October 30 2019

Requirements, Transcripts, and Dual Credit, Oh My!!!

Just in the last week, I’ve had at least 5 phone calls from parents inquiring about either what the requirements are to get into college, how to put together a transcript, and/or everything related to dual credit.  Since my goal is to make these posts short and sweet, I will address one of these at a time.

Let’s start with requirements.  According to Texas Home School Coalition’s website (THSC), there are just a few requirements one must meet to legally home school in Texas.  Below is what is listed on their website.

 According to the Leeper case, the only legal requirements to home school in Texas are:

  • The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
  • The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
  • The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and good citizenship.

However, if your child is planning on perusing a career which requires a degree or a certificate, one must look beyond these basic requirements.  The best thing I recommend you do is contact the school where your student(s) would like to attend, find out if they offer that particular degree or certificate, and find out from them directly what their admissions requirements are.  I would even go beyond that and ask them to direct me to where on their website I can find that information in writing!

As you can see on the images I have included here, there are course and test requirements for admission.  For the sake of keeping this short, I have only included Baylor, Rice, and A&M. While they will all be slightly different, I personally had my kids aim for the one with the most requirements.  This way, you have all your bases covered. While A&M does not require any social sciences, Rice and Baylor do. I personally require my students 4 social sciences in high school because they will more than likely be required to take them in college. Having taken them in high school will increase their chance of doing well in those classes.


What about electives?  Yes, the more you show your student can handle a heavy workload and do well, the better his or her chance is to get accepted into a college, university, or trade school.  The great thing about electives is that you get to choose, or at least your student gets to choose, what to take. This is so important, for it gives them the opportunity to explore areas of interest and find out if that is something they really want to peruse in life.  These interests could range from being a hairstylist or a mechanic to becoming a doctor or an engineer! One is not less or greater than the other. We need them all! The goal is to provide your student with as many opportunities as possible to explore their interests to help them narrow down the path they would like to take.

I know there is a lot more to be said here, but I promised I would keep it short and sweet.  I will be hosting a seminar on this soon, so if you are interested in attending, please let me know in the comments below and I will update you as soon as I have a date and time.

Next week, we will be discussing transcripts!  See you then.

October 21 2019

Life Interrupted

Most homeschool moms dream of having a week, heck, a day, go as planned without any interruptions.  I know I am not the only one. Unfortunately, life happens! Sometimes a sickness, an injury, a natural disaster, or someone in need will completely “mess up” your plans.  At this time, we have a choice on how we see this “set back.” We can choose to say, “I have to _____,” or we can choose to have joy and say, “I get to _____.” I get to take care of my child.  I get to have the opportunity to help someone or simply listen and pray with them. Having the right attitude and perspective is everything and an example for our children. If you know me, you have heard me say, “It could always be worse!”

At this moment, my youngest daughter has experienced a knee injury during Tumbling & Trampoline Team practice.  We have had to take time out to see an orthopedic doctor, to take x-rays, to get an MRI only to find out that the MRI machine was down at the facility where we were referred, BUT praise God another facility not too far had an opening, and we took it.  Praise God we have insurance. Praise God we live in an area where these imaging facilities are almost everywhere and praise God that the injury is not worse. Yes, she cannot practice nor participate in any sports for the next 3 weeks and will need physical therapy for the next 6 weeks, but that’s nothing!  It could always be worse. I have a friend whose daughter has been recently diagnosed with a pretty serious autoimmune disease that will more than likely require some lifestyle changes. Another sweet friend reminded me today of how much worse this situation could be as she shared with me about a 13-year old girl who is having her leg amputated at the knee because of bone cancer.  So, yes, it’s inconvenient for my daughter to be on crutches. Yes, it takes her longer to do everything. Yes, I have to help her with a lot of what she does during her daily activities which of course puts me even more “behind,” right? However, this is only for a little while, and we are not facing a more serious diagnosis and procedure.

As I reflect on my day today, I am most thankful for the many people praying for us on a daily basis and extremely thankful to be reminded of real-life examples of how this is only temporary.  In the meantime, I will remember that God is good all the time and trust in His word because “We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.”  Today, I choose joy even though I am tired. Today, I choose to say, “I get to serve God by serving my child.”

