I’m not sure whether people really have mottos they live by. But I have no doubt that there are certain phrases, collections of words and random patterns of syllables and emphasis that make us glad. Often when we least expect it, we’ll hear a specific sentence that makes us pause. Words have the power to stop our thoughts, put a smile on our faces or redirect our intentions and goals. So whether or not we decide to “live by our own mottos,” we each certainly have a stockpile of sayings that rattle around in our heads. They play on repeat like a catchy summer song, and then disappear for a year or more while you encounter a new challenge, only to resurface again on a long walk or a drive through the hills of Virginia.

My dad, Tree, was a poet. He was also a wonderful father, a lawyer, a scene-stealer and–by all accounts–a little too raucous in all the right ways. In 1979, he wrote a poem for a dear friend’s widow.

Now, 33 years later, I find myself embarking on yet another unexpected adventure. As I move to London and enroll in graduate school, his words have echoed in my head for the last year. They remind me everyday about the importance of capturing every moment of joy and sorrow as it comes by. We are here for a fleeting moment and owe it to ourselves to soak up every moment.

Join me as I cradle every spark of this new chapter. I aim to try and recount the funny and exciting moments. I probably won’t include the less flattering ones. I can’t guarantee how consistent I’ll be, but I promise that whatever I write will sound like I’m telling you the story in person over a beer at our local dive.

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