The Year That Changed Me

My day speaking to some amazing high schoolers.

My day speaking to some amazing high school students.

“So there you go that’s me…I am not perfect (in fact I am as far from perfect as they come…I am actually quite a mess 🙂 ), I need grace always (sometimes I wonder how He puts up with me, but he ALWAYS does and ALWAYS will), and I am on a journey ( a roller-coaster of a journey)…a journey to a life without ED. So if you are like me or you know somebody like me, join me on this journey (but before you do buckle up. This will be the best ride of your life but just as on any great roller-coaster there will be lots of hills and drops along the way, but the end will be great). I cannot promises roses and sunshine everyday but I can promise joy in the midst of pain and a life so wonderful, you can’t even begin to imagine it! ” -From my first post A Ballerin, A Modeler and a Recovering Anorexic

 

I am sitting on my bed overwhelmed and with tears in my eyes…but these are the good kind of tears…the happy, the grateful, the amazed kind of tears. I cannot believe all this year has brought and all the grace I have been shown since I started to share my story here a year ago. A year ago, I wrote a post about my story, my journey through Ed recovery and a year later I am amazed and truly beyond blessed by the journey that I have been on since then. Today I spent the day with high school students sharing my story and talking about eating disorder awareness and it truly was the best day. Once again, I am astounded by the bravery of those students to talk to me and share their hearts and questions. In my mind, I am and will always be just a girl who decided to share her messiness with the world, a simple girl who has been blessed by Grace and Unconditional Love that is bigger than her mess ever will be…

As I sat down and reread my very post from a year ago, I couldn’t believe how far I had come. In fact I am still astounded and humbled. You see unlike the girl in the first post Ed and I don’t talk on a regular basis, or on a weekly or monthly basis. In fact, we really have no relationship at all. However, when his lies occasionally creep up and he decides he might like to visit I have a support team in place to remind me those are lies and what truth is. What a blessing it is to hear the truth and believe it. Today, I live my life in the freedom of recovery. It means not everyday is perfect, not everyday is great, but everyday holds beauty even in the midst of pain and everyday is a step in the right direction. In the last year, I learned that recovery in no manner is an open and shut book that you put up on the shelf to never touch again. Recovery is a work in progress and so am I.

A year ago, I could have never imagined sharing my story with thousands of others. In fact, even as I wrote my first blog post I was astounded by the love and grace I was shown. Even more than sharing through words on a page I never thought I would be given the opportunity to share on the news, on the radio, in newspapers and in public forums. I never dreamed I would be introduced as an Ed survivor (talk about humbling). That my friends is the beauty of grace. I in no manner deserve this and yet I was given this beautiful opportunity to share my story. In all truth, I am merely one of millions that has a story of Ed struggles and a story of recovery and yet because of grace I have been blessed ten million times over by this blog and by the opportunity to share my story.

You my friends, each of you reading are the reason I continue to write and share my story. I am continually inspired by each of you and the way you live your lives full of grace and beauty. I once thought that being messy and broken would be awful but it is the most freedom and the most joy I have ever felt. Being real, means being me and I really like being me.

If there was one thing from the past year that I could share with you friends, it would be that your story matters, and even a year later I realize how much this is true. I have said it many times before, but only you can tell your story and when you tell your story you give others the opportunity to be real and share theirs. When you share your story you allow the story of grace to be told and when that happens lives change. It is no accident that this blog is called leaving perfection learning grace. I am constantly learning to leave my perfectionist ways behind and live in the freedom of grace. Each time I make a small step in the right direction and choose to tell the story of my messy broken life I get a chance to experience grace. You my friend have the same opportunity as well, so go out there, be brave, and tell your story! You will be surprised at how many people can relate…

So to my best friends, my lunch bunch, my family, my Brett, my RUF community, my roommate, my cheerleaders, my mentors, my big sis’s, my TCU, my girls, my staff, my reader friends, to all of you who have listened to me share my story you are the reason that I do this. Your support, your tear drying, your laughter, your diet cokes, your coffees, your hugs, and your unconditional love and support have made this all possible. Thank you for allowing me to  be the real me, messiness and all, and THANK YOU for always, always, always, showing me love and grace. You mean the world to me and I couldn’t do this without you!

To any of you out there who struggle with Ed or anything else, know that there is HOPE a hope much BIGGER than your struggle, grace is REAL, recovery IS POSSIBLE, and YOUR story MATTERS, and MAY YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH IT!!
<3MK

 

 

Happy One Year!!

