Our Voice: We're grateful for chances to restart and improve

It's a new year and a new page in the book of your life. We're grateful for new beginnings.

Cycling mama

Now that we're halfway through January, we suspect many New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside. However, don't limit the turning over of a new leaf to the turning of the calendar.

Now, and always, is a good time for self-improvement. We love stories of people who are successful in taking off weight or giving up a bad habit. We're inspired by a local scientist/mom who has lost 110 pounds in three years -- thanks largely to her bicycling.

Congratulations to Anna Farawila. And thanks for the inspiration.

Gift of gab

A story in Monday's paper laments the gifts of Christmas past, especially the high-tech ones that are now obsolete. E-cycling is something we are going to have to deal with sooner than later.

But if you got a new phone recently and are still hanging on to the old one, consider donating it to the Domestic Violence Services of Benton & Franklin Counties.

The agency accepts all phones: broken or working -- with or without charging cords.

The phones are sent to a processing center where they are cleared of info, repaired if needed and repackaged. They are then returned to our community to be used as 911 phones, meaning the only calls that can be made on them is to 911.

DVS gives these phones to clients to use as part of their safety plans. These phones can be a life-saving part of someone's safety plan!

Phones can be dropped off at any police department, any Mid-Columbia Libraries branch, any Yoke's or the DVS office, 3311 W. Clearwater Ave., Suite C-140, Kennewick.

We're grateful these phones go to a good use. It doubles the good feeling to know you're not junking up a landfill and that you are providing a safety net for someone who just might need it.

Money, money, money

Another popular New Year's resolution is to get your finances in order. It's pretty simple -- on paper. Make more or spend less -- or some combination of the two.

But it sometimes is debilitating to do in real life.

We are happy to see that filings for bankruptcies in the Mid-Columbia were down last year, but know that many people still struggle with financial difficulties.

There still are hundreds of families in financial crisis. And the biggest culprit is medical bills, which only compounds the problem. Someone dealing with health challenges ends up stressed about how to pay for it.

We will be grateful that fewer people are in that category, but still are concerned for those who struggle. The federal government offers online advice on selecting a credit counselor. Visit tinyurl.com/TCH-Credit for more information.