Sunday, December 28, 2014

In 2015

In 2015

2015 will be here so very soon! Here is my annual look into a brand new year. Past posts are here....by year 2011 , 2012 , 2013 , and 2014.

2015:
*Friends and family I know will have babies, and begin new relationships, and get engaged, and get married and some might beak-up. But growing families is definitely the theme of life as 30 approaches.
* I have a back and forth relationship with fitness. But in the New Year, I want to try again to focus on health..starting with getting a bike!

*People that I know and love will pass away or suffer through illness
.
* It has been one year since my first date with Kenneth! I greatly, look forward to seeing how our journey develops in 2015:)
* Being dedicated to saving more and paying back what I owe (finally signing up for Financial Peace University in January)
* No moves this year, just continuing on (a stable season I hope) with a solid job and life in Tallahassee.
* This year, returning to focus on the foundation of my faith, " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Deut.6:5 Aka The Greatest Commandment
*Vacations and trips with family and friends! Maybe I will even take myself on a "just me" getaway. No big trips, but a pleothra of small trips sounds just right this year.
*Turning 30!!!!, and welcoming in another year of maturity and awe. Oh yeah, and finishing my own 30 by 30 list!

For the past 4 years I have used the words below to end these posts. I reread them and they are still the perfect conclusion.
Now with all of that said I will say this.....2015 is a completely unknown entity. Sure, I know some things but they are so tiny compared to what I have no idea about. The key is to hold fast to God, have faith and grace, love my family and friends, and be the very best Sabrina Maude Stewart that I can be.....that should not be too hard ( I am kidding) it will probably take me 365 days to kind of get it right!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ending up December




There is a special sort of peaceful feeling, of waking up in the bedroom that housed your childhood.
There is something intangible about resting my head on a bed that was gifted to me when I was in middle school. I feel the soul deep contentment of looking around this place that is a testament to a well lived life. Pictures, art projects, trophies, well read books, dust.....the memories this room has seen!

I have a deep seeded love for stability. It is wrapped up in my own personality, and the stable example of my parents. So, coming home always seems to bring me peace. The trips are sometimes short, but the "feel" of being home is something that I have come to count on.

2014, you have been good to me, and I look forward (with giddy excitement) to ending up this year! And I will admit, I brightly look forward to 2015!

This is the sort of morning for taking it easy. Hot tea, and thankfulness. Maybe I will get back in bed and try to go to sleep. Highly doubtful.

What's on the list for the next week?
*movie date with my daddy
*roaming/lunching/shopping with the 3rd Stewart sister
*daytrip to Daytona Beach to see my lovely grandmother
*3rd or 4th annual Gift-exchange and meal with Cherika and Julie
*Christmas with the Lee's (soooo excited!)
*GCSC reunions
*family time in Atlanta, and maybe seeing some of my cohort
*Gaines/Athens reunions

Good stuff, my life is full of such good stuff:)





Saturday, November 29, 2014

More Thanks (Ending up a grand month)

Today is November 29th, and I can't really account for all of the time that has flown by this year! 2015 is getting ready to begin, and I am excited!

November has grown my heart and spirit in gratitude. So, mission accomplished:)
This season will always be special to me. A perfect blend of weather, food, family, and friends. The experiences of Fall and soon Winter seem to be right on point every year.....they never disappoint, or maybe in truth, I refuse to be disappointed during these times.

Looking back over this week.....sigh:) SO much goodness and SO many things to be thankful for.
* Of course, there was Thanksgiving with my parents and the Lee's! It was so wonderful, and the growth of my little family literally warms my heart. Hosting my loved ones in the town I love and my new home was so comfy. The sharing of memories and laughter, was like a light, like sunbeams illuminating a life crammed full of blessings. We are a tight-knit group, bonded by love, and I am thankful for time to spend loving those who love me the most.
* There are those who don't understand it, but I saved so much money on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday. So, I am thankful for being able to purchase gifts for the special people in my life. My primary love language is "Gifts", so I really do connect with trying to get awesome and thoughtful gifts for people, and I am not rich, so the savings allow me to match up what I want to give and what I can afford.
* This week I got to spend some time, quietly sharing in celebrating Kenneth's birthday. It was fun to sprinkle in surprises here and there:) I am big into birthdays.....he is not exactly, but most men are not. And most people are not as high-octane about them, like me anyway! Most importantly, the quality time spent together was (as usual) just wonderful. I am thankful to have Kenneth in my life, we are good for each other:)
* I am thankful for my large extended family. Aunts, uncles, and cousins are always loving. I am thankful to have the family history that I share with so many others. I am thankful for my only living grandparent, my grandma and her life and how much she loves me and how my love for her is limitless! My family is strong, and we are all growing-up, maturing, as we continue to take on new roles and relationships.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gratitude this Week

I start trying to write down some of my thanks, knowing that I will never be able to get them all. But that is a marvelous problem to have, abundant thanks:)

This week (and may I just say...where has this year gone?) I have sincere gratitude for...
* All of my friends, both near and far. I know that I have amazing friends. I know that I have people in my corner who love me, and pray for me, and share life with me. We might talk daily or a sprinkle of times a year, but the depth is always there. I can't list all of the sweet and wonderful people who encourage me, and care for me, and I have learned how to be a true friend by surrounding myself with these special people. Thank You is not even enough to express how my heart loves all of my friends! And the inner-circle, the ladies who now are just like my family. They make my cup overflow with thankfulness:)

* This year, I have seen giving and compassionate hearts abound with helpfulness towards my school. We have an AMAZING business partner (Envision Credit Union)! We have had multiple churches adopt our school and some of our families! There is even a local law firm that supports a program to send food home to needy families on the weekend! And though I get to coordinate all of this goodness, please believe me when I say, that God has answered and provided, and has placed me here at just the right time to help. And that humbles me. I prayed for my "new school" even before I even knew where I would be hired, and I am seeing the answers from the prayers that I prayed way back this spring!

* I am thankful for all of the fun entertainment options this season. My DVR is full of Food Network and Hallmark. I have been to the pumpkin patch and the fair, and hosted a Fall party. And as I sit and enjoy a lazy Saturday morning, snuggled up and sipping my hot tea, I am thankful for peace and quiet. This move back to Tallahassee has been wonderful. I am thankful!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A week of Thanks

November, I love you. I know that in my life the focus on thanks, is the good soil I need in my spiritual garden. I mean really, you don't hear it very often, but we actually don't deserve anything. It is not our efforts alone that have gotten us where we are.

But the life focused on thanks, it is board and deep. To me it is a life of faith in Jesus Christ and his ultimate sacrifice. It is a life lived in this amazing world that God created. It is a life where I try so hard to be led by the Holy Spirit in how I act, think, and speak.

And all of the above, come to perfect culmination during November. A time to reflect on life, family, work, friends, passions, purpose, and more.

