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Sunflower Seeds


Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Wishes for the New Year

Here are my wishes for you for the New Year:

I wish you PEACE…but not complete peace. For total peace and calm in life could cause laziness, stagnation, rust, even death. No, I wish you peace with sufficient accompanying winds…some gentle…others strong…so that you, like a good sailing vessel, will use the winds of your life to keep you moving forward.

sailing shipimages (1)

I wish you LIGHT…but not complete light. For good things happen in the darkness as well as in the light. In the darkness we rest and regain our strength. In the darkness seeds germinate and babies develop. And in the darkness the moon and the stars shine brightest. I wish you light, yes, but I also wish you enough darkness for you to rest and regain your strength…Enough darkness for your good intentions to germinate into loving deeds…And enough darkness to allow you to gaze in wonder at the moon and the stars.

moon and trees image

I wish you JOY…but not complete joy. For in every heart there must be a corner for sadness to come and rest…Sadness for all that is not yet right or good in the world. I wish you joy, yes, but I also wish you enough sadness to remind you that your work on earth is not finished yet…Enough sadness for you to keep striving to bring more kindness and truth and justice into our world.

joy balloons

I wish you LOVE…but not complete love. For perfect love would make us proud and satisfied with ourselves…No, it is precisely the acceptance of imperfect love (our own and that of others) that helps us grow in humility, patience, and understanding… And imperfect love helps us recognize our profound need for God whose name we also know is Love.

i love youjpg

I wish you COURAGE…but not continuous courage. For continuous courage would make us insensitive to the fears of others. I wish you courage that can coexist with doubt and fear…I wish you not the blaring courage of a gladiator wielding a sword in the arena…No, I wish you the quiet courage of a crocus pushing itself up through the snow.

crocus in snow

I wish you HOPE…but not the kind of hope that glosses over the pain of others…not the kind that goes around saying, “Cheer up!” to everyone in mourning and in tears. No, I wish you the kind of hope that understands loss and pain…the hope that accepts limitations without succumbing to cynicism…the hope that rests not in ourselves but squarely in God.




And I wish you a very Happy New Year!

In honor of the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, about 100 Carmelite Sisters from around the world formed a virtual choir. Here is one of the songs they sing, a composition written by Sr. Claire Sokol, OCD, based on St. Teresa’s famous bookmark, “Let nothing disturb you.” It sung in Spanish, so I’ve included the English translation below. Each Sister sang her part wherever she lives. All the voices and faces were recorded and blended together to form the choir. As they sing, a collage of Carmelite Saints is shown in the background. How fitting to hear Teresa’s words as we begin a New Year:

Let nothing disturb you…Let nothing frighten you.

All things are passing away…God does not change.

Patience achieves everything…

Whoever has God lacks nothing…God alone suffices.




What are your wishes for the New Year?


21 Responses

  1. Since the 60’s I truly believed everything would get better every year of my life. I believed we would not have another war, or poverty, or discrimination. I wish we would all work toward a more positive life for everyone in 2015 and beyond. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

  2. My wish for 2015 is that we would listen to our God in silence more often so we can be present to each other more fully. Happy New Year!


  3. I wish acceptance to all and for all. Not the acceptance that makes you
    a rug under someone’s feet or inclines you to take not action when it is
    needed, but the acceptance that is the joyful acknowledgement that
    God is in charge.
    Thanks so much for the Carmelites! Absolutely awesome! Another
    example of the GOOD use of the internet.

  4. Thank You Sister Melanie! I have been struggling with some family issues this past year. Today’s newsletter is exactly what I needed to give me courage and hope.
    My New Years wish this year is for our families. That they reflect the love that Jesus has for us.
    Happy New Year!

  5. My wish for the new year is peace and justice among families, communities, countries, races, religions and The Lord’s blessing on all.

    Thank you for this reflection and the nuns singing.


  6. Thank you Sr Melannie, and wishes for a blessed New Year for you. I say the prayer I was taught was St. Teresa’s bookmark each day. The beautiful choir made that prayer come to life.

  7. Awesome, Sr. Melannie! Thank you for the wonderful reflection & accompanying virtual choir of the Carmelite Sisters singing St. Teresa’s words! May we all accept the Blessings God has for us daily in 2015!

  8. Sister Melannie,
    So beautiful your expression of Wishes for the New Year… I listened to the choir of Carmelite Sisters singing so beautifully. Thank You for lifting my heart in Praise to Our Lord Jesus Christ born on Christmas.
    I enjoy your blogs & writings so very much. Thank You again.

  9. What a wonderful reflection! Happy New Year to you. Thank you for always including music.
    Carolyn Shalhoub

    1. Dear Melannie,
      What a gift to cap this year of 2014–Carmelite nuns from around the world, all ages and heritages, sharing the comforting words of Teresa.
      I had the privilege in October of visiting Teresa’s convent and viewing her cell and the desk where she composed her writings. Thank you for finding and sharing this amazing concert. Blessed new year!

  10. Dear Sister Melannie,
    Your reflections on the various gifts are beautiful and worthwhile. The Carmelites pulsated in and out, so I was not able to get good reception.

  11. Dear Sr. Melannie

    Your reflections gave me my New Years wishes. Each day contains something special for us. Let us live every day for God.

    I loved the Virtual Carmelite Choir! Simply amazing!

    Thank you for your wonderful blog postings!


  12. I will ditto Kathleen M.’s wish. I know that is what I need for myself. I also wish that the Good Lord allows you to continue your inspiring ministry on this blog and wherever you are invited to share His loving mercy.

  13. Beautiful! Thank you for your weekly inspiration! I have shared this one with my family & friends. Here’s to a joyous 2015!

  14. Wishing you all the bright star of Bethlehem to follow to Jesus in Your New Year. Peace, faith, and love in the New Year to all. Peace…Peace…Peace!

  15. Thank you, Sr. Melanie,

    Your New Year’s wish has become mine to send to family and friends. The “reality” twist that you have given your message is a good one. After all, this isn’t Heaven–yet!

    I also enjoy your reflections in Living Faith. Again, thanks. Claire

  16. Sr Melannie, I wish you a very Happy New Year! My wishes for the New Year include hope that rests in God alone, and peace in our hearts, homes, and world.

  17. A member of Holy Angels shared your New Year’s wishes with our prayer group…..everyone was extremely touched by the simplicity and beauty of the message. Thank you.

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Meet Sr. Melannie

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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