Living Happily Ever After


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Love, Marriage, Eyebrows…Or The Lack Thereof

“You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover’s arms can only come later when you’re sure they won’t laugh if you trip.” (Jonathan Carroll, “Outside the Dog Museum”)

I haven’t run across a field into #5′s arms yet. However, as for the whole “walking carefully” thing, it’s a little too late for that.

Due to a tiny, pink Panasonic “personal” trimmer.

Because I own one, and finally put the battery in it and decided to test it out.

It has been awhile since I’ve shaped my eyebrows, so I thought that would be a perfect project for my little pink trimmer. Consumer report: It worked really well. It was easy to use. I was impressed with its trimming capability.

Until my arm slipped.

And before I knew what was happening, I had shaved off half of my right  eyebrow!

It was one of THOSE moments.

I stood there, staring in the mirror, filled with horror at what I’d done. Then I remembered: I’m married now;  WHAT was my husband going to say? (Note to self: Not a wise mistake any time, but especially when you’re a newlywed AND turning 44 years old. You’d think you’d have the hang of eyebrow grooming by the time you reach middle age! Apparently…unless you’re me.)

That evening, when I saw my husband and he asked me what I’d done that day, I REALLY had something to report! I don’t think it’s what he expected to hear I’d been up to, but he had the good grace, following his initial shock and disbelief, to shake his head and laugh (despite the fact we were on our way to an anniversary party for his talent agency, Utah’s TMG, to spend the evening with actors and models! JUST what you want to do and where you want to go, particularly after you’ve shaved off half of one eyebrow!)

Second marriage moment #15. Having to tell my new husband of less than 4 months that I’m missing half an eyebrow.

I never expected that.

Do You Think It Might Be The Wedding Ring?

“By persistently remaining single, a man converts himself into a permanent public temptation.” (Oscar Wilde)I’m thinking it might be an attractive combination. Single man, fit, hair long enough to make him look like a liberal college professor…and the women are beginning to like it! The other day #5 came home to tell me how nice women have been to him, especially lately, and that he thinks it might be the longer hair.

I asked, “Do you think it might be the wedding ring?”

He explained, “No, it was starting to happen a little before that, I think it must be the hair!”

Thank goodness he is married again, I guess, so he won’t be SUCH a temptation. He’s off the market, as am I. I have exited the single phase of life. For the second time. I can’t say I’m sorry to see it go. It was devastating to become single after 20 years of marriage and to re-enter the singles scene in my 40s, following an unexpected divorce and the trauma of a VERY unexpected life; the single life sure took some getting used to. In fact, I couldn’t imagine ever getting used to it. But I did.

In the beginning, I remember feeling so humiliated. I seriously thought everyone could tell, just by looking at me, what a loser (ie. single, a.k.a. divorced) woman I was. I was sure everyone thought I had terrible judgement, lacked intelligence, was impossible to live with or did any myriad of negative things that made someone not want to be with me and that caused my divorce.

Divorce was so contrary to anything I’d ever imagined for myself, I could hardly imagine, truly, ever being satisfied with myself and my status, but eventually I was. I wasn’t humiliated. I didn’t feel like a loser. I was just me. Andrea Merriman. Divorced single mother of four. I wasn’t embarrassed by the word “divorce” or to say it. It was my unexpected new “normal.”

Then I remarried.

And believe it or not, THAT has taken some getting used to. Again! For #5 and for me.

I’m calling them…second marriage moments. And the first one hit on the drive home from the honeymoon. Lets just say MOST of them have made me laugh:)

“Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”

Wedding License

“Only one marriage I regret. I remember after I got that marriage license I went across from the license bureau to a bar for a drink. The bartender said, ‘What will you have, sir?’ I said, ‘A glass of hemlock.’” (Ernest Hemingway)

The night we got our letters in the mail, #5 began planning our marriage in earnest.

“We’ve got to get a wedding license!” he reminded.

“We have five business days to get one. I’m fine if we just pop over and get it the day before we get married,” I calmly replied.

He looked at me like I was from another planet. (Sometimes, in planning ahead, compared to him, I probably am.) “I am NOT comfortable with that at ALL,” he emphasized. “There is absolutely no way we’re waiting to get something that important until the day before! What if something goes wrong? That is NOT the way I do things, I will never wait until the day before.” He shook his head at me.

