No, Family Isn't Always Blood, Yes, Sometimes It's The People You Choose To Keep Close To You

No, Family Isn't Always Blood, Yes, Sometimes It's The People You Choose To Keep Close To You

Your family is really the people who you choose to be around.

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I realized a long time ago, that your family is really the people who choose to be around you. Who choose to be with you. Who choose to support, love, and care for you.

10 months after I was born my mom met my dad. (not biological, but he is my dad). Since I was 10 months old he's been the father figure in my life. His family took me in as their own. It actually took me until I was about 9 years old to know that they weren't actually "my family".

When I was 12, I met my bio-father, the one who's DNA I have. I realized that he was not fit out to be a dad. I realized his family was so different from how I am that I could never be apart of them. They were curt and rude and even said mean things about my mom's family (aka the people WHO RAISED ME). I was so furious, and still am. I cut them out of my life and never looked back.

When I was 8 my dad married my stepmom. They got divorced and she is now remarried. I still call her my stepmom. She has been there for me every step of the way. She let me live at her and her boyfriend's house for two years. She always checks up on me, is always making sure I'm having a good time. She has supported me throughout my life, from coming to awards/shows to taking care of me when I needed someone to talk to. She also took me out for my 21st, we went to a casino with a few of her other friends, ate food, and went to the club inside the casino. I am so close to my stepmom I feel like I can (and do) tell her anything and everything. She's just like a real mom, supporting me, giving me advice, and loving me as if I'm her own.

I have 3 siblings and a cousin who I call my sister. Two of my siblings are half-siblings, and one technically isn't related to me but she's my dad and stepmoms child so she is my sister. My cousin lived with me from when she was a few months old until she was 4. I spent all of my time with her. I always say she's my sister. I have a bond with both of them I cannot explain. My sister and I have a bit of an age gap, but even so, we still make fun of each other, share clothes, and fight. She's my sister even if she isn't blood-related to me. My cousin and I have an even bigger age gap yet we still talk on the phone all the time, I take her out to fun places, and I care for her as a big sister should.

You know a lot of people say you can't pick your family, that is kind of true in the sense of blood relation. But in all honesty, you can pick your family. Your family is the people who you choose to spend your time with, who love and support you, and finally people who care about you. Family is not always blood, it's the people who are in your life that wants to be there. I realized my family consists of the people I love, that love me, that try, and that have been there for me. The ones who stuck around.

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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It's Only November, DO NOT Cue The Christmas Music

"Why are people so quick to switch gears from October 31... to November 1st?"

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As I write this article it is early November. Crazy how we are already into November. For those of you who have two different personalities from Halloween to November 1, this is for you. Do not cue Christmas music in early November.

November is a really beautiful month if you take the time to appreciate it. Leaves continue to change, the temperature starts to drop, which means more coffee and hot chocolate! The NJEA convention is in early November, if you're an educator, future one, or if you're a current student, you are off these days, and of course, everyone is off for Thanksgiving. A time to celebrate what we are thankful for with our friends and family. Tables full of hot soups to warm our chilly bodies, turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet cranberry sauce, an array of pies and desserts, you name it.

So why are people so quick to switch gears from October 31, a time to dress up, trick or treat and attend Halloween parties, to November 1st, a time that has become all about Black Friday and Christmas? We've lost the meaning of Thanksgiving. In my opinion, stores should not be open on Thanksgiving Day. As mentioned it's a day to spend with family. You can shop for those best deals and stand in line for hours the following day and days leading up to Christmas.

We live in a time where everyone is busy with their own lives and family, and it's difficult to get together with everyone's schedules. So on Thanksgiving, it's the perfect time to surround yourself with family and friends, enjoying a meal together, counting your blessings, showing gratitude and appreciation, and catching up on everyone's lives. Truly a day of Thanksgiving!

So I encourage all of you to prepare for Thanksgiving and focus on family, friends, and gratitude. Next time someone talks about Black Friday or Christmas before Thanksgiving, stand your ground, make your voice and the holiday of Thanksgiving be heard.

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