This week, here are just a few of the thanks that I have to share.
* I had sweet quality time with my grandma this week. She is out of the hospital, and yes she is changing each time I see her kind face, but she is alive and doing as well as can be expected. I will forever be thankful for all that she has done, is doing, and will do for me and my large family.
* I placed membership at my new church home today! I have moved many times, and it has always been my church family that makes the transition easier, and that accountability piece, for me is so important! I need faithful Christians to encourage me and support me and remind me of the real important pieces of life. I am excited to learn, grow and work at Meridian Woods Church of Christ:) And I already have a week filled with the companionship of new, wonderful people!
* I am thankful that I get to host a Stewart/Lee Thanksgiving here in Tallahassee! The plans are slowly starting to fall into place. It will be a delicious occasion, with family all gathered and being thankful for how much God has done for us this year. It's quite wonderful!
* I am thankful for my work and how we try and do our best to solve problems. The state of education around the country is not exactly that great, but I am working with dedicated people, and precious children, and that is a blessing. Also, my wonderful colleagues, selected me to win the Glen-Howell Minority Educator of the Year for my school:)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Thankful Week

This blog is real and a snapshot of my life at various moments. I appreciate it now, and I know in time, I will enjoy even more, reading back on life in my 20's.

I thought last week, that I would blog everyday. Using each day to write about something different that I was thankful for. However, life had other plans. And I can be "flexi" as my too cool kids say at school.

(Excuses)
1, It's getting darker earlier which makes me tired earlier; I have the bedtime of a grandma.
2. Work is picking up, and the Thanksgiving and Christmas season is stacking up to longer days and evenings at work.
3. I am enjoying time with Kenneth, and also new and old friends alike in Tally-town.
4. Sometimes I forget. This mind is like a colander:)

So, this might end up being a weekly entry, as we speed through November. But you know what, that is fine. No one is judging this little piece of the world that I use to share about me. (Any real critics would have stopped reading long ago, due to the randomness of my topics, the spelling errors that I never can seem to catch, though I proofread I promise!, and who knows what else critics pay attention to).

One thing you can know though. I am grateful each day. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful and also sharing those thanks in prayer with my Heavenly Father. Usually the first thought in my mind, since I am a morning person and wake up pretty cheerful, is "Thank You God for waking me up this day. Thank you for the breathe in my body and the ability to live and do your will." And let me tell you, waking up with that mindset and that kind of spirit is a mark of how God has matured me. He is definitely not done working in me yet!

This week, oh this week, so much to be thankful for. Here are a few things.
* My wonderful, loyal, and amazing daddy turned 60 years old. I love him beyond words and he had a great birthday. Both relaxing and filled with family and friends.
* I  have been coordinating holiday assistance for needy families at my school. This week in particular I have felt so often, like the hands and feet of Jesus, I mean really working to provide and love those in need. And it just makes my soul content, though my mind tired at times.
*I got to visit home and the beach this week. It was short, but you know what? The minute I got on the road, my mind started to chill. I had been at the condo, probably 15 minutes, and I was as relaxed as if I had been there 5 days. Pretty cool!
* The fair with my roomie and our guys, was a fun, fun night of adventure and a double date to remember!
* After years and years, I got a new mattress. What an upgrade! It was a bargain, but still expensive. Yet I already am sleeping better, even after one night.
* I just adore fall. The weather and this time of thankfulness make me such a happy girl.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thankful- Nov. 2nd

11-02-14
Good Morning world:) Hahaha, or more correctly, Good Morning to the wonderful handful of people who read my blog!

Today, I am thankful for a sweet and compassionate friend from my FSU days. Cherika was my 2nd college roommate (sophomore year). And if I could have known then, how long we would stay friends, and how deep the friendship would grow, well I would have counted myself blessed, even back then, at the age of 19.

I am thankful that Cherika gets to celebrate another birthday, and another year of trying to "figure it out". I am thankful for birthdays past that we have shared, this special 31st birthday, and for the many, many birthdays I pray we get to share in the future.

So, to my wonderful friend. A woman who inspires me to calm it down, to trust the Lord, and to do my work in the service field with commitment. To this gracious friend, I wish the very happiest of birthdays! Always remember that when I count my blessings I count you:)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Thankful 2014

November 1st 2014, a most welcome date on the calendar. Fall is here and November ushers in the start of the end of the year. Hooray!

This  will be the third year that I take moments to blog about the thankfulness that flows from a blessed and genuine life! I hope to write everyday of the things that I have to be thankful for. I know that a thankful spirit is just like medicine for the soul, soothing me and healing places that would be quick to find a complaint.

11-1-14
I am thankful for the cool weather that blew in during the night. On Monday high's of 87, and today, Saturday, high's of 60 degrees. I am thankful because there is a specific time in the year for this cool weather, and it is refreshing and appreciated.

And you know what? I am thankful because nature is exactly like life. Bringing the exact right season and moments into our world. There is time for both summer swimsuits and fall boots. Times in life for both hard work and refreshing. Sitting here listening to the cold wind blow, I am thankful for what the wind brings to life and also for what it blows away. Bringing hope and blowing away stagnant thoughts and self-centered actions.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

30 day journaling project- Day 4

The prompt for today is to bullet point my day. Interesting!
(Typical day as an elementary school guidance counselor)
*6:00 Wake up
*6:50 out the door
*7:10 read a Psalm or Proverbs in my car
*7:20 check morning emails
*7:45 mic check 1, 2, 1, 2 and here we go to hectic cafeteria duty
*8:15 morning announcements
*8:30 5th grade classroom guidance
9:30 planning time to return phone calls, plan for schoolwide events
10:32 3rd grade classroom guidance
11:00 Lunch duty (need I say more)
11:42 4th grade classroom guiance
12:30 grab a quick lunch
1:00 see teachers about concerns
1:30 return emails and see students as needed
2:30 begin for dismissal
3:30 work is done and home I go
4:00 nap
5:00 workout
6:00 dinner and errands
7:00 chill and relax
9:45 off to bed to start again in the morning



Sunday, October 19, 2014

30 before 30 (How goes it)

