Category Archives: People I Love

Chosen Family

Family comes in many forms. There’s the family into which we’re born and the ones into which we marry. There’s also the family we choose.

Most of my adult life, I’ve found myself drawn to people whom I call family, though we share no blood connection. Instead we are bonded by something stronger, a love of choosing, not obligation.

My chosen family has held me up when I thought my life was ending. They held my swollen hands as we learned of my diagnosis, and have walked by my side all through this life with chronic illness. They have watched Scotty and I fall in love, and have celebrated each memory with us these past five years. They will be the ones at our sides this summer when we make our promises to each other, and they will be the ones dancing into the night with us afterwards.

ChosenFamily

My chosen family are angels who make dreams come true, who make the impossible possible. They hold me up when I’m sure I can’t stand on my own, and have shown me just how strong I really am. They answer midnight text messages and phone calls, and have held me over the miles as we mourned together. They are the sisters and brothers and surrogate mother I never knew I needed until they came into my life. And now I know I could not live without them.

I will always love the family into which I was born, and the family into which I am marrying, but this family of my heart? They are my heart, always.

Do you have a chosen family?

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Ask Away Friday, All You Need Is Love!

Happy, happy Friday!

This week has been a long one, so long in fact, that I went around thinking yesterday was Friday all day. Which made me look like a bit of a dolt on the old Tweeter machine, but there ya go.

The exciting thing about this Friday is that I’m finally swapping with the lovely Tracie, my sister from another mister. You may remember a while back when Tracie’s husband and Scotty swapped questions, now it’s time for us ladies.

If you don’t know Tracie yet, you be sure to hop on over to her place and get to know her. She’s a pretty awesome lady who shares her voice for survivors everywhere, a home-schooling mama to one fantastic little girl (whom I’ve adopted as my niece), and a writer who can spin her words into the most vivid imagery. I promise you, you won’t be sorry for heading over.

This week Tracie and I decided to get in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, and talk about love, Valentine’s Day, and our very special men. So grab a box of chocolates and put on your favorite chick flick, it’s about to get all kinds of sappy up in here.

1. When you were a kid, and you had classroom Valentine’s Day parties, did you make your own valentines, or buy them from the store?

It’s funny, I can remember making my own valentines, but I think we mostly bought them. Maybe I made them in kindergarten and first grade?

2. What movie or book about love do you….well, love?

Well you know I love the love story in the Outlander series and I still want the “Talk Jamie to me” t-shirt. But, love movies are a different story. Dirty Dancing- Because of his speech at the end. “A person who’s taught me about the kind of person I want to be.” I like that. Love shouldn’t be about changing someone, but you should inspire growth within one another.

3. “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.” ― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever (Full disclosure: I’ve never read this book, but I find the quote interesting.) What do you feel about this quote in light of your own life – is this how love started for you?

In a way, yes. Scotty and I certainly weren’t looking for love when we first started chatting with each other. Instead we found great friends within one another, and then all of a sudden, I realized I was head over heals for him. And it happened completely by accident. I do believe there is a time and a place, in so far as I believe things happen when they are meant to, love included. Had Scotty and I met five years sooner, we would have been different people, and possibly not ready for the love we’ve found.

4. Have you heard of the five love languages? Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality of Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Which one best matches your heart, and which one best matches Scotty’s?

LOL My first mother-in-law actually bought me this book to try to help my first marriage. Here’s a tip folks- Books like that only work if both partners are interested in trying it out.

As for Scotty and I, I think we both have two love languages that work together to make us feel loved the best. For him, it’s Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. For me, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. We both really crave that hug at the end of the work day to feel reconnected, and it’s a pretty good indicator that something is amiss if we go a whole day without a hug or holding hands. But where all the little things he does to make my life easier speak to me, he really needs to hear the words. So I leave him little notes with his lunches, or text him throughout the day while he’s at work. We’re cute like that.

5. Did you ever take one of those quizzes in Seventeen magazine to figure out if “he really loves you” when you were a teenager?

Oh.My.Gosh. All.The.Time!

6. All of us old married (and almost married) people need to keep the spark alive. What is your favorite date night idea that doesn’t cost a lot of money?

