When thoughts and prayers are not enough!

This morning I woke up, again, to the news that more people had been killed. More people had to suffer at the hands of a man, who should have never been sold a gun in the first place.

50 people dead, over 400 injured! And that is jus the initial report. . . read that again, 50 people DEAD! Because one man, had the desire to do harm. Now that man is dead, and we will never know the true reasons for that desire, but he is not the point here, he is not important, and if I had anything to say about it, he would never be remembered, forgotten in history because he does not deserve to be remembered.

Now every time I wake up to one of these tragedies my facebook feed is flooded with the same words, “my prayers are with the families.” Or “Pray for London, Pray for Miami, Pray for Denver, Pray for Las Vegas!” Now I am praying, I am praying for peace for the victims, I am praying for their families to find peace and justice, I am praying for the injured and the family of the shooter.

But I have one much larger prayer, a pray that this would be stopped, that we can start to view other people with love, respect and care. That we can find a way to remove the guns from the hands of the violent, that we can find a way to live together and stand up for one another.

I believe in God, and I believe that prays can do miraculous things, they can bring people peace, they can heal you, but they cannot bring people back from the dead.

And I believe that God placed us on this earth to care for one another, to be brothers and sisters, if we are his children how can we justify killing one another? I believe he wants us to step up to the plate, and put things into practice that show that we care for one another. He made us people with the free will to fight for what we believe and fight for one another, so it is time, it is time to step up and put our thoughts and prayers into action, it is time to take the initiative we were given and use it for good!

I cannot allow myself to believe that if we took the time, worked together, we could find the answer to our prayers, to end the senseless violence that has surrounded us.  To make it so no more families wake up to the call the a loved one has been killed in a mass shooting. I cannot believe that in America we are doomed to repeat this grieving over and over again.

We need more love, and we have been told a million times that actions speak louder than words, that love is a verb! It is time to put that verb to work, we need more love, more action!

-Rae

 

 

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Love Does!

This weekend magic happened!

For the past six years two of my best friends have been in love, and in that time the rest of our group has met someone, dated, got engaged and married and they are still in love, not married, not engaged just together. They have moved across the country together, have 3 animals together and so what is the hold up on marriage you ask?

Well they also happen to be two girls and one of their parents hasn’t known about the love at all. So we have all waited, encouraged, had the only major fight in our friendship about when her parents would know and when they could move forward. And about one year ago we just stopped asking all together, trusting that it would happen when it could.

But this weekend, they got engaged! Now do her parents know yet. .. no! Will they know soon . . .yes! But you know this really isn’t about them! It is about what love does . . .

Love does bring magic to life !

Love does wait six years to move forward because there is no one else they could imagine being with!

Love does leave their own house when parents come to visit!

Love does trust in their partner through it all!

Love does last!

Now if anyone of our group wasn’t going to last these last six years you would think it would have been them, the strain of simply waiting and the unknown, no posting on Facebook or “meeting the family” in any official capacity.

But we have watched them only get stronger over the past few years, to grow to . be one team that will stand against the odds together. That when one family may be lost they have formed their own to brace the storm, and that is what love does.

They choose each other every single day, and will continue to do so, and that is what love does!

Love is a choice, and action it is a tangible experience not some abstract feeling, love is decided each and every day. When someone does something to annoy you, to disappoint you, that goes against your values, love is the choice to work through it and not walk away.

As my friends move into this new stage of life, a stage we have all anxiously awaited I pray that they are greeted only with the choice of love, and if the day comes that they are not I pray that they remember to turn to their chosen, family.

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Here is a picture from the secret garden we made for them for their proposal!

-Rae

Why do we idealize the “dramatic” relationships?

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I am currently rewatching two of my favorite shows; Friends and One Tree Hill. I have seen them both all the way through at least once and love them both, but this time while watching them I have noticed a similarity I did not see before. . . both of the ‘Great’ love stories are SO dramatic.

Take Ross and Rachel to start with, the first 4 seasons or so it is all build up will they be together or won’t they. There was the meeting Ross at the plane, and the “I’m over you” phone call

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Then there is the short period of time where they were SO happy and you just cheered to yourself every episode because all was finally right in the Friends world.