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Check back later today to see how different life is a year later and why starting this blog and raising Ed awareness changed my world. Grateful for each and every one of you reading this! ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK

JLO, Smashing Mugs, and Changing the Story

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Truth be told, I like for other people to think that I am basically JLo in the Wedding Planner. In fact, when I mention that I am a Wedding Planner/Coordinator I sometimes throw that little joke in there and other times people just assume that is my life. Don’t get me wrong I love my job but it is a whole lot less glamour and glitter filled that JLo’s in that movie. However, the huge drama factor is still there. I get to deal with people who are focused on the biggest day of their life, which is exciting, happy, joyous and ah yes stressful. Insert the added drama. However, whether people’s dream day goes off without a hitch or whether there are many hitches (one’s they will never know about it, insert my job here) I get to witness the beginning of two lives, two stories coming together.

I have always been captivated by people’s stories. It is one of the many reasons I was an English major. It is probably also one of the reasons I picked my job. I LOVE to hear people’s stories. I love to read people’s stories. I love to listen to them. I love to watch them. I love to hear about them in any way shape, or form. However, oftentimes I feel like I am living the same story. I don’t want to change my story because that is too painful. It is too difficult. It is too much. But I have to and so do you.

When I started recovery nearly a year and half ago i had a decision to make. I could either start rewriting my story or keep living the same one. I could either hold tightly to the cliff or jump into the clear blue water. I of course chose to jump. More times than others I have had to remind myself why I made the decision I did, why I chose the road less traveled. If I am being honest this road has been hard. It been messy. It has been broken but it has been worth it. I could keep living the lies or I could walk in truth, truth that set me free.

There are certain lies that Ed used to tell me minute to minute about how I looked and the way I should feel about myself. Many of them came from experiences with family, boyfriends, friends and so on. Built up, these lies began to tell a story of who I was and what my worth was in. On my worst days, I sometimes think about those lies and start to wonder if they are still true (as if they EVER were!!). And I have to stop and remind myself that I get an opportunity to change the story of who I am, of what my worth is in and in what I am all about. That decision to change the story came when I decided to choose recovery.

Earlier this summer I smashed a mug. It was a mug made for me by a former boy. It was special to our relationship and I used to drink coffee out of it every morning. When that relationship ended my sweet mother hid the mug so I wouldn’t have to see it. Earlier this summer she found it while she was cleaning. I walked into the kitchen and saw the mug on the table and felt a lump in my throat. She explained she was going to pitch it but didn’t want to, she wanted me to do whatever I wanted it. I made a joke about smashing it and my brother concluded that would be a wonderful idea. So we went to the backyard and with the mug safely contained in a Ziploc bag, I began to smash it to pieces with a hammer. My loving brother, knowing this was a big step, filmed it and took pictures as we both laughed and the mug became unrecognizable in tiny pieces. Then I promptly threw the mug in the garbage, happy with my smashing results. Friends, smashing that mug was once of the best decisions I have ever made, because smashing it meant ending that story and starting a new one.

The fact of the matter is it was just a mug, an inanimate object,  and I could have easily thrown it away without the smashing. However, by smashing it, I decided to smash all the bad memories of that relationship. I smashed all the insecurities and lack of self-worth I felt during it.  I smashed the way I was treated. I smashed the idea of ever doing it to myself again. In essence, that smashing represented me changing the story for myself. By symbolically smashing that mug I smashed the idea of ever being treated that way again in a relationship and I smashed my old story and decided to create a new one. I changed the story.

Sometimes changing the story can be easier than others. For me changing the story means changing a story that I lived for over a decade. Just like choosing recovery daily, it is daily choosing everyday to change the story and live a new one. It means being brave and sharing my mess. It means not having it all together. It means asking for help. It means leaving perfection and learning grace.

Friend, you can make the one of the best decision you will ever make, by changing your story (of hurt, pain, trauma)  whatever it is. You can make the decision to smash your old story and start a new one. It takes strength, bravery, and vulnerability but then again every good and beautiful story has all of those. It is not safe but it is worth it. And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!
<3MK

Finding the Real MK

The best friends a girl could have. #beyondblessed

The best friends a girl could have. #beyondblessed

As I was setting up my new room I came across some old photos of myself and by old photos I mean ones taken nearly a year ago. I took a moment and I starred at the girl in the photo and I didn’t recognize her. Sure she looked healthy. She looked happy. She was beautiful. She looked like me, but was she really me? I knew within an instant that she wasn’t…

One of the most important aspects of my recovery has been discovering who MK is. What does MK like? What does she dislike? What is she about? What does she want for her life? However, at the point I was at in my recovery a year ago I wasn’t strong enough to stick to many of those things. I wasn’t ready to be me…I still wanted to be the people-pleaser I was during my time with Ed. So I became someone I wasn’t. It was no one’s fault but my own. I caved to the pressures around me because it was easier to say and do things that others liked and wanted me to do than to be me.

