Blogging on The Brightside

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

The most radical act anyone can commit is to be happy.

–Robin Williams, Patch AdamsBuzLaVyCYAAgy1v


While the loss of Robin Williams is tragic, we must remember the innumerable lessons in happiness, cheer, comedy, and laughter that he taught to us, sometimes, as in Dead Poets Society, quite literally.  He played some of the most iconic characters to ever have touched our hearts, like Peter Pan who taught us to never grow up, and Patch Adams, for whom laughter was the best medicine.  Mrs. Doubtfire exemplified that our parents will always be there for us, but even Genie couldn’t bring people back from the dead.

“The most radical act anyone can commit is to be happy.”  And I hope that you delight in stirring glee in someone else’s heart by making them smile, and laugh, and roll their eyes because, in his words,  “you’re only given a little of madness.  You must not lose it.”




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“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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“…And tonight I thank the stars, as I count my lucky scars…”

But Honestly, The Foo Fighters

A friend of mine posted this quote as a Facebook status, it immediately stuck me. The song and these lyrics have been with me for the past couple weeks and I can’t keep it cooped up in my head any longer.

How often do we take a step outside, breathe in the crisp, cool air (some places more crisp and cool than others), and simply thank the universe for another day, another hour, another moment? We can look up and lose sight of the light things around us and remind ourselves how small we are in the middle of this enormous place. Our scars remind us of not just what we have experienced, but what we have survived. And in that moment, we get lost in that incredible feeling.

We should not only be grateful for our time on earth but our own strength, our spirit, our unfailing efforts to live the life we are given.

So tonight (and every night I can), I will look up at the stars, fill my lungs with the incredible energy and light that surrounds me daily, as I remind myself once more that every experience is one for growth and even the biggest problems are only a blip, a hiccup. Fill the universe with your optimism as the universe fills you with exactly what you need… a hefty helping of hope and a reminder that you are here and have made it through it all.

Have a wonderful week, friends. Breathe it all in and remind yourself, you’ve earned your spot here.

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“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”

— Elizabeth Gilbert

As more people find their way to our blog, I think it is important to say thank you.

I do everything I can to thank the people in my life who make my life good in every sense of the world.

Please know how inspiring and motivating it is to see readers, new and seasoned vets, come by our blog and share in our optimism.

In the beginning, middle, and end, just think of many people are grateful for your presence in their lives.

For the miraculous scope of human generosity, thank you, thank you, thank you…

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“We all owe everyone for everything that happens in our lives. But it’s not owing like a debt to one person–it’s really that we owe everyone for everything. Our whole lives can change in an instant–so each person that keeps that from happening, no matter how small a role they play, is also responsible for all of it. Just by giving friendship and love, you keep the people around you from giving up–and each expression of friendship or love may be the one that makes all the difference.”

— Mary Anne Schwalbe

This quote, stolen from The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, seemed an excellent reminder of how much we depend upon other people.

Before any of you get bent out of shape as I know I might have a couple years ago, I remind you that needing people is part of the human experience. It is not a weakness to depend upon others, nor is it something you can escape. Just shy of being a hermit or a recluse, you interact with people everyday and what they do for the world will impact you. They may bring you your coffee. They may drive the bus you ride to work or gather your trash each week. You may do more for them than they could for you. Similar to the author’s relationship to our quoted speaker, this woman had given him life. (Not the easiest thank-you card to right…) They have brought you to this point in your life. They helped get you HERE. That’s a pretty astounding task when you stop to think about it.

In a season of gratitude and joy, I would remind all of us to share some of that gratitude with the people who deserve it most– the people around us daily. These are the people who light the fire in our souls. These are the people who may carpool with us to work or simply let us merge in traffic. Make gratitude something you practice constantly, no matter how big or small the act may be.

It is also in this spirit that I thank each of you. It is because of you that we do this and we hope that we can help bring you to a better place just for having read this post. We are connected by what we read, but we are also connected by so much more.

Love and light,


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“All we can do is try and live like we’re still alive.”

— Chasing the Sun, Sara Bareilles

It should come as NO surprise to you that I am posting yet another Sara Bareilles lyric. Take note that this will be the last one for a while to save you from becoming overloaded.

I’m a sucker for any song that starts with piano. You should know that from the get-go. I knew from the start I would like this song. I couldn’t imagine that the lyrics would have such a profound effect on me each and every time I hear it. It reminds all of us that we need to savor each day we are given. It reminds me that in an everyday, simple moment we can be reminded just how lucky we are to be HERE, right NOW. I sat back, loving the highs and lows of the melody and then it hit me– my favorite line.

“And the gift of my heartbeat sounds like a symphony…”

Find a tune to sing or the song in your heart and dance with life. Live your life embracing each note, each rest, each beat of your own heart.

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“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”

— Lao Tzu

I love the sentiment expressed by this quote.

I would add one more thing at the end if I had the chance…

In ALL things, be grateful.


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“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

— Marcel Proust

Anyone who knows me should find it no surprise that this is the way my mind works.

Trying to find a quote for today I thought of gratitude. I am making myself more aware of opportunities to be grateful and more inclined to thank Life DAILY for things that make me smile.

In my efforts to find a quote about gratitude, the first quote that popped up was this one. One by Marcel Proust. Here’s the part where you’re not surprised.

The only tie I have to Marcel Proust is a quote from one of my favorite shows– Gilmore Girls. And in the words of Lorelai Gilmore, my thoughts went here…

“Hmm, I never read Proust, I always wanted to. Every now and then, I’m seized with an overwhelming urge to say something like ‘As Marcel Proust would say..’ but of course I have no idea what Marcel Proust would say so I don’t even go there. I could do, uh, ‘As Micheal Crichton would say…’ but it’s not exactly the same, you know?”

While we may never have exactly the right words that can express our gratitude (and while Marcel Proust can help, but only so much), rest assured that the act of thinking, feeling, and living “gratitude” brings about a life that exudes gratitude.

For the people who make us smile, for the “pay-it-forward” do-gooders who make our days, for sunshine, for snowflakes, and everything in-between.

Think grateful. Live grateful. Speak grateful. Breathe grateful. BE grateful.


“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”

— Abraham Lincoln

Your little successes. Your enormous accomplishments. Think of the person or people who were cheering you on. Be grateful.

And if you’re on your way towards something good, remind yourself– “They are here for me. They deserve my best.”



“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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