What’s New with You?

IMG_1098Are you, like me, tired of the same old New Year’s feature stories and articles? I mean really. Can a TV program convince us to lose weight or exercise if we haven’t made those commitments already? And do we really care about the latest trends in fashion for the new year? Or how to organize our kitchens, closets, offices, or garages? We’ve been there and done that. And if we feel like it, we’ll do it again. But not because we read an article about it or saw it on TV!

Still, we shouldn’t let our cynicism about stock New Year’s features keep us from using the new year for a much needed jump start or as motivation to make some necessary changes. So what’s going to be new with you? What change are you ready to make not just because it’s the first week of January, but because you’re ready to make it? Think about that while I share a few of mine.

First, I’m ready for a new perspective on politics. Seeing the movie “Lincoln” reminded me that leadership can be either exemplary and unifying, as it was with our 16th president, or deplorable and divisive. But that regardless, our nation will survive for as long as God wills it—not a day longer and not a day less. So we can do our best to be responsible citizens, and we can pray. That’s it. My new perspective includes letting go of the sadness about our nation that has been upon me for so long now. It’s weighing me down and making me unpleasant to be around, and it’s got to go.

Second, I can feel in my bones that this is the year I will deliver on my desire to “downsize in place.” My husband and I aren’t ready to leave our home for smaller digs because we still love having room for kids and grandkids to visit. But we are both ready to jettison a whole lot of the stuff in it: to streamline our lives in every conceivable way so that we’re ready for whatever the future holds. I don’t need a fortune teller to tell me there are a lot of large, black trash bags in our future. It’s going to happen!

Third, although I haven’t taken time for granted for many years now, I’m going to take more seriously the wisdom of Psalm 90:12: Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. As trite as it sounds, each day IS a gift. I have no idea how many I have left to do the work I feel God has called me to do, but I’m wise enough to know there’s no longer time for procrastination. This year I will be keenly aware of time and treat it with respect.

My sister Mary called me this morning and commented on the first devotion in the book God Calling, edited by A. J. Russell, that we are both reading this year. Written by two British women who met to pray together in the 1930’s, it contains the things they believed God was saying to them through his son Jesus Christ. In the January 1 entry we read: I stand between the years. The Light of My Presence is flung across the year to come—the radiance of the Sun of Righteousness. Backward, over the past year, is My Shadow thrown, hiding trouble and sorrow and disappointment. Dwell not on the past—only on the present. I determined not to let the past use up too much of the present many years ago. But, with the Lord’s help, I’ll be even more focused on the present as I move into this new year.

What about you? What’s new with you?

(Thanks to my grandson Peter for being my model once again. This was taken on New Year’s Eve 2009. If this doesn’t get you going, what will?)


  1. Michael Rhoda says:

    I agree with you 100% on the political goal. A while back, I read the book “Team of Rivals,” which was the inspiration in large part for the Lincoln movie you saw. It showed what is possible. Finding the balance between being an active citizen and not being overwhelmed with frustration about the current political environment is tricky. We may not have as much influence on how this country is run, but we certainly can run the campaign of our own lives and be an influence for good for our families and friends.

    • I think I want to read that book too, Mike. Thanks for the reminder. Also, I appreciate the encouragement that we mustn’t give up on what we CAN do, just not let the rest get us down. Happy new year.

  2. jimmie bohannon says:

    Good thoughts from a wise friend!

  3. Elizabeth Van Liere says:

    Ah, Nancy. Procrastination is my middle name. I put off doing necessary things by substituting could-wait ones. because they are more familiar and easier. So I’d better close these thougts and go do what I promised myself I WOULD do today. Love, Betty.

    • Betty, we could collaborate on a book about the fine art of procrastination, but then we’d probably never get around to it! I do think part of my problem, and I suspect yours, is working from home. I never thought about the laundry or the dishwasher when I was 13 miles away in an office building. Thanks for the empathy and the encouragement. Hang in there!

