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You have been created one of a kind. On this planet earth, there has never been one like you, and there will never be again. Your spirit, your thoughts and feelings, your ability to reason and act all exist in no one else. The rarities that make you special are no mere accident. The very beating of your heart has meaning and purpose. You have been created in order that you may make a difference. Everything you do matters. You can shape the lives of others today and tomorrow and the next day and the next. Your life...and what you do with it today...matters forever.

What I know about life

Michael Josephson, Character Counts, shares these thoughts, so appropriate for the start of a new year. “The older I get the less I know, but I know some things. I know that I'm a work in process and that there will always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be. I know that I don't have to be sick to get better and that every day brings opportunities to improve my life and my character. I know that it's easier to talk about integrity than to live it and that the true test is my willingness to do the right thing even when it costs more than I want to pay.

"I know that it takes years to build trust and only seconds to destroy it. I know that I can't control what will happen to me but that I have a lot to say about what happens in me. I know that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. I know that attitudes, both good and bad, are contagious. I know that winning is more than coming in first and that there's no real victory without honor. I know that it takes a conscientious effort to be kind, but that kindness changes lives. I know that real success is being significant.

"I know that happiness is deeper and more enduring than either pleasure or fun. I know that you become the person you will always be by the choices you make. You can sell out your character, but it’s the one thing you cannot buy. I know that the surest road to happiness is good relationships and that the best way to have good relationships is to be a good person.”

In the new year may I suggest...

Get together with friends and neighbors. Hit the holiday sales and pay with cash. - Make a winter emergency kit for your car. Go green. Carry a reusable shopping bag. Recycle. Volunteer. Add granola to your oatmeal; start each day off with a healthy breakfast. Organize something, your sock drawer, silverware drawer, or your closet. Declutter. Simplify. Get off the couch and exercise. Eat whole grains, high fiber foods, fruits and vegetables. Eat several meals together as a family each week. Read a book. Tackle one tough job you’ve been putting off. Bake chocolate chip cookies. Burn a scented candle. Relax. Add new throw pillows to your sofa or bed. Add some life to your home with a living green plant. Chew sugarless gum; helps reduce stress. Take up a new hobby. Try photography. Smile. Laugh. Join 4-H. Eat one small bite of dark chocolate daily. Drink water. Call home. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Select your favorite ideas and enjoy the new year.

Life begins when you do

“Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Laugh. Play with abandon. Practice wellness. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Lead or follow a leader. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” – Mary Ann Radmacher

Simple Inspirations: “Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.” - Carl Bard

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