A brand-spanking new, shiny, and as yet unblemished and dent-free New Year. The start of a new year is like a new car, fresh off the assembly line, complete with an assumed bumper-to-bumper warranty, many expectant miles to log on the odometer, and all the hopes and dreams which only a new car smell can inspire.
At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve annual hopes and goals spring anew within our hearts, as daffodils bursting thru late snow beckon the long-awaited arrival of Spring.
Maybe yet another way of looking at a new year is as a blank slate with our having no way of knowing what will be written upon it as the year unfolds. What do we each hope and plan to write on our slate for the year? How will this new year, still full of January’s fresh hopes and promises, be scored when the coming year’s unforeseen events, decisions, and actions cast long shadows in December?
Regardless of our individual approaches to a new year, most regard it as a time of looking forward with a fresh start, of high expectations, of planning and preparing.
Taking a moment first to look back before looking forward, the year just passed was one of the busiest and perhaps more challenging of my life (having counted 69 of them now!), including two out of town cross country trip weddings for my twin sons, with a major relocation move sandwiched in between in the summer months, and extended absences while dog- and house-sitting for others sprinkled thru the year. It seemed at times as though writing distractions seemed to leap out from behind every corner.
When Thanksgiving came and went, and the last trip and activity had been marked off the calendar, the schedule wondrously opened thru the remainder of the year to finally complete the summer’s delayed moving work of unpacking, settling into my new home, and getting back to writing with Little Red Bear. But, as we should know, the Universe sometimes has other plans and things in mind for us which always seem to take precedent.
As Facebook Friends are aware (not previously shared elsewhere), the year concluded on a more challenging note when I ruptured the biceps distal tendon below the elbow in my right (primary) arm the last week of November when lifting a ridiculously (now looking back) heavy box unpacking, resulting in surgery on December 7th to repair and reattach the totally shredded and displaced tendon to the radius bone below the elbow. Two separate incisions, drilling, a washer, pins, and assorted medical magic and miracles.
A post-surgery full arm cast was replaced at Christmas by what friends refer to as my new ‘Robo Arm’ brace, which I will continue to wear for the foreseeable future, recovery presumably measured in months and not weeks. (The photo is a mirror image, really my right arm. Left hand did its best trying to get the photo.)
“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”
– Dennis P. Kimbro
With my right arm and hand prohibited from any movement or use at all with the sole exception of twice-daily therapy stretches, my left arm and hand (hereinafter referred to as “Lefty”) have both had a very steep learning curve the past month. Happy to report that Lefty is doing very well, better than expected actually, and is solely doing the typing and preparation work for this post.
(Doing well, that is, with the notable exception of being able to eat soup without embarrassment and adding to the laundry pile.
And on a related note – why is that upon hearing of your surgery and suddenly limited to sole use of your off-hand, friends all rush to bring bowls of healing Soup to your aid?
Not to sound unappreciative, because I truly am grateful and love homemade soups, but a pepperoni pizza or cheeseburger didn’t occur to anyone at all? This is the first holiday season in which I actually lost weight. Soup – the under-appreciated weightloss secret.
Sorry, I digressed. Hunger tends to have that distracting effect on me, regrettably.)
Lefty will continue to fly solo until such time as Righty is cleared for return to duty. Therapy is going very well, so “hoping” it will not be too, too long before Righty can at least get back to typing. Will see. Sharing this only so everyone understands the uncharacteristic absence of regular posts and annual new holiday features the past several weeks.
Traditional New Year’s Resolutions in and of themselves are not a thing here, most often having been an exercise in self-deluding folly and foolishness in the past. That being said, it would be no less foolhardy setting sail without noting the prevailing wind direction and at least an idea of where you hoped to eventually arrive.
Looking forward to the New Year then, while beginning the new year with my ‘good’ arm figuratively tied behind my back for an undetermined period, there are a number of things we (that would be Little Red Bear and me) still plan to focus on and look forward to accomplishing in the coming year.
- A resumption of regular blog posting activities and pages focusing on the important themes of Children, Family, Kindness, Compassion, Positivity, Inclusion, Diversity, Wildlife, and Mother Nature. That is what we have been and will continue to be about here.
