Sunday, December 29, 2013

Words of Thanks for my Friends

What a question to ask. Our friends, how important are they?
What a question to try and answer. Our friends, how important are they?

Here is where my heart and mind are currently.
*Oh, and I'm not talking about casual acquaintances. They are their own group. I mean, true and abiding friendships. The ones who seem to have seen it all, and yet the friendship gets stronger and better.*

I am thankful every single day for the friends that are in my life. According to there are 28 synonyms for the word friend. Here are my favorites.
I could not "do life" without my friends. I see more and more that their differences and life experiences add depth to my life. They give me reminders and inspire me to always reach for more. They have known me, and I have let them in, and all of the best ones have always treated me in ways that go beyond kindness.

Between the wedding and this holiday season (Thanksgiving-New Years) I have gotten to spend time in some way, with my friends. It might have been phone calls, or visits, cards, or sharing meals. It has also been time in prayer, and time singing, time celebrating, and time remembering. And through all of this, I have been restored by these amazing and wonderful people.

I do not say this to brag, but I have tried to invest in my friends. I have tried to be the friend that I want to have. And it has gone beyond me, and I have friends that I could never have asked for, and that I don't deserve. But, I see them and hear from them and I can't even express to them how much I am thankful for them. I know it to be true, that I need my friends in my life.

Lately, dear friends have been there to fill in and check in during this time of transition. They have seen this season of life and all of its changes. And they have let me talk, and question. They have been solid. And I guess that is the best way to describe it. My life is filled with solid, faithful friends. And I didn't want to begin a new year without writing what is in my heart. And that is profound gratefulness for the love, understanding and kindness that literally has been poured on me. It's so very good, and I am so very happy to share life with you all. To end, I will share a prayer/blessing from Numbers 6:24-26, that I would send out to all of these treasured friends.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’

Monday, December 23, 2013

Reflections on my 2013 Goals- Peace

It's the time of year, to look back over the entire year of 2013. My personal New Years goal was to be more peaceful. I wrote about it here if you want to peek.

Being peaceful on purpose came at just the right time. I was not liking the panicky and stressed part of Sabrina. And I did not want those things to become cemented in my character. I was afraid they already had. Anyway, with growth in peace comes growth in the tests. Ask for something, and then see how life will make you use it. But overall I was blessed to be much more peaceful this year, and I want to carry that on for as long as I live.

This year has been full. And I was able to bring peace with me as I worked and played and worshiped. And I tell you this, it is a much better quality of life that I am enjoying now! There is no need at all for me to stress myself to death about things. Everything will be as it was meant to be. There is no need to believe that I need to be the boss or head person in charge all of the time. I purposefully stepped back and did not volunteer for everything. And guess what? Everything got done.

So much of this goal of peace was internal work. The things that each person has to do for themselves, at just the right time. And I was past due for these lessons. Here are just a few things that I learned.

1. People just won't do right sometimes. And I can't make them, so I just acknowledge it and keep on going with the small set of things that I can control.

2. There is a Biblical principle, that God makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust. It is found in Matthew Chapter 5.
 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[a] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Yep! And the more I remembered that, the more peace I was able to find. And because I am growing in wisdom and faith, when the rain fell on me I accepted it, and when it fell on others I accepted it. And I remembered what I tell my kiddies everyday. Life is not fair, but that does not mean that we stop trying.

3. People are desperate for peace, and while you can share yours, you can't give it all to them. So, I work with many a crisis situation at my school. It's sad, but it is life in the very poor corner of GA, where my kids live. And my first year I gave until I was empty, and have never been in a worse place emotionally. And I did that to myself! People don't pay attention, and they will ask everything from you. And I saw that to be peaceful, I had to keep some in reserve. I also had to let it grow again, when the meter was low. How did I grow peace? Prayer and positive people, and reading my Bible more.

4. I stopped running myself ragged. I learned to treat Sabrina Maude much better this year:) There is only one unique me, and I had to be good to her again. I let myself rest. I turned off my phone and even ignored some calls until a later time. I walked in nature, during every season. I wrote down questions, and cried some tears. I laughed and became joyous and then shared that with others. I looked at my parents and Melanie, and incorporated lessons of peace. I was a little more silly and appreciative of ridiculous things!

So yeah, now that I look at it. Being peaceful changed my life! 2013, you set me up very nicely for brand new experiences in 2014.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Back to Blogging

I have been neglecting my blog lately. I tell you, life just keeps coming at you. And I have not had much time to do the reflection that generally leads to a blog post.

Today however, I am not in a rush. I woke up early, and got to work. But there was no pressure of the ticking clock. No papers and emails to answer in a time sensitive way. There was not freezing rain and other weather impediments.

There was just me.
Me looking around and saying some prayers.
Me breathing deep over and over again.
Me laughing and smiling and enjoying new things in my life.
Me doing some much needed cleaning and organizing.

2013, what a year you have been! You saw me through a plethora of experiences. You were unexpected, but you were good for me. So, in these last few days of December, I will be looking back. Thinking back with a glad heart, of all that has been included in these times.

These times that have housed.....
my daddy's broken nose and extended recovery
perseverance on the job front
sharing life and newness and sadness with friends and family
the loss of an uncle and great-aunt
the marriage of my sister
travels, and moves, and starts and finsihes

Then I will also look ahead to 2014. You know looking ahead is one of my favorite pastimes;)
I'll take some time and write about New Year's goals and what could be expected with the start of a fresh New Year.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Wedding and A Funeral

So, it is official. The Lee's are hitched and happily on their honeymoon.
The weekend really was spectacular. The perfect blend of family and friends and faith and love.
I can't even do it justice right now. But Melanie and Rashaan were absolutely glowing. And I look forward to their future as a new family.

Speaking of family, I am SO grateful for mine. It's not often you have a wedding and a funeral with one day in between them. But that is how it worked out. Got Melanie married on Saturday and buried my great-aunt on Monday. The emotions were all over the place of course. But it was faith in God and my family that kept me steady.

My sassy, and spunky great-aunt received a simple and heartfelt funeral service. The memories we shared reminded me that we only get one chance to make this life count. And she used her 99 years well. I got to see family from NYC that I have not seen in forever. And I got to remember that my cousin Teron, is growing into a respectable man. Which is crazy, because I feel like he was just a boy.

At the wedding, the weather was messy, but my family still came out to support my sister. Some had to leave early, but the love was genuine and I again remembered to block out the distractions (pouring down rain) and focus on what matters. Love, hope, and making memories.

As the year draws to a close. The future looks bright and promising. A wedding and a funeral, kinda just how life goes, up and then down. But when you have faith and belief in what truly matters, you can enjoy both parts of this season of life.

*OH, and my friends have been just wonderful, checking in on me, as I get used to having a married sister. Thank You all:)*

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Exciting and Bittersweet

It's a little under 2 weeks officially until the wedding. We have been hustling and bustling and I know it will all be well worth it. This marriage of Melanie and Rashaan is going to be a blessing both to them and to others.

In the busy moments, my excitement is like a shot of energy. My creativity is through the roof lately. And I've listed and planned and then listed and planned some more. I've traveled and celebrated. I've talked about details until I have them memorized, both in and out. My excitement has kept me motivated to eat out less, and take care of myself more. Though I do feel a cold trying to sneak up on me. No time for that!

However, in the quiet moments. Then this feeling of bittersweet happiness tends to come in. The other night my parents and I ate dinner and I looked at the new normal. And it was good because I love them deeply. But, it was different to not have Melanie with us. And there are more of these different times coming upon the Stewart family. And I think it's because we have been so close. I think it's because the 4 of us, have loved being a family. We spend a great deal of time together, even when we are apart. And so it will be an adjustment. And the funny thing is I think I will have the hardest time.

My parents are used to it. Mel and I have not lived at home since we were 18 respectively. And we have been in Georgia for the last 4 years. But this is new for me. As the oldest, I went off to college and left Melanie to start he Senior year in Jacksonville. If you look deeper in the past I started Pre-K first, and so started this pattern of me going and always having my sister to come back to. And I got to tell the tales of all of the experiences and then she got to come the next year and experience some of the same things.

