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WANTED: Bold band of buddies to join me on the journey through 2011. The road will be fraught with frustration, fear, failure, but God willing, a treasure trove of triumph. Must have high goals, gritty determination, and no fear of hair-pin turns.

While it is admittedly cliché to make New Year’s resolutions for health and fitness, that’s what I’m doing nonetheless, and the road won’t feel quite so lonely if someone goes with me.

After going gluten-free in 2009, I began to feel so good that I took up running. Then a friend suggested doing a marathon. She said anyone could do it, and since I am the epitome of “anyone,” I thought I’d give it a shot.

I had a few goals when I began: I wanted to be able to do ten push ups, I wanted to get down to my ideal size, and I wanted to finish the marathon without killing myself.

While I fared nobly in the marathon by not dying, and I can indeed fit into my Misses size 6 jeans, I can not do a push-up to save my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I still want to do great little things, but I also want to take control of my life in areas that are completely up to me. I can always control what I eat, and I can always control when (or if) I exercise. Therefore, my health goals for 2011 are as follows:

                –do my physical therapy exercises 4 days a week, along with weights

                –begin marathon training (just in case I see a tempting one)

                –start the Zone Diet full throttle (to lose enough body fat to ditch the Misses sizes)

                –do ten push ups (in a row)

What are your goals for 2011?

Whether your dreams seem small, such as completing a marathon, or big, such as maintaining your ideal weight, I would love for you to share your experiences with me, for mutual ego-boosting, condolence, and/or virtual happy dances.

I am not asking for a weekly weigh-in or embarrassing tape measurements, but I’d simply like to hear from those who are willing to take this road trip with me.

It doesn’t matter if we fly towards our goals at autobahn speed, become diverted on umleitungs, or get stuck in the occasional stau, together, we can find out where this new road leads.

Auf gehts!

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“If it hadn’t been for me, you would all be living in shacks in Potter’s Field!”

That’s what I might say when the stress of real life returned after Christmas break, and people started taking me for granted again.

Of course, I’m no George Bailey.

Though I question the doctrinal validity of Joseph and God blinking like stars in the sky when they talk and bells signaling angelic promotion, Capra’s classic film still causes me to ponder what the world would have been like without me.

I’m not fishing for compliments or penning myself as some kind of saint, but I am pretty sure if not for me, Mike would still be an arctic bachelor, and some happy couple would be the fortunate custodians of four phenomenal kids.

If it hadn’t been for me…

Some of you would have missed out on a few laughs, while others may not have shed quite so many tears.

Some of you wouldn’t have had a Louise to go with your Thelma or an Ethel for your Lucy (depending on which stage of life you found me).

Some of you may not have been encouraged, or hugged, or loved quite so much. Others would have one less adventure, one less story to reminisce about.

Some of you would have imbibed less coffee.

There would be fewer quips, fewer quotes, fewer inside jokes. And maybe there would be an empty spot in your life where a precious friendship should have been.

I’m not perfect—I’m not even good. In fact, if my inner self could be posted on Facebook for thirty seconds, everyone would unfriend me, including my grandma.

But life isn’t all about me.

I can’t help but think what life would have been like without some of you. Sure, there are some people I wish I’d never met (the string of bad boyfriends in the early 90s), but I would be a completely different person now if any single character had not been written into the script.

Without my dad, I’d have no courage, no independence.

Without my mama, no inspiration.

Without my husband, no real love.

Without my mother, no imagination.

Without my grandparents, no role models.

Without my aunties, no feeling of specialness.

Without my friends, no sisterhood.

Without God, no hope.

There are many stories I could tell about individuals who have had an impact on my life, but even a really good screenplay couldn’t capture it all.

Whether we have been center stage together, or whether you raised the curtain,  lit the lights, played the music, whispered a line, set the props, gave me direction, or simply crossed downstage, every single one of you has played an invaluable role in my wonderful life.

Merry Christmas. God bless. I love you.