Meet Me In Calabash

A Visit to Calabash, NC…..

Welcome to Calabash, NC

We recently had the opportunity to visit friends in Calabash, North Carolina. I had never heard of it before and was thrilled to discover this wonderful, quaint town in North Carolina minutes from North Myrtle Beach.

Sunset Beach…..

We flew into Myrtle Beach in just short of two hours. A quick flight is always the best way to start a vacation. And then the fun began.

We stayed in Brunswick Plantation, a manicured golf-course gated community with condos, sprawling greens and new houses being built every day. There are pools surrounded by the lakes there and the views are outstanding. It was just a comfortable, restful place to be.

The first day seemed to be the best possible weather of the week so that was the day we visited Sunset Beach. I was the most excited to go to the beach and was even happier that my husband and friends enjoyed it as well. Not only did you have a beautiful beach with clean sand and ocean sounds, but you can sit under the pier and not be in the sun if you chose. I loved running my toes through the water and breathing in the fragrant ocean breeze.

Besides the beach, we visited many wonderful restaurants in Calabash and North Myrtle Beach. Some that I would highly recommend are:

I am a seafood aficionado and I had to try all the seafood I could for most meals. I had grouper, shrimp, stuffed flounder, fried clams and awesome clam dip. We started the week at Abuelos for delicious Mexican food and ended it at Grumpy Monks with delicious hamburgers.

            . Abuelos

            . Boundary House

            . Clarks

            . Fillet’s

            . Grumpy Monk

            . Flying Fish

At Fillet’s we sat outside and watched the boats go in and out of the moving pier. We watched the sunset and enjoyed a feast of stuffed flounder, triggerfish ( a new fish I had never tried, almost like a filet of sole), tuna and so much more. We definitely over-ordered but what a memorable meal!

Sunset from deck of Fillets

Besides eating, we enjoyed ice cream at Molly’s Creamery a few times during our visit. We visited Barefoot Landing and Broadway at the Beach boardwalks during the week. Each of these boardwalks had their unique style and definitely a Carolina flavor to it. There was so much to see and do that it will require another visit.

Barefoot Landing:

Barefoot Landing is a large shopping complex located in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It consists of several divided sections of stores and attractions located on filled land over top of Louis Lake, next to the Intracoastal Waterway. Barefoot Landing was previously known as the Village of the Barefoot Traders which was a collection of 15 unusual gift shops that was located on 3½ acres along a natural marsh and in 1988 was rebuilt and opened as Barefoot Landing. The complex, a popular tourist attraction, has over 100 stores and restaurants, on all sides of a small lake, plus it has adjoining areas with Alabama TheatreHouse of Blues and Alligator Adventure.

We ate at the Flying Fish, which has the fish of the day, and many choices of seafood specials. There I tried my absolute favorite fish, grouper, This was the first time I had it fried and it was definitely different and very enjoyable.

There were so many fun sites to see, games to play and a great place for all ages. When we left, we drove around and admired the real estate available near Barefoot Landing and the surrounding areas.

Broadway at the Beach

Broadway at the Beach is located off Highway 17, Broadway at the Beach is a must-see for Grand Strand visitors. There are over 100 specialty shops that sell everything from T-shirts and sunglasses to fine jewelry and high-end shoes. Also, there are more than 20 restaurants that feature all kinds of food, from hamburgers to great local specialties. Broadway at the Beach also contains a 23-acre lake surrounded by boardwalk, making it a great place to stroll on a sunny day or balmy night. During the summer, the boardwalk has live music and other events. There are so many fun activities to try including zip-lining for the adventurous, and Paula Dean’s restaurant and store for those who love browsing. You can never do it all in one visit. We ended our visit with lunch at the Grumpy Monk—one of the biggest burgers I have ever had.

It makes your mouth water….

I can’t wait to visit Calabash again and discover all the other secrets it has to offer. Please share any of your experiences from Calabash or North Myrtle Beach…..

The Beach: Relax and Destress

Whether it’s digging your toes in the sand, or collecting seashells while dodging small, coastline waves, nothing compares to the serenity you feel when you go to the beach. The salt air smell and the calmness of watching the waves, can make all the stress leave your body.

Why do people love the beach?

People are willing to pack up their car for a day of sun and fun at the beach with food, drink, towels and chairs. Sometimes they even have a radio with them (now replaced by music on a phone) which means you only have to add some ear buds to your packing. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen.

