S: Ashlyn Nicole Rand Sportato June 2011
BC: I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known. ~Author Unknown
FC: To happy endings and new beginnings... Congratulations!!!
1: This was the day you began your K-12 journey! I remember it clearly~ you really wanted that clear backpack in the picture : )
2: “See you and me have a better time than most can dream of, better than the best, so we can pull on through, whatever tears at us, whatever holds us down, and if nothing can be done, we'll make the best of what's around.” “The future is no place to place your better days.” “I'll lean on you and you lean on me and we'll be okay” ~Dave Matthews | “Take what you can from your dreams, make them as real as anything.”
3: The most important thing I ever learned is to listen to my own voice louder than anyone else’s. I take in others opinions and thoughts and learn from them, but I’ve learned to tune in to my guts, my instincts and my inner voice because it (almost!) always guides me the right way. | The most important quality a woman should have is to be able to give what you want to get. Do you want to be in a loving relationship? Be a loving partner. Give to the world what you want to get back from it and you will be blessed and a blessing at once. I consider this a ‘quality’ because it flows benefits into every aspect of life. Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: Dream big! Travel! Live in different places! Take time out to dream up new dreams and goals! I also wish I could have known ahead of time to take care of my body ‘use sunscreen & eat well so you can look good when you’re 37’! Don’t get so busy that you forget to take time to look for inner peace. I can’t choose one special memory to list for this book. Ashlyn’s existence rocked my world~ in a good way~ changed the course of my life and my history. The best times of my life all include Ashlyn. Ashy, you’re my daughter and luckily for me, you’re one of my favorite people. Your wit, personality and exuberance are all joys of my life. What I wish for Ashlyn: My wish for Ashlyn is that she creates a life that includes lightness and fun mixed well with goals and ambition. I also hope that if she has children, she’s blessed with a daughter as fun, funny, smart and amazing as Ashlyn herself. "Add "nice" to whatever you're doing and watch opportunities open up all around you." — Winn Claybaugh A top ten list of the things I love in life: 1.Ashlyn and Jackson 2.DMB 3.Scrapping with Nikki 4.Exercise, running & biking in fundraisers, turbo 5.Pizza, Chips & Salsa and String Cheese melted on a plate 6.Having a husband who’s kind and loving 7.Inside Jokes 8.Reading 9.Watching Ashlyn play soccer and volleyball 10. Singing and dancing What I believe about life is that the best thing we can do is to absorb it every day. Accept life as a gift! I’m proud of you every day and look forward to everything in life you have yet to enjoy. You’re someone really special and I love you best. Mom
4: We did some really goofy things and I’m happy you could enjoy me to the fullest extent. I wish we could have had more times like that but it made me appreciate the great things we did. I am so excited you are going to a collage by Nikki. You will have so fun. Mom showed me this picture and said that you used to get me out of my crib in the mornings and watch tv with me. Love you, Jackson. | You have been acting like you were this age since you were six. I hope it feels good to know you are finally big. You just took one big leap on the child-to-adult scale, but I hope you don’t stop growing emotionally. This responsibility you have always been feeling has really taken an impact on how I feel about things. When I look back we went through hard times but I had a lot of fun with you.
