I began this year by reading, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff- and it's all small," by Richard Carlson. First of all, if you haven't read this little nugget of literary perfection go ahead and click to order it...Carlson's words will change your life- http://www.amazon.com/Sweat-Small-Stuff-small-stuff/dp/0786881852. One of his chapters (actually the common pulse of the book) is about the power that stems from surrendering your need to be right all the time by instead choosing kindness, peace, and love. Anyone that knows me understands my near compulsive need to be heard...and to prove my "rightness". My oldest brother pointed out once that if no one is listening to me I don't stop talking-I just get louder and repeat myself until I'm positive everyone has acknowledged me. That trait probably stems from being the youngest of six kids-where annoying persistence isn't a flaw, but rather a survival method. Anyway-the theme of this book resonated with me so much that I actually applied its' principals to my own life, and I can honestly say my world is more peaceful. I have seen the catastrophic effects of staking my "right-claim" no matter who it hurts, and I have also witnessed the joy that can blossom when you just keep your mouth shut and choose kindness above anything else. The author isn't suggesting we become a bunch of pushovers, but he does do a wonderful job of reminding the reader that they are in control of their own reactions and choosing our battles wisely can literally add quality years to our lives. Something magical also happens when we relinquish a bit of our control. Our glasses become rosy again, like they were when we were kids, and we are reminded that there is still abundant beauty in the world.