Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My 2014 reflections

I sit here this morning, like all of you, on the cusp of a new year.  Reflecting on the old year.  Wondering.  Thinking.  Thanking.

I know my year was hard.  Truth be told, it probably had more hard days than easy days.

But, as  I sit here reflecting, that's not how I feel.  I feel thankful.  Blessed.  Peace.

It's so strange really.

I'd love to be able to grasp what it is.  But, like the wind, you can't grasp ahold of a wild God.  One who brings peace in the storms.  Blesses way beyond measure.  Leads down roads less traveled.  Provides opportunity, talent & ability to do the impossible.

I turned 42 this year.

I am convinced that if we are following God's plans, the older we get the better we get.  We have made enough mistakes and lived enough life that we know God's faithfulness.  We know how He was there for us, and we worry less about the little things.  His Spirit growing in us blossoms a little more & we get to experience more of it & less of the fleshy feelings.

I will chalk 2014 up as a successful year.  The reasons I will call it successful are the peace & thankfulness I feel today.  It's not that it wasn't hard, or had perfection.  I hope I keep my writing & life real & transparent enough that you know it wasn't.

As I get older, I am feeling more alive.  Like the creativity that was sunk under a load of dirty laundry, dishes, disorganization, & children is beginning to seep through.  It's beginning to have an outlet through photography, and through some painting & decorating outlets.  It's showing through in words & deeds & life.

Highlights of this past year were amazing, I LOVED being the mom that had a son graduate college, get married & get a job serving on the police department!  I LOVE my new daughter-in-law & the life they are building together.  I am BLOWN away by Leah's outlook on life, her gentle spirit, desire to serve God, her Scholarships, her work ethic.  I LOVE seeing Kiahna succeed at anything.  Even if it's just sitting quietly and letting me accomplish 2 miles on the treadmill.  I ADORE family times, vacations, photos, being together.

God has been very real & apparent in HIS blessing on our family.

BUT.  He may be more real and apparent in the times that were hard.  When the van breaks down, the washer, the sink, the toilet, the child.  When the life doesn't seem to have had any progress over the year towards GOD.  When there is fighting, nasty words, unfair treatment.

The reason He is so apparent in these times, is more in the way that they aren't the first things to come to mind.  And in the way that they all provide opportunity for Him to show himself.

With Z & Kiahna, I have no choice but to sit back and see how & what God is going to do for them.  I  have no control over either life.  Both are waiting miracles.  There are moments in every day that I am threatened to doubt with them both.  And there are moments in every day when I have to surrender them to the ONE TRUE GOD.

These hard things in our lives.  They are the things that keep us in Christ.  So much more than the "happy" things.  While we thank God for the happy, and we truly mean it, we thank God for the Hard & we truly learn from it.

I look forward to seeing God work in 2015.

I look forward to the amazing things HE will do through my camera lens.

The awesome people we will meet through business ventures.

The way HE will work in Z's life, knowing HE is the FATHER to the fatherless & has Z on a path to Himself.

The way HE will work in K's life, believing each day she lives in a miracle.

The seminar I purchased to teach me more about FASD & hopefully will be able to learn, share and teach from.

The graduation of my third from high school & the beginning of her college life.

James & Brooke moving closer to us.

Family trips, traditions, & living life in the Beauty of Christ love inside us.


To Him be the glory.  The growth.  The praise.  The Honor.

Be blessed friends, thanks for reading in 2014.  Here is to 2015... may we live it...

In His Grip.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Almost Christmas!

The anticipation is making some of us crazy.

And some of us feel it has come too quickly & will be over to fast.

Usually the difference is how old you are.

My kids are all anxiously awaiting the opening of the plentiful piles of gifts we have each purchased for each other!  In the recent years we have begun each getting everyone else one gift, including me.  But when seven of us get gifts for seven other people, that's a lot of gifts under one tree!  We are blessed beyond, not a moment of doubt.

I have been so blessed for years and years as the brothers & sisters who do life with me bless me with cards & gifts of money at Christmas.  We have never went without.  Much more than we deserve.

Speaking of more than we deserve.  My senior, Leah, had a two month project at school.  It was not a big deal, part of a finance class the seniors take.  They did this online program called the H & R Block Budget Challenge.  No big deal.

As time went on Leah shared that she was doing really well in this budget challenge.  They were required to put pretend money in 401K plans, pay bills, etc.  She would talk about it, and it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but, okay, sounds like a good, learning project.

