December 4, 2014

praying for kisses.



Some days are harder than others.  Many days it is so easy for me to go about my life without recognizing that there is a third child out there somewhere.  The busy monotony of mothering a two and three-year-old make that easy.  But other days, like today, oh how I long for that child.  I long for her.  My heart aches for her.  To hold her, and love her, and bring her home.

Everything in me is ready for our family to grow.  And sometimes I wonder why God has us on this journey.  I love adoption and I am so thrilled to grow our family in this way.  But even now, it is hard.  Right from the beginning, it starts in the hard places.  A daughter somewhere on the other side of the world and I cannot love and kiss when I feel so compelled.  I feel pregnant with anticipation, yet, still so disconnected.  So different from bringing my other children into the world.  The same longing and love and eagerness to meet, but overshadowed by the dark circumstances that surround her current life.  My daughter doesn't know her mother.  She doesn't know that she will be forever loved.  I can't wait to tell her this, but right now it breaks my heart.

I often sit behind a family in church who recently brought a baby boy into their home.  Fostering him since he was days old, and I do hope he can stay with them forever.  I watch their whole family, parents and children alike, just shower him with kisses.  And I feel like I am watching the kingdom at work right before my eyes.  A holy love that cannot be explained by anything but an overflowing of the love of the Creator.  It is beautiful to watch.  But my heart still breaks that it has to be that way.  As heart-warming as it is to watch, I know that there will be no need for adoption and foster families in heaven.  We will all be perfectly loved and love perfectly in the presence of God.  But until then, we live it out the best we can on earth.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting behind that same family, with their beautiful child and watched this baby be doted on by the older children.  But the heart-warming feelings I had suddenly turned to sadness for me as I recognized, that, like this family, I have a child somewhere whose genes I do not share.  But my daughter is probably not being doted on and kissed and smothered and loved properly.  I don't even know if she is picked up when she cries.  My heart broke in an instant.  This reality hits me like a ton of bricks every now and then.  I found myself praying that she would be kissed.  Wherever she is, whoever cares for her.  Just kisses.  So now, when I am hit with the reality of the brokenness that she lives in now, I pray that she would still be receiving affection and kisses from those around her.

I just can't wait until it is me.  

If you happen to think of us and this crazy journey that we're on, we truly covet your prayers.  For us, yes, and our patience and sanity, but even more so, for our daughter.  She is somewhere in China, maybe or maybe not getting kisses and affection.  Her world is going to be rocked, and it is going to hurt.  Pray for her heart.  And pray that she would be kissed by someone who loves her, until it can be from her forever family.

November 20, 2014

DTC and a little fundraiser

I sat Jordan down the other day and said, "let's talk about what we're going to quit!!"

I only half meant it.  Truth is, this season has been overwhelming and I clearly see that I have taken too much on my plate.  Thus, the lack of updating here.  But, the good news is that many of the projects I have had going on are ending, and so I am looking forward to a much more relaxed holiday season!

The most exciting news I have... we are finally DTC (dossier to China)!!!!  Our LID (Log In Date) was officially two days ago on the 18th, which basically means we are completely eligible to be matched with a child.  We are only waiting for our time to come.

The waiting is a hard lesson for me.  It reminds me of the 2 week wait while trying to get pregnant... month after month, wondering if I'll get that positive test (or phone call!).  The difference here is that I KNOW I will get that phone call some day.  It just probably won't be for another 4-7 (or more) months.  (That is the timeline we are looking at.)  I feel in limbo and out of control, which is a common theme in adoption and parenting in general.  But that waiting feeling makes me all squirmy and want to fight it.  I keep finding things to be anxious about or things that I must want to change, because simply WAITING and being still, well, that's just too hard.  But... just like I believe with all my heart that God allowed me to get pregnant and give birth to just the right boys he picked out for me, the same goes with our China baby.  At just the right time, I will get that phone call about just the right baby for our family.  I believe that.  But patience is hard.  

What's hard about waiting is that I forget that I am HERE and NOW.  I am looking forward to the next thing, the next season, the next change.  I can become obsessed with it to the point where I am not grateful for today.  I'm conscious of this, and actively trying to change this.  Being more present, and being intentional to remember and write down what I loved about today.  I always want to be hopeful for the future, but live my today.  Because, really, that is all that I am guaranteed.

