“Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.”

I read this the other day and it has stuck with me. It’s been really hard for me lately to make sure that my smile isn’t affected by the world, more specifically, the people who I’ve recently been surrounded by. This past week I’ve been at a conference with my boyfriend for his job and the people who are here with us are just not my cup of tea. I don’t really have anything in common with them. Their conversations consist of cussing, disrespecting people, and behaving immorally.

Luckily, as someone who works from home, I can bring my work with me anywhere and have had the great excuse of having to work during the days to keep me occupied while they’re doing the stuff for the conference and attending classes. That means I only have to interact with these people for a few hours at night. It’s hard being surrounded by the negativity. I get that everyone goes through stuff and that can affect behaviors. I know. I’ve been through my fair share of stuff. I choose to let it make life better and not focus on the bad, the negative.

I guess I think about it like this… it’s that whole saying, “you become like the 5 people you interact most with”. It just has a way of getting to you and eventually taking over. Compare it to weeds. Once one pops up, soon they suck the life out of all the plants and take over. That’s how I feel about these people. They’re weeds sucking the positivity and balanced life out of me. I’ve always been considered a very upbeat person, despite the load of crap that life has thrown at me – between the death of my mom and the death of my twin sister. I’m always smiling and laughing. There’s no point to life if you’re not making the most out of it.

I choose to be positive and surround myself with people who are like that. My boyfriend, just this morning, started playing with my cheeks saying “Don’t they need a massage? You’re always smiling, and, you know, those are muscles too, they need a break” and continued “massaging” my cheeks, which just made me laugh more. I don’t want the world to change my smile, and this week, that has been a huge challenge. I’m glad that I’m here with my boyfriend because at least there is one other person who rejects the negativity and tries to ignore the lack of values these people we’re currently surrounded by choose to live by.

There are just two more nights, one more day, and a plane ride between the struggle to remain strong and being home and washing my hands of the ‘dirty’ that I feel whenever I’m around them. Just smile!

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Misery or Strength

I was recently talking to a friend about two types of people in this world: a person who turns to a miserable existence after tragedy strikes and chooses to live in hate and anger and a person who wishes to see the best in life and chooses to live in peace and acceptance even after tragedy strikes. He was speaking to how amazed he is with how I am always smiling and laughing, despite the hurt and loss that I have faced. I told him that what has happened in this life for me and my family, what we have faced over the last 16 years, could break me, or make me stronger. I chose to be made strong. I want to love life and be thankful.

I want to see the beauty that surrounds me. I want to love others and build relationships with those who enter my life. I think that without a faith in God, believing that life has a greater purpose than just an earthly one, is what truly gives me strength to get through the day and trust again – to open up and let others in. I think I would struggle, holding on to anger and building walls, instead of tearing them down, if I didn’t believe that everything – the good and the bad – all happens for some reason, and if there is evil causing the bad, God will find some way to make it have purpose.

My sister still holds on to her anger – when we were kids she was always bitter and there was always something attacking her from the inside and I think she has never let go of the anger of losing our mom – now she holds the anger from 16 years ago and lets it fester with the hurt she feels from losing our sister 2 and a half years ago. There are so many times I wish I could help her tear down the walls to let people in and so she could heal – to see the good and not just the bad in everything.

We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. Choose to be strong and you’ll see that you can be happy.

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God Must Have a Plan, Right?

God must have a plan, right? That’s what you tell yourself when things go wrong. My mom passed away when I was 7 while in a coma and my twin sister passed away when I was 20, also in a coma after a horrific accident – these stories I have told, and they aren’t the point of this particular post, so I won’t go into them here.

My point, those deaths happened for a reason, right? God has a plan for that, right?

My cousin is currently in critical condition in the ICU after being in an accident this afternoon, not even 2 years after my sister’s death. That happened for a reason, right?

The one horrible thing about tragedy – despite the tragedy itself – is that no matter how many times you tell yourself that everything happens for a reason and that some good will come from it, you’ll never really know why it happened and you’ll never truly understand what it means and what God’s plan is. Tragedy is tragedy and it leaves you with more questions than answers. Questions not only surrounding the reasons, but questions about why these horrible things happen to you, when other people in your life have never faced troubles remotely like those you have already faced several times over.

So then comes the argument so many will tell you: you have the strength to handle the pain you’ve been faced with. You’re told the pain will help you grow even stronger and will provide you with grace and a new outlook on life. Honestly, that’s just a load of crap. Feeling strong when facing tragedy is a wall to protect those around you, so those sympathetic looks and “I feel so sorry for you” glances stop.

Losing my mom and sister are the two most painful and horrible things I have ever gone through, and I still feel that weakness every day. Simply driving down the road and the slightest thought about either one of them can cause me to burst into tears and feel alone and lost. I don’t feel stronger because I lost them. I feel more vulnerable now than I ever did before.

What’s the point in that? What is God’s plan in the tragedy, the many tragedies, my family has faced in the last few years? Why my family and not others?

I have faith and I pray. I believe in a fair and loving God. I believe in love. I have faith that God is good and forgiving. I have faith, and that’s what helps me get through the day. I have faith, and that is how I learned to accept the things that are, even if I don’t always understand it.



