Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Getting Ahead of the Resolution Game


I've already gotten a head start on my New Year's resolutions.

I know it’s a little early, but I figure I can use the extra time. 

Why wait for the first day in January when there's so much work to do?

I think what I'm resolving seems more like a renewal, maybe a transformation, even an aspiration, all wrapped up into a purposeful intention.

{Hmmm -- I wonder if one of those words should be my one word for 2017?}



This year I want to change and be different. 

Actually this is always my resolution. 

It's just that the areas I want to work on vary from year to year, depending on my current circumstances. 

This might sound a little peculiar, but I think it's time that I give up eye-rolling. 

And the sarcastic comments that go with the eye-rolls. And I'd like to soften the harder edges of my tones. 

I guess I really want my words and actions to show more grace to others, more kindness, more love. I wonder if it's possible?



The eye-rolling might be a hard habit to break though, since rolling my eyes is as ingrained in me as, well, my love for Pittsburgh Steelers football. 

Last week, my sister called to say my brother-in-law was ordering the Steelers game for us to watch on TV at her house. 

Since Florida teams get precedence in our viewing area and we don't see the Steelers very often, this was a nice surprise.

I put on my Steelers shirt and hurried over.



When I arrived, my sister was on a ladder decorating their tree.

The living room was strewn with ornament boxes. Dash the Dog was stealing cotton from under the tree and galloping through the house with sheets of it clenched between his teeth, long white streamers flowing behind him.

My niece and nephew were bickering over where the tree should go -- in the corner like always {Devon’s choice} or in the middle {my nephew’s pick} -- so my sister could show off her new tufted chairs. 

My brother-in-law was seated on the couch, giving directions to my nephew, who was setting up the train tracks that ran under the tree. 

I was a little confused at the chaos since I thought watching the game was the afternoon's featured event. 




The bickering went on well into the first half of the game, making me wish for closed caption since I could hardly hear the announcers' analysis. 

Finally, Devon crossed her arms and refused to decorate the tree. 

I had been asked for and given my opinion on the tree's location. I had tried to corral Dash the Dog. I had turned up the volume on the game. Finally I told Devon to suck it up and try a new location for the tree this year. 

When my brother-in-law agreed with me, she started to cry saying, “Daddy and Auntie are yelling at me.”

My sister gave me a look and told my nephew to move the tree back to its original spot in the corner. 

I felt terrible. That’s when I decided I'd better get started on my New Year’s resolutions right away.



I’m a northern, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is type of girl.

But sometimes before I know it, my words sound far sterner than I had intended and I've hurt someone's feelings with my words or tone.

This year, more than making a New Year's resolution, I consider it an opportunity. 

And an invitation.

To believe that the God who makes all things new every single season when the flowers bloom in the spring, and who paints the sky with a sunrise every single morning, can do a new work in me, too.



He calls to us. He pursues us. He comes near to us.

Here in this Advent season where we wait to celebrate anew that moment when God took on human form to give us the hope of a new life. It's our gift to receive.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! - 2 Cor. 5:17
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power. - 2 Thess. 1:11
This is the beautiful, extraordinary hope I hold as I stand on the brink of a new year.





Eventually some semblance of peace was restored to my sister’s living room as the football game clock ticked down. 

{The Steelers won, by the way.}

Dash the Dog was napping, the kids were now happily hanging ornaments, and the train was smoothly running on the track underneath the tree. 

My brother-in-law turned to me and said, “I’m not really sure why you don’t come hang out with us more often.” 

I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic.

And I almost rolled my eyes.




I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your HeartJoin me there for more posts from my blogger friends!



38 comments:

  1. Oh I love all your beautiful vignettes ... all the vintage ornaments ... and those ice skates on the mantle ... YES YES!

    I haven't begun to think about the new year yet. I don't choose a WORD because I've proved to myself that I forget about it soon after I do a fun little post.

    But I will evaluate this year in a few weeks, and choose a few words that best described how it went.

