Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Let's Talk- Just Call Me Doctor

They say laughter is the best medicine, so today I am giving you a nice hefty does of it!  One of my all time favorite things to do is laugh...if I find something funny, I love nothing more than to keep thinking about it and laughing about it, regardless of whether or not anybody else is still laughing!  So let's take a break from talking and just have a good laugh today.  Hope you have a great week...see you Friday!

Here is just a random collection of things that made me laugh!

Friday, January 25, 2013

It Matters

If you watched any news recently, you may have seen the much anticipated Benghazi testimony of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When questioned about the erroneous statements put out by the government as to the cause of the attack, she slammed her fist and yelled "What does it matter?"  Her point was that it doesn't really matter what happened after...what we should be focusing on was that it happened.

This made me angry.  Very, very angry.  Leadership requires integrity.  It means that every action you take should be done with honesty.  And if mistakes are made, they are owned.  For her to act as if misleading the American people is something that should just be forgotten or overlooked is shameful.  And to act as if we have no right to discuss or question it....well, it just keeps getting worse.  Yes, it does matter.  It matters whether or not we have honest leadership.  It matters that we have all the pieces when trying to solve a puzzle.  It matters if there was a premeditated agenda at work.  It matters.

It's been on my mind, and when something is on my mind it immediately has a way of turning personal.  My beef with Secretary Clinton was twofold: for using a crisis as an excuse for misleading Americans, and for not thinking that it matters.  When breaking it down like that, it's like holding up a mirror: I see the same flaws in my own life.

Things have gone from bad to worse with my medical condition.  These past couple of years have been the hardest I have ever faced.  But I think I focus too much on the major and not enough on the details.  I often make excuses for my less-than-good behaviors.  If I'm not praying, I just tell myself that it's because I don't feel well.  When I don't speak kindly to Jeff, I say it's because of all my stress.  When I'm just plain lazy and lackluster, I say that I will do better tomorrow.

The problem is, it already is tomorrow.

Every today was once a tomorrow.  The cycle will continue and time will go by unless I start to address the "minors" in my life.  Every day that goes by that I do not make the changes I need to is another day that I am slamming my fist down saying "What does it matter?"  

I just want so much more!  I want to bridge the gap between who I am and who I want to be.  I want every part of me to count.  I want is to start today.

So I am going to make today my tomorrow.  And I'm taking you along with me.

I love writing this blog.  You all have been truly amazing in your support of my writing.  Because this has become important to me, I am going to use it to my advantage.  I am going to make a commitment to this blog...with you as my witnesses.  I am going to make you and this blog hold be accountable.  I am cringing as I type this...because I know that once I type this, I will have to live it.  I am a very competitive person, and if I make a public challenge, then I am going to do everything I can to rise to that challenge.  

So with that in mind, I am going to set the goal to pray for 45 minutes in the evening before using any form of entertainment (movies, internet).  I purposely did not say every day, because I just feel that it's too tall an order for me right now.  I don't want to set myself up to fail.  However, I do feel that before I feed my own wants, I should make sure my soul is fed.  So if I am tired one night and don't want to pray, then guess what- I'm going to bed, not indulging myself with mindless entertainment.  

As usual, I will keep you updated.  I will share my successes and my failures in hopes that it keeps me accountable and maybe even inspires you.  But ultimately...I just want so much more of Jesus than I currently have.  The time for inspired writing is over...and the time for inspired living has to begin.  

I invite you to join me in pursuing Him.

Trust me...it matters.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Let's Talk- Buying Houses

Seeing as we are smack dab in the middle of buying our first house, I figured I would answer some questions about the whole process!  This will be very user friendly, because it is all new to me.  I am answering questions that I have asked others, and will be answering as if talking to a first grader...not to insult any of you, but because that is how I needed to be talked to through this process, lol.  Just so we're clear, I am by no means any kind of expert...I just thought it would be easier to write about it as I am actually going through it, rather than try and remember the details later.

