It’s a new year and looking back at 2016, like most, it was a hard year. We lost loved ones, had trials, we were given a rough diagnosis for my daughter. It was difficult, but it was also wonderful; my husband and I went on an amazing trip to Hawaii, we took our kids to Disneyland and our love grew as a family.

My Great Grandma Viola Stout passed away 17 years ago today and she was wise beyond words. When it comes to “looking on the bright side”, she takes the Gold. I have referenced her journal before, and I will again. As a young mom she just lost her baby to what we now know as RSV. She had a son Don, daughter Merle (my grandmother), daughter Marilyn who were older. Just a few months after losing her baby girl Joan, her daughter Marilyn was hit by a truck and killed. When I read her journal as a young mom I was in awe at her faith. “One lesson to learn is that all clouds are “silver lined”. Great joys can be had. While many of our experiences were hard to bear, we had happy times too. Sickness, lack of money and other trials is not the cause of unhappiness, it is attitude.” Viola Stout

I am not really a New Year’s Eve partyer, not since I have 4 kids and my husband works nearly every NYE. What I love about New Year’s though is that we can start fresh. We can make goals, and hope for a better year. I always feel so motivated in January. Of course it doesn’t take long for reality to set in and I can’t always be that “go-getter” like I wanted. The one thing I can do is have faith, hope and the desire to try harder.

For a few years I’ve been choosing one word that can motivate me in the new year; something that I can have as a theme or motto. This year I decided that my “one little word” is Acknowledge. So many different words came to mind: Faith, Create, Trust, Endure, and several others. There was just something about the word Acknowledge that resonated with me.
Acknowledge the Lord and all that he blesses me with.
Acknowledge my trials and what I can learn from them.
Acknowledge the love around me.
Acknowledge other people and how they bless my life.
Acknowledge my own gifts and talents.

Those are just a few of the things that I am striving to do this year with my “one little word”. We are going to have good times and bad times, but through those trials we can look at our joys, and blessings. I saw this shirt at Target and I had to have it. It reminded me of The Outsiders.

“Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.” 
S.E. Hinton

Which if you haven’t read the book it is a reference from Robert Frost’s poem. “Nothing "Stay Forever"
"Nature’s first green is gold,
"Her hardest hue to hold.
"Her early leaf’s a flower;
"But only so an hour.
"Then leaf subsides to leaf.
"So Eden sank to grief,
"So dawn goes down today.
"Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost” 

We all struggle, we have trials that we are all going through, and sometimes there is nothing we can do to change it. We have to realize that so many others are struggling, but we may not realize what someone else is experiencing. I had a friend tell me that if she didn’t realize we were going through such a trial with our daughter she wouldn’t have known by looking at us. Which she said is a compliment. I try to stay positive, but I’ve had some really hard days and lately it’s been a lot harder than others. But I’m trying to remember my Great Grandma Stouts words “Every cloud has a Silver Lining.” I need to remember I am not alone.

“Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.”

I have so many trials; we are all struggling, but we are all under the same sky. I need to “Acknowledge” all of my blessings.

“Can you see the sunset real good on the West side? You can see it on the East side too.” 
“It's okay. We aren't in the same class. Just don't forget that some of us watch the sunset too.” 
S.E. Hinton