A Promise to My Future Self

I don’t like regrets. I don’t like the feeling that time slipped away before I could fully comprehend the splendor of the moment or season I was in while I was in it.

And here I am, here we are, in it. I am in the best years of my life and I know it. I cannot help but feel I have been given a gift by being able to recognize the beauty of the people and moments that surround me. But have I really? Or are we all simply blinded by the opinions society has forced into our minds and onto our hearts. The lists of articles and songs written about how  “you’re gonna miss this” and “don’t blink” because this time in our lives is too short are a thousand miles long and it makes me crazy.

I am aware we go through seasons in life, and when the time has passed, it is really gone forever. I am aware that where I am now is exactly where I am meant to be. I get it. But no matter how deeply I understand these two concepts, I cannot, for the life of me, find peace in this beautiful, amazing, stage of life.

When my oldest was born, I lay in my hospital bed staring into her face, studying every little detail, amazed at creation: emotional, exhausted, overwhelmed, and so much more. An array of close family and friends filled the hospital room and one of the first things said to me by one of them was “blink and she will be 16, blink again and she will be the one having kids”. Though well-meaning, I could not help but add furious to my list of many emotions I was then feeling. I could not help but feel like this individual was trying to take my joy away. I felt I was being robbed in that moment, sucker punched right in the gut. How dare he force his regrets on me? How dare he make me feel like I cannot fully enjoy this time because I am too busy being worried that it is going to pass too quickly?

How dare anyone try to make a person feel like they cannot enjoy the time they are in because they know it is going to end? How could this be the focus?

Little did I know, that was just the tip of the iceberg.

I cannot go a day without running into someone who tells me with a wink that my children won’t be this little for much longer. I cannot go a day without reading the article about a mother of adult children begging me to hold on tightly to these years because they will soon be gone, a mother who is done having babies and cannot hold babies because it destroys her inside, a mother with a list of the 50 things I should do NOW to be a better mommy and have no regrets, and the mother with the 25 changes I can make so my children have a more meaningful childhood.

Are you kidding me?

It’s everywhere, and the worst part is my bipolar relationship with it; it’s well-meaning from the passerby, and it’s good advice from the sad mom of teen children. But it’s depressing. I smile at the passerby because I am kind, I read the blog post because its my kryptonite, but it’s depressing. Don’t you know I look my children in the face daily and try to memorize their faces for fear that tomorrow they’ll change? Don’t you know that I spend hours a day playing with my children, trying to cherish these moments when they want me and my company? Don’t you know that I fall asleep with one of them almost nightly because I am trying to hang on? Don’t you know I already feel guilty for working when my two oldest were babies, for not putting enough years between them? Don’t we have enough of our own trials and hardships? Do we need to voluntarily add to our mommy worries and our mommy to-do lists because of this guilt and shaming forced on us left and right?

Are we so focused on what tomorrow could, or even will inevitably bring that we do not delight in today?

As I look back to that first time I was confronted with the words that made me feel my child’s life was slipping through my fingertips before it had even begun, I force myself to be thankful for them. Because in that moment, in my vulnerable, musing state, I decided I was never going to feel the way he did. I chose to take in, not just these years, these days, but every. single. moment.

And I am.

The mommy-world mantra is “it goes too fast” followed closely by “the grass is always greener”; because of this I cannot help but feel we are being robbed of just being able to enjoy it. I feel like the world is beating it into me: hold them close, no closer, cuddle them, a little more, sleep with them, hug them, hold them, kiss them, it’ll be over soon, it went faster than I thought, whew! BUT, I’ve made a choice, I know none of this is going to change anytime soon and I vow to be a contributor to harmony and peace in the mommy world. So, I’ve chosen to consider it a blessing to be able to be reminded that this time is precious and I will do what I can so that I do not look back and wish for just one more day.

Let’s all agree to just slow it down and take it in, because no matter what season we are in or what we do to hold on, the day will come when it all ends and we want it all back. I refuse to allow these years with my littles to end up as a jumbled snapshot in time, to wish I would have done things differently or held on longer. I promise myself I will be thankful for today, instead of mournful of yesterday. This is my life, and wherever it takes me, I promise to love it and treasure it until the end.

