Saturday, December 29, 2012

Food & Friends- 2013

“You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients.” 
― Julia Child

For 2013 I want to keep on sending out cards of encouragement. But, I also want to add a monthly event to my calendar. And since I know myself, if I want to have any chance of actually being consistent, it needs to be something that I enjoy.

So, each month of 2013 I want to have at least one guest in my home and share a meal.
I'm loving this idea! First, because it is a blissful combination of the things I and relationships.

I have grown up getting to know people by eating with them. I hope that this never changes.
And now, with my own place and plenty of space I want to welcome the joy and fun that comes with having people over and eating.

It's pretty simple.
I will cook up some of my old favorites...I don't want to experiment too much and have the meal turn out wrong.
I will invite friends and maybe even a co-worker or two over to eat and share memories with me. I will try and invite the obvious people, and maybe a few newbies as well.
I will be present in the moments and enjoy these times and the blessings that overflow!

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” 
― Jane AustenNorthanger Abbey

Friday, December 28, 2012

Positive Growth- Reflection 2

Last year my goal was general Positive Growth. Almost a year later and I am pleased to report that my goal was accomplished in a number of ways.

Helping More was one subcategory of Positive Growth. Here I wrote about some ideas that I wanted to implement in my daily life. 12 months later, and I was able to write cards to others each month. From friends to strangers, I was purposeful as I looked for ways to encourage others. And I really didn't go in with the expectation of getting cards back in response. Sometimes it's just good to put good out there, the world is desperate for it.

I was not so successful with helping or donating to a different charity each month. But, that is OK. My effort is worth something. Combined, the cards and trying to donate, all culminated in positive growth and maturity in my life.

On another level, this year I was able to be a better friend. And in my life that looked like stepping back and taking a chill pill. I tuned in and tried to be aware of the needs of my nearest and dearest. There are those I was able to confide in regularly, and those who I was able to communicate with more sporadically. I invested in the friends who wanted to invest in me. And I was much more satisfied. I accepted new definitions for my friendships, and along the way deepened the necessary bonds that make for friends for life. I have had time over the last few months to spend quality time with my ladies. From Target reunions, to Halloween pumpkins in Rhode Island. From pizza to help return some normalcy to those who are grieving, to walking tours of Boston. From trips to Tallahassee, to prayer group in Athens. I have enriched the friendships that I have and come to see them as the blessing that they are meant to be.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Positive Growth- Reflection 1

It was 2011, and I was wanting to actually have a goal for the New Year that I would keep.
I wanted to be different, and committed to something for one full year.
So I knew I was not going to be specific, I was going to make it easy to keep my goal for the New Year (2012).

A year later I am proud of myself. I think that I achieved my goal. That is a satisfying feeling!
So I wanted to look back at some of the ways that Positive Growth was a part of the life of Sabrina in 2012.

Due to a variety of factors, I am healthier this year! I lost 17 pounds, and that right there is something to be celebrated!! The weight loss has influenced my blood pressure and complexion. It was a gradual thing, and something that I will have to work on daily. But now I know that it can be done. I am so very proud of myself. If you have ever struggled to lose weight, then I know you will understand my pleasure. People have asked, how did I do it. Well it was purposeful. And it was in some ways deliberate. But, there was no magic pill. It was a combination of increased movement. I am walking up and down the halls of my work A LOT. I need a pedometer;) Then add, eating less to the mix. I am satisfied with less now, and that was brought on by my early morning routines, and inability to eat lunch at a normal time. The stress of work was the catalyst at the beginning, but that does not factor in much anymore. I am happy with how I look, and know that there is more work to be done. Positive Growth in the health department...CHECK.

Compared to last year, my personal spiritual growth has flourished. What a blessing! That is because I was tested. And I failed, but God has re-established himself as my foundation. I could write a book about the trials and waiting that was dumped on me this year. But I won't. I will say, that I was building my life on crumbling foundations. My will, comfort, consistency and pleasure were the bricks that I had been stacking. And boy oh boy, when my house started getting pressure, the foundations crumbled. And I was left weak, confused and fragile and desperate for God. And I learned that we need that place sometimes. Because that is a place of quiet and a desperate search to know God again. After much personal work and learning, I am glad to report that the rebuilding project is coming along. I am growing in trust in God and his will. I am backing down from the way that I want it to be, and embracing they way that it actually is. Increases in my Bible reading, morning devotionals, time in prayer, quiet time with God, and singing songs of praise and worship are evident to me. Positive Growth in the spiritual realm....CHECK.

