31 December 2017      

Hello, and welcome to the last day of our year!  It's time to let go
of the past year and to welcome the new one, along with all the
opportunities and potential for doing good that it brings us.  While
the journey from one day to the next is simply one day to the next,
the symbolic passing into the new year gives us the chance for new
starts, new ideas, and stronger efforts to achieve what we hope
to achieve in these lives we've been given!

Creative New Year
Wilferd A. Peterson

The House
Jennifer Avalon

My New Year
tom walsh

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For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.

T.S. Eliot

Drop the last year into the silent limbo
of the past.  Let it go, for it was imperfect,
and thank God that it can go.

Brooks Atkinson

A new year can begin only because the old year ends.

Madeleine L'Engle

  

Creative New Year
Wilferd A. Peterson

What miracles would happen if, for just one year, we all resolved to make this a genuinely "Creative New Year."

Manufacturers, looking at their products, would say, "It isn't good enough!" and would think about how they could improve it to serve customers better.

Ministers would think about how they could revolutionize their church services to attract and inspire more people.

Husband, wife, and whole families would go into a huddle to discover ways to make their home a different, better, more wonderful place to live.

Would-be authors would forget past rejection slips, dust off their typewriters, and take another crack at writing the great American novel.

Inventors, taking a tip from Edison, who made thousands of experiments in the development of the electric light, would make new attempts to complete their inventions and get them on the market.

Salespeople wo
uld begin thinking about brand new ways that they could present their products to boost sales and demonstrate prosperity.

Educators would begin thinking up ways to improve education, to help students live up to their potential.

Doctors would start expanding their services to consider the needs of the whole patient--body, mind, and spirit.

Politicians would begin thinking about ways that they could serve the people more effectively.

You who are reading this, whatever your work, your goals, your dreams, resolve to put your creative mind to work in the new year.  Launch an aggressive, creative drive for new ideas and new ways of doing things, to better serve people.  This is your key to a Happy New Year!
  

Promise for the New Year

I will seek elegance rather than luxury, refinement rather than fashion.
I will seek to be worthy more than respectable; wealthy and not rich.
I will study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly.  I will listen to
stars and birds, babes and sages, with an open heart.  I will bear all things
cheerfully, do all things bravely, await occasions, and hurry never.  In a word,
I will let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common.

William Ellery Channing

   

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The House
Jennifer Avalon

This week we look forward to the start of a new year, untouched, like a slate that is unmarked and clean, just waiting for us to paint our thoughts and impressions onto it.  Many of us will start to compile a list of New Year resolutions. . . setting goals for 2004.  For a lot of us, by the end of January many of those goals start to unravel, and we become discouraged, wondering why we should continue on the course that looked so bright at the beginning.

I think if we approach the New Year with a different perspective and keep a symbol or image in our minds it may be easier to stay focused and navigate the road ahead.  I approach the New Year as a builder, a person who sees a piece of land and the possibilities that can come forth. I look at the formulation of my goals, hopes, and dreams as a house. . . a beautiful shining building that by the end of the year I can be proud of.  A builder needs tools, not just hammers and nails but faith, encouragement, conviction and the belief that when you put your mind to it, anything is possible.

In January we start the foundation.  We make sure it is strong and has the potential to hold what we place upon it.  We make sure there are no cracks.  Each succeeding month we add to our house--floor by floor we put in the plumbing, the electrical wiring, the heating system, etc.  Sometimes we make mistakes:  one room may not be wired right, so we go back, repair the damage and continue on.  By the spring, we see that our house is off the ground and rising.  The contributions we have made to our house are beginning to show.  People pass by and are amazed how "fast" the house is starting to come together. . . but little do they see the problems that we encountered to get to our level.

So on we go, each day building brick by brick with the sky above us. . . and with each brick a feeling of accomplishment comes over us and a better understanding of the mistakes we have made so that we try not to make them again.  God looks down and sees a person trying to push forward with a house of meaning and purpose.  A badly built house with a weak foundation won't stand very long, but a good house can last forever.  God understands how hard it is to built good houses.

