Living Happily Ever After


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Over And Over And Over Again

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” (Michael Jordan)

I love this quote. I’ve raised my kids on it. It’s a reality in my life, as well as Michael Jordan’s. Because every life, especially the unexpected one, is comprised of more than its fair share of misses, losses and failures.

We each fail, in one way or another, over and over and over again in our lives; all of our lives.

So what do you do?

I think it’s what you choose to do with all of that failure that counts.

When we choose to keep rising from the ashes of failure and defeat, devastation and destruction, grief and pain and loss, THAT is success. And that “one more try, one last time” is very often the moment when success (finally!) comes.

And when we learn to find happiness and joy amidst it all, failure or success, THAT is when we have it made!

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Winston Churchill)

Even On July 13

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” (Edgar Allan Poe)

Two years ago today, July 13, 2009, I thought my world had ended.

As I drove from Colorado to begin a new life in Utah (crying as discreetly as possible so my children wouldn’t realize tears were uncontrollably rolling down my cheeks), I could not comprehend ever healing or feeling whole again. I anticipated that date, July 13, would be burned in my memory forever and would always haunt me, as a day of personal infamy, never to be forgotten.

Cut to 2011.

A few days ago I realized (only because my middle child reminded me) that July 13 was approaching. I marveled at the healing that has taken place in just two years. I can’t believe all that has transpired in my life and in the lives of my children since 2009. We’re living a completely different, yet still unexpected, life. And honestly, this isn’t a painful date any more.

But I decided I needed to at least attempt to give it the respect I had once thought it deserved, to remember it and to mark the occasion by doing SOMETHING, so I made a plan to dispose of the dead hanging basket of flowers previously mentioned today—July 13.

This morning I got up, went to work, had a lunch meeting, worked all day, came home, did some work from home, enjoyed my children, made dinner, ate dinner with my family, sent #5 off to rehearsal for Sundance Resort’s summer theater production of “The Sound of Music,” and on my way back into the house happened to notice the basket of dead flowers hanging on the front porch. It brought me to a screeching halt. July 13!

Today was once THE day! I was supposed to have remembered it, wasn’t I? I had a plan to carry out! And here it was, almost 6 p.m., before I even remembered today. Just two years from the day I thought my world had ended, and already, I have completely forgotten July 13!

But never let it be said I don’t follow through with my plans. I asked my oldest son to throw the basket in the outside trashcan, he grabbed it and went to toss it out, and I turned around and went back into the house without a second glance or another thought.

How did it happen? How is it possible to have suffered such tremendous loss, to have endured such devastation and grief, only to forget such a landmark date just two years later?

I think it’s one bonus of not just living the unexpected life, but choosing to embrace your unexpected life.

Accept what you’ve been dealt. Take stock of what you’re left with. Use it to rebuild. Count your blessings. Laugh. Choose to find happiness and joy in your new realm. And guess what? You will. Each and every time. If it happened to me, it can happen to you. I know it. And then at some point, you realize the pain is gone. If you hang on long enough, choose to let go of it and focus on your new blessings, at some point, the pain is gone.

“My focus is to forget the pain of life. Forget the pain, mock the pain, reduce it. And laugh.” (Jim Carrey)

Even on July 13.

The New Feel of Darkness

“I wondered vaguely if this was when it would end, whether I would pull up tonight’s darkness like a quilt and be dead and at peace evermore.” (William Manchester)

When I was thrust into my unexpected life two years ago, it felt dark and very overwhelming. I confess, I probably had a moment or two where I could absolutely relate to William Manchester. Several nights I went outside in the backyard of my Colorado home to be alone, mourn my losses, cry, pray, and to try to figure out a plan: as in, how was I going to feed and shelter four children? By myself? And how was I going to not just start over, but start over “from a hole?”

Although, “There’s nothing like a nighttime stroll to give you ideas,” (Mad-Eye Moody, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000), I was short on ideas and options back then! But at least I knew, “When the darkness comes, keep an eye on the light…no matter how far away it seems.” (Jan Berry) I’d been raised to believe in and have faith that “For every dark night, there’s a brighter day.” (Tupac Shakur) And it’s true. I know it now, just as I knew it then, as hard as it was to always believe it.

