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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's always sad to see things end.

So a few weeks ago I received an email that was kind of a blow, to say the least.  The newspaper I have been with for almost seven years was going through some changes, and columnists were one aspect that would be changing.  Initially the Post said I could stay and do one column a month, but the content would be different, and I really didn't feel comfortable with that, but I thought it would still be okay.  But with the change in income, when I started looking at writing for other papers, many did not want to work with me as long as I was working with "competition", and I would have to decide.  So today was my last column for the Cape Breton Post.

Many might think that it was just a job and I will move on and do other work, but for me, writing for the Post has kept me connected with people and the news from home.  It has been part of my identity for almost seven years now, and I cannot even begin to count the number of people I have met as a result of that column.  People who have come to Fort McMurray to work, people who have their children working here, and others who have just had curiosity about Fort McMurray have been in touch with me over the years.  Groups and individuals have shared their news with me, I have gotten to know their families, and now I feel like I will be losing all that.  My hope is that those who read the column will come here and read the blog, and maybe I will use the time I wrote the column to write here more consistently, lol.

I was so excited to start with the Post all those years ago, and I am sad to see it come to an end. But I am ever so grateful that they allowed me space with them all this time to share our experiences.  So if you have a mom or dad at home that read the column, please send them to the blog, and I will continue to tell our stories, and expand more to try to do a "column" blog every week with Fort McMurray news!

I will miss the stories that were shared with me, it was a privilege to share our lives with those who read the column.  Thank you, and may this new change bring some positive changes!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It is looking like a long journey!

I said I would check in with my weight struggle every Tuesday, and it seemed to come around really quick!  I am happy to say that I didn't gain, but I also didn't lose a whole pile.  I am down 1.4 pounds.  Which brings me to 199, which is good, there is something in your brain that makes it think it is better than being in that 200 range.  LOL....although it's not to far away.

I remember feeling frustrated last year when I was only losing a pound or a pound and a half, but this time around I want to keep it in my head that a loss is always better than a gain.  I am hoping for some warmer weather in the next few days to inspire me to get moving a bit more.  I will be working a bit harder this week so I can give you a better number next week!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I am not one for Brand names...except for a few things.

Today I got my car back!  For the second time in 18 months, my beloved Buick Enclave spent some time in the garage after being damaged by bad drivers in Fort McMurray.  Back in 2003 we were going to buy our first car that was really going to be "my car" for running with the kids.  And I took the task to heart and did all the research that only I can do on any major decision in my life.  Ask Tim, I am sure I drive him insane sometimes when it comes to my "research", heaven help us if we end up ever building a house together, our anal attentive ways will collide in a major way.

Anyway, lol, my research led me to buy a Buick.  My father had brought us up to appreciate nice cars, and I always had a large car to drive, and learned to drive with a Crown Victoria.  So I of course have a preference for nice, larger cars.  We went with a Buick Rendezvous, and I LOVED that car.  I loved how it rode, I loved how it looked, I loved how much space it had, and really, truly, I loved everything about that car.  At the time Toby Keith had the song, "I Love This Bar" out, and I would replace "bar" with "car".  I guess I am one of those people that feels their car is an extension of their personality, I love my cars, and I was sad when after 10 years it was time to trade the Rendezvous.

I started with my research, and knew almost right away that I wanted to stay with Buick.  But I still wanted to see what the local dealerships had to offer that would be comparable.  Tim had bought his truck from AMP here in Fort McMurray and was very happy with the service they had provided, but I am stubborn, and went to the dealerships to see if I felt the same way.  What finally got me to go with AMP was the actions of one of their sales people, Dave Annan.  Mitchell, our oldest had come to the dealership with me during a visit, and even though Dave knew that Mitchell was not buying, he answered all his questions, with no condescension whatsoever, for over a half hour about one of their new Hybrid vehicles that was sitting on the show room floor.  So I ended up driving away in a new Buick Enclave, which brings you up to speed.

The first time my vehicle was rear ended, I was a nervous wreck, and even though I had gone through everything with Tim's accident, I had never been in an accident before where I was driving, thank god it was not my fault, and the kids were not with me.  Larry was my estimator, and he probably thought I was a little off as I rambled on about the whole experience.  But I felt like I was going to be well looked after right from the first conversation with him, and I was right. My car was fixed and back to me in no time, and they provided me great updates all along the way.  That all meant so much for someone who did not know how the situation would play out.  It's stressful enough to be in an accident, but the staff and AMP made it all a little easier.

