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Welcome From The Chief Editor

The winter holiday season is upon us again. Around our house, most of the holiday celebrations center around the kids and making things as fun and festive as can be for them.

Of course, around our house, that means putting up a Christmas tree, decorating the outside of the house with holiday lights, lots of holiday shows on the television, making fudge and other favorite Christmas candies, and making wish lists for Santa Claus.

This year, my eight year old son has let us know he wants a computer. He's into playing Minecraft ... A LOT! He plays Minecraft on his Amazon Kindle tablet. He plays a Minecraft clone game on "his phone." No, I did NOT get my son his own cell phone.

"His phone" is my old Google Pixel 3 that my wireless carrier wouldn't take back on a trade-in special they were running, because the LiON battery had swelled and was on the verge of rupturing. So, I brought it back home and bought a new battery and waterproof seal off eBay for under $25. What did I have to lose? I watched a couple of videos on YouTube to figure out exactly what to do. To be perfectly honest, the hardest part of the battery switch was heating the back of the old phone with a hair dryer to loosen the waterproof adhesive seal. Now he has "his phone" to play his Minecraft clone game on, instead of monopolizing mom's phone.

He is convinced that the only way for him to run the Minecraft Caves & Cliffs update is to be running Minecraft on a computer. So he is dead set on having a computer. He uses computers at school, but never really touches the computers here at home (and we have plenty scattered around the house). Maybe if he has his own, it would be different, though. I have to go on faith that it's something that he'll use. The only other alternative is to not get him his own computer, and he faces the childhood devastation of not getting what he wanted for Christmas. He already knows they cost quite a bit of money. He told his mom when he first told her about his wanting a computer that he knows that they "cost too much money."

As much as anything else, a part of him wanting a computer is he wants to be like dad. As you can imagine, I spend a considerable amount of time on the computer every day, keeping up with emails, researching and gathering information for magazine articles, and working on the magazine every month. He sees this, and he wants to emulate his dad.

Even when you think they aren't watching their role models, they are. This has become evident in so many different areas. Ryan has his own tools, and will gladly go fetch them to help work on projects around the house. When he sees something that he can fix, he goes and gets his tools to quickly take care of whatever the problem is. One day, he saw some nails poking out from the fencing around the chicken run. He ran in and got his hammer so that he could take care of the protruding nails.

When I'm not sitting in "my chair," or when I'm not home, Ryan runs to sit in dad's chair. Simply because it's dad's chair, and he wants to be like his dad.

Just this year, both Ryan and his sister, Lexi, got to go deer hunting with mom and dad in our deer blinds. We had LOTS of safety discussions, and discussions about what to expect, how to behave, and how to be Q-U-I-E-T. Confident that the lessons were heard, Lexi went with mom, and Ryan went with dad (the image above). For their first time in a deer blind, I have to admit that things went pretty well. As you can imagine, hours of sitting there with minimal movement and not talking were a bit hard for them to pull off. Every once in a while, we'd have to remind them to stop fidgeting ("don't move so much"), or to only speak in very soft, barely audible whispers. Neither mom or dad saw any deer that afternoon into early evening, but the excitement was palpable. When Ryan made his first of two trips to the deer blind, his walk was almost a run as he hurried to get out to the blind with his dad. His determination and excitement to get to the blind was clearly evident.

Having children has made me more conscientious about being a better me. I want to set a good example for my children. They are watching, listening and learning. And I realize that I am one of their most important role models. I cannot and will not fail them in that respect.


The artwork for this month's cover was created by Meemaw, and laid out by parnote.


We wish you a happy holiday season. And, as usual and until next month, we wish you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity ... and continued good health! Be careful out there!

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