My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Hope’

Bridges of Change

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Change.

I’ve always been a little resistant, to be honest. I take confront in the known, the expected, the easy. The last few weeks however have shown me that change isn’t something to be afraid of, but embraced. With anything in life, there is that chance that you will get hurt, fail, experience some sort of loss. Before, I had always associated that risk to be greater when you went against the status quo, made waves, broke away from the norm and illicit that change.

But now? Now I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t.

If I don’t stand up for what I believe in.

If I don’t take action against the wrong-doings in this world.

If I keep my voice silenced and my actions mute.

I have never been one to be accusatory or negative or hateful. I get hives just thinking about confrontation and have avoided it like the plague for as long as I can remember.

And in a lot of ways, I still very much am that person.

But now? Now I’m not afraid anymore.

I’m not afraid to do, think, feel.

I welcome the opportunity to do anything and everything I possibly can to show my support, to fight for the good that I believe is still very much left in the world, to make all of the damn waves.

To not only see the change and welcome it with open arms, but to be a part of its strength.

The road to transformation isn’t meant to be easy.

But it also isn’t meant to be traveled alone. We need each other. Through the thick, the thin, the in-betweens. In the ups, the downs, the unpredictable joys and hardships and messes that life sometimes brings.

When we don’t create space for hard conversations to happen and instead, turn away and become silent about the things that matter most–that’s the moment we have chosen to stop learning about the world we live in, and the people we share it with.

Come and meet me on the bridge. Let’s celebrate our differences.

Sometimes “1” is all it takes

 

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Numbers are simple things aren’t they? Yet when thought about in a different way, they can take on a whole different meaning. For example…

  • 5: Age when I had my first kiss. It was with my childhood best friend while watching Land of the Lost, and it was equal parts sloppy and magical.
  • 6: Times I’ve seen Styx in concert. Domo mori goto, Mr. Roboto.
  • 2: The (giant) cups of gloriously caffeinated coffee I had earlier today to help me make it through this Monday-est of Mondays.
  • 43: DAYS UNTIL OPENING DAY FOR THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS!!!
  • Too much: Amount in dollars I’ve spent on books within the last year alone.
  • Never enough: Number of books I currently own.

Here are a couple more numbers for you real fast….

  • *42% of 1st-3rd graders report wanting to be thinner and 81% of fifth graders have an extreme fear of becoming fat
  • *The average American woman is 5’4″ tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model on the other hand is 5’11” tall and weighs around 110 pounds.
  • *Americans spend of $40 Million dollars on dieting and diet-related products each year.
  • *24 million: The number of people, both male and female, in the United States who suffer from some kind of an eating disorder.
  •  *9 million: The number of those 24 million aforementioned sufferers who recover and go on to live a happy and healthy life.

I am also a number. I am ‘1’ of the 24 million people who have fought, battled and struggled with an eating disorder. I am also ‘1’ of those 9 million who have fought, battled and struggled with an eating disorder….and WON!

Let me throw you “1” more number.

1: If I could have ‘1’ wish, it would be to give hope and inspiration to everyone out there who may be going through not only an eating disorder, but are facing anything difficult or challenging in their lives. I want to let people know that it is possible, that there is hope. I am ‘1’ and sometimes, ‘1’ is just enough. Enough to foster a change, to bring awareness and to encourage others out there to take back their lives, completely and whole-heartedly ED free!

This week is incredibly important to me. You see, it’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW) and I very much would love it if you could all help me out with something. Just like with my mom’s famous chocolate-chip cookies, having ‘1’ is great, but having more is even better.

There are sadly so many people who are impacted by eating disorders worldwide; many of which who suffer in silence. It may be your sister, your best friend, your college roommate or your daughter. It may be your teammate, girlfriend, brother or cousin. For this reason, it is my hope, my ‘1’ wish that you and I can all do SOMETHING to remind others that they are in fact, beautiful and special, unique and amazing, funny and kind, just because they exist. They are all these things because they are perfectly imperfect.

So who’s with me?! Let’s work together to shoot that 9 million recovery statistic to the stars!

Remember, you are ‘1’, but sometimes ‘1’ is just enough.

For more information on how you can help, check out The National Eating Disorder Association website here.

