Moving On

Today is a fabulous day! Because I say so.

 

So yesterday, I went out on my lunch for a short run as I promised myself I would. It’s about the only time I have to run, so I brought running clothes to work, and managed 2 miles. My knee bothered me some, but I was able to run through it with some walking, but overall I was very happy.

So today, the Rock ‘n’ Roll race series is having a big sale. If you’re a runner type, you probably already know that! So what did you all sign up for? I’m already signed up for the Half in San Diego, but I really want to run Chicago also since I’m right here. I’m just not sure if I should run another half just a month after San Diego, or just go for the 10k. Of course, I know me, and if I sign up for the 10k I’m going to regret it. After all, it IS only 6 miles. 😀 So I think I’m going to go for the half… a month in between should be ok for me, as I have plenty of time to build back up my long runs. As long as I take it slow through this winter.

Also yesterday, I took my big math placement test for college. I tested into Pre-Calculus, which makes me very happy. I have 4 weeks to retake the test if I want to try for a better score to get into a higher level class. Part of me wants to just start with Pre-calc to give me more base and practice. However, those classes are not going to be as easily transferable, and since I plan to transfer for a bachelor’s at another institution, I’m thinking of shooting for a better score so I can jump in with Calculus, which will transfer more easily.

Regardless of what I decide on the math front, I can’t tell you how excited I am to start back to school. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the practice lessons I’ve been doing, and forgotten how much I love math. It just goes to show, follow your heart’s desire. I wanted to major in math way back when I graduated high school and I didn’t because I wasn’t sure where it could possibly take me. Now I know there are options out there. Part of me wishes I had the faith then that I do now, and had just taken that step. Better late than never!

So I’m moving on, and focusing on how I want to continue my life’s journey. Every step along the way gets us where we need to go. And I may not have any idea how this will all look in the end, but I have complete faith that it’ll be everything I could possibly hope for, and more.

If you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here. ~Paulo Coelho

Reminders

I often have people asking me how I’m doing. What’s going on. And I know for every one of those, there’s probably two people that are afraid to ask. That don’t want to pry. I was talking to a friend last Summer. Questions were asked, and then an apology for asking. I said I didn’t mind… I’m an open book at this point. Or am I?

I really don’t have anything to hide. Anything that I’m not proud of just shows I’m human. I make mistakes, but I’ll own them. But I’ve realized recently, that there’s a lot that I really haven’t talked about. I think part of me just gets tired of talking about it all. I don’t care that people know. And part of me thinks everyone is probably tired of hearing my woes anyway! And honestly, it’s hard to stay positive when you’re talking about what’s not working right now!

I have daily reminders of the past year. Scars, some would say. But I prefer to call them reminders. Yes, there’s no shortage of emotional reminders. Every day. Multiple times. Every time I walk through my hallway. Every day I go to work. Every time I get in the van. But I choose to use them as positive reminders, not negative. Reminders of the smart, beautiful, thoughtful children I have. That I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for.

And then there’s the physical reminders. The two surgical scars I see every day. Reminders of the pain of the past year. But also reminders of the lessons I’ve learned. Of the thankfulness that what was there is now gone. To release fear for faith. To appreciate every day. And perhaps most importantly, to not put off until tomorrow what can (and should) be done today.

So for all my friends out there that are probably wondering… please know that I’m just trying to remain positive. To be thankful for that which I do have. And to not focus on what I don’t. I just want to return to some normalcy in my life. You know, the one that moves on. Yes, there’s a lot going on. There probably will be for some time. But I know things will be alright eventually. That’s my faith. That’s what gets me through.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9

A New Year

It’s a new year, and that can mean only one thing. Change. I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolution kind of person. Sure, I’d set a resolution, only to fail within a week, maybe two. But I know I never stuck with it because I didn’t really WANT to change whatever it was. What’s the point in making a resolution for change, unless you are really ready for it in your heart and soul? Yes, a new year is a good time to make those changes, if you truly ARE ready. And that’s where I’m at.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. The biggest ones in the last year. I own them. I know I’m not perfect. And I know nothing will change if I blame everyone else for everything going on in my life. Yes, I contributed to the trials of the past year. But I’ve learned from it, and I’ve grown. True change can only come with acceptance. I accept myself for all that I am. The loving, kind person, that has faults and imperfections. A work in progress.

New Year’s Day I had this idea. How about I make a top 10 list. A top 10 list of lessons I’ve learned in the past year. It just flowed, without much thought. I was going to post it then, but my internet hadn’t been working at home for over a month. I’ve been going to the library almost daily, but my time there has been consumed with trying to find a job. But last week, my smart, kind son fixed it for me! So, here’s my list.