What interruptions have you faced lately, or are you facing right now? I’d love for you to comment below, so I can pray for you.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

October 6 2019

Where Did The Time Go?

My oldest has graduated from college and is on her own, my second is in college, my third is now in high school pretty much doing everything on his own, and my fourth is in 5th grade!

I never imagined this is where I would be when I started to have kids. Never did I imagine I would be a stay-at-home mom, MUCH LESS a homeschool mom!!! Looking back, I wouldn’t change a single thing. It has been and continues to be a long, challenging, and many times, frustrating journey, yet, so extremely rewarding. 

If you are at the beginning of this homeschool journey, I want to encourage you that, while it’s not easy, it WILL produce fruit. Yes, it is scary at times, and I cannot tell you how many times I wondered if I was completely screwing up my kids. Well, I am here to tell you that with God’s grace, I didn’t screw them up too badly. In one of our homeschool yearbooks, I once read, “God does not call the equipped. He equips the called.” It’s true. Equipped for teaching I was definitely not. I have three years of college under my belt, but no college degree. Something else I heard or read somewhere was that God does not want our ability; He wants our availability.

I still have a long road ahead of me before I am retired from this homeschool journey on which God called me to embark approximately 19 years ago, but it feels like it’s going so fast, too fast. While I am looking forward to spending more time with my husband, alone, just the two of us, I am also sad to be ending this chapter of my life. I think what made it too real was this last weekend when my 9th grader attended his first high school dance. Seeing him all dressed up and looking like a young man made it real. In just a few more years, I will have only one child at home. Crazy, right?

Moral of the story: The old adage The days are long, but the years are short is so very true. Cuddle with your babies every chance you get. Hug them and tell them you love them every time you see them. Take each day as an opportunity to serve God by serving them. After all, you are raising the next generation of disciples. Just sayin’!

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March 19 2019

Has It Really Been 6 Months?

Yes, life has been crazy and I have not had time to make an entry in 6 months. A lot has happened! Yes, we will continue with the Marie Kondo method of tidying up, but since many of you have asked about my health, I’ll start there and get back to Marie Kondo later this week.

On October 4, 2018, an embolization was performed on the right renal mass. At the time they were able to cut off over 90% of the blood supply to the tumor making this procedure considered successful. Of course, we wouldn’t really know until my follow-up appointment in February.

February 11, 2019, came, and I was eager to find out through a scan if the tumor had shrunk. Good news is that the tumor was almost undetectable! Praise God! I am certainly rejoicing in that and thankful that I won’t have any spontaneous bleeding. The bad news is that a tiny tumor was found on my left kidney. When they looked back at the original CT scan, they could indeed see it which means it had not changed much in a year. That was also good news. So for now, we will take a look at it again in about a year to make sure it has not changed. The really bad news, however, is that when they were checking my vitals, my blood pressure was through the roof! I am talking high enough to freak the nurse out. She took it several times on the same arm, then she switched arms but no change. She even tried a different machine. She wouldn’t even let me look at it. She kept asking me if I was nervous and how I was feeling. The crazy thing is…I have NEVER, EVER had high blood pressure. EVER!!! Because I had NEVER EVER had blood pressure issues, I didn’t even know what normal numbers were. At one time it was 184 over 113. Yes, I now know that is stoke range!!! They kept asking if I had a headache. Well, yes, I had been having a headache, but I blamed it on the pollen. I mean, every surface is green around here. My white car is green. My driveway is green. EVERYTHING IS GREEN. So, I assumed the pressure I felt in my head and my eyes was from the pollen.
So…long story short, I’m on blood pressure medicine until my doctor figures out what is causing the high blood pressure. It could be a side effect from the embolization. Who knows. I go in next week to see a specialist and hopefully I will know more then. In the meantime, I just live life to the fullest and enjoy every day because you never know.
God is good. If the high blood pressure was caused by the embolization, I’m ok with that because I’d rather have something that can be controlled with meds than a tumor that can bleed at any moment and cause severe hemorrhaging.

