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Cute Kinsley

Our friend, Meghan from Meghan MacAskill Photography took KInsley's half year photos (at 8 months).  As usual, we are blown away with the results.  There are a couple cute ones of the boys too!  Here are some of our favorites, but they are all good!  Enjoy!

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Cason's Questions

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Since Corbin was getting asked these questions on his birthday, Cason wanted to answer them too.  HERE are his answers on his birthday a month ago to compare.  Below are his answers on Corbin's birthday.

1.  What is your favorite color?  Green
2.  What is your favorite toy?  Pirates
3.  What is your favorite fruit?  Bananas
4.  What is your favorite TV show?  Wall E
5.  What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Pizza
6.  What is your favotite thing to wear?  Toy Story shirts
7.  What is your favorite game?  Superhero game
8.  What is your favorite snack?  Veggie sticks
9.  What is your favorite animal?  Lion
10.  What is your favorite song? Latter-day Prophets       
11.  What is your favorite book?  Shrek
12.  Who is your best friend?  Mickey
13.  What is your favorite cereal?  Crunch Berries
14.  What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Go for a walk
15.  What is your favorite drink?  Apple juice 
16.  What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas
17.  What do you like to take to bed?  Mickey
18.  What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Cereal
19.  What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Despicable Me cake
20.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  Pirate

Corbin is Growing!

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Corbin had his 5 year check up today.  He did really well.  He was 42 lbs and 42 3/4 inches tall.  (50th percentille for height, 60th percentile for weight.)  He passed his hearing and vision test perfectly!  I wasn't worried about anything with him so everything went smoothly.  He did have to get a couple vaccinations and a TB test.  Dr. Auh was trying to distract him with a lollypop but he was focused on watching the shots.  He was squirming and freaking out when he saw the needles but as soon as soon as the nurse stuck the needles in he did a nervous laugh.  He said it sort of tickled.  Dr. Auh said she never had a kid laugh before.  But lucky for him he has no more shots (except flu shots) until he is 11 years old.  Lucky boy!

Here are some things about Corbin:

-He is learnng to read and write.  He is pretty good at it too.  He can read a lot of words and he is really good at his 1st reader books.  He will get stuck on words occasionally, but already tries to sound them out.  He can write all the letters uppercase and lowerscase.  He can also write all the numbers.  He struggles with diagonal lines so X, Z are a little hard for him.  He is constantly asking me how to spell words.  And I usually try to get him to sound them out with me.  He is also getting really good at telling his left from his right and asks me about that every day.  Especially in the car, he'll ask if we are going to turn left or right.  But he can usally tell me the answer himself.
-We spend time together doing his workbook every day.  His teachers suggested he work on his fine motor skills by doing puzzles and cutting out coupons.  I thought to myself, "I can never get Corbin to do anything he hasn't already mastered, so we'll see."  But his workbook had a cutting activity and while he wasn't perfect, he had no problem trying and cutting all the shapes out he needed to.  Also, he all the sudden started liking to do puzzles.  He has this 24 piece he has mastered, so we got a couple 50 piece ones for his birthday and he hammered both out quickly.  We think maybe we should get him a 100 piece.  
-He is also becoming more and more independent.  He can get himself completely dressed down to socks, shoes, coats and zippers.  (Although there are some zippers he has a hard time with.)  He can take showers almost completely by himself.  We still have to turn on the water to make sure it doesn't get too hot.  We also have to encourage him to get washed, but other than that he can do it all.  He can put toothpaste on his toothbrush and brush his own teeth.  He spits it out and rinses his mouth and then toothbrush.  He likes to do most everything by himself if he can, but has no problem asking for help if he is stuck.  He is also what I consider pretty much fully potty trained.  (I think a child is fully potty trained when the parent does not have to do anything to help the child go to the bathroom.  No wiping, no reminding, nothing.)  The only thing he is not completely independent in regards to the bathroom is out in public, he doesn't go to the restroom by himself.  I'm not sure I would want him to even if he was comfortable enough to do it though.  
-With his independence, he has also become more helpful.  He will generally do anything I ask him to.  His main chore is to put his laundry away and he can do it all but the hang up stuff.  He does help set the table and empty the dishawasher if I think about it.  He picks up toys when he is doing playing with them about half the time without even being asked.  And he knows where EVERYTHING goes.  I tried chaning the spot for some toys and he was very upset about that.  I actually need to start making chores more of a regular thing instead of the sporadic way I've been doing it.
-He is such a good big brother and he is protective of his siblings.  For the first 6 months of Kinsley's life, he would be very wary of anyone besides his family holding her.  He would instantly jump up and go stand with her and made sure the person knew she is "our baby".  Cason and Corbin are brothers close in age so they do fight but they are also very loving.  The other day we were walking to Target and were crossing over the entrance to the parking lot.  A car was coming towards us as we were crossing.  Cason was walking without holding hands with anyone and Corbin hurried and grabbed Cason's hand as soon as he saw the car coming.  I thought it was so sweet.
-I'm sure he is more than ready for Kindergarten.  But I am not.  Right now he is only ever away from me at the most 9 hours a week.  To have him gone over 30 hours seems so strange.  To be honest I have seriously considered home school even though I have been against it for the longest time.  It's just hard to think that my baby is going to be spending so much time with other people.  I'm sure he will do fine.  I just worry but I imagine I will do that for the rest of my life.
-One of the things I LOVE is that all throughout the day he will come find me and just give me hugs and kisses.  He'll tell me he loves me and just be affectionate.  It is such a blessing because he seems just to know how to make someone feel loved.  
-He also seems to know when things aren't a big deal.  Like if he spills or accidentaly does something that makes a mess, he will say to me, "Mom, it's okay.  It's not a big deal.  We can clean it up."

