— Life —


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This is the time of year we look forward to being with friends and family, but in this second year of Covid, many of our reunions have yet to materialize. It’s also the time of year some of us feel the longing and loss of loved ones who are no longer with us. On the bright side, because of what we’ve collectively been through, I think we’ve come to know ourselves better, and we’re stronger than we were before this virus.

We’ve separated the things that matter from the ones that shouldn’t have counted in the first place.

Traditional holidays are fun, but this year, instead of fixing or buying a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, a dear friend and I decided to satisfy our joint cravings for Chinese food by placing a curbside order at PF Chang’s. Then we divvied up the contents of the little, white takeout boxes, drank craft beer, and watched our favorite movies on TV. It was one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a longtime. 

Regardless of how you spent your holidays, I hope they were filled with love and gratitude, and if you believe in making New Year’s resolutions, you might take a page from my friend, Debra Shriver.

I love talking with Deb (author of The French Leave: From Paris to Orleans Parish and Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard) because she always has something interesting to say, and she knows how to put the world in perspective. Here’s a snippet from her recent text message. 

I value peace and joy among all things, though we don’t always get it. Happiness is a third goal. Then laughter. Have you ever made your top ten? I decided to write it down. Like a grocery list. I always have curiosity, it’s like a cupboard staple. I want my joy to be abundant. I want it the way people spread butter on toast, not like a thread of saffron that flavors my rice.”

Well said, Debra! What if we all welcome this new year with curiosity, and we spread everything with a loving coat of joy and laughter? And like my friend, Lee Moczygemba, who died this week at age 97, said to me not long ago, “Enthusiasm is so important. It’s one of the most priceless gifts God gives us.” Let’s also welcome this new year with enthusiasm, because we never know what’s around the next corner.

I hope you all know how much you mean to me. You’re the reason I’m working so hard on my manuscript. Thank you for reading my blog, for being such great friends, for checking on me in my absence, and for waiting patiently for me to resume blogging full-time. I’m still editing my memoir, but I’ll see you again SOON. In the meantime, here’s someone special I’d like you to meet: Lee Peterson Baker.

Lee Baker is a writer, a curious, enthusiastic woman of a certain age, who’s played a key role in how I’ve shaped my book. This is her first blog on 1010ParkPlace. Please stop by and show her some love!

Blessings to all of you, sweet friends, and may this new year be full of health and love and the promise of wondrous things to come.

Love, Brenda


  • Beckye January 1, 2022 at 7:43 am

    I love the friends you’ve shared with us and their lovely perspectives. Spreading joy on thick like butter on toast! What a great picture! I’m sorry for the loss of your friend whose encouragement to embrace this year with enthusiasm I’ll be taking. Sounds like they had a full life. I’m grateful you have friends like the one you spent Christmas with! Sounds perfect!! Thsnks for sharing those life-giving snippets with us. Looking forward to your final draft getting finished and your bright and shining copy getting published where we can all enjoy its beauty!

    Hope your new year is bright and shining, and full of the love you share with all of us. Cheers!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 1, 2022 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Beckye! I feel like I’m home when I see your name, here! Even though we have yet to meet, I feel like you’re part of my family. So glad you took inspiration from Debra and Lee. They’re such special women, and they think and feel deeply about life and have been an inspiration to me as well. Hope the holidays have been good ones for your and your family and your mom. I imagine you’re still navigating the speed bumps in the road of having her live with you. Sending you lots of love and good wishes! Love, Brenda

      • Beckye January 22, 2022 at 11:42 am

        Love you, Brenda! I feel the same way when I see your email notice of your blog being posted and read the warmth inside. Much love, friend!

  • jeannette January 1, 2022 at 9:09 am

    Happy New Year to you Brenda! We, your readers, hopefully can enjoy your published book very soon.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you, Jeannette. When I began writing, I didn’t imagine I would spend this much time editing, although I should have. I do that with everything I write, even if it’s a “to do list.” LOL! Happy New Year to you as well sweet lady! xoxox, Brenda

  • Katherine January 1, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Hi Brenda,
    What an excellent post. I really like what Deb had to say.
    How exciting that your book will be published soon. This is a huge accomplishment.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 12:52 pm

      Thank you, Katherine, Writing a book is a huge accomplishment, but I’m far from having it published. I’m just getting to the stage where I can go in search of a book agent. I have several in mind to approach. Fingers crossed! XXXX Deb always has something interesting and fun to say and just reading a text message from her is a literary treat! Be well. Stay safe, and I’ll see you again. xoxox, Brenda

  • Tammy Carrington January 1, 2022 at 10:41 am

    Happy New Year my beautiful friend!!! I loved your message and it’s the things that don’t cost anything that are the most valuable. Love you and I look forward to reading your memoir and giving you a big hug!!!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 12:56 pm

