Every year when the current year breathes its last breaths and the new one eagerly awaits in the near beyond… as a species we start to think about our year. We think about what happened (good and bad). We think about what didn’t happen (that we wanted to). We think about our failures. We think about our successes. Some years…it is hard to think about anything but the stress of bad times. Some years are just bad years.

I just had one of those bad years (well since June). Why? That is a long story that I don’t really want to go into because that is not the point. I could VERY easily list all the bad things that have happened since June one after another that turned life upside down over and over. Things that caused major stress. Things that kept me from reaching goals. But all of that is just stuff that happened and most beyond my control. Bad things happen to everyone and dwelling on them takes you nowhere.

As a human, you need two important traits to move forward with your life – to grow, to have hope and to march on. Those things are Gratitude and Fortitude.

Gratitude – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Fortitude – strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.

To have the best life, you need both of these things in abundance. Fortitude to push on when things fall apart around you and you are terrified for what the future might bring. Gratitude to appreciate the gifts you were given during hard times to make them more easy to navigate.

Without going into the bad, my 2018 looks pretty amazing. I was press photographer at WEG. I attended the Retired Racehorse Project again. I had my first (of many) designs come out with C4. I had photographs and articles published in a few magazines. I earned my highest score on Spicey to date and his highest score above training level this spring (at 4th level). I won the 4th level class at RAAC and got my first neck sash ribbon. I visited my family in Arkansas for my birthday. I visited friends in Oregon. I took a quick adventure to Colorado. I met new people and make new friends. I spent lots of time with old friends I adore. I spent more time with my wonderful husband. We received the blessed news of a pregnancy after being told we’d never have kids. I was able to continue my relationship with Spice for another year (and by extension his mom) and I learned so much as a rider and horseman. I was given the opportunity to ride a gorgeous fancy warmblood youngster for 4 months and experience the thrill of teaching her and feeling her talent. I tried a bunch of new products from companies I wasn’t familiar with and found many new favorites. I still have food to eat, clothes to wear, a car to drive and a roof over my head. I still have almost all of my family and my friends I started 2018 with (plus more). And so…so…many more small blessings.

Remembering and being thankful for the blessings of 2018 puts everything into perspective. That bad year may not have been THAT bad after all. Was it my best? Absolutely not. Was it the worst? In the course of my life before me and even in relation to the last decade it most certainly wasn’t the worst.

Let your blessings put your year into perspective for you. Let your Gratitude come out. Let your Fortitude take over when that Gratitude starts to fail. Life is life and it will continue to march on its steady way until we breathe no more. It will be filled with ups and downs and so many things between. Enjoy the blessings, both large and small, while you can. While things can always be better…they most certainly can always be worse. You had a better year than you think.

Happy New Year and all of my gratitude to you (readers and friends). May your 2019 be filled with more blessings than you can count.