Thank You, Jesus

This is my Thanksgiving Day post.  A little late, I know... but you don't mind, do you?

My God, there is just so much to be immensely thankful for this year.  I'm thankful that Mauricio has a job that allows me to stay home and care for our sons.  I'm thankful that we are staying above water, even on one salary.  I'm thankful that Marco has grown so much and is now walking, talking (sorta) and acting like a big boy.  I'm thankful for getting pregnant and having a successful (albeit early) delivery.  I'm thankful that now with Jonas, our family is complete.

God is so good to us.  There are countless proofs that He loves us and has the best plan for us... in my life alone.  I always feel that He is guiding us.  When I feel the dead end is just in sight, he paves a different road for us to follow.  For example... when we were living in Orlando and talking about getting pregnant, the first time, Mau had yet to find a job.  We were so anxious that we'd have a baby without him having a job.  Then out of the blue, Carol calls to say there's a job opening in Greenville (last place on Earth we ever thought we'd end up).  Did you know that Mau started his job on the very same day I found out I was pregnant?!  Coincidental?... No, that's a God Plan... and a GOOD ONE! There are so many (I mean, SOOOO many) other examples I could give you on how His plans have put us where we are today and have been unbelievable blessings in our lives.

I'm so thankful that God is always on our team and giving us blessings beyond our understanding.
"And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose"  Romans 8:28

And Thank You, Jesus, for giving us the ultimate sacrifice... Your life in place of ours.  Now, as a parent, John 3:16 brings on a whole new meaning.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not parish but have eternal life".  John 3:16

I don't know about you, but there is NO WAY I would give up one of my sons... and I have two!  I don't care the reason... the answer is a resounding "NO"!   I'll kill you all for my sons... every last one of ya!  But, isn't God selfless?  He gave up his ONE... his PERFECT one.  For us.  And we are so not worthy.  But that's how much he loves us... amazing.

So, during this time of Christmas crazies, let us remember not just that the baby Jesus was born, but who he became and what he did for each of us.

Due Date

Today, Nov. 29, 2010, was a big date in my calendar... circled, highlighted and with about a hundred exclamation points.  Today is the day my #2 was supposed to be born!

But isn't God great, and amazing?  He was born 2 months early (Sept 28) and has been a huge joy and blessing for nearly 9 weeks now!  It always floors me how His plan is so perfect!  Yes, we had a rough start, and a challenging first few weeks, but now I can't imagine having had to wait this long to meet my beautiful boy.  It feels like he's been here all along.

And as I get to know him more and more, my heart swells to unthinkable sizes.  Cliche as it may sound, your capacity for love really does increase after having another.  There's no need to share love... there's plenty to go around.

Here's some baby eye candy for all of you out there in cyber-land.  My growing boy, waking up from his nap.
I love you, my baby Jonas! 

Book Worm

As you probably know, I love to read.  Lately, I've been able to do it a little more than normal... don't ask me how.  Sometimes I read in the middle of the night when I'm feeding Jonas, but mostly I've been reading because Mau got a new video game.  So, here's a list of the last 5 books I've read:

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
I LOVE Young Adult Fiction.  It's always fun, easy to read, fast moving and a little too dramatic.  This book was somewhat predictable, but still a lot of fun.  If you liked Twilight, you might enjoy it.  The main beau is "the bad boy Edward wishes he was".  It's the first in a series, and I'll be reading the second, "Crescendo", soon.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
This book took me WAY. TOO. LONG to finish.  I started it in May and kept picking it up and putting it back down until I finally finished it in October.  This book was recommended to me by my dad, so I definitely wanted to read it and see what he saw in it.  He truly enjoyed it... but he didn't "read" it... he listened to it and enjoyed it much more than I did.  That said, I thought that the main idea and conclusion of the book were amazing... truly brilliant.  However, it just took forever to get to the point.  There was a lot of fluff... you know, information that doesn't truly add to the plot but is only there to take up space.  I felt like Irving could have accomplished the same goal in HALF the pages.  His writing style is extreemely descriptive with minimal dialogue, which I find to be exhausting to read.  After 10 pages I was physically tired of reading.  Needless to say, it's not a real page turner.   

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
This is the same author that wrote the famous, "Time Traveler's Wife".  I picked this one up because I loved that one.  However, this one did not live up to Niffenegger's reputation.  The story was strange and he conclusion was completely disappointing.  I wouldn't recommend it.