Little did I think that I would be back in six months.  This time Dwayne was the man of the hour, as he reassuringly led me through the process.  After the driver that hit me mysteriously "disappeared" the insurance company would not provide a rental vehicle, and Alberta Motor Products stepped up and decided they could not leave a mom with three kids without a car, and they provided me a courtesy vehicle for the time my car was in the garage.

After picking up my repaired vehicle today, I welled up as I drove it home across the bridge as I realized that they had dusted the inside dash for me, as well as washed it for me.  When a company goes to such lengths to make a customer happy these days, I believe that it should be acknowledged.  I will proudly tell anyone to go to AMP for wonderful quality and service, from the time you purchase, and even when you need a stressful repair job.  I will never purchase from any other dealership as long as I live here, and since I love my Buick so much, I can't imagine changing my brand either.

So cheers to good service, wonderful employees, and not having any more accidents!

One of the soundtracks of my life.

I almost hate to jinx my week by writing about Blue Rodeo, but I am so excited about going to see them on Thursday here in Fort McMurray that I had to share my feelings.

The very first time I was suppose to go see Blue Rodeo they were coming to Antigonish, and I was going with some of my best friends from high school and college.  It was going to be my first "real" concert, one that I had to pay for a ticket, and I didn't know, or was not related to anyone on stage.  People from Cape Breton will know what I mean with that joke...I had gone to lots of "concerts" where fiddles were involved over the years.  But this was Blue Rodeo.  They were the big time, they were going to be my "first".

And then I landed in the hospital, and within days found out that I needed a bone marrow transplant.  I would not be attending my first concert, and I would not be going to Blue Rodeo.  But unknowingly, they helped me through the months in the hospital.  I was so sick that I could not watch TV, when it was on, the best way I can describe it was that I would get car sick.  Having a TV on was just too much for me, so it remained off most days.  But I loved my music, and the first thing I would ask of the nurses in the morning was to turn on my radio.  "Lost Together" was their big song that summer of 1992, and I can literally remember laying there, bald, scarred, throwing up, and feeling so scared every morning....the late nights and early mornings were the worst.  And "Lost Together" would come on, and I would become totally calm. It was the way I started the day, and while the words mean might have a romantic meaning for others...I always thought how I shouldn't feel sorry for myself because although I was "lost", I wasn't alone, and as strange as it may sound, when I heard that song each morning it was my reminder that I was still lucky to be here.

The first time I actually got to see Blue Rodeo was another great story.  We really couldn't afford it, but Tim saved up and got us the tickets to go see them at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.  It was our first official date after Mitchell was born, and our Valentine's Day date. It was 1998, almost 9 months after Mitchell was born, and the first time I left him for more than an hour.  I have to be honest and tell you that I spent a good chunk of the concert in the bathroom calling the babysitter finding out that Mitchell was still asleep.  We were so broke that we did not even go for supper, lol...and Tim couldn't get my home fast enough at the end of the concert.  But I sat there and cried when they sang, "Lost Together", and enjoyed ever moment I was sitting in my seat.

The next time I saw them in Antigonish, Tim was working long hours, and fell asleep at the concert.  The next time I saw them, I went with two of my best friends ever, Tammy and Shirley, and Tammy's sister Kelly came too.  We did supper and then the concert, and it still is one of the best memories of one of the things that I got to do with my friends.

Due to lots of bad luck, drunk drivers and shitty timing, I have not been able to see them again since I moved to Alberta almost 7 years ago.  But this Thursday, I will get to drive down the hill and see them live at MacDonald Island, with many other die hard Blue Rodeo fans.  They were with me through make out sessions in high school, drinking nights with the girls at college, almost dying during the transplant, my wedding night, the days my boys were born, and almost every day in between as been touched by at least one or two Blue Rodeo songs.  Music is so powerful, and Blue Rodeo has been such a force in my life.  I can't wait to share the evening with everyone there, so we can all be "Lost Together".

Friday, January 10, 2014

Was not expecting this from our MP!

