post written by: Angel Chernoff

One Question You Should Ask Everyone You Meet


One Question You Should Ask Everyone You Meet

by Bernadette Logue

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living, I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.”

–The Invitation by Oriah

I want to know what your story is…

7 Billion Stories in the World

I don’t care what you do or what you own.  I just want to know who you are.  I want to know your uniqueness, the experiences you’ve had and the learnings you’ve gained.  I want to know your story.

What is your story?  Everyone has one.  No two stories are the same.  There are over 7 billion people in this world and none are like you.  You are unique.  Your entire life journey including your upbringing, challenges, your hard learned lessons, your experiences, achievements and gifts, are all a series of footprints that have brought you to this very moment in time as you read these words.

Every person you walk or drive past on the street has their own story.  Every person in front of you in line at the grocery store has their own story.  Every friend and work colleague in your life has their own story.

The old man who lives up the street and wanders past my house each day has his own story.  The girl on the bus sitting opposite me right now who has tears in her eyes, she has her own story.  The boy in the library who never stops laughing, even when his mother constantly asks him to be quiet, he has his own story too.

Think about the millions of moments, the series of events that leads each person to cross your path.  Who are they really underneath that exterior?  Where did they come from?  What do they long for?  What makes them tick?

Will you ask?

Life is a tapestry of people weaving in and out of your life, people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  Everyone has something to offer and share with you.  Imagine treating every person you encounter, no matter how fleeting, as an intriguing story waiting to be told.  But the story can only be told if someone asks to hear it.  Will you ask?  That person you see standing before you, no matter who they are, young or old, rich or poor, angry or kind, is like a blockbuster movie ready to enthral you.  But, first you have to buy a ticket.

Cocktail Conversations

As I stood in a room full of people at a cocktail party once, I realized that every opening conversation was dominated by this question, “What do you do?”

We seek to understand and define people by their ‘doing’ in the world.  For some reason we categorize and rank people’s worth in this world by what they “do.”

Does what you do matter more than who you are?  No.  What you do is only a small part of who you are.

Do we care about each other enough, and are we interested enough in what we can learn from each other, to stop asking “What do you do?” and start asking “Who are you?  What is your story?”

So, I’d love to ask you something, and I’m not asking a rhetorical question.  I really want to know…

What is your story?

  • Where were you born?
  • Where do you live now?
  • What makes you smile?
  • What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
  • What is your deepest fear?
  • What is your greatest dream for your life?
  • Who are you?

Normalizing the Question

There is only one way that we can normalize this “What is your story?” question in our society.  And that is by starting to ask it, and by each of us individually being willing to answer it wholeheartedly, knowing that the person asking it genuinely wants to know.

Superficial chit chat about what we “do” and what we “own” doesn’t have to dominate our interactions with those closest to us or with complete strangers.

I don’t know you at all.  You’re a complete stranger to me.  But I genuinely want to know your answers.

I’ll go first…

Here’s my story.  I invite you to respond with your answers, supporting a movement to normalize caring more about who people are, than what they do and own.

  • I was born in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • I have no fixed abode, as I sold my house and all my possessions in order to live nomadically.  I’m currently staying in Marlborough, New Zealand with family and I’m working on making Bali the next stop on my adventure.
  • My nephews playing and loudly laughing their little hearts out is what makes me smile the most.
  • The best lesson I’ve learned so far is that being exactly who I am is always more than enough, and comparing myself to others only robs the world of my uniqueness.
  • My deepest fear is risking everything to follow my dream and then failing in the process.
  • My greatest dream for my life is to move with an open mind, traveling and meeting as many people as possible, questioning and discovering as much about the world and life as I can, and continuing to write books and blogs to share those learnings.
  • I’m a spark of divinity, here having a life experience, as I believe we all are.

Your turn…

Please leave a comment below and tell me something true about YOU.

What is your story?

Author Bio:  Bernadette Logue blogs at Pinch Me Living, inspiring you to be who you are and do what you love as a recipe for a life filled with “pinch me” moments.  Sign up for free to get the first 4 chapters of her Kindle bestselling book and her 400+ Powerfully Positive Affirmations audio.  Or follow her on Facebook.

Photo by: Tom

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195 Comments

  • I am Helen. I was born in England and my family moved to Australia when I was two. If I tell you it took me fifty years to become an Australian Citizen, that will give you an indication of my age :)

    I currently live in a small town in country Victoria. This is the town I grew up in, and which I moved away from at the age of 14, vowing never to return! Age has mellowed me and after years of living in capital cities, I am more than partial to the relative peace of small town living.

    My grandson’s laughter is what makes me smile most. Also seeing people be kind to each other, serving each other.

    My biggest life lesson has been to never pass up the opportunity to pee. Seriously. Also that there is really no such thing as Normal. We are all different and we should celebrate the difference!

    My biggest fear is losing a family member and my greatest dream is to be able to make a living from writing.

    I am Me. Wife, daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, friend. Most importantly, I am a loved Daughter of God.

  • My name is Shari and I was born in Little Falls, MN.

    I was raised in an even smaller town about 7 miles from where I currently live and have in MN all of my life.

    There are a lot of things that make me smile. Beautiful sunrises, and sunsets especially if they are during a run. Spending time with a child and seeing them discover something new that brings a smile to their face and seeing a friend and the warmth of a hug from them.

    Life is meant to be lived-put the ball in motion and just do it and enjoy it all! Anything is possible physically if you can mentally get there and anything is mentally possible.

    I don’t like to let fear in my life. I have small fears as we all do, but right now I don’t have any big fears. If I have to pick something it would be the challenges that will come with creating my biggest dream.

    My biggest dream is to travel the world, creating documentaries about interesting people, places and events. I want to meet as many people as I can and share that with others.

    I am a runner, a black-belt, a triathlete. I am a college student. I am a mother, wife, friend. I am an inspiration to others to be all they can be. To create their own life and live it.

  • name - josh

    dreams, goals, and passions = to discover as much as I can and develop myself as much as I can. To fill my cup. And pour out on everyone I come into contact with increase, love and abundance

    live courageously in spite of fear - do it anyway!

    earn millions of dollars

    have a family of my own

    to own a ranch in California!

  • Hi Helen, Shari and Josh! Loved reading your stories.

    Helen - you made me giggle with your “never give up an opportunity to pee” :) and I honour the writer in you.

    Shari - your documentary dream is super inspiring and when I read your story you sound so energising!

    Josh - I absolutely love your intent to fill your cup and let that love pour out onto all those you meet.

    Awesome. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It’s a pleasure to know who you are.

    Bernadette x

  • Where were you born?
    I was born in El Paso, tx, usa But lived for 17 yrs in cd.juarez, chihuahua,mexico. I grew up in the frontier where both cultures (american and mexican) have impacted my life. I now live back in el paso. I went to school in mexico for elementary and middle school. And came back to the US for high school and college. Been living in the US since high school. I live with my parents and just Today I have decided I am moving out and took the first step. So a new beggining is starting for me as a grown-up.

    What makes me smile the most is love. Any kind of love, wether is seeing a couple deeply in love, to seeing animals playing and giving love, to somebody helping someone out of love. Love can do many wonderful things.

    The most important life lesson i’ve learned is that there is people that will hurt you no matter what. No matter how good of a person you are, evil will try and crush that by putting evil people in your path. But you gotta learn to never let your good heart go. You gotta trust there is good people just like you. And to never lose faith in good. Keep doing good no matter what. Keep loving no matter what.

    And another big lesson was to take care of myself. When I was 12 i had a disease where doctors believed it was cancer. I traveled to the MD Anderson Cancer Center back and forth for around 3 months. I saw, enjoyed conversations and spent 3 months of my life with children and adults that were already diagnosed and were in therapy. It was going to be me next, but I wasnt afraid. I saw how brave they were and They gave me hope. After I had surgery, they found it wasn’t cancer and it was a rare virus 1 in millions. At 12, i lived 3 months of my life thinking I had cancer. After all this, it made me realize how blessed I was to have my health back and how I had this compromise to fight and take care of my health for this kids.

    My deepest fear is growing up because I have no clue on how to do it and I don’t know if I will succeed in my goals.

    My greatest dream is to be able to grow old with the people I love and be able to say: I have lives the life that I wanted with the people I wanted to.

    I am a 25 year old girl. Who is barely taking baby steps into the grown-up world. I can look strong but I am terrified to grow-up. I am a hippie at heart, i believe in love, i believe in peace, i believe in equality and respecting each and every human being or alive being that crosses my path.

  • Andrea, wow… What you believe in is beautiful, and it sounds like you’ve had challenges in your 25 years that some people might never have to face, the fact you were able to count and embrace your blessings shows your wisdom. And as for ‘growing up’, I’m 35 years old and I’m not sure we ever truly feel ‘grown up’ and we all find our own way in this world, many us of without any idea of what we’re doing or how to do it, but the great news is that you don’t need to know what or how in order to shine. It sounds to me like you’ve got nuggets of wisdom within you that will steer you well in life. Blessings to you and thanks for sharing your story. Bernadette x

  • Hi. I am Tanya . I love the name Ann that’s why I used it for my Facebook account. I was born in Calcutta, India. Right now I am in NewZealand, Auckland. Married with a nine month old son.

    The smile on my son’s face makes me smile and gives me the courage to carry on one day at a time.

    My greatest fear is of not being able to come to terms with circumstances. I am very scared of being hurt.

    My dream for my life is to be stinking rich and have a great married life without even a single trace of mistrust n doubt.

    I have come a long way to be who I am today. I am grateful to god for everything.

  • Hey Tanya, nice to connect with someone else from NZ here! I totally dig that you go by the name Ann on Facebook just because you love it. And why not I say!

    I am blown away by your own sharing of what you fear and what you dream for, as well as everyone else’s. It’s so empowering to be with people who are up for being open and allowing vulnerability in order to share and connect at a truly authentic level.
    Blessings and love.
    Bernadette x

  • I was born in Alexandria, Egypt.

    I have lived in the same place since then until now and I’m not really happy; it feels like I don’t belong somehow.

    What makes me smile: the people dear to my heart (family n good friends) and watching my little niece how innocently she explores the world around her and how curious she is about everything.

    Most important lesson I learned so far is that happiness is a choice; you are the one who can search and make yourself happy. Whatever happens it’s up to you.

    My deepest fear is to end up like my parents and most people around me - “having an ordinary life”…I have a lot to give and I want to make a change but still haven’t found the right way to do so.

    My greatest dream is to succeed - to revive the meanings of true freedom, humanity, to teach people more about themselves, to appreciate beauty and fight for good. I wish I can do this through art as I’m not bold enough to speak it through words.

    I am one in a million and just one of 80 million. I believe that Art is the seed of living, I dream big…but I live in a place where dreams are just dreams…and nothing helps it much to turn it to reality. But I’m a believer of true things and I focus on the very little details in life…appreciate beauty and search for it among everything…and…I always find it eventually.

    Thanks for letting me share :)

  • Hello, I’m Sameer. I was born in a privileged family in India, to physician parents. I’m a life long learner, with a bachelor’s and two master’s of science degrees, and I’m now working on my MBA!

    I’m a professional Geologist, work in environmental consulting.

    My daughters smile, and “I Love You, Dada!” makes my day, and reminds me everyday of what is important in life.

    My greatest fear in life is of loosing my loved ones, before I die.

    My dream is to become a photographer for the National Geographic!

    I am who I am, for the way i think.

  • Jasmin - your story reads like there is an unbreakable spirit within you. From all the people I’ve met in my life, the ones who end up being the most at peace and happiest are those who are truly present in each moment, able to feel the value and see the beauty in the smallest things in life, just as you do… watching your niece explore, purposefully looking for the good and the beauty in everything you see. Thank you for sharing. Bernadette x

    Hi Sameer - a Geologist… awesome! Environmental consulting sounds so interesting, and I imagine incredibly rewarding. And, I totally dig your dream!
    Bernadette x

  • Hi! I’m Stephanie. I’m also Graham.

    I live in this space somewhere between male and female. Biologically I’m male. Psychically I’m female.

    I’m a husband and a dad, and I read to my teenager every night it’s my turn to put her to bed. She can read, but I’ve been reading to her since her first couple months of life, which she spent in the hospital. We both enjoy it! (We’re on the second pass of the L. Frank Baum Wizard of Oz series.)

    I work as an engineer. I like it. I love mathematics, and I love playing. My real life corporate business card says I’m a mathemagician.

    Over the last couple years I’ve pursued a venture into fashion photography. Being part girl is a distinct advantage in working with fashion. I know what looks good on women. It’s one of the few ways I can truly be myself, so that’s why I’ve spent nearly as much time on photography over the last two years as I spend working my regular job. (I also commit time to my family!) Ultimately, fashion isn’t likely to work for me, given I’m not in a fashion center. What it will do for me is help make more interesting photos for everyone. My guiding thought on photography is to make photos that celebrate life!

    So that’s my story.

    Actually there’s just a bit more. In recent years I’ve taken control of writing my own story. While I have little control over others, I do have control over me. I’ve also found the Universe to be very willing to help me achieve what I want to achieve. I’ve learned to look for and see the good in things.

    That’s my story, so far. There’s much more to write…

  • Hi, my names is Khaled, I was born in Mugdisho, what was once the most beautiful city in the horn of Africa, but now ruined by civil war. I am now doing my degree in Construction Techonology Engineering in Ethiopia.

    My family moved to the north of Somali, and we lived in Hargeisa since then.

    What makes me smile is just seeing my mom smiling. She is everything to me since I lost my father seven years before.

    I am so afraid of my future health as there is no much health care here.
    and you may die for a simple curable disease.

    My dream is to be a prominent politician. I want to change my people and make them taste the sweetness of peace and stability.

    And me that’s all I can be.

    Thanks.

  • I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but my parents and brothers and sisters were born in Massachusetts. Just before I was born, my father, who was in the Coast Guard, was transferred to Cleveland. The closest sibling was eleven years older than I, and the oldest nineteen. My name is Victoria because the Allies won WWII.

    Now I’ve lived in Southern California for 25 years. There’s an ocean, but the climate is warm. I have to be near water, but I don’t like cold weather.

    Today what made me smile was a friend who is coming back from a terrible disease, and he managed to breathe on his own for ten hours. What delights me makes me smile. I love comedy and comics, and I love other people smiling and/or laughing. Babies and children always make me smile.

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned is life is about change and there is always a way through. However dark it may get, it will get bright again. Within six months, my mother died, our house burned down, and my husband left me for my ‘best friend’, and in the worst winter Ohio had to that time. I never thought I would stop hurting, but I did. The only difference between a dream and a memory is one has been stamped upon you by the experience of life. This was long ago, and it is now like a smokey dream that might have happened. When I was young, I wanted to marry and have seven children. In a way, life has given me seven children, two brought here through me. They all grew to be beautiful people.

    I don’t fear until an experience causes me to feel it. When there’s a bad earthquake here, I feel fear. I tend to agree with “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

    I would like to see no one in the world going hungry, and peace on the planet. I think every day is a dream come true. You never know what might happen. The world is such a beautiful and amazing place. There is much horror and sorrow, but there is beauty and joy. Every person is a miracle. “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings,” said Robert Lewis Stevenson. I don’t know how happy kings are, but we should feel deep appreciation for the wonderful and amazing gift of life, and celebrate it. People say life isn’t perfect, but I’ve had many perfect moments and experiences. I write, I sing, I play music, I’m a bibliophile lost in books, occasionally I draw or paint, I walk and ride my bike, I swim. I have a dollhouse, and sometimes climb into the world of make believe.

    Who am I? I’m a person, just like you, and yet amazingly different, just as you are. I’m the composite of my experiences, my feelings, my thoughts, my learning, friends and strangers who’ve influenced me, decisions I’ve made, choices I make every day. I’m a miracle, just as are you!

  • Hi. I’m Matt and I was born in Trenton, NJ in 1994. This year I made sure to learn the story of my great-grandparents too.

    After moving several times with my family (mom, dad, older brother) throughout New York, we settled in a house next to a cul-de-sac on a suburban hill in Endicott, NY. I love living on a hill.

    So many things make me smile. Star gazing from the front lawn during summer nights, fishing anywhere from sunrise to sunset with my dad, writing in any of my seven themed journals, curling up in bed with a good book and some choral music, chatting with friends, watching inspiring and thoughtful Youtube video, playing with my greyhounds, video recording family vacations and memorable moments, photographing nature, teaching youth and adults about healthy self-leadership skills, singing vocal jazz with my brother, and so much more. The world grants so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for all of it.

    I’ve learned that I am the author of my own life. I create and share it every day in the choices that I make. I can’t control time or the winds of life, but I am my own pilot. We all have a story. Frequently I feel that the WE story must be heard too.

    You reminded me of a song called, “Where the Seasons Take Us” by Roger Ames. Give it a listen. One line is, “From the deepest fear comes the strongest courage.” My deepest fear is not leaving a memorable legacy. Not using my potential to make the world a better place, especially through preparing the youth as the leaders of tomorrow through personal growth and leadership development. I want to be remembered for utilizing my experiences and interests and talents to to leave a lasting legacy.

    My greatest dream for my life is to be happy and do what I love in youth leadership to leave a lasting legacy that inspires youth and everyone close to me to pursue their dreams. I strive to be a great role model. I think you can determine the size of a person by a problem that tries to keep him or her down, but that ultimately fails because of an individual’s purpose and drive to live his or her dream.

    I am a 19 year-old college student, freshwater bass fisherman, photographer, video blogger, Youtuber, gamer, personal growth book reader, vocal jazz singer, youth leader, friend, younger brother, and son just barely learning to understand the world as I transition into adulthood. I am also someone so excited and fascinated about the miracle of human consciousness. Think about it. The Universe created a tool with which to know itself. I am one in 7 billion and my story is only beginning.

    Thank you for letting me share too. I loved thinking about this. =)

  • Name’s Sina, I’m a pacific islander, what makes me smile are happy moments and food.

    Fear: Not being good enough

    Dream: Artist

  • My name is Ki Nguyen.

    I was born in Saigon, Vietnam, now known as Ho Chi Minh City.

    I was a refugee at the age of 3 and grew up in Northern California where I still currently reside.

    My mini schnauzer Fuzzy brings such joy I can’t help but smile just thinking about him.

    A life lesson I seem to revisit often is to be grateful for each moment in life and to be in the present.

    I fear becoming an old lonely, bitter old man.

    I fear I don’t posses enough passion about anything to realize my “dream”.

    I am an unstereotypical, gay Asian American who finds it difficult to meld with any particular subculture, and I am grateful for every moment of my blessed existence.

  • My name is Christina. I was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    I moved a bit growing up.. lived in Melbourne, Australia and Dunedin, New Zealand while I completed my studies. Back in Kuala Lumpur and ready to head to a new country when an opportunity arises.

    I smile from ear to ear when I get texts and audio notes from my sweetheart (long distance) and when I’m with family and friends having a good time and talking into the wee hours of the morning.

    The best lesson I have learnt so far is that when you’re truly happy from within, no situation can look really bad because you will always end up finding a solution for it.

    My deepest fear is that I will be stuck - career, relationships, life experiences.

    I greatest dream is to travel the world and see beauty in it all. There’s so much out there that I want to see, feel, hear, touch, smell, fall in love with, experience and enjoy - good or bad.

    I am a third culture kid. I pick life experience above all else.

  • Hi! I’m Magda. I was born in Poland.

    I’m live in very small town, only with my parents.

    I’m happy and smiling person almost all time, everything makes me smile, my thoughts, my friends or parents movement, my animals, music. Whatever I have in my mind or in my sign it makes me smile instantly O.O

    Hmmmm there would be a lot, but the one which I treasure is ‘Always be true to yourself’ too often we live fake life and we think we want it, take time, think, be with yourself and figure what you really want to be! also ‘Extraordinary is in what you do not who you are’ be aware of your actions they shape who you are!!!

    Fear ummm… probably losing my friends and family also failure and trying to create sth which exceed my expectation *I try to draw a lot*

    Make my living from being an artist and finally live freely as an artist, let my creativity speaks, it too quiet recently xD
    Also learn Korean and visit South Korea one day!

    I’m a warrior, always try to be stronger and better in my life!

  • ◾I was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, U.S. My dad was stationed there in the Marines at the time. I lived there with my parents for less than two years before they decided to divorce, and I went with my mom when she moved back t her childhood home.

    ◾Now I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., about a mile from where I grew up. I love my part of town and my neighborhood. It is diverse in almost every sense of the word - old and young, gay and straight, native and immigrant, white collar and blue collar and no collar, and so on. I work about 45 minutes away in a suburb, but I don’t want to leave my home, if I can help it.
    ◾I smile when the people I love are having fun and laughing. Nothing better than laughing together. I also smile when I write a poem or story I like, or I see people being kind to one another. I smile when I can spend time with my baby sister.

    ◾One of the most important life lessons I have learned is not to take other people for granted and that connections to people around me are important. I used to be terribly shy. I carried a book everywhere so I didn’t have to talk to people. Strangers thought I was rude or stuck-up because I wouldn’t talk to them, but I was really just scared. A high school teacher of mine pointed out that I was missing out on a lot, and I took that to heart. I have never looked back, and my life is so much richer. Thank you, Mr. Mauger!

    ◾My deepest fear is death. I want to live forever, and I am not ashamed to admit it. I went through so much abuse as a kid that I never dreamed I would live past 18, and now that I am nearing 50, I am thankful for every second, happy or sad, peaceful or stressful, fun or boring. I don’t want it to end. I’m also afraid of financial failure and how success might change my life. I’m afraid of not being enough for my children and husband.

    ◾My greatest dream is to publish books of my poetry BEFORE I die. I also dream of having the money and time to travel the world. I dream of helping make the world a more loving place for all people, including people in the LGBT community.

    ◾I am a constantly evolving, unapologetically crazy liberal women who has survived some of the worst life can throw at a person. I am a writer, a teacher, an artist who is making up for so much lost time as a shy, scared, quiet little girl. I am a mother who hopes I can help all three of my sons make the amazing lives they deserve. I am someone who strives to be a force for peace and love in the lives of my friends, family and students.

  • Howdy,first and foremost i most deeply,truly show my desire to the mind-blowing write-up of those before me. I cherished your words all beyond what words could say.

    I was far originally from all where you guys can’t think of - I mean in Nigeria, in a state far from recognition Osun-State to be precised. And lived in a destined semi-village called ‘ile-ife’.

    My true smiles reveal in two ways: when I saw a wide grinned smiles on my beloved relatives, strangers and when I have helped someone to relieved he/she languishing pain.

    With my age so far (22yrs by next month) what I’ve learned is that to deeply help others you have to help yourself toward a life that makes you fulfilled
    .
    I’m fearful of just what people will say if I fail to achieved my dreams. To be a leading entrepreneur off and on soil of Africa and a great writer that gives not only hope for the despondent people but also God’s true love. I’m what God says I am, and by my dreamed dreams, without anyone’s approval needed.

  • Hello-

    I was born in Los Angeles, CA but I currently live in Huntington Beach, CA

    What makes me smile… anything silly can get me laughing but my closest friends, a good book/tv show and anything that touches the heart makes me smile

    The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to just be myself, trust my instincts and it’s up to me to make myself happy

    My deepest fear is I’ll grow old and not be happy with how I lived my life because I didn’t try hard enough

    My greatest dream is to be happy with who I am and where I’ve gotten, to be surrounded by people who love me and know I ended up exactly where I was supposed to be

    I am Jeannie, still trying to figure out my way through life and learn to be happy in the process and have faith everything will be okay in the end

  • I was born in Pasadena Texas. Grew up in Houston.

    Last year I sold my house and moved to East Texas to attend undergraduate school. Getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in sculpting. I want to teach a studio art class in college. I already have a Bachelor of Science in advertising from The University of Texas at Austin. I rent one of my elementary school friend’s investment property. 20 acres with a three bedroom furnished house. I
    overlook the Attoyac River Valley.

    I smile at everything. But my daughter is a huge source of pride. I raised her as a single mom surviving stage IV cancer. I was told I had six years to live when she was 4. She is now 20 and about to graduate from The University of Texas at Austin. She is going to Los Angeles this last semester for two internships in Hollywood. She wants to make film.

    My most important life lesson is to detach and live in the moment. It is the only real moment we have. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not here. It’s all about right now. It’s how I survived chemotherapy and divorce simultaneously. My husband of 15 years left me when I was gravely ill.

    My biggest fear is fear. My mantra is to breathe in love breathe out fear. I just want to be happy.

    My greatest dream is to see my gradndchildren and fall in love with a wonderful man.

    I am an artist, finally!! I wanted to be one all my life.

  • I’m Dan.

    I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

    I now live in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, USA

    Making people smile makes me smile.

    In order to be truly happy, one needs to be totally comfortable in their own skin.

