love

College Bound

Today my heart is joyful and proud! My little sister, though not so little anymore, is College Bound!

I remember the day as if it was yesterday! I had hoped and prayed my Mom would have another child. True, I enjoyed the perks of being an only child and being the center of attention. But I wanted that sibling experience. I was twelve years old when I found out my wish would come true, and I was ecstatic.

Of course, I didn’t really think about how much my life would change when my little sister was born. At twelve, I had the responsibility of helping my mom with this new little person. Diaper changes, baths, and feedings became a regular part of my routine. Needless to say, my excitement quickly turned into horror that my life was ruined. You mean I have to babysit? Why? But in the grand scheme, it was fun having this new little person around. She was cute as a button, too. With these bright, beautiful, big eyes, she quickly learned she could use her cuteness to her advantage! She would often get me into trouble – as she would run to mother the first chance she got to complain I was being mean to her, or I took something from her that belonged to me. It was always something, and it seemed my mother would always take her side.

When it was time for me to leave for college, she was six years old. She cried, and cried, and cried. It broke my heart to leave her, because I knew the bond we had formed in the short span of her life. She became my sidekick. On my return trips home, she was the happiest little person one could find. It warmed my heart that she refused to leave my sight, and would be terribly upset if I had to leave her. Everywhere I would turn, there she was – with those bright, beautiful, big eyes.

IMG_0262Time flies when you are having fun, they say! Brit is no longer the little person I welcomed into the world. In less than a week, she will celebrate another birthday; another reminder she is now an adult. I could not be any more proud! She has transformed into a mature, hardworking, dedicated, ambitious young lady.  She has goals, and dreams that guide her. She is also scared; scared of what tomorrow brings; scared of venturing out on her own. Now Brit gets ready to head out on her own, and she will leave our little brother behind. I am sure she is experiencing some of the same emotions I felt when I left for college many moons ago.

Walk in faith, my dear Sister! Walk in Faith!

Christine

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Apple of My Eye

Love is definitely in the air this week, especially today. Valentines Day means different things to different people. For some, it is a day to celebrate love and affection. For others, it is a day of sadness to mourn the loss of love, or the loss of someone they once loved dearly. It should be a day for reflection. Yes, we should reflect on our love for others, but at the core, each of us should ask this one very important question: “how much do I LOVE  MYSELF?”

If we don’t love ourselves, we set ourselves up for a life of misery and failure. I don’t mean loving ourselves to the point where we become so self-obsessed and self-absorbed we have little room to love anyone else. But, the lack of love for oneself often means we settle for less than we truly deserve from our spouses, our partners, our family members, and our friends. Sometimes, we have to be our own cheerleaders.

I had a conversation last night with a very special person. The moment she picked up the phone, I could hear the sadness and frustration in her voice. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She paused, and then went on to explain how frustrated she was that she kept doing things over and over for other people but they would seldom assist her when she needed the help. I had heard this oh so often. So I said, “you have to learn to say no! You have to take care of yourself otherwise people will take advantage of you and not care!” She admitted she was overextended, and I knew this was the type of person who kept on giving, without realizing her happiness was jeopardized. Last night she said, “I am learning to say no from now on!”

This Valentines Day, who is the apple of your eye? The first answer, should be “I am!”

Apple of My Eye

Until Next Time,

Christine

Take Time to Smell the Roses

FairchildAs cliché as it is, it is important for us to remember the need to take time to smell the roses. We often get so caught up in the day-to-day minutia, we forget to  focus on the big picture. We cannot share our best with others, if we are not at our best. Sometimes we spend so much time taking care of those around us, we forget to take care of ourselves.

This past Sunday, I spent part of the day exploring the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida. Eighty-three acres of absolute beauty; one of the world’s finest. Three hours were clearly not enough to explore this place, and a returned trip will be forthcoming. My journey through the gardens was filled with deep admiration for the perfectly landscaped grounds, amazing plants from all over the world, beautiful flowers, a rainforest, and calming waterfalls. For three hours I was at peace, lost in my thoughts.

I smiled as I walked through the gardens and saw children actually playing with each other (instead of video games), families picnicking, and couples talking and laughing. It was a refreshing sight. I needed this.

Fairchild Tropical Gardens

Fairchild Pics

Fairchild Tropical Gardens 2

Recently, friends of mine mourned the loss of a dear friend. I didn’t know the guy but from all accounts he was one of the nicest, most genuine person they had ever met. Sadly, this guy decided he had enough, and took his life in his car in the parking lot of his job. Since his death, I learned he had just broken up with his girlfriend a few days before and many speculate that was the reason. Now, you may say to yourself, “I would never do anything that extreme.” Most of us would not. But many of us get to a place where we are so overwhelmed with life we forget the big picture: Ourselves.

Make yourself a commitment today to spend time doing things you love; spend some time doing things for you. Love yourself first!

Carpe Diem!

Christine

Learning to See Through the Fog

Miami Fog 2 I woke up this morning to a foggy downtown Miami. In the seven months we have lived here, I have not seen anything like this before. I am usually greeted in the mornings with bright, sunny skies. And it made me think, in many ways, about our move here.

Most of you who know me well know this move was particularly difficult. As open as I usually am to change, I was not particularly thrilled about THIS change. I was perfectly comfortable in Atlanta. I was surrounding by a strong circle of family and friends, a great job, and I city I grew to love and call home. Sometimes, we are forced to step outside of our comfort zone. It builds character, THEY say.

My husband was offered the opportunity of a lifetime; a dream job! I was happy and elated for him! I was proud. However, in the midst of my joy for him, I was also sad. Because that meant I would have to give up the job I loved and move away from loved ones. It meant we would be starting over. Marriage is a lot about sacrifice and compromise. He was positive this would be a great move for our family, which back then consisted of HE and I. I was hopefully, but mostly I saw fog. Nonetheless, I took the leap and here we are.

The past seven months have been challenging to say the least. I had heard to give myself a year to fully adjust to the move. It was almost like going through the five stages of grief. Okay, that analogy may be a bit extreme, but I’ve had moments of some, if not all of those feelings. I spent quite some time seeing only the fog – the things I did not like about Miami. I am not sure when it happened, but one day I realized it was not so much Miami that I hated. It was more the life in Atlanta that I loved. That love was overpowering. Some would say I’m crazy!

“You LIVE in MIAMI!”

“What more could you want?”

Admittedly, the weather here [for the most part] is wonderful. Very much like Jamaica, my homeland. We are surrounded by beautiful beaches, and a breathtaking view! But I had to allow myself time to grieve; and grieve I did. Until I had an epiphany.

I realized I could not allow THIS change to CHANGE who I am. So, I searched for the positives, I looked beyond the fog to find the beauty. We all have those moments, I am sure. Moments where we can only see the negatives of a given situation. If we look far enough, and try to see past the present, we can find solace and hope for the future. It was not until I changed that attitude that I was able to begin to appreciate Miami, our new HOME!

Until next time,

Christine