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Here are his answers to the typical birthday questions I ask him.  The first answers are from a month ago at Cason's birthday and the second answers are on his birthday, so you can compare how much life changes from 4 to 5!  

1.  What is your favorite color?  1. Black   2. Blue
2.  What is your favorite toy?  1. Cheetah  2. Batman and Spiderman                
3.  What is your favorite fruit?  1. Strawberries  2. Strawberries            
4.  What is your favorite TV show?  1. Toy Story 3      2.  Lord of the Beans (a VeggieTales)
5.  What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  1. Carrots     2. Pizza       
6.  What is your favotite thing to wear?  1. Superhero shirt and blue pants  2. Spiderman shirt   
7.  What is your favorite game?  1. Zingo Bingo      2. Finding Nemo
8.  What is your favorite snack?  1. Pretzel sticks    2. Raisins
9.  What is your favorite animal?  1. Cow, horse, pig     2. Horse
10.  What is your favorite song? 1. Latter-day Prophets  2. I Hope They Call Me On a Mission     
11.  What is your favorite book?  1. Wreck It Ralph    2. Moo Baa LaLaLa               
12.  Who is your best friend?  1. Kinsley and Cason   2. Cason and Kinsley            
13.  What is your favorite cereal?  1. Cinnamon Life   2. Cinnamon Chex              
14.  What is your favorite thing to do outside?  1. Ride my bike   2. Ride bikes          
15.  What is your favorite drink?  1. Milk   2. Orange juice        
16.  What is your favorite holiday?  1. Halloween    2. Halloween             
17.  What do you like to take to bed?  1. Goofy, my best friend     2. Goofy           
18.  What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  1. Toast    2. Cereal            
19.  What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  1. Blackberries    2. Pizza              
20.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  1. A Fireman   2. Fireman      

Obviously, we love our sweet 5 year old so much!  We couldn't imagine life without him!         

Corbin's 5th Birthday

Today is Corbins 5th birthday and we did lots of celebrating.  

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In the morning, he woke up and opened all his presents from us.  He was more than excited!  He loved everything he got, even the clothes.  When he went to get dressed he asked if he could wear his new clothes.  Cute kid.  