    My deepest fear is not succeeding at new endeavors — see my greatest dream.

    My greatest dream is to write a best-selling book.

    Who I am is a tough question. I’ll tell you when I’m finished with me and I probably won’t ever be finished. I change from minute to minute, hour to hour and day to day.

  • I was born in Florida, Johannesburg, SA

    I now live in the stunningly beautiful Western Cape amongst mountains and stormy or calm seas and beautiful sunsets and full moons.

    Make me smile: My children’s pure being, the innocence of little ones, lovely memories, looking into the eyes of another person when a smile is exchanged.

    I have learnt that joy comes from within and another person cannot steal your joy without your permission.

    My deepest fear is that I will fear because fear is false evidence appearing real and fear attracts exactly what you fear because you are giving it energy.

    My biggest dream is to be able to build a house. I want to smell the ground when the excavator digs the foundations and I dream of traveling yearly to a destination of my choice.

    I am a privileged lady and mom. I enjoy and adore all my kids and their partners and am a healthy and happy human being.

  • My name is Aiyana Mika Henderson. I was born May 23, 1993 at the New Britain General Hospital in New Britain, CT. My first name is Native American and it means “eternal bloom” or “forever flowering”; my middle name Mika means “born on a full moon and a Sunday” because that’s what happened to me. My last name means “son of Henry”(I know, it’s religious, but I’m proud of my cultural background). Right now, I still live in New Britain but I yearn to live somewhere else but until then I’m living at home with my parents while starting another college in the fall.

    The things that make me smile are love, whether it’s familial love from family and friends, or romantic love(I’m a huge sucker sap for romance), my niece Zaria, funny stories and videos, and reading books. The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is to not let others tell me how to live my life, whether I’m related to them or not because I’ll feel I have to do things because THEY want me to, not because I want to. Having autism constantly reminds me to learn the “unwritten” social rules people take for granted such as eye contact, speaking clearly, etc.

    As far as fear goes, I fear that I won’t find someone to spend the rest of my life with because I don’t hear a lot of autistic people having successful relationships with neurotypicals. I also fear that I won’t live independently on my own. I fear that I won’t keep track of my schedule if or when I do live on my own, since my mother has always been my biggest advocate.

    Being ambitious, I have a lot of dreams. My two main goals are to be a writer because I’ve always wanted to be one or maybe an actor to show people that not all autistic individuals are socially awkward and can adjust to changes in routine. I love theater, but I would love to be in a movie too in Hollywood. Too bad the field is so competitive. In case I don’t accomplish those goals, I want to be an administrative assistant, a secretary, or a stenographer. Every day, I’m figuring out who I am and I’m just a person who tries to see the good in everything that comes her way.

  • Hi,

    I’m Suky. I was born in Leeds, UK. I now live in London but am about to start a new life of travelling around the world with my new business.

    Seeing different people from all walks of life interacting with each other and sharing makes me smile. One love, one family - humanity. It’s beautiful.

    The most important lesson I have learned is that I come first. I have to do what is right for me. I broke out of a very suffocating and controlling culture. I still work on this.

    My deepest fear is me giving up on me.

    My greatest dream in my life is to create a healing platform where I travel the world and share information for people to uplift and enhance themselves. Everything that has happenned so far has loaded me with the tools I needed to get to this place. I am very close to my dream so many of my fears are arising. It’s a challenge!

    I’m a kind, giving person who touches the souls of others. I’m here to serve. I’m proud of how far I’ve come with the obstacles I have endured and overcome.

    Thanks for letting me get this out.

  • I’m Stephan, born & raised & currently in Antwerp, Belgium

    My kids and spouse make me smile when they are happy

    Try to believe everybody but I only trust myself and my partner.

    The deepest fear is to lose my family

    To achieve success in my company DRAC and create a legacy for my kids their kids and their kids, etc… That is my greatest dream.

    I’m a weird person … nothing that I say in a couple of sentences would describe me :)

  • Your story is inspiring. It sounds as though you have put everything on the line to live your dream and this makes me believe that all is yours. Your heart speaks and you listen. Wonderful!

    I was born in a small New England city to a divorced mom. I grew up on welfare, which really wasn’t so bad, but I was also sexually molested as a young girl which really messed me up. It took me years to walk out of the shame and fear of those encounters.

    I love watching birds flit about, and my little dogs play at my feet. I love listening to other people’s stories and encouraging them to look above their circumstances.

    I never was comfortable with defining people by what they do. It really tells us nothing. I, like you, want to know what makes their hearts race. What keeps them inspired.

    I’ve written a book based on my childhood called, Cosette’s Tribe. It’s a bout a young girl who finds herself caught in a cycle of abuse and how she finds the strength to get back up each time she is knocked down. This book has magic within its pages and I am grateful to have penned it. I believe it will bring light to many hearts.

    I’ve been coming to your site for about a year now and am so grateful for the inspiration I find here. Keep up the good work and don’t worry, all of your dreams will find you.
    Big hugs!
    Leah

  • Bernadette (a different Bernadette)
    August 14th, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Hi, I am Bernadette In the past two years I have met more people with my name than in the past 40+.

    I was born and raised in Jersey, south Jersey to be exact.

    Biggest lesson: love hurts but it is worth it.

    Dream: travel the country and meet all the splendors of the world: people, places and things.

    Fear: Not finding true love again, thought I had it but lost it:(

    Smiles: Sunrises, sunsets, nature, green pastures, rain storms, love between two living things, and hope for a better tomorrow.

  • My name is Flora. I was born in Port Harcourt City, Nigeria.

    What makes me smile is being the reason behind someone else’s smile.

    My biggest dream is living a fulfilled life with people I L♥√ع and who L♥√ع me, being able to travel anywhere I want, being successful in my career and be known for it.

    My biggest fear is ending up unhappy especially in marriage and not being at peace with God in the end.

    I am me. Black and proud, unique and awesome. I L♥√ع variety and hate stagnation. I appreciate and respect people for who they are and so should everyone…

  • I am David Rapp. Born 44 years ago in Pequannock NJ. My father was a career salesman and my mother a teacher. I have one brother and one sister, who we adopted from Colombia South America.

    I am a project manager by chance, a writer by heart, and a wanderer by soul. I am also a husband in training, and a father by serendipity.

    What makes me smile is watching people laugh, at any age.

    My greatest fear is that I’ll die with all the poetry, songs, stories and essays still trapped inside me. Its said that Michaelangelo walked past the marble for 3 years before he noticed it, and created David. He also was to have said he “removed everything that was not David” to create him. I have a strange tie to my namesake, so I am working every day to remove that which is not the true me.

    My dream is to have enough money to write and teach full time. I have no time to play starving artist.

    My dream is to see my unborn grandchildren get married in another 50 years or so.

  • I am Judy.

    I was born in Birmingham, Alabama.

    I now live in Sharpsburg, Georgia. Southern girl my entire life.

    My grandsons make me smile. Sitting beside my pool with a cold drink makes me smile. Reading books makes me smile.

    The most important lesson I have learned so far in life is to be true to myself.

    My deepest fear is that I will never regain all that I have lost of myself in the last 9 years.

    Greatest dream for my life is to find contentment no matter where I am or what I am doing. To be able to serve my new family without losing myself in the process.

    Right now I am a step-grandma raising a 3-year-old that I was totally unprepared for. Although I know I am where I need to be, I struggle daily with the demands on me and want so much to also just be JUDY!

  • I was born in Minnesota. I have only moved 30 miles from the city where I was born. I was married for 20 years, 4 children. The last 22 I have been out on my own. So my age is 61. The time moved so quickly.

    One minute your a new mom, then, divorced, now a grandma, and surprised at how fast time flies.

    I love to travel, having done a fair amount of traveling, only makes me want to explore more.

    I have always defined myself as to my job at the time. Now I feel that what I do really defines me. I am a massage therapist. I help people, I listen to people, I find out their story. I hurt with them, and rejoice at their accomplishments. I feel blessed to be able to help at a very basic level. Touch. You (I) can’t touch people and not feel a connection.

    My greatest fear is that I will be my mother. I want to accept people as they are and not judge them.

    I love watching my dog play. My grandchildren play. I love my private time. After being a caretaker until I was 40 I now can live my life. Free unfettered.

    My greatest dream is to be able to move from the town I live in and start my next big adventure away from everything I know. Start over, find the real me while there is time!

  • Hi my name is Pamela Sylvan.

    I was born in Trinidad and now live in Belleville, Ontario, Canada.

    Wondering through new trails make me smile enormously. Listening to my daughter laugh…another huge smile creator!

    The best lesson I’ve learned so far is that I am supported, so trust the process, trust the freely flowing love.

    My deepest fear is not living my calling. A deeply felt calling to help spiral up the energy of others through real conversation. Love doing that! That’s why I love this post so much!

    The greatest dream for my life is to travel and meet others that are spiralling up the energy in areas in which they live. Make a connection to others living their dream as well!

    I am light, love and a ball of energy having a beautiful time!

    Thanks for this amazing post today! Cheers!

  • My name is Sonia…
    I live in NJ. Lived in same apartment for a little over ten years. I am a single mother and live with my two boys. My daughter lives across the street from me with her husband and my sunshine (grandson).

    What makes my happiest is the smile on my grandsons face when we are watching cartoons or funny videos on computer. He’s simply amazing and always pinches my cheeks and tells me “I’m the best”.

    My mother was murdered by her husband when I was 23… Ever since then I trust no man. The constant fear of someone trying to control me really takes over. My small family is all I have… I try to be the best person I am for them. Losing my mother was devastating and so I try to be there as much as can.

    I don’t have many dreams, I work with special needs children for the past 13 years and all I can say is I love what I do. Being in the lives of these kids is truly enough for me. Hopefully they’ll remember me as they get older and say “wow, Ms. Sonia was an amazing person.” (As I try to be, for each child has a different story)

    Who am I….I am a strong person who smiles behind her tears :)

  • ▪ Where were you born? Paris, to French-Canadian couple, first child.

    ▪ Where do you live now? Beautiful home past 17 years, lots of lush greenery, light and open space. Truly made it a home for me and my kids.

    ▪ What makes you smile? Oh, well, so much. My hard-won freedom, my wonderful daughters, kiddies, dogs, the unexpected, the quirky; fast thinking jokes, enthralling fun, inner quiet, teaching yoga, a good glass of wine and conversation.

    ▪ What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? That no matter how adverse the circumstances, I can always re-create myself and a good life for me and my family.

    ▪ What is your deepest fear? Not having enough to live such a good life, dying too early. Most of all: one of my kids getting hurt or dying.

    ▪ What is your greatest dream for your life? To write more and be a published, recognized author.

    ▪ Who are you? A life-long learner and observer, someone who craves true connections and true community, and who creates it through my work and life.

    But there is so much more that makes me who I am. My greatest life challenges and learning - failing abusive marriage and re-creating a single-parent family and loving, independent adult kids. Failing hips then new hips and teaching more yoga, learning to dance and using my legs to hike, ski, skate and live. Poor career match and failed business, then returning to university and re-creating a life through my work (wellness-resilience coaching and workshops). Who I am has been defined by having the courage to re-create life and happiness.

  • 1. Rural UK.
    2. Have lived in USA, Spain and in UK towns in past but I’m back living about 10 miles from where born.
    3. Being around genuinely happy and relaxed people and animals.
    4. My life is the result of my decisions.
    5. I have a daughter who self-harms and has made serious suicide attempts. Fear is one day she’ll succeed.
    6. Semi have it. I’m lucky enough to own 3 horses and ride everyday and have 3 novels published. My dream is to be a famous fearless horse woman and best selling writer.
    7. Me.

  • I have a greeting that I use often and that is ” how are you living?” Which often gives people pause to think about for a moment how am I living! I have a friend that has manufactured a reply of ” fair to mid-line” which upsets me sometime because life goes up and down and doesn’t stay ” fair to mid-line” always.

    Thanks for your thoughts…. and thanks to all who have shared their stories here. Peace!

  • As a writer, I love to ask, “What’s your story?” :)

    What’s true about me? Great question to ask.

    What’s true about me is that I want more out of life than my parents and grandparents had. I want to travel and visit new places and meet new faces. I want the best that life has to offer and make no apologies for it. I also want to do more than my life. One of my favorite sayings is, “Go big, or go home!” I don’t believe in playing small. ;)

  • My name is Jim and I was born in a small town in northeastern PA. After moving away for college and starting a new life for the past 7 years, I just recently moved back to my hometown.

    A lot of things make me smile. Spending time with my family and friends and telling stories about classic memories is probably one of the best things in the world, and is guaranteed to put a smile on my face.

    The most important life lesson is something that I have just learned over the past month - no matter how concrete your plans are, they are always subject to change whether you like it or not. Stay true to yourself and your loved ones, and you can make it through the challenging times. You are never alone in your journey.

    Right now, I fear almost nothing. A toxic relationship almost consumed every important aspect of my life and I am in the process of recovering from it and moving on. The recovery process has given my strength to carry on, and fear is no longer a factor for me. If anything, I am afraid to fail when attempting to accomplish my dreams.

    My greatest dream is to achieve success in anything I do, and set a good example in the process. Whether my goal is to become the best at my career that I can possibly be, the best friend and relative that I can be, or the best golfer that I can be, I always strive to give it 100%, learn from my mistakes, and build upon past experiences.

    I am a brother, son, nephew, grandson, friend, accountant and, most importantly, a person seeking to make a difference in the world and touch the lives of others through leadership by example.

  • I was born in Norristown, PA and now live in Michigan, however I have lived many places in this great country.

    What makes me smile….my children, my grandchildren, my dog when he’s happy, the hugs of my friends. Honestly, there are too many things to mention…I’d be writing all day!

    Money does not buy happiness. It helps along the way, but only you can make yourself happy from inside. There isn’t any amount of money that can buy that.

    I don’t want to be a burden in my old age. Dementia runs in my family. I fear it more than anything.

    I have already realized more than my dreams could ever imagine. I have raised successful children who are raising their own successful children. I have good and loving friends. Although I’d love to be able to write the next greatest bestseller, or paint the next awesome masterpiece, I am already a success in my life.

    I am, mother, grandmother, sister, friend.

  • I was born in Vietnam.

    I moved to Singapore when I was 12 as my parents thought that it was time for me to study English as it is the international language so it is a must to speak English fluently. years later, my English has rapidly improved and I can understand English almost as though I’m a native speaker. although I’m not good at any other things academically, my parents are still very proud of me as none of my family members knows English except for me and my Singaporean stepfather.

    I smile when others smile. I smile when I see my mother smiles, when my father smiles, when a stranger I barely know smiles. we actually should not be needing a reason to smile as life is too short to smile with a reason.

    The most important life lesson I’ve learnt was from my mother. she told me that no one can truly do anything all by themselves in this world. we human beings need one another. we’d go insane if we lack communication and connection. we’d be suicidal if we internalise every single problem that we face. loneliness can kill us.

    My deepest fear is that the future would not turn out the way I want it to be as I have spent a lot of my present to plan for my future.

    My greatest dream is to change the world through films. films are stories in motion which have a greater ability to touch hearts and question the minds. I want to make films that have values and live on in the memory of the audience instead of films that only for pure entertainment. I want my films to be an escape for those who live a hectic life. I want my films to be relatable for those who are lonely and have no one to turn to when they are struggling with their problems. even though my films will not change the world as a whole but they will change lives.

    I am Judy Goh, a girl who had gone through an unfortunate childhood, but it was because of her childhood struggles that turned her into an ambitious and independent person, who has numerous dreams but feels that she does not have enough time to accomplish every single one. I am awesome.

  • Hi, I live and was born in Singapore. A tiny little clean country.

    A question that stalls me… I just realized… I don’t know what makes me smile.

    The most important lesson I learnt; never take life for granted because we can die any moment. I always know that but I just never seriously accept it until I was very sick and it could be cancer. The 3 weeks of diagnosis and waiting makes me realized, how least I have done for myself and my loved ones…taking everything for granted especially good health.

    My deepest fear, unknown yet.

    My greatest dream, still searching.

    I am…a woman who doesn’t know what she wants in this life but is trying to figure it out :)

  • Hi,
    I’m Sammie. I was born in a small village called Betem, some fifty kilometers north of Calabar, the Capital of Cross River State in Nigeria. I live in Calabar.

    My parents weren’t rich but I had a very good and solid childhood,had no toys,but I had books to play with.I grew up in an environment of love. Had parents,and older siblings who didn’t “spare the rod” with me. I felt loved and privileged to be born in such a home. Childhood was sweet and interesting. We didn’t have a decent house until I was ten,we lived in a thatch house,with a very leaky roof.

    I was the best student in both Primary(Elementary) and Secondary(High) schools,my parents wished me to study medicine,an idea I bought and worked tirelessly for. But this is Nigeria,you must know someone to gain admission to study professional courses like Medicine. I ended up studying Human Physiology. Graduated since ‘06,still searching for a job.

    Like Andrea,what makes me smile the most and keeps me going is love and forgiveness,I have a soft spot for any show of love,be it human to human or even between lower animals. It keeps my faith in humanity intact,gives me hope.

    The most important lesson I’ve learned in life so far is that,most folks will only come around when they think there’s something they can get from you,some people don’t really care. Also,I’ve learnt that,to stay relevant,one has to have what to give.

    My deepest fear is failure,not for me but for my loved ones who believe so much and have invested that much in me. I wanna succeed for them. My other fear is rejection.

    Who I’m I?:
    I’m completely human,with all my weaknesses and strengths. And I also want people to appreciate that fact and the small efforts I put in.

  • My name is Patricia, I was born in Philippines. Moved to Auckland, New Zealand when I was 3 and lived there for 10 years.
    I am now living in Australia!

    I really like noticing beautiful and interesting things. Little things such as people smiling, I really like seeing genuine smiles. I wish I could take a photograph (I enjoy photography!) of every smiling person I see smiling. It’s just cool to see…
    I would be able to create a gallery full of photos haha.

    Another thing that makes me smile is when people teach me things I want to learn. I don’t know many things, so it’s really great when people have the patience and spend their time to work through something with me until I understand it. I really like learning things from other people - it’s interesting and makes me smile. I really like it when people are patient because I’m a really slow learner! I really appreciate the people who have spent their time teaching me things.

    Also when I can share food with other people - that makes me smile!

    I think an important lesson I’ve learned is not being scared and too shy to approach people. It’s something I’ve always been scared of, but I’ve been slowly improving. I’ve learnt that in the end it is my loss if I don’t approach people just because I’m scared to.

    One of my fears is not improving in my weaknesses…

    What is your greatest dream for your life?
    This is a hard question…I don’t know my greatest dream but since I was younger I’ve always wanted a dog, I would like to own a German Shepherd in the future someday. :)

    A dream that is slowly coming true, is to get better at maths and photography (I want to learn filmography someday too!)

    When I think of myself in the past I think I have grown a lot and I’ve been really blessed to meet so many wonderful, beautiful and cool people. I am grateful to God for all this happiness hehe

    I always enjoy reading this blog! It’s so interesting! Great post.

  • Over the last 6 months, I have been on a self discovery journey to answer this simple question: “Who am I?” This article couldn’t have been published at the best time on my birthday which is today. This blog is the first thing I read before starting my work days, I read the posts over and over again. They are powerful. Here is my story:

    Where were you born?
    I was born in Jamaica and raised in Haiti.

    Where do you live now?
    I live in New York, but an island girl at heart.

    What makes you smile?
    Love makes me smile; and, whenever I realize my inner child has emerged when I start teasing and playing jokes on my friends.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    Boy, I have learned a lot.
    Money is everlasting if you manage it properly.
    You only get used if you give the power to someone to uses you.

    What is your deepest fear?
    My deepest fear is not to live a fulfill life and purpose.

    What is your greatest dream for your life?
    To be successful. My definition of success is financially stable and rich with a great loving family.

    Who are you?
    I am the motivator and dreammaker. Over the last 3 years, I have helped many make their dream come true except for mine for I havent yet identified what it is.

  • I am Alissa and I was born in a small town on the Oregon Coast in the United States. I now live in Portland, OR.

    I am a speech therapist and I get to help people represent themselves. It’s very fulfilling and forces me to be patient and kind.

    I smile when someone around me laughs. I love it when I can get a patient to laugh, or a friend, or my nephew. My ability to make others laugh makes me smile.

    Most important life lesson is that no one is in charge of my happiness, except me. But, happiness and life is also better when shared with others.

    Fear - that I will end up alone, or in a loveless vapid marriage. That I will lose the function of my brain or body.

    Dream - to live an extraordinary and authentic life. To have a family that is unique, quirky and not afraid to be themselves. To live a life surround by an incredible amount of love (and all the problems that comes with that too).

    I am a unique individual with a gift for making people laugh. I’m curious, playful, funny, thoughtful but I am also a work in progress with lots of areas to improve - that’s for sure!

  • Hi. I am Millicent. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya.

    The smile on my daughter’s face makes me smile and her trust on my abilities gives me a sense of direction and motivates me to achieve my goals.

    My greatest fear is failure.

    My biggest dream is to travel the world, meeting interesting people, places and events, to be successful financially and have a loving family. Also have an opportunity to share and assist the poor.

    Life learnt lessons; forget the failures of the past and focus on the present opportunities.

  • Hello.My name is Donna Briody, born in Asheville North Carolina but do not remember living there…visit often, and I currently live in St. Petersburg, Florida, returning here in 2005 after experiencing life in Europe. Oh how I miss it!

    Simplicity makes me smile, kindness, nature, someone paying it forward, it can make me cry with joy!

    After experiencing hardships and sorrow, and starting over many times, I have learned “You must be the change you wish to see in the World” words of wisdom by Gandhi….I like to follow those words.

    My deepest fear, is fear itself….it can keep you from living life to its fullest, and that is my desire. I want to go out on the limb and get the fruit, live my life, not just make another entry on my bucket list!

    My ultimate dream, and truly who I am, is to continue my travels and experience and learn from others. To not be “stuck” with material items, learn to let go and be free. My dream is to experience true freedom….not stop loving anyone or any one place, just be free start living my life, I am an adventurer, explorer, writer, artist, I want to create my life around who I really am….make a difference.

    That’s who I am and my dream.
    We all can make a difference.

  • • Where were you born?
    I was born in a small town of Haveri, Karnataka State, India.

    • Where do you live now?
    I live in Bangalore, Karnataka State, India.

    • What makes you smile?
    Mother Nature and its inexplicable behavior. I tend to observe even the minute aspects of happenings around me; anything and everything I get from the observation would be priceless, I suppose, and that just brings smile on my face.

    • What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    There have been many but I prefer to share a few.
    1. A person can go to any extent to satisfy his ego. So be watchful of your behavior every moment. Don’t be driven by your ego. It proves fatal. Funny thing is, a person can go to an extent of saying that he doesn’t have any ego just to satisfy his ego!
    2. As they say, your worst enemy will hide in the place which you hardly look for. Inferiority complex is the worst enemy one can ever afford to have. And it hides within you! You need to get rid of that as soon as possible. Else it kills you. Understand the simple fact that we’re all unique, beautiful, handsome, good in our own way.
    3. Before you decide something, have a clear answer for these two questions. What are you trying for? Why are you trying for it?

    • What is your deepest fear?
    Being not able to achieve, what I truly believe is, my aim or lifetime goal.

    • What is your greatest dream for your life?
    I’m fascinated by technology. I just love technology. So the greatest rather ideal dream for my life should be creating another Google or Facebook! I mean to say, I’ve a goal of creating something using technology to make this world a better place.

    • Who are you?
    I think, I’m just one among those over 7 billion people. But I do think the way I think differentiates me from the other people around. I just love my thought process. I should say one thing, your blog has had tremendous influence in making me what I’m today. I’m really very grateful for you both for writing this blog and trying to improve this world as much as you can.

  • - Born: Menomonee Falls, WI, USA

    - Live Now: Back in Menomonee Falls, WI, USA

    - Smile: Humor, Silly Stuff with friends, family or my dog.

    - Most Important Life Lesson: Push to find the extremes, but realize balance is key. You should always push yourself and test the boundaries you create. That said, always look at your life and watch for areas that are out of balance. Is there a part of your life where you are “rowing a canoe up stream”? Something that isn’t getting you anywhere and doesn’t feel sustainable. If so, stop it.

    - Fear: All we have to fear, is fear itself.

    - Greatest Dream: Using the gift I was given. Build a great book of experiences, friends, family & memories.

    - Who are you? Just a cog in the machine at some level, but inside, I am someone with a dream and the ability to achieve that dream.

  • I am Aniyah. I was born in France. I live in Tennessee (quite the story how I got from France to here!!) Playing with my children makes me smile. The life lesson is that Love is the Most important thing. My deepest fear is that I have way more fear in and operating in my life. (working on that on right now) My greatest dream is to walk in total Shalom and love with myself and all around me. I am a wife, mom, teacher, encourager, lover, friend, sister, daughter, doctor, healer, and most important a Daughter of the Most High!