1)  Ok, where on earth do you even start when you want to buy a house?
You have 2 choices when you want to buy a house, and it depends on what your timeline is.  If you are really ready to buy and want things to move right away, then you may want to get a pre qualification for a loan first.  If you are just starting and want to look around casually, then find a realtor and start looking at houses you like.  Here's why: when you are looking at houses, if you find one you love and know you want, then you are going to want to put an offer in on the house- and to do that, you need a pre qualification letter from a lender.  (By the way, a pre qualification is when you go to a bank or any lending place and they basically run your credit, find out how much money you make, how much debt you have, etc. and then determine if they think they will lend you money for a mortgage.  It is not the official process where they actually decide, it's just a good indicator that they will lend to you.  You can walk into a place and have a pre qualification that very same day.)

2) I have a pre qualification letter and I found a house I like.  Now what?
Now you tell your realtor that you want to make an offer on the house.  Depending on the market and what other houses in your area are going for, you will then make the seller and offer.  The tricky part is knowing what to offer.  If you really low-ball them, they could get offended and reject it without even offering a counter offer...or someone could swoop in and offer higher and then you will get the boot.  But if you go too high, well then obviously you may end up paying more than what they would settle for.  You have to know how bad you want the house and how high you are willing to pay.
So once you are ready to make an offer you will sit in your realtors office and sign about a thousand papers.  This is the contract.  It says what price you are offering and what conditions must be met. Then you sign the contract and write a check- this is earnest money.  Is around $500-$1000 and it is to show the seller that you are serious.  This money is put aside and you get it back at closing (it actually is put toward closing costs).  If you walk away from the sale for any reason, you lose your earnest money.  So after all that, the realtor sends the paper work to the seller and you go home and wait for a call.  Usually within 48 hours the realtor will call you let you know if they accepted your offer or if they countered your offer with a different amount.  Then you decide if you want to accept of counter their offer.  This all happens through your realtor, mainly over the phone.  Once a price is agreed on, then everyone signs the contract and you are locked in.  You then have 10 days to get any inspections you want (laws and timelines may vary with different states).  After that, you meet with your lender and bring your entire life in paperwork and sign another million documents.  Then it goes to underwriting where they make the ultimate decision about whether they will give you the money or not.  Once this is complete, if there are no hurdles or setbacks, you then move on to closing.  This is where you and the seller sit down and sign everything and you pay a ton of money and then get handed the key.

3) When do you need actual cash and how much?
Ugh.  This one always takes you by surprise if you are not prepared.  You need cash...your loan pays for the house, but you pay for a whole lot of things before it becomes your house.  You need earnest money, money for any inspections you are getting on the house, money for a lawyer, money for the lender to process your application, money for a down payment, money in advance for a year of taxes and homeowner's insurance...the list really goes on.  The good news is that most of this stuff is paid in one big chunk at closing, and you will have a good idea what that number will be before you start.  The bad news is, some of this you need to pay along the way and might take you by surprise.  The lender processing fee, any inspections you want, and earnest money are all out pocket along the way.  The amount you need at closing will be your down payment (which totally depends on the type and amount of your loan), prepaid taxes and insurance, and a million fees and taxes that you totally have no idea what they are but can come out to a few thousand dollars.  I am only saying all this so that you know it's not just about coming up with a down payment...there are a lot of fees and things along the way so just have a heads up.

4) How long does the process take from start to finish?
That depends.  If there are no issues with the house during the inspection and if there are no issues with the loan and it goes through smoothly, then it doesn't take long at all.  We have a closing date (if all goes well) of Feb. 28th...we first saw the house early January, so that's about 7/8 weeks start to finish.  But some loans are faster than others, and sometimes inspections come back saying that things need to be fixed first, and in these cases it will take longer.

5) What is closing like?
I have no idea...I will be sure to tell you when it happens!!

Well I hope this gives you a good picture of what home-buying is like.  Again, I am right smack in the middle of doing this for the first time, so that's good and bad.  Good, because I can give really detailed info as I am going through it, but bad because I don't know what kinds of surprises or hurdles can come yet.  But oh well, we can go through this together. :)  Hope you have a great week, and I will see you Friday!

If all goes well, this will be our new backyard!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Reaping the Heart

Jeff and I bought a house this week.

How's that for an opening line!  The cool thing is that it's true.  Now technically we don't own it yet, it still has to pass inspection and we still have to sign a thousand papers at closing, but if all goes well then by the end of February it will all be settled.

