Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 a review & 2017- A preview

Happy New Year's Eve my family and friends!!! Closing out 2016....I am thankful that I have the opportunity to do it and also grateful for the year (though it was an odd one I will gladly admit).

Yours truly is off to the beach, to ring in 2017 with a wonderful friend, and the plan is to wake up (not too hard for an early bird like me) and walk on the beach to welcome in 2017. Calm, gorgeous, peaceful, and right smack dab in the middle of God's creation...yep that's pretty much exactly where I want to be!

To look back over an entire 365 days is quite a feat, so I won't be doing that here. It was a full year, I laughed a lot, I cried some, I grew up a-lot. Yep, 2016 saw an election, the most generous holiday assistance program for my school ever, Julie's wedding, health hiccups for my sister, and moving to my wonderful, just right for me, little place.  2016 was 31, sticking to financial goals (though the pace be slow), and starting to truly commit and change habits for physical/health goals.

In a few moments, I will get some hot tea, and open my "2016 memory mason jar"!!! Started last year on 1-1-16, I am giddy to look back at mementos for the year! And I already went to the store to buy a new one for 2017. And, speaking of 2017, below is a smidge of a preview of the next 365:)

* Friends and family I know will have babies and grow their families, and begin new relationships, and get engaged, and get married ( I am a little romantic and just love a good love story!) and some might beak-up. 
* People that I know and love will pass away or suffer through illness
I will walk along with those I love as they work through loss, and be really humble and grateful for the protection and health of my family. I do not take that for granted!
* The finances, like a slow locomotive, chugging along life's path. Slowly building steam toward a brighter financial future. I plan on working this summer to give my finances an additional boost ( no sacrifice no reward, right??). 
* My walk of faith, may it continue to blossom in faith, hope, and obedience to the way that Christ is calling me to live and love. Teaching the kiddies on Sunday mornings, and continuing to pray, pray, & PRAY! My main motto is that, "God will provide." Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.A reminder for busy-body me to chill out, and trust more. I am not as in charge as I like to think.
* The stable, consistent part of me, wants roots. And I want them here. So, to just keep investing in my Tally community, is part of 2017 for me.
* Getting to know someone, dating, relationships, etc. I am about as nervous as nervous can be, which makes me just shy away from the whole thing. But, courage is needed and deep breathing;) All I can really say is, we shall see.
* Turning 32 (who me??......yeah I guess;))
Travel lite in 2017. But one super-awesome sister's weekend in Las Vegas is on the books!!! Happy dance!!

For the past 6  years I have used the words below to end these posts. So here we go, because tradition means something to this girl! 
Now with all of that said I will say this.....2017 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!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Back Briefly

When I glanced back at my blog, I see that I have not posted since the summer. Not good Stewart, not good. I keep up my personal blog, and share life through Facebook and Instagram. But, I will always, always want to keep this space. It has been a narrative of years of the life of Sabrina, and the published and unpublished posts are a telling reminder of true life and feelings (oh the feelings!) as they unfolded.

So, I will return shortly, to peer into 2017. A fresh new year with wonderful possibilities!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Facing Life As It Is

-Painkiller Addiction
-Isolationist behaviors
-Drunken or High Times that leave memories fuzzy at best 

There could be a very, very long list of things that people choose to escape reality. And reality is painfully harsh at times, I mean deadly harsh.

But what then? 

How do we go along, trying to live an authentic, loving, light-shining kind of life, among the truly "yuck" moments? Among the violent, blaming, hateful moments. It can make you feel like you are fracturing from the inside. SO many thoughts, SO many emotions, SO many desperate needs.

-Evenings looking at the stars & Moments to marvel at the rain
-Fervent prayer & Worshiping in "spirit and truth"
-Family & Friends and more "focused" relationships  

There could also be a very, very long list of things that people can choose to do to embrace reality. The story is not all bad, there is a theme of birth and newness.....but there is also a theme of death and decay.

And that my friends is what we are called to live in. A world with both themes, written alongside each other. And it's a book that should be a best-seller. This novel of life. It's sharp, and gritty, and kind, and funny, and exhausting!

Each of us is responsible for our part of the book. And in the span of all time, know this, that it will be brief. You won't get much time to share your essence. So, you better make what you have count! It could be easier to escape; not care, not reach out, not research. But we are better than that. At our core, we are better than mindless living, horribly risky choices, and being so busy we can't see straight. At our core, we still want to care, help others and attend to their needs, and enjoy the breathtaking moments.

Here we are in July, and it has been a summer filled with pain. Pain, upon pain upon pain. Facing life as it is, calls us to recognize our part, and be present and thoughtful. I know that I have some influence, it is small but it is something. And the change that needs to happen in my part of the world, it starts right here with me. Me, facing life as it is, owning my bias and mistakes, and owning that I am still here, blessed to get a chance to own my triumphs and accomplishments. Facing life as it is. Sometimes, we close our eyes because the hurt is deep and real, BUT we must reopen them always. We can't turn aside from the hurt of another. We must bravely face life as it is....together.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mothers Are.....

