Gratitude Attitude

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” -Luke 11:9-10

November always nudges me and reminds me to be thankful. Maybe it’s because we are 3 months into school and I look back wondering how that time passed so quickly. Maybe it’s because the leaves changed colors and it’s a little crisper out (actually expecting snow later this afternoon). Maybe it’s because a small vacation from work is within reach. Whatever it is, I am trying to wake up with a “gratitude attitude” this month. A few weeks ago as I was watching the Ellen Degeneres show while on the treadmill at the gym, I heard something that has been popping into my mind every morning. Ellen was interviewing Steve Harvey. He explained how he was not always in the position he is now. He also explained how being thankful is the key to his success. He wakes up every morning and for at least the first 5 minutes, he thanks God. “Thanks for waking me up today and giving me another day of life. Thanks for 7 hours of sleep last night. Thanks for coffee that will get me through my morning.” Whatever it is, he thanks God. I am trying to take part in this practice. It can be hard (especially on Monday mornings), but it really does put into perspective how blessed I am. God gives abundantly and deserves some thanks. Speaking of that, here are some of the blessings and happenings since the last time I wrote….

  • Nick and I attended a San Fran 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams football games a few Mondays back. It was a late night for a Monday but still cool to see the players we watch every Sunday on TV, play right in front of us.
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Let’s go NINERS!
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fans 🙂
  • Our close friends out here, Ellie and Kurt, tied the night in late October. We went to the Blumenhof winery before the wedding and then headed to Kurt’s family’s property for the wedding. It was gorgeous! The reception nearby was a blast. Congrats guys!
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My go-to girl since touching down in MO.
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My stud of a date!
  • Then mama Spach flew to St. Louis and we made the 5 hour drive together to St. Charles, Illinois to spend the weekend with Aaron and Jess. We did some shopping and eating and then celebrated baby Spach to be at Jess’ shower Sunday morning. Can’t wait for my niece’s arrival sometime in December/January!!
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Baby shower day. ❤
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Oh my word. Love this DOG.
  • Next it was Halloween time, Nick’s favorite! We didn’t actually dress up at all this year but we did go to Fright Fest at the nearby 6 Flags. The 4 haunted houses were freaky. Then we went to a mystery theatre dinner with Nick’s old roommate. It was so much fun and Nick was the bailiff in the show.
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Fright Night faces!
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Fall decor in my house and the walkway outside of my school! Gorgeous colors.
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A drink before the mystery dinner theatre!
  • In the kitchen, I’ve been trying to keep things interesting and easy. A recent go-to is this super easy chicken fajita bake. Thaw 2-3 chicken breasts and put in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover with a packet of taco seasoning and then cut up peppers and onions and layer on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 45 min at 350 degrees and voila!! Delicious fajita makings made easy.
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Chicken fajita bake prior to the bake!
  • I also branched out and made lasagna soup in the crockpot. A different spin to one of my favorite dishes. This was tasty and warm for a chilly week.
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I am especially grateful for all 5 senses during the upcoming holiday seasons–the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touches of this season are special. I attended a 3 day conference this week for work about working with children with visual impairment. It was so interesting to put on visual simulator glasses and try to read braille and just think about what the world is like for those who don’t have total use of all their senses. Lots to be thankful for…7 days of work left until Thanksgiving break but who’s counting? Until then, trying to keep my gratitude attitude afloat.









“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”-Jeremiah 31:25

It is pretty hard to believe that the first quarter of the school year is wrapping up next week. This means lots of progress reports and lots of reflecting on progress (or not) made with my students over the first quarter of the year. It also means reassessing my approaches with a few students and looking for other ways to reach them. Needless to say at this point, I am also feeling a little wiped. Thankfully today and tomorrow are inservice days at work without students. I find myself needing to take a step back and remember that I am not solely responsible for the kid’s success/failure each day. God will refresh me for the upcoming 3 quarters of the year and will continue to provide and be present in my therapy sessions with these kiddos! On the regular, my time spent with the kids doesn’t go as planned but I know that they are learning and taking away more than just speech and language skills from our interactions.