By the fall, our floors are completed, and we are about to add our roof. We want a roof that will not leak, that can take the elements.  If we have done all our work and done it well, by the end of the year we will be standing in front of a house, amazed that we were able to accomplish this once-monumental task.  We look at each brick and floor and see a story.  We see the setbacks and the over comings.  It is possible to build a good house, God willing, with the right tools and determination. . . All things are possible.

Good Luck with your house,

Love,

Jennifer Avalon
   

    

Every new year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves
they believe are negative.  A majority of people revert back to how
they were before and feel like failures.  This year I challenge you
to a new resolution.  I challenge you to just be yourself.

Aisha Elderwyn

   

 

My New Year

The idea of a new year grows more precious--and a bit more tenuous--as we age.  Now that I'm well into my fifties, each year that I live is closer to the end--and each new year that arrives is, of course, more likely to be my last one than the years that came around when I was in my twenties or thirties.  As we grow older, we hopefully learn to appreciate the preciousness of the time that we have here and do our best to make the most of it while we have it.

With that said, one of the things that happens in my mind is that I realize that the coming year is one of my later years, and it's very important to me to make the most of it.  It's important not just not to waste the time I've been given, but to use that time to accomplish things that are important in life.  I'm not talking about a checklist of major achievements; I'm not about to write the world's best novel ever during the coming twelve months.  But there are many things that I can do during this time that I have that will contribute to the positive side of this world and that will make my own life more pleasant, more enjoyable, and more productive.

So when a new year comes around, I have to ask myself a different question nowadays:  What special things can I do to make sure that this is a good year, as it very well may be my last?

And by the way, I don't consider this to be a negative perspective at all.  Everyone dies, and I'm no exception.  I'm not going to deny that fact.  And I don't really consider death to be all that negative a thing--I'm actually kind of curious to find out what actually does happen when we "pass on" from this world.  I'm not going to actively search out that answer, but when the time does come for me to learn it, I'm sure it will be fascinating.

So in this new year of mine, I'm determined to have fun.  I'm going to enjoy what I'm doing, and if I'm not enjoying it, then I'm going to stop doing it.  By enjoyment, I don't mean things that make me laugh out loud or that are completely stress-free.  I love teaching, for example, and I enjoy doing it, but it does cause me an awful lot of stress.  The stress is worth it, though, and even when I feel overwhelmed and stressed out, I'm still enjoying teaching.  I also enjoy running and talking with friends and writing and going for long walks and long drives--there are plenty of things in this life that I truly enjoy doing, and I'm going to do more of them.

I don't enjoy petty little arguments over trivialities, and I don't enjoy being around people who are mean, destructive, and belittling of others.  I don't enjoy certain social situations, and I don't enjoy boring presentations, meetings, sermons, or anything else for which I'm expected to sit quietly while someone else bores me to tears.  So I'm going to avoid such things to the best of my ability.

I'm definitely going to read more.  When I read, I learn, and when I learn, I feel that I'm accomplishing one of my greatest goals as a human being on this planet.  I love to learn and I believe that learning as much as I can about as many different things and ideas as I can is one of my most important tasks to accomplish here.  When I read, I learn about life and human nature and science and philosophy and poetry and feelings.  I learn through the eyes and mind and heart of someone else who has put into words things that I haven't yet thought of.  Novels, non-fiction, poetry, articles, essays--they can all help me to expand my perspective and make me more aware of what's going on in our world and in the hearts and minds of my fellow human beings.

This year I'm going to focus on unity and oneness.  I'm going to do my best to keep in mind with every interaction with every person the fact that we belong together, we need one another, and that we share this world together, not in separateness.  I'm going to keep in mind that this person's well-being is intricately involved with my own well-being, and that the way I treat other human beings and animals helps to determine the quality of life for me.  We are not separate from one another--we just pretend that we are to make life a bit easier for ourselves.  Easier, perhaps, but not more fulfilling and not richer.

I'm going to be an encourager.  I'm going to look for the positive in all the people that I meet and I'm going to actually tell people the positive that I see.  I'm going to let people know that I appreciate them and I'm going to encourage them to do the things that they love to do rather than criticize them for not doing the things that I think they should do.  I know that people respond much, much better to encouragement, so I'm going to do my best to make encouragement something that happens as second nature in my life.  I want to give encouragement and help to contribute to the positive of the world, and in order to do so I need to commit myself to making the effort all the time.

