Butterfly, Butterfly,

Butterfly, Butterfly,
Go home to my mother.
Please tell her
how much I love her!

Not too many years ago in an old shoebox of memorabilia, I found a Mother’s Day card I made for my mother. I’m betting I was in Mrs. Goff’s second grade class when I created a butterfly with tissue paper wings and glued it to the front cover of the folded construction paper. On the inside I scrawled a poem with a No. 2 pencil:

Butterfly, butterfly,
fly home to my mother.
Please tell her
how much I love her.

Although it’s entirely possible that I copied this poem for an elementary school assignment, I want to say that I wrote it myself. I’ve Googled the lines, and I’m not finding them on the World Wide Web.

In the spring of 2015 or 2016, I re-gifted the handmade card to my mother, and she was thrilled with what I had made as a child and saved as an adult. This was before the Alzheimer’s advanced.

Today as my mother turns 80, I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend her birthday with her. And when we can’t be together, I’ll forever send her butterflies with all my love.





Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

I Commit.

January 1, 2019. I made a commitment.

No more.

I even had a head start. Starting December 27th, no more.

And so far, so good.

Even now I hate to admit my habit, but here goes.

Goodbye, cigarettes. You comforted me for a time. Thank you for showing me that it’s time for me to work on me.  

I remember listening to one of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s audiobooks about ten years ago. He practiced saying goodbye and thanking whatever is bothering him. His daughter had some bumps, I don’t remember the details, but the bumps were a problem, a problem that went away when she spoke to them with kindness and a farewell. Together they wrote a children’s book about it. Recently, Marie Kondo reminded me of the technique in her tv show on tidying up, thanking the items you use and love as you put them away, keeping only the things that spark joy, thanking items for the joy they brought you at one time before bidding them adieu. I try to use these lessons in my life. It’s a work in progress. I believe 2019 will be a year of personal growth.

A second commitment evolved throughout the month. I like to start school each new year on a positive note. A new year. A fresh start. I know for a fact that some kids don’t get much positivity at home, and we can all use an extra dose of positive. Anyway, on January 4th, I read a blog post titled “You need to believe it’s possible.” Click the link to read. Embedded in that post was a sixteen-minute video titled “The Power of Belief.

I decided to show the video to my students on their first day back, January 7th, and have them journal about what they believe. I watched the video seven times total, once to preview and again with each class. After the third viewing, I noticed an ad at the end for Evan Carmichael’s book Your One Word with a #believe at the bottom of the front cover. I tweaked the writing assignment for my classes to reflect on their one word for 2018 and their one word for 2019 in addition to what they believe.

I didn’t journal at the time, but I thought about my two words and what I believe.

Word of 2018. Hope. When I began this self-imposed writing gig while living in a La Quinta and rebuilding our house that had been flooded by Harvey, I named my blog Faith + Gratitude = Peace + Hope. My dad gave me a silver bracelet engraved with HOPE for my birthday last year, and I wear it almost every day as a reminder that Hope, with a capital H, is a choice. I can choose my attitude, another gift of a lesson from dear old Dad. I’m fairly certain Dad is also a Wayne Dyer fan. Amid crisis, I have a choice. Hope or Despair? I choose hope along with the opportunity to grow.

Word of 2019. Believe. I realize Hope and Believe are practically synonyms. In my mind Belief removes all doubt and fuels the Hope. Belief reminds me to trust God in the process. I’m in a different place now. Literally. Back home and on a new couch. So what do I believe? I believe in a better, healthier future for everyone in my family. I believe in the progress of medicine and stem cells and cures for diseases like paranoid schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s and addiction. I believe that together we are stronger, and our relationships are important. I believe my writing is evolving and helping others evolve. I believe one day I will publish a book. All through the grace of God. Some of these beliefs I shared with my students, and after one class a student came up to me and said, “Mrs. Byers, my grandfather has Parkinson’s, and my mom is like you. She researched and found a place right here in Bellaire that does stem cell treatments and took him.”

“So your grandfather is better now?” I asked.

She nodded, holding our eye contact with a serioussincerity, “I will find out where and let you know.”

And like that, I had a new avenue to explore. I believe it’s only a matter of time. I believe all of it with faith in God, gratitude in advance, and peace in my heart.