  • I was born in Russia, raised in Auckland & currently live in Perth, Western Australia.

    Nearly everything makes me smile. Seeing people happy, making people happy, being outside, eating good food, spending time recharging my batteries.

    You cannot control anything that happens around you so there’s no point stressing about anything. Enjoy every little curve ball life throws at you because it’ll all be worth it in the end.

    I guess my deepest fear would be not being able to see the world? I don’t actually fear what’s to come!

    My biggest dream is to travel every corner of the globe & to do it slowly.

    I’m Anna. a 23 year property student that is only a few months away from graduating & travelling the world again like I’m used to. I’m excited!

  • Great post, as always, Marc and Angel! You guys are awesome! I would love to know more about your story.

  • Where were you born?
    Port Colborne, ON Canada

    Where do you live now?
    Flint, MI currently. Although I’ve lived all over Michigan..

    What makes you smile?
    My boyfriend, my silly friends, and my cat that lives with my Mom. I also make me smile a lot too.. :o)

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    Lying will not get you out of trouble. It will only further it.

    What is your deepest fear?
    Every kind of bug. Even butterflies. And my family dying. I have been pretty lucky so far though.

    What is your greatest dream for your life?
    To live happily without all of the incredible amount of drama in my Life. To live by making art. To travel.

    Who are you?
    I am the dreamer. I have yet to be the creator. One day we all will be. I will no longer be the victim.

  • Hi, I am Neelam and this is my story.

    Where was I born and where do I live now?

    I was born in Watford, just outside of London, England. I have lived there my entire life with my family. It’s not particularly thrilling, but it is Home and always will be no matter where I go in life.

    What makes you smile?

    My family make me smile especially my parents. They are from a traditional background but seeing how far they have come in life makes me proud and happy. They never fail to make me smile when I am down.

    What is the most important life lesson I have learnt so far?

    To be me. To never question who I am but rather embrace the woman I am becoming. I go every day learning something new about myself and no one can change that or change me. God has made me as He intended and no one has the power to change that.

    What is my deepest fear?

    Letting down those people closest to me in the pursuit of ‘happiness’.

    What is my greatest dream in life?

    To leave a stamp on this world. To be recognised professionally and socially through hard work and determination but also through adventure and creativity. I want to see this world I live in for all of its beauty and meet all kinds of people along the way.

    Who am I?

    I am Neelam. I am a soul experiencing the adventure of human life.

  • I am a 43-year-old lady from Latvia, Europe. It’s a small, green and quiet country and I love living here. First I would like to express my gratitude for being able to read your blog, I find lots and lots of amazing stories necessary for my self-development and general knowledge.

    I love nature and easy-going people, smart and wise ones who share their knowledge and do it for free. My biggest fear is that some day we might experience some hopeless situation because of natural disasters like earthquake, etc.

    My biggest joy is my 19-year-old daughter Meggy who is really hardworking and smart, she is my adviser and support and I am hers. Would love to keep this mutual understanding for all our life.
    I have some great friends! And I am a great friend of theirs!

    I am a kind person. For me the main dream is peace in the whole big world, but my smallest dreams are connected with my self-development, as I think that the main treasure in our life is knowledge. Knowledge connected with all possible spheres of life. Live and learn! From books and from each other and from one’s own mistakes too :)

  • I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the U.S.A.

    My soul mate and life partner, Marc, and I just moved from San Diego, California to Austin, Texas. Our move was inspired simply by the idea of adventure. We lived in San Diego for five years and were ready to experience a new horizon, explore a new city, and meet new, amazing people.

    I smile every time I stop to simply breathe and admire my surroundings, because in these moments I am aware of just how magical life is. My full presence in a moment makes me smile.

    I have learned many important lessons, but one that really helps me get through tough times is the realization that sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. Life always evolves in the right way.

    My greatest fear is fear itself. I know that fear is a feeling, not a fact. So I try not to let it get in my way, but it’s a struggle sometimes. My anti-fear mantra is: “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions louder than your words.” I repeat that to myself on a regular basis.

    My dream is to continue walking with Marc on a path that adds value to our lives and the lives around us. To continue pursuing ideas and goals we are passionate about, no matter what anyone else thinks. And to never let small minds convince us that our dreams are too big.

    I am a woman, a wife, a passionate writer, an admirer of the human spirit, and a full time student of life. I share a great passion for inspiring others to live to their fullest potential, and I honestly feel best when I am inspiring others to be their best. Along with my husband, Marc, I started this blog (Marc and Angel Hack Life) with the goal of inspiring as many people as possible, and I work passionately alongside Marc every day to fulfill this goal through the thoughts and ideas we share online.

  • My name is Jemalou. I was born in the Philippines, and I actually reside at Naval, Biliran - a province near Leyte.

    What makes me smile: seeing my daughters enjoying their childhood, their school, when they are with their friends the way they show their love to me and to their grandma and grandpa and every time I recall our bonding time together. Another: seeing couples, especially the old ones, walking holding hands, showing how they nurture their love as time passed by and how much they are deeply in love with each other.

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far..is that no matter how you love the person (in my case ex-husband) you can not guarantee that he will do the same to you. The love, the sacrifices, everything.. actually that time when we separated what I wanted is to take revenge, but then i realized I will just hurt myself and the people around me. SO I picked up the peices and rebuilt a new life for myself. I know its not that smooth as before but those marks are my motivation that its not the end of the world; I have two daughters and I am their world so I have to get up and be stronger as I could ever imagined.. People, no matter who they are how close they are to you will hurt you, but all you can do is to forgive them at the right time and to forgive yourself. And start all over again, a new dream, a new life. And I always told myself that everything happens for a reason, there is no actually “a just happen things” in our life, all of it has its reason and we will just know them if we accept all the things that you cannot control.

    My deepest fear.. is that if i will lose my job, cause I have to kids that depend on me.., my parents will not be here for the rest of our lives to support me and my kids.

    My greatest dream is to live together with my kids..that I don’t need to work or live far from them, so that i can watch them grow and teach them that life isn’t perfect and that’s what makes life interesting to embrace the imperfections and to strive hard to be a better person. And ever since i was young i dreamed to have a good, happy marriage life and to have a loving husband a father to my kids (not all dreams work out).

    I am a single mother, with two daughters, right now i work in a private company and I am applying in a cruise ship company in order to full fill my greatest dream going forward.

  • Hello! I am Karina. Germany was my birthplace, but I now reside in Washington State, US. The miracle of my grandchildren cause me to smile as well as recalling nudging a friend with my elbow sharing a moment. I’ve learned in the most tragic manner to ALWAYS say “I love you” to those when saying good-bye as we’re never promised tomorrow. Being alone and poor would be my living hell. Travel travel travel this world…how glorious that would be. Yes, my dream is to travel! I am a shimmering expression of this great, glorious, dynamic ocean of creation and am thankful to be here. Thank YOU!

  • Hello,

    I am Sondra and I was born in Northern Michigan, USA.

    I am currently living in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area.

    Gentle spirited people and random acts of kindness make me smile. I love seeing fields of flowers and anyone helping others in need.

    Important leasions-living with dignity and honor. Being true to yourself and your surroundings. Never compromise on honesty and integrity. Always be faithful and Speak kindly, your words will come back to you.

    My deepest fear sadly is the human race. The injustices others do. We are a double edge sword. We are that, that nourishes us also destroys us.

    My dream, to live in harmony with others. Helping, caring and sharing eachother through our journey we call life. To travel, to learn of other ways and to deepen my relationships with family and friends.

    I am Sondra. Wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt and friend. Lover, nurturer, comforter, caregiver.
    Someone who after the day is done and the sun has set needs those very things I have so freely given to others.

  • I was born to middle class non- hippies while the world was going through tumultuous changes in 1963. While my mother was pregnant with me,and possibly because she was fearful of what her future would be, she embraced the ideology of a persuasive cult. Soon after, my father also joined the group, and gave up on his dream to be an artist. This cult was not as sinister as some would imagine, at least to those who are curious about it…or perhaps I only see it merely as a blight, as I was saved from it, and it has no power over my life any longer.
    It did shape the frame on the lenses I wear.

    As I approach my 50th birthday, there are some nuggets of wisdom I posses( some I have adopted, but most through my own hard knocks)
    I have learned - TIME is dedicated to being completely authentic to itself…Yet,it is very generous and abundant, everyone has enough.
    I have discovered- LIFE demands response. Answer carefully.

    Today I have embraced and celebrate my resiliency to have gone through excruciating pain and fear of walking away from everything I know, my religion, my exclusive life as a Jehovahs Witness and disconnecting from the cult, which included losing my entire family of origin,leaving behind most of my life long friends and being labeled by that enormous community of over7 million people world wide as a dissident, an apostate, an enemy of God.

    That is my greatest fear…that I was unfaithful to a God I couldn’t feel.

    What makes me who I am is that although I may have preferences for what I do, how I raise myself moving forward is with the deep understanding that my choices matter. About 8 years ago an elderly gentleman walked past me. He immediately turned around, getting my attention and asked “Are you living with a full heart?”
    That question has stuck with me and it is how I measure myself often.

    After 40 years trapped in a cult, my heart has never been more full of gratitude than it is today for the courage I was granted to get out. I’m living authentic. I didn’t let it ruin the real me,
    I am one of the lucky ones. That puts a smile on my face.

  • Here’s my story

    1)I am born in Singapore, a small dot on the world map

    2) Still living on this Sunny Island called Singapore=)

    3) Pretty much anything that reminds me what living is really about. I smile when I see my little cousins age 4 and 2 likes to horse around. I smile when I see a truly happy couple takes a slow walk anywhere. I smile when I hear people’s problems out and knowing that I had passed through that phase as well. I smile when I feel the wind blowing against my cheeks. And, I really love the wide plains and mountains( don’t really get those here on tiny Singapore=P)

    4) There had been many lessons that were taught to me whether its indirectly or directly. But, the few that stands out is that

    Time waits for no man

    Happiness or Sadness are both impermanent, both will passed eventually. What matters is my reaction to them.

    5) Fear of being alone. I am afraid that I will have no companion. Fear of a life that has no purpose and that everyday is just a routine. Fear of no goals and being stagnant.

    6) Greatest dream is that to smile, laugh and be merry without being bogged down by lack of financial means. Its not only material wealth that I want, but spiritual wealth as well.

    7) I think I am someone who have the capacity to listen to people stories and am someone who loves to crack lame jokes. I am someone that loves to travel, to experience being lost in an entire new place and to experience the culture and natural sceneries of the world. I am still constantly searching who I really am and what I stand for. A failed relationship with someone open up my eyes to my true self and everyday I am learning a little something about myself.

    In conclusion, these questions that were asked is in a way, pretty rejuvenating. For it forces one, to think about such intimate questions. And unlike the norm, which is career,kids, material wealth and health, such questions really makes one to be more aware of themselves. In this world, there had been far too many souls who doesn’t know who they are inside. As many are living with masks. Me included.

  • Hello All,
    I was born in Philadelphia, PA. The city of brotherly love and sisterly affection though it seems some of us here have forgotten quite a bit about the lovin’. I still live here and I am ok with that most of the time though I long to live amongst palm tree, beautiful oceans and warmth.

    God, babies, the elderly, flowers, freedom, creativity, family, friends and so much more make me smile. In fact all of the aforementioned at times down right cracks me up (ok ,minus the flowers… they have yet to make me laugh but watch out if they do)

    The most important life lesson that I have learned
    so far is that life never really ends…what a blast it is to know that. You go God!

    I don’t know that I have done enough self excavation to have revealed my deepest fear, but for right now it seems that my deepest fear is not tapping into talents and using them to my fullest potential. I would love to complete the novel that I have been trying to finish forever but some reason I am in my own way… go figure.

    My greatest dream for my life is to become fully awakened and just ooze love.
    I’m talking about laying hands on someone with that kind of powerful love in mental or physical pain and wiping then clean and making them whole. Wow, imagine that…

    Who am I ???? A grateful sister on a journey, doing the best that I know how.

  • My name is Unathi (meaning God with us) and I was born in South Africa in the Eastern Cape in the town named Umthatha. I grew up with my grandmother in a one room mud house.

    I now leave in Bloemfontein, South Africa in the province called Free state with my husband and two sons the oldest is 6 years and the second one is 4 years old.

    The thought of knowing that God is with me makes me smile,my two boys and my surroundings and the endless possibilities that life has to offer.

    The most important lesson I have learned so far is knowing who I am and being true to who I am in spite of being rejected and side lined by people that I thought were important in my life.

    I try not to be fearful even though sometimes I do think what would I do if I lost my job as I am the one working at home at the moment.

    My dream is to be all that I was destined to be nothing less nothing more.

    I am a daughter, sister, teacher, wife , mother , a passionate individual and I am a sinner saved by Grace.

  • My name is Sandra Hamlett and I was born in New York City.

    I live about 2 hours from New York City in the bucolic hamlet of Westtown.

    Lots of things make me smile. This morning it was watching our new puppy running through the house just before passing out for her morning nap. Then playing the longest game of Monopoly with my 7 year old (started three days ago). Watching my 14 year old walk through the house with this man/boy body that is already taller than me. Getting a great story idea from listening to a podcast…

    My most important life lesson to date is happiness and sadness come from within. It’s taken me a long time to realize that these states of being are not based on anyone else but myself. Now that I know this, I choose happiness in any given situation.

    My deepest fear is to continue living the life I have been leading which has been one of regret and settling for a life based on other people’s terms. When you realize you’re living your deepest fear it moving on becomes a necessity and not merely a desire.

    The greatest dream of my life is to live a life I love and inspires me to challenge myself, to live in compassion and joy, and to never fail my dreams by never trying.

    I am a mother, storyteller and child of the universe.

  • Hi, I am Mary Lynn.

    I was born in Dallas, Texas where I live and work in my studio as an artist in glass with my husband of 35 yrs., who is also an artist and glassblower. We have lived many places, but came home to Texas as our parents were aging and wanted to be with them.

    My longtime friend always answers the cocktail party question “what do you do?” with ” about what?” Makes me smile when I think of it.

    I tend to have the same interest as Marc’ s questions in other people. My husband says I never meet a stranger. It is because I am an observer of people and I want to know what makes everyone tick!

    One of my greatest pleasures is when my husband just touches me when I least expect it. And of course our children and 4 grandchildren make any troubles we have go away. We adore them!

    We have struggled with the “feast and famine” lifestyle of an artist, but the greatest thing is we have each other. At this time, we are in our 60’s and facing a real financial crisis, but have faith we will get through it. We just keep working at our passion, even during this time of a tough economy. Art is just what we do.

    I am fighting a lot of pain and depression due to various diseases in my spine and my greatest fear is that I won’t win, but I am not giving up.

    It was such a pleasure to read everyone’s stories and to see how this blog is worldwide! I am saving it so I can read it again. In a year, we hope to move into our old farmhouse in the beautiful mountains of W. North Carolina and continue to do our art where life is simple and the weather is cool!

  • I was born in Massachusetts and I was raised in New Hampshire my entire life.

    I left a job that I loved for a person I loved even more in 2007 which brought me to Ithaca, NY. I had no idea how my life or the lives of my children would change in the best way possible by moving here.

    Many things make me smile, my kids having a good day, my partner smiling at me, my first cup of tea in the morning….there are just too many things to list.

    The most important lesson that I have learned; you are in charge of your own happiness or unhappiness.

    My deepest fear would have to be not having my children in my life whether that be from death or otherwise.

    My greatest dream for my life would have to be finally be married to the one person that I know I can count on no matter what and continue living a life I can be proud of.

    I am a mother, a partner, a daughter, a friend, a business owner, and a person who at 41 is still learning new things about herself everyday.

  • I am Michelle. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I have never left this state and love it here. I am a true cheesehead at heart! I come from a divorced family and my parents instilled hard work ethics in me from day one. I have been working since I was 13 years old and at 32 I look forward to retirement! I have been through a lot of challenges in my life. I have a very determined spirit and try to see the best in everything and everyone. I give selflessly to those that I love and care about.

    Simple things make me smile although I LOVE watching the sunrise/set over an ocean somewhere tropical and I love long romantic walks on beaches. My son makes me smile every morning and my faith in God has at times brought tears to my eyes. I love it when my son will reach out and grab my hand out of nowhere. It is the best feeling in the world.

    The most important lesson that I have learned in life is that tomorrow is not a guarntee and no matter how much you “plan” things, the best things in life are never planned.

    My deepest fear is Love. I want to spend the rest of my life with a man that can appreciate and love me for the person that I am. I want to love someone with all my heart and soul and have a passionate love that will last a lifetime free of any mistrust (like someone else mentioned above). I want someone to love me and only me. I want to be able to hold someones hand on my final days on this earth and know that all along I had my best friend by my side through the good times and the bad.

    My greatest dream for my life goes with the above. To love and be loved and have someone to share that with. I would love to be married again after the heartache of being betrayed in my first marriage.

  • Michelle again here…You know I read this and it seems that most of us have one thing in common. We all seek the love of a companion and want that true and ever lasting love…. Amazing…

  • I was born in Dorset, a county in the south-west of the UK. I now live in Aldershot, a busy commuter town on the Surrey/Hampshire county borders. I don’t like it (too busy, too commercial) and yearn to return to Devon, which I consider my home even though I only lived there on a permanent basis for 3 years.

    My children make me smile everyday, especially now they are old enough to play and chat to each other. I love to be creative and I love when I finish exercising. I am happy that we are able to give my children a life style I never had when I was little - and a lot of that is about love and support (as well as nice toys and holidays). I love to walk outside, preferably to the sound of waves crashing on a beach.

    My most important life lesson is that I meet my expectations and don’t worry too much about what other people think or impose on me. What my Dad wanted for me really doesn’t define me now.

    My greatest fear is dying young and missing out on seeing my children grow into the fantastic adults they look like they’re going to be.

    My greatest dreams are that my family are happy and healthy and that my husband and I travel the world when we are done with working

    I am a mother, wife, change manager, singer, crafter, self-improver, lifelong learner, and traveller.

  • What is your story

    Where were you born? &
    Where do you live now?
    I was born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, in 1951, and have lived here my entire life.

    What makes you smile?
    Connecting with others makes me smile. Seeing opportunities to help make someone else’s day more pleasant and enjoyable, and then doing something to help them, makes me smile. Watching the clouds float through the sky, makes me smile. Looking at the stars and the moon, makes me smile. Having a stranger smile at me, for no reason, makes me smile. Recognizing Devine occurrences in my life or others’ lives, makes me smile.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    Life is too precious and short to waste it being hurt, angry, or stuck in a place that keeps me from happiness.

    What is your deepest fear?
    Spiders…. and losing the serenity that I have found from accepting life as it is.

    What is your greatest dream for your life?
    To be happy and to be of service to all who are in my path.

    Who are you?
    I am a happy 62 year old man that has experienced joy and pain.

  • My name is Joey.

    I was born in a small town in Alberta where I lived for 30 years. I moved to Vancouver then settled in Kelowna 20 years ago. I have 5 siblings scattered all over. Yet we are all close. I was married and have 2 grown children. My biggest joy comes from seeing people interacting from their heart, not from their head. My biggest fear is that too many people may never “get that”. Ghandhi said it best “be the change you want to see in the world”. All we need to do is be a little more kind to one another, and it grows. I would like to say I have it “together”; but I don’t. I have been hurt many times and therefore it’s difficult to “love like you’ve never been hurt” but I know I need to. My goal is to find a true heart connection and together travel the world and share. My very favourite song “Imagine” by John Lennon. That is my dream for the world, that we truly live the words of that song.

    Namaste

  • Hello, my name is Karen and I was born in Chinon, France at a US Army hospital. I grew up in NY on Long Island. I now live in a small town in Washington state near Tacoma. I have lived in NY, DC, Georgia, Landstuhl Germany, and mostly in Washington state.

    What makes me smile is observing and receiving kindness and love. My children enjoying each others company, my husband laughing and chatting, the camaraderie of the groups I belong to- my church and my fellow Girl Scout leaders. Even noticing random strangers being kind makes me smile. I try to smile at everyone I meet because you just never know what they are going through.

    The life lessons I have learned in my 50 plus years are many, too many to share. Be kind to others and yourself, BE yourself, don’t worry (as much as possible), life will go on, you will survive. I will have to think on this some more.

    My deepest fear is losing my loved ones but most especially my husband and children. I can not even think about that.

    My biggest dream is to be able to travel the US and the world and photograph and somehow share this with others so that all may know how very much alike we all are. Just reading the comments from all over the world right here on this post shows this. It’s an amazing thing to realize that despite looks and language and lifestyle so many of us truly just want kindness and love and good health!

    I am a daughter,sister, wife, mother, dietitian, Girl Scout, volunteer, reader, eater, photographer, scrapbooker, a lover of life.

    Thank you for reading my story!

  • Hello World! Nice to meet all of you & to read your stories!

    My name is Robyn and I was born and currently live in Calgary Alberta Canada. I did live in Adelaide Australia for a short period of time and loved it.

    What makes me smile: My two sons. Sharing humour with them & watching them develop their own style is deeply rewarding.

    Life lesson: there have been many….But being authentic & honest is the only way.

    Deepest fear(s): There are a few…. My children dying before I do. Losing my health. Being able to trust again. Being able to retire.

    Greatest Dream(s): Emotional freedom. Financial freedom. Travel the world.

    Who am I?: I am a woman in my 50’s. I’ve worked in Oil & Gas my whole career. I love sports, reading & travel. My favorite color is green. My fave movie to this day is The Sound of Music. I had a massive crush on Richard Chamberlin from The Thorn Birds. My circle of friends are amazing folk! I have great concerns for how the world is evolving. There is far too much killing, sexual abuse, mistreatment of others going on. I have read many of your stories here today that support this. The social media (as wonderful as it is) seems out of control. Even our tv shows show countless murders & violence. Some people are choosing the wrong path at the expense of others. We’re too accessible with our phones & email to the point of being rude. I would like to see some aspects of life slow down! We’re running at an incredible pace that is stressful & people are over subscribed. These are my concerns - sorry for the rant! But this is me…. :)

    This website is the place I go to find peace & direction. A bright spot in my day - so thank you Angel & Marc for putting life in better perspective & helping us lead better lives & overcome incredible hurt. Thank you all for sharing who you are today. It’s a cool idea!

  • My name is Alina Alvarez.

    I was born in Hialeah, Florida. I now live in Miramar, Florida. Not much further away, but far enough to be more peaceful, yet close enough to access the things that I still yearn for from my childhood.

    What makes me smile is seeing a little baby happy and smiling, as it reminds me of that tender moment when I had my beautiful daughter who ’til this day, after 15 years, is my reason for living.

    My most important life lesson so far, particularly after being a TBI survivor, is that you can accomplish “anything” you set your mind to. Lord knows I have come across many obstacles in my life, and yet have “always” accomplished anything I have set out out to do. The only thing you need is the desire, passion, and belief that you can do it and you will.

    My deepest fear is the day my daughter decides to leave my house, as I will have to start learning to live for me, and that may be difficult to learn at an older age. She is my life, my world, the reason I wake up every morning.

    My greatest dream for me is to find someone who shares my same values in life and whom I can travel the world with. Traveling and learning and experiencing new cultures gives me a sense of fulfillment.

    I am Alina, an excellent mother, loving daughter, niece, sister, and friend. Experiencing life day by day. Learning from each encounter I have in life and moving on to the next chapter until my purpose in this life has been served.

  • Hello Bernadette, hello everyone… my name is Vanessa, and I first want to express my thanks for this wonderful Story Exchange. I have loved reading everyone’s individual stories, and have felt a sense of closeness with each person that has both surprised and touched me. I don’t know any of you, but I feel love towards each of you… I’ll never meet you, but I feel like I have shared a moment with each of you. If these joyful feelings can be produced just reading through the “comments” section… imagine how much more intense it will be for us to ask these questions out in real life. I have only been reading this blog for a week so far, but I’m already deeply convinced of the good it is pulsing out into the world.

    Okay… well, I was born in Texarkana, Texas, but my parents moved to the seaside city of Corpus Christi when I was 6 months old. I lived there until I went off to college at 17, spent 5 years away, and then moved back again for several years.

    I currently live in Mendoza, Argentina with my husband, in the foothills of the Andes mountains, a thousand miles away from the nearest ocean, and half a world away from my entire family.

    It’s the simple things that make me smile. This morning, it was watching air bubbles tumble in a glass as I poured water. The sun happened to be coming in the window at just the right angle, and it was just… pretty. Children make me smile. Spontaneously-cracked jokes. Gosh, so many things… I just noticed that I’m smiling right now, thinking of the myriad things that make me smile. :D (What a GREAT question… Bernadette, did you know that would happen to us as we pondered our answers? If so… well-played!)

