Which is Stronger?

My writing prompt for today is, “Which is stronger, love or hate?”

My answer is Love, of course.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I believe love really does conquer all.

The Beatles sang, “All You Need is Love.” And while the concept makes for a catchy tune, it’s also a truth that some people still have a difficult time believing.

We get so caught up in our every day struggles that we forget that other people are going through the same struggles, or worse!

Misunderstandings, different mindsets and worldviews, and lack of communication, along with a variety of personalities and points of view, can fuel the fires for arguments and negativity, which can turn into hate.

And all we really needed to do was to talk to the person we were upset with in the first place.

We are all different. We are all human. We all started at the very same place. And I believe that if we took some time to get to know a person, a culture, a religion, or a nationality, and try to understand why they think what they think, and believe what they believe, there would be a lot less hate in the world.

But what it really comes down to is, who do you want to be? Do you want to look at the world as mostly loving and kind, or do you want to close yourself off and live in your own paranoia? After all, hate is just another word for fear; we fear what we don’t know and disguise it with contempt.

Ask yourself this question; do you want to live a life of love, or hate?

It’s really your choice. But when you choose, choose carefully. It’s difficult to change your course when you’ve been on it too long.

As for me, I want to do my best to live a life of love. I’m a work in progress, but at least I’m headed in the right direction.

Tribute

Doubly Wonderful

My twin granddaughters turned 5 Oct. 25.  Their mother and I had taken the other kids to the trick or treat at Ushers Ferry, where Holly, 9 months pregnant, walked the yard for nearly two hours. I think she was tired of being pregnant and want to get the delivery process going. It must have worked, because she went into labor that night, and had the twins the next day by C-section, only 3 weeks earlier than her anticipated due date.gianna-and-natalie

The twins were conceived in a peculiar way, and I love telling the story, because no one I’ve talked to has ever heard of it before:

After suffering 4 miscarriages following her last baby, Holly was given an injection of steroids that doctors hoped would help prevent another miscarriage. The first ultrasound just a few weeks later determined she was carrying two babies. One of them was smaller, which led the doctor to believe the smaller one was conceived three days after the other.

Holly at 32 weeks into her pregnancy

Holly at 32 weeks into her pregnancy

After a fairly normal pregnancy, Holly gave birth to Gianna, who was born first and weighed nearly 6 pounds; Natalie weighed almost a whole pound less. But it didn’t take long for her to catch up to Gianna. By their first year, they were close to being the same size. (They are fraternal, but I still have a hard time telling them apart.)

From the beginning, their personalities were totally different; Gianna was standoffish and moody, while Natalie was quiet and cuddly. (Not a lot has changed, though Natalie has become quite an instigator-partners in crime, if you will.)

The twins spent much of the first 6 months of their lives at home. Holly and Jason were busy adjusting to being the parents of twins, and it being close to winter, it was just a great time to stay home. Period.

I visited them often, offering to help any way I could, but I could tell the constant diaper changing, feeding, and coping were getting to Holly. She had taken time off work to get the twins on a schedule, but being with them 24/7 wasn’t healthy for her, either. Isabelle was 5 and was old enough to help Holly with the little things, but she couldn’t help with the feeding or changing yet. cuties

“I don’t think I will ever get a good night’s sleep again,” Holly mused wearily, as she laid the twins down for a nap.

“You need to rest when you can, but honestly, no, you won’t ever get another good night’s sleep until after they move out. And even then, that’s questionable.”

I smiled to let her know I was being fictitious, but I wasn’t far from the truth. Once you have kids, they are yours for life.

“You’ll get through this, I told her. “Five years from now you’ll look back and wish they were babies again.”img_2316

She nodded, and heaving a big sigh, laid down on the sofa for a short nap.

They made it through the first year without too many problems, but when they started to walk, it was a whole new story.

“I always thought it would be a lot of fun having twins,” Holly told me one day while I was visiting. She was attempting a simple thing like putting on pajamas, but as we have found out, not so simple when you’re fighting two at once.

Natalie wiggled to get away, and Holly reached out and grabbed Gianna before she could get away.

Without skipping a beat, she added, “I love them so much, I can’t imagine life without them. But I also didn’t think it would be this hard.”

I remembered back to Isabelle, who was a very cranky baby, and cried so much that I cringed every time Holly asked me to watch her. (She has since passed that stage.)

“Maybe God gave you Isabelle to prepare you for the twins,” I told her with a smile. “And gave you twins to make up for the miscarriages.”

