2010! A fresh new year ahead of us, a pristine clean slate, just waiting for some new entries..what a wonderful feeling! Looking back on the past year, I have already had my sentimental indulgence as I recollected all that 2009 held for me, good and bad. I am blessed to say that in remembering, I had many occassions for smiles...recalling the sweet memories of times spent with precious family and friends..of adoring hugs and kisses from the little lights of my life, my granddaughters, Emily Ann and Madison Grace. I gave thanks for the blessed moments of celebration...Maddie's first birthday, where she had her first taste of sugar and fit as much cake into her little mouth as was possible! Then, there was Thanksgiving and the gratitude for family, as we sat around our parents dining table that has been handed down to my brother since their passing.We shared a fine meal, amidst much laughter and a bit of tears as we raised our glasses to toast the extraordinary mother and father who are so dearly missed. It is at those times that I give thanks for a grief so deep that I can weep after all these years. It is the evidence of a love that was just as deep and a blessing that will never grow old or die. The past year had several of those kind of moments..a time for tears at losing those I love and cherish so much. But, to never have tears to shed would mean not having much of a life to speak of...and I would not want to be spared the tears if it meant being spared the gift of their presence in my life, no matter how brief or long. So, after all of these smiles, tears, laughter and reflection, I have come to this conclusion... I have been truly blessed and in the coming year, I feel a passion and actually, a responsibilty to give back for all that I have been given. In that spirit, I have decided to require more of myself to live a life that is truly present, truly grateful, truly creative and passionate about the gifts that have been bestowed upon me. This stage of life has a life force all it's own and I feel like there is a fire burning from within..I guess it is time to take those hot flashes and put them to use and transfer them from body to soul! Look out world!! I think that should help create a more interesting blog..one that has more than 4 entries a year! I am sure there are not many out there who continued to follow after that pitiful representation, but I hope to win you back. I have had many people ask me to share what life is like at Wildberry Cottage and have expressed a desire to get to know "The Girl Beyond the Gate"..me. Well, my hope is to take you to the cottage and to my other home, "Daylily House" in Ct., to share the things that make my life so magical...perhaps a treasured recipe, or family tradition, a decorating idea or picture of something that inspired me...a craft or art project or just a simple joy that might bring a smile to your face. I plan to share who I am and hope you will be inspired to share who you are with me, so that we may share our journeys together. So, let us begin...may we all embrace the coming year with hope, gratitude, creative vision and a passion to live large! Happy and brightest blessing to you all and welcome 2010!!