November 30, 2008
30 Days and 17 Days
This post marks my completion of the National Blog Posting Month project. It also marks our last day in the "Sunshine State". It's raining and gloomy here today, perhaps it will help our transition to winter tomorrow when we return home to Maryland.
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I'm listening to my father-in-law in one room talking on the phone to his brother, who spent last week in the hospital - almost dying. (Thank God, he's okay now and is home with his family. This guy seriously has at least 9 lives.) In another room, my girls are talking to their Nanny. We stuffed ourselves silly with leftovers and a wonderful family meal with my husband's parents and grandparents. This evening, we'll head to church before coming home to pack.
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It's been a nice trip, mostly. While we are ready to go home, we still feel we didn't get enough time with everyone. I'll try to post some pictures when we get home.
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In the meantime, does anyone have any idea how to move an iTunes library from one computer to another?
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November 29, 2008
Day 29: Thankfulness
Today, we forced ourselves into some grace. We really wanted to see some friends, but they live over an hour away. I'd tried earlier in the week to convince them to come this way and we'd go to the beach or something, to no avail. They insisted we come to them. I understand it was probably the best idea, under all circumstances, but I was feeling a bit selfish with our time and didn't want to spend two and half hours of our busy weekend sitting in a car.
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But we went. We definitely didn't want to make the same mistake we made last year in being "too busy" to see one another. The girls were thrilled to see their friends and we were very content to sit with our friends on their beautiful lanai, relaxing and just enjoying each other's company and the laughter that is so easy when we're together.
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My favorite part was the hugs, quite honestly. I have spent nearly a year feeling guilty we didn't hug each other or spend time when we last had the opportunity - and that our friendship with one of them was nearly cut too short. It was good to be together and good to see our friend in one piece and more healthy than we could have hoped last January. For a guy who had his neck and back broken at the beginning of the year, he looked darn good.
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We hope they'll get in touch with us and we'll be able to see them sooner than later when they visit their family in the northeast, but the great thing is they know we love them. And we shared a lot of laughs this afternoon, for which I am very grateful.
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Good night and God bless you.
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November 28, 2008
Day 28: More isn't always more
So, this morning, I did NOT get up early and head out to the stores in the mad dash for Christmas gifts. Though I find the whole experience to be fun, if crazy, there just wasn't anything that we wanted/needed that warranted heading into any crowds. This year, there really isn't much on our Christmas list, and we have no idea what the girls want (they don't really give us any idea what they'd like or what they want more of - they both may end up with books and one new toy). We have no interest in adding more things into our home.
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Really, I think I'd like some free time to organize and use my craft room, which still is a disaster and boxes. I'd like to find an upholstered bench (even if it's something old that I can paint and recover) to occupy an empty wall in our living room. We need some more seating occasionally and a long-ish bench would be perfect. Husband needs some new shoes for work and maybe a suit or two. We are nothing if not absolutely practical.

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27 posts so far for the month. hmmmm..... I certainly haven't accomplished what I wanted (increasing my creativity or improving my actual writing), but I suppose I gleaned something from this project. I have two more days and this year will be the first time I really feel like I completed the project to the best of my ability. I know. It's totally lame, since I haven't posted great things this month. But considering how I'm feeling and there have been days when I haven't had internet access, yet posted via my cellphone anyway.... I really feel like I at least made effort each day. Maybe I'll just commit in the future to 3-5 posts weekly and start to share more pictures. I'd still like to share some pictures of our lovely 90-year-old home, so maybe you'll get that in the next couple weeks. Then again, maybe not.
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I've had a lovely Thanksgiving. We have spent time with many friends and while I've been dealt a great personal disappointment, our time with our family has been mostly wonderful. I thank God for my husband, our children and especially for my parents-in-law. I have a family that I never expected and certainly never believed I deserved. God has been exceptionally good to me.
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Two more days. Do you think it's possible anyone enjoyed my third attempt at this project? Because really? More posts hasn't necessarily equalled more content on this blog. Yep, more definitely isn't always more in a good way.


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November 27, 2008
Thanksgiving Night

He's here! Happy Thanksgiving.