Holly laughed. “Yep, I guess you gotta be careful what you pray for,” she said, letting go of Natalie, while wrestling with Gianna to put on her sleeper.

But we both knew it was exactly what she had prayed for, and what we are very grateful for. Two beautiful little girls who have added so much love and joy to our lives.

Double the crying, double the problems, but double the love.

Wedding Day

I did it. I survived my son’s wedding. It was touch and go a few days before, but my sanity was kept intact … for the most  part.

Aug. 15, 2015

Aug. 15, 2015

Their story began a year ago in June. They met online and after only two months, Sean asked Ashley to marry him. She said yes, and though I had my doubts they would actually go through with it, I stood in front of guests at the reception and told them I truly believed the two are meant for each other.

Those who know Sean, nodded and smiled. They know his story. Those on the outside may not understand how far this young man has come, but on Aug. 15, I realized my little boy had grown up.

He asked me to dance to the song, “I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack, and my first thought was, “Sean can dance?” But he proved he could, and very well.

As we twirled around the dance floor I told him I was proud of him, but I wonder if he even understood how much.

Sean was 6 years old when he was diagnosed with ADHD, along with a list of disorders, which would prevent him from learning the traditional way. In fact, he still has problems today, which has hindered his ability to keep a job for very long.

He has struggled his whole life socially and emotionally, and people don’t always understand where he’s coming from. Carrying a conversation with him is sometimes difficult because his brain is constantly working overtime. He switches from one subject to the next without even taking a breath.

But Saturday, I saw that none of that matters to Ashley, who accepts Sean just as he is. She knows he has limits but loves him anyway. That’s true love.

Two weeks before the wedding, he asked me to help him write his vows:

Me: So what do you want to say to her?

Sean: I love her.

Me: Okay, but what else?

Sean: I’ll be there for her.

Me: Do you know what a marriage means, Sean? (I wanted to make sure he knew.) Because it’s more than just loving someone.

Sean: Yes, it means helping her up when she falls, and being there for her. Being her best friend. It means being nice, and caring, even when I’m mad at her. It means taking care of her and wiping her tears when she’s sad…

Me: It means you’re committed to her.

Sean: I thought I said that.

I smiled to myself. Yep. He did say that, in so many words. After talking with him a little bit more, this is what I came up with:

Ashley,

I never thought I would ever meet someone as wonderful as you. You have taught me so much about love and what it means to be in a loving relationship. You accept me for who I am and I am so thankful you said “Yes” when I asked you to be my wife.

I know I’m not perfect and I make mistakes, but I promise that I will do my best to take care of you and give you the life you deserve.

I promise to help you up when you fall, be the shoulder to cry on, and be your best friend in every sense of the word. I promise to love you through good times and bad. And when we disagree, I promise to respect you and to listen to what you have to say, even if it’s sometimes difficult to hear.

Every day I find another reason to fall in love with you. You have made me so happy, and I am going to spend the rest of my life making sure you’re happy, too.

I love you, Ashley, always and forever.

I wasn’t sure how we would be able to make everything come together for the wedding day, but it did, perfectly. It was hotter than blazes, the cake melted, and I forgot the centerpieces, but the Noelridge Gardens backdrop was gorgeous and everyone had the time of their lives.

A great day, to say the least.

“Sometimes in the middle of an ordinary life, love hands you a fairytale.”

Challenge # 9-Not your typical love story

Challenge #9 has me writing a love story.  I’ve read countless love stories. I’ve listened to love songs until I’m ready to puke. I have watched movies about love and cried myself to sleep over love. I’ve even dreamed about love. And just when I was about ready to give up on finding true love, I found something better. Real love isn’t that feeling that we hear about or read about or dream about. It’s a natural kind of comfortable feeling that just seems to fit. When it happens, you just know, even if it takes a little while to realize that’s what it is. True love is something you can’t explain. It’s something you feel. writing challenge9

A Real Love Story

Ben was a boy who lived on the farm across the field from us. He was scrawny and always dirty and annoying. But we’d been friends since I was 4 years old. He was my only friend, really.  The next farm beyond the Gable’s was 10 miles away and we didn’t own a car. Many people didn’t have cars back then. It was 1938 and money was scarce.

But as annoying as Benji was, life would have been boring without him. He taught me how to catch rabbits, using only a wire, and how to light a fire without any smoke, just like the Indians did. We’d go swimming and fishing in the summer, and ice skating and sledding in the winter. His older brother teased him terribly and he’d run away from home at least once a week. I was lucky, I guess. Ma and Pop were told they couldn’t have kids and I was a miracle baby. But with no brothers and sisters, I was alone a lot.

