Iris

Welcome

Welcome to The Executive Mom blog. You will find wonderful blogs about how to be a more efficient, empowered, loving, and happy mom while bringing peace, stabilty and consistency into your home. I will lend real life failures and successes, and I will share my wisdom. I hope that you will feel encouraged and excited in your mommy journey. Please head over to my blog tab, stay awhile and read. 🙂

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Five Minute Warning!

When my youngest was still in his first year of life, I read about and heard from several mommies the importance of a five minute warning. A five minute warning is when you tell your child(ren) five minutes before you want to leave somewhere, start something, or do something that they have five minutes to finish what they are doing presently. Whether it’s playing, doing schoolwork, or even a chore, they must wrap up the activity in the next five minutes.

I heard from all sources that this gives children the time to get out of their imagination world and wrap up play time. It also gives them expectations and helps lessen or eliminate temper tantrums. I thought it sounded good. What mom would say no to something that makes life smoother, right? I like less struggle with my kids. Ever since that time, I have been doing this for my kids. And it’s worked great! I wouldn’t go back. I use this warning every.single.day now.

As a mom it’s easy to take care of my kids and manage their schedule. And not just with  play time. I use the five minute warning before bedtime, before we leave the house, and before dinnertime. I use it a lot. I do this because I love my kids, and I want to help manage their life and expectatations. And I know they appreciate it by how they respond.

But, who’s managing MY time?

The obvious answer is me. I don’t live with my mom anymore and I have no authority figure to answer to as an adult, although some days I wish I did have someone to tell me when to go to bed. But, that’s another topic for another blog. My husband is a great encourager, but he doesn’t tell me what to do. So it comes down to me. As far as my time management is concerned, I am in charge of managing what, when, and how long I do something. So, I did an experiment on myself.

Since I see the five minute warning being so effective with my children, I decided to start giving myself a five minute warning. I did this by setting an alarm on my phone. If I get on Facebook, I set a timer for five minutes. If I want to leave at a certain time, I set a five minute warning. If I want to start dinner at a certain time, I give myself a five minute warning. And guess what? It’s working! I, like my children, respond to the warning. It worries me that maybe my children find me as annoying as my alarm, but it still works.

What are you doing to better manage your time? What accountability do you have set up in your life? Could you benefit from this nifty little trick? Maybe you could benefit from trying the same experiment on yourself. Maybe you could give me some different ideas in the comments. I am always open and ready for better time management and efficiency. So, what works for you? What your five minute warning?

Meal planning efficiency, automating your chores, and efficiency with laundry might be some other blogs of interest.

Don’t Throw The Baby Out With The Clutter

It’s a new year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to reorganize and declutter. It’s what I call “Restructuring My Company.” You can read the blog here. I am in full swing mode, and even spent the morning with my kids organizing Lego’s and finding which toys they do and do not play with anymore. It took more than two hours, and we aren’t finished yet. And now my quads hurt from standing and squatting so much. And I had already exercised for the day!

Clutter and I, we don’t mix. We are like oil and water. We are like summer and winter. And since it is winter and I’m indoors a lot, the clutter has got to go! Pack your bags, clutter, it’s time for you to leave.

I am passionate about all things to do with efficiency, organization, and prioritization. In this busy world, we mommies don’t have time to waste. We have to be slaying all day (technically I do slay all day everyday because my last name is Slay, but that’s another blog for another day!).

How can we eliminate or at least minimize clutter? I’d like to share several secrets with you about how to get rid of your clutter for good!

