“The Tree”


Around 12th Night, when the Christmas tree is traditionally supposed to be put away for the season, we didn’t languish the idea of trying to fit it back into the box it arrived in. I really don’t think it’s possible to re-box items once they’ve been removed. I think it’s a ploy of the big box stores to ensure you can’t return it! To avoid packing it away we decided to re-purpose it!

We have been artfully creative and decorated “The Tree” (as it’s now referred to) for each holiday and event. We are open to suggestions too! Once the Christmas decorations were packed away we turned it into a Valentine’s Day tree, then came Mardi Gras, then St. Patrick’s Day, then of course, Easter and for our latest pièce de resistance, the Cardinals!

Other plans are to represent summer, Memorial/Labor Day, then autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving and back to Christmas. What are we missing? Do you have items that are theme related and “tree hangable” that you’d like to donate to us? We’d be happy to take them off your hands.


Valentine’s Day tree


Mardi Gras tree


St. Patrick’s Day tree


Easter tree


Cardinal’s tree

Spring Planting

Every year around this time, my heart pulls towards the re-birth of my garden. I’m a little bit of a hoarder when it comes to seeds and I start scrutinizing my 127 (!) packets of seeds and plan my spring garden. My love for sprouting things gives me great joy. I check on my seeds a couple of times a day just in case I missed something.

Celita and I ran down to Home Depot and picked up some herbs and flowers for the pots outside the office and then got them planted. Now we hope for rain! This year we decided to specialize in herbs. We have Greek Oregano, Dill, Sage, Sweet Basil, Lemon Thyme and Lavender, as well as a few other flowers for some color. We’re hoping for a smelling fest of summer herbs this year. We will be happy to give you a few leaves if you’ll plan on using them for cooking!

Our office neighborhood, Lindenwood Park, holds an annual “Lawn and Garden” contest every June and there is always a special mention for businesses that beautify their building. The Service Club is proud of the fact that we usually receive a special mention every year for our hard work. If only there was a contest for keeping a Christmas tree decorated all year with various themes! We’d win that hands down! If you haven’t seen our latest design, come and visit us at the office and check it out.

      
These are flowers in pots on the side of the building and over a walking hazard in the front of the building.

  

These are the herbs we planted in pots under our sign.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you from the Service Club for the Blind! We trust it will be a year of good health, happiness and prosperity for you. 2017 is sure to be a year of interesting happenings!

I am often fascinated by various New Year traditions and how people celebrate. Just within the United States alone there are many different ways people see in the New Year and the foods they prepare on New Year’s Day. Many celebrations involve parties with friends and loved ones, food and traditionally at midnight, champagne. New Year’s resolutions form a high point of the New Year. The top resolutions are: dieting, exercising and curbing bad habits.

If you want to subscribe to superstition, don’t let anything leave the house on New Year’s, except for people. Tradition says: don’t take out the trash and leave anything you want to take out of the house on New Year’s outside the night before. If you must remove something, make sure to replace it by bringing an item into the house. These policies of balance apply in other areas as well—avoiding paying bills, breaking anything, or shedding tears.

Some foods considered “lucky” to eat during the festivities include: Circular shaped foods, Black-eyed peas, Cabbage (or collard greens), Pork.

The song, “Auld Lang Syne,” is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the New Year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scottish tune, “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long ago,” or simply, “the good old days.”

Lyrics
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine†;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

Whatever your traditions, we trust you enjoyed your festivities and will “take a cup of kindness” and be sure to pass it on.

Happy New Year!

(click on the link below and scroll down to listen to the song Auld Lang Syne)

http://www.yourclassical.org/story/2016/01/01/daily-download-traditional–auld-lang-syne#player-drawer

Meet the New Board of Directors

A new President and Board of Directors was elected on September 29th 2016 and approved by the majority of membership on October 22nd 2016.  As per the Service Club for the Blind Constitution the Board elects the President and the President then elects a new Board.  The President serves a 5 year term and the Board serves a 4 year term.

