You’ve all seen the ads – weight loss, Jazzercise, face lifts, ads for all manner of self improvement. And yet, we have all those cookies from the cookie exchange gathering in the freezer yelling our name through the door! Too cold to go walking and too broke for a face lift! Whine. Whine, as I plop on the couch in front of the TV with a bag of frozen cookies.
Sometimes I absolutely hate January and all the hype of new year’s resolutions because when I bend to the pressure, I make half-baked, not too thought-out resolutions to ….lose five pounds….exercise more….blah, blah, blah! Am I serious? In no time I’m digging into the cookies in the freezer!
This year, I made a few decisions that I plan to keep. In sharing them here, I’m hoping that by putting them in to writing, I’ll take my commitments seriously. So, here they are:
I plan to think more. In this pursuit, I’ve taken up jigsaw puzzles. I’m addicted! While working on the last three hundred piece brightly colored puzzle, I told myself over and over, “think, Dianne. Consider the shape, the color, the lines. Does that piece really fit there??”
In continuing the plan to think more, I’ve begun memorizing scripture….again. Sadly, it’s been well over thirty years since I’ve made a huge effort to memorize a segment of scripture. In October I was handed the book The Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene H. Peterson which takes the short Psalms 120-134, the Songs of Ascents, to discuss growing in Christ through discipleship. I’ve come to realize that in memorizing Psalm 120 I had to imagine what David, the writer, was trying to say. I wrote out the Psalm then marked up the prepositional phrases, the verbs, the nouns, the repeated words, and then took Peterson’s analysis of the Psalm and it has become easier to think through and say without looking at it! Why these particular Psalms? They are short. I am enjoying studying them through the eyes of Peterson, and it’s a start back to memorizing a section of verse.
I am also thinking more through my writing. I’m paying attention to the folks who critique my pieces in our little once-a-month writing class, as well as the sage advice found in The Christian Writers Market Guide by Jerry Jenkins.
I plan to listen more than talk. The other day I took my precious fragile neighbor on our weekly shopping visit to Wal-Mart, as she loves to just get out of the house! Yes, her sweet husband does take her out, but, she says, he wants to go in, get what they need and leave. It didn’t take long to realize that as we walked slowly up the aisle of the yarn and knitting needles where she would always zero in on the variegated skein of yarn, she would then stop to tell me what was going on in her sister’s life or her niece’s life. Obviously she was craving some girl time! We would usually be gone for about an hour. I have grown to cherish this time with her.
And then there’s my son. Usually people grow very uncomfortable when silence happens over the phone. Did the other person hang up? Oh, wait. You called. My younger son loves to call to say hello. What I have come to understand is that he is thinking when the dead air occurs. He’s always had something good to say, but I am usually so busy, have so much on my mind, and want to move on, that when he does say something it’s important and I know that I need to shut my mouth, quiet my heart, and listen to my son. He wants to be heard. And silence is meaningful communication, too. So I let him think. And I listen.
Finally, I plan to be grateful. Someone suggested we write down something good that happened each day on a little post-it note and put it in a jar. The following Thanksgiving Day we open the jar and read all the good things that happened the past year. Already this year my jar has quite a few post-it notes in it! I’m also looking for opportunities to show gratitude; to the waitress, to the sweet lady who works on my stinky feet, to the lawn care guys! Gracias! Out loud and often. All year!
Do you have better plans? Hope these ideas help and now…….
To Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21