The holidays are upon us and busy days have begun – making plans, cooking, shopping, wrapping presents and trying to make sure everyone is happy. Some days it seems like no matter how much you get done, the ‘to-do’ list never ends.

No matter how busy you are, remember to relax, breathe and take time for yourself. Reflect on your blessings and everything you have to be thankful for. Carve time out of your schedule to help others. Giving to others in need will awaken something deep in your soul and fill a special part in your heart that you didn’t know was empty.

St. Elizabeth Girls Academy culinary student smiling at camera

A large part of my life path has been growing a peaceful existence; one that allows me to make a difference in the world, paving a path to better the lives of children brings me the utmost amount of peace. It brings my heart a world of peace and much joy to offer less fortunate children stability to allow them the opportunity to act like children and experience a ‘peace of mind.’

Peace starts within you. Without your inner peace, outer peace is impossible. I find this to be the number one lesson I have learned from the kids we serve in our orphanages and schools. Life is hard. It’s not always smiles. These kids came from some of the toughest places imaginable. Homeless, hungry, lacking education or family support. Through all their hardships, they stood strong in the face of adversity, and they envisioned a better life for themselves. They did not give up. They will not give up.

With all of the conflict in the world, we need to bring more giving and peace into our lives, no matter how large or small. In a blink of an eye we’ll be celebrating the start of a new year, and I hope it brings you vision, clarity, and strength. I hope you can stand strong to face the obstacles in your way. I hope you can find the strength to do the things you think you can’t, and continue doing the things you know you can.

Taking a lesson from our kids, I resolve to stand strong. I resolve to stand strong in all that I do. I resolve to stand strong for others who need the hand up, by continuing to continue raising money and fighting for orphaned children in Uganda.

Will you resolve to stand strong with me? Stand strong for yourself and for the less fortunate. Find a charity, family, or individual to help this holiday season: whether it’s buying someone’s groceries, making a donation, or volunteering your time for a good cause.

In Gratitude and Love,
Cristen Lyn