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An attempt at a communication board for a few of my nonverbal kiddos!

In other news, the weather is changing and cooler temperatures (and occasional nasty storms) have reached Missouri. Another attempt from God to refresh! The skies have mostly been gorgeous out here, along with sunsets and the trees changing colors. Snapped this on my drive home from work the other day!

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Ahhh! How gorgeous is that!

Recent weekends have been relaxing and packed with football (WE ARE!). Two weekends ago Nick and I went into the city with our close friends, Ellie and Kurt (who tie the knot next weekend) and we got to see the Eli Young Band for a cheap 10$. It was a really fun night in the city with good music and friends.

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Cheese at Ballpark Village.
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Quick snapshot with the band truck. ATTENTION: Nick is smiling. Nick is smiling. This does not happen often!
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Nick, myself, Ellie and Kurt. Grateful for good friends out here!

Last week, Nick won 4 St. Louis Blues hockey tickets from his gym. We took Ellie and Kurt along with us for the game. Our assigned seats were way up in the nosebleed section but since it was a pre-season game we took advantage of open seats closer to the action. It was very exciting!

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Hockey games are intense!!

Finally in the kitchen, I have been obsessed with all things pumpkin (cookies, bagels, coffee creamer, pasta, ice cream).’s a problem how much of a sucker I am! I have been whipping up tacos once a week and they are so satisfying. I heat up black beans and corn in one pan and then turkey burger in another! I have been using plain greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute and adding fresh avocado on top. Just looking at this picture I snapped makes me hungry for tacos all over again.

Taco taco taco!

As this week wraps up, I will continue to look to God for refreshment! And I will continue to embrace all things fall (and pumpkin)!

Bittersweet Summer Begins…

My first year as a Speech-Language Pathologist, track coach, Missouri resident and living on my own is crawling to an end. 3 more days of work and I will be PA bound for the summer to spend time with family and friends and for wedding related activities for two friends. Time flies when you’re BUSY! The past few days around here have been strange for me. First off, Nick left for the Dominican Republic on Saturday with our college friends for a week long vaca. Darn those snow days or I would be soaking up the sun with them. But not having him here for my last weekend before the summer has been strange. I have done a lot of little things on my own that I wouldn’t usually do such as organizing my drawers, laminating (I bought a laminator!) school projects that I’ve made over the year and making S’mores bars for my co-workers to enjoy as we wind down the week.

june1 june5 june6This past week has brought my last days with my students and my last days a track coach for the year. It was a fun week with the kids because they were all so excited. We had a water play day outside and I forgot how easily the littlest things entertain kids for hours! A few of my students brought me cute little end of the year gifts like this basket below that said “It’s o-FISH-ually summer” with a bag of swedish fish! So thoughtful. I will really miss some of my kiddos headed to Kindergarten in the fall.


The track season ended yesterday at the Missouri State Track and Field meet in Jefferson City. We traveled up early Friday morning and our athletes competed in the prelims on Friday and then the finals on Saturday. We came home with 4 state medals. Our one female senior athlete, Anna Houston, brought home 3 herself! She is in lane 3 below in the 100 m hurdle finals. I will miss these kids so much! Coaching was daunting in the beginning and I wondered if I would make it through 3 months. It was a lot of time committed but was well worth it. The time spent with the kids was something I actually looked forward to each day.  They didn’t know my first name until this weekend and one girl on the team thought my name was MARY! Haaaa..!


As the school year comes to a close, I realize how thankful I am for great co-workers. Moving from another state and starting a new job meant that I knew no one when I started. I can say now in June that the ladies I work with have become like family–sort of like mom and sister figures for me! Last week we celebrated the retirement of our one coworker with a wine and painting party. It was so much fun to be with these ladies outside of the school setting. They are always so supportive and caring and that makes coming to work each day a little bit easier.