I assured him nothing would happen, that we really could wait until the day before, but #5 wasn’t having any of my planning, or lack of it. We arranged for us to meet before work 2 business days later to get our wedding license. (And thankfully, #5 is a “planner.” Turns out, the office was closed the day I suggested we get our license. Had I been in charge, we would have been in trouble!)

I drove to the office on the appointed morning. While I rarely listen to the radio in the morning, for some reason, that day I did. And I couldn’t believe what I heard.

“He who laughs has not yet heard the bad news.” (Bertolt Brecht)

“Open, Sesame!”

“I turn on my computer. I wait patiently as it connects. I go online. My breath catches in my chest until I hear 3 little words, ‘You’ve got mail.’ I hear nothing, not a sound on the streets of New York. Just the beat of my own heart. I have mail…from you.” (“You’ve Got Mail”)

I had mail? I didn’t quite believe it, so, true to form, I denied it. (The Queen of Denial was back!)

“I DO NOT have mail.”

“Yes, you do,” said #5. “I am holding a letter from The First Presidency of The Church, addressed to you, in my hand.”

“Did you open it? What does it say?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t open it, it’s addressed to you!” he replied.

“Open it,” I requested.

“No,” he responded. “Because I haven’t been to my house, yet, to see if I have letter too.”

“Open it,” I requested. (Again.)

“No,” he answered. “What if it’s a letter telling you NOT to marry me?”

“OPEN IT,” I commanded.

So he did. There was a brief pause while he opened the envelope, removed the letter and silently read it. ”It’s the letter we’ve been waiting for,” he reported.

I didn’t know what to say. I still couldn’t believe it, so I denied it again and then asked him if he was teasing me. He finally put my oldest on the phone. ”Mom, it’s the letter. It’s to you from The First Presidency,” he said, and he began to read it to me over the phone.

I was at work. My children and #5 were gathered together at my home, reading my letter. They all sounded happy and excited. It was noisy in the background.

As for me? I’d waited so long, by the time I finally got my letter of authorization to marry in a temple, I’m not sure what I thought or felt in that moment. Relief. Excitement. Yet a sense of “this can’t be real” mingled with the other thoughts and emotions. I hung up the phone, my mind racing with thoughts of people I needed to call about my letter finally coming.

But instead, I hung up the phone and…unexpectedly…cried.

I wasn’t planning to do that.

“A woman can laugh and cry in three seconds and it’s not weird…” (Rob Schneider)

“Yours Mine And Ours”

“I don’t answer the phone.  I get the feeling whenever I do that there will be someone on the other end.” (Fred Couples)

The phone call came at the end of the work day Monday afternoon. It was from the ice arena. Our sons, the boys we’d disagreed about and had broken our engagement off over just the night before, had gotten into a public brawl on the ice. Supposedly, his son bumped my son while they were skating and hitting pucks (that’s hockey.) But my son didn’t like that and hit his son. His son hit mine back for hitting him. And then my son took his hockey stick to his son, swung it like a baseball bat and hit his son across the back!

My oldest son witnessed it, ejected my middle son from the ice, and the offender was MAD. He called me, wanted me to pick him up from the ice rink so he wouldn’t have to wait there and watch the other boys having fun. Unfortunately, I work in another city so that wasn’t possible. (I also thought it wouldn’t hurt him to cool off, to sit and watch the other boys having fun on the ice, so I told him we’d talk about it when we got home.)

I hung up the phone and shook my head. WhoEVER would have thought I’d be the mother of a son who got in a brawl, in public? Certainly not me! (Yet here I am, delighting in all kinds of unexpected experiences I’m continually blessed with.)

Then I called #5 and left him a message. ”I don’t know if you’ve heard yet, but there was a physical altercation on the ice today. I’m calm, I’m not upset; I hope you are too. While I don’t know if you have other plans for this evening, I don’t think we can let this go any longer. We need to sit down and talk to the boys, together, tonight.”