And so this is the first time that she is going ahead of me. And it is a major life change. And she is beyond ready. There is no question about that. But, I am not quite there yet. I also realize that I am not going to be her go to person anymore. That is Lee, and I'm still in the mix. But it will be different. And I also realize that after years of giving advice and tips and solutions and ideas, I won't be able to do that on the topic of marriage. Though I will still try;) She will need to go to other married people for that kind of wisdom.

So maybe now it makes more sense why this is an exciting and bittersweet time. I'm so proud of the woman that Melanie has become, and my heart is overjoyed with the Godly man that Lee is. As a husband and wife they are going to be "unstoppable"! And with her health history, no one is more deserving of this season of joy, happiness, and numerous blessings.

So amidst the shuffle, I am going to be figuring out more about me. And I'm going to be adjusting and growing and probably discovering all sorts of things. And I am thankful already for the understanding friends I have, who are going to walk this new path with me. And I'm thankful that Lee and Melanie love me and all my quirks and aren't just going to abandon me;) I don't do change well, and this change is going to be a little challenging for me, if I am 100% honest. But, I'm strong and learning to be more flexible. I'm kinda looking forward to what lies ahead for me!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 28th-30th

November 28th-
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Praise God for a special day with my family. For Melanie's almost mother in law who cooked for us. For this city that is now home for Melanie, and in some small part me. Because I will be here visiting my girl and her wonderful husband. My heart was full to the brim and it was a wonderful day to just pause and be thankful for everything both great and small!

November 29th-
I have my Christmas shopping done! I am thankful for having the finances to buy gifts for those I love. And I am thankful for saving money on those gifts. Especially, since Gifts is my love language. So to me a gift actually means a lot more then just the gift. It means the planning and the emotions of making someone else happy, and I am thankful for the cycle of spending and saving money. Though, I know I need to continue to be better at saving.

November 30th-
And so ends a month of being thankful on purpose. It was good! It has been a month full of great and simple things. And I discovered this little song just in time for a few long drives I have in my future.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 26th & 27th

November 26th-
I love my family more than words can express. And today I am thankful for their love and support and care. I have an extensive family and they have taught me more about life than almost anyone else. We stick tight through all sorts of good and all sorts of drama. 

November 27th- It is the simple things that I am thankful for today. Today was a free day. No obligations. A perfect day to hang out in jeggings and an old sweater. A great day for texting and Food Network Thanksgiving Live. I didn't have to apply my mind to one crisis or problem this day. I'm thankful for this lazy day!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 25th

* Just a few more days of thankful posts for this November 2013. It has, as always been a good season and a worthwhile effort!

November 25th-
I am thankful for second chances and great conversation. There is a longer story here and I am not going into it right now. But, I can say that I am blessed  with good people in my life. And last night I caught up with a friend and it was easy and natural and fun and I am thankful on many levels for that time:)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 22nd-24th

November 22nd-
Today I am thankful for the laughter and energy of children. I am thankful for their smiles and grins and joy that is not contained. We had a storybook parade and as I marched down the halls 7 times, the pure energy was through the roof, and it made me just so happy. I know I was grinning from ear to ear. 

November 23rd-
There is a city that owns a piece of my heart. I had both triumph and tragedy in this place. I would not be the Sabrina today, if I had not had the 7 years in Tallahassee. Today marks my 3rd year coming back to town right before Thanksgiving. I am SOOOO thankful for this city. I am thankful that I still have loving people here who take such good care of me. It refreshes my soul and reminds me of all that really matters!

November 24th-
I was completely enthralled with The Hunger Games 2 (Catching Fire is the official name....I think).
It kept my attention, and was the perfect blend of amazing movie. I am thankful for my movie nut friend Julie who went with me to see it. I am thankful for my favorite movie chain AMC, and beyond delicious nachos. It is all fun things, and it is good to be thankful for those things too:)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 21st

November 21st-
I have talked before about how my job is changing my character. And of course that is no small feat. I am happy that a better Sabrina continues to be discovered daily. Of course, it is easy to switch back to my self-centered ways, and catch an attitude with people. But I am striving to work on that! I hung up the phone on a teacher today in frustration, so I know how much work is left to be done. But less of me and more of others is the mantra. And I am not going to give up.

As a part of this whole change, I come to my thanks for today. At work I get to feed the hungry. Both literally and figuratively. Last year there was a particular student who stressed me out to the extreme and I found myself avoiding him. Obviously not my brightest moment. Well, this child has been having a much better year, but today was troublesome. And so I had to go get him. And a little part of me on the inside wanted to fall back to the old reactions and negative thoughts. But I didn't. And so we sat and talked and I let myself purposefully keep the past in the past. And even though it was 10:30 and I had just dipped into my applesauce breakfast, when he looked at me and said that he had been late to school and that he was hungry. I don't know, it just got me right in the gut. So I ended up giving him a hodgepodge breakfast.

Then later on, just as I warmed up the homemade soup my mom had made, my principal came into my office just to breathe for a moment. It was a WILD day everyone. On the brink of being too much! Anyway, she had forgotten her lunch and I could just see that she needed a pick-me up. Because being a principal at a struggling Title 1 school is one of the hardest things I have ever seen done. And we chatted for a minute and she mentioned that she was hungry. Twice in one day, hungry people ended up right in my office. And I could have given her popcorn or an orange. But again, right in my gut I knew that she needed my soup. And I remembered my UGA College Minister Adam saying one day that you give the best that you have to others. Giving others junk and things that have been completely worn out, is actually not really helping at all. Though we might feel that it is. You give like you were the one in need. And of course this idea is completely Biblical, but Adam just said it in a way that always stuck with me. Anyway, I gave her my soup.... and her smile was my reward. I just was reminded that no matter what, I am thankful that I have been equipped to feed others. I am thankful that lately I have not ignored the need that literally is right in front of me.

2 people today came across my path. And since I believe in the saying that you do need to be the change that you want to see in the world. I was thankfully able to help them out and learn a little something more about myself along the way.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 19th & 20th

Have you ever been exhausted and then gotten a chance to get 100% well rested. Yep, I did! Whew it completely recharges a girl. I'm thankful for a night of peaceful rest.

Technology is amazing! And because I am just OK with using it, I am just awed by all of the things that we can share and connect. I'm sitting here connected to the wireless internet. I mean, think about that for a moment. And I'm also streaming Netflix through my TV!!! How thankful am I for the technological advances that have been created in my 28 years of life. Imagine what the future holds.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 16th-18th

November 16th-
I am thankful for deep down in your gut laughter. When you pair it with hilarious family and friends, then it equals the exact type of fun that I love.

November 17th-
I have been on the road SO much lately. I am thankful for my car that gets me safely from one place to another. It is trustworthy, and has seen me through all kinds of great travels. I have carried friends, and moved multiple times in that car. And after coming off of a car that would break down on me way too often, I am thankful for the reliable car that my mama helped haggle down for me:)

November 18th-
Today I sat at a table with 4 other girls. And because it gets dark so early, it felt even more cozy. And we sat and took quiet time to think of prayer requests and praises, but this time we purposefully focused on more praises than requests. And just like so many other times, our time together was a blessing. I am thankful to the bottom of my spirit for Girl's Prayer Group. It fills a special part of me and always expands my sight outside of myself. It also has helped me through the year, reflect on God's supreme faithfulness. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 13th-15th

I'm on the road again. The one month countdown to the wedding is here, and all of a sudden I feel like everything is wedding related. Being the maid of honor is an honor, and it is also tiring, in a  good way. Maybe the better word is selfless.

November 13- The sunsets in the Fall are amazing. First, I have changed so much, that enjoying a sunset and not just skipping right over them, is a new and good thing for me. Today I drove 5 hours and it was beautiful and completely small town and pretty and fun! As I saw the sky darken, I realized how gorgeous the setting sun is, hitting the red, orange, yellow, and green of the leaves. I am thankful for that looong drive by myself to let my mind rest and observe God's beauty again and again.

