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In the New Year, remember to turn on the light.

December 27, 2020
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In the new year, remember to turn on the light.

Each December for the new year, I make a list of wonderful things that I want to happen. I also make a list of good that happened in the previous year. With a little focus, I can always find something positive to say no matter how rough things were. However, 2020 was radically different from recent years. From Covid-19, small businesses shutting their doors, the anxiety of riots, looting, and unrest, to weather events and the election, Americans were stressed. For that matter, people all over the world were stressed. Then, we endured the lockdowns and endless negative media coverage. I for one am so over all of that.

So, what was good about 2020 then? How do we look forward to the New Year, when this one has been so difficult?

update: It seems 2021 was more of the same anxieties and unrest, so we have to look beyond the nonsense. What was good about the past year or any year? 

In answer to my own question, I immediately think of this quote: *”Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Where do we start? How do we turn on the light and find happiness again? How do we forget the worst?

To answer that question simply (as a starting point), let’s begin with perspective. Perspective is point of view. It is the first lens through which we view the past, present, and future.

A healthy perspective demands that we acknowledge that no matter how difficult our circumstance, someone endured worse.

Perspective doesn’t mean that we go through isn’t bad nor does it lessen the blow’s personal impact. Instead, perspective helps us see that everyone has not only been through hard times, but some situations are significantly worse than our own.

For instance, we are among those who are still standing.

We have our lives. In spite of every circumstance, we are still here.

So, I contend that we turn on the light with a healthy perspective and search for any good that arose from what we have been through this year.

What blessings can be found in your 2020 or 2021? Take a look in your own life, and be specific, so you can go into the new year with a better outlook. Write it down.

Make your Good Things List for 2020 and for 2021. Write down any good that came from the many bad situations or in spite of it.

More great ideas for renewal and refreshing in the New Year can be found here:

It is a new year, resolve to make it better.

For those of you who lost someone or lost your business, my prayer is that you will be comforted and find peace while you deal with the aftermath. As someone who has experienced much loss, I do understand.

Grieving is not only okay, it is necessary. Your memories honor those who have passed on. Neither is your life’s work is not forgotten.

Dwelling on the good things puts a balm on the pain, and reminds us how blessed we are to have known the people we’ve lost. Make your list of favorite memories of your loved ones and great moments and keep it somewhere special. As you get older, you will appreciate those memories that you wrote down when they were still fresh in your mind.

In moments of distress or joy, go ahead and make that blessings and good things list to come back to time and again. To encourage your mind, heart, and soul,

make your list.

Trust me on this. Your mind needs something else to dwell on. Give it positive fuel of the good you find.

Break free from trauma by combatting it with thankfulness, gratefulness, and humility.

First, in my own life, I’ve been battling illness, but my health is good enough that I can still function overall. Chalk one up for seeing something with perspective.

Secondly, I am so thankful for my family. When we communicate or visit, it does great things for my soul. None of us are perfect and sometimes I see my own faults and missteps and cringe, but we are important to someone in our life. We may not even realize the extent, but we are.

In 2020, we still got to go on a couple of trips with my daughter, son in law, and grandchildren. Thankfully, one of those trips was before the Covid-19 quarantines. We travelled to Florida and stayed in a beautiful house with a heated pool and spa that was wonderful for my painful joints. In fact, I felt good enough to play with my grandchildren and ride bikes all week in the bright warm weather and glistening ocean close by. The temperatures ranged from the 40’s to the 70’s, so it was a wonderful respite from the gray weather at home.

Even in quarantine there were great moments.

I know that this is not true for everyone, but our health difficulties created a situation where my husband and I were both home for a time locked away from the world so to speak. He had a consuming/time eating job for most of his life, so in our new found blocks of time, we talked for hours on end about the future and life. In all our years together, over three decades, we had never spent more than two weeks together uninterrupted by work. So, this past year, his weeks at home felt like a God send after we got over the initial shock of a pandemic.

We were isolated and shell shocked, but we treated our time like a vacation.

We planted a small garden plot and enjoyed watching the green come up. He built a deck and I organized, but mostly we rested like we had not been able to do in years. We also prayed together many times for our leaders, our family, each other. Proves that there is always something good that comes out of a difficult time, we just have to look for it.

In reality, yes, there were awful things. We watched with sadness and horror the deaths, illness, riots, and anger take place, but there was also compassion and prayer. Worship sprang up and heroes were made in hospitals and in homes.

Overall, it seemed to me that people were spending a lot more time talking and engaging in prayer.

Some of us talked more as families and turned off the tv. Many kids thrived in the company of their parents. Others started to homeschool. Because of the lock downs, some people will work from home from now on, so there are good things to reflect on. People are better prepared for the future so as to not be caught unawares.

However, I do have family members where both spouses work consuming jobs and had small children at home, so for those I pray right now for some relief and much needed rest in the new year.

For all the moms and dads who had/have to do school at home with a conference program, God bless them. Talk about difficult, I can’t imagine. My own daughter homeschools and has made an art of it, but it is different than keeping someone else’s schedule and having to monitor or teach your children someone else’s agenda while working too. We all have seasons of great unrest or difficulty and should recognize those in those seasons. “But for the grace of God go I” right?

I also want to pray for small businesses. Humbly, I ask God to revive and reinvent, recreate, invigorate, and resurrect small business in our country. Please join me in this prayer. Fifty percent of Americans were employed by small business and need our prayers, patronage, and encouragement.

Looking back though, I think it is apparent that much of our unhappiness and lethargy came from the news media’s constant negative and being locked away without interaction with others. Is it not time to step away from the sources of pain in your life and find reasons to be happy instead?

It is time to turn on the light and warm up the dark winter.

Clearly, our new year awaits with renewed perspective, a more grateful heart, and a lighter outlook.

It is time to turn on the light, because we can find happiness when we do.

Philippians 4:8

 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable? if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.

Barefoot and writing for the new year,


You will also enjoy: Your Good Things List

Or Humility and Thankfulness in a world of swag.

Or It is a new year, resolve to make it better. Here’s how.

*quote about turning on the light is from character of Dumbledore, one of the main characters in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

*”Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

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