1. Panda Express. For three years, I struggled to find decent Chinese food in Nashville. Panda Express was the restaurant of choice during a recent Guys’ Night, and it worked out for me.
2. The Golden Age of Hollywood. If you can’t resist the charm of films like White Christmas this time of year, you probably have some idea of what I mean here. I’m a big fan of the classic, classy nature of everything from the movie content, to the wardrobe, to the music of that era.
3. New beginnings. In this country, we have a lot of freedom to change things we wish were better in our lives. We can simply make a decision and then turn over a new leaf.
4. My kin. At Christmas, I remembered how blessed I am not to dread spending holidays with family.
5. January. It’s the month of my birth, and it’s just around corner! A few years ago, I accidentally started what is now a strange birthday tradition: the celebration lasts for 4 weeks instead of 24 hours.
All my life, I’ve been content to do nearly nothing for my birthday because it falls during the holiday season – a time when school is out and everyone is busy spending time with family. Nowadays, my birthday still takes a backseat to family time during the first week of January, but I’ve begun to utilize the rest of the month to get together with friends and make up for lost time. Silly, I know…but a fella has to do things for the kid inside once in a while.
6. Books. Ones about faith or financial wisdom are a hit with me, and I also like autobiographies. In the past, I have wished all bosses would build reading time into the workday.
7. Heat. Winter always makes me grateful simply to have a warm place indoors to sleep every night.
8. Graduate assistantships. These things make earning a master’s degree cost nothing. It worked for me once already, and I’ll definitely be looking for an assistantship if I decide to go back to school.
9. Pecans (in shell). This month, I had a random urge to return to an activity from my childhood: we country folk used to crack our own pecans while instantly enjoying the fruit of our labor. Lucky for me, Santa was kind enough to bring me a shiny new nutcracker and a heap of pecans.
10. Dr. Karen Starks. My mentor and college professor. To this day, she never seems to run out of good ideas.
During college, I didn’t always know I would go on to grad school; it’s funny to remember the day I learned that grad school was not optional for me in Dr. Starks’ mind.