So I didn’t succumb to the night’s darkness. Despite the black hole that was my new world, I didn’t quit. I may have ended every day in tears by crying myself into a fitful sleep (what little I slept), and I woke up and cried when I opened my eyes to my new reality and realized it wasn’t a bad dream but my new life (THAT is something–when your reality is worse than a nightmare! LOL), but I carried on as best I could.

Last night, I was out in the backyard of my Utah home. It was late, close to 11 p.m., but I wasn’t alone or mourning anything; I was planting a garden with #5!

With our busy work and family schedules, that was the time we had available to do it–so I kept the dirt moist with water and held the camping lantern so we could see, and #5 dug the holes, placed the plants in the earth, and covered them with soil. We talked, laughed, worked side by side and enjoyed one another. And when we finished, #5 went to put the tools and equipment away. I was left, alone, in the late night blackness of a summer night.

It has been awhile since I’ve thought about the dark summer nights alone in my Colorado yard, but brief memories of that time came unbidden. I indulged in them for just a moment, wondering if I’ll ever experience dark summer nights alone without remembering that traumatic time in 2009 but also marveling at the difference time, and light, can make.

“I guess darkness serves a purpose: to show us that there is redemption through chaos. I believe in that.” (Brendan Fraser) So do I. Because I’m living proof. Out of darkness and chaos came redemption…in the form of a very unexpected life. Time and again I’ve seen it happen—in this century, in previous ones, to every person, everywhere, regardless of the challenge or struggle.

There is ALWAYS light, and life, at the end of the tunnel, your tunnel, whatever that challenge may be.

That’s life. And since that’s life, while we’re here, we ought to experience it and remember that, ”Only the person who has experienced light and darkness, war and peace, rise and fall, only that person has truly experienced life.” (Stefan Zweig)

And if you’ve never planted a garden late at night by the light of a lantern, I recommend you experience that too.

“See you in the darkness.” (Gary Gilmore)

A Bit Of Magic

“And yet, I suppose you mourn the loss or the death of what you thought your life was, even if you find your life is better after. You mourn the future that you thought you’d planned.”  (Lynn Redgrave)

And then, wouldn’t you know, later that evening my daughter left on her first date.

I don’t know how to explain what I was thinking or feeling about that, but add to that monumental event my earlier experiences of the day, and I was feeling some loss pretty deeply. In fact, I felt like I was going to burst into tears at any moment. Again.

So while #5 was taking a very uncharacteristic break in the middle of the day and actually laying down for a moment or two (since I’ve known him, I’ve rarely seen him even sit down in the middle of a day, ever! He is one of the most energetic people I have ever known) I went down to the laundry room to fold clean clothes–mostly to hide the potential for another emotional breakdown. I was afraid tears were going to start streaming down my cheeks again, I wasn’t going to be able to stop them and I didn’t want to do that in front of #5.

I was right. No sooner did I step into the laundry room than the tears started flowing. I cried and folded clothes, cried and folded clothes, and felt very alone as I mourned my “losses.” I had piles to fold and expected to be there, alone, for hours, but within minutes I heard a voice behind me say, “Hey! What are you doing in here? Let me help you.” It was #5.

And there I was, breaking down. I kept my back to him and hoped he wouldn’t notice.

I told him I was just folding laundry, that I could take care of it and that he could go rest. But he told me he couldn’t do that. He wanted to help me, he insisted on helping me, stepped in front of me, saw my face and immediately asked me what was wrong. I was caught in the act of what I’d been trying to hide all day long, but instead replied, ”Nothing, I’m fine.”

But #5 didn’t buy that, despite the fact I was sort of at a loss to explain it, so he stepped forward, put his arms around me and I cried. ”I had a feeling I ought to check on you,” he said. “I was afraid you might be doing something like this. This is a big day. And WHAT are we going to do when our youngest goes on HIS first date in less than 11 years? I’d better start helping you to prepare yourself for that now!” And we laughed.

Thanks to #5, I couldn’t focus on my losses a minute more, I was too focused on my present opportunities and blessings. Second marriage moment #11: seeing, and feeling, the “magic” again.

The magic…of the unexpected life.

“There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.” (Lou Reed)

So true.

