You know that feeling you get around the approaching holidays? It’s that feeling of excitement, nostalgia, bittersweetness, and sometimes sadness. What am I thankful for? What should I buy everyone for Christmas this year? And the ever impending, what is my New Year’s resolution going to be? I for one, have never been one to focus on resolutions. If I want to make a change, or give myself a challenge, or focus my energy on something, I do it at any time of the year! Why wait for January 1st? It’s too much pressure to make it a once-a-year situation.

But this year, I’m taking a new stance.

I already know what you’re thinking…why is she writing about New Year’s resolutions when it is not even Thanksgiving yet…? This is why, my friends: The new year is only 6 weeks away. Only 6. It seems like a lot, but it’s a very little. And my new stance requires some planning. So, here it is.

Start the new year by doing all the things that we do not like to do. Mainly? Health checkups. For me, this means going to see the dentist and my lady doctor (Ughhhhh) the one person I avoid as much as I possibly can. There is no instance in life that makes you feel more vulnerable and akin to a science project as when you are naked under a measly paper dress, lying on your back, staring back and forth at the florescent ceiling lights and the daunting steel speculum, your little feet in icy metal stirrups, answering questions about your past sex-capades in the same sentence as reviewing your grandmother’s breast cancer history. BUT! Enough fantasizing about next week’s appointment’s, it MUST be done! Guys, I’m sure that quick grope and a cough are equally as traumatizing. But, again, it has to be done.

This has really been on my mind lately. I read a story in the news about a 40 year old woman, dying of cervical cancer, lying in her hospice bed in her home and watching her 1 year old daughter play next to her in her final days on earth. For some reason, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I could not stop thinking about her and how her life trajectory changed in the blink of an eye. After focusing on her tragedy for a while, I decided to let her circumstance be the slap in the face that I need to get my butt in gear. In that moment, I made a promise to myself to go and make all the appointments that I hate making, suck it up, and check it off my to-do list, and have it all taken care of by the start of the new year so I can spend less time stressing about what I ‘should be’ doing and more time doing the things I love, with the people and furballs I love.

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Now ladies, a typical checkup isn’t ALWAYS bad, but this time, I am getting a full screening. I am going in, and asking my doc for every test in the book, including the BRCA test, which can tell you if you carry a gene for breast cancer. Given that my mom, my aunt and my grandma all had breast cancer, I don’t want to leave anything to chance. If you have any family history of breast cancer in your family, I encourage you to be brave and get the test with me. And, while you’re at it, might as well make that trip to the dentist with me as well. Sparkling clean teeth? Nothing bad about that. Just doooo ittttt. Make the appointment, as close to January 1st as possible, and get your new year started with a BANG. What could be more fun than ringing in 2016 with a drill in your mouth!?

So, other than keeping up with our health checkups, get everything else out of the way that seems to loom over your head throughout the year. Smog check, brake tune-up, tire rotation? Just do it. Need to go through that spare bedroom, junk drawer, overflowing closet? Get rid of what you don’t need. Really need a deep cleaning session in the kitchen? Break out those rubber gloves. Whatever it is that just kinda makes you cringe a little when you think about it, THAT is what to focus your energy on getting out of the way. Think of how much better you’ll feel as we transition into a fresh new year with a sparkling clean, clutter free home or a car that is in tip top condition and purrs like a kitten. Ahhhh, I’m imagining it already, and it feels great.

OKAYYYYYY!!!!!! Enough ADULT talk, how about a picture of this guy!

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With Thanksgiving coming next week, it seems like once again, the holidays are coming in full swing, seeping in through every nook and cranny, and whipping us all into a tradition overload frenzy. And, I kinda love it. Anticipating being with my whole family, decorating the house, dusting off those handed down recipe cards that only make an appearance once a year, putting my cozy plaid comforter on my bed, all of the things that make this time of year special. Yes, it can get overwhelming. But on Thanksgiving day, when the kitchen is all aflutter with helping hands, the football game is on, the dogs are chasing each other around the couch, and the wine is flowing like the Mississippi, my most favorite thing to do is take a moment of silence and reflection. I take myself, (and my wine), outside, and take in the chill and quiet air, and say my own prayer and give thanks for what I have in life and what I see when I look through the window. Because, honestly, it’s pretty special.

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I wish you all the happiest of happy Thanksgivings, and a wonderful holiday season. Don’t forget to take a moment away from the hustle and bustle, and feel gratitude in the fact that you are alive and well with so much to be thankful for. I am truly thankful to each and every one of you, my readers, who choose to come over to my little blog land and read about my latest thoughts, inspirations and baking experiments. It truly, from the bottom of my heart, means the world to me. Much love to you all now and always. Cheers!

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