However, this MK, a year later is different. She is stronger in her recovery and she knows what she stands for and what she doesn’t. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have bad days but she is able to talk about them and be open with the mess. She has learned who she is and who she is not. For me the refusal to people please at the expense of my own self worth is still one of the hardest parts about recovery. On some days I do better than others but I know what choosing to view others ideas and standards above my own, does to me. So for my own sake, I came up with a list of certain truths I cling to and certain ones I don’t, that way if I was ever uncertain about my decisions I could come back and remember who I am at the core.

  • I cling to the gospel of grace. That is what directs my life.
  • I strive to live a life filled with grace not striving for perfection.
  • I share my mess (even when it is hard).
  • I protect myself and don’t put myself in situations that are harmful to my recovery.
  • I take care of myself  and rest, even if it means not hanging out with friends every night.
  • I express my emotions and feelings. This means, I allow myself to cry when I need to and laugh when I want.
  • I am honest about where I am at on my journey and my recovery with others and myself.
  • I ask for help when I need it and I am not ashamed of asking for help.
  • I don’t say yes to everything. In other words, I don’t over commit and wear myself out.
  • I allow myself to mess up and make mistakes. Sometimes my failure brings out my greatest strengths.

Just like MK a year ago wanted to cave to who she thought everyone wants her to be, MK today does that as well. And the other day, as i sat across the table from two of my very best friends and shared my heart I had to remember this list. I had to remember that they were my home team. I had to remember the real messy MK was who they loved and because of that they wanted to keep me accountable in my recovery. Sometimes it is harder than others to remember and stay true to this list. I grew up the girl with the smile plastered to her face, the one with no real problems, the dream child, dream student, perfect youth group attendee. That’s a lot of pressure for a kid and even now an adult. I don’t want to have it all together and frankly most of the time I don’t.

If you took a look at my real life you would find out that despite my immaculate room, my closet is a mess, My hair most days needs to be washed, I hate ironing and so my clothes are most likely a little wrinkly. If I could I would live in over sized shirts and yoga pants. I love parties but I hate nightlife and crowded hangouts. I am incredibly nerdy and don’t know near enough about pop culture to hold a conversation.  I hate goodbyes and they tear me apart longer than they should. I love (capital love) cheesy ABC Family dramas and could watch them for hours. Some days I spend way too much time deciding if a piece of jewelry goes with an outfit and as a result I do my hair and makeup in ten minutes combined.  I am addicted to Diet Coke and drink way more than I should. And honestly, some days are just harder than others when I look in the mirror. The people who love me for who I am know all these things just like my two best friends who sat across the table from me. They could tell you the items of my list without knowing about it because they know who I am at the core.  Even more, they embrace this MK and they love her for her broken, messy, energetic, and sometimes crazy self. Many of those things about my real life are things I am scared to share when I am most vulnerable because they make me the quirky messy person I am. However, as I looked back at those photos from a year ago I realized I would rather be this real version of myself than try to please all those people around me… I would rather be myself than lose part of myself…

I don’t know if that resonates with you my friend. Maybe you like me spend too much time caring about what others think of you, and you end up losing part of your self. I want you instead of focusing on how to please others, think about focusing on who you really are at the core. I can promise you my friend, people pleasing only leads to heartache and losing yourself. So this week forget what other people think and learn about yourself and what you are all about. Something tells me you are pretty amazing and I hoping this week you realize that too! And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK

What’s Inside Your Heart

“What you do shows what’s inside your heart”-Nicholas

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Six years. That is how long we’ve had together. One week. That is the time we have left. As I sit here and begin to tell you about someone who means the world to me, tears are beginning to cascade down my face. These are happy tears. They are filled with joy for the time we have spent together and the memories shared. They are filled with hope for the future and all that will happen in both of our lives. And they are filled with a full heart for all he has taught me in the last six years. However, I would be lying if I said the tears were not mixed with a hint of sadness because selfishly I don’t want him to go. You see in one week we won’t live five minutes from each other, we won’t be in the same time zone let alone the same country. Communication will be a mix of face timing, texts,  and fb messages scattered in with some phone calls. And while it will be more difficult than I could imagine, it will be worth it. He is going to make a difference wherever he goes and I have the joy and the privilege of saying always, that’s my big brother…

