Courage to Change – Vol. 15

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” ~ Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

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Life is a constant state of change; change goes on around us–and within us–all the time. Our changes may not seem as dramatic as the change from caterpillar to butterfly, but whether it’s a butterfly fighting its way out of the chrysalis or us fighting through our numerous life changes, the results are the same: metamorphosis of self.

“We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.” ~ LeeAnn Taylor

As Christy shared in last week’s volume on her 2014 theme word “Brave”: It’s easy for people to look at a butterfly and think she lives a carefree life of flowers and sunshine, but they never knew her as a caterpillar or as one holed up in a cocoon in the painful throes of metamorphosis. Plus, butterflies don’t live very long. How brave to leave a safe life on the ground, for a short life of freedom in flight.  It seemed a perfect lead into my own theme word, “metamorphosis.” Because really, without the courage to change, the butterfly would never exit the cocoon.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~ Maya Angelou

~ “Butterfly” by Martina McBride

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“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” ~ Robert Frost

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“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall.” ~Nelson Mandela

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“I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” ~Sylvia Plath

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“Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are in essence ignoring the owner’s manual your creator gave you and destroying your design.” ~Oprah Winfrey

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“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

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“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~e. e. cummings

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“You’ve got to rise from the floor alone or fall back alone.” ~Charles Bukowski

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“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!” ― Maya Angelou

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“Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole”

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Everything Changes

Everything changes. You can make
A fresh start with your final breath.
But what has happened has happened. And the water
You once poured into the wine cannot be
Drained off again.

What has happened has happened. The water
You once poured into the wine cannot be
Drained off again, but Everything changes. You can make
A fresh start with your final breath.

~Bertolt Brecht, Poetry and Prose

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“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.”  ~Conan O’Brien

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“Nothing ever really goes away–it just changes into something else. Something beautiful.”  ~Sarah Ockler, Twenty Boy Summer

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“As little flowers, which the chill of night has bent and huddled, when the white sun strikes, grow straight and open fully on their stems, so did I, too, with my exhausted force.”  ~Dante Alighieri, Inferno

“Oh, the glory of growth, silent, mighty, persistent, inevitable! To awaken, to open up like a flower to the light of a fuller consciousness!” ~Emily Carr

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“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings

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“Maybe you have to live under cover for a while before you can find your true character.” ~Hugo Hamilton

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“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“A diamond doesn’t start out polished and shining. It once was nothing special, but with enough pressure and time, becomes spectacular.”  ~Solange Nicole

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“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” ~Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

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“A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming.”
~Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet -Crosswicks Journals #1

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“A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.”
~Friedrich Nietzsche

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“In each fire there is a spirit; Each one is wrapped in what is burning him.”  ~Dante Alighieri

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“We all carry within us places of exile, our crimes, our ravages. Our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to transform them in ourselves and others.”  ~Albert Camus

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“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”  ~Ben Okri

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“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”
~Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

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“A story only matters, I suspect, to the extent that the people in the story change.” ~Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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“I wanted a metamorphosis, a change to fish, to leviathan, to destroyer. I wanted the earth to open up, to swallow everything in one engulfing yawn. I wanted to see the city buried fathoms deep in the bosom of the sea. I wanted to sit in a cave and read by candlelight. I wanted that eye extinguished so that I might have a chance to know my own body, my own desires. I wanted to be alone for a thousand years in order to reflect on what I had seen and heard – and in order to forget.”

~Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn

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“Painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us – and those around us – more effectively. Look for the learning.”  ~Louisa May Alcott

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“I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.” ~Anaïs Nin

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Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
and I eat men like air.

