2017: A Look Back and a Switch

When the sun rises, we have an opportunity to make a difference. When the sun sets, we have an opportunity to look back to see that difference.

When 2016 was drawing to a close, I was feeling a little bit off.

Off because the passion and focus I once had for sports was…in a word…complicated. Writing about sports felt like a chore, not a love. Twitter – important for those working in sports – was becoming more of a cesspool than a connection place. And that’s just in sports media.

To Instagram I went…but with a far different focus than sports. 

Each day, I see people who are hurting, frustrated, bitter, angry, confused. They channel those feelings toward others. Or, they direct those feelings onto today’s hot button issue. They have no constructive outlet other than social media. So much hurt is out there that I wanted to do something to help them.

But how? 

It seems kind of silly now, I guess, to try and help people through Instagram. But, I needed to do something. I know that I am an encourager, by nature. I know that there is always a story behind the hurt, frustration, bitterness, anger and confusion. But, I also know that it can be a difficult place to “go there” with those feelings – to actually address them, meet them head on and find a resolution. Most people don’t want to talk about their pain. They do, however, want (and need) to be encouraged.

That trait doesn’t exactly fit too well in sports media. Nor does it really fit this blog. When I created my Instagram, I thought it would be about sports, but, much like me, it’s evolved beyond that. Sure, there’s sports photos, but in 2017 I wanted….more.

You’ll see a lot of photos of my dogs (2 chihuahuas – I love them like my kids…sorry, kids). You’ll see a lot of t-shirts. I got the idea – no, not original – to do T-shirt Tuesday. I like to laugh. Sometimes when I’m walking through a store, I’ll see a t-shirt that makes me do that. So, I started taking pictures of them in the hopes that someone else who needed a laugh…would laugh! I also wanted to use the platform to encourage people. 

I had to start somewhere. Forget resolutions on January 1. This project needed to start with a single word. 

The beauty of it all is that it doesn’t have to end here in 2017. I didn’t want to do a look back at 2017, but with sports no longer my emphasis, I couldn’t do a normal year-end sports post. As you read through these IG posts, I hope that it encourages you for today, 2018 and for all your days on earth. 


2017 on Instagram – A Look Back

JANUARY – Thrive

FEBRUARY – Wholeheartedly

On January 1, I sent out a challenge asking what is your word for 2017. Each new year we start out fresh. We start out setting goals for what we would like to achieve or accomplish for that year. Some goals are more easily achievable than others. That’s why I asked, #WhatsYourWord. To help you along the way, I wanted to come up with words that might stir the gifts within you. January’s word was thrive. February’s word is wholeheartedly. Whatever goals you have for this year or even this month, give it your whole heart. Make your effort count. As I’ve tried to tell my kids while they were growing up or still growing up, do your best, give your best effort. In other words, give it your whole heart. It may seem like it’s an easy thing to do (it can get messy), but sometimes obstacles of various forms get in our way – be it fear, doubt, other people. They challenge our will, our determination, even our belief in ourselves. It is in those moments when we decide if we will continue to give wholeheartedly. #freshstart #resolution #motivation #wisdom #wednesday #wednesdaywisdom #thoughts #believe #wholeheartedly #thrive #2017 #goals #squadgoals

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MARCH – Explore

On January 1, I sent out a challenge asking what is your word for 2017. January’s word was #THRIVE. February’s word was #WHOLEHEARTEDLY. I’m a day behind for March, but better late than never, right? The word for March is explore. Is 2017 your year to explore? Oh, I know some of you have dreams to go explore the safari or the waters of the sea or even the highest of heights. Never let go of those dreams. But, if you can’t get there quite yet in 2017, how about exploring right where you are at? What I mean by that is we are all traveling on a road, some of us, maybe literally at this very moment. But, every morning we wake up & go about our day there’s a road that we are traveling. We encounter people or situations that are actually opportunities to explore. It could be the road to a new job, a new challenge or a new friendship. Some of the roads may be full of traffic jams or they’re barren. No matter where your road is on that spectrum, there are always moments to #explore. I have found that it is in those moments that I gain the most insight about my surroundings, others and especially myself. What road are you on today? #Challenge yourself to do a little #exploring today, tomorrow or even the rest of 2017. Wherever you are at, take time to explore it. #motivation #expecting #newstart #WhatsYourWord #believe #thoughts #goals #squadgoals #resolution #2017