Well, as the end of the project approached last week.  She said, she was ranked number 32 in the contest and that the top 22 won $20,000 college scholarships.  And that her teacher was pretty sure that once all the information was turned in she would move up in the standings.  WAIT!! WHAT??

I had to search online myself to see if this was a legit thing.  Seemed it was.

The deadline came and went and she moved up in the standings to NUMBER 15!!!  She wins a $20,000 scholarship!!!  When you consider that there are 11,000 student participating in this project.

My mind is still blowing.

The blessing that this is.  The confirmation that God is calling her to spend some time at college.  The burden this takes off our family.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

I am excited to be doing a Caregiver Kick Start with Jeff Noble here at the beginning of the year.  I often share Jeff's wisdom from his Facebook page.  His website is FASD Forever  if you are interested in taking a look.

Basically is a place for parents who are raising children with FASD to have support and education and understanding.  Already feeling the support & it's a blessing.

Being home for two weeks of Christmas break is hard on Kiahna.  She likes her routine and her school.  Its never easy on any of us to adapt to these things.

Yesterday was interesting.  A little story for you about a day in the life.

Kiahna was the only one awake & I was anxious to get my day going.  I had some errands in town & wanted to go in and get on the treadmill awhile.  (I like my routine too).  I asked K if she thought she could sit on the couches with the kindle while I was on the treadmill, she thought she could.  So we went.

We walked in the doors, and a couple of ladies I have never seen before were sitting in the area that she was planning to sit in.  (the couches she can see the treadmills from).  So, they got the glare.  She wasn't all that worked up, just the glare.  She sat in a seat, but kept glaring.

I needed to run to the restrooms and I asked her if she was okay or if she wanted to come.  She said she was okay.

When I came back the ladies had moved to a different area.  One close to the check in desk.  I was waiting at the check in desk and just casually said, "did she ask you to move?"

The woman said, "we don't need to be looked at like that.  She needs Jesus in her heart, then she wouldn't make faces like that".

Kiahna had wondered back over to me by this time, and she told the ladies she was sorry for glaring.

I stood there, stunned, trying to decide if and how to reply to that.  I decided to not reply.  K asked me  if she could make some hot chocolate (which is complimentary there) and I told her yes & tried to help, which she replied I should just go, she was not a baby.  (yes, but you make a mess and then get scolded by the staff for not cleaning up, been there, done that).

She proceeded to make her hot chocolate and choose to sit in a different area that was out of my view.

Made me a little nervous, but I told the desk worker to come get me if she needed me.  All was well.

Except what that woman had said.

She was still at the gym when we were done.

Kiahna had sat playing for 30 minutes without a stitch of troubles.

Only Jesus Lady.

I wanted to go over to her and set her straight on so many levels.  I decided I would pray that if our paths crossed again, I would try to clarify some things to her about exactly what Jesus has done for Kiahna and myself.

Our paths didn't cross.

At least not this day.

I have never seen her there before, maybe she is a new member and I will have a chance one day, after I have prayed and wasn't so upset by her words, and maybe K won't be in earshot.  Or maybe she should be.

Having a disability that is not obvious is a very challenging thing.  On so many levels, strangers don't see it, can't blame them.  Even in our home, it's hard, it feels like she should be able to do things that she can't.  There is an abundance of frustration.

Last night she put potatoes in my Essential Oils diffuser.  Did I mention she is frustrating?

Anyway, not to be negative in any way, I just wanted to share a day in the life.  We are beyond, beyond blessed.

My family will all be together this Christmas, (we get the newly weds on Christmas Eve and then they will be with her family on Christmas Day)  I am cooking and baking all kinds of surgery, buttery, caloric things that I will spend the next year burning off.  What else would I do.

A few photos:

Gifts we made for teachers, bus drivers, and a few others.  I got a free printable from one of my album companies & made these tags from them.  I believe we have made 6 recipes of Cocoa this year so far.  

Puppy Chow.  This stuff is just wrong.

I took this photo.  She said.  I glared.  I said.  Okay.  Enjoying our tree and my time with her anyway.  

Jadon as Rudolph when the Fifth Grade Choir went to Swiss Village Retirement Center to sing Christmas Carols last week.

Leah curling my niece Hallie's hair for her first fancy Christmas dance in Middle School.