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After breakfast the kids played and played with Corbin's new toys.  Even Kinsley liked the new pirate ship.

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For lunch, Corbin wanted Burger King.  We tried to get him to go to our favorite Greek place but he said he'd rather go to Burger King.  When the owner found out it was his birthday, he brought him over some ice cream.  Cason and Corbin ate the whole thing!

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During the kids naps/quiet time (which Corbin LOVES and is probably really going to miss once he starts Kindergarten) I made the cakes.  

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After Connor got home, we went to the bounce house place where he was having his party.  It was nice not to have do any setting up or cleaning up.  Here are some of the pictures from his party.

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Corbin's Birthday


8 Months Old

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Our baby is already 8 months old.  It flies by way too fast.  None of us can get enough of her and I think she knows it.  Here are a few things she is up to at 8 months old!

-In size 6-12 month clothes and size 3 diapers.  But I'll be moving her to 4 once we run out of 3's.
-She is a mama's girl.  I can't say I mind it since I did carry her for 9 months, give birth to her, and continue to be her main caregiverf/food provider.  She will go to other people usually without crying but she likes to come back to her mom soon after.  But she does love her dad and brothers too.  
-She is now eating 3 solid meals a day.  But oh boy is she dramatic.  When she wants to eat she eats very well and nicely.  When she doesn't, she is extrememly stubborn.  She has learned a new way to be a stinker.  She lets me put the food in her mouth but she just holds it on her tongue with her mouth open until it eventually drips out.  She doesn't spit it out, just holds it on her tongue.  Then if a tiny bit happens to go down her throat, she gags like it's the worst thing ever.  But she will eat that very same food at the next meal.  So, yeah.  We have a little bit of dramatics going on here.
-She has 4 teeth and I'm thinking at least one more will start poking through soon.  But for now, she only has one top tooth and it's pretty cute!
-She's not crawling or rolling.  She has rolled but doesn't do it on a regular basis.  She likes to sit, stand with help, or walk with help.  When I try to put her on her knees, she cries.  She sees everyone else walking and so that's what she thinks comes next.  But it is funny to see her walk with help because she is so tiny.  

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-She doesn't wake up in the night as much anymore.  Sometimes she will go the whole night but usually at least one wake up around 4am or 5am.  She just needs her binky and will go back to sleep.

Her schedule:

6am-7am: Wakes up and eats breakfast.  Solid food, cheerios, puffs etc.
8am:  Nurses
9am:  Nap
10:30am:  Wakes up from nap
11:30pm:  Eats lunch.  Solid food.
1:30pm:  Nurses then takes nap.
3:30pm:  Wakes up from nap.
5:30pm:  Eats dinner.  Solid food.
7:00pm:  Bedtime routine and nurses.
7:30pm:  Bed.

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She's the joy of our life and we all love her to pieces.  Sweet little thing!

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Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!  

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The start of our Valentine's Day was Connor waking up with Cason who proceeded to get sick all over.  I woke up to the sound of the washer going so I knew something was wrong.  

Cason threw up several times but then seemed to start feeling better.   

The kids got a couple Valentine's from their parents.  I opted not to take pictures of them together to try and minimize the chance of transmission.  (We'll see how well that works)

Needless to say, our Valentine's Day consisted of lots of shows.  I'm sure the boys didn't mind.

For our night, we stayed in.  This isn't unusal though since we have had this tradition for the past 5 years.  It all started on Valentine's in 2008.  I was pregnant with Corbin and 2 days overdue.  I felt in no way shape or form like getting dressed up and sitting uncomfotably in a crowded resturaunt.  So we got steaks to go from Outback.  The next year, eve though I felt a lot better, there was still the issue of needing a babysitter.  So we just got Outback to go again.  The next year Cason was only a month old, so Outback to go it was.  By then it had become a tradition and this year will have been the 6th time we have done it.  

We love our life, our family and each other.  So it was a great way to spend Valentine's Day!

