A Name Given

I remember the first time I saw my name in print. It was the spring of 1999 just before our June 19th wedding, and it was on a hotel reservation that had come in the mail for our road-trip honeymoon. Since we weren’t old enough to have the option of renting a car, we decided we probably shouldn’t fly anywhere, so we drove.  Oh the challenges for those married young. When I got that envelope in the mail I remember just staring at that name. Heather Meadows. That was going to be me. I didn’t identify with the name. I had spent eighteen years as Heather Cochrane, but I was soon to take on a new name. A name given to me by my husband, and one I’ve spent the last sixteen identified by.

Over the years I received occasional comments about it. For instance, one was when we had our family accounting business. I called the IRS for an audit on one of our accounts. I gave all the necessary information along with my name and the agent said, “Wasn’t your mom creative.” I was taken aback because my Mom and I shared the same office, prompting my mind to consider that maybe the agent had spoke to her regarding the account, but still wondering how in the world the agent knew we were related. Something clicked quickly, and I amusingly informed the agent that “Meadows” was my married name.

That scenario has happened more than once. It’s where I came up with saying, “Heather Meadows. Heather like a flower. Meadows like a field.” It is a nice fit. And sweeter still—it was given to me!

I’ve been so proud to carry my husband’s name and that of his family’s. I remember shortly after we got married having this discussion about how Christ gives us His name when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior—we become Christians, carrying His name and representing Him to others. And Jesus paid it all to give us His name. It is truly a gift— given!

We speak to our children about their names too. We teach them that their name is a reflection of their family, and that their actions should honor the name which has been given to them. Just as we steward those things the Lord has entrusted to us, our time, our money, our home, our vehicles; we must steward the name He has given us.

And it is this name I have carried the last sixteen years, the name I have identified myself with that I slowly become detached from in the process of changing the website name.

Why change the name of our website?

To be completely transparent, the answer is, I’m not completely sure.

Brandon and I knew God was stirring change. We knew this tragic story of loss and injury had to be shared. The Lord has given us enough opportunities to experience how He can use it for others. I know He spared my life for far more than my own fulfillment of it. What He accomplished on that dirt road back in 1988, and in those operating rooms and in that hospital bed and in those therapy sessions was for His glory. And it must be shared.

Our ongoing online development revealed to us that most of the searches going to Heather’s Blessed JouRNey were simply searches for Heather Meadows. So it seemed obvious to us that if we were going to change it, we’d just change it to my name. Make it "easy peasy" for visitors to find us and to share our testimony.

Well. Actually. It would have been just that…simple. In the process of trying to obtain, I became further and further removed from my own name. This was never about me to begin with. However, being real, it seems natural to say, “yes, that’s me!” or raise a hand, when your name is called. But not in this story. No. I was four months asking to obtain a domain of my own name. I was ten thousand dollars removed from my own name.

“By definition, a God-ordained dream will always be beyond your ability and beyond your resources. But that is how God gets the glory.” Mark Batterson, The Grave Robber

I’m so thankful this was complicated. I’m so thankful it wasn’t a simple process. What would we have missed had it been?

We would have missed growing in trust and obedience. We would have missed an experience to be totally wowed and impressed by His hand at work in the smallest details. We would have missed a gift given. We would have missed an opportunity to build a friendship, visit a new place and we would have missed a chance to share our story.  Additionally, we would have missed the anticipation of what He wants to do through what He's already done.

Because it wasn't simple, we now get to meet the sweet couple who generously gave us our new online home, Joel and Lori Pacheco. In one week we will be meeting them face to face, hugging their necks, sharing some meals, and speaking at their church.  We're getting far more than a domain name-- that would have been too simple!

Mark Batterson writes in The Grave Robber, “And when you experience a miracle, the way you steward it is by believing God for even bigger and better miracles.”

Yes. My name is Heather Meadows and I’m a steward. I’m stewarding some miracles. From that seven year-old little girl, to her married name, to the website she shares it at. All beyond my abilities. All for God’s glory!

I pray that through this gift given to me, the Lord will pass on many more gifts.  It is my hope to give a little something to you in each visit.  The baby nurse in me administers little doses of what little babies need.  May you receive the perfect portion of encouragement, inspiration, joy, and strength, through Him who provides for all our needs.

