Saturday, December 31, 2011

Making Resolutions....well, kind of...

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"Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

All over the world this song will be sung in some form or language.  New Year's is such a time of celebration for many people.  I have had big celebrations that I will remember forever, and very small ones that were just as another day.  There have those New Year's that I wish I could get back and do over... and those that I would wish to never remember.  But always I have a feeling of reflection at some point through the period.  

New Year's is such a time of reflection, hope, wishes and dreams.  It's a time to let go of the bad and tough times of the previous year that is drawing to an end, and grab onto the good that can possibly come during the New Year that's now upon you.  For some reason that single night brings tears to so many eyes, because there is a special hope that comes upon you... hope for something better.  

For many people the yearly tradition is to set resolutions.  I've set {and broken} more resolutions than I would care to even list.  But this year I decided to handle it in another way.  

  • Rather than resolve to lose weight, I hope to be healthier in the new year.  If weight loss comes along with that, then that will be an added reward. But I hope to live with habits that will make me feel better, sleep better, and feel healthier than ever before.  
  • Instead of resolving to pay off all debt, I'm hoping to just be smarter about the way I make spending choices.  I pray for financial blessings, but also pray for guidance in the stewardship with what I do have. 
  • I pray for the ability to give more to others... not just in a financial or material way, but of myself.  And that my giving comes from a heart of love - because I have been blessed so greatly.  And I pray that each time I give of myself that God would grow me a little bit more into a better person - a kinder person.
  • I pray to be an even stronger person in 2012.  That I am able to lean on God through every trial - rather than try to deal on my own and eventually realize that HE was there to help me the whole time.  And I pray I will keep forefront in my mind that I can get through whatever I need to - that I am never alone, and God will give me whatever I need to deal with things in life.
  • I pray that the opinions and words of other people will not matter so much to me... that I will welcome advice and words given in love and sincerity, but those in a mean spirit will bounce off of me a little bit better.  And that I will not allow in myself a vengeful spirit - but one of pity and sadness {and sincerely pray} for the person who needs to be so unkind, realizing that obviously they are unhappy in their own life. 
  • MOST OF ALL I pray that I am a kinder and better person in 2012. That I smile more - and laugh more - and appreciate more.  I pray that I remember all of the blessings God has given me in my life - rather than dwelling on the negative things that have come along the way.  Even through the negatives, God has brought so many blessings. And I pray that I live a life that touches other peoples lives... that I bring happiness to others through the way I live my life.  And that will make me a successful person in every way! 
As you move into 2012 (or if you already have arrived when you read this!) I pray for YOU that it is with strength and integrity and a mind of endurance...  ready to face this year head on. Make it the best ever. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  May 2012 be a year of blessing for you!  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hope and Newness of a New Year

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Only a few more days until the big New Year's celebration.  Out with 2011 - and in with 2012.  For me New Year's is always a time full of hope...a time of putting away the bad memories of a year that is ending and moving into a year of making good memories.  After all, when those bad memories do come to mind they will now have the date "2011" attached to them, and I will be living in 2012!  The New Year is a time of promise... there are new chances, new opportunities, new adventures.  

Several years ago I was very blessed to bring in the New Year in New York City - it was definitely a dream come true!  I was 39-yrs-old, and was there to bring in the New Year as well as my 40th birthday (which happens to be January 2).  Can you believe that somehow on New Year's Eve we ended up in the very front coral - right at the main stage!?  There are a lot of less than awesome things I could share about that afternoon and evening (like how badly I had to pee - and you couldn't leave once you were in there unless you didn't want to come back.... or how COLD it was {it was even snowing some of the time!}...).... but the awesomeness was the part I remember the most.  It was snowing - and snow is something else that makes me think of hope and newness.  The crowds were incredible - but everyone was kind to one another.  And when the ball finally dropped, and the confetti started falling from heaven and all you could hear from anyone around was "Happy New Year" I could not help but to have tears running down my frozen face.  And it was amazing to look around and see so many other people with tears in their eyes, running down their cheeks.  It was simply magical.  The feeling that something had truly clicked over from 2005 to 2006 and had brought MORE hope and MORE promise for a better year... new chances... new opportunities... it was incredible. And most incredible was sharing it with over a million other people right there in New York City.

This year, wherever you are when the countdown starts, try not to include the negative things about 2011 in your thoughts of hopes and wishes.  Concentrate on the NEW hopes, wishes and dreams that come with the New Year.  And pray that the negative things of 2011 stay right there in that past. 

It's only December 29th.... so please come back again, as I'm sure I'll have a lot more to write about New Year's in the next few days!  

