It is hard to believe the last blog post I wrote was one year ago.  Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun.

It’s not that I’ve been busy.  I definitely have in some senses, as I suppose we all are.

Rather, I’ve been living intentionally, creating a life that I truly love.  One that is right for my family.

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Those who know me well know that I have worked extremely hard over the past 5 years to become a better person mentally and physically.  And though there is always room for improvement, I am finally at a point where I am able to relax and enjoy the outcomes I once thought weren’t possible for me.

Those who know me also know that it is not easy for me to relax.  I am a doer, a fixer, a go-getter.  It is hard for me to “sit still” in life, metaphorically speaking.

However, much of what I’ve focused on in the last year of my life is doing just that –  being still and present, being mindful and paying attention.  Most importantly, however, much of my focus has been on spending time learning more about myself without the sole intention of fixing.  It has been a rich journey of awareness and reflection which has opened my eyes to a new way of life.

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I lost two people who were dear to me in the Spring of 2019.  More-so than I probably should have been, I was rocked by the loss of my one-of-a-kind uncle (of which I have only two living now) combined with the loss of an old friend who was much too young.  I decided to turn my hurt and fear into something positive and lasting.

My relationship with my phone and social media began changing after I read a couple of books on the damage our phones are doing to our brains and our relationships.

As a result, I suddenly had more time than I’d had before and found purposeful ways to fill it:

  • quality time with my kids (listening, creating, laughing)
  • reading books
  • meditation
  • writing / journaling
  • defining my purpose / personal values (and living accordingly)
  • considering my options
  • sharing love with others
  • identifying what I’m grateful for

In August, I deactivated my Facebook account.  It had been a long time coming, but the decision came after I read two unrelated posts in one evening that were completely hate-fueled (sadly, one by a person who is a principal of a private christian school).  I will leave those thoughts for another post and instead say that I have not considered getting back on and have thoroughly enjoyed the additional time and peace of mind I’ve gained as the result of that decision.  [I am still on Instagram @hvnagdtme]

The last year has been one of highs and lows, disappointments and exceeded expectations, tears and laughter – though, aren’t they all?!

However, this year I am more equipped than ever before to handle what comes, to find joy in the small things and opportunity in the hard things.  I aim to write more, to love more, to get more comfortable being uncomfortable, and to practice gratitude everyday.

I am damn proud of myself, though it’s taken me a long time to be able to say that.  It hasn’t been easy, but it’s absolutely been worth it.

I haven’t done it alone.

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This post is dedicated to my family, who have allowed me to become the person I am today (even if it wasn’t what they wanted for me), who have loved me when I didn’t love myself, and who have reminded me what I am capable of.  To my daughters, my mom, my sister, and my dad, thank you for the life you have given me, both literally and figuratively.  I will spend the rest of my life making you proud as a way to show my gratitude.

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Last year on my birthday, I shared a meaningful Jason Isbell song on Facebook as my gift to others.

Since I am not on Facebook for the foreseeable future, I’d like to share my gift here, this time from the band The Highwomen, which includes Jason’s wife Amanda Shires (both incredibly talented musicians whom I highly recommend!).

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The Highwomen

You can hold my hand
When you need to let go
I can be your mountain
When you’re feeling valley-low

I can be your streetlight
Showing you the way home
You can hold my hand
When you need to let go

I want a house with a crowded table
And a place by the fire for everyone
Let us take on the world while we’re young and able
And bring us back together when the day is done

If we want a garden
We’re gonna have to sow the seed
Plant a little happiness
Let the roots run deep

If it’s love that we give
Then it’s love that we reap
If we want a garden
We’re gonna have to sow the seed

Yeah I want a house with a crowded table
And a place by the fire for everyone
Let us take on the world while we’re young and able
And bring us back together when the day is done

The door is always open
Your picture’s on my wall
Everyone’s a little broken
And everyone belongs

Yeah, everyone belongs

I want a house with a crowded table
And a place by the fire for everyone
Let us take on the world while we’re young and able
And bring us back together when the day is done

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