It’s funny how life prepares you for…life. How certain things (people, places, events, experiences) can prepare you for other things–even when you don’t realize you’re going to need them. Like how we’d had our disagreement about our boys just the night before. At the time, I’d thought it was a terrible thing–to fight and then break up–yet in reality, it allowed us to work through our issue, separate the issue from us, get it together and present a united front to our children.

When #5 walked into my home that night, he looked at me with a smile and joked, “What would Mike and Carol Brady do?”

There was only one answer to that. I’d learned it from my wise Colorado friend when I mistakenly expected to make my remarriage/blended family situation like The Brady Bunch and it wasn’t working, and I’d thought I was disappointed–until she straightened me out. I shared it with #5.  I said, “PLEASE! It doesn’t matter what Mike and Carol would do. We aren’t the Brady Bunch, never will be, and I’m ok with that.” I added, “Mike was gay; Carol was depressed; Greg kissed his step-sister Marcia; Alice couldn’t get her love, Sam-the-meat-man to commit…I don’t want or need to be The Brady Bunch!”

And in that moment I realized, again, I really feel that way. What #5 and I have, with our children, is right for us. It’s actually very, very good. We need to help a couple of our children learn to appreciate each other a little more–however biological siblings sometimes need to work on that, too.

But it was a good opportunity to tell #5 what I DID want: ”If we’re going to be like anyone, I want to be ‘Yours Mine & Ours!’” I exclaimed.

He looked at me strangely, couldn’t figure that one out, I guess, because he asked, “‘Yours Mine & Ours?’ Why that? They had way more kids than we do and besides, I’m not in the armed forces.”

“Yes, I know!” I explained. “But Rene Russo is WAY hotter. If I’m going to be like anyone, let alone any stepmother, let it be her!”

We laughed, went in together and had a great talk with our sons. I have to say, I think that challenge made us better; stronger than ever. The challenges of life, the unexpected life itself, have a way of doing that, you know.

“Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.” (Henry Ward Beecher)

Who’s Afraid of The Big, Bad…

“The ads all call me fearless, but that’s just publicity. Anyone who thinks I’m not scared out of my mind whenever I do one of my stunts is crazier than I am.” (Jackie Chan)

I was always afraid of the dark. Even as a little girl, I made the frightful journey to my parents’ bedroom in the wee hours, every night, for protection. I hadn’t overcome that fear by the time I became a mother, so when my former husband traveled for business (ok, now I know that wasn’t the truth, but that is what I thought was taking place back then!) each night I invited my children to sleep in my room under the guise of a “slumber party.” After they fell asleep, I’d shut and lock my master bedroom door and move a piece of furniture in front of it for protection before I crawled into my bed, to lie there with my heart pounding most of the night, unable to sleep.

Crazy behavior, but true. Just ask my friend and former neighbor, Geoff, who got a frantic call from me at 2 a.m. one night in 2001. I will love him forever for not only coming to my home in the middle of a freezing winter night to ensure every room and closet on every floor of my home was intruder free, but for humoring my fear by bringing a baseball bat with him as he searched, as well as for having the good grace to EVER speak to me again after that!

Then my unexpected life began. I was thrust into terrifying darkness that extended beyond the night.  I was scared out of my mind. I didn’t just fear the future or the nighttime (by then, sleep was impossible), I even began to fear the doorbell. Because that meant I’d have to open my front door.

I know fear isn’t always rational, and mine was no exception. I began to fear not just who would ring my doorbell—we had lived through more than our fair share of hostile and angry clients/victims who had appeared at our front door to vent their hostility and rage about what my former husband had done toward me and my children—but what would happen should I dare answer the door? Would someone yell at me, would someone serve me with papers for a frivilous, groundless lawsuit simply because I had unknowingly been married to a criminal or even worse, would someone “snap” emotionally because of their loss…and shoot me? Like I said, my fear was not rational.  However, I had been thrust into a life that had been inconceivable to me, so at that point, I felt anything, including anything scary, was possible. (Violence and threat of violence was also something government officials and attorneys had warned me about. In fact, they checked with me periodically to make sure I hadn’t been threatened and that I felt “safe.” And now this blog proves I wasn’t completely truthful. Oops! No one threatened me, but obviously, I didn’t feel safe! I was just too embarrassed to say it. I felt there had been enough drama.)

