Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 29

Tonight I am thankful for the passage of time. Are you like me? Have you learned yet that God is faithful?
This time last year I had no idea about my future. All I knew was that I was going to take myself to a UGA holiday concert (fabulous by the way!!).

Fast forward to just one year later. One little year! And I am living a life that I had no real idea about 365 days ago.
If you had asked me at that concert, last year, I would have said that I would be living in Metro Atlanta or somewhere in Florida. And yet, somehow, here I am, still in Athens. I cannot explain it. It has been good for me however.

Last year I was faithful. But now I have been tested.
Last year I was VERY concerned about my will. But now I have learned to be humble.
Last year I kept myself too busy. And now, I enjoy peaceful moments or meditation and prayerful reflections.
Last year I was stressed, because I still thought I was in charge. And it was taking a toll on my health. But now, I am healthier and I am taking it one day at a time. Because that is just about all that I can handle. And I have lived and learned to be OK with that fact.
Last year I was blind to the realities of this place that I call home. This year...oh, this year. My eyes and mind and spirit have been blasted awake to the true realities of some of the people and children in this city. And no matter what happens in the next 365 days, I won't be able to go back to being so very naive. Once you have been broken (even if it is for a good purpose), if you do it right, the new you; that new you is stronger, brighter, better. But there are some fundamentals that will always be different.

This evening I am thankful for the passage of time. What will November 2013 hold? I will just have to wait and see. And the new me, she is growing to be very content in that fact.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28

Today I am thankful for entertainment.
Below is Skyfall by Adele. I am really enjoying the song. AND
I loved the movie. Go team James Bond! If you have not, you should go see it. AND
You should really listen to the song. Adele is magnificent!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 27

Yesterday, as afternoon faded into evening I munched on a homemade pecan tart (Yum and Thanks Amanda!)
As the night settled in, I sat with three of my spiritual confidants.
We had missed one week of gathering together, and with Thanksgiving now over....we had much to share.

Praise God for these women in my life! I have been thankful for them before, and written about them here.
But this week as I sat there, I was able to bask in the fact that we need each other to help share the various and unpredictable loads of life. We need each other's thoughts and Godly wisdom. We need the smiles, and gasps and hopes for the future and prayers for the present.

I cannot write deeply enough about our times together. I can't describe the work that God is doing in our 4 individual lives. But I know that it is good. I know that it gets me outside of myself and into the lives of my friends. I truly care for them, as I care for myself. And that is only possible because I have allowed myself to get to know them on a whole new level. I am beyond thankful for my girls! May God continue to help us "grow up" and figure "it" out.

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26

Today I am thankful for a small video clip called The Interview with God.
A sweet friend shared it with me back in undergrad. And a few times a year I go back and watch it.
The fantastic scenic photos and wise words are a calm reminder of God's love.

You can find it here if you need a little inspiration to be thankful for today.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Allowing myself to miss

I am officially on the post-Thanksgiving low that accompanies a blessed time with family and friends. For the last week I have been surrounded with those who have known me for years and years. And it was good!

And so today I sit here, and ponder going back to work. And I know that once I get back in the grind I will be fine. But, right now I am allowing myself a little pity party. In a quiet apartment that was just filled with the laughter and energy of family.

I am allowing myself to feel sad because in truth I miss my amazing family more this year than I have ever in my entire life. And it would not help anything by burying that feeling away. I might as well allow it to have its place, so that I can move on to the many other things that are good in my life.

I am allowing myself a few tiny tears for the small and random bursts of loneliness that come upon me during this season of family and friends and couples and groups. For though my sister does not believe it, I would like to date casually or seriously. And thankfully I am not desperate or anything, but there is a slight frustration in feeling like I am in a dating desert, while others just have to crook their finger and could have all the dates that they wanted.

I am allowing myself this time of missing because a new year is coming. And I am more confused about 2013 than I ever was about 2012 (that is for another post).

To wrap it up, it is good to write some of this "stuff" down. I'm not invincible, or really that tough. I'm just Sabrina a woman who has grand dreams and wishes and believes in being positive. I'm just little ol' me living this little ol' life and finally allowing myself to sail with the ups and downs. And I have many ups, I really really do!

November 25th

I am grateful today for a feeling. I am thankful for positivity.
This world is in desperate need of joy, happiness, and positive people, who are doing positive things for others.

And it really is a simple concept. But it gets complicated as we "grow-up". We have to time it right, buy it soon, tell it in the perfect way. And by doing this, time goes by and we take on more and more of the negative, do nothing attitude of our culture.

