Bring it on 2017!

Today is the Feast of the Three Kings, so we’ll be taking down the Christmas tree and decorations this weekend. (Or in the words of Curtis the elf from Santa Clause 2, “The desantaclausification process has begun!”) My snowmen collection will be rearranged and kept up until the end of February or until the snow’s gone (April? May?).

This is a good time to reflect on 2016 and look forward to 2017. Every year I write a traditional Christmas letter that gets tucked into each Christmas card we send. Some of the highlights noted in this year’s letter include

  • meeting our first granddaughter in Ohio this past January and celebrating her big brother’s 3rd birthday while we were there
  • watching the Super Bowl in Minnesota at our son and daughter-in-law’s house and getting lots of cuddle time with our newborn grandson son
  • celebrating seven years of sharing true health through Kangen water  (KangenWisconsin.com)
  • baptism day for our two youngest grandchildren on Mother’s Day
  • the end of my softball career (thanks to a collision on a softball field with another player that sent me to the ICU for 21 hours with a concussion)
  • getting 4th row seats to see Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in Chicago and getting to meet Mr. Valli backstage after the show!
  • 4th of July visit in Wisconsin with our children and grandchildren
  • traveling to Las Vegas with our two younger daughters and our son for Enagic’s global convention in July where John, Nick and I were honored for rank advancements in the company
  • receiving the  CALA award (Catholic Arts and Letters Award) for my novel A World Such as Heaven Intended — it was the top Catholic young adult novel for 2015-2016
  • having our son, daughter-in-law and grandson move from Minnesota back to Wisconsin — they bought a house less than five miles away from our house!
  • watching the play Wicked in Ohio with our daughters, son-in-law and grandson — it was awesome!
  • celebrating 35 years of marriage to John with a trip to Colorado
  • taking a quick vacation to Galena, Illinois and Dubuque, Iowa
  • completing the NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) challenge and writing the sequel to my book — look for A Life Such as Heaven Intended in book stores and online this spring

As it happens in any given year, there were sad moments too as we lost some people in our lives. But the good definitely outweighed the bad. Now it’s time to look forward to all the promises 2017 holds in store for us.

Unlike most years, I haven’t come up with any New Year’s Resolutions yet. Not sure if I’m going to set any this year, I’m thinking of just working on completing my Top 10 goal list from 2016. Actually, now that I think of it, there’s still some things on the 2015 list I can work on, no need to come up with any new ones! So if all goes well, by the end of 2017 I will weigh less, be able to do one pull up, have run a half marathon, have a new car, rank advance in Enagic to 6A2-2, have two books published, hit the best-seller list on Amazon again, get more involved in church and spend quality time with our family.

Guess I better get going on that! Happy New Year! May 2017 be your best year yet — a year filled with health, happiness and hope!

 

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Let’s Start A Movement!

These thoughts have been brewing in my mind for a while but some things I recently noticed on Facebook inspired me to write this post today.

Social media can be a blessing or a curse. It can create powerful change, it can bring light to topics which need to be exposed, it can educate and entertain the masses. On the other hand it can be a source of pain, degradation and destruction. People have various opinions on everything under the sun and in general it can be fine to state your opinion in a respectful way. But when people on Facebook or Twitter criticize a person who has a different opinion or stance than they do on a particular issue and they make it a personal attack on that person (their character, their appearance, their voice, their religious affiliation), then that’s just downright mean and uncalled for.

As a human race we have common goals we strive for — health, safety, security, love and happiness for ourselves and our families. If every one of us just followed the Ten Commandments, life would be pretty tranquil on this planet. But, if that’s too much to ask, can we just be as nice as we possibly can be to each other? I propose that we start a movement, not sure of the name yet, maybe something along the lines of the Kindness movement? Or the Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? movement?

How about we hold ourselves and our fellow human beings to a higher standard. If people are talking about other people, whether in person or on social media, and they are being less than kind, let’s point it out. If you see a mean post about a celebrity, how about we comment with Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? or #isittrueisitnecessaryisitkind. It may be a bit uncomfortable at first but can you imagine how this world would change if people started standing up for common human decency and kindness?

Below is a copy of my post on Facebook from this morning. These are the thoughts that wake me up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night! I can’t rest until I know I’ve captured that divine inspiration!

What do you think? Are you in? Let’s start a movement and see how many lives can be changed!

This poem, written in 1872, is timeless. In this day and age of social media its message is even more important. Just because a person is a public figure — whether it’s politics, the film industry or professional athletics, it doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable to ridicule them (their looks, their intelligence, their faith, whatever). This just seems like another form of bullying. The things you write on Facebook, would you really say that to someone in person? We’re all God’s children made in His image. “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” should be something for all of us to consider before we talk about other people. Or in the words of Thumper, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

“Is It True? Is It Necessary? Is It Kind?

Oh! Stay, dear child, one moment stay,
Before a word you speak,
That can do harm in any way
To the poor, or to the weak;
And never say of any one
What you’d not have said of you,
Ere you ask yourself the question,
“Is the accusation true?”
And if ’tis true, for I suppose
You would not tell a lie;
Before the failings you expose
Of friend or enemy:
Yet even then be careful, very;
Pause and your words well weigh,
And ask it it be necessary,
What you’re about to say.
And should it necessary be,
At least you deem it so,
Yet speak not unadvisedly
Of friend or even foe,
Till in your secret soul you seek
For some excuse to find;
And ere the thoughtless word you speak,
Ask yourself, “Is it kind?”
When you have ask’d these questions three—
True,—Necessary,—Kind,—
Ask’d them in all sincerity,
I think that you will find,
It is not hardship to obey
The command of our Blessed Lord,—
No ill of any man to say;
No, not a single word.

Mary Ann Pietzker – 1872