Jack Lenk, President

jacklenk

I have served on the Board of the Service Club for the Blind as 1st Vice President since 2004.  I served as 2nd Vice President of the Missouri Council of the Blind.  I have been President, 1st Vice President, Recording Secretary and Treasurer of the United Workers for the Blind.  I have served as President, Treasurer, and I am currently on my second stint as Recording Secretary of the Missouri School for the Blind Alumni Association.  I have been President and I am currently serving for the second time as 1st Vice President of the Missouri School for the Blind Boosters Club.  I am currently serving as Governor of Lions District 26-M2 for a one-year term.

As President of the Service Club I want to get more members involved by the establishment of committees for Bylaws, activities, fund-raising and possibly more. I believe that with the Board, staff and members working together we can make this fine organization even better.

Jesuita Tabor, 1st Vice President

jesuita-tabor-2016

Education
Lincoln University Graduate BSE Bachelor of Science and Education Masters in Guidance and Counseling

Employment
Saint Louis Public School-Teacher
Lifetime Teaching Certificate
Federal Parole Officer- Certified Narcotics

Memberships
Board Member Missouri Council of the Blind, President Tower Club for the Blind, Board Member Inner City Christian Church, Board Member College Hill Affordable Housing, Graduate Coro Foundation, Member Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Member COGIC, Member Lincoln University Alumni St Louis Chapter, Member of Service Club for the Blind and 18 years 1st Vice President.

Goals:
To enhance the lives of others by providing support programs and social events.

Bettina Vinson, 2nd Vice President

tina-vinson-head-2016

I am a person with a disability and I am considered legally blind or Low vision. I lost part of my sight when I was 11 years old due to the Measles virus. I have Macular Retinitis, damage to my central vision. My vision is not correctable with any type of lenses or surgery. I am unable to drive or see small print. I use Zoomtext software with speech to do my job and navigate the computer. I also use Siri and voice over on my iPhone and a CCTV to read printed documents.

I am the Director of Community Outreach for the Starkloff Disability Institute and have worked for SDI for 3 years. Prior to this position I worked for the State of MO for 14 years.

I have been a member of the Service Club since 2004. The Service Club is a wonderful organization with a long history of truly assisting the Blind and low vision community. My goal as a board member is to protect the integrity and history of the Service club. I want the Service Club to be a community of inclusion and a welcoming place to all its members, clients, volunteers, staff and board. I promise to do my very best to uphold this belief.

Anna Schell, Secretary

anna-schell-2016

I am honored to be a member of the Service Club and to serve on its Board.

I attended the Missouri School for the Blind and graduated in 1977. I have worked on medical transcriptions in the past and now work at MSB as a teacher’s aide and doing braille transcribing. I am active in the Alumni Association and MSB Boosters, UWB (an MCB affiliate), Braille Revival League, and am a member of the Maplewood Lions Club. I wanted to belong to the Lions club as a way to give back because of all that has been done for me in the past while at MSB, and I also wanted to join because my dad was a Lion.

As a Board member, I would like to see more involvement by the membership in planning activities and decision-making for the club. I am hopeful that client services will continue as before.

Thanks again for the chance to belong to such a fine organization.

Celita White, Treasurer

celita-white

I started my association with blind organizations back in the early 1980’s. I met with Darrel Lauer when the first beeper ball team in St. Louis was organized. In 1985 I married Sam White who is visually impaired and was a member of the RITE affiliate of the Missouri Council of the Blind.  I also joined RITE but later we left to go to UWB, United Workers for the Blind.

I served on the Board as Treasurer for both the organization and for the apartment building owned by the members of UWB. I have served several terms on the Executive Board as Treasurer for the Missouri Council of the Blind as well as on the Summer Camp Committee, Adaptive Technology Committee, Building Committee, Public Relations Committee, and Convention Committee.