- An increased focus on heightening awareness, saving, and preserving the environment and natural world around us for our children and future generations. There is no backup or “Earth 2.0” in the works. We all share this planet as our home, and it is the only one we have.
- Joining with the focus on Positivity, more attention on self-awareness, improvement, and our place in the Cosmos. Why do so many seem to be increasingly disconnected today?
- Continuing to freely share more feature stories of interest (like the Haddon Sundblom ‘Coke Santa’ feature), original short stories (like the ‘Susie’s Bear’ story), and works of Poetry (like the recent ‘Tex-Mex and Rex’ poem). (Yes – there will be more poetry – consider yourself warned.)
- Completion of the long-anticipated second collection of Little Red Bear stories book – “The Second Holler Over!” for release in the fall. More new characters – new locations – more adventures – and a somewhat novel new format. Watch for updates as we get closer to the release date!
- Adding more games, puzzles, and other activities to Little Red Bear’s Activities Pages for children. Watch for new ‘Coloring Pages’ coming soon, featuring domestic animals, wildlife, flowers, and other items from nature to help educate and interest the little ones, including several characters from “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” stories!
- A resumption of the popular “Ask Little Red Bear” feature, wherein Red responds to reader questions. He already has an accumulated stack to get thru, but if you have any questions regarding one of Red’s stories, nature, or life advice in general, please just send them along and Red will try his best to get to them around writing sessions (and fishing).
- Continuation of the always popular “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes” specials for holidays and seasons thru the year, with a few additional now and then concentrating on one dish and variations. Stay tuned.
- Continue developmental work on a series of Picture Book type stories in verse for Little Red Bear, Cinnamon Charlie, and their friends, to bring Red’s messages of kindness, positivity, and nature more intimately and in a more colorfully fun way to pre-readers and little ones, and to distribute to those in hospital care.
- Add a new feature presenting interesting historical and background information on some of the topics, locations, characters, and other items influencing but perhaps not actually making it either in whole or in part into the Little Red Bear stories. Only so much can be fit into the short story format or into a book, and so much material which must be trimmed is fascinating from a true historical or inspirational sense. Red thought you might enjoy seeing some of it.
- Call back Rusty the Fairydiddle, our intrepid little Red Squirrel Reporter, from his extended personal appearance tour following his featured role in the “Pine Holler Christmas” story, to conduct some more character interviews for you, like the one he did with Groovy Gary that time.
- Time permitting (and we really want to do these!) the publication of separate standalone Little Red Bear stories (like “Pine Holler Christmas”) — a conservation-themed story entitled “Walking With Trees” for which I am doing extensive reading and research at present for a targeted summer release, a ‘Not-So-Frightfully-Scary’, Spooky Halloween Story for fall, and a second Christmas-themed story for the holidays, tentatively titled “Little Red Bear and the Kris Kringle Krinkle Krunch Krewe.”
- Because many of our readers are Seniors with Little Red Bear being enjoyed from one end of the age spectrum to the other, we will attempt to make the already published books available in Large Print editions, as many have requested. But, like the publishing of other books, this one may likely require more outside technical help beyond my abilities, so will be dependent on financial resources and ability to bring this about in addition to the publication of the new works listed above. This may be the most “iffy” with hospital surgery bills coming in the mail and extended therapy copays, but again — we really would like to do this for our senior readers.
- Lastly, in the “thinking about” stage, perhaps doing a continuing feature with Little Red Bear, Cinnamon Charlie, and their friends in Little Red Bear Land, freely shared on the Writing Pages here in weekly installments, either in continuing serialized story form like the weekly ‘Little Orphan Annie’, ‘The Lone Ranger’, ‘Flash Gordon’, and other radio serials years ago, or with more of a “Happening This Week in Little Red Bear Land” news story approach in a Garrison Keillor “Tales From Lake Wobegon” fashion. Either way, just considering and trying to work it out with Red as possibly something fun to do and share. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on this one, which approach sounds most interesting, or other, please let us know in the comments. We would love to hear them!
Seems like an ambitious list, doesn’t it? But isn’t that the whole idea expressed by the old phrases “Shoot for the stars!”, “Reach for the sky!”, “Go for the gusto!”, “Go the limit!”, and others? The whole purpose of making the effort and stretching our abilities to improve and grow?
