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Anna M. Taylor: My New New Year’s Resolution (Contest)
Monday, January 25th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Robert Herold!

I never make New Year’s resolutions. They only turn out to be promises I never keep. But being fortunate enough to survive the hell that was 2020, I’ve decided it’s time to change my ways. I have resolved to share what I’m calling “Aspirational songs for the heart” on my Twitter and FB accounts every day.

My resolution started back on August 2nd, when I began posting “Democracy Reset” quotes to keep my spirits up as we here in the US headed toward the November election. I alternated between words from men and women of all races and all nations, words like Eleanor Roosevelt’s, “It seems to me that the least a citizen can do is to vote” to present-day quotes like John Lewis’, “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”

With the advent of then-President-elect Biden’s win, I switched to songs of all types and from all sources that I labeled, “Aspirational songs for the heart until noon Inauguration Day January 20th.” I enjoyed anew the messages of songs like Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “The House I Live In,” the Beatles’ “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends,” and Chris Williamson’s “Song of the Soul.” Even Broadway favorites like Grand Hotel’s “Let’s Raise A Glass” and Rent’s “Seasons of Love” got into the act.

In December, I switched to hymns and carols that focused on the birth of Jesus, the event Christians like myself use to remind ourselves to be hopeful as we do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before God (Micah 6:8). By the time I reached December 31st and had posted “O Come All Ye Faithful,” I knew I would return to posting songs of aspiration and encouragement as I looked forward to Inauguration Day. My song for January 1st was Sam Cooke’s “Change is Gonna Come.” It was then I made my new New Year’s resolution. I wouldn’t stop on January 21st but would keep posting inspirational and aspirational songs for the heart and spirit for the rest of the year. The unfortunate events of January 6th in Washington D.C. made it all too clear how easy the human spirit can be turned to do wrong when its focus has been warped.

My songs may seem like a drop in the ocean or a ripple against a tide of negativity and uncertainty, but it’s a start. Finding ways to say yes each and every time no keeps jumping in your face is what keeps the moral arc of the universe bending toward justice. Music has always done that for me, and I hope it helps those who read my social media posts to do the same.

My goal is to post 365 different songs, so for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, suggest a song or two that lifts your heart that I can share.

Happy New Year.

Haunted Serenade

All the women in Anora Madison’s family have lived as “Poor Butterflies:” women still longing for – but deserted by – the men they loved. Determined to be the first to escape a life of abandonment, she fled Harlem for Brooklyn, severing ties with both her mother and with the man who broke her heart, Winston Emerson, the father of her child.

Six years later, Anora returns to make peace, but a malignant spirit manifests itself during the homecoming, targeting her mother, her aunt, Winston and their little girl. Determined to stop the evil now trying to destroy all she loves, Anora must finally turn to Winston for help. But will their efforts be too little too late?

Excerpt from Haunted Serenade

“I never understood how you and Elizabeth could stay here after Diana…” I couldn’t bring myself to say the word. My mother didn’t finish my sentence for me. Apparently, she couldn’t say the word either.


We waited in the shared silence, unable more than unwilling to offer terms of peace.

“A person can will themselves to die,” my mother said. Her gaze drifted to the album cover in my hands. “It’s not so hard where unforgiving spirits reign.”

My gut clenched. “Do you really believe you’re dying, Ma?”

“According to my doctor, I’m sound as a dollar. But when you’ve got more days behind you than in front of you, that’s not saying much.” She directed her gaze to me. “That’s why Cammie is so important. She’s the future. I feel better just having been in her presence a little while.”

“I should have known.” I gripped the album cover with fingers trembling with anger and disappointment. “All that display of affection…you’re only using her to make you feel better.”

“No, Anora.” My mother came over and grabbed my arm with an earnestness that surprised me. “It’s not like that. I—I want the ghosts keeping us apart to die. Don’t you?”

I wanted it so much it hurt. I grimaced but nodded.

“Cammie took one look at this house and asked if it was haunted.”

My mother snorted. “Out of the mouths of babes.”

“Exactly what I thought.” I returned the album cover to its resting place.

Resting place.

The term troubled my mind. Can the spirit of anyone who dies the way my aunt died ever rest?

The question went unanswered, interrupted by my daughter’s screams.


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34 comments to “Anna M. Taylor: My New New Year’s Resolution (Contest)”

  1. Debra Guyette
    · January 25th, 2021 at 6:47 am · Link

    I like Afternoon Delight

  2. Debbie Brown
    · January 25th, 2021 at 7:13 am · Link

    On Eagles Wings

  3. Colleen C.
    · January 25th, 2021 at 12:24 pm · Link

    Josh Groban – You Raise Me Up

  4. anna taylor sweringen
    · January 25th, 2021 at 12:54 pm · Link

    Hi Debra,

    What a great suggestion! Thanks.

  5. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 25th, 2021 at 12:54 pm · Link

    Ooo Debbie, great choice. Thanks.

  6. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 25th, 2021 at 12:55 pm · Link

    Wow, Colleen. I love that song and thought of it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 25th, 2021 at 1:02 pm · Link

    Hi Delilah,

    As always thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts.