When I was 13, I got sick with the flu really bad. Benji wouldn’t listen to his Ma when she told him not to come visit me. He did anyway and ended up almost dying from it. My mom got sick, too, but she didn’t make it. I had to go stay with my Aunt Millie and Uncle Roger for the summer. It was nice having a family, but I missed my Ma.

It was almost time to start school again when I got home. Everything was different. I didn’t feel like a little girl anymore. Pop changed, too. He didn’t smile as much and work more than he did before. Every time I tried talking to him about Ma, he got real quiet and sometimes, he just walked away, like he couldn’t bear to hear her name. I think he blamed me for her dying.

Benji and I drifted apart after that. He became bothersome and wanted to do boy things all the time. I started hiding every time he came over or made excuses to make him leave.

Pop finally bought an old truck and fixed it up. Sometimes he let me go to town with him. If he had extra money, he’d buy me a soda. Every once in a while my friends would be at the diner and pop let me go sit with them while I drank my soda.  My friends knew Benji lived next door to me and teased me a lot about him. It didn’t bother me until Patty asked me if I was going to marry him.

“Heck no!” I told her. “I don’t have time for farm boys. I’m gonna marry a rich man, with a good job, and he’s gonna take me far away from this stinkhole.” We laughed about it, but in my heart, I knew there was something terribly wrong.

Sometimes I would dream I was living in Chicago or New York, where I lived the life of a socialite. I was a famous designer, and wore the most beautiful clothes. My rich husband and I went to lots of parties and people stop and stared as we walked by.

Someday, that would be me, I thought. But not today.

I stood in the front yard and looked at the sun hanging low in the sky. It was getting late and I was wasting time. I grabbed the bucket of scraps and headed for the barn. Mitzy and Barney, the goats, met me half-way, their noses already in the bucket. “Shoo! ” I said, waving them away. “You’ll get yours soon enough.”

I ran to the barn, while the goats tried to keep up with me. I hurried and shut the door before they could get in. Champ, our horse, whinnied as I set the bucket down and got a scoop of oats from the bin. I poured the oats into the trough and threw some hay over the stall. He stuck his head over the top board so I could rub his forehead.

“Good boy,” I told him as he pulled away to start eating. I picked up the bucket as I clucked my tongue. I could hear the goats hitting the door with their tiny hooves.

I emptied some of the scraps into the trough as a little shadow came from under the tractor.

“It’s okay, Milo, you can come out.”

Milo was a pot-bellied pig we got from the Jensen’s up the road. They owed my dad money from a bad side of beef and couldn’t pay up.

“What’m I gonna do with that thing?” he told Al Jensen.

He shrugged and said, “Whatever you want.”

So Milo became my responsibility. He was scared to death of the goats and wouldn’t come out if they were around. I usually fed him before they got theirs.

I waited until Milo was done before I opened the door for the goats. He saw them coming and high-tailed it back to his spot under the tractor.

“What’s with the pig?” a voice came from behind me. I knew who it was even before I turned around.

I glanced around and saw Ben standing in the doorway in dirty overalls. He wasn’t wearing a shirt. His blond hair was messed up and he had a dirty face.

“What’s it to you?”

“Nothing, just never seen a scared pig before. Usually they’re chasin’ me.” He chuckled and hopped up on the top board of the stall. Champ ignored him and went on eating.

“I’m kind of busy, Benji,” I told him as I grabbed the bucket. “I still have chores to do.”

He became silent for a moment before saying something I’ll never forget.

“How come we’re not friends anymore, Luc?”

“What’dya mean? We’re friends…”

“No, we’re not. You don’t ever wanna do anything with me anymore. We never go fishin’ or huntin’ or pickin’ berries anymore.”

“I don’t do that stuff anymore, Benji. I’m 15 now. I got better things to do.”

He didn’t say another word, but hopped off the wall and left the barn, letting the door slam shut. I walked to the corral and watched him as he walked the dirt path that led back to his farm. I was kind of hoping he’d look back so I could wave, but he didn’t. I almost ran to apologize.

We were still friends, weren’t we?

But I didn’t see Ben the rest of the summer. When school started in the fall, he was in home room, three rows ahead of me. He had cut his hair and washed his face, and actually looked pretty handsome with his farmer’s tan. But he acted like I didn’t exist. I saw him during lunch and was going to go talk to him, but Amelia grabbed my arm and made me sit with her.

