If I had to sum up 2016 in one word, it would be hard. Not horrible, not heartbreaking, not disastrous (though we had our fair share of those), or terrible. Just hard. From one challenge to the next, 2016 seemed to float by in a parade of never ending nuisances. Nothing particularly life changing happened (well other than baby Hey J but that was a good kind of hard). It was broken AC here, a couple broken bones there, throw in some house and car concerns and that pretty much sums it up. All this hard was mixed in with everyday struggles (tantrums, bad behavior, crying over homework) and triumphs (awesome sales months with trips to the antique stores to celebrate, A pluses on spelling tests, baby giggles, and plenty of Sweet Frog).

And, yet, I will not let hard defeat me (you hear that 2016?). I will dive in to 2017 with hope. I will leap in to it with love. I will face it with kindness. I will meet it with Faith. I will welcome it with gratitude. And, I will usher 2017 in with charity. If I have learned one thing through 2016, it is perseverance. Because, life is nothing if not a series of hardships and victories.

So, to my family (especially my ever loyal husband): I love you. Even through my hard times you give me hope and make me smile (especially when B asks me if she can eat a flamango or my Wild Thing tells me he wubs me).

To my friends: Thank you. Thank you for listening when I was hurting or needed a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for the good times and the late night outs laughing- I needed that (again thank you to my husband for facilitating those nights and never complaining when being left with a rambunctious two year old and teething baby).

To those I have hurt: I’m sorry. It is never my intention to inflict pain, but sometimes it is hard to see past my own suffering and stress to that which I am causing others. I will always strive to ask for forgiveness when I am wrong and seek understanding when I am hurt.

To those I have helped: I am so grateful for the opportunity to spread joy because it also brings joy to my own heart. I will strive to make 2017 a year of service for my whole family in our own community and beyond.

To the person who left trash in my mailbox tonight (and subsequently inspired the writing of this post): may your 2016 end with the elimination of negativity. May your 2017 be filled with joy, love, peace, gratitude, faith, and charity. May you always throw out your own trash because life is hard enough without other people’s garbage.

And, finally, to my dear readers (all two of you): may you have a beautiful new year and face each struggle with perseverance. May we all throw the negativity out with the trash and say goodbye to the hard as we usher out 2016. Let us look toward the fresh year with never ending hope.

I’ll leave you with our Christmas cards; 2016 was also apparently the year of indecision. I couldn’t decide on just one picture so I chose two and had them both printed. Which one did you get? Because, I sure don’t remember. But, my wild thing protested that “I no smile in that one” to the first, so here are the two Christmas cards of 2016. 

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