  8. Roni Denholtz
    · January 25th, 2021 at 1:03 pm · Link

    “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music. It’s the song that the Mother Superior sings and is truly beautiful and inspiring. One of the best songs from Broadway, in my opinion.

  9. Jennifer Wilck
    · January 25th, 2021 at 1:35 pm · Link

    I love this idea! I like the song “I Will Survive.” Since I’m your friend, feel free to use the song (or not), but don’t enter me in the contest. 🙂

  10. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 25th, 2021 at 1:49 pm · Link

    Hi Jennifer,

    Great suggestion. Thanks for sharing. : )

  11. Robert Herold
    · January 25th, 2021 at 2:07 pm · Link

    This always makes me feel good:
    It’s Crazy, But I’m in Love — Sarah Vaughn & Clifford Brown

  12. Mary Preston
    · January 25th, 2021 at 6:16 pm · Link

    Andrea Bocelli ‘Time To Say Goodbye’

    So incredibly beautiful it makes me cry. Happy tears.

  13. bn100
    · January 25th, 2021 at 6:36 pm · Link

    beautiful day – U2

  14. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 25th, 2021 at 6:51 pm · Link

    Thanks, Mary. That’s a new one to me. I’ll look it up and get my tissues ready.

  15. anna taylor sweringen
    · January 25th, 2021 at 6:52 pm · Link

    Another new one to me. Thanks bn100.

  16. Delores E Stewart
    · January 25th, 2021 at 7:25 pm · Link

    Great songs. Great story. You’ve named lots of favorites for me.
    I like “A Lovely Day” and “His Eye is on the Sparrow” out of so many others. A great project for the year ahead!

  17. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 25th, 2021 at 10:34 pm · Link

    Wonderful selection, Robert. And thanks for the link. I love Sarah Vaughn.

  18. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 25th, 2021 at 10:35 pm · Link

    Thanks for the suggestions, Delores. Glad you liked the post.

  19. Payton
    · January 25th, 2021 at 11:17 pm · Link

    Love your idea! Had sunshine on my mind today so
    Here Comes the Sun
    Let the Sunshine In
    I Can See Clearly Now

  20. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 26th, 2021 at 6:53 am · Link

    Hi Payton, these are fabulous. Thanks so much.

  21. anna taylor sweringen
    · January 26th, 2021 at 1:08 pm · Link

    Hi Roni,

    Totally agree. I’ve used Climb Every Mountain and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Rodgers and Hammerstein were such inspirational composers. Thanks for the suggestion.

  22. Sammy Gilbert
    · January 26th, 2021 at 3:07 pm · Link

    God only knows video by Dolly Parton and King and County and I will always love you Whitney written by the lovely Dolly! I am planning on writing my hard knock life story of survival and how I found God

  23. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 26th, 2021 at 6:03 pm · Link

    Thanks for the Dolly Parton suggestions, Sammy and I Will Always Love you is right on time for the songs I’ll post in the month of love: February. Thanks for chiming in.

  24. Michelle Levan
    · January 27th, 2021 at 11:44 am · Link

    The breakup song!

  25. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 27th, 2021 at 2:07 pm · Link

    Yes! Thank you, Michelle!

  26. flchen1
    · January 27th, 2021 at 7:40 pm · Link

    What a great idea, Anna! A few that tend to lift my spirits–I Can See Clearly Now, Lean On Me, just about anything by Celtic Thunder 🙂

    And completely different, I loved the stuff by fun (the supergroup with Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, and Jack Antonoff). And Walk the Moon’s Shut Up and Dance 🙂

  27. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 27th, 2021 at 10:43 pm · Link

    Hi fl,

    Solid choices. Thanks also for the recommendations re Celtic Thunder, Fun and Walk the Moon.vI can;t wait to look them up.

  28. Delilah
    · January 28th, 2021 at 5:24 am · Link

    I love happy songs and music that makes my feet want to move. So, I’d recommend “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, “Happy” by Pharell, and “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles.

  29. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 28th, 2021 at 8:17 am · Link

    Nice additions, Delilah. Thanks.

  30. Ophelia L
    · January 28th, 2021 at 9:20 am · Link

    I love “Temptation” by New Order; that song is so full of energy and spirit! When I listen to it, I feel like I can accomplish all my dreams and goals!

  31. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 28th, 2021 at 2:55 pm · Link

    Hi Ophelia, this song is new to me and sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

  32. Damaris Schuler
    · January 29th, 2021 at 12:27 am · Link

    I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
    Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw
    It’s a Great Day to Be Alive – Travis Tritt
    Bring the Rain – Mercy Me

    Love reading all the suggestions!

  33. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · January 29th, 2021 at 7:45 am · Link

    Hi Damaris, I Hope You Dance is a great suggestion and I’m dying to listen to the other three which are new to me. Thanks for chiming in.

  34. Delilah
    · February 1st, 2021 at 11:48 am · Link

    Thanks so much to Anna for another great post! Looks like everyone had fun with this challenge!

    The winner is…Robert Herold! Anna will be in touch soon!

Comments are closed.