I love curling up with a movie or TV show at home. Scotty and I will pop popcorn and share M&M’s. I also like game nights with board games or a deck of cards.

7. Do you believe that love conquers all?

I think so. But a person needs to be open to it. I think people can be hurt in life, and in turn close themselves off to the possibility of love. Which breaks my heart, because there’s so much love out there just waiting to be given and taken. You just have to open yourself up a little.

Okay, a lot.

8. Do you and Scotty have a special song? Is it a love song? Or just a song that the two of you love together?

This song was pretty popular when we started dating, and I just loved how the lyrics seemed to be about us. On our first anniversary, he had a gig, so I surprised him with a party at the gig, complete with his band singing this song just for us to have a dance together. That’s one of my favorite memories, there ❤

9. What is your favorite quote about love?

EmilyBronte

10. What do you love most about Scotty, and what would you say does he love most about you?

His answer when Thomas asked him was:

While it’s easy to say her smile or her eyes (because it’s true), I’d rather focus on a part of what makes her *her*. I truly love her generosity. She always tries to find ways to create pick-me-ups for friends, the time she spends helping others, all the things she does giving of herself. She is one of the most selfless people I know.

Aw!! Right?!

And for me: I love Scotty’s passion. If you could see how his face lights up when he plays his guitar, you would know instantly what I mean. And he has that throughout his entire being. He has a passion for learning, for music, and for love. He has a heart like no one I’ve ever known. Everything in his life, he approaches with an open mind and a heart full of passion. That’s pretty admirable, if you ask me.

Oh goodness Tracie, thank you so much! This swap was loads of fun, and I am so happy to leave my weekend on such a positive note.

I hope you all enjoyed this little bit of love. Now go have a great weekend, and spread a little of your own love. The world could use some 🙂

 

Living Better: Interview With My Guru

Dawnie is my personal guru and all around speaker of all the wisdom.She has battled chronic illness for the better part of a decade, and uses the knowledge she’s gained to help others on their paths. She can be found sharing her life at The Dawnie Project.

LBMyGuru

Dawnie recently agreed to let me interview her. It went something like this.

1. You were the first person to introduce me to Christine’s Spoon Theory, and the term spoonie. I distinctly remember that moment, because it changed how I saw myself, and how I could understand my new life. How did you learn of the Spoon Theory and was it a similar experience for you?

When I was first diagnosed I went into shock with anger. It was two and a half years in. I had spent that time trying to fix my pain, only to be told that I had an incurable condition. I spent a few months feeling sorry for myself, pushing everyone away. Then I woke up in the acceptance stage and started looking for a support group. I believe it was the second meeting when someone mentioned the spoon theory. I looked it up online, and had my a-ha moment. That was the day I stopped treating myself like I was sick, and started advocating instead. I no longer wanted people to think of me as broken, but rather to understand why 9 out of 10 times I had to say no but that it was worth asking me for that 1 time I could say yes.

2. You’re one of the few people I know who have found a balance between western and alternative medicine, and a medical team who works with you to maintain this balance. Can you share some tips for people who are looking to incorporate more homeopathic means of care?

The first few years post diagnosis were filled with specialists providing opinions on various treatments to help with issues connected to my condition. When a doctor suggested I join a drug trial not yet approved in the US I stopped. I fired all my specialists and told my family doctor I wanted to try alternative medicine. I got lucky that she agreed to help me.

I found an acupuncturist who worked on my allergies, my pain, and my insomnia. Within a year I went from 9 drugs a day down to 2. I then took a leap of faith and flew to NY to see a homeopathic doctor who started in western medicine and tired of seeing his colleagues push drugs. He walked me through a variety of tests to determine what supplements my body was lacking, what supplements my body could handle, and what foods might boost my immune system without adding to the imbalance. He was expensive ($1500 plus travel) but he might have saved my life.

Homeopathic medicine doesn’t work for everyone, just as western medicine doesn’t. Western medicine failed me, but that’s not the fault of the drugs. My body simply didn’t react as expected. I think anyone with a chronic or incurable condition should research all options for relief. Acupuncture and supplements combined with a specific diet put my condition into remission, but I know a dozen others it didn’t help. If I could offer one piece of advice it would be to knowledge share for research purposes. Oh, and fire any doctor who won’t listen to you with compassion and empathy.

