Welcome to the new year everyone! Yes, this is coming late but I still wanted to take a minute to speak on a personal level and really reflect on 2015. Sometimes its hard to believe how fast time flies by and it can be insane to see how much life can change over the years.

This has felt like a very busy year for me, especially through fall and the holiday season. When I think about everything that happened in my life it would be easy to think that I didn't have such a great year. Like so many others out there I have battled with anxiety, depression, and various other health issues over the years. I cope with fibromyalgia and chronic back pain on a daily basis. Not to mention the stress of working in disaster recovery. Then in November I was heart broken when I lost my 11 year old schnauzer, Honey, to heart disease.

I could easily choose to give up and let my problems consume me, hide under the blankets and refuse to get out of bed. And sometimes I do for a little while! But it never lasts long because I'm an eternal optimist and thrive on learning and making progress in life.

I can't stand the idea of staying stagnant, never making any personal or emotional gains in life. I am continuously reading and watching things that help me improve as a person. I believe there is always room for improvement and your life will be better for it.

The light in which we choose to view our difficulties can really effect how well we cope with them. Sort of like looking for the silver lining on every dark cloud. Yes, I did have a lot of difficulties this year, but I also learned a lot and went places and did things that I've never done before.

I have made a lot of progress at work, found my niche, worked out long standing problems that were holding me back personally and professionally. In 2015 I finally found better doctors and learned about treatments that have the potential to significantly reduce my back pain and improve my quality of life. Through all of this I learned a lot about myself and have built up much more self confidence. I now know more about what I want out of life.

The thing is, life is never going to be perfect no matter how great your makeup looks, how many DIY Pinterest projects you succeed at, how much you weigh, how many friends you have, or how much money you make. Life is what you make it - you can focus on the negatives or look for those silver linings and make the most of them.

My hope for everyone in the year of 2016 is that we always strive to see those silver linings. Even if the world seems to be falling apart around you, you will one day see that through it all you are learning and growing as a person. Remember the difficult times won't last forever. And in the mean time find things you love and enjoy and throw yourself in to them. Don't be stagnant. Live your life, grow and learn. Open your heart to new friends. Do things you always wanted to do. We only have so many years on this planet, make the most of every one.

I'm dedicating this post to the best little companion I could have ever asked for, Honey. She came from an abusive past before we took her in. It took lots of patience and love to rehabilitate her through severe separation anxiety and aggressive resource guarding behavior. But she wound up being a dog everyone loved. I couldn't even begin to count the number of times she made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry. We got to spend 10 years with her and she brought so much joy and love to our lives even during some of our darkest times. Her story of rehabilitation will always remind me that even if everything seems hopeless today, the future can still be filled with more happiness, companionship, fun, and love than you can ever imagine.

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