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It’s bittersweet to head back to PA this week. Bitter because I am leaving Nick and my townhouse that has become home behind here in Missouri. Sweet because I will be seeing my family and friends who I miss so much. There is a lot ahead for me this summer–bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings and beach trips! I intend to enjoy all the little joys of summer and the freedom away from work. I know that I will be back in Missouri in a blink!!


Keeping calm and carrying on..

I haven’t posted for the past 2 weeks, which is sad to me because my goal was to blog weekly. However, the end of April and the start of May has brought an increased amount of paperwork, meetings and craziness at school and more high stake track meets after school.  It is easy for me to feel a little overwhelmed at this point because May is going to be extremely busy. Just when I started to think about all of the things I need TO DO this week, I opened up my mailbox to find a card from a friend….



This saying has been popular recently and it made me smile when I saw it. It’s my mantra at this point. Keep calm and just keep carrying on. That is what I have done up to this point and look where it has brought me…to May and the end of my first year working as a speech pathologist and living in Missouri. 4 weeks left. That is very doable.

Highlights of the past weeks include:

1.) BABY CHICKS HATCHING IN MY CLASSROOM: The local 4-H club donated 12 eggs and an incubator for my classroom (and 3 other classes) in my building. We had eggs for a week and last Monday–the eggs began to crack, peeps could be heard and a few hours later, I had 10/12 chicks! This experience was amazing for the kids to see first hand. This experience also taught me that I am not ready for motherhood-ha!! I was a nervous wreck about the welfare of these little birds.

may1 may22.) TRACK, TRACK, TRACK: We are in the final 1/3rd of our season and our schedule has picked up. The past two weeks have included up to 3 track meets and practice on our non-meet days. The exciting thing is that our athletes are doing pretty well at the right time. Today was our Conference meet and our girls landed first place. Check out our partial team photo below from Conferences.

may53.) SOAKING UP SHORT WEEKENDS: Increase in track meets have meant a decrease in time spent with my favorite guy. It has also meant that I’ve started to appreciate my time I do have with him, more. We have spent a lot of time feeding the baby ducks in his development lately. The geese just had babies and we even have a name for this one ugly goose that lives in the pond. Nick and his roommate had a lot of friends over for a boxing match Saturday night and I made some grub for the group. I decided to make dirt dessert only to find out that Nick doesn’t like chocolate pudding. (Crazy that there are still things I don’t know about him after almost 10 years??) We went to this cute breakfast spot over the weekend called ‘The Egg & I.” The pancake I ordered was about as big as a basketball. Love the real smile Nick turned on in the last picture here.







It’s funny how….. a little sunshine, an increase in daylight hours, lots of ice cream, a shorter countdown until summer and fun weekends spent making memories…. can put a BIG smile on my face. 




Easter happenings

I’m a family girl and moving to the midwest has been an adjustment mostly because my closest family member now is my brother, 5 hours away in Chicago. The move has also meant missing out on some family traditions that I am usually a part of, such as the Anspach family Easter party that is always held the Saturday before Easter at my parent’s house. I was excited this year to spend Easter out here with Nick and make some of our own traditions and memories. On Saturday, we realized the temp was headed into the 70’s and we should be out enjoying it. We headed to Forest Park in the city, where the zoo is to start our day. From there, we drove into the city to check out Ballpark Village–a combo bar/restaurant hangout spot next to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium. “Checking it out” turned into 3 hours of watching a playoff hockey game and getting pretty into it. Then we ventured to the rooftop bar “360” for the view. Throughout all of this, I knew that my family was gathered back in PA celebrating Easter together. I was sad to be missing a family gathering and holiday, but even more so I was extremely grateful for the incredibly fun weekend that I had with Nick. I called home a few times to see how everyone was doing and to let them know I missed them. But mostly, I really enjoyed my day Saturday. The new spots that we visited and the time spent with someone who makes me laugh and makes everyday an adventure, made for a pretty special Saturday. Holidays are best spent with family and are usually laced with tradition. My Easter this year was different, but it was good. Another great weekend and more great memories mostly caught on camera below.