I had been hearing rumblings over the last few months.  The story among those "in the know" was that Brian Jean was not going to be running again for his seat, Fort McMurray-Athabasca.  I did not really believe the rumour, what would he do if he did not run again, I could not see him returning to Fort McMurray to work, so he must have something else in the works if he was not running again.

And then the provincial election happened, and Brian Jean seemed to have some major "moments", especially on social media, ie Twitter.  The rumours grew, but I still had my doubts.

The last few days brought new rumours, Brian was talking of resigning from his job of MP for our riding.  I totally blew the story off at first, there was no way he would leave the constituency without representation for over a year until the next Federal election.  But then again, in my opinion, he hasn't really been doing the job in the last few years either.  Maybe it was possible.

I was finally put out of my misery this afternoon, and the rumours are all indeed true, Mr. Brian Jean, the MP of Fort McMurray-Athabasca just announced that he is stepping down.   The confusing part to me is why?  Is there some personal issues that we don't know about?  Is he just leaving on "his terms" since Harper has never given him a cabinet position and he knows he won't do any better?  Was he given a sweet offer that won't hold until after the next election?

Whatever the reason, Brian Jean, unless it is personal medical reasons, there is really no excuse for leaving the constituents of your region high and dry in Ottawa.  I also find it ironic since you often claim that your ancestors "built this region", I am sure they would be proud to see how you have carried on the family name.  Very disappointing indeed.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How Elvis helped me become a writer.

My friends and family have always given me a hard time for being an Elvis fan, and funnily enough, it has never bothered me one little bit.  We all have our quirks, and while I cannot even explain my love of the King, I once tried, and that has made all the difference.

I was in grade 9(I think, maybe grade 10), and Mrs. Marlene MacDonald(MacInnis)...Allan MacInnis' sister, was filling in for a teacher who was having a baby.  I loved her almost right away, I loved how she spoke to me like an equal, and encouraged me to borrow books she saw me eyeing on her desk.  She didn't just "stay in the box" in her teaching methods either, and when she told us that we had to do a written project about a historical figure, I asked her if I was allowed to write about Elvis.  After the usual snickers from the class, you could see Mrs. MacDonald pause to think about her answer.

"Of course," she said, "as long as you show why I should consider him a historical figure."  She then went on to inform the class that we would have to present our write-ups in front of the class, she wanted us to develop some "public speaking skills".  We lived in rural Cape Breton, and I can remember thinking at the time, "Why the hell do I have to stand up in front of people to talk?"  I will never use public speaking skills.

But I wanted to impress Mrs. MacDonald, and over the next few nights I poured my heart into that assignment, and since I knew I had to get up in front of the class, I tried to make it as funny and interesting as possible.  On the day I finally presented it, I felt like I was going to throw up, my hands were sweaty, and I think I stuttered for the first 10 sentences.  And then I realized I was probably not sounding too impressive, so I focused, sucked it up, and tried to sound interesting.  I was the last to present that day, and when the bell rang, my classmates did not jump up to make for the door, they sat and I finished....afterwards, Mrs. MacDonald said that while she thought she knew everything about Elvis, I had taught her something new about the man.  But then she went on, and said, "When your classmates did not jump up, but wanted to hear the rest of your paper, do you know why they didn't?  Because you have a real talent at writing, and when you are a good writer, you can capture attention.  You did that today."

She was the first person to ever say that she thought I was a good writer, and I will never forget that, ever.  She continued to encourage me to write, long after I left her class room.  She said to remember that passion that I had about Elvis, and always try to write about things I love and care about.  Of course, she was write, I always find that the pieces that I write that get the most reaction are usually on topics that I have a special interest, and when I let my heart go onto the page.

Today is Elvis' birthday.  So this was my long winded, roundabout way to say Happy Birthday to the King, but also to send thanks to Marlene, and all the teachers and friends that followed that said they thought I could write.  I still have to prove it to myself.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My most humbling post EVER...

I know I had promised to post my weight and get back on track last night, but once I got on the scale and had my little break down I was in no mood.  This morning is my most humiliating post yet.  I thought it was bad last year to sit down and tell you my weight was at 204.4 that first January day that I shared in 2013.  I lost ever week from that day until June, and now I sit here again, shaking my head, not really believing what I have let happen.

