Blog a Day in May catch-up!

It’s late at night or early in the morning depending on if you are asleep and have to be up soon or if you are a vampire like I tend to be with the hours that I work. Since it does get so quiet during these hours, I’m deciding to be productive and get some blogging done! Since I already have the 10th prompt ready to go, I thought I’d sit here and do some of the other prompts that I missed out on!

Day 1 – The story of my life in 250 words.
I was born in Mississippi, raised in Louisiana. I grew up with mostly guy friends and a very few girl friends and I still believe that this is completely okay. I was a Mama’s girl and very attached to her hip, when I was home. I always wanted to be on the go, go somewhere, do something, get out of that place. Once I did, I don’t think I would have ever fathomed that my longing for that small village would have been this deep. I was an athlete in high school, didn’t play in college, but became very devoted to Christ and his teachings. Life happened and I’m still struggling to find my way back. I got married at 21 to the love of my life and partner in crime and moved from Mama’s to living with him without ever being on my own, till his deployment. College brought on some very fun times, good friends and sign language, which I’m very passionate about, but college was put on hold while he was gone. I do hope to finish my second degree one of these days. Today I’m a wife, a daughter, sister, aunt to the best niece diva in the world, mom to 3 of the cutest furkids ever, hotel front desk clerk and a tv/gamer junkie. I have hopes and dreams, school being one of them, maybe a family – that’s still up in the air – who knows? But THAT is the story of my life in probably more than 250 words.

Day 2 – Educate the public on something I’m good at. Hmm okay well this was the first thing that popped in my head and I’d love to share, even if I’m not all that good at it. I have always been passionate about Sign Language and I got the chance to really explore that during several of my college years at the University of Southern Mississippi. That place is where I made some of the best friends of my life. I will never forget the memories and relationships made there. Anyway, I think that American Sign Language is a beautiful language for several reasons really. I appreciate and support the Deaf community and what it stands for, I have seen those struggle to learn and overcome it and apply it to music in a beautiful and entertaining way, and it is just visually appealing. Even if you don’t know sign language, more than likely you can use “context clues” to figure out what some of the signs being used are. With that, I’d like to share a link that I still use today to keep up with my ability to read fingerspelling (the act of ‘spelling’ out words using the American Sign Language alphabet). This site is a great tool used by some of the greatest that I know.

Oooh Day 3 – Things that make me uncomfortable… lots of things so this should be quick and easy.
– Doctors offices/hospitals
– Needles
– Clowns
– Dolls and especially the older looking ceramic? ones.
– Frogs when they are facing me
– Things that aren’t lined up right or when one thing is turned the wrong way or slightly askew
– Pizza that is cut in a weird way
– When someone is in my personal bubble
– Jumpy, in your face moments.
– Sitting next to someone at a red light who has their music up wayy too loud.
– My height
– How out of shape I am
– Closed boxes. (K3)

Day 4 – Favorite quote and why I love it.

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. – Albus Dumbledore.

That one should be fairly obvious. I mean, come on, I did a post solely about how Harry Potter changed my life.

And then there are the quotes from Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn that I just simply adore for all the girl power and strength.

Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition. – Marilyn Monroe

To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one, its society who’s ugly. – Marilyn Monroe

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. – Audrey Hepburn

Day 5 – Profess my love for a blogger or RL friend/family member. Think I’ll skip this one and just refer you to this post for now. Although since we have been matched for our Cara Box swaps these two ladies, BAM and BAM have been incredible in getting to know and I look forward to how this month’s swap is going to pan out! If you have moment, go check them out, they are pretty awesome gals!

Day 6 – If I can’t answer with ‘my job’, how would I answer the question ‘what do I do?’
Veryyy cool. Well, I am a full time wife and Aunt, I love to go to the park with my furkids, go to the gym when my schedule allows it, play video games (yes I’m a gamer geek), and spend time with family.

Day 7 – Things I’m most afraid of.
Look up to the uncomfortable post, the top 4 things on that list are my top fears.

Day 8 – Piece of advice I have for y’all.
Keep your head up. Man, I can’t stress this enough. You will not be defeated, even if it feels like it. It can rain, and rain, and rain, pour even, but it stops eventually.

Day 9 – A moment in my day

Werk.

