Happy New Year Everyone! Or is it?

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Happy New Year Everyone!!

Every year on New Year’s I always remember one special New Year’s Day. That is really unusual for me because New Year’s has never been one of my favorite holidays. I can’t remember ever staying up to ring in the New Year and I have only been to one or two New Year’s parties. I left those early and was home about 10:00, so for me to remember a special New Year’s Day is something.

It happened many years ago. I had gone to bed early as usual on New Year’s Eve and woke up about 5:30 the next morning. I was heating the house with our one pot belly stove and we were all sleeping and living in just a couple of rooms at the back of our house.

The kids were still sleeping so I couldn’t do much for fear of waking them. I sat quietly down at the kitchen table, started eating some leftover pecan pie (my breakfast of choice on Christmas and New Year’s morning) and thinking about the past year. That was also unusual for me to do because I never stew over the past year on New Year’s and I never give the next year much thought.

For some reason, out of the blue, I started dwelling on things. I started getting very discouraged and was feeling like having a pity party. I was shocked because I had been through so much the previous year and that whole time I hadn’t given in to self pity but all of a sudden I was wallowing in it.

You have to understand that, to me, having a pity party is as much of a sin as robbing a bank, lying or committing adultery so I started praying that God would help pull me out of it because I could tell it was going to be bad.

I grabbed my Bible because I was so sure that was what I was supposed to do and started reading it hoping it would help me but instead it made matters worse. Every verse I read said something like, “woe to you and your house.” I couldn’t believe it. Of course, by this point I was sure I had a right to feel sorry for myself so I told God, “Look– even when I read your word you tell me how miserable I am.” I was not thinking rationally at all but I still kept praying for help and trying to fight it.

My eyes fell on a pile of library books I had gotten a few days before. One of them was Erma Bombeck’s book, If Life is a Bowl of Cherries Why am I Always in the Pits? I wasn’t sure why I had checked it out because it wasn’t the kind of book that I usually read. I really wasn’t sure I felt like reading it now but I did relate to the always in the pits part. This little voice kept telling me to read it so I finally gave in and did.

Before I was through the first paragraph I started chuckling. The more I read, the harder I laughed. I was trying so hard to keep from laughing out loud so I wouldn’t wake the kids but I was to the point of belly laughing and finally Tawra called to me, “Mom what are you doing in there?!?”

I spent the rest of the day laughing my head off. Gone was the pity party. I had the best New Year’s ever. I also learned a couple of things that day.

First, we have a choice. We can have a pity party or a good laugh. Which do you think is better for us and our families?

Second I wasn’t stretching it when I said I had had a bad year. I had heard a speaker a few months earlier who gave us a list of the ten most stressful things that can happen to someone and he said that if you have 1-2 of those happen within a year’s time that you were probably under a great deal of stress and if you had had 3-4 things happen you needed to seek help.

When I heard that I had to chuckle to myself. I had 9 of those 10 things happen to me, all with in a 5 month period. I really did have something to be discouraged about but I also had something to be excited about.

Every time one of those 9 stressful things happened, God was right there to pull me through. It had gotten to the point where I almost became excited when I came to a road block because I could hardly wait to see how He would work this problem out.

What I had learned that day was, as much as He was there helping me through the “big” things, on this day He was there helping me with my little everyday pity parties too.

We have all had things happen to us this past year and will have more things happen this coming year. Life happens and we have a choice to either stay paralyzed by fear, not even trying, or to face each day with courage and with God’s help to try to figure out how to fix the problem.

Joshua is one of my favorite Bible characters. When he saw the land of giants, he essentially said, “So what if there are giants (problems). God will help us take care of them.” He had a child like faith. He was like a child that says, “My dad can do anything”. The bullies can come and He is there to fight them.

The others wanted to run and go back to their slavery but Joshua didn’t give in to his fear and he succeeded and made it to the promised land. Don’t be like those others, so paralyzed by your fear you can think of nothing to do but to go backwards and return to your slavery, whether that is debt, no job, how much you weigh or living in a messy house. Get up and fearlessly move forward, not back.

God also told Joshua in Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

You either choose to believe those words or not. It is very simple. If you believe them, then you can step out this year and when the bullies start coming down the path towards you you won’t bat an eye because your Father who is bigger and stronger than you is walking right there beside you and He will take care of them. The battle is His, not yours. Don’t go back into your slavery this year, no matter what it is.


photo by: marufish


  1. Mari says

    WOW!! What a VERY powerful post and a most welcome one on this, the first day of the New Year!

