May This Be The Year

May this be the year in which we allow ourselves to grow
     Mentally,
          Spiritually,
               Emotionally.
May this be the year in which we allow ourselves to learn
     As much as we possibly can.
May this be the year in which we allow ourselves to love
     And be loved.
May this be the year in which we learn to forgive
     Others,
          And ourselves.
May this be the year in which we seek new adventures
     By putting ourselves out there more often.
May this be the year in which we follow our dreams
     And reach for the stars.
May this be the year in which we learn to surpass rejection
     And continue on our path to greatness.
May this be the year in which we share special moments with loved ones
     And cherish such memories for years to come.
May this be the year in which we learn to persist
     Bravely,
          Valiantly,
               And courageously.
May this be the year in which we learn to share our voices and listen to those who have yet to be heard
     By advocating,
          Caring,
               And helping our fellow human beings.
May this be the year in which we devote ourselves to a worthwhile cause
     And help those in need.
May this be the year in which we never forget to be thankful and appreciative
     Each and every day.
May this be the year in which we shine, and encourage others to do the same
     Brighter than ever before.

Happy New Year, and may it be blessed!

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End of the Year Appreciation

With today being December 31st, it is no secret that people nationwide are making last minute attempts at creating New Years Resolutions and fine-tuning their goals for the upcoming year. What I find interesting (even though I’m guilty of it as well) is that so many of us wait until January 1st to begin to follow through with ways we believe will better us. If our resolutions don’t work, or if we simply cannot stick to the plan we set out for ourselves, well, there’s always next January 1st for us to try again.

If we could move past the concept of New Year’s Resolutions, we could work on continuously trying to better ourselves. Moreover, we’ll have an entire year to hold ourselves accountable for our actions, rather than just waiting for a “re-do” twelve months from now. What is important for us to remember during these upcoming weeks of “resolutioning” (a new verb that’s quite fitting for this time of year) is that one minor setback is not a failure; we must not allow ourselves to get discouraged if things do not go according to plan. There is always tomorrow to wake up refreshed and begin from where we last left off. If we can view New Year’s Resolutions as the Year’s Resolutions, maybe we won’t be so harsh on ourselves. And maybe we’ll realize that our goals can be fought for at any given moment of any given day—not just for the first few days in January.

With that being said, one goal that I set for myself this past year was to continue blogging, since I had taken an extended break before the year began. Just this year alone, individuals from all around the world stopped by my site to read what I had to say. To me, there would be nothing more rewarding than knowing that one person (not including my mother) occasionally glances through my site. However, to find out that more than 2,000 visitors from sixty-nine different countries read my thoughts, experiences, and stories throughout the year is beyond overwhelming.

Just this year alone, my blog has had more visitors than the last three years combined. To my fellow bloggers, readers, and friends from 2015, I extend my sincerest appreciation and gratitude for your support. (In the tag section of this post, I’ve included the country of each visitor throughout this past year as a special way of saying thank you since it’s much easier than hand-written notes).

May 2016 be a year to remember, and may all of our resolutions come to fruition, regardless of any potential setbacks we may experience along the way. Happy New Year to all of you, and thank you, once again.

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A Day To Remember

It was September 11th, 2001 and I was in my first grade home-room class at school. For some reason our teacher was moving about frantically as another teacher came into our classroom and whispered something in her ear. We were told that school was going to be let early and that our parents, who were already notified, would be picking us up shortly. When asked what the reason was, we were told it was because of a flood that was about to hit our area.

Just the other day on the radio, they had mentioned that South Florida was experiencing a drought, so a flood didn’t exactly make much sense. But we believed our teacher, and began packing up our pencil cases and school supplies from our cubbies because we didn’t want anything to get destroyed by the flood. My mother picked me up from school shortly after, and explained the true story—there was no flood. Rather, our country had been attacked by terrorists. Upon arriving home, my mother and I turned on the television just as the second tower of the World Trade Center had been hit. We were left in awe.