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APRIL – Pause

“It’s not printing”, he said. My son needed to print some information for a school assignment, but the printer wasn’t working. I’m not the most technically savvy person, but I tried to help anyway. I couldn’t get it to work. I tried deleting the job in the print queue and restarting…to no avail. But, there was a word I saw that struck me during the “fixing” process, that made me think it was the word for the month of April. Maybe this is your word for the rest of 2017. That word was PAUSE. Seems like it would be a strange phrase, you know, “year of pause”. But, I really believe there’s someone out there who needs this. Someone out there who has been caught up in finding the next big thing. The next career move, the newest marketing tool, moving to a better place, landing a big sale, acing a huge test, finding a soulmate… there’s always something occupying our “next” thoughts. Amidst the hustle & bustle of daily life, how many of us take time to stop and pause? Recently, three men from different periods in my life all passed away. As I tried to process it all, because they all happened around the same time, I realized that there were moments I could’ve paused my day or my week or my month and reconnected with them. Now they are gone, I don’t have that opportunity anymore. I didn’t pause. I didn’t pause to make time for them. I didn’t pause to remember moments we shared. I can now, but those opportunities to simply “be” or “connect” will never come again. How many of us get caught up in the “next thing” to the point where we miss opportunities to “pause” and take in what’s happening all around us? Pause in the moment. Today won’t come again. #pause #2017 #think #inspiration #reflection #motivation #WhatsYourWord #goals #squadgoals #moments #resolution

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MAY – Thanks

Hour 3. The body unfolded itself from where I lay under the bushes pulling weeds. Technically, they aren’t weeds. They are the beginnings of maple 🌲. Normally, I would say let them grow. But, the seedpods from nearby maple trees were surrounding all of the bushes in front of my house, the backyard, in front of the driveway in the street… You get the idea? With the sunshine & warm day on Saturday, I decided it was time to pull them up so they didn’t start growing in the bushes themselves. I dreaded it but my thinking was that it would be a piece a 🎂. 😂😂😂 Hours of pulling and squatting and laying down and arm scratches and thorny hands and fingers, I was done. Then I saw more right in front of the curb of our house. Those suckers are everywhere. I won’t tell you what I said in my head, but there could have been a curse word that crossed my mind seeing that the job was not yet done. 😡😡😡 I decided I had enough. I paused to wonder if I really needed to be upset about it. Those darn things are everywhere. And then I remembered the alternative. ❄️ ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️ In that moment, I was thankful that I wasn’t shoveling ❄️❄️❄️. Such a silly thing I know. But, it immediately change my mindset. I was thankful it wasn’t snow. I was thankful that I had the ability to work outside of my house. I was thankful that I could experience the ☀️. I was thankful that I had a 🏡 to live in and take care of. I was thankful I had clothes on my back. I was thankful for my neighbors & my neighborhood. I was just thankful. It’s so easy to get caught up in the little irritations. Sometimes, those little irritations can turn into big ones. But, when we have a mindset and heart that is thankful, we remind ourselves of the good in our lives. Whatever it is. Wherever you are. Find one thing in your life that you can be thankful for. If you find 1, try for 2. If you find 2, try for 3. And so on. Why wait until the “Thanksgiving season”? This might be the start of your year of thanks. Thanks for reading & following. #2017 #think #inspiration #reflection #mondaymotivation #whatsyourword #goals #squadgoals #moments #resolution #justthinking #expecting #believe #payitforward #weeds #gardening

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JUNE – Renewal

#WhatsYourWord — What’s your word for 2017? What is this your “Year Of”? . The word for June is #Renewal. . Renewal is a word that seems more appropriate for the beginning of the year. New year – resolutions – making new choices. But, June is a special month for me. . In one week, I will be celebrating another birthday. I will be one year closer to a significant number in my life. *No, I’m not going to tell you my age – I’ll just let you wonder 🤔🤔🤔.* . With this birthday being close to a milestone #, it has me thinking of it like a new year. Which is how this series began – having a word for the new year. . Year of Renewal. . Like me, maybe there have been some things you’ve tried to do and failed. – This is your year of renewal. . Like me, maybe there are current struggles that are weighing you down. – This is your year of renewal. . Like me, maybe your way of thinking doesn’t align with current circumstances. – This is your year of renewal. . Like me, maybe you’ve had some setbacks in your life. – This is your year of renewal. . Whether it’s the new year, your birthday season or just simply today, don’t let past circumstances dictate your future. It’s a new season. – Today can be the start of your year of renewal. . #2017 #inspiration #reflection #thursdaythoughts #thoughtforthursday #June1 #June #renewyourmind #value #love #hope #faith #purpose #believe #moments #resolution #payitforward #thinkaboutit #happybirthday #SheTheRoar

