As the year winds down, I look back at all the changes in my life...a new book published, the last child grown and moving out on her own, how the grandson is maturing...and I am truly grateful. Even with all the minor annoyances, it's mostly been a good year. Thank you for your support and I hope that your year, in retrospect, has delivered more good than bad and that the coming year will be even better! ~Michael S. Pauley
Happy Hanukkah Day 8 (last day) ! Happy Christmas Eve! All the preparations come to fruition, families gather, share, drive each other a little crazy maybe. Enjoy your time together! HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ~ Michael S. Pauley
As we try to juggle celebrations, figure out who's going to whose house for what and when; as tempers start to fray a little from the logistics, I remind myself that we are all here and relatively healthy. We have food and gifts to share, we all homes to share them in; that is more than can be said for many. Our hearts go out to families who have lost loved one, especially when those love ones were soldiers, police, firemen, or others who gave their all in service to others. For many, this is their first major holiday without a beloved family member. We have several friends and some of my bride's former students who have lost relatives throughout this past year. The Holiday season can be tough anyway. Add in a loss and it can be overwhelming.
So no matter how hurried and harried you get, keep the spirit of the season. Be jolly. Share memories. Make more memories. ~Michael S. Pauley
If you haven't mailed those cards and gifts by now, you're probably too late! If you wait until next week to shop, you will probably just be frustrated. It seems that people get obsessed by getting stuff for other people, placing their orders for what they want to receive, and forget that it is the time we spend together that is priceless.
This year, with the kids more or less on their own, we are resorting to gift cards and items that, while not normally thought of as gifts, are things 20-somethings need and often do not or cannot get for themselves. A book by the oldest boy's favorite author (other than me!), kitty litter for the youngest daughter's cat, a bottle of the middle son's favorite rum. It has long been our tradition to give some gifts that are silly or just fun. One of those gifts for the youngest daughter was several cans of jellied cranberry sauce. She loves it and eats it out of the can with a spoon! As she was opening this gift the other night, we reminded her that some gifts are serious, some are silly and fun. When she saw what she got, she asked, "which is this? I love this stuff!" Our kids do not ask for expensive gifts and are at least polite about whatever they get. For us, it is more about being together. There have been some gatherings where we forgot about the gifts in the fun of eating our traditional buffet and watching holiday specials. Just the other night, the oldest boy was demanding to know when they would start showing 'Ralphie', because that has been one of our traditions together. These are the memories that last long after the gift is used up, out-grown, or broken. Take time to make some memories! ~Michael S. Pauley
Happy Hanukkah! Hanukkah began at sundown Tuesday night. Have a blessed Festival of Lights! It is also Advent for many. Advent began November 30 and continues through Christmas Eve. Both seasons remind us of the good things about humanity and add light and joy to our lives.
Yesterday we congratulated the Goodreads winners of the book set giveaway. If you are not familiar with Goodreads, it is like an electronic bookshelf where you can keep track of books you've read, those you want to read, reviews, interest groups, and much more. It is an excellent way to find out about new books in your favorite genres. There is even a group for Books that should be made into movies. You can join spirited discussions or just use it to keep track of your personal reading. ~Michael S. Pauley
The Goodreads Giveaway of two sets of The Gomer Wars is complete and the winners have been randomly selected. Congratulations to John and Connie, who each won a signed set of They Own the Night, The First Gomer Wars and Hell is the Night, The Second Gomer Wars. Their winnings are being sent out today. I hope they reach you in time for Christmas and that you enjoy the series. Thank you to everyone who entered. I appreciate the support! ~Michael S. Pauley
Our hearts go out to the Australian hostages and their families. To quote Queen Rania of Jordan, "Again irreligious extremists hold innocent people hostage and hijack Islam." Even the Grand Mufti of Australia and the Australian National Imams Council posted this to his Facebook "Such actions are denounced in part and in whole in Islam," (Quotes from CNN). This radical hostage-taker does not seem to have any real demands, other than a flag and phone call, or any real plan. None of these lone wolf types seem to have a desire for anything other than for the rest of us to die. If their goal is to convert more people to Islam, they are failing miserably.
Our thoughts and prayers are that this turns out well for the hostages and that all are safely released. ~Michael S. Pauley
The Army-Navy game is this weekend! Talk about divided loyalties! As a Navy brat who served in the army for many (many) years, I am never sure who to pull for. Although it is good to get to see these teams play in a equitable game. Because of the weight restrictions on them, both teams are usually out-weighed and at a disadvantage when they play other college teams. It may not seem like such a big deal until you see a 180-200 pound guy trying to tackle a 280-300 pound guy. The Army-Navy game is always a good one, well-played from start to finish. This is a true gentleman's rivalry, being one oldest and best-known rivalries. Where else could you see the Chief of Naval Operations wearing a ship on his head? And the Army and Navy Spirit videos are a hoot! This is about the only college game I watch, as college football is not a passion of mine. You'd think being the pro football fanatic that I am, I would be more interested but the differences in the rules are frustrating to me.
Enjoy another weekend of football! ~ Michael S. Pauley
With the youngest moving out, everyone is asking us if we are suffering from empty nest syndrome. I wish! We may be empty of kids, but their stuff is still here. It's hard to tell if the child is gone when you still can't see the floor in their room and the only real evidence is that they aren't coming home at weird hours of the night. At least we can get into their bathroom now, although it probably needs to be professionally cleaned, and possibly fumigated. They say that while your children may grow up and leave, they will always be your babies. What they don't tell you is that you will always have custody of their stuff. Who knew kids collected so much over the years, all of it sacred memorabilia? Every piece of artwork and every fast-food toy must be saved and cherished, apparently. We are keeping the box-selling stores in business right now and my bride has made numerous trips to the storage facility. I guess that's what happens when you get to live in one place for a number of years. When we were getting transferred on a regular basis, we had to purge regularly. Now we seem to have retained every piece of crap the kids ever touched! Yep, looking forward to that empty nest. ~Michael S. Pauley
Michael S. Pauley is a Navy brat and an old soldier who served in all three components of the United States Army. Living in Lexington, South Carolina, Michael is now a practicing attorney and member of the United States Naval Institute and the American Legion, Post 154, Tybee Island, Georgia.