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What will you do in 2008?

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Many of us are saying "whew" as we try to catch our breath through or after the holidays. 2007 brought changes to our lives and to the wing. And now our feet are being firmly planted in 2008.

New Year's Eve closes a door for one year, New Year's Day opens the door for the next. Dec. 31st is a trigger for some of us to reflect on some of the events that have marked the past year. Some of them may be wonderful memories to cherish throughout our lives such as the birth of a child, a promotion, or finally getting that college degree.

Some of them, however, may be bumps and bruises that we are not so fond of. The passing of a family member, a physical injury or the loss of a job that puts a family in financial difficulty.

Whatever the case may be, we must always remember that the events that happen in our lives help to shape and hone our personalities and perceptions of the world. When we look in the rear view mirror of our lives, the tracks that follow us may help determine the path we choose before us.

A San Antonio pastor once spoke on the same subject. He mentioned that every minute of every day is uncertain. We may find ourselves in situations where we can do nothing wrong, where everything we touch or turn to is a seaming "pot of gold." Or we may become overloaded with grief or strife that makes every day a challenge to navigate.

A situation in our jobs or personal lives may become our primary focus in life, and other important things may become tossed by the wayside.

He encouraged us all that we must remember to "bloom where we are planted." Deserts are harsh and barren regions with constant dangers that threaten to extinguish life in a moment. They are absent of life-giving moisture and the rich soils that nurture plant life. However, if you look closely, magnificent and beautiful flowers and plants thrive in the harsh environment. This may cause us to ask how is this so
Through divine intervention, adapation, or evolution, the plants change their environments by utilizing the elements nearest them to give back the desert. As they grow, they "seed" their surroundings not only to carry on, but prosper the species and further influence their environment.

You too can "bloom where you're planted." 2008 may usher in unpredictable circumstances, good or bad. Financial strains, parental challenges, or a difficult co-worker could possibly be the challenge of the year. How you handle them is what is most important.

Remember that your actions have an affect on others positively or negatively. If you choose to learn life's valuable lessons, use that knowledge to help yourself grow, and like the desert flower "seed" that knowledge for others around you to shape their environment as well. Make 2008 GREAT.