  4. Great prospective on 2013!

  5. Jan Keller says:

    I am TOTALLY with you!!!!

  6. As always, a wonderful post. I agree with you on everything on your list.
    Last year I vowed to somehow get rid of the boxes and sacks stored in our second (and only guest) room. It had accumulated after my mother moved to assisted living, and I brought home things to “hold on to” in case cousins wanted keepsakes. But we have a very small house, and everyone kept stalling. Finally, I wrote them and said I would be donating the things to The Thrift House, and they agreed. Prime salable items were delivered in January, 2012, and I was on my way.
    My goal for the rest became this: every time ARC, Goodwill or DAV called for pickup donations, I said yes. Every time, all year. With a week’s time before pickup, I’d open boxes and bags, check in case family pictures, etc. had gotten in the mix, and then I’d set out a load for that pick up. I had 31 pickups during the year, some with just a bag or two, but it all helped.
    Okay, to be honest, I’ll have to continue again this year…but it’s a start.
    Happy New Year, dear Nancy, and hugs to your darling grandson!

    • Oh, Marylin, what a great idea to always say yes to “Jane” and the others who call! Our main problem is our storage area which is partially a crawl space. We either need to hire a troupe of hobbits or subscript small grandchildren to pull all the stuff out so we can sort. It KILLS our backs. But your encouragement to go at it little by little encourages me. Happy new year.

  7. Wow! Did you ever hit the nail on the head… my head! Oh yes. Like you, I have resolved to not allow political news to foster an inward urgency – nor bear the weight- of righting laws and men to reflect the image of our visionary forefathers. I will NOT despair if disappointing turns of power intrude into my path… for my steps are ordered by the Lord. He alone is in charge. I can move happily into 2013 with the burden of America’s future off my shoulders and firmly planted where it should have always been: in God’s capable hands of justice.

    I have already begun the task of lightening the load. A very large yard sale and distribution of things that are no longer necessary, useful or loved by us can become a blessings for others while making way for a new look… a new way of living we wish to pursue. New paint can only come to clean surfaces; so I plan to pull everything from walls and windows and return only what is useful, inspirational, loved and beautiful. I feel an optimism growing for new possibilities.

    As for the motivation of losing weight in the New Year… my bathroom scale needed no help from TV features to drive that message home.

    Nancy, I do so love your little visits each month via this blog. “Like apples of gold inlaid with silver is a word that is aptly spoken.” Proverbs 25:11 NJV

  8. alice scott-ferguson says:

    ah glorious! Love, and can identify with them all, Nancy; particularity the political posture…such a relief to let it GO and let GOD!
    I have never heard/read so many sentiments and determinations
    about living in, and for, the moment as i have this 2013! This is the Father plan and will, and it is possible to do as we rely on Christ within and in the power of the Spirit…time to live rejoicing everyday, as the old hymn says!!

    • Amen, Alice. Our pastor used Philippians 4:4 in his sermon this morning: Rejoice in the Lord always! What a better way to spend our time than grousing about things we can’t change. Thanks for taking time to comment.

  9. This is a wonderful post. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week I’m planning big changes but not because its January but because its time. God has a call on my life and I’m detertimed to find out what it is and put it into action. Have a wonderful January I’m exicted to see what god has in store for you I know it will be amazing.

  10. rolle walker says:

    Nancy, you post as elements of Prudence, Righteousness, Courage, and Temperance: the crowns of Wisdom. Many people I know have exactly your perspective on politics, “enough already.” Move on and get out of the ditch, as you are saying. Thank you for your wise words. I’m going to find the book GOD CALLING, sounds powerful. Thank you, Nancy. Hug Jim for me.

  11. Refreshing perspective Nancy. Reminds me of something I read once in a Henry Nouwen book, the “what if’s” or “if only’s” keep us from living in the present moment where we experience God’s presence and a heart of gratitude. Going to keep this and reread in the days ahead!!!

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