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Have you ever felt like you just blinked and suddenly, the whole year was gone?  December was such a blur, even though I tried hard to stay focused on the things that were important to me; and it wasn’t just the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it was life in general that just kept “happening!”  Before we get too far into 2014, I feel a need to hit the pause button and stop for a moment to reflect on the year that has passed, and to look ahead at what I hope for this year.

For a variety of reasons, 2013 was probably one of the most challenging years, from both a professional and personal perspective, that I have experienced in a while.  Maria Gozzip’s passing mid-year, was a huge wakeup call, reminding me of how precious life is and that there are no guarantees about tomorrow.  That challenged me to try to find some balance and perspective in my life as a whole and work towards figuring out how to better appreciate today as opposed to dwelling on yesterday.  A lot easier said than done…but certainly doable, if that is what I choose for myself. 

Almost seven months have passed since my wakeup call and here I sit beginning a new year.  I’m not big into “new year resolutions” as that has never worked very well for me.  Not to knock anyone who does use this form of goal setting (not quite sure what to call it), as I imagine, for some, it does work.  However, I am somewhat big into looking back at the year that has just ended, not to punish myself for whatever it was I did not accomplish or do well…but instead, to make some determination about the year to come, and what I do want to accomplish, or what I might want to do differently.

As I referenced a second ago, 2013 was an especially tough year and I don’t necessarily see 2014 being any easier, so I have decided that it’s really going to come down to my attitude, the perspective I maintain about how I see the world and then ultimately, the choices I make.  When I think about this for myself, I think about the youth and families we work with and the “success” stories I hear about…and there seems to be at least a couple of core factors involved in the successes they experience along their journey in life.  Although I often feel like I’m struggling, I can only imagine the challenges these youth/families are going through on a daily basis.  Yet somehow, they get through each day, and I don’t believe it’s purely by chance.   It seems to be a mix of those who have some amount left of belief in themselves that they can do whatever it is they need to do, coupled with your involvement and belief in them…that is the match that is so critical to their success…however that is defined.  Remembering that is important for me, as I try to maintain an attitude that is focused on appreciation for what I have and my ability to make choices in my life.

In other articles, I have talked about perspective and what Hale Kipa means to me, and I have to say, being a part of this organization has been essential to maintaining the perspective about what is important.  I see and hear about the good work that you all do with the youth and families and it always renews my sense of hope and faith in the world, and keeps my perspective heightened about what is really important, so thank you.  I truly hope that 2014 brings all of you much peace and joy throughout each day of your life.