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There’s something about a brand new year that makes me want to wipe the slate clean, so to speak — clean house, clean diet, clean body, mind and soul — and start fresh all over again.

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Tomorrow, my husband and I hope to get a Christmas tree. We will decorate it with a flock of fake red birds, some snowflakes that my grandmother crocheted long ago, and a few tacky, but treasured, ornaments.

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It’s not often someone asks for my advice. Especially someone half my age. I wanted to help her. But I didn’t dare risk saying anything that might cause her to make a serious mistake.

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What are your favorite stories you learned as a child? Have you told them to your loved ones? What stories do you hope they will tell about you when you aren’t around to tell them?

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How many birthdays do you celebrate in your family? My husband and I share five grown children, their “others” and nine grandchildren. At our house birthday candles burn nonstop.

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A few days ago, I packed a month’s worth of stuff and drove five hours to spend a week with my oldest, his wife and their two little ones.

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My sister will celebrate her birthday this week, but it won’t be much of a celebration. Never mind how old she is. I’d tell you, but if she found out, I might not live to see my next birthday.