Monday, January 18, 2016

Hi January

Dear January,
 Well greetings January, as you already know, you are a pretty special month, the start of all things new! This morning in particular feels like winter, but is sunny and light, like spring. Go figure! January, sometimes you do insist on playing games with the weather, at least for your friends in Florida, but I have not caught the horrid crud this season, so I am thankful.

 It has started off to be a really nice month. Back to work, and back to the ups and downs of public school education, there is no need to say more, we all know the drill there. But the ups, for sure out weigh the downs, and my skills are being used daily. Sometimes I feel like an administrator, and a little voice whispers...."Maybe." But a louder voice throws out doubts and questions.

 With the start of 2016, January, you have given me permission to look ahead, one of my favorite things to do! Looking ahead to what, you might be wondering? Well, tweeking my budget, and looking ahead to how this summer will change my money matters. And looking ahead with bright eyes and great hope and expectations to what growth will show itself in my financial life this year. I am SO much better than even a year ago. I can't wait to see what my planning and hard work will bring (and it is hard work for me to be better with money).

You also have given me permission to get off the "holiday treats and sweets" bandwagon, for though it was a truly lovely place, ummmm the waistline can't live there:) And so with less soda, and french fries as my battle cry (I have to find the humor in this, if I hope to really commit to change), I march on into a new year. I have great friends encouraging me, a healthy minded, health conscious mother always reminding me, and a bridesmaid dress hanging in my closet challenging me. So yeah, the struggle is real! But the results are satisfying.

 January, I just wanted to Thank You. I figure that you are just the rejuvenation that we all need, and I am grateful for that fact. 31 days, 31 segments of time to live with renewed purpose, love in truth, and practice faith in "real life". Thanks!

Very Dearly and Sincerely,
 Sabrina "Bree" Stewart

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Home for Me

It really is just wonderful to be home! So much of my personality was shaped at this place, and in this city, 18 years to be exact. Now, of course, there are changes a'plenty, especially in the city. But, my home, and its simple, ole-fashioned warmth and love, it has stood the test of time. And I am learning to appreciate that more and more, and to never take it for granted.

It came to me yesterday, like struck me right smack dab between the eyes! The fact that it is just so nice, and refreshing and good, to come home, to be home, to have a home.

You see, yesterday, Julie and Cherika and I enjoyed lunch and presents and errands together. And it simply made me happy, our trio of so different personalities! It was a time, that we take at the close of each year, to get together again, and be reminded, really, that our friendship is special, and that we love each other.

Then that night, my daddy and I went on a movie date. One of my favorite parts of my trips home:) And as we drove, and enjoyed a really wonderful evening watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, my heart again remembered alllll the movies, and friends, and family who have composed 30 years of life with Sabrina. And when you look back over your life, if you are doing it right, you know you can look back with peace, and joy, and love. Acknowledging the difficult parts, but remembering that never did God leave you, and also knowing he has heaped blessing upon blessing in our lives.

And, of course, in true home style. When my daddy and I walked in the door after midnight, there is my jolly, smiling mama, wide awake! And she "encouraged" us to watch some of the Kennedy Center Honors with her (which was pretty amazing I will admit!). And soon she is hopping out the chair, moving and grooving to the songs of her youth, and Aretha Franklin singing the house down.

Yesterday, at so many times, I looked around and sent up quiet prayers of gratitude. Actually, I have been doing that since my break started last week. Gratitude for a reliable car, my sister and her loving husband, aunts/uncles/cousins, travels, quiet, home, my parents, my friends, a New Year and new chances, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, laughter, love......and the list goes on and on an on.

Home for me. In some ways it's my place of peace. It is memories, wrapped in the life, tied with the bows of joy and gladness.

Monday, December 28, 2015

In 2016

I can admit that it feels surreal to be at the time of year to greet a brand new, fresh year! It's also surreal that I have taken time since December 2010 (past posts here), to look ahead to the new year. Oh life, you are both unexpected and amazing! So, let's look ahead to 2016, and what it might have in store....

2016:
* Friends and family I know will have babies (the cuteness overload is real hahaha), and begin new relationships, and get engaged, and get married and some might beak-up. But growing families is definitely the theme of life in the 30's.
* People that I know and love will pass away or suffer through illness
. I will also take time for special remembrances of my sweet grandma, in February.
* This is the year to continue to be dedicated to saving more and paying back what I owe. I made such great strides in 2015, and I see myself building on that and that right there is mighty exciting! 
* June will bring fulfillment of some special answered prayers for my wonderful Julie! Wedding here we come:) I am the maid of honor, so there is much fun and planning on the horizon. 
* Staying in Tallahassee (I love my little life here!), yet finding my own place will be part of this upcoming summer. Also, possible transitions at work....time will tell.
* Getting to know someone, dating, relationships, etc. Sigh, it kinda takes courage for my "old-soul" personality to keep on trying in this very modern/hip world, but I will see where this area of life takes me. Be brave girl! Oh yeah, and be patient, that is important too;) 
* Turning 31, and all of the excitement a birthday brings to my world:) 
* With faith, I know the year will be full of growth and countless opportunities to be Christ-like in my words, thoughts, and actions. Focusing on Psalm 51:10, Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. I will pray and study and look for the ways this Scripture will manifest itself in my life in 2016. 
Travel, travel, travel! Starting 2016 in St. Augustine, and letting the year unfold with trips to places new and familiar. Already I know I will be going back to D.C. in March, for the Cherry Blossom Festival ( I cannot wait!!). 

