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Well, folks, we have come to the end of Christmas 2017. Merry Christmas to all of my friends and family who wished me a great Christmas on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn. It was a great Christmas for the Gardner Family and one I will remember for some time. I hope all of you had as great a day as I did. The above picture is my family (- my sister who was taking the picture) right before digging into a homemade feast of Goose, Mashed Potatoes, Squash, Cranberry Sauce, and Dressing!

I had a great time with my family, had some great food (courtesy my Mom), and just relaxed, enjoying the time we had together over the last few days. Tomorrow everyone will be back to work and the day-to-day buzz will drown out the solitude some of you may have experienced. For the remained of this month you’ll be getting prepared for New Year’s celebrations, tidy up last-minute details at work, coordinate your plans and get ready for the big “ball drop” day.

For the remainder of the year, I’ll be continuing my battery re-charge, coupled with a lot of reading and contemplating the goals I have for 2018. Some I am working on currently, others are yet to be discovered. My days will be filled with dreaming, contemplating, and planning. They’ll also be filled with watching the DVDs my Dad and I got, reading some of the books I got, spending time with Mom and Dad working on one of the two jigsaw puzzles we received, and maybe, just maybe, playing a little of the Xbox game my niece sent me. It’ll be a great time!

Recently, I reconnected with a friend. This guy served with me in the Berlin Brigade (West Germany before unification). He reached out to me on Facebook “out of the blue” and it’s like we were never apart. Obviously, we both have a little grayer in the temples and beards than we did “way back when”, but he’s the same guy that used to kick my butt in chess on a daily basis. That was a special “Christmas” present that was totally unexpected. I’ll be spending some time with him over the next week as well.

Wherever you are, a new year brings hope for better times, working on new habits and getting rid of some bad ones. The new year brings new experiences, new jobs, getting married, having babies, making new friends, graduating from college, and so many more wonderful things. It’s doctor, dentist, and optometrist appointments, it’s grocery shopping, it’s a new promotion, it’s moving on to a new job. Perhaps your new year will bring moving to a new place and start over or donate time to your favorite charity. The new year presents endless possibilities, waiting to be discovered.

Enjoy the last few days of 2017.

Prepare for 2018.

Love one another. Cherish your friends. Appreciate the place you call home, your family, your pets, and all of the wonderful things in your life. Be grateful for the blessings that this life brings. Be grateful for the laughter, even the tears. Be grateful for the God-given talents you have and the ones that are waiting for you to uncover. Be grateful.

As we wind down 2017, I am grateful to you, my readers. I wish all of you the very best over the last few years of 2017. I hope you attain even greater heights of love and happiness in 2018.

For those of you that are having a tough time right now, remember to cherish even the smallest things. Life will get better for you. Life always does. During these times of trouble, be patient. Trouble will pass and good times will return. Make an extra effort to give of yourself during these troubled times. You’ll find that your giving will be returned in one way or another.

I’ll post again on New Year’s Day. I’ll see you then.

Until next time…

Dave

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