College Or Crime?

I’ve been slacking on this blogging thing, but something has been heavy on my heart lately. I don’t talk much about my major or what I want to do with my life unless someone asks, and the same goes for most of my other opinions on what I would called “heated” topics.


Normally I stop myself when I go to post a link to an article on Facebook that pertains to one of these topics and nine times out of ten I just don’t post it or I find myself stumped as to what to say about it. I have feared offending anyone with what my actual thoughts were and I’ve backed down from criticism on something I strongly believe in. Too often I think to myself how pathetic it is that I even have to stop and think about what might offend someone when in fact my major and my passion is FULL of controversial topics that people need to be challenged with. I almost feel hypocritical when I question myself. My end goal is to give youth a voice. To give the underprivileged a voice. I want to give a voice to those that are too often silenced or ignored.

But how can I do that when my own fears are only inhibiting my own voice? How can I give someone else a voice when I am too busy silencing my own?

That being said, I’m done being afraid to offend someone. I don’t want to quiet the issues that need to be heard. As I said, people need to be challenged with issues that they can in fact play a part in helping right with this very moment.

I want people to understand why I chose the major that I did, and why I want to do what I want to do.

As high school was coming to an end I was pressured with the same question all seniors are…”Where do you want to go to college and what do you want to study?” I knew that I wanted to help people, and the obvious answer to that was to become a nurse. Because how else does a girl help someone? I started out on my journey, and the amount of roadblocks I ran into seemed infinite to someone who just wanted to reach her end goal. I wanted it so bad that I even took on a night shift at the hospital while still going to school so that I could get my foot in the door and start helping people in any way that I could. I started out as a patient sitter. For over a year I spent my entire 12 hour shifts sitting in a room with confused patients, violent patients, suicidal patients. In that time I was screamed at, swung at, smacked, bitten. But I was also humbled by those that thanked me, by the families that thanked me for caring for their loved ones despite the difficulties, and by the people who just needed someone to be there and to listen. Eventually I moved up to a care tech and for the last year I spent at the hospital I worked on a trauma/ortho floor where my eyes were opened to a whole new adventure I never knew I would be taking. I took a year off school after I realized that nursing wasn’t for me, but I continued to work at the hospital as it was a stable, well-paying job for the time being. In my time on the trauma floor I witnessed numerous amounts of victims that were stabbed and shot. They fell victim to domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and some of them ended up paralyzed for the rest of their lives. I saw children…yes, children…that ranged as young as 13 or 14 all the way up to their 20’s. I saw mothers and families and friends that suffered along side their loved one. I witnessed tears, I saw death, I heard cries of pain and suffering. And every single thing I witnessed made me see that there are issues that go much deeper, there are issues that lead to why these youth are coming into hospitals with bullet holes in their bodies.

I know what you’re thinking…they probably did something to deserve it. And you know what? Before I worked at the hospital, before I took care of these people, before I saw where they came from…I would have said the same thing. And while there are many different circumstances and situations and variables, there are so many of these people…so many of these children and young adults that are in these situations due to circumstances they either can’t help or don’t know how to help. Many come from underprivileged neighborhoods and broken families. Many of them are in gangs as a means of survival. Many of them have educational levels well below where they should be because of the schools they come from and the lack of resources they are provided to help them succeed. They have parents in jail and have seen or known one or more people that have been killed. As part of one of my juvenile delinquency classes I had the privilege to take a tour of our local family and juvenile court and got to speak with 11 teen boys that were in a unit awaiting trial. During our question and answer period the boys were asked what they thought the number one crime was that juveniles committed. The response was stealing cars. As one boy raised his hand I wasn’t really prepared for what he was going to say. He told us that it was safer for him to steal a car to drive somewhere than walk because it took longer and he would be less likely to be shot. My mind was blown. This 13-year old boy thought stealing a car was in more or less words the key to hopefully saving his own life. The boys were asked to raise their hands in accordance to the following group of questions, and when asked how many of them had known someone who had been killed every single boy on the unit raised their hands. There were eleven of them and not one of them kept their hand down. They were then asked how many of them had a male figure in their life that they could look up to, and only about 3 of 4 of them put there hands up. They were then asked what it was that they needed and what they need from us as students about to graduate…they all responded that they needed mentors. They needed safe and fun things to do. They needed someone to come to school with them. They needed someone to help them with their homework. And one of them simply responded that he wanted someone to take him out to eat. At that point I was nearly speechless as my brain was processing that something as simple as being taken out to eat was what this young boy was asking for. I go out to eat at least once a week, and it’s something I easily take for granted. The boys were then asked what they wanted to be when they grew up or what they wanted to go to college for. Police officer. Basketball player. Culinary school. Artist. Swat team. These children have dreams. They have goals. But their environments and their circumstances make the light on their futures very dim. Ironically enough there were several of them that wanted to be police officers. They are currently sitting in a lock-down unit because of a police officer, but they see the issues and they want to make them better.

