Friday, December 4, 2015

This time of year

As I sang along to the Christmas music on the radio while driving today, all of a sudden I caught my breathe. I thought to myself "you like this again, you like this season," and that felt good. And then from nowhere, instantly, came crushing guilt. Im not in the depths of grief anymore and for that I feel guilty. Guilty because I can bring to mind in seconds what it felt like in those first months and years after Caleb died. The first Halloween through New Years was awful and just thinking about it makes me sick. 

And so I don't think about it, I move on, month by month, year by year. And before I know it-here we are at year 5. This will be the 5th Christmas without him. So much has changed, and time has healed so many things. I no longer hide from the mailman bringing those happy Christmas cards with smiling families and live children. The music this time of year lifts me up and I find myself wanting more of it. The thought of family gatherings seems fun and not burdensome. And the hardest one-every time I see things that say "baby's first Christmas," I smile. SMILE. Not throw up, but smile. Because its Judah's first Christmas here and he's a baby and so I think of him and smile (and maybe, just maybe buy it!). For the shortest amount of time I allow myself to feel happy that I've come this far. However, the guilt is right there and feels crushing. 

Because what I hear in my head is: 

You are forgetting him

You don't love him

If you can be this happy maybe you were never really sad over his death

Maybe he never really died

Maybe he was never here

Maybe he never existed

Maybe you're crazy and just made the whole thing up

Now before you call the hospital and have me committed, know that these thoughts are normal (at least according to my counselor). And what these thoughts are-all of them-are lies. LIES. But thats the thing with lies, when they come one after another over and over again it gets hard to tell them from the truth. Hard to recognize where they end and begin. 

Oh Advent and Christmas season. I've missed you and Im glad you are bringing me joy again. But what do I do with the guilt and the lies that also come? I turn to the Lord and His word. Today's psalm was from Psalm 27 and its a favorite. I'll leave you with the verses that Ive been praying all day to fight the lies in my head :



Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

I do believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. As we wait for the Lord to come this season, may we continue to be strong and take heart.


Friday, October 23, 2015

The Bus Project Part II

Well we did! We sold our "second" car and are now a one car family. Since taking the leap here are some things that have happened:

- Our insurance went down $460 a year

-No more paying for license renewal fees

-Parking the mini van in the center of our garage- plenty of room on both sides now for the car seat carrier to fit!

- Money we made and put in savings from selling the car

Just a few positives, but I think the biggest one is how much having just one car fits our family right now. Since Nate started taking the bus, the kids and I usually walk him to the bus stop each morning and back again in the evening. This is a total of 2 miles a day for me (there and back in morning-there and back in afternoon). That's exercise that I don't even have to try to fit it!

When Nate drove to work, he would park the car and then come right into the chaos of the dinner scramble. Now, we have time to debrief from our day while the children are strapped into the stroller! It's been so great to have that 10-15 minutes in the morning and evening to go over our day and connect before things get crazy.

I'm glad we took the plunge-so far we haven't had any negatives to having just one car!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

You Live Here

First, thank you for your prayers for our retreat. It was the best one to date, mostly I think because we have had so much practice by now. Couples came and shared their grief with us and we hopefully lead them closer to Christ. 

I walked away from the weekend still feeling a little heavy, a little overwhelmed. September has brought in a flood of pregnancy loss outreach/educational events. In the last month I have:

-Attended a new support group, met other women, shared and listened to more heartbreaking stories
-Planned and led our own pregnancy loss retreat for couples
-Done two radio interviews sharing Caleb's story
-Spoke at a local parish to their Elizabeth Ministry Group to help them develop a pregnancy loss ministry
-Spoke over the phone with another parish across the county trying to help them start up a pregnancy loss ministry

And thats just formal stuff, not to mention the every day here and there of speaking with someone over email or Facebook that has had a loss. Recommending books or other resources to friends trying to help thier friends suffering a loss. And as I was praying this morning and "complaining" to the Lord about how hard it is to live in two worlds-the land of the living and the land of the dead- He spoke these words in the my heart "You Live Here."