5: LOVE | LOVE | LOVE | love | LOVE | LOVE
6: The most important thing I ever learned: To appreciate everyday and not take any day for granted. Don’t worry about the little things. Life is to short and we have so much to be thankful for and you’re cheating yourself if you don’t take advantage of what life really does have to offer. The most important qualities a woman should have: Caring, giving, forgiving, supportive, nurturing, to listen and really hear, sense of humor, not afraid to express herself or be silly, loyalty, to be the kind of person that allows their partner to be themselves, to be a sense of reason and calm. I’m very lucky to have found someone with all these qualities. Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: How to make my first million. A special memory I have of Ashlyn: Everyday is a special day with Ash : ) From her morning groans to her belches when she enters a room. How can that not be special : ) What I wish for Ashlyn: I wish for Ash to believe in herself and to know what she really is capable of. She has so many creative talents and I believe if she follows any of those it would bring fulfillment to her life. Anything really is possible if you believe in yourself and work for it. Go for it Ash, you can make anything happen. These are exciting times for you. Everything is ahead and in front of you to make your life what you want it to be. And there’s no timetable A favorite quote, poem, prayer or song and why it’s special to me: There’s no other song that gets to me like our National Anthem the Star Spangled Banner. It never fails that I get chills from hearing this song. The time that the original poem was written and the history that was being made makes you appreciate how lucky we are that we get to live where we do. A top ten list of the things I love in life: Every morning, first morning sips of coffee, the smell of nature, the feeling you get after giving a kind gesture, chocolate, the first kiss of the person you know your going to spend the rest of your life with, a shower, motocross, music and my wife! What I believe about life (my credo): “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” Congratulations Ash. Really proud of you. Love you. Love, Todd
8: The most important thing I ever learned: What I am sure of is that as life goes on, the list of important lessons will go on and on but as far as I know now, the most important thing I have learned is that we must take care of ourselves. Look after your interests, self expression and hobbies, feelings, drive and ambition as you would your most sacred possession. Be aware that no one will give you what you want, you have to go get it. The most important qualities a woman should have: Number one, CONFIDENCE. If you are unsure of yourself or what you are doing, ACT like you are. Fake it till you make it. If you like a guy and don’t know if he likes you, persuade him with your confidence and know that either way, you are OK on your own. This is the most attractive quality anyone can have so long as you can take it in with a healthy dose of humble pie. Be so confident that when you talk to someone you can shake their hand and look them directly in the eye when you talk. Number two, COMPASSION. Realizing that things are not always what they seem and that others can be going through challenging times and they may need your help. Having compassion means that you can look outside the box of yourself and your life, and HELP others, even at your expense. Number three, HONESTY. This goes for everyone, not just women. Be honest with the people in your life and let the people who don’t care about honesty weed themselves out. Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: I wish someone would have told me that education is the most solid foundation, because it helps you to find and know yourself which is the most important thing to know especially if you desire to be great in life and in whatever it is you choose to do. I wish someone would have told me that you cannot rely on others for your happiness or to fulfill your expectations. REAL happiness comes from within, and is directly related to how much love you give to yourself and then to others. I wish someone would have told me that it is ok NOT to know everything and that learning is a process that should be enjoyed EVERY step of the way. I wish someone would have told me that to be successful, you need to possess a certain quality and that is a GOOD memory. Try to remember people’s names and something about them so that the next time you see them they will be REAL impressed that you “know” them. This will take you a long way. | GO FOR ANYTHING!!
9: Part of the key to that is to LISTEN. I saw on an Oprah special that you should make it your rule of thumb to LISTEN 90% of the time and TALK 10 % of the time. This has stuck with me and although it is not easy to do, it is something to strive for! A special memory I have of Ashlyn: I remember Ashlyn’s birth! Ha! And I remember her coming to visit me in Oregon with her little overalls on and her BIG attitude!! I remember her being SO excited and CONFIDENT that she could travel state to state and see her family, not a worry or a question about it! What I wish for Ashlyn: I wish for Ashlyn to realize her potential and GO FOR ANYTHING! Anything is possible and your journey should be enjoyed each and every step of the way. A favorite quote, poem, prayer or song and why it’s special to me: A favorite quote that I have recently been pondering is from Simon Cowell of all people but it is one that I relate to now and that resonates with me again and again. He said that “research kills creativity”. I believe what he meant was that if you over analyze things and over think things, you will lose your natural instincts. TRUST your instincts and be in tune with them! GO with your gut!! A top ten list of the things I love in life: 1. LOVE 2. INDEPENDENCE 3. ENERGY 4. YOGA 5. FREEDOM OF SPEECH 6. THE BEACH 7. TRAVELING 8. CHEESE 9. EXERCISE 10. MASSAGES! What I believe about life (my credo): I truly believe that the energy you put out into the world is the energy that comes back to you. We all have to go through life and remember that we will love, fight, struggle, enjoy in short, we all go through ups and downs. But all in all, what you give to others you always get back one way or another. I love you SOOOOOOOOO much Ashy-Do!!! Signed, Your one and only AUNT NIKKI!!!!
