Thursday, December 31, 2015

Recipe for a Happy New Year

On this eve of the New Year, a brand new year stretches ahead of us like a clean canvass just waiting for us to touch the brush to the palette, choose the colors, and splash on the paint. We make New Year's resolutions with great expectations, but because of past failures, we hesitate fearfully on the threshold of this New Year.

Sir Winston Churchill, prime minister of Great Britain during World War II and a man of many talents, became an accomplished artist. When he set out to paint, he chose oils as his medium so that whatever he painted would last for the ages.

Sir Winston Churchill relaxed by painting.
He asked his wife, Clementine, to purchase the materials he would need. When everything was assembled, the next step was to begin.

A prolific writer, he later described his feelings of looking at the white canvas in front of him. Beads of paint glistened on his new palette, and the empty brush in his hand was poised irresolute in the air. "My hand seemed arrested by a silent veto."

He knew that the sky should be at the top of the page, and sky was a pale blue. To achieve that color, he mixed a tiny bit of blue with white and cautiously made a mark the size of a pea on that intimidating snow-white canvas.

"It was a challenge, a deliberate challenge, but so subdued, so halting...that it deserved no response," he wrote.

At that moment, he heard an automobile in the driveway and out stepped his neighbor, a gifted painter. Clementine had called her.

She strode to the canvas and asked, "What are you hesitating about? Let me have a brush--a big one."

She splashed it into turpentine, swished it vigorously into the blue and white, and sprawled the paint across the canvas in huge, almost savage strokes.

Churchill wrote, "The spell was broken." Delighted, he knew he had discovered his style. This was how he lived. This was how he would paint. He became a fearless and gaudy painter, for he fell in love with the brilliant colors and felt sorry for the dull browns.

Let's approach this New Year with that same kind of fearless exhilaration, knowing that each day is the day that the Lord has made, so we can rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).

Here's a recipe I found for a happy new year:

Take 12 whole months. Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy. Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.

Cut each month into 28, 30, or 31 different parts, but don't make up the whole batch at once. Prepare it one day at a time with these ingredients:

Into each day mix well one part of faith, one part of patience, one part of courage, and one part of work. 

Add to each day one part of hope, faithfulness, generosity, and kindness. 

Blend with one part prayer, one part meditation, and one good deed. 

Season the whole with a dash of good spirit, a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play, and a cupful of good humor.

Pour all of this into a vessel of love. Cook thoroughly over radiant joy, garnish with a smile, and serve with quietness, unselfishness, and cheerfulness.

If you follow these instructions carefully, you're bound to have a happy new year!

May I recommend some encouraging, faith-building reading for the new year?
Frontiers of FaithTill the Storm Passes ByA Star to Steer By. Click on the titles to learn more about these books and how to order them.


  1. This is a wonderful post and what a great reminder to live boldly and just pour it out on the page. I love the image of old Winston in love with his vibrant paints, fat brush in hand, letting that blank canvas have it!

    This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

  2. I too loved that image of splashing all the colors on that blank canvas. I have dabbled in oil painting, and I know that feeling of fear of beginning, fear of not being able to please myself with the outcome. Then I discovered that oils are very forgiving. If you don't like it, you can easily alter it. Just like writing on the computer. When I started writing, I used an electric typewriter. Since I was writing church school curriculum on assignment, I had to type to a line count and a stroke count per line. I can't tell you how often I retyped each assignment to get it right. The computer makes writing easy in comparison. Like oil painting, if I don't like it, I can change it so much easier. This year, let us boldly stroke vivid word colors on the pages we write.

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