Paw Prints on My Heart

I’ve never known romantic love. I’ve never felt that deep connection or pull propelling me towards a man.. yet. I’m not a mom and have never experienced what it might be like to mother a child.. yet. One feeling I do know, quite fondly for that matter, is the love between a dog and it’s owner. Since days before turning 14-years-old, I’ve been able to proudly identify myself as a dog owner, or “dog Mom,” more appropriately. I’ve known what it is like to care for another being so profoundly. To be sitting at school or work, wondering what he’s doing, thinking or feeling and if it’s he’s okay. I’ve known what it is like to worry for countless hours as he was rushed into emergency exploratory surgery after a grave, life-threatening surgical error on part of a veterinarian. I’ve known what it is like for my entire family to gather together during this moments as we anxious and nervously awaited word from the veterinarians regarding his status.

Oliver in his shirt.png                       Oliver smiling 2

Throughout my entire adolescence and adult life, Oliver, my 15-year-old Bichon Frise has taught me more than most people probably could. He’s taught and shown me the meaning of resilience and strength, even when he’s in pain. He’s stayed by me because he knew I needed him and still do. He’s been my one constant in my life – my only consistent co-worker, sitting beside me through the pain, the happiness, the turmoil, the challenging moments, only separated for brief periods of time throughout the course of his life.

Paw Prints

He fills the house with energy and light, even when he’s fast asleep in his bed, I can still feel his presence, clearly coloring my life and being my constant companion. When I reflect on his life and all the moments we’ve shared together, I only smile, as I remember him as a puppy, laying on the grass with me as a young teen, as we helped put together a swinging outdoor chair in our former house. He’s been through more than many dogs probably have their lifetime and yet, he epitomizes strength and courage. He looks to me with his eyes filled with emotion, almost telling me he is holding on, still filled with much life inside of him. How I hope he knows each and everyday, I’ll always fight for him, always stand up for him, because he’s always done so for me, looking to me for guidance and direction. Him and I have never given up on each other, holding on through love and courage.

Animal Eyes

I’ve come to know through Oliver that often times, the best cure and treatment for most anything is love and companionship – two remedies that are never too costly for anyone, because they are priceless. The greatest gift I’ve ever been given is Oliver, it is because of him, I know I’m capable of loving another.

Dogs Feel

 

Believing in Better Tomorrows

Wherever you might be today, I hope your day is going well and if it’s not, I hope you see the hope and promise of tomorrow, as I try to do on particularly challenging days. As you might know if you’ve read my blog previously, I’m constantly searching for inspiration, even in the most unlikely places. Though, most often, I tend to find inspiring quotes and food for thought on mediums such as Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and in magazines/books. Relatively often, I noticed fellow “friends” on Facebook and Twitter posting or sharing the quotes and thoughts of SimpleReminders.com. Perhaps you’re already familiar with them and are aware of their consistent posts throughout each day, but if you’re not, they are one site I’ve taken quite a liking to. About two days ago, I took the time to scroll through their Twitter feed, easily becoming enthralled with all they shared.

With that being said, I felt compelled to share it with others, such as fellow readers who might not have seen their posts, and it is my hope that someone might feel as inspired as me after reading some of them (NOTE: Not all are from SimpleReminders.com, but many are):

“The cost of not following your heart, is spending the rest of your life wishing you had.”

“Life is a mural that you create. Every action you take is another brush stroke. Make yours beautiful.”

“True friends are those rare people who come to find you in dark places and lead you back into the light.”

“Be the girl/guy who decided to go for it.”

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

“Flowers grow back, even after they are stepped on. So will I. Resilience.”

“Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

“Use your eyes to see the needs, and use your talents to meet them.”

“Love is not what you say. Love is what you do.”

Garden Quote

 

Quotable Lessons

What a whirlwind it’s been these past couple weeks! With my 29th birthday arriving earlier this month (on the 3rd), it caused me to reflect quite a bit on my life and in particular, the past decade. To say it’s been tumultuous would be an understatement. Much of it was difficult, painful and at times, excruciating to endure. Other parts of it were dramatic, but positive, in some respects. With that being said, I ushered in the last year of my 20’s feeling loved and cared for. In the evening, my family and I gathered together and shared a couple hours exchanging laughs and enjoying each others’ companies. So often, I find myself in moments drifting away, worrying and fretting about the next day, hour, moment, and beyond. Though, this time, I centered my focus on that present moment, knowing that if I didn’t, I would regret it hours later. Consciously I knew, hours later, I would lay in my bed, reflecting upon the day wishing I had simply enjoyed the moment, relishing in the time with my family. Looking back, that evening was a defining moment in my 20’s, as I felt more loved and appreciated than I could have envisioned.

