Thursday, December 21, 2006


I don't think I'll get to a 1000 this year. So many times I think, "I need to write that down" and forget. I'll keep doing this in my journal, and may share occassionally. Thank you, Ann, for suggesting this journey. It has been eye-opening and life-changing to become more aware and affirm the gifts God gives me.

346. My Mom, depite the rocky issues I still have my Mom and one of my dear friends is facing Christmas without her Mom for the first time and another is facing that possibility.
347. My brother who drives me to insanity often; but again, he's mine and I have him
348. My Dad and his unconditional love
349. Weekly phone calls with my Dad
350. Dixie because she has made my Dad happy for the first time in years
351. Dad going back to church with Dixie
352. Tina (my niece)
353. Landon (my nephew)
354. Aunt JoAnne
355. Beth and Jim
356. Hospice care to support Beth and care for Aunt Jo
357. Airplanes
358. Maintenance engineers that repair wings before planes fly
359. text messages of safe arrivals
360. Skype
361. My brother-in-law, and the hope he will someday be my brother in Christ
362. Church Christmas programmes which teach the truth
363. The joy of knowing that so many in the crowd are on the verge of experiencing their "first Christmas". Praise God!
364. The privilege of understanding the real meaning of Christmas
365. Saying "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Christmas" and not worrying if the other person would rather it be just a holiday
366. Christmas lights reflecting in the lake
367. Gingerbread cookies, now decorated, on the cabinet
368. Hearing Jewel say "I really loved decorating Mommy"
369. Knowing a memory was made
370. Laughter as friends helped them decorate
371. Aromas of baking cookies
372. dipping the gingerbread in my coffee
373. orange flavoured hot chocolate on a cool morning
374. fog rolling in as if hugging the house
375. Christmas carols
376. cheap flights
377. anticipation of a holiday in Ireland
378. the blessing of a downtown hotel so a car will not be needed
379. much needed time to be with family
380. excitement
381. hope
383. a new prayer partner
384. prayers for our husbands
385. prayers for our children
386. prayers for ourselves
387. knowing that God heard those prayers and honours prayers
388. more to come...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A New Song: Psalm 96

Note: Every year in my church, members are asked to take one of the advent scriptures and write a devotion based upon it. This year I chose Psalm 96. The theme of the devotional guide was "Journey to the Manger." Today's reading is my entry. I decided to share it with you as well. Blessings all...MiPa

I took my first journey to the cross via the manger 30 years ago. I was a seven year old when I made a public profession of faith and sought to be baptized. With thirty years of practice, you would think that the journey to the manger would be easy. The songs I sing along the way I should do by rote. The path should be memorized. But it’s not. I still need to read the map of the gospels each time I take the journey. I still need a guide in the Holy Spirit to get me there. Leaders still point me in the right direction. I am still surprised by God all along the way. And He still teaches me new songs to sing.

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.” Psalm 96:1-2

The psalmist does not advise us to sing last year’s song or follow last year’s path or do what is traditional. He does not make suggestions that perhaps it would be nice to do something new. Instead he commands that we are to sing a new song. A new song about the current journey. A new song celebrating the salvation that God is bringing into our lives now. A new offering of worship to Almighty God. Why a new song? Because we are a new people. God is the only constant. We change. Our circumstances change. The specific blessings that God pours out into our lives evolve with what we need. We should not be standing in the same place we were standing a year ago. So the song of praise we could sing a year ago should not be the same song that we are singing now.

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all the people.” (v. 3)

As we grow in Christ we should be developing a deeper and deeper understanding of Him. We should be able to describe him in richer tones. The symphony of the song should grow from year to year as we add the layers of new understanding upon the old foundations. A new song that is our offering of worship in thanksgiving for what the Lord is doing in our lives.

“Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” vv 7-9

I am grateful that I am not the same person I was when I started this journey 30 years ago. I am thankful that those first notes of praise are now full with the experiences of the journey. My song is richer than it was. But, I am more grateful that the song is not finished. God is still adding lyrics. He continues to deepen the tones. And, by His grace, the song I sing next year (or five or ten or twenty years or as many years as He allows) will be new again.