Aaaand I do believe that brings me current! I’m so excited… but that could just be the insane amounts of coffee I’ve had this morning to make it through the last hour and a half.

XoxoX
Jess

Is opening up a good thing, really?

I recently took the plunge and made a Facebook page for my blog. Here it is, please like and support if you want to! Also, if you want to share your pages or anything with me, I’d be more than happy to follow/like back! You can check my page out here .

This is a huge step for me, and hopefully it’s one that’s in the right direction. Actually, anything that even slightly resembles the right direction would be fine with me. As long as it’s not backwards. Backwards is bad and it’s definitely what we do not want. We want progress.

Something I have noticed while doing all this though, is that I am very slow and selective to who I open up to. It has been much easier for me to share this part of my life with people that I met online rather than those that I know personally. I am trying to be a big girl and open more to people that I see occasionally in my actual life rather than keep it secluded to the select few that I choose to share with.

This.
is.
TERRIFYING.
What if I say something in a blog post that offends someone? What if I said something in a blog post that I’ve already forgotten about and someone goes back to read it and then brings up a past rant I had and they are unhappy that I shared it, especially if they were involved. What if? What if? What if?

I’m done playing that game. This is me, these are my thoughts and if you read this then you can share in it with me and take part in the roller coaster that is my life, or not. I am so very excited about this journey I’ve started and I would love it if people I know personally would like it and keep up if they choose to do so. I’ve never been one of the popular ones though, so I imagine most won’t be all that interested and that’s completely fine. But I think that those who are my friends, who are my real friends would want to support me as I take this step to more or less putting my life, my thoughts, hopes and dreams, frustrations and irritations, rants and rambles all out there for everyone to see. Not only that, but I’m putting my writing out there. As I try to better myself and focus on the positive, I think having this would and could only help me with that. I’m stepping out, taking a chance and allowing myself to be vulnerable to people in my life for the first time.

Yep. I was right.
It’s terrifying.
But also exhilarating.

I only made the page yesterday and I already have several likes, friends showing support, some who already knew about this blog and some who didn’t. I’d say that is off to a pretty good start.

How do you do it though? All you other bloggers, I’m talking to you. How do you feel about putting yourself out there and do you keep it more limited to who knows about your blog or do you just lay it out for everyone and their Mama to see, this is me. Was it as difficult for you as it was and is for me? Mixed emotions and all?

Would love some feedback!

XoxoX
Jess

From my furkids to yours, with love.

I was calling myself all caught up with the blogs that I follow till I realized, well, I wasn’t. One of them really touched my heart and I just had to share. Whitney at Yoga Pants posted about her sweet, precious furbaby and her troubles this weekend. Poor thing had bladder stones and I remember how helpless I felt when my very own Ariel had the same issue. The stress and worry she went through was very similar to mine as well. It is a very pitiful feeling when the furkids are sick and we don’t know what to do or how to handle it other than immediately rush for the vet. If only animals could talk and tell us what was wrong! If only.

So I’m finally going to share my furkids with you all! Aren’t you excited about it? I know I am.

I have three babies of my own.

First up is Jasmine (aka Jazzy, Jazzcat, Jazzy Kitty) and she’s quite the character. She was found in my sisters bushes outside her house while the hubby and I were out of town visiting his family. She called us on our way back in and asked if we wanted a cat since she already had two and really wanted her to have a good home. We weren’t married yet, a few months shy of being married and so he took her in his little downtown apartment and they bonded like I’ve never seen a cat bond with someone. She is extremely possessive of him, so much that when he came home from Iraq on his R&R she literally fought me for his attention. Okay, not actual fighting, but she did try to push me out of the way so she could lay in his lap and man was she talkative. It was incredible to see. So, the two of them are an interesting pair. While she does love me and misses me when I’m gone, it’s  not anything close to what they have.

 

Hubsters and Jazzcat.

Second & Third have to go together just like I convinced hubsters that we had to get them together from the shelter before he deployed since they were brother and sister. I used the ultimate guilt trip to get him to agree to it too. Told him that since fate and the military were determined to separate us doesn’t mean that we have to separate them. And so we left the Southern Pines Animal Shelter with two puppies instead of just one like we intended to originally and my life has been filled with joy and comfort and love because of them both ever since. They helped me keep my sanity during the deployment even. I really don’t know what I would have done had they not been my furkids then. So now, not to keep you waiting anymore.. here are Shemp (aka Bubba) and Ariel (aka Babygirl).

so much love!

