Category Archives: Holidays

Holiday greetings and contemplations from Peter DeHaan

Happy New Year: Making Resolutions

Ringing in the New Year often marks a time for making resolutions. Common New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, saving money, studying more, finding a better job, improving a relationship, being kinder or more generous, drinking less, and so on.Happy New Year

Usually these well-intentioned resolutions are short-lived. Aside from being vague and difficult to determine success, I think the problem is we set ourselves up for failure. Let’s assume I step on the scale in September and realize I need to lose weight. But I’ll wait and make a New Year’s resolution to drop the extra pounds. Since this idea lives in the future, I don’t need to worry about it now; I can continue eating as I always have. In four months I’ll focus on weight loss, but for now, don’t worry.

This gives me four months to further instill my bad habits. Additionally, knowing that in the future I’ll need to be more careful with what I eat, emboldens me to eat poorly now, while I still have the chance. This only makes the problem worse, resulting in more weight to lose later. A much better approach is to begin losing weight right away and not delay.Any day is a great day to start improving your life. Happy New Year!! Click To Tweet

Instead of waiting until January first to change a habit, introduce a new one, or remove a bad one, why not make changes as soon as the opportunity arises? Why accumulate a list of resolutions for the start of a new year? Instead, make incremental improvements throughout the year.

This is why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. As soon as I realize I need to change something, I set about it right away—before things get worse and while I have the best chance for success. I guess this means I make resolutions year round.

If you made a New Year’s resolution, I wish you success. And if you forgot, don’t wait until 2019. Begin making changes right away. Any day is a great day to start improving your life.

Happy New Year!

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

The Christmas Story—by Doctor Luke

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.

The Christmas Story

So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.' Click To Tweet 

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

(Luke 2:1-14 — NKJV)

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful for family and friends.

I’m thankful for food, clothing, and shelter.

Happy Thanksgiving

Everything else is a bonus—and I’m thankful for that too!

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Click To Tweet

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

The Season of Giving

Ten years ago, the economy wasn’t looking good, the markets were in the pits, and there was general concern about the future. Given all this, it was easy to be self-focused and forget about other people and their circumstances. The Season of Giving

Today, at least in the US, things are much different. The markets are booming and businesses are growing at their fastest rate in the last decade. However, whether the economy is good or bad, we need to think about others. The reality is that there are folks out there who are struggling. To be direct, they are homeless, depending on the generosity of others just to eat. As the holiday season approaches, the spirit of giving and sharing typically increases. Click To Tweet

Every major city has organizations and outreach programs to help these people—and that is good. However, these groups continue to address people who need their help, which means that they need our help. If you can make a donation, now is the time to do so. If a monetary gift isn’t possible, then give of your time. With people in need, they are in need for volunteers. Of course, you can give both your time and your money.

As the holiday season approaches, the spirit of giving and sharing typically increases. Please do what you can to help, but just remember that the homeless don’t only need help at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the year around.

I hope you enjoy the holidays—and can help others do the same.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

Which is Better, Setting Goals or Making New Year’s Resolutions?

Although I avoid making New Year’s resolutions, I do set annual goals. What’s the difference? Maybe nothing; maybe everything. To me, resolutions are akin to wishful thinking, with low expectation for success. Goals are concrete, with stated action and quantifiable results.

I don’t think I’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution. If I discover something about myself I want to change, I set about making the adjustment right away. Delaying change until January first makes no sense.

However, every year I do set annual goals. I write them down and may even share them with friends. Throughout the year, I work towards achieving those goals. Sometimes my goals morph into something else and other times they become irrelevant along the way, but I take each one as far as I can by December 31.

At the end of each year I look back with a sense of accomplishment over the goals I’ve reached, while not wallowing in remorse over the ones I’ve missed. Never once have I achieved every annual goal and never once have I failed at them all.

This year was a rough year. Life took an unexpected turn soon after the New Year began, and my goals necessarily assumed a lessor priority. Even though it was one of my worst showings ever, I still accomplished two of my six goals.

