(Annabelle loves ornaments on the tree.)As a new year begins, I usually pick one word or short phrase to focus on as an annual theme. One might think of this theme as a resolution. Last year, I chose the phrase "One Step." Annabelle had just learned to walk and stabilize herself. It was an exciting moment to see her walk those first steps slowly yet steadily! As an additional bonus, we witnessed the event with close friends and my parents, who were visiting Knoxville that weekend. The idea behind this chosen mantra was to live and remain present in the moments of today.
With a similar motto, my 2022 theme, "One Step," now leads into my 2023 theme. My chosen word this year is "Appreciation." I hope to show appreciation for the people in my life and the kindness extended to my family by several individuals. I seek to appreciate the blessings found in the present moment with loved ones and close friends. Like Annabelle's first steps walking, rather than being consumed by self-goals and tasks, taking time to be mindful right now seems paramount!
American society rushes through life, sometimes without appreciating the many blessings afforded to this country. New Year's Day becomes a resolution list, rather than another year to really live and celebrate presence over just more stuff to do. The responsibilities of life present enough stuff to do without adding to the pile of endless nothings. The days can seem long when stuck in a perpetual cycle of survival mode and paying bills. With a bit of fun and maybe even doing something for oneself, the year can be transformed into a period of jubilee.
As some readers know, my grandfather, Jim Cartee, Sr, died this past year. I wrote a blog entry to commemorate and honor his memory. His death was instant in my experience. One minute he was here, healthy, and living a good life. And then, he was gone. It made me realize that we should appreciate every blessing and every minute of life. We never know if today will be our last. We must recognize with newfound awareness that today is a gift, and tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Living with this intentional awareness makes us appreciate where we are right now.
These photos were some of my favorite captured moments this holiday season. These pictures capture the essence and joy of life in the present.
(Lisa and I attended the Zoolumination event in Nashville, Tennessee at the zoo. The decorations represent historic Asian symbols and villages.)
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