the three c’s.

4 Oct

we have a lot of choices.

the collection of words we string together to use for self-expression, the inflection of our voice, the focus of our thoughts, and the depth of each breath. we determine the amount of energy we invest in our goals, the perspectives we take, the direction in which we lead our lives, and the topic of conversations we speak about.  we get to decide the kind of responses we have to other people’s words, behaviors, and life situations. and we choose what we allow to make us angry, how we let it influence our day, and how to let it go.

what i know is that sometimes we forget that in each individual moment we can choose. and without awareness of these choices, it becomes easy to respond out of habit or initial reaction instead of in a way that promotes inner peace, contentment, and happiness.  and so a seemingly isolated incident of frustration can lead to a day of irritability, a week of anger, and a month of gloom. and after collecting these thoughts and holding on to these lingering emotions, you might start to feel like you are out of sync with yourself, discouraged with the way things are going, or overcast with negativity.

i’ve learned that if you want a different outcome you must make a different choice.  this is important because our individual choices result in a collection of events; they directly impact the flow of our day and shape our thoughts, moods, and the relationship we have with our life.  our outward perspectives toward life are the result of our inner experiences and so it’s important to remember that the way we feel isn’t always the truest reality; often times, our experience is impacted by the thoughts in our mind, shaped by the emotions in our heart, and altered by the kinds of days we’ve been having. our days are colored by the thoughts and emotions we choose to entertain in our minds and hearts.

in the last few weeks, i’ve been doing a lot of grumbling.  i complain about too much sleep, too little sleep, too dirty of a house, having too much to do and not enough time.  i’ve been finding fault with strangers at the store, drivers on the road, and in the people i appreciate.  i’ve been argumentative with other people’s perspectives, contributions, opinions, and beliefs, and annoyed with the resulting disagreements and negative emotions that often accompany it.  as a result, i haven’t felt like myself.  i’ve felt anxious, dissatisfied, frustrated, disappointed, annoyed, lonely, or upset.  not only do i not like to do these things, i also don’t like to feel these ways either. so of course, i started to think.   and before long, three c’s came to mind- condemnation, complaints, and criticism – and slowly i started to remember all of the ways in which i have the choice to separate myself from them. and so here i am, drinking hot tea in an adorable coffee shop, deciding to make a different choice.

here’s what i know:

criticism– when your attention is focused on a person’s misgivings, shortcomings, and flaws, you fail to appreciate the light they have to offer, the laughter a person brings, or the happiness they bring to you.  i know that constant attention to all that is wrong leaves us feeling ungrateful, unappreciative, and discontent.  criticism naturally makes us focus on the flaws in a situation and the more we identify our frustrations the more identified we become with them.  and so the more we complain, the more complaints we have.  soon, you might notice that all you can see are errors, flaws, and mistakes in any given situation.  as a result, all that you feel is dissatisfaction, anger, and annoyance. and while there is a time and place for contstructive criticism, it’s not for every place, every stranger, and every moment. i’d rather be an enjoyer of life than a constant critic of it and in this effort, i’m attempting to replace fault seeking and negative judgement with appreciation.  i’ll compliment more. i’ll search for the good.

condemnation– when we condemn another persons’s beliefs, opinions, actions, or life choices, we limit our ability to take on another person’s perspective. we lose empathy, tolerance, and openness.  i believe that condemning others- especially large groups of people- encourages feelings of superiority and further divides us from one another.  and when you condemn another person’s actions it becomes easy to disrepect and disapprove of the individual as a whole. condemnation is about judgement– a belief that your way of seeing and understanding the world is more accurate than another’s– and it’s about shutting doors.  and with a shift in focus, what i know is that i hope to use my life to open doors.  for other people, for opportunities, and for a greater understanding of the diversity and richness that exists among each human being.

