Saturday, May 23, 2020

For The First Time In Forever

There are a couple of songs wafting through my mind today. One of the songs is The First Time In Forever from Frozen. That's because for the first time since February, Kate and Luke went to play with their cousins! They were both so incredibly excited when we told them this morning. They've had many a Zoom play date with their cousins, Brayden and Mya, over the last six weeks. Brayden and Luke didn't usually last more than an hour at a time. Kate and Mya on the other hand, are Zoom play date champions...they could play for hours and hours. Even though they were glad to "see" their cousins and talk to them over a screen, it still wasn't the same.

Jay and I have been talking to my sil, Jackie, over the past week or so trying to figure out what everyone felt comfortable with as we all start the slow descent into starting to ease social distancing guidelines. I know there's lots of different opinions and thoughts on the subject.  What's comfortable for some people won't be comfortable for other people. And that's definitely ok. None of us has lived through a pandemic before and we are all navigating uncharted waters! For us, we felt comfortable taking this one small step back into the "world of normal".

The kids were thrilled!

Their play date also coincided with a rare return for Sarah back to her apartment last night because her roommates wanted to celebrate her birthday. Ellie also ended up having an unplanned for social distancing get together with a friend today.  Jon is out of the house spending time with Marisa's family. Which left me home with just Jay and Peter!

That means that (hope you can hear the tune in your head)....For the first time in forever, there is silence in the house.....

I mean actual silence! I can hear the whirl of the washing machine and the dryer as Peter orchestrates the laundry room as his own very OCD symphony. (There are pluses and minuses to that but, with the rest of his "normal routine" MIA for several months now, there are only so many battles that are worth fighting as a mom.)

I also hear the swish of a paint brush as Jay refreshes the paint in our bathroom in preparation for Jon and Marisa's rehearsal dinner that we will host in just over a month. But, other than those two sounds, it is SO incredibly quiet and peaceful!

I have missed this!

As a mom of many, there are not a lot of quiet moments in the day. Once the quarantine began and everyone, including the two kids living away at school, came home, there was literally no quiet in the house. ever.

Honestly, it was starting to get to me. Just this morning, almost everyone was occupied with some kind of playing or getting ready for the day and I snuck into my room trying to get a few minutes of peace to read the daily Mass readings and pray the Holy Spirit Novena prayer for today. One of the older girls happened to be showering in my bathroom, singing happily(and loudly)...and I just thought to myself that I would never.find.a.quiet.moment.again. Dramatic...well, yes...but that's the way I was feeling.

I guess God heard that plea for quiet in my heart and arranged for all of these things to fall into place, for which I am very grateful.

Having this blessing of quiet reminds me of all the years when we had very young children.(which were a lot of years!) Getting a reprieve from a nursing baby or a clingy toddler(or both) was a rare occurrence. As much as I love my kids and was grateful to be home with them full time, there were many times when the burn out was overwhelming.

Now, after almost 3 years of having everyone in school full time and working part time with some very small snippets of time during most school weekdays that I could call my own, this quarantine has propelled me back into full time parenting. (with an added bonus of having to coordinate, sometimes teach, and follow through will school work!) The reminders of the burn out and lack of quiet returned very quickly...especially the added burn out of having a special needs child home with you 24/7. Before Peter became a teenager, there were many years when it would take me weeks to recover from the emotional stress of having Peter home with me for the few weeks between when his summer program would end and the regular school year would start again.

Thankfully, he isn't as challenging now, but 9 weeks at home has definitely taken its toll on him and on me.

So, having a little time to recharge today is such a blessing...

Wondering what the other song is that's been going through my head? Reunited And It Feels So Good...that's an old one and I actually had to look up who sang it. It's by Peaches and Herb and came out in 1978. For these pics, though, that song is the perfect sentiment!




 


Friday, May 22, 2020

A Little Catch Up

Linking up with Kelly for Quick Take Friday!