Thanks for being here with me.... and I truly hope you'll stay with me in the New Year!!!   

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hold Them Close....

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Anyone who is close to me at all knows that my children are the power behind my heart beating.  I love them with all of my heart, and truly have felt that God has shown me through my love for my kids a small glimpse of just how much HE loves me!  I am forever amazed at how powerful it is to love another human being as much as I do love my children... and will never feel worthy of the blessings they have been in my life for the 24+ years since they started entering my world.  Yet, through the different stages of them growing up there were definitely times that I thought "Oh, I can't wait until this phase passes!" because, honestly, sometimes it's just not that easy!  Anyone who is raising (or has raised) children knows that there are times that it is downright difficult.  They can be hard to get along with, disobedient, lazy or whatever... but, my goodness, they smile at you, or hug you and say "I love you, Mama..." and all is perfect in the world.  Now that my kids are all grown (the youngest JUST graduated college a week ago!) and in their 20's I am finding that sometimes they pull at my heartstrings even more than when they were young.  It's not so much about raising and disciplining them any longer... most of that work has been done.  But now I have to allow them to test their wings... make decisions and choices in their lives.  And sometimes it just nearly kills me to see them making a decision that I just know is not the best thing for them or isn't going to turn out well... but I also know THEY have to live their own lives.  I very much believe in boundaries - but also in respecting boundaries with others as well.  That definitely includes my own kids.  So how do I deal with this stage?  I hold them close when I can... and hold them close in my heart all the time.  I pray for them daily - and some days I pray for them LOTS!   And I never miss an opportunity to tell them that I love them.  I'm sure they know it... but I want them to hear it.  I want there to be NO question at all.  

If your children are still growing up, hold them close.  Hug them every chance you get.  Tell them you love them often.  And if they are already grown - then hug them even more... and make a point to tell them how much you love them as often as you can.  Leave no room for question or doubt.  We all know that growing up can be difficult... but I do believe it's harder than ever.  How much easier it is to handle life with love and support behind you.  

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas... and that 2012 is the best year yet for you! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011


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How often do you reflect on your life?  Whether it is to reflect back on the day, the week or the past year...much less to reflect back as far as you can remember?  I guess I'm a "reflector" of sorts, because I'm constantly reflecting on my life.  I am looking for change, improvement, growth in myself.  It makes me sad to look back and see a bad habit or behavior that has been there for a long time, and I haven't done what I need to do to bring about change in myself.  And it makes me equally excited to reflect back and see growth and change from something bad to finally reaching a place of having it under control.  YEA - something to celebrate!!  But something that makes me a bit leery is those people who DON'T reflect on their lives.  Ever.  And there are those people.  To me that is a dangerous - and maybe irresponsible way to live.  What is behind us is DEFINITELY behind us - it is the past and we can't change it.  And often it is best to leave it back there!  But you can't ignore it or make it disappear.  So you LEARN from it.  You learn what did and what didn't work - what did and didn't hurt.  

Just like most people, I don't like to fail at things.  It can be embarrassing, humiliating, hurtful, and sometimes even damaging.  But failure can also be good... and we need to remember that. A failure can sometimes be EXACTLY what we need because what we were going after wasn't good for us to begin with... and not the direction our lives needed to go.  So failure can change that path.  And a failure almost always offers a chance to learn.  We can analyze choices & decisions and figure out how not to make the wrong ones the next time! And quite honestly, sometimes a SUCCESS is so much sweeter after there has been a failure.  We seem to appreciate that success so much more because we KNOW how hard it was to achieve.  At that point, we can often look back and see so much growth because of all the lessons learned along the way.  Without reflecting, this would just not be as possible.  

Don't be afraid of the past.  LOOK at it square in the eye - see what you want to repeat, and exactly what you don't.  And don't let it be shame that you take the most from the past - but lessons in life that will help you grow into a stronger and better person.  That's what it's all about.  We fall down, get get back up and try again.  Embrace your past - reflect on it often - and it will give you a better future.  

Have a GREAT day!! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

A girl with dreams....

