Blogging on The Brightside

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

“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”

Chief Tecumseh



In the morning, light pours into my bedroom.  It’s kind of a pain to fall asleep with the blinds open and the curtains pulled back, but it’s worth it to be greeted by light.  Then, for me, it’s baked oatmeal and one shot of espresso.  I’m not a morning person, and I probably haven’t had a single thought about anything worth remembering until I’ve begun to absorb some caffeine.  A quick aside- I’ve never understood why people don’t drink more espresso, is it the whip cream thing?  And then, a clean shave.  I (almost) always use a sharp razor, not a Gillette, and have replaced that blue goop with fluffy and fragrant lavender shave soap applied by a badger hair shave brush.

I’m sharing my routine with you, because I’ve found that from the first ray of sunshine to the first bite of oatmeal, the last sip of espresso to the last bit of shave soap, I tend to concentrate on how lucky I am to enjoy these little luxuries.  They are simple joys.  When you appreciate your situation first thing in the morning, you start the day off right.  And when you start the day off right, the rest of the day tends to follow suit.

If you’re a snooze button 12 times, rush out of bed and into the car to sit in traffic on the way to the job you dread kind of person, consider what you give up each morning.  You’ve missed the chance to be gracious, to take a few minutes to yourself to think about your day, to think about what you can do for someone else today.  By the time you’re expressing you’re road rage, you’ve given up the chance to work out that day or your opportunity to reflect in your journal.  Approaching the beginning of your day differently might change your outlook on school or work, especially if you’ve taken a few minutes to give thanks that you have gainful employment and think about how you can make a difference at work that day.  An improved outlook is often the key to improved performance.

So much of this blog is about having a positive and gracious attitude.  The reason is simple- life is better that way.  The time to establish that attitude is first thing in the morning.

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“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”

– Jackie Robinson

This post was submitted by our friend Joelle Wisnieski, a graduate of Akron University whose laughter lights up the room.


As a first basemen myself, Jackie is one of my role models. A wonderful ball player and a passionate civil rights activist, he continued to play his hand when anyone would have understood if he folded, but more than that he really PLAYED. Not only was he the first African-American to play in major league baseball, but he was then named rookie of the year. I mean who has the courage to steal home 19 times! And I’m not talking about 19 attempts… that is 19 runs that Robinson scored by stealing home base during his baseball career. I think that this quote by Jackie pretty much sums up his attitude toward baseball and toward life. Life is NOT a spectator sport. Unfortunately, still sometimes find myself living as if it is one… letting my life pass before my eyes with minimal involvement, challenge, passion.  I don’t want to live that way – and I’m guessing neither do you.  Recently I found that I had all these dreams and aspirations for my life. I want to help people. I want to teach, and travel, and love. I want to enjoy the little things but experience the big things… but most importantly I want to make a difference. But then I took stock of my life and I was very upset at what I found. I’ve been wasting time, precious time. When I could have been making an effort to help someone, be a friend to someone, or maybe even to learn something new – what was I doing instead? – watching the latest episode of “The Bachelor” or rereading “The Hobbit.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some TV drama and I enjoy an excellent literary story, but what else was I doing.  At that moment I realized that I was sitting in the grandstand with my feet resting on the railing in front of me, but I also looked at the field and realized that they had been calling for a first basemen to come play.  I refuse to take a seat when there is one amazing life to be lived! We all have moments in life when we look around and don’t understand how we fell into a ditch. But don’t forget it is never too late to get your hands dirty and climb out.  Don’t live your life as a spectator (because I agree with Jackie on this topic) – it would be a waste. Instead, go out and play. Learn something new, go somewhere you have never been, challenge yourself and the people around you. I promise you won’t regret grabbing your glove and taking the field.

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“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

— Lao Tzu

May you find strength in the ones who love you. These are the ones who risk heartbreak to show you they care. Love is unconditional. No matter what, they choose to love you.

May you gain courage from each person to whom you give your heart openly. You lay your heart on the line every time you care for them. To love someone is to be the most genuine version of yourself. That vulnerability is unparalleled.

You have fought for love. You have fought for your happiness. Today is a day to celebrate love in its may forms and revel in the joy love can bring.

I hope that today (and every day) you find a moment to realize how much love surrounds you and know you are more loved than you can possibly imagine.

Love and light,


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“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”

— Mae West

Let yourself overdose on joy. Find your bliss, let it fill each day, and find yourself floating from one thing you love to the next. Too much of a good thing can be wonderful– do not talk yourself out of happiness.

Take the good that finds you, and when it does, do not limit yourself. Moderation is nothing in the face of soul-stirring joy.

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“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

— Mike Tyson

Yet another great quote from my Life is good Playmakers training.

The past few weeks have certainly sent some punches my way. It seemed that for a while I couldn’t avoid what was headed my way. Like a boxer who has met a very powerful opponent, my vision was blurred stopping me from seeing the next punch and particularly the good that was still around me.

Just because a detour appears when you are driving does not mean that your final destination disappears.

Just because you face one, two, a hundred punches doesn’t mean that you won’t still win the fight.

You can win. Keep those gloves up and keep fighting for the good. Remind yourself that a plan is only that: a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.**

**Nowhere in the definition does it say GUARANTEE.

Plans change. Roads close. You can still get where you want to. All you need is enough fight and perseverance to see yourself through the punches and the detours.

Don’t worry. You’ll get there.

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“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in Boston.

Remind yourself that you can be a beacon of light for anyone at anytime.

So long as we don’t stop being optimists and fight the good fight, good will conquer evil always.

Believe in the good. BE the good.

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“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

— Dr. Seuss

I have spent the past couple days having really good days. Nothing particularly astounding happened. No records were broken. No major expenses were incurred.

I took time to enjoy life and enjoy the time I had with the people I had. So this weekend, regardless of place or circumstance, enjoy your life.

What’s better than one good day? Knowing that you have the power to make tomorrow a good day too.

Love and Light,



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“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”

— Robert Fulghum

robert fulghum

Just a friendly reminder…

Every night has its day.

Every tear has a smile waiting its turn.

Hang in there. The best is yet to come… and while things may not always be great, there will always be good.

Believe that.

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“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

— Anne Frank

This weekend, I was awake in the wee hours of the morning talking with my best friend. Our conversation went just about everywhere you can imagine. There came a point in which the conversation shifted to dealing with some of the toughest moments of our lives. He reminded me that, “The two of us have been faced with more than most people our age. We’ve dealt with more than anyone should.”

And still, even after all this time, we find the good in our lives. Even when faced with the same struggles time and time again, wearing away our resistance to negativity, we stood strong. More importantly, we stood together.

We are young. We have time. It is our decision to live life without regrets. Anyone can wake up tomorrow and decide that they are choosing to be happy from this point on. Do not allow yourself to be changed by hardships and defeat.

See the good in the world and see the good in yourself. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come and keep the faith that you will come through whatever life sends your way. Find people who will share your love of life and support you through thick and thin. It makes all the difference.

From one friend to another, you matter. You are you, not what happens to you. Start this week (and the rest of your life) with the decision to be happy. You make the choice… so choose to make the most of your one and only life.

Love and Light,


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