New Year’s Traditions…What Are Yours?

We’ve all heard about having black eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day. Friends of ours have an open house on New Year’s Day and there’s always a pot of them included in the party fare. But here are a couple more I hadn’t heard about. And I wish to give a huge “thank you” to my friend Dianne Disharoon for sharing them with us. As well as another big thanks for her giving me permission to post it here. [With my comments added in brackets, of course!]

“Sauerkraut is ready for tonight. Black eyed peas ready for tomorrow. I just need a tall, dark-haired male to be the first visitor tomorrow. Then, I’ll be all set for good luck in 2016!

My grandmother ALWAYS had a pot of homemade black eyed peas (Blackeyed-peas1with ham hock or fatback) on New Year’s Day. She was Southern to the core. I’ve got my black eyed peas ready, but not in the manner she ever would have considered serving….they’re in a salad. She’d probably be appalled! [Now this sounds interesting]

Her English heritage was evident in her observance of the Northern England and Scottish tradition of “First-Foot.” The First-Foot is the first person to enter the home on New Year’s Day and is said to be a bringer of good fortune for the coming year. It is said to be desirable for the First-Foot to be a tall, dark-haired male. A female or fair-haired male are regarded as unlucky. The dark haired male is believed to be a throwback to the Viking days, when a big blonde stranger arriving on your door step most assuredly meant big trouble. [Now I can go along with this being good luck, especially for certain of my female friends who are single…send him over and I’ll keep him here until they come over!]

My father and his two brothers were always my grandmother’s first visitors on New Year’s Day. However, as my Uncle Mervin was blond, he had to wait until either my father or Uncle Wilson crossed the threshold first. [Wow! Hope they all arrived in one car!]

However, my grandmother took the tradition one step further. She wouldn’t allow ANY female to cross her threshold all New Year’s Day! One year my Aunt Mary Anne (her daughter, no less!) came for a visit. Nope, wasn’t going to happen; she wasn’t walking in that house! My grandmother stood at the back door and barred her entry. [Probably with a broom!] My poor aunt went back to Virginia [Dianne and her family live in Maryland] without stepping foot inside her own mother’s house.

Since my mother was half German, she always had sauerkraut on New Year’s Eve (to my father’s chagrin – definitely not his favorite!). Thankfully, the one-fourth German in me [Dianne, that is, I only like sauerkraut on a Reuben sandwich] loves saChucrutuerkraut. German tradition says eating sauerkraut will bring blessings and wealth for the new year. So before the New Year’s Eve meal, everyone seated at the table wishes each other as much goodness and money as the number of shreds of cabbage in the pot of sauerkraut. So I’m sure that pot is always overflowing!]
I’m all set for New Year’s Eve and Day except for the tall, dark-haired male visitor!”

Sounds like an interesting combination, don’t you think? What New Year traditions do you have?

Happy New Year to each and every one of you!

No More Resolutions

Traditionally almost all of us make at least one or two New Year’s resolutions. We say we’re going to lose weight, exercise more, get our financial lives together, or spend more time with our families instead of our jobs.

We really mean it when we make those resolutions. But by the end of a couple weeks, or at least by the end of January all of those resolutions were forgotten. Discarded. We just can’t seem to make them work. It takes too much effort, or we lose interest.

Personally, I’ve hardly ever made any New Year’s resolutions, because I know I won’t keep them. What’s so special about making a change in our lives simply because it’s a new year? If we don’t change ourselves and our way of thinking, turning over the date on the calendar isn’t going to do it.

Instead of making resolutions I’m going to do something a little different this year. I’m going to list the things that I’m grateful for. The things that really matter to me. And when I get discouraged during the year, I’m going to pull that list out and read it, and remember how I started the new year with a grateful heart, because resolutions don’t last. But the things that we’re grateful for should.

Here are a few of those things which give me reason to enter into the 2016 with a new attitude of hope and expectancy.

My husband’s health – Ben was rushed to the ER a year and a half ago, and flat-lined in front of Ashley and me almost as soon as he arrived. It was the most frightening thing I have ever been through. But he survived, received a pacemaker, and was home the next day. He returned to the ER this summer, shortly after our daughter’s wedding, with congestive heart failure. Eight days later he was back home, and six months later his heart is back to normal and he has no restrictions except a low sodium diet. Praise the Lord!

My health – I am extremely healthy. I may be stressed, but who isn’t!? I don’t exercise. I’m not overweight. My cholesterol and other bloodwork is fine. I am thankful every day for the gift of good health.

Friends – Ben and I have several very close, very dear friends who are always there for us when we need them, just as we are there for them. They are not acquaintances. They’re our family, and we love each other dearly.

Home – I may grumble about having to clean, but we have a comfortable home. It may need fresh paint and a bit of new carpet here and there, but it’s our home, where we raised our daughter, entertain our friends, and just enjoy being together.

A loving and helpful husband – Ben helps me around the house without my ever asking. He brings me my coffee in the morning, does the grocery shopping, helps clean, fixes my lunch for me to take to work every day, and usually has dinner ready when I get home from a job that’s 45 minutes away. He also works full time. He is a gem, and I would not trade him for anything in the world.

Our country – We live in a country where we are free to worship as we please without fear of being arrested or killed because of our beliefs. We are also free to voice our opinions without fear of being arrested or imprisoned.

Our children – Our daughter Ashley is now happily married to her long-time boyfriend Chris, who we love as much as we do her. They have bought their first home; they both have good jobs; and best of all, they are expecting our first grandchild, a daughter, this summer. This is the greatest blessing of all…except…

Our Lord and Savior – who loves us unconditionally, who answers our prayers, even when we don’t like the answers, and promises us the gift of eternal life, just because we love him.

With blessings such as these, who needs to make New Year’s Resolutions?

May each of you have a blessed and Happy New Year! Count your blessings rather than your resolutions, and if you wish to share those blessings, we’d love to hear them!