That's what I wrote about in my newsletter that just went out a few days ago. That if you feel like you've gotten off to a sluggish start for the New Year instead of kicking open the doors of your life with guns blazing on photon torpedo speed ready to kick some procrastinating, unorganized, unhealthy choices out the door but instead you are still in bed reading this on your little blue thing-y with a blanket over your head - hey, man - no worries. I swear. January is the getting ready, fix-in to, month. Who can come out blazing every year in this kinda cold? Not me. I'm just trying to survive and clicking my heels together like madness saying, Magnolia, Magnolia, send Spring right over.
But I have hopes that February will settle me in with a hope of March and then green things will be sprouting and I want to be ready for the sprout, like short sleeves so maybe I'll consider picking up these barbells by the desk and curling a few. A do-over, start over, begin again month. That's what it is so let me help you take the pressure of your goals to perfection. We ain't gonna get there. Better? yes, we can all be better at SOMETHING. Be it patience with our children, parents, spouses, and cohorts. But sometimes, patience with ourselves is truly in order. And, I only say that because I need it.
Recently, I started tracking my time the way some people track their coins. Writing down exactly what I'm doing at a given time or how long it took me to finish that newsletter and get it out. (Hours and hours - not the minutes or one hour I thought it would be.) It gives me a better sense of how many words I can get down and how long it takes me to edit interviews for Clearstory Radio or produce the show. And how much time a person say, maybe could spend, say looking for cool little things that writers would like on Etsy - (It's amazing what's out there!) But then I start wondering how many languages I could speak if I didn't watch three episodes of Burn Notice back to back with Husband but hey - we missed Season 7 so we're trying to catch up.
Do - overs.
Some people say they wouldn't change a thing. God bless those birds. I'm not one of them. I would have flossed more. Worried less. Studied physics earlier because there is something about time travel, string theory, particles and atoms and . . . this electric current we call life that is mind-blowing interesting to me. But then so is astronomy (yes, I'd take a trip i a space ship - but hey - only if I volunteered!) and movie making, and writing and . . .
And I'm right back to writing. And thinking that no matter what choices I would have made deferently, it would have led to me writing. And that some of the best time I can possibly spend is rocking my youngest grandbaby (when I can catch him because he is a new story in the making) or riding in the car with my Mother through the cold country-side and listening to her tell stories. And watching one of my husband's favorite stories with him. Or having a Margarita with my sister and sharing stories. Of our children, of our past, of our future. Of laughing with Cousin Deb and our 'remember when's'. And all my do-overs turn to nought. Because even though I might have tidied the rough edges of my life, it might have cost me a fortune in the good graces, the experiences (even from the hard knocks) and an untold number of stories made and shared and still being written.
It's the do-over month. But what I think I really want to do on the cusp of this cold, January morning, is ride into the New Year with a hope for New possibilities and complettions. Think I'll pull up my boots, and tell a few stories.
(Please join me with a great host of wonderful writers at Books Alive in Panama City, Florida February 1 on the FSU campus. I'll be speaking at 9
Cousin Deb is still here from Christmas visit. Mainly because I went on line without asking her and changed her ticket to a later date. My husband said, "You can't do that! She's adult! You have to ask her first." So, I told him, "You're right. You do have to give adults a choice about things." Then I hung up and changed her flight while she was still sleeping.
She's no adult. I know an adult when I see them. They are serious people making series decisions about important matters of state and country and hearth and home. Cousin Deb is four years old and dancing with me to Elvis's singing, "I an't nothing but a hound dog" while our Mother's stand outside the window, crouched in the bushes watching through the window because we won't dance with them in the room.
She's the one who rode me on the handlebars of my bike. She preferred to peddle. I preferred to ride. We have been lost, almost drowned, airborne, backed into corners, snow wrecked, car wrecked, detoured through a jungle, broken down, out of town and at the top of the world together.
When the holiday's gave husband and I an opportunity to dash to the East Coast to the see the Adorables and their parents, I wasn't satisfied with us bolting on Deb and her flying out the day I returned. Simple choice, change her flight for her. Tell her over coffee. It was the right decisions for a whole lot of reasons.
And, she took the news in stride. We've been together a long time. A friend of her's asked her, "Who does that? Who just changes your flight without asking you?" She simply replied, "River."
Just for the record, if you come to visit I will not change your flight without asking you. Most likely. OK, fifty/fifty. But only if I felt really, really moved to do so.
Deb has had some real time to visit with all the kids and Mom. She has helped me redecorate (salvage is more like it) the upstairs bathroom. We painted and wallpapered and it was just like the old days. Like Lucy and Ethel back on the road. Mishaps and mayhem. But you should see that little slice of home now. It has . . . character. Thanks to Deb and a few dashes for Craigslist finds.
So, Deb is still here. And that's a good thing. Last night I opened the window in her bedroom and said, "Look!" She looked. And said - "Oh, a White Christmas!" Finally, snow. And our world for a little while is nestled white. The view across the ridge amazing.
And today is the official calendar day of Epiphany has always been one of my favorites. In the Christian faith it is the day we celebrate the arrival of the three kings to visit Jesus. Or perhaps, the actual revelation of God to the world at large.
Epiphany. It's Deb's favorite word. That moment when our minds and hearts open, something shifts, and we perceive a truth that has been previously hidden. Something that can move and alter our lives and our world.
I pray you are right where you are meant to be today. And that the light of God, the truth of life, invades your space in the gentlest of ways. And that The Day of Epiphany rocks your world.
(Artwork by Kathrin Burleson
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