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Some final New Year’s thoughts

As I See It

January 13, 2011
By John Sheda
Well, Elvis Presley’s birthday was last week sometime, so in essence, we can officially announce that the major holidays are over. Elvis is somewhere celebrating his 76th birthday.

What? You think he met his demise years ago???

Hmmmm, don’t you people keep up on some of those “gossip” magazines? I think he’s somewhere in Iowa, myself. 

Maybe south of Chelsea, or somewhere near Montour? Clutier?   

Someone said he might be holed up near Tama, Toledo or even Haven. I don’t know.....just report the news here!!! 

But to get serious for a moment (it happens so infrequently), we all should take some time to focus on the new year, 2011.  And to look back on 2010 and past years. After returning from a trip to Africa, I come to realize how well I have life here in the good ‘ol USA. We do live in the greatest country in the world. That’s a fact! I have a friend, his name is Houshang, who has traveled the world several times, Asia, China, Korea, Russia, etc. He grew up in Iran and traveled extensively in all those mid-eastern countries. 

On a recent trip to Russia, he called me upon returning and exclaimed, “John Sheda, I want you to get off the phone right now, go outside and kiss the ground and give thanks that you live in America.”

Well, I didn’t, but he did raise a great point, that being we all are so blest to be living today in the greatest country in the world, the Unites States of America.

In Africa, hardly no one has automobiles. And if they do, they have to pay almost $2 a liter, (which is, hmmm, well, a lot more than we pay). Electricity goes out from time to time, just for the heck of it, I guess. And it doesn’t make any difference where you’re at. Sometimes it’s off for five minutes, sometimes for 25 minutes. And it’s not caused by bad weather either.  And please, don’t EVEN get me started on the driving and the roads in Tanzania, Africa. They call it “no rules.” They’re aren’t!!!

 We are blest. We truly are. This year as we begin 2011, let’s challenge ourselves to be happy. Sounds easy, but for some of us, it can be pretty hard. Life is tough.  Life is stressful. But do you remember that song some time back.....”Don’t Worry, Be Happy?” Not bad advice at all.

 This coming year, do some “wild and crazy” things. Ok, ok....maybe NOT that wild and crazy, but enjoy life. Take your honey-pie, lamb-chop or cutie-patootie for a week-end getaway, or just out for lunch. Visit some old friends. Call someone you haven’t seen in a while and get back in touch with them. Write a letter to someone, or better yet, send a card to someone special to you. Heck,  get really weird, and surprise them with a gift... for no reason whatsoever. 

 If your folks are still alive, tell them you love them. Call each of your children up and let them know that you are always there for them. And let them know that they’d better be there for you too!!!!!! 

Laugh more. Wave at strangers when your passing them in your car. Be nice and kind to the Wal-Mart greeter and every checkout person at every store you enter this year. Remember, they have feelings too. Tip the waitress a tad more this year and if that person is really treating you well, tell the manager. 

Don’t have anything to do? Go visit a Nursing Home. Everyone knows someone who is living in one. Just stop in and say hi. It might be the highlight of their day....or week. Volunteer! 

 Make 2011 the greatest year yet. Don’t dwell on the minor (or even major) aches and pains. Dwell on the parts that ARE working!!! And if worse comes to worse........every day, check out the Obituary page in several newspapers, (just to make sure), and if you’re not in it, give out a big “Hip, Hip, Hooray.” One final note, after you read this, go get a piece of paper (with pen of course), and write down ten blessings you have in your life. Then post the list somewhere that you can see it every single day.

 And if all else fails, do like my friend, Houshang, says, “Go outside, kiss the ground and thank God that you live in the greatest country in the world. By the way, WE ALSO LIVE IN THE GREATEST STATE!! 

Folks, that’s The Way I See It. How about you? Oh, if you happen to see Elvis, give me a to get his autograph!!!  Email me at or even call me at 319-334-4117.

Article Photos

Pastor John Sheda



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