A Year of Living INTENTIONALLY! – Dec. 31, 2017

A Year of Living INTENTIONALLY – Dec. 31, 2017

My New Year’s Resolution for 2017 was to live INTENTIONALLY. I can honestly say, I lived ABUNDANTLY too! When I look back on my year, I am amazed. I would assume many people tried new things this past year, socialized with good friends and went places they did not expect to go. But, for me, I kept this blog to capture my year. Now as I look back, I can see the things I tried that I had never done before, the many people I chose to spend my days with and the places I never expected to go…both physically and emotionally!

I kicked off the year, blessing a waitress with a $100 tip (12/31/16)! It was the perfect way to kick off this wonderful year. Although I intended this year to give more than to receive, I found I “received” a lot!! From that first tip at Penny’s Diner,  the experiences were both large and small for me. I worked out for 6 days in a row (1/6) (So proud of myself!) then I stopped (oh, well!), cleared out junk (2/11), fed the homeless guy in Bridgeport (11/15), and gave out Halloween candy in my new home while I reminisced of the days I now miss (10/31).

At school, we invited Rapper FNX (2/2) to school to share his thoughts on making an impact on others, I marched in my first St. Patty’s Day parade with 100 8th graders and my grandson (3/17), I took back to back field trips in June (6/12 and 6/13) and took a student and her mom horseback riding (6/27) to celebrate a “job well done”!

With friends, I wore Beautycounter Masks (4/30), packed 10,000 meals for the hungry in Burkina Faso (2/26) and I still don’t even know where that is!, attended a Catholic Leaders’ Conference (3/5), found Barbara and Mark’s lost children in the woods (5/27), and I ate a stranger’s french fries at Citifield (5/19)! Although I still have never “crashed a party”, our book club party at Pam’s house was crashed by the Optimum Man. Poor “DAN” will never be the same (5/9)!

I visited many places that I said I would go to “SOMEDAY”. Whether it was with one friend, or with many, I took in the new experiences with a wide open heart and an intentional purpose. Throughout the year I visited Lourdes in Litchfield with Lisa, Barb and Liz (12/8), Harlem Valley Rail Trail with Vinnie (11/24), The Fascia’s Chocolate Factory with Vinnie, Christine and Jia (1/13), Firefly Hollow Brewing Company with Vinnie (3/4), The Hot Spot Glass Blowing Company with Sharon, her sister-in-law, and Kali (4/1), The Botanical Gardens in NYC with my sisters, my Aunt Pat, and cousins (6/10), Litchfield Blueberry Farms (alone and so peaceful!)(7/9), The Big E with Vinnie (9?30), Hawk Ridge Winery with Wendy, Willy, Vinnie, Mark and Barbara (10/22) and the Viking/Panther Game in NC with Vinnie and Vincent (12/10). And…for the first time in my life, I golfed!! I golfed in Ireland at the Spanish Point Golf Club overlooking the ocean to celebrate Liz’s 50th birthday with 28 wonderful people. As her brother-in law spread the ashes of her Dad, Donald F. Reid, I realized that this was a moment in time I will cherish forever (11/10)!

During the winter and spring of 2017, I drove a Wave Runner around Key West with Vinnie (3/31), went to sunrise service on Easter morning with Clyna for the 15th year in a row (or so!) (4/16), went to see Hairspray, Jr. at West Rocks Middle School with Liz (1/20), and made homemade pasta for the first time with my brother, Dan (2/15)!

The Bridgewater Fair (8/20), The Milford Oysterfest (8/19), the Peach Lounge to hear Tangled Vine (11/28), and then the Indigo Girls (4/26) were events that I did with great friends that I may do again someday, but if I don’t that is OK. Once could have been enough!

This year caused me to pause and reflect a lot about where my life is, where it has been, and where it is going. I listened a little more intently in church to the readings (7/8), with Nancy, we brought cookies to the Broad River Fire Department as a long and overdue Thank You to the men who carried my mother-in-law to a place she’d be comfortable…two years earlier (4/12)! I pondered what lay ahead in the future while Vinnie and I walked old railroad tracks (10/7), and spent time in NYC having pizza with Leslie, Lisa, Liz and Kevin (9/12). In July,  I had emotional roller coaster week (7/17-7/23) as I learned I was a kidney transplant match for my friend, Mark Hollis. The surgery through Yale Transplant Center (7/25) was probably one of the coolest things I have ever done for someone else! Mark and I are literally connected for life!

