Blogging on The Brightside

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

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.”

–Joshua 1:9

This post was brought to you by a close friend, Katie Trenney. There are moments in life where the “bright side” is more difficult to find. This post reflects about on that kind of moment. In an instant, your world can be shaken to the point of complete and total disorientation. You don’t know which way is up, your faith is shaken. Believing in the good and finding what you can hold onto during those dark times is what keeps us going. We hope that Kevin and his friends are able to find the strength to make it through this extremely difficult times. Our thoughts and prayers go out to each of you.

Two nights ago, I attended the Taylor Swift concert in Pittsburgh with a couple friends.  After tailgating for a few hours and then listening to Taylor sing about her feelings, we piled back into the car to make the drive home.  About 20 minutes into our trip, tragedy struck.  My friend Kevin, who was sitting in the back seat with me, began to have a seizure.  At first we thought he was kidding, but quickly realized that it was real.

Sarah, our driver, pulled over immediately.  The girl sitting in the passenger seat, Rebecca, jumped out of the car and called 911 while Sarah and I quickly tried to get Kevin lay down onto his side.  As Kevin laid on the backseat of the car becoming sick, Rebecca struggled to give the 911 operator our location, and Sarah and I yelled at Kevin trying to get him to respond.  When the police arrived, they tried asking Kevin simple questions.

“What’s your name?”

“What year is it?”

“Where are you?”

Growing more and more frustrated, Kevin tried to answer the questions but he was unable to respond. The ambulance arrived shortly after and decided that he needed to be transported to a hospital.  They took him up the road to St. Margaret’s for preliminary testing, and Sarah, Rebecca, and I continued our drive home – drained and shaken from the events of that night.  At about 4 a.m. I got a text from Kevin’s mother telling me that there were abnormalities on his brain and he was being sent to UPMC for more intense testing.  Later, I got the news of the bleeding in Kevin’s brain.  While his motor skills remained strong, his speech and memory had been affected.
Yesterday, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook were flooded with posts about Kevin.  Positive thoughts and prayers were sent to him throughout the day from his loving family and friends.  Kevin is still in the ICU at UPMC and is being monitored by doctors.  They’re not sure if his speech and memory will come back 100%, but have confidence that he will improve during speech therapy.

The words of Joshua 1:9 comfort me.  This verse has become life verse. Over the past 36(ish) hours, I have said it to myself over and over again.  It’s a constant reminder that God is in control.  Kevin is in good hands and will (hopefully) come out of this stronger and better than ever.
If you have a minute to spare today, say a prayer for my friend Kevin. Ask God to help him be strong.

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“Sometimes life’s going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

–Steve Jobs


Congrats grads!  I’m a sucker for commencement speeches, and Steve Jobs delivered one of the best in 2005 at Stanford.  If you’ve got 15 minutes, take a listen.


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“Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart.”

-Eli Young Band, Even if it Breaks Your Heart


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“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”

Robert H. Schuller



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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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“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”

Benjamin Spock



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“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.”

— Rabindranath Tagore

I, myself, have quite a few challenges headed my way over the next few weeks.

I’m not going to lie… I’m scared out of my mind.

While the thought of how scared I am of taking steps into uncharted territory stop me before I take my first step, I know this is all for the best.

I am not content with any less that happy.

I hope that those of you reading this will not settle for less than happy, either. There is nothing more important than your own happiness. Without it, you cannot make others happy or being the best version of yourself. The world needs you at your best. There’s no one quite like you.

Give yourself what you deserve so that world can have what it needs.


Love and Light,



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“A brave action is often followed by grief. Do not let my resistance to grief stop the brave action.”

— Alanis Morissette

Be brave. Be strong. Be bold. Be YOU.

Never let the fear of how people might perceive your strength change your decision to act. Certainly don’t let your own fear dictate the actions you take.

Believe in yourself and do not be hindered by the what if’s of someday.

Be Brave

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“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”

— Vàclav Havel

Not much I want to say about this. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

Keep the faith.

Choose Hope

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“That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.”

— Charles de Lint

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Last week, I began a holiday tradition with my classroom: The Elf on the Shelf. As a child, I never had one. This was certainly not a loss as I was enamored with the holidays regardless of sprites and special circumstance. However, upon two students requesting an elf’s presence in our classroom, I happily obliged.

As the days have passed, the elves have traveled around our classroom causing more commotion than productivity. While this might bother some teachers, I welcome it. Why? It seems like most of my students almost forgot that they were kids. Sometimes we like to act older than we are. Regardless of the holidays they celebrate or the information they have access to, we have all been reminded that we are all susceptible to magic and that magic is very real. We have all had a large dose of holiday spirit and I, for one, am ecstatic to provide a reminder of the joy this time of year is known for.

Sometimes children (and us as adults) can forget to believe. This forgetfulness can effect our ability to believe in a number of things: everyday magic, the good in the world, in other people, in ourselves, EVERYTHING! We are all so caught up in “acting our age,” but we should, more importantly, act as though life has not hardened us. We should prove that our faith remains simple like that of a child. We should practice believing in ourselves and others. We should believe that magic exists in the little moments and that people have the power to reignite our faith in the good.

I know I have be absent for a little while on the blog, and it pains me to see that happen. I am thankful, however, for this added time to think. We all need time to be reminded of what is most important. At this time of the year, especially, we are able to open our eyes and see the magic that exists around us.

I wish you many magical moments this holiday season, but especially this week. Let yourself get wrapped up in the magic. The magic is all around us. Do not let it go unnoticed.

Love and Light,


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