Carpe Demon- Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner
I read this book after reading a review off of This Blog, and I LOVED it!  This book was so fun, light and silly.  Think, Buffy the Vampire Slayer all grown up with kids, a husband and a house.  It's great!  This book truly is laugh-out-loud funny.  I could totally relate to her... well, the having a toddler part, not the kicking demon @ss part.  Still, great fun!

The Understudy by David Nicholls
I actually won this book from a GoodReads Giveaway.  Yay for winning!  But unfortunately I didn't like this book.  The only redeeming quality was that the writing was really good.  I wasn't interested in the characters... thought they were all shallow and people I would not want to know.  I will be giving this author another shot, though... maybe this story was just off.  

Grow, Baby- But Let Me Sleep

Jonas is going through a pretty big growth spurt right now.  This is awesome for him!  He was weighed today, and at 8 weeks, he's 5 lbs 2 oz.  He's no longer fitting in his premie wear (primarily due to height) and will only be in premie diapers till we run out.  Yay!  Awesome for him, right?... Utterly exhausting for me!

When Marco went through his first growth spurt, I was told "Turn on Netflix, sit on the couch and feed him for 2-3 days".  Sounds easy... and it wasn't so bad... but that's because it was JUST Marco.  Now, it's 2!  I can't just sit on the couch without rising for 2-3 days to feed Jonas.  I need to feed, change, clothe, play with and attend to my other child to.  And while I do that, Jonas is screaming bloody murder the ENTIRE time!

Jonas gets so worked up while waiting to be fed, that once he gets on the boob, he falls asleep!  So, I pull him off, burp him gently and try to put him down... where upon he wakes up and realizes he's STILL hungry!  It's a vicious cycle.

The worst is at night.  I get so frustrated and angry.  Once I'm sleep deprived, it's not a pretty sight.  Last night, Jonas fed at 11:30, 2:30, 4:00 and 7:00.  He only went longer on the last stretch because he was sleeping in our bed.  By that point, I was a cry baby myself.  As I said, it was not a pretty sight... I threw a tantrum, like a toddler!  Kicking sheets, crying, tossing myself from one side of the bed to the other... the works.  Thankfully, I have an understanding (and amazing) husband who got up and brought him to our bed.  Although my response at that time was, "I don't want Jonas to sleep with us, get him out of here! (REAL mature!).

I am so lucky that Mauricio is willing and eager to get up and take some of the feedings off my hands.  On weekends, we trade off, every other feeding, during the night.  I still have to wake up to pump, but that's only 10 minutes, versus the 30-45 that a normal feeding would take.  During the week, Mau wakes up for the early morning feeding (5:30 or 6am) and lets me sleep in.

Then this morning, when Mauricio got up to feed him in the early am, so I could catch a few more zz's, he made a mistake with grand repercussions.  He tried to microwave Jonas' bottle.  Two problems with this:  1. You NEVER nuke breast milk, and 2. The Dr. Browns bottle apparently couldn't handle the microwave because it got pierced somehow, making it unusable.  He didn't mean to do it, but had morning brain and got confused between Marco's bottle (which we microwave) and Jonas' bottle (which we heat in a glass of hot water).  What are the grand repercussions?  Well, that was the ONLY one we had... so until I get my butt back to the store, I'm flying solo through this growth spurt.

I just have to continue to tell myself these two simple words over and over and pray that I can get through... "It's Temporary"!  This is my LAST baby, and each growth spurt is one of my last ones ever. They say to "enjoy every minute"... but these are some minutes I don't think I'll EVER learn to enjoy.

A Mama Trick

As a mom, you develop a bag of tricks that will always get you out of a bind.  This is a nifty little trick I aquired from a girl on The Bump and I'll be forever grateful... (well, maybe not FOREVER, but definitely for a few years).

