Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Long Walk and Real Trees

 I grew up with an artificial tree.  I prefer them actually.  You set them up when you want and take them down just the same.  So, naturally, when my parents were getting rid of the artificial tree I grew up with, I called dibs...and so, we've set up an artificial tree every year but two.  Those two years we bought our real tree from Menards...which seemed to negate the purpose of a real tree for me, but whatever.

This year I was all set to set up our artificial tree.  My husband had something different in mind.  He set a date for us to go to a tree farm and cut our own...which in theory sounds like a glorious family outing...but in reality, I just pictured complaining, fighting, and whining.

My husband's mind was made up and so that's exactly what we did.  This past Sunday, we loaded up after church with boots on our feet and the saw in the trunk and headed to cut our own tree...and it was actually a pleasant experience...complete with a horse drawn wagon ride out to the farm...many "I found the perfect tree!!!", and a nice long walk back with nice conversations, piggy back rides, and hand holding.  We made great memories and I am so glad I didn't push back when Dan made his suggestion.  He's right, a real tree is much more fun.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015


"It's been a long day, without you my friend
And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again
We've come a long way from where we began
Oh I'll tell you all about it when I see you again..."

One year and nine months, to be exact, since my last post.

I was one of those blogging mommies when my kids were little.  It helped me get through the crazy days...kept a record of those moments that I knew I would forget when I was in the thick of it...and I am so glad I did.

My kids are growing up.  Weeks and months go by and there is a groaning for more independence and less momma.  They can dress themselves (even pick out their own clothes), get their own breakfast, do their own hair...walk out of the house in the morning for school with little or no help, looking quite nice.  Some mornings, I find myself at my ten year old's feet tying his shoes...not because I need to, but because I want to.  It's a strange stage I find myself in.

So, yesterday when my Middle Man had a headache and could not seem to walk strait...all part of his master scheme...I went along with it. He didn't even have to ask twice to stay home from school.  We lay in my bed, snuggled up, and watched AFV and just laughed till our stomachs hurt.  He held my hand, put his head on my shoulder, and I let him....because I know that even though the days may be long sometimes, the years are getting shorter and shorter.

My purpose has changed a little as I sit with this "old friend" that I've recorded so much on since 2008.  I am not blogging so much for an audience now as much as I am writing to savor and keep the next seven years....as I try not to blink.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Misophonia : The end of family life as we knew it.

Over a year ago, my Princess started exhibiting strange behavior at meal times.  It was unbearable for her to be around any one that was eating.  She would either run down the hallway to her room screaming with her ears plugged and slam the door or she would fall to the ground and hold her ears while she sobbed.  She has always been quite dramatic and so we started punishing her for this behavior...which only seemed to make things worse.  We didn't know what else to do and we thought it was a behavioral issue that we needed to nip in the butt.

As the weeks went by, her sensitivity only seemed to get worse.  Not only did her outbursts happen when someone was chewing, but it was also when someone came down with a runny nose.  The sniffing and stuffy breathing sent her through the roof.  It also was happening when someone would clink their spoon or fork on their bowl or plate.

At her nine year appointment, I brought it up to her pediatrician to see what he had to say about it.  I was disappointed when he had no answers but rather referred her to a psychiatrist.  I will admit, we are all a little crazy in this family, but I know my Princess is not a headcase.  The thought of taking her to someone and her having that label was not a route I was willing to take.  I needed answers before anything else.  Why was she acting this way?

So, in the days that followed, I turned to the Internet.  I wouldn't always recommend doing this, but in this particular case, I found the answer I was looking for : Misophonia...which literally means - "the hatred of sound".  I found article upon article and several blogs that seemed to be describing my Princess to a "t".  

Misophonia is defined as a neurological disorder in which negative experiences (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) are triggered by specific sounds.  Although I was encouraged to have answers as to "what", it was discouraging to read about how this disorder effects a persons every day life.  I didn't understand all of the "hows" or "whys" but it gave me the little understanding that I needed.

Things had changed.  I have to admit, I had taken family dinner time for granted until this happened.  No longer could we sit around, all five of us, and catch up over dinner.  We couldn't eat out as a family, share popcorn at a movie, snack in the car on the way from here to there.  Meals were served and my Princess would retreat to her room and eat with the music on in her room at her desk staring at a wall.  On the rare occasion that we took the family out to eat, my Princess would pack her head phones and listen to music while she fought back tears...unbearable for us all....miserable really...but, this was life now.