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November 26, 2008
Day 26
No internet today.
Pie made,
rubbed pork roast,
beef stew for tonight's dinner...
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Thanksgiving tomorrow.
Thankful today.
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November 25, 2008
45 more hours
I miss my husband. I know I keep mentioning this, but seriously? I'm not sure I've so acutely missed his presence each day as I have this past week and half. We're not really very schmoopy and yet, somehow, I've been a mooning fool this past week.
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I certainly enjoy our time with our family in Florida, but I'm ready to go home and get back to our normal lives with our routines and our friends and our church. Also, I sleep best in my own bed.
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Especially when my husband is lying next to me.
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November 24, 2008
Day 24: Homeschooling: a lesson on the adrenal gland
This afternoon, as I began backing out of my parking spot in the warehouse store parking lot, I saw something that made me stop. Lightning fast, I pulled back into the spot, grabbed my cell phone and jumped from the car - shouting at the kids to stay in the car.
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As they unbuckled themselves and looked behind us, they wondered how I'd hit that grocery cart and then saw the man lying on the ground and were quite distressed that their mother had obviously run over an older gentleman in a parking lot.
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Nevermind there wasn't a collision or that our car wasn't even near the man nor the cart. As I ran across the lane, I was shaking and wondering how I might help this man, lying on the pavement next to his car. I wondered if I should assess his condition before dialing 9-1-1.
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In a matter of less than 5 seconds, I had put the car in reverse, back into drive, into park, dug through my purse and jumped from the car, yelling at my kids, across the lane to the other vehicle. During seconds 6-8, I shouted shrilly, "Sir! Sir! Sir! Are you awake?! OHMYGOSH-WHAT-HAPPENED?!?! ARE-YOU-OKAY!!?!?!?!", was relieved when he turned his head and looked at me. And then I felt like a total ass when he looked up at me and said, "Yeah, I'm fine - just looking for my spare hide-a-key. I think it's fallen off and lost."
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I asked him if he needed help getting up from the pavement and after he declined, I walked back to my car, my heart still racing. The girls wanted to know what that was all about and I told them what I'd seen and what I'd assumed and they relayed their own stories. We chuckled nervously and then they asked why I was still shaking.
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And being a homeschooler, I explained the process of adrenaline. It was notsomuch awesome. Though, we did thank God it was a false emergency and regretted the unuse of super-human powers.
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November 23, 2008
Sunday
Friends-rum-football-sunday of fun.
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Still miss my husband.
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November 22, 2008
Day 22: I'm pretty sure the last week I FLOPPED more than BLOPPED
So, I'm here, and you've seen a bit more than you bargained for of my mug this week. It seems sort of like a cop-out to post a little video (where's the sound? You're missing my late-night witticisms!) and a photo of myself, each with a solitary sentence.
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As you figured out by one of the posts this week, I went to the doctor. I've been having some ahem issues and it happened to be good timing that I was able to go to the practice that has managed my care for the past 10+ years. I am disappointed this morning after a call from the doctor last night - her initial diagnosis was not correct as she received my lab results. So, really? We're no closer to an answer than a week ago. And that is really disappointing. I do go back on Wednesday and she'll approach my health from a different angle. So, we'll see. It's nothing terribly serious, so it's just a matter of figuring it out, which could take a while.
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We're enjoying the time with our family here in the Sunshine State. Though, it'd be so much better if Husband were here with us. Also, it's slightly depressing to be with the 90 year old grandparents, I love them so, but it is so sad to see their decline.
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I think I'll be going to a college football game tomorrow evening with some friends (he was my first friend when I moved to FL 13 years ago and his wife is fantastic as well). Another time I'll be missing Husband especially. Thursday evening can't come soon enough for me.
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Eh, another boring post - I've actually typed out words and it is not much better than lame-o pictures of myself. Silly Sally says hi, blogworld!
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November 21, 2008
Dork

I totally forgot to post something today. Do you like my hair straight?

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November 20, 2008
Does this even count?

video

Another lame video message. Note the crooked glasses. Good night.