My father was flying to Washington D.C. that morning and my grandparents were flying to Florida from New York. We hadn’t heard from anyone, and we, as well as the rest of country were left in a state of panic and disbelief. Luckily, my father’s flight ended up being cancelled and grandparents’ flight had an emergency landing, but not everyone was that lucky.

September 11th, 2001 was a tragic day in history for our country, but it was also one that taught us a few valuable lessons. We cannot take our loved ones for granted because we never know what will happen at any given moment. We must show appreciation for those who risk their lives to protect us on a daily basis because these are true heroes that help make our country as great as it is. And furthermore, our country is about as resilient as they come.

September 11th showed us how in a time of despair, American citizens came together and united as one. Fourteen years later, we are still a united country, and we are still just as resilient. May we never forget September 11th, 2001. May we never forget to say “I love you” and appreciate our loved ones. May we never forget those who lost their lives, and those who risked their lives helping others. And may we never how lucky we are to live in such an incredible country.

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Three-Year Blogiversary

I attended the Writer’s Digest Conference three years ago, with hopes of successfully pitching a book that I had written to some of the top literary agents in the country. One of the biggest pieces of feedback I received was that I needed to create a bigger social media platform, and that one of the best ways to do that was to begin blogging. I tried to explain that I didn’t have much to talk about, and even when I did, I’ve always had better success getting a response from myself in the mirror than from other people. (That was a joke, in case you were concerned…)

I created my blog and tried to incorporate as many interesting aspects as I possible could. Between poetry, posts on achieving happiness, traveling experiences, and daily journeys, I had hoped that I could maintain the interest of just a few fellow bloggers, or at least my mother. Well, here we are three years, over 500 followers, and 101 posts later. I couldn’t have made it this far without each and every one of you, and I truly mean it.

A little inspiration goes a long way and I was hoping to help inspire any and all followers that would be joining me on my blogging experience. Little did I realize though, that within these few years, my fellow bloggers would be the ones inspiring me. You have all inspired me through your blog posts, comments on my posts, pushes to continue writing, and especially through your encouragement and motivation to not only make me a better person and writer, but a better blogger as well. And to be quite honest, that is more than anything I could have ever imagined or asked for, and for that, on this three-year blogiversary, I’d like to celebrate with all of you.

I ask that you help me celebrate my blogiversary by commenting with the link to your blogs so that others can follow you all as well. My fellow bloggers have opened so many doors for me, so I’d like to try to help open at least one for you. And with that, I’d like to make a toast to my fellow bloggers for helping me make it this far and for welcoming me with open arms into the world of blogging. If you want to treat yourself to some cake or champagne, by all means help yourself so that we can really get the celebration going! (The best part of an online party is that I don’t have to supply the food or drinks and you don’t have to supply the presents!) I hope that this experience continues for years to come, especially so that I don’t have to go back to talking to myself in the mirror. (Again, a joke.)

New Year’s Blogging

So I keep getting this voice in my head that continuously reminds me that I haven’t blogged in almost a year. And the last time I posted something was about how I was going to start posting more often since I had been slacking. Well, you all can understand how life gets in the way and how some of us tend to put things off until we “find the time,” but I’m tired of making excuses so here we go.

With nearly fifteen minutes left in 2013, I wanted to post something committing to making a promise. I didn’t want to wait until next year to start anew because I wanted to end this year and begin the next one on a positive note. I will blog more throughout this upcoming year. There. I said it and now it’s published for the WordPress world to see.

This past year has been a great one, and I can’t exclaim how fortunate I have been throughout 2013. With another year soon to be in the past and a new one arriving shortly, I think it’s safe to say that 2014 is going to be a year filled with love, happiness, blessings, and incredible opportunities for each and every one of us. I hope you all have a great evening enjoying the remnants of 2013 and welcoming in the start of a New Year, and remember, it’s never too late to make any kind of resolution (Says my guilty conscience from not blogging enough this past year). Happy New Year to each of you and I can’t wait to share it with you all.

