Dear Cousin,


“To leave the old with a burst of song,/To recall the right and forgive the wrong;/ To forget the thing that binds you fast/ To the vain regrets of the year that’s past.” From “A Way to a Happy New Year” by Robert Brewster Beattie

The tired Old Year is leaving the hills, footsore and weary; he departs on a warm, sunny day. The sack he carries on his back is filled with many things—unfilled hopes, unexpressed desires, broken resolutions, unfinished tasks and the slights, hurts and disappointments of a whole year.

The past year was fraught with turmoil and danger. Many of our families have seen their loved ones deployed to fight a war, and some of them never returned. There have been natural disasters—earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and fire. Some families have had accidents, sickness and even death.

Yet, we have experienced happy times also. Babies have been born to eagerly awaiting parents, marriage vows taken by couples who are deeply in love, birthday celebrations by young and old alike, and anniversaries marking many, many years of marriage.

This year has marked the good and the bad, just as always. Life is a mixture of the joyful and the sad, life and death, and the commonplace and the unexpected. Mostly though, our days are made up of common, everyday matters that become almost routine. If we are not careful, we will miss the sudden glimpses of beauty that lifts us out of the ordinary to the sublime.

It may seem like little things, but these are the blessings that can turn a mundane day into one of sudden beauty. I happened to glance through the window just as the sun was setting in the opposite direction, to see Pilot Knob bathed in the afterglow of the sunset. The hill was a soft rose color, with golden highlights that gleamed in the gathering darkness. The surrounding hills were dark, with Pilot Knob standing out like a crown jewel.

The sun was slowly sinking in the west, with a few pink streaks remaining in the clear sky. While I watched, the first star of the night appeared, almost as bright as the quarter moon that hung above it. I had to whisper, “Thank you, God, for a glimpse into your celestial beauty—beauty that man can never emulate.”

Don’t ever take your children for granted. I know that many times you are tired, and they can be annoying. But the days roll into weeks, into months, and the years go by before you know what happened. It seems that time lasts forever when they are small, demanding and noisy. When you look back, the years have passed and they are gone.

Who can resist the gurgling laugh of a baby? The cares of the day seem to roll away when you bounce that little one on your lap or play patty-cake with him. The best stress reliever that I know is to hold a baby close and rock him to sleep. These are blessings that crown your day with peace and love.

Our grandson Josh grabbed Molly Anne, age four, in a tight hug just after she’d had a bath. Burying his nose in her soft neck, he exclaimed, “Oooh, Molly, you smell good! What have you got on?” She looked at him and said innocently, “Just my dress and panties!” These are moments that are priceless.

God has given us this one life, and it is made up of 24-hour days, which are soon weeks. Then a month has gone by, and one by one they are gone until another year is past. Sometimes we neglect the most important things in life to pursue goals that when and if they are reached, they bring no satisfaction. We realize then that we have lost precious, irreplaceable things along the way.

We stand at the very beginning of another New Year. Resolutions are made and too often forgotten in a few days. How much better it would be to ask God to help us be more aware of His everyday blessings! The people and things we take for granted now may sometime be gone forever.

The New Year has always seemed like a time for new beginnings. It is a good time to get rid of a lot of mental baggage, such as old grudges and hurts, failures and disappointments, and overlong grief and sorrows. In their place we need to ask God to fill us with love, compassion, mercy and concern for others. We will never be sorry we took time to help someone in trouble or showed love where it was needed.

It may be only a little thing that we can do, but God blesses the smallest effort.


God is in the little things:
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.
Thus the little minutes
Humble though they be
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.
By Julia A. Fletcher


Give everyone a hug for me,


Cousin Alyce Faye

The Waynedale News Staff
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