This advent season, praise God for your new song….and sing it!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

IOW--What is the Spirit of Christmas?

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I really want to to agree with this quote. But I am holding back. This time of year we often hear if people would just have the Christmas spirit all year, wouldn't the world be better. By this they mean, as Coolidge states, mercy and goodwill and peace. And those things would make the world better. They are things that we as Christians should manifest 365 days a year. But, I believe we fall way short of the mark. We are just as to blame as the rest of the world for getting caught up in our little worlds and missing the needs of others. We don't care for our own or the world very well.
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

We don't act justly--we act for ourselves. We don't love mercy--we expect others to meet their own needs. And to walk humbly--oh my!
These are qualities that are desperately needed to be on display in a Christian's life. They show our obedience. They mark us as His. They set us apart.

But they do not define the spirit of Christmas.

The Spirit of Christmas is that God loved us too much to leave us in our mess. The Spirit of Christmas is that no matter how merciful, or good, or peace seeking we chose to be, we could never achieve those things without God. And God could not be at peace with us because our sin separated us from Him. The Spirit of Christmas is that God chose to do something about it. The Spirit of Christmas is that God came to us--Emmanuel! The Spirit of Christmas is Jesus!

The Spirit of Christmas is Jesus! And if we allow the definition of the Spirit of Christmas to be watered down to our attitude, then we are missing some of the miracle. I know that it is not politically correct to talk about Christmas being about Jesus (apparently that was even the case in Coolidge's day to a lesser extent). But without Jesus there is no Christmas. Acts of kindness can be performed by anyone. Only followers of Christ can share the Spirit of Christmas. Will you help me share this week?

In Other Words is being hosted by Darlene this week. Please join us there!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Menus

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Here is my menu plan for the upcoming week (actually thru Christmas). The girls and I are on our own until Friday, so I'm keeping things more simple to their liking. Go to Laura's site for other great menus for the week.

Monday: Lentil Soup and Bread in the bread machine
Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas
Wednesday: Spaghetti and salad
Thursday: Grilled Cheese and Ham Sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks
Friday: Lasagna, salad and garlic bread
Saturday: Slow Cooked Pork Roast, Roasted potatoes, Steamed Carrots
Sunday: Fish Chowder
Christmas: Ham and Sweet Potatoes
Boxing Day: eat out in Dublin ;)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Quilting and Stitching finishes

I've been quilting a bunch for Christmas gifts, and framing some stitching. So here are pics to prove I really do stitch!

This table runner is for my new step-mom who is decorating in reds and blues. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

These table runners are for 3 friends in Missouri:
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And corresponding pictures and a pillow for the husbands of the ladies in Missouri:
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Jo's Flower Garden and Beth's Flight table runners (gifts for German's aunt and cousin in Arizona) plus a framed pic for Beth's DH.
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I also stitched "Texas" for my Dad, but forgot to take a pic before I wrapped it. *blush* I'm still finishing my Mom's (it says Grandmother) but should finish it this evening.

Thanks for looking!

Stitching Insanity

There is talk on the cross stitch message board I frequent about 2007 stitching plans. So I thought that I would go ahead and put my *ahem* lofty plans in writing. Several of us have dubbed 2007 the Selfish Stitching year to do some things for ourselves. Although I am going to do quite a lot of selfish stitching, I’m also going to be doing the usual Round Robins and exchanges. I can’t help myself, lol. It is also the year of “Finish the Finishes.” It’s time to actually frame or make into ornaments all of these lovely projects done over the years.

So here are the plans…
Projects to Complete:
1. Jean Farish America Land that We Love (to be finished well before the end of January if I stitch a state a day as planned)
2. Rosewood Manor Flag Sampler (goal end of March)
3. Jeremiah Junction There is a Time (goal end of March—over 80%)
4. Bug Sampler (goal end of April)
5. My Neighbourhood Round Robin (goal end of June)
6. Stoney Creek Break Time (goal end of November)
All of these projects are currently started and just need to be finished!