  1. Pick up as you go. I don’t like to clean up and I don’t like to deep clean. Why? It just takes too long. I pick up now instead of later because I know that if I don’t pick up now, I will have to pick up later. It takes less time to pick up now than it will later! It’s likely that the little mess now, the few clothes on the floor now, the toys in the middle of the hall will keep adding if nothing is done about it. The brain sees the mess and thinks, “It’s already here, I’m justified to add to it.” But, if it is picked up right away, there is no excuse. If it’s clean, it’s easier to keep it clean.
  2. Put things in the same place so you can find it easier. Let’s play a game of “have you ever.” Have you ever hunted for your house keys? Glasses? Toys? Shoes?… The list can go on. The worst is when it makes you late for an appointment or work. I don’t like wasting time looking for things, so I put things in the same place everyday. It’s not to be controlling, it’s to save time and to have brainpower for the next task. I don’t have the time to look for keys. I don’t have the patience to look for my glasses. I don’t want to hear the meltdown that comes from a child who lost a toy. I have trained myself and am training my kids to put things back in the same place every.single.time. Yes, it can be annoying at first, but over time it happens automatically and effortlessly. Try it for a month. I bet it saves you time and energy.
  3. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today. If you have the energy to vacuum, do it. If you have 15 minutes to reorganize your sock drawer, conquer it. Dishes in the sink? Slay it. Get done today what you can so that you can relax, sleep better, and have a more serene atmosphere. Studies show that people sleep better in organized environments. Good news. No one wants to lose sleep, especially when it can be avoided.
  4. Do it even when you don’t feel like it. Everyone, I mean everyone, can spare 15-30 minutes a day to clean and organize. We all make decisions about our time. And with portable devises, it’s easy to still watch your favorite Netflix show while decluttering the hall closet. And over time, it becomes easier to sneak in some time each day. Even if you don’t feel like it, you will be happy you said no to clutter.
  5. Find a plan and keep consistent. I like to clean certain rooms on certain days. It’s how I work. You can read more about my regular routine and how it benefits me (and can benefit you too) here. If you find that 15 minutes a day is making a huge dent with organizing bill statements, keep doing it. If you find that the weekends are the best time to tackle reorganizing a room, make it part of your regular schedule. Whatever works for you, find it and keep working it! It’s your life and your schedule is best for you.
  6. Treat your home like YOU are the guest. Strange thought, right? But, think about it. If you have guests over, you get out nice plates, you actually put napkins on the table, and you probably clean before they come over. New sheets go on beds, and towels magically get washed. If you treated yourself like a guest, it might be easier to clean, to stay organized, and to keep up with your “adult chores.” If you are in your house most often, why shouldn’t you be treated like the most important person to set foot in your home?

I hope these secrets and tips will rejuvenate both your mindset and your home. I hope you will throw the clutter out the window, and I hope you will have a better home life than ever before!

Self Doubt Leads To Self Debt

Especially in today’s economy, debt is a bad thing. We see debt as limiting to our goals, and to the life we want. However, when we think of debt, we only think of it in financial terms. Have you ever realized that you can have personal debt with yourself?

This may be a funny comparison, but the first thing that comes to mind is a circus performer walking across a tight rope. If there is no net below her, that person is probably, in her mind, telling herself that, yes, I can make it across this very thin rope. What if that person thought to herself, “There is no way I can get from here to there. I’m probably going to fall by the time I get to the fifth step.” Well, if she thought like that, she would probably fall. Now, imagine that you are the woman on the tight rope. What would you be saying in your mind? Would you be telling yourself that you can make it across or would you tell yourself that you will fall on the fifth step?

Many of us are our own worst enemies, and many of us are telling ourselves today, that we are going to fall. Remember the old saying, you reap what you sow? This is true!! If you believe bad and negative beliefs, views, etc. about yourself, you begin to live it out.  What young child do you know that says, I am ugly, I am stupid, I am fat? I don’t know a single child who thinks like this! Instead, you see little girls dressing up, dancing around, inquiring about the world around them. Somewhere between that little girl and the woman you are today, you have begun think negatively about yourself.

Once you think negatively about yourself long enough, it begins to affect your work and personal life. It affects the success and self-esteem you have at work. It can hold you back from the job promotion or pay increase. It can affect your marriage; it can affect who wants to be friends with you, and who invites you to social gatherings. If you see yourself negatively, sooner or later, others will start to see you this way too.

And this, my friend, puts you into personal debt with yourself. You are constantly trying to make up for it. Do you know how we, as women, make up for this? We buy the newest clothes, we get our hair colored, straightened, curly, we get manicures, we get pedicures, we over-do our make-up. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a big supporter of women looking our best. I am a girly woman, I love to dress up, wear make-up…but I do this to please myself, and I do not over-do it. You have surely seen women who go over the top.  They feel this is the only way to see themselves positively.

I want to leave you with some good news. You can make a change today. You can begin to come out of self-doubt and self-debt with yourself. You can begin to see yourself in a new light. You can…invest in yourself! Begin with giving yourself three compliments today…and do that for the next three weeks. Then, learn to recognize when you speak negatively to yourself and replace the negative words with positive words. You do not need to become overly prideful, but creating a healthy balance will help you at work, at home, in romance, and with friends. Start today!  It’s time to get out of self debt!

