Managing Great Expectations This Christmas

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With Christmas approaching I know a lot of parents are looking forward to watching their little one’s faces lighting up on Christmas Day.

Looking forward to seeing real pleasure, joy, laughter and the magic that Santa brings.

But I also feel like we need to make sure our expectations are not too high. 

We have threatened them with Santa all month; asked them to wish for things they want; got them to really focus on toys, presents and gifts for themselves, whipped them up into a frenzy…is it any wonder on Christmas Day that they may be expecting more?

There are people who rip the presents open eagerly, sometimes before Christmas and then there are others, like me, the pleasure-delayers who enjoy the built up element of surprise and wait and wait until finally the last present is opened…and then get that sinking feeling.

It’s really all over.

Another year to wait. A month (or two)  of prep and cash (!) gone in a day.

And the kids… they are still learning to manage expectations and haven’t quite got their poker faces on.

So there may be tears. 

There may be angry faces. 

There may be crossed arms and huffs and puffs. 

It’s normal.

If you are like me and freak out that you have given birth little spoilt brats then please understand it took me awhile to understand this too. It is our fault.

All that asking and santa talk and present buying – we have taught them that this is normal but have not properly managed their expectations.

We need to start talking to them about the excitement of the whole family being together, get them whipped up into a frenzy about the food, about the gifts to be given and let them focus on the gifts they have opened before making them open another.

We rush them. We hurry them up. We STRESS them out. Somehow we are teaching them that the joy is opening gifts and not the gifts themselves.

So this year to minimise my stress and theirs I vow to:

Buy less but give more. More understanding, more cuddles, more love. 

Buy more experiences, less things. I would much rather a holiday or a night out than things I don’t need so hopefully I can start teaching my kids the thrill of looking forward to these type of things and the joy that anticipation can bring, plus the event itself. 

Give generously – we may adopt an animal from the Zoo as a gift for example – a way of pleasing the child and giving to a good cause. We may also donate a load of old toys to those who need it more than we do. 

Slow down. Christmas is not a race and my little munchkins will be allowed to go at their own pace.

Put away in storage a load of their current toys so that they can enjoy their new ones without bits getting lost before they have even really begun to use them.  

So this Christmas let them play to their little hearts are content ….tell the relatives you’ll be late…because you are watching the magic of Christmas unfold. 

Are You All In?

Life is messy, crazy, fun, tragic, entertaining, boring and should be a great big adventure…the adventure of discovering who you are and what your life’s purpose is….along the way loving wholeheartedly and embracing what you like and how you want to live.

If you are stuck in situations that are not making you feel joy then you need to assess what’s happening and how you got there.


Love to travel but haven’t left the country in ten years? You might want to downgrade the mortgage, bend  rules about only going away during school holidays and book something in….even if it’s a year away.

Believe in love but find yourself at loggerheads with your husband and constantly complaining about him? Invest in your relationship, compromise, talk about your issues, go on date night, get intimate but most importantly change your mindset – think constantly about how much you love your husband instead of thinking how annoying he is.

No me time because your a Mum? Book some things in for you and do it…I bet you say yes to every party your kids get invited to and your husband still gets to golf….so do it…value yourself enough to focus on what you want.

You get one life. This is NOT a dress rehearsal and we don’t know when this ride is going to come to an end.

So what do you need to do to change your life?

Own your choices

No one made you take that job that you hate. No one has a gun at your head making you keep the huge mortgage. Your kids are another choice you made.

Own them and if they don’t make you happy, make other choices. Get help with the kids, change your routine, quite your job, move house, see a financial advisor – work it out – don’t just complain and make yourself miserable. Everything in your life right now is happening because of decisions and choices you made.

Be honest

It’s scary as hell being honest. Owning up to breakages, mistakes, errors in judgement and telling people things that they don’t want to hear. Honesty.

I was forever ducking and weaving the hard questions – essentially not being who I was, I was pleasant, agreeable and who other people wanted me to be.

Or so I thought but being honest, being true to yourself is ultimately more attractive to the people you really want in your life.

The other lesson here is let others be themselves. By all means tell them if it makes you unhappy – that you won’t be able to live with it and let them decide but don’t do it to turn them into something they are not. Don’t stifle them.

