Dateline: December 30, 2021, For some, the week between Christmas and New Years is like living in another dimension. Christmas is over, this may be a week of vacation or staycation. Work is slow (unless you’re in #retail), it’s an opportunity to get odd tasks complete, but nothing that depends on others or that is super deep. It feels like life is in suspended animation. This week is all about completion and anticipation.

What is something that has a December 31st deadline for you? Something in business? Perhaps you had a goal set and you’re trying to complete it. One year, I set a goal to read 20 books of the Bible, you guessed it, got to the last week of the year and I dove into the shortest books I could complete – Ruth, Obadiah, I, II, III John, Jude. Hey, they were quick checkmarks toward my goal completion. It’s hard for our thinking to not creep into what the new year will bring.

We start a new planner, click over to a new month, or start a calendar. The pages are blank, a clean slate. It’s all potential. We are given as many as 365 days, 8,760 hours. What will we do with them? What will we make of them? How will we be changed or grow as individuals because of what our days are filled with? If you are not thinking about it, you’ve got today and tomorrow. Don’t float out of one year and into the next without a plan or at least a few thoughts about how you will invest your time. Use this anticipatory week (or now a couple of days) to dare to dream about what a fresh new year will bring.

No excuses. No, “yes but…” And if I hear one more thing blamed on the pandemic, my head is going to explode. We have to keep ourselves healthy and safe, but so much of what we’ve loved to do has made the pivot to allow us to continue.

Go ahead, leave a comment here, or write it down on your device or a scrap of paper, what is one thing you’ve put off that it’s time to complete or make a priority.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Theodore roosevelt

A great quote, but also let me encourage you to stretch a little. Challenge yourself in some area that you have let settle. Grow as an individual and make a difference to those around you, even if they are strangers.

Happy New Year,


Post-Christmas put-away

The gifts have been unwrapped, looked through, played with, and tried on. Within in the next few weeks (if not days if this unseasonably warm weather stays around), the decorations will come down, and we will put all our gifts away in their new home. This is a great time to go ahead and clean out a closet or two.

I’m amazed at the amount of stuff we as a society store. There are self-storage units being built like hives at every turn. What are we storing? I get the need for short-term storage, but we would not have what is now a multi-million-dollar industry if it were all short-term. I respect the family who keeps clothing for hand-me-downs. True confessions, I currently have three coffee tables in my basement that I’ve offered some of the young people in our lives who are planning their first apartment. But we have accepted living in abundance, to become living in gluttony.

Allow me to challenge you to clean out at least one closet (or one part of your storage area) a weekend in the month of January. It’s a month of post-holiday quiet and all the newness of a new year. You’re going to be making resolutions anyway in the next few days, here’s one that is easily attainable. A quick win in the first month.

Just my thoughts,

Click to tweet: True confessions, I currently have three coffee tables in my basement that I’ve offered some of the young people in our lives who are planning their first apartment. But we have accepted living in abundance, to become living in gluttony.

They are Written

Today is January 8th. The first week of the new year is over. It was a rough one for me as I promptly came down with a sinus infection of sorts and spent a few days in a fog. UGH, feel like I lost precious time. But I digress. Today, I had a chance to get my house in order and sit down to write my goals. As always, I pulled out last year’s. I’ve already confessed that not many of last year’s goals were accomplished. Instead of scrapping them, I read them and renewed in my heart that these were the three areas I wanted to accomplish something in — Financial, Mind & Spirit and Healthy Habits. Under each heading there are one or two specific goals.

To strengthen my commitment to each category, I found Bible verses to go with each that would remind me of the goal. Each goal category and verse is written on a note card that I will see often.

Financial (core value: to be a good steward of all God has given) — Colossians 3:17 “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (the goal has to do with my work)goals

Mind & Spirit (core value: to be a life-long learner) — Proverbs 1:5, 7 “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel…The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Healthy Habits (core value: to take care of myself so that I can serve others and be the best version of myself) — I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? You were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your Body and in your spirit which are God’s.”