November 14- I am SO thankful for the statewide Georgia School Counselor's Association conference. This is my 4th year in attendance and it was another grand time. I don't know what is better, the people, or the locations, or the sessions? All I know is that I think clearer, when I am among the amazingly diverse group of men and women who also share my profession. Again, I do think it is wonderful to be a School Counselor in Georgia:) And I am grateful for a GOOD time and excited about next year!!

November 15- I am HOME for the weekend. I can't even express how thankful I am for this house, that has been my home since I was first brought home from the hospital. Or, these parents, who love me and love God more, and believe in being peacemakers. Or the feeling of just being here, with the things that remind me of stability.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 11th & 12th

November 11th
The wars of past and present, all have some sort of effect on our families. Fathers, sons, daughters, so many that we love, have sacrificed their lives for the United States.
I am thankful today for the brave courage of my cousin Julian Woods. His memories are full of his grin, and that tall and lanky walk. I smile when I think about what I would tell him about my life. I smile, because he would be proud of his little cousin.
It is tragic for those left behind when loss comes to our families. But, for me, I know my cousin died as a hero. Trying to save a life, and as the Bible says in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this; than to lay down one's life for his friends." I could not express it any better.

November 12th
I sat across from my bosses today. And I was laughing SO hard my stomach was hurting, and I probably snorted at least once. And it came to me yet again, that I work for some amazing people. I would not do some of this work, without these two as my support and sounding board. And it was kind of bittersweet, because I don't see my future staying in this place and working with them.

I am grateful and humbled that my bosses trust me so much. They have given me limitless chances and opportunities to grow and shine as a school counselor. They have always been there for me. And they have in fact spoiled me I am quite sure. I can be silly and serious with them. One challenges me in my faith, and the other challenges me to chill out and be less rigid. I love our "team" and I am better for knowing them both.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10th

Today I am thankful for anticipation. And that is definitly an odd thing to be thankful for.
Currently, I am opening myself up to brand new possibilities and experiences. And it feels pretty good. I am going for the gusto, and living each day in a more vibrant way.

Today there was a call and text that I was waiting for, and it seemed like I got every other person to call or text me. Yet, the anticipation is kinda fun. It makes me a little giddy, like I am 18 again.

Then of course, I was out walking when the call actually came;) But, I still am thankful for this new part of me. I like her, I hope she stays around for a while!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November 8th & 9th

November 8th-
On Friday I was struck by how much change is possible in a year. I sat and smiled with a 3rd grader, and he was so happy and  emotionally healthy:)
And I know that he is growing up, and has teachers that love him and yet have expectations. And I see last year, and I see now. Thank God that he gives us time to grow and change. That we have time to enter the darkness and then also to adjust and emerge. That we have time to build memories and then get to a point when the memories are all that is left.

And the point was hammered home as I was driving along secluded country roads after work.  I heard a song, and the last time I heard this song was on a gloomy day in May when I cried my heart out over not getting a certain job. And at that point, I could not have imagined yesterday. Because yesterday was a great day at work. And I have changed so much in all the ways that really matter. So I am thankful for time, and want to continue to live and make my days matter!

November 9th-
This morning I am thankful for the hustle and bustle of wedding life. Melanie has 2 celebrations today, planned by friends she has made in Georgia. It is a testament to her sweet spirit. And I am happy and thankful for her Georgia family who love her and support her, and now have created times to celebrate with her:)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 7th

I am thankful for a free flu shot today. Really though, having health insurance is important to me. I am thankful that I can afford it, and that generally I have good health.

With the seasons changing (Hello gorgeous Fall in Athens!) and the kiddies coughing and the adults hacking up a lung, I was in need of a flu shot. And it ended up being free! Another perk:)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 6th

I was blessed to be able and teach children's Bible class tonight! The 2nd-5th graders energize my spirit and enliven my mind. I am SO thankful that I was able to teach them tonight:) They make me happy and remind me that I am in Athens for far more than my job. Even though my job is important, it is not everything!

And the funniest thing is that I had to REALLY improvise on the lesson. And it was better than if I had followed the plan!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 5th

Some days at work are peaceful. I get to actually do what falls under my job description.
Those days are not ever guaranteed, but today was one of them:)
I am thankful for a very good day at work. And I am thankful for all of the skills that I have and that I am allowed to use and cultivate daily.

I am a better School Counselor than I was last year. Praises!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Welcome to a Thankful November!

" The most definite change that has occurred during my 20's has been an abundant increase in gratitude for things both big and small."
Sabrina Stewart

Good Morning! I don't even know if it's OK to quote yourself.....but I like it, so I figure it will be just fine.

Last year, I was dedicated, and blogged almost daily about people, places, and things that I was thankful for. And I believe that concentrated focus was good for my soul, and when you find something good for you, well then you probably should keep on doing it. So, on that note, Welcome to a Thankful November!
* I was out of town, loving life, so I am going to play catch up today. I won't be posting the link to the blog on Facebook each day, but come back and visit if you like.*

November 1st- To begin, I start with something simple. I am thankful for this new month. I am thankful for this season of Fall on the calendar. I am thankful for cooler weather and the start to the end of 2013. I am thankful for this set aside time in my life to reflect on gratitude. November always seems to revive me, and I am most thankful for that fact!

November 2nd- Today I am thankful for 2 special friends. At this point in life, with 9 years of friendship under our belts, they are more like my other sisters. We have become the 3 Musketeers, somewhere along the journey, and that makes me smile.

I am thankful for Julie, our adventurous, movie-loving, partner. She is compassionate and strong and ridiculous and I love her.
I am thankful for Cherika (HAPPY 30th Birthday!!!), she is quirky, and hilarious, and kind beyond what is necessary and I love her too.

All of us are in this odd season of life and living, but I would not want to share these times with anyone else. Having a weekend to be with them was my blessing and I am thankful for it and them!

November 3rd- With the time change I was up and ready to move at 5:15 am. After some morning prayers, my friends were up too and we all walked down to the beach. I am thankful for how God created this world and especially the beach. The sky was a flawless blue, after a day of rain. The sand was white and firm beneath my feet, and the waves were the perfect soundtrack to the start of a new day. It made me feel like a new girl:)

I stood there and just took it all in. Clearing my mind and heart of everything except the simple act of being aware and then being thankful. And it was absolutely perfect, because it was simple yet majestic.

November 4th- Today is my daddy's 59th birthday! I am blessed to have him as a father. He is funny and kind and solid and my role model. And I am assured each and every day of his love for me:) Each day I work with kids who are desperate to have their fathers in their lives. And I truly mean that and it breaks my heart. So I share about my daddy and my family, and connect that love to the love of those people who do love my children. But it makes me even more grateful for what I have been given.

I know that age is creeping up on all of us, and so I thank God for being with my daddy and guarding his life in the past, in this day, and into the future.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sometimes the Message is Serious

What does your mind think when you hear of a woman whose daughter was shot, execution style in the head? What do you think when you hear that this daughter was in her early 20's and had finally made the decision to leave her abusive boyfriend? What in the world is my spirit supposed to do when I think that a woman was planning to leave tomorrow, Friday. Her family had helped her pack her things last weekend.

But, on Wednesday a man with evil intentions decided that he was not going to let her go. On Wednesday, the years of threats and violence culminated in a murder/suicide.

There are those moments in life when your spirit just is still. It feels like your heart has stopped, but you are still breathing. That is how I felt when I heard the tragic story above. A local friend of one of my close friends lost her daughter in an unspeakable tragedy. And seeing the aftermath has been terrible.

Of course, there are no words for the family. No words to ever help with the regret that is pulsing through their lives.

But there are words for the women and men I know who are raising daughters.
No matter how old or young your girl is. She MUST know that it is never OK, for a boyfriend, fiance, husband etc., it is never OK for that boy or man to verbally, physically or mentally abuse her. EVER. It is black and white. There are no gray areas. It is as serious as life and death.

