There are many ways to bring in the New Year, but none compares with being grateful and appreciating what we have.

We too often forget to appreciate our Four Freedoms. I have copied down the words of President Franklin D. Roose-velt of Jan. 6, 1941, to help us remember to be thankful for such ideals:

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

“The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

“The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

“The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

“The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.”

Our unique government does not recognize just one religious structure. Each of us has the opportunity to worship wherever we choose. Or not worship. Some wisdom along that line: “It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.” “Don’t complain about your church; if it were perfect, you couldn’t belong.” “When you get to your wit’s end, you’ll find God lives there.” (Ever wonder about the atheist who dies; all dressed up and nowhere to go!)

A one-liner that caught my eye went like this: “Don’t let your worries get the best of you. Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.” (This alludes to the story in Exodus 5:1-6 where Moses’ mother hid him in a wicker basket on the river to save him from being killed.) For some strange reason that reminds me of the saying, “America is going to hell in a hand basket.” That has been updated to: America is going to hell in an IMPORTED hand basket.

I once ask the Ancient Marnier (actually a very old China missionary) if the missionary work got any easier as he approached his 80s. He thought a minute, then said that the road does not get any easier, the task more taxing, but God’s faithfulness makes it all worthwhile. God’s presence and unwarranted grace grows richer with age. “God promises a safe landing, not an easy passage.”

Like my favorite Gospel singer, Richard D. Baker (like my wife, a grad of Farmersville High School), sings so beautifully, “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus.”

Anytime I mention wife Jody is from Farmersville, folks think I said Farmer’s Branch. Farmersville is between Greenville and McKinney. The FHS Farmers are the 2007 Texas state football champions in Class 2A Division I.

On her desk Jody still has her small five-inch megaphone she used when she was an FHS cheerleader. Which brings me to the thing I most appreciate: my wife of nearly 58 years. I could have traveled the earth and never found such a caring and faithful companion. She is Irish (her mother was a Jackson), and Jody has the eyes and smile to prove it.

Britt Towery writes his viewpoints every Friday in the Brownwood Bulletin. Contact him at