In the meantime - we are having an auction to raise funds to bring our baby girl home!!  Unfortunately, unlike giving birth, there is no health insurance that will cover the many expenses that come along with adoption. We are looking at a bill of over $30,000 to cover agency fees, home study fees, government processing fees, education fees, travel expenses, and more. We have saved up as much money as we can, but we still realize that we will not meet that $30,000 mark without help. We see this auction as a way to let our friends and family get involved in a fun, tangible way.  It starts in a week, so go ahead and take a peak at what has been donated so far!  We've been so blessed by so many friends stepping up and helping out.

If any of you are interested in donating, please email me (link should be to the right)!  Otherwise, have fun shopping!!







September 18, 2014

about those bumps in the road.



I suppose no adoption process is complete without ending up in tears at the secretary of state's office.  This week has been a struggle.  We've had some major paperwork drama in the adoption department and I've just found myself extremely frustrated.  And exhausted.

I knew this process was most likely not going to be a smooth and easy ride.  Everyone told me to expect bumps.  Expect resistance.  Expect battle.

I have a little one in China somewhere, and even though I don't know what she looks like or her name, I have a Mama Bear instinct that is already kicking in.  And it feels like I am fighting for my child.

While I am most definitely frustrated with having to deal with the consequences of issues that arise, I'm mostly frustrated by the lack of peace I have when I get all worked up like this.

There is so much more to this battle than what is on the surface.  There is a battle of flesh, but there is a battle of spirit.  I know that Satan hates redemption.  He hates adoption.  And he thrives in chaos.  Oh, how often I forget that my God is about peace.  And that HE is sovereign.

That doesn't mean that I have to like what is going on.  But it does mean that in everything, I can present my requests to the one true God, and claim a peace that passes understanding.

It is still a choice to surrender.  The Lord wants our daughter home.  I believe it.  I don't believe it is for no reason that he called us to this.  So, I'll trust in His ultimate plan and His timing.  And if that means that it takes longer than I would like, so be it.  Cuz, Lord knows I would have had her home yesterday.  And if not, I still am so so very blessed.  No matter what, I have every reason to live in gratitude.  Heart, please don't forget that.



I posted something on instagram about this battle of paperwork I was dealing with, and one friend encouraged me, write it all down.  Your daughter will want to hear about the battle for her soul one day.

It felt like a word from the Lord.  Maybe not.  But I need to hash this out instead of bottling it up.  I'm an external processor and this is my online abode.  So, my journey will be documented here.  And as you read, I ask you to please pray.  Pray for peace for my worried Mama heart.

Pray that the officer at the USCIS that we are assigned is gracious and has a passion for uniting families and will not be nit-picky about minor issues in our home study.

Pray that I'd remember to fight frustration with gratitude.

Pray for the health and safety and heart of our sweet China girl, who I believe has a beating heart somewhere on the other side of the world.


Adoption Timeline Update:

Home Study Approved - August 7, 2014
I800A mailed - August 25, 2014
Michigan Documents Certified - Sept 16, 2014
Discovered Home Study was a rough draft and contained no edits, so new home study printed and overnighted to USCIS (yes, this happened) - Sept 17, 2014



June 16, 2014

he already sees

The other day, I was driving to somewhere with a new kid's album on, purchased at the recommendation of a friend.  This one is my new favorite, with simple Bible songs over really pleasant folky guitar.  A nice change over the sometimes-obnoxious Pandora Toddler Radio that often plays.

The third song started singing about Moses.  And something about this song struck a cord in my heart.  I felt a lump in my throat as I pondered the words.

Who saved a baby in a boat? 
Who kept that baby’s boat afloat? 
Who loved that baby in the reeds? 
Who knows just what a baby needs? 

Who cares for you in just that way? 
And gives you all you need today? 
Yes, God’s the one who, day by day 
Will care for you in every way.



We are two months deep into the adoption paperwork, and I still have a difficult time wrapping my mind around how this is going to flesh out in real life.  I do feel like I have a daughter with a beating heart, somewhere, half-way around this world.  When I dwell on it I feel a huge urgency in my spirit to bring her home.  But much of the time, it still seems so far away.  Without a face attached to my somewhere-daughter, it's easy to forget that she even exists yet.  That sounds horrible, but it's true.  But truth is, she probably needs my prayers more than ever now, before she is home.