Finishes to be Finished:
1. Neuschwanstein Castle (frame)
2. Snow Seasons RR (frame)
3. Jeremiah Junction seasons (wall hanging)
4. Stitch it Forward 05 (frame)
5. Stitch it Forward 06 (?)
6. Rosemary (stitched by Velda—put on memory book cover)
7. Gemma (stitched by Margaret—put on memory book cover)
8. Cruise RR (memory box)
9. Beatitudes RR (quilted wall hanging)
10. Cardinal Welcome (frame)
11. Quilt RR (frame)
12. Jingle All the Way (not sure)
13. Preamble Sampler (frame)

Starts I’d like to make:
1. Mystic Stitch Solitude (after flag sampler complete)
2. Hinzeit Missouri
3. Hinzeit Texas
4. Hinzeit Washington
5. Hinzeit Alabama
6. Bent Creek Season Rows (all 4)
7. Noah’s Submarine (plan to start in September, goal to finish 12/08)
8. Mirabilia Stargazer (#88)
(to be my weekend project once flag sampler is 50%)
9. Mirabilia Fairy Moon (#2)(after Stargazer)

UFO Projects to find a good home for or dispose of:
1. Confederate Soldier group
2. Prayer for a Busy Day
3. Remembrance egg
4. Union Soldier group

How to accomplish all this? The rotation:
Monday and Friday: Obligation stitching (quilt squares, round robins)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Focus Piece
Saturday, Sunday: whatever I want (especially Stargazer, Solitude)
Focus Pieces:
January: ALTWL, Hinzeit MO, Flag Sampler
February: Flag Sampler, Hinzeit TX
March: JJ There is a Time, Hinzeit WA, Solitude
April: Bug Sampler, Hinzeit AL
May: NRR, Bent Creek Rows
June: NRR, Bent Creek Rows, Solitude
July: Bent Creek Rows, Stoney Creek, start ornaments
August: Bent Creek Rows, Stoney Creek, finish ornaments
September: Noah Submarine
October: Solitude
November: Noah Submarine
December: Solitude

You can forward all of my mail to the asylum. I think I must have lost my mind, lol!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You are invited

You are invited to come and share your dreams for 2007. This is more than New Year's Resolutions. This is writing down the goals you have and the expectations you have coming into the New Year. Laurel Wreath invites us to come and share together the first week of January. Please join us! (click the button for more information--the button will also be placed in my sidebar later this week)

More Gifts

Before I list gifts, I just wanted to say that I pray that yesterday's post was not painful for some of my faithful readers. I realize that sometimes marriages end no matter how committed one party is to the marriage. Perhaps the other party is not committed or there is abuse that cannot be tolerated or there are safety issues for yourself or your children. God looks at those latter instances with mercy. If you have committed and your partner did not and left you desolate, God has grace for you. Those are not the case in the marriage I mentioned yesterday. Further both parties claim the name of Christ and therefore it is even harder to fathom the treatment that is taken place. If you were pained yesterday by what I wrote, my heart goes out to you. Blessings....