I knew instantly what He meant. Four years ago when I felt Him calling us to start this ministry I had a vision (not like I actually saw it, more just in my imagination if that makes sense?) of Nathan and I moving out to a far off place. One that was very dark and very rocky. I felt the Lord ask me then "Will you stay here and build a town?" And I screamed "Yes!" Because at the time, that is what my heart longed for- a community of bereaved believers. Somewhere I could rest in my grief and be understood. And so in my mind Nathan and I built our home there-in the darkness of grief. We leaned into grief in our own lives and in a metaphorical sense we started to "build a home" in the land of the dead and dying. We started tilling the land to see if there was anything that could come from our brokenness.

About 1 year ago I felt the Lord telling me in prayer to look up. In my "vision" of creating this place or community for the lost we had been working hard to cultivate the land, so to speak,  to grow something out of our own brokenness. We had kept "our hand to the plow"  that we hadn't noticed the people, more like refugees, flooding in. And so when He said "look up" I had this vision of hundreds of people coming to our little "city for the broken." This was about the time that we had real life breakthrough in our ministry and were able to take our retreat to Chicago and go on national radio. For the first time I saw this ministry actually growing beyond our own parish and town and again I cried "yes Lord!" because that is what my heart longed for.

And now 4.5 years into this grief, my heart still longs for this city of the broken, but I just don't want to live there. Lately I've been trying to leave and thats where I feel the "burden" the most. Trying to live a normal life and getting "annoyed" with all this grief stuff that comes flooding in. And thats why God reminded me today "You live here" As in "You live here, in the town of the broken, the lost, the lonely. Please stay, please help these people, please show them the Father." He also told me that in the land of the living He doesn't really need me all that much-He can find others for that work-but here in the land of the darkness is where I live-not visit-but LIVE. 

And I had absolute peace after He revealed this to me. I get burnt out/stressed out/stretched when I try to go back and forth between the two worlds. But knowing that my mission and mission field are here-in the land of the dead- that gives clarity and simplifies things. And once again I cried out "Yes Lord," because I knew my heart was made for this-I was made for this. 

I will leave you with this from Isaiah. Nathan and I pray this often and really see it as a road map for our ministry.


Isaiah 61

The Mission to the Afflicted

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me
because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,
to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.
To announce a year of favor from the Lord.
and a day of vindication by our God, 
to comfort all who mourn.
To place on those who mourn in Zion, a diadem instead of ashes.
To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning,
a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit.
They will be called oaks of justice.
planted by the Lord to show his glory."

Dear Lord, please continue to make us "Oaks of Justice, planted to show your Glory" Amen!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The heaviness of grief ministry



"Cold is the night without you here
Just your absence ringing in my ears
Hard is the heart that feels no fear
without the bad the good disappears

Long is the road that leads me home
longer still when I walk alone
bitter is the thought of all that time
spent searching for something ill never find

take this burden away from me
and bury it before it buries me

Many are the days Ive wanted to cease
lay myself down and find some relief
heavy is the head that gets no sleep
we carry our lives around in our memories

so take away this apathy
bury it before it buries me

Steady is the hand that's come to term
with the lessons it has had to learn
Ive seen the things that I must do
Lord, this road is meant for two
So I am waiting here for you

So take my hand and set me free
Take my burdens and bury them deep
Take this burden away from me
Bury it before it buries it buries me"

This song has been playing in my head non stop for about two weeks now. I feel like it sums up not only grief, but also what grief is like now that I do a grief ministry. The stories I have heard recently from new support groups and couples registering for our retreat leave my head spinning. There is so much heartbreak and sadness in this world. I spent my holy hour this past Sunday pouring my heart out to the Lord, telling him much like the prophet Elijah "Enough oh Lord." Sometimes I wonder if I am strong enough to do this ministry, to continue to carry these stories and the hearts of these people with me. It all feels-heavy. And it often leaves me feeling unbalanced and not sure how to walk between two worlds-the land of the living and the land of the dead. And just when I wondered if God understood, or if he had really called me to this ministry I opened the book of Timothy and began reading my assigned Bible Study readings for the week.

"I am grateful to Him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry." 1 Timothy 1:12

As I read the words I felt God's smiling down on me saying ,"see, I did call you to this-you can do it-you were made for it." I left that hour of adoration feeling renewed and capable (or at least capable in knowing God is with me!)