    Meanwhile, enjoy your family, your home, your writing, the celebrations. I know you'll spread cheer and joy along the way.

    I loved our visit today, friend. If you were here together, I would have offered you a cup of tea and a great big yeasty glazed donut ...

    ;-}

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    1. Linda,
      I love your thoughtful process of selecting a word {or several!} for the new year and I can't wait to see what you create! Thanks for enjoying my vintage decor {fellow vintage-appreciator!) and a cup of tea and donuts (or maybe some crumpets?!) would be delightful -- someday it will happen! xoxo

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  2. I think my eyes are the most exercised part of my body! I must do several hundred eye rolls a day. The only thing that seems to help is coffee. ;)

    Beautiful photos, I love when you feature your house! Boxwood wreath with the skates is perfect!

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    1. Brittany,
      As you know, I've given you the green light to call me out on my resolutions, should I need an extra boost to keep working on them! Your eye-rolls are lovely though and I don't mind them a bit! xo

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  3. Eye rolling is inherited - Mom

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    1. haha! In our family, it certainly is! (And I see you've figured out the comment button!) LOL

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  4. Oh this was hilarious and also hit sooo close to home...! I've been struggling too with the sweet words and graceful reactions in certain situations -- so I sympathize with your plight and I'm ready to be made new in the new year as well! All your Christmas touches are divine!! I may be finally getting around to putting out the tree this weekend amidst snow or sleet...not my favorite weather for instilling calm reactions but practice make progress... Besides it's not quite the New Year yet... Happy Christmas to you Valerie! ♥♥

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    1. Heather,
      Somehow I'd bet your southern accent makes everything you say sweet! Oh how I wish I were born with that {or at least learned it when I lived in South Carolina!} Thank you for empathizing with me and we both can step into 2017 with the hope of newness and progress, can't we?! So grateful for you! xoxox

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  5. I could so see that scene playing in mind, especially Dash the Dog running around with a streamer from his jaws! I love the realism of it all. So often Christmas is wrapped in a perfect bow when really it isn't anything like that. There actually might be a broken ornament or two even on the tree!
    To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power. - 2 Thess. 1:11 So much hope in that He will be with us as we work on being changed, and more like Him, which results overall in a more peaceful and joyful existence while here. I look forward to hearing what word you do pick for 2017 Valerie!

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      That Dash the Dog is certainly mischievous! He's already been to puppy training version 1, and he's remedial so he's going back for version 2! :) Thank you for reading and joining me on my blogging adventures and I'm so grateful for the beautiful treasure that is YOU! xoxox

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  6. I love all the photos of your decorations. And that you're getting ahead with your resolutions! If there are things we want to change why should we wait for a new year.
    This line is beautiful and so full of hope: "To believe that the God who makes all things new every single season when the flowers bloom in the spring, and who paints the sky with a sunrise every single morning, can do a new work in me, too."

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    1. Hi Lesley,
      Thanks for the support on the early resolution bandwagon! :) Thanks for reading and being so encouraging here! xo

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  7. I’m already thinking ahead to New Year Resolutions too. So much I’d like to change. But easier said than done, every year. ha. Love all the Christmas decorations. So beautiful! I’m glad your Steelers won. :) May you and your family have a Merry Christmas, Valerie!

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    1. Hi Lisa,
      I'm with you! Marching into 2017 with a list of changes and a bag full of high hopes! :) Thanks so much for always encouraging me and popping over here to read and comment. Grateful of you, friend! xo

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  8. Yes... He makes all things new. Great reminder going into the New Year.

    I love the little tree with the ornaments & blue beads...so festive and pretty!

