Finding Gratitude in Challenging Times

Many years ago, back when I had cable TV and I liked Oprah Winfrey, she had a guest on her show who first introduced me to the idea of a gratitude journal. I can’t remember why I jumped onboard with that, probably the guest said it would change my life and it did. I quickly found a nice little hardbound journal that was given to me as a college graduation gift (I did say it was many years ago) which remained blank, so I began each day to write down 3-5 things I was grateful for. My gratitude journal has been such a meaningful part of my sanity, growth, and getting me through difficult times, that I feel that the practice may benefit you as well.

We are certainly going through difficult times as humankind right now, and if you are feeling any amount of anxiety, worry, fear, or stress, I honestly believe getting a nice journal to begin this process of appreciation will help you get through it. And we will get through it. We ARE getting through it.

I have attempted to keep a gratitude journal throughout my life. Of course, my energy towards it wanes and surges, but I use it as one of my coping methods in the very hard times. I have filled up a few journals with basically lists of goodness in my life.

What has this accomplished for me?
1. It has forced me to look for the silver lining in the midst of the storms of life.
2. It makes me feel better. Instantly my mood improves. We cannot think of two things at once. We are either thinking of something good or something bad, but not both at the same time. Try it. You can only focus on one or the other.
3. It is a blessing to look back over the years and see how far I’ve come, and to remember special times and people.
4. It gets my mind off things I have no control over and helps me revisit how blessed I am.

When you first begin, it’s super easy. We all start with the  big things we can think of. Our family, our health, our religion, etc. And that’s fine. The more days you do it, it forces you to dig deep. You begin to live in a posture of appreciating.  Instead of thinking of general ideas, you begin to get very specific and will find that all day long,  you are appreciating your experiences and the people you are surrounded by.

When I look back over my old journals, I find a menagerie of things. For example, I am grateful that I am in control of my own feelings and thoughts. Or, I am grateful to have the ability to put together a meal without a recipe. For Ashlynn improving in her driving. When I look back into my very first Gratitude Journal in 1998, it says things like I am grateful for $50 my mom gave me to clean the house. Or, the job I applied for today. It is humbling and refreshing to read them all. For being able to visit my 6th grade Sunday school kids. In 2009, I wrote I am grateful for getting the bathroom redone. Free time to read and relax. Having money to tithe.

There are pages and pages filled and I could get lost retracing the steps of my life. But automatically I feel better. I mean right now. Finding those examples for you has caused me to realize how very blessed I am.

I encourage you to try this for yourself. Get yourself a nice journal, something that makes you smile. Journals always make me smile, anyone else? Set aside a time each day that you will write down 3-5 things to appreciate in your life. Do it for 30 days. Watch your life change!

In Philipians 4:8, we are told to think on the good things, y’all.  I would bet it is taught in all religions/spiritual circles in some form or fashion. What better way than to do so in a gratitude journal everyday? So go count your blessings, name them one by one. Leave me a comment if you plan on doing it or already do this. I would love to hear from you.

Here’s my 5 today if you need a tee off:
I am grateful:

  • For sitting outside and feeling the sun on my face and hearing the birdsong.
  • For healthy meals I can prepare and the abundance of food
  • For the promise of new beginnings as I watch spring unfold before my eyes
  • For the ability to work remotely.
  • For the bond of human connection.

 

 

Living, Loving, Healing, Hoping Day 2 and Cake for Breakfast

Today we had cake for breakfast. It wasn’t the first time, and it’s not going to be the last. A couple weeks ago I had to buy some buttermilk because I was craving this lemon blueberry cake that is so delicious. We don’t use much buttermilk here, as I assume most don’t, and because I was partially raised by a Grannie who lived through the Great Depression, I honor the waste not, want not mindset. Therefore, I needed another reason to use the buttermilk. I announced that I was going to make a chocolate cake. “Two cakes in one week, mom?” My little conscientious child wanted to know. She was right, two cakes in one week was possibly excessive, so I put it off.  A couple of days ago, I noticed that the buttermilk had expired. But does buttermilk expire? How does sour milk sour? I threw caution to the wind and I made a Texas chocolate sheet cake with it. Lord a mercy! It was so good. It had this moist chocolate cake and this fudgy icing which so reminded me of my mama and how she would make us something she called Spoon fudge when I was a kid.

