It was Christmas Eve. That’s a fancy way of me telling you this happened a few days ago, at least from this “as I’m writing” moment. My emotions were all over the place: incredulous, joyous, hopeful, unfathomably sad. One of my sons pointed out a somber fact. It was, so far as any of us could recall, the first time we had all been in my home, on Christmas, all together without anyone missing, since my daughter, Chynna, passed away. Fifteen years is too long to be apart on Christmas Eve. But, that’s the way our family is structured. We had someone in the military for 4 years who lived hours away for a decade. We had someone in college, now away at law school. We had someone who was apt to be called into job action at a moment’s notice. Two of our someone’s work on Christmas, more often than not. It’s the battle cry of a modern-day family. We were determined, this year, to make the most of every single minute. The beautiful sound of children was so loud at times, I resisted the temptation to cover my ears. There were gifts, jokes, and numerous instances one of us started a sentence with “remember that time.” That’s when one of the boys asked if everyone recalled the first time mom made sugar cookies. Laughter filled every crevice of my kitchen. I was not offended. I was elated. What mom doesn’t appreciate a teaching moment?
Columns & Editorials
Ok it’s over. I want to be filled with positivity and thankfulness. Don’t get me wrong, I kinda am, but there is almost dread for what is ahead of me. I want so much more this year. Also, I can’t help it. I am focusing a little on what didn’t go great over the holidays. Now that we are here. Where do we start?
New Year’s Financial Resolutions
Dear Aunt B Readers, I want to take this time to express my gratitude to each one of you for reading my humble words. You may not realize it, but your presence as readers of this column is invaluable and honored.
“You can really tell right from wrong because when you hit someone, you feel sorry for them,” says David, age 9. “Like if you kick someone in the knee, you feel bad,” adds Paul, 10.
Proverbs lays it out well for us gals, the gold standard description for what a good woman should be. That woman is worth more than diamonds. She knits. She’s organized. She has gumption. She’s creative. She’s insanely intelligent, yet kind. She elevates her husband. She nurtures her children. She creates wealth. She is beautiful, not because of how she looks, but because of how she has aligned her heart to God. I love everything about this woman. I do find the pedestal she stands on to be surrounded by very steep steps. While the things we aspire to are meant to be difficult in terms of acquisition, my frustration, nonetheless, still mounts. Did this Proverbs woman ever lose a child, I wonder? Did she fight Stage 3 cancer? Ever lose a breast? Ever have a car repossessed? Suffer a home foreclosure? Feel like the days were dark and the nights too long? Of course, she did, I reason with myself. She did all of this in biblical days, bereft of things like electricity, modern medicine, and Walmart. Still, I believe that the best way to get from the basement to the roof is to journey in increments. First, I gotta climb up to the kitchen level. Then, once I’ve acclimated, I can shoot for the second-floor bedroom. Finally, I can find the roof. So, on the way to the Proverbs woman, might I introduce you to a really sweet lady I met in Ecclesiastes?
Time: A Key Element Of Investing
Letter to the
Avoid Tapping into Retirement Savings Early
WITH LUKE CLAYTON
“I think love is being kind, helpful and caring for others,” says Patrick, 7. “I once showed love for my mom when I agreed to go to her favorite restaurant after I tasted their food.”
By the time you read this, it will be shockingly close to Christmas. I hope some things have come to fruition by then. I hope I’m finished Christmas shopping. I hope I’ve figured out a solid porch decoration plan. Lord knows the things I envisioned haven’t developed accordingly. I hope the new kitten has allowed the main Christmas tree to remain in an upright position. Phoebe is, clearly, part owl, choosing to roost among the plastic- coated branches. I hope the world has slowed its spin just a touch. This time of year tends to be a holiday version of that dreaded 70s metal merry-go-round, the one that made us all puke if we closed our eyes while some older kid did the spinning. I hope I will have taken some time to do the things that keep me sane: watch The Family Stone while snuggling with an entire box of tissue, make chocolate candy but not eat any, and surrender myself into a chapter of Luke each day. These things are good for my soul, like chicken soup for a small-town granny’s heart. If today is any predictor, I am on the right track.