It's a slippery slope, the tumble into an abusive relationship. It's a back and forth struggle and there are always lives on the line. And our girls, who today are in pigtails and tomorrow will be in prom dresses. Our girls are strong but fragile, smart, but also foolish. And I know that sweet talking, and romance, and misguided definitions of love, cover up a multitude of hurt and harm.

I think families have to be explicit. There has to be a point where you sit your girl down, while she is still a girl and look her in the eyes. And that moment has to be real and poingnent and loving. And you HAVE to get across a message. Maybe it is this message.
 "Because you are amazing, and because we love you so much, we need you to love yourself. We need you to value yourself so much that you won't accept the lie that says that it's OK for a man to yell at you, and talk to you like scum, and hit you. The lie that whispers that you can "fix" him and that your love will heal him. Because we have lived our lives as your parents, trying to show you daily that love can be hard but it is worth it. But that even though love is hard, it is NEVER violent! There is never a reason for a man to put his hands on you with violent intent. And you know what, we need to back it up a bit. Because often before the hit or punch comes the words. There is never a reason for a man to curse you, or threaten you, or put you down. Don't be fooled my girl, there is no real love where these things exist. And if for some reason you are ever confused, if you are torn between what your heart and your head is telling you to do. Come talk to us. PLEASE, and there will be no judgements, but instead there will be understanding, and our real love that will illuminate the shadows of what he is saying and doing."

The statistics are real. Our friends and neighbors and co-workers and maybe ourselves are dealing with abuse. It happens much more often than you think. And in my life, this week just reminded me to keep on investing in our children. It reminded me to continue to show true love and acceptance to my students. Because the more of that in their lives, the less confusion they will have when the lies try to sneak up on them. I want my kiddies to grow up in affirming relationships, so that when the false comes by, they can compare it to what they know and choose what is real. Because in the end, as much as we love them and want to protect will be their choice and we will have to trust the people that they have become.

Need help or more information. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is one place to start.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Catching Up

I can admit that I have missed blogging. Really, I have missed quiet moments of reflection. And typing and then retyping thoughts and ideas about this life of mine.

Because I hold myself to absolutly no standard of how often I update, I don't feel any stress at all to write just to take up space. I figure the Internet is full of that already.

But this little spot has been my escape hatch. It has seen me at 25 and now at 28. It has gone through life with me. And it is my reminder of how good things always turn out.

Life is going along for yours truly. Working and playing all combined to make me hyper-aware that November is almost here. 2013 you have been quite a year. I'm glad I didn't give up on you. I am glad you came along just in time to help me grow up more and more.

My age group is still settling down, and moving to grand adventures. They are still having babies, and looking for relationships, and getting hitched. And me? I am still here, kinda in a place of working and waiting. Not "there" yet by any means, but also really excited about the future.

My mama read a letter to me the other day. It was from 10 years ago! A freshman Sabrina wrote it as she sat back and completely looked into her future and claimed all of the things that she wanted. She was unstoppable that girl. And surprisingly, that is what my future brother-in-law always calls me. Unstoppable Brina (and I love him for that).The letter is classic Sabrina. In the end, we actually don't change that much in life, and that is surprising. Things have matured, but at my core, that 18 year old, she would recognize me and smile:)

Anyway in that letter I boldly declared that I LOVED my life at Florida State. I also had the realization that I wanted to be a School Counselor, I was 18 people. Out of the mouths of babes and all that. I questioned my parents about traveling abroad. A dream that became a reality a few years later.

That letter got me thinking that soon I am going to write a letter again. And if I live long enough, go back at 38 and see what 28 year old Sabrina was talking about. Should be interesting!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


                                                                           from here

Aiken, SC; Tampa, FL; Macon & Atlanta, GA; Jekyll Island GA & Jax, FL; Tallahassee, FL; Orlando, FL; AND then back to Jax, FL for the wedding.

Yep, the list above encompasses the next 7 weekends of my life. When this time of travel is over I will be sitting pretty, ready to celebrate a quiet Christmas with my parents. Then ring in a brand New Year.

These weekends all have the common thread, of me, spending time with those people that I love. These weekends are me, going to, and continuing to invest in the friends and family who have supported me through times both fun and frustrating.

I'm blessed to have a full life. I'm grateful that these travels will reunite me with people who are always in my prayers. I am at peace because these weekends are abundant blessings. And I will treat them that way.

I won't take safe travels for granted.
I will take pictures of smiles and sunsets on the beach.

I will try to put my phone away.
I will pack books and my journal, so that I can read and be happy.

I won't focus on what has been lost or limited this year, as far as friendships are concerned.
I will make it known how thankful I am for the people who continue to stick with me, and allow me to stick with them.

I won't waste these good times complaining of "grown-up" things.
I will laugh really hard, and I will gasp in surprise, and I will be oh so content to be with my people.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

THE Question that follows a Sister's Engagement

It is a new phenomenon that the Stewart 4 have noticed recently.

Ever since Melanie said YES to Lee. A new question has entered our lives. Last night we all smiled about it together.

All of a sudden, it seems like everyone is wanting to know about me! Am I dating anyone? Is the family ready for me to get married next? The list goes on and on. And the questions are coming from everyone.

It makes me chuckle of course. The questions imply that I have had a ton of date-able options and that I just have been turning down relationships right and left.

The truth is, that once we get one Stewart sister down the aisle. Then maybe, if the person and timing is right, I will put more energy and attention on dating and marriage and family life.

I could write an essay on why I am single. Moving around every few years, being distracted by work and travel, not being aware until the moment had passed that someone even was interested. Whichever the case, I would tell anyone that right now I have never been in love. And I don't think I have met my guy. I would tell everyone to hold on a while and let life just happen:)

Of course people are just curious. Does this older sister feel any increased pressure to be in a relationship? Just a smidge, not from my amazing parents, who raised me with an independent streak and a desire to be loved, valued, and respected wholeheartedly. The future bride, she has been circling the dating wagons lately. Popping in with random questions about my future. I tell her oh so nicely (not) to mind her own business. But, I know that she just wants me to share in all of her happiness in this new stage of life. I was a late bloomer, so in my own time I think I will catch up. For once, the older will be behind the younger.  And it will be something brand new for both of us.

I guess I would just fill everyone in on a secret that I have known since I was about in 11th grade. Even back in high school I had this strong feeling. As I watched couples get together and break up and figure out the heartbreak and joy. I knew that in my spirit I was never going to be that girl who dated a lot. I don't need to personally sample all the selections on the menu to make my choice:) I have been meeting people and learning my likes and dislikes. I have watched carefully the faithful and committed relationships of those exemplary people in my life. I have a gut feeling that the first person I really date, will be the person I marry. I just can't see sharing so much of myself with someone, and not wanting to enter into married life with them. I don't have any timelines or realistic prospects currently. And I am thankful for all of the loving people who just want what is best for me. But, just know this. I am not hiding anything:) If there is ever anything to share, you can bet in my excitement, I might even be that person to over share. Right now my life is full and I'm feeling blessed everyday to have everything that I do. Change is always possible on every horizon. I have a faithful hope in what is yet to come.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

OH Deer: An Update

So, when a deer hits your car, just know that it is gonna take some time to get everything back as it was.

Here is what has been going on in my neck of the woods.
Obviously, the rest of last weekend was spent relaxing. The weather was rainy, and I had no desire to keep crawling into my car. So I mainly stayed put, and got rides from a few friends. I did venture out in my beat up Bluebelle (that's my car's name) to get a sausage biscuit from Hardees. Random but delicious!

On Monday, it was all business. My soreness was gone. And I spent time filling out papers, and making phone calls. Just taking care of business. When it was time to get a rental car, all that was left was a gorgeous 2013 Ford F150. Yeah, can you picture me driving one of those things? I did give it a whirl, but it was huge. And I felt like it was driving me, I was not the one in control;) So, I returned it for something more familiar (aka lower to the ground).

By Tuesday, I had called the body shop approximately 4 times to check on my baby. Finally I got the report. Bluebelle was lined up to get a new hood, fender, grill, and paint job!