As I listened to this song, my mind was stuck on her.  My sweet baby girl, somewhere.  Being kept afloat by the only one who holds life in his hands.  Loved already.  Her needs known already.  Cared for, and given what she needs in a way I simply can't yet.

Man.  A mixture of heartbreak and complete gratitude as I pondered that God cares for our baby girl just as he cared for Moses.  An orphan baby just floating about, wondering who is going to put a roof over her head.  And one more picture for me of how deeply God loves and cares for the orphan.  Over and over again in His story, he has used the fatherless to bring forth his great plan.  How easily I forget that the God of the universe already sees and loves her.

As I'm driving, I hit repeat on the song a time or two, using as a prayer for the face I have yet to see.  And then it hits me again.

Do I not believe that the same is also already true for me?

I struggle with striving.  Trying to do it on my own instead of surrendering.  Living as if I need to prove my worth or something , when really God already cares and gives me what I need.  And even, feeling like who am I to be on this journey.  How often I need to rest in his truth, as a mom especially.  With a two-year-old and a three-year-old I feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants.  My kids don't always buy into my plans for good behavior.  My method of discipline often seems to fall short when two tantruming boys seem to result in only more ugly behavior... often from me.

Still.  I am seen.  My needs are known.  And I only need to abide.  Fill my mind with truth, instead of the lies that I'm unworthy.  Rest in Him.

Now this song has become my prayer for my baby girl, wherever she is, that she find His love covering her already.  That she would feel seen.  Cared for.  Known.  Peace beyond understanding.  Despite whatever chaos may be in her world right now.


May 7, 2014

adoption fundraiser garage sale

What a busy week.  I haven't even taken the time to BLOG about what is happening this weekend.  Our first official adoption fundraiser is underway!  And of course, in the most possible time-consuming way.  Friends from all journeys of our life have donated items to our garage sale this weekend.  I have been seriously blown away at how much GOOD quality stuff we have received for this sale.  We have the greatest and most supportive community here.  If every item is purchased, it will put a small, but albeit, still impactful dent in the $35,000 bill headed our way.

So, if you are in the area - please stop by and say "hi" and enjoy some homemade cookies from friends (sold by two cute little boys), and maybe you'll find a treasure or two in all the "stuff" in our garage!

*email me for our address


April 28, 2014

being a boy mom

So, this happened this weekend.


Notice anything missing??  As in, a good chunk of Isaac's tooth?

There was no big traumatic event.  No blood.  No scratching or bruising.  A simple fall on just the right spot on his tooth, and off it broke.  This tiny baby chipped tooth has been taking up all of my brain space since yesterday when it happened.  I'm not sure why, but I'm seriously grieving his whole-toothed smile.

I took him to the pediatric dentist this morning, and he basically gave us two options.  We can leave it.  Or they can fill it in and "fix" it, which involves him being sedated, probably traumatized, because he'd be taken back into a room without me and having strangers poking at his mouth, and only then, just for cosmetic reasons.  And for a "filler" that has a decent chance of falling off because, well, he's a boy.

I feel like this must be some sort of rite of passage being a boy mom.  And as easily as this happened, I'm shocked any of my kids have any teeth at all.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do about this hole-y grin.  I'm far to emotional about it right now to make any decisions.  So, I'm sitting on it for a couple weeks and then we'll decide.

In the meantime, I just spent the day googling "baby chipped tooth" and "boy broken tooth" and I'm comforted by the fact that this is a common thing.  Especially with boys... who have brothers... apparently.  So, maybe it'll just show the neighborhood kids that he's tough stuff (which he is) and perhaps I'll even miss the dang thing when he actually loses it in 5 years.  We'll see.

*sigh*  I feel like this is only the beginning.

April 25, 2014

life just means we keep walking

Just a quick note.  I can't even begin to express how much all of your encouragement and prayers means to us.  I was blown away by the excitement and support with which our friends responded to our adoption news.

This is all still very very new to us.  But, it hasn't taken long to learn that things keep moving swiftly along.  Our application is being transferred from this person to that person and now we need this form completed, and that form notarized, and on and on.  Not to mention, the prospect of the largest bill we have ever seen.  Unfortunately, unlike giving birth, there is not health insurance to cover the costs associated with bringing this baby home.