And of course then comes the “WE WERE ON A BREAK!” saga, that would carry us through for many more episodes . . . seasons even!

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Fast forward a few years, they have a daughter and they STILL don’t get together. It takes them so many years to finally get it together that by season 10 they are still figuring it out.

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Then there is Lucas and Peyton from One Tree HIll. They go through a similar on and off again saga for the first 7 1/2 seasons of One Tree Hill. So much that when they finally do get married (at least we get to see that wedding) Lucas has been engaged and said “I Do” to someone else, all while writing a love story to Peyton. They have not been together more than they have been together throughout the seasons. And during their wedding, Haley even starts out with this

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Both of these relationships are so full of drama that not even the characters can figure out if they are going to be together until it is almost too late. And yet we LOVE them we claim them as #couplegoals we all go around trying to find the Ross to our Rachel.

Why is that?

Why do we crave drama, does that equal passion in our mind? The fact that they can never make up their minds or stay together for more than a season really makes us think they are made to be together? How in the world do we think they are going to have a healthy marriage when they have been running at the first sign of trouble for the last 10 years?

I believe this just sets us up for failure. We are so busy waiting for that “passion” that when we find our Monica and Chandler, or our Nathan and Haley we think it is boring and move on looking to fill that dramatic void TV has set us up to believe should be the leading characters in our lives.

Well, today is my 2nd wedding anniversary, and let me tell you that there was none of the Ross and Rachel drama involved in our courtship. Once we decided we wanted to be together, we were together. And then we worked our asses off to make sure that we stayed together, there were no breaks, no scandals no drama. Not to say we didn’t have our fair share of fights because let’s just get real EVERYONE FIGHTS. But fighting doesn’t equal passion and drama doesn’t equal love and we worked to stay together and happy through the fights and walked ourselves right through dating, engagement, and marriage just fine.

I took one of those stupid online quizzes the other day “What TV couple are you and your SO?” and guess what it came back as ROSS AND RACHEL! I sat there all. . . okay, I will give you the “He’s her lobster” version of Ross and Rachel, but don’t give me any of that “WE WERE ON A BREAK! ” Ross and Rachel. I want to be Nathan and Haley. I want to fall in love at 16 get married and work like HELL to get through the hard times. To grow together

I want to be  Monica and Chandler, or Nathan and Haley. I want to fall in love at 16 get married and work like HELL to get through the hard times. To grow together, to grow up together. To fight, hate each other at times but always fight for the love you want.

To make a choice and stick with it! Because in the end that is what love is, it is a choice every day to fight to push the other people to be their best self to be your best self for them.  To live your best life together!

 To live your best life together!

So why doesn’t TV show us those leading couples, why is there always the DRAMA, because then we are left looking for what we think passion is. But when it comes down to time to fight for what we want., to make a choice and stick with it. When we are forced to examine life together, we turn to, let’s take a break. Instead of let’s work this out. We think that if it is meant to be after 10 season and endless other relationships and marriages (If you are Ross) you will find your way back to each other. But that is not what love is, love isn’t finding your way back together, love is choosing to stay together. To fight for each other every day!

“I don’t believe in soulmates, and I don’t think that you & I were destined to end up together. What I do believe is that we fell in love & that we work hard for our relationship.”- Monica Geller

So forget Ross and Rachel and Lucas and Peyton. I want to make my choice, the same choice every day.

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Here is a picture of my husband and I celebrating our 2nd anniversary in San Fransisco this weekend. Yep, I got him these cheesy socks because we do traditional anniversary gifts and year two is cotton.

-Rae

 

The Elimination of FOMO!

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The Fear of Missing Out, something I think this generation is cursed with. We are constantly assaulted with all of the wonderful things that everyone  around us is doing. At any given minute any of our friends could be on a cruise, drinking margarita’s in the sun. But the worse cases of FOMO for me happen with things that are right down the road, they are things you easily could have attended if you had only known about it before it popped up on your instagram feed. This was the source of the most anxiety for me living in a city, what could I be doing instead of sitting on my couch curled up with my husband. Which is something I greatly enjoy doing, but someone just posted about a flea market in Cap Hill, and that new movie I wanted to see (or like semi wanted to see, or everyone says I should see) just came out. Or I know that the jazz group is putting on swing dancing lessons tonight, and I have always wanted to learn to swing dance. Or something as simple as I haven’t posted a good beer drinking picture on the instagram lately I should probably go check out a new brewery.

