My new year started off with a Bang the past week! I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard it. (Not a literal but rather a figurative “Bang!”, of course.)
What a fantastic week and auspicious start to the new year here! Hope yours went as well, and as always, please don’t be shy and feel free to share in the Comments. We would all love to hear about it!
Here is a quick recap of my past week . . . . .
I have always been an avid bird lover and watcher. One of my most favorite little birds is the Black-capped Chickadee. Despite recognizing all of their various songs and “dee-dee-dee-dee-dee” alarm calls, I had never actually seen one live and in person.
Until Monday! Walking my little chihuahua, Allie, I paused at a spot to let her do her ritual sniffing of the fallen leaves and grass routine when all of a sudden I heard two Chickadees.
I looked up and there they were, a pair of Black-capped Chickadees no more than four feet away in a small tree above my head. I was able to watch them go about their business for several minutes.
Then, walking a little further ahead, I again paused near a friend’s bird feeders to let Allie roam about on the lawn. Within two minutes, I saw a pair of Bluebirds, more Black-capped Chickadees, a pair of Cardinals, and numerous Purple and House Finches, capped off by a White-breasted Nuthatch going up and down the tree beside me, again mere feet away. What an amazing winter walk we had that morning!
The most amazing, red-letter day —
I became a “Grandpa” for the first time!
Having had four children of my own including a set of twins, I have always joked and kidded around that I have been training all of my life to be a “Grandpa.” And now, looky here — I am one!!
Tuesday saw the birth of my first grandchild! Little Pendleton Robert Milson was welcomed into the family, firstborn of my son Matthew and his delightful wife Samantha. Marvelous kids who will make outstanding parents! I could not imagine a baby being blessed with more wonderful parents.
(Of course, I am biased! But please grant a proud Grandpa a little leeway and license to brag, yeah?)
Way to go and most sincere, heartfelt congratulations to Matthew, Samantha, and baby Pendleton!!
On Wednesday morning, I received a lovely note from a “Little Red Bear” stories reader, enjoying “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” and apparently not even finished yet, (Wait ’til she gets to the story about the Woodboogers!) —
“Dear Jim — I just wanted to sit a spell and tell you how much I am enjoying “The Adventures of Little Red Bear”. Although I am a city slicker, my husband grew up around the Ozarks areas of the stories and is well acquainted with hollers and criks. Reading your book is such a delight, as I become engrossed in Little Bear’s adventures. I just had to smile as I leaned back and fell into Little Red Bear’s world. The stories and voice of Little Red Bear are so needed for kids and adults and I am so appreciative that you share these stories!! Thank you so much!” — L.H.
Thank you, L.H., for your kind and generous note! Little Red Bear even put down the honey jar and broke into a Happy Dance across the kitchen floor. Wish you could have seen it! When Red breaks into a dance, it rattles the cabin floors in such a way as to rival a small earthquake. And he rattled them for quite a spell after reading your kindhearted and thoughtful note!
Having eliminated all royalties on my Little Red Bear books at the beginning of the COVID Pandemic to make the books and stories as affordable as possible for everyone, reader notes such as this touch my heart. If you would like to see what others have had to say about the stories, check out “Little Red Bear Book Reviews & Reader Comments!”
Thursday saw the publication of a new blog post, the first official piece of the new year here — “Guided By The Golden Rule — Living Happily with Kindness and Compassion”.
With my primary mission this year to get back to regular writing, the new post got the ball rolling right on schedule.
On Friday morning, I had another follow-up visit with the doctor for the recent Rotator Cuff Surgery on my right shoulder. Thanks to the amazing work of Dr. Spitzfaden, the orthopedic surgeon, and the efforts of Marla B., my physical therapist, I passed all movement and strength examinations with flying colors. All of the therapy work and at-home exercises paid off in grand fashion and I was granted an early release.
So, I am most happy to report that while continued healing and strength training work will continue for the next year (and maybe two, the doctor said), my right shoulder is now functioning amazingly well, with it being only eleven weeks, less than three months out from surgery.
And, not to overlook, the feeling has returned to around 90% in all of my fingers, following the bilateral carpal tunnel and trigger finger surgeries on both hands in June. So, though still nursing along an irreparably damaged left shoulder which may result in a future shoulder replacement at some point, other areas are definitely trending up.
Living on the outskirts of St. Louis and the nearby Ozarks Mountains region, we received our first measurable snowfall of the winter season on Saturday morning. It was only about a little less than an inch, but so beautiful.
With snow on the ground and gorgeous pink sunsets framed by bare tree branches out my windows in early evenings, winter always holds its own very special beauty for me.
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.” – Edith Sitwell
What do you enjoy most about the Winter Season? Please share in the Comments.
Maybe it is simply the fact that I am once again typing away at nearly full-speed on the laptop with my newly rehabbed shoulder and hand surgeries, working on new Little Red Bear adventure stories, and getting ready to share yet another new writing piece with you already in the new year!
And that in itself is pretty special all on its own, isn’t it?
So, what an amazing week, don’t you think?!? Feeling truly blessed in so many ways, not the least of which is having you reading along to share it.
Sometimes we can pick up on the dark clouds hanging over someone and the struggles they may be going thru, but oftentimes not. That is when a simple kind word or gesture may serve to turn someone’s entire day or life around, a kindness freely shared and shining thru the darkness.
We all go thru turmoil and issues in our lives that are frequently not visible to others, and perhaps that is when an unexpected kindness counts the most.
Will you shine your special light and help to brighten someone’s day today? And again tomorrow? I invite you to join “The Smile & Compliment Club” and allow kindness to become a regular practice in your life. It will make a world of difference for others, and for yourself, as well.
‘Til next time! — Jim (and Red!) 🤠 🐻
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
“In music, in the sea, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness . . . I see what people call God in all these things.” – Pablo Casals
Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends — “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”
“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”
– Maya Angelou
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