A Mother’s Faith

I texted my mom today and told her a few things that have been stressing me out. Some things that felt big. At least, they felt big until I heard her response.

After being inactive in the church for about 16 years, my mom and I didn’t talk about the gospel, church, Christ, anything related to religion, really. Being able to now almost shocks me sometimes. Her faith is amazing. She is a rock and she truly listens to the Spirit.

She didn’t give me any easy answers. But she gave me the best answers. I could tell that she really thought about what to say before she said it and then what she did say was perfect. She told me to have faith. She told me that God will and always does provide. She gave me hope and specific things to look forward to. She suggested a few activities, like reading the scriptures with the kids every night, even if it’s only for 5 minutes, that I haven’t been doing every day. Yes, we say our family prayers every day – multiple times a day – but I’ve been struggling trying to get everything done.

And you know what – she’s so right. I need a priority shift. Because that is definitely something we should be doing together every day.

My mom and I have have always had a great relationship. Even through our trials and disagreements, I’ve always known she always loved me regardless. Being able to talk about our faith just makes that even better.

Our two 3 year olds blowing bubbles together today

I found this article tonight too that I LOVED. Give it a read (or a listen! love that you can do that with all of the conference talks), for sure! It’s called Joy and Spiritual Survival by President Russell M. Nelson from 2 years ago. I am constantly shocked by how inspired this man is. Everything he says and talks about just hits me to the core. I really love our prophet. He is definitely meant to be our prophet of these times.

This tiny one cracks me up!

Read this one too. It’s called Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives by Russell M. Nelson as well. It’s from the April 2017 conference. Just a few months before I came back to church. Yes, I do read and listen to conference talks a lot. I have a lot to catch up on! 😉

One last thought – I’m really loving being able to write here. All of the little things that seem irritating or annoying during the day.. as I reflect here on what to write about – they just don’t seem important. It’s almost cathartic to sit and review my day. Those little things, even the kids fighting (because they do do that) just doesn’t seem that big anymore. This is good. God is good. I’m glad I listened to that still small voice that kept telling me to put this up… more than once. (Remember the whole stubborn thing? yeah… I’m working on it.)

Laundry, Steam, and Social Media

If there was one chore that I could pay someone else to do all the time… it’d be the laundry. I’ve never really enjoyed doing laundry. I mean, I don’t mind putting it into the washer and flipping it over to the dryer. But putting it all away… never been my favorite activity. I think it’s just because it’s so monotonous and takes so much time. And now there’s 12 people in the house. I mean, John is gone a good chunk of time and Jordan does his own so I guess it’s really more like 10. But 10 people worth of clothes is a lot of laundry.

I’m not really telling you this for any other reason than to complain and say I dislike doing laundry. lol so there’s that.

I went to the gym today for the first time in way too long. I have to say, I feel so much better emotionally when I can get work-outs in. I usually go to the gym for 2 hours. I walk at an incline (totally don’t like running so I just increase the incline to make it more difficult 😉 ) for at least 30 minutes. Then I do various weights for arms, legs and core. I do squats and pull-ups and then I leave the last 20 minutes or so for the sauna. I’ve always loved the sauna. It’s just sitting in a hot room sweating a lot but it’s so relaxing to me!

The gym closest to my house now only has a steam sauna. I’ve only ever been in a dry sauna but I gave it a go today anyways because… sauna.

When I went into the sauna, I was the only one in there. I decided to sit and pray while the room filled with steam. There’s been a lot on mind lately – which I’ll write about sometime soon, I’m sure, but praying felt like a good idea. So I prayed for a few minutes. Maybe 5, maybe 10. I couldn’t really tell. When I opened my eyes the room was full of steam. I could barely see a few feet from where I was sitting. It was a room of white haze. It was so beautiful. So peaceful. I don’t know why but I immediately felt more at peace and just sat and watched the steam for another 10 minutes.