Time Capsule

“And yet, I suppose you mourn the loss or the death of what you thought your life was, even if you find your life is better after. You mourn the future that you thought you’d planned.”  (Lynn Redgrave)

Later that same day of the unexpected dream, the mail came, and in it, a very unexpected delivery: a time capsule.

I had completely forgotten about it. My oldest created it in 1999 as a first grader at Creekside Elementary in the Cherry Creek School District in Aurora, CO. It contained newspaper clippings, pictures, letters from his parents and other things that represented our life then, as well as plenty of our hopes and dreams.

I was shocked to receive a communication from an elementary school in Colorado several years after any of my children had attended there. I was surprised they’d found me. And I was very touched by the effort of many good people who have taught my children over the years, who have helped my children learn and create meaningful things, and who went to the effort to find us in Utah so we could have a memory and appreciate the contents of our time capsule.

I stood in my Utah kitchen, read through the contents of the time capsule, and once again, tears I couldn’t control streamed down my cheeks. I was overwhelmed by the contents of the time capsule compared to the reality we had actually lived through and had finally settled into. How was it all possible? How could it all have taken place? I’d never had ANY idea of all that was in store for my oldest and our family at the time he created the time capsule.

Not only was it finally, really, hitting me that my oldest is graduating and leaving home, I think I cried about all we have lived through and experienced since that time capsule was created. When I helped him compile the items for the time capsule, when I wrote my 1999 letter to him, life was very different. I was a stay at home mom; my mom was still alive; I only had 2 children; I’d never experienced grief and pain to the extent I did in 2009; back then, divorce was not even in my vocabulary (neither were Ponzi schemes, by the way, I had no idea what those even were at that time!); and the letter to my son from his father was written by a man now residing in prison for the next decade or more. Looking back, like was very simple then in 1999. It almost overwhelmed me that the expectations for the future as seen through the eyes of 1999 was very different than the reality we actually lived, and I felt additional sorrow at all my son has had to endure as a result of the choices his father made.

But I pulled myself together again, for the second time that day, and went on about my business. I was feeling emotional, but I was going to make it through the day with flying colors, including smiles and laughter. If only I could quit crying.

“Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall.  Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day.  Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down.  And this is all life really means.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)

At least, that was my goal. But would you believe it? ANOTHER emotional breakdown…to come.


“And yet, I suppose you mourn the loss or the death of what you thought your life was, even if you find your life is better after. You mourn the future that you thought you’d planned.”  (Lynn Redgrave)

It has been two years since my unexpected life began. I haven’t been haunted by the events that led to it for quite some time and then out of the blue, unexpectedly, I dreamed of a moment connected to it (not one of my favorite moments, by the way) and I could not shake the memory of it when I awoke.

The experience I dreamed of occurred a few weeks after certain events ended my life as I knew it. One ramification of the unexpected situation was that I was released from serving as president of the women’s organization of my church congregation. Another ramification of it was that due to the public nature of my former husband’s crimes and positions of leadership he had held within our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, local church leadership determined it was necessary to publicly address some of it to congregations our family had been closely associated with. My church leaders were very kind about it all; they told me it was necessary and explained why; they told me the day they were going to do it so I could be prepared (and probably, if I were smarter and raised by different parents, so that I could be absent from those meetings that day.) But unfortunately, I had been taught differently than that–taught to face what needs to be faced and that trials and tragedy don’t change what is right or what is expected of us.

It was a poignant lesson I learned in 1986 when my dad unexpectedly died in a plane crash. I was a teenager and dreaded going to church that Sunday after he died. He had been a leader in our congregation and I didn’t want to face people (even people I loved or people who loved me and my family) and I had a sneaking suspicion my mom was planning that our family would attend church. Late Saturday night I asked, “We don’t have to go to church tomorrow, do we?”

My mom was firm in her resolve and her answer. “Of course we do! Just because your dad isn’t here doesn’t mean the rest of us can stop living and it certainly doesn’t change what is right. We believe in going to church on Sunday, that is what we have always done and that is what we will continue to do.” She was a strong woman in a gentle kind of way (I don’t want to make her sound harsh–she was anything but that.) She took our family to church despite the loss we’d experienced just two days previously (although she relented a little bit and let us arrive 5 minutes late so we wouldn’t have to talk to anyone before the meeting.)