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November 19, 2008
Day 19: Doctors and Rejection
I'm so relieved to have my doctor here in Florida. She's a wonder and even though she can't treat whatever's going on long-term, she's going to help me get it under control now. Thank God. Also, if you don't have a doctor who listens to you and tries to help, find a new doctor - now.
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And I just want to comment that no amount of wine erases the rejection of a parent. Not that I use wine as an eraser or anything at all like that. Nope, not me. Actually, I wasn't using it as an eraser, it just happened into my mind that no matter how much I had this evening, it really didn't stop the feelings of inadequacy - even though I know those feelings are unfounded, no matter what my parents have tried to convince me.
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Also, cousins totally rock. Especially ones who've been your best friend your whole lives. And drinking wine with them makes for fantastically fun evenings, no matter who else is around. Plus, I need to go shower to rid myself of the campfire smell in my hair.
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Good night.
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November 18, 2008

I miss this guy.

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November 17, 2008
Nothing
This morning, I fell on the stairs and have hurt my still recovering left knee and my neck. I've tried all day to think of something else to post about for Day 17, but I'm failing.
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I already miss my husband, even though he left about 10 hours ago. It will definitely be a long 10 days until I see him again.
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Waahhh. I know, poor me. I'm off to bed.
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November 16, 2008
Day 16: Forgiveness
Why is it that just when you've made a decision about something.... You go to church and are reminded why making decisions in the heat of a moment is a bad idea?
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Although I want to be DONE with a particular relationship/situation, I go to church and am reminded that we are to forgive 70 x 7 times.
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I could use some prayer. Also, please pray for my friend Jen's mom.
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November 15, 2008
Day 15: Go Gators
My husband is a Gator. He has turned our children into baby gators (fans, not reptiles). They point out every sign, sticker and flag that has UF Gators on it. The note frequently that "it's a Gator Nation, baby!"
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He is blessed to have a friend who treats him to a game at UF once each season - for the past 9 years. Since we're home for a wedding (which was last night and we are beyond thrilled for Silly Sally's godmother - the best part of the night was seeing her so HAPPY), Husband requested this weekend's game. So, he's on his way now to Gainesville to partake in an afternoon of cheering and hanging out with his buddy.
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Last night at the reception, Bookworm told us that her sister "passed out" flat on her back on the floor after seeing the groom's cake. "Must be some cake." we thought - maybe something like from Ace of Cakes? So we went to see what her commotion was all about.
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Husand's favorite part of the wedding reception last night? Not the food or drink or dancing: it was seeing the groom's cake - with a a Gator on it.
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November 14, 2008
Day 14: Undoing nearly 2 hours of work

After the wedding... Taking 426 pins out of my hair.

I love this guy.

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November 13, 2008
Day 13: A video message

video

Does hearing me say 20 words count as a blog post?

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November 12, 2008
Day 12: Traveling
Today, I have a ton of stuff to do - packing for a nearly 3 week trip. We have a family wedding in two days (!!!Ack! I suppose I'm not going to drop a couple pounds so my pretty new dress drapes more nicely....). Since the wedding is at our hometown church, we're just staying through Thanksgiving to spend some time with our parents and husband's grandparents.
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Actually, Husband is only staying the weekend before flying to southern California for work stuff. Then, he comes home for 5 days before flying back to FL for most of the Thanksgiving weekend.
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And tonight, I'm hosting a Moms' Night Out, so I better get off the computer and get our suitcases packed and get the house ready, plus get to the store so I can make chocolate fondue for tonight!
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If I post a cute picture of the girls in their All Hallows Eve costumes, will you forgive me for two rotten posts in a row?