Three little furry bundles of joy to make our family complete, and joy they are. I could easily spam this post with all the pictures I have of them all but I am really trying not to. If I’m completely honest with myself though, I believe I do have a severe problem of taking ridiculous amounts of pictures of them. They are just too darn cute not to! Besides, I like them more than I like most people so that makes total sense to me.

Like Whitney said in her post about her poor little Ella, hug your little furkids tighter tonight when you get home. Don’t forget to let them know how much you appreciate their unconditional love, devotion and loyalty they provide us.

XoxoX
Jess

Mad Season

When things start to spiral out of control or I get the least bit anxious about life and what it’s throwing at me, I tend to turn to music. In the past it was always my loud, hard, ‘Eff the world’ kinda rock. That was because I was oh so lost and had that awful mentality. Lately, though, it’s been more Matchbox Twenty, Goo Goo Dolls and others of the like. Trying to cling to keeping things as positive as possible because I really do think that the music you listen to affects the mood you’re in. Don’t get me wrong though, I still listen to those eff the world songs, but they aren’t my go to now when I need help.

Today I had an anxiety attack that really snuck up on me. I wasn’t feeling stressed or anything, just sitting there watching tv and then BAM. That really can put a damper on a day and anyone that has issues with this knows what I mean. I’m the type to over-think things and try to figure out where it came from, causing even more unnecessary stress and worry. This is NOT advised. It’s really not good for the soul and since I’m all about things that are good for my soul lately, we have this fun positive post today!

What exactly is good for my soul though? Instead of letting myself get all worked up, I decided to fix some peppermint tea, go sit outside and play Matchbox Twenty over and over again while talking to one of my favorite people. I thought of things that I know I have and reminded myself how loved and lucky I am for the hard working and very supportive husband I have that was then napping inside after an almost fourteen hour shift last night. Some other things I think of to do depend so much on what I feel the panic is coming from. Is it a more self conscious worry, financial, work related, friendship folly, and the list goes on and on. Today the sitting outside with tea and music really seemed to work. It is safe to say that music is almost always involved in my ‘healing’ process. I could decide that I need to focus on the positive parts of myself, find the beauty in me so I pamper. Could do my nails, set up an at home spa day, take a long bath while reading a book or something along those lines. The important thing here, I think, is to remember to make time to step back and just breathe.

To do: practice yoga regularly!

I really miss yoga for so many of these reasons I’ve listed here. It is good for the soul, it involves relaxing music, it’s good for the mind and the body, and it includes time to meditate and breathe. I am very interested in finding a DVD to start practicing again at home since my schedule doesn’t really allow for regular practicing at a studio. I know enough about the poses to not need a yoga for beginners, but not enough to be considered advanced. I am really interested in finding some new ways of helping with this. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

 

 

Hope everyone’s Tuesday was off to a better start than mine and will be as good as I’m going to make mine be!

 

Work Flow

I want to introduce another part of my life to you that isn’t really considered ‘feature’ worthy but is pretty important, my job. While it isn’t exactly where I imagined I would be, I did land a pretty decent job with some pretty awesome people. Things on the horizon may be looking a little on the stormy side, but I’m sure we will conquer those raging seas! Arrg! Pirate talk always makes me feel better. What is it that I do though? And do I always look like this while doing it?

image

I am a hotel front desk clerk and proud of it! And clearly I get paid to meet people, play with their pets, fold laundry (boring), and read during down time. Our hotel, though, is not just your regular hotel as it’s meant for extended stays. Basically, it’s a mix between a hotel and an apartment. Some use it as an in between stage while moving, others are with us strictly for business travel. We have guests that stay for months at a time, giving us the chance to get to know them. That has got to be the coolest aspect of my job. See, I love being social and getting the chance to meet others from all over, it’s pretty fascinating stuff. We just had some from France, Belgium and Germany stay with us for several months and I got the chance to know them and listen to them, ya know, for their accents. Now THAT was great stuff. I could listen to those guys talk all day and be just fine and there were days that I definitely did do just that.