I haven't made caramels in a few years, they were maybe a tad soft, but way good.

My boys helping with the Caramels.

Kiahna dipping pretzels.  Very therapeutic.  Not sure how sanitary.

Super exciting to have the doorbell ring last night and find this gift for ME!  And then to get on Facebook and read that other single mom's from church were getting the same surprise at their door last night!  God's rich amazing blessings on whoever did this!!  LOVE everything in here!!!

Wishing each of you a very Blessed Christmas!!

In His AMAZING Grip,


Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Sprit in my life.

Hey!  How we all doing this beautiful, short Christmas season!?

Well, as beautiful as it can be without snow.  I am sad it isn't snowy out.

It's crazy foggy & my kids just left for school in it, yikes.  Prayer for safe travels.

Good news!  Z got a job!  Started last Friday.  Happy that the environment is going to be small & should be pretty good & positive.  Hoping he can embrace & run with this & not mess it up.

This past weekend marked a year since he was arrested for drinking & driving.  If I stop to think about it, I am not sure how much progress we have made this past year, I am not sure if he is better or worse or the same that he was.  He is on a journey, he isn't where he is going, but aren't we all.  I am not spending much time dwelling on his life.  It's too frustrating if I do.  Trusting God has it.

My shopping is pretty much done, I have some returns & am waiting for lots of things to come in the mail!  I love finding special gifts for my kids at Christmas,  it's easy to lose that focus and think that somehow buying gifts might not be what Christmas is supposed to be about, but we can't rule out the heart behind making people feel special & loved & pouring out God's amazing love through us to those we love at Christmas time.

I met with a friend, I'll call her "H" a few weeks ago.  She is a fellow single mom at my church.  I met with her after some discouraging Facebook posts she had made.  I wanted to be an encouragement.  We met for an hour or so, not a big deal, right.  

After we met, H, implements some of the things I encouraged her to do.  And I went back to my life & felt totally attacked by the enemy for reaching out of my comfort zone, for thinking I could help someone else.  I feel like our enemy really likes to consume us with our own problems & overwhelm us and keep us from feeling like if we extend ourselves to someone else we will be overwhelmed and stressed out.  At least he does to me.

My life has not be easy since I became a single mom or with my special needs kid, running a business, etc.  How could I possibly add in anything else?  

But, I put my Christmas up early, my work load was pretty much caught up, my shopping was under control, my kids were pretty much stable (for a moment long enough I could breath a bit)

I decided that I could offer to keep this other mom's kids  (who works full time) so she could go Christmas shopping.  And I could express to some people that she has a need for some financial help to make Christmas happen for her kids.  I could help her kids get a gift for their mom for Christmas, since none of them could drive or had jobs bringing money in to buy them on their own.  I could do that.  I have had other people do this for me in past years.  I could give this back.

So, I hesitated.  Could I really do this?  Would it push my head back under water if I did?  Would bringing 4 more kids in to my house for a day make me drown?  Could I do it?  It kept nagging at me.

I prayed about it.  I talked to my kids about it.  If my kids were on board, then I might be able to do it.  If Leah helps me.  Maybe she could get some of her friends around to help too?

At that point I decided to ask this mom if she was interested in me even doing this.  She jumped on the chance right away.  Then I asked her kids if they needed help getting a gift for their mom.  They jumped on board.

I encouraged the mom to ask a friend to go shop with her.  I told her I could watch the kids all day.  

I took a deep breath & prayed it wouldn't drown me.

I decided that taking photos of the kids would be a good gift for their mom.  I asked the kids and they agreed.

As the week progressed, my mind raced, I wondered if I could somehow prompt more people in this busy season, to get involved.  Could we do even more for her?

I wrote an email.  And I sent to a few people, and asked them to forward to anyone who they felt could or would want to help.

I had some ideas, for some freezer meals, house cleaning, finances for gifts, babysitting for the kids (HELP ME PLEASE!!  DON'T LEAVE ME WITH ALL THESE KIDS ALONE!!)

It went out, the response was slow, I was a little discouraged, then I thought, "No, this isn't my plan.  If God is in this, He will do what He wants done.  I will do what I feel called to do, watch the kids, and take their photos, everything else is out of my hands, & will pull me under if I try to do it myself".

Trust God.

I have been so crazy blessed by people.  I really wanted this mom to feel that too.

