New Year, New Challenges

Don’t you love the way a new year looms large? It’s filled with the prospect of opportunities, changes, challenges, blessings, and sometimes fears. If offers us a new canvas. A portrait of 2009 just waiting to take shape.

Let’s think today about the new challenges each of us will face. Some of them we’ll have no control over, but others can be ones of our own choosing. That’s right. A new year gives us a chance to try something new, to grow in some way, to expand our horizon.

To be honest, I haven’t given a lot of thought to what new things I might attempt this year, but a couple of things come to mind. I was challenged with one, quite by surprise, about a week ago.

On the LPM blog, Beth Moore invited readers to join her in memorizing (or seriously meditating on) two verses of scripture per month this year, posting our verses as comments on the 1st and 15th of each month. I’ve memorized quite a bit of scripture in the past, but haven’t done so on a regular basis for many years now. I decided to go for it. It seems like such a doable plan. Just two verses a month, and if our memories don’t cooperate, we can fulfill the requirement by meditating deeply on the verses. I know God will bless this new venture so many of us have embarked upon (3000 and counting!). By the way, I’ve used my first verse as the Words To Live By this week on the sidebar to the right.

The other new thing that’s on my mind? Going somewhere I’ve never been before. Somewhere big. Somewhere like the Big Apple, in fact. Or at least somewhere east of the Mississippi :) Believe it or not, in my 50+ years, I’ve never been east of St. Louis.

New York City is just one of the places I’d like to see. I’d also love to visit Washington, D.C. one day. Truth is, Don and I feel too chicken to attempt NYC on our own. I threw out the idea to Kristin and Shawn over the holidays, and they actually nibbled :) I’m not sure what we may decide as the year progresses, but I sure would like to go somewhere :)

I want to be alert to other new things I should take on in the coming months as well. Stepping out into new territory is usually a little scary, but it almost always produces a positive benefit or blessing. The good news? We don’t have to step out alone or unguided. I love the promise found in Proverbs 3:5-6(KJV): “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” The Lord is indeed our perfect compass and map.

What new ventures are you going to be involved in this year? If you’re not sure, start thinking about it. Maybe you can try a new hobby or take a class. Or is it time for you to teach a class? Maybe it could be something as simple as listening to a new style of music or reading in a new genre. You could even get in on Beth’s scripture memory challenge — bet it’s not too late. Or if you’re really adventuresome, you could hit the road with me, and we could take NYC by storm :) (Just kidding — wouldn’t want to leave my hubby out of that adventure!)

Okay, so who’s ready for new challenges? Happy traveling to all!

*Flickr photo by Zach Dischner


  1. I love the scripture memory goal! Great thoughts, Cheryl. Thanks for inspiring the rest of us.

  2. Great ideas for the new year, Cheryl. It’s so easy to just get in a rut, isn’t it? Time goes by fast, and there’s still so much to do! Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I used to love going to New York, I went in the summers for ballet lessons. I love all the sights in D.C. too. Either choice is great.

    My adventure this year will be…get through the entire New York City Ballet Workout DVD without keeling over and hopefully go to see family in the fall, have not seen them since Dec 2000.

  4. I’m up for the NYC, but since that probably won’t happen, I’ve been thinking it would be a really cool adventure to try and do some type of blogging reunion at the beach or in the mountains this Fall. I don’t know if there would be any takers, but I have a hunch there might be.

    Also doing Beth’s challenge. You’re right. So doable, but I love the accountability of doing it with 3000 of my closest friends.

    My first verse is Isaiah 54:10… (practicing…)

    “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ say the LORD who has compassion on you.”

    Have I already quoted this to you before? Can’t remember. I’m practicing every time I have the occasion.

    Peace for your week~elaine

  5. Cheryl,
    Happy 2009. I too love the fresh slate offered by a new year. God’s mercies are new every morning, but there is something poignant about hitting the reset button on Jan. 1.
    As far as travels I long to visit the grand National Parks out west.

    We were just in NYC last Friday as a last minute day trip. I take for granted that I can hop on a train and be there in a little over an hour. Don’t be afraid to do it by yourself. Get a good guidebook and have fun! There is certainly no city like it.

  6. I’m on board, Cheryl.

    I’m going to a new Conference this year-“She Speaks/She Writes”. And I’m probably going to start a new critique group.

    Baby steps. But they are big steps for me.

    Happy New Year!


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