Coming from the perspective of a criminal justice major, this might be a little easier to understand both the bigger and the smaller pictures. But here’s some information that most of you probably don’t know much about, or anything at all. There is this flaw in our system labeled as the school to prison pipeline. It starts with a lack of resources for our schools. Insufficient funding. Lack of qualified teachers. Overcrowded classrooms. These things, among others lead to a failure in our education system. Children are disengaged. Some dropout. And things like “No Child Left Behind” is a form of pure bullshit as there are numerous amount of children being left behind every day. These children have minimal to no motivation or incentives in these types of environments and a lot of them end up in the juvenile justice system. And while some of them only see the inside of a courtroom in regards to one offense, for many of them it may become a second “home.” Recidivism is a popular effect of these lifestyles that children are learning to live, especially since they are often denied reentry into traditional schools and will probably never see a high school graduation. And if you ask questions, you’ll probably find that some of these kids commit crimes like selling drugs just to survive…and not because they want to. You’ll find that these girls become prostitutes because they’re trying to escape their environment at home and at least it makes them money…but it also provides a “love” that they probably don’t find at home. And the older kids are often left in charge of taking care of the younger ones so they are unable to properly care for themselves. These children are forced into these roles and these situations and at 10, 11, 14, and 15 years old…how are they supposed to know how to help themselves?

Most people’s initial thought is to look to the parents to get their children out of these situations, because that’s what a parent is supposed to do…help their children. However, we often fail to look past this detail to the fact that in most situations…these parents are raising their children the same way they were raised. These situations are hard to get out of, and a lot of them stem from more complicated issues like the poverty level so often associated with the difficulties these families and these children are facing.

There are so many variables when it comes to issues with our urban youth, but I challenge you to look at things from a different perspective the way my major has forced me to. I graduate in about 3 months…and all I can hope to do is give these youth the chance they deserve at a brighter more positive future. Our justice system is terribly skewed, and we need to push more rehabilitative measures rather than throwing a kid into a cell and calling them a lost cause. We need to treat them as individuals, and we need to treat their surroundings. We need to help their families, their parents, and their communities. And the thing is…YOU can help too. I get it…our lives are busy. We have work. School. Children. Families of our own. Personal activities. But there are so many things you can do that take a minimal amount of time, but make the biggest difference. And if anything…just keep an open mind the next time you hear a story about a youth who committed a crime. Remember that while sometimes it seems cut and dry…more times than not it isn’t.

These children need love, they need support, they need help, they need safety…


…and most of all they need a future.


Sincerely Yours…


What’s Next?

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for answers; they cannot now be given to you because you could not live with them. It is a question of experiencing everything, and at present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer.” [Rainer Maria Rilke]

A couple of months ago this quote popped up on my TimeHop app, and I ran across it again today. My heart and my mind have been quite restless these last few weeks as I’ve started to evaluate where exactly my life has been and is headed in this next year or so. Last week I registered for my senior Fall semester of undergrad, and it had me asking the question…“what’s next?”

What a loaded question that is.

And I don’t even mean what’s next as in do I go to grad school or do I look for a job in the area of my degree. Of course I am questioning those things, but I also sit here questioning where I’m going to be at the end of next year and where I want to be within the next 5. I have so many questions and I’m not really sure what the answers are or where to even begin looking for them. These moments of complete and utter confusion are hard to figure out sometimes, but as this quote reminds me…the answers are not always meant to be found when we are searching for them simply because we’re not always ready for what those answers might mean for us. If there’s something that I have learned over the last year or so, it’s that answers come in time and sometimes time is a bitch.

If anyone would have asked me 6 months ago if I would be standing in the spot I am right now, I would have thought that they were crazy. If anyone would have asked me 2 years ago if I thought I would be 1 year away from graduating college, I probably would have started crying in frustration and disappointment. If anyone would have asked me 5 years ago where I would be, this is never what I would have guessed for myself. In fact, five years ago I pictured being married to the then love of my life with a nursing degree and a job at one of the local hospitals. 3 years ago I pictured myself as a complete failure because I let my emotions take over my life and I made so many mistakes I never could have ever pictured myself making. I used to spend so much of my time wondering why all of the things I have been through were necessary, but at those points in my life, I never could have handled the answers..and I probably wouldn’t have even believed them. I used to question literally every aspect of my life. The people. The experiences. My college education. I can thank my anxiety for a lot of my questions, and the rest can be handed off to the general journey of life. I was the person that had to have literally every single detail of my life planned out, and that was one of the most stressful things because as we know…life doesn’t always follow the plans we’ve laid out for ourselves. 5 years ago, I was going to be getting married. 3 years ago, I was going to be a nurse. 2 years ago, I was closed off, heartbroken, and trying to heal. 1 year ago, I was weak and stuck in a place I couldn’t escape. 6 months ago, I had an ‘esteemed’ job at a big hospital. At this moment, I am stronger and wiser and still healing. I’m not married…and I’m so grateful. I’m not going to be a nurse, and I’m excited for what my future career is going to bring. I work as a server, and I don’t regret quitting my old job. My life has gone the complete opposite as according to plan…and I’m grateful for it.

