The end of another year - the start of a brand new blank, clean, fresh one. It is always fun to look back at our year - and look ahead to what might be coming. The hope and expectations of good times, family fun, friends, projects and unexpected joys.
We've had a grand year - started out with buying our new house. Every single day when I walk through the house, or open the gigantic linen closet, or enjoy the view of the woods across the street, or work in the fabulous kitchen, or hear rain on the skylights I again realize how very much I love this house. It has been a delight to live in and share with friends and family. Our grandsons have enjoyed the yard and the swingset - and we've enjoyed having them here - along with their families.
We have celebrated birthdays and anniversaries and several holidays here this year - making great memories.
We learned anew the joys of owning our own home - after renting for 7 years - and the fun of doing just what we want - like replacing skimpy little closet doors, or putting in carpet of our own choosing - in our own home. Along with that came the interesting aspects of new gutters, a new hot water heater and discovering a rotten board on the back porch.
Along with our good times came the trying times - a furious trip to the emergency room - five days in the hospital and a gall bladder surgery - and losing good friends - especially the other grandma in July - oh how we all miss her. But our families come together in the good times and the not as good times - and draw closer to one another.
We've had some nice family get-aways - to Chilliwack BC and to Ocean Beach in SW WA - families spending time together, relaxing, cooking, reading, talking, enjoying.
And then there are the joys of new birds at our feeders, racoon racing along the ditch across the street,
squirrels chasing each other and leaping from branch to branch and making a little boy laugh, and deer coming into the yard in small herds, or alone, to eat apples and munch a few of my freshly planted flowers.
We look forward to new experiences and more fun in the coming year. We like to end our old year with some fun New Years Eve traditions. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have enjoyed doing them over the years.
On New Years Eve - place pennies in all your shoes. This is to bring good luck into your life for the coming year.
Throw a glass of water out the door at midnight - to signify being rid of tears for the new year.
Eat 12 raisins at midnight - one at each stroke of the clock, one for each coming month - for good health in the new year.
Hide money outdoors before midnight - and make sure it is the first thing you bring inside in the New Year. The first thing you do after midnight is what you will do all year.
Don't sweep your floors or take out the trash on New Years Day - or things will be leaving your house all through the year. I like that - no cleaning on New Years Day - a good day to relax.
Write a note to someone who won't be expecting it - tell them you love them or appreciate them - or give them praise for something that most people did not notice them doing this past year. I always make sure I have a supply of notecards and stamps so I have no reason to delay writing notes - and it is a good activity for starting a new year.
Practice a random act of kindness, or two, to start the year off right.
Let's give hugs - or lend a helping hand, let's notice someone who needs a smile, or let's hand some money to that cold, lonely man on the street corner who has had to bear ugly looks and mean comments all day long, and still he is so desperate that he will endure all this to try and bring a little money to his family. And let's give him another smile - it might just be the thing that will make his day. Let's wave to our neighbor - or better yet - let's bake some cookies or a pie and take it to them, just because.
May your year be blessed - and may you find many exciting adventures as you start your new year.