Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflections

New Year's Eve, 2013.  Another year coming to an end.  A moment to pause and reflect upon the past year and reach forward to the new one.

Like a blank piece of paper set before the writer's pen, waiting for the scribe to etch the first word, first line.  What will it be?

Sipping my morning coffee with the sun from trees streaming through my balcony, my children getting in a few more hours of holiday break sleep, my husband on his annual closet clean up, I'm taking a moment in the still to just pause.

2013 was quite the year for me.

I ran for office in a contentious race.  While I didn't win (and secretly, didn't want to give up that much of my life for the position), I did (1) make it an election, otherwise, the original two would have just walked onto the board without the public commentary, discourse, and choice; and (2) I raised awareness of important issues and tried to keep it focused on the education of the children and not a football stadium to benefit some local contractor.  In the way I ran the election and the way my campaign was financed, I'm proud.  Would never do it again, but I am proud that I did it.

I raised my voice.  2013 was also a year where conflict seemed to be the word of the year.  I could have kept quiet; but being the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, being a preacher's daughter, being a writer, being a mother, I just could not compel myself to sit back and see injustice happen without raising the issue, without raising the awareness, especially of my Caucasian friends and allies.  Would I do it the way I did in 2013? Probably not. Would I still lend my voice and my writing to raise issues?  Definitely yes.

I consulted.  I was able to work with some great clients and meet some great individuals.  In turn, I also worked with and met my share of insecure women who used their privilege to sabotage projects and people.  Definitely a learning experience.  There are a lot of wonderful small and local businesses out there that I had the interact with.  I wouldn't change that for the world, it was a discovery.

I went back to school.  In a new and different way for me, I engaged my mind with my broader learning community, a global learning through the MOOCs offered by Coursera.  When time and responsibilities prevented me from going to "class" like I wanted to, I still had the opportunity to engage with material from professors who would have never crossed my paths.  I earned two Certificates of Accomplishments for the liberal arts classes this MBA indulged in, expanding the sake of thinking and thought, learning for the sheer pleasure of it.

I traveled.  The most memorable trip was when my family spent a week down in the Gulf of Mexico.  Point Clear, Alabama and Fair Hope, Alabama are among favorite destinations for my daughters and I.  We spent Mardi Gras in that part of the country that understands, I didn't have to explain what being Creole is all about.  We drove over to Florida and wanted to go to Louisiana, but the ages of my young daughters prevented me from taking them to the city of my family's American history.  The girls did get to walk along the beach, pick up sea shells, and breathe in the joy and merriment that makes that time of year a true holiday down there.  Definitely going back and hoping to take all the family.

I read.  Oh how much joy I had in the books I read in 2013.  I ended the year with 12 Years A Slave.  And will transition from 2013 to 2014 with The Book Thief.  It is a dream to own my own bookstore/coffeehouse with all my favorite things on display.  It is a dream to have such a place down along the Gulf where time is slower and people pause to engage.  I wrote many book reviews, participated in many book discussions with my book club, and spent hours with my daughters in the library.

I drank lots of coffee.  Everyone who knows me knows how much I love my coffee, especially the locally roasted variety from a locally owned shop.  There is something magical about the warm brown liquid that makes my soul stand up and be happy.  Perhaps it is the fact that sipping a really good latte is not something that is done in a hurry, one must slow down and savor each cup.  One day, I hope to travel the coffee lands and engage in that universal language.

I wrote.  I am and will always write.  Poetry, essays, rhetorical commentary, and a few chapters in a literary piece all flowed through my fingers.  I am satisfied, if a writer is ever satisfied, with my year and know that 2014 has many more discoveries for me.  I studied my craft and forced myself to sit down and make a graphical outline, despite not liking to do that.  I participated in a virtual writing group and engaged with other people who love the word in real books as much as I do.

I lost.  Friends and family made their transition in this year.  Some through death, others through attrition, our time together took a necessary turn and came to an end.  I mourned the loss, cherished the memories, and look forward to another tomorrow.

I love.  I think that is one of the things that most defined the year for me.  I am generous of heart and spirit and love people.  My tent expanded to include people from faiths not like my own and colors not like my own.  I realized the greatest gift the Creator gave us is the eyes to see the beauty in his creation.  I experienced that and am delighted for the pleasure.

2014 holds many promises for me that I eagerly anticipating.  I will be celebrating a milestone along with my youngest son.  I will be gaining a daughter-in-law.  I will travel even more.  I will expand my writing vision and reach in a different way.  I will live, love, lose, and laugh.

As 2013 reaches the final hours of her existence, a moment to reflect is a moment to be thankful.  Happy New Year's Eve.

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