2021 Everest & Jesus

2021 Everest & Jesus

How do you follow a year like 2020? Really you may not want to because it feels like asking for trouble or praying for patience. I could fill books and blogs and my therapists note pad with tales of all the mess contained in 2020. I’m not even talking about the chaos that reigned in public… this is just me saying 2020 was my own personal hot mess express. 

So because of this I wanted 2021 to really be something phenomenal. In the face of everything 2020 threw at me I remained steadfast and lived out my word… UNSTOPPABLE. Now I was to continue my own personal growth and chase after those things that I’ve always wanted. As I was thinking and praying for guidance in this year’s word I kept coming back to images and stories about how Everest was always an unclimbable summit. Technically speaking you are dying the whole climb and everything should stop you from reaching the top. So how do people get up there? Oxygen, sure. Sherpa, yep. Technological advances in equipment, absolutely. But none of that keeps your feet moving when you are exhausted, unable to breathe and your body is destroying itself. What keeps you going is passion, willpower, faith, hope and love for what you are doing. So 2021 is my Everest. I’m chasing unclimbable peaks this year… one foot in front of the other. 

I also chose the word Jesus because I know without him I am nothing and through him all Everests can be climbed. I’m going to be spending this year doing a study of Jesus so that I can know him better, become better and find more of who I was created to be. 

Everest and Jesus.. 2021 here I come!

2020.. Then & Now

2020.. Then & Now

2020 UNSTOPPABLE 

Why unstoppable? Because I am consistently putting up barriers in my own way. Because I don’t believe in myself the way I should. Because others question my sanity when I talk about the changes I will make in the world and the long term goals I have. Because I am working full time, in a graduate program, I will soon be doing internships hours for school, I’m a wife and Mother and chaos reigns… always.

So this year I will strive not to get in my own way, let doubt overtake me, allow chaos to break me down or the words of others prevent me from all the things I am created to do and be.

In 2020 I will be UNSTOPPABLE.

This is what I wrote before living 2020 as “Unstoppable”. I’ve never been more proud of myself living out a word than this year. We all know the year 2020 was… rough… but even when I wanted to quit and give up and hide. I didn’t.

13 Years in Just a Few Sentences…

13 Years in Just a Few Sentences…

2007 Imagine

2008 PASSION

2009 Encourage

2010  Forethought

2011  Faith

2012  Embrace Change

2013 New

2014 Awesome

2015 Inspire

2016 Intentional

2017 Consistent

2018 Perspective

2019 BOLD

Here’s some honesty for you… I know I chose these words and each year I did my best to live them out but I also know that up until April of 2016 I was living life wrapped tightly in the arms of addiction and alcoholism. It’s interesting for me now to look back and see that my word for 2016 was “Intentional”. I had no thought of getting clean and sober when the year began but on April 6th, 2016 I went into rehab. Hardest but best choice I’ve ever made.

“Consistent” in 2017 was what I surrounded my recovery on. Everything I did was all about maintaining consistency and recovery.

“Perspective” in 2018 mean that I was solid in my consistent recovery life and now I was spending 2018 trying to sort out my next steps in life.

“Bold” was huge for me. 2019 was the year I jumped head first into my career in behavioral health, started my Master in Social Work an really started chasing the dreams I’ve always had of changing the world.

2004, 2005 & 2006…

2004, 2005 & 2006…

2004 Spread Hope

I know I know… this is two words but they go in tandom with each other. I couldn’t just use “spread” without having to offer an explanation as to what I’m working on spreading. On the flip side I couldn’t use “hope” because my goals wasn’t for me to experience hope but rather to help others find hope. This was a beautiful year because I learned the power of positive perspectives and how important it can be to have someone in your life that can hold on to hope or carry hope when you just can’t see it. 

2005 Learn

This year I wanted to focus on learning because I felt very lost in life. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, who I was, who I needed to be or anything of that nature. Living out “learn” gave me the ability to see every situation as an opportunity to learn and discover myself and the world around me. It was 365 days of growth which was uncomfortable but beyond what I could have ever asked for. 

2006 Adventure

I feel like this word is very self explanatory. 2006 started out exciting as I was pregnant with our son Hank and I knew there would be so many adventures in the days to come. What I didn’t anticipate was that our son would be stillborn at 37 weeks gestation and the adventures I ended up experiencing were extremely painful, scary and devastating. They say time heals all wounds but I spent years painfully wounded before any healing came. 2006 was indeed an adventure.

2002 GIVE

2002 GIVE

I can’t say anything epic lead to this word choice or that I had an epiphany in the weeks before 2002 which pointed me to the word “Give”. Really what happened was that I spent a lot of time focused on myself and what I was getting rather than what I was giving. It began to irk me and I wanted to refocus my energy outside of my own wants or needs. Spending a year focusing on what I can give to others really helped me to center on my ultimate goal and purpose in life… helping those around me first and foremost.

2001 Connect

2001 Connect

The year 2000 was full of sparkle but graduation left me feeling disconnected and lonely. Most of my friends had gone away to college or they were working which brought them a whole new social group while I was doing community college and just trying to figure out where I fit into the bigger world I’d just entered. That is where Connect came in for me. I knew that I wouldn’t just magically find people, groups and a place where I felt like I fit. So I worked at it. It was uncomfortable, painful even… as it turns out I’m an extremely awkward person and I still don’t think I’ve actually found my “place” in the world. But the year 2001 taught me a lot about my ability to reach out beyond myself and challenge my own discomfort until settings felt more natural and connection really did take hold. It’s a word that I still practice daily because it turns out that without connection I’m less able to overcome challenges or bring the hope and inspiration to the world that I believe I was created to bring.

