I have stopped myself about five different times today and thought, "That would be great for my blog," but then something new happens anp *poof* that idea is gone.

I guess I could explain my little banner up top?

One personal challenge just wasn't enough for me this month. Classic over achiever that I am, or I should say wannabe over achiever, big plans that don't always make it.

So I added a second challenge for myself. Or a second idea still evolving I suppose. I want my blog to have more me in it. And I realize how silly that sounds, it's a blog I write, about my much more me does it need? I wanted to put some more color. A different glimpse of who I am...and so now you have the banners.

I am not sure they will always be pictures from the day, but they are pictures I have taken and cropped into these little banners. they all tell a story. I might not always tell the whole thing, but know that each picture is solidly matched to the day.

Today's banner shows what I purchased at CVS and Walgreens. I have been hanging out on some blogs of some amazing women who know how to put a deal together. Who scan sale adds and coupons and find ways to save thousands of dollars a year.

And I have to say, it's thrilling to know that you are saving money and stocking your household goods.

I was raised in a house that had plenty. I guess we were either solidly middle-class, or possibly slightly upper middle-class. We always had nice things, my dad always had a new car and cars always outnumbered drivers. I never saw my parents struggle with a monthly budget, or even appear to have one. I never saw them save for a minor purchase. If they wanted or needed it, they bought it. They worked really hard and lots of long hours to get there, but Sunday cupons were never anything more than the pages between the comics.

I always sensed my dad even had a slight dislike for coupons. Like they would be beneath him. To the point that he didn't even like to use the old school gift certificates. Remeber the paper ones?

So here I am, a grown-up in my own right, with my own family, and my own bills. Money and budgets operate much differently in my house. There is only one income to start. We choose to have a few less extras in order to have me here with the kids. There are a few more of those too. I was one of one. This house is filled with the squeals of three...and we still can't say there won't be more.

I have come to not just use the coupons but to love them. To find delight in stretching our budget by watching the adds and making the coupon matches. It's not only rewarding, but it's a heck of a lot of fun.

So up in that banner there is what I bought to day for, essentially, free.

I matched some coupons, used a rebate, and earned store credit, and spent some credit.

Good times.

I understand that there are still two days until October but it seems strange to start a new project like Blog-A-Day midweek, and I am so excited about a silly title like Blogtober that I just couldn't wait.

October is probably one of the more interesting, if not unwise, months to start such a project but it just seems right.

Two weeks from today is my youngest daughters first birthday, and two weeks from Wednesday marks the anniversary of her death.

And while I tend to keep posts about her confined to my other blog, I am sure there will be a lot of overlap.

I miss her more and more everyday, and I wonder how her birthday will change me?

Somehow I feel like this month is going to bring some sort of rebirth for me. I am not sure why I feel that but I do. I feel like my family is growing and evolving and this month marks some further changes.

Maybe it's just this season... everything is changing, the air is turning crisper and soon we'll be spending chilly evenings snuggled up with movies and popcorn, warming ourselves with yummy cups of hot cocoa.

This season is also the same one that my courtship with my husband began and the season we welcomed three of our four babies.

I guess the fall just has it's own magic around here.

Some things to look forward to this month:

*Thoughts on homeschooling and parenting my children. The unique joys and struggles that come from spending so much time getting to know and mold my babies.

*Adventures in couponing and bargain seeking. I swear it's like a drug, the rush that comes from saving more than I spend or getting something free. (Check out the links under "saving money" off to the side)

*Random angst and silliness, often all at the same time.
It's difficult when time and prudence interfere with writing.

Right now I am watching my daughter and youngest son play with toy money and baby Star Wars figures... It's so sweet and sweet has been painfully lacking in kid interactions this past week.

I have had to remind myself everyday that Home Schooling them is the best choice for them. It's what God has called me to do with them. Because honestly...the ease of dropping them off somewhere seems pretty tempting at times.

I would miss so much if I did that though, so much of watching and being a part of them discovering new things. of helping God mold them into who He has created them to be.

In some ways I have welcomed the struggles with schooling as they have forced me to focus on something else, besides my personal tumult.

I have been in a really ugly place the last few months.

I have felt abandoned and alone at nearly every turn. I have felt confused and misunderstood. I have felt like a burden and a failure. I have pressed into God and felt...nothing.

I have wept before him and searched for His comfort.

And over all, through all, I have felt...nothing.

To go from a place where I could almost physically feel God, to standing in a desert, has been terrifying.

I know I am not alone. I know I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Of abandonment. Of isolation.

I am like the child learning to ride her bike. God has let go to see if I can peddle without feeling Him right there. I have crashed and scraped my knee. I have cried. I have sat there and refused to get up.

But I want to soar. I want to ride this bike and finish this race. I want to succeed at the life God is laying before me.

So I need to get up, dust myself off , tighten the straps on my helmet and get back on that bike.

Knowing God is right there with me...even when I can't feel Him or hear Him.

I don't relish this attempt. I know there is a good likely hood I'll be bruised again. That my scraped up knees will continue to sting as I stretch and bend them. I also know they will heal and soon the fall will be a memory and there will be healing.