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Ten years ago, my dad called to talk to my husband. "I hear you're working too hard," Dad said.

"I don't have a choice," Peter replied.

"You always have a choice," Dad said.

And a few months later, Peter chose to leave his job as an analyst in an investment bank and work for a non-profit instead. And that choice led us to a boarding school, and ten years later, here we are. We've been on a path of downward mobility for years, and we're grateful.

I remembered those words today because I'm thinking about choices as this new year begins. Life often seems to happen to me. I feel as though I am a passive recipient of whatever comes my way–errands, laundry, phone calls, blog posts. And yet I know that every time I sleep instead of praying, I am making a choice. Every time I exercise instead of doing email I am making a choice. Every time I talk on the phone in the car instead of singing with my children I am making a choice.

There aren't rules for what I should do in these situations. Sometimes sleep is best. Other times I should get out of bed and get on my knees.

But as the new year begins, I'm thankful for my father's words all those years ago, and the reminder, "You always have a choice."

And I hope I can say, at the end of the year 2010, and at the end of all my days on this earth, that the choices I made were (most of the time, anyway) choices for wholeness and goodness, for love, for full life.

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