Dale and Shelly Hansen and family had an unexpected but very charming guest for Christmas Eve.
Loren Lincoln, a 20-year-old soldier from the HQBN 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton, Calif. had just returned from a tour in Iraq. He bought a car for $500 and headed to Window Rock to see his brother. He only made it as far as Christopher Creek when the car broke down. Fortunately for him, it was near some very caring residents.
Shelly invited Loren in for dinner, then she went out on Christmas Eve and collected several items from the locals to make a gift for him. She couldn't let the occasion pass without giving him a Christmas present.
The Hansens were unable to reach the young man's brother, but finally got through to his father in Gallup, N.M., who then set out to retrieve Loren.
The soldier's parents arrived about 12:30 a.m. and were very appreciative of what the Hansens did for their son. Shelly said she and Dale really enjoyed Loren's visit.
We wish this young man the very best, and hope that he stays safe fighting for our country.
New Year's wishes
It's almost a new year and it's time to look back on what we have accomplished. It's also time to make our New Year's resolutions. Many of them will likely be broken before they even get started.
It is also a good time to be grateful for what we have.
Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I was told if I didn't have an operation immediately, I would probably not make it another month.
I remember waking up the next morning after hearing that horrible news. I walked out on my back deck and, for the first time in my life, I really took a look at what was in front of me.
As I stood there, I realized the tremendous beauty before me. It was always there, but I guess I never saw it. The enormous ponderosa pines as they stretch out to the skies, and their lovely fragrance. The magnificent elk that were standing about 20 feet away. I realized how blessed I was to live in such beautiful surroundings. Yet I had never given it much thought before.
I remember asking the Lord to keep me around to watch my baby grow up, and to allow me to wake up to the beauty surrounding me for many years.
In this new year, I offer a reminder to all that life is short. I recommend you take the time to look at what you have. I suggest you slow down and enjoy your surroundings.
Take a walk in the forest, and breathe in some of the cleanest air around. Enjoy all the little things life has to offer.
Be there for someone who needs help. Learn to smile more and realize just how lucky we are to live here in God's country.
Reach out to an old friend you haven't heard from in a long time. Make some new friends.
Swallow your pride and call that family member you have not spoken to in years. Remember that life is short, and you may not have another chance.
Give your children your time and your love. Cherish their imaginations, and never break their spirits.
May you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.