We pack with such gusto even though we know our car will be full of sand on our return. The benefit of this is that we can smell the beach for days to come, until we decide to visit that car wash. We sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic to feel the sand between our toes and breathe that special salt air.

Relaxing and Renewal at the Shore

By Timo Wagner on Unsplash

There are no words to describe the feeling you get when you hear the crashing of the waves on the beach, coupled with children and families laughing together, forgetting the weight of the world. Collecting seashells becomes the priority of the day and phones become a part of our other world. A release from real life in a place that we feel at home and together with the earth.

Sometimes when I go to the beach, I close my eyes, breathe in the smells and listen to the world around me. This replaces the everyday noises of trucks, buses and interrupting texts and phone calls that boggle our lives. It is a time to release our anxiety and feel happy throughout our souls. Putting your phone on silent is the most rewarding part of getting away for the dayMost people have a favorite beach close to home that they visit to get away from it all and to reconnect with nature and their inner calmness. This beach is much different than the one we visit on vacation where we sign up for all the activities, we can fit into our days of being away from home. This beach is where we can do some critical thinking, re-evaluate our lives and feel total renewal before going back to our “normal, everyday life”. Some compare it to the feeling you get after a good workout – relieve stress, feel renewed.

The beach can pick you up out of a deep rut or sadness, and make you feel part of the earth. Somehow problems seem to be less intense when sitting on the sand and listening to the sounds of the ocean and people relaxing and leaving their troubles behind. If you are able to take a nap, you will be lulled asleep by the sounds of the crackling waves, the birds flying around and children laughing. If this doesn’t make you feel better, nothing will.

By Salomon Riedo on Unsplash

I love collecting seashells and then cleaning them in a bucket. When I go home, I sort through and find the ones I will keep in my treasured display. I rewash them and have them dry so I am ready to add another beach day to my collection. My seashell collection varies from one shell designs to coral looking shapes that I can display on my tables. These fancier shells are ones I found in Florida and Delaware beaches. The beaches I visit in New York contain mostly the one shell looking design. These simple shells add to my big bowl collection as a fill-in around those other more grandiose looking shells which can tell their own story. I often wonder how far these shells have traveled, what other beach goers have admired them, and how long they have been in existence. My day of visiting the beach continues as I admire my shells for weeks to come.

Whether you have a good book or a refreshing drink, the day of fun and relaxation in the sun is like no other…….

Please take a look at my other stories on Vocal Media.

Getting Back to Normal

So now that Covid restrictions are being lifted one at a time, people are getting back into the world. Each step back into a “new normal” feels wonderful and different. We were stuck without our loved ones, our routines, our fun nights out for so long that we are just staring in anticipation at what we hope will be a great summer to make up for last year’s debacle.

Time to enjoy every bit of nature…..Photo by kira schwarz on Pexels.com

Last week was the first time I drove back to my gym for a class. For the last 15 months I have been taking virtual classes. It felt so weird driving there, almost as if I was breaking a law. It will probably become a routine again after I go a few times a week. But what has changed? Well, now I don’t have to drive there everyday as I can still take virtual classes. This allows me to mix it up and to also not miss a workout if driving doesn’t fit into the schedule. I will use those virtual workouts when I am busy on a project or traveling, but overall am looking forward to seeing people on a daily basis. I also think that you work harder during an in-person workout than on Zoom. I often caught myself going to do other things in the middle of a workout. Can’t do that at the gym so I will be making the gym more of a priority.

Relax and enjoy the world around you… Photo by Dainis Graveris on Pexels.com

The other change is getting together with people. I looked at my weekly calendar this morning and was excited to see that I had lots of things planned. In fact, on Friday, I have two events. That’s a big deal after not having any at all. People are anxious to see each other, to truly renew friendships and to enjoy the little things in life that perhaps some of us took for granted.

In fact, this week I plan to visit my school which I retired teaching from during the pandemic. I hope to see some of my students and give them an official goodbye. I was lucky enough to see some of my colleagues at our first in-person book club meeting since Covid. It was a wonderful time to reconnect and honestly, we didn’t even discuss the book this time as people were so excited to be together in a fun setting in person and not on Zoom.

So I wish all of you a Happy Summer and hope that you fill it with days that are complete and fun and full of everything important to you that you missed during our “over a year pause of life”. It is time to make those memories , always cherishing each other and realizing that fragility of life as we know it can be taken away in a moment’s notice. So love more, hug longer and reach out to those you have missed these past 15 months.

How are you celebrating returning to real life? I would love to hear your stories.

