Well, the end of the year has led me to some deep (maybe not) reflection. In 2016 I have been blessed in so many ways, almost too many to count and I am struggling to find the words to describe all these blessings and feelings that I am having about this year coming to a close.

This time last year I sat down with one of my favorite families, the Anthony’s. We had a wonderful dinner after a long day of traveling in slushy snow from Albany to Philadelphia. It was then I realized that I was blessed to sit down with a family who loved one another just like my own did. I have to say, Jack’s parents have accepted me and brought me into their family without question. I am so grateful for a “family” that is not my own. I have more than one of these families, but this one happens to be my favorite. I feel that I have my place in their home whenever and for that I am thankful. I am so glad that Jack continually supports me and loves me in more ways than I can count. I am sure that he gets sick of me but he never lets on, and for that I am thankful. I am glad that Susan gives me endless support whether it is little gifts from abroad, wise words of wisdom in a text message, or a hug when we get the chance to visit. I am so happy to have someone who treats me like her own (as does Dave).

I have been blessed with friends. I look at many years of my life and think that I would be nowhere without my friends. I look at all the people who support me, and I have never been more proud of the people I surround myself with. My best friends since middle school are some of my favorite people to this day. I was able to take a trip to Virginia for four short days, and Kelsey and Kayla were not only the best hosts, but they remind me day in and day out what I am capable off and the place where I am from. My roommates from years past have done nothing but lift me during the dark times. From the time these girls entered my life I have never had so many positive experiences, I would not be where I was without them, and I cannot wait to create more memories with them in the years to come.

My military friends, I have never been more accepted or understood by a group. We all come from such different backgrounds but fit together in such a beautiful way. We create such a dysfunctional family, and I would not trade it for the world. I have been so blessed to have these people surround me. They have been comforting, and supportive when I need it most. I don’t know where I would be without these people Jack has brought into my life.

My flesh and blood, they have been through so much this year, and I haven’t been there to hug or love them during their times of need which has taken its toll on me. I look at this past year and think that life has to get better (or we just have a dark looming cloud hanging above us). Overall, we have seen death, sickness, health, and accomplishment. If my family is not the strongest, I don’t know whose is. I am hopeful that in the future I am there to help them through these incredibly difficult times. I am hopeful that they all feel the love in this coming year and realize how important they are to me. I would be no one without these kind, caring, kind of crazy people. I am so blessed to have you, and I cannot wait to see the additions that are made in the years to come.

Also, to my closest people, I would not have been able to graduate and become the person I am without you. I know that mom and dad are looking down on me and that they are proud of all I have accomplished. I know that my brother is still my number one supporter no matter the distance. I know that my Aunt Sherra is one of my saving graces. And that my grandparents are some of the most loving, kind, and caring supporters, I am so glad that we were able to spend time together before the holidays.

Overall, I am thankful for my education. I learned so much about myself in the past year, and I am so thankful for the lessons. I am grateful for family, blood or not, for my health, and for countless other things. I am ready for this new year and for the trials and tribulations it has to give. I am ready for another move with Jack, another job, another city, state, or country. I am ready for all that life has to give me this next year, and I cannot wait to see where it leads. Bring it on 2017!


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