Power and Love and Self-Control

There are a million words yet no words at the same time. I’ll give this post my best shot, because it’s worth it.

Black lives matter. The murder of George Floyd is an act that ought to be condemned. There needs to be justice for George Floyd, his family, and for all people of color who have been oppressed and, evidently, suffocated to the point of death under systemic racism in America since its onset.

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I am not too shy about my views on life issues (i.e., divisive ones like abortion), and the issue of racism is one of those life issues.

This post from @rachel.cargle is striking. The actions we take and the words we speak in the Black Lives Matter movement are not to be in vain. This is what I am hearing from many black people, whether they are close friends or strangers. The gist is: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Yes, this should be true for ANY life issue. Yes, this movement is getting a lot of attention right now. But major events that gain attention, despite the chaos, can stir up genuine good and necessary change. We are not forgetting other causes nor minimizing them, but for something as important, real, longstanding, and stifled as the issue of racism in America, there is a very clear need for action and tangible, expedient change.

It is easy to be complacent and tired of all of this, but if we can muster up a little bit of energy to, in some minuscule way, lay down our life for a brother or sister, please Lord, help us to help.

Act. It is not wise to “sign x, y, z because everyone is signing this and it’s probably good.” You have the faculties given to you to make an informed, conscientious decision about which petitions to sign, which organizations to support, or which posts to share.

Make the decision because you know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and the implied WORK it requires you to do after you donate, sign, post, etc. Please be responsible, not just reactive.

Be honest in your research and be okay with hearing “both sides.” You might find a sense of good in both sides of the conversation. You might find discomfort or disgust in elements of both sides of the conversation. Ask yourself why. Talk to people with an open heart. Seek to understand.

In all of this though, the priority is to listen to those who are being oppressed (i.e., black people).

If you are not sure where to even start, here are suggestions:

  • For a concise, honest, and helpful understanding of the Black Lives Matter Movement, watch this. Although I do not condone any sort of violence or crime, this video provides perspective on the deep, unspeakable pain that is yielding such actions. Additionally, I have seen and heard of many instances where black people are the ones preventing others (of various races) from destroying businesses and hurting others. There are riots, yes, but there are many necessary peaceful protests, where a majority of the protestors actually condemn any violence and destruction. Nevertheless, I am learning more and more that the riots and looting are coming from a place of extremely long-standing oppression and systemic inequity against black people (watch this). There can be an understanding of rioting and looting without condoning it. And most importantly, in understanding why it is happening, it has pushed me to realize the urgency and duty of addressing the “why” — to seek out true reform; to get dirty and serve underserved areas; to speak with my vote; and to empower young people of color with my time, energy, and money so that change can happen from the bottom up. In other words, I need to do what needs to be done so that black people do not ever feel that their only chance to be heard and loved is by rioting and looting. Who put them in such a position in the first place? Even if I did not ever personally place a black person in a position of poverty and inequity, to not do anything about it now is to do just that.
  • For my Catholic friends who are not sure how Catholics are responding or how they ought to respond, watch this and this and read this. Pray and fast for justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, for real upheaval of systemic racism (which will take a lot of time, so you’ll probably be praying for it for your whole life), and for respect for black lives. Ask God to shine a light on any prejudices in your own heart, and ask Him to uproot them. Pray about how God is calling you to act against racism, and follow.
  • For those who are wondering why the Black Lives Matter movement seems to be getting so much more attention and momentum vs. the fight for unborn lives (hint: the issues are not dissociated from one another), watch this (I have linked the particular part of the video that addresses this question).
  • For petitions to sign, organizations to support, and a plethora of other resources, go here.
  • For a history on police in America, listen to this.
  • For Boston friends who seek to support local organizations that empower young people of color, consider donating to African Community Education and Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester. One of my friends, who is an immigrant from Ethiopia, said that he believes real change will happen only if black people are in positions of power, and that starts with true nourishment and quality education from a young age.
  • Support local black-owned businesses (Boston list of black-owned restaurants).
  • Start a book club with friends. Be open to conversation, and remember that you can use the opportunity to LISTEN. Discuss what you agree and disagree with, but listen. My friends and I will read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I also recommend Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin.

