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Christmas in July
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I know, it's hotter than 95 degrees outside and I'm humming a Christmas tune. Really, just the first part of the refrain keeps playing in my head.

This will be my 24th year as a classroom teacher. Although a great deal has changed over the years, so much has remained the same. When I receive my class list, I tear the envelope open. I grab my stack of "to-do" lists as I head to the bargain stores and buy bags full of supplies. Between meetings and family life, I scurry around until the first student arrives. A stomach full of butterflies keeps me awake until the first day is complete.

Of course, teachers aren't the only ones running around at this time of the year. Kids are counting the minutes until they see their friends at the bus stop and their names on classroom doors. Stomachs constantly churn as the clock ticks closer to the first day of school.

Parents join in the excitement as they fill school supply lists and synchronize their open house visits. Even the governor joins in with a tax-free weekend.

For some, it is a time full of hope, possibilities and new beginnings. For others, it's also a season filled with nervousness and fear. It can be a wonderful time of the year. The real peace comes from knowing who is in charge of it all.

The prophet Jeremiah foretold, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (NIV Jer 29:11).

As we enter into the school season, let us place our trust in God's plans. Let us become more open to following his will.

Lisa Hetzel can be reached at