“I Will Never Homeschool”: The Background

never homeschool

I feel like the longer I homeschool, the more I could talk about it, so this first post will be the history, if you will, of our decision to homeschool.

A little background. When I was in a kid in school, I knew some people who homeschooled. A few were good friends of mine, but my mind couldn’t grasp how anyone could successfully school at home.

Try as I might (and if I’m being honest, I didn’t try at all), I couldn’t fathom not going to school. I was a student council member (still have the t-shirt), I was in pep club – heck, my senior year, I was the MASCOT. I loved the socialization of school. Continue reading ““I Will Never Homeschool”: The Background”

Three Kids, Three Parenting Styles

three parenting styles

I have three children. Two living, one waiting for us in heaven.

All three children occupy my heart to the fullest, yet I respond to each one differently.

Little Miss is my first child, and had her own traumatic entrance into the world, when I nearly died from HELLP syndrome. Six years later, she may be petite in size, but her dreams and goals fill some pretty big shoes.

Harlynn passed away before I had a chance to look into her eyes or hear her baby coos and cries. I still parent her beyond the grave, however. October being Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month, her legacy continues to inspire and motivate us to continue helping the broken hearts of bereaved parents who have also had to say goodbye to their precious babies, most before ever having the chance to say hello.

Little Man, the little boy I never thought I’d have, requires attention in  his own style. If we’re not reading, playing with trains or trucks, or chasing one another, I’m able to steal some sweet snuggles from my mini-prince-charming.

This week, my different roles as a mother to these three, made print a couple of times.

First, On The Minds Of Moms ran a wonderful feature piece on Michelle’s and my journey in starting Harlynn’s Heart. You can read the article here.

Second, it was my turn to share in The Forum’s Parenting Perspectives column, and I knew exactly what I needed to share this time around. You can read that article here.

I’m one mother to three very special, very unique children. I don’t always do a perfect job, but I’m so thankful our perfect God chose me to be their Mama.

Now Serving: Peace & Quiet For One

peace

peace

In the not-so-distant past (it was today), I may have told my husband I was going to find new parents for our children.

It was a day from that non-heaven place. My children refused to listen, no matter how snarly I spoke, or how loud my threats were. By 8:15 this morning, I had already resigned for the day.

These days don’t come around often (praise the Lord) but when they do, they completely do me in. I am not equipped to handle consistent (nay – constant) disregard.

Little Man, who by all accounts is the sweetest little boy to walk this earth, was 150% rotten. This same little boy, who runs around our congregation on Sunday mornings hugging the legs of complete strangers, and melts onto the shoulders of those he feels needs a hefty dose of toddler love, was scowling, growling, and purposefully disobeying me. His eyebrows furrowed as he showed his dislike for my giving voice to his rights (or, lack thereof), as I reminded him for the millionth time he was not allowed to touch anything on the counter. His face was no softer when he scolded me as only a two-year-old can when he pointed at me and barked, “Don’t do dat.”

His ever-so-sweet sister, Little Miss, decided to throw sensibility to the wind as she ran on the furniture, jumped off the furniture, held her brother down against his will, and all of this in between asking me in machine-gun fashion, if she could have more to eat. More snacks. More food. More. More. MORE.

Mama could take no more. I was done. After a rant to my husband about something unrelated, he responded as only the most perfect husband in the world could. “You should go on a girl date tonight.”

Ladies. If you find a man who both recognizes and suggests this solution, nab him immediately.

After only haphazardly trying to find company, tonight I ended up as my own date. I threw on a blazer and my fancy earrings and touched up my eyeliner that had been smeared in all directions when the children decided to sit on top of me and attempt to wrestle me into submission.

Mama was ready for some solo time.

When Brent walked in the door after work, he gave me a kiss and handed me the car keys. I told everyone I loved them and I all but ran out the door. I had no plan. No idea where I was going. No agenda. My only agreement with myself was I must not do anything responsible. No errands, no structure, no taking care of anything except my need for space.

I drove around for a while before a sweet potato with butter and cinnamon started calling my name from across town. Before too terribly long, my growling stomach and I ended up at Longhorn Steakhouse.

It’s just the right size to not feel incredibly crowded, even when it’s full. I was seated right away, and had a big booth all. to. my. self.

