The Present

Several years ago I was sitting in a staff meeting at the church where I worked. That day, we had invited a guest minister to come and speak to us about staff relationships and other church leadership matters. One by one, we went down the table, introducing ourselves to him and telling him what our roles were as part of the leadership team. When he got to me, I said, “My name is Donna and I am the coordinator for Isaiah 58.” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, he looked at me, smiled and said. “The Lord just told me that He was going to give you a present.”

I looked at him, thinking, “What? A present? What kind of present? From God?” My face must have looked puzzled, because he looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know what that really means, but when I looked at you, that’s what God told me. He’s going to give you a present.”

I quickly gave him the once over. He was a good sized man in his late sixties, early seventies, grayish-brown hair, wore glasses, jeans and and a buttoned down plaid shirt. Who was this messenger from God? He looked kind and quite ordinary. I summed him up in one word: trustworthy. Immediately, I was a believer, a taker, a “toker” and a receiver. My mind was racing with thoughts. “My birthday IS next week and I can’t believe how fast the years are going by and I totally hate getting older and what if God really did give me a present?” (It’s funny how your mind can think of all these things in only two seconds.) “Well…my birthday IS in five days…” I said slowly, with a sense of wonder. He looked at me, lifting his elbows up to the table while resting his chin on the knuckles of his interlocking fingers. “All I know is that God told me He was giving you a present. Maybe it will be for your birthday.”

I have no recollection of anything else that was said in that meeting. All I could think of was that the words were out there, hanging like laundry on a clothes line, blowing around and snapping in the breeze, shouting to the atmosphere, “You are going to get a present from God.” I had never been told that. There was so much hope in that statement. The shear possibility of it happening manifested in my body, running up and down my spine, making me want to run home and see if there was a package in the door or an envelope in the mailbox with my name written on it in some exotic handwriting that looked like it came from heaven’s administrative offices and with a mysterious return address on it, known only to God. The feeling was so wonderful that I wondered if this could be the gift: the feeling of delicious expectation. It was a heady feeling and I felt a little bit dizzy. I wanted to giggle. I looked at the others in the room with me. Were they wondering too? Would they be watching me to see if I would be getting some type of spectacular gift, like a luxury car or Rolex? Or would they be thinking…”I have noticed that Donna has been emotional lately. She’s been looking kind of tired. Maybe God’s going to give her some extra peace and patience…or a chance to get some rest…the kind of things that aren’t really tangible.”

Phooey. What did I care what everyone thought anyway? God didn’t tell anyone else that He would give them a present. He told me that, personally. I was left alone with my imagination for days.

I rationalized it. God gives us gifts all the time doesn’t He? I was blessed. I already had a beautiful family, home, friends, good health and a nice job. Why should I expect more than that? Maybe I had already received the gift and the kind gentleman was just a bit “off” on his timing.

I let my imagination run wild. What if He had decided to give me something that I had always wanted? Hadn’t we always been told to go to God with a specific list? “You have not because you ask not.” I had trouble being specific. I could not come up with a list of five things I ever really wanted. What was wrong with me? Did I have everything I wanted? It’s hard to get a present for someone who has it all. I felt like I was playing the “if you had three wishes what would they be” game. Nobody ever really wins that game.

I finally decided that God already had my gift and it was not up to me to tell Him what to give me. He had already been to his God store, bought it and had it deluxe gift wrapped. I just had to wait for the right timing and let Him choose when we could have our own little private party. I couldn’t believe how excited and full of expectation I was. I didn’t say a word to anyone. I had a feeling it was going to be huge and I didn’t want anyone feeling jealous of me. I walked around smugly and kept my thoughts to myself.

I woke up to a beautiful day on my birthday, the day I thought I would get my present. I hugged myself most of the day in anticipation, looking around every corner and under every rock as a possible hiding place for my most special gift. I was hoping I hadn’t hyped it up too much in my mind. A gift is a terrible thing to get hyped up on. It may disappoint. It may be something that you need really badly but no one will ever know that you got it because it’s hidden from public view and no one will ever see it (like underwear, socks or…an iron.) This gift could be totally, spiritually utilitarian, like a gift card for EGR, (extra grace required,) to be used on a tough situation nobody knew that I was going through. Heck, it could be anything! I decided to wait it out and let the gift come to me.