When it came close to time for them to check out and leave me, *sobs* they told me that they’d think of me often and they were grateful for my hospitality to them. The one from Germany even gave me a gift and that was above and beyond and so very sweet and unexpected. I’ve had guests bring me desert from a place I suggested to them or a little something here and there, but this was a German tote bag, a box of chocolates, a book, and some coffee mugs. Too sweet, right? Right.

Now it’s time for…..

What really grinds my gears is roller freakin’ luggage. I don’t think I have ever liked roller luggage and I have this very odd HATE for it. It could be due to the fact that I am too tall for most of them and that bothers me. There’s honestly no telling where this rage comes from when a guest comes to the lobby to check in and I’m having to act pleasant while oddly staring at their luggage. It’s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I”m eyeing it up and down like it’s done something directly to me. But it’s luggage. I swear, I’m mad. But all of the best people are, so.

So, when things get hectic at work I just remind myself how much I do love my job, I use the tote bag now to make sure I won’t forget that.

XoxoX
Jess

NOLA for my birthday, baby! oh how I miss you.

The hubster and I took off like the wind and went to New Orleans for a long vacation weekend/happy birthday to me trip! It saddens my heart to be posting about this now because that just means that it’s over and I would much rather still be living it. Needless to say, the weekend was completely and totally incredible. In the nearly seven years that we have been married, nearly 8 together, we weren’t able to go on an actual honeymoon or anything. We also really didn’t have the chance to go out of town just to go, it was always for visiting family. Don’t get me wrong tho, I love visiting family but this… this was a nice trip where we could just be us and do what we wanted to do without having to try to fit in seeing everyone. This time we ran around trying to fit in seeing and doing everything we could possibly do! I mean, it is New Orleans, there is so much to do there!

Jackson Square just might be my favorite place on earth

 

The city life just amazes me. There is so much art, history, culture and can we just stop and talk about the delicious food for a minute? I knew that it would be difficult to be in New Orleans and stick to my vegetarian diet. I cheated just for the weekend and ate seafood, ONLY seafood, no land critters. Although there was this little hole in the wall place where we had lunch one day called Back to the Garden and they had THE BEST vegetarian tacos I think I’ve ever had. Great food and great prices. Definitely will be returning there when we go back and it is absolutely recommended!

look at these! a full plate of 2 tacos!

of course we had to go to Cafe du Monde for the au lait and beignets.

So, enough about the food, which did I mention how delicious it all was? Yes? Okay. I think this weekend was the best weekend we have had in quite some time. It was not just because we were in New Orleans, but we were able to get away from all the routine and stress of home and work and just remember how much fun we have together and how much we love each other. That trip allowed me to see my man in a different light, one similar to when I first saw him and fell in love. I stand behind taking trips together, so you can get a breather from life and it’s hardships, 100%. All the things we got to do, see, and experience will never be forgotten and we plan to make it a regular spring time trip even!

meet Blanche! the mule that pulled our carriage. Gorgeous, right?

We went on a carriage ride around the French Quarter, he got to see the World War 2 Museum, which I tried so desperately to show interest in but just couldn’t – bad wifey, I know, brought back our childhood amusement by going to the aquarium, and of course shopping. Shopping, shopping… shopping! All the things I bought for me and for souvenirs for family and friends… I was in love! What is even better about it all? We were still under our budget for this trip. Yeah, once we got home and the reality of bills hit again, we totaled everything up and were surprised to see how well we did financially! Just goes to show that it isn’t impossible to splurge every now and then and still be responsible about it.

Needless to say, it was a great birthday, a wonderful vacation, and a much needed breather for both of us.

me and my honey before our big day out in the city ❤

What does family mean to me?

This topic was suggested to me by a dear friend, someone I consider family, and I am so glad it was. This is something I have been wanting to touch on for a while now and I think it’s about time that it happened.

We have all heard that blood is thicker than water. We’ve also heard that family isn’t just blood, it’s who we pick and who stays with us through the good, the bad and the ugly. There are all sorts of saying out there about family. But what side do I take? What do I think about family and what exactly does it mean to me?

I have to start with throwing out that blood is thicker than water bit. While I do agree that some blood is thicker than water, not all of it is. I have aunts, uncles, cousins who I rarely talk to and who would not come running if I need any kind of assistance, yet there are people that I am not related to at all who would drop everything to do whatever they could to help. That is family means to me. When you want to see someone you love succeed and not ever fail, even if it means a little assistance from you every so often, always be as happy as possible and be right there with them sharing in that happiness, and especially making sure that they know they are loved and protected, in a sense, by you, to me that is the ideal version of family.