Life is hard and it can be super confusing because it doesn’t have an answer book anywhere because there is no cheating life and all of the experiences you were meant to go through. In the last couple months my life has done a complete 180, and now I am capable of clearly seeing the answers to all the questions I used to have because I’m in a place of being able to accept and understand them like I never would have been able to before. That being said, I’m doing my best to stop searching for the answers that currently haunt me because they will come to me in time, when I am ready for them, and I have to continuously remind myself of that. But because of being who I am…I hate time..and a I love it all in the same. People always say that “time will tell,” but sometimes I feel like time takes it sweeeet sweeeet time when it comes revealing the answers I so desperately seek. It’s such a hard concept to grasp that time will pass no matter what I’m doing, and I can spend it constantly searching for answers that will show themselves eventually, or I can spend it enjoying the time that will pass anyways.

I’m not sure where I’m going to be a year from now…or 3 years from now…or 5 or 10 years from now. But I hope that wherever I am, I have spent the passing years doing things that make me happy with people that make the time pass easier, because life is too short to be spending it planning out the memories rather than embracing what’s happening right in front of me.

Like a Phoenix I Will Rise

It’s honestly hard for me to believe that it’s been over a month since I’ve posted on here because I’ve had far too many thoughts swimming around in this head of mine. I’ve sat down to write several times and couldn’t quite figure out how to get out the thoughts that I wanted to in the way that I wanted to. That being said…prepare yourselves for an earful…

Life is such a funny thing; although sometimes it really isn’t all that funny at all. It constantly amazes me that one day life can be one way and in a matter of days or even seconds it is completely different. And it doesn’t even have to be something big that happens; it can be the smallest most insignificant thing like running into someone or simply getting a text from someone you thought had forgotten about you. Life has seemed to do a lot of flips and turns for me the last few years, even in the last few months, and I never really did feel like I could ever get my footing before life was shifting again. I guess that is the only thing about life that will never truly change though; the fact that it is ever changing.

It is only as of recently that I have finally started to feel like I’m standing on solid ground again…and then here comes life again making me feel like I wasn’t. But if I’m being honest, I don’t think I have ever surprised myself as much as I have in the last month. A few weeks ago I ran into a part of my past that I swore to myself would never again be a part of my life; and after a few certain events I questioned whether or not I should give that part of my life another chance. To open that door again and let it in. My mom about killed me when she found out, and my best friend told me while she would support any choice I made I would be completely insane to ever walk that path again. Yet despite their warnings and their concerns, I still sat there tearing myself apart on whether or not I should choose let them in again. In that moment I had to sit myself down and remind myself that I was not that person anymore, that I was not the person weak enough to go back to the part of my past that broke me more than anything has ever broken me before. Despite the fact that people change; I was too strong to give myself the chance of being destroyed again by the one person who promised they would never hurt me the first time. It was also in that moment that I realized that for the first time in a really long time, I finally saw growth in myself and my abilities both mentally and emotionally. The girl I was years ago would have ran back into the arms of destruction in a heartbeat, but this time around I was strong enough to realize that I was worth more than that. I was strong enough to remind not only myself, but that person, that they had a chance to realize what I was worth to them and they consistently failed. I saw that I deserved more than this person could ever have to offer me, and that my life would continue on just fine if I finally chose to let them go completely. That being said…I finally forgave them for all the pain and hurt they had caused me, and I finally let go of all the anger I had held inside for all these years. But I didn’t do it for them or because they even deserved the forgiveness I was giving them…I did it because the weight of the anger was far too much to bare anymore and I was okay with letting it go. I was reminded that while I have paid the consequences of their actions for all this time, it was now their turn to pay the ultimate price of regret for losing the person that they now so desperately wanted to be with.

To many of you all of this may seem insignificant, but coming from a person that has been living so much in the past and completely failing to see what she was worth; it was one of the most liberating things to look my past in the face and although with hesitation, tell it to fuck off.

That in itself was enough life shifting for me for awhile, but life wasn’t done with me just yet…but this time it sent a reminder that while sometimes the past should very much stay in the past…sometimes parts of it are meant to cross paths with the present and possibly even the future and that sometimes you get rewarded when you are capable of letting certain things go.