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The Jetta

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I feel like most of my posts lately have been about my dad, but I think since it is his birthday month I have been thinking a lot about him.  

We gave away the Jetta today but I wanted to record some thoughts about it.

Back in 2001 my dad and I were talking and I mentioned that my dream car was a Jetta.  Soon after that he bought the Jetta.  He had been looking for a car and I think me mentioning that to him and he came across one it helped him make his deciscion to get it.

Well, soon after Chris' car was too dangerous to drive so Chris drove the Jetta.  Soon after that my car became undrivable.  So my dad decided he would get Chris a new car and give me the Jetta.  Obviously, this was very generous of him and I thought it was so cool that I was going to have my dream car.  I got that car in 2002.  So it has been with me for over 10 years.  I drove it exclusively until 2010 when Cason was born.  I have so many memories in that car.  We brought Corbin home from the hospital in it.  I moved to Utah and back and back and forth again in it.  I could go on and on.

Less than a month before my dad passed away, we told him Connor was planning on getting a new car soon and asked him what he wanted us to do with the Jetta.  Did he want it back?  Trade it in and give him the money?  In the end, he said it was ours and we could do whatever we wanted with it.  We decided to trade it in and use whatever money we got for it and put it towards the kids college fund.  My dad said he would look for the title.  We told him not to worry about it since we weren't planning on getting anything until the end of the year. 

Fast forward a bit and Connor and I finally had to discuss again him getting his new car.  I was having a hard time because I knew that him getting his new car meant we were getting rid of the Jetta.  After some discussion, we decided not to trade in the Jetta.  It didn't feel right and since we already had money from my dad for the kids college, we didn't need that to go to them.  We decided to think about what we would do.

In the meantime, we were waiting for me to get the title into my name and Connor his new car.  After some thinking, it was Connor who suggested that we donate the car to the Giants Community Fund.  This felt right!  This is what I wanted and what ultimately was best.  I knew it wasn't practical to have 3 cars and to just keep it for the memories, but donating it to something that reminds me of my dad WAS practical and meaningful!  I got the title in my name on my dad's birthday and a couple days later called to schedule the pickup and them came the next day.  

I drove the car one last time and had Cason take a picture of me with it.

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Corbin loved watching them load it onto the truck.

Then it was time to say goodbye…

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Giants Fanfest

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This year the Giants Fanfest happened to be on my dad's birthday.  The Fanfest is a free event at the AT&T park where the fans can go on the field and meet players and enjoy other activities.  We thought it would be very fitting to go to the Fanfest in honor of my dad on his birthday.  

We left about 9am and got up to one of the most beautiful days I have ever spent in the city.  There was a chill in the air but the sun was out and no clouds were in sight.  It wasn't too hot and if you were in the shade you could quickly warm up by standing in the sun.  

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We had to wait in a long line to get in but once it started moving we were in pretty quickly.  Since we had a stroller we even got to go in a side gate!  

We walked over to the seats where my dad used to have his season tickets.  When we were there, I looked over and saw a minion from Despicable Me.  I have no idea why a minion was there but it made Corbin and Cason happy.  I fed Kinsley while Connor took the boys to see him. 

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Then we decided to walk around the field.  We just sat down and hung out on the grass.  It was nice.  The boys ran around and Kinsley tried to eat the grass.  

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There were so many people there but we were ablet to spend time together and I'm sure my dad was there too.  

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We miss my dad every day but we know he is never far from us.  Here's a collage Holly made.

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Blessings

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Tomorrow my dad would have been 55.  He is 50 years and 10 days older than Corbin.  Even though it has been a painful and hard time, I wanted to share some of the blessings that I feel I receieved around the time surrounding my dad's passing.

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Corbin started his first year of t-ball last spring and my dad came to a lot of his games during the season.  I got to spend that extra time with him that I normally wouldn't have if Corbin wasn't in t-ball.  The picture above is the last picture my dad and I are in together and it is at one of Corbin's t-ball games.

