Happy 2016!

Happy New YearEditor’s Note: Being at a family member’s house who happens to live on a different timezone means, you will wake up on your timezone. That’s just how it is. And when you attempt to be quiet because you are the only one awake, every sound will be amplified 10 times over.

Goals vs. Resolutions

Another day I will try reflecting on 2015, but right now is not the time it seems. Throughout life we all from time to time will say, “This year will be different.” This year I resolve to do this…” “My New Year’s resolution is…” In previous years, I have tried instead to create goals, not resolutions. Resolutions are so empty and often lack true commitment. Here is how Google defines Resolution:

Define Resolution

Resolutions seems like the kind of thing you can only make at the beginning of the year, while that isn’t true, tradition has made it seem that way. With goals, you can and must make a plan if you want any kind of success. I attended a health webinar once where the speaker said we should plan for what we want to accomplish. It immediately seemed like something with a project plan and due dates. What if we take those resolutions and do the same thing?

As someone argued in a meme I saw, why wait until a New Year, why not start Monday. Since New Year’s Day is on a Friday this year, I will start Monday.

Health Goals

This year I have to get healthier or I will die. Maybe not this year, but how much damage can you do to your body and it fully recover? As you get older, your recovery time takes longer and longer and if you are too close on some health issue, you stay there and eventually go over the line if you don’t change. I eat too much and not enough of the things that are truly good for me. So eventually I will probably develop things like diabetes and high blood pressure, things that perhaps right now are hopefully still preventable if I make the necessary changes in my life. I got a Fitbit Charge HR for Christmas. While I wouldn’t use a defibrillator on someone based on Fitbit’s heart rate tracking,  it has shown me my resting heart rate is probably higher than it should be from carrying the extra weight my body has.

Faith Goals

I am sure some would say, I should have put these before health and they are right and I thought of them first thing this morning but the health goals have weighed on my mind a lot lately along with my faith goals. I want to pray more. Often, deliberately, thanking the Lord for all of the many blessings in my life. I have so many blessings in my life and while I know there are struggles I will face this year, I want to face them “prayed up” and with the moments and issues of the day in the Lord’s hands. I will have so many decisions to make in the coming year, big ones, with people depending on me. I want to make the right decisions. I need to rely on the Lord to be sure I make those right decisions.

I want to be a lot less selfish. I feel I was selfish in 2015. I didn’t give as often. I didn’t share as often. I wanted too many material things when all along I had the things I needed. There is a big difference between want and need. As I have talked about before, we have to realize we have the things we need and that is the most important thing. God provides what we need. Wants are often selfish and empty things. I appreciate the things I have. God has been good to me though nothing I have done or could ever do has earned the grace God have given me. Things done is love can never be selfish. This year I will love more


So I just have to make my project plans for these goals. And for my Faith goals, I must live my faith more than I speak of my faith. I have to make plans and not resolutions. Hopefully these are goals I will stick with. If I do, my 2016 will be the best year of my life. Happy 2016!

In Memory of Panda

Panda, my dogHow do you decide it is time? I am not afraid of Death, just the timing of it. I am afraid the Lord will bring me home before I am ready to go. And the issue we always face is, “there was so much I wanted to do before I died”. If you want to do something before you die, start living today. I read about how “bucket lists” are a waste. You know the movie, The Bucket List. In this movie Jack Nicholson’s character creates a bucket list of things he wants to do before he dies. Because of this movie, many have been inspired to make their own bucket lists of things they want to do before they die. But if you don’t know when you are going to die, it is probably better to start doing these things now rather than wait. We don’t all get a fatal disease with an almost known date of date. Those months or even days to live doctors are known to give in TV and movies are guesses at best. A man given a year to live, lived for twelve more years. The woman given six months to live died four days later. So if you aren’t living the life you want, it is time to start because tomorrow is not a given.

Today, I lost a good friend, Panda. Panda was a wonderful dog. She had been suffering for a while and while many times I thought it might be time I found ways to see if she could make it a few more days. Lately she had been sleeping a lot more, turning around in circles over and over for no apparent reason, waiting up with her body shaped like a letter C from arthritis, and walking into corners of the room just standing there. She was biting herself a lot and she was having trouble with her hind legs at times, not holding her up properly. I had been giving her various things to try and make her comfortable. But after searching online on how to know when it is time, I realized it really is time and perhaps it has only been convenient for me that she kept living, not convenient for her. I could only help ease her pain, not stop her pain with anything I could give her. When she walked into a corner today unable to figure out how to get out and her legs shaking at the attempts, I realize she needed this to end. So I called the vet and explained what I had seen the last few weeks and months and she said to bring her in. Probably dementia, probably failing kidneys, probably arthritis, probably many other things that we could only alleviate so much but not fix at this point. At 15 1/2 years old, she had lived a good life.

She belonged originally to my wife. I adopted Panda as part of our marriage. When she was younger, Panda, not my wife, she used to chase tennis balls in the yard. She was such a high energy dog back then. Over time Panda became “my” dog, probably because I do most of the cooking in my house and because of that, guess who always go the left overs. Panda is like me in a lot of ways, we both would eat because there was food, not so much because we were hungry. For a time she was probably eating too much because of that. Unlike me though, I was able to reduce the amount of table scraps I fed her. Over time I knew what she liked a lot, and what didn’t like all that much. Like me, there wasn’t much she wouldn’t eat except maybe broccoli. I will eat broccoli but if it is overcooked, I am not a fan. And there were things she would eat that she wasn’t supposed to. Like candy the kids left laying around after Halloween.

Long ago she and her best bud, Max (another dog we used to have before he passed away) played so well together. Panda did nip at his years but in a loving way, never intent to hurt Max. Max was not the smartest dog but Panda was the George to Max’s Lennie. They were such a great pair. And Panda was as heartbroken as I when  Max passed away. Today I am heartbroken. I have cherished Panda. She was my bud, my kitchen cleaning pal, my middle of the night, I really gotta go, gotta go right now, companion who tapped danced all through the house when she needed to pee in the middle of the night. Today in that Vet’s office my eyes sweat. To see how pitiful she looked quickly took away the feelings of, “Am I doing the right thing?” It was the right thing. And when I am unable to care for myself, kept alive only by a machine, it will be the right thing for me too. If dogs go to heaven, Panda is running around with some old friends today. I hope Max is one of them.