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If you know me than you know about Nicholas. You know what a huge part of my life he is. And if you don’t then let me clear up some misconceptions for you. We are family, we are brother and sister. He is my big bro and I am his little sis. Not by blood, not by formal adoption, but by heart. And let me tell you I am willing to take down anyone who tries to tell me differently. 😉  It didn’t happen overnight but through the years he has become my big brother, my protector, my adviser, my advocate, my partner in crime and my best friend. It is no crazy accident how we became friends, in fact if you know the story you are laughing at how our friendship began. I could sit here and tell you about the lock in where we became real friends, or the family bonding, and meals that made us siblings but this post isn’t about that. It is about Nicholas.

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Some people radiate and you can’t help but notice them and if you have ever met Nicholas you know this true of him. From his smile, to his charisma , to his humor and intelligence he shines. His story is one of perseverance, love, and truly miracles. You could never imagine how much this guy has gone through to bring him to where he is today but that is the most amazing part about him is if you met him you would assume he has had the best life imaginable to bring him where he is. That is the most precious part about him, he his humbly grateful no matter where life takes him. The quote I used to begin this post,  is one that Nicholas said to me many years ago and it hangs painted on a canvas in my room as a reminder that all I do shows what my heart is about. Nicholas lives out this statement in every aspect of his life. He lives to help and serve others. He has wisdom that most adults never have. He has a child like spirit that literally is bouncing off the wall at times. He has a heart that loves others with more passion than I have ever seen. And if you have one conversation with him, you know this because his heart evidently shines through.

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Truth is I have great friends and a wonderful family but Nicholas and his family are one of the best gifts I have ever received. When I look back on the last six years of my life I could not have made it through without them. His family (which there will be a later post on) and him have been my rock on many of the hardest days I have ever faced. Nicholas and I may have gone to separate colleges and lived apart for most of our friendship  but it didn’t matter. We have shared more long talks, skype times, meals, heartbreak, Disney movies and laughter than I could ever count. I have never met anyone who would come home from a six week trip and sleep on an air mattress for weeks because his little sis had occupied his entire room. I have never met anyone who will sit up with me for hours baking cookies and practicing my song for a wedding the next day. He is the person after heartbreak, after bad Ed days, after fights, who never ceased to pick up his phone when I desperately called. And even more after I walked away from each conversation I felt uplifted. He has a gift of turning any situation into a joyous one and a gift for encouragement that exceeds any I have ever seen. He has counseled me over more problems than he would have liked, shared more friends with me than he thought he ever would, and let me talk for more hours than he was ready for. And all those things make up why we have become family, why we have become siblings.

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Through Nicholas I have learned that family isn’t made through blood and it isn’t made by having the same name. It is made when you hold each others hands when your world is falling apart. It is when you celebrate the joy of triumph. It is when you cry on each others shoulders. It is made when you clean out closets and run errands together. It is made in the big moments and the little moments. It is made in the in the midst of the darkest days and brightest tomorrows. Family is made when you share all of life deeply and intimately together, when you face it together as one, when you make the promise to be there for one another no matter how many miles separate you, and when you know deep in your heart that you share a bond that can never be broken. That is family.

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They say people come into your life and when they leave they leave footprints on your heart. Nicholas hasn’t left footprints he has left a piece of himself in my heart. He has changed my life for good and he has no idea how much he has done so. I am not the same person I was six years ago and so much of that is due to him. So if you know him, if you are a part of our family, thank you for sharing your Nicholas with me always. If you don’t know him you are missing out on one of the best guys on the planet. I have learned more about life, love, truth, and joy from this guy and thank you will never be enough. So as tears fall down my face my heart is full for all the memories we have together. Every time I look at my bracelet, wear one of his necklaces, write in my journal, look at my canvas, watch a disney movie, I will remember that, “What you do shows what is inside your heart.” and I will always  remember my Nicholas. The truth is I couldn’t be more beyond blessed with him because he is one in a million!

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Love you always and forever Nicholas,

❤ Your Marta

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The Waiting Room

ccd762b46f925365194d2ca50014eb3a“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized… And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin… That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.”

When I was young, summer was my favorite time of year. Summer meant the pool, no homework, sleeping in, snow cones, and hanging out with friends. It was the best of times. It also meant another thing; it meant waiting rooms.I grew up with many precious elderly people in my life.  As precious as they may have been, I learned quickly the more elderly they were the more time we spent in the doctors office. And so many of my summer days were spent in the waiting rooms of various doctors offices. And it was in those waiting rooms that I learned the biggest lessons.