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is that you can’t outrun your problems, your fears, or your insecurities. I ran halfway around the world in the attempt, only to find that, when the dust settled, there we all were again: me, my sadness, and I. The truth is, most of our so-called problems are INSIDE our heads… but… so are the solutions. Choosing to be Present, choosing to live in the Now, choosing to be happy… these choices help put us in the frame of mind to view “problems” more as just “situations”. We can say, “Okay. I’m not cool with what’s happening here, but for the moment I’ll just accept it because it’s already happening, anyway. Now… is there anything I can do to start fixing it? Or shall I just release it and let it be?” Obviously it’s easier said than done, but I’m so grateful to the turns in my life for having taught me this lesson, and I do my best to apply it every day.

    The other lesson I’ve learned (just in the past couple of weeks, actually) is that happiness is not a luxury… it’s an obligation. If we’re not happy, we can’t love, can’t forgive, can’t think clearly, can’t make rational decisions, can’t take care of others (or ourselves!), can’t set a good example, can’t move forward… basically, we can’t do anything worth doing unless we’re happy. It’s not about rainbows and butterflies… it’s about the strength that happiness gives us. It’s the only kind of strength that can allow us to forge the lives we truly want… the only kind of strength with any chance of causing real change in this world.

    As for my deepest fear… oh, I have so many fears, but none that really stands out as being the worst. I generally fear the things I can’t control, like corruption, disease, becoming a victim of random violence. But none of those things is personally happening to me right NOW… so, no point in feeling fear about them.

    My greatest dream is to fulfill the call of the writer/musician inside me. I have stories and melodies to share, and I’m working diligently to gain the technical proficiency to share them WELL. So, my greatest dream is to make these songs and stories a reality… and my greatest hope is that, maybe, something I create will be a light for someone else, the way other songs and stories have been for me along my path.

    Who am I? I honestly have no idea how to answer that question… which is a position I’ve worked hard to get to! I’m a leaf on the wind of change… I’m a candle in the darkness… I’m a smile, a hope, a life.

    Thanks again, to all of you fellow leaves, candles, smiles, hopes and lives. Love and light to each of you.

  • Where were you born?
    Airforce base Cold Lake Alberta Canada

    Where do you live now?
    White Rock BC (3/4 year) & Princeville Kauai (1/4 year)

    What makes you smile?
    Watching my dogs chase each other on a beach or in a forrest, listening to my daughter tell me stories of the children she works with, watching my son compete with passion, being of road trips, exploring new places with my hubby

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?

    Resilience (its within us)

    What is your deepest fear?

    History

    What is your greatest dream for your life?

    Creating a loving family and spending time with them

    Who are you?

    I am a good mother, a very smart businesswoman who is compassionate & creative and lives her life with passion

  • I was born in Karimnagar, India.

    I live in Southern California in the US.

    Making others’ dreams come true. Living Life and just being able to help people.

    Recently understood that as great as hard work is, people stand out because the others around them let them. They give them the opportunity & allow them to stand out and believe in them. When people believe in you that much, you know it’s important to be yourself and continue to do what you do.

    My biggest fear is that I have no reference point but more recently I’m starting to be comfortable with the idea of using myself as a reference point.

    My greatest dream is to create and change the world. I’m working on it every day slowly, the little things will add up one day.

    I’m an enabler. I’m a passionate young 20 year old educator. I’m a believer in myself and most importantly I’m a believer in that how you do the little things is how you do the big things, and how you do anything is how you do everything.

  • Great article and great comments. This sent to me by my girlfriend and it gave me pause to comment. I am in sales, I use these questions a lot, but in the end it helps you determine if you are genuinely interested in the person you are conversing with. I want to know YOU first. then I can make things work as to how we could work together. If not, thanks for the time.

    Life is a story. Choose when to tell it but that is a lot easier if someone genuinely asks you.

    ◾Where were you born?
    Small town in Illinois. 1000 people so we all knew everything.

    ◾Where do you live now?
    Chicago suburbs. Nice community of around 30,000 people.

    ◾What makes you smile?
    Everything makes me smile (see below) but mostly shock in my kids eyes. They make me laugh because they are so shocked at whatever it is but I can see the joy in their eyes. All of them.
    That and my dog doing the helicopter with his head when he wakes up :)

    ◾What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    Live uncomfortably. Challenge yourself to take chances and you will set yourself up for great things. It may be as small as a nice dinner with your kids laughing or the greatest sale you ever made. put yourself in the position to be aware of others peoples happiness and share that with them.

    ◾What is your deepest fear?
    I don’t have a any really. I want to be successful and make a good living as I do, but a little of “live without fear” is very much how I live.

    ◾What is your greatest dream for your life?
    Be a GREAT dad. Teach my kids how to be better people than I am. Be patient with them and take the time to be involved. If I was gone tomorrow, my life would have been a success already.

    ◾Who are you?
    I am a really happy person.

  • • Hi, my name is Cherie I was born in Dayton, Ohio.

    • I also live in Connecticut, California, and Michigan. I currently live in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

    • I love to smile when I see and hear people reflect their true self. This always takes courage.

    • Most important life lesson that I learned was life can be altered when you least expect it and that it should not be taken forgotten. Premature death, chronic illnesses of a love one, and moving taught me this.

    • My deepest fear is for my mind to go. My mother was bi-polar and my father has Parkinson’s disease. When their disease altered both my parents’ minds, it was difficult to watch. All I could think is how two brilliant individuals could be robbed from controlling their thoughts.

    • My greatest dream is to live to 100 (healthy) or very close to it. My great grandmother lived to 95 and my father’s parents have lived well into their 80’s.

    • Who am I? I am a strong woman with a Gemini soul, who loves helping others achieve their goals and who believes in a life with purpose.

  • - Hi everyone, my name is Lucinda and I was born in Leeds, a city in the north of England.

    - I still live in Leeds, in the same house I’ve lived in all my life (20 years) with my parents and two younger brothers.

    - So many things make me smile! I like to think that I find joy in the little things. Having all of my family in one room sharing a joke, sharing my littles brothers childish sense of humour and unleashing my inner child, hanging out with friends late at night and knowing that they have no intention of sleeping for another 5 hours (who has time for sleep when you’re enjoying yourself!), seeing the sunrise, baby animals, crowd singalongs at gigs, children, people who don’t hold back from being themselves, spontanaety, inside jokes, exploring places I’ve never been to before and knowing I have the freedom to go wherever I want.

    - The most important lesson I’ve learnt so far is that no matter what you’ve been through and who you are, you can achieve your dream. Just because it doesn’t happen when you want it to and everyone else is achieving and you feel left behind, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be in the same place in one year or it may even be ten years time. You never know when your life will start.

    - My deepest fear is that I’ll let my insecurities rule my heart and head and that I’ll resort to telling my children and grandchildren about the above lesson and not being able to prove to them that its true.

    - My greatest dream is to be able to make a living doing what I love and to be able to travel and make a difference to people’s lives while I do it.

    - I am Lucinda. I’m shy but there’s an extreme extrovert inside of me who manages to break free from time to time. I’m an optimistic pessimist, I’ll always have my dreams but I gain strength to achieve them from the stories of others. I’m a photographer, a lover of culture and history, I love live music and the connection to everyone in the room that I feel when I watch, all I want is a sense of community spirit in my life, I recently went on my first holiday abroad with two friends and I need another fix of that freedom ASAP! I love reading but I don’t trust contempory writers to be as good as the legendary ones of the past, I’m currently writing this from the inside of my Nana’s caravan on the north coast where we’ve been going every summer for the last 15 years of my life but all I want to be doing right now is travelling with friends and working and learning on the way.

  • My name is Fiona, I was born in and still live in Northern Ontario, Canada.

    My children make me smile everyday. And they teach me more things about life than school ever has! I love hanging out with them and my hubby.

    I love my life and believe that it is what you make it. My house is a little messy which is something that took me a while to come to terms with. I had to get over my obsessive need for tidiness and order but thanks to 2 beautiful kids I have! The other day I looked around at the chaos and said to my hubby that the house may be a mess but that’s because the family that lives here is busy living!

    I believe that I have found the key to happiness…it is being so happy with what you have that it doesn’t matter what you don’t have.

    We live a fairly simple life and enjoy the small things and time together.

    We stopped eating processed food and all foods with chemical additives when we discovered our son has a chemical sensitivity and that has changed our life drastically for the better. My dream is to share my son’s story with the world and spread awareness in an attempt to make change and help others.

    I am living my life, following my heart, and listening to all the cues the universe is sending me. I want to work from home so that I can follow my dream and be the best mom, and the best me I can be. It is frustrating at times and not happening as fast as I would like but my kids are my number one priority and get the most of my time. My relationship with my hubby is also very important and he gets a lot of my time too. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for starting my at home business but I am stubborn and determined to make it work. It is my purpose in life!

  • In your opening, you mentioned our “tapestry.” A close friend WHO died just a year ago wrote to me once that I was “a gold thread in her tapestry of life.”

    What a loving gift that was that I still cherish…

    K.

  • Great post!

    Here’s my story -

    My name is Rich Proctor and I was born and raised in sunny Southern California. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest now, but I’m still a SoCal boy at heart. Summers in the Northwest can’t be beat, but I do miss the warm SoCal sun during the endlessly gray and dreary days of nearly every other season here (I exaggerate only slightly).

    There are so many things make me smile (yes, I smile a lot :) - my sweetheart, my family, my dog, a great book, a breakthrough idea, capturing a stunning photograph, writing something that I feel is truly compelling, being the reason behind somebody else’s smile, and sometimes simply a good nap.

    I began studying personal development in earnest a number of years ago and the life lessons have come steadily and consistently. I think one of the most important lessons I have learned is that there is meaning in every single situation in life - good, bad and otherwise. And sometimes it’s in going through the worst of circumstances that bring about the most valuable lessons. Lessons that could not have been learned so profoundly in any other way.

    Honestly, I have spent my life consumed with one fear or another. Certainly fear, or more accurately anxiety (fear of fear), has been my greatest adversary in this life. To boil it down to one greatest fear wouldn’t be a constructive exercise (I’ve dwelt on the old ghosts long enough). What I finally do realize is that fear is here to stay, there will never be a day when it’s completely gone. I simply have to accept that fact and live my life full out in spite of it.

    My greatest dream is simply to add value to people in whatever capacity I can. That is the very essence of what I want my life to stand for.

  • I was born in the French Hospital in Manhattan New York. I only found that out fairly recently.

    I live in Titusville Florida where my husband had launched space shuttles for 25 years and I have taught from Kindergarten through 12 grade students.

    What makes me smile is the silliness that my daughters and grandchildren do. The closeness of my daughters makes me very happy.

    Most important lesson… make your own life, your own happiness, and your own reality. No one else will do it for you. Love God and others as yourself.

    Being alone is the deepest fear.

    My greatest dream was to have a family.

    Good question. I have had to create myself. No history, no parents, no background. Lonely, but freeing. I am who I am and who God made. That is who I am.

  • wow. i am amazed by the stories you have all shared! from all over the world and i can see that we truly are not so different from one another. thank you.

    i was born in toronto, canada and moved to new brunswick as a young child. i consider NB to be my heart home. i now live in ottawa and have been here for almost 28 years.

    i need to pay more attention to what makes me smile. i really needed to think about it… turning my face to the sun does that. so does breathing in salt air as i listen to ocean waves. and sinking into my bed at the end of the day. and seeing the colours red and aqua side by side. and certain memories.

    most important lessons? #1 - i always have a choice. i may not like the choices available to me, but i always have a choice. #2 - i am not alone. i can choose to be alone, but i don’t have to be.

    deepest fears? #1 - that i made the wrong choice. #2 - that death will not come quickly. (i’m in no rush to go! but when it’s my time, i hope it happens quickly.)

    greatest dreams? to live a life of sane and happy usefulness. oh, and to travel and connect more. to know that my time here has made a difference.

    who am i? i am a beloved child of god, and on most days, knowing that is enough.

    love & blessings to you all…

  • Hi, my name is Wenkai and I was born in Taipei, Taiwan.

    I currently live in Auckland, New Zealand and have been for 23 years.

    Warmth, being surrounded by the family and friends I care about and feeling that warmth in my heart.

    Life doesn’t turn out the way you imagine it to. Even if it does, it’ll get there in a way you never expected. But every little bit, even the parts that hurt and rip you apart eventually makes you a better person and prepares you for something in the future. Don’t think too much, enjoy the ride.

    I fear lost. Losing a loved one. I fear ‘fear’ itself, a self doubt of whether I will be able to handle what ever it is I’m facing.

    I dream of being courageous and grateful for all the things I have. To be out there helping people in the community and return to a loving home and family.

    I am someone who has been through challenges and is still learning to become a better person by reflecting on my habits and trying to continuously improve them.

  • Where were you born?
    I was born in Ft. Hood, TX while my dad was in the army. But was raised in the Upper Peninsula of MI from the time I was 8 mths old, so that is my home.

    Where do you live now?
    I live in Mid-Wisconsin now. moved here from D.C. Suburbs about a year ago so we could be closer to family.

    What makes you smile?
    My son makes me smile, I love when he laughs. My husband & traveling also makes me smile.

    The most important thing I’ve learned so far is that everyone has some sort of struggle going on.

    My deepest fear would probably be leaving this world & feeling like I didn’t do anything worthwhile What is your greatest dream for your life? to be truly content with my life & who I am. It is a constant struggle.

    Who are you?
    A mom, wife, daughter, traveler, explorer & photographer.

    If it is okay I’d love to blog about this on my photography site & use the questions as well. Of course I’d link to this.

  • Hi I was born in Los Angeles, California.

    I presently live in the beautiful city of Whittier in California.

    What makes my smile is watching my sons having a good time together, sharing and caring for one another. Watching the children play in my front yard and listening to them sort of out their little life lessons. Children have so much to teach us if we just took the time to listen with an open heart.

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is that when you are unhappy about the life you are living the only way to make it better is for you to stand up for what you want and DO IT!
    My deepest fear is not having one yet. I know that all things are the way they should be because I have faith.

    My greatest dream is to be happy, free and loving someone that loves me back with their whole heart.

    Who am I? I am a mother of three whom which I am very proud of. I love dancing. I love spending time with my family and friends. I am simple, but matters of the heart I take very seriously. I am a friend to many. I am a full time employee. I am a daughter and a sister. I am a loving woman.

  • WOW! Hi Everyone. I woke up this morning (a few hours ago here in New Zealand) to read these comments and I am blown away. I just feel like I made 80+ friends, because you let me into your lives by sharing the story of who you are. I have goose bumps (is that what everyone else calls it? You know, the shivers!) just hearing who you all are straight from your hearts. From all over the world, people saying it just like it is for them. I am going to post comments in response, because so many of the things you all have written have made me smile, laugh, dream, ache, ponder, and feel grateful. So bear with me if I post quite a few little messages here. I’m counting my blessings today. THANK YOU! Love, Bernadette x

  • Stephanie - I freaking love your “Mathemagician” business card. Reminds me of a friend here in NZ who does personal growth/healing type work using humour and she calls herself a “Joyologist”. And what you said about having little control over others but acknowledging you do have control over yourself… I hear ya! It all starts from within and there is something peaceful about focusing on what you can control and not looking outward worrying about what you can’t control.

    Khaled - I hear your passion to share your voice and your dreams for being in politics as a contribution for change. How inspiring. With my best wishes for your dreams and your health/wellbeing. Bx

    Victoria - I do love how you shared the story behind your name, it’s fascinating asking parents to talk about how they came to the names they chose for their children. Thank you for saying “Every person is a miracle” - here’s to everyone in the world knowing that truth for themselves! My best wishes to you, and for the health and healing of your sick friend.

    Matthew P - I had a big smile reading your post, particularly about your greyhounds. I have a beautiful red Doberman and he’s super fast, and his favourite thing to do is play with the greyhounds at the local park as they are the only ones who can keep up with him! I will definitely check out that song by Roger Ames :) Freaking love your passionate energy about youth leadership, it resonates with me as I’m super passionate about reaching out to young people through the work I do.

    Sina - Hey there, great to connect with someone from the Pacific Islands here! Thanks for sharing :)

    Ki - Our pets give us so much joy uh! Fuzzy sounds cute. Our dog is called Cashy. I feel like there are many people who would resonate with your comment about finding it difficult to meld with subcultures, like they don’t quite fit, and feeling that to varying degrees. Thank you for sharing and best wishes to you.

  • Wow, thank you all for the positive thoughts. I don’t think mine will be so positive, but feel I must write them down. Please bear with me.

    1. My name is Betsy, and I was born in Washington, D.C. I am 60 years old.
    2. I have lived in Maine for 40 years now, moved here with my high school sweetheart, and would have been married 38 years this Sept.
    3. My 2 daughters make me smile. I love them so much.
    4. The most important lesson in life I have learned is that I am my own worst enemy.
    5. My deepest fear is being lonely. My soul mate, best friend, and husband Bob passed away 08/30/11.
    6. My greatest dream is to be able to love “me” again. So much self doubt about everything.
    7. I am a widow, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a lonely person.

    There is so much more to me that I could write here, but these words are the most important to me at this moment. Thank you very much.

  • Christina - you’ve lived in NZ too! Best wishes for wherever you go next, whether it’s staying in KL or moving abroad. I agree, happiness (and peace) within is where it all starts and is what allows us to make sense of whatever is going on around us.

    Magda - Awesome… you are a warrior and an artist. Inspiring!

    Dawn - I wonder if Mr Mauger knows how his words changed your life. How special is that. I love how the passing words of one person can have a lasting impact on our lives. What we say can seem like nothing to us and yet can be everything to another person.

    Akinkunmi - I really resonate with your message that to help others we must first help ourselves. Reminds me of what John Kehoe says (an author I enjoy) “Our Success Helps Many; Our Failure Helps No One”. I guess if we take care of ourselves and ensure we fill our own cup (with love and peace) then we have enough to give to others.

    Jeannie - my motto at Pinch Me Living is “Be who you are. Do what you love” and so your “Just be myself” wisdom really hits the mark with me. I think people often wonder what that really means, for me it’s about living to my truth, not to expectations (perceived or real). Best wishes to you!

    Rene - My husband Aaron and I are passionately obsessed with the power of living in the present moment. Your messages about living in the moment really connects with us. We particularly love the work of Eckhart Tolle, which has been profound in terms of the impact it has had on our lives. PS. Your breathing mantra is wonderful!

  • My name is Tamerie. I was born in Morgantown, West Virginia. I now live on Coronado Island, California by way of Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Germany, Spain and Greece. And, no, I was not in a military family. I have been where I am now for 11 1/2 years, which is the longest I’ve had the same address in my entire life.

    Sunshine makes me very happy. Bright, tropical colors also bring a smile to my face. And any kind of baby animal: kittens, puppies, monkeys, bears, they all make me smile.

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is that things can change in an instant, and even if it doesn’t seem so at the time, everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING is a blessing, however dressed up it may come.

    My deepest fear is that I will give in to my, at times, overwhelming desire to ‘check out early.’ It is a constant struggle, which two of my brothers lost the battle of, BUT I have the tools and the determination to live until I am 120 years old, so I will.

    The greatest dream of my life is to share my story with others so that they may learn something from what I’ve been through. Or at least understand that there is hope and that we can get through and recover from things we never thought we could.

    Who am I? I am a survivor.

  • Who am I? That is a question I ask myself every day. I do not believe I have the complete answer to such a question yet. I see my life as perhaps a painting, and as each day passes a new brush stroke is added. I do try to learn something from each person I encounter and hope they do the same. I strive to find a sense of calm and joy by living in the moment. Here are some words to live by…

    “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.” -Henry David Thoreau

  • Dan - Your comment about being comfortable in our own skin… that’s such a great way of describing it. For me, being who I really am is about being openly expressed and as you say, comfortable in my own skin in order to do that. Wishing you all the best as you unleash your writer self!!

    Petra - WOW and WOW. “Another person cannot steal your joy without your permission”. Quotable quote. And you and I are very much on the same page around fear energy. I hear ya! :)

    Aiyana - Ahhh, eternal bloom, how magical is that. You sound to me like someone very self-aware and I feel the energy when you talk about your dreams. Passion fuels our dreams and your passion sounds very clear and strong.

    Suky - Got the shivers when I read your deepest fear “me giving up on me”. Yep, I hear you. Sounds like you’re in your flow and passionate about many of the same things Aaron and I are. Blessings to you and for your journey.

    Stephan - Thanks for sharing and I smiled reading your “I’m a weird person”, I’m sure many people (including me) would say “Me too!” Reminds me of a quote I like… “Be weird. Be Random. Be who you are. Because you never know who could love the person you hide”

  • Bernadette - hello! You said this beautifully, about what bring you joy, “the love between 2 living things”. I will always remember this when I see any type of love shared, 2 birds flitting together, my dog playing with another, and people of course.

    Flora - I think I will always now look at smiling people differently because of what you triggered me to consider… what is the reason behind their smile? A happy mystery!

    David - You SO are a writer! Loved reading your comment, you express yourself magically.

    Judy - That little 3 year old is so blessed to have you. Much love and blessings to you

    MaryLou - Free unfettered… awesome! I have two siblings who did massage therapy training and work in the past, and I will always remember them telling me how much of themselves they gave to their clients, through the touch, but really giving them love and a space to just “be”. Your clients are lucky to have you.

    Pamela - Like minds… divine support is with us all, every day. I live my life in awareness of and trust in the divine guidance/signals that I get and like you I believe trusting the process is key. I often say to my husband Aaron, I am obsessed with having “real conversations”, lifting consciousness so we can all thrive together as a whole. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Wishing you every blessing on your journey. B x

    Sonia - Some people search a lifetime looking for work that fulfils them and you have this amazing work you do which you love and which makes this incredible contribution into the lives of children. You inspire me! And might I add that many people have tears behind their smiles and I love how you said “smiles behind tears”. You’ve got an awesome attitude. :)

  • Where were you born?Hi I am Joanne

    Where do you live now? I am a Filipino and living in the Philippines.

    What makes you smile?My two kids who makes a lot of time to say thank you, and genuine smiles and kisses when I see them everyday makes me smile.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is that I still have a big purpose here on earth. That having a positive outlook in life I can make something good to every person that I meet on a daily basis. Weather how simple it may be to others, but have a big impact on myself, because, as you count your blessings, many more blessing will come!
    What is your deepest fear? My deepest fear is not accomplishing my purpose in life and that God already take my life away.

    What is your greatest dream for your life?My greatest dream of my life is to have a business that I can support the needs of my kids and my family, and later on will sustain and help more people.

    Who are you? I am a Single Mom, with 2 loving kids, with 2 supporting brothers who work hand in hand with me in raising my kids together with my beautiful and loving mom and with good relatives and friends and having a good boss at my present job.And I thank God will give me more blessings to help more people.

  • Hi I am Joanne.

    Where do you live now? I am a Filipino and living in the Philippines.

    What makes you smile? My two kids who makes a lot of time to say thank you, and genuine smiles and kisses when I see them everyday makes me smile.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is that I still have a big purpose here on earth. That having a positive outlook in life I can make something good to every person that I meet on a daily basis. Weather how simple it may be to others, but have a big impact on myself, because, as you count your blessings, many more blessing will come!

    What is your deepest fear? My deepest fear is not accomplishing my purpose in life and that God already take my life away.

    What is your greatest dream for your life? My greatest dream of my life is to have a business that I can support the needs of my kids and my family, and later on will sustain and help more people.

    Who are you? I am a Single Mom, with 2 loving kids, with 2 supporting brothers who work hand in hand with me in raising my kids together with my beautiful and loving mom and with good relatives and friends and having a good boss at my present job.And I thank God and hope he will give me more blessings to help more people.

  • Catherine M - I hope everyone reads your message about the courage to re-create. This is what I’ve written about in my books, being willing to say it’s never too late and any breakdown or challenge we can recover from if we are willing to evolve from it. Your story shared reminds me of caterpillars becoming butterflies, and some of us have to do that a few times in this life. Thank you for sharing. B x

    Diana - When I read your story and then read your dream, it felt to me like you already live your dream and I’m energised reading what you wrote. Having published 2 books I know what a mammoth effort it is to go through that process, the love poured into a book and the logistics to make it happen, so props to you for your amazing work! And another synchronicity, I adore horses and would love nothing more than to ride every day! Thank you for sharing… it has lifted me up.

    Yahya - great idea you offered with “How are you living?” as an alternative question! Thanks for sharing.

    Amandah - Awesome rocking attitude. Talk about energy… I can tell no matter what you do you’re gonna grab life by the horns. Go you!

