It’s the last week of 2016. The first thing that came up as I wrote this? Good riddance. It was a rough year in ways I don’t need to reiterate here. I will be vigilant. But yet, I remain hopeful. Even when all evidence appears to contradict a reason to be, I will remain hopeful. Hopeful that our social order and failing institutions will recognize that all people are the same, and God loves us to pieces. I will channel my inner Oprah and seek out my next right step. I will forgive myself for making mistakes. I will remember what my mother told me about the “drop of Jesus blood” plant as pictured above. My mother always had one of these plants with the burgundy colored spatter in the leaves. She told me that when Jesus was crucified, the plants beneath the cross became stained with his blood and from that day forward, sprouted bloodstained colored leaves. I don’t know if that is true, she probably told me that because she knew I was fascinated with Jesus at the time. But the story gave me hope. Every time I see one of these plants, I feel a certain type of way; it encourages me. Makes me feel hopeful. I hope it does the same for you.