My Cuddle Muffin

My First Dog Love

When you find a dog that melts every part of your heart, you know that this dog is part of your family and part of your life unconditionally.

Years ago, I lost my dog Buddy after 12 years. It was heart-wrenching to watch him go over the Rainbow Bridge and not see him when I came home from work or running errands. No matter how bad of a day you had, the tail wagging and puppy kisses can make everything better. And especially when there is no one else to greet you.

Today is his birthday and every year I feel the same sadness. He was lovable and loyal and meant so much to our family. Through his blindness and epilepsy, which he developed at three years old, his love was still unconditional. We bought him at a Puppy Store when my children were very young. Soon after we found out all the problems he had (being bred at a puppy mill). I would recommend that anyone who wants a dog to love should go the rescue route so you can avoid cross-breeding and illnesses that make you upset (and a little broke too)

I swore that I could not go through this heartache again. But then a dog comes into your life….

Enter My Cuddle Muffin

My happy little traveler.

My husband and I were engaged to be married and had a few meetings with our priest. Our priest had a Bichon Frise, named Faux Pas (an oops or mistake in French), who I immediately fell in love with. She was rescued by him, found on the side of a country road. He knew that when he brought her home to his wife, he would hear about his faux pas, hence, so that is what he decided to call her. She is the most loving, cuddly little bichon that makes you feel so happy inside. Every time we met with him, she would sit close to me and listen to our conversations and sigh happily. I couldn’t wait for our next meeting to see her again. I kept resisting because I knew how heartbreaking it was to lose a dog you loved and did not want to endure that pain. But the love continued to grow….

Our priest would ask us what we would name our dog if we had one. He even said a dog like Faux Pas. I immediately said Penne like the Pasta and then she would be Penne Gallagher, representing both her Italian and Irish owners.

We got married about five months later. We knew that Faux Pas was pregnant and our priest often asked us how we would feel having a little Penne. I was still resistant because my heart was still broken from losing my Buddy just a few years before.

The day of our wedding we were told that we were being given the female of the litter as a wedding gift. We were still very hesitant. Did we want to take on a dog now? Could we go through the pain of losing another animal down the road? So many questions, we wondered what to do.

We went to the rectory about a month later to visit. Prior to getting there, we discussed that if we see this precious little puppy we would think about it before committing to taking her. Well, there was no thinking. As he handed us our little bundle, he said “Welcome to your forever family” and we were immediately in love with her.

She was the runt of the litter and so very tiny. She fit in the palm of my husband’s hand. We had never seen anything so precious.

Frantically, we took her to PetCo with us as we had nothing ready at home. We left the rectory with her favorite squishy toy and a bundle of hope. She is the daughter of a rescue on the side of the road and she is the most pleasant, lovable, wonderful dog that I ever had.

When we watched The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon called out for Penny three times, our Penne girl would look up and listen. She knew her name immediately and she felt at home in our house. She is the queen of our castle. Penne does bark when she sees other dogs walk by our house but if you come in expect to be kissed and jumped on with more excitement than you have ever witnessed. Her short legs will try desperately to climb up and she often needs help getting onto a chair or couch. Bichons are incredibly smart and she knows what time she gets her treats and her food, and she is sure to bark and let you know. It amazes me how her bark is different for each thing she wants. If you didn’t know better you would look in her eyes and see some human qualities.

Penne tilts her head when you speak to her. We tell her everything we are doing as if she is a human being. She understands when we say that we are going to Florida to see Grandma and delightfully hops in the car for the long ride down. She loves our daughters and son-in-laws and loves the little babies (our grandchildren) that visit. All she has is love and kisses to give.

Penne celebrates all holidays with us…..

Every moment is fun and loving and she loves us both unconditionally. We take her everywhere that she is allowed to go, and when we can’t she misses us and often feels anxiety. We are so thankful and blessed, and most of all, overjoyed that there was a Faux Pas on the side of the road to give us our beautiful baby.

She loves laying on a mat watching me cook.



Penne loves shopping too!!!

I shared this story in a Vocal Challenge and hope you will click here to view.

Do you have a story about a dog you rescued?

What Is A Mother ?

A Mother’s Love….

Elaine Gallagher

by ELAINE GALLAGHER 14 days ago in PARENTS

What is a Mother?A Mother's Love....Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

What is a Mother’s Love?

A mother’s love is like nothing else in the world. It knows no boundaries and will crush anything that stands in its path. It is an unconditional love, with no strings attached. You love your child for who they are, who they have become and no matter what.

