As I turn the page past another December,
I'm grateful to take time to remember
Rich blessings of family, friendship and spirit
Sweet music of life: To hear it! To share it!
I'm not going to take time to rehash the year's precious memories. Most if not all were addressed along the way. But I felt the need to write a few words before I do some last-minute work to wrap up a few 2011 details that will help give the new year a fresher start.
One of the things I had jotted down but not yet shared is a year-end accomplishment that gives me hope for the future. After wanting to do so for several months if not years, on Dec. 21, I committed to cut my gum consumption by half -- which is probably still more than anyone else in the world chews. And surprisingly, I've chewed less than my allotted maximum several days. And there have been some very positive health aspects. For anyone who has never had a habit get out of hand, this probably seems like no big deal. But I was hooked. It was on a prayer list of things I wanted to change, most of which still seem impossible. The thing that pushed me to action on this was noticing again just how much I was spending on gum. Why all of a sudden I was able to make the change, I do not know. But I credit God. I began by trying to get through just one day, then one work day, and then one shopping day. Each new situation seemed impossible. But I just kept praying and recommitting and focusing on the positive results. I don't know that it's getting easier, but my awareness of the benefits stays strong.
Also strong is my sense of hope that if I can finally, with God's help, do this seemingly minor thing but impossible thing, maybe the next goal for self-improvement will be possible.
I feel this change is part of the slow but sure growth of my faith. Much of the growth this year came through experiences related to the health and eventual death of my Dad. I got to find out whether my faith is real and rooted; I found that it is, but I know I must continue to nurture it by reading the Bible, studying, and spending time in worship, service and fellowship with others seeking to follow Christ. (I just realized I want to buy my own copy of a devotional book my Mom received; I like the thought of reading the same Scriptures and meditations she sees each day.)
That parenthetical realization made me think of one other thing I want to include, but it may be too personal involving other people. How can I summarize it? An email exchange among loved ones after Christmas warmed my heart and just made me want to praise God. Why does it take what seems like adversity for people to realize how blessed they are? Some never do, so my heart rejoices whenever people I love make the grateful choice to see beyond material things.
That's all of my words to share here for now. I need to tackle those tasks, accompanied by sweet music and memories of life.