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September 6 2018

Moving on to Chapter 2!

I invited you to join me on the journey of decluttering back in July!  July!  It’s now September!  Really?!?!  I am not giving up.  I’ve seen improvement, and for that, I am thankful.  Life happens…trips, kids, school, moving kids to school.  Holy cow!  I must be super old.  I have two kids in college now.  It’s all good.

First, an update on my health since so many of you have asked.  I’m doing great and feeling great.  Back in March when I first went to MD Anderson, the doctor gave me a few options on how to deal with this tumor on my right kidney, all from as drastic as removing the entire kidney to simply keeping an eye on it.  At that time, I chose to just keep an eye on it.  The only risk with that is spontaneous bleeding which can’t be prevented, so I was told to continue doing whatever I wanted to do, but that I needed to not ever be too far from civilization where an ER could easily be located just in case.  It was also highly suggested not to travel outside of the country, much less to a third-world country where medical care may not be as accessible.  Well, the idea of not being able to go on a last-minute mission trip, hiking in remote areas, etc. was disappointing, so the next least drastic step is to get an embolization.  In August, my follow-up took place, and the embolization was scheduled.  Oh, yeah, and while I was at the follow-up visit, they mentioned that neither the tumor nor the nodules in my lungs had changed.  What?!?!  Nodules?  What nodules?!?!  So, now I get to visit another department at MD Anderson.  Genetic testing, here I come!  Yes, there’s a possibility I may have tuberous sclerosis!  What the heck?  That appointment is set for September 24.  In the mean time…I was supposed to have had the embolization August 31, but on August 30 when I went for pre-op testing, a UTI was detected, so it was cancelled.  I am thankful this was found before the procedure, especially after the surgeon explained to me how dangerous this could have been.  Once again…God is good!  Now I am taking antibiotics and waiting to hear from the Intervention Radiology team to reschedule the procedure.  Your prayers are appreciated!  This UTI needs to clear up before surgery.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program…Chapter 2!

As I stated in previous posts, the art of tidying up according to Marie Kondo must include discarding!!!  If we continue to organize the clutter we have, it will quickly be unorganized again, and the cycle will continue.  Somewhere in chapter 2, I remember reading that the decluttering stage could take months!  The key is to have a plan, a goal, a “why” we are doing what we are doing.  My plan is to work on decluttering every Friday while my kids are at Super Friday.  We’ll see how that goes since that is also my only time to visit with other mommies.  My goal is to have significantly less things that are of no use to me or my family, things that only clutter, not just our space but our minds.  My “why” or my reason is that if I have less stuff, my house will stay picked up more and it will take less time to clean which hopefully will mean that I will have more time to spend with family and friends.  Something that really resonated with me from chapter 2 was this, “…focusing solely on throwing things away can only bring unhappiness.  Why?  Because we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”  Kondo goes on stating, “I had been so focused on what to discard, on attacking the unwanted obstacles around me, that I had forgotten to cherish the things that I loved the things I wanted to keep.”


What about you?  What is your plan,  your goal, and your “why”?


July 22 2018

Stuck in The Closet and Bedroom

I don’t know about you guys, but Marie Kondo’s life seems to be a lot different than mine, and I would guess most of you feel the same.  I may be completely wrong and misunderstanding her, but I am getting the message that if her method is not followed completely, then we will not succeed.  I personally think that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.   I am sorry, but I don’t have that close personal relationship with my clothes that she talks about, especially my socks.  I don’t have the need that drives me to fold them a certain way so they can “rest” while they are in my drawer on holiday.  I said this before and I will say it again.  I am taking all this with a grain of salt and applying this method to many areas of my life, but not all.  She has a lot of great points, but not all are for me.

I am stuck, stuck in my closet.  It is nearly done with the exception of my husband’s side.  I am not one to throw away other people’s belongings with the exception of  things that are obviously trash like gum wrappers, old receipts, etc.  Soon, I will be moving into my bedroom and start some decluttering there.  The main reason why I was stuck in my closet is because life has been happening.  With four kids, even though two are adults, a husband, three dogs, a cat, and lots going on every day, it’s been hard to find time to declutter.  I am taking it slowly, but I am not giving up.

