Monthly Archives: July 2014

Anybody Craving Dehydrated Pork Chops??? (Eat this Book by Eugene Peterson is a Heart-Stopper)

Name some of your favorite foods… Rattle on in your brain if you don’t have a pen and paper. (This is daydreaming at its’ finest…)

My “Fifteen-Favorite-Fabuloso-Foods” List includes:

1- Chocolate

2-Hubster John’s Infamous Grilled Salmon (**recipe at the end of this post**)

3-Stuffed Baked Potatoes (LOADED with bacon, cheese-n-butter)

4-Italian Anything at least 5 out of 7 days a week: Pizza, Pasta, Pizza, Pasta, Pizza…

5- Chocolate

6-Gelato in Italy (Anybody found a good match here in the U.S.?) This pic was taken in Rome. This truly was our very first gelato:  a scoop of chocolate and one of banana.  Mamma Mia… 

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7-Honey wings from Mark’s Feed Store www.marksfeedstore.com

8-Spinach queso from Austin’s www.austins-restaurant.com

9Chocolate

10-Chopped salads of almost anything chopped by anyone besides me

11-Bev Fleece’s Infamous Sausage Appetizer (**recipe at the end of this post**)

12-Our sweet Niece: Taylor Beeler’s Infamous Chicken Buffalo Dip (**recipe at the end of this post**)

13- Chocolate

14 – Paul’s Fruit Market’s White Cheddar Pimiento Cheese spread www.paulsfruit.com with wheat thins or nut thins…

15 – Cheddar Box’ infamous Cheese Torte www.thecheddarbox.com with any type of cracker, or all by itself. Dreadfully delicious.

Ahhh, I digress as I repeat myself….(Please note chocolate’s recurrence.)

Various Chocolate Products

Well, I know we could talk about food all day,

         dream about food 24/7, and

                     partake of food just about anywhere, any time.

I’d like to offer you an interesting twist on eating from a book worth digging in to…It’ll take some effort on your part, but you will be so blessed.

Let’s look at some highlights from Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Readingby Eugene Peterson.

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Eugene also happens to be the genius behind The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language among many other excellent books he’s authored.

The Message

You may have noted that the title of this post, about Dehydrated Pork Chops, well, those babies did not make my “list”, but they sure turn up in Eat this Book. You’ll never think about studying or reading the Bible the same after I share this story with you….

Several years ago, Eugene took some teenage boys on a hike thru’ challenging mountainous trails. As we’d suspect, these boys became ravenous from all the exercise.

Eugene revealed the Camp Director had struck gold at an army surplus outlet, or so he thought, paying bargain basement prices for vast amounts of dehydrated food.

Eugene read the directions very carefully:

“Soak pork chops in water for one hour.”

He put the paper-thin, dehydrated pork chops in a bucket. To everyone’s amazement, these chops indeed took on water, transforming right before their eyes into large, fat-n-juicy pork chops.

Pork Chop

Wide-eyed with delight, the starving teenagers patiently waited. Eugene reported, “This was a great conclusion to what had been a strenuous day on the trail.”

The fire was red-hot-ready. They placed the fat-n-juicy chops in a large skillet, directly over the coals. “The minute the heat penetrated the skillet, the chops virtually disappeared. Within seconds, they were left with paper-thin slices of pig, identical to what they’d started with.”

Here comes Eugene’s terrifying two cents’ worth:

“There is a sense in which the Scriptures are the Word of God dehydrated, with all the originating context removed—living voices, city sounds, camels carrying spices from Seba and gold from Ophir snorting down in the bazaar, fragrance from lentil stew simmering in the kitchen—all now reduced to marks on thin onion-skin paper.

jerky beef - homemade dried cured spiced meat

We make an effort at rehydrating them; we take these Scriptures and spend an hour or so in Bible study with friends, or alone in prayerful reading. But five minutes later, on our way to work, plunged into the tasks of the day for which they had seemed to promise sustenance, there’s not much left of them—only ink on india paper.

