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Growth & Gratitude Journal


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Husband is going back to work today... I was sad last night, it's been so nice!  He took over large parts of reading aloud to all of us, which was so much fun!!!  

I'm very grateful for the mom groups I'm in, otherwise staying at home with the kids would be very lonely... some of those ladies are like family now after years ❤️ being at their house feels like we're visiting relatives... they've created a great environment.  We're planning to get together every Wed next year alternating a teaching co-op so we'll have that.

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Growth...  feeling a deep sense of peace about everything, it really is a gut-level feeling that surpasses understanding.  Somehow I know with absolute certainty, all these things will work for our good (Rom 8:28).  An old friend reached out recently and the topic of my husband's family came up (no she's not a, "flying monkey," narcissists use to check on the people), and she reaffirmed that she'd always thought we'd done the right thing in the past, and that she was certain this was going to make us stronger, more compassionate people, and told us that she was sure it would help us become even better parents having had to go through this negativity with his family.  Such a sweet woman, wish she hadn't moved states away, but thankful for her encouragement.  

So thankful for the birds in our front and backyard 🐦.  I know it's something small, but they give us so much pleasure and happiness 😍.  

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The baby birds hatched, ugh they're so cute!!!  The momma dove is so calm with us, she lets us get so so close to her and her babies... most are a little more skittish.

Grateful for sunrise watching on our back porch deck, and roasting marshmellows around the firepit at night.  The kids saw a few fireflies and went crazy lol... hoping I can order some for release after their party.... 🤞

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Just doing some research, it looks like it's illegal to buy fireflies 🤔 but at least our garden/backyard is already attracting some, so that's a good sign the overall health of our eco-environment is amazing... somehow something is going right with the correct moisture, shrubbery, light-level etc. 

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2 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

at least our garden/backyard is already attracting some, so that's a good sign the overall health of our eco-environment is amazing

My USDA-employed cousin would argue that fireflies are a sign that your regional ecosystem is actually unhealthy, and that it's been infiltrated by invasives that will eventually change it completely. I got to see his whole power point presentation about this 16 years ago, when I visited him at his home in Montana 😂😂😂 

My cousin specializes in fire ecology, and travels all over the united states to study wildfires and educate people about them. It was actually a very interesting presentation. He had before-and-after examples of how the vegetation in a region changed after "exotics" were brought in. "Exotics" are non-native spores, plants, insects, or animals that inadvertently stowed away in some shipment, or which were brought in deliberately by humans.

One of the most interesting things that I learned from him is that fire is actually required for some plants to be able to reproduce!! Ironically (and perhaps unsurprisingly), the massive wildfires that we see in the news are typically the result of human interference with the natural fire processes. The fire ecosystem has a certain amount of natural self-regulation. We disrupt that regulation by disrupting the ecosystem with exotics, and (most interestingly!) by putting out fires before they should be put out. 

Of course, "should" is measured from an environmental perspective, not a human one. But it is interesting how understanding and balance have the potential to improve things.

Anyway, it sounds like someone brought in fire flies to your area, already! And they seem to be thriving, so maybe you will see more and more each year. I loved growing up with fireflies. I didn't realize they weren't native to the entire US. 

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Huh that is so odd!  I just read a few reports that claim they show ecosystem health.

"Fireflies are beneficial insects that you want around! The larvae of most species are specialised predators that feed on soft-bodied invertebrates like snails, slugs, and mites. ... This makes the insect a good environmental indicator, which is how scientists can assess ecosystem health.

"Fireflies are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions, and can only thrive in healthy habitats where water quality is good. This makes the insect a good environmental indicator, which is how scientists can assess ecosystem health. If fireflies are present in an area, this means that the water is free from toxic chemicals, the landscape is diverse enough to support different life stages of fireflies, and there is minimal light pollution to disrupt the faint light signals that the insects produce." from here

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16 hours ago, Seraphim said:

We used to see fire flies all the time when I was little. Now it is very seldom. 😓

^Yes... I saw a lot of articles that said fireflies/lightning bugs are disappearing and that it shows the decline of the health of the ecosystem in those areas.  Everything said their appearance is what scientists use to judge if it's healthy or not.  