Now, I know that this may differ between individuals because others have extremely close families. Of course there are those who belong to families that have their brothers, sisters, cousins, et al. as best friends. While I love my family, there is a clear divide between family and friends in my life. Except for my sister, she’s an exception to that rule for me because no matter how much we fight, argue, or she wants to kill me… the fact of the matter is, she never does. I’m still alive and it must be because she loves me so.

My sister and I may not always be on the best of terms but when something happens and I really need her, those terms somehow disappear and she’s there for me no matter what. Once things are settled they may go back to being on not so good terms again, but again, that’s what family does. They drop whatever they are doing or holding on to to help in any way they can. As stated earlier, I fully believe that it does not apply to just family by blood either. Another good example I have is my brother, but not so brother, Derrick. He’s my brother in every sense of the word except blood. My father figure married his grandmother, who was raising him, and so we were together a lot growing up. Granted, he’s 7 years younger than me, so he’s my little brother. We had family dinners at my father figures house, I would go to his place in the city during the week to watch him while his granny worked and just to spend time with them and then my father figure and I would go back home. It was easy to do since he lived right next door and he was great friends with my Mama. If anyone asks me who he is to me tho, I tell them that he’s my brother. There is a lot more to the story than that of course, but that is just much easier to say.

Basically, after this entire post, what it boils down to is that what I think family means to me is that they will lift you up when you need it, hold your hand if you need that, kick you in the butt to get you in gear when you need that too, and especially, always, never let you forget how much you are loved, unconditionally. My furbabies are a perfect example of this, really. It’s a beautiful thing to have a good family, and an even better thing to find your own family in this world and hold them close, even if they are far away.

XoxoX
Jess

Featured Friday 003

This week has been so hectic catching up with family after vacation and being more willing to come in to work early since I did get 4 days off last week. Also, it has felt very much like my body is here but my mind is still playing catch up with the rest of me. It is still on vacation and is being pretty darn stubborn. I have decided to do a post featuring something, not someone but something, that has helped make me who I am today.
Harry Potter.

The books, the movies, the fan base, everything about it really is incredible. Now, I know it seems silly to do a full post about a fictional story and say that it has affected me as a person and especially at my age, but it was my first book series that I read all the way through and had absolutely no trouble finishing. That alone speaks volumes to me and to anyone that knows me. Also to anyone that knows me, they know that I am an uber Harry Potter geek. I have books besides the actual story books, the movies, a wand, countless photos saved to my computer and I’m working on getting a set of golden snitch jewelry. There have been more things that I can relate to in that story than in most things in the real world. Obviously I can’t relate to the wizardry because, well, it’s not real. But what I can relate to are the inspiring and uplifting stories of the relationships there, the friendships, the courage and lack there of of the Gryffindors, the book smarts of the Ravenclaws, the all around goodness of the Hufflepuffs and the sneaky and manipulative nature of the Slytherins. There were characters I loved and characters I loved to hate. There were even characters that I hated to love and especially those I just simply hated because there was just no redemption in what they did no matter how much pink they wore or how much they loved kitties.

The whole aspect of that story has definitely changed me as a person, but in good ways. It introduced me to what real fandom is, geeky fandom anyway. It’s a bit like having a huge family..knowing you are one of many that loves something that much and all for different reasons. To be part of that generation, even if I’m on the older end of it, is something wonderful. When watching the premiere for the final movie and all those kids that played the main characters took to the carpet, the world watched them grow up and grow in to these roles. Not only did they become the character, the character sort of became them. Weird little quirks that Daniel Radcliffe had, now Harry Potter had. Same goes for the others. Then there are those who played in the movies who were already superfans of the story. Luna Lovegood. Alan Rickman. These are iconic people who played iconic roles that will never be forgotten. Could it be because of their passion for the story?
Most definitely.

So to say that this all has made me a better person, changed me and taught me things, opened my eyes to a whole new world (cue music) does seem entirely ridiculous, but then again I like entirely ridiculous things. I will forever be thankful for those books, that world that Rowling created, and the awesome movies that came from them. My children will know of that world and hopefully it will continue to be passed down through the generations.

