Sunday, July 31, 2011

Take time to make time

Go, go, go, go, go....that is so often what defines a day, isn't it? A day in my life, or a week in my life might be the better way of writing this, is so full, i can hardly breathe. In fact, the only time I really do that is either when I am up first thing in the morning, taking a few minutes to myself with  my coffee and my journal and my Bible, or when I crash in the bed at night. Or when I am out for a run. Otherwise, there are demands of life.....there's the necessities (but things I wouldn't change ever) like being a mom of 2 active kids; and the ever demanding cleaning aspects around the house, like dishes and laundry. There is also that thing we all must do-like work a full time job. I add running into it and that takes more time. Sure, I love that and also wouldn't give that up, but it is a bit time consuming sometimes. I also am very involved with Relay for Life as well as planning a 5K in my mom's name to take place in October. Whew, I get tired just writing it all down. I also do a lot with my dad and am trying to take care of my own grief and make my way through that. I am always on the go. A couple weeks ago, I had a lightbulb moment. I need to take time to make other words, I need to take time "off". A week with no meetings, no evening plans, no computer distractions, no extras. Time for me to just focus on the home. Yes, I should be doing this every day, in a sense. And I do my best to balance. I'm doing my best to also make time for me. Last Friday I went out with some girls from work and we laughed and had a great time! It was good to be me for an evening, no worries. Anyway, back to my point. This week, I'm making it be my week of no distractions. And I am looking forward to what I know can take place-time with my kids, time to be as a family, time to accomplish some little is going to be a good week with no plans any evening.
 Some of those activities I put into my life can be distractions, albeit good ones. So I have to be careful that those things don't take the number one place. They are great things to be doing, things I don't want to give up. But I also don't want them to be more important to me than the things that matter most-my husband, my kids, my quiet time. I do Relay because I am passionate about fighting cancer. I do Relay for my mom. I do Relay because I know what it's like to watch a loved one dying of cancer and I not only want to help fight this awful disease, but I want to be there for those giong through it and those who have to watch their loved one go through it. It's painful. And it's a journey that one who's seen it first hand can really understand like no one else . I do Relay because I want to and because it helps me process my grief, too.
 I am planning a 5K for many reasons. Partly, it is also part of my grief process. I am planning a 5K in my mom's name for October. The University has a scholarship started in mom's name. Dad and I have the plan of growing it to be an annual gift and a good one for the recipient. The recipient will be a student studying to be a nurse in oncology. This will bless another student, who will bless cancer patients, and mom blessed so many people, it's going to be a neat process to watch unfold. It's going to be a lot of work, but also a good activity. I"m combining my passions of fighting cancer and running and putting them in my mom's name-what better activity to do? Mom would likely be embarrassed by it all, but it keeps mom alive in some neat ways.
 I think a lot about my mom through songs. I've said how much mom loved to sing-she had a song for literally everything. Growing up, we learned a lot of Bible verses through song; we learned a lot of silly songs to keep us entertained;we learned a lot of hymns and truths about God through the songs mom would sing. Songs mean a lot to me, and they did to mom as well. We had a record player growing up. We spent hours around the record player-it sat in our dining room and you could hear it playing through the whole house. Sometimes we listened to story records. Sometimes Sesame Street song records. Sometimes Tennessee Ernie Ford or the Gaither Brothers. Sunday afternoons we'd come home from church and put on the records while mom got the roast and the gravy and all teh fixings put onto the fine china and on the table. Today we sang a song  called It is Well With My Soul. Mom loved that song. It was on one of the records and I remember that one vividly. She didn't want it at her funeral because it is such a common funeral song, but she sure did love that one. It's hard to hear or sing and not get teary. Here is an excerpt from the song mom did choose for her funeral. yes, she chose it herself.
 "I know not what of good or ill May be reserved for me, of weary ways or golden days, Before His face I see....I know not when my Lord my come, at night or noonday fair, Nor if I walk the vale with Him, or meet Him in the air.... But I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able To keep that which I've committed Unto Him against that day."
 I look forward to singing this with mom again one day. Alot of people say they hope to see their loved one again some day. Or they believe that their loved one is in a better place. But i KNOW where my mom is. and I KNOW i'll see her again....because I also know in Whom I have believed, and mom is singing in Heaven to and with Him. What an awesome thought that is. So sometimes singing is emotional for me, but there's alot behind each tear that is there-yes, sadness. but also joy. Joy that I know mom is singing that song at His feet now-not in the dining room. And how much more amazing is that? Joy that I will sing it with mom again someday. When I sing or when I hear these songs, I think each and every time of mom being in Heaven and finally seeing what she has been singing about all these years.
 This week as I take time to make time, I'll keep taking it one day at a time. But it'll be a week or so before I post here again.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July Beginnings and ends