But one realization I have made is that I am a huge stress eater.  I am not an emotional eater....because I hardly eat at all when I get really upset, and I don't use food for happiness either.  But when my life is stressful, when I am dealing with the children a lot on my own because Tim is away, or when Tim is off work and in pain due to surgery, or I am waiting for test results for myself, I get stressed, and I eat.  I don't talk well about my emotions with others besides Tim(poor guy should be registered as a therapist by now), and I don't want to be dumping on him all the time, so that is what my weak point is with food, and as many know, the last few months have been pretty stressful for us.  It seems our lives changed and went off a little course when the drunk driver hit Tim, and life hasn't really returned to where we feel comfortable yet. Tim is still dealing with pain, we are still dealing with financial strain due to all the time off, and I have been having my own medical issues the last few months.

So now I am going to start trying to take back my power once again, and that begins with me having control over my body, how I am treating it, and what I am putting into it.  This morning, I am embarrassed to say that I sit at 200.4, again.  Just 4 pounds short of where I was last year, after losing almost 30 pounds.

I have a new sympathy for women who are in the media spotlight, I can't imagine being in front of a camera and facing the scrutiny of those critics who seem to love when people fall off pace.  Everyone has always been supportive here, and some even worked with me last year in their own goals.  So if you want to send me any emails about goals you are setting, please feel free, I will take all the support I can get, and maybe it will be easier doing it together!

Some wonder why I post my weight(and I will continue to every Tuesday morning now), and I do it because it is what works for me.  I like having that pressure that people will be looking to see if I lost or makes me work a bit harder.  It is just what works for me, and I have found that when I keep up with entering my food on my "Fitness Pal" app, that works for me too.  It always amazes me how many extra calories we take in when we are not aware of it.  I am still dumbfounded by how many calories are in cheesecake, and once I found that out about 8 months ago, I haven't had a piece since.

So let's start a new year with a new challenge, here we go!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

I bet you didn't know this about me...

Yes, I have pretty much shared everything there is to share on this blog, but today I had the challenge to share ten things about myself that were random, and little known.  It took me all day to think of some things, ha, ha, so here it goes!

1. The first "grown up" book that I remember reading was Hugh MacLennan's, "The Watch that Ends the Night".  The book was pretty heavy for me(at 7), but it set the standard for the books that I wanted to read!  It was a book that my Nanny had in a box at the top of her stairs, and even though she suggested some others, I was bound and determined that I would read that one.

2. I own a Franklin Wright painting of Mabou, my hometown.  The famous painter is known for his nautical paintings, but many years ago, Tim's uncle commissioned him to do the painting as an anniversary gift for his wife.  Uncle Ford and I grew close over the years, and when he passed away after his wife, he left the painting to me.  It is something that I enjoy and treasure, and holds an honoured spot over the mantel of our fireplace.

3.  Tim was pretty broke our first Valentine's Day together, but he got me tickets to see the Rankin Family concert in Antigonish when I was at St. F.X.  He then fell asleep(which became a habit over the years)....but Valentine's Day was actually on Monday, as I was on my way back from class when I found him sitting on my step with roses, and two Mozza Burger meals.  He felt so bad about the weekend, he made it up to me on the actual day.  He has given me many nice things over the years since then for Valentine's Day, but those mozza burgers are still talked about every so often.

4.  My favourite pet as a kid was a dog named Hermes.  A professor at St. F.X. was moving, and was looking for a good home for his dog, and I am not sure how we heard about him, but he was about 11 when he came home with us that night when Dad, my brother A.D., and I went to get him.  He passed away when I was at college years later, and he was missed by everyone in the family.

5.  I hate mayonaise, it has to be Miracle Whip.

6.  I lost two babies after I had Nathanial, and when my kidneys started to fail, we couldn't have any more biological babies.  We have been blessed with many more through fostering, and Shayleen was our very first foster child, who we went on to adopt.  She will be 5 in February!

7.  I have lived in Fort McMurray for almost 7 years now, and I still miss the water.  Tim bought me a wave machine, so I can hear the ocean as I am falling asleep.

8.  My favorite spot to sit when I was a kid was either in the apple trees or down by the pond...both spots that I was not suppose to be, lol.

9.  I had Nathanial Bernard picked out for a boy's name when I was 10, but Tim wasn't crazy about it, so we named our first born Thomas Mitchell.  I had such a hard time having Nathanial, that Tim agreed I could name him whatever I wanted....Mitchell is named after Thomas Neville, my bone marrow transplant doctor, and Nathanial is named after my father(Garrie Bernard)....but ironically, Tim had uncles in his family history named Nathanial.