3. We all have days where we pull the covers back up stay in bed. What are your go-to comforts for those yucky days?

Remission doesn’t mean every day is a good one. I still have side effect conditions that are active, and flares now and then. When that happens I like to curl up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket, some hot tea, and whatever movies I’m in the mood for.

4. You’re a frequent traveler, both around the US, as well as a recent trip to Africa. What are your top tips for making a vacation as great as possible, in spite of chronic illness?

I’ve always loved to travel, and for the first few years of my condition I wasn’t able to, because I told myself it was too hard. I let myself take the easy way out and suffered because of it. Eventually I buckled down and made a list of what it would take to make travel work for me again. My packing list expanded to include drugs, supplements, teas, heating pad, slippers, and whatever else I would need to give me the comforts of home. I researched my destination to learn the layout, as well as travel to get there. If flying I made sure I had an aisle seat so I could move around. If driving I looked up rest stop locations so I knew how many miles between. I packed snacks that I might not find on my travels. I did whatever it took to reduce the stress of the unknown. I became an over packer, but it was worth it to be able to go.

5. Something we’ve discussed much here on the blog, as well as in many conversations you and I’ve shared, is the effects stress can have on our symptoms, and possible flares. How do you combat the everyday stress of money, life, family, etc?

Having a chronic incurable condition is going to be stressful, even in remission. That’s life. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stop fighting it. Accept your limitations, decide how you’re going to work around them, how you plan to occasionally test them, and then live your life. You will never be the person you were, because people change with time. Deal with it.

6. Because of you, and friends like you, I’ve been encouraged to chase dreams, in spite of chronic illness. What is something you’ve done since your diagnosis which you never dreamed you’d be able to achieve? What goal are you currently working towards?

I have always wanted to travel to Africa and the Serengeti. After being diagnosed I thought it would be impossible. There were simply too many comforts of home I would have to leave behind. What if I’m in pain there? What if I get sick? What if I stop worrying about what if and start plotting how to make it work?

It took a 20 hour flight to get there, with 6 days in the wild tracking the great migration, and then a 25 hour flight home. Without a doubt I had to let go of comforts of home to make it happen. But it was worth every moment. When you let go of your fear and anxiety you discover a whole new world of possibility. Driving around on bumpy dirt roads in an old jeep wasn’t easy on the body, but then we’d stop twenty feet from a lion resting on the side of the road and it would take your breath away. Suddenly that ache didn’t feel so bad anymore.

My next goal? I haven’t dreamt it yet. Whatever it is, I’ll find a way to make it happen.

 

I can’t thank Dawnie enough for sitting down with me to share her wisdom with all my readers. If you’d like to know more about her and her path, be sure to follow along at The Dawnie Project. 

One Lovely Blog Award

Yesterday the lovely Dorne over at Putting life into words was sweet enough to pass along to me the One Lovely Blog Award.

one-lovely-blog-award

I always like meeting new bloggers, and to have them pass along a blogger award is a great treat. The rules of this award say that I must:

1. Thank the person who nominated me.

2. Add the logo to your post.

3. Share seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate seven other bloggers you admire, and let them know on their sites.

So first up, many thanks to Dorne for nominating me. She never fails to stop by and leave a kind comment on my posts, which is wonderfully supportive and greatly appreciated by me.

Now, because of Ask Away Friday, I’m not sure if there are many facts about me I haven’t shared yet. So if y’all know any of these already, just let it slide this one time, okay?

*The song No Rain by Blind Melon has always spoken to me. It is my song. I read books to escape, I love the sound of rain, it is me. (My doggy, however, does NOT love the rain. Clearly, he’s not from the PACNW.)

*If my daughter had lived, I’d have a 5 year old princess right now. There are still nights I dream of her, and wake wishing I could spend the day playing with her.

*I was a picky eater long before IC and IBS caused me to be careful of what I eat.

*I will burst into tears anytime I see video of soldiers coming home. Every.Single.Time.

