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If anyone is still following this blog, you know that I have disappeared from the scene for a while, well almost a year.  It’s been a long year, but I want to write again.  I love you all, but I will probably not be trying to keep up with every post on everyone’s blog as it’s just overwhelming and not a wise use of my time.  I will also not be posting every day right now.  I’m going to shoot for two to three times a week for now.  I have missed you all so much!  Many things have changed in this year and my mother-in-law is moving in with us this Saturday.  Hopefully, she will not keep me from writing.

She has been in a nursing home for a while as respite care for my sister-in-law who has cared for her for about 5 years.  We aren’t very happy with how it’s going (no disrespect to the home).  She’s not happy either.  She’s also far away, so visiting is difficult.  So, we have decided to take her in.  My husband has been working feverishly to get the house ready and we’re closer than we were.  Lot’s of downsizing the amazing amount of junk we’ve accumulated plus new looks for two bedrooms – ours and hers.

I have surrendered this to God, because, quite frankly, I’m a bit frightened about this.  I know God has got my back though.  I have also taken off quite a bit of weight, largely due to medication changes that have allowed me to be much more mobile, and started personal training at the gym.  This should help with the physical concerns in taking care of her.

The blog may take a bit of a turn, as I will be adding some reviews and other items here.  Since the blog is about communication, everything really can be related to that topic, making it easier on me.  I will continue to discuss communication skills and spills between God, us, and others.  I hope you will jump back on the ride with me and enjoy!   Angie 🙂

Whose plan are you following?

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A few weeks ago I hosted my annual end-of-the-year Sunday School Class Party.  After spending many hours and lots of $$$ preparing for the party, things did not go as planned.

 

1.  Had Ginny (The Mother-in-law, but I knew this one).

2.  Wednesday before the Friday night party, I get a text from my son saying he and his entire family were coming for the weekend and arriving Friday afternoon.  That’s 2 adults and 4 grandkids added to the mix.

3.  Drama.  I don’t know what happened yet, but some kind of drama happened in youth group [I know that surprises all who know youth] on Wednesday and half the group did not show as a result.

4.  Some of the ones that did show did not want to participate in planned activities.  Grandchildren wanted to participate in ALL the activities.

5.  Isn’t that enough?

You know what?  Life is that way sometimes.  No matter what we plan, God is in control of what happens.  He knew all about what would happen at the party.  He is in charge of any results from the party.  I did my part by planning, God will do His part in the hearts of the students and others attending.

 

Best laid plans. . .

Most of us like to have a plan in place.  Plans help us feel ‘in control’ of our lives.  They do, that is, until things go awry.  I know some people who freak out when they have their plans usurped.   I know others who make no plans to avoid disappointment.  God doesn’t mind us making our plans, as long as we don’t leave Him out of the loop or raise a fuss when He has other ideas.

 

Trusting His plan gives life balance

His Plan.

Fortunately, God has a plan.  These are some things we can know about His plans.

 

►His plans never fail.

“…I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” Isaiah 46:9-10

 

►His plans include my good.

“11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

►No matter who governs me or my country, God is my ultimate ruler.

“For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations” Psalm 22:28

Knowing the above, I feel safe, even when my plans go awry.  I trust that God had a purpose in it all, and that He will carry that purpose out, whether I am aware of it or not.  I think we need a reminder of this, especially as those in the USA face the upcoming election.  No one can get in office unless God allows it for His reasons.  This helps me to know that:

 

►A person cannot cheat his/her way in.

►It’s not the end of the world if my candidate is not selected.  It is in God’s plan, and the end of the world will be when He declares it.

►I don’t have to be swayed by circumstances.  I know who has me in His hands regardless of the circumstances.  I know Him.  I trust Him.  That determines my attitudes and actions, not circumstances.

 

I hope as the world seems to have turned upside down, you will place your trust in the only place where it is safe.  Then I hope you will join me in determining to rise above the fray and bring a breath of fresh air into a sticky situation.  My hope is in God, not Obama or Romney.

