A New Year, A New Agenda

on January 1 | in 2013 FOLK Journal Agenda | by | with 21 Comments

Brad Paisley once said: “[Today] is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one!” We have all heard this phrase. We are at the edge of a new year and most of us have a new agenda for what the year will bring. We have made resolutions and we plan to stick to them… at least for a week or two.

2013 Journaling/Blogging Prompts

This year, we encourage you to join us in writing a good book. Our 2013 Journaling/Blogging Agenda includes a different writing prompt for each week of 2013. Here on the FOLK blog, each Monday, I will be posting my own response to the prompt of the week. My posts will include an opportunity for you to link your own posts. A community journaling/blogging project? Who’s on board?

Let’s get started with January. The January prompts are as follows:



Journal Entry #1 | Week of January 1st, 2013

Dear Hillary,

2012 has been a year full of ups and downs. You learned to let go of loved ones passed, took some big risks and had to make some big decisions. All of this you learned a great deal from and all of this made you who you are today. You are entering this new year with knowledge of the past. You couldn’t have asked for a better gift.

Your year began with the passing of your Grandmother. Last January, you held her hand as she took her final breaths. You stood in awe as you finally realized that life extends far beyond the human body. People may stop breathing, but they live forever in the photos, memories and stories that they are part of. You appreciated life (and family) more at this point. Everyone was together. Everyone was in one room, loving the one person that made their lives possible. There’s nothing more important than that.

In March you welcomed a new, sweet baby nephew into your family. Life was put on pause the day he was born as you relished in his 10 little fingers and 10 little toes. He couldn’t have been more perfect. He put a smile on your face that was impossible to wipe away. Every time you look at him you remember that day. He’ll be one year old this year. Oh, how time flies. With every giggle and every coo he has taught you to slow down and appreciate the details of life; something you really needed to do. Life doesn’t have to be fast paced and stressful. Life isn’t meant to be fast paced and stressful. There’s no reason for life to be fast paced and stressful. You learned to slow down and enjoy it.

You love to travel, and in 2012 travel you did! Brad Paisley released a song this year called ‘Southern Comfort Zone.’  The song lyrics read as follows:

“Not everybody drives a truck.

Not everybody drinks sweet tea.

Not everybody owns a gun,

or wears a ball cap, boots and jeans.

Not everybody goes to church,

or watches every NASCAR race.

Not everybody knows the words to ‘Ring of Fire’ or ‘Amazing Grace.’

…I can’t see this world unless I go outside my Southern comfort zone.”

A major lesson that you learned this year: people who aren’t from the South aren’t Southern. Throughout your life you had made many trips to Michigan to visit family. However, those family members are just as Southern (if not more) than you are. This year you traveled to Boston, New York City, Concord, Chicago, Phoenix, etc. You ordered sweet tea and were told they didn’t have sweet tea. You learned to order ‘iced tea with lemon’ and you weren’t happy about it. You were asked more times than you can count where you are from. Your Appalachian accent couldn’t hide the fact that you were not a local. These trips were a huge learning experience for you. You are accustomed to following a tractor hauling hay down a main highway. Calling a taxi was a whole new ballgame! All in all though, you realized you couldn’t see the world without stepping outside of your Southern comfort zone. You clung to your roots but you also branched out, embracing new Northern characteristics. You visited a raw oyster bar for the first time and you loved it! You were in awe at the rowing culture of the Boston area and loved visiting Harvard’s campus. Most recently, you fell in love with Chicago’s theater district and the fact that they embrace history so well by continuing the traditional neon theater signs. You stepped outside of your Southern comfort zone and realized that everyone isn’t Southern… but that Northern characteristics are pretty cool too.

You were humbled with the release of each new issue of FOLK and still to this day can not imagine how you got so lucky. You will graduate this year and are already employed, in a time when so many college students are struggling to find a job and pay back student loans. Not only are you lucky in this sense, but you get to do what you love every day. You are blessed in the fact that you get to work with small business owners and artists from across the country, on a daily basis. You were humbled and you were thankful.