1. Mother's Day
Mother's Day was a really nice day. It started with tv Mass, then a really nice brunch with strawberry waffles, quiche, bacon, sausage and Jay's famous breakfast potatoes. My parents joined us and I had all my kids together, with the exception of my almost daughter-in-law, Marisa. I wanted to take a group picture, but I have a couple of kids who loathe pictures and Marisa was missing so I gave them all a pass and just enjoyed the day. I was completely spoiled by everyone and treated to flowers, a gift card to one of my favorite restaurants, homemade strawberry cupcakes, my van cleaned out(!), dishes washed, and my hair colored a few days later by my oldest who is almost finished with barber school. (my dad, who has been a barber and owned his salon for almost as long as I've been alive helped:) It helps to have family members that can color your hair at home during a pandemic!

2. The Light At The End of The Tunnel(finally!)
Our state is finally lifting some restrictions. Our diocese is starting Mass up again in one more week and I.can't.wait! I know it's going to be strange with masks and social distancing, but being able to be present at the Mass in person and receive the Eucharist will be amazing. I feel like we are finally heading in the right direction on the long road to normal!

3. A Special Pandemic Birthday
Sarah celebrated her 21st birthday on Tuesday! I really don't know how to process the fact that four of my children are now over 21. I'm not exactly sure how I got old enough to have four kids over 21, but there it is just the same! That's half my kids! How did this even happen?!?

Anyway...moving on..

Sarah got several social distancing visits from her friends that made her really happy.I made a special dinner for her: shrimp tacos with cilantro lime slaw, homemade guacamole, as well as chicken fajitas for the non seafood loving crowd. Ellie is proving herself quite the baker and made Sarah dairy free red velvet cupcakes for dessert. We got Sarah a weighted blanket that she had wanted, as well as an IOU for a mother/daughter lobster roll lunch in the very near future. Her favorite gift was delivered two days later. It was a US Marine Corp sweatshirt from her boyfriend, Mike, who is...surprise...a marine. Mike is also stationed in Japan and, bc of the Coronavirus, missed his planned trip home at the end of April. He should be coming for a visit sometime this summer...and I guarantee it will be a highly anticipated vacation! Jay and I are looking forward to meeting him as well. 

Curious how they met? About a year ago, Mike had been home visiting his family. The night before he left to go back, Mike wanted to say goodbye to his best friend, Alex. Alex happened to be at the movies with a small group of friends which included...you guessed it...Sarah. Mike met the group after the movies and they all talked for a short time. Mike eventually asked Sarah for her number. Sarah thought it was because he wanted to be friends. (oh, Sarah) And they've been face timing twice a day for many months now. 

And that's how my daughter managed to find herself with a boyfriend, who is a marine, that lives in Japan that we have never met. (in person..he seems very nice over Face Time) THE END 
(Or more appropriately, to be continued.....:)

Sibling love


Mike's Hard Lemonade was Sarah's drink of choice for the party!

The infamous 1st meeting..Mike is in the back:)


4. Another Special Birthday
Wednesday would have been Therese's 22nd birthday. I love how important it is to Kate to remember a sister she never met. I let Kate write the (minimal) events we had on our whiteboard calendar in the kitchen this month. She put Therese's birthday up without any reminders from me...Kate just remembers that Therese's birthday is the day after Sarah's. 

During the month of May, we have made a real effort to pray the entire rosary, (instead of our usual one decade with the littles), each night with whatever kids are around for the intention of Jon and Marisa's wedding. At the end of each rosary, Jay prays to several saints and Kate always makes sure to add, "St. Therese our sister". It's just so sweet.

5. Memorial Day
Even though each day is still like Ground Hog Day....we have arrived at Memorial Day! This Sunday was supposed to be the weekend my son, Jon, got married. That special day is now pushed off a bit. Even though we are disappointed that everything that had been planned for two years isn't happening, we are excited that we have something to count down and look forward to! And the countdown is...

