Have you made your new year resolutions? Think about it.
This past year has been most unusual. It will be a year we will always remember, but not because it was so good, but because it was filled with so much sorrow and worry and sickness. We grew tired of wearing masks and keeping 6-foot distances from friends and staying home, but it was all for a good cause. If it saved even one person from getting the coronavirus, it was worth the consideration.
Now we have moved on to a hopefully better new year with less sickness and schools resumed and employment back to normal. Doesn’t it break our hearts to see hunger lines and so many in real need of so many things? We all are praying for a safer, healthier 2021.
How many of us make the very same resolutions year after year? We resolve on Jan. 1 that we will lose weight, or gain weight, or at least get it under control. No matter which diet we intend to use, we have every good intention of sticking to it.
Most of us resolve to eat healthy and quit snacking on all those fattening and unhealthy foods that are so easy to consume. We resolve that we will eat vegetables and fruits and whole grains and good foods. We will plan meals ahead. We will have healthy snacks on hand and make them a part of our healthy regimen. We will drink water and avoid those carbonated beverages that have no food value.
We will organize our time. We will not procrastinate (including sending birthday cards on time instead of the actual day of the birthday celebration). We will be on time. We will not be late to functions and rush in at the last minute huffing and puffing. We will be punctual and thoughtful of others’ schedules.
We will simplify, simplify, simplify! We will clean drawers and shelves and closets and discard the things we can no longer use or wear. We will see that those things go to someone who can use them. We will get the closets in systematic order, arranged for easy access. We will organize our kitchens and discard unused dishes and spices, etc. We will inventory our freezers.
We will organize our lives, too. We will write dates and appointments on our calendars. We will plan our activities ahead so we will not have too many things the same day and then nothing for weeks. We will keep busy but make time for rest and relaxation.
We will spend time with friends we enjoy. We will make new friends. We will cherish times with friends and family and never take them for granted. We will keep in touch by phone calls to our friends. We will visit or call or write regularly with family and not just see them at funerals, weddings, and birthdays ... but between times, too.
We will have quiet, meditation time every day. We will read and be inspired. We will be calm and feel the peace of Christmas all year. We will listen to good music and stop and smell the roses. We will not let life pass us by. We will make every day count for something worthwhile.
All of these resolutions sound easy and great on paper, but most of them are hard to keep. We will never change unless and until we really want to change. One friend said his resolution was that he resolved to not make any new year resolutions. Well, I do. And I bet you do, too. New Year’s is a great time to take inventory of the past and try to do better. So what if we don’t keep all of our resolutions? At least we have tried to make improvements in our lives. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. What better time to start over and be determined to do better.
Making the resolutions is the easy part ... keeping them is more difficult. Just saying we will do something does not make it so. We need a plan and a reason to make a resolution. Why are we making those resolutions in the first place? We are never so perfect that we cannot make some improvement in our life. We are the product of what we choose.
Visualize what life would be like and look like if we kept our resolutions. Visualization makes it easier to stick to a special plan. What will our house and garage be like if we just keep those resolutions of organization? Won’t it feel good to be able to find something in our closets?
Make resolutions fun. Be realistic in the things we plan to do and not to do. Resolutions are not etched in stone. If they don’t work out within a few weeks or months, then change them. I have every intention of keeping our garage organized as soon as the Christmas things are packed away. Even if it is into summer before everything is in place, it is not the end of the world. At least I have thought about the cleaning-out process. Wishing will make it so if I wish long enough and hard enough. Just keep our eyes on the goal and eventually positive things will happen.
Also remember that breaking a habit is much more difficult that creating a habit. It takes time to change our ways. We have to replace bad habits with good habits and give our bodies time to adjust and our minds time to wrap around a change.
If you are as tired of candies and cookies and rich desserts and cheese dips and fondues and fattening things as we are, then you will welcome simpler meals. What better time to make these red beans and rice? Your stomach won’t know the difference between red beans and black-eyed peas. In New Orleans, it was traditional to have red beans and rice on Mondays, which was wash day, but any day of the week is fine. All us Southerners know that black-eyed peas or beans bring good luck if eaten on New Year’s. You’ll have a good day for each bean or pea eaten.
Red Beans and Rice
1 pound dry red beans
1 meaty ham bone
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground red pepper
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
Sort and wash beans. Cover with water and bring to boil. Allow to soak overnight. Next morning, drain and put in Crock-Pot with other ingredients. Cover with fresh water. Cook on low until beans are tender. Serve over cooked rice.
Happy 2021. May you be blessed with health and happiness in this new year.
Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.