New year, new beginnings.

new year10After watching the year in review on several TV channels, I can’t help but think it’s been a crappy year for the world.  Lately, natural disasters, mass shootings and political turmoil are normal, but this year it seemed even more extreme.  I had several people tell me the past few weeks that it’s been a rough year, for some their worst, and they are waiting to begin anew in 2019.  It has nothing to do with the economy, since that is thriving.  Just personal unrelated hardships and frustrations in today’s fast paced life.  I feel we need to slow down, tolerate others, think before acting, be calm and be nice to one another.

For me, I’ve had challenges, setbacks and hurdles to overcome.  But I’ve also had some amazing adventures, experiences and personal growth.  I’m putting 2018 behind me, remembering the good times and letting go of the rest.

I’m starting fresh and positive, aiming for the betterment of our communities, society, America and our planet.  Let’s help each other in this sometimes complicated nation.  Put down our phones, and think twice about constantly checking social media.  Take moments to enjoy the natural landscape and gatherings with family and friends.  Consider what’s important in life and pursue that, because at the end of the day it is  what really matters. Together let’s make 2019 the best year ever.

“Be always at war with your vices,
at peace with your neighbors and
let each new year find you a better person.
Happy New Year”

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Let’s give a warm welcome to the year that starts a new, appreciate each moment that the year shall behold, so let’s come together and celebrate a wonderful start to the New Year. Happy New Year.

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And always find a reason to laugh.  It may not add years to your life, but it will surely add life to your years.

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A look back at 2017

As a new year approaches, I’d like to look back at highlights in the news and my personal life this past year.

Natural disasters battered the United States this year with record-setting hurricanes hitting the east coast and fires blazing though the west.

hurricane2Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, leaving 82 dead and many homeless.  Total rainfall from a single storm set a record at 51.88 inches and total damage costing $180 billion.  A few weeks later Irma threatened the entire state of Florida, pushing Harvey out of the spotlight.  As a category 5, it was the largest Atlantic storm in history, reaching winds of 185 mph for 37 continuous hours. The cone of death affected the most populated cities of the east and then shifted to the west coast of Florida. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations caused the largest evacuation irmaof any state.  Massive traffic jams ensued.  I left the east coast, as did many of my friends.  Hotels were sold out and people just started heading north, out of the state.  In the end we got very lucky as far as deaths, we had widespread damage, but not devastating as predicted. Irma initially hit landfall in the Keys and then the west coast near Marco Island.  Hurricane Marie formed as Irma left.  After causing catastrophic damage across the northeast Caribbean, it hit Puerto Rico knocking out its power grid, three months later over half are still without power.  The death toll is reported as 64, although many believe this number is higher.

ca fire 1The 2017 California wildfire season is the most destructive one on record.  I visited southern California a month or so prior to the  fires, and the dryness was evident everywhere. In October a series of fires broke out in the north’s scenic wine country. It killed 44 people and destroyed about 9000 structures. Southern California had its outbreak in December.  High priced land in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles county got hit the worst with the Santa Ana winds exasperating the situation.  The Thomas fire, the largest blaze in California’s history destroyed over a 1000 structures and over 50,000 had to evacuate, causing gridlock in an already congested area.

rabbit fire 2Good news came from all these disasters and people came together helping each other, and especially close to my heart our furry friends.  Dogs and Cats were flown from Puerto Rico rescue centers to Florida.  One of my friends adopted one of these dogs who went from extremely skinny to a loving pet.  Wildlife officials rescued a mountain lion with burnt paws during the Thomas fire.  A video of a man rescuing a rabbit on the side of the road while evacuating, went viral.

With all the natural, social and political disasters, sometimes it feels like the world is coming to an end.  Mass shootings, vehicular homicides, nuclear escalation, sexual abuse, an opioid epidemic, increasing homelessness, and ongoing wars.  Yes, it’s there, but in the new year let’s make it a priority to focus on commonalities and solutions.

On a personal level it’s been a great year. My travels took me to Helen, Georgia to witness a total eclipse, Southern California for a father-daughter bonding, various Florida cities, Andros, Bahamas to visit a dear friend, and mostly Bimini, Bahamas where I live part-time.

I  continue my pursuit in physical, spiritual and mindful growth.  Yoga keeps me on track with daily mantras and challenges.  I can recognize my emotions easier and think before reacting.  Running gives me the cardio I love while listening to audiobooks to fulfill my craving for knowledge.  I put my own novel, Breakfast In Bimini, into audible format.  Sales for my paperback and kindle edition have done well this year.  All three formats can be found at:  https://www.amazon.com/Breakfast-Bimini-Sierra-Michaels/dp/1533699062/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1514674744&sr=8-2&keywords=breakfast+in+bimini

What is your word for 2018?  What are you hopeful for and what are you doing to make it happen?  Be the change you want to see in the world.  My word is Love.heart