I am about halfway through my 29th year, so I figured it would be good to look at my 30 before 30 list and take a little inventory. Check-in on this list of goals that I hope to complete by April 28th, 2015. The original list is below, with completed goals in bold, asterisks by in progress goals and edits or changes in italicizes (Yes, I am so that person, who even organizes her lists!)
Because this is a fun project, I am allowing wiggle room with some of the goals. And so far, this list and this whole project idea have been quite wonderful! I would recommend it to anyone:)

start the birthyear with the 29 gifts challenge (Day 1- April 28th 2014)
host a dinner party to welcome in one of the seasons (Fall is my favorite)
go on a cruise
celebrate 30 in a BIG way
celebrate 30 in a quiet way
*travel to 5 places that I've never been before (3 down and 2 to go!)
sleep under the stars
watch a full sunrise and full sunset from the beach
finish reading Julie and Julia, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Outliers, and Strength to Love
*cook or bake 24  "new to me" recipes (2 a month hopefully) (as of today I am at 12!)
take a surprise visit home to see my parents
*maintain my weight, below a "magic" number (Gotta get my motivation back on track)
plan a trip just for the sister and I
read through the New Testament
clean out my email ( all 3 accounts)
buy a pedometer and track my steps
adopt a classroom for a school year (I am not sure what this would entail..but any interested teacher friends, just ask, and maybe we could work something out)
update my scrapbook
use the scanner I got and really organize old memories, pictures and papers

go to a concert
start a personal prayer warrior project (daily, dedicated and specific prayer time)
sit down and write family history (Stewart and Miles)
incorporate yoga weekly, or twice a month
take piano lessons ( I have been wanting to do this for over 10 years)
go sailing
swim/feed dolphins
*get serious about my finances ( I am thinking Financial Peace University) (January 2015)
*send 30 cards to our military and the sick and shut-in (use church bulletins to help with this )
try horseback riding again
end the birthyear with the 29 gifts challenge (Day 1 Cycle 2- April 28th 2015)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

30 day journaling project- Day 3

The prompt is simple...A book you love.
Hahaha, except I love a lot of books! But, I will narrow it down to my absolute favorite story, a tale that I have read and reread probably a hundred times.

A hint you say? Ok, here is a quote “And to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice 

Ahhhh yes, Pride and Prejudice. I wish I could remember the first time that I read this classic treasure. It was somewhere between 5th and 7th grade. I know, that is not a very good estimate, but I feel like it has been a book that I have always enjoyed reading. No matter, at my current age of 29, I can still say that this story has been my favorite now for years. It seems to only get better with age, and I just find it both comforting and pleaseing (a word we don't use so often anymore).

I love the elements of family life in the story of the 5 Bennett sisters. I grew up in a house with 1 sister, so I get the feminine vibe. I love the strong, sometimes wrong, Elizabeth Bennett. She is all that encompasses strength in literature, to me. I would go so far as to say I would name my maybe future daughter Elizabeth, I just love her character that much!

I love the old English setting and time of history. Then of course you have the wide array of personality types displayed. There is the ridiculous, the studious, the romantic, etc. The Darcy and Elizabeth, developing love story, is perfection to me.

All in all, I don't think I will ever, ever love a book as much as Pride and Prejudice!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Watching out for Envy

                                                                         (from here)
Envy is crafty isn't it? I can say that because I caught myself the other day, and I was even surprised by the small thoughts that crept into a perfectly normal day.

29 has been a wonderful year! I have been blessed and seen growth in myself that makes me hopeful for what lies ahead. I love the home that I get to share with one of my best friends. I love the job that I have where I get to work with students and families (and paperowrk of course!). I am settling in at the church that will prayerfully become my church home. It is my favorite season, and I know life will be wonderfully great between now and New Year's 2015.

And yet, envy would still find a small opening. And I am pretty self-aware, so I know this is not just a Sabrina thing, it is a human nature thing.

With all of the blessings in my life, I saw something and was both excited and yet, a part of me wanted it for myself. The interesting part is, I know I was a late-bloomer, focused on my school and career for a long, long time. That Sabrina was great, but she was not ready to be a wife, mother, or homeowner. Envy makes you forget that though, it clouds the picture and makes you think that if you had the gift that another has been given, that you would somehow enjoy it more, or cherish it differently. Envy makes you ask...."Why not me?".

This bout of feelings, got me to thinking. Thinking about being a 29 year old woman in the American South in 2014. I thought of my own mother and the milestones of her life, I thought of my peers and the milestones in their lives. And then I took a very deep breath. In and out, and I refocused myself. Everyone refocuses differently, and this time I thought of the reminders in the Bible to be thankful, and the Old Testament commands to "not covet".

Breathing and slowing down my mind helped me to be purposeful. I am in control of my thoughts, and mine needed a booster shot to get back on track. Thankfully, all is well! I have everything that I need in life, and much of what I want and desire. I know what truly matters, and that it cannot be contained in a house, mate, or child (though I carefully look forward to those blessings at the right time for me).

My life is just exactly as it should be. I am at peace with that thought, thankful for my opportunities, and continually ready for what lies ahead!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

30 day journaling project- Day 2

Something you feel strongly about....

Hmmmm, where to start? I have a pretty passionate personality, and feel strongly about quite a lot of things. I think I will focus on children though, since they are an extra special part of my life.

It is difficult for me to handle when adults make horrible decisions that affect children. This usually, is their parents, but can be a host of other people.

I feel strongly, when politicians whose children never even went to public school, make money based decisions that affect millions of children in this country who attend their local public schools.

I feel strongly about adults who openly cuss in front of children or worse at their children, it's as if they don't get it, just how much kids learn from their environment, that then has to be unlearned later in life. And they don't get that angry discipline that includes cussing at a child should not be an option. Protect the innocence of your babies!

I still get confused about the families who are waiting for children, and those who have children but don't care for their needs. Leaving children in hot cars, letting your children spend all day in front of a screen, bringing children along for the ride of not so great decisions that will mature them before it is their time.

I get so sad for the broken families and the confusion and anger and betrayal that our population of children are starting to see as normal. I wish I could let the parents who have left their duty as parents, see the face of their children. Hear the questions, and the earnest wishes for families to be reconnected. Sigh, it is a troubling problem. 

I always go back to the idea that no child ever asked to be here. That was the choice of adults. And so when children suffer, it just swirls up these feelings inside me. It is why I do what I do. Someone has to listen and advocate for our children. Someone has to just be there for our kids as they work their resilient way through the ups and down of life. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fresh

New, bright, dawn, vibrant, awesome.
With my earlybird morning ways, the sunrise and I are good friends. It gives me peace to actually see a new day dawning. Dark night skies gently lightening up to more pastel tones. I tell you, the soft pink, orange, blue, and purple of daybreak.....absolute perfection!

Life is this concoction of fresh and routine. Fresh moments, mixed into the routines of the day to day.
I love the routines of life, the days, weeks, months, and years that are filled with the things that I am used to. But yet, I grow through the fresh experiences. I blossom through new people, places, and ideas that make me ponder and sometimes make adjustments.

I am working in a quaint little school, that is mellow and wonderful. And sometimes I feel like this rushing, quick, not mellow woman. However, this is the season for more mellow in my life. I have been planning and being busy since my teens. Loving being gone and surrounded my people. 29 has come and it keeps showing me that there is another way. A season of quiet nights, and tasks that don't get completed. A season of not being my own worst enemy. Not stacking the expectations impossibly high and then berating myself for constantly falling short.