For those of you who have been following my life via this blog, this may come as a surprise to you.  The past 2 1/2 years since we moved here we have been doing a whole lot of waiting.  We have pretty much had a red light from God regarding any major decisions.  A few months ago however, we knew that time was running out on our living situation.  We are renting my in-laws house while they are in Florida for the winter and they will be returning in May.  So we pretty much knew that May was when we need to have our own place, and we also knew that at this point we are not only too large of family to rent, but that we are tired of moving.  So we prayed and decided to wait until the last possible month until we start taking action on a house.  Welcome to our deadline.  

The cool thing is, this is the first time God has given us a green light.

There is a peace that comes from waiting until His timing.  In a time filled with wondering and confusion, it is nice to make a major decision moving forward and having peace.  It's more than just nice- for us, it is a necessity.  There have been several times over the years we have thought about buying, but there was just no peace.  No mater how rational and wise it may have seemed at the time, the Bible says that a man makes plans but the Lord directs his steps.  So make your plans, but understand that the Lord directs them- heed that direction. The whole process has happened quickly and smoothly (so far), and I love the house.  We first saw the house about 2 weeks ago, and we have a closing date in 5 weeks.  The house in a perfect location and is just what we were looking for...and the owners accepted the first offer we made.  

While this is all very cool, it is not what the main point of my blog is today.  What I really want to talk about it reaping.

When we first saw this house, we both loved it.  We looked at so many houses and none had the features that this one had.  However, as I said, everything moved very quickly and before we knew it we were signing a bunch of papers and spending quite a bit of money!  Because of how fast it was moving, Jeff decided to take a step back...he decided we were going to walk away from the house and look around some more.

And I was ok with that.

We called our agent and said we were taking advantage of the 3 day window where you can walk away penalty free.  Normally this is not something I would be able to do.  I am a woman who has moved more times that I can count, and here we found a home I love...and I was walking away.  I had peace in my soul but I also had more than that.  I had a well deep inside my heart that I was able to draw from- a well filled with the knowledge that God is in control and that I can submit all my cares to Him.  A well filled with the first-hand experience of following the Lord through the desert and knowing that He will never keep me thirsting.  A well filled with the sweet song of a life wholly submitted to Him.

My heart was reaping what my spirit planted with the sweat, blood, and tears of these past few years.
And while the house is a wonderful blessing, the real blessing is the change in my soul.

This is what it's all about.  It's about following Him with the purpose of becoming more like Him.  It's about submitting your life to a higher calling for a higher purpose.  It's not about the picket white fence...it's about the walk that leads you to His gates.  We have seen too much in the news to not be aware that all can be lost in an instant.  Jeff did end up deciding that he did indeed want that house, and now we are in the process of buying it...but my hope is not resting in my house- it resting in the One who gave it to me.  Maybe I will live there for the rest of my life.  Maybe it will all come crumbling down tomorrow.  I just don't know...but I know the only thing that matters.

He gives and takes away.  
But my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Let's Talk- Logistics

Good morning!  How are you doing today?  Anything major going on today?   Well I hope you are all doing well.  Today I am going to answer a few questions that I have been asked, and actually these are questions that I have asked other people myself.  These questions are all about actual logistics- how things literally get done.  There have been times I have asked a mom something, and she will answer me vaguely and I will say “no really, I mean how do you LITERALLY do such and such?”  So today I am going to answer some of the “literals”.
  1. How do you go grocery shopping?
Jeff and I coordinate as best we can for me to go shopping when he can watch the kids, but sometimes it doesn’t work out and to be honest, if Jeff’s home then I prefer for all of us to be together.  So sometimes I do take all 6 kids with me.  There are a couple of different ways to execute this.  First, is to use my quad stroller.  4 kids in the stroller with me pushing it, then my oldest pushes the food cart and my other son walks.  So that’s 4 in stroller, and 2 walking.  The other option I did before I had a quad was to put 4 kids in one cart (3 in back, 1 in front), wear the baby in a carrier, and have my oldest walk and push the food cart.  There are many options for keeping kids contained, you just have to be creative.  I offer incentives to behave- if you make it through shopping without getting 3 warnings then you choose a small treat.  But you have to be firm on this- 3 warnings must = no treat or they will learn to ignore warnings because there are no consequences.