10: Write your autobiography making every day an adventure. It doesn’t have to be a big adventure, just keep note of something new that makes life more special – a crazy joke, a smile, a good cry, a movie, a difficult test, a sweet kiss or something that made you laugh your head off. You can just enjoy a special day of cuddling in your bed and dreaming a good dream. You might help a stranger, cheer up a friend, make someone (especially your grandma) smile, knowing that you added a wonderful page to your story and theirs as well. It is easy get bogged down in the daily grind and forget to look for something that makes each day special. It is also easy to dwell on the bad things that happen to us. They are only the footnotes in our stories. Moving on is the triumph. I remember when I had done something bad when I was a little girl. My mother would say, “are you proud of yourself?” Do things that make you proud of yourself. | You're Always Grandma's Gore.... : )
11: Put your handprint on every day and make it yours!! | One of the little HUGE things!! How lucky I am to be your “Regular Grandma”!!!! I love you!!
12: The most important thing I ever learned: Always tell the truth, no matter the consequences. Regardless of how dire a situation might seem, knowing exactly what happened allows you to properly deal with the situation and begin the process of getting it behind you. The most important qualities a woman should have: Loving, faithful, caring, sense of humor, intelligent and independent. Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: As you become more experienced in life, however much you might believe you will become a different person, rest assured, whatever changes affect you will be so gradual, they won’t be noticed. You will always be your own person. You know what is right and wrong, you are the master of your destiny. Be diligent, thoughtful and caring, both in your family and work lives. Family comes first, education and career follow, but all require balance. It is imperative to have fun, but not at the expense of yourself or others. Enjoy life, friends and family. A strong spirit will ensure success. Don’t be nave or gullible and don’t allow yourself to be coerced. Enjoy your entire adulthood, have fun, laugh, and do the things you want to do. Don’t be afraid to take some risks, but make sure they’re calculated and not overly dangerous or careless. Be financially smart. Don’t purchase things you cannot afford, but enjoy the things you can. Be aggressive in saving as much as you can for your later years, you’ll find you have many reasons for doing so. A special memory I have of Ashlyn: When she was a tiny girl, maybe a year old, I was feeding her in her highchair and being adamant about her finishing her meal. She was a little defiant, but I continued to push her to finish. When she was down to almost nothing on her plate, I told her she was done, and in an adorable, surprised, tiny girl voice, she said “I’m done?” | What I wish for Ashlyn: I wish good health and happiness for Ashlyn. I hope she continues and completes her education. I hope she finds gainful employment and has a fun and successful career. I hope she marries for love and, if they so choose to have children, I hope their children are as healthy, beautiful, sweet and intelligent as Ashlyn. For if this is the case, they will have been truly blessed! A favorite quote, poem, prayer or song and why it’s special to me: The biblical reference, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I believe that this all but too simple reference, when followed, allows you to be a truly good person and ensures that you treat others and yourself respectfully and caringly. A top ten list of the things I love in life: 1.My wife. 2.My children and grandchildren. 3.My family and friends. 4.My health. 5.My faith and beliefs. 6.My education. 7.My independence. 8.My career. 9.Humor and wit. 10.Sports and recreational activities. What I believe about life (my credo): Work hard, play hard. Have a blast and treat others well. I don’t know if you remember, but we had a poster on the wall in our master bathroom in the Thousand Oaks house. I must have read the thing a thousand times. It’s a great little guide containing excerpts from H. Jackson Brown’s (appropriate author’s name, wouldn’t you say?) “Life’s Little Instruction Book.” It provides some very sound instruction to help you enjoy life and be a good person. It is called Life’s Little Instructions. I have included a copy. Love, Pappy