It all started last Christmas.  We were staying at my in-laws house, and Marco (who was 6 months old) was sleeping in the Pack n' Play.  Since we were in a new environment and he wasn't in his crib, he was giving us such a hard time to be put down.  We tried letting him cry a little, we tried soothing, we tried rocking, we tried nursing... nothing worked.  The second we dropped him (gently) into the Pack n' Play, he'd wake up screaming.  After about 2 hours of this, he was exhausted but refused to give in.  Finally, I remembered what the girl had told me, "put a used article of your clothing in the crib with him".  Immediately, I ripped off my shirt (kinda like The Hulk) and laid Marco down on top of it.  His reaction was priceless!  He dug his face into it, his eyes kinda rolled around for a second and he instantly fell asleep.  My shirt, with my mommy smell on it, was like a drug to him.  It amazed me!  We shoved this trick into our handy bag o' tricks and used it on MANY occasion.

Last night, I had to step out for a while and Mauricio was left alone with both boys.  Apparently Jonas became difficult at some point, and Mau was trying to prepare dinner and entertain Marco simultaneously.  So, Mau reached into our bag o' tricks and pulled out this little handy ditty.  He went into our clothes hamper and grabbed a shirt I had been wearing earlier that day.  He wrapped it around Jonas and he immediately calmed down and fell asleep.  When I got home, I found a lump of clothes on top of a pillow... with a baby underneath!  He slept like that for at least 3 hours, until I woke him up to feed him.  Here's a picture of what I found upon coming home... (I adjusted the shirt because it was covering his face too):

This works!  As of yet, it has been FAIL-PROOF!  I don't think it'll work on Marco anymore, but for those little, fussy, mama-needy babies, it works like a charm!


The conversations and worries of a mother are like no other.  Normal people don't stress about the same things we do... not even dads worry the same way moms do.  This week, my worry (and topic of conversation):  POOP.  Yes, a mom will stay up at night worrying, call the doctors office and talk to anyone else that will listen about these things.  Spit up- how much is too much?  Diaper rash- where is it located exactly, does it hurt and what remedies should we use?  Boogers- what color and consistency?  And POOP.

As this is my second round, I completely expected Jonas to be a lot like Marco.  I thought it was normal for a baby to poop after each feeding.  In fact, sometimes Marco would poop in the middle of his feeding and then again at the end of it!  Even now, at 16 months, he poops AT LEAST twice a day!  He's a real pooper- (but definitely not a party-pooper)!

Since I didn't have complete access to Jonas for the first 28 days of his life (he was in the NICU), I wasn't aware of his bowel movements or regularity.  Apparently, he's not much of a pooper.  Then when I brought him home, he'd go once, maaaaybe twice a day.  But then, he stopped going.  He went on Friday, and then not again.  I started to worry... of course!

The weekend went by, nothing.  On Monday, I called the doctor and a nurse told me to put Karo syrup in his milk and if we had no results in 48 hours, to come in.  Well, we began giving him the syrup, but he was spitting up so much that we stopped.  I was thinking, if we have nothing by Wednesday, I'm going to the doctor.

Then, something great happened.  Tuesday night, 11pm.  HE POOPED!  Poor baby was struggling so much... every time he pushed, milk would shoot out of his nose!  It was kinda funny, and sad at the same time.   I was so excited, I texted my friend, "WE HAVE POOP!"  And guess what... she was excited for me too!

I don't know if anyone cares or is grossed out by this topic.  I'm sure people will "un-follow" my blog... please don't... I only have 14 followers!  But, it's been on my mind rather consistently and I thought I'd share.  If my blog is anything, it is an honest portrayal of my life as a mother... so there!

Damage Control

Sometimes I feel like being a stay-at-home mom is all about damage control.  There are days when it feels like the second you clean up one mess, another emerges.  Honestly, I don't have the endurance to stay on top of everything that needs to be done.  I'm a LOUSY house keeper.  The truth is, I hate cleaning and picking up.  If it weren't for Mau's neatness ::cough, cough, OCD::, we'd be living in a pig sty.  Have I mentioned, I have a pretty amazing husband?
Today was particularly challenging.  By the time I put Jonas back to sleep, Marco woke up.  That's always an inclination that the day is going to go my way.  So, I pick up Marco and begin giving him his breakfast, when Jonas woke back up.  Then my day went something like this:
~Change Marco's diaper
~Feed Marco
~Change Jonas' diaper
~Feed Jonas
~Change Marco's diaper AGAIN- within 1 hour of waking up, I had changed 3 diapers... 2 of which were stinky!
~Pick up the 500 cheerios that Marco threw on the floor while I was tending to Jonas
~Protect Jonas from Marco as he tries to:
   a. bite his head
   b. stick the paci in his eye
   c. pull him off my lap
~Put Marco in time out for jumping on the couch and climbing on top of the table
~Give Marco his paci (that is otherwise not allowed outside the crib) in hopes that he'd relax... it worked!
~Feed Jonas and diaper change
~Feed Marco lunch and diaper change
~NAP TIME!! Thank you, Jesus, for sweet long naps!
Thankfully, Marco took a 3 hour nap and Jonas was sweet as always, so I could relax.  After that, the rest of my day was ok... but GEEZ, sometimes it's HARD being a stay-at-home mom.
So, I was exhausted from controlling the damage that was being done, but needless to say, nothing else got done.  Not the dishes, not the laundry, never the cleaning.  We should all smile and pat me on the back for having 2 fed, clothed, clean (somewhat), happy and in-tact children at the end of the day.  That's a success right there!