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JULY – Conviction

#WhatsYourWord — Halfway through 2017. How is your year going so far? Great, good, so-so or “is it 2018 yet”. . It has been a challenging one for me, but also intellectually & spiritually stimulating. I ❤️ encouraging and cheering on others. I enjoy helping others see the possibilities that exist IN them. . When I started thinking about this month’s word, I kept coming back to a word I didn’t like: #Conviction . Is there something you are unsure about? Has it been nagging at you or keeping you up at night? Have you made pro-con lists over & over again about it? Does it feel overwhelming just thinking? Are you drowning in indecision? . Perhaps it is time to make that decision about it — with CONVICTION. . Have conviction about that decision. Have conviction about your career. Have conviction about your relationships. Have conviction about that trip. Have conviction in how you walk, talk, act, think, listen, move… . Let not fear or intimidation sway you. Have conviction to stand up and go do it. Make the rest of 2017 your year of conviction. . Tag someone who needs this today. ⬇️ #jumpin #2017 #inspire #inspiration #reflection #goals #renewyourmind #faith #hope #love #purpose #believeinyourself #resolution #payitforward #thinkaboutit #shetheroar #saturday #dreambig #takeachance #takeaction #doit #saturdayvibes

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AUGUST – Refocus

#WhatsYourWord: A new month has started and we are that much closer to the end of 2017. How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? Are you close to achieving them? Or, have you strayed off the path to a place you don’t want to be? . . #When I took this picture in my garden, The camera was focused on the bright color of the zucchini flower. But, when I looked closer, I noticed the yellow jacket in the upper right corner. Not sure what he was doing, but he was busy doing his own thing. It didn’t matter that I was there, he was just focused on his own business. . . . Now that we are in August, take stock of what you are focused on right now. Do you need to #refocus? Refocus in your career, a relationship, in school? What is distracting you from where you want to be? Don’t wait until January 1 to resolve to get back on track. . What are you focused on? Do you need to refocus? Maybe that’s your word for the rest of 2017. . #Tuesday #tuesdaymorning #tuesdaythoughts #2017 #inspire #renewyourmind #shetheroar #purpose #believeinyourself #payitforward #dreambig #resolutions #quotes

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#WhatsYourWord – When I began this project, I didn’t realize how much it will change me and my way of thinking. For those who don’t know, the project is about inspiring others. Each new year people make resolutions or choices that they hope will bring about changes in their lives for the entire year. It’s a noble venture, to be sure. But, sometimes there’s more focus on the end goal rather than the PURPOSE behind the goal. Bringing that thought process into today, September 1, 2017, I am seeing many people feeling lost, hopeless, angry, resentful, etc. my hope each month is that at least one person who is feeling like that will see this post and be inspired. Be inspired to have a new outlook, to not be afraid to try something new, to see the positives in the present rather than the negative of the future. That is what I am being challenged with myself. I saw this bench at a local park earlier this month. Amid the chaos around us, be it natural disasters, political strife or whatever, we still have a choice to be a good person and do good toward others. Maybe that’s a word for someone for the remainder of 2017. Make this your year of purpose.

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OCTOBER – Fresh Vision

#WhatsYourWord – what we seek, we are sure to find. When we expect or look for the not so good things of this world, they will inevitably cross our path. It makes it hard to see the good that is happening all around us when our vision is clouded and our thoughts are cluttered with negative. . Life happens. Problems come and problems go. Sometimes, it seems like problems stay with us forever. In the bigger picture, there are problems in this country & in this world that will always be there. Doesn’t mean we stop striving to improve or make a positive impact. It is simply a recognition of what is. . In today’s social media world, the negative is heard louder. I once heard a pastor say, you throw a rock in a pack of wolves and the one that gets hit makes the loudest noise. Lots of folks out there getting hit by the things they read and see on social media. There’s fear and panic and anger. When consumed by that, it makes it hard to see the good. . So the word for October is not a word. It’s a phrase. It’s not just about vision. It’s about having a fresh vision. The old way of looking at things with a negative eye doesn’t build anyone up, let alone you. That’s why it is time to make this your “Year of Fresh Vision”. .

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Today begins a month of thanks here in the U.S. Some use it as a time to post their thanks all month long. Being thankful is a good thing. It means we recognize what we have, the good things in our lives and we appreciate them. Unfortunately, I’ve seen more than just a few on social media post how tired they are of seeing people “give thanks“ — how they only do “thankful” posts one month of the year. I get it, but it’s really a silly notion. 🙏🏽 I thought about this while I was deciding what the word for this month of November would be. It is the month of Thanksgiving — giving thanks. When you think about it, giving thanks is a simple gesture. Instead of focusing on the “thanks” part of this American holiday, however, what if we focus on the other part: giving? 🙌🏽 Giving thanks, whether it’s for a new job, a new friend, an answered prayer, a child’s success, a new home or for just simply waking up – – that doesn’t cost us anything other than our own mindset. Giving of our time – sometimes that is a sacrifice, but someone might just need us to ‘be present’ for them. Giving financially – yeah, that does cost something…but helping others can bless us more than we can imagine. Giving a kind or encouraging word to someone we know or even a stranger can do wonders for their soul. And our own as well.🙏🏽 Giving can take our 👀 off ourselves & our own problems/worries/stresses & put it on others. It changes our perspective when we actively seek to give. Squash the anxiety & fear by combatting it with a will to give! 👏🏽 #WhatsYourWord? For the rest of 2017 and heading into the new year, maybe it’s a time to GIVE. Not sure where to start? Just start with giving a helping hand to someone around you. 🌎🤗