14: The most important thing I ever learned: Perfection is impossibleeven for amazing women like us. The most important qualities a woman should have: Courage, patience and love. You will need all three to make a positive change in the world. Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: Build a strong team around yourself. Be ready to get help, ask for help and give help freely. A special memory I have of Ashlyn: Our lunches! I appreciated your honesty and trust. It always inspires me to earn someone’s trust. What I wish for Ashlyn: All of her dreams to come true. You have amazing goals and deserve them all. A favorite quote, poem, prayer or song and why it’s special to me: Aqueous Transmission by Incubus. It reminds me to slow down in this hectic world. A top ten list of the things I love in life: 1.Spirituality 2.Honesty 3.Love 4.Family 5.Babies 6.Teaching 7.Reading 8.Movies 9.Traveling 10.Food What I believe about life (my credo): Life is like a road. You often find yourself in places you don’t understand. The road takes you places you didn’t think you would go. You must keep searching for truth, love and wisdom. Love, Ms. Herbert
15: Some things never change : )
16: The most important thing I ever learned: Measure twice, cut once (in other words, don’t be too hasty in your actions). The most important qualities a woman should have: Class, passion, an adventurous spirit and a strong feminine personality. Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: Never schedule a class before 9am in college. A special memory I have of Ashlyn: Essentially meeting her for the first time at Nikki’s wedding reception. Although I’d seen her as a small baby, this was the first time my cousin Ashy became a real person to me. What I wish for Ashlyn: Continued success in all of her endeavors, whether academic, athletic, personal, or some other area special to her. A favorite quote, poem, prayer or song and why it’s special to me: “Without You” by Keith Urban. It’s special because it shows how much having someone special in your life can elevate the things you do (as it seems like Ashy has from the facebook posts I see). A top ten list of the things I love in life: my family (both immediate and extended), running, sports, the mountains, the beach, country music, road trips, camping, motorcycles and lazy Saturday mornings. What I believe about life (my credo): You are only as happy as you believe you are. Happiness is a state of mind. Your big cousin, Josh
17: The most important thing I ever learned is that a lifelong love of learning is the most important thing. The most important qualities a woman should have are self confidence and independence. Make sure you have lived happily on your own, 100% self sufficient before you settle down. That is the foundation of a solid and equal relationship. Something I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school is that it’s ok not to have any idea what you are doing or want to do. Just keep an open mind and try as many things as you can. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. A special memory I have of Ashlyn is of Ashlyn as a little girl dancing and singing Phish songs. What I wish for Ashlyn is a spirit of love, adventure and a strong work ethic. A favorite quote and why it’s special to me is “I am not superstitious, I am just a little stitious” – Steve Carrell from the Office. I like it because it cracks me up every time I think of it. A top ten list of the things I love in life: Family and Friends of course, Cuddling with my boys, Exercise, Solving a difficult problem/overcoming a challenge, Indian food, A favorite song that comes on the radio, Date night, Cute shoes, Team sports What I believe about life/my credo is to vote with your actions. Try to make everything you do a statement about how you wish everyone in the world would act. Every day we do tiny tiny things that add up to a lifetime, so don’t discount how important they are. Love, Lynn Ashy – I have known you since you were a tiny tiny baby, and I love you and am so proud of the young woman you have grown into. I want you to know that you can always call me if you ever need anything now or in 50 years, and I hope that you will. If you and your friends ever want to come have fun in the Bay Area, we have a studio that you can use so don’t be shy. Congratulations hon.
18: Me: I have a question. I’m making Ashlyn a book to celebrate her high school graduation and I want to include a note or message from you. What do you want me to say (from you)? Paige: Hmmmm.. Happy Birthday! I luvvvv you! Me: But it’s GRADUATION. Can I have another sentence or two? Maybe some advice? Paige: I said Happy Birthday!! Me: But that’s not advice. Ya know- wisdom! Paige: Ohhhhhh have fun! I luvvvvv you!
