December 29, 2009

2009? Well, I guess it was fine.

Really? I don't know what to say to you. You definitely didn't suck as bad as 2008 did. We finally got to move in to the house we moved to Bellingham for, and now Sam is growing up in the same home as his Daddy did. We got pregnant, and despite the fact that I barfed for like 20 weeks, the sickness DID go away before the calendar turned over to 2010. We're still poor. We still don't clean our house enough. Oh well. It was an okay year. Kind of unextrordinary in a lot of ways. What I'll remember most...

- Experiencing the ABSOLUTELY AMAZING powers of the internet community and the support it can provide, especially (but not only) in the case of Maddie, Heather & Mike Spohr.
- Figuring out how different my views on birth are now... little did I know it would come in handy when I got pregnant again!
- My Dad being hit by a car and going to St. Louis to help him afterwards.
- Saying goodbye to Justin & my first pet together, our cat Piper.
- Moving into Justin's childhood home.
- Training and starting volunteer work for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services.
- Losing 30 lbs thanks to medication for my hypothyroidism, PCOS and Insulin Resistance and Weight Watchers. Oh, and hard work. Right.
- Getting pregnant ON OUR OWN in August! Never thought that would happen...
- Sam starting preschool in November, and putting him on the bus for the 1st time.
- Some amazing friendships I made online, and especially the support of Kori, Audrey & Enz.

So that's that. See ya, 2009, don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya. Let's raise our glasses to an amazing 2010, kay?

Oh, and in case you were wondering...

Thirteen Hopes, Wishes & Resolutions for 2009!
(Published Jan 2009)

1. Resolution: Okay, so my Dad got me a subscription to "The Economist" for Christmas. I admit that I have not read this magazine. So, my first resolution is to actually read every issue of this magazine that I get this year, and to become more knowledgeable about current events and the world in general. Didn't happen. I suck.

2. Resolution: Well, while we're at it... read every issue of Entertainment Weekly, which I also have a subscription to. Did a little better here, but still have several issues in my pile.

3. Hope: I can't wait to see Obama take office, and I hope that he'll be successful in starting the transformation that this country so desperately needs. Slow going, but at least it's not Bush. Can't wait to see what happens next.

4. Hope: I hope that Justin will get to work in a job that he really enjoys and that won't cause him the amount of stress that his work is currently causing him. Um... no new nothin here.

5. Wish: I wish for a less stressful year for everyone I know, I wish them good health and prosperity. In general, it seemed like a better year, but many people are still struggling and I'm still praying for all of us.

6. Resolution: I will get more exercise, I will use the gym membership my Mom got me at least 3 times a week. For the first time ever, actually DID the exercise resolution! I didn't necessarily use the gym 3 times a week, but I did get TONS more exercise than ever before!

7. Resolution: I will arrange for my Mom to watch Sam at least twice a month, on regular days, so that Justin and I can have scheduled date nights to look forward to and spend time nurturing our relationship and not just our family. Dude, my Mom is awesome. We totally got tons of date nights, and she loves spending time w/Sam so it works out amazingly!

8. Hope: I hope to join the Kulshan Chorus so I can sing with my Mom. She quit it. So there was sort of no point then.

9. Wish: I wish for some resolution to our housing situation, to figure out where we're going to be a little bit more long term than just six months, and to head towards settling down. Well, we don't know much about where we're going to be in many ways, but we do have a permanent home now, and it's wonderful.

10. Hope: I hope that I will be able to find a job so that we'll be able to actually pay our bills! Nope. But it became a moot point when I got preggo again, no point in working to pay for daycare. Also, no way I can put an infant in daycare.

11. Wish: I wish for happy and healthy pregnancies to continue for my friends Amy & Jamie! This came true! They both have ADORABLE little girls!

12. Resolution: To sign Sam up for a class with me, maybe a music class where we can sing and dance. We didn't do this, but we did get him in preschool! Money is slightly prohibitive because a lot of classes are pretty expensive.

13. Resolution: I'm going to renew my goal and up it by 2 - read 52 books in 2009! FAIL! I almost made it to 40, but missed by 15 this year. I'm still renewing the goal though, and have a list of 40 for next year already!