complaints–  we complain about the food we eat, the vacations we take and the clothes we wear.   we complain about weather, work, and our morning commute.  about our sleep, the television we watch, and the co-workers, family, friends, or spouses we surround ourselves by.  and what i know is that complaints are hardly ever a positive reaction to the situation we are in.  we have become so used to expressing our dissatisfaction with a circumstance that we have forgotten how to express excitement, gratitude, and appreciation for what is. too often and too easily, complaining has become our natural response and makes it difficult to find beauty and satisfaction with where we are.  and the problem with constant complaint is that it fosters negativity, does not alter the situation, and results in unhappiness. i’ve began to practice recognizing that both people and things are imperfect and i’m trying to find value in learning how to appreciate these shortcomings. i’m choosing not to open conversations with a complaint or go to bed with words of dissatisfaction on my heart.

what i know is that these three words- criticism, condemnation, and complaint- are focused on the self.  they bring unhappiness and leave us cycling in negativity- all of which serve little purpose in our lives. you have the choice. you pick your words and choose your focus.  i challenge you to ask yourself what relationship do you have with the current moment? how do you choose to interact with your life?   what thoughts are you forming?  what words are you speaking? and what emotions do you have lingering in your heart?

what choices are you making?

and what will you do different this time?

a call for compassion.

14 Sep

as a social worker, i consider myself to be a listener of people’s experiences, a collector of stories, and an observer of change.  while i may not be able to fully understand each person’s individual experiences, i’ve been attempting to understand my own.  i’ve spent the last nine months talking to people during outreach on the streets, at homeless camps, panhandling sites, and at community shelters; more importantly, i’ve spent the last nine months trying to listen. i’ve come to learn of individual life experiences and series of events that lead people to life without a home. these lives are often characterized by trauma, substance abuse, mental illness, disability, loss, inadequate social support, and difficult emotions like anger, shame, and hurt. i’ve also come to learn that these individual life experiences are also most often characterized by perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness, and kindness.


in these conversations, i’ve learned that living without a home is often accompanied with judgement and criticism from others.  it comes with name calling, avoidance of eye contact from passerby’s on the street, feelings of invisibility from being overlooked, negative assumptions being made about their worth and character, and often physical destruction of the little property they may have left.  i recently talked to someone who tearfully recalled the items that were thrown at her and the names that were called as she sat on the corner selling magazines.  i have observed wonderful people lose their lives to substances despite a lifetime of efforts of trying to quit. i’ve witnessed good people make terrible decisions as a result of their addiction and i’ve watched people slowly regain their lives after moving off the street and into their own home. i’ve seen a reduction in mental health symptoms, a decrease in use of alcohol or illicit substances, and a flicker of hope after having basic needs like food, shelter, and safety being met. i’ve observed children who spend their summer at day shelters for people experiencing homelessness and the impact it has on their development. and i’ve stood with and watched men silently cry after moving into their own home after decades of homelessness.


i read facebook posts and see pictures of a society who mock fellow community members because of their situation.  i listen to generalizations being made about individuals who are homeless, their work ethic, and worth.  and although i am no expert, i hear conversations demonstrating a lack of education on issues surrounding homelessness including addiction, mental health, recovery, affordable housing, disability, and government assistance.  i have observed how systems make it incredibly difficult for people to rise out of poverty, obtain employment, and gain financial stability. i have an increasing awareness of the laws and efforts put into place to criminalize homelessness and i’m learning about the impact of racism in our justice systems and the outcomes of youth that are marginalized by it.

and throughout all of this,  i have also seen the impact of people working together; of communities uniting to provide resources, support, and encouragement to others experiencing homelessness- to their community members.  as a result, i have witnessed a reduction in chronic and veteran homelessness, an increase in understanding, and a realistic goal of eliminating this social problem. i am learning that widespread change is possible and that we all can be part of the solution. i am learning that as humans, we naturally want to connect with others, and that by learning about other people’s stories, we can begin to understand the complexities of each person’s situation and offer compassion, healing, and support rather than condemnation, discouragement, and marginalization.



i think sometimes we get so busy judging other people’s choices and focusing on our political affiliations that we lose sight of the uniqueness of a person’s experiences. i believe that when we begin to cluster people in large generalizations and negative stereotypes, it becomes easy to write off an entire population of people.  what i know is that our lives, communities, and world are enriched when we bridge the gap between our differences and try to connect with one another.  and i believe that our personal judgements- regardless of the situation- are also opportunities to look inside ourselves to challenge our assumptions, stereotypes, prejudices, values, and lack of information. i’d like to think that if we all just took the time to genuinely listen to another person’s life story, we might recognize the similarities of existence that we all share.