I have been debating as to whether or not I should write this post, as it shows a darker side of motherhood that is neither happy or quite sane.  However, I feel that it would be unfair for me to depict motherhood as puppies and rainbows all the time, when that is not the case.  It would be unfair to my readers who are not yet mothers to not know the truth, the whole (sometimes ugly) truth, about what goes on in a mother's mind.  So, here I go... don't judge me.

Being a new mom to an infant is sometimes extraordinarily frustrating.  My baby is calm, quiet and content for the entire day... until... the bewitching hour.  The "bewitching hour" is a time of day that every baby decides to be fussy... uncontrollably and inconsolably fussy.  You feed your baby and yet he/she is still exhibiting hunger signs.  You try to offer the paci, but your baby just spits it out in a fury.  You try rocking, shushing, back patting, and everything else you've ever read about, but nothing works.  This is just HIS TIME to be unconsolable.

For Marco, this time occurred everyday for about 3 months at 6 o'clock in the evening.  Poor Mauricio would come home from work and Marco would scream in his face for a full hour or more.  He took it personally... "my baby doesn't like me".  I understood that it was just his bewitching hour and that it would soon pass.  At 6 in the evening, I was cool and calm... BUT ask me how I was at 3 am?  CRAZY!  If he'd begin to be inconsolable in the middle of the night, I'd begin to feel helpless and desperate.

Jonas' bewitching hour(s) usually begins around 10pm and lasts till after midnight.  This is extremely frustrating to us because we WANT TO SLEEP!  It's like he decides that he's going to be awake at the exact moment that we want to go to bed.  He had his chance to be awake all day, but nooooooo.

Every new mother can expect to be tired, but do not be fooled... real exhaustion sets in about week 3.  After about 3 weeks of minimal sleep, your mind begins to lose it.  In fact, I've heard (but I'm too lazy to look it up to verify it's validity) that in war, sleep deprivation is a form of torture.  However, there are war laws against the amount of time a person is limited in sleep.  I believe that they must allow a minimum of 3-4 hours uninterrupted sleep, or else it is considered a war crime.  If this is true, then our babies are LITERALLY torturing us!  I have not slept more than 3 hours at a time in 6 weeks.

Sleep deprivation does some crazy things to our minds, and we must remain aware of the situation and rely on the support of our husbands, or it'll be easy to snap.  When a baby is crying uncontrollably and nothing seems to work, I can EASILY see how a slightly less sane person would snap and do something drastic, like shake their baby.  At one of my most desperate moments, I remember standing in the kitchen with Marco at 4 am, both of us crying, and for a split second I had a crazy thought that scared the CRAP out of me... maybe if I put Marco in the freezer for a few minutes, he'll stop crying.  WHAT?!?!  Then the guilt that comes after thinking such a horrible and morbid thing just eats you up.  What kind of a mother am I?  Now I know... a tired one.

This time around, my skin is a little thicker.  Jonas' cries don't get to me the same way Marco's did.  I can ignore it a little easier.  I wont lie though, there have been moments where I want to put my hand over his face.  Thankfully, I have an amazing husband there with me 100% of the way and TOGETHER we keep it sane.

For those of you new mommies or soon-to-be moms who follow my blog, a piece of advice.  Be VERY aware of what's going on in your mind and emotions.  When you feel loopy, get help!  You can not do it ALL by yourself and it's ok to force your husband out of bed (even if he has to work in the morning).  When you need to sleep, wake up your husband and have him give the baby a bottle.  You are still a super mom, even if you need help every once in a while.