~Sylvia PlathAriel: The Restored Edition

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“There is darkness inside all of us, though mine is more dangerous than most. Still, we all have it—that part of our soul that is irreparably damaged by the very trials and tribulations of life. We are what we are because of it, or perhaps in spite of it. Some use it as a shield to hide behind, others as an excuse to do unconscionable things. But, truly, the darkness is simply a piece of the whole, neither good nor evil unless you make it so. ”  ~Jenna Maclaine

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“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”  ~Madonna

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“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” ~ C.G. Jung

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“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”  ~ T.S. Eliot

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“People can do great things. However, there are some things they just CAN’T do. I, for instance, have not been able to transform myself into a Popsicle, despite years of effort.”  ~Brandon Sanderson, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, Alcatraz, #1

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“Next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you’re in a science fiction movie. And whisper, ‘The creature is regenerating itself.”
~George Carlin, Brain Droppings

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“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
~Will Rogers

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“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” ~Dylan Thomas.

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“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.” ~Sylvia Plath

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“You have to die a few times before you can live.” ~Charles Bukowski

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“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun” ~ Pablo Picasso

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“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt”.
~Sylvia Plath

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“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”

~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

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This week’s Metamorphosis-themed music playlist via YouTube, features music by: David Bowie, Tool, Jimmy Buffett, Eminem, and more.

Playlist link:

Don’t Forget: You are welcome to join me and Christy at Words For The Year to get a single Words selection from me and/or Christy every day. Also, a special welcome to our new followers who may have found us from Christy’s interview with WordPress.com News. Have a wonderful weekend! ~Jennie & Christy

33 comments

  1. This is the kind of topic that brings tears to my eyes. Tears for a dude who always felt small, and still does often. Tears for my sons who I hope don’t feel the same. Tears for thinking that I would never amount to anything, that I was an alien in human form, here to take notes on your planet, and never be a part of. And seeing that it’s not all true.

    I was tweeting just now about how I reacted to an article someone posted online. I had my reaction and then later felt that it wasn’t the common opinion, so I retracted it, saying that it’s probably better for me to be quiet and not say anything. I was playing small again, not allowing myself to have an opinion at the sake of not being in with others. Ill thinking I know…echoes from my past.

    But what is here is where I need to look at things…this fear, this fear of being authentic. Some days I have it, some I don’t. It’s hard to lose something that I had. And that’s the work for me. It will be my life’s work, I can tell you. That is why this post is so hard for me to read, and yet is exactly what I need to see. Playing small has been my calling card, and the unworthiness that attached itself to it was something I wore like a sweater. And that is something that needs changing. For me, for those in my life.

    Thank you for this timely post. This is the third timely post I have read today, all for completely different things, but still hard hitting. I am getting a cosmic smack down today. At work, so I can’t completely have a guy cry, but will ponder quite a bit today.

    Blessings,
    Paul

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    1. Hey Paul, I know Jennie will be on later this afternoon, but I wanted to jump on and say thank you for your very nice comment over on my interview. It really meant a lot to me. We’ve both evolved so much from first starting our blogs, haven’t we? And although I joke about Journey, it really is nice to be on this “journey” with you.

      I was thinking about a correlating quote for Words for the Year today, but I think your comment has firmed up my choice. And, no, it’s not Marianne’s, though you know how much I love her famous words. So I’ll post hers here, and I’ll ping you shortly on the Rilke you’ve inspired.

      (and you better believe fear still tries to hold me back. I’m striving to act anyway, to be brave, even if I’m afraid.)

      Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. —Marianne Williamson

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    2. Hi Paul! You could have been talking about me in a lot of what you just said, I’ve been working really hard on it for a long time but yeah, even now I have those same days, “some days I have it, some days I don’t”. I get gobbled back up by the fear of it and the work of it, and hell, just posting my poetry is sometimes a major mental fight because they are “me” as “me” and I’ll want to change them and make them less me to avoid that remembered “you’re not one of us” feeling as soon as I hit the button.

      To steal my favorite line from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata; “You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. ” I actually keep the whole poem hung up near my computer, that’s the line I look at the most – to remind myself to be myself, that I have the right to be just as much as anyone else. And so do you.