10.  I am a very shy person.  Everyone laughs when I say that, but I don't share well, I don't do great small talk, and I hate the phone, so I am a tough friend to have!  But once you are my friend, you are for life...I truly believe that every single person in my life is here for special reasons.

Thanks for sharing!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Is it just me?

This is the first year in a few that I am excited to see what happens to us this year.  It can only get better, right?  But on this night before the kids go back to school, and Tim attempts to go back to work, it feels like we are going back into a routine, and it feels so limiting.  I am sure it comes from a bit of fear of how Tim will make out going back after his surgery....and I am sure it comes with a little regret that the lazy mornings with the smell of cooking bacon and coffee mingles with the smell of the Christmas tree in the corner.  Yes, I still have the GD tree standing in the corner.

So while many will be in the same boat tomorrow, trying to get back into a routine and wishing that were just a few more days for break, you can all feel a little better that at least you still don't have to take down your tree, lol.

Am I the only one that goes into a New Year with almost a naive hope that this will be the best year yet?  I am hoping this will be the year that Tim(hubby) becomes pain free, that my kids open my eyes to some new things and show me other things that I have never thought of before, and maybe, just maybe, this is the year that I will make the time for some more writing!  But who knows right?  I think I had similar aspirations last year, but life threw us a few curves this past year, but I have to say we came out a little more worn, but still here, so there is always a positive.

Here's to a new year, new beginnings, hope and all the wishes that we have for a better year!

Real fear?

Okay, so I am always my most open in this blog.  It is almost like my diary, and I always think that when I share openly more people will relate.  But one subject that I often find that people think I am a little nuts is about how much I love having my children around.  I love summer break, Christmas break, and any other break I can get that means that the kids will be around the house, with the friends providing an extra continuous stream during the lazy days.

I can remember when Mitchell was born(our first son), in 1997, and saying to Tim(hubby), at some point shortly after his birth that he would graduate in 2015, but would enter grade 12 in 2014.  Well, it feels like that was yesterday.  And even funnier, I can remember after we had Shayleen that it was Mitchell that pointed out that she would enter her first full days of school in the same year that he entered grade 12.  So this year will bring some big changes in our household.

Any suggestions on getting through all of the changes will be greatly appreciated.  I keep thinking that it will all just be a new adventure, and while I am excited to see what my children will do next, like I said, I love having my children around.  I wonder if Tim is up for a never-ending parade of foster children to keep us young????

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Truth about why I am scared of ending Christmas.

I am not one of those women who boasts having the tree up on November 1, and I will admit, I was still madly shopping and wrappping on Christmas Eve.  The whole commercial side of the holiday does not appeal to me at all, it might be because I hate shopping on any regular day, but jam in a bunch of frantic shoppers all looking for that last minute purchase when they are overtired and cranky...and well, I get stressed.

But once I get the tree up and the kids are finished school, and we all eat too much and sleep in almost every day(except for hubby, who thinks waiting until 9a.m. to wake me up constitutes letting me sleep in)...I wallow in it.  I love having the kids home, and their friends coming and going.  I love friends dropping by for some snacks and to catch up on all the news.  And I love not having to go out to do errands or drop kids off in the super cold because we can stay in and make do with what we have in the cupboards.  Add in some random dates with hubby, and the whole break was pretty sweet.

While others get praised for getting their tree up early, I haven't found the same response when people enter the house and see my brightly lit tree still standing in the corner.  I use to say that I always left it up until after Elvis' birthday, but that just added a further confused look to their face. They didn't realize that some nut bars even know when Elvis' birthday is...let alone celebrate it in some strange way by refusing to take the Christmas tree down.

So here is the truth.  Every year I am scared I won't be here for Christmas next year.  I tell Tim and the kids all the stories that go with all the ornaments, who gave them, and why some of them are glued together like a puzzle.  Every year, I try to stretch out Christmas for just a few more days.  A few days of having my family with me, a few days of that warm fuzzy feeling that Christmas brings, and a few more days of relaxed bliss.  So laugh if you like, but my tree is still up in my living room, and I will keep it...for just a few more days.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why I need some resolutions!