We find that we are left with the words of the Bible but without the world of the Bible. ..it’s just that without the biblical world—the intertwined stories, the echoing poetry and prayers, Isaiah’s artful thunder and John’s extravagant visions—the words, like those seed words in Jesus’ parable that land on pavement or in gravel or among weeds, haven’t taken root in our lives.”

Take Root

Ouch, o-u-c-h. I recently read the above few paragraphs to my Bible study buddies. We then, in unison, all groaned...

Same case could be made each week as we leave church on Sunday morning:

Did the sermon impact you?

How are you driving out of the parking lot?

How are you treating waitresses at restaurants?

Are you fussing at your spouse, or building him or her up for getting you there in the first place?

Young couple arguing in their living room

Bottom line: Is the Bible taking root in your life?

Confession: Some days I’d answer “yes”, other days, sadly, it wouldn’t be very evident. Eugene warns, “It is the devil’s own work to take what is presently endearing and innocent and perpetuate it into a lifetime of reading marked by devout indifference.” Oh, may it not be so…

So, how do we eat this book???

God’s Word is intended to “get inside us, to deal with our souls.”

The answer? Lectio divina, translated means ‘spiritual reading’:

“Reading that enters our souls as food enters our stomachs,

         Spreads thru’ our blood, and

                   Becomes holiness and love and wisdom.”

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Eat this Book teaches us how to read the Bible via lectio divina. Eugene walks you thru’ various methods which are fascinating.

The book’s title came from Revelation 10:9-10 where John walks up to an angel and says, “Give me the book.” The angel hands it over to him and says, “Here it is; eat it, eat the book.”

Eugene explains this metaphor in beautiful fashion. He says, “Reading is an immense gift, but only if the words are assimilated, taken into the soul—

Eaten,

     Chewed,

          Gnawed,

                 Received in unhurried delight.”

(He even quotes Kentucky’s beloved Wendell Berry!)

As he does with The Message, Eugene wants to “show men and women that the Scriptures are livable

God’s Word is:

Personal address,

    Inviting,

        Commanding,

            Challenging,

                 Rebuking,

                     Judging,

                         Comforting,

                              Directing—but not forcing.

                                         Not coercing…

I wanted to help my friends see the organic connection between the word read and the word lived.”

If you’d prefer learning about lectio divina from reading a novel vs. studying thru’ Eugene’s book, you would enjoy Sensible Shoes: A Story about the Spiritual Journey by Sharon Garlough Brown. She does an excellent job of showing her characters learning and living the concept.

Sensible Shoes

Either choice will enhance your reading the next time you pick up your Bible. Share this with a friend and perhaps challenge each other to learn lectio divina. You will be blessed!

‘Til next time!

As promised, **here are the recipes** from my list above:

John’s Infamous Grilled Salmon (Which we really stole from our friend and neighbor in Naples, Ron Holt)

Grilled Salmon

2 lbs. of fresh salmon, with skin still on, sliced into servings for four

Marinade:

2/3 cup of maple syrup

2 Tablespoons of lemon or lime juice

2 Tablespoons of salad/veg.oil

2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

1Tablespoon of Dijon mustard

Garlic to taste

Assemble marinade and marinate the salmon pieces in a baggie for an hour before grilling. Cover grilling sheet with aluminum foil. Place salmon pieces, skin down, on foil.  

Grill over hot coals, the direct method,with grill top on and vents open for 14 minutes, no more, no less. Do not flip salmon. Leave as is on grilling sheet. Bring in, sizzling (!!!) to serve. Enjoy!!!

Bev Fleece’s Infamous Sausage Appetizer (This is a very man-friendly appie, as in heavy-n-hearty. And we women have no trouble whatsoever in indulging.  It completely vanishes every single time.)

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1 pound of sausage (Here in KY we like Purnell’s Hot Sausage)

1 pkg. of cream cheese

1 pkg. of crescent rolls

1 egg

Sauce for dipping:

Equal parts of honey, apricot preserves and Dijon mustard

Brown sausage in skillet. Drain grease. Put into mixing bowl and blend with the package of cream cheese. Place in frig to cool.