    Jim - Thank you for sharing. Your words are very wise, each moment being subject to change, nothing is ever set in concrete. Learn that lesson the hard way myself, not to attach to outcomes and to stay present and allowing. :)

    Susan - I’m nodding reading your story. Particularly the age old saying money can’t buy happiness.

    Judy - Thanks for telling us all about the advice your mother gave you. No one thrives alone in this world, and I’m nodding along to what your mother said, we all need each other, our connections are our access point to thriving. And… I agree: you are awesome!

    Eileen - Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for my health. It is something I can sometimes take for granted.

    Sammie - Owning our strengths and our weaknesses… powerful and not something everyone does. The more people like you who role model being open and embracing our humanness, the better this world will be. Thanks for being you.

  • Nana - I hope others read your message about the inner child emerging, it generates such a response within me. Let’s all embrace our inner child!

    Alissa - The way you describe your work says a lot to me “Help people to represent themselves”. I’m not kidding, I literally feel emotional reading that. Those people are blessed to have you in their lives.

    Millicent - Thanks for sharing. You remind us to leave our failures in the past and that carrying them with us into the present just steals the possibilities and love from the present.

    Donna - The “be the change” quote is one of my favourites too. I love your story and you resonate on so many levels for me. Funniest synchronicity about you want to go out on a limb to taste the sweet fruit - one of my books is about my journey to do just that and following my deepest calling, and it’s called “Going Out on a Limb”! Funny! :)

    Anoop - My husband would love your story, I will share it with him. We are always remembering to be the awareness, the watching presence behind the ego, and I laughed out loud while nodding in agreement when I read your message about the ego who says “I have no ego” in order to satisfy the go!! Hilarious and so true.

    James - Thank you for sharing about pushing to find the extremes. You remind me to continue to nudge the edges of my comfort zone.

    Aniyah - Mmm. I’m intrigued, I want to know how you got from France to Tennessee! You can email me on my website directly if you want to. B :)

  • I am Mandy. I was born in a suburb of Cleveland Ohio in a cookie-cutter development filled with kids my age to play with. I had a great memory-filled childhood there.

    I now live in Upstate New York, having moved here to get married to the man I am now divorced from. I love the small-town atmosphere here. It is a great place to raise children. Although I miss Cleveland, I have so many new friends here that mean the world to me. Now my heart calls two places home!

    Humor makes me smile. I love laughing along with friends and loved ones. That ability makes life worth living. Imagine how boring lunch break would be if we all sat there stoicly talking shop. I love happiness in others. I love how, even in hard times, those you love can make you smile. I love that I can make others smile as well.

    The most important lesson I have learned is that I really can do anything. I went through some trying times and was so very scared. When I got divorced, I worried myself sick about how I was going to cope with finances and child-rearing and home ownership all by myself. But I persevered. I sought out information, I asked for help, I dug in and plowed ahead. I am not going to pretend it was easy, but now that I look back, I am pretty sure I can overcome anything that comes my way.

    My biggest fear is losing someone I love, especially my children.

    My greatest dream is to live the best life I can. I want to enjoy each moment, make the best decisions, and not let life pass me by. If I reach the end of my life knowing that I did it justice, I will be happy.

    I am a great mother, a good friend, an honest and loyal person. I am grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life. I am excited to see what the future brings.

    I loved reading everyones stories here. I have read them all!!!

  • Anna V - Your message about no point in stressing reminds me of my dad always saying to me “Worry is wasted energy, things turn out the same whether you worry or not”. All the best for your graduation and travels ahead!

    Jenna - Thank you for sharing. My very best wishes to you.

    Neelam - Your final words made me say “yes, me too”. A soul here having an adventure in human life :)

    Maija - My husband and I are obsessed with consciousness and learning, we agree with you wholeheartedly about live and learn, we too treasure the ability to expand our minds and hearts as we journey along.

    Jemalou - Good luck with the cruise ship company. And… old couples walking hand in hand… totally inspiring to see long time love. I agree!

    Karina - Your shimmering expression is awesome :)

    Sondra - Random acts of kindness make me super happy too. Reminds me of the inherent good within all people that wants to come out, and sometimes it does… randomly!

    Jennifer - WOW that moment when the man walked passed and asked “Are you living with a full heart”. It’s like the opening scene from a movie. I can imagine how a moment like that would have profound impact on your life.

  • Hello everyone.

    I’am Aril M. From Brunei (maybe some might be wondering where Brunei is, its located in the south china sea,Malaysia is our nearest neighbouring country.)

    I was born and raise and still living in Brunei. It’s a developing country of which I never regret to be here.

    There are so many lessons in my life, be it good or bad that i appreciate. Because every day for me its a learning day. Although they’re many setbacks in my life, I always remind myself, it couldn’t be that bad and some might had even worst setbacks. For all I know, for as long as I am breathing and no matter how much it pain me, I am jst grateful to be alive and to live another day.

    My deepest fears are: I wouldnt be able to cope or comprehend death. Because death is permanent. Having such experience before, where I was invovled in motorcyle accident, that really opened my eyes…it scares me the most to know that I might not be able to see my parents/family/friends anymore..to do all those things that i’ve always wanted to do. Thank god, I survived.

    They are many reasons to smile for, especially when i took my time to indulge in those simple little pleasure i.e: to be able to hear my dad’s movement early in the morning which gives me comfort,to be able to help mom prepare the meals on the table even so when she nags a lot about many things, to be able to save 2 cats (which are now an amputatee - but they are super gorgeous), to be able to fund my siblings school fees and needs, to be able to help my grandmama with many simple things,to have my loved ones near me all the time,to be able to randomly pay for someone’s food and not let them know i did, to be able to proved to my high school teacher that i managed to go to university when she was so sure that i wouldnt had the chance to go there…i can go on but for sure many many things made my heart go jolly, even the slightest simple pleasures in life that we always miss looking at, they’ve been huge part of me.

    I’ve always dream to be philanthropist although i am not from a well off family, i am not that rich but to be able to help/share what i have to needy people is what i’ve always wanted to do…paying it forward.

    Have a great day every one…xoxoxo

  • Eugene - I love Singapore, such a neat place. Thank you for sharing. I loved your mention of happiness and sadness being impermanent, it reminds me of Eckhart Tolle’s work where he talks about happiness being a response to external and changeable things we respond to, and that inner peace is the unchangeable state we can hold no matter what goes on ‘out there’. Thank you for reminding me of this.

    Stephanie - I giggled about what makes you down right laugh out loud, and who knows… maybe one day a flower will! Thanks for sharing your story.

    Unathi - I love your name, it is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    Sandra H - A new puppy!!!! Eeek, how glorious. Enjoy those fun moments.

    Mary Lynn - I am laughing out loud about your friends way of responding to “What do you do”… “About what?” Ha ha, awesome! My best wishes to you for your health and for your move to the farmhouse in future. Sound divine.

    Karen K - Thanks for sharing, another reminder for me (amongst the many here on this page) that we are masters of our own happiness.

  • Hi, I’m Alisa.

    I was born in Metro Manila, Philippines, and am still currently residing in the Metro.

    I find that a lot of things make me smile — sometimes, even inappropriately, but my favorite things to smile about are: my cats, the sky, the smell and taste of coffee, breakfast food (at any time of the day), and words perfectly strung together, whether they form a congruent idea or not. :)

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is the value of being present, as in being exactly where I am, at that exact time that I am there. I’ve always lived inside my head, and recently, people, such as yourself (through this blog), have helped me realize that reality is so much better than the unfounded could be’s / should be’s I’ve always yearned for in the past.

    My deepest fear is not being of value to anyone else.

    My greatest dream is to share a part of myself with another person. One subdream of that dream is to write something that would mean something to other people or make a difference in their lives.

    I would like to answer the question “Who are you?” with a quote I’ve come to love: “Living is about learning as you go.” I am an eternal student of life; every day, I try my hardest to get up and show up, and make myself and the day count.

  • Michelle - I wouldn’t have thought of this before reading what you wrote… that some of the best things in life are the unplanned things. Thank you for triggering me to see this through sharing your story :)

    Cathy - What you say about living to your own truth and not to expectations of others is something I think so many people can relate to, and I am certainly super passionate about that! Thank you for sharing.

    Bob - Thanks for your message Bob. I have to hone in on the one thing that resonated most with me… divine occurrences. I feel so blessed and happy when I recognise a sign or synchronicity, it’s magic!

    Joey - Thank you for your story. Imagine by John Lennon… LOVE! Namaste.

    Karen - After reading your story and a few of the others here where kindness is mentioned, I feel much more aware of the joy we get from witnessing kindness in the smallest of acts in daily life. thank you.

    Robyn - I totally respect your open sharing and voice of what you see in the world and what disturbs you about that. It reminds me of what is most important in terms of health and sustainability in this world, to slow down and to simplify. Thank you. :)

    Alina - Thanks for sharing! I can feel your strong spirit within you when reading your story. B :)

    Vanessa - Loved your story. What you said about the beauty of everyone sharing here, how you feel touched by and connected to all these strangers sharing - I feel the same way. I do a lot of work around ‘energy’, and you triggered me to see clearly how we’ve created a wave of loving energy, of compassion and a genuine opening of space through this page where all of us have connected. One of the reasons I left my old corporate career and became a writer and coach was because I realised how powerful and healing words can be as a gift in this world. Such is the power of all these amazing people sharing their words authentically here. Loved your wisdom “you can’t outrun your problems” Too true!! Blessings. B x

  • Hi I’m James and I’m 36 years old.
    I was born in Pasig City, Philippines at a hospital near my house.

    I still live there in Pasig. But I also live in Makati during the weekdays since it’s much closer to work.

    A lot of things make me smile, but nothing makes me smile more than listening to some really good music. I love classical music as well all other types of music.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    I’ve learned that fear is illusion and happiness is a choice. We either let others control us, or we control ourselves. We have to be more independent, yet generous in all things.

    What is your deepest fear?
    My deepest fear is that I’ll lose my focus and center and drive in life.

    What is your greatest dream for your life?
    My greatest dream is to be a big positive influence to lots and lots of people. I want to leave something that people will remember me by, 100, 200, thousands of years from now.

    Who are you?
    I am a humbled person formerly super arrogant, until life events taught me a lesson. But the lessons didn’t break me, instead they taught me gratefulness, responsibility and love.

  • Kim - Oh, you totally made me realise how much I love road trips too! The open road, wind whistling through the window. Ahhh. Thanks for sharing :0

    Nithin - Wow, “using self as a reference point”, that really triggered my thought processes. It resonates deeply. Thank you.

    Jay - I totally want to know what a dog going a helicopter with its head looks like!! You have me intrigued. My dog does lots of crazy moves but this sounds too funny not to ask! Thank you for sharing about challenging ourselves to take chances, I believe life begins at the end of our comfort zone and while its uncomfortable I finally feel fully alive!

    Cherie - Thanks for sharing. Courage makes me smile too. B :)

    Lucinda - I have visions of you sitting in your Nana’s caravan, it sounds like such a lovely place and a wonderful tradition to have done it for so many years. I really enjoyed reading your story. Thank you. Best wishes for wherever you travel abroad next to get your fix!

    Fiona - Thank you for sharing about chemical sensitivity. More and more this has been on my mind, consciously cutting out processed food and with balance, eating as much food that comes straight from nature. I’m not super focused on it, but do my best to rebalance my diet at the moment. Thanks Fiona :)

  • Hello everyone. Name’s Sharon. Born and still living in Sarawak, Malaysia.

    What makes me smile to see the happiness glow in people’s eyes when I do something good to them

    The most important life lesson I have learned so far is to love myself more than others even though I love helping out and wears my heart on my sleeves but I deserve to be loved as well.

    Deepest fear would be being alone for the rest of my life.

    My greatest dream is to be a well known dancer, artist and to do things I love everyday without worrying about financial burden. Be there for the ones who need me especially my family and my loved ones.

    I am a daughter, a lady looking for true love in process. Has a passion towards artsy area in many ways.

  • Kathryn V - The message from your friend, about your presence in her life… I don’t even know what to say. How beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Rich - About learning valuable lessons through the most trying of times… I hear ya! I believe it’s about breakdowns to get to breakthroughs. Thanks for sharing your story Rich :)

    Marcy - “Make your life your own” That’s a quotable quote! Really resonates. Thanks for contributing your message.

    Jag - Your life lesson #1 about choices rings very true for me. Thanks for sharing! B :)

    Wenkai - Hello from New Zealand to New Zealand! I love your message in your story … don’t think too much just enjoy the ride! YES :)

    Delina - You are more than welcome to put the link on your website and thanks for sharing the blog with others so we can continue to spread the opportunity to sharing stories of who we really are.

    Salsa - Great words, stand for what you want and DO IT! Brill :)

    Tamerie - A very dear friend of mine was living in Coronado for many years, I’ve only seen photos but looks amazing. Thank you for sharing your story so openly and my heart feels deeply for you with losing your brothers. I honour the survivor that you are. Blessings. B x

    Donna Sue - Awesome Thoreau quote that I haven’t read before. Thanks for sharing it with everyone here.

    Joanne - Your message about still having a purpose here on this earth reminds me of something I heard years ago that always sticks with me. I can’t remember where I heard it but it is something like ‘if your heart is still beating, you’re not done yet’ and I always feel like this means that are very being here is our purpose and while we may never know how we touch the lives of others or what our contribution will mean in the future when we’re gone, the fact we are here is evidence we still have things to do and lives to contribute to. Blessings and thanks for reminding me of this.

    Mandy - I can feel your strength in your story, you are courageous and I love your insight from those challenges that you really can do anything. Thank you for sharing.

    Aril - The simplest of things, to be grateful for being alive. Yes, thank you for saying that. A lady at a cafe I visited last month was smiling brightly and I asked why she was so happy and she said “Because this morning I woke up and my heart was beating strong and the sun was shining” and I thought, YES it’s as simple as that! Beautiful.

    Alisa - “Get up and show up” - I will carry this little message with me as one of my favourites. Blessings to you. B :)

    James - Fear is an illusion and love is real. Thank you for reminding us all and for sharing your story.

  • I have spent a day reading and replying to all these amazing stories here and my cup feels filled up with love!!

    I just wanted to say to Angel and Marc, thank you so much. Thank you for this wonderful site, for all that you do to bring light into the lives of others and I think everyone that follows you will agree that the world is a better place for it.

    You are a wealth of wisdom and this quote from you is now one of my favourites… “Good things fall apart so that better things can fall together”.

    Blessings to you!
    Bernadette x

  • ◾Where were you born?
    I was born in a Hospital, later known as Fort Defiance Hospital in Arizona USA.

    ◾Where do you live now?
    I live amongst the many dignified people I love most, the Navajo. In Arizona, on the Navajo Tribal Reservation.

    ◾What makes you smile?
    First and foremost, silly antics of my growing nature involving my two children, their impeccable humor elicits mine and brings a smile to my face; next is beautiful pictures in my mind when I pray and meditate.

    ◾What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    Keep in mind my retirement capabilities and reach my goals of being the best person I can be.

    ◾What is your deepest fear?
    My deepest fear is not being able to let my family know how I feel and how much I love them.

    ◾What is your greatest dream for your life?
    My greatest dream for my life consists of learning the unknown, each and every day, to endure and persevere to the utmost challenges in life. To see my children become the best they can be.

    ◾Who are you?
    I am a reservation girl with a big heart!

  • I was born in San Jose, California. After moving to multiple states and overseas since 2000, I call Seattle, Washington home.

    My wife and children make me smile. A wonderful hike in the forest makes me smile. A glorious sunset and sunrise make me smile. Completing simple tasks to challenging projects make me smile.

    The most important lesson I’ve learned in life is to not wait for the opportunity, but make the opportunity. Don’t sit and keep hoping life will start. You have to make it happen today.

    My deepest fear is that I didn’t live enough. Every day is precious and should be lived wonderfully. This means to laugh loudly, take challenges head on, hug hard, talk to your family and friends and listen, and to not fear what you don’t know.

    My dream is to always learn, continue to question, and to pass this passion to my children so that they may find their own path in life, just as I have.

    I am Brett and life is good.

  • I go to this amazing site every morning to start my day. I don’t often add anything but after reading so many stories from people around the world, which made me smile, I decided I should add to the growing group.

    Where were you born?
    I was born in London, UK in the early 1950’s
    Where do you live now? I now live in Portsmouth, Hampshire. A naval port with a rich history and I love being by the sea.

    What makes you smile?
    Many things make me smile..when I allow them to! I smile when I see people happy, I smile when I see my daughters together as best friends, I smile when I look at my little dog, even though he wakes me up at 0430! I smile when I write about my life. I have learnt that I can find reasons to smile (even for a moment) during the darkest times in my life.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    I am always learning new important lessons (even at the age of 60) but the enduring ones are (1) That I cannot change other people, I can only change how I respond to them and (2) that I have to be the change I want to see in the world (behaviours mean more than words)

    What is your deepest fear?
    I am not sure about my deepest fear. Of course dying before I become a grandmother is one, but I know that may not be my deepest…so as I write these words the fear comes to me…that I won’t have the courage to find the peace that eludes me..because I get trapped into continuing to hold onto working to be ‘a known person’ and earn money ‘to be able to buy nice things’ when I know that is not where peace for me lies now. Peace is when I am creating, meditating, living…

    What is your greatest dream for your life?
    Now that is easy…after writing the above, it is to reassure the frightened needy child in me that I can let go of being someone with the ‘right’ things…and find my peace..and see who I am.

    Who are you?
    Well…at the moment I am a traveller/discoverer within my own soul…I am finding and letting go of the ‘bags’ that hold my spirit down from flying…
    I am also a mother, sister, daughter, student, lover, volunteer, writer….but I wonder how I will answer this next year!

    Thank you all for sharing!

  • I was second born out of 5, only girl, in Gretna, LA raised way down South in Plaquimines Parish. I now reside in Mississippi.

    I smile at my children’s giggles, silly stories and all their accomplishments big or small.

    I have many great life lessons. An old preacher once told me “Don’t ever say never, or you probably will.” Those words have proven to be true in my life over and over, therefore I stopped saying never! My Mother was brutally murdered at the age if 41 and two years later my 15 year old Brother was killed by a hit and run driver. I learned pretty early on from this that justice is not always earthly, God doesn’t necessarily want you to know everything and the most important…. Always choose your words carefully that you will speak whether to a stranger, loved one or friend. It could be the very last words you speak or the last words that person will ever hear. Thankfully, I had nice last memories with my loved ones, but I know people that likely regret theirs. A smile can change a life and you certainly never know what the lady in the grocery line or the driver speeding down the highway is going through. Always try to be kind and it really is better to not say anything if you have nothing good to say at all!

    My deepest fear is loosing a child. My 13 year old Son has refractory Epilepsy, I fear for his life every single night.

    My deepest desire is that when the Father calls me home my children will have many happy memories of me and they will build on the foundation of Bibical Principles that I have taught them to their own children.

    I am Denise, wife to Brian (24 years), Home School Mother to six blessings ages 23, 21, 17, 13, 8 and 3. I am an avid researcher in many subjects and enjoy reading when life permits…

  • My name is Wangui. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya. I grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Nairobi, and I live in a small town near where I grew up now. I married my childhood sweetheart and I could not be happier!

    My little nephew makes me smile, my husband’s silly jokes, and cooking up all sorts of dishes is my joy! Spending time with my family also gives me unspeakable joy!

    I have learnt that life is life! It is not hard, easy, difficult, or any other labels we may place on it. Life is what we make it, what we fill it with, what we expect from it. Life is like an echo, it always gives back what it is given, so give it your best!
    My deepest fear is the obstacles I face and will continue to face as I strive to be true to myself, to live my dream and to be fearless in embracing life!

    My greatest dream is to give back, enrich people’s lives, even if it is with just a smile or a hug. I dream of a world with less suffering and want, because someone took the time to be human to their fellow men! I want to give as much as I can to anyone who needs it.

    I am a thinker, I contemplate everything and I love to weigh my options. I am a teacher and learner of life and love. I am a daughter, sister, wife and aunt, all roles that I carry with pride and love. I express my love freely and I am not afraid to be different. I am dependable, reliable, and curious about how people perceive life. I love my life and I look forward to embracing each new day with appreciation, courage and love!

  • My name is Arzu.

    I was born in NJ and still live here.

    My family and friends’ babies make me smile, as do some of my favorite TV shows. My boyfriend makes me smile as well.

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned is that everyone wants to be loved and accepted. Therefore, I try to treat everyone kindly.

    My deepest fear is not being able to travel.

    My greatest dream is to travel the world.

    I’m a girl just trying to find her way in this beautiful world.

  • My name is Irina. I was born in Bucharest, Romania and have lived here most of my life.

    I smile often, mostly when I’ve accomplished something that moves me. What also makes me smile greatly is innocence and kindness in people, like people on the street smiling without obvious reason. And on some days even the sun makes me smile :)

    I fear myself, not having the strength of becoming better. I fear giving up and failing myself. I fear disappointing others and being left out, having no friends. I fear having to make choices and choosing wrong. Sometimes I also fear people and social interactions as much as I want and need them to be happy.

    The biggest lesson learned - to ask for help and not see vulnerability as a weakness but a strength. To show my true self and accept who I am without asking others to accept me first. Both are lessons I’m still learning and I think I will be learning all my life.

    When you ask me my biggest dreams and who I am, I’m always without an answer. I can define myself through my job but I’m always discontent because that’s not all that I am. I could say I am a trainer, a writer, a singer… I do this and that, but I never feel it’s me I’m talking about. I’ve changed my life so much the last 2 years, and I’ve learned I’m much more than meets the eye.

    I’m an introvert, silent observer of others and small moments and gestures. I’m a foodie trying to switch to raw vegan. I’m a sister and a daughter, a friend to others and my biggest critic. I’m an artist - singer, dancer at heart, painter and hand made accessories creator. I’m a writer and a trainer, a traveler and a nomad at heart. I am kind and passionate, a perfectionist, a growing woman.

    thank you for this wonderfull article which made me smile and cry,which spoke directly to my heart.

  • Hey there Bernadette, you give off energy that feels caring and fun. I bet you are the nurturing friend that REALLY shows up ready to help. Bless you.

  • My name is Dallas, I was born in Houston, TX and I still live here.

    Seeing my family and friends happy makes me smile. Seeing the joy in their eyes makes me happy.

    The most important life lesson I have learned so far is that life is short. My father was killed on Christmas eve 2012. He was taken too soon and had so much left he wanted to accomplish. That pushes me to follow my dreams and live everyday with out regret.

    My deepest fear is failure. Failing in my life scares me the most, but I also know failing at something is a lesson learned and to keep trying until I get it right. You have to keep pushing and staying positive.

    My greatest dream is having a family of my own one day. To have little ones running around my house with my husband chasing them around. And to be able to follow my career dreams as well.

    I yam what I yam, take me or leave me.

  • I’m actually pretty afraid to do this.

    For a very silly reason–I’m afraid the person who told me about this site will figure out who I am considering how important they were, and still are to me. Despite my illogical fear…I’m going through with this because I think it’ll be therapeutic for me.

    I was born on the Eastern Shore of Cambridge, Maryland. Currently I live closer to the Washington, D.C area where I grew up most of my life, but I’m transition of moving to either New York or California.

    What makes me smile? The laughter of children, their curiosity and boldness to discover things–how they wear their naievity so proudly because everything is so new to them.

    Cooking for people, especially people that I love.

    That moment when you look in someone’s eyes and you know that they love you for how you are, exactly how you are, at that very moment. That feeling of warmth when they hold your hand on breezy day.

    When I show people my art, and seeing the joy they have from experiencing it. I’m very hard on myself about what I create but I put my all into every illustration, every storyboard that I create.

    French movies from the 60’s make me smile a lot too. I think that Agnes Varda’s work influenced a lot of French filmmakers in the 60’s and there was a huge explosion of cinematic greatness during that time. I’m an 80’s kid but that period of film resonates with me a lot.

    Catherine Deneuve.

    Charlize Theron.

    I’m also bias to a lot of 80’s film as well. Fall Fashion, and beautiful women confidently wearing that kind of clothing makes me smile.

    I love Soho.

    One of the most important life lessons that I’ve learned (still learning) is that despite how incredibly flaw I am as a person–or how flawed anyone is..we all deserve a chance (or two) at a good life. To understand our worth, to be confident in the shoes we’re in and that its ok if not everyone understands us, loves us, or understands our goals. That even though some people may misunderstand you and judge you for things that aren’t relevant to who you are…we’re all wonderful people in some way and we should be willing to see people for who they really are, not just what society makes us feel we should be.

    My deepest fears are not meeting my goals, being stuck in a job that I currently despise, and feeling as if I’m not good enough to be loved, to be trapped in a life where I’m not happy.

    While I’m making an effort to move toward my goals it’s taken a little longer than expected–other people I know seem to be moving “faster” and at times it cripples me with doubts and fear but I fight against it constantly with positivity and production. Most people have no idea how I feel inside regarding my own worth and how much I fight with it.