6. 37 More Days!
June 28th is the day Jon and Marisa will say those long awaited "I Do's". 37 more days....the countdown is on and we can all (finally) joyfully anticipate this special moment. We still aren't exactly sure what everything will look like, but we at least know that they can have the wedding at the church and fit the people that are able to come! We aren't sure whether the reception will happen the same day yet...but we're figuring out things as we go along. I've put it all in Mary's hands, and I'm sure that however it works out it will be beautiful and blessed!

7. Enjoy the Long Weekend!
I'm most grateful that I don't have to coordinate school on Monday! 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A New Wedding Planner

Frodo exclaims, “I wish the ring had never come to me. 
I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf responds,”So do all that live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.
 All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”


How are you doing in these crazy pandemic days? Life here is still painfully restricted. I've found myself feeling lots of frustration and even anger this week in a situation that I have no control over. I know that there are very few things I ever actually have control over, but now I no longer even have the allusion of control either.

I don't have control over the governor of our state with all his hidden, secret plans that is making me crazy...and angry(but I already mentioned that). I don't have control over the fact that I have to do home learning with my kids right now. I don't have control over the fact that my special needs son is home 24/7. I don't have control over not being able to attend Mass. I don't have control over what the grocery store has in stock on any given day.

I have to keep reminding myself that God is in control and that He is going to take all these negative things in my life right now and bring good out of them. I just need the eyes to see, and the patience to wait, as it unfolds....and wait, and wait, and wait.

Patience is not easy for me. Not knowing a time line is not easy for me. Along with wrestling with control, I'm also wrestling with trust. I don't know how everything is going to work out. I don't know when anything is going to work out. I don't know what things will look like. What I am pretty sure of is that none of the "working out" is going to look like the way I would have worked things out. That thought certainly lacks humility, but it's an honest thought.

8 weeks of living a real life Groundhog Day where every day feels like a close carbon copy of the last day has definitely gotten old....wake up, get everyone moving and fed, home learning, laundry, pick up clutter, get everyone fed(again), dishes, finish home learning without meltdowns(mine or the kids), deal with more clutter, more cooking, more feeding, more dishes, go to bed, repeat. I'm ready to move onto the other Bill Murray movie, What About Bob, and "take a vacation from my problems".

I fantasize about being somewhere warm and beautiful and quiet...because I SO miss any semblance of quiet...and just resting without having to worry about schedules, or Zoom meetings, or homework, or meal planning, or having to adjust said meal planning in the middle of the grocery shopping trip because you can't find what you need to make the meals you spent all the time planning for(!).

I felt a lot of hope when I woke up on May 1st. The long month of April with it's constant, unchanging quarantine was finally over! It was a new month. It is the month of Mary. Things would start opening up in May. It was finally going to stop raining almost every.single.day. There were reasons to hope...and hope had been hard to come by in April.

You know when you have that feeling of peace and you just know that God's in control and everything is going to be all right...even if you don't know exactly how or when? That's the feeling I had on May 1st. I don't think it lasted an entire day before I was back to wrestling with the anxiety that was trying to bump trust out of my heart...but it still happened. And I'm trying to hold onto that memory as we reach the middle of May and not a whole lot has changed in the world around me.

I am a planner....and that's not an "essential skill" during quarantine. I'm also really good at shopping, which is also not an "essential skill" during a pandemic. (Although my Amazon, Etsy, and Wayfair accounts might say otherwise!) In my defense, there is a good reason for that...

One of the hardest parts of the pandemic for me is watching my son, Jon, and his fiance, Marisa, have to change plans that have been in place for two years. On May 12, 2018, Jon proposed to Marisa and lots of attention was given to all the details that go into planning a wedding. First was the date...May 24th, 2020...a longer two year engagement because Jon was in grad school and they thought waiting until he was finished would be easier.(Boy, is hindsight 20/20!) We booked the venue before they even had their calendar for 2020 open. Marisa and Jon are also planners extraordinaire...so there were dress colors, a flurry of  Pinterest boards, and all kinds of other decisions made in very short order.