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DECEMBER – Forgiveness

#WhatsYourWord – 2017 has been quite a year. Challenges, trials, victories – personally, professionally & societally One thing that 2017 has been for me is a classroom. I feel like I have been sitting in a classroom with a wise, knowledgeable, worldly teacher who keeps telling me to observe & ponder. I’m an observer by nature. I am fascinated by what’s underneath. Why do people do what they do? Why do they say what they say, especially on social media? Having worked in customer service, I’m aware that what people are angry about isn’t just what we see, hear or read. There’s something more going on underneath the surface. They might not admit it, but if you dig down deep enough you’ll find out that it’s true. I am right there with them. Sometimes being angry or fostering the hurt gives the illusion of “feeling better” or “being right”. We have a right to be angry or hurt over something someone else did to us. We feel justified & feed the anger & hurt. Before you know it that justification has turned into bitterness & rage – both attributes tear our souls. Bitterness & rage is displayed every day on social media. We wear them like badges of honor. We’re all human. We all have the same emotions. It doesn’t matter who we are – friends, neighbors, coworkers, media & celebrities. Yes, they are people too. We react to events or words or social media posts as of they happened to us. There may be some part of us angry about what we see or read, but deep down it reminds us of what was done to us. It’s been quite an education. The amount of hurt, bitterness, rage, anger has been quite illuminating. It didn’t just happen overnight. It’s been building for years. Watch & observe those who always weigh in on hot topics. Chances are the anger you see on the surface isn’t what’s underneath. Forgiveness is a process. It doesn’t mean that we forget what was done to us. It’s more than just hearing the words “I’m sorry”. It’s a process of acknowledging our feelings & slowly letting go so the person(s) who hurt us no longer has a hold over us Don’t wait for the new year to start to forgive. Begin now & find peace & restoration through #forgiveness.

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There you have it. A year of words. A year of encouragement now in the books. What’s next?

Remember how I said things for me and sports were complicated? They still are. I write about and watch sports less than ever. I can’t remember when the last time was I watched an entire game or match of anything. Soccer is still my favorite sport, but even that isn’t like it used to be. 

Personally, I’m on Instagram more than any other platform. Professionally, I’m busier than ever with new responsibilities at SportsManias. Outside of that, I’m pondering what’s next. 

I don’t know what my future in sports holds beyond SportsManias. I do know that somehow I want to continue to encourage and yes, pray, for people out there. So many are consumed by the past hurts. There’s a saying that goes, “Hurting people hurt people”. I’d add to that, Hurting people, operating in unforgiveness or anger, destroys the soul. 

No one should go through life like that. Dwelling in their hurt, their pain, their anger. They think by simply venting on social media that things will change. Even if circumstances, laws, rules change, sooner or later that hurt, pain and anger will need to be dealt with. If not, it affects every area of one’s life – relationships, career, daily interactions, physical/emotional/mental well being. 

I hope anyone who has read to this point hears my heart. I once asked a question – on Instagram – Where do you dwell? Are you dwelling in the pain, hurt, anger, rejection, mistakes or whatever negative thought comes to mind? Or, are you dwelling in the positive?

Did you wake up today? You’re blessed. Did you stand up today? You’re blessed. Did you have a meal today? You’re blessed. Focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t. 

It might seem mundane to some, but when we dwell in gratitude, our mindset changes. There’s a fine line between righteous anger and bitter anger. You can have an attitude of gratitude and still be righteously angry about what’s happening in this country and world. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It is possible. 

Sorry about that. Not even sure why I went there. The fingers just started typing soooooo…there you go…for the person that needed to hear that.

I don’t know what’s next. CadChica Sports will still be here, but in what capacity, I’m not sure. I do know that I want to continue to help people who are struggling…even if they won’t admit it. I still believe in the good side of sports. Kids are still the largest demographic group without a voice in this country and world – we need to protect them.

As we end 2017, my hope is that you have been encouraged, blessed and rejuvenated for 2018. May your life be filled with joy, love and laughter. Never be afraid to try something new. Your value is worth more than anyone else’s opinion. You have a purpose and call in your life to be blessed and be a blessing to others.

Make that a priority in 2018. Until then, I am…


CadChica Sports

Posted by Sunny Cadwallader

CadChica Sports - Because there's more to the story than what's black-and-white

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