Be All In 

You married him. Complaining about your husband is not helping the situation. Talk to him – explain your feelings – and hear him out. You may think you do everything but I can guarantee you between work, finances, spending time with the kids and trying to be happy himself – he thinks he is doing everything too. Comparison can be a bitch. You are pissed he is not doing the dishes like everyone else’s husband but what you are not considering is that things that he does do that others don’t. There is never one side to the story.

Why not talk about the good things he does? Tell him? Appreciate. Your thinking starts to change and when your thoughts change your life changes. Believe me.

Another example of being all in is accepting your choices and rolling with them. If you hate your job but you love your house and are not willing to reduce your mortgage size and you need the job then do what you can. Speak to your boss about flexi-hours, a dfiferent role, more/less responsibility and then own the choice. Go to every workday happy because that is how you own the home you love.

Roll with the Punches

There are some years that are hard, busy, stressful but life goes in cycles. Buckle down and do what you need to do with the hope of unfolding a path to your dreams.

This year I had a baby, emergency caesar, a baby in hospital twice, we bought a house, are selling a house, are renovating a new one and we are dealing with three gorgeous boys, two who are a little bewildered by the pace of the changes in our lives.

I’m on little sleep and am riding out the year with juices, take-away food and coffee. It happens.  I am surfing the waves to my dreams and it takes balance at the moment not to crash.

I’ve also struggled with not being able to follow every dream I want to but sometimes its best to focus on one dream at a time and then just live your life in harmony.

I’ve found out I am happier that way.

Which leads me to my next point

Let life unfold at it’s own pace

Stop pushing. Stop stressing. Put the worry and the busy down. You don’t need them. Focus on this week, this day, this hour, this minute. Whatever makes it easier to deal with. Sometimes the big picture is too overwhelming and makes you want to give up and crawl back into your shell.

For example if you want to sell your house worrying and stressing will achieve the same result is if you were slightly more chilled about the whole process. It will happen when it is meant to happen.

Be in this moment.





I’m so grateful I made these beautiful choices :)


Don’t Worry – No One Has It Together

Comparison is the thief of joy.


There is nothing more disheartening than comparing someone’s success/fortune/body/outfit against your own.

Because in your mind, your world would be perfect if you could just achieve that… perfection… like they have.

What you don’t think of are things like; they might not be as financially viable as you; they may look together but there house may be a disaster; they may not be in a loving marriage; their heart may hurt at night after hearing stories about their children from the nanny.

We can’t step into someones shoes and just take the good.

Because perfection does not exist. What does exist is contentment.

How do you achieve contentment?

Stop judging. Stop comparing. Start complimenting. Start being grateful.

Because everyone is human. You may think some are just lucky but everyone is lucky.

Or everyone is unlucky depending on how we see ourselves.

The person you are bitching about because they snapped at you in the store has gone home to nurse a sick child and has been up for three days straight.

The person you think has everything you ever wanted would love to be snuggled up with a partner who cared about them, just like you are now.

That women with the kick-ass body has had three fertility treatments so far this year, and none of them have worked.

We won’t ever know another person’s story. We won’t ever know all their troubles, struggles and worries because these are not the things put forth into the world.

We are not given a badge that says:
Although I am size 6 ; I’ve lost a child
Although I am good with words; I am laughed at for my lack of common sense
Although I look like I’ve got it together; I was upset this morning because some days I feel like I can’t get anything done
Although I look serene with my children and we are laughing ; I yelled at them so much the other day that we were all crying

Do not use my words to feel guilty about your thoughts.

Use them to propel you forward with appreciation for your life and an immense kindness and understanding in your heart.

Photo by Dana Gallop Galleries

United in Motherhood?

Keyboard warriors and internet trolls are not just teenagers or bitter old ladies with nothing better to do with their time.

They are out there and they are amongst our motherhood.

In fact instead of bringing us closer, social media seems determine to categorise and isolate us.

I will say though I have had nothing but an outpouring of love and unity on this blog and on my facebook page and I want to thank each and every one of you for that.

It’s so easy to judge.

It’s so easy, with the stroke of a few keys, to hurt someone else.

It’s so easy to let your differing opinion cloud your judgement on what is, and what is not appropriate to say to someone.