Top 10 Lessons of 2011

  1. Accept help from wherever it comes. Don’t be too proud. Sometimes help can come from the most unexpected people.
  2. Along those lines, don’t be afraid to ASK for help. If you need something, you know who you can count on, ask! After all, friends and family aren’t going to know how you’re feeling and what you may need to get you through, but you know they’ll be there for you if you just ask.
  3. Never act out of reaction. Take the time to think things through. And taking a week to ponder how you will act wisely, is much different than taking a week to plot your revenge!
  4. The most painful life events require some leaps of faith for growth. If you don’t leap, you’ll stay where you are. And that obviously wasn’t working for you.
  5. Truly moving on requires letting go. Moving on does no good if you’re still holding onto what was. The biggest move you can make, is learning to accept what is.
  6. Everything happens for a reason. We won’t understand those reasons all the time, but in time it’ll all make sense. Truly believing in this one statement will really put your heart and soul in a calm, peaceful state that probably won’t make sense.
  7. Believe. In something. In someone. Believe in God. Believe in the power of the universe. Whatever you feel in your heart, just believe. But most importantly, believe in YOURSELF! If you believe, you can achieve!
  8. Being a parent is the most difficult job there is. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions, doing what we think is best, no matter the pain we cause. We can only hope the pain is temporary, and some day they’ll understand. Thankfully, the rewards are more than worth it!
  9. True happiness can only be found within. Relying on others to make you happy will only make you miserable.
  10. Be thankful for everything, and every one, in your life. For you’ll never know what the future holds, and what you may lose. Nothing is permanent.

Obviously, it’s been a while since I blogged, and a lot has happened. Holidays and both kids’ birthdays, which were a great reminder to me to be truly thankful for everything. Tomorrow is never a guarantee, we have to live each moment to the fullest, appreciating what we have today. There’s this part of me that wishes 2011 would never have happened. But if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t have 2012. Yes, it was the most painful year of my life, but it also provided the most awakening, most importantly within myself. I’ve learned so much this past year, and can never wish that away. Here’s to an amazing 2012! For all of us!

On to my photos…. here it is, January 14th. And only two days ago did we receive the first real snowfall of the year! Not just the year 2012, but for the winter season! I don’t think I ever remember a year where we had NO snow until January! Sure, it would fall, then melt, but nothing! So I decided to take a walk this morning, and I took some pictures of the white that abounds. Not as pretty as it would have been had I taken them on Thursday, but late is better than nothing, right?

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. ~2 Corinthians 5:17

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Feelings of Fall

I know, I know! It’s been a while since I’ve posted yet again! But I’ve been inspired. 🙂 I had a wonderful weekend, much needed! And the sunshine didn’t hurt!

I’ve been having a rough couple weeks. And no, it’s not the family stuff bringing me down, but all the other stuff. But I’ve been reminded it doesn’t pay to dwell on the unknown. Live each day to the fullest! I saw last week that the topic of this weekend’s message at Willow was anxiety. Boy, is that timing, or what?! So I made sure I got my butt to church on Saturday. And Darren didn’t disappoint! What a moving message he delivered, and just what I needed. Although he referenced several wonderful passages from the bible, I didn’t write them down. But this one, was my favorite:

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith. ~Henry Ward Beecher

I don’t know about you, but the faith option is a lot easier on the soul. I was thinking about this the other day also. Peace. I’ve felt that peace beyond all understanding before. Over the Summer. But I’ve been struggling recently with finding that feeling again. I’m still not totally there, but close. But in thinking about things, I started wondering. When I tell people about how peaceful I feel, even given everything going on, do they think it doesn’t bother me? That couldn’t be further from the truth. Finding peace in adversity doesn’t mean you don’t feel pain. Yes, it hurts. All the time. The pain will probably never go away. But finding that level of peace within yourself just helps ease that pain. To the point that you can focus on better, more positive things. I encourage everyone to really seek that peace, take the hand of God, and let Him lead you. It’s there, you just have to let go and allow Him to take your pain.

After church, I had the pleasure of joining some friends for dinner. Again, wonderful times and much needed conversation. I know everyone has their own troubles. I get so focused on mine sometimes that I just need a reminder that life isn’t all about what I’m going through. I know I have so many people that pray for me every day, even though they have their own struggles and anxieties. Isn’t that what life should be about? Supporting and praying for those you know, even those you don’t know, regardless of what you are going through?

