We asked our members to share their resolutions, gratitudes & thoughts about the New Year, 2016.
Fran Lewis is an author, book reviewer, and magazine publisher. Her resolutions are:
To think on the bright side.
To hope that I can deal with the impossible and turn it into the possible.
Remembering and valuing all the good things I have and glad that so many authors value my words.
To everyone in the write room blog, authors and readers, Happy holidays, Fran
Flash fiction author and poet Sal Buttaci shares these thoughts.
I Will TRY TO BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF MYSELF AS I CAN BE
I’ve made more New Year resolutions than I care to remember and most of them I walked away from before January was laid to rest. Were they too difficult to keep? Unrealistic? The product of an exuberant Christmas spirit when joy buoyed me up so high I believed I could promise anything and deliver? Who knows! I have since changed my tune. I’m singing a different song. Let me push the musical metaphor a little further: I no longer reach for the unreachable note that insists I can sing it if I try.
Did wisdom come to me in my old age? Hardly! I simply gathered past resolutions in one basket labeled, “I will try to be the best version of myself as I can be.” Over the basket I draped a kind of comforter to keep my intentions warm throughout the new year. And I continue to recite the mantra of what I hope to attain. “God, help me to become a better man.” One who is kinder than the one in the dying year. One who prays for an increase in faith, hope and love of my God, my wife, my neighbors and myself. A better man whose writings more deeply and sincerely reflect that the words I write emanate from the heart.
For several years now I respond to the call for New Year resolutions with Christ’s words: “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is Perfect.”
It’s a resolution that helps me strive towards a better way to enjoy life and partake in the inner peace we all desire to be truly happy.
British author Bryan Murphy is still keeping a New Year’s resolution he made in 1974 never to make another New Year’s resolution, but this year he is resolved to bring out his novel Revolution Number One, much of which is set in Portugal in 1974. He shared an excerpt in the blog.
Cody Wagner tells us that his mom was the Clark Griswold of every holiday. She did everything so over the top, we were embroiled in holiday decorations and singing for weeks before and after Christmas, Easter, New Years, and Arbor Day…OK maybe not Arbor Day, but she was a holiday woman.
Every Christmas, we’d have a plethora of activities laid on us. We were the Atlas of holidays, bearing metric tons of cheer. Festivities included doing good deeds to earn miniature blankets to lay on miniature Jesus (by Christmas day, he’d have 300 blankets piled all around him), performing novenas to move sheep closer to a manger scene (one sheep, named Ishkabibble, had no head and all us kids fought over him), stringing popcorn and carrots for a trees just for animals (we’d go out into a field on Christmas Eve and plant it), and the list goes on and on.
New Year’s was no different. Mom got busy baking and made cheese balls, Chex Mix, coconut cream pies, and everything else under the sun. She was a terrible cook, but that never stopped us from taking a few bites of everything, only to revert to fallbacks of Kit Kats and Twix bars.
She also started a new tradition on New Year’s. Instead of going to parties and whatnot, our family stayed in every year. We’d whip out all our favorite board games and play them all night New Year’s Eve and into the following day. By the end, we’d be exhausted, sick of games and ready to crash. But it was a huge bonding moment for a busy family that had trouble finding the time to be together.
Sadly, Mom died of an unexpected stroke a few years ago.
I wasn’t sure what would happen with New Year’s after she passed. I mean, big parties are really appealing. I’ve vowed a hundred times to make it to New York one year to see the Big Apple drop.
It turns out, her death solidified our New Year’s game night.
It’s December 23rd and, instead of talking about Christmas like normal people, we are putting together our New Year’s gaming plans. I think we’re going to revert back to classics like Clue and Yahtzee. And I’ll try to replicate some of her recipes and make them as disgusting as possible (purely for nostalgia’s sake, not because I can’t cook…which I can’t). Several groups have extended invites, but they’ve all been turned down. And I couldn’t be more excited.
Reflecting on all this, it’s hard to say exactly what New Year’s means to me. Sure, I make resolutions like everyone else. And, like everyone else, I never stick with any of them. And I probably dread the passage of time as much as anyone else.
Maybe what Mom provided for us – in addition to an after school special about family bonding – was an escape. An escape from thinking about what we did or didn’t accomplish this year. Or what we need to accomplish next year.
Escapes are good. As good a revelation as anything. Especially when we’re all so busy adulting, the stress of everything weighs us down.
So that’s what I’ll thank Mom for when the clock strikes twelve.
Jon Magee is the author of From Barren Rocks to Living Stones to Living Stones and also Paradise Island, Heavenly Journey. These books reflect his nomadic youth where he has discovered that in places where all seems hopeless life can become hopeful. For that reason, he writers of a new commitment.
Well it’s that time of year again when in a fit of optimism many of us will make great promises about what we are going to do in the New Year that we usually abandon about the second week in January. Possibly we will spend a lot of time thinking through the resolution, yet it still does not reach to its completion. As we have come to the end of the year, we may likewise feel the sense of failure for what was not successful and we allow it to pull us down. In the midst of such a scene, perhaps we need to face the year with a different perspective.
In the coming year we will all face the challenges of life, however, do we see them as barriers to fall over, or as hurdles that we will soar over seeking to reach the next challenge of life? May our Challenges be hurdles, not barriers.