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When God’s Plan is Better Pt.1

Life was sailing on smoothly. We had just welcomed our third baby into the world three weeks prior and we celebrated her baptism that morning with a “party” as my 3-year old called it; our dearest friends and family celebrating with brunch and gifts. We were happy, we were content, we knew we were blessed but we were just going through the motions, we went to church on Sundays but were not taking the time to really thank the good Lord for the things he had given us recently.

February 15, 2015, just after 10:00pm. She should have been in bed hours ago, but the day was so exciting, and the day before was Valentine’s Day, this is what kids live for! She had been looking forward to this weekend for weeks, and for a 3-year old, that’s a really long time! She just could not wind down and came into our room time and after time needing that one more thing: a glass of water, to go potty, a song, a kiss. In her sweetest voice she asked her daddy to cuddle her one more time. He and I shared the look and, with a simultaneous eye roll, we both knew he needed to go, though our fuses were getting short.

After a few minutes, I began to drift to sleep, the baby began to fuss and I automatically got up to tend her. Then, I heard my husband, in a tone that I will never be able to shake… “Lex… LEX!” I knew immediately something was terribly wrong and rushed to meet him in the hallway where he held our sweet girl in his arms, I froze, her body was stiff, eyes wide, fists clenched, shaking uncontrollably… then she went limp “Bryn” he shook her… “Bryn, stay with me, stay with me… Lex, help, call 9-1-1!” The panic in his voice was unbearable. My body was numb with fear and adrenaline, I rushed to our room and felt around in the darkness for my phone to make the call. I couldn’t breath, what was happening?

I had a flashback to elementary school when we were told the best thing a person can do when calling 9-1-1 is stay calm, so, after hearing “9-1-1 what’s your emergency” on the other end, I took a deep breath and calmly explained through tears and a trembling voice. She was unconscious, there were tears in my husband’s eyes when he looked up from her belly as we discovered she was still breathing. Thank you, God. I stayed on the phone with the dispatcher until the ambulance arrived. Meanwhile, using my husbands phone, we called my parents who were thankfully still in town to come over, it was late and they knew right away something was wrong, all we said was “It’s Bryn, she is breathing but the ambulance is coming” and they hung up and were there in an instant.

We watched as the paramedics attempted to wake her and check her vitals, she seemed to check out okay. My husband knelt by her side and stroked her cheek; I could see the agony in his eyes, the confusion in hers. The paramedics insisted we take her to the E.R. in the ambulance so that she could be monitored. “Seizures occur in your brain and it’s not something to mess with”, the paramedic insisted. Almost as if it were a sign, she began vomiting uncontrollably. So, with a quick change of clothes and a substitute blanky, my husband rushed out of the house to the ambulance with her. I stayed behind until someone could come to be with our 17-month old as she was asleep.

My dad waited with me a few minutes until we knew our 1-year old was set, then we loaded the baby and drove down to the hospital where Bryn was taken. We held hands and prayed the entire way there, which was more than I had done in a year–the drive itself seemed to take a year. None of us knew what the next 48 hours would bring, but looking back, I’m thankful for it all.

Liebster Award

This is my first Liebster Award nomination and I am honored beyond words. Thank you to LePandaBaby for the nomination– you are too kind, thanks for being a good friend!

Official Rules of the Liebster Award:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog in your Liebster Award post.

2. Copy and paste the Liebster Award badge into your post.

3. Answer the 10 questions you were given when you were nominated.

4. Come up with 10 questions you would like to ask of your nominees.

5. Nominate 5-10 newbie bloggers, by commenting on one of their blog posts with a link to your Liebster Award post, and a short message about nominating them.

Questions from LePandaBaby:

1.) What are your hobbies?

Spending time with my children. They are small right now and they need me, what else would I rather be doing? I know the day will soon come when I will have time to spare, so for now, it is all theirs!

2.) Most embarrassing moment?

I have this uncanny ability to forget bad moments and only remember the good ones. However, I did have an incredibly embarrassing year or so back when I was 16. I dated this terrible person who, when all was said and done I found out the entire relationship was based on some pretty huge lies that everyone knew about but me: he told me his sister died when she really didn’t, that his mom was in a coma when she really wasn’t, I could go on but I think that sums it up pretty nicely… it was just a a really bad situation and I was SO naive. If that doesn’t SCREAM embarrassing I don’t know what does.

3.) Why you started your blog?

