Blogging on The Brightside

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

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”

– Jim Valvano

Today is my father’s birthday. Daddy, Dad, Daddio, Papa Bear. (As I grew, so did the list of names I called him by.)

My father has always reminded me, even during my dark moments, that he loves me and that I make him so incredibly proud. Living my life to the fullest is the best thing I can do for him as I carry not only his looks, but his stories, his jokes, and his unfailing efforts to make a difference in the lives of his family. He believed in my every step of the way, and I am a better person for it.

I love you with all the hearts, Papa Bear.



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A Happy Life

To live with purpose. To say the courageous thing. To celebrate the simple gift. To follow your dreams. This is a happy life. ~ Wayland Henry

This was the quote on a birthday card from a friend I received this morning. She knows me too well… an optimistic quote is the perfect gift.

For the past 24 years, I have had a happy life. I do not anticipate that changing anytime soon. That in itself is an enormous blessing. I do my best each day to be a better person than yesterday and I (try my best to) take everything in stride and use it as fuel towards my journey.

Today, my little world celebrates my 24th year on Earth.

I guess more what I focus on is that I have had 24 years of LIFE.

Good, bad, optimistic, pessimistic, realistic, heart-warming, spirit-crushing, tear-jerking, soul-searching, growing-and-growing, run-and-jump, skip-and-stumble, get-back-up-and-dust-yourself-off kind of LIFE. I have woken up for 8,767 days with air in my lungs, a roof over my head and people around me that I could count on. I have people in my life who would take the impact of a bad word, a bullet, or a freight train for me. Tell me that’s not a good life. Tell me I should not be HAPPY (nay, ECSTATIC) with this life. What’s more, I know that I am certainly not the only one who is lucky enough to say these things and be thankful for them.

We all have a happy life. Whether we follow Wayland’s instructions or our own does not matter. What matters is that we have life, we live it, and we celebrate every day. Every day we’re given is our simple gift. All words we take the chance to speak can be courageous. Following our dreams can be as simple as remembering our path is our own and no one else can walk it for us. Live a happy life. Remind yourself of your happy life, today and always.

Love and Light,



I Look To You

Each of us has people we look to in times of struggle, in times of joy and happiness, in times of hardship and grief, in times of both confusion and clarity.

Today is a day that a dear friend of mine, someone I have often “looked to” celebrates another year of life. In thinking of the many ways that she has been a wonderful friend and person to all who know her, I was reminded of a song by one of her favorite artists.

Today’s post is dedicated to her, my dear Liz, and to all those people in your life that you can look to, regardless of situation or circumstance. They lift us up and remind us every day that we are so fortunate to have them in our lives.

Love and Light,


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“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”

— Jewish Proverb


Happy Birthday to my mom. My Momma, My MeeMaw, Momz, etc.

She is one of the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever known (or that I will ever know).

She is salt of the earth in every sense of the world.

I’m blessed to know her and I’m blessed to have her as a constant source of optimism.

Love you, Momma.


“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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“It exists… it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.”

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists… it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.”
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

It was my best friend’s birthday last week. I had planned to surprise him early in the morning by standing outside of his house with a traditional birthday cake with a single candle. (I knew in the time I had I would not be able to light 23 without some blowing out or melting completely away.) As I waited for the moment of *SURPRISE,* the candle went out. I was only slightly disheartened—Mother Nature knew she could get her chuckles from me. I went on, relighting the candle a fourth and fifth time growing more and more annoyed at the power of the tiniest gust of wind. It got under my skin. It bothered me that no matter how hard I tried, something little could derail my plans. And then, just as the candle remained lit for more than five seconds and a smile returned to my face, my friend opened the door to see me standing against the sunrise, the happiness I had brought that day painted across my face.

The littlest things can try to extinguish your spark. That spark, unlike my candle, is not easily brought back. Sometimes it is the littlest moments, the tiny upsets, which remind us of larger setbacks, threatening to tear apart our hard work and determination. While I am sure to say we do not let little things get to us, they are often the culprit for many quitters and lost dreams. The straw that broke the camel’s back seems to be made of lead sometimes.

It is important that amidst all the heartache and failed attempts that you never lose sight of your own spark. I’ve mentioned this spark before, perhaps because it is my favorite part of a person. Each person has their own spark, unique to them, burning brightly when they achieve the impossible. Keep that spark alive, for it may be that spark that engulfs your doubts into mere ashes and brings a spectacular brilliance to your deepest desires. Looks what happens when that spark, your spirit, is given the proper chance to burn bright. It can illuminate the world.

Love and Light, Carly

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