There are many things that could scare us away.  By the world's standards, there are many things we should fear.  But I'm continually seeking to choose to surrender my mind to the Lord instead of to fear.  Emotionally, there are times when I feel like WHAT are we doing?!  because the unknown of it all feels like too much (and I know I haven't seen anything yet).  But in the end, it is a decision that we make.  Choosing to take the next step and to trust.  That God will provide.  WE are nothing special.  The sweet girl that will (Lord willing) be a member of our family, however, is something spectacular and fierce.  I know it already.  But, right now, we are just making the decision to keep walking.
I'm studying Galatians right now with my Monday morning ladies, and the timing couldn't be more appropriate.  I completed it on my own only weeks before starting this study, so it is being hammered in my head, and rightfully so.  I am FREE in Christ.  How many things in my life have I let bind me? How many things in my life have I tried to make my Savior?  Far too many.  Works.  Comfort.  Approval of my friends.  

I've been reading a study guide by Tim Keller, and while studying Chapter 3, he made the observation that we tend to create our own functional saviors out of comfort, control, or approval.  It just kind of stopped me in my tracks, making me examine my own heart.  In my moments of anger, of fear, insecurity, or any emotion that is contradictory to what the Lord has instilled in me, what am I seeking more than Him?
Control?
Approval of other people?

I've written those three words in my journal to continually check if there is an area in my heart that is trying to make a savior out of one of those.  Because these so-called functional "saviors" are not saviors at all.  There is no saving being done.  Only bondage to whatever it is you serve.  I know it well.

It seems that no matter what is head of us, each day is just putting one foot in front of the other.  Trusting the Lord and asking Him to mold us into what He needs us to be.  Daily surrender.  I wish it were more easy.

How's that for a few thoughts for a Friday night?

April 21, 2014

on baby #3...

It is not every day you get to do something that you know is going to dramatically change your life.  And someone else's.  Yet, today is that day.

{don't worry... old photo... there is no longer snow on the ground!}  

Today is the day we submitted our adoption application.

You read that right.  Our family is growing!  I have been getting the questions concerning baby #3 for months now.  Which is about right, considering Isaac will be TWO in two months (which seems simply impossible).  I have baby fever in the worst way.  Everything about me feels like it is time to grow our family.  And I feel a nervous excitement as we begin this journey.

Adoption has been on my heart for years, but, unlike others, it was not something that I always wanted to do.  My vision for my family as I was growing up never included adoption.  I always loved it, and thought it was great... for other people.  In fact, I never had a real vision for my family at all.  I knew I wanted more than two kids, but what that looked like was completely up in the air to me.  It wasn't until Jude was born... and probably about a month old, that the tragedy and beauty of adoption struck me.  I saw how this little person needed me, relied on me, and loved me.  And I remember sitting and watching videos of parent-less boys in India, just in tears, knowing that those most basic needs of love weren't being met for them.


A few months later, I told Jordan that I wanted to pray together about adoption as a way of growing our family.

The very next day I found out I was pregnant with Isaac.  Clearly, a "not now" from God.

During my pregnancy with Isaac, I considered the fact that it may be my last pregnancy.  However, that also is not certain.  I have no idea how God is going to grow our family in the future.  All we know how to do is take one step at a time - one kid at a time.  We have prayed through, and looked at how we want to grow our family from a million different directions, and no matter what, we keep coming back to adopting now.  We feel that baby #3 should be adopted.

We also keep coming back to a specific country.  China.  I cannot say WHY China, except to say that it has completely captured my heart.  Months and months ago, while perusing adoption blogs, I came across a blog with a sweet Chinese girl with a cleft lip and palate.  I'm not sure whose blog, but probably Ashley's or Angie's.  I couldn't get her out of my mind.  This was last fall, and I brought it up to Jordan and wasn't quite met with the same enthusiastic and maybe somewhat hormonal-impulsive decision to jump right in.


My hubby is a slow decision maker, and I am so grateful for that, because so many good things have happened in this season of waiting.  We prayed through it, researched our heart's out about China, orphans, international adoption, the problems with it, the tragedy of it, the risk and potential pain, and also the redemptive beauty of it.  And in the end, came to a resounding YES in both of our hearts.

And so we make the decision to leap, and trust God in this journey.

