A New Year, a new you

Throughout the year, amidst the myriad of challenges, we anticipate the winter holidays, and then before we know it, they’re over, leaving us to marvel at where the time went.  And with a whoosh, in rushes the new year.  We determine to make resolutions; promises to ourselves.  Be a better person.  To love others more deeply.  Work harder.  Learn a new skill which you have been itching to do your whole life.  Lose weight.  Work out more, or even to begin a exercise regiment.  We seek ways for self-improvement.  Some we wind up sticking with while others are quickly tossed to the side.

Gazing into a mirror, we try to summarize the events of the recent past.  What we did wrong.  What we did right.  Those we may have inadvertently offended.  Those we may have encouraged along the way.  We are filled with hopes and fears of what the new year may throw at us; either a raining down of blessings or a crashing head-long into heartache.

Nobody, we understand, can accurately see into the future, though there are a few that insist they can.  If it were possible to project ourselves to December 31, 2015, what would we encounter?  Would we discover a life that had been more fruitful, or one that was awash with pain?

I, for one, do not wish to see what the future holds for me, for we know that our lives are filled with hope-filled moments and shattered dreams, triumphs and disappointments.  What type of person you are determines how well you deal with these issues, when life turns itself upside down.  It’s easy to be joyful and happy when life is at it’s best, but when life bombards you with painful moments when we least expect them, it is almost impossible to keep smiling through the tears.

I believe we need to embrace the beauty that surrounds us.  We need to forgive others for the wounds they have caused us.  Not only does forgiveness fill us with peace of mind, it protects our sanity as well.  And holding grudges is bad for your health, or so I’ve read.  It is cancer to your soul.

So in this coming new year, I implore you to take time to enjoy the little things in life we often take for granted:  watching the sun rise, hiking through a blooming meadow bursting with color, to immerse yourself in a good book, drink a glass of fine wine, bask in the warmth of a sunny July day, or just spending quality time with those you hold dearest.

Don’t lose sleep over the things we can’t change, or worry about things that will most likely not happen.  I am guilty of that myself.  Give up bad habits and embrace healthier ones.  Even small changes like going for a daily walk can do wonders for the body, not to mention the soul.

Here’s wishing you all, my friends, a very healthy, safe, and joy-filled New Year.  In addition, may it be filled with good memories, an abundance of love, and peace; and may sorrows be subtracted.  Blessings.

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Everyone’s Back Home Once Again.

Have you ever had a loved one go away for a few months?  Have you ever known the fear of:  what if they never come back?  What would your life be like?  How would you go on with your life as usual?  My son was gone for four months and it wasn’t easy.  I eased the pain by not focusing on it.  I eased the pain by writing letters to him, or hearing his voice on the phone, or chatting on Facebook.  It lessened the loneliness; sure.  But all the letters, calls, and chats did nothing to completely erase the ache in a mother’s heart of not having her family complete.

And forget about the holidays.  Thanksgiving wasn’t all that much fun.  Yes, I still had much to be thankful for, but the day didn’t have the same feel to it that it normally did.  There was someone missing from the table.  Missing them so badly in fact that we didn’t even sit at a table for dinner but in the living room, watching t.v. to bide our time.  Bide our time until we saw him again.  My younger son.

Now, we are a complete family unit once again.  And this is one happy mama.  To be able to hug him, and talk to  him face to face again, to see him, to hear his voice and his laughter.  It is a blessing to behold.  And then it reminds me of all those out there in the world that do not have that opportunity to hug their loved ones.  Those who won’t be home for the holiday, or ever again.  That’s what frightens me.  How would I deal with that if that ever happened to me?  To my family?

I truly cannot fathom that emotion since I’ve never been through it.  And quite honestly I never want to have to go through that ordeal.  To those who have had that baptism by fire, I am truly sorry for your loss.  I can never fully grasp the grief and heartache that you must live with each and every day.  May you find peace.  May you find comfort.  My prayers go with you.

The Solitude of Morning

I find the solitude of the early morning hours a welcome relief from the trials of life.  It feeds my soul, to sit at my laptop in the kitchen, coffee in hand, and check either e-mail or Facebook.  No one else is up yet.  The house is relatively quiet except for a mouse we seem to have running loose.  I can hear him hiding out in a corner chomping away at a piece of Kibble stolen from my dog’s food dish, or one found on the floor.  My dog is a very messy eater.

I can sit, basking in the solitude, and reflect on the day before, or plan out the new day while my thoughts are fresh and my head clear of any distractions.  Weekends it’s normally grocery shopping and church service, while during the week it’s about going to work and doing the chores around the house.

Lately I have been keeping myself busy with short story revisions.  I have joined a few critiquing groups on the web, which I am enjoying.  Still need to take the next step and start submitting work.  I have difficulty in choosing what magazines to send them off to.  Some publications accept works all year round, while others have certain time frames, some accept work from beginners, while others prefer established writers.  While I may not be a beginner, I have not earned a cent off my writing…yet.

But there are mornings I wake up, and my heart is sad.  I am sensitive to the pain of others.  I know that there’s not a lot that I can do to change that, but the news stories still haunt me days, weeks, later.  Especially at this time of year.  I see an overabundance of greed, eyes focused on gaining material possessions, and why?  All things eventually break and get discarded.  People need more peace in their lives.  Though technology has made life easier, people seem to be more miserable than ever.  Why is that?

