Last years headlines were stricken with loss and doubt and worry, yet we made it. We survived doom and gloom to find ourselves turning over a new year offering a new hope. Presented with a clean slate for a fresh start, we truck on in the quest of the American dream, but what is easily forgotten is we already have it. Even in the hard times, we walk in freedom on streets void of persecution and limitations. We are the American dream.

I have stepped into the new year shedding the sadness of the past year and embracing the lessons learned and growth made. Last year, the good and bad made me stronger and wiser. I will turn 30 on the 11th and cherish the start of a new year and new decade. My life is not a combination of tragedy and happiness. It is a linear, progressive transition toward the life I am to live out. This year, I choose to look at the things I can change: my attitude, my outlook and my behavior. Those I will expend energy on, and the rest I will deal with as they come.

For too long, I have allowed myself to be consumed with problems that were out of my control yet fixated in my being. With my mind frantic with useless worry, I too often lost sight of the big picture.

This year I choose to fixate my eyes, my heart and my mind on my actions. My actions are a reflection of me, not my environment. Worry and sorrow is infectious, as is hope…I resolve to spread hope. Hope offers life and transforms souls. Hope is what gave me the courage to peruse my dreams and hope is what I offer you.