Read these other great blogs…don’t be afraid to say no, what’s on your bucket list, and forgiving those who have hurt you.

Are You Satisfied?

When I think about the phrase, “Are you satisfied?,” I think of a mother asking her young child this question while pointing to a plate. A mother asks a child this because the child does not fully understand if he is satisfied. I have seen some children who will sit and play with their food, while other children will eat until the cupboards are empty.

Do you ever feel, as a fully functioning adult, that you do not know how to ask for more out of life? Do you ever feel like you do and do and do in your life until nothing is left? Are you angry because you are not where you want to be in life? Are you tired because you are everything for everyone else, but not for yourself? It is so easy for women to fall into these traps.  But…there is hope.

What do you like about your life? When you look at the overall picture of your life, what do you like? For me, I love that I have an amazing husband, two precious kids, a great house, a fantastic career, wonderful family and friends, and a deep relationship with the Lord.  I do not want to change any of those items. What are the people, things, places, events, etc. in your life that you truly like?

What do you want to do differently? What do you want to change in your life? These are items that you are not burned out on, and may be items that you actually like, but have gotten out of hand. For instance, I love my kids, but they can wear me out and leave me completely drained. I am tired, and over time I will burn out. I love the basis of this situation, just not the particular actions I am taking right now. Guess what I have realized, though?  My husband is an amazing dad, and, and he is supportive of me taking time alone to rejuvenate myself. The problem is my boundaries, and I am already making changes because I am not satisfied.

This leads to my next question, what are you willing to change to get to where you want to be and what you like about your life (refer to two paragraphs above)? If you do not take responsibility and realize that you are at will to change, things in your life will never change, and you will never ever be satisfied. For me, I am willing to take more consistent time alone to make sure I keep connected to myself, and so I handle situations at home better. I find that if I keep a better connection to myself, I am a better mom. Now that is satisfying!

My last question to you is, what does the picture of your life look like in five to ten years? Will you be satisfied then? It’s very easy to think that if such and such situation changed, I would be happier; however, if you are not happy now and do not change your patterns of living, you will not be satisfied in five to ten years. However, if you make decisions today, there is a high probability to be truly satisfied in life.

So, what are you willing to change today, tomorrow, this month, etc. so that you can truly and blissfully become satisfied? The decision is up to you and you alone. Stop complaining, stop stalling, stop coming up short…make a decision to be satisfied! I promise it will be worth the sacrifice and change.

Like this blog? Try reading about guiltless freedom to say no, how your attitude affects your day, and the importance of forgiveness.

Sibling Reasoning

Sibling rivalry. If you have two or more kids, you know this term. You understand the competitiveness, the arguments, the fights, the yelling, and the bickering that goes on between your children. And you are probably the coach who is constantly breaking up these fights.

In our home, we have two boys two years apart. They are best friends, they love to play together, and they get along great…most of the time. While they play together really well (and I’ve worked really hard to make sure this happens), we still have “sibling reasoning.”

I have replaced the phrase sibling rivalry with sibling reasoning. I have done this for several reasons. The first one is for me. I want to see my children’s squabbles in a more positive light. If I lose it, then who will pull them out of their hot mess? Secondly, I want my kiddos to see it positively too. If they can have a gentler word like “reasoning” in their vocabulary, they are more likely to react more favorably. And lastly, I just see situations differently than the average person. You see, I view “sibling reasoning” as a teachable moment, as a chance to help my children learn how to get along with their brother and future people who come along in their life.

How my home looks different with sibling reasoning…

Now that we have a new phrase, arguments and disagreements, and yes fights, are handled differently. When my children wrong one another, hit each other, take a toy away from another sibling, or any other unkind act, they must reason with each other. They must come to an understanding. How do they do this? There are several steps.

How we resolve problems with sibling reasoning…

Ask forgiveness: The child who has wronged the other one must ask for forgiveness. They don’t get off the hook with a reprimand, time out, or lose of a toy. They actually have to seek forgiveness from their brother. And they do this with their body.