One day, the doorbell rang. As I approached, through the frosted glass I could see the blurry figure of a large man wearing a dark jacket and sunglasses. I could see some type of metal, electronic device, possibly a gun, in his hand. I suddenly got VERY afraid. I can’t describe the terror I felt. In seconds I waged an epic battle within myself: answer or not answer the door.

“And so it begins,” I thought. My fears had become my reality.

I realized I couldn’t not answer the door the rest of my life.  And I certainly couldn’t live in fear the rest of my life. So I decided to open the door and face whatever consequence that decision brought me. Even if it meant death.

I grasped the knob and slowly opened the door. I cautiously peered out, prepared to meet my fate, and faced the man. He was tall, muscular, dressed in a nondescript navy jacket (just like I imagine assassins wear), and who knew what manner of evil design was hidden behind his reflective eye wear? I can’t imagine the expression on my face, or what the man saw when I opened the door, because he immediately jumped back, put his hands in the air, and said, “Ma’am! It’s ok! I’m not here to hurt you! I’m just the Schwann man! I’m here to sell you some ice cream!”

I’m sure he had no idea whose bell he had rung, what infamous front porch he was standing on. Although my home had been splashed across televisions nationwide, I guess he was too busy selling Schwann products to have seen it.

Sometimes you just have to shake your head and laugh. At yourself. And the crazy things you fear. Like the ice cream man. Really.

In the unexpected life we face scary things every day. Yet confronting the hard stuff, for me, was the secret to rising above it. In fact, it’s the only way to overcome it: open the door (it can be quite a stunt), look your fear in the eye and if you’re lucky, like me, you’ll find ice cream!

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Just ask the Schwann man.


“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.” (Mark Twain)

There’s nothing that reveals character like the unexpected life. And if we’re judging things by the adjectives I’ve learned to use, I’d say the unexpected life revealed some flaws I hadn’t known were there.

It has always been a joke in my family that I can’t cuss.

It’s not that I haven’t known the proper words to use. My amazing Nana had the MOST colorful way of expressing herself for most of my life. And both of my parents occasionally “slipped” when addressing frustrations (usually in relation to my brothers! haha) and taught them to me unintentionally. It’s mostly that I just was never comfortable using those expressions. And it was so out of character for me to express myself that way, it never worked when I tried. I simply wasn’t good at it.

Early in my first marriage, I cussed at my former husband–to make a point, of course. He stopped as soon as I said the word, and laughed! He shook his head, told me not to do that any more, that it just wasn’t me and it didn’t work for me. He laughed about it the rest of our marriage.

Then 2005 arrived. It was a challenging year. My oldest was in 7th grade and experimenting with a new appearance, growing his hair longer and dressing like a skater–in the style of Elmo, I mean Emo (sorry to all of the Emo people out there!) and acting a little careless to match his hairstyle. At the same time, my last child was born. I experienced some complications and spent a couple of months in and out of the hospital and the year following his birth continuing to heal and recover. On top of that, my baby had health/sensory challenges of his own and cried almost constantly the first two years of his life. And my mom died. (All of the above took place as my oldest attempted to “find” himself at 12 1/2 years old.)

One day, I lost it and cussed at my oldest son. I remember where I was standing when I did it–his bedroom. He stopped as soon as I said the word, and laughed! He shook his head and told me I shouldn’t attempt that any more, that I was terrible at cussing, and has teased me about it ever since.

Enter the unexpected life. Although I was almost perfectly kind and polite to the former husband who became a stranger in one fateful moment March 18, 2009, I remember an occasion in which I used an inappropriate adjective several times when addressing some issues I had with him and what he had done. (In my defense, it was absolutely mild and merciful compared to what I was thinking and feeling at the time!) And then one morning not too long ago, things that had been building inside me for awhile came to a head and I used an inappropriate adjective in speaking to my oldest again. Sadly, no one laughed. Because the word worked.

I felt bad about that all day long. Is that what my unexpected life had come to and created in me–an ability to demonstrate my “poverty of thought?” (That’s how I’d viewed cussing up until that time.) I even called a friend and confessed my language challenge to her. She knew just what to say. She good-naturedly told me not to worry about it; that I had used a word that is a location, so it didn’t count as cussing! THAT sure gave me a good laugh on a day that I needed one.