It’s easy to think that some of these bigger sites court the controversy, and to be honest some do, but I have beautiful, honest friends online with massive followings who are mothers like you and me; who sit alone, behind these keyboards, putting their knowledge out there (mostly) for free, in their efforts to change the world.

I know for a fact that cruel words hurt them.

It’s not water off a ducks back, it is an attack and they take it personally.

I wonder what is behind the need of these other mothers to write these nasty comments and if they go away and think about it later. Do they feel shame or vilification that they have tried to take another Mother down a peg?

A very very popular Mother’s site wrote an article recently tearing apart “smug” mothers who don’t dole out pain medicine to kids. Not only did it try to isolate and shame mothers who did this but it was clearly written that this mother believed her way of dispensing medicine was the only way.

At the very heart of this article however I believe there is a very unsure Mother, who wants to believe her path is the right path, because she wants to do the best for her children. By tearing apart others she is breaking the very motherhood unity that the site was (originally) intended to create.

It is so easy to get lost on this path of motherhood.

I believe we are all one in wanting to do what is best for our children. Full stop.

We have differing methods of parenting because we are all individuals and unique, as are our children and circumstances.

If we don’t like what a site, facebook page, blog is promoting we should unlike it and move on.

That’s not to say I don’t love a good discussion and a differing of opinions – just keep it kind, keep it informed and keep it non-personal.



What To Do While Breastfeeding

In this day and age of business and go, go, go…it’s hard to sit still.

It’s even harder if you have toddlers and pre-schoolers running around.

I smashed my phone yesterday while feeding and getting up to grab my phone to answer the call from my child’s school. They wanted to know why I hadn’t told them he was absent. I smashed my phone, picked it up and then asked them to check their answering machine.

That’s not a worthwhile exercise while breastfeeding.

Neither is wiping your child’s bum, answering the door or trying to make dinner. But it happens.

Sometimes I get bored.

I’ve had enough of social media, no one else is emailing me and i’ve ran out of diseases that my family now has, to google [FYI just this week it was bronchialitis, UTI, possible febral seizure (thank God it wasn’t), tonsillitis, conjunctivitis, throat infection and ear infection]

My reality TV obsession has run dry. I don’t NEED to watch Kardashians, Guiliana and Bill and Fashion TV like I have in the past, so TV is not something I turn to.

Books are awesome. Ipad’s are especially good for reading at 3am.

But when you are in between books…what should you do?

I find meditation amazing.

Like today, I popped a Deepak and Oprah guided meditation on and blissed out:

For 2.5 seconds.

After that I heard, “Mama are you sleeping?”

“Cashews.I waaaaaaaant cashews.”

“Can I have cashews?”

“Can I have another app?”



“I wannnA NANA”


To say I was relaxed would be simply an understatement :)

So in short, you do what you have to do. You use tools at your disposal, you take it moment by moment and you try and come out the other side with your sanity in tact.

We are all in this journey together. Let our souls touch in recognition of our sameness and put a stop to judgement. 

I love this little mantra below and I also love the fact that you are reading this and I bet, nodding along.


The Strength In Parenthood

It’s hard to put into words how terrifying the last week has been for me.

My mind jumps when my stomach starts to turn – to avoid thinking about what could have happened.

My baby Elijah, just seven weeks old and still teeny tiny, was admitted to hospital after a terrifying episode at home where he was not responding to me, had a high temperature and looked so ill that even the thought of it now brings me to tears.

Luckily all is well and the Doctors and Nurses at the children’s hospital did an amazing job of getting him better again.

As I sat by his bedside in the hospital and thought of all the other Mother’s and Father’s here at the same time, going through similar things or worse, it occurred to me what amazing strength we are given the moment we become a parent.

The moment that precious bundle is gifted to us with no guarantee of a smooth ride, we become imbedded with this incredible desire to protect and nurture, gaining strength and confidence with each day that passes.

In fact the more you love, the harder it is to unclench your stomach and release control, in an effort to keep them safe.

So should we be walking around with an encyclopedia in our head of what could happen and worry about all the things that could go wrong?

I don’t think so.

I believe that the more you think about something, the more you attract it to yourself.