*Information obtained from the National Eating Disorder Association

Don’t grow up, it’s a trap

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For a lot of us, memories of our childhood bring up feelings of nostalgia. And for good reason. I can’t remember a time when I felt happier, care-free, just so full of hope and excitement for what the next day would bring.  As a late 20-something who has been at this whole adulting thing for quite a few years now, there’ve been many a time when I couldn’t help but stop and think how nice it would be to get back to that place. Not necessarily be a child again, but to live with this zest for life, to have that same level of excitement and pure joy for anything and everything.  In fact, I think there are quite a few lessons we can learn from the kid that still lives inside each of us.

  1. Willingness to hope

When we were kids, we weren’t afraid to hope–and even more than that, we weren’t afraid to share what we hoped for. We’d proudly tell our friends and family that we wanted to have the dual career of being Santa Claus and an astronaut when we grew up (still have got my fingers crossed for that one). As we got older however, we suddenly became more selective about what we revealed we hoped for. A little thing called rejection crept its way into our heads and with that, fear of being judged for the things we didn’t achieve, get or overcome. As if it could lessen the blow of not being accepted into the college we were most excited about, not being chosen for a job that we really wanted or being turned down upon expressing our interest in dating someone, we started to believe that hiding what we hope for is the way to protect ourselves from feeling the effects of rejection. I wish I could say haven’t done this myself, but I’m guilty.

Hiding what we hope for is one of the fastest routes to creating shame, because it leads to self-blaming, feelings of powerlessness and a victim mentality when we don’t get what we want. Hiding what we hope for also dulls our lives down to a dead heartbeat, making us unable to feel true excitement and attaching a “so what?” mentality to perseverance and hard work. Because when you spend more time telling yourself that the things you care about don’t matter, you put up more and more of a shield to your ability to be happy. It’s a risk to share with others what we most hope for, because there is always a chance we’ll be rejected, but there’s also something very courageous, liberating and ultimately intensely gratifying about it, no matter the outcome.

2. Sense of awe

When we were kids, we were impressed pretty damn easily. If you’ve ever seen a bunch of five-year olds at a magic show, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There will be no fewer than two kids trying to sneak through the guy’s travel bag of tricks; revealing a rabbit in a box that was empty five seconds ago will all but produce mass hysteria; and in general, not one ass will be planted on the floor for the entire show. As we got older, we became that adult standing in the background with arms crossed, maybe smirking, generally unmoved by what we’re seeing because we know all the secrets of the universe by this point, obviously, or at the very least, the secret behind that card trick.

I don’t know when it is exactly that we lose this sense of wonder, when we start to feel like we’ve seen and heard and experienced it all, but I think that might be one of the more damaging beliefs in the entire world. We need awe, badly. It makes us more generous, kind, cooperative, and altruistic. It makes us feel like we’re part of a collective whole; it makes us less entitled and less self-focused. Whether it’s going for a hike, sitting on a beach, listening to live music or something entirely else personal to you, do whatever it is that you need to do to experience. this sense of wonder every day.

3. Openness to love

A few years ago, I was visiting an old babysitter, who now has two young kiddos of her own. Though I hadn’t seen them in nearly a year and almost didn’t expect her daughter to remember  me, when I walked in, she immediately ran over and flung her arms around my neck without any inhibitions. I almost tripped backwards–there was some serious momentum to that hug, but that wasn’t why. Over time, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more and more closed, less and less of that child who runs over excitedly and hugs people, who shows love openly. That scared me to be honest; when is it that we learn to be so cautious about loving others? Why was it so shocking and difficult for me to receive that hug? At what point do we become so guarded, so protective, of who and what we trust? If we could tap back into that part of ourselves that gives and receives love without fear or caution, I wonder in what other ways we might become more open and free?