19: The most important thing I ever learned: There is a difference between being smart and being wise. The most important qualities a woman should have: She should trust her instincts and have a sense of humor. Also, she should be wary of blindly accepting the media version of what is beautiful or sexy. We must think for ourselves! | Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school (or, things I’m glad people told me): That sometimes what feels like a door slamming in our face turns out to be God’s way of directing us or our attention somewhere else. So often I look back and think: “Wow, if that thing had “worked out” the way I wanted it to at the time, I wouldn’t be where I am now (and I want to be here now!).” Of course, sometimes it takes a while to recognize that this is the case. Don’t attribute too much importance to your possessions. If we focus too much on trying to accumulate things, we will never be satisfied. We need to achieve a proper balance of appreciating and taking care of the things that we have, without obsessing over them. Surround yourself with people who have dreams and goals. Pay close attention when older people (such as ourselves – ha ha!) give you advice or counsel (why not learn from someone else’s mistakes?). A special memory I have of Ashlyn: Holding her when she was a little baby and thinking that she was the most beautiful one I had ever seen (really!). A favorite quote, poem, prayer or song and why it’s special to me: “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” -Leo Tolstoy (Because in this fast-paced, technologically-enhanced world, it’s all too easy to forget to do so.) A top ten list of the things I love in life: 1. Relationships (all so unique, right?) 2. Animals (but esp. dogs!) 3. Travelling (seeing new places and meeting new people) 4. Books (Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Styron, David Sedaris) 5. Movies 6. Music 7. Food and wine (esp. bread, cheese, fruit) 8. Admiring nature 9. Knowing I’ve done the right thing 10. Learning something new What I wish for Ashlyn: That her life be filled with things from her ‘top ten’ list. What I believe about life (my credo): I think that we all need make a conscious effort to continuously remind ourselves of what is truly important in life. It’s so much easier to focus in on the small stuff (and, unfortunately, the negative stuff!). Signed, Amy (& Jeremy) Congrats Ash! We love you!
20: Congratulations Ashy, I'm so proud of you I cant believe you're already done with high school it seems like just last week we were in the gym smelling Rittenhouse's breath! Or peeing our pants laughing about something stupid. Anyways you know everything we've been through and I you know that I suck at this sappy stuff so... BOOM CINDY!
21: For you see, each day I love you more Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. ~Rosemonde Gerard
22: Dear Ashlyn, Congratulations. I'm very proud of you. With Love, Great Grandma
24: “Friendship is a treasured gift, and every time I talk with you I feel as if I'm getting richer and richer”
25: The most important thing I ever learned: To follow YOUR heart. People will always express their feelings and opinions and it is important to listen to them, but it is more important to listen to your heart and do what you want to do. Follow your dreams and never give up. Only you know in your heart what you are meant to do in life. The most important qualities a woman should have: Strength, confidence, honesty, passionate in all that you do. What I wish for Ashlyn: We wish nothing but happiness. To be successful and love what you do. A favorite quote and why it’s special to me: “Other things may change us, but we start and end with family” In the end, your family will always be by your side. Evan, Joey and Grant Fitzsimmons
26: The most important thing I ever learned: Friends, Family, and the people you care about are the most important things in this lifehold them close, enjoy every moment with them, don’t take for granted this time we all have to together on this earth The most important qualities a woman should have: Intelligence, Grace, Humor, Wit, Charm, Laughter, Warmth, a certain amount of mystery (not sure what that means, but there you go) Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: Take it slow, enjoy youth, travel, explore the world, don’t get tied down with a job, house etc right awayGo see how the warmth of the sun feels in Austrailia, how the water flows from the Alps in Austria, how green the countryside is in Ireland(good beer too) A special memory I have of Ashlyn: The best is her laughter as a childshe would laugh so hard, then stop to take a deep breath, then keep on laughingjust getting to be a small part of her life is one of the best things that has happened to me in this life. What I wish for Ashlyn: I hope she lives her life on her terms, goes after all that she wants with reckless abandon, and understands that all she needs to draw upon to get through this life she possesses inside her. A favorite quote: Sometimes it is those we live with and love and should know who elude us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give, or more often then not, the part we have to give is not wanted.just remember, you can still love them with all your heartWe can love completely without complete understanding. Another quote and why it is special When I was a kid my favorite relative was Uncle Caveman. After school we’d all go play in his cave, and every once in a while he would eat one of us. It wasn’t until later that I found out that Uncle Caveman was a bear. A top ten list of the things I love in life: Family, Friends, The Ocean, Music, Good Food, Traveling, Laughter, Love, Compassion, Sunshine, Smiles What I believe about life (my credo): Learn from your past, look to the future, but live your life now, this moment this dayTomorrow is promised to no one. With Love, congrats on your graduation (Glad you graduated from our NPHS!!) Mike McKean (little Mike)
