Authentic …

In 2016 I survived. BARELY. In 2017 I recovered. THANKFULLY. And in 2018 I lived. HAPPILY. I feel like I loved and found peace and contentment in every moment that I was given this year. I felt joy and found happiness even on my toughest days. And for some reason this came easier than it ever has. I let go of A LOT. Sometimes maybe more than I should have. But I make no apologies. It’s what felt right in the moment that I was sitting in. Sure there are things that I wish I could change and things that I wish I had done differently, but for the most part, 2018 was exactly what I needed it to be. It was life, my life, unfolding and evolving in the most normal of ways. I needed a year like this. BIG TIME. And I am grateful that God blessed me with it. As each day passed I tried to cherish each moment as a treasured gift. I think I did a pretty good job of that. I took each situation and circumstance for what they were and stayed in the moment. I was PRESENT feeling my way through and learning what I could. It was not a year full of change or movement or victories, but it certainly was a year that was packed full of wonderful memories. Memories that were made with some incredible souls. There is no doubt that 2018 was a good year for me.

So what then, can I expect from 2019? The last few days of 2018 I spent a lot of time trying to come up with my New Year Mantra. I have done this for so many years now that it should be easy. But it never is. I really put a lot of thought into it because this one word will follow me for the next 365 days. It is a reminder of what I choose to accept and bring into my life. Last year I chose the word “Free” and I can’t tell you how accurate that became. In 2018 I allowed myself to be freely me and I loved it. Even the messy parts. I didn’t push too hard to grow. I didn’t push too hard to succeed. I didn’t cling to or reach for much of anything. I was just grateful to have the moments God felt I needed. I guess years like this come when you overcome some ugly things. Well, at least it did for me. And again, it felt right.

I remember after my mom passed away, I asked God for some time to JUST BE. I didn’t want to grow or change or mature or be anymore than what I was. Basically I asked for a life break! But it wasn’t what I wanted long term. I just wanted enough time to allow what happened to me to sink in so that I could move gracefully into my future. And He graciously let me have it.

I feel like that was what 2018 was for me. A break. A time when I got back to the basics of ME and nurtured the NEW me that I became after being sick again. This me is different for sure. But I wouldn’t necessarily say it came from growth. It is more along the lines of acceptance. In a good way. Like finding peace over things that I cannot or won’t change. Being content with less. Processing more. Seeing situations clearer. Thinking harder. Appreciating more. And loving deeper in every day that passed and in every experience I had. And never wanting more.

So after a year like 2018, what one word could possibly hold the meaning to all I want 2019? I absolutely loved everything about 2018 but I believe that it’s time to feed the passions that God has poured into me. Again. To do this I need to feed my soul with beautiful things and avoid toxicity as much as possible. I need to make sure that the people who I walk through this life with and the people who I choose to expose myself to are genuine, kind and live with good intentions. I want reciprocal and loving connections with humans who are REAL. I truly feel that God has been calling me for more and to accept less from others could hinder my reply to His calling. To deny the fire that He has placed in my heart would be innately wrong. I see it as squandering the days that I have been given and living disingenuously. But this is a tough one for me. Putting myself out there again, taking chances, setting goals, and chasing dreams is especially difficult coming out of the year I just had. I was comfortable and safe. But I cannot deny that God is moving me to live my truth. Oh boy, is He ever! So I guess I just have to trust Him and know that I’m ready for whatever my future holds. I need to believe that I am capable of whatever He places on my heart and I need to live faithfully, genuinely, passionately and bravely in their pursuit.

Well, I hope you all have a YEAR where you live authentically!!!

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Home for the holidays (in heart, mind, body and soul) …

My son, George, came home from college last night. I am so happy! Although Sid won’t be making it home this year and our house won’t be as full this holiday season as it has been in the past, I have a hard time feeling bad for myself. If I’ve learned anything over the past few years it’s that TIME is precious and HOME can very much so be a feeling or a state of mind. Again, change will always bring this MOM heart of mine a little bit of sorrow and a whole lot of joy. The process of growing and letting go, as a part of motherhood, is something that I suspect will challenge me for the rest of my life. But I can’t deny that regardless of proximity my heart is full knowing that the people I love most are where life has taken them. I know that they are where they feel they need to be. And THAT is beautiful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you return HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (whether it be in heart, mind, body or soul)!!!

