Time to make your (mid) year resolutions!

Pixie pony

Ready, set, reset!

Pixie ponyI recently heard a thought-provoking speech in my Toastmaster’s club by a friend about her plan to make mid-year resolutions. She pointed out that many businesses have July 1 as the start of their fiscal year. It makes sense that now is a natural time to assess where we are and where we want to be by the time the holidays roll around. We still have a chance to make changes before 2014 goes down in history.

You might remember my New Year resolution. Have I met my goal? Yes! I sing every day. I make the space for it during my long commute. My husband and I drive in together, and we sing in the car. We take turns who sings flat and who sings sharp. Honk next time you see us, the Singing Howards!

On singing Simple Gifts every day, he says, “I love it. It’s bonding for us, and a nice reminder not to try so hard all the time.”

I agree. I find the message of the song grounding. It acts an anchor for my spirit. My life now is a life in motion: fetching groceries, going or coming from work, running an errand or hurrying on my way to an activity. The song says if I stop, humble myself and look up to God, I am free. My self-importance fades. The little annoyances of life are mosquitoes brushed away. Have I gained true simplicity? Not yet…so I have to keep singing.

What resolution will you make that will feed your spirit? Pick one small adjustment to enrich your life. Here are some ideas.

  • Eat more nourishing food that what you usually do.
  • Connect with a friend every week.
  • Make a change in your home so it’s a more supportive space for you.
  • Find a special prayer and make it your own so you know it inside and out. (God hears you!)
  • Take regular walks.
  • Write ten reasons to be grateful.
  • Sing every day!
  • Get support for a dream. Start talking about it. Nurture it so it can grow stronger. (I have a pony, so I can say with authority that dreams do come true!)

Blessing

Gracious God, thank you for daily chances to change.
Give us willing spirits and strong arms to serve you.
Make them arms that give hugs.

Today let us feel your holy hand on our shoulder,
guiding us toward your purpose.

Tell me your thoughts!

What is your intention for the last half of the year?

Forget resolutions…Sing in the new year!

simple art

simple artWhen my son was little, we sang to him every night. We had a song book and picked songs each night. He liked to request his favorites like Blackbird and Baby Beluga. It is possible we sang Baby Beluga 5,000 times. Well, at least 1,000! We enjoyed Michael Row Your Boat Ashore, Swing Low Sweet Chariot and Dirty Old Town.

We stopped singing him to sleep when he grew older, but we kept the daily singing habit. Now we sing spontaneously about doing the laundry, watering the plants or making coffee. We are enthusiastic, determined and throaty but not what you would call “good singers.”

I believe singing—even (or especially!) amateur attempts like ours—is natural and holy.

I’m grateful we started the tradition of singing because it makes our home cheery. Even a little hum helps grow happiness. Try it right now! Hmmmmmm

Find your power

In church on Sunday, I sat in front of a professionally trained singer named Kathy. With a voice as clear as meditation, she found the notes for us. She made it easier to join the harmony and our pew sounded better than usual. She clarified our muddy sounds on the strength of her ability alone.

It’s important to surround yourself with strong people. If you are around watered-down people, you will find dilution normal. Find people who are seeking what you are seeking so you can travel together. Befriend people who use their voices. They can help you find your song.

Forget resolutions

I love list-making, planning and SMART goal setting. Most years, I relish the opportunity to make resolutions. But not this year. After prayer, I recognized that if I focus on Spirit and the joy of living, everything else will fall in place. Rather than set goals, I need to relax and let God work.

Instead of a resolution for 2014, I have decided to pick a theme song. My song for this year will be Simple Gifts. I plan to sing or hear it every day. I will let the lyrics speak to me and guide my life.

I hope we sing our whole lives, even when we are frail and our legs stop working. I hope we’ll sing about that.

And then when we lose our voices, I hope we’ll sing with our eyes.

Blessing

Lord,
all the earth hums your frequency of union.
Our lives overlap like a musical round.
May we sing your name so it rings out
over mountains
in rivers
above clouds.

Help us shed our self-absorption.
Keep our focus on you.
Like the little drummer boy,
may we offer you all we have with pure hearts.

Bless us with reasons to sing and
voices to make a joyful sound!

Tell me your thoughts!

Is there a part of your life that needs healing or adjustment? What music soothes your soul? Who makes you sing better? What will your song be for 2014? I’d love to hear from you!