January 11th was our daughter Lauren’s 27th birthday, and Kody and I gave her a three-month membership to a local boxing gym, which included a three-month membership for me. We would go together. Now mind you, I had not worked out in any way for approximately a year and a half, but I believe in a healthier future. Right? So on January 13th, Lauren and I found our workout clothes, drove to the gym with over fifty suspended heavy bags, wrapped our wrists and knuckles, and started our first class—kickboxing. The fifteen minute warm-up included jumping jacks and pushups, lunges and squats. My calves started screaming after about one minute. Somehow I pushed forward. Then we pulled on our gloves and punched and kicked our way through eight, three-minute rounds with the bag before the abdominal-focused cool-down using weighted medicine balls. If that sounds hard, it is. On January 14th Kody joined us, this time for boxing, and he signed on the line for the membership. By January 15th, I could barely walk up a flight of stairs, but two weeks and five classes later, I’m feeling pretty fantastic, and Lauren has made it to at least three classes without me. And the bonus…this gym is motivational, the instructors are motivational, I am motivated, and it’s quality family time.

On the wall at the gym.

Last weekend I traveled the three-hour road to Austin to hang out with my like-minded childhood besties overnight. I am so very thankful for Denise and Pamela and our forty-ish year friendships, speaking of sparking joy. For the trip I downloaded Rachel Hollis’s audio of Girl Wash Your Face. I like this girl Rachel, and I can’t stop thinking of something she said, and I want you to read it:

“A few months ago after I was out to dinner with my closest girlfriend which was an impromptu happy hour that turned into an impromptu dinner and ended up going later than any of us anticipated, I went downstairs to the basement where our old treadmill is hidden and ran a few miles. I put the evidence of that workout on Snapchat, and later my girlfriend saw it and sent me a text. “You worked out after dinner? What in the world?”

I wrote back, “Yes, because I planned on doing it and didn’t want to cancel.”

“Couldn’t you just postpone until tomorrow?” She was genuinely perplexed.  

“No, because I made a promise to myself and I don’t break those, not ever.”

“Ugh,” she typed back. “I’m the FIRST person I break a promise to.”

She’s not the only one. I used to do that all the time until I realized how hard I was fighting to keep my word to other people while quickly canceling on myself. I’ll work out tomorrow became I’m not working out anytime soon—because honestly, if you really cared about that commitment, you’d do it when you said you would. What if you had a friend who constantly flaked on you? What if every other time you made plans she decided not to show up? Or what if a friend from work was constantly starting something new? Every three Mondays she announced a new diet or goal and then two weeks later it just ended? Y’all, would you respect her? This woman who starts and stops over and over again? Would you count on the friend who keeps blowing you off for stupid reasons? Would you trust them when they committed to something?

No. No way. And that level of distrust and apprehension applies to you too. Your subconscious knows that you, yourself, cannot be trusted after breaking so many plans and giving up on so many goals.

When you really want something, you will find a way. When you don’t really want something, you’ll find an excuse. I know that blowing off a workout, a date, an afternoon to organize your closet, or some previous commitment to yourself doesn’t seem like a big deal—but it is. It’s a really big deal. Our words have power, but our actions shape our lives.”

Rachel Hollis

Wow, Rachel, why haven’t I realized this before? You, my young friend, are right. Okay girl, three times per week, at least. That’s my boxing commitment for the next three months.

Thursday I came home to a package in the mail—inside, a silver bangle bracelet with BELIEVE in capital letters and a note from my Denise–Believe is a powerful thing!!


What do you believe? What is your word for 2018? 2019?


A Thanksgiving Episode

Sunday morning of Thanksgiving week included my parents and my sister, Philippians 4:6-8, and a blood-stained sock.

Philippians 4 6-7

After breakfast, Dad drove, and I rode shotgun to Mom’s memory care home, where she sat alone with the Christmas tree in the community living room. Dressed for church, she was ready for the day when we arrived, and her eyes lit up like the tree at the sight of us. Dad grabbed a brush from her bedroom and demonstrated his skills as a stylist. I attempted small talk. Alzheimer’s is a thief, stealing more all the time from one of the kindest people to ever walk the earth. Dad helped Mom stand up. He helped her with her coat. He helped her to the car and buckled her in, and together the three of us took a Sunday drive to kill some time before church.