So, today I am thankful for all of those people who are actively positive. Who grin, and hug, and smile, and laugh, and help, and love, and shine forth the rightness of positive feelings to those both deserving and those who need a second,third, or fortieth chance.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 22, 23, & 24

With the guests and events surrounding Thanksgiving, its been more difficult to get on each day and write my thanks. Here are the last three days of things that I am thankful for! 

November 22- As I looked around my kitchen I saw many things to be thankful for. My sister and her boyfriend cooking rolls. My college age cousin stirring mashed potatoes. My mom posing with a pound-cake as my aunt tried to snap her picture. Well, it was obvious that my family, both near and far, are my blessing. God has provided me with a loving family who know me so well (which I love and find comforting). We are normal; ups and downs, laughter and anger. But my large and ever expanding family, I am thankful for them.

November 23- After a wonderful holiday I was thankful today for rest. Naps, a slow schedule, changing weather. It all added up to a wonderfully restful day. It was fantastic!

November 24- Today I am thankful for my unique self. I can be quite a mess at times. But I am thankful that I am maturing, changing, and getting to know more about what makes me "tick". I am thankful for 27, though it is not the dream that young Sabrina had envisioned, and that is OK. I am thankful that I am forgiven by a good God, and trying, and even among my mistakes I am thankful for my perseverance.

November is wrapping up. 6 more thankful days left. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 21

It is pretty and chilly morning that is supposed to warm up into an even more beautiful day!

I am thankful today for my life in Athens. I have been here now for 3 years! And that time has been filled with all sorts of opportunities. New friendships, deeper faith, new knowledge and a new career.

It has been quite an experience and I am thankful that I have been able to live and thrive here. I am not promising that I will be here for an indefinite amount of time, or even another year. But for now (and that is what is important) I am grateful for having settled here. I am thankful that I have a place to welcome my family. And I am thankful that I have a job that is difficult but necessary that keeps me here for the time being.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Single Girl's Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving: 2

Howdy folks! If you missed it, here I wrote a bit about hosting Thanksgiving day as a single lady.
Tonight I am back with a few more insights before the big day is upon us.

I am happy to report that so far I have escaped the stress of the season. By starting early, and taking time to plan, I look forward to enjoying the moments of Thanksgiving with my family that I have missed so very much.

More Tips:
1- Remember all of the "other" food that you will need. I mean Thanksgiving is more than just the actual meal. I have a snacky family, so I need munchies readily available, and these are the things that I don't usually buy and keep around (I am trying to lose weight). So, grab some chips/dip, cookies, popcorn and drinks for those late night cravings.

2- Accept help! When it comes down to it, by offering my place and preparing many other "things" I am actually not making much for the actual Thanksgiving day meal. And that is OK! Single ladies, for once cut yourself some slack. You do it all each and everyday and you do it well. You don't have to add another mountain to your life. Invite others, and then delegate. They will be so happy to not be hosting, that they will do and bring whatever you say.

3- Pep talk time. In the midst of having family around, there are always those sensitive issues that come up in conversation. Dating (sigh, I wish I could plug my ears) being the main one. Go ahead ladies and give yourself a little pep talk before the well meaning family arrives. If you are like me, then your life is going good. There are a multitude of things to be thankful for. And not having a boyfriend is a minor hiccup on the road map of your life. So, just look at your beautiful self in the mirror and remember, your family loves you. And they are just curious. Lovable and curious. If they boldly ask dating questions, answer and then keep the conversation moving right along.

4- Set the mood. It really is the tiny things that make your guests feel welcome and wanted. Even though the family conversation will be boisterous (at least in my family) have some type of mellow background music. Also, have those little touches that make a house or apartment a home. Pictures displayed, magazines to read, candles lit, turkey crafts complete, you get the drift ladies!

Happy hosting!!

November 19 & 20

I'm back in Athens. Made the trip from Tally to here in about 5 hours. Not too shabby.

November 19-
Yesterday I was thankful for Tallahassee, Florida. There is SO much of the life of Sabrina that was written in that place. 4 years at FSU and 3 years in the working world. I have treasured friends and relationships in that town. I am thankful for all of the support that is still available to me in that city. And I am thankful for all the growth that has occurred in my life since I have left for GA. I will always have love for the life that I lived in Tallahassee. Looking back, it held heartache and struggles, but it held joy and goodness as well. What a blessed woman I am to have had such a time and such amazing people in my life. Thank you all sufficient God for providing for me then and always.