Isaiah 12:4 ESV

And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord,

call upon His name,

make known His deeds among the peoples,

proclaim that His name is exalted.

*Still to come-- a picture with Joel and Lori!

*click to tour the new site

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We're Moving!

I was so discouraged on March 28th when I sat down to write the blog post, It Is Time. However, I wrote it because I’m familiar with Samuel’s instruction in I Samuel 15:22. But Samuel replied,

“What is more pleasing to the Lord:

your burnt offerings and sacrifices

or your obedience to his voice?

Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,

and submission is better than offering the fat of rams."

His voice. Obedience to His voice.

Obedience to His voice was what prompted my decision to cut back on my hours working as a neonatal intensive care nurse. He spoke to my heart while I was recovering from my third surgery in the year. “It is time.” I knew exactly what it was time for. It was time to humble myself, put aside my avoidances of looking foolish and start doing what He’s been preparing me to do for over a decade.

Sure I’ve made my list of excuses. “Lord, I can’t write a book. I don’t have any professional training as a writer.” But the Word tells me He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Hebrews 12:2. He’s not depending on my ability to write it anyway, He’s calling me to be obedient. He equips those He calls.

I’ve composed several questions. “Who is going to have me come speak? How will we maintain our personal budget on a speaker’s fluctuating income?” But the Word tells me He sees even the sparrow, Matthew 10:29, how much more does He care for me? Our budget goes a lot further if we’re investing our resources how He is directing, that includes our time and our money. Obedience to His voice. He provides for those He calls.

scriptureWhen I wrote to share this vision, I thought there’d be an element to share that the Lord had laid on our hearts months before, but it was further away than when we started. Had we heard His voice? It was most definitely my biggest concern. Regardless, I wrote it, knowing the simple functions of my human mind are nothing in comparison to His plans. For this reason, I Corinthians 1:25 NLT was on my heart, “This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.”

Two days before, on March 26th, I had spent working a fulfilling day in the NICU. Upon checking my email that night I received an anticipated message from the broker who had been negotiating on our behalf for more than three months at that time, to purchase a domain the Lord had laid on our hearts.   His message was short, informing us he had heard from the owners and that they wanted $10,000 for the domain.

It seemed apparent that the Lord didn’t want us to simplify our blog website name.

Months before my dear friend, Sara who designed the Heather’s Blessed JouRNey logo a few years ago, jumped on board with our vision to have some brochures made. In this culture of technology, people still love to have information in hand. I’m one of those people. I’ll hit “print” just to be able to touch the material and put my yellow highlighter to use. So Sara put her creativity and talent to work and designed a brochure for us. When we got together to tweak it, I told her we were hoping to move the blog to a new domain. She selected the line, hit delete, and entered, “”. I quickly explained that we hadn’t got it yet. Sara, in her laid back, nonchalant personality said, “That’s okay. When you do, we’ll edit. But we have a place marker for it now.” Little did I know how the Lord would use that design to grow me.

My assurance teetered back and forth in the weeks to follow. I went from feeling confident in His calling to doubting my discernment of His voice. In that time, a reoccurring theme inundated my spirit. Trust. As the Lord spoke “rest” into my heart for 2014, see New Year, Same Life, “trust” is His message to me for 2015. Understanding that the way He grows our patience is to give us more opportunities to be patient, so is the process for us to grow in trust. And those opportunities have been presented in effective ways the last few months.

A lunch with a co-worker and friend on March 3rd informed me of a nurse turned nurse practitioner who had read one of my favorite books, The Circle Maker and how she put that book to use in her need regarding employment in her new role. It's such an encouraging story that she shared on her blog, visit to read it.  I first read The Circle Maker a few years ago, in the spring of 2012, on a flight to Washington DC. Ironic that I first learned of Mark Batterson when flying to the city where he Pastors? No. Not when I consider the creative wonders of my Maker. That lunch on March 3rd stirred the text, which took root in my heart three years ago, and inspired me to come home and print out the rough draft brochure. I wrote Zechariah 4:6 NLT “…It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” I circled and I hung it in our bathroom on our safe room door.



