So…how was your year?  If you’re anything like me, 2011 proved to be very interesting.  I was reminded of quite a few things throughout this past year and I’d like to take a moment to reflect.

I’ll start with the heavy items first:
  • Not that I needed the lesson, but I was reminded of the critical health of one son while being schooled on just how easy it could have been to lose another.  We’re only one auto accident away you know.

  • How fragile the love of a parent is and how deep the loss can be when we’re forced to say goodbye too soon.

  • How a ridiculously hectic schedule seemingly without purpose at times can conspire against you if you’re not careful.

  • How I had what seemed to be no time at all for myself.

  • Like many of you, I pressed toward the end of this year thinking about my youth.  My last young man turned 17 this year.  He now finds it curious that both he and his father are both the same age now.

  • And just in time to cap the year off, I had a health scare of my own.  Just another attempt at getting my own attention I’m sure.

Looking at that list above, I’m sure you’re tempted to think that 2011 was a really tough year for the Gaines home.  I certainly can’t dismiss any of those events, they are simply the facts.  Thank goodness the real story is rarely about the facts alone.  This is where I take a moment to acknowledge what this note is really about, the magic of 2011.

In spite of the turbulence concerning the health of my sons, they are not only fine, but they’re doing well and all three have grown even closer.  While coping with the loss of my mother in law, a truly wonderful person inside and out, I’m thankful everyday that my own mom is still around and how precious the time is that we have left.

It’s true, it really did ‘seem’ as if I had no time for myself, but I actually ‘took’ some time for a vacation.  In fact it was one of the very best vacations that we’ve ever experienced as a family.  I was also reminded of the power of a picture.  Here’s a shot of my grandson Jason, a 2011 baby, holding on to who he calls his favorite person.  His granddaddy!  Well, if he’s saying it, it has to be true.  All of my siblings got together this year for a family portrait that we all love and my parents cherish.

Tommy & Bump Gaines and their crew (8-deep)

In the teeth of being tossed around this year, my family grew stronger.  While the pressure and stress took more than just a few rounds in the past twelve months, there is no denying that I’m still alive and breathing with plenty to do.  In fact, call me crazy, but I think I got a shot at winning this fight.  I made some sizeable steps professionally in 2011 and plan to take bigger steps in 2012.

In the belly of all the trouble, I re-discovered the power of laughter and doing something that you love.  I was reminded of how important it is to make laughter a part of the program, its tonic for the soul.  The tough points on health, including my own were only resting points to reflect upon and teach a bald man with a super hard head some much needed lessons to review.

On occasion, I have to remind myself that we’ve come through some hefty trials before and we’re still here to talk about it and even better to celebrate it.  Whatever the situation is, if it doesn’t kill you, allow it to make you stronger Greg.

This is not a ‘resolution’ message by the way.  This is a note about choosing which vision we allow to shape our life.  I was told once that I was too sentimental.  Emotional? Definitely.  Too sentimental?  No.  I simply believe in magic…not just the facts.  We have all the facts, they’re everywhere, but that’s just where the story begins.  Where we go from the ‘beginning’ is really up to us, no one else.

Let 2012 be about the magic.  Give yourself an opportunity to hear ‘yes’ by taking positive steps to help yourself in whatever endeavor that holds your passion hostage.  I’m speaking to myself as well as you. Let’s take some reasonable risks and see what happens.  Be open to allowing ‘no’ to teach you a few things along the way, not to stop you.  Whatever you do, please do not allow the ‘facts’ to dictate all the steps of your path, that takes no imagination.  Leave a little room for the magic of a comeback to ring true for you and your family.

2011 taught me a lot…it was actually a very special year.  Happy New Year my friend, let the magic begin.  Have a terrific day, week, year.


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