    I too had quite a stressful year – my best friend died (she was only 51); I found that all my major household appliances wore out, one per month on average, starting with January, so I was virtually never free of a big bill for something each month; I travel almost 200 miles a day to work and back and need a reliable car, so when the one I’d bought 18 months’ previously kept letting me down I had to buy another, newer, one, so that was an extra expense I hadn’t bargained for; I’d also spent a whole load of money trying to get that old car going, but things kept going wrong, so that was good money after bad; one morning I went out into the garden and found all the fish in the pond dead (we’d had a bad spell of snow and ice and they couldn’t survive); the job move I was hoping for which would have slashed my fuel costs by two thirds was cancelled, due to government cuts….the list goes on and on!!!

    But I am an optomist! I recognise that I also had some very nice things happen to me…..for one thing, I’m still here, fit and well! I’ve had a lovely Christmas this year – haven’t been anywhere, but I’ve enjoyed the rest at home (a nice warm home as well). I have a loving partner, 3 beautiful little dogs :) I thought all my fish were dead, but I found one still alive (in fact I’ve just rescued it again this morning – I happened to go outside and found it had somehow got on top of the ice and was floudering in about 3″ of water on top of the ice, so I got it in the net and put him back in the pond, safe and sound xx I found this website, and decided to live more frugally and sort out my debts, such as they are. I have a good job and although I have to travel all that way each day, I am grateful for that job (especially at my age LOL) because there are millions in this country without one.

    This morning I took the tree and all trimmings down, cleaned the house for the New Year, and faced my demons as I’d promised myself I would!! I weighed myself – sure, I’ve put on about 4 lbs over Christmas but so what – that means I’ve been lucky enough to have plenty to eat. Then I opened my bank statement (one of my resolutions is to open it each month, instead of putting it unopened on the stairs, too scared to look). It wasn’t quite as bad as I’d thought, but I do need to economise and pay off my overdraft and
    loans on the car and caravan! Luckily I don’t have any credit cards :) Which is why one of the Christmas presents to myself was the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover book, which I’d not heard about till I read something about it on this site.

    So I am about to start what they call “Baby Step One”, which means I have to make an emergency fund of £1000 dollars, which he reckons I can do in a month (I don’t think I can, but I’ll do my best!) Then see where things go from there………

    A VERY HAPPY & PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR to you all on the site, and I’m very glad I found you!!!

    Mari xx

  2. says

    Jill and Tawra and all others here.
    I wish to say thank you to all of you.
    You have given me a new perspective on life some of it is used and welcome and even if I don’t agree with all of it, it is nice to be able to see how others cope with situations.
    Just before Christmas I sunk into depression and life was boring. I was worrying about my present for my 5 year old Mia. Were barbie outfits going to match what her Nana would get. Reading the posts on gifts gave me heart and Christmas day brought the reward. She ran to the computer and said “I love you grandma and thank you so much for the pretty clothes for Barbie, going to go play some more.”
    No money spent just a lot of love and yes eye strain but what is a little eye strain when you please a child.
    Other great news to help the depression was that my son who hasn’t worked since Oct. applied for a job near to home and got it. He started Dec.29 and the job is set to last as long as he wants it and he will get a promotion as soon as he wants it. The union that sends the jobs out where he usually works has no contracts lined up until June so the job is great. Not as much money but steady and no leaving town for weeks at a time. With a wife working full time and 3 young children he likes the idea of being home and available for emergencies.
    I will also be a grandmother again in a couple of days so all is good for the start of this year.
    I do not have to live frugally but my upbringing makes me do it for the most part so I enjoy hearing how others save money and cook. If I can offer advice I feel useful which is a good thing.
    I wish everyone a wonderful New Year and hope to get to know you better as the year progresses.
    grandma lynda

  3. Sandi says

    Happy New Year!!!
    I will echo the other sentaments here, this is just what I need to hear on this web site. We’ve also had a very challenging year, with debt piling up no matter how hard we try. (All our credit cards are paid and gone.) We have had our own business for several years, but the last few have been very tough. We’ve had to lay off all our workers except our youngest son, and had to move to a smaller location at the same time we moved out of our two story condo for a (smaller) ground level apartment because of my rheumatoid arthritis. We had lost our house three years ago because of a bad refi when our business location flooded. And now, last week just before Christmas, our business location flooded again, worse than last time. We weren’t going to have much Christmas anyway, but this took away even our opportunity to spend the day with our grandkids. We don’t have any savings, and little material goods except what we saved by evacuating our business, and we are all sick from working in the rain and flooding to save our customers goods and our equipment. But we are still alive, we do still have family and friends (without whom we couldn’t have saved as much as we did) and we still have hope. We are planning to look Monday for a new location that doesn’t flood, even though that will mean leaving many good customers behind. Even if we stay there, we are going to streamline and cut back what stays in flood danger, just to make future evacuations easier.
    Thank you for the opportunity to say my piece.