  1. How do you keep the house in order?
Well, this assumes my house is clean, haha.  My house is not clean, but it is usually “in order”.  I hate clutter and toys all over the place, so this is one I have gotten my kids trained on pretty well.  I let them play and make messes, but we regularly do “quick cleans”.  This is where everyone walks around every room of the house and picks up- cups go in the sink, clothes in the hamper, toys put away.  We do this 2 or 3 times a day, at the most crucial times.  Before lunch, before dinner, and before bed if needed.  If the kids are really motivated (like if they know they wont get to play the Wii until the house is clean) then I just tell them they have x amount of minutes to clean and they all help.  If they are sluggish, moody, or it’s just been “one of those days”, they I will give them each their own room to do.  They handle that better because it’s not fair that one or two kids do all the work, so this way once their assigned area is completed, they are done.  

  1. How do you get dinner cooked with all the kids running around?
Dinner is a hard part of the day for any household.  The day is winding down, kids tend to be restless, mom is trying to cook dinner, etc.  My kids are pretty good about staying entertained, so they play while I cook.  But I also save the big guns for this time as well...a movie or the wii.  And if they have already done that too much during the day, then you pull a “quiet time” on them.  Just what it sounds like- they have to pick a room and stay in there and quietly play until the timer runs out (usually about a half hour).  Then you can throw in a quick clean to keep them further occupied while getting your house straightened up.  Also, I may put one or two younger ones in the high chair and booster with a snack or a toy to keep them from being under my feet.

  1. What about bedtime?
Bedtime is really easy when Jeff is home- we just divide and conquer.  However, there are 4 nights a week where I am by myself, and that requires some finess.  After dinner the older kids wash, brush, and get dressed for bed.  While they do that, I clean the dishes then work on the little ones- changing them and putting their jammies on.  Then when we finally get everyone “bed ready”, I close off the house and pick one room that we all occupy, usually the living room.  This keeps everyone in my eyesight, the house clean, and it keeps me sane.  Then I do something like sing songs, read a book, put on a movie...and as time goes on I take them out one at a time.  Sing a few songs then slip away and put the baby down.  Then come back and a few minutes later grab two other kids.  I keep doing this until it’s down to my older 2 or 3 kids, because they are at the age where I can just tuck them in and they know to stay in bed.  So I let them stay up a bit longer and play a game with me, and this gives the other kids time to fall asleep (or at least get settled) and then the older ones go to bed.  They are all in bed by 7/7:30...this is for my sanity.

Hope this helped!  Keep your eyes open the next few weeks...I am going to be doing some more interviews and getting input from you for some upcoming posts.  Hope you have a great week!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Savior

Before I begin I want to thank all of you for your love and support.  Many of you have been praying for me and asking me how I am doing, so I am going to give a brief update before I share with you.  I have been to a couple of doctor appointments, and am being unofficially diagnosed with fibromyalgia as a result of the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.  I say unofficially because I am going to see a specialist (rheumatologist) for some further testing to confirm it.  But I did begin treatment for it, which involves taking medication daily.  I am only a few days in, and I am having some side effects which they say can take a while to adjust to.  I won't really know if it is working for a couple weeks, but please pray for me that I can handle the effects and that maybe it will work!

Ok, now I want to share with you.  I was thinking about how "negative" my posts are, and I wanted to write something a bit more positive.  But I have said once before that I do not like my writing to be compelled.  When I started this blog, it was an invitation to simply look into the pages of my story as it is being written.  To try and conjure up something that I am not really experiencing would be closing off my heart, and this blog was meant to do just the opposite.  So I decided not to try and write something positive "just because".

But then something happened.

I can't say that suddenly the heaven's opened this week, but in all honesty, what I experienced this week was even better.  I had somewhat of a vision...an experience.  I was sitting down by myself and I just started thinking...and the thinking took me from where I was and brought me somewhere else.  I was in complete darkness.  Nothing else existed...there was no surroundings and there was no trace of the life I am living and any of the difficulties I am going through.  I was standing in sheer darkness.  And then Jesus was there.  I can't say I actually saw his face, but there He was.  And suddenly time suspended...everything just stopped. I was left alone with my innermost thoughts toward Him.

And I was terrified.

I wasn't terrified of Jesus...I was terrified about what I would feel toward Him.  When everything was stripped away and it was just me and Him, what would my honest thoughts be?  Am I angry with Him? Do I question His faithfulness?  Do I still trust Him?  Do I still love Him with all of my heart?  In that moment of suspended time I was truly afraid that my heart did not survive this ordeal.

