Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

Well some of us certainly got the white Christmas we had wished for here in North Carolina! I'll share some random, previous snow shots since I did not venture out in the cold to snap this year's white paradise.

Down in eastern NC they received a foot or more of fluffy white stuff. We received a lovely 5 inches and some of it is sticking around for the new year. That's the fifth snow we've had in the last 2 months! We never have snow that often and this is only the second time I remember having a white Christmas. It was certainly glorious coming down!

I heard an interesting quote recently about looking forward to the future. "Life cannot be lived looking in the rear view mirror." I'm sure that is right because it's much more difficult to see where you are going if you are always looking back. There have been times I was not looking forward to an event and would wonder why God had put me in a situation that I was not wanting to be a part of.

These last few years, I've learned a lot about forwarding looking at where God has placed me and why. He has given me the opportunity of time to visit with our grandchildren and children, to volunteer in the local schools, to see the needs of others and to be the "go between" to filling some of those needs, and the time to learn more about the people that I sit on the pew with each week at church. I've been given the opportunity to interview and write about "The Person in the Next Pew" at our house of worship. I have gained a whole new perspective and awe of the "ordinary" people of our little town.

We've been blessed as a married couple by my being a stay at home wife since we've lived in this town these last 12 years. I often wondered what I'd do with all my time, but it didn't take long for God to speak to my heart and mind to be about His business. I was offered subbing jobs at the local high school and that turned into a few years of full time work as I was the only certified teacher on their sub list for our little county. I would share the prayer concerns I had for our county's children with the women of our church. The stories touched all of our hearts.

Then as time went on with the teenagers at the school, I could see that He was working in the hearts of the students through me and my family. For example, I used my experiences of speaking to the women of our church to teach lessons in my Communication classes, I spoke often about our relationships with our daughters to teach lessons on behavior and life skills in another subject I was teaching, our daughter who was graduating from college came to speak to my seniors about applying for college and setting life goals, I used my husband's work ethic and tenacity (to overcome an underprivileged start in life as an example of what hard work and belief that God has a plan for each of us) as an example for the students of even a poor county to rise above their circumstances.

As my students learned to trust me, they shared their concerns with me. Many of our young people here have never had an adult they could count on week after week and they were cautious about opening up to someone new. They have had too many people come and go without taking responsibility and caring for them over the years. They were encouraged to know that I've been married to the same man for over 3 decades now. They saw a glimmer of hope for themselves.

As I move about my daily course in the grocery store, at the bank, or at the local car dealership, etc I run into my former students and they are always happy to see me and they share what their lives are like. They feel free to talk to me about spiritual matters and share prayer concerns. I have been so blessed by these young lives and the changes that I've seen God make in them. One young man returned to my classroom a year after graduation and shared with me that he had come to know Christ because he saw something in my life that he wanted in his own life and he knew that it was God.

As my husband and I sat overlooking the pond recently while enjoying a steaming cup of coffee, we talked about how God has directed our lives and that our life together didn't just happen, but was part of a Master plan.

As I write this I'm looking forward to seeing what God has in store for me to do in 2011 with Him leading me and our family. Happy New Year everyone and please know how much each of you encourages me each time I read your blogs or visit in your homes or talk with you!

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