Making New Year's changes

A fresh pot of stew.


Have you made any commitments to change in 2020? Think about it.

Any time is a good time to make changes in ourselves as we see the need or desire, but it seems that New Year’s Day is a great time to resolve and commit and turn over a new leaf.

When we were kids, we wrote the things we didn’t like about our old selves and then put them in the heating stove and watched those old things go up in smoke. We cannot do that now because of burn warnings. But in essence, we do the same thing when we set our minds to changing.

A dear friend sent me a list of eight things to avoid in 2020. Most all of them apply to me to some degree so I thought I would pass them along to you.

First on the list is trying to please everyone. Almost all of us are people pleasers and want to be liked by everyone and to do our part and a little bit more than enough. That can be a good trait but when we go overboard, we are not happy with ourselves nor them.

Second on the list is fearing change. I am guilty of that. I don’t even like to rearrange furniture. I like everything in its place so I don’t have to look for it later. And once I get into a routine, I seldom want to change that schedule. The thoughts of moving into a retirement home almost makes me ill. When the time comes, I will change ,but it will be difficult. Then I will settle in and be happy where I am, but the change will be a challenge. I will bloom where I am planted.

My friend reminds me that sometimes I live in the past. She is right. I had such a good childhood and have such beautiful memories that I assume everyone has those same memories of growing up. I talk about the past a lot, but I DO live in the now and look forward to the future. I do try new things and enjoy meeting new people and love to try new and different recipes (but I always go back to the same old recipes from my earlier years.) Those old recipes are priceless to me. So are my memories and my friends and family. But the list suggests we not live in the past.

Many of us overthink situations, so that is Number 4 on the list. It is called worrying!

We think of the what-ifs and are concerned about the outcome of things we need to do. We walk through each case, forgetting that things almost always turn out fine, but still we stew and picture in our minds how it might be and dither over it. Just quit it.

Many of us are afraid of being different. Thank goodness we are all different.

Wouldn’t this be a dull old world if we all thought alike and looked alike and lived the same? Variety is good for us. None of us want to be “cookie cutter perfect,” but still we want to “fit in.” Don’t be afraid to be your own wonderful self. You are a contribution to society. Embrace it. Number 5 on the list is don’t be afraid to be different.

Never sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of others. If we give too much doing for others, we expend ourselves, so are of no good to anyone. I am not suggesting we should not help others and give of ourselves but when we have no more to give, then we are useless to ourselves and everyone else.

Give until it feels good — not until it hurts.

You are wonderful. You are smart. You are important. You are a child of God. So never think for a minute that you are not “good enough.” You are! To someone, you are everything

Number 7 on the list of things to quit in the new year is thinking you are not good enough.

And Number 8 is thinking we have no purpose in life, but we all do. My purpose right now is teaching those wonderful sixth-graders “Life Lessons” at Hillsdale Christian School. I started doing that right after Jim died, and it has not only given me a purpose but great joy and satisfaction. At first it was to help me find myself, but now I would hate to give up that pleasure. So the last thing on the list is to remember you have a real purpose to fulfill.

There is a little poem that goes something like this:

“My life is but the weaving

Between my God and me.

I only choose the colors,

He weaveth steadily.

Sometimes He weaveth sorrow,

And I in foolish pride,

Forgets He sees the upper,

And I the underside.”

Sometimes it is easy for us to judge ourselves too much and too often. Trusting in our Lord and Savior is about all we need to remember. He will not lead us astray and will not let us do something we should not do if we only follow his Word. Listen for his guidance and honor that path, and we will not need another list of things to do and not do.

May all my readers have a blessed 2020, and may you be a blessing to others. Don’t change just because someone else suggests it. Change because you want to change. Do because you want to do something. Be because you want to be better. Do it for yourself and no one else.

As I said earlier, I just love the old recipes that warm the heart as well as the stomach. For that reason, I share this soup recipe. There is no right or wrong way to make it. Just enjoy the aroma and the finished product. Good with cornbread on a cold evening.

Old Timey Stew


1 pound hamburger

1 large onion, chopped

1 can tomatoes

1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can Ranch-style beans

1 teaspoon chili powder (or chili seasoning package)

salt and pepper to taste.


Cook hamburger and onions until well done. Add remaining ingredients (I usually add a chopped potato or two). Cook until potatoes are done.

Ready to serve!

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