my only and best advice for the new year

For the last two years, I’ve shared this post at New Years. I am sharing it again because I believe in this truth now more than ever and because so many of you have told me how this idea of “beginning again” has changed you in some small or large way. If you’ve heard me talk about this a hundred times before, I hope this time it visits you with a fresh voice.

new year

If you commit to anything in this New Year, resolve to do this one thing. It’s the most profound sentiment/idea/discipline/practice I can think of. It’s a game-changer. It’s a new way to see it all.

Here it goes . . . are you listening? Pen poised?

In the words of St. Benedict, “Always, we begin again.” That’s it. Beginning again.

For many of us, this idea is not nearly sexy enough to be revolutionary. But, I assure you. It will change you. It will change your year. It will give you hope. We are not locked into our maniacal craziness. We are not bound to our small ways. We are actually, through the grace of God, free.

So we can stop. Our minds. Our mouths. Our hand-wringing. And we can decide to begin again . . .

In our marriages
In our parenting
In our sobriety
In our creating
In our forgiveness
In our attitude
In our thankfulness
In our meditation
In our anger management
In our health pursuits
In our time outdoors
In our desire to read more
In our hopes to cook a real meal every now and again.

If today, if this hour, if this year has not been what you had hoped, you can begin again. And, in fact, if today, if this hour, if this year was perfect. You still—must—begin again. We must wake up and choose to live in each minute, each day, each year. Moment by moment. Beginning again.

We must choose to love, to create, to breathe, to return, to quiet down, to believe. Over and over again.

So, if I can gently suggest, perhaps don’t bite off the entire year in one overly-ambitious, shame-inducing list. Perhaps, commit to one thing: Beginning again.

And let’s remind each other that none of us is too far gone in the same way that none of us has arrived. We’re all in this beginning again business together. And, we have his mercies-are-new-every-day broad grace. One of the most revolutionary things we can do is allow those around to begin again. And, of course, allow ourselves. None of this is easy.

So we blow it. We mess up big time. We numb out. We turn away. We choose contempt. We don’t show up. We vacate. We forget.

And then, we begin again. And again. And again.

God bless you, my dear friends. I love you so. I’m believing great things for this New Year. Most of all, I’m believing in a very small, great thing: that through his grace we can – yes we can! – begin again.

Believing (and keeping vigil for you),



14 Responses to “my only and best advice for the new year”

  1. Miriam Armbrester

    Excellent, Leeana! I am hearing Larnelle Harris singing,
    “I can begin again with the passion of a child” You can find it on youTube. He sang it long before you were born, but OH! could he sing! That’s what the promise of the new day is….beginning again.
    Thanks, Leeana. Love, you, Miriam

    • deborah watkins

      what song is it larnelle harris sings…i love his music and would love to check it out…many thanks,deborah

      • Miriam Armbrester

        The name of Larnelle’s song is “I can begin again” and you can find it on YouTube with lots of his songs. Isn’t he great? You must be my age :) Happy New Year!

  2. Roxanne

    “Always, we begin again.” I love the promise and hope in that small sentence. Thanks for sharing your blog and heart with us, Leeana. Being a friend to myself this year has manifested itself in the little things like taking a nap if I’m tired instead of making more coffee…not feeling guilty for taking extra time to read when there are other tasks waiting…little things that are life giving to me. Saying no to shame, and yes to rest. Looking forward to the new beginnings in 2013.

  3. Lindsay

    Thank you, Leeana! This gave me so much peace and hope this morning. I finally felt inspired to write a little something myself. I hope you don’t mind me quoting you…
    When I think about it, I am actually pretty amazed at how I really am learning to have grace with myself. I guess reading your blog and lots of Anne Lamott will do that to a person. I am so grateful.
    Blessings to you and your family in the coming year.

  4. Anita

    Leeana! I was looking for a devotional thought for’s newsletter! Just opened this up, and bingo, it’s perfect. May I use it for the Dec. 31 edition? Please?
    //// Anita

  5. Kara

    Oh lee, I love this. Never have been one for big, sweeping resolutions. Beginning again. That i can do. Thank you!

  6. Kimberly

    Beautiful! You had me at “shame-inducing” lists…I love the simplicity of just starting over, new mercies. Sharing with my FB & Twitter followers! Bless you!


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