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.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
For almost 29 years, Mark and I operated the Pony Soldier Motel. Mark’s father purchased the property three days before our wedding with plans for us to run it.
Living in a motel wasn’t without its share of problems as work and home were always together and at times it was like living in a fish bowl. I can’t say it was my choice of careers, but it provided a living and a roof over our heads. When we moved out, I didn’t miss the lifestyle of interrupted sleep, people walking in at all hours of the day and night, and numerous cold meals. However, I did miss all of the wonderful people I met over the years, many of which became like family.
Fast forward with me to last month when the motel was torn down. I took one last walk through and was bombarded with a flood of memories, both good and bad. One of Mark’s friends observed me and commented that I had the strangest look on my face.
I was remembering several things that occurred within those walls over the years and found myself dwelling on the bad memories instead of the good. Behind the motel is our pet cemetery where we buried four faithful dogs that were like our kids. I thought I was ready for the motel, but then thought of all the years invested trying to make it a home.
Now as I write this, it is a mass of rubble with negative memories buried underneath. All that remains are pictures and good memories I choose to remember. Built in 1964, the Pony Soldier served its purpose and now it is time to move forward with our lives. We look forward with hope that someday a new business will stand in its place.
As journalists looked back on the previous year and decade, many of them focused on the tragedies as the top news stories. I was thrilled when I saw on the Internet stories of miraculous rescues and children reunited with their families. The top story was the landing on the Hudson River that saved the lives of everyone onboard.
As humans it is often easy to be caught up in the past. People saying everything was better in the past are often fooling themselves. No, it is a new year, a new decade, a new chance to look ahead to what God has in store for us.
I resolve to focus on the good things as I learn from those things that went before. I want to be like Paul who said, “…This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”
May we be like the writer of Proverbs 4:25 (NLT) who said, “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you”.
Debra Whittington is a long time resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at