This weekend will be good-I know that. Please pray for the couples seeking healing and for my husband and I as we lead them and train others to do this ministry.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Couples Retreat

There is still time to register for our retreat. Please spread the word to those in need.
 No cost for the couples.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Bus Project

Six months ago my husband sat me down and said he had something to "run by me." Hesitant I sat and listened while he explained to me his desire to sell our second car. My first thought was "this is crazy-the car is payed off already!" I mean, who doesn't want a second car around for the "just in case" times? He went on and on about how he wanted to take the bus (and we don't live in a city where people take public transportation-most people have their own cars and just drive). If he took the bus to and from work we would not need his car. We could save money by not paying insurance, the money from selling the car, and the random repairs that come up, not to mention gas money(which is basically a wash b/c he would have to actually by a bus pass). He answered every question I threw at him. I could see how excited this idea made him so I said "alright, but first you have to take the bus and try it out before we just up and sell the car." 

So he did. He's been taking the bus to work and back now for 3 weeks and really enjoying it. And here are a few of the changes I've seen come of it, changes for the better:

1) We now walk together the 8 blocks to and from the bus stop to drop him off. When I add in an extra loop down a side street I can log one mile in the morning and one in the afternoon-score! Exercise without trying!

2) More family time. Before he had to leave earlier because he had to park far away and take a shuttle to his department. Now we get about an extra 15-20 minutes at home each morning before walking out the door because the bus drops him off RIGHT outside his department. 

3) More awareness of the community-after a few days of standing out waiting for the bus after work Nathan noticed that there was no bench or cover. He's looking into contacting the city to see about getting something out there for the people waiting to sit on and be sheltered under while they wait. If the city does not provide it he will ask his employer-something as simple as a bench could go a long way.

4) Less stuff to worry about. Honestly I'm now looking forward to selling the car to have one less thing to worry about and maintain. 

5) Nathan has more time to "decompress" on the way home, since he isn't driving. That means by the time he sees us he is ready to transition into the "daddy!!!!" mode easier.

Those are just some of the benefits in the first few weeks. Will it always be easy? No, I'm sure the winter months will be challenging to get to and from the bus stop, but I'm confident we can figure that out as it comes. What really sealed the deal was when Pope Francis put out his latest encyclical entitled "Laudato Si’"or "Care for our common home." Read it online free here. There is even a small section on public transportation ( I knew I had officially lost this argument when I saw that!)

So for now-we are set to try and sell Nathan's car. Hoping to sell it in the next month or so. I'll keep you posted on the bus project!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Love as strong as Death

Nathan and I just celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary last month. I took some time to look back through our wedding album. That's when I saw this-


The wedding cake. I looked closer at what I already knew-the words on the cake. They had been taken from Song of Songs and say "Set me as a seal on your heart, set me as a seal on your soul." Then the bottom layer "For love is strong as death," also from Song of Songs 8:6. DEATH-who puts the word death on their wedding cake?I had to stand back and chuckle because duh-we do. 

When Caleb died God released a calling on our lives to minister to other families who have experienced the death of their children. At first people told me I was just doing it for "now" and eventually, when we had living kids, I would leave it behind. But we didn't, and maybe some look at what we do as dragging our feet in the past and not moving on-but that's not the case. God has called me to this field of death, much like the prophet Ezekiel:

"The hand of the Lord came upon me and He led me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the center of the plain, which was now filled with bones. He made me walk among them in every direction so that I saw how many there were on the surface of the plain. How dry they were!" Ezekiel 37:1-2

Looking back on our wedding cake I realize that this calling, this ministry, was written on our hearts from the beginning. This is my own personal revelation- but I truly believe that all of us sit down with God before we are born. He gives us a mission and we sign off on it. It's our job to figure out what that mission is. And how do we do it? By getting to know the Father, the one who gave us the mission in the first place. Ever since Caleb died and the new "mission" came to me in prayer, I had a sense that I had said yes to it long ago. Like some part of my heart or soul knew, just knew, that my first child would die. 