Instead of concentrating and worrying on what will happen with Elijah now, in a house containing a hotbed of germs from his two older brothers, I want to concentrate on how happy I am that he is well.

How happy I am that he is feeding.

How happy I am that he is sleeping well.

How happy I am that he can smile at me – the most beautiful thing you will ever see.

Come what may, we will get through it, because as parents we have strength in reserve, we have faith and we have love.

That’s how we can go on.


How To Be A Perfect Parent

With my husband in Brazil…yes you heard that correctly…I have been stepping up the parenting of late and I’m thinking I deserve some kind of medal *:

Here are my learnings:

  1. When your child yells, “I am stuck!” and you find him in the toilet…with only his head and hands visible….you pull him out.
  2. When it’s dark and you step in a puddle, you must refuse to think of what it might be…even if you are in the toilet.
  3. Children are meant to be free, if they want to be “naked dudies”, even in the death of winter who am I to get in there way?
  4. When you tell your two year old he will not be having his seventh banana of the day and he goes, finds a stool, pulls a banana out of the fruit bowl then walks around eating it whilst you feed the baby….you let it go. Even if he does cackle at you and wave the forbidden banana in your face.
  5. Why wouldn’t underwear go on their head? It should have been totally obvious that they were the well known super-hero “underwear head”.
  6. Wine, even with all it’s toxicity and dangerous ability to make you see the lighter side of life,  is a necessary evil in parenting alone and one that must be indulged.
  7. When your husband is away and your child eerily talks about his death…listen to the rest of the sentence before panicking….as it will end with, “When Daddy is  99″.
  8. Do not get annoyed that EVERY time you sit down to feed your little one, another child yells out “wipe my bum”…they obviously genuinely believe that you are always available to them for this purpose…even if they have been doing it themselves for a year.
  9. If you scream “sit down when you eat your dinner and do not get up and dance!!” on repeat …. no one will take any notice so save your voice.
  10. Time out is the place where screams and cries get louder and more annoying…it is also the place to slip out of before Mum notices and then laugh. Also it’s quite the spot for peeing. They never quite know they need to go until they get in there.
  11. The time consuming task of putting your children to bed with a story, a talk about gratitude and the promise to check on them is highly rewarded when you notice your five year old staring at you in the lounge-room below  from his bedroom window…for over half an hour.

And last but certainly not least…..

Next time your husband says, I’m going to Brazil, you send the children with him!

* My parents are staying with me and I have had a ton of help from my in-laws :)


The School of Life

When you step back and look at your life what do you see?

The usual?

The big picture – your career, your family, where you’ve travelled, things you’ve accumulated, love you’ve given, love you have been given?

I often think about this for a feel good burst of happiness. Wow. Amazing. Heart warming. Exciting.

But day to day…

If you step back and look at your life what do you see?

Is it full? Are you laughing? Loving? Smiling? Playing? Resting? Actually having a bit of fun?

It is so easy to get caught up in other’s needs…even if you know better. Even if you’ve adjusted your life to be more ….you.

I find kids…with their changing needs and amounts of attention…disruptive to my own harmony.

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Sometimes I feel righteous, throwing off my needs to give my baby the best pregnancy, running around my oldest to give him the best experiences and ensuring his friendships grow and I find that with a toddler it’s hard to write, it’s hard to get to a yoga class and it’s all too easy to stay in at night and get to bed by 9pm.

And stepping back, looking at my life with a clearer eye (now that my baby is five weeks) I can see that I’ve been missing that zest for life, the laugh till you cry opportunities and  the FUN.

Last week I went to a party…bringing Elijah…and I danced, and laughed and felt free.

Yesterday I (got off my butt) and actually organised something – reached out to a girlfriend and went for a drink on a beautiful sunshine-y afternoon.

Today I stopped thinking about getting a personal trainer to help me get back to yoga, running and exercise and started actually putting the idea into motion.

Today I wrote something.

And I sit here and remember a line from a quote that my girlfriend sent me

“Logic doesn’t produce magic.”

So I urge you to stop being cautious, sensible and over-thinking things.

Just live, laugh and have fun. 

But remember not to judge yourself for being who you need to be in the moment. 


How Do You Know When You Are Done?

After four pregnancies in five years, painful varicose veins, the blessing of three healthy boys and an unexpected caesarian…I’ve given a lot of thought to this question lately.

