New Year…Fresh Start


Well, Christmas is behind us, at least the official day. Many of us still have celebrations with family and friends throughout the week to come. But, for the purposes of this blog, I have been thinking ahead. So, to that end, I am thinking, “New Year…Fresh Start” for us to talk about beginning January 1, 2017.

I want to spend some time talking about common New Year’s resolutions. I have made a lot of New Year’s resolutions in my life. Some I have managed to keep. Others, probably most others, well not so much.

I have looked at some resources online and I have come up with ten of the most common. They are listed below. At the same time, however, I would love to hear from you! What are some of the New Year’s resolutions you would like to do for the coming year? I will do my best to address them in the days ahead. You can leave those in the comments below (or on Facebook).

I will tell you my best two suggestions for keeping resolutions right now. First, pray. Prayer should always be the first thing we do. Second, when I have been successful I didn’t necessarily plan to start the resolution on January 1. For example, when I quit smoking, my New Year’s resolution was, “This year I will quit smoking.” It didn’t happen on New Year’s Day, but a couple of weeks into January, I laid my cigarettes down and haven’t smoked again. I don’t know that this will work for you, I just know it worked for me.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions much these days. At the end of the series, I will share with you what has replaced (at least for the most part) the New Year’s resolution in my life.

Here are the New Year’s Resolutions I plan to cover in this series. The first ten came from the blog, “About Travel” and you can see them and read more about what they had to say at The last six are my ideas to add on. Like I said, I would love to hear from you and add to this list. Also, don’t take it that just because these ideas are in this order that we will necessarily look at them in this order. Well, here goes:

Get Organized
Help Others (Volunteer)
Learn Something New
Get Out of Debt
Quit Drinking
Enjoy Life More
Quit Smoking
Tame the Bulge
Get Fit
Spend More Time with Friends and Family
Get Back in Church
Read the Bible
Be Generous
Find My Mission
An Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

Well, friends, those are my thoughts. Let me hear from you. What are some of the New Year’s resolutions you have made or that you plan to make for 2017? Help me add to this list. In the meantime, during the remainder of this week/month, we will finish our “Songs of Christmas” series.

I pray God’s blessings on you the rest of this day, this week and in the year to come.

Joy and Peace,


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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