Another random thought for ya – I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love staying in contact with friends and family, I love my oily community, I love following gospel related people and organizations to get uplifting content in my feeds throughout the day. One of the things that I’ve noticed within the last year is that when I’m having a stressful time, there will always be a story or quote or picture or whatever that pops up that is exactly what I need, exactly what I’ve been contemplating. It really blows my mind that this keeps happening. The fact that God uses social media to help us – #mindblown but I’ll take it!

One of those quotes that popped up today was from Gordon B. Hinkley saying, “If we complain about life… we are thinking only of ourselves.”33992804_10103364497482068_6425437225625845760_n

This one was a little bit of a gut shot. I mean, not all messages we are meant to receive are going to be easy pills to swallow. Right? And I’ve been cranky this week (and last week, if you recall! Man…) So apparently I needed this. I needed a reminder that complaining is not only being selfish but doesn’t help anyone be in a positive mood. And no, I’m not saying that you can never complain (go re-read the first paragraph up above lol) or that you’re a bad person if you do. We all complain sometimes. But if that is interfering with your life. Then it’s time to reassess. I needed the reminder.

And then here was another one –


I needed someone to tell me that it isn’t easy trying to… not stay because I feel like that isn’t the right word but maybe ‘seek to accelerate’? on the path of righteousness. But it is oh so good and oh so worth it!

Oh and kids are good! Last day of school for everyone is on Friday. Summer is only 2 days away…

Lots of random thoughts today. I promise I’ll try to organize my mind a bit better in the future. No promises though.


Memorial Day

I think I let the kids stay up late too many days this weekend. I had some super cranky kids on my hands today. We’re going to have to figure out an appropriate summer bedtime soon because some of these kids still need plenty of sleep to be happy little people!

Live and learn.

I am super proud of Ethan. He was nearly done cleaning his room today (which he shares with 3 of his brothers. Which is also how they want it. I offered Ethan and Vaiden their own room downstairs but they didn’t like that idea, so sharing it is!) Anyways, he was nearly done cleaning the boys room and I noticed the neighbor having some trouble with something big over the fence in his back yard. I commented to Ethan that it looked like he needed help and he should go offer to help him. He immediately put his shoes on and went to offer some help. Well it turned out that the neighbor was trying to remove a stump and was planning on using some black powder to do it. Ethan was all over that! He ended up staying out there for about an hour helping to dig and move stuff around. He did get $10 in the end so it was a win – win in his book. Explosives and got paid!

I snuck outside to snap a photo. So proud of him for just jumping in to help!

After Ethan was done helping the neighbor, we ate lunch and I made 9 of the kids get into the car. We drove 45 minutes to go to the Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

I haven’t really done anything for Memorial Day in the past. However, this Memorial Day – I am married to a Veteran. My husband served in the Army for 20 years. I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am that he survived those 20 years. Because I am so thankful, I am even more aware that there are many others who do not have their loved ones with them today because of the sacrifices that they made.

John‬ ‭15:13‬ says Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Christ gave His life for us that we may be saved and brought home to our Father again.

But it can be easy to forget that we have men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for God, country, their families and friends and so much more today. This isn’t a story book or a history lesson. This is life today.

None of the pictures the guy took for us turned out with everyone cooperating lol

While we were there, I asked the kids if they knew what Memorial Day was for. We talked about why all of these people died. Phalin all of a sudden said “My dad was in the Army! But he didn’t die” I responded with “Yes! And that is why we are here to say thank you.”

I gave each of the kids 3 little flags and told them to go find a gravestone with no flowers or tokens that have been left and give them a flag. We walked through reading names and talking about where they had been stationed.


Some of the kids were confused as to why we would go if we didn’t know anyone there. I explained that it was more important that we are thankful for everyone – not just those we know. In Gods eyes, every one of us are family.


I love watching each of their personalities. How they respond to things, how far they’re willing to wander off, who wanted to talk and ask questions, who placed all of their flags then came back to get me to show me where they placed them. All of these little things show me a glimpse into who they are and it’s so so fun.