I ordered a water, which was the only responsible thing I did. I’m not sure if you’ve ever eaten there or if you have one nearby, but let me tell you a little secret… THEIR FOOD IS INCREDIBLE. Order the parmesan crusted chicken. Do it. And try not to make ridiculous noises of happiness with each bite.

I ordered said chicken with a buttered up, cinnamon-doused sweet potato. And it was the best dinner I’ve ever had. I ate every bite of the bread, chicken, and potato. The only bites of salad I left were covered with too much dressing for me to consume. Otherwise, I polished my plates.

I sucked my water glass dry and when my server came to refill, he saw my empty plates and asked me out of obligation if I wanted dessert. My affirmative nod took him by surprise. How could a little ol’ thing like me have room for any more food? I ordered a slice of banana cream pie and didn’t let a single crumb go to waste.

Earlier, just after my salad had been served, I saw one of my near and dear friends leaving the restaurant. I called out to her and she came over to say hello. She asked me what I was doing and I explained I was treating myself. She, and I know there are so many like her, stated she couldn’t go out to eat by herself like that. We chatted only a brief while before she had to leave, and I was left by myself once again.

I sat alone and was served one of the most delicious dinners and desserts I can remember eating in a long time. I didn’t have to clean up anyone’s spilled drink. I didn’t have to tell anyone to use their fork instead of their hand. I did no clean up. I saved no leftovers. I sat and ate in undisturbed peace. I ate my entire meal while it was hot, and I didn’t have to stop at any point to get any single thing for any other person.

It was heavenly.

When I left the restaurant, I texted my husband how amazing I felt. “Do you need anything? Like a new suit or new golf clubs?” I asked him. I felt that good.

I drove home and sauntered in through our front door. “There’s my honey bunches of oats!” I said, when I spotted my husband siting down. I went to sneak into the kids’ rooms to tell them goodnight. I snuck a hug and kiss from a very sleepy Little Miss. I made sure she was tucked in snug and made my way to Little Man’s room, where he was sitting up in bed waiting for me. I scooped him up and rocked him until he fell to sleep, then I snuggled him a little longer for good measure.

It had been an incredibly challenging, difficult day. When it’s all said and done, though, the kids are absolutely worth the crazy. I’d be lost in life without them.

Also, the moral of the story is: rotten behavior is nothing a little parmesan crusted chicken and banana cream pie can’t fix.

Hallelujah, amen.

How Little Miss Views Life

A while ago, I saw a survey floating around on Facebook comprised of questions to ask your children. They were questions asked by the mother, about the mother.

I took some time to see if Little Miss would be up for the game and am now wondering if that was the best idea I’ve ever had. I asked her each question, but asked her to give an answer about me and about her daddy.

Little Miss

The survey instructs, “Without any prompting, ask your child these questions and write down exactly what they say. It is a great way to find out what they really think.” Oh boy. Some of it I can’t help but comment on, so you’ll see my commentary in (parentheses).