I think I'll post resolutions, wishes & hopes for 2010 next week!

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December 27, 2009

My Danny Boy

Dear Danny,

Hi baby. Things are starting to change. I think about you all the time, and it's no longer just because I'm feeling sick. You've been growing inside me for 19 weeks, though that means I'm 21 weeks pregnant. I know it's confusing, but the world is a big confusing place. Don't worry about that right now, you'll have plenty of time for it later.

I've started to feel much better, and I'm really looking forward to the next 19 weeks. This is the wonderful part of being pregnant, the part where I get to know you and love you more than almost anything in the world. My belly is getting bigger now, and I'm crossing the threshold from looking fat to really looking pregnant. I've started taking pictures every week because I wished I'd taken more when I was pregnant with your brother.

I'm finally starting to feel you moving in there. It's not a lot yet, and I can't wait until I feel it strong every day. I know how strong you are because you made me so sick, but you are still so small that I haven't felt you much yet. Right now it's just little twinges, but I've felt you at least once the last couple of days. I'm sorry if you've felt me pushing, I poke at my belly and try to get you to move. Sometimes it works. It's my very favorite part of being pregnant, and I will miss it when you finally come out to meet me.

Yesterday morning I sat at my computer and tried to think of everything we need to gather before you get here. We're so lucky to have friends and family giving us a lot of the big stuff, but we still need lots of clothes and blankets and bottles for you. We have very generous friends, and one of them is throwing us a shower in only a month. I can't wait for you to meet all the people in this world who already love you.

One of those people is Sam. We talk about you all the time. He knows that sometimes I get tired because you're in there. I can't wait to hear him laugh about how big my belly gets. He wants to teach you everything - how to play, how to jump, how to be a little boy. I know that it will be hard for him at first - waiting for you to turn from a tiny baby into a little toddler who can actually play with him. But I know that you two are going to have great adventures together. I know that he will love you.

We finally have a name for you. Well, half a name anyhow. You'll be our Daniel. We didn't pick the name based on it's meaning, but on it's meaning to us individually. It's our family connection, your father's middle name and Grandmother's maiden name. The meaning of the name is from the bible and it's "God is my judge." Thinking about that now, I kind of like it. To me, it means that no man is your judge. You'll be free to be who you are, always. I hope that gives you strength. Your middle name is still under consideration, but in my head you are Danny. My Danny.

I am getting really excited to meet you, and this is all starting to feel really real. I want to enjoy the rest of our special time, this time when you are mine and mine alone. I know that this is my last time feeling a little baby move inside me, and even though I can't wait to hold you, I am going to savor every moment of holding you in my body. I just can't wait... for all of it.

I love you,
Mommy
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December 16, 2009

Baby Pictures!

Today's theme: baby! Finally took my first belly shot at 19 weeks pregnant. I feel like I look enormous in this picture, and I'm not sure why. It also makes me scared because I'm only 1/2 there and what the hell am I going to look like when I am 38 weeks?! We've been talking to Sam about the baby and how Mommy's belly is going to get really big, I can't wait to see his reaction to the growing belly!

Here are a couple of shots from our big ultrasound last week. The first is a shot of the baby's spine. I just think it's really cool how perfectly you can see, and he is healthy!

And, Justin asked for a little video. I like this one because you can see the little dude moving his hand.











So, that's our little dude! We're in the process of searching for names. With Sam it was easy, we decided on a name before we even got pregnant. We had a girl name picked out last time that we would have used with this one, but we never really settled on second boy name. So, we're looking. We're thinking about involving Daniel somehow, which is Justin's middle name and his mother's maiden name, but we haven't decided for sure or on first/middle.
I'm still not really feeling the baby move much, and I can't wait to feel him every day. I am starting to feel a bit more pregnant, and am having to move around a LOT during the night when I'm sleeping. It's really weird because no matter how tired I am before I go to bed, I lie awake for a long time every night becasue I can't stop thinking about this baby. I think about questions for the midwife, the birth, everything, my mind just races.
We have a little pile of clothes on the changing table, and I can't wait to get the hand-me-downs from my friend Liz. Now that we know what it is we can do a real baby registry. I also decided to get the same baby book for this one that we did for Sam, and it came in the mail yesterday!
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December 15, 2009

Have a Little Faith

There were other things I was planning to post today, but something has really gotten under my skin.