The rest of the week went on by. Now, Friday night I finally got my courage back. Since my accident I had avoided the road where I was hit. Well, to be honest I avoided it at night. I was nervous about a repeat performance. But, on Friday I told myself, a week was long enough to be fearful. So, I took a nap, had dinner, and at 9:00 I went out to Barnes & Noble. I was brave yet cautious. It was all safe and now I can check that off my list. I still drive slower on that road and keep my eyes peeled for movement in the trees. But I am no longer scared to travel that road at night:)

Thank You wonderful family and friends for keeping me in your prayers and thoughts! They made all the difference. Oh, and I should be reunited with my car by the end of this week!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ebb & Flow

It's been quite the week of highs and lows. Too much to go into here. But the constant realization that life comes at you fast then recedes so that you can catch your breath.

I'm driving a rental car for another week. Feeling kinda antsy about life for some reason. Work is work. Though, the friends I had gained have been taken away. It is the way of life recently.

I am living among this mix of smiles and frowns. And it is nothing major. Each morning I am blessed to open my eyes and try again for a new day. But sometimes the accumulation of small nicks, builds up.

Tonight I walked and talked with a special friend. She is so faithful, and this time spent with her was absolutely what I needed.

This is so disjointed, but I am almost at the weekend!

OH, I am feeling full of purpose as I see again that I am here for much more than work. God is using me in his kingdom, and that is making me very happy!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

OH Deer!

In simple words, I was hit by a deer on my way to Target tonight.

Now here is what happened....
I live in North GA, in a more wooded area. I see deer all of the time out here in my city, that is surrounded by country. It's odd because I often see peaceful deer munching grass or gazing out into the road.

Well, tonight I was driving and out of the corner of my eye I saw a deer coming at me full tilt. I didn't panic, but I knew I could not slow down either. So I just gripped the wheel and focused on keeping my car going. It all happened in about 45 seconds. I heard a loud thump near the front left side of my car. Then it was over.

My heart was in my throat. Seriously, I almost could not breathe. My first thoughts, were pure thanks and gratitude to God for saving my life. He kept me calm and in the moment. So I drove a bit more and when no emergency lights came on or anything....I continued on to Target! Sometimes I am a nut.

Anyway, as I drove, I am thinking that nothing was wrong. Until I got to the parking lot and tried to open my door! Whomp, whomp. Yep, the door would only open a crack. So, I huffed and puffed over the seat and out the passenger side.

My Bluebelle was not happy with me. That dang dear dented my hood, cracked my grill, and scraped the paint. Also, it must have thrown something off because the front door still won't open:(

Anyway, that is when I realized just how serious everything could have been. And I started feeling little sore spots. The family Stewart was available by phone and helped me get my mind right. A quote from my dear mother "That is why people in the county stay in at night. To let the deer roam!" Even she laughed at herself on that one. Then State Farm was just amazing! I tell you, don't skimp on car insurance.

Anyway, I had planned for a relaxing weekend. And now I will most certainty get my wish:) Gotta handle all of the "adult" car and insurance issues as well. But, again, God is a protector, and I am grateful!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cheers to 5 Years

Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I
Psalm 61:1-2

As I sit here, I can't really fathom that it has been 5 years since a successful kidney was found for Melanie. The verse above was my encouragement on many a loooong night.

That time in our lives seems so fragile, when I look back on it. And I know that God brought us all of the family and friends that we needed. It was a time of  hurt and a time of healing.

As I type this, I hope someone who is feeling completely overwhelmed. Someone who has been worrying so much, that they can't even remember a time when they were not concerned about something. I hope these people will hear me clearly.

It will get better.

And your brain and heart are going to disagree with me. They are tired of being stuck in that pit. But, be watchful. Don't give up. Because one day, out of the blue. The help that you need will come. One day, the answer will be delivered and you will be breathless with amazement. If you have faith, then one day God will show up in his faithfulness, just like he has promised. I believe that with all of my heart.

Melanie walked a difficult path, and she allowed me to share some of it with her. She was an angel, who very rarely complained. And she made me grow up. During those years she flipped the switch on me. And I had to learn to deal, because she could not be expected to deal for me.

5 years ago, man oh man, those people back then. That family of 4. They could not have looked ahead to now and seen this. They were so thankful for each day. My parents came down the road so often. Hospital visits were a necessary evil. We lived in survival mode.

Now we are thriving. And I give all the praise and glory to God! My heart is often just overfull of sheer thankfulness. Melanie is getting married to a wonderful man, who understands this journey. My parents have not taken their marriage for granted. I have completed a Masters degree.

Congratulations Melanie on another milestone. I love you dearly and sincerely!! This quote made me think of you, and the fictional (maybe??) Pretty, Pretty Princess club of the past.

Believe me, if I looked good,
It's not an accident
Nora Ephron

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Goal Accomplished

I clearly remember the first day of school last year. As I stood in the hall, trying to cheerfully greet the students, I met a lot of downturned eyes, avoidance, and emotional barriers.

I stood and walked the school halls for about an hour, and fully realized just how deep and pervasive a situation I was in. For you see, so many of those who live in abject poverty, stacked on top of generational poverty, there is a component of danger there. My kiddies had learned by living, two things that I now understand more. The first is that sometimes it is not good to be noticed. Sometimes you walk quickly with your head down because there is a very thin line between your life and getting caught up in some dangerous and scary situations. The second was, being too cheerful and open could be a sign of weakness. And in some neighborhoods, that sign of weakness could bring real trouble.

You might be thinking, these are just kids Sabrina, how can they possibly know these things. But, what I know is that the life lessons my kids have learned and the life rules that they live by are a strong code. And it takes vision, and help and strength to see that there are other ways of living.

At the end of the first day, I knew that I had a goal I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to work to help create a safe and caring environment at my school. I didn't care if I was the one saying Good Morning everyday. I didn't care if I had to stop a student and make sure I at least got eye contact. I was prepared to make the effort, because these were just children. And I didn't want to add any more weight to the unfairness that life had put on them. And as the days started going, and tentative smiles turned into hugs, I started to feel like a better person. It started to make me feel like the effort was worthwhile.

All of this comes flooding back to me, as I think about dismissal this Friday. I was sitting on the edge of the stage with a pounding headache. All my energy gone. And as the classes started to pass me to head outside, I noticed something. The script had been flipped. I was on the receiving end of sweet and sunny smiles. Hands came out to me for high-fives, and the hugs were literally demanded from me:) 

This life is so interesting! Always changing, and requiring more of us. There was a time of desperate prayer a few months ago. Where I was just so sad and dejected by not getting what I wanted. And I asked and kinda demanded that God show me why he kept me here, because I just could not understand and my weary spirit wanted to give up. So, already I have seen positive changes, and I get it a bit. There is so much more to learn, but it is kinda like an adventure now, and helping build something good for these children makes my life feel fulfilled.*

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Some quick blurbs

* The rain has been keeping us cool here in Athens.

* The first 8 days of this school year have been so much better than last year. And that is the power of prayer right there.

*I'm proud of myself for adjusting to a smaller space! I have made compromises in small ways. And that is what I needed so that I would not get stuck in a rut.

*Bridesmaid dress is purchased. Bridal shower gifts are ordered. The wedding is in a little less than 4 months!!!

* I have been thinking ahead about my budget, not just spending, spending, spending.

* I'm looking forward to seeing my dear friend Stacey for Labor Day weekend:)

* My most favorite season of the year is coming....Fall!

* I am seeing and experiencing ways in which God is helping me grow up. And I am thankful.

* I look great in my contacts. I think I was hiding behind the comfort of my glasses, and a little afraid and maybe just uncomfortable with my looks. Anyway, it has been nice, and my friends at work are especially encouraging. They can see that I am making an effort.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What I do as an elementary School Counselor

There are SO many people who care for me, and by doing that, also care for my school. And I got to thinking, that many of them don't even have a clear picture of what I do. So, I thought it might be interesting to share what a day in the life of Ms. Stewart consists of. It might make it as clear as mud, but I will give it a go!