      I’m sorry the universe picked a time you were at work to cosmically smack you down, it seems to enjoy picking such times and places.

      Be well ~Jennie

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      1. Thanks Jennie. I will keep those words in mind. Dear goodness, I need a binder for all this 🙂 By the way, I do really enjoy your poetry. I don’t comment on it because I just don’t know much about it. But I know when I like it.

        And you know, the cosmic smackdown never comes when I am nestled in bed and reading a good book. It’s usually a subway thing, or work moment or at a time that is inconvenient for me. That is a signal of some kind. so I am used to it. It’s like when the server waits until you just put a big chunk of food in your mouth before asking how the meal is so far!

        Blessings,
        Paul

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        1. My cosmic smackdowns usually like to show up in the grocery store, I never figured out the why of that one! Unless my subconscious likes to hold onto the “oomph” moments until I have unlimited access of chocolate at my disposal.

          And thank you Paul. It’s nice to know you enjoy my poetry.:) ~Jennie

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  2. Thank you Jennie & Christy. I always look forward to your posts and find something (often many things) that really resonate.

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    1. Thank you 🙂 We’re glad to know you enjoy the posts, we really love putting them together! And I have to say, I love your gravator, that’s a beautiful picture! ~Jennie

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  3. […] in parallel with today’s Words for the Weekend on METAMORPHOSIS. Thank you Paul for the […]

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  4. Love the Plath ones especially.

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    1. I love Plath, she’s one of my favorite poets 🙂 And an extra Plath quote for you:

      “All the heat and fear had purged itself. I felt surprisingly at peace. The bell jar hung suspended a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air. ” ~ Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)

      Hope you have a great weekend! ~Jennie

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  5. Thank you Jennie and Cristy this is lovely. Particularly the Eddie Vedder. Fantastic stuff thanks so much for all your work. Hugs on this beautiful sunny Sunday (it is sunny here in my home town anyway!) xxx

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    1. Hello Mrs.D, It’s still Saturday evening here and snowy, so I’m jealous of your sunny Sunday. Thank you for reading and we hope your week remains as sunny as your Sunday was 🙂 ~Jennie

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  6. Life is change. That was something I was explaining to my son when he was about 7 or 8. One of those deep life lessons. I figured he’d forget it, as he has the attention span of a gnat. But, back on Feb. 12, 2012, my father died. One of the first things my son said to me was, “life is change, Mom. Everything always changes.” He blew my mind at 9 years old.

    This one struck a big chord in me as well-
    “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” ~ C.G. Jung

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    1. I had to laugh at your son having the attention span of a gnat, my 9 year old has the same attention span, unless it’s related to art, then she has a long term attention span! Kids sometimes wind up amazing you in the things they do remember and actually understand, especially the big ones like “life is change”. I haven’t gotten mine to understand that one yet, it’s still an issue resulting in many long nights.

      That Jung quote, it strikes a chord in me as well and is yet another one that’s stuck with me throughout the years. Another one I really love is this one by Maya Angelou: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Jennie

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      1. Ooooooo! Awesome Maya Angelou quote. Thanks for sharing. She has so many wonderful ones.

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  7. Beautiful post, Jenny. I love Mandela’s quote about getting up every time you fall…and Alcott’s about learning from our experiences. You two are so inspiring. I can’t believe you’re to volume 15 already.

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    1. Hi Char! I can’t believe we’re up to volume 15 either! Posts fly when you’re having fun 😉 I love the Mandela and Alcott ones too, especially together, if you can take something away from every fall as you’re getting back up, all the better!

      Hope you’re having a great start to your week! ~Jennie

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  8. What a delightful site. So glad I stumbled on to this!!! Or, as some know, stumbling is really our special way to start or to continue to plod along our journey!! Great way to start my day.