The best way to describe how I feel is nervous and excited.  And on the verge of tears all the time.  I'm overwhelmed and overjoyed at what this means for our family.  And we desperately covet your prayers as we begin this journey.  A long journey is ahead of us indeed - that will not stop once we have our baby girl in our arms.  We know we are signing up for something that begins with tragedy and pain.  We know this could be very hard.  But we also know that God uses such situations for His glory.  And that is why we are doing this.  Because we feel like, right now, we have the ability and the desire to open our family to someone who did not come from our womb.  And that is such a tragic and beautiful thing when it all comes down to it.

So, in a way, I feel like I'm announcing the longest pregnancy ever.  Baby #3 is on her way!  And sweet girl, we cannot wait to meet you!


April 8, 2014

three.


Three years have passed since I began this parenting gig.

March 28 was the big day.  This birthday has been, by far, the most anticipated one yet.  He asked daily if he was three yet, if he was a BIG BOY yet.  Because that's what we told him.

When you turn three, you're going to be a big boy and are going to have to go potty like a big boy.

Yes.  The dreaded potty training that started and stopped and has started again, once an for all.  And darn it, he'll get it one of these days.

Not long after his birthday, Jude says, almost sadly "I'm still little Mommy!"  Yes, you are little, but you are bigger than you were yesterday!  And then he says, "I'm still growing."  Yes, you are.  

"Are you growing, too, Mommy?"

I almost said no.

But the question jerked my heart in a way I didn't expect.  

Yes, Mommy is still growing too.  Every day.  Just like you.


I remember holding Jude in my arms for the very first time.  Afraid in a way, and absolutely captivated by this little person I had NO IDEA I could love so deeply.  Privileged to have the responsibility of raising this little guy into a man.  And truly... clueless.

I had no idea how parenthood would grow me.

How, even more than marriage, I'd see my own selfishness and pride.  How I'd have to, literally, put my life aside for someone else.  And I had no idea about the blessing that comes with sacrifice.  

I think I used to believe that parents knew what they were doing.  That there was a method to the madness and everyone did what they did and were confident in their decisions.  I now know that this isn't true. Because, no matter how many kids I have, I will always be a first-time parent to Jude.  He will always be my guinea pig, and praise the Lord for anything I have done right.  Because there has been a lot of growing and learning and trial and error.  


As I begin this journey of having a three-nager (such a perfectly descriptive word, am I right?), I am still growing as a Mama.  Every day.  Just like Jude.  I pray that my growing involves patience and kindness and all of the other fruits that I daily lack.  I pray that I grow in dependence on God and confidence in Him and the intuition he gave me as a parent.  

I see how Jude has changed me from the person I was three years ago.  For the better.  So much better.  Not because it was easy.  If anything, it has showed me how, at the very core, we all need Jesus.


Happy THIRD Birthday, my sweet boy Jude!  There is no one else I'd want as my first boy.



February 7, 2014

Writing is a gift


I'm out of the practice of writing.  I can barely squeeze this out in 5 minutes.  But if I know one thing.  To be a better writer, just write. Write.  And write some more.  Keep coming back.  And that in itself is rewarding.

Writing has been a part of my life nearly as long as I could form letters and put them in order.  I remember as a 3rd and 4th grader, making books out of blank computer paper and creating story after story.  I started my first diary in 5th grade, and the habit never ended.  I have book after book after book filled with memories, raw emotions, questions, doubts, and answered prayers.  

I had mostly thought of writing as a selfish thing.  Not in a bad, fleshly way, but more as a habit that I do for myself and kept to myself.  I wrote an online journal before I ever read another person's blog.  It was still just for me.  All that changed when blogs entered my life.  I realized that reading others stories was encouraging and healing.  Their vulnerability encouraged me to be vulnerable and bold in my own writing.  

Last week, while visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Jamaica, I had the rare opportunity to start, and finish, a book.  So very rare in this stage of my life.  But I just devoured Anne Lammott's Bird by Bird.  She is hilarious, sarcastic, and so insightful into what it is to reap the rewards as a writer.  One chapter specifically, put a totally new spin on my perspective of writing.

She said, writing is a gift.

She told the story of how she kept record in words of the journey of her father's illness.  A book that he was able to read prior to his death.  She was able to do the same for a friend suffering through cancer.  A published book of their life together honoring her friendship and journey.  She, too, was able to read prior to her death.

I don't know why I never realized it before.  That my words, my stories and memories, could possibly be the most precious gift to my loved ones.