November 20-
Today I am thankful for Bluebelle. My little car and I have made many trips in her short life. She is cute, and kinda sassy and special like me;) After having a car that broke down off and on, I am thankful for a dependable car that is good on gas and a fun ride. I am also thankful to have transportation, because it really makes life way more convenient.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 16, 17, & 18

I wanted to take a moment from a blessed trip "home" to catch up on my thanks.
Riding along quaint country roads is a time when communion with God and thanks abound.

November 16- God granted us a peaceful day at work! I was so VERY grateful for that. In the simplicity of my words please read between the lines. God worked mightily and I was delighted. Hint of possibilities to come? If it be God's will!

November 17- It might sound silly, but today I am thankful for errands in my old stomping grounds. The scenery, the friends, the simple fun of random mall visits, overdosing on pizza, and getting spoiled by sweet Southern hospitality. I am thankful for each and every thing.

November 18- In the lesson today at church the main idea was this. "You are not first." And I also took away that to truly follow God in my daily life, I need to lighten my load. Sometimes, looking back to the past, wanting to be comfortable and "happy", and wanting "my plan" for the future are heavy mental burdens. But I am thankful for Godly truths and reminders about how I can keep growing in my Christian walk. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15th

I am enjoying how natural and easy my thanks are becoming. I don't have each day planned out and pre-written. I just go one day at a time and end up daily with at least one thing that stands out for me to be thankful for.

Tonight I am thankful was a magnificent crescent moon! Huge yet fragile and thin in the darkening evening sky. I wish I could have gotten a picture. But a mere picture would not have done it justice. I actually gasped when I saw it, because it was just so beautiful and amazing. Isn't our God beautifully good?

PS- I'm heading to Florida for a few days. So if I get behind, I shall surely catch up! Just know that each and everyday I am working on being actively thankful:)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14th

I felt like the bad cop many times during work today. Yuck, I hate that feeling. But this was going to be a tough week anyway. Sigh! You have to pay your dues to earn a week off for Thanksgiving!

However, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Sometimes you have to say it grudgingly  Or sometimes, you say it after a mini rant about being a grown up and work conditions etc. But the most important thing is keep on being thankful. At the very least, at least I got a chance to have a tough/tiring day at work.

Tonight I am thankful for teaching a Thanksgiving themed lesson to little kids at church.
The reminders that we should be thankful for "everythingggg" were necessary.
The sweet laughter as we warbled along with a medley of songs; Thanksgiving is Coming, Jesus Loves Me, Jingle Bells, and Deep and Wide (that's what you get when K and 1st graders pick the songs) was hilarious.
The sweet innocence of the babies was just downright refreshing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 13th

I'm thankful for 2 songs today.
One is my favorite Christian hymn. Come thou Fount of every Blessing. I stumbled across this precious lullaby version on You Tube. There are no words, but I already have them memorized so that is fine with me.

The other is my favorite song out of all my Pandora stations. Whip Appeal by Babyface. I could sing it all day. It's dated for sure, but it's my jam!

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12th

On Mondays I get the privilege to pray with some dear friends. Our "prayer group" is an anchor and just so very good for my spirit.

Today I am thankful for our group, and how God is helping us grow up, despite obstacles and changes.
I am also grateful for prayer requests. I believe in the power of prayer! And sharing with others helps us know what we can pray for. I often pray in both specifics and generalities.

In case you were wondering. Or have some extra quiet prayer moments. Here are my prayer requests for the week.

June James- Hospice has been called in
Nathaniel Stewart- (my uncle) making better health choices for his heart
Gaines Elementary School- strength and support for the staff, love and stability for the families, and any additions of support staff to help carry the load
Safety in Thanksgiving travels and those who will be missing loved ones this year

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 11th

Today I am thankful for hope. Yes, I am thankful for a thing that is not scientifically measurable.
But it is real and powerful and I have seen it change things.

Merriam-Webster defines hope as to expect with confidence.

It is not easy to choose hope. You might get odd looks, or openly mocking comments. In fact there are situations in life that seem to want to crush our hope. But somehow it prevails. It does not give up.

 I think that we should keep hoping. Because there is a strength in hope. And a sort of elevating power. The rest of the world might see the gloom and despair. But I am going to try my best to have hope for better. A new day and a new chance and a powerful God who cares.

As I was writing some cards, I found this verse in Scripture and I enjoyed it so much that I started including it in the cards. Psalm 71:14 But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.

During this beautiful season, may I cling to hope and its shining light that transforms situations and people!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Single Girl's Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving: 1

Thanksgiving gobbles are drifting through the November air. And yours truly is gearing up to host Thanksgiving.

As the title suggests, there are some differences between hosting a holiday as a single lady. And I figure I would blog about them as the festive and thankful day approaches. So today is T-minus 12 days until my apartment will be filled with those I love and delicious Thanksgiving food.