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    1. Hi Emily,
      Thanks for popping over and visiting my online home! Glad you like my little tree with the vintage ornaments! xo

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  9. Dear Valerie,
    I love your vintage Christmas style! But somehow I knew that I would! :) I have a box full of fragile ornaments that were passed down thru the generations, and they are still in the box, waiting for all the little Grands to get older. But as I ponder your words about resolutions and transformations, I wonder if part of the transformation that God is doing in me is connected with this whole letting go of the old ways that you spoke of? I get it, Devon, it's hard to embrace the change of a new way of seeing things, and much easier to try to keep things in their old, familiar places! But I'm glad that God is so gentle as He brings us the new, and takes away the old. Thanks for your beautiful thoughts and images dear friend! Praying with you for those new resolutions to take shape in our hearts! xoxo

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    1. Hi Bettie!
      Oh yes, we vintage-stylers need to stick together! I love it that you are saving a box of beauties to pass down to your grandkids! I also love how you understand Devon -- I didn't have much patience that day! :) I am so grateful for you and to read your courageous words over at your blog and to connect with you as we journey through our days! So grateful for you, friend, and looking forward to a bright new year! xoxo

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  10. Now, I agree that tone of voice matters, but no sarcasm? What? How? Why? :)
    There is never a bad time to work on ourselves, but I like you the way you are! Merry Christmas!

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    1. Oh Sarah! You made my day! I think I love you! LOL :) xoxo

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  11. Valerie,
    I love your photos and how you decorate :-)
    And I get the eye rolling and so much of what you wrote because God has worked in me to be more aware of my tone etc. God will honor your desire to speak with greater love...I think sarcasm has its place so I'm not against it; it just depends on the situation and who we are talking to. Anyway, glad the Steelers won and you were able to be part of all the fun and chaos :-)

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    1. Hi Dolly,
      Oh I love to hear that you too wanted to be more aware of your tone too! Thanks so much for appreciating my photos and sharing your words here! xo

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  12. Oh, your beautiful decor! Be still, my heart! :) And, I love the way you are seeking God's grace on a deeper level for the new year...even thinking of it ahead of time. Times with extended family can sometimes be the most trying...such a great opportunity to start allowing God to make those parts of us that lack new again! I so enjoy visiting with you here...such a beautiful place. God bless you, and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      We let down our guards the most with our families, don't we? :) And they see the real us but it's a great opportunity to do much-needed work! :) Merry Christmas to you too and thank you for your sweet words! xo

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  13. Hi Valerie,
    I just heart this verse at church tonight- 2 Cor 5:17- and though it is one of those verses i have heard and know by heart- it kinda lingered and hung tonight- I think it was that word new- And I love what you have written here-That God wants to do a new work in me- I always think that he just will repair me- but it says he will make me brand new- I like brand new-(I like brand new vintage things too hahah)There is another verse-(i forget where :( -usualy do! hahah) that speaks about something new God is doing- something we have never seen or thought about before. Something original! He is so good to go above and beyond- and bless us beyond measure! I love the cards and pictures- And hearing about your time at your sisters- it sounds crazy beautiful! :)Those blue beads on the little tree are so pretty!and I love the ice-skates and wreath! So good you are already thinking about the New year too! I am always a few steps behind- good to start thinking though! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!with much love and thanksgiving for you! xoxoxo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I love those echoes of verses in our lives when we hear them multiple places -- it always causes me to pause and consider! I too, like vintage and new and I know the verse you mean that talks about God doing things in our lives we've not yet seen. That's such fresh good news, especially as we embark on a new year!

      Those vintage ice skates belonged to my aunt (who first took me skating when I was 7 or 8) and my mother uncovered them from her cellar when she passed away -- I was so glad to see them and so happy to have them! I am praying for lovely things for you in the year ahead and I'm so grateful to know you too! xoxo

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  14. Valerie! This post was exactly what I needed to read this morning, on a day when my long list of things to do and places to go has been set aside so I can care for a sweet girl with the stomach flu! I love the actual pictures as well as the picture you painted of the scene at your sister's house, bickering and all. :-) Oh, and your little comment exchange with your mom is absolutely priceless! I've started on New Year's resolutions in December too, and as I think about it, it seems like those are the ones that actually stick! I have a feeling your tone sounds much harsher to you than it does to those around you, but here's to your jump start on 2017! I hope your weekend is full of fun and blessings. Hugs, friend!