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My One Year Blogaversary

Now that I’m back from my spring break cruise to the Bahamas, I no longer have a an excuse to not blog. So here we are, with this hopefully being the first of many steady posts to come. As you can tell, its been a while since I blogged consecutively, so there’s definitely a lot of ground for us to cover so I can catch you up on everything. On January 20th, I celebrated my one year blogaversary. I received a notification saying it was my one year anniversary of my Hurdles to Happiness blog, but since I had taken a break from blogging, I smiled and left it at that. I didn’t arrange for any festivities, I didn’t post anything about it, nor did I invite my fellow bloggers to celebrate with me. But everyone loves a good celebration, and with you all by my side, there’s no one else I would rather celebrate with.

I’ll get to the celebration part of this post soon, but first, I’d like to go back one year and a month and a half (right before I started this blog and joined the blogging community). As most of you know, I wrote a Self-Help book for teenagers a while back and attended the Writer’s Digest Conference last January to pitch my book to notable literary agents. Something that each agent mentioned to me was the fact that I can’t become an author and publish a book if I don’t have a platform of followers. Their suggestion was join the world of social networking and become an avid blogger and tweeter. “Wow,” I thought to myself. “What could I possibly have to blog or tweet about that would hopefully be of interest to others?” This question stayed in my mind for quite some time, but I figured I’d have to give it a shot if I wanted to build up a platform with hopes of one day becoming an author. So I began posting about my writing process that involved everything pertaining to my book. Then I figured I’d throw some poetry into my blog and put in some poems that I had written a while back, and hopefully come up with ideas for new poems. And then it hit me. I also want to work on helping others as well as myself down the path towards achieving happiness. If that’s what my book is about, that’s what the majority of my blog should be about to.

A little inspiration goes a long way and I was truly hoping to help inspire any and all followers that would be joining me on the blogging path to Happiness. Little did I realize though, that within a year I would receive more followers than I could ever imagine and that my fellow bloggers would be the ones inspiring me. You have all inspired me through your blog posts, comments on my posts, pushes to continue writing, and especially through your encouragement and motivation to not only make me a better person and writer, but a better blogger as well. And to be quite honest, that is more than anything I could have ever imagined or asked for, and for that, on this one year (and almost two month) blogaversary I’d like to invite all of my fellow bloggers to comment on this post with links to your blogs. I would like for all of my followers to connect with one another and have a door opened to new blogs for you all to enjoy. So please, I ask that you help me celebrate my blogaversary by posting the link to your blogs for others to follow. I can’t think of a better way for me to celebrate my one year blogaversary than with all of you on this one year anniversary post. And with that, I’d like to make a toast to my fellow bloggers for helping me make it this far and for welcoming me with open arms into the world of blogging, and I hope together, we all have many years of blogging to come!

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Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things

It has been quite some time since I consistently posted here on WordPress. I can use the excuses of having been busy with classes, finals, the daily stressors that use up our focus and energy, or I could just pick one out of a hat, because believe me, there are plenty of excuses I’ve been holding onto.  However, in the scheme of things, I don’t really have a legitimate excuse to not have been blogging, except for the fact that I was tired. Since my return from Spain in August, I no longer had exciting adventures to share. Any and all progress made with my book had come to a standstill, so I hid from writing. I avoided it at all costs and tried to put my focus anywhere else that I could. However, in the end, for us bloggers and writers, there is no avoiding writing so here I am, facing my fear and returning to the blogging world. There is a lot to talk about since my absence so I hope you’re prepared. Not to mention, I hope I’m prepared too. And within the next few weeks, I will be working on independent publishing so that I can finally accomplish the goal of publishing my book. This is where I would insert the saying, “Here goes nothing,” but I’d like to rephrase that into a more positive one. There is no harm in trying to accomplish your goals, for regardless of how successful you think you may or not be, you’ll always be successful for having known that you did what you set out to do. So as I was saying, “Here goes something.”