She did.

As the days of the week went on, I got some phone calls, some money donations, some volunteers to clean.  Leah contacted her friends, there was some interest in helping here with the kids, doing hair, making cookies...

I went shopping, got the kids coordinating sweaters for their photos, hoped & prayed that they would fit, & that they had their own shoes & pants to go with them.  (they did)

I wondered if the house would be open that we could get in to clean?  Get the clothing we needed?

I figured out a back up plan for an extra key if if was locked.

Saturday morning came, one of her kids spilled the beans on the photos I was taking.  It was okay, I told her to leave the door open & pretend she knew nothing & just let us surprise her.  She did.

My nieces came over to help, one of Leah's friends came, someone brought cookies to decorate, after the kids got here, I revealed the rest of the plan I had for the day to them.  They weren't real sure, I could tell, no kid likes to clean.  But they were good sports and we helped and it went fast.

So, the kids and I, my kids, my nieces all went over and worked on H's house.  We worked picking up & putting away.  The kids know where stuff goes, it made sense.  We got that part done.

Came home & one of Leah's friends had lunch for us.  We ate & started working on the three girls' hair.  We looked up some hairstyles on Pinterest and tried to accommodate!  I think the girls were happy, they liked their new sweaters too.

We left for pictures.

Kiahna struggled at this point (she had done great all day until now)  She thought she was going along for pictures and had her Christmas dress on (that reminds me that thing needs washed SO BAD).  She melted down, and Leah tried to handle her & I had to hold her down until she calmed.  One bad point of the day for K isn't really all that bad, considering.

We got the photos done, came home, worked on cookies & the kids played.

Meanwhile, 5 ladies from Church were off cleaning H's house.  They replaced some worn out towels & rugs, replenished some supplies that were almost gone.  Just blessed H's socks off.

I loved seeing Jadon get involved.  He had been talking to me about how our family should do something for someone else, make a meal, etc.  When he found out that we were helping this particular family, he wasn't so excited.  He and the one son are almost the same age & haven't always gotten along that great.  He was hesitant & had a little bad attitude about the situation most of the week.

It became a spring board for a good conversation about helping the people who are not always the easy people to help (AHEM< LIKE US, BUT HE DOESN'T SEE THAT)  And doing what God calls us not being always the easy thing.  It's easy to help easy people.

It came down to me telling him he had a choice.  If he didn't want to be here Saturday he could sit at Grandma's all day and not be around.  If he did want to be here, he needed to have a good attitude about it.

He choose to change his attitude and had a GREAT EXPERIENCE.  He can't wait until the kids come back to our house! 

When H returned that evening, I reminded the kids that this was a surprise and they shouldn't say anything.  

H was SHOCKED I believe would be the right adjective to use.  She told me she could not stop crying when she walked in to her clean house, began to realize what all had been done there that day while she was shopping.

She expressed how she was feeling hopeless and this day restored her hope.  

The list of things she expressed and how grateful she was, is amazing.

The fact that I could actually step out of my survival mode & do something for someone else was incredible.  It feels so good to be able to give and not just be the needy one.  So good.

H expressed her desire to "pay me back".   I expressed she should look for ways in the future to "pay it forward".

I didn't express that my deepest wish is that I would not be the one in need again & would be able to be the one giving for the rest of my life.  I can't say that I will always be that.  We never know when we are going to be the needy one.  The one that is on the receiving end.  It's hard to be that person.  Super humbling.  

I hope you know I am not saying any of this to pat my own back.  I want God to have the Glory.  I want the story to be that God is using the cracked pot, even when it's just enough for one big breath of air before very possibly going back under again.  I am so Blessed to have been given the strength & the ability to give something back to someone.  

I am feeling so blessed this Christmas season & I cannot wait to celebrate with my family.

If only it snows.  Then it would be perfect.

In His AMAZING Grip,


Monday, December 8, 2014

The second week of December

Oh December, you are slipping by too quickly.

I knew you would.

I wish it would snow & life would slow.

If you read last week's accounts, I'll update a bit.

Kiahna:  hard week, working on another meds change & praying.  I have 2 bruises on my arms from her tantrums last week.  I have no idea what the future holds.  But, if you really want to be a servant, be willing to help me with her, she's as sweet as cherry pie, you just have to watch out for the pits.