Once, he glanced my way, but he was too quick and I lost my chance to make eye contact. This is ridiculous, I thought, and made an effort to get on the bus early just so I could talk to him.

I plopped in the seat next to him, loudly announcing my arrival. “What’s your problem?” I demanded.

“I don’t have a problem,” he replied calmly. He stared straight ahead.

“Then why won’t you even look at me? I thought we were friends.”

He turned and glared at me. “You made it perfectly clear that we weren’t.”

“I never said that, Benji. All I said was that I didn’t do any of that tomboy stuff anymore.”

“I’m not stupid, Lucy. I know how you really feel about me. And my name is Ben.”

I looked over and saw Norma Jean staring at us. She whispered something to Krissie and they both giggled.

I got up and moved to the back of the bus, trying to hide my embarrassment. Norma Jean immediately jumped up and sat next to Ben. I could hear the excitement in her voice as she asked him to her Sweet 16 party that Saturday.

“And you can be my date,” she told him in her high and prissy voice. She was the kind of girl all the boys loved, and the rest of the girls secretly hated. Her perfect hair, expensive clothes, and sophisticated makeup made the rest of us look like rag-a-muffins.

“Don’t let her upset you,” Amelia whispered to me.

“I’m not,” I lied. “I just can’t believe she asked him to her party. And as her date! He’s a nobody. Why would she ask him?”

“I think someone’s jealous,” Kitty sang from behind us. I wheeled around her and glared at her. I was furious! How dare she insinuate I was jealous! I turned around and rode the rest of the way without a word.

But I had time to think as I walked the long road to the house. Why was I so upset? Who cared if he went to the party as Norma’s date? It was then that I realized it was because we weren’t friends. Yes, he was dirty and messy and a pest sometimes. Seeing him today looking so grown up kind of changed my views about him.

I didn’t feel like doing chores and it took me longer than normal. I knew Pop would be expecting dinner on time, too. Since Ma died last year, he expected a lot more from me; cooking, cleaning, and chores, too.  But it was getting old. I needed to get out of here. I’d already saved enough money for a bus ticket to Crawson’s Creek. I just needed to finish school first.

Dinner was more quiet than normal. Pop didn’t finish his dinner and I didn’t ask why. He started going out to the field and saw an opportunity to ask him about the party.

“A party, huh? What kind of party?” he asked suspiciously.

“A birthday party … for one of my friends.”

“Will there be boys at this party?” He folded his arms across his chest. Not a good sign.

“Pop, I’m 15 1/2. Yes, there will be boys. But Norma Jean’s folks will be chaperoning.”

He grabbed his hat and walked out the door. “I’ll think about it,” he called back to me.

I washed the dishes and went upstairs to do my homework. I looked out my window at the Gable’s farm across the field. Though the sun was setting, I could see Ben checking fences on horseback. His dad had been killed in the war, and Ben and his 3 brothers helped their mother with the farm. Come to think of it,I hadn’t seen much of her since spring.

Benji and I used to check fences together. He’d take one side and I’d take the other, and we’d meet in the middle. Then we’d take the horses to Monument and looked out over the fields. We’d sit and wait for the stars to come out and watch for the shooting stars to streak across the sky. Make a wish, he’d tell me, even if it was his star.

I heard Pop swearing at the goats as they got in his way back to the house. I went downstairs to get more kerosene and met him in the hallway.

“Be home by 10,” was all he said, as he started to climb the stairs to his room.  I wheeled around and ran to him, throwing my arms around his middle.

“Thanks, Pop!” I gushed.

“I know, you need to get out more … spend time with yer friends. Are you gonna need a dress or something?” He looked into my eyes with sincerity.

I smiled sweetly and shook my head. “I was gonna use of one Ma’s and make some alterations.” I was pretty good with a needle and thread.

“Aw’right. Don’t stay up too late,” he said, climbing the stairs.

To be continued ….

I have to stop here because I have a feeling it’s going to take longer than I have to finish my challenges. But stay tuned. I plan on finishing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appreciation is just icing on the cake

I love being a mother. I fell in love with all my children even before they were born. I loved feeling them move inside me and dreamed about what they would look like, what their personality would be, and what their future might hold.

My kids haven't changed a lot since they were little.

My kids haven’t changed a lot since they were little.

The moment my first child was born (I have four), I devoted my life to being the best mother I could, which wasn’t always easy.