*If I had more money, I wouldn’t spend it on myself. I’m horrible with a budget, but most of what I spend is on gifts for others. I love showering love on those I care about.

*I’m a firm believer that what’s on the inside is more attractive than the outside. I find myself more attracted to personalities and certain quirks more than any physical type.

*I never thought I would be an advocate. I always dreamed of being a writer, but I thought it would be fiction. I never imagined my life would take these turns, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I take great pride in raising my voice for all of us.

And now to pass the award along to seven bloggers whom I adore.

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera because her photos make me smile and her words speak to my heart.

Dawnie from The Dawnie Project because I’d like to see what seven things I don’t know about her. Because she’s one of the few people I can speak openly to.

Tracie from From Tracie because she is the epitome of lovely and the sister I never had growing up, but have now in her. Because she gets me like most don’t.

Joules from Wonderishmama because her blog is everything I know to be lovely about her, and I want to learn more.

Echo from The Domain Of The Mad Mommy because I know there’s things about her I don’t know…yet. Also because I feel like she needs a smile this week.

Christy from Uplifting Families because her blog is full of lovely advice and tips for mothers and families and that’s something that should be celebrated.

Andrea from Good Girl Gone Redneck because she definitely needs a smile this week. And because of her lovely forethought, I’ve met even more  bloggers who are all supporting each other in this wonderful writing group.

My Happy Place

The lovely Echo tagged me this morning to share my happy place.

Much like Echo, my happy place is more a series of moments, little tidbits that make up an overflowing pool of happiness within me. Some are memories, some are actual places, some are dreams yet to be fulfilled, and some are the moments in my days that chase the dark away. These are the things I would think about if I were to fly with Peter Pan.

It’s a cozy chair, a mug of hot tea, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book.

It’s the joy and excitement my little doggy shows when we ask if he wants to go for a ride.

It’s looking into my newborn son’s eyes and seeing my future gazing back at me.

It’s an afternoon in the park, sprawled on a blanket under the sun. A picnic lunch after a trip to the library.

It’s the memory of a drawled, “Hello, dawlin.” and the feeling of knowing someone cares.

It’s a bubble bath, scented candles, and soft music playing.

It’s text messages from my son, little glimpses at his life away from me. It’s him telling me he loves and misses me.

It’s the kisses goodbye as Scotty leaves for work, and the kisses hello when he gets home in the evenings. It’s the texts throughout his day that let me know he’s thinking of me.

It’s an afternoon on the banks of the Puget Sound, a first date with a man my heart had known always.

It’s boardgames, Mario Kart, and popcorn and M&M’s.

It’s nights at Denny’s, sipping hot cocoa and getting to know each other.

It’s all the little things he does to make my life easier.

It’s afternoon naps with my doggy.

It’s hours long chats with the sisters of my heart. The talks about music, writing, life, and more that always leave me feeling loved and inspired.

It’s waking up each day and going to bed each night knowing I am loved, even when I don’t feel very lovable.

What is your happy place? Where do you go when you need a smile?

I Found Framily On A Mountaintop

On the Wednesday before Halloween five years ago, a new friend and I headed off for a little road trip. Little did we know our trip would involve a flat tire and being stuck on the side of a mountaintop road for the better part of six hours. Overnight.

Nubs

I met Nolan the same way I met Scotty, in a local internet chat room. Though, to be honest, Nolan and I didn’t chat much. When I finally met Nolan in person, it was in this weird period of time where we were both visiting our significant others and contemplating whether or not to move to be with them.

Since Nolan’s girlfriend and Scotty both worked, he and I often spent our days chatting while looking into relocating. We talked about everything under the sun, though much of our conversations often centered around food. Nolan is a great cook, and I was just starting to consider myself as more than just an “okay” cook. We shared recipes, talked about our favorite chefs, and day dreamed of one day opening a restaurant and writing our own cookbooks.

So on this Wednesday before Halloween, Nolan and I decided to take a road trip together to pick up a few things from our respective home towns to facilitate our moves to this new city. This trip took us damn near all over our great state and just as we were nearing the homestretch, we got a flat tire. On the top of a mountain. In the snow. In the middle of the night.

