Looking Ahead Into 2017

It is the last day of another year, mere hours from the dawn of a new one. I have seen numerous postings on social media sites detailing why people are looking forward to the close of a  difficult year and then others, not looking forward to what lies ahead. We can’t change time. 2017 is going to come one way or another, but we all have the same opportunities tonight as we ring in the new year if we want it.

First, we can recognize we have all made it here, to this day.  Even though circumstances may vary, I believe we have all survived as life has thrown its many trials and tribulations our way this year. Some of the difficulties have been the completely unexpected curve balls of life and others, may have been the end result of our own making. Regardless of how they made their appearance in our life this past year, we persevered to see another New Year’s Eve.

Second, and I think more importantly, is what we do with the additional time we are fortunate to have been granted to stay here on this earth. We have another 365 days to change our present location in life and make it better for our families, our friends, our communities and for ourselves. The question really comes down to – what do you want to do with it?

For me personally, looking at the last year and everything that has come about, it really blows my mind. My life couldn’t have taken on a more different direction than I could have ever expected. As a healthcare consultant, would you think becoming a part-time goat farmer and helping raise goats would be in the cards? I certainly didn’t. It sounds a little crazy, but in many ways the absurdity of this year’s happenings give me a new perspective for 2017 to say there really isn’t much I should consider to be “off the table” for my goals and what I can achieve. If I want to do something and am willing to put in the planning and effort to make it happen, why couldn’t it?

I think understanding the potential of the new year is an important message for everyone. We are all capable of so much if we want to be. There are more than a few friends of mine that I am so unbelievably proud of how much they have accomplished in the past year. The changes they have made may not be something visible like deciding to help raise goats, but the transformations in their lives have been much deeper and more meaningful. I have seen women build and demonstrate their inner strength they didn’t know they had. I have watched confidence grow in people who previously did not think they had a voice worth hearing. I have talked to people who understand they were just letting life happen and really weren’t challenging themselves to grow as people and they now have in so many ways!

With all that said, 2017 is going to be here very soon. Consider the course you want 2017 to take for you. It could be something physical others can see like a job change or moving to a new city. It could also be something related to your financial or physical health. It could also be something more personal that that – it could be about the transformation you want to take within yourself like a perspective change, a more giving heart, adopting a positive attitude, or a life filled with gratitude. Please note, not once have I said the word resolution. I think this is something very different than resolving to do something.  This is looking ahead and recognizing the potential for the year and asking yourself where do you want to be when you look back on December 31, 2017.

I bid to all of you a Happy New Year and a view of a brand new horizon as you set your course for this year’s direction.  May this year be filled with blessings, good health, and personal growth for us all!

Happy New Year!




The Perfect Gift

It is a week before Christmas and the scramble is on to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones as many of us have put off our Christmas shopping until now.

What is the perfect gift?  Is it something the person wouldn’t buy for themselves?  Is it something the recipient said they want, but haven’t bought yet?  Is it something you believe would be great for this special someone for any number of reasons?  Or for those picky teenagers, is it simply a gift card so they can buy what they want?  It is something we all struggle with, not just at Christmas, but for every occasion that social norms require the giving of a present.

To me, Christmas was about the fond memories of the time I spent with my family playing cards, eating way too much, and simply being together. Dad would be mixing drinks in the kitchen, a large gathering of extended family laughing and joking around the dining room table while some were playing cards, and kids racing around the house with their shoes off so they could slide down the hallways in their stocking feet as they chased one another.  When it came to the gifts, there are a few Christmases where I can tell you about a particular present or two, like the Cabbage Patch Kid and Barbie Dream House I was fortunate enough to receive in the 3rd grade, but so many others passed by without a significant imprint in my mind. Did the gifts given mean any less?  No, they were always greatly appreciated, but it was more about the feeling of the entire Christmas experience than what I actually received.

I didn’t realize it then, but as I look back now, I know every present was an indication someone had thought of me, conveying their love and affection for me. As I have gotten older and have moved physically farther away from my extended family, the perfect gift isn’t something covered in pretty paper and bows.  It is something I can wrap myself in every day of the year — knowing that I have a tremendous circle of people in my life who shower me with their love, friendship, and support bringing so much joy and happiness to my life and hoping I can offer a fraction of what they have given to me.

“Presents don’t really mean much to me.  I don’t want to sound mawkish, but – it was the realization that I have a great many people in my life who really love me, and who I really love.”

~ Gabriel Byrne ~

So as you continue your search for the perfect present for that person in your life, I hope you take a moment to stop stressing about finding it and know that who you are and what you contribute to the person’s life means more.  Something bought at the store, as terrific as the present might be or what it might cost, will not bring the value you bring into that person’s life.

“We all enjoy giving and receiving presents.  But there is a difference between presents and gifts.  The true gifts may be part of ourselves – giving of the riches of the heart and mind – and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store.”

~ James E. Faust ~

Please know you are my perfect gift; not just at Christmas, but every day of the year. Far and wide, wherever you may be, I thank you for sharing the riches of your heart and mind to enrich my life more than words could ever convey.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!



Am I Behind?

I have had writing another post for this site on my to-do list for several weeks.  I was traveling and then was busy with Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  In other words, more than a few excuses that don’t seem like real reasons.  Regardless of how I got here,  I ask now, “Am I behind ?”

Ultimately, my answer is “No.”

Here is my rationale –

There are two key reasons I’ve come up with.  One reason is I would only be behind on an arbitrary deadline set by me.  No one is holding me accountable.  It is only my own personal desire to keep moving forward and I am the one who determines how important this posting is.  No one else.  If I remove that mental obstacle of an arbitrary deadline, there is no reason for feeling guilty or feeling like I am “so far behind.”

The other reason I don’t think I’m behind is because I have also found my procrastination enlightening.  Remember the enthusiasm I showed for posting just a few short months ago?  I was thinking about new topics, observing life and writing topic ideas down in my journal and then I stopped posting coming up with excuses to not do it.  You wouldn’t know it, but I did have two postings started, but I didn’t finish them.  I’m not really sure why as I think the idea behind each one was pretty good, but I couldn’t do it.  And that’s my point of learning right now — why do I have a good idea (sometimes great even), start working on it and find it so hard to act on it, finish it or see it through?

I don’t have an answer on that one yet, but I know it is out of fear of some type.  I’m not sure if it because I am afraid people will think the idea is a terrible one or I’m afraid of failing or also a possibility, the fear of success.  Regardless of where my fear may be based, it is something I can work to improve upon if I acknowledge the fear and find ways to help myself focus.

That’s my next challenge for myself.  To continue to recognize areas where I’ve started things or had ideas, prioritize them, and by focusing on the important things in front of me, commit to seeing them through.  I may not do them all as quickly as I might like, but I am going to make them happen.  One at a time, with the required hard work and time needed, but I need to make them happen.  And this time, I am hoping that not only will I be holding myself accountable, others will encourage me so I feel accountable to them as well.

Is there anything you have been putting off that you wanted to do?  What’s holding you back?

Thank you my friends,


PS – AN UPDATE: The elephant mentioned in a previous post is starting to get a little smaller.  I can count on one hand the number of Diet Cokes I have had in the last 3 weeks and I have drastically reduced the junk food.  Nothing to celebrate quite yet in terms of milestones, but at least the elephant has made the ever important first step toward the door.