27: For Miss Ashlyn ~ **The most important thing I ever learned: So far, the most important thing I ever learned was to trust myself. Trust your instincts because usually they are right! Also, when someone shows you their true colors, believe them. Never give up on your dreams. Find what you love and chase it. **The most important qualities a woman should have: A sense of who you are and where you come from is pretty darn important. The world will push you around and you can get lost in situations that don’t reflect your true self and true greatness. But if you know who you are, you can always find your way home. And be easy on yourself, because sometimes to figure out who you are, you have to first find out who you’re not! **Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: Man! In high school, and I went to Westlake High class of ’99 (whoot whoot!!) the teachers always said, “in the real world, life won’t be this easy” scaring the crap out of all of us kids about ‘the real world!’ because high school wasn’t by any means a walk in the park for most of us. I wish someone would’ve said that life will just get better and better the older you get! Truly, the most exciting part of your life has yet to come! Also, take college and your career seriously right now. You are setting up your future for the rest of your life! Believe me, if your older self could talk to you, even at 25 years old she’d anxiously whisper; “Figure out what we love and get us theredon’t waste time.” Find out what you love and work hard to make it part of your life. It will carry you in good times and bad. It will give you endless joy and confidence. **Try to keep as many high school friends as you can because as you get older, you’ll meet new people and make new friends, but no one will know you from when you were a kid. There is something really special about ‘childhood friends.’ You will grow apart from most of your school friends believe it or not, but do try to keep a few close. No one else knows your past like a childhood friend. **A special memory I have of Ashlyn: I remember when our favorite and beloved babysitter, your mother, told us she was pregnant with you. She was like my big sister and my fill in mother from time to time. She was the one woman that I truly loved and who I knew cared about me and my brothers. Nicole was the cool little sister that I wanted to be one day! Both Patti and Nicole played with us and we knew we were in good, loving hands while our parents were away. They were by far different than just a “babysitter” – they were like family to us kids. Patti let me play with her hair when I was little, even when it gave her headachesThat’s Love!! I remember watching her cute body grow bigger with her swelling belly. I remember feeling you kick and thinking what a great mom this child would be getting. I remember going to your baby shower with my mom and everyone putting a name in a basket of what they think your mother should name you ‘Ashlyn’ obviously won, great choice! I remember your mom bringing you over to our house when she was babysitting us and you fell asleep on your mom’s chest. You were only about 3 months old and breathtakingly beautiful. Your mom told me, “There is nothing sweeter than the feeling of a sleeping baby on your chest.” That’s when I knew I wanted to be a mother too one day, just like my Patti. I’ll never forget how she got right back into her skinny jeans after you were born. My mother told me that is not normal!! Ha! So, my special memory of you is how you came into this world and how you were so loved by such a special young woman who wanted you so badly. What a lucky girl. **What I wish for Ashlyn: I wish for you, Miss Ashlyn – that you are surrounded by wonderful people and friends that you can trust. I wish for you that you chase your dreams and have courage and clarity as you go on your adventure of finding and creating your precious life. **A favorite quote, poem, prayer or song and why it’s special to me: “May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam. May sunshine and happiness surround you when you’re far from home. And may you grow to be proud, dignified and true. And do unto others as you’d have done to you. Be courageous and be brave and my heart you’ll always stay, Forever Young.” And “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance never settle for the path of least resistance. Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking, Loving might be a mistake but it’s worth making.” **A top ten list of the things I love in life: - Myself, trusting myself, loving myself and be true to myself is #1 - Being with my family - Girlfriends! - Writing in my journal and reading books -Quiet time is a good thing sometimes! - Having Faith. Without Faith and Hope you don’t have much. - Indulging in your passions but work hard and work smart. - Holidays and traditions with my family. - Music! Music has the power to heal. - Animals, babies and men - they all rock when they’re behaving! **What I believe about life (my credo): ***Life is just a journey to figure out who you are. You are beautiful, smart and kindso don’t let anyone ever make you feel anything less, especially a silly boy. Boys are the most confused creatures God ever created, seriously! But they can be heaven if you pick the right oneso be picky! With a mom like Patti, even though I don’t know you that well, I know you have everything you could ever need to grow into the amazing woman you are destined to be! Living might mean taking chances, but it’s worth making. Congratulations for making through high school!! Go after your dreams and never, never, never, never give up! (And call your mother often!) Lots of Love and Happy Wishes Ashlyn!! Hugs, Amie Mangola