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Music is Life

I’ve recently decided to finally put into action my goal to learn guitar. I’ve been wanting to do this since a sleepover in middle school, where my friend had an acoustic guitar sitting in her room. For me, music has always been a way to express myself. Words have never come easily to me, so when trying to express my feelings and emotions, I turn to lyrics and music. Music, to me, is life. I could sit in an empty room by myself, with good music playing and be perfectly content. When I hear good music, life stands still and everything around me falls away. I melt into the music and all else disappears. It’s me and the music. That is a little piece of heaven for me.

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Be Fearless

It was totally random and it caught me completely by surprise. The thought just came out of nowhere. I think it was surprising because I was driving through an old part of my life, a place I spent a lot of time driving and visiting friends in high school. It was all good memories. I was driving through because someone called saying they thought they found my cat, who has now been missing since before Christmas. It wasn’t my cat. But, as I was driving through Wekiva it all hit me. The sounds and the smells and the feelings from that hospital room not even 2 years ago came crashing in around me. I suddenly became overwhelmed with this burning pain of missing Becca. I guess that’s the thing about losing your best friend, your only friend and twin, the grief and the sadness of that person no longer being physically with you can come back to your foremost thoughts with the blink of an eye. You can’t block it out and you can’t stop the tears or the unmistakable sting in your heart. You shouldn’t. I mean those feelings are healthy. But that doesn’t make it any easier or make me want to keep it in. Who wants to be that person that can be having a wonderful time out with friends and suddenly just have to leave because those feelings come rushing in and you don’t want everyone to know or to give you that look, that same look from a year and 7 months ago when people first found out your sister was in the hospital dying. It doesn’t change. That fear of being in that hospital room sticks with you. You’ll never forget it. I think what I wanted to say, my reason in writing a post about this sudden burst of the past coming to the present, is that I want to be fearless and not shy away when those memories come flooding back in. The memories of her lying in the bed. The memories of the sounds and smells. I don’t want those memories to scare me, I want them to make me strong and faithful and happy because I can still do. Be fearless. 

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A Day to Me

So I came home this past week for Thanksgiving and for all but a day and a half I was here alone pet sitting while my family was out of town for work. Needless to say, I had a lot of free time between getting projects for school done and playing with all the animals (3 cats and a dog). I decided on Saturday that I was going to explore town and find somewhere to go take pictures. There were a lot of possibilities, I mean it was a nice day and there’s a lot of places nearby to go, but I ended up at a park I went to when I was in high school. It definitely brought back a lot of memories. It was a day to myself and it was peaceful. There was no one else around the entire time I was there. Although it was a unique holiday without a bunch of family around, I still enjoyed myself because I was able to just do me and that’s rare – to only have yourself to worry about for a few days, to only do what you want and not think you aren’t taking into account other people’s idea of a good day spent. I hope everyone was able to have some time for themselves. This is an important thing to have every so often; to regroup and gain control of your own being. If you haven’t had that time lately, take a few steps back and do it. You’ll only regret not doing it.

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We Are Human. Decide.

I brought this up in my last post, that we are human. That we get to decide how we are going to live. I thought that I would expand a little more on this thought. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit lately. A lot of what we do in life is make decisions – one decision may seem insignificant but it could really be the difference between true happiness and what could be a total disaster. So decide how you are going to live. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Your best, most real self? Can you be stronger? Can you be kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in and just decide.  Make it great for those who can’t be around to make theirs great. They’d want to see you making the most of life; you owe it to them to do that much. Instead of waiting around and waiting for life to happen to you, make it happen. Instead of wishing and dreaming for what you want, go get it. Life won’t happen to you. You happen to life and it’s up to you how your life will be.

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Let Life In

Pride gets in the way of a lot of good in this life. Have you ever passed on an opportunity, missed out on an important moment, lost something you cared about, because your pride got in the way? Is it still getting in the way? The rest of your life is a long time. Whether you realize this or not, let me tell you, your life is being shaped right now. You can choose to blame your circumstances on fate, or bad luck, or bad choices – that’s just your pride talking – or  you can choose to fight back. Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any better. Wouldn’t it be better to let it go? We are human and we get to decide how we are going to live. We get to decide who is going to be in our life and how our life is going to turn out. Let your pride go. Let life in.

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If you stand for nothing

if you stand for nothing


This is so powerful. Having no stance, no values, no reason for being makes a person vulnerable and weak. I think that in this day in age when information is so readily available, not having a purpose or not being able to express where you stand on different issues, is simply unacceptable. If you don’t know, learn. If you don’t understand, ask. If you stand for nothing, you fall for anything. Be strong. Be proud.

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The Little Man

“You don’t have to disrespect or insult others simply to hold your own ground. If you do, that shows how shaky your own position is.” I read this quote today by Red Haircrow and it really sat with me.

There are some people who will tear others down to prove a point or to feel superior – that they are the alpha – the big dog – the one who has all the power. In my eyes, it’s a sign of weakness. I think that when someone feels the need to belittle someone else or someone’s position on an issue – whatever it may be – there is more going on than the words being spoken. Circumstances don’t give you a “freebee” or make it acceptable to treat others in a demeaning manner. When there is bad in your life, don’t project that on to those around you, instead, make it an opportunity to treat the world better than it is treating you. A true sign of strength and grace is doing just that.

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