In the sanctuary, Mom, Dad, and I found spots at the very back, where friends stopped by to say hello and check on my mom before the service, and my sister slipped into our row next to me. The graphic design on front of the bulletin read, “…in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” and the minister spoke on the same theme for another few verses. The words of the apostle Paul turned over in my head and resonated with me. I remembered my mother’s voice. I remembered times gone by when she spoke these same words. I realized the meaning had stuck. I realized that every meant every. Pray with a thankful heart in every situation. I heard my mother’s voice, now silent. I heard God’s voice, “Peace…which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts” and “if anything is excellent…think on such things.” Leaving the sanctuary that day, I felt thankful for the message, for my safe trip from Houston to the Oklahoma panhandle, for a week of vacation and time with family, for more time with my mother, and for the peace I carried with me.

Dad and I took Mom back to the nursing home. I helped her change tops and took off her shoes to help her change pants, and that’s when I spotted the blood stained sock. Mom’s toe had been bleeding obviously, and I’m not good at this type of thing. “Um, Dad?” I said. He was hanging up her church clothes. “I think Mom’s toe is bleeding.”

I stepped away and let Dad take over. He rolled down Mom’s compression sock and pulled it off her foot. I caught a glimpse of the horror. Dad left the room to find a nurse. Mom’s toenail stood perpendicular to her nail bed, bleeding. It seemed as if the nail had caught on the sock when they had gone on. Then the foot had been shoved into a shoe. My stomach still turns, four days later.

A nurse showed up promptly, filling a pink plastic basin with warm soapy water and submerging Mom’s foot to soak for awhile before the inevitable toenail removal. I’ll skip the details. “Now, are you her daughter?” The nurse darted a glance at me from her position on the floor before further examination of my mother’s toe.

“Yes,” I replied as my mother made a funny face and laughed with unrestrained joy. I looked back at Dad, sitting directly behind the nurse and caught him mid-face-contortion. Mom cackled some more.

“Does that tickle?” The nurse asked Mom, oblivious to the mostly silent comedic flirtation of my parents.

“No, they’re making faces at each other,” I replied for Mom.

“I love seeing them together,” the nurse said. “They really have something special. You just don’t see that very often. She looks at him with so much love.”

I always knew my dad hung my mom’s moon, but over the last year or so, I’ve come to realize that Mom hung Dad’s moon, too. And these excellent things, I will think upon.

Philippians 4 8

A Divine Intervention

bestill

In a repeated day dream, I load my few remaining possessions into the back of my Mazda CX5, turn up the radio, and drive away from post-Harvey Houston with the wind in my hair, destination TBD and a return unlikely. In my head, the music plays, “Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known. Like a drifter I was born to walk alone,” as if I’m thirty years younger, thirty pounds lighter, and the star of a cheesy 80s hard-rock video. I know this fantasy reeks of selfishness. I can smell the stench. Don’t get me wrong. I love Kody, and together we share the responsibility of parenting our adult son Drew with a disabling brain disorder. I can’t think of anything more rotten than leaving my people behind at the La Quinta and disappearing forever. The make-believe melodrama playing out inside my head is simply an escape from my reality.

Solo, I’ve hit the open road twice now since Hurricane Harvey. Each time I feel untethered, as if I’m literally running away, at least until I arrive at my planned and temporary destinations. For the past month, as my nephew Gant and his girlfriend Kennie planned a trip to Oklahoma City for family and football, I planned the same, minus the football. My trip included more Mom time for me, with a healthy dose of Dad, Sis, Bro, and the outlaws (that’s what we call the in-laws, or maybe that’s what they call Kody—I’m not sure).

On Thursday after school, I planned a much-needed first day off from my new job. Hurricane aftermath plus learning the systems of a new job has been a test and a driving force behind my escape fantasy. With Kody’s job transfer, the school I left behind was a few years new and beautiful, where suburbs meet country and students say, “Yes, ma’am.” That school ran like a Swiss timepiece. Technology outstanding. Copy machines abundant. A staff of friends. I taught honors English and creative writing. Those students wanted to be there. I rarely raised my voice in class. Frisco ISD spoiled me. I know I must stop making comparisons, at least until the end of May. With nineteen years of teaching experience, I know I have options.