Systemic, but always interpersonal. Someone told me that change still comes down to the interactions that we have with the people in front of us. And this does not mean to shut out the world and live in one’s own bubble, because ignorance of the sufferings outside of one’s own immediate environment is part of the problem. But truly, how do you love the person in front of you today?

Does loving them mean having a tough conversation about the reality of racism? Does loving them mean reminding them of their worth, power, and love, so that they can go and pour out to others and be inspired to do something bigger than themselves?

And then after being informed about the the injustices and atrocities against black people in America, after honestly praying and educating yourself about the history of racism, how can you go to black people within your community and love them? Or at least donate to them? And if you are really not physically amidst black people, then how can you reach out beyond your community?

Look to those who do it well. I will share below some Saints who I know have worked against racism and slavery as Catholics. White people within the Catholic Church have indeed participated in racism in the past and some likely still do today. Please remember these people are imperfect and sinful human beings who act of their own accord. What is important, however, is that even their evil racism did not keep black people from the Love of Jesus Christ in the Church.

For example:

Above all, I find that Jesus Christ proves to be the answer to everything. He knows unjust condemnation. He knows racism. He knows judgement from others. He knows contempt. He knows poverty. He knows the pain of being brutally murdered for no reason.

Yet He, the Victim, gives Wisdom. He, the Victim, gives Mercy. He, the Victim, gives Power. He, the Victim, gives Peace. He, the Victim, gives Joy. He, the Victim, gives Love.

He is everything broken, impoverished, and slandered, yet He is everything good and triumphant.

My friends, my words here are not perfect. This is important though. And please, teach me more if you can, and help me to amplify black voices. Help me to love others more.

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“‘Teacher, which are the two greatest commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The second is like it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'”

Matthew 22:34-40

Go forth in power, love, and self-control. Black lives matter.

Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2016}

Dear 2016 Alison,

It’s been one heck of a year. A lot of people are hating on 2016, but bad things happen every year. There has also been a lot of good that 2016 brought to the world, such as the canonization of Mother Teresa, the summer Olympics, and a whole lot of other things that you didn’t even realize happened until you Googled it just now.

But look at what God has blessed YOU with in 2016…

January

You tried the highly acclaimed BodyPump for the first time, and it was fine. You also bonded with fellow bloggers and good friends in NYC — with Colby over Lloyd’s incredible carrot cake and with Christine over Asian food (lol). I forgot that you contemplated Whole 30 for a while! But you know dairy and grains aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. On the college front, you learned a little more about how to deal with stress, and you started your little “Five Minute Friday” series! *squishes your cheeks*

February

HAHA remember when your exercise physiology professor pointed her laser at you in front of the whole class!? Of course you do. Your second sophomore semester would not have been complete without an embarrassing story. Bucket listing with Rachel is going strong. You learned in nutrition class that you need more carbs and less protein (about 3x less protein). You gave up makeup (among other things) for Lent, which was hard, but thank God for your friends pushing you to be better. Retreat was this month!! Don’t forget that it is improbable that you are where you are now. Also, you have some dang good looking friends #winemoms.

March

Looking good in that VO2Max test in exercise physiology… But eyyyy, SPRING BREAK! A couple fun road trips with Joe and Louis, good food at home, and a heck of a lot of sriracha. You also snuck into a bar, you rebel! *low key fist bump* But you ordered a Shirley Temple anyway, haha. Sarah, founder of Fit University, invited you to take one of her first Cyc classes, and she kicked your butt. Lastly, Easter was the perfect ending to a pretty spectacular month ♥︎

April

I’m proud of you for finally pulling off a decent April Fools’ joke. Annual swing dancing is always fun, and you should keep it up. This month included the first annual St. Sebastian Cup with the Catholic Center, and it was a BLAST, although you did get beat up pretty badly. Make sure you win in 2017. You convinced some friends to work out with you, which was so fun! Do more of that. Never stop supporting Jordan in her fashion shows. And always make pancakes with Rachel for Marathon Monday like you did this year.

