Cenla’s New Year’s Resolutions!


It’s that time of the year when soulful resolutions are being made, promises made to ourselves for the New Year.  Hope springs up from our inner being as we embrace the newness of a calendar year. New Year’s Day brings a fresh start, a new chapter in each of our lives to be written.

Some folks take a pen in hand, find a quiet place, and write down their aspirations, goals and resolutions. It can be a time of self-discovery as we contemplate the changes we would like to see in our lives.

Research shows the folly of making half-hearted attempts of a New Year’s resolution. All too often those type of resolutions are long forgotten by February. But a true resolution can bring about positive changes in our life. Forced to examine one’s life and habits closely can bring about a time of reassessment. It’s a good time to stop looking at the past and look forward instead.

The Apostle Paul, in the Bible, in one of his letters, dealt with this mindset: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

With the clean-slate mentality of the new year, Cenla residents were asked about their resolutions. The answers varied from losing weight to finding a new job to helping others in a new way. Most believe they will not abandon their resolutions, and plan to have a stick-to-it mentality with a “press on toward the goal” attitude.

“I am not limiting myself to a once-a-year, do-or-die approach to a New Year’s resolution,” says Becky Richards of Marksville. She joined  a 24-hour fitness gym this week to help her focus on losing 25 pounds this year. “I plan on 2017 to be my year of reaching my goal weight. So, I am making a solid plan to accomplish that goal. I am not leaving this resolution to fate.”

Sherrill Phelps, executive director of Aime Hospice Care in Alexandria, wants to exude positivity in this new year. “My New Year’s resolution is to rejoice and give thanks for health and friendships, and not get down in the hum-drum trials and tribulations of life. I want to focus on a new positive and energetic life.”

Melinda Anderson, Louisiana State University in Alexandria Foundation executive director, hopes to simplify her life in the new year. “I want to let go of the clutter stuff in my house and head, and make more memories with family and friends. I want to eliminate the drama,” Anderson says.

Alice Scarborough, executive director of the Kent House in Alexandria, is keeping her resolutions for 2017 simple and focused. “This new year, I’d like to focus more on church, family and exercise.”

Stephen Wright, senior vice president of group operations for Christus Health, wants to focus on prayer, instead of a resolution for the new year. “My prayer for 2017 is that we have unity of a nation, unity of a state and unity in our community.”

Dr. Haywood Joiner, interim chancellor of Louisiana State University Alexandria, says his resolution is to stay focused on meeting his personal goals in several areas of his life. “Those areas are: finance and career, physical and health, mental and educational, spiritual, family, socially and cultural. I want to remain focused so I can accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself.”

Zeb Winstead, an attorney with Crowell and Owens in Alexandria, hopes to continue to “give back” to his community. “I hope to continue to try to improve my community through philanthropic activities and endeavors.”

Deborah Randolph, president of the Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce, has made her New Year’s resolutions to reflect personal and work-related goals.

“I want to work hard to foster a successful year for the chamber, spend more time with my family, be kind to others, be kind to myself, move more, eat less, catch up on medical screenings and use more of my available vacation days,” Randolph says.

Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields resolves to “create more economic developments and opportunities for the city.”

Greg O’Guinn, senior partner of Financial Solutions Group in Alexandria, plans to add more adventures to his life in the new year. “I resolve to do more fly fishing, snow ski more and run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.,” says O’Guinn with a big grin.

Mike Johnson, an attorney with Johnson, Siebenacher and Ingram in Pineville, aims for personal improvement in his life. “My resolution is to be better and do better in everything. I want to be more aware of the gifts God has given me. I want to reflect the appreciation of God’s gift through deeds toward others.”

Shy Tyler, an on-air radio personality with Cenla Broadcasting, says with all the hustle and bustle in her life, she yearns to just “slow down” as her New Year’s resolution.

Creative goals make up Ruth Blakeley of Alexandria New Year’s resolutions. “I want to finish hand-quilting my queen-size log cabin quilt in the new year, as well as finish my son’s quilt and my grandson’s quilt. I would also like to organize the closet in my sewing room.”

Dr. Rick Brewer, president of Louisiana College in Pineville, says his resolutions are generally “goals” that reflect personal, professional and spiritual purposes. “So, within that context here goes my 2017 Resolutions: Personally, I want to increase cardio/weights workouts from three to four days per week; lose 20 pounds; and see my grandkids as often as possible! Professionally, I want to continue learning, leading and serving as president of Louisiana College remaining mission-driven and vision-focused. Spiritually, I want to memorize the book of Colossians; read two chapters in Psalms and one chapter in Proverbs along with a New Testament passage daily, and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with at least one person daily. My Bible verse for 2017, in order to provide ultimate focus and direction, is Micah 6:8.”

Wilbert Carmouche, director of Avoyelles Tourism Commission, hopes for peace in the new year. “In 2017, I want to find a sense of peace in all of my understandings and endeavors.”

Jim Kikumoto, general manager of Jena Choctaw Pines Casino, says, “I resolve to provide continued support to this community as we all seek to make it a better place to live, work and play.”

April Thomas, a resident of Forest Hill, says she is determined to make her New Year’s resolutions. “Spiritually, I want to continue drawing closer to the Lord and become a more yielding vessel, fit for His use and to rescue as many of the perishing as I can. Physically, I, like a lot of people, want to regain my health and become more fit and healthy in 2017.”

David Johnson, an engineer from Leesville, says he thinks he has failed at his resolutions annually because he did not stay committed. “I want my New Year’s resolutions to be different this year. I resolve to spend more time with my family this year because they are what really matter. It seems like I have always put them way down on my list because I have always been so focused on making money to provide for things for them. But you cannot hug things. I want to really focus on my family, because they are what touch my heart.”

Suzette Morrison, a resident of Natchitoches, believes New Year resolutions help get your life in order. “For me, I take making New Year’s resolutions seriously. I ponder what I hope to accomplish for the new year, and make a list of goals of what I want to accomplish. This is a creative process I go through, and by focusing on the steps I need to take to make the resolutions a reality, it keeps me on track.”

For the last 10 years, Morrison says she has reached every one of her New Year’s resolutions. “It takes dedication, effort and commitment. But the sense of accomplishment I feel upon reaching my goals makes my soul sing.”

The Cenla Focus staff hopes everyone fulfills their resolutions. We want to wish everyone in Cenla a very Happy New Year!