move, you are not a tree.

if you don't like where you are, move. you are not a tree.  - Jim Rohn

- have you ever been so deliriously happy that you pinch yourself to make sure your blood is still circulating?

I have.

- have you ever been so paralysed with grief and fear that you start to question everything you've ever known?

I have.

if life's an ocean, I've been trapped in the surf, trying to find which way is up between being tossed into the sand and broken shells pieces with each capsizing wave.

if you've ever lost a piece of yourself, then you know, suddenly all of the other parts feel…unbalanced, like they're suddenly not quite enough, despite the fact that everything worked perfectly fine before. but before is gone and after brings something quite different to the surface.

recently, thanks to the love and support of my beautiful boyfriend, I've been asking myself some hard questions in order to get that balance back. Together, we've decided to make our lives - and our life together - more purposeful. because, when faced with a loss so great, you have to ask yourself who you are when you wake up every morning, change needs to happen. sorrow can only drag you down for so long before you start to suffocate. anxiety and fear can only steal so many days from you before you have too few left. and as Patrick continues to remind me, again and again, there is no victory in letting the same drug that killed my brother take my life as well. 

so I've been challenged. questioning who I am, what I want my mission to be and how my life's actions can honor my brothers life. and for the past three months, every single one of those answers has been followed up with a "but…", "what if…", or "I'm afraid of…"

not anymore. after weeks - months - of helping me sort through the waves, Patrick finally looked at me and said, "Nicole, I know what I want for you. but you need to know what you want. If you could make your decision without fear, what would you do? What does your life look like?" 

yes, he is the best thing God has ever given me (in addition to parents who are always on my team, and a brother who will always be looking out for me) and he's helping me make my - and our - dreams come true by leading by example. I have been blessed with the amazing opportunity to support him in what he loves. Next week, Patrick takes a big step toward making his career dreams come true, and I couldn't be more proud of, or amazed by him. but enough bragging about the boyfriend.

what are you afraid of? are you living the life you want to lead? is this how your story ends? because, when it comes to making big changes, I've recently learned, that growth only begins when you want something more than you fear it. "It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan" - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Eat well. Live well. Be well.