In the weeks to follow, I prayed the Word over that domain. “Lord, You don’t need a domain to accomplish Your purposes. But if this is Your will, it has to happen by Your Spirit. It is not by force. I can’t force this to happen. It is not by the sheer determination of my personality, but completely by You.”

Oh that prayer. I circled the domain. But honestly, I considered abandoning it numerous times. “Lay out a fleece before the Lord.” I’m familiar with the Biblical practice found in Judges 6. I’d resort in my mind, “if it’s not by such and such date, we’ll go ahead and print the brochures with Heather’s Blessed”. Nevertheless, each date that came, it didn’t feel right. So when you don’t know what to do, you wait and you continue seeking God.

Sounds very encouraging doesn’t it? But allow me to remind you of what followed; the email on March 26th. $10,000. Wow! Now that would appear to be our answer. “Let it go.” But neither Brandon nor I could do that. We were stumped. Why had this been so heavy on our hearts, so important if it wasn’t going to happen?

Still yet, two days later, the Lord led me to write about the vision He’s laid on our hearts and to share the photo Mallory Hall Photography took for these endeavors of me by the ditch where I was injured. All I can say is God’s timing is perfect. Of all the different things I’ve written about it, it was instrumental that that post be the first one seen at the top of the blog at that time.

Discouragement still loomed. The next day Brandon stayed home from church to study for an upcoming certification, so he wasn’t with us in service that day. The boys went to their classes and Brooklyn and I were in service together. It was Palm Sunday, March 29th. Our Pastor concluded the message and invited attendees to the altars. Brooklyn and I bowed our heads and began our personal prayers. The Holy Spirit nudged me to the altar. I seriously thought, “Lord, I can’t go down to the altar to pray about a domain. You don’t even need the domain to accomplish Your purposes. You're greater.” Then I started to consider some of those in the altar, like a woman in our church who is battling bone cancer, and our Pastor who was most likely seeking the Lord for the lost who would be coming the next week for Easter. As if God couldn’t handle all of us at the same time. As if He weighs out importance of needs. As if we have to qualify to take something to the altar.

Obedience. Obedience to His voice.

I went to the altar. I kneeled down and I literally patted the altar with my two hands, as if laying a tangible item down. I said, “Lord, here it is. I give this to you. Accomplish Your will. By Your Spirit. Not by force, but by Your Spirit. If You want that domain, I believe You will provide for it, and if You don’t, please speak to my heart to know. Lord, may You be glorified. It’s all for You.”

The next day, I felt like it was a long shot, but I wrote a letter to the owner of I shared my heart, our vision and the Heather’s Blessed JouRNey blog. How foolish it seemed. I remember writing without a pause or a hesitation. It flowed by His Spirit. But as I sent it on to our broker asking him to forward it to the owners, a sense of embarrassment was upon me. However, even though I felt like we were in way over our heads, obedience and trust was before me, and I desired to walk in both. I hit send that Monday, March 30th morning.

The following Thursday, April 2nd, I was pulling out of the Wal-Mart parking lot after getting items to make my assigned dishes for Easter lunch, when I prayed that prayer again, “Lord, I pray you speak to the owners of the domain. It has to be by Your Spirit. Not forced, but by Your Spirit.”

It was about forty-five minutes before school was to let out. I decided to wait, not wanting to drive home and then back again since I usually have my bag with me, to work on something while I wait. I parked, got out my computer, opened my email and read the following message:

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I was overcome. If anyone had seen me in that parking spot, they very well may have assumed someone had died. What an answer to prayer! I knew then that the Lord worked on our behalf.  It wasn't anything we could do on our own and the entire time God simply wanted us to reach out personally. I emailed back confirming that I was who I said I was.  From there we anticipated the next steps of making some type of agreement. Who would’ve thought?

Honesty, I was a little obsessed with checking my email the next day. Can you imagine? We were going to work something out!!! I couldn’t imagine what it would be! However, by about eleven, I knew I needed to be patient and wait. Brandon was off that Good Friday, and I really wanted us to enjoy our day without incessant email checking. We had to run a few errands before taking Gavin for his afternoon Pre-K class. There’s no better way to disengage than leaving your phone at home when you leave, so that’s what I did. We came back home while the kids were at school and watched a movie together.

