Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”

— Margaret Shepherd

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“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

Dalai Lama XIV

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“A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping stone to the optimist.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

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Remember where you came from.

I haven’t shared an anecdote in a while, but my recent stay at my parents home left me dying to share one with you.

I love my parents, who celebrated their 35th anniversary this week.  Strangely enough, while I get along with both of my parents, we get along in very different ways.  My mom is the authority on all things food, literature, grammar, and knows more pop culture than me.  She is also from where my type A qualities of planning and organization come.

My dad, Ray Sr., is more likely to miss an appointment or eat leftover tacos every night for a week.  But I get my nerdy interest, academic aspirations, and dry sense of humor from him.  In many ways, I can see how I am a blend of my parents personalities and characteristics.  I’ve often caught myself using inherited mannerisms, and I often vowed never to use them again.  But on this particular trip home, my father and I realized just how similar we were.

The picture on this post is of our fishing licenses.  Sometimes, when documents get sent to their house, my dad will sign documents for me, since we have the same name.  The eerie part about this picture is that we both signed our own licenses independently.

Okay, so our signatures are the same, not impressed?  Well that night at dinner, my dad ordered duck with roasted brussels sprouts. The waitress asked how he would like his duck done, medium rare.  Then my mom said that really he was more excited about the Brussels sprouts.  Playfully, the waitress asked how he would like the sprouts done.  In stereo, we both replied “to perfection.”  Without rehearsal, without hesitation, without prompting we both had the same clever response.  DOESN’T THAT WIG YOU OUT A LITTLE?

The moral of the story  is that as much as we sometimes don’t want to believe it, we are more like those who raised us than we realize it, and many of us can be proud of that.


“It’s not sacrifice if you love what you’re doing.”

Mia Hamm

In honor the opening day of the London Olympics, we recognize how much the athletes competing there have sacrificed to become the best in the world and hope that our readers will find something to be passionate about, because life is to short to hate how you’re spending it.

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“It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value.”

— Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

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“Despite all the things we all experience, like heartbreak and pain, it takes being able to get through it to realize the beauty of life. All the negative makes you realize the things that matter. It puts the petty things in perspective.”

— Jason Peters

Sometimes it takes life turning things upside-down for us to take a better look. All the pain, all the heartbreak… they brought us here.

Gain perspective from every experience. Don’t let the little things flip your world. And when your life goes topsy-turvy, enjoy the view while you can. Who knows– you might like it better that way.

Drink in life, don’t drown in it.

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“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

–Michael Jordan

Each day I wake up and go to school. I do all that I can to make sure that my students give it their all each and every single time.

I was taught when I was eight that the words “I can’t” needed to be removed from my vocabulary. One of my own teachers made us write down what we could not do. We did not hold back, we did not share with anyone else. We proceeded to bury the lists outside of school. Those words were dead to us.

Why do lessons like this only work with children? Why do we tell ourselves we can’t do something in the first place? Why don’t we just try? It’s amazing what we can accomplish with even the tiniest bit of effort.

So be a big kid and come to the front of the class. Pick up a piece of chalk and get ready to write. List everything you can’t do. Write out “I can’t….” over and over until you’ve reached the end of your list. Pick up an eraser and replace the words “I can’t” with “I will try.”Life doesn’t hand out a grade. Life doesn’t keep track. But when you looking back on your life, would you rather say, ” I couldn’t” or “I tried”?

Each day we are alive, the world asks nothing more than for us to try. It does not require perfection. So– realize that your list is a starting point and that today you can start your list and make a change for the better. This is not a guarantee of success. It’s not even the thought that you won’t fail beautifully. But without trying, you are missing out on some of your life’s best moments.

Love and Light,



“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”

— John Green

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“Drop your worries. You are gonna turn out fine, but you gotta keep your head up.”

Keep Your Head Up, Andy Grammer

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