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November 11, 2008
Day 11: FLOP
I have nothing to write about at this late hour. We watched Elizabeth tonight and I'm reminded that people of all faiths are corruptible. It makes me wonder how man is able to get to Heaven.
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I'm not making sense, so perhaps I'll explore this subject at a time when I'm a bit more coherent and my thoughts aren't quite so jumbled.
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November 10, 2008
Day 10: Gypsy
Last Friday evening, Husband and I had balcony seats at St. James Theatre to see Patti Lupone in Gypsy.
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Although the storyline is rather depressing what with the whole wacko stage mom and poverty and the eventual demoralization of her daughter, this show was absolutely fantastic. The entire cast was wonderful and it was clear why Patti Lupone has the reputation as a star.
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She owned the stage, the entire show. Her presence transformed the theatre. I'm not a big celebrity-phile, but we stayed after the show outside the door of the theatre with a smallish group, waiting to greet the star herself. I was so stunned that I got a photo of her sweatshirt. Yes, her sweatshirt. Her beautiful smile is at the top edge of the frame, but really? Her sweatshirt? I'm such a dork.
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She did sign my playbill, though, and I was happy to tell her personally that I think she's a rock star.
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If you have the opportunity to go to Broadway and see a show, I highly recommend this one. The smallish theatre meant there really were no bad seats, the cast was awesome, and Patti Lupone really shone as brightly as the lights in Times Square. Very obviously, she deserves every accolade and award she's received.
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More on our trip later.
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November 09, 2008
Day 9: I heart NY, Thursday evening
We arrived Thursday evening to crazier-than-bustling traffic (does that city ever get a break in traffic?). Because we were stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel for quite some time, I called and cancelled our dinner reservations at Balthazar. (this was the view from our hotel room)
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After a taxi ride that cost us $4 more because we didn't know to walk to the other side of Madison Square Garden to avoid paying to drive around the block in bumper-to-bumper traffic, we arrived near our hotel (due to the proximity to the Holland Tunnel and the ridiculous traffic in that direction, our cabby thought we'd get there quicker if we walked from the corner - he was right. As a matter of fact, we should have gotten out a few blocks sooner and gotten there even more quickly, even dragging our suitcase behind us). We dumped our stuff and headed in search of dinner.
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The front desk agent suggested The Cupping Room. We walked in that direction, but decided to pass - I just wasn't feelin' it. We kept walking.


We walked past Felix, which was recommended by Rebekah, but I didn't realize it was on her list of good places, so we didn't even cross the street to check it out. A couple more blocks and we stopped to check out Pepolino's. It was wonderful. (Saturday morning, we walked past Balthazar and realized that it really worked out well that our anniversary dinner was not at a loud, crowded restaurant, but an intimate and cozy one in a less popular area.) The food was amazing - really fresh and I'm sure it was the most delicious Italian food I've had anywhere.
Some kind locals gave us walking directions to Max Brenner's on Broadway, which was on Rebekah's list. It was quite a long walk for my knee, but much needed to work off some of dinner before loading up on chocolate. On the way, we stopped to buy a lovely blue pashmina scarf for me from a street vendor and comic books from another vendor for Husband. When we arrived for "Chocolate by the Bald Guy", we shared the chocolate fondue trio and it was absolutely sinful. Roasting marshmallows over a little grill seemed to be Husband's favorite part of the evening. Well, roasting them then dipping them in pure chocolate and stuffing them in his mouth..... If I can figure out how to post a video, I have a slightly amusing one of him doing that, though the lighting isn't good. (We also thought it was a good place to get a little Thank You gift for my friend who kept the girls. Turns out I was right - even though she told me I shouldn't have given her anything, I could tell she couldn't wait to get home and make some hot cocoa for herself last night. Thanks, Jo!)
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By the time we were finished, we were stuffed and incredibly tired. It'd been a long day and more walking than I've done in at least 6 months. We took the Q train back down into SoHo and wandered around trying to find our hotel, since I seem to have lost my perfect sense of direction.
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At the hotel, I realized that instead of packing my own underpants, I'd packed those belonging to my 6 year-old (yeah, not really easy to confuse the two, I have NO idea how I did that). Also, I'd failed to pack my pjs. And so, being over-tired, I cried like a baby. It was really romantic. Yeah. Notsomuch.
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In spite of that, it was a lovely anniversary and I'm hopeful that my husband will stick with me at least another ten years.
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November 08, 2008
Day 8: What a weekend!
I can't wait to write up a post with more pictures from our trip.
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For now I will tell you it was incredible. We saw a lot (not nearly enough), we laughed, we held hands, we walked along Central Park huddled together under an umbrella in the rain.
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We're tired. I'll write more tomorrow.
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November 07, 2008

