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It's That Time Again

     Seems to happen every year. You just get through all the fal-de-ral of Christmas, and New Year’s lurking around the corner and it’s time for those pesky New Year’s resolutions. I know, you prob’ly don’t do them anymore. If you’re anywhere past thirty you know you won’t keep them long, prob’ly not past January fifteenth, but it is kind’a fun thinking about them.

     Yep. Thinking about them’s a lot of fun. All those improvements I’m going to make to my dull, boring, less-than-perfect life. All those personality changes that will make me the belle of the ball – lots better than the curmudgeon I’m getting to be—and suddenly neat, tidy closets and drawers with only stuff that I really use in them. And of course, a slimmer, trimmer me.

     Yep. Sure is fun thinking about it. Visions of sparkling conversations and tidy rooms and lost pounds and generous self-sacrifices and money saved wisely in the bank piling up for future generations.

     Doing it? That’s HARD. So many resolutions, so little will power. Maybe just one good resolution would be best. But what if it’s too hard and I can’t keep it? If I make a bunch of resolutions I might actually keep a couple of them. Or maybe I shouldn’t make any resolutions at all – just be a better person. Naw – that’s a cop out.

     Okay. I’m going to tackle a bunch of resolutions because, um, I have a lot of things that need resolving. I’m not going to “misplace” anything anymore. I will remember exactly where I put my iPhone, my car keys, my wallet and my – I guess that’s enough. Those are the things I’m always losing. And I’m not going to tell you a better way to do whatever it is you’re doing. If it works for you, it will work for me. And I’m not going to take that third piece of See’s candy out of the box. Not ’til tomorrow anyway.

     I’ll never peek at my text messages while I’m sitting in my car at the stop light. No more multi-tasking; I’ll put all my best efforts into what it is I’m doing at the time. I’ll listen to you intently, which means I won’t interrupt you halfway through your never-ending paragraphs of words. Oh! Sorry! I’ll wait ’til you’re finished. Promise.

     I’ll never give advice unless you ask for it and then you’ll have to beg, plead and promise you really want it before I’ll open my mouth. And I’ll keep it short. Well, I’ll really really try. . .

     No matter how busy I am, I’ll stop to give you a hand or an ear or whatever it is you need at the moment—unless it’s a lot of money, in which case you’ll have to wait while I go take out a loan.

     So there you have it. A few of my New Year’s resolutions. Good luck with yours and Happy New Year to all!

     Love. I wanted to write a deeply touching story about love at Christmas for you, but then I got to thinking: love mostly comes in bits and pieces.

     The gentleman had a twinkle in his sky-blue eyes as he ranted about the goings-on in the world. We were standing in line at Starbucks. I turned and volleyed a few teasing comments his way and soon we were trading life philosophies, with a lighthearted tack. As I left, we wished each other a Merry Christmas. Bits and pieces.

     At the restaurant, my son Craig came around the crowded table, leaned over my shoulder and told me he’d just read my book about his brother Paul and complimented me fervently about my telling of Paul’s story. Bits and pieces. Sometimes large chunks.

     I watched my oldest son Bryan, crouched at the edge of the rooftop, carefully setting the Christmas lights in their places for me and got that feeling in my stomach I had years ago when he was a kid sliding into home-plate, the heavily-armed catcher just waiting to tag him. As I watched him, so perilously close to the edge of the roof, I prayed he wouldn’t fall off. He didn’t. Bits and pieces. Large bits.

     At the restaurant I frequent frequently—pun just happened—when the busboy sees me as he passes by, a smile comes to his lips. He knows I come with my son in a wheelchair or my dad in a wheelchair and often with my niece. He always acknowledges me with a nod and a smile, as do others of the bus persons, wait persons and managers. Whenever I need a refill on love, I go to the restaurant. Love through the year. . .

     My daughter Christy walked in the door one evening after work and asked if Paul and I would like to go to dinner Friday night, her treat. She wanted to thank us for taking care of her dog during the day while she’s at work. Love in the home.

     Love from afar. Susie, my girlhood friend lives across the country in Maine, but keeps in touch with e-mails and birthday cards. Marj, another girlhood friend living in Maine, supported Paul all during his recovery from surgery for compressed cervical discs and continues to encourage him with his struggle to walk again, with lots of praise and e-mailed hugs and kisses—always adding a few for me. Bits and pieces through e-mail.

     Ever since Jan invited me to join her bible study group I come home Wednesday nights filled to the brim with bits and pieces—from Marv, who takes a special interest in my writing; his wife Mary, always caring for her family; Bob, who loves to “yank my chain” with our differing opinions; Jan and Nancy, who brought me into the group; Debbie, “the boss;” Larry, her knowledgeable husband who knows the Bible inside-out; Mary, the hostess; Margaret, the answer lady; Tom, the friendly guy; and enthusiastic Theresa. Love in many forms.

     So many people; so many bits and pieces—Christmas love scattered throughout the year like stars sparkling across the universe. If you listen, you can feel them.

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