But then it happened.  I looked at Jesus and I realized...I am still in love with my Savior.

After all these years, after all the hardships and trials I am still so incredibly in love with Him...and my heart still belongs wholly and completely to Him.  Even as a writer I cannot find the words to describe the peace in my soul or the love in my heart.  When you go through the desert you feel as if you have nothing left, especially in your heart.  You wonder if you have become bitter or fearful or broken.  You question who you are and who you are supposed to be and if you will ever see it.

But when you put it all down and get in the darkness, it's just you and Him.  And if you remember, that's how it all began.  When I first came Jesus it was a moment that did not involve anyone or anything else...it was a place in time that was not of this world.  It was where I met Jesus.  And no amount of time nor any amount of trials can EVER make my heart not belong to Him.

My God, how I love my Savior.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Let's Talk- A Few of My Favorite Things

Hello everyone!  I'm feeling a little light and fun right now, so I'm gonna have a some fun today and just do a favorite list of silly stuff!


Color: red

Spices: garlic and cinnamon (not together though, lol)

Dinner (homemade): Chicken cutlets or Chicken Cordon Blue

Love Song: Lady In Red

Novel: Little Women

Bible Character: Joseph (the one with the coat) and Abagail (King David's wife, formerly Nabal's wife)

Bible Verse: Job 13:15, John 9:25, Proverbs 31:17,25

Food: bread and candy

Brand of Diapers: Luvs

Candy: Jujubees

Fruit: Watermelon (when really in season)

Ice Cream: Mint choc chip (preferable with choc sprinkles!)

Ok, you're turn!  Pick a few of the favorites from my list and tell what YOUR favorites are!  I especially want to know your favorite spices and favorite Bible character, but by all means pick whatever ones you want!

So let's talk...what are a few of your favorite things?

Friday, January 4, 2013

All In

I must warn you before you read this that nothing has changed yet and this post is like so many other posts of mine.  I feel something coming though...and believe me, when it is time, I will post about the blessing.  But for now, here is my heart.

19 years ago I was offered a seat at the table and I decided to go all in.  I decided to give my heart, my soul, my life, and my everything to Jesus.  These past couple of years though, I feel like I have lost quite a few hands.  It has made me feel so very lost and so very far from the path I thought I was supposed to be on.  
And yet I am amazed by how often I genuinely see trials and challenges as bumps in the road.  Detours on my path.  Something that takes me away from where I really should be.

What if there really was no detour?  What if the difficulties that are taking me off my path are actually just as much a part of the path?  

So am I saying that God causes these bad thing to happen?  Who am I to even answer that...I am not even going to begin to try and tap into the vastness of His wisdom and sovereignty.  This life is a complex mixture of free will and Divine intervention, and to try and figure it out is like trying to count the sand on the beach.  It’s just bigger than me and you.  But that doesn’t mean you throw your hands up in confusion...oh no.  We have enough solid ground to stand on from the Word in regards to His love, His sovereignty, His faithfulness, His goodness, His love, His promises...and on I could go.  Please don’t fall into the trap of assuming that someone must pay for the hardships in your life.  I can assure you, He has paid more than the price for your life.

Listen to me- hard things are going to happen.  Your first mistake will be to see them as a detour, rather than the actual path.  We have something inside us that immediately tries to make sense when something bad comes our way.  We talk about it, analyze it, try to fix it, walk around it...but did you ever stop and think that maybe it’s just a part of your walk?  We are given both sun and rain, and they each have their purpose.  Some times hindsight will let you see why these things came your way, but other times we will never know on this side of heaven the answer to our “why”.  

“She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong”  Proverbs 31:17.  Powerful verse.  Strong arms.  Sometimes that is what it takes.  Sometimes your heart breaks and your spirit is down and you’re drenched in rain.  You know what you do?  You strengthen your arms and use them to grab hold of the only things that matter and you keep walking.  You keep walking.  You hold on, and you keep walking.
Don’t be afraid of putting your heart and soul into this walk. I know sometimes you get dealt a great hand, and other times all you’ve got is a pair of deuces...but don’t let that stop you from going all in.  And don’t be afraid of losing- because you will, or at least it will seem that way.  Be afraid of not playing.  Be afraid of cashing in.  I may lose some battles along the way, but remember friends, this war is already won.  
I’m still all in.