29 feels like such a fragile age. I have moments when I react like 19 year old Sabrina, and moments of great maturity where I react, as I hope 39 year old Sabrina will react! It's kinda something else actually. Something that both encourages me and also frustrates me at the same time. How can I still be that girl and yet be the woman I will become?

I'm giddy about fresh moments, that if I will let them, can lead to fresh days, weeks, and months.
I'm learning to not rush through the fresh times, but let them last as long as they are meant.
I'm realigning my outer self with my true inner self, and admitting the gifts and the flaws.
I'm content and smiling and so very thankful for the blessings that are mine, not deserved but always appreciated!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Desires of the Heart

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Epicurus

I am here! I have had a wonderful transition back to Florida. I feel so much peace being back home, and establishing a new home for myself. Prayers have been answered in great ways, and it is true that "my cup runneth over". I don't ever want to forget the path that led me back here and this excitement about new opportunities.

I love the title of this post because it is something every single person has. Those private, very personal desires of the heart. And in an age where we share so much, I think it is really more important to remember that everyone has things that they don't share. Wishes, thoughts and desires that never leave the recesses of our hearts and minds.

I am not sure about you, maybe you have not checked in with yourself lately, but in the middle of hectic life, I would say to find some quiet time and ponder what is it that you guard carefully and closely. What ideas, and dreams do you want and work for, yet don't blast aloud to any listening ear. I think that these desires of the heart are strong. They can be some mighty motivators, and so many times they are that spark, that twinkle in your eyes that hints of hidden depths and untapped potential. 

Lately, I have enjoyed the excitement of realizing that this life is ALWAYS going to give you more than you planned. And I do mean ALWAYS. Yet, I am blessed to say that it all works out for good. Not perfect, mind you, but definitely good, and I thank God for that! You know I used to see things simply, if it made you cry or doubt or frown or dig in deep and work, well then those were difficult situaitons and I didn't want to be around those. I wanted to write my life story with as few of those moments as possible. And I was so naive, because I didn't realize that in the story of this here life of Sabrina, those are the exact times that made me a better person. And I wanted to skip over them and avoid them!

I am grateful for time to work it out and grow and change. I am thankful for time to hurt and heal and hunger and thirst and be filled and then be overflowing with abundance. I am content with the ups and down and the things that are not sure now, but will be sure in time.

29 is shaping up to be quite an amazing year! My future is continuing to morph and give me peeks and glances at new possibilities. I am trying to be aware and yet humble. Loving and also resilient. I am walking this path of being everything I have always been, and yet also, everything that I have the possibility of being. Yeah, and that is turning out to be just as interesting as it sounds!

Monday, July 28, 2014

30 day journaling project- Day 1

                                                                     (pinned here)

I think sometimes it is great to do a check-in with yourself. It's nothing fancy, but it does the spirit good to take some time and ask questions, and look over your life. Just to make sure that the life you are living, is in sync with your dreams and goals. And that your life matches up, both externally and internally.

I have made the move back home to Florida, I am enjoying this 29th year, and I am blessed to have a profession where I get time to recharge in the summer! So a quiet Monday morning sounds just right for my own check-in. I stumbled across 30 days of journaling prompts on Pinterest. Pinterest is awesome! I won't share all of them, and who knows how long it will take me to get through all 30....but I am up to the self-reflective challenge.

Day 1- Five ways to win your heart
1. It is becoming more and more important to me, that the love of my life, be a man who is faithful to God and who I can trust and depend on. A tall order, but one worth waiting on and praying for. A shared faith is not just a maybe, it is a necessity, and that is maturity and life speaking right there.

2. Say how much you care and also show me. I would rather be spoiled in this way than material gifts and such. And I like gifts too, of course!

3. Cook with me, it is fabulous. It is a time to share my passion!

4. I think winning my heart also comes by the unexpected, small, kind, yet wonderful gestures. I am used to doing it myself, Planning it, organizing it, pushing myself to get it done. So when you turn the tables on me, and invite me to rest and slow down, well I really do appreciate that thoughtfulness.

5. Winning by heart can also be done by loving my family. You loving, what I love, makes for a deep and lasting connection.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My grandma & the 23rd Psalm

Psalm 23 NKJV
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The setting and timing of a story or event often make such a momentous impact. Finding $100.00 would make anyone excited. But finding $100.00 on the day before your power was going to be turned off, leaving you and your 3 kids in a desperate situation, well that would make you ecstatic.

And so it is with the ever-changing events of life. This is the story of how a Psalm that I have known for over 20 years, came to mean even more to me due to the setting and timing.

My family and closest friends know that my beloved grandma is ill. This year has been a struggle for her, though praise God she is having some better days lately. I went to visit with her yesterday, and that perfect smile greeted me, and she called out "Brina", and that was really all it took to know that she is OK. She is changing and aging, but she is still my grandma. We spent precious hours together, and I know they are precious, because I have many friends who are mourning the passing of their grandparents.

The laughter was genuine, and the requests for small things were pretty constant, but I would not trade that time together for anything. Life really does come full circle, and this grandma; the only grandma I have ever known (my middle name, Maude, is after my daddy's mother, who died before I was born), the grandma who saw me graduate from high school in Jacksonville, and undergrad in Tallahassee, and graduate school in Athens, GA, this grandma who knows I would literally give her anything on this earth and it would not come near to the amount of love, support, and laughter that she has brought into my life. This grandma blessed my life and comforted my spirit, again, yesterday. And there I was thinking I would go and comfort her. Maybe the truth is we comforted and encouraged each other.

Before I left, I was sharing my daily devotional with her. Reading some thoughts on standing up for your faith. In the reading there was a reference to the 23rd Psalm (the whole thing is above). As I started to read, "The Lord is my Shepard.." my grandma's voice joined mine. And I closed the devotional book and we both slowly and powerfully recited the God-inspired words of the Psalm. And I will admit my voice trembled when we said together, "ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...". Because it was not lost on me, that, that valley has come closer this year than ever before. We kept on in the Psalm, and I was reminded to be grateful as we said the words, "my cup runneth over". And she added an extra "Amen" at that part, even though the present has been difficult, the Amen was for the fact that she knows God has been faithful to her, and she is wise enough to know the current situation, is not the whole story, not at all.    

We ended our words with, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." What a comfort and peace those words were to us both. I am still young with an old soul, but I have seen it again and again, that as life fades, as the body tires, and the mind slows down, often it is the simple messages and songs of faith that linger in the human soul, and that is no accident. I have sat at the beds and nursing homes of many people, and there is no talk of politics, and money, but there is talk about family and God, and God and family. I know that I am blessed to be 29, and know that I don't have to wait for advanced age to come, to live a life that reflects what truly matters, God and family.