Where I have seen the biggest difference is in Kylee’s room.  My friend came over and helped me declutter her room.  By the way, it’s easier with a friend!  I was surprised by how much Kylee voluntarily wanted to get rid of.  Since then, her room has remained a lot more clean and tidy.  Why?  Because there’s not as much stuff to scatter everywhere thus making it easier to tidy up!!!  She recognizes it too, and that’s the best part.  She sees the value in having less, and only keeping those things that she truly loves and enjoys playing with.

Something else I’ve learned is that minimalism doesn’t just look different to everyone, but it’s also not for everyone.  Some people are not overwhelmed by having tons of decorations and stuff all over their house.  For me, it’s overstimulating and overwhelming.  I can’t do it.  Now, that does not mean that I don’t appreciate that person’s taste in style and decor, but what it means is that I cannot live in such place.  We are all different, and that is okay!

By the way, one of my favorite sub titles in chapter one was “Storage experts are hoarders.”  I sincerely think this is true.  So much time and money can be wasted on storage systems only to organize things that we have not used in over a year nor will we ever use!

I am curious… what did you all learn from chapter one?  What did you apply, and is it working for you?

This week we will read Chapter 2 and share what we have learned and what has been working for us as we apply these methods.  Until then, keep reading, keep decluttering, and keep living life to the fullest!


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July 8 2018

On The Journey, Chapter 1

So, did any of you get the book?  Just in case you need the title:  It’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Japanese Art of Decluttering And Organizing.  On my last post I promised we would go over chapter one.  Here’s where I am.  Marie Kondo suggests starting out with your clothes.  I did.  Unfortunately, she suggests you do it all in one sitting.  Well, the problem I encountered is that I only have pockets of time.  Normally, this would discourage me, but this time, it did not.  This whole week, I’ve been taking a few minutes here and there to go through my closet.  This will take me a while since I only have time to go through 5 or 7 pieces of clothing at a time.  To make matters a little more difficult, this week, our church is doing VBS.  I’ll be tied up all morning every day and exhausted in the afternoon, but I am not giving up.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned in chapter one.  It was eye opening to read, “The general assumption, in Japan at least, is that tidying doesn’t need to be taught but rather is picked up naturally.”  Kondo explains how that cannot be farther from the truth and I agree.  Just because your mom is tidy, and you grow up in a tidy home does not mean you will automatically know what to do.  I know this personally.  The state of our home affects us in so many ways.  Just like food, clothing, and shelter are basic necessities, so is the state of our shelter!  Here is a HUGE one for me.  She talks about rebounding.  It is so frustrating to me when I spend so much time and many times even money on organizing a space only for the space to end up a huge mess again.  The problem I’ve had is that I shouldn’t just organize.  I should be getting rid of everything I no longer need nor brings me joy.  Why spend the time and money organizing stuff I don’t care about or need?!?!  After all, “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved,” but we know in reality it’s just hidden, waiting to explode!  I love that this book is forcing me to look deep and figure out my WHY and that, “Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination.”

The only part I found goofy is that I should be taking care on how I fold my socks because they need to rest.  What?  Really?

As with anything that is not the Word of God, I will take it with a grain of salt, apply what will work for me as well as for my family, and hopefully learn from it.


One very important lesson God has taught me is that minimalism looks different to different people and that is okay!

What have you learned this week?

*All quotes came from the book mentioned above.

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July 1 2018

Want to Join Me on My New Journey?

