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Viewpoint from Mary Ives 25/04/2014 

as published in the Yarmouth Mercury

previously Area Director of YMCA Norfolk

I am currently training to be a reader or licensed minister in the Church of England. I have almost finished my first year. What a challenge that has been!  Getting back to academic study after a gap of more than ten years plus having to lead services, preach sermons and attend innumerable meetings has almost turned my diary into a juggling act
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 A couple of years ago when writing this column I discussed seasons and how life moves on – I was then just about finishing full time work. In this wonderful new season of retirement I find myself in I am so busy I wonder how I found the time to go into the office each day! I was reminded the other day about my father who actually retired just as I was starting out in my first teaching post. For him it was not a welcome change. For almost eighteen months he sat in a chair and didn’t do much except watch TV.  Fortunately he did change and the last years of his life he did more, but I realised that he missed out so much!
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We don’t have crystal balls. None of us know what the future holds for us. The only thing we can do is to make the most of each new day. When we wake up we can thank God for the new day, and look towards the possibilities it brings. There was an old song we sang in church when I was a child – ‘Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done, count your blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.’ That is still good advice today

What have you to be thankful for? Maybe it is a nice home, family, friends, employment, sufficient money to meet your day to day needs, time, health, strength…. I could go on, but today could be a good day to look on the positive side of life. Sometimes people focus so much on the negative when there is so much to thank God for! So today ‘will you count your blessings’ and give thanks to God for each and every one – you might find the negatives don’t seem so bad after all