Hello, readers! Now I know you’re probably beyond confused with my title. Cause you’re probably thinking, “2018, just started, and it isn’t over how could you have possibly already learned something?”

Well, my valued readers, shocking as it may seem, I have already learned SO much within the first 10 days of the New Year.  As we all know, the New Year is known for making resolutions, setting goals and achieving them. Or known for posting it on Facebook while eating doughnuts when you say you’re going to the gym. (Guilty). New Year’s are the #NewYearNewMe craze, which I’m also totally guilty of. Every year I always look forward to new goals, new inspirations, new lessons, even new obstacles.

But, this year started off a little different. It didn’t start with goals or achieving things. It started with a gut-wrenching pain & reality hitting you in the face, without remorse.

On January 1st We received heart-wrenching news that our dear Friends Megan and Tony, and their beloved children, Lincoln and Kingsli, passed away. I was in utter shock when I heard it as we just spent the Holidays with them and our DTC Family. I didn’t want to believe what I was hearing. The next few days seemed like a blur as we tried to grasp the news.

Kingsli, Tony, Megan, Lincoln with Surviving Son, Ashton (Photo By: Rad Exposure Photography)

And, then on January 4th, just shy of a few days after the Capitano’s passing we received another heart-wrenching news that the owner/founder of Discount Tire, had passed away.

Bruce Halle (Photo By: Discount Tire Corporate)

It honestly was just a tough time for Discount Tire and the Families and Friends who were hurting after losing loved ones. Throughout the next few days, there were a lot of tears, silence, and just pure sorrow. Aside, from receiving the two news earlier in the week, the rest of the week I kept receiving more news left & right — and unfortunately, none were good, either. Why did the New Year have to start this way?  I didn’t understand. In this moment, I just felt broken. I thought how unfair life was. Isn’t the new year supposed to be starting a new chapter in life, or for good things to happen?  Nonetheless, I still prayed that night for strength, guidance, and comfort to all who were hurting. I also prayed for peace in my heart.

Then a friend shared something that I came across on Facebook. And, the quote said, “That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.” (Holly Butcher). This hit hard. It hit me to the core. It never resonated with me before until I read it. It reminded me of our friends — the Capitano’s were full of life, they lived by this quote to the utmost fullest. They lived life with great positivity, smiles, laughter, and much more! Every person they met, were inspired by them. I know I was. The Capitano’s made a huge impact on my Family, and it will never be forgotten. I will cherish and honor their friendship, always. And, Mr. Halle did the same. He lived by his own quote, “Be honest. Work hard. Have fun. Be grateful. Pay it forward.” (Bruce Halle). Mr. Halle was a different kind of businessman, he cared like no other CEO or owner I’ve ever met. He made sure his staff was taken care of even if it meant he went there personally, to make sure. These kind humans taken too soon lived life positively and lived for the greatest moments no matter how difficult life got. They surrounded themselves with loved ones and they gracefully overcame their adversities. And, they continually brought good into the world. I admire all of them for that. If I were to pick anything that I learned from them, it would be that — to live life to the fullest, be positive, grateful & surround yourself with loved ones, and influence others — pay it forward. The Capitanos and Mr. Halle was the light the world needed. And, I know their family and friends and those who love them will continue to keep that light lit for them. I know my Family will.

Following after their death, I tried to take what I learned from them to heart. I reached out to friends whom I haven’t chatted with in a long time, caught up with them, I reached out to others and reminded them I was there for them. I sent positive messages to my friends and family and reminding them that I love them. I forgave others and moved forward. Baby steps to a new outlook.

The Capitano’s memorial service was beautiful. Hundreds and hundreds of people came. The outpouring love was astounding. But, I wasn’t surprised. I knew the Capitano’s had hearts of gold and that anyone they met instantly loved them. The following morning after the memorial, I woke up feeling like I got hit with a ton of bricks. My eyes were sore, and I had the worst headache. As soon as I opened my eyes, reality hit. The Capo’s were truly gone. For days, I ignored reality and didn’t want to face my emotions. I just bottled them up and I finally lost it all during the service. But, this morning I refused to move from my bed until I gathered my thoughts, and centered myself.

I was scrolling through Facebook and could see the love pouring from the memorial the night before, with every swipe I made. Twitter posts, Facebook status’, newspaper articles, tv articles, filled my feed. My heart ached. I was reminded at that moment, how broken I still felt. I switched from looking through social media and checked my emails. Again, the reality was still hitting me in the face all the bad news was just sitting there. Organized neatly in my inbox. Then something alerted me on my phone, I clicked it …

(Photo By: Facebook)

I sat there in awe, I felt tears stream down my face. And, I just succumbed to my emotions. See, for those who don’t know. I lost my faith awhile back, and I no longer go to a specific church. I’ll save that for a different blog post. But, I feel as if God and I have our own personal relationship. I mean I pray every night and always seek him. And, the past few months have rekindled my faith, if you will. That’s why I was touched by my friend’s post.

But, here was God reaching out to me. Unbeknownst to me. He heard my prayers, my cries, He sent me a sign, “I am fixing the broken pieces in your life. I am preparing you for everything you prayed for.”  Say what? As soon as I saw this, I prayed again. I went about the rest of my day. Tried to muster the strength I had left in me to stay positive. I checked my text messages next, I got a text message from a friend that had asked what my plans were for Saturday. I replied to her and again went about my day.

The rest of the day felt like Satan was just sitting on my shoulder, throwing every curve ball left and right. And, with each one, I just prayed and took a deep breath and again, tried to go about my day.  Complete with full-blown panic text messages to my poor Husband. Towards the evening, I finally got a text back from my friend, about my plans for Saturday. She surprisingly wanted to invite me to go to church with her and go out for dinner. Mind you, she knew nothing about what was going on with me this new year. I had to decline as I had prior engagement during that time frame, but, we got to chatting and I filled her into how my year started out, I told her about God’s message to me and well, here, I’ll have you read it.

**For privacy and respect for my friends I covered their name & photo**

How crazy, that God is reaching out to one of my good friends. I am just speechless. I am looking forward to this rekindled relationship with my faith. And, finding myself in Christ again.

2018, started out rough for me. But, in the past 10 days, I learned the values of my relationships, I learned to change my attitude and put out more positivity, love unconditionally, be more grateful and to always pay it forward. And, most importantly live life to its absolute fullest. To be the light the world needs. And, most importantly to keep my faith alive. I also realized I have to “grow through what I go through”.  Face my obstacles &  embrace the journey. I hope I can take a piece of what the Capitano’s (& Mr. Halle) taught me along with my new rekindled faith, and utilize it every day to the best that I can. To be the best version of myself that I can be.

Here is to making the rest of 2018 my bitch and for keeping the Capitano’s faith alive.

Rest in Peace Capitano Family & Bruce Halle, forever in our hearts. Never forgotten.

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