However, other people shun goal setting, but they always make New Year’s resolutions. Just as I dismiss resolutions, they dismiss goals with equal disdain. Just as I embrace goals, they embrace resolutions with equal fervor.

Maybe the difference between goal setting and resolutions is just semantics, but maybe the difference is one of substance. I don’t know.

What I do know is that, whether it’s a goal or a resolution, we need to do what we can to accomplish the result we want and then look to God for help with what is out of our control.

With him, we have a much better chance for success than without him.

Happy Fourth of July!

To all my friends and followers living in the United States of America, I wish you a wonderful Fourth of July (Independence Day, if you want to be formal).

While there are certainly reasons for concern, worry, and even complaint, we do live in a wonderful country. We enjoy wide-ranging freedoms, abound in opportunities, and — despite the naysayers — reside in prosperity.

I’m glad to be a citizen of the United States of America and pleased to live in this amazing nation. I thank our forefathers who made this all possible and salute them for their foresight and sacrifices to form our country.

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Easter

We’ve had a beautiful week here in southwest Michigan, with record highs in the low 80s for the past two days.  As a consequence, I’ve been hit hard with a case of spring fever.  The last remaining pile of snow has melted — it was a huge pile, which only succumbed a couple of days ago — and spring flowers are displaying their colors.  The grass is greening up and soon it will be time to mow lawn.

The high temps, however, will wane a bit today, as a cool front is arriving.  That should drive the temperatures down about 20 degrees to where they should be for this time of year.

Although it would be great to enjoy 80-degree sunshine tomorrow on Easter, I can accept the prediction of partly cloudy and 60.  At least there won’t be any snow, which does happen for some Easters in our clime.

Where ever you may be, and whatever weather might be sent your way, have a Happy Easter!

I Wasn’t Fooled

Yesterday was April Fool’s Day and I was subjected to nary a foolish prank.  I think that might be a first.

When I worked in an office environment — the kind with other people around — someone would always try to prank me, providing a momentary pause, before reality and common sense resumed control.

When I retreated to the confines of a solo office, the pranks would arrive via email in the form of a clever, too-good-to-be-true press release.  They would often have a humorous aspect to them as well, giving me reason to chuckle or smile — or sometimes groan.

I was not so fortunate this year.  What press releases I did receive on day one of April were of the serious and on-the-level variety.

One year, someone kept sending me emails, building up the anticipation for a big announcement on April first.  I assumed it was merely a well-planned joke that would be sprung on April Fool’s Day.  Alas, it was not; it was a real announcement.

Hence the first rule of press releases — never time one to occur on April Fool’s Day.  You don’t want your carefully edited news item to be summarily discarded into the recycle bin of Tom Foolery.

The meanest April Fool’s joke I ever witnessed was a co-worker calling his mother, informing her that he and his wife were expecting; it would be the first grandchild.  Her initial excitement was dashed however, when her son beamingly exclaimed, “April Fool’s.”

I’m sure he won’t try that one again — or will he?

Happy New Year!

It is hard for me to imagine, but 2009, which seems like it just started, has come to an end.  In fact, the decade of the “aughts,” which doesn’t seem that old itself, has matured quickly and also concluded.

The practice of staying up late to greet the New Year has always seemed like a strange practice to me.  However, as a teen, any excuse to delay my normal bedtime schedule was a good one, so I willing joined in on the festivities, even though I was a bit perplexed by the whole idea of staying up late to do a 60-second countdown.

As I grew older, I became less of a conformist and more pragmatic.  Last night I turned in at the normal time — and arose at the normal time.  The only thing that was different when I awoke was that there was a different year on the calendar.

Ringing in the New Year is also a time when New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made.  I’ve never figured that out either.  If you want to change something in your life, just do it — don’t wait for the year on the calendar to increment.  In fact, by delaying needed changes, the result is merely allowing that particular bad habit or situation to become more ingrained, thereby making it harder to change.

So, I guess I am a bit of a curmudgeon regarding late night celebrations and timing the pursuit of needed change.  Even so, don’t let my killjoy attitude detract from the party you attended last night or the resolutions you made.

I say with all sincerity, “Happy New Year!”