Just before we left to pick them up, Brandon took our new puppy, Ruby for a little break outside. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to load my email real quick. Well, I did and I received this message (feel free to click on the center of the image to enlarge it):

You may imagine my heart sinking at those words, "So I won't sell you the domain.  I would never be able to sleep at night."  But it didn't.  When I read those words I thought, "Okay, Lord.  This is Your answer."  So of course I didn't foresee the remaining to fold out like it did!!!  I didn't make it much further.  "I will give you the domain for a promise."  That's the sentence that grabbed my gut, twisted it, and pulled me to my knees.  I barely got out the door. Brandon thought someone had died when I ran out screaming to him.  Actually, he recalls that even though he was the person who informed me of my Dad's passing, I didn't have a hysterical reaction as one would anticipate.  But this day, this Good FridayApril 3rd, I was nothing close to composed.  I'm an emotional girl, but not typically as emotional as I was that day.

Brandon kept reading.  With every word I was overcome by the presence of God.  See, I've read several Mark Batterson books.  I've read the story of the crack house turned coffee shop Batterson and his church circled in prayer, that God made Himself known through His provision for it.  But I never imagined having and Ebenezers-type moment in my life.  I was brought to my knees, overcome, overwhelmed, by His presence.  This was my burning bush (Exodus 3).  #1, I knew this was Holy Ground for the presence of God had moved right before me.  It was only "by His Spirit" that this could happen and His Spirit was nearly tangible to me that day.  #2 I was in awe of His Glory, reminding myself how mighty and powerful He is, reminding myself Who He is.  #3 I knew this was a sign from God reaffirming everything He had spoke into my heart months before, everything I wavered in when it didn't appear like I thought it would, I knew this was the Lord telling me He is the One sending me and He is with me.

It's now been over two months, and I can't refrain from crying when I revisit it.  What would we have missed if we we had hushed the Small Voice leading us to reach out personally with our story?  What would we have missed if we would have given in merely because a date we set rolled around on the calendar instead of the Spirit of God? It's more than my mind can think or conceive.  Ephesians 3:20 NLT  "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."

The following Sunday, on Easter, I looked at my husband and whispered in his ear at the conclusion of service.  I needed to pass by, "I have to say 'thank you.'"  Brandon wasn't sure what I meant.  He smiled gently and let me pass through.  I made my way to the altar, knelt down and simply said, "thank you, Lord."  Oh, there were many more words to follow, and I eventually felt the strong hand of my husband grasp mine, and at that altar I laid down all of my planning and thanked Him for the creativity and love of His perfect plans.

Obedience.  Obedience to His voice.


Please visit us at our new online home, on our 16th Wedding Anniversary, this Friday June 19th!  Feel free to invite a friend!

We'd love to hear your Circled Prayer story too!  We invite you to comment below and share it to encourage others.

We look forward to sharing a little more of this story with you, and many more to come!

VISIT  JUNE 19th 2015

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The Best Kept Secret

A few years ago Disney Vacation Club had a slogan; “The Best Kept Secret.” Secrets are so hard to keep, but the surprise is so worth the wait. Anyone who knows me knows how hard it is for me to keep a secret. Well, that is when the news is good. I can hold on to bad news forever. I mean how fun is it to spread gloom? But happy stuff? It’s so hard to hold in. To see the joy and excitement of sharing something good is a challenge to refrain from. But I do when needed, because there’s nothing I love more than a surprise.

So what’s so special about a surprise? Well, let’s look back to some scriptures which hold some amazing surprises.