I always wanted to keep up with the pace of everyone around me, I wanted to be doing something just as cool, just to prove that I could. I didn’t even notice this was the source of my anxiety until it was eliminated from my life. Like most of the people in my generation the constant assault of instagram, Facebook, snapchat posts had simply become my normal.

And since I didn’t have very many friends I was constantly forcing my husband to do all of these things with me and even though I didn’t think this was causing me anxiety but here Except for the fact that the first weekend my friends in the PNW all did something together without me, I panicked to the point of literally making Mr. get in the car with me and just drive. . literally just drive so I wouldn’t be at the house. But I wasn’t stressed at all right? Here, I am not even a month later just realizing that that is exactly what it was doing, I wasn’t happy or excited for my friends, I would hit like on all of their posts and comment how cute they looked doing XYZ, but secretly I was wishing they would have invited me, or that I would have been somewhere even cooler.

Last month when we moved to the mountains I feared the fear of missing out for the first time cognitively  I worried about the concerts I would miss being in the middle of nowhere the nights of eating out at my favorite restaurants I wouldn’t get to do anymore. But here I am feeling the most content in my adult life

Here in our mountain town there are now raging parties happening on Friday night, there are no spur of the moment pop ups happening  in downtown. You don’t have to worry about that new movie because no one else has seen it either. But you can count on being invited to the all town broom hockey on Monday night, and you can probably count on watching the Bachelor with the ladies. You may not know everyone in the town very well but you can ensure that they all have a fairly similar life that you do.  And that when there is something going on you will know. I cannot be attached to my phone at all times, because it only works in the wifi, at my house! so I don’t need to look at what everyone else is posting during my lunch break or worry about making sure I post something every time I do something cool. I can focus on God, and life and the people around me. I can engage in conversations without any worry of phone interruptions I can meet new people because I am not too concerned with what the old people are doing. I can actually connect to the world around me.

It has been the most scary and freeing part of living here so far, the ability to immerse myself in the beauty around me the people, the mountains, the living where I can count the stars. I can enjoy life without any FOMO, and that has made all the difference.

-Rae

I live for the good days!

 

I live for the good days, they may be few and far between and of course they never come for the whole class, over even two people on the same day. But whenever 1 person has that rare, beautiful shining day it makes the terrible days. Which of course come for every single student on the exact same day.

The days when you are not sure you are going to make it through the blow after blow that come from seemingly all directions when all the kids are having break downs over the fact that they are not at home with their dog or because I won’t let them eat the glue cap or the marker or the magnetic letters, Hell because I won’t let them eat anything except food, or because god forbid I won’t let them eat lunch after taking only 5 pretend bites and pouring your milk on the floor so you could avoid drinking it. And yes these are all reasons that we have had break downs in the last TWO weeks.!

But goodness gracious on the good days they are full of love and sweetness, when you can see them light up after learning something new, those are the days you know for sure you are where you are supposed to be.

I know, I know but how do you get through all of those bad days, holding out for a good one? Because those good days are like the perfect good morning hug, the full body, arms around your neck, feet off the floor kind of hugs. If you can’t get through all the bad days waiting for one persons good day this job probably isn’t for you, because hell those breakdowns come multiple times a day and the good days come much much more rarely.

Today was one of those days for one of my students, she has not had the easiest transition back into school, well really she has been the reigning “Queen of the hotmess” in our classroom, full of breaking eye glasses, spitting on teachers, throwing chairs and a whole hell of a lot of “fuck you Ms. Kelsi’s” but today on week 3 day two she had what we like to call a GREAT day! A day where her entire behavior chart had smiley faces, and that thing is broken down into 15 minute periods so 26, 26 15 minute periods and she was a great listener and kind friend through all of them!