As I drove home, it hit me. I remembered that when I had first come to the house, my grandma had been confused about what day it was. Surprised that Monday had come so quickly. And during my stay, she had sometimes substituted my name for one of my cousins...which is not really a new thing, there are a lot of us:) But you know what, she recited that 23rd Psalm word for word, as clear as crystal, with no confusion! Praise God for his great care and tender mercy! 




Saturday, July 12, 2014

What is a prayer warrior project?

Many of my 30 before 30 goals are clear cut..."go sailing". Check, been there and loved it!

Some are more abstract however...."start a personal prayer warrior project (daily, dedicated and specific prayer time)". I have been working on this specific goal for almost 2 months and so I wanted to update everyone.

I love prayer, and more importantly prayer is part of the lifeline that keeps my faith real, growing, and personal. Talking, sharing, and confiding in the Lord is the pivotal part of my daily walk in faith that keeps me grounded, I would not be me without prayer. 

So, as I get ready to enter my 30's, I wanted to go deeper and seek more wisdom and know more about prayer. So, I wrote down the goal above...but did not have a true plan of how to actually get started and find out new and different nuances to my prayer life.

Well, by God's providence, just when I was seeking something to guide my prayers, I found a gift given to me years ago by a wonderful friend, as she was just starting off her new life as a Christian. 100 Days of Prayer for a Godly Woman is the book and it has turned into part of what I needed.

My personal prayer warrior project has 3 parts.
1. I read the daily devotional, quotes and scriptures provided in the book. The topics range from "Pray for Perspective to See through the Media's Distorted Messages" and much more.

2. I think of one descriptive adjective or phrase to describe God and write it down. I then use that specific word as a part of my prayer and praise for the day. This is been SO good for me! I was often stuck in a rut, using the same words to describe my awesome and all powerful God. Being mindful of how I describe God has opened my mind and spirit in great ways! Here are just a few words or phrases. So far I have 60!
my all in all
perfect
gentle
bountiful
constant
healing
careful
magnificent
infinite
sweet
Sometimes I really have to stretch my mind and Biblical knowledge for a word or phrase. But it has been AMAZING!!! I wish I could do the whole process justice. It's the part that I would recommend to any Christian. 

3. Because I fully believe and know that prayer is powerful and works, just as it is promised in God's word, I wanted to pray for certain things over and over. I wanted to take some people and places and just dedicate myself to praying for them, and 100 days seemed like a great amount of time. I ended up with 6 items. These are things that I often prayed for, but that I wanted to show more dedication to. For I do believe that as a Christian, if you care about something then you will be talking to God about it. I won't share them all because they are personal and privileged information. 

But one is my grandma. Her health is wavering, and I feel so helpless as how to be there for her, and so she is at the very top of this list. And my prayers have helped remind me that her life is cared for by the God who created this entire universe....I do not need to fear her aging.

 Another one is Godly marriages. Have you looked around lately, and seen the brokenness that is seeming to overtake the family unit? I often pray for protection and strength for marriages that are trying to honor God, for I know that the world does not give them respect, and I bet that can be quite difficult and challenging though ultimately fulfilling. I also pray for those who are waiting on a Godly mate, because believe me, it is so tempting to give in and just date or marry someone without God's hand guiding your relationship. I myself am waiting, so I take this prayer very seriously.

Anyway, there you have it. My prayer warrior project. 60 days in, and I know that it has changed me and is changing things. Praise God!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thank You!

When I wake up with something good on my heart and mind, it gets me in the blogging mood.

There were SO many things to cherish about the "Sending-Off Celebration" last night at church. Here are just a few....

*Looking around and taking time to realize that the core group of people that I love the most in Athens was all together.

*Hearing that God's grace and love are indeed growing and shining outwards in my life.

*Ending the evening praying with 3 of the most wonderful and faithful friends that I could ever be blessed to have.

*The laughter, and fun that abounds when God's people come together and break bread and relax for a while.

An ongoing joke was, "Who has ever heard of organizing your own going away party?" And while it was a unique idea, Jennifer, Jessica, and I really did have a great time, pulling together just the right type of celebration. A good time was had by all, and that is all that matters in the end:)

I already miss my Athens family in Christ. I did not get to tell each person last night, but the faithfulness and acceptance I enjoyed during my 4 years here has been phenomenal! It is a true testament to a group of varied people, who have more differences than commanilites. But the overarching thing we share is the life-changing power of Jesus Christ! And that, I continue to learn, is a bridge from my very best self, to the very best self of these other wonderful Christains, that were my family for 4 years.

Here is a blessing for each of you. From the bottom of my heart and soul, I pray this over each individual and family who has loved me and supported me and kept me going in the right direction during my stay here in Athens.

I pray that you all continue to enjoy the life-changing greatness of a life that is daily grounded in God. That you would be the exact combination of strength and weakness that God can use to influence this world and use for his supreme glory. I pray that the laughter and pure joy of life be overflowing and that when tears come, the sorrow be shared and the burden divided by those who love you in Christ. I pray that even though I will not be in constant communion with you all, that our faith and circumstances will keep you on my heart and that my spirit will never in this lifetime forget just how kind, thoughtful,true, and Christ-like you all have been to me. You were all strangers and now you are part of my family, praise the Lord for his great mercy! Amen.

To close up this blessed chapter of my life, here are some scriptures that still continue to change me, when I remember to find humbleness, and let God have his way.

My Senior Quote- Proverbs 27:19 "As in water, face refelcts face, So a man's heart reveals the man."

My manta during the hardest trial of my life, my sister's illness. Psalm 61:1-2 "Hear my cry. O God; Attend to my prayer. 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."

My reminder to keep the faith- 2 Corinthians 2:14 "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place."


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Act Kind

One October afternoon during my first year as a School Counselor, I was feeling pretty dejected and disillusioned. You know that feeling, when real life is just not living up to the glittering expectations that you had hoped. My work was real and much more difficult than I had imagined.

And I had smiled all day on the ouside and fretted on the inside. And I just needed to talk to someone, so I went to our Gifted teacher, and I just spilled out all of my concerns. I am sure it was a mess of words, and confusion. She is much older than me, and full of quirks, but she listened to me like my problems were her problems. At the end she hugged me and reminded me to breathe and look at all of the things that I was actually doing that were being successful. I felt heard and appreciated and was able to go home and get ready for another day.

Well, that next morning when I opened my office door, there was a big handmade banner that said "Happy Fall! We love you", a Chik-Fil-A biscuit, and a card. I was so taken aback, who could have done such a kind thing for me? I smiled and I also cried because who knew that I was desperate for a kind deed. The card was so sweet and it was signed "Everybody" and of course I knew it had to be her. I rushed out in the hall and hunted her down and just gave her the biggest hug ever. How could I ever express that her kindness was like water to my emotional desert? How could I let her know that she disarmed my hysterics and self-pity, by being simply kind.