I am truly blessed to have a loving and supportive family.  When life throws a fast ball my way, I can dodge it with the assistance of family.  And family is important.  They should be your support system.  And if they are not, I have compassion on you.   We all need someone to be a cheerleader for us.  Rooting us on.  Telling us, “Go on.  You can do it!”  Would the world be a better, happier place if we all had that one special person?  Yes, indeed it would.

Short and Sweet

Title says it all. Just wanted to write a little something about the various sites I’m writing at. I am having a blast posting at Booksie and BooksieSilk. What a rush to see people reading my work. Now if only I can get some honest critiques. Oh well. I’m also on WattPad. I haven’t submitted any work there. If you go and check out BooksieSilk, be forewarned, it is erotic poetry. Just a heads up. I’ve had an interested in that sort of writing for many years. So it’s off to work out in the cold garage before returning once more and seeing if I hooked a few more readers. Happy Saturday to all. Hope that you’ll enjoy the rest of the weekend.

The Christmas Holiday Season is Upon Us

Okay, I’m going to share a bit of my views about the holiday season in this post. I need to begin by saying that I think people, in general, go overboard during this time of year. They stress themselves out by trying to find that special someone that perfect gift. Or they are rushing around to various functions just to keep up appearances. They overdose on holiday music played everywhere. And they wind up burned out and never get to fully appreciated what this time of year is all about.

Christmas, in my eyes, is the birth of Jesus. God’s perfect gift to humanity, wrapped in flesh, and given without asking for anything in return. To me, it is the greatest gift ever given. As we bedeck our homes, inside and out, with multi-colored lights and trees, inflatable Santas and reindeer, and covet precious handmade ornaments made by our children, we tend to overemphasis the trivial and forget about the true meaning. The light in children’s eyes, the wonder and the joy that glimmers within. Spending time with loved ones. Just sitting around a toasty fire, sipping on cider, eggnog, or a hot chocolate and sharing fond memories of Christmas’s past, gives one pause.

And we are not to forget those who are struggling this time of year. Those who have recently lost a loved one, or are hurting financially, or have gone through some sort of traumatic event. We need to let them know that they have not been forgotten and that you are there for them with a willing shoulder to cry on. Not everyone sees this time of year as festive and merry. This time of year can fill many with a sense of dread and depression. Let us lift those hurting ones up and help them through this season.

It’s not about what you’re getting for Christmas, or how many brightly wrapped packages are yours underneath the Christmas Tree. As a child I used to crawl around under our tree and discover how many had my name on the gift tag. Yes, it is exciting for children to receive requested toys. I understand that. But there comes a time when we need to explain to our children that the meaning of Christmas is more than what they receive, but what they get out of this time of year, surrounded by loving family, making their own fond memories to embrace in the future.

The Trouble with Team Sports

I suck at sports. There, I said it. Now it’s out there in the open for all to read. Well, those who know me personally wouldn’t find this surprising in the least. I am a klutz. I have horrible coordination skills that I’m surprised that I can put one foot in front of the other…okay, that one may be taking it a step too far. But I was that kid in gym class that no one wanted on their team. I could not shoot a basket, make a goal, or bat a ball to save my life. Team sports was right out. Even now. You don’t want to get me started on how awful of a volleyball player I am. Let’s just say, I don’t believe that I’ve gotten the ball over the net…once. So sad.

Yet I write this because as an Aspie we are usually known for our lack of coordination. An aunt told me once that I walked like a truck driver. Not a very flattering comment to give to a young girl, I’d say. As for dancing…I don’t do it because, well it ain’t pretty! Fast dancing or slow, I have the two-left feet syndrome. I was not blessed with good hand-eye coordination so playing a jovial game of tennis with my beloved husband is more of a Monty Python sketch, if anything. And for skiing. Good Lord it was like the ABC sports opener…the agony of defeat. Going downhill once, one ski went to the left, one went to the right and I went tumbling down. I couldn’t even get up with the tow line…and once I was trying to get off the chairlift and wasn’t too graceful getting off of it. Tore a bit of ligament in my knee. Ah, sports. Good thing my parents weren’t sports-minded(well, except for soccer) or I’d be a miserable failure in their eyes.

But let me tell you the sport(s) I believe that I’m good at. Running. I love to run. Maybe because it is a solitary sport that I don’t need to impress anyone but myself. I only compete against myself, trying to push a little bit harder and a little faster each time. I can wave to those passing by but can listen to music, or to my own thoughts, or a little bit of both usually. And running was the only sport that, back in 8th grade, I was actually picked first for a team. Well, the team captain had seen me run before with my cousins who lived across the street from him, so I guess it was a no-brainer for him. But I was so excited and honored to be chosen! And our team came in 3rd place in the entire school. And I even won a second-place ribbon for the 100-yard dash. The pride, the joy,(the humility), to have my name called out in front of the school to receive an award for a sport’s achievement!

Well, let’s just say that I still have those ribbons stashed away to remind me of that wonderful day. And thank you, Ted, for choosing the awkward, quiet girl for your team. I will never forget that gift to my thirteen year-old self. Maybe that’s why I love running so much. It brings with it happy memories of success. Oh, and the other sport I’m pretty good at, by the way, is badminton.