First, a multiple choice question: Life is like: 

1. A rock; 2. A river; 3. A piece of paper; 4. A fire; 5. A movie.

Correct answer: #4, Life is like a fire, requiring ignition, a certain level of combustion, in order to be more than just a pile of sticks.

Waiting for someone else to combust you, significantly improve your life, doesn’t work that often, but you can use music, or books as aids to personal growth. Everything external (and internal) is always hit-or-miss for effectiveness; I’m currently using Deepak Chopra’s Book of Secrets, Emmet Fox’s Sermon on the Mount, and Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul to ignite my own cerebral pile of wood.

On cold mornings, one has to get up to pee, but it’s much more fun to stay in bed, but the fire’s low, needs wood, but if you sleep till nine, the coals will burn out, leaving you with a cold stove, and maybe a headache.

Instead, think of the best present you ever received … it’s waiting for you, wrapped, on the counter in the kitchen, along with a plate of your favorite dessert: warm gingerbread with chopped walnuts, pecans, and apricots, topped with lemon rind cream cheese frosting. Get up, get outta bed, you lazy bum! live your life on fire; don’t let your stove grow cold.

Pre-2014 resolutions:

Hang pictures, install three towel racks, shelve three boxes of books, play music, double the size of our wood pile before they drop the opossum down at the Clay Corner Store at midnight.