2017 was honestly one of my hardest years… for whatever reason, it was like reliving 2013 all over again. Maybe because of the similarities of Gabriella’s year to Christiano’s last year with us. Maybe because of the many losses, disappointments, or maybe just because I miss my boy so very much. 1,529 days is just too long for a mother to go without seeing, kissing, or hugging her child. It’s crazy though. As I sit here and reminisce, I can’t help but see God’s hand upon our family. For one of my children to make it to nineteen… that was huge. When your oldest goes to heaven at eighteen, it’s really hard to imagine your younger ones getting older than him. It’s both beautiful and really hard all at once. I had to fight the thought every single day that I would lose another child, and I had to fight just to envision my kids getting older. I can’t even begin to explain what Gabriella’s 19th did for my faith. Now we have two that are the age of our oldest in heaven. In July, Chris and I were installed as youth directors at our church. One of the last serious conversations Christiano and I had was about FCC. He told me that he felt that Chris and I had a big part to play there. So, when we were asked to be the directors, it was both amazing and heartbreaking that he couldn’t physically be there with us to see his words come to pass. Gabriella graduating made us so proud, and when she went to college and finished the semester with honors – we were even more proud. Again, this is something I never got to experience with Christiano. As her seventh week of college passed, and I still got to hug her, feed her, and just be with her, I felt so beyond blessed. Yet, it caused me to yearn for all the moments I was robbed of with Christiano. It just never ever goes away. Nate literally has his same voice and Brian his sense of humor. Again, a blessing and a hunger pang. Each end of the year, I have such hope for the future… just as I did in 2012 and even in 2013. But, life has not been what I expected – like ever… so, this year, God has given me the word FEARLESS. I don’t know what 2018 will bring, but I know that God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. So, I’m going out fearless in 2017 and stepping into 2018 full of faith, hope, and expectation. I plan to love those who have hurt me, pray for those who have used me, and bless those who have cursed me. I will love fearlessly and give God my ALL in 2018! I’m excited to be working full time at my church starting Tuesday, and I’m ready to serve His house faithfully. God Bless you, all. May 2018 bring you the best.

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