Spoon fudge is basically fudge made on the stove, brought to a boil, then poured into cereal bowls and put in the freezer to cool. You don’t freeze them completely, but instead just let them cool. Everyone has their own cereal bowl of fudge. You pile up on the couch and dig your spoon in and pull it out in a long, glorious tail of delicious chocolate, wrap it around your spoon, and shove it in your mouth. It’s okay if some thin trails hang off the spoon and drip down your chin. That just enhances the experience. Of course, you’re not supposed to eat the entire bowl in one setting, it’s so rich you can barely handle it, so back in the freezer it goes until maybe 10 minutes later when you realize how decadent that was and go for more. This is repeated throughout the day, until your bowl is scraped clean. If your siblings have any left in their bowl, you might swipe a spoonful of theirs when they aren’t looking. This is a great childhood memory of mine, and the icing on the sheet cake brought all of that back to me.

I digress. But I couldn’t leave you wondering about spoon fudge. Back to my cake. When a family of three has a whole Texas chocolate sheet cake to eat, do you know how much cake one needs to consume in order to honor the waste not, want not mindset? I’ll tell you. Exactly a third of it! Which is a lot of cake. It is made in a rimmed baking sheet, for crying out loud. My husband did help us out by taking some to work, but we still had an entire half a sheet left.

At the time that I made the lemon berry cake, I decided to have a slice one morning with my coffee. Delicious right? Lemon berry cake and coffee. My little EK was horrified that I was eating cake for breakfast. What is the deal with this? Cake is basically a sliced muffin.  I was eating a lemon berry muffin for breakfast, and my child was horrified. I don’t know who is teaching her these things.
“I can’t believe you’re eating cake for breakfast.”
I mean who is the parent here?
“Oh EK, you’re such a square, ” I said.
She stared at me, her mind working over-time, “What does that mean?”
Realizing I had possibly just insulted her, I quickly covered it up. “It doesn’t mean anything bad. It just means you like to follow the rules. You do the right thing. It’s good to be square.” She cataloged this. I watched as she filed it away to be used later.

Yesterday, when I saw there was a half sheet of chocolate cake left, I sliced off a piece to have with my coffee.
“Oh mom, you are so NOT a square,” my kid (who has self-imposed screen times, not dictated by her parents) informed me matter-of-factly.  Then, after analyzing the situation, decided that cake for breakfast maybe isn’t the worst thing in the world and she decided to slice her a piece as well. I’m not being the best influence.
“You’re having cake for breakfast too?” I questioned.
She set it on her plate, “But this is only the second time I’m going to do it,” she said, as if that exonerates her. Then after a pause she added, “this year.”

This morning, she was up and at ’em before me. I heard her in the kitchen. I assumed she was making her “healthy” breakfast of Nutella toast. Instead, she’d had cake for breakfast again.
When I learned this, I playfully chided her. “I thought you were only going to do that two times this year.”
She looked directly at me. “Well. I lied.”

Okay then. Our morality is gone. Out the window. How are we holding up during our “social distancing”? We are eating cake for breakfast. And lying. And as I type this, she is on a screen right now. Her self imposed screen times are gone. This pandemic may make us better people, or we may turn into complete heathens by the time this is over. There is no telling what we may emerge as when this is over, but be assured of one thing…….we will weigh more!

 

Status of C-word epidemic: Yesterday, 2 confirmed cases were in Amarillo, about an hour away from my town. Schools extended spring break by one week, and my church cancelled services and transitioned to online. I sank into deep sadness. This whole thing that’s going on has shaken me up. I didn’t think I was a person to get so easily shaken. I’ve had to deal with that. Today, I am so much better. Not sure why, it’s like a switch was flipped. Nevertheless, I am grateful for where I am in this moment. Who knows about tomorrow or later today, but now I will appreciate the feeling of well-being I have. I’m so grateful for friends who have checked on me. We are not alone in this. We can’t all be strong all the time, but in our moments of strength is when we can help uplift the others who are scared and sad. This is effecting everyone. Today, I’ve been pulled from the pit and am renewed spiritually and emotionally. If there’s anything you need, let me know. Much love to all.

 

Living, Loving, Hoping, Healing day 1

It’s spring break here, and quite honestly the first one where I’m not completely relaxing. It’s hard to relax right now. Planet Earth is sick. All we hear about is the C-word. Yes, I hope your mind thought of any number of different C-words; that would reassure me that we are still ourselves. It is also the first spring break where I want to return to work on Monday. Normally, I would be wishing for more time to be home, now I am wishing for things to be normal.