5:30am- Wake up and prepare for the day. This is so much more than just getting dressed. I try to thank God as soon as I wake, for being alive and capable of living a brand new day.

6:30am- I get to work and enjoy the silent peace of a school that is still "sleeping". Answering emails, getting tidy, making sure the "plan" is at least written down.

7:40am- By this time, school has officially started. I've welcomed many of the staff and students with a wide smile and excitement for a new day. I've checked in with my Safety Patrols, and made the first set of rounds, to some of the emotional/behavioral "hot spots". An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure for sure! Sometimes you have issues that follow my kiddies from home. They can come in hungry, frazzled, and angry. And I can read it all over their faces. There are also issues that arise at school, personality conflicts, stress, etc.

11:30am- During the morning, I try to get my classroom guidance lessons done. Because sometimes the afternoons get off the chain:) So, you might find me teaching 5th graders about Conflict vs. Bullying, or 1st graders about Self-Control and identifying the feelings of others. Mixed in with this of course are the everyday crisis situations, that occur often, at a low-performing Title 1 school. Each crisis changes me a bit, and it is my faith in God that is my foundation and it brings me back to what matters. Many times I work with students, and I end up apologizing for the things that adults have done, told or promised them. My heart hurts for the "throwaway children" of this world. I also run small groups.

2:00pm- Usually by now, I am hustling all around the halls trying to help get the school day wrapped up. If I have "lunch" it is with the students, and they end up with most of my lunch. It's hard for me to eat during the day. I usually really eat, once school is over. There are parent meetings sometimes. Meetings with the Social Worker. Getting ready for all of the end of the day procedures. Usually there are a million transportation changes, announcements and such. There are emergency phone calls to process, and sometimes the end of the day tantrums. It almost always is hectic.

4:30pm- Usually I decompress with shared ridiculous stories with the Behavior Specialist. The stuff we deal with each day. It literally boggles the mind, and so we often share and laugh til my stomach hurts. I make sure I answer emails, meet with teachers about a variety of student needs. Why are they sleeping through class? Why are they chronically hungry? Is the outburst of anger developmentally appropriate? I often have post-crisis meetings, to develop new plans to try to establish better days in the future.

*Yeah, so that is kinda how a typical day unfolds. There are days that are far better and days that are far worse. I just take them as they arrive and working with the children makes everything worth it.*

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Year 2 Day 1

I'm one smiling, and tired School Counselor!

It was a good day at work. Not being completely surprised by "things", is helping me find my footing. Of course, I don't know from day to day, what will happen. But I have normal expectations this year. Growing up and wisdom, have helped me find the balance I needed.

It was wonderful to see the kiddies. They were sweet, excited, and fresh.
The weather threw us a curve-ball. But we marched ahead.

This 2013-2014 school year has the possibility to be absolutely anything. And I have this idea that it will be better than the past, yet not "there yet". It will be a year of growth, and increased focus on learning, student achievement, and positive school environment.

The combination of staff. We are a big school (600+ students and 70+ staff).
The combination of community. Our families are diverse in every single possible way that you can imagine. And then in every single way that you cannot imagine.
The combination of the "unknown" factors.
All of these things make up my work. It is a worthwhile endevour, this time spent at my school.
As long as God provides, which he will, then I will trust his will. It does not always "feel" good, but there is something deeper there, when we try to be obedient in spite of self and pride.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

End of Summer Enjoyment

I head back to school this week. The summer is officially over for me! But, how thankful am I to have a profession, where I get time off in the summer. Summer time for us educators is a time to recharge, plan and work on the upcoming year, and so much more.

This summer I went up to my school quite a bit. I helped interview new staff, consulted with my administration, and set up a new office.My co-counselor moved districts, and so now I will be the sole counselor. Interesting, oh yeah I am sure it will be!

This summer I spent lazy days, napping, catching up on DVR favorites, and carefully packing and cleaning up my old apartment.

This summer I downsized (not so easy for me, but beneficial I think) and moved in with 2 roommates and 1 cat. Yeah me, living with a cat. Who knew!

This summer I traveled to Florida. At home I enjoyed the Florida life that I am so very blessed with! Family and friends abound, and the summer sun (and rain) where great for my spirit.

This summer is over now. We are back to school, and the kiddies come back on Wednesday:)

To celebrate this summer, I spent time in one of my favorite places, Atlanta.
Family time, amazing food, shopping, and one wonderful, live concert!!! Matchbox Twenty and The Goo Goo Dolls were so good live. And the weather was just right, as day faded into evening. This outdoor amphitheater concert was a new experience for me. I am trying to embrace new experiences lately:)

Listening to some of the music of my youth, was a really wonderful way to spend an evening. When we first arrived, Melanie and I were literally the only black people I could see. But we pressed on, because music calls out the diversity in many of us. No matter though, we had ourselves a rocking time! 

Fall time is approaching. Back to school here we are. Life continues to roll on. 2013 has been quite the journey!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Almost Friday Tunes- Fast & the Furious 6

I have always enjoyed music for the beat, many times for the lyrics.
And so, some people are surprised that I like some rap. Nothing hardcore or even trendy.
But this song from Fast and the Furious 6, hooked me right away:)

The weekend is upon us!! It's the end of the summer for this school counselor!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Back to School!

                                                                           from here

I absolutely love working for school systems. I have worked for two so far, and had two very different experiences. I prefer a small/medium district. Huge ones, scare me a little. I think because I know that schools are a system, just like all institutions. And you can keep the illusion and down home feeling in smaller school districts. To me, sometimes the extra large ones begin to feel like a machine. (Oooops, I'm starting this thing, off track)

It's back to school time up here in North Georgia. I always start singing "Back to school, Back to school. To show my mama, I'm no fool" from Billy Madison around this time of year;) The commercials are bombarding my TV and radio. The kiddies are ready to head back to new teachers and their friends. And I bet that secretly or not so secretly, parents are ready for the school bell to ring.

We forget that many of our life milestones are related to school experiences. Even important moments like weddings, are often full of the friends we met in school. On a random note. I enjoy seeing so many of my friends flaunt the 1st day of school pictures of their babies. It is just another marker of life moving on along.

This year my own personal baby boom are entering Kindergarten. I know 4 Kindergarten babies and that floors me! I can't believe how much time has passed since I held most those these little ladies in my arms. Now, they have each developed their own personality! It has been a privilege to see them grow up, and I know that the growing up is just really beginning.

There is HUGE change at my current school. A brand new tidal wave of staff. I see it as a good thing. I am waiting to see, how it actually all plays out. I get the bonus job of helping establish the positive and encouraging learning environment that is necessary in any amazing school! There is work to be done at my school. I won't go into it here, but when you picture me, think of me working harder than I have ever had to in my entire life. And if you are a believer, like me, in the amazing power of prayer, don't forget to say a little extra one for me, and most importantly for the kids. The kids from poverty who don't ever deserve to pay the consequences for their parents unwise choices. And also for the community and society who so often looks right over the need in their own streets and neighborhoods. For until you actually "see" what is really going on, can change ever happen. Last year I saw, and now I come back, to do my small part, to show that I care, and that change is absolutely possible. It's a daunting task, I will admit it scares me sometimes, but it is what I have been called to do. And there is infinite strength in that knowledge. Also, I have to remember, we are not given good things to hoard them up for ourselves. We are given, so that we can give to others. And this is definitely my season of learning the lessons of giving. It's not unselfish yet, but I am working on it, for sure!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Courage Counts

Lately I have been looking around and noticing the everyday courage of my friends.
I think it's because I have come out of a season of being less than courageous.
So it's been a refreshing reminder to see this "courage". To live among these people who are refusing to give up.

I think about my friend who is trying for a 3rd time to enter a VERY high demand graduate program.
When I think about my whiny, tearful, and slightly bitter reaction to not getting either of the 2 jobs I wanted, her courage just floors me. I think it is that depth of life when you truly believe in your dreams. That determination, and the attitude of being unwilling to give up.