Many of you who know me know that several events have happened in the last year which have caused me to look at things from a fresh perspective. There was Hurricane Harvey, my in-laws downsizing and selling their dream home, a personal cancer scare, extended family dealing with cancer, another kid going off to college, and on and on. This is one of the reasons why I have not updated this blog. Summer is here. To many of us, summer means time off from school and daily schedules, time to do fun stuff and catch up on the stuff we feel we are way behind on. As a home school mom, the three Rs still continue in our home through the summer (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic). Yeah, my kids don’t like it, but oh well, too bad!
So what’s this new journey? I am embarking on a journey to implement the KonMari Method in my life.
As a home school mom, I am at home, but I am working from home; therefore, sometimes my home gets, not a little, but way out of control. In the past, I would just tidy up here and there when necessary, but what really changed my perspective were three major events:
First, there was Harvey. People lost so much in a matter of hours, if not minutes. So many things were gone in the blink of an eye. Today, almost 10 months later, people are still rebuilding their homes and some are living in hotels.
Second, there was my in-laws moving to downsize. There were so many things they had to get rid of because they would simply not fit in their new home.
And third, my cancer scare. This made me stop and think about how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. My kids are always telling me they want me to finish scrapbooking all our pictures, but I never have time to do that because I am always busy.
So, after diligently praying and seeking wisdom from others I respect and look up to, I feel the Lord is telling me to simplify my life-my schedule and my stuff. This means I will find a balance and will have to decline the opportunity to do anything that adds to my schedule, thus making my anxiety worse. This also means that I will need to declutter my home. Notice I didn’t say organize my home. This is the first thing that spoke to me from the book by Marie Kondo. The truth is, we can spend tons of money buying the prettiest, cutest, most trendy organizational units, and we can spend hours organizing our stuff, most which we don’t need, only to come to the realization that eventually we run of room and we are off on our way to purchase another storage unit to make it all fit.
Well, there you have it. Want to join me? If so, get the The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.  If you are an Amazon Prime member you can get it within two days.  Get the book, read the first chapter and we’ll discuss at the end of the week.

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March 19 2018

Do You Trust Me? No, I Mean…Do You Really Trust Me?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight  Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the many of you who have faithfully been praying for me since the moment I found out I had an abnormality on my right kidney.  As I stated on my previous post, it has been a roller-coaster ride to say the least.  Who would have known that going to the doctor for an annoying bladder infection would have me end up at MD Anderson.  Well, according to Dr. Karam whom I saw today, that is exactly how most kidney tumors are discovered, through accidental findings.

After analyzing my biopsy slides, MD Anderson confirmed that I do not have cancer.  The tumor has been diagnosed as angiomyolipoma which is benign.  In about 1% of these cases, this tumor could turn malignant, but due to the properties found, mine will not.  The biggest risk with this tumor is bleeding.  If this were to happen, I would just need to go straight to MD Anderson if I can get there or to the nearest ER, and they will transport me from there.  Dr. Karam suspects this tumor has been there for years, maybe even 20 years or more!

There are ways to treat this, but unfortunately the risks outweigh the benefits.  The best thing to do for now is monitor it.  It will be a every few months at first.  If there are no changes, the time between each monitoring session will be longer.  The treatment with the least amount of risk is embolization.  By cutting the blood flow to this extremely vascular tumor, the tumor would be expected to shrink and die.  I will do this if a trip outside of the US is in our plans because  it one thing to have this tumor start bleeding while I am less than an hour away from MD Anderson, but it’s another thing to have this happen when I am no where near a reputable hospital.

I am praising God for this outcome.  Oh, how I know it could have been a lot worse.  At the same time, I am exhausted, not of praising Him, of course, but of the waiting, the wondering, the not knowing.  I cannot begin to explain how tired I am.  There are so many beautiful things that have come out of this, and because of these things, I would go through the anguish of thinking I have cancer all over again.  God has shown me through so many of you that I am not alone, that no matter what comes my way, He is there embodied in family and friends.  You, my friends and family, have been such a testimony of what the body of Christ looks like.  Through this experience, He has also allowed me to understand others who are going through an illness such as cancer.  While I was already praying regularly for these friends, I now find myself praying for them more often, more fervently.  What a privilege it is to come to the feet of Jesus on behalf of others.