But I digress. On Thursday after school, I planned to drive with my waggedy-tailed, little buddy Rain and spend the night in Dallas with my friend since 1975—Denise. Denise planned to keep Rain as a foster dog while the real work begins on our gutted Houston home. Until now, Kody has dropped Rain off each morning at the empty house, where she roams free in the back yard, breathes the fresh air, and naps in the sun. I pick her up after work. However, with workers at the house, that routine must come to an end, so my overnight with Denise would be a long-term stay for Rain.

From Dallas, I planned an early Friday drive to OKC for a hair appointment with my cousin Kaylee before spending the afternoon with Mom and Dad, Liz and Mike, Gant and Kennie. Next, I planned to round out my day with one more, short jaunt to Stillwater for courtside seats at an OSU basketball game and an overnight stay with Scott and Gerri and Dad. What I DID NOT PLAN that day was that moment of divine intervention.

As I paid for my new hair, my phone rang, and I absorbed the tension in Denise’s voice on the other end of the line. During my trip to OKC last month, Rain stayed with Denise—a trial run and a visitation success. But—one thing had changed since the last time: Denise adopted a Goldendoodle puppy named Piper. Rain is ten, a Chihuahua/Terrier mix, territorial and feisty. In her maturity, my pooch has mellowed, socialized with other dogs, and acted like a surrogate mother to our two cats who’ve passed over the rainbow. I didn’t foresee any issues with a puppy. When we arrived at Denise’s house on Thursday night, Rain tucked tail between her legs and sought safety. Piper wanted to befriend and chase. Rain returned Piper’s playfulness with spite, growling through bared teeth, snapping at the poor puppy as fair warning. I figured in time Rain and Piper would fall into a rhythm, but before leaving Denise’s house that morning, I said, “If it doesn’t work out, Pamela and my friend Misti both offered to help out. Just let me know. It’s no big deal.” At the time of the call, I had been gone six hours, and Denise needed a Plan B.

With Denise on the phone, I left the salon, found my car, and drove to the Qdoba on the other side of the parking lot. Talking and walking into the restaurant, I said, “I texted with Misti earlier, and she is out of town, but she will be back tomorrow. Let me call her and see what we can do, and I’ll reach out to Martha and see if she can help out.” And with these words, a man leaving Qdoba opened the door for me. His face took me by surprise as did mine for him. With eyes wide and jaw dropped, I said, “Denise, you will never believe who I just ran into to. It’s—it’s—”

“Robert Gibson,” he said.

“I know!” I drawled the vowels, shocked to see Robert after at least twenty years. “I just thought it was a possibility you were Timmy.” Robert and Tim are twins and two of the nicest guys I know. They graduated with Denise and me. We all grew up together in the Oklahoma panhandle, and their dad was my dentist. With phone in hand, held to ear, I said, “Denise, it’s Robert Gibson!” Then to Robert, I said, “I’m talking to Denise Watson.” Then back to Denise, “Okay, I’m going to let you go, but I’m working on a Plan B. I’ll be in touch. I love you.”

“Do you live here now?” Robert asked.

“No, I’m living in Houston and just drove into town. I’m headed to see my mom. She’s at Epworth.” Robert’s eyes stared into mine with disbelief and empathy. “We moved her here in July. She has Alzheimer’s.”

He shook his head back and forth, a sort-of non-verbal I’m so sorry. “And how are you?”

“Well, I’m okay. Our house flooded in Hurricane Harvey, and we are living in a hotel for now, so it’s good to get away.”

“Just you and Kody?”

“Yes, and our son Drew. He was diagnosed seven years ago with paranoid schizophrenia, so he lives with us and probably always will. He’s twenty-eight.”

At these revelations, Robert gave me a hug and said, “I’m so sorry. That sounds like a lot to deal with.” He pulled out his phone, showed me photos of his kids, much younger than mine, and updated me on his wife and his life as well as his brother. “Tim is a pastor in Pennsylvania. I’m going to call him and text you his number. We’ll be praying for you. Are you sure you’re okay?”

I tried my best to nod my head and fake it, but Robert saw right through my cracked façade.  The floodgates of my truth opened, and tears streamed forth. “You know,” I said, taking a second to fight for my composure in the middle of the Qdoba, “I’m one of those people who will be okay as long as you don’t ask.”

“You’re not okay,” he confirmed.

