8,760! That’s it!

Whether we’re the president of a multi-million dollar corporation or barely squeaking by on a meager monthly stipend after a lifetime of punching the time clock, we all get the same number of hours every year. 8,760.

It makes no difference our ethnicity, education, economic status, or energy level. Those on the front lines – whether at home or abroad – protecting us get the same as the crotchety know-it-all who lives across town.

We do get to choose what to do with those 8,760 hours, and THAT, my friend, is what differentiates us from one another. So, choose wisely!

I appreciate the ‘newness’ of every new year. I always have. It’s the perfect time to make resolutions – right? Not necessarily. Why isn’t it just as impactful to break a habit or start a diet on July 16 rather than waiting until January 1? (Really, it is.) There IS nothing magical about January 1 though it’s often considered time to ‘begin again’ – whatever the goal.

As a word nerd (a.k.a., writer), I’m surrounded by those who choose a special word each year. I’ve done that in the past, but I didn’t for 2024. Why? No reason. That practice is a good one for bringing focus to one’s life, even if the year doesn’t cooperate. What if, for example, in 2020, the chosen word was “togetherness” or “hugs” or “travel”? A better word might have been “quarantine” or “isolation” or “virtual learning” but we didn’t know what was ahead. Nor do we at the beginning of 2024. And, remember, we’re not all promised 8,760 hours.

Life often comes in unexpected ways. Reflect on years when your 8,760 hours have taken you by surprise. Perhaps there was a diagnosis that shocked us. Or maybe we lost someone suddenly. No matter how we plan our 8,760 hours, we must remain flexible and adapt to whatever comes our way. Right?

And, after such a thought-provoking start to this blog, let me share something just for fun – a recipe that has become a family favorite at our house. Spontaneous living, right?

Chicken Spaghetti
4 chicken breasts – cooked, then diced
16 oz. spaghetti – cooked
1/2 cup onions – diced
1/2 cup celery – diced
1/2 cup green peppers – diced
3 T butter
1 can cream of chicken soup (or chicken with herbs)
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1-2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Saute veggies (onions, celery, green peppers) in butter then let cool. Add both cans of soup to the veggies and stir gently to make a sauce. Add seasonings to taste (I use salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley). Add broth, as needed, until the sauce to the consistency of thin gravy.

Put diced chicken and spaghetti into a 9×13 pan, then pour the sauce over the top. Gently move the spaghetti around in the pan until the sauce is evenly distributed.

Bake at 350* for 30-45 minutes (or until bubbly). Add shredded cheese and return to the oven to melt it. Serve. Enjoy!

Yes, this is a family favorite, and I hope it will become a favorite for you, as well. By the way, you can ‘assemble’ this, then cover it with foil, refrigerate or freeze it, then bake it later. It’s a GREAT recipe to deliver, spontaneously, to friends. That’s how I learned of the recipe. Our neighbor brought it over – ready to bake – after I had surgery several years ago. 

So…it’s 2024 and I have no resolution to share nor do I have a ‘word’ for the new year.

All I offer today is a yummy recipe AND my encouragement to choose wisely how you use each hour of 2024. 

Blessings to you and yours! Happy New Year!

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