  1. Eye contact and getting at their sibling’s eye level. They must apologize in a way  that is heard and acknowledged from the other child.
  2. They must use their voice and make sure they are heard. They use their words to ask for forgiveness.
  3. The hurt party receives the forgiveness with a physical hug. This shows the person who was wrong acknowledges the apology and reaches out to say “it’s ok.” It also gives physical touch to help both parties feel love and acceptance.

If the apology is not accepted right away: If the child is not able to forgive on the spot, the other child must ask it again, or try to do something nice to show they are truly sorry. If this still doesn’t work, sometimes Mommy has to step in and mediate.

What about accidents?: We still seek an apology for an accident. We do this so that the hurt party doesn’t think their sibling went out of his way to hurt his brother. It also dissipates any argument or backlash that could happen because of the accident. It also shows humility on the part of the person who accidentally hurt his brother.

Sticking the band-aid on: After the hug and forgiveness happens, I like to tell my kids how lucky they are that of all the kids in all the world of all time, God gave them this particular brother. That helps them to see the specialness and to increase their fondness of their brother. I can sometimes see a physical change on the face with my son’s eyes, smile, or attitude towards his brother.

When to start?: Kids are never too young to start learning humility and forgiveness. We started our youngest before he was two years old. We had to help him a lot in the beginning, but it was worth it.

I hope you can start to see your kids (annoying) fights, arguments, and squabbles in a more positive light. I hope you can internalize it enough to help them see it more positively too. With new thoughts, you can direct new actions, which can truly change your home and your kids from the inside out!

Why not read more? How to exercise in peace at home, updating toys, or how to automate your life.

 

The Song of Your Life

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a singer and actress. As an adult I know neither of these professions is my calling. I thought it sounded like a fun way to make a living, though. And I liked that I could have fans adoring me. But today, I realize that I am a rock star to my children, and that is enough for me.

When you were little, did you ever wish to be a professional singer, rock star, or performer?  Did you ever imagine yourself on stage singing in front of thousands of people?  If you did, this blog will speak to you.  If not, I hope you can put yourself into this mindset.

What if you were a professional songwriter and singer, and you had the opportunity to sing in front of thousands of people?  However, instead of them seeing you as a rock star, they actually knew you.  They knew your name. They knew something about you. They knew what you liked, didn’t like, passions, hobbies, etc. They might be family, they might be friends, you might currently work with them, have collaborated with them at some point, been a past boss, be in a playdate group with them, be in a Facebook group, attend church together, or a neighbor.  The title of the song you are singing is “The Song of My Life.”  This song is all about you!  This song talks about who you are now and who you want to be in the future.

Now, think about the content of the words.  What would they say?  What part or parts of your life would you include?  What traits, skills, talents, and strengths would you put into the chorus?  What kind of music would your audience hear?  Would it be upbeat, would you dance, maybe even a choreographed dance with back-up dancers behind you?  Would you blast out a high note?  Now that your performance is over, how do you view it?  Did the audience stand and cheer, were they disgusted, or did they fall asleep?

If you are able, take out a piece of paper or open your phone.  Write out as many characteristics about yourself that you can think of in a few minutes.  How many of these traits would you want in your song?  Is there anything that would be in your song that you wish you could erase forever?  Guess what?  You can make that change today!  You can re-write the song of your life…and you can do it today.  After all, we constantly tell our kids it’s okay when they make a mistake, get a bad grade, or have an argument with a sibling or friend. If we tell them that it is okay to start over or move on, we should tell ourselves this same message!

I hope that the song of your life is the best song ever, I hope it truly speaks to who you are and who you are becoming, and I hope it will top the charts today, and for the rest of your life!

Here are other blogs you might enjoy: how to be intentional with your daycreate a board of influencers in your life, and start your day with gratefulness.

Autumn Maze For The Kids

NOTE: this blog contains affiliate links. All of the opinions belong the author.

I have recently come across a site that creates content for kids. They were founded in 2006, and are a one-stop shop for everything from supplemental coloring pages to worksheets for preschoolers, addition and subtraction all the way up to fifth grade. In their words, “Our resources are supposed to be used as supplemental: “We don’t want to replace teachers — we’re here to support them!”

Something you probably don’t know about me yet is the fact that I preschool both of my kids. I love teaching, have a passion for it, and it’s one of my passions. I love teaching my kids and watching them “get it.” I love watching their brains turn, and I love seeing their growth and progress. I think it’s amazing when any parent can have a front-row in this area. And I also think it’s important to be a part of my children’s education growth.