Interestingly, when our unexpected life began, one of my children asked me a question very similar to the one I’d asked my own mother 23 years before, “Mom, we don’t have to go to church this Sunday, do we?” and I gave an answer very similar to the one my mom had given me and we went to church and continued to attend each Sunday, regardless of some uncomfortable moments.

Like the Sunday I dreamed of recently. The Sunday I had to sit and endure public comments about my personal situation that was so public– comment about my former spouse’s crimes and the situation he created as a result. It was also the day the new presidency of the women’s organization of our congregation publicly recognized me, gave me a bouquet of flowers and thanked me for my service; and then after that, the leader of our cluster of congregations (known as a stake president) stood and addressed the issues that needed to be publicly discussed. I don’t remember a lot about that day, I mostly remember sitting in the back of the room, tears of grief, shame, humiliation, sorrow (and a host of other feelings and emotions) streaming down my cheeks as I stared at the beautiful flowers in my lap and endured what was being said to the women around me. I do remember a woman sitting by me on the back row, patting my arm or giving my shoulder a squeeze, through the whole thing. I can’t remember who she was, but how much I appreciated her kindness to me at that time! She helped me feel slightly less alone and helped me get through a very difficult moment.

That was a tough experience but I got through it and it’s now a part of my past. I honestly haven’t let myself think too much about it, or look back on it, until that recent morning when I woke up, tears streaming down my face. And #5 was asleep next to me in bed!

I was shocked. It has been two years! I am living a new life, remarried to a wonderful man, and I wake up crying over something that happened two years ago? I felt a little bit crazy. I didn’t want #5 to see, or know, he was married to such a wacky wife that dreamed about the past and woke up crying! I confess, I even felt a little bit guilty as I am the recipient of many miracles and kindness and have much to be thankful for; I have the great blessing to be remarried and am truly happy again–I can’t (or shouldn’t) be crying about the past (even if it was unintentional–something I woke up doing in a dream!)

I quickly got up to hide my insanity, pulled myself together and went on about my day. Except that I couldn’t quite shake the feelings that dream left me with. I felt slightly emotionally “off.” And that was just the start of the day.

“Going back to Ireland involves at least six to seven emotional breakdowns for me per day.” (Anjelica Huston)

Stay tuned. More emotional breakdowns to come.

If They Could Read

“In Hollywood, the woods are full of people that learned to write but evidently can’t read. If they could read their stuff, they’d stop writing.” (Will Rogers)

I live in Utah now, not Hollywood, and I enjoy the woods up Provo Canyon my fair share.

Just two years ago I lost everything I thought was my life, except my four children, and had to make sense of the unexpected events handed me. I had the world’s share of shame, humiliation and unwanted publicity; my fair share of ups and downs, failures and successes; but I realized again, with each passing day, that life is always a choice and your life will be exactly what you make of it. (Granted, sometimes you’re blessed with better material to work with than at other times, but you can always choose to find happiness and to experience joy regardless of your life conditions. You can always strive to look on the bright side and to treat others with kindness despite the misery of your current situation. )

In this blog I’ve explained some of what I’ve lived through, how I’ve chosen to respond and why I’ve done the things I’ve done and any and all mistakes that I have made. I’ve shared all that I’ve hoped for and worked toward, the unexpected experiences I never imagined I’d have, the things I’ve learned and their outcomes. And while I know not every unexpected life results in a happy ending of complete and utter perfection, I believe you can choose to create your own fairy tales and live happily ever after.

For example, Cinderella lived through a lot of hard stuff. It’s not fun being left penniless (been there, done that!), orphaned (I can relate to that) and at the mercy of a wicked stepmother. Cinderella, with the help of her fairy godmother and her friends (mice and other farm animals) did find her handsome prince, yet she never got her mom or dad back in this life–not every thing, not every aspect, of Cinderella’s unexpected life became total perfection at the end of her story, but she did live happily ever after.

I’m grateful for that example. Fairy tales are magical. They’re great stories. They’re a wonderful escape. They give us hope. And they can teach us important things. As I look back at my life and the countless hours I spent in the nurture of fairy tale fiction, I realize fairy tales helped give me dreams; they gave me something to set my little girl sights on, so that when I grew up and and was thrust into the worst nightmare I never imagined possible, I had all of those fictional examples of triumph over tragedy, all of those imaginary happily ever afters, to help me hold on and cling to the real dreams I’d once had. They gave me courage to press forward and keep going, to create a new chapter of my story and to live a new version of my happily ever after.

