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Advice From Friends on Keeping My New Year's Promise
By Rita Abro :: Thursday, January 1, 2009 :: 51925 Views :: Article Rating :: Opinion and Editorials

I, like a few other other Chaldeans won’t reach my goals in the New Year.  I am not alone by any means.  Like everyone else who has pledged to change things this New Year, together we are going to find ourselves bummed out when nothing has really changed. 

Here are the best advice I have received from my friends on beating the odds. Give them a try.  I will, and hopefully we can last beyond the first few months in sticking to our New Year resolutions.

1. My cousin Jennifer Abro says, “Don't make any New Year's resolutions on January 1.”  She doesn’t even make them in first few weeks of the New Year.   It seems to make sense.  I know of a few people I've met or interviewed who have succeeded at a change never started on Jan 1.   Jennifer says this is the worst time to set goals, especially when your trying to forget the failings of the previous resolutions. I like this advice because, it's right after the holidays.  I am still eating unhealthy leftovers, the weather is bad and you have to go back to the daily grind at work. I learned long ago that change I want to do, always wins over change I have to do." 

2. Sam Yousif, who keeps us informed about Chaldean happenings in Michigan e-mails me with a bit of New Year wisdom.  He says, “Take it slow and light.”  He says we all overestimate how much we need to change, when if we just improve a few things the outcome would be incredible.  Loading up on the promises only increased the chances that we break our promises. 

3. David Najor, our Business Beat guy in the office here in the sunny state tells me to copy cat.  “Find someone who has already achieved a similar goal, find out what worked and make a plan to copy them with slight modifications.”  He adds, “That you need information to find the pathway to success. Don't try to do this alone. You need a plan. People who have achieved a similar goal to yours have that knowledge, and often want to help someone else in the same position. Don't be shy. Ask for help.” 

4. “Be a GPS,” says our sports man, Ray Yono.  “A GPS navigation system in your car only cares about two questions. Where are you now, and where do you want to go?”  He tells me to ask the same two questions as I work towards my goals.  “Ask yourself these two questions: Where am I now? Where do I want to go?” 

He makes good sense.  Resolutions and goals are daily commitments, not something you make once at the beginning of the year. Every day is another chance to get closer. Ray, also shares this little caveat, “Remember, a GPS doesn't beat you up for mistakes you did yesterday. It gives you a clean slate every time.”

5. My BFF Huda Metti tells me that every small step, decision or action counts and should be noticed.  She says, “Don't put off celebrating until you've reached your goal. Every time you make a positive step in the right direction, reward yourself. Your brain needs to know it's doing something right,” isn’t she great.  Then she adds, “Let us know too, both your brain and us want to know that you can do something right.” 

With friends like her, who needs enemies?

To all the Chaldean readers out there, e-mail me your best tips on how to stick to your goal.  Your tip might just be the answer to help someone in our community change for the better.

St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  

Rev. Frank Kalabat

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.


Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.