Yesterday I attended church with my brother’s family and my daughter. Yes, we have unsupervised visits now, which makes doing things like this possible. It was another great message. A reminder that God is the one in control of us, not the other way around. It’s when we try to be in control, to do what we want, not what God wants, that things tend to go awry. And can I ever attest to that! The rest of our visit was spent carving pumpkins for Halloween. A wonderful, normal afternoon!

I also had the privilege of taking family photos for a friend yesterday. Some great Fall colors still out there! So I have several photos that I will share, from pumpkins, to families. I had a friend of mine with me when I went to my shoot. She spotted these beautiful red leaves, all alone, in a field of cat tails. A lone maple trying to sprout up. I love the colors of Fall, but particularly the bright red! So I stopped on the way back to capture the beauty of the new life. Enjoy these photos of Fall!

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From Rain Comes Rainbows

If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

I’ve started following multiple pages on facebook lately, that are all about positive attitudes, thankfulness, and the like. It’s really inspiring to see these messages daily, as a reminder to how thankful we should be just to be alive. And no matter what is going on in our lives, there’s always reason to celebrate. I saw this quote the other day, and I love it. It’s so true. Nothing in life comes easy. Even the bible says we will have troubles. John 16:33 says:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

And the more pain and growth we have to go through as we weather our storms, the more beautiful that rainbow at the end.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know the basics of what I’m dealing with on a personal level. And every time I see a glimmer of hope, something else comes along. Most recently, this past week. As if my personal issues weren’t enough, I now have medical questions. I’m sure it will turn out to be nothing, but the thought that there could be a problem is there. Everything happens for a reason… and there’s a reason I’ve finally taken steps on some things that I’ve procrastinated on for far too long! On a positive note, my blood pressure was low, I think the lowest it’s ever been in my life. I must be doing something right!

This past Saturday marked the 6 month mark of when my life changed. And it was a bad day. I was forced to relive the pain, only I was more understanding and accepting. Therein lies one of the biggest changes I’ve made in my life in the past six months. Accepting everything for what it is, and truly believing that things happen for a reason. And eventually, I’ll be a much better person because of it. I’m already finding truth in that. And the peace that I’ve found within is something I can’t even describe.

I read a friend’s blog the other day about change. It’s something I’ve always struggled with. How do you change? And how do you get past the fear? For me, I was forced into change. I didn’t have a choice. And I still fear every step and every choice I make. But it’s the faith that keeps me going. Am I going to stumble? And maybe even fall? Absolutely. But it’s all worth the risk. You don’t know what’s waiting on the other side if you don’t try. I still don’t know where these changes in my life are going to lead me. But I have to have faith, and trust, that eventually it will have all been worth it.

Love and Life

Have I mentioned how much I miss my computer? Of course, I haven’t! Because I haven’t blogged because of lack of said computer! You know, if you had asked me a month ago if I could survive without it, I would have said NO WAY! But it’s not so much that I need it. I get along just fine without it. I spend my time doing other things, like reading. But not having it when I want to blog, to edit a quick photo, bothers me. I haven’t even been taking pictures lately, because I can’t edit them. So why bother? I need to get that thought out of my head though, because I need to take them for other reasons. So what if they sit on my cards for a month. I need to get the camera out and use it for what it gives back to me, right now. And the editing can wait. I will say, though, that I’ve found a new friend in my iPhone camera and instagram. It’s not the same, for sure, but it provides some of the same benefits. {The photos I’m sharing today are the remainder of those I took last weekend.}

Speaking of reading, I just finished reading Cold Tangerines, by Shauna Niequist. I love her insightfulness! It was just the reminder that I needed, to celebrate life. Live for the moment, and enjoy every minute. It’s a daily struggle for me, not to dwell on the negative. And I find myself wanting to go back to the ways I used to use in the past to make me feel better. Instead, I’ve renewed my love for walking, sometimes taking two walks a day. Listening to music, and enjoying the wonders of God’s creation in nature, helps ground me. I still have complete faith, in knowing that I’ll get through, and be a better person because of it. And everything hurts more than I can describe, but I still truly believe that one has to experience true pain and suffering to really see the joy and happiness in life.

Which brings me to a quote I read recently:

“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia

Happiness and love. They go hand-in-hand. Without love, loving ourselves, we can’t truly experience the happiness God meant for us. It’s taken me a long time to realize this. And a big slap upside the head to get there! But I’ve struggled with this all my life. I’ve never loved myself, never been happy with who I was, always wished I was someone else. But now, I’ve never been happier. Even my counselor told me I truly looked happy this week, for the first time. Yes, I have regrets from the past, and I fear the unknown. I know I can’t change anything, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten. And I have total trust in God that everything will work out according to His will, but that doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. I’ve made huge strides in this area. I don’t get nervous like I used to. And I don’t let the fear consume me, but it’s still there at times. For the past several years, I’ve just coasted through life. Afraid to try because I was afraid to fail. Afraid to speak for fear of what others might think. Afraid to stand my ground, for fear of who I’d anger. But my life is mine to live, for me, with God’s guidance.