July 1 started out with my younger brother's birthday. July ends with my older sister's birthday. We celebrated tonight. Smash my older brother and me there in the middle and it's been a month (for me) of a lot of remembering. I want to say very loud that my husband did a tremendous job of loving on me this birthday. Really, he always does , but he knew how difficult this birthday was for me. He displayed much patience with me during my tearful and emotional moments, and displayed deep kindness and thoughtfulness by getting a Snoopy cake made for me among other things . Though there was a deep hole without mom, the day was enjoyable.
 So July is about to come to a close. I made it through another "first". There will be so many of those moments in this first year. I suppose that's why they say it's the hardest year to get through. July is my favorite month of the year for many reasons. I can hardly believe it's almost gone . There have been many moments in the last few weeks I've really wanted to call my mom and have mom/daughter/best friend talks. It's a void no one can fill but mom. I'm reading a book about losing a mom and processing that and life afterwards and one of the things it talks about is how while there are always people to encourage you, no one does it like a mom. Mom is the one who cleaned up the scraped knees, cared for me through many sore throats and surgeries, loved me when i was wrong and millions of other examples....a good friend comes close, but it'll never be the same. my very close friend here gets subjected so often to those conversations, phone calls and texts. I am very thankful for her in my life. She was a placement by God in my life. She is an "aunt" to our kids and has been there for me and my kids each step of the way. There are a few people like that-ones I can call on at any time.
 I"m not really sure how I launched into all that. Really I just felt the need to blog today and wasn't even sure what I wanted to say or if it was even really worth while.
 Allow me to talk about my training a little bit. Really I should be in bed since I'll be up at 4:30 to run, but like I said, I had this crazy need to blog tonight. I have less than 60 days til I run my full marathon! It's taking more and more of my time to train, which I knew it would. I am going to be glad to do this race. I think I will also be glad when it is finished. It is part of my grief process. It's also because I need to do it. But Each mile I add, though I"m doing fine through them, it's taking more time and so I look forward to that part of it passing. However, the more miles I add, the better I feel about finishing. This weekend I will be doing my run on Saturday.That way I can have all day Sunday to enjoy my family and not worry about having to get up at 5 am to run! I am learning new things about myself through this journey, just as I did when I first started running. It's neat how that works. I'm learning new things about my spritual walk as well. God shows up in some really neat ways on those runs. Sometimes it's through the nature of the morning. Sometimes it's through the quiet. Sometimes it's when I really feel like quitting. But He's showing me new things through this experience.
 I'm still loving my job. That's not something I typically blog about and I really don't have much to say about it. It's nice to not feel stressed . That's helping me in many ways. I'm getting to know the ones I work with more now and that's really good, too. All new things take time. Humble beginnings, as I have thought of them lately.
 I think I should get myself off to bed now. Usually I'll be blogging about what's on my heart. But if there's something you'd like to know, drop me a comment here. Or on my facebook page.
 Tomorrow is a new day. One more day working through grief. One more new day to enjoy as well. Taking life one day at a time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Buckwheat Baby and other random facts