Jesus turned the water into wine. There’s so much I love about this passage, like it was fine wine, none of that soda pop wine, but especially because it was about how much our Heavenly Father cares for the details in our life. It would have been socially embarrassing for this couple to run out of wine, but the Lord surprised them and met their need on their incredibly special day. (John 2:1-11)

Another surprise was the feeding of 5,000. Don’t you know those disciples were concerned when Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fish? But man. How surprised were they when they not only fed thousands of people but also had twelve baskets of leftovers? (Matthew 14:15-21)

And then there is the parting of The Red Sea. Can you imagine the Israelites getting to the shoreline? Pharaoh and his army hot on their trail. A body of water before them. Don’t you know their hearts were beating out of their chest? The adrenaline pumping through their bodies. And then Moses takes his staff and parts that water with an aisle of opportunity and safety before them. What a surprise! (Exodus 14:10-31)

Now these stories may not surprise you today, but they should. They should get you super excited just like the moment they occurred. These stories may have settled into our spirits as something common. Growing up with these stories, hearing this our entire lives, may cause us to lose sight of how impressive these miracles are and cause us to forget they were surprises.

My take away is that God loves to surprise his children. And just as He has surprised us countless times over, so we love to surprise the children He gave to us. The joy is all ours to see the excitement on our children’s faces. It blesses us to surprise them. And we gave it our best shot these past several months.

Seven months ago we made reservations to visit Disney World. Six months ago we booked all of our Disney World Dining. Over a month ago we chose all of our FastPass+ selections. All the while our children didn’t know a thing.

Brandon had this fabulous idea to keep it a secret and surprise them the morning of our departure. Let me tell you, he’s the reserved character in this relationship; therefore, it’s not nearly as difficult for him to keep things to himself as it is for me, the one who loves to talk about everything. But this last week he felt the challenge too.

It took a lot of planning…and discipline not to say a word. Typically, we do a 30-day countdown calendar. We get a poster board at Wal-Mart, lay out the grid and Brandon adds specific artwork relative to where we are going. But not this time. This time, we came up with an elaborate plan and packed up without them knowing. Our story went like this….

‘Twas the night before vacation and the Meadows children had no clue! I said, “Come on guys. We’ve got to get to bed. I signed up to work extra tomorrow because they are short a few nurses. Grandma can’t keep you all, so Dad is going to drop you off at Nana’s in the morning on his way to work. You’ll have to get up early because he’s got to get to the office for a meeting.”

In the preceding days, I utilized their time at school to hoard away clothes in our safe room closet. They were packed a week before we left. The most difficult part was to play it cool when inside I was screaming, “We’re going to Disney World!!!!”

All great surprises are worth waiting for, because the memory of the joy it brings lasts a lifetime.

Our children have had a Disney vacation nearly every year of their life, but we imagine the year they got one, that they didn’t think they were getting one, will be one they treasure throughout their years. We hope they feel overjoyed, we hope they feel loved and special, we hope they soak up every ounce of fun each surprise life has to offer.

And we hope, in it all, they see Jesus, the One who came full of surprises. Because who would’ve thought a King would come in a manger? Big surprise. And the surprises kept coming. And they continue on today. He has this AMAZING plan, and we don’t even know all the details. He reveals it in His perfect timing.

My husband and I planned a trip we knew our kids would enjoy. We waited to reveal it when it would mean the most. And we were blessed to bless them. What joy it gave us. The same joy I pray we bring to our Heavenly Father when He surprises us!

He has the best kept secrets!

click here to visit our family's All Things Disney

Sure love being able to replay this moment.  It was definitely worth the wait.

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My Heart Judged

I love birthdays! And today is mine. It’s inevitable my Mom and I will sit and visit about memories that only she can recall; the actual day of my birth.  I recall the celebrations.

Mom was just reminiscing back to my 9th birthday.  We had traveled to Van Buren, Arkansas to see family friends.  Doyle Williams, the dad, and my Dad were the best of friends.  Their friendship provided for the bond that was formed with the mom, Linda, and their two girls Sara and Leslie.  We spent time together more like cousins.  And my 9th birthday wasn’t the first one we had celebrated together, but it was a special one to celebrate, because it was nearly two years post motorcycle accident, meaning it was also after the death of my brother, Jon.  Birthdays were always special, but became even more precious to us after being impacted by my brother’s death almost two years earlier, when he was only nine years old.


Many people have difficulty with birthdays, because birthdays mean aging.  And aging is synonymous with decline.  My family loves to joke. I grew up with many one-liners.  My Dad was quite witty and would get a laugh at the most unpredictable moments.  I guess you could say that laughter was our medicine.  And even though my Mom says this as a joke, there’s much truth in her words regarding birthdays, “It’s better than the alternative.”  Kind of adjusts the view on aging.

