MY HOPES FOR 2017

January 1, 2017

Dear Readers,

You may have seen my thoughts on this past year, but I also have some hopes for 2017. I have hope because the Lord promises it to us in His word. I have hope because there’s no reason not to. 2016 really tested my faith, but it affirmed it as well. I have no solid foundation without Jesus. I have no hope without Jesus. He is and will always be my side through the muck, muddy, unclear, and confusing times. This world throws so much at us all the time! We are constantly bombarded by society’s expectations of what success is, of what power is, of what acceptance is. I have seen so many of my friends and family members fall victim to the expectations set by this world. They end up burned out, frustrated, and starving for something better.

This year, I have hope that:

1. I will continue to strive toward Jesus. I will become more like Him and less like me.
2. I will be generous with my time, my words, and my money.
3. I will learn from my mistakes and never make the same ones again.
4. I will fill my body, mind, and spirit with life giving things, rather than toxic, unhealthy, and joy stealing things.
5. I will become more content in my life.
6. I will embrace new opportunities.
7. I will become more creative with my resources.

I know that all of these things are what anyone would want in the new year. I hope to have these things and more. Sure, the bad will happen, but I am tired of living waiting for the other shoe to drop. Good can be just around the corner, and that is my mind-set. There is always something better right around the corner!

I wish you all well in this new year. I hope that no matter what happens you have a strong support system around you, but remember, you are your own worst enemy. Don’t let yourself get in your way!

CHEERS to 2017!

Happy New Year!

xx,
Melissa

MY THOUGHTS ON 2016

December 31, 2016

This time last year I was doing the very same thing I am right now. I have my hair up, my PJ’s on, and I am reflecting about this past year. This whirlwind of a year. Seriously, how did the year go by so quickly?

I keep thinking of the year 2015, and like always, I compare this year to years passed. The year 2015 had SEVERAL challenges. I have to say, next to 2013 (the year I got divorced), it was my hardest year yet. So much sorrow, so much loss, so much gone that once was. This year, I did lose 2 grandparents. This year, I did have my times of deep sorrow and sadness. When one year ends, you don’t forget the events that have happened. This year, I felt like I was reset. I thought to myself, “Okay, 2015 was bad. Let’s make 2016 better!” I was intentional in the beginning. I had some goal sheets to help me get organized. I purchased a planner that was sure to change my life for the better. I had three devotional books that I swore I would read daily. I promised myself I’d start going back to church regularly, eat healthier, lose weight, meet new people, maybe even fall in love. I had so many good intentions, but intentions they were. Eventually, the goal sheets became overwhelming, the planner became daunting, the devotional books were being read weekly, if I was lucky, and I had actually gained more weight this year.

So much intention, with little to show for it. Honestly, this year was amazing in that I turned the big 3-0 and celebrated it with people I love! I actually turned 30 and didn’t have a complete mental breakdown, although I did shed a few tears at dinner. I was given so much by so many people when I didn’t deserve it. I saw my niece and nephew grow this year. One started pre-K and the other started to walk, then run, then babble and talk. I became closer to my family in ways I didn’t think were possible. I saw my sister raise two of her children on her own while my brother-in-law was deployed. I saw people have babies, announce pregnancies, engagements, and get married. I saw some lose parents and grandparents and aunts and brothers. I have witnessed so much heartache and so, so much joy.

This year, I don’t want to fill out goal sheets, or planners, or swear I will do this or that daily. I don’t want to plan my life away, because really, when have my plans ever gone as well, planned? No, this year isn’t about being “intentional” because intentions don’t necessarily bring forth action. Intentions are the choices you hope to make. Intentions mean well, but rarely do they constitute results. For the year 2017, I want to live in action. I want to do, rather than talk. I want to have done something, rather than say that I will do it. I am not saying that goals, or planners are bad. I am the QUEEN of planners, but if all you do is plan, and don’t act, next year will look the same as this year.

I am asking God for guidance for this upcoming year. What will I do? Where will I go? What will this time next year look like when I act rather than intend to do something?

I hope this encourages you to do the same. I hope you ACT in 2017!

IT'S THE HOLIDAY SEASON

December 9, 2016

Being single during the holidays has it's advantages and disadvantages. Not having to wrack my brain to figure out what my boyfriend wants for Christmas, advantage. Not getting a gift from said boyfriend, disadvantage. Obviously, I am always the "giver" in the relationship. Ha!

To handle all of those moments that would typically bring me sadness can be difficult, but I have some remedies for the loneliness that may be experienced during the holidays.

If you are newly single, divorced, widowed, or have been single for years, all of these will apply!
1. Surround yourself with loved ones.
That isn't exclusive to just family members. If you have a particularly small family, which I do, then co-workers, friends, or members of you small group can be included in the holiday festivities. Have a friends Christmas gathering complete with holiday music, Christmas cocktails, treats, and a hot chocolate bar. Grab some of your small group members and go look at Christmas lights. Invite a few of your co-workers out for a drink or special dinner somewhere cozy. You don't have to be alone even if you feel like hiding away, or if being single is bringing you down. Get out there and take in all of what Christmas has to offer!

2. Remember the reason for the season.
I am a Christian, first and foremost, so the Christmas season for me is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. When I think about the humble way my Savior came to this earth, and the amazing story of his birth, I just can’t help but feel emotional. Even in the most impossible circumstances there can still be incredible joy! Even if you don’t believe, I think family, friends, and togetherness are very important as well.

3. Rest, relax, reflect. 
Christmas is near the end of the year and I always take some time to reflect on the year. This year so much has happened. I feel as though there were some wonderful times, and some times that were challenging. I feel as though every year I have come to accept my singleness and each year a new triumph gives me hope for the upcoming year.
4. Be grateful. 
I know that so much can change in a split second. I am so grateful for my health, my family, and the amazing friends I have come to appreciate more and more. I never want to take any part of my life for granted, even when I am single and in this season of waiting.

5. Light all of the candles. 
I know that candles for a lot of people represents romance, but don’t be afraid to set up your own special, cozy, holiday atmosphere. You can still enjoy scented candles, a glass of wine, and the twinkly lights all on your own. You can’t imagine how amazing it will make you feel!
6. When asked about your relationship status: Be patient, be kind, be as honest as you want to be. 
I know family members are curious. Now that you’ve been single for a few years, they may expect you to have someone, or they may bring up your ex not knowing that they’re your ex...I know, it can be frustrating. Just be patient. They usually mean well. Be kind even though you may feel sad or angry. And, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. You have the ability to set your own boundaries. If you don’t want to talk about it, politely say that, and remember do it with LOVE!

Other posts about Singleness on Melissa Faye Blog: