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by Caroline Downs

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Every Moment Matters . . .

Posted 12/29/12 (Sat)

The year 2012 is almost in the record and history books with just a few days remaining, and that means I should take stock of how I did with my New Year’s bumper sticker resolution of Use it up.

Not bad.

After all, I ran out of the Christmas gift bags this season, using up my stockpile.

Same with some lovely Christmas cards I’d purchased a few years back. They went out in the mail.

I’ve been reading the books on my shelves, and cooking with seasonings, soups, sauces and other ingredients languishing in my cupboards. I planted in the containers stored in the garden shed and resisted the urge to buy even a single new pot.

For the first time maybe in my whole life, I’ve worn my socks until holes have appeared.

I like this use it up approach I adopted for 2012. It’s sticking.

The 2013 resolution has been nudging me for the past few months, however. In fact, I first wrote about this to a friend during the summer--either in late June when we were preparing for the Kenmare Summer Arts Institute performances with the kids or right before Labor Day, when I left home for a week in Alaska.

I can’t remember when, exactly, but both occasions were filled with lists, obligations, countdowns and things that Must Be Done. I rolled from one task to the next and didn’t even mind so much because I was excited about the goal.

What I do remember clearly, however, is telling my friend that it was a time when Every Moment Matters, because there was so much to do.

That’s how I envisioned those words, too, each beginning with a capital letter. Each word important.

I’d forgotten about all that until December and the Christmas rush came, with the church schedules and the change in printing deadlines here at the office and the fact we’re producing copious numbers of pages for the paper in short periods of time and the requests for music and my own list of holiday tasks to include baking, gift-wrapping, decorating and shipping packages and basketball games have started--and then somehow taking time to focus on the significance of Advent and its attributes of joy, hope, peace and love while the world keeps turning and churning around me.

Your schedules aren’t any less hectic, I know.

Whew.

That’s when Every Moment Matters nudged me again.

This isn’t a new idea by any means. There are all kinds of quotes out there addressing the importance of living in the present rather than regretting the past or worrying about the future. The first embodiment of this I remember was popular in the early 1980s when I was a teenager: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

I can’t disagree with that statement, but it never really sparked anything for me.

Still, something must have taken root, because Every Moment Matters just won’t let go of me right now. I’m paying attention and adopting it as the 2013 bumper sticker resolution.

With each word capitalized.

I don’t quite know where this resolution is going to take me in the New Year, but I’ve noticed a few effects from the holiday season.

Most years, I can expect one Christmas “meltdown moment” when the to-do list overwhelms me. At best, my reaction runs to crabby. At worst, tears flow.

No Christmas meltdown this year.

Then there was the church school Christmas program, put together, rehearsed and performed within two weeks--after we realized the schedules for the families involved wouldn’t allow more time than that.

Believe me, Every Moment REALLY Mattered during those practices--and every child, ages 4 through 14, came through.

They learned new songs and sang them with gusto. Some volunteered to read at the microphone and practiced their parts seriously. Some wore costumes. Some offered to do special music. No one complained or cried, including the teachers involved. The kids welcomed their families and other adults to the service with hospitality and joy. There were hugs all around.

I’m not saying the holiday ride has been smooth or stress-free this season, but I can say Every Moment Matters is keeping me grounded, which keeps me going.

And that’s the whole point of a New Year’s bumper sticker resolution anyway.

I’ll let you know how Every Moment Matters turns out for 2013. You can adopt it, too, if you like.

Happy New Year.