“Well, my house flooded, I live in a hotel and will for a while, my son has schizophrenia, and my mom has Alzheimer’s.” With a wet face splotched crimson, my response seemed sufficient. The details from this point to the next blur in my memory.

You can call my run-in with Robert random or fate, but I know God intervened that day. I had carried some extra pressure in my heart and soul all week long that culminated with a seven-hour drive and a separation from my service dog. Robert connected me to his twin-brother Tim, also my friend and a now a pastor, at a time when I needed a pastor. In recent months, I keep hearing from God. Just when I forget to lean on Him, the voice returns saying things like, “Crystal, I am God, and I have the plan. I know it’s all you’ve got to just be strong, and it’s a fight just to keep it together, but hope is never lost. Just put one foot in front of the other. You’ll get through this. You’re stronger than you know. You’re gonna be okay.”

Wait and Hope

I once read, “All human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and hope.’” Okay, ‘once’ is an understatement. I teach English to high school sophomores, and I love The Count of Monte Cristo. These words ring true with each and every read. Human wisdom: wait and hope.

I never thought I would hear myself say, “I’ve spent the last five weeks in a La Quinta.” Not that there’s anything wrong with La Quintas, I would just prefer a house. If anything, I suppose I’m learning more patience. I always thought of myself as an easy-going, patient person, and most who know me would agree. I teach high school sophomores after all. However, my F-bomb tally has increased exponentially in recent times. I suppose that’s my clue, along with me smoking like a chimney and crying like a water fountain, that I still have much to learn about patience.

For three weeks, Team Byers and friends removed all-things-wet except for the wood floors and cabinets, which remained saturated, even with three dehumidifiers in our humble abode. For three weeks, we waited on our last contractor, who finished our kitchen remodel in April and who must be very busy. He scheduled a time to meet with me and then no-showed. I get it—over 185,000 homes were damaged—and I’m sure many people need him. For three weeks, we waited for our insurance adjuster to show up, and now we wait as he submits his paperwork and the insurance company processes our claim.

In Post-Harvey Week Three, we hired a handy man named Arthur. For the past twenty years, Arthur has worked odd jobs for our next-door neighbors CJ and Pat. Arthur started mid-week, showing up after his day job, then working full days on Saturday and Sunday with his friend James. For six days and together Arthur and James ripped up the still sodden hardwood floors, tore out the damaged bathroom fixtures, and peeled the siding off two exterior walls (the remaining walls are brick). They scooped the debris into a wheelbarrow and piled it all on the growing trash heap along the street. After five weeks in the La Quinta, we are almost ready to rebuild.

When it comes to the kitchen, we need professional help. We hate to see our new kitchen go. Maybe the lower kitchen cabinets can be salvaged? Maybe we can replace the doors? Quite possibly mold hides inside walls behind the cabinets. After all, the walls came tumbling down for a reason. Quite possibly we’ll chip the new, quartz countertops when we pull out our new, water-damaged cabinets. We need guidance, and we need to know our budget. We are so close to the answers if we can wait and hope a little longer.

My mother-in-law Dana called me as I stood in what used to be the living room and stared through the open walls of our gutted house into what used to be our bedrooms. My stomach turned. There lay our vintage, refinished oak floors, splintered by crowbars, slanted to peaks in three piles, as if waiting for a torch—a small bonfire for each bedroom. When Arthur and James took crowbars to the new oak floors that matched the old—the ones we had paid for no more than six months before, it was like losing my books (previous post). I don’t know why I loved the floors so much, maybe they reminded me of the hardwood dance studio floors of my youth, and now, no more dancing, at least not on these floors. Now, post-flood, we prepare for the future, a future with another possible flood. No wood. No carpet. Only tile. I’m okay with wood-look tile throughout the house. Really, I am. But I needed a minute to grieve for my beautiful oak, old and new. Dana called me during that moment of grief, together we mourned, and then she started to pray. I suspect when we hung up that day she called some prayer warriors, who interceded on our behalf.

bonfire piles

Call it coincidence or call it God. It seems that every time I flip into ‘Poor me, poor me’ mode, supernatural provisions appear. After my conversation with Dana, I scrolled Facebook and found a post from my neighbor Peggy. “If you or anyone you know needs to start their sheetrock job, please let me know. I know a great contracting company that is very reasonable and honest. They are also very efficient and get the job done right. Contact me for more details & info.” Peggy is a realtor. I trust her opinion.