One of the big lessons I’ve learned is that it’s ok to ask for what I want and need in life. This is a big struggle for me. But gone are the days of sitting around waiting for things to come my way. Dreaming of what I want and waiting for it to happen, instead of making it happen. So with each decision I make, comes prayer, followed by action in the way I feel led. Am I going to make mistakes? Sure! I’m only human. But I’m also ok with it. So what if I’m wrong? I’ll learn from my mistakes and move on.

I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. ~Ephesians 3:17

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Oh Happiness!

The first week of adjustment is now behind me. And I’m sure things will get better and easier as time goes on. I had two days of back-to-back working in a row, and the second day was definitely easier. Emotionally, it’s hard. But I’m accepting it for what it is, and it doesn’t get the best of me. I’m continuing to dig deep for that inner strength and peace that allows me to cope.

I’m so glad to have yesterday behind me. For the first time, I was allowed to speak for myself. Did it do any good? Probably not, but at least I had the opportunity. And I wasn’t the least bit nervous. Which is truly a new thing for me, as nerves often get the best of me in times like this. But I’ve spent the last week focused on trusting God and believing in His grace and mercy. Never before have I truly felt this level of peace. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve already put the past behind me. For myself, I had to move on and address the present for what it is. But because everything was being drug out, I couldn’t fully move on. Now, I can. And it feels good to have that behind me.

I had a wonderful visit yesterday with my daughter! I took her out for some photos as well. {For the record, I do NOT like her choice of top.} The mosquitoes were out in force, but they didn’t get the best of us! I also was able to take her shopping for a back-to-school outfit. I think for the first time, it felt like “normal” time spent with her. It was wonderful to see her truly smiling and laughing! Between our phone conversation last week, and this week’s visit, I’m finally seeing my daughter come back to life again. And it’s a wonderful feeling for me!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

Survival

Well, the first day of school came and went… and I survived! I felt so much peace after last weekend. I think the feeling of sadness I had last week was purely something I wasn’t expecting, and thus not prepared for. I had time to process it before the first day, which was good. Yes, I had a small rush of sadness as I walked in to work, but it was a-ok after that, and I’m so glad to be back! My son seems to be enjoying high school. I haven’t heard any complaints yet, so that’s always good! And it’s nice to be back on to a regular schedule.

Speaking of schedules, yesterday was my first day of working both jobs, back-to-back. When I took the second job, and was told it wouldn’t be full time, I made the decision to stay at the school, and just add on. I had NO IDEA just how much I would be working, and how hard it was going to be. But, I SURVIVED! I was on my feet all day, and it was hard, but hopefully once my body adjusts to all the standing again, it will get easier. Today, I get to do it again. And how did I start my morning? By going for a walk. I seriously considered taking the time to sit and rest, it’s about all I’ll get today, but I really needed the walk. And it felt good. The rest of this week is going to be hard, between all the work and what is to come Friday.

On the positive side, because visitation was missed last week, I am getting an extra hour this week and next. It’s still not the same as completely missing a week, but it’s better than nothing. My daughter and I also started joint counseling this week. It was great to get to say and discuss some of the things I’ve wanted to talk about for a while now, but can’t during regular visitation. It was very enlightening to me, to know how much she knows (or doesn’t know!), and to know just how she feels. And I left feeling happy and satisfied.

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  ~Psalm 18:32

Renewed Spirit {Day 70}

I feel SO MUCH BETTER!! Yes, my spirit is renewed! Is the pain gone? No way! That will take a long time, and even then it will probably never be fully gone. But it’s back under control, and I’m focusing on the positive, and the spirit of God!

It’s such a gorgeous weather day today! I had quit walking over the Summer for a number of reasons. I went for a walk a couple times over the past week, and it felt good. So this morning, I decided I needed that back in my life. The breeze was cool, and the weather perfect. So I laced up my tennis shoes, grabbed my headphones, and hit the trail. I have a playlist that consists of the Christian music artists I have on my iPod. Currently, that includes David Crowder Band, Rebecca St. James, and Red. There’s so many more I want to get, but, like everything else, in time. Now, I listen to these songs all the time! But today, as I was walking, I truly listened to the lyrics of each and every one, and there was so much meaning! Of course I have my iPod set to shuffle. And the order of music that it played was so fitting! First, I heard a few songs that bring out all the pain, and they make me cry almost every time I hear them! Then, on the way back, it was all songs of rejoicing and joy! Transforming my day and my spirit, moving out that pain, and reminding me of what I need to rejoice in!