 

How about you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

 

 

It’s Random Time!

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Today I want to take a leaf from Derek Mansker’s Lego Jar posts.   It’s random time!  My 4 and 2 yo grandchildren were here for a week recently.    The older one (boy) had the green-eyed monster taking over all week.  You see, he has a fractured clavicle, and had to sleep in another bed and not with Grandma and Marilyn.  He was so not happy.  So all week if she hugged, he hugged; if she wanted something, he wanted it.  What a week it was!!!  We all survived though.

 

Today was go home day.  Grandson has decided his family needs to move here and become my neighbors.  Then he could come and see me every day like he does my dad right now.  At lunch, he spent about 15 minutes making a very detailed map.  As we headed toward the meeting place to give them back to the parents, he was peering closely at his map.  I went a different way to the interstate, and he said, “Grandma, you’re going the wrong way.  You have to go that way (pointing).  I explained the different route.  He kept looking at the map all the way and pointing out when we reached certain places.  He’d say something like, “Yup, that’s it.  You gotta go this way to get to my house, Grandma.”  If you can make anything out of this map, let me know.  It looks like a mess to me, but he was very serious about following it.  I hope he’ll be that serious about following God’s map for his life!

 

Marilyn (2) didn’t want to go home today.  She kept taking my face and saying, “You MY gramma!” before kissing me.  So sweet!  Wouldn’t it be great if we loved God so much that we grabbed ahold of Him and said, “You MY God!” on a regular basis?  We’re always wanting a blessing from Him, but how often do we seek to bless Him?

 

Last week, when we went down to pick up the kids (and work on Son’s trailer), Marilyn kept trying to sneak off with a honey packet my Dad had on his tray.  She finally stomped her foot and said, “It’s fo my mouth!”   She didn’t get it, but that was so hard to resist!  Do we long for the temporary “sweetness” of sin?

 

When we arrived to pick them up, I was met at the van by the two youngest.  Roland was jumping around and excited for about 10 feet.  Then he suddenly remembered his fractured clavicle.  He stopped, bent the hurt shoulder down and put his hand on it, moaned, and walked like that the rest of the way.  Hmmm.   All week he would suddenly remember his injury when it was convenient.  Do we have ‘convenient’ injuries we use as an excuse not to do something for God or others?

 

I have no doubt that my youngest granddaughter is the smartest of the 4.  Why?  She’s very good at flying under the radar.  When Marilyn gets quiet, it’s time to PANIC!  You can be certain she’s doing something she’s not supposed to do.  The picture shows one incidence that happened this week.

 

She took the inside out of a marker.  Fortunately, soaking in soapy water returned all but under her nails to the right color.  Grandma had a few blue spots though.  What do we do when we think no one is looking?  Do we think it’s ok to do what we want as long as we don’t get caught?

 

Welcome to a glimpse into my world!

The Power of Words

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What if what I wished for was not what I wanted?  — Me

 *****

This post could turn into a liturgy of unanswered prayers to thank God for, followed by a country song to that effect.  However, that’s not what I meant when I thought this thought.  My focus here is on the words we speak.  For example, I used to wish my husband would change an aspect about himself that I didn’t like.  Well, he has changed, but that’s not what I meant.  I wanted him to keep doing things, but I wanted the attitude to change.  I guess I should have been more specific when I prayed about it?

  *****

Just fix it please!

Sometimes we don’t totally think through the things we think we want.  We don’t look at the aftermath, the unintended consequences, or God’s wisdom and timing in His plans for our life.  We don’t even know what we really want, we just throw out a generic “help, change it” because we’re stressed or worried about something in our life.  As we have discovered in the last few years, you can’t just wish for “change”, because it might not be the kind of change you want to have.  In a way, this is a very shallow form of thinking where we look for a way out of the pain of today.

  *****

And fix it now!

