From the title, you probably think I’m some kind of Grinch. Believe me, that could not be further from the truth. I actually love Christmas, and it is my absolutely favorite holiday. I love the lights, the family time, and the overall joviality of the season. It ‘s almost as if something is in the air that makes everyone happy and loving towards one another. This Christmas, though, has been different for me. In past Christmas’, I was so focused on what I would receive under my Christmas tree, and how many people would send me Christmas greetings. I focused more on receiving than giving, and lost the fact that Christmas is supposed to celebrate Christ first. Looking around at the world today, I saw that magnified. People were focused on buying all sorts of gifts to show the love that should be shown every day. Instead of the celebration of His birth, there was a celebration of the sales and people being able to add to their already vast collection of goods. To that mentality, I said “Bah, Humbug”! Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE gifts. I love opening up presents and seeing what’s inside. However, I found that this year I was more focused on what I could give to others. I sought out to spread love and cheer, and to give in whatever way I could to bring smiles to others. In that endeavor, I found a level of peace and joy in this Christmas than I have ever felt before. I did not have to have a big family Christmas, nor did there have to be a plethora of gifts under my tree. What I wanted most was to love and be loved, and to celebrate the reason that we have a Christmas. I gave to others out of a genuine desire for them to know that they are loved, and in that was my reward. I discovered, again, the blessing of Christmas. So, maybe you did not receive all that you desired. Maybe it seems no one cared enough to pay you attention. Maybe it seemed like this season has been a combination of hurt, sorrow, and being overlooked. Just know that if no one else sees you or cares for you, I do. Yes, that can seem crazy if we have never met, but I have enough love in my heart to send some to you wherever you are. Remember to spend time loving and giving, and what you receive in return from all of that will matter more than any physical gift that only fulfills a temporary want. So, a very Merry Christmas to you and yours, and so much love to you from one human to another. Blessings.
It is so easy to keep living life and forgetting the lessons learned. Already, this year is speeding by. January has come to an end, and we are preparing to embark on February-how quickly life seems to flow. As this month ends though, I could not help but think of some things that I have learned about myself even in just the beginning of the year. I learned that I am strong. I am able to take hurt, pain, despair, and turn it into something beautiful. I’ve learned that my creativity functions strongest in the face of adversity, but it still flows gracefully in the eye of peace. I am strong enough to move forward regardless of what my heart says. I am strong enough to love in the face of anything. I learned that my past truly does not define me, and that I can have whatever I believe I can have. Also, I have learned that while it does take a village to raise a child, it also takes a community sometimes to birth out the purpose in each of us. This year has already taught me that smiling when down sends an involuntary signal to your mind to get beyond your feelings. I have learned that trouble really does not last always, and tears really do dry up in the morning. When it seems otherwise, there is always someone to lift your head. I have learned that love really does overcome everything, and it transcends boundaries. I finally understand that people will see me how I portray myself–they can only know the truth of me if I allow a certain level of vulnerability. I learned that I am worthy of love. I deserve love. I can give love, and not expect hurt. I believe that my future is much greater than my past. I am better. I will have better. My life is amazing. We each have lessons that sometimes we forget, but it helps to write them down. Remember them. Live your life with the lessons learned, and love life. Be the you that you have always wanted to be. YOU are amazing. I realized that about myself again, and it feels good.
As I look around I am overwhelmed by all the red and pink balloons, flowers, candy, etc. It seems that everywhere I look there is something hinting towards Valentine’s. I could not escape the day if I wanted to. But why would I want to? I realize that Valentine’s has become extremely commercialized. People can go the rest of the year hating each other, but on that one day everyone wants to have someone to express their love to. It does not matter to some that their expression of love is temporary, and the next day they will be back to trying to fill the void that was never quite filled to begin with. There is some good to the day though. The entire point of Valentine’s is to express love to someone who is special in our lives. I enjoy expressing love, and I love to give. I am one who will indulge in the many gifts and bundles of candy available for Valentine’s simply because I love giving to someone else even if I get nothing in return. I realize the commercialism, but for me it is just another opportunity to give. Unlike some, I give throughout the year, so Valentine’s is just another day to give to the people I care the most about. I have heard it said already that some hate Valentine’s because it is depressing, or some hate Valentine’s because it is commercialized. Admittedly, Valentine’s has become a bit much; however, holidays and special occasions are what we make of them. We can spend our time being upset. We can disdain Valentine’s Day, or we can take the opportunity to show love, even if we are not in a relationship. I am really big on self-love, so Valentine’s is a great day to shower one’s self with love–pamper yourself. Take yourself out to dinner. These are things that even if I were single I would do because Valentine’s is about love, and love starts with me.
It’s been a while since I last wrote…there’s been a lot going on but I could not go another day without writing. Over the last couple of days I have been extremely focused with a goal in mind, so I have been working toward that goal. In working towards that goal I began to think about all the things that I have accomplished in life so far, a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, getting married and staying married for the past three years, beginning my writing career, etc. I am extremely thankful that with God’s help I have been able to accomplish all of these things. I also began to think about the people who I have around me in my corner who root for me daily. For a long time I struggled with trying to make everyone like me, and trying to make up to others for mistakes that I may have made, but I came to realize that you can’t force anyone to love or forgive you. You cannot force someone to believe that you are truly sorry for what you may have done that hurt, offended, angered, whatever the case, that person. Instead of trying to gain a bevy of friends, sometimes we have to take a step back and look at those who are standing with us still–those who have loved us in spite of our mess ups, those who have seen us at our worse, and those who still choose to love us. If we stop and take a look around, we will see that we are surrounded by these people who are a silent force pushing us towards our goals–a cheering squad if you will. Regardless of if you have one friend or 100 friends, that one friend can be worth the 100 friends. Be thankful for who you have in your life. True friendship and love is one of life’s greatest treasures. Cherish it when you find it.