The Evolution of a Young Lady
January 2, 2013

Tea at the Ritz

Every little girl loves a tea party. I had many when I was a child. I sipped milk from a tea cup covered with delicate pink flowers and served Oreo cookies to my favorite bear and my mother.
One of my most cherished memories is having a real royal tea at the Ritz Carleton with my mother and sister. We had always talked about going to tea and wearing those big fancy hats and feathered boas that you see the older women wearing in movies, but we never had the opportunity. One day out of the blue, my mother surprised my sister and I with a train ride and reservations to the Ritz Carleton for afternoon tea in Tysons, Virginia.
When we arrived we were seated in what looked like an English palace. Everything was accented with gold and over stuffed floral chairs. The atmosphere was so dainty and regal. When we sat, we sat like ladies, crossing our ankles. We were then served delicate finger sandwiches and tea. There were so many flavors of tea and scents filled the air of jasmine and spices.
The tiny sandwiches had cucumber and watercress with cheese, not my favorite, but I stuck my pinky out as far as I could while I placed the tiny morsels in my mouth. The desserts were art. There were chocolate covered strawberries, fruit parfaits, and éclairs filled with cream, fluffy as clouds and too beautiful to eat.
We relished in the memorable moment together. Feeling like royalty, we gave each other a proper English smile. We knew this special memory would stay with us forever.
posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 2, 2013 | 0 comments | |

Dolphin Girls

I have always loved the ocean. To me the sea represents calmness. I am especially fascinated with dolphins. I admire their cool grey color and the way they always seemed to look like they are smiling. I was so in enthralled, that my sister and I formed a secret club called the Dolphin Girls. It was our dream that one day we would swim with the dolphins together.
My sister went on her honeymoon to Mexico. She was offered the opportunity to go swimming with the dolphins. Keeping our dream in mind she passed, but snapped lots of pictures of the dolphins to bring back to me. She let me keep the pictures and every night I would look through them, picturing the day I would get close and personal with the dolphins.
On a vacation to the Bahamas we were offered an excursion to swim with the dolphins. I was ecstatic! I would finally be able to fulfill my dream.
My sister was not with us, and I felt I would betray our secret pact we made many years before. I spoke to her on the phone, before my dad made the arrangements, she told me nothing would make her happier than for me to fulfill our dream. She knew how happy this would make me and she told me to take the opportunity because this chance may never come again.
The dolphins were slimy like soap, but their smiles were as warm as I had imagined. They were calm just like the ocean they came from. I loved everything about them.
I hope to someday swim with the dolphins again, but next time with my sister. We will always be the Dolphin Girls.
posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 2, 2013 | 0 comments | |

Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan

Five and a half years ago, if someone were to ask me why I joined the Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan family, I would not have known how to respond. Today if someone were to ask me what Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan meant to me I would be able to tell a story.
I cannot say I joined the martial art because I knew it would give me discipline, respect for others and myself, and the ability to control my feelings and my actions. I can say my parents were looking for an out of school activity to get me involved in. We went from cheerleading, to dancing, to baseball, and to tumbling. Although they all seemed like great sports and activities it came down to if I was interested and if my parents were able to take me. None of these activities made the cut. Desperately searching for something to get me on my feet, a co- worker of my mother had informed us of a karate studio in town. My initial thought was karate would never be something I could get into. Wearing a uniform that looked like pajamas and sweating did not sound like my cup up tea, but running out of options I decided to take a look at the studio.
Never in my wildest dreams did I picture that I would become a black belt in karate. Four long years of practice, and countless hours of training prepared me for my balck belt test. Evey move had to be crisp, clean, and fast; almost like a cheetah.
When I found out that I passed my test, my head began to spin. I was filled with relief and joy. When I was given the belt, my heart skipped a beat. All of my hard work and dedication had finally paid off.
Not only did I learn self defense, but I learned to take my Moo Duk Kwan with me where ever I went. I had become a strong independent young lady.
posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 2, 2013 | 0 comments | |

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

Watching Cake Boss is a ritual in my home. My family and I sit in front of the television and drool over different desserts Buddy Valastro creates. Every episode something more delicious and elaborate is made. Of course sitting on the couch is nothing compared to the real Carlos’ Bake Shop experience.
The shop is overwhelming. The line curves around the block and fellow pastry lovers are itching to get a glimpse of the bakery. I entered the bakery and the glass cases displaying and abundance of cakes, pastries, cookies, pies and deserts soon become overwhelming. They were beautiful. The air was delicious and warm. I breathed in cinnamon and vanilla. This was heaven, my vision of heaven.
With so many deserts to choose from, when you are called, you begin to order one of everything. After trying all you ordered, there were no disappointments.
My favorites from the bakery are the red velvet cupcakes and the lobster tails. The cake is soft as a pillow and the cream cheese is sweet. The lobster tails have a flakey shell that cradles a creamy filling. The filling is light like silk and has a hint of almond. When you take your first bite your head begins to spin and you find yourself enveloped in a blanket of deliciousness.
Whatever you order from Carlos’ Bake Shop you are guaranteed to enjoy the delicious experience as well as the treats.
posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 2, 2013 | 0 comments | |