i hope that my life message is one of compassion and love. of understanding and non-judgement, of openness, curiosity, and acceptance.  and while i fail regularly, i know that i will continue to try to be quick to listen and slow to judge.  i hope to respond with patience and to be a light during another person’s darkness.  i hope i continue to grow as a person because of the people who decide to touch my life with theirs.  

i hope to sit with others in their brokenness, confusion, and times of need with grace, sincerity, and presence.  i will continue to challenge myself to deepen my understanding of the diversity of the human experience and the limitations in society’s structures.  what i know is that love begets love and kindness fosters kindness. what i know is that when we choose to love others we allow ourselves to see the good that exists in all of us; and when you see this inherent goodness we can begin to treat people with respect, kindness, and love…. we can help people to become all that they truly are. 






i challenge you to open your heart, your mind, and your ears.

i challenge you to respond with compassion and to act with love. 



because i’m not who i used to be.

15 Jun

a conversation i had with a friend nearly nine years ago came to mind the other night.  we were sitting on the couch the summer after i’d returned from my freshman year of college talking about whether or not we thought we had changed.  i recall myself trying to identify all the ways in which i hadn’t; all the ways in which i’d stayed the same.  i, perhaps defensively, assured myself and my friends that i was the exact person i was as when i left.

it’s silly to think of it now, but of course i had changed.  i had spent time with new people, lived in a shared room with someone i didn’t know, and gained a small sense of a larger worldwide perspective. i had tried new foods, used public transportation, and failed my first exam. i had traveled to two new states and observed more diversity than my hometown had to offer at that time. i knew it then and i know it now, i had changed.

interestingly,  i recently felt a similar tinge of pain after hearing someone say, ‘you’ve changed,’ and, ‘i remember when you used to be more sensitive.’ i’ve spent some time thinking about where that small knot that formed in my stomach came from as well as that tiny sting of guilt.  somewhere along the way, i learned to equate change with badness; with the idea that if i was different from who i am now, i would somehow be less than i used to be.  perhaps these associations come in knowing that discomfort, uncertainty, and challenges often accompany change or that it can often be difficult and unwanted.  but the truth is, i am less sensitive and my feelings do get hurt less often; not because my heart has hardened, but because my sense of self has strengthened.  i’ve gained confidence and an understanding that people’s actions and words are more often a reflection of themselves than they are of me.

and so in the last few days i’ve purposefully changed.  with some thought, i’ve realized that who i am now is not the same person that i was a minute ago or a few days ago. and who i am now is not the person that i’ll always want to be.  what i know is that from moment to moment, we can change parts of who we are.  like our attitude, behaviors, and goals. we can change the way we speak to and about others and the ways we respond to trying situations.  we can change our thoughts, the direction we are heading, and our dreams.  what i am learning is the only thing that keeps us from becoming someone new are the thoughts in our minds that tell us we must remain the same.  i believe  it’s worth being reminded that we often become so attached to  the role we’ve assigned ourselves we forget we are fluid and ever-changing.  and who we might be in this moment is only a fraction of the possibilities of the person we may become.



today, i am a person who hopes that i change.  a person who hopes that i am different than who i was yesterday; because yesterday i was impatient and quick to complain.  today, i will be a human becoming that is more understanding, in less of a hurry, and focused on the good. today there are parts of myself that i hope to change, parts that i hold on dearly to, and parts that i hope to continue to grown into 



and so this week, i hope you lose your sense of self and start anew.  i hope in the middle of a conversation or in the middle of a word, you change.  that you respond differently than the way you used to.  i hope you try to listen more or speak up when you feel uncomfortable.  i hope you start to transform yourself by observing your thoughts and the contant noise in your mind and by challenging yourself to slow down, focus on the present moment, and be more forgiving of the past. i hope you start to work out, continue your recovery, or begin that book.  and all of these words are not intended to say that change is simple or easy to endure, nor do they mean to suggest that making a permanent change will not be difficult; they are here to remind you that it is possible:  that you have changed, can change, and are changing. and while you are regularly transforming, i hope you practice being more loving to the person you are and the people you are surrounded by. through constant self-reflection and regular development, you can decide in this very moment who you will be and give yourself permission to let go of who you once were.





i hope you’re always in the process of finding yourself.




human becomings.

