Counting our Blessings this season

In counting our blessings this Christmas it’s easy to give thanks for the beauty of the place we call home. We in North County have been fortunate this holiday to enjoy crisp morning sun with night skies transformed into glowing embers of reds, purples and oranges. Take a moment to notice. It’s easy to see why many across our great country look upon us here with some envy. While I’m catching waves at my favorite “secret surf spot” between Seaside and Swami’s, my dad is lugging in cordwood from the back 40 to heat his house in New Hampshire. Brrrrr.

Christmas can also be a time to fondly recall the memories of Christmas past and the people not named Santa who touched our lives. I grew up in a neighborhood where all the 4-H, Scouts, choir members, school musicians and anyone else who wanted would get together on a cold winter night to walk the neighborhood and sing Christmas Carols to our friends.

The parent leading the singing would try to focus the kids; Stevie Hanson or Bobby Taylor would start a snowball fight, we’d roughhouse in the snow, an adult would say “knock it off;” some dog would chase us from his yard and we’d all end up at Mrs. Spinney’s with grinning red faces for some hot chocolate, sledding and cookies. All those years singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and I still don’t know what “figgy pudding” is, but I hope somebody brings you some this year.

I was speaking with my friend Barbara last week, who in telling me of her 8-year-old’s non-stop singing of “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,” also shared with me that in shopping at local retailers on El Camino Real the stores were packed. We cautiously smiled and she commented, “apparently there’s no recession here.” Sometimes I think we are blessed to live in what I call “The North County bubble.” The cares of the world don’t seem so close, or maybe I am not looking.

Big news for North County this holiday is the troops are coming home! If you see one of these brave men or women in your travels welcome them home with a handshake. I feel I owe a debt for their service to protect my liberty. While much of the world seems in turmoil North County is peaceful and serene. Like Jack Nicholson’s character “Marine Colonel Jessup” suggested in the movie “A Few Good Men,” I need them on that wall. Thank you.

Our biggest blessings may be our communities themselves. North County has many wonderful residents working like Christmas elves for the betterment of our communities throughout the year. Be it in Scouting, 4-H, our churches, our schools, our youth sports, volunteering, arts or our Merchant Associations, these wonderful people volunteer their time to make the community and the lives of others better. They seek nothing for themselves. They embrace the spirit of Christmas year round by living lives of giving. I try to take note. Am I coming up short in my service to others?

For sure we live in a great location with natural beauty, a terrific climate and most amenities one could wish for, but what really makes North County communities what they are is the people. The people that live here — our families, our friends and our neighbors, the ones we know, and the ones we don’t. Life is the biggest blessing and the best Christmas gift of all, make the most of it.

This Christmas I am taking time to wish neighbors I don’t know in town a Merry Christmas. Maybe you can try wishing someone you don’t know a Merry Christmas. Stick a hand out for a shake


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