Thursday, December 31, 2015

Saying Goodbye to 2015

2015 was hard. There is just no way around that for me.

Not even a month into the new year, we unexpectedly lost our daughter's birthmom. To say my life changed is an understatement. Sometimes I can hardly believe that she really is gone. Other times, I feel it to my very core that she is no longer here.

Her death lead to months of depression and heartache for me. A part of me is beyond thankful that 2015 is coming to a close and that we get a fresh start tomorrow. The other part of me is devastated. 2015 is the last year she was alive and what if I'm not ready to say goodbye to her?

Looking back at 2015 I have this peace when I think about the life phrase God gave me for the year.

 "He will quiet you with His love".

Little did I know when I wrote that how much I would have to be still and quieted by His love. This year has been one of the most challenging ones for me and I have had to rely on God more than almost any other year. I'm so thankful for His love that has quieted me in times of unrest.

While I haven't shared my phrase for 2016 yet and I'm not 100% positive I will, I did want to share one thing with you that I feel led to share.

Shortly after Xiomara's birthmama passed away, I read this amazing article called While They Can Still Hear (The Case For Living Eulogies). Here is what I wrote on Facebook when I shared it:

"Maybe because I am a words of affirmation person, this speaks directly to my heart. Or perhaps it is because I have lost people in my life way too sudden, way too young. Or else it is because I realize my time on earth is short and I want to use the remaining time I have to uplift people in love. Whatever it is, this is SO good. 'I think we should give people living eulogies; that we should speak lavish, unashamed words of love and praise, not about them, but to them.'"

I've never been the type of person to do New Year's Resolutions, mainly because most times I fail at them and then feel guilty. But, this one hit home with me and so I spent 2015 telling those I love why I love them. Most of the time it was in the form of a social media post because I wanted other people to know what I saw in someone else.

Do you realize how rare it is for people to hear words of affirmation spoken to them these days? We live in a day in which people rarely take the time to truly stop and listen to your answer to "how are you?" and most people have no idea the pain or elation that is just below the smile that is plastered onto someone's face. Can I encourage you to read the above article and then spend 2016 incorporating your words of love to others? If you are like me and don't do New Year's Resolutions, do this one. Take 5 minutes to have a conversation with someone and tell them how much you love them. If you are like me, and words come better from your fingers than your voice, take 5 minutes to type up how much they mean to you.

I have now lost several people too soon without getting to tell them exactly what I saw in them and how much I loved them, and I would give anything to go back in time so they know exactly how much I love them. I am determined to never let someone close to me pass away without knowing they were loved. I will be living this out in 2016, hopefully even more than I did in 2015.

So Happy New Year friends! May you fully love those around you and cherish each moment you are given. I leave you with these words from the above article.

"Friend, there are people around you who need to see the full contents of your heart, now. They deserve the blessing of  knowing that they matter, today."

Sunday, December 6, 2015

ASPCA Kids: Rescue Readers Review

One of our absolute favorite things around our house is books. It seems like we always have a bookshelf overflowing with books, in almost every room, and the girls are always requesting us to get more. I would gladly have rooms full of books as I believe reading is a gift.

When Moms Meet gave me the opportunity to review the ASPCA Kids: Rescue Readers found here, I jumped on it because I just knew these would be books that my kids would love. These books combine two things they love: reading and animals.

I wasn't wrong! When these came in the mail, my kids went crazy wondering which book they could claim as theirs. There was a chapter book for Zoelle, and several learning to read books (Level 2) for Meridian and Xiomara. There were also a few other style books that I'm going to kind of vaguely mention here as I believe they will be given as Christmas gifts (shhhh).

Studio Fun, in partnership with the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), has published a children's book series, ASPCA kids: Rescue Readers. Each story is inspired by a real-life animal rescue story from the pet's point of view and includes facts and photographs of the actual pet that inspired the story. This particular part was our favorite part, as it made us relate to the story more.

The importance of care, protection, and love of animals is incorporated into each tale with a focus on the joyous outcome. I love that 4-5% of the purchase price of every book goes directly to the ASPCA to help continue its mission. This means they support what they are writing about!

If you are looking for some good reading books to give as gifts this Christmas, I highly suggest checking these books out. Make sure you visit their Facebook page to learn more.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.