This book helped me learn how to soothe my babies and gave me a little extra amo during the first 3 months... I highly recommend it.

Parking Lot Melt Down

Having a toddler is hard work.  Having a toddler and an infant is nearly impossible.  Everyone told me it would be hard... and my response has always been, "I know, but it's temporary".  I still believe this, but this "temporary" is probably going to be a bit longer than I anticipated.
Marco is being such a sweet and loving brother... to Jonas.  To me, however, he's being a terror.  I know that this has been a big change for him and that he needs time to adjust.  I have tried giving him his own time, exclusive of Jonas.  I have explained to him, in nice tones, that he has to help Mama and be cooperative.  But, it's not working and I end up wanting to scream my head off.
Today, I was brave.  I got two babies ready, and loaded up into the car (with Mau's help) and we went to MOPS this morning.  It took me 2 hours from the time I woke up to the time I got in the car, but I did it... and was only 5 minutes late!
We saw a DVD of a message by Julie Barnhill, and it was great.  She spoke on being "One Tough Mom". Basically, speaking to moms with children of all ages, saying that we have to take back control.  "Who's the boss"... "I am"!  And, she gave the perfect example of my life... she said, "have you ever talked to your 18 month old and wondered where his mom is and then realized that YOU'RE his mom?"  YES!  This is my life.  Who is this toddler, why is he disobedient, and where is his parent?  Oh, wait, I'm supposed to parent him... but I'm too tired!
She said we have to learn to be consistent.  Once again, I'm too tired to be consistent.  But, when I think of it, and I remember my teaching days... consistency IS KEY!  If I say "no" today, then it must be "no" tomorrow and the day after.  But jeez, sometimes I honestly don't give a rats booty if he touches the "off limits" books.  Sometimes, I could care less if he climbs up on the table.  I'M TOO TIRED TO CARE!  But, for the sake of my parenting and the future battles that I MUST WIN, I have to care.
So, I listen to this awesome message, (and if you get a chance to Youtube her or read her book, you should).  I'm PUMPED UP... as we all are after hearing an encouraging word.  I feel like I can do this... I AM one tough Mama, and Marco had BETTER watch out!
Then we get into the parking lot.  I have Jonas strapped to my chest in the Moby wrap.  I walk Marco to his side of the car and open his door.  He proceeds to THROW himself on the parking lot floor in a fit of rage.  Why?... because HE wants to drive.  He does not want to sit in his car seat, and how dare I even suggest it?!  So, while I have Julie's message running through my head, and all the other MOPS moms eyes on me, I nearly have a melt down in the parking lot.  I wanted to beat my child.
I ended up letting him climb into the car and do as he pleased while I took care of Jonas.  Once Jonas was in and safe, I "took care" of Marco.  I had to grab him and STUFF him into his car seat, all while he's kicking and screaming.  Mauricio tells me I just need to be more patient... but patience seems to be something on high demand but short supply these days.  I WILL NOT pray for patience, because then God will REALLY teach me a lesson.
For now, I've just got to learn a few tricks, try to calm myself down first, remember to stay consistent, learn to say "no" and MEAN it and try to take control and responsibility for my toddler.  Pray for me.