I had the incredible moment of going to the Greenwich Library to see our home in the local debut of the Alex Morsanutto’s movie Hi-Glo Retro (6/4)! I had poignant moments such as our last Bacon, Egg and Cheese breakfast with my Stephanie, Anthony, Melissa and Vinnie as we said good bye to our big, red home on West Rocks Road (8/12). And proud moments at the grand opening at MKT in Norwalk taking pictures of Melissa and her artwork throughout the restaurant (4/3).  And, finally, I enjoyed a peaceful ending to a busy year walking the beach of Hilton Head, SC on Christmas Day with Vinnie, Mom, and Dad (waiting for us on the boardwalk!) (12/25)

There are so many special moments with people I love and things I “always wanted to do”. I also recognize that I did not do many of the items on my “potential TO DO List” that I started off the year intending to do. So, many people have asked me what my “2018 New Year’s Resolution” will be. I have thought long and hard, and I think I am going to continue this one! I have truly loved doing things I have never done before…..so I am going to do it again!

I have to be honest. It is now Jan. 7, and week one of 2018 has gone by with two snow says and it is literally 2 degrees outside, but Vinnie and I have spent the week getting our paperwork together to submit to a mortgage broker in South Carolina. Our closing on our new home will be in February (fingers crossed!)….YES, I think 2018 is going to be a great year!

 

 

 

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CHRISTMAS DAY…. Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 – Oh Christmas Tree!

CHRISTMAS DAY…. Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 – Oh Christmas Tree!

This year, Christmas was different. We had sold our house, Vincent wasn’t coming home for a second year, and, back in the summer, mom and dad had said they were “done with CT at Christmas time”. Of course, they were not quite “done” and they came for an early Christmas from Dec. 12 – 19th, but by then Vinnie and I had decided to spend Christmas in South Carolina! We drove down on the 23rd. Vincent met us at Mom and Dad’s for a couple of days and I announced that since I was in South Carolina for Christmas, I would have to spend it walking the beach at Hilton Head.

On Dec. 24th, Vincent was the only one who opened gifts on Christmas Eve morning at the breakfast table. That was different! Mom, Dad, Vinnie, Vincent, and I went to 4pm Mass on Christmas Eve in a local high school gymnasium. That was different! The priest saying mass was a visiting missionary priest who has spent most of his life in Africa. After the mass, I bought a set of beautiful beaded rosary beads hand-made by African women. That was different!  And then Vincent left by 7am on Christmas morning for  his 5 hour drive back to North Carolina since he had to work at 2pm. Mom, Dad, Vinnie and I had a quiet Christmas Day to look ahead to. That was very different!

So, on Christmas morning, the four of us got in the car and drove to Hilton Head. Three of us would walk the ocean beach for a couple of hours while one of us would spend that time reading a book while sharing a swinging park bench with a Korean lady (Guess who that was!)

About 20 minutes into our walk, we found our Christmas Tree!  Oh Christmas Tree!! As it lay flat out at the ocean’s edge, the palm leaves floated in the waves that came and went. Its roots and entire trunk stretched across the sandy shore. Perhaps a hundred or more people had stepped over it on that beautiful Christmas morning.

As we walked, it was simply amazing to me that the beach was filled with hundreds of people. These people passed us by on bikes or on foot saying “Merry Christmas” to us and to each other. There was a light, cheeriness in each interaction. Some people were throwing balls to running dogs or chasing children who were chasing seagulls. Others traced words in the wet sand with long sticks, while others tip-toed across the low tide to walk along the sandbar. The sunlight created a blinding shimmering light that seemed to stretch out for miles to the horizon.

My thoughts were pretty simple. I wished everyone I loved was with us walking along that beach to enjoy the stress-free nature that surrounded us. The ocean coming and going, just like the people, and just like the previous 365 days since Christmas of 2016. Vinnie and I acknowledged the fact that this  year, Christmas of 2017 was indeed different, not bad yet, not necessarily better; just simply different.

And in that difference, we found it was also intentionally peaceful.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and happy and healthy 2018!