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    1. We’re glad you stumbled upon us as well, the more the merrier along the journey’s path! ~Jennie

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  9. Good morning girls! Your message is so timely and helpful to me personally. I shared earlier in the week that hubby lost his job and frankly, we’ve been in spinny/yucky/grumpy mode at the house. The quote from Dr. Martin Luther King struck me: “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” When the time is right, I will share your page and valuable messages with my dear hurting, broken a little hubby. Until the time is right, I will continue to read your words for me…munching on sugar the whole time. Thank you so much 🙂

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    1. I’ve been so behind on everything I hadn’t read that yet, Michelle! I’m sorry, I know what that’s like, my husband’s been out of work for a while now, I’ve gotten through it with a whole lot of sugar and working on these posts. Things are starting to look up around here (though I’m not giving up the sugar intake!), I hope things turn around on the job front quickly for your husband.

      Change, sometimes it requires lots of chocolate (and maybe some Doritos and a few cupcakes) along with a whole lot of breathing. ~Jennie

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      1. Hi Jennie!
        First of all, never consider yourself “behind” when responding to my comments…life is busy, frantic and so short–you never have to worry about me having hurt feelers 🙂 I’m also sorry to hear about your hubby and glad that things are looking up. We had a better day yesterday and am looking forward to the more to come. In the meantime, let’s picnic on Doritos and cupcakes and settle in for the return of Walking Dead 🙂

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        1. I’m glad to hear yesterday was a better day!

          I’m all for picnicking and settling in for the return of Walking Dead. My Sunday nights have seemed so empty without it on! Or maybe I just miss Daryl … 😉 I took control of the tv this past Sunday and watched the season 1 & 2 marathon (shhh I didn’t watch the Superbowl, don’t tell anyone!), spent the whole afternoon/evening snacking on Crunch bars and Doritos, it was great! 🙂

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          1. Now THAT is a worthwhile Sunday evening! Our kiddos introduced us to the Walking Dead last season and I’m hooked. I totally need an afternoon Daryl, I mean WD marathon to get the full story. Have a great day and don’t work too hard!!

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  10. And, oh! Louisa May Alcott. Forever my favorite permanently sealed by the quote you shared. Perfecto!

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    1. “Look for the learning” I love that, and I try to keep it in my mind anytime the change seems for the worse, even if it’s only momentarily. I always feel better if I can find something to take from it. ~J

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  11. I love all the themes you come up with but this week’s is truly special. Change is such a cranky little proposition, isn’t it? We change every single day and yet, the idea can seem downright frightening. When things become too much for me to take, I’ll just find a place where I can sit and breathe. I turn off the switch to whatever’s going on in my life, and I’ll just be. It gives me a deep appreciation of where my life is and where it’s come from. And that’s when I realize how beautiful a thing change can be.
    Thanks for another wonderful frolic inside the words.

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    1. That’s what I need about now, a nice quiet space and moment to breathe; change seems to be having a butterfly effect through my life at the moment. All potentially positive, but as you said, change can be frightening, especially those “ in your face” major changes –of yourself or path in life. It’s funny how we don’t always think of the small changes we go through every day, the growing and learning, sometimes not even noticing them until the change is done, others though –the “big ones”, wow they can knock you around, even if they’re good ones! ~Jennie

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  12. I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award! Thank you for brightening my days.
    ~Jami
    http://sobergrace.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/you-are-my-sunshine/

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    1. Hi Jami! Thank you for thinking of us and bringing some sunshine to us! ~Jennie

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  13. Wonderful!
    That first e.e. cummings quote grabbed me.

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    1. That cummings quote I’ve had pinned to walls everywhere I’ve lived since I was a teenager, one of my HS english teachers introduced me to it. Cummings is one of my most favorite writers, when I was a kid he was the first poet I wanted to be when I grew up 🙂

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  14. […] just so happens to be her word of the year! I followed that up with my own year word theme, “Metamorphosis“. Check them out. And stick around for this weekend’s volume of Words because, just […]

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