So I waited…and waited…Nighttime came and we had dinner with the children and friends. I looked around the happy table and wondered, once again, if my gift was just an important reminder from God showing me how “gifted” and “present(ed) my life already was. I was satisfied and went to bed thinking of the multitude of reasons for me to be glad and thankful.

I lay there for a while, my eyes open, staring at the dark ceiling. Maybe the old guy had missed it and I should just forget about it and go to sleep. I sighed, turned onto side, curled into myself and closed my eyes. “Why do people tell you that God says that something good’s going to happen to you and it doesn’t?” I was ashamed to think like that. I was a grown woman. I lay in a fetal position and invited disappointment and self pity to wrap their cold, long fingers around my heart. Pulling the blanket up over my head, I sealed myself into a tight cocoon of despair and let the tears start sliding out of the corners of my eyes, forming little puddles on my pillow.

“Girl, I was thinking that you and I would be having our own little birthday party, not a pity party. I hate pity. I think I’ll leave.”

“Wait…God …is that you? Don’t go!” I threw the covers off sat straight up in bed. “No…I just thought that…”

“I know what you thought, but you’ve already given up on my present for you.”

“I didn’t mean to. It’s just that today was my birthday and I thought it would come today. See…it’s late…it’s after midnight. It’s not even my birthday anymore.”. I felt like such a whiny baby.

“I had to wait until it would be just you and me,” God reasoned. You were so busy in the day doing what it is that you do, I had to wait until the perfect time. I couldn’t give it to you without a little bit of explanation and instruction.

Embarrassed in front of him for acting like an eight year old, I sheepishly asked, “So…can we just forget about the pity party and tears?”

He threw back his head and laughed. “What tears? I don’t see any tears. I only allow happy tears on birthdays.”

I fell back down on my pillow, lay on my back and put my hands under my head and then crossed my ankles. I had a feeling that God was getting ready to blow my mind and I was ready for it. I wiped away all the tale-tale signs of tears and just tried to grasp the moment. “So, this is going to be one of those intangible presents that only you and I will know about, huh?” I asked him, preparing myself for something extraordinary.

“Why are you so worried about if it’s intangible or not?” He started laughing. “Those are the best kind of gifts. Anyway, every good present and every perfect gift comes from me. You’ve always had this gift. I’m just going to make you aware of it and show you how to use it.”

I was ready for God to give me my gift. “O.K. Well…What is it? Is it in this room?

“We are going to have to work on your patience with me,” He said. “You’re not so bad with other people, but with me? Horrible!”.

I thought He was teasing me, so I rolled my eyes…”Why are you making me wait?”

“Alright…alright…Just stare up at the ceiling. Stare until you see something.”

It sounded like a strange request, but, hey, this was God and He could do anything or ask of me whatever He wanted to. I began to stare…

I stared until my eyes began watering. I wiped them and blinked a few times, staring into the dark ceiling “screen.” He was quiet as I lay there, never saying a word. It was like I was waiting for a movie to begin.

I don’t know how long I gazed into the darkness, but suddenly, I saw the shape of a box take it’s place on the screen in my mind. As it came into focus, I noticed that it was a big, clear box, filled with tiny bits of paper dancing around each other. It vibrated with energy and the lid shook underneath the sparkling bow. I thought I heard it humming.

“God is this it? Is this my present?”. I wondered if I was dreaming, but I knew I was barely sleepy.

“Sure is,” He said excitedly. “Open it.”

I slowly lifted it and held it up to the light. It was a box made of shimmering glass and I could see through it perfectly. Inside, I saw what appeared to be black and white little pieces of paper swirling around as if wind was blowing them. On inspecting more closely, I saw that some of the bits of paper had words on them and that others had black music notes on them. Immediately, I knew that it was a music box with thousands of words and musical notes dancing around on the inside, waiting to be put together as lyrics and melodies. Together, on the inside, of the box, they were charged with a type of energy and anticipation. I saw no machinery to make this happen but the contents of the box were alive with creativity and I wasn’t sure what would happen when I lifted the lid.

Gently, I pulled the glittery ribbon off the top of the box and as soon as I did, black music notes spilled out onto my white down comforter in a tumble of familiar music. In astonishment, I laughed out loud, not believing what I was seeing. This was a music box and it was alive!

