On Fresh Starts

So many people look to the beginning of a new year as a way to start anew. We see another chance to eat healthier, to exercise more, to work towards a new promotion or to just be happier. When the clock strikes midnight to ring in the New Year we kiss and celebrate the chance for a fresh start. When the confetti has settled we are ready to vigorously attack the new year.

But then life happens. Hard things get in the way of good intentions. I know quite a few people that have had a rough start to 2017. Families have been torn apart with grief for lost loved ones. Accidents have left families without the income they need to scrape by. Bureaucratic systems put in place to do good, actually hinder the ability of the greatest good to be done. Many people have been left feeling out of control during a time when they expected to be conquering all of their resolutions. To-do lists have been cast aside to gather dust, while they try to just make it through the day. So much for a fresh start.

Each day this week my heart has been broken for someone that has had their faith in the fresh start promises of a new year broken. Each night I have gone to bed with more people to pray for. But each morning I have woken with a new hope. I have hope that as time goes on people will be able to let go of their grief and grip onto happiness. That for every bad thing that happens, there are two smiles that alleviate the sorrow or stress.

I hope that people will remember that when the sun sets, and darkness envelops them, each sunrise has a promise for a fresh start wrapped in it; we just need to remember it is there and grasp it. Fresh starts are not just for a new year, but for every new day as well.

This year will be full of happiness and heartbreak, feast and famine. It will be full of laughter and loss. And while it is hard to remember the sweet when we are surrounded with the bitter we get many new chances to find a kernel of hope in every situation, every new day. As Shauna Niequist says, “When life is sweet say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter say thank you, and grow.”

I plan to live life like this this year. I want to document a moment of happiness every day. I want to remember to start each day with a fresh outlook because the beginning of a new year is not the only time when we can start over. We can choose to do that at ANYTIME. I know there will be days when the weight of the challenges I am facing will  overtake me and happiness will be the last thing on my mind. But that is ok, because the sun will rise again and I will be granted another chance to smile. I want to fill 2017 with so much hope my heart might burst.

Here are some of my happiest moments from a week full of disappointments:

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Go Pack Go!

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Moses holding his staff & the 10 Commandments -as made by a student

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A delightful poem written by a student just because (not an assignment)

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My first read of 2017 and Tom Riddle

In the wise words of Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” In 2017 I hope you remember to turn on the light to a fresh start each and every day.

Until next time,

I love you more than sunsets on bad days and sunrises with fresh rays,

Whitney

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