All of that being said, I never thought I would see the day that I ever reached this point. Three years ago when I was sitting at that terribly dark and hopeless spot at the bottom I felt helpless and broken. And for quite sometime I have had this feeling like I would never be fixable, and that I would never fully be the person that I was before. But after seeing this immense self growth in myself, I have realized that I wasn’t unfixable and while I wasn’t ever going to be the person I was before…it was okay because I have ended up something better, something stronger, something wiser. People used to tell me constantly that time healed all wounds, and I never believed them. I was so hurt, so broken…so sad. I felt like I was never going to come to terms with the things that I have been dealt in life and that I would always just be…sad. But I don’t feel sad anymore, not the way that I used to. I used to search for validation of my self worth through the eyes of another person. I was never confident in who I was or what I stood for. I never felt strong enough to defend who I was or who I ultimately wanted to be. But all these trials and tribulations, all this hurt and heartbreak…it’s brought me to this point of contentment and acceptance of myself by myself rather than another person. I have embraced my headstrong, heart stronger personality. I have come to terms that there is nothing wrong with knowing what I want out of life, and working hard to get it. The emptiness that I used to feel was a product of putting all of my effort into the wrong people and the wrong things rather than things and people that would benefit me. I have also learned along the way that it’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to hurt, but it isn’t okay to crawl inside and make your sadness your home. Coming to terms with heartbreak is a necessary part of the process to healing completely. In fact, there are a lot of things necessary to this process, and in order to make it happen you have to give yourself an ample amount of time to do it. Through this process I have watched even the smallest parts of my life fall into place, pieces I never thought I would find, and I have become a firm believer that everything does in fact happen for a reason. And sometimes that reason doesn’t come a long much later in life when you are finally capable of accepting it.

I’m sure that in a matter of days, or weeks, or maybe even months my life will find another way to shift and change, and when I find myself starting to feel once again like I am losing my footing…I will come back to this moment and remind myself that I have come farther than ever imagined.

I am stronger.

I am wiser.

I am brighter.

And like a phoenix I will always rise from the ashes.

Sincerely Yours…

Day Fifteen

So it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. Not because I didn’t want to, not because I didn’t have anything to say, simply because I just didn’t have time. With trying to finish the end of the semester strong and the holidays, blogging had to take the backseat to what was important. That being said…I rocked out the end of the semester which was a really big deal for me. Last semester I got caught up in a lot of different things that took my focus off of what was important. I was informed by my mentor that I was being placed on academic probation and if I didn’t get my gpa up I would basically be kicked out of my school. I kicked ass this semester and finished with higher than a 3.0 gpa, and got A’s in three of my classes and B’s in the other two. There is no greater moment than seeing all my hard work and determination pay off. I have come to the realization that your future is what matters most. Yours dreams and your aspirations cannot be achieved through any way but your own efforts, and your own hard work…and it’s the most rewarding thing in the world. Day 15 of 365 It’s hard for me to believe that another year has passed and here I am two weeks into another 365 day adventure. This year has definitely been one for the books. It’s been full of heartbreak, full laughter, full of friendships gained and friendships lost. It’s been a year of so many memories made and lessons learned. These points of time throughout the year are always moments of reflection for me. I look back on all the things I’ve lost and gained and all the things that I’ve learned up until this point. I started this blog with the intent to share these reflections with all of you, but that would require me to focus on the past and my greatest goal of this year is to keep my eyes on the future. So instead of telling you everything I learned last year, I’m going to share with you the major lessons I learned and plan to build on, and all the things that I wish to accomplish over the next 365 days. Over the last year I have learned: That sometimes you lose sight of who you are and who exactly it is that you want to be, and that’s okay; because it is often in these moments where the darkness overshadows that you discover your light and fight to become a better, stronger version of yourself. This year I plan to become a better, stronger, faster individual and to keep moving in the positive direction that I finished the year off with. That it’s not about having more friends than anyone else, it’s about having the truest most loyal people on your side because at the end of they day…those are the people that matter the most and these are the relationships that are worth the time and the energy you will put into them. This year I plan to surround myself with these types of people, and to rid my life of the toxicity that some people add to it. That if you’re determined enough and you persevere through all the things life puts in your way, your dreams can be achieved. Your future matters, and is always worth the sacrifices you might have to make in order to make your dreams come true. This year I plan to stay focused on what’s important and to continue working my ass off to make sure that my dreams are achieved..because when I have nothing else I always have the product of my determination. That it’s okay to stand up for yourself. And it’s okay to cut out the toxic people from your life, and it’s okay that sometimes it’s hard to walk away from them. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn this year was that loving someone is not always enough, and sometimes the people we love the most are the people we are heartbreakingly better off without. This year I plan to protect my heart, but without fear of opening it up to the people who truly wish to see it. The greatest lesson the last year taught me is that no matter what, at the end of the day…it’s always going to be okay.