Last night, a woman named Sherrie lost her 2 year old son in a drowning accident. After this horrible thing happened, she used her twitter account (@Military_Mom) to post the following: "Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool." Five hours later, she posted a few pictures of her son, and a thank you to the people who had offered support and prayers to her.

Since then, she has been what I can only call attacked. Several people on twitter decided that they needed proof that the child had died, and that they needed to start posting messages asking if anyone had confirmed it, bringing up the balloon boy hoax, warning people not to give her any money. I should say here that as far as I can see, Sherrie herself has asked for nothing but prayers for her little boy.

But that's not the worst of it. When I read the worst of it, it made me so mad I wanted to vomit. Multiple people accused Sherrie of CAUSING HER LITTLE BOYS DEATH. They said she must have been too busy twittering and posting pictures of her pets to pay attention to her little boy. That it was surely her fault he drowned because she was not paying attention.

Let's break this down a little bit... When I see that first tweet asking for prayers? I picture a woman, standing by her pool. Maybe she got distracted by an animal moving. Maybe she blinked. Maybe she looked away for ONE SECOND. Her son fell in the pool. It was an accident. Now, paramedics are there, trying to save her son. She is forced to stand back and there is nothing she can do. She does not have any friends with her there, she is alone. She is scared. So, she reaches out to the one place she can - her online community. It takes less than 30 seconds for her to ask for prayers as the EMTs try to revive her toddler in in front of her.

Just think about that for a minute. About watching your child die in front of you. About the fact that you could not prevent the accident. About how you will ALWAYS feel guilty/responsible about it no matter how many people may tell you it wasn't your fault.

It. Is. Heartbreaking.

Now, I fully admit that I don't know this woman. I am sure there are some people out there who would make things like this up. However, if they were, wouldn't they post about it on their blog? Wouldn't they post MORE tweets asking for things? For attention? My point here is, why not give people the benefit of the doubt?

It is easy to live your life and walk this world thinking the worst of everybody. You can believe that the internet is full of liars, that there is a child molester on every corner, that your child is inches from being abducted every minute. You can believe that people will try to swindle you at every opportunity they get, that people want to steal your money and your possessions, and that you are not safe walking to your car at night. You can. You can live in fear and paranoia if that's what you want.

But WHY? What is the point of living life feeling this way? I know that bad things happen. But I make a conscious choice every day to try and think positively. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I choose to believe that the majority of people are good. I have seen amazing things in my life and in my online life. I have seen hundreds of people support parents who have lost their child, by offering prayers and well wishes and peaceful thoughts. I have seen people in my community support one another. I have seen people provide for others who are having a hard time financially.

What really gets to me is that it was completely unneccesary for anyone to attack Sherrie. If you don't know someone, sure they could be lying. But WHY say it out loud? Whenever I am faced with this kind of situation, I always go first to "what if?" What if it is true? If it's not, what do I lose by offering this woman prayers and sending whatever good vibes I can her way? NOTHING. What do we have to lose by offering people compassion? If what they are saying IS true, perhaps you have given them a fraction of a second of comfort. If it's not... you have not lost anything.

In this particular case, I know that some people will not understand how she could be online. But honestly? What are you SUPPOSED to do if your child dies? If my son died I would be absolutely out of my mind. I would be in shock, and I wouldn't know what to do. I would probably reach out to my friend online too, because whether other people understand it or not, they ARE friends, and they are a part of my life. Who's to say which way of grieving is okay?

I guess the bottom line, to me, is why can't we all have a little faith, have a little compassion? Why can't we treat each other nicely, and as we'd want to be treated? If you don't have anything nice or helpful to say, then maybe you should just not say it. No one loses anything that way. You don't hurt anyone who may be having a really bad day. I know it's a cliche, but I really do think that we could all use a little more love in this world.
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December 11, 2009

I am SO outnumbered

So, we had our big 2nd trimester ultrasound yesterday. The test came back positive... for WEINER! That's right, we are having another little boy. I thought that I would cry if the tech toldmethat, but I actually felt pretty okay about it at the time. I went over to the mall after and bought a couple of outfits for the little guy.