I'm going to be a giver.  I often hold back on giving because I'm not really sure if giving is the best thing for the recipient, or because I'm afraid that if I give something away, I may need it myself soon.  I'm going to check my worries more often, keeping in mind that in all the years I've been here, I still haven't run into problems created by me giving something away.  And all of the doubts that I have had about others needing to do things themselves rather than being given something have turned out to be groundless.

I'm also going to work hard at letting go of things that I think are important.  As I get closer to the end of my life, I'm learning that almost everything that I thought was extremely important has turned out to be rather unimportant.  Yes, it's important to have money, but so many of my worries over the years have been unfounded ones about money, so I can work on letting go of my dependence upon money.  I have tons of books and cd's that I don't really need because I don't have time to listen to all the music and read all the books--and I don't need to keep them "just in case."

The main things that have turned out to be truly important have been my relationships with other people--the people close to me to whom I can give my love and my support; the students I work with, with whom I can share my knowledge, my encouragement, and my teaching skills; and all the other human beings on the planet, even those I see for only a few moments who may be in need of a positive word of hope or a sincere compliment.  So I'm going to work on spreading the positive and minimizing the negative.

There's much more that I'm going to try to do with this new year, but I think that what it boils down to is the ongoing struggle to pare down life to its essentials, and getting rid of whatever I have in excess.  In relationships, it comes down to spending time with other people without having unrealistic expectations of them or their actions--simply enjoying their company is enough.  I want to have a simple life that isn't bogged down by possessions or wants or judgments, and if I'm to have that life, it's up to me to make it, and if I want to make it, it's up to me to consciously start the process.  And when is better to start such a process than at the start of the newest year of our lives?

And on the first day of each month, I can start again.

And on the first day of each week, I can remind myself of what I want and start again.

And in the first hour of each morning. . . .

   

   
More on the new year.

   

   

  

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The object of a New Year is not
that we should have a new year.  It is
that we should have a new soul
and a new nose; new feet, a new
backbone, new ears, and new eyes.  Unless a particular person made
New Year resolutions, he or she would make no resolutions.  Unless one
starts afresh about things, that person will certainly do nothing effective.

G.K. Chesterton

  
New Year's Requirements
W.R. Hunt

The sun is just rising on the morning of another day, one of the first of a new year.  What can I wish that this day, this year, may bring to me?  Nothing that shall make the world of others poorer, nothing at the expense of others; but just those things which in their coming do not stop with me, but touch me rather, as they pass and gather strength:

A few friends who understand me, and yet remain my friends.

A work to do which has real value without which the world
would feel the poorer.

A return for such work small enough not to tax unduly anyone who pays.

A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed.

An understanding heart.

A sight of the eternal hills and unresting sea, and of something beautiful the hand of humans has made.

A sense of humor and the power to laugh.

A few moments of quiet, silent meditation.  The sense of the
presence of God.

. . . and the patience to wait for the coming of these things,
with the wisdom to know them when they come.
Do not begin the new year by recounting to yourself or others all your losses and sorrows.  Let the past go.  Should some good friend present you with material for a lovely garment, would you insult her by throwing it aside and describing the beautiful garments you had worn out in past times?  The new year has given you the fabric for a fresh start in life, why dwell upon the events which have gone, the joys, blessings and advantages of the past! . . . . Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success.  A whole, clear, glorious year lies before you!  In a year you can regain health, fortune, restfulness, happiness!

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The Heart of the New Thought
   

  

What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal
on what you bring to the new year.

Vern McLellan

    

  

   

A new way of reading has been here for a while now.  And while we still love our books, if you're like many people, you get tired of lugging around the books that sometimes weigh more than anything else we carry.  Imagine carrying hundreds of books--novels, self-help, history, travel, you name it--and reading them comfortably on a no-glare screen, setting things like text size to your own preferences.  It's a great experience, and it's available to us now for less than the cost of ten books.  And there are plenty of free books to download, especially timeless classics--you can easily get enough free books to pay for the Kindle.  Give yourself the gift of wonderful literature that you can easily bring with you, wherever you go!

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