Resolving Changes in the New Year

Many times in the past I have resolved any number of goals only to give up on them a few days into the new year. In the past I have resolved to lose weight, quit smoking (I did quit smoking almost 23 years ago, but it wasn’t because of a New Years Resolution that I had made.), get more organized and exercise but to no avail.

I resolve to finish what I have already started.

I resolve to finish what I have already started.

This year, I have decided to do something a little different. This year, I am going to limit myself to changing two very specific underlying habits. I will evaluate on a daily basis the progress that I made in changing both habits. In addition,  I plan to evaluate the progress I have made by the end of each month.

Finishing What I have Started

The first habit I want to change is the idea that I do not finish things as I should. I have a lot of things that I need to finish and if I don’t start anything new,I am almost certain that I could work the whole year and never run out of things to do. In July I am scheduled to finish my liberal arts degree so that will be one huge project that I will finish this year without even stressing about adding it to my resolutions. In addition,  I have several novels that I started in NaNoWriMo that I want to finish. My current project is A Coward’s Solace.  I hope to have the second draft of that book finished by May 1, 2014. I have research that I can create into hubs for Hubpages, and I have several nonfiction books that I can finish as well. I plan to continue to write two Hubpages a week for the entirety of 2014.   I have craft projects that I have started, I have book marketing plans that I still need to implement. I also have a number of books I need to read both on my bookshelf and on my Kindle. I have numerous of files on my computer that I need to do in which I need to finish using, or I will either  delegate the task to someone else to finish, or I will need to determine that the opportunity to use whatever it is has passed and I need to discard the project. In addition, there are a number of projects that I told others that I would help them work on. I need to live up to those things that I agreed to do. As I said, I have things to finish.

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Becoming More Loving

That leads me into my second resolution. I will get into the habit of loving more. I need to learn to love myself more. I’m not saying that I need to “look out for number one” more. That is not to say that I should excuse the things that I have done wrong and sweep them under the rug. What I am saying is that I need to learn not to self-sabotage because of guilt or shame. I need to let go of the past and forgive myself of my past wrongs.  I have used personal unforgiveness as an excuse not to do the things that I know that I should be doing.  I need to recognize that the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. After all, doesn’t perfect love cast out fear?

I need to learn to submit myself more to what my creator has destined for me to be doing. Jeff and I were talking this morning about Forest Gump and where at the end of the movie he answered the question of whether we are destined or if we choose what we do in our lives. He said that he thought it was both. I know that God has a destiny for me and I desire more than anything to choose that destiny that I was meant to fulfill. I choose to follow that destiny–the destiny of love.

I have always seen myself as a Christian, but lately I have been rather distressed with how Christians are portrayed in the media. However, I don’t see the the problem as originating from the media I see the problem as originating with Christians ourselves. This reminds me of one of my Dad’s poems called Faults:

When it comes to faults in others,

We use our eyes tis true,

But to the faults which are our own,

We use our eyelids too.

When confronted with a question like do you view homosexuality as sin, I have determined that whether or not another person sinned,  is none of my business. God tells me not to judge another person. My responsibility is to love them and judge my own sin. I have determined that what another person does in the confines of his or her bedroom is not my concern. It is the business of that individual, that individual’s partner, and God. My job is to love that person and to introduce that person to the God of love, nothing more and nothing less. I’ll leave God to deal with that person’s spiritual condition. God is far better at it than I could ever be.

This way of thinking brings me back  to the rubber band bracelets a number of years ago that had  WWJD stamped in them. The WWJD stood for What would Jesus do? So what did Jesus do? He loved people, he didn’t condemn them. That’s what I want to do. I want to love others like Jesus loved them. Today, this first day of 2014, I resolve to begin down the path of love.

If I follow through on just these two things, I know that I will have a Happy, Productive 2014!

The Ghost of My Christmas Future

The Christmas tree is now lonely without all the gifts around it to keep it company.

The Christmas tree is now lonely without all the gifts around it to keep it company.

Christmas was a day late at our house. Well, actually, it wasn’t, we just celebrated it a day later than everyone else. My husband is a truck driver and the load that he was supposed to get so he could make it back by Christmas was canceled. They had to get a load for him at the last minute which meant he ended up coming home over a day later than we had anticipated. I have learned that “you have to row with the flow” when you’re married to a truck driver.

Because we decided to postpone the regular festivities, on Christmas Day, my daughter and I went to see the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty I enjoyed it. I remember having read the short story when I was in middle school. I remember enjoying this James Thurber work although many other students I am certain found it less interesting. As a writer, I also have a secret life, a life where I vicariously live through characters who are of my own creation but who seem to take on a life of their own. The movie, like the book, was thought-provoking, and I think that Ben Stiller did an excellent job bringing the character to life in a unique way.

Yesterday we opened our Christmas gifts, one of mine was a writing tray which I am currently using to support my laptop on my lap as a write. I then cooked Christmas dinner.

Now this Christmas is over, and it is time to think about the coming year. I have determined that New Years resolutions do not work for me, but this part of December is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and to look forward into the next. As in the Christmas classic A Christmas Carol, a good question for me to ask myself is “Where do I want to be next Christmas and how do I get there?” In this story, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge discovers that his future isn’t predetermined. His life can be changed by changing himself. He learns that there is more to living than having money. His value as a human being is determined by the relationships that he develops as he generously gives to those around him–his business clerk (employee), his nephew (family) and the poor (charities). So to take a page from Charles Dickens and ask myself, “What can I do over the next year to foster a happier life?” What I do now and with whom I spend my time will determine how I spend next Christmas. Like Scrooge, I am the one who gets to decide my fate.