Is this it?

Have I met my family?

I’m so lucky. So blessed. So happy to have been given my three amazing boys and a gorgeous husband to help rear them with me.

But how do you know that you are done?

How did you know?

This time around, for me, the magic of pregnancy wore a little thin….

This time around I can’t wait for Elijah to finish using some of the baby things so that I can pass them on….

This time around the newborn stage is….just as magical. The nights are long and the days even longer but the precious cuddles, the snorting, snuffling sounds, that baby smell and the teeny, tiny little clothes are heart fluttering.

….and the love.

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My heart is just bursting with love for him and my other two kiddies. After you have your first child you just can’t imagine that you could feel the same for any other little person that comes along. But you do. Your heart swells and grows and accommodates.

But this doesn’t stop the fact that the days are long.

Yesterday I couldn’t seem to get on top of anything.

Yesterday Leo needed some attention, but the amount of doing that had to be done before I could give him some, seemed insurmountable.

There was:

Breakfasts and a packed lunch to be made. 

Homework (which we had neglected to do on the weekend) to be done. 

Bags to be packed. 

Five year olds to be dressed. 

Sheets to be washed (that’s what happens when you forget to put an overnight nappy on your two year old) 

Nappy’s, grobags, wraps and outfits to be removed and washed after a poo explosion

Showers to be taken

Babies to be fed

Clean up of the house to be started (a never ending job it seems) 

Washing piles to be put away

So…… temporarily, he was in the playroom watching TV.

Or so I thought.

In actual fact he was upstairs getting into my husband’s hair wax (two jars of it) and using it like a putty. Realising he could’t get it off his hands he started wiping it….onto the couch, onto the carpet, onto the glass, door handles, clean washing and anything else in his vicinity.

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Oblivious to all this I was feeding downstairs and it wasn’t until he yelled, “Mum I peed” (to which this did not refer to him doing it in the toilet) that I noticed he wasn’t where I thought he was.

Cue screaming, time-outs, a half-hearted clean up and a good friend walking in the front door to take some newborn shots of Elijah.

I truly believe that stressed Mummy = stressed kids.

My placid, dream baby spent the next hour or two winging and crying, to be fed constantly……let’s just hope that Dana Gallop Galleries got a better shot than this one I took on my iphone….

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Plus Leo was bouncing around trying to get some attention and some shots of himself.

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Getting them both down for a sleep in the afternoon was hardwork but I did it!!

As I patted myself on the back and prepared for my own sleep I realised that it was nearly 2:30pm and my five year old would be back in half an hour.

No rest for the wicked.

And so I soldiered on.

I tried to online grocery shop but couldn’t focus.

I tried to fill out some paperwork….couldn’t do it.

I tried to think of some good afternoon tea for the kids…nope.

So I gave up.

I snuggled up on the couch with the kids and went to bed as early as I could.

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And so….am I done?

One day doesn’t change things. You get up the next day and the sky seems bluer, the laughter more vivid and your focus sharper….

but I think once I get to properly mourn the end of this beautiful, life-changing era….

I will be done.

How about you? When did you know? What helped you come to that decision?




An Alternate Birth Plan

My baby has been born.

Not quite brought into the world as planned but that shouldn’t matter.

It’s not like I had a birth plan.

In fact, I was asked that very question on Wednesday, at my pre-admission appointment.

“Birth plan?”


“Do you have any requests for birth?”

“Like what?”

“We’ll just leave that part blank then.”

I wasn’t playing dumb, I just didn’t know what she specifically wanted from me.

We had a plan. My obstetrician and I…and anyway I am a go with the flow kind of person. I didn’t have an epidural in the past but I’m open and I didn’t want a water bath/time in the shower etc…whatever happens happens.

This is after all, my fourth time doing all this.

It was a planned induction.

After the stillbirth of my second baby, both my husband and I and my obstetrician were very aware of what losing a baby felt like.

We lost Sophia at 33 weeks but reasoned that as soon as the baby was developmentally ready, at 37 weeks or so, we should induce to get him out. It’s safer that way. Its easier on us psychologically and we were able to schedule in help for our boys while we were in hospital.