I decided to blog my experience during this pandemic because quite honestly I never dreamed I would live through something like this. I don’t have cable or any form of news. My information comes strictly from facebook, so you can imagine the amount of fear, panic, and misinformation I am receiving. For that reason, I have put myself on a strict limit from that form of social media. Instead of social distancing, I am social media distancing and life has improved. I will enjoy looking back and reading this when all of it is said and done. I wanted to leave something in writing for those in years to come too. Can you imagine my great, great grandchildren reading about this in history books and having a written record from me? Will it come to that? I so often wished I had the experiences of my grandmother during the Great Depression and I don’t, so this will hopefully serve as a reference for later down the line. You know—well maybe you don’t— but I always have book ideas floating around in my head, and one involves the Great Depression era. Her writing would have been valuable. She told me stories and I wish I had remembered better. And cared, but quite honestly I was a twit and didn’t think it mattered.

The sun is shining today and I am sitting on my back patio soaking it up. It feels so good. Rain has been abundant and there are some tulips in the yard that are awaiting their moment of splendor. Birds still sing and as I sit, some are making a nest in a watering can that is hanging from my back patio. I receive great solace from this. Nature has not been interrupted at all. They cycles of the earth continue. The sun rises and sets. Clouds dump their moisture, just to soak it back up again for the next round. Soft green buds are on the trees. The Creator is still in control. It’s a beautiful world.

As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Texas Panhandle. This is the status of my small Texas town. Our schools are on spring break, and are monitoring closely to see if we return on Monday or extend our spring break time. The stores are very busy, with people stocking up. Yes, of course toilet paper is hard to find. Limits have been placed on items such as tp, paper towels, sanitizers, hand soaps etc.  I haven’t been to the store in a few days, but I heard there is a limit now on meat (2 per person I believe). Walmart has cut their hours of operation so that employees can stock at night without interruption. I will continue to believe there is enough in this world.

We are living day to day as normally as possible. J-Dub and EK went to Amarillo yesterday for wine of all things. My husband does love his wine, and is tired of the selection here. He also splurged and picked up filet and lamb chops. It makes me laugh. The Raman noodles are cleared out, but the opportunity for delicious fine food still remains. We shall feast this week! He said some restaurants had closed for take out only and the one they chose to eat in had a limit of 50 people and tables were 3 feet apart. I had lunch out at the coffee shop yesterday here in our town with a friend. It is refreshing to see our town continuing to support business and remaining calm for the most part.

I will take this inconvenience of life and see it as a time of rest and slowing down. Appreciating all that we have and have been given. A time to hope and trust that we can return to “normal”. A time to not take for granted the freedoms we have. A time of an awakening, I hope. I choose to remain steadfast and calm in this time of uncertainty. I realize that the situation is out of my hands, but how I react to it is completely in my power. Ultimately, I know that my trust is in God and in Him alone. Psalm 91 is a great reminder right now. I also am eager to write about life, just the beautiful simplicity of the life we’ve been given. Writing is a salve and helps me heal.

Until next time,

Angel

A Letter to My Daughter on Her 8th Birthday

My Dearest Emma Kate,

Another year has come and gone and it’s all I can do to to keep my head from spinning. I can’t help but realize that we only have 10 more to go before you strap on your wings and soar.

I read one of the most profound statements that said something along the lines of, “the greatest tragedy of motherhood is for her to love her children so much, that she must teach them to not need her.” That wasn’t it exactly, but it was very close, albeit, expressed much better than that. But in essence, that’s what we’re doing, you and I. I am trying my best to allow you to grow independent of me. I want that very much for you and at the same time, I don’t want that at all. What a paradox it is.

For eight years you have been the light of my life, the sun my world revolves around. “They”, you know who they are…..the so called experts…..say it isn’t healthy to make your child the center of your universe, but I can’t see how knowing you are the Big Kahuna in my life could be bad for you. You are my greatest work. Like Charlotte when she referred to her egg sac, My Magnum Opus. You, quite possibly, could be my purpose on this earth. When I think of my purpose, I imagine I should do something outstanding. Something that could impact mankind. It’s very possible that you are my something outstanding. You are to me, anyway.