With all of that being said, I remind you that while this is just the start to the year and it’s a time to start fresh and you have the next 365 days to do whatever you please with this chapter of your book of life, every day you are given is in fact another chance to achieve something great. It doesn’t have to be the start of a new year or a new month or a new week…every single day is a chance at something new, something great. I have made the promise to myself not to waste a single day this year thinking that I will have more time, because I never know when my time will run out… Things I Want To Accomplish This Year: 1. Go to a new restaurant every month 2. Forgive the people who have made me broken 3. Be more financially responsible 4. See the Blues make it past the first round of the playoffs 5. Be happy with my physical appearance 6. Become a stronger person mentally and physically 7. Take part in as many things as possible that push me and challenge me 8. Master the art of yoga 9. Visit at least 2 other hockey arena’s not in my state 10. Sharpen my creativity as often as possible 11. Buy glass seat tickets for a Blues game 12. Finish the 124 shot challenge 13. Do what makes me happy 14. Abs…even if they’re just baby ones 15. Learn to love running and then run a 5k..without stopping 16. Go on an adventure 17. Let someone in…all the way in 18. Spend an entire evening staring at the stars 19. Give my time more selflessly to something I am passionate about 20. Write more I’m not quite sure what this year is going to bring. Probably more laughs to add some life to my year, probably more tears to remind me that I am still alive, probably more memories that I will hold close to my heart. But whatever it may bring, I’m ready to face it. I’m ready to conquer it. I’m ready to spend the next 365 days making the most of each one of those days that I am given. I am ready…for anything.

Are you?

Make A Difference Day

I recently posted a blog about making a difference and “doing something with your dash,” and this past Saturday I was given the opportunity to make a difference and a put a few memories into the bank of my dash.


“Having or showing great concern for other people and little or no concern for yourself.”


Selflessness is an attribute found in those with a special place in their hearts for creating a better world and giving to those who have nothing to give you in return. Children are often the most necessary recipients, and while they may not have anything physical to give in return, the love they pour out from your time and your attention and the lessons they will teach you is a timeless and irreplaceable part of life.

A few weeks before this semester started, I decided at the last minute to add an extra class to my already packed schedule to simply finish my degree faster. The class was titled as an externship and at the time I was clueless as to what it was going to entail or what it was even about as the course description was extremely vague. What I didn’t know was that this class was going to open my eyes to an entire world I barely knew existed, and teach me more than I could ever learn from inside the four walls of a classroom. My teacher informed my class of a mere three students that instead of meeting weekly we would meet once a month, maybe less, and in turn would be required to volunteer at least two hours a week tutoring children at this building called The Sanctuary. I love children, but if I’m being honest my initial thought was…

 “How am I ever going to have time for this?”

I work overnights, I have class during the day, I obviously want my own free time and I need time to sleep…so where was I going to find at least two hours a week that I didn’t really have? But…I didn’t have a choice. If I wanted to get my degree faster and get a good grade in my class I was going to have to make it work.

The Sanctuary is a converted church located in a run down, poverty-stricken area, but is home to a program originally started by the alderman and within his boundaries he has created what he calls “The North Campus.” The program aims to provide not only a safe place for the children within these select number of miles, but also a place where we hope to plant the seed for a better and brighter future that allows them to chase their dreams. I have been working with these children twice a week for 2-3 hours each day since the first week of October, and in a matter of just a month these resilient little individuals have taught me things I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Most of these children come from broken homes where more often than not parents may be in jail or not even in the picture. They come from schools where teachers more times than not do not care about their education as much as they do a paycheck. Reading levels are far below where they should be, and math scores typically follow suit. Their grades as a whole are far below average, and their drive to fight for their own future is easily diminished by the lack of resources and surrounding environments they are so unfortunately a part of.

But let me be the first to tell you…these children are brilliant and they are creative and they have the biggest of hearts. They deserve to be given the chance to succeed, and despite their unfortunate circumstances they come in every day with a smile on their face just happy to be alive and be given a place where they can get help not only with homework, but also a place where people actually care about them and care about their success. These beautiful little humans thrive on the love and stability they find within the walls of The Sanctuary, and while I have only been volunteering there for the past month I see how important consistency is in their world. I see how important it is to do more than help them with their math problems by creating relationships that allow them to know that I am their for more than just tutoring.


As if tutoring two hours a week was not enough for our teacher, there was a much larger project involved. My university holds an annual “Make A Difference Day” where students sign-up to volunteer at many different locations in attempt to make a difference in our surrounding communities. Earlier this month we also inaugurated a new president and to our surprise The Sanctuary was not only going to be a funded site by the university, but the president would be taking part in Make A Difference Day at The Sanctuary. While this may not seem like a big deal to most, having the president of our university participating at our site sheds a light on what our college of public health and social justice is attempting to do at the North Campus which can open doors and create opportunities for us to hopefully do more and expand the program. That being said, this meant that we had to plan something big and something completely awesome for Make A Difference Day, and it was up to the three people and the program coordinator at The Sanctuary to make it happen. With limited resources and a short time to make it happen, my partners in crime and I set out to create an event for both the community and our kids. Since Halloween was coming up, what better way to celebrate than a Fall Harvest Festival complete with plenty of sugar and a bouncy house. So this past Saturday with no idea of how many kids and families to plan for, we worked our assess off to pull everything together and crossed our fingers. To our surprise we had at least 50 families come through to take part in pumpkin painting, a caramel apple bar, face painting, mask making, cookie decorating, and plenty of chili! However, my two favorite parts of the entire day where our mural station and our tile station. On one of the walls in the main stairwell I created a mural currently in it’s finishing stages, and that day the children got to put their hand-prints on the wall as part of the mural. IMG_2210They also had the opportunity to color a white kitchen tile that will be sealed and used to create a counter top in The Sanctuary’s kitchen that is in the process of being converted into a cafe for the kids. These two stations seemed to be the kids favorite because it meant they were going to be a part of this building for years and years to come. It gave them an opportunity to leave their mark in a place that for the time being is their safe place to run. Seeing the smiles on their faces and hearing the laughs coming from their mouths this past Saturday made my heart smile and for the rest of the day I was filled with a joy I just can’t describe.