  4. LC says

    I also read that book and remember laughing my head off! I don’t celebrate New Years myself and New Years Eve is not a big deal to us! We usually watch the Twilight Zone Marathon and make a quick meal. I do however enjoy spending as much time as I can with my family as my children are already grown. I have a daughter who is married and with her daughter and my son is almost out of high school! It sometimes depresses me because they are not always around anymore and those precious days of having them underfoot are gone! But I do look on the bright side having more time for myself as well and doing things that I have put off for years because of making a priority out of my family! Whatever I think discouraging thoughts I also think about the flip side-the blessings. Although my children are grown I have so many memories and now I enjoy my granddaughter. I am seeing my son grow into a young man and that is a blessing! Everyone goes through something and we have been through our share of hardships over the years but when it comes right down to it the Bible says that with covering and sustenance we shall be content! It is not always what we want in the way we want it but if our basic needs are met then we are blessed indeed!

  5. Bea says

    Jill, I have to tell you that God uses you more than you know. This article hits home for me so much. Even the words you chose were confirmation for me that God is behind what you wrote. God bless you for allowing yourself to be someone He is using in ways you know not of. Keep up the good work. Love, Bea

  6. liz says

    Jill, I just want to say thank you and may God bless you for sharing that story with me; especially the verse. I am nearly in tears here as I think you spoke just to me. From pretty much as soon as I entered adulthood, I have been a disaster; some of “life happening” to me, some of my own poor choices. I have a chronic illness and my oldest son is physically disabled. We have a lot of financial problems, MOST from medical, but some from poor management/lack of knowledge of how to handle those medical issues. Just tonight I was feeling very overwhelmed; I feel like I try and at every turn I am thwarted by defeat. I usually count my blessings which far outweigh my difficulties, but this evening I was really getting anxious and having my own “pity party” lol. That verse really touched my heart and thank you for reminding me of it. Sometimes I am so exhausted from it all, but He truly is the life-giving water that refreshes. Thank you for reminding me of that!!

  7. Judy in Maine says

    Jill, 2011 was a year unlike any other ever. In a nutshell..a gambling brother-in-law, husband’s heart issues, son and family in Sendai when the earthquake and tsunami hit, my younger brother died suddenly (caregiver to my 93 year old mother), long periods away from my beloved home to care for her, finally getting her into a nursing home, aunt dying, pet problems, pesky grown children. I am spending the day and evening letting go of 2011 and suddenly there you are telling me to do just that. Thank you so very much. Your message is exactly what I need. On the plus side, our first grandson was born and I got to go to Germany to hold him. And my older brother is the most wonderful person, dealing with all the paperwork involved with my mother and her house and care. And Sendai families were all okay. Probably too much information, but now it’s out and going away. Thank you again.

    • says

      You are welcome Judy. Try to hang in there. I have had years like you are talking about and they are so rough but I am glad you got to go see your grandson. There is nothing like a new grandbaby to make the world seem bright and sweet. One thing I appreciated about your post was even as hard and discouraging as the year has been you don’t sound like it made you are angry or bitter over it and that is the most important thing of all.
      Enjoy your new grandbaby and I hope you get to have peeks of him over the internet every once in a while. I am so glad I can talk to my grandkids and see them over the internet because it would be much harder for me with them in Colorado now.

  8. Sandi says

    This post hits the spot this time every year. I reread my comment from last year, and it made me appreciate what we have now. We did relocate after the flood last year, and even moved to the new city a few months ago. (The commute was a real bother, we laugh at our 3 minute commute now.) Our new shop is three times the cost of the old one, but almost 5 times the size! Our downsize last year almost killed the business, and our upsize now has been a real blessing. When we first got this place last February we thought we would have to rent out half of it. Instead, we’ve had so much business it’s nearly full most of the time with customers. We are a long way from wealthy or healthy, but we are in much better shape this year. We even got to spend Christmas with our grandchildren and our three grown sons. We still don’t have any savings, but we’ve been paying our rent and expenses (mostly on time), we don’t have any new debts, and we’ve even managed to pay a few old debts off. I will enjoy what we have, and next year can take care of itself.
    Thank you!

  9. Sandi says

    Thanks Tawra, we’re going to do what we can. If we ever get healthy and wealthy, then we can work on being wise, LOL. (Or maybe that should come first.)
    Have a Wonderful New Year in your new situation.