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    1. Hi Lois,
      Oh I hope your sweet girl is feeling better soon! Thank you so much for reading along on my little visit to my sister's during the game! I feel like sometimes I have a running list of resolutions I want to work on year-round but want to give them a jump-start during this time of year. :) So grateful to read your beautiful words at your blog and I hope you get your to-do list down to a manageable size! xoxox

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  15. I love all your pics, Valerie, both the photos and the vivid pictures you give of real life. :) They always add smiles to my day. :) I especially love those vintage photos/postcards. That little dog carrying a package is adorable. :) I believe your words here at this blog post, in comments, etc. have always radiated grace and love to my heart. I know I am blessed to have "met" you. :) So don't be too hard on yourself... But thank you for being so open and honest as it makes us feel like we're not alone. We all could use some improvement, right? This makes me think of a verse I sometimes pray and need to more often (Psalm 19:14) - "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Have a joy-filled Christmas! Love and hugs!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      I just love the vintage postcards too! That little dog on the card looks a whole lot sweeter than Dash the Dog who is constantly into mischief! :) You are so sweet to see the best in me (and others!) and your words are always so encouraging to me! I love the verse you included here -- I couldn't agree more that it is a beauty to take with me and keep it at the top of my mind! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas! xoxox

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  16. Wow! My first time here and I love your photos! Beautiful! I also enjoyed your post!
    Julie

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    1. Hi Julie,
      So glad you popped over to visit here -- delighted to meet you! Hope you return again soon! :)

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  17. Valerie, I have been meaning to stop by here and drink up one of your stories, see how you were! Boy oh boy, I sure understand (somewhat) of the "auntie" situation. I became one almost 5 years ago and it sure is fun lol. I adore the photos here but my favorite is for sure the ice skates. I just found out the mayor in a nearby town in our same county has rented a fake rink up until Christmas to see if it would be something the people would come to frequently. I was so stoked! I used to skate in my teenager years but that was the last time... I pray you have a blessed season and make plenty more memories with family and friends and whoever God puts in your life, sweet friend! xoxoxo

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    1. Hi Meg,
      I've missed you! I love those temporary holiday rinks -- they're so much fun but the ice is a little hard to skate on. I skated in my teen years, too and those skates actually belonged to my aunt, who first took me skating when I was 7 or 8. I loved it (and I still do)! Merry Christmas to you too, friend and remembering that it was just a year ago I got to know you through our Seamless study! xo

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  18. Hi Valerie, this is my first visit to your site from #countingmyblessings. Beautiful photos. The Fa-La-La angel has such spunk, and the blue beaded tree with vintage ornaments is lovely. You've inspired me to pull out my own vintage ornament collection and put it on display. Merry Christmas to you!

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm excited that you'll pull out your vintage collection -- they hold so many memories! Merry Christmas to you too, friend!

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  19. Valerie
    I have thought just how often I roll my eyes. It's a woman thing. I'm hoping at least. I see my oldest girl do it a lot. Even my four year old girl. And it is hard to break. Kudos to you if you get that beast tamed.
    I have thought the same thing about this year. That I don't want to say anything cruel or hurtful to or about anyone. That if I have something hurtful I could say, that I simply won't say it. Just swallow it and move on. That's hard when you've been hurt or are in a hurtful conversation. Yet it's kind of freeing too. Freeing to let it go and die and move on to better topics.
    Beautiful pics as always
    I think every corner of your home is adorned artfully. Probably even the coat closet or mud room if they exist ;)

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    1. Hi Somer,
      I'm laughing about what you said about closets and mud rooms (I don't have one of those!) but I just last week set up a mirror in my closet with an Eiffel Tower replica and strung the word Paris in stencils across the mirror :) I'm thinking of adding a small chandelier too!

      Refraining from eye rolling and words that aren't complimentary are a steely exercise in discipline for me, but I'm trying (not always successfully, of course!) but I bet your sweet girl looks adorable when she does it. I do think it's awfully funny when my niece does it since she looks so grown up! Love hearing your words here Somer! xox

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