Let me begin today’s blog by wishing you a happy, healthy and inspired new year!
I have to admit I love New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I don’t go out and celebrate, and most years I rarely make it to the strike of midnight awake. The revelry of the neighborhood, and the return of the local cement mill whistle, usually wake me. I quickly and quietly greet in the new year. It is actually all the preparation, goal setting and planning, as well as the beginning of the fresh start in the new year, that are so exciting to me!
I am a self-professed planner addict. I have started planning in two and am waiting for 3 others to arrive. Each have their own purpose. The two I have started so far are for work. The ones I hoped would have arrived already are for journaling ideas and notes (separate than my daily journal books), planning goals, and tracking progress. I have also ordered a 2023 liturgical planner that I use for work planning and personal reflection on daily scripture. I’ll add some notes at the bottom of the blog in case you are interested in some that I use. They have varied over the years depending on the planning I am doing and things I hope to accomplish.
In all that planning, I don’t set New Year’s resolutions. That feels different to me – I will lose weight, I will walk every day, I will… I don’t set them because I would have to be honest and admit that I would be in the majority of the population that set the resolution and then forego it by the end of January, or mid February if I am lucky. If anything, I resolve to try to be more authentically myself and a live a life I can be pleased with when I reflect back at the end of the year. I like the process of setting intentions – things I want to be more aware of in life, or qualities to bring more of into my life like patience or gratitude, and to reflect on ways I can grow deeper in my faith life.
There is something about the writing of those intentions and reflections as the year progresses, jotting down new insights I have, or writing about a poem or a scripture reflection that moved me, that help me move through the year with more awareness regarding the intentions that I set at the beginning of a year.
Each year I read (it’s small and a quick read) Notes from a Friend by Anthony Robbins. I bought it when I had my business in 1996 and barely had the $7.95 for the book. (New cover and new price on Amazon.) The point is to be clear about what you want, see the details and write it down with no limits on possibility.
One of my favorite, more recent, rituals is to attend a retreat by my friend and author, Judith Valente, Writing the Prologue to Your New Year. This will be my third year. I was pleasantly surprised to open and read in 2022 what I wrote in 2021. Next Sunday I will open what I wrote in January 2022 when reflecting on the course that the year might take. Writing it and putting it away is a different than the Tony Robbins approach of reviewing it every day. Both clearly set the intention.
Some of my reflection for new year 2023 has been focused on the things that have become priorities, perhaps undesirable priorities, in my life. Early in Advent, his First Week of Advent YouTube homily, Bishop Robert Barron asked us to contemplate the mountains we worship, mountains such as status, money, acquisitions, etc. Things that have highest value in our lives, things we order our lives around and worship more than God. I have been chewing on it ever since I listened to it in early December and listen to it over and over. The other day I saw a Facebook post that really touched me, from Conception Abbey in Conception, Missouri, contemplating the presentation of infant Jesus in the temple to Simeon and his prayer of joy having seen the fulfillment of the coming of the Messiah. Fr Petsche asked us if we can name the person we long for on a daily basis. I wondered if in addition to who, I might add what do I long for each and every day?
As I contemplate the answers to those questions, and set a course for what I would like those to be in this new year 2023, I have to reflect honestly on what is most important to me, what is at the center of everything I do? I know what I would like the answer to be, but can I honestly report that most days I live it? Of course I have financial goals and personal growth goals. I want new furniture like the next person and I fretted day after day until I found the right car last month. It’s ok, and normal, to want all those things. But if I had an importance meter when making decisions or expending energy before making the decision, how important are they?
A favorite scripture passage is in this year’s Gospel for today, January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, found in the second chapter of Luke. “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Reflecting on daily life, on the things that inspire or challenge us, is good for us. Things don’t always make sense in the moment but writing as we move through the year, reflecting on the things we want, then looking back on how life has unfolded can help us put things in perspective. It can help reveal God’s hand, and gentle nudges, in life.
One of the responsibilities that I have as part of my job with Ignatian Ministries is to post the weekly blog. As a result I have had the chance to read and begin contemplating the blog written by Vinita Hampton Wright. Our first series will be on the topic of Setting Up our Year in Christ. Vinita kicks us off remarkably! It’s actually because of Vinita and her posts for Loyola Press and the dotMagis blog on IgnatianSpirituality.com that I read and started following Becky Eldredge books and retreats, then ultimately starting working for Ignatian Ministries last year (but that’s a wonderful story for another day!). You won’t see Vinita’s post until Sunday night but it is worth checking out, it’s so good! Visit and bookmark Into The Deep on BeckyEldredge/Ignatian Ministries.
Another process for looking at the new year with eyes of faith that I would recommend is by the founder of our ministry and her husband, Becky and Chris. They have created a 4-week program, Living with Christ: An Ignatian Discernment Process for Intentional Living. For 20 years Becky and Chris have used this annual process in their lives and then in 2021 began offering it to others. They have been reviewing and working on the information and will offer four Zoom sessions on Thursdays, 12 – 1:30 CST, from January 26 – February 16.
Regardless of what your process is, short and quick or more complicated, spend a few minutes as we begin 2023 thinking about the qualities you would like to see more of in your life. Decide whether your faith life could use some sprucing up this year and what you would like to do about it. If you make resolutions and keep them, awesome and congratulations on beginning a new one. If not, what would you like to resolve to be more of this year, BE not DO. I’d love to hear from you and what that might be.
As we begin our journey through 2023 together, I wish you much happiness and joy!
Manifest Your Best Every Day by Kat Gottlieb
Monthly Planner by Cultivate What Matters. Not the Planner Sheets. I have used those in the past but didn’t really use them as designed)
Word and Worship Desk Calendar – Liturgical Planner by Paulist Press
Erin Condren Softbound Notebooks – favorites for journaling. I used the LifePlanner Collection for a few years but decided my other options work better for me. But they are pretty and well-designed.
My daily/weekly favorite format for work and appointments – the last couple of years has been Blue Sky
Image created in PicMonkey