You know what happens when you have a GREAT day in Ms. Kelsi’s SpedTacular classroom. You get to pick the dance at the end of the day, of course she chose the “Whip Nae Nae” you get about 15 hugs an Ms. Kelsi is going to tell everyone that will listen that you had a great day. Because my lovely little Queen of the hot mess you deserve to know how well you did, and better believe you just gave me the “good morning hug” feeling and I need to hold onto that as long as possible. Because who knows what Week 3 day 4 is going to bring!

My Husband’s Hands

I work hard. . . I understand that, I work more hours than I want to admit, I think about my students more hours of the day then they will ever know.However my type of hard work is different than my husbands. . I get up every morning I go to a place where I do my work, I work for *normally a set amount of time and I am able to come home, where I am again *normally able to then focus on being a wife and a cat mother.

Yes yes I am a teacher so I spend more than the amount of weekends than I want planning my lessons, and more of my paycheck then I would want on school supplies and clothes and anything else I think my children need. I have adopted 23 wonderfully challenging children into my heart. . but this is different than what my husband does.

When people here what I do I get “oo you have such a special heart. . . I could never do what you do. . . oh the patience. ” I am told over and over that I am making a difference in people’s lives. When people here what Mr. does it is normally Ohh that is soo cool, I have no idea how to do that. But no one tells him that he is patient or special and no one thinks about how he is changing himself, our family or the lives of people in what he does.

 Mr. makes videos, commercials and corporate videos for retreats and Church’s and all sorts of videos that most people don’t see that are made for companies and bride’s and any one else that can afford them.

These videos are made for demanding clients who completely disregard something called a work week or that Mr. has a wife and a life outside of their :30 second video. They expect him to work until 1am on a Saturday and get up on Monday and do it all again.

And he does.

He listens to their complaints, changes, he does what they want even when creatively he completely disagrees. He works 5-7 days a week anywhere from 8 to 10 to 12 to 15 hours a day. Sometimes he eats dinner with me and heads back to work, sometimes he lays down and waits for me to fall asleep and sneaks away his computer to see what the client has decided now.

So who is more patient? Me who deals with adorable children, who yes have significant special needs and sometimes bite, hit, kick me or spit in their backpack for fun, or in my face. But they are still 8 years old and adorable and when they are done they turn to me and say, “I am sorry Ms. Kelsi.” and when I come back in the room they light up and say ” I am so glad you are back.” and they mean it they love me just as much as I love them.

Mr. he pours his whole heart into his work he finds something beautiful in every painfully corporate project, and when the client yells and changes something they approved for the 15th time he sighs and does it. He doesn’t get the hug and the I am sorry. His clients don’t love him, they are thankful for his return. So to me . .. he wins the patience award.

And even if his clients aren’t happy for his return even if they don’t see his dedication as the most diligent patient work they could get. . I do. I am inspired by his commitment his love and his beautiful work everyday. He makes videos come to life in a way I never could, and he sees something beautiful in every video even when it is painfully dull.

And he deals with adults. .. which come on we all know can be so much worse than children.

So just remember that I may have “such a special heart” so does everyone else, it just comes out a little differently.

❤ Kelsi Rae

To Be Seen.

Today I met a man named Gus, Gus had a light in his eyes and blue coat and ratty white hat, he was standing beside the Conoco barely making eye contact with anyone but expectantly watching every car that drove into the parking lot.

He was the guy that people see walking up to them and instantly get defensive, hide that last bit of cash they have in their pockets, avoid eye contact, make a quick shuffle back into their car. They guy in the parking lot that no one truly treats like a guy at all.

And there he was walking up to me as I started to pump my gas, and I was no exception I ducked my head in my car hoping he would pass by. Then I heard,

“Excuse me miss, sorry to bother you.”

So I spun around and met him with full eye contact, finding a man with the tiniest shimmer in his sad eyes, his eyes that said he would rather be doing anything than standing in that parking lot asking me for a few dollars.

He told me that he was staying in a motel, (which are strung every few feet around this part of East Colfax, a motel every block full of strung out junkies, children, dogs, people trying to get on their feet, and even a few hookers. He stated he was staying at one of these motels, with his 8 year old twin daughter, daughters that don’t but could have easily gone to my school.

He told me about his ex wife, and how they are all crammed in the one hotel room, he told me about the hotel with cheaper rooms down the street but that he didnt want to move his daughters again, and through all of this yes.. he asked me for money.