Each time we headed out for the doctor’s office. I would bring my piled up bag with enough books to last several days, my personal CD player with tons of CDs, my journal and fifteen different colored gel pens. However, no amount of fun items could make up for the waiting. It was during the time in the waiting room that I learned really how terrible at “waiting” I am. And even more as I reflect back to my time in the waiting room I recognize that I spend much of my life simply waiting, instead of living…

I remember being a freshman in high school. I was desperately in love with a real live movie star friend three years older than me. I thought life would be so much more bearable if he would just ask me to be his girlfriend. So I sat by the phone and waited every night for a call, sometimes it came and sometimes it didn’t but I waited. I waited and I missed out on opportunities to get to know other guys because I was so focused on the waiting.

Fast forward three years later and I knew my life would be perfect if I just got into TCU. So I sat and I waited. Nothing in life seemed as important as that, so I never entertained the idea of another school and frankly didn’t want to hear about my friends school choices because I was too focused on my waiting. And when I was accepted it became about waiting on the the right dorm, the right classes, the right friends…so I waited more and I missed out on some great friends and classes because I couldn’t stand the waiting.

In college, I had dreams of becoming a phenomenal District Attorney. So I waited hoping that my dream would one day be a realization. I was so enthralled with my waiting that I missed out on clear signs that attorney life was not for me. After I realized my attorney dreams were not for me, I began to plan my non profit dreams, waiting to one day be ready for them and instead missed out on helping with other amazing non profits because I was waiting on my own to happen. And what I have found in all my waiting is that I let my life pass me by. I don’t live it and I miss out.

So much about this season of life has been about transition for me. Transition out of a college safety net. Transition into new jobs. Transition into having family move. Transition out of  serious relationships. Transition in friendships. Transitions in living situations. And  as I sit here in the midst of transition, it is so easy for me to wait. It is so easy and safe to sit and wait for the ministry I want to do a year from now in RUF. It is so easy to sit and wait for Prince Charming to come sweep me off my feet. It is easy to sit and wait for the life that I want to happen to unfold around me. However, the waiting doesn’t do me any good. The waiting tells me it’s okay to sit around and not live my life but to merely wish it away, to wish for my big moment and to forget what life is happening around me.

When I sit around and wait I don’t enjoy my life. Just like the ten year old sitting in the waiting room hoping that any minute it will be time to go and soon she will see her family burst through the doors, I have sat and waited for my big moments to happen. And when they don’t I am disappointed. I am unenthusiastic about life because I know that something better might be around the corner. And when they do they are wonderful but they eventually end and life goes back to normal pace. I don’t like that idea that I am just waiting for bigger, better, moments than what is happening right now. So I made a decision to stop waiting and start living. Because living and living life to the fullest is what I am about, not waiting for life to pass me by. I cannot change my age or my position in life but I can change my attitude towards my life and I can start living each day instead of waiting for tomorrow for everything to fall into place. I can work hard, I can love others, I can show grace, I can have faith and I can live each precious moment of this life given to me to the fullest.

Friend, maybe you are a young twenty year old waiting for your life to begin, maybe you are teenager waiting for that boy to ask you out, maybe you are waiting for that girl to say yes to your date, maybe you are a young mom waiting for her kids to just get over this difficult period, maybe you are a middle aged adult waiting for this job you have hated for so many years to end. So like me your story is one of waiting. Just like sitting in a stark and and pale waiting room, you are sitting and waiting for your life to be what you want it to be. Friend, this waiting is frustrating and difficult and in the end you miss out on your life because you are waiting for a better life to happen. Don’t get me wrong I want you to have the biggest and brightest dreams but in the midst of the dreams I want you to stop waiting for the big moments to happen and for everything to fall into place. I want you to start living each and every little moment of this precious life you were given and not waste it. So this week will you do me a favor? Will you stop living life in the waiting room and start living it to the fullest? And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

What Family Is

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“This is what I know: we want to live in connected, honest community. We were created for relationship. We long to be invited into the vulnerable, family spaces in one another’s lives. But as desperately as we want this, at the same time we hate the idea of people seeing the mess in our own lives, both literally and figuratively.
Bad news, though: the system is rigged. If you only let people see the perfect parts of your life, you’ll never experience those transforming, extraordinary moments of friendship that we’re longing for, that we’ve been created for.”

