Happy New Year to all of you! Wow, what a year 2023 has been! There have been several UP'S and several DOWN'S, but overall for myself and my family, it's been a good year.
Our biggest down was early on in 2023; my cousin died unexpectedly in January and two of my friends also died in January. Then on February 8th, we lost my father-in-law Gary (from my first husband) after his lengthy illness with PSP, a very rare neurological disease. My father-in-law also happened to die on his sons, my husbands, death day; so to say there were a lot of emotions was an understatement. It's still a strange feeling, but I'm thinking it was a gift from God that we get to celebrate our love we had for them and their reunification in Heaven. With these downs, I know the dread that is coming for my family and my friends as they will honor and remember their people that died last year and they embark missing them and remembering them on their one year anniversary. I will be holding all of "these" people in my heart with grace and hope for them to move through their emotions and feelings surrounding one long year without their loved ones.
Many, many up's here too! My small business continues to grow at a slow pace, but growing is what it's doing and I'm comfortable with it. I signed with a publishing company and am about to live out one of the biggest goals/dreams I've ever had, publishing my book in 2024!!! We had our health, we had our family surrounding us, we spent many (too many to count) days on the golf course trying to get that score lower and lower. For me, my golf game did get better and I think my husband Chantz's game did as well! My daughter Graci started her Senior year of college career and WOW, what a fast 4 years it has been! Me, being a mom of only one child, I'm beyond proud, I'm beyond any words I can find regarding her determination and drive to get her college degree. Roll Tide!
So last year I gave you a word that I usually try to use throughout the new year to work through and build my life, my business, my financial goals, and my work through and with God. Last year my word was "Growth" and I feel that I really, really dove into that word and I saw a lot of growth within myself in many ways. I saw growth in my small business, I saw growth within my relationships as I chose to put myself and the people who "show up" for me first and foremost and the others who sit on the side...well, they are still my friends but they didn't want to grow with me, so I know who I REALLY had on my side. I saw growth in my own life as I said goodbye to those people who died, while remembering my people who died, and then leaning into the meaning of life more and understanding death a little more. My growth in myself was believing that I COULD actually write and publish a book and I stopped the negative self talk and I dove head first personally & financially as I hired a publishing company to help me grow in this entire area that's so very new to me. I grew financially in a way that I see how budgets and money work towards a small business and where I know and have learned to put my profits towards. It's been interesting on that aspect (I'm definitely NOT getting rich...LOL). I saw growth with how I want to mentor and help people surrounding their grief by starting a podcast with a fellow widow friend of mine. This podcast has done well for what I was expecting and it is continuing to grow as we build it with fantastic guests and friends. I saw growth with my belief in God and how He has played a hand in every ounce of everything I do. I lean into the words and the verses and how they speak to me and I can see the growth I've learned within my heart & soul that only comes from our God.
SO...the next question is what's Angie's word for 2024? It is MOMENTUM! This word has popped up a few times for me and I feel it fits so well with continuation from my "growth" word from 2023. With last year bringing me new growth in so many aspects of my life, I wanted to keep fine-tuning what is working, hence the word "momentum". I read a quote by Michael Korda that says "One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals". The actual meaning of momentum as stated in the dictionary is: strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events. Hmmm....that sounds like everything I want to continue to keep moving during 2024. My main focus on "momentum" will be this; I want to continue my work with grief and helping others (how will that look?); I want to continue my work on my friendships and learning who my people truly are; I want to continue the momentum of my Fatih with God; I want to continue my work and love with AND for my family; I want to make the momentum of my unpublished book to FINALLY become published (stay tuned for June of 2024)! I TRULY want the MOMENTUM of 2023 to continue for my small/big goals and I hope to build on all the knowledge I've learned and want to learn. I'm feeling it guys...so hold on because you are ALL a part of this momentum that is going to be happening.
I want to also chat about if you just CAN'T find the "word" or the "vision board" or the "resolutions"...It's OK!!! Honestly, you do not have to do or come up with any of these things to make your 2024 good. My guess is if you existed in 2023, you tried, you did all that you could and hoped for, but I also know that life happens sometimes in an instant so everything you thought or dreamed or wrote down on January 1st...doesn't matter and again, It's OK!!!! I read a poem by Donna Ashworth who explains it well: "Why do we start a new year, with promises to improve? Who began this tradition of never-ending pressure? I say, the end of a year, should be filled with congratulation, for all we survived. And I say a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear, as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life. And if we are to promise more, let's pledge to rest, before our bodies force us. Let's pledge to stop, and drink in life as it happens. Let's pledge to strip away a layer of perfection to reveal the flawed and wondrous humanity we truly are inside. Why start another year, gifted to us on this earth, with demands on our already over-strained humanity. When we could be learning to accept, that we were always supposed to be imperfect. And that is where the beauty lives, actually. And if we can only find that beauty, we would also find peace. I wish you peace in 2024. Everything else is all just part of it. Let it be so." ~Donna Ashworth
So, as we embark into the blank pages of a New Year, I am lifting you ALL up in my heart & soul with prayers of Peace & Momentum. However it looks, whether it's a new cancer diagnosis, the knowledge of an impending death, the financial burdens that seem never ending, the loneliness of missing your person so much, the happiness of starting a new job, the joy of a new birth, the excitement of a much needed vacation, or whatever it is, I am here WITH you. TOGETHER we are BETTER and I truly believe with the strength of our community we can hold ALL our people up with whatever they are enduring.
Happy New Year - Welcome 2024!