Happy Holidays! (Yes “Holidays” because we’re kind of in between now aren’t we?)

39597-be-grateful-for-today-every-daySo the page is about to turn to the last month of the year and it won’t be long and we’ll be opening a new calendar up to welcome in 2017.  Yes, it’s cliche to say “wow, how fast the year goes by”, but yes, it does.

What I’m finding, or should I say coming to terms with, is not only how quickly the year goes by, but how quickly life goes by.  Not trying to sound all melancholy here, just stating the facts ma’am.  This past year I’ve said goodbye to friends, a family member and my dog.  Next summer I turn 50.  Losing people (and pets) that have been a big part of your life makes you feel like a piece of your past has ended, gone.  Not that it really has; our past and our memories will always be there, there’s just something so final about death.  (Again, not really meaning that to be cliche.)  That door closes and a chapter of your life is over forever.

My uncle Joe passed away last month.  The feeling of loss was much greater than I had anticipated.  He was so much a part of my youth and truly a significant influence in shaping the passions that I have in life today.  He taught me how to water ski, ride a minibike, canoe and shoot, and really influenced my love of the outdoors.  And labs, I’m a lifelong Labrador lover because of him.  Well, his black lab Boots really.

We spent almost every summer at the family cabin in Northern Minnesota.  I cried the year my parents said we weren’t going – we were going to Cocoa Beach, Florida instead.  Tough life, yes I know.  I have a lot of great memories from Cocoa Beach too by the way.   But those summers at the cabin were special and they are a big reason why I love Big Bear so much.  The lake, the trees – the outdoors. It just all fit for me.

I’m very grateful for where I live today, for parents who have selflessly helped to get me here, the wonderful man that I’m sharing my life with, and for the family and many friends with which I have wonderful memories with.  It’s hard seeing those chapters close, but I’m grateful for having lived them.  Despite all the crap going on in the world today, life is good and we are all very fortunate.

fcb30062-8eec-4c14-a6fd-8ef39b4085e8My parents and I joined Robin at his fire station in Vegas for Thanksgiving this year.  We had a wonderful celebration with the families from their station and it was an opportunity for my mom and dad to spend an afternoon in his life at work.  Yes mom got to ride in the engine and yes those guys are incredible cooks! On the way our of town, we went through the drive through at Starbucks for coffee.  The people in line ahead of us paid for our order.  (Thank you to whomever you were at the Starbucks in Henderson at the corner of St. Rose Parkway and Seven Hills Drive.)  We in turn paid for the folks in the car behind us and left the cashier at the window a tip with the change.  #payitforward #bekind #itsnotthatdamndifficulttobenice It was a small gesture of kindness, but it made our day.

So moral of this rambling story is: be kind, be grateful and cherish the chapters that have already closed.  You never know when the next chapter is going to close.  And to quote my friend Ben Thompson, “None of us are going to get out alive so live life like your hair is on fire!

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