"New year, new semester brings new opportunities" by: Betsy Monico

   Tomorrow officially marks the first day of the New Year for me. Jan. 1 included black eyed peas, cornbread, and my favorite, cabbage.  
   We also briefly tossed around the idea of resolutions here. However, the first day back to school is when I really see fireworks and think new beginnings!   
   I assume other educators agree. We get a generous Christmas vacation that continues on way past the New Year.  
   Thus, we mentally postpone the idea of transformation. 
   Now that we have a house full of teens - the late nights, lazy mornings, unscheduled meals, trips to the movies and friends coming and going lasts for what seems like forever!  
   We do have a revolving door, and I love it!  
   Come tomorrow morning at 7, it all comes to an abrupt, somewhat screeching, halt for me personally.  
   I go back to school and for the first time in many years, full-time. 
   Prayers appreciated!  
   I feel like this is the right move. I love my job and surprisingly have discovered I need the structure of working more in my mid-40s than less.  
   My kids scattered this afternoon and vowed to enjoy one more day of freedom tomorrow.  
   As of Tuesday though, we are all back on schedule! I probably should get out my pom-poms and make up a chant that includes phrases like get up, get moving, let’s do this, wake up, and no excuses.  
   It excites me! We are being handed a new beginning, a new year, a new semester! Since this is not my first rodeo, I have a few thoughts to share: 
   Schedule changes, like going back to school after summer or Christmas break, take time and patience for everyone involved. This week will be trial and error and require some major attitude and priority adjustments.  
   The chaos and confusion most of us have allowed in our homes must get back to some type of order and structure – but it may take a week or even two.  
   This is also a great time to implement new ideas. I pray I can revamp study time and phone time here.  
   I know better though than to roll out my plan until I think it through fully.  
   I need to “up” my parenting game, but not cause a major rebellion. Likewise, I need to eat better, but not follow a fad.  
   The library needs my attention, but it will happen one book, one class at a time – not overnight!  
   Resolutions fade quickly, but when we seek the Lord daily, He promises to guide and help us with necessary changes.  
   Jesus says in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.”  
   This verse never gets old to me. My honest desire is to bear good fruit and to do something good every day! This requires a constant connection to the Lord.  
   My pastor today said something that totally summed up my desires for 2019.  
   He said, “Let us be known as a loving church.”  
   How great is that? I quickly wrote it down and added a few more lines. 
   Let me be known as a loving person. 
   Let us be known as a loving family. 
   Let us be known as a loving school. 
   Let us be known as a loving community.  
   This is my humble goal and will not be accomplished if I operate in my own flesh.  
   I must seek Jesus Christ daily. Join me. If you need a fresh idea for 2019, then borrow “Let me be known as a loving person.”  
   Have a blessed week!

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