  10. Marcia says

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL. We had a difficult year in some respects but when I think about it we did accomplish some financial goals…we paid off my thirteen year old student loan debt…paid off our car…bought another secondhand car and paid cash for it…some things were hard like losing our loving dog and having some health issues but hey it wasn’t all bad. I loved the story “When Queens Ride By” you can accomplish a lot just by changing the old attitude!! Many thanks for the article.

    • says

      Our pastor made this comment yesterday and I thought of you Judy. He said “No storm lasts forever”. If you think about it that is so true thank goodness.

  11. Marcia says

    I forgot to mention Judy in Maine that I am from Maine also and we Mainers need to stick together. I hope you have a better year in 2012!

    • Judy in Maine says

      Thanks, Marcia. I am sure it will be and that the storm has passed for now. It feels good to lose that stunned feeling we had for much of the year. Now to catch with all the projects I had to let slide!

  12. Ann Marie says

    No THIS POST is why I subscribe to your newsletter!

    Thank you friend for this wonderful reminder that of course, God is in control, but we can respond by being like Joshua, and Be Strong And Courageous! HE will bring us through anything.

    God Bless you and your wonderful family this New Year!

  13. Amy Clingman says

    I loved your story about New Years! It made me think about how life gets me down and I throw a tantrum along with a pity party. Thank you for showing me that my doubt is wrong and I need to take it to the Father and allow Him to fight my battles. Your stories are so uplifting. Thank you for your newsletters! I always look forward to them. God Bless you and your family!!

  14. jaylee says

    Jill, I was so down in the dumps this whole holiday season after the death of my mom, who I was caring for, and other things that have happened. I was having a real “pity party”. I felt like I had no one to help but the Lord. But this morning I have read three posts on Youtube that really spoke to how I was feeling. Yours was one of them. Thank you so much for sharing what you did — it really helped. My mom had a copy of that Erma Bombeck book. I’m going to read it instead of wallowing in self-pity today. The Lord really uses you to bless others through this website. Thank you and Tawra, and God bless you both!

  15. Claudia in CA says

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Thank you so much for Spiritual encouragement! I had a feeling that we were in the same family….lol….blessings and prayers coming your way…..xoxoxo

  16. Peggy says

    This is a powerful message from your heart and, like others, I believe you were speaking straight to my heart. Thank you so much for sharing with us and encouraging us. God Bless.

  17. Kellie Alexander says

    This month, I signed up for a 31 day reprieve from buying anything at the grocery besides fresh dairy and produce — in order to use up what’s in the freezer. I realized after hunting for something in there that we have WAY more than enough meat for much longer than a month, so I thought it would be great to take the challenge.

    I’ll be using my allrecipes.com app to punch in ingredients I have on hand, and I imagine I will dust off my breadmaker as well.

    Blessings to you and yours in the New Year!

    :) Kellie Alexander

  18. Anne says

    Jill, Thank you for your continued witness for our Lord in a day when this kind of witnessing is so unpopular! I too, have shared this 2012 year watching what our Lord would do in my own life, with crisis after crisis. He is our ultimate provider, and as Joshua said in 1 Samuel 7:12 “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” Anne

  19. grizzly bear mom says

    Happy New Year Everyone! I wish you joy, peace and love in 2013. Although I lost my sister, cousin, and hero this year; my brother in law remarried six weeks after my sister died; and his son rejected me when I tried to fix his relationship with his badly behaving dad; and and was sick with six lung infections I am grateful that that Shawn Achor’s book “The Happiness Advantage” taught me to reprogram my mind to be happy. My gift for you is recommending his book. I am also grateful that I was well enough to play kick ball with my Siberian Husky Tater at the dog park today, and made some new human and pup friends this week. This shows that joy comes after mourning. I am grateful for my friends and family. I am grateful that I have a job, health care and retirement benefits. I am grateful that I have enough to share with others. I am grateful that I have an equitable, nice boss. Life is a sweet blessing.

  20. Aimee Berry says

    Thank you for this post and being so REAL. The Joshua 1:9 verse was meant for me and my daughter today. Thank you for that blessing and that reminder that life is a blessing, not a burden.

