(This is an article I wrote for my church newsletter)

Every year, I find myself both asking and being asked this question. Most years, I answer with the expected, ordinary types of goals: Lose weight, be more organized, exercise more, stick to my budget (well, a little better, anyway)…etc. You know the kinds of things we usually talk about. And they’re good resolutions…and if you’re like me, they usually last about…maybe 2 weeks. Every year, we set these wonderful goals, which if we keep them, will make us “better people.”

What REALLY makes us a better person, though? Am I a better person because I’ve lost weight? Because I’m organized? While these goals certainly make living life a little easier, I don’t believe it makes me a better person. So, this year my resolutions revolve around actually BEING a better person. What makes us better people? It’s a very personal thing, and different for everyone. It’s deeper, and in a way, harder than the usual resolutions. So, here are my resolutions for the new year:

*See the beauty in the ordinary: even the stuff I usually consider ugly and worthless (ok – it’s hard to find the beauty in a dirty diaper – I admit it – but I’m willing to give it a shot). God put these in my world, and can use them for good. He depends on us seeing the worth in these and being his agents. As one motto from earlier in the year said, “God’s work, our hands.”

*Recognize little kindnesses as gifts: These things – a smile, a kind word, a moment of appreciation – are all gifts not just from the person giving them, but also from God who shines inside all of us. And these gifts come all year round, too.

*Talk to my Friend – God – and listen more often: When I was a child, I used to talk to God as if I was talking to my best friend. As an adult, I find I get caught up in formal words, services, everyday life, hassles, being with my kids, running errands, etc. It’s easy to forget that my Friend is with me, and always available to listen. And yeah, it does help if I listen too.

*Expand my “definition” of prayer: We are told to pray unceasingly…what if prayer is more than words? What if it’s finding delight in the ordinary and simply saying, “Thank you”? What if it’s sighing at the beauty of a sunset as I’m rushing back and forth all day from meetings? What if it’s simply noticing the small kindnesses, such a smile, and returning it? Traditional prayer is certainly important…but what if it’s more than that? What if living, gratefully, IS prayer?

As a Stephen Minister, I’m honored to be able to walk with and share the journey we all go through with others, and the people I work with help me see and appreciate life so much more. These resolutions are lessons that I’ve been taught – and I’m so grateful to those who have shared their trust and their wisdom with me. To you, I say “Thank you.”

Books I’ve been reading”
“The Shack” by William P. Young – all about faith, and relationship with God – and NOT your typical “Christian” book (not that there’s anything wrong with those, either 🙂 )

“The Dance” and “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer – she shares her wisdom and her flaws – something I greatly appreciate.

Bach’s Fuges
Anything by Loreena McKennit
Anything by Josh Groban