This little light of mine.

Rob has a job, and I’m making some money.

Rob’s about to sign up for an online degree program. My graduation day (although 2 1/2 years away) gets closer and closer every day.

Riley is growing and learning and being the most wonderful little person EVER. Micah is due any day now, and (almost) everything is ready for his arrival.

I’m currently taking my time to finish a project for my Nursing Care Management: Maternal & Child Care Class. The weather is just the right mix of sunny/sun showers/cool breezes that make me wanna cuddle in bed with a book and a loved one. And in between studying for exams and finishing my project, I find myself reading a lot of magazines, which has got me wanting to buy a lot of things, which has got me excited about the idea of living the way I want to live.

Here’s the thing about living the way that you want to live: It doesn’t just have to do with you. I totally believe that the biggest part of the puzzle (and the hardest part of the puzzle to achieve) is learning what makes you tick, figuring out what you want out of life, and being confident and happy in your own skin. After that, though, there’s a myriad of other issues to contend with. The truth is, as much as we’d like to believe we’re in charge of our own fates, we’re all affected by our environments.

The government in which you live, the culture by which you are surrounded, the attitudes that form your social sphere – all of it affects your life. That’s why it’s a big deal when the place where you’re living doesn’t recognize you as a “real person”, or doesn’t allow you to get married, or doesn’t understand you. It’s a big deal when your family has a lot of dysfunctional ideas. It’s a big deal when all of your peers seem different from you.

The thing is, very often, we don’t have control over our circumstances. We can only decide our own needs, desires, attitudes and actions. We can only have power over our own ideas and behavior. By living in a culture that is the antithesis of my own upbringing, I’ve realized the importance of being the very best version of myself. Because in doing so, I’m not only following Ghandi’s instruction to be the change I want to see in the world, I’m also following my own ideas, giving life to my own thoughts, and generally allowing myself to be free. It’s a lesson I needed badly, and one that I hope to carry with me forevermore.

This is the truth, and it’s something that I live by, too: No matter where you are or what you’re surrounded by, you’re always going to need your inner light to shine. You must trust yourself as your own spirit guide. You must not be afraid or doubtful of your own power and value. And you must never never never take yourself or your unique perspectives for granted.

You deserve to shine.

Right now, my light is shining brighter than ever. It’s a beacon of hope that leads me into the future I want.

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