Where I've been and Where I'm Going

Visiting new places is one of my most favorite passions. When most would find packing your luggage a chore, I find pre-travel packing exciting. Sleepless nights, apprehension of long flights, what should I wear all add to the anticipation.
On a cruise, I experienced my first time out of the country. I had butterflies in my stomach on the way to the dock to board the ship. The ship was so large, I felt like an ant.
On the beaches of Costa Maya, Mexico the water was powder blue. Blue cool waves, lapping sounds, white foam and a smell so clean, crisp and salty filled the atmosphere. The sand was white dust between my toes.
Dancers in town were dressed in bright, elaborate costumes and they danced to mariachi. Tourists gathered around and became part of the show clapping and smiling. The dancers were strong, fierce and beautiful.
Belize was much different. I felt sad. Belize is a poor county where the children there are frail and dirty. Their eyes beg for help. Dogs that are thin and hungry are everywhere. It broke my heart.
Where ever I may travel in the future, I hope to learn from a new culture and gain new experiences and insights to myself and others.

posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 2, 2013 | 0 comments | |

Little Bundle of Joy

Oh the adventures we will have little Gianna. As the youngest in my family, I have always been the one to be catered to. Now with a new little one in the family, I have the opportunity to spoil and teach everything I know. When her little hand holds mine I sense she knows I am holding hers right back. I wonder how a little person who poops in her pants and pukes on my shirt can steal my heart so much that I cannot imagine my life without her in it. I see the world through her eyes all over again, as if each moment in new. I will be there for her, I will be the one she turns to when she gets mad at mommy and I will be the one to smooth everything over. I am her Aunt and she is my baby too. My responsibility to her throughout her life is a role I greatly look forward too.
posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 2, 2013 | 0 comments | |

Her Battle is My Battle

My mother is the most selfless person you could ever meet. She is kind, caring, loving and forgiving. Never could I imagine something so devastating could happen to such a warm hearted, generous person, but it could happen, and it did. It also happened to me. Cancer not only affects the person with the disease but those that love them.
She was diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer. My life came crashing down. She is the one that keeps us together. She is our rock, and the thought of anything happening to her filled me with anguish and sometimes rage.
I love my mother more than anything in the whole entire world. It gave me immense pain to see her suffer. I would have given anything to take her troubles away. Every bad thought imaginable had crossed my mind, but I knew I had to stay strong and positive for her.
It was a yearlong nightmare with intense chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. I remember her sitting in a wheelchair in an elevator going to the operating room. I thought it would be the last time I would ever see her, and I could not help but cry. My life was ending.
After hours and hours of waiting we were given the news that she was in recovery. Weeks after that she began radiation and months after that she was in remission. That meant that the cancer was gone. This was the greatest news I could ever receive. Her recovery was my recovery.
It was then that I realized that god gives his hardest battles, to the strongest people. She is strong and I am stronger too.
posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 2, 2013 | 1 comments | |
January 1, 2013

More to Come

Education has always played a huge part in my life. I love to learn. Knowing everything there is to know is a part of me.
In eighth grade, after a long year of hard work and patience I was called down to the principal’s office. My initial thought was that I must in trouble because I had never been called down to the principal’s office in my entire school career. My stomach was in knots. However, it turned out that wasn’t the case at all. The principal had me sit down, and she told me the news that I was the 4A. This meant that I had the highest GPA in the entire eighth grade class. I could not believe it. We called my mother and I told her the good news over the phone. I could hear the pride in her voice. I had mentioned the award before, but never did I imagine that I would receive this honor.
I was honored at a breakfast in which I sat with important faculty members, and people from the state. When I was called up, I prayed that I would not slip out of my shoes. I took a picture, and I can honestly say it is one of my favorites. It is priceless. It captured a moment of great success, determination, and patience.
Although this was a huge accomplishment, my learning does not end there. I have so much more to learn and I will continue to absorb like a sponge all the knowledge I can gain through my education.
posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 1, 2013 | 0 comments | |

Home is Where the Heart is

Nestled in a patch of woods, directly off a busy highway lies the quiet streets of Cedar Crest Manor. The houses tell the stories of those who reside within. On one corner sits a perfectly manicured lawn, with an American flag that flies proudly like and eagle soaring. On the other end of the worn roads, where bikes and families have traveled, there is a home adorned with toys and a family dog.
There is a path behind a neighbor’s house that I have walked a thousand times. On this path, I walk to my best friend’s house. We have known each other for nine years. Throughout those nine years we have had endless amounts of fun and adventures. Blaring music and laughter fill the neighborhood whenever we are together. During the summer we ride bikes up and down the streets, basking under the warm sun. Throughout the winter we dress in our snow gear and build forts, and attempt to skate on the slick ice in the streets.
I have only known this neighborhood. When I was born I was brought home to live in our home. I know everyone and they know me. I’m safe here. As the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”. My village helped raise me.
posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 1, 2013 | 0 comments | |

My Name

What’s in a name? My name has a little piece of input from each family member. Jordan Leslie Taylor Burkhardt. The first name given by my adoring mother was a result of her wanting something fitting for her daughter. On an ultrasound she could see my thick dark hair, which reminded her of a young girl on a show she used to watch called Millennium. Knowing I would possess this unique trait she named me Jordan, the little girl’s name on the series. She had dark, thick curls. Leslie was chosen by my father. This was his father’s middle name and by giving be the same name, I was able to have a little piece of my grandfather even though I had never met him. Taylor was chosen by my brother and sister. My sister had always loved the name Taylor, and to name me was very special for her. My brother agreed Taylor was fitting for his new little sister.
Most people laugh when they hear my long name. I love it though. It reminds me that an entire family was excited to have me join them.
posted by JLTBurkhardt @ Jan 1, 2013 | 0 comments | |
Created: Jan 1, 2013

January, 2013
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