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Tag: resolutions

#resound11: 12 for 12

I’ve gotten away from committing to New Year’s resolutions in recent years, instead choosing to focus on loose guidelines or principles to keep me from beating myself up. Today’s #resound11 prompt though has me thinking about what a successful year would look like. So I found a way to do both (I think…).

Let the River Run as the New Year approaches

Looking at the Loop from the outside. acnatta/FlickrOne of the long-standing traditions of the church that I attend is the weekly men’s prayer breakfast held at the Alabama Power building in downtown Birmingham. Even though I’ve been attending First Church since 2005, I’ve only recently started to attend the prayer breakfasts in October.

I was asked early on if I would be willing to be the speaker for New Year’s Eve, meaning that I had all the time in the world to prepare a talk that would relate to the pending conclusion of the first decade of the 21st century and what it may mean for us. Those who know me from college probably immediately realize this means I was finishing the talk at 6:15 a.m. this morning – it always starts on time at 7 a.m.

The amount of time between finding out when I would be talking and determining how I would approach it just left me with too many ways to go. In the end, I only had to look to the song that influences the quote I have in the “tell us something about yourself” section of my Facebook profile (that’s located just under your profile photo).

I really can’t tell you how I did, but I figured that I could share a version of what I said here on the site this New Year’s Eve and see what it calls you to feel or think as we prepare to raise a toast to the challenges that lay ahead.

I hope that it causes some thoughts and discussion, regardless of your belief system, as you think about how that belief will play into the coming year for you.

Best wishes to you and yours as we ring in the New Year.



Let the river run,
Let all the dreamers
Wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.

I will tell you right now that I am not a big fan of the film Working Girl – though I’ll admit to being a fan of both Sigourney Weaver and Harrison Ford. I’ve only been able to watch the film in bits and pieces in the more than 20 years since it was released and have never felt the need to go and see it on the big screen.

I cannot say the same thing about the movie’s anthem, the song “Let the River Run” written and performed by Carly Simon. It is New York’s hymn; it was originally given that title and it is interesting to note that it was written without any political or religious meaning behind it. Simon describes the song as being one that should describe the volatile nature of the city’s financial core.

I am proud to count myself as one of what I’ve been led to believe is a rather larger group of men who aren’t ashamed to admit that it’s one of those songs that can move them. I use it in playlists on my MP3 player for running. I’ve actually driven to my first day of work on three different occasions blasting the song at a reasonable level in the car. Those who’ve ever paid attention to the upper left corner of my Facebook profile under my photo will see a portion of the song’s first lines there for all to see at all times.

I tend to think that I do so since the song also shares a story of desire and hope. One portion of the song’s second verse has always stood out to me:

We the great and small
Stand on a star
And blaze a trail of desire
Through the dark’ning dawn.

There are times when we are blazing that trail of that we are not necessarily paying attention to what God has in store for us. In those moments we are always in such a rush to get to the finish line that we sometimes miss needed signals as well as opportunities to ask for help or assistance. We do enjoying running around from place to place without taking that moment to listen to what is being said to us in so many different ways.

The Year in Review: Let’s be realistic for 2007 (and dream a bit)

The year is almost over. For many, it’s going to be a sigh of relief. For some it is going to be with some enjoyment about the things that are taking place in the area. Ever-rising condo prices are leading some to consider buying homes in areas that many would feel are not quite ready for reinvestment. The future of the city is tied to the reemergence of our residential neighborhoods as well as the reinvention of our downtown as an 21st century urban center, complete with its second wave of loft dwelling pioneers. The pioneering spirit carries over to our commercial districts, as many small businesses prepare to open or expand in the coming year outside of the city center. It has not been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, with needless murder and mayhem in our streets, most notably for us the unfortunate death of a family that seemed to fade from memory for a time. The city must and will move forward, though many may not be happy with the speed of that change, regardless of the results at the polls next November.

I’ve taken in conversations with people to say that “New Yorkers realize that a New York minute is much longer than everyone else thinks it is.” This is to say that to expect problems that developed over time or that have existed for longer than they deserve to disappear overnight here or anywhere else is insane. I wish the city of Birmingham patience as the New Year begins. I have a feeling that the best is yet to come. I also hope that the city gets to live up to the vision that I wrote about earlier this year.

UPDATE: Click here to check out our year in review series

Another favorite line of mine is one that I learned my first year of college, “Leadership is action, not position.” Perhaps people need to stop waiting for the leader and determine how they can help lead. That’s one of my goals for the coming year. Here are some other predictions for 2007 for Birmingham, Alabama.

Generations X & Y will take a bigger stand than they already have for the future of their city. Organizations like Catalyst and a recent addition to the landscape, Enuff, will have a great deal to say in the coming year, and people will begin to listen realizing the passion among these groups.

2007 will be Birmingham’s year of culture. It may be the year of art for the state, but it will spill over and allow all of our cultural institutions to benefit. Stories published in the New York Times and the Washington Post and the recent recognition of the Civil Rights district as a national historic district will lead to an increased interest in the city. There will also be an expanded focus on music from outside as well as a rush on the city due to such incredible events as the Pompeii exhibit to our Museum of Art.

We’ll see that next hip area of Birmingham emerge. There’s too much interest in some of our other areas of city besides our city center for this not to happen. I’m just not daring enough to predict where that area will be, but it will be in the city boundaries.

Speaking of goals…