A happy ending doesn’t mean complete and total restoration of what you had before. Instead, I believe it is embracing what you have now been given, looking for the good, and choosing to be happy in your new story while working to create a new and continuing happy ending for yourself and your loved ones.

It was the same with Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rose Red, Thumbelina, The Goose Girl and every other fairy tale heroine. Not necessarily a “perfect” ending, but a fairy tale perfect for them.

THAT is life.

Every single one.

Every unexpected one, because I believe we all have one.

But enough of that. Never let it be said that I can’t read–or understand Will Rogers’ wisdom–so I’ll close with this:

My undying thanks to everyone who was there for me in my old life, when my mostly-perfect world fell apart, during my divorce, and as I began a new life. Thanks to all who helped my children, who helped me, who shared our journey in person or via this blog, and for every single person who reached out to me and my family and shared their love and kindness with us. Every single one of you is known and remembered by us. Every single kindness will never be forgotten. We are better because of each of you.

In fact, we made it, thanks to you.

We’re going to live happily ever after.

The End.

As in, that’s the end of this portion of my story. Feel free to check in for occasional posts about life and my entirely new and unexpected life experiences in remarriage and as a stepmother. Like every other aspect of the unexpected life, it’s completely uncharted territory. I’m sure I’ll make my fair share of mistakes along the way, the only thing I can promise about all of it is that I’ll NEVER intentionally be a wicked stepmother! And I have a feeling, if it goes the way everything else has, it’s going to be quite another unexpected ride!

It Didn’t Go Over So Well

“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” (Thomas Alva Edison)

Although I’d love to look brilliant, organized and like I’m a woman who has it all together–including a special letter she needed–it wasn’t intentional. I didn’t know I was going to get engaged to remarry just one year after my world collapsed or that I’d need a letter from my former spouse to apply for permission to marry in a L.D.S. temple! It came about more as a result of my former husband.

When he revealed his crimes in March 2009, everything changed. Especially for me. I didn’t just lose my entire world, life, marriage, family and everything as I knew it. In one moment I went from loving, trusting and respecting my husband of 20 years to looking at him through completely different eyes. I didn’t know who he was or what he was. He became a stranger in a moment. I wondered if he was sociopathic. He even looked different, physically, to me. It was as if I didn’t know him, and never had known him, at all. But ironically, at that time, possibly for the first time, I actually knew everything about him. Finally.

Yet he didn’t get that.

I remember shortly after he had revealed everything he had done. When we were alone, he told me it was ironic to him that all he wanted to do was be with me, be alone with me, be close to me, hold me–yet that was the one thing I didn’t want! Soon after that, he told me he didn’t think a divorce was necessary. I was dumbfounded.

I asked, “No divorce?”

“No divorce,” he replied.

“So you think it’s completely realistic to expect that you did what you did for as long as you did it, you say you’re sorry, I forgive you, and we can remain married?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

“You think it’s realistic to expect that while you go to prison for who knows how long, that we remain married, I’m alone, I raise our children alone, I keep our children alive in your absence, you serve your time, you get out and then everything goes back to normal and goes on as before? And we’re married the whole time?” I clarifed.

“Yes,” he answered.

All I can say is that we sure didn’t see things the same way! I saw no other outcome or consequence to his crimes, lies and other betrayals, than divorce. Not to mention the fact that every attorney involved advised me to cut my ties to the criminal as fast as I possibly could, for my protection and for my children. Regardless of how I felt or what I may or may not have wanted to do, I didn’t have a choice. My former husband had made my choice for me and left me with no choice.


“When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they ‘don’t understand’ one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to.” (Helen Rowland)

And although I didn’t know it at the time, some day, I’d need a letter.


“Valentine’s Day is not a holiday. Rosh Hashanah, that’s a holiday. Memorial Day, yes a holiday…You know who invented Valentine’s Day? Hershey’s and Hallmark.” (Peter Gallagher, The O.C.)