29 Apr

over the last few months i have found myself saying all too frequently that there aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, or months in the year.  that if i only had more time i would train for a half marathon, write blog posts with greater frequency, spend time with family and friends more often, or travel and experience new things more regularly. i would go to yoga, clean my house, finish my scrapbook, journal daily, and build upon my career. i would limit my distractions and challenge my excuses.  i assure myself that my lack of time is a justification for the things i haven’t done; however, with a slowly growing list of tasks and goals i haven’t accomplished, i’ve began to wonder whether it’s a lack of time, lack of will, or lack of deliberateness that hinders my progress.  and mostly what i found was that the days continued to slip past me as i was napping, lounging on the couch, staring down at my phone, or working late.

i know i’ve said this before, but the theme continues to ring true in my life.

time is all that we have, and still, it is finite. 

and for me, that means living intentionally has been on my heart lately.

to live deliberately is partly about taking greater control of our time and making choices that are consistent with who we’d like to be. when we are intentional, we are both mindful and selective in our actions, behaviors, words, goals, and decisions. developing an increasing awareness of intentionality is also about recognizing the ease in which we lose sight of our purpose as life becomes a routine.  as we move automatically through the day out of habit or going through the motions, we also lose presence, consciousness, intention, and purpose.  and when we lose sight of the reasons for our actions or become comfortable in letting the days pass us by, we become a product of habit and obligation rather than of creativity and design. perhaps a lack of purposefulness may also lead to procrastination, a lack of enjoyment, excuses, and selling ourselves short. i believe that by practicing intentionality we offer ourselves an opportunity to take greater control of our lives and who we become.

and so i’ve started to practice. i’ve began living intentionally by first identifying and remembering my intent.  on my drive to work i’ll spend a few moments being mindful of what I consider to be my personal calling and the reasons why i go. for me, the intent of my work is to practice compassion, service to others, and to promote change.  and as i prepare for the gym i declare my intention to develop a healthier lifestyle, prolong my days, and offer myself an opportunity to clear my mind. i am making a greater effort to be conscious of my actions and thoughtful in my understanding of the reasons why i do them. i’ve learned that some uses of my energy no longer serve my interests, and so i let them go.  i practice living deliberately by thinking through my next action and determining whether the decisions i make are choices to move forward or to stagnate.  and through these actions, i’ve found it easier to put on my gym shoes instead of my pajamas, to be more loving, kind, and patient.  i have been able to reduce some of the noise and distracting thoughts that cloud my mind and realign myself with direction.  i’ve found clarity, focus, and drive.

i believe our individual existences are a constant balance between life as a human being and as a human becoming.  in this very second, the smallest details of whatever it is you are doing are tiny pieces of the portrait that you are.  and in the same breath, whatever it is that you are doing right now is also part of who you are becoming.  and so whoever it is that you want to be, in this exact moment, you are working on becoming that person or you aren’t.

what i hope you’ll remember is that we are not finished products. we are works of art that will continue to evolve and adapt. we are layered and weathered, and forever capable of change.

let’s get back to becoming who we really are, already are, and have always been.

let’s get back to our purpose.

let’s live with intent.

what to hold on to.

