One. Five. One Five.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

That is my favorite greeting of the year. I like to belt it out through the entire month of January though I wouldn’t mind saying it through the first couple weeks of February. Of course I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I can say “Happy Thanksgiving” only for the few days leading up to it because Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) take over and “Merry Christmas” is something I can only say once I know the greetee also celebrates, lest I offend anyone.

During this holiday break, Kevin used his vacation days to spend quality time with us. I ended up hanging out with my family for 14 consecutive, activity-filled days with only about 1.5 days of down time, let alone Me Time. So by the time 1.4.15 arrived, I was actually itching to go to the gym, to hear myself think. I made it out despite the rain and Ellis holding my sneakers for hostage.

There were three TVs side-by-side-by-side before me.

First TV: NY1 coverage of Officer Liu’s funeral in Brooklyn, NY.

Second TV: CNN coverage of more bodies found in the wreckage of AirAsia.

Third TV: ESPN tribute to their very own Stuart Scott who passed today at age 49.

Life seems predictable at times in this here First World – you’re born, you’re a cute morsel, you grow up, get some education, get a job, pay them bills. But these news stories reminded me that life is only predictable if you are fortunate enough.

A newly wed 32 year-old cop eating lunch in his patrol car is shot dead, execution style. 162 people board a plane that crashes into the Java Sea. Beloved pioneer sports anchor dies of stomach cancer at the age of 49.

Even with our stressors, triggers, entanglements, failures, insecurities, repeat failures, addictions, and pain, waking up to a new day is a GIFT.

New mercies every morning.

I went to a luncheon at church today to hear more about our friends’ short term mission trip to the Philippines. I heard about how the long term missionaries in Cebu, Philippines, Rick and Jiji Harner, tutor 200+ kids four nights a week, every week, while homeschooling 15 children during the week, including their own two children. Jiji just gave birth to her third baby girl on 1.2.15 and at the time of her birth, was getting ready to host a team of 12 American volunteers(!).

I was touched and inspired by how they just poured out and gave of themselves to their community, standing in as loving, dependable parental figures to some of these children. As a reflex, I was tempted to compare myself to them and how much they do in one day, but I had to catch myself.

We are all given different gifts and strengths. And limitations.

The Harners’ dynamic and countercultural way of life, as well as the stories of the people taken too soon inspired me.

In 2015, Year One-Five, I want to Thrive because I am Alive. To wake up to another day is a big fat gift that I want to gulp down.

Here’s to the New Year!

(And here’s to writing more).

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. ” – T.S. Eliot

“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.” ― Vita Sackville-West

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Lazy Susan

Don’t you just cherish those moments when you get so inspired and renewed with hope?

Last night, when half my family, K and M, went out in the fresh snow to fetch the family some Chinese food for dinner, I used the half hour to unwind by playing on Facebook.

I came across a video clip called, “Oprah: ‘This Is Gonna Shut Your Mouth!'” It’s really too late at night for me to summarize the clip accurately but basically I got to “meet” Nick Vujicic, a young man born without arms or legs. Sure, I’ve heard inspirational stories before but this dude really got to me. He had such lively eyes as he broke it down for us all – how he is now able to truly rejoice in the Lord though he was tormented in his childhood, feeling cursed and worthless.

His journey to self-acceptance and blessing others all around the world is beyond astounding. Visually, he is jarring to lay eyes on, especially for the first time, as he is only a handsome face/head set atop a torso with no arms or legs. All you see is a torso making its way around effortlessly. No prosthetic limbs so he is sometimes carried around like a baby.

Nick sports a huge smile like he just can’t contain all his joy and has that twinkle in his eye as he speaks. He plays soccer, surfs, golfs, and is more active than most of us able-bodied folks. He just recently married the love of his life (gorgeous, of course), and is expecting his first child (a boy) in just a few weeks (I think).

I started reading up on his organization, Life Without Limbs, and was truly inspired to overcome my own deep-seated self-doubts and negativity that sometimes have their way with me. This guy was born without LIMBS yet he is able to THRIVE and live life to its fullest.

As I basked in this moment of Church right at my cluttered desk, my boys arrived with our warm, fatty meal in honor of TGIF. Kevin set up the Korean sahng (table) on the floor, where we eat our dinner.

As I reached for more Beef Chow Fun, Yang Chow Fried Rice, and Walnut Shrimp, I realized I had to get up yet again to grab water and napkins from the kitchen.

I growled, “Man, we can’t be eating on the floor no more! Do you know how hard it is on me, to get up to grab stuff? You know I have a bad back…and a long-ass torso!”