Several years ago I stopped making New Year’s resolutions because within the first month (sometimes the first week!), I had broken them. You know, things like, “lose 30 pounds, have daily devotional time with God first thing every morning, travel internationally, have a hot marriage, be the world’s best mom.” Then I felt like a failure when they didn’t happen–even remotely.Do you relate?
According to speaker/author Donna Partow, here’s some facts about New Year’s Resolutions:
25% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after 1 week.
60% of people abandon them within six months.
Most people make the same New Year’s Resolution 10 times without success.
I decided that instead of resolutions (or even “goals”), I’d pray to God for a Scripture and a “one word” and/or theme for the coming new year. This has worked out well for me. And I no longer feel like #wifefail or #momfail or whatever fail.
Last year’s “one word” was intentional.
Each year, I’ve discovered how accurate the “one word” was for that year with both its blessings and challenges to overcome. Throughout 2017, I had to make very intentional choices.
For 2018, my “one word” is JOY.Whenever I begin to see or hear a word or a Scripture two, three, or more times, I know that God is speaking to my heart and wants to teach me something.
I’ve begun to see this word JOY a lot and recently found a Christmas decoration with two red cardinals (cardinals are very special to me), with the word JOY on it. I felt that was the final confirmation that I needed to use this as my one word for the coming year.
I look forward to this, as 2017 was hell, one of the worst years in my life (and I’ve had some bad ones before!).
My two Scriptures for 2018 are Nehemiah 8:10, NLT, and Psalm 126:5, ESV:
“And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10, NLT)
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5, ESV)
This verse in Psalm 126:5 is especially profound, because I cried a lot during 2017. (More than usual!)
On the Blue Letter Bible website, that word“joy” from Nehemiah 8:10 in the original language is chedvah. It simply means joy or gladness.
You can have God’s joy even in the midst of painful circumstances, because our hope as believers is always in our faith in Jesus Christ and His second coming, not in what is happening around us. We fix our eyes on Him, not the storm.
The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines joy as:
1: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight.
2: a state of happiness or felicity: bliss.
3: a source or cause of delight.
Here’s a virtual toast to you and me for a much better, joy-filled-to-overflowing year in 2018!
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions or have a “one word,” theme, and/or Scripture for the new year? Please share what you do and what yours is in the comments below.
Do you garden–flowers, plants, or produce? My grandmother Moore always had a “green thumb” and could grow anything. This year I’ve started my own little garden here at our new home!
I’ve never had very good “luck” with flowers and plants, so this is an exercise of faith. I’m quickly finding out that gardening is hard, hot work! It’s been in the 90’s here in Missouri where I live, and I’ve just been dripping and so sore afterward…feeling the work in every muscle that I haven’t been using! Below are pics of my arm and leg, after I had washed them off some!
First I got a vision for what I wanted in my mind. The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18, KJV, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” I knew that I wanted big yellow rose bushes in the area by the patio and brightly colored annuals, with at least one butterfly bush to draw butterflies, in the area by our garage.
Then for a couple of days, I took off in the car, hitting several nurseries and garden places like Suburban Lawn & Garden in Martin City, MO and Lowe’s in Belton, MO, buying supplies: green bamboo garden gloves, a cheery, bright yellow watering can for my flowers (love it!), rose food, mulch, flowers, and stones for a border. Ray and I already had a shovel, big and little rakes, and a hoe.
Just for fun, I tried on a purple hat at Suburban Lawn & Garden and posted the pic on Facebook, “Do I look like a gardener, lol?” I actually got several compliments from it. I didn’t buy it, but maybe I should have!
Before buying the supplies, though, I started preparing my flower gardens with the area by the patio, which had lots of weeds. One of my friends on Facebook told me these particular weeds are called “Creeping Charlie” which is everywhere, but can be used for teas and medicines. She said it could be easily pulled or mowed.
I used a hoe and a rake to clear this specific area of grass and stones, which took a long time. But I found the Creeping Charlie weeds to be easier to pull with my hands than with a tool.
“I do some of my best thinking while pulling weeds.” ~ Martha Smith
My Facebook friend Rose, who has rose and flower gardens and works every day in her yard, advised me to lay down cardboard boxes flat on top of the dirt because it’s biodegradable and seems to work better than the landscape fabrics. I cut out round holes for the place where I’d plant the three rose bushes. This is more work than it seems, or maybe I needed sharper scissors!
Rose said then cover it with bark mulch as it helps to retain moisture in the soil, suppresses weeds, keeps the soil cool, and makes the garden bed look more attractive. I googled online first, and then went shopping with our daughter Leah at Lowe’s for the mulch.
Leah is an amazing, self-taught artist and I sought her opinion on the mulch color before buying it. She and I agreed that red would probably look best. I didn’t really like the color of the bark mulch (a black-brown).
After shopping several places, I found my big yellow rose shrubs at Lowe’s. One of my favorite lines in the movie Sweet Dreams about country singer Patsy Cline, starring Jessica Lange, is when she said, “Please help me get my house with the yellow roses!”
I told our daughter Heather and my sister Maria, who had seen the movie with me the first time, “I finally did it! I got my house with the yellow roses!” I think they look so pretty and love them! Now if only I can keep them alive and thriving!
Initially I bought small, square ceramic stones for a border around the yellow roses, but I wasn’t satisfied with the way it looked. I saw some boulder rocks from Colorado at Suburban Lawn & Garden in Martin City, and bought them.
To my surprise they were only 19 cents a pound–much cheaper than the flowers! I LOVE the way it looks now, a much more natural look! I bought one of the boulders called “Royal Gorge” because I liked the name and the pretty silver in it. They had some huge ones, that I’d like to go back and buy for a separate “rock garden” one day.
Next I worked on the area by our garage. This area gets only partial sun. I asked the opinion of my gardener friends on Facebook and the clerk who worked at the Mennonite shop in town about what flowers to get, since it doesn’t receive full sun.
A hosta plant had already been planted there before we moved here, which requires quite a bit of shade to do well, my friends told me, so I needed to take that into consideration.
I went to the Mennonite shop and bought most of my flowers there: waterfall color petunias (purple, white, pink, and “Dreams” red), a Butterfly Bush which draws butterflies, some pretty little purple flowers (not sure of the name, but they are perennials, the clerk said), and purple Veronica flowers.
I also bought a Pink Phlox shrub, from Suburban Lawn & Garden which is supposed to draw butterflies to your garden and adds a nice, vibrant splash of color, and the next day I bought a White Althea shrub to plant on the other side of the rose garden.
When I get an idea in my head, I can’t let it go. I went to four or five nurseries and places hunting down a purple rose shrub, and nobody had one! One clerk told me they are rare (at least in this area).
After wearing myself out in the sweltering 90+F degree heat, I texted Ray I couldn’t find one. He told me to come home and order it online, because I was “getting cranky.” I texted back, “Too late, I’m already cranky!”
He knew he was in trouble then. I told him do not even ask me what is for supper when I came home, as I was not cooking over a hot stove! (You can learn more about our stormy marriage in my book, Stained Glass & Marriage, available for sale at Amazon.)
I can’t wait for it to arrive to plant. I’m praying and have been asking friends and family to pray over my gardens, as this is a first for me and all very new. Please pray my flowers will live and thrive!
“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” ~ Luther Burbank
What do you garden? How has your gardening experiences been? Leave your comments below. I’ll be be blogging more about gardening in the weeks to come.