We had trouble finding parking and ended up pretty far away from the zoo (we thought). Until we found this charming wooded trail that actually brought us right to the zoo!
Eye contact with a chimp. Loved this guy!
Chimps were one of the first stops. This guy was sitting and watching us all like we were the animals in the zoo. How cool is he?
Lions nap for up to 20 hours a day. No kidding? He looked comfy as can be lounging in the sun.
Usually the giraffes are outside and far away, but on Saturday they were inside for feedings. Their intricate fur designs and height were shocking to me! I guess I have never been so close to a giraffe before. Got to see the black tongues as well.
Inside of the giant bird cage! Blue skies and life all around.
Elephants! There were 2 babies in this exhibit as well. 
These guys were just hanging out in the water. They blew water out through their nostrils a few times which was really loud. So cool to see them from under the water, too.
We watched these guys for awhile. That baby monkey held onto his mother’s fur as she swung around. They also housed a ton of lettuce while we were watching. Spring time at the zoo is a fun time to see baby animals!
Snapped a pic at the Ballpark Village. We stopped in to check it out and ended up spending 3 hours there watching the St. Louis Blues hockey playoff game. What an exciting and energetic atmosphere!
Inside Ballpark Village
white peach sangria at 360 bar! Much deserved after our long day of exploring 🙂
My partner in crime for the day. Chicken skewers and Angry Orchard.
Coolest part of 360 is the view of the city and the view into the Cardinals stadium.
Days like this just keep getting better and better.
Back to Ballpark Village and the Drunken Fish for some sushi and sake.
After sushi, we both agreed it was time to head home. Leaving St. Louis, I turned around in the passenger seat to a beautiful sunset over the city.




Vacuums and Vino

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” -Philippians 1:3

Mama Anspach and Grandma Welsh decided to fly out and visit me in Missouri this past weekend. They traveled by every mode of transportation (car, plane, subway, train), except for a plane, on Friday to get to me. I took an extended lunch break Friday to pick them up in the next city over and PHEW, what a relief to see two of my favorite people in the world. Grandma embraces these adventures to visit her grandchildren with such energy and excitement. She hugged me like she hadn’t seen me in years! And even though I talk to my Mom almost daily, it is so refreshing to be with her in person.

Friday night we stayed in town and tried a small family owned Italian restaurant for dinner. Then we spent 2+ hours in Target. How does that happen?? Our main purchases were a new vacuum cleaner and a foam mattress pad for my bed. I acted like I didn’t need these things but Mom insisted and what a difference. No more springs poking you in the back from my bed and I can actually use the vacuum attachment to get to all of the corners of my apartment. (I must secretly enjoy cleaning?)

On Saturday, we went to Washington and walked around at the Farmer’s Market and BBQ Bluesfest. It was a gorgeous, sunny, breezy day. We then drove to one of the many wineries in Missouri wine country- Noboleis Winery. Free wine tasting and a gorgeous view! The wine tasting man insisted that I might not be 21 and carded me. I’ll take it. We tried about 8 wines before we bought a bottle and sat on the patio to people watch and chat. Love this photo and Grandma’s look of pure joy.

mom1Next we came back to my townhouse and crashed HARD. A bottle of wine will do that. Nick arrived and we went to dinner at a Mexican place in town and then saw the movie, “Noah.” It was interesting, although after watching the movie, we came back to my place and read the story out of the Bible as a refresher because it was clear that the director took some creative licensure when making the film.


On Sunday, Nick made us eggs and then we headed to Palm Sunday church. We were going to stay at my townhouse and cook some lunch before taking Mom and Grandma to the airport, but decided last minute to make the most of the afternoon. We headed to the Delmar Loop in St. Louis and to Fitz’s Brewery for freshly brewed root beers. Then we drove around Forest Park and hit up the Starbucks. The best parts of the weekend were the conversations we had and the laughs we shared. I will see Mom and Grandma a decent amount over the summer but this little visit gave me an oomph to finish the remainder of the school year. The verse above from Philippians is so true when referring to these two women. They are truly blessings in my life!