And then we waited.

And we are still waiting... 

The date has been pushed from May 24th to June 28th. There will be a wedding that day...but we don't know exactly what it will look like. We will celebrate that day...but we don't know exactly what it will look like. The one thing I do know is that it won't look like what was planned two years ago. There has been lots of grief and tears over that. It's a very real loss...

...but hope is not lost.

As the groom's parents, we are in charge of the rehearsal dinner. Months ago, when the word "corona" still only referred to a beer, we all decided that the rehearsal dinner would be catered at our house. I did what I do best and started planning. As February and March rolled around and "corona" took on a whole new meaning, the details for the rehearsal dinner got a little bigger. I'm a mom, and seeing my son and future daughter-in-law have to let go of all the things they looked forward to broke my heart. I don't have control over the situation, but I do have control over the details of the rehearsal dinner. So I threw my 'rusting in the pandemic' planning skills into Pinterest and trying to make things extra special within a limited budget and my very limited ability as a crafty person.

The planner in me also started to formulate something bigger. I had to have an emergency back up plan, because my fear was that our backyard would be the location of not only a rehearsal dinner, but also a reception. That was never in Marisa's plan...and I'm still praying that this won't be the option we have to go with. But, if we have to, I want to be ready. And I want it to be as beautiful and special as it can be. Hence, all the Amazon, Etsy, and Wayfair boxes sitting in my bedroom. (And the outdoor rug I'm storing in the garage that I'm hoping Jay won't notice for a while;)

I'm not relying just on me, though. All of May I have been thinking of another wedding. It's one that happened a really long time ago in a far away place called Cana for a nameless couple that didn't have what they needed for their wedding either. Someone really special noticed and, with the help of her Son, not only provided what the couple needed but far surpassed anything they could have done without the help.

Multiple times a day, I call out to Mary, mother to mother, asking her to help Jon and Marisa. I'm asking her to coordinate all the details. I'm asking her to help me to make things special. I'm asking her to take what we have and bless it and make it better than we ever could have planned for....because she is the ultimate wedding planner.

And now I wait. And trust. And wrestle with my anxiety and fear. And remember the peace I felt on May 1st that God was in control and everything was going to work out alright.

Because He is...and it will...and these two special young adults that have lived their engagement walking with God, will have a wedding day that falls into place in ways none of us ever imagined.

Engagement Day<3
May 12, 2018



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Just Another Day of Ordinary Pandemic Life

I am halfway through week 6 of quarantine...and it feels like so much longer than that!

Last week I enjoyed a break from homeschooling everyone but Peter. We all needed it so badly! While we have certainly been blessed that the schools Kate, Luke and Ellie attend are still moving forward and learning new material....it's been a real challenge to adjust to school at home amidst all the other emotions that living in the midst of a pandemic brings.

Halfway through our break week came the announcement that school would not resume for the rest of the school year. While it certainly wasn't a surprise, it was still a real disappointment. The announcement took away all hope that there would be any kind of "normal" schedule for any of us for the next couple of months.There would be no opportunity for closure for a school year unlike any other. No hope of seeing their friends or their teacher or their classroom. It's like a story that forgot to include an ending.

There is grief in that and it comes in waves at unexpected times. Sometimes those moments of missing how life was and not knowing when it will return is just so heavy on my heart.

