Make the New Year Count

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Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right
Oprah Winfrey

It’s that time again when people make their New Year resolutions.  The most common that I hear are to eat better, exercise more, or quit smoking or drinking.  All of them seem to be about self and not about others.  I think that when we look ahead to this year we should look at making decisions that will have an impact on someone else and if it helps us to then that is a double bonus.

I have a few suggestions that might help us all.

1) Cut down the arguments on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media sites.  Everyone has a right to their opinion don’t be mean to them because it is not yours.  And before you post a meme, check out the facts behind it.  I’ve often found them false and do let people know when a meme is deceiving or an outright lie.  Sometimes that starts a fight.  “Learn to walk away” I tell myself, “Learn to walk away.”  No one is going to change their mind unless they want to, fighting only makes them more defensive and less willing to listen to you.  So learn to walk away.

2) Help someone.  We all know people who are in need.  Do something for them.  Don’t just tell them that you are praying for them. Sure that may lift their spirits, but put your words into action.  Help them with their needs.  If you can’t fill those needs, find someone who can.  But I am betting that you can do it.  You can send a card, you can clean a yard, wash some dishes or baby sit their kids.  Make a difference in their life.  It will be more rewarding than anything you can think of.

3) Don’t look down on people.  To many times I hear people talking bad about that bum on the corner asking for money or the single mom who is struggling to control her kids, or that person that doesn’t keep their house perfectly clean etc.. etc.. I could go on about what people complain about.  It does not help them or you.  You don’t know what a hard life or day that they have had. Instead, try to be sympathetic to them or whatever they are going through.  Each of us reacts different to situations and just because you think would handle it better doesn’t mean that all people do.

4) Volunteer somewhere.  This could be at your local place of worship if it is involved in community outreach that does not involve evangelism, the food bank, homeless shelter, pet shelter, etc… There are lots of good places you can help out instead of spending time on yourself.  Spend it on and for others.

5) Give that $1.  Often a store will ask if you want to donate to a cause when you are buying what you have come to purchase.  Give a $1, it won’t break you and it will help so many people or animals.

6) Make a friend.  Recently I read a story about President Lincoln who received a letter asking for a pardon from someone without the normal letters from influential people.  Mr. Lincoln asked if this person had any friends.  “No sir, not one.” came the reply.  “Then I shall be his friend.” Said Mr. Lincoln.  Be that friend to those who have none.

7) No road rage this year, in fact control your anger wherever you are.  Instead pray for that persons safety that just cut you off and for the safety of those in their path.  Maybe they are rushing to the hospital because their mom just had a heart attack.  Maybe they are rushing to pick up their child who is sick.  We don’t know.  Maybe they are a jerk, but treating them the same does not make your day or their day any better.

8) I’ll leave this one up to you.  There are many other ways you can make this a better year.  Feel welcome to drop an idea here to help someone who may read this page.  Have a Great and Happy New Year!

Fun Predictions for 2014

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Everyone seems to make predictions about the coming year.  Some get real specific about it and some don’t.  We all look forward to a coming year because it is a new start.  We can leave behind the pains of the past year and look forward to a fun and exciting year filled with promise.  I don’t know if it is ever as good as we hoped it would be but that is just life.  We often want more than what we can handle or really need.  So let’s have a little FUN and predict a few things I know will happen this year.

So as I look into my crystal ball, here are my 10 predictions for the coming year.

1)       Someone famous will pass away and we’ll all be sad.  Happens every year.  Nothing we can do about it.  It will remind us of some past good times when we enjoyed their movie, TV show, or music.  Even though it will make us sad, we will be happy in our memories.  It will help us connect with others who also share the same feelings.   We may even get out old videos of them or their music and watch or listen to them over and over just to take us out of our real lives just for a little while.   Hey we might even sell their action figures and make money off it.  That is the American way.

2)      President Obama will not be impeached for a so called impeachable act that some people don’t like.  If you really want some impeachable acts, look at our last president.  And the one before him.  And the one before him, and the one before him, and the one …. Ok, I think you get the picture.  Almost every president we have had has done something that could have gotten him impeached. So if we wanted to drag the country through an impeachment and waste our money on that instead of on things that were important we could. Of course we don’t waste any money now do we?  So, I guess whether you like him or not President Obama Is with us until January of 2017.  Vote Hillary/Jeb 2016 or is it Jeb/Hillary?

3)      Tuna.  Tuna will be the big thing.  McDonalds will offer the Tuna burger by mid August.  Then McDonalds will close and other fast food places will follow.   We will then all be a little thinner and happier for next year.

4)      My team will not win the championship.  Think about it.  No matter what sport it is there are around 30 other teams trying to win.  Odds are that my team isn’t going to win it.  Sure, they will have a good record just to tease me and give me hope that this is going to be the year.  One of them will wait until the last week of the season to fall apart and make me mad.  Another may get into the playoffs only to be beaten by that hated rival of mine.  You know who you are!  But really, I won’t be lucky enough this year to have my team win it all.  I’ll just have to wait until next year.  Oh wait it is next year.  Yeah, Go TEAM!