After a severe hunting accident, your family had to make an extremely hard decision. In the end, you lost a member of your family who meant the world to you. It was a grueling month and a half… but you learned from it. You learned how fragile life is. You learned to be thankful for the opportunity to wake up each day. You learned to appreciate each day for what it has to offer. You learned and you learned a lot!

From 2012 you are taking with you the idea of making family your focus, appreciating the small and simple moments in life and stepping outside of your comfort zone. You are thankful for the opportunity to live each day and appreciate the time you have. You closed out 2012 with plans for a healthier 2013. You have made plans to exercise daily and study the Bible on a regular basis. With one semester left of your college career you want to make the dean’s list. You’re determined to do so. You have a ton of plans for FOLK and the expansion of the FOLK Family. Most importantly though, you have plans for appreciating the time you have. You plan to slow down and spend more time with family and friends. You plan to knock down walls and try things that you have been reluctant to do. You tell yourself that you’ll never succeed at anything if you don’t fail at something. You’re ready for the new year and all it has to bring.

Wishing you a prosperous, healthy and stress-free 2013,


Link Up Your First Journal Entry:

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21 Responses to A New Year, A New Agenda

  1. Sherry Smyth says:

    I’ve come to learn throughout my life that some of the best lessons we learn are from the hardest experiences we have had to live through. xo

  2. [...] The Coop will take part in Folk Magazines year long Journaling Agenda, a community journaling/blogging project. Here’s to the first blog of [...]

  3. [...] There’s the daily small stones challenge, Khara’s love my blog challenge, the Apartment Therapy January cure challenge, and now the lovely people at Folk Magazine have issued a weekly journal entry challenge. [...]

  4. This is a nice gentle challenge, thank you. It’s been lovely to reflect on the first prompt. :)

  5. Thank you for an enjoyable prompt; something I’ve never done before but think it’s a new part of my agenda. It helped enormously.
    May the worst of 2013 be claimed from the best of 2012; God’s blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

  6. Kathy says:

    It is funny, how throughout the year, the little things seem to take such precedence in our life’s.
    Then we get an opportunity to reflect ( such as a new year ) those very things seem so insignificant .
    I am going to try in 2013,to remember that it is the big stuff that really matters.
    We have been fortunate to have the love of family, good health, and many good times.
    Smile when you should, never refuse a hug, embrace a good cry, and love yourself……
    Life is short.

    • I’m a fan of the things that matter, little or big. It’s so important to reflect on a regular basis. If for nothing else, it helps to put things back into perspective. We easily get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of what is significant and what is not. Thanks for the great advice, life really is short.

  7. [...] have also decided to try my best to link up with the peeps at Folk Magazine to do this weekly journal project.  We’ll see how well that goes.  I love this magazine, and since my Blue Nickel [...]

  8. Ann says:

    I made it…this took a little longer than I thought. I finally think I said everything right so I’m all linked up. Thank you again for doing this…Ann

  9. [...] (See the challenge here.) [...]

  10. [...] to get back to the point of THIS post, FOLK has proposed a New Year’s Journaling Project for bloggers across many mediums and I certainly could use a push to keep journaling on a [...]

  11. Laura says:

    2012 was a tough year for many of us, and many of my friends lost family members.
    We need to appreciate life while we are living it and stop now and then to be grateful for our blessings and the lessons we learn even in the toughest times.

    Thank you for this great link up. I am meeting some wonderful new people here.

  12. [...] For 2013 I thought it would be good for us all to begin the 2013 FOLK Journal/Blog Agenda by reflecting on the lessons learned in 2012. I was beyond humbled to read each of the posts that were linked up last week and look forward to [...]

  13. Kisha Guzman says:

    I just found you through a-million-skies.com. Here’s my week one journal activity:

    Thanks for inviting us all to reflect and grow!

  14. [...] (See the original challenge here.) [...]

  15. [...] Journaling Prompt from Folk Magazine: What short and long term goals do you hope to achieve this year? How are your New Years resolutions… [...]

  16. [...] (See the original challenge here.) [...]

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