HaPpY New Year! What a fun evening bringing in the new year with great friends. I feel truly blessed and am looking forward to the many blessings in store for 2019. I believe life returns the energy you put out there, and I chose love and positivity. I am not sure if I explained how I came up with the website link that I did, lifeissosweet.com. My Dad fell ill with non-hodgkins lymphoma twice, five years apart. He ended up receiving a stem cell transplant from Duke Medical Center. By the way, I am a huge Coach K fan and love his book, ‘Leading With the Heart’.
While he was going through chemo treatments he would go to his place and at that point we (caretakers) all knew to let him be… be at peace with God. He wouldn’t talk about his place until years later. It was there that he shared his intimate moments with God. My Dad’s quote that I cherish is when he said, with tears in his eyes, after going to his place, “Life is so sweet”! I volunteered for an organization called Roc Solid https://rocsolidfoundation.org/ once and helped build a tree house for a child with cancer. In that tree house volunteers were to sign their names, and I placed my Father’s quote. It means a lot to me. Life really is sweet.
My 2019 will be full of purpose. My daughter and I were walking through the a local state park this afternoon enjoying the warmer weather when she informed me that there was another shooting in a neighborhood that feeds into her high school. Many of her friends live in there. I am not sure what is going on, but I do know that it saddens my heart. I now you’ve heard the saying before, ‘hurt people, hurt people’. I believe this to be true and I pray for the hearts of those that feel such a void that they want to hurt others. Life is so sweet and so short.
Cheers to 2019! As I look back and reflect on the past year, I express gratitude… gratitude for my family, friends and my own courage and strength. I thought I was strong, but little did I know how strong I could be. Life has a funny way of preparing you for the future. I believe things happen for a reason and that God has a funny way of showing you who is in charge. God is so good!
Over the last few days I have been blessed to enjoy warmer weather, sunshine, time with family and friends and a little yoga inspiration. I set goals for 2019 and plan to offer myself grace. Being too hard on ourselves evokes anxiety and I have never felt so much anxiety as I did when I taught an AP class on the high school level. The students were crying and flipping out over college applications and their test scores. YES, grades and education are extremely important. Our health and well being are as well.
There is also lot of anxiety among our youth to be perfect. It’s important for them to know that adults struggle with it too. Social media is flooded with perfect lives- mine was too for a long time. There’s a lot of pressure to be the perfect wife, the perfect mom, perfect daughter, student- the list goes on. I am going to focus on being ‘real’ in 2019. I thought I couldn’t be more authentic, but then I realized that I was far from it.
I am also going to strive to be more like my daughter. I am grateful for the lessons she has taught me in life. She is such a strong young woman. When I see the struggles she faces, I realize how much more forgiving I need to be with myself. I plan to be more me in 2019 and stay true to myself… advice I often share with others. It’s time to live my own advice. Bring it on 2019!
There is something that has been bothering me lately, maybe it’s because it’s that time of year and I tend to get more sensitive – is that possible? I am already such a sap. I have been reflecting on this past year and everything that I have been through. I must say that 2018 was one of my toughest years, if not the toughest. I not only separated from my husband of sixteen years, but my daughter became a freshman in high school. I thought I was a teenager expert. I mean I did teach teenagers for almost a decade. I’ve always been a very protective mom and I’m trying hard to grant my daughter more freedom. As I type, she and some friends are off on their own eating lunch. A little angst – yes! Of course, every mother’s worst nightmare would be for something to happen to their child. I CAN NOT even imagine. This is becoming more and more of a reality lately, as I am allowing my daughter more freedom. I truly understand where my parents were coming from when I was growing up. With that being said, before the holidays we had quite the scare as a community. There was a fatal shooting of a local teenager and then an associated threat to our high school – the high school that I taught at and my daughter attends. I woke in the middle of the night to another mother’s texts warning me about the threat. Two-thirds of the student population stayed home that day, including my daughter.
My sister, who teaches at the school, went to work. That’s a whole other issue (teachers and guns). Students and teachers should be able to learn in a safe and non-threatening learning environment. I don’t know the answer. I believe this is a complicated issue and above my head. What I do know is that, in all my years teaching high school, I’ve never experienced more stress and anxiety from the students. The desire to be perfect like everyone on social media. I am heading in a different direction here and will blog about perfection next. Blogging is so new to me, but what a great outlet during a divorce and as a mom. Back to allowing my teenage daughter to have more freedom and the threat to her school… she will be off to college in three years and I worry. I worry about the mental health state of our younger generation. This is one one of the reasons I wanted to have a focus on mental health with this blog. I also worry about something happening to her. There was a local young woman, named Ashanti Billie, who was only 19 years old when she was abducted from a local military base where she worked. Ashanti was found dead in NC days after she disappeared. This saddens me because we have nothing in place to help in situations like this. My daughter, your daughter, your son or parent could go missing and nothing is in place to help alarm anyone of the situation.
As much as I love the holiday season, I must say it isn’t always happiness for all. Reality is that some are experiencing sadness. I spoke with a dear friend tonight and she mentioned that her mother wanted to be left alone for Christmas this year. My friend lost her Father two years ago and it changed their family traditions forever. She and her siblings had a hard time with their mother’s decision, but understood. They were worried that her mom didn’t really want to be left alone and torn between granting her wishes and heading her way. I am sure many can relate to this situation. This dear friend has been there for me through so much and sometimes I feel guilty because it’s easy to forget that others are going through hard times as well. I must thank her for everything she has done for me this year and all of the support she has shown me; therefore, I am going to get better at practicing mindfulness next year. Let’s express #compassion and #patience for others. We never know what they’re going through.
“Tears come from the heart, not from the brain.” – Anonymous
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And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13