  1. What is something mom/dad always says to you?
    Mom: “Mm-mm.” (said like “nuh-uh”)
    Dad: “I don’t know.”
  2. What makes mom/dad happy?
    Mom: When I listen. (There’s some truth to this.)
    Dad: When I snuggle.
  3. What makes mom/dad sad?
    Mom: When I don’t listen.
    Dad: When I don’t want to do what he wants to do.
  4. How does your mom/dad make you laugh?
    Mom: Tickling me.
    Dad: Telling jokes.
  5. What was your mom/dad like as a child?
    Mom: You had blonde hair like me and you smiled a lot.
    Dad: Blonde hair.
  6. How old is your mom/dad?
    Mom: I think you’re probably 37. (she was close – I’m 35.)
    Dad: 38. (spot. on.)
  7. How tall is your mom/dad?
    Mom: Really tall. (To a petite five-year-old, 5’5″ is really tall. I’ll take it.)
    Dad: Very tall.
  8. What is mom/dad’s favorite thing to do?
    Mom: What is your favorite thing to do? Hm. I’d go for….. eating a lot. (I didn’t want to publish this answer! What on earth?)
    Dad: Snuggle
  9. What does your mom/dad do when you’re not around?
    Mom: Work work work.
    Dad: Work work work.
  10. If your mom/dad becomes famous, what will it be for?
    Mom: Mindmumbles.com (L O V E !)
    Dad: Taking good care of his family. (Yes – he should be famous for this! Sweetest answer ever.)
  11. What is your mom/dad really good at?
    Mom: Sudoku (Uh… goals.)
    Dad: Making the right choices. (?!?!)
  12. What is your mom/dad not very good at?
    Mom: You’re not very good at asking questions.
    Dad: Knowing my secrets. (We may need to unpack this one with her…)
  13. What does your mom/dad do for a job?
    Mom: Blog posts.
    Dad: Give us money.
  14. What is your mom/dad’s favorite food?
    Mom: Well… since you eat them a lot, probably (whispers) apple slices.
    Dad: Probably, um, King Leo’s.
  15. What makes you proud of your mom/dad?
    Mom: Sudoku. Because you’re so good at it. (Take that, everybody! And Lord, help me.)
    Dad: For taking care of the kids. (and mom gets “sudoku”. awesome.)
  16. If your mom/dad were a character, who would they be?
    Mom: Dora. (…No.)
    Dad: Diego. (…No.)
  17. What do you and your mom/dad do together?
    Mom: This game! Just talk.
    Dad: Read.
  18. How are you and your mom/dad the same?
    Mom: We both like to be pretty.
    Dad: We’re both silly.
  19. How are you and your mom/dad different?
    Mom: We….. I like to play and you don’t really like to play. (This is true, because I feel like I stink at playing with kids. Even my own.)
    Dad: I don’t really like to concentrate on things and Daddy does.
  20. How do you know your mom/dad loves you?
    Mom: You give me kisses all the time.
    Dad: He gives me kisses all the time.
  21. What does your mom like most about your dad/dad like most about your mom?
    Mom: That he cares for his family. (true)
    Dad: That you work really hard.  (I don’t think this is what he likes most.)
  22. Where is your mom/dad’s favorite place to go?
    Mom: Beans Coffee Bar. (spot. on.)
    Dad: To work. (false!)
  23. How old was your mom/dad when you were born?
    Mom: That’s gonna be hard. Probably…24. (I was 29)
    Dad: 27? (He was 32.)

If you were to draft my obituary from Little Miss’ answers to this questionnaire, it would sound something like this:
“Val might still be here today if she would have laid off the apple slices. She did great work, we think, anyway – because she worked all the time. She loved Beans Coffee Bar, and we wish she would have learned how to play and enjoy life. At least she had her sudoku.”

So. Sad.

I thought it would be a lot of fun, and Little Miss would have these crazy typical kid answers. Instead, I got a window into my world that was quite humbling. I’m very thankful she recognizes how incredibly loving, playful, and attentive her daddy is. He is the best of the bunch, that’s for sure.

I have never been one to play in the way Little Miss is saying. Growing up, recess meant me doing the twirly bars, or playing hopscotch – things I could achieve higher levels of accomplishment on, and things I didn’t have to be imaginative in. One birthday party, all my friends ran off to play whatever they wanted, but I stood my ground and played the game we had set out to do: dropping clothespins in a milk carton. Maybe that’s why I like sudoku. It’s challenging. It’s a process already laid out. There’s one objective, and that’s to get it right. Type A, anyone? I might have to bite the bullet and get the playdough out. And be okay with colors being mixed. Pray for me.

How to Ruin a Friday Night in 10 Simple Steps

I’ve shared before how I have no sense of style, and I used to tell people “I got dressed in the dark” when really I just didn’t have a clue what went together or how to make an outfit. Lately, though, I’ve been taking careful care in applying the fashion tips I’ve learned from dear friends over the years, and start piecing myself together.

How to Ruin a Friday Night in 10 Simple Steps

It was because of some newfound pride in an outfit I wore today, that I started the domino effect of ruining our Friday night. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what happened, and how you can recreate the same experience.

1. Have your five-year-old take a picture of you in said outfit. This in itself proves challenging. Yes, I mean make sure I’m in the center of the picture, not that the frame of the picture cuts through the center of me… 

2. Decide you’re too cute to stay home and cook on this frigid Friday night. Make plans in your head to go have dinner out with the whole family.

3. Email picture to your husband and say something cute like, “Hey, wanna have dinner with this gal and her kids?” and give up on cooking altogether. Notice in the picture your hair is a little wonky. Run it under water four minutes before you leave, so it will freeze nice and solid when you walk outside in North Dakota in January as you prepare to dine in public.

