2013: Lessons from An Amazing Year!

2013: Lessons from An Amazing Year!

2013 was an amazing year! As I look back over the year there were many highlights.  Here are a few lessons I take with me as I transition into 2014:

  • Courage Is Not The Absence of Fear.  When faced with difficult decisions, often we are gripped with fear.  When we came into this year, my husband I had to make some major leadership decisions that took much courage on our part.  We could have allowed our fears of the unknown to paralyze us, leaving us stagnant and unable to move into the future.  In retrospect what seemed to be fearful decisions proved to be some of the best decisions we have made in our ministerial careers. Remember courage is not the absence of fear.  Face your fears and take courage to move forward despite your fears.
  • Create Your Own Door and Walk Through It. This year I decided to expand my coaching practice.  I began the year by launching my SOAR Coaching Seminar.  I facilitated the SOAR seminars in several cities, Florida, Ohio, Concord, NC and Chicago. In addition to the SOAR seminars, I launched the TLCC Accelerated Coach Training Course. Because I had the courage to create my own door others have opened new doors for me to walk through in 2014!
  • Celebrate You! I came into 2013 excited about turning 50 this year.  On May 16th I turned 50 and on May 24th I hosted my Fabulous, Fierce & Fifty Birthday Gala! I celebrated my birthday as a fundraiser for My Sister’s Keeper Foundation for Women with family and friends from far and near.  I took the time to celebrate my accomplishments and the work of empowering women. I also took the time to appreciate the special women in my life in an All White Fabulous & Fierce Brunch. You can’t always wait on someone else to throw you a party.  At particular junctures in your life it becomes necessary to pat yourself on the back and appreciate the roads you have traveled.  I have fond memories and pictures from that entire weekend.  It was certainly one of the highlights of my year!
  • Celebrate Milestones. Another highlight of 2013 was the 20th Wedding Anniversary and Vow Renewal celebration with my husband, Johnathan Alvarado! We renewed our wedding vows on the backdrop of a romantic beach sunset in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in the presence of couples that traveled to celebrate with us.  We also exchanged new rings as a symbol of the love and growth we have experienced in our marriage of 20 years.
  • Cherish The People Who Mean The Most To You.  Among all the excitement of this year, there have been moments of sadness when people passed on from this life. As a pastor I had to stand with those who lost loved ones both young and old. Some were tragic accidents while others were sudden deaths due to illness that took their loved ones unaware.  Some are left with unanswered questions and feelings of despair.  While others found comfort in just knowing that their loved ones were no longer suffering the pains of their illness. Yet, in each case there seemed to be a wish for more time to share and spend with loved ones.  I’ve decided to live every day like it’s my last and to cherish every moment I have with the people who mean the most to me.
  • Change Your Scenery Regularly. This year I reinvigorated my value for recreation, relaxation and rest as a part of my overall value for self-care.  I’m especially proud of the fact that I vacationed several times this year with my husband, our children, my Mom and sisters.  In addition to traveling and vacationing (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Destin, FL, Nairobi and Nakuru, Kenya, New York City, Hilton Head, SC & Charlotte, NC) I also visited several local spas and took the necessary breaks to keep me happy and healthy.

In 2013, like every other year, there were challenges to overcome and demands to meet. Yet, because of God’s grace and a winning attitude I completed this year stronger than ever. I’m thankful for the blessings of 2013 as I look forward to more of God’s grace in 2014!

Happy New Year!

Dr. Toni

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