Now that my children are grown and have kids of their own, it’s easy to see where I went wrong (after all, hindsight is 20/20).

If kids did come with a manual, it might look something like this:

1. Spend one-on-one time with your kids, even if you have 10.

2. Make them feel important, loved, and safe.

3. Set boundaries. When you say no, mean it.

4. Give them a daily chore, even if it’s just picking up the front room.

5. Tell them you’re proud of them.

6. Encourage them to try new things, everything, until they find something they like to do or are good at.

7. Don’t try to be their friend. You can’t be their mom and their friend at the same time.

8. Ease their fears by being open with them and answering their questions to the best of your ability.

9. Teach them manners and to respect others; the Golden Rule.

10. Set a good example. Give them someone to look up to.

11. Don’t talk bad about their fathers, or anyone for that matter.

12. Teach them forgiveness.

13. Tell them you love them every day.

14. Never put them down or say they are bad. “Words once spoke, can never be taken back.”

15. Don’t set your expectations too high for your children.

Looking over this list, I can say that some of my parenting skills may have been lacking, but we learn as we go. No one is perfect. I may not have been able to give my kids the world, but at least they knew they were loved.

This year I received a letter from my youngest daughter, Lori, that made me realize that I must have done something right.

And she gave me her permission to share part of it:

“… Having my own children made me look at my mother in a different light. Everyone wants to be a better parent than their own, do things differently. And while that is true in some aspects, I also want to be just like my mother in many ways.

Even though my mom was dealing with her own issues while I was growing up, I always felt love radiating from her. I know she was proud to have us as her children, and she would do anything for us. And I feel the same exact way about my own kids. I think every mother does. But what my mom has taught me in the last ten years has had more of an impact on me than I could ever imagine. She not only quit drinking, she changed many of her destructive habits as well. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not perfect and she knows it. And I don’t think I could deal with it if she was. But she has taught me a lot of life lessons that I want to instill in my children.

She is so caring and giving. She would do anything for her loved ones and people she cares about. She is determined and tenacious. I can see how much her self-confidence has grown as she has achieved things she probably couldn’t have imagined before. She is selfless and passionate in everything she pursues. Her heart is so genuine. She is a deep and imaginative thinker. We can talk for hours on the phone, jumping from one topic to another, and totally follow and get one another. How many people can say they have that type of connection with their mom? I feel pretty damn lucky to say I do…”

Out of all of my children, Lori is the most sensitive. We are like two peas in a pod. It’s not that I don’t love my other children any less,it’s just that Lori and I share a very special bond. I think the greatest gift I could ever have received, especially on Mother’s Day, is the gift of being appreciated. It makes being a mother that much more rewarding.

You are there for your kids from the moment they are born, teaching them to walk, to talk, kissing their owies, teaching them to tie their shoes,  and to ride the bus alone for the first time.  You’re there holding them while they cry after their first break-up, and helping them get dressed for their proms and weddings, and holding your grandchildren for the first time.

When you’re a mom, you take care of your kids because that’s just what you do. You love them unconditionally because they are a part of you. You created them and you raise them to the best of your ability. And when it’s time to let them go, well…. that’s a little easier said then done. But you never really let them go. You just make them think you do.

 

 

A Christmas message

I received an email from my uncle today. His thoughts about Christmas were inspiring, to say the least.  His eloquent words touch me deeply , and since I have his blessing, I would like to share the letter with you:

“This is my 78th Christmas and the wonder and the joy and the mystery build every year, rather than fade. I feel exactly the same today as I did when I was a child of 7 or 10.  Four days before Christmas, all the nerves in my body are standing on end, singing ancient Christmas carols.  There are phantom people all over the house putting things together, wrapping presents, decorating, baking, and all the anticipation of a great feast is in the air.  The smells, the ring of happy children’s voices, the joy that permeates the atmosphere.  It is truly the season of the little child in all of us.  To see the anticipation and the awe in the face of a child coming down the staircase on Christmas morning is a pleasure that we can all take part in and thoroughly embrace.  At Christmas time everybody is a Christian even if they don’t believe and are not really aware of what they are celebrating.

Every time somebody gives another person a present, that giving is an expression of love.  Every time a person receives a present, that, too, is an act of love.  For the giver, all their time and energy trying to figure out what the most appropriate gift would be, going to the store or stores to find it, spending the money to purchase it, all that synergy is exerted for one tiny moment: to see the look on the loved one’s face when she/he opens the gift.  And for the receiver, the great part is the anticipation that someone who loves us, thinks enough of us to expend all that effort, puts such a high value on our person, yearns to see us happy, is just about to “pop the question”.  Because when we give a present, what we are really saying is, “I love you; will you love me?”  And the usual procedure when one receives a present is to return the favor.  Both she who gives and he who receives are taking part in the same divine act, both asking and answering the question, both at the same time: “Yes, I love you; and I know you love me.”

