While there's much to be excited about as the calendar flips to January, the new year also brings changes I'm usually not all that fond of.
A couple of years ago, my health insurance provider insisted that I begin receiving my prescriptions through a mail order service. The service was cheaper and more convenient, but there's more to life than cost and convenience.
The local pharmacy I had been using had its flaws. But it also had Austin, a young pharmacist who cared.
He took the time to learn that I'm a writer who was planning to travel to Canada soon to cover a story for a newspaper.
"My wife's from Canada!" he said. "Which part are you headed to?"
Being American, I had no idea, other than to tell him the city. "Winnipeg, just across the border on I-29."
He told me what to expect at the border, and what to look for once I crossed it. And then he printed something about my medication, telling me I might need it if they inspected my prescriptions.
Every time I went back for a refill, he asked me what I was working on. And whenever he traveled to Canada, he told me about his latest trip.
You can't get that in a bag of medicine that arrives in the mail every three months.
That's why I held out hope when my health insurance company was bought out heading into the new year. Maybe I could return to Austin.
My new-new health insurance provider has its own mail order service. And when I called to have my prescriptions transferred last week, the representative accidentally hung up on me and never called back. I haven't worked up the gumption to try again.
Part of me wishes they would just hire Austin.
Well, enough about all that. Let's get to this week's thoughts about slowing down and living deeper:If you get a chance this weekend, read this NY Post article about an eclectic coffee shop in Greenwich Village: This Coffee Shop is More Like a Time Capsule
Loved this insight from Elisabeth Elliot in A Lamp unto My Feet: "It is amazing what the quiet holding of the soul before the Lord will do to the external and seemingly uncontrollable tumult around us. It is in that stillness that the Voice will be heard, the only voice in all the universe that speaks peace to the deepest part of us."
This blog post details what happens when a person's flame goes out and she ends up operating out of her exhaustion and anger. Eventually, she realized that she could change her background (not in the historical sense, but in the backdrop sense). I love her perspective.
If 2016 felt a bit longer than other years, there's a good reason. According to this Washington Post story, "since the world slows by about 2 milliseconds a day, a leap second needs to be added about every 500 days." So, December 31 was one leap second longer than you expected. I hope you used it well.
This 105-year-old man is going to try to break his own cycling record by riding 17 miles in one hour. His previous record, which he set in 2012 at the young age of 100, was 15 miles. What is stopping you from chasing your own dreams?
Do young couples still have songs? I ask this because my 26-year-old niece doesn't even own a radio. In my experience, there's nothing like sitting next to your significant other when your song comes on the radio. It makes the world feel bigger and smaller at the same time.
Speaking of favorites, do you have a favorite columnist in your local newspaper? We have a column in the Omaha World Herald called Breaking Brad that is growing on me. The writer, whose name is Brad, obviously, is snarkier than I prefer, but I still like having a local perspective. If you have a favorite local columnist, send me a link to his or her stuff. I'd love to read it.
Many of you have read Common Grounds: Contemplations, Confessions, and (Unexpected) Connections from the Coffee Shop (which is still available as a free e-book). And you might know that it's the first book in a series. I've been searching for a name for the series and finally came up with one: The Finding Common Grounds Series: A Collection of Thoughts about Love, Loss, and Faith. It'll take me a while to brand the series accordingly, but it should happen this year.
The second book in the series, Sacred Grounds: First Loves, First Experiences, and First Favorites has been available for awhile now. If you haven't had a chance to pick it up, give it a try. Reminisce with me about your first love, your first crush, your first favorite album, and so much more.
I'm working on the first draft of the next book in the series, Higher Grounds: When God Steps into the Here and Now. The subtitle might change, but it gives you an idea about what to expect. I don't want to give away too much yet, but it's coming together nicely and should be out in late spring.
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Have a great weekend!
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.