In 2010 I was asked to serve as Treasurer for the Service Club for the Blind and became an employee in 2012.  It is a pleasure and a privilege working for the members and clients.

Linda Kinkelar

linda-kinkelar-2016

I have been part of the Service Club for the Blind family since I was a little girl, still in school. My parents were both members as well.

I currently serve as president of the Alumni Association of the Missouri School for the Blind. I have also been on several different boards, of different groups. I am also currently serving on the board of United Workers for the Blind.  I am new to being on the board of the Service Club, but I have been a part of that family for many years.

As a board member, I will do my best to hold up and support what the Service Club stands for, and represents. I am willing to learn, and become even more active in whatever is asked of me. Thank you for allowing me this privilege of serving on this board, and I will do my best to represent everyone.

Robert Vaughn

robert-vaughn-2016

I have been both a client and member of the service Club since 2006.

I have been president of United Workers for the Blind, which is an affiliate of the Missouri Council of the Blind ,4 years and I’m currently in my second year as Treasurer for the state organization.

In the 90’s I served on a board of directors, in Oklahoma, for a nonprofit thrift store  called Green Country Enterprises for the Blind.

My goals for the Service Club for the Blind include the following.

  1. Total transparency of the organization to the members/clients.
  2. Getting members/clients involved in planning all activities/events.
  3. Making the building available to clients/members at any time for various meetings/gatherings.

Judy Burch

judy-burch-2016

I was honored to be asked to serve on the board of the Service Club for the Blind.    I have been a member of the Service Club for several years and respect the work of this organization.  Having worked as a rehabilitation teacher for many years, I have seen blind people who were in great need helped by the Service Club.  Since I have joined as a member, I have enjoyed a number of its social activities.

My main goal in serving on the board is to see the Service Club continue to provide social and educational programs for its members and also to continue its work for the clients who can benefit from services.

Currently, I serve on the boards of the Friends of Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library and the United Workers for the Blind.  I have served on the Missouri Council of the Blind board in the past and also the board of the Braille Revival League of Missouri.

Happy Birthday Reading Ring!

With all the changes going on at the Service Club I forgot to upload my blog about the Book Club!

September 16th was the 7th birthday of the Service Club’s book club – affectionately known as the Reading Ring. Over the years we’ve had a few changes of members, changed the day of meetings and changed the way we run the book club meeting.

Currently we choose an author and not a particular book. We have over 1,700 audible books in our library. All books were kindly donated to our library – some are in better condition than others, most are on tape but some are CD’s too. We share our thoughts about the author and a little about the book we read and then, like at most book clubs, we eat!

The way we choose authors is that we all submit a couple of names of either our favourite authors or an author we’d be interested in reading. We put the names in a basket and randomly pick one after each meeting. We then have a month to read any book in any format (print, large print, Braille, audio). Most patrons choose to download their book of choice from the Wolfner Library or from their local library.

For our 7th birthday party, our author of choice was Kimberla Lawson Roby. I surprised the group and ordered a birthday cake for our “after meeting delicacy” and it was well received. I also decorated the area where we hold Book Club with birthday-themed tablecloths, balloons, and party hats.

Our Book Club meetings are held at the Service Club every 4th Wednesday of the month from 10am – 12pm.

Happy reading (and pretend this blog was posted in September…)!

book-club-birthday-cake-2016  There’s always food!

book-club-birthday-party-1  Tables & decorations

book-club-birthday-4  Book Club members

book-club-birthday-3  Waiting for Book Club

book-club-birthday-2  More decorations

 

Changes

September was  a busy month for the Service Club for the Blind.  Our President, Kathleen (Kitty) Demsky made a decision to retire after giving us 18 years of service – 12 1/2 of those serving as President.  We will miss having her around the office and we thank her for being a gracious President and friend for all these years.