My tiny dude

We got home, did a few chores around the house, kids played, ate dinner and then we did a few sparklers and pop-its. The kids had way more fun with them than I expected and I was lighting sparklers one after the other and didn’t get any pictures of it. But they had fun – I promise!

throwing pop-its

I honestly never imagined that I’d be a mother to so many. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes, I yelled at them to stop yelling (irony) and fighting in the car on the drive back. But those little things, those momentary fights, arguments, growing pains, boundary pushing, etc. Those are moments. They pass. This awe at watching them grow, these glimpses into their personalities and potential, this love that grows day by day and minute by minute. That will never pass or fade. This is what I want to focus on. What I want them to remember.

I want them to remember to love each other. To love the people around them. To love strangers. To be thankful. I want them to remember that I love them. And if we can accomplish these things, we’ll be good.

And just so you know it’s not all rainbows over here – bedtime was crazy. Just like every other family. 😉

Sundays Are My Favorite

I woke up this morning and remembered that Tahlia was supposed to give a talk during primary at church today. The talk was supposed to be on how Prophets teach us to live the Restored Gospel. I did a little googling but didn’t really find what I thought I was looking for. I decided to play some music while I got ready for church and went to turn on Pandora. When I unlocked my phone, I had a thought that I should listen to an old conference talk instead. I almost ignored the thought and then thought to myself “no, I told myself that I would listen and act on any promptings no matter how small”. This has been taking a lot of effort. I mean, you wouldn’t think so right? But man, it’s so easy to just jump right into habits – like listening to Pandora. It takes real effort to stop, listen and make that choice. Even with these seemingly tiny things!

Anyways, getting way off track here. Back to the point. I brought up my LDS Library App instead. I went to the conference talks section. I didn’t really want to listen to any recent ones since I’ve been listening to those pretty often lately, so I just swiped up on my phone and let it scroll down. As it scrolled, I randomly touched my finger down and stopped it. I stopped on October of 1999. I clicked on that and scrolled through the talks. “Spiritual Hurricanes” jumped out at me. So I clicked on that one and hit the “play” button.

Wouldn’t you know it… here was everything I needed for Tahlia’s primary talk. I quickly wrote out her talk while I was getting ready, went and talked with her about it and we were all set!

Here’s how it went –

Just like weathermen and storm watchers who keep people safe from danger, our prophets are our spiritual watchmen. They help teach us to be like Jesus, to protect our spirits, to prepare, to read our scriptures, to pray, and to choose the right.
They tell us what our Heavenly Father wants us to know.
Amos 3:7 says – surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
If we follow the prophet and listen closely, we will know what to do!

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my shy girl!
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love her!

Yep, I snuck a few pictures while waiting to help her give her talk. I tried not to get other kids in the photo, that’s why it’s so off-center. I never know how other parents will feel about me posting photos with their kids in them so I always try my best to get photos with only my kiddos in them. It usually works!

Today, this same little girl told me that she wasn’t sure if she believed in Jesus because her dad keeps telling them that he doesn’t. This broke my heart. I told her how much Jesus loves her, that He is very real, that He lives and that He can’t wait to see her again someday.

If anything, this definitely strengthened my resolve to focus our lives on Christ as much as possible. Sometimes, it’s one comment, one negative moment, etc that will stick in your mind more than a hundred positive ones. We know this to be true with everything else in life. It doesn’t matter how many people tell you that you’re capable, brave, strong, fearless, pretty – anything! That ONE person who says you’re not. Who puts those thoughts of doubt, negativity, or sadness into your mind – our minds latch onto those. We play them over and over in our heads. We focus on them. On why they would say those things. Why they would believe those things. The negative always feels bigger than the positives a lot of times. And for kids, this is so hard. I am determined to override my children’s minds with Christ. I want them to know without a doubt that He lives and loves them so unconditionally that no comment will ever cause them to doubt this fact. Don’t worry, we will get there.