Purposeful Living

Where did March go? It’s the 26th and I feel like it was just the 3rd. Life has been busy the past few weeks with track in full swing but I am enjoying it all.

Some highlights of the past week include:

Molly Moran’s birth. My cousin and lifelong best friend, Susan Moran, gave birth to her baby girl, Molly Moran on Sunday. It’s mind blowing to me how perfect Molly is from her long dark hair to her tiny little pucker. June is seeming a little too far away right now when I have Molly on the mind.

Surviving the first track meet of the season in a flash winter storm. It snowed the entire meet but our athletes pushed through and made the most of it. Proud of my triple jump group who gave their best effort and got those first meet jitters out of the way. See below for pic of the track/field at the end of the night. Brrrr.


Exploring Meremec State Park with Nick over the weekend. On Saturday, Nick and I had a free day that we didn’t know what to do with. It was decently nice outside (the sun was peeking through) so I decided to look up if there were any hiking trails nearby. Little did I know, Meremec State Park is a 30 minute drive from my place so off we went. Once we reached the visitors center, there was a trailhead right off the parking lot where we started and hiked for about an hour and a half. The trail included 3 caves that you are usually able to explore (at your own risk) but which had been quarantined due to a rare bat condition that a lot of the bats were dealing with. Who knew? But we enjoyed winding up and down the altitude of the trail and poking around in the creek. The little frog guy below is the only living creature we saw besides birds and minnows. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and did I mention, free???



Celebrating Nick’s 26th Birthday. Nick and I have been through a decent amount of birthdays together and it’s tough to continue making them feel special. He set the bar pretty high at my last birthday so I felt some pressure leading up to his big day last week. On Friday after work he headed to my place after receiving his “Birthday Itinerary” by email earlier that week. We spent the night at the local fish fry,  then bowling and playing arcade games at the local alley and finally by opening presents back at my place. I finally committed late Thursday night to making him one of those no-sew fleece blankets. For a guy who is as tall as Nick, this meant a lot of fabric, cutting and knot tying. Nick’s reaction to seeing his superhero blanket was priceless. It was his favorite gift by far and I know it will come in handy if this never-ending polar vortex keeps sticking around.




With moments as good as these, it’s easy to be thankful for the past week. Despite meetings and challenges at work, continuing arctic weather spells and little germs that have crawled into my body and festered into a cold…life  marches on and brings pleasant moments with it. I read in a blog  that one truth to always keep in mind is that when we wake up each morning, the God of the universe loves us and intended for us to live out that day. This has been on my mind all week and is reminding me to live each day with purpose.

Wishing life away

I do it everyday. I don’t try to but it’s almost impossible not to look forward to something.

I wish I was out of work and at home relaxing.

I wish it was summer.

I wish it was Friday and the weekend was here. 

Wish this, wish that. Wishing my life away.

Taking the here and now and being thankful for it requires my continuous effort. In my last post, I talked about Little Happies that help with this. Recognizing and being thankful for the little things in my life helps me to be thankful for the here and now. As someone who works in a school, it’s impossible not to look forward to summer vacation and then wish it was June, immediately. But what about those little moments between then and now? They are a gift and I should cherish each one. Looking back and reflecting on things and people in the past is the biggest reminder to me that what we love passes in a flash so we need to treasure what is here in the present.


Throwback to 1990’s and my childhood. Living in the same house with my parents and my brother. Three of my most favorite people under one roof with me. Those were good times and they went too fast. I am sure I wished it was my next birthday or wished it was time to go to college, but I didn’t know how great life was then.




