Carry Your Candle, set 2019 Ablaze!

I sit here writing yet another reflection for year-end….and as I get older each year seems to wizz by faster and faster. The end of 2018 has been absolutely amazing—-and so does 2019!

Here we are yet again—setting resolutions that we will probably give up on by February, if we even make it that far. Why do we quit so easily? Are goals too hard? Or do we expect instant results as we work towards them? Perhaps the key is to resolve to look at the bigger picture—–that’s my resolution for 2019. Let me explain:

Losing weight—-check. I’m gonna work on that—-I have a plan in place to begin tomorrow. Less carbs, more proteins and healthy fats. More exercise. But I’m going into this resolution knowing I won’t be a size 10 the following morning. They call them new YEAR resolutions for a reason—–they’re not meant to be checked off your year-end bucket list instantly. By a family function in June, yes, I hope to be a smaller, healthier size. But each pound lost is a pound of health gained back.

Watch the wallet- I’m gonna try to fit a budget into my year schedule—more so than I already have. Do I need to order out once a week? No. Do I need to grocery shop every week? No- split it up so I only go twice a month. If bills are getting too tight, Prioritize…..I’ll delete cable and just have internet. Most things you can watch online the following day anyways.

Set personal goals- This one is big for everyone. On top of what we choose to focus on, set side goals for yourself. Perhaps to smile at someone each day, or pay it forward when you’re able to by buying coffee for the person behind you. Perhaps choose a co-worker you don’t like, and make an extra attempt to be nice to them.

Spend time and energy with those that matter most- This one is huge for me this year. Many of you know how my family has treated me in the past. But the past few years have really been difficult. I hid the pain, but it deeply deeply hurt me. I felt I didn’t belong, and questioned who would really notice if I one day packed up and moved away. Then, I stumbled upon a photo of my grandmother, Bea, who died in the 1950s, too young. Something told me to dig deeper, and post it on Facebook. And that one post, brought forth so many cousins. People who have showed me what family really is. People who have loved me, cried with me, made me laugh, taught me new games, supported me, encouraged me. One huge bucket list thing for me in 2019 is to make them “legally” my family by adding Gonthier to my last name. The paperwork is filled out, I just need to get to Nashua to get it notarized. I definitely plan to spend time with these beautiful souls, as often as I can. So, Lisa, Sue, Cherie, Nancy, Aline, Bernadette, Cathy, Lynn, Amy, Olivia, Lee—–get ready, because 2019 I feel will be an awesome year of bonding, reconnecting, and healing. I also plan to spend time with the many friends who have made time for me when I needed someone. There are too many to list, but they know who they are.

And lastly, Unbury dreams that have long since been buried- The #1 spot on this list, is to achieve my dream of becoming a Trauma or Hospice Chaplain. And I take my first steps toward this dream on January 7th when I begin my first class towards my Bachelor’s in Theology. I’ll then go on to get my Master’s. Both things that my original family believed were useless. They knocked down my dream, and many other dreams with their lack of support and true understanding of who I am. I buried my dreams to try and fit into their box of ideas. I suffered for that, and have over $60,000 in student loans to prove my point. But those loans will slowly get paid off, and I will also finally reach my goal of becoming what I knew my heart was meant for all along—-some are called to nurse the bodies, nurse the people as a whole. I am called to nurse their souls. Nurse the brokenhearted.

Spend more time with Him, who makes all things new and possible- As many of you know, I’m actively discerning a vocation. For a while I was adamant at becoming his bride as a religious sister—-but through prayer—–realized although I was finally surrendering, I never truly did just that. I gave him a yes, but set my own thoughts as to what that yes was—-instead of truly surrendering, and letting him lead. I am still discerning, and will continue to do so through prayer, fasting, time in Adoration, time at mass, and time on retreats, pilgrimages, and attending any Christian/Catholic conferences, retreats, and concerts I can attend. (Kathy Troccoli started that one….December 14th was awesome, and I hope she comes again soon! Her music touched deep within my soul that night—-and even produced the title of this blog!) All of these blessings I’ve received thus far—-my job, my new family, my deepened faith….has all come from Him and Him alone.

My theme for 2019 includes all of the above “resolutions”. My Motto for the year is to Go carry my candle into the darkness of the world—-and light up the world—–one candle, one soul, one smile, one prayer……at a time. I pray that 2019 blesses all of you, my fans and readers, with that same inspiration to think outside the box, spend time with your creator, and those who matter most.

Happy New Year. xo

–Amanda Huot-Gonthier