Happy New Year to everyone! We rang in 2013 in style, snoozing away until 5 minutes before the ball dropped, waking up just in time to wish each other “Happy New Year” and steal that oh-so-anticipated New Year’s kiss that seals the deal of a bright year ahead, then back to la-la land to dream our way into the early morning.  I hope yours was just as happy in your own ways!

As I type this, my lights are flickering, which is not a common occurrence in our house.  I can’t help but wonder if there’s a storm brewing for the day or if this is a warning of what’s to come for the new year as I’m typing.  When I asked what to type about today the words “Start with your seed” came to me.  The premise would be, of course, that every new sprout begins with a seed. As I discussed with a longtime friend on my birthday last Saturday, sometimes we plant seeds of goodness, whether we realize it or not.  Sometimes they sprout right away because the climate and conditions are just right.  Sometimes, as in my case, it took 20 years for the seeds that were planted in me to start to sprout.  Nevertheless, they’re sprouting, and growing wildly towards God and the path He has paved for me.

Seeds of all kinds can be planted, however, as I’m reminded with the flickering of my lights.  Just as easily as we can plant seeds of goodness, favor, and kindness, there are equal amounts of bad seeds being planted as well: Jealousy, hatred, contempt, ignorance… And depending on how receptive your soil is, it’s easy to breed both kinds of seeds.

The good news is that we have a choice.  We can use our “weed killers” at any given moment, and without having to look back on the ugliness that grew before because we are blessed with forgiveness.  We can choose to further our growth by planting seeds in our friends, family, even strangers.  A smile is a great seed to plant… and it’s contagious in such a good way!  Start this new year off by planting a seed of goodness: Smile at someone today, even if you don’t feel like it, even if you don’t think they deserve it… because you never know what anyone else has going on in their lives, you never know how that smile will affect someone else’s day, you never know when that seed of goodness will sprout into a beautiful flower that will continue to bloom for years to come… all because you took the time today to spend one minute giving someone an act of kindness, a smile.

It takes a village to raise a child, but it only takes a seed to start something beautiful.  It may not sprout in your time, but it will sprout in God’s time.  Believe in yourself, in the power you have to be kind and understanding of other people and their situations, and the power that God has put in you to plant His seeds all around you.  You never know when they’ll take off and flourish.

Today I give thanks for a full year of hope ahead. I give thanks for the friends and family that have supported me and had faith in me when I didn’t have faith in myself, let alone, my God.  I give thanks for forgiveness of my sins and transgressions, that I can help spread the Word to anyone who is ready to receive it, and I pray that these seeds I am planting take root and spread from generation to generation.  I Jesus’ name, I praise and thank Him, Amen!