In other news, I went to church last night. I almost didn’t go for a couple reasons, but the why doesn’t really matter. Anyway, a few weeks ago, a friend sent me an invite to sit in a section of the church where a lot of area folks sit. I’ve been considering it since then, but hadn’t taken that step. So we ran into someone we knew from the area on our way into church, and were invited to sit with them. The very location I was invited to by the other friend. I guess it was time to take that step! And I had actually been thinking about it last night, too. Timing, or what?

Ok, on to the service. Henry Cloud was speaking. The topic of discussion was based on Ecclesiastes 3

 1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

He pointed out how this string of verses is talking of beginnings, and endings. How our life is filled with them. Sometimes, we need to have endings to make way for new beginnings. Or even just to make way for more growth in what we already have. Similar to pruning a rose bush, we need to do the same with our lives. So much truth there.

After church, I had the privilege of talking with my daughter on the phone for 45 minutes. Such a blessing! She was truly happy, and in a wonderful mood, and just what I needed to hear! The call was initiated by her, too, which made me feel even better. 🙂  After talking with her, I went to write in my journal. Backing up… A couple weeks ago, I needed a new journal. So I went to the book store and looked at all of them. Every. Last. One. I wanted something with meaning, not just a book with blank pages. I ended up walking away with the Serenity Journal. As you can probably guess, it is filled with inspirational quotes, all relating to what is written in the Serenity Prayer. On every other page is a verse from the bible that provides inspiration, and on facing pages a quote. After I write in my journal, I read all the quotes and verses on the pages I’ve written on. At the bottom of the last page I wrote on was the following from, you guessed it, Ecclesiastes 3.

There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season… There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7

Coincidence? I don’t really believe in such things. More like God Moment. Now, you see, I’ve been pondering something for the past several days. In two days, by two different people, a question had been posed to me. And it involves this very topic. I’ve been thinking about it all weekend. And here comes the tough part, I’m really not sure what the right choice is. So over the next week, I will be praying for the answer, the wisdom to do the right thing.

Now that I’ve written a novel, I’m to my sharing point. Today, I’d like to share the following song from Rebecca St. James. This was near the end of my playlist today, and I really listened to the words, and it reminded me that I’m not on my time line, I’m on His. And it’s just a fantastic song! Have a listen, and truly hear the words it is speaking. Great stuff!

I drug my son out today, much to his chagrin, as it was time for an update to the photo on our wall. He hates me taking his picture. I used to “use” him all the time to practice. But I’ve been very careful not to do that anymore, and haven’t made him get his picture taken since last year at this time. Once a year isn’t too much to ask, is it? So here he is, my new high schooler, serious as ever. It’s so hard to imagine that we only have four more short years.

Confidence and Control {Day 65}

There’s no worse feeling in the world than feeling stuck. Stuck in so many ways. I’m stuck in the middle of family. I’m stuck in the middle of friends. I’m stuck doing many things I don’t want to do, shouldn’t have to do. I can not even be the mother I should be able to be. There are so many others in control of what I can and can’t do. Things I should be able to do myself. And yet I have to rely on others. Wait. Again, patience is not my strength!

I know in time I will be able to do those things that are currently out of my control. But I’ll always be stuck in the middle. I don’t think that will ever go away. There will always be those that try to tug me in a different direction. As I was thinking things through this morning, this quote popped into my head again. I’ve shared it here on my blog before, but I’m going to share it again. It’s so true.

So you have some enemies…good, that means you stood up for something!” ~Winston Churchill

This is something I’ve always struggled with. Standing up for myself. Doing what I feel is right for ME. But I’ve decided I have to stop living in fear. Fear of what others think. I’m not a prude. Don’t think that I’ve gone to the other extreme of not caring of others feelings. I just realized that I have to stop putting everyone else ahead of myself. The choices I make, I put great thought into. I don’t make impulsive decisions. I think everything through thoroughly. But I may choose to do things that others don’t agree with. And that’s ok.

Confidence. Another thing I’ve always struggled with. But now, I have confidence. Confidence in myself that I’m doing the right thing, with God at the lead. He’s provided for me in ways I never thought possible. He’s provided for me exactly what I need when I really need it. And I know He’ll continue to open the right doors for me at the right time. I’m confident that I am making the best decisions possible, given my circumstances. I think confidence and standing up for yourself go hand in hand. I finally feel I have enough confidence, in myself and in my choices, to stand up for myself and do what I feel is right, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
Amen.