Now more gifts:
311. Feeted pajamas on little feet
312. The words "Mommy, potty" said spontaneously by Flower (& she went!)
313. The laughter I hear as they play tea party in the next room
314. A God who is Compassionate to the Grieving
315. A God who Mends Broken Hearts
316. A God who Mends Broken Dreams
317. A God who displays what commitment is and upholds my commitments
318. The joy of watching Anne's sons watch her and their dad renew wedding vows
319. Friends who drop everything to pray--even when all I say is "just pray" (thank you Kristin!)
320. Celtic Harp Christmas carols
321. Carolers on the street
322. houses lit up for Christmas
323. Jewel running around the house singing "Happy Birthday to you, Jesus"
324. Knowing that they *get* that Christmas is about Jesus
325. Quilted table runners wrapped for Christmas gifts
326. Gingerbread cookies (or at least the ingredients on my cabinet waiting to be made)
327. New cross-stitched ornaments on my tree
328. Orange flavored hot chocolate--yum!
329. Pain medication for a loved one in such pain
330. Airplanes to take German home to see her
331. Peace that she is in God's hands
332. Hope that her daughter and her son will see the Savior through this illness
333. Joy that we get to be ones who share the hope of God with them
334. Time to enjoy our families
335. A few extra hugs and kisses
336. Jewel's discovery of art books
337. Jewel's joy is deciding who would love what picture
338. My joy that she understands what art makes mommy happy
339. O Holy night drifting up the stairs
340. A phone call with my aunt yesterday (on her 76th birthday). Miss you Jeannie!
341. Contentment
342. Security
343. Christmas cards through my door
344. Recalling faces and good times with the people who signed their names to those cards.
345. Flowers blossoming speech
346. More to come...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Being Married

These may seem like random thoughts, but they do really all come back to what it means to be married; trust me.

I've been quite distressed the last twenty-four hours since we received the message from our friend that his wife had left. They have had lots of ups and downs the last several years, but I've continued to believe that God would work a miracle there. He may still work a miracle, but it is harder to believe today. And it makes me so sad. One of her complaints and reasons for leaving was that he spends time doing things with their kids that she does not enjoy, so she is left at home. And that got me to thinking about being married and spending time together. Do we have to enjoy the activity to spend time with our spouse? I don't think so. I have spent countless hours at car shows Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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neither of which I thoroughly enjoy but German does, so I go (and often even enjoy myself). He has tagged along to more than one art museum or quilt show--definitely not his cup of tea but he makes a genuine effort to feign interest while we are there. We joke about the fact that early in our marriage we made a deal--I'd go to a NASCAR race with him if he would go to a symphony with me. He slept through the awesome performance of the symphony. I stood in my chair and screamed for 3 hours straight and became a huge race fan. Needless to say, now we just go to the races, lol. But the bottom line is that we make an effort to share each other's passions, at least from time to time.

This morning I was catching up on my blog reading and came across Tracey's entry at Laced for Grace. There she was illustrating my point--going to her husband's company event even if it really wasn't her favorite thing to do. I had to laugh. I love to dress up and get very few opportunities. My husband would live in jeans if it was allowed. But last weekend was his team event and he had planned a dress up affair for the team and spouses because "every now and then we need to give our wives a chance to dress up." It was a brilliant evening. And it was a first for this team (spouses are never invited). It was a huge success. And it was nice to dress up. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting (And just between us, I think he liked having an excuse to wear a tux.)

So I think that part of the secret of being married is in how we choose to share each other's lives. This morning I watched a video of a friend who renewed her wedding vows yesterday on her Silver Wedding Anniversary. The renewal celebration was carefully planned by Anne. The festivities were taking place in Las Vegas. The minister who performed the ceremony made the comment that he did not know Anne and her husband, but he knew a lot about them. He said, for instance, he knew that they made no promises to one another twenty-five years ago because it is too easy to break promises. Instead, he said, he knew they made a commitment to one another because that is the only way you make it to 25 years--by committing to one another. It's true. My friends mentioned at the start of this post stood before friends and a minister and made some promises--but I'm not sure they both truly committed to one another. The course of their marriage says otherwise. Separation and divorce have always been kept as an option. And that makes me so sad for them. German and I have had some difficult times in the eleven years we have been married, but I can honestly say that separtion has never been an option. We took that card off the table before we ever started and said that we were committing to making this work. And by the grace of God we have been able to do that.

As I look at friends who are separating I am sad. As I look at Anne and her husband I am joyful and hopeful. It is possible to make a marriage work. I thank God that He gave me a husband that loves me and is committed to me. But mostly I thank God that He is the third strand in this marriage that holds it together. Some days I just need to be reminded of that. Maybe, you needed the reminder as well.