Today on the seventh anniversary of my mother’s death I look back at a mother’s love and how it is like no other love in the world. I fondly remember my mother always sticking by me no matter what, and always encouraging me to fulfill my dreams. My mother was the most precious, selfless and caring person I know. I often thought about her this year during Covid and sometimes even chuckled when I imagined her responses to certain situations. I feel my mother’s love through her family as well, so this year of separation has been even more difficult for me.

I think we realize our own mother’s love even more, when we become a mother. The day that you become a mother changes your life forever. All of a sudden, the trivial things that upset you no longer matter as you gaze upon this little person who needs you for the rest of their lives. The immediate love and bond you feel is unexplainable, and so hard to describe to someone who has not felt this. Before I had children, people would tell me that it was the strongest love ever created. I did not believe that until it happened to me and no one can surpass the love you feel for your children because they are a part of your soul, your heart, and your whole life.

By Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

Today as I reflect in sadness and complete grief as I think about my own mother’s passing on this day, I realize that love continues beyond the place we live, the earth, and the moon and the stars. It is a feeling that never leaves your inner being. It is a love that never ends.

The love you have for your children goes way into adulthood and until you suffer your own death, when it then becomes eternal love. We relish moments that are not even seen by others and we see our children grow into responsible, caring, wonderful adults. As a mom, I wake up proud every single day when I think of my daughters and the beautiful women they have become. I feel extremely responsible for instilling values in them, as well as positive thinking and self-esteem. Life is a roller coaster, and we have been on a very enormous one this past year, that keeps on giving us ups and downs. The most important thing is to go with the flow of these ups and downs and continue to grow as people. And never forget the love inside of you. Most of all, never forget the gift of life that you were able to be a part of as a mother.

This year I had the privilege and honor of becoming a grandmother for the first time. Although my grandson lives far away (farther because of Covid limitations), I feel a love that is different yet just as strong as the love I felt when I gave birth to my own children. As soon as I met him, I felt like he was a part of me and my heart and my life forever. It gives me such joy to see him growing up (thank goodness for Facetime) and I am so very proud of the mother that my daughter has become. It makes me so proud to see her taking care of this little guy and giving him unconditional love. Perhaps she even remembers how I took care of her throughout her life.

By 𝔥𝔦𝔩𝔩𝔞𝔯𝔶 𝔭𝔢𝔯𝔞𝔩𝔱𝔞 on Unsplash
By Christian Bowen on Unsplash

I remember when my mother became a grandmother and told me there was no better feeling in the whole world. Well, now years later, and without her to share it with, I feel that unconditional and amazing love for a little baby who carries on my family. Looking into the eyes of your grandchild can only give us hope and confidence for a brighter future. It is a love that knows no boundaries. My mother lived for her grandchildren and I totally understand that now. I feel such a deep sadness when I realize that my mother never got to see her great grandchild. I only hope she sees him from above and is beaming with love and pride.

I hope that all of you will take the time to think about your own mother and how special she is. Tell her as often as you can how much you love her, need her and appreciate all she does for you. Moms are pretty simple—the smallest token of love goes a long way. So this year on Mother’s Day and any other time you can, hug your mom a little longer, and a little harder, because she won’t always be there. Treasure her and make good memories that will stay in your heart forever. I miss my mother every single day but rejoice in all the wonderful memories I have of her and the love she brought to our family.

By Ryan ‘O’ Niel on Unsplash

What is Gratitude?

What is gratitude?

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. It also means the readiness to show appreciation for kindness and to be willing to return kindness. Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness for what you have and not always wanting more. When you are grateful, you acknowledge the goodness in your life and feel positive emotions, enjoy and relish good experiences, and continue to build strong relationships.

Be grateful and thankful….

How does grateful feel? It is a feeling of being thankful and appreciative. An example would be how you feel when a friend does something exceptionally nice for you.

How Do We Practice Gratitude?

  1. Notice good things in life, look for them and always appreciate them.
  2. Savor and pay attention to all these good things in your life.
  3. Express your gratitude to others and to yourself. Thank someone.

In the Bible, it says “Give thanks to all circumstances; for this is the will of God”. When you regularly practice gratitude, you take time to notice and reflect on things you are thankful for and, overall, you will experience positive emotions. This can lead to more sleep, feeling more alive with more compassion and kindness. Gratitude also enhances your immune systems.

Give thanks to all circumstances.

People are more successful when they practice gratitude. They reach their goals and make 20% more progress than those who do not practice gratitude.