May

Sophomore year — check! And Ben graduated college, go him! You and the fam took a celebratory trip to Stowe, VT, which is a pretty rad place. Hiking, Ben & Jerry’s, special peanut butter, what more could you want? You also stayed at BU for commencement weekend, where you saw a lot of your close friends graduate *tear*. OMG I think my heart breaks/melts/explodes all at the same time when I think about your time with Fiona and Rachel at Fiona’s summer house. 48 hours unplugged never felt so amazing. You started your summer job (that you almost ruined) at a rehabilitation hospital. You also turned TWO DECADES old! Lastly, we can never forget the beautiful Katie Anne, who passed away this month. She was a light and a joy to us all.

June

Poop therapy“, huh? You mean pool therapy, silly. In addition to enjoying work, you realized a few important lessons: you need to simplify your lifeyou cannot let the mirror steal your joyinternet addictions are real, and fitness is more than just skills and numbers. You also learned that the stress of starting something new can cause tummy troubles (you’re not lactose intolerant, hallelujah! but Lactaid was a tasty discovery). Lots of emotions were churning this month with the nation’s tragedies. You got a “Dora the Explorer” haircut according to some people (-_-) You always get mixed reviews on your short haircuts. Go be a tourist in your own backyard more often with some friends!! Really, just go back to get a Levain Bakery cookie again.

July

You started taking initiative with learning more current events. What happened?? Get back on that train! Then came the best vacation ever — a Caribbean cruise with the family and your family friends for your parents’ 25th anniversary! So much food. Monkeys on your head. So many beautiful places. AND YOU MET US THE DUO AND BASICALLY BECAME FRIENDS WITH THEM!!! Another great part of the vacation? Not feeling the need to compensate afterward. You shared everything about your current fitness situation. I’m glad you are, above all, having fun with fitness. I’m also glad that you don’t get as stressed if you’re not hungry before a big planned meal.

August

Can you make this artichoke chicken pasta dish again?? I forgot you made that. Also, make that Brazilian cheese bread soon. Working at the rehab hospital definitely helped you become more of a grown up, I’d say. This year’s Olympics were pretty stellar (especially on the US women’s gymnastics front!). You had zero emotions regarding leaving for study abroad in Ireland… If only you knew what was in store. Your grandparents celebrated their 50th Golden Anniversary!! How inspiring. And you celebrated three short years of blogging. It’s been a great adventure though. You also got your first stethoscope from the physical therapists at work, oooooo!

September

You flew to Ireland to study there for 3.5 months! But first your family + family friends did some serious foodie work in NYC. Wowza. In Ireland, you faced some comparison trap struggles, but you powered through. Ugh, I miss the scones, greenery, and mayyyybe even the ability to drink alcohol in Ireland. Also all those desserts. You had your first Aibnb experience in Galway (still the best Airbnb ever)! Howth and the Cliffs of Moher were two of the most beautiful sights you’d ever seen. You finally learned that education should be about a desire to learn, not a desire to “just do well.” You were also challenged in your beliefs, which was scary but actually very fortifying for your faith at the end of the day.

October

“Booze and Grooves” (coined by your friend Ben) commenced during your class field trip to Northern Ireland. You really started settling into your routine in Ireland at this point. I know that saying “yes” isn’t always easy for you, but you really learned how to do that more while abroad. You even went out on a whim and planned a last minute wine and cheese night for everyone in the program! Then came the European trip of a lifetime, which started with Zurich, Switzerland (so expensive). Then to Padua (where you got to practice your Italian right away), Assisi (BEST PLACE ON EARTH), and finally, Rome (thank God for priest and seminarian friends/family and Pope Francis!). I’m proud of you and Megan for traveling on your own through foreign countries. ALSO proud of you for starting Harry Potter together!!!

November

Brunch game in Dublin was so strong. You did some more exploring in the gorgeous country of Ireland. This was also your first Thanksgiving away from home, but Friendsgiving with the people in your program was so heartwarming (and yummy). You also started your internship at a physiotherapy clinic in Dublin this month! You learned all about dry needling, myofascial trigger points, and massage therapy. And now you give great massages 🙂

December

Congrats! You know how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. More importantly, you know that 100% recovery is possible. Now that you’re a Harry Potter fan, Scotland was one of the most magical places you’ve ever visited. And just like that — your semester in Ireland flew by in the blink of an eye. You grew and learned more than you could have ever imagined in those 3.5 months. Coming home was so sweet though. And now you’re finishing up a food-tastic vacation with the fam in Florida!

