Monthly Archives: April 2013

4/24/13 – I will greet this day with love in my heart

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The first thing I do every morning is pull a quote out of my quote box that I got from my girls for my 30th birthday. This morning was no different. After a night of tears and a walk down memory lane, I woke up more tired than usual with swollen eyes and a noticeable sadness in my heart. and reached for my quote. I don’t think it could have been put any better:

“I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I do this?

Henceforth will I look on all things with love and be born again.

I will love the sun for it warms my bones;

Yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit.

I will love the light for it shows me the way;

Yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars.

I will welcome happiness as it enlarges by heart;

Yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul.

I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due;

Yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.”

– Og Mandino

This is how I will greet this day. For today is a whole different day than it was yesterday. Today is a new day and I’m reminded more than ever that life is short and that I must count my blessings, loving all the gifts life brings my way no matter how they present themselves. From the sun to the rain, the light to the darkness, happiness to sadness and rewards to obstacles, all of these things help to create me and my life and, today, I am grateful for all of them and I will greet this day with love in my heart.

Yesterday, my community at home in Georgia suffered the loss of a wonderful man way too soon. Yesterday our Brookwood community said goodbye to Ryan Figlestahler, better known as Fig. It seems like decades ago I walked into my first day at Five Forks Middle School, a transplant from a rival school crossing the line to Brookwood to attend the school my mother taught at. Other than those I spent my summers with growing up at River Oak, I knew very few people. The 8th grade is a tough place to introduce yourself to a new group of people that have grown up together. With my best friend at my side, my 8th grade year began and Fig was one of the first few to make me feel at home. Maybe it’s because he was my best friend’s ex and first boyfriend, or maybe it was because his mother also worked at the school, either way, he did. And so my middle school crush began haha I “loved” Fig so much that he even made the list that I had on the inside of my bedroom door (with permanent marker I might add…sorry, Mom!). Don’t ask me why, but starting around age 10 I found it necessary to Sharpie a list down the inside of my door with “I …” and their appropriate initials. Alas, Fig, #56 if I remember correctly, never “loved” me back. It’s funny how those middle school crushes don’t seem to pan out 😉 From that year on we remained friends. He was always such a kind soul and could make anyone laugh. His smile and energy were contagious and I can still hear his voice in my head to this day and see him dancing in the hall outside Mrs. Laney’s room. Over the years since high school we kept in touch via Facebook and through our moms. We had chats every couple of months catching up, I would wish him well wishes on his fight with this monster he was battling and we would always comment back and forth on statuses and photos; bickering about college football and the sort.

When I heard the news last night of Ryan’s passing I was stopped dead in my tracks. The past few months I’ve focused on my own battles: physical, emotional and professional. My problems seemed so big to me and work deadlines last night had me stressed out. All of a sudden though, my problems didn’t matter any more. My work, although maybe late, would still be here today, and the world would go on regardless; mine would at least. Although I walked in pain, I would still be able to walk. And, although the pain of losing my father sometimes seemed harder to battle than others, I was going to be okay. What mattered was that a 30 year old friend lost his life too soon. That a young man from an amazing family, was taken from them and his new fiance in the blink of an eye. That one of the tightest group of young men I know, lost one of their best friends. That a community, that I’m more than proud to be a part of, lost one of their own. That’s what mattered. As I cried with my mother and then with my best friend over a few phone calls, I kept a constant eye on social media as the love and thoughts and prayers of HUNDREDS began to poor in. It takes an amazing individual to have this kind of affect. My news feed, from top to bottom, was FULL of so much love and energy and unity. I was blown away! It was in this moment that my sympathetic heart began to fill with love and memories and I felt the strongest connection I have in years to HOME.

Who knew that when I walked into a new middle school 17 to 18 years ago I was walking into such a tight knit and unified community. Is anyone else from Brookwood in awe of the love and support being given to the Figlestahler family? It’s beautiful and it’s inspiring and such a testament to my faith in humanity.

Thank you, Ryan Fig, for showing us all how to live and how to fight. Thank you Mrs. Fig for always loving us girls (and guys for that matter, but I can’t speak for you) like we were your own and for loving my mother like you do and for always being there for her. Thank you, Figlestahler family, for being a piece of the Brookwood puzzle. Such a large piece that represents the love that this community has for its members. It’s been 12 years since we crossed that stage at BHS, we have all moved on with our lives, grown up and become adults. Many of us have families of our own and we all have our own day to day battles that we face. But at the end of the day, when one of our own struggles and is taken from us too soon, we come back together. Oh how I am grateful for Social Media today. Some days it may seem juvenile,  but when used appropriately it can take those that have been separated by the different roads of life and bring them back “home”.

Thank you, Brookwood, for welcoming me so many years ago and for teaching me what it’s like to belong to something bigger. Thank you for being so full of love and for not being afraid to share it with the world. Ryan Fig, only you could bring a class of almost 700 people together again this way. For that, I am grateful. I’m not grateful for the circumstance, but grateful for the reminder of what really matters in life. We will always love you and we will ALL be there for your family for the rest of their days as they mourn your loss and celebrate your life.