That’s why I like Education.com. They have so much to offer whether you want to help a struggling kid in school, whether you need a distraction so you can make dinner, or whether you want to go all in with homeschooling your child(ren).

Check this one out: Autumn is in the air with this fun maze. This is geared to a preschooler or kindergarten child, but can be fun for any child. Click on the link and print at home. It’s that easy!

kindergarten_maze_autumn_leaves

Be sure to check out Education.com for more learning resources.

Like this post? Check out: folding laundry in less time, the benefit to rotating toys, and how to keep your kids safe in a parking lot.

 

Ode to Me

Before I had kids, I used to have a business as a Life Coach. I helped women learn who they were with their personality, strengths, weaknesses, and boundaries. I helped them set schedules, budgets, and anything that helped them grow as a person. I was the “Dating Yourself Coach.” And, sometimes in those sessions I would conduct a “possibility thinking” exercise.  This exercise allowed a client to imagine life or a certain situation from a different perspective.  So, if you are willing, I would like to invite you to a possibility thinking exercise with me.  If you are in a place to close your eyes throughout this exercise, please do so.

Imagine that someone has just written a song; they bring it to you, and the title reads, “Ode to __ (fill in your name here).”  As you look at the pieces of paper with notes and words written on it, what is your reaction?  What is the theme of the song?  What is written about you?  What words stand out to you?  Is the song happy, is it sad, is it upbeat, or is it solemn?  Is it a song that others would want to listen to on the radio or iTunes?  Think about the exact words in the song.  If someone were to write a song (or even poem) dedicated to you, what would he/she write?  Would you like what you read?

Take a few moments to really think about this….

Now that you have had time to think, I want to challenge you to ask yourself what others think of you?  How do others really and truly view you?  Is it the same way that you perceive yourself?  Do others like you as much as you like yourself?  On the flip side, do others like and cherish you more than you appreciate yourself?  Do you wish that others could view you differently than they do currently?

How do you want others to view you, your life, your strengths, and your weaknesses?  Are you working towards others seeing you this way?

When I was younger, I was very unapproachable.  I was a social butterfly, running from one group of friends to the other.  Although I was nice, fun, and life of the party, I came off as if I had it all together.  People would tell me later in my life that they did not feel that they could always open up to me because they felt like I would not understand them.  I have learned to open up, to say how life is really going from day-to-day. I can now admit when I am weak, I can admit my faults, and I can be real with people I know.  If I am having a bad day or season in life, I admit it; I seek out friends who can help me instead of shutting off and continuing a pattern of being unapproachable.  Although this is a work in process, I just had someone tell me recently that I am an open person, and that I share how I feel.  I was shocked to hear this, coming from a newer friend.  I imagine that my song would talk about this theme, and I would continue to hit the repeat button over and over again!

If you don’t like your “Ode to ___” song, there is still time to change it. Start today with a new “Ode to ___” song!

If you liked this blog, try reading about getting “Mommy time,” how to keep a legacy, and simple ways to organize your life.

My Strengths as a Mommy

Every single person on this planet has strengths and weaknesses. Your strengths come naturally to you, and your weaknesses are those frustrating things you continually have to work on in life. We all have them, and they are different from our spouse, neighbor, best friend, and our kids.

I was a part of a Mommy’s group several years ago, and on one particular day that we met, the speaker encouraged us to find our strengths as mothers. I already knew my strengths as a person and woman, but I had never thought of my strengths as a mom. I was surprised to think they could be different from that of my core strengths. Yet, some of them were.

I want to encourage you to think of your top five strengths as a mom. Sit down, grab a cup of coffee, your computer, smart phones, a journal, or a piece of paper. What do your strengths look like as a mom? What are you good at with your kids? What comes naturally and easy to you? What do others say you do effortlessly? And write them down with a description of the strength. Are you organized, are you spontaneous, are you gentle, are you fun, do you forgive easily, can you see between the lines, are you an excellent cook, soccer mom, teacher, cleaner, etc.? Once you begin to search, you may be surprised at what you find.