Yes, the stores do commercialize Christmas too much.  But then, that’s their purpose: to overcommercialize Christmas in order to make money.  And we all buy into that conspiracy by purchasing presents for the people we love.  But as far as I’m concerned, there is never more love among mankind than at Christmas time.  If we could just keep the spirit all year-long, this world would be a lot more peaceful.

I’ve always been a little puzzled by some who say that if you say “Happy Holiday” rather than “Merry Christmas” you are leaving Christ out of Christmas.  I have always understood that the word “holiday” is derived from “holy day”.  If you believe in celebrating Christmas, if you believe that giving gifts is a healthy, holy, and human activity, if you believe that gifts are fulfilling and uplifting and that giving them is beyond merely human, then you must believe in some part of the miracle of Christmas.  Why are so many people raised up by their own joy at this time of year?

We are celebrating the birthday of Jesus the son of Joseph and Mary, the Christ, the Messiah, who came into this world as a newborn in order to experience the whole of the human experience.  He grew up  in a family just as we all did.  That family was his school.  He worked as a carpenter for fifteen years, from age fifteen to thirty.  Then he became a preacher to spread the truth.  He was a bit too honest in telling the powers-that-be that they were frauds.  Rome made him pay a terrible price.  But his words and his actions are still alive and well and flourishing today.  And the heart and soul of that message is: Love God first and prove that you love God by loving your neighbor.  He became man out of love; he taught us the truth out of love; he died out of love for us; he rose out of love for us.  He is pure love; his word is pure love; his truth is pure love.  And that is why on his birthday, we all are enchanted by and enhanced by that same pure love that he is.  God bless you all.  May you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday.”

John Meis
Naperville, Ill.

Every year, I contemplate the meaning of Christmas. I begin the season with a heart full of love and end up exhausted and wondering how I got sucked into all the melodrama and commercialization the holidays often bring. But opening this email this morning, my heart was once again filled with the true meaning of Christmas. Like John wrote, “If we could just keep the spirit all year long, this world would be a lot more peaceful.”

I truly believe it’s possible. And I know it begins with me.

 

 

 

Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men

I am a firm believer in trying to get along with others. After all, it’s one of the Ten Commandments of Kindergarten.

Illustration By Cynthia Petersen

We are taught to share, to forgive, to say, “I’m sorry” and “Excuse me” at a very young age. So what happens between the innocent age of childhood and our maturation into adulthood?

Many people keep that instinctive good nature, but others look at it as a sign of weakness. Maybe they were told growing up that they needed to be aggressive to get anywhere in life. Or perhaps they like the feeling of power intimidation gives them. It could be that they were treated poorly as a child and are taking their aggression out on others.

Whatever the reason, some people just don’t know how to be nice. I’ve heard it said many times that bullies just don’t like themselves and so they take it out on others. Though it’s believable, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that they hurt others with their unkind words and actions.

I love Christmas. The goodness of people just seems to ooze out of every pore. People actually look for good deeds to do and their smiles come  a little less forced than they do the rest of the year. The good vibes seem to resonate throughout the world and people just seem to be happier.

But there will always be the Scrooges of the world, who look at do-gooders as a threat to their existence. These people don’t know how to be nice and try to find a way to ruin everyone’s good time. But they are small in number. Especially at Christmas.

I’m a little sad that Christmas will soon be over and everyone will go back to their normal hectic lives. The good deeds done over the holidays will be forgotten in a flurry of anticipation for the next holiday.

But what if they weren’t? Can you imagine how nice the world would be if we could all just take a little time out of our lives to help others all year-long? People would be nicer, happier, more joyful. They would smile more, spread cheer throughout the world, and count their blessings tenfold.

What if it were Christmas every day? I’m not talking about presents, because that isn’t what brings the most joy. But the kind words, the noble gestures, and the love of our neighbor, because they are what Christmas is all about.

It may take some effort to get this world-wide campaign going, but I really think we have a chance at bringing Peace to Earth and Goodwill toward our fellow men and women. But for now, let us rejoice in the fact that it is Christmas, the most wonderful time of year.

Merry Christmas to all! (And to all a good night!)