I didn’t give him any, mostly because I didn’t have any. But I did spend more time than the other people around talking to him, I did look him in the eye and learn his name. I did ask about his daughters and talk about the difficulty of getting to school everyday. I did take the time to see him.

And as he walked away I told him, “I am sorry Gus I hope you get the money for the room.” He simply looked over his shoulder and said, “We will.” I laughed and said, “Hopeful.” He simply replied, “Always.”

This man who has so much more to deal with and so much less to deal with it with than I do, this man that walks his daughter to school from the motel and then goes to his part time job that doesn’t pay them enough money to eat and sleep in the motel every night so they have to choose one or the other. This man was Alway’s hopeful.

This reminded me that even if I can’t give everyone money, and I wouldn’t want and can grant them the simple act of being seen. Just to make eye contact and remind them that they are truly human and worthy of my time, we so often seem to step on and over these people, assuming that they are lower than we are for the circumstances in their life.

Gus helped me commit myself to seeing more people not just looking at them but truly seeing them.

❤ Kelsi Rae

That battle with alcoholism, that battle with herself, that became a battle for us all

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Mr. lost his aunt this week, it could be said that she lost her battle with alcoholism, now I know this isn’t like saying she lost her battle with cancer and yet she did lose, and she lost this battle far before she lost her life. She had 3 children an older boy and 2 twin girls. Now I have seen photos of her with them as children, she seemed happy, loving and loved, she had a husband, and children, a life.

Now I wasn’t there when as this war began I did not watch as one drink became 4 became a bottle, and a night cap, and a wake up call but I can imagine the progression, the war within herself the pull of her beautiful children, her life and the liquor winning out every time, I can picture the sadness from loosing yet again pushing her to grab that last swig of that bottle. Most parents want to see their children grow, want to see prom, graduation, meet the new girlfriend watch them fall in love and get married, most moms want to be there for all the little things too, I am 24 and I still call my mom at the end of a bad day just to talk. I can imagine that she would have wanted that too.

By the time I met her the battle had been lost, she lost her marriage, her children would’t speak to her, her career, and even a few toes. She had been stripped of all the pieces that make life worth living. And yes she woke up everyday and made the choice to start the day with that one drink that turned into 10, I know she could have found a meeting, worked the program, made amends, done something. I acknowledge her choice but I also acknowledge her fight.

When I met her met her we thought she was dying, her liver was failing and she was literally filling with fluid, everyone went to her, everyone said their goodbyes, her children broke the silence and sat by her side and then     she got better some part of her began working again filtering out all the bullshit that had been festering inside and she lived

Then there was limbo, where do you go from here as a family, do you welcome her back with open arms and hope that this was the final scare that she will turn the corner of the war? Sometimes that is all it takes in a war, one battle one and the tide turns. And what does she do after you walk out of the hospital after your whole family already bid you adea, sent you into the after life. How do you wake up in the morning with that same war waging inside you and continue to fight?

Well that was 2 years ago and there were times she could have won times I would see her at family functions and think, just keep it up and they will come around, keep fighting you can push alcohol right over that cliff.

But the family has also been fighting a battle. They had to fight their nature to reach out and help, their desire to find something, anything that will make her stop, that would bring their daughter, sister, aunt, mother back to them and by the time she cheated death, by the time I met her they knew they had lost. And though she was still alive, they mourned her loss, they mourned. When they spoke of her it was in sadness, often in past tense.

Where do you go from there?

Where do you turn?

Back to the same thing that started this long fought war and turn she did, until 2 years later the liquor finally took her body, even though it took her life, her soul long before. And for the family that day ended their fighting as well they got to lay the body of their mother, daughter, sister, aunt to rest alongside the life they had buried within themselves.

Now whose right is it to say this was a choice she made so “how bad do you expect me to feel” who has the right to declare it anything but what it was, a war.

How #Lucie is Light changed my life.

So up untill 2 years ago I had never even heard of the band Gungor, and then I started going to Bloom, a church that they founded, and to be honest I was quite proud of the fact that I had never heard of them before, I was proud to be the person going to church for church and not for the off-chance to meet a celebrity.