Our garden is really healthy I think... I don't use pesticides so the food is organic, and we're producing LOTS of veggies every week that we're able to use in our meals.  We've eaten two spaghetti squashes also and have 4 more maturing... lots of cucumbers, peppers and tons of tomatoes....  It all just seems really healthy, and I keep it well watered so that I think it has a more humid atmosphere (a little) than behind our property.  

Anyway... last night I saw they were very low to the ground at times in our squash patches, underneath the arches we've created.  I think they're laying eggs there, which is good because they feed of the bad bugs/snails/slugs that bother squash.


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On 6/20/2021 at 8:33 AM, Jibralta said:

I'm sure your garden is very healthy! You sound like an experienced gardener.

I hope so LOL, fingers crossed.  I think gardening is a very difficult skill to master, and I go to experts **a lot** so I've had tons of help figuring things out along the way, plus my own mom is just fantastic at it, and she constantly helps me with advice or answers about strange things plants do.  ❤️ 

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Growth & Gratitude ---  I just realized we celebrated Father's Day yesterday with so much love and happiness, my parents were over so it was my hubby and dad who had the spotlight, both are very humble and kind so this was SO well deserved.  But it's a growth moment for me, I didn't push my husband to send anything to his dad... call him or anything... I didn't be sneaky and try to get him to at least send one from the kids (for their Grandpa since we acknowledge Grandpas on Father's Day usually).  I failed at that with the Mother's Day thing and guilt tripped him into doing something for his mom, when she is not kind toward him and has hurt him repeatedly recently.

So I'm grateful we had fun without feeling the guilt of anything.  Grateful I didn't push him to acknowledge someone who doesn't acknowledge him.  It must be growth! ❤️ 

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Growth for my husband (LOL can I post that?!?  Ugh I sound so pushy 😂)....  So every year, his strange sister likes to pretend their parents are and were amazing, perfect people, and writes these incredibly fake posts about them on facebook.  Normally we would just ignore this obviously... but she always tags my husband so that it looks as though he has these delusional views of his parents being "the best," and, "perfect," etc.  When it's their anniversary, she makes this post about how they have the perfect marriage and taught their kids how to have great marriages.

It's just all so fake.  Her dad is very mean and cruel to her mom... makes horrible, abusive comments to her all the time.  She knows all of this, but I guess wants to put up a fake front for social media, and forces my husband to agree publicly, too by tagging him.

I know it sounds really minor, but it's become a nuisance to him over the years.  He tries to do the exact opposite of what his parents did, especially his dad, so while he didn't use to mind being kind to them on Mother's Day/Father's Day, their anniversary etc... he would NEVER post a lie publicly like she does.

So he told me about it yesterday, how she did it again, even though she must know by now that they're having problems (he and his parents), so he promptly UNtagged himself.  He wants to reach out to her and set the record straight finally... but I'm not sure he's going to.  She won't listen to him, or she'll make excuses, but maybe it will stop the unwanted forcing him to agree with her that they have the perfect marriage, or were the perfect parents. Either way... untagging himself is probably a growth thing.

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It occurred to me this morning that I'm very grateful we tried again with my husband's family.  This was the second attempt, after a 1st estrangement of 4 ish years, and even though they never apologized or took responsibility for anything in the past, I'm grateful we did ❤️.  

And very grateful we gave them that second chance.  I know that sounds so odd, but I think we needed to see what would happen again... both of us couldn't believe it (we're stupid LOL) when they started doing the same things, BUT we did need to see the cycle... the pattern... in order to get it through both of our heads what was happening.

It's growth & gratitude combined. 🌻 We can move on without regrets and I'm starting to, "see," it.

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So I think I'll update this growth thing when certain situations come up, at least for now it really is focused on us trying to mitigate the damage our in-laws cause.

Like yesterday, we received cards in the mail for the two who had birthdays this month, but our oldest (one of the two) made the connection that they didn't bother to get them anything.  He's an amazing saver, and already has business ideas he's going to implement soon (kid business ideas that is!), so he regularly asks just for money, usually so he can save it.  Then when he sees something he wants, he buys it from his own money... it's wonderful how he's becoming so self-sufficient.  

Anyway, so he's old enough now to realize none of them from his dad's side did anything for him or his sister for their birthdays.  I know the cards are something, and I did point that out, but he's quick as a whip and asked me point blank why they didn't send a gift or money or a gift card... he doesn't understand why it felt like they jipped them.  He knows they have a lot of money, so it's not like they're in need and trying to save or something.  He understands the situation and even asked me if maybe they thought we'd take the money for ourselves - he knows we wouldn't do that, and I told him that they may think that, we just don't know what they're really thinking.