Looking back now I can see how the Lord put a love of death (weird!) in my heart. I have always been drawn to cemeteries. I love the stories you can gather there just by reading the headstones. I love the peace and stillness of the cemetery-the way it helps put our lives in perspective because we see the end-that there really will be an end one day. I have always been drawn to death, so much so that we thought we should put it on our wedding cake!

Love as strong as death- those words mean so much more now, six years later. 
At Caleb's funeral. I'll never get over how small that casket was.

Our love has been stronger than death. It will always be stronger than death because we have the love of Christ, the one who conquered death. Looking back over my life I can see how God was always forming me for this ministry of death. He was always preparing me, shaping me, guiding me. 

I'd like to leave you with a prayer that I keep tucked in my Bible about mission (not sure who wrote it originally?):

God has created me to do Him some definite service,
He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.

I have my mission-I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.

I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught, I shall do good, I shall do His work.

I shall be a preacher of Truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.

Therefore, my God, I will put myself without reserve into your hands. What have I in Heaven, and apart from you what do I want upon Earth?

My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the God of my heart. 





Monday, June 29, 2015

Prayer

I grew up going to Catholic Schools-1st grade through 12th. I left 12th grade with very little knowledge (sadly) of how to actually "pray." The thing about prayer is you can talk about it a lot but until you just "do it" and dive in, you won't get anywhere. Enter FOCUS summer training 2007. As a new missionary I was required to pray in silence for 1 hour every day, attend daily  mass, and do a rosary-every day. Talk about a change in lifestyle! Never before in my life had I spent so much quiet time with myself and God. Sure I had "prayed" before, but mostly just when I needed things. In college I had a Bible and it sat on my shelf, occasionally coming out for Bible Study each week. But now, now I had hours (literally) inside a chapel with nothing but silence. And it was HARD. It wasn't fun, at least not at first.  I laugh when I hear people say that religious monks and sisters have it "easy" because they retreat from the "world" and just pray all day. Sitting silent for hours each day requires you to look at yourself, to really sit with yourself and all the things in your life.

After spending two years in FOCUS doing the daily routine of prayer -my life changed. Suddenly God wasn't just some big thing up in the sky directing things. He was real. I took everything to him-the good, the bad, the ugly, the insignificant-everything. Its amazing how prayer shaped my daily choices and activities. Suddenly if I had a problem I found myself waiting until prayer time to figure out the next step. Things slowed way down in my life and I started to crave more silence instead of dread it.

Is there room in your day for more prayer? For more silence? A good gut check for me is to go through my daily routine and look at the noise-alarm clock, television, radio, talking on phone, music in the car, talking at work, etc. We fill our days with so much noise that God can't get in. In our home from 1-3 pm each day the kids nap, and silence fills the air. Its a beautiful thing. Having those two hours of quiet gives me time to think, to pray, to receive whatever it is God is trying to tell me. I often read scripture or other books. I can't say I spend the entire 2 hours in silence, but it is "quiet," without distractions. 

I guess I wanted to start off writing about prayer because often times when I say things like "God spoke to me" or "I feel like God is asking me to do this or that" I fear people might wonder-when? how is God speaking to you? It's in the quiet time, the prayer time. God speaks in the silence and unless we are used to listening we will miss what He is saying. Our souls can rest in silence-they were made for eternal rest so training ourselves here on Earth to rest is really just a preparation for eternity. St.Augustine said "My heart is restless until it rest in Thee." Oh how true are his words!

Hoping you can find some time today to sit in silence and pray. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Something New

When I stared this blog it was in response to wrapping up my other blog, Good Grief. I was ready to be done writing about sad things, grief, and brokenness. I envisioned this blog being about my life as a stay at home mom-recipes, play dates, crafts-whatever. But its been over a year now and I just don't see this space turing into that. There is still an ache in my heart to write, but I don't really have a desire to write about my living kids. What I need is still to write about Caleb. I need a way to parent him along with my other kids. But then, what to write? Everything that could be said about grief is pretty much summed up in the other blog. So Im praying and thinking about writing more things about our ministry here and what God is doing in our lives. I love writing and I love the outlet it gives me. I also think as Christians it's our duty to encourage one another with the things God has shown and given us. I know God is working in my life and I'm ready to start sharing that with the world, even if it sounds crazy (because it is nine times out of ten). So stick with me as I attempt to write more in this space. Until then enjoy Judah Thomas-5 months! Also, Abigail is in VBS this week and the theme is St. Patrick of Ireland! Fun Times for all!