Today, I had lunch with this same teacher, as I prepare to say goodbye to life here in Athens. And we talked about so many things; growth, changes, family and the aging process. And as we said goodbye and hugged again, it was so easy to say "I love you!". And I made sure and took time and thanked her for her kindness that gave me renewal to press on at my work. And she tried to downplay it, but I said it again, that she would NEVER be able to know how her caring uplifted me. I let her know, that her one act has been multiplied SO many times over, as I have been kind to students and encouraged them to go be kind to others.

This life seems so complicated at times. Both rushing ahead and yet also dragging along. But, there are small things, that are like keys to a better way of living. Acting kind to others is one of those keys. Acting kind and expecting nothing in return. Acting kind at just the right moment, can change the day, week, month, or even the entire life of a person. That is something powerful right there! Do I have within me, the capability to made a positive and important impact on another person? Yes I do, and that is something to cherish.

In the midst of the hurry and busy and plans, I would ask you this. When is the last time you remember being kind on purpose? When is the last time someone shared with you, and you set your mind to helping them lift their burden? If not recently, then I hope that very soon you get a circumstance that crosses your particular path, that only your unique kindness can help. And a tip is also that if you are too plugged in to the TV, phone, tablet, wallet, etc. you might possibly just miss out on someone who needs you to be kind. They need it more than you even know, so listen carefully, and look closely, and then act wisely and lovingly and watch your little piece of this world change for the better.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summer Vacation- The Falls

What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable? Unknown 


Part 2 of a 3 part reflection on two weeks of sweet summer vacation. Also known as, I am a woman who likes to make plans and see them through to the end. 

I am a traveler. And yet I crave stability, I am still trying to work out this contrast within myself. I grew up with a close aunt who traveled the world and those postcards from places far and near opened up my mind to endless possibilities.

I was also an avid reader, I still am actually. And so, though I lived in the same house from birth to college, I had roamed the Earth through my reading adventures. 

In college, I met my travel buddy, Kristin and we decided to go to Europe together. We found a foreign exchange program called Beyond Borders, and the summer after our Sophomore year, we spent 3 weeks in Germany and 1 week in Italy. That trip gave me the boldness that you need, if you like new travel adventures. And I was already the super planner, who could create itineraries, and connections between airports, trains stations etc. 

Fast forward life, and my passport was set to expire in 2015. And I knew I just HAD to use it one more time. And so, that is where the idea came from to travel to Niagara Falls. I had the urge to go somewhere new and I had always wanted to see Niagara Falls. So, I called Kristin and she agreed and just like that a plan was formed! I think every independent, travel-loving girl needs a friend who will get up and go with her to sights and destinations unseen:)

To describe Niagara Falls is to apologize in advance. I am going to try my best, but know that it won't reach the wonder of what I was able to experience.



Ontario, is this interesting mix of majestic, natural wonder, and super touristy exploits. Mini golf with flaming, fiery volcano, Rainforest Cafe, bright lights and the whole bit. We called it little Las Vegas. Niagara Falls, is also very Amercanized, so you can pretty much find your favorite chain stores, hotels, and restaurants. You can also use your American money, at least at all the places we frequented.

Life was so busy leading up to our trip, that Krisitn and I did not plan out our actual schedule, but that worked out just fine. We went before the tourist season kicks up, and we liked it that way. It was still pretty cool weather wise, and lots of families and older people. I also suggest that if you go, make sure and go to the Canadian side, the views are much better!

To see the falls for the first time is to literally be breathless. It was amazing, I just wanted to jump out the cab and get as close as possible. Well, as close as safely possible;) I was just chattering to myself, and the cabbie  payed me no attention. The massive length and depth of the falls was amazing. And the sound of all of that rushing water could be heard for miles! You just get mesmerized by the enormous amount of swift, rushing, and cascading water. I was in love with the whole beautiful thing!


Kristin and I didn't rent a car, and we didn't really need one for the few days. But we became pros of the super convenient, We Go shuttle.

We enjoyed the best of tourist experiences. Scenic moments, walking and true exploring. Unexpected fun. There was this thing called the Whirlpool Aero Car   that Kristin rushed me on, before I could remember that I have a thing with heights:) However, the view was fantastic! Here I am looking brave(ish) below. We had an amazing dinner and view from the gigantic Skylon Tower. The views of the falls from thousands of feet in the air were awesome!



I can't forget the additional natural beauty that we enjoyed. The Floral Showcase was in the midst of a hydrangea show, and it made me feel like a little girl. Everything was just so soft, feminine, and pretty! I was in love again:) Beauty was literally covering every surface!! Then we had the Butterfly Conservatory, where you had butterflies covering almost every surface.



I think that Niagara Falls is a once in a lifetime trip. And I am so happy that I got to experience the wonder of God's nature in majestic array. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer Vacation- The Wedding

There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy. Unknown

Part 1 of a 3 part reflection on two weeks of sweet summer vacation. Also known as, I have great friends all over the county, and they support my love of travel, and let me crash at their homes, as long as I ask nicely;)

Last summer, one of my best friends got engaged to a great man, who was just the exact right match for her. It was a happy time, as Melanie was also recently engaged. Weddings were on the brain!

Rebecca and Mason live in Pennsylvania, and soon I knew that I would be taking a trip to see Becca get married. I figured that while I was going "up North" it would be a great time to realize one of my travel dreams, and go to Niagara Falls, Canada! Also, my passport expires in 2015, so I had a urge to use it one more time. My brain loves to plan, and so I also thought while I was traveling, it would be the one and possibly only time to go visit my lifelong friend, Brandis in Rhode Island. So, yeah, these 2 weeks have been full of refreshing and good travels! To have amazing friends is a rich blessing:) I do not take it for granted.

So, back to Becca's wedding. For months we have been talking and writing back and forth about the big day. She answered and re-answered the many questions that I always seemed to have! For some reason, I have been involved closely with two very calm and laid-back brides. They both have made being a bridesmaid so fun! Life flew by and all of a sudden it was time to board that plane and help with wedding "stuff". Being supportive was the name of the game, and it really was a privilege to get to share in such a special time, with a friend who has known me since 7th grade. Good stuff!

I am glad Becca and I go wayyyyy back, because I went up a few days before the wedding. So it was her family, and I, all working together to get those last minute details all wrapped up. I could not help but think about what a testament it is, to have such a friendship. Becca and I made lists, and ran many errands together. She processed and I listened, and it was a bit surreal because I remember us as awkward teenagers, and now here we were, navigating the days leading up to a marriage. It felt like our friendship, so stable for so many years, reached a new level. It felt so mature. Like, the kind of friendship, you want to have for the rest of your life.

The town of West Chester, PA, where I stayed was just as quaint and peaceful as you can imagine. It is always good for me to travel, and see more of this world. It gives me much needed perspective, and helps me remember that I am a drop in a vast ocean. And I need that reminder, when I get a little too "concerned" about things.