Ok I have to be honest it was pretty cool the nights that they would lead worship, we would get to sing their songs as a congregation and it was like a min-concert. I fell in love with Lisa Gungors voice when they would sing I would find myself hoping that she would sing more and more. But aside from that I never really jumped on the Gungor band wagon. I never bought any of their music, I never listened to them outside of church and when they held a concert I didn’t feel the need to go. But they were cool enough.

And then they had Lucie. . . their second daughter who happened to be born with down syndrome and the way that they handled that birth and transition was one of the most loving and God-Like things that I have ever witnessed. They made it clear that they were initially heartbroken, this little girl they held was not the little girl they had imagined for 9 months and probably longer, your dreams and visions for their life have to be altered (You can read more about that here http://www.gungormusic.com/blog/2014/10/lucie-is-ligh) But they also discovered something in her, something that is so pure and wonderful that radiates out of their every picture of her and story about her, and mostly from their new song. Light.

Light is on the Gungor’s newest album, One Wild Life, which is also one of my favorite and most played albums now, I sincerely hope everyone will go out and listen to it now it is beautifully done. But Light is gorgeous. .

They found a perfection in the imperfection, they were humbled and shocked, and in love with this little girl, who by all standards was DIFFERENT!

As a Special education teacher who watches parents handle the nuances and challenges of having a child who is by all means different and the way that they handle these things in varying manners, This realization was something that I clung too,

Thought I have never officially met the Gungor’s I have seen them from across the basement of Bloom, I have felt joy and sadness at their instagram pictures, I have heard stories from mutual friends, but I love these people I feel a sense of togetherness with the Gungor’s, they found their light in a beautiful little girl named Lucie who happened to be born in a way that will make the world forever stare at her, and call her different.

And I find my life over and over again in the students that God has placed in front of me, the students that have all sorts of differences, the students that are constantly fought against and put in the “other” category. I see God in these students, I see the ways that he can make all of us unique and the way that all of these challenges bring us closer to him, and closer as humans.

This is the way that God has made the human condition and I wish that more people could see the beauty in our differences the beauty in the little girl that has to have an adult come with her to third grade, the beauty in the little girl who has a hard time keeping her hands to herself, or the little boy who can’t see and has to use a cane to get around, beauty in the boy who has not learned to control his emotions and throws chairs when he gets upset but so desperately wants to fit in and be accepted by his peers.

These are my beauties these are the children that have completely changed their parents lives, the children that were supposed to have a different life, but have shaped and changed the world in so many ways.

These students are beautiful, these students are light.

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❤ Kelsi Rae

Why getting married two weeks before starting my career totally rocks!

So I got married on August 7th, this year and then exactly 10 days later I started my teaching career most people think this sounds like a super fast turn over and I should still be relaxing by the beach with my new husband not spending my nights pouring over IEP’s and schedules and student work while my husband is at home. However I am so grateful that I made both of these transitions within a month of each other.

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  1. My husband is totally amazing! He has sat up with me while I was almost in tears over an IEP I had to write in 24 hours… my first IEP by the way, and then let me cuddle up next to him to make myself feel better
  2. I came home today to a CLEAN house, he works from home and used his time to clean the house, so instead of coming home to the same mess that I left I got to come home to a sparkling house.
  3. I have someone to bitch to about everything that happens throughout the day even when it is totally unjustified he will nod and agree and tell me that it will all be ok.
  4. I don’t have to worry about being the best first year teacher I can be, AND dating, and honestly I am so excited to never have to worry about dating again, and that is the best.
  5. I missed the Tinder time of dating, Ben and I frequently joke about “wait which way is yes, swiping left or swiping right?”
  6. I get to feel like such an adult I get to be married and a full fledged teacher, I am officially in a new stage of life and I will get to look back in 40 years and remember this time with that same man and look at how much my career and marriage has changed.
  7. And Ben gets to be there with me every step of my “adult” way.
  8. And most of all, I get to come home to my best friend every single day, I get to drink a beer with him, I get to brew beer with him, I get to watch him grow, we get to grow together, we get to be together and I couldn’t think of a better way to start this new stage of my life.

❤ Kelsi Rae