But our bodies were never meant to last forever.  The Lord never intended for this to be it.  Hebrews 13:14 (NLT), “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”  Makes me want to sing, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.”

What makes birthdays so grand?  What makes birthdays so special? Well, it’s not the day.  It’s not the birthday occasion alone.  People make birthdays special.  Our family and our friends create the celebration.  Without them, March 23rd is just another day on the calendar.

I asked Caden, my seven year-old what makes birthdays special.  He answered, “Getting new things; spending time with my family; and having a party.”  This prompted me to reflect back on my most memorable birthdays.

Like the one I had in the 8th Grade, my 14th birthday.  The day began as every other, me in my bathroom, with the radio blaring, getting ready for school.  I didn’t have too many birthdays in school, as many of them landed on spring break.  But this particular year, I was in school, and it was my first year at my new school.  During my morning routine, the DJ all of a sudden gave a shout out to a girl who had gotten a ton of calls to wish a happy birthday….Heather Cochrane! Oh my goodness!  Then I got a call from another radio station before school with a birthday giveaway someone had submitted my name for.  WOW!  Once at school, my classmates made the day incredibly special.  I got cards, like the one from my friend Brandon King, who was a funny guy.  He gave me a “custom made” card by crossing out the word “Graduate,” so it would read, “Especially for you, Heather.”  At the end of the day, a boy in my American History class stopped by my locker and gave me a note.  This boy had hardly ever said anything to me.  I waited to open the note and when I did, twenty dollars fell out and I read words that illustrated to me the reality of others observation.  Wes Johnson stated the fact that we didn’t know each other very well, but when he found out it was my birthday he wanted to give me something.  Although we never really spoke, he had evidently observed me enough to draw conclusions, and those appeared to be positive ones.  Wes died from injuries sustained in a four-wheeler accident a year later.  His words impacted my life to be intentional with others.  He taught me you never know whose watching you and whose life you may be impacting.

My 30th birthday was incredibly memorable.  I was once again in school, but not at all happy about it.  I had signed up for a 3 to 11 clinical rotation.  My clinical instructor was well worth the late schedule.  She laid a strong foundation for my development as a nurse.  But March 23rd 2011, I was bummed about being away from my kids while they were at school during the day and away from them that evening too.  I really had to get my thoughts and heart in the right place to get to clinical that day.  While there, my friend told me someone had sent flowers to the floor for me.  They were from my sweet hubby!  Later in the evening, everyone was ready to head down to eat dinner.  Our group had mentioned early in the semester that we should all eat at Subway for the birthdays, but I had brought my lunch and insisted that we did not need to go for me.  But my friends insisted more, and we headed down to the hospital’s Subway.  When we walked in, there was my family!!!  They were all there; all of them, my husband, my Mom, my Aunt Donna, and my Mom-in-law and Dad-in-law.  My husband had coordinated with my precious friend, Kari Murphy and she arranged it with my clinical instructor, Ms. BDub, and the entire group!  They were all in on it and I was completely surprised and it was the best birthday ever!  Here I was having this milestone birthday and I didn’t think I’d even get to see my husband or kids all day, but there they were!  It brings such joy to my heart still!


I couldn’t tell you the presents I unwrapped on these two very memorable birthdays.  But I still experience the joy and happiness those birthdays brought to my heart.  The greatest gift I was given was how others made me feel.  One of my favorite quotes is from The Wizard when he says, “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others”―L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  It’s so catchy.  I see the relevance of that statement in occasions such as birthdays.  The love I feel from each hug, from each wish, from each Facebook message, from the mere fact that others realize it’s my birthday and want to take a moment to acknowledge it, is insurmountable.

Today, my thirty-third birthday, my prayer is found in Psalm 39:4 (NLT),“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered- how fleeting my life is.”

Today, my thirty-third birthday, my heart rejoices with thanks for YOU……

For you, my family.

For you, my friends.

For you, my faithful readers.

For you who love me and support me, who challenge me and sharpen me, who celebrate these special times………much love and thanks to you!

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