Little Red Bear and I may not achieve all of these goals this year, because as my ‘Robo Arm’ indicates, life can unexpectedly intervene and alter the best-made plans at times.
But the approach here has always been that small, incremental daily changes add up to big results over time, getting up each morning a little further down the road towards our goal than the previous morning and the morning before that. A decision to be healthier this time last year led to me changing my lifestyle and slowly losing just a little over a pound a week last year. No big deal. But again, small incremental changes add up to big results over time. In my case, a 66-pound weight loss over the year, significantly reduced blood pressure, no blood sugar issues, and every pre-surgery blood test within normal ranges. Keep taking small steps, and sooner than later you will get there!
So, will we reach all of the above goals? Well, just like the weight loss, we are going to keep at it each and every day, step by step, and give it our persistent and very best effort. And whether we achieve all, some, or only a few items, we will be further down the road and in a better place with our writing work and mission than where we begin today. Little Red Bear and I feel that we are already in a better place and off to a very good start by simply having made our list and having set the guideposts for our journey this year.
In summary, Little Red Bear and I will strive to continue bringing new posts, features, and creative projects to the Writing Pages with the intention of being Entertaining, Informative, and Educational, while also helping to Encourage everyone to become their very best true self.
If we do that, we feel, that come December it will have been a very good year, and any shadows cast will all be positive.
Little Red Bear and I have set our course. The above items are intended as the Guideposts for our journey thru this new year as we continue to do our small part in trying to make the world a more kind and gentle home for every one and every thing. We hope that you will be here to join with us each step along the way!
Even if so many may not end up holding that wished-for winning lottery ticket in the coming months, there are loads of things we can engrave upon our personal slates this year before we count down the seconds with bated breath while awaiting the magical clock strike heralding the arrival of the next shiny new year.
What are your plans for the New Year? For inspiration and ideas, I invite and encourage you to visit my fellow bloggers and friends, below, as they share their thoughts about the coming year. Then, perhaps pull out a blank slate to chart your course for the year!
And if unsure or having doubts about your ability to make positive changes in your own life this year, maybe it would help you to know that both Little Red Bear and I believe in you! Just take the first small step to get started. Then the next. And the next. And the next. Then, eventually, you will look back at this time next year and see how very far you have come!
For inspiration, visit — “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and “Finding A Purpose Driven Life – What Would You Do If . . . ?” Then get going on your slate and New Year!
Here is what my friends are doing . . . . . .
Thanks always for spending part of your day with us here, because when all is said and done, you are why we do this! Wishing you and yours the very best as you chart your own course for this shiny new year! — Jim (and Red!)
If you enjoyed this post, check out — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart”
Think Globally – Act Locally! Tomorrow Begins With YOU Today!
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James
Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends — “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
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With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens, School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.
Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site, dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.”
17 thoughts on “It’s A New Year — The Guideposts Are Set — Here’s Where We’re Going!”
I am so impressed with your attitude about everything! Sounds like 2019 is going to be a busy year for you and Little Bear but I have no doubt you will accomplish it all, no matter what obstacles are thrown your way. I will be sure to send you a virtual hamburger instead of soup for you and lefty! Hang in there! Sending you lots of healing prayers!
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Thank you for visiting and for the healing prayers, Rebecca! Getting better every day! To be honest, my list, though long, cannot compare to yours and that swimming with sharks adventure. That is so awesomely wonderful, as is your whole approach to the marine ecosystems for children. Wishing the very best with your writing and family in the coming new year! And with that whole shark swimming thing too, of course! 😀
Wow you have got a busy year ahead of you! Best get that arm of yours healed pronto Mr, although looks like Lefty is doing a stirling job as it is. Good luck with the wishlist, I have every faith you will smash it. Oh and I am totally in love with Rusty!
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Thank you for visiting and for your kind words and encouragement, Corrina! Rusty the Fairydiddle was supposed to be back on the job here today but was delayed by a major snowstorm over the weekend. I will pass your message along as soon as the little guy is able to scamper back! Very best wishes and every success in the New Year! 😀
Hi Jim, wow, another busy year ahead. Great to see all your plans in the face of your adversity. I am impressed you have managed to stay so positive and managed to write so amazingly well with Lefty. I hope Righty can take over some of the burden sooner rather than later. Small steps are the only way to travel along the road. They lead us to where we are going in an accomplished manner with confidence and a sense of achievement. Wishing you improved health and success with all your endeavours in 2019.