We took this yesterday after her tantrum, we take them in stride, as long as nothing is broken and I am not too hormonal.  sigh.  She got angry at me as we were laying on the couch watching "It's a Wonderful Life"... why?  She wanted pizza.  Yes.  This is real.

She has started to process things like, "I would be happy & nice all the time if my birth mom had not drank alcohol".  She is trying to process.  She doesn't understand.

We went to watch Eva & Issac in their Christmas program at their church.  Kiahna & Eva had matching dresses.

Spent an hour combing out and straightening Kiahna's hair.  She had a program at school.

I brought my good camera bag, too bad there was only a lens and no camera body inside it.  The best my cell phone camera could do.

She did great, she was so excited to be there, then very nervous.  They did quite the complicated program with lots of hand motions.  She thrived.  She has been talking about this program since September!

The sad part to me is that if I would not ask for the information they would not tell me about the program, and she does not have any of her special ed support during this time.  

I struggle for the energy to fight the school system.

Zach update.  Still no job.  Starting week 4.  His bills are going to all come due by the end of this week.  His money is gone.  

To quote my dad, I guess we will sit back and watch this hit the wall.  

What more can we do.  He does not listen to us.

I do have peace most of the time, and I sleep.  I continue to believe that God has this.  That HE is Zach's Father & that HE will deal with him.  God's promise to be the Father to the fatherless has not been forgotten.

It is embarrassing, it's maddening, it's frustrating, it's totally out of my control.

James & Brooke bought a different car this weekend & are selling Leah his old one.  I am so thankful for my quietly responsible children, the ones who don't take up the space on my blog and my prayer list as much.  

Leah has been working many hours at her after school job & has the cash to pay her own bills for the most part.

Lucas quietly lives his life in the background most days.  He retreats away from the drama that is usually swirling in our upstairs as life with Kiahna is.  I wish he had more patience for his younger 2 siblings.  But, I can't really blame him for not.

He is doing after school "winter track", which is nice, keeps him busy & active & no events to attend :)  He enjoys distance running and really would like a varsity spot (and letter) on the track team this spring.  He is working hard that's for sure.  

Jadon has been pretty frustrated with Kiahna this past week.  He is the one who lives the closest with me with her.  He helps with her sometimes & can be quite effective.  Except when he isn't.

Last week, It appeared he was missing some attention of his own, so he decided to throw his own tantrum.  With him it's more typical though, and that's a relief.  

By the end of Monday, lets just say, between the consequences of the two of them, my house was looking pretty good.

Work has come to a crawl.  Paying work at least.  I still feel like I am catching up in many ways.  I am thankful for the colder months that give me the rest.

I had a conversation with another single mom a couple weeks ago, I think I mentioned it last week.  I have some ideas of some things to do to help her this Christmas, if anyone is interested in details you can message/email me.  I am not sure how much I have to give, but I have started a plan in motion and it can go as far as I have willing hands to help me out!

I must say.  It feels good to help someone else as I have been helped.  But, it also scares me a bit that I will over do and over extend and shoot myself in the foot.  Praying for protection over my own home as I try to reach out to someone else's.  Real battle there.

I hope you are all having a blessed Christmas season & resting in Him!

In His Grip,


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Breaking point... again.

The past couple days have been rough.  I apologize in advance that I choose to come to my blog to vent & process.  Writing is a good outlet, so.  Sorry.

This morning I asked Jadon if he had deodorant on.  He threw his armpit in the air and shoved it towards my face, so I could smell that he in fact had not.   Unfortunately, the elbow went directly into my eye, with the kind of immediate pain the brings tears.  Tears of frustration were pretty immediate too.

That about sums up the way the past 24 hours have felt in my heart.

My breaking point was yesterday morning, when, as is usual for most of us, after a long weekend filled with Thanksgiving, friends, family, activity, the laundry was piled high in the laundry room.

Kiahna bounced up for school, she is happy for her routine, I am happy for her routine.  Then she goes to get dressed.  Which is often a battle I choose not to fight.  She loves clothes, she loves to wear skirts every day & often if I am need of a good consequence taking her skirts does it.

She begin the process of choosing what to wear, (doesn't matter if we choose the night before, she will change her mind in the morning, trust me).  She becomes angry that the clothing she wants is not clean.  And proceeds to start kicking the washer.