Have you ever wanted something, even asked God for it, and then set about making it happen yourself?  I think we all have.  We want it and we want it now.  When we go ahead of God things just don’t turn out like we envisioned them.  God may have wanted that for us too, but the timing was not right.  So we move ahead of God and wind up losing that thing we wanted or realize it’s not what we really wanted at all.  Sometimes we miss the best God has for us because we won’t wait.  We go ahead and finagle answers for ourself.  God says, “Ok, if that’s how you want it…”.  He gave us free will and won’t force us to wait.  But how many more blessings would we receive, how much less pain, if we would only wait on His timing?

  *****

Communication

When we talk to God, to others, or even our selves, it’s important to think through what we say.  We’ve discussed many ways communication can go wrong in this blog, and this is another.  Someone I know (who does this a lot) brought a project over to the house and said, “This is what I’d like to do.”  What she meant is “This is what I’d like YOU to do.”  I make it a policy not to jump in when people don’t specify what they really want (most of the time) because I’ve learned that it enables that other person to make assumptions he or she should not make.  {If you want something from me, come out and ask me.}  Sometimes speaking in generalities works fine, but when we really think we want something, it pays to get specific with yourself, with others, and with God.  This is not for God’s sake; He already knows what we really want.   Awareness of what we really ask for and what that means helps us not to get what we wished (prayed) for when that’s not what we really wanted at all.

 *****

Take It

 ~*~

When a yearning rises up inside

And pulls your heart toward

Just put it in the Master’s hands

And be in one accord.

 ~*~

Those things we want and think we need

Must haves and ‘rescue me’s

Come from a desperately sinful heart

We must seek Him on our knees

 ~*~

And surrender every want and need

to His amazing, well-mapped plan

For He’s the one who knows us best

And has since before time began

~*~

We speak our thoughts and wait

For His blessings in His time

Hands clasped in supplication

as He works His plan sublime

 ~*~

For we know not the future

nor what will cause us pain

So we trust Him to know us better

Our trust won’t be in vain

~*~

Angela Masters Young c 2012

The Spider Connection

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Did you know that spiders have a constant thread of webbing coming out of them no matter where they go?  I suppose this comes in handy if they fall.  Did you know their thread is one of the strongest elements, and scientists are looking to duplicate it?  It’s strong and always present.  Spiders also use their threads to weave beautiful designs.  Some of their webs are quite beautiful.  Imagine a walk in the morning and finding a beautiful web spread across the plants or grass, glistening with the dew as it awaits its next victim.  OK, for my analogy’s sake, let’s say it’s waiting for the next spider wannabe.

 

What analogy, you say?  This one:  Christians should always have a thread attaching them to the Father.  I like to think of the thread as prayer, but it could include other forms of worship and relationship building with our God.  It’s there to keep us from falling, among other things.

 

The thread between a follower and his or her God is a strong one.  In fact, it’s unbreakable.  Once attached to God, it’s a forever thing.

 

As we go about our lives, living for Him and touching others, our lives create a beautiful design.  The design draws others to want what we have.  Others want to know how we have peace in the midst of terrible circumstances.  They want to know how our life makes such a beautiful design while their’s appears a broken mess.

 

Are you like the spider?  Are you leaving a trail that speaks of Jesus wherever you go?  Do you hang on to Him at all times?  Is your life one of beauty to those who see it?  Are you leaving a worthy legacy?  Fortunately, because we have that thread of attachment, we can depend on God to take care of those things.  He creates the beauty.  Do you find Christian analogies in the creations around you?

Step into my parlor said the spider to the fly!

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This morning I witnessed a disgusting horific amazing sight.  I often have to make trips to the little girls room in the middle of the night.  My procedure, in order to keep from waking the hubs and make sure I don’t run into any unwanted centipedes surprises, is to put on shoes, go into the bathroom, shut the door and flip the light and tap on the floor a couple of times with my cane so the buggers know I’m coming and scat (hopefully).  This time, the lights flipped on and I saw a bug coming.  It wasn’t a centipede, so Brian wasn’t woke up with a scream; it was a little thing about a 1/2″ long.  I tapped my cane so it would go back into the bowels of where ever and leave me alone.