This semester is slowly coming to an end, which means so will this class, but I plan to continue volunteering for as long as they allow because as much as I might be doing for these children…they are doing so much more for me. And if I can keep creating a positive environment for them full of love and smiles and laughs, I’ll do it because they deserve it. I have been given the opportunity to make a small difference that I can only hope will lead to brighter futures for these amazing children, and I hope that these brighter futures will lead to them striving to make the same difference in others lives that I hope I am making in theirs. Their resilience despite their circumstances continues to amaze me each and every day I spend with them, and while leaving their hand on a wall or their tile on a counter is a visible mark they are leaving, they will be leaving a mark on my heart that will be there forever.IMG_2301

Sincerely Yours… 

As The Whiskey Burns

Tears burn the back of her eyes,

and the whiskey burns inside her chest.

Her strength is fading fast as her fire slowly dies;

She tries so hard to lay his memory to rest.

Answers don’t sit at the bottom of a bottle,

but she’ll try anything to numb the pain.

Confusion and doubt, fear and regret;

She’ll down another drink just to stay sane.

Bile stings at the back of her throat,

broken pieces scattered on the floor.

Pain sitting heavy in her chest,

her mind and heart have signaled war.

Tired eyes and a weary heart to match,

her faith has disappeared and all hope is gone.

What move is next, she is unsure;

she fakes a smile as the she must go on.

One more drink to assure her strength,

but she’s not sure that she can endure…

Sincerely Yours…

Do Something


That’s such a scary word, such a terrifying thing to think about.

Every day we wake up, and with every breathe we take we are one step closer to never again filling our lungs with air. While scary, it’s such a crazy thought that one day someone can be a living, breathing human walking this earth and the next they can just be a cold, lifeless body six foot under the ground. Working in a hospital I encounter death more often than I would like. Too often I come in contact with people who have or currently are walking the thin line of being alive and ceasing to exist. In fact, you probably encounter people like this on a daily basis and you’d never know it. Death does not always come in the form of a sick patient laying in a hospital bed. Sometimes it looms over a persons life every day as they wake up wishing they hadn’t.

Death is scary. Death is inevitable and unavoidable.

And you’re probably wondering why I’m speaking about such a morbid topic, but it’s often in the moments where death crosses my mind that I remind myself of how precious life is and how each day could literally be my last. I could go to sleep and my heart could just stop for no reason other than it was tired of beating. I could get in my car and and be smashed into a guardrail or slammed into another car. I could be walking to class and be shot from across the quad. I could be sick and not even know it and just like that not ever breathe again. Anything could happen to me at any given moment and I will never expect it. The same goes for each one of you reading this, and each person that you’re close to.

I often think about the things I hear about on the news. Innocent people being killed. Innocent people killing each other. Diseases claiming lives. Sadness causing death. Death is everywhere, and it blows my mind…and it terrifies me.

What happens to me when I die? Where do I go? Heaven? Hell? Nowhere?

I think one of the scariest parts about death and dying is the huge question of “what happens next?”

The unknown is always terrifying, but that’s not why I’m talking about death and ceasing to ever exist as a part of this chaotic world ever again.

From the beginning we are given a dwindling number of days…so what are we going to do with them?

It seems as though everyone’s life goal comes down to wanting to be remembered, to do something so great that when they no longer exist, there memory will continue. But here’s my question to you…do you want to be remembered for something good or something bad? Because sometimes I feel like people so badly want to be remembered that they don’t care what they are remembered for.

Life is not eternal, it does not go on forever, and neither do we…so we want to be remembered.




World peace.

A cure for an incurable disease. 