And don’t ever forget- you’ve got a King up your sleeve.  Play it well. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let's Talk- Hubby and I

Happy New Year!  Well, looks like the world didn’t end in 2012, so I guess we still have some work to do here on earth.  I am excited to say that a winner for the give-a-way has been chosen, but you have to wait till the end of this post to find out who it is!  hehe

With the New Year comes a minor change to my blog- Tuesday’s are going to be called “Let’s Talk”.  I decided that adding any more letters to my already kinda long acronym would be lame, yet my Tuesday posts have been taking on a life of their own and are no longer just Q&A or tidbits.  In the upcoming year Tuesdays will be open to a whole variety of things, from interviews to Q&A to give-a-ways to special guest contributors.  Hopefully, this will put name changing to a rest, haha.  
So, on that note, let’s talk...

In two days I will be celebrating my 9th wedding anniversary, so today I will be answering some questions about Jeff and I.  I have recently been made aware that there are people reading this blog who I do not know personally (crazy!), so I thought this may be a good time for a little background info on us. :)

1) Where did you and Jeff meet?
Jeff and I met at Zion Bible Institute (now known as North Point Bible College).  We actually came as freshmen together and were in the same class until we graduated.

2) Did you like each other right away?
No, haha.  It’s not that we didn’t like each other, it’s just that we were not really that close in the beginning.  I was actually seeing someone else, and he had just given his life to the Lord and had come out of a hard lifestyle.  Also, I was a bit dorky and he was a bit intense...we just didn’t have that kind of interaction our freshman year.  It wasn’t until our second year at Zion that we really got to know one another and have feelings for each other.

3) How did you end up dating? How long did you date before you got married?
When we first met as freshmen, we were more acquaintances than friends.  I knew enough about him to know that I respected him, but we weren’t much more than casual friends.  We did however have a close mutual friend- Nathan Kollar was one of my closest friends, and he was also one of Jeff’s closest friends, so it was because of that mutual friendship that we had a foundation of respect laid for one another.  It wasn’t until our second year at Zion that we began to talk a lot and get close.  Two months into our second year Jeff asked me to start a relationship.  The day after we began our relationship I knew this was the man I was going to marry.  We were engaged 6 months later and married 8 months after that.

4) When did you start having kids?
We didn’t even really talk about or consider kids in the beginning, but when God spoke to us and put in on our hearts to start a family, it was 9 months into our marriage.  I came off birth control and got pregnant for the first time after we had been married for about 15 months, but then we had a miscarriage.  It took some months before we got pregnant again. Our first child was born 2 1/2 years into our marriage.

5) What is your favorite thing about him?
There are seriously so many things I love about him.  But I definitly know what my favorite thing is.  Jeff is my rock- I have complete trust in his love and commitment to me.  He has made me feel so secure in his love for me that I never worry if I am enough for him.  I never have doubts or insecurities about how he feels about me.  A woman's deepest need is to feel that she is truly desired for who she really is- that she is enough...and Jeff makes me know that I am every single day.  No matter how crazy I feel on the inside, he is my anchor to all things true.  This goes hand in hand with his devotion to the Lord.  His commitment to Jesus and the Word is astounding.  I am a better person because of his example in my life.

Ok, now for the part Im sure you have been waiting for (or just scrolled down to see)!  I have to say that this give-a-way certainly drummed up some attention....this was one of the highest viewed weeks my blog has ever had.  Not that many people participated, and I understand...in fact, as I was typing the post I thought to myself “if I was reading this I probably wouldn’t feel like creating an account just to comment”, lol.  I know it’s a pain, but I couldn’t think of any other way to do a give-a-way.  So until the day comes that I have a fancy shmancy new website, this will have to do!

So, I am happy to announce that through random selection, comment #2 is the winner!     So, Nomadic Heart, please e-mail me your address at artyler@mail.com so I can send you your $25 Target gift card! 

Thank you all so much for all the support you have given to me and my writing.  Seeing the comments you left about my previous posts was so uplifting.  You are all supporting me as I do something I not only love, but have always wanted to do in some way, which is writing.  

Happy New Year to you, and may this year be the best one yet.