In tribute to Mother's Day 2016

From my heart to yours, a special tribute to ALL Mother's, and those we love dearly

Mothers are gracious. Do you notice her? The mother who puts others before herself. She might not have even entered the room yet, because she is making sure all is right for her guests. She might sit down last, because it is in her nature to make sure others are taken care of first. Deep in her heart, she automatically has this way of serving first.

Mothers are lovely. Have you noticed how amazing she looks? She might be covered in drool, flour, or even dirty handprints...but she is lovelier than any model! She smiles and it is a genuine reflection of the light that radiates from her soul. She can dress it up or dress it down, but she is a picture, that sometimes can't even be snapped fast enough to upload to Instagram or Facebook. Her spirit is pretty and her face outshines that because her beauty is timeless.

Mothers are quick! Wait a second, how did she even get that done? Seemingly in two places at once. She is discipline and she is comfort. She cooks and she cleans up the mess that we leave. She schedules and she shuttles us back and forth. She wakes up for late night feedings, and she paces until curfews are met. That special type of energy that is only fueled by unending love, that is one of her superpowers.

Mothers are gentle. I deserve a really good pinch for that crazy mistake, why did she just look at me instead? This world is harsh, so mind numbingly mean sometimes. But she resists that at every turn. She speaks and you listen. She summons and you get there. She shares a better way and you follow her. She is kind and treats all like they are hers, she is amazing, and soft, and not ashamed of that fact.

And, just one least for this year. She is hilarious:) Did you hear what she just said? Sometimes you just shake your head because her jokes are just a bit corny, but you could never tell her that! She brings up funny memories from the past, and she is the one that can make you giggle.

So to all of the mothers out there. The new ones with "arm babies", the mature ones whose babies have their own babies now. To the mothers who can still run around the yard and those who are pushed in a wheelchair from place to place. To mothers who have lost and those who have gained. And especially to two special groups, so near to my heart. To the women who want to be mothers. To the silent struggle, to the desire that is unanswered yet. Have faith my warriors, know you are loved and I am praying for you. And to the women, the aunts, friends, family who are just like my mother. They are the women who assisted my amazing mama and daddy in raising me into who I am today. They are the women who still spoil me now from time to time.....and I appreciate that !  Thank You all!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

30 was....

Welcome May!
In my typical early-bird fashion, I have been up and about for hours this Sunday morning.

Before May starts up, I wanted to look back on my 30th year. A milestone birthday for sure! Here are just a few thoughts on the year I turned 30 and the life that played out.

30 was private....
I am big on communication. I love to talk, laugh and share, almost all of the time. But, as I look back, I see and know that I found the balance of private thoughts and time. Everything can be shared, but it does not need to be. Working though the loss of my grandma, I had to have some private moments and memories along my 30th year. Navigating professional life and decisions and grace in the workplace. I had to live out some scenarios and practice working on the "me" and not the "them". Growing through missing someone and taking life as it is, not as I wish it to be.  There were some very new and private feelings I had to work with. But, as 31 begins, my spirit knows that this private time, helped stabilize me. And I appreciate that.

30 was others....
I am grateful for the abundant family and friends in my life. I need them and their love, and support. Each so special to me, in so many various ways. The ones that make me giggle, and the ones that bring out the counselor in me. The ones that call me Maude, and the ones that call me Brina. The ones who shine a light, and the ones who need my prayers. 30, was a year when I tried to think and love outside myself. I had multiple occurrences of encouraging phone calls at just the right moment. I tried to be thoughtful of the new family dynamics without my grandma, and take extra time with my mama. One of my dearest friends got engaged, and being a maid-of-honor is a whole amazing experience that is other focused.  In large and small ways, I tried to remember this little saying..." There is a boss or someone who is in charge, and it is Not you Sabrina, not you!". Humbling but necessary for an A+, future minded, planner such as me.

30 was carefully budgeted like a real grown-up....
The money, Oh, the money. I could do a happy dance I am so proud of how I have grown in this area. I have a 30th year of Excel sheets, that show me that I for one, need a budget to keep me in check. I have had seasons of great travels, and frivolous purchases. But that was not this year. I was full of purpose, and it just feels so good to be getting my financial life cleaned up. Us, single girls in our 30's have to be money smart. And, for me to reach my 5 year plan, I needed success in this 30th year. Mission accomplished!

31, I have a feeling about you. I think you are growing a bright, independent, wise kind of Sabrina. And that feels good to me.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April- A Spendid Month

It's my Birthmonth!! A time for general celebrations, and great joy!

Now, I have been so mellow this year, knowing that I loved my 30th birthday and everything it held for me. And so, internally, I have calmed myself down as 31 approaches. I can't go big each year, or I might not have any friends left to share the good stuff with:) I am not worried about the family, they have to keep me at this point:)

Anyway, mellow does not mean, no celebrations. It just means less. So, I am going to enjoy a mix of times with friends and family, to usher in 31 in a more normal type way. And it feels just right.