4. Allowing ourselves to be comforted

This is fairly similar to openness to love, but different – and important – enough that I think it deserves to be its own category. When we were kids and we fell and scraped our leg, dropped our blankie into a dirty pond or were just plain exhausted, we allowed ourselves to be comforted by others. As we got older, we learned the art of pretending to be fine, of pretending to not care when something hurts us. We learned to internalize and bury our pain rather than talk about it and seek comfort from those who love us in an eternal effort to never be seen as “weak.” There’s a lot to be said about our ability to comfort ourselves – it’s part of growing up and fostering our independence – but there’s also something very important and very undervalued in our society about asking for help when you need it and letting others in when you’re hurting. It’s interesting just how willing we often are to talk about the times that we comfort others, but just how unwilling we are to admit that we’d like to feel comforted sometimes too. Next time you find yourself feeling hurt or upset, it’d be if anything an interesting experiment to see what it might be like to allow yourself to be comforted like you did as a kid, rather than trying to go at it all by yourself.

5. A bedtime

Sort of kidding but not really at all. There’s something to be said about having some structure and stability to our lives. Also something to be said for 8 hours of z’s (and not going to work the next day as a cast member from the Walking Dead).

6. Letting our creative flags fly

As kids, we didn’t look at the Crayola 64 pack (complete with sharpener, yes) and say, “Oh, no, thanks anyway, but I’m not creative.” We sat down and got our serious color on! As adults, however, we learned to divide ourselves and others into two camps of people: those who “are creative” and those who aren’t. I think this is possibly the biggest load of horseshit out there. Merriam Webster defines creativity simply as “the ability to create.” Just by being human, you possess the ability to create. It’s freeing, it’s fun and it gets us closer and closer to our true self, rejecting the believed need for constant comparison between ourselves and others. Through whatever form of “creating” most speaks to you, by tapping back into that creativity that you so enthusiastically explored as a kid – and by simply being you, with all of your nuances and abilities and imperfections – you’ll be bringing something to the world that no one else can offer. That’s powerful.

7. Honesty

We didn’t learn to lie until we learned shame and consequences, because before then, we didn’t know that we’d ever need to lie. Over time, we became hardened and guarded, learning how, when and why to be dishonest. Maybe we viewed it as protecting others or protecting ourselves; maybe it was how we learned to get ourselves out of sticky situations. But a careful consideration of our tendencies when it comes to dishonesty might be the thing that helps us get back to that more pure, optimistic and liberated state that we associate with kids. What in our lives now makes us feel like we need to lie? Who do we tend to lie to? Others? Ourselves? Do our lies tend to help or do they tend to hurt? What might happen if we just became more honest?

8. Playtime

Playtime is hugely important to our happiness and yet it’s often the first thing to go for many adults. We’re so busy trudging through to-do lists in our jobs and at home that to make time for play is basically unfathomable; after all, playing doesn’t produce anything of value and we’re living in a “time is money” world. But when we don’t set aside time to do things that are nothing but fun for us like we once did as kids – when we lose our willingness to be silly – we’re missing out on a major part of our lives. (Not to mention we’re sacrificing the kind of energy and joy and excitement that we can bring to the tasks we have on those to-do lists, so if you were feeling skeptical about getting away from that pile of work you have for an hour, now you know why you downright need to go run around on an adventure.)

9. Curiosity

Before we learned that knowledge was something that would be tested, we wanted to know things purely out of curiosity. We weren’t learning for the sake of a GPA or to drop facts in some insecure attempt to impress others. We just wanted to know things – a lot of things. And maybe over time we retained that curiosity, that desire to know. Or maybe we lost some of that as we became more and more wrapped up by all the things that we were told we had to know. What would get you excited to know again? What would make you approach your world with a more child-like curiosity?

10. The occasional act of rebellion

A little (legal) rebellion can be good for us. As kids we knew this. My friends and I snuck into the movies; we ate tubs of icing in a closet; we used all the lemonade mix in the kitchen for lemonade stands, broke tables by dragging them out to the sidewalk and generally ended up drinking all of it ourselves and being wired till midnight – so on and so forth. Half of the time our parents were probably ready to put us on the curb with a “FREE” sign strapped around our necks, but at least we were pushing boundaries. A little rebellion is fun, it’s exhilarating and it definitely teaches us a few things, at the very least about who we are and what we’re willing to try. It makes us a little bit braver, a little more courageous. As we get older and filter into adult life though, with its obligations and expectations of us, we start to rebel less and less and conform more and more. Part of that’s probably because the part of our brain that houses our rationality complex is finally fully developed by 25 (which is to say that it’s probably a good thing), but maybe another part of it is just that we start to forget what it was like to live a little on the edge, to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. I’m not sure what the adult equivalent of running away from home would be (please don’t not show up at work after reading this), but I think you should go do that. A little bit of it. Occasionally.