    Someone came/left into my life a few years ago and they made such an incredible impact that the things I learned from them, the way they approached life actually helped shaped me into who I am today. I still have flaws, I still get jealous over men who look even remotely like Ryan Gosling because I feel they have an E-Z Pass to acceptance, love, and success but I know that I’m incredible person, and that the few that see the value in me are worth more than I can imagine.

    My greatest dream in life, would be that my original work reaches the masses in a way that allows me the creative freedom to tell a story that only I can tell, collaborating with companies/studios that look up to, creating the project that I’ve had in my head for over 7 years.

    I kinda hope Tumblr falls in love with it as well :p.

    I’m a big kid trapped in an adult’s body whose youthfulness permeates everything I do with my art, my personality, and how I view things in life. I’m a guy who loves making people laugh with my off-beat jokes and personal vernacular. I’ve been told I could be a comedian. Maybe if I have enough drinks I’ll give it a shot.

    I’m a creative through and through. I love art, music, and fashion to almost an obscene amount (supposedly from a guy’s perspective). I can only that at some point in my life I can have someone to share my success with, and all of the wonderful things I can potentially offer to someone by just being me.

    I’m someone who’s trying to enjoy his life the best way he can.

    (For the record, reading almost everyone’s responses encouraged me to make this post. Thank you so much!)

  • Hello everyone, my name is katlin ( said cat-linn)

    I was born in a city called mission in B.C Canada
    I now live just a short drive from there in Langley.

    The things that make me smile most are random acts of kindness, weather it be totally strangers helping total strangers or friends helping friends. It reminds me that the world is a beautiful place.

    The most important life lesson I have learned so far is that no matter how rough your day is going or going to get, it always makes it easier with friends and a smile.

    I would have to say that my deepest fear is to fail, I know it has to happen to get where I need to be. But it doesn’t make it any easier :P

    My greatest dream is to live life to the fullest, not waste chances and never look at something and say I “wish I tried that” I don’t need to make all the money in the world, just so long as I enjoy what I’m doing and it puts food on the table.

    Who am I? I am a friend, a good person, loyal, and trusting. I am active and don’t enjoy sitting my couch, unless it’s to read a book ;) but most of all I am myself, never to be altered by someone else’s opinion.

  • Hello, I’m Laura, from London, Canada (not England).

    I grew up in Canada, but 3000 miles away on the West Coast in Vancouver. I moved across the country in early high school, when I was faced with a great deal of bullying and three school changes in under three years. This has made it very difficult for me to abandon roots that I lay down in a city. Part of this is the reason I currently commute every week between London and Toronto (2.5 hours) in order to maintain what I jokingly call my double life.

    I just received my undergraduate degree in Theatre and English, and am currently enrolled in Law school. However, I am also a dancer. Every weekend I spend in Toronto with my wonderful Brazilian Zouk team (a kind of Brazilian partner dance - look up Kadu and Larissa on Youtube if you are interested) teaching, training and performing.

    I’ve been lucky enough to also run a not-for-profit student salsa team in London. It’s safe to say dance dominates a large part of my life, despite starting into it quite late.

    It has also become my dream. I’m lucky enough to attend dance congresses around the world (next week: Poland and Amsterdam) and to write my own blog about the more intellectual components of partner dance. I want to eventually open a private practice law firm which will allow me to use the second floor as a not-for-profit dance studio for groups and socials that can’t afford big city studio rental rates.

    I fear not being able to balance my career and my dance. Family and friends in this balance I don’t fear, since both my significant other and most of my friends are dancers, and my family is very small… there is always time for them. But, the last person I want to become is the individual who misses all the passion in the world by being in an office and chasing only financial stability and a promotion.

  • Born in Latvia, still here now and I don’t think I could ever truly want to live anywhere else. Spending time between dorms, my parents’ house in my hometown and my grandparents’ home by the sea.

    The knit socks my mom gives me every year for my birthday make me smile. Drinking camomile tea and eating bread with my grandma’s plum jam makes me smile. So do late night phone calls from my accidental best friend (though he always wakes me up). It’s the little things, that’s what I’m trying to say.

    The greatest life lesson? Forgiveness. Forgiving both myself and others. It helped me find peace.

    I fear being unlovable. I still struggle a lot with my warped sense of self-worth and still often think that I’m unworthy of love.

    My biggest dream? Living life with a meaning and ending up happy, peaceful and surrounded by people that care about me.

    I don’t know who I am yet but I’m damn close to figuring it out.

  • Sharon - Thank you for sharing your story from Malaysia. Blessings :)

    Betsy - I just want to say that I felt emotion welling up inside me reading your story. Even though we are strangers, I send you hugs and all the love in the world. Bx

    Jenn - Your story fascinated me and I love that the images in your meditations and prayers bring smiles and joy for you, I feel the same way about what I see in my meditations. Thank you for sharing!

    Brett - YES! I love your “Make the opportunity” message. Awesome

    Sue - Wow, the fear and the dream you wrote about hit home for me, as I spent a long time trying to reassure my inner frightened child by getting the right things and doing the right things, and those things never bring us what we need. Just like you say, it’s in the letting go and finding inner peace that the reassurance comes. Thank you so much. I really felt what you meant in those words.

    Denise - The life lessons you’ve shared are so powerful, I really take those onboard for myself. Thank you. B

    Wangui - I think I’ll have to quote you on this one “Life is not all the labels we place on it”… amazo! Thank you.

    Arzu - May your dreams come true as you travel to the places that call to you the most. Thank you for sharing!

    Irina - Totally resonate with what you said about vulnerability is a strength not a weakness. Not sure if you’ve read the book by Dr Brene Brown… Daring Greatly? It’s AMAZING, about how the courage to be vulnerable can transform our lives. Thanks for sharing. B :)

    Hey Stephanie - thanks for your feedback and kind words. Bx

    Dallas - Thank you so much for sharing your words, fears and dreams. Blessings. B

    Mr Baseball - Awesome to read your story. I resonated particularly with your wisdom about how not everyone will understand us and that’s okay. I used to get so caught up in thinking everyone had to understand or “get” me but it doesn’t work that way. A good life lesson to share with others, so thank you.

    Kat - I love your words … “I am myself, never to be altered by someone else’s opinion”

    Laura - Inspiring story, that you are loving and living your passion with dancing. I think many people will read your story and gain inspiration from it. Thank you!

  • Bernadette :

    Thank you again so much for posting this and making us all “think” about who we really are, our passions, our dreams, our hurts. Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge almost all of our responses. It is through sharing that we can grow as individuals and as a society. I have been coming back on here throughout this week for everyones best advice. I find this place as as a constant source of healing for me. It is a breath of fresh air every time I see a Marc and Angel update in my email box. And yes, I am a huge planner. But I mean it when I said that. There is one person in life who has truly tought me that THE BEST THINGS in life are those not planned. :)

  • When I was four years old, my parents emigrated to Canada and then on to the United States a few years later. I spent my elementary and high school years in the Chicago area. After high school I lived in Germany again for 2 years, and then moved to the beautiful state of Colorado and have been here ever since.

    The things that make me smile are animals, flowers, beautiful music, and ice cream!

    The most important lesson I’ve learned is to be content with what I have. Inner joy and contentment can never be taken away from you.

    My deepest fear is losing my husband of over 40 years. My husband is my rock and my best friend. As we get older, it is inevitable that one of us will have to leave the other behind, and I dread that day!

    My greatest dream would be for my husband and I to take a marvelous, over-the-top family vacation to DisneyWorld with our two sons, their wives and our six grandsons. It would be so wonderful to see them all having fun and laughing and relaxing.

    Who am I? I am an old woman with a heart overflowing with love, although I am seldom given the opportunity to express it.
    My family was everything to me but they have all moved on and I am just an afterthought to them, as they climb the corporate ladder, fill their McMansions with stuff, and are constantly on the go.

  • I was the only child born to a 29 year old mother, and 36 year old father (who had 2 children from a previous marriage) in Brookline MA, who supposedly was impossible to be conceived.. My mother prayed for 6 years for a child of her own and throughout her eventual pregnancy, was told by the doctors that it was a hysterical pregnancy. It was for that reason, I was named Christine Faith (Christian Faith).

    I currently live in the tiniest state, Rhode Island. You can drive anywhere in this state in a hour or less, yet I am ashamed to say that I haven’t seen everything this state offers despite living here nearly 30 years.

    My 2 yr old granddaughter is what makes me smile.. how she calls me her best friend, how she rubs my back when I groan with pain, how she kisses my forehead, my cheeks, and throws her little arms around my neck while she sings, “I love you, a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck”. She always makes me smile.

    Life’s most important lessons… You can tell the true character of a person by how they treat babies, animals, and their mother.. Also, true beauty comes from the soul, not from the skin we are in. I also have to say that I learned that one must live every day like it’s their last because of several close calls.. Remember to say I love you, compliment a job well done, encourage those who need it, help those less fortunate; Never ever stay angry, forgive even if it’s hard, apologize even if it is against your nature, because you may never get the chance to correct wrongs.

    My deepest fear is that my loved ones will not be “saved”, despite my best efforts.. I pray that we spend eternity in heaven together.

    The greatest dream of my life is to see all my grandchildren live to their full potential and to change this world for the better. My life is almost over, I haven’t accomplished much that I had planned to accomplish, I can only hope that my children and grandchildren learn from my mistakes.

    I’m a born again child of God, a mother and grandmother owned by a 6 month old Golden Retriever named Sadie who delights me on a daily basis, someone who loves to read, play games that exercise my mind, who enjoys seeing the leaves turn color in fall, the first snowflakes turning the landscape into a shimmering scene, and who can find beauty in everything that our great God has created.

  • Just thought I would share something a friend shared with me. There are no failures in life, only feedback.

    I am Diana, born in Wyoming, moved to Colorado, graduated from high school, moved back to Wyoming, then back to Colorado. Graduated from Colorado State and moved to Oregon for three months before returning to Colorado. Wish to retire in Wyoming.

    My husband is a fun and funny person. I love his smile and that makes me smile.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? When my mother died my brother commented that she lived until she died. I think that is the way to be.

    What is your deepest fear? That I will die not having been that best that I could have been.

    What is your greatest dream for your life? That I can make this planet a safer place for animals through habitat restoration, spaying and neutering pets, and finding homes for homeless pets. Also getting perverts off the streets and into jails so that our children will be safe as well.

    Who are you? Don’t know yet. Still creating myself. :)

  • Born and raised in sunny Hollywood California, it was a love hate relationship. After 27 years, I packed up and drove to the wonderful Denver Colorado. Thats when I feel my life really started and landed me where I am today. Hanoi, Vietnam.

    Realizing that the goals I set for myself 5 years ago have all been met puts such a huge smile on my face. Most of the goals have been reached in the past year alone. It makes me so proud of how far I have come. But the even bigger smiles are the FaceTime chats to the other side of the world. Living 8,000 miles away from home can be hard, but still being able to see the faces of loved ones warms my heart.

    The most important lesson I have learned in life, is that courage holds the key to life. Life is short and full of flips and unpredictable turns. You need to roll with it and realize that every moment in your life, good or bad, has lead you to where you are today. At the age of 19, I lost my mother to cancer. At 23 I beat cancer, and at 24 I sent out “erase the dates.” I can still find the silver lining to each misfortune.

    My deepest fear, as silly as this sounds, is setting new goals for myself. This past year of my life changed so quickly that I find myself scared of whats happening next. I had dreams to travel the world, and was offered a job as a international trainer with a company I love and have worked with for 7 years. Hearing the list of countries they want to locate to next is scary. It’s not just a week at a time, but 6 months to a year. How do you find love on the road?

    My greatest dream in life is to have lived a life my children want to hear all about. To have amazing stories and adventures to share with my loved ones. Boxes of photos, treasures, and love notes from my life for them marvel and ask about.

    I am Jaclyn, who took my life into my own control and made my dreams come true. Excited about where I am headed next.

  • I love this blog, it is inspiring and motivating and this one was just what I needed to see today. To think about. Thank you Marc and Angel for this blog, thank you Bernadette for your amazing post.

    Forty-four years ago I was born in West Islip, NY, which is located on the south shore of Long Island.

    I live in the desert of Las Vegas, NV under a very, very big sky and I am grateful every day to be here. This is where I belong now.

    What makes me smile? Laughter. Cats, dogs, chipmunks. The sky, the ever-changing clouds in the big desert sky. The sunrise, the sunset. A glass of wine and conversation with a friend. Love, feeling it or seeing it expressed between others. The stars. The moon. My coffee and contemplation time in the morning. My morning routine of writing in my gratitude journal and happy journals. Dancing. Singing. Feeling gratitude. Anticipation. Experiencing nature. Climbing up and looking down, because I conquered a fear. The pictures my sister sends me of my niece. Meditating.

    My greatest life lessons:
    One: That every thought I think is an affirmation and that my thoughts, these affirmations, create the life I am experiencing. If I am not happy with what I am getting, it is up to me to change what I’m affirming, thinking, and creating. That I have the power to do so.
    Two: There are no mistakes, only lessons. I look for the lessons, not the failures. Sometimes it takes a little time to get there, but now I know to look for the lessons and let go of the rest.
    Three: To be grateful for everything.

    My greatest fears:
    I have had many fears. Fear of failure. Fear of heights. Fear of flying. Fear of being wrong. Fear of looking or sounding stupid. They held me back. I often said “Oh no I can’t, I’m afraid of…” and then it hit me… One day, I will reach the end of my life and I am choosing now what that will be like. A mountain of regrets because I was “too afraid” or a a lifetime of amazing memories because I challenged my fears, even if slowly and in baby steps at times. Now I fly if I want to go somewhere. I rock climb. I speak up and say what I think. I say yes and I do things. Even if I look silly. Even if I’m scared. I am living now. My biggest fear is to regret the things I did not do and to leave this life un-lived.
    Affirmation: I have no fear, I only have love.

    My dreams:
    To make a difference, to travel, to see the world, to learn, to find and fulfill my unique purpose, to empower other people find and fulfill their own, and to have a partner to enjoy and appreciate it all with.

    I am Evolving. Every day, in every way, I grow, I learn, I experience, and I share it with anyone that wants to learn as well. I am both eternal and temporary and here to learn something in this lifetime.

  • Good morning,
    I didn’t even read the entire story and I’m already wanting to comment. The question itself has been on my mind for days. Simply said, my story is a collection of stories of my own personal encounters combined with those stories of other people. Every single person has shaped my personal story and vice versa.

    These days, my stories are becoming richer because of the amount of people that want to share their stories to me. Every day, I make it a point to spend one-on-one time with someone different and listen to them without interjecting with my story unless asked.

    Try it out, it’s really interesting. People love to talk about themselves and you can gather a lot from just listening. I’ve been writing about these experiences the past year and am working with writers to turn these notes and stories into a blog or book.

    Cheers :)

  • My name is Jacqueline. I was named after the first lady Jacqueline Kennedy by my father who thought she was the most elegant woman he had ever seen since coming to America.

    I write, I write to breathe. Then, I get scared and stop writing for long periods of time, but the stories never seem to leave me head.

    I love all types of people, music and cultures, it’s like living in a flower garden, all sorts of beautiful, thorny and strange flowers all together in one garden.

    My biggest fear is fear itself. I call it moody or procastation, but in reality it’s just fear by another name.

    My biggest hope is that I’ll get the courageous to kick fear out of my life for good.

  • Woow!! tough Qs…

    My name is Nancy.. I was born in Syria. Now, I live in Gaza, Palestine.

    What makes me smile is seeing sth odd like someone doing something spontaneously in a place that can best be discribed as “stiff”!

    The best lesson I have learned is that Home is not where you “are”, it is where you can “be” yourself.

    My greatest dream is to be free, and be myself. I don’t wanna be married coz society wants so. I want to stay single, live my way, spend the rest of my life travelling and helping people the best way I can. i want to help transforming this world.

    My deepest fear is to end up losing all that I have while trying to fulfill that dream, and Not make it come true. I am afraid to end up seeing a different ‘me’ in the mirror…

    who am I ?
    Still searching… ;)

  • B - Thanks for sharing. “B” is my nickname as well. I enjoyed your story. Blessings to you.

    Michelle - Thanks for taking the time to share your kind words and feedback! x

    Birgit - I enjoyed your story and it was nice reading that you are in Colorado… I feel more and more that it is a place I want to visit.

    Christine - Amazing how you came to be named, thank you for sharing that. And, Sadie sounds gorgeous, how much joy our puppies bring into our lives! :)

    Diana - I really love the words “There are no failures, only feedback”. Brilliant! I have a funny little thing I say, that there is no failure in my life, only “Pending success”.

    Jaclyn -I’m inspired reading your post, living your dreams, being courageous… very best wishes for wherever you flow next in your life.

    Nicola - Reading your “what makes me smile” list is like reading my own!! I was smiling reading your list because those are all my favourites too! Awesome. I love the feeling of courage in your story, of living consciously and walking through fear so you can experience all of life. Blessings. B :)

    Jenn - Good luck with your blog/book! Sounds brilliant.

    Jacqui - It was lovely to read your story. Thank you for sharing it. :)

    Nancy B - Thanks for sharing your message and my best wishes to you.

    Have a wonderful weekend to everyone, wherever you are in the world, whatever you are doing. May the sun shine upon you! Today it is raining heavily where I am in New Zealand, but I still feel like the sun is shining (just above the clouds!). Much love, Bernadette x

  • Oh wow. Great topic. Hearing all of your stories and finding out what makes people tick are my favorite things about writing.

    My name is Melissa and I’m a music journalist contributor at Huffington Post and HuffPo Live. I’m also a screenwriter aspiring to be produced and play with the big boys eventually.

    I was born and lived most of my life on the Alabama Gulf Coast in America, and recently made a cross-country move to the California Bay Area.

    What makes me smile and in-the-gut happy is meeting new and interesting people and learning how they came to be who they are. Character development is a total joy for me with screenwriting.

    The best lesson I’ve learned so far is that no matter how bad things are good always comes around again.

    My biggest fear is failure, but I’m determined to move forward and upward despite it.

    My biggest dream(s) for my life is to have my own successful online music magazine, and to see my scripts produced and on “the big screen.”

    I am a writer, heart and soul. It’s what centers me. I am a philosopher in a perpetual learning state. And I am truly grateful for the life I’ve lived so far. I’ll never regret it for being boring.

  • My name is Heather.
    I was born in a suburb of Toronto.
    I currently live in Orillia (1 city north of Toronto).
    My children make me smile :)
    My greatest dream is to be free and have peace, write a novel and paint an love o. A faraway island , with my two perfectly healthy children.
    My greatest fear is losing my children.
    The most important lesson to be is a bit of a best of ” to have joy of life and reason to be, to never sell yourself short and always remember that this too shall pass”.
    I am a mother, daughter, friend, and recently lost my lover to another, so most importantly I am a student and a learner and I am more resilient than I gave myself credit for <3
    Love all the messages, have read them all.
    Xoxo to all

  • I’m Julie
    - Born in the UK
    - Live in Auckland, NZ, which I love
    - Every day I get to wake up and go to sleep snuggling the love of my life - my soul mate, and that makes me smile
    - Most important life lesson - the realisation that there is more to life than climbing the career ladder, having 2.4 children, and retiring to the country!
    Deepest fear is that I cannot do anything to help my sister who is battling her own demons. I fear for her health, her life and how it impacts my niece and nephew
    I am dreaming of a live of travel, which starts November 2014! Exciting, scary and exhilarating all at the same time. And I can’t wait.

  • My name is Benito. I was born in The Netherlands. Now I lived in the Philippines where I do voluntary work with Gawad Kalinga. I’ve also lived in a small island in the Caribbean, in Germany, Switserland, England and a short period (2 months) in the US. Over the years, I’ve connected with many different places, cultures and people, and now the world has become my home. In the process, I’ve lost an identity reference that exists outside of me which often makes me feel lonely. But then I remember the many so dear and close friends I’ve made over the years from all over the world, and I remember how blessed I am with so many friends.

    What gives me profound joy and makes my heart smile is the play of children, and randomly witnessing an act of caring and of loving from one person to another.

    Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to be genuine and truthful at all times and never to elevate my individual interests over those of others. But I’ve also learned that these lessons are probably never-ending.

    My deepest fear is to delude myself in my understanding of reality. Not to understand correctly the way other people experience their life and world is my constant worry. I have to learn to be more at peace with my limited ability to understand, and be confident in my always trying my best.

    The greatest dream for my life is to contribute substantially to a world in which the vast majority of people have all the internal capabilities and external opportunities they need to pursue the fulfillment of their lives, rather than survival, conformity or security - and to bond with my soul mate.

    I am a complex, profound, mad and gifted young man on the path of fulfilling his life moment by moment, following the inexhaustible symphony of his heart and mind in harmony.

  • My name is Otis I was born in Bristol, but was raised and lived all my life so far in Weston-super-Mare.

    A lot of things make me smile, but I smile the most when I know I’ve improved myself. e.g. Passed my limits in the gym, Learned something new or Got past my anxieties and talked to that hot girl across the room.

    If you want a better life you have to put the effort in and make the change to make that better life a reality. And you have to start making those changes now!

    My deepest fear is getting to the top and realising I can’t keep up with the best.

    My dream is to travel. I want to be able to travel the world, see and experience new cultures, and just awe at everything life has to offer to the fullest without money being a restriction.

    To the world I’m an average guy from a small town, but if you ask me right now, I’m a explorer still on a course of self-discovery of who I truly am.

  • My name is Rae, and I’m only 14, but I really enjoy reading the articles on marcandangel, so I decided to comment. : )

    I was born in Sydney, Australia.

    I still live in Sydney and I always have. My family and I moved houses when I was five months old. I wish I had more memories of the townhouse.

    I smile when I see that sparkle in someone’s eyes when they look at the one they love.
    I smile when I see a clear blue sky, or a rainy day.
    I smile when I know I’m about to change someone’s life.
    I smile at random acts of kindness.
    I smile when I see others smile.

    The most important lesson I have ever learned in my 14 years is that life is short. I know it seems strange for me to say that; I haven’t even lived half my life yet. But already, there are things in my life that I regret so much, from that bad haircut I agreed to get last weekend, to those enemies I made that could’ve been turned to friends before it was too late.
    I feel like I have not a second to waste. Every moment is precious, every smile, every laugh, every good day is precious.

    My deepest fear is letting the world bully me into becoming something that I’m not, by becoming something that everyone else wants me to be. I pride myself on my individuality, and I don’t want to lose that. Ever.

    My greatest dream is to become a writer. I also want to indulge in some kind of work where I get to help people. I’d love to work for charities, even though it may not provide the best money. The smiles that you see on other people’s faces is rewarding enough for me. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re doing your part to make a real difference in someone’s life.

    I am not who I want to be at the moment. But I am making this promise to myself; that I won’t change for anyone, and I will do my best to smile every day no matter how I am feeling. I know I can do great things, I just have to step out and be me. No one else, just me.

  • I am in awe of all the heartfelt, inspiring honesty and truth that is written in these posts. I see great value in answering these questions for ourselves every year! Thank you to all for writing from ‘within’.

    Where was I born? I was born near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I grew up in stunningly beautiful Vancouver, BC and lived for years in the cold north of Timmins, Ontario, and the beauty of southwestern Ontario.

    Where do I live now? I now live in the desert of Tucson, AZ, and plan to move back to the fresh, green mountains and ocean of Vancouver next summer.

    What makes me smile? Worship music, joyful and lively music, birds singing, water (oceans and streams, fountains), connecting with my daughter (who lives in LA), time with family and cherished friends, quotes that inspire, the smiles of others, unbridled laughter and giggles, clever humor, natural beauty (of people and places), genuine kindness between people, sharing, gratitude. Encouragement. Exploring. Beauty.

    What is my biggest life lesson? At 53. To embrace the person God made me. That my dreams matter. To take ownership of creating my ’story’ and not be so afraid. To be an advocate for the ‘frightened inner child’ within. To be wary of toxic people. I had no idea such people exist, until I gave 10 years of my life to one, and learned that narcissists are not able to love others (only blame and control and be emotionally abusive). To be open and genuine and kind to all, but to be selective as to who is in my ‘inner circle’, so that purpose, joy and peace, not turmoil, will reign.

    What do I fear the most? Not being the catalyst I want to be to help others find, define and live out their dreams. Marrying badly again.

    My biggest dream: To run Success Teams (a la Barbara Sher, see her website) to help others gather the courage to launch their dreams, small and large. To write what will inspire others to live large. To share what I have learned so others do not ‘put their pearls before swine’ and give their value and potential away to others who devalue and mistreat it.