As many remember last year I had taken on my weight loss, and from January until June I lost every single week.  But here is what I have learned, and what I need to remember in order to ever be successful...I am a huge stress eater.  I had always thought I was an emotional eater, but that's not true, I don't eat excessive amounts when I am down, and I don't use food for celebration.  But if you give me some stress, I am going to work my way through that with food.  And I can say without a doubt that the last six months have been almost painfully stressful, and I gained most of my weight back.  I will be going for my first weigh in in a few months on Monday, and I am guessing right now that I will back at my January mark of last year when I started.  So my first resolution is that I will once again make my health a priority, and I will look after my body better in 2014, stress or no stress.

One of the other things I really seem to struggle with is staying organized.  If I take a day to write, my house looks like a bomb went off, and if I keep up with the housework, then the writing never gets done.  I need to find a balance.  I need to find more time!  But no, I really need to find that balance, because I get frustrated when I don't write, and I get disgusted if my house is a mess. So my resolution on this one is to finally make up and stick to a schedule.  I recently spent a little time with a woman who is very successful in what she does, her house looks fantastic, and her energy is contagious.  She has made me want to set some goals, and with some hard work, accomplish a few things that I have been putting off.  It's funny though, we all are so hard on ourselves, and while I think I could be doing more, I have friends that wonder how I do what I do every day.  But I guess we are often our own harshest critics right?

I figure if I have some success in these areas, I will be a pretty happy camper, and then that will spill over to having more one on one time with the kids, more date nights with the hubby and a year that I will be happy to review at the end of it all.

So many of you joined me in my challenges last year, either physically and emotionally by becoming wonderful friends either online or in person, while others were cheerleaders or support because you all shared your stories with me.  I am like a kid during the first few weeks of January, where everything still feels possible, and all I need to do is the work...should be easy, right?  Look for my first weight post on Monday, and wish me luck as I once again tackle putting myself first(well, kind of first, lol) first as I can get with a house full, and the stress that comes with every day life.  Here we go!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I have to admit, that my "new beginning" to a year often comes in September.  But with the kids being off for the Christmas break, and Tim being off work due to more surgery, I feel like this New Year is a new beginning for the Murphy family.  AGAIN!!!  Let's just honestly list some things in our lives in the last 24 months....not even two years....there was a diagnosis of tumors, the passing of a grandparent, being hit by a drunk driver(and lots of subsequent problems), the loss of two children that we thought would be family members, a terrible accident of a beloved person in our family, subsequent surgeries for hubby from being hit by a drunk driver....oh, and my absolute best friend/sister-in-law moved to the other side of the country.  Did I forget anything?  Hmmm, how about just lots of medical crap that we are very sick of?  Like the finding of a medical problem with our son that is still ongoing....

Sound like enough?  Yes, we feel the same way too.  ENOUGH!!!  If I can ask any gods, if it is possible at all, can we just have a year off from anything negative?  Last January I felt like I was getting back on track, and from January until June, I lost weight every month, our family seemed like it was "on track" for lots of positive outcomes, and all the world was good.

And then in June, with some very hard times in our family, the whole world seemed to tilt, and I have not regained my control ever since.  BUT, I have always said that with a New Year come New Beginnings.  So here is hoping that 2014 brings some stability to our family.  May my husband have some pain relief, may I have no further medical issues with myself, or anyone I love.  And may we just have no drama, no bad news, or sad happenings in our lives for a while.  It feels like if I have anything else happen right now, I may not know how to handle it all.

Life can be hard, and yet, just being here is wonderful.  I have met some wonderful people in the last year, and I hope that they will become a bigger part of our lives, in a very positive way.  And we have reconnected with some other family members and friends that made me want to keep trying to make better relationships.....

2014 will see us return to Nova Scotia, for the first time in 5 years.  Every year seemed to hold a challenge that kept us away, but there is nothing that will keep us away in July.  The flights are booked, the days are counted follow me on my journey this year, and see if I face some of the fears I have, if I get rid of the pounds again like I did last year, and then gained again....and if our family excels through it all.

We have even further challenges that we cannot share(think fostering)....and of course, my book, the one that I continue to work on is the ultimate challenge in 2014.  Will this be the year for the Murphy family, or we will continue to face new challenges?  Follow along and all will be shared!