The end is near! The end is near! The end is…well, no…not so fast…
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The end is near! The end is near! The end is…well, no…not so fast…

It’s just the end of 2012 that is upon us, and since the world didn’t end like my ancestors supposedly predicted, it’s time for my yearly wrap up of what I learned from the world around me.
  1. The older things get, sometimes, the more sensitive they become. This goes for the earth, and all the people in it. Throughout my life, I’ve made it a point of not speaking my mind on two subjects because of their personal and extremely volatile nature: Religion, and politics.  Nevertheless, this year, I found I couldn’t help myself. It was an election year after all. It was suited to the situation…but I regret opening my mouth all three times. My beliefs are unlike anyone else and tend to annoy the left, right, and the middle. You would think by now, we would have toughened up as a society and become impervious to the words of others. However, the older this world gets, and the more battle scars we develop; we are surprisingly more fragile and easily hurt. This has unfortunately forced me back in to my wordless public cocoon, save for the strong and obvious opinions I express on the pages of my books. Don’t worry, I’ll be back. Eventually.
  2. Learning to say no is a good and necessary tool. Everything in moderation is one of the smartest sayings I’ve ever heard and try to live by. Sometimes, I go overboard. I admit it. Especially if it involves popcorn, coffee and books. Stopping, for some is an absolute impossibility. It involves restrain that they just don’t have and it causes them great pain to even try. Lately, for me, even though I don’t usually have trouble saying it, it’s caused me great pain. For me it’s meant more hours away from accomplishing my goals, eating bad food, not getting the exercise I need, or the rest I need as a consequence and most importantly it’s taken a toll on my health. This year, I will stop. Listen more. Relearn to say no when needed, and remember that I am not good to anyone if I am not good to myself.
  3. Sometimes, you just have to let things go, and walk on. Sometimes we find a great pair of shoes. They look great, they feel great and you walk with confidence in them down the street. Then suddenly, one day something isn’t right. The shoes age slightly in a certain spot, then another and another. Now, those shoes just don’t fit as well, look as good, and that confident walk is long gone. You try and look beyond the blisters and calluses they cause, not to mention the pain in your neck and back from the different way you are being forced to walk. Then one day it hits you…it’s time to find new shoes. That good, old pair has lived its life. They were a great fit once, but now it’s time to find new shoes. Let the old ones go, and walk on.
  4. Family is still the best thing in the world, even though sometimes you want to strangle them. I will be the first one to admit, that I am a selfish, self-centered brat that drives my family crazy. I also know that they love me just the same. With that in mind, it's safe to say, that they are the same way for me sometimes. Not to say that they are selfish, self-centered or bratty,but sometimes they do things, say things, and act in ways that annoy me, butonly because I want the best for them and can clearly see what they are doingis not good. It happens in every family alive. You can’t help it. You want the bestfor each other. When I was writing Book III of The Dante Chronicles, The Traveler,I depicted this very behavior in the team because it was happening in my familyat that time. It was one of those moments where art imitates life and it reallyhelped me to see things clearer, and learn to better accept those moments whereI wanted to string them up by their toes…which is my weird way of saying Ireally want to reach out, hug them tightly, and just tell them how much I lovethem.
  5. Close friends will not be forgotten, even when they are far, far away. I have four really close friends, and our schedules are all crazy, so seeing each other is not easily done on a regular basis, not to mention two live really far away. Even though we don’t travel in the same tight circles we used to, we still make an effort to stay in touch by phone, text, email and the almighty Facebook or Twitter. So, I say to you Mark Helzer, Eren Loza, Eric Raleigh and adoptive little sister/BFF, Margo “The Margaret” Donohue…I love you all, and miss you terribly! Happy New Year, my Kindred!
  6. A four-legged companion is the greatest gift to you. This year, my family learned of a two-year old Chihuahua-mix, whose family had fallen on hard times and barely had enough to feed her, let alone care for her. We had been looking for a dog at local shelters, but hadn’t found one that suited our size needs, or wasn’t already snatched up by the time we went to meet them, plus I was having trouble finding one that fit the hole in my heart left from the loss of my special little fur-baby, Xena. When my sister called, and told me about the dog, my initial response was “A Chihuahua? I don’t like Chihuahuas!” I was thinking only of my Aunt’s chihuahua that bit me when I was a kid during a visit to her house. Then when my sister told me her circumstances, my head and my heart had a brief, single sentence conversation, “She needs us.” My life hasn’t been the same since that night when we picked up the little four-legged bundle of energy with Yoda-ears and a wrinkled brow…and I love the little bug we named Lulu, more and more every day.
Happy New Year to all!

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