New Years Resolutions are Coming

I’ve never been good with New Year’s resolutions. I tend to set goals throughout the year, break them, reset them, and that dance continues throughout life. But, there is just something about the start of a New Year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start.

The Top 10* New Year’s resolutions last year:
1. Get out of debt or save money
2. Lose weight
3. Develop a healthy habit (e.g. healthy eating, exercise)
4. Get organized
5. Spend more time with family and friends
6. Develop a new skill or talent
7. Work less, play more
8. Other
9. Break an unhealthy habit (e.g. smoking, alcohol, overeating)
10. Change employment

*By the RISMEDIA-FranklinCovey survey

All of the top ten goals listed seem to be good ones. However, 1 Timothy 4:8 instructs us to keep it all in perspective this way: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions, even among Christians, are in relation to physical things.

If God is the center of your New Year’s resolution, it has chance for success, depending on your commitment to it. If it is God’s will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable you to fulfill it. Is losing weight for vanity or health? If I was honest, I'd say both. Will a higher paying job let you afford luxuries, yet you won't be able to have time with your family to enjoy them? We should weigh our resolutions to God's standards if they are a means to achieve peace, joy and contentment.

So, will I make any New Year’s resolutions this year? Well, not so much resolutions as recommitments; mostly to do with my time; time alone with God to listen and learn from him more is high on the list. Of course, I’ll be in good company as I try to shed any extra holiday pounds plus a few more.

New Year Traditions

In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first new moon after the vernal equinox (first day of spring)

The early Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the New Year by consuming black-eyed peas with ham hocks.

The Tournament of Roses Parade dates back to 1886. Members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers. It celebrated the ripening of the orange crop in California.

The song, "Auld Lang Syne," is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world. Written in the 1700’s, it is an old Scottish tune. "Auld Lang Syne" literally means "old long ago," or simply, "the good old days."

To you, dear reader and friend, I hope that 2010 will be a year for you that is filled with a warm and peaceful home, happy and healthy family and Christ foremost in your heart.

Christmas Cards or Mass E-mailed Newsletters?

Waiting behind two other vehicles to drop off the last of my Christmas cards, I noticed that Main Street looked like a Thomas Kinkade painting. Firemen volunteer their time to place wreaths on the old fashion lights and hang banners and garland across the streets each year. These heroes dressed in yellow rain slickers and firemen hats are not too busy to pass out candy canes to children in awe.

“What is taking so long with these cars?” Accustomed to never having to wait in such a small town, I became annoyed with the car ahead of me. “Oh, now what?”

The young woman in the car ahead of me walked toward my truck and asked me to roll down my window. “The boxes are overflowing and so we have to go inside to mail anything. Do you want me to take yours and mail them?”

After handing her my cards and exchanging smiles and Christmas greetings, I was on my way. As I passed the three boxes I noticed white cards sprinkled with red and green stuffed tight into the slot until not one more envelope could fit without being crushed.

How wonderful that Christmas cards are not a lost tradition. It seems I have received as many, if not more, cards than before this year. In an informal poll on Facebook, 49 out of 50 responders declared they send and like to receive actual Christmas cards instead of those mass Christmas newsletter emails.

Hooray! Christmas cards take some thought about the person you are sending them to. Every card I have received has at least one handwritten sentence or phrase acknowledging and greeting me or my family. It is addressed just to my home. I am more than a “send to all” button.

OK, you may be thinking you don’t have time to send cards. Well, if you must e-mail a Christmas newsletter, there is some etiquette that can be adhered to so that it is more of a true Christmas greeting and the reader may actually enjoy getting them from you each year.

  1. Keep it concise; no more than a couple of paragraphs.
  2. No mass “send to all.” Once you have the main newsletter written, save it and then e-mail it individually (not mass “send to all”) with at least one sentence written directly to them. Actually acknowledge who you are sending it to and wish them a blessed Christmas.
  3. Cut and paste. Your family and close friends already know what happened to your family throughout the year. It is impersonal and a bit insulting to send them a rehash of it all as if you were never present in their life.
  4. Write for the reason of your family’s blessings and Christmas. That is Christ! Give Him the honor of being the center of your letter. Otherwise, do not send your newsletter at Christmas, but another date such as on your birthday or New Years. Last year I received one newsletter on Martin Luther King’s birthday. The senders did not acknowledge Christmas or Christ, so I was glad it was not meant to be for Christmas.
  5. Above all, send your email because you have a heart for the recipient and for Christ. Push a prideful heart aside and fill it, and your letter, full of good tidings at Christmas.

Look Up!

Mornings are too cold. With the turning of the calendar page to December, the freezing north wind has arrived. Clear and cold, even Callie the dog doesn't want to get out of her sheepskin bed until the fire has warmed the living room and I've broken the ice from her pond. But, the freezing, clear sky is radiant with a full moon and dazzling stars, putting my Christmas decorations to shame and making the freezing battles of the day well worth the show nature gives me in return at night.

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him? Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" Psalm 8:3, 4, 9

Crafty Advent Calendars

Loving homemade decorations and gifts, I looked at the little empty matchbox, "there must be something to do with this cute little thing." Seems I am not the only one that thinks so. The following are advent calendars made out of decorated matchboxes. I hope they inspire you to get creative this Christmas.

This is a swag I am finishing...made of large ric-rac, buttons and little matchboxes covered in scrapbook papers and embellishments.

These were made from covering the little boxes and then taping or glueing them together.

Of course, if there isn't time, just decorate the boxes and place them in a cute container!

So, what can you put into these cute little boxes?
  • Little candies and trinkets
  • A word or name from the Bible. Whoever reads a verse at the dinner table with that name in it gets an extra Christmas cookie for dessert.
  • For just couples...something romantic in each box; a long kiss, lunch together, etc.
  • Coupons for good or fun deeds.
Merry Crafting!