Wishing You a HAPPY New Year … And Me Too

I know I’m four days late, but I’m saying it anyway. “Happy New Year.” And I mean it. HAPPY New Year.

Not happy like “I’m-happy-because-I’m-getting-everything-I-want” happy.”

But “happy-because-I’m-at-peace” happy.

This is what I wish for you.

I was thinking that happiness is really a state of being at peace, a state of contentment. When we “lose our peace” we can’t be happy. But “keeping our peace” equals true happiness and can be had anywhere, in any situation.

It happens in the heart.

Over the holidays I began reading a book which got me thinking along these lines. It’s a book called Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives and is written by an unlikely character, a man who goes by the name of Elder Thaddeus. He’s a scraggly, old, long gray-bearded Orthodox monk who lived in Serbia.

He was a very sickly child, lead an extremely difficult life, and eventually became a monk.

All the pain and difficulty he experienced over his lifetime would have made most people bitter, angry, resentful, depressed and eventually despondent.

But Elder Thaddeus, as the years piled up, became more loving, more infused with wisdom and more peaceful. People would travel for very far distances just to seek his counsel. He was a man who was united with God both in body and in spirit.

Reading about people who have endured great hardships in life and who have emerged as shining reflections of Christ are great encouragements to me.

They remind me that I have nothing to complain about.

They remind me to live in the present moment and see where God is at work and what He’s asking of me.

They remind me to be thankful.

They remind me to be empathetic to others—for I have no idea what battles people face.

I love this quote:

Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.
~ by Plato, Philo of Alexandria, or most likely Ian MacLaren.
(It doesn’t really matter. I thoroughly agree with the message!)

This coming year, I am going to make a concerted effort to learn more about those who have endured hard things and who have been able to “keep their peace.” I’m going to pay attention to the times when I “lose my peace.” I want to figure out why I lost it and what I can do differently the next time I’m faced with the same type of situation.

I want to remember that being able to experience peace in the first place is a gift of God. It’s only possible because I’m created in His image and He dwells within me. He’s the Prince of peace, after all. I want to listen to and learn from the best and obey what He’s telling me to do. THAT is the hard part. But I’ve got a whole year to practice … and maybe a few more.

So, with all my heart, I wish you … and me a


…put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful …  Colossians 3:12-16 (NKJV)

QUESTION: Can you recommend a book or film about a real-life person who learned how to be truly happy, truly at peace, regardless of what they were facing in the moment?

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25 Responses to “Wishing You a HAPPY New Year … And Me Too”

  1. Thank you so much for thinking of me. Unfortunately I don’t have the kind of time that would allow me to review books, etc. I wish you all the best.

  2. Hello Mrs. Hyatt,

    In February, Tara Rodden Robinson–The Productivity Maven– is releasing her latest book, 40 Days Forward.

    I believe that 40 Days Forward is a book that your blog’s audience members will take great interest in, so we would like to offer you the opportunity to read the book prior to release and write a review for publication on your blog, or elsewhere.

    For more information on The Productivity Maven, please visit her website: http://www.theproductivitymaven.com.

    I apologize for the blog comment, but I have found no other contact information for you other than you Twitter account! If you are interested in reviewing 40 Days Forward for your audience, please contact me via email at janelle@productivityhq.com.
    Here’s to a beautifully productive 2011!

    Best Regards,

    Public Relations Intern, Productivity HQ

  3. Hi Donna,

    Thank you very much for your comments. I’ve got a lot to learn and and long road ahead, but I’m grateful I’m still around to keep learning.

    Last year it seemed that the word for me was PRESENCE. Practicing the presence of God and living in the present moment. (See my post on Look At Your Feet: http://is.gd/kilKw)

    This year it looks like the word will be PEACE.

    Thanks for the recommendation on Carol Kent’s book. I’ve met her on several occasions and am familiar with her story, but I haven’t read the book. I’ll definitely check it out.

    I pray that God will bless all that He has you doing. It looks like He’s up to a lot with you this year, huh?

    Thanks again.

    To Him be the glory,

  4. Thanks Gail. Francine is an incredible writer. Her books are huge but worth it. If you start with her Lineage of Grace book, it sets you up to understand how she writes and to get ready to dig into her Mark of the Lion series. So good!

  5. Debbie, Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for caring about a woman you don’t know. That is rare and precious in my world.

  6. Hi Robin,

    Thanks for recommending Dr. Hutcherson’s book. I’ll be checking it out as soon as I finish this comment. I love the title. It’s true statement.


  7. Hi Gail,

    I am glad, too, that I ran across you on twitter. You know how twitter is, you have to be on it just at the right time otherwise you can miss out on something good. I’m thankful I was there ‘at just the right time’ to read your tweet and then to follow it to your blog.

    I LOVED what you wrote, LOVED your wish of a Happy (peaceful) New Year, LOVED your ‘charge’ to be kind to others because we don’t know what someone has been through and LOVED your encouragement to model the Prince of Peace daily…… for our own peace. Not that we won’t have conflict, hardship or challenge, only that “peace isn’t the absence of conflict, but the presence of God.” Live in His presence.