The car was borrowed, the tools didn’t fit the wheels, we were both dressed for valley weather, and not the snow. I had no cell reception and his battery was dead. We sat huddled outside an abandoned mountain resort office, using the outdoor outlet to plug in his phone so we could call for help. Our help was coming from nearly 3 1/2 hours away, and so we huddled in our respective front seats, occasionally turning on the car for heat. To keep ourselves from going crazy, or possibly giving way to hypothermia, we munched on junk food and talked. Somewhere around 4:00 am, we fell into hysterics. We joked and laughed about things which made no sense. We crafted the nicknames “Nubs and Stubs.”

Most of all, we kept each other sane. And somewhere between our toes going numb and all the Mountain Dew and Redvines, I realized that this guy had worked his way into my heart. I knew no matter what happened, he would always be my best friend.

Help arrived and we got the tire changed. We drove the rest of the way back to our new city, arriving nearly exactly 24 hours after we had left. We were cold, tired, crashing from a sugar overload, and more than a little angry at circumstances. But we had a new friend in each other, and memories to bind us.

Five years later Nolan (aka Nubs) is still my best friend, my adopted brother. We still laugh about that night stuck on the side of the mountain road, though others don’t seem to see the humor we do. Guess you had to be there.

Nolan is family. He will be the one who officiates mine and Scotty’s wedding next summer, and he’s the one I turn to always. There are many who don’t understand our relationship. Many who think men and women can’t be friends without some sort of romantic ish. There are many who swear we’re leading some sort of secret affair behind Scotty’s back. Those people? I feel sorry for them. How sad it must be to not have friends you count as family, no matter their gender. And how horrible it must be to be so mistrusting of those around you. Scotty is more than fine with mine and Nolan’s friendship, he also considers Nolan family. Nolan’s girlfriend, Court (NOT the one from five years ago), is also more than okay with our relationship. She is family. I call her my sister-in-law, and know I can turn to her for anything.

NubsandCourt

Nubs and Court have helped us move three separate times. They come to see Scotty play, and celebrate birthdays with us. We celebrate each others’ kiddos and life moments. They live about an hour away, and sometimes we don’t see each other for months, but it doesn’t change that we are all the very best of framily.

And to think, it all started on the side of a mountaintop with a flat tire.

I’m Grateful For You

It’s a chilly morning here in the PACNW and I couldn’t be happier. Fall is swirling outside my windows with the howling wind and occasional downpours. I’m bundled up in cozy jammies, slippers, and a fuzzy blanket. My days are now filled with cups of hot tea and apple cider. And gratitude. Always gratitude.

GratefulMondays

 

*I’m grateful Scotty has an understanding and emphatic employer. It’s rare these days to find someone who understands that while work is important, family comes first.

*I’m grateful for framily who visits with a gorgeous, air purifying plant to decorate my home and help me breathe better. A fellow spoonie who constantly goes out of her way to make my life better.

*I’m grateful for blogger friends who help me navigate this world as I continue to expand my horizons. Friends who answer texts, even while out celebrating. Friends who answer the call of “HALP! I don’t know what I’m doing!” with a laugh of understanding.

*I’m grateful for a partner who does the little things. The ones he thinks don’t matter, but they all add up to make my days so much smoother and easier. He makes the role of caregiver look easy, though we all know it is not.

*I’m grateful for a kiddo who is honest and upfront with us, even when he’s broken something he knows we can’t afford to replace. He is not in trouble because he came to us and told us what happened instead of trying to hide it, and he is already working on a solution.

*I’m grateful for a doctor who understands my life in pain, and never doubts me. He helps me manage those pain levels without judgement. He never questions me when I tell him I hurt, he just works with me to find me the best comfort available. His staff are all equally caring, and it makes it easy to turn to them for help.

*I’m grateful for framily who send me tools to help me on this journey with chronic illness. And chocolate, because obviously. For cookbooks and letters that make me smile. For notes and lists of treatment options. For a little something that touches the heart and lets me know you thought of me while you were continents away.

*I’m grateful for gift cards and the little I earn from various rewards sites that allows us to keep our heads above water.

