I’ve never been one to go out and celebrate the New Year, nor have I ever been the person to write out resolutions of the many things I need to “resolve”. In 52 minutes, yes it’s 11:08 pm New Year’s Eve as I write this, many across the the world will be ringing in the New Year 2016. Many will be ready with their 12 grapes in hand ( I think this may only be a Cuban tradition) and a glass of Champagne or Sidra (latin thing) in hand, and 12 resolutions in mind for the “new you” ( a grape per resolution, and the glass of Sidra to chase it down before the minutes up). As 2015 comes to an end, I am so grateful for all the blessing that come my way. Thankful for the friendships, family and opportunities.
I have never understood why you need to wait for the New Year to make changes in your life. But any ways that’s probably why New Years and I just don’t jive. For me I’m happy to just be home with my husband and sons, we aren’t drinkers but we did pop open a bottle of champagne (not Sidra) to clink our glasses with the boys (apple juice) for them. We reflected on our year of joy with much gratitude.
Taking time for reflection and introspections is a way for me to look at where in my life I had growth and losses, struggles and blessings, where I need to pause and redirect my past habits. My interpretation of my years experiences and transformations can only help make me a better version of me, a better wife, better mom, a better blogger.
2015 didn’t start out any different than any other year and I didn’t start the year with setting expectations that I knew I could not fulfill. John and I took a much needed vacation to Punta Cana, just as I was offered a full time position at a school. We stayed with friends at the Marina and spent quality time by the sea and the golf course. After 18 years of marriage a getaway is just what we needed.
Reflection #1 take time away with your spouse without the kids, rekindle the romance, have a date night, share your thoughts and dreams with each other, again. As parents we so easily get caught up in our jobs and everyday life that we forget to take time for each other. And make sure to share how much you appreciate all that your spouse does for you and the family.
I started the year with the opportunity to interview Jim Parson (Home), Christine D’Clario and Mark Burnett (A.D. The Bible Continues) for the blog, but had to turn down other blogging opportunities because it conflicted with work. But did get friends and other bloggers as guest bloggers to review films for Outersparkle.com, which was nice to share with them the opportunities.I’m not complaining, I have a full time paying job (thank you Jesus). I did have to make a few sacrifices, I could not continue to lead my women’s small group and I had to drop bible study, but I was extremely happy that my sacrifice pushed one of my group members to get the courage to lead her own group. I did more christian book, DVD and music reviews this year than in the past and got to go behind the scene at the Miss Universe pageant. Went to see Pastor Greg Laurie, Joel Houston and JD of Hillsong United preach at Calvary Kendall as well as have the opportunity to do a Twitter party with Taya Smith of Hillsong United. The year continued without any drama, now that’s a blessing!
Reflection #2 although my blogging this year hasn’t been my focus as it’s been in the past, what I delivered still stayed true to what I want this blog to represent about me as a Christian and what influences my life.
My oldest son Gio was promoted from middle school, so that was a proud parent moment. But the thought of high school and all the wonderfulness it entails did stress me out a bit. Another proud parent moment, when Gio called me from our churches middle school summer missions camp to ask if it was ok to get baptized (yes please). A decision purely on his own.
My younger son Gabriel did a great job in first grade, having met most if not all of his IEP goals, even receiving an award for academics and citizenship. A true blessing that he’s been, I didn’t know what to expect when he was diagnosed on the Autism spectrum,but to me he’s perfect and so proud of his accomplishments.
Reflection #3 in today’s world it’s hard to get your kids to find value in God, when they are being bombarded by sin at every turn. To have been able to able to plant that seed of faith, hope, love and eternal salvation in your child is priceless. The importance of being a “present” parent to your kids is invaluable, and that encouragement and conversations are imperative to building a strong relationship with your kids. Maintaining emotionally and spiritually connected with my family.
We spent the summer in Puerto Vallarta with the family. Came back to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary at the Outcry Tour Concert, my hubby’s first Christian concert. To my surprise he actually liked it, his favorite being Kari Jobe. He later discovered the K-Love radio station on his own and has been listening to christian music since, and now understands my POV on my listening choices.
I encouraged my 16 yr old niece to enter an essay to win free tickets to Night of Joy at Disney and she won a pair! She was so excited and I was so proud of her (but that’s not anything new). She and I took an Aunt & niece weekend road trip to Orlando, which we just may need to make a tradition of. We shopped and ate whatever we wanted, stood for hours in the rain in Disney waiting to see Lecrae perform. My niece is the daughter I didn’t have, and love that she truly appreciates my influence in her life, and love how she shares her love of Jesus with others by the way she speaks and shares with others.She even started her own christian teen blog Faithfully for Jesus.
Reflection #4 don’t underestimate how your actions and way of life influence those around you. Living life in a positive manner through speech and actions will surely rub off on those who you love most.
It’s always humbling when you serve others. But so thankful that we can! Sharing this experience with my own children is such a blessing. For them to be able to bless others and make a difference across the world for children who are starving. A tradition in our home to bless other on our birthdays, cause in reality we lack nothing! Our gift is for others, which is so much more rewarding than any material gift we could possibly receive. #givingbackonmybirthday #serveothers #BIRTHDAY #FeedMyStarvingChildren #flipagram #givinghope @fmsc_org @cfmiami “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” Isaiah 58:10
Fall rolled around which meant back to school. Gio started his freshman year in a legal studies magnet program and got on the JV Football team. I anticipated the worst his first semester, between practice, harder classes and adjusting to a new environment. Luckily he did well both his first and second quarters,made a few new friends and wasn’t as bad as I thought he’d be at football. I posted my third year on the blog 30 days of being thankful challenge,which had a huge spike of views over the past 2 years, which make me happy because that meant people were making a conscious effort to acknowledge their blessings.
We’ve been as active as we normally are at our church, and volunteered a few times this year in local community events, making sure that Gio accumulates community service hours as well as a way to teach both boys to serve others. Gio and my niece both stepped up to the plate at church becoming a small group table leaders for the middle & high schoolers and joined Miami’s chapter of The Fellowship of Christian Athletes.Gio and Anissa will both end the year with well over 170 community hours for 2015. Which is super awesome that they would dedicate so much time in volunteering. We closed the year with volunteering in packing food for Feed My Starving Children on my Birthday, which has now kinda become a tradition to do on our birthdays, to serve others. Which always turns out to be much more gratifying than any gifts, balloons or cake can be.
Reflection #5 i’m comforted that my family has expressed more selflessness than selfishness which ends my year with much Joy. As they have counted others more significant than themselves. I pray that that 2016 we will continue on our path finding opportunities to be more mission minded, modeling a life of selflessness for Christ.
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold, service was joy.” Rabindranath Tagore