NYC...top of the rock

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November 06, 2008
Day 6: 10 Years Ago
I wish I could tell you I knew what I was doing 10 years ago today, but I really didn't.
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I got married at 11-ish am. On a Friday. At a courthouse. It was a beautiful fall day in Clearwater. We'd only decided that Tuesday to push up our wedding date, oh, one year and 4 months. We'd been officially engaged only about 5 weeks. We'd known each other less than 365 days. We were 23 years old. And yet.....
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God has blessed us these ten years - so abundantly, it's hard to put into words. We have grown up (we still are growing up) together, we've spent our adulthood growing with each other, encouraging each other. We have expended an immense amount of energy on ridiculous arguments. We have expended even more energy making up. And more than that, we have put the most energy into learning to communicate effectively, compromising, learning the nuances required to read the other. We have built an incredible partnership, an empire of love, if you will.
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Our lives haven't been sugar-coated, we've had plenty of downs. But our commitment to each other and our family and our faith has been enough to get us through the times when we were near the breaking point. Our quest for children has been liberally peppered by loss and heartache, but rewarded with two incredible daughters, true blessings. We have dealt with familial disappointment, interstate moves, job changes, financial hell, medical issues, deaths of loved ones... All things that can strain a marriage on their own. Many years, these cards have been dealt to us one after another. And yet? We are happy.
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We have had untold joy. He still makes me weak in the knees, just with a look or a gentle kiss. His devotion to me and our children are enough to make me swoon. He works hard, not only to be successful in his career, but to provide for us in every way - as the head of our family, as an example in the community, as a model of good faith. When we have the rare occasion to spend time without the girls, we have the best time (I'm so looking forward to NYC for two days!!!) - reminded what drew us to each other in the beginning. The sweet give and take - the gentle way we loved one another even from the start. Thoughtful gestures, caring words. Sometimes we've let those things go unsaid in our day-to-day, the sweetness fading from time to time. But when we realize it, it is so wonderful to get back to our roots.
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I wouldn't want to be traveling this road with anyone else. I wouldn't want to have a family with anyone else, or move all over the east coast with anyone else. I didn't know what I was doing 10 years ago, but I am glad our impulsivity threw us in this direction.
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I love you, Husband. I pray we are blessed with as many years together as Nanny and Poppop (65 so far!!!). I hope you can put up with me for that long.
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Happy Anniversary.
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November 05, 2008
History is Made
Through this election cycle (and the previous ones, for that matter), I have had the unfortunate privelege of receiving offensive emails from family and friends regarding our differing political views. I tend to keep my mouth shut, since I love and respect these people. I will also point you in the direction of a post from 4 years ago that sums up how I feel (apart from the part where I support W - wow, how things can change in 4 years).
But I just want to share an email I sent this morning to a friend in response to a gloating message. I refrain from talking politics because I know my opinion and you know yours and I don't know that it's possible for us to ever see completely eye-to-eye without a major conversion experience for one of us. Perhaps my words will help explain where I'm coming from better. And perhaps you could keep this in mind when you deal with your friends who are politically on the other side of the aisle.
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I love you, friend. That being said, I have to defend myself a bit from your email. You say that conservative Christians have held the white house for the last 8 years and have done a bang up job. But the reality is that Bush's approval rating among conservative Christians is just as bad as his approval rating among the rest of the country. He has not made his decisions based on our ideals. His government has not kept their part of the bargain.
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Do I agree that we need major change in this country? Absolutely. But I don't believe that one man without respect for ALL human life can be the savior that so many on the left have touted him to be. I don't believe a man who thinks of babies as "punishments for mistakes" really has a grasp of the greatness of the gift of life. While I may not have led a chaste life prior to marriage, I also knew there may be consequences for my choices (and at that time, I wasn't even a christian). But I took measures then to be "responsible" in order to prevent unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Do I think that makes me better than anyone else? No, just smarter in my decisions - I didn't want a baby, I didn't put myself in a position where that may happen (or at least in a position where that was likely).
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Do I think that Obama may be a great leader? I think he may be. But he needs to protect ALL human life, not just those lives which are convenient to protect. I pray for a unified America. I pray for our leaders to stand firm for the truth and for the values this country was built upon.
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We need not be a nation of selfishness and greed - I agree with his statement last night that we need to be ready to sacrifice. But I believe he needs to see the reality of truth - that there really is a right and wrong and it isn't just about what's good for me (or you, or anyone) as an individual.
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I am a bit offended by liberals suggesting that I am out of touch with the reality of today simply because I am a conservative christian. My husband works hard in order that I can stay home with our children. We freely give our time, our love and our money to others in an effort to ease the suffering of our world. We try to be good neighbors, good stewards of the land, courteous examples to our children that if we want love in the world, we must be willing to do anything in order to give it.