Some wonderful people …

I’m not sure if it’s the holidays but I have been thinking a lot about how much life changes … and DOESN’T change. Change is not something I see, day to day, as anything HUGE. It is most visible to me when I look back across time. People age, we move, we get married, we get divorced, we change careers, we have babies and grand children, we get sick, we get well, we have losses and we have moments of joy. Life keeps moving. Things CHANGE over time and that is just a part of life. But what I’ve been thinking about most is what DOESN’T change. And specifically those relationships that have remained a constant in my life. I am SO THANKFUL for them. These are the relationships that have withstood the test of time and have weathered significant trials. These are meaningful connections with good people that have profoundly effected my quality of life. They give me strength, courage and support. These souls make me feel loved and wanted. There are no hidden agendas with them. They are genuine and I am blessed to live life with them. Sharing moments with them all year is a gift, but around the holidays am reminded of how much life changes and how much I appreciate their loyalty and love.

Well, I hope you all have a day that is shared with some wonderful people!!!

Looking back and moving forward …

This morning I was looking at my Facebook Memories and realized that 5 years ago today Sidney and I attended a traveling college open house event. She was at the beginning part of her junior year and this visit would be the catalyst to more than I could have ever imaged. This would eventually be the university Sidney would choose to attend.

In the post I struggled with all of it. I guess nothing has changed there, HA! But it was amazing to see how much time DID change things. I remember that day perfectly. It would be the beginning of so much; a pre-college stay on campus, tours of the city, the application process, a portfolio, her senior year of high school and what would come to be her final year at home. What a journey it has been. To see how much she has grown is incredible. She has accomplished much. As I progressed through all of that with her I could not deny that she was on the right path. She FIT perfectly through every door that was opened for her. I watched her fall in love with all of it. And because she had the courage to take a chance on herself she has now created a wonderful life for herself. Despite being so young at the time my baby girl chose her future wisely. She listened to her heart and committed to nurturing and growing the gifts and talents God gave her. And in what seems like the blink of an eye … “my baby” girl grew up.

Five years.

A lot can happen in 5 years. Nothing in our lives looks the same as it did back then. Applying this knowledge to our futures fills me with a sense of excitement, but also with a little MOM sadness too. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the simpler times when my big kids where little. I do. But watching them mature and seeing them chase their dreams and achieve their goals brings me overwhelming amounts of joy. I have mentioned before that this process comes with many ups and downs for me. I don’t do any of this gracefully. I feel my way through it. I’m thankful that my kids allow me to SIT with all of it in my own way. After all, it’s not just them who has been growing in all of this. I have learned and changed too. I am honestly fascinated at how so many lives can grow together yet still be on their own personal paths. I have come to believe that THIS is what life and love should look like when they are set in motion over a lifetime. And I don’t think I have ever been a part of something more beautiful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you look back and move forward!!!

And then there were two …

Sid left very early this morning to return to school. With George already at school that leaves just Libs and Reese at home. The whole house sounds and feels different. It looks different too. Inside is a stark aftermath of a busy summer. Outside looks almost barren with the lack of cars. The changes are almost disorienting. After coming home from moving Sid into her dorms her freshman year a friend of mine came over to visit me. She said that she was shocked by the energy change in our home. And I couldn’t agree with her more. I was struck at that very moment with a true understanding of what it meant when people say “making your house a home”. I had always lived that way but it was such a different way to experience those feelings. Our house is a living breathing thing because of the souls who both live and visit here. They are the ones who make it a home. And the changes I see and feel around here are because of the love I feel for them. Do I wish that they were always here? Yes. A million times, yes. But I also love the things that this house has become because of their absence. Adulthood comes with new challenges and new sources of joy. This is now the place where they return to share all of that with me. I am comforted knowing that this house is a place that, no matter where life takes them, will always be their home. It is their safe haven in tough times and a place to celebrate all the good. A place that they can always count on to receive unconditional love.

We are considering a big move in the next two years and my thoughts have been drawn to our future house. Where will it be? What will it look like? It’s a bit anxiety provoking with all the unknowns. But then I remember that it really doesn’t matter where the house will be or what it will look like. That house will be filled with everything this house is and more. Undoubtedly our family will grow with marriages and grandchildren. I simply can’t wait for those kind of wonderful changes! Those kind of blessings sure makes all the growing pains that I feel now seem trivial. And when I get past all my wild emotions, deep down I know that our new house will become a home with a familiar story to tell. The story of a family who’s love, history, adventures and traditions make their house a home.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are down to two!!!

The times, they are a-changin’ …

Packed boxes. Full suitcases. Books. Supplies. Plane tickets. And lots and lots of different emotions. We have been HERE before. And I can’t seem to get that song out of my head.

Well, I hope you all have a day where “the times, they are a-changin’”!!!