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Pulse on Health: Find special, surprise gift

I have been reading a book by Eartha Kitt (now deceased), singer and actor, who extolled enjoying the breathing process.

Take a deep, full breath of air — the fullest one you are able — and exhale slowly.

I have been reading a book by Eartha Kitt (now deceased), singer and actor, who extolled enjoying the breathing process.

It's surprising how good her suggestion actually feels.

I wanted to give you that gift this holiday.

Each year, I seek my own holiday "gift" — the kind that often goes unnoticed.

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For a 7-year-old, it might be the hefty snowfall last week, just in time for Christmas.

For a grandmother, it might be a grandson driving a thousand miles from college to her home in southeast Minnesota, arriving a day before everyone else in the family — on purpose — just because he likes hanging out with her.

I once stopped outside the Salvation Army on Christmas Day to visit with homeless individuals I had grown to know.

They welcomed me as if a long-lost brother. I had a scratchy throat and someone whipped out a roll of lozenges, immediately sharing one of her last few. Readily sharing your very few possessions seems "Christ-like" to me.

One year heading home to Bismarck, N.D., after a holiday gathering, snow became a thick blur of real-world snow-globe proportions.

Swooping like a movie character came a pair of white wings several feet across — a snowy owl! My one and only sighting.

My breathing and heartbeat seemed to cease while the creature glided out of sight.

I was in awe — and still am. To see such a creature, ever, is a gift itself.

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But to see one in such a pristine setting, even more remarkable.

"My" personal gift can be as simple as frost designs on a window.

Or as meaningful as capturing a photo of my grandparents holding hands like high-school sweethearts, or thoughts of someone recently lost.

My breakfast tradition on Christmas Day is a grapefruit because I take synthroid and am not supposed to eat it. I cheat that one day.

I invite you to pay attention to yourself this year. Pick a personal gift that "makes" your holiday, whether you celebrate the birth of Christ or another tradition.

Please take one more deep breath, as deep as you are able, and exhale.

Now enjoy a safe holiday. I wish you a very special, surprise gift.

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