    Most of all I LOVED this that you said; “….see where God is at work AND what He’s asking of me.” Wow, powerful words and beautifully communicated. Those words struck me… to make a full-out-effort to SEE God at work and acknowledge His work in my life laying down my desire for His! Thank you for that gentle reminder!

    Also, Carol Kent’s book, “When I Lay My Isaac Down” was a real life, practical story of challenge & hardship, yet, in the midst of it how God calls us to sacrifice (our Isaac) and let go to let God work through people and in us. That’s my one word this year to live by: Sacrifice.

    Thank you again, and from my heart to your heart have A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!


  8. Love this!

    My book that I have recommended over and over this past year is “Hope is Contagious” by Dr Ken Hutcherson. I had the privilege of hearing him deliver a message one Sunday in church. He writes like he speaks. He is a retired NFL player and has been battling prostate cancer for about 9 years now. It is such an awesome book that challenges you to look to God for peace.

    ….. I think I am going to re-read it. :)…. while I wait for your book to arrive at my doorstep.

  9. Oooooo! I too love the Mark of the Lion series. No way to say how great I think it is. (Gail, no pressure but if you read it — you’ll be Glad –note the capital “G” — you did) Lori, I’m saying a prayer for you right now. God really does care about your battle and He is the answer — hang on tight to Him!

  10. I haven’t read the book. I saw the movie and was deeply moved by it. Sounds like one I should get for my Kindle. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

  11. I’m grinning right along with you. 😀
    Great story. Thank you for your kind words.

  12. I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read any of Francine Rivers’ books, so I’m not familiar w/ her characters. I wonder who, in real life, Francine gets her inspiration for her characters from.

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart. You’re on a great journey. And … you expressed what most, if not all, of us experience every day.

    I hope that 2011 will be the best year of your entire life.

    God bless.

  13. Wow. Yes, I completely agree.

  14. Sounds absolutely fascinating. I’ll check it out. Thanks!

  15. Thanks, Benita. That’s the challenge for 2011.

  16. You’re welcome, Sherri.

  17. Hola Gail…Thanks for mentioning this book, looks interesting! The book I recommend is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (I’m sure you’ve probably already read it). I’ve read it several times over the years (just re-read it these past two days, in fact), and it’s a great reminder about our attitudes and our relationships and how important they are for living truly blessed lives, no matter what is going on. It was made into a movie, too, but I prefer the book! Happy New Year to you and yours! God bless! 🙂

  18. Hi Gail. Thanks for this post — I’m grinning right now and here’s why. Megan and I are working through Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” study. Today the verse and study was on Isaiah 26:3 (one of my favorites) “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” God calls us to fix our minds solidly on Him and His truths. To trust Him for everything in all things because He is who He is and will do what He says He will do. He is sovereign and exercises that sovereignty in love and wisdom. His plans are perfect! Thinking “my way” or the “worlds way” and listening to the deception of the evil one (who cunningly tries to get our minds off of God) is a sure fire way to experience anything but “shalom”. God is so good and has a plan and a purpose far beyond what we can imagine and it is always for His glory and our good. Nothing is too hard or too big — or too small or insignificant — for Him. He loves us and is at work on our behalf — ALWAYS. Bless you this new year with all of His very best. May you know Him in wonderfully, delightfully intimate ways each step you take and each thought you think. Debbie

  19. First, I love that you used the word scraggly. Second, this is my first time here. I clicked through from Spence Smith’s Daily Review and I’m so glad I did.

    I needed this today. Well, I need it everyday but I am so thankful that I clicked through today.

    I don’t have a film or book to reference about true happiness and peace, though when I think of Francine Rivers character of Hadassah from her Mark of the Lion series (awesome) I think of a woman who had peace even through horrific circumstances in her life-okay so I did have a book to reference.

    I am fighting my own great battle and I fall into the selfish trap of thinking mine is the only battle out there. And to be completely honest, it’s not that “great” of a battle compared to most.

    I lose my peace daily-no, hourly yet I have so much to be at peace about and certainly nothing grand to complain about. I have just fallen into a rut of thinking only of myself and my pain and not the blessings God has given me and my family. And He has given sooo much.

    Thank you for your wish for happiness. Back at ya.

  20. Love this!

    When I think of Same Kind of Different as Me I always think of how peaceful Deborah was during her fight.

  21. Yes, a book by a woman with whom I attend church…It’s called “In the Hollow of His Hand” by Rosemarie Betz…It is an autobiography of her escape from Russia as a child under the Third Reich..A tear-jerking story that illuminates how precious life is and how awesome God is…Words are too little, it’s a book that illustrates exactly of which you write..

    Side note: Rosemarie and her husband have been actively involved in the International Training Ministry in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Germany and Latin American Countries (she vowed never to return to Russia once she escaped, but God had other plans for her life…)

  22. Didn’t finish editing my comment. Oops. If we could all keep this attitude…

  23. Great post! Thanks for sharing. If we could all this attitude I know God would be pleased. Bless you, Gail!

  24. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. I needed to hear this today. Blessings and peace to you and your family this year !!


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