Perhaps as a person of faith, adding the scriptures to my goals will remind me each day that while I am human and may not always have the strength or discipline to stay focused, I serve a God who is bigger and is ready to help.

So here we go…


#resolutions, #newyears, #goals


Make a Mark in Time

Friday, January 6th — The Epiphany — or 12th night. Six days into the new year. How are you doing? As I’ve shared before, I don’t completely commit to my new year’s goals or resolutions until the end of the first week. That time gives me the opportunity to settle in a little and really think about what I’d like to do in the new year. Tomorrow, I will write them down and put them in my planner. There they will be reviewed periodically and I will schedule time and action items.

Just as today is a significant day for those who celebrate the wise men’s visit to the Christ child, perhaps you mark on your calendar benchmark days for the goals you set a week ago. What will you have accomplished by Ash Wednesday (March 1st this year)? Or Easter? Perhaps your birthday or anniversary is in the spring, how far along will you be in your resolutions by then? March 21st is the first day of Spring? What about making a mark on July 4th or the day you leave for vacation?

Go ahead and put a target on some dates for you to have accomplished some or all of what you resolved to do in 2017.


#resolutions, #newyears, #goals


Today is When it Starts to Count

On January 1st you made your resolution. You were good all day. You found time to diet, exercise, read, create a budget, or whatever you resolved to do or not to do. The second of January was the work holiday. Still going strong. Took the walk, watched what you ate, took time to read, made some more plans for the new year.

Today is January 3rd. We go back to school and work. The week is short and extracurricular activities are starting again after a break. Today is when it could get harder to stay committed. You’ll be around others who aren’t dieting. In fact, they probably brought holiday leftover cookies in to get rid of them. You’ll work all day and be tired when you get home, will you still hit the gym, or walk the dog? After dinner, kitchen clean, you’ve got a few hours before bed, time to read or work on your new project? Remember 72 hours ago this was going to be the year you got organized. Are feeling up to cleaning out a closet?

I’m not writing today to discourage you. Today be encouraged that you have some outstanding plans for the year. Your goals are set. Now, take a few minutes to add them to your schedule. Taking a class? Where does that fit. Go ahead mark out the time you need to do the things you want to do. You are still on track to be in the eight percent. A little reality check and planning will help you succeed. You’ve got 168 hours in the week — budget them to ensure priorities are met and goals are accomplished.


#resolutions, #newyears, #goals

January 1st

new yearI’m pretty sure that January first is the most optimistic day of the year. For most it’s a holiday; a day without a schedule. One person wrote that it was their first “stress-free” day of the year. Unlike starting a new page on the calendar, we start a new calendar, 365 days free from all the obligations that will come with the reality of tomorrow.

Today, many will make resolutions and set goals; some of which will stick and they will be better for it. No one ever resolves to take up a bad habit or sets a goal to gain 10 pounds. The resolutions and goals are positive changes of general self-improvement.

Today we look forward with hope with tunnel vision toward the good that coming days will bring. Will all of the days be as “stress-free” as today? Not a chance. But today there is hope for more good days than bad; more successes than failures and wisdom enough to appreciate both.

Happy new 365 days.

All the best,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

“We always over estimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in five years.” – Source unknown

It’s Saturday, January 21st and most people who made New Year’s resolutions have given up.  It’s been too cold or life got busy again getting back to the routine of work and school. Resolutions or goals are like running a marathon.  Runners don’t bust off the line and burn all of their energy in the first mile; they plan their pace to accomplish the time they want across the finish line.

So, did you blast off on January 1st, 2nd, and 3rd?  Below are few suggestions for reloading those goals and re-committing.