I also have a friend who is the MOST amazing mother! Really, I see God working in her life all of the time. She is wise, mature, and willing to share the journey of parenting her sweet boy who continues to have health struggles.

 I think that courage mixed with time is a mighty weapon. Because if you don't give it time, then your courage can be kinda shaky. But courage placed at the correct time, well just watch out world!

So, back to my life. When I drove through this this little city outside Atlanta on Friday, I felt my courage coming back to me. I want to live and work in a certain place, and actually being there reminded me to keep on trying!! It was such a gorgeous day and my spirit was uplifted and my mind was relaxed and open. And during that little drive I saw it clear as crystal. I need to try again. If I am a woman made of  anything, If I am the strong Sabrina, who is constantly telling others to go for the gusto. Then maybe, I need to listen to myself. I need to have the courage to try again, even after rejection tried to ruffle my pride.

SO, I have plenty on my plate for right now. But in the back of my head, I am getting back in the saddle. As I look to a new school year, I am also going to walk in peace and courage:)

Monday, July 15, 2013


If there is ever a time to refresh your life. Well, summer is it.
Long days, family time, vacations, moves, warm nights, space, and time.

Before I head back to "real life". I wanted to share the things that have refreshed my spirit and gotten me (I pray) ready to tackle back-to-school and more of whatever life will bring.

Reading, hearing, absorbing, and applying God's word in my life. It all starts here for me. Got to have that foundation strong or else all the efforts built on top of it will crumble.
(Bible app on my phone, worship and praise songs online, attending church services, making time to see God in his natural creation...and be awed and thankful)

Making quality time for family and friends. I have been deeply blessed, over and over with amazing people in my life. Being around them encourages me to keep on trying, and giving. I want to bless others, as I feel blessed by them.
(going home to Florida, phone calls with long distance family/friends, laughing and listening to those I love, sharing life (both ups and downs) and allowing others to know my struggles and needs) 

Finding what I enjoy....and then actually doing it! Not being afraid or ashamed of my happy positivity.
(Movies, good naps, escape readings (light, fluffy, and self-help), baking, traveling, and planning events) 

And finally, after a time of hiding behind disappointments, a distorted view of beauty, and hectic busy days that flow to months. Stepping out, accepting the compliments and not dismissing them, holding my head up high, shushing the negative self-talk. Letting my confidence shine in the areas where before I have been most fearful to even enter in.

*With over 1/2 of 2013 being completed, I am feeling revived for what lies ahead. Already knowing it will be surprising, joyous, new, and revitalizing!*

Monday, July 8, 2013

Blue & Gray & Blue

Ya'll know that I enjoy observing nature and then drawing comparisons to life, right?
It's a habit I picked up during the long and slightly boring rides between Athens and Macon. There is a lot of country and fields in that 2 hour span, in case you were wondering.

A few days ago I was going along, heading towards some vacation time in Jacksonville. And on this one particular part of the road, I was driving right in the exact spot to see a pretty interesting piece of the sky. On my far left it was bright blue with large, puffy, billowing, white clouds. Then it transformed into a dark and gloomy gray towards the middle of my line of sight. And when I turned my head to the far right, the sky was amazingly blue and full of white clouds again. It was quite cool to see, and I was thankful that I took notice.

All of that to say, isn't life just like that sometimes? Blue, Gray, and Blue again. Good, Difficult, and Good again. Smiles, Tears, and Smiles again. Yeah, it is a pattern that I have noticed being played out in my life. A theme in the life of Sabrina.

When I look back over my life. There are the hard times, sandwiched between the good times. And I am thankful for that. Grateful that there are times of peace and relief. Because constant struggles make for a weary soul. I also am thankful for this reminder in nature because it keeps me grounded. When things are going great and there is no trouble on the horizon. Be thankful and appreciative. And when times are trying and hard to bear. Be flexible, because good times are coming back again. Of course I have learned that in the gray cloudy sections of life it can be oh so hard to remember the past and future bright blue skies. But, it is a key to growth and maturity to keep those times in mind.

The trials of life come quickly. Sometimes we are prepared and often we are not. They leave you wondering and nervous. But, they are a part of life, and no one escapes them. And if you try, they will only come back again.

The gifts of life are plentiful. They are everywhere around us, if we will slow down and look. Homes and people that we love. Transportation and frivolous travels, just because we can. Numerous clothes, things, and plans to acquire more things. Health and life and faith and wisdom. Love and forgiveness and sweet memories.

Yep, life is just like that cloudy day on Saturday! I'm always thankful to get time to wonder and praise this unique life.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Reduction of Things

That's a fancy title that actually means...I am moving.
Now thankfully, it is just across town. Nothing major.

But, I am going from a 2 bed x 2 bath that I had all to my sweet self. To a bedroom in a friend's house.
So, yeah I am having to downsize my stuff. Most will go into storage for a year.

I just shake my head, as I enter another time of life that is not the "settled" life that I want most. But, this way is what God wanted for me, and I continue to grow in trusting him for all things.

My oasis was wonderful for one year. Spacious, quiet, peaceful. This apartment was a blessing and I also was able to use it to bless others. I have some great memories of laughter and many new friendships were created within my home. That makes my spirit happy!

I have been keenly aware of the season's changes as I looked out my windows. Seeing the trees go through summer, fall, winter, and spring, reminded me that my life also is seasonal. So, go with the flow, because no one season will last forever. AND I need all 4 seasons to complete a growing life.

Even though this apartment caught me, on many of an exhausted and worrisome day at work. I soon realized that I did need some companionship. So, now I am getting 2 roommates! I think that will help me work on leaving school at school. I also think it will help me continue to grow in compromise and flexibility. Two areas that are not my strengths.

When I moved into my apartment I prayed for the space and friends who would share life with me. And I look back and see that I really did NOT know what was about to happen in my life. Now, as I move on, I pray for the relationships that I will grow with my roommates. And the community of friends who are my supports. And the Sabrina that I will become through this year of sharing and returning to try this whole "work" thing again.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Tunes-Emeli Sande

Love. Yep, that's it. I love this song! And I could not wait until Friday to share it:)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Friendships Count

                                                                            from here

I am thankful to be in Athens.

I had not thought, that simple thought in weeks.

I had thought of moving to the bright lights of Atlanta. I had pondered work, weddings, and life.

But, this past week I made a move across town. And it was not simple, because I have a lot of stuff for a single girl in her 20's. And in spite of the hurdles, I had even more help than I needed for my move!

Both friends from church and school, helped me make the move. And I am just so humbly grateful. I know I could not have done the move alone. And my sister is planning a wedding, and my parents are at an out of town funeral. And it was going to be up to me, to get this move done.

Friends poured into my home and gave their time and strength. It is truly such a God given blessing to have these kind people in my life. Sometimes, I might wonder about life here. But, the answer always come back clear as crystal. Sabrina, you are supposed to be here. Relax.

There is a unique community that I call mine here in this town. And I already knew many things about them, but now I know that these friends from all walks of life are trustworthy. And that is important, when you are living away from your family. May I in some small way, find ways to be there for them, just as they have been there for me.

* I didn't do a huge FB post, but obviously this all means that I am staying in Athens for another year. It will be a year of thinking, working, growing, laughing, and being open to discovering more of why I am here. If you read this often, then you know that my job has its own type of special stress. Be praying. I and my entire school and school community can use any and all prayers for help, guidance, wisdom, and favor.*

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Tunes- Imagine Dragons

Everytime I hear this song, I just can't sit still!
Happy Friday:)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waiting- A Seasonal Tale

 I am in the season of my life that is exemplified by waiting.
Outside it looks and feels like a beautiful and blooming Spring.

But, personally, the season is Waiting. And it has lasted longer than I had imagined. But then again, waiting always does.

I am better prepared for it this time around. I have been growing in peace. It is been my goal since the start of 2013. And that helps with the wait. Also, truly trusting my life to God, makes the wait less scary. The scariest thing would be to try to do all of "this" alone or guided by the supreme will of Sabrina. But, I have already learned that lesson and been burned. I pray I don't need to learn it again.