I love to write. I love to get my thoughts down and be able to look back at what I was going through, what I was feeling. I find it fulfilling to get a piece of work, which I care so deeply about the content of, to the final step of publishing. I write for me, and there are not a whole lot of things I do for me these days!

4.) How do you find purpose in life?

Through caring for myself and those I love. There was a time when I had a hard time finding purpose, thinking I needed someone in my life to fill the void. It took me a few years of soul searching to finally figure it out, but I learned to love myself and do things because they made ME happy.

My children and my husband are the lights of my life and they need me as much as I need them– they are probably my true purpose.

5.) What drives you to keep on trying again each day?

My family and my faith in the good Lord.

6.) What is your biggest regret?

I try not to have regrets. I have learned that the things I may have once regretted actually  built my character and lead me to something greater

7.) What is your biggest fear?

Losing those I love.

8.) What is your favorite color?

Aesthetically, teal and purple. To wear, white and navy. For a car, pearl. For a flower, yellow.

9.) What is your favorite food?

“Favorite” for me probably changes from day to day, or even meal to meal… right now it is Taco John’s super potato oles with extra seasoning (eiw, right?). Don’t worry, I only eat them once every few years, usually right before I find out I’m pregnant, ha!

10.) What is your favorite animal?

Puppies, all puppies, but mostly golden retrievers.

11.) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully really close to where I am right now: a mother, a wife, a sister, daughter, and a friend. Other than being 10 years older, and raising a bunch of tweens, I really hope everything else pretty much stays the same. But wherever it takes me, I hope I’m still happy.

My Nominations (Please check them out!):

  1. trulyunplugged
  2. happysinglemomma
  3. tothosewhohaveears
  4. SamCicero
  5. raisingagalaxy
  6. bongre
  7. shadefully

New Questions by WhoIAmToday for those nominated:

  1. Who is your doppelganger?
  2. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
  3. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have 3 things, what would they be?
  4. What is the one thing you could never give up on?
  5. What is your biggest pet-peeve?
  6. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  7. What is your dream vacation?
  8. What is the hardest decision you have ever had to make?
  9. What is the best decision you have ever made?
  10. What qualities in a person do you most admire?
  11. What are you most afraid of?

Can’t wait to see all of your responses!

 

 

You’re Only as Old as You Feel

I was the kid who couldn’t sleep on the eve of her 7th birthday; and not because I was overwhelmingly excited about cake and presents but rather, because I was afraid. I was 6 going on 60, having a crisis before I could even define the word.

I did not know how to be 7. How would it feel? What were the expectations? It is a joke that runs rampant during family gatherings: so insightful for a 6-year old… so poignant.

Fast forward 20 years and here I am, on the eve of my 27th birthday, over a quarter-century of life passed, and I’m having a heck of time sorting out how I feel about it.

In college, I had friends in their late 20’s who were traveling the world, they were young and passionate. Some were perusing another degree, they all had so much energy and drive… their entire lives lay ahead of them. Yet, I don’t feel like I believe they did, I feel… old.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a young girl in her 20’s, I see someone who has lived their life. My face is full of wrinkles and imperfections, I am tired and I ache, I don’t even recognize my body as my own.

Motherhood and success came early for me, and while I am proud of my accomplishments, I also recognize that they forced me to grow up much faster than I would have otherwise. Many of the moments I thought I would still be looking forward to have come and gone since I relinquished my youth all those years ago.

On the weekends, I am in bed by 9. I had three children before many of my peers even had one. I have had a career and “retired” from it, I’ve rung in the coveted 21, I’ve had my wedding day, and I’ve brought lives into the world. Now, my calendar consists of doctor and dentist appointments, gymnastics, story towers, and play dates.

This is not the life I was going to be living at 26; I was going to be young, wild, and free. I was going to move to Florida, travel the world, go skydiving, compete in a triathlon, celebrate my birthdays in Vegas– my life was going to be an adventure.

I’m supposed to be backpacking through Europe right now, am I really already having mid-life crisis?

But then, maybe I am on an adventure. I find myself a new daily challenge involving parenting, marriage, yoga poses, and how to eat healthier, to name a few. I am fulfilled by what exists in my life for it is real and true. My children are the lights of my life, and my husband, God bless him, adores me and treats me like a queen. I have a loving family and loving friends.

Could I really ask for more?