5)      Another possibility is that a blue and a red state will become a purple state and politics will no longer divide them.  Instead we will look at what America actually needs and work on those issues.

6)      The world will not end.  Yellowstone will not explode, a gigantic meteor will not hit the earth and the sun will not explode.  Yes there will be disasters and people will say we are nearing the end, after all each day we are getting closer.   But, it won’t be this year.  We might have some group buying Nike’s, standing on mountains, or drinking poison.  This might be their last year, but the world will keep spinning.  There is, however, a strong possibility though that Martians may invade.

7)      Some summer night this year, you won’t be able to get a song out of your head.  It will make you want to shout.  When you hear it,  you’ll be like a dancing queen and you’ll put your hands up in the air, they are playing that song once again there you’ll go on your own singing a song about your baby’s back.   Ok, do you really want to hurt me now? I guess I’ll just go get some ice baby and when you start singing it, call me….Maybe?  Hammer time!

8)      The gas problem will continue to plague us.  But maybe we should get rid of Mexicans.  After all if you eat a bean burrito you will truly have a gas problem.  But the Mexicans will keep coming and we will continue to have those problems.  Maybe we should mix the problems and see if Mexico wants to become the 51st state.  Then the beans won’t be from Mexico, but from America.  And we all know that if it is American made it must be good.  Then the gas problem will go away.  Maybe we can solve all the problems of the world like that.  All we have to do is make everyone just like us.

9)      The movie, Noah will have a flood, which ends in a rainbow.  Can a movie about God have a rainbow in it?  Noah will get confused about if he’s supposed to take 7 of the animals or 2.  The unicorn will get left off and evolve into a narwhal.  The sea water will go away and recede like my hair and people will go on with their lives, eating, drinking, and marrying just like they have for between 6,000 and 200,000 years.

Hope you have enjoyed your first day of the New Year and that this year will bring you many blessings and toilet paper.

Looking Back and Moving Forward

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As we end the 2013, it is often a time of reflection on what the year has brought to us.  We remember the good times and the bad, those who have come into our lives and those who have left us.  For my family it has once again been a trying year.

In January, I finished my masters degree in Special education but that was one of the few highlights of the year.  Most people who know me would chime in that I’m pretty special too.

In February we lost our nephews dad.  This left a 13 year old boy without any parents.  Through heartache, pain, worthless social workers and much more, he ended up in foster care.  For months we have tried to communicate with him and right before Christmas he sent us an e-mail.  We had waited and struggled through nearly 10 months for him just to say hi.

This past summer I left my position at a church that I had been with for seven years over disagreements about how people should be treated and just plain exhaustion over what had transpired the previous year.  Recovery was really what I needed to find.   At that point I was done with church.  I still loved God, but I didn’t care if I ever entered a church again.  My wife made me go to a couple churches as we looked for some place that we felt comfortable at.  I remember at one Bible study we went to the leader asked everyone why we had come.  I responded, “My wife made me.”  We didn’t stay at that church.  They didn’t seem to be friendly.  We have been attending a church since July that we feel more comfortable.  Yet I still feel like a hammer is going to drop at some point.  Maybe it’s because I have been hurt too many times by those that I trusted or thought were my friends.

I didn’t get my teaching job like I was hoping, but that may have been a blessing in disguise.  Because of the car accident in November, I missed a lot of work, but I had sick days so I was still getting paid.  I only worked one full week from the first of November until now.  Partly due to the accident, Dr.’s appointments, strep and some weird body rash that I passed to all my family members.  This past week was my (hopefully) last therapy session to strengthen my back.

My wife was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, an auto immune system problem that has often left her sick, hurting and often unable to do much of anything.  The stress of this year sure hasn’t helped that situation at all.  That combined with the fact that often people just don’t get how someone so young could have so many problems led to people thinking she was for some reason faking it all.  She was also diagnosed with Aspersers syndrome, which is high functioning Autism.  Most people think of Autism as those that I work with in school that do not have high IQ’s.  So again people jumped to conclusions that we were making up stories for some reason.

So yes, it has been a tough year, but it has also been a growing year.  My family has stood together, struggling as we might.  We had a year where we grew as a family.  Not only by one cat, (our nephew’s cat) but also spiritually, and love for one another.  We learned to be strong through tough times and to lean on each other and God.  I don’t know what I would have done this past year without my wonderful wife and my faith in God.  They are what have kept me going.  Well, I need to go do my exercises so that I don’t have to get back to therapy.

I hope your year has been better.  We look forward to a new year and new beginnings.  After all it can’t get much worse than the last couple of years.  Can it?  Grace and peace to all of you and Happy New Year!