Do you ever take that one,  quick, last look in the mirror before you head out the door for work or to an event? You want to look and make sure that your tie is on straight, or your hair is just right, or your lipstick is not smeared. 

Sometimes you’re very pleased with what you see, and you walk out the door with vim & vigor & confidence. Other days, you try to take one last blot at your lips or adjust your tie before rushing on out the door. But either way, bad hair day or not, you have to leave, because the clock waits for No One.

And that’s sort of what the dawn of the New Year is like, as well. We each look into the mirror of Our Lives, for one last glance before we head into the next appointment. For we all have an appointment with 2017, & like an impatient date, it will not wait.
There is nothing wrong with reflecting. In fact, it is necessary and cathartic for our souls.

Many are writing and posting about what a dreadful year 2016 was for them, and I am right there alongside of them. My horoscope at the beginning of the year said that it would be the luckiest year of my entire life. Ha! This year alone was enough to debunk any inclination towards believing in horoscopes. For it was unlucky for me in many ways. Or was it? Perhaps the opportunities that did not pan out, or the relationships that fell by the wayside were really  lucky things, instead of unlucky ones? Perhaps it was God saving me from something that would hold me back, keep me from fulfilling my potential, or in some way actually harm me? 

For me, as with some of you, I’m certain, the very best thing about this past year is simply that I survived it. Life threw me some completely unexpected curve balls, & though I may not have come out the most valuable player,  I’m a winner, because I’m still in the game. And so are you!

Whatever the case, there were many good things that occurred this past year as well: I made new friends and new co-workers. I got a new position with a new company about which I cannot say enough good things! I got to spend time with friends at the beach, visit my daughter in Oklahoma, & fly out to Texas and stay with my “sister” & her girls.  My son graduated college and got an amazing job which he will start in February! 

I got to spend time doing  one of my very favorite things, and that is  giving of myself in service to others and my beloved community. I chaired a task force for the Board of Realtors that resulted in a new committee being formed. I got to be on the planning committee for a Welcoming Home Ceremony for returning soldiers. I wrote articles for an online veterans newsletter, and did other volunteer work. I’m not listing these things to toot my own horn, but rather as a reminiscence of some of the things that brought me the greatest joy for the past year. For when I tell others that the best thing that they can do when they are feeling down and out is to go out and do something for someone else, I really mean it! I have lived it. 

At the end of the year, the epiphanies I had in relation to others which caused me not to continue down the path with them has not led me to be bitter towards them. But it has caused me to be better myself. For I have learned that it is indeed best to accept the things you cannot change. I have learned that I am stronger than I thought. I have learned that no matter how much you may care for someone, their destiny may not be intended to be your own. 

There are so very many other “negative” things that occurred in 2016, but a laundry list of them is unnecessary. It serves no purpose. Long story short, it was one of the most challenging years of my entire life. I think that every single aspect of my life had bad happenings. From having to get 6 new cell phones & 3 new laptops to being told I had a mysterious illness which debilitated me just as I was gearing up to go full steam ahead, and eveything in between, 2016 tried really hard to kick my butt. 

But looking back, I know that it was like being squeezed through a birth canal: the months of gestation in the cozy womb of my life compared to the pain and the process of transformation as I passed from one version of living to another one. I no longer lived within a safely contained womb where all of my needs are met. I had to learn to walk and talk and think again all on my own.

And is that not what we are all created to do? From the moment we are born, we are challenged with one hurdle after another one. We drink milk before we eat meat. We crawl before we walk. We walk before we run. I felt as if I was crawling along for most of 2016. But now, my friends, it is time for me to run!

If 2016 was also a difficult year for you, consider it a part of the transition process – that last painful push, to start you on your way to being a self-sufficient soul. For when you are free of that deep, dark, constricting place, then it’s time to breathe on your own. The very first thing you have to learn to do is just breathe. Sometimes, the deep, dark and constricting places in our lives are relationships, jobs, or addictions that we need to just leave behind.

This New Year’s Eve, I am taking a deep breath, and I am reflecting. For I know in 2016, the struggles that I have undergone this year were just a preparation for the race which I will be called to run in 2017. And that is exactly what I intend to do: I’m going to stretch my muscles, and start the real race for which I was intended. I look forward to seeing you at the finish line!

– Lou Lehman Sams 


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I am a Southern Belle, through and through. Born and raised in North Alabama, where my family settled in 1808, when the area was still the Mississippi Territory, I come from a line of Planters, Patriots, and Pioneers. They were people who were unafraid to take risks, who said what they believed, and who honored God and their Country. Like my ancestors before me, I have strong values, believing that the Golden Rule is indeed golden. I write as a way to relate and as a release. I hope that my words may inspire, challenge and provoke one to thinking about how extraordinary things can come out of ordinary places, people, and things.

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