“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
– J.K. Rowling

XoxoX
Jess

As Thursday comes to a close…

I, of course, leave you with a thought-provoking post! Is pampering really good for the soul? Does it actually boost our self esteem or make us more confident? For right now, and without much research, I’m going to say absolutely it does! I just got back from one of the best vacations I have ever been on and I don’t think it could have started out any better. I worked the midnight till 8 AM shift, which technically I didn’t get off till like 9:30 because the next person didn’t come in and someone else had to cover. I had an appointment set up with my amazing cosmetologist friend to have a birthday mani/pedi from my Mama. Oh. My. Word. That was so super relaxing and refreshing and that was just for my hands and feet! About a month before that I had my hair cut and a massage that I got for Valentine’s Day from the hubby. I have been allowing myself, maybe a little too much, to buy new clothes and shoes and accessories…cough.scarves.cough… My attitude and mood has been through the roof lately. I have had a shit storm of troubles blasted my way but we have handled them the best way we know how and kept our heads up through it all. I still think it has something to do with the weather warming up.

I have even decided to start making my own sugar scrubs, which I’m excited about. I have the recipe that they use at The Body Shop, which is where my friend works. She wasn’t really supposed to give it to me, but ya know… we’re tight like that. I think a small project at home will be good for me. But I am known for taking on too much too fast. I already am wanting to make bracelets similar to the one I got in New Orleans because it seems fairly easy to do but still lets me be creative and artsy fartsy.

So, a little splurging and pampering of yourself every so often is not a bad thing. You can afford it, you can make things work and ends will still meet in the end. Take that small vacation, buy that cute outfit or pair of shoes or all of the above even! Learning to love life and live it has been a difficult thing for me. It’s not all about balancing and budgeting and saving. Granted, those are all very important things that still need to be done, but as long as you’re smart about it, a splurge every so often will be just fine. Trust me, I did it again today. I bought another plant for outside on our balcony. I’m really taking a liking to sitting outside with my flowers and reading, writing and drinking coffee. Basically I’m waiting till it’s time for me to be lakeside or poolside doing these things. That will really send my mood sky high. Everyone will be singing “she’s so hiiiiiigh high above me”.

XoxoX
Jess

P.S. I will be posting so many more things in the coming days. I have so much to get out of my head and down here… just so little time to do it!

It’s time for another round of Featured Friday!

I’ve been thinking long and hard who, what, or where I wanted to feature this Friday. I have had several good ones come to mind but none of them really felt right. It was a person last week so, in my mind it made complete sense to make it a pattern, because, you know… I like patterns. Feature a person, place, and then thing and start again. But, I really want to feature another person because it’s a special time this week and I think by doing this, it’s like she’s here with us. She has been on my mind a good bit more than usual lately. I’m pretty sure it has been because of the posts made in her group on facebook because of sibling day the other day and because a mutual friend and I share the same birthday, so she posted in there about how much she wishes that she could be here to celebrate her turning 21. Anyway, regardless of the reason she’s on my mind, she’s there and so this Featured Friday is going to be about her.

Olivia, or better known as Libby, was taken from us much too soon. It is something that has brought heartache to many that knew her and loved her and yet, how someone so small… like, literally small, not small in the figurative ‘she’s not significant’ way…. could make such a lasting impact on so many lives is beyond me. She has given me purpose to point my life in the right direction, to keep fighting for living and loving life, and to enjoy getting older simply because it is a privilege that was sadly denied to her. So, we keep living. We keep pushing forward and seek out ways to enjoy every aspect of life and do it with a smile on our faces because that’s what she would do. And man, such a big and contagious smile she had.

So, since it is so close to my birthday and it would have been nice to celebrate it somehow with her still here but she isn’t, I think featuring her today was the perfect thing to do. I just have to keep reminding myself that I may not look at things the same as I did when she was alive, but that doesn’t mean that I’m torn to pieces over her death. Not anymore. I appreciate more of what life has to offer and I will continue to keep that focus for as long as I can. She is just as inspiring now as she was then, and that says an awful lot about the kind of person she was, and the kind of person she could have become. She was taken from us so young, but man did she make one hell of an impact while she was here. It takes most their entire lives to make such an impact while some never accomplish it. She was a gift. And how appropriate. It is my birthday tomorrow.