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Life Lately

Its May! April was, ugh, just April like it always is. May brings a renewed sense of hope to my spirit. Lately we have been enjoying the nice weather, sleeping MUCH better, and overall just loving life. Nathan finished his grad school class and has the summer off from school. Judah and Abigail are getting so big!

All dressed for Church!

Adorable lion hat!Roar!

Nathan's getting a good start on the garden 
I love his smile!

Celebrating Abigail's baptism anniversary!


Love staying home so I can lounge in bed with these two!

Hitting up some good garage sale finds!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Radio Time!

Listen in tomorrow (Monday, May 4th) from 1-2 pm Central time to hear my husband and I speak live on relevant radio. We will spend the hour talking about Caleb's story and the hope, redemption, and restoration God had shown us through it all. If you can't listen in during that time, just check the archives for our show and listen anytime!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday!

A little late but Happy 4th Birthday Caleb! We spent the morning delivering muffins to our OB office and the labor and delivery floor as a thank you to all who helped us during Caleb's birth. Then we headed to dinner at steak n shake-the restaurant where I ate many burgers during my pregnancy with Caleb. Overall year 4 has been gentle, manageable, but still so sad. Missing you Caleb, every day!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

He is Risen

He is Risen, Risen Indeed!

May the Victory of Easter be with you all!


Family Picture!

Our Resurrection Garden we made-empty tomb!

This guy is my Easter Joy!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Holy Week

Today is Palm Sunday. And just like that the weight I carry of a would be almost 4 year old feels incredibly heavy. Its distracting and I've found myself fighting back tears all day. Four years ago today we were meeting with our pastor to pick out funeral readings. Two days later we buried him in the cold rain. Then we just walked away and tried to pick up our lives. Good Friday felt like a real life nightmare, not just another liturgical ceremony. Sunday was Easter, his due date, and I spent the day packing away my maternity clothes and sobbing. All of these memories came rushing in today as we held our palm branches. 

I listened to a sermon this afternoon online where the pastor asked "what does holy week mean to you?" I thought that was a good question. To me, Holy Week means sorrow-always will. The sorrow I carry from losing my own son and the sorrow I carry as I walk with Mary through this week. She is my constant companion, always willing to carry this load of grief with me.

This picture sums up how I feel this week. It's after the funeral when Nate and I were waiting for the Church to clear out before we headed to the cemetery. I love how big the crucifix looks in comparison to us. I love how empty everything around us looks because that is how it felt. I also love seeing that big Easter Candle. It gave me such hope that the light could overcome the darkness.




Praying for all those suffering this week. All those whose suffering will not end at the Easter Vigil Saturday night. Praying for all those on the cross that they can meet Jesus there and cling to him. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Meals Galore

I feel like I need to say thank you over and over again to everyone who brought us a meal. Since Judah was born we have received 23 meals! 23 meals! That is incredible! We also received countless treats from others. I had no idea before having Judah how helpful meals were. When we lost Caleb people brought us meals which was so nice, but often it was awkward and sad and no one knew what to say. Then when Abigail was born we declined a lot of meals because we felt like people had already done so much for us that year. Now with Judah the meals came rolling in and it was so wonderful. Not only did they help feed us but they also helped keep our weekly budget way low leaving room for other things like diapers and baby things, not to mention all the medical bills.  

We still have a solid 5 meals in our freezer too! And so thank you to anyone who brought us a meal or who has ever brought someone a meal. I will forever be first to sign up from now on to bring meals. Last but not least, here were some the meals in case you need ideas next time you bring someone a meal:

-Rotisserie Chicken with sides (mac n cheese, corn bread, potato salad)

-Stuffed shells-not sure all that was in it, but it was great with a side of garlic bread

-Ribs! They were delicious and came with a side of green bean casserole and sweet potatoes

-pizza-always a win

-Chicken Pot Pie-yum

-Beef stew

-anything Italian was great

-cake, cookies, snacks, wine, ice cream, all the extras that go along way! 