There was an article I read that a friend shared on Facebook about all of us being in the same storm, but on different boats. It's so true. While I think just about everyone has struggles some days with the isolation and fear...(although I'm sure there are some introverts that feel like having to stay home is amazing)....the pandemic has affected people on many different levels and to many different degrees. Some people are losing so much money waiting for when their businesses will be allowed to be opened, others are making more money staying home and collecting unemployment. Some families are trying to balance working at home while schooling their children. Health care workers are carrying a tremendous burden of trying to care for sick patients and worrying about bringing home illness to their families. There are families with special needs children that are struggling to handle their behaviors from their routines being completely off and no time line for when they might resume. The elderly, like my 97 year old grandfather, are struggling with loneliness and isolation because they can't have any visitors, can't eat meals with the other residents, and spend most of the day alone in their rooms that have begun to feel like prison cells. Other people are enjoying this "temporary retirement" and don't mind if they are stuck home for a while longer.

Since it's week six of quarantine, I have managed to find a better balance with the kids' schedules. (at least most days). The kids' schools and teachers have started to adjust the workload as well. Everyone was trying to keep things plugging along at a normal pace, but life is no longer normal. There is nothing normal about living in a pandemic world. We're all trying to figure out things as we go along as best we can. I'm making a conscious effort to only do what is necessary in regards to school work. Anything optional, unless one of my kids is enthusiastic about doing it, is a hard pass for me right now. My goal is to get through the year with most of my mental health intact! 


I consider it a win if, by the time Jay gets home from work, dinner is almost ready and part of the house isn't a complete disaster. Keeping the living and the kitchen mostly neat gives me a sense of outward calm even when I'm feeling anything but calm on the inside. (The family room and the kids' bedrooms on the other hand are just begging for some time and attention...which we still try to tackle every Saturday!) Everyday necessities are home schooling, dishes, laundry, and dinner. Anything else is a bonus and I don't want to feel guilty about not having a Martha Stuart quarantine house. 

Sometimes, if the kids are on a break and they're playing well together and having fun, I let the break last as long as the calm does. Some days, if the kids are having a tv break and I'm hitting a wall then I take a power nap. If everyone is quietly doing schoolwork or they're occupied on a Zoom call with their teachers, I try and sit down and enjoy a quasi quiet moment while I read whatever devotional book or inspiring book I'm working through. (Right now, it's Loved as I Am by Sr. Miriam James Heidland and Seeking Peace by Allison Gingras) 

I miss the quiet...I miss alone time. I miss going to Mass and my Saturday morning adoration hour. I've been able to get out to the church to pray a few times for a very short amount of time, but it's not easy to sneak away. My older crew is busy with grad school work or high school studies and I don't want to overburden them with the younger kids. Peter has also had his ups and downs, and on the days that his emotions are elevated and he is struggling I don't feel comfortable leaving him. Weekdays are busy for Jay, too. He has so much on his plate that there's no free time for either of us. Since Jay is a physical therapist, he is the only person my grandfather's assisted living allows in to visit and care for him. Jay is Pepere's only link to our family and the only visitor he gets, so every morning before work Jay heads over to give Pepere his pills and help him open his breakfast containers and his sugar packets because Pepere is legally blind and his 97 year old fingers don't work the way he wants them to. Then, after working until 530 or 6 and having dinner, Jay heads to Pepere's and spends over an hour sitting with him to try and take away some of his loneliness.  

In a lot of ways, life for us is very much like prepandemic life except now we have so much more stress, fear, and responsibilities!

I know that so many people are going through a lot right now. We are blessed that our families are healthy. I'm definitely still longing for when life feels more like it used to be before Covid-19 entered the world like a wrecking ball!

I've mentioned before that Jay is also the volunteer leader of our parish's high school youth group. He just made a new, short video titled "What is essential right now?". In it, he shares a really inspiring story about his sister, Julie, who is a nurse in one of the Boston hospitals. (He calls her his "little sister" and makes it sound like she's a kid lol. In reality, she's married with two adorable little girls.)
Here's the link to check it out. 



Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday Meditations

My amazing husband, Jay,  put together some short(5 min each), thoughtful reflections on Holy Week. I hope you enjoy them as we celebrate a very special time of year in a very untraditional way!