28 Feb


mostly, i’m still learning how to let go.

the things we hold on to are different for all of us- some act as anchors heavily weighing us down; while others, like lifeboats, keep us above water.  i’ve also come to realize that some things are much more difficult to let go of because the experience has in fact changed one’s biological functioning- like trauma, poverty, or abuse/neglect. and in the years i’ve had, i’ve learned that we keep so many things close to our heart, however, i’m also learning that not all of it needs to stay.

what i know is that there are some things that it is time to let go of.

it might be stress or automatic assumptions that do not accurately reflect your abilities.  it might be the mistakes you made when you lost yourself or the half-hearted attempts you’ve made in trying to figure out the person to become.  the classes you dropped and the goals you gave up on. the divorce you went through or decisions that have left you with regret and unhappiness. it might be the comparisons you make when you are surrounded by colleagues, peers, family, friends, or strangers, or perhaps the harsh judgements made towards yourself or others. the relationships that broke your heart, the tears that were never wiped away, and promises that were left unkept. maybe it’s time to let go of the friendships that didn’t grow together or the words that can’t be taken back.  what i know is that diverse life experiences weigh more heavily on different people’s hearts and that it becomes easy to drown in emotions like anger, loneliness, anxiety, shame, guilt, stress, sadness, or fear.  we hold on to feelings of failure or inadequacy, memories, expectations, desire, past hurts, and unmet expectations– and they keep us feeling broken.  and if you give it some thought, you might find that you are holding on to the very things that keep you stuck.

how would your life be different if you let go of them all?

take a deep breath in and become more aware of those things that weigh heavily on your heart.  and maybe today is the day you slowly find the courage to surrender into accepting what is.  acknowledge the past and move on.  lean into your insecurities and feelings of discomfort; find your personal weaknesses and allow yourself to grow into them.  mend the parts of yourself that are broken through self-love, acceptance, healthy relationships, choices that reflect your long-term goals, and commitment to change. and to do any of this- or all of it- we must learn to let go.

you let go by first recognizing what it is you are holding on to and then by deciding what kind of impact it is having on your life.  you let go by releasing the negative energy from your soul.  and after you decide, you must act.  you begin to choose one thought over another or exchange an unhealthy decision for a healthier behavior.  perhaps you release anger through forgiveness or acceptance and let go of greed, desire, and the pursuance of material possessions through contentment and non-possesion. letting go means allowing yourself the possibility of being wrong and being okay with that.  and when you let go, can you hold on to that self-motivation and fearless drive while releasing the stress, judgement, and criticism that we often allow it to accompany? letting go means beginning a search for inner-peace and deciding what moments you want to let define you.  and i believe that letting go is one of the purest acts of self-love we can gift ourselves.  and for me, this does not excuse our imperfections nor ignore our past mistakes or shortcomings, it does however foster our capacity to look at ourselves through a lens of compassion and grace that creates enough space to make room for change. and when we begin to let go, we also start to remember that all things are possible.

by letting go, we allow ourselves to become. 

the year of doing.

1 Jan



it sounds silly, but i didn’t realize how much i was anticipating 2015 until it came. throughout the day, i kept finding myself committing to doing things differently this year, promising myself to not get weighed down with the unnecessary.  and what i know is that i am looking forward to a year of movement; of intentional change, and of consciously challenging myself to improve. i’m ready for this breath of fresh air.  2014 was different from the last few years in that i didn’t experience as much as growth as i had anticipated.  while i experienced a number of major life changes- like purchasing and remodeling a first home, beginning to fund my retirement, the loss of two grandparents,  committing my life to another person, passing my licensure exam, and developing as a professional-, i also recognize that i didn’t commit as much time and energy into my own personal development as i would have liked.  fortunately, i believe that shortcomings always present an opportunity to grow and so from this lack of change i have been able to learn.


last year.

in 2014 i learned about the amount of time i am consumed by stress and worry.  pick a topic and i can assure you i’ve spent a portion of the day catastrophizing it. i spent 2014 with a lot of worries- mostly unnecessary and unfounded- but i worried all of the same.  about passing my exam,  the logistics of days and events, about day-to-day stressors, interpersonal relationships, finances, why the dishes weren’t done, and about long-term plans.  i worried about about the amount of time i spent worrying.  i studied perhaps excessively, and spent a lot of time rushing from one task to the next.  in hindsight, the constant rushing kept me stagnant. part of the truth is that i’ve always been an anxious person and the rest of the truth is that i didn’t allow myself to slow down long enough to realize the impact it was having on my overall sense of wellbeing.

