As I sit here on my birthday and reflect upon the past year and the upcoming year, what is really clear for me is how much friendship has kept me going through the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful times. This last year has been one of growth, transformation and faith. As I stepped away from a world and life that I knew and was comfortable withm, and I fully stepped out with courage and faith to follow my heart and dreams, I realize that what has gotten me through have been my friends.

A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself. ~ Unknown

On my birthday last year, I 100% committed to myself to growing, building and creating my mission, my calling and my dream that is OneGiving ( Before I stepped out to do so, I thought it was too BIG a vision, too BIG a dream, too BIG a mission. Yet, when I didn't believe in myself, my friends believed in me and wholeheartedly stepped up and let me know that they would be there for me to support me in the vision. They gave me the strength to move forward and believe in myself at a time when I couldn't fully believe in myself.

A friend is someone who sees through you and still enjoys the view. ~Wilma Askinas

Those first months of my committment were rocky. I had many good days and bad days --days of fear, days of faith, days of skipping and laughing with joy, days of being curled up in a ball crying and not wanting to get out of bed wondering to myself, "What have I done?" It was in those days that my friends saw through me and reminded me to keep going!

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. ~Unknown

Some of those days, I felt lost, alone and afraid. While so many days, I walked forth with confidence and knowingness -positive with grace and shining my light, other days I would lose my way, forget the words in my heart, only to be reminded by my friends of my gifts and the necessity to stay on the path.

A best friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway. ~ Elbert Hubbard

Every time I turned around, I would see a friend who reflected back the love and light I hold in my heart. I remember when a spiritual teach said that if you ever doubt the light that you are, just look around at your friends as they are just a reflection of your own light. It was truly a moment of appreciation and awe! I never really knew of my light, but looking out at my friends, I thought to myself, "Wow, could it really be true?"

A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart. ~ Heather Pryor

Yet the display of friendship - of the amazing friends, reaching out to me over the past year - and years of my life - friends new and old - from near and far - as I have been reconnected with many through Facebook - truly has warmed my heart. I couldn't have done it without the little angels showing up at exactly the right time - sending an email to help with investor introductions, or come volunteer for me and OneGiving, or let me crash on a couch when I needed it, or buy me a meal, or fly across country to move with me, or give me a hug in one of my momentary lapses of faith. Thank you!

A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half cracked. ~ Unknown

And of course, in moments of completely losing my S-H-*-T or my mind, knowing that I am not losing at you, but that it is just a momentary lapse of reason and knowing that I will recover and helping me to get back to sanity!

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. ~Aristotle

The reality is that we are ONE! You are me and I am you! That despite any of our differences - personal, professional, cultural, sexual, or otherwise - at the core of it we are LOVE - we are ONE!

Friends are relatives you make for yourself. ~Eustache Deschamps

That my friends have become my family - giving me unconditionally loving when I myself or my family might no have not been able to give it! You are the ones who show me your flame when I am in darkness to remind me and inspire me to relight mine...

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. ~Douglas Pagels

And that I might do the same for YOU, when you flame flickers or burns out!

I salute you my friends for the outpouring and love you have given me over the years, over my lifetime and particularly over this last year which has been one of the most significant years of transition, rebirth and growth - one in which I have needed you more than ever before.

THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS YEAR THE BEST YEAR YET, and cheers to this year as it will be the BEST YEAR EVER! May I be there for you as you have been there for me! Happy Birthday to ME and to YOU - in gratitude eternally!

in peace and love, ;) pilar

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella

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