Rosary Series for Holy Week:
Youtube Links:

How to pray the mysteries:

What if I’m bad at meditating?:

The Transfiguration:

The Institution of the Eucharist:

The Agony in the Garden:

The Scourging at the Pillar:

The Crowning with Thorns:

The carrying of the Cross:

The Crucifixion:

My God, My God, Why Have You Abandoned Me?:

And here's a link to a song that I like that feel appropriate for today. Praying that you have a very spiritual Triduum!



Thursday, April 9, 2020

Happy 17th Birthday, Ellie!

Yesterday was Ellie's 17th birthday! I'm not quite sure how 17 years have gone by, but the calendar doesn't lie! I try to forget about the fact that she's a junior this year and ignore all the college brochures that have been coming in the mail for months. She isn't quite sure what she wants to study in college. It seems like every couple of weeks the focus shifts and she gets excited about a new field, but that's all part of the fun of the exploration process. :)

How I like to think of Ellie...our very own Cindy Lou Who<3



Ellie has definitely been the person in our family that has adjusted best to life under the quarantine. Her high school did not miss a beat and had only one day off before starting online classes and learning. Ellie is an introvert and is enjoying spending time at home and having her "classroom" in my bedroom. She's been spending some virtual time with friends. Of course, it helps that she has lots of built in close friends with an older sister, a sister-in-law and almost sister-in-law that she adores.


Having fun with blue lipstick at Liz's bachelorette shower:)
Ellie even loves hanging out with her sister-in-laws sisters!
Kate and Luke surprised Ellie with homemade gifts as soon as she woke up. Some of Ellie's Godfamily stopped by to drop off a gift of her favorite candy in the morning.  It was a sweet way to start her day.

It was nice to be able to have a little family celebration to make Ellie feel special. Ellie requested game day food for her birthday meal, specifically meatball sliders, coconut chicken bites, homemade mac and cheese, and tater tots. Thankfully I had most of the ingredients I needed, and got most of what I had missing at the grocery store. The store I went to was completely out of tater tots, but  I had forgotten a family size package that Jay had bought and put in our extra freezer in the cellar a couple of weeks ago! God provided even before we knew we needed it!

We had a family dinner with my parents. We missed having all of our extended family, but such is life in quarantine!

Ellie chose a poke cake. This recipe is one of her favorites, and Ellie is partial to Independence Day so she loves the red and blue jello. Ellie loves to bake...she might get that from her mom;)...and wanted to make her own cake. It came out great! It was also good practice because Ellie recently got a job at a special order bakery! She was supposed to start in March, but because of all the craziness in the world, that's been pushed off to mid April. My guess is that her start day won't end up being until sometime in May. #coronavirus

The joys of siblings
Jon reminded Ellie that this was revenge since she blew out his candles in February lol
One of my favorite pics! Kate's 3rd birthday and Ellie blew out her candles lol!
Kate was SO mad that, when she was turning 4, she told Ellie she couldn't come to her party!





I have to admit I haven't been on my game lately and my ability to multitask has been MIA. In my focus to try and make sure the kids would have special Easter baskets, Ellie's birthday snuck up on me. And since Amazon Prime isn't working the way it usually does, we had to tell her about her gifts last night instead of showing her!

Just Dance has been a frequent form of entertainment and exercise for all of the girls so I got Just Dance 2016 and Just Dance 2018. I actually got those from Walmart and paid extra to have the 2018 disc arrive by her birthday so she would have at least one gift to open aaaaannnndddd....it didn't! I was a little frustrated...and will be sending an email momentarily to have them refund me for the expedited shipping! (Sarah and the younger kids were especially disappointed because they had looked over the songs on the disc and found Beep, Beep I'm a Sheep completely hilarious! They had really been looking forward to trying it out!)

I also ordered her two new games I thought she would like. One is Spy Alley and the other is the Goat Lords Game. In the Spy Game, each player has to pick a spy from different countries and I can already hear Ellie's goofy siblings pretending to talk in accents as they play. Hopefully, they will provide some fun entertainment for Ellie once they come in next week!