2000 Sparkle

2000 Sparkle

Man this year was so long ago! Odd to think I’ve been picking a word to live by for 20 years. And I thought I couldn’t feel any older… sigh. 2000 was a unique year for me. I was finishing high school, taking classes at community college and making a lot of decisions that I would eventually regret. Being that this was my first year picking a word to live by I didn’t really go for anything dramatic or challenging. I remember putting a lot of pressure on myself to pick a really epic word but I couldn’t seem to settle on one that really felt right. Then up at my youth groups Winter Retreat getting ready to ring in the new decade (we totally partied like it was 1999… because it was…) I was doing the Hustle with my youth group and watching the sparkle from the disco ball dance around the room… then it hit me. I wanted to Sparkle. I wanted to bring life and light and hope to the world around me. So I spent a year trying to do just that. I think I was successful but I also think I could have approached so many situations differently and made a lot of better choices. But hey, hindsight is 2020… right?

Living the journey…

Living the journey…

I’m working on choosing my word to live by for 2021 and wanted to share the story I wrote that started it all… in the next few weeks I’ll share the words and tales of years gone by since I started choosing a word of the year in 2000. I hope this inspires you to live the journey you are on…

Life is a Journey.

Spending your days in the city morgue can be very depressing and rather monotonous… But on one hot summer day, the monotony turned into a lesson that should be shared.

People die. Its a fact. And in the morgue, all the bodies can run together in your mind. But this woman will forever stick out boldly in my memory. Opening the body bag and seeing her tiny wrinkled body covered by the bright floral moo-moo so often worn by women her age, I didn’t expect to find anything unusual about this woman. She was old, fragile, found in her bed after not waking from her sleep, nothing extraordinary there.

Imagine my surprise as I began to carefully undress her and prepare her for burial… I cut that bright floral moo-moo from her and I found that her body was riddled with scars, sunspots, other signs of age and a life well-lived. But turning her over I discovered every inch of her thin and frail-looking back was covered in tattoos. Not the kind you see in today’s youth and know they will regret it as the years go by. Her tattoos were words. That’s it. Nothing fancy about them, they were not pretty or decorated. Just words.

Epic. Truth. Love. Passion. Awesome. Inspire. Intentional. Mercy. Grace. Faith. Time. Peace. Share. Know. Learn. Do. Journey. Unstoppable. Compassion. Hope. 

And the words went on…

I began to wonder more and more what these words meant. Why so random? Not a poem or a scripture. So why? For the next couple days, I spent time pondering this and many other questions as I impatiently waited for this tiny and frail woman to get picked up for her burial. Finally, the day came that she was claimed and without thinking I blurted out my questions to the family that had come from out of town to confirm that she was indeed their loved one.

Each one looked at me surprised as so many questions flew from my mouth but then they smiled and laughed before answering…

“She lived her life. Each year from the time she was 30 our Mother spent hours, days, sometimes weeks asking God for a word. That word was what she lived by each year. If the word was Grace, she spent the year learning of God’s grace and all 365 days SHOWING God’s grace to the world around her. This was true for each word you see on her. At the end of that year, she had the word tattooed on her back as a memento, a testimony, and a reminder. Never was she afraid to show her words, they were her life, her journey, and over the years there were many many people that asked what they meant. She never shied away from answering but rather encouraged each person who did ask to live their lives as just as intentionally. To spend each year learning and each moment growing. 48 years later, her last word has yet to be tattooed… Family. She somehow knew that this was her last year to live… so she lived it for and with her FAMILY. “

Holding back my tears as they turned to leave was impossible… on each of their shoulders was the word FAMILY.

-Sarah Mastin Deats-

Adventuring in Personal Development…

Adventuring in Personal Development…

Bucket ‘O Prompts

I’m starting on a few new journeys… one of which involves a giant cheese ball tub filled with almost 1000 prompts, quotes and challenges to spark my personal development and writing catharsis. I’ve discovered that seeking answers from within myself is a wonderful form of self care and one that is much needed amidst my chaotic schedule. My goal here is to dig out a bit of paper from the tub a few times a week, write and see what I discover. I hope you enjoy the journey with me!

If You’re Gonna Dream, Dream BIG!

If You’re Gonna Dream, Dream BIG!

I heard something at a meeting that’s been ruminating in my brain all day long. The importance of speaking things into existence. That if you need or want something, part of making it happen starts by just stating it out loud and getting others involved through prayer and supporting you in this want/need… Life isn’t lived alone. It shouldn’t be. It was never meant to be. So why would we hold on to our hopes and dreams when we can open them up to others who can help us achieve those things?

I would LOVE to know your hopes, dreams and needs. PLEASE feel free to share them with me! In the meantime, I’m going to share mine with you…

Adventures In Change

Currently it is a website/blog/email address and Facebook page. But my dream is that it will represent a world of possibility. A physical space where people can come for help, guidance, safety and a new start. Whether an addict/alcoholic needing a meeting, help getting into treatment, a listening ear or anything else…Or maybe someone who needs help learning the basics of independent life like cooking skills, balancing a budget, simple automotive care or finding a job. I dream of having people from all walks of life come to Adventures In Change to either find a new life or to be what someone else needs in order to get that fresh start. There will be books I write and my husband Duane writes and ones we write together that will help people in some way. We will branch out and have other sites all over the world where people will know they can come anytime and get exactly what they need. Sober living houses and treatment centers will be another part of what we have available. I plan to have access to safe spaces for abused women, sex trafficking survivors, single parents and people in similar situations to find life and freedom. This is but a beginning of a much larger dream I have yet to even realize. But I do know that at Adventures In Change we will be united with different people from different backgrounds living different lives but all working together for one single purpose… to change this world one person at a time. Yes, when I dream, I dream BIG… but I am unstoppable. Someday this will be my reality. Dreams are meant to come true.