The wedding was an intimate gathering of family and friends from all over the county. Becca and Mason are Floridians by way of New York, who ended up in Pennsylvania. So it was quite the mix. The weather was perfect, not too hot. So, it was beautiful, and Becca was radiant. SO happy and excited! It has been wonderful, to see a love story take shape over many years. And as Becca and Mason said their vows, I got a tiny bit teary, because the love was so evident. It zapped me back to Melanie & Lee's wedding in December. It had me quietly thinking about what could be in my possible future one day. It was a sweet ceremony, and then an evening filled with laughter, music and dancing.

Pennsylvania, was just so green! I loved being in a different climate and the one thing that kept standing out to me was the difference in architecture. I loved comparing the homes to what I am used to seeing down South. Also, there were no palm trees in sight. I ate at a restaurant that only served a plethora of grilled cheese. I took some time to walk and explore around West Chester University. I slept with the windows open all night!! And the cool breeze wafting in, as the morning sun woke me up, was so refreshing. Kinda perfect really. I know, I know, it is the small things that count:) One of the most pleasant memories, was the morning of the wedding. The wedding party all gathered downstairs at the Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast to start the day. That old fashioned long, rectangle table seated about 14 of us. Besides the AMAZING food, the conversation and laughter were perfect. It was one of those moments in time where you can be completely relaxed, and just enjoying life, and people, and good food. Its been a week and that morning still sticks out in my mind. I think there was something about the casual atmosphere and the right mix of people.

Anyway, stay tuned for Part 2, my reflections on visiting Niagara Falls. By the way, this vacation has propelled me happily along my 30 before 30 list, I will write more about that later as well.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Last Day Thoughts

*I had written this at the end....but it might be better at the start*

Here are my wishes and prayers for my students:
I pray that my babies get to live a full life, where they will be protected from harm and danger. I pray my girls would not see the "fun" of having a baby while they are too young. But instead be surrounded by strong, motivated women who will encourage them to plan for their future and family at the right time. I pray that love, and serenity enter the homes of my students. I pray that fathers reunite with their families and bring the special stability that only they can provide. I hope my babies, the ones who are still gentle in spite of harsh surroundings; I pray they don't get jaded, harmed or taken advantage of, for having a quiet and kind spirit. I pray my boys be strong but also smart. I hope in my heart that they learn when to "back-down" and how to turn from certain situations. That they grow-up and not follow but instead lead. I pray for an increase in coping skills, resilcency and just plain, good, ole-fashioned happiness for each and every one of my precious kiddies!



Twas the night before the last day of school. And one School Counselor, in one small city, in one state, in one great nation, took some quiet time to reflect back on 2 years!

Tomorrow, I say good-bye to my kiddies. And I really could not love these babies more if I tried. And that is saying a lot because the times have not always been neat and pretty. In fact, its been pretty hectic and messy. But it has also been some of the most rewarding times of my life. The things that I have shared with these children have made me a better person.

I have been given a gift of connecting and working with young children. Every time I think it's time for a change, it is just reaffirmed to me, to keep on working with the elementary kids.

These two years have seen a school that is right in the difficult, middle of some necessary changes. And it has been an honor to be a part of the process. Oh the things, I have seen, heard, and done. Melanie thinks I should write a book!

Last week, it hit me just how much I will miss this place and these times with these people. I was walking a student home, and I was just reminded that the seeds of growth are in every single situation of life. And though sometimes things are dark, dirty, and downright depressing. Well, it's in those places that even the smallest ray of light is noticed. I have had a chance to stand out in my school. My smile was noticed right away, and my peaceful spirit was tested time and again as I talked kids down from the emotional brink (and a few staff members too). My small efforts counted, because they were something different. There is more light at Gaines now than when I started 2 years ago. And that thought will help me rest well tonight.

I have played a large part in fixing something that I did not break. And you know what? I am proud. I am proud of the Sabrina Maude Stewart who is getting ready to make a new and exciting transition. I am humbled that God called me to stay last year, and that his faithfulness has literally covered each and every moment of this journey. I am hopeful for my babies. I want the best for them, I want them to dream BIG, just like I do. I want these children to get chances to step out of the cycle of crippling poverty and get to experience all that this life has to offer.

And I got to be a part of the start of that. There are hundreds of kids now, who expect a wave and warm hug from at least one adult in their lives. There are kids now who know that even though sometimes our feelings get SO big, that we can still be in control. There are students now who can use their words to say, "I'm hungry, or I'm tired." instead of lashing out at everyone they come in contact with. There are adults who will keep up the good work because I took time to love and support them, both at school and in their personal lives. There is at least one Principal who knows that I will pray for her until we see the start of a new and shining era of education at our school!

It's almost my bedtime. But as always, writing has helped me organize my feelings. Tomorrow will be a bittersweet day, but it feels oh so good to know I am leaving a part of myself at this school. And taking a part of this school with me on the next leg of this adventure called life!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

30 before 30 the beginning

To start, let me just say that in the last few weeks I have seen through Facebook, two friends who went skydiving! So, I know I am not the only one who is living with gusto and excitement as they near 30. I LOVE it!! Keep up the adventures and purposeful living everybody:)

Below are some items from my 30 before 30 list that I already have plans to accomplish. The goal comes first and the details are italicized. 

travel to 5 places that I've never been before
By the start of June I will have been to 3 "new to me" places. Pennsylvania, Ontario, and Rhode Island!! 

watch a full sunrise and full sunset from the beach
The sunrise has been accomplished and it was magnificent! Now I just need to get to the beach to see a sunset. 

start a personal prayer warrior project (daily, dedicated and specific prayer time)
The Lord's day seemed like a perfect time to start this. I am using this book and will focus on 100 days of prayer, added to my current prayer life. I have 6 people/things that I will be taking to God in prayer during these next 100 days. I can't wait to see how my faithful God will work and answer.

go sailing 
How about my first time sailing, this summer, off the coast of Rhode Island? I am giddy with excitement:) 

finish reading Julie and Julia and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle 
I am going to tweak this one and also add The Power of Half and Strength to Love

maintain my weight, below a "magic" number
I have started being dedicated to this goal. It's not easy but it is so worthwhile. My birthday week threw me off a bit. Oh sweets! But I am back at it:)

try horseback riding again   
Nothing fancy here. I am not picturing galloping anywhere...I don't even have that kind of balance. But I might get this done during my time in Rhode Island:) 


 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

28 was...

I'm ready to welcome in another year. Specifically 29, and the last year of being in my 20's.
But before I start something new, I want to reflect on what has been, my wonderful 28th year!

Curious about the past birthdays from 25 up until now? I wrote about them here.

