If we think we will be happy once we arrive at some elusive goal, we are dangling the proverbial carrot, reaching for a future event that may or may not ever quite materialize. As a writer, I hope to see my new memoir, “As a Result” reach more people next month than it did last month. My goal: to get the book into as many hands as I possibly can, in hopes of encouraging those searching for recovery, or those who have lost loved ones to the disease of addiction, or for those who have loved ones who have found the miracle of recovery.

Goals are wonderful ways to focus our attention on where we hope to be. But I have to be careful not to expect too much from myself, or compare my achievements with others. I’m bound to be disappointed when I create scenarios that are simply not in the plans. Who’s plans? God’s plans.

My life has taken so many incredible and unpredictable turns:

I’ve moved nearly a dozen times. From southwest Virginia to Wheeling, West Virginia; to Morgantown to Wheeling again; to New Martinsville, to St. Mary’s and back to Wheeling; to Blountstown, Florida (near Tallahassee) to Pascagoula, Mississippi, then back to Morgantown, and more recently, to Dallas, Texas, where we spend much of the winters now.  In my almost sixty years, I’ve had to say goodbye to loved ones I was sure would still be here as I approach my birthday (in January.) I’ve made difficult decisions that were quite a departure from how I was raised, and may have seemed self-serving at the time, but in actuality, have given me freedom and self respect.

For too many of our friends and neighbors, life has taken horrendous turns for the worst: fires have destroyed lives and homes; terrorists have shot and killed innocent people gathered for worship and socializing. And though I appreciate Facebook as an incredible connector of friends and family, and to get the news out about my new book, sometimes I come across such hateful, slanderous harassment. Language that continues to be perpetuated by the free association of social media posts. Even by those you consider friends—loving people—before they reduced themselves to the same vitriol and low-level labeling and language they earlier purported to abhor. Since when is it okay to call everyone you don’t agree with such horrible names? I don’t care who started it.

We are all just…human. Flawed and vulnerable; traumatized and disappointed, and often angry at the injustice of it all. But I love the scripture from Romans chapter 8: “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” God’s love changes hearts. Pray for people. God’s love prompts us to serve. Serve your community. God’s love is healing, complete, and filled with peace. Spread peace.

In this month of Thanksgiving, and in the weeks preceding the Christmas season, I’m pleased to testify to the progress I’ve made in my journey on this earth; progress not perfection. My prayer is to remain teachable, and to begin each day remembering I’ve been healed of resentment and bitterness that could have fueled my addiction to my detriment. But I have a choice now, and I want to choose to be kind, and to be resolute in my faith.

What are the areas in which you are making the most strides? What are some of the ways you check yourself in goal-setting? How will you remember to count your blessings, and to celebrate progress?

Note: The shiny gold foil photo pictured above is a 2018 Hallmark Thanksgiving card, sent to me this year from my local Hallmark store.

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