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We accept persecution from family members and friends while we turn the other cheek - I don't attack them for their religious or political views, and yet I am attacked by them for being a "judgemental right wing sheep bastard". I don't forward offensive political emails to those who would be offended by my opinion (actually, I don't forward any offensive political emails - both sides are wrong when they attack the other). But for anyone to say that my family and I don't do our damndest to make this country a better place to live, a better place to raise our kids, a better, cleaner planet.... Well, darn right I take offense.
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All this is not an attack against you, my friend. But I don't think it's fair of the left to point fingers at the right - particularly since so many on the right have felt even more let down by our current president. There is a lot that has happened in the last 8 years that shouldn't have happened. But at what point do the American people take responsibility?
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The government didn't buy houses they couldn't afford. They didn't get greedy and build their dream homes, only to have to make wacky mortgage deals in order to afford the payments. I live quite near the nation's capitol and I am astounded at the excess and waste. Wildlife is being forced into neighborhoods because areas that forever have been woodlands have been cleared to make way for mcmansions, to fill with their progeny of one or two perfect children.
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I live in a state that is as liberal and left-leaning as possible, and yet, these folks are shouting for us to save the earth - while they drive their big SUVs and build their dream homes on previously unspoiled land, killing farms in the process. When people are willing to step up and really sacrifice their desires for the greater good of our country and for our earth, then perhaps I will listen closely to the left. When they are willing to sacrifice their comfort for the sake of their children, even when those children were conceived outside their life plans, I will believe them when they say we need to step up for one another.
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What the left is saying, though, is that they want to be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want - without consequences. I do realize there are folks on the left who live by the ideals they claim to believe. And I don't judge those who are big hypocrites - that's not my job. I believe there will come a time when every one of us must answer for our actions and bigotry. But to say that conservative christians are responsible for the current crises in the United States is false and unfair. I don't call all leftists baby-killers.
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Friend, did you know ANY Catholic priest during the time of your upbringing who was a good guy? Who really loved the Lord and was trying to shepherd in a way that brought his flock closer to Jesus? I'd bet the answer is yes. Do the sins of a few taint the whole bunch? No. I'm proof of that. My kids are proof of that. [Tomorrow, my husband and I will celebrate ten years of marriage. That isn't something that a lot of people can say these days - particularly given what we've been through in that time - some times it would have been easier or more convenient just to get divorced. But we knew the right thing to do was to sacrifice for our family. We entered into marriage with the plan that we would do anything to be true to our promises. We haven't always been successful, but we were willing to work through it without trashing each other's dignity.]
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We are out here. We exist - we conservative christians who live as we say we believe. And we love America, even liberals. Even though we're misunderstood, judged, accused of being stupid. So, one of the things I'm grateful for is that this election is finally over. I'm relieved to know there won't be riots in response to the election results.
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In the meantime, I'll be living my life as I have been, in prayer and love and trying to do good works. I'll be raising my children to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up for the truth and try to protect the innocent. I'll be educating them in a way that allows them to accel and to love learning, encouraging them to serve others. And yes, I hope they will learn through me and their father that loving the Lord is first, above all else. That they would know that no matter what happens in our lives, that we have a place of truth and love and comfort in our faith.
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Even I, a crazy right-wing christian, will be praying for Obama. He is going to need an immense amount of support and grace in order to accomplish the good things his campaign promised. I'll also be praying that the truth of the dignity of ALL human life would be revealed to him. That he would stand firm on the values and rights our great nation has held most important since the beginning.
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God Bless us all.
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Your friend,
Holly
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November 04, 2008
Day 4: Election Day
God have mercy on us.
God help us.
I hope you voted for what you really believe in.
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November 03, 2008
Day 3: Nothing Spectacular
Tonight, we were so blessed to have dinner with some dear friends and a priest friend who's on assignment in DC from Florida.
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It's a delight to spend time with friends and while I enjoyed my time with my family in Ohio over the weekend, it was nice to be with a group of people on the same page as I. Dinner was delicious, conversation was better and ending our time together in prayer for our nation was the highlight of the evening.
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God can do anything and I believe He can use whatever happens tomorrow for good.
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Don't forget to VOTE!
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November 02, 2008
Day 2: An Amazing Boy
Last week, when I called my youngest brother to let him know I'd be in town and wanted to see him....