11. Living in the now

When we were little, we ran around without much worry as to the future or anxiety over the past, living fully and in the now, and maybe that’s because at that point we hadn’t yet developed an ego. I think the ego is that fear-driven place inside us that tells us that we’re not good enough, that taking a risk might not pay off, that cautions us from getting hurt and tells us to avoid, to back away. So we spend years learning to be afraid, and then, maybe sometime in our early adult life, we realize that it’s our job to unlearn that a little if we ever want to be happy, if we ever want to again be able to live fully in the now. Maybe it’s in living in the now that we allow ourselves to wake up every day and discover what life at our most alive really means.

12. Authenticity

As kids, we may not have been fully developed, rational, introspective human beings, but we were very much our authentic selves. After all, we hadn’t yet learned what was “cool” and “uncool.” We hadn’t yet learned that there’s such thing as social hierarchy. We hadn’t yet learned that you might have to actually work to simply belong. We hadn’t yet learned to be worried about how we’ll be perceived, that we might need to control and measure our actions against the behaviors of others to make sure that we’re safe and in line with those around us. As we get older – as we become all of these things – we tend to get further and further from who we really are. What might we be like if we tapped back into that place inside of us that lives more by what we love than what we’ve learned we should love? What might we feel towards ourselves and towards others? How might that kid inside each of us come through?

Who knew that our childhood-selves were so damn wise?!

When God Winks at You

Faith.

Aptly defined, it means a confidence or trust in a person or thing.

It is belief that is not based on proof.

It is a belief in something that you may not see or hear, but something that you feel.

It is also what fills my heart and soul, gives me courage, and guides me in my every days and every nights. I have talked about how important my faith to me is before, how that unyielding and never-wavering belief in the big man upstairs and His infinitive love has gotten me through some of the most difficult times in my life. I may not understand all of His motives, His decisions or plans. I may get frustrated and even upset at times. But it is that very faith that lets me know my life is in the best hands possible. That all of ours is.

I recently read an amazing book called When God Winks at You.

The author of this wonderful page-turner Squire Rushnell says that there are silent little miracles called ‘godwinks’ – messages of assurance that no matter what is happening in your life or how uncertain things may seem at the moment, God is with you and will help you move toward certainty.

I like that. 🙂

When God Winks at You is an amazing array of real-life stories that really help you (And you. And yes…even you.) begin to recognize the godwinks in your own life and attain an unshakable confidence that you are never alone…and never have been. Written as a compilation of real-life stories submitted from people just like you and me, it sheds light on moments in life, personal experiences or occurrences that held a special meaning, a deep impact or a pivotal turning point in these people’s lives.

I have been fortunate enough to have had many similar experiences and moments in my life compared to those found in this inspiring book.

One of these key moments was getting fired from my first ‘big-girl’ post-college and what had seemed to me, my ‘ultimate dream job’. At the time, I was absolutely crushed and devastated. My world had come to a screeching stop, sending me into a whirlwind. I felt like a failure. That I simply wasn’t good enough. Having been always on the top of my game, always liked by all, and never really even having had the words “FIRE”, TERMINATE”, and/or “LET GO” in my vocab before then, my self-worth and esteem seemed to go down the drain. I didn’t know who I was anymore. What I was. In a lot of ways, I felt lost and confused. Like someone had totally reprogrammed my GPS and left me willy-nilly to fend for myself.

In the midst of this confusion, this heartache and loss, God winked at me. He took off that blindfold that was preventing me from seeing what was really in front of me, what even greater opportunities laid before me and gave me the kick in the bum I needed to go after what I really wanted. He knew that I wasn’t destined to stay at the company, in that position. That sneaky little wink of his made me realize how strong I really was, that I could get back up after a fall and come back even better than I was. He made me see that I cannot be defined by my work, by my need to be perfect all the time. He opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me.

A Godwink.