I often remember our past. The last few years that have gone by in a blink. It is fun to watch videos of us and see photos and remember the feelings of fun and curiosity and growth that enveloped that time.

I often think of our future together. The trips we’ll take and the experiences we are to share. I hope we always have a strong relationship and that you can come to me for anything knowing I will always love you, no matter what.

I try very hard to just be present in our present. This is all we have. I find myself getting through “tasks” just to move on to the next “task”, when I should be relishing our moments.

At eight years old, here’s how you are: you are nice to be around, simply put. You have a great wit to you.  You are generally always in a good mood. You are not demanding or pouty in any way. You are curious beyond anything I’ve ever known and I have been exposed to more random, useless facts because of you. Your dad and I call you Cliff Clavin (look it up) and just shake our heads with your sudden announcements of “Did you know………”. You love learning, like you always have, and you are very interested in maps and places, as well as science. As long as the science doesn’t involve the body. Anything bodily gives you the willies and causes some sort of physical discomfort for you to read or hear about it.  You must get it from your Grandy, who can’t stand anything gross. Or maybe from me a little bit too, as I’ve nearly fainted at the sight of blood before. It’s actually quite hilarious how just reading The Magic School Bus Inside the Body makes your hips hurt. I’ve known all along that you weren’t possibly cut out for a career in medicine, when as a toddler you used to gag at the smell of your own poop!

You are mostly quiet still– unless you’re around your parents–an observer of people and things, who doesn’t like the spotlight or to be the center of attention. You still enjoy dance and gymnastics, but you’re not afraid to stay at home and do nothing either. You are fiercely independent, but never rude. You are truly the greatest kid. Your dad and I say it often. “She’s such a great kid.” I’m super proud of you and always will be. May you be surrounded by goodness and love and guidance all the days, my dear sweet child. You are loved.

Love,

Mama
XOXO

 

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Winter Around

Today I will look for God.

Just like I do everyday, at least on the days I’m not too harried.

It is easy to find him in spring with new life imminent.

It is easy to find him in summer with its long, lazy days.

It is not hard to find him in autumn, with its glorious bursting colors.

But winter.

In winter I find him on the branches of seemingly dead trees glistening with ice.

I hear him in the birdsong as they bravely carry on, encouraging one another.

I find him in the crunchy blades of grass under my boots.

I feel his breath on my cheeks and nose.

I see him in a multitude of grackles pecking a frozen ground.

I hear him in the heavy silence all around. Be still and listen.

In the winter season, he is still there.

Seek, then find.

Ordinary, yet precious


Life is made of moments. Many are magical. Most are merely mundane.

Ordinary life. But within every second of mundane and ordinary, lies the power. The power to be present. The power to choose your words carefully. The opportunity to connect with others. The opportunity to love, show love, and be love. All we really have is this moment.

Life is made of moments. Some day, the moments will only be memories. Time is precious and people are precious and that’s really all we need to know. Treat both as such.

Where It All Began

Can we all just join together in a moment of silence for all the teachers out there? For me and many others, tonight marks the end of our Christmas break. It is back to the grind tomorrow. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t a tiny bit melancholy about this.

The past two weeks, I’ve been super introspective. I’ve allowed myself to slow down enough to listen to my thoughts. To evaluate my life. I’ve truly spent the last three years, since beginning my LuLaRoe business, working my fingers to the bone. Ignoring parts of me that need tending and ignoring people in my life that need nurturing.

Today I found myself in a dusty attic looking for something from nearly 30 years ago. I’m a sentimental old hen and have saved nearly every card, every letter, every personal email that has ever been sent to me. I found what I was looking for. Rummaging through sentiments from the past, sneezing through the dust, took me to a place of serious nostalgia. I let the past collide with my present and I’m not sure about you, but it never fails to leave me worse off than when I began.

I went way back down memory lane today. Far back into dark reaches I haven’t been in a while. I decided I should write my memories while I still can. I began to think of the house that built me. An small orange brick house on the edge of town. I got my journal and I drew out the floor plan. I remembered so many details of that house and the yard. As memories flooded my mind, words began to pour forth, carrying me back to places I have left in the dark.