To my surprise, I saw words gather up as if a magnet was pulling them out of a word pool, bringing them together out of the music box. I saw them fall down to my pillow and string themselves together in what seemed to be a familiar lyric.

“I’ve been alive forever
And I wrote the very first song
I put the words and the melodies together
I am music and I write the song.”

“Wait a minute…Wait a minute…This is crazy. Are you showing me a music box that…puts together songs and melodies? Because if that is what this is, it’s totally cool! I mean..Wow!”

God said, “You like it? I created it myself!” He seemed proud of His creation and really wanted me to like it.

“Well, yeah, I LOVE it! I mean…do you know what a singer songwriter would do to get one of these?” I looked at Him, shaking my head in disbelief, thinking how amazing the music box was but not fully understanding what I was seeing and why God would choose me to have this supernatural gift. I looked down at the words strung together on my sheet…I recognized them. Didn’t Barry Manilow sing that song years ago?”

“Yeah, he did. He and several others.”

“It’s called, ‘I Write the Songs,’ isn’t it?”

“Uh huh. Remember the chorus?” As soon as He asked me that question, other words were magically pulled out of the word pool and fluttered down to arrange themselves on my pillow in the form of a lyric.

“I write the songs that make the whole
World sing.
I write the songs of love and special things.
I write the songs that make the young
girls cry.
I write the songs. I write the songs.”

“Who wrote this song?” I asked. “I mean, who pulls the words and the melodies out of the box?” For some reason, I felt like this gift was more than the coolest music box in the world. I was about to learn something that would change my life and the way I thought of creativity.

“I did,” God answered back. He had a sound in his voice that must have sounded a bit like Michelangelo’s did when someone asked him who painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

“You did? You wrote it?” It was so hard to believe. “You’re kidding me, right? Because if you did, then I’m confused. I’m sure somebody else wrote it and sold it to Barry Manilow and he made a lot of money off of it as well as the writer….” I trailed off the thought. Was God a ghost writer of sorts who wrote for musicians or did he just write music all over the earth, leaving his music notes and lyrics laying around in obvious places for less talented people to find, steal and get credit for?

Why was I being so skeptical of what God had said to me? He was God, after all, and we had many conversations before like this. He always told me the truth in ways I could understand it.

“Don’t believe me?” He challenged me. “Look at the next verse.”

“There goes God again, reading my mind,” I thought. The words came falling out of the box and formed themselves under the chorus.

“My home lies deep within you
And I’ve got my own place in your soul.
Now when I look through your eyes
I’m young again, even though I’m very old.”

The black music notes were coming up to my pillow when they realized that they belonged to the words. They didn’t want to be separated from each other, the music and the lyrics. I imagined that God was taking his finger and conducting the song. Other words joined the score to finish it out.

“Oh, my music makes you dance and gives
You spirit to take a chance
And I wrote some rock’n roll so you can move.
Music fills your heart, well that’s a real
Fine place to start
It’s from me. It’s for you.
It’s from you. It’s for me.
It’s a worldwide symphony.
I am music and I write the song.”

“So music wrote the song. You are music?”

“Yeah, I am. Pretty cool, isn’t it?”

“Actually, it blows my mind…I mean…it blows my mind.” And with that I scooped all the lyrics and music notes together and held them in my hand. They were alive and quivering with sound waves and energy.
“Hey God, I hope this gift comes with instructions or something, because I have some questions.”

(I’ve divided this post into two segments. I’ll post the next part of “The Present” early next week. Thanks guys!)

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Ode to the House on Sneed Road

