I’ve been reading labels since I was a kid. My mom taught us at an early age because it helped her eliminate choices for us in the cereal aisle. I can still remember the day that my Aunt reinforced my belief in butter by making me read the margarine label. In my 4-H sewing club, I learned to read fabric labels and as I’ve grown older I appreciate natural fibers more but really can’t do without a little spandex – who are we kidding….it probably goes back to the butter.

I have a pretty large family of cousins, second cousins, second cousins once removed and so on. All shapes, sizes, personalities, and for being a traditionally conservative group originating from Irish immigrants, we have some diversity. At family reunions we sort ourselves into the in-laws and the outlaws for friendly competition but at the end of the day, we all appreciate each other. I’m sure the potluck and the cooler of adult beverages helps.

Over the years I’ve made friends with people from all walks of life seeking people who offer new perspectives, different backgrounds, and who help fill my tank instead of empty it. I like to think that while my closest friends are those who share my values and beliefs, I also have people in my life that challenge my thoughts and provide opportunities for me to keep an open mind.

My point….and yes I’m getting there, is that it is “what’s inside” that matters. It’s easy to say….so many clichés to support the motto, but take a closer look at what shapes your decisions every day. The food you eat, the clothes you wear, the family you love, and the friends you choose, I’m pretty sure it’s what’s inside that matters most.