Did you ever play a game where someone grabbed one of your wrists and one of your ankles, picked you up, and began to spin you around? Maybe it was called airplane. Or maybe that’s what I call it. If you were light enough, they were able to raise you high and lower you down all while they were spinning you around and around. You watched the world go by at dizzying speed, blurring before your eyes, losing all sense of where you were. After what seemed like a really long time, they would put you down and you would stagger around like a drunkard with the world still spinning until you fell into the green fescue grass in childhood laughter and waiting for everything to return to normal.

That’s how my childhood felt. Exhilarating highs. Then being so low it felt like the ground was rising up to meet me. The spinning. The blur. The dizziness. The confused stumbling. Waiting for normal.

I think it’s good advice not to look back. That’s not where we are. It’s not always a pleasant place to visit, but in some mystical way, it’s calling to me. I don’t know why. I don’t know why now. I’m not sure I want to go because of the feelings that come up. But I think there’s healing back there.

I recently read Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63. It’s about a man who finds a portal to the past, and he returns to right some wrongs. I too have discovered a portal to the past. I can’t right the wrongs, but I can look them in they eye now. So I’m going to journey back to a place of long ago, and I’m going to return different than before I left.

My New Year Wish For You (and me)

Even though we’re already three days into the New Year, I still want to send a wish your way. Of course, a new year is not necessary for a new mindset. We can begin every new day  or even every new moment. We’ve never been here before. Let’s start now.

I’m excited about this new year of 2020. There’s a stirring inside me that I can’t quite explain. But it’s time. Really. It’s time. I’ve wasted so much time. Without regrets and with only lessons, I move forward.

This year feels so promising to me because of the numbers. You can look at many sites to get the meaning of the number 2020, but this is the one I liked best: the number 2 represents relationships, intuition, and purpose of life. The number zero represents spiritual growth, its journey, life cycles, and connection to the spiritual world. When you see numbers repeated like in 2020, the meaning is amplified. Two zeroes means you’re about to enter a new chapter in your life. And if you don’t believe the idea of numerology, surely you believe your facebook quizzes. They all say change is coming too 🙂

So entering this new chapter, new year, new day, new moment, right here where we are, may you first realize how very far you’ve come. Don’t look back, and if you do, only look back to see where you were. Appreciate where you are now.

May you increase your faith in yourself and your abilities to do what you’ve been afraid to do. The treasures lie deep within you. You are the one that has to discover them, dig them out, brush them off, polish them up, and let them shine for others to see.

May you step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Is it scary? Sure it is. It’s terrifying. But what if it’s your calling and you’ve been pushing it aside for too long. Find the courage. You are brave. Remember that courage that lives inside you? It’s still there.

Break an old habit that’s not serving you. Just stop.

Open your heart. It is stronger than you believe it to be. It’s been broken. I know that, but it can heal and it will heal. It has so much love to offer if you’ll only let it. Don’t miss out on the love that is yours to receive when you open it up as well.

Slow down, don’t be in a big rush to get to nowhere. Enjoy the moment you’ve been given. This moment, right here. Look around. It’s all yours. Find the good in it.

Forgive yourself and everyone else–in that way you are liberating yourself. Release it. Let it go. Leave it behind. Don’t look back.

Be kind, always. But mostly, be kind to yourself. You are loved. ~2020

Be Careful Little Eyes

I weigh myself daily. I record my weight in a journal everyday. This is before I have a sip of water or a cup of coffee. This is right after I’ve gone to the bathroom to ensure I weigh as little as possible. This is before I read my daily affirmation on my calendar. This is before I wake my daughter for school. This is my routine. Everyday.

I’ve never thought much about this, until I found a little blue sticky note, where in pencil in a child’s hand my daughter had recorded her weight twice. My seven year old. My heart sank with the realization that my seven year old is concerned about her weight. But in today’s society, it wouldn’t be unheard of. In a home where her mother is weight conscious, it’s not a bit surprising either. If we don’t think for one second our kids are watching our every move, we are fools. We are being watched, listened to, and even more important to note, we are being imitated.

I chart my weight in order to stay on top of it because if I don’t, it can easily get out of control. Would I like to lose weight? Sure would. But I try to be very careful what I say around my kid that is weight related. When I was a kid, my mom always said she was fat. So I thought she was fat, because kids have this trusting tendency to believe everything grownups tell them. Right or wrong. When I see pictures of my mom from my childhood (very few), she is not fat at all. She’s just regular. An average mom who thought she was fat. So I get that, I really do. I don’t want to pass that one on. So I am cautious to not speak of myself as fat or turn my nose up at myself in the mirror with a  big UGH.