The house in Alabama on Allendale Road had dreams all over the place.  They were piled up in corners, stored under beds, shoved behind the piano, stuffed into dresser drawers and stacked up where no one could see them behind the couch. They sat atop the dining room table like lazy cats claiming their territory and we had to learn to share the space and eat with them as their tails swished across our plates. At night, we had to push them off of our beds to have room to sleep. They would only crawl back up and spoon with us after we had fallen asleep, whispering their plans and suggesting crazy things into our comatose brains while we were most vulnerable. There was no room at all left in the band room.  The dreams were squished into drum bowls and guitar bodies.  They crouched behind the sound board and hid in the amplifiers.  And the microphones; they didn’t fool us a bit.  They were long, skinny dreams with a shiny magnet for a head that screamed phrases all the time, like, “I just wanna be heard,” pulling at the iron wills of my children and becoming inseparable.  On one side of the room, they were stacked like a cord of dry, fire wood, just waiting their turn to be pulled out from the pile and put in the fire place upstairs, just wanting to burn like nobody’s business.  Oh,  the laundry room!  I could hardly get in there to do a load of dirty clothes because dreams were all over the place.  I had to push them out of the way to wash the towels and make room for the mounds of clothes that magically appeared daily before my very eyes.  The garage was a mess of dreams.  They were hanging from the tool racks and shelves attached to the walls and hung over old bicycles and lawn mowers.  There was an old patio table and junk lawn chairs that sat on the top of an old rug and the dreams would sit there and spawn more of themselves and multiply.  We didn’t have room to park a car in there!  Dreams were constantly knocking on our doors and peeking into our windows, just trying to figure out if they could come in. Our house was bursting at the seams with dreams and there was not room for one more.

One day, the dreams decided they were being stifled at our house.  The house had become too small for them and they needed a place to stretch out real big and be allowed to grow if they wanted to. They began to consider a place where they could go that would be home to them, a place that they could turn into more than just a thought and a hope.  Dreams are like that.  They get tired of just being illusive happy thoughts. They have to develop and have substance. With that in their minds,   they crawled into my children’s beds as they slept and began whispering their big, fancy plans to my babies.  “We need a place to go ,” they sang in their heartbreakingly beautiful Siren voices. “Dreams need more room to roam.  Let’s go and find a bigger home.” Who could resist the Siren’s song?

And that was that.  “Mom, we’ve decided that we are going to move to Nashville.  We’ve done all we can do here musically and we need to move to a place where we can network with a music scene that can move us forward.  Plus, we’ve found a house we can rent on Sneed Road.  We can all live there together.” I was looking at their hopeful faces but all I could see were the dreams talking. They were manifesting and acting just like my children, but I know a dream when I see one.  And their voices had the Siren song thing going on.  How could I resist?

It’s strange when dreams pack up and move out of your house.  Sure, the kids left and moved to Nashville, but the absence of living with their dreams was the hardest to get over.  All of the hope and  promises that cluttered my house left with the kids in the U-Haul truck.  Bill and I would have to dedicate the next few years to making our own cluttered mess.

While in Nashville over the holidays, I rode by the house on Sneed Road.  The kids had moved out of it after Thanksgiving and it was empty, almost dilapidated looking.  The owner had bought it to tear it down and build a Nashville mansion on it for someone whose dreams had propelled them to stardom and success.  He was having a hard time selling it in this economy and instead could only rent it to a bunch of hopefuls, my children.

I pulled the car over to park in front of the house and just sat there for a while and stared.  I gazed at it, my thoughts spilling all over Sneed Road like a bucket of water turned over. I couldn’t collect them and put them back in their holding tank.  They were running all over the place.  It had been two and a half years since the big dreams had moved to Nashville.  At one time or another, the house on Sneed Road had been a home for all of my children. It was the place their dreams chose to live and I could understand why.

It was shabby compared to the houses surrounding it.  John Prine, a Country Music Hall of Fame singer/songwriter lived on one side of home and a lawyer lived next door on the other side.  Kelly Pickler lived four doors down and one of the Kings of Leon lived several blocks over.  Daily tour buses rode down Sneed Road pointing out the houses of the famous.  I always cringed at the possibility that the tour guide was telling those on the bus…”And on the left you have the beautiful home of John Prine, a country music legend.  And next to it, you have the home of The Bridges, those who are trying to make it in this industry and are too busy chasing their dreams to cut their grass.”  

I wondered how the house felt now that the dreams had moved out.  It took only a few years for the dreams to take over the house, cluttering up the place like a dream junk yard, the neighborhood eye sore.  I suppose at some point, the dreams crawled up into bed with each of the kids and whispered dream visions into their deep sleep realms, telling them things like, “This house is too small for all of us.  We need to keep the same dream but move into several houses.  That way we will have even more room to multiply and divide.” The dreams had become like big, tall, yellow daffodils, growing together on the same small plot of land, rising up thick and strong side by side with not a finger of room left between them.  The only way they could continue to bloom and grow was to dig up the plants, tear the roots in half and replant them in different places.  Same flower, same dream, just able to grow bigger in many places.