28 was....
family-oriented. A wedding is a time for unity and love. As you get ready to send your loved one onto a new path and journey, you also look back at what makes your family special. Getting Melanie married was a joyous time in my life. And it made me think and ponder the great blessings that are enveloped in my family. 28 was a year of loss, with an uncle and my great-aunt passing away. And it was a year of growth in the family with a new baby 2nd cousin and a cousin getting engaged. All in all, the family love was simple and content this year. You only get to help your baby sister plan her wedding one time in this life. That process was a HUGE part of a happy 28th year!

prayerful. Prayer has been both a need and habit in my life since I was small. It has grown as I have grown and keeps me connected to my faith and God. But in the 28th year I feel as if prayer became an integral part of Sabrina. I think because I prayed both prayers of thanks, and happiness, and I let myself pray in confusion and deep unhappiness. There was a life that I wanted in Atlanta and when it did not work out, I prayed instead of running away from my disappointment and frustration. And those moments were good for me, just like the laughs have been good for me. Answered prayers abounded this year. Babies, transitions, decisions, weddings, and waiting; Loss, pain, anger, and doubting. Prayer sustained me though all of these things. To sum it up, the Bible says it best. I love how poetic this sounds. James 5:16 "Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."

perseverance.   The things that have been worth it this 28th year have not fallen into my lap. The hard work at school, with family, just in general have been a trademark of this year. I have had to try again and again. I have had to walk strong in faith as I watched things breaking apart all around me. To me perseverance has been needed to handle so many things. And that is not a bad thing, it is just a thing. But holding on does have its perks, and I am stronger and much better because of the things I have worked through.

full of sharing. After 3 years of living alone, I got some roommates, or maybe they got me. Anyway, sharing your living space as an adult is always a lesson. I am thankful for how kind my roommates are, and I am thankful that I have had to compromise on things. Compromise is good for a Sabrina. Because I want things my way, and have worked it out in life to get a lot of what I want. Sharing my life, time, space, heart, spirit, and mind makes me continue to look outside myself and to hold myself accountable. Do I want to work in a pleasant and family like atmosphere? Well then I better be making it that way by my actions. Do I want some adventure and new things in my life, well then I better start saying Yes, and not hiding from circumstances. All along the pathway of 28, I relearned what I learned at 8. And that is.... life is better with people. And that while everyone can't stay around forever, you get precious moments to share with a ton of people that come across your path. Be nice to them and share. Share and watch your life change.

29, I think we should go out and see what you have in store!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The birth-month so far...

If I could have a theme for my idea of celebrating my entire birth-month, I would call it, "Everyday Celebrations".

Each year in April I am just more mindful of saying Yes to fun and lighthearted things. Examples....

Frozen movie night
Me time at the Bontanical Gardens
Calling friends far and near to catch up on life and share
Small splurges....just because I feel like it
Reunion lunches with wonderful Godly women
Skate Night
Cleaning and organizing on purpose
Rising very, very early to work on my fitness....and kinda liking it
Holiday weekends with my family
Writing in a brand new, amazing journal

And we are only 13 days in! I can't wait to see how the rest of the month unfolds. I have high hopes for wonderful things!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

When Eminem makes you stop and Think

It is intriguing how you can hear a song just one time and it just gets you. Like right in the gut.
That's how it was last night with the Eminem and Nate Ruess song Headlights.
I think it was because my teenage years were filled with the much too graphic yet still genius music of Eminem. I never owned a CD, but if it came on the radio then I knew it.

And even back then, I remember thinking, his music, and his talent, they went much deeper than some flash in the pan. Because he was rapping from the heart and it was a place filled with straight up anger, and dysfunctional living. And it was 100% opposite from my life in every way.

So last night to hear Headlights and think back to the intense words he spoke in my teenage years about his mama. To hear him in Headlights, well it kinda took my breath away. Because in this season where I feel like I am having to grow up. I see that I'm not the only one. EVERYONE changes and grows up. EVERYONE has to mature. You cannot escape that, though you can hold it off for a time. No matter your up bringing or wealth, your faith, your fears, your status, or your job. My generation, and the ones who have gone before, we are grown-ups now. And the babies of my friends will be grown-ups one day too. Time was never meant to be frozen.

In gist Headlights talks more about his troubled and very sad childhood. But while the emotion is there, and I mean he shares it openly, the song made me want to cry actually. Anyway, that deep seeded, bitter, uncontrollable anger is not present. I don't even know where he gets the strength to share as he does. I figure he raps sorta, kinda like I blog, to get the feelings and thoughts out of his mind.

Anyway, despite some language, I got a lot out of Headlights. It was a vivid reflection of the lives that many of my students face. Daddy gone, Mama struggling with her own issues, and kids left to fend for themselves, and not doing a very good job. Because this world is not made for children to have to be grown-ups before their time. Those are the stories you don't want to hear because they tear you up and in some ways make you feel absolutely helpless.

There comes a time in life when you learn that there is nothing in that place of holding on to resentment. And even though you might have gone through some truly unspeakable hardships and pain. The letting go, the moving on, the extending forgiveness, those are the things that will save your life. Looking back and basking in bitterness is not only lonely, but it will steal your life right from under your nose.

Whew! Who knew one song would get me so stirred up. But such is life. I think I will continue to think about this topic, about how much we can grow up when we accept it. And about how much change is actually possible when you open yourself up to goodness and forgiveness. I have no idea, but maybe Marshall has grown in faith, in some sort of way. Who knows right? However it has happened he is transforming. And that is something we don't always notice, though it is happening to us all. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Keys to Rest

One sign of a more grown-up Sabrina, she seeks peace and calm when it is needed.
The other me, she rushed and always said Yes, and volunteered for all sorts of things. She did not use much discretion in weighing what was worthy and what could wait. And so she was busy, and loved being busy.

Now, at almost 29, I still can be busy, but I also can be calm. I know what makes me peaceful and so I add that to my life when times get frantic.

This weekend, I came to one of my favorite places to rest. I packed up my laundry, and some books and a basketball bracket (and highlighters) and went to stay with family that loves me. I came for a mini getaway and the plan was nothing fancy. And I stuck to that plan. And it has felt just perfect!

If I don't take these times, to rest well and bask in the stability of love. Well then, I get tired and it is harder to see the sunny side of life. It gets more difficult to remember what really matters.

Now I know who and what demand things from me and drain me. And it is powerful to be able to tell life, that I have the key to the other side. Life throws me trials at work and I know now that a walk at the Botanical Gardens will clear my head. Life sends me this never-ending loop of sometimes impossible thoughts and cares and I know now I write in my personal journal, or come here to blog.
Life invites sadness and grief both for myself and family and friends and I spend time in prayer and release. Life always requires something of me, whether my gauge is full or empty. And I get it now, that I need to monitor myself. And then act. And this weekend of rest has me ready to start a new week.

*I am going to be leading the Bible study group at my school for these last 9 weeks. As we all learn about the Fruit of the Spirit and practical applications to our calling as educators, may I also see these traits flourish in my spiritual and personal life*