Thanks to Kitty, the Service Club for the Blind building had a major renovation.  The building was previously a hardware store (Mardel Hardware) so it needed gutting and some TLC.  The building is now more energy efficient, all partitions removed, new flooring, windows, doors, cabinetry, kitchen overhaul etc.  It is a building that the staff, members and clients can be proud of.

As of October 1st 2016 the Service Club for the Blind has a new President, Jack Lenk.  All client and member benefits remain the same until further notice.

“By changing nothing, nothing changes.”– Tony Robbins

jacklenk

Picture insert: Jack Lenk – President

Do you have an Emergency Plan?

Do you have an emergency plan in the event of severe weather? Have you discussed this plan with your family? The American Red Cross suggests the following:

1. Why make a plan?
Planning ahead will provide your loved ones with specific steps to take during any emergency. By having a practiced plan in place, you and your loved ones can make quick, informed decisions to better ensure the safety of your household, your pets, and even your property. Your plan should account for small scale disasters, such as single family fires, and for large scale disasters, such as tornadoes or earthquakes. Make sure to practice your plan, update your plan at least every six months, and post your plan in a visible location.

2. Household members and pets.
It is important to include EVERY member of your household in the planning process because they will be more likely to use it. Make sure to list every member of the household and the best way to contact them. In addition, list each pet/service animal and be sure you’ve made a plan for them in any emergency.

3. Local Contact.
A local contact could be a nearby relative, friend, or neighbor and should be someone you have several ways to contact.

4. Outside-of-Area Contact.
This is a relative or friend that is geographically removed from the disaster and relatively easy to get in touch with. Each family member should know how to reach this person and should contact him/her rather than further congesting local lines.

5. Emergency Information
Some important names and phone numbers to list in your plan include:
a) Your pharmacy;
b) Doctor’s office;
c) Insurance agents;
d) Utility Companies;
e) Place of employment;
f) Children’s Schools;
g) Anyone you’d need to get in contact with after an emergency.
These numbers are useful immediately following the emergency and to help speed up recovery time.

6. Additional Information
It is important to note any specific needs that your family may have: i.e. mobility issues, medications, etc.

7. Meeting Location (outside of the home)
As a household, identify a meeting place outside of your home that is a safe distance from the house to be used during a single home evacuation, such as a fire. Practice to ensure that the meeting place can be easily and safely reached. Each family member’s first priority is to get out and stay out. Call 911 for additional assistance.

8. Meeting Location (Outside of neighborhood)
As a household, identify a meeting place outside of your neighborhood if you are not able to meet at your home because of large scale evacuation, such as flooding. Practice to ensure the meeting place can be reached by several routes and everyone is familiar and comfortable with the location.

9. Home Evacuation Route
Every family member should know at least two exits from each room in the home. Map the layout of the house, the primary escape routes (in one color), and the secondary escape routes (in a different color). Make sure your loved ones know what to do in the hazards that can affect your home if both exits are blocked.

10. Out of Neighborhood Evacuation Route and Alternate Route
Every family member should know at least two ways to get to your out of neighborhood meeting place. Pre-map out your routes, knowing that one (or both) may be disrupted based on road closures or traffic. Have additional maps and/or GPS directions ready so you can be flexible and consider all your options.

11. Tornado Safe Spot
Every household should have a safe spot identified to go during a tornado watch or warning. Ideally, this should be a basement or the lowest level of a solid structure in the center most part of the building. Remember, a mobile home is never a safe spot to be during severe winds or tornado.

Tornado Safety Checklist

What should I do if a tornado warning is issued?
The safest place to be in in an underground shelter, basement or safe room.
If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.

• Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or other severe winds.
• If you have access to a sturdy shelter or a vehicle, abandon your mobile home immediately. If you need to drive to get to a sturdy shelter, always wear your seat belt.
• Don’t wait until you see a tornado to take action. If a warning is issued, seek shelter immediately.

Watch or Warning?