Now, my gift to myself is a major de-cluttering project centered in my home. Prepping to move across town this summer, and to reduce my space in bright hopes of a future, home owning Sabrina. And by going through old memories, and also letting things go in the physical sense, has helped me feel lighter and less stressed in the mental sense. I just had too much stuff, and it was time for some of it to go. I have been telling myself that nothing will erase the good memories, but it is time for the stuff to go.

So, a garage sale is on the horizon. And turning 31 will be here in 2 weeks. 2 weeks!! I don't know what to expect of this next year. But, I know it will be good!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Risk and Failure

Right from the start, you might be thinking, hmmmm what kind of deep thoughts is Sabrina going to churn out early this morning (well I started typing at 8:00, but my chatty mom has been distracting me) when she is supposed to be on Spring Break?

And you would be right, sometimes this brain gets to whirling, and the thoughts just won't leave me alone. Often, I write in my personal journal, or call/text friends and family. And then sometimes, I come here to my tried and true blog, and just share some insights from my world.

This morning and for the last few mornings, I have been reflecting on seasons of change. Because, no matter how much young Sabrina thought I would be "settled" by now (and not even referring to marriage so much, as job, home, community), 30 year old Sabrina knows those childhood visions are going to have a vastly different timeline.

Anyway, here is what I am coming to realize. I think I am very good at taking the calculated risk. I think that I have both a fearless side and a fearful side. And when you blend the two, you get me! This mixture of a girl who looks around and believes in dreams and hopes, but also keeps her feet on the ground and lives in the land of lists and plans set in stone. No wonder, sometimes I feel like I have this internal flux going on. Like a rollercoaster, that I built myself to have dips and heights and valleys, and yet at the same time I want to tear down and build something less rigid, something more open and that does not take a safety harness to keep me upright. 

Risk and failure, the words themselves can still make me shiver. Somewhere in my head, I just do not want to lose. I want to win, be successful, have it all work out. And, I know I am not alone, but I also know who wants to admit such a thing. That the pursuit of getting what I want, even when approached in humble ways, still is a pursuit that will not satisfy. 

Risk and failure, now of course I have had failures in my life, and boy do I have the memories to show for them. But lo and behold, I am still here! Loving life and trying really hard to both love others and love me. The failures did not, in fact kill me, as I felt they would in the moment. I have learned some bittersweet life lessons from the rejections, twists, and "no's" of life. 

Risk and failure, I am coming to a new place in life, where I know I am being called to welcome these experiences. I am growing to a point where I don't run from them but instead I can be still and let life do what it will. Now, I don't think I will ever be the one to run towards risk, completely sure that no matter what it will be worth it in the end. But, if I can learn to embrace the challenge, and try something new, even if it does not fit in with my "plans", then I will have done a lot of necessary growing. 

So I guess this is me, saying that I am coming to accept myself more and more, for all that I am. Both the glowing creative spirit, and the over-thinking list junkie. She is actually quite something, this Sabrina who will be 31 in April. Here's to me being able to come back with a good and true report, of how life served me both lemons and sugar (depending on the days) and I stirred up a mighty fine tasting lemonade, that refreshed my spirit, and tasted so delightful, that mix of sour and sweet, that I drained the cup dry, and then was brave enough to go back and make another batch. Yeah, that sounds about right! 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Love, Caring, and Appreciation

I have said it before, and I will say it again, if you get upset hives at the mention of "a commercialized Valentine's Day" then stop reading now:)

For everyone else, Hi Friends! It's almost Valentine's Day 2016!! Yayyyy and Happy Dance!
For me, in my little corner of the world, it is always pretty wonderful to say, and show, love for all the people who make my life amazing. My family, my first friends in Jacksonville, my people here in Tallahassee (and those from my FSU/Roberts days), my Athens friends, and all the people who have made it a point to "be love" in my life.

It is so simple, I LOVE YOU ALL.....a whole lot! And for me, to love means that I think of you often, and our memories of life shared together; I pray for you (general and specific) and the situations that come and go in your life; I send encouraging texts, and I am still a huge fan of the phone call to check in. To me, to love, means long hugs, and laughter, and invitations to get together. If I cook or bake for you, then I love you. If I get crafty for you, then I love you too!

So, you can probably tell, I try not to hold back when it comes to love. It might sometimes lead to heartbreak or disappointments, but those I am finding, are always worth the risk. I don't think it will be a bad thing one day, when someone looks back and says, "You know, that Sabrina, she tried to be joyful, and she really did love people!".

This time in February is one, where many people enjoy the celebration of making care, love, and appreciation visible and tangible. And I am completely 100% OK with that! It makes me happy to see that though the world is constantly in flux, simple words and deeds still bring smiles to people. If there is someone that is in your heart, letting them know that you care for them, love them, and appreciate them, doing that will only make your life infinitely better. It's the kind of thing where you can't lose. You are a guaranteed winner, and how many times in life can we say that?

So, from my heart to yours, Thank You to everyone! I love you much! I care about how your life is going! I appreciate how you make my heart happy:)

Oh, and YAY for a super, awesome Galentine's weekend with my sister and lovely friends!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hi January

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

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

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

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

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

Very Dearly and Sincerely,
 Sabrina "Bree" Stewart