Keep working on being a good listener to other people.

Keep an open mind.

Keep pursuing a deep relationship with God.

Here’s to a new year,

2017 Alison

Three Years of Movin’ and Groovin’

Popcorn is the most underrated snack of all time.

I’ve been eating Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop (both kettle and sea salt flavors) like it’s the only food in the world these past few weeks.

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Go pop a bag for yourself or buy Angie’s (not sponsored) because we are celebrating today!!

Actually we’re celebrating something that happened last week, because I’m apparently terrible at remembering my blog anniversary.

As of August 7th, Daily Moves and Grooves is three years old and counting!

I’m not really feeling a super sentimental post (my brain is pretty fried this week), so here are a bunch of random tidbits regarding the journey of this lil ol’ blog.

Most Used Tags

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Me When I Started The Blog

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Me Now DSC_2503

Just kidding, I do care evidently. Do I look older than 12 years old yet?

First Workout Ever Posted

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Foods I Used To Eat All The Time But Not Recently

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classic school snack

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I miss Naturally Nutty!

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I used to have this for dessert every night

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These roasted edamame were CRACK

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Yogurt bowls, why did I ever stop?!

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peanut butter puffins — still my favorite cereal

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homemade French toast

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Amanda’s cookie dough oatmeal smoothie with Greek yogurt to dip. I’d still dig it.

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soft boiled eggs

But Some Things Don’t Change

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dried figs with Greek yogurt

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avocado toast with eggs (October 2013)

brussels

brussels sprouts (December 2013)

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oats with drippy nut butter (but I haven’t had sunflower seed butter in a long time! also haven’t used the “chalice” in a while – May 2014)

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banana baked goods with nut butter (May 2014)

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overnight oats in a jar (May 2014)

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oatmeal cookie dough cereal (January 2014)

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ice cream/soft serve (April 2014)

Regular Posts That Are No Longer Regular

I used to participate in Katie’s “Marvelous in My Monday“, but I stopped that long ago.

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I haven’t done a “What I Ate Wednesday” in quite a while, but I used to do one every single week.

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I used to have a link love post called “Fascinating Friday Links”, but then I went to college and stopped.

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But I do still “think out loud” with Amanda fairly regularly! 🙂

Thinking-Out-Loud

How My “Day in the Life” Has Changed Through Seasons (My Favorite Kinds of Posts to Read)

Day in the Life of a High School Student

Day in the Life, High School, Take Two

Vacation Day in the Life

Day in the Life of a First Semester College Freshman

Day in the Life of a Second Semester College Freshman

Day in the Life {Last Month of Freshman Year}

Day in the Life During Summer Internship and Domestic Duties

Day in the Life Vlog – Trying to Eat More

Day in the Life of a Ninja

Day in the Life of a First Semester College Sophomore

Day in the Life of a Second Semester College Sophomore

Day in the Life During Summer Job at Rehab Hospital

Cool Things This Blog Has Seen

// First and Only Prom //

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// Graduation from High School //

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// Starting College //

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// Meeting Lifelong Friends //

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// Epic Vacations //

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Colorado 2015

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Blend 2015

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spring break 2015

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Florida winter break 2014-2015

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Florida with Daliza summer 2014

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Fourth of July in Boston + Tori Kelly Concert 2015

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Portland and Seattle 2015

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Stowe, Vermont 2016

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Fiona’s summer house 2016

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best Caribbean cruise ever 2016

// An Ongoing Recovery Journey //

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// A Perpetual Faith Journey //

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Some of My Favorite Posts

I Used to Have Hips ➔ first time really opening up about my disordered eating experiences

Hey, I Love You ➔ We love you, Katie ♥︎

Reflecting on My Exercise…Again ➔ being honest with myself about my amenorrhea

How To Be a Good Friend in College ➔ so many good memories

Being Extraordinarily Ordinary ➔ my life in a nutshell

I’m Not Her ➔ I need this constant reminder

The Great NYC Food Tour {A Story} ➔ sometimes I like to be creative with my blog posts

Your Story Matters and It’s Beautiful ➔ I promise.