Watch: Tornadoes are possible in and near the area. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued.
Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. A tornado poses imminent danger to life and property.

What should I do to prepare for a tornado?
Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room (closet, hallway, or bathroom) on the lowest floor with no windows.

Watch for tornado danger signs:
• Dark, often greenish clouds;
• Wall cloud – an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm;
• Cloud of debris;
• Large hail;
• Funnel cloud – a visible rotating extension of the cloud base;
• Roaring noises.

Refer to our old posting on preparing an emergency kit. Remember to update this kit every 6 months. http://0390d39.netsolhost.com/WordPress/2015/04/

Easter

Easter is coming early in 2016!

What does Easter celebrate?
Easter also called Pasch or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

Why is the date different every year?
Easter is a movable feast because the earliest believers in the church of Asia Minor wished to keep the observance of Easter correlated to the Jewish Passover. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened after the Passover, so followers wanted Easter to always be celebrated subsequent to the Passover.

The Jewish holiday calendar is based on solar and lunar cycles, so each feast day is movable, with dates shifting from year to year. Today in Western Christianity, Easter is commonly celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon date of the year. The Paschal Full Moon can vary as much as two days from the date of the actual full moon, with dates ranging from March 21 to April 18. As a result, Easter dates can range from March 22 through April 25 in Western Christianity. The dates of many Christian holidays depend on the Easter date. Some of these holidays include: Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Ascension Day, Pentecost/Whitsunday.

According to the Bible, Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred around the time of the Jewish Passover, which was celebrated on the first full moon following the vernal equinox. This soon led to Christians celebrating Easter on different dates. At the end of the 2nd century, some churches celebrated Easter on the day of the Passover, while others celebrated it on the following Sunday.

The Easter Bunny
The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific pro-creators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700’s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.

Did You Know?
The largest Easter egg ever made was over 25 feet high and weighed over 8,000 pounds. It was built out of chocolate and marshmallow and supported by an internal steel frame.

Easter Eggs
Easter is a religious holiday, but some of its customs, such as Easter eggs, are likely linked to pagan traditions. The custom of the Easter egg originated in the early Christian community of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ, shed at his crucifixion. As such, for Christians, the Easter egg is a symbol of the empty tomb. The oldest tradition is to use dyed chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute eggs made from chocolate, or plastic eggs filled with candy such as jellybeans. The celebrated House of Fabergé workshops created exquisite jeweled eggs for the Russian Imperial Court.

The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, and then eat them on Easter as a celebration.

Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. In the U.S., the White House Easter Egg Roll, a race in which children push decorated, hard-boiled eggs across the White House lawn, is an annual event held the Monday after Easter. The first official White House egg roll occurred in 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. The event has no religious significance, although some people have considered egg rolling symbolic of the stone blocking Jesus’ tomb being rolled away, leading to his resurrection.

Easter Candy
Easter is the second best-selling candy holiday in America, after Halloween. Among the most popular sweet treats associated with this day are chocolate eggs, which date back to early 19th century Europe. Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection. Another egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter in the 1930’s (although the jelly bean’s origins reportedly date all the way back to a Biblical-era concoction called a Turkish Delight). According to the National Confectioners Association, over 16 billion jelly beans are made in the U.S. each year for Easter, enough to fill a giant egg measuring 89 feet high and 60 feet wide. For the past decade, the top-selling non-chocolate Easter candy has been the marshmallow Peep, a sugary, pastel-colored confection. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based candy manufacturer Just Born (founded by Russian immigrant Sam Born in 1923) began selling Peeps in the 1950’s. The original Peeps were handmade, marshmallow-flavored yellow chicks, but other shapes and flavors were later introduced, including chocolate mousse bunnies.

However you celebrate the Easter season, we wish you a joyous time filled with the treat of your choice!

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil has declared an early Spring for 2016 as he did not see his shadow.