For me to record my journey as a mother, as a wife, as a follower of Christ.  To remember and honor God's goodness throughout my life and pass it along to my family, my kids, and anyone else whose life I may have the blessing of touching.  This is a gift that never fades, goes out of style, or is irrelevant.  What an inspiration!

I am beginning to see this as one of the greatest gifts I could ever give my kids.  And that is motivating.



Five Minute Friday

January 7, 2014

2014 in a word

In the recent months, I've been reading the book Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  [Sidenote: These two ladies have been more of an encouragement to me as a Mama through their books that I can really say.  They understand and communicate the struggle and blessing of motherhood better than any other I've read.  Highly recommend.]

Sarah Mae is honest about her struggle with self-discipline, and this has been a consistent, embarrassing struggle for me.  There are many times I feel like, hey, I'm an adult.  I should just suck it up and do what needs to be done.

But the laundry still piles.  The bathroom goes too long without getting cleaned.  And the to-do list only seems to get longer.

I'm running all day, but sometimes I worry that I must be lazy if I struggle to get some of these basic things done.

I feel like much of my struggle revolves around home-making.  Running the household.  And since I would consider my job title to be Mother and Homemaker for the next 18 plus years, this is an area I really would like to improve in.

Sarah Mae talks about self discipline and in one chapter she just says simply "resolve to do it".  I think she was talking about reading the Word every day, but this phrase "resolve to do it" just stuck with me.

Resolving to do something is being faithful in the things that are hard.  It is saying, "this isn't easy for me, but it is important.  And I'm committed."  It is being steadfast.


And this, my friends, is my word for 2014.

I like the first two definitions especially.  To be fixed in direction.  A steadfast gaze.  My prayer is that my eyes would be on eternal, kingdom things.  I was telling my hubby tonight that I feel like comfort and distraction are two of the enemy's favorite tools on us in this western culture.  I want to engage in the battle for hearts.

And to be firm in purpose, resolution, faith.  There are a lot of areas that I want to be firm in purpose, or intentional, about.  My marriage, my parenting, my scripture study, of course.  Sometimes it is hard to be firm in purpose in these areas.

I want to consider what blesses my husband and be steadfast in those things.  Clean socks.  Dinner served.  Waking up to have breakfast with him.  It's the small things.

In my parenting, I want to resolve to slow down (and not feel guilty when I do).  Read more.  Yell less.  Play often.  Keep on praying for these little people under my roof.

And I want to develop a vision for homemaking and be intentional in what matters (laundry, food, ya know) and not be so hard on myself in the areas that truly can slide.  I want to view it through the lens of blessing my family.  What most blesses them?  And be faithful in that.

Steadfast.  One foot in front of the other.  Small commitments to love and bless with purpose and intention.  All while the gaze is fixed on the eternal.  This is my prayer for 2014.

January 5, 2014

hello, hello again


Ahem.

Well, hello there.  This is awkward.

Do you kind of feel like I stood you up for a coffee date?  Or said I'd meet you at a book club or a yoga class and never showed?

I don't blame you if you do.  And I'm sorry.  I don't have a good excuse for completely cutting out of my 31 days of finding freedom, except to perhaps share the advice to not commit to 31 days of writing spontaneously at 11pm the night before the first post is due, with not much of a plan at all.  And also, realizing that sharing my journey to finding freedom was more intense, and that posting then would have been a bit premature.

In any case.  I'm here.

Hello.  I've missed you.

And Happy New Year.

My journey to finding freedom is far from over.

It is easy to be jealous and discontent.  To wallow in guilt, even.  It is much harder to choose truth and love.  A righteous life doesn't just happen.  It is trusting God, instead of how I feel.  A life fully alive in the Lord begins with faithfulness in the smallest of things.  Choosing thoughts that are pure and lovely.  Words that encourage and edify.  Actions that serve and love.  Doing what is wise and best, instead of what is easy.

There is freedom in this heart work.   An end to our bondage through Christ.  We just have to choose it to receive it.  This is about where I have landed after my finding freedom journey from October.

January is just another month, but there is something inspiring about a fresh number atop the calendar.  An opportunity to make 2014 the year that this or that changed or happened or was dreamed.

Which leads me to my word of the year for 2014....

... which I will share later this week.  Because I need to redeem myself and I have no intention of standing you up once again.

It's good to be back, friends.  Are you living free?
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