This is a photo of Ryan I found in his Facebook photos as I was digging through to find a photo that is a perfect representation of him and his personality.  Dance on, Fig!

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4/22/13 – We’re all just kind of winging it!

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“It’s makes me happy to know that none of us get a how-to guide. We’re all just kind of winging it.”

I wonder a lot of the time, “Am I doing this right? Is this what I’m supposed to do in life? At what age should I be doing x,y and z?” And then I re-read this quote (which is saved in my camera roll) and I feel SO much better! What a great reminder, huh? No one in this world gets a how-to guide for life, we all are really just winging it. When I remember that, I’m relieved. It also reminds me not to compare my life to the lives of others, because no one is doing it “right” or “wrong” per se, we are all just doing what we can and what is “right” or “wrong” for us as individuals. When you think of it this way, we are all creating our own, individual “how-to” guides as the days go by and once our guides are done, they get tossed in the trash. Once we have finished our journeys in this world, our how-to guides then become how-we did guides and no one will ever have the same journey as us, making our guides useless once we pass on. Day by day, experience by experience, our journeys create our guides, there is no guide that creates our journeys.

4/16/13 – We owe our children

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“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” – Nelson Mandela

I’ve thought a lot since the incidents at yesterday’s Boston Marathon and my thoughts are all over the map, they go in circles and there are too many feelings and emotions to wrap my mind around. I can’t comprehend the levels of hate that some people are capable of. I can’t imagine ever hurting ANY ONE. I can’t fathom the pain and emptiness that some people must feel to their core to be able to commit such crimes like happened yesterday. And I hope that I never feel so lost and alone that I lose the ability to care for other human beings other than myself.

But the one thing that I DO know for sure is that the children of our world deserve better than this. They deserve to grow up in a peaceful world, free of violence and war, without fear of what may be lurking behind any corner, without fear of strangers and the unknown. They deserve to be loved and to know love like it’s their best friend. They deserve to be taught about the good in people and how to accept and care about all of humanity.

I don’t have the answers of how to fix hate in this world, I’m not sure that any one does, but I do know that if those of us that are full of love continue to spread that love and good energy that we can have an affect on those that cross our paths. And if those that cross our paths continue to spread that same love and energy, it will get us somewhere better than where we are now.

If only our nation could come together every day like they do post tragedies, oh the power we could have! For now, I will just continue to do my part!

4/15/13 – Pursuing Unanswerable Questions

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“Perhaps the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.” – Rachel Naomi Remen

Ain’t that the truth! I don’t have much to add to this blog post today except to say, get out and see the world with good company. We may never get all of our questions answered but I think the answer to unasked questions comes in their pursuit. When you set out seeking answers to the unknown, so many other things can be learned in the process. It’s a beautiful place out there with so much to teach us!

4/12/13 – The words of Elizabeth Gilbert (again…)

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There is one book in this world that I have found so far that ALWAYS has a quote for my mood and my emotions….Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for giving us your story through “Eat, Pray, Love”. Such a beautiful gift that I carry with me daily. Today, it was just what I needed…again 😉

 “At some point, as Richard keeps telling me, you gotta let go and sit still and allow contentment to come to you.
Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well – that would be the end of the universe. But try dropping it….Sit quietly for now and cease your relentless participation. Watch what happens. The birds do not crash dead out of the sky in mid-flight, after all. The trees do not wither and die, the rivers do not run red with blood. Life continues to go on…. Why are you so sure that your micromanagement of every moment in this whole world is so essential? Why don’t you let it be?” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love


She also says this about letting go and forgiveness that weighs us down. As some have said, it’s the apology we never get that is the most important apology to forgive.

“Offer it up personally,then. Right now. I thought of how many people go to their graves unforgiven and unforgiving. I thought of how many people have had siblings or friends or children or lovers disappear from their lives before precious words of clemency or absolution could be passed along. How do the survivors of terminated relationships ever endure the pain of unfinished business? From that place of meditation, I found the answer-you can finish the business yourself, from within yourself. It’s not only possible, it’s essential.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

4/10/13 – The picture in our head

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“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.” – Unknown

I think about my dad EVERY day…pretty much all day if I’m being honest…and I think I get the most upset when I tell myself that it wasn’t supposed to be this way, that he is supposed to still be in my life. But after reading this quote for probably the 100th time, I’m starting to look at it all a little differently. Why wasn’t it supposed to be this way? Why do I think that for some reason I would have my father in my life for longer? That’s what screws me up, that’s what gets me all emotional, thinking that he is SUPPOSED to be here. Just because the picture in my head has my dad here with me longer doesn’t mean that is reality. Acceptance is a hard thing, I tell ya, but if I can start to change the picture in my head to the picture of my reality, maybe the pain won’t be as bad. Maybe I can look back on the memory of my father and be grateful for all I DID have while he WAS here, focusing on what he taught me and how I can keep him in my life forever through my thoughts and actions, instead of focusing on how awful it is that he isn’t here in person now.

Huh…I think I just had an Ah-ha moment while typing haha Wow, that picture in our head really does screw us up. No one knows how life is SUPPOSED to be before it all happens, because what is SUPPOSED to be is actually present day reality.