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Something New

It is so much fun to have something new: a new job, new clothes, new adventures, or a new vision for the rest of your life. But along with the excitement and anticipation also come doubts and fears.

What if what I am attempting to do fails? What if I haven’t prepared enough? What if. . . Anything new has its thrilling and daunting moments.

Here We Go

I am stepping out with a new website! Yes, it is still called Focus with Marlene. But it has a new face – a new heading – a new presentation.

“Let’s Talk” is my new format that replaces “The Counselor is In.” Old blogs are still stored with instant access. While I will continue to write and speak about life strategies, I want to expand on past topics and talk about new concerns.

2015 – Here We Come

The tree is down – the decorations stored for another year. And I am excited about a new year, building on what was started last year and in previous years.

Are you ready to start a new year with excitement and motivation, continuing to work on on-going goals as well as new ones?

For me, I find it helps to reflect on the prior year’s accomplishments and evaluate successes and failures.

What good intentions did I have but never got around to starting? What goals did I make and start but never completed? What kept me from completing them? Was it lack of motivation? Had I thought through carefully what I wanted to accomplish? What can I learn about myself that can help me this year?

New Resolution – Replace Bad Habits

At the beginning of each New Year, we dutifully make our resolutions and hope we will meet them. “This year I am determined to . . . I resolve never to eat fattening cookies or cupcakes. . . I will stick to my diet and lose those pounds. . . I promise to be nice to people I don’t like. . . ” and the list goes on and on.

In the end, however, while we may accomplish some of our good intentions, too often our resolutions go down in defeat along with our will power and at the end of yet another year we say, well maybe next year I’ll do better.

We are creatures of habit. We do the things that are expedient, easy and give us some immediate, pleasurable reward that make us feel good in the moment. Those habits usually are not the ones that keep us healthy, happy or successful over time.

Try it on for the best fit – Final Steps to Problem Solving

MP900438417When I go through department stores, I am constantly on alert for that good bargain or unique pair of pants or top I might enjoy wearing. If something grabs my attention, I hold it up in front of me in a nearby mirror to do a quick assessment.

Does the color look good? Do I like the lines of the garment? What draws my attention to it from all the others on the rack?

If I still like it after a quick evaluation I will try it on.

It is only after I have tried it on, however, that I will know whether it is right for me. Does it look as good on me as it did on the quick preview? Many times after I put the garment on, I discover it looks completely different. The cut is all wrong, the color isn’t as complimentary as I thought, and it isn’t comfortable even though it is my size. While I still like it, it isn’t for me.

Peace on Earth

Christmas tree with presents and fireplace with stockings --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisI love the Christmas season: the smell of burning candles and pine boughs, Christmas cards that continue to connect me with old friends and music that fills all the tattered and worn places of the heart and spirit. I love the afterglow when family and friends have returned home after a special day of celebration.

It is Christmas Eve. Christmas cards that proclaim our desire for peace and hope are displayed on my mantle. Yet, as it has for centuries, the world remains in rebellion, revolts and war. Peace – Hope: are these things truly possible?

Each year, we are given the opportunity to pause and reflect on what Christmas means to us. For Christmas isn’t just about pretty bows, celestial music and lights that decorate trees and houses; it is about a gift given to us by God, a gift that involved sacrifice and love. Who can fathom such a God who loves us so much He would be willing to send His Son to die for us.