For the past 5 (eeeeeek, time flies by!) years I have used the words below to end these posts. And if it's not broke then don't fix it, I say:)
Now with all of that said I will say this.....2016 is a completely unknown entity. Sure, I know some things but they are so tiny compared to what I have no idea about. The key is to hold fast to God, have faith and grace, love my family and friends, and be the very best Sabrina Maude Stewart that I can be.....that should not be too hard ( I am kidding) it will probably take me 365 days to kind of get it right!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fond Memories

It is sometimes my way, to get a little sad over the changes that 2015 has brought to my life. But for the next few days, and as we enter a brand new and sparkly 2016, I would like to change myself.

This is the time for fond memories of great love. My grandma, my loving, funny, sometimes outrageous grandma, she is free from the pain that was a struggle during her last months. And  yet I see her face in my mom's bright smile, and I DEFINITELY see her ways, in my mom's ways. So I am choosing to focus on that. To focus on the fact that she is here in spirit, and that spirit is a lovely thing. And that sometimes, if I slow down and look closely, I see that special spirit in myself.

This time of year is full of all of the fun and festive events that seem even better when you get to share them with friends, family, a boyfriend etc. But that too has changed this year. However, in changing myself, I choose to think about the wonderful, nice, and sweet memories, and then move on to enjoy the present day. In some areas of life, we are called to wait a while, and while it can be increasingly frustrating, in my gut, I know that it is what is right.

So, with a brand new year right around the corner, I keep on smiling and loving and laughing, because somewhere in that combination is the key to savoring the moments.

*I'm off to a family Christmas in Macon, then back to Jacksonville, and St Augustine to ring in the New Year with one of my oldest and dearest friends. Merry, Merry Christmas to everyone:) May your time with family and friends be full of abiding love and fond moments that will become fond memories.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

This Season!

This season makes me smile. Actually, it makes me grin from ear to ear! It is a time to look around and hear and see love abounding. Love of family, love of friends, love of strangers, and love of life. This time between Thanksgiving and New Years, well to me it's the stuff that dreams are made of. A moment in time to really believe in wishes again, to have additional hope that God does hear our pleas and will bring us out of seasons of waiting.

This season makes me joyful, it makes me see each day that I am so blessed, so favored, so chosen, to live this particular life that is mine. I look around and see my precious family, and I am grateful for their support and the "village" of love and care. I see my friends and I am honored to know that these wonderful people care for me and bring laughter and light to my life.

This season, even though it comes at the end of the year, it also feels new. It is the time of cheerful and faithful music on the radio, the chiming bells of holiday giving, the promise of straight-up goodness. And that is something I can always use, just a good, old-fashioned dose of overflowing, amazing goodness!

This season can also be a time of rest. In between a busy social calendar, it is a season for snuggles and hot chocolate. A season for hoodies and blankets and endless, love inspired Christmas movies. The days get darker earlier but the sleep seems more sound. The rest seems more fulfilling as we go to bed with wonder whirling around in our minds, because lets face it, anything is possible at this time of year. Absolutely anything, if you only believe! And yes we teach that to the children, but we need to reteach it to ourselves.

This season has its own special charm. Part, over the top merriment. Part, childish delight. Part, being open to the possibility of spectacular things. 2015, it is time to start saying good-bye. So, for this next month, lets all agree to a simple mantra, "Decide to see the good, Share the good, Choose Love and then Choose to Love More." If we do that, even if just a few brave, hopeful souls can do it, we will make a vast difference in our little circles of influence and living.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

More Gratitude

Week 1 & 2
So, truth be told, I will probably only update my blog on a weekly basis, during this season of thanks. And that is ok:)

Last week, I was reminded to be grateful for life. My father turned 61, and his life and health are a great blessing. I appreciate life, when I see my sister go to Emory and receive wonderful news that her health is on target. That is something we never, never want to take for granted!

The time changed and now I'm waking up super early, but also getting quiet time to bask in the glory of the first breathe of morning and the first smiling, inner prayers for a new day.

Thinking back to last week, a particularly sweet section of gratitude goes out to the other women in my life who care for me like a daughter. Besides, my amazing mama of course. I am thrilled to have the most wonderful array of women who inspire me, share wisdom with me, and show me what compassion, love, and care are all about, when lived out each day. For someone with an old soul like mine, this group of women is SO special! And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they inspire me to embrace all of life, the expected and the unexpected.
Just as a reminder to myself, here are some of the ways that they care and love me
* Letting me come and cook/bake (and sharing great insider tips into my favorite thing)
* Taking me out to lunch/dinner and then letting me ramble on about life (both the ups and the confusing sections)
* The WISDOM! I can't even begin to describe how their combined wisdom has enhanced my life. They are a varied, group, but each woman (so accomplished in her own way) has wonderful past life experiences to share.
* One in particular, just bought me a much desired, monogrammed jacket! But even before that, she checked in on me during a particularly difficult patch of my career, and I will forever be grateful....in fact I wrote about her here and the power of simple kindness.

I am blessed and work on being a blessing to others!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ready for Gratitude

November 1

Good Morning world:) It's hard to sit still and type, because I am so very excited that we are in November!

This month, as in the past, I will be updating the blog with gratitude posts each day. In this "anything goes" world that we live in, I think it is imperative to slow it down a bit and take time to be thankful and also to share. Because we, "I" can end up sharing negativity far too much. This time of the year allows me to break the cycle and refresh my life with glowing gratitude.

So today, the Lord's Day, and the first day of November 2015.....where shall I start?

I will begin with new life, aka babies. My heart is thankful for all the new babies that are on the way in my family and circle of friends. Little, tiny people who will end up being our hope for a better world.

I have a sweet plethora of pregnant friends. And seeing the excitement and the planning and the joy makes me smile! That right there is something to be thankful for. If you are one of these amazing women, please know that I am praying for you and a healthy pregnancy and delivery. I also add the prayer that these little babies will grow up to know the Lord, and be a light to others.