My oldest walked in to the kitchen, saw I was writing a blog post and asked what I was writing about. I replied, “I think, Valentine’s Day.” To which he responded, “YUCK. I can’t think of a more pointless ‘holiday’ than that!” and he left the room. I had to wonder, how did such a romantic mother raise such a realistic teenage son? LOL. Although I don’t know if #5 would think the mother is so romantic. Case in point: a conversation we had just last week.

We were driving down the road when he asked, “So, are the kids set for Monday night?”

I panicked, trying to recall what was scheduled for Monday night. My mind raced as I tried to remember what I had planned, and how I could have neglected to take care of a tiny but extremely important detail called childcare. I must have given #5 the biggest, blank, deer-caught-in-headlights stare prior to verbalizing a very intelligent, “Huh?”

All he could do was shake his head and offer two words, “Valentine’s Day!” Followed by, “I can’t believe you forgot! How unromantic you are! What would Edward and Bella say?”

He was right. How very unromantic of the woman bent on a happy ending to her fairy tale, who endured the revelation of crime, a Ponzi scheme, divorce, publicity, loss, financial devastation, an unexpected return to the workforce, a return to the single life, dating in her 40s, THE BACHELORS  and everything else, who eventually found her very own Mr. Awesome, and then forgot… Valentine’s Day!

I don’t know what Edward and Bella would think, but here’s what I thought: I thought back to last Valentine’s Day. 2010. My first as a divorcee/single mother. I was pretty overwhelmed by my unexpected life back then, so I don’t remember focusing on it much. I think I was just hoping to get through it, sort of forget it, and look forward to brighter days. But instead, that was the day I arrived home from work to find a beautiful flower arrangement waiting for me on my porch–from #5. He took me to dinner and a play that night. That was also the date I was battling bronchitis and a sinus infection (I know, romantic!), the night #5 warned me that when my antibiotics kicked in, he was taking things to a new level.

How much has transpired since last Valentine’s Day, including this realization: I think I forgot to focus on February 14, Valentine’s Day, 2011, because every day with #5 feels a lot like Valentine’s Day to me. That is something I never expected when I walked through the doors at The Old Spaghetti Factory and saw #5 for the first time; when I sat across the table from him on our first date in 2009.

“How can you tell if two adults eating dinner at a restaurant are in love?

  • Just see if the man picks up the check. That’s how you can tell if he’s in love. (John, age 9)
  • Lovers will just be staring at each other and their food will get cold. Other people care more about the food. (Brad, age 8)
  • It’s love if they order one of those desserts that are on fire. They like to order those because it’s just like how their hearts are on fire.” (Christine, age 9)

About Selling Out…

Ok, that’s not quite true. From the moment my unexpected life began, I was pretty sure there was no way I was going to avoid that day. I just hoped to put it off as long as I could. Mostly for sentimental reasons. But the unexpected life doesn’t allow for a lot of sentimentality. You HAVE to learn quickly, from day one, to lose, to let go, to not dwell on to your losses but to move forward, and look for the good you still have or that is within your reach.

Since March 18, 2009, I’d been afraid that day–the day Peter Paul Prier would buy my violin back–would come. And finally, in 2011, there was no other way around it. But as with everything else in life, it was a choice. My choice. Here’s why I made it.

I believe we learn, grow and develop ourselves throughout our lives. However, I also believe one of our biggest opportunities to do that is while we are children and teenagers. My life was greatly enriched by the music lessons, dance classes, performing groups, art classes, sewing classes and other experiences my parents provided me with as I was growing up so that I could learn new skills and develop new talents. Those experiences then created additional opportunities for me as a college student and an adult and have continued to greatly enrich and bless my life.

I want that for my children too.

Yet from the moment I entered my unexpected life, my primary focus has been physical survival: feed my four children and keep a roof over their heads. (We have been very blessed in this. I got a job and am able to provide for my family. And in the beginning, several friends helped us with groceries, a Costco delivery, a Costco gift card, grocery store gift cards, Target/WalMart gift cards, hair cuts, clothes and even some cash. Another friend and some of my extended family helped us get into a home. We couldn’t be more grateful for every bit of help we have received that has made our survival possible.) But my additional challenge is how to enrich my children’s lives on a limited budget.

“Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Don’t sell out.” (Christopher Reeve)

In life, even my unexpected one, I won’t ever give up. I can’t. I won’t ever lose hope. But about selling out…

I actually did that. I finally had to.

I did it for my kids.