Tabi Upton, MA-LPC is a therapist at New Beginnings Counseling Center.

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Lights are twinkling in my fireplace, across its mantel and atop my kitchen cabinets. Lights are blinking outside on houses, in store windows and dazzling the streets. These stunning orbs of radiance signal that the holidays are here.

I like to think of myself as brave. The day a mouse came unannounced into my house, however, almost did me in. It wasn’t the first time one had taken a liking to my abode. The first incident happened a few years ago while I was entertaining an old friend in my living room. Kristie took a bite from a tasty snack I’d set out for her and sat up suddenly, looking toward the front door. “A mouse just walked in your house,” she explained.

Imagine being left on an island all alone. Think Tom Hanks in the movie "Castaway."

I was facing a snarling dog who barked ferociously at me. It was exceptionally evil-looking with black fur and red eyes.

I stumbled across a blog the other day called the Art of Manliness.

Animals are wonderful. Some can fly, others change colors, run fast or go months without eating.

Self-confidence. If it could be reduced to a potion and drunk from a bottle, many of us would buy it.

I have scars on each knee that I've sported most of my life. Here's the back story:

A few years ago I took a personal retreat for the weekend to rest and write.

Happy Love Day. I know, I know. Some people quietly endure this day of hearts.

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