4. Choose to meet your husband at a restaurant that doesn’t have childcare. Why do restaurants not have child care? Make a mental note to one day open a restaurant that has child care. Make sure said restaurant is also super popular at 5:00 on a Friday. Try to find one on a busy intersection.

5. As you wait for a table and your youngest starts screaming and throwing a fit because he doesn’t have free reign of said restaurant and your husband says, “I should probably just take him home and you and Little Miss can eat”, talk him out of it. Tell him “Once we’re seated, he’ll settle down” and believe it. Because apparently you’ve forgotten the last six years of parenthood and dining out.

6. When the child doesn’t stop screaming once you’re settled, order food right away for the children like it will magically make everything better.

7. When the children’s food arrives and is also nothing like you expected, make sure it’s so hot it will take another 30 minutes to cool enough for your fit-throwing-child to be able to eat it. Try to keep your child from dipping various limbs in ketchup.

8. Make sure you order something spicier than your taste buds can handle, and be miserable the entire time you’re eating.  Eat only with one hand, as your other is gripping the leg of the fit-thrower, keeping them in their high-chair. Make sure your eating arm is being held on to incessantly by your well-behaved child who feels like she can only eat dinner if she hugs you every 3.2 seconds.

9. When the fit-throwing child settles down and is distracted by others in the restaurant and taking on a pleasant tone, take that to mean he has turned a corner, and you should order dessert. Act surprised when suddenly, he reverts back to his fit three seconds before your dessert arrives.

10. Insist on eating more of your dessert than will fit in your stomach, simply for the fact you long to enjoy any single moment from the adventure out. Leave the restaurant feeling worse than when you walked in. Apologize to your husband for your great idea.


Tonight was just about as bad of a family outing as I’ve ever experienced. I enjoyed getting home. That was the highlight. I enjoyed walking through the doors of a place I shouldn’t have dared to leave tonight to begin with.

I would have saved time and experienced the same degree of pleasure if I had simply thrown a $50 bill in the garbage disposal. Next Friday, I might still look like I should be out and about, but we’re staying in. And I’m making popcorn for dinner.

It Was Just Yesterday…

The other night, I was up too late and trying to get things done and relax at the same time. Every night I try this, and every night I fail. Things end up unfinished and relaxing doesn’t happen because I’m left thinking about what needs to be done instead. I know if I would just take care of things and then relax, I would enjoy both so much more. Yet I continue to try to mix the two…

After wasting time trying to productively relax, I got off my duff and set out to complete one essential task. Little Miss had a picnic to attend the next day and had given me specific orders before being tucked in about what she wanted to entertain her palate with the next day at lunch. She had been in bed for quite some time and I felt I had procrastinated long enough. I snuck back into her room to retrieve the lunchbox we haven’t had occasion to use yet.

I went back to the kitchen and meticulously crafted her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cut just the way she likes it. I put fresh cherries and blueberries in a baggie, and loaded up some of her favorite goldfish crackers. It was fun, making her lunch. It’s the simple pleasures of motherhood that make me feel as if I have superhuman powers. As I was enjoying this task, I was struck by the realization this will soon be my life. Before I know it, I’ll be packing her lunch every night, balancing the compromise between giving her foods she both likes and needs.

Using one of her glitter markers, I wrote a little note on a post-it and stuck it inside her lunch box. I zipped it up, stuck it in the fridge, and felt proud of myself for this monumental “mom moment”. Then these old eyes of mine started to leak a little.

The thing is, it was just yesterday I was mashing bananas and strawberries to feed her in her high chair. It was only yesterday I was bathing her in the kitchen sink, and reading “Ladybug Girl” a bajillion times in a row. It was just yesterday I was watching her play on her floor gym, captivated by the linking rings. It was just yesterday I went in to pull her from her crib in the morning and hear her say “rocking chair” so we could snuggle together before the day began.

And now I’m making her lunch. And she feeds herself (and takes for. ev. er. to eat) and she insists on washing herself in the bath. She reads to herself, while only occasionally asking for help with a word. She jumps off furniture and tackles playground jungle gyms. She tucks herself in and comes to wake me up in the morning, inquiring as to the plans of the day she’s excited to begin.

Tomorrow we’re going to tour her college campus. Pick out her wedding dress. I’m watching the grandkids.