Sundays are my favorite. I love getting my kids into church. I love going to church. I love singing the hymns. I love being able to participate and take the sacrament. I love sitting in Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society. I love coming home and making (okay sometimes forcing) my kids to take a break, relax, watch inspiring movies, read the scriptures. I love reading my scriptures throughout the day and being interrupted by the kids while I read. Because this means that they see me read my scriptures. Does everything always go perfect on Sundays? Of course not. I mean, there’s a lot of bribes that go into getting so many kids to sit and be quiet during sacrament meeting (and jokes aside  – the bribes don’t even work half the time) but we go. Till the end of my days, I will thank my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to take my kids to church. Because going from being inactive and raising kids outside of the Gospel to coming back and seeing them in the Gospel. It’s different. It’s good. And I’m so so thankful.


What I left out of Friday’s catch up post was that I was feeling stressed and a little overwhelmed that day/night. When I woke up on Saturday the kids were already arguing and fighting. I had to separate a few of them more than once, make kids hug, talk about how we should be speaking to each other nicely, and one had to go in a timeout to cool herself off. This was just the morning. It hadn’t even hit 10am yet.

Now here’s where I should probably tell you that I’m a horrible homebody. I don’t like being stuck in the house for too long. It makes feel almost claustrophobic. And when kids are fighting, it just makes that feeling even worse. So my next thought was “I need out of this house!” I kid you not, not ten minutes later, my dad texted me saying a coworker of his had tickets to the color festival that she couldn’t use and asked if I would like them.

Now get this – I actually had the audacity to think “Do I really want to take the kids out of the house today?” And then my next thought was “Are you kidding me?! You just said this is what you needed and you got it. Take it.” So I thanked my dad, thanked his coworker and thanked my Father.

You might not think that God would care about little details like this. But He does. He so does. Our happiness is incredibly important to him! Even through our trials, through our tests of faith, through any hardships, He doesn’t want us to be miserable. There are so many instances in the scriptures where it talks about the righteous praising and thanking God all day long. Don’t think for one second that those people never had any trials. It’s that they thanked God regardless of those trials.

So we got out of the house. I felt better. The kids chilled out. Life is good.

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Alma 7:23 – And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.

So thankful that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me enough to know exactly what I need when I need it. And so thankful for a father who obviously listens to the Father.



Catch Up

Have you ever heard a song that’s really catchy but then you’re like… wait, I’m not too sure about this. We’ve all heard at least one, right? I never really expected to hear and react this way to a Christian one. But every time the song God’s Not Dead by Newsboys comes on the radio or through my pandora… I don’t know. I feel like they’ve got it all wrong. The songs chorus goes like this –

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion
God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

Maybe I’m just reading too much into a song but every time I hear this my thought is “His Spirit lives in all of us, but God is ALIVE. He truly lives. He does not only live within us. He is not an abstract idea. He is not just a feeling. He is all, in all, and lives.

So of course my logical brain can’t just “get over it” and I usually end up skipping this song on my pandora list. What can I say… I’m strange.


I kinda skipped Friday’s day. It was busy. Mornings always start out crazy trying to get 6 of the kids out the door. This picture above is part of breakfast on Friday. Theia cried because I put a piece of strawberry in her mouth. Yep. That’s it. This little girl cracks me up. And Tazdens face. He doesn’t get it. lol

It was a day of laundry, reading, and kids getting out of school early. That night, the boys wanted me to watch a movie with them. I’ve figured out that they not only want me to watch a movie with them, but they really want me to watch it with them. They even go as far as trying to make me choose what movie we’ll watch so I will sit and stay and watch it through to the end. I figured this out a while ago so I don’t choose the movie, but I do sit and stay and watch it with them. We watched a Goosebumps movie. And yes, I watched the whole thing.

Then Theia woke up. Right after the movie ended. Good timing, little one! She wanted to cuddle so I ended up falling asleep with her. This is why Friday got skipped. I fell asleep.


We did set up the pool that day though! The kids are loving it. I love that they want to be outside more often with it there. You know, because the playstation is still missing.

I’m going to have to remember to try and write every day. Even remembering things 24 hours ago can be difficult when things are so busy all the time! So hopefully (no promises) there won’t be too many catch up days in the future.

Life Goes On

Man, I love these kids!