      And Happy New Year to you as well sweet friend. What a year it’s been and what a rollercoaster you’ve been on. I pray “for same city” and that everything’s going in the right direction. You’re right about the little things, the ones most of us take for granted, the ones we should stop and treasure. Love you, Brenda

  • Cindy January 1, 2022 at 10:54 am

    Thank you Brenda. I look for your writing as I do enjoy it. Joy is present. I have Jesus. I do find my season of life in the sandwich …. So isolation of sorts for me I treasure. I do choose to evolve within this to accept the changes and the challenges and to know I have the strength. Happy New Year.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 12:59 pm

      Cindy, While you’ve chosen to evolve, you’re also evolved beyond where most people find themselves. You have your priorities in order and are trusting in God to help you navigate the future. I’m not worried about you!! Blessings to you, sweet lady, and Happy New Year. xoxox, Brenda

      • Cindy January 2, 2022 at 3:01 pm

        Thank you Brenda for this. Thank you for the feel as well of “walking along side”…. I feel this as well other readers do too . Xoxo Happy New Year to you too…. And your sweet Pup… updates? Be well friend.

        • 1010ParkPlace January 4, 2022 at 11:22 am

          Thank you, thank you, Cindy!! Annie had ACL surgery two months ago, and she’s been in her condominium most of this time. The surgeon will take a look at her on Friday and tell me how she’s doing and how to proceed with her rehab. I’ll write a blog to catch everyone up. xoxox, Brenda

  • Anissa January 1, 2022 at 10:55 am

    Happy New Year! You are such an inspiration and you give us such enthusiasm through your words! I think I’ll have Chinese food tonight. That sounds so good!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 1:01 pm

      LOL!!! You make me smile! Thanks so much, Anissa! Actually I could go for more Chinese food as well. I hope all New Year’s fortune cookies were great fortunes! Happy New Year!! Sending love and joy to you! Brenda

  • Barbara January 1, 2022 at 11:49 am

    Like the rest of your readers I’m always happy when I see a blog from you in my email and this was a great way to start the New Year! You have me thinking about egg rolls and fortune cookies! Blessings to you Brenda.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 1:04 pm

      LOL!! More Chinese food… Your comment and Anissa’s may make me place another to-go order at PF Chang’s! I always love starting the new year with all of you, and I’m grateful to see your name here. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and a blessed new year. Make it your best one to date! xoxoxoxox, Brenda

  • Dovanna January 1, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Stronger indeed! Happy 2022, Brenda! We will go forth in kindness & confidence!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 1:05 pm

      Kindness and confidence! That sounds so like you, and your attitude about life and the stories you’ve told me about how you were raised and how you raised your daughter are the things I love most about you! Happy 2022, Dovanna! Sending you light and love! xoxox, Brenda

  • Debbie January 1, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Happy New Year!!!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 1:07 pm

      Debbie, Congrats on the new bundle of joy in your house! What a special gift he’s brought all of you! Happy New Year and stay well. Love, Brenda

  • Sheila-Merle Johnson January 1, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    I, too, look forward to your posts. Always some nuggets of wisdom. May your year be filled with inspiration, good health and fun!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 1:08 pm

      Inspiration!! What a great thing to add to Debra Shriver’s list. Let’s vow to try new things this year that inspire us and make us joyful. Thank you, Sheila, and Happy New Year to you! xoxox, Brenda

  • Kathy January 2, 2022 at 10:46 am

    Happy New Year! We’re glad to have you back!! I’m enthusiastic about this new year. It will be what we make of it.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 1:12 pm

      You’re so right, Kathy! For the most part, life and this new year is what we make of it. Actually I’ve been thinking about that as a topic for next week’s blog. My mother knew that and was fond of saying “thoughts are things,” but she didn’t practice what she preached, and it made me sad for her. But I can already tell you’re cut from a different mold than my mother was. You’re glad, enthusiastic and wise! Happy New Year, sweet lady! See you again soon! xoxox, Brenda

  • Catherine Jewell January 2, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for mentioning and quoting Lee Moczgemba. She was like a mother to me, and it still hasn’t hit me that she is gone. Only twice at 4:30 PM have I reached for the phone to call her. I would always share my day, and hear about hers. I think that constant phone interaction helped us become close. I would recommend it to anyone. If you want to get closer to your sister, mom or even your boss, set a special time to talk each day. It’s magical.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 2, 2022 at 10:25 pm

      Catherine, I know you will miss Lee and her input for a long time. You were both fortunate to have one another in your lives. After my husband died, 11 years ago, a friend called me every single day for almost a year. I credit her for getting me through that first year. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I can’t imagine what it would have been like without that daily call from my friend. If you’re so inclined, give me a call at 4:30. Seriously. I no longer have anyone like that either. You and I already have Lee in common, and I imagine we would find a lot of other things to share with one another. Fondly, Brenda

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