Reflections on the new year

It has been a tough weekend…..a few days ago two French tourists were kidnapped and murdered in the capital city of Niamey. They were taken from a busy restaurant by armed men, and the security there is heightened because of this and the upcoming elections.  This has really shaken the people there and only increases my resolve to help in any way we can. I wish I had some “witty, inspirational” resolution for 2011 — but in the past many years I have stopped making yearly resolutions. Instead, I try live my life by a few simple principles taught to me by mentors in my life…….principles that help me cope with life’s challenges. When I feel fear about anything, which many of us do, I simply go forward and “do it afraid”. When I mess up, I have learned to “forgive myself”.  My biggest resolution over the past five years is to stop seeing “giving” as something that is “nice to do” but to see it as the foundation of everything that will ever matter in life. From the poorest people in the world, the people of Niger, I have learned that those with the least to offer, give the most. And I have learned that giving is the one thing that can enrich our souls and nourish our spirits more than anything else, if done without any expectation of return. I resolve to follow their example and share their wisdom with all who will listen. My Speech and Drama teacher for 20 years, Gladys Shibley Mitchell summed it up beautifully: What we kept, we lost. What we spent, we had. What we gave, we kept. Best wishes for the new year! Robin

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