There are days that have drug on slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through molasses. Days when I can’t wait for Daddy to come home so I can mentally check out from this mommyhood business. There are days I pray for Jesus to come back if for no other reason than I don’t want to have to hear the Frozen soundtrack one more time.

Then there are days I make my daughter’s lunch and wonder where the last five years went.

It seemed like such a simple thing, to make my daughter’s lunch the night before a picnic, but there’s never been a lunchbox so heavy as the one I placed in the fridge that night. It carried more than a few choice morsels of food. It carried years of precious memories, bundles of future hopes, and an overflow of motherly gratitude.

It was just yesterday

Parenting Is Not My Spiritual Gift

Parenting is, by far, the toughest job there is. Not only are you developing a relationship with your child, but you’re teaching them, protecting them, instructing, disciplining, holding them accountable, cleaning up after them, cleaning them, cleaning yourself because of them, kissing boo-boos, playing with imaginary toys in imaginary castles, feeding them, loving them, investing in them….and then it’s time to think about lunch, and how you’re going to spend the rest of the day with your kids.

It’s exhausting. And rewarding. And not at all my gift.

Parenting Is Not My

To be clear, parenting isn’t listed in the Bible as a spiritual gift. But it is a holy assignment, and does come more naturally to some than others. I am not a natural-born parent.

I’m not a bad parent, and I’ve sworn off wearing that hat or beating myself up for not being the Pinterest mom of the year. I love my kids, love spending time with them, and am so very thankful God chose me to be their mama. I also get pretty short with them, have a hard time being hung on constantly, and the less me-time I have, the more I require to recharge.

There was a time when being a mother was nowhere on my radar. I was far too selfish, too independent, and too comfortable to imagine having everything in my life (and my home) turned completely upside down by having a child or three.

Seven years into our marriage, I birthed Little Miss. Our lives have since become a happy “little mess”.

Little Miss was essentially the perfect child. She was content, happy, playful, adorable, and thrived on her own routine. She wanted to be rocked and snuggled, she rarely fussed, she was rarely sick, and she was an awesome traveler on long road trips to see family.

This also instilled in me the false perception that because she was such an amazing kid, I – obviously – was an amazing mother.

After we lost Harlynn, life as I knew it came crashing down around me. My perception was changed, my priorities changed, and I knew the aches and pains of motherhood on a level no one should ever have to experience. I was able to mother her for 37 all-too-short weeks, and she changed my life. I now parent beyond the grave, honoring her memory – and her life – at every opportunity. I’ve tasked myself with ensuring she remains a tangible part of our lives, and of our family.

After we buried our daughter, I no longer believed at all I was an amazing mother. What kind of mother lets her own body betray her? What kind of mother lets her child die within her womb? Shouldn’t I have known something? Shouldn’t I have been able to stop it? Done something differently? Kept her alive? I couldn’t even bring a full-term child into the world. My mothering failed before it ever began.

I’m still recovering from that betrayal. I still struggle with all that losing her robbed me of. I no longer operate under the false pretense anything I did as a human being led me to being an amazing mom. If my kids turn out, it’s because of God’s grace.

I’m not amazing. But the miracle of life sure is. The fact that I get to be a parent at all….is pretty amazing.

Little Man arrived after a hellaciously agonizing pregnancy. We nearly lost him as well, and five weeks premature, he was delivered in to life and safety.

He is now comprised of brute strength. He climbs over – or through – whatever blocks his way. He refuses sleep. He eats more than I do. He loves to wrestle. He’s very physical, very active, and very tough. He uses his head to plow through most obstacles, and is totally unfazed by it. This whole boy-raising thing is totally foreign to me.

Some days I feel completely incompetent. Parenting is more than loving my kids. It’s raising them to do right. Be right. Choose right. It’s helping them discover their individual meaning in life. Keeping them from eating power cords. (Little Man!) Answering their tough questions.

I want to make memories for them other than me losing my cool, or speaking at them through gritted teeth or raised voice. I want them to believe me when I tell them, “I love you”, no matter how tough I have to love them at times. I want them to know I’m doing my best, but my best is only because I have to work really hard at it – not because it comes naturally to me.

Parenting isn’t my spiritual gift. But it IS a gift I’m able to parent at all. It’s something I don’t take lightly. And on days I’d rather put my head in the sand or find an easy button, I have to turn to the ultimate parent: the Father who created it all in the first place.