I have to keep reminding myself that this is a journal. I’m supposed to write every day, even if I think it might be boring or if I think I have nothing to say. Today was a normal day. 6 out of 10 kids went to school today. Tahlia has no kindergarten this week because she had her testing on Monday. They’re all pretty excited about summer coming after next week. Ethan keeps trying to talk me into letting him skip days of school. That’s definitely not happening. 1 – there’s only a week or so left. 2 – he’d be willingly skipping all of the fun stuff. Testing is over! 3 – I need this next week or so to get organized and figure out chore schedules and such for summer. Because it’s about to get crazy up in here!

I boxed up the playstation this week. I’m calling it a social experiment lol. 3 of the boys are not too happy. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about “where is it hidden?” “why did you take it?” “but it’s not yours” and my favorite – “how long will it be gone?!” I don’t think that they realize that the more upset they get about it, the happier I am that we’re taking a break from it. Tahlia and Paxton asked to play a game earlier today and when I told them that wasn’t possible, they shrugged and ran off to play again.

Phalin the photo bomber

We made cookies today, played outside, watered the garden, watched frozen. I did some laundry… that Taz and Theia threw all over the living room as soon as I left the room… because of course. Lots of little things, little errands, just life as we know it.


Ethan is doing his state report for school on Hawaii. We printed some pictures today but didn’t have color so he asked me to color them for him. So after the kids all got to bed and fell asleep, I sat at the kitchen counter coloring and listening to The Gospel at 30,000 Feet by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. I’ve gotten about half way through this book so far. I really like this one too!

I love the Deseret Bookshelf Audiobook App. If you love to read but don’t have a lot of time to sit and read anymore (like #momlife) then you should get this app! Best $10 I spend every month. You get unlimited books you can listen to. I really don’t know how they justify charging only 10 bucks a month. I’m pretty sure I’ve gone through about $100 worth of books a month. Maybe they just assume most people don’t do that? I like listening while I do laundry, make dinner, when I’m out in the garden. I even hook it up to our jambox stereo but then I usually get questions from the kids like “how much do you have left in this book? Are you going to listen to music next?” lol, I try not to bore them too often.


If I’m reading an actual book, it’s usually my scriptures. That’s really all I have time for anymore. I thought life was busy with 3 kids… and it was. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you’re not busy if you have less than 10 kids (I mean, I hope you’re laughing right now. Of course every parent feels busy no matter the number of kids you have) When John and I got married, that first month, I just had to pay close attention to how I was spending my time and what my new “normal” looked like. I had to restructure my day to day and prioritize what got done and what I chose to let get dropped. And that’s okay! We can’t do it all… no matter how much we’d like to sometimes… or most of the time. We just have to prioritize. Because life goes on whether we’re perfect or not.

 Mosiah 4:27 – “It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.”

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at all, you might enjoy this talk by Kelli Allen-Pratt called “Confessions of a Perfectionist”.

Just a normal day over here.

Amazed by Grace

My husband works out of state for 2 weeks at a time, then home for a week, then out of town for 2 weeks, and on and on. We got married 3.5 months ago. One of those work rotations, he was actually gone for 5 weeks at a time. I’m not saying this to be negative. I have accepted it as a fact. I’m not upset by it except that I miss him constantly.

There have actually been a few positives that have come out of this schedule. I know, you wouldn’t think so. I went from being a mother of 3 to a mother of 10 overnight. You would think my husband being gone for weeks at a time would make this even more difficult. But I think that this actually helped the 7 kids that were new to me, bond with me. They had to get to know me and depend on me because their dad was at work. We all bonded (at various levels depending on their age, of course) very quickly! I’m incredibly thankful for this. I’m thankful that it had seemed so easy. That we could all get to know each other and for them to learn that they can depend on me.

With that said, I would be completely overjoyed to have my husband (his name is John or JP – let’s just get that introduction out of the way) not leave town for work. I’m not saying that it’s good he’s out of town or that any of us are happy about it. But there have been some positive things that have come from it, and for that I can be grateful.