Am I worried I am not living the life I thought I would be living? Or am I terrified that this wonderful season of my life is going to end too soon? I find myself loving each new day more than I ever thought possible and I worry I soon will have nothing left to look forward to.

Perhaps identifying the problem is a big part of the solution.

So here I sit, about to turn another year older, hopefully another year wiser, and I am making these simple vows:

  1. I vow to look forward to something each day.
  2. I vow to focus on how truly blessed I have been, not on my fear of it being taken away.
  3. I vow to enjoy it while it lasts.
  4. I vow to love myself, down to every last scar, ache, and flaw.
  5. I vow to regret nothing, and not to focus on alternate universes.

The remainder of my 20s will be spent cherishing and nurturing those I love. My youth is theirs and I should me so lucky to be able to shout it from the mountain tops!

“Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, for you shall only live it once. Be comfortable with growing older.”                                                                                  -Louise Hay

Let Her Go

My sweet, innocent, perfect, vulnerable oldest child– you don’t deserve the terrible things that are going to happen to you. Am I being selfish when I say I want to protect you forever? That I am so in love with who you are right now that I don’t want to let you go get poisoned by this crazy world? That I am not ready to let you spread your wings and fly without mommy by your side to catch you when you fall?

Yet, here we are, kindergarten is knocking on our door and we have to answer with either a yes or a no.

They say the cutoff for Kindergarten is age five by September, but everyone we know whose child turns five after May sends them to another year of preschool. With an April birthday I know you will be one of the youngest in your class, and will barely be 18 when you graduate high school and go off on your own (deep breath).

I have been battling myself for years now: will we send you? will we hold you? We’ve spent countless hours in prayer, asking God for guidance. We’ve sorted through endless articles, studies, and asked both new and veteran parents, yet, the question still lingers. Even though it’s not about giving you an academic or athletic edge so that you can get a scholarship or graduate at the top of your class, there is a negative connotation associated with parents holding their kids now; it’s actually called “red shirting”. Are you kidding me? There is seriously a stigma associated with holding our children if parents aren’t comfortable with sending their child to school quite yet? What if we’re not ready to turn the page, to leave the beautiful chapter we are currently on far behind in the dust, and start a new? Because once we start it, I know we can’t go back, and that is SO difficult to accept.

I have spent so much time feeling angry, afraid, frustrated, and helpless…

June, if you hold your child it is completely acceptable. May, eh, it could have gone either way. But April, less than 30 days difference, 4 weeks difference, and the child should start school– especially a girl, because they are a spring birthday, they mature faster, they ARE ready, why would you hold them? By sending them, you make them a full year younger than many of their peers, but if you hold them, they are one of the oldest. Conversely, there is evidence that shows by being the youngest in your class you have to work harder. Since success doesn’t come too easily early on, the younger children have greater success later in life because they were taught hard work at a younger age.

I have spent so much time flip-flopping my perspectives, changing my tune, and just being so confused…

You are so ready right now, you are smart, you are social, you are the perfect fit for a kindergartner, but I’m not so worried about the now. I worry about you as an adolescent, as you grow into a woman and the pressures you will endure and hopefully overcome. As I talk to veteran parents, there seems to be a consistent “grass is greener” mentality among them. Those who sent their children wish they would have held them to give them an extra year to mature. Those who held their children wish they would have sent them because they were forced to treat a hard headed 18-year old senior like the child he did not see himself as.

Despite all this, here I sit, school registration in hand, and we are going for it, we are sending you. After every article, study, and blog post I have sieved through it comes down to one thing that none of them even mentioned.

We have a relationship with you, and we trust you.

You are an amazing kid with a really good head on your shoulders. You are strong, confident, and you know who you are and who you want to be.

Instead of operating in fear we have chosen to let you go. We want to protect you, but not isolate you. We are going to let you go be a light for someone who needs it and hope that you can be influential, not influenced.

Like so many things, if we sit back and wait for the perfect time, when the stars align, and we have zero doubts, it will never come. We are ready to put all the faith in the world in you, and in God’s plan for you. We are ready to completely trust you to go out on your own and take your first real step on your own.

We love you baby girl.

 

Simplify

I see it first thing in the morning, through tired eyes as I splash cool water on my face. It’s the last thing I look at before I go to lay in bed. It’s in the perfect spot and is the perfect reminder. It also happens to be a memento; when my aunt passed away of cancer a few years ago, it is the one thing of hers that I got. It’s perfect in that way too, that it was hers, and if there was one thing her battle with cancer taught her, I think it was that the simple things are the only things we really need.