How did Groundhog Day originate?
Groundhog Day is a traditional holiday that started as a Pennsylvania German custom in the 18th and 19th centuries. Candlemas (also known as Crêpes Day or Chandeleur) is a Catholic holiday that corresponds with the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It falls on February 2nd, which is 40 days after Christmas. The first documented American reference to Groundhog Day can be found in a diary entry, dated February 4th, 1841, of Morgantown, Pennsylvania, storekeeper James Morris: “Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.”

What is a groundhog?
The groundhog is a rodent, belonging to the ground squirrel family.

Celebrations
The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds as large as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886. Groundhog Day was made popular by the movie “Groundhog Day”, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.

Prediction Accuracy
According to the StormFax Weather Almanac and records kept since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil’s weather predictions have been correct 39% of the time. The National Climatic Data Center has described the forecasts as “on average, inaccurate” and stated that “the groundhog has shown no talent for predicting the arrival of spring, especially in recent years.” He is, essentially, a rodent – not a meteorologist!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! We trust this will be a wonderful year for you, full of success, health and happiness.

With the onset of a new year come new resolutions. Many people start the year off with determination and commit themselves to new ways to improve their health, spend more time with family, become debt-free, improve mental well-being, improve on their careers, increase their education, take a trip, volunteer etc., but how many of us actually stick to it throughout the year? Commitment can be a bitter pill to swallow however sincere our intentions are. We start off being diligent, and regardless of circumstances we excel at it. Then come the storms of life and various temptations, be it bad weather, parties, invitations to various events and little by little we start to slip.

According to Wikipedia, at the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults formed New Year’s resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, an estimated 40% did. In fact, according to the American Medical Association (AMA), approximately 40% to 50% of Americans participate in the New Year’s resolution tradition. It should also be noted that 46% of those who endeavor to make common resolutions (e.g. weight loss, exercise programs, quitting smoking) were over 10-times more likely to have a rate of success as compared to only 4% who chose not to make resolutions. The most common reason for participants failing their New Years’ Resolutions was setting themselves unrealistic goals (35%), while 33% didn’t keep track of their progress and a further 23% forgot about it. About one in 10 respondents claimed they made too many resolutions.

January gets its name from Janus, the two-faced god who looks backwards into the old year and forwards into the new. Janus was also the patron and protector of arches (Ianus in Latin), gates, doors, doorways, endings and beginnings. The custom of setting “New Year’s resolutions” began in Rome two millennia ago, as they made such resolutions with a moral flavor: mostly to be good to others. But when the Roman Empire took Christianity as its official state religion in the 4th century, these moral intentions were replaced by prayers and fasting. For example, Christians chose to observe the Feast of the Circumcision on January 1 in place of the revelry otherwise indulged in by those who did not share the faith. This replacement had varying degrees of success over the centuries, and Christians hesitated observing some of the New Year practices associated with honoring the pagan god Janus. Even as recently as the 17th century, Puritans in Colonial America avoided the indulgences associated with New Year’s celebrations and other holidays. In the 18th century, Puritans avoiding even naming Janus. Instead they called January “First Month.”

In contrast to this, the Puritans urged their children to skip the revelry and instead spend their time reflecting on the year past and contemplating the year to come. In this way they adopted again the old custom of making resolutions. These were enumerated as commitments to better employ their talents, treat their neighbors with charity, and avoid their habitual sins.

The great American theologian Jonathan Edwards, brought up in New England Puritan culture, took the writing of resolutions to an art form. But he did not write his resolutions on a single day. Rather, during a two-year period when he was about 19 or 20 following his graduation from Yale, he compiled some 70 resolutions on various aspects of his life, which he committed to reviewing each week. Here are just three:

  • Resolved, in narrations never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.
  • Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it.
  • Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining and establishing peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects.

Whether you made any resolutions for the New Year or not, we wish you well and hope that you’ll make a resolution to follow our blog 🙂