Now that I’ve cried about 4 times while writing this “non-sentimental” anniversary blog post, I’m gonna end it here.

This blog has led me to more people, joys, heartbreaks, and lessons than I could have ever imagined. I thank God for all those who take the time to read and support my wacky (but always honest) writings. Thank you with all my heart.

Consider yourself hugged from behind while you’re peacefully eating your breakfast.

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Here’s to more years of movin’ and groovin’!

Chronicles of Becoming a Grownup II

This is the most hippie thing I’ve ever posted.

I posted “Chronicles of Becoming a Grownup” a year ago (right about this time in the summer too!). And since they are chronicles, there must be subsequent posts!

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I even posted a photo of this exact breakfast in that post. This was yesterday’s breakfast (oatmeal cookie dough cereal via Fitnessista)

This is a quote from my first chronicle post a year ago:

“And don’t get me started on the mental/emotional/spiritual changes and revelations that are occurring as I become a grownup. To be chronicled in the future…”

Lo and behold. ‘Tis the future, and I am going to tell you about some of those mental/emotional/spiritual changes and revelations riiiiiight now.

Alternative title for this post: “Oh, That’s Why That’s a Cliche!

1) Revelation #1: Long story short— my coworker and I were blamed by a patient for unfairly helping another patient at the first patient’s expense. I have learned that I literally cannot make everyone happy, even if my colleagues and I are trying our very best to do so.

2) Adding on to revelation #1: I have to remember not to take things too personally and not to ruminate on how bad I feel about disappointing someone. It reminds me to help people NOT because I gain validation and appreciation but because I truly do care for them. I have to be willing to help, even if I know someone does not like me or he/she might have a negative response.

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3) Revelation #2: It’s easy to revert back to my former self when I’m back at home with my family. Sometimes I forget that I don’t “have to” be the baby of the family and I don’t have to bicker with family like I used to.

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4) Revelation #3: I find little things a lot funnier than I did when I was a teenager (yes, I know I just became a non-teen 2 months ago). Older folks have so many funny antics and hilarious things to say! Sometimes they’re not the nicest, but that applies to human beings in general.

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5) Revelation #4: I find it easier to understand why people act/react in inhospitable ways, especially as I work in a healthcare setting, and I thus feel a little less offended if someone is rude towards me. Not that rudeness is justified, but it can be more understandable.

6) Adding onto revelation #4: I’m (more often, but not always) slower to judge others by isolated character flaws.

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6) Revelation #5: The more I learn about others’ hard realities and the stresses that everyone works through in order to “make it”, the easier it becomes to despair sometimes. But there is a difference between empathy and straight up despair. Despair doesn’t help anyone. I cannot justify my sulking just because everyone else is sulking. Get out of your hole (and it’s okay to ask for help!), and someone else might be inspired to pick up his/her head as well.

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7) Adding onto revelation #5: Spread joy. ← I used to cringe at how cliche and grossly cheesy that phrase is, but the world can never, ever get enough of it. I don’t know about you, but a genuine smile or compliment can seriously make my day.

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8) Revelation #6: You want to be loved. I want to be loved. The person next door wants to be loved. Everyone wants to be loved, so START LOVING. Don’t wait on others. How to love is a whole ‘nother post (or two).

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9) Revelation #7: Cliches remain cliches until you realize why they’re cliches. Then they become ingrained life lessons. But of course, just because I learned these lessons a few times doesn’t mean that I don’t completely ignore them and allow my selfish/itch-bay side come out at times. #It’sAProcess

10) Revelation #8: GIFs are my favorite modern way of communicating the inner recesses of my brain.

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Hope you have a marvelous Thursday! Just love (like Us the Duo says in this great song):

So tell me:

What are some revelations you’ve had as you became/are becoming a grownup? Can you relate to any of mine here?

What is one cliche that is particularly relevant in your life right now?

Something that has brought you joy this past week!

Thinking-Out-Loud

joining Amanda’s party today!