worth living has allowed her to accomplish many of her goals. She is persistent to make every day count and live out the exclamation points. Yesterday, I had the honor in witnessing Rebecca at a Scotty McCreery concert. I like good ole’ Scotty, but not nearly as much as Rebecca. Her pure joy in this video reflects how Rebecca lives life everyday: through the exclamation points. So my friends, be excited. Be awesome. And be pumped up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4. Remember the “Disney” Lessons: always keep your childlike faith. For Rebecca’s 21st Birthday this past year, we celebrated at Poblano’s Mexican Grill and watched Beauty and the Beast. One of her favorite Disney movies! The faith that Rebecca has is pure and unwavering. Sometimes, we get caught up in the “hustle and bustle” and begin to go through the motions. We forget what it is like to be simple. We forget what it is like to take a step back and pursue our dreams and have an imagination. We forget how to find joy in things that once made us happy. I only pray that our two girls will cherish their childlike faith. I do not want society to rush their childhood. I want them to enjoy being a child. I want them to have a creative imagination. I want them to never stop believing. Maybe we should all take a step back from the motions and simply: believe again.
5. Always use People First Language. See the PERSON before the disability. About a month ago, Rebecca gave me an essay she wrote for one of her classes. Her assignment was why people first language is important and to describe an experience in which someone has demonstrated people first language. I was humbled to find out that Rebecca wrote about our friendship and how I demonstrated people first language towards her. Never once have I seen Rebecca’s disability before I saw Rebecca. I see Scotty McCreery’s #1 fan. I see a fellow Wolfpack girl. I see a Bojangles lunch date. I see Aunt Rebecca. I see her beauty. I see her love and excitement for life. I see one inspiring individual. I want our girls to understand the importance of treating others as you would want to be treated. I want our girls to understand the importance of loving everyone for who they are. We are all created in the image of God. We are to respect His creation. Therefore, we are to respect and love one another as He loves us. I mean come on people, look at this beautiful girl and how her inner beauty glows!
Rebecca, thank you for inspiring me to be a better friend, daughter, wife, and mother. Thank you for teaching me these life lessons, and continuing to teach me something new everyday. Your friendship is precious to me, and our girls are blessed to call you “Aunt Rebecca”. There is not a doubt in my mind they will be Scotty McCreery and Walt Disney fans. Now for Bojangles, we have to prioritize and support their Daddy at Chick-fil-A! All in all, I am so excited and pumped up to be your “best friend forever”. I love you “this big”!
I will celebrate the relationships I share and never take them for granted. I will treasure them as one of life’s sweetest joys. -Lance Wubbels
Celebrate your relationships today. Treasure life’s sweetest joys. For we are not guaranteed tomorrow- make today count.