2008 shaped up to be one of the most important and transforming years of my life.
It was the year I became a tenured teacher and began teaching AP 2D and Drawing.
2008 was the year I lost two of my closest friends: Tim Nicholson, my childhood friend and Dwayne Looney, my best buddy ever since we moved to Jacksonville in 1981. On the bright side I know that I will see them again as they were both saved. God gave me new friends to take their places.
In print and in person I was able to witness to more people-something I had never been able to do before comfortably.
I turned 55 in 2008 and as a result I began to reflect on what my life was about. There were moments of melancholy and sadness, but there were also moments of great joy and looking back at the incredible life God has granted me. I grew closer to God and his scripture became more alive and relevant than ever before.
For a poor kid growing up in Michigan with not much hope for a bright future I can say I am incredibly blessed. I have a wonderful and beautiful wife, great kids, a lovely home that is paid for, no bills, good friends, a fulfilling job, good health and so many more blessings I can't write them all down.
My newsletter, Collectors' Corner, made the transition to the Internet and saw its readership quadruple. I added a blog and made lots of new contacts with publishers, toy manufacturers, etc.
Putting the website together was a great joy and it still is. Where else could I review objects, share my thoughts and get awesome merchandise that publishers and manufacturers graciously sent me for free to review? Talk about a dream hobby!
I was able to share with others the many items I received for review and even managed to make some ad revenue.
The Pop Culture Club at school that I started grew to over 125. The school newspaper that I designed went all online thus allowing a full color format and unlimited pages. It was a huge hit.
This past summer I actually had time to sit down and draw a number of illustrations and really enjoy myself doing it. That was something I had not been able to do for a very long time.
God finally got across to my stubborn mind to keep my mouth shut and do my work and not get caught up in work gossip. That was something that plagued me on several jobs before I started teaching. I learned my lesson with more than a few scars to prove it. I have a great job, wonderful co-workers, superb bosses and a classroom with outstanding students. I love them all dearly.
The school year in 2008 saw a big change in my students. Every class has well-behaved and hard-working students. I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were. I wanted to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Even the few 'chatty' students have shaped up to be great kids.
2009 is here and I can only pray that it will be as fruitful, eye-opening and outstanding as 2008.
If I've learned anything at all it's this: I give God all the credit. I know what my capabilities are and I'm not that smart. Everything I have or will have is all due to God. He has been gracious enough to give me a degree of talent, wonderful family and friends, food for my table, a roof over my head, cloths to wear, vehicles to drive, good health and so much more. Here's to 2009!