The new year is here and people are still hopeful for the changes that come with a new beginning, but the shine of the holidays may be starting to fade and some of us may be struggling to get back into our routines. If you need a few tips to help you get back to normal, read on.

For those of you who traveled for the holidays, focus on cleaning and storing your clothes and luggage. That first step towards normality can really be a burden lifter: having all your clothes in the right places. Tucking your luggage into its regular storage place can clear out cluttered space and relieve a little stress.

Of course, you probably have new gifts and these items likely need to find a place in your home. First, take each item out of its bag or box and remove any tags, packaging etc. If you plan to reuse any of the packaging, break it down, fold it up and store it. Take a little time to consider where each item should go such as on display, in your jewelry box, in your closet or wherever seems appropriate. Creating order for your new things will give you a sense of accomplishment.

Since you probably made some New Year's resolutions, make time to put your goals in your calendar. While you're at it, go ahead and prepare your calendar for the year. Add in important dates like birthdays, vacations and any appointments you currently have scheduled. Focusing on your schedule and filling in your calendar will help you feel like you're getting back into your routine.

Lastly, you may need to remove some old items from your home that have been replaced by gifts over the holidays. Try selling them on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or other Internet sites to not only get it out of your space, but maybe make a little money on the deal. Safe Zones are available in both Leeds and Moody for you to meet with your prospective buyers. It’s always a good idea to meet strangers in public places and the safe zones are there for your use. The Leeds Safe Zone is right in front of City Hall on 9th Street. The Moody Safe Zone is the side parking lot next to City Hall on Park Avenue. These areas are designated as safe zones because surveillance cameras are active 24/7; however, please note police protection is not always available at these locations 24/7 so always take care when meeting your potential buyer. These Safe Zones are also good places to meet for other reasons, like divorced parents that need a place to drop off and pick up their children, or meeting estranged relatives or friends again for the first time. Make use of the Safe Zones and take care of yourself.

The Gathering Place in Moody is hosting a multi-day, multiple speaker conference called the Encounter Conference on Friday, Jan. 3 from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 4 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Special Guests scheduled are Johnny Taylor, Pastor Todd Smith, & more! Visit https://www.gpchurch.tv/encounter-conference for additional information. Registration is required.

Leeds Jane Culbreth Library will host a series of 4-week employment workshops called “Let's Get to Work!” These workshops will be held in Jan., Mar., May, Jul., & Sept. 2020. Discussions will include how to sharpen your skills for interviews and job opportunities in the 21st century. At the end of each of the 4-week programs, the registered participants will schedule a mock interview with the Library Director. Each interviewee will be given constructive criticism at the end of the mock interview, plus a professional reference from the Library Director and a certification of completion for the program. Space is limited to 10 students per month. Call (205) 699-5962 or email mcarden@leedsalabama.gov to reserve your spot. Meetings will take place Jan. 3, 10, 17 and 24 at 11 a.m. in the library meeting room.

The Leeds Masonic Lodge Community Breakfast is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4. Breakfast is free, but donations are appreciated for Leeds community involvement programs. For more information, please contact T. V. Weaver at (205) 699-6742.

The 5th Annual Chillbilly Ride will be on Saturday, Jan. 4 with a rain date of Jan. 11. Register at 9 a.m. and kickstands off the ground at 11 a.m. with Moody First Baptist Faith Riders. Chili will be provided for lunch and there will be door prizes and more. Cost is $20 for riders and $5 for passengers. All benefits go to the Jimmie Hale Mission.

Leeds City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6 at Leeds Civic Center Meeting Room.

Moody Lions Club will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6 at White's Chapel.

Moody Kiwanis Club is scheduled to meet at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Moody City Hall.

Please remember that the Moody Police Department and Moody Civic Center are hosting ALICE Active Shooter Training at 5 p.m. Jan. 7-8 at Moody Civic Center. This two-day Instructor Certification course is designed to teach proactive option-based strategies to increase survivability in a violent critical incident. The ALICE strategies empower individuals to participate in their own survival in the gap between when a violent situation begins and when law enforcement arrives. ALICE stands for Alert, Lock down, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate and is a valuable strategy for everyone: law enforcement, schools, universities, hospitals, businesses, and places of worship. Completing the ALICE Certification Instructor course provides individuals with certification in ALICE proactive strategies and allows them the opportunity to bring those same strategies back to their organization. Additionally, registrants will gain access to exclusive ALICE resources. ALICE is aligned with recommendations from Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and many State government agencies.

Moody Area Chamber of Commerce will host their monthly chamber luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9 at Moody City Hall. Lunch is $12 for members with reservation and $15 for non-members and no reservation. RSVP to Andrea Machen at 205-640-6262.

Thought for the Week: “A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first…When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.” ~Victoria Moran

I thoroughly enjoy sharing information, news and calendar items with you each week and I thank you for reading my column. Please remember to send any news to me at leedsmoodynews@gmail.com. Best of wishes on your New Year's goals and getting back on track. Have a great week!

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