For Ollie

For Ollie

I don't think Ollie could ever understand just how much he has given my family. But I know he will be up in heaven blissfully chasing tennis balls, swimming in murky water, and saying hi to everyone in sight.

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There is going to be a hole in our family that will never be filled. There is going to be silence where your paws once padded around the kitchen. There is going to be a sad feeling in my chest when I don't come home to your wagging tail and smiling face.

This week, my family had to say goodbye to our 9-year-old black labrador, Ollie. Ollie was diagnosed with cancer at Christmas and a few months ago we found out it had metastasized. We have been doing everything we can to keep him comfortable and his quality of life high. But we decided, to keep him out of pain, to have him put to sleep.

Mary Frances Bellman

Ollie is like a brother to my sister and I. He is happy all the time, a great listener, and the world's biggest lover of tennis balls. He is mischievous and full of personality while simultaneously being the most well-behaved dog out there. Ollie says hi to everyone and anyone at the park, no matter who they are, and he absolutely loves a movie night with his girls. Every time we go to Virginia Beach, Ollie becomes a puppy all over again, rolling around in the sand and jumping over the waves. He'll even chase a crab or two. Ollie has made friends with all of our friends and in the process, he has touched the lives of so many people.

We picked up Ollie from The Wall's house in Wimbledon, England when he was just seven weeks old. He whimpered all five minutes it took to drive a few blocks home. When we got him out of the crate, Dad picked him up by the scruff of his neck and showed him around our house: his new home. Ollie was immediately drawn to our garden. It soon became the site of many fun puppy memories.

Grace Bellman

Ollie was terrified of Dad at first. As soon as he'd hear Dad's voice, Ollie would come running and sit shaking on the closest family members lap. Now, he couldn't love Dad more. The two of them are quite the pair with their similar optimistic outlook and kind hearts.

We moved to Texas with Ollie in the summer of 2012. He arrived at our rental house, extremely relieved to be off the plane and out of quarantine. After struggling with a couple bouts of anxiety and depression, Ollie became accustomed to his new American life. He had to get used to walking on the leash again due to the different laws in the US vs. England, and he found a new appreciation for cold, hardwood floors in the Texas heat. When we moved to our permanent home, Ollie fell in love with our swimming pool. He had no fear and embraced his waterdog genealogy right away. Some of my favorite memories involve all four of us swimming on a summer evening with Ollie chasing the tennis ball back and forth across the garden with contagious joy.

In the winter, Ollie was the best companion for opening presents under the tree and making s'mores by the fireplace. He would get a little too close to the marshmallows for comfort but never crossed the line (or at least not that I know of…). His big brown eyes would droop as he fell asleep at Mom's feet every night in front of the television. Those simple nights-in are something I think we are all going to miss dearly.

To be honest, I haven't really experienced a loss quite like this before. Ollie, although not a human being, is so close to my heart. He has been by my side through all of middle school, high school, and my first two years of college. He has never failed to put a smile on my face, and has listened to me when no one else would. Ollie helped Josephine with her AP Art projects until the early hours of the morning and "assisted" me in my circuit training workouts in the backyard. He always gave Mom some company while cooking meals and sat loyally behind Dad when he was doing papers at his desk.

Grace Bellman

I don't think Ollie could ever understand just how much he has given my family. I can't help but wish there was something more we could do for him. But I know he will be up in heaven blissfully chasing tennis balls, swimming in murky water, and saying hi to everyone in sight.

Ollie, you will be missed down here on earth greatly. We love you.

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.
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Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

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When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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