An Open Thank-You Letter To My Mom

An Open Thank-You Letter To My Mom

Words are not enough to thank you for all you have given me, but I can try.
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Dear Mom,

Words are not enough to thank you for all you have given me, but I can try.

From the moment you found out you were finally pregnant with a girl, you loved me— even though you thought, at first, that I was the flu.

When Dad was travelling, you held it all together. You put your life on hold and stopped working when I was sick at home for years, and the moment I was better, you went back to work to help pay the bills and put us through the best education in the city.

When my brothers struggled, you blamed yourself. You cried every day because your heart was broken. But Mom, kids make mistakes and none of it was your fault.

When Dad was out of work, your heart was failing and you needed your pacemaker, you still worked every day, putting on a smile for none of us to worry.

When I wanted to be Dorothy, a cowgirl, a pop star, and a saloon girl for Halloween, you picked out the best fabric and worked dawn till dusk sewing it.

When I thought I was Hannah Montana, you fought for weeks to find tickets to her show, even though it sold out in two minutes. You succeeded, made T-shirts, bedazzled binoculars, and even bought a new memory card simply for the occasion.

Whether we wanted an orange cake with buttercream icing, a cheesecake, or meatballs for our birthdays, you made them with no complaints and a smile from ear to ear.

When my brother became a vegan, you looked up recipes to accommodate, yet made sure the rest of us could eat the food too. And you accepted him just as easily when he decided he wasn't one anymore as well.

When I went on a "Gossip Girl" binge, you crushed on Chuck Bass right beside me, bought me more Blair-esque headbands, and even upped your own style to come across as a Cincinnati Upper East Side version of Eleanor and Blair.

When you promised we would go to Paris when I graduated high school, you followed through without any hesitation. It was the best trip of my life, and there is no one I would rather drink champagne, eat great cheese, and see the Eiffel Tower with than you.

When I was going through rough times and wanted to change schools, you forgave me for my mistakes, drove hours to be by my side, and walked me through the process— motivating me and keeping me strong through it all.

When I decided to quit swimming and focus solely on dance, you pulled all-nighters in the hotel rooms to make sure my dress was ready before the competitions the next day.

When I had a play, you were the first in the audience and the last to leave, even if I was just a chorus member second from the back right. You joined the costume committee to contribute to my interests and spent hours working extra at home after your hospital rotations to make sure everyone had a costume and looked good in it.

When I was up screaming with an ear infection, you sat with me the whole time and made sure I had an appointment the next day no matter what—even if the staff yelled at you that I couldn't have special treatment. You made it happen.

When Ryan and Eileen said you were going to be a grandmother, I have never seen anyone more excited about something in his or her life than you were. I know the distance is hard, but you manage and love Declan more than anyone ever could.

When you had patients who treated you unfairly, were crude, and didn't follow the orders given to them, you remained kind to them even when no one else was.

When we said we hated you, treated you horribly, disobeyed you, or didn't call you enough, you loved us unconditionally.

When we wanted to ride a ride at Disney World, you followed right behind and made sure we were even fit into the lunch schedule at Cinderella's castle that had already been booked for months. You're sneaky like that, but I love that about you.

When everything else seemed to go wrong, you made it right again. You're my own superhero, Mom, and I will never be able to thank you enough for all that you do. I love you because you don't see the beauty you bring to other people's lives. You are an inspiration and the best mother anyone could ask for even though you don't know you are.

Thank you for loving us like no one ever will and for all you do. I know it sometimes is underappreciated and often seems overlooked, but we do remember and love you more than anything and a million thank-yous will never be enough.

Love, your daughter

Cover Image Credit: http://realitytvgifs.tumblr.com/post/50201691214

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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