Dreams can give birth to change in 2020

With six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, I was poorly prepared for the “big day.”

I have always been known as a very prepared and organized person. I bet that is why I’ve had the job titles that I have had in my professional life also — administration assistant, collections manager, licensed optician and store manager to name most of them.

Anyway, in years past we’ve hosted our families on different days. My children, stepchildren and six grandchildren all decided to come home on Christmas Eve Day for a luncheon this year!

It turned out fine but, boy, the pressure was on to wrap and stash gifts, work out a menu, finish cookie baking and cards, clean the house and deliver cookies to friends before Christmas Eve.

Since I was a young person, I have always felt it was “better to give than receive.”

In past columns I’ve written about helping others during this beautiful time of year.

So this year I took five names from the Salvation Army’s Giving Tree in the Ohio Valley Mall, one name from my church’s tree, donated a boxful of hats, gloves and socks to the Tri-County Help Center.

Different for me this year, I came in contact with two young mothers working at the mall who were going through a hard time providing for their three children. I had the younger mother give me her young daughter’s name and sizes. I played “Santa’s Helper.”

I did this because I know what it is like to support youngsters on a fixed paycheck with no help from the spouse.

Thinking back, I could have used a “Santa’s Helper” myself!

Actually, when my boys became young teenagers, I met my now-husband. I guess you could say he was my “Santa’s Helper!”

To this day I feel very blessed to have him in my life. He has never complained about me helping others.

However, he does think that I overdo things, a bit. It doesn’t even have to be Christmas time!

So, if you’re reading this column, you know that I did survive Christmas. And New Year’s Day.

I no longer make New Year’s resolutions — it can be very disappointing when you can’t keep them.

I do enjoy reading Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 in the Bible about there being a time for every purpose under the heavens.

My prayer is that each new year finds us a better person. I like a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

A couple cute sayings come from Bill Vaughan, columnist and real estate investing program author. “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” And, “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

Our local celebrity, Brad Paisley, says, “New Year’s Day is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.”

Another good one by Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist, is, “We spend January first walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives … not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

Not only are we now entering a new year but a new decade. Because of this, it should be even more incentive to take stock of our lives.

I’ve been thinking about making changes in my own life. After all, yesterday’s gone, tomorrow’s not here yet, we only have the present.

So, I would like to declutter my life and home.

Our home is big with steps everywhere, much cleaning and age-related issues staring us in the face!

Of course, the bigger the house, the more “stuff” we accumulate. I want to get rid of much of the “stuff” — whether it’s tossing it or recycling by giving to others less fortunate.

I’d also enjoy reading more and possibly writing another book. I want a membership to the “less is more” club.

So, whether you choose to coast on cruise control through this new year or jump in and make changes to improve your world, I wish you the best of luck.

I know I’ll need it!