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By Esih Efuru

Watch night is an African-American tradition that symbolizes the joyous anticipation of freedom by eagerly awaiting Confederate slaves on the eve of December 31, 1862. January 1, 1863 would make the “Emancipation Proclamation” official, which declared all slaves in the Confederacy legally free. The spirited tradition of sharing joy, worship and fellowship in honor of our ancestors’ freedom has continued in African-American houses of worship ever since.

While it’s become habit to wait until the arrival of a new year to celebrate, I decided to set mine off early and affirm the “world-renowned writer” within me. I used the publication of my first memoir this week as a catalyst to immediately take off toward my goals and dreams of international acclaim.

Our world has given us plenty of tools and novelties to help us welcome in the coveted New Year. However, we have everything we need right inside us to spark revolutionary new beginnings. We can control when the gun pops off; we can decide when the “New Year” begins. Instead of getting caught up in the tradition of others, create a tradition for yourself that signals your personal commitment to making every day new and every living moment celebratory.

Each breath of life and every second of the day are sacred, for they are gifts handed to us by the Divine. They are reminders that we are fortunate creations, and that life is still waiting for us to realize how amazing and necessary we are to the universe’s circumference of love and peace. Don’t wait for someone else to acknowledge your relevance. It was gift wrapped in the first breath you took when you opened your eyes this morning. Use gratitude as a baton to sprint forth, with confidence, into intentional steps for your divine destiny.

You may not know where every step or breath may lead you. Yet if you are courageous enough to believe that you are worth living and prospering, you’ll find all kinds of reasons to keep it moving and make 2014 a productive year of favor. Don’t wait for a cue to be at your best; set it off right where you stand and see just how rewarding your year will be at its end.

I read a quote on New Year’s Eve that said: “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Make it a good one.” We’re still under page 5. You still have time to chronicle something magnificent. Go set it off! Get started and catch up!

Go grab everything you desire for your life and family, and give it everything you’ve got! Remember that God, that power surging inside you now, is counting on you to believe that you’re worth it. Happy New Year!

Esih Efuru, a 44 year old writer, artist and minister, is raising a daughter in Charlotte, NC. Email her

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Set it Off In 2014!!!  was originally published on