Oh what a year! On this last day of 2018 (and now into the early hours of 2019), I sit with a glass of wine, in my comfy pj’s and watching the final Hallmark Christmas movies. I also find myself struggling with what to put on paper.  There were plenty of good times and memories, but there were also other events and situations that made it a unique year. I can’t say everything was bad. In fact, depending on perspective choice, what seemed awful in the moment were actually blessings in disguise.

Okay, after an all day deliberation, I’m going to go with a mini year in review and consider it a “Uniquely Blessed” year.

White wine
My idea of New Year’s Eve!

The Good

  • My children are doing great
  • We are healthy
  • My son and I visited Arizona and experienced the wonder and awe of Sedona & The Grand Canyon
  • My daughter and her boyfriend visited Disney
  • I went to Arizona a second time, exploring Sedona further and I had the opportunity to meet many new people
  • I became unemployed and it’s quite okay
  • My family is awesome
  • I met some amazing writers, found some terrific blogs, have gained new subscribers and followers, and have made priceless new friendships
  • We started a dinner club—so much laughter and memories in the making
  • Reaffirmed true friendships
  • Recharged and renewed my creative side
  • Paid off my car & improved my sleeping habits

The Not-So Good

  • Income reduction
  • Friends and family who received a cancer diagnosis
  • Deaths
  • Realization of the number of people I know with addictions, illnesses or mental health concerns
  • More than one occasion where people considered ending their lives.  This is so hard for me to wrap my head around because, while I have had my struggles and my rock bottoms, I’ve never felt that much sadness, pain, depression or loneliness.  Please know, if you are contemplating this path, there are people who love and need you, and there is help 1-800-273-8255 in the U.S. (There is joy here as no one acted on their plan and each committed to getting help).
Challenge
Perspective Shift

Perspective Shifts

The loss of income is temporary; now is the time to focus on doing something that brings fulfillment, challenge and rewards.  I have 12-13 more years before retirement at minimum, I might as well be doing something I truly want to do.  Perhaps it’s less money, but a much more positive environment.

Although it feels like a betrayal of trust, do not hesitate to reach out and let someone know when another is hurting and threatening to end their life.  We just might have to tell a family member or another close friend what’s been going on.  Life is such a precious gift from God.  We all struggle, and yes some more than others, but there is nothing that isn’t fixable.  Do not be afraid to reach out to others for help.  Keeping everything bottled in and then residing in our own heads is never good.  We are all loved, people need us, we are worthy, we are blessed and we bring blessings to others. 

I don’t have a perspective shift for why cancer, addictions and other illnesses occur and of course we know we will all die at some time.  What I do know is God doesn’t cause these things, but walks along with us in our pain, struggles, recovery and grief.  He is there as we battle our addictions.  He blesses us daily and we need to keep our ears (and hearts) open to His voice.  I always say, He rarely speaks to us in a clap of thunder but rather in the whisper of a gentle breeze.  Be aware and be ready!

Writing, Blogging & Creativity 

My most viewed post this past year is And Then One Day.  My personal favorites are Transforming and We Can’t Be Afraid of the Tough Conversations.  This year, my goal (note, it’s not a resolution lol) is to write at least one post a week.

This year, I am also adding in a new component to the blog (and life) titled Gratitude 365.  You will see more on this in the next few days.  To keep our minds open to new perspectives, we must be willing to see all sides of a situation.  To do this, we need effective, intimate and sometimes difficult conversations to occur regularly, as well as to embrace vulnerability.  Additionally, we must recognize we aren’t always right and need to concede now and then.  Wrapping this all up in gratitude is such an authentic way to live.

The Blogging community is pretty amazing.  If you aren’t reading these now or following on Facebook at least, I encourage you to check out these bloggers; you’ll be glad you did:

The Thinking Branch

The Mama on The Rocks

Trial by Storm

Make it Ultra

Her View from Home

Fractured Faith Blog

There are many others and I will be spotlighting several each month.  They say it takes a village.  This community has a genuine interest in helping each other grow.  I am blessed to be in their company. 

I will make further advances in my research so I can finally take the next step in writing.  I am going to put renewed focus and energy into the flower arranging business and, in partnership with a friend, new items will be available later this year.

The  Big Stuff:  For the New Year; For Me (perhaps you too)!

  • I enter the year empowered and with a clear heart and mind!
  • Never settle; life is too short to accept anything or anyone who doesn’t ignite the fire and passion in my heart and soul!
  • I will NOT accept being “filler” or being simply good enough until they find someone better.
  • Know my worth—in both the value I bring to the table and for what I deserve.
  • Remove myself from the toxic behaviors of people and workplaces.
  • Vowing to live life to the fullest; it too short to live any other way.
  • If I have wronged you and I don’t know it; I apologize.
  • If you have wronged me, it’s all good—I forgive you.
  • Embrace my creative side and make beautiful works to share with others. 
    Creativity
    Arrangement for a new airbnb
  • Understand that intelligence and communication are both vitality important (and sexy). Never dumb myself down.
  • Stand up for myself and others. There is always more to the story. Do not let the opinion or perception of one person define me.
  • Do research before contributing to gossip (better yet, don’t join in). If I didn’t see it or hear it with my own eyes or ears—I don’t know all of the facts.
  • Check ego at the door!
  • Realize that withholding information is almost as bad as or equal to a lie; value truth.
  • If we aren’t honest with ourselves, it’s difficult to be that way with others.
  • Partners/spouses/lovers can be wonderful, but we don’t need one to survive, be successful or to be happy. Happiness is temporary; joy comes from within and not because of something or someone else. 
    Joy Inside
    By Heather A. Stillufsen
  • Work on being the best person we can be before we bring all of our personal baggage into any type of relationship.
  • Do not accept anyone’s definition of love that involves emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Get help or get out at the first signs; the behavior rarely changes.
  • Be vulnerable, be authentic, be honest.
  • Practice forgiveness and gratitude daily.
  • Stop and think before giving in to temptations. Have we looked around you to see what blessings we already have? Are we truly not content or merely bored? Refocus the energy or restlessness into something good!
  • Don’t dismiss a person’s request for help. It may come roaring like a tidal wave or be barely noticeable. Be perceptive, don’t sit idle thinking it’s someone else’s problem, you just might save a life.
  • Don’t be offended by every damn petty thing out there. Be offended by poverty, homelessness, hunger, abuses, trafficking, etc. Get involved!
  • Basic needs and safety to be met, yes; entitlement to anything else—nope! Check that at the door as well or be willing to work harder. Life doesn’t require participation trophies at every corner.
  • Set boundaries as our time and energy is precious.  It’s okay to say “No”.  
  • Teach others how to treat us by deciding what we will and won’t accept.
  • Never feel guilty about self-care. It’s vital for our total well-being! 
    Self-Care
    by Heather A. Stillufsen
  • Be kind, be kind, be kind!
  • Have faith, hope, laughter and love in our hearts. Share those things with others.
  • Everyday, work toward being better than yesterday.
  • Do not sweat the small annoyances.
  • Don’t be afraid to shift our perspectives,  beliefs, opinions, thoughts and actions; we are never right 100% of the time.
  • If I didn’t say it enough: be kind, be respectful, spread love!

 

Here is to a beautiful, successful, healthy, happy, year. One also filled to the brim with laughter, friendships, peace, light, blessing and most of all LOVE! ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

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