*I’m grateful for understanding friends who don’t hold things against me, even when I hold them against myself. Especially then. For friends who know I haven’t forgotten about them, even if it appears I’ve fallen off the map.

*I’m grateful for all of you. All who read my words and offer encouragement and support. All who pass my words on to others. Each of you gives me the purpose to get up each morning and pour my heart out for the world. You give me strength to reach a little further, and share my words among other avenues.

Ask Away Friday The Birthday Edition!

Today is the lovely Miss Echo’s birthday!

HappyBDayEcho

To celebrate, Echo and I decided we’d do a birthday version of #AskAwayFriday. So here are ten questions (my five and her five, teamwork baby!) about birthdays, celebrations, and parties. See what I had to say, then run over to Echo’s site, The Domain of the Mad Mommy, to read her awesome answers and wish her the very best of birthdays!

My five-

1. What is the best birthday gift you’ve ever received? What is the best gift you’ve ever given?

The best birthday gift I’ve received was when my fiance searched out and bought the entire Outlander series for my 30th birthday. It was such a surprise that he’d not only remembered they were my favorite books, but was able to order them and have them shipped without my finding out. (I’m sneaky and hate the suspense of surprises.)

2. Do you like surprise parties, or do you prefer to be the party planner?

I love being the party planner, mostly because I have some control issues and I love to be crafty. But I’ve always secretly wished someone would throw me a surprise party.

3. What is your favorite party theme? (Whether you’ve actually done it or not)

I would love, love, LOVE to have a Mad Hatter Tea Party theme. So much so that some elements will be making an appearance at our wedding next year.

4. Are you a cupcake, sheet cake, or cheesecake kinda gal? And what’s your favorite flavor?

I’m sorry, did you say cake? If it has cake in the name, Ima eat it. Except carrot cake. Ew.

5. What would be your birthday wish this year?

Since my birthday just passed in August, I’ll say my wish for next year (the big 3-3 yo!) would be to be able to afford a great honeymoon, since our wedding is two days before my birthday next summer 🙂

Her five-

1. If you could have any celebrity chef cook you a birthday meal, who would it be and why?

Mario Batali. That man knows his way around pasta and cheese, which are two of my favorite food groups. Also, he loves good music, so I kinda feel like he’d be cool to have dinner with.

2. If you got free plane tickets to anywhere to use on your birthday, where would you go?

Since it’d be summer and my kiddo would be with me, the three of us would go to Orlando. Where I’d get to love on Tracie and her family, and then have them show us around Disneyworld.

3. What is the one thing that you always do for yourself on your birthday?

Um wow. I think I’ve just realized that I don’t really do anything for myself for my birthday…

4. Google what celebrities share your birthday, share a couple!

PicMonkey Collage
Photos from: here and here respectively

I don’t even have to Google it. I share a birthday with James Hetfield of Metallica. Which is pretty epic. But I did Google it, and here are a few others: Tom Brady (Ew), Ryan Lochte, Martha Stewart (Eh), and Tony Bennett. I’ll take James Hetfield and Tony Bennett to mean I was born to love music ❤

5. What is one gift that you have ALWAYS wanted, but haven’t yet gotten?

A makeover. I’ve always dreamed of being surprised with a new hairdo, makeup, and wardrobe ala What Not To Wear on TLC. Even if it was on a much smaller scale, I would love the opportunity to be dolled up and pampered.

I really enjoyed talking birthdays with you, Echo! I hope you have a stellar day and weekend ❤

**If you would like to join in the Ask Away Friday fun, email me personally, or check out their Facebook page for more info. 

Tuesday Ten: My Advice For Our Teens

I had a lovely chat with one of my favorite ladies this morning, and we were talking about kiddos and how fast they grow up, and how we moms just aren’t ready for the teen years. And I was inspired.

So here are the ten things I would tell my teenage son, and all my adopted kiddos.

*You are going to have crushes. You’re going to “date” and you’re going to break hearts…and yes, you’ll have your heart broken. You’re going to care about someone and you’re going to get hurt. It may feel like your life is over, but it will really just be beginning.

