Celebrating New Years can mean many things to so many people. This has been a rough year for my family. We've had illness, surgeries, and more losses than we were prepared to contend with, the loss of my father being the most significant. But, as I prepare to celebrate this New Year, I look back over 2015 and think of the many things I've learned through this year. 

The most important thing we have is family.
God has graced us with the ability to need and form relationships. These people we connect with are the family we lift up and rely on when life gets hard. They are who we cry with, laugh with, get mad at, and love unconditionally. Whether family through genetics or through the heart, they are the most important resource you have on this Earth and should be treasured. 

You have to take care of yourself. 
There is only one you and you have only been gifted one life to live on this planet. I've learned the hard way that you have to take care of yourself, especially if you want to take care of others. I haven't quite mastered this concept yet, but it is certainly something I'm hoping to do better with during this new year. 

Live, Laugh, and Love
One of my Mom's favorite quotes is "live well, laugh much, love often," and I've learned this year that nothing can be quite truer. Live every day as if it may be your last. Laugh every day as that laughter is the best medicine you have. And, love every day beyond words or measure; love your family, your fellow man, and love yourself. 

As the new year rings in tonight, take few moments to think over your memories of this last year (even the painful ones as those can help you see hidden blessings) and make a plan for the future. Don't worry so much about resolutions that you may fall short of; instead, think of ways to cherish your family, take care of yourself, and live, laugh, and love often. 
I am a daughter, a wife, a mother. 

I am a a student, an educator, an author. 

I am a Christian. 

So why, if I know I am all of those things, do I try so hard to separate it out? This past year has found me rethinking many parts of who I am and how that is portrayed. My faith is a huge part of who I am; yet, I found myself feeling the need to start a new webpage to share that. I write separate blogs for education but do not share any education thoughts here. Granted, I started this website originally when my first book was released. In many ways, some could argue that people searching out clean romance authors might not want to know about faith, or education, or even the strides I am making to be healthy again. On the flip side though, all of this is who I am and all of it is relevant to anything I might publish. 

One of my favorite parts of the weekend is Sunday. I am so blessed to be a volunteer with the youth at our local church as a Sunday School teacher and Sunday evening adult. I love their energy, their passion. Their thoughts on so many different topics run deeper than any of them imagine. Over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve been discussing social media and its impact on ourselves and others with some of the main questions being do we portray who we are all of the time, and do we uplift others with our postings. Then, this past Sunday, I listened to them discuss comparison. Why do we find ourselves comparing often? How would life be if we stopped comparing ourselves? 

And so I found myself here, thinking that instead of separating out who I was among various blogs and social media sites, instead of wondering how I would compare to other authors, other educators, other Christians, just compare to others, I would simply be who God created me to be….me. 

What will this mean for those of you who follow the blog? (And though rarely do we have comments, there are really quite a few or you!) No major changes, just more. I’m not sure where this will go, but I know I’ll be able to share more simply because I can have a tendency to ramble when I’m being me. I may share some great recipes, host some of my favorite authors and educators for guest blogs, and who knows what else. That’s the beauty and simplicity of no more compartmentalizing. 

And, I’d like to challenge each of you to do the same! Share some of the areas you need to consolidate and don’t separate out who you are.

Be the fabulous you God intended you to be!

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