    Who am I? A child of God, grateful to be His Daughter. An encourager; a job search coach and writer of resumes and LinkedIn Profiles to help others use their talents and skills. A traveler. A mom (of a now 23 year old) who believes there is nothing as joyous and wonderful as enjoying being present with one’s children. A sponge who soaks up inspiration and wants so desperately to share it with others. A continual learner of life! And so much more!

  • Hello everyone! Nice to meet you all <3

    I was born in South Africa, and have been living in Australia since i was 12 years old. I have always felt that this is not where i belong though.. i had a tarot card reader tell me once that i have something waiting for me in Egypt - so i have a desire of visiting there one day

    Making other people laugh with true happiness and making people smile with gratitude and reciprical love makes me smile, from my heart

    the biggest lesson i have learnt so far - is too be careful of waisting time and energy trying to impress others.

    Im scared i wont find my calling, or more importantly that i am not looking for my path correctly .. i am new to marc and angel and the idea of self improvement… i am very hopeful that the amazing person inside me will be revealed - i just hope i am not late

    i dream to be an abundant provider and protector - to many.

    I am Sharon. Shaz. 24. A scorpio and Earth Dragon which gives me a subconcious feeling of strength and courage. Thank you for your time x

  • It’s really inspiring to see so many people from all over the world respond to this questions and open themselves to a bunch of practical strangers on the internet about the most important things in their lives. It really somehow calms me down to see how similar we all are, most of us afraid to fail to fulfil our dreams or plans. I would really like to have more of this kind of conversations in real life too.

    Where was i born? A big city in the centre of Poland to a pretty strange small family which i still struggle to understand.

    Where do i live now? Warsaw, capital of Poland where im graduating with a bachelor of architecture in about a month.

    What makes me smile? Funny coincidences, music and above all those occasions when i manage to stop, look up the sky or at the trees and realise just about how awesome and vast the universe is.

    what is my biggest lesson? It’s impossible to make other people happy by changing yourself/ If in a bad situation one can still decide to remain optimistic and see the good side of life/ People will judge you based on their own criteria, experience, and what they imagine to be true about you. It’s interesting to see what they think but ultimately useless when looking for real self/ action is the only remedy for the sick heart.

    What do i fear the most? By now i had to already break a few social expectations and lately had one of those talks with a colegue when you hear there are “normal” ways of doing things and you should adhere to those. I’m really worried to one day find this out to be true. I’m afraid life will catch up with me and I will be forced to live a life expected of me in terms of my background. I’m also afraid of being misunderstood.

    What is my biggest dream? I hope to be able to live a life of constant learning and experimentation. Professionally i would hope to somehow find a work where i could contribute to innovative technologies or creating new tools for productivity. Personally i would love to find a balance within myself and connect deeply to people around me [husband, friends].

    Who am i? Stubborn optimist and a dreamer. Rebel at heart. Fierce advocate for kindness no matter the conditions. Tech-freak and a proud nerd. Odds-beater. A fan of west irland, this blog and especially all the stories shared above.

  • This is my first time commenting since I discovered this site 3 years ago.. but I really loved this and wanted to share my story

    My name is Tawfiq and I am all about discovering and learning new things.. I love wandering, developing and trying new stuff everyday.

    I was born in Jordan and I currently live in Jordan which is in the Middle east.

    What really makes me smile is seeing people doing a random act of kindness without expecting anything in return

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far? Training mental strength and how fast time goes by

    My deepest fear is to run out of time before I leave my fingerprint into making this world a better place

    I dream of becoming a person that people will be inspired by and hear them ask themselves what did he have that we don’t?

    I’m just trying to be a better person everyday and always make sure that the people who loves me know how much I appreciate them being by me and always supporting me no matter what happens.

    Thank you for this amazing article and for letting me sharing a part of my story

  • My name is Carlee. I was born in Sarasota, Florida but grew up in Alaska in a small town of about 2,000 people called Haines. I currently live in Anchorage, Alaska and I am a 4th year college student about to graduate with a bachelors in Fashion and Design Marketing.

    My nephew brings me the most joy. He was born on my birthday and continues to make me smile and laugh every single day. He will be 3 in December.

    The most important life lesson I have learned so far is that to want to be someone else is a waste of the amazing person you are.

    My biggest fear is failure and not being good enough.

    My greatest dream for my life is to be so in love with someone that I could have nothing else in the world but that one person and be completely happy and content with my life.

    I am a shopaholic. I am passionate. I am a hopeless romantic. I am an athlete. I am a student. A sister. A daughter. An aunt. I have big dreams, a big heart and a big smile. I am me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Hi, I was born in Nottingham, England and now live in rural Lincolnshire with my husband, 2 dogs, one horse and 9 chickens!
    What makes me smile is the simple things- the sun on my face, the fresh air, and most of all the trust of animals especially after adversity that they trust another human . Also that my husband understands me gives me a warm smiley feeling inside.

    The most important lesson I have learned is very recent- to be me and not a person someone else wanted me to be. I have lived being dominated by a controlling mother, and only now am beginning to be free from the thoughts that determined me and always doing more and more, never to be recognized, praised or acknowledged by the one person I needed it from.I now know that , that isn’t important but what is, is that it’s ok to be me.

    My biggest fear is illness. I have had over 20 operations and thank God that nothing is serious but dread if it could be.
    My biggest dream, well that’s quite hard, as I now feel I am living my dream, being retired ( early!) and being very busy doing the things I enjoy. I look forward to my husband retiring and living the dream even more.

    Who am I? Ha! I now know I am me. A person who matters, has her own thoughts and dreams and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as its OK by me. That’s been a hard one and typing this I am astounded that I have written it and am in tears. I am not the 5 year old, I have felt I am around my mother, for the last 50 years. I am Nicki, a wife, an animal lover, an athlete, a baker who is loving it!

    I thank you all for the blog, it has helped me along so much….x

  • Melissa - With best wishes for your screenwriting journey!!

    Heather - Thanks for sharing your story and your learnings :)

    Julie - All the best for your travel adventures! Sounds exciting!

    Benito - Wow, I so enjoyed reading your story. What you wrote here… “a world in which the vast majority of people have all the internal capabilities and external opportunities they need to pursue the fulfillment of their lives, rather than survival, conformity or security” - this completely resonates with me. The more people sharing messages like this, the more people around the world will own and create their lives.

    Otis - Thank you for sharing your story!

    Rae - I love your passion to be who you truly are and to embrace your individuality

    Lisa - Wonderful reading your message. Thank you for sharing :)

    Shaz - It would be fascinating to know what you might find in Egypt if you visit one day! I love that you carry the energy of strength and courage, awesome.

    Maga - Who you are makes me smile… I love it, particularly the stubborn optimist, rebel at heart and fierce advocate for kindness. Awesome. And, breaking social expectations to be who you really are… GO YOU! There is nothing more authentic than being and doing from the core of your true self. To be celebrated :)

    Tawfiq - Thank you for sharing your story, particularly for sharing your lesson about training mental strength.

    Carlee - So true what you say about learning that trying to be someone else is a complete waste of the amazing people that we are. We have a gift, the gift is being the unique people we were born as, and our job is to share our gift!! Blessings. B

    Nikki - Wow, your message gives me shivers. Your courage, self-belief and confidence shines through in the words you’ve shared :)

  • Hey guys my name is Ankush I am 25 years old, I was born in Nagpur, India which used to be a pretty small community but over the past few year has become quiet big. I am still living in the same neighborhood I grew up in. Although I always wanted to move out to a big city but have lately realized that I can’t take the big city life for extended periods. I have finished my High School for MN, USA.

    What really makes me smile is the chirping of the birds, Sunrises smell of the wet earth, sound of raindrops, and feel of the sun on cold days mostly watching the people I care about smile. Today I had a different reason i.e. this post. It just made me realize that are quiet a few people out there who agree to the fact that everything is not to be taken at the face value. It is the soul of the person that should be valued over the superficial layers that we pile over it.

    The most important lesson I have learnt is that where ever you end up it is the journey and the memories that you acquire along the way are the more important than the destination itself. And what you really need is not too many friends/ companions but a select few that you know will always be there when you need them.

    My deepest fear is losing someone close to me.

    My greatest dream would be a world wherein we all can co exist with each other and with nature.

    Wow this is a difficult one as I am still on my way of figuring out who I really am, but I’ll say this I am a traveler, a photographer, a nature lover, a lawyer and a true friend. A

  • It has taken my three days to read all of the posts here. My friend, jag, commented here, which promted me to think about the questions. I had no intention of commenting, and yet here I am….Thank you, everyone, for sharing! <3

    • Where were you born? and Where do you live now? I was born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada, where I lived for the first 19 years of my life. I moved to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 23 years ago and this is where my heart is. I left Ottawa briefly (349 days) to move back to NS (Halifax) to further my education (at the tender age of 40yo). I thought I would settle there after I graduated, but my heart, life, and friends were in Ottawa.

    • What makes you smile? This may sound kooky but it’s true: going through my profile pictures on Facebook makes me smile, because every photo that I have chosen to display has meant something special to me at that time. They fill me with love, and joy, and happiness. Also, hearing a male cardinal call out to his female makes me smile – Every. Single. Time. The smell of the sea makes me smile. Music that evokes a memory makes me smile. Dancing makes me smile constantly from ear to ear.

    • What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? I’ve learned a few: 1) that I can do anything for a year, 2) how I handle a situation defines who I am, not the situation itself, 3) that unconditional love does exist, 4) I’ve learned to never trust my first impression, and 5) do not judge others – we all have our own stories.

    • What is your deepest fear? Never finding my passion. Not living to my full potential. Not living with a full heart (this is in reference to an earlier post here). I also fear living with a full heart because I do not know what that looks like. To be forgotten.

    • What is your greatest dream for your life? To be remembered.

    • Who are you? I am a grateful, sexy, loyal, fun(ny) 43-yo woman, friend, sisterfriend, Step-sister, and smartass. I am a sister, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin. I am a work in progress.

  • Thank you so much for this! Here is my story:

    Where were you born?
    In Spellman Hospital in Smithville, MO, where I subsequently candy striped, badly, some 13 yrs later

    Where do you live now?
    In a Shangri-la of small apartments nestled into the wooded hills of suburban Nashville, TN

    What makes you smile?
    Watching my daughter get so tickled by something that she can barely breathe enough to laugh, especially if I’m the cause of her laughter; feeling my kitties resting on or against me; just about any activity involving my favorite person, Josh

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    To trust my gut

    What is your deepest fear?
    My daughter going missing. And insignificance.

    What is your greatest dream for your life?
    To befriend a unicorn and be handsomely paid to ride it through edible forests of artisan cheeses; also, to live a comfortable, fulfilling life where I’ve made a positive impact on the people I care about

    Who are you?
    An adoring mom, a doting girlfriend, a loving daughter, an anxious introvert, a creative spirit, a reformed cynic, a seeker of peace

  • I was born in a small town in North Carolina. I now live in a larger city in N.C. and it feels like home.

    Makes me smile: Time with my friends, my nieces and nephews, the first sight of the ocean, a co-worker who does dance moves every time I walk by her cubicle. It’s the little things that make my day.

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is that “experiences” trump “things” every time.

    My deepest fear has been realized: being trapped in a really great career that gives me absolutely no satisfaction.

    The greatest dream for my life is to fall in love. I’m 32 so it seems I’m overdue.

    I’m an old soul. I make others smile. I care. I memorize poems and recite them to my dog on late night walks. I daydream constantly and write out thoughts and dreams in too many notebooks. I’m bold when I need to be. I’m a swimmer. Not even close to perfect, I’m the best kind of friend, daughter and sister I know how to be.

  • Love this article Bernadette! I heard the poem by Oriah Mtn Dreamer ten years ago and its wisdom continues to inspire me.

    I was born in Spokane, WA but raised 30 miles east in Coeurd’Alene, Idaho. My mom was a nurse in Spokane at the time of my birth.

    I’m now living in the village of Novaci in the Republic of Macedonia as a community development volunteer with the Peace Corps. I’ve been here 2 years and have just extended for a 3rd year :)

    Being here in Macedonia makes me smile - speaking Macedonian, drinking homemade whiskey with my “baba” (grandma) who has adopted me here, and learning to BE moreso than DO here.

    There is a story in each of our souls. The purpose of living is to live out our story - to explore the widths, heights and depths of it.

    Death is my deepest fear. I lost a young, dear friend in a tragic plane crash in 2004. His death brought the reality of death to the forefront of my consciousness, but also spurred me into living more fully in the moment, taking chances, overcoming fears that otherwise prevented me from becoming my unique self.

    My greatest dream is to be a creative non-fiction writer and author. I’ve discovered this while in Peace Corps.

    I am a creative non-fiction writer building a repertoire of life experience.

    Pozdrav (kind regards),
    Hana T.

  • What a wonderful idea!

    Where were you born? Born in Kent County Hospital, Warwick, Rhode Island!

    Where do you live now? I still live in RI, by the water now with one of my best friends and her two young boys.

    What makes you smile? Love makes me smile. My friends laughter makes me smile, hugs, and most of all, knowing that those I love are happy and healthy, that brings the most joy in my life.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? That I have NO control over others and all I can do is my very best to love and understand that everyone is on their journey and to have patience if they seem mean or uncertain.

    What is your deepest fear? That I will be alone (single) the rest of my life.

    What is your greatest dream for your life? To travel in Europe, for months and months.

    Who are you? Still figuring that one out but best I can figure I am a kind, funny and generous woman who has a lot of love to give and lucky for me, a large group of wonderful friends to give it to!

  • Pleasure to be reading all of your stories! This is my own.

    Born/Live - I was born in Birkenhead, England and live in the area with my partner and his family.

    Smile - The small things make me smile, special moments which are noticed just by me. An example, sitting in work daydreaming when a thought crosses my mind ‘I’m here to learn a lesson’, I suddenly remember my purpose for being, look down to the paper in front of me to see the name “wang”. In that instant I realize I need the toilet, start laughing to myself, an head off with a stupidly big smile on my face.

    Lesson - Be kind to those I meet and to myself. Forgive, learn, move forward. I’m where I’m meant to be, when I’m meant to be there. I will always forget, but will always remember.

    Fear - To be locked up/chained/imprisoned.

    Dream - To learn all I need to learn, about everything I need to learn about. To comprehend as much as I can. To find words to express how I feel.

    Who I am - I’m a 23 year old intelligent, funny, considerate loving, kind, thoughtful brother, son, grandson, lover, cousin, nephew, fairy godson. I’m a lover of the little things, I’m a watcher of people, I’m a student of life and of myself.

  • Hi All,

    My name is Amit and was born in a small town of India named Allahabad. I currently live in Noida, India.

    Two things which make me smile are - One, seeing my 1.5 yr old son sleeping soundly, unaware of any fear, untouched yet by any deceit of the world, satisfied, and totally in peace. Two, childish smile on my wife’s face when she has done something stupid.

    Important lesson which i have learnt in my life is small things do matter the most. Another important lesson is never try to clarify on things or debate on personal issues when you are drunk:)

    My deepest fear is not able to provide all the things required to my family

    My dream is to overcome my fear. Die with my wife hand in hand, after seeing my son nicely settled in his life. Having a life full of luxury would be an added bonus though

    Who am I? Sometimes feels like i am one of God’s most loved childs who has been thrown in this world to live just once more….

  • Hello, my name is Katrina.
    A few days ago I read this and then I read the comments. I decided I wouldn’t put a comment in because I am only 16 and usually people my age don’t know who they are… But then today, I realized I do know who I am.

    I was born in Welsville NY, and have grown up in the same house ever since. I have a loving family who works to hard for what they get in return. I am happy, and my life is beautiful. I am a child of the ONE TRUE KING.

    That is who I am.

  • Hello, my name is Isabelle.
    I was born in Germany, but I have grown up and lived all over Europe, Canada and South Africa.
    Right now I live in the UK studying for my Masters.

    The most important lesson that I have learn is that you should dream big and go after your dreams and not let anyone tell you that you are not good enough, because you can always find a way.

    The things that make me smile are little things like meeting my friends from all over again after not seeing them in a while or spending an afternoon on the beach with my family. My deepest fear is losing someone from my family and not being there when they need me.

    My biggest dream is to go on discovering the world and its different cultures.

    I am an explorer, a nomad trying to learn as much about this curious planet we live on. That is who I am.

  • I was born in Downey, CA

    I currently reside in Mission Viejo, CA

    Thinking of my Granddaughter makes me smile, and smelling blossoms on orange trees makes me smile. (brings back great memories)

    My most important life lesson is to not care what people think of me and that I cannot please everyone no matter how hard I try. I am who I am, and if people can’t accept me for who I am, they can keep walking.

    My deepest fear is that I will die before my oldest daughter and I make amends.

    My greatest dream is to retire in 10 years and enjoy life with my husband.

    I am a Christian, Daughter, sister, Mother, Wife, Auntie, friend.

  • Lori, Isabelle, Katrina, Amit, Thomas, Jessica, Hana, Maria, Amber, Chrisann and Ankush…

    Thank you all for sharing your stories! I just popped back to the page today and feel blessed to read through these messages, to “meet” you and hear who you are.

    Love,
    Bernadette

  • My Name is Shey and I was born in Hanford California.

    I currently live in San Francisco, California.

    Random acts of kindness, and collective celebration (streets, festivals, rallies) of people chanting and clapping brings tears of joy to my eyes.

    My weirdness is what my most favorite people love most about me, and they are a huge active part in my day to day happiness.

    My greatest fear is that my beloved will look at me one day and say, ‘not enough’.

    I have two great dreams. One is ending marine captivity/slaughter.
    The other is to be truly loved, and love another, freely.
    I am truly a unique human being with the best intentions.

  • Hello, I’m Crowley.

    I was born in Germany.

    Up till now, I still live there.

    There are many things that make me smile, however, in most cases, my girlfriend, my brothers in all but blood, my parents and grandma would be the reason. Also, I tend to smile whenever I see something happen that restores my faith in humanity.

    The most important life lesson would be that you have to stand up for yourself and walk your own way for it’s your life, but not only that, you should help others on their way as well if you yourself can handle it. However, along the way you also should try not to hurt anybody else or their views.

    My deepest fear is losing the ones I love and forgetting too much, because memories are really precious to me.

    My greatest dream is being able to help as much as I can and see many of the wonders this world has.

    I am a friend, a boyfriend and girlfriend at the same time, a brother and a sister as well, daughter and son. But what actually matters: I am me and I am here and if anyone needs my help I will be right here to catch them, no matter what.

  • MY STORY

    I was born in Regina, Canada to 16-year-old hard-working parents. I spent half my childhood growing up with banjo-picking humble farmers and I spent the other half amongst a fruit picking, tattooed, punk rock culture in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Our family moved a lot and I was the new girl in school every year. My parents divorced when I was 16, I moved out and hitchhiked throughout Western Canada, ending up in California. This journey has shaped my focus, I’ve taken so much from my experiences. I started my own business when I was 19 and used the profits to pay for my education; I’m proud of how far I’ve come to steer my life in the direction I desired.

    I now live in Calgary, Alberta with my husband and our 4-year old daughter. I love my life; I pinch myself sometimes just to make sure it’s real.

    What makes me smile…my daughters sparkly dancing eyes, random acts of kindness, people who smile, my husband who loves me whole-heartedly, cuddling my Yorkshire Terrier, holiday baking, family vacations, words of encouragement, people in love, having time to reflect, the feeling of ‘being free’ while in a full cantor horseback riding.

    My most important life lesson I’ve learned so far is that I can always change my circumstances - I’m the master of my own happiness. When I was 23 years old, 2 life-changing things happened in a span of a year that was pivotal in shifting consciousness for me:

    1) A vehicle speeding at 120 km/h struck me while I was stopped waiting for a train to pass on my way to work, and the impact broke my neck. This opened my eyes to not let life pass me by. I want the best life can offer and make no apologies for it.

    2) I was involved in an unhealthy abusive relationship surrounded with addictions in multiple forms. I think something good must come from opportunities like this. I still believe there’s good in every person and continue to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. The right person at the right time will always come into our lives consequently to fill this void. We can only learn from these experiences and do things differently the next time.

    My deepest fear is realizing I don’t possess enough passion about anything to realize my ‘dream’ and not utilizing my fullest potential. When moving towards goals, I’m positive and productive but still learning to find greater value in my self-worth.

    Being ambitious, I have many dreams. But they have to be MY dreams…I don’t want to ride on anyone else’s coat tails. My biggest one is to travel, experience new cultures and meet new people. I want to leave a stamp on this world and desire to connect with other soul-seekers on truly authentic levels. I live for chance encounters and write those feelings of exploration in scrapbooks and journals. I want to love and be loved. I hope to be a role model to my daughter and teach her empathy and compassion in whatever ways I can. I want to grow old and say I lived the life I wanted to live sharing sunny days with those I wanted to live it with.

    Who am I? I’m a good person, full of life and vitality. I’m the best kind of friend, daughter, auntie, sister, mother and wife I know how to be. I’m a Scorpio soul, a volunteer, an odds-beater, a hopeless romantic, and an ever-evolving liberal at heart with a youthful spark that permeates in the craziest situations. I have walked in the shoes of many. I’m the person you call in the middle of the night because you are so far deep you don’t know how you will ever get out. I have been a part of moments and stories that no one could ever believe. I have run with criminals and mentored with Presidents. I’m a fun loving, sprightly girl respecting anyone who exudes passion in what they do, being the best they can be.

    If life were to end tomorrow, have no regrets because at one point it’s exactly where you wanted to be.

  • So, here I present to you - The Unique Me :)

    - I was born in a place called Ras Al Khaimah, UAE in the Middle East.

    - Still living at the place mentioned above but of course hoping to be living in different corners of the world soon.

    - Acts of humanity never fails to make me smile. But sometimes I don’t need something or someone to make me smile. I just smile to feel the happiness of smiling. :)

    - There are not many big lessons I learnt because I still have a long way to go in growing up. But I guess being yourself and living your life will be a few valuable lessons I learnt.

    - My deepest fear? That is something to think about, now. Maybe I am scared of darkness as I don’t know what it consists of.

    - The greatest dream of my life is to become an astronaut. To go above the sky and take in that wonderful world above. See the stars closer. View the small picture of our big world.

    - I am a friend, a sister, a daughter and a person who would love to see humanity in every single person alive. I would love to see the world become a better place to live. I guess there are more people with humanity and a heart than we can see with our eyes.

  • - I was born in Birmingham, in the UK, and I’ve lived here pretty much all of my life. This wasn’t meant to be where I grew up. I was meant to live in a small village in a third world country, but my father (who lived and worked there, and who we were going to join) passed away, so we ended up staying here as it’s where my mum is from. I feel very lucky. Sometimes I feel bad for feeling that way.

    - I still live here, although I have lived in other places in the past. I have a lot of roots here and it’s probably where i’ll stay for a long time.

    - Traveling, good books, music, the realization that I’m not alone in whatever I’m feeling. Spending time with children and watching their delight discovering the world. People making an effort to show they care for me.

    - This too shall pass. Things that seemed so important at one point and consumed my life are nowhere near as important anymore. So yeah, pretty much that time and perspective are great healers. Speaking of perspective; ‘There are roughly 200-400 billion (with a “B”) stars in our galaxy – The Milky Way. But, the more amazing stat is that there are 100-200 billion galaxies in the universe’…my problems are nothing. I need to work on letting go.

    - That I will never find love or become a mother

    - To be happy, to have children and to become the person I’m meant to be; this means contributing something positive and tangible to the world.

    - I am not perfect, but I’m liking the person I’m becoming.

  • Hey everyone! Here’s my story! :)

    ◾I was born in Istanbul, Turkey.

    ◾Lived in Istanbul with my family for 19 years then moved to Paris for my university studies and this September I’m moving to London. I can say that I don’t have a fixed residence for right now. And I love being everywhere.

    ◾Watching the waves early in the morning, standing in the sand.

    ◾The best lesson I’ve learned so far is that the essential purpose of life is being happy as much as you can, no matter what you do in your life.

    ◾My deepest fear is losing my loved ones.

    ◾My greatest dream for my life is becoming an “happiness professor” in order to have enough power to change the world for a better place and traveling the world.

    ◾I’m a jurist who has recently noticed that being happy is more important in life than being a successful but a depressed lawyer. And as I said before, I’m a future happiness professor.

  • Where were you born? - In the West Indies in the beautiful island of St.Lucia
    Where do you live now? - Toronto Canada.
    What makes you smile? - My fiance Jason
    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? - That no matter what happens in life, we women are resilient and that we can create a life we love.
    What is your deepest fear? - That I will go back and live my life in fear & that I will allow shame to define my goals.
    What is your greatest dream for your life? - Teaching thousands of women to be free, to love, be happy & to create a life they love & deserve.
    Who are you? _ I am a Beautiful Warrior who will raise awareness and break the silence & stigma surrounding Child Sexual Abuse in the Caribbean & Canada and who will make a difference in the lives of women & girls all over the world.