They’re all obvious, big picture ideas. But what about the little ones? Your time makes a difference. Your love makes a difference. Your presence makes a difference. Your kind words and gentle heart make a difference. And I don’t just mean to family and to friends, there are strangers that will remember you until their forever ends for simply giving them your time, your love, and your kindness. One day I am going to stop breathing, and I will be put in a box six-foot under the earth I now walk on. In that time I want to make a big difference in all the tiny little ways I can. So often people tell themselves that they’ll never be able to make a difference because they’re only one person, but you can and chances are…you already do. It’s not always about making a big picture difference, sometimes it’s about making small picture differences. And it’s not always about being remembered forever…each person you meet will have their own “forever,” that will yes eventually come to an end, but if they remember you until their end…isn’t that enough? The people that I truly remember are not those that make hit songs or even cure diseases. I remember the people that share themselves with me in ways that irreplaceable to them.

Death is scary, and your days are numbered, and I know you want to be remembered. But do not be so caught up in fear of the number of days ahead of you slowly shrinking, and do not be so caught up in the idea of being remembered that you forget that it is possible to be remembered in a way so negative that people wish they could forget you.

I dare you to take every single day that you are so gratefully given and spend it making all the little differences you possibly can. Give your time, give your heart, give your kindness, and most importantly give yourself. You will be remembered for being selfless and being kind. You will be remembered for pouring out love into every person you come in contact with. You will be remembered for giving things that you cannot get back. You will be remembered for showing strength and courage to rise about the chaos and negativity in this world and pouring into it all the love that you can. You can make a difference, even when you think you can’t. You can be remembered for something worth remembering. Make it count for something so that when you are gone, people don’t cringe at the thought of all you’ve left behind. You are given a start date and eventually will be given an end date, and when you no longer live; there will be a tiny dash in between those dates that will symbolize the life that you have lived.

Do something with your dash.

Sincerely Yours…


I’m baaaaaccckkkkk.


Wow…I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted on here, I guess I needed to take a break and go on a blogging hiatus, but I am officially back and ready to roll.

I know I don’t have many readers, but I hope the ones I do have understand that sometimes life happens and I have to step back and reasses my priorities and cut things out when need be. I hit a point where I was feeling very emotional and very confused, and while this blog is supposed to be about my emotional and physical journey over this year there will still be times when I don’t feel like sharing certain things. That being said, this was just an update blog and a new post will be following here in the next few minutes! 🙂

Happy reading…

Sincerely Yours…

Endless Confusion.

It’s been awhile…ya’ll probably thought I disappeared on you eh? I will never understand why I get the urge to write when it’s the wee hours of the morning and I can’t sleep, which seems to happen quite often lately.

I try really hard to keep the things I write inspirational and uplifting, but if that’s the only side of me I ever let you see then that would defeat the purpose of my blogging journey. Even the most inspirational and brightest of people have dark and trying moments. They have hurts and they have sadness, they have things that haunt them and things that make life hard.


That word seems to define my life. There’s so much that I don’t understand and I drive myself crazy sometimes seeking answers I’ll probably never find. I guess it’s not a bad thing, to ask questions and look for the answers. But it can be when some questions don’t have immediate answers, or any answers at all.

People don’t make sense to me. This chaotic, crazy world does not make sense to me.

I think one of the greatest questions I will ever have is one a lot of people ask…

…why do bad things happen to good people?

There are so many deserving people and they always seem to be getting shit on by the world that surrounds them.

Like people who get cancer or people who die too young.

And then there’s the small things that add up to what can feel like the biggest weight on your shoulders and any minute now you’re just gonna crash and not be able to get up again.

It sucks.

Some stupid boy comes along and breaks your heart into a million and one tiny pieces. Your best friend betrays you in a way you’ll never recover from. You try so hard to finish school, with good grades at that, all while keeping two jobs you don’t even like to pay for the debt schools putting you into. Your “friends” don’t seem so much like your friends anymore. Memories of the past are holding you back while you try your hardest to set yourself free.

Stuck. You feel stuck in this rut and you’re fighting to get out, but the more you fight the deeper you feel like you’re falling.

And here’s my other question…Why do people hurt people…and why do we do it on purpose?

This world is terrible all on it’s own, so why on earth do the people we love and the people who claim to love us hurt us on purpose? And why do we find it so easy to hurt the people that mean the most to us?

Maybe it’s because we think they’ll always be there. Or because they’ll forgive us. Or because tomorrow they’ll still be there for us to say we’re sorry and tell them how much we love them.

Our time here is short. So why do we so often spend it thinking we have more time than we probably actually do?

Why do we wait until tomorrow to apologize for the mistakes we make? Why do we wait until next week or next month to tell the person that we love that we love them? Why are we so afraid to let someone in because of what someone else did?

People are time wasters. They are believers in things they don’t have. People are taker advantagers, and while yes I know that’s not a real word, it’s what people are. They take advantage of the time they are given, of the things they are given, of the people they are blessed with.

And while I too am often guilty…I do not understand it.

This world is a mess and it does not make any sense to me…

…sometimes I do not even make sense to myself.

Sincerely Yours…

To My Best Friend

About a month ago I wrote my first letter in what was meant to be a string of letters over the next year, a here is going to be my second one.