English: spider web with fog droplets, San Fra...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It turned tail to run and started doing this little spinny thing as another even tinier bug came running toward it.  The tiny bug was maybe an 1/8th of an inch, so I couldn’t tell what it was and thought it was a baby of the other.  I was wrong!  Before I knew what was happening the tiny spider came up and bit the other insect that had tripped on his web.  I then had to got to watch him work.  The other bug struggled briefly, but soon succumbed to the poison.  The spider then wrapped the bug up and anchored it better.  It was a bitter sweet moment.  My attempt to save the bigger bugs life by keeping it from coming close enough to the bottom of my shoe went horribly wrong.  While fascinated by the action unfolding before me, I had to feel sad for the bug who became dinner (or more likely breakfast) for the spider.  I didn’t even know that spider or its web were in that corner.  They were not visible (whether to my old eyes or just well camouflaged.)

The whole ordeal reminded me of two things: the movie “The Fly” and how we get entangled in sin.

I have an article I keep in my Bible called, “Sin Wants to be Your Friend” by Tim Challies.  He says it so well:

“Sin makes so many promises.  Sin promises joy.  It promises fulfilment. Sin promises to be your

Spider web

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

friend.  When you first meet a new friend you reveal only little bits of who you are, what you believe, what is important to you.  But over time, if the friendship is to grow, you need to reveal more and more of yourself, you need to open yourself up.  Friendship grows out of the vulnerability of allowing another person to see who you really are beneath the polite exterior.  Sin asks you to give just a little bit more of yourself to it every time.  Just a bit more.  Just a bit more after that.  But over time sin comes to own you.  It comes to know everything there is to know about you.  And then it stabs you in the back and laughs with glee as you are left sputtering and humiliated and destroyed.  It laughs as your marriage is destroyed, as your church is shamed, as your friends are betrayed.  That’s the kind of friend it is.”

Just as the spider laid its invisible trap, sin lays a trap for it.  We seldom see it coming because it draws us in gradually, but once we are entangled in its web, it’s too late.  Sin swoops in and takes another victim.  Sadly, with sin, the sinner is never the only victim.  Sin hurts. It hurts the sinner.  It hurts those who love the sinner.  It hurts society as well on some level.  Sin promises all those things we think we want, but delivers death.  Only God is our true friend, a Promise Keeper, a Need Meeter, a Disciplinarian, and so much more.  Any and all needs we have can be met in God, but we have to choose Him over the false trappings of sin

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.    —James 1:13-15

As James tells us, sin happens when we are lured and enticed by our own desire.  We look (and do not look away).  We want.  We place our foot on that web, thinking we can always get away or that it won’t hurt us.  We are wrong.  Sin, when followed to it’s conclusion “brings for death”.   Sin may appear fun for a while, but that is an illusion.   That’s why we should “guard our hearts with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

Step into my parlor . . .

English: Centiped

Loving perfectly

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People come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”  — anonymous

You know, sometimes people can be difficult?  What?  That’s not a shock to you?  Well, how about this:  sometimes YOU can be difficult.  I bet that one was more of a surprise, but not really.  We all have human failings that cause difficulties in our communications with others and with God.  Sometimes, the struggle to deal with difficult people (or people who are difficult in a specific situation) can bring up a few difficulties in one’s self.  It often brings out the ick in us as we struggle with the issue.

Ick # 1:  Depression.

Depression, or the pity party, hits some of us when we face difficulties, and especially difficult people.  Some of you do not struggle with this, but some of you, like me, do.  I don’t like confrontation.  I use it when necessary, but I don’t like it.  This struggle often brings me to a mood dip.  My mood dip can be a shallow dip or a great big gorge, depending on the situation.  I have learned over the years that the depth of the dip depends on me and my attitude.  If I deal with it, the moment passes quickly.  If I dwell on it, I can find myself in over my head.