  • I am Everly. Born on the Canadian prairies. What makes me smile is some of the important values I’ve instilled into my sons who are becoming fine young men.

    The greatest lesson I’ve learned thus far is that we are exactly where we are supposed to be and that happiness comes when we realize and accept that.

    My deepest fear would be to lose one of my children.

    My greatest dream is to live in a positive environment with little negativity and pessimism.

    Who am I? I am a survivor of abuse, the mother of a special child, an advocate for those who must always struggle in life and a lover of animals. I believe we all have a purpose and must work to discover our true gifts for this short time that we’re here.

  • *Where were you born?
    Wollongong, new south wales , australia

    *Where do you live now?
    brisbane , qld australia

    *What makes you smile?
    many things, a good joke, great company,
    my childrens laughter. when my children are proud of me

    *What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    just because a bad decision is made , doesnt make that person a bad person. People can really mean “sorry” when they say it.

    *What is your deepest fear?
    That I will never get the courage to be happy and make life the way i want it to be.
    What is your greatest dream for your life?
    To be the person Ive always dreamed to be, to stop being so lazy and negative. to love life and to love myself.

    *Who are you?
    I am a dreamer- a “gonna”- “gonna do this”, “gonna do that” . Im someone who forever wants more but am too unmotivated to actually do something to get what i want. I am a mother who says she “tries her best”, when really i can just go with the flow sometimes and fly off the handle for no reason, just because i can.
    Im someone who craves loyalty, honesty and love expect it from those around me , even though i know Im not always perfect at giving it myself.
    I wear my heart on my sleeve, get hurt easily . Im very opinionated and will give my honest opinion most the time even if it hurts others. Im sarcastic, annouying, loud, and enjoy just getting out of my head alot of the time. I love to act happy and make others laugh and smile

  • First of all, I’m sorry for putting Anonymous as my name. It’s not that I don’t trust people here. Rather, I have my own reason.

    1) I was born in Seria, Brunei. (Not Syria)
    2) I’m currently in Leeds, England.
    3) Seeing someone giving their best at anything. Seeing them stand up even after all the beating they receive in life. I respect those kind of people very much.
    4) The most important life lesson I’ve learnt is to not go back on your words. If you said you’re going to do something, then you have a personal obligation to see that you do it. If you make a promise, then you make sure you fulfill that promise, no matter what.
    5) My greatest fear is going back on my words. I also fear that the people I’ve cherished the most turns out to be the people who stabs me in the back.
    6) My greatest dream is to become a theoretical physicist at CERN and win a Nobel prize. I’m doing Theoretical Physics in my Uni as a freshman. I promised to myself that I will become a theoretical physicist no matter what, no matter how long it takes me and like I said in question 4, I have a personal obligation to fulfill that promise.
    7) Who am I? I’m a theoretical physicist in the making. Other than that, I don’t know anything for sure. I’m a bit weird compared to people around me. I try my best to keep my words and to not go back on them. I play basketball and badminton but I’m not too good at them. I’m also very competitive. If I find someone better than me in things I like, I try my best to be the better one. Don’t get the wrong impression of me though. I do that with my friends and they are fine with it. For example, if someone is better than me in badminton, I’ll make them my rival in badminton until I beat them but they’re my friend as soon as we step off the court and all the anger and competitiveness I had in the court, stays in the court until we step in the court next time. I’m also an atheist however I don’t mind religious people. I tend to keep my belief to myself and expect others to do the same.

    I guess that’s it. I’m not very good with these kind of things so if I’ve bored anyone then I’m sorry.

  • I was born in a small town called Leskovac, in Serbia, and I’ve been living here for 17 years of my 18 years long life.

    Every new day makes me smile. Walking home from school and feeling the buzz of the town. The way my little cousin always hugs me so tight. How my puppy run towards me as soon as it sees me, and how she survived her illness. A good quote. Fantastic read. Deep conversations with friends, and a polite stranger. Seeing old people talking together, like old (pun not intended) friends. Every day makes me smile.

    The most important lesson I have learned is always to be myself, never to compromise my beliefs in order to please another. If people love me for who I am pretending to be - they do not love the real me. And true friends will not be bothered when I talk a lot (which I do. A lot)

    My deepest fear is death, whether it is mine or someone I like. Losing them in that way is irreversible.

    My dream is to be a published author, with many, many books in my career. Helping people through my works. My biggest dream is for a person to stop me on the street and thank me for something that I wrote, because it helped them a lot.

    I am Petar. I am a dreamer, fighter, survivor. A writer, blogger, actor, magician, philosopher, traveler, all-around geek, rhombus, self-proclaimed shrink. I am a work in progress, and I love it.

  • I was born in Birmingham, Alabama. I moved away for a few years after high school but somehow found my way back here.

    What makes me smile is my sweet husband and daughter. I am so blessed to have them in my life.

    The most important life lesson I have learned is that you should enjoy every moment because tomorrow is not promised.

    Fear is a choice. I choose not to be afraid.

    The greatest dream for my life is to one day retire debt-free, surrounded by the people I love, and lots of books.

    Who I am is ever changing because the light hits me from a different angle everyday. Showing me a different facet that I didn’t see the day before.

  • My name is Lindsey.
    I was born in Chicago but have lived in Dallas for 20 years. I have been married for 19 years and am almost 50, and I am afraid that my marriage is a sham. I am staying with my husband because I have multiple sclerosis and a teenage son, and I don’t have the strength or energy to work full time. And I am afraid of being sick, poor and alone.

  • I was born in Denville, New Jersey, USA.

    I now live in Central Texas near the Austin area where I own a home and live with my son.

    What makes me smile is the joy and laughter of my one and only child, my son.

    The most important life lesson I have learned is to trust myself, to honor my feelings, to listen to my gut, to heed my intuition.

    My deepest fear is that my son dies before me.

    My greatest dream is to live a peaceful, happy fulfilling life surrounded by loved ones.

    I am a child of God, a Divine Expression of life, a survivor who never gives up hope.

  • I was born in a town in the south-east of England, UK, and I now live in a village 15miles away from there.

    What makes me smile? When people start talking about things that are actually important in life rather than just the average day-to-day chit chat. My favourite conversations are ‘the meaning of life’, ‘how the world/universe began’, ‘the future of the world’, ‘ways to bring about a different world’, ‘philosophical concepts’, ‘metaphysical concepts’ and ‘life after physical death’. I also love hearing my 7 year old daughter come up with her own views on the above mentioned conversations and tell me that she wants to become a scientist to figure it all out (she’s had this plan since she was 5 now, and I’ve never once told her what to be when she’s older, as long as she’s happy, she could be a road-sweeper for all I care about her career choice, although I must admit, if she was a scientist, that would be pretty cool!).

    Most important life lesson? Never judge someone by their exterior appearance or even the words they say. Everyone has been through something that made them that way, and it’s not our place to judge how the deal with those things. If they’re being bitchy, maybe it’s because being too nice got them raped and they can’t allow themselves to risk it again. If they’re always crying, they may have lost their family, home, job. If they always seem happy, don’t take that for granted…they may go home and cry at night because they can’t show how they feel anymore because someone once took advantage of them. So the lesson I learned was to always be kind, compassionate, and considerate, even if I’m having a crap day because you never know what internal war the person you inflict your own negativity on is fighting, and who am I to make their day crap just because I may be suffering?!

    My deepest fear? My daughter dying before me.

    Greatest dream for my life? To change the world! I want to find a way to unite everyone. I want to prove that precognition is real and that we can tap into it if we’re open to it. I want us to advance our minds and emotions, so we can all understand each others pain, and then maybe we won’t continue to constantly hurt each other the way we currently do with war, money, power. I want one global government that ACTUALLY takes care of the world rather than using it for their own petty human egotistical goals. …I want to create a world worth saving!

    Who am I? I am me. I am you. I am the sun and the moon. I am the earth and the ocean. I am everything. I am a mass of atoms in the universe, hoping to spark creation for the future and rewrite the past. Alternatively, I am nothing more than the perception that I am human, and my life is really just someone else’s dream. Who knows? All I know is that I can only do so much, but who’s to say how much that is other than myself? One day, I WILL change the world.

  • Hello my name is Taylor, although i prefer to be addressed as my last, but i wont be sharing that.

    I was born in a small town that has grown quite rapidly over the few years in Australia. I still live there today and look forward to the day i turn 18 and will be able to discover the wirld in which i live in - don’t we all?

    The things in life so far that make me smile the most are my friends and the locals that love to chat at the place. I absolutely love hearing stories about people and when they open up and bring you on an adventure with what they have experienced. Growing up extremely timid i love slowing down and stopping to smell a flower and look around to take in the little things. Other peoples happiness also impacts me amd music; the one true thing that i believe brings people together.

    Most important life lesson. In all honestly i had to sit down and really think about this one. There’s just so many! But the one i can really truly relate to is, crying isnt a sign of weakness in fact it is a sign of someone who can no longer be strong.

    My deepest fear, although i hate thunderstorms; i crawl under blankets and hide in cupboards whenever one is brewing outside, would have to be being alone. Loneliness- although one might want to be left alone no one can stand the solitude.

    My dream ever since i was young was to be happy. Rough childhood, i wont bore you with the details though. Career wise i would have to conclude that i wish to become a journalist, i love writing.

    I am a young treeling that wishes to grow and prosper, grow strong and stand tall with the rest. I wish to make my own journey an adventureous one and enjoy every little detail about it. I am a droplet reading to fall from my leave and make a ripple in the ocean below. I wish to tell my future generations about my story and become an inspiration to others. This is who i am, daughter, granddaughter, friend. Ever so willing to meet new people.

  • Hi my name is Rosa, or Nunez, which is what I’m mostly referred to as on a daily basis.

    I was born in Maturin, Venezuela. I moved to Florida about 11 years ago, but now I live in Anchorage, Alaska due to the military.

    I can honestly say a lot of things make me smile, but to see acts of love and kindness are probably my favorite.

    The most important life lesson I’ve learned in my 20 years of life is to tell the people that you care about how much they mean to you and how much you love them. Now that I’ve moved out and live on my own, I regret not telling my mom & dad every second of the day how much I love them. Growing up I wasn’t the most affectionate person, and now that I am millions of miles away I regret it.

    My deepest fear is to die alone and have no one go to my funeral.

    My biggest dream is to travel the world as much as I can and then settle down and have a family.

    I am an Airman in the US Air Force. I am a loving daughter, sister, cousin, grandaughter and gilfriend.

  • Where were you born?
    In Overijssel, Netherlands.

    Where do you live now?
    In a small city in Ontario, Canada

    What makes you smile?
    When family gets together; lots of laughter, the little kids having fun, playing and living life. Love.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    That you can’t change people. You need to love them for who they already are and what they aspire to be, not for the person you require them to be. If you can’t do that, then you don’t love them the way they deserve to be loved.

    What is your deepest fear?
    That I won’t live long enough to truly enjoy the time I get to spend with the ones I love and watch them grow.

    What is your greatest dream for your life?
    To fall deeper in love every day, and grow together, marry and have children, and watch them grow. To always be happy and see the best in every situation and let go of the bad/negative.

    Who are you?
    I am a child of God, given the wonderful fruits of the Spirit, to spread love across this world the way Jesus does. I am a sister to three brothers, a daughter to loving parents (who misses her mother everyday), an aunt to the most wonderful nieces and nephews. A loving girlfriend to my best friend I could never have imagined and have been blessed by God with. I am an optimistic, loving soul who enjoys the beauty in nature more than anything on this earth. I am blessed.

  • Brenda’s story

    I was born In Lincoln, Nebraska. I was the sixth child born to a woman, who as a young child had been diagnosed with a mental illness. I grew up in a foster care system and group homes.

    I currently live in Botswana, Africa. I have lived here for the last five years as a missionary, faithful doing what I feel I was created for.

    My Children and my grandchildren make me smile, when my two year old granddaughter says “hi gaama” it makes me smile and my heart melt. Another thing that makes me smile is being here in Botswana and touching the lives of so many as they touch my life as well. May I paint a picture of an event to see if it can make you smile?

    The sun is setting; the air is thick with the smell of what I like to call campfires. I am walking along a sandy path moving in the direction of a large tree approx 2ks away. We were going there because the handful of children I was with shared they like to have church there. As we are walking the children are full of laughter, it was beautiful. Shortly after starting the journey to the tree, the number of children grew, it wasn’t long and I was with 30-40 children in a variety of ages. One child started singing and quickly they all joined in. I am not sure if you have ever heard African children sing, but they are not shy, they bolt out words with confidence and harmony. It was Beautiful and not only was I smiling but every child that walked that road that day was smiling from ear to ear. I have to believe the Lord smiled down on us as well.

    Now the question is… are you Smiling?

    My most important life lesson I have learned this far; as that people matter no matter what state you find them in. We often are drawn to the ones with smiles, but the one who is hurting matters just as much.

    My deepest fear; That when I return to the states in May of 2014 full time, the passion I have to see the world and the people in it, will no long look to be a reality but instead be just a dream I place on the back burner.

    My greatest dream for life; too see the world, to lend a hand, to be the voice for one who can’t speak. To be the soft touch someone who feels unlovable longs for. I want to join in with others to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

    I am Brenda, an Overcomer, a Mother, a Grandmother, a Sister, a Loyal Friend, a Missionary, a Survivor, a World Changer.

    Thank you for letting me share.

  • Good Cheer today,
    My name is Claire, legally changed from Lynn. I was born in Upstate New York and moved all over Upstate NY as my father was in construction and we had to move where his job took him. It was difficult to grow up and be in over 14 different schools.

    I currently live in Maryland and plan to move somewhere near the ocean - I need the water for my own healing.

    What makes me smile and just outright laugh out loud is watching my dog play in the snow. I love seeing people in love, and anyone who is experiencing joy brings a big smile to my face and I can actually feel a warmth in my heart. So peaceful.

    A lesson I have learned is that life is not fair and I have to make my way the best I can. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I was. I have learned to scatter joy…and not live in my own pity party.

    My greatest fear is that I will not find unconditional love….I have been married twice and my spouses wanted to immediately change me.

    My greatest dream is to share my gift of kindness through my healing words and actions. I also want to live near the ocean.

    Who am I? I am an ever evolving, changing, mishmash of a human being. I am here to have the Universe use me up for the good of all.

  • I was born in St Louis, Mo and still live here in a condo that backs to trees. I love the new green color of “my” woods.

    My family…my love, kids, grands, sisters. Full body hugs, great sex, the Cardinal’s (winning gets a bigger smile), fishing, reading, popcorn, my dogs, being a nonsmoker, singing, horse back riding, the sigh after meditating.

    That you can’t save people from themselves.

    Another child of mine dieing.

    To live by running water… Ocean would be great, I’ll enjoy a creek just as much.

    Fluid, compassionate, a learner… I’ve always identified with Meredith Ann Brooks and sing along.

    “I’m a b*tch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother
    I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed.”

  • Hello,

    My name is Lesley. I was born in England to an American father and English mother. My dad was military so we traveled a lot during my childhood years. I went to three different schools in 6th grade. I believe that moving a lot as my family did made my younger brothers and I close. So it is with gratitude that I remember my childhood.

    I currently live in Florida, but yearn to be closer to the mountains. Not a beach girl.

    My son makes me smile. So happy to see him as a intelligent, caring and handsome young man.

    The most important lesson I have learned so far is that taking care of oneself is essential to happiness. You must put yourself first.

    My greatest fear is not being able to travel the world. There are so many places I want to see, people I want to meet. I fear not having the means to make that happen.

    My greatest dream is to travel the world.

    Who am I …I am a loving, creative, intelligent and crazy (In a good way) 55 year young women. I am constantly searching for meaning and trying to be present in my own life.

  • Where were you born? California 1950
    Where do you live now? California 2014
    What makes you smile? First smile each day is knowing I am on this side of the dirt. All the rest of the smiles come easy and with pleasure after that, especially for my family and grandsons.
    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? It really does not matter who your parents were/are. What you choose to do with your life and how you choose to influence others is the core.
    What is your deepest fear? flying..ha!
    What is your greatest dream for your life? To see my grandsons grow and become men with integrity an strength to always choose the right thing, not like the leaders in all countries around the world now
    Who are you? Wife, mother,grandmother is what I am called, but I am truly just me and I like me.

  • *where were you born? Germany
    *where do you live now? USA
    *what makes you smile? many things…waking up in the morning…children…nature…people…little things in life & myself.
    *what is the most important life lesson you have learned? I have learned that life is the biggest & a constant classroom, you never stop learning…I am a student in every aspect of my life.
    *what is your deepest fear? never ever do I want experience the pains I encounter from my past.
    *what is your greatest dream for your life? to live near a beach - writing a book.
    *who are you? I am a woman, I am a mother who creates her own path in life.

  • *I was born in Denver, Colorado where my parents were born and raised. I only lived there for three years before my family moved to the eastern US. After ten years of moving from state to state with the company my father worked for, we returned to Denver and to family.
    *I now live in south Texas because my husband (California native) was transferred here by his employer. We met at a university halfway between the two states of our birth. Best move EVER!
    *I smile when I see my husband (always!) and my three grandchildren (most often on a video chat). I smile when my children get together and when I see the sun rising (or setting) on mountain peaks. I smile when I hear vocal jazz. I smile when I eat really good Mexican food, especially pork green chile.
    *The most important life lesson learned is that each person has infinite worth and that my purpose is to increase in faith and in development of moral attributes, to strengthen home and family, and to love and serve God and others. It is so important that I keep getting lots of opportunities to learn this lesson again and again and again.
    *My deepest fear in every “my will vs. Thy will” encounter is giving in to self-concern. This is the anti-thesis of faith. Being self-absorbed really stinks [slang]. I know.
    *My greatest dream for my life is to perceive more positive and potential and less negative and disappointment. If I really must wake up in the wee hours of the night, I would rather it be with happy thoughts rather than worrisome ones.
    *I am a daughter of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ. And it really helps that my husband adores me! So, I’ll add that I am adorable.

  • I was born into a great family in Seattle, WA. After a couple of years we all moved to Bellevue where my parents still reside. In 2007 I decided to get out of the rut I was in and sell my other car, condo and quit a high paying job to start a new life in Portland Oregon. Best decision I have ever made

    There are a couple of things that make me smile:
    1. Seeing my dog curled up in a ball in my bed sleeping. He is 13 now and I know I don’t have many more years with him. So it always puts a smile on my face seeing him sleep so peacefully.

    2. Photographing people doing what they love to do (Adrenaline Sports). If they are having fun and I am capturing it on my camera then I am happy. It has become my many subject matter. Then I get the surprise of seeing what I captured later in the day.

    Life Lesson:
    1. I always seem to go back to go back to a lesson I learned in the FD. Fix the problem at the station level. Don’t fix the global issues fix the ones closest to home and then move out from there. You can’t solve bigger issues if you aren’t square with yourself.

    2. Be honest with yourself. If you cannot be honest with yourself then how can you grow? I always try to Dr. Phil myself and make sure what I am saying or feeling is being honest! Seems to make things better.

    Greatest Fear:
    I fear being alone and not having someone special in my life to fall in love with. I view my life as 3/4 full; not just half! I want to share my life with someone, but dating has always been a weak spot for me. Some opportunities I can blame on myself and others it seems there is a higher power working against me.

    Greatest Dream:
    I have a life that is full. I think I read a quote on this blog that said when I see God that I want to say I used every bit of talent you gave me! On a smaller scale I would love to be an adventure photographer.

    Who am I?
    I am a pretty easy going guy that has a passionate side. I love my family, dog, photography, fire fighting and the people I get to meet along the way. I enjoy pushing people to go after their dreams and having success. I am a better teacher than doer. I love to help people overall. Overall I am a great person to know and be around.

  • I was born in Derby UK
    I now live in a Mansfield near Nottingham UK
    Coming home to be greeted by my old dog with his waggy tail makes me smile
    The most important lesson I’ve learnt is that nothing or no-one lasts for ever, so make the most of things whilst they are there.
    My deepest fear is that I will be completely forgotten after I die
    My greatest dream is that myself and my family will have happy lives doing the things that we really want to do.
    Who am I? A simple unassuming 52yr old woman who is content to live a live enjoying the world around her.

  • I was born in Essex in the UK and I still live here.
    So many things make me smile. Nature, discovering new things, good food, laughter and seeing people in love to name but a few.
    I have learnt many lessons throughout my life, but I would have to say that the most important one to me is to live each day like it is your last, because one day it will be.
    My deepest fear is that I will die having never experienced real love.
    My greatest dream? Well, I would love to earn enough money so that I do not have to work anymore and could spend my time doing things I love to do, but that’s me as a single person. If I were to find love, I think my dream would change to being with said person for the rest of my days.
    Who am I? I am a guy who has been through a heck of a lot in my short life, but has always, and hopefully always will, come out fighting. I laugh freely, love fearfully and live one day at a time.

  • I was born in Africa despite being Chinese citizen.

    I live in Malaysia.

    Cats make me smile.

    I’ve learnt that effective communication is very important.

    My deepest fear… Troubling other people.

    My greatest dream is to be a travelling monk. I want to travel from places to places.

    I am a blob. Like the black colored blob in the glass container in Full Metal Alchemist. I am the Self. I can transform into anything I want to be, as long as God wills it.

  • I am Mark. I am a 42 year old born in St. Louis, Missouri. My story is a journey I have taken.

    I was raised middle-class Norman Rockwell style suburban life. Living in California most of my life has been great. It has led me to very dark places that have become a huge part of who I am.

    I have been down roads of alcohol and chemically based addictions as well as worked in emergency services and as a standard office worker.

    Because of my many spoked path in life I consider myself a truly blessed individual. I was given 3 seperate leases on a new life and now that I have accepted it I live for my children and to be of maximum service to my fellow human.

    I have no real fears to speak of except to lose my spiritual self as I have walked through my own hell already so nothing but beauty is left in the world (you just have to look a little harder sometimes). My biggest dream is to see my children happy and to help as many living beings as I can every day. One day at a time!

  • My name is Trisha. I am born in Manila. I live now in Quezon City, Philippines.

    Knowing that I am greatly and unconditionally loved puts a BIG smile on my face.

    Life is a consequence of our choices. In everything that we do, we are making a decision, and in every decision that we make, there will always be a consequence. We have to make decisions wisely.

    My deepest fear is to give up something for a dream and to realize that it was a wrong decision.

    My Greatest Dream in Life is to be a blessing to everyone that I meet and know - most especially to my family and loved ones.

    I am Trisha - a sinner saved by Grace. Learning is my passion. My Family is my treasure. My faith is my strength.

  • I’ve spent the better part of 2 hours studying, reading, and enjoying your beautiful stories. You’ve enlightened me! You’ve taught me. You’ve brought tears to my eyes, and you’ve made me smile. Thank you ALL for a wonderful afternoon. Cheers, friends!

    *I was born in Asheville, NC, USA. I currently live in a small town close to Asheville, and have been a resident here my entire life with the exception of my college career. Even then, I was but a short drive away.

    *I smile when I see my 20 year old daughter. I still see the same little girl, with the same sheepish grin, big brown eyes, complete with convincing long eyelashes, but with far more accomplishments and talents than I ever imagined. The pride is astronomical. It fills my heart…I know you can relate if you have child(ren).

    *Life lessons happen daily. If I must choose the one that sticks out most, it would be: It’s ok to be ok with/by yourself. Don’t “not-do-something” because you have to go alone. Go anyway. Enjoy life now, because it won’t last forever. Your happiness is ultimately your responsibility. It’s only as fun and exciting as you make it!

    *My deepest fear is growing old without someone with whom to share those happy times. I have a wonderful man in my life, and sincerely hope he is my forever love. Relationships are important. I’ve gained a few friendships, yet had my heart broken more than once. We heal. Lifetime loves come about once. My grandparents taught me that at a very young age. They never gave up on each other. Instead, they figured out a way to work through their problems and make the most of what they had.

    *The greatest dream for my life…I’ve done it. I’ve raised a beautiful, hard-working, talented, accomplished young lady. An upstanding member of society. “Statistically,” she shouldn’t be where she is - in college (The Honors College Division, with a 4.4 GPA, no less) - simply because she comes from a broken home. We broke the barriers! I encouraged her, and she is succeeding every single day of her life.
    Random thought: Maybe it’s time for me to create another dream? One to work on for the future?

    *Who am I? I am a 42 year old, single, strong, simple, accepting, loving, non-judgmental, independent woman. I’m a mother. I’m an employee. I’m a daughter. I’m a friend. I love everyone, with no reservations. I base no friendship on race, religion, political preference, or sexual orientation. I am who I am. You are who you are. I am “me,” and that’s ok. And I love you. For you. *Because* … You’re you.

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