I always thought it was such a cliché to credit your parents when things go right/wrong in your adult life, but I’m now living that cliché. My parents are selfless, creative, and hard working. Twenty-two years after raising my brothers, they gave birth to me, and six years later, they took in my niece (two years older than me) and my nephew (my age). I know Mom and Dad are the reason I love animals- Dad had a way of bringing home every stray from here to Texas and Mom had a way of getting angry, swearing said stray couldn’t stay, then spending the next few years feeding it and giving it secret cuddles. Dad passed along his love and talent for writing, and Mom helped me hone those skills by making me write sentences when I did something bratty. I went through a crisis at the tender age of 13 when I realized that my plan of being a veterinarian by day and author by night would be unattainable since a vet probably couldn’t cry over every hurt animal they encountered. I decided that I’d simply go to school for journalism. I ended up landing a job in Nashville…Arkansas, my senior year of high school writing for their local paper. It was there that I really broke out of my socially-anxious shell and learned how to write, take photos, and even do a bit of graphic design and social media/website management. I stayed there until I moved to Fayetteville and began volunteering at a local nonprofit to stay sane while job hunting. Said nonprofit eventually hired me to do marketing/event planning/fundraising/volunteer management, and that’s when I realized the nonprofit world must be one I really wanted to be part of. From there, I helped manage volunteers at a hospital until my friends pushed me to apply for an open position at TCWR. Life really does come full circle. Now I get to work with animals and put my writing skills to use while maintaining a viable excuse not to work on that best-selling novel.