Start children off on the way they

A Mama’s Prayer

This morning, I spoke at a “tea and testimony” event for a Mom’s group at church. I love public speaking, but there’s something about sharing my personal testimony that makes me uneasy. How much of my life do I share, and what is relevant to my spiritual walk, and if people really know the mess I was before I became the mess I am now, will I have any credibility?

On the drive to the church building, I rehearsed the few details I would divulge. I hyped myself up and felt like I was totally prepared.

I was wrong.

When I stood at the podium, everything I’d rehearsed completely  left my mind. I started sharing things I had no intention of sharing, and couldn’t stop the words coming out of my mouth. Trial after trial came spewing out, and I was headed down a fast-talker’s path of no return. Some things I shared today, I had completely forgotten about until I shared them. And the kicker? I can’t tell you 90% of what I said during today’s verbal vomit. I have no idea. I stood up to speak and God said, “I’ll take over from here, Val…” and my story was just a vessel for his purpose.

I was moved by my own story. As conceited as it may sound, when it was all out on the table, I realized how amazingly faithful God has been in my life through every kind of suffering. Every victory. Every hurdle. Every triumph. My life changed 1,000 times, but He never did. My path took 1,000 different directions, but He stayed firm. My choices could have led me to 1,000 different deaths, but He restored, rescued, and renewed me time and time again.

After this morning, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to show my battle scars or even rip the bandages off my still-healing wounds. I no longer find it awkward to admit I’ve been broken time and time again. And in that brokenness, He is still completely capable of piecing me back together.

I came home this evening from leading a painting party and helped get Little Miss ready for bed. Little Man had already been tucked away in his crib. We said bedtime prayers, and Little Miss gave me good night kisses.

A Mama's Prayer (1)

I went across the hall to Little Man’s room to make sure he hadn’t strayed too far from his blanket, and carefully covered him up. I kissed his forehead, and began to pray over both our kids. Recounting the struggles of my youth today gave me a new perspective on the lives of my own children. I would give anything to prevent them from making the same mistakes I did, but I know the days will come soon, and be many, where they’ll do the wrong thing. It’s part of growing up.

As I know they’ll make mistakes, fail to think things through, or even to realize the consequences for their own actions, I can’t let fear of the “what ifs” or even of what I know to be true from my own experiences, hold me back from enjoying who they are right now, or from how I get to be a part of their lives this very day.

I reached over the crib rail and placed my hand on Little Man’s sweet little shoulder. I prayed for God’s provision for my children. That just as He has never left me, He would continually be by their side, providing for their greatest needs. Not just their needs, but allowing them to pour into the needs of those around them. Give them an eye for the suffering or those who lack what they can support, and give them the heart and provisions to care for themselves and others.

I prayed for God’s protection over my children. Not just from physical harm or ailment, but from spiritual deflections, peer bullies, evil, and deception. I have been deceived, played, and toyed with as a result of the selfish plans and desires of others. And let’s not overlook the selfish desires and plans of my own. I put myself in harm’s way far more often than necessary, and it’s quite by God’s protection I’m still here today. I prayed He would protect my kids, and not just in the way of physical security, but in the way that they would guard their heart against sin, and their desires would be worthy of pursuing.

I prayed His promises over my kids. The promises spoken in scripture are as true today as they were the day they were written down. I prayed my children would impress those upon their hearts – far earlier than I ever did – and live their life to realize the weight His promises carry. So much of my life was spent searching for the wrongdoing of others, so I could justify what I was doing “right”. I had no idea what God had promised for me, because I was focused on what was promised for those who didn’t know Him. I was focused on avoiding hell, rather than pursuing Christ. I missed out on so much joy. So much hope. So much freedom. I prayed my children would carve those promises on their hearts, and remember them daily. No matter what they face or have to wade through in life, God has made promises for and to them.

One thing I’m learning on a continual basis, is how our story really has very little to do with ourselves. Our story has to do with the One who writes it. My life, my trials, and my experiences are all part of who I am and who I’ve become. They’re also all part of who He’s allowed me to be, so I could realize His power and how He’s carried me along every step of the way.

I prayed my kids, one day when they’re asked to share their testimony, will realize it’s not their story they’re telling. It’s His.