i experienced and witnessed heartache in 2014. the loss of sweet babies we didn’t get to know and grandparents who brought a lot of love into this world. i saw friends grieve the loss of parents, relationships, and goals.  i felt friendships change. i saw people from all walks of life struggle and hurt.  and i observed how hard life can be on some people.  2014 was also beautiful. i saw chichen itza,  swam in two oceans, visited three new states, and went on the most amazing adventures.  studying resulted in me passing my exam. i paid off all of my student loans completely by myself. and the time and energy put into remodeling the house resulted in a home that i feel comforted by.  i had the enjoyment of making memories with family and friends and i experienced so much laughter. i spent my days at a job i whole heartedly love, living out a life mission i am passionate about.  i witnessed people change and become more of themselves.  in fact, i even saw people blossom.  i fell even more in love with the greatest person i know.


and mostly in 2014, i learned that you take the bad with the good.  i’ve learned that beautiful strength, grace, and personal change can grow from loss.  from watching others, i’ve learned that breaking points are also starting points. i learned that you have to nurture relationships in order to watch them grow and that no amount of success can replace time spent with the people you love. i have an increasing sense of understanding that your worth is not dependent upon your accomplishments or work. and 2014 taught me that when the timing is right, everything will be perfect.  and until then, you have today.  you have right now.  and that is enough.



this year.

i believe that you don’t have to wait for a new year to resolve to changing your life, i’ve always believed in starting now.  but i welcomed that midnight kiss and with open arms i greeted the newness, the fresh promises, and the opportunity to reflect on how i will do this year differently than the last.  i developed a list of goals that addresses most areas of my life- mental, physical, social, financial, spiritual, and vocational- and i have committed myself to working towards them and accomplishing them all. but what it comes down to is wanting to cultivate wellness. and so this year i will be intentional about holistic living- on attempting to focus equal attention to all aspects of my life. i want to live fully, deeply, and widely. and to do so, i know that i must experience new things and see new places. i will practice living without incessant worry and breathing without always doing.  i will manage my time so that i may use it well.  i will develop relationships with friends and family through presence; by showing up, putting my phone down, and listening. i will write hand-written letters and make phone calls more regularly.  i will find something to celebrate in each and every day and i will practice gratitude. i will spend less time on social media and more time being social.  i won’t allow myself to get so busy that i skip out on enjoying a warm cooked meal or hot cup of tea.  i’ll care more about my being rather than my doing.




if you know me at all, you know that i always want to be changing.  from one moment to the next, i want to be developing myself into that person i hope to be. i say it too much, but we only have this one moment to act in and on.  so rather than thinking about what you hope to accomplish in a year, focus on what you can do today to work towards that goal. one week from now, two days from now, eight months from now, find that eagerness to change within you. foster your internal strength, self-will, and dedication to see this year’s resolution through. and remember, to accomplish everything we hoped to this year, we have to remain focused.  this year doesn’t have to be another year of setting goals with no follow through or empty promises that you are not committed to keeping. this year can be different. and the outcome will be so rewarding.


if 2014 wasn’t your year, then let it go.  2015 is the year of no longer holding onto those things that don’t serve you.  today can be your day.  i know that when your world feels like it is spinning out of control, it becomes easy to lose sight of the fact that we have  the ability to choose which direction we take.  we lose ourselves in the unnecessary- the worries, stressors, unhelpful people, and daily conflicts.  and we can start to drown when we attempt to fill empty holes with material possessions, drama, and negative energy and action. slow down this year. get to know yourself, and listen to your inner voice. focus on the good and all that you want to bring into your life and make peace with the rest. i’ll always believe that we bring out the best in others when we are working on bringing out the best in ourselves.

let’s do that this year.




what i know is that the only way the future will deliver its promise of brightness is if we create it.

you must start that fire and be the one to fan those flames.










