Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"Writing" the New Year

Sunrise over St. Mary's, Pennsylvania

Dear Friends,

                The blank page facing me as I begin to write this blog reminds me of the blank year facing me as well. What will it hold? What will I write on it? I surely do not know. But I do know that if I face it with God and the proper attitude, 2014 holds blessing. So for the next 12 months, I want to focus on the following words:

1.       Do what’s right. I want to live my life with honesty before God and others. I may at times flub up, but that won’t keep me from trying.

2.       Don’t quit. It would be so easy to quit--exercising, eating healthful foods, working at writing, taking speaking engagements that force me to take unfamiliar roads. And the list goes on. But facing challenges by God’s grace strengthens our spiritual muscles, keeps us active and ultimately brings blessing.

3.       Be joyful. Joy spills from a heart full of gratitude. Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts reminds me to look for something to be thankful for, even in dire circumstances.

4.       Be prayerful. Yesterday Friends of the Heart offered to pray with anyone who dropped by Kim’s house. What surprised us were the 17 prayer requests we received by e-mail. I want to become more of a woman of prayer in 2014, supporting friends and family and those of you whom I get to know along the way.

5.       Read scripture. And memorize too. This year I memorized the book of Ruth by working on one verse a day. It took about four months, (because, of course, you miss some days). Makes me feel like I know Ruth, Boaz and Naomi as well as I know my neighbors. And how I love to present scripture from memory to audiences. What might I memorize this year? Not yet sure.

6.       Show love. Too often I become defensive or suspicious or irritated by someone’s words or actions. I want to offer gracious, loving responses to all people—at all times. A tough one, for sure!

7.       Have faith. In Larry Crabb’s book Shattered Dreams he writes of how we should see troubled times when we feel far from God as opportunities to cling to him and to get to know him better. While God may not restore our shattered dreams in ways we expect, our faith and trust will grow as we allow him to walk us through the heartache.

Since the number seven represents perfection, I’ll stop there. What about you? What words or phrases will be important to you in 2014? Share them by return e-mail or in the comment box at I’ll send a beautiful “Paths to God” 2014 wall calendar with pictures and scripture verses to a name drawn from the comments. Thanks to all who responded to last month’s blog, and congratulations to Joan Eck, who won a copy of Michelle Lazurek’s book, Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved.

Upcoming events:
January 10-12 – Women’s Retreat with Berean Bible Church at Traber Center, Spring City.
January 19, 8 and 10:30 a.m. – Shirley speaking at First United Methodist Church, Millersburg.

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