Flowers Blooming 2              Flowers Blooming

Pictured: Flowers spotted while on a walk the day of my birthday.

To that end, I found myself looking for even more quotes than usual, as I embarked on my 29th year. So often, I stumble upon the most intriguing and expressive thoughts through Twitter, of all places. With that being said, I thought I’d share a few of these quotes or statements, because perhaps they might impact someone who may be reading this:

“Life is the most difficult exam. Many people fail because they try to copy others, not realizing that everyone has a different question paper.”

“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.”

“Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.”

“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone – profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.”

“Spend your life with who makes you happy, not who you have to impress.”

“If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.”

“Love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.”

“In this life, we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

“Work hard in silence; let success make the noise.”

“Every scar has a story, don’t be afraid to tell it.”

“Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world.”

“Those extra 5-10 pounds, that place where your body naturally wants to be – that’s your life. That’s your late night pizza with your loved ones, that Sunday morning bottomless brunch, your favorite cupcake in the whole entire world because you wanted to treat yourself. Those 5-10 pounds are your favorite memories, your unforgettable trips, your celebrations of life. Those extra 5-10 pounds are your spontaneity, your freedom, your life.”

Notable Reflections

Perhaps it is because it’s what I’ve been subconsciously searching for, or maybe it is simply a coincidence, but recently I’ve noticed numerous articles, quotes and pieces of advice centered around the concept of fear. Fear is something I’ve battled throughout my life on many occasions and it is only when I make a choice to act in spite of it, I feel a surge of confidence and comfort. Shying away because of the fear we harbor within us is one of the easiest ways to feel overwhelmed and ultimately, trapped. Acting and making choices in spite of fear is not an easy feat by any means, or at least to me it isn’t, but when I summon bravery and courage, most of the time, I end up feeling at piece with my decision.

Courage quote 2

Sometimes, the occasions when I’ve experienced fear were simpler and less significant than others. For instance, when I was about 17, my sister and I traveled to Disney World for a quick spring break vacation. I was excited and eager to ride an upside-down roller coaster for the first time. Though I’d been to countless amusement parks in the past with numerous opportunities to ride upside-down roller coasters with friends, I’d always opted out and chose to wait on the sidelines as my friends squealed with excitement over the largest, complex roller coasters around. In some instances, I was frustrated with myself and my fear of riding the roller coaster, or rather, by my decision to not experience it at least once. My fear and worry continued to get in the way, leaving me curious to what it might feel like to be upside down. On that particular trip to Disney World, I made the decision to ride the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, one of Disney World’s only upside-down roller coasters, in spite of the fear I still harbored within me. When the moment of truth arrived, I stood at the foot of the coaster, with the ride employees urging me, “You need to make a decision now.” My fear was piquing at that moment, but when a ride employee volunteered to ride along with me and talk me through the ride, I took a chance. Some of the ride is blurry to me now, since it has been 10 years since that moment, but what stands out to me, is my courage and ability to ride that coaster in spite of the fear still pulsating through me. Though it might sound so simple to some, for me, it was a feat proving I could still make choices and take action in spite of fear. Fear does not have to completely dissolve within us in order to make a choice or take action.

Courage 3

In hindsight, what I’m attempting to say is that I’ve missed out on many opportunities, chances, friendships and relationships because of fear. As I grow older and I reflect on these instances within my life that stand out to me, I realize how fear is something we can control. Sometimes, it feels as though fear may control us, but we are the ones creating that fear and are in the driver seat of that fear; we determine the direction the fear charges towards. Perhaps my perspective is flawed, but it is what I feel most resonates with me and my particular experiences.

Life Quote

That being said, here are some quotes I recently stumbled across that I hope will bring you some perspective and comfort this rainy Tuesday (if it is rainy where you are today; here in Pennsylvania, it is a rainy, chilly day!):

“I could conquer the world with just one hand… as long as you were holding the other.”

