I'm choosing topics from various blog challenges this year, and the first one that really spoke to me was: If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be?
I had so many answers for this one. Things like hate, greed, homelessness, and hunger. Any one of these would work as I agree that they all shouldn't be a part of our world. But I think the one thing I would love to get rid of in this world is partisanship in politics.
I know it's unrealistic because everyone likes to choose sides, but if we could ever get to the point where a side isn't trying to win, if there were no Democrats or Republicans, just Americans, this world...our world...might be a better place. I'm sure other countries could reap the same benefit if parties didn't represent the people.
I mean, think about it. If our political world was a mixed blend of people who disagree on issues and they weren't backed by a party, they would have no choice but to work together. If, instead of parties against one another, we had Americans working together for a common good, imagine what could be done for this country! There would be less name-calling like "libtards" and "repugnants" in our vocabulary. We'd have to make compromises on every issue.
Maybe this is pie-in-the-sky and I'm not seeing things clearly. It's possible, but this is the one thing I'd choose to erase from the world.
Every year I set goals rather than resolutions. Goals give me something to work toward while resolutions can be a bit intimidating, especially if you vow to do something every day and end up missing a day. So I set small goals, medium-sized goals, and big goals. I usually try to get the small goals out of the way first and slowly work my way up to the big ones, depending on what they are.
Years ago, when I first started writing goals, I would set deadlines to have my books published. Well, we know that's not always in our control so I changed it to getting the book finished or sending the book to the publisher. Those were goals I could control.
I encourage you to choose five REALLY BIG goals that will change your life like finish your first manuscript, enroll in college, or take the trip to Spain, if you can. Big goals should be big for a reason; they should make you have to push yourself to achieve them. And it really helps to use a planner to keep track of these as you can write each week what you've done to work toward that goal!
Happy setting, and welcome to 2019!
Keeping track of what has happened each year is important to me because I can look back to see where I've been, what I've done, and how I've changed. I can also see things that need to be improved and changes I need to make. So, without further ado, here is my year in review.
It's never easy to say goodbye, whether it's just for a few months or for longer. The people we love in our lives leave an impact on our hearts. They've made our world a better place, and even though we may disagree with them, ultimately, we are tethered by a connection forged in similarities.
I met Rene Manning Wilson online in 2006, and we became fast friends even though we lived over 500 miles apart and only got to see each other once or twice a year. But we talked on the phone for hours on end several times a week when possible, sometimes chatting into the early morning hours. We made each other laugh and no topic was off-limits even if we disagreed.
The first time I met Rene in person was the same day her mother passed away. I'd flown to Missouri to meet her, knowing her mother was extremely ill. I asked Rene if I should wait, but she wanted me to come. So I did, arriving about eight hours before she lost her mother. That first meeting cemented our relationship. You don't walk beside someone through pain and come out without a connection.
Over the years, I became a part of Rene's family. I felt as comfortable at her house as I did in my own. And Rene and her family came to see me as often as they could, experiencing some firsts here in Charleston like walking on the beach. I welcomed Rene's sister, Shelley, her nephews, and her daughter into my home, loving their unique perspective on life.
Rene spent all of her life in the little town where she was born, East Prairie, Missouri, which has a population of about 3,000 people. I've spent most of my life in big cities, most in excess of 500,000 people. Rene had experienced some things I never would like having a child while I ventured outside the country, something I couldn't pay her money to do. We could not have been more different from one another. But we loved one another despite those differences.
On December 10th, Rene passed away at her home. The call from her sister came as a shock, and I don't know when or if I'll fully recover. It was much like the call Rene made to me when her daughter, Alexis passed away at the young age of thirty-one in 2017. Rene's heart broke, but she tried to make the most of life without her only child. But those of us who loved her knew she desperately missed her beloved Lexi.
That is the only thing that makes Rene's passing a little more tenable. She didn't walk into Heaven alone. Her daughter was there, hand outstretched, to welcome her mother into her new life. And Rene was reunited with the child who owned her heart.
While we who are behind miss her and grieve for her, we also rejoice that she has found happiness once again, and we know that when our time comes, it will be Rene's hand reaching out to us to say "welcome home."
With all the Christmas shopping and visiting I'll be doing over the next month, today, I am so grateful for comfortable shoes!
I have had four surgeries on one foot, and it took quite a while for me to find a pair that did not bother the scars. Once I did, I stuck to that brand. Your feet take a lot of abuse so it's important to treat them well. If only I'd learned that sooner...
Today is the last day of my 30 days of gratitude. I hope you've enjoyed this past month! Stay tuned for another thirty days around the corner!
Today, I'm grateful for pets, well, one. My cat, Temperance. I call her Tempee, and yes, she is named after the main character Dr. Temperance Brennan from the television show Bones.
Years ago, after my last cat died, I swore I would never have another animal, but in 2013, something drew me to the animal shelter. I went in to just look at the cats, but when the volunteer took Tempee out of her cage, and her little head flopped on my shoulder, I knew I was a goner. She came home with me that day. I haven't regretted one day since adopting her.
She loves to sleep next to me, comes when I call her, and bumps her head against my hand when she wants to be scratched. She kisses me goodnight by licking my cheek, meows at me when she wants my attention, and stands on her back paws to attempt to turn a door knob when she's locked out of a room. Overall, she makes my life better.
Today is Small Business Saturday, a day when local business try to draw shoppers into their smaller stores for Christmas purchases. And because I'm grateful for each small business that struggles to keep its head afloat in the face of the retail giants, I always make it a point to go shopping on Small Business Saturday. Those businesses count on customers like me to prevent them from being overtaken by vast commercialism. It might not be much, but I will always do my part to help those trying to support themselves!
Outside my window, I can hear slamming car doors and excited people returning from a marathon shopping spree. They're carrying their purchases into the house while I sit here reading a book. And while I'm sure my neighbors got some good deals, I know that I spent a relaxing day falling in love with my favorite book here again. I didn't fight traffic or stand in long lines to make a purchase because we still have over a month until Christmas. There's plenty of time to shop, and I know retailers will come up with even more deals to entice shoppers. So, today, I took the chance to do nothing, and I'm grateful.
Today, I'm grateful for Thanksgiving and not just because of the food or the time I get to spend with family and friends. I'm grateful for the chance to consider everything I'm thankful for. We don't dwell on our blessings enough, and Thanksgiving gives me that one day that's all about gratitude. So all throughout the day, I'm reminded that I have so many reasons to be glad for my life and those in it.
Notice I didn't say I'm grateful that I get to cook? That would be dishonest. I don't like cooking. In fact, I will avoid it at any costs, but I am grateful that I learned how to cook. Much of the time, it's cheaper to cook than it is to eat out. So I did a lot of cooking during my college days. With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I'll be cooking this evening as well, and I'm glad that I can bring something to our gathering, even though my family knows they only receive a cooked dish from me twice a year. (Thanksgiving and Christmas) Still, it's a skill I'm glad I learned, and who knows? There may even come a day when I enjoy it! But I'm not holding my breath!
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!