28: The most important thing I ever learned: Be patient with yourself and with others. Trust yourself. Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: I happen to be a believer in discovering things for oneself rather than getting too much guidance. So I’ll just say explore and have fun, and leave it at that. A special memory I have of Ashlyn: The earliest memories I have of you are when you and your mom visited our family in Long Beach. I remember repeatedly walking up and down the stairs with you, playing games, investigating my brother’s pet turtle. Now you are a few inches taller and graduating high school. Wow. What I wish for Ashlyn: As you venture into the big world, I hope that you will take a good, long look around, and find the things that delight you and make you happy. A favorite quote, poem, prayer or song and why it’s special to me: All things Bob Dylan. The man is quite simply a genius. And an amazing storyteller. He’s there for you during hard times and goodnot something you can say about just any man. Signed, Meghann
29: The most important things I ever learned: To be yourself and accept and love yourself just as you are. The most important qualities a woman should have: It's important to be honest with your feelings. And don't be afraid to show emotion. Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: I wish someone would have told me to read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz | A special memory I have of Ashlyn: The time when she was a baby and called me “Mimi”. She thought that was my name, she was associating me with the restaurant we went to lunch at. What I wish for Ashlyn: Lots of adventures and laughter in your life A top ten list of the things I love in life: My amazing family and friends, my little kitty, skydiving!, traveling all over the Earth, taking photographs of everything, being completely silly, cooking tacos for people, laughing, Lemonade Rockstars, and hiking are probably my top 10. What I believe about life (my credo): Everyone's perspective is different so just let them be who they are. | Auntie Mimi AKA Monica Hill
31: Ashlyn | We love you very much!
32: Dear Ashlyn, The most important thing I ever learned is the power of prayer! As a woman, you need to love yourself first so you can love others as yourself. When I was graduating from high school, I wish someone had told me, as I am telling you now, YOU CAN BE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE! I have very special memories of you, Ashlyn: At two weeks old, your big eyes, alertness and calmness. At three months, your interest in picture books. At six months, your interest in EVERYTHING! What I wish for you is Harmony. Sing like you know the words! Dance like no one is watching! Be yourself! Love yourself! The top ten things I love in my life are GOD, family, people, hugs, smiles, sunrises, sunsets, flowers, animals and music. Wishing you, Ashlyn, good thoughts, positive prayers and best wishes on your high school graduation day!! Marcia and Big Mike 2011 | "Life is a series of changes. Like the trees in the wind, you must bend so you will not break!" ~Marcia McKean
33: “Don't Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” | “Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” | “Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” | “Don't Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.” | The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
35: The most important thing I ever learned is to love with all your heart and live life to the fullest. The most important qualities a woman should have are to have a sense of independence and a sense of humor. Some things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school: 1-Be smart with your money! Don’t blow it like everyone else does. Save it and do things that make you happy with it. 2-Drinking is fun (when you turn 21) but it’s not everything. College should be fun, of course, but don’t let parties and drinking take over your life. 3-Unfortunately, people who you were once close with fade away. I doesn’t mean forever but everyone starts there own life now. It was a very hard truth for me to face. But you will see everyone again and hopefully build stronger connections when you get to where you’re going. Special memories I have of Ashlyn are going to Mammoth, hanging everyday for the summers, her making me dunk my head in freezing rainbow falls, her figuring out about Adam, screaming DON’T FORGET YOUR SUNSCREEN at everyone, dur durr durrrrrrrr and watching her kick booty at volleyball. What I wish for Ashlyn is that she never, ever gives up on her dreams. A favorite quote, poem, prayer or song and why it’s special to me: Quote- “Life may not be wrapped with a bow but it is still a gift.” This is such a simple idea but really, life is never a guarantee. Ashy, get out there and live life. Travel, skydive, pray, love, cry, dance, do whatever you want! You