Just like in each real season, we see changes and often need a new wardrobe.....I can apply that to this time of waiting.

During the season of Waiting, you often get excited about phone calls from unknown numbers ( 2nd interview maybe??)
During the season of Waiting, you need to get your rest. It is tiring to be in limbo. And I for one can get cranky, if I don't let my body rest.
During the season on Waiting, you have to be mindful of envy. It always seems like the season of waiting always catches you, when others are in the season of stability.
During the season of Waiting you need your family and friends. You need people to ground you, before you get too focused on the inside and the teeny, tiny details that can drive you nuts, but actually don't mean very much.

*Update, my BIG wait is over. It was not the answer I wanted, but I do believe it was what was needed. We shall see.* 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Tunes

I don't even care if this song dates me, but as soon as it came on, I remembered almost every word.
HAPPY Friday:)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

10 year high school reunion: My Impressions

Who was Sabrina at 18?
Smart, thoughtful, shy, sarcastic, friendly, and ambitious.

Who is Sabrina at 28?
Bright, hard-working, creative, energetic, quirky/funny, and a dreamer.

There is nothing like going back to your old stomping grounds for a reunion. And I was so lucky to get to spend a whole weekend with people who knew me "back then". I look back at this weekend and I still smile because I had a blast at my 10 year high school reunion!!

Everyone does not have a high school class that still gets together, everyone does not even want to see the people that they graduated with years ago.

But, that was not me. While high school was not the best years of my life, they were good times with good people. And seeing some of those people after 10 years was funny, interesting, and quite an experience.

I loved my 10 year high school reunion weekend. Friday rolled in with a rooftop Happy Hour at the downtown library. I was dressed to the nines, if I may say so myself (see above)! I battled down a few intense butterflies in my stomach as I parked my car. But then I looked at my reflection in the car mirror and saw just how MUCH has changed in 10 years, and I was ready to go.

I spent the evening smiling and really listening to the stories of the grown ups, who used to be kids, that I knew. Of course we are still people, groups formed, but in general, at least for me, I was armed with a smile and ready to meet people again. No shame in not really remembering every single person who I graduated with. Also, it was good to see a mix of friends, acquaintances, fresh faces, and even an old crush or two. I am happy to report that many people agreed that my chosen profession was a "good fit" for me; the person I was then and the woman I am today.


Saturday brought the most memories. Back to Stanton we went. Walking the halls and seeing the place where you spent a large chuck of your life, well it had my mind in a sort of time-warp. Just being there made me think of things I had not remembered in ages. Like sneaking a cinnamon roll into the library for "lunch" as I finished a project. And then stealthily eating it pinch by pinch (thank goodness those times are over!). A delicious bar-b-que and a scavenger hunt full of memories made my afternoon. I went cute, casual as you can see above. I even found my old locker (I think...).

There was still one more event to go before the weekend was a wrap. This time was the formal dinner at the University Club, overlooking Jacksonville. It was beautiful and I felt beautiful. Thank You Melanie, for the most fabulous dress! It was an evening that made me look around and really see, that Yep, we are grown-ups. Memories were shared as we watched our old class of "2003" DVD. The dinner was delicious and the friendships and conversations brightened my evening.

I could never thank the planning committee enough for all of their hard work and vision and dedication. Because of this weekend, I happily look forward to our 20 year reunion.

I don't even know what to hope for in these next 10 years. I guess I will share a prayer, 2 hopes, and a dream.
 I pray I still will be living a growing, faithful and obedient life in Christ.
 I hope that I have found the community where I will be settled. And I would like a family of my own, or at least a husband. Or to be a traveling/foodie!
And I dream that I would be working or maybe owning a bakery.

*Oh, one last note. Almost everyone I talked to decided that 10 years goes by so fast. And we realized that at 18 we wanted to have it all together by now.....but most of us don't, and that is OK. We are still working on it. It was nice to hear that idea affirmed by my peers over and over again.*

Friday, June 7, 2013

Endless Energy and Excitement

Let me just jump right in!
It is a current busy, busy season in this here life. And I am thankful it coincides with my summer vacation from work.

My mama asked me if I planned to grab any little side jobs this summer. I literally gasped, Ummmm mama have you not heard about the last year of work? I won't be officially working until August!

All of this recovery time and all of this rejuvenation is filled with a swirling mass of life events, and I am so dang blasted EXCITED I could probably go spinning off into space:)

Of course my girl is getting married in December. I will be her maid of honor! It's a pretty sweet feeling. The family Stewart is full steam ahead with planning, prepping, and prayer. That same mama, said a beautiful prayer as we ladies found our way to wedding dress fittings yesterday. Thank You God, first of all, before all of the things that you have done. We praise you, for giving us a life that really matters. Amen to that.

Then there is my well-planned and sure to be entertaining and fun class reunion. 10 years since my class of 2003 graduated and went their own ways. Of course with Facebook, I know of some of the surface level things, but it will be grand to get to see old friends and meet new ones. With 10 years under our belts, I'm just interested in the people that we have become, and what we are all hoping for in the next 10 years. The planning committee gets tons of praise because their level of organization was amazing. I've never heard of a reunion, that was so well organized!

Also, one of my oldest, friends asked me to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding! I was so honored that she asked me and thrilled that a friendship started in the pangs of sometimes awkward middle school, has grown and thrived over the years and distance. So, in two weeks, this girl who has never been in a wedding, has been asked to be in 2! Oh life, life.

The weekend is here everyone:) A tropical storm soaked the roads as we traveled yesterday, but this morning the sun was so gorgeous and bright. 2 days, 2 different types of weather. And if I look back, I had my own personal storm of life. But as promised the sun is shining through. And I have this feeling that it's gonna take that rain and grow the most amazing life experiences! And I'm ready for that:)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Farther Along

"Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by."

One of my favorite spiritual songs is Farther Along. But I must admit I love so many songs because I resonate with them at certain times in my life. And praising God in song, for me brings a lot of joy! However, Farther Along has stood the test of time and it's just a good and beautiful song.

I had some difficult news to process last week. And, in my sadness I almost jumped on here and wrote of my mighty and overwhelming feelings. But, thankfully wisdom and some advice I have given others, slowed my steps. I have always cautioned others to be extra careful when posting or writing or saying anything when you are at an extreme emotional high or low. So, I listened to myself and wrote some thoughts in my regular journal.

But, it has been a few cleansing days since the sad news, and I'm in a better state of mind. Honestly, God helped me get in a better state the very next morning. And I am thankful.I could not have done it alone. And he sent wisdom and loving words and reminders through his people. Praise him! He also sent me some work to do. So I really had to tell myself to "suck it up girlie!".

Every single line of the chorus above, could describe this time in my life. Right now I am not sure why I have been called to stay. But, I am being obedient to a will much greater than my own. And it has not been easy. I am weak and selfish and flawed, yet trying.

My tears flowed freely for an evening. But the time of "cheering up" has come. I am SO blessed. With life and strength and family and love and talents. I gave myself an evening to mourn the passing of some dreams. And when the sun rose the next day, I tried to not look back. I pressed ahead, toward what has been given vs. what was not meant to be.

It's been a busy time of life!
Wedding planning and listening and advising. 
Getting ready for a 10 year high school reunion. 
Getting ready to make an, in town move. 

I truly believe that farther along, I will get some understanding about what is going on during this season of the life of Sabrina. Being confused and uncertain is not my favorite emotional state. Yet, if I read the Scriptures, that is just what so many have felt before. This rollercoaster of life is not new at all. It just feels that way, when you are a passenger. It feels higher, deeper, faster, crazier. But, the trick is that in fact, it is not at all. The past is truly right here with us in the present.

 I'm choosing to trust, choosing to "be here", choosing to love anyway, choosing to grow up, choosing to select among the actual options, choosing to smile, choosing to remember the saying "chin up beautiful", choosing to not be scared, and choosing a more faithful and obedient life in Christ.    

It definitely has its "emotionful" moments, but it is a life of purpose that reaches far beyond myself. And there is true joy in that:)