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Too often in life I find that people think dreams are only for the youth. Children, teenagers, even those who are graduating college but still in their early-20's... to them we will say "follow your dreams."  But for some strange reasoning, we no longer think that when someone gets into their 30's and beyond.  Seems that the thought is that they have had their chance, and now it's time to start taking life more seriously.  Stand up to their responsibility in life.  As a child, my dream was to grow up and be a Mommy.  Anyone that would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up would hear the same response "a Mommy."  (well, I also wanted to be a go-go dancer, but I realized early on that it just wasn't going to happen for me!)  I can say that my dreams did come true - and I was a Mom for the first time when I was second child was born when I was 23 and my third child when I was 24.  And then I was going through a divorce by the time I was 25.  Sometimes dreams just don't happen the way we actually dream them!  So it was time for lots of reality and extreme responsibility.  But fear not, I was up for the challenge, and along that road of parenthood were many laughs, tears, surprise turns and cliffs (which occasionally I either fell off or dove from!)  It was never boring, and although my dream-come-true sometimes left me quite exhausted, it never left me regretful.  Now let's turn time ahead 20 years....

I'm now 45 (and can you believe, I'll be 46 in 3 short weeks?!) and the kids are all grown.  I've been with my husband (and father of my kids, as he adopted them and is the only father they've ever known) for over 15 years.  There have been many rocky times along the way, but also many triumphs.  I can definitely look back and see the many times that there was only one set of footprints in the sand, as God carried me through.  Yet getting to this point - the place where my dream of having children and raising them - is basically done... and the realization has been that I needed a new dream.  I needed to look back into my heart and find that passion and zest that would fuel me from here.  Coming to that place of feeling unneeded much of the time is a tough place to find yourself, but it's a choice as to whether I would stay there or move on to making another dream a reality.  2011 has been a year of realized dreams... it started that way, and I am coming to the end of it in that same way.  This year I have started living more of my dreams... almost as if I opened up my little box of dreams and started letting them out one-by-one.  First was to start my photography business... to take something I have loved so much, have worked on and pursued, and actually make it an even bigger part of my life.  There has often been anxiety and frustration along the way, and while I still have so much to learn about running my own business, amazingly I have been doing it!  Little by little I have watched clients trickle in, and trusting that as time goes by there will be more and my business will get stronger and larger.  This weekend I started on another dream: a guitar.  It's been something I've wanted to learn for so long, and now is the time of living with no excuses.  If it's a dream that is worth going after, then I will go after it.  

What do you do with your dreams?  Sometimes our dreams may be ridiculous.  Wanting to own the world, be the richest person in the world, live in the largest house... those things are silly and don't bring happiness or joy.  But those dreams of accomplishment, of making people smile, of helping someone and giving to another persons life, of learning and maybe teaching... those are dreams that can change the world.  They are the dreams we should strive to make true. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Life as a Pin Board

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... a little more about my life as a photographer...

Pinterest has really become a craze with many people, and honestly I've become quite an addict myself. Looking at the interesting things: recipes, quotes, projects, styles, etc, and pinning the things that I love to a board of my own.  Sometimes I wonder what it would look like if I had a pin board to showcase my own life.  No doubt such a board would be quite a jumble - and it would have to be huge to include all of the important things that would need to be pinned.  It definitely would not be without blemish or embarrassment, because there has been plenty about my past that I would really not care to have pinned to a board to have to show or even be reminded of very often.  Needless to say, it would have lots of tear stains... both happy, sad and hurt tears.  Broken hearts, disappointments, losses...but more importantly accomplishments and celebrations that brought tears of joy: A new tiny heartbeat that would be born that I would nurse and nurture and it would change my life so great that emotions couldn't contain the joy without overflowing into tears.  And all of these tears are so important to the completion of that pin board to this point.  Amongst the many pins on this board would be styles that came and went - and possibly some that were never "in" to begin with!  There would be no way this board could be missing the many friends along the journey of my life.  Some friends have been there all along, and some for just a part of the time... but their importance was no less great.  And the board wouldn't be right without them being pinned on it.  I would have to have some order to this board, simply because I have to have some order to anything in my life... so if it were arranged chronologically I would like to think that the pins would reflect a strength that has grown in me as a person as time has gone by: as a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend, a Christian, a daughter... everything that I am.  As I have gotten through the tough times, and as I have celebrated through the joyous times, I have become a stronger person...hopefully a better and kinder person.  And I hope that would show in all of the pins along the way.  All of this makes me kind of wonder: if this were a reality, and my life were a pin board for the world to see, would I live it in any different way.  Would I make different decisions, would I react differently in certain situations.  Would I BE different so that I could be perceived differently?  And if the answer to that is YES, then I need to change those things anyway.  

Pinterest is a really cool idea... and I, along with millions of other people, am addicted to picking the things that express who I am, to finding the pins that interest me and putting them on MY board...but I want to concentrate a little more on my real life as if it were a pin board, and make sure I'm living it in the way I would want displayed...because actually it really is, in a way.  That is one of my challenges to myself.