Ick # 2:  Anger

The Bible says to ‘be angry and sin not’ (Ephesians 4:26), implying that anger is not the main issue.  Anger is a feeling.  Feeding anger leads to sin.  Anger has to be dealt with quickly.  The definition of quickly depends on the person and the situation, but un-dealt-with anger is a raging fire that burns the angry person and anyone in his or her path.  In the case of sinful anger, the root is often pride.  How dare that person say that to me/do that to me/treat me that way!  I don’t deserve this!  We tend to magnify the other person’s offense and minimize our own actions (like how we often do the same to others).  The only solution is to recognize the truth about the situation and then forgive.

Ick # 3:  Pay Back

Have you ever wanted to do to someone what they did to you?  You think they should feel the pain you feel, often with the thought that they would then apologize profusely and not do it again.   This is revenge, and revenge is not sweet!  This tendency to want to hurt when we are hurt.  This tendency just perpetuates the cycle and does not open up the doors of communication; it slams them shut!

I’m sure there’s more ick, but we’ll settle on these three for now.  I have been dealing with all of these issues – internally – and figuring out how to deal with it in a healthy way.  My human nature’s instincts are not of God, and they cannot bring reconciliation and open communication to the situation(s).  It’s funny how we can walk around with this festering sore inside us, while the other people have no clue there’s even a problem.

Are you self-aware?  Have you ever had the ‘ick’ies? Have ow do you deal with difficult people?  How do you respond when you realize you are being difficult to others?

 

God loves  us perfectly, imperfections and all!  How far along are you on the journey to do likewise?   I have a ways to go, but understanding God’s view helps.

 

Our choices make us

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Our very lives are fashioned by choice.  First we make choices.  Then our choices make us.” — Anne FrankSignature of Anne Frank

 

When I saw this quote, I had to sigh because it is so true.  As a human being, I usually look for other reasons why my life/body/relationships/other isn’t as it should be.  But, at some point along the way, I made a choice.  That choice often led to other choices, leading me down a path I never intended to go.

 

 

We can think of those choices as building blocks.  What have you built your life on?  What kind of choices make up your foundation?  Every time we make poor choices, we are adding an unstable block.  Too many of those, and you can see the possibility for disaster.

 

Let’s use health as an example.  Every time I choose to eat something not good for me (on a consistent basis), every time I choose to sit instead of move, every time I go on a bad diet and mess up my metabolism, every time I make bad choices, my bad choices will make up who I am.  I am not saying that everyone is responsible for all their health issues.  Let me repeat that:  I am NOT saying that everyone is responsible for all their health issues.  Sometimes things happen that are outside of our control. Cancer happens; accidents happen; we get old; life takes us places we don’t want to go.  But, those things aside, our choices do effect our health.

 

We can apply this principle (sowing and reaping) to other things in our life as well.  Do we choose to be in relationships with people who are not good for us?  Do we choose to get drunk or high and not only harm our bodies but set ourselves up for even worse decisions under the influence?  Do we choose selfish desires over generosity?  This list of questions could go on for a mile or more, but the point is that our choices do make a difference – now and in the future.

 

So, now what?  I’m on this other path, and I want off!  Am I stuck?  While I may not be able to undo everything I have done by my choices, I can begin by making better choices from here on.

 

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The first choice I recommend for all is to choose Jesus as Savior and Lord.  With that choice as a foundation, you have a lot of resources at your command.  As you seek to deepen your relationship with your Creator, you will begin to be like Him and make better choices.The second  choice I recommend is spending time in God’s Word.  Proverbs is a great place to find instruction in wise choices.  The entire Bible is a manual in both good and bad choices.

English: Jonah, as in Jonah 2:10, "And th...

English: Jonah, as in Jonah 2:10, “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”;watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

–Jonah decided to run from the Lord’s calling.  That didn’t work out so well for him.

 

–Noah decided to obey the Lord, despite the taunts of everyone else in the world.  He lived; they died.

 

–Lot choose to pitch his tent toward Sodom and Gomorrah.  While that may have seemed a rather neutral choice, it was anything but.  His eyes were fixed on his own comfort instead of God.  This choice led to major destruction for his family and tainted the rest of his life.