*Part 2 coming soon*

Monday, December 24, 2012

I GET it Now

It has been quite the emotionally exhausting day. Never has a Christmas Eve been full of such back to back sad news and loss. My heart has been heavy this day and my soul has experienced anguish as I mourned for those who mean so much to me.

And I usually don't take time to write on the actual holidays, because the days are so busy and distracting. But I wanted to have some remembrance of this day, and the grown-up lesson that I finally understood in full.

Tonight the four of us headed to Daytona to see some of my family. My beloved grandma is fresh out of a hospital stay and I was yearning to see her. She is still spunky Laura, but she is not 100% well either. The house was full of family and food! It was full of family chatter and the joy of being with those that you love.

And, because some of the sad news involved dear family friends, and because my grandma is still weak, when my daddy asked everyone to come pray...they did. And in one of those moments that is perfect in simplicity, we lifted our voices and sang a few songs. And my heart could have burst, it was just so full! Sitting on the edge of a bed in a room filled with family, I finally understood. This Christmas is not about material gifts. It is about memories and people and love for our blessed families. I understood that though Santa bought me a fantastic gift to GA, it could not and will not, fill my heart like the love and joy of being with my family in moments of peace.

I get what it is all about! At this season which should be so joyous, but has been tougher than many would like, I was able to experience the true spirit of the season. We stripped away the false comforts, the layers of the hustling and bustling world, and our own differences. And we gathered around, without order, but with a specific reason. And that reason was just to be together. The TV was off, no cell phones were out, tempers were tamed. We were our very best selves in that moment, and it made me realize just how special this life can be. In some ways, those 20 minutes redeemed the last few months with their stress and growth. Praise God for what he has done. Praise God for what he is doing. Praise God for what he will do.
Good Night and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Goldilocks and my Life

The story of Goldilocks is a widely known tale. A little girl breaks into the house of some bears, and enjoys their food and household items. The part of this tale that relates to my life is when it's time for our friend to sleep. She tries one bed and it is TOO hard. The next is TOO soft. But that third bed, that one is JUST right.

Well, I have worked two jobs in two different cities. And I am praying to God that the next place will be just right. Because I'm not feeling this extreme thing.

I loved my first job! In fact I loved it too much and it spoiled me. I was in a place where I was taken care of and encouraged. Happiness abounded. And I was lulled into complacency. I was tucked away in this beautiful place, and it was good. But the truth was, it was too soft. There were challenges, but also I found myself becoming way too comparative. Example (I hang my head in shame about this now) comparing Christmas gifts from the families to what others teachers were getting. I was always thankful, but there were other emotions that had no place in my heart. It was not the permanent place for me, and I can't exactly explain it, but my soul was not calling me to stay.

I like my second job! It is tough and worthwhile. I am in an interesting town, but I do not fit in here. Not at all. And the truth is that I don't want to fit in here. And maybe that is part of the problem, it is quite possible the problem lies more within me than I think. Anyway, I find myself having to dig deep to trust God, yet he has been faithful and led me to a place of amazing spiritual growth. But, in all honestly, this job is too hard. I don't have the depth yet and I don't want it to change my spirit. I know that I needed to toughen up some, but I refuse to become like some of the people I work with (worn-out, cranky, and having given up on the kids). I would rather just work at Target or something. It is not the permanent place for me, and I can't exactly explain it, but my soul is not calling me to stay.

I can't see even a speck about what is next. Job three? Will you be just right? I want it to be (OH so VERY much), but I am not putting my hope in the actual job (and that is a struggle). I am putting my hope in God. He will provide, and there are lessons in being humble that I am sure will come along with a New Year. I'm hunting for something in the middle, something with lows and highs, that has some good old fashioned normalcy. I have my own dreams about what this could look like, but I'll not share those just yet. I'm learning to give things time.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Tunes- Christmas

Oh my Friday Tunes, I have missed ya! I have not been slacking. I'm still singing off key to all types of music daily;)

But, at my favorite time of year, I wanted to share a song that I am just loving. Thanks ABC Family for your original holiday musical movies!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

First Read of 2013?

I can always depend on NPR to introduce me to new books, that I need to read.
Working often crunches into my reading time. Well, at least getting to read new books. I have a habit of re-reading books that I love. I find it VERY a familiar blanket. And no amount of work can change that.

Anyway, with a new year coming, I think I want to start out 2013 reading The Pushcart War. You can read more about it here.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


This sweet season has made me feel more at home in Athens than ever before.
My Christmas tree is beautiful and fills up my living room quite nicely.
Parties, and card writing are fun diversions.