  21. Alisa says

    Happy New year to you all! This article really hit home. I have decided every day for the past 12 years to have a good laugh, stay strong and have a positive outlook on life. But I might be finally failing in one area. 12 years ago my husband got hurt at work. he was told to take the week off and rest which he did. when he went back to work and was still hurting, the company said “How do we kow you got hurt at work, you could have hurt yourself on the week off?” and with no accident report he had no proof. The drs. he went to perscribed everything in the book and he decided that with the more issues he had the better a case he had against his company. well here we are 12 years later, he’s addicted to pills, personality changed, depressed, has said horrible tings about how I have ruined his life, uses his SS disability to pay off debts of stupid stuff he is constantly buying through the mail (coins magazines, etc.) and he pays the car insurance. I carry everything else on my salary of $27,000 before taxes. I’m tired. We don’t have a marriage at all. You write in your article “we have a choice to either stay paralyzed by fear, not even trying, or face each day with courage and with God’s help to try and figure out how to fix the problem.” If the other person won’t try to fix a problem because he sees ‘me’ as the problem do you keep trying to fulfill your marriage vows “in sickness and in health til death us do part” or do you gather up the courage to leave. I keep feeling guilty if I leave a sick spouse how horrible am I? He won’t go for counseling, won’t stop taking the pills. I’m just so tired and sad trying so hard to make the decision to be happy and positive about my life and marriage for my kids, stepkids, grankids. 2 – 40 years old. They shouldn’t have to deal with a down, unhappy person and they all see the difference in their dad/grandad. They all say leave but the guilt of him being sick and me leaving him is just killing me. You both always share such wonderful insight and Tawara you have a health condition so I figure you might have a different perspective for me. I’m only 50 so I could possibly have 20 – 30 years left to live. I don’t want to live them like this but I am paralyzed by fear right now about making the right and compassonate decision for both of us. Thanks.

    • says

      Alisa it is so hard completely answer your question or tell you what to do and for me to truly get a feel or know the whole situation of a family with just a couple of paragraphs but I will give you a couple of hints which may be totally off base for you but is is the best I can do. First of all doing something out of guilt is never the right thing to do. If you aren’t staying with your husband because you love him then that is just as wrong and hurting him and you as much as if you would just leave him. Staying in guilt is hurting you guys emotionally, leaving would hurt physically and both are not good. If you choose to stay you need to pray that God will help you learn to love him all over and just the way he is.

      If things are really truly bad then whether he is sick or not then it isn’t wrong to leave him if there is physical or emotional abuse. Only you can determine that. A couple of things I couldn’t understand is how disabled is he. If he is well enough to be spending money and getting you in debt then I am not sure why you feel guilty about him needing you so bad.

      Like I said I don’t really know all that is going on but based on what you wrote I personally would leave him saying if he goes in for counseling and start being responsible for his actions then you could work things out . God never said we couldn’t separate or leave. Make a life of your own and after 6 months to 1 year reevaluate things and see how he is doing. If he is doing better then you can think about going back. This will also give him a chance to see it isn’t all your fault although in his frame of mind he will probably blame you no matter what you do so be prepared.

      You also need to really make sure you have your own emotions on track first too. Sometimes we try to be upbeat and happy thinking all is ok when deep down we harbor bitterness, anger, frustrating and other things which our spouse senses and that add fuel to the fire. Another thing is for you to get counseling and find how you should handle things but be sure you get a good counselor.

      • Alisa says

        Thanks Tawra, some of the thoughts are ones I have been entertaining. Whoever said life would be easy, right? :) Thank you and your mom for this site, it always gives me inspiration, something to think abaout, great ideas and something to laugh about sometimes. Hoping 2013 is a great year for you guys and I’m so glad I picked up that Woman’s World magazine years ago and found the article about you.

  22. Sandi P says

    Happy New Year, everyone! Hope this finds you all doing well, or at least coping well. Again, we’ve had many changes this past year. Our new business location took a turn for the worse when we got a new landlord who upped the rent, and our youngest son who was still working with us left for another job. We were falling behind on our debt, and the increased workload was damaging our health, when we realized my DH had just reached 62 and eligible for early retirement with Social Security. At the same time, while visiting our grandkids, we found a house for rent near them that is on an airport and has a (very small) hangar so we can continue very part time work. It was a very difficult move (took well over a month) and we are still struggling financially, but there is much good also. We are now much more involved in our grandkids’ lives, and the new location in the high desert is better for our health. Our other sons both visit us here (after all, they can visit their nieces and nephew also) and our new rental is a house with more room than we’ve had for years. Some people may think God doesn’t hear our prayers, but truly, the answer is there even if it’s not what we think it should be. Thank you all for your encouragement.

  23. harriet says

    This post hit the spot. As always. I had a very very bad day involving a car accident and my husband nagging at me to hurry up our divorce (sigh), and this hit the spot as usual. I get so scared sometimes worrying about my future–with CFS, it’s hard for me to support myself–and an upcoming divorce, and move and selling my house and downsizing and will have both kids in college in 2014. I think to myself STOP BEING AFRAID from the post about discouragement, and also I love this one as well. I try so hard to have courage and love and hope. Love to you both, Tawra and Jill.

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