With firm resolve

Happy New Year! For many of us, preparations are underway for dinners, celebrations and resolutions. Yep, it’s that time again; when about 45 percent of us make at least one New Year’s resolution. What does that mean? Well, resolution, by definition, is a firm decision to do or not do something; the quality of being determined or resolved. The most common resolutions include eating less, exercising more, spending less, saving more, stop smoking, stop drinking, find a new career, spend more time with family and the list goes on.

The reality? By the end of six months about half of the 45 percent will have maintained their resolution(s). In fact, a mere 8 percent of resolutions made will actually be achieved.

Why? Maybe expectations are too high, maybe the resolutions just aren’t the right ones, or maybe we give up too easily. Or, maybe there’s no game plan, we have the wrong perspective, or we really don’t believe in ourselves enough to make it happen. Maybe we make resolutions for the wrong reasons.

This year, I am resolving to make mistakes! Why? Because of this quote that I found a few years ago from Neil Gaiman.

“I hope that in the year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or isn’t perfect, whatever it is” art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

Works for me. Wishing you all a very happy, health and prosperous New Year!

Posted by MJ Thomas

Believe in the magic

I do. After all these years, I still believe in the magic of Christmas. That magic is a beautiful thing. Why? Because it lies in the heart. It’s not in the gifts or material things; it can’t be bought. It doesn’t come from someone or somewhere; it comes from within. It’s patience and tolerance and forgiveness; the willingness to see the good in people. It’s caring and compassion and goodwill. It’s friends and family and loved ones near and far. It’s about being in the moment; being thankful; knowing that if there were no gifts, no decorations, no lights, no parties – you would still believe in the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas is more than a day; it’s a frame of mind. And in these times, there are a lot of things that can mess with your frame of mind. The stress, the money, illness, family and friends who are no longer with us; the holidays seem to magnify the intensity and really test our beliefs. Maybe that’s the time we need to believe the most. Believing brings with it hope; a sense that it will be okay. At least it does for me. And that keeps the magic alive.

Norman Vincent Peale said, “I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to the world.”

Choose to believe in the magic and remember the true spirit lies in the heart. Wishing you happiness, health, peace and prosperity in the true spirit of Christmas now and always.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Tis the season to be jolly…

…Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la la, la. Oh, the joys of holiday decorating. Pull out those tangled strands of lights and boxes of ornaments passed down through the years. Set up the tree, roll out the ribbon, light up the candles. Most of all? BE SAFE. The hidden dangers of holiday decorating can take quite a toll and that’s a fact.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Electrical Safety Foundation International estimate that 76 percent of Americans decorate their homes during the holiday season. And, each year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people for injuries related to holiday lights, electrical decorations and Christmas trees. Hmmm.

Before you set out to replicate Clark Griswold’s display of 25,000 twinkling lights, here are some safety tips to consider. Check everything prior to use. Check lights for frayed cords, broken bulbs and bad plugs. Indoor bulbs are for indoor use and outdoor bulbs are for outdoor use. Seems simple enough, right? Avoid electrical overload – no more than three standard-size sets of lights per extension cord. Use only lights tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Before climbing up on that ladder, make sure it is on secure and level footing. Always use the buddy system; use caution. Falls do not a jolly experience make.

Make sure live trees are fresh – green, with needles hard to pull from the branches and the bottom of the tree sticky with resin. Monitor water levels, keep out of high traffic areas and away from any heat source – fireplaces, vents, radiators. Artificial trees should be labeled “fire resistant”. Keep children and pets safe. Small pieces and parts ornaments can be choking hazards. Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and other seasonal plants can be toxic if ingested.

Just a few things to think about. Now go deck those halls – SAFELY! Happy Holidays!

Posted by MJ Thomas