It worked a charm with my third baby. They induced me at 7am and after two hours (established) labour he was was born at 2pm, safe and well. Much to our immense relief.

Even if it did hurt.

Delighted to be in that delicious world of love and all things newborn I bounced back, and left the hospital happy and well three days later.

So the plan was there I guess, this time with baby number four,  no reason to doubt a deviation of the plan. I had considered letting myself go into natural labour but it was a scary thought and an abnormal trace on foetal heart monitoring during the week blew any thoughts like that straight out of my head.

My birth plan, if I had one, was to have a live baby in my hands at the end of all this. My amazing little boy.

So once again, on a Friday morning my husband and I found ourselves arguing about time management and the fact he never gets anywhere on time. I distinctly felt a sense of dejavu as I yelled, “I’ll just drive myself there and you keep doing your hair!”

15 minutes late we turn up at the delivery suite, nervous and excited.

And then we waited.

The team at St John of God are so amazing. We had the same mid-wife that we had with Leo, coincidentally our neighbour. I’d asked if she was working but she wasn’t. Luckily she got called in that day and assigned to me.

We chatted and laughed our way through most of the day, despite the fact that there seemed to be very little happening and slight concern over the baby’s heartbeat when we cranked up the syntocin (used to get me into labour).

At 3;30 with no sign of a baby she left for the day and we got our lovely new mid-wife who had high hopes of seeing a baby born during her shift. My obstetrician asked me if I would get an epidural. He felt it would help my pelvic floor muscles relax more and maybe get things going. I agreed to go with this advice and felt quite relieved as I wriggled around pain free, realising this meant that the birth was going to be so much less painful than my past ones.

Much, much later, as my second midwife handed over the third shift at 9:30pm we started to get worried. Worried that the baby wasn’t liking any amount of syntocin. Worried that the baby didn’t like it when I lay down (there goes any chance of sleep) and worried that my obstetrician, who kept popping in, looked worried.

We agreed to stop it all overnight and try and get some rest. Starting again in the morning when we were fresh.

Fresh was going to be a problem.

Every time I lay down and closed my eyes the mid-wife would come in and shake her head. Baby not happy.

So I sorted out a sitting upright sleep and the next time I opened my eyes it was 1am. My obstetrician was standing in front of me in his trackies. They can actually log in from home and get updated on the stats so he had been checking and was not happy with how the baby was going.

Fear washed over me as I realised that he was here to do a caesarean.

I said to him, “Your not here for me right? Are you checking on other patients?” As he shook his head my husband woke up and I looked at him, trying to hold back my tears.

I guess it was a casesarian then.

Trying to learn from the stories I had been told of my girlfriends who had emergency caesars, I tried not to panic, just letting everything that needed to be done, be done.

I was asleep on the table.

They woke me to show me my baby being born and my husband, who was holding my hand the entire time, and I just looked on in amazement.

He was here and he was perfect.

I closed my eyes again and minutes later I was handed my beautiful bundle. Daniel and I took turns holding him and then they wheeled me out, letting me feed him for the first time.

We named him Elijah.

The next day as the full impact of the pain hit me I admit I was thrown.

My attitude had changed and I resented the painkillers, the fact I could hardly move and my poor little organic baby being fed my breastmilk, which would contain the drug cocktail.

When the pain got too much I realised I was being stupid to try and manage without anything.

I topped myself up too quickly and the world turned upside down.

I’m not good with painkillers. Most don’t sit well with me.

I hate being out of it and that feeling of not being in control. My family and close friends were talking to me, handing me gifts to open and it all felt very surreal.

The next day I found the balance of pain relief my body needed so that my head was clear and I could start to move around.

I was still feeling sorry for myself but I have enough tools in my arsenal now to turn that around.

….and when I finally did (day 3) the sun shone again.

How blessed am I to have a perfect baby? There are so many worse things than some painkillers and a caesarian – I’ve known them first hand.

And that’s how we pick ourselves up.

That’s when we acknowledge our strength to go on in this world and recieve all the blessings that we are entitled to.

That’s how we allow ourselves to be happy after tragedy and enjoy each moment as it comes to us.

We deal with our present.

Not our what if’s.

And we choose happiness.

Photo by Dana Gallop Galleries

Photo by Dana Gallop Galleries


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