Family of Intent

It’s been almost two years in Boston- and what an adventure it has been.

When I first moved here, I only knew one person- a cute guy who I only talked to for my first two weeks. Knowing it wasn’t going anywhere, I moved on and proceeded to focus on myself- I found a place to live, a job, and new friends.

That first friend was Brenda, who welcomed me into her home, “The Nest,” complete with a cuddly cat and a basket full of slippers. She was precious; a friend who was such an angel I didn’t feel I deserved her. I was far from perfect-and I still am- but after two years, I recognize that she has always seen the light in me when I couldn’t see it for myself. Friendships like that are invaluable.

The holidays are coming up, and like the past few years, I’m spending it away from my family in Michigan. This doesn’t bother me. As much as I miss them, I have learned a valuable lesson from Brenda:

Your family can extend to your family of intent.

We develop soul connections over the years, meeting people of all walks of life who fill our hearts and help us become better people. Sometimes our own families may not understand or relate to us as those on the outside do; which is why it’s so important to realize your family of intent- the family you choose for yourself- is just as crucial as your own blood relatives.

No matter what your plans are for the holidays this year, remember how important authenticity and being true to yourself is. Cherish the people who love and understand you. Have gratitude for those who will lend a listening ear no matter what. Most importantly, try not to shy away from people who love you for all of your flaws. I may not always feel I deserve wonderful people in my life like my own mother, friends like Brenda, or even the love from a sweet feline, but I do.

I’m worthy of pure love- and so are you.

Sometimes, it takes your family of intent to help you recognize you’re beautiful for your gifts, your flaws, and the path you have walked.

Holiday Spirit: Spreading the Cheer

It’s no secret December is my favorite month of the year.  From sparkling lights to the first snow fall, it’s a time full of holiday cheer.  I love it so much that I trade my bright pink lipstick for shades of red, too.

My love for the holiday season must have started from the very day I was born- December 22, on the evening of a big winter storm.  Three days later, my parents brought me home from the hospital in a bright red stocking- Christmas morning!  

I was very lucky to have a close-knit family.  I grew up next door to my grandparents and had wonderful traditions that made the holidays special.  Sadly, not everyone is as fortunate.  The holidays can be a very difficult time for some people- those who have lost family members, can’t afford gifts for their children, or won’t have anyone to spend the days with. 

There’s something magical about the holiday season that everyone deserves to experience.  The snow begins to fall and the world slows down.  The spirit of the season makes me feel love and promise for a happy new year.  As I see familys coming together, carollers singing, and people lending a hand to one another, I have restored hope for the world around us.

Although I won’t be able to spend Christmas with my family this year, I plan to enjoy the season with friends, neighbors, and even strangers.  Since I have the time, I decided to see what I can do to help spread cheer to those who may need a smile this season.

This year, let’s try and focus on love, not the stresses the holidays can bring.  Our society gets too caught up in spending money, giving gifts, and creating a “perfect” party or dinner for our family and friends to enjoy.  When we focus on the planning and let our anxiety take over, we let the actual moments pass us by.  

It’s important to put our lives into perspective this time of year.  Let’s think about what we can give, not what we can get.  Whether it’s donating toys, volunteering at a food bank, or visiting the elderly, there are countless options to help brighten someone’s holiday season, too.