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For our 6th wedding anniversary, Connor and I made the odd choice of going to a Giants game with my family.  Corbin, Cason, my dad, sister, brother, Franlinda (and Kinsley in my tummy) were all able to go.  This was the last Giants game all of us went to with my dad and we all did it together.  I remember thinking as Connor and I were planning it that it was really strange that we were spending our anniversary with my family and not just the two of us.  But for some reason, he and I didn't even talk about it making it seem like both of us thought it was the right thing to do.  Now I know why.

Kinsley was due June 30th.  Cason was 1 day late and Corbin was induced 7 days late.  Even though the doctors had me worried about Kinsley by inducing her 2 weeks early (she seemed completely fine when she was born, by the way) she would have probably been born within a day or so of my dad's passing.  Luckily I had 2 1/2 weeks to adjust to 3 kids before he passed.  It was still too close for my liking but it was much better than if she had been born around her due date.  In fact, in my perfect planning in my head, I had hoped to go into Labor on the 3rd of July and have her that night, the exact time my dad passed.  It's a good thing Heavenly Father didn't give me MY perfect plan.

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Exactly 1 week after Kinsley was born and 6 days after Father's Day, my dad hosted a "Father's Day" get together and his parents, sister, and all his kids and grandkids were there.  This is where he met Kinsley for the first time.  I specifically remember asking him if he wanted to hold Kinsley and at first he said no and was hesitant because she was SOOO little, but he immediately changed his mind and that's when we got the only picture of him with her.

My dad passed away the day before the 4th of July and we ALWAYS spent the 4th with him.  Part of me wondered why it couldn't have waited until after we had spent that day with him.  But looking at it from a different perspective, I am so glad my dad was peacefluy in his bed when it happened and that we weren't all around him and witness to it.  That might have just added another level of pain and anguish.  

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To me this was also just another example of why Connor was definitely the right man for me to marry.  He took care of EVERYTHING.  Every single thing the first week or so.  And he would of done more if he could have.  To further prove how amazing he was at that time, the first Sunday after my dad passed, we were at church.  There was some extra time to fill in Sacrament meeting and the topic had been about Scout camp.  Connor hadn't even gone to camp since I had just had Kinsley.  Well, the counselor in the bishopric called on Connor to come bear his testimony. Connor was able to bear a beautiful testimony on trials and the plan of salvation.  After Sacrament meeting, the counselor said he had looked out over the congregation and saw Connor and it looked like there was a halo over his head that was glowing.  Seriously?  That is exactly how I felt about Connor!

This next thing is extremely personal and spiritual but there isn't a doubt in my mind the significane of it, so I thought I'd share it for those who may be interested.  It had been almost a month since my dad had passed and I was having a bad night, just thinking about stuff and worrying and it was keeping me from falling asleep.  The fact that I had a tiny baby that I would need to get up and feed soon was also not helping me fall asleep quicker.  Finally, around 2am I fell asleep and I had a dream.  In real life, my sister and I had planned to go to my step mom's the next day.  So in my dream, Holly and I were going to my step mom's.  The odd thing was that most of the time in my dreams people and things look different even though I know who and where it was.  In this dream though, all the people and places looked exactly like they do in real life.  So Holly and I walk in the house through the garage and there sitting on the couch was my dad.  It looked exactly like my dad.  As soon as I saw him I said, "Dad!"  I ran over and sat next to him.  In my mind, I knew he would only be there for a short time.  Dad said to me, "You don't have to worry about anything.  It will all be just fine."  That was comforting but I knew my dad wasn't going to stay there so I wasn't really worried about any earthly things at that point.  I just wanted Holly and I to spend time with him.  I hugged dad and said "Dad, I don't want you to go."  He was starting to fade and I said, "Dad you can't go yet.  You have to wait until Chris gets here."  Dad was still starting to fade but he lasted until Chris got there to give him a hug and then the dream ended.  Obviously, I woke up with a peaceful feeling.  And it really felt I had been able to hug my dad.  I know there are people out there who may think that God isn't real or that you can't have dreams or visions.  But I can testify of it.  That was an obvious blessing from my Heavenly Father to feel that embrace from my dad and to get assurance from him.  I am so grateful that Heavenly Father allowed me to have that opoortunity so soon after my dads passing.  