I actually didn't see that she had actually broken the door until later in the day, probably a blessing.  I pulled her from the door and she attacked me with the kicks, scratching & trying to bite me.  I restrained her & we went on that way for over 15 minutes.  Of course the rest of the family got themselves out the door & off to school & I am left alone with my child, my frustration, my loss of what to do, and also, my unemployed 20 year old who was annoyed he was awakened.  (another story,  another frustration)

It felt like another breaking point for me.  I have them every once in awhile.  Reaching the end of myself.  I will sit there thinking, who can I call for help. (therapists and doctors have become a joke)  I have no answer.  I pray.  That's all I have.  I have felt God very silent on Kiahna's future.

I took her in to school myself, of course, she missed her bus.  Started to cry again as the teachers asked how the weekend was.  It also frustrates me because the weekend wasn't bad!  It was good!  It was a blessing.  Yes, it's hard with her each day, all day.  When she is good she is still hard. (think 2 year in a 10 year old body)  She takes constant supervision, even if she is not angry (for example, she turned the gas stove on at my parents this weekend when she was there, filling their house with gas, & lying about it)  Not sure why she got angry enough to melt down to that extreme Monday morning, I guess she was tired from... real life...

I don't know.

I spent a lot of the day yesterday, not even sure what I wanted to change.  Not sure why I broke.  

I told the teacher, it's kind of like finishing a marathon (not that I have actually ran one), when you crawl over the finish line and collapse because you make it.  Only this time at the finish line, when I was feeling good about conqureing the weekend, I was brutally attacked and assaulted & thrown to the ground, just as I was finishing.

The teacher replied that I may have to be okay with her going to a group home sometime & that I should not feel guilty at all, that I did my best.

Can I just say on how many levels that upsets me.

First level, is that I don't even know where that group home placement would be!!  There feels like there is no out!  Not, that I would even want one if there is, but the trapped feeling is a little intense sometimes.

Second level, who wants to be told their child may be in a group home.

Third level, if she would ever be removed from me, the look on her face yesterday as she watched me out in the hall crying & talking to the teacher.  Oh, you don't even know.  

I did resolve yesterday, that if she & I were ever put in that position, if I was ever given that choice, I would want it to be a choice that was not mine to be made.  That was out of my hands.  

When I think about how hard she is, how much work she takes, how many things she could do... what do I want?  I really just want a break once in a while that is substantial and not on my family.  I really want to be able to take a vacation and leave her with someone she would love, be happy & cared for while I was gone.  I don't have that option right now.  I am praying for it to come.  

I do have some help for a few hours at a time, and my parents have her so much, especially when I am working.  Jadon does amazing with her most days.  Jadon also can trigger her faster than anyone else too.

I guess Jadon gets jealous of all the attention Kiahna gets with her behaviors, sometimes he tries to get a little for himself.  Tried that yesterday for me.  Ya, I know.  It didn't go well for him.

I will say that between the two of them & their behaviors, I did manage to dish out and enforce the consequences last evening & they had my house looking pretty good.  I am trying.  Doesn't feel like there is any progress.  Surely there is.  Right?

We are on week three of unemployed 20 year old.  I haven't checked his accounts, but surely the money is gone.  He has not tried to get a job.  He has talked to his old employer once, and texted them.  Finally, yesterday (maybe my melt down affected him some) he did get up & clean up the mess in the basement, put his laundry away & started a load.  Then he came upstairs and said he was going to get a job, as he stands there dressed like your neighborhood thug.  I told him he needed to look better than that, and he disagreed and left.

He does have a couple of appointments now today he says, if he gets up and actually do them.

I have been so frustrated by him for so long, last week, I couldn't stay home if he was there, it just upset me too much.  

I guess it is no wonder that I broke.  Between it all.

I will say this, I don't like to break.  I like to be strong, to be filled with thankfulness & help others.  I met with a friend early last week, encouraging her in her single parenting.  After that it felt like the enemy stepped up his game.  

Maybe it's all about spiritual warfare?  Maybe I am not praying enough.  Maybe I am in enemy territory and just doing the right thing is a fight.  

All I know is that I have to keep on.  I have to keep fighting the good fight.  Nothing else will do.  It's far from perfect.  It's downright ugly at times.  

I'd rather have all days filled with joy, hope & peace.  But, that's not reality is it.

I am blessed beyond.  The battle is hard.  But I am still blessed beyond.

A couple of family shots from this weekend...

In His Grip,