I have rewritten and rewritten this post so many times my fingers are starting to hurt. I haven’t gotten past the introduction and I think it’s because I am afraid that if I do than the waterworks might start. I might have to be not only real, which includes being sad and a little heartbroken, but also overjoyed. How do you put into words when someone changes your life completely? How do you tell the story of a family that changed your life? How do you tell the story of people who mean the world to you? How do you not say goodbye and only see you soon?

We met over a year and half ago and within that time my life changed. I have never met a family that did real so well, that lived grace, that gave love unbounded. When we met I wasn’t ready to be real. I wasn’t ready to be honest and I certainly wasn’t ready to take off my mask. However, it didn’t take long because I found a family with these amazing people. I suddenly realized that I didn’t have to be perfect around them. They let me into the real messy, vulnerable, and honest, parts of their lives and because of that I let them into mine too. It is true what the quote above says, when we let people into the realness of our lives that when is the celebration of extraordinary friendship occurs, and that is what happened with us. We celebrated more than just birthdays and anniversaries we celebrated bravery, and realness. We celebrated disappointment and heartache because we knew it had a bigger plan in our lives and was temporary. Sometimes you meet people and you have no idea that they are about to change your lives. From the first time we met I knew this family was special. I saw the outward beauty in each of their faces but it wasn’t long before I saw the beauty in their hearts.

I have never been a real mom or aunt. I have never had more than one sibling. However, they let me have a small taste of it all. This year they let me try and they let me fail. I have learned what it means to have five more minutes of snuggle time because you can’t imagine putting them to bed just yet. I have learned what it means to say no because you have their best interest at heart. I have learned that nobody is going to die from a slightly burnt grilled cheese and sometimes even after the fourth time of rewriting the handwriting just doesn’t look better. I have learned that two desserts is just necessary on certain days. I have learned that some days call for multiple diet cokes. I have learned that in order to deal with problems that you have to be real with them. I have learned that there are people who get your struggles more than you ever imagined. I have learned more about different kinds of toys how much cooler they are then when I was little.  I have learned that building a fort is timeless and ageless. I have learned that sometimes Baby Einsteins is the only thing that works for a screaming child and that is okay! I have learned that we don’t get along perfectly everyday and some days are just hard. I have learned that we have to work at relationships. I have learned that a child’s intuition and wisdom is more brilliant and precious than any adults. I have learned what it means to love your family no matter what comes. I have learned that you say sorry when you don’t do things right. I have learned that prayer is essential and love should be freely given. I have learned that grace is vital. I have learned that none of us is perfect but that the mess can be beautiful.

I have watched three gorgeous kids grow up into the even bigger, wiser, and more faith filled individuals who inspire me daily. I have seen a mom and dad who love their kids more than anything and give more of that love and grace than I ever thought possible. I have gained a best friend who is like a sister and a big brother who would do anything to protect the people he loves. I gained another family, a family who welcomed me into the mess and all, who loved me despite me flaws, who told me it was okay to mess up, who celebrated over my victories big and small, who loved me when I was unlovable. There are no words to express the multitude of these gifts but I can say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I wouldn’t be where I am in my faith, in my recovery, in my journey without my family.

Today we don’t say goodbye but only see you soon. Hundreds of miles will separate our physical homes but not the love in our hearts. When you become family with someone you don’t ever lose that. We may not share the same DNA or blood types but there is no doubt that God made us family. A year and half ago I couldn’t have imagined what life would be with them and today I cannot imagine a day without them. So my family, for all the way you have loved me for all the ways you have shown me this love and grace, for all the tangible and intangible gifts you have given me, for the faith you have inspired me with, for all the joy and happiness you have filled my life with, thank you will never be enough. Never will I drink another diet coke, see Disney Princesses,  jump on a trampoline, eat mint chocolate chip ice cream or a greek salad, play on a kindle, watch baby e, and not think of you. For all the tangible ways in which you have forever changed my life I will be forever grateful but for the million plus intangible ways, for all the lessons, prayers, love and grace, my heart is forever linked with yours. You have changed my life for good. I will never be the same because of you! I am beyond blessed because of my beautiful family and I always will be! This is NOT goodbye…this is see you soon…this is lots of airplane trips, car rides, skype and facetime, this is tons of messages and phone calls, pictures sent, and mail received but this is NEVER goodbye. You hold a spot in my heart that no one could ever take. We may not be with each other everyday but we will always be at heart because we will be forever family… May you ALWAYS remember…

I LOVE YOU to the moon and back (times infinity!),

❤ Your MK