"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."

Jane Howard

I owe almost everything to my parents. My mum, Coco, shepherds 5-year-olds at preschool, and my dad teaches fourth grade. Mum and Dad Even though they were busy safeguarding other people's children all day, they never forgot about their own. They taught me to live with respect, joy and dignity.

Megan(bottom), Shannon(middle), me(top)

I have two beautiful sisters: Shannon, the oldest, and Megan, my twin. Shannon saves lives as a firefighter paramedic. Megan brightens them as an art student at UF.

Every few weekends, I visit my boyfriend Alex. We have been dating for about a year and a half, but I've know him for much longer. Alex and Molly My mother was his preschool teacher (how's that for a hilarious meet-the-parents encounter?). Alex studies mechanical engineering 80 miles to the northeast at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. I miss him often.

As a replacement for their college-bound babies, my parents added a new addition to the family: Hal, our hundred-pound, slightly bowlegged golden retriever. Hal We should have known what we were getting into; the first time we saw Hal, he was using paws the size of fists to bully his beleaguered mother and fuzz ball brothers and sisters. Oysters in Boston But for all his brawn, he is a wonderful companion and comfort to my parents, who continue to battle acute empty-nest syndrome.

I love to decorate and design rooms, and I love to cook. It's amazing the passions you discover when you live in a dorm room. I love to explore. I love to travel.

I'm a huge sports fan, and I'll watch and play just about anything. Of course, nothing compares to spending the afternoon with 90,000 of your closest friends as the Gators dominate in the Swamp. Gator football team Most weekends, I play soccer in a women's league. And anytime I am fortunate enough to make it to the east coast, you can find me in the ocean on a surfboard.

I like to play with words. In the rare moments when those words align in harmony, I feel content. That is why I write.