Blogging on The Brightside

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

“Our real fears are the sounds of footsteps walking in the corridors of our minds, and the anxieties, the phantom floatings, they create.”

— Truman Capote

Take it from a woman who has been worried sick all day over something she couldn’t see but could only imagine…

Take it from a woman who was on the verge of tears at the thought of this thing with no proof of which direction things would go…

Take it from a woman who finally has a moment to breathe and say…

Take it from that woman. Do not let your fears rule your life. Do not let the possibility of something in the future dominate the positivity of the guaranteed RIGHT NOW.

Take it from me: Be present. What will be will be. Enjoy the ride until then.

Love and Light,



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“If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I need this week to be a good one.  And when you need a week to be a good one, you use Emerson for a monday morning message.  There is too much to get done this week, and too much of my future depending on my ability to get those things done well for me to have any mishaps.  I’ll need to rely on help from others, and I must be rested, focused, driven. But most importantly, I need to be confident in myself.  Before I graduated from IUP, I was never anything but confident in myself.  Not that I was necessarily boastful, I just knew that I could accomplish anything I set my mind too.  I’m not sure why, but sometimes I lose sight of that confidence now.  I worry too much about other factors and not enough about how hard I can work to make sure things fall into place.  So this week, I’m going to work on getting my swagger back.  I’m going to be a little cocky.  You should join me, because we can’t get done what we need to if we’re not sure of myself.

Have a wonderful and productive week, everybody!


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The Oak Tree

It’s not often that inspiration strikes me in a Hallmark Store. However, I spend enough time there that it would make sense to stumble across something meaningful.

For the longest time, I have found meaning in oak trees. They have made their way into my life, one way or another. Whether I was surrounded by them at college (our beloved Oak Grove) or they found their way into my dreams, they hold a special place in my heart. They provide me a sense of comfort. Their towering size, their gentle leaves, their beautiful colors, and strong roots. They make me feel safe when I see them. All the better symbol to be drawn to when faced with challenges or disappointment.

It was upon a visit to buy a card thanking someone for their I had that brought me towards a very welcome reminder. Delicate lime ribbon tied in a perfect bow, sheer enough to draw attention to itself without taking anything from the card’s message, cascaded down from the top of a photograph: a majestic mighty oak. Of course I was intrigued… and instantly comforted. Sweeping aside the soft ribbon, I began to read the card itself…

A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,
Then snapped its bark
until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
while other trees feel all around….

The weary wind gave up and spoke,
“How can you still be standing, Oak?”
The oak tree said, “I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You’ll never touch them, for you see,
they are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn’t sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you,
I’m stronger that I ever knew.

Inside the card, the message reads…
Especially now,
try to remember
that you’re stronger
than any problem
you encounter
or any disappointment
life will bring.

Thinking of you,
believing in you,
caring for you.

Sometimes inspiration sneaks up on us when we least expect it. And sometimes a hopeful reminder finds its way to you when you feel most vulnerable.

Here is my friendly reminder to you. Know ALWAYS that you are stronger than anything with which you may be faced. You are bigger than any disappointment. And always, there is someone thinking of you, believing in you, and caring about you. Whether you feel like one of its leaves or the tower oak itself, it doesn’t matter. Believe that this, much like all other things, will pass, and it will make you stronger if you let it.

Dig deep. Find the passion you’ve been lacking or the strength you seem to have misplaced. Root yourself in the positive.

Bend, don’t break. Let the gusting winds of change stir your soul, but not snap your resolve.

Stand tall. You are a beacon to so many that you may not even realize. They take comfort in your presence.

You’re the oak tree. Now act like it.

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“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

Roger Caras



Carmichael, my english springer spaniel, walking with me around the lake on my last birthday.

I flew home for Thanksgiving break super excited to see my family, especially my english springer spaniel Carmichael.  I hadn’t been home since June and missed my chance to visit in October, so my trip was overdue.  When my mom picked me up at the airport, I could tell something wasn’t right.  She told me before we got onto the highway that I was going to have to say goodbye to my bud.  The next day I did.

I like dogs.  Not everyone does.  Everybody liked Carm.  He was the kind of dog that knew where to curl up to make everybody comfortable or what to do to humor a guest.  Intensely loyal, Carm always listened to my father and was always tremendously excited when I came home.  His passing is very sad, especially as our holiday guests come expecting their furry friend to warm their feet under our dining room table or slurp whipped cream after everyone has had their fill.

But it would be unlike the authors of this blog to be sad for too long.  Instead, I’m focusing (with Carly’s help) on remembering all those fun times with Carmichael- the cute puppy digging holes in our yard or chewing at the furniture, the handsome dog drooling on my tuxedo or ringing the jingle bells to alert us that he needed to go outside.  I’m sure my dad is thinking about 4am wakeup calls to chase the deer in our yard, nature walks around the lake, and strangers delighting in their mistaking Carmichael for his wife sitting upright in the front seat.  And all those happy memories make me remember that Carm had a very happy life.  That makes me feel good.  And while all dogs go to heaven, I’m sure Carm has a special coop next to the lake full of indestructible squirrels.

So usually on this blog our posts spell out some metaphor for life.  I’ll let you draw that metaphor yourself and instead leave you with another good dog quote.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
― Josh Billings

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“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

— G.K. Chesterton

Today, we give thanks for those we have around us.

The families who have raised us and brought us up in the hopes that we would grow to be good people.

The friends who changed us and reminded us how loved we are and how we can be ourselves without judgement.

The teachers who reminded us to think and be thankful for the right to speak our minds.

Those in our communities who help us, keep us safe, and who keep our everyday lives running smoothly.

And our readers– the individuals who show up every day looking for inspiration.

We are thankful for all of it.

Keep in mind what you are thankful for today. And remind yourself of all those people who are thankful for YOU.

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“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”

— Lee Iacocca

Stress. Anger. Resentment.

Three solid ingredients (among the many others I’m sure you’re feeling) for motivation. Do not simply stew over what makes you angry, stressed, or resentful. Let what bothers you drive you to overcome it.

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“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

Robert Browning


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“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.”

— H.G. Wells

Do not let yesterday’s struggles determine today’s viewpoint.

We understand. You fell. You’re seemingly down for the count. We will let you catch your breath.

But while you’re down there…

You can either fix your eyes to the ground or to the sky.

You can either stay down or rise to the occasion.

Which is it going to be?

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“I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.”

Larry Bird

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“Dreams are the answers to questions that we haven’t yet figured out how to ask.”

— Fox Mulder

This one goes out to my sister, Sarah. She turns 22 today.

It is my hope that this post finds her at her happiest, as she grows up, living her dreams, and never questioning the good that comes her way. No need to ask the questions when your dreams are coming true, right?

Love you, little sister.

And for you reader, I wish you those things, too. And I hope you have someone who cares about you enough to wish you all these things and more. 

Love and Light,


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