I texted Peggy for more information, and within a couple of days Tu, the contractor, showed up at my house. Within another couple, Tu e-mailed his bid, detailed and thorough. Tu suggests mold testing and using a public adjuster before starting any work, which is how we plan to proceed.

I say ‘how we plan to proceed’ because I’ve learned in life that plans change. Toward the end of Post Harvey Week Four, a real estate investor taped a coral-colored flier to our front door, “Dear Neighbors, I am sorry for your loss and am certain you will OVERCOME these difficult times that have been forced upon your life. For my neighbors who wish to leave these low lands, I am offering you Cash for your home. I pay more than FEMA and Low Ball Investors that are entering our lands. Please call for a quick over the phone quote…”

With coral-colored flier in hand, Kody said, “I’m going to call this guy.”

“What would it take for us to walk away?” I asked.

“Well, whatever he offers plus the insurance money would have to pay off our loan. I have a hard time believing he could pay us enough as is.”

“So even if we could pay off the loan, we would still need enough money for a down payment to buy another house?” I halfway stated, halfway questioned.

Kody stood there nodding his head up and down.

With my brain filled to overflowing with considerations, decisions, negotiations, phone calls to make and things to do concerning the demolition/rebuild site, formerly known as home, not to mention the grading, lesson plans, parent contacts and Open House that week at my new job, I suddenly realized that I had an upcoming Friday-off from school, a three-day weekend for County Fair Day. I also realized that I needed a Post-Harvey Houston hiatus and that I needed to see my sweet mother, now living with the severe decline of Alzheimer’s in an Oklahoma City memory care facility. My mom can still participate in conversation if the other person carries it, but for the past five weeks, I’m ashamed to say, I have been too emotionally spent to pick up my phone and carry on. I’ve been reminding myself to let go and let God. I remind myself of Glennon Doyle Melton’s words from Love Warrior, one of my favorite books of the year, “Just do the next right thing, one thing at a time, and what we don’t know, we’re not supposed to know yet.” I remind myself to “wait and hope.”

It was Wednesday when I called my dad to fill him in on my last-minute plan for Friday. “Well, hey Crystal,” he said on the other end of the line, “I’ll be there this weekend, too. As a matter of fact, there’s a Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraiser on Saturday morning downtown. I thought I would go bust mom out early that morning, and we could walk it together.”

“That sounds like a plan. I’m going to stop in Dallas and drop off my dog with my friend Denise. She has offered to foster Rain for me when our construction starts. Right now Kody takes Rain to the house every morning, and I pick her up after school. Even though the La Quinta is dog friendly, we don’t want to leave her there barking all day, so this weekend will be a trial run for Denise and Rain. Anyway, I will call you when I’m headed out of Dallas to firm up our plans.” My sister Liz was there visiting my dad when I called, so I was on speaker phone.

As if fairy dust had been sprinkled on my family across the state of Oklahoma, the next thing I knew a reunion of five fell into place. I’m not sure who called whom, but my brother Scott wanted to walk and would drive to Oklahoma City from Stillwater on Saturday morning. Liz, who had logged at least twenty hours in the car that week already, would make her third trip from the Panhandle to OKC so that we could walk as a family.

My precious mom’s smile stretched from ear to ear when my dad and I picked her up on Saturday morning. I was the first of many surprises that day. Liz and Scott would be meeting us at the walk. As we parked downtown, my mom, who has difficulty completing her thoughts, pointed into the crowd which grew to 10,000ish and said, “That looks like Liz.”

Petty Family 2017

I looked harder in the direction of my mother’s pointed finger and replied, “That is Liz.”

Over the course of the weekend, we hugged, walked, held hands, dined, imbibed (except for Mom), watched college football, and engaged in meaningful conversation. Our time together was good for all souls involved. During a few moments alone with my sister, I remember her saying, “Sometimes you just have to let go and let God and put one foot in front of the other. You know, Mom was our spiritual leader, and those are lessons I’ve learned over time.”

“That’s so funny that you say that. I’m in the middle of a blog that I don’t know how to end, but I just wrote about letting go and letting God, doing the next right thing, one thing at a time and waiting and hoping. I know that everyone faces their own hurricanes, but I keep believing God is on my side, and he keeps showing up for me, like over and over and over.”