 

Even when our choices seem to have no right or wrong, they send us in different directions.  It is wise to spend time in prayer before making those decisions so we don’t go in the wrong direction and live to regret it.

 

What choices have you made lately?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related articles

Longing to be Loved

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“Countless women curl up on their couches to watch the same chick flicks over and over, especially the ones in which the hero gives everything to save the girl. Like the one rescued in movies, we want to be desired, fought for — pursued. And we are.  Our Creator and King is pursuing us, but it’s so much better than the movies. He gave up His life and paid a great price to come and rescue us.” – Lynn Cowell in “Longing to be Pursued

 

How about you?  Even men often have that need to have someone want them, really want them and pursue them wholeheartedly.  We all want to be needed, to make a difference in someone’s life, to feel like we matter.  This need is often at the base of so many things we do, including “looking for love in all the wrong places.”  We spend much energy seeking that indefinable thing that lets us know we are special.

 

As the rest of this article points out, we already have someone who pursues us, loves us, thinks we’re special above all others.  This one is Jesus.  He gave His life for us and pursues us to the end, loving us through it all.

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

 

That, my friends, is a lot of love!  Have you ever doubted God’s love for you?  {If you’re human, you must say yes.}  Do you really comprehend; can you wrap your mind around, the kind of love this is?  What kind of God cares so much about a bunch of spoiled brats who seldom appreciate what He has done, is doing, will do for us?  What kind of God allows His beloved Son to go through what He did, just so that we could have a way to Him?

 

Image from Morguefile.comJesus is that white night, that hero that gave His life to protect and restore us.  When you think of yourself as the bride of Christ, try to be the kind of bride that recognizes the value of the Groom and what He did to redeem you.

A Day of Rememberance

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Today is a mixed bag of feelings for me.  I remember hearing about the twin towers and then watching television for several days with tears flowing.  I learned some things that day I’d like to share.

 ♥†♥†♥†♥

1.  People will come together and help one another in crisis.

2.  People care!

3.  Some things are more important than politics and petty concerns.

4.  It does matter what you believe.

  ♥†♥†♥†♥

The first two were obvious as we watched first responders and others take their life in their hands to help others.  People across the country stepped up to the plate in a big way, then and on down the road.  In fact, we still remember and honor those who died that day.  We still follow the lives of some of those who lost parts of themselves or their loved ones in that building.

The third reminds us that all those things we worry about and argue about won’t really matter if we lose our country.  We need to stop snarking at one another and come together in an effort to save this land.  Many of us are coming together on our knees.

Fourth, we are reminded that not every belief is valid.  In the USA (and I suspect elsewhere) we’ve come to the point where we want truth to mean whatever someone wants it to.  In this case, several young men believed that they were doing a service to their god by flying those planes into buildings full of people.  In fact, they willingly martyred themselves for this belief.  I believe they had a rude awakening seconds after the planes hit or went down.  How sad.

They weren’t the only ones with a rude awakening that day.  We learned how vulnerable we are.  We learned many things, good and bad, that have changed how we view the world around us.  I hope we will all choose today to remember those lessons and seek God for the restoration of our country.  These lessons were not just those of the people of the US either.  Everyone everywhere needs to learn what we learned that day.  Their life and their eternity may depend upon it.

 ♥†♥†♥†♥

 What were you doing on this day?  What lessons did you learn?  How do you remember?

 ♥†♥†♥†♥

Today is also my anniversary.  30 years!  I don’t know where the time goes, but I thank God that He knew better than I did who I needed and put us together.  I thank Him that He has kept us together through all the ups and downs.  I thank Him for teaching me some of those life lessons through my marriage.  I thank Him for teaching us what real love is through the hard times.  On September 11 of the tower tragedy, we did not celebrate.  We cried.   Today we celebrate the wonder of 30 years of life!

Brian’s mother (Ginny), the happy couple, My mother and father (Marilyn and Phil), and my son (Jason). My how life has changed 😀

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