8 letters, one word: SIMPLIFY. Arguably, one of the simplest words, the simplest concepts; so why are we living such complicated lives?

Stuff… the more we have the more distracted we become and the more complicated life becomes. We focus on it rather than our loved ones, our faith, rather than improving our lives or doing something healthy for ourselves. What’s worse, is that because we are so distracted by it, we rarely even realize it’s going on unless we are forced into a wake-up call. Keeping up with the latest trends and technologies, having a new car, a beautiful home and nice stuff inside– it’s really all just stuff, just a distraction of clutter robbing us from the ability to fully live our lives.

I have kept the family thread on my phone from 2013. She used to write us “Happy Friday” messages every week reminding us of the realizations she had come to over the course of her last years on earth.  I refer back to those messages periodically and I get something new out of her words almost every time I read them. It was so important to her that she pass on her profound wisdom: let go of our wants and fears; focus on the great blessings we already have; do not take a single moment for granted; life is so beautiful.

However, so often I wonder, did it take a terminal diagnosis for her to fully realize how simple life should be? How good life really was? That in the grand scheme, as she looked back on life, she knew with all of her heart that her loved ones and cherishing made memories were all that truly mattered? Perhaps the diagnosis simply encouraged her to share her personal revelations, to leave her legacy– one that can save some of us from ourselves.

 

How many times have I obsessed over things, impressing those around me, and lavish living?

Too many to count.

 

How many times have I dreamed of winning a shopping spree, or a million dollars, and been consumed by the excitement that accompanied it?

Again, too many to count.

 

But then, it’s safe to say none of us have made good decisions since day one, and that sometimes it takes darkness for us to find light. I was always so focused on me and trying to make myself happy with all the wrong things that I missed what true fulfillment was. My darkest days were spent either A) at some shallow party drowning my sorrows in booze, or B) alone in bed with a laptop filling cart after cart with meaningless comfort buys, drowning my sorrows in retail therapy. 

As one would guess, neither of these choices fulfilled me.

There came a point when I knew I could not allow a dramatic wake-up call to be the only hope I had for change in my life.

There was no exact day when everything changed, but slowly, everything just began to. I began to learn live within my means. I began learning self-restraint, how fulfilling sharing my time and talents is, and how to let go of self indulgence and greed. But simplifying is a journey, not a destination.

We have kept old, ugly vehicles that we owe nothing on. We live in a home that could use new kitchen appliances, carpet, paint, and a new fence. I quit working a good job a year and half ago and we have less money because of it. Yet, these decisions have allowed us to live a happier, simpler life. By looking for joy in the things that surround us, we are able to realize there is no need to go looking for more.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

Let us not get so caught up in worldly pleasures and possessions that we cannot see straight. Our lives are already so full, we just have to open our eyes and see that it is already there; we have wants, but there is nothing else we need.

Let us simplify our things, simplify our thoughts, our agendas, and our to-do lists. We need to spend more time loving, living, creating memories, and doing what truly makes us happy. It’s really all so simple.

The Truth Will Set You Free

They say “see something? say something.” But what good does it do? It’s your word against theirs. Society teaches us that if we see an injustice to report it in attempts to do the right thing and justice will be served. But how often does it turn out that way? Answer: Hardly ever. Without proof, unless the perpetrator admits to the wrong-doing, it goes nowhere.

Innocent until proven guilty is the new golden rule. To be falsely accused is an open door to play the sympathy card, and it seems everyone longs for the attention that goes hand-in-hand with self-proclaimed oppression. So it is all too easy for the offender to cry victim and manipulate the situation.

By nature, we are liars, it is easier to lie about our behavior, justify it, or brush it off as a misunderstanding than to own our wrongful actions, apologize, and try to find a way to grow from the wrong we’ve done. Oftentimes, we are so proud and self righteous that we would rather damage our well-being than admit fault.

I was just that. For so long I would have rather lied about the color of my own shirt when it was plain as day to everyone the true color then tell the truth. If I thought covering up the truth would make me look better, I would lie. If I thought twisting the truth would avoid confrontation, I would lie. As difficult as it was, it took finally choosing the truth to understand that it could liberate me, and set me free.