So although the unexpected life I hope has revealed positive attributes (my ability to endure, forgive, remain honest, work hard, look at the bright side and choose happiness despite it all) it has revealed a character flaw, or two, as well. Darn it.

And oh, well. Because although I’ve already revealed my ignorance about diamonds in previous ring shopping posts, I still say, as did Confucius, “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” Consider me flawed, yet with the potential to dazzle as I overcome my challenges.

I believe there is hope for me and every other diamond-in-the-rough out there yet. It’s called life, and its attendant adversity–guaranteed to refine us and make us what we need to be; to help us be better than we would otherwise have been, as long as we choose to let it.

“Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with.” (Thomas Carlyle)

If we just keep going, making the most of our challenges, I guarantee we’ll be dazzling someday.

Thanks to the unexpected life.

Looking to Make a Statement?

Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.  ~Marlene Dietrich
I got an email from my former husband last week. In it, he listed the many things he has said and done, all of the changes he is trying to make in his life (from prison), so that someday I’ll forgive him.

I was absolutely blown away by that.

I forgave him a long time ago. I’m not sure exactly when, all I know is that from the moment my unexpected life began, I sought to forgive Him. My children know I have forgiven their father. My friends and family know I have forgiven my former husband. I think the world knows it, too, but somehow He never got it.

I told him  I have already forgiven him; in fact, that I forgave him as quickly as I could.

He sent me another email, told me I have no idea how long he has waited to hear me say that, thanked me for forgiving him and again pointed out everything he had said and done to make my forgiveness possible.

I was blown away by that too.

I have always known to forgive. My parents taught me to say I was sorry when I did something wrong and to forgive others when they did something wrong and said they were sorry. As I grew older, they taught me to forgive others whether or not they said they were sorry, or even WERE sorry, for what they had done. I am so grateful for my parents and what they taught me. Because as an adult, I saw too many people who allowed the actions of others, or their life experiences, to literally ruin them. I saw too many people focused on the wrongs that had been committed against them, too many people with souls cankered by hatred for things others had done and not enough people focused on everything “right” in their lives.

I realized, not for the first time, that life may not be a lot of things–easy, breezy, calm or fair–but life is always a choice. To live or not to live. To be happy. To laugh. To have faith. To hope. To forgive.

Yes, forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness is a choice we must make, regardless of the choices made by anyone else.

I was stunned that I lived with someone for 20 years and he didn’t understand that. I was amazed that He had watched me teach and train our children, including to forgive others, and he never got it. So I had to clarify a few things with him. I told him that although I was glad he sought to do what was right, my forgiveness has absolutely nothing to do with him or anything he has said or done to demonstrate his sorrow. My forgiveness is all mine; and it doesn’t hinge on what he or anyone else does. I forgive because I believe the world is in great need of its sweet fragrance.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” (Mark Twain)

Forgiveness was a choice I made. And although I did it because it was the right thing to do, I also did it for me–so I wouldn’t destroy the rest of my life or poison my soul, harbor a grudge, or carry the burden of hatred and venom like an unproductive boulder-filled backpack weighing me down because of an unwillingness to forgive.

I don’t believe you earn forgiveness.

You earn money. You earn trust. If you’re wise with your money (and can keep it out of the hands of Ponzi schemers) you may even earn interest. But you can’t “earn” the forgiveness of another.

“I wasn’t satisfied just to earn a good living. I was looking to make a statement.” (Donald Trump)

One of the most important statements we can make in life, unexpected or otherwise, is this: I forgive.

Horse Sense

“I love it. The rich smell of horse poop, there’s nothing like it anywhere.” (Fern Michaels, Kentucky Rich)

Life is full of the unexpected. And sometimes you learn lessons in the most unexpected places and from the most unexpected things.

For example, when I was a girl, I learned I didn’t enjoy riding horses. I discovered this tidbit about myself the day I was riding a stubborn horse named “Ol’ Yeller” at my grandpa’s farm. I don’t know that she liked kids anyway, but I know for sure she didn’t like giving kids rides at feeding time.

