Taking stock

Published 3:54 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017


I must confess that with every new year, something clicks in my brain causing me to take stock of the past 12 months. Questions loom begging for an answer.

“Did I achieve the goals set when the previous year was born? If not, how did I veer off course? Are the unmet goals of prior years worthy of yet another try?”

Taking stock is always a positive. Even if I haven’t achieved all I had hoped for, and I never do, I don’t face a new space of time discouraged. What a wonderful gift to have yet another year to live beyond my abilities, to stretch my heart to love a little more, to follow the guidance and direction of the One who hung the stars.

So this morning, as I prepare for 2017, I thank God that I am healthy, strong, and have managed to hold onto my dreams although 2016 will go down in my book as a pretty tough year. Langston Hughes wrote, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” I concur, Langston.

Along with the great Martin Luther King and his famous “Dream” speech, I too have a dream. I dream of moving a little closer to becoming the woman God created me to be. Every year I focus on what I believe will help me along this path. Little by little small goals are met, but not in my own strength. I found out a long time ago that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t change myself.

Have you ever noticed that it’s easy to act like who you hang out with? When I spend time reading God’s word, and following peace my decisions naturally flow down a good path. By the same token, if I hang around someone who has bad habits, it’s easy to emulate them after a while.

By this time in life, I am pretty selective about who I allow into my inner circle. Pessimistic, critical people are a definite no-no if I plan to look back at 2017 with a smile. Of course, sometimes I have to be around people with a negative outlook, but I don’t seek them out as close friends.

When I was very young, I developed a bad habit of cursing. I had to work hard to remove this offensive language from my vocabulary and remember the first time I stubbed my toe and heard “Ouch!” instead of an expletive. Relief washed over me, but I realized that I had to guard myself if I wanted to remain victorious over this habit. This memory helps me remember not to spend much time with people who use base language.

I purposefully seek out positive, caring people to do life with. They bring joy into my days and if their habits rub off on me it’s usually a good thing! I hope I always look at each new year as a challenge and an adventure. God’s blessings to you all for a productive, safe, and prosperous 2017!