This at home feeling is pleasant. I am really liking it!
With 4 more days left of work, I feel ready to head back to Florida, in a positive state of mind.
Small things like standing in the hallways laughing with new friends at work, are welcome signs of positive change!
I'm checking the weather to see if we will have a shorts and T-shirt type of Christmas.
I'm also rewatching holiday favorites on the DVR (my new favorite hobby).

My gifts are wrapped and ready. My baking plans are all set and ingredients await mixing.
I even worked with a sweet, thoughtful friend to fill stockings for my co-workers and her patients.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year! Blessings and peace to you during this last part of 2012!
Like I always tell the kids at school, "Have a good day, and make good choices!"

Friday, December 14, 2012

Kindergarten Babies

I just realized it, I am more than just sad for the senseless tragedy in Connecticut.
I am mourning, and I need someway to share these heavy thoughts and feelings that overwhelmed me, as soon as I read the horrific news.

Death sometimes will get to me, mass death gets to me even more. But, the death of our babies...I can't separate myself from that. Because I was a teacher and I am a counselor, both at elementary schools.

As I have traveled far and near, I have never seen a barren Kindergarten class. They all are colorful and full of vibrant life. There are not many quiet Kindergarten classes. I mean, how can there be? Because the babies are still young and they shout out answers and giggle and sob because we have not taught them to mask their emotions. If a Kindergartner feels someway about something, well you will know! They don't understand what being a "grown-up" is. Kindergarten classes are a place of profound growth and being in a group. Most of them have tables instead of desks. Because children are leaning very important social skills along with academics. It makes me smile, because I bet if you had the chance, you would have gotten to know some sweet, rambunctious, and kind children in that classroom.
* Note- They also like to dance and move their bodies. A wiggle break aka dance party is a must for many of our babies to get them through the day:)*

When you walk in a Kindergarten class, well if they know you, be ready for hugs and that order. Wait, scratch that, because they do not have to really know you. The babies are welcoming, because there is no other way to be for them. You can expect to gain their absolute attention with a kind smile. Make them an offer and they will trust you to do as you say. And please oh PLEASE don't disappoint them! They don't understand being fake and just making promises that you have no intention of keeping.
*Note- I pray the parents and families involved will one day find hope in the fact that those precious Kindergarten children knew that they were loved. There is not even a question in the minds of children that age, that you could not love everybody. That is a small ray of sunshine among the torrential downpour.*

What about a Kindergarten teacher? She/He is a very special type of educator. The ones I have met, have infused absolute dedication and love of learning with amazing creativity and talent. They decode crunched up, scribbly sentences. They embrace children who are distraught, because they lost their turn at centers. And if we will admit it, they probably have gotten "looks" about choosing to educate our smallest babies. But, there passion remains unphased.

So, I guess I am in mourning, because a crazy person decided that today he was going to literally kill such innocence.  I am tearful, because our precious, precious little babies had to experiences moments of pain, and confusion. I cry out, because it is a parent's absolute nightmare to know that not only must they bury their small child. But, that they could not be there with them at the end. I cannot fathom the pain and anger and sorrow. It is too much to carry alone and I pray for all of the support that the community will need now and for years to come.

An elementary school has always been assumed to be a safe place. And I still agree with that. I was talking with my mother and she was trying to imagine any ways to increase safety at our elementary schools. We discussed some ideas....but you know what? The truth is that each of us, is one evil, selfish person away from tragedy  People have access to all sorts of things. People are mentally unstable, and very, very angry or very, very sad, or a tragic combination of emotions. I believe it's only by God's grace that so many of us do experience such safe lives. But, don't be lulled into complacency or be terrified into hiding.

Instead, be serious about your life. And be very thankful! If there are estranged people in your life, see this as a chance to forgive. Now would be a fantastic time to get help with addictions. Can we all just try even harder to find our purpose? To stop walking around numb to life. Or, if you must be numb, can you stop dragging others down with you? Can we calm the needless drama and desperate search for things that will not in any way bring us fulfillment? Can we take responsibility and mend what we have broken? Can we even just admit that we have broken parts of ourselves that need some fixing?

Ok, I'm rambling now. And you might have been thinking that for a while now;) I am no preacher, but I will end with this. There is hope, that though some man meant it for evil today, those babies eternal lives are taken care of by a God who personifies love. And if you don't know him, or don't walk with him anymore, or whatever the case may be. At least take some moments of serious thought. God is not far off, if you are searching for him.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

2013: Peace be with You

I felt kind of guilty about already setting my 2013 yearly goal, when there are weeks of 2012 yet to go.

But, it hit me right between the eyes. And, it is just the best, straight-forward, life lesson. So, I'm not going to fight it! Especially because it is something I need desperately.

