Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Mania

I admit it. I am a sucker for the whole “New Year” hype that surrounds January 1.

I make resolutions each year, believing that THIS year I will (pick one): loose weight; exercise more; save money; simplify my life; write more; etc, etc, etc.

For a few years, I made my family write down three resolutions and place them in their stockings as we packed up our decorations on New Year’s Day. The plan was to read our notes the following Christmas, when we pulled out the stockings, and see if we had accomplished our goals. (The kids actually enjoyed this at first, but then, when they hit their teen years, it became “lame,” along with pretty much everything else I suggested!)

I look forward to spending the week between Christmas and New Year’s on my couch, wrapped in a blanket, watching the countless year-in-review programs on TV, while reading the numerous “New Year, New You” articles in magazines, pondering how I too will improve myself.

I can’t wait to sit down at the kitchen table on December 26 with my new “At-a-Glance” calendar I receive for Christmas every year (yes, I still use a wall calendar!) and fill in the empty blocks with kid’s schedules, family birthdays and various appointments for the next year.

This task often takes me a few hours, as I flip through the previous 11 calendar pages and reflect on the various events and milestones that occurred in our lives.

I can often be heard muttering such phrases as “Remember when…” or “That was just last year?” or “Can you believe…” to anyone who happens to wander by.

I am not a big fan of New Year’s Eve however for many reasons (not the least of which is that we never really have any plans). I tend to become a bit teary-eyed and nostalgic, waxing poetic to anyone who will listen about another year having gone by in my life that I will never get back (and that’s before I hit the champagne).

I then move on to the year ahead, and contemplate how my life will change and who may or may not be here next December 31 (myself included).

(It just occurred to me why we may never have any plans on New Year’s Eve. I am a bundle of fun, aren’t I?)

January 1 is the start of a new year, whether you celebrate it with a list of resolutions, a blank calendar or simply a hangover. Wishing all a year of good health, peace and contentment.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Story of the Blue Lights

Once upon a time, in a neighborhood not far from yours, lived a beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl who loved to laugh and play with her sisters. She went to school, played dress-up with her friends, and ran around the neighborhood like any other little girl.

One sad day, this precious little girl was diagnosed with a terrible disease that slowly robbed her of her ability to walk, to talk, and to see, but it never robbed her, or her family, of the sparkle in those pretty blue eyes or her sweet smile.

Unfortunately, on a warm, sunny, summer day, this beautiful angel was taken from her friends and family. God, it was decided, needed a new angel in Heaven.

Just a few months later, while wandering the neighborhood, a boy came upon the father of this new angel. The father was putting up blue Christmas lights on his house.

“Why blue?” asked the curious boy.

“Well,” explained the Dad, “Blue was our angel’s favorite color, so I’m putting these lights up so that when she looks down from Heaven, she’ll know we’re thinking of her.”

Now, most boys would smile and nod, and run off to play, putting this family, and the blue lights out of their mind, but not this thoughtful little boy. He decided to take his allowance and buy blue lights for not only his family, but a few other families in the neighborhood as well. He wanted to make sure that our angel knew that the whole neighborhood was thinking of her.

One by one, blue lights began popping up on neighbors’ homes, wrapped around tree branches and porch columns, and hanging from light posts and decorative ornaments.

It’s been quite a few years since this angel went to Heaven, and the little boy is now a young man in college, yet the blue lights continue. New families have moved into the neighborhood, and while they’ve never had the pleasure of meeting the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl, they do know the family she left behind. And in her memory, and in support of this brave, courageous family, they too hang blue lights.

So this Christmas season, as you drive around with your family looking at holiday decorations, when you see blue lights, remember our angel, and say a prayer for her, and her family.

And be thankful for the angels in your life.