Dad came over for dinner last night and it was really nice having him. I went back and forth about this blog. You see, I don't like announcing things such as "it's my birthday", but in order to talk about the depth of emotions on this day, I kind of have to say that.
 4 months ago today my mom went home to Jesus. 29 years ago today, my mom gave birth to me. I cannot go through this day without thinking about her. For one, because she's my mom...she had a really big part in this day from the start . And 2, mom LOVED birthdays, so I really miss her a lot this day.
 As dad and I sat at the table last night after dinner, we talked about mom a lot. I talked about how hard having this birthday is without her. It's another big "first" to conquer. It was good to talk about it with one who really understands how hard it is. We also talked about how much mom loved birthdays and how I know in my heart she would want me loving this day as much as I always have. Mom instilled in me the same love of birthdays. I know I'm an adult and most adults stop liking birthdays at some point; but not I. I've always been like a kid for every birthday-mine, my kids, Michael's, all my friends...I love them. I have not looked forward to this one for me. Not because of age, but because of the strong absence of mom. But i am determined to try to find the joys in it still. So today I blog about the memories I have with mom on my birthday and those sorts of things.
 I was born July 20, 1982 just after 8 in the evening. I am a buckwheat baby, as dad nicknamed me on that day. I am called that because Dad was out in the field sowing buckwheat when mom went into labor. So I became his buckwheat girl.
 I fell in love with snoopy at a very young age. So mom started making me Snoopy cakes. She made them from scratch and then she looked a picture of Snoopy and cut the cake like Snoopy's head and frosted it to be like his face. I can't even tell you how many Snoopy cakes I had. I've thought a lot about those lately. Mom also bought me a Snoopy card pretty much every year-even last year. I still have that card, and I am glad I kept it.I tried to find my pictures with the Snoopy cakes and couldn't-I'll have to dig deeper through my storage boxes and see what I can find.
 Mom always let me choose what I wanted for dinner (as well as my cake). I always chose tacos. I love tacos, but we rarely, if ever, had them, so that was always my choice of dinner. Mom made a big deal out of each of our birthdays. We always hand made birthday signs growing up. They hung on our dining room mirror. Usually I made them for the others growing up, but on my birthday, Mom made them.
 I have many memories of birthdays growing up. Lots of fun parties. But 2 of the birthdays that stand out among the others are my 16th and my 18th. On my 16th birthday, instead of a party, I wanted to go to the Football Hall of Fame. We went, and I have pictures of us there-unfortunately, mom was the one taking all the pictures, so she's not in them. On my 18th birthday, mom and dad took me to a dinner theatre. We saw Cinderella. That is a special memory I have with them, too.
It's impossible to go through this day without thinking of my mom and missing her. She was my best friend. She gave birth to me. I miss her. The day is different without her. But as dad and I talked last night, mom would want me to enjoy this day, so I am giving it my best. I could write pages and pages on this. I am not , however, looking for sympathy for this day or for extra birthday wishes. I am just sharing why this day is so hard for me, at the same time as being one of my favorite days.One day at a time...and this is a big day to take in slowly and one minute at a time.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Don't....because "I am"

Today as I was running, I had these thoughts pop into my mind, so I decided I'd put them down in my blog. It may seem angry to some, but I'll tell you now, these are not angry statements. I am passionate. And you will probably hear my passion come out through these words. I didn't discover some of my passions unitl the last 4 years or so, which is typical, i guess, to discover passions in your mid 20s. Anyway, literally, these statements came into my mind today.
-Don't tell me I can't run a full marathon-it's not your body or your race or your journey.
-Don't tell me all the negative marriage statistics-I have a commitment I am keeping, through thick and thin.
-Don't tell me I'm stupid-I just need to make my own mistakes and learn. That's how I grow.
-Don't tell me my beliefs are empty-I have only survived hard times BECAUSE of God.I will not force you to listen to me or believe my beliefs. I will pray for you. but don't tell me mine are empty.
-Don't tell me I'm fat or I've gained weight-I know that. You don't know my circumstances.
-Don't tell me depression is just an emotion that you can change-You are not walking in my shoes. It's not just as simple as saying "ok, I'll change my attitude."
-Don't tell me just to breathe or get over it if I am having an anxiety attack- you have no idea how much I hate it and would love to be able to just breathe through it and be done.
-Don't tell me I can't-with God I can do all things!!!
-Don't tell me to be over my grief-my mom was my best friend and life is different and there will be a lot of moments I will mis her and cry and be sad. Let me. It's how I will get through and eventually be stronger. and maybe be able to help someone else through something.

-I am Rachael Elizabeth Ferguson McKinney.
-I am a wife.
-I am a mom of 2.
-I am a runner.
-I am an employee .
-I am passionate about fighting cancer.
-I am a farm girl at heart.
-I am a woman, not a child.
But most importantly, and do not miss my saying that this is the most important identity I carry...
-I AM A CHILD OF GOD. and He loves me. Regardless of my grief, my screw ups, my bad moments, my sicknesses, my bad days. He loves me when I have good days, when I work hard, when I run with the passion of remembering that this life is a race for the ULTIMATE prize. He teaches me to be  a strong independant woman, at the same time of being a respecting wife and leading mom. He holds me when I cry and understands my sadnesses when no one else can. I am His child. Forever.