Today I am not feeling so great though. It seems like my pregnancy hormones are working overtime and I got snappy at Justin this morning. It looks like only one person is coming to the playdate scheduled here today and for whatever reason the prospect of spending most of the day alone with Sam feels exhausting. I went out to the garage to try and find a box of clothes that I'd kept from Sam - we got rid of ALMOST everything but I'd kept a box ofmy very favorites from when he was a baby - and I couldn't find it. Ican't think of anywhere else it would be. When I came back in the house, I felt like crying. Maybe I am just having a post ultrasound never having a daughter hormone hangover. And before you tell me the next one will be a girl, I'll say that we are only planning on 2 kiddies. Seems like a good number.

I am still super happy about the baby, of course I am. And I think Sam will love having a little brother. I love them both more than I can say. I have just always wanted a daughter and n
ow I know there are certain things I will never get to experience and I may not quite be used to that idea yet. Soon I will just be feeling him move and feeling super blessed that he is healthy. Soon I will let go of dreams of leggings and ruffles and pigtails. Just not this second.

Please forgive any typos here, I am writing this on my phone because we don't have iternet on our computer until Justin hooks up our new router tonight. When he gets it up, I'll post some pics from the ultrasound, we got a few great ones.
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December 8, 2009

Merry SITSmas: 2009 By The Numbers

Can you believe it's December already? I can hardly believe it! A whole year has gone by since my first SITSmas, and I'm super excited it's here again! SITSmas is the annual Christmas bash hosted by the awesome ladies over at SITS - The Secret is in the Sauce. It's all about commenting and bloggy love, and on SITSmas it's about sharing greetings and awesome giveaways every hour! So, if you're visiting from SITS, welcome to my humble abode. Last year I managed to visit almost every SITSmas post, so we'll see how I do this year!

Like the major procrastinator I've become, I have not done anything about our annual Christmas letter or cards yet for 2009. So, for today I've got something else that's been on my mind: 2009 by the numbers!

6 - Months we'll have lived in the house my husband grew up in at the end of this year.

3 - Hours it took my husband to clear all the fallen sticks and branches off our driveway last night.

18 - Week pregnant I am with our 2nd baby.

2 - Days until I get to find out if this one is a boy or a girl (send pink vibes please!).

52 - Articles I've ghostwritten to be published online - one of my favorite things that happened this year!

287 - Blog posts I've published in 2009 so far.

36 - Books I've read in 2009, falling far short of my yearly goal to read 52.

40 - Books already on my "to read" list for 2010.

52 - Movies I've seen at the theater in 2009.

31 - Pounds I lost before I got pregnant.

12 - Pounds I lost after I got pregnant.

10 - Years my husband and I have been together as of December 4.

4 - Years old my sweet son Sam turned in May.

2.5 - Hours that Sam is now at school three days a week!

8 - Friends I have who are currently pregnant and due in the first half of 2010.

1 - Cat we had to say goodbye to this year.

2 - Cats we gained when we moved this summer.

2 - Approximate number of nights Sam has slept through in his own bed since we moved.

125 - Subscriptions in my Google Reader. This number is liable to go up after I blog-hop for SITSmas!

100 - Dollars per month our health premiums were going to go up, forcing us to switch to a high deductible plan. Then I got pregnant. Sigh...

85 - Approximate number of times I have to pee every day even though I'm not even halfway through this pregnancy.

4 - Size my 3.5 year old son is now wearing in pajamas - too tall!

29 - Years old both my husband and I turned this year.

I'm sure there are lots more things that happened this year, but I think that the moving and the writing and the new baby are the big ones!

Merry SITsmas, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all of you out there. Blessings and happiness for 2010 - may the new year bring only improvement, no matter how this year was!

To go to the next SITSmas post in the linky, Marina at Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports, click here.