One thing I realized was that I did not want to be stressed about hosting this holiday. I get enough of that at work. I want this Thanksgiving to be delightful and natural and family-oriented. No manic attention to small details (do the stripes in the napkins match my carpet?). No last minute runs to the grocery store (How on Earth do I not have salad dressing?). No worry that there will not be enough food for everyone to take hefty amounts as leftovers (Oh no! My cousin only got 2 slices of pound cake to take home!)


1. I started cleaning and tidying today. No need to put off the inevitable. I know this is a special occasion because I cleaned behind the microwave. Bonus points? With the big clean done, I will just have to do a quick brush up the actual week of Thanksgiving.

2. The menu is all set and everyone knows what items they will be bringing. *Hint- Don't forget to plan a light meal for that Wednesday evening. The family will be there and they will be hungry. But it can't be too heavy or you will ruin the eating adventures of the next day. (I am making chicken corn chowder)*

3. I have already planned and mapped out my spacing. I'm a single girl who lives in an apartment, so I don't have acres of space to fit everyone. But I definitely have enough room. If I plan it carefully. 7 guests. 2 tables. An "interesting" assortment of chairs, and kaboom. Thanksgiving seating 101 complete.

Stay tuned for more updates. I still have decor on a budget, timing of the actual gathering, and last minute kinks to work out and then share.

November 10th

As I type this I'm smiling thinking of my first text of the morning.
MS- radio Christmas music has started!!!!
SS- Yayyyy!

How can I not be thankful for a sister who appreciates so many of the things that make me happy.
My bond with my sister is wonderful. I am thankful to have her in my life for about a million reasons.
Here are 10 of them.

1. She is fashionable and makes me care a little (a lot) more about how I look from head to toe (on certain days).
2. She is compassionate and works to right many of societies wrongs against our aging population.
3. She is funny, and hilarious, and silly, and goofy, and sometimes just a little nuts.
4. She has struggled and triumphed and is the best example of perseverance.
5. She is open to trying new things, and letting people get close. I many times am not, and she scolds me often;)
6. We have a network of connected friends and that is awesome.
7. Knowing her and myself, I get to understand a whole new depth to how family works.
8. She is spirited. Passionate about the things that matter yet also willing to be flexible.
9. She has always let me take care of her. Less now than in our past. The nurturing part of me, got its start by being a big sister to her.
10. She is our "free-spirit hippie".

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9th

It was a time of great and profound loss.
A young life taken in combat, a cousin who sacrificed his life for a comrade.
A family broken but miraculously bonded tighter than ever.

The years have flown by, but Veteran's Day, and the holidays remind me of my cousin Julian. And the thousands like him who gave the absolute sacrifice so that we can live in freedom.

The memories around that time are actually very fuzzy. In the span of 2ish years I lost a cousin, 2 aunts, and Melanie went on dialysis. Emotionally taxing! But I remember mourning my cousin. And I remember having to grow up really fast and help my mama mourn her nephew.

This day I can be thankful. Thankful that I have tried to live a life that Julian would be proud of. I have tried to give back to those who are struggling, and not just take my freedom for granted. I would want him to be proud, just as I am proud of his absolute sacrifice.

The pain is inescapable.  But I have learned that if we let it, time will heal our wounds. And being thankful for a life well lived and a life given in bravery and courage, now that is the deepest and most sincere type of thanks that we can offer.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8th

I have acquaintances, buddies, friends, FRIENDS, and friends-sisters. What a blessing:)
I appreciate each group and all of the ways that I need them and they need me.

Today however I am thankful for two in particular. Julie and Cherika and I share a lot of friendship history. The time just seems to be flying! But, this year we are all struggling in some ways with our jobs. And you would think that there would be nothing to be thankful for about that. But there is, because we get each other's problems. And we can vent as needed. And we can discuss daydreams and the realities that keep us planted for right now.

I am not sure why all three of us are having hard times at the same time. But it's good to be able to share. Because feeling lonely and frustrated is the worst:( I'm thankful for these blessed friends, hopeful for our futures and wishes and desires, and ecstatic that I will get to see them in our old stomping grounds very soon!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7th

I'm thankful today for singing. Don't equate that with the assumption that I sing good. But I do sing with spirit and a pretty uncanny memory for lyrics;)

I enjoy letting my wobbling tones echo in the shower, out the car window, or in my office after school. I enjoy the beauty of voices united in song at church. There is a special beauty associated with singing. Especially when you really feel the words. Like singing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" soon after receiving a much wanted job offer. Or singing "You can't Always get what you Want" while drumming on the steering wheel after an angry melt-down over the unfairness of life.