Our friends are often a very important part of our lives. They’re a second family, a support system, the people who make you laugh and laugh with you, and the people who tell you it’s gonna be okay when you cry. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you come across a friend who is more like a soul mate. They know your story, they know the good parts and the bad parts that make up the person you are, and they stand by you anyways. You argue with them, you love with them, but no matter what happens you stand by them and they stand by you. I’ve been lucky enough to find that..


To My Best Friend,

Where do I even start? I’ve tried to remember exactly how we met so long ago, but it’s just kinda like one day we were friends and the rest is history. When I look back on all we’ve been through I sometimes ask myself how we ever made it, how we ever stayed friends..and sometimes how we’ve even managed to stay alive. We’ve screamed at each other, we’ve laughed…a lot, we’ve cried…a lot, we’ve gotten drunk…a lot, we’ve talked every single day and we’ve not talked for months. We’ve been through everything together from a jail visit and a busted window to getting kicked out of a party we were invited to, top shelf tequila ;), but here we still stand as the two most dysfunctional best friends anyone could ever come across…but it works for us. To say that I’m lucky is an understatement. For almost half of my life I’ve had someone that I could come to with my problems, share my fears with, share my dreams with, grow with. I’ve found someone who not only supports my dreams, but encourages them. I’ve found someone that has stood by me at my lowest moments and celebrated me at my finest. When I tell you I’m not sure where I would be without you to this day, it’s probably one of the truest statements that will ever come out of my mouth. There are many times throughout the years that I have taken our friendship for granted, and for that I’m sorry. There have been times where I have doubted you as my friend, and again for that I’m sorry. I’ve made some mistakes over the years, as have you, but forgiveness has always played a large part in our friendship. As has honesty. It’s not every day that you find someone you can literally tell everything to. Like when they’re being a bitch or seriously pissing you off. I think that’s what’s kept us together, the simple fact that we can lay it all out, but also that despite the fact that we don’t always agree with one another we never fail to stand by each other through it all. I think my favorite part about our friendship though is the laughter we share. We laugh all the time, and I love it. Some of my favorite moments are the ones where we go complete crackhead mode and anything and everything makes us laugh until we can hardly breathe. Those are some of my greatest memories and often times the moments that keep me going when things get rough. There are so many things I want to say right now, but I honestly don’t even know where to start. I keep thinking about the night we went to see Eric in concert at Jefferson Barrack’s and then had a party at your house. The end of that night is what stands out in my head, specifically the part where we ended up in tears on your bathroom floor. We were drunk, but I just remember thinking only does a best friend sit on her bathroom floor with you while you both cry about the boys who broke our hearts and then get up and go to Denny’s…where you couldn’t even cut your own sandwich. I think that was the night I really knew that we’d always be friends. We have so many memories together. Spontaneous visits to Farmington to meet Brandon Ray. Jam sessions on the backroads. Camping trips. Ben chauffeuring us around while we slammed down shots. Tequila night. Bonfires. Parties. Calling everyone we know in our phones when we’re drunk. Countless nights spent at the park learning way more about our friends than we ever wanted to. And I can’t forgot all our creep sessions…because creeping is caring. Conversations that probably would have landed us in a padded room in a mental hospital. Matching tattoos. But I know that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and we have so many more memories I look forward to making. I look forward to college graduations and downing shots to celebrate a new job. I look forward to wedding days, and the best drunken speeches we’ll ever give…tequila shots included…or Rumplemintz and roofies if I’m lucky 😉 I look forward to the day that we bring our own crazy children into this world…although I hope they’re nothing like us because if so we’re in trouble. I look forward to the laughs we have yet to share, and I look forward to continuing to share my life with my best friend. There’s going to come a day where we don’t live 30 seconds from each other anymore, and thinking of that day makes me sad, but I know that whether it’s 30 seconds or 3,000 miles that separates us nothing can ever take away what we share. As we continue to grow as people and continue on our paths in life there are several things I want you to remember. I will always support and encourage you to chase your dreams. I don’t care what time of day it is or how far or close we are, I will always be there…even if it means a long drive or a spontaneous plane ride to get to you. I will laugh with you when you are happy and I will hug you while you cry under a tree. I’ll fight with you like an enemy and I’ll love you like a sister. We’re more than just best friends…we’re family. And someday when we’re older, sitting on one of our porches while our kids run around together in the yard, we’re going to look back and remember all the crazy stuff we went through together and we’re gonna laugh about it and we’re probably gonna ask each other how we ever made it through. And my answer is going to be because we had each other, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I look forward to what our futures hold, and I look forward to continuing to share our triumphs and our darkest days. Our friendship means more to me than I will ever be able to express, and I am appreciative every day that I was one of the lucky ones to find a soul mate in a friend. We’re gonna make it, and we’ll do it together. And anyone who stands in front of us…well they are BENEATH US. There’s so much more that I could say, but I will just end this with a thank you and an I love you…and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

Sincerely Yours…

hannah brencher.

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