Throwback to early 2000’s when these ladies (and a few others who aren’t pictured) lived within 5 miles of me. Throwback to 2007-10 when all of these friends and I went to Penn State football games and played Loaded Questions to the wee hours of the morning. Throwback to 2011-13 when these people and I shared the awesome city of Pittsburgh together. I was so lucky at a few times in my life (high school, Penn State, Pitt) to live within a few miles of some of my best friends. I probably wished I had a job or wished I was somewhere else but I didn’t know how good I had it.

pappawThrowback to 1989-2012 when my Pap-Paw was just across the river from me and only a phone call away. I probably wished that he wouldn’t always tell me the hard but real truths and pearls of wisdom about life. But his advice was good and getting beat by him in 500 Rummy was fun and I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be so close to my grandfather.

Thinking back on these people and memories is evidence to how quickly time is passing by. Life is good. I need to stop wishing it away.

Little Happies

Little Happies brighten up your day or week. They pop out when you are least expecting them and remind you that life is good. They come from the strangest of things–sometimes people, inanimate objects or a thought that crosses your mind. Here is my rundown of Little Happies this week:

1.) A Bible verse popping out at me that perfectly describes what I’m feeling at that exact moment: The verse was James 1:5, which reads- “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.” On the particular day this week that I found this verse, I was struggling with a challenging kid I see for therapy. I kept asking myself, “What else can I do for him?” and “I really don’t even know what to try next.” I was frustrated. Then I realized that I didn’t stop and pray on it or ask God for guidance. Once I did, it gave me a sense of peace. I looked up a few new things to try, talked to the child’s mom and I now feel like we are at least TRYING to make progress again.

2.) Beef Veggie soup from a neighbor: Pictured below and that picture doesn’t do it justice! My “neighbor lady” as I like to call her lives two townhouses away from me. I haven’t seen her in months! She had a baby awhile back and went from sitting on the porch every night to never being outside. This week I happened to run into her 3 separate times and then one night she brought me this soup. So delicious.

beef veg

3.) My left wrist: A strange thing to be happy about indeed. My left wrist is adorned with a few of my favorite things by a few lovely people. When I happen to glance there at some points during the day, it’s an instant happy. First, my watch, which actually was my Pap-Paw’s watch. It’s engraved with his name on the back and was given to me by my Grandma last year when he passed. It keeps me on time and it makes me smile to think of my Pap-Paw having worn it everyday. Second, my Alex and Ani charm bangles. Two of these (the fleur de lis and T) were given to me by my good friend and roommate while overseas in Italy. The third one (daughter) was sent to me by my mom just last week for Valentines Day. Last, my chain, which one of my best friend’s from high school gave me as a graduation present (Gasp!), almost 7 years ago! It’s a good feeling to look down and feel the love on your wrist.


4.) Pirates, Argh and Eye patches: It was Pirates theme in my therapy room this week and the kids loved it. We made eye patches, used treasure maps and played “Pop up Pirate.” One little guy almost had a heart attack when the pirate popped out of the top! The real happiness here is that kids usually find the stuff that I spend the LEAST time on to be the most entertaining. I try to think of these awesome games and activities and then they really just get a kick out of the really simple stuff like being able to wear an eye patch during their session. One of the many things I love about working with kids!

5.) Warmer weather: Not much needs said here. We reached a balmy 60 degrees here yesterday and it felt amazing to run outside without gloves, under armor and frostbitten cheeks. All of the snow has melted, too! Bring on spring.

6.) My plant: Another very strange happy. The week that I moved to Missouri was a big adventure. I was really excited but obviously anxious too. While my parents spent the week helping me to get moved and settled, I realized that for the first time in my life I would be living alone. My townhouse does not allow pets which is a major bummer, but that week my parents tried to substitute for that by buying me a PLANT! A plant??? How could this be a substitute? But no, really, this plant makes me happy. It has gone from having 4 leaves in a little paper cup to thriving in a pot with long vines! It wilted away when I was back in PA for 3 weeks over the holidays but since then I have given in lots of love.

plant7.) “The Fault in Our Stars”: This story by John Green is my latest read on my Kindle. I’ve been in bed by 9 pm every night this week to read this book. It’s about two teens who meet at a Cancer Support group. It talks about love, life and death. I’ve been near tears at parts of it. I’ll probably be in bed shortly to finish it tonight and that makes me happy.