From a personal perspective, I’m very thankful for 2016. Much of what I’ve been working diligently towards came to fruition this year. This year was filled with heartbreak and challenges, too, but I’m grateful for every experience that makes us stronger and helps us to grow as individuals. Looking back, I can smile about the many milestones that happened for me. They seemed like a long time coming, and it’s nice to see hard work, effort, dedication and determination pay off as a result.

I purchased and built my first house and immediately took the time to make it a home by filling it with love. I hosted gatherings and overnight guests in the short time I’ve been here. It was important for me to make these memories from the start, and I’m so happy I did. It was especially fun hosting Christmas Day this year, the first of many holidays. Each day as I wake up and open my curtains to the view of palm trees or when I come home after a long day, a warm and fuzzy feeling comes over me. I’m thrilled to share a home with my pup, Maisy Mae. It’s cozy and perfect and I cherish every second. I look forward to making memories in my home for years to come.

I published my first book. It’s still surreal and I’m appreciative on a daily basis for each and every person who takes the time to read my book. I’m smiling from ear to ear hearing all of the thoughtful feedback and kind words I’m receiving from readers near and far. I wanted to create a story that makes us feel something in our hearts. These are the type of stories I’m attracted to as a reader, and it’s always nice to have downtime to sit back and relax with a book. I’m currently working on book two and it’s one that will certainly pull at the heartstrings.

I was introduced to two new jobs in 2016. I had the pleasure of freelancing for a dynamic woman who I now consider a friend. Shortly after, I was offered a position at the extremely delightful law school in town and it has been a true blessing. I’ve been welcomed with open arms into this community I now call my second family. I’ve met lifelong friends.

I fell in love. Upon moving my life to Naples, I was completely disinterested in dating and coming along quite fine on my own until I met this person. I followed my heart and took a chance on him and love and I believed in us as a couple. I thought he was my forever person. Sadly it didn’t work out in the end. Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem and we don’t have control over the actions of others, only the way we handle ourselves directly in situations. I’ve learned to forgive and remember the good times. I have no regrets and I’m proud that I stood true to who I am – a loyal, classy, respectable woman. I showed myself the strength I have within and the ability to choose to surround myself with those who make me a better person. Heartbreak is temporary and dignity lasts forever.

I took an LSAT prep course in the Fall of 1998 and then life took me in a different direction to New York City for an experience of a lifetime that lasted almost sixteen years. Funny how life brings us full circle. I registered and finally took my LSAT this year, eighteen years later. Now that I work for a law school, my interest in the law has peaked again. Let’s see what happens in the future.

I’ve experienced sad news and loss of family members in 2016, and continue to keep many of those who are gone, suffering, and recovering in my prayers and close to my heart. In sharing great news, my Dad continues to receive a clean bill of health. I relish all of the time I’ve been able to spend with family and friends this past year, and with all of the loved ones I’ve been able to connect with from afar. I look forward to reconnecting with more friends and family in 2017. This is what makes life so rich, all of the special people that we’re surrounded by in our lives.

For those who haven’t had a good year personally, I’m wishing you a turn of positive events for 2017. I’m raising a glass to toast those who have had a great year and continue to wish you the best in 2017.

I actively choose to always see the glass as half full. I’m thankful for 2016 and I’m really looking forward to 2017 and what’s to come.

Happy New Year.