The house looked cold and dark.  I saw no shadowy flickers of life within. No hope and dreams smiling at me from the old, loose windows in the living room facing the road. I felt like I was the tour guide on the bus and I wanted to say: “To your left there is the former home of The Bridges, which was the largest house of dreams on Sneed Road.  Don’t let its shabbiness fool you for a minute.  Dreams have put a lot of wear and tear on this house, but when it’s all said and done, this house was the richest house on the street.  The dreams in this house were some of the most extravagant ones in Nashville.  They were elegant and lush, so grandiose that they were almost too embarrassing  to speak of out loud.  Yes, this is Nashville’s famous, House of Dreams.”  I could imagine the folks on the buss sucking in their breaths as they looked upon the house at 4014 Sneed Road, their eyes shining with dancing stars and adoration. “Stop the bus,” they cried out, “so that we can take a picture of the dream house!”

I took out my camera, pointed it at my noble but lonely, old friend and took one last picture. After all, these dreams had become mine too. But, I had taken my cluster of daffodils and planted them in the sandy soil of SNEADS Ferry, North Carolina and they were beginning to take root and grow.   I know…weird, right?

My Favorite Things

“Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, these are a few of my favorite things.”   The movie, “The Sound of Music”

I’ve always loved the musical, “The Sound of Music.”  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the Von Trapp children are afraid of a thunderstorm during the night.  One by one, each child sneaks into Maria’s room until they are all piled up on her bed, seeking comfort from their fears.  In her happy, bell-like voice she sings to them that if they can remember their favorite things during times of sadness and discomfort, they will not “feel so bad.”

I noticed a few years ago that this song, “My Favorite Things,” was being played as Christmas music on the radio and on Christmas sound tracks in shopping malls and stores.  Each year, it seemed that it was gaining more popularity as a Christmas song and was being played more often.  I have heard it so much during this Christmas season that I’ve decided to take its advice.  It’s time to consider my favorite things.

Armed with my iPad and a nice glass of red wine, I sat down Sunday night to make my list.  I thought of Oprah and all of her “Favorite Things” lists.  I didn’t have Oprah’s budget and couldn’t send out teams of employees and my best friends to choose wonderful exotic treasures from all over the world; treasures that would pamper and make me feel like a spoiled princess  – not that there’s anything wrong with that. No, all I had was a scattered list in my mind of things that made me happy.  In no particular order, I began to put into words the things that made me smile every time.  Here is my list and what I wrote.

My Favorite Things

1.        Stemware.  I “flat out” love stemware and crystal.  It makes me feel wealthy when I look in my cabinet and see my crystal catch the light and sparkle like diamonds.  I love to take a glass off the shelf and place it on the counter top as I consider what I will pour into it.  I love to hear the stream of wine hit the bottom of the glass as I make my pour.  Then, I love to pick up the half full glass and hold it.  Caress its fragile body and slim leg.  Sometimes we guess the musical note that pings when we thump the glass with our fingernails, finding the true note on the key board to see who was right.  I know – stemware and music nerd games.  Oh the luxury of it all.

2.        Sea glass.  I love to walk the beach and find the treasure of sea glass.  My eyes constantly search for a flicker of color or frosty white amongst the sand, shells and rocks.  If I happen upon the treasure, I scoop it up, clean the sand off and put it in my pocket.  I am jealous when I see others walking the beach with a hand full of the exquisite glass.  I makes me search harder and more diligently, not wanting to leave the beach without at least one piece.  I take my smoothed out shard of glass home, adding it to my growing collection of blue, green, white and brown sea glass, which by the way, are held in a piece of fancy crystal stemware Bill and I got for a wedding present over 30 years ago.

3.       China.  (Not the country)  I adore china.  My cabinet shelves groan with the weight of plates, cups and saucers. I have china in my cupboards, china in several kitchen cabinets and china packed away in the garage.  I don’t have room for all my china.  I have given some to my children and love to sit at their tables and recognize my old friends staring up at me, filled with good food.  Comfort dishes for comfort foods.  I also decorate with plates.  They proudly are displayed on plate racks in my dining room and bedrooms.  I see that I have surrounded myself with the things I love and the things that make me smile.

4.       Pearls.  I have always loved pearls.  I suppose that they may not be considered “gems” in the most technical sense, but they are to me.  Simple sophistication!