Tonight, I witnessed a miracle.  Once in a while, for whatever reason, we are able to eat in front of her.  It's been happening more often lately...or with less of a reaction from her.  Tonight though, all five of us sat around the table.  There were no tears (I tried my best not to cry), there was no screaming, no ear phones, no loud music, no dirty looks, no falling on the floor, no banging her head with her fists...there was laughter...there was conversation.  We sat...we ate...we talked...we laughed...all of us.

At the start of dinner, I looked around the table and said, "Everyone, I would like to welcome a guest to our table tonight."  It was a little bit of a joke, but there was a lot of truth.  It's been a long time since we were five around the table.

It may be a fluke.  It may not happen again for another few weeks, months, maybe even a year.  I am trying not to get my hopes up...but, I had to celebrate this little victory tonight...so I baked a loaf of apple cinnamon bread...and hopefully we can all eat it in the same room.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Goodbye Face Lotion

This winter has wrecked havoc on my skin.  No matter now much lotion I slather on, my skin still looks like a cracked, dry mess.  I have used the same exact lotion on my face since I was old enough to put lotion on my face...I am a creature of habit.  My Mom used it, so it must be good enough for me - was my way of thinking....not taking in to consideration that I have a different skin type than my Mom and I have aged about 20 years since first dabbing the ancient face lotion on my teenage skin.

I'm up for trying just about anything...as long as it's been tried by someone before.  Luckily, I have a sister who usually is making her own trail.  When she told me about the oil cleansing method, I was ready to give it a try.  I went out and got what I needed : olive oil, castor oil, and coconut oil ...and gave it a shot.

It felt really strange rubbing the castor oil and olive oil mixture on my face...kinda like a weird cooking experiment, but once I got past that it was wonderful!

My face lotion is in the trash never to be seen again and I will not be using soap on my face any more.  After I cleanse my face with the castor oil and olive oil, I rub a little coconut oil in to my skin for added moisturizer and I am good to go.  For the first time this winter, my face doesn't feel like it's on fire and my red, dry, itchy patches are gone.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

No puke on the carpet...

We have had the stomach bug a lot this winter...a whole lot!  Back when the kids were younger, them throwing up was probably on my list of my top ten fears...maybe even my top five.  Now, not so much.  I hate when they are sick, but all of them are so good about making it either to the bucket or making it to the toilet.

On Sunday evening, my Little Man started complaining of a tummy ache.  Any time that happens, my husband and I have set up a basic procedure : move the child with the complaint to the couch, get out the old towel, and place the bucket with a trash bag in it in the proper place (on top of the old blanket) at a close distance to the child. We have it down to a science.  Then we wait...and usually it doesn't take long.

The puking started and my Little Man was a champ.  He slept most of the day on Monday and was almost back to normal on Tuesday.  We now cross our fingers and hope that my efforts yesterday of wiping the place down with lysol did some good.

It's the little things...like no puke on the carpet.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


The older my daughter gets, the more I realize just how harsh this world is.

Maybe it's because something happened in me once I turned thirty.  Maybe it was all in my head, or maybe it really is a phenomenon that many experience upon leaving their twenties...all of a sudden, I didn't care.  I didn't care what the world said was beautiful or in, I was doing my own thing.  I didn't care what people said about me, I was doing my own thing.  It's really made life so much more enjoyable for me.  In these past six or so months especially, I have discovered that it's not up to me to fix something (or someone) or make sure someone is happy with the choices I have made (or even explain them)...I have my God and I have my little family and I am happy as a clam.  It doesn't mean that I don't value friendships and need those important people in my life...it just means that I have redefined the "important" in my life.

This phenomenon that I experienced when I said goodbye to my twenties has made my heart ache for my little girl even more...if only it wouldn't have taken me so long to discover who I am and be comfortable with that.  My heart aches when I hear her criticize herself in any way...most recently her concern over "looking fat".  That word is like nails on a chalk board to me...I hate that word.  I especially hate it when it is coming out of the mouth of my precious baby girl as she uses it to describe how she looks in a pair of jeans.

After baby one and baby two did a number on this momma's body, I have been all about not letting myself go.  I have worked hard to get myself back in to shape and along the way, fell in love with running.  It's a lifestyle for me...an outlet...and has provided me with a sense of self and shown me just how strong I am.  I am comfortable in my own skin and hope and pray I can teach my daughter by example.

I am learning though that I don't have to teach her to criticize her own body.  This world is full of picture perfect women up on billboards, beautiful flawless faces on T.V., flat stomachs staring at you as you stand to check out at the grocery store....and she's been watching...but, this momma is not about to let my baby girl buy in to that...no mother should.

Just when I was ready to take drastic measures...and wondering if our countless conversations have been sinking in...I was pleasantly surprised to listen to a conversation she was having with a friend while they were working on a school project together in our kitchen.

Her project partner, a little boy who she's been in the same class with since they were in first grade, out of the blue said something about him being chubby and his belly being big...even boys can be self conscious.  I wondered what my princess was going to do and waited, like a fly on the wall, not saying a word.  He grabbed his stomach and shook it.  My princess got up and went on to say that it was no big deal...everyone has that.  She stood up and demonstrated how her thighs shake back and forth when she wiggles her legs.  They laughed about it and went on making their school project together.  Not only was she sympathetic, she was also able to bring light to a subject, pass it off as no big deal, and move on.

There are days where I feel as if I can do nothing right when it comes to raising my kids.  My shortcomings and failures stare me right in the eyes and convince me that my kids will most definitely need therapy.  But most often, there are moments like this one...that I am so proud of my children and wonder in the grace of God that he would entrust me with these three precious lives.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Flashback Friday : August 2002

I look at these two kids and find it really hard to believe that one of them is actually me.  We had just gotten engaged a few days before and we were on vacation with Dan's side of the family in Tennessee.  This trip was the first time we were going to be able to spend more that a weekend together.  Good times, good times...although, I would not want to go back for anything.  I would not trade where my husband and I are at in our marriage now for the younger, more carefree us.  Happy Friday Flashback Fun.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Picture Highlights from 2013

The first two months of 2013, we decided to foster a few puppies to help heal the hole that was left when Macy passed away in November 2012.  We went to the shelter one night to wait for the transport with excitement.  We were supposed to be fostering a little pup named Pancho.  The transport came and there were two puppies in the van that weren't supposed to be on there.  The shelter had no idea they were coming and nobody lined up to take them.  They asked if we would be able to take two puppies instead of just one...and how could I say no to these faces.  Ginger and Snap were tons of fun!

My husband knows me!  For Valentine's day, these hot pink running shoes were waiting for me on the counter when I got up that morning.  It was my first pair in almost a year.  I would spend the rest of 2013 trying to recover from an injured hip and a mysterious illness.  My racing season wasn't quite what I hoped it would be, but I am going in to 2014 with high hopes.

My three Valentine's Day cuties in their shirts that Gammy and Poppy sent them.

My hubby and I celebrated 10 years of marriage in March.  This year taught me what a gem I have in him.  He is truly a gift.  We spent our anniversary in Michigan.  My parents took the kids for the day and we were able to go see a movie and go out to dinner.  Early the next morning, Collin got the stomach flu which put a cramp in our style for the rest of spring break.  It was a wicked bug that took out every one of us but Dan.

On our way back from Michigan, we stopped to pick up our new addition.  It was out of our way and a little tricky to accomplish with my little man sick with the stomach bug, but we arrived home with my Anniversary present with no regrets.  He's the best anniversary gift I have been given...I wouldn't trade him for the world. 

In April, Kaitlyn picked out Teddy.  My little girl has such a love for animals.  I am thankful for a husband that allows his little girl (and me too!) to enjoy having pets in our home.

One day after Dan's birthday and a week before mine, Collin jumped off of our deck and ended up breaking his leg.  This was quite an experience and gave me a new found thankfulness for the health of my little family...and also a greater respect for parents of kid with physical handicaps...or really any medical condition.  I spent the first few nights with him on the couch trying to keep him comfortable and listening to him scream out in pain.  It was almost more than this Momma could take.  I wanted to take this from him and prayed that God would give him comfort and peace.  It broke my heart to watch him not be able to run and play with the other kids and see him get so frustrated when he couldn't do things for himself.  His teachers at school were wonderful and I really am so thankful for all they did for him (and me).  He spent about 5 weeks in his cast and another few weeks not being able to walk.  We are so thankful that it wasn't worse and that he didn't end up needing any kind of physical therapy.  We really hope he never jumps off the deck or anything else again...but if you know Collin, you know that's doubtful!

Kaitlyn celebrated her 9th birthday in May...she also got glasses this year.  I am blown away that God has allowed me the gift of a daughter.  She gets prettier with each passing year and never ceases to amaze me with how smart she is.  I love her heart for animals, her spunk, her strong-will, and her determination.  She is competitive and likes to be the best.  She's growing like a weed and I can hardly believe she will be in double digits in no time.

After a rough start to his kindergarten year, Collin did adjust and actually excelled in his first year of school.  With tears in my eyes, I watched my little man receive his medal for "graduating" kindergarten.  I was one proud Mama.

The summer included several trips to Six Flags!  Kaitlyn loves the roller coasters, Landon conquered his fears and rode a few rides for the first time this year, and Collin loves the water park.

In July, Dan took risk and accepted an offer at a new job.  He is now a rental property inspector and loves his new line of work.  It was an answer to prayer and has really been such a good thing for our family.  He is able to be home more often, has a more flexible schedule, and can even work from home some days.  It's so nice to see him leave the house in something other than nasty old clothes, work boots, and tool pouches.

Collin celebrated his sixth birthday at the beginning of August.  He wasn't walking very well yet, but he enjoyed it all the same.  He got a new bike and chose McDonalds for his birthday meal.  I am thankful for the fun he brings to our little family.  His imagination is incredible and the things that come out of his mouth are hilarious.  He has a great sense of humor and is a go with the flow kind of guy.  He is impulsive and creative and keeps me on my toes...and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

My Middle Man turned eight a few days after his little brother.  My handsome boy chose Steak N Shake for his birthday meal and (just like his brother) got a new bike for his birthday.  He brings the calm and reason to our family.  He sees lessons in everything and his wheels are always turning.  He can be more reserved than the other two, but get him alone and he will talk your ear off.  He is loving and always puts others before himself.  He is cautious but does like to have fun once he feels comfortable.  I love his cuddles and the kind things he says...he truly is precious.

At the end of August, I got to check something off my bucket list...I got to run a race with my Dad.  I wasn't feeling the greatest, but this was such a special race to me.  I am so proud of both my Dad and my sister and thankful that we can share a love for running.  My Dad ran a great race and it was so fun to cross the finish line and see both of them waiting with medals around their necks.  I always enjoy running with them when we are all together and I am looking forward to running with these two this next year!

We finally started the renovations on our basement.  It's been a long time coming!  It's been fun to sit and watch my man at work and I have been amazed my his progress!  Hopefully, in 2014, we will be finished and able to enjoy our new space!

After the unfortunate death of Teddy, my little girl was heartbroken.  We had decided that it was best to give her heart a rest...but, I couldn't help myself.  I surprised her with a new friend, Asia...a dwarf rabbit...who has been so much fun to have!

Days after the kids went back to school, I started a second job at a local orchard.  I wondered if I would be able to wing it with my health concerns, but it was really a blessing.  I loved working there every day, the people that I worked with, and the atmosphere.  At the end of the season, they asked me to come back next year...of course I accepted.  They handed out vouchers to all their employees and the kids and I were able to go pick apples for free.  I am looking forward to spending the fall months of 2014 there again!

 Halloween 2013 - even the dogs dressed up. :) 

When I look at this picture I feel overwhelmed with how blessed we were this past year!  Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Looking Back

The older I get, the more important it becomes to me to look back on the passing year as it comes to a close and gather something from it...some lesson I can learn, something I can take away...food for thought maybe.  I have always believed that there are lessons to learn in everything.

There has been much heartache, loss, and rejection for me this past year...countless hurts...countless scars.  It's one thing to go through something because you know that God has something better in store for you...it's a totally different story to be brought low at the hand of another person whose intentions were not at all good.  But, there are lessons in everything and something to be learned from this past year and I have learned a lot :

If anything else, I have learned of the truest love I could ever experience on this side of Heaven : The Love of My Husband.  When I felt like I couldn't lift myself out of my bed, his strength kept me fighting.  When I felt like I was all alone and I wanted to build the highest of walls to protect my heart from any more hurt, it was my husband who kept chipping away at the wall I was trying to build.  I believe that God gave us this year to better our marriage...to bring us closer...to open my eyes to the gem I married.  I have never, ever doubted his love for me but this year I have felt every inch of it and have been overwhelmed by how deep it actually is.

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.” ~Bob Marley

I truly think this year would have broken me if not for the fact that God has told me who I am...and it's been His constant reminders (spoken to my heart through things I have read, words of friends, my parents, and words from my husband) have sustained me and kept me from believing the lies that others tried to destroy me with.  I know who I am.

Suddenly she realized that what she was regretting was not the lost past but the lost future, not what had not been but what would never be.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, A Nice Quiet Place.

This quote has really spoken to me over the past few months.  It describes what I have felt countless times this past year...I have been regretting what will never be...what will never be because I have had to set healthy boundaries for myself...what will never be because I have let go of all expectations...what will never be because there has been too much "stuff".  I am not good with change and I am loyal to a fault.  I have a hard time letting go of the familiar and will fight til the very end...but this past year has taught me that sometimes I just have to let go.  It's not letting go in failure...it's letting go because it's no longer healthy for me.  It's not letting go because I have some sort of grudge that I need to hold on to...no, it's the exact opposite...it's letting go because I no longer want to carry that grudge.  Some may not understand, but to me this all makes perfect sense.  I have had to find away to let go of the regret of the lost future...and find a way to embrace a future that looks a little different.  It took a little while, but I can finally say that I am content.

Amidst the heartache, this year has been full of joy, love, friendship, and fun.  I can honestly say that I am the happiest I have ever been.  I have realized what a gift my little family is to me and how much we need to guard our time together and cherish it even more.  I have been so thankful to the people that have surrounded my little family and I and loved on us.  I have never been so thankful for my health and the health of my family and friends.  I am so very thankful for another year at my job and the opportunity for Dan to jump in to something different.  I have watched him become a happier man and it's been so nice to have him home with us more.  It's been a year of restoration...finally feeling like we are recovering from the two years of unemployment we went through...and I am so thankful for the path He continues to carry us down.

So, as 2013 comes to an end, once again, I sit here thankful.  I am thankful for the lessons, the trials, the heartache, the hurt, the safety, our health, the laughter, and everything in between...I am thankful for normal and rest.  It's been a good year...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

 My Princess, Zaiah, and Middle Man - Christmas 2013

 Christmas Morning - 2013

Never in my thirty some years of life have I ever stayed home on Christmas Day...until this year.  It was the best gift I could have been given and I am so thankful to my husband for making that decision for us.  We took our time around our little tree opening our gifts, we made a big breakfast that everyone enjoyed, we spent almost the entire day in our PJs, we played games, watched a movie, and later on went to the movie theater to see Frozen.  It was a pretty neat experience seeing a show on Christmas Day...maybe a tradition we will have to adopt.  We came home and my husband fixed us a bbq rib dinner with garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli, and rolls.  It was wonderful spending the day together, just us.  I am looking forward to many more Christmas Days spent at home.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

And I Cried

I have always been in good health...with a great immune system...how quickly that can change.

I wasn't feeling the best for about a week and decided to go in to the doctor on Sept 10th and get things checked out.  I figured that it was allergy related (even though I have never suffered from allergies) and I would get a quick fix for them.  I was having shortness of breath, killer headaches, and feeling just plain worn out.

I walked in expecting allergy meds and maybe allergy testing and walked out with an abnormal EKG and a script to have some lab work drawn along with an order for an echo.

It's funny where your mind can go in just under 24 hours...all of the "what ifs" that flash before your eyes...different scenarios that run through your head.

I went in the next morning for an echo, which I was so nervous about, and then headed over to the lab for some lab work.

I made my way home and about an hour later, my doctor called me personally to tell me that a few of my results from of blood work didn't look so good.  My white count was low, my H&H was low, and my iron was very low.  He ordered up a few more tests and I got another call.

In my mind, things went from bad to worse.

I was given orders on what to do next and was told to come in for follow up lab work in two weeks.

In the following days, the little things became big things to me:

I sat with my both of my sons as they read to me...
and cried.

I watched my daughter put on a private skit for me from the comfort of my bed...
and cried.

I watched my husband work his magic in the kitchen...
and cried.

I went to church and sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness"...
and cried.

I felt the sun on my face and soaked in the beautiful fall-like weather...
and cried.

And today, for the first time in over a week (against my Mom's better judgement), I leashed up my Henry boy, put on my shoes, and went out for a run...
and cried.

I cried not because I don't feel quite like myself or because I have been too tired to do much of anything, but I cried because in this past week I have realized just how much I have taken for granted.  Why is it so easy to do?

While things are still up in the air, I am still left with the question, "What on earth is going on?!", and I am wondering how much longer my energy level is going to be so low, the old hymn that we sang on Sunday rings so true to me right now :

Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!“
  Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
    “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Five Years Ago : September 2, 2008

Our little guy had just turned one exactly a month before.  Our other two kids were three and four.  I was a stay at home mommy.  He was a hard worker.  He left for work early every morning and we were all eager to greet him at the door just before dinner.  We had everything we needed...and a lot of what we wanted too.  We were blessed...living out our fairytale...without a care in the world.

I still think back on this very day, 5 years ago and still remember that feeling...the feeling of being punched in the gut...the wind being let out of our sails...the lights being turned out on us...leaving us in the dark to face an unknown reality.

My phone rang at lunch time.  It was not uncommon for him to call, but something about the timing of his call seemed a bit off.  He spoke the words that I was hoping never to hear : he was let go...no work...unemployed.  I still remember where I was, what the weather was like, the exact spot where I was standing.  I guess when your world feels like it's crashing down around you, you remember where those pieces first started to fall. 

And just like that, everything changed...forever.

Little did I know that this day would begin a 22 month long unemployment for my husband where everything I knew, believed, and hoped would be tested.  My marriage would be tested, friends would become distant...some even judged our decisions, we would be told that God must be judging us, I would be criticized for leaving the house and going and getting a job, we would feel alone, hopeless, and desperate.

But...and it's a big but...

Little did we know the goodness of those who love us, how our marriage would be strengthened, what a blessing my job would become and what a family the people that I work with would become to us, our faith would be strengthened after it was put through the refining fire, how changed we would become in our way of thinking, how tenderly God would care for us, and how we would never, ever go without.

It still brings tears to my eyes when I think back on the countless times money would show up in the mail, people would drop by to give us groceries, others would pay a few of our bills, give our babies Christmas gifts, pay for date nights for us, a gym membership was bought for me...and the list goes on and on.

Our 22 month long journey seemed so long at times.  Some days it was exhausting just getting out of bed and extremely hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Month after month would go by and it seemed as if our prayers were never going to be answered.  The six month anniversary came and went...the one year anniversary was such a dark day...one and a half years came and I felt as if we had been forgotten.  I was sure that my heart was not strong enough to bear September 2, 2010.

Almost exactly 2 months before our two year anniversary, Dan went back to work.  He was working for 40% of what he used to make but we were so thankful that he was working.

Contrary to what people may believe, after one goes back to work after being unemployed for so long, there are a lot of pieces to pick back up and a lot of wounds that need healing.  The job wasn't a cure all...and even we were surprised to find this out.

Its been such a long road...but I wouldn't trade this road for anything.  I learned things about myself that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.  I watched my husband struggle and work odd jobs to keep food on our table and a roof over our heads.  I became so confident in the fact that, no matter what, he will do anything to provide for our family.

I feel that this is the year that we've finally come full circle.  Back in June, my husband made the jump and really took a risk for our family...a risk that has worked out.  He is working a job that he loves and for the first time in at least five years, he is happy again.

This day brings up a lot of emotion...but most of all it leaves me thinking just how incredibly thankful I am for the blessings that we have been given.

Our little guy just turned six exactly one month ago.  Our other two kids are eight and nine.  I was a stay at home mommy, but I have been at a wonderful job for almost five years and I love the people I work with.  He was a hard worker and still is.  He leaves for work every morning after helping the kids get off to school and is sometimes able to work from home to spend more time with us.  We have everything we need...and a lot of what we want too.  We are blessed...but know it's not always going to look like a fairytale...and know that no matter what life throws our way, we are loved, never alone, and God will carry us on days when we feel we can't take another step.