A month of new beginnings


Jean Tanner
 |  Bluffton Today

“Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” — Isaiah 40:31

You might say January is the month that ushers in change and is a time to move forward.

It reminds us that another year has passed and we should hold onto the good memories and experiences we had the opportunity to share with family and friends in our tumultuous days of 2020 during the pandemic.

With faith and hope we will rise with wings like eagles.

‘Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.’ — Helen Keller

The new year brings families around the table to experience new recipes, like a homemade version of the classic green bean casserole that could replace the original many of us finished the year enjoying with our Christmas meals.

The original recipe was created by Campbell Test Kitchen manager Dorcas Reilly in 1955 and is found on various labels of canned green beans and mushroom soup.

The from-scratch version can be easily made with six ingredients and 10 minutes to put it all together, using fresh green beans and mushrooms with a homemade sauce and topped with French’s fried onions. This simple recipe, with its mouth-watering, unmatchable flavor, can be found at https://www.veryvera.com.

‘The sun himself is weak when he first rises, and gathers strength and courage as the day gets on.’ — Charles Dickens

January is special, a month of new beginnings. It’s comparable to Genesis being the first book of the Bible.

The new year can bring change into our lives, like it or not, but evangelist Billy Graham said, “What a joy it is to wake up in the morning and know He is with me, no matter what the day has in store.”

The new year also means everyone gets to celebrate another birthday. Life’s a river and it carries you to your future, whether you’re ready or not.

Getting a year older can be described by many adjectives, depending on the age of the person.

For a child on their first day of school, it can be fear. When they become a teenager, it brings excitement and joy, with life rolling along pleasantly until they hit the 30-year mark.

Then they think the best years of their life have come to an end — despair — and at 40 it’s all gloom and doom, with black balloons floating above the birthday cake. At 50 they’re astounded and amazed realizing they’re half a century old, sliding along until their 60s, retirement and Medicare greeted with some sort of relaxation gnawed at by uncertainty.

Becoming a septuagenarian at 70, supposedly the silver years, they experience days filled with aching joints, but at 80 everything seems to start falling apart. They realize with dread that they’re on third base and getting ready to slide into the home plate of life.

‘What counts is not the years in your life but the life in your years.’ — Adlai E. Stevenson

Facing our birthdays after the half-century mark, we need to keep calm and be crazy, laugh, love and live it up because this is the oldest we’ve ever been and the youngest we’ll ever be again.

Concerning age and getting older (like Maxine would say), I don’t want people looking at me thinking, “What a sweet little old lady.” Instead, I want them thinking, “What is she up to now?”

I have to go along with Henry David Thoreau when he said, “Life is frittered away by details; simplify, simplify, simplify.”

Upon arising with a hot cup of coffee, after my scripture time at 5 each morning, I divert to the comic strips for a daily dose of Brian Crane’s “Pickles” to keep up with Earl and Opal, then scroll down to see what Dennis the Menace is up to before starting out my day. Simplified.

In a Pickles comic on age, Opal is talking to Earl, saying: “It’s true, older people are much more serene. This article says that sixty-five percent of seniors feel at peace, compared to only forty percent of young people. I think it’s because of the wisdom and perspective we’ve gained over the years.” To which Earl responds: “Being plum tuckered out all the time might account for some of it too.”

In another Pickles comic, Nelson, the grandson, says to Earl: “Grandpa, how come kids always have to do what old people tell them?” Earl’s response: “That’s because kids’ brains aren’t fully ripened like adult brains, so you shouldn’t call us old people, you should call us ‘the people with ripe brains.’”

As we age, we sometimes become forgetful. In a Dennis the Menace cartoon by Hamilton/S.Ketchum, as Dennis and his dad exit their car when shopping, Dennis pipes up and says, “Dad, you left your keys in the car, but don’t worry… I pushed that lock button so no one can steal them!”

To capture the concept of getting older, an old Irish saying sums it up: “May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.”

Mark Twain said, “The only person that likes change is a wet baby!” So welcome, 2021. It’s time for a change!

Jean Tanner is a lifelong resident of rural Bluffton. She can be reached at jstmeema@hargray.com.



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