Many hours of my childhood were spent swinging on this swing. 

 childhood memories

You see those monkey bars behind me? They gave me calluses on the palms of my hands that never fully went away. 

Those monkey bars also held up donuts, tied by string, for several birthday celebrations and Halloween parties. 

I have laid on my back so many times underneath that big old tree you see (a tree I remember planting with my mom) watching the clouds float by in odd shapes, listening to the wind rustle the leaves..... just like it is this very moment. To this day the sound of the wind rustling thru the leaves is my favorite sound of all. 

And that house you see.... that's the house that built me. From age 6 to 18 I called it home. 

I helped build that little shed to the side of the house with my dad. It's where I had sleep overs. And where we housed multiple guinea pigs that my dad entered in state fairs. 

I loved that backyard, & this park directly behind. So many nights spent sleeping outside on the tramp. 

 grateful for the hard times

Summers spent playing baseball everyday in this park with the neighbor kids, like a scene out of Sandlot. 

And then, this is the house where my parents met Jayson. I can remember exactly where I was sitting on that back porch when Jayson and I first talked about marriage. 

It's so easy for me to remember all these wonderful memories as I sit on this swing. 

And it's such an odd feeling because I can also clearly remember how sad I was as a kid. The unexplainable depression that I couldn't quite shake away. 

So many times I prayed to be happy, for a relief from the depression. I didn't understand with so many obvious blessings, why I felt so sad. 

But you know what? Looking back I can say with full sincerity- I'm grateful for it ALL. The good times, the hard times, the childhood/teenage depression. I know it's all been for my highest good.

 especially the hard times, are for my highest good.