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Me: What are your plans for next weekend?

Him: I don't know. We don't usually make many plans so far in advance....

Besides, no matter what's going on, I'm sure seeing you is more important.

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This is a kid who is about to be driving his own car, a boy who hasn't known me, who has only 14 months ago met me. And since I live in Baltimore, he's really only spent time with me 3 times since then.

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I'm so grateful for his willingness to trust that I do love him and have always wanted to know him. I'm so grateful that he seems genuinely interested in seeing me and getting to know one another better and forging a relationship.

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God must have His hand in this, even if my brother doesn't know it yet. I don't know why I feel so surprised that this has all been much better than I could have expected.
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November 01, 2008
Day 1: We'll see how this goes
I decided just now, since it is still the 1st of November and there are a couple hours left of the day..... I am going to give NaBloPoMo a shot again this year. I do realize this may mean some lame-o posts, but I am hopeful I will be able to avoid that by being a bit creative.
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So, we're in Ohio, visiting my extended family of origin. It's been a lovely few days. It's fall, so the weather is pretty crazy - on the way here Wednesday, the girls and I rode through a snowstorm for more than 2 hours through the mountains in Pennsylvania. We definitely missed the view of the brilliant foliage - something even the girls had been looking forward to. The girls and I had lunch with one of my college friends and her tiny daughter one day, then last night we joined another college friend and her family for trick-or-treating.
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One of the things that I thought of last night, sitting at my friend's parents' dining table... God has always been there for me - even when I didn't know it. This family invited me over quite a bit in the months after my Dad died. I hadn't known them very long, had been friends with their daughter less than one year. And yet? They frequently invited me to come over for dinner, to study there, family dinners.... Kind of strange, since I technically lived at "home". But these folks sensed that I no longer had a home - at least not one that helped me feel cared for or loved. And they did. It's weird. All these years (fourteen), I never really gave much thought to what this family did for me during a time of great need. It wasn't my own extended family that knew how to comfort me - they were dealing with their own grief. And God knew that I needed a place where I was cared for and prayed for - even if I didn't see it that way at the time. And He so graciously gave me a place - a friend who's family simply did what they could to offer a haven.
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And I so appreciate it. I was overwhelmed at that table last night, as my friend sat next to me, one of her sisters across from me, another in the kitchen - our children swirling around us in costumes and fingers covered in paint, the blue dripping from one pumpkin. Overwhelmed because there are moments still that I feel like the grieving girl from fourteen years ago - I hardly feel like I've grown up, and yet I have. My family of origin is finally (mostly) recovered and I have become a woman. A woman who still misses her Dad, especially when I'm here, where I spent my life with him. But I am a woman, a wife, a mother... And I think that I am so much better at those parts of me after being loved by my various friends and their families throughout the years.
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One day, I hope they all can fully grasp the depth of my gratitude.
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