*It is true what they say, as much as is possible, treat people how you want to be treated. Put all the good karma you can into the world and you shall be handsomely rewarded.

*You will be bullied. When the time comes and you’re the one doing the bullying, remember how it felt when you were in their shoes.

*You will have many “best” friends. When a friendship goes sour, try to leave it on the best terms possible and with your dignity intact. God knows how hard it will be, but always, ALWAYS try to be the better person. You will be glad you did.

*Take pride in yourself and the values you hold dear, but be willing to accept you won’t always be right. Open yourself up to learning new things and revising what you’ve been taught. There isn’t always one right answer. Find what you hold true and stand up for what you believe in.

*There are consequences to each and every action, some good, some bad, and some may not surface immediately. I can’t tell you what choices to make, but please weigh the outcomes beforehand. Even just one minute of thought can save you a lifetime of hurt.

*Dream. Dream loud and dream often. Chase those dreams and dream new ones. Hold onto that wonderful imagination for as long as you can and use it to dream and accomplish the impossible.

*I know it won’t always be popular to make the “right” decision, but please remember that popularity can and will fade and when it does, your virtue will be all that you can hold on to.

*You will get warnings, people will tell you all of the horrible consequences for many of the decisions you will find yourself faced with…and you will tell yourself they won’t happen to you. Please remember, they can ALWAYS happen to ANYONE. Protect yourself and be smart. Naivety and ignorance will only bring you pain.

*Most importantly, don’t forget to smile, laugh, and LIVE. You are only young with minimal cares for this short period of time. Enjoy every last second; I can promise you, you will be glad you did.

What advice would you give to teenagers?

**This post is adapted from a post I wrote in 2012 for The Band Back Together Project. I certify that I am the sole author of both posts, though they are written under different names. I retain all rights to these words, in both posts.

We Are Love

Scotty-

Five years ago you took me on a picnic for our first date and forever changed my life. Next year we will stand before our loved ones and say aloud the promises we’ve already made to each other. Each year on our anniversary, I write a letter to you or share our story. This year, I didn’t know what else could be said that I hadn’t already written. And then, this came to me…

Us

We are date nights at Denny’s, sipping hot cocoa and playing cards. We are drives around this city while we shared all there was to know about each other. We are popcorn and M&M’s, movie nights, board games, and take-out Chinese food.

Ian

You are passion and humbleness, and I am your biggest fan.

We are five years of the highest highs and the lowest lows. We are overcoming any obstacle. We are “you do for family” and redefining who our family is. We are celebrating any achievement, because they all matter. We are advocates for your dad and I am the daughter-in-law he loves, even if I did beat him at Scrabble on Father’s Day once.

We are late nights in the hospital, with you always holding my hand. You are the hard worker who makes sure I’m taken care of, no matter the cost. We are battling chronic illness together, continuing to live this life to the fullest.

Ring

You are the man who proposed to me three times, with three different rings, each of them as precious to me as our love.

You are the man who loves my son as if he were your own, and my heart swells to see you two together.

Family(framed)

We are the parents of a teenager, both terrified and excited. We are talks of school and grades, and debating whether he’s ready for his own cell phone. We are a family of our own, the three of us and our doggy.

We are the sum of every moment of these five years, and yet so much more. We are the promise of a future together, the promise that we’ll always have a partner in this life.

UsWedding

You are the man I’ve dreamed of all my life, my prince, the one I thought couldn’t possibly exist until you came and rescued me. You are the one who showed me who I could be, who saw the beauty inside me when no one else did.

We will be the cute little old couple helping each other along in the nursing home. I will try to not run over your toes with my wheelchair as you repeat yourself for the tenth time because I’ve gone completely deaf. We will be playing Scrabble with our grandkids while we tell them how Grandma is a Ducks fan and Grandpa is a Beavers fan and it’s the only thing we’ve ever disagreed on in our entire lives together. Well that, and the fact that Grandma doesn’t like pumpkin or avocado.

HouseDivided

You and your love gives me hope EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The promise of our future gives me a reason to keep fighting.

Here’s to another five years, my love, and many more after that. Here’s to making more memories and traditions. Here’s to a lifetime of love.