It Takes a Village

Certain people tell us that because we live so far away, we have "no support".  They say that living at a great distance from our family will cause severe relational problems in the future.  They say that they are missing out on the lives of their grandchildren.  It makes me sad to think about these things.  The truth is, we do not want to live so far from our family, and we have absolutely no intention of keeping Greenville as our permanent residence.  For right now, this is where we are, and we have to make due.
But, as for the "no support"... I can not disagree more.  Throughout the last month and a half, throughout my hospitalization, birth, NICU runs, and even now that our baby is home I have been astonished by the amount of support given to us by family, friends, students and neighbors.
As soon as I was hospitalized, my mom booked a flight and was in town the very next day to help take care of Marco.  It was important to me that his daily life was not interrupted or too out of whack because I was missing.  She was here for 17 days and did an amazing job holding down the fort and keeping my son happy.
Once my mom left, my mother-in-law arrived to take over.  She also became Marco's buddy... taking him to the park, to bouncing babies and wherever else he could release some energy.  Throughout her time here, she made sure all I had to worry about was going to the NICU.  She made meals for us everyday and enough to freeze for later meals.  It was delish!
And this week that just passed, my father and step-mom came into town.  They kept Marco entertained so that I could devote more time to Jonas.  They took Jonas from me and forced me to nap!  Vivian cooked and cleaned and did laundry and even took me on a shopping spree!  I was totally spoiled!
Well, that was all family, and although their time here was invaluable to me, it was also sorta expected.  I expect to be able to lean on and rely on my family during my time of need... and boy was this a time of need!  I am grateful they were all able to take days off of work, book flights and come up to be my slave for a few days.
There were 2 weeks in between family visits where we were on our own.  Jonas was still in the NICU, so in order to be able to see him during the day, I had to find a sitter for Marco.  And in order for Mau and I to be able to visit with him in the evenings, again I had to find a sitter.   So, 2 babysitters PER day! I was amazed at how many people offered and where able to take time out of their lives to watch my little boy.  During the day, I had Carol, Brooke, Anne (Carol's mom), and Kim stay with him.  Anne even took the day off of work!  At night, we had Stefania and Leo, my student Anna, and Kim (with baby Sloane).  I was so touched that people came over after being busy all day to sit at our house while we went to the NICU.
Although I appreciate everyone, My MVP babysitter was Kim.  I've only known Kim a few short months, after meeting at the community pool.  We quickly became friends and see each other at bouncing babies, and around the community while she walks her dog.  When she offered to help me, I don't know if she thought I'd really take her up on it.  She came over with her little 9 month old daughter, Sloane, and spent several evenings sitting on my couch while we went to the NICU.  She rearranged her "night time" schedule, to help me.  (Moms, be honest... that "night time schedule" is sacred... would you have rearranged it?  I don't know if I would have.)  When we'd return at 10:30pm, she'd wrap up her sleeping baby and walk back to her apartment.  Then, on the day we were bringing Jonas home, we asked her to watch Marco from 12:30-4... which turned into 12:30-8.  She was super patient and was not even phased by the fact that we were 4 hours late... I, on the other hand, was about to have a nervous breakdown.  Thank you, Kim!  Thank you for teaching me what it is to put others before yourself and for being so kind and generous with your time.
Other kinds of support have been shown to me as well.  For example, my pump rental had run out, and my friend Hannah had read my post about how I was a slave to the pump and had to pump at home because of the size of it.  Well, Hannah, out of the kindness of her heart, offered to lend me her amazingly effective, amazingly small, and amazingly expensive ($400) pump!  The Medela Free Style.  It rocks!
We also received some yummy support.  This is such a southern thing too... it just doesn't happen in Florida.  I have a baby, and everyone wants to bring me food?  Uhh, ok.  I had never realized what a difference having a meal that I didn't have to consider, plan or create made.  Truth be told, I'm not the chef in my house anyway... but still!  Ok, so Mauricio didn't have to worry about cooking... still great!  The ladies from my MOPS group signed up to bring us meals for nearly two weeks while we were still coming and going from the NICU.  It made our lives so much less stressful... just one less thing to worry about.  Cathy brought us some amazing meatball subs, Lynette brought us hibachi grill meals, Rachael brought us two strombolli's, Cindi brought us some homemade pasta, and Jennifer also brought us some delish pasta.  I was so amazed by the generosity of these women!  These are women with families of their own to feed, and children of their own to care for, and here they were preparing and DELIVERING meals to my family!  And they did not skimp!  Each meal was prepared with thoughtfulness and love... they included extras like bread, salad and even dessert!  I mean, seriously!  It was a full service.  I was so humbled by the servitude of these women... that they would spend their precious money, time and energy to help out a family they barely know.  In reality, although these women are in my MOPS group, I do not know any of them.  They all signed up for this, not because they were my friends and felt obligated, but because they are all Christian women who know what it means to serve.
Throughout all of this I have learned a million lessons.  I have learned that we are not alone and that people are always eager to offer their support.  I have learned that our routines can not be as important as other people's needs.  I have learned that a little sacrifice on my end can make the world of a difference on someone elses end.  I am so blessed to have been on the receiving end of this deal.  I pray that I remember the lessons I've learned through other peoples humility, servitude, generosity and kindness.  I hope that I can one day be on the giving end and pass the blessings on to other people who are in need.