2015 will be the year of doing.  

and while i am committed to change, i’ll slow down this year so that i can enjoy it.

the grandest adventure

28 Nov


november 28, 2014 was one for the books.

in fact, it will go down as one of my most favorite beginnings of the grand adventure we are about to embark on.

there are so many beautiful words to say about this day and at the same time there aren’t enough words to capture it all. i can tell you that for a moment time stopped and the world slowed down; and i couldn’t quite tell if the experience was real or not real. and as magical and momentous as this day was, i believe that all of  the days leading up to this one special day are the ones that counti think it is easy to become so focused on the engagement and often accompanying ring that we lose sight of what the commitment signifies.  in this short month, i’ve already learned how easy it is to be tempted by the commercialization of engagements, weddings, and material demonstrations of love. and from my perspective, these things serve as distractions from what it really is all about.

what i know is that our love is much more than our breathtaking engagement story and undeniably beautiful diamond.



so i’m not going to tell you about our engagement, but i will tell you about our love.


because i’ve always believed that love exists in the details.


you might know that we fell in love on a rock in the middle of a lake the summer after we graduated from high school.  we spent those days making each other mixed tapes with all of our favorite country songs and writing each other letters. four years of long distance resulted in hours of telephone conversations, weekend visits, and leaves and seashells sent by mail.  neither of us could have ever guessed that our love would take us to 11 different countries, 24 states, and five different places of residence.  adventures of zip-lining in the rainforest and in between mountains; parasailing and snorkeling in the ocean, visiting wonders of the world, napping in parks, drinking lemonade on rooftops, and having picnics at the lake.  you might know that we broke up once during our eight years and that he sent me my favorite flowers on valentines day even though we weren’t dating.  you also might know what it feels like to have your heart ripped out from your chest when separated from your soulmate. it felt like that without him. but that experience taught me that love does not get lost. in all of the right ways, it will come back to you.   after 10 months we met up in costa rica and picked up from the very last word we left off on.  my plane was ten hours late and he waited at the airport for me, hand-picked flowers in his hand. and when we are cold, we always make sure that our bare feet are touching; i think that’s important.  i edit his papers and he makes me spreadsheets. you should probably know about our not-so-secret book club and weekly budget committee meetings.

i’ll tell you about the crooked smirk he gets on his face right before he says something ornery and the scar he has on his nose from his childhood. i’ll tell you that he’s the greatest of planners although not the best of organizers. i can tell you about his patience and the way his eyes go soft after hearing another person’s story. the kindness in his voice when offering assurance.

i’ll tell you about him and his thoughtfulness.

the warm cup of tea next to my favorite book that he has ready for me when i get out of the shower. the silly imitations he performs and the kiddish jokes he tells because he knows they will make me laugh. the formal requests he makes for brunch dates and surprises that consist of picnics, sailing lessons, and road trips. i’ll tell you about his heart; the meals he buys for the people he doesn’t know and the good deeds he performs without telling a single soul. the 13 hour drive he made to ask my grandmother for her blessing with our engagement. he’s shown me that there is comfort in sharing all of the senseless details of your life with someone, not because they necessarily matter, but because someone cares enough to listen to them all.  one month later and i can’t help but get excited that i get to spend my life with the boy whose named i carved in the cement outside of my dorm freshman year of college.



i know that love is different things for different people. but for all of us, i think love is something that challenges you to become a better person and makes it possible to live out all of the good you have within you.  one of the greatest gifts i’ve received from this relationship is the opportunity to realize my individual dreams while simultaneously creating a life with him.  while we compromise regularly, we are fortunate in that we have not had to compromise on the goals we are passionate about.  i believe that the most wonderful kinds of love are the kinds that help each person to become more of themselves. the relationship doesn’t change who you are, what you like, or who you hope to become; rather it helps you unfold into the person you’ve always been.  and in these 8 years i’ve learned that love is simple.  and through it’s simplicity we get to experience the complexities of the beauty this life has to offer. i’ve learned that love is not something you say, but rather, it’s something you do. it’s a feeling that you act on.  he’s shown me that at one point in each of our lives, our paths will cross with someone who helps to undo all of that heartache, someone who helps to make sense of your troubles, someone who adds color to the world and joy to your life. for me, it’s always been him.  and until then, i believe in patience and in letting love find its way. from what i know, it will come, and it will be magical.


this love is our engagement story. 



i’m glad my heart chose you.












you are my home.

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