We did tell him that we think they're still angry at us from way back at Christmas when his dad tried to set down boundaries.... and that they're still trying to, "punish," us (the parents) and I told him how I don't think they can, "see," how they're also punishing y'all when they act like this.  

I could see he felt really hurt, and then also a little angry that they are doing this... and it hit me how we're trying so hard now to keep them from hurting our kids, but look at how even things like this end up hurting them.  They can't even send cards without sending a sinister message to our kids that they aren't worth sending anything more to... at least, that's how it feels when our kids are old enough to get that subliminal message.  He wanted to call them and confront them himself... we told him they'd just deny that and turn it around on us probably, blaming us somehow.

So we talked to him and asked him if he'd rather we separate the cards and not show them to him (even put them away in a folder if he wants for later), or throw them away, or if he can accept that this is all they feel they can give 🤷‍♀️   They live to do things for show, always loving to show off how, "generous," they are publicly... but in secret, and with our family, it's obvious their hearts are pretty dark.  I mean at some level I do think they knew our oldest was old enough to understand he wasn't getting anything from them.  Their desire to hurt us (parents) over-rode the desire to send anything to our two kids.

Anyway... for the growth part/gratitude part... I think I'm grateful that they're nasty enough that our oldest has had enough bad experiences with them throughout the years that if any family members try to convince him how much his Grandparents really loved him, but that it was our fault they kept away, he's going to know full-well 1) how hard we tried (he witnessed it!) and 2) how cruel they are secretly... multiple times he's experienced it firsthand unfortunately. 

I never thought we'd have to do this with the cards though.  The depth of their darkness to children really is surprising.  

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Something else that popped in my mind just now....  My mentor went through this and much worse with her in-laws... somehow God brought her into my life, we don't even live close, but she's become such a great friend and helper in these things and more.  

Saw this quote and thought about putting it here, "God doesn’t want us to simply forget our suffering. Healing does not mean forgetting. He wants us to be fruitful in our suffering. Suffering can become seed in our hands.

We can choose to slip those seeds in little packets and store them away, or we can choose to sprinkle those seeds as good news of how God brought us through in the well-tilled soil of a ready soul.

That’s what it means to be fruitful. That’s when healing happens. That’s when we cross over from bitter to better once and for all—when our stories give hope to others that life can be different on the other side of pain. Your heartache can become someone else’s hope."

^So she did this, and I can already see how once we go through all of this, we will become better, stronger and more compassionate people to others who experience this kind of awkward family pain.  Eventually God may bring someone younger going through it and confused, like what happened with my mentor friend and myself ❤️ so all our suffering isn't for nothing, it really is producing a glory in us and our family, as we teach our children honestly about how to actually love each other and extend that love toward others.

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3 nights went by way too fast, I'm going to miss our sweet friends and their kids! 😭 🥰💕

We had 7 kids in the house these past 3 days and while it's been crazy and a little chaotic, it felt like a house full of cousins and fay. Just such a peaceful wonderful feeling!!!! Ugh I'm going to miss them so bad! We'll see them again but not until the fall.

Out oldest swallowed a chip wrong and it got stuck in his esophagus! He was able to breathe but was freaking out because it felt like it was cutting into his throat. Well my sweet friend the mom swept in and knew exactly what to do and made everything better within a matter of seconds!! He was so thankful to her and it dawned on me how yes it's sad my kids don't have an Aunt interested in them,but we have lots of people like this who are stepping in to fill these rolls of loving on our kids and doing life together.

Very grateful ....  I loved hosting them, loved having a house full of kids 🥰 and lived seeing all the friendships get stronger between all of us.


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3 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

And just found a card my friend left for us thanking us for hosting them!!!

She feels like a sister somehow 😍. So glad their in our lives.

That's such a sweet gesture. I'm going to have to remember that! 😊


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Going to put this on the wall for our kids ❤️ 


If you can keep your head when all about you
  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
  Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
  And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
  If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
  And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
  Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
  And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
  And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
  And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
  To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
  Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
  Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
  If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
  With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
  And which is more: you'll be a Man, my son!

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I like that poem. And also, I like this one:

By Max Ehrmann © 1927

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.










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