“Sometimes we don’t notice the things others do for us until they stop doing them.”

“If you live in fear of the future because of what happened in your past, you’ll end up losing what you have in the present.”

“Fear is not your enemy, it is a compass pointing you to the areas where you need to grow.”

 

 

 

Perspective by the Quote

Good Morning! I hope your weekend has been a pleasant and relaxing one, thus far. A couple of days ago, I had every intention of posting this very post, but unfortunately, several unfortunate occurrences seemed to interfere.

Never Quit

Between the issues related to the wireless network/router and my laptop, to the minor settings issue with my iPhone, it was frustrating and difficult to feel as though it wasn’t my fault, or beyond my control. When I found myself becoming stressed and overwhelmed, I turned to what I most often do – quotes. For those who know me well, or have been reading my blog for even a brief time, quotes are something I highly value and feel it helps me keep situations and life, in general, in perspective. Needless to say, I managed to stumble across several quotes this past week (most were tweeted by one of my favorite TODAY Show anchors, Hoda Kotb) which I found to be inspiring, motivating and comforting. The last quote I found (which you’ll see pictured, below) is from a necklace I happened to spot while browsing at Kohl’s with my sister and niece. Initially, I spotted it a couple weeks ago and then several days ago, we visited Kohl’s again and since the quote had been on my mind since first seeing it, but I couldn’t recall the specifics of it, I was able to locate it and snap a quick photo to share.

Quotes of the Week:

  • “And suddenly you know… It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
  • “People grow when they are loved well. If you want to help others heal, love them without an agenda.”
  • “With the right music, you either forget everything or you remember everything.”
  • “You’re the wish my heart made.”

Disney Necklace

 

 

 

 

Bouncing Back: A Tale of Resilience

Happy National Iced Tea Day and good morning! I hope your week has been a pleasant one, thus far. Today’s post was slated to be vastly different than this actual one, but somehow, I managed to completely delete the post which was literally minutes from completion. Needless to say, I was devastated, overwhelmed and felt like giving up. I was instantly returned many years prior to a day when I was pressed for time and crafting an essay for school. The entire essay was nearly completed and thoroughly researched, when suddenly, it was gone. When I say it was gone, I truly mean it. I tried everything to retrieve it, asked for help, but nothing I did could bring it back.

Courage quote

My first instinct after it happened, was to run my room and hurl myself onto my bed, sobbing for what it felt like hours. I remember back then, my mom walked into my room and told me I had two choices: I could choose to continue sobbing and feeling sorry for myself, or I could get back onto the computer, start crafting a new, even BETTER essay and save my words as I go along. Everything happens for a reason and maybe the first draft of my essay wasn’t all that great, similar to with the blog post I was nearly finished writing. Sure, it introduced some new products I was excited about, but more so than that, it taught me a lesson; a lesson that I need to get back up and write something else. What have I learned today? I’ve learned to save my drafts as I go along and maybe even write my blog posts in Microsoft Word and then transfer it to my blog and add photos and other little touches. So, I’ll think of this occurrence as a teachable moment, in a sense, one I can learn from and share with others. Like years ago, I could choose to feel sorry for myself, moan and whine about the deleted post, or take a deep breath and write something else. Maybe other people can relate to this or maybe not, but I figured I should share it.

Resilience Quote

Yesterday, while watching Kathie Lee & Hoda on NBC in the morning, they mentioned that people who voice their thoughts (even the whiny, negative, complaints) are often happier in life and feel more connected to others. I’d never really thought of it in this way, as I often will publicize my complaints, whines, worries and happiness with my mom and sister, but not many others, anymore. So this is me, today, being brave and bold, sharing my complaint and upset, about my deleted post and also sharing a bit of lighthearted happiness on a day that has me feeling a bit under the weather: free Iced Tea! It’s an easy way to cheer me up when I’ve been battling a cold and a quick pick-me-up from this unfortunate snafu with my deleted post.