Recently, I was volunteering at a faith-based daycare and witnessed another volunteer get extremely frustrated with one of the children. During a disruptive fit, she forcefully grabbed him and called him an a$$ hole, then hauled the 3-year-old out of the room for the remainder of the morning.

After a few days of processing I thought it would be best to let one of the leaders know what had happened that day. The leaders of this organization discussed it and decided to confront the volunteer about her behavior. Lo, there is no evidence to back hearsay, so when confronted, this volunteer dismissed it as a misunderstanding, that I heard her wrong. And that was the end, no justice for anyone. With a shoulder shrug accompanied by “there is nothing more we can do” everyone walks away wondering what the truth actually is. What is the point in speaking truth when it comes back to bite us?

I think the point is we try. We try to be a light in this dark world, to stand up for what is right even though society teaches to mind our own business and avoid confrontation. The point is that we confronted a situation that we could have easily turned away from. The point is that maybe, just maybe, by choosing to act boldly, we can change the way others choose to act in future difficult situations by witnessing our testimony.

It would be so easy to deem it justified: “I was volunteering my time and trying to do the right thing”, “he was being so naughty”, “it won’t ever happen again”, I could go on. But the problem with justifying and dismissing our wrong actions is that it becomes easier to do it again. She was not forced to own her actions and was not able to grow from her mistake. Instead, she chose a lie and faced no ramifications for her actions, which no matter how big or small the lie, is really dangerous… for herself, and for society.

The urge to lie in attempts to protect ourselves from what we know are the deserved consequences for our actions far outweighs the urge to be set free by the truth. Deceiving ourselves by our own lies about who we are and the things we have done puts us on the road to failure and sorrow. If we do it enough, we can even convince ourselves to believe in a new truth, one that we fabricated.

We all must try to be the change we wish to see for this world. To fully process and grieve our errors is the only way we can improve from them. To feel true conviction for our wrong-doing is the only way we can begin to grow. We must not lie about the things we have done, neither to ourselves nor to others. There will never be an improvement on the way these things play out if it doesn’t start somewhere, with someone. Owning our mistakes will set us free, clear our consciences, and allow us to walk away with our character built up, one step closer to who we really want to be.

 

An Open Letter to Those I Hurt Along the Way

Hey, it’s me,

I want you to know I am proud of who I am today, of who I have become in recent years… but I know you know I couldn’t always say that. I can say now with confidence that I am fully the person that you saw, held onto, and did not want to give up on all those years ago. I understand now that you had to do what you did, for both of us, and that it was out of the love you still had for me that you did.

Sometimes I wish for one more conversation, just to tell you how terribly sorry I am for what happened between us. I wish I could tell you I realize I am to blame, that I realize how badly I let you down with the things I said and should have said, with the things I did and should have done. To say I do not know what I was thinking is not an excuse, it’s the honest truth. The details have faded now, but I know you did not deserve any of it, we were so young and naive, I thought I knew what was best for me and you ultimately paid the price.

Losing you in my life forced me to take a deeper look at myself and who I was becoming. So lastly, I want to say thank you. Thank you for showing me kindness, honesty, friendship, love, and that sometimes the important lessons learned in life are the most difficult. You taught me that letting someone go is sometimes the only way for them to learn to fly.

If I saw you on the street, I do not know how either of us would react… would we share a passing reminiscent smile? would we look away? would we strike up an awkward catch-up conversation? I know it does not matter, you are world away and that was a lifetime ago.

Know that I think of you often and credit some of the triumphs in my life’s journey to you. But most importantly, know that I sincerely wish for the best in life for you, you deserve all the happiness in the world.

 

Nothing is the same…

Today, everything has changed. We know we have changed since grade school, since our first job, or maybe our first significant other. But today, I am different than I was yesterday, and am different than I will be tomorrow. We have good days, we have bad days, and nothing is promised. We have days with significant personal growth, we have days we struggle to simply keep our heads above water, and we have days that drown us.

Everything contends with who I have become for today. Getting here was by choice; a long line of choices made based on other choices, some good and some bad. I heard it often from my mom and it seems to be truer and truer as I journey through life: “whether things are really good, or really bad, they will change”. Some things in this life are out of our control, but the things we can control, we need to strive to do everything we possibly can to leave a positive impression, leave it better than we found it, and walk away from it a better person.