5.        A fire in a fireplace.  I don’t care if it’s made with chopped wood and kindling or fake logs and natural gas, if it’s cold outside, I will back up to it and warm myself up.  It’s comforting!

6.       A good book.  I love to read and I read all kinds of books.  I especially love novels.  I have discovered that they are the best way to escape my reality and I have become quite a good escape artist.  I love to walk in a book store and smell books and coffee.  The mixture of those smells is intoxicating to me and like a drug.   My heart palpitates a little and my hands shake ever so slightly as I try to walk and not run to the best seller rack.  I put my hand over my heart as I look over the titles and book covers.  Slowly, I reach out to the one that flirts with me most…That feeling is one of my favorite things.

7.       A bride standing with her father at the back of the church waiting for their turn to walk down the aisle.  My husband and I used to sing at a lot of weddings.  We would always be on the platform looking out over the church in the opposite direction of all the other wedding guests.  We could always see the father/daughter pair before the rest of the crowd could.  The scene got to me every time and would bring me to tears, even if I didn’t know the bride very well.  I could actually see the emotion of the moment in the father’s grip on his baby’s arm, her eyes smiling up at him to reassure him that she’s made the right decision and the grip loosening to a gentle pat by him on her arm to indicate that he understood love and letting go.  I don’t sing at weddings anymore but I always turn around in my seat to catch the father daughter exchange.  It’s one of my favorite things to witness.

8.       Roses on a fence.  What could be more charming?  No matter where I live, I always try to have roses on a fence.  They are homey and welcoming.  If for some reason I don’t have them, I will be combing the countryside taking pictures of everyone else’s!

9.       My mother’s laugh.  My mother has a great, loud laugh.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have been comforted by that laugh.  Hers is a distinguishing laugh, one that rises above all other chuckles and heehaws in a room.  As a child, I remember getting separated from my mother in a grocery store one time, only to hear her laughing with a friend and all I had to do was follow the laugh and there she was.  On several occasions when I was older, I was shopping at a mall in another town and I swore that I heard my mother laugh.  “My mom’s here.”  I said.  “She’s around here somewhere.  That’s her laugh.”  Sure enough, I followed the sound of the laugh and there she was, laughing with someone she had “run into from Tarboro.”  I shopped with her this week for Christmas and I was reminded of how that sound from childhood was still one of my favorites.

10.   My father’s blue sweater.  I love my father in blue, my favorite color.  It makes his grey hair silver and sets off the color of his green eyes.  As I became older, I realized that it was the color that suited him best, the color of a pool of calm waters.  That’s what reminds me of my father:  still, deep waters.  That’s my father.  Cool, calm, patient…blue.

11.   My children’s faces around my table.   I love to sit at the dinner table and watch my children eat what I have cooked for them while they talk and laugh.  If I could make that time last for hours, I would.  I take each face, hold it in my mind and put it in my heart.  That time is heaven on earth.

12.   Riding around in the car with Bill and dreaming.  My favorite pastime.  We have actually whiled away many hours driving around in our car, looking at houses we can’t afford, commercial properties that could house potential businesses and…you name it.  We’ve dreamed it!  If I go a few weeks without riding around and dreaming, I get irritable and start focusing on all of my problems.  I grab Bill and say, “It’s time to go dreaming.”  Love it. Love it!

I don’t have the time to give you the other “favorites” on my list.  I had twenty-five!  When I finished writing them down on Sunday night, I read the contents of the list out loud to Bill.  He couldn’t believe the things I read off to him.  “I had no idea that those were your favorite things.”  “Actually,” I smiled, “neither did I until I thought about it and wrote them down.”

They were inexpensive things, for the most part.  Some costs nothing at all. “Now that I know what your favorite things are,” Bill said, “I’m going to devote the rest of my life making sure that you are surrounded by them.”  I couldn’t have loved him more when he said that. It wasn’t until I made the list that I defined myself. 

Everyone needs to define themselves.  Each year you can begin by making a list of your favorite things.  Some things will remain the same and others will change.  You will discover amazing things about yourself when you think of the things that make you laugh and smile or things that give you peace and comfort. 

I challenge you to begin your new year by making a list of your favorite things.  You’ll be surprised at what you find.

Happy New Year to the Best Part of You!

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