I was on her back, doing my best to trot around the pasture with her, when my grandpa happened to walk by with her bucket of feed. She knew darn well what it was, and she made it clear that my ride was over. Down I slid into a pile of manure. “Rich” indeed.

Well, you can guess what I did. I wanted to quit. But my dad wouldn’t let me. He got on the horse and ran her up and down the lane a few times, before he made me get on with him for a quick ride, just so the horse (and I) would know who was boss; and that I was not a quitter.

I learned some important lessons that day. You might call it, “horse sense”–gleaned from “Ol’ Yeller” and a rich, brown, fresh, fragrant pile of manure.

“It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall.” Falls are a part of life. And since you can’t avoid them, it’s best to learn how to fall. Preferably on your feet. But always prepared to pick yourself up and carry on.

“There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humor and the other is patience.” I can’t say it enough. In life, choose to laugh and you’ll always find the bright side–and something to be grateful for. As to the other–patience–a fair bit of that is required when things are unexpected. Besides, it’s a virtue!

“I sit astride life like a bad rider on a horse. I only owe it to the horse’s good nature that I am not thrown off at this very moment.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein) Like a horse, the unexpected life can throw us off at any moment. Watch out for manure! And be grateful for the moments you are in the saddle, and not thrust into anything unexpected, like the brown stuff you might slide into should you become unseated.

Lastly, “If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question or asked the question wrong.” Lol. However, I do believe in trying to learn from mistakes or attempting to find the meaning in experiences. It helps make the unexpected life worthwhile!

The Magical Adventure Called Life

“Adventure: the pursuit of life.” (Daniel Roy Wiarda)

I still can’t imagine what life in prison is like. I imagine there is a lot of down time, time to think, and sometimes my children get letters filled with the musings of a lonely man with time on his hands for thinking deep thoughts. Most recently, it was regarding one of my ex-husband’s favorite memories. At the time, he was very angry with me because of it, so it was gratifying he has finally seen it for what it was. Here’s what happened.

Years ago my family went to Disneyworld. We paid an extra fee to stay in the park until midnight. However, that night it rained. A lot. For some reason, not many people wanted a wet adventure in the twilight hours. The park started emptying.

My former husband was one of those who wanted to give up on the magic. But I didn’t. I told him we could make memories in the rain as easily as fair weather, so I thought we should stay. We stayed, although my children’s dad was mad at me and my unwillingness to leave the park for a good part of the evening.

What a night! Water poured from the sky, and ran, like small rivers, down the streets of the Magic Kingdom. It was so wet, paint from the rides dyed my clothing and our shoes squished when we walked. Our hair was plastered to our heads making us look more like drowned rats than the Colorado residents we were. We even got stuck on one ride when it broke down, on our backs facing the ceiling, with rain and water pouring on us…for almost 40 minutes!

We had so many wild and unexpected adventures that, after an hour or two, even my ex-husband had to let go of his animosity and laugh at all of the crazy fun we were having. We rode ride after ride as often as we wanted without ever having to leave our seats, we laughed, we suffered (a little) and made the best memories–my children still talk about that night.

As we left when the park closed, we noticed even the Disney characters had given up and were nowhere to be seen. We were told there were less than 70 people in the entire Magic Kingdom that night! But we proved you can have fun, a magical adventure, in the dark, in the cold, despite suffering and even when you’re (mostly) alone.

It was a lesson that would serve our family well.

Because eventually, I ended up single after 20 years of a happy marriage. Rebuilding my life after such devastation and total loss–finding a job, moving to a new city alone, raising my children by myself, dealing with daycare and bills and auto repairs and toilets and garbage disposals, re-entering the singles scene and everything else I’ve gone through–is something akin to being trapped on my back, with a flood of water conspiring against me, for a seemingly endless amount of time. It, too, has been an adventure.

But that’s ok, because the unexpected life is replete with adventure. You just have to see the adventures for what they are, opportunities, and make the most of them.

And if we endure, if we’re the last man standing in the Magic Kingdom at midnight, I guarantee we’ll see our unexpected life for what it is: an adventure. We’ll see the good that came of it.

Like every Disney story, there WILL be a happily ever after. You just have to get through the rain, sometimes, to see it.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” (Helen Keller)