And with this holiday season sweeping in, I'm about to wear our my voice joyfully singing about this hopeful and happy time of the year!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall Break-Photos

Before it gets too late, I wanted to share some of the fun from our Fall Break trip to New England.

                                         View from our hotel window. What a beautiful place by the piers.
                                          How much do I love Quincy Market? You could eat and shop for hours!
                            Freezing but gorgeous view at the Quabbin Reservoir. It provides all the water to Boston.
                                          Melanie "cooking" at the Culinary Arts Museum in R.I.
                                           My sister and I at the massive Yankee Candle flagship store! It was crazy huge.
                                         Just one of the thousands of pumpkins at the Jack-o-Lantern spectacular in R.I.

November 6th

Today I choose to be thankful. I would not say that this day's post is the easiest to write. The words are not already flowing from my mind to my fingers. But, I want to try.

Today is election day, both national and local. And I am thankful that I get a chance to vote and make my opinion known. That I get a moment to have my voice heard. I am choosing to not even begin to go into all of the negative. Instead, just to focus on the gift of freedom and the goodness of the whole concept of voting.

I pray that God's will continue to be done. And I pray that I continue to do the best in my life, before I go depending on a bunch of national matters to solve my problems. My trust is in the Lord who made Heaven and Earth. Amen.

*I've taken a little Facebook sabbatical until the election blows over however.*

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5th

I only work two official days this week. Today and Friday. A conference and holiday take up the rest of the week. In the simplest words ever, I am THANKFUL for that fact!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 4th

It's Sunday morning and time to welcome in a new week filled with God's will and mercy.

Today I am honored to be thankful for my wonderful daddy. It's his 58th birthday today and I am just so happy to have him as a leader and example in my life. My love for him grows as I mature and realize what he has sacrificed to provide for our family. Also, the medical student in me knows that men especially are susceptible to more health issues as they age. So celebrating 58 years is important!

Being full of gratitude seems to make my spirit glow. I am enjoying how it draws my interest away from myself and towards others. I want to wish my daddy a HAPPY and BLESSED birthday and birth year, and proclaim that he is a good man, father, and husband and I am thankful for him each and every day. I am also even more thankful to God for providing him in my life.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 3rd

Welcome to Saturday. After a lazy Friday evening, I have a few things in the planner for today.
Some Zumba, time at the library, and cleaning. Then I will settle in for some cheesy Hallmark holiday movies:)

Today I am thankful for blogging. In particular I am thankful for this communication tool that lets me keep in contact with my friends. Technology is sometimes vastly frustrating, but it is great to have this little bit of space to write and share. The brain can play tricks on us and "change" our remembrances of an event. But going back and actually reading what we were feeling. Wow, now that will open your eyes.

I am thankful because I have precious friends near and far and I get to share in their life through their blogging. I especially think of my high school friend Kassy who so diligently writes and posts pictures and videos about her family and her amazing son Asher. I always get so much joy from reading her blog.

When I started this blog with the help of my friend Annie, I was not even sure what changes life would hold. I'm very thankful that I have this live journal of my life for the past few years.

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2nd

I'm thankful today for a Friday evening filled with "me time".
As I listen to the moms and married  ladies at work, I realize that while family is wonderful, they are time consuming.

So being single and able to take an evening for slow showers, Disney movies, cinnamon rolls, and reading is something to be imminently thankful for! It's quite possible that years from now I will be looking back and realizing even more how good evenings like this are. It's also a good thing to write down these special things that shower my life in gratitude.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1st

How thankful can one person possibly be?
VERY, VERY thankful when you actually realize how amazing this life is!
How complicated the process of simply breathing is.
How magnificent the night sky is when it is dusted with stars.

As we enter November 2012, I want to blog daily for one month. (I hope it works out...stay the course Stewart). Each day I want to blog (long or short) about something that I am thankful for. So, here we go!

November 1st:
There is nothing like a well timed vacation. Hopefully all vacations are fun and relaxing (I guess that depends on who you are traveling with). But this vacation that I was blessed enough to take to Boston, it was perfectly wonderful. I needed a vacation and I would have settled for anything outside of the state of Georgia.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island were the great escape. I am thankful for getting away from it all and gathering wonderful life experiences along the way. I am thankful for friends who make such fabulous hosts and show you a new city and region. I am thankful that I had the days accumulated to actually take time off. And I am thankful that I was able to leave the burdens of work behind and go take time for myself. I had to go check in with myself, and thankfully I found that I am OK. I have definitely been better, but I'm still doing just fine. Fall vacation, I am oh so thankful for you!