Pays to enter new year with hope, expectation

By Joan Clayton

The cedar tree in our front yard has gone through many wind storms through the years. One year the wind bent it over to the ground. We straightened and tied it to a strong anchor, and it just kept growing in spite of the storms of life. Its limbs have grown in crooked directions from to the adversities it’s gone through, yet to me it is beautiful. You know what? The tree doesn’t fight it. It seems to cooperate with it. I like to think it is challenging the wind and saying, “Blow wind blow, but when you get through I will still be standing!”

My tree encourages me. I too, want to be tied to a strong anchor. His name is Jesus.
We have a brand New Year before us. 2008 comes just waiting to be lived. Living it with hope and promise makes it all the more exciting.

Let me encourage you to “happen to life” this year. Refuse to let “life happen to you.” Maybe last year was painful with hard places. I am reminded of how a tiny grain of sand in the soft body of an oyster can be a constant source of irritation for it, but over time the oyster makes that painful irritation into a beautiful pearl of great value.

With God’s help, we can turn pain and adversity into pearls and look forward to tomorrow. Someone has said that it is not what happens to us that matters, but how we react to what happens that makes the difference. We do have a choice.

The apostle states in Philippians 3:13-14: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus.”

Living a life of faithful obedience enables the believer to look to the future with confidence. Living in the past is a thief, robbing life of many blessings of today.

Resolve to put zest for living in the New Year that awaits you. The past is gone and a new beginning is waiting. Dream those dreams. Step out in faith. You “can do all things through Jesus who strengthens you” (Philippians 4:13).

Dare to attack that goal that seems impossible. You are the strength that America is made of. You are living in the greatest country in the world. It’s a world of promise. You can make the “America dream” come true. It takes perseverance and hard work, but faith in God sees you through.

Let nothing stop you, especially age. You are a person of immeasurable worth and your goals and dreams contribute much to society.

So go for it in 2008! The world is waiting to hear from you. Write that book. Plant that tree. Take that college class. Learn something new. Adopt a pet. Volunteer for community service. Reaching out to others brings blessings back to you. Plan for the next birthday, even if you’re 99. Always have something to look forward to. Break out of the mold. Eat turkey and dressing for breakfast. Paint an apple tree on your wall.

Keep them guessing. You are a unique individual. There is no one else in the whole world like you. You are a special one of a kind child of God who made you for a purpose. Let your light shine!

The world is your “oyster.” You can make your “pearl” count. The world needs you. It’s a brand New Year with brand new opportunities.

“Look out world.”

“Here we come!”

Happy New Year!

Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: