"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Change in Season

A couple of weeks ago, we were coming home from dinner at my mother-in-law's house, and as usual, we had stayed too late visiting and playing games. Whenever this happens, we say our bedtime prayers in the van on our way home. The kids usually say things like they are thankful that we got to go visit Mi-Maw and eat a yummy dinner, but that night, our seven year old got unexpectedly choked up as he said his prayers. When it was his turn, he prayed, "I am thankful for Daddy and all of the hard work he does to provide for us. I'm thankful that he goes to work even when he's tired, and he even stops at the store on his way home and buys us cereal when we need it."

He barely got out the words before he broke down in sobs. I don't know what came over him that night that made him feel this so deeply, but as soon as he said it, his feelings rushed over us all like a wave. Buddy actually had to pull off to the side of the road just to give him a hug.

That moment quickly became one of those moments that will stay with me forever as a parent.  His words were like a healing balm on our broken spirits. We've had some rough times these past few years, and hearing him pray and thank God for his daddy was so incredibly beautiful.

After everyone calmed down, Buddy decided that this was the perfect time to make a big announcement to the family. Next week was Daddy's last week at his second job.

The atmosphere in the van went from tears to cheers within seconds. They quickly begged for all of the details, wanting to know just how many days we had to endure before Daddy was back with us for good. To say it was an awesome way to end the night would be an understatement.

Tonight's celebratory pizza and game night. Daddy's first Tuesday off in a long time!

Now I'm sure some of you are wondering how we are able to pull this off. Well, we've actually been praying and planning for this for quite some time. Buddy has some commission coming in that will help replace that second income, and after going into YNAB (You Need a Budget--awesome budgeting software that has given us a ton of peace as we've navigated through the scary waters of low income) and doing some number crunching, we were able to have a serious conversation about if we could make this work.

As thrilled as I was to have him home with us again, I was still scared. Was it really possible? Had we finally reached the point that he could put in his two week notice and be home with us for dinner again every night? Can we really pay bills without his second job?

We prayed about it and decided that it was time to take the leap. I haven't seen him that excited in a long time. His second job wasn't terrible (in fact, he actually made some good friends there), but those long days have really been taking their toll on him and on all of us.

As nervous as I was to remove our safety net, God had plans for us that I didn't even know about, and He set those plans into action for me at precisely the same time we decided that Buddy could quit.

It all started when I posted this picture to my Instagram:

I woke up this morning and spent the first hour of my day sneezing. When I finally realized that it rained yesterday, I set up my diffuser and within 15 minutes, I had stopped sneezing. #Ilovemyoils #youngliving

My post wasn't out of the ordinary. I love using my oils, and I also love sharing that info with my friends and family. I learned everything I know about oils from my friends. If it weren't for the awesome people in my life that shared their knowledge and love for oils with me, I may have never tried them. Because of that, anytime I use them and have a second to snap a picture, I try to share it online just in case it might help someone else.

So that day I did like I always do and posted on IG and Facebook. By the end of the day, I had a few comments, which led to private messages, and all of a sudden, I'm sending a message to my friend who enrolled me with Young Living and asking her how I could get my friends hooked up with a kit.

Within a week, I had 3 friends buy Premium Starter Kits from me.

Since that happened, I've lost track of all of the moments that made me realize that God totally had His hand in this. Sharing my love for oils was something I was already doing, but it was like He was speaking to me with neon flashing lights (the ones I always pray for and never seem to get--I got those!) and telling me that it was time for Him to bless me with this. I truly felt this overwhelming peace, like He wanted me to trust Him and continue sharing my love for oils, and He will send me the people that He needs me to help.

I know I might sound a little crazy, but I'm so excited! Each time one of my friends received their kit, it was like Christmas morning for me. I was so eager for them to experience the oils for themselves! I absolutely LOVE talking about oils and sharing tips with my family and friends and then hearing about how they have helped the people that I care about.

Now, I'd be lying if I said that earning some commission from Young Living isn't exciting. It's been a while since I've been able to contribute to our finances, and it really is a blessing to know that pretty soon I am going to have a little bit of income to add in and help our family. But the truth is, I am even more grateful that I can do that by helping other people. Every moment that I've spent chatting about oils and helping my friends get started with Young Living has been a blessing to me, and that really has very little to do with my new income.

So here we are--finally, a change in season! Things aren't drastically different yet, but remember, we are used to Louisiana seasons where you can't ever swap out your summer clothes for winter just because fall begins. We are are used to carefully moving forward with hope for the future. We never expected this season to change for us overnight, but we are feeling that cool, refreshing breeze in the air, and just like any other true Southerner, we are going to take a deep breath and enjoy it, because we know that God has wonderful plans for our future.

And when He commands it, this season will change. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Little Ballerina

It's been 2 weeks since my last post, and every time I sit down to write, someone ends up needing me and I have to step away from the computer yet again. It's frustrating, not having a quiet, uninterrupted minute to collect my thoughts and write, but that's typical of motherhood, isn't it?

Even though I still can't say everything that I'd like to say in this post, I do want to at least share a few pictures for those of you who prayed for us.


God provided in a big way to make this happen, and I have cried many, many tears of gratefulness because of it. My little ballerina has already been to two classes, and she has loved every second! Thank you so much for your prayers!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Christmas Money

I need a place to pour out my heart, so here I am again, typing away on my computer, desperately hoping that putting words on the screen will prove to be therapeutic enough that I can get some much needed sleep.

Last Christmas, instead of a bunch of new toys, we asked our families to consider gifting our kids with money so that we could afford to sign them up for a fun, extra-curricular activity. My daughter had dreams of learning ballet, and the boys had hopes of joining a soccer team. We had a pretty good response to this idea, and the three big kids got about $250 in Christmas money combined.

Because it was in the middle of the year and we had one kid in First Communion prep class (meaning he had at least 3 big Saturdays coming up in the near future), we decided to wait until the Fall before signing the kids up so we wouldn't be paying for and missing out on some of their fun classes.

Now fast forward to the past few weeks.

I've been researching and crunching numbers. Even though I had a good idea of what it was all going to cost, seeing it all on paper has picked at the wound of our financial situation once again. Soccer, even at the YMCA, is $90 per kid after the registration fee (because we can't afford to be members) plus the cost of shoes and cleats. The ballet class we were hoping to attend is $45/month, plus a $25 registration fee, plus the cost of her outfit (uniform?) so they can all match at class.

After realizing just how expensive it was going to be for my daughter to step foot in her first month of classes, I got concerned. We really don't have the extra money to continue paying $45/month, and after we sign up all of the kids for each thing and get the required clothes for my daughter to take the class, their Christmas money will have run out.

It was a painful conversation to have, but I sat down and explained the problem to my daughter. I told her that it didn't seem like the smart thing to do, spending all of her share of the money so that she could attend 4 classes and then have to quit. I tried to convince her to look into another option, maybe find something that was a one time fee like soccer, and that way she'd at least get 8 fun classes out of it.

She didn't even try to hide it. She was heartbroken.

Since soccer registration was coming up this week, I decided to try one more option. A friend told me that we would probably qualify for financial assistance at the YMCA, and we could probably get a discounted membership. She told me the name of who I needed to contact, so I got online and sent an email explaining a little bit about our family and asking about any financial assistance that might be available.

Shortly after I sent the email, I received one back from someone different than the original person I wrote to, and this woman told me there was a homeschooling discount of 10% off of the monthly fee.

You want to know what the monthly fee is for our YMCA?


Anyone good at math?

Just in case you are as tired as I am right now, 10% of $79 is EIGHT BUCKS.

Not even $8.

Now, I'm not trying to sound ungrateful. It is nice that they offer a discount to homeschooling families. It really is. But my problem is, I reached out to them because we are struggling. I mentioned that we needed help. And it clearly states on their website that they are a nonprofit that offers help to families that would otherwise not be able to afford a membership.

Um, didn't I just tell them that we can't afford the membership rates?  Maybe I wasn't clear enough.

After reading their response, I walked away from the computer feeling hopeless. I guess we have to go down there and beg for help--maybe even show them our bank statements and check stubs. Apparently sending an email requesting information isn't good enough. There must be many more hoops to jump through if you want to find out about the TOP SECRET INFORMATION regarding any type of assistance from the YMCA.

Anyone who has struggled financially knows that it is a constant lesson in humbling experiences. There is no room for pride when you are always needing help. Over and over again, you must relieve the numbers and quietly tell yourself that this help is only temporary; we will be out of this season soon.

I honestly do not know if we will even bother to make the trip down to the YMCA to ask anyone else about assistance. That was the second time I've requested information, and both times I was told the same number: 10%. I'm just not sure it's worth the heartache of having to spell out our finances to another stranger. Each of the boys have almost enough money to buy their cleats and sign up for one season, and I think they will enjoy what they get out of it. No use beating a dead horse.

Instead of continuing down that path, I've been searching for something for my daughter to try that would make more sense with what she has to spend. I even considered asking a seasoned ballerina in our homeschool group if she would consider teaching a more informal class to a few kids out of her home for a small fee, but I don't know if that would even work. I'm guessing they would still need the special room for dancing. (Obviously, I know very little about ballet!) I've been grasping at straws, trying to figure out a solution that would work with what we have and also make my girl happy.

And then tonight, after another long day of schooling and mothering and pouring over the numbers, I leaned over to hug and kiss my girl and tell her goodnight. I traced a cross on her forehead and whispered that I love her like I always do, and she wrapped her arms around my neck and gave me a tight hug like she always does. But tonight, as she released her arms from around my neck, she looked at me with these big, blue, disappointed eyes and said, "Mama, I know you said I only have enough money for 4 ballet classes, but I really want to spend my money on that. I want to take the 4 classes. I really want to do ballet."

My heart sank. I could barely get out the words, "We will talk about it more tomorrow."

I had to quickly escape her room. I hurried to the kitchen sink that was waiting for me with dirty dishes, and I stood there and sobbed.

I just don't know how people do it. I don't know how people can afford so many extra activities for their kids. I know lots of people these days stop after having one or two kids for this very reason, but even our Catholic friends with big families have their kids in lots of things. We just can't do it. Even with how hard Buddy works holding down two jobs, there's just not enough left in the budget.

Man, that's a hard pill to swallow.

I left the dishes and had a big, ugly cry on the sofa. If my only my tears could turn into money, we'd be rich by now.

After wiping my face, I immediately knew that I needed to write. I know that putting these words out there on my blog might seem crazy considering everything I just said about how humiliating it can be to relive our financial situation with other people, but for some reason, my blog is different. I guess it's mostly because I have so few people who actually read what I write, but it's also because sometimes I just need to get it out. I need to write it down in a place that I know I can come back to one day and remember our journey. I write in hopes that sometime in the future I will be able to look back and say to myself, "I remember the pain of that day. I remember that feeling of hopelessness. But look at us now. Look at how God provided."

I know that day will come. I've said those words already so many times. Even where we stand today, my face still sticky from tears, I can look back and say, "God has always provided," and I can say with confidence that He will continue to provide for our needs. We might not get everything we want, but I know He will give us what we need.

I trust that He knows each and every one of my days, and He will be with me through them all.

*I feel like I need to end this post with a note saying that I did not write this so that anyone would try and fix my problems. Writing is my therapy, and knowing that you care enough to read my words, possibly share a kind comment, and/or say a few prayers for us means the world to me!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dear Child of Mine, I Want You to Know

Dear Child of Mine,

Even though right now your days mostly consist of building with Legos and fighting with your siblings over toys, it's been on my heart to write you this letter because one day, when you are an adult and ready to enjoy your own married life to the spouse that God has entrusted to you to love, I want you to be able to read it over and over again so that you will know all of these important things deep in your heart.

Because, Dear Child, they are so important. 

These things I want you to know are life-changing kinds of things. They are the things that God has used to refine me in His fire, to change my heart, and to mold me into a better woman, a better wife, and a better mother. 

Dear Child, I want you to know what's in my heart about Natural Family Planning.

NFP has been one of the greatest blessings in my marriage, but it has also been one of the most frustrating sacrifices your dad and I have ever endured. It has forced us to stretch our relationship and our love for one another in ways that were both painful and healing, and it has taught us how to trust in God in a way that has impacted our lives like no other.  Sometimes that trust has come easily, but other times, the times that we have struggled financially, mentally, physically, and/or spiritually, that trust has felt like walking across a rickety old broken bridge and praying Hail Marys all of the way to the other side.

So, Dear Child, as you and your spouse approach what I hope will be many beautiful years of marriage, there are a few things that I want you to know.

I want you to know that I am proud of you for following the Church's teaching on family planning. I know how hard it is to pick the more difficult road. I know how appealing it might be to grab that magical pill that promises what you are longing for: physically connecting with your spouse whenever your heart desires without fear of pregnancy. When it gets hard to stay on the right path, remember what I taught you. The easy path is rarely the best one.

I want you to know that I understand how difficult it is to discern if you should try to conceive or try to avoid pregnancy. While it is true what they say, the timing will NEVER be perfect, using NFP will help you to pray your way through each cycle. It will help you talk with your spouse about your fears and then hand those fears over to God in prayer and through sacrifice. This discernment will sometimes feel like a roller coaster of emotions, longing for a child one minute and realizing how badly your need to avoid pregnancy the next. This discernment is not always easy, and I want you to know that even when you feel like no one else understands what you are going through as you pray for God to guide you, I will understand.

I want you to know that I trust in your judgement. As I mentioned before, NFP has helped to refine my heart. It has forced me to call myself out on my irrational fears and really dig deep to discern if my reasons to avoid pregnancy are just. I want to remind you that God knows your heart, and as long as you are prayerfully discerning, it's OK to chose your path even if everyone else in the world thinks your decision (whether TTC, TTW, or TTA) is wrong. I know how hard it can be to trust God to guide your heart when faced with such a life-changing decision, and it only makes it worse when the world is telling you that it's too dangerous to rely on prayer as your guide. Trust God anyway.

I want you to know that I will support you with every pregnancy. I promise to hug you, to cry with you, and to tell you with each and every pregnancy that I love you and that I'm proud of you. It doesn't matter if you're worried or if I'm worried or if all of your friends and family are worried that the timing is bad. If God sends you a child, His timing is never wrong. He knows far more than we do about His plans for you and for your family. In those emotional moments after seeing that positive pregnancy test, I want to assure you that I will be your refuge. I promise that I will be by your side and that I will allow you to feel every feeling that comes with each and every pregnancy. You can feel happy even if everyone else feels like you shouldn't be happy, and I will rejoice with you. You can feel sad and scared about what lies ahead (even though we both know that you already love your child). You can feel angry and frustrated and overwhelmed, and I will remain next to you so I can hold you up when you do not know how you will stand.

Dear Child, I want you to know that I love you, and in this crazy, mixed-up world we are living in, I am here for you--to listen, to talk, to rejoice with you, and to cry with you. I am your mother, and just as God knew that your presence in my life would be a gift that I would treasure forever, He knows what's best for you and your family as well. Trust in Him.  


Friday, July 24, 2015

Dear Stranger, I Am Not Pregnant.

Dear Stranger,

When you admired my children in Walmart, I was happy to share their joyful spirits with you.

I even smiled and agreed when you laughed and told me the obvious, "You have your hands full!"

But when you patted your belly and pointed at mine so you could ask when my next one was due, you crossed a line.

A big one.

Dear Stranger, NONE of these women are pregnant.

I went home and cried that day, just like I do anytime someone asks me that question.

I cried for the obvious reason. You pointed out the weight I haven't lost. No girl likes to be called fat.

I cried because that weight you pointed out is from constantly putting myself last. It's another sign of the lack of self care that I've promised myself I'd commit to and then quickly dismissed when everyone else needed me.

I cried because part of me honestly wished that I were pregnant. Not that it's any of your business, but I'd love to add another little one to our family.

I cried because in the two seconds it took for you to blurt out that question, you ripped open a wound that has been trying desperately to heal. Your insensitive question forced me to think of all of the reasons we have to avoid getting pregnant, and even though I'm trying to be patient, it totally sucks being reminded of those things in the middle of Walmart.

The truth is, I do not regret the generosity required of my body for pregnancy and nursing. In the battle between tight abs and my awesome family, my family wins out every time.

But if you could just spare me--and every other woman on the planet--that dreaded question, I'd really appreciate it.

If you could just see my bump and assume that it's an unintentional badge of motherhood instead of insisting it's an obvious sign of pregnancy that would be great.

People need to recognize that a mother's body comes in many shapes, and all too often her body will resemble the shape it first took to hold life.

People need to realize that the woman they are speaking to could very well be suffering with infertility or a recent miscarriage, and your words could sting far worse than they ever did for me today.

The truth of the matter is, good intentions or not, the contents of a woman's uterus is not a conversation she should have to have in the check out line at Walmart or at the park with her kids or in the waiting room at the doctor's office or anywhere really.

While it is my hope that people will look at my family and see happy children and an openness to life, that certainly isn't an invitation to automatically lose your filter.

So, dear stranger, unless a woman brings the topic of her pregnancy into the conversation, can we just agree that it's not polite to ask?

Much love,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Empty Driveway

I held my breath as I turned the familiar three turns at the beginning of the neighborhood I grew up in. I was on my way to drop the kids off at my parents' house for a few hours. I was invited to a girls' night out at Painting With a Twist, and even though I was exhausted and emotional, I pushed the petal and continued on my way.

As I headed down the road, I let out a quiet sigh. The driveway was still empty.

Thank you, Jesus.

It seemed silly to want to deny the inevitable. Even though the moving trucks had yet to arrive, they'd be there soon. I knew that. I just wasn't ready to face them quite yet.

The emptiness of the house stabbed at my heart. I quietly fought back tears as I composed myself in my parents' driveway. I had just finished spending the day listening to the squeals and giggles of their girls playing with my crew - our last official play date. It was bittersweet knowing they were at our house so that their parents, our good friends, could sign the papers to finalize their move.

Deep. Breaths. 

I fully admit that I'm a very sensitive person. I could never do what they do. I always get so attached; I would kill me to move so often. They sacrifice so much, and while I am thankful for their service and commitment to our country, I am (selfishly) so incredibly sad to see them go.

Last week, by the grace of God and the help of my awesome big brother, we were able to go out on a kid-free double date. You know you are sharing a meal with awesome people when you start off with prayer and end with stories that have you laughing until you cry. It was so much fun; it actually made me really mad that we had waited so long to make it happen!

Check out that shiny tooth action!

As terrible as this sounds, as we've neared the end of their time with us, I've started to feel like one of my kids fighting to let go of a favorite toy.

Please, God, don't make me share!

The truth is, I don't usually allow myself to get this close to people. I've built (too many) walls trying to protect my heart from the pain of either being hurt or what seems to be (especially in the last few years) the inevitable move to another state.

Our kids are going to grow by leaps and bounds in the next few years, and we will have 2,000 miles separating us. I know that we have phone calls, texts, Facebook, and Skype, but I also know that life will get busy and phone calls are always so freaking hard for us mamas.

Let's be honest. This is going to be hard. 

But for now, we will take it one day at a time. We will say goodbye with tight hugs and heavy hearts. Hopefully the red beans from my parents will last them a little while, and the love we packed in their hearts will help get them through this hard transition. We will be praying for safe travels as they load up their van and start out on their newest adventure in just a couple of days. I know they've lived many places over the years, but I'd like to think that our family helped to make this place really feel like home. The only problem is, as much as that may have helped while they were here, it will also probably make it that much harder to leave. (You gotta love a good catch-22!)

Would you mind offering up a prayer for both of our families? Saying goodbye is going to be so very hard!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Never-ending Negatives

Lately, it seems like God has been calling me back to the keyboard, begging me to write again.  

God, what do You want me to say? 

I feel like I have nothing left in me right now. Some days, I struggle to pray prayers that I've known since I was a child. If I try to pray from my heart instead, I often come up with an emptiness that makes my heart swell with sadness.

What more can I say that I haven't said 1,000 times over since this miserable season began? 

But He is right. I do miss writing.  I miss having something to say besides, "Stop!" and "No!" and "I'm so tired."

Lately, it feels like my body and my mind are overflowing with negatives, and no matter how hard I try to pull myself out of it, it seems like I'm only allowed a gulp of air before I'm pulled right back under water again.

Buddy has been working an insane number of hours lately. His schedule at his full time job was adjusted a bit, and it has caused quite an upset in our already stressful lives. Before this change, he was able to come home in between jobs. He had just enough time to switch uniforms and grab a bite to eat, but it also meant hugs and kisses and being a family - even if for just a few minutes a day. Now, he goes straight from one job to the next, eating a peanut butter sandwich as his dinner on the way.


We both knew that those few minutes were valuable, but these last two weeks of adjusting to entire days without seeing him have been even harder than we imagined. I hate that he goes days without seeing the kids and that when the two of us finally get to see one another, we basically hug and collapse all at the same time.

Our days are long and our bodies and minds are exhausted.

I know there are lessons to learn in all of this, and I'm trying. I really am.

Unfortunately, there are too many days that I fail to understand what God is hoping to teach me. I find myself stuck thinking about the never-ending negatives in my life, which tend blind me from seeing the lesson I am supposed to be learning.

It's so incredibly hard to see my husband - an amazing man of faith, a man that is extremely hardworking, a man that can teach himself anything and then turn around and do it like a pro - still struggle to find a good job.

It just doesn't seem fair.

And I know what you are thinking. I know that life isn't fair. I know that God has a plan. I know that one day we will reminisce about this season and be proud of all of our hard work and everything that we survived together.

I really wish that our future selves could come whisper to our present selves the secrets of our future. Man, that would be AWESOME.
But even without knowing the future, I do know that things will get better. I have no idea how God will make this season change, but my tired heart does find rest in the constant that is my God. And right now, I am so incredibly thankful for rest.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Storm

I stand silently at the window
Watching the trees sway
As the rain falls
And the ditches overflow

I pray.
I remind myself that I am safe.
I am loved.
I am His.

The storm grows stronger
Lightning strikes
So close
I feel the thunder in my bones

Panic fills my mind
Anxiety, the uninvited houseguest 

I pray.
I remind myself that I am safe.
I am loved.
I am His.

Despite my objection
The dam breaks
My eyes overflow
And my shirt absorbs
what my body can no longer contain

I pray.
I am safe.
I am loved.
I am His.

This storm will pass
But another will come
I tell myself to be strong
I remind myself to pray

I am safe.
I am loved.
I am His.

I wait
for Sunshine

 (photo by OldSmokey on wunderground.com)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Deja Vu: Dreams Come True

I woke up this morning to this cuddle bug being extra cuddly.

He rubbed my back and gave me lots of hugs. He sat up with excitement and shouted, "I took a good nap! I'm a big boy!"  

(Not quite kiddo. Big boys sleep through the night. Let's keep working on that one.)

Still tired from that 2:30AM waking that lasted almost 45 minutes, I forced a smile and told him that I was proud of how much better he was doing.

Encourage and hope.

Encourage and hope.

Encourage and hope.

Then the little stinker did something that totally caught me by surprise. He grabbed my face with both hands, kissed both of my cheeks, my forehead, and then my lips and said, "I love you, Mom!"

Melt. My. Heart. Into. A. Puddle.

As if this gesture wasn't sweet enough all by itself, I also had tears in my eyes from deja vu. Almost 16 years ago, his daddy had done that same pattern of kisses on me. After a long break up, he realized he was in love with me, and that was the way he told me.

It was completely unexpected and romantic enough to be right out of a movie.

As I stared into my baby's eyes (the big, chocolate brown eyes that he gets from his daddy), I felt my heart bursting inside.

How do I ever let a moment go by where I forget all of my blessings?

Moments later, my bed was overflowing. The 3 big kids had piled in and fought for bed space, and then we all snuggled under the covers to keep warm.

Seventeen years ago, as I closed my eyes and received my very first kiss, I did what every teenage girl does: I imagined my future with the boy who had my heart.
Now here I am, preparing to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in a few months and being loved on by our four beautiful, amazing children.

God is so good.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Rejoicing in the New Year

I recently finished updating my calendar for 2015. Every time I fill in a new calendar, I have to take a deep breath when I get to the end. The time really does go by so fast.

Our top milestones this year will include:

~ Our oldest child will be nine, and the baby will be three!

~ Celebrating 10 years of marriage to my best friend!

~ We will have two children who are able to experience the amazing healing of Confession and the incredible privilege of receiving the Eucharist!

I don't know about you, but I'm excited about 2015!

While there are many special days to write down, I'm sure that we will also fill all of the empty spaces with many memories. While I don't know everything the future holds, I do know that...

We will be sad as we say goodbye to visiting family and friends, and we will hold on to hope and anticipation as we begin a new countdown leading up to their next visit.

We will go to Mass every Sunday as a family.

We will give Buddy many goodbye kisses as he carries the weight of being the provider.

I will occasionally wipe the tears of a child that misses Daddy as I embrace my role as their mother during this difficult season of financial stress.

We will continue to schedule in Skype dates with Daddy on his lunch break, and we will giggle at all of the funny things he can do on the screen.

We will enjoy the blessing of family dinners filled with delicious food and inevitable laughter.

We will play board games and kick soccer balls.

We will pray for our old cars to work for another day.

We will have impromptu dance parties in our pjs.

We will wipe snotty noses, scrub dirty fingernails, and do mountains and mountains of laundry.
We will rejoice in every opportunity to squeeze in a (cheap) date to celebrate and nurture our marriage.

We (I) will probably have at least one good cry over spilled milk.

We will pray together as a family and encourage each other to have an attitude of gratitude no matter what.

We will go on walks together and throw our hands in the air so we can fully enjoy the simple gift of a nice breeze.

We will rejoice in a new day.