Weekly Photo Challenge: Wishing You a Happy New Year with a Photo Year in Review.

I remember a little conversation I had with myself on December 31, 2011. I made a mental note, almost a declaration, that I was going to do all I could to slow down. I was not going to rush from one calendar event to the next. There would be no talk about “how time flies.”

I was about as determined as I could be to savor the moments and enjoy the year.

Despite my self-talk, time DID fly. In fact, this year passed in what feels like record time, and yet I discovered that at the same time I DID savor so many precious moments. This was a challenging year for our family, but it was also a very good year. A happy year.

I don’t always have time to follow WordPress topic prompts, but when it was suggested I might enjoy the weekly photo challenge: My 2012 in Pictures, I thought that would be fun. I spend a lot of time looking back at favorite photos, so I decided to play along.

Here are some of my favorites in a 12-month review. Just scroll over the photos to reveal the caption.

So here we are at another year’s end, December 31, 2012. Tonight Jay and I are headed to the Disney Concert Hall for a New Year’s Eve performance. Pasadena is gearing up for its famous Happy New Year Party with marching bands and majestic floral floats, the 124th Annual Rose Parade, themed, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”  If you are unfamiliar with this marvelous event, I shared some photos last year and you can review them here.

This year I won’t bother to have the discussion about slowing down. It’s going to be a very full year, and anyway, I have had to take a closer look at myself. I am always on the go to somewhere, and I don’t do a lot to invest in slowing down. Time to get real!

And I’m tremendously pleased and looking forward to our son getting married this year. We will be welcoming a new daughter into the family sometime this spring or early summer. There’s a ring and a promise…and they’re working on the details.

So another year comes to a close and seamlessly a new year begins. And I’ll wish everyone a year of finding happiness and contentment in each day whether you’re interested in slowing down or not. Simply put, Happy New Year!

A happy New Year! Grant that I

May bring no tear to any eye

When this New Year in time shall end

Let it be said I’ve played the friend,

Have lived and loved and labored here,

And made of it a happy year.

—Edgar A. Guest

Gifts fur them, too– (I know, go ahead and groan here!)

Is it here yet?

My dear furry family members are really wondering why their world has been so different lately. First the storms–wind and rain! Then, another Santa Ana windstorm came through Altadena! Now, brrrrr! Very cold mornings and nights. And to top it all off they had to wonder last week why Mom was going out so often. Yes my dogs do wonder–and out-loud!  It is so hard to explain to them why we church concert singers had to practice more and more to be ready  for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!  Then, friends wanted Mom to go on a ride to see the holiday lights up and about and all over town—it’s awfully hard to believe, I know, but some friends do not want to take “the girls” with us on these outings, so I had to bribe a little with another chew-bone and ask them to be good here at home.

“Mae-be please be nice to Ruffles! And Ruffles? Please only chew your treats!  I will be home soon!”  The whines and low woofs sound like, “Oh sure! You said that the last time! No, I didn’t beat-up Ruffles! I just made sure she wouldn’t come out of her area!” “What -meeeee?”  The odd placements of their sleeping blankets and rugs tell me a different story! And if Ruffles is just a little too happy to see me or if Mae-be drinks water like she has never had such a delight it tells me things did not go as smoothly as I would prefer.

Oh, well. Soon we are all caught up with drinks of water, kisses and licks, and they do love to sniff me over and over! Ruffles likes my cheery Christmas Bell necklace and has figured out how to push it for a ring-aling! She WAS hoping to be in the Christmas Story as a lamb at the stable.

Ruffles as a Christmas lamb

And you know I had special Christmas gifts for each of them! They both received a new collar, although they would tell you those are more for me–ha! And Santa also brought each of them a new toy and some extra goodies–their individual favorites. We also gave some special new toys to their friends Maddie and Katie.

But the Girls and I still have some simple gifts to share with you, too, just perfect for the New Year!  May you take these gifts and pass them on:

To your enemy—forgiveness (or ask to be ready to forgive)

To a stranger–your smile

To your child (of any age)–a good example and sense of humor

To your friends–your compassionate heart and listening ears

To your parents (even those no longer living)–your good conduct and honest memories

To other living creatures–charity and basic needs (food, water, safety)

And to yourself—respect and kindness while on your journey

The Girls and I also ask that you look at the value of life and laughter, and we thank you for your encouragement as we share with you! I also want to end this year with the opportunity to thank the firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, Earth Angels and my A.C.C. Church family who came to my literal rescue two years ago Christmas Eve when my car was crashed into so severely that I was carried out on a body board and in splints and braces.

If you have time and know of someone in a hospital or working in a hospital or fire station, please consider visiting.  And while you’re at it, say a little prayer for the staff, workers, and patients. That year for me was a very different Christmas and one I hope I never re-visit as a patient. Truly I am so grateful to all of them and the people who have been with me since then on my journey of recovery! And of course, I am always grateful to my furry family!

And to you, blessings for a happy and healthy New Year, Beth