We know how society is affecting our young children, especially girls, with its supermodels, photoshopped pictures and airbrushed glossy magazine covers. That’s all true.  My mind was put at ease when I learned that my daughter is tracking her weight because she is wanting to gain weight so she can outgrow her booster seat. Isn’t that just like a kid, trying to grow up before their time?

But this sticky note put a lot of thoughts in motion for me. It gave me an opportunity to  pause a moment and look hard at myself. My words. My actions. Our kids are living in the world we create for them. What are they seeing? What are they hearing? What are they imitating?

Do they see us lash out at the people we profess to love the most after a hard day at work? Do they see us lose our temper and hear us curse? Do they see our frustrations and road rage? Do they hear us complain about everything….the service, they traffic, the wait, the co-workers, the teachers, the bills. Do they listen to us gossiping with friends and making fun of others? Do they see us give money to the man with the cardboard sign? Do they hear us apologize when we’re wrong, and sometimes, we are. Do they hear us compliment a stranger’s shoes or see us drop what we’re doing to a lend a helping hand? Do they see us staring at our phone at every red light or line we wait in? Do they see us praising God, even in hard times, and down on our knees in prayer?

This little blue sticky note in my child’s handwriting was a huge Note to Self. It reminded me of how powerful my influence is on those around me. Not just kids, but most importantly kids. Most importantly this one kid. Remember I said she was sleeping when I do my weighing and charting? Well, not every time obviously. There are times she’s watching. And listening. And imitating.

So are others.

Never underestimate the power you have. You can have such an important impact on others. You may not think your words and actions are making a difference, but they are. You make a difference. Make sure it’s a good one.

Cheers to 7 Years

My Dearest Emma Kate,

Happy 7th birthday, my precious darling child! When you were born, I got a lot of advice.  I didn’t ask for it, by the way, but sometimes people just like to give it. One of the most common things I heard was “Don’t blink. They grow up so fast.” I’m sure I’ve already given this advice out to new moms and if I haven’t, I’m sure I will. It is the God honest truth. There is nothing truer in this world than how fast time flies. How in the world has seven years passed already?

It makes me sad sometimes. You’re infancy, toddlerhood, and now half of your childhood is just a memory. Well cherished.  You are a ray of sunshine everyday to me. Rod Stewart (I know you’ve never heard of him, and I should change that) says, “You fill my heart with gladness. You take aways all my sadness. You ease my troubles, that’s what you do).

This birthday, you asked for a glitter water bottle, pink hair extensions, a doll from Hobby Lobby named Emma “who looks just like me!” and a Rubix cube. You lost your third tooth this week. It’s a top one and you look so funny. Sorry kid, but you do. You were so excited to lose it before you turned seven. And your toothless grin makes me smile! You are a little prankster and you love to trick me and your dad. Of course, we never fall for it, but we act like we do. You’ll get this someday when you’re playing dumb for your kids, too. You love to play games. You give the best squeezes. Right now you are over the moon about llamas! You want everything llama themed, from your toothbrush to your bedroom.  So naturally, we had a llama birthday party! You wanted to go to the Plaza and have them sing happy birthday, so we managed that too! You truly don’t ask for much, and you are just happy and content no matter what.

51223912_10219215884014754_175594532396597248_nYou love your family and gymnastics so much! You really are passionate about that. You set goals for yourself, and you are hoping to get first place at one of your gymnastics meets. I’m proud of you for striving, but please always know it is not what you do that matters. You matter, already. No matter what you do or don’t do. You are loved, you are adored, you are worthy, you are deserving. You don’t ever, ever, ever have to earn love. You are loved. You are love. We will always love you. I know you’re going to grow so fast. I cherish the days I have with you. I try to see the world through your eyes. It’s hard, because grown ups have lost that childlike joy, imagination, and wonder. But you keep it alive in our house. Even when we’re tired and don’t want to play or imagine, you make us and it’s good for us. You love to wrestle with your dad and you love to snuggle with your mom. You are our gift. I mean that. I don’t know where we would be without you, but it would never be as grand and wonderful as where we are today. May you always know how much you’re loved and may you love life, always!

I love you more than you can ever understand,

XOXO
Mama

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