Next year, my personal goal (aka resolution) is "Peace be with You". I was literally inspired by this section of scripture one morning.

John 20:19-29

New King James Version (NKJV)

The Apostles Commissioned

19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled,[a] for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Seeing and Believing

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[b] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Yeah, that phrase "Peace be with you" is used 3 times! I'm listening God;) And though I know it was used as a common greeting back then. I still think it is an appropriate goal for a stressball like me.

2012 was all about positive growth. And I accomplished a plethora of things that fit under that goal. I will post more on that later.

But, with me contemplating a move and possible change in job. Well, I am going to need peace more than I ever have before!

I easily slip into over thinking and anxious thoughts. I want to be peaceful so badly! Now, I am going to spend a year focusing on it. I think it will all work out for good.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Today was an up and down day. But praise God, more up than down.

I wanted to celebrate a few the fabulous weekend creeps up.

Let's celebrate birthdays. My sweetest friend turns 30 this weekend. And she has planned a fabulous ATL party. YAY! Happy Birthday Stacey. You deserve for every birthday wish to come true.

I am overjoyed to celebrate the baby shower of coming TWINS. This time last year, my friend was not pregnant but wanted to be oh so bad. And now this...God is faithful:)

I can celebrate a nap and getting the pleasure of waking up a little later in the morning!

My heart cherishes and celebrates the amazing and warm email that my mama sent me, thanking me again for hosting Thanksgiving. Amen for loving family.

Celebrations abound!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Change- The Signs

Maybe you are like me. Or maybe not. But often times, I cannot always see the changes in myself. Year by year and month by month, decade by decade (OK, well yes I can see those changes), and finally day by day.

I live with me all the time. And I am coming to know myself (the bright and dark) better and better.
But, there is mighty change happening. And sometimes I don't see it. I don't hear the changes in my speech, or see the changes in my body, or feel the changes in my spirit.

It takes seeing the date to make me realize ...WOW we are in far I have come since New Year's 2012. Or seeing the "babies" of friends growing up so very quickly. That makes me realize that one year is FULL of change, no matter if I recognize it or not.

The signs of change are evident in my journal and prayer journal. They are clear in the nature that God made.  They are present in the lives of friends and the friendships that bless me. I was never one to embrace change, unless I had been well forewarned. And it's not like I have arrived or anything. But, maybe I am just more comfortable with the fact that change is necessary. And that change happens to all people, at all times.

I am praying for some Godly changes to grace my life in 2013 and beyond. I am very unsure what they will look like however.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

November 30

The month of November is officially over. It was a blessed month!
What am I thankful for, on this last day on the month (well, this post is a few hours late)?

I could pick many things. Like the brilliant sunshine that is glowing through my window, that reminds me of fresh starts and forgiveness. Or being thankful for hosting my 5th annual Christmas party! But this morning, I choose to be thankful for Scripture from the Holy Bible.

With so many truths and stories and psalms, and prophecies, and poems, it is difficult to choose even just a few to be extra thankful for. In general, when I am in need of a certain scriptural reminder or uplift, I end up reading just the right thing.

Here are 4 scriptures that mean a lot to me. They all represent a different stage in the life of Sabrina. I am grateful for each one and its truth and beauty.

1. Hebrews 11:1- This is one of the verses that pops up in my mind as I reflect on my pre-teen years and my faith foundation. Life has transformed since those times. But this verse has remained strong and consistently true.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

2. Proverbs 27:19- This was my Senior quote in our yearbook. I did not know much then, but the truth of these words touched me. And I wanted anyone who read my quote to know that I believed in sincerity.
"As in water face reflects face,
So a man’s heart reveals the man."

3. Psalms: 61:2- It all seems a blur sometimes. The span of four years in which I lost 2 beloved aunts, and 2 cousins. The years of my daddy's prostate cancer diagnosis and Melanie's wait for a new kidney. BUT I do remember that again and again and again I came back to this verse. It literally helped me when my spirit was discouraged and in the darkest pit. Thank God for his mighty love and reminders to have strength and look to him!
"From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

4. Luke 6:32-36- As I struggled with that first month of my new counseling job, this verse made me cry. Because I was failing so miserably at loving those who were angry and not kind to me. The outside might have looked ok, but I had many bitter thoughts and blame to throw around. And I had to re-read these words. I had to pray them and read them slowly, often. They helped my battered spirit and encouraged me to keep on trying through my failures.
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."

* Thank You for helping me quickly and easily locate these favorites of mine. I am not so great with memorizing scripture