Divide crescent rolls into 4 rectangles. Stretch out as much as possible onto a cookie sheet without tearing.

Divide the sausage mixture into fourths and make a log-shape down the middle of each rectangle. Close up the dough around the sausage and seal. Place seal-side down onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with an egg white so dough will brown nicely.

Bake at 350 for 20 or so minutes until logs are browned.

Mix up dipping sauce.

Let sausage logs cool a bit before slicing. Slice as thin as possible, as if slicing a loaf of bread. Place slices onto serving tray with dip. Dip into sauce & enjoy!

Our Niece, Taylor Beeler’s Infamous Buffalo Chicken Dip

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2- 10 ounce cans of chicken

8 oz. cream cheese

8 oz. ranch dressing

2-3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

8 oz. buffalo sauce (Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing sauce)

Mix all ingredients together. Bake @ 350 degrees ‘til bubbly.

Serve with tortilla chips. (Be sure to have a glass of water nearby as this is HOT!)

Enjoy!

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Ding Dong, the Snake is DEAD…(Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist by Amanda Jenkins: A must-read!)

Forever attempting to play Beat-the-Clock, our wild-child-dog and I dashed out the door for an uber quick walk.  Knowing I had to be on the road in nine-point-five minutes, time was a wastin’.

Cell phone ringing while Gracie was sniffing something, (what’s new?), I answered  the phone.  Further inspection into her antics revealed a brown pile of something.  Nope, don’t go there, it was a coiled up somethingAs in brown-with-white-designs-looking-potentially-posionous-something….As in piles-n-piles of SNAKE!!!!

Close up of the bright, big and colorful anaconda snake

Shrieking loud enough to raise the dead, I jerked poor Gracie by her leash and we evaporated outta there.  Goosebumps and the hair on the back of my neck standing straight up, I yelled, “Thank you, Lord, that snake didn’t attack us!”  Then I looked down at my feet, and said it again as I realized my flip-flops would not have been a great attack mode had I needed to crush his head

Next move was to call in the troops.  Sadly John Jr. was not closeby, while hubster John was in a doctor’s appointment across town.   Now what? John reassured me he’d take a look at it in about three hours.  Certain the snake would find its’ way thru’ our yard, and probably into our home, I did what any respectable, terrified, paranoid and perfectionistic housewife would do and quickly vacated the premises.

Indiana Jones I’m not, but what I am, and I predict you will be too, is completely tickled and blessed and encouraged by a fabulous book I recently picked up.  Run, don’t walk to your nearest book store and grab this:  Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist: Learning to Be Free by Amanda Jenkins.

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Amanda spills the beans.  Beans you and I often think, but probably would not print.  (Oh, I think we could sooo be her girlfriends!)  She confesses her perfectionistic tendencies all of us control freaks possess.

Two mistakes she begins with include:

Falling into comparison traps, and

Turning to the One and only One who is flawless, our Lord, as a last resort rather than a first one….Anybody beside me relating to this???

Why do we keep forgetting I Peter 1:24-25 which says, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field.  The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (NLT)

Amanda says, “How sad it must be for Him to see us clinging to false hope and worshiping at the altar of pretty.”  Oh yeah, been there…

Young Beautiful Healthy Woman And Reflection In The Mirror

One of the many reasons Amanda gives us readers to live in Christ’s freedom is:  “…believing I’m a masterpiece is the first step toward being okay with my aging, imperfect self.”

Here’s another Scripture to soak in:  “I pray that YOU, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that YOU may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Amanda brings this Scripture right into our hearts:  “It’s not enough to know we’re loved.  God wants us to be rooted and established in His love—to be anchored and defined by it, and to see the world thru’ its lens.  Wrapping our minds around God’s enormous, indescribable, beautiful love for us in Jesus is the key to being happy with the way we’ve been made.” 