We all played Jackbox Games to end the night. Andrew found out about Jackbox a couple of years ago. You download the game packs...there a several to choose from!..onto your computer and then hook it up to your tv with an hdmi cord. Everyone needs an electronic device to join in...phone, ipad, tablet, computer. Most of the games are really fun and the older kids have gotten a lot of fun out of it...especially during the quarantine. Even Kate and Luke like to play some of the games. I do recommend always using the family filter so that no awkward questions come up!

It was a fun night and I think Ellie enjoyed the special attention!


sister love



Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Ups And Downs of Pandemic Life

The ups and downs continue as I try and adjust to pandemic life. After the struggles I had two weekends ago, I wanted this past weekend to be better. I was honest with my burnout level as we slid into our weekend. I tried to find things to focus on to keep from being bored. A friend of mine shared a link for a free online Catholic women and men's conference over the weekend, so I signed up and listened to several different talks. I tried to choose talks that would be encouraging and life giving in this crazy time we are living. A couple of the talks had similar themes with a focus on keeping your thoughts positive and trying to find ways to praise God, even in the hard  moments. Those talks were definitely very relevant, and I gravitated to them because I was trying so hard to stay positive and keep my emotions more even keeled.

I found that as Sunday afternoon rolled around, my anxiety levels began to creep up. It was really hard work to try and stay focused and positive. On Monday morning, after another night where Luke woke up with nightmares...and I was plagued with some of my own, I felt in no way ready to take on another week of homeschooling. It took a while to drag myself out of bed. I still exercised on our recumbent bike while listening to an uplifting podcast to try and get some endorphins going. Yet, as I stalled in the shower trying to avoid starting my day, I found myself struggling to praise God for all that I have to be grateful for. I went through the list but it was hard and I still felt empty. I was asking God for help to get through the kids' school day with patience and love....and for help to stop these overwhelming feelings of discouragement and hopelessness.

The morning slogged by but we got through everyone's work and a Zoom conference uneventfully. We made lunch and I washed all the dishes that had piled up since breakfast. It was nice outside, which was a reprieve from the rainy, cold weather from last week! I sent Kate and Luke outside to play for a while and tried to do some quiet reading. When they came inside, they wanted to watch a movie, which was fine with me because my goal was to have a calm day..#survival,#strugglingmom, so we put on Onward. (SO grateful for Disney+!)

Can I just say...it was such a good movie! It was very entertaining and there were so many great themes and emotionally touching moments. It made me cry towards the end, but it was a cathartic cry.

Right at the emotional part of the movie, Jay surprised me by coming home early from work. It was such a nice surprise...and probably added to my tears. I so needed that. When I'm struggling emotionally it's so hard to pull myself out of all the negativity. I had been feeling like a battery that wasn't recharging all the way each night and, when in use, was losing power way faster then normal. All the normal functioning stuff was feeling so hard.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we aren't in this alone.

Being able to get through the school day on Monday gave me a little more peace, but when Jay came home early it lifted the emotional burden that I was carrying and helped me to have a better perspective. It allowed hope to flow in. It was such a relief to my weary soul. The sunshine outside looked brighter, even though it wasn't. It was just that my ability to see it and let it in completely had changed. 

Whenever I come out of a place of emotional struggle, it makes me think of the Return of the King scene after the ring is thrown back into the fire of Mt. Doom and Frodo and Sam escape onto a rock as the lava flows around them. Frodo had been in such a dark place emotionally, but finally, his burden had lifted. His circumstances still weren't perfect, but he could finally he remember all the good he had felt in his life and feel hope for the future.

Life is challenging and unfamiliar right now. If you're struggling, definitely start with prayer. Just remember, sometimes we need to reach out and asking our spouse, or a family member, or a good friend for help. It can make everything so much easier to carry.