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Thanks for visiting and for your kind words and thoughts, Sandra! Ehhh, no adversity, just speed bumps. LOL! I still always have difficulty trying to wrap my head around living in an area with cockatoos and other exotic birds, and where kangaroos and echidnas wander freely thru the back yard! It must truly be amazing! Very best wishes and every success in the New Year! 😀
James, you never cease to amaze me with your hard work and stamina, regardless what you are going through. These things can be mentally wearing, but somehow, our perseverance tends to kick in and keep us going, right?
Your projects sound so wonderful and I can’t wait to see them this next year. You know Little Red Bear and his friends have already stole my heart so their future stories are ones I’m looking so forward to. “Walking With Trees” is another one I’m excited to hear about.
You know, I never thought about soup being a problem, but if course it would be hard. I was without my right hand for awhile due to a softball energy and I remember how it felt to not be able to do normal everyday things. It was wearing, but if I wanted to do something, I’d find a way to manage somehow.
Your posts always bring us so much joy. Thank you James!
Wishing you the best for 2019 and always.
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Thanks for visiting, Rosie, and for your very kind words of encouragement and inspiration! Life is Life, what it is. When we come to a roadblock we have a choice to turn off the engine, stop all progress, and wait it out, or to move on and find a way around it. The “Walking With Trees” story has been in my mind for a couple of years, knowing where I want to go with the predominant themes of conservation, preservation. and the critical importance of trees (and other flora and fauna) to our planet, but the Little Red Bear story to wrap around the information and message has eluded me. This is the year to bring it out. Just going to have to hide Red’s fishing poles and push him out the door for an extra adventure, I suppose. Very best to you and yours this year! 🤠
Wow! You have some awesome goals you’re working on. I especially love this, “An increased focus on heightening awareness, saving, and preserving the environment and natural world around us for our children and future generations.” That is a focus of mine also. ❤
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Thank You for visiting, Jacqui, and we certainly do share that concern and focus, one of the guiding themes of the Little Red Bear stories. I look forward to following and sharing your work going forward. Keep up the great work. Very best to you and yours this year! 🤠
What an inspirational and sometimes lyrical blog post, Jim! You have a way with words and this blog showed off your talent. Love all your themes and message of positivity. With all the challenges you’ve had this year, you are a sterling example of “shooting for the stars” despite adversities and “stretching your abilities to improve and grow” as a new year begins. And I’m rooting for lefty’s comeback! Hoping that 2019 is a kinder and gentler year for you.
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Thanks for visiting and for your kind well-wishes, Julie! We just “keep on keeping on”, right? Very best to you and yours this year! 🤠
Hey, Jim and Lefty -:D! I am beyond impressed with what you accomplished one-handed ….
PLUS all the amazing things you hope to achieve with Little Red Bear in 2019 (Yippy! Coloring pages!); PLUS lifestyle changes and weight loss;
PLUS your continued focus on positivity.
I’m also with you about life-style changes and taking baby steps to make my small part of the world a kinder place. Best of luck as you chart your course to a shiny 2019 -:D.
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Thanks for visiting, Cat! Frequently “patience” is very difficult when we want or desire something, but the realization that even the tiniest step forward is still a positive movement in the right direction and better than remaining stagnant or worse, regressing. Small steps. The key is to maintain focus, have faith while envisioning the end, and to simply keep stepping. Very best to you and yours this year! 🤠
Oh, Jim, I would bring a big fat cheeseburger in a heartbeat! What is funny about that is when I was younger and had bad case pneumonia, a number of friends brought me dinner over the course of a week. I wanted soup but everything that was brought to me was greasy fatty food. Like you I appreciate it everything it was super helpful but I wanted soup LOL
Those new activities for Little Bear sound great! You and lefty hang in there, its great to see you blogging again.
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Thanks, Carmela! Maybe we should start a movement for a new Uniform Caregiver’s Standard — “Sick = Soup, Injured = Pizza and Cheeseburgers”. Removes any confusion, yeah? Very best to you and yours this year! 🤠
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