Some Prayer Requests

I'll be back later to post a *real* entry, but this really shouldn't wait until then. I have a couple of prayer needs that if you feel led, I'd appreciate if you would lift up today.

First, my dear friend Tina lost her brother yesterday. Please keep her, her boys, her parents, and his girlfriend in your prayers as they grieve.

Secondly, dear friends of ours are struggling in their marriage. They seem to be at a crisis point. Please pray for God to intervene with compassion and wisdom.

Thank you for praying. I believe that God cares about us as individuals and will meet our needs. Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

IOW---What's the Temperature?

"I am the one holding the keys to the atmosphere in our home."
~ Terry Maxwell ~
Author of:
Homeschooling with a Meek
and Quiet Spirit

I grew up in a home where my Mom did not hold the keys to the atmosphere well. As a teen I can remember my Dad coming through the door asking "What's the temperature today?" My Mom had three states---cold and withdrawn to her room, able to get along, or hot and raging. Often, too often, it was raging. I determined from an early age that was not going to be the atmosphere in my adult home.

But if I'm honest, it is a struggle. I have inherited much of my Mom's temperament and the rest I learned from years watching her. For her withdrawal was because of depression. For me, I will want to withdraw because I am an introvert living in a household of extroverts--I get tired from being around people. And, if I'm not careful in how I cope with frustration the learned behavior of raging can take over. That is something I do not want my children to experience. So I must be aware of my internal state and control it.

Whether we call it holding the keys as Terry Maxwell does, or controlling the thermostat as we say in my house, it is an important role for us as mothers. Not only does it determine how easy our personal day goes, but it sets the stage for what our children will remember about our home. I've found that the most important way I set the thermostat for my home is to get up before the girls and spend some time alone. This gives me a chance to recharge my introvert batteries. It allows me to spend time with God in prayer, Scripture and in the Godly blogs I read that encourage me in my walk. If my day is set right, then it is easier to cope with the challenges of the day. The second way I set the thermostat is in how I greet the girls as I get them out of bed. If I emphasize what a great morning it is, then it is a great morning. The third thing I do is turn on the praise music (or at this time of year Christmas music). If I'm hearing positive messages, it is easier for me to give positive messages. Even when I am not consciously listening to the music, it is helping to set the tone in the house.

Paul reminds us,
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

If I, as a mother, am thinking on true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable things then I should be acting in a true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable way. That is what my children will then learn and be able to put into practice. Setting the thermostat to Godliness and allowing God to shine in my home. That is one of my roles. I pray that I am able to do it to God's glory.

This week's CWO, In Other Words, is being hosted at Fruit in Season. Please join us there to read others' takes on this quote. Bless you today!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Menu Plans

Here is this week's menu, taking part in Monday Menu Plans with Organizing Junkie.

Monday: Fish Pie, Salads with chilled shrimp, garlic bread
Tuesday: Pepperoni Pizza, salad
Wednesday: Order in from Indian Takeout (dupiaza, naan bread, dahl tarka)
Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie, Steamed Carrots
Friday: Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Green Beans
Saturday: Turkey Sandwiches (church programme to attend)
Sunday: Red Beans and Sausage, Bread in the Machine

Friday, December 08, 2006

Humbled and Honoured

It always amazes me the comments I receive and to think that God really does use the words that I write to touch your hearts and lives. That is always my prayer, but to see God answer it is just amazing. There are so many blogs that I visit that challenge and encourage me, I am honoured that so many of you find those things here.

