Years teach value of family
It was the night after Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring because they were all "carbed out" on leftover mashed potatoes, dressing and gravy to say nothing of the pecan and pumpkin pie, cut out Christmas cookies, fudge and sugared walnuts.
The sugar plums have danced, the reindeer have pranced and we have even managed to take in a few of the day-after sales winding up another Christmas season.
Now in exhaustion of too much of everything, it's all we can do to figure out the various remote controls on the DVD that must be mastered before we can watch a movie that will very quickly put us to sleep.
Speaking of celebrating, this Christmas marked yet another birthday for me and since it was truly a landmark year; my family gathered on Christmas Eve to celebrate since the day is usually lost in the festivities of Christmas.
With 20 in attendance, it was truly a celebration -- complete with a birthday cake from my oldest son that read "Mom is now older than dirt" written in black frosting. It is now in competition for worst birthday cake with the one he gave me several years ago that was covered in green icing with red haired "Smurfs" cavorting on top.
We have a strange family tradition that includes not only gag birthday cakes but cards as well. Mixed in with the lovely cards and sentiments, I received one that featured a nun in glasses on the front that read, "Go ahead, have fun on your birthday ..." and inside the message was, "You're going to fry anyway."
I won't comment on that one.
Since it was my party, I felt it a perfect opportunity, now that I have reached such a venerable age, to share some of the wisdom I have acquired over the years.
None of this is original but these thoughts, which were jotted down quickly before the party are ideas and even hard-earned truths that have and continue to influence my life:
The Dali Lama says the purpose of life is to just be happy. So as the saying goes, "Don't worry, be happy." Happiness is a choice -- we can choose it.
I have also learned that we alone are responsible for our own happiness. It's no one's job except our own. Others can share our happiness, but they do not make it nor are they responsible for it.
Nothing or no one binds us from being all we can be except our own fear, and no one determines our actions but ourselves. We are always free to act or react.
Always remember that God's love and forgiveness is stronger than any law made by man or written in a book.
Don't beat yourself up about the past or worry about the future. Instead live in the moment.
Without pain in your life, either physical or emotional, you do not know joy.
C.S. Lewis said the anticipation of pain is often worse than the pain itself. He stated that nothing is so bad that you can't stand it at the moment. And after writing this he said he had to go in search of an aspirin because he had a headache.
Cherish your friends. Take care of your relationships, for without care they slip through your fingers and your life.
On family: A hospice nurse once said of her patients that the only thing that concerned them was how long they had to live and their family.
In our early years, family sustains and nourishes us, and I am finding that in our golden years the same is true. All things seem to revolve in a circle, and we come back to the point at which we began.
Wise sayings are now at end. As we head into another new year, choose to be happy each day and always remember, "Don't worry, just be happy."