To visit the linky with all the SITSmas posts listed, click here.
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December 4, 2009

Mushroompalooza

About a month ago I was out in the yard with Sam and since it's gotten colder and wetter, it's gotten mossy. I looked down and noticed that there were mushrooms growing. Of course I was excited to show Sam, then when we started to look around there were dozens and dozens of them!

So Wednesday morning after Sam got on the school bus I got out my camera and took some pictures. I thought some of them turned out pretty cool, I'd like to take some more when the light is a little different and there are less shadows.






For the full set and full size images, click over to my Flickr set.
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December 3, 2009

13 Things About "Morning" Sickness

I haven't been writing my Thursday Thirteens every week, but a list has been writing itself in my head for the last few days. And, well, if you know me, you KNOW how much I love my lists. You know what one of the worst things about "morning" sickness is? Well, I do. I know a few. But I'm not going to tell you right now, because that would spoil your fun of reading my list. Ha. If you're like me and you love lists, Thursday Thirteen is a great way to get them out into the world. Also, who doesn't like alliteration? And cute pictures of sleeping puppies. So. Cute.


Thirteen Things About "Morning" Sickness
  1. See those quotes around "morning?" There's a reason for that. Whoever decided to call it morning sickness obviously didn't have the pleasure of experiencing the full joy of being pregnant and nauseous. It's more like "all the time night and day 24/7 sickness." At least for me.
  2. If I don't eat enough, I feel sick. But...
  3. If I eat too much, I feel sick! Sick all the time. It's like winning the lottery. I can also win that by not eating often enough. It's a cycle, because the longer you go, the worse you feel but at the same time the LESS you feel like trying to eat anything!
  4. You haven't barfed until you've barfed in public. Seriously. Whether it's the bathroom at your favorite Target or your favorite Mexican restaurant, or barfing in the trash can outside the move theater (see #8), it's a whole new world.
  5. Even when you're not barfing, you might not be able to stop THINKING about it. Like lying in bed at night trying to go to sleep, if you're nauseous you might start to think about whether you're going to throw up, and that in turn may make you MORE nauseous. It's like a neverending cycle.
  6. When the doctor or midwife told you you'd probably start feeling better around 12 weeks? That was a BIG LIE. No one knows when it will end, you might not be lucky enough to have it end after the first trimester.
  7. If movies like "The Blair Witch Project" and "Paranormal Activity" with their handheld shaky cameras don't USUALLY cause any problems for you? All bets are off when "morning" sickness enters the picture. Lay off the red vines because you might see them again soon.
  8. It doesn't have to end with nausea. If you're like me, maybe your body will ALSO decide to produce about 10x the normal amount of phlegm so you can spit and blow your nose about 100 times a day.
  9. If you do have to spit a lot, your husband will not appreciate coming home to find a drinking glass full of loogies on the table in the living room because you were too lazy sick to get up and run to the bathroom every time you needed to empty your throat.
  10. If your doctor or midwife suggests that you can take 1/2 a Unisom a couple of times a day to make the nausea better? Don't WAIT to try it. Go get some, like right now. It might help.
  11. There is not much sadder than sitting in the bathroom wretching while your child stands by and tries to tell you to be done because he needs something.
  12. There is one good thing about being nauseous all the time. You won't gain a whole lot of weight, now will you? I'm still down 12 pounds from where I started and don't expect it to be much of a problem during this pregnancy.
  13. Oh, there might be one other good thing about "morning" sickness. In the end, you get to HAVE A BABY! YAY!
Aren't you glad you decided to read my blog today? I know you are. It's possible you're feeling a little nauseous yourself right now after reading about some barf. Well, suck it up sucker. It's worse over here.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants
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December 2, 2009

In Black & White

I am surprised by how much it hurts.

After an e-mail from my Aunt, I ask for the official report. My Dad sends it to me, and I read.

I have to pause several times as tears come and my vision is blurred.

It's not entirely unexpected. At 84 years old, it has been apparent for some time now that my Grandmother is not quite who she used to be.

After my Grandfather died in 1990 and she supported herself as a realtor after that. For some retirement is easy, but my Grandmother was not one of those people. She worked part time until she was 80. She has supported herself and been self-sufficient for a long time.

