By Kelly McCarty

Hello to all my faithful McCarty Metro family. 

I would like to thank everyone for their cards and emails over my recent health issues. It means a lot to Margaret and me to see all the love and support we have. You all have a special place in my heart.

As another year winds down, it is important to remember the true meaning of Christmas. I really enjoy the Christmas season. Norman Vincent Peale said it best... "Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." To everyone, I wish the Merriest Christmas ever, and all the best in 2011. We'll see you back again in February.

I would like to wish my bride Margaret and my bro Steve a very Happy Birthday during this month. If you guys play your cards right, you might get a nice dinner, dancing or a movie (not both), then a little hot Koko for later...

On to my final thought...

Speaking of Margaret, I am very lucky to have found a wonderful person like her to be married to. She is always patient and puts up with me during all my mood swings. She is the perfect partner to go through life with. I just hope I return half of all that she gives me. This month's final thought was sent to me by one of my readers, and kinda hits the nail on the head.

The results are in. I have learned that, after careful consideration and endless debate, The Perfect Man has finally been named: "Mr. Potato Head." Let me tell you why. He's tan. He's cute. He knows the importance of accessorizing. And if he looks at another girl, you can rearrange his face.

I don't know if Mr. or Ms. Potato Head is right for you. But I'm not a big believer in the idea that we MUST find a perfect match, anyway. There are plenty of happy people who are not paired with someone else. And there are also plenty who may not say they found Mr. or Ms. Right, but are living quite happily with Mr. Almost Right or Ms. Close Enough.

Marriage and long-term commitments may not be for everyone, but if you plan to be with someone a long time, can you stay in love? Does a lifetime relationship have to seem more like a life sentence? I think we're tempted to believe that real love is a myth, a long-term relationship is a marathon and romance is for kids. Are there secrets to staying in love? Over the long haul?

I believe in love and romance, and I know it can last a lifetime. I also believe there are a few simple things we can do to help our love grow over the years.

For one thing, find time to date. I don't mean time to rehash the stuff you talk about all week long. Get away and talk about things that matter. Use this as time to focus on one another, not to solve problems or to raise issues. There are other times to bring up difficult subjects.

Next, understand what delights the other and make it happen. "The romance is over," says Marlys Huffman, "when you see a rosebush and start looking for aphids instead of picking a bouquet." What makes him laugh? What brings her pleasure? And what can you do today to delight each other?

Also, remember why you got together in the first place. When you focus first on his faults you're not thinking about his strengths. When you're busy pointing out her imperfections, you're not enjoying those qualities that attracted you to her initially. Choose to appreciate that which first drew you together and remember it often.

And always - plan enough time for fun. And don't always plan times for fun -- be spontaneous. Laugh. Go places. Play.

A woman from Charleston, South Carolina was overheard to remark that it was her 53rd wedding anniversary. When asked if she planned a special celebration, she smiled and said softly, "When you have a nice man, it really doesn't matter." I suspect they learned the secrets of staying in love.

Merry Christmas everyone,


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