Another example of a wink I received was when I made the big move to Colorado just a little over a year ago (it’s been a year already?! Craziness!) I decided to take one giant leap of faith, so to speak, got into my little VW bug, traveled clear across the country and began a crazy but pretty amazing adventure. I didn’t have a job, a place to live or really any idea what was waiting for me when I got there, but something just felt…right. At the time, all I could do was pray that the decision I made was a good one and hope for a sign, for a wink, that everything would work out. I think every once in a while we all need a good kick in the ass to do things, to take a chance and be fearless. This wink did just that! Moving to Colorado has been the best decision I’ve made in my life thus far and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the next year brings.

Touché, God. Touché.

I think each one of us experience subtle “winks” all the time, it’s just that we aren’t paying attention. Or maybe we pas them off as a coincidence or luck. I have been prone to this thinking myself, however I’m beginning to realize that maybe there are no coincidences, that we make out own luck.

Whether you believe in God or not, I think that faith is a universal feeling, a feeling that gives you something to believe in, something to hope for.

Be open to the winks that occur in your life.

You never know what they might bring! 😉

Question of the day: Do you have any stories of “god winking at you”. If you think really hard I know you do 🙂

When you least expect it

Hey guys!

Happy Sunday-funday!

I hope you all had an amazing weekend!

I’m not going to lie. Mine was pretty great. Like, if great drank five cans of Redbull right before it climbed Mt. Everest while juggling pineapples. Yeah. It was THAT great.

I am on cloud 9,000 for so many reasons. Seriously. I haven’t stopped smiling since Friday afternoon. I’m giving all of those Housewives of Everywhere a run for their money in terms permanently-plastered smiles, except without having to pay an arm and a leg for botox. My jaw is beginning to hurt in all the best ways possible. Not a bad problem to have in my book. 😉

Tomorrow is my first day at Westwood College. I am officially going to be a librarian. Holy barrel of monkeys. HOW COOL IS THAT?! In all honesty, I had begun to wonder if this was ever going to happen for me. It was a very long two years of trying, of rejection, of false hope. It’s always been a dream of mine to be a librarian, to work in a capacity where I could help others discover their full potential, as well as the magic and power that books have and can give. I never, ever gave up on that dream, but after not getting that chance, that opportunity for so long, I began to wonder if I should stop trying, to let God just do his thing and have faith that everything would work out as it was supposed to.

And if you’re anything like me, handing over the reigns and giving up the driver’s seat (I’m totally mixing up my metaphors here, aren’t I?) is a wee bit of a challenge.

I’ve actually had the same thoughts when it comes to my relationships. I’ve been single and ready to mingle for a while now. And don’t get me wrong; I’ve loved it. Meeting new people, being selfish for a bit (having the freedom to come back from a long day at work and drop the pants the second you walk through door and having no one to sneak attack your secret Oreo stash are definite perks of singledom) and spending time with friends and family has been great. But I began to realize that I could have and do those very things with a kick-ass partner in crime by my side, in fact, it could and would be all the more awesome–albeit I would have to find a better hiding spot for my Oreos.

I’ve always loved the idea of love, of meeting someone who gave me those butterflies pterodactyls, who constantly made me laugh and smile, who challenged me and made me want to be a better version of myself. I’ve been on many a disastrous date as I’m sure we all have at one point or another, have had my heart broken, and was part of relationships that while great, weren’t that head-over-heels, homerun, over-the-park and swing for the fences kind of love. Being witness to the kind of relationships that my grandparents, my parents and some of my friends have had and do have, I knew it was possible. To find that kind of amazing and indescribable love. But I began to wonder if and when I would ever find that. Like the pursuit of my dream job, I began to think that maybe I should just leave it up to the big guy upstairs, to pray that in time, it would just happen, when I least expect it.

lifeAs cliche as it sounds, that’s kind of what happened. Kind of exactly what happened.

Just when I was about to throw in the proverbial towel on the ‘ol job hunt, when I was ready to take a break from trying to land that dream position, I got a call. I landed an interview. I was offered an opportunity of a lifetime, THE one that I was waiting for for so long.

It happened. Just like that.