have your whole life ahead of you and now that high school is over and you’re an adult, the world is yours! You can be anything you want to be. I’m serious about that too. Remember when you were a little kid and you maybe said you wanted to be a doctor or princess, well go do it! I mean, Prince William is now taken but Harry is still available! What I’m trying to say is that no matter what, we all love you and support any decision you make (I mean as long as your not hooked on drugs, then I might have to kick your butt). Life live, because life really is a beautiful thing. As far off as it sounds, hopefully, when you’re 80 and have grandkids you’ll say that you did everything and more than you wanted. It’s the moments, smiles and laughter you leave behind that count, not the money you make. Your Adventure Now that you've graduated, Your adventure has begun. Your schooling has prepared you For the race life has you run. I/We praise you for your efforts, And send good wishes, too, For a future filled with happiness, And your fondest dreams come true. A top ten list of the things I love in life: 1- My family (yes you’re included Ashy) 2- My pets (Kennekai, Cooper and Casey) 3- My friends (All of which are absolutely amazing) 4- Travelling (Anywhere!) 5- Volunteering (At the cat shelter & anything really) 6- The Beach (It’s my thinking spot) 7- Laughing (It’s so important just to laugh until your stomach hurts) 8- Music (There is wisdom and amazing lyrics out there. Plus, it makes you want to dance.) 9- Food (I’m a food junky. Whether it’s cooking or eating, it’s just relaxing and enjoyable. Turn some funky music on and cook!) 10- Pictures (Hilarious, sad or adorable! These show some of the best moments in life.) What I believe about life: Love and be loved. Care and be cared for. Be kind to absolutely everyone and everything (yeah, I know, I’m a nerdy hybrid driver now). Give back, whether that means monetarily or emotionally. The world is “one love, one heart”. Look at the glass as half full. Be positive! Keep a smile on my face and laugh not at people but with them. Speak only the truth. Encourage people to do their best. Make friends, make mistakes but most importantly memories. Ashy, Congratulations! I’m so proud that you graduated! You have turned into such a wonderful, beautiful, young woman. Remember to do what you love and always have fun. You rock girl!!! Always and Forever, Breanna Cotton (Your Big Sister)
36: A top ten list of the things I love in life: My Faith, my family, my friends, my talent, my environment, my family’s support and love, my friends support and love, my vision on the world, learning, laughing, and love. | The most important thing I ever learned is to Never give out all your heart to just one thing. The most important quality a woman should have is Strength. Something I wish someone had told me when I was graduating from high school is to Always focus on your dreams. A special memory I have of Ashlyn is that the first day I met her, she was listening to and wearing my favorite band; Postal Service. What I wish for Ashlyn: Only the best things. Favorite quote, poem, prayer & song and why it's special to me are Favorite quote; “Everything is not just mere coincidences.” Poem: Aphrodite’s Sister, page 126. Prayer: “God please grant me your strength and wisdom.” And song: Kate Nash – The Nicest Thing. Why it's special to me; because it is all good and true. Signed, Kelly Ann Balch | What I believe about life is that anything great can happen to anyone.
37: Brittany: “I don’t wanna do Britney” Kurt: “Why no Britney Brittany?” Brittany: “cause my name is also Britney Spears” Brittany: “My Middle name is Susan, my Last Name is Pearce That makes me Pierce. Brittany SPierce. | I enjoy having breakfast in bed. I like waking up to the smell of bacon- sue me- and since I don''t have a butler, I have to do it myself. So most nights before I go to bed I will lay six strips of bacon out on my George Foreman Grill. Then I go to sleep. When I wake up, I plug in the grill. I go back to sleep again. Then I wake up to the smell of crackling bacon. It is delicious. It's good for me. It's the perfect way to start the day. Today I got up, I stepped onto the grill and it clamped down on my foot. That''s it. I don't see what's so hard to believe about that | But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That's what I strive to do, that's what I pray to do every day. Barack Obama | I like to dance around the house when I`m getting ready. It gets my day going.
39: "To me, it's a good idea to always carry two sacks of something when you walk around. That way, if anybody says, "Hey, can you give me a hand?" You can say, "Sorry, got these sacks." Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis. If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you'll look like a dummy and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy. | I'd rather be rich than stupid. | Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, where the hell is the ceiling?
40: “A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, big or small, young or old. He doesn't care if you're not smart, not popular, not a good joke-teller, not the best athlete, nor the best-looking person. To your dog, you are the greatest, the smartest, the nicest human being who was ever born. You are his friend and protector.” -Louis Sabin
41: The most important qualities a woman should have? | Sense of humor | Compassion | Patience | Love | Good listening skills | Dreams | Confidence & grace | Strength | Ashy has 'em!