Practice Gratitude Daily

Take time each day to practice gratitude and you will definitely see a significant increase in your happiness and your overall physical health. Daily practice improves sleep, boosts immunity and may decrease the risk of disease. It is hard to practice gratitude and we have to work hard to cultivate this daily practice.

Here are some ways to practice gratitude daily:

            . meditate on things you are grateful to have in your life. Practice mindfulness on step at a time and a little more each day.

Take time every day for yourself….

            . think about what you are grateful for as soon as you wake up (someone or something)

            . reflect on people or things you are thankful for at work when you are done for the day. Sometimes thinking of someone after a long day is all you need for a boost.

            . keep a list of what you are grateful for handy (and update it often) to look at throughout your day.

Gratitude Can Change Your Life

Gratitude changes your life because it makes you reflect and appreciate what you have in your life rather than what you don’t have. It can change your life by being a very powerful source of inspiration that you can tap into. Just pay attention to the simple beauty in everyday life and what we often take for granted. More people are feeling grateful after living through this pandemic and fearing tomorrow. It helps us to reflect and appreciate all that we have. In these times, it is even more important to reflect on how grateful we are.

Show Gratitude to Someone Who Helps You

How can you show gratitude to someone who helps you? There are many ways to do this. Just a few ideas:

            . a card or handwritten note expressing your gratitude

            . a hug

Express yourself….
Think without interruption….

            . a compliment

            . perform a random act of kindness

            . provide encouragement when they need it

. a quick text to say you are thinking of someone.

Make a List of What You are Grateful For

Think about what you are grateful for in your life and make a list. It can include:

            . your parents

            . your family

            . your best friend

            . your teachers

            . your colleagues

Next to each item on your grateful list state reasons why you are grateful for them. For example, I am grateful for my parents because they gave me life and raised me with love and support.

Does Gratitude Relieve Stress?

Being grateful for what you have in your life can immediately enhance your mood and give you happiness in the inside. This can help strengthen and create a positive nature within ourselves which can combat stress. If you have positive thoughts before you go to sleep, you will sleep better.

Express Gratitude Daily

There are ways to express gratitude daily:

  1. Write in a journal that you keep with you and only use to express gratitude.

( I purchased a premade journal that I find useful)

Continue reading “What is Gratitude?”

What is Happiness?

What is happiness? Can it be defined in a word, in a sentence, in a song? Why are we not happy even when things are going right in our lives? Do we know what happiness really is?

Happiness is a feeling….

Did you know that happiness does not depend on what we have? Happiness depends on how we feel about what we have. Did you notice some people are happier with less and miserable with more? Happiness is such a powerful human emotion yet often the least understood. Happy people have more control over their physical health and “happiness” as well. When we are happy we feel more self-worth and confidence. We are often disappointed when we get something we hope for, yet we are still not happy. You can honestly see when someone is happy by they way they carry around some sort of positive brilliance wherever they go.

We can define happiness as having meaning and satisfaction with one’s life. It is not merely about material things. It is experiencing a sense of purpose. It is not simply an external pleasure. It is connecting with others, having meaningful relationships in your life, and feeling a sense of community around you. Many people have learned that money definitely does not buy happiness.

Happiness in Relationships

We are defined often by the people in our lives. We cherish our relationships and they should be the primary source of our happiness. When a major relationship in our life fails to bring happiness, we are reluctant and afraid to make changes in fear of not finding anything better to give us true happiness. People who are happy in their marriage or relationship, happy with their close group of friends and extended family, are often the people who understand the true meaning of happiness. It can’t be bought, it must be felt.

Sharing and caring

Happiness in our Career

Whether we choose a career or just a job to get through our lives, what we do every day is a major part of our overall happiness. When you jump out of bed because you love what you do then you are experiencing happiness and fulfillment. When you work too many hours, and not happily, this has an affect directly on the other possible parts of happiness in your life. Most people are afraid to take risks and often stay in a mundane work environment for fear of trying something new that interests them, and also fear of failing.

Happiness with Ourselves

Yes, we are a society that looks at physical appearance and a person’s attractiveness, so many of us feel if we lose weight, buy new clothes, etc., we will become happier people. We will become healthier, but happiness is so much deeper than that. We should never stop trying to eat healthier, increase physical activity and take care of our bodies. However, we need to have a combination of needs met in order for this to add to our happiness.

Breathe in happiness…..

