Resolutions. Beginnings.  Endings. There are so many well known cliches surrounding the turning of the calendar to begin a New Year.  What is so special and different about January 1?

We are given the gift of a new beginning with every sunrise.  We are given the gift of turning the page on a difficult chapter in our life with every sunset.

If you have read my other posts you may recall that January 4th is the day my mother passed from life on this tangible Earth into everlasting spiritual life in Heaven with God and all the angels who have gone before.  This year, 1/4/19, marks 10 years since that day.

The years have passed in an instant and have felt like an eternity.  Along the way, as I have faced hard memories and situations, the human flesh in me has often doubted my ability to go on.   However, every time, God has given me the grace, strength, and guardian angels on Earth to take each step.

Ten years ago we were to have traveled as a family to an island paradise my mother loved but the trip was cancelled due to her sudden illness and passing.  In the years that have passed, I questioned whether I could ever find the strength to step foot onto the white sands of those beaches and feel the warm water caress my skin.  The broken me, the drinking me, the childish me, could not have.  But the faithful me, the healing me, the maturing me did.

It was a wonderful and cathartic trip. Mom loved this peaceful, magical place.  Walking the beach alone I could hear her voice telling me to soak in the healing warmth of the sun.  I could feel her pulling me into the salty sea so it could wash away the last of my tears of mourning and replace them with droplets of joy.

As I packed for this trip my hands sifted though the stacks of books I have around the house waiting to be read.  Some are novels, some are spiritual, some are biographies of people I admire.  I could not decide so I took several.

Once there, sitting in the sand with the gentle, repetitive drum beat of the ocean soothing my soul, the book that I found myself reading each day was one about writing.

There is very little I do day-to-day that is for me and me alone.  I, like my mother, spend most of my time caring for others.  Learning to take care of me, and feed my creative soul, is an ongoing task.  This past year I rediscovered my love of photography through a weekly photo challenge.  Reaching my goal of submitting an image for 52 straight weeks was a personal victory.  I had also begun writing again but had not made it a priority and when time got short, or life got difficult, writing was the last thing I thought of doing.  I realize now, it should have been the first.

Reading the book Still Writing by Dani Shapiro, I realize that I need to apply the same discipline of the weekly photo challenge to my writing so I sit here now, writing.  When I write, I release thoughts that weigh me down.  When I write, I sift through the emotions that cloud my ability to make a decision.  When I write, I capture moments and memories that will be lost if not recorded.  Writing is cathartic.  Writing is energizing.  Writing is how I understand my life.

Last night I boarded the plane for home feeling the warmth of the sun and the cleansing of the sea deep in my soul.  I found my window seat, in a row of strangers, and settled in for a quiet several hour ride back to reality.

This was not my “assigned” seat.  I volunteered to take this seat so a traveling group who were separated were able to sit together.  As only God could arrange, I found myself seated next to a woman, about my age, who engaged me in conversation about life, and womanhood, and losing a mother.  I do not know her name and she does not know mine.  I prefer to think of her as an angel whom God placed in my path to share a message with me, and I humbly hope I was able to do be the same for her.  Had I sat down with my headphones in I would have missed the opportunity to receive His gift.

And so, here I am, in the early morning quiet of my home, writing, processing, and understanding my life.  And a new year begins…

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