Diving deeply in His Word, I gained peace, a peace that truly surpassed all human understanding.  The more I read His Word, the more I would feel God asking me if I trusted Him.  “Of course I trust You, Lord,” was always my response, but it was as if it was not good enough because I felt Him asking me, “No, do you really trust me.”  Once again, I would say, “LORD, I trust you.  You can do with my life as you please, but please don’t let this be cancer, and if it is, please let me live at least until I graduate Kylee, and she’s off in college.”  I was obviously not getting Him because I so sincerely felt him say, “No, no, no.  What I mean is do you really, trust me?  Do you trust me the way Abraham trusted me with Isaac?”  It was then that I knew what He was taking about.  It was then that I shouted, “Whatever my lot, it is well with my soul!”  It was then, on February 28, 2018 that an enormous peace came over me even though I had been told I had sarcoma.  And it is today that I rejoice in what He has done, and will continue to do in my life.


March 4 2018

Please Keep Your Hands and Feet Inside the Vehicle at All Times

One of my favorite things to do is ride roller coasters, especially while holding my hands up in the air.  It’s such a thrill.  Does that count as not keeping my hands inside the vehicle at all times?

Just as I learned in life it was more fun to ride roller coasters holding your hands up, I have also learned to ride life holding my hand up in the air toward the sky, toward my God while praising Him, even if…  I am not completely sure where I read this, but I remember reading somewhere that it is hard to receive God’s blessing with closed fists.  Blessings are poured on us everyday, but we are only able to receive them with hands wide open.  And that is what I need to be ready to do even if…

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a biopsy performed almost two weeks ago.  This last Wednesday, my urologist called me to inform me that the tumor I have is malignant and that it had been diagnosed as leiomyosarcoma.  She told me she would be referring me to MD Anderson.  They would determine the stage of the cancer and the proper treatment.

Just the night before, on Tuesday at Bible study, this quote spoke to my heart, “Be willing to obey God in anything He says, and be willing to thank Him in anything He sends.”

The hard part now was going to be sharing the news with our parents, but especially our children.  Conveniently, Kendy would be coming down from school for spring break this weekend and we, Marcus and I, would share the news with all four kids at the same time.  I prayed and asked God to give me just the right words when telling my kids that I have cancer.  I asked many friends and family members to pray with me, and boy did I feel their prayers.

Thursday was filled with lots of phone calls and paper work for MD Anderson, but it was also helpful that Kiernan had a baseball game and Kobe had a track meet.  The kid’s activities helped me keep my mind off the cancer and enjoy the beautiful weather with the kids.  By the end of the day, however, I was exhausted, both physically and emotionally.

Then Friday came.  Friday was a roller coaster ride kind of day.  My urologist called me to tell me she had gotten word from the pathologist that the findings were inconclusive and the tumor could be benign.

“Wait!  Are you telling me I may not have cancer after all?” I asked.

“Correct.  But because of the uncertainty, we need to have another pathologist look at your slides to confirm,” she stated.

Oh the joy that came over me with the thought of the possibility that I may not have cancer after all.  I was praising God as I was on my way to pick up my kids from their Friday program.  I immediately called Marcus to tell him the news.  With every friend I ran into, I had to share the news.  I just had to.  We shared tears of joy with many.

That afternoon, Kendy came home, we ate dinner, and shared the news with the kids.  I will say it was much easier to tell them with the hope of the possibility that this tumor may indeed be benign.

For now we wait; but in the mean time, we are grateful for every second we have together.  We will enjoy our week together as a family, a week filled with school, baseball, track meet, rodeo, and many other fun activities.  Until we hear the new pathology report, that is all we can do: wait.  We will cease striving and instead be still, knowing He is God!  Psalm 46:10 (paraphrased).  When the results are in, we will take it from there.

I either never had cancer to begin with or my God, Jehovah Rapha (The Lord Who Heals), has performed a miracle and has healed me.  However, even if the pathology report comes back and confirms the tumor is malignant, I will continue to praise Him, for He is Sovereign, He is Almighty, and I am no one to question His will for me.  He never promised it would be easy, but He did promise He would never leave us nor forsake us.  I know if cancer is what I am facing, He will be there holding my hand every step of the way, and I will continue to raise my hands high in the air as I ride this roller coaster with my palms open, ready to receive His blessings.