I wasn’t necessarily looking to meet someone who was oh so funny and sweet and kind. Someone who shares my love of really bad dad jokes, who is as much of a baseball fanatatic as I am, (shhhh….he’s a Rockie’s fan but I won’t hold that against him…too badly), who is ambitious and smart and has a heart the size of my book collection (aka pretty much the biggest in the history of ever). I wasn’t expecting to feel those butterflies pterdactyls, to smile from ear to giant ear every darn time my phone lit up with a text from him and I definitely was not expecting to fall so hard, so quickly. But I did. And as scary and crazy as that is, it’s also kind of the best feeling in the world.

It happened. Just like that.

I guess life is funny like that.

It’s almost as if the second before the moment you’re about to give up, to put your dreams and hopes on the back-burner, it throws you a wicked yet wonderful curve ball, reminding you that you’ve still got a lot of game left to play. That even though you may have been sidelined or injured, that you dropped the ball or struck out in the last inning, you’re an all-star. A player full of heart and determination and skill.

miracleAs much as you’d like to make things happen at the moment you’d like them to do so, sometimes God has a bigger plan. A better one. And It’s in trusting that plan, in believing that the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place at the opportune moment…

…that they actually will.

When you least expect it.

So if you’re currently facing a crossroads in your life, if the direction you want to go isn’t meshing 100% to the direction you’re going, stay the course. Don’t give up and most importantly have faith.

I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, at the exact time, in the exact moment when it is right for you.

You may just have to hand over the reigns and give up the driver’s seat for a while (I’m totally mixing up my metaphors here, aren’t I?)

Do you remember that time I…

…WAS OFFERED A POSITION AS HEAD LIBRARIAN AT WESTWOOD COLLEGE?!?!?!

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

That’s right, guys.

It finally happened.

Finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally happened.

Finally.

After a very long, lonnnng three years of job hunting/searching/applying and interviews. After many, mannnnnnny rejection letters, emails and phone calls. After a *bushel and a handbag of almosts, so-close’s and no’s….I did it!

*Sidebar (Is that still a phrase people use? If not, I’m henceforth bringing it back! Is henceforth still a word people use? If not, do it people. Any word that in any way resembles these guys is my favorite word ever.)

No matter how frustrated I got, how much I wanted to throw in the towel and give up, I kept trying. I kept putting myself out there.

But most importantly, I kept praying.

I don’t always know what the big guy upstairs has up his sleeve for me. In fact, I never do. None of us are privy to that information. But I think it’s better that way. It gives us something to hope for, something to strive for, something to keep our faith steadfast and true. Whatever His plans for you and I are and/or will be, I know that they will be amazing. And they will happen on His time, not mine or yours (something I have struggled with for pretty much always. And probably will continue to struggle with.) But if I have learned anything through this experience, it’s to never, ever give up hope and never, ever stop believing. And know that things happen when at just the right time they are supposed to.

HOLY REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS, SUPERMAN!

I’M A LIBRARIAN!!!!!! 🙂

If I could give any piece of advice–which as a librarian, I would like to think it’s my business to do so–it would be to not be afraid to dream. Dream big and dream loud. Do everything you can to make that dream a reality, even if it takes a very lonnnnnng time, if you get mannnnnny rejection letters, emails and phone calls and especially after you receive a *bushel and a handbag of almosts, so-close’s and no’s.

Do. Not. Give. Up.

Sorry Nike, but in this case, I am urging you to just NOT do it.

Keep doing, trying, and most importantly….

….keep praying.

I Believe

I believe there is good in everyone.

I believe dogs make life happier.

I believe that confident people are the most attractive people.

I believe that every. single. thing. happens for a reason.

I believe happiness is a choice, not a circumstance.

I believe that everyone deserves kindness and compassion.

I believe that ice cream has healing properties.

I believe in taking chances.

I believe that bear hugs from your favorite people are the best things ever.

I believe in the power of a new outfit.

I believe that one can never have too many books. Ever.

I believe that when it comes to siblings, you defend first and ask questions second.

I believe realistic expectations are the secret to maintaining sanity (and low blood pressure.)

I believe asking for help is a sign of strength.

I believe there is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone.

I believe moms have super powers.

I believe in following your dreams, not matter what.

I believe in soul mates.

I believe that life is as good as we make it.

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