So, if you’re craving some free refreshment today, like me, here are some quick tips for you:

National Iced Tea Day Freebies:

Iced Tea

  • *FREE* bottle of Snapple Iced Tea: visit http://sipyoursummer.com/ as quickly as you can to print a coupon! Prints are typically limited and the value is $1.25, so it should make for a free bottle! Keep in mind, the coupon is valid ONLY TODAY (June 10)! Yum! Happy Sipping!
  • *FREE* 16oz cup of Teavana’s new Pineapple Berry Blue Iced Tea at participating Teavana stores, nationwide! To find out where your nearest Teavana Retail location is, visit (teavana.com/retail)
  • *FREE* coupon for a bottle of Inko’s Iced Tea: simply visit https://www.inkostea.com/contact-us and enter your full mailing address and voila, your coupon will be on its way!

A Beautiful Mind, Mourned

This particular morning began as it typically did, my morning routine carried out in a methodical fashion. After reading the newspaper, I made my way over to my laptop and mindlessly clicked over to Twitter, to catch up on the latest happenings, not expecting to see anything of remote significance, or at least not something that would inspire this very blog post. However, within minutes, my mind and heart was instantly churning, as I became enraptured with emotion and grief. The headline posted by my local ABC News affiliate TV station, 6abc, read, “John Forbes Nash, the mathematician behind the movie, A Beautiful Mind, and his wife, Alicia, tragically killed in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.” My first instinct upon reading this tweet was shock, then it moved to upset, then to grief. There they were, aged 86 and 82, respectively, still residing in Princeton, where Nash worked for years as a renowned professor and weathered through bouts of mental illness, killed in a car accident in an otherwise, temperate Saturday afternoon. Apparently, they were riding in a taxi cab, on the New Jersey turnpike, when they were tragically struck at about 4:30pm.

John Nash

It’s always so bizarre to me when I hear stories like this. After watching the movie, A Beautiful Mind, numerous times throughout the course of my life (both in my childhood and as a college student, for an assignment in my Abnormal Psychology class) and seeing all the Nashes encountered and endured, their lives were not taken by these illnesses or trying situations, but rather a tragic event, occurring in a split second. It’s instances like these that cause me to question most everything. It’s often not the illnesses or diseases we might fear of contracting that can cause a loss of life in minutes, but rather these tragic events that seem to happen at a moment’s notice, without warning. For 86 years, the Princeton community and world, in general, were graced with John Nash’s intelligence and eccentricity. Seeing his life documented on screen taught, influenced and inspired me. Sometimes, in a way, I think it contributed to my majoring in psychology. The first time I ever saw the movie, I was a young teenager of about 14. When I watched it, I was perplexed and unaware of a mental illness called schizophrenia. It was new to me, hearing the name, seeing the symptoms Nash depicted in the movie, and attempting to make sense of what I was seeing. After learning about it, I was intrigued and began to learn more about it on my own time. I began to develop a keen sense of understanding and empathy for those afflicted with schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness. When I chose to switch my major to psychology halfway through my college career, as a 20-year-old, I took an Abnormal Psychology class, where each week, my professor would choose a movie where a mental illness was depicted and we had to compose a review of it, as evidence of our understanding.

A Beautiful Mind

One week, A Beautiful Mind was chosen and though I’d see it in many years prior as a teenager, I felt the need to watch it again, realizing that my entire perspective and understanding of it would be dramatically different as I was now an adult and a psychology student. I was right in my hypothesis, seeing and noticing different aspects of the movie and mental illness as I watched the film as an adult. Perhaps it was that my life experiences I encountered throughout the years shaped and colored my changed perspective and viewpoint. Throughout the film, I watched in awe and was impressed by Nash’s resilience and ability to continue on, no matter his symptoms or fears.

Mental Illness quote

Therefore, it is with a heavy dose of sadness and grief that I write this very post today. In a way, I felt I owed it to John Nash and his wife, Alicia, serving as the impetus behind a lot of my understanding and empathy for mental illness. Sometimes, in a way, I think it helped me in more ways than one. As a senior in college, I completed an internship where I worked with many adults who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia and I looked to them not as someone with a mental illness, but as someone who has the ability and strength for resilience. They were individuals who simply needed a trusted source and person to see them for who they are and not their illness.

John Nash and Wife

Never did I view John Nash as his illness, but rather someone who was an inspirational figure to me, someone who I respected and admired, and who, in spite of it all, rose above the people who might have encouraged him to give up or surrender his career and goals. To me, he and his wife are two people to be celebrated and looked upon with the highest regard.

Grief Quote

Thank you, John Nash, for your words, inspiration and talent; the world was blessed to know you.