I'm sure there have been other blessings that I'm not thinking of.  Maybe I can add to this as I think of them.  I remember as the weeks after his passing, a lot of these blessings kept coming to my mind.  And I thought it was so weird to be thinking of all these positive things after losing my dad so suddenly.  I was wondering if I wasn't grieving the right way when I was feeling so grateful.  It felt so weird.  But I think that is another blessing I received.  To be aware of my blessings to give me comfort at an extremely painful time.  

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              Russell M. Nelson said:                                                                                      

Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the Church, as a sign of our faith in life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families.  

Doubts

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This picture makes me think of Cason.  Cason first saw it and was lost in thought.  Then he started saying the boy in the picture was "Cason".  I love that he thinks it is him.  I believe that is exactly what the artist intended.

I know there aren't very many people who read this blog anymore, but I still want to share some thoughts I have had lately.

Recently there have been friends and other people I know that have decided to leave the church for differing and various reasons.  When I first heard it, I will admit it made me feel very uncomfortable but I wasn't really sure why.  After my dad passed away, I kept waiting for that overwhelmingly strong feeling that families are eternal.  I was aching to have that.  It didn't come.  Hearing some of the reasons why people were leaving the church started making me feel doubts.

In the past I have definitely felt that families are eternal.  As I have gained my testimony, I felt it.  As I read scripures and attended the temple, I felt it.  When a friend lost their sweet 19 month old, I felt it.  But the time I WANTED that feeling and felt I NEEDED that feeling, it didn't come.  Why?  Well, then that is where doubt starts to creep in.  I wanted to believe in eternal families but I just wanted the Spirit to testify (again) that it was true.  Sometimes when I would get discouraged about not having that feeling, this scripture would come to mind, "Have I not already spoke peace to your mind concerning this matter?"  or something along those lines.  Yes, I have received my testimony of this but why was I yearning to feel it so strongly now?  It's because I want to KNOW that I will see my dad again. He left us so suddenly that sometimes I do think, 'What if I never get to see him again?"  

Well, for 7 months I have been waiting.  Sometimes more patiently than others for that feeling to come.  As much as I'd like to say I have gotten that sudden comfort and peaceful truth, I haven't.  This time it has come through quiet thougts and reflections.  Little by little I am being reminded of my testimony and that familes are eternal.  But one day, as I was thinking about this again, I got these distinct thoughts:  "What are the feelings that come when you are doubtful?  What are the feelings that come when you have faith?"  I'm sure this is a no brainer and as soon as I thought this I wanted to kick myself for being so dumb.  When I had the doubts I was feeling really anxious and worried.  When I just decided to trust even though I felt like I didn't KNOW, I felt calm.  I've heard this a million times, I've experienced it a million times, but I forogt.  

It made me start thinking a lot about Laman and Lemuel from the Book of Mormon.  People always say (me included), "How could Laman and Lemuel continue to make so many bad choices after seeing an angel, and having experiences where they should KNOW God is real?"  I know how.  And in reality a lot of us should relate to that.  Most of my spiritual experiences that I have had have seemed like undisputable evidence that God is real and loves me but still I have doubts.  I think that is normal, but where we can be different from Laman and Lemuel is to have faith anyway.

This experience has made me reflect on lots of different aspects of the gospel and to understand God a little better so that I can feel His love for me and my family more.  It has also helped me to see that how a testimony is received is different for everyone and even different during certain times of life.  

One surprising testimony strenghtener has been a knowledge that Heavenly Father knows what he is doing.  Things don't just happen by chance.  And if I can look for the blessings, even in the hardest of times, I can be a much happier and positive person.  (More on this later!)

© The Duke Fam 2014