Honestly, I can talk about happiness for pages on end. Right now, each of us has a specific key to find their true happiness. It is usually a combination of many things, but mostly a feeling of self-worth and contentment in many major areas of our lives. Each day is a journey to achieving this happiness. Happiness changes along the journey and we need to notice the changes in our own individual needs.

I hope that you can find a way to make yourself happy, even in these not so normal times. Perhaps this is the best time to evaluate what really makes us happy and to see life for what it really is, when so many people around us are suffering.

Some synonyms for happiness:

jovial, harmonious, ideal, delightful, dazzling, flourishing…..

Can you think of some to add to that list?

A New Year With New Hope

It is the end of December of one of the worst years most of us have lived through and we are counting the days until 2021, with hope in our hearts…. Some people lost loved ones, some people lost jobs and others just survived the consequences and loneliness of isolation and separation because of the pandemic.

We all know that this awful year will not leave us at the stroke of midnight, however, we have hopes that things will only get better, month by month. Yes, they do predict that numbers will rise after the holidays, but hopefully as people start getting vaccinated, this will continue to change for the better. Many people question whether they feel comfortable taking the vaccine, so it will be a wait and see kind of New Year, but one filled with hope…

Look towards the year ahead.

Every new year we compose a list of “promises”, or resolutions, that we have made for the new year such as losing weight, eating healthier, forgiving others, and the list continues. This year all of our lists will be different but one thing that they will all have in common is that we will all enter the new year with hope and with an appreciation of human life and a special appreciation of the little things in life that are really the most important.

So as we enter 2021, leaving awful 2020 behind here are some thoughts of what we are hoping for:

1. The end of the pandemic:

We all are hoping that the new year will bring an end to the pandemic so that people can get back to their lives. Many will have to rebuild their lives with new jobs, new places to live and a new acceptance of what has been taken away through the pandemic.

2. Loving each other again:

Not only did we suffer a pandemic, but the year 2020 also consisted of riots, hatred and a presidential election like no other in history. Our country is divided more so than ever before and we are not sure how to heal. Will we ever get along with someone who believes in the opposite political party? When did your political affiliation make you less of a friend, brother or sister? What happened to the days when people accepted each other for their different opinions, their different upbringings and their life choices. Instead of embracing each other, we have become a nation divided. I am not sure that this will change in 2021 but hopefully it will get better.

Plan for a better year for all of us.

3. Enjoying the small moments:

After being locked up in our homes for months, wearing masks and not hugging our loved ones, hopefully this year will bring us back to some state of normalcy. For example, just going to a movie or concert will be so special after not leaving our homes. Having a family gathering, whether it be a wedding or birthday, without worrying about contact or testing, will be a wonderful change for all of us. As we enter back into our lives, I hope that we all take a step back each time we have a new experience in 2021 and cherish it as it was taken away from us during the pandemic.

4. Continue kindness:

People were humble and kind during the pandemic. Neighborhoods thought of new ways to make celebrating happen, like Zoom parties, drive through holiday displays and drive-in movies even made a comeback. We were kind to let people ahead of us online, to keep our six foot distance and to respect the rules that our government placed on us during the pandemic.

5. Kids can be kids again:

Not only have adults had loss and frustration, but our children had their school lives ripped apart. From playing with their friends and enjoying learning in school, they ended up in front of a laptop that they didn’t know how to navigate and were expected to complete their studies as if nothing had happened. Parents, struggling with their own work changes, became teachers. Teachers became round the clock workers trying to please everyone and prove their worth. We know our children will be behind academically, but what will be the effect on them socially? When life returns to normal (maybe the next school year), we need to treat them with extra kindness and support as they re-enter the normal world of school.

Look at life through a child’s eyes.

6. Families can begin to heal:

Many people died during the pandemic and most were not “celebrated” the way we are accustomed to. There were no wakes, funerals, or memorials. Thankfully, social media did become a way for people to express condolences and love during this very trying period. These families will not get their loved ones back and will have to figure out how to continue without them in 2021. We need to be there for them and for each other.

A new year with new hope….

So let’s take a deep breath and think about what we want for the new year. I know that I want people to be happy, to enjoy life and to be able to be together without fear. I am going to hope for that hug, that kiss, and that sharing with loved ones that I have missed during this long, debilitating pandemic. Of course, I am going to go back on my diet and start my exercise program with enthusiasm, but that will not be my goal for 2021. My hope for 2021 is the end of the pandemic, the restoration of society and our lives as back to normal as they possibly can be.

Happy New Year to all my readers. I hope that this next year finds you healthy, happy and most of all appreciative of all the small moments in our lives.