Here are my top five strengths as a mom:

  1. Intuition–sometimes I know what my kids are going to do before they do it. Sometimes I know what they are about to say. And when they get upset, sometimes I can read between the lines to see what is really going on under the surface. There are very few things that I am more accurate about in life than my children, and nothing more consistently.
  2. Natural Teacher–I said I would never homeschool my kids, but yet, I am preschooling both of them. And I teach life lessons everyday. I love to explain things to my children about how the world works. I rarely answer a question without a lesson and learning opportunity to go along with the question.
  3. Organization–this is one of my strengths in general. I love organization! I help my children to keep their toys organized, their day, their thoughts, their shoes, etc. I just love to organize whatever I can whether physically or mentally.
  4. Fun Mom/Imaginative–I love to play with my kids. I like to get into their world. I love to talk about imaginary friends. I love to see the world like they do. I love to surprise, dance for, and sing with my kids. I love to make them smile and laugh! My kids constantly say, “Mommy, you’re silly.” To which I reply, “Thank you.” They may think I’m lame one day, but that’s ok.
  5. Seeing each child individually–I can see different personality types, strengths, and weaknesses within each of my children. I see how one child needs firmness when another one needs tenderness. I don’t treat my children equally because they are not the same person. I want each to be successful, so I treat them how they are wired.

I hope this can give you a great starting point. I would love to know about your strengths, so feel welcome to share either here or by emailing me!

Check out these other blogs! Who do you say you are? Start your day with a smile on your face. Find time to be alone.

Goodbye, Social Butterfly, Goodbye

NOTE: This is not my typical blog, but it’s dear to my heart right now. I hope that it can help even one of my readers, and maybe inspire you if you have ever or will ever feel this way in your life.

I used to be the life of the party. I walked around and I got to know everyone in the room. I did this, not because I wanted to be in the center of attention and popular, but because I genuinely love people. I love getting to know them, finding out their passions and loves in life, hearing stories about their lives. And, I was able to help connect other people to those who they shared common interests, backgrounds, and ideas. I loved helping people become friends. That is a joy and passion of mine.

When I got married, though, this changed. I married an amazing man. He is loyal to the core. He is loving and caring, and would do anything for his friends. His friends from college are scattered in other cities, and he still finds time to catch up with them by phone. But, he’s not a social butterfly. This was difficult for me because I had to step back in social settings. I didn’t want to overwhelm my new husband or leave him by himself. We did find mutual friends together, and that was amazing. But, things were slowly changing.

Enter children… My oldest is just now learning to be social, but was a timid baby and toddler. Before he was born, I was excited to have a child who I could have fun with in social settings and charge the room. I imagined he would like social settings just as much as I did. However, this child was not going to be social. It’s not who he is. And that’s ok. I love him for how God made him. But I, once again, had to hang back.

My second child seems to be more social, but I’m still figuring this one out. Even if he is social, that I am now preschooling both kids, and life is busier. And we have more activities. Add to that fact that we moved less than two months before I had my oldest child. I have had to start over with friends. I have found several amazing friends, but I often feel like I’m on the sidelines. Most of my friends have friends of many years. They are settled in their friendships. This is difficult for a social butterfly like me. I don’t have the time to dedicate to building many friendships, so I am making less friends, but deep frienships still.

My husband and children have changed the way I do social interactions. And sometimes I really struggle. Sometimes I feel like I’m not being true to myself. Other times I realize it’s just for a season. Being involved in events is not the same with little kids. I know that and I have accepted that.

And I know that moving changes social interactions too. I am learning to make less friends, but be intentional with the friendships I do make. I don’t have to be friends with everyone in the room now; just a few amazing friends make me happy. This has been a difficult change, but one that is a realization for me.

It’s been said that being a stay-at-home mom is the loneliest job. I would have to agree with that statement. But Mommy, whatever you feel today, this too shall pass. The days will continue, and one day you will have all the time in the world to do what you want.

I remember thinking that I wanted to go to a local play, but that it was not likely because I still had a baby. Then, I had a thought: someday I will HAVE to go to plays and events because I will no longer have children at home. That felt like a sad thought to me. So, I decided then that if I couldn’t have as exciting of a social life as I used to, I would be content with that. Sometimes, like today, I still struggle, but in general, having children is worth the change in my life. I know my butterfly has flown away for a while, but I know it will return again one day. But until then, I will cherish the few friends I do have, and continue to be a good friend to them.

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