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Happy New Year! Were you fortunate enough to have sung “Ring Out Wild Bells” (Hymn 215) in Sacrament Meeting yesterday? Or added it to your Home Church service? It’s a true favorite of mine, although it is suitable for only the few days surrounding New Years. If you haven’t sung it yet, there’s still time! The haunting melody with lyrics by the great poet Alfred Lord Tennyson is the ultimate New Year’s resolution list for every nation and all mankind, especially after our grueling 2020.
Usually we only sing one stanza, but it’s in the three full verses that the complete message is expressed. I’ve included the entire poem at the end of this article. It describes the year we’ve just been through and what the Lord would have us do in in 2021 in a uniquely powerful way.
I think we all have much in common with Tennyson’s poem: very long, overly optimistic and ridiculously ambitious lists of old things to ring out and new things to ring in. It’s exhausting and we’re done in a few days – or even hours! At the other end of the spectrum is the approach of a dear friend who limits her New Year’s resolution to one small, simple thing each year such as, “This year I will floss every day.” Each year she adds a new one and has her A-game in place year round. We’ve been friends for over 40 years, and she has a beautiful life to prove her point.
I read recently that most of us overestimate what we can do in day and underestimate what we can do in a year. In short, without a small, doable plan we get overwhelmed and quit long before goals are reached. Does that ring a New Year’s bell for you like it does for me? If so, you might be interested in a neat little book titled “The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do In 12 Months” by Brian P. Moran.
Yes, indeed, after our very difficult 2020, we are all more than ready for 2021.
As January begins, it’s interesting to note that this first month of the year is named for Janus, the two-faced God who looks both back and forward in time. What is not so well known about Janus, however, is that he was also the god of gates and doors — also symbolic of the past, present and future.
As 2020 finally closes and 2021 begins, it’s time to firmly close our minds and thoughts on last year’s frustrations, failures and disappointments – on every level — and open our eyes and lives to the to this year’s wide-open door of personal choice, opportunity and time. Are there better gifts from God than these three precious resources available to each of us, each and every day?
The only problem is that lofty, vague thoughts will not any achieve anything more than Alfred Lord Tennyson’s great poem on paper without some real tools and an action plan.
For inspiration, how about the simple words and habit of a Prophet? In 1981 Elder Robert D. Hales, then a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, said of President Spencer W. Kimball, “He is a man of action, demonstrated by the simple sign on his desk that says, ‘Do It.’” So, ringing as loudly as New Years bells, here is my “Do it!” plan for 2021. I hope you’ll join me! First and foremost, print out the words “DO IT” for my desk and then …
2. Get A Calendar and Stickers
Do you have a beautiful new calendar you’re excited about using every day? One just for you? If not, go buy one this week. Even the fanciest ones are now on sale. This one is not for the family schedule, not for the office wall, just for YOU, so indulge yourself with one that makes you truly happy (Kittens? Inspiring quotes? Flowers?) to hang, or at least to open and use every day.
3. Choose Just One Small Thing to Change
Now we’re back to my good friend who changes only one small daily habit each year. What would that be health-wise for you? Cutting back on soda? Getting your five fruits and veggies each day? Exercising? Eating only at the table instead of grazing on the move? If you don’t know immediately, say a little prayer now and the answer will be there for you. Not a bunch of things, just one small change that you really can realistically achieve each day of 2021.
For starters, of course, we’re going to place a sticker on the calendar square for each day. Can you imagine what will happen if we simply do that one small thing each and every day in 2021? This is a standard, popular behavior modification tool because it is fun, it is visible and it works! Those stickers adding up day by day means something is happening! Imagine what a difference a year’s worth of stickers for your chosen change will make and get excited!
If you’d like to go ahead and get started, be my guest! If not, make it your plan to have the calendar and stickers in place for next Monday, and spend this week getting your kitchen and refrigerator cleaned out.
You might also want to consider cleaning out your system from the overload of sugar and carbs that the holidays bring. The herbal product I share here at Meridian is marvelous for creating a wonderful fresh start and flushing. We’ve been sharing this product here at Meridian since 2008 and countless Meridian readers have experienced remarkable health improvements as the body and all its organs and systems are gently cleansed.
Another quick aid is the “day after” green soup recipe included below.
So bring on the FUN in 2021. Vividly imagine the feelings and joy you will be experiencing one year from now the first week of January 2022 as you look back on New Year’s 2021.
Happy New Year! I’ll be back with more health and weight loss encouragement throughout the year. (Be sure to scroll down and read all of “Ring Out Wild Bells” – it’s a lovely thing.)
GREEN DETOX SOUP
5 Large Tomatoes
1 Large Eggplant
2 Med Zucchini
1 Large Red Pepper
1 Large Spanish Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed
1 Inch piece of Ginger Root peeled and julienned
1 Tbl Fresh Basil chopped
1 Tbl Fresh Curly Parsley chopped
1 Tbl Fresh Thyme chopped
2 Tbls Olive Oil
1 480z V8 Juice
Ground Black Pepper
Coarsely chop the onion and saute in Olive Oil until softened and browning on the edges. Cut the tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and red pepper into a large dice. Add vegetables and sauteed onions, ginger, garlic and herbs to a very large pot, and cover with V8 Juice. Add water if more liquid is needed to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes. More if thicker consistency is desired. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Makes a BIG pot of soup; 10-12 bowls at least!
RING OUT WILD BELLS
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine since 2007. She provided mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 through Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Sandy, Utah where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox.
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