With the holiday season upon us and Thanksgiving this week, I find it to be a perfect time to reflect on the year and the blessings in my life.
- Even though my husband, Todd, and I moved back to Indiana in the summer of 2017, we are finally settled and enjoying our new home. It feels wonderful to be closer to family and friends. That said Todd and I tend to overextend on invitations to visit and attend functions, spending many weekends away from home. Recently we had to refocus and decline many invitations in order to stay home to work on projects around the house and to relax and finally enjoy our home. I love visiting with family and friends and it is so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of an invitation to an event or a weekend getaway. But I know that spreading myself too thin leaves me stressed and exhausted. I am looking forward to being home now through January, except for day trips to see family on the holidays. Several family members are visiting us over the holidays and I am grateful to host them at my house.
- I learned a long time ago that I have to replenish my energy in order to continue to give to others. This is a lesson I was teaching my children, including Courtney and Connor, my wonderful step-children. When they were younger I explained that I have a cup and will spoon from my cup to take care of them, work, and give to whoever else needs me. However if I don’t take time to replenish my cup, it empties and I have nothing else to give. The children understood then when I needed time away with my girlfriends, quiet time at home alone, date night with Todd, or a fun day at the park with them. It is time to replenish my cup and I am looking forward to doing that at home over the next two months.
- Todd and I have continued to be blessed with low stress and very rewarding positions with our new employers. We took a huge risk last year when we decided to leave the Chicago area and move, but it continues to be one of the best decisions we have made.
- I feel a sense of accomplishment having published my book, Healing Tears, and all three children’s books in memory of Sean, Jarod and Brandi. With the help of my daughter, Courtney, I am gaining momentum with a social media presence. I am so blessed to have such a talented daughter who enjoys working on this project with me.
- We were so grateful that our son, Connor, returned safe and sound from his 7 month overseas mission in the US Air Force. He continues to serve our country as a dog handler in a military police unit and we are so proud of him.
- I had the opportunity to speak to a professional women’s group this fall on grief and healing. The title of my talk was “Share Your Story. We All Have One”. Your story may be surviving a natural disaster, caring for someone with a terminal illness, overcoming addiction (like drugs, alcohol, shopping), or maybe you were mentally or physically abused. Whatever your circumstances, our pain and suffering feels the same. I shared my story with the group along with the stages of grief and how I personally worked through each painful stage. Recognizing that each of us has a story is a first step to looking and treating others with more compassion and kindness. I encouraged everyone to be brave and share their stories with others to aid in their own healing. Several women spoke to me afterwards and shared their own personal struggles and thanked me for giving them hope as they continued on their journey of healing. Those kind words filled my heart and I was thankful for the opportunity to touch the lives of others.
- I hold tight to my family and friends. Those who have loved me unconditionally through the years. God has given me an incredible support system and I can’t imagine my life without them. My cousin, Kim, is at the top of that friend list and blessed that she is family as well. She and I definitely fill each other’s cup with joy and happiness.
Reflecting on my many blessings while writing this helps me keep perspective that no matter how much pain and suffering I may have experienced, there is also room for love, joy and happiness.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your holiday is filled with love and laughter.