And I am absolutely blown away this week as well. Grafted Branch's Restoring the Years blog is part of my iron regime each morning. I go there knowing that God will either encourage me or convict me. She tells it like it is and I love that about her. And this week she gave out her first awards. And she awarded me the "Most Compelling New Read" award. I am humbled. I am honoured. And I will be thrilled to display the button on my site. Thank you my friend. The company you put me into amazes me. The rest of you, check out her site and the other sites she pointed us toward.
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Thursday, December 07, 2006

More Gifts

276. A decorated Christmas tree
277. Wire to hold the tree up
278. No injuries when the tree fell over (pre-wire) on little girls playing with the tree.
279. Twinkling lights
280. Ornaments made by stitching friends
281. Ornaments painted by Cherri and Marilyn when I was a child
282. Glass ornaments (safely stored this year) provided by a BIL who quickly learned what warmed my heart.
283. Snowmen decorating the house
284. Stockings on the mantle
285. A new tradition of a Jesse Tree
286. Poinsettias
287. Mistletoe
288. Holly
289. Cinnamon candles
290. Advent readings
291. A real sense of Christ coming this season
292. Birds singing outside my window
293. A hot shower
294. Cucumber shampoo
295. Running water
296. Abundance of basic needs
297. Laughter with friends while studying the Bible
298. The dream of a tea party
299. China cups
300. sugar cubes
301. Lady Grey tea
302. My sewing machine
303. Talent given by God to create
304. Friends who taught me to use those talents
305. Quilt tops ready to be quilted
306. Cotton wadding--soft and ready to be placed in the quilt
307. Bright colors
308. Early morning time to be alone with God
309. children sleeping past when I get out of bed
310. blogging friends to encourage my journey

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

IOW--Too Distracted for God

"One response was given by the innkeeper when Mary and Joseph wanted to find a room where the Child could be born. The innkeeper was not hostile; he was not opposed to them, but his inn was crowded; his hands were full; his mind was preoccupied. This is the answer that millions are giving today. Like a Bethlehem innkeeper, they cannot find room for Christ. All the accommodations in their hearts are already taken up by other crowding interests. Their response is not atheism. It is not defiance. It is preoccupation and the feeling of being able to get on reasonably well without Christianity."
~ Billy Graham ~

Some of my Christian friends laugh at me when I pray for non-Christian friends for their salvation. They have heard me pray "Lord don't let them sleep soundly until they deal with your gift of salvation." Sometimes I pray "Lord take away their 'toys' that they think they need to make them happy. Make them unhappy if you have to in order to get their attention." These are sincere prayers. Because in the lives of most of my friends who do not choose Jesus, they are not hostile toward Him, they are indifferent. These friends have nice lives. They have upper middle class lifestyles. They can buy all they think they need and most everything they want. And they haven't come to a point of believing they need Jesus. They are distracted by their many interests. So I pray that God will take away their distractions. And it warms my heart when one of these friends tell me that they are having trouble sleeping, or that one of their hobbies isn't as much fun as it once was, or that they aren't enjoying spending so much time at work. I inwardly smile, and sometimes even laugh, because I know that God is softening them and the time is coming for me to share the true meaning of Life. I've seen friends come to know Christ after I prayed this (and no, I don't always get to be the harvester sometimes I just water the seed with prayer). I have other friends I've prayed these prayers for years, but I believe that the time will come.

Distractions. Distractions and easy lifestyles that keep people from believing they need God. But what about those of us who are children of God? Are we free from distractions? I'd venture to say no. In fact, (sheepish grin) I've been having trouble falling asleep. My mind is racing with what I need to accomplish. Busy stuff that is good but not necessarily great in the eyes of God. And once I get to sleep I dream of what I need to do. Until last night. Last night I dreamed that I was in a movie theater and the movie was about choosing Jesus. I dreamed that besides a small handful of us, the theater was filled with people who needed a Personal Savior. And we were more interested in watching the movie than sharing the truth. Distracted by the story instead of telling the story.

Even as I sit here and write this a couple are put on my heart. They need to hear the story of Christmas. My husband and I have been praying for them, but we have not had a real opportunity to share with them. I need to make an effort to have them in our home this holiday season and to share the meaning of Christmas. "Dear Jesus help me not be so distracted by the activities of Christmas that I neglect telling the story to those who need you. Amen."

Todays In Other Words is being hosted by Laurel Wreath. Please join us there!