First, be realistic.  Runners don’t just get up one morning and decide to win a race.  They start with training and really having a passion for racing.  Go back and review the resolution or goal you wrote down (you did write it down, or do I need to go back further on goal setting).  Did you set too many goals or make too many resolutions? Maybe choose only one or two to really commit to.  Do you have the ability and desire to accomplish the goal within the year?   If either is in question, keep reading as we further look at reloading.

Second, give yourself a new start date.  January 1st is a natural calendar start, but goals can be started anytime.  If the first quarter of the year is very busy for you in one area of your life, you may need to set a start date further out.   My goals are written by the end of the first week of January, but my start date isn’t until February 1st.  This allows me a month to plan for them, pray over them and really commit to working toward accomplishing them.

Third, break the goal down into bite size chunks.  Runners usually start out walking or running smaller races to train and get in shape.  What are the steps to accomplishing your goal?  Do you need to take a class?  Do you need to plan for some activity toward that goal each week?  Take the piece of paper you wrote the goal on (you did write it down, didn’t you) and under the goal write the steps to accomplishing it.  Then go through and give each step a deadline.  Are your deadlines doable with your other responsibilities?  Add these deadlines to the calendar you live by; if it’s electronic then set reminders for yourself.

Fourth, keep your goal fresh.  Set a date five or six months from your start to revisit the goal.  Do you still want to accomplish this?  How are you doing? Do you need to adjust your goal to better fit your time, ability and resources?

By writing your goals and making them work within your passion, lifestyle and resources, you are taking control.  When you take charge of your goals and resolutions, you will accomplish more than if you give up before the end of the first month; and even more will be accomplished if you write the goal down.  Every day is a new start, every week is a new beginning and every month is a fresh commitment.

See you at the finish line,


8 Days Later

Today is January 8, 2011.  We have tasted the new year and have stepped back into our post holiday schedule; work, school, life. There are 357 days left in 2011, what are you going to do with them? What do you WANT to do with them?  We are completely guilty of burning entire days on nothingness.  Ok, so there are “have-to’s” in every day.  We have to work to provide for our families.  We have to take care of our families, because we love them and they need us.  There is great joy in the responsibility of family.  But what about those other hours of the day we blow on TV or video games or mindless cruising of the internet. (I’m not opposed to mindless wandering of the internet if that’s what led you to read this.)

Consider for yourself the meaningfulness of your life.  Is the content of your days like a fruit salad? Light and tasty but it doesn’t stick with you long? Or are your days meaty.  You know, do the experiences of your day stick with you or even change you?  Yes, I said the “change” word.  Some would say they are too old to change.  Ok, so let’s try on the word, grow.  Are you ever too old to grow spiritually, emotionally or intellectually?  Let me help you here, NO.  This life thing we are on is a journey.  The people we meet, the books we read and the experiences we have should change us; help us to grow into the person God wants us to be.  How much more interesting are we as individuals if we broaden our horizons beyond the water-cooler mindless droning of our medias?

Like a recipe for a good meal, we have to be purposeful in adding the ingredients that will give a little bit of sweet, a little salty and the meat that will stick and build us up.  To be purposeful, we have to understand what we want in the end.  We need to know what our goal is. For me, the meat of my day usually comes from something I’ve read, heard on the radio, news articles or talking with someone smarter than I. 

My overall goal or mission in life is to make a difference.  At the end of the day, week, month, year or my life, all I want is to make a difference.  So, each year I write personal goals that lead me spiritually, professionally and intellectually.  It is well known that goals are more likely to be met when they are written and reviewed daily.  I write goals every year, but I only review them every now and then.  Yes, many of my goals are accomplished but not all and not the big ones.

Hopefully, the few minutes you have invested in reading this will pay you returns.  My goal is to leave you hungry for growth and change.  Find that spark within you that will foster your motivation.

Happy New Year, friends.  I look forward to our year and the many adventures we will have together.  May you and your family have a healthy blessed year.

All the best,


New Year and New Lessons sermon from Dave Stone, Southeast Christian Church, listen and be inspired