Happy New Year Friends! As I scrolled through my instagram today, most of what I saw was people rejoicing in the fact that 2016 is over because of how terrible it was. It saddened me to say the least. My year could not have been any better. I traveled the world with amazing people and learned incredible things. It is so interesting to me that people shut out all the good just because of the bad.  So many terrible things did happen this year, but lets take a minute to rejoice in all the good that happened this year.

  1. Because of the ice bucket challenge, we were able to find the gene responsible for ALS.
  2. Michael Jordan donated 2 million dollars in an effort to connect the police and community.
  3. Tiger, panda, and manatees all grew in number, which is HUGE!
  4. Solar power has proved to be incredible. Powering 6 million homes in California.
  5. In 24 hours, volunteers in India were able to plant 50 million trees. 50 million trees people!
  6. Starbucks donates perishable food to those in need.
  7. The ozone layer has begun to repair itself because of the efforts to rid aerosol chemicals.
  8. 500 elephants are now relocated, safe and away from poachers.
  9. Veterans are receiving free dental care.
  10. New cancer treatments are making a HUGE impact in the clinical trials.
  11. Harriet Tubman is replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20.
  12. A bank firm paid college tuition to all the kids of employees that died on 9/11.
  13. 200 strangers attended a funeral of a WW2 vet that had no family.
  14. Toys R Us offers quiet shopping for autistic children.
  15. NICU babies got special halloween costumes thanks to some awesome volunteers.
  16. 800 Boko Harem hostages were saved but the Nigerian Army.
  17. An teacher in Afghanistan delivered books to villages lacking schools.
  18. Death by heart disease decreased by 70%
  19. People from the Orlando Shakespeare Festival showed up wearing angel wings to block funeral goers from anti-gay protestors.
  20. Leonardo DiCaprio finally got that Oscar we have all been waiting for.

It is so easy to look and reflect on the negative things in our lives. If there is one thing I learned while traveling the world, our lives are too short to be stuck in the negative. Any chance we get to rejoice in the beauty of life and the success of the world we live in, we should take it. Nothing good has ever come from focusing on the bad or the ugly. It brings sorrow and unhappiness. If we can focus on the good that happened this last year, it starts to feel really good. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but my resolution for this year is to spend my time focusing on all the good I can.

“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives, and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” -Russel M. Nelson