Tiny Theia

Whenever he’s out of town, I have at least one tiny person climb into bed with me. It’s like they know. They know there’s room in the bed. They know that I wouldn’t mind the cuddles. Usually it’s one (or both) of the 3 year olds.

The last 2 weeks that he was out of town, I had a really hard time dealing with kids fighting with each other. It isn’t always like this. They do get along really well. But every once in a while, they fight. They’re mean to each other. They make fun of each other. I mean, they are kids. But I have to admit. It breaks my heart every time. It doesn’t matter which kid it is. I have a really hard time hearing them be mean to each other. Really hard. This was the last 2 weeks.

Whenever John called, I told him things were fine. Kids were fighting a bit but all was well. I didn’t want to worry him or stress him out. So by the time he got home after the 2 weeks, my heart was done. I was stressed, on the verge of tears most of the time, and… cranky.

During those 2 weeks, the word Grace kept showing up. Then I remembered that I had downloaded the audio book version Amazed by Grace by Sheri Dew. I kept thinking I should listen to it but was already reading another book so I put the thought aside.


When my husband got home I had the clear thought – fast. Okay, I fasted. I prayed. I was still cranky. The next day I got the same thought – fast. What? No way, I think my brain is unhinged. Being weird. Why would I have to fast 2 days in a row? I didn’t. I know. But I didn’t. I was still cranky. The next day while making breakfast for the kids, I had the same clear thought – fast. Okay, okay. I get it. I fasted. I prayed. Later that day, I broke down in tears and told my husband how upset I was about it all. Apparently I have a lot of work to do on my stubbornness. Good thing God knows that too! Ha!

John, being the strong smart man he is, told me that even if he’s not here, the power of prayer is real and I should never not tell him things just because he is not here to help. Because he can help. Touche.

I asked if he would give me a blessing before he left for work again. I honestly believe that this power is very underutilized. Every time I get a prompting to ask for a blessing. I ask. There are no requirements, no special cases we need to wait for to find out what our Heavenly Father has to say to us. If you think you need or want a blessing. Ask.

One of the many things that was said in that blessing was that I was basically told that all I have to do is ask for the strength and help I need and it will be sent automatically. Grace.

Yesterday my husband left back to work and I finished the other book I was reading. So today, I pulled up that book – Amazed by Grace, by Sheri Dew. I had it finished before 9am.

Do you know what it said?


When you are overwhelmed, your faith can unlock Divine power. This will give you comfort, peace, and strength.

The fact that I kept feeling like I should listen to this book during those 2 difficult weeks… I probably should have listened.

If you haven’t read it. Read it. It’s good.

Keeping a Journal


Me, my husband, and our ten children

I never understood the importance of keeping a journal until recently. I never understood why it would be important to list the things we did that day, to write random thoughts down, to halfheartedly scribble some notes at the end of the day.

That’s because I had it all wrong.

Journals are not supposed to be arbitrary. They are supposed to be recording our families, our thoughts, our insights, our relationships. They are a record of who we are and who we are striving to become. We can learn from our ancestors records. We can learn from each other, past and present.

This brings me to why I would want to be putting my journal online. That seems silly, right? There is one very important thing I’ve learned over the years. It’s this – community is important. Not only important, but vital. If my thoughts, struggles, insights or ramblings can help even one other person – family or not – then it’s worth it. Also, I’m horrible at writing in books. Somehow, this is easier for me.

President Spencer W. Kimball said – “Your journal is your autobiography, so it should be kept carefully. You are unique, and there may be incidents in your experience that are more noble and praiseworthy in their way than those recorded in any other life. There may be a flash of illumination here and a story of faithfulness there. … Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available. … What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved? Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity. … Get a notebook, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your going and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events. … This is what the Lord has commanded and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance their daily lives.”

I don’t know if writing my journal online will be saved for generations to be read. But I’m trying and trying in a way that I know I will be more successful in completing than if I tried to keep a paper journal. I know that it won’t always be interesting but I am looking forward to what this process can teach me.

If anything, I know that this will keep me focused on the important things in life. So here goes.