Romance author and animal-lover Trish Jackson gives some advice, harness the power.
If you haven’t yet made a New Year’s Resolution, here’s one – harness the power of your mind. Be positive, think positive, and nix any negative thoughts.
Wikipedia: ‘The law of attraction is the name given to the maxim “like attracts like” which in New Thought philosophy is used to sum up the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy.
The ramifications of this are way too complex to discuss here, but it is a fact that we tend to dwell on negative thoughts more than we should, and most of us devote far too little time to positive thoughts.
So be thankful for all you have and think positive. Be aware of your thoughts and make a concerted effort to catch the negativity and change it to positive energy. You have the power to make 2016 the your most successful year yet, and I’m sending positive thoughts to all of you
Motivation and religious author and President of Christ Is My Savior Ministries Yves Johnson asks us abut our 2016 Goals.
At the beginning of this year I asked friends if they had abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions. I jokingly said, “Hey, it’s been five days already!” I thought it would be appropriate to ask, “How did you do on accomplishing your goals?”
Someone once said, “A goal is just a roadmap to deviate from.” While that is true, your goals also help you to achieve success. It provides you with the opportunity to see what you have accomplished.
I want to be an honest broker. I did not accomplish all of my goals this past year. So, why would a person who teaches about goals admit that he did not accomplish all of his goals? Great question. Let us explore that for a moment.
Goals will help drive you to a destination. We must be open to new opportunities. Further, we may have overestimated our goals. I anticipated I would accomplish XY and Z. I was only able to accomplish X and Y. I miscounted the cost for Z. Yet, this miscalculation was a benefit. I did my research on Z. I asked and received counsel from people who were engaged in Z. Thus, I was prepared to tackle this challenge!
Hmm. A funny thing happened on the way to success. This funny thing called life popped up. First, Z called for nearly twice the amount of time my counseled stated. Second, several unanticipated opportunities materialized. Although I had a defined goal, I miscalculated the cost to accomplish these goals. It is possible I would be dissatisfied in progress if I simply looked at my goals sheet without taking into account the deviations.
All these aforementioned variable created growth opportunities. I teach participants in my Path to Personal and Professional Success workshop that they gain a lot of growth in those path deviations. Like those participants, you will see enormous growth once you adjust your goals with the new realities in your life. Personally, I received enormous growth when I adjusted my goals. In addition, I was able to adjust my goals to include the new opportunities.
I hope you have goals for 2016. Remember, embrace the deviations life may cause. I’ll be checking in on you in a few months to see how you are doing on your 2016 goals.
Novelist and essayist Ken Weene shares some musings on time, which is at once the most primitive, complex, and evocative of dimensions of human experience.
Consider an early ancestor living in a cave, locating their life in a small patch of jungle, unaware of the great distances of the world around. Aware that there is a sky, but having no sense how far above the tree tops it begins or to what distance it reaches. They know that one roasted pig is heftier than another, but they cannot measure the difference.
But when it comes to time, our ancestor was assuredly aware. He knew there was diurnality, the difference between day and night. Then there was the arc of the sun’s apparent movement overhead. The moon waxed and waned with no known cause. The seasons changed if only in terms of when certain roots weere edible and certain species produced their catchable and edible young. Even our ancestors’ bodies reflected time, both in circadian rhythm, especially the women’s menses, and everyone’s progression from birth towards death.
The protohominid was aware of time at the most primordial level of being.
But time is not an easy dimension to understand or to measure. Once past, the moment cannot be redone. Secondly, precision in time is difficult because the easiest standards of time, such as the angle of the sun, differ from place to place. Once we travel, time becomes very confusing indeed. For early explorers, longitude could be determined by comparing the time at one’s homeport to the noon hour of the sun overhead but how?
If those earthly considerations seem confusing, consider the contributions of Einstein. Imagine that you have a twin who becomes an astronaut, spends some time hurtling through space and then returns. They disembark and you discover that now you have a younger sibling. What?
Time is indeed complicated.
But it is the evocative nature of time that captures the poet in us. If we start at one place and go to another, we can say we’ve travelled so many miles, kilometers, or whatever. Pick something up and we can say it weighed so many stone, pounds, grams; or we can be fancy and rephrase that in terms of mass. Either way we are talking about a comparison, for example to the mass of a cubic centimeter of water at sea level. We are not talking about the very beginning of all weight.
Only when we consider time do we emotionally require an absolute starting point. Perhaps that is because we recognize our mortality and therefore need to know where we are within that flow of time from beginning to end. And so, from earliest recorded history, humankind has tried to explain that first point, that moment of creation. The Christian tradition is particularly brazen in its attempt to master time, giving both a starting point, a creation, and an end point, an apocalypse. Modern science has tried to do the same in an even more precise manner, big bang until the universe stops expanding and turns back on itself.
Of course, the religious model makes it all feel more comprehensible and isn’t that what we need, to comprehend our mortality?
But then once a year we all, or at least those who follow the Gregorian calendar, will wait until the first new moon after the winter solstice at the moment when the sun is farthest from its zenith in our lives to turn one to the other and say, “Happy New Year!”
For the moment we want to believe that we know “when we are.”