Starting 2007 the right way

December is an interesting month. Children are anticipating Christmas, but many adults are filled with mixed emotions. We may be thankful for the reason for Christmas, and yet dread all the extra work and expense involved. Many younger couples would like to buy more presents for their children than their income allows. Then, of course, comes January with all the credit card bills.

Be all of that as it may, December is a good time to plan for a better next year. A good starting place might be to make a short list of desired changes. A suggestion is to discuss these ideas with a spouse or close friend. This can help to consider the positives and negatives before making any commitments. All of this can then be followed by helping keep each other aware of their commitments. We all need someone to help keep us accountable.

We certainly have enough areas to work on each year. A quick glance at the business section of the newspapers reveals some gut-wrenching statistics. The numbers of mortgage foreclosures and bankruptcies are at an all-time high. Credit card and loan debts are much too high.

I remember a scene from an old Western movie where a young widow mother looked longingly around the general store. The store owner, an older gentleman, told her to go ahead and take what she needed. She could pay when she had the money. She replied that her pa had taught that if you can't pay for it, you don't need it.

Perhaps that would be a good starting point. If addictive buying is a problem, either don't go shopping or leave the credit card at home. Wouldn't it be nice to not have any Christmas debt come January 2008?!

How about our physical well-being? Two-thirds of American adults are overweight. More fruit, vegetables, cereals and exercise could make most of us feel better about ourselves at Christmas time 2007.

Then, of course, we have the psychological and emotional parts of us. If we spend less than we can afford, eat better and exercise more, we will feel better psychologically and emotionally. If we start the day with a positive attitude and a smile, we will have a better day. If we try to treat each person that we meet with kindness and love, we will have a better day. If we forget ourselves and especially "poor little me," we will have a better day.

Then finally we come to the spiritual element. Our Creator originally created humans in his own image. Our fallen nature makes us less than He intended for us to be. Every time a human sperm fertilizes a human egg, our Creator has set in motion the potential for the individual to become more conformed to his image.

The more time we spend reading and meditating on his guidebook for living, the more we have conversation with Him and the more we practice his instructions, the more like Him we become. This one has a positive activity affect on all the other areas of life.

The year 2007 will be mostly what we decide to make of it. Obviously, we are all responsible for our own decisions and actions. Most and perhaps all of us want 2007 to be a good year. Together with optimism, a smile and encouragement we can help each other experience a "good next year."

For the '06 Club Dec. 31 takes us to Malachi 4 and Revelation 22. Some have read the whole Life Guidebook during 2006.

Let's look forward to a spiritual, positive, joyfilled, healthy and financially free 2007.

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