​STORY BY MONICA

FLASHBACK

魅力的な女性のブラック&ホワイト肖像画

The world suddenly stands still. You alone are whisked away to a familiar place.  A place of nostalgia.  A faint memory draws near as you remember.  The scent, the sounds, the touch, the sights, the flavors.  Your soul awakens and comes flooding a thousand good, old memories.  You close your eyes, feeling a longing in your heart.  You desire for it to linger for a moment longer.  Just when it feels so real, without a notice, it is over.  The world is moving as if you had never left.  But within you is a quiet change.  A shift, a gain, a change in perspective.  Like parting ways with an old friend, you smile to bid farewell to what once was.  And you take a stride forward to journey on.  

ベッドの女性

​LOVE

 When I was 5, love was mommy and daddy, strawberry milk, and wearing rain boots in the rain. When I was 16, love was first crush.  A dizzy teenage love.  It was a racing heartbeat walking past each other in the school hallway, and dreamy cravings of what I can’t have.  When I was 25, love was true romance, a life-long commitment, and a partner to hold hands with though all of the seasons of life.  Even in the darkest moments, love was a constant and faithful presence, never leaving me to be alone. When I was 35, love was the undeniable love for my children that is like nothing else in this world.  Love was family where it is crazy, loud, and chaotic, but these favorite people of mine are who sustained me.  Love was sticky notes on my mirror that said “I love you Mommy.  Can I have a hug?”.  Love was laundry cleaned and folded while I was having a busy day, but his day was even busier than mine.  Love was when I am always on their thoughts.  When I was 40, love was continuous small decisions to choose kindness, gentleness, goodness, forgiveness, and a selfless act to put other’s needs before mine.  Even if it is for a stranger.  Love for me comes from Someone Greater who loves me completely and unconditionally, filling up my heart with all that it needs.  His love is like the ocean where it knows no bounds.  There are thousands of ways and reasons to love, but for me, I can love because He first loved me. 
手をつないで

​PROGRESS

A step forward, a giant leap of faith, not yet a step but you’re leaning in as much as you can.  They’re all progress, a movement and effort big or small towards your goal.  You have your eyes set on this goal like the top of the mountain, and with determination you climb each step.  You are full of inspiration as you begin, but setbacks come like harsh weather.  To weather the storm, you adapt, remain mentally strong and change the original plan.  You have not failed but overcome.  Storm has passed and sun shines softly against your back as if it gently supports you as you climb.  The views are stunning.  Still not yet near the top of the mountain, but motivation visits you along the way, renewing your energy and hope fills your mind.  You continue to climb. Then you hit a plateau where the view is uninteresting.  Distracted, bored, and uninspired, you want to give up on your goal.  You learn that commitment towards progress has nothing to do with feelings.  Even when you don’t feel like it, you stay consistent and keep climbing.  Finally, you’ve climbed halfway up the mountain and it’s time to track your progress.  You look down at how far you’ve come, notice how much you’ve grown, and you celebrate.  You sit down, have a meal, and take a proud selfie.  You continue to climb and progress.  You’re moving forward towards your goal, but at times in progress there is no movement.  There are times you stand still and look within yourself.  You take a look at the situation you’re in.  Progress can be nothing more than to see these things in a different light, a different perspective.  You’re on that mountain.  You saw yourself as a hiker but now you see in yourself a daring rock climber.  That is also progress.  You will have amazing moments, new experiences, meet new people, you will fall down, but you will climb back up.  Progress is a process.