Every evening, before we go to bed, I like to ask Russ “What was the best thing about today?” It’s a good way to end the day, thinking about and discussing the positives of the day. So today, on my 61st birthday, I’ll extend that question to myself, but for the entire last year: What was the best thing about my 60th year of life?

There were many things I could mention, but with only a few moments of thought, I came up with this: my March visit to Mary in Seattle. I hadn’t seen Mary in a while, I’d never been to Seattle before, and we did a good deal of traveling, going into Canada overnight, and also taking a day trip to the delightful little mountain town of Leavenworth. Every picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let these pictures make my point.

Now, as long as I’m talking about “what was the best thing about last year,” I think it only fair to also mention what was the worst thing about last year, and surely that was losing Squee. Actually, more than just losing him a few weeks ago, it was all the weeks and months that led up to that moment, giving him medicines, trying different cat foods, multiple vet visits, and still seeing our once vibrant and healthy kitty cat practically dissolving before our eyes. That was bad, but now it’s over, and now we go on.

I should note is that my birthday marks one solid year since I started this blog. I haven’t been as active here as I had originally intended, but now that I’ve “found my voice again,” I’m hoping that will change. It’s good to have hope. So that’s one of my hopes for the future.

But I have another hope, one that I’m really excited about. Over the last couple of years, I have lost quite a bit of weight, going from about 195 pounds, all the way down to 155 last year at this time. In the last year, though, through various vacations (see the above-mentioned Seattle trip, as well as a couple of trips to Florida to visit my dad, plus our yearly trek to the beach), I managed to get back up to about 170. Not acceptable!

So, beginning tomorrow, as soon as the birthday cake is gone, I’m going back to what works for me: limited gluten and limited sugar. I was just talking to Mary and she is a big proponent of “NO gluten,” claiming that being extremely strict about keeping gluten out of your diet can make a BIG difference in your ability to lose weight, and I’m sure it can, but I don’t like to deal in absolutes. When you use words like “no” and “never” you open yourself up to failure so much more, which can so easily lead to discouragement, which can then lead to abandonment of your otherwise very good plan. So I prefer to deal with the word “limited,” which may in fact mean NO gluten or NO (overt) sugar on many days. But on the days when “absolutely no never not at all” is not in the cards, I can still consider myself successful.

So here I am. Sixty-one years old exactly. Today. And today I can thank God for all the wonderful things that have happened in my life, and for all the terrible things that have not. And I can look forward to this next year with an expectation that whatever happens, God will be with me, and I have the ability to make wise choices that will hopefully lead to the best possible outcomes.

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