I read Kelle Hampton's Bloom in two sittings. One of those was tonight, and it was four marvelous hours long.

I pre-ordered the book, so I actually received it in April, but as the end of the semester and the beginning of the summer, (and then the whirlwind of the pageant) go, it ended up on the bookshelf. Unread, but not unopened. I had time to finger through the pages, oohing over the photos, itching for time to sit and take it all in.

Finally, I have made time. Finally, I told myself that it was time, that I needed these words. That it was time to hear all about what it means to bloom.

So I read it- I drank it in. I marked words and paragraphs. I let Kelle's journey, her changes and revelations, wash over me and change my way of thinking. I let the story of personal growth move me to tears, and sit with me in a way that I have not let anything before.

I know I am different now than I was a year ago. But I have little to go on, few ways to describe that change, and articulate where I want it to take me. Bloom gave me a template, a way to look at this one wild and precious life, and it had me asking myself, "What do I want to do with this?"

In theory, I have every opportunity in the world at my finger tips. I could do anything. I could be anything. Reading Kelle's story showed me a new way to look at that, it gave me a new reason to want to seize every opportunity. But more importantly, it helped me see that if I don't, if something doesn't go my way somewhere down the line, I can still make the best of it. I still make this life the best one that I can.

I know that through this year I have bloomed. So much more than ever before, in new and amazing ways. I know that I can, and will, continue to bloom.

I could not thank Kelle enough for sharing her story, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I cannot thank her enough for showing- or rather, for reminding me- that anyone can bloom, in any life.

So last year, I told myself, this too will make me stronger.
This year I will remind myself of something that hit me, that I underlined, and that I knew I needed to hear- "...It was a fearless thing to do, and I wanted more fearlessness in my life. I wanted to act on hunches and have faith in myself. I wanted to do some big things with my one wild and precious life." 

Read Bloom, guys. Borrow it from me. Or your library. Or for pete's-sake just buy it. It's worth it, I promise.

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