Thank you everyone!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Post

Here is the latest post by my husband on our ministry website. Please read and pass along to anyone in need.

The Prison of Grief

Friday, March 6, 2015

7 Quick Takes-The Birthday Edition

Last week we celebrated Abigail turning 3. Because we had just had a baby I knew that this year there would be no party so instead I said yes to a  bunch of small things. In the end I think I might have said yes to too many small things but it turned out to be a fun week.

-1-
On her actually birthday she awoke to balloons, cake, McDonalds and a few small presents on the front porch. All compliments of my parents. So cake for breakfast it was!



-2-
Then it was time for lunch with mommy only while a friend came to watch little brother.Her pick-Chick Fil-A! It was so nice to get away with just her and give her some one on one time. She wore her new rain boots and tutu!


-3-
Friday (the day after her actual birthday) found us at Jumping Jax (a bounce house) with her play group. One of the other girls in the group has a birthday just a week after Abigail. So we combine celebrations and the girls love it-and its super easy/fun for us!


-4-
Saturday morning I took her to the grocery store and this is how we shopped. She was a little tired from the excitement...

-5- 
No rest for the weary though. Saturday afternoon my mom took Abigail swimming indoors at her gym. Then Abigail got to sleep over at her house. So we were left with just this guy for the night:)


-6- 
Sunday we scheduled bowling. She had been asking to go bowling for a while so we made arrangements to have Judah watched while the three of us hit the lanes. She loved it and we all had more fun than I expected. And I won, just saying!




-7-
Happy 3rd Birthday Abigail Therese! We love you!

Linking up here for 7 Quick Takes!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Judah's Baptism

On Feb.8th we had Judah baptized into the Catholic Church. It was a simple ceremony with our family and friends gathered. Lots of joy, lots of cake, and lots of grace! 







He was so tired, this is him after everything..couldn't get him to wake up!

 His Baptism Candle





Here is Judah's baptism letter. We have written letters for all our kids explaining their names and our overall prayer for them. To read the other letters click here.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Seven Quick Takes

Seven Quick Takes....
About the first month home with two kids!


I love being home with these two kids! After Caleb died I felt so empty. Then Abigail came and things got fuller, but still there was an emptiness. With Judah here things feel full for the first time. Like I'm doing what I was always meant to do. Having two live kids feels like an incredible job promotion-its hard, obviously, but it pushes you in the right ways and stretches you. Here are few things that have been going on this first month.



-1-
Getting out of the house is rare. Here is their picture when we had to leave for Judah's two week Dr. appointment. Other than Dr. appointments we really have not left, which leads me into # 2...

-2-
The bathtub is our new best friend. Having a baby in the middle of winter means we never leave the house. That can make long days considering Abigail is up by 6-6:30 most days and Daddy doesn't get home until 5. So we've changed our routine up and bath time now happens somewhere in the middle of the day. She can spend upwards of an hour in the tub just playing-its great.



-3-
This girl started dance class the week after Judah was born. Call us crazy but I wanted her to have something to get her out of the house at least once a week. It's at night so dad or grandma can take her. She is loving it! 

Come on-that tutu is just too much!!

-4-
Lots of lounging. Nursing, not sleeping, nursing again all means one thing-lounging, all day, every day. Everyone is in their pjs most days!




Except Daddy who has to leave the house!
 -5-
Thank goodness for family! Nate's mom came to stay for a week and helped a ton. My mom is just three streets away. I can only imagine how hard it would be to raise kids with no family around-those of you doing it, you have my prayers.

Out to dinner with Grandma Gwen. Abigail was proud of herself for coloring in the lines.
We were shocked she could do it!
 -6-
Staying home means no spending money. I was amazed today when I checked my wallet to see that our normal two week cash budget was barley touched. Also having people bring meals means less on groceries. Feeling very thankful for everyone's generosity with meals, and diapers and clothes and gifts.

-7-
Overall its been a great month. Feeling sleep deprived but full of gratitude. Trying to "lean into" each day because I know they will go by so quick. This season of staying in pajamas all day and watching movies will soon pass. Trying to enjoy each moment. 






Joining up with 7Quick Takes! Join them http://thisaintthelyceum.org/sqt-thanks-betters/