I have some other things to say. Things that are on my mind strongly about my mom the last few days. But for today, the above thoughts are what I need to say and leave be. I'll post again tomorrow. Stay tuned for "little reminders."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Today I dedicate my blog to the pains of training.
 73 days to go until my first FULL marathon. YIKES! Roughly 10 more weeks of training. I am kicking it up a notch again. At least I am trying to.
 some days I get discouraged. I hear comments like " are you sure you are going to be ready?" or..."wow, that's all your running right now? That's not a lot." or even things like " you better pick up your speed if you want to finish in the time window."
 It's very true that I am not fast. In the months leading up to, and the months since mom's death, my training has not been at it's best. But if I've ever been determined to finish something, it is now. And I figure, if I completed a half marathon 2 weeks  after mom's death (which I did, very emotionally), I can and will do this full marathon. I lost a lot of ground in my last several months. But I didn't lose my love of it.
 Those comments get me down pretty often. Sometimes they even make me reconsider and doubt my ability in what I am doing. I have my own plan, I don't follow a typical training plan...mostly because my life doesn't fit onto a pretty page or a into neat little box to do what most do when training. I make it work for me and my life. And for the most part, I am doing this on my own, which is even more difficult. I also get some really encouraging comments...ones such as "it's your race, your pace. don't let others get you down. It's about you and not them." or things like " you can do it, Rachael. Who cares what your time is? You are doing something many people will never be able to say they've done."
 What it boils down to is what I want to do, not what others say or don't say. Sure, encouragement helps. But really, it's not about that. This is about me and my journey. I love to run. I hate getting up at 4 am. But I love the results. My body is no longer losing weight with it, but that's a different story that I will not launch into. Running a full marathon is part of my grief process. I carry mom with me every step of the way in this. Some have said, " Why can't you just do the marathon one day? Why does it have to be so soon? Why does it have to be this one?" But it is really hard for me to explain. It's just what I not only want to do, but what I need to do. I'm just being honest. This blog isn't a complaint session, it's just talking about my journey a little more.
 I am scared to death of this race. But I am also excited about it. i won't win first place. In fact, I may very well be one of the last to cross. But I am doing this and it's a good, healthy  event for me. I am going to be adding swimming once a week as cross training. I am an awful swimmer. I don't think I could actually save my life if I needed to. But I have a "coach" who is going to work with me. It's almost embarrassing to admit that, but also, it's humbling. And it kind of excites me.
 And speaking of races, the process of planning my 5 K in mom's name to benefit her scholarship is under way. Details to come.
 Tomorrow is Thursday and I get the pleasant surprise of getting to sleep in an hour later because of a change up at work. However, I think I will use that time for a good run. Probably hill repeats. LIke I am always saying, it's all about one day at a time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Storage boxes

We live in a small apartment. Having owned a home in Florida, moving to an apartment was quite a change. We have a storage unit in order to hold all our extra things that don't fit into an apartment. Sometimes I wonder about those things in storage-if we don't have them in our apartment, are they worth keeping? But yet, sometimes those things are like precious treasure, that is quite beautiful once rediscovered. I "rediscovered" a beautiful gift yesterday.
 I opened a box and found some precious memories that made me laugh and cry, both. I found my graduation on VHS. We don't own a vcr anymore, so I watched it at my dad's. It was a gift to hear my mom's laugh on that VHS tape. And hear her voice. Lately, I've longed to hear her voice. I didn't expect to find it inside a box. The kids enjoyed watching the tape as well. It also had my grandparents on the tape, who have also passed. That brought a smile,seeing them and hearing my mom's voice again. Later in the box, I found some old notes mom had written me during my one year of Bible college. My mom loved to write. She loved cards and letters and things along that line. After mom died, I'd recalled many notes she'd left in my lunches over the years. I wished I'd saved them, but who could've guessed or known?  To find all these things written on sticky notes was a precious gift I will hold onto forever. That boxed item brought tears. I carefully read each note. I remember that mom had given me a package and in that package was an envelope that held a sticky note for each week. A piece of peace my mom was passing my way each week while I was many miles away and she couldn't be there. Each sticky note has a verse on it. Some were about God caring for me. Others about His provision . Others about anxiety. I could "hear" mom's voice through those notes. Almost feel her hugs again and hear her prayers for me. I'd forgotten all about those, but the memory came back like yesterday. And I am so thankful I saved those notes. Mom's favorite verse was Proverbs 3:5-6, and she lived it out. That verse was on one of the cards. It is "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." Some days when I miss mom so much it hurts, I read some of her favorite scriptures. That one is one I've known all my life, but reading it now , it holds much deeper meaning. Not just beacuse it was mom's favorite. But because I feel her..but even more... I feel God speaking to me through it. I held onto that verse when I decided to leave Starbucks. It was a tough change, a tough decision for me. But I trusted Him and did not lean on my understanding of what I'd known for nearly 4 years. And I am so glad I did, because I am so much happier in that change. Another verse was "cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you." I hesitated and hesitated to share something. But when it came to my mind more than one time (more than 2 or 3 even) I decided to include it in my blog today. And when I read the verse on the card, I felt touched to the core. You see, I struggle with anxiety. And not even just anxiety, but depression . This could really include a blog in and of itself. And I probably will elaborate on it a little more one day. Yes, I am clinically diagnosed with depression. Sharing this with the world wide web is a very scarey thing for me It's not something many christians talk about. But a man i have deep respect for (JH), and a woman I deeply respect (JP), who are both christians and live their faith out day by day in amazing ways, and very real ways, also have depression. They were the first christians I ever heard talk about it. And I learned that we allhave our own struggles, and God helps us and loves us through those struggles. No one is immune to depression. And it is something that often times has to be treated with medication.  Sometimes anxiety comes with it. There are people out there who want to fix me ro want me to not have to take medication. And maybe someday that will be the case for me. The dr. seems to think so. But even when that gets "fixed" there will likely be somethingelse . That's what a spiritual journey is. There is always something to improve or fix. Just some things are different. Some are more easy to fix. Some can't be and that's why God gives medicine and drs. Some get better and then something else happens . It's different for every person. Anyway, I've learned so much through this time of struggling with it. But reading that verse strikes me at a new level. God is still using my mom to teach me. I never told my mom about my depression. I don't have a good reason why. Mostly because I 've not shared it with a lot of people . I was embarassed about it for a long time.Yet here I am sharing it with the world , if any person chooses to read it. God used JH and JP in my life through their journey of depression and struggle with it, to allow me to know it's ok. And so maybe now He'll use me in some way to help someone who reads this with their struggle. Or maybe it'll just help otehrs to understand me better. Either way, I have  and am learning to cast my anxiety on Him each and every day. Thank you, mom, for teaching me that all my life. And teaching it even now after you are gone. So like I said, you can sometimes find precious memories inside a storage box.
 What is in your storage boxes? What's inside you  that may be a precious treasure that you are not sharing? Just's made me think. And clearly it's made me share.

 ON a different note, I will say something precious that Joseph said to me yesterday. We were at the farm and we were playing outside on the swing set. I said something like remember all the hours Nana spent swinging you out here? and Joseph's response to me was.."mommy, she's still here with us." I asked him what he meant and he said "She's with us everywhere we go. We carry her in our heart." OH, the precious reminders children bring. and how profound of a 7 year old to say that.

I think there are a lot more things I want to share. Actually, this blog took a way different turn than I'd intended. So what I had in my mind to write will have to wait until another day I guess. In the meantime, I hold onto the cards mom had given me way back then and thank God I came across that box yesterday.And I will continue taking life one day at a time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July. A month of remembering.

I forgot how much I loved to run at 5 am. Yesterday my alarm went off at 4 something, and I groaned, not wanting to get out of bed; but you see, afternoon runs just aren't working out for me. So I decided I have to do it early in the morning during the week or it won't happen. It has to happen because I have a full marathon in 80 some days. The run was amazing and just what I needed. No, I didn't break any time records or even go really far; but I started out my day achieving a goal I'd set, and that felt good. It also just felt good to run. Sadness has creeped back in, and running does wonders for that. I felt like I was on cloud 9 all day. Strange how running does that for me.So I guess I'll be getting up with the birds least a few days a week. I hit a wall about 3 oclock, usually, but coffee helps that a lot :)! I'm thankful I discovered running. I will never be the world's best....but I am still doing something I thought I never could and something that I love. How many people can say that?
 Work served as a distraction from my grief for a few weeks. Lately, though, grief has served as a distraction for other things. The loss of mom still resonates deep in me. I am sure it always will. I have to remind myself it's only been 3 months. It's just that for a couple weeks, I didn't think on it as much, or I didn't allow myself to, I'm not sure which it is. The last week though has been pretty tough in that respect for me. I miss mom so much it physically hurts. I wouldn't wish her back for anything, but some days it's so hard not having her here. I am in a new season of life- a new job, new people , new discoveries, new opportunities. I think that makes the hole deep -not having mom to share those things with is hard. Hard is not even an adequate word for it, but it's the best term I can think of to put down here. Today is July 1-it is my brother's birthday . In fact, it is birthday month for our family-my 2 brothers, my sister, and myself were all born in July. I wonder if maybe that's part of missing mom so intensely right now. How can one have a birthday and not think of the one who gave birth? Mom always made birthdays a big deal. We weren't showered with lots of presents, but we got things we wanted usually. Mom always made cakes just how we liked. She always made each of us feel special, which was a big deal to me, growing up in a house where we really could have just had one big party and been done with it. But mom made each birthday significant. I'm sure I'll blog more on that in days to come .  I was thinking about when we moved here about 4 years ago in 2007....
 The other night I was helping a friend pack for her move to New York.  I do not want to say goodbye to her-she has become a special friend to me. That made me think about goodbyes. And it took me back to our move in 2007, when we moved here from Florida. I did not want to move at all. In fact, it was pretty miserable for me. Sharing all of that journey would be a whole blog in and of itself. Maybe one day I'll share some more of that story. The brief version is, we had to make a decision best for our family, and moving to Ohio was the best decision, like it or not. I can remember like yesterday packing boxes and saying goodbye to the only home we'd ever owned. I remember sitting with my best friends-Casey, Karen, Lisa, and not wanting to leave. I was so angry, and I could not understand why God would move us to Ohio. I am so thankful now that He did. I got some precious time with my mom I never wou ld have had otherwise. So did my kids. They became as close with her as I ever could have wished. I wouldn't trade it for anything. God always knows what He is doing, and I remind myself that now as I miss my mom so deeply. I thought that time was the hardest time I'd ever gone through; it was pretty miserable, I won't lie. I had a really hard time adjusting to being back in Ohio. But mom became my best friend. I wouldn't trade it for a day. And now I can say I've gone through (am going through) a harder time than moving was. The loss of losing mom is much worse than leaving Florida was-at least there I can still visit or talk with old friends.
 Some people say that I should be over my loss now and moving on. Some people don't say much of anything because they don't know what to say. Some people just quietly ask how I am doing and then move on. Some people....very few....continue just to be  a quiet presence, not really understanding my loss, but being there for me anyway. I say I am my own unique person and I just have to walk through this. I am fine. I will get through this by God's grace. I just need time. And one day at a time is all I can do. Really, I have a lot of blessings to count. I am really excited about a new opportunity I am working on, and it helps me process my grief somewhat. The University mom went to (Cedarville University) has created a scholarship in mom's name. The scholarship will be going to a nursing student studying cancer. Dad and I have decided we want this scholarship to grow and become a larger one, and an annual one. So I am working on organizing a 5k in mom's name, and all proceeds will benefit her scholarship. this will take place in October. What better way for me to process grief than to put running and mom together? After all, she was my biggest cheerleader. I am really excited about this endeavor. Who knows what new opportunities it will lead to? And I am excited to raise some money in mom's memory to go to a student in need of it studying to fight the ugly disease. Stay tuned for more details on this....I am excited to share more.
 In the meantime, I will continue taking life one day at a time. Today is Friday, July 1. I will celebrate my brother today (my little brother ! :) ) I will remember mom. I will enjoy it being Friday. And for the first time in forever, I have a 3 day weekend without asking off for it!!!  It's going to be a good day. It's birthday month-so I am remembering my mom even deeper right now. But it is a great way to start out a new month! Happy birthday, Tim! Happy July to all! Here's to a new day!