But lately, we've all known that she can't take care of things as well. It's hard for her to keep that big house clean by herself.

Earlier this year, she got lost on the way to the Ocean City shore house she's been going to for decades. She has bumped curbs and bumpers.

Sometimes, she has to be reminded of who the people are in the pictures around the house.

Depression. Moderate dementia. Alzheimer's.

I guess it doesn't matter what you "know."

Somehow, seeing it in black and white on a piece of paper just makes it real. Somehow, reading the test results and the numbers from a neurological evaluation is just different.

I cry partially because I feel helpless. Living clear across the country, there isn't much I can do to help. I will send a letter with pictures later this week, because I know she'll like it. But I wish that I could be there to just spend more time with her.

She is Sam's only living great-grandparent. Even if he remembers her, he won't be able to remember her how I'd want him to.

I cry partially because I know she will be heartbroken, she will be resistant. She never wanted to see the doctor in the first place, and she doesn't think there is anything wrong. She is stubborn, but at 84, who wouldn't be, really?

Even if she knows, what must it be like to know that you are losing yourself? It tears at my chest even thinking about it.

I didn't expect it to hurt so much.
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December 1, 2009

Tis the Season

I admit it, I'm TOTALLY looking forward to a Christmas tree this year, more than I have in several years, and I love presents as much as the next gal. But I also try my best to remember that the spirit of Christmas all originated with Jesus. At his core, he was an amazing man and his example of love and caring for others is inspiring to me. So today, I'm going to think about all the people I've come across lately that could use a little more love, a little more happiness, a little more support, and a little more lifting up.

Like I've said before, I know not everyone is religious and that's cool with me. But most of us have SOMETHING we do. We pray. We send good thoughts, or good vibes. We type and give out virtual hugs, we hold each other's hands physically or in our hearts. Whatever it is you do, whatever energy you have that you want to give away, here are some people who could use it.

~ Mimi at Screaming Mimi just found out that her mother has cancer. Please pray for a treatment that will work, and strength during the process.

~ One of my absolute FAVORITE online friends, Audrey from Barking Mad, has had a rough couple of years and FINALLY things are starting to go her way! Her husband got laid off, but VERY quickly, especially for this economy, got a new job! Now Audrey is getting ready to move to New York. I was disappointed she's not moving closer to me, haha, but please send good vibes and prayers because, well, moving sucks, even if you're going somewhere cool.

~ I don't know Anissa Mayhew, but a LOT of you out there do. On November 17, Anissa experienced a stroke. She's currently in the ICU. Anissa has small children and a wonderful husband, and she's fighting really hard to be able to wake up and see and talk tot hem again. You can read updates from her husband here. When she had the stroke, there was a huge outpouring of love and prayers in our bloggy community. I can only hope that if something were to happen to me, so many people would care and want to help my family. There are a lot of people praying for Anissa, but a few more can't hurt.

~ Dawn from Must Love Tots has been struggling watching her mother battle cancer for the past 3 years. Now, the cancer is growing and they are almost out of options. The doctors are not sure that anything can be done. Please pray for peace for Dawn in the face of some really hard times ahead. If you'd like to do something, you can find an address here to send a card to Dawn's mom.

~ Guess what? Bee's Mama is preggo! I'm SO happy for her to finally have her good news after trying for quite a while. Here's to a happy and healthy 9 months for her!

~ One of my best friends, Sati, is trying to start a family. She is an amazing woman, and she's waited a long time for this. So far, she hasn't been able to conceive, and just found out her sister is expecting a little surprise. Please keep her in your thoughts and send lots of fertility vibes to her. I struggled with watching friends get pregnant while I was waiting for my turn, and it was really hard.

~ My friend Amy and her husband are looking into possibly buying their first home. They live in a 2 bedroom apartment with their 2 kids, and it would be absolutely amazing for them to have a real place of their own. Please pray that it will work out for them!

As always, my prayer request list can be found anytime by clicking the Pray, Love, Lift link at the top of the blog. Is there anyone you're praying for these dayss? Please leave any prayer requests in the comments for me!
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