All I want for Christmas... - Denese Rodgers

First, I want to remember to be thankful. I am healthy, content, and challenged in the work that I love. I am grateful for my family, my friends, and the awesome community that makes our office effective in the work that we do.

I'm thankful to have my job; I deal every day with someone who has lost theirs. I am very thankful for my home, most people do not realize that more than 100 families are evicted every month in our community.

I'm thankful for my faith home. I'm not the best person in the pew, but it's safe to say that I am the most appreciative of what my faith does for me.

I do have a few, tiny, little things that I would like for Christmas. I'd really like cell phone signal scramblers on highways, so that we would not be able to talk on cell phones while we're driving. Yeah, me, included.

The more cell phones I see, the fewer turn signals seem to be used. Speaking of turn signals -- I'm thinking they need to be automatic. If you turn the wheels of your car, they ought to kick in to warn the world that the driver has decided to veer off course.

I'd like to want to bounce out of bed to do my morning exercise ritual, instead of looking like the cook on the doughnut commercial dragging his carcass to work, saying "I gotta make the doughnuts."

This Christmas wish is probably within my reach, if I would just pass on seeing that extra rerun episode of "Law and Order," and get to bed an hour earlier! Yoga, yes, television, no!

Hotels and gymnasiums have timers on exercise equipment to restrict the amount of time that one client can spend using the equipment. We need the same sort of timers on sedentary video games. If the game doesn't contribute to the knowledge base, or provide some level of interactive exercise, then, it needs a limit on the amount of time that one kid -- make that one person -- can sit and have their mind putrify.

One last big wish that I have for Christmas is the return to family dinnertime. Lots of my best memories growing up are from when we were sharing family time around a dinner table. At our house, we can usually only fit this in on the weekends now. We prepare it together, and we have fun in the process of trying to find healthy ways to eat that still taste good (after all, I am Southern).

I don't really know how my mom ever worked, cared for the house, and had dinner on the table in the evenings. But she did, and what it boils down to is how important that dinnertime can be if it is made to be a priority.

That's it. All I want for Christmas is for all of us to look at our priorities! Finding holiday happiness may be as simple as rearranging your own priorities, so that the one that you love is at the top. Merry Christmas, ya'll.

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.