Key to life, Conceptual photo. On color wooden background

In addition to being vulnerable with us readers, Amanda is killer funny.  When she confesses about praising God as an afterthought, or making her to-do lists during church (Oops, please do not read my bulletin!), she says, “If I were God, I’d break up with me.” 

Amanda walks us thru’ more challenges:  Contentment (ouch) and Relationships.  These are excellent chapters you don’t want to miss.  Parenting (including the possession of the “worry gene”!!!)  is also included, which aids us weary warriors with more advice and Scripture, a favorite of which is pure bliss:

Psalm 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”  Amanda encourages, “Only the image of God standing over me and my loved ones, covering us with His shadow, does the trick.”

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Savor this on parenting:

“Only in the arms of Jesus will I find peace, knowing my precious little people are well looked after.

Only in the arms of Jesus will I be able to discern how to pray the prayers that need to be prayed.

And only in the arms of Jesus will he change my heart, bringing me to the place where I can accept His sovereign will.

I’ll never be a perfect parent, but I’m learning to be a praying parent.”

mother holding baby while praying

Another key Amanda offers is the strongest point in her book.  Straight out of Scripture (see what power the Word has?), she walks us thru’ each of the pieces of the Armor of God, found in Ephesians 6.  Verse 18 holds a key:  “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” 

She closes with, “So the key to victory and freedom is simple:  be ready.”

Golden key in keyhole

One of my favorite things Dr. Jady Koch said at Woody and LT’s wedding a couple of weeks ago occurred just prior to the beginning of their vows.  He turned to both of them and said, “Are you ready?”

This must be our question to ponder.  Are you ready?

Are YOU ready?  

Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist would be great for book clubs or for your small Bible study group.  There are excellent discussion and Bible study questions at the end of the book for each chapter, full of ways to apply her topics and God’s Word to your life.

Finally, I happily confess I still frenetically fear snakes, always will and have no perfectionistic qualms about running from them. (No wonder one of Satan’s disguises is a slimy slithery serpent.)

Footnote to the “rest of the story”:  When John finally did get home, he went to the location I’d reported.  The snake was still there, with flies swarming over it.  Ding dong, the snake is DEAD.

‘Til  next time.

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Once a Parent, Always a Parent…

When, may I ask, are we not parents any longer? If your children hit the big 4-0, is it then?   Surely… when their children hit twenty-one?   Is there a cut off? Someone please do tell…

Bad news: While we’re on this earth, we are always parents to our children.

Good news: While we’re on this earth, we are always parents to our children. Family Tree It’s a matter of perspective. Lord please help us, to grasp the know-how of how much is enough/overkill/apply-duct-tape-when-necessary. Easier said than done!

As I type, our newly married baby is clear across the country in Hawaii with his new bride on their honeymoon. (I can hear the violins playing.) Naturally I’m dying to pick up the phone and say, “Hey! How’s the honeymoon goin’?”

Our oldest son, John Jr., strongly suggested today, “Now Mom, remember he’s on his honeymoon…let’s not have his phone blowin’ up.” I replied, “I know, I know.” Sigh… Paradise beach sunset or sunrise with tropical palm trees. Summe Coming down from a wedding high is no small feat. Emotions are now marginally back in check. I knew I was bad off when I burst into tears on Friday before the wedding. I drove in the driveway from LT’s Bridesmaids’ Luncheon and saw Gordy’s car. (He’s our middle son who lives in Lexington.)

Mind you I’d not even seen Gordy yet, only his car, which made me dissolve. ‘Twas a carryover from Thursday’s meltdown.   (For explanation, please click on…..When You Must Take to Your Bed…)

Meltdowns require perspective. (“Get a grip!” comes to mind…)

Meltdowns require rest. (However I’d not necessarily recommend “taking to your bed” in the dramatic way this MOG did.)

**Most importantly**: Meltdowns are a great opportunity for recharging relationships. We must always be attentive for these opportunities. Years ago when 9/11 happened, our boys were very unsettled. We took off, just the five of us and went camping and fishing. (Those of you who know me may be stunned by this….but you do what you have to do to hold the fam together.)

My John is much more intuitive than I am and he quickly took charge of the situation. We were on the road to Shelbyville to a friend’s farm within what seemed like minutes. His motto is always, “Seek to understand.” Five-for-five of us recharged and were ready to face the world again once home. (Sidebar: The s’mores helped immensely.)  Forest Camping - Tent Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Pray for a fresh day,

a fresh attitude,

a new beginning.

I’ve got to share with you the most amazing story of a recharged relationship from a major meltdown witnessed by thousands... If you’re a UK fan (CATS! CATS! CATS!), you probably know about the Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew. This past Spring found them both crumbling under enormous pressure.Harrison Twins Pastor Robert Cunningham from Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, KY (www.tcpca.org ) wrote the most astonishing article on how the twins were “tweaked”. Tweaking translates into recharging a relationship, and in this case, it came from their Father.

Their Father’s tweaking brought forth some colossal kind of transformation resulting in three-count-em-three game-winning shots by Aaron Harrison. What it all boiled down to was some sound, quality Father/Son time.

Every child, of any age, needs pure, unconditional reassurance. Here we return to our original question with the answer of: Once a parent, always a parent. Seems Aaron and Andrew’s Father’s vow of unconditional love was just what the basketball doctor ordered. Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 3.23.21 PM Andrew was quoted after his Father’s visit, “It helped me take a deep breath and relax.” Robert Cunningham astutely added, “There’s a world of difference between performing to be accepted and performing knowing you are accepted. Once they (the twins) realized they were loved apart from their excellence, they were then set free to become excellent.”

Goodness, that’s worth repeating: “Once the twins realized they were loved apart from their excellence, they were then set free to become excellent.”  Grace Because Robert Cunningham is such a good preacher and teacher, he rarely misses the chance to draw parallels to our faith. He reminded us that if we thought we had to measure up to God’s expectations, earning His acceptance, we’d “quickly become burdened, stressed, fearful, joyless…”

He continues, “But if we embrace what the Bible has to say to us—that we’re loved and accepted not based upon our performance but based upon our Savior—then we’ll be set free to obey…Even our worst failures will become fresh reminders of God’s boundless grace and infinite commitment…”

Robert challenges us to remember:

“You don’t have to perform;            

            Christ has performed.

You’re allowed to fail;          

         Christ died for our failures.” single wooden cross Charles Spurgeon suggested years ago: “The most important daily habit we can possess is to remind ourselves of the gospel.”

Amen and amen.

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to Pastor Robert Cunningham. Bless his sweet soul, he’ll be marrying Gordy and Lauren September 27th. He’s been mentoring them and handling their premarital counseling these past few months. If you’d like to read his excellent article, Your Christianity Needs a Tweak, here’s the link:   http://tcpa.org/2014/04/08/your-christianity-needs-a-tweak/twin/

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When You Must “TAKE TO YOUR BED”…Surviving Wedding Week…

Once upon a time, on the Eve of “THE Rehearsal”…there was a MOG (Mother of the Groom) with a lovely, blank calendar. Thursday’s open?  Wow…

Well, not really.  We (really me) must write out and decorate seventy-one place cards for Friday’s Rehearsal Dinner… Sooooo, not my talent…(And, can you say, “Procrastinator Professionnelle???”)

Carve out time for a manicure? …No problem.

Time for a much-needed nap?  Oh absolutely.

Peaceful woman sleeping on a cloud and having sweet dreams

Truth of the matter:  These “things” were minor.  My head spinning was MAJOR

Like my Mother used to do, when overwhelmed, prior to retreating, she’d announce, “I’ve taken to my bed” …Oh those days were dreadful….

Last Thursday, I confess I experienced a wee meltdown.  I became non-functional. Everything, and I mean everything made me cry.  I came home from such antics and plopped down in our bed.  Dog by my side (they are man’s best friend after all), feet propped, I heaved a huge sigh of relief.

gracie beat bed

(Note Gracie made it to the bed before I could jump in….)

John arrived home shortly after this and said, “Man, I need to exercise!”  He promptly jumped on the elliptical.  (Please ‘splain to me why guys do this???) While I could hear the elip whirring away(!!!), I was quite content, nestled in a mound of covers.

A few more minutes rolled by and our sweet daughter-in-law-to-be phoned.  She needed to come by to pick up the groomsmens’ gifts.  “Come on in, LT.  And come on up here.  I’m ‘stuck in bed and can’t get up”….

Alice falling down the rabbit hole

Pitiful, I know, but I literally couldn’t raise my head off the pillow.  Shut down.  Fine, but shut down.  (Meanwhile, all this pales in comparison to what LT and her sister and her Mom were juggling during Wedding Week!!! Aletia and I had lunch this week and apparently Home Depot and Lowe’s are now out of gold, glittery paint, due to her numerous trips to paint decor for the wedding. She’s now our  Official “Goldfinger”…)

Thankfully LT isn’t phased by crazy mother-in-laws (!!!)  and came right on up to talk. It wasn’t I needed sleep as much as I just needed to rest, to “chill” as our kids often say.

My friend and mentor, Jane Chilton, has taught many of us over the years that when we’re overwhelmed, to just repeat, over and over, out loud,  “Jesus, Lord Jesus, Jesus…”  It’s amazing the calming effect that can have on you.

Stress Relief Concept.

Max Lucado has a great four-fold plan to keep us grounded when we are overwhelmed.  In his book, Just Like Jesus: Learning to Have a Heart Like His, he poses excellent questions:

“How do I live in God’s presence?

How do I detect His unseen hand on my shoulder and his inaudible voice in my ear?”

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Ephesians 6:18 tells us to “Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need.”  I Thessalonians 5:17 simply says, “Pray continually.

Here is Max’ fourfold plan to apply to our everyday living:

1 – “Give God your waking thoughts.”  This means to start your day talking to the Lord.  Ken Blanchard says he begins his day by asking, “Okay, Lord, what are WE going to do today?”

Max suggests, “Before you face the day, face the FatherBefore you step out of bed, step into his presence.”

Calling heaven

2 – “Give God your waiting thoughts.”  This goes hand in hand with First Thessalonians 5:17, about praying continually.  Waiting translates into being patient.  Sorry!  This is my perpetual lesson,… you?

3 – “Give God your whispering thoughts.”  Max encourages us to “consider every moment as a potential time of communion with God.”  Savoring every moment was the goal of both us:  The  MOB and The  MOG.   Aletia and I were determined to not let the wedding weekend blow by.  I firmly believe our prayers were answered.

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4 – “Give God your waning thoughts.”  Have you ever heard the phrase, “Bookend your day with prayer?”  I love this concept and this is exactly what Max is teaching us from #1, giving God your waking thoughts, to this #4, giving God your waning thoughts….”Conclude your day as you began, talking to God.”

When John and I got home from the Rehearsal Dinner Friday night,

rehearsal

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and from the wedding Saturday night,

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not to mention the lovely Bridesmaids’ Luncheon Friday afternoon,

going away car

(During the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon, we had a time of prayer where we read Scripture with Woody and LT’s names inserted. When I gazed around the circle, with the bridesmaids and my sweet daughter-in-law, I could hardly read my Scripture.  It was a huge, mega gift from God.  Yet another moment to savor.)

eliz dil milJohn and I  unanimously said, “That could not have gone any better.”  Thank you, Lord.

We praise you:

For blessing us with beautiful weather,

For friends who love the Lord more than life itself,

For friends and family who love our children as much as we do,

For working out all the details some of us worried about … (Goodness…apologies!)

I so appreciate you, dear readers and prayer warriors, for your prayers!  As of this writing